Norwegian Bliss completed yet another milestone, as she makes her way to her home port of Seattle, becoming the largest passenger ship to transit the Panama Canal since the completion of the canal’s expansion project in 2016.
As the newest and largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship at over 168,000 gross tons and a capacity of 4,004, double occupancy, she passed through the new set of locks, on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides. The new locks were constructed as part of the biggest enhancement project since the canal’s opening in 1914. Norwegian Bliss cruised through the canal, on her way to Los Angeles, California, and will complete her first Panama Canal cruise on Friday, May 25.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of Norwegian Bliss in Bremerhaven, Germany on April 19, 2018, after which she began her inaugural tour. Her exhibition commenced with a preview event for the European market, before she embarked on her transatlantic voyage on April 21. Upon her arrival to the U.S., preview events took place in New York City (May 4-6) and Miami (May 8-10), with upcoming events to take place in Los Angeles (May 25-27), and Seattle where she will celebrate her official christening (May 30-June 2).
“We are very proud to showcase our newest ship and celebrate one more exciting milestone with Norwegian Bliss as the largest passenger ship to transit the new Panama Canal,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.” We are excited for this sixteenth ship in our young and modern fleet to begin welcoming guests in her home port of Seattle and provide them with the outstanding service, dining, entertainment and amenities for which we are recognized.”
Following her U.S debut in New York City, Norwegian Bliss made an appearance in Miami for a two-day inaugural preview cruise from May 8-10 with brand partners, key media and industry representatives on board. Among the guests were Norwegian Bliss’ Godfather, Elvis Duran and members of the cast from the Z100 morning show. Also present was renowned marine life artist, Wyland, who designed the ship’s hull art, entitled “Cruising with the Whales,” and who saw his finished work for the first time since the unveiling in January when he visited the Meyer Werft shipyard. The engaging and beautiful art prominently features a stunning image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centerpiece of the design, signifying the beauty of Alaska and the importance of the sustainability and conservation of our oceans.
Guy Harvey, fellow marine life artist and creator of the hull design for Norwegian Escape, sister ship to Norwegian Bliss, made a surprise appearance in Miami, and along with Wyland treated guests to a live painting and discussion on the importance of protecting the world’s oceans and its wildlife.
One of most thrilling features of Norwegian Bliss is the 1,000-foot, open-air race track – the largest at sea. Alex Vega, Miami-based celebrity car guru from Discovery Channel’s reality television show, “The Auto Firm with Alex Vega”, delivered two fully customized electric go-karts on May 8, prior to the ship’s departure. One sporting a metallic royal blue and the other in cherry red, both go-karts were outfitted with leather seats and complementing stitching details as well as sleek design elements, making the race at sea even more exhilarating.
Norwegian Bliss will arrive in Los Angeles for a preview event on May 25 before making her voyage to Seattle.
Starting June 2, Norwegian Bliss will cruise seven-day voyages to Alaska from Seattle with featured calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. She will then cruise select voyages to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles and for her fall/winter season, she will sail to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami. In 2019, she will return to New York City and sail seven-day voyages to the Bahamas and Florida, the Southern and Western Caribbean.
Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line