While Alaska is expected to be the first seasonal destination for NCL Norwegian Bliss, Miami will be the second. The Breakaway Plus class ship, sister to Norwegian Escape, will sail from PortMiami for the winter season starting November 2018.
The line's last two new builds, Norwegian Escape and Getaway currently sail from Miami, although Escape will be migrating to New York in summer 2018. Another new ship for Norwegian, Norwegian Joy, will debut this year, but is headed for China.
The 167,800-ton, 4,000-guest Bliss is the line's 16th ship, and currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The ship is set to debut spring 2018 and make its way to Seattle for seven-night Alaska summer sailings and then make its way to begin Caribbean sailings from Miami starting November 17.
"As the Caribbean is our most sought-after winter destination, there was no question that Norwegian Bliss would sail from Miami," said Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart.
"This incredibly dynamic ship will offer stunning ocean views from almost every venue, spacious and thoughtfully designed accommodations that fit with every cruiser's needs, and a variety of exciting and engaging venues that will continue Norwegian's history of innovation in providing the ultimate dining and entertainment experiences at sea."
The ship, which the line has said is specifically designed for Alaska sailings, will feature hull artwork by Wyland of humpback whales. Among the ship's signature features will be a 180-degree observation lounge for everyone as well as a second observation lounge dedicated to those sailing in The Haven, the line's ship-within-a-ship concept. That 80-suite exclusive area also has its own restaurant, outdoor terrace, private lounge and courtyard with pool, whirlpools, sauna, spa and sunbathing deck.
The highest end suites will be in The Haven including the deluxe owner's suites, two-bedroom family villa, courtyard penthouse,deluxe spa suite, forward and aft-facing penthouses and The Haven Suite that can connect with a balcony stateroom. The rest of the ship features 308 mini suites, 1,088 balcony staterooms, 374 inside staterooms and 82 studio staterooms designed for solo travelers that feature virtual ocean views and its own private lounge. The line has allotted for more connecting staterooms across all of its categories with larger family groups in mind.
Frank del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. recently detailed some of Norwegian Bliss' more innovative features.
"We have a venue called Galaxy Pavilion that has the latest technology," del Rio said of the venue that will debut on the China-bound Joy first, and will offer immersive virtual reality experiences including simulator rides and interactive video walls.
"Especially on Bliss which comes out in 2018 we're dealing with companies who are developing virtual reality applications that are still in the R&D stage but they assure us that it will be ready by then. So always cutting edge, latest and greatest."
Norwegian Joy will also be getting the first race track on board a ship, with two levels and eight turns that can race 10 cars a ta time, 35-40 mph, but del Rio said Bliss will get a race track that is 20 percent longer and have 10 turns, two of which will be banked and cantilevered over the side of the ship.
"I want to see somebody beat that," del Rio said.
Between Alaska and Miami, Bliss will sail one five-night Pacific coastal cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles on Sept. 30, some seven- and eight-night Mexican Riviera cruises from Los Angeles and a 14-night Los Angeles-to-Miami cruise on Nov. 3 through the newly expanded Panama Canal that has stops in Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, Mexico; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; and Cartagena, Colombia.
Booking for Bliss cruises is open to the public starting January 12.
"PortMiami is proud to be recognized as the Cruise Capital of the World, welcoming more passengers than any other port in the world," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.
"I welcome Norwegian Cruise Line's continued growth in Miami-Dade County. Cruise lines and their passengers are vital to the continual economic growth and development of the tourism industry in our community. We look forward to welcoming the Norwegian Bliss in Winter 2018."