It's not every day that a brand new cruise ship floats out of dock, so when a beautifully painted Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) vessel heads to sea for the first time, it's good cause for cruising celebration. The 168,800 ton Norwegian Joy left its dock in Papenburg, Germany over the weekend, with stunning hull artwork by renowned Chinese artist Tan Ping. The choice of artist for the Norwegian Joy is no accident, as this vessel is the first NCL ship purpose built for the Chinese market, and will be arriving to homeport in Shanghai and Beijing by mid 2017. The ship isn't quite complete, but the float out does mark an important milestone and the Norwegian Joy is now moving into the final stage of construction. It should be fully fitted out and ready to embark on cruises by April 27th, 2017.
David J. Herrera, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China President, said of the float out â€œWe are thrilled that Norwegian Joy is now one step closer to delivery and one step closer to delivering on our promise to create a First Class at Sea experience for our Chinese guests.
Specially tailored for Chinese travellers, the Norwegian Joy boasts all kinds of amazing features and attractions, including a virtual reality playground and the first ever racetrack at sea. While most Down Under cruisers won't be rushing to board a ship that has Mandarin as its primary language, NCL has plenty of other sailings that cater to English speakers. The Norwegian Jewel in particular has a handful of cruises in 2017 that explore Australian and New Zealand destinations, including cosmopolitan Melbourne city, the pristine beauty of Milford Sound and the rolling wine country of Napier. Those keen to cruise further afield won't be disappointed either: NCL ships will be exploring everywhere from the Mediterranean to Alaska to Hawaii - and that's just in 2017.
If it's the Norwegian Joy's asian itineraries that appeal, cruisers are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to cruises in Asia, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line all have sailings that visit China, while many others explore Southeast Asia and even India.
While the Norwegian Joy might not be the right ship for everyone, the launch of such a vibrantly innovative vessel is a welcome reminder that cruising prospects are getting brighter every year.