Cruis­ing with kids

Cathy wagstaff finds fam­ily cruis­ing bliss aboard Nor­we­gian’s in­no­va­tive new cruise ship.

Holiday with Kids - - Contents -

Find fam­ily cruis­ing bliss aboard Nor­we­gian’s in­no­va­tive new cruise ship.

In its short 51-year his­tory, Nor­we­gian Cruise Line has been an in­no­va­tor in cruise travel, pro­vid­ing guests with the unique op­por­tu­nity to de­sign their own ideal cruise hol­i­day with no set din­ing times, a va­ri­ety of en­ter­tain­ment and no for­mal dress codes. The cruise line’s for­ward think­ing has not gone un­no­ticed by in­dus­try ex­perts, who have named it ‘Europe’s Lead­ing Cruise Line’ for 10 con­sec­u­tive years, among other awards and ac­co­lades.

Nor­we­gian has taken the un­prece­dented level of free­dom and flex­i­bil­ity of­fered to its guests to even greater heights with its new­est ship, Nor­we­gian Bliss, and I was lucky enough to be in­vited on board to ex­pe­ri­ence all that it has to of­fer.

With 2,043 state­rooms – ac­com­mo­dat­ing 4,004 guests – the 20-deck ship is a sight to be­hold. Cus­tom-built for cruis­ing in Alaska, Nor­we­gian Bliss com­bines the best sig­na­ture fea­tures of the Nor­we­gian fleet with jaw­drop­ping never-be­fore-seen in­no­va­tions.

The wow-fac­tor kicks in be­fore we even set foot on deck as my eye is drawn to the strik­ing art­work de­pict­ing a mother hump­back whale and her calf adorn­ing the ship’s hull, cre­ated to pay trib­ute to the nat­u­ral beauty of Alaska and the im­por­tance of con­ser­va­tion, part of the cruise line’s phi­los­o­phy.

The sur­prises con­tinue once we board, each more ex­cit­ing and de­light­ful than the last. It’s like a float­ing theme park and kids big and small are spoilt for choice with a num­ber of ex­tra­or­di­nary, first-at-sea ex­pe­ri­ences.

Most head straight for Deck 20, to test their agility at the open-air laser tag ex­pe­ri­ence, or to race side-by-side on the two-storey wa­ter slide dubbed the Aqua Racer, a hair-rais­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that ex­tends out over the edge of the ship. I pass, but am more than happy to strap in and rev up to race around the twolevel com­pet­i­tive go kart track – the largest race track at sea – tak­ing hair­pin turns at up to 45 kilo­me­tres per hour in elec­tric cars.

Cruis­ing for ev­ery­one

One of the best things about a Nor­we­gian cruise is that no­body has to com­pro­mise when it comes to recre­ation and re­lax­ation. For kids aged three to 12, the age-ap­pro­pri­ate and su­per­vised ac­tiv­i­ties at Splash Academy pro­vide hours of fun, while teens can en­joy time with new friends at the En­tourage hang­out. Early Years Co­or­di­na­tors even host ac­tiv­i­ties for tiny cruis­ers up to three years

old and their par­ents in the Gup­pies play­room. When it’s time to en­joy a lit­tle adult time, head to Man­dara Spa, the casino or sim­ply laze be­side the pool with a good book.

Hid­den away at the top of the ship on Decks 17, 18 and 19 – and ac­ces­si­ble only by pri­vate key­card – are the ul­tra-lux­u­ri­ous suites of The Haven. Guests stay­ing in this ex­clu­sive en­clave will en­joy the pri­vacy, per­son­alised ser­vice and deluxe ameni­ties of the most lav­ish bou­tique ho­tel. A ded­i­cated concierge is on hand to make all ar­range­ments on board and ashore. All that’s left to do is stretch out by the pri­vate pool in The Haven Court­yard while a per­sonal but­ler serves the cock­tails. This truly is cruis­ing bliss.

A cruise on Nor­we­gian Bliss takes guests on a culi­nary jour­ney with an ex­panded din­ing scene and en­hanced menus. Stop off at Los Lo­bos for Mex­i­can cui­sine with an el­e­gant twist, The Man­hat­tan Room for a taste of New York com­plete with mu­sic and danc­ing, and fin­ish off at Coco’s, a firm favourite with the kids, where the choco­late will be flow­ing – lit­er­ally. Your crew can spend the rest of the evening singing along to the clas­sic hits of the ‘60s and ‘70s with Jer­sey Boys, step­ping back in time with the in­ter­ac­tive mu­si­cal, Happy Hour Pro­hi­bi­tion, or groov­ing along to The Bea­tles’ most mem­o­rable hits in The Cav­ern Club.

Whether you’re plan­ning to ex­plore the ma­jes­tic icy north of Alaska, cruise the Pa­cific Coast from Van­cou­ver to LA or chase the sun in the Caribbean with your crew, Nor­we­gian pro­vides all the in­gre­di­ents for fam­ily cruis­ing bliss.

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02 01 Nor­we­gian Bliss is home to the largest race track at sea 02 Nor­we­gian Bliss at sea 03 The pool and two-storey wa­ter slide. All im­ages © Nor­we­gian Cruise Line

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