David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' China operations, revealed some of the features that will debut on the Norwegian Joy, a ship being built for the Chinese market.
Herrera made the announcement here during a keynote address at Travel Weekly’s CruiseWorld China.
Although Joy is a sister ship to the Escape, it will offer several “first-at-sea” features related to activities, hotel, service and gaming.
Some attractions — a formal tea room and an upper-deck Serenity Park — are what one might expect on a ship built for Chinese guests.
But other features would seem to fit ships sailing the Caribbean equally well. The Joy’s highest-profile attraction, literally, will be a two-level race track on the top decks in which 10 guests in electric carts will compete in a 5-6 minute race. (NCL is in discussion with possible partners whose logos would adorn the cars, Herrera said.)
Autos are also front-and-center in a Formula 1 attraction. Race cars have been converted into individual three-screen simulators displaying famous race tracks from around the world.
Deck 16 activities will include Oculus virtual reality technology in several variations, including walking a plank between buildings, hang gliding and a design-your-own roller coaster module.
Oculus technology will be installed on additional new ships going forward, Herrera said.
Motion simulation will be the attraction in a colorful fleet of Star Wars Battle Pods.
Laser tag, a giant touch screen for young children, hovercraft bumper cars, wider-than-ever waterslides with transparent panels that go over the side of the ship and several karaoke rooms complete the new activities offerings.
On the hotel side, a new level called Concierge will be built above the Haven. It will not be as luxurious as the Haven but will have unique features, including a new suite class with two bedrooms and a simulated balcony.
Both the Haven and Concierge will have observation decks whose views, Herrera said, are “as good as the captain's.”
The ship will feature many more family friendly suites and rooms with connecting doors than on any previous NCL ship, Herrera said. He added that the new room configurations reflect the Chinese tendency to travel with multiple generations.
Studio cabins for singles, a feature of every NCL ship since the Epic, will not be on the Joy.
The ship will, however, feature the highest crew-to-passenger ratio of any contemporary-class ship, in part because it will carry 250 fewer passengers than the Escape. (Herrera said that additional staff was also hired.) The space occupied by some cabins that had been on the Escape has been given to the casino and shopping areas.
The 29 restaurants onboard will include one for Korean barbecue as well as a Japanese shabu-shabu restaurant. Herrera declined to say how many of the restaurants will be specialty dining requiring a surcharge.
“It’s about bringing best of east and west together,” Herrera said, summing up all the changes.
More details will be announced in the coming months, he added, including the names of luxury store brands.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ executive vice president for international development, Harry Sommer, said that the Chinese operation has renamed itself from “Norway Cruise Line,” as it was known in China, to three characters which phonetically sound like “Norwegian” but which translate to “promising, exclusive and authentic.”
The characters for the word “Joy” represent “Inner Joy,” Sommer said.
The Norwegian Joy is due to enter service in summer 2017.