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.

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Norwegian Jade July 2017 Review


Norwegian Jade in Bergen Norway. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

This was our third cruise on the Norwegian Jade, but the first since the estimated $40 million refurbishment; needless to say I was looking forward to see how much of the original Pride of Hawaii was left.

In the main Atrium the roof used to have very large plastic flowers, and have now been replaced with a curving lighting display which changes colours to create a bold lighting display, which takes some time to get used to. The surrounding orange roof tiles have been replaced by a plain white tile, which reflects the new colours from the lights. The red furniture and wooden floor have also gone, and have been replaced with light blue and gray seating with marble tiled flooring. The Java Coffee and cake bar has been replaced by the Atrium Cafe and Bar, still offering cookies and handmade chocolates at $1.50 per one. At centre stage is still the grand piano where musicians play; we had onboard a talented Guitarist called Jumari, who could play a wide range of music from Rock to the Blues. Jumari also had a night on the Stardust Theatre with a Neil Diamond tribute; He filled the theatre as he fills the Atrium. The bar staff in the Atrium are as ever attentive and soon learn your tipple of choice and your name.

 

Norwegian Jade’s New Atrium, Photo Credit Dave Jones

Surrounding the Atrium (deck 8) is now the O’Sheehans Neighbourhood Bar and Grill; replacing the Blue Lagoon, offering a good selection from the bar and a simple menu, and some extra seating for the musicians playing in the Atrium. Around the base of the Atrium you still have the Guest Services, Onboard Credit Desk, Restaurant Reservations, Shore Excursions Desk, and the CruiseNext Desk; all have had a subtle make over’s. Overall a nice relaxing area, offering some great entertainment and a area to meet and chat.

The Main Pool area has had a major refurbishment. Gone are those plastic palm tree lights, and the large slide, it still contains two large pools and 4 Jacuzzi’s. The whole decking area has been renewed with decking replacing the green lino, and the pool tiling is now a vivid blue, compared to the pale green before. Topsiders Bar and Grill is still there offer the usual hotdogs and burgers, and cocktails. Above the pool area on deck 13 is the Pit Stop themed bar offering cool beer and iced cocktails, a great place to cool off. Overall the area looks a lot larger, and cleaner; it is a great improvement.

Norwegian Jade New Pool Deck Space, Photo Credit Dave Jones.

Complimentary Dining or NCL’s branded ‘Freestyle Dining’ hasn’t changed that much, except for the addition of O’Sheehans. The Grand Pacific main restaurant has had its bright and load carpet changed and the large Hawaiian Statue disappeared. The menu hasn’t changed, and you still need a minimum of an hour to enjoy your meal. Jasmine and Alizar restaurants are the same as they were, with the possibility of having a lick of paint. The menu is the same as in the Grand Pacific, and still gets very busy. The Garden Cafe has had a major change, the tables and chairs are now brown or green, and the carpet has been toned down, gone have the large bright coloured floral flooring and replaced by two toned gray square lines. This has made the whole area look clean and very modern.

Speciality Dining or dining that has an extra charge, offers unique individual experience. There are six restaurants offering a 5 star service, and a high quality of food; enough to satisfy all tastes.

Norwegian Jades Cagney’s SteakHouse Photo Credit Dave Jones.

  • ·         Cagney’s is Norwegians signature steakhouse offering a large range of steaks, chicken and fish.
  • ·         La Cucina is Jades Italian offing and I can vouch for the pasta dishes they send out.
  • ·         Le Bistro is set in a typical French setting, with a French Polynesian decor; little tip for enjoying your meal, don’t eat for 5 hours before your reservation, as the portions are huge.
  • ·         The Sushi bar offers exactly what it says; raw fish in rice, as you can tell I’m not a fan.
  • ·         Teppanyaki is a sort of a diner show, where the chef cooks your choice of food in front of you. The food tastes amazing, but after you’ve been there a few times, you just want your food served. Teppanyaki is worth a visit for good food and a bit of fun.
  • ·         Churrascara Modderno is a Brazilian meat feast from all cuts of steak, Lamb, Chicken, Pork, sausages and even Pineapple. Modderno is my personal favourite, and the meat just keeps coming for as long as you want.

The Norwegians Jade has one main theatre over two decks called ‘StarDust Theatre’. I first went on the Jade in 2011 and the show have not changed that much, it holds a cheesy first night show, an illusionist, a Russian acrobatic display, and a juggler who was very good and funny. A Beatles tribute band played two shows and were good, shame John Lennon came from Glasgow not Liverpool. There was also a unique string quartet that played, danced and had a Python sense of humour. For once bingo tickets or lottery tickets weren’t push down our necks. We watched the shows from the private Haven balcony, I don’t think we had the best views, and saw the Magician hidden secretes, and anything that was going on in the wings.

Norwegian Jade’s Stardust Theater Photo Credit Dave Jones

We stayed in room 14010 a two bed Haven Villa, we chose Haven because it was only a few hundred pounds more than booking two balcony cabins, to accommodate or family and is spread over two decks 14 and 15; both of which you need a keycard to gain entrance. So what do you get, priority boarding, and tendering. A butler (which we don’t know what to do with), a room stewardess to keep the rooms clean, and a Concierge who can book excursions and Speciality dining bookings, and is the main first contact to deal with any complaints. Our room had two bedrooms, one a sofa bed, but both had an personal bathroom; the main bedroom had his and her basins, large shower, separate WC, and a bath with a picture window. In both room there are plenty of wardrobe space, and a flat screen TV and DVD player. The living area has a sofa bed, coffee table, dinner table with four chairs, and patio doors leading out to a large balcony with table and chairs. There are five air conditioning units spread around, offing personal comfort in all areas.

Norwegian Jade’s Haven Suite Master Bed. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

We had a few problems with a large vibration below the room which was sorted out, and the water from the shower and taps being having no cold water, and hot enough to boil lobsters; which a engineer came and sorted it out within three minutes, after a very large rant. The room was more than large enough for us, and the complementary snacks at 3pm were a bonus. The Haven also has a smallish pool, large Jacuzzi and sun beds all under a retractable roof. Above the pool area on deck 15 is a large sun deck with sun lounges and four large, four poster sun beds.

Norwegian Jade’s Haven Court Yard with Pool and Jacuzzi. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

Norwegian Jade’s Haven Court Yard with Pool and Jacuzzi. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

On the pool deck there is an area for having meals delivered from Cagney’s, and a waiter for getting you your favourite drink from the bar. There is also a table with a coffee and tea station with various cookies and confectionary to help yourself with. In my point of view the Haven was worth the extra money paid, but all options should be weighed before choosing. If you travel with a large family it is worth looking into, as it might save you a few pounds.

Norwegian Jade has 15 bars and lounges, all offer different entertainment options, from Musicians, comedians, bingo, quizzes to party nights and Mr and Mrs Shows. We enjoyed the Musicians in the Atrium and spent a bit of time in the ‘Mixers Martini & Cocktail bar’ and ‘The Bliss Lounge’. There are other options from the ‘Spinnaker Bar’ to a ‘Cigar Lounge’ to explore. A lot of the bars and lounges have been refurbished to a tastefully finish, the waiters and waitress are constantly hovering around to keep your drinks topped up.

The last topic is shopping, there is no Norwegian logo shops; so don’t expect to pick up any Jade souvenirs’. There are plenty of watches, and jewellery display cases, and quite a few designer clothing racks. You can also pick up your duty free goods like Cigarettes, Cigars, Booze and perfumes. I do have my doubts about the cost of the jewellery, and will be investigating a real example about a diamond ring, with various prices; so keep an eye on my blog for the results.

Norwegian Jade’s Gift Shop. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

There is a Spa and Fitness centre offering the usual treadmills, bicycles, weights and stretching mats. The thermal suite offers a Thalasso pool, various steam rooms and saunas. A strange thing was the Jacuzzi’s are situated in the Male and Female and are not a mixed Jacuzzi, as are the steam rooms! Our son who has a grade 0 haircut all over, went to the spa to find out how much it was to get his grade one cut before he goes back to work, he was told it would cost $95, for basically 5 minutes max of a hair dressers time, work that one out.

Norwegian Jades Fitness Center. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

Over all the Norwegian Jade offers a great cruise option, with some great value itineraries; her refurbishment has given Jade a fresh new look, I still think there are a few touch ups still going on, but overall she is looking good. Jade is only 38 meters wide (Beam) and 294 meters long, so can be classed as a small but very friendly ship, able to enter the smaller ports, and the need to tender is a lot less than say the Breakaway class. Jade has a passenger to crew ratio of 3 passengers to 1.3 crew, which is a good ratio, and means the crew will remember your name and favourite tipple. The crew offer excellent professionalism, with a friendliness that can’t be matched. Will I book another cruise on the Norwegian Jade, with no hesitation, we have met a wide range of new friends from all over the world who helped make the cruise a very memorable one.

To View any Photos or 360 Images please visit  https://flic.kr/s/aHsm1LS4LV or click the photo.

Norwegian Bliss’ keel laying ceremony held at MEYER WERFT in germany

Meyer Werft Press Release 

First block placed in the building hall for Norwegian Bliss, signifying the start of major construction for first ever custom-built ship for the ultimate Alaska cruising experience

Norwegian Cruise Line and MEYER WERFT today celebrated the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss at the yard’s state of the art facility in Papenburg, Germany. During the ceremony, the first of 90 blocks that will comprise the 167,800 gross ton vessel was lifted into the covered building hall, officially marking the start of the ship’s assembly. Norwegian Bliss is due for delivery in April 2018 and will be the first cruise ship custom built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience.

Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line’s president and chief executive officer, was present in the hall and laid the traditional “lucky coin”, etched with the outline of the ship’s signature hull designed by wildlife artist Wyland, before the first block was lowered into place.

“We are overjoyed to celebrate the keel laying of Norwegian Bliss, our sixteenth ship and sure to be our most innovative ship to date,” Stuart said. “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 third ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class, Norwegian Bliss will accommodate 4,000 guests and will be the 12th ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet to be built by MEYER WERFT.

“We are very happy to celebrate the start of the block assembly for another new build with Norwegian Cruise Line. This ship will be another milestone in our collaboration to create most efficient and innovative cruise ships”, said Tim Meyer, Managing Director of MEYER WERFT.

During her inaugural summer 2018 season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from the recently expanded Pier 66 Cruise Terminal in Seattle, offering guests the premier way to see America’s last frontier, while also providing all of the innovative features, entertainment, signature dining and onboard experiences that Norwegian Cruise Line is known for around the globe. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia, along with scenic glacier cruising. Norwegian Bliss will sail her inaugural Winter season beginning in November 2018, sailing seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from PortMiami, featuring calls in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Bliss’ curated design will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to “Imagine Bliss” and create their ideal experience at sea, with a wide variety of accommodations including luxurious suites in The Haven by Norwegian®, Studio staterooms for solo travelers with virtual ocean views, and new connecting staterooms ideal for large groups and families traveling together. Norwegian Bliss will also feature two observation lounges, including one exclusive to guests of The Haven®, perfect for whale watching in Alaska or taking in sunsets in the Caribbean.

Norwegian Cruise Line will take its award-winning entertainment programming to the next level aboard Norwegian Bliss, bringing the best of Broadway to sea, with the 2006 Tony Award® winner for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys, and a completely new and original show created by Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, headlining on the ship’s main stage, the Bliss Theater. Norwegian Bliss will also feature a new theatrical cocktail hour experience, Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical. Alibi, the ship’s reimagined comedy club and nightlife venue will feature two comedy performances six nights a week. Rock and roll will take center stage at The Cavern Club, an outpost of the legendary Liverpool club where the Beatles’ performed frequently in the 1960s, with nightly live performances and a Beatles cover band singing hits like “Penny Lane,” “Yellow Submarine,” and more.

Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ships’ hulls, Norwegian Cruise Line has commissioned Wyland, one of the world’s premier marine life artists, to design the hull art for Norwegian Bliss; the artwork will feature images of humpback whales, found in every ocean around the world. The ship’s hull will serve as a large canvas to showcase the importance of conservation and ocean preservation.