Last updated: 03:30 PM ET, Mon October 31 2016

What to Expect from the Norwegian Bliss as It Begins Construction

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship Norwegian Cruise Line Jason Leppert October 31, 2016

What to Expect from the Norwegian Bliss as It Begins Construction

Photo and rendering courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line’s next new ship – the Norwegian Bliss – is now that much closer to sailing the scenic waters of Alaska as the company announced its initial steel cutting (pictured above) today. The 4,000-guest Bliss is being constructed at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and will mark the third Breakaway Plus-class vessel behind the latest Norwegian Escape in the Caribbean and Norwegian Joy launching for the China market in June 2017.

“As we close in on Norwegian Cruise Line’s 50th anniversary, we are thrilled to celebrate the start of construction for Norwegian Bliss, our latest and most innovative ship yet,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Norwegian Bliss will offer the ultimate in Alaska adventures, both on and off the ship, and we look forward to welcoming guests onboard in June 2018.”

READ MORE: Norwegian Announces New Ship Designed for Alaska Cruises

The 167,800-gross-ton ship will be custom designed for Alaska with stops at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia roundtrip from Seattle, Washington. But just what does that mean you may ask. Well, Norwegian has yet to reveal any specific details beyond the vessel’s signature hull art from world-renowned marine painter Wyland. But looking at the initial renderings, there’s actually quite a lot to be gleaned.

When you first think of Alaska, after all, you consider colder climates, and the Bliss does not display any waterslides nor ropes courses this time around. In fact, it will be interesting to see how the line applies The Waterfront in Alaska as an al fresco boardwalk that is still visible in the design. One interesting detail is that the lifeboats, which have partially obstructed the view from this promenade deck on previous iterations, now appear to be completely tucked away below. The fully-enclosed forward dining venues on this deck will surely be preferred up North.

READ MORE: Norwegian Unveils Wyland's Hull Artwork for Alaska-Bound Norwegian Bliss

Following the enclosed approach is what seems to be added glass-sided public space towards the upper forward decks. The navigation bridge has even been lowered by one level to accommodate a now double-decker stretch of venues where the spa ordinarily has taken up only one level. The thermal suite will likely not be the only area with prime viewing space, but so too might there be a welcome observation lounge in the space. Of course, the line’s Haven ship-within-a-ship suite complex is still present, itself with more forward glass paneling than before. Also, the open-air Spice H2O venue at the stern appears to have more of an awning for inclement weather as well.

While the ship’s focus will be Alaska, it will surely only deploy there seasonally during the spring and summer leaving it open for other routes throughout the year, perhaps California coastal, Hawaiian and Mexican Riviera itineraries better suited to outdoor venues. So, there may be room for other onboard attractions to be announced accordingly.