A culture of expansion is currently on the cards for Norwegian Cruise Line.
The Miami, Florida-based line has been rapidly growing over the last few years, a point highlighted by the delivery of three enormous new ships over the last three years. A further three ships are due to be delivered over the next three years. In fact, for the period from 2013 to 2019, this year – 2016 – will be the only year Norwegian Cruise Line does not take possession of some exciting new hardware to deploy somewhere around the world.
Australia has been a major beneficiary of such expansion. For a line which has largely kept itself to a tried-and-true existence in North America and Europe, the company has acted on the potential of the rapidly growing Australian and Asian cruise markets by opening new offices in both regions, including here in Sydney last year. On top of that, in February next year, the line’s vessel Norwegian Star will become the line’s first ship in 15 years to sail in local waters.
At roughly the same size as some other major local mainstays in Australia, Norwegian Star accommodates 2,348 passengers in a twin-share configuration, served by 1,083 crew. Onboard is up to 10 bars and lounges catering to a wide variety of social tastes and entertainment preferences. In addition to a main dining room, a number of specialty venues will provide plenty of choice for guests to select from each evening. Here are our favourites.
Gatsby’s Champagne Bar
Named after the eponymous F. Scott Fitzgerald socialite, the venue on Deck Six caters to around 150 people comfortably and in line with the luxury lifestyle-loving characters made even more famous by Robert Redford and more recently Leonardo DiCaprio, a range of premium and high-end drinks are behind the bar. These are complemented by delicious patés and Foie Gras, adding to the sophistication of the venue’s ambiance. If it wasn’t against the rules to smoke anywhere on the ship, you could probably expect this venue to feature light by cigar, however not this time. The venue will welcome all who come to enjoy it.
Reflecting a typical American style steakhouse, Cagney’s is one of the most popular specialty dining venues on Norwegian Cruise Line. Featuring premium cuts of Angus Beef, this Deck 13 venue operates on an a la carte basis. While waiting for their steak to be cooked to their desired level, whether rare or destroyed, guests can enjoy a cold beverage or cocktail. Meals are also served with another famous NCL hallmark – truffle fries. For meat-lovers unable to secure a table here, you might also like Moderno – the ship’s Brazilian Churrusco steakhouse.
5 O’clock Somewhere Bar
It’s a great name for a bar and is sure to be a hit with the Australian market – which never needs an excuse for a beer or a glass of wine. Beach themed and with plenty of seating, it is sure to be the way many will choose to spend an afternoon at sea enjoying plenty of cool beverages and good music. 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar is located on Deck 7.
Narrower and longer than most cruise ship theatres, this European Opera House-style three-level venue caters to the evening entertainment held onboard, which for Norwegian Star currently includes ‘Band on the Run’, a tribute to the music and psychedelic lifestyles of the 1970’s, among others. Creatively decorated, this venue will also feature Broadway-style entertainment and even offers a bar out the front to enjoy a pre or post-show cocktail. Entries to the Stardust Theatre are on Decks 5, 6 and 7.
Flavours of the Tuscan countryside will be served up at La Cucina – Norwegian Star‘s fine Italian dining venue on Deck 6. Traditional buffalo mozzarella, sundried tomatoes and olive oil all feature prominently on the menu, and guests will be able to enjoy favourites such as lobster fettucine, osso bucco and finish it off with some macadamia ice cream. A feature wine wall provides a stylish decoration to admire while dining. Dining at the specialty venue La Cucina is charged on an a la carte basis.
Further dining options available include elegant French cuisine at Le Bistro, a sushi and sake bar and a Teppanyaki Room where chefs will fling, chop and slice different items from a grill right in front of your seat to your plate. All together, the variety of venues is sure to make dining on this ship a highlight of the voyage.
Norwegian Star will arrive in Sydney as part of a repositioning from Asia. In addition to its journey inbound from Singapore and the return voyage, the ship will sail one 12-day voyage to Auckland, via Melbourne, Tasmania and the Eastern Coast of New Zealand. A second cruise will run in reverse along the same path back to Sydney before the ship returns to Asia on a 31-day cruise back to Singapore which also travels via New Zealand.