Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest flagship has just set sail. In our series of First Looks, which replaces the Inaugural Liveblogs, lets take a look and see what sets her apart from her fleetmates.
The Norwegian Bliss can trace its lineage back to the Norwegian Joy. The Bliss was ordered as a sistership to the Norwegian Escape. However, with the market taking off in Asia, Norwegian wanted a purpose built ship for Asia. They therefore decided that the next available ship, which then was then intended to be the Bliss, was to be sent to the Pacific. Coinciding with that was the decision to rename the vessel, as ‘Joy’ fit better in the region than ’Bliss’. It was then decided to postpone the name ‘Bliss’ until their 2018 newbuild as the 2015 newbuild was already named Escape.
Since the ship will be headed straight to the West Coast, the general design principle was definitely Alaska. There was a lot of thought that went into maximizing the cruise experience to 49th state. NCL even took it upon themselves to upgrade Pier 66 in Seattle where the vessel will turning around every Saturday. The ship will also share the Joy’s haven observation lounge as well as a new huge Observation lounge one deck below that can be used by all passengers.
The hull art will also feature marine wildlife native to the Pacific North West.
The Bliss is in the Breakaway-Plus class which is an evolution of the Breakaway-class. However the Norwegian Escape can be considered a one-off. Since the Bliss and the Joy share common themes, such as the buffet located forward and the spa located aft; the presence of the Haven observation lounge; as well as the addiiton of the GoKart track replacing the ropes course, I’d consider the Escape to be in a small sub-class of its own.
The original ship in the class is the 2013 built Norwegian Breakaway. Here’s how the sizes breakdown:
- Norwegian Breakaway 146,600gt
- Norwegian Getaway 145,655gt
- Norwegian Escape 164,600gt
- Norwegian Joy 167,725gt
- Norwegian Bliss 167,800gt
So with the history out of the way, let’s look at the Bliss. For a full rundown of what this class of ships look like, I recommend my comprehensive tour of the Norwegian Escape.
While essentially the same as the Joy, this will be North America’s first glimpse of the evolution of the Breakaway-plus class of ships. Onboard, guests will find the to the largest competitive race track at sea for the North American market. It’s a two level electric-car race track that sits at the top of deck 19. Speeds can apparently reach up to 30 miles per hour.
Aboard Norwegian Bliss there are a few new restaurants. Replacing the Supper Club is the lines first dedicated BBQ pace, Q Texas Smoke House. Also there will be a first full-service Starbucks on NCL. This is fitting as she will be homeported this summer in Seattle. Off the main atrium, where Le Bistro is on the Escape, is Coco’s. This is a chocolate and sweets shop. French Cuisine enthusiasts fret not; the fine dining venue has been relocated to deck 17.