The thrill of electric go-cart racing at sea is coming to
North America next year on the Norwegian Bliss, which will take the concept
that debuted on the Norwegian Joy in Shanghai to another level.
The widely anticipated adoption of the amusement-park staple
on a ship sailing in the U.S. should give the Bliss something to brag about when
it sails from the Port of Seattle on its first Alaska voyage next June.
Andy Stuart, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said the Bliss'
track will be 40% larger than its predecessor.
"We think it's going to be even a little better than
what we've delivered so far on Joy," Stuart said.
At nearly 1,000 feet, the track will be the longest at sea
and will occupy the space that is claimed by a ropes course and the Plank on
the Norwegian Escape, the most recent delivery to the North American market.
The cars can be geared to advanced, intermediate or
beginning-level drivers. Stuart said that because the cars are electric, they
are also noiseless, but that a pair of speakers with racing sounds inside the
headrest provides audio for the driver.
The new ship will also have an outdoor laser tag course,
first offered on the Joy as well, that will be themed as an abandoned space
station, and a free-fall slide with a translucent loop that extends 11 feet
over the side of the ship.
The Norwegian Bliss: Thrills and frills
Barbecue and bar upgrades
Norwegian executives revealed many of the public areas of
the Bliss at a news conference at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where
Virtuoso is holding its annual Travel Week conference.
Virtuoso members heard firsthand not only about the track,
but about the dining and beverage options that will be installed on the Bliss,
several of them for the first time on any Norwegian ship.
The Bliss will get Norwegian's first try at a Texas
smokehouse-style venue, to be called Q, which will serve brisket, ribs,
chicken, sausage and more, freshly smoked over hickory, oak and pecan woods.
Q won't be decked out with stereotypical country-and-western
decor, but rather will sport an edgier, urban design along the lines of the
District Brewhouse on the Escape. Q will offer sides such as fresh-cheddar and
breadcrumb-crusted mac and cheese and baked sweet potatoes smothered in pecan
honey butter and cinnamon.
The restaurant will take the large space occupied by the
Supper Club on the Norwegian Escape. Pricing will be a la carte.
Another new flavor on the Bliss will be chocolate, the theme
of a Deck 6 a la carte sweets emporium that will feature an entry with an
enclosed oversized chocolate fountain gushing with liquid chocolate.
Called Coco's, it will sell handmade pralines, truffles,
crepes and other desserts paired with select teas and coffees.
Also in the coffee category, the Norwegian Bliss will also
have the brand's first full-service Starbucks as it sails weekly from Seattle
during the summer.
The upscale Mexican concept that was installed in drydock on
the Norwegian Dawn last summer as Los Lobos Cantina will be featured on the
Bliss, the first Breakaway-class ship to have one. It will be located on Deck 8
next to Cagney's, and feature indoor/outdoor seating.
In a tip to the changing of the guard in Norwegian's
corporate suites, the 24-hour casual pub named for former Norwegian CEO Kevin
Sheehan, who departed in 2015, will be called the Local on the Bliss, instead
At the same time, the circular Prime Meridian bar that sits
on Deck 8 between two complimentary dining rooms will be restyled as the A-List
Bar in tribute to Stuart, who has worked for the company since 1988.