Rockettes Christen Norwegian Breakaway Ship

norwegian breakawayBeth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press, May 9, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The Rockettes are best known for dancing at the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, but they did their signature kick line on a cruise ship May 8, 2013.

The dancers are the godmothers for Norwegian Cruise Line's new ship, Norwegian Breakaway, which was christened 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.

Max attended the christening Wednesday with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop for New York. He blessed the ship.

Introducing the dozen high-stepping Rockettes in silver sequined costumes, the mayor said, "I don't think anyone symbolizes our city's energy, glamour and excitement more."

Bloomberg also observed that with all the Big Apple touches onboard, "Breakaway passengers will never really leave New York behind."

The ship offers ice sculptures of Lady Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Chrysler Building at an ice bar, and its shows include 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.

A Sabrett hot dog stand, complete with yellow umbrella, serves guests near an area called Rockaway Beach.

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan, a native New Yorker, proved his own street cred by showing off a copy of his decades-old license to drive a yellow taxi. Sheehan said the ship "takes the best elements of New York City" and brings them to sea.

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 Bermuda. The ship will sail to the Bahamas and Florida in the winter.

At a pre-christening party Tuesday night, Max said it was "unbelievable to have something so big with my art on it."

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. Vlastro emceed the christening festivities, showing off a large cake that looks exactly like the ship.

The ship also has 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.