Billion-Dollar Cruise Ship Brings Go-Karts and Laser Tag to the High Seas

On the new Norwegian Bliss, luxury cruise passengers can drive go-karts on the two-story racetrack, listen to a Beatles cover band inside a replica associated with Liverpool’ s Cavern Club or even play laser tag in a space-themed, outdoor arena.

Those are just 3 of the dozen or so entertainment choices on the ship, which cost $1 billion to build and will ply Alaskan waters this summer and the Caribbean during winter. Prices for a one-week Alaska journey in mid-July range from $2, eight hundred per couple for an inside log cabin to more than $11, 000 for that company’ s exclusive Haven rooms.

Gone are the days when entertainment at ocean consisted of a lounge act close to the mini casino and shuffleboard in the lido deck. As Norwegian Cruise ship Holdings Ltd., Carnival Corp. plus Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. construct ever larger vessels and try to appeal younger guests, they’ re unleashing an arms race to deliver actually more-elaborate onboard activities.

Carnival’ s newest vessel, the particular 3, 960-passenger Horizon, has a Doctor Seuss water park, a Havana-themed night club and an Imax theater. In March, Royal Carribbean christened the industry’ s biggest ship, the 5, 518-guest Symphony of the Seas, featuring an outdoor aquatics arena with acrobats, a squat line and wave machine pertaining to onboard surfing.

Pay for Play

Norwegian, the oldest plus smallest of the three big providers, ripped up the traditional model of cruise trip dining 18 years ago when it permitted guests to spontaneously choose which usually restaurant they wanted to eat with, with no assigned tables or supper times, a concept it called freestyle cruising.

Since then, the queue has tweaked that model by having “ specialty” restaurants that cost a little extra for guests who want state a rib-eye steak ($20) plus truffle oil mashed potatoes ($3) instead of the fare in the main dining room. It’ s also begun offering wealthy travelers a pricey-enclave within the ships called the Haven, with individual pools, spas and places in order to dine.

Other cruiselines, though usually not the highest-end types, have copied the Norwegian type of offering restaurant options with extra charges for meals. Now Norwegian, which like its main competitors is based in Miami, is requesting guests to pay a bit more for amusement.

Big Spenders

Norwegian' s guests spend more on on-ship each day than other cruisers

Source: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

The go-karts on the Happiness cost $9. 95 for 7 laps, while the laser tag is definitely $5 for about 10 minutes of galactic warfare. The adults-only “ Happy-hour Prohibition — the Musical” expenses $24, including gratuities.

Less Queuing

“ What they’ lso are trying to do is minimize the particular crowds, ” said Stewart Chiron, who runs the online travel web site cruiseguy. com. The cost “ certainly will not dissuade you from going. It might dissuade you from doing it twenty times. ”

Several entertainment options on the Bliss are usually free, including two water 35mm slides, the Beatles show and a number of big musical revues including “ Jersey Boys, ” an almost full-length version of the Broadway hit. Several nights the comedy club becomes a silent disco, where customers wear headphones and can dance plus sing along to different songs compared to person next to them.

The strategy is paying off. Norwegian said its onboard revenue is usually tops among the big cruise providers at $76 per day, compared with $53 at Royal Caribbean and $45 at Carnival. It also leads with regards to overall revenue from onboard bonuses, like drinks, gambling and coast excursions.

So far, competitors aren’ t charging for some of the gee-whiz attractions. Carnival’ s SkyRide, a pedal-powered vehicle that sectors above the deck of the Horizon, is still free, for example. But Norwegian said the Bliss, its biggest vessel at 4, 004 travellers, is the most successful new ship they have launched, in terms of advance bookings plus prices. It’ s all about providing customers options, according to Andy Stuart, chief executive of the Norwegian line.

“ Someone could occur a cruise and eat in the primary restaurants, they can not drink alcohol plus they can walk off and not invest a dime if they choose to, ” he said in an interview within the Bliss’ s Haven lounge. “ Someone else can come on the ship plus spend a lot of money, depending on the experience these people choose. ”

( Updates along with website in ninth paragraph. Doctor Seuss’ s name was fixed in an earlier version. )