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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

Norwegian Bliss Set to Hybridize Escape and Joy

PHOTO: Rendering of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Bliss from above. (photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

When Norwegian Cruise Line announced the last batch of onboard experiences for the upcoming new Norwegian Bliss, it became clear the ship is going to have the fleet’s best of the best. Namely, the Bliss is set to incorporate favorite elements from both the Norwegian Escape and latest Norwegian Joy.

As the Norwegian Joy was dedicated exclusively to the Chinese cruise market, North Americans anticipated what from the ship might make its way on the Bliss headed for Alaska and the Caribbean. As it now turns out, the third Breakaway Plus-class ship—following sister-ships Escape and Joy, both of which I have personally sailed—will carryover quite a bit and even already improve on some.

Perhaps the most exciting feature to repeat from the Joy is the top deck go-kart racetrack, which will be even longer this time around and more sinuous.

From the looks of it, the entire footprint of the double-decker track has been elongated some, but even more exciting are the varied turns. Joy’s is a mostly symmetrical out-and-back layout whereas Bliss’ is sure to be more challenging.

It’s also a thrill to know that the ship will have Joy’s exterior laser tag course and Ocean Loops waterslide since I did not have the chance to try either new feature on our short preview cruise. One new attraction on the Chinese ship that will not make it to Bliss, however, is the indoor Galaxy Pavilion collection of bumper cars and virtual reality rides at the stern. In its place will be the ship’s spa thermal suite.

In fact, one thing that surprised about the Joy was how small its spa facility was without any sort of thalassotherapy pool, salt room, snow room or loungers. It would seem the Bliss will gladly make up for that.

What’s also interesting is that on the Escape the spa and thermal suite were positioned at the front of the ship but were displaced to the stern on the Joy to facilitate the ship series’ first observation lounges. Continuing those new scenic venues in a big way will be the Bliss with one exclusive to The Haven ship-within-a-ship as well as a massive public one below.

What is a private VIP Concierge Lounge on the Joy will be more than doubled in size on the Joy with panoramic windows stretching the forward third of the ship—accessible here to all guests.

Great to see unique just to the Bliss is a Starbucks as well as the new Coco’s a la carte dessert venue, which displaces Escape’s Le Bistro. Not to worry, though, because the signature French specialty restaurant will be relocated across from Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, where a noodle house is present on Joy. This also smartly puts the former teens facility and video arcade from here on Escape down with the rest of the kids club areas.

Also worth noting is that the previous supper club concept has changed a bit again on Bliss with the Texas smokehouse, Q, set to be there now with live country music and comfort food. This seems to put a greater emphasis on the cuisine and less of a focus on the entertainment element.

Besides a few other dining changes, the Bliss will feel very similar to the Escape along the rest of 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront al fresco boardwalk. For instance, The Cellars wine bar is now appropriately located adjacent to La Cucina Italian restaurant, and Los Lobos Mexican restaurant newly swaps out with Moderno Churrascaria Brazilian barbecue.

Thankfully, concerns over casino cigarette smoke will finally be addressed also with an entirely separate gaming room just for smokers to eliminate the proliferation of air pollution.

This post first appeared on TravelPulse.



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