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Rap star Pitbull names Norwegian Escape in huge party at PortMiami

A fist bump between Frank Del Rio and godfather Pitbull after the bottle broke
Miami son and rap star Pitbull turned Norwegian Escape's naming into an open-air party at PortMiami, electrifying the crowd.

The festivities were packed with music, including exciting performances by 'After Midnight' and 'Million Dollar Quartet,' two of the headline shows on the new ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings ceo Frank Del Rio welcomed Pitbull to the stage, backed by huge white ESCAPE letters, and both men were elevated atop columns for the naming.

Del Rio praised Meyer Werft and managing partner Bernard Meyer for their 'outstanding partnership' in producing 'truly a magnificent ship that exceeds all my expectations of what a mega-shp should be.' He also thanked Michal Jackiewicz and Tillberg Design for their design work.

There was praise for PortMiami, too: 'This port is the envy of the world and so is Miami,' Del Rio said, thanking port director Juan Kuryla and his team.

Newbuilds chief Christer Karlsson, evp operations Robin Lindsay, svp hotel operations Mark Kansley and Arturo Guerrero, vp newbuilds, were also acknowledged.

'After 27 years with Norwegian Cruise Line, this is a really proud day for me and my family,' Norwegian Cruise Line president Andy Stuart said, giving his thanks to Del Rio and appreciation for the 22,000 Norwegian Cruise Line employees around the world, travel partners and shareholders.

Naming ceremony attendees included Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and county commissioners Rebeca Sosa and Bruno Barreiro. 'Iron Chef' José Garces, who has two restaurants aboard Norwegian Escape, and Michael Mondavi, who created the wine bar, as well as conservationist and artist Guy Harvey, who painted the hull with marine life, were also on hand.

It was the first ship NCLH has introduced with Del Rio as chief executive. Thomas Weigend of Meyer Werft told Seatrade Cruise News the shipyard was pleased to work with Del Rio and his team.

Weigend noted the 2017 Breakaway Plus ship for China will be the first from the Papenburg yard with Del Rio's 'signature' since Norwegian Escape was well along before he took over. The fact the 2017 vessel will be customized for Chinese travelers shows Meyer Werft's flexibility since production had started prior to that decision.

Del Rio is contributing significantly to shaping the concepts since he has traveled extensively in China and 'really has a good eye for the customers' needs,' Wiegend said.