Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing

Norwegian's Frank Del Rio and Pitbull christen the Norwegian Escape.
Norwegian's Frank Del Rio and Pitbull christen the Norwegian Escape.
Photo by Laine Doss

With 18 decks and capacity to host 4,248 passengers, Norwegian's Escape is more like a small, oceanbound city than a cruise ship. And the city that the brand-new ship chooses to emulate happens to be Miami. 

In fact, the Escape has such a love affair with Miami that Pitbull is its official godfather. When Mr. 305 blesses you and serenades you — complete with beautiful dancing girls wearing short-shorts — you are officially a Miamian.

Norwegian's Frank Del Rio and Pitbull christen the Norwegian Escape.
Norwegian's Frank Del Rio and Pitbull christen the Norwegian Escape.
Photo by Laine Doss

On Monday, Mr. 305 himself christened the Escape along with Norwegian's CEO, Frank Del Rio, marking the vessel's official inaugural voyage. The ship will depart PortMiami for the Caribbean weekly. Onboard, passengers will be pampered by 1,651 crew members and a host of amenities including a ropes course, bowling alley, a miniature golf course, a bocce ball court, a comedy club, a full-scale Broadway production of Million Dollar Quartet, a spa, a casino, and 12 pools (including a Hugh Hefner-style grotto).

The Escape ensures you'll never go thirsty with a whopping 21 bars, including some very Miami experiences. Norwegian has enlisted Wynwood Brewing Co., Bar Lab, and Tobacco Road to enhance its beverage program.

Wynwood Brews on tap.
Wynwood Brews on tap.
Photo by Laine Doss

Wes Court, director of restaurant and beverage development and operations for Norwegian, says the ship's collaboration with Miami locals began over a year and a half ago. "We love beer, we love great food, so we went out and looked for relationships. I met with Luis and Pops [Brignoni] of Wynwood Brewing Company, then got to know the Pubbelly guys. This was a natural for us."

The District Brew House offers dozens of craft beers, including selections from Funky Buddha and Wynwood Brewing, which is brewing a special American pale ale exclusively for the ship.

Luis and Pops Brignoni.
Luis and Pops Brignoni.
Photo by Laine Doss

Luis Brignoni says being part of Norwegian's roster has been amazing. "It's very humbling to be here in an international market setting. We take a lot of pride. I think it's great for Miami beer in general. It's helping put Miami on the map. There are some great beers coming out of Miami-Dade County. It's good for craft beer in general."

Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing (18)
Photo by Laine Doss

The District offers 24 craft beers on tap. Eagle eyes will spot Wynwood Brewing Co.'s staff on screens behind the bar.

Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing
Photo by Laine Doss

The District also offers a selection of cocktails specially created by Bar Lab's Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi. Drinks include the Funky Monk, made with Hendrick's gin, chartreuse, Lexardomarischino, and fresh lime juice, and the Dale, made with Voli vodka, Mandarine Napoleon, pineapple juice, and passionfruit. The ship also has its own mojito bar, Sugar Cane (no relation to the midtown Miami restaurant), which offers dozens of takes on South Florida's adopted cocktail.

Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing (17)
Photo by Laine Doss

There are actually several Pitbull-themed cocktails on the Escape, including the Mr. Worldwide, which features Voli vodka, Pimms, strawberry, basil, and Champagne.

Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing (23)
Photo by Laine Doss

If you're craving a margarita, the Jimmy Buffett-influenced Margaritaville Café and 5 O'Clock Somewhere bar offer several versions of the singer/songwriter's favorite libation.

Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing (19)
Photo by Laine Doss

Tobacco Road is also having a revival on the Escape. The bar, which was razed last year in the name of progress, is reimagined as a fancy cigar bar. 

Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing (20)
Photo by Laine Doss

While the sticky floors may be gone, the neon sign and memories live on.

Norwegian Escape Drinking at Sea: Pitbull, Tobacco Road, Bar Lab, and Wynwood Brewing (12)
Photo by Laine Doss

If wine is your drink of choice, a short stroll from Tobacco Road lies the Cellar, where rare Mondavi vintages are poured. Michael Mondavi and daughter Dina conducted a private winetasting onboard. Mondavi's sage wisdom on the nectar of the gods? "If you like a white with steak, drink it. If you like a red with seafood, drink it. Learn a little about wine, then just go with what you think tastes great."

The Norwegian Escape sails weekly out of PortMiami.


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