Kevin Sheehan, chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line, and Bernard Meyer, managing director of MEYER WERFT, press the button to start the first steel cutting for Norwegian Escape.The first piece of steel was cut at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany today for the construction of Norwegian Escape, the first of two new Breakaway Plus Class ships for Norwegian Cruise Line, set for delivery in fall of 2015.  Norwegian Cruise Line and Meyer Werft executives watched as the first plate of steel was cut by a plasma torch in the yard’s state of the art facility. This plate will become part of Block 46 that will comprise the new vessel.

“Norwegian Escape will be the largest ship in our fleet and will continue our legacy of innovation,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer.  “Cutting the first piece of steel for Norwegian Escape marks the official start of construction for this remarkable ship. We are eagerly anticipating her delivery in October of 2015.”

“Norwegian Escape will be 10th ship that Meyer Werft has built for Norwegian Cruise Line within the last 15 years and this one is very special, because of the dimensions of approximately 163,000 gross tons and the many new innovations onboard,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of Meyer Werft.

At Cruise Shipping Miami earlier this month, Norwegian announced that Norwegian Escape will homeport year-round in Miami following her delivery in late 2015 and sail a seven-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary starting November 14, 2015; visiting Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Norwegian also announced that famed marine wildlife artist and champion of ocean conservation Guy Harvey has designed the ship’s signature hull artwork which features an underwater scene of marine wildlife.

Norwegian’s two Breakaway Plus class ships, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss, will be approximately 163,000 gross tons and offer 4,200 passenger berths. The ships were named by Norwegian’s Facebook fans around the globe. Norwegian Escape will boast all of exciting and innovative features found on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, plus a number of new spaces and interactive experiences that are yet to be announced.