Someone at Norwegian Cruise Line evidently endured one too many "formal nights with the captain." Just look at the line's first specially designed Freestyle ship, Norwegian Sun, setting sail for New York City from Southampton, England, this month. Specifically created to pluck passengers from assigned-table, 6:30-sharp, dress-code dinnertime purgatory, Norwegian Sun has nine—yes, nine—restaurants, not counting the Internet café or the wine bar. There's Ginza for teppanyaki and sushi; Las Ramblas for tapas; Pacific Heights for California-style pizzas; Adagio for posh Italian; East Meets West for the obligatory Asian fusion (complete with a pick-your-own-lobster tank). The ship offers die-hard traditionalists two old-style formal dining rooms, one traditional, one contemporary. With two more Freestyle ships on the way, Norwegian is betting heavily on the modern palate of its passengers.What next? Floating farmers' markets? (800-327-7030).

—Kate Sekules