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

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
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
I booked a cabin facing forwards at the front of the ship underneath the captain's bridge to give me the best possible view of the canal. The cabin was quite spacious with plenty of storage space, and perfectly adequate for my needs. ... Read More
I booked a cabin facing forwards at the front of the ship underneath the captain's bridge to give me the best possible view of the canal. The cabin was quite spacious with plenty of storage space, and perfectly adequate for my needs. Considering the number of passengers embarkation went quite smoothly. I used all the dining areas with the exception of the speciality ones. The self service garden cafe was well stocked with a good choice of food at all meal times. I used this and the Manhatten Room,Savor and Taste restaurants mainly in the evenings. Although there was usually a queue at all 3 they operated a call system which would let you know when your table was available. Usually within 15 minutes, and this worked very well.The food and service was usually good but some members of the serving staff looked disinterested and needed a course in public relations. I used the smaller restaurants Savor and Taste only 2/3 times but the service especially in the morning was dreadful and I waited sometimes for nearly 30 mins to be served and so reverted to the self service garden cafe. The entertainment was excellent but all did get quite full and you had to book early or queue up hoping to get a seat. The public rooms were all well furbished and quite spacious although they could do with a lot more seating in the atrium.The observation room was very spacious. The shore excursions were very varied and well organised considering the number of passengers on board, but all the ones I went on did call at specific shops such as jewellers, silversmiths and the like to entice you to buy. Although I did not use the fitness or recreation facilities because of my age they all looked quite well fitted out for those that did. Disembarkation in New York was a disaster area, because of the passenger numbers and slowness of the American immigration system. I waited about 3 hours to clear this, most of the time in a huge winding queue, with the result that I missed my pre- booked taxi to the airport who had given up on me and I had to make alternative arrangements. Overall I did enjoy the cruise, although the number of passengers did cause problems at times and I would prefer smaller ships in the future. Having said all that one thing marred the whole cruise and that was the so called "Daylight Transit of The Panama Canal" which was anything but. Being a civil engineer I chose this cruise to admire the effort and work that had gone into its construction.The cruise was widely advertised as a daytime transit of the canal, but in the event we entered the canal after midnight and arrived in Lake Gatun early in the morning where we moored up for about 2 hours to pass the time, with only one lock left to pass through. The canal is unlit apart from the locks, and to expect passengers to stay up all night is inconsiderate and not practical,not to mention a waste of the money I spent on the cruise. The captain stated that it was because of the tides but these can be predicted years in advance and the itinerary adjusted accordingly. Rumours on the ship indicated that it is cheaper to transit the canal overnight than during the day and was merely a cost saving exercise on the part of NCL, at the passengers expense, and ignoring the advertised details. On complaining to NCL on my return, I just received an obvious standard reply to say they can alter the ports of call if they wish, but this was far more than a port of call and was an important highlight of the cruise.In my opinion it could be considered a breach of contract. So beware ! Reading reports of other NCL cruises this sort of thing in missing out important parts, or ports, has happened before on other cruises, with a general lack of consideration for the passengers, whilst NCL hide behind the small print. I would have to be very careful before I booked similar cruises with them again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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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