1,182 Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise due to port proximity to our home state of Arizona. This is an incredibly large ship with a lot to do. Overall, or experience was very good. We had two big "singles" groups on board & struggled in getting ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to port proximity to our home state of Arizona. This is an incredibly large ship with a lot to do. Overall, or experience was very good. We had two big "singles" groups on board & struggled in getting reservations for dinner. Only availability was either at 5pm or 9pm. This made it difficult for my elderly parents. The staff was not as friendly as I have experienced on previous cruises. Felt like I was bothering them at times when ordering drinks or asking questions. The individual that checked us in at port made some mistakes & did not load our credit card information for both cabins we were occupying. This made us have to go to Customer Relations in the main lobby. The individual that assisted us barely even looked up at us as he completed the necessary changes. Was a bit uncomfortable with it all being my elderly father was the one having to go through having his picture retaken at that time. Luckily my father has a good sense of humor stating "I think he has had a bad day." The ship bars, for the most part, were incredibly busy. The bar tenders manning the bars by the pool area rarely smiled. It was definitely not a pleasant experience getting your drinks from them as has been on other cruises. While I would recommend NCL for cruises, overall, this cruise was not as great an experience as previous cruises I have taken with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We really enjoyed our cruise on Bliss. It's very big ship with lots of dining and entertainment options. It was also Halloween and we had like 1000 singles on the ship, so that was great people watching. We flew in the night before ... Read More
We really enjoyed our cruise on Bliss. It's very big ship with lots of dining and entertainment options. It was also Halloween and we had like 1000 singles on the ship, so that was great people watching. We flew in the night before and stayed at the Hyatt regency in Long Beach. I can't say enough good things about it. It was perfect and about 15-20 mins to port. We had a gorgeous view of the queen Mary which we unfortunately didn't have enough time to visit. The one part that was not pleasant was check in at San Pedro world cruise center. It was extremely chaotic, very little signage. Our Lyft driver was confused. Porters were taking new luggage and helping passengers getting off. Super confusing mixing the two different cruises. Once we figured out where to go, the line wasnt bad. It moved sort of quickly. Once through security we waited in another line to get checked in and receive room keys. Again signage was poor and we had to ask. Disembark was also poor and chaotic once off the ship. At check in they didn't give us a map of the ship and we had to go back and ask. By the time we got in to the boarding wait area... they had started boarding groups 1-4. We were group 21. We waited about 20 mins and were on the ship by 11:15 am. Once on the ship we ran for guest services but were told that Vibe Beach club passes were already sold out. I think they only have 70 of them. Somewhat discouraged we went to the Social to book go karts, laser tag and shows. That was fairly easy and short. Laser tag was 9.95 and go karts too. Happy hour prohibition was 35.98 but includes 5 regular sized drinks. Plus we loved that show but not for kids. Once booked we headed up to the garden Cafe and pool deck on 16. Lots of people , we grabbed a snack and a drink and two loungers in the shade. Sail away was pretty easy to entertaining but drinks expensive and no straws. Then off to check out our balcony room...more on that in room review but we liked it. First show was ¡Havana!. It was great and we both enjoyed it. It was an original musical, lots of singing and dancing but blessedly short. I think a little over an hour. Get there early 20 mins for a good seat. We sat middle row in the middle. Very much enjoyed it. Next we saw Jersey Boys and though longer...2 hours it was fabulous and Broadway quality. Very entertaining story, awesome singers and sets. Again get there early...we were late and sat too far back and couldn't see as well as I would have liked. I would have seen this twice but we went to the last one. We did not see comedy but heard it was great. Too much to do. Pool was great with an adults only pool next to the kids water park area. We did one water slide but I didn't have the courage to do the ocean loop because u drop 10 feet. Lots of seating but it fills up fast. Go karts! So fun! Do it once and prepare to get dirty. They are electric but still pretty fast. I got bumped a few times so if u have back or neck issues don't do it. We waited at least 30-40 mins after reservation time in line. Ladies don't bring a purse, they won't hold it and there's no where to put it. My boyfriend ended up winning first place. Ride is only about 10 mins long. Bars were so amazing on this ship. We went to almost all of them. But district brewhouse and sugar cane mojito were our favorites. My boyfriend did the beer tasting ($23) one afternoon and really enjoyed it. We also got the mojito flight for 19.95 one afternoon which is 6 mini different mojitos and loved that. I wish we had gotten two! We did not have the drink package. Atrium bar and Q smokehouse were also awesome places for drinks. We also really enjoyed Margaritaville. It's 14.95 but worth it. Lots of food and best burger on the ship. I would say that place had the funnest staff too. Most everywhere the service was good to great. We didn't have a bad experience but some places were nicer than others. Dining- we mostly did specialty restaurants. We ate in Manhattan room once and though service was good, the table was in a bad location near where they scrape plates into a huge gross pile of food. Not what u want to see. The waiter was very quick with the wine pours! Good was decent to good but nothing special. The Q Smokehouse- we loved this place and went twice for dinner. Fabulous smoked meats in the pit master platter! Highly recommend. 4 kinds of meat including brisket! Jalapeno cornbread was delicious! Awesome country music. A must do! Ocean Blue- we should have sat outside for this one but we didn't....food was great. I had bacon wrapped seabass and it was the best Seafood of the cruise. Salmon cakes were perfect. Highly recommend this one too. Cagney's- was ok. Not amazing. Probably would have rather done Q again. But not bad. Los lobos- this was a tough sell for me. It was good but the restaurant it replaced Moderno Chucusarria was my favorite and truly amazing. Other Norwegian ships have that restaurant still. I'd rather go there. But it was good... Standard Mexican fare. Food Republic- kinda chilly in here but neat views with no outdoor seating. Really neat mini plates of food and worth the alarm carte prices. I thought the shrimp phad thai was delish. We also checked out the bake shop and the sweet chocolate place. Yummy truffles and bon bons. Worth it if u like chocolate and affordable. We thought the Local was not as good as it's predecessor O'Sheenhans. Also almost all the places for breakfast serve the same thing every day. This gets old by day 5. Norwegian should address this. Not everyone likes eggs, waffles, cereal or pancakes. We very much enjoyed freestyle dining. I hate eating dinner the same time every day. All the ports were great... Mazatlan was my favorite and we did our own adventure in each port. Cabo was a blast. More time in port would have been better. Tendering went very well in Cabo. There is a ton for adults to do on this ship. They do have kid things but most of the entertainment is more adult centric which we really liked. We also got a day pass to the thermal suite and loved it too. So worth it for 60 per person. The therapy hot tub /pool is huge and very effective. I also thought the snow room was fun..wear shoes...and the aromatic steam room was great. Parties- Caliente was very hip. A glow party on deck. Music was loud and dancey. We brought a 100 glow sticks to give out and the kids enjoyed this a lot. Nashville nights and lights was also a blast. This is current country not old country. Lots of line dancing and very fun with a live band, Greg white Jr. Our fav. We also listened to and very much enjoyed Tim Boaz on the piano in the district brewhouse. Great piano songs and super cool guy. Actually most of the music was really good. One of our favorite things was hanging out in the observation deck. You really have to go here. It's huge and amazing and comfy. People tend to camp out here but if you go later at night, there's always a seat. Very well done. All ships should have a place like this. We will absolutely sail the Bliss again. Maybe try Alaska next time. Also we had a fun time at our cruise critic meet and greet. Very fun meeting different people. Bring straws! They don't have them. Keep calm and sail on! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We choose this cruise because of The Bliss, being a new ship with all the latest and great stuff. Now Mexico coast was beautiful but we did not have a good time on the excursions, we also got sick from the food and drinks that we were ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of The Bliss, being a new ship with all the latest and great stuff. Now Mexico coast was beautiful but we did not have a good time on the excursions, we also got sick from the food and drinks that we were served in Mexico. This will be my last time going to Mexico just to much harassment to buy stuff and the food and water not so good. Cabo was ok for food and drinks but that was it. The ship was beautiful and very clean, drinks were great and food was ok at the speciality restaurants. The buffet food was not so good, it was always warm or cold and not much taste was very disappointed with the food. Also the wine selections were very bad, cheap $8-10 wine selling at $12 a glass. The better wines you had to buy the whole bottle and 3 times the cost. This was the biggest disappointment on the ship. The entertainment was ok Jersey boys was great, Havana show was not for me, the comedians were good but were in small venues and with 4000 people on board it was hard to get in. They also shut down bars before midnight and that was weird also. Not much else was provided for entertainment so I was also disappointed by that. Two faults with the ship is that everything is toward the center of the boat, so very long wait time for the elevator, also few bathrooms, bathrooms were only at the stairs, why restaurants don't have bathroom is very poor design I think. Also some bathrooms were locked and not used??? Rooms were clean and nice and people working on the Bliss were very nice. I would travel again on Norwegian but not to Mexico. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Wanted to try new ship. Perfer Pearl to this. Dining staff not friendly. Communication lacking. Smokers beware, only one area besides casino, top deck in the back unless it is closed for private party, then you have to go to the very front ... Read More
Wanted to try new ship. Perfer Pearl to this. Dining staff not friendly. Communication lacking. Smokers beware, only one area besides casino, top deck in the back unless it is closed for private party, then you have to go to the very front of the ship. Definitely did a lot of walking on the ship to go anywhere. There were several large groups 700+ in 4 different groups, and those were catered to. I am sure they all had a great time, while leaving the rest of us out. Communication was the biggest issue. Most of staff didn't speak english, so didn't understand a question. Ship announcements were very hard to understand. Yes, the Bliss is a big beautiful ship. Too bad the staff wasn't as great. The "free" dining was the same (except the buffet) menu, just a different setting. The Local was by far the best in service and comfort. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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
The Bliss will nickel and dime you to death, there is a service charge for everything, even at the Starbucks on board, never got to see a show, they were all sold out all the time. The Bliss should have left LA and went directly to the ... Read More
The Bliss will nickel and dime you to death, there is a service charge for everything, even at the Starbucks on board, never got to see a show, they were all sold out all the time. The Bliss should have left LA and went directly to the Panama Canal and did stops on the gulf side only, Mexico’s stops were really bad, will never do the Atlantic side again. The Bliss is the coldest ship I have ever been on, that being said the pay restaurants are really good, but it will cost you dearly, the casino has all the new style machines, and there is a line for everything, I felt like I was at the Magic Kindom at Disney, and the line to get off the ship, all I can say is WOW, one more thing, I am not a smoker but they should be ashamed of where they make the smokers smoke at on that ship, word of advice to the smokers, DONT GO ON THIS SHIP Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Wanted to go through panama canal, wanted large ship, upscale dining Cagney's and Japanese restaurant worth the experience, only "Frank" the comedian was great, other 3 comedians average, Jersey Boys-would enjoy the show if ... Read More
Wanted to go through panama canal, wanted large ship, upscale dining Cagney's and Japanese restaurant worth the experience, only "Frank" the comedian was great, other 3 comedians average, Jersey Boys-would enjoy the show if I could see it everynight, Joseph Reohm ( magician comedian ) absolutely awesome, as a veteran, I really appreciated the recognition on Veterans Day, Suzanne was a daily must for quiet musical entertainment, service and food quality was superb in all restaurants, Jenele was a great server and we requested her every night in the Manhatten room, plenty of chaise lounges around all pool areas, spas refreshing , could use more texas holdem tables, Guatemala was a horrible port ( most people felt the same), the education over the speaker system was important to our understanding everything as we went through the Panama Canal, Uptown show was outstanding, and the Beatles brought back memories when performing in the small club and even better in the bliss room theatre, this was our first cruise on Norwegian and we plan others, we even put down a deposit for another cruise. As a personal preference, I love dueling pianos, maybe you can add that to your night club entertainment Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We choose this cruise because it was a new ship going through the new locks of the Panama Canal. The crew were excellent and the majority were happy and helpful. The cabin was fine, we had a mini suite which had a nice sized bathroom. ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was a new ship going through the new locks of the Panama Canal. The crew were excellent and the majority were happy and helpful. The cabin was fine, we had a mini suite which had a nice sized bathroom. The ship is too open and very loud. The free restaurants very noisy because they are so open. The entertainment was good when you could get a seat. Having to book for shows was inconvenient. If you didn't book weeks or months before the cruise you didn't get in or you could get in a standby line. Several of the smaller venues seat less than a hundred people and when the ship hold over 4,000 your chances of getting in is nil. The no pay lunch restaurants don't change the menu so that gets old after a few days. Breakfast at the buffet is a disaster with way too many people and not enough space. The ship had to dock in commercial ports due to it's size and getting from the ship to the towns required busses and once again 4,000 people on our ship . The lines were long and the buses not up to what we are used to. We ended up being bussed to one tour destination in groups of four in taxis which took overall two hours and therefore shortened our tour considerably as we were the last to get there. They didn't utilize the theatre for enough activities and over used the atrium where there were way too many people and too much noise. If you went to a customer service desk, shore excursion desk etc which were all in the atrium area you couldn't hear anyone trying to help you because of the noise of the activity going on. Very bad planning. All in all we saw what we wanted going through the Panama Canal but I doubt Ill ever go on Norwegian again and I won't go on any of the mega ships again. Too many people, and having to book for average meals and entertainment just doesn't make for a relaxing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The ship is beautiful. Overall, we had a wonderful time. I was very happy to see that smoking areas have been reduced and that smoking is now contained in the casino. On past cruises, I would not spend any time in the casino due to the ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. Overall, we had a wonderful time. I was very happy to see that smoking areas have been reduced and that smoking is now contained in the casino. On past cruises, I would not spend any time in the casino due to the smoking. I was also happy to see that the Waterfront was also non-smoking. On a previous cruise on the Getaway, I was not able to enjoy this area due to the permitted smoking. I had a spa balcony and did make use of the thermal suite. It was wonderful. However, NCL should put a policy in place regarding use of the heated beds. There were guests that reserved these loungers for nearly the entire day. A limit of 30 minutes would allow more guests to enjoy this feature. I really enjoyed all of the entertainment, especially Beatlemania, Jersey Boys, and Prohibition the Muscial. Havana, however, needs work. The food was very good. We also ate in Q, Cagney’s and Teppanyaki. My husband has allergeries and the chef in Teppanyaki did a wonderful job in handling his food. However, the desserts in the buffet were lacking good flavor for the most part. The looped water slide needs a redesign. Many people including myself got stuck. We weren’t able to enjoy the race track. Although we had closed toe and full back shoes, we were not permitted to ride because the shoes had some cut outs (Merrill water shoes). The requirements were for closed toes shoes which they were. This was disappointing, as we did not have any other shoes that could be worn on the attraction. The multiple port changes were disappointing. The excursions offered in Ensenada were not interesting. The excursion we were most looking forward to in Costa Rica (waterfall trek and zip lining was cancelled prior to even leaving home. There was not a suitable explanation. We spent considerable time at Spice H2O. The staff was terrific. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are a working couple in our early 60s. We have sailed NCL at least a dozen times (we are Platinum). We’ve sailed other cruise lines as well. Our first cruise ever was on NCL in the early 1990’s and over the years we thought the ... Read More
We are a working couple in our early 60s. We have sailed NCL at least a dozen times (we are Platinum). We’ve sailed other cruise lines as well. Our first cruise ever was on NCL in the early 1990’s and over the years we thought the product had become stale but NCL is back and in a big way, but there are things they still need to work on. This was our first cruise on one of their new Breakaway class ships. The Bliss is considered Breakaway-Plus (not exactly sure what that means). She holds almost 5000 passengers. We had 4200 fellow passengers on our sailing with a variety of ages and nationalities and very few children. Here’s a breakdown of our cruise with grades. >Pre-Booking through Cruise Planner – B Like most cruise lines, NCL offers to book excursions before the sail date. However, what was available before embarkation was not a complete list. In fact, a couple of ports were showing only a single or no excursions. This influenced the “Free at Sea” options we chose, which probably cost us $ because we did not go with the shore excursion option. We chose the dining and the 250-minutes of internet options. Granted it was a re-positioning cruise so ports were a new itinerary, but NCL should be more on the ball with this. Plus the ports changed multiple times up until a few weeks before the sailing. >Doubletree Hotel at the Port – A We chose to go a day early and stayed at the Doubletree at the port, which is one of the closest hotels and set in a marina, resort-like area. Very nice. We used points, but did it early. Good thing we did because the hotel sold out the night we were there. >Embarkation – A- Fast and easy. Arrived after the early crush (around 1:30). No lines. They didn’t take our pictures for the on-boarding but rather scanned in our passport photos. Only negative is the industrial setting of the port, not exactly attractive. And it is too easy to get lost driving to the port or head to the wrong one (Long Beach). Which we did. >Cabin – C We had an aft-facing balcony on the 14th deck. Typical configuration with two choices; bed by balcony or couch by balcony (we had the later). My husband described cabin as functional but small. One asset was the many ports for charging electronics. Actual USB ports were by each bedside and at the desk. Balcony was over-sized but the deepest (biggest) aft balconies were lower on deck 12. You could easily fit lounge chairs on the balcony we had. If you want them, ask the room steward. The cabin was tight for storage space. If it wasn’t for the two big drawers under the couch, we would have had significant problems with storage. Bathroom was tiny, but shower was a little larger than typically found on cruise ships. The room had creaking around top of balcony door especially at higher speeds which actually woke me up several nights. This room was smaller than we usually go for, but we wanted the aft, and it was this room or the Haven suites $$$. The flat screen TV was an LG. Another post had indicated you could connect wirelessly to the TV from an iPad. We couldn’t find this option and any extra video ports were disabled. Fortunately, the optical-out for sound worked which my husband used for his hearing aid device (ComPilot). There were several free movie channels plus pay-per-view movies. There was no guide to the free movie schedule so we had to get a printout from guest services. Worked fine until several confusing time changes and NCL neglected to shift the movie schedule. NCL really needs to work on this and publish the schedule in the daily planner, through their app, or online. Unfortunately, we discovered NCL has ruined the aft cabin experience with this ship layout. Disturbing our sleep were disco-style parties that went on until well after midnight three decks above us on deck 17. This is the new Spice H2O NCL is using, and retrofitting on some ships. It serves as an outdoor disco. Problem is it uses massive stadium speakers bolted to the deck and the noise travels through several decks and also comes through balcony doors. SERIOUS design flaw. Between us were two decks, usually a safe bet, with cabins on deck 15 and the spa on deck 16. The music was blasted in this open air venue at the aft of the ship. I can only imagine how bad it was for the cabins above us on deck 15. The over-amplification of the bass caused some adjacent drinking glasses in our cabin to shimmy and clink together. My husband went up one night to try to get the DJ to turn it down and the DJ tried to defend the volume. My husband said when he got up there it was so loud it was uncomfortable. On the next to last night of the cruise we were awakened at quarter to one by the LOUD vibrating bass coming from the multi-speaker towers as well as other speakers on the multiple tall poles. This time it was a private function that went on until 2 a.m. We complained to Guest Services, but they really were unable to influence the DJ to turn it down. Found out later it was a CREW party! So much for passenger consideration! The next morning we got a call from Guest Services offering us a substantial amount of on-board credit as a “good will gesture, not compensation” for the inconvenience. Must be some legal thing. That is when we found out that the private function was the second CREW PARTY in the last seven months so they were really partying. I asked if the lower decks complained (e.g. deck 12) and the Guest Services guy said not so much but mostly the upper decks which tells me we were not the only ones complaining. Because of this I would not recommend an aft cabin on any NCL ship with Spice H2O. It is no longer sufficient to check that there is nothing noisy on the deck above you. NCL has full control to fix this by adjusting volume, but until they do I would avoid an aft location. >Food We had a total of six specialty restaurant meals. Most specialty restaurants on the Bliss have outside, café-style seating on the Promenade deck. We ate outside when we could. Really liked that. We really did not have problems making reservations, but we also like to eat earlier (5-5:30) so we beat the rush. Plenty of choices. >>Main dining rooms Savoy and Taste – A- This is one area that really stood out as a major improvement from our previous NCL cruises. I usually ordered fish dishes and all were very good to excellent. Service was adequate to excellent. We didn’t try the Manhattan room but was told that was the busiest of the three main dining venues. But also the noisiest, so we avoided it. Also tried the Savoy dining room for lunch one time. Had an excellent grouper sandwich. >>Garden Cafe – A- Great selection and nicely prepared food. As is typical, finding a seat was tough at peak times. Indian and Asian food stations were very good. They even had Middle Eastern food. They also had hard ice cream with a few of the more unique flavors rotated daily. Good traffic flow patterns and lots of space and stations so no real waiting to get your food most times. One complaint is that it took at least two go-rounds in the painfully slow toasters to get your bread/English muffins/bagels even lightly toasted. But they had multiple omelet stations and lines were very bearable. Secret for a quiet breakfast is to either get cold items (muffins, cereal, yogurt, juice, coffee) on the deck below in the Observation Lounge or get your hot items in the Garden Cafe and take them to the Observation Lounge. The Observation Lounge is huge and quiet Note: the aft cabins are a LONG walk to the Garden Cafe, probably close to a football field. >>Le Bistro – B Ate there twice. First time service was outstanding and second time not so much. Waitress seemed impatient and somewhat condescending with our questions when placing our order but seemed to have lightened up over time. Do try the highly recommended lamb chops. One of the best meals for the entire cruise. Wish they had a non-fru-fru salad on the menu but they did get me one as a special request. Husband had the onion soup and thought it was fabulous. Husband had foie gras and said it was first rate, as good as he has had in France. Wine steward was really good and made great recommendations. Very knowledgeable and down to earth. >>La Cucina – C Ate there very early in the cruise. Ordered steaks that were somewhat dry and I saw the waiter wipe his runny nose with the back of his hand which is not only gross but unacceptable. I’d be grossed out if the cashier at Macy’s did this when buying a shirt. Did mention this to a manager of a different specialty restaurant but we couldn’t remember the name of the waiter. I would think they could figure it out from our reservation. >>Los Lobos – A- Fabulous service - hands down best service on ship. My complaint was that they marinated their meats before grilling them, giving them a more stewed taste rather than a charred grill taste. So Carne Asada was not to my liking but it’s all relative. And the portions were huge...too much food. They make guacamole at the table and used two big avocados and then added tomatoes, onions, etc...which made for a mountain of guacamole. Very good though. The upbeat and attentive waitress brought us stuff to taste and drink in addition to what we ordered. I couldn’t eat more than a third of the food before me at best. We sat outside on a lovely evening so overall a really nice experience. >>Cagney’s – B I ordered the prime rib and a HUGE slab of meat was before me. Almost grossed me out. And it fell apart like bar-b-que which is not how I am used to eating prime rib. Didn’t have a nice roasted flavor either. I felt horrible about wasting so much food but barely ate any of it. My husband had the filet which he said was perfect. >>“Q” – A Our cabin neighbors loved it and thought the smoked chicken was the best ever. They were in a Haven suite and thought that was the best food on board. However a couple we met on an excursion thought it was a poor excuse for bar-b-que which turned off my husband, but I still I wanted to try it. My husband grew up in Texas and he does his own smoking of meats with fancy man-cave smokers. In addition our cabin neighbors said the place has a C/W band that added to their dining experience. My better half finally relented and we tried it late in the cruise and am so glad we did. The smoked meats, especially the brisket, were outstanding. The brisket had a smoky flavor, was tender and melted in your mouth. It had the characteristic red ring that a true smoked brisket has when properly prepared. We spoke to the manager and they do indeed have a smoker on board and use oak and mesquite woods for 6 hrs at 225 degrees and then finish in a warm oven, so the chef knows what she/he is doing. If you love good Texas style bar-b-que, don’t miss this place. Only negative was that there are no windows or outdoor seating so place feels somewhat like a cave. >>Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville – Not Rated We did not eat at this outdoor hamburger eatery on the pool deck, and rarely saw others there. Made us wonder about the food turnover. >>Oceanaire – Not Rated. We considered eating at the Oceanaire (it is an up-charge from the dining plan) but decided not. While it serves all manner of fish, its forte is oysters which neither of us are fans of. We opted to get fish in other restaurants and avoid the up-charge. >Entertainment - Bands and singers were outstanding – A- The “lounge” pianist and singer was great (Suzanne?). Familiar Strangers was a great band with a super talented lead singer. The Latin duo was also great. Tried to see the British Beatles Band but the volume was way too loud, which seemed to be a constant in a lot of ship venues. There is a comedy club that seemed to feature different comedians every night. Some required reservations. We didn’t sit in in any of these. >Theater – C This ship holds Almost 5000 guests and the theater seats 800. Do the math. If you want to see a show you need to arrive 45-60 minutes early or you won’t get it a seat. Literally. You can make reservations for some shows but arrive early or you won't get the seat you hoped for. Music in theater is very, very over amplified. Totally unnecessary – unless you’re trying to drown out bad singing. Drowns out singers and actually uncomfortably loud. I heard this complaint from other passengers as well. Saw “Havana” which was OK, but my husband could not hear the singing due to the over amplification. Also saw “Jersey Boys” which was pretty good, and better than “Havana”. But NCL has a problem on this ship with too much loudness (see Spice H2O and Beatles above) and needs to fire the sound engineer, and find another cruise director if this continues with passengers complaining, like on our cruise. >Ports >>Ensenada - B Did a winery tour. Did you know that there are over 200 wineries in that area? I didn’t. We took a bus to one of the oldest big wineries (L.A. Cetto) and got to sample some of their whites (pretty good) and reds (dreadful). The winery had a nice “Day of the Dead” altar. We stopped at a much smaller winery just for tastings. Their reds were even worse. We drove through some beautiful countryside. However, you did see the telltale signs of an improvised third world country though. >>Mazatlan – B- Mazatlan sits in one of the most crime-ridden Mexican states so we opted to simply walk around the old town. This was really easy to do and the town sets it up very well by painting a red stripe on the road guiding folks to the old town. The whole old town is only about a mile square. Nice feel. At the end we walked over to the tower to watch cliff divers, and then back to the ship. >>Guatemala- C+ The ship stopped at Guatemala City but everything to see is at least an hour bus ride away. (There is nothing except a tourist market by the cruise port.) There is a UNESCO city most go to, but we weren’t on this cruise to visit historical sites and did not want to suffer an hour bus ride each way. We’ve done these before and hate these bus rides so opted out. I stayed on board and my husband went on shore to the tourist market by the port. There was a lot there and he picked up a bag of coffee. Lots of vendors with similar stuff. Otherwise nothing special. >>Panama Canal-B+ We had cruised half way through the Panama Canal years ago in an aft cabin and loved it. On that cruise we were able to carry on a conversation with the guy working the “mule”. This influenced our cabin location on the Bliss. We did not realize until we were on board that the Bliss goes through the NEW locks that don’t use “mules”. We were told this was only the second time for the Bliss and that the Bliss was so far the only cruise ship to use the new locks. Technically, the new locks are a marvel but the experience was not as interesting as the old locks to us. There were no stops and the start was O-dark thirty. (On the half-way transit, we were able to disembark in Panama and the market adjacent to the port was incredible). It was a different experience traveling from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and fortunately the weather was overcast so we did not bake in the sun. There are a couple of bridges we went under and we went by the prison that had once held Noriega. NCL had arranged for a guest speaker who was an expert on the Panama Canal and he gave several talks. Unfortunately, his lectures were plodding and he kept talking about how great he was. At the end of one lecture, he made egotistical comments about himself and the sung ALL the verses to “It’s Hard to be Humble” acapella. Ugh... >>Costa Rica - B Did a coffee plantation tour. Beautiful drive up through the mountains of this volcanic country. Reminded me of the Hawai’ian islands. Tour was outstanding and Costa Ricans view their coffee with passion. Felt like I was on a winery tour with tastings. The guide even instructed us on how to sample the coffees by rolling it around in our mouth, noticing the color and scent. Like wine. We stopped for lunch at a buffet type place with not very good food and more than enough time in a big somewhat cheesy souvenir shop. While there, they also did a short presentation on a hydraulic power station that was very old. They did a demo and had antique woodworking equipment being run via belts. Hard to see, hear and understand the guide here but mildly interesting. Crowded with lots of tour buses hitting this stop. Money exchanged was in dollars, and right across the street where my husband went to get a local beer they only accepted local money, so obviously a this lunch/shopping stop was a tourist trap. >>Cartagena – D- Busy, crowded, hot, humid and unrelentingly aggressive street vendors that required almost constant comments of “No thank you” from me. My husband just started saying no with a very stern voice. However there is a really nice park with a zoo, gift shop and restaurant right where you catch boats to get over to the Walled City. The park is a five minute walk from the ship. I would definitely recommend the park and it’s free admission. The actual boat ride over to the Walled City takes about 10 minutes but loading and unloading takes a while. We walked around the Walled City but it really wasn’t enjoyable for me (weather and vendors) so I took an earlier boat back and spent time in the park with the zoo. My husband stayed in Cartagena and did the Inquisition museum tour ($8) which he felt was totally not worth it. Only a few replicas and was really disappointed. >Debarkation – D Long lines to leave the ship for the terminal to retrieve luggage. One of our three suitcases was not with the other two. With the help of a NCL staffer, we found it misplaced on the other side of the big terminal after a half hour of looking. Not sure why our yellow-tagged bag was with the green-tagged ones. Had to go through customs and finally made it outside to catch the shuttle to the rental car pick-up location. The first shuttle was full so waited about a half hour for the next one. The Miami port terminal, thankfully, is being renovated and enlarged. When it was built, cruise ships had about 2000 passengers and now they can have 5000 to 6000. This terminal cannot handle the increasing number of passengers. Got to the rental car place and loads of people were waiting outside for both Budget and Avis as they didn’t have enough cars. We were early so they would not even consider giving us a car until our reservation time. When our reservation time rolled around, they still didn’t have a full-sized car as reserved so they ended up giving us a small SUV. When we turned it in at the drop off near our home, we saw a sneaky upgrade charge we were not told about and thankfully the agent refunded it. In all our years renting cars for work and vacations, we’ve never been subjected to an upgrade charge when the type of car we reserved was not available and they had to substitute. >Tips 1. Have breakfast in the Observation Lounge forward on deck 16. No hot food (except some hot cereals) but nice choices including the BEST mango and strawberry yogurt ever. Coffee/tea, cereal, pastries, juices etc... Peaceful, comfortable and nice view anywhere you sit. 2. Download the NCL app. Use the app to make reservations for tours, restaurants, shows... Made restaurant reservations during the life boat drill! They are still developing the app so you can’t see everything on your phone that you can on TV staterooms such as the navigation map, but you can see what is going on at that moment. 3. Got the WiFi pkg but not sure we needed it as could easily check e-mails and text messages in ports of call. However, NCL offers a $9.95 per cruise per device setup where you can call and text each other’s phones on board. Do this! You can be anywhere on the ship and still reach your significant other or kids. 4. Husband has a hearing aid device (Compilot) that he connected with fiber optics to the back of the TV in the cabin so that it could communicate directly with his hearing aids. So he could watch TV with the sound muted and I could sleep if he watched TV in bed. 5. Many of the specialty restaurants have outdoor seating. Highly recommended. 6. We didn’t find out about the Vibe option until late in cruise. The Vibe is a separate outdoor setting with padded lounge chairs that is quiet and capacity controlled. I think it’s well worth the extra charge and will jump on it for my next NCL cruise (not all their ships have this option but I think it’s on most of the Breakaway class ships). This can only be booked once on board and is first-come, first-serve, unless you are in a Haven suite. By the way, the Haven folks also have another separate area. 7. Do the slides by the pool. They’re fun and seem safe. One is a platform drop with two loops. You are in a standing position for this one and are dropped. The other is an inner tube sluice through tubes. If you’re a lightweight you may get stuck in the stand-up one where one loop goes against gravity. Crew said this most often happens with folks wearing tee shirts. Some folks had to be “rescued” which was no big whoop. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Not my first time on Norwegian, went there without any expectation. My best experience so far. Check-in was fast, however, I was later in the process which might explain how I end up on the ship from the shuttle in about 45 min. The ... Read More
Not my first time on Norwegian, went there without any expectation. My best experience so far. Check-in was fast, however, I was later in the process which might explain how I end up on the ship from the shuttle in about 45 min. The observation deck on 15 was really pleasant, my favourite place to read a book. However, I didn't like the front since open to the buffet so noise can become a problem. I will say that the noise level was a problem in most public space when they get crowded. Circulation in the ship was easy didn't take long to figure out where is the front from the back base on where you are. There is more activity that requires a fee on that ship which includes go-kart, laser tag and one show. That being said those activities would have cost me more on land so I'm too mad about it and did all of those! Food was ok, no bad surprise on that ship. Specialty was a tad better but I'm good with the complimentary only. The plate presentation was superior to other Norwegian ship. Service in Manhattan (one of the main dining room) wasn't equal, no days were better than others but wouldn't qualify as the worst. I realize your best bet is to ask for the same water if you could, you both accurate to each other! Solo traveller, solo gathering is a big plus, no need to be in the Solo Studio to go the gathering. The gathering allowed to talk with other solos and have the opportunity to share a meal and other activities if you wan too. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I just returned from the Bliss 14 day Panama Canal trip. The ship was very crowded. It was impossible to get a seat in the Garden Cafe and the staff did not assist. The elevator situation on the ship was a disaster. The size, shape, ... Read More
I just returned from the Bliss 14 day Panama Canal trip. The ship was very crowded. It was impossible to get a seat in the Garden Cafe and the staff did not assist. The elevator situation on the ship was a disaster. The size, shape, quantity and programming logic of the elevators is a disaster. You will wait forever and be packed in like sardines your whole cruise. Our balcony stateroom was fine, but seemed a bit on the smaller side. The closet was hard to access on the side of the bed. The bathroom was great. Shower was roomy with good pressure and hot water. I may have been in a noisy location, but I heard more noise on this cruise than in the past. It was hard sleep at times. Whether that has something to do with the construction of the ship or bad luck I am not sure. The food in all of the main dining rooms was universally bad with bad service. The speciality restaurants were hit or miss. La Cucina, Cagneys and Los Lobos were great. Q, Food Republic and Le Bistro were average. Ocean Blue was bad. The bars around the ship were fine but the bartenders were never friendly or engaging. Quite the opposite. The District was my favorite bar but the craft beer selection seems to have been selected by somebody who has no knowledge of craft beer, and they were out of half the items on the menu. The drinks at the mojito bar were not good. A real missed opportunity. Some of the worst mojitos I have ever had. The overall crew and service in the ship was well below average. Happy crew members were few and far between. The crew neither created a welcome feeling for the guests, nor did they provide good service. I don't blame the crew for this, I blame NCL. Both waterslides were fun, as were the go karts. We booked laser tag twice and they cancelled on us twice so that was disappointing. The entertainment on the ship was fine but not great. Havana was boring with no plot with nearly nude dancers being its saving grace. Jersey Boys was fine but completely devoid of innovation. Who hasn't seen Jersey Boys yet? The show debuted over 13 years ago! Not exactly new and fresh. Finally, I must comment on the lack of bottled water being included in the beverage package. How stupid is that? We prefer to drink sparkling water for dinner and had to pay $7 each time. On top of that, the only sparkling water on board was Pellegrino with a production date of nearly one year ago. I.e. very stale. We wasted a lot of alcohol to make up for lack of water options in the beverage package. Furthermore, it is absolutely disgusting that NCL does not let you bring waater on board the ship and makes you pour it out when returning from ports. It's a very bad look to be wasting so much fresh drinking water in sometimes very poor countries who often struggle with access to clean water. The water situation on board NCL shows a certain level of arrogance and disdain for passengers, as well as the ports to which NCL travels. Absolutely appalling and I would choose NOT to cruise NCL again for this reason alone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
5 of us traveling. Embarkation in LA went very smoothly. We headed to Savor restaurant and had a great lunch. This is always the moment I feel "Now I'm on vacation". We proceeded to explore all of the decks and were very ... Read More
5 of us traveling. Embarkation in LA went very smoothly. We headed to Savor restaurant and had a great lunch. This is always the moment I feel "Now I'm on vacation". We proceeded to explore all of the decks and were very pleased with the decor as well as the lay-out. On to our cabins which were definitely a step above those on the smaller ships we have sailed. Again the design was great and the bed very comfortable. Our Steward kept us very clean and all essentials were provided promptly. We ate our dinners in the Manhattan room, Cagney's , Ocean Blue, and Bistro. All gave us great experiences in food , drinks as well as service. We had several of the wait staff at different venues and really enjoyed conversations and laughter with them. We only used the Garden Cafe for quick snacks so can't really comment on it but seemed like good food there as well. We enjoyed the bands on board as well as the comedians in the Comedy club the first week. Did not attend the second. The Cavern performances of Beatlemania were also good. Did not like Havana at all. We actually walked out before it was over. Jersey Boys show was awesome! We enjoyed the pool everyday as well as the slides. Had quiet times in the District bar where we could overlook the ocean and play cards with great beer! We didn't spend as much time in the Observation deck as we expected. Grand and lovely place but we just didn't gravitate to it too much. The elevators seemed to be always packed and stopping on most levels which made going slow so we avoided them as much as we could. The ports were not on the original itinerary and we were disappointed with Ensenada and Guatemala . We took a walking tour in Matzalan which we enjoyed but could have done with less steering towards shopping. (stopping in jewelry store for a "free drink") We took the Skywalk and Eco cruise in Costa Rica which would have been great if it had not been pouring rain. Did not see much wildlife because of the weather but guides cannot be held responsible for that. It was after all a rain forest. Panama Canal day was very interesting and well narrated. Our favorite port was Cartagena. Beautiful City though very warm and humid. Overall A wonderful cruise on an awesome ship! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Bucket list Cruise. The Bliss exceeded all expectations. For a large ship no waits on dining. Lots of options. Local restaurant and sports bar we excellent. Great place to meet friends etc. gym was superb as was the spa. We bought the ... Read More
Bucket list Cruise. The Bliss exceeded all expectations. For a large ship no waits on dining. Lots of options. Local restaurant and sports bar we excellent. Great place to meet friends etc. gym was superb as was the spa. We bought the therapeutic spa package and used it daily. Observation deck superb. Shows Jersey Boys and Havana top notch. Matter of fact the Jersey Boy production was fast moving and had more songs than most productions. Bar staff and wait staff were superb. Loved the observation lounge. Staff couldn’t do enough to please us. Took Spanish classes. Lol. That was great. Had Guest lecture on the canal that was of tremendous value. Highly recommend this ship and this cruise. Only negative was photo packages are extremely expensive. They want you to buy packages instead of individual photos. We will definitely book this ship again. Another plus was the overall staff. All the best. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We didn’t actually choose this cruise! Other family members were going on it so we booked it too! This means we do not have anything to compare it to however... Los Angeles - arriving in the US was a nightmare! We waited hours to get ... Read More
We didn’t actually choose this cruise! Other family members were going on it so we booked it too! This means we do not have anything to compare it to however... Los Angeles - arriving in the US was a nightmare! We waited hours to get through the queue at immigration and customs. It took so long that the NCL rep was phoning our overnight hotel to see if she had missed us! Embarkation- there seemed to be a bit of difficulty with the porters and so this initially seemed a bit confusing and for first time cruisers we were a bit lost - we carried our luggage over to the “warehouse” but still had to tip a porter to take it from us? Coming from the UK this seemed a bit alien. The actual registration and boarding was very simple, very efficient friendly staff. We were in a mid ship balcony cabin which was ideal. Only minor niggle was the lack of space to get into the wardrobe. There was plenty of storage space. The shower room was great - good shower. Our room was kept immaculately clean and tidy by our cabin steward who was lovely and very friendly. The ship we thought was great - catering for all tastes whether it was a quiet read on deck 8 - the waterfront - or the louder party atmosphere on the pool deck. The ship was easy to navigate and yes occasionally the lifts were busy but we never had to wait long and we just chatted to the other folks who were waiting too! Lots of entertainment in the Atrium throughout the day and various other little pockets - mahjong in the library, the craft group, learn to play bridge, lgbt meetings, black glass wine tasting - the list goes on. Dining - no complaints with the food and waiting staff but if you are in a larger group (we were 6) and you want to eat dinner in Taste, Savor or the Manhattan Room I would book these well in advance. It’s ok if there is only a couple of you just to turn up - the wait shouldn’t be too long at peak times. Entertainment on board was varied - we did not enjoy Havana but on the other hand Jersey Boys was superb. There was also a various other offerings from very good music to conjuring comedians. We did not have any children in our group but the facilities on deck 5 looked good and the staff always seemed to be engaging very positively and enthusiastically with their charges. Accessing the excursions was well organised by Ship staff. A team of cleaning staff going on transport before passengers to clean hand rails etc further emphasising the push for hand cleanliness. We were pleased we had done our research before hand - this helped us choose the right excursions for us. We were fortunate to have excellent guides particularly a young man called Luis in Guatemala who was on the hop on hop off tour to Antigua. Disembarkation of over 4,000 passengers was well planned if a little disorganised. We were guided off the ship to the wrong terminal despite checking with a number of staff during the process. (We weren’t the only ones!) This is just a little snippet of what we felt was a wonderful experience so good we are about to book our next cruise which more than likely will be on the Bliss again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Beautiful ship,staff awesome, great food. Panama Canal on our bucket list and it was as good as we expected. Captain said we would pass Bridge of America a 3:15 am, but they went through at 2:45am and most people missed it. Our other ports ... Read More
Beautiful ship,staff awesome, great food. Panama Canal on our bucket list and it was as good as we expected. Captain said we would pass Bridge of America a 3:15 am, but they went through at 2:45am and most people missed it. Our other ports were mostly disappointing, most excursions were 90 minutes from the port. Our Itinerary was changed three times. First Puerta Viarta to Carbo St. Lucas,then to Ensenada. Then they changed Manzanillo to Mazatlan. Our excursion in Mazatlan, an ATV beach adventure didn't start until dusk. We were too late to see the sunset or swim at the beach. We felt very rushed and frankly ,it was dangerous riding along the beach in unfamiliar territory with only our ATV headlights.Jersey Boys and Beatlemania great shows.With so many people(4000) it was difficult, if not impossible, to see all the shows we wanted. , This was our first NCL cruise and while we would use this line again,we would opt for a smaller ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Avoid the NCL Bliss Spa at all costs. The manager of the spa is very rude. They quote you a price for a treatment and then charge you a much higher price. They are crooks. The observation lounge is usually a relaxing quiet retreat, however ... Read More
Avoid the NCL Bliss Spa at all costs. The manager of the spa is very rude. They quote you a price for a treatment and then charge you a much higher price. They are crooks. The observation lounge is usually a relaxing quiet retreat, however there was a day or two with ppl stretched out and sleeping on couches with all their belongings piled around them. Very tacky.. The food is okay, though not great and several of my travel mates got food poisoning. I witnessed some people throwing up in public areas. The ship is too large to dock where most other ships can so they dock in really ugly commercial container ports. Then they charge you money to transport you to town. Once there you see the other ships docked where the passengers can walk right off into town. I had major ship envy. The rooms and hallways are much narrower than other NCL ships and it’s difficult dodging all the cleaning carts. The gym is small and missing many of the machines other ships have. The go karts were fun but space needed for these new venues created cuts elsewhere and my favorite dueling pianos venue got the ax. I believe the bland boring food in the dining room is deliberate so you will spend lots of money eating in the specialty restaurants in order to get a good meal. Years ago the included dining venues served very good food, but no more. I expected to be blown away by this new ship. I was not. Had a great trip anyway because of the people I met and the fun we had. Special mention goes to the Mojito Bar bartenders. Unlike rude or indifferent staff in other bars, the staff at the Mojito Bar were all wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This is a smokers alert- Norwegian Bliss Nov. 3rd Panama Canal cruise. Prior to booking I was advised I could smoke on Deck 17 at the Spice Bar, In the humidor lounge, and somewhere at the pool area. I smoke mini cigars which are ... Read More
This is a smokers alert- Norwegian Bliss Nov. 3rd Panama Canal cruise. Prior to booking I was advised I could smoke on Deck 17 at the Spice Bar, In the humidor lounge, and somewhere at the pool area. I smoke mini cigars which are slightly larger than a cigarette. Arrival at LAS airport and awaiting transfer (prepaid) of the shuttle. We waited and waited and after an hour finally saw a woman with a blue scarf (no signage just a blue scarf) a gentlemen advised me he too was waiting an that I should speak to the woman with the blue scarf. I was advised that we were waiting for one more couple and the shuttle bus had been called. An hour after that I was told there were more customers arriving on different flights and that the bus had been called. Three and a half hours later – you read that right – a bus finally arrived and we were told it would be about a thirty minute drive to the port. The ride was uneventful but the three and a half hour wait started telling me this isn't right. Chaos upon arrival- no one tells you what is going on. Where are the bags, do they take them, do I, or where to check in. Checking in wasn't bad except there is no information available. Cabin #14796, Balcony; OK room, shower could use an enlargement but was acceptable. Room was fine, midships, except for at night the band playing at the pool area was loud in the room. Cleaning staff was excellent, friendly, and always asking if there was anything he could do. “Z “ Bags don't arrive till late at night the first night- wasn't use to that type of service. This is probably due to it being a large ship with 4000 guests. With no luggage to unpack it was time for lunch and a snack. Learned where the Cafe is, front of ship. Had an acceptable meal and headed off for a smoke at the rear of the ship. It's a long walk when you are unfamiliar with the ship. You get used to it! Upon arrival I was advised that I could only smoke cigars in the Humidor. I promptly went to guest services and asked for a complete refund at the first port. After a discussion I was advised that I could also smoke at the Spice Bar on deck 17 by guest services but there is no smoking at the pool area. I thought I would be ok with that until the arrival at the spice bar located behind Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville. I asked for a Bailys coffee at the bar. No! They don't have coffee at the bar. They advised to go to Buffets and get a coffee and then bring it to the bar. (I should do that?) Yes! Drink in hand I was further told I could only smoke on the Starboard side of the ship in an area no bigger than 12' x 35'. I thought I would be ok with that until other smokers showed up. I went to sit at a small table approx 24” in diameter and there were about 5 tables there each with about 5 chairs at each. Note- when we started the first day there were three umbrellas in this area. Three days into the cruise there were only two umbrellas. There is a covered area in which to smoke approx 12'x20' the rest is open or semi covered by umbrellas. Note- remember there are 4000 people on this ship. Another problem is that the starboard side railing is covered by sheets of glass or plastic with spaces in between them so that wind blows extremely forceful through the slats. ( hmmmm- creating cigarette ash to blow off a lit cigarette....fire hazard....naaaahhhhh! This ship was designed for Alaska waters and I don't think it would be pleasant to smoke in a cold climate with no wind protection. At the table the four ashtrays on the table were full of cigarettes. I complained to guest services that I don't clean ashtrays- this was taken care of and was acceptable for the rest of the cruise with one exception which I'll mention later. It got crowded as people learned where you can smoke- Humidor, Spice and the CASINO!!! Casino- smoking of cigarettes is allowed. Cigars-NO. People complained that if you didn't have money in a machine you couldn't smoke.-I don't know! I do find it odd that you couldn't smoke in the casino if the casino was closed-all ashtrays removed while in ports after all it is a smoking area but I guess you have to pay money to smoke there. The spice area holds approx 40 people maximum and they couldn't open up the entire deck area for some unknown reason. Rumor was it's a rule-Captain doesn't like smokers- Seems to me the non smokers have numerous bars they can attend but smokers are herded to an area the size of a cabin. On top of that the non smokers utilized the smokers rest room- It was comical watching some of them hold their nose as they walked by to open the rest room door- PS there is a bathroom on the non smoking side but they didn't use that one!!! I think you get the idea so far. It is now standing room only. A person of authority assured me the reason for the small smoking area was to prevent fire hazards. A travel agent aboard stated that all cruise lines are doing away with smoking. Appears so! I would say it is a beautiful ship except for all the walking one has to do especially since the elevators are always on the wrong floor and when you do get one it was usually full- to the stariways. What I found odd was that since it is a new ship what was a lot of the paneling on the walls coming buckling- front of the Cave/Cavern by the humidor. In the humidor and numerous other places. I guess someone didn't tag out the ship before taking possession from the factory. Guest speaker for canal trip was good- however on his first day the theater was packed full. Went to the atrium and you have to hear people complaining at guest services a few feet away from the speaker----- this also works in reverse- speaking to guest services you can't hear employees due to they always have music or show going on in the atrium area. Need sound walls installed. At guest services I stated this noise wouldn't be a problem if the speaker was on the TV in the rooms. The next day it was on the TV- problem solved. Back to the cafe- another design flaw- no where near enough seats. You get your food in a line and people are picking a piece of food and tasting it in front of the serving area. I was shown an area that is not crowded. Get your food and take it to the table towards the pool area. Set your food down and go way back to get a beverage, etc. Food is edible but I noticed that the India cafe area is hardly used. Manhattan room- excellent service the first night- then it went downhill from slow to bad. Food quality was fine. No charge. La cucina Italian? I don't think so- no lasagna, no eggplant $$ Cagneys steakhouse excellent. $$ This was a repositioning cruise- the ports were the worst. We always docked in the commercial parts of the ports. They charge for a bus ride to the towns. Seems petty to me- I your taking me somewhere at least have some service available. Due to 4000 people NCL needs a lot of work in this area. If you can't handle it hire more people or get out of the business. Even people that paid for tours advised that it was so disorganized that they got refunds. NCL- this is not good business sense. At Puntenaras we had to pay $15 PP to get to town. The HAL docked about 100' from where our bus dropped us off. Hmmmmm! THE OTHER SHOE DROPS- So I finish dinner and go to smoke on deck 17 in what I was now calling the CAGE! I am told that the area is closing in 15 minutes for a special party. OK- where do I smoke! Told to go to deck 19 top of the ship behind to smokestacks. I go to deck 19- couldn't find an elevator with 19 on it but finally did – there is only one elevator to 19. Talk about an unsafe area to smoke- on deck 19 the wind is howling. There is no wind protection, the bar is closed, no ashtrays, and no cover-overhead. There is however an NCL rep standing there that didn't have a clue about anything. Back to guest services- The complaint is written down a refunds due. I had it with NCL.... I was told that the bar did open- it was too windy- and ash trays were on hand after my complaining. Should never have happened. None of this was in the brochure. I suggest that any smokers avoid this ship. I have numerous cruises with NCL and this one has caused me to seek other cruise lines. As for non smokers who like large crowds, lines at dining areas, unavailable show tickets, disorganization of the highest level from getting to the ship and from the ship, terrible fill in ports with no transportation unless you $$$$. I further suggest that NCL reads this article- It could help but then again, maybe not! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
NCL Bliss - Panama Canal - November 2018 - 14 Days We recently returned from a cruise aboard the NCL Bliss traveling to Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama Canal & Cartagena, Columbia. We enjoyed the cruise a lot. This being a ... Read More
NCL Bliss - Panama Canal - November 2018 - 14 Days We recently returned from a cruise aboard the NCL Bliss traveling to Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama Canal & Cartagena, Columbia. We enjoyed the cruise a lot. This being a two week cruise at the beginning of November there were probably only 20 kids on the ship in total and the average traveler age was probably 60. These factors did influence our experience significantly. There were some highlights and there were some disappointments. About us: We are mid 50's, have cruises 40+ times, were traveling with a group of 14, ages ranging from 50 to 85. Had never sailed on NCL. We booked a spa balcony stateroom, our rate included the unlimited beverage package and a dining package (we dined 9 nights in dining rooms with an additional cost(Specialty Dining), with a prepaid package for 8 of those nights) Dining Venues used: Manhattan, Savor, Taste, Tepannyaki, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Ocean Blue, Q, The Local, Garden Café, Los Lobos, Food Republic, Cagneys, Coco's, Margaritaville, Starbuck, The Bake Shop, and Dolce Gelato. Activities and entertainment we participated in: Cart track, both water slides, pools, spa thermal suite, massage, bowling, Jersey Boys, Havana, Happy Hour Prohibition, Beetles show, Comedy Social, and the Cavern Club. Highlights: Service was fantastic everywhere. There were times the front desk staff seemed uniformed about ports and times but other than that service around the ship was excellent, friendly and personable. Dining was excellent. This was influenced by our decision to eat as many meal as we did in the Specialty dining venues. Our experience in the main dining room, (Manhattan, Savor and Taste) were hit or miss. Breakfast was good in Savor and Taste but sometimes very slow. Service in the main dining rooms was okay, one night GREAT! Food has very mediocre most nights in the main dining rooms. Our best meals were in #1 Le Bistro, #2 La Cucina, #3 Cagneys (We did do Cagneys and La Cucina twice) We were disappointed with Ocean Blue, didn't think it warranted the extra cost. Coco's - we went for the staff and the fantastic treats! So friendly and so good! The entertainment - both the Jersey Boys and Havana we two of the best productions I have seen on a cruise ship and with 40+ cruises we have seen a lot of shows. Great energy, production, vocals! The ship is beautiful! Doesn't feel like a ship but more like a luxury resort. There are so many smaller venues that it makes it feel now so big. This is a BIG ship with 4000+ guests but spreads out the crowds fairly well, with a few exceptions. We were always able to find several deck chairs together but the decks were often full. The spa thermal suite is beautiful and a great place to relax! There is a therapy pool, hot tub, snow room, salt room, steam room, two saunas, heated lounges, showers, locker rooms with views of the ships wake, padded lounge chairs. The space is coed and is generally full of folks but never had an issue finding a place. Some folks do drop the things on a heated lounger and then go to other spaces. That did make it difficult to find available heated loungers at times. There are signs that give a max time for the loungers but folks seem to ignore that. Overall a fantastic venue. Our room included access to the venue and a location on the ship that is close which we did enjoy. Not sure I would pay for this this way in the future. Would probably purchase a regular balcony stateroom and then pay for the weekly pass to the thermal suite. There are, however, a limited number of passes available each week so you'd have to book that early on embarkation do to ensure you could get a pass. Could have been handled better: The Garden Café - the ships buffet does become very crowded. They have done a great job of spreading out the serving stations and there were seldom lines at the serving stations. But, getting a table was always difficult! The staff was fantastic at clearing table and were very efficient in getting tables turned! It didn't help that we were often looking for seats for 6 or 8 at a time. It seldom happened that we could find two tables together. Most of the time we split up into 4's and sat where we could find a seat. It seems peak hours could be supplemented by offering a full breakfast buffet in Margaritaville or another venue. There were light breakfast items served in Margaritaville and in the Observation Lounge but some further way to lighten the load in the Garden Café at peak hours would be really helpful. Another time that was horrible was on embarkation day lunch. Two other lunch options identified at the gangway could have minimized the horrible experience that that first meal was. Ports: Our ports were changed twice from the time we first booked our cruise. The last change eliminated Cabo San Lucas and replaced it with Ensenada. This change, the second change, was made right after final payments were required and therefore cancelation would require a penalty. The cruise line did provide a $100 ship board credit for the change, but those that have been to Ensenada know that it is not a port that should be on a 14 day itinerary where many passengers have paid in excess of $3500 per person. We made the best of it and found a San Diego company that took us wine tasting in the Valle de Guadalupe and had a fantastic time. The stop was then further challenged by the port call times. We were in port from 8:00am to 3:00 pm. However, that day was the day of time change due to daylight savings time and the ship choose not to change the time forward. Therefore our port time was 7:00am to 2:00pm in Ensenada. What is there to do at 7:00 am in Ensenada? Nothing! That felt a bit like smoke and mirrors. We only had one port where we were in port during a normal 8 hour window. Mazatlan, we were in port from 12:00 to 7:00pm. However, because you have make reservations for shows and dining in advance, made before the schedule change, the evening hours conflicted with a show. So we had 4 hours for that port. Costa Rica we docked in an industrial port that required a 35 minute shuttle ride to get to town. Holland America got to dock in town. With the changes to ports, the port times, and port locations, it didn't seem like NCL had the clout to get the preferred locations, ports or times or they hadn't don't the planning necessary early enough to do so. I would not do another NCL cruise to an itinerary where they weren't working a regular schedule. This in essence was a repositioning cruise for the ship, moving from summer in Alaska to winter in the Caribbean. These were port that, for this ship, they would only be visiting twice a year and they didn't have the on the ground infrastructure to accommodate a ship of this size. This could also be seen in the excursion offerings they had. Overall they were very limited and lacked in depth of experience. We sailed on Celebrity earlier this year from Chile through the Canal to Florida and the excursion offerings were much more extensive and interesting. As a result of this we booked all but one excursion on our own with private tour operators in the ports. But, if you were not comfortable doing this the ports would not have been a very good experience. Panama Canal Schedule: We asked three days before our canal crossing what the schedule would be and the front desk staff was very uninformed. He told us that we were scheduled to arrive at the canal between 3:00am and 6:00am. When I asked if we would be entering the locks or going through the first set of locks in the dark he said we could be but not to worry because the entire crossing would be a large part of the day. This was disappointing since the cruise lines itinerary indicated it would be daylight crossing. We asked again the night before and the front desk was still very vague. We were again told we would arrive at the Bridge of the Americas at around 3:00 am but they were unclear when we would enter the first lock. With the size of the ship we had to cross under the Bridge of the Americas at low tide which I understand that cruise line cannot control but will 4000+ passenger that paid for a panama canal cruise you would think they would have more definitive information. We ended up crossing under the Bridge of the Americas at 2:40am. I did make it out on deck just prior to passing under the bridge and it looked like there was only about 15 ft to spare. We had one member of our group that needed a place to sit to watch the crossing so I went to the observation lounge to sit in a seat for him until we starting entering the first lock. At 2:50 am there was a full row of people already at the windows, many of which spent the night in a chair to get a good seat. At 5:00 am, still dark, we moved forward toward the first set of locks. I called other members of our group and the one showed up for his seat at 5:30 and the rest of us headed to the bow of the ship to watch. The canal crossing was very interesting. Given the size of the ship we transited through the new panama canal locks. By the time we entered the third lock in the pacific side set of locks the crowd had thinned out and from that time on you could find a place at a rail or anywhere around the ship. We watched from the stern on deck 8, the rail on deck 7, the rail on deck 19, the bow, the waterfront on deck 8 and the observation lounge. There was narration that was happening during the day but there where many of the deck areas where you couldn’t hear the narration. Margaritaville: This is fantastic venue but few people ate there. The most I saw during our cruise was three tables at one time. We ate here once and the food was good but didn't feel like it was worth $14.95 per person more than a meal in the buffet, the local or the dining rooms. One of us had a burger and one fish and chips. The food was good and the setting is nice but I think it just costs too much. I bet they would grow their business exponentially if they lowered the price to $7.95 Reservations: Reservations are required to soooo many things on this ship. I was very proactive and made dining and show reservations as soon as they were available in advance of our cruise. That was very difficult with a group of 14!!!! Finally got help from some in the groups department which was greatly appreciated. Even with reservations if you wanted good seats you needed to show up for shows an hour in advance. There were always standby line available and usually folks in those lines got in but you would sit in the back or have to look around a pole. I think a key reason we had a great time on this cruise is that we knew what could about what to expect or we were willing to be flexible with those things we couldn't arrange in advance. There are a lot of opportunities to spend extra money on this ship, gelato, bowling, go carts, shows (Happy Hour Prohibition, included drinks), Starbucks, chocolates, cookies..... but we knew that and did the things we wanted to...the moto was "We're on Vacation!" This is beautiful ship with more things to do and experience that you can do in a week or even two weeks. They have put together a fantastic staff that is eager to serve and are so gracious. I did say a few times, and I have 4 kids that are now in their 20's, I'm not sure I would want to be on the ship during a normal peak travel week with 1000 kids on board. You'd wait in line for the water slides, and the ice cream machine in the buffet, you'd have a hard time getting a reservation for the go carts and laser tag and the buffet would be even more congested. I liked being the Kid on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose this cruise as I had never been right through the Panama Canal & I wanted to experience NCL's latest ship. Leading up to the cruise we had a very active roll call which led to some of us meeting up the night before the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I had never been right through the Panama Canal & I wanted to experience NCL's latest ship. Leading up to the cruise we had a very active roll call which led to some of us meeting up the night before the cruise at the San Pedro FIsh Market where we had a nice meal & got to know each other a bit. Some of us stayed at the Vagabond Hotel which was fine & very close to a McDonalds & a Taco place in case you couldn't get a seat for the free breakfast in the little room at the hotel. I took the free shuttle from the hotel at 10:30 & being platinum got onboard quite quickly. One thing is I didn't see where to get the boarding picture taken so couldn't do that. I did head for the space where they were signing people up for the cars, restaurants & shows. My Jersey Boys' reservation had been changed from Nov 14 to the 16th at 10:30 which wasn't going to work for me. I also booked Prohibition. I was finished early enough to meet the others at the MDR for lunch. I had my first of many tomato soup appetizers as I really love it. BTW the lunch menu is the same every day. Food: I found the meals onboard to be yummy! I tried most of the pay venues & really enjoyed them. The guac at Los Lobos was to die for! Our chef at Teppanyaki was very entertaining & the food good & plentiful. I had a lot of lunches & 1 breakfast at the Local & found the staff there to be very friendly & efficient & the food good too. I also stopped by for a late night snack of chicken wings, yum! It was a great place to sit & watch the big screen, in my case the Panama Canal passage, away from the chaos of the Observation Lounge or at the bow of the ship. Most mornings I ate at the MDR where I was "happy to share" so met lots of people. Entertainment: is great on NCL ships!! This was no different. I enjoyed Prohibition even though I'm not a drinker. I was okay with I Havana & loved Jersey Boys, which I'd seen before in Toronto & will see again there in March. The game shows are fun too but it's exasperating trying to get seating in the Atrium!! The comedians the first week I liked better than the ones at the end as I don't like the audience providing the laughs or demeaning remarks about other cruise lines which actually all performers did. I took part in the Progressive trivia which was run by Morne, a fun guy. We came in 3rd so that was nice. SIlas, the CD & Jacky his assistant were very good. I sometimes watched their morning show. The music in the Atrium by "Familiar Strangers" was very good. The Dancing with the Stars show is always a hoot & if you can't get a seat in the Atrium you can watch it on tv later. That reminds me the Panama Canal lecturer was good & also could be watched live on tv rather than trying to find a seat in the theatre. I watched for free a documentary I had wanted to see, called "Three Identical Strangers", a story of triplets separated at birth for a study!! It was so fascinating I watched it 3 times! I also paid to watch a movie called "Pick of the Litter" about training guide dogs Cabin: I had a studio cabin as usual but this one is different than those on the other new ships. The bed is a bit smaller which is fine as it gives more space to walk in & the addition of the virtual window is amazing!! So nice to see what's going on outside for a change! The solo host Rod arranged solo dinners but a bit too late (8:30) for my taste. He also reserved us great seats in the theater for shows, in front of the Haven ones! He took the group to other venues & had a schedule printed up for us to keep. The Lounge was beautiful & quite large but pretty noisy when the whole group was there. The coffee machine was great as usual & I think we had the only cookies available on the ship!! Excursions: There weren't a lot of them posted early as this cruise had 3 itinerary changes!! This led to my biggest problem on the cruise. We received a letter saying all cabins would receive $100 OBC for the disruption & when we boarded many studio people had only received $50. I went to Guest services twice about it, Stephanie, sort of the solo's leader, went to bat for me plus I emailed my TA & finally received the extra $50 during week 2. This begging for what was due me left a bad taste in my mouth but thankfully it was resolved. Don't know who came through for me in the end but if it was you Johnny, thanks! The only excursion I booked though NCL was the Easy Antigua one in Guatemala which was the only one I believe went there. It was an interesting place & the drive there long but interesting. We saw the effects of the volcano that had erupted in May killing 170 & making a mess of the countryside & the roads. We also were late getting back to the ship so I was glad to have done an NCL tour. In Ensenada I had booked through Ship Mate (SEG) for the 1st time & all went well. It was a lovely tour of 2 wineries with tasty nibbles & wine tastings & the drive there was beautiful. Mazatlan ~ here I took another SEG tour "Highlights with Lunch" which was really good too. During the free time in the city centre I got lost but the traffic policeman was helpful in me finding my van again. In the park I met a couple who had lived in a nearby city to me so it was nice to chat with them. On the bus I met another lovely couple who I ran into several times on the ship. The Cathedral there is beautiful & the market interesting. What do they do with all those chicken feet?!! The lunch by the water was yummy. In Costa Rica I joined a group formed through a CC member with Gio Tours & it was lovely too. We did the 8 in 1 tour but actually only did 7 things as traffic was bad that day, a Sunday, so skipped the tour of Puntarenas in order to be back onboard well in advance of sailing. Our guide was great as was the included meal. In beautiful Cartagena, a place I love & was there for the 3rd time, I finally got to tour with Dora the Explorer! It was a great tour that began at La Popa, a place I hadn't been the other times & offered a fantastic view of the City. It is SO HOT & humid there but the scenery is so lovely & the little zoo at the port cute. The Bliss itself is beautiful, quite like the Getaway, Breakaway, Epic etc but with the addition of the lovely Observation Lounge where there are 3 little buffet stations available, lovely seating with amazing views & some piano entertainment at night. The day of the crossing was terrible I heard but other than that it seems quite a nice, quiet spot & I imagine it's lovely for Alaska. The Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was well attended over, 200 people I believe, & the officers were well represented, we had nibbles, drinks & a band! Oh there were also 2 cakes!! It's always nice to meet people you've chatted with before the cruise. Nice job arranging that Stephanie! The group also had a slot pull & we played LCR on sea days, lots of fun!! Anyhow that's about all I remember. It was a lovely cruise & I'm so happy to have done it. 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 4.0
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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