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Narrow escape as Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship passes another key milestone

Norwegian Cruise Line's new ship Norwegian Bliss, which has been custom-built for Alaska experiences, has completed another key milestone with only two months until her highly-anticipated arrival in Seattle, Washington, for her debut summer season.

She departed the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, on Tuesday to begin her her conveyance along the Ems River, and arrived in Eemshaven, Netherlands, yesterday evening (14 March).

Norwegian Bliss conveyance
Norwegian Bliss prepares to begin her journey down the Ems River, above and below Images: Heiner Lohmann

“Today marks another historical moment for Norwegian Bliss, the most highly anticipated ship of the Norwegian Breakaway Plus class, the most successful class of our company’s history” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.

“When she arrives into Seattle in June, guests will be excited to experience many new first-at-sea activities, including the largest two-level race track at sea, new dining experiences, such as Q Texas Smokehouse and Coco’s a chocolate and treat shop, the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Show Jersey Boys and much more for guests to explore.”

Measuring 994ft long, 136ft wide, and at a gross registered tonnage of 168,028, she embarked on her journey down the Ems River and up to the North Sea in reverse, making the narrow passage through Meyer Werft’s sea lock, with less than four feet clearance.

This very careful maneuver took about two hours at a speed of only 0.2 knots. The precise navigation included a team of experienced Ems River pilots, navigation officers, the yard captain and the local German waterway authorities.

Norwegian Bliss conveyance

After passing through the sea lock, Norwegian Bliss continued along the river stern first, which helps with the maneuverability of the ship and is a key component when navigating her through such narrow passages. Her journey to Eemshaven included cruising through the narrow passages of the Friesenbrücke Bridge in Weener; Jann Berghaus Bridge in Leer; and Ems-Barrier in Gandersum.

Follwing her arrival in Eemshaven, she took on additional provisions and crew members, before heading toward the North Sea for technical and nautical sea trials.

This is one of the final phases before Norwegian Cruise Line takes delivery of their 16th ship on 19 April in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Norwegian Bliss will then begin her passage across the Atlantic Ocean on 21 April, arriving in the US on 3 May where she will begin her inaugural tour, taking in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles beforew concluding with a christening ceremony on 30 May at the new Pier 66 at Port of Seattle in Washington State.

Following the preview events and christening, Norwegian Bliss will offer cruises to Alaska beginning 2 June.  She will spend her summer sailing seven-day cruises to Alaska, and fall season cruising to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles. In winter of 2018 she will sail to the Caribbean from Miami, and in the 2019 fall/winter season she will cruise from New York City to Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Posted on 15th March 2018 at 11:23 am in Cruise News | New Ships | Cruise Lines | Norwegian Cruise Line |

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