Big news in Alaska cruises: Norwegian Cruise Line has announced plans for a new ship, the Norwegian Bliss, custom-built for cruising in the region and set to debut in 2018.
“Norwegian was the first cruise line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it’s only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location,” said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.
The third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss is designed with features and amenities especially for Alaska. Accommodating 4,000 guests, the ship will be constructed at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, and scheduled for delivery in spring 2018.
After a transatlantic cruise and a Panama Canal transit through the new locks, the ship will sail north along the West Coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season. Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will include calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising.
Marine life artist Wyland has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss. Known for his whale murals, marine life paintings and sculptures, Wyland has inspired generations to be passionate about the importance of marine life conservation, Norwegian said. The hull art design will be revealed later this month.
Additionally, Norwegian’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has entered into a 15-year agreement with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade the Pier 66 facilities. Plans call for expanding the guest check-in space by 300 percent to more than 150,000 square feet and adding a new VIP lounge with expansive views of Elliott Bay and two new elevated passenger boarding bridges.
More details on the ship’s accommodations, dining and onboard offerings will be shared in the coming months. The ship will be available for reservations in January 2017.