8 Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles

I chose to sail on the NCL Bliss because it is Norwegian's newest, largest ship. Usually, newer means better. But the design of this ship and the crew of the Bliss proved they are truly "not ready for prime time." The NCL ... Read More
I chose to sail on the NCL Bliss because it is Norwegian's newest, largest ship. Usually, newer means better. But the design of this ship and the crew of the Bliss proved they are truly "not ready for prime time." The NCL Bliss is indeed a beautiful ship. MANY facets of the ship were fantastic, from the relaxing observation lounge on deck 15 to the overall ship decor, which is chic and contemporary. The designers did a great job creating a comfortable experience. However, so many other important elements of the ship's design are lacking. The most obvious issue was that this massive ship only has forward and aft elevator banks, with none in the center. How did the architects think over 6.200 passengers and crew were supposed to navigate about such a massive ship with so few elevators? I noticed hundreds of people congregating near the elevators all throughout the days of my 7 day cruise. So many passengers gave way to "crowd-think" mentality, which meant becoming rude and somewhat aggressive in their fight for elevators. Otherwise, they were forced to walk many floors of stairs to reach their desired floors. Couldn't NCL executives anticipate this dynamic might occur on such a large ship? Also, the communications system onboard the NCL Bliss was awkward. Sure, NCL has a telephone APP for passengers to use onboard to help them schedule daily activities, and the same activities are also shown on the in-cabin TV screen and printed in the daily newsletter, but NONE OF THEM ARE IN SYNC! For instance, the NCL phone app is supposed to load activities at least 24 hours ahead of time, but it often didn't display them even a few hours ahead. And the in-cabin TV app was also inaccurate at times. In all, I found the best strategy was to just take along the PRINTED guide provided to my cabin and maintain my actual calendar on my own personal phone calendar. SMH. The in-cabin screen also displayed the Mazatlan port stop as a "sea day" for the entire length of the cruise. I pointed this error out to the Guest Services desk, but they only kicked the can down the road and made it clear they couldn't be bothered. SMH. As for my cabin, it was designed comfortably and with a soothing blue/brown color scheme. Exactly what I anticipated on the NCL Bliss. I was pleased with the individual reading spotlights placed on either side of the bed along with the corresponding USB input jacks for charging electronic devices. Very convenient. My room steward couldn't be worse! I asked for one special item to be placed in my room which, on ALL 40 previous cruises with various cruise lines has never been a problem. But this steward had to be asked numerous times a still failed to provide. So, I escalated the matter. And again...and again...and again...SEVEN times! It took three days until the simple item was delivered -- a small plastic ice bucket. How hard is that?! When I activated the "do not disturb" sign on my door, the room steward constantly ignored it. He was always calling and knocking and bothering me about silly things. I finally had to raise my voice to him and remind him that "do not disturb" means JUST THAT! On many occasions, I was not feeling well and just wanted to relax. Overall, my dining experience on the NCL Bliss was subpar compared to other cruise lines. I ALWAYS dined in the reservations-only Manhattan room and in the same section. But the experience was poorly executed by NCL. As for the service, even though guests are required to reserve their tables in the Manhattan room, NCL subjects them to standing in not one, but two separate hostess lines to be seated. I've never stood in two lines at ANY restaurant in America where I had made previous reservations, just to be seated. What was the sense in that? There were other key issues where the waitstaff messed things up. First, EVERY TIME I had just sat down, the waiter or waitress INSTANTANEOUSLY pounced on me for my order! I had to remind them that I had barely sat down and needed a few moments to receive my water and study the menu. But they never listened. Second, upon being seated at the same time and at almost the same table with the same waitstaff, they NEVER remembered my preferences (e.g.: that I NEVER eat bread during meals or that I ALWAYS prefer lemon slices with my water). I mean, the waiters only served a few tables simultaneously, so how could they not remember certain key details like those? And I found myself always having to BEG for water. Finally, even before I was finished with my plates, the waitstaff constantly attempted to remove the plates! Who does that? In all, I found the NCL Bliss waitstaff to be grossly inexperienced and undertrained. As for the food, it was obviously prepared in a huge galley with little quality control. First, EVERY salad I received was served in a warm bowl or plate, causing the greens to wilt before reaching the table, Any chef worth his salt knows that salads should ALWAYS be served chilled and in chilled bowls/plates. So, I often sent them back in order to have them prepared fresh. Second, most of the entrees were either flavorless or served barely warm, or both. It's clear the NCL Bliss chefs don't taste their food for quality control. Once again, I sent back items until I found a replacement that was appetizing. Third, I addressed my concerns with the Maitre'd and he said he would "deal with" the issues. But nothing happened. Business as usual on the Bliss. They must figure it they ignore problems, they go away. Finally, as for daily activities, I was surprised at how far NCL would go to make money. MANY of the scheduled activities, like craft hour, required passengers to pay fees to partake. The nickel-and-diming on the NCL Bliss was record-breaking, I found. But I attended the "comedy shows" and a stage production called "Six." The comedy shows were a joke, if you'll excuse the pun. During the first show I attended, it was considered a "family-friendly" performance. There were over 10 children in the room under the age of 12. The comedian decided to focus his entire show on those children and reveled the audience with inappropriate "jokes" about a) male penises, b) public urination on others' faces, c) homosexuality/homophobia and d) how much he hates the current president of the United States. How were these topics humorous to 12 year-olds? When I decided to attend the "18+" comedy show on the last evening of the cruise, nearly every sentence was wrapped around the f-bomb or kinky sex topics. SMH. What ever happened to truly funny comedy that doesn't require offensive topics or cursing to be humorous? Clearly, NCL needs to do a better job at screening its "comedians." I also attended a show called "Six." It was a pre-Broadway release show about the six man-hating, feminist former ex-wives of England's King Henry 8th. The show storyline made no sense, in my opinion. The vocals were "pitchy" at best, so it was clear that these performers were not the best NCL could find. But the costumes were flashy. As for port experiences, I only chose to visit Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. In Cabo, I took an NCL sponsored "Luxury Day Sail & Snorkel" cruise. The 50-foot vessel motored around the Bay for three hours and stopped for some snorkeling. Only at the very end, for about 15 minutes, did the crew raise the sails. That experience was my best experience during my Mexican Riviera cruise. In Mazatlan, I chose to take a shore excursion provided by a private tour operator. It was comprehensive and included lunch. Very enjoyable, as well. Overall, I found the NCL Bliss to be a beautiful ship, but it has many design, service, management and flow problems. I would recommend it to first-time cruisers, but maybe not experienced cruisers. This was only my second time sailing with NCL, and after this cruise it will be my last. NCL as a company is just too difficult to deal with, from its pre-sailing customer "no-service" to its onboard experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I am a Latitudes member and like the "freestyle" approach. There is something for everyone to do. You can be active -- or not. You can be entertained -- or not. You can go to many different food venues -- or consistently go ... Read More
I am a Latitudes member and like the "freestyle" approach. There is something for everyone to do. You can be active -- or not. You can be entertained -- or not. You can go to many different food venues -- or consistently go to your favorite restaurant. The choice is always yours. We are in our "seventies" and still continue to enjoy cruising. We stayed busy all day on this cruise. Never bored -- not even for one minute. The service is great. They handled 4,500 passengers as if it were only 450 passengers. No long lines or inconveniences. It had been a long time since we were in LA so we decided to spend a few days and enjoy some sights. That was a great idea and I am glad we did it. The port in Mexico were new to us and quite beautiful.. We did a little shopping, toured a little and enjoyed some tequila! I cannot say enough about the fabulous entertainment. We had seen Jersey Boys in the theater and I can say that NCL's show was just as good if not better! They also added a show called SIX about the wives of Henry the Eighth. Wow, wow Wow!!! this will be a broadway hit when it comes out. The Beatles show was a great stroll down memory lane and the comedians kept us entertained for several nights! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I went on this cruise for my play daughters birthday. Although the bliss is a beautiful ship the service sucked. i payed for specialty dinners for two. i try not to eat off of a buffet because l don’t eat meat nor anything cooked with ... Read More
I went on this cruise for my play daughters birthday. Although the bliss is a beautiful ship the service sucked. i payed for specialty dinners for two. i try not to eat off of a buffet because l don’t eat meat nor anything cooked with meat. i could not get any reservations at the seafood restaurant or any of the specialty restaurants . I was not informed in advanced that getting reservations was going to be so difficult. the last two days of the trip i was finally told to go to the restaurants and see if they could seat us. The seafood restaurant told us no but cagney’s was very caring and understood my dilemma. They also were able to make room for my daughter that is wheelchair bound. Cootos to cagney’s and the people that helped us. when all the other specialty restaurants told me no, they said no problem. The buffet food, i’ll just say for lunch and dinner was bread and salad for me. This is the first cruise i did not know my stewards name or who he or she was. i cruised for 7 days, the first two days my room was not made up at all. the third day it was after 6 and they came to make up my room and i wouldn’t let them because i traveled with three disabled adults that were going to sleep. Even though i asked that my room be made up no later than 6 the day before. AND THEY DID NOT MAKE ONE ANIMAL NOR DID THEY DO ANYTHING SPECIAL TO MAKE US FEEL WELCOME Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship was beautifully and tastefully decorated. The cabins were cleaned perfectly. Rose was great at cleaning our rooms multiple times a day. All of the latest technologies with touch screens, key card tap entry to the cabins, and ... Read More
The ship was beautifully and tastefully decorated. The cabins were cleaned perfectly. Rose was great at cleaning our rooms multiple times a day. All of the latest technologies with touch screens, key card tap entry to the cabins, and outside activities. The shows "six" and "Jersey boys" were spectacular. So much talent!! A large variety of complementary food was available 24 hours a day in many different places. The only complaint I had, was not being able to bring any type of soda or water, only Pepsi products were available. We are Dr.pepper fans. The photos were nice, expensive as usual. Getting on and off the shop was relatively smooth. The staff was friendly and always helpful. Joy ,a waitress in the Manhattan dining room made the cruise for us. So glad that we tried Norwegian again after the first bad experience. Extremely relaxing week!! We will definitely be back.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The timing was perfect. We had already been to the Caribbean and wanted somewhere different. They work like a well oiled machine. All ship personnel were knowledgeable about the ship. The embarking and disembarking went smoothly, even the ... Read More
The timing was perfect. We had already been to the Caribbean and wanted somewhere different. They work like a well oiled machine. All ship personnel were knowledgeable about the ship. The embarking and disembarking went smoothly, even the tenders were easy. There were a good balance of sea days and port days. Just a LOT of people on that ship, hard to get an elevator. The food is amazing, and the specialty restaurants are awesome. There was not much room at the pool, unfortunately there is only one adult only pool. The one thing I found to be unfortunate is the standard for dress in the dining rooms. No one seems to want to get dressed up anymore. This in my opinion, lowers the standard of the people on board. I used to look forward to dress up nights. Even at the Theatre shows, shorts and t-shirts. Though the staff are diligent about washing hands, my husband and I both picked up a bug and were sick for the last few days. We enjoyed ourselves, and the excursions were as promised. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
When I cruise, which is every few years, ¬I welcome the chance to join a community specific to our choices to be together on an adventure. The community we create is supported generally by the staff of the cruise line. I have needs, but I ... Read More
When I cruise, which is every few years, ¬I welcome the chance to join a community specific to our choices to be together on an adventure. The community we create is supported generally by the staff of the cruise line. I have needs, but I usually accommodate myself. However, on my last cruise I experienced a different community. It wasn’t the fellow cruisers but the actual cruise line that reduced my ability to have fun. I have been home now for 3 days and I thought long and hard about writing this letter. First the compliments which will take up more space than the complaint. Most of your staff were excellent at their jobs, and those who were very new to their jobs can be excused as poor English speakers which led to few interesting misunderstandings which were humorous and easily resolved. Mihael who was my first maître d’ was very kind and sincerely supportive. His commitment to customer service is exceptional and sincere. When we are remembered, we feel valuable, it was very kind. When I dined at Taste he was so kind and helpful. Our room steward, James was very responsive, and great at his job, we a party of 3 adored him, were grateful for his help and kindness, not to mention his towel folding ability was greatly appreciated. The food was great, some of the best that I ever ate. I loved dining in the Manhattan Room, the broths Pho in the Garden Buffet was amazing and lifesaving to both my cabin mate and I. My friend spent a ton of time at the smoker’s area on Deck 17 and had a blast with all the wonderful people she met there. I was very fond of deck areas on 7 that were outside and so comfortable, I found many folks there who like my friends and I enjoyed being out of the harsh sun. We saw everything we wanted to and marveled at the wonders of nature that we experienced. Whales, flying fish and the west coast equivalent of the end of the continent. My ADA stateroom was clean and welcoming. When we began to plan this trip, we were unaware that our cruise began on the day of the show we had waited for 2 years to see, would premier on the first day of our cruise. We were VERY concerned about what we should do, and my internet package which was suggested by one of your call center employees allowed me to watch Game of Thrones, which was an event that my cruise mates were so excited to share. Thanks to that person for making our day. I wish I had written his name down as it was soo special to be able to do that. Attention to hand sanitizing was vigilant and I appreciated the staff assigned to those stations. A couple of my cruise-mates I and have worked in many theatres and we were not very impressed with Havana, as it was a confusing storyline. However, it was well sung, danced and the acting was pretty good. That said, Jersey Boys was a treat to the senses. The singing was great! Despite the noise from below our feet as the show was in its first half hour, and the rolling of the ship, the cast did not miss a beat or step. The lighting was unexpected, and I would like to extend my appreciation for the cast and crew. They transitioned from one effect to costume changes to moving of set pieces in a non-obtrusive manner which is appreciated by those of us who have worked for many many years in this field. One of our party is a Drama teacher and I am a retired stage manager, who is married to a lighting designer. In other words, we know a good show when we see one and we saw a great show on this cruise. The ship is beautiful, huge and well designed. huge It could use better signage, maps and directions as it’s a huge ship and mid ship is hard to find. Now for what was not great, no, not great at all. I was very uncomfortable navigating the halls with your room service carts. I rented the smallest of scooters and still got stuck nearly every day in the halls due to them taking up all the hall space that would allow walking and those of us requiring mobility assistance needed to proceed. Your staff seemed inconvenienced by my NEED to have them position the cart so that not only I but others could navigate to our staterooms from the common areas. A suggestion: can the staff move the carts into the alcoves of the rooms that they are cleaning? Could they somehow be more aware of their blocking the hallways which is dangerous for us. As the rooms they are cleaning are usually empty, this seems like an easy fix for those of us with strollers or other mobility assistance devices required to have the same experience as those who can walk. People are very helpful, but they are not always. Those who can walk are sometimes unaware that they should be more aware of those who cannot walk. I saw parents bring this to their children’s attention, but not for days did it register. I pay to be able to travel without discrimination and the lack of any way to get to my stateroom due to the elevators being crammed full of people who could walk, was really frustrating and off putting since it was easily corrected. This brings me to another complaint. When we who require an elevator to navigate from our staterooms to any place on the ship, we have to wait because there is no room for us in the elevators, We wait and wait for nearly 20 minutes as I did my first day, it seems obvious to me that at those peak hours you reserve a family/mobility assistance elevator for us? That way people like me would not look into an elevator full of people who are clueless and do not even appear to notice that they could use the steps instead of monopolizing the only way we with mobility issues would be able to get to where we need to go, this was true at the muster and every day there was a shore excursion, and again at debarkation. Signage, like busses have reminding people that they can/should give others a chance. This usually applies to those traveling with children, disabilities and others with special needs. To throw us into the general population to fend for ourselves is not a way to assist us with obtaining our needs. Additionally, please provide the ingredients on the menus, like agave instead of honey. I am allergic to agave and when I ate at Margaritaville, I had a salad that had agave instead of honey. I did not put this food allergy down as with my shellfish allergy manage it myself. However, I was sick for 2 days and very uncomfortable and felt terrible. I will never not list that again, however, remember, until this trip and my meal at Margaritaville did I need to even mention it. No restaurant, café, nothing before this instance. And finally, I was called twice from 8:00 am to 8:05 am to ensure that I come to guest services to collect a nonrefundable deposit. Since I was returning my scooter to the same place it was in my plans anyway. When I got there I got into an expected line. I waited while the staff took care of each one of the guests who proceeded me in a very efficient and what appeared to be a very respectful manner. When it came to me, I was asked to wait as the person answered a call, then he went to another guest at a location where they were seated. He then went behind the desk, remember I have now waited in my mobility scooter, while he cared for no less than 3 guests ahead of me while I was seated first in line. As I have mentioned, I waited a lot on this trip and at the end of it demanding that I wait while others were receiving respectful treatment was truly above my patience level. I yelled and pointed at the very rude gentlemen, who sent over a really nice Asian woman, who apologized for my dissatisfaction with my treatment, to which I told her, I appreciated her gracious apology, but it did not excuse the rude behavior that her predecessor had assaulted me with. You see when it has been clear that the only thing about you, that mattered to NCL was the money I spent. My comfort was never a priority, that is a really a bad thing to say about a cruise, isn’t it? As you may be able to tell, I enjoyed this as much as I could, but in the face of rude and disinterested staff, which by the way, this is my 5th cruise but my first and probably last on NCL. You see there was cruise to Greece presentation that my cruise mate and I had always wanted to take, which because of my rude treatment we both decided that we would look elsewhere, I was also interested in purchasing a trip for my sister to Hawaii as a retirement present. One person is responsible for those choices otherwise I would be booked for at least two more cruises for at least 6 more people. This is a very unfortunate choice that I feel I MUST make for my own safety, and the enjoyment of my companions. Please consider that I am aware of the difficulty of managing everyone’s good time and how hard that work can be. However, it was a costly trip, I was denied upgrades because of my mobility disability and the above difficulties made this a very painful experience both emotionally and physically. Getting stuck in the hallway was scary. This was a treat for myself and my friends of over 40 years. They helped me tons. They were not supposed to have to. They are both nearly 70 and they were moving carts out of the way, not your staff, whom were oblivious to what they caused in the hallways and when they were asked for help, they were as I said with few exceptions notably inconvenienced. Getting on board was very efficient both I and my travelling companions were so impressed by your staff and their understanding of the mobility challenged and the same was true once I got a wheelchair and was off on the debarkation adventure. I was so secure in the gentleman who helped me to get off the ship and to the bench before I caught the cab. I found so many comfortable places to rest play and eat. I needed the rest, as did my companions and we all enjoyed the Observation Lounge and the side decks around 7 and 8 which had the perfect shade and temperature for us elder travelers. When I tried to contact the special assistance coordinator, all I got was a form letter, twice. Weather was great, travel to and from was great, only the items listed above were reasons to mention anything other than my appreciation, that said there should be nothing. I was appalled that a person in a walker was left to fend for herself at the dock in Puerta Vallarta. Equally appalling was the fact that this was witnessed by several cruisers and let’s face it the woman using the walker was the most responsible in her party as she was at the dock. Hoping for rescue only to see her chance sail away. NCL is not completely responsible and did everything to warn those who went ashore that they were to keep to ship time, and it was clear that these people were not able to adhere to the rules, nor keep time, it was still horrible to see an elder left at the dock. My culture says that we never leave our elders out. I understand that this is unique. ¬¬¬ Please understand that it is solely my poor treatment at checkout that cost you two cruises, and about 6-10 thousand dollars Thank you for a good time as far as it went. I wish I didn’t have to bring your attention to the details above, but they were glaring to me and deserved comment. I will attempt ¬¬to warn others about the possibilities they may face at the guest services check out desk and, in the hallways, as well as the elevators. To be treated as a lesser species by the very people who are benefiting from my spending, is harsh treatment to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Hurricane caused the itinerary change from Mexican Riviera to San Francisco, San Diego, and Ensenada, ports that are all "home" so we stayed onboard. It was still a lot of fun. We're used to much smaller ships and so ... Read More
Hurricane caused the itinerary change from Mexican Riviera to San Francisco, San Diego, and Ensenada, ports that are all "home" so we stayed onboard. It was still a lot of fun. We're used to much smaller ships and so enjoyed all the activities and entertainment available on the Bliss. There was a very heterogenous mix of ages from children to seniors and there were many activities for everyone. Being smashed into elevators was unpleasant, but the elevators were fast and numerous so it was tolerable. Events in the atrium were also crowded but it still was possible to find a seat or view from the upper level. The pool area was crowded but we didn't go there. Otherwise, the ship is designed so that the large number of guests are spread out and it doesn't seem too packed. All the restaurants have attractive dividers so the rooms seem much smaller than their actual size. Service was always speedy. You had to make it very clear if you didn't want to be rushed through a meal. Wait staff became much friendlier when they weren't so busy. All in all, it is a lovely ship and we had a very good time. A week is long enough, though. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We were intrigued by the idea of cruising on a brand new ship. And we were not disappointed. Fantastic amenities, great food, outstanding entertainment, excellent service. Our shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta to Majahuitas and Yelapa ... Read More
We were intrigued by the idea of cruising on a brand new ship. And we were not disappointed. Fantastic amenities, great food, outstanding entertainment, excellent service. Our shore excursion in Puerto Vallarta to Majahuitas and Yelapa was some of the most fun I’ve had in years. The variety of dishes in the buffet and on the menus for the several restaurants we frequented was numerous. Quality and presentation of meals were outstanding Loved the bowling alley, the Battle of the Cake Masters. I was a judge for the men’s sexiest legs contest; what a riot! We were not able to go to Mazatlan because of a tropical storm brewing in the area, and I appreciate the ship captain’s decision to not risk the lives of the passengers and get everyone home safely. My only criticism of the whole experience was the rock hard mattress that made sleeping somewhat of a challenge. But hey, that’s what drugs are for,no? Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Norwegian Bliss Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.5 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.5 N/A
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.0
Value for Money 3.5 N/A

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