With the newly wrought Norwegian Escape set to launch later this month, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that her forthcoming sister ship, Norwegian Bliss, will be adapted for the Chinese market upon her completion in 2017.
Norwegian Bliss is the second of the so called ‘improved Breakaway class’ vessels and, alongside the Norwegian Escape, she will be the largest vessel ever to be purpose built for the line when she emerges in 2017.
The move comes right in the wake of an announcement from Princess Cruises that that their third in line Royal Princess class ship will also be going straight out from Italy to the Chinese market. Given the name of Majestic Princess, she will carry her name on the bow in both English and Chinese lettering.
While the Chinese market has been booming for some time, nothing gives the truth to it’s strength as the imminent assignment of these new, platinum chip vessels. They will join new builds from the likes of Royal Caribbean to create a series of very tempting first time cruise adventures for the local Chinese market.
What remains to be seen is just how buoyant that market remains in the long term, with the significant slow down of the Chinese economy that is becoming more and more evident.
Beyond these two significant new company ‘flag wavers’ bound for the East, it should be interesting indeed to watch the deployment patterns of other upcoming new vessels coming on stream for the likes of Costa and MSC.
Interesting times. As ever, stay tuned.
As of this afternoon, Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that the ship will not be named Norwegian Bliss after all. A new name, as yet unannounced, will be given to the vessel in the near future.