Norwegian Cruise Line upgrading fleet

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line said Tuesday it is spending more than $250 million through 2015 to enhance dining, drinking, entertainment and other aspects of its cruise product.

The cruise operator said the "Norwegian NEXT" program, which includes some elements that have previously been announced, is meant to build on the success of the most recent additions to the fleet, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.

As part of the upgrade, free dining rooms and buffets will have new menus. Goodies from Carlo's Bake Shop by Buddy Valastro will be available on all ships. New wine menus have also been added in partnership with the Michael Mondavi Family, and mixologist Gabriel Orta of Miami's Bar Lab created destination-specific seasonal cocktails.

Norwegian is introducing the H2GLOW Party from the new ships across the rest of the fleet and producing new shows - including separate acts featuring acrobats and showgirls - at its Tampa rehearsal facility. The ships that include Nickelodeon entertainment for kids will add new activities.

The cruise line is also investing in technology: Interactive displays being added on all ships will let passengers make dining and shore excursion reservations as well as organize other parts of their trip using a touch screen sign.

Norwegian said the investment goes beyond ships alone to include improvements at the private Bahamian island Great Stirrup Cay and a new destination in southern Belize scheduled to open in fall of 2015.

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