Major cruise lines continued to roll out plans for new cruise ships this week. Here’s the latest.
Norwegian Cruise Line announced plans for a new ship, the Norwegian Bliss, custom-built for Alaska cruises and set to debut in 2018.
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, with delivery scheduled for spring 2018.
The ship will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle, calling at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian’s parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, has also 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.
Also this week Royal Caribbean International announced plans for new “Icon” class cruise ships, which will be powered by environmentally-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cells. The ships are slated to be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024, with no word yet on design elements. In the meantime, Royal Caribbean will begin testing full cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, with progressively larger fuel cell projects to roll out on new Quantum-class vessels being built over the next several years.
Icon is the first new ship class announced by Royal Caribbean since Celebrity Cruises' new Edge class, which debuts in 2018. The company is also expanding its fleet with new Oasis- and Quantum-class ships.
One of those Oasis-class ships, the Harmony of the Seas, narrowed its search for a godmother to three finalists this week. Royal Caribbean is looking for a South Florida-based educator who “is inspiring the next generation to dream big, think differently, and challenge the status quo.”
The three finalists are Brittany Affolter, manager, teacher leadership development, Teach for America Miami-Dade; Katherine O'Fallon, magnet coordinator, New River Middle School; and Anike Sakariyawo, physical science teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School. The winner will be announced October 24 and will participate in the ship’s naming ceremony on November 10.
Finally, the American Queen Steamboat Company has opened reservations on its new, all-suite American Duchess. That ship will set sail in 2017 on the Mississippi River, and itineraries are now available for booking.
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