Larger and fancier cruise ships will begin visiting Alaska ports starting this summer. The so-called “megaships” are part of a trend that’s sending more and more tourists to Alaska by sea. The 4,000-passenger Norwegian Bliss starts making port calls in June. The 5,000-passenger Ovation of the Seas shows up the following year. Add 1,200 to 1,500 crew members and either will exceed the population of all but three Southeast cities.
The Bliss and Ovation will carry up to twice as many passengers as some ships already sailing here. The Ovation is leaving its China and Australia routes due to a drop in demand. The Norwegian Bliss is a new ship that adds to the overall number sailing Inside Passage waters. Binkley said the Ovation of the Seas will replace a smaller ship.
The Bliss will sail week-long round-trips out of Seattle, stopping in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway. It will also sail to Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord, south of the capital city. The Ovation will be based in Seattle, too. Its Alaska itinerary hasn’t been posted yet. But it’s likely to follow a similar route. The Ovation of the Seas advertises skydiving and surf simulators, as well as robotic bartenders. But it’ll give the Bliss a run for its money in terms of scenery. The Bliss is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. The Ovation is owned by Royal Caribbean International. Both sail other ships to Alaska.