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Digital Original

This $1 billion cruise ship with a race track hopes to dethrone Carnival and Royal Caribbean

The Norwegian Bliss is the latest ship to join the company's fleet. But it's not just carrying guests across the seas, it's also bringing along a race track. The Bliss is loaded with a wide range of features to keep guests busy while cruising to their next destination. The Bliss cost about $1 billion to build and is setting its sights to dethrone Carnival and Royal Caribbean. "The cruise industry is growing like a weed and every ship is full to the hilt. Every cruise line company is reporting record profits," said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

According to Cruise Line International Association, more than 25 million people boarded cruise liners in 2017. That number is expected to hit more than 27 million in 2018. To accommodate the influx of new and returning customers, cruise lines aren't just building bigger ships; they're building more of them. There are more than 80 new ships that are currently in development. 27 of those ships are expected to hit the seas this year.

The cruise market totals close to $41.1 billion in wages and salaries. As for Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian; they control close to 80 percent of the cruise market space.