I saw the photographs before I boarded the behemoth cruise ship, so my biggest priority once I arrived was getting in a go-kart and speeding around a cruise ship racetrack like it was a real-life Mario Kart course. When my turn on the track was done, however, I discovered that there was a surprising element to the Norwegian Bliss that was being overshadowed by its deck-topping showstoppers—its sophisticated sense of style.
Norwegian’s newest ship just made its debut in New York City, flaunting two full-size waterslides, a laser tag arena, and a multi-level go-kart track. With enough beds to sleep over 4,000 passengers, 20 decks, and an impressive weight of 168,028 tons, the Norwegian Bliss is Norwegian Cruise Line’s biggest and most ambitious ship to date.
The Norwegian Bliss
This summer the Bliss will offer a 7-Day Alaska Cruise, and during winter months it will service the Eastern Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Mexican Riviera.
The Norwegian Bliss is attempting to usher in a new world of cruising, one that carries on the tradition of classic cruise fun but creates an ambiance that feels personal and classy.
Cold Boat, Warm Boat
The Bliss was designed with Alaska’s sweeping glacier views in mind, and it’s apparent by the size of its Observation Lounge. The spacious lounge wraps around the front of the ship and offers a cozy assortment of coffee tables and lounge chairs: It’s the perfect place to read a book and watch the icy seascape roll by. Because the Bliss will be traveling to Alaska, it has the feel of a cold-weather boat—cozy. But, especially for the world’s ninth-largest cruise ship, it’s surprisingly sophisticated and private. While the top of the ship screams summer fun, the rest of ship is reminiscent of smaller luxury expedition ships.
When you’ve had enough adrenaline and partying, the Bliss is ready to live up to its name, offering a full-service spa with a barber shop and also the option to add-on access to the Thermal Suite area, which features sauna rooms, heated loungers, a hydrotherapy pool, and wraparound views.
For entertainment, the ship offers specialized areas: The Cavern is a bar entirely dedicated to the Beatles, and there are stand-up comedy clubs and live lounge-music acts scattered throughout the decks. However, where Norwegian really steps it up is in its theatre, offering a program of two very different shows: ¡Havana!, an original musical created exclusively for the ship, and the Broadway classic, Jersey Boys.
Tucked away at the top of most Norwegian ships, The Haven is an exclusive area for guests staying in luxury cabins. On the Bliss, this area feels like a private expedition ship that’s been plopped onto another mega-ship.
On top of luxury suites and family villas, exclusive access to The Haven’s shared spaces is another worthwhile extra if you’re looking to splurge. From the gorgeous sunroom with its own pool and a retractable roof to the Horizon Lounge (with the best view on the ship through a large slanted glass window that makes the room feel endless), you’ll feel worlds away from the busy pool deck and public lounge areas. Staying in The Haven also gives you priority when reserving entertainment and excursions, access to The Haven Restaurant and exclusive cocktail parties, and your own 24-hour butler.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Things to Know About Hurtigruten, Norway’s Expedition Cruise Line
- How Not to Get Sick on a Cruise
- 27 Secrets the Cruise Lines Won’t Tell You
Jamie Ditaranto visited the Norwegian Bliss as a guest of Norwegian Cruise Lines. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.