Norwegian Getaway chartered in N.Y. during Super Bowl week

By Tom Stieghorst
Norwegian Cruise Line has shaken up plans for introducing its Norwegian Getaway next January to accommodate a charter that coincides with Super Bowl XLVI.

The follow-up to Norwegian Breakaway, the Getaway had been scheduled to debut in Florida, where it will be the first new ship in years that Norwegian will be sailing year-round out of Miami. Instead, Norwegian said it had arranged a private charter of the 4,000-passenger ship in New York from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5.

Those dates overlap with the 2014 Super Bowl, which is being played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, on Feb. 2.

Norwegian declined to say what person, group or company had chartered the ship or whether the charter was related to the game.

But Norwegian's change in plans forced cancellation of an inaugural cruise out of Miami slated for Feb. 1. The ship's first Eastern Caribbean cruise will now leave on Feb. 8, Norwegian said.

In addition, a cruise to bring the Getaway from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, where it is currently under construction, has been changed from an 11-day voyage between Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Miami to a 10-day sailing from Southampton to New York.

Joyce Landry, CEO of Landry & Kling, said it wasn't unprecedented for a new ship to be chartered straight from the yard. But, she added, it represents an extra level of risk because of the possibility of construction delays.

In some ways, a cruise-ship charter tied to the Super Bowl, if indeed that is its purpose, seems counterintuitive.

While cruise ships have been used in the past for overflow housing at Super Bowls held at Florida stadiums in Tampa and Jacksonville, the need for room accommodations is less apparent in New York.

In addition, MetLife is the first open, cold-weather stadium to host the Super Bowl, meaning that the weather in New York when the Getaway is docked there is likely to be nothing like the balmy winter climes typical of Florida's coasts.

Moreover, Landry noted, keeping ships tethered dockside forfeits revenue from casinos, shops and other sources.

"It's something to be done when you need it," she said, but added: "You have to be prepared to pay the price."
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