The cruise industry's been in the news a lot recently, but not for good reasons. Carnival Cruise Line in particular has had more than its fair share of bad press, starting with the stranding at sea of passengers for five days on the Carnival Triumph and continuing until this week when two passengers on the Carnival Spirit in Australia went missing.
But finally, some good news for cruise enthusiasts: Wednesday's christening of Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway marked the entry of the newest mega ship to the industry. It's also good news for its home port of New York City: Breakaway is the largest ship ever to call the Big Apple home.
Mega ships are often called floating cities, and this floating city has taken much of its inspiration from what some call the world's greatest city. Being on Breakaway is a little like being in a fantasized version of the Big Apple itself, if the Big Apple could possibly be contained on a 4,000 passenger pleasure cruise the length of three and a half football fields.
"I grew up in the city. I was born in the Village and drove a New York City taxi in college," said Kevin Sheehan, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. "I wanted this ship to resemble a New York experience. It's for both New Yorkers, and people who want to come and have a New York experience and see it from the sea."
And Sheehan's love of his city is seen everywhere, starting with the art on the ship's exterior, a montage of iconic New York City attractions by famed pop artist Peter Max, who's a local.
Inside the ship's ice bar, the sculptures are of the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building and the drinks served are all New York City-themed (think Rockettes-tini, named for the famed New York City Rockettes, the ship's godmothers).