Norwegian Bliss has been Norwegian Cruise Line’s most successful ship to date, breaking multiple records, both industry-wide and for the cruise line. The ship is the largest to be christened in Seattle, the largest to homeport in Los Angeles, and call on San Francisco. It’s also the largest cruise ship to traverse the new locks of the Panama Canal from both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
And until Norwegian Prima went on sale, it held all the cruise line’s booking records.
“Norwegian Bliss is the most beautiful ship in the fleet,” says Djamel Benatmane, general manager of the ship. Benatmane has been with Bliss since 2019.
He credits Bliss’ success to a combination of beautiful hardware, exciting activities, and an executive team he’s worked to bring together since his arrival, most of whom rejoined the ship after the cruise pause.
“This all gels together and is a recipe for success,” he says.
Something for Everyone
Travel advisors Travel Market Report spoke to on the ship love the ship as well. But while they agree the ship is beautiful, they say it’s the range of dining, entertainment, and activities that make it so easy to sell.
“Norwegian Bliss has a good balance of everything that people with multiple interests would look for,” said Lianabelle Pinero, owner of Nautical Dreams Travel in Florida. “If I have a client that is looking for something in particular, they more than likely will find it here.”
Rosa Di Rienzo, owner of an Expedia Cruises franchise in Laval, Quebec agreed. “Norwegian Bliss definitely sells itself for families with all the activities,” she told Travel Market Report. “There’s a good mix for every generation.”
Norwegian Bliss has 19 dining options and 20 bars and lounges, as well as waterslides, a two-level Go-Kart racetrack, laser tag arena, and two Broadway shows, “Jersey Boys” and “Six: The Musical.”
Think some of those activities are just for kids. Not necessarily, said Pinero. “I have some clients that love the racetrack and only book because of that.”
The Observation Deck and Waterfront
General manager Benatmane and Pinero both called out the Observation Deck as one of the ship’s most special spots.
“My all-time favorite spot is the Observation Deck,” Pinero said. “It gives you that space if you just want to relax or read a book. Or meet with friends. If you’re coming with family members and they’re staying on different decks, it’s a good meeting point. It’s big and always has water and coffee.”
Pinero also cited The Waterfront, which offers indoor and outdoor seating for several restaurants and bars, as one of her favorite features to mention to prospective clients. The Waterfront debuted on Norwegian Breakaway and can be found on all of NCL’s Breakaway and Breakaway-Plus class ships.
Dining is Tops
“My clients love, love, love the specialty dining,” Pinero said. “When I book a client, I always tell them about the specialty dining and get them excited.”
It’s not just the variety of restaurants that her clients like, Di Rienzo added. They also appreciate the flexibility to choose when and where they want to eat. “The freestyle is something that people really like, especially when they’re on vacation,” she said.
The variety of cabin categories is also something Pinero and Di Rienzo said helped them sell the ship, especially when working with multigenerational families. For instance, both said grandparents will often book themselves into the Haven, then put the rest of the family in balconies or ocean views.
“The oceanview cabins on this class are very popular,” Pinero said. “They’re big and they’re closer to the kids’ area.”
The Studio is another feature that helps them sell the ship, they said.
“I can book solo clients and they have a great time,” Pinero said. “They love the cabins. They love that its key access. They love that there’s a lounge just for them.”