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!
Who’s Ready To Set Sail On A 245-Day Luxury Cruise Around The World?
When MSC Cruises announced their 119 day “World Cruise” last year, we didn’t think it could get any better. After all, this amazing cruise boasted an itinerary of 49 destinations across 32 countries spanning six continents. Talk about a bucket list trip!
But no so fast, said Viking Cruises, who recently introduced their Ultimate World Cruise, an insane cruise around the world that spans 245 days, 6 continents, 59 countries and 113 ports, with 22 port overnights. As the name suggests, it’s the ultimate way to see the world, and Viking’s luxury accommodations ensure that you do it in style.
The eight-month voyage kicks off in London on August 31th, 2019 on Viking Sun, with guests visiting dozens of legendary cities, charming ports and idyllic islands along the way as they circumnavigation of the globe. And unlike other cruises where excursions cost extra, they are included in the fare, allowing you to take part in 113 guided tours of ports such as Reykjavik, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Bora Bora, Sydney, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Algiers and immerse themselves in the world’s cultures.
Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking Cruises – For more than 20 years, we have been offering guests the most culturally immersive journeys available in the industry and we are pleased to announce the most extensive itinerary in our history. Our World Cruises offer guests the rare opportunity to unpack once and explore dozens of the best destinations on earth — at a value that is unprecedented in the travel industry.
For those days when you’re not visiting a port, you can enjoy world-class amenities aboard the Viking Sun. The award-winning vessel offers spacious rooms, each with its own veranda, king-size bed, spacious bathroom, and flat-screen TV, as well as eight restaurants, multiple pools, spa, theater, and an Explorer’s Lounge serving craft beer and Scandinavian fare.
So how much will this once-in-a-lifetime cruise set you back? Tickets for the Ultimate World Cruise start at $92,990 per person. But keep in mind that that price includes Business Class international air, transfers to/from the ship, all gratuities and fees, three complimentary visa services, free luggage shipping services for embarkation and Viking’s Silver Spirits beverage package, along with complimentary shore excursions in each port and free unlimited Wi-Fi.
If that’s too rich for your blood, Viking offers the option of two shorter segments – The Viking World Treasures ($47,995) is a 127-day sailing from London to Los Angeles that visits 33 countries and 61 ports, while the Viking World Wonders ($45,995) is a 119-day journey from Los Angeles to London that visits 29 countries and 55 ports.
All in all, this is the ultimate cruise for someone that has a serious case of wanderlust and wants to check off a bunch of countries off of their bucket list.
So what do you say, who’s ready to set sail on Viking Cruises’ Ultimate World Cruise?
Photo credit: Viking Cruises
Who’s Ready To Set Sail On The Largest Cruise Ship In The World?
Back in October, we told you about Symphony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship that would hold the distinction as the largest cruise ship in the world.
Now, after three years of construction, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas was recently delivered, and it couldn’t be any more enormous, standing 18-decks-high and weighing in at 228,081 tons. It’s the ultimate over-the-top cruise experience.
“It is a proud and exhilarating moment to welcome a new member to the family. Symphony will take family vacationing to an all new level with energy and options never before found in one place,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley said during the ship’s delivery ceremony in France.
Symphony of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class of vessels, which are more than 30% larger than the next largest cruise ships under them. Symphony is about 1,188 feet long and has 2,774 cabins. It will hold 6,680 passengers. It’s basically the Titanic of today. I’m talking size, not tragedy here. The Titanic would be envious of this ship.
Passengers on the Symphony can look forward to things like laser tag, a new seafood concept, a live performance of the Broadway show Hairspray, a 10-story waterslide that spirals down the rear of the ship, numerous pools, lounges, bars, restaurants and much more. There’s also an ice-skating rink, two rock climbing walls, a basketball court, and seven “neighborhoods” with shops, bars (one with robot bartenders), and more.
If that’s not enough, there’s also the Ultimate Family Suite, which RC is billing as “the most spectacular family suite on land or sea.” This two-story family suite is a massive 1,346 square feet, and it’s chock full of family-friendly features, including a slide connecting the children’s room on the second level to the main living area below. Now that’s freaking cool.
As you can see, there’s something for everyone on Symphony, and you’ll likely need all week just to explore every nook and cranny of this mega ship.
The Symphony of the Seas began its first real voyage with passengers on March 31, sailing the Mediterranean before heading to Miami. I don’t know about you, but I think I know where I’m going on my next vacation. Who’s with me?
Photo credit: SBW-Photo
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