PHOTO: Norwegian Joy floated out at the Meyer Werft shipyard. (Photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)
Norwegian Cruise Line’s new Norwegian Joy may be slated for the Chinese market, but it also provides hints for what the North American market can expect once the Norwegian Bliss launches.
The Joy will be officially launched on April 27, 2017 in Bremerhaven, Germany, and I will be there to cover a quick preview of the ship and its delivery ceremony.
Before then, it has already emerged outside of the enclosed Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg for a better look.
On March 4, 2017, the 168,800-ton, 3,850-guest Breakaway Plus-class ship exited building dock II where its hull art (by Chinese artist Tan Ping) could be seen in all of its glory for the first time.
Now tied up at the finishing dock, the ship will soon complete construction that first began in September 2015. She follows the Norwegian Escape as the second in the larger Breakaway Plus series, with the Norwegian Bliss scheduled to set sail behind as the third in June 2018. (That ship is initially being built now.)
Here's what's different from Escape: The Joy has a midship go-kart racing track in place of a ropes course, a single longer meandering free-fall waterslide and multi-decker observation lounges above the bow.
We already know that the Bliss will also feature such expansive scenic venues to match, but perusing its currently revealed deck plans neither yet reveals any watersides nor any ropes and racing courses.
READ MORE: A Preview of Norwegian Bliss’ Observation Lounges and Changes to The Haven
Still, as the Bliss already matches the Joy so closely, it makes sense that other attractions will follow suit.
A racetrack would work well in Alaska, where the ship will first deploy, and waterslides would fit in nicely in the Caribbean, where the ship will head in the winter—both are features I plan to capture and share aboard the Joy next month.
After all, the Joy is custom-designed for China and homeports like Shanghai and Beijing, but that doesn't mean some of its venues would not also be perfect in America—most notably the sinuous double-decker racing course which measures in at 833 feet long. The experience is anticipated to last around five minutes.
Otherwise, the Bliss will sport the wildlife artwork of Wyland as the biggest exterior change that is expected from the now floated-out Joy. Other features unique to the Joy, at least for now, will be a laser tag course, hovercraft bumper cars and simulator rides, plus interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion.
READ MORE: How Is Norwegian Cruise Line Putting a Go-Kart Track on a Ship?
Speaking of such thrills, Joy unexpectedly includes a singular free-fall waterslide: Instead of the two racing free-falls on the Escape, the new ship features just one that traverses a longer figure-eight cantilevered far over the side of the ship with translucent tube sections.
Here’s hoping that too makes its way on the Bliss.
Until that time when more is unveiled about the Bliss, David J. Herrera, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China President had this to say about Joy: “We are thrilled that Norwegian Joy is now one step closer to delivery and one step closer to delivering on our promise to create a First Class at Sea experience for our Chinese guests.”