It isn’t the first time a Norwegian Cruise Line ship has added a go-kart track to its amenities, but the one on board the new Florida-bound Norwegian Bliss will be the biggest.
It was among several features on the ship due in 2018 that were revealed by the line at an event in Las Vegas on Sunday including a laser-tag course, a high-end barbecue venue and a water slide that sends riders out over the ocean.
The centerpiece, though, is the top-deck track that lets riders scoot along at up to 50kph on electric vehicles around 15 turns on two levels on nearly 300 metres of track.
Images for the 4000-passenger, 167,800-ton Norwegian Bliss, a Breakaway Plus class ship under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. It’s slated for delivery in 2018.
“It’s 40 per cent longer than the track on Joy, and we just had the opportunity to refine it a little bit,” said Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Andy Stuart. “With these electric cars that are very fast but run silent, it’s been a great combination… you can crank it up and make them really fast and competitive.”
The 167,800-ton, 4000-guest vessel is the line’s 16th ship currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.
The ship, which is the third Breakaway-Plus class ship, is set to debut in 2018 and make its way to Seattle for seven-night Alaska summer sailings and then make its way to begin Caribbean sailings from Miami starting November 17.
Stuart got to ride on the Joy’s track this year and said the cars have various settings for different driver-experience levels, but expects most cruisers will be going at its fastest level. In that mode, drivers still get to push a button that gives them a burst of speed much in the same way the characters in Fast and the Furious get a boost from nitrous oxide.
“It’s noticeable when you hit that button. You really feel it,” Stuart said. “Your head goes back to the head rest.”
The feature is an extra-cost item on the ship, as it is on Joy, as will be Norwegian Bliss’ other marquee top-deck feature, an open-air laser-tag course, although price points have yet to be determined.
A unique feature coming to Norwegian Bliss will be a laser tag course.
The laser-tag course, which is themed like an abandoned space station will have players feeling like they’re in the middle of a movie like Aliens, Stuart said.
The Aqua Park on Norwegian Bliss will feature two water slides, the Aqua Racer and Ocean Loops slide.
Not an extra cost, and sure to raise cruisers adrenaline level are the ship’s water slide offerings. On the surface, the slides seems like similar offerings to Norwegian Escape, which was the first Breakaway-Plus class ship that currently sails out of Miami and debuted in 2015.
There are two slides including the 360-foot tandem tube slide called the Aqua Racer just like Escape, but the Ocean Loops slide is a drop slide that will send riders out over the side of the ship in a more extreme manner than ever before on a Norwegian ship.
“The difference on the Ocean Loops is we’ve really extended it, and when you head out over the side of the ship it’s clear plastic, so you’re really going to see it,” Stuart said. “I think it’s going to be quite exciting.”
Renderings show riders will drop down through bomb-bay doors and immediately shoot through a tube that is mostly transparent over the side of the ship, actually shoot up around a bend back over the ship’s hull before swinging back around out over the side of the ship again before making their slippery way back onto the ride’s conclusion. It’s sort of like a super-charged figure 8.
A look at the dining and drinking venues coming to Norwegian Bliss.
Also revealed were many of the ship’s dining venues including a first for line: the Q-Texas Smokehouse, which will serve barbecue in a high-end setting set to contemporary pop country music.
He explained that barbecue, though, has been a very popular dining experience when the ship is in port, but Norwegian is giving it some polish as a dining venue on board.
The menu will include brisket, ribs, chicken and sausage smoked over hickory, oak and pecan woods, appetisers like deviled eggs, pickled jalapenos, cheddar- and breadcrumb-crusted mac-n-cheese and baked sweet potatoes with pecan honey butter and cinnamon. Desserts like fresh banana pudding or bread pudding in whiskey sauce will be served in mason jars.
“We’re going a little upscale,” Stuart said. “It’s not this sort of rough barbecue experience.”
It will be an added-cost venue, but the line is providing a new complimentary dining venue called The Local that will serve pub fare in a relaxed neighbourhood atmosphere 24 hours a day.
Another venue relatively new to the cruise line that will be on the ship will be Los Lobos, an elevated Mexican cuisine option that first debuted in 2016 aboard Norwegian Dawn. The menu will include fresh guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole and handcrafted margaritas with the cruise line’s own tequila blend featuring private-label Patron Barrel Select.