OSLO: In preparation for a grand Alaskan cruise season during summer 2018, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. corporately unveiled the new Bell Street Cruise Terminal at Port of Seattle’s Pier 66 while sub-brand Norwegian Cruise Line laid the keel for its next Norwegian Bliss.
The construction milestone for the soon-to-be 167,800-ton, 4,000-guest vessel took place on May 24, 2017, at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The third Breakaway Plus-class ship is scheduled for delivery less than a year later in April 2018.
Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer, was on hand to place a ceremonial coin featuring the Bliss’ hull art as designed by Wyland.
“We are overjoyed to celebrate the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss, our sixteenth ship and sure to be our most innovative ship to date,” he said, via press release.
“We have seen overwhelming anticipation and excitement from our guests and travel partners for Norwegian Bliss, from her awe-inspiring custom-designed spaces like her observation lounges to her elegant suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, and we are all thrilled to see this magnificent ship begin to come to life with the craftsmanship, precision and cutting edge technology that MEYER WERFT consistently delivers.”
The Norwegian Bliss will be the 12th Norwegian Cruise Line ship built by Meyer Werft.
“We are very happy to celebrate the start of the block assembly for another newbuild with Norwegian Cruise Line. This ship will be another milestone in our collaboration to create the most efficient and innovative cruise ships,” said Tim Meyer, Managing Director of MEYER WERFT, in a press release.
Besides Alaska, the ship will sail to the Eastern Caribbean for its first winter season from Miami, Florida. Its southern ports of call will include St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.
The Bliss will depart every week from the newly renovated Pier 66 in Seattle, Washington during the summer season, cruising to Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway in Alaska and Victoria in British Columbia.
Parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and the Port of Seattle just opened the expanded terminal facility the day before Bliss’ launch (on May 23, 2017). The new design features three times the original square footage to specifically accommodate the upcoming Norwegian Bliss’ greater capacity as the largest cruise ship on the west coast.
In preparation, an estimated $30 million worth of enhancements were made in agreement between Norwegian and the Port of Seattle to improve operations and the guest experience. Other port improvements include an elevated passenger boarding bridge and a new 140-foot gangway.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to have had the opportunity to work with our partners at the Port of Seattle to enhance the guest experience at the Bell Street Cruise Terminal,” said Howard Sherman, executive vice-president of Onboard Revenue and Destination Development for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., in a press release.