Agents enthused about Norwegian Bliss

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The Haven is one of agents’ favorite features on Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Pictured, a rendering of The Haven’s restaurant on Norwegian Bliss.

LAS VEGAS — Agents praised Norwegian Cruise Line’s history of innovation after seeing the new features planned for the Norwegian Bliss, unveiled at Virtuoso Travel Week here.

Among the Bliss’ attractions are a go-cart course longer than the one that first debuted aboard the Norwegian Joy, an enclosed water slide that projects riders out over the side of the ship and an outdoor laser-tag course.

It will feature some new restaurants — like upscale barbecue eatery Q and a sweets emporium dedicated to chocolate called Coco — as well as some old favorites like Cagney’s.

Andy Stuart, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, said the mix of new and old is all about balance.

“We’re trying to bring a lot of new innovations, things our guests have never seen, and combine them with the things our guests absolutely love,” he said.

The agents in attendance for Norwegian’s announcement took notice of that, and said the cruise line has always been a leader in innovation.

“The Bliss just kind of ups the entertainment part. Norwegian Cruise Line has always been really excellent, and really the best, on their entertainment — that shines for them,” said Nancy K. Yale, president of Cruise and World Travel in Fairfield, Conn.

She said the go-carts in particular are a feature that will attract all ages, and called them an “interesting concept.”

John Maguire, CEO and president of Morristown, N.J.-based CruiseDirect.com, also pointed to the innovative features on the Bliss as a highlight.

“They’re always first in innovation,” Maguire said of Norwegian. “They’re always out there doing things other people aren’t doing.”

Lea Nielsen, CruiseDirect.com’s vice president of sales, said she was excited about the dining venues, especially the new additions.

According to Stuart, The Haven on the Bliss will be the largest ever built, something Virtuoso agents will find attractive. The Haven features the line’s largest and most well-appointed accommodations and exclusive venues for guests staying there.

Yale called The Haven “the thing I like most” about Norwegian Cruise Line ships.

“The Haven is an upscale, ship-within-a-ship, and the service and everything up there is as good as any of the luxury cruise lines. It is great for family vacations and multigenerational groups.”

In addition to showing agents renderings of the Bliss and its features, Norwegian also enabled them to experience it live using virtual reality. They could don headsets and virtually ride a go-cart or slide down the water slide, among other experiences.

Great Stirrup Cay to close for two months


Great Stirrup Cay will have villas in its exclusive Lagoon Retreat area.

Norwegian Cruise Line is closing Great Stirrup Cay to guests for about two months so it can work on improvements scheduled to debut next year.
The line’s private island in the Bahamas will be unavailable from Aug. 25 to Oct. 20, spokeswoman Vanessa Picariello said.
Closing Great Stirrup Cay mainly impacts short cruise itineraries on the Norwegian Sky, which will visit Nassau and Grand Bahama during that time.
Norwegian plans a major overhaul at Great Stirrup Cay that includes $1 million on new landscaping; the creation of 100,000 square feet of new pathways, including a new boardwalk along the beach; a 50% increase in dining capacity; the addition of zip lines; and a Lagoon Retreat area with villas for rent for its high-end guests staying in Haven and Suite accommodations.
The changes, included in the $400 million Norwegian Edge initiative, are mostly expected to be complete by spring 2017.