|Norwegian Epic// Photo by Susan J. Young|
Norwegian Cruise Line is giving its onboard children and teen activities program a major makeover. Norwegian Kid’s Crew, in place since 1999, is being re-branded and revitalized.
The name of the program also will be changed, although Norwegian, as yet, has not revealed what that is. The new children and teen program will launch on Norwegian Gem in mid-February. Eventually, all ships in the fleet will have the new program.
Age groups within the program are being reworked. New age groups will be: three to five years; six to eight years; nine to 12 years; along with two teen groups: 13 to 14 and 15 to 17 years. There will also be programming for babies and toddlers who are six months to two years old.
About 150,000 children sailed on Norwegian’s ships in 2010 and that number continues to rise, according to Kevin Sheehan, the line’s CEO. “We’ve already taken family programming to the next level by offering Nickelodeon experiences on some ships,” Sheehan said. “Now, we want to make sure that we are continuing to offer the best possible experience for families. To do this, we are investing millions of dollars in revamping our youth and family programming.”
The new curriculum tailored to each age group is being produced in conjunction with The King’s Foundation and Camps, a United Kingdom-based organization that provides sport and activity programs designed to make a positive impact on children.
The line said the program will have more focus on sporting activities, arts and crafts, theater and technology. Activities will change every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the age group and will be set within blocks of programming time in the morning, afternoon and evening.
The new curriculum will also include creative themes, such as circus day, theater/technology/sports and port of call day.
Cirque Du Jour, a New York-based company that specializes in teaching children real circus skills such as scarf juggling, ball juggling, plate spinning, clowning and acrobatics has also been hired. It will create circus workshops and shows.
In addition, the youth programs will be expanded beyond the dedicated children's facilities into other areas of the ships.Kids and teens will have new activity options at the onboard sports courts, rock walls, theaters and lounges.
Also, expect more family events such as parades and scavenger hunts.
“We want to ensure our youth and teens are engaged in the programs we offer and that they are having fun,” said Richard Ambrose, Norwegian's vice president of entertainment. “We have designed this new youth program to cater to the specific interests and skill sets of children and teens to ensure that they are having the vacation of a lifetime.”
The company is also increasing the ratio of staff to children and establishing new criteria for the hiring of counselors, including the requirement of a college degree in recreation or child care (or the equivalent experience).
The new program will supplement the exclusive Nickelodeon family events, shows and activities that Norwegian already has on several ships: Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jewel and, starting in mid-February, Norwegian Gem.
Nickelodeon activities include pool games, breakfast with the characters, where kids – and adults – can eat, sing and play with SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Patrick, Diego and more; Dora’s Dance Party, where kids can join Dora and the Nickelodeon cast to dance and sing along; meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and many more.
In addition, there are also other family activities offered, including Nick Jr. story time, family trivia and special arts and crafts sessions.
Norwegian said it will release more details of the new youth and teen program in the coming months.