Norwegian Bliss Keel-Laying Ceremony

(10:25 a.m. EDT) -- The Broadway musical Jersey Boys and Beatles-inspired The Cavern Club will be among the new features on Norwegian Bliss, it was reiterated today at the keel-laying and coin ceremony for the new ship at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany.

Although the line is still keeping other attractions under wraps -- such as whether the ship will have the new-to-cruise go kart track and Laser Battle course recently debuted on its newest ship Norwegian Joy.

Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Cruise Lines' first ship purpose-built for Alaska, is now officially under construction, following the traditional ceremony where coins are welded into the keel for good luck. The vessel -- the third Breakaway Plus-class ship and 16th in the Norwegian fleet -- is set to launch in spring 2018.

Speaking at the ceremony, Andy Stuart, president and CEO Norwegian Cruise Line, discussed some of the onboard attractions on the 167,800-ton, 4,200-passenger ship, including The Cavern Club featuring a Beatles tribute band -- a popular feature on Norwegian Epic.

"We will also be introducing an all new Cuban music and dance show," he said. "It is going to be a spectacular ship and today marks a milestone in its construction. It also marks our long partnership with the Meyer Werft shipyard as this is the 12th vessel to be built here."

However, he said people will have to wait a bit longer to hear about other key features on the ship, such as whether or not it would have a race track, simulator rides, karaoke booths and other firsts introduced on Norwegian Joy.

"We are going to have a lot more to talk about and we haven't announced what will be on the top deck yet," he said. "We are very excited about the race track on Joy but we haven't had any paying customers on it yet, so it is too early to say what will be on Bliss. But the ship will be very exciting and innovative and we will make a further announcement in August, so at the moment it is a case of watch this space."

Norwegian Bliss will be the first Norwegian Cruise Line ship to make its debut in Seattle, and amenities geared towards scenic Alaska cruises include a 20,000 square foot observation lounge, plus another observation lounge in The Haven, the exclusive 80-stateroom "ship-within-a-ship area.

Continuing its tradition of featuring original artwork on its ship's hulls, the painting for Bliss has been designed by Wyland, one of the world’s leading marine life artists. Entitled "Cruising with the Whales," it features an image of a mother humpback whale and her calf as the centrepiece of the design.

In its maiden summer season Norwegian Bliss will sail on weekly seven-day Alaska cruises before arriving at its winter homeport of Miami in November 2018 to cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and Mexican Riviera.

--By Jeannine Williamson, Cruise Critic contributor