Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand new 167,800 gross tonne Norwegian Bliss has set a new record for the Panama Canal, becoming the largest cruise ship ever to transit the 77 kilometre waterway.
Norwegian Bliss is the newest and largest cruise ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet and was delivery to the cruise line in April 2018.
The ship set sail on its maiden voyage from Southampton in the United Kingdom on 21 April 2018, before calling into New York City. The ship has since sailed on to Miami and following the transit of the Panama Canal, it will cruise on to Seattle where it will homeport and offer cruises to Alaska.
Manuel Benítez, Deputy Canal Administrator, said: “The Panama Canal is proud to welcome the Norwegian Bliss and recognizes that this distinct milestone is made possible by the Canal Expansion, as well as the experience and efforts gained in the two years since its inauguration”.
Among the amazing innovative features on board the new cruise ship are freefall waterslides, an outdoor laser tag course on the top deck and even a two-deck high go kart track!
Andy Stuart, President and Chief Executive Officer, Norwegian Cruise Line, said: “We are very proud to help the Panama Canal close out the season with the crossing of our highly-anticipated ship, Norwegian Bliss. As she makes her way to Seattle, we are excited for this sixteenth ship in our young and modern fleet to begin welcoming guests and providing them with the stand-out service, dining, entertainment and amenities for which we are recognized.”
In July 2016 the expansion of the Panama Canal officially opened, allowing much larger ships to transit the waterway between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Norwegian Bliss is just one of 20 cruise ships this year which would have been too large to transit the waterway before the expansion. These vessels are known as ‘Neopanamax’ vessels.