The first ship built specifically for cruising in Alaska is to be introduced by Norwegian Cruise Line.
Norwegian Bliss, the third in the line’s series of Breakaway Plus class vessels, is due to enter service in June 2018 with custom-built features and amenities for Alaska cruises.
Sailing seasonally from Seattle, Norwegian Bliss will be the youngest ship cruising in the region, with bookings opening in January 2017.
The 167,800 gross ton ship, capable of carrying 4,000 passengers, will be built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany and scheduled for delivery in spring 2018.
More details on the ship's range of accommodation, dining and onboard offerings will be outlined in the coming months.
Parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has agreed a 15-year deal with the Port of Seattle to collectively invest $30 million to upgrade facilities at Pier 66 in the city.
Passenger check-in space will be expanded by 300% to more than 150,000 sq ft, a new VIP lounge developed and two elevated passenger boarding bridges built.
After a transatlantic cruise and a transit of the Panama Canal, the ship will sail north along the US West Coast, reaching Seattle for the start of the summer cruising season in 2018.
Norwegian Bliss will run weekly seven-day itineraries on Saturdays with calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia; along with scenic glacier cruising.
Marine life artist Wyland, known for creating iconic whale murals, paintings and sculptures, has been commissioned to design the hull artwork for Norwegian Bliss. The design for the vessel’s hull art will be revealed later this month.
NCL president and chief executive Andy Stewart said: "Norwegian was the first cruise line to begin cruising to Alaska from Seattle in 2000 and it's only fitting that we bring our newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, directly to this incredible location.
"Alaska is one of the top destinations for our guests to explore and we are thrilled to be the first cruise line to offer our guests the opportunity to experience this coveted destination aboard a brand new, state-of-the-art cruise ship custom designed for Alaska, the first of its kind to ever debut in Seattle."
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