From left: MEYER WERFT Project Manager Stefan Schmees, Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Kevin Sheehan,  Norwegian Cruise Line Senior Vice President of New Build Christer Karlsson and MEYER  WERFT Managing Partner Bernard Meyer at the Keel Laying for Norwegian Escape.Norwegian Cruise Line and Meyer Werft today celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Escape at in Papenburg, Germany. 

During the ceremony, block 35/41, the first of 86 blocks that will comprise the 164,600 gross ton vessel, was lifted into the covered building dock, officially marking the start of the ship’s construction. Norwegian Escape will be Norwegian’s largest ship to date, carrying 4,200 passengers, set for delivery in October 2015.

Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer, was on hand in the dock and laid the traditional “lucky coin,” before the first block, weighing 400 tons, was placed by a massive crane. A special commemorative coin featuring the ship was created to celebrate the day’s activities.

 “Norwegian Escape will be our largest and most innovative ship to date, building on the phenomenal success of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway,” said Sheehan. “We are looking forward to seeing this ship take shape over the next year and welcoming her to our fleet in October 2015.”

Norwegian Escape is the first ship in her class, and is being built through a highly-efficient construction process that will deliver the ship of 164,600 gross tons in just over 19 months from steel cutting to delivery.

Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on November 14, 2015. The ship will be the largest to home port year-round in Miami, carrying 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.