“We like to say: ‘Love like a Venetian, chill like a Jamaican and cruise like a Norwegian,’” says Ailene Sorice, corporate sales manager for Norwegian Cruise Line.
Sorice explains that the cruise company has always highlighted that type of freespirited lifestyle aboard their ships, where people are free to organize their own itineraries and soak up the seas with full abandon. They call it “Freestyle Cruising.” For example, passengers are not required to dine at specific times because every restaurant has a dedicated galley, which is fantastic for private group rentals.
“We’ve always been all about freedom and flexibility, and we know that meeting and incentive planners demand exactly that,” she says. “So Norwegian Cruise Lines is pretty much a perfect fit because planners can custom create programs to groups of different ages, tastes and activity preferences.”
The big news at Norwegian is the launch of Norwegian Breakaway next spring. It will be the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in New York City. From May through October, she sails to Bermuda, and then heads south to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Florida through winter.
Capacity is 4,000 pax with 14 F&B outlets, ranging from the 53-seat Shanghai Noodle Bar to 650-seat Manhattan Room. And in anticipation of group demand, Norwegian has expanded its MICE sales department.
For VIPs, check out the 80 large cabins in The Haven by Norwegian. This is a ship-within-a-ship concept featuring a private restaurant, dayclub, nightclub, concierge, live entertainment and 24-hour service. The suites have floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, upgraded linens/bath products; and they’re located conveniently close to the spa.
Already introduced on Norwegian’s Jewel-class ships, The Haven delivers a truly exclusive group experience at sea.
“They’re super popular for buyouts,” adds Sorice.
When asked for her recommendations about shore leave, Sorice suggests Ocho Rios, Jamaica without missing a beat.
“Goldeneye just expanded and it’s awesome for small group incentives,” she says. “Same with Couples Sans Souci, Sandals Royal Plantation and Jamaica Inn.”