Norwegian Bliss Launches Month-Long Inaugural Celebrations

Norwegian Bliss in Ponta Delgada Azores. (Photo by Dave Jones)

Norwegian Bliss has begun her month-long inaugural celebration in the US.

Now on her way to Miami, the sixteenth and newest vessel in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet arrived in New York City on Thursday, May 3. The ship will then call in Los Angeles and Seattle, where her christening will take place on May 30.

The two-day Norwegian Bliss inaugural preview in New York included brand partners, media, and industry representatives. The ship’s godfather, nationally-syndicated radio personality Elvis Duran, was on hand, as well. Guests enjoyed a performance of the line’s original musical theatre show, ¡HAVANA!.

A cocktail reception on board featured an appearance by Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio. The two are original members of The Four Seasons, the group that inspired the Tony award-winning musical Jersey Boys. The evening ended with the Norwegian Bliss premier of Jersey Boys in Bliss Theater.

“Norwegian has been committed to providing our guests with the finest entertainment at sea and we have elevated this commitment by introducing Jersey Boys and ¡HAVANA! onboard Norwegian Bliss,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “It has been such an honour to have icons in the music and theatre world partner with and join us on this inaugural tour.”

Norwegian Bliss will sail a preview cruise out of PortMiami from May 8 to 10. Special guests include the hull artist, Wyland, the godfather, Duran, as well as television personalities.

After the Miami cruise, Norwegian Bliss will cross the Panama Canal, making history as the largest cruise ship to ever do so. Preview events will take place in Los Angeles from May 25 to 27. The ship will then travel to Seattle. After the christening on May 30, Norwegian Bliss will sail a three-day exhibition cruise.

Norwegian Bliss will begin a series of seven-day Alaska cruises June 2. Calls include Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. For the fall/winter season, Norwegian Bliss will sail to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. She’ll also sail to the Eastern Caribbean from Miami.

In 2019, Norwegian Bliss will return to New York City. From there, she’ll sail seven-day voyages to the Bahamas and Florida, as well as the southern and western Caribbean.

The Norwegian Bliss: Big race track, big milkshakes

Travel Weekly’s Johanna Jainchill (foreground) driving a go-kart on the Norwegian Bliss.NEW YORK — The Norwegian Bliss’ arrival here on May 3 marked the U.S. debut of the largest racetrack at sea and the Tony award-winning Broadway Show “Jersey Boys” on a cruise ship.

Elvis Duran, the morning radio show host who is the ship’s godfather, hosted his May 4 show from the Bliss and along with his entourage, spent the weekend taking full advantage of all the ship had to offer. Duran was spotted racing around the go-kart track; eating barbecue at Q, the line’s new Texas smokehouse; and dining at Los Lobos, the second outpost of Norwegian’s upscale Mexican restaurant.

Brisket and sides at the Q Texas Smokehouse. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill
Brisket and sides at the Q Texas Smokehouse. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

“This is a whole new time for cruising,” Duran told the media, adding that it’s not about “blue hairs” and “buffets” anymore. He gave a specific shout-out to the ship’s crew: “The people who work here are the magic of the Norwegian Bliss. ”

Also onboard was Franki Valli, whose story is portrayed in “Jersey Boys.” He caught the Bliss’ production of the musical, featuring hits by Valli’s 1960s-era band, The Four Seasons. They include “December 1963 (Oh What a Night),” “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Working My Way Back to You.”

The two-level go-kart racetrack occupies the top aft of the ship. The track made its debut for Norwegian on the China-based Norwegian Joy, so this iteration is a first for the North American cruise market and the largest at sea, about 40% bigger than the Joy’s. Cruisers here were excited about the $7 ride, on which up to ten electric go-karts can race each other day and night. Two-person cars allow young children to ride with someone else.

Other firsts on Norwegian’s 16th ship is Coco’s, an a la carte dessert venue with several types of house-made chocolates, gelato and sundaes. Coco’s serves Instagram-worthy Mad Milk Shakes, which are definitely sized for sharing. The $14.99 Snickers Bar has pieces of its namesake candy bar, chocolate gelato, marshmallow and whipped cream and is garnished with a jumbo rainbow lollipop.

At Coco's, two Mad Milk Shakes: the Snickers Bar and Cookies 'N Cream. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill
At Coco’s, two Mad Milk Shakes: the Snickers Bar and Cookies ‘N Cream. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

The Bliss also brought to the U.S. the open-air laser tag course that debuted on the Joy, and Norwegian’s first Starbucks cafe, in a nod to its Seattle homeport.

The 4,000-passenger, 167,800-gross-ton Bliss has the line’s largest Haven area, which has 50 luxury suites within the Haven complex and another 30 outside which offer access to its facilities and perks, such as a private restaurant, bar, concierge, lounge,and the two-story Haven Courtyard with a retractable roof over a pool, two whirlpools and a sundeck.

The Bliss’ Haven area has a two-story Horizon Lounge with panoramic views, designed with Alaska sailings in mind.

Radio star Elvis Duran named Norwegian Bliss godfather

Norwegian Bliss godfather Elvis Duran speaking at an event Wednesday. Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart looks on. Photo Credit: Rebecca TobinNEW YORK — Radio personality Elvis Duran, who hosts the popular “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,” will be the godfather of the upcoming Norwegian Bliss.

Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Andy Stuart presented Duran to a group of trade partners and media at an event here.

Duran said it was an honour to be named the ship’s godfather. “We are so excited to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line,” he said.

Duran’s syndicated show is broadcast on nearly 80 stations, including top 40 station Z100 in New York, where the Elvis Duran team is based. The show also is available digitally on IHeartRadio, and it reaches more than 10 million listeners a month, Norwegian said.

“Over the next year-and-a-half at least, we’ve made a pledge to our listeners to include them in every aspect of our exploration of the Norwegian Bliss, inviting them to be a part of it,” Duran said.

The Norwegian Bliss, which will spend its summers sailing Alaska cruises from Seattle, enters service in April.

Andy Stuart on naming the Norwegian Bliss’ godfather