Aboard NCL’s Newest Ship

Norwegian Bliss sets sail

BY DON NICHOLS — Fall 2018

ust as I settle into my racer, the track monitor hands me my safety helmet to put on. I take off my glasses to fit it over my head, then realize the helmet fits so snugly that I can’t put my glasses back on. Slightly panicked, I quickly alert the monitor. Looking unsure how to respond, he asks if I can see to race without them. My vision’s not the best, but there’s no way I’m missing this chance to hit the track in this speedster, so I tell him, “Sure, I’ll be fine.” I grip the steering wheel nervously and, 30 seconds later, I’m speeding down straightaways and navigating hairpin twists and turns, thrilled to be having my Jeff Gordon moment.

Well, sort of. I’m not in any high-speed NASCAR race, but rather I’m zooming around a two-level, 1,000-foot-long track in an electric go-kart that tops out at 30 mph. I’m not on terra firma, either; I’m atop the new Norwegian Bliss, the 4,004-passenger ship that Norwegian Cruise Line officially launched in June. Although it has a similar track on its China-based Norwegian Joy, NCL touts the Bliss speedway as the first one on a North American-based ship — and the longest on any ocean liner.

This new beauty, the third vessel in NCL’s Breakaway Plus Class, comes with an impressive bevy of restaurants and bars, a spa, a casino, and other exciting activities that impress, but I’ll most remember channeling my inner speed demon at sea. No matter I finished dead last in my race; I chalk that up to my slightly impaired vision. 866-234-7350; ncl.com

What Else Is New

The Bliss comes with other NCL don’t-miss firsts, including …

• A visually striking Observation Lounge offering 3,500 square feet of floor-to-ceiling windows delivering awesome 180-degree views, NCL’s most expansive at sea.

• The Horizon Lounge, a similar two-level hideaway in the Haven, NCL’s premium hotel-within-a-hotel concept.

• An open-air laser tag course in a setting designed to look like an abandoned space station.

• Q, a Texas smokehouse, serving barbecue and a must-order banana pudding made from the time-tested recipe of the aunt of an NCL executive with deep Texas roots. Wear your boots because the restaurant turns into a lively Western club after dinner with live music and boot-scootin’ on the dance floor.

• A-List Bar (named after NCL’s president and CEO Andy Stuart), serving premium spirits, handcrafted margaritas, and more.

Norwegian Bliss

A-List Bar

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