Today we attended the Keel Laying Ceremony for Norwegian Cruise Line’s next ship, Norwegian Encore. You may remember that we were invited to be social media ambassadors for this fabulous new ship? Today’s ceremony marked the official start of the ship’s construction.
What is a Keel Laying Ceremony?
A Keel Laying Ceremony is the first milestone in the construction process of a new ship. Because ships these days are predominantly made in steel sections, this ceremony sees the first steel module lowered into place within the dock. Traditionally, with wooden ships, this ceremony marked the laying down of the wooden keel.
The ceremony includes the placement of a newly-minted coin underneath the keel. The ship is then constructed above the coin; this is thought to bring luck to the ship.
What happened at this Ceremony?
This morning, executives of Norwegian Cruise Line, the shipbuilder Meyer Werft, and members of the press gathered in Shed 2 of the shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. After a tour of the shipyard, where you saw other parts of the ship being constructed, everyone reconvened in front of the first steel section. During the ceremony this would be lowered onto the supports below.
After various short speeches, the NCL executives placed their coin on top of the support, below the keel suspended above them. The keel was then lowered down until it rested on the support, the coin firmly squashed between the pieces.
These ceremonies are good opportunities to make announcements, and today was no exception. Details were given as to what innovative features will be on Norwegian Encore. We also discovered the main theatre act. Five cast members of the Tony Award-winning Kinky Boots (West-End and Broadway show) turned up in the guise of shipbuilders – they then launched into song and dance (and stripped off!)
It was very entertaining, and it will be an AMAZING exclusive 90 minutes show to watch onboard the ship in a year’s time, once Encore is launched.
What other entertainment will Encore offer?
“We want to continue with entertainment on board that is a little edgy”
Andy Stuart, President & CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line
OK, so Kinky Boots will be the ‘must see’ show … along with ‘The Choir of Man’ who debuted on Norwegian Escape. THis is high-energy music, dance, live percussion and foot stomping choreography by nine guys who perform sing-along anthems to classic rock.
Debuting on Norwegian Bliss, and to come to Norwegian Encore, ‘Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical’ is an interactive cocktails and theatre show.
Finally, The Cavern Club, based on the famous Liverpool club, will have live musical performances from a Beatles cover band.
Innovative Recreation Activities
Let’s think back to Norwegian Bliss … a 2-deck race track, laser tag centre, and a substantial Aqua Park. What will Norwegian Encore offer that’s different? Well, listen to this …
Norwegian Encore’s race track is going to be bigger and better. It will be on two levels, as before, but the track will be nearly 1,150 feet long with 10 turns. Four points of the track will extend up to 13 feet over the side of the ship! There will be a covered viewing area in the centre of the track, where guests can shoot lasers at the passing karts to give them a turbo boost!
This will be a 10,000 square feet indoor virtual reality complex. It will showcase innovative, cutting-edge technology and interative gaming. We were told that you will be able to design a rollercoaster, then using Augmented Reality, can ‘ride’ your rollercoaster! This is multisensory virtual experience space, and includes the ever-popular escape room.
After the success of the laser-tag arena on Norwegian Bliss, it will also be on Norwegian Encore. However this time it is resurrected as the lost city of Atlantis. These are the only open-air laser tag arenas at sea.
All Breakaway and Breakaway Plus class ships have an Aqua Park. On Norwegian Encore this will include two multi-storey waterslides. One of them will extend 11 feet over the edge of the ship as it loops down to the deck below.
Some Ship Facts about Norwegian Encore
Norwegian Encore will be NCL’s 17th ship in it’s modern fleet. It is a Breakway Plus-class ship, the most successful ship class in the company’s history. There will be 20 decks, and it will carry up to 3,998 guests.
Delivery of Norwegian Encore is scheduled for 31 October 2019. In November, she will be christened in Miami, and will spend her inaugural season cruising out of PortMiami on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
Some photographs from today’s event …
For more information about Norwegian Encore, please visit the Norwegian Cruise Line page here.