Inside the Show-Stopping Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship - Family Traveller (USA)

What do you get when you combine a colorful billion-dollar cruise ship with action-packed splash areas and the largest competitive race track at sea? The Norwegian Bliss, one of the most exciting ships ever. Our Chief Content Officer goes for a sail.

My 5-year-old daughter, Lucy, has a fiercely competitive streak and loves to be in a car going fast — very fast. She inherited both traits from me. I have raced Porsches in Johannesburg and Formula One in Dubai, and when Lucy and I are navigating hilly roads in my Jeep, she’ll yell from her car seat, “Faster, Mommy, faster!”

So when I told Lucy that we were going to be spending a couple of days hanging out on the new Norwegian Bliss cruise ship and doing everything from overseeing a fashion shoot with two kid models to racing electric go-karts, she was ecstatic. And when she discovered that we were going to be doing a special junior race-car session and competing against a dad and his young son, her competitive spirit went into overdrive. She was ready to crush our opponents.

As we zoomed around hairpin curves on the largest competitive race track at sea, Lucy was squealing and cackling. This was better than any amusement park ride. And those poor guys? They didn’t know they were facing down a pint-size version of female racing legend Danica Patrick.

The two-level race track on the Norwegian Bliss is just one of the many cool features on this highly anticipated ship that cost a reported $1 billion to build — and was worth every penny.

The water features are unbelievable, with multiple pools and hot tubs, plus a technicolor Kids’ Aqua Park. Lucy couldn’t get enough of the Aqua Racer, a thrilling 360-foot waterslide with tandem inner tubes. We must have gone on it a couple of dozen times during our trip. And being the speed demon that I am, I loved Ocean Loops, a heart-stopping waterslide that starts with a free fall before shooting you in a tube over the side of the ship then doing upside-down loops. 

There’s also an open-air laser tag course on the 20th deck, a video arcade with augmented-reality games and — lest you get hungry from all this action — an endless supply of restaurants, buffets, ice-cream parlors and snack shops. Whatever you’re hungry for, you’ll find it. The Bliss has an authentic Texas-style smokehouse called Q. Lucy loved the hibachi chefs at Teppanyaki, and her eyes were like saucers when she saw the endless buffet at the Garden Café.

Despite all the excitement aboard, I think Lucy’s favorite moment was one I treasured, too: curling up on the veranda of our stateroom and counting the stars in the sky. You couldn’t think of a more blissful way to end a high-octane day.

By Laura Begley Bloom