Last year, we told you about the Norwegian Joy, the first cruise line to feature a go-kart track at sea. We were all ready to book our tickets.. until we learned that the Joy was going to be based in China. 🙁
Luckily, Norwegian Cruise Line hasn’t forgotten about those of us stateside, revealing features and amenities this week for their upcoming Norwegian Bliss ship. And let me tell you, it sounds freaking awesome! NCL’s latest ship has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience, and the ship will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean with select voyages to the Mexican Riviera beginning in June 2018.
Custom-built for the spectacular, Norwegian Bliss will boast many firsts at sea for the global market including the largest competitive race track at sea and an open-air laser tag course. The ship’s exciting new features will join the brand’s signature elements of freedom and flexibility that NCL is known for across the globe, including a myriad of mouthwatering dining options and a vibrant onboard atmosphere fueled by dynamic intimate spaces and a multitude of bars and lounges, award-winning youth programs and more.
“Norwegian Bliss will no doubt be our most incredible ship to date,” said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “We have elevated Norwegian Bliss’s onboard experience to new heights, bringing the best features from across our fleet plus exciting new first-at-sea activities like the largest race track and new dining concepts to create the ultimate cruising experience.”
On the ship’s top-deck, guests can put the pedal to the metal for the first time aboard a cruise ship with a two level electric-car race track. The 1,000 foot competitive track will rev up the hearts of all who race around her many twists and turns with four speed settings accommodating novice, intermediate and advanced drivers, reaching up to 30MPH — with a special “turbo boost” available on each lap.
The electric cars run silent so as to not disturb those seeking to enjoy the serene environment. But guests will have the full racing experience while they channel their inner Andretti, as the sounds of a race car engine are piped in through speakers located in the car’s headrest.
After burning rubber at the race track, guests can test their agility at the open-air laser tag course. Themed as an abandoned space station, the course comes to life both day and night as guests go into stealth-mode and compete against family and friends with state-of-the art laser guns.
I haven’t played Laser Tag since I was a kid, but the course looks pretty darn cool, and I’m sure this will be a hit with both kids and kids-at-heart.
Guests can cool down afterwards at the ship’s expansive pool and sundeck featuring 2 spacious pools and 6 infinity hot tubs that scale the side of the ship. The ship’s Aqua Park also includes two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Ocean Loops free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and a second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below.
The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet, with a translucent section that provides stunning ocean views as guests twist and turn to the finish line.
Foodies and cocktail connoisseurs will be able to dine, sip and savor to their heart’s delight with a breadth of dining and bar options aboard Norwegian Bliss, including signature Norwegian favorites as well as exclusive new concepts that will debut aboard the line’s newest ship. Just looking at the list of specialty restaurants on board is enough to get your stomach growling.
Man, between Q, Cagney’s Steakhouse, La Cucina, and The Bake Shop, I’m going to gain 20 pounds if I’m not careful. Clearly, I’m going to have to hit the gym every morning in order to stay ahead of it..
Starting next summer, the Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, making her the largest, most innovative ship to ever seasonally homeport on the West Coast.
The Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from the Port of Miami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.
For more information on Norwegian Bliss, visit bliss.ncl.com. I’ve been on a dozen cruises in the past, but I have never cruised with NCL before. Something tells me that’s about to change real soon!
Celebrity Edge Is Like No Cruise Ship We’ve Ever Seen
If you’ve been thinking about taking a cruise, there is no better time to do so, as there are a number of new ships scheduled to set sail in 2018 from all of the major cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, MSC Cruises, and Holland America.
One of the ships that we’re most excited about is Celebrity Cruises’ upcoming ship (their first new ship in six years), the Celebrity Edge, which was announced early last year. And now Celebrity Cruises has announced that the ship’s construction is ahead of schedule, with a maiden voyage scheduled for late 2018.
The Celebrity Edge is the first in a new category of Celebrity ships that boasts an innovative new design, with a number of features never before seen on a cruise, like the Magic Carpet – The world’s first cantilevered, floating platform that moves up and down the side of the ship, reaching heights of 13 stories above sea level. With breathtaking views, a full bar, and space for live music performances, it truly is a destination itself.
If that’s not edgy enough, the ship’s Edge Staterooms with Infinite Veradana bring the stateroom balconies indoors. With the touch of a button, bi-folding doors in the room can be opened, allowing your entire living space to become the veranda, and letting you walk right out to the water’s edge. This allows for a wide-open indoor space that’s 23% larger than traditional balcony cabins.
Other unique features include the ship’s Resort Deck, which offers endless ways to enjoy the outdoors and connect with the sea. It includes everything from an asymmetrical outward-facing pool deck to a jogging track that winds up, down, and around the Rooftop Garden – a living urban playscape inspired by playgrounds.
While many cruise lines have moved towards RFID-enabled wristbands and the likes to get in and out of your room, charge a drink, and personalize your cruise experience, Celebrity is taking a slightly different approach, with their proprietary Celebrity app, which will let you do everything on your phone, from checking into the ship to unlocking your stateroom door or controlling your room’s temperature and lighting.
And last but not least, Edge also will have Celebrity’s first cabins for solo travelers. This should make single folks happy, as they won’t get stuck paying double-occupancy anymore. I have a single friend who cruises solo every year, and this cruise would actually make more sense for him from a financial standpoint!
The Celebrity Edge is betting big ($1 billion) that today’s affluent younger travelers will take the plunge on a modern luxury cruise like this.
So what do you say, who’s ready to set sail on the Celebrity Edge? Bookings are officially open for the ship’s maiden voyages in December 2018, departing from Fort Lauderdale for a week-long Caribbean circuit, with cabins starting at $1,049.
For more information, visit celebritycruises.com.
Photo credit: Celebrity Cruises
MSC Cruises’ Epic 4-Month Cruise Visits 32 Countries Across 6 Continents!
If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a trip around the world, MSC Cruises’ “World Cruise” is just the ticket, a 119-day cruise that boasts an itinerary of 49 destinations across 32 countries spanning six continents.
Taking place aboard the MSC Magnifica, which features balcony cabins, 11 bars, four restaurants, a casino, a panoramic nightclub, a cigar lounge, and a 4D cinema, among other amenities and attractions, this one-of-a-kind world cruise departs from Genoa, Italy on January 5, 2019, with passengers crisscrossing the globe and returning there nearly four months later.
The global journey begins with stops in Marseille in France, Barcelona and Malaga in Spain, and Funchal in Portugal. From there, it’s on to the Caribbean, visiting St. Maarten, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Aruba, and a few others before making its way to the Pacific via the Panama Canal.
The cruise will make extended stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu and Tahiti, giving guests the chance to immerse themselves in local experiences. Additional stops include Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Auckland in New Zealand, and Sydney in Australia, along with several others.
There will also be 15 different complimentary shore excursions that passengers can take advantage of during the trip, such as riding elephants in Pinnawela, taking a dip in the lagoons of Moorea, or touring of national parks. Additional offerings include guided shopping trips, food tours, tours to panoramic viewing sights, and boat trips.
As you have probably guessed by now, a cruise of this magnitude doesn’t come cheap, with tickets starting at $16,999 for an interior double occupancy stateroom. But considering that it would take a lifetime to visit all of these amazing destinations on their own, it’s not really that expensive in the grand scheme of things.
Now figuring out a way to take four months off of work, that might prove to be a little more challenging. That’s probably why MSC recommends this voyage for people planning to take “a traditional gap year, career break or a post-retirement adventure.”
Then again, I can theoretically work from anywhere, as long as they’ve got WiFi.. 🙂
Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas Is The World’s Largest Cruise Ship!
It’s official, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, the Symphony of the Seas will hold the distinction as the largest cruise ship in the world. This massive ship clocks in at 1,188 feet long, features 18 decks (about the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa), weighs in at 230,000 tons, and has 2,775 staterooms.
Symphony of the Seas will offer guests seven distinct neighborhoods, like the tree-lined Central Park and the luxury shop-filled Royal Promenade, creating unique areas for travelers to enjoy and explore. For adrenaline-packed adventure, Symphony also will have the 10-story slide Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea, along with The Perfect Storm waterpark and its trio of twisting, turning slides with ocean views.
That crazy Bionic Bar from Harmony of the Seas, where automated robot arms pull from a library of liquors to mix and serve your drink? It’s here as well. So are the ice-skating shows and outdoor aqua theater, though no word yet on whether they too will feature former Olympians.
Symphony will debut new food and beverage concepts adding to an already diverse lineup of more than 20 specialty and complimentary restaurants across the ship’s seven neighborhoods, including a new seafood restaurant called Hooked, a fast-casual Mexican concept called El Loco Fresh, and the Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade, where you can watch sports from around the world on 30 big-screen TVs.
On the entertainment side, there’s plenty to keep guest occupied, including an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience like no other, an Escape The Room themed experience called Puzzle Break, and big production shows like Hairspray and Flight, along with fan favorites like the FlowRider, rock walls, and ice skating. I think it’s safe to say that you’re never going to get bored while on Symphony.
“We’re excited to introduce Symphony of the Seas, our boldest composition yet, offering the best of Royal Caribbean with some new surprises for our guests to create a vacation that adventurers of all ages can enjoy together,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We set out to create a new level of vacation adventure and deliver the ultimate escape for families of all shapes and sizes. Symphony will introduce the most cutting-edge, customizable, and digitally-enhanced experiences in the Royal Caribbean fleet.”
Symphony of the Seas will set sail in April 2018 to kick off a summer season in the Mediterranean, calling on ports in Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy. Beginning November 24, 2018, the adventure-packed ship will make Miami, FL her year-round home, sailing 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages from PortMiami.
If you’re ready to experience the ultimate cruise ship, you can book your cruise here.