42 Los Angeles to Panama Canal & Central America Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

We arrived at 1pm and embarkation was smooth. However there were undisclosed problems getting some passengers from LAX to the ship, which delayed the sailaway for hours (until after dark).Disembarkation in NYC did not go well. Huge lines ... Read More
We arrived at 1pm and embarkation was smooth. However there were undisclosed problems getting some passengers from LAX to the ship, which delayed the sailaway for hours (until after dark).Disembarkation in NYC did not go well. Huge lines snaking around. I stood in line for an hour (was on a NCL bus tour/ transfer to JFK) with people coughing all around me. There was time for only one stop on the $99 tour due to the delay in us gettiing off. We were assembled at 8am in the theater and our bus didn't leave the port until 10am. Glad that our guide chose Ground Zero for the stop, though. This is another NCL ship subject to itinerary changes after final payment. It is too big to dock in Costa Rica. We were told that it had to do with silting in the harbor after a flood earlier in the year. After final payment, they dropped Costa Rica and added Acapulco. Also, they had to wait until extreme low tide to be able to pass under the Pacific side bridg of the Panama Canal. Hence the "daylight transit" started at 2am. Hygiene and illness were a problem on the ship. Early in the cruise no one was enforcing good sanitation in the buffet lines. After Guatemala (Day 11) they started with 'extra cleaning' which continued and ramped up throughout the cruise, to the point where for several days at the end they were at full-Noro levels of cleaning. They were attempting to keep the statistics below the threshold for special reporting. (We heard the intestinal illness was above 1% but less than 2%). There was also a nasty respiratory virus spreading. At nearly every port (and a few unscheduled, such as Huatulco and in the PC itself) there were medical evacuations and ambulances waiting. We usually arrived early enough in port that disembarkation wasn't delayed, but at one port we were late getting off. The Main Dining Room was mediocre with only a few menus that rotated through 20 days. Sometimes service was awful and sometimes it was okay. After we complained, we were "flagged" and then got put in the MDR sections with better servers. We also got comped a meal . The specialty restaurants were better for service and food, most of the time (we went 8 times). Cagneys was hit and miss. On the first night, the truffle fries were cold.Toward the end of the cruise during the Noro outbreak, they were full and service suffered. We were ticketed to see Jersey Boys, but our waiter didn't ask if we had a show, We sat for 15 minutes without seeing a waiter at all, and then it was another 30 minutes without even seeing the first starter. After calling over the maitre d' and explaining that we were going to miss the show if this continued, the service was rushed and we managed to gobble down 4 courses in an hour with 10 minutes to spare (we had allowed a total of two hours before show time). We found the best service (and food) at Le Bistro. We liked Los Lobos okay. Ocean Blue was good, but hard to get a seating. We didn't hear good things about Q so didn't go there. We went to Food Republic once (comp'd due to my complaining about the MDR). We noticed a lot of crew dining there (probably the only place to get sushi). Some of the plates were better than others. The scallop one was just plain strange. It isn't in the dining package. Most people don't eat at Los Lobos, but we thought the food was pretty good. Ocean Blue was good but difficult to get into, especially after the "extra cleaning" started and more people avoided the buffet. Thank goodness for the wonderful Indian food (BLD) in the buffet, at least I didn't starve. In the beginning they had pickled herring available but toward the end a lot of items went missing from the buffet. The only place you could get smoked salmon at breakfast was in the MDR. The Observation Lounge has limited hours for food service. The only 24/7 is Local, the buffet has limited late night food. Room service now has the upcharge except for limited continental breakfast. They were good about coming during the requested window (I must have been near the beginning of the rotation since the knock came a few minutes into the window). I had a midship balcony and it was fine, no problems at all. I would have liked a few drawers rather than all shelving. The cabin steward was great. Liked the single cup coffee maker. Requested my minifrig to be cleared on Day1. I kept skim milk, yogurt cups and snacks in there which came in handy during the Noro outbreak.You can find some smaller plates around the buffet and Observation Lounge (full sized plates are too big for the frig). The Observation Lounge is a nice space. Unfortunately the sheltered outdoor walking/viewing spaces are limited especially in the front of the ship which are blocked by private spaces. We also miss the public decks in the aft that you can find on other ships and cruise lines. Jersey Boys was excellent. It's easier to get into the later show. The Beatles were good. Six was okay. We only took one shore excursion (Acapulco) which went to Tres Palos and the Botanic Garden. It was advertised as "unguided" and an "Aviary visit" which was misleading. We did not visit an aviary by any English definition and there was a guide who kept tight rein on the group at the Botanic Garden. We complained and they gave us a minimal discount. I booked the NYC tour/transfer and as discussed above we only had one stop due to slow disembarkation. I would not travel on NCL Bliss again for 21 days. Maybe for 7 or 10, but 21 is too many even with 8 specialty dinners. It isn't worth putting up with the terrible dining room service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I personally love all kinds of infrastructure. The Panama Canal has been in my bucket list for quite sometimes. Going for 21 days, coast to coast and through the Panama Canal locks, this is probably the best cruise in my opinion. The price ... Read More
I personally love all kinds of infrastructure. The Panama Canal has been in my bucket list for quite sometimes. Going for 21 days, coast to coast and through the Panama Canal locks, this is probably the best cruise in my opinion. The price was right. The ports of call were amazing. Since I knew most of the restaurant and bar staff on this ship from my last cruise to Alaska in May, my cruise went great and pleasant. We greeted each other like old friends. I was traveling alone and in a studio cabin. I have to say that this cabin is just right for me. It's so functional and comfortable. I wish I could take the bed home with me because it was so comfortable. My room attendant Ms. Chen was very accommodating. She works around my schedule because I sleep in until late afternoon. The front desk staff Mr. Jumphot was very competent. The 3 main dining rooms staff trying their best to seat everyone though the wait is long. The food was great and worth the wait. The bars staff were cheery and happy. My shore excursions were fabulous. If you are going this cruise, make sure you sign up for the excursion especially for Catagena and Antigua, Guatemala, you won't regret it. But sign up early because these two are the most popular tours and it filling up real quick. I didn't go to any of the shows because it was the repeat from my last Alaska cruise. But I truely enjoyed the live bands on this ship, The Familiar Stranger which is the island band from the Carribean and Siglo the band which everybody loves. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Things that were done right: 1. Staff from the top to the bottom were great. Friendly, fun, and helpful 2. Embarkation was smooth as butter. Wouldn't change a thing! 3. Loved the modern (but not ultra-modern) decor. 4. ... Read More
Things that were done right: 1. Staff from the top to the bottom were great. Friendly, fun, and helpful 2. Embarkation was smooth as butter. Wouldn't change a thing! 3. Loved the modern (but not ultra-modern) decor. 4. Always felt safe on the ship 5. Stateroom (balcony) was just right. Not too small and the bathroom was excellent. 6. Leaving and returning to ship on ports days was smooth 7. Atmosphere on the ship was calm and relaxing. No one lost their s***. 8. Easy to navigate ship because of signage. 9. Waterfront deck on deck 8 was my favourite location. Things that needed improvement: 1. Food at complimentary restaurants was average and rarely changed. The same menu day in and day out for the most part. Nothing excited me in the buffet. 2. There needs to be a snack joint on the ship other than the local that serves things like pizza, fries, donuts, coffee, etc during the transition times when restaurants are closed. 3. Inconsistent restaurant scheduling. All restaurants need to have a FIXED opening time to avoid confusion. The buffet should always open at 6:30 for breakfast and not flip flop depending on port/sea days. 4. The gym should be open 5 AM as many would like to get that done with early and to avoid larger crowds. 5. Internet access using the 250 minute plan was confusing for many (you have to logon and logoff). Sometimes, it said you were logged off and it continued to use minutes. I lost 98 minutes because of this. :( 6. I can't hear the Captain or Cruise director over the PA system in public areas. They need to increase volume or change the speaker system. 7. Inconsistent meal quality in the main dining room. Some meals were simply not good. When ordering a steak, the usually undercooked the meat. 8. Debarkation (at least in NY) was slow and tedious. Better to self-assist walk off and get a cab to the airport. 9. More strictly enforce hand washing at the buffet to avoid spread of GI infection (which happened on this sailing). 10. Some shore excursions were simply bus tours to shopping areas and not really historical/cultural as advertised (Cartagena/Santa Marta) 11. The Bliss theatre seating wasn't very comfortable as it slopes downwatd. The ambience is akin to a local movie theatre in the nineties. Could be more glamourous. 12. I would love to have people speak about the history/culture of every port we visit in a lecture style format 13. The go-karts were too regulated. You couldn't really get up to speed for long periods of time without the staff slowing us remotely. Only 10 minutes of racing and 20 minutes of prep. 14. Fabric on Atrium seats needs replacement. Obvious wear and tear for such a new ship. 15. This is difficult to change, but there is no open air forward facing deck for standard passengers. Only Haven guests get that. The observation lounge in nice but nothing beats being out in the open. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Panama Canal was on my bucket list and when I was looking for a cruise that interested me I came across this one. I booked on impulse in 5 minutes. I was able to get off work, etc. So fate allowed us to go. Fantastic. We enjoyed the ... Read More
The Panama Canal was on my bucket list and when I was looking for a cruise that interested me I came across this one. I booked on impulse in 5 minutes. I was able to get off work, etc. So fate allowed us to go. Fantastic. We enjoyed the ports, the ship, food, everything. Good luck at the casino. Friendly group of passengers. Fantastic cruise staff. Went on a Luxury day sail and Snorkle in Cabo San Lucas and a Textile of the Highlands in Guatemala. Both were wonderful. I would recommend both excursions. Eco canoe in Columbia was boring, hot and we saw nothing worth seeing. We did several city tours that were nice, but not out of the ordinary. They were good for passengers with limited abilities to walk, etc like my mom who traveled with me. She is 80. The hike in Santa Marta was fun (I went without mom). The waterfall was nice and the swimming refreshing. The description needs to say you would walk in lots of water and should wear swimsuit and watershoes. Very good cruise. I would go again. It will be hard to go a shorter length of time. If you can swing the time off work, try a long cruise. I know I loved the time. I was allowed to unwind and relax. No pressure to do everthing in a week. Very rejuvinating. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
21 nights of pampering, relaxing, and just unwinding from the daily grind. The Bliss (Haven) is THE PERFECT way to do this. Plenty to do onboard. Stateroom was big enough (even for 3 weeks) so we didn’t get in each other’s way. ... Read More
21 nights of pampering, relaxing, and just unwinding from the daily grind. The Bliss (Haven) is THE PERFECT way to do this. Plenty to do onboard. Stateroom was big enough (even for 3 weeks) so we didn’t get in each other’s way. Specialty dining is always good (as are the main dining rooms) But the menus have changed since our last cruise so we probably bought more nights than we needed to. Smooth sailing, excellent staff (how do they remember all those new names?? ), good food and “adult libations”. The demographics of the passengers were not party animals, only a few kids...I didn’t think about it when booking... but now I’ve seen the light Most of the excursions were good (Cabo was a clear exception to that with the Lands end boat cruise... not worth doing) and some were most excellent (Aruba the Sunset Cruise... that had me finding my happy place Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We used NCL air/hotel arrangements and also transfers with great satisfaction. The Bliss is a very big ship, the biggest of NCL and also very recent, 2017. Very modern and luxurious it offers a lot of outdoor activities, as much for ... Read More
We used NCL air/hotel arrangements and also transfers with great satisfaction. The Bliss is a very big ship, the biggest of NCL and also very recent, 2017. Very modern and luxurious it offers a lot of outdoor activities, as much for children as for adults. The big-production shows were Broadway's quality. The food in all the restaurants was very good, even at the buffet, with a lot of delicious choices. Our account and reservations can be accessed directly from our TV and cell phone. The staff is always polite and helpful. The "Free Style" is very appreciated... no need for suit or tie, everywhere! On the other hand, big ships also means that it does not go under all bridges ... we had to pass under the bridge of Americas and also under the Broolkyn Bridge at low tide, that is to say 11PM and 3AM ... so saw nothing or almost nothing. The recent construction may also be responsable for lots of noises: in the Atlantic, with slightly rough waters, we heard creaks on the stairways and especially banging in our cabin, enough to prevent us from sleeping. Comedy shows where numerous, but with a very local humor, not international, so for non-US citizens, it is hard to follow. As for the restaurants, there are many, but we had to book in advance if we wanted to eat at a reasonable time, just like for the Jersey Boys and Six shows. And all these reservations, restaurants, shows and excursions, that we can do ourselves on TV, cell or tablet, they are not accessible on all these platforms ... some reservations appear only on one platform. There is no synchronization, which has forced us to recheck everything with guest services ... Overall, by bringing earplugs, making reservations before or very early in the cruise and using only the TV to check your account and book, you make a memorable cruise. We came back rested and very satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise because it covered many ports that have been on my bucket list, all within the same cruise. The embarkation in LA was a bit congested, and very difficult to hear any announcements regarding boarding groups, so people ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it covered many ports that have been on my bucket list, all within the same cruise. The embarkation in LA was a bit congested, and very difficult to hear any announcements regarding boarding groups, so people were confused as to where and when to get on board. The ship and my cabin were very good. Dining was good except the menus in the dining rooms never seemed to change. Got quite boring after about a week into the cruise. Specialty dining helped with the boredom, and the buffet was pretty good. Jersey Boys was excellent, but only offered 4 showings, so it was always very crowded. Ports and sea days were all well spaced and excursions offered were good. I found that the service was all top notch. All in all, very good cruise! I might not choose the very same cruise again, but I will definitely cruise with NCL again, as evidenced by the fact that I am Platinum status. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Great prices for the 21 day cruise. Ports of call were on my bucket list. Shows on the cruise were amazing. Appreciated the upgrade on my room. Great food choice and plenty of restaurants. Travelled with friends. Will cruise again and ... Read More
Great prices for the 21 day cruise. Ports of call were on my bucket list. Shows on the cruise were amazing. Appreciated the upgrade on my room. Great food choice and plenty of restaurants. Travelled with friends. Will cruise again and took advantage of the CruiseNext offer. Purchased $1000 worth of coupons for future salings and got a $500 credit immediately on my account. Staff and crew were fantastic. Shore excursions were super. Participated in some of the great activities they offered. Jersey Boys, Six, These Guys and the magician and the hypnotist were so good. As well as the Beatles and The Prohibition show. Harold at the Atrium bar always made sure we were looked after drink wise. Also the number of bars on the ship were great and fun when we did our bar crawl. The casino too was lots of fun and offered lots of poker or slot contests to participate in. This being my first cruise was absolutely amazing and one I will always remember. Only thing missing was popcorn. Something for every age and gender on the cruise. Information on the Panama Canal was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise for its length and itinerary. Week long cruises are just not long enough for me now that I'm retired and can cruise longer. I cruise solo a lot and NCL usually has the best solo prices, although I do not sail in ... Read More
I chose this cruise for its length and itinerary. Week long cruises are just not long enough for me now that I'm retired and can cruise longer. I cruise solo a lot and NCL usually has the best solo prices, although I do not sail in the solo cabins as I like a balcony. How about some solo balconies NCL? Embarkation: Embarkation went smoothly since I am Platinum Plus. Ship: The Bliss is a beautiful ship! The Observation Lounge is wonderful. It's so nice to have drinks and food available right in the lounge. Another nice area is the Waterfront with comfy seating outside. Spice H2O is another outdoor area for adults only. I love the libraries on ships and this ship did have one, however, there were also tables for games here as well which means it got noisy sometimes. I wish ships would have a separate room for people to play games. Lots of people like to play cards, mah jong, etc and have no where to play. Cabin: I was in cabin #10274 which was in a great location not too far from the aft elevators. The thing I liked most about my cabin was my coffee pot! There's nothing like a cup of coffee on the balcony in the morning. There were a few things I didn't like about the cabin. Why can't they have a CHAIR at the desk instead of a dreadfully uncomfortable stool? There also should be drawers in the desk. My bed was right next to the closet which makes it very difficult to get anything out of the closet. The room configuration on the Jewel class balcony rooms is much more user friendly. Dining: There was quite a large group of solos on this cruise. We were given a section of Savor, one of the MDRs, for dinner every night. We could go right to our section and bypass any lines. I also had 9 specialty dinners. My best dinner was at Ocean Blue. We had the best waiter! The food at Le Bistro and Cagney's was great as well. Dinner in La Cucina was good, but I was not allowed to order the T-bone steak with my Platinum Plus free dining coupon even though it was within the allowable price range. I thought the Platinum Plus free dining coupon was a reward for my loyal patronage of NCL, but to put such a ridiculous restriction on it made me feel like I wasn't valued for my patronage at all. I also had dinner at Q which was good and a lot of fun. My favorite place for breakfast and lunch was the Local. I think the food here is great. It sure beats fighting the crowds at the buffet (which I went to only once). I loved the carrot cake! Everything I had there was very good and the service was very good, too. Entertainment: NCL excels when it comes to entertainment. Jersey Boys was a WOW! It was an awesome show. I loved the Beatles group. Six was a great show, but maybe more for the girls than the guys. There were some great entertainers in the crew talent show. When do they find the time to rehearse? The entertainers in the various lounges were good as well. Service: I found the crew to be helpful and friendly. Ports: There were quite a few ports on his cruise so I won't cover all of them. I think my favorite was Puerto Quetzal. I took the NCL tour to Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The old town is quite lovely with its colonial buildings and cobbled streets. Our tour included lunch in an old monastery which is now a hotel. Debarkation: What a mess! There just aren't enough Immigration agents to handle 4000 passengers. Overview: I loved this cruise! I loved the ship! I could do it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Wanted to see the new Panama Canal - Crossing was great. I was impressed at the way this large ship could dock in port so easily. The sailing was very smooth and would be a great way for people afraid of getting sea sick to ... Read More
Wanted to see the new Panama Canal - Crossing was great. I was impressed at the way this large ship could dock in port so easily. The sailing was very smooth and would be a great way for people afraid of getting sea sick to start cruising, as there was very little rocking of the ship at all. The buffet dining set up was very efficient and streamlined and was easy to get to and there was never much waiting time. The elevators at front and back of ship made it easy to get arount the ship.. The dining rooms were nice but we had to ask for shared dining for four nights before we had someone to share with and we shared with that person only because we asked her to share with us. She was also at a table seated alone when we asked her to join us. On other nights we would stand around the entrance to the restaurants and ask other couples to share our table. We were on a Norwegian cruise to the Carribean in Nov 2018 and the staff on that ship were the greatest people for asking about sharing and making a real effort to join people at tables. It's nice to have someone different to talk to at meals and we met some great people and made some new friends but most of it was through our own offorts. The entertainment was very good . Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
From transfer: the transfer bus is not ready, guests have to wait 4 hours at LAX. Embarkation: staff make sure my credit card is right, then we double check the Help Desk on ship, at the end of CRuise (21 days), they mixed up my charge ... Read More
From transfer: the transfer bus is not ready, guests have to wait 4 hours at LAX. Embarkation: staff make sure my credit card is right, then we double check the Help Desk on ship, at the end of CRuise (21 days), they mixed up my charge account. Mini Suite Room Design and Cleaning: we paid pricey for this MA class room 9 months before cruising, the design of room layout is not easy to move around and storage space is not enough. The shelf was broken and missing, the staff said, they can NOT repair it. entertainment: every show we went, we watched a lot guests left in the middle of program. most of the E-staff talk English in all kind of strange accent. food and restaurants: food is terrible in quality for freshness and the ways of prepared. The India Chief Chef maybe cook the way we are not used to it. Future Cruise: Again, bad English and worse Debarkation: at the Manhattan Term. all guests have to stand in line outside for 2 hours to get off the ship, this break the record not only for NCL, but for all the Cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had not cruised for 15 years. The Panama Canal was always on our bucket list and, we booked this cruise rather hastily as the time and price were right. We had never cruised on NCL before and loved the amenities on the ship, the ... Read More
We had not cruised for 15 years. The Panama Canal was always on our bucket list and, we booked this cruise rather hastily as the time and price were right. We had never cruised on NCL before and loved the amenities on the ship, the freestyle dining and how hard the crew worked to keep the ship clean and us healthy. The food was excellent in both the complimentary dining and specialty restaurants. Entertainment (bands and shows) were superb. I commented to my husband and friend of 40-years that this was like a "Spring Break Cruise for Baby Boomers." Loved every minute of it and am thinking about the Mediterranean cruise in November 2020. Overall, the on-the ship experience was perfect. The transfer from LAX was not -- it took us 4 hours from the time our flight landed until we got on the ship. NCL agreed that they had communication issues between themselves and the transfer agent. They made a note to refund our $35 transfer fee on the last day of the cruise, but did not. Overall, this was just a speed bump. We were otherwise extremely pleased with the NCL experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Traveled with Norweijan 4 times prior to this cruise. First 2 were amazing! Second 2 did not deliver. This was the 3rd strike. Except for Margaritaville, the food was awful. Cagney's was the worst. Length of time at some sit down ... Read More
Traveled with Norweijan 4 times prior to this cruise. First 2 were amazing! Second 2 did not deliver. This was the 3rd strike. Except for Margaritaville, the food was awful. Cagney's was the worst. Length of time at some sit down restaurants was ridiculous. I had low expectations for the buffet, but they fell short anyway. Dried out proteins. Flavorless everything else. Ran out of foods the first week. There was little talent. The singer in Familiar Strangers can't sing anything but flat. And so loud that you can't eat in the restaurant above it. 6 comics, 3 hosts: host #3 was bad & 3 of the comics were really bad. 1 I did not see. Terrible averages. Games held by cruise staff were amazingly dull or stupid. Even the contestants didn't seem to understand what was going on. Why St. Maarten and Antigua are on the schedule is a mystery to me. Both fairly dull and not much to do in either. There are many other ports they could have offered. One last thought...I'm on vacation not a shopping spree. I hate having shopping shoved down my throat on a daily basis. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was a 21 day cruise on the Norwegian Bliss, that was very disappointing. We have cruised a number of other lines before, this was our first on Norwegian. We were excited to go thru the Panama Canal, and the stops were all good, what ... Read More
This was a 21 day cruise on the Norwegian Bliss, that was very disappointing. We have cruised a number of other lines before, this was our first on Norwegian. We were excited to go thru the Panama Canal, and the stops were all good, what we expected. Careful with the excursions they provide, a number of them are just shopping stops, that you pay good money for. Our problems were mostly with the food on the ship, there was one restaurant that was good, that was at an additional fee, Cagney's Steakhouse. we ate at all the others as well. Even for the additional fees, they were not good. The buffet, was no better than an high school cafeteria's food, and the main dining rooms, not only was the food bad, but the service was even worse. To make it even worse, they did not care. One breakfast in the main dining room it took over 1 hour to get a basket of croissants, everyone else got there food but me, we asked three times, and no one even cared. Finally, just left. Balcony room on Deck 12 - was small but adequate, and room steward was good and very nice. Entertainment was good we saw Jersey Boys, Six, and a number of entertainers, All we good. If you are a smoker, you will be relegated to a small section in the Aft of the ship, not a lot of room for all the smokers, and if it rains you are in the rain. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were on a 21 day cruise from LA to Manhattan. Jersey Boys was the best show I have ever seen on the water so that is definitely worth seeing. Our balcony room was clean and comfortable. We got a bunch of the Free at Sea items. The ... Read More
We were on a 21 day cruise from LA to Manhattan. Jersey Boys was the best show I have ever seen on the water so that is definitely worth seeing. Our balcony room was clean and comfortable. We got a bunch of the Free at Sea items. The free drinks really cost $19.80 per person per day but it was still worth it given we drank more than 2 drinks a day. The specialty restaurants were good but I was very disappointed that even at Ocean Blue (their Seafood Restaurant) lobster was a $25 up-charge. I was on Royal Caribbean in January 2019 and the entire ship had free lobster in the main dining room. It felt like a slap in the face the NCL charged $25 in the specialty restaurant and lobster was never available in the main dining rooms. We were with another couple and it was disappointing that our waiters rarely knew who order what. The 24/7 "Local" restaurant was very nice, good food, even Buffalo Chicken wings. I wish I had known I could get a bag of laundry washed during the cruise for $20, I would have packed a lot less. I wish I would have known that the flights booked by NCL for me would not be known until about 30 days before the cruise and that even though we booked with people leaving from the same airport, that we would be on different flights. There were major issues with the transfer from LAX to the ship, it was very stressful, in the end NCL made it right. The price of the cruise dropped $200 per person after we booked, I specifically booked via NCL and was told they would honor any price drop ONCE. That was not the case, instead of giving us $400, we were given a $100 on board credit. I assumed we would be able to text each other and the other couple for free while on the ship. Nope, that is an up-charge on NCL. In the end we didn't bother. The 250 free minutes of WiFi was nice other than the WiFi on the ship was very slow ( Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Hi all! Now that I’m back from my 28 days on the Bliss and trying to recuperate before our January adventure I’ll try to give some of my thoughts. First of all I had a fantastic time. This was a B2B sailing the first 21 days from LA ... Read More
Hi all! Now that I’m back from my 28 days on the Bliss and trying to recuperate before our January adventure I’ll try to give some of my thoughts. First of all I had a fantastic time. This was a B2B sailing the first 21 days from LA to NYC thru the Canal, then a 7 day roundtrip to Florida and the Bahamas. The first cruise had a very different atmosphere than the second. The first had an older average passenger age and about 3800 passengers with very few under 18, while last week being a holiday week was much younger with about 4800 passengers and 1000 under 18. So things were more laid back the first 21 days and much more hectic the last 7. I ate in most specialty restaurants. I did not go to Los Lobos and Food Republic. My favorites were Le Bistro, Cagney’s and Teppanyaki, though La Cucina and Q Smokehouse were also very good. On the first 21 days, even though I had reservations, because of the length of the cruise, most restaurants had walk up seating available, but a total different situation last week, all were booked solid all week. If you don’t have reservations for dinner yet you can still book as soon as you board. On my cruises on the fist day they had reservations set up in The Social on deck 6 and most times were available, but they go quick. Though I have seen complaints about service online, I did not feel it was bad. I always allow 2 hours for dinner in the specialty restaurants. I didn’t have a bad meal in the 28 days. I did not go the buffet much, only for a quick breakfast on some days. I had lunch in The Local, basically the same as O’Sheehan’s but there are some different items then I’ve seen before. As for the shows, Jersey Boys was my favorite (I saw it 3 times over the 28 days). It is an hour and 45 minutes long, starts out a little slow but then picks up and doesn’t stop. Doors open 30 minutes before show time and line started building up 15 minutes before that. The early show was more popular but from what I saw I think all the stand by line was able to get in, but if you want a good seat, make a reservation, again you can do that once you board if it shows as sold out online. I saw Six on my first leg. The singing was excellent and the production looked great, but I wasn’t thrilled with the story line, but that is just my opinion. There were many who thought it was excellent. It is not as long as Jersey Boys. It helps if you’re familiar with Henry the 8th and his 6 wives. The Beatle cover show in the Cavern was great. They do a few shows featuring songs form different years. No reservations are needed but it is a small venue and by 30 mins before show time most seats were tabken so come early. They also do a show in the theatre, again no reservations needed. I went to most of the later Levity Comedy shows in the Social. These need reservations and can only be made once onboard so book as you can, either in the Social or use the kiosks around the ship, again they fill up fast. They also have a stand by line. Besides Jersey Boys and Six in the main theatre (which only run 2 nights each) there was always another type of show each night. There was a singer, comedy hypnotist and magician act on other nights. The main pool is larger than I’ve seen on the Escape and Breakaway. Chairs were no problem on the first 21 days, but last week with the younger larger crowd it was busier, but I always saw chairs available. Of course many know I’m fond of my beer and spent time in the Brewhouse. On the first 21 days they had a singer doing requests, not Howling At The Moon, but since the Bliss doesn’t have it, it was fun. He sang and told jokes. It was pretty filled most nights he played. On nights when there was football he was off and they showed the games on TV. Last week he was off the ship and a new singer was there. He just sang with not much interactions with the passengers and it was not as busy, but the beer is still excellent. My favorites were the Stone IPA, Magic Hat #9, Newcastle Brown Ale, Hop Gun IPA and District Pale Ale. George and Sienna were behind the bar. I also spent a good deal of time at Maltings to enjoy some Jameson Caskmate with my New Castle. Sy, Jerome, Stephan and Mark were all great behind the bar. The Observation lounge on deck 15 is beautiful. Plenty of seats and couches to sit an relax. There is a small buffet for breakfast and lunch. There’s a large circular bar to enjoy and they have a piano singer there at night. The Q Smokehouse also has a bar and they feature country western singers during the evening. There was one tender port in the 28 days, Great Stirrup Cay. I had priority and was on the first tender but I heard from many that it was very disorganized and many could not get to the island until after 1:30 PM. Since we arrive at 11 and last tender back was 5:30 many were not happy. If you plan to use a tender check the kiosks or your room TV to book a tender (no tickets, just goes on your card) and book an early tender. If you have a shore excursion you’re supposed to have priority but I heard some complain that they still couldn’t get on early. I like to try to get to the gym in mornings. They have the same equipment as other ships. I like to use the elliptical, treadmill and stationary bike. I usually had no problem getting an elliptical or treadmill but they only had 1 stationary and 1 recumbent bike so it was hard to get one. They do have a separate spin room with many spin bikes (there is a charge when they do a spin class). On other ships you were not allowed to use them if not a class, but I did see people using them at other times, but I don’t like those bikes so I didn’t. I had an aft balcony for the first 21 days and a mini suite with my wife last week. The cabins were great and I had great stewards on both cruises. The casino has a separate smoking area that is closed off from the rest of the casino so not much smell of smoke. On the first 21 days the tables were not busy and the minimum dropped to $5, but last week it was a lot busier and the minimums were back to $10. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We recently returned from a cruise on board the Norwegian Bliss. We had been on Norwegian once before about 9 years ago, and were shocked at how downhill they have gone. We have cruised with many other cruise lines in the last several ... Read More
We recently returned from a cruise on board the Norwegian Bliss. We had been on Norwegian once before about 9 years ago, and were shocked at how downhill they have gone. We have cruised with many other cruise lines in the last several years and there are some things that Norwegian do to exploit their customers that differ from other cruise lines. I believe these are things somebody considering a Norwegian cruise needs to be aware of. I list some of them below. There are more. (i) Surely the most expensive drink prices on the high seas. In 2019 you will pay USD 8.40 for a small bottle of Heineken or Stella, after adding in compulsory 20% gratuity. The cheapest glass of chardonnay available on board will set you back USD 10.80. A bottle of Matua Sauvignon Blanc, which you can buy for about USD 7 at home, will cost you USD 44.40 (thats USD 37 + 20%). Furthermore, there are no happy hours of any kind. Other cruise lines have lower beverage prices to start with, but also have happy hours every day with substantial discounts. (ii) You will pay an additional USD 7.95 "convenience charge" every time you order anything from room service. I have never seen any other cruise line charge a fee for room service. (iii) You will pay USD5 plus 20% gratuity for a bottle of drinking water. The water in cabins out of taps isn't suitable for drinking. Every other cruise line we have been on provided bottled water to cabins each day for no charge. You cannot simply go ashore and buy water and bring it to your cabin - it will be confiscated at the gangway as if it were wine or liquor. There were self service water dispensers in the garden cafe on level 16 of the Norwegian Bliss but there were signs saying you were not allowed to fill water bottles there. We ended up bringing on an empty water bottle each at a port (we discovered empty bottles are okay to bring through security). When we went to the garden cafe we would take our water bottles to our table. We would bring cups of water to the table and tip them into our bottles until they were full. (iv) the specialty restaurants are very expensive. On other cruise lines, they recognise that you have already paid for the meal in your cruise fare and just add a surcharge of about USD15 to USD20 per person for eating in the specialty restaurants. On Bliss they make you pay prices you would pay in an expensive restaurant at home, and the food is mediocre anyway (thats feedback from other passengers - we chose not to eat there). For example, a meal in the Teppanaki restaurant will cost you an extra USD 46.80 per person on top of what you have already paid for food in your cruise fare. A rib eye steak in Cagneys will cost you US$32 plus $3 for sauce plus $6 for each side plus 20% gratuity. Thats US$56.40 if you want potato and some vegetable with your steak. (v) movies in your cabin are pay per view. I can't remember seeing pay per view movies on any other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We choose this cruise because of a previous extremely incredible cruise experience. This cruise aboard the Bliss was unsatisfactory. We had very few servers and experiences that met our previous expectations. Too many people with ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of a previous extremely incredible cruise experience. This cruise aboard the Bliss was unsatisfactory. We had very few servers and experiences that met our previous expectations. Too many people with stomach flus and respiratory flus. Dining rooms and buffet never changed food options/menus the entire 3 weeks. It was monotonous. Food was ordinary even in specialty dining. Tender process was tedious and somewhat insulting. Disembarkment was a nightmare On a personal note...I miss the towel animals and chocolates in the evening Not enough elevators to service the amount of people on board. Some staff were rude and didn’t seem to really care. For example, if you’re going to say good morning to cruisers at least look them in the eye and pretend to mean it. This happened a few times but not with stewards, servers, or hosts. There were a few servers, bar tenders, and stewards that made us feel great Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
ship was new and beautiful. Staff seemed poorly trained, especially restaurants. 3 Main dinning rooms had very mediocre food and poor and slow service. Specialty restaurants were wonderful, great food and staff. Bars and bar staff (very ... Read More
ship was new and beautiful. Staff seemed poorly trained, especially restaurants. 3 Main dinning rooms had very mediocre food and poor and slow service. Specialty restaurants were wonderful, great food and staff. Bars and bar staff (very well trained) were wonderful. Buffet was disappointing compared to a dozen other cruises I have been on. Rooms (mini-suite) was very nice and bathroom was the best I have ever had on a cruise. Two production shows ( SIX and JERSEY BOYS) were terrific but other theatre shows were just average and the theatre was too small for the crowd (passengers were turned away at each performance). Went on 8 shore excursions and was happy with all of them. The Casino was excellent and very large with a great variety of games. I would NOT RECCOMEND this ship if you are primarily interested in food or entertainment or good service, but since the ship itself was beautiful maybe NCL will get their act together in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this ship because of the itinerary, going thru the Panama Canal. Also we were attracted to the ports, but were disappointed that the first port (Puerta Vallarta) was changed to Ensenada. Ensenada has nothing to see or do, except ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the itinerary, going thru the Panama Canal. Also we were attracted to the ports, but were disappointed that the first port (Puerta Vallarta) was changed to Ensenada. Ensenada has nothing to see or do, except walk the streets and be pestered by vendors. Very disappointed that several of the FREE shows, including The Jersey Boys and the comedians, required tickets! This was not clearly communicated and we ended up getting tickets to the final show of Jersey Boys at 10:30 on night before disembarking! The theater on this ship only seats 800 people, and there were 4000 guests on the ship. Only four shows by The Jersey Boys..... so do the math. 800 guests could NOT see the show!! Poor planning! Hopefully this is improved for future entertainment. The complimentary restaurants were great, but all had the same menu!? Don’t know if this is the norm on Norwegian but no point in visiting all of them except for the decor. Finally internet service was horrible! We purchased the “unlimited” internet because my husband needs to keep in touch with his research lab. Three days of NO service and on other days, connections were extremely slow.....3-5 minutes to send a two-sentence email. Trying to connect to any web sites was almost a joke. With all the free time on sea days, was excited to work on family geneology but Could not do any research on common genealogy sites such as Ancestry or Fsmily Search. The ship is beautiful and had great staff. Stateroom was very comfortable. Loved the buffet! I do wish some cruises would offer other activities on sea days rather than just jewelry sales or art auctions. How about interesting lectures on a variety of topics, or free movies, Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Wanted to try a different experience from Holland America, which we find to be excellent, also, but the Bliss was a new ship, and much larger, with more activities. Overall, GREAT experience, but will try to give the positive and not ... Read More
Wanted to try a different experience from Holland America, which we find to be excellent, also, but the Bliss was a new ship, and much larger, with more activities. Overall, GREAT experience, but will try to give the positive and not so positive aspects of our cruise from L.A. through Panama Canal into Miami. Getting on the ship was a real trying event. Not sure if it was the port of L.A. or NCL, but it was disorganized and confusing from the bus provided from the airport by NCL until WE took our luggage to be processed. Once that was done, the process moved smoothly, but it was not a good first impression, and we wondered if that was an indicator of things to come. (It wasn't.) Cabin was great, dining options excellent, entertainment options OUTSTANDING, with exception of Havana, which didn't seem to flow at all. "Beatles" fantastic, as were the Jersey Boys. Dining options also excellent. Service and staff friendly and helpful. Soooo many helpful folks the list would be too long to name them all. Only two banks of elevators for 18 levels. One bank in front, one bank in back. None in the middle of the ship. Elevators not synchronized AT ALL. Usually very packed when it finally arrived after a long wait. Became a joke among the passengers. The good news about long wait and packed elevators is that MANY folks decided to walk the stairs instead of waiting, and so we walked off a lot of the calories the fantastic food on board provided!!! Logistics getting luggage on the ship to begin the cruise, and finding location of luggage getting off the ship, and finding and waiting on buses for the excursions seemed to be a weakness, but on the ship itself it would be hard to do much better. Coffee plantation tour was great. Cartagena excursion was a disappointment. Mostly promoting the guide's favorite shops, plus didn't even go to the Gold Museum that was listed. Several hours in heat on the go without time to look at any much except favorite vendors of our specific guide. NCL did make an adjustment for missing the museum when we pointed that out back on board, so NCL folks were responsive (partial credit back to our account), so we believe they were fair about that. We were not at all confident or comfortable with the way the lifeboat drill was handled. We assembled in one of the theaters as an assembly spot, not at the boats, (there would not be room at the boats because Deck 7 at boats is very narrow) The life vests were demonstrated in the theater, but were not in our cabins as with Holland America. While the need for them is almost non-existent, IF there were a need to abandon ship, I think it would not go well getting to theater, being issued a life vest, then finding the right lifeboat. Although the boat number was on the cabin swipe card, if a guest did not take the time to find the right lifeboat before needing it, I suspect the confusion of 4000 passengers not having life vests until they get to the assembly point would be very comforting. What if they became disoriented, or for some other reason never made it there, or to the boat. (Plus, 1700 crew members would be in the "mix"!) Would we do it again? Will we travel on NCL again? Oh, yeah!!! Best cruise taken so far, in spite of a few concerns. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The staff could not be more gracious or helpful wanting the best for the passengers. The food in the regular complimentary dining rooms was for the most part as good as specialty restaurants and loved the option of smaller venues like ... Read More
The staff could not be more gracious or helpful wanting the best for the passengers. The food in the regular complimentary dining rooms was for the most part as good as specialty restaurants and loved the option of smaller venues like Taste and Savour. Another favourite complimentary venue was the Local, conveniently located near the Theatre for pre or post show dinners. The shows ranged from fair to fabulous with The Jersey Boys getting standing ovations. The decor was stunning and sailing on a new ship was a real joy. Despite the size with over 4000 passengers, there was never a true feeling of over crowding - except perhaps on excursion mornings out of the theatre which was still handled well. Due to weather concerns pre cruise, there were some port changes which, while disappointing, were of course beyond the control of NCL. Compensation for the changes were made through OBCs and appreciated. Would definitely choose the Bliss again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was by far the best suites cruise we have ever taken! From the perfect service to the wonderful food and a beautiful ship it was excellent. We did not care for the pacific mexican ports but the cruise it self was everything and more ... Read More
This was by far the best suites cruise we have ever taken! From the perfect service to the wonderful food and a beautiful ship it was excellent. We did not care for the pacific mexican ports but the cruise it self was everything and more we could have wanted. If you are in the haven make sure you take advantage of the special elevator getting on and off the ship on port days it was so helpful not fighting all the people. We could have used a little more storage in our suite for clothes and things but it was done very well. The Haven food and service was so good no need to go any where else! Last this was our 54 cruise but First on NCL. We have been on many nice ships and have had great service but our stateroom attendant was the best we have ever had by far. The Race track was great as well and shows were wonderful. What can I say but thank you NCL for a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Experiencing the Panama Canal with NCL seemed like a great idea, since NCL is my favored cruise line and the Canal was on my bucket list. My groups experience was mixed. This new ship is beautiful. Gone are the garish days of purple ... Read More
Experiencing the Panama Canal with NCL seemed like a great idea, since NCL is my favored cruise line and the Canal was on my bucket list. My groups experience was mixed. This new ship is beautiful. Gone are the garish days of purple and red; now is a feeling of sophistication. Most of the regular NCL line up of restaurants and bars is present, built in a purposeful way rather than looking like an add-on. Plus the addition of an observation deck was a plus for this cruise as the weather wasn’t always great. This new ship is “tender”. My sailing-captain friend used this term to describe how you could feel the waves. We liked that it felt like you were on the o unlike most large ships. We did notice that most of the specialty restaurants were mostly empty, especially Jimmy Buffet and Food Republic. Perhaps this is because NCL now does al la cart pricing for all but two of their Specialty restaurants. Some pricing isn’t a small up-charge from the cost of free meal (i.e. which are included in the fare). This is a large boat with lots of people, while you can usually find a spot to hide-out, some parts of the ship couldn’t handle the crowd, e.g. the theater, the buffet. Also by day 10 I was definitely feeling that the need to get-away. This was a 2 week itinerary. NCL changed the Mexico ports twice. And, time was very limited in a couple of the ports. The good: • There are new eating options. The BBQ place was tasty (we ate there twice (though the al la cart cost was over $50 for just me). Always like Teppanyaki, also went there twice. The chefs there were very entertaining. • Continue to like the Studios. This allows me to have my own cabin without a single supplement. The common area is beautiful. • Experiencing the canal. This was fascinating and beautiful, though it was very difficult to see through the crowd. • The new Observation Lounge is a great place to hang out during the day. They even offer food if you want a break from the buffet. What is up with people sleeping on all the couches though? • Breakfast in the dining rooms was tasty. They varied the menus each day. In the buffet area, there were lots of egg stations. • The service in dining rooms was outstanding (though sometimes slow in Manhattan). They accommodated all our various “custom” requests and acknowledged us on our return visits. The not-so-good: • In most of the restaurants, there were food warmth issues. All food from the Local pub was lukewarm. Even at Cagneys, some of the sides were not well heated. Why are all dips, dressings and sauces watery? Why did Ocean Blue smell so badly? Most of the fish we had in other places had a fishy taste (which has not been my experience on other ships). And, Food Republic was a huge disappointment, having the oddest sushi I have ever eaten. Everything there seemed pre-prepared and reheated. Finally, what happened to serving lobster? The shrimp served as part of my surf and turf at Cagneys was sad. • As with most large ships, the availability of elevators was not sufficient. It seemed at time that some were not running, i.e. staying on one floor (15 or 16). There were lots of scooters, which would fill an elevator. • All the bartenders, but a few, were very cranky and unhappy. There were no smiles, thank you or any other chatter. In week two, I started asking him or her if they were happy to be on the ship. I miss the days when we used to sign a ticket and set the tip. • The drink package is more limited than other cruise lines. It doesn’t include water, espresso or other specialty drinks. It was odd that I could drink vodka for free but had to buy bottled water for my cabin. • Shows were sold out on first day. Clearly the large crowd was not accommodated. • Although touted as having lots of on-board shopping options, there was no boutique with suits, sandals, shirts, etc. However there were lots of unpurchased watches and jewelry. • The time in Columbia was very short. Because of a broken down shuttle we only got to spend three hours there. Having already been to Mexico ports, this was an important stop. • While the race cars were fun, they seemed out of place and weren’t available most of the time. Plus the staff seemed overly cautious in taking control of all the cars several times during the race. I think the real estate could have been used as more outdoor or pool space which was tight on sea days. • CAUTION! When using a computer in the Internet Café, I was logged into someone else’s email account. The security of these workstations needs to be improved, e.g. it needs to clear pages, cache and cookies when you log out. And sadly, the Internet is still not great. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
It’s all about connections isn’t it? Whether it’s Danijel at Le Bistro, or Scott at Cagney’s, or Emelie and Mihai at the Manhattan they make you feel special. Like a VIP with each encounter! And the YUMMY YUMMY for your TUMMY ... Read More
It’s all about connections isn’t it? Whether it’s Danijel at Le Bistro, or Scott at Cagney’s, or Emelie and Mihai at the Manhattan they make you feel special. Like a VIP with each encounter! And the YUMMY YUMMY for your TUMMY bakery clones (twins) made our day, EVERYDAY of the Cruise! We wouldn’t change a single thing! Fantastic 14 days that we wish lasted longer. The NCL Bliss is flawless! Perfection at sea! The 15th deck is unbelievable! The food choices are fantastic! Entertainment is out of this world! The crew is the hardest working anywhere! Pilinda at the Atrium bar is so funny and nice. She’s our favorite! The places to “get lost” and just enjoy the ocean air are to numerous to count. The pools always have music and fun stuff going on. Simply a wonderful way to relax and sit back and get spoiled. NCL is the best! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Norwegian Bliss Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.0
Value For Money 3.5 3.5

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