Norwegian Breakaway keel laying ceremony

Executives from Norwegian Cruise Line and officials from Meyer Werft attend the keel-laying ceremony as construction continues on the Norwegian Breakaway at the shipyard in Papenberg, Germany. The ship will sail out of the port of New York City beginning in 2013. (Meyer Werft / May 4, 2012)

How do you build a boat? From the keel on up, and that's what Norwegian Cruise Line got started as the first blocks of the Norwegian Breakaway were laid at a ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

Executives from the cruise line joined shipyard officials on Friday, May 4 as the groundwork was laid for the 144,000 gross ton vessel, which is set to debut in April 2013.

Norwegian's CEO Kevin Sheehan laid the traditional "lucky coin" before the 350-ton first block was placed.

"The anticipation is building for this incredible ship," said Sheehan. "It's thrilling to mark the start of the block assembly and realize that in one year we will take delivery of Norwegian Breakaway. We can't wait."

Meyer Werft is going about building the ship in a new way, and it will be the first time the shipyard has produced a ship of this size in less than 12 months.

"We are so proud to begin the process of constructing the ship out of 73 blocks that form the structure of the ship and are looking forward to seeing it take shape over the coming months," said shipyard Managing Director Bernard Meyer. "Norwegian Cruise Line has a reputation in the industry for innovation and we are very happy to continue that with this new ship."

The 4,000-passenger ship will be based out of the port of New York where it will sail seven-day Bahamas and Florida cruises as well as 12-day southern Caribbean cruises. It's the first of two ships on order by NCL with the second, the Miami-bound Norwegian Getaway slated for a spring 2014 delivery.

The line has rolled out several announcements about the ship's design in the last couple of months. Highlights include The Waterfront, an open-air boardwalk-style collection of dining and entertainment options coupled with the three-deck 678 Ocean Place. Also recently announced were a massive water park with five slides and a three-story sports complex with the largest ropes course at sea.

The Breakaway will be largest year-round cruise ship based in New York City. It's expected to bring 140,000 embarking passengers into New York City over two years.

For more information on the ship, visit www.breakaway.ncl.com.