Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port

Norwegian Joy Welcomed to New Shanghai Home Port
PHOTO: Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Joy docked in Bremerhaven, Germany. (photo by Jason Leppert)
 

Following maiden calls in Singapore, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Joy, was welcomed to its new home port of Shanghai, China.

The Norwegian Joy was engineered in Germany and designed specifically for the Chinese market.

During a preview voyage that departed from Shanghai June 10, the new ship welcomed more than 1,700 VIP members and guests of the Alibaba Group for a four-day preview cruise.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s preview voyage aboard the Norwegian Joy called on the Japanese port of Kochi before returning to Shanghai, and the ship’s christening ceremony will take place on June 27 with its Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop,’ Wang Leehom.

Year-round voyages on Norwegian Joy from Shanghai begin June 28, with sailings from Tianjin from August 26 to September 15. The vessel was designed with several major attractions, including the first race track at sea, virtual reality experiences, plus 28 local and international dining options.

“Norwegian Cruise Line is extremely proud to welcome the newest addition to our fleet, Norwegian Joy, to her home port of Shanghai, China,” NCLH China president David Herrera said in a statement.

“Norwegian Joy’s arrival demonstrates our commitment to the Chinese cruise market.  She was custom-built with Chinese cruise guests in mind.”

The Norwegian Joy will cater to the modern Chinese family, with amenities that include staterooms designed for multi-generational families, Las Vegas-style performances and a variety of luxury shopping options.

The new features, services and amenities found on the Norwegian Joy will help Norwegian Cruise Line make a massive impact in the Chinese market.

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Norwegian’s New Chinese-Bound Ship Offers Clues for America

Norwegian's New Chinese-Bound Ship Offers Clues for America

PHOTO: Norwegian Joy floated out at the Meyer Werft shipyard. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
 

Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Joy may be slated for the Chinese market, but it also provides hints for what the North American market can expect once the Norwegian Bliss launches.

The Joy will be officially launched on April 27, 2017 in Bremerhaven, Germany, and I will be there to cover a quick preview of the ship and its delivery ceremony.

Before then, it has already emerged outside of the enclosed Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg for a better look.

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On March 4, 2017, the 168,800-ton, 3,850-guest Breakaway Plus-class ship exited building dock II where its hull art (by Chinese artist Tan Ping) could be seen in all of its glory for the first time.

Now tied up at the finishing dock, the ship will soon complete construction that first began in September 2015. She follows the Norwegian Escape as the second in the larger Breakaway Plus series, with the Norwegian Bliss scheduled to set sail behind as the third in June 2018. (That ship is initially being built now.)

Here’s what’s different from Escape: The Joy has a midship go-kart racing track in place of a ropes course, a single longer meandering free-fall waterslide and multi-decker observation lounges above the bow.

We already know that the Bliss will also feature such expansive scenic venues to match, but perusing its currently revealed deck plans neither yet reveals any watersides nor any ropes and racing courses.

Still, as the Bliss already matches the Joy so closely, it makes sense that other attractions will follow suit.

A racetrack would work well in Alaska, where the ship will first deploy, and waterslides would fit in nicely in the Caribbean, where the ship will head in the winter—both are features I plan to capture and share aboard the Joy next month.

After all, the Joy is custom-designed for China and home ports like Shanghai and Beijing, but that doesn’t mean some of its venues would not also be perfect in America—most notably the sinuous double-decker racing course which measures in at 833 feet long. The experience is anticipated to last around five minutes.

Otherwise, the Bliss will sport the wildlife artwork of Wyland as the biggest exterior change that is expected from the now floated-out Joy. Other features unique to the Joy, at least for now, will be a laser tag course, hovercraft bumper cars and simulator rides, plus interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion.

Speaking of such thrills, Joy unexpectedly includes a singular free-fall waterslide: Instead of the two racing free-falls on the Escape, the new ship features just one that traverses a longer figure-eight cantilevered far over the side of the ship with translucent tube sections.

Here’s hoping that too makes its way on the Bliss.

Until that time when more is unveiled about the Bliss, David J. Herrera, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China President had this to say about Joy: “We are thrilled that Norwegian Joy is now one step closer to delivery and one step closer to delivering on our promise to create a First Class at Sea experience for our Chinese guests.”

Ovation of the Seas joins Royal Caribbean’s fleet following delivery ceremony

Richard Fain and Bernard Meyer
There is a new Royal Caribbean ship officially in the fleet, as of today.

Royal Caribbean took delivery of its 24th cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, in a ceremony held today in Bremerhaven, Germany.  Ovation of the Seas is the third Quantum-class ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.

Royal Caribbean Chairman Richard Fain took delivery of Ovation of the Seas from Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer at the official handover ceremony.

“Ovation of the Seas is magnificent,” said Richard. “Our thanks to the Meyer Werft team for their ongoing partnership in designing and building awe-inspiring ships with us.”

“It’s wonderful to welcome Ovation of the Seas to the Royal Caribbean family of ships,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We have once again introduced yet another one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships and the very first that has been built for the China market – a market we continue to demonstrate our commitment to expanding. Quantum Class has redefined the status quo, and we are excited for our guests in China and Australia to enjoy their extraordinary vacations onboard this stunner.”

Ovation of the Seas will now sail to Southampton, U.K., where the ship will offer a series of short getaways before she sets sail on her 52-night “Global Odyssey” culminating in the arrival to her homeport in Tianjin, China.

She will begin her first homeport sailing season in China from Tianjin in June 2016. Ovation, together with Quantum of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, will make up the largest fleet of any cruise line sailing in China.