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Attending a cruise ship christening is always a treat, and I found that Norwegian Cruise Line’s ceremony for its new Norwegian Bliss was no exception. While docked in its seasonal homeport of Seattle, the vibrant vessel — adorned with hull art by marine artist Wyland — was named by godfather Elvis Duran, breaking with the usual tradition of appointing a godmother. In addition to the popular radio personality, all sorts of performers entertained the event’s attendees.
While the christening featured a mix of talent — including rock band Train, singer Gloria Gaynor, rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot, lead vocalist Steve Harwell of rock band Smash Mouth, rapper Tone Loc and lead singer Wally Palmar of rock band The Romantics — I was most taken with the preview numbers performed by the ship’s own company. Showcased performances onboard include “Havana” and, most notably, “Jersey Boys.”
Of course, the moment the champagne bottle crashed on the hull was the real beginning of Bliss’ entry into cruise travel. Earlier in the day, Andy Stuart, president and CEO of the line, dropped in after two skydivers glided over the ship with “#NorwegianBliss” and “Norwegian Cruise Line” banners in tow. Stuart presented a $10,000 check to Northwest Tap Connection, a local group who had performed, in a show of commitment to the city and its community.
As great as all the events were, it was the ship itself that drew us to the city, and a three-night sailing proved to be a tease for all it has to offer. Both former TravelAge West cruise editor Marilyn Green and TravelAge West Editor in Chief Kenneth Shapiro have also experienced the ship, but we’ve all gravitated toward sampling different attractions onboard. Of the three of us, for instance, I was the only one who braved the cold to ride the Ocean Loops waterslide.
This free-fall body tube slide is a kick in the pants — or, rather, swim trunks. Anyone who has been on the twin racing slide varieties onboard Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Escape knows that those boast a downward stretch and a single upward climb before finishing. The one on Bliss is considerably more involved, essentially combining the pair for a longer, more thrilling path.
Riders gain enough momentum from the fall that they don’t just go uphill once; they make that first turn so fast — almost in an inverted position — to speedily descend and ascend once more before one final turn and splash down. It’s a blast, and I immediately went back up the winding stairs to traverse the figure-eight route again. Agents, take note: Thrill-seeking clients will love this one.
What is truly remarkable about Bliss is its range of attractions. There really is something for everyone, including tamer waterslides and a go-kart racetrack. My mother still playfully teases me for accidentally bumping into her as I lapped her twice on the course — but I needed to maintain my winning title. (I had the chance to try out the first-ever equivalent course on the preceding Norwegian Joy before it entered the Chinese market, and I came away victorious from that ship’s media tournament. So, I may be just a little competitive. Sorry, Mom.)
It’s also exciting to see an expansive Observation Lounge onboard Bliss. In fact, there are two double-decker scenic venues at the front of the ship, one public and one private. The first is available to all passengers, while Horizon Lounge is only for guests staying in exclusive area The Haven.
All in all, the newly christened Bliss caters well to those looking for abundant physical activities or simply rest and relaxation.
The ship is currently sailing seven-day voyages to Alaska roundtrip from Seattle, then it will head to the Mexican Riviera from Long Beach, Calif., in October. After that, the vessel will move from Miami to the Eastern Caribbean for its fall/winter season. In 2019, Bliss will also leave from New York for the Bahamas and Florida, as well as the Southern and Western Caribbean.The DetailsNorwegian Cruise Linewww.ncl.com