Rockettes to christen Norwegian Breakaway ship

Published May 08, 2013

| Associated Press

The Rockettes are best-known for dancing at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, but they'll be doing their signature kick line on a cruise ship Wednesday.

The dancers are the godmothers for Norwegian Cruise Line's new ship, Norwegian Breakaway, which is being christened Wednesday afternoon at a pier on the Hudson River.

The ship is themed on New York City, with a colorful mural on the exterior hull design by pop artist Peter Max featuring the city skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

"It's unbelievable to have something so big with my art on it," Max said Tuesday evening at a launch party for the ship. He added that when he was invited to design the art for the ship, "the little boy in me couldn't believe it."

Max is expected to attend the christening Wednesday with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop for New York.

In addition to the mural, other Big Apple touches on the ship include ice sculptures of Lady Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chrysler Building at an ice bar, and a version of the Broadway '80s rock musical, "Rock of Ages." Passengers can take a fitness class designed by the Rockettes, and two Rockettes will sail on each of the first six trips beginning Sunday, and on the first sailing of each month thereafter.

With a capacity of 4,000 passengers, the 18-deck vessel is the biggest cruise ship to homeport year-round in Manhattan. On Sunday, the Breakaway begins its summer itinerary of seven-day trips to the Bermuda. The ship will sail to the Bahamas and Florida in the winter.

Not everything onboard has a New York connection. The ship will have an outpost of "Cake Boss" star Buddy Vlastro's Hoboken, N.J., bakery, Carlo's Bake Shop. Comedy will be provided by players from the Second City troupe, and each cruise will offer fireworks at sea.

Other features include a water park with five water slides including free fall slides, plus a three-story sports complex with nine-hole mini-golf, a basketball court and rock-climbing wall.

Norwegian Breakaway will have three eateries by Geoffrey Zakarian, a Food Network Iron Chef who has served as a top chef and restaurant owner at a number of New York City venues. Zakarian's Norwegian Breakaway restaurants are seafood-themed: Ocean Blue, The Raw Bar and Ocean Blue on the Waterfront. The ship's 27 dining options also include ethnic restaurants like a Brazilian churrascaria and Shanghai's Noodle Bar, along with the Manhattan Room, styled like a private supper club with dance floor.

An open-air boardwalk called The Waterfront offers al fresco dining and shopping venues with seaside views. The Waterfront is connected to a three-deck dining, entertainment and gaming area called 678 Ocean Place.

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