Bryan Johnson joins Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest ship on a preview sailing, and discovers new restaurants and a race track.
Norwegian Cruise Line is a line on a mission. The company, which is currently launching ships at a rate of knots, recently previewed its latest vessel, Norwegian Bliss, on a short sailing between Bremerhaven and Southampton.
Bliss, which is the third ship in Norwegian’s Breakaway Plus Class, is the line’s first ship to be homeported in Seattle, where it will offer seven-day cruises to Alaska for the summer, before heading down to Los Angeles for Mexican Riviera sailings. It will end the winter in Miami for the Caribbean.
With 1,088 balcony cabins available, the 4,000-passenger ship has been built with scenic cruising in Alaska in mind. Guests will be able to sit back, relax and watch the rugged terrain sail by in between ports of call – all while keeping their eye out for passing humpback whales.
It’s hard to talk about Norwegian Bliss and not mention the much-publicised race track that covers a portion of the top deck. The brainchild of company boss Frank
del Rio along with his imaginative son, the largest racetrack at sea costs just $5 per ride for adrenaline hungry passengers. That, along with the laser tag, are just two of the activities that young guests (and the young at heart) can enjoy on this genuinely action-packed ship.
While there are plenty of new facilities on board to keep Norwegian’s guests happy, there’s also a host of familiar favourites for regular guests. It wouldn’t be a Norwegian ship without Cagney’s Steakhouse, (deck 8, aft) and Le Bistro (deck 17, aft) – but there is also a Starbucks coffee; Q (deck 6, forward), a BBQ restaurant where you will eat to the sounds of country music; and Los Lobos (deck 8), a new a la carte Tex-Mex restaurant.
As the third of four Breakaway Plus Class ships (Norwegian Encore is set to join the fleet in November 2019), Norwegian is well on its way to achieving its target of 64,000 total berths by 2025. The company will hit 45,000 by 2018 and will be bringing three new ships to market between now and 2022 with the introduction of the Leonardo Class.
Interestingly, the line has also seen a 20 per cent rise in the number of Brits on board. That’s a testament to the ‘premium all-inclusive’ philosophy that the company brought in a few years ago to make themselves a more luxurious experience. Joining the Regent Seven Seas and Oceania family can’t have hurt, either.
Families wanting to take a trip out to Alaska could do a lot worse than getting on board Norwegian Bliss.