1,035 Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

When I chose this cruise, I wanted the experience of going all the way through the Panama Canal rather than just the first set of locks to the lake then back. To add to the itinerary, I got the experience of a brand new ship as well as the ... Read More
When I chose this cruise, I wanted the experience of going all the way through the Panama Canal rather than just the first set of locks to the lake then back. To add to the itinerary, I got the experience of a brand new ship as well as the largest ship in the Norwegian family. I certainly was not disappointed. From the ports we visited to the activities on board to the entertainment and activities and dining, it was a once-in-a lifetime experience. On this ship, Norwegian added four additional speciality dining possibilities that I have not seen on previous cruises: Los Lobos, a Mexican eatery; Q, a barbecue place; Ocean Blue, seafood; and Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. These four places added to Cagney's Steakhouse, Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi), LaCucina (Italian) and Le Bistro (French) plus other smaller venues that sold desserts, chocolate and international food items. They even had a Starbucks on board that made my day. In additional to the buffet, they had three main dining rooms and a casual grill that offered "free" meals if you didn't want to pay extra for the speciality venues. Entertainment was boundless from a Beatles band, the Jersey Boys, several comedians, and other variety show possibilities. The only downside to all this was the enormous amount of people (4,000ish) that also wanted to see the shows and eat the food. Because I am limited in mobility, my biggest complaint was the extremely poor organization of embarkation and disembarkation for wheelchair assistance. There has got to be a better way of getting disabled passengers on and off the boat rather than waiting for such a long time. Overall, I would definitely give this trip and this ship 4.5 stars out of 5. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We wanted to take an Inaugural cruise on a brand new ship and go someplace new and different than past vacations. The ship itself was amazing in the way it maneuvers in and out of narrow channels and into the various ports. Much ... Read More
We wanted to take an Inaugural cruise on a brand new ship and go someplace new and different than past vacations. The ship itself was amazing in the way it maneuvers in and out of narrow channels and into the various ports. Much different and better than the old days when tugs had to bring in and port ships. Perhaps most impressive was the way this huge ship was able to spin around in the narrow channel so all aboard the vessel could get a clear view of the Sawyer Glacier. And the Master captain's handling of the ship throughout the ice flows was deliberate and impressive as well. The Beatle act in the recreated Liverpool Cavern club too was great, especially their final performance on the final day in the main theater. The shows like Jersey Boys and Havana were tops. Food excellent. Staff well prepared and kind. Although there were many signs posted about the need to wear shoes in places like the main observation lounge, there was no enforcement of the rule and many people removed shoes and socks and walked the rugs and sat on the floor in the front open spaces and made many people take notice of the unsanitary conditions they were creating. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This helped us fill our bucket list to visit Alaska. The staff was wonderful the entire trip. I had a day of feeling motion sickness and the staff gave me great tips and took care of me. We did day trips and had a blast. Saw eagles and ... Read More
This helped us fill our bucket list to visit Alaska. The staff was wonderful the entire trip. I had a day of feeling motion sickness and the staff gave me great tips and took care of me. We did day trips and had a blast. Saw eagles and whales. We ate great fresh seafood and had energetic shopping. The views cannot be described as amazing and breathtaking do not even begin to do it justice. . The food was also amazing. Even the "basic" complimentary areas had wonderful food and great service. Even in the complimentary dining we had options of burgers, steak, lamb, Vietnamese food, etc. We did specialty dining twice and had wonderful steaks and great French meals. Even the buffet was up to date and quickly filled. I loved afternoon tea and snacks on the observation deck. Perfect for the days I was too full for a full meal. My first cruise a few years ago ( on another line) left me thinking all cruises were terrible. Finally I got convinced to give cruising another try and told to try Norwegian. Thank you Norwegian Cruise line for restoring my faith. This will not be our last cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
It was our first cruise and we loved it! everything was excellent, from the ship, to our cabin 10122 and the crew all were great! The entertainment and activities were great! although we did not get a chance to experience everything the ... Read More
It was our first cruise and we loved it! everything was excellent, from the ship, to our cabin 10122 and the crew all were great! The entertainment and activities were great! although we did not get a chance to experience everything the ship had to offer. There was lots of energy and that was awesome! We did manage to go a comedy show and a 70's and 80's band. Enjoy them both. We even went one time on the race track and the crew that worked the race track were great. However didn't care to much about the other riders that kept slamming into the back of us, that was annoying & gave me a slight headache. That being said, The race track was still awesome and would do it over again.. Our trip overall was excellent and a wonderful experience.. i must say though. One of the reasons we loved it and will defiantly book many more cruises with the NCL is the staff especially the bartenders Danny Fernandes, Glen Gomez and Avoni Rahayu. at the pool deck & outside bar. They were great and some of the nicest people/bartenders we ever met. They made our trip very memorable. I can't say enough about them and we hope to see them on our future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
First off Seattle was a great little town to visit we spent the day before and after our cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Space needle under construction but the view is still spectacular. Don’t let the lines scare you they ... Read More
First off Seattle was a great little town to visit we spent the day before and after our cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Space needle under construction but the view is still spectacular. Don’t let the lines scare you they actually move very quickly. Chihuly glass is a must see!! We stayed in a hotel down town close to the pier and it’s a perfect location to see everything. Now for the ship!! NCL. Bliss First thing is it is a beautiful well-designed ship. We had a mid balcony room. Comfortable beds, good showers. Dinning was great. Garden café always had a good selection and plenty of stations to accommodate everybody. Main complementary dining rooms were awesome we visited all of them Did purchase the specialty dining package and at first everything was all booked up. So two of the nights we just took a chance I won’t buy the reservation desk and got in. We went to Margaritaville for lunch one day. Jersey boys in Havana were enjoyable entertainment. Comedians were also entertaining. Didn’t see the Beatles cover band or the prohibition show. We had a good time at the silent disco. Staff was amazing!! Ports were fabulous the excursions were so much fun. We would’ve been able to spend a little more time in Victoria Canada. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We stayed a night earlier at the Marriott Waterfront The porter walked our luggage over and they processed our luggage right away AWESOME Overwhelmed with anticipation being our first cruise ever but The Bliss Crew and Captain put all ... Read More
We stayed a night earlier at the Marriott Waterfront The porter walked our luggage over and they processed our luggage right away AWESOME Overwhelmed with anticipation being our first cruise ever but The Bliss Crew and Captain put all those fears away. Being on such a massive ship with over 6 thousand people we did not know what to expect . The embarkment and disembarkment were smooth and fast. The instructions were easy to understand and follow. The lay out of the ship made it easy to get around and you never felt overcrowded. Entertaining was awesome with a wide arrangement to please everyone. The instructions for exiting for the excursions were very well planned and easy to follow. Staff was everywhere to direct you. The cabin was classic, (Mr Fernando was the best)the food was awesome,(that is saying a lot being we are from New Orleans lol) The complimentary meals at Savor, Taste and Manhattan were simply fabulous. The entire staff was amazing (Happy Happy Smiley Smiley)and the captain’s navigation skills kept us calm and secured. Thanks NCL for giving first time cruisers the time of their life. We celebrate 44 years of Marriage and we are glad we chose to celebrate it on this magical ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
So my husband, in-laws, and 15 year old son booked this cruise back in August. Hubby and were thrilled with our previous AK cruise and wanted to share the experience with our son. We invited our my in-laws along also. We stayed in a ... Read More
So my husband, in-laws, and 15 year old son booked this cruise back in August. Hubby and were thrilled with our previous AK cruise and wanted to share the experience with our son. We invited our my in-laws along also. We stayed in a mini-suite and a balcony room. We enjoyed both Jersey Boys and Havana. Ate at the Garden Cafe, Taste, Savor, the Manhattan Room, La Cucina, Q, The Local. We visited the casino. Played Bingo. Shopped a tiny bit. This was only my second cruise, so I don't have a lot to compare to. Details below: Cabins: I initially booked a balcony room for my husband and me and an interior room around the corner for my in-laws and son. I figured if we had at least one balcony room that we'd be okay. After seeing how small the interior rooms were, we bid on an upgrade and got it. So we ended up with a balcony room instead of the interior. Hubby and I also bid on a mini-suite which we got. Balcony room 15816: my in-laws and son were in this room. The entrance was claustrophobic - really narrow with the bathroom door right there. The bathroom was spacious enough with quite a bit of shelving for toiletries. The shower was small - like a corner shower. There was a sofa that converted to a bed for my son which was next to the balcony. The bed was comfortable. There was not a ton of storage space though. My mother-in-law was able to hang her clothing in the closet and use the shelves for socks, etc. My father-in-law used the cabinets under the TV to store his clothing. Only one of their suitcases fit under the bed. The carry-ons were too wide to store on the shelving in the closet, so those went under the bed as well. The other large suitcase laid sideways under the makeup area. There were two drawers under the sofa/convertible bed. One was filled with extra bedding. The other was used for my sons clothing. There was a space of about twelve inches between the bed and the cabinet holding the TV. It made moving around a little awkward. Two tiny tables on either side of the bed served as nightstands with two cubbies underneath. The USB ports right there were incredibly convenient. But I don't think this cabin was roomy enough for 3 people. Mini-Suite 13188: my husband and I stayed in this room with my son going back and forth. It was probably only 4 square feet larger than the balcony room. The layout was different - the bed was next to the balcony and the sofa/convertible bed was closer to the closet. The closet was exactly the same as the balcony room. Balcony space exactly the same as well. There was more distance between the bed and the TV cabinet. The bathroom was nicer - full size shower with the full length faucet with all the jets. (I could have stayed in there forever!) There was not the option to have all jets on with the overhead faucet though. :( All in all for what we paid for the upgrade, it was worth it to us to have that extra space in the room (as little as it was) and that full size shower with all the jets. Entertainment: Jersey Boys: I am not a fan of musicals or plays really, but my mother in law really wanted to go see this show. I booked about 3 weeks before departure by calling NCL directly as it was not available to book online (????). It was great. We all really enjoyed it. Yes, the F bomb was dropped quite a few times, so maybe not ideal for younger children. Havana: My mother in law and I went to see this. It was okay. Not as good as Jersey Boys, but it was cute. Bingo: We played twice. The first time was in the theater, second time in Q. The crew members were funny and made it fun; however, ridiculous prices for a few Bingo sheets. the same jokes were told both times, so the second time wasn't quite as fun. Casino: We enjoyed the casino. Did not spend a lot there as gambling isn't really mine or hubby's thing. Boat: The size was massive. Every time we left our cabin I felt like I had to walk a mile to reach the elevators. The decor was stunning - modern and relevant. The observation lounge was truly a site. Tons and tons of seating with buffets set up for snacks. Very inviting. The atrium area was beautiful. Much more open feeling throughout the entire ship than on our last cruise with HAL. What I didn't like: Elevators. There were not nearly enough. Our cruise had 4,700 people on board and 1,700 crew members. And 16 (I think - it may have been 20) elevators for the normal folks to use. (I'm sure the crew members had their own elevators, but I'm not sure if Haven folks did or not.) If mobility is an issue, be prepared to wait. Often my husband and I would grab an elevator that was going down just so that we had room to go back up! If we waited on one going up, by the time it got to our deck, it was full. Guest Services. This relates only to an issue we had with our neighbors smoking on the balcony. The first time I called, they sent someone to check it out. He entered our room and went onto our balcony for a sniff test. He then went next door and spoke (through hand motions as the guests were non-English speaking) to them about the smoking. Came back to our room after a few minutes and explained that he'd spoken to them. Obviously, it didn't work because they continued to smoke. The second time I called, nothing. They sent no one nor called us or anything. The third time I called, again, nothing. Sent no one, didn't call us back. The fourth time, I complained a little more forcefully. They sent someone up to speak to them and called us back and let us know what happened. It was Friday by that time, and we did not smell anymore smoke for the rest of that day or the next morning (disembarkation day). Temperature. Yes, it was an Alaskan cruise, but I was hot everywhere I went. Not enough storage in the room. Water temp not stable in the shower. Bar height stools were difficult to get onto. I'm short and my husband is average height, and we both had a little trouble. Just some other things I didn't like: The food was the same everywhere. In Q we had the cornbread. Then two days later, it was an appetizer in The Manhattan Room. (Same cornbread, as I ate both.) Taste, Savor, Garden Cafe - all food was the same. Yes, different on different days, but I got tired of eating the same things. Also, most of the sauces seemed watered down. I got the pretzels and beer cheese dip at The Local a few times... it was really soupy. As was all the salad dressings I tried. We brought our yeti type cups so that we could fill them at the buffet, but we were told that was no allowed. So we ended up purchasing 6 liters of bottled water just so we'd have drinking water in our rooms. Guests were rude. I know NCL cannot control others, but geez. Several times there was no seating in the Garden Cafe, so we would go down to the Observation Lounge with our plates. Um, yeah. Try getting seating in there too! All of the chaise lounges were taken as were any tables that were regular table height. We ended up sitting on one of the sofas trying to juggle where to put our plates, utensils, and drinks. Incredibly frustrating. What I DID like: The shower in our room; the decor; the bed was pretty comfy; the completely separate smoking casino (we could vaguely smell smoke when passing by); the food at La Cucina; appetizer at Q (fried okra - seriously. I'm a southern girl and love fried okra, but theirs was amazing); our room steward - he left us towel animals almost every day and was incredibly friendly; the spray the crew members used as hand sanitizer; the USB ports beside the bed (wish there would have been one at the vanity area though!); our whale watching excursion (not done through NCL). My husband and son absolutely LOVED the go-karts. They only played Laser Tag once but enjoyed it as well. I know there's more I'm forgetting.... All in all - would I cruise on the Bliss again? I had a good time, but no. Too many people, too big of a ship and not enough attention paid to individual guests. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My NCL agent suggested this new ship debuting June 2018 and we booked. We arrived the day before the cruise. Liked the close location of the port to the main road and there are many hotels, restaurants and things to do nearby including ... Read More
My NCL agent suggested this new ship debuting June 2018 and we booked. We arrived the day before the cruise. Liked the close location of the port to the main road and there are many hotels, restaurants and things to do nearby including the Pike Place Market. Embarkation was easy. Lovely big ship. Comfortable cabins and beds. Great room steward Jommel. Love that the casino has a smoking room so others don't get bothered by the smoke. The food onboard was very good. The maiden voyage of the Bliss was completely sold out so the buffet didn't have enough seats to accommodate everyone so we had to go outside or downstairs to the Observation Lounge with our plates to eat sometimes if it was full. It was difficult to make reservations for some specialty restaurants and for the shows because there were too many passengers wanting reservations. The Jersey Boys show was very good, shorter than the Broadway version but very entertaining. Havana Nights was okay. The hugely advertised go-kart amenity price went up the first week from $7 to $9.95. Even with Appointments the wait is approximately 90 minutes. It's a good ride but I highly recommend that only teenagers and up with driving experience do this. Younger kids can ride double with parents and they should. Kids that can't handle the go-karts keep others from enjoying the speed because once someone crashes or stops everyone has to stop and it really kills the momentum and holds up all the other people waiting. Laser tag also has a fee and was very disorganized in terms of the line and waiting time and people claiming to have been there before others that were there before them. People would come earlier than their appointment times also and go in before others with the actual appointment time. As I said before the ship was full and bar service was a bit slow. Not enough waiters especially because of included beverage packages. All the shore excursions I took were okay but there really wasn't enough time after and during the tours to do any shopping or walking around before we had to get back to the ship. The Mt Roberts tram had over 1 hr waiting time to go on and over 40 minutes waiting to return. Ridiculous. We only had 10 minutes to spend up there before having to get back in line. Was a waste of time and money. The view was spectacular however for the few minutes we were up there. Should have skipped the tram and stayed longer at the Mendenhall Glacier which was fantastic. We had a party of six with 4 adults, 1 preteen and 1 teenager. We all had a great time and the kids were very happy. The scenery was spectacular. I would cruise this ship again with a different itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because it was the first cruise to Alaska for the Bliss. Embarkation went fine. We had time to explore the ship then went to the sail away party. We had dinner reservations at Cagneys, we were placed in a corner of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was the first cruise to Alaska for the Bliss. Embarkation went fine. We had time to explore the ship then went to the sail away party. We had dinner reservations at Cagneys, we were placed in a corner of the dining room. Very uncomfortable. As Platinum members we were in a group that got a tour of laundry, behind the scenes theater and a trip down I-95. We were in and aft balcony room. The view was fabulous. The room was comfortable. The room steward made the bed up too tight serveral different days. He took out stuff from the refrigerator to accommodate medication. He also retrieved our luggage the last night for an emergency recheck. We saw the Prohibition Musical which was great. The five drinks included in the price were very good. We also saw The Jersey Boys. Fantastic. The observation lounge is beautiful, it’s definitely the place to be. NOT with 20 people sleeping on the couches. The outside decks were unusable because of the weather. The service needs work. I’m sure it will get better. We only took the White Pass Railway excursion. Which was fabulous. The tour guides were good, the scenery fantastic. Ketchikan was wet. We had great fried halibut. Juneau was beautiful. The glacier viewing was great. Victoria was wet and a late afternoon trip. I will sail with Norwegian again, but not with 4500 of my best friends. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had a large party in our group. Everyone from 4 years to 70's. We had such a great time and the Bliss created some wonderful, life long memories for us. The staff was great and polite. I found other cruise lines had better ... Read More
We had a large party in our group. Everyone from 4 years to 70's. We had such a great time and the Bliss created some wonderful, life long memories for us. The staff was great and polite. I found other cruise lines had better quality food but I really couldn't complain. The children loved the kids club and still talk about Blossom, one of the kids club team members. We visited Elliot who was at the outside Cavern bar every night. We enjoyed his conversation and he always had great inputs for us about the cruise and answered all our questions. Bernadette at the steak house was courteous and professional, we enjoyed our time together. The cabin was laid out well. It fit our family well, we had two adults and two smaller children but to be honest, we only used to to sleep and clean up. We lucked out at the casino and mad a little money. All the dealers we had seemed to enjoy their time on the ship. We watched "Jersey Boys" and thought it was entertaining. The only negative I would say is that there were too many curse words. A few would be okay but I seemed to hear it every few words. The port of calls were stunning! We had excursions in each port and wold highly recommend them to everyone. We did rafting, hiked and visited sled dog and puppies, the little ones loved holding them. We only had one bad experience. I would avoid booking with Mark Roach. We booked over a year out and had trouble communicating with him. When we tried to switch agents we were told we had to stay with him. Basically, we wanted to be sat together during dinner but were told they had to split us up at different times. Fortunately for us, we talked to the dining staff as soon as we got on the ship and they fixed our reservation so we could all sit together. I honestly don't know why he couldn't set this up and was disappointed with his effort. If you call the 800 number and reach him, I would highly recommend to ask for someone else, or hang up and call back to see if you can get another person. Overall, I would highly recommend this cruise. Once we fixed the dining reservation, which took less than a minute, we had nothing but fun. I hope this review helps you, enjoy your cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We booked our cruise a year in advance, so needless to say, I had plenty of time to explore Seattle online. I contacted the Chamber or commerce and asked for brochures, magazines, advertisements, etc... I wanted to know where to go, how ... Read More
We booked our cruise a year in advance, so needless to say, I had plenty of time to explore Seattle online. I contacted the Chamber or commerce and asked for brochures, magazines, advertisements, etc... I wanted to know where to go, how to get around and the best places to eat. When I arrived, I felt like I already knew the city. We purchased the City Pass and within 48 hours, got to see so much of the sights. I would definitely recommend getting them. We were on the very first Alaskan sailing of the Bliss (June 2 - 9, 2018). The ship was so large. It took me almost the full week to know how to get around. But as time went on, I explored as much as I could and found some fantastic spots for viewing that weren't crowded. Our cabin was 10758. It was nice and quiet. With as many stateroom this ship had, I honestly expected to cross more people in the halls by their rooms, but it was just the opposite. I hardly saw anyone in the halls. Everyone one was out and about in the center of the ship where all the activities were. The dining was great. Never had to wait for a table. We made reservations for most of our evening dinners, but breakfast and lunch was a drop in. My favorite was The Local. We also enjoyed The Taste and Savor. The food was good. I ate everything I ordered. The portions were a good amount too. Not too much, not too little. You could always order more if you were still hungry. I was disappointed that we didn't get a choice for a lobster meal. Now I can't say it was the best food I ever had or that I would say "you've got to try this"... but it was average. I did have a steak at the Le Bistro and that was probably the best meal I ate all week. Stay out of the buffet area unless you plan to eat standing up. Not enough tables and some families just parked themselves there for hours because they had a great view. So they sit there all day and take up all the tables with their stuff not even eating most of the time. I enjoyed the entertainment. My favorite was the Jersey Boys and Beatlemania. Havanna was just ok... Maybe I was just tired when I saw it. And Prohibition was a lot of fun. My son enjoyed watching the movies in the atrium and Bliss theater. We tried our turn on the Go Carts. It was fun, but for $10.00 a ride, we only did them once. I felt that as much as we spent on this cruise, they could have given everyone a complimentary ride on the go carts or laser tag. Maybe give them a choice. We were frustrated to find out that you can only ride them with a reservation. So, we had to wait two days to ride them. That was very annoying. They didn't even have a standby line. No reservation, no ride! The casino was a lot of fun too. And it wasn't crazy crowded there either. I was so happy to see they had a closed in smoking section just for the smokers. Very smart! The bartenders was super nice. Always friendly, making jokes, and having fun with the passengers. The dancers at the dance parties were also a favorite of mine. We also went to the Karaoke. Next time, please put the Karaoke in an adult only room. We had some pre-teens and teenagers singing and it was the worst thing every. So many just left the room because of them. The Bliss has an observation area. I was extremely upset with the number of people sleeping on the sofa's with their feet everywhere. They were asleep and not even looking at the view. I couldn't even find a seat to sit in. It was nasty and frustrating. I put my shoe up to tie my shoe one time and I was asked to not put my shoes on the chair. OK.. my fault. But people could sleep with bare feet and nothing was said to them! Take away the sofas and loungers and just put in chairs. We took two excursions. Booked a train ride through NCL and a rain forest hike from a private party. The hike was my favorite. There was four to five ships at most ports and needless to say, the towns, restaurants, and bars were extremely crowded. It was hard to get around and made it hard to enjoy the ports. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Getting off the ship was a long line and took a good bit of time. But we made conversation with some of the others around us and time passed quickly. I traveled with two young adults and one teenager. The ship has stuff for the teenager, but my two young adults (20 years old), didn't have a place for them to mingle with other's their age. I felt there should have been some kind of social club for 18 - 21 year olds. My daughter was desperate to find someone else around her age. I would definitely take this trip again, but next time I believe the smaller ships are going to be more my style. Also, as much as I love my children, I feel the Alaskan Cruise is really more for couples and not for large families. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We just returned from the inaugural cruise to Alaska on the NCL Bliss. Alaska is mindblowing, it's lush, vast and beautiful and even just a sampling of it that we experienced was wonderful. Similarly the NCL Bliss is equally stunning. ... Read More
We just returned from the inaugural cruise to Alaska on the NCL Bliss. Alaska is mindblowing, it's lush, vast and beautiful and even just a sampling of it that we experienced was wonderful. Similarly the NCL Bliss is equally stunning. It's big, clean, well appointed and has many fun features that make it a step above many of it's competitors. However a ship in and of itself is not enough. The huge staff that service the 4700 cruisers that joined this first foray into SE Alaska is the most critical component to making your experience memorable. Many of the cruise personnel were great. Cruise Director Silas was great, engaging, personable and fun. Many of his staff and the kid club staff were excellent. However many of our interactions on the cruise with the dining room staff did not meet expectations. The Manhattan, Savor and Taste dining rooms were slow, unaccommodating and the staff seemed confused or apathetic. In contrast the dining at the Specialty restaurants such as Tepanyaki, Cagney's, Le Bistro and the Q were great. The real problem with NCL's model, which isn't much different than other cruise ships, is the constant upsell. NCL seemed to take it to the next level and general experiences that one would think are just there to pass time or educate you are really opportunities to extract more money from your wallet. Even the premier features; laser tag and go carts, which were both great fun, require additional fees. In all we loved Alaska and the Ship but were whelmed by the staff and on board experiences. Whether it's more training or a need to change the model of customer service we feel something should change before we use NCL again. The good: Room was well designed, great bathroom, comfortable Specialty dining was great in all locations we used Observation deck was nice, but usually crowded and not much room available Splash Academy staff were excellent Jersey Boys and Beatles Ports were great, just too amazing to describe The Bad: General Dining room staff were not very good or in some cases apathetic Havana: thin plot, non-engaging music despite great voices of the cast. Garden Cafe was always crowded at meal times and food options didn't change much Pool only lightly used due to the cooler temps, Haven pool is covered, not so for general pool Constant push to charge extra for nearly everything Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The ship is enormous. Lots of activities on board. There is a go kart track and mini golf on top deck. The entertainment in The Cave is amazing. Siglo the band was excellent. We went back everytime they played. There was a Beatles group ... Read More
The ship is enormous. Lots of activities on board. There is a go kart track and mini golf on top deck. The entertainment in The Cave is amazing. Siglo the band was excellent. We went back everytime they played. There was a Beatles group that was wonderful. A prohibition show which you need to drink. Don't reserve if you don't. Havana the musical was good. No problem getting into the shows if you book early. On the other hand if you want to book the better restaurants make sure you book pre cruise. They fill up so fast. Many people complained. The cabins I thought were a bit smaller on this boat compared to Breakaway. The service was great. Employees couldn't have been nicer. Ports were good, but had to be back too early. Wanted to do more in the ports. Because the ship is so large , we were docked far in Skagway. There were many children, but because the ship was so ;large i wasn't a problem. Book exclusions early as well. There is limited space, but there are taxis on the pier. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
BACKGROUND INFORMATION The Norwegian Bliss began her life at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany on October 28, 2016. NCL took delivery of their newest Breakaway Plus ship in April 2018 and a month and a half later, she ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION The Norwegian Bliss began her life at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany on October 28, 2016. NCL took delivery of their newest Breakaway Plus ship in April 2018 and a month and a half later, she christened on May 30, 2018 in Seattle by Godfather Elvis Duran. We were ready and excited to be on her maiden voyage to Alaska and the glaciers on June 2, 2018. Our live post with Freestyle Dailies, restaurant menus, shore excursions, and ship photos can be found at https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2641186. Seattle, Washington Ketchikan, Alaska Juneau, Alaska Dawes Glacier, Alaska Skagway, Alaska Victoria, British Columbia Seattle, Washington TRAVEL TO PORT OF EMBARKATION On the morning of the cruise, we dropped off our rental car at a downtown office, a few blocks from the port. Although there were several ships in port that day, our car rental shuttle was filled with guests heading to the brand new Norwegian Bliss. Our driver was great, taking us several blocks beyond the traffic jams trying to get down to the harbor. As we approached the terminal, it did not appear that any of the $50 million in terminal refurbishments had been spent on the drop-off/pick-up area. Our driver expertly got us close to the curb (not easy at the Bell Street terminal) and got our bags on the curb for us. Several weeks before our cruise, NCL had snail mailed luggage tags and a letter warning us of the potential of drop off congestion at the port. We were specifically warned that only union workers could handle luggage, and that there could be lines for people without pre-tagged bags. There were few porters on the curb. Instead, there were “bag check” tents sent up with the union port workers sitting behind tables accepting luggage. After dropping off our bags, we walked around the outside of the terminal checking out the Bliss before joining the line to get into the terminal. Security was fast and efficient. Check-in was very small with limited waiting room seating. We had provided credit card information during on-line check-in, so the check-in process was simply scanning passports, which were used for the ship’s security photos also (vs. the webcam photos) and getting our keys. The agents ran out of boarding group number cards and the “checkers” at the doors to the gangway could not figure out what to do with Platinum priority boarders. STATEROOM We were in cabin 15782, a M9 Spa Mini-Suite. The cabin was conveniently located just down the hall from forward elevator lobby and the Observation Lounge, so it was easy to stop by for a snack or a drink on the way to/from our cabin. BUT, the designers of the Bliss kinda forgot that the Spa has been moved to the rear of the ship (not the front like on other Breakaway-class ships). Normally the spa rooms are located near the stairwell leading up to the Thermal Suite. On the Bliss (and now the Encore), the spa rooms are at the opposite end of the ship. Spa mini-suites are a regular mini suite room. We always get a mini suite on Breakaway-class ships for the larger bathrooms and oversized waterfall shower with jets. Since the room is a spa room, it came with Bvlgari amenities (used in the Haven suites). The balcony was tiny with barely enough space for 2 chairs and a very small table, which is typical for NCL’s Breakaway-class ships. SHIP INFO Capacity: 4004 guests Max Capacity: 4992 Crew: 1716 This Sailing: 4700 guests (a full house!) Restaurant Seating Manhattan Room seats 560 Taste/Savor seats: 566 Garden Café sets 840 The Local seats 199 Observation Lounge seats 215 Margaritaville seats 140 Food Republic seats 90 Q seats 214 Ocean Blue seats 106 Los Lobos seats 170 Cagney’s seats 142 Tappanyaki seats 104 Le Bistro seats 84 La Cucina seats 154 Bliss Theater seats 876 Casino has 25 tables and 310 slots Number of Staterooms Haven Owners Suites: 2 Haven 2 Bedroom: 24 Haven Courtyard: 24 Haven Aft: 14 Haven Forward: 10 Haven Spa: 6 Spa Mini Suites: 20 Mini Suites: 288 Spa Balcony: 28 Balcony: 1060 Ocean View: 111 Inside: 374 Studio: 82 Smoking Area Humidor Cigar Lounge Spice H20 (starboard) Casino (for active players) Haven Deck 19 DINING Garden Café – Always a great selection of ethic foods and specials of the day. The forward portion of the buffet seating shares the 2-story forward-facing picture windows with the Observation Lounge (that’s where we went to sit and eat daily). Beautiful 270 degree views of Alaska. Not to be missed! Watch the dailies to see what the specials of the day are in the Garden Café and The Local. There is outside seating (which is normally less crowded) for the buffet. There are heaters in the ceilings keeping the outside seating area nice and toasty. Food Republic – Offers a great variety of Asian and worldwide small plates. The ship features the new menu (post separation of NCL from the Pubbelly Boys). The restaurant has limited lunch hours, so get there right at opening to get a window seat and to get your orders in first. The Local – Offers 24 hours dining. NCL has tried to create a same-but-different pub-grub menu to distance themselves from O’Sheehan’s and the Kevin Sheehan era. Always full and very popular. The Local offers nightly specials (watch the Freestyle Daily) and a great place to grab a bite to eat and look down on the goings on in the Atrium. Cagney’s – We always love a good steak, and Cagney’s is the place to get it. Great atmosphere, sometime can get a little loud. Outside seating was available, but most people avoid the chilly evenings on our June cruise. The seven layer cake is our favorite dessert. Ocean Blue – What a change. The menu has been totally revamped compared to other ships in the fleet. Lobsters and king crab legs have disappeared from the menu, and there is a full page of oyster dishes. It kinda combines the features of the Raw Bar from the Breakaway/Getaway with Ocean Blue. The food was good, but disappointing since the menu was so different. The closest lobster dish was a lobster pot pie (what poor way to treat a top-of-the-line seafood product). Teppanyaki – Always a great entertainment experience. Our chef ensured that everyone had a wonderful dining experience and perfectly cooked food (more than anyone could eat). Juggling eggs, flying food, all part of the Teppan dining experience. The show alone is worth the price. Los Lobos – We had the pleasure of having dinner at Los Lobos twice. Lost Lobos replaces Moderno on the Bliss’ sister ship and can be used as a Platinum dinner choice. We started with fresh guacamole made tableside by the waiters. A wide assortment of appetizers, salads, tacos and enchiladas. Generous portions for appetizers and all with wonderful flavors and textures. Entrees are equally good. Followed by some unique desserts. Great Service and great food. Q – The BBQ was wonderful. Nice flavors and textures (for being prepared on a cruise ship). Q replaces the Supper Club, Illusionarium, and Cirque on the Bliss’ sister ships and can be used as a Platinum dinner choice. The live country music was obnoxiously loud for dinner entertainment. Even when shouting at the top of our voices, it was hard to communicate with the waiters. Loud music is o.k. once the restaurant switches to a showroom after dinner service, but they need to turn down the volume while people are eating. Margaritaville – We were not willing to pay the cover charge for dinner. We did buzz through to look at the complimentary express buffet serve there each morning. Basically a [small] subset of food 1 deck down I the main buffet. The seating area is not heated, so it can be chilly in the morning. Observation Lounge – has 3 serving areas with a light breakfast, lunch, and tea time. We just liked stopping by for a quick snack while we enjoyed the magnificent views of Alaska. ENTERTAINMENT Jersey Boys – A Broadway show the chronical the life of Frankie Valli as they formed the group The Four Seasons. A must see (maybe 2 or 3 times). Complimentary. Book a seat at the Bliss Theater Box Office. ¡Havana! – Brings the lively dance and music of 1950 Cuba to the stage. We were expecting more of a high energy Burn the Floor-like dance show. Havana kinda dragged on through a loose story line. It was o.k., but not exactly what we were expecting. Complimentary. Book a seat at the Bliss Theater Box Office. Canvas by U – If you love a little wine (bring your own – it helps the creativity) and painting, you can create a master piece onboard. 4 sessions where held on this cruise. The sessions are very popular and sell out quickly with a long waiting list. $35 per session. Book a seat at the Bliss Theater Box Office on embarkation day. Levity Comedy – A good comedy show is always a cruise ship must see. Great cruise-ship humor and the early show was family appropriate. Late shows 18+. Just stay away from the front row of the show room. Also, show up early, there are a lot of “bad” seats on the show room. Complimentary. Book a seat at the Bliss Theater Box Office. Escape the Big Top – Ever wanted to try an escape room. Solve the puzzles to come up with a magic phrase to break the spell of a deranged magician. You are assigned to a group of 8-10 people (you can bring your own group) and work together to escape in 45 minutes. The session ends when someone solves the mystery, or you hit the 45 minute time limit. Complimentary. Book a seat at the Bliss Theater Box Office – sells out fast! The Cavern Club – Enjoy the music of the Beatles played by a tribute band. Get there early for a seat, the room fills fast and is standing room only by show time. Complimentary. Thermal Suite – A wonderful, adult only, hideaway. We spent a couple of hours a day in the saunas, steam room, salt bath, snow room, jacuzzi, and the wonderful hydro therapy pool. Hot stone loungers were a wonderful way to destress after a busy day touristing. Spa tours and weekly passes are sold in the Spa on embarkation day. SERVICE Service was top notch. This was the first cruise where the passenger count brought the ship up near maximum. And the crew handled it wonderfully. We are always impressed on how friendly and welcoming the crew on NCL ships are compared to other cruise lines. They are helpful, friendly and go out of their way to make a wonderful cruise experience. PORT & SHORE EXCURSIONS Ketchikan – Nature Sanctuary, Eagle Center and Totems. We like this tour because it is a easy walk through the rain forest with a naturalist. Lots of beautiful hemlock, spruce and cedar trees. Once you get through the forest, you get up onto a boardwalk through the Eagle Creek estuary. June was early in the season and we missed the salmon running (and the bears that come to lunch). There were a lot of eagles up in the trees. And one bear rummaging through the forest. At the end of the walk, there is a visit to the Raptor Center where we saw rescue eagle and hawk. Juneau - Tracy Arm Fjord and Glacier Explorer Cruise. This was the highlight of the entire cruise. Just as the ship is getting to leave port, you jump on the tour boat for a private tour of the glaciers. Warm inside cabin with picture windows all around. Ample outside space for those once-in-a-lifetime photos. The crew did an excellent job looking out for wildlife. We did stopped three time to do some humpback whale watching along the way. We pulled up close to the shore to watch a bear feeding on dandelions (salmon not running yet). Lots of seals on ice flows. And then we were out in the ice fields, up close to the Dawes glacier. The Bliss had to stay back about 5 miles due to the heavy ice in the water. The ice did not bother us, we just maneuvered up to the glacier for some spectacular views and live calving of huge pieces of ice. Skagway – Yukon Territory Scenic Drive. You can’t come to Alaska without learning about the gold rush and the origins of the cruise ship ports. This is a land tour talking you up the White Pass Trail on the Klondike Highway through the Yukon Territory. Beautiful scenery with continual narration on what it was like to make this crossing during the gold rush. As the tour continues, we crossed into Canada and continue to Spirit Lake for a light buffet lunch of soups, sandwiches, and home baked pies. Lots of beautiful scenery and photo stops. Our minibus was able to make a couple of stops to watch bears along side of the road, feeding on dandelions and berries. Victoria – Victoria Highlights. The ship arrives late into Victoria, so we decided to do a quick city tour. This was very enjoyable, taking you for a ride through the city to see all of its top sites. DISEMBARKATION The ship highly encourages the use of the Port Valet which picks up your bags on the last night of the cruise and takes them to the airport and checks them in for you. Disembarkation was disorganized chaos. The shore workers took way too long to offload luggage into the baggage hall (i.e., long after the published availability schedule). That just backed up people in the ship waiting to disembark. Bell Street terminal has always been a nightmare to get in/out of due to the limited space on the curb and having a fully loaded megaship in port for the first time stressed thing until they broke. We caught the NCL transfer to the airport which, once the bags finally came out, was quick and efficient. The one downside (compared to a taxi) is that they drop you at the bus terminal which is at one end of the terminal. You have to get you and your bags up and down the terminal to your airlines check-in counter. SUMMARY We were elated to be on the maiden voyage of the Norwegian Bliss to Alaska. The ship is beautiful with the right features for cruising Alaska. The crew did an excellent job and created many fond vacation memories. A Must Do cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Chose the Bliss to Alaska as our first cruise to celebrate 2 birthdays in the family. Their much touted go-kart was a huge attraction. My wife had called Norwegian ahead of time (before boarding) informing them of this special occasion ... Read More
Chose the Bliss to Alaska as our first cruise to celebrate 2 birthdays in the family. Their much touted go-kart was a huge attraction. My wife had called Norwegian ahead of time (before boarding) informing them of this special occasion and they had mentioned they would have a surprise in the room when we enter. Of course--nothing when we boarded. Go-Karting and Laser Tag--there's an additional fee for those. On top of the $6.5K we already paid. Also, when we went to Go-Kart, we were told that although we had paid and made a reservation, there weren't any 2 seaters that they could give my daughter and I and we would need to pay for 2 hours. Did I mention it was very windy and 40 degrees outside while we waited in line for 30 minutes to be told this? This was on Day 1. Oh, did I mention, they don't have indoor pools? So my 7 year old couldn't swim as it's 40 degrees outside on their outdoor pools. When my wife went to guest services to remind them about her call on trying to make the trip special for us, guest services was rude and then gave a certificate for a cake at one of the restaurants. Finally--as soon as we had boarded, we requested to change one of our included packages (from the on shore excursion credit to special dining). The response? Sorry--can't change after you board. That's our policy. Not accommodating at all. If this was my experience on day 1 then I'm never going to cruise NCL again. EVER. You would expect they would at least try but it seems as if corporate policy trumps everything else. You would expect they could change the on shore excursion to the dining credit. Their response was, "if we do it for you, we would need to do it for the others." Really? Great way to make me feel special. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The ship and crew were so great, they took care of everything that we needed or thought about. The food was 5 star, and a lot of options. They kept us entertained during the entire cruise, shows, performers, and games during the cruise. ... Read More
The ship and crew were so great, they took care of everything that we needed or thought about. The food was 5 star, and a lot of options. They kept us entertained during the entire cruise, shows, performers, and games during the cruise. This was our first cruise and we had such a great time with The Bliss and NCl that we are booking a couple of more cruises with NCl in the future. The excursions that we booked through the Bliss, were great, no problems and we didn't feel that we were rushed. One excursion ran a little long getting back to the ship, due to traffic in town, but no worries, didn't have to run to catch the ship. The ship was waiting for us and everyone was so nice and didn't make it seem like it was our fault. We were able to get on the ship within 15 minutes of checking in and were able to get off the ship in about 15 minutes also. Great system for easy on and off the ship, before the cruise and after the cruise and in every port. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We wanted to try a new ship and we wanted to visit Alaska again. We have been there before, but wanted our adult children to experience it this year, so we decided on the Norwegian Bliss for the amount of new fun things to try on the ... Read More
We wanted to try a new ship and we wanted to visit Alaska again. We have been there before, but wanted our adult children to experience it this year, so we decided on the Norwegian Bliss for the amount of new fun things to try on the ship, such as the go kart track and laser tag. Our adult kids are in their 20's and there was plenty for them to do to keep them happy the entire vacation. The week we travelled, the NBA finals were on and also the NHL Stanley Cup finals, which was quite important for our family. We were able to watch all of the games we wanted on the Big Screen in the casino, as well as at The Local Bar on Deck 7. The bartenders at The Local Bar and Grill were amazing the entire week and they knew our family after Day 1,which made my kids feel special. The only complaints that I would mention for the entire week, were that our cabin neighbors were smoking cigaretttes on their balcony and it was blowing right into my balcony and into our room. The second complaint is that people were sleeping and snoring on the beautiful lounge chairs in the observation lounge, making it uncomfortable for all those around. This area should be monitored a bit better or signage should be put up to stop sleepers where they shouldn't be sleeping. Overall, this was an incredible week that left us a bit shy in the pocket book, but large on happy memories. Thank you to all of the staff of the Norwegian Bliss who made this week our best Family Vacation ever. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Cruise overall was great. Buffet dining was amazing, ALTHOUGH we wanted to try a PAID meal, but everything books up the first day you are onboard. The paid dining should be open more hours (even at lunch) to give others more chances ... Read More
Cruise overall was great. Buffet dining was amazing, ALTHOUGH we wanted to try a PAID meal, but everything books up the first day you are onboard. The paid dining should be open more hours (even at lunch) to give others more chances to eat. Go Kart Track should be open more hours (especially while at sea) and $5.00 is a fair price for it. $10 is a little high for what you get. Laser Tag should be open more hours - we weren't able to try it out. We finally got reservations for it, but it started to sprinkle rain and they cancelled Laser Tag because it doesn't have a roof on it It is also only open in the evenings, which is not a good plan. Silent Disco. - I loved it, BUT again, it wasn't available every night, and only had a limited set of headphones. There isn't a reason why this can't be offered during the day for an hour and half session or multiple sessions in the evening. Jersey Boys - Took my wife, and 2 kids (13 and 10). Within first 20 mins the F word was used 3 time. So we sent our kids to do something else. Within a few mins it was used again, so we left as well as others in the theatre. This should be advertised that it is NOT a Family Show. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
As NCL latitude members, we were excited they launched this new ship to Alaska. This was a chance to check off two big bucket lists. The ship is amazing. There are definitely many people on board, but with all the different layouts you ... Read More
As NCL latitude members, we were excited they launched this new ship to Alaska. This was a chance to check off two big bucket lists. The ship is amazing. There are definitely many people on board, but with all the different layouts you can always find a corner to relax. Highlights: -The large enclosed viewing area was a good place to see the scenery pass by. We spotted whales from there! Be advised, good seats fill up fast, but there is a bar and some snack foods to enjoy. -The Jersey Boys show was terrific. Well worth the time. -There was so many people on the ship-all specialty restaurants got booked the day we boarded. Be advised!!! The shows booked out before we set sail! -The casino was huge, and well laid out. -The spa pass is a great investment. It sells out quickly, we paid $279 each for the week. Best place on the ship to relax. -We did try Q, the atmosphere was good, but the food mediocre. We could not purchase a dining package, because they sold out before we even set sail. This made for a $70 dinner for 2 at a BBQ joint. While we spent that at Ocean Blue, it was well worth it. Hopefully NCL will work out the dining scheduling. If you want a dining package, get it before boarding. -The food was excellent throughout the ship. This was our fifth cruise, and by far the best for food. The buffet was the best. -Take the time to ride the go-carts. It was a real thrill to do on a ship. Ports- We did the most recommended excursion in Skagway which was the train ride along the gold rush trail. We saw bears, and eagles, with many amazing photos. Highlight of the trip, for sure! Juneau was ok, Get out of town for that port, it is just a simple small urban area, not much to see. In hindsight we could have booked something there. Katchikan is a port that you can just do a walking tour to enjoy. There is a lot of history within the port. This was a maiden cruise, so there were a few bumps to be worked out. The elevators on this ship are always packed, so be prepared to wait. Aside from the sheer number of people trying to get reservations for everything, it was an amazing cruise. We have done Alaska for now, but can't wait to sail on the Bliss again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were on the inaugural Alaska cruise for the brand-new Norwegian Bliss, and I was extremely impressed. It was a fun, relaxing, luxurious seven days with a few minor -- an one not-so-minor -- downsides. The ship itself is gorgeous. Of ... Read More
We were on the inaugural Alaska cruise for the brand-new Norwegian Bliss, and I was extremely impressed. It was a fun, relaxing, luxurious seven days with a few minor -- an one not-so-minor -- downsides. The ship itself is gorgeous. Of course, being a new ship, everything felt polished and fresh, but the design of the ship is the real star. Cabins were luxurious and relatively large, and with great interior decoration. The balcony was larger than expected and comfortable. The only minus for the cabin the the rock-hard sleeper sofa. Interior spaces are beautiful. The Observation Lounge on 15 is a terrific large space, with a great bar and luxurious dark hues. The Manhattan Room draws on an elegant art-deco (or art moderne?) theme, and each bar and restaurant has its own well-crafted style. This was the easiest embarkation I've ever had. Possibly because we were early-ish, around noon, we went from sidewalk, with bags in hand, to the first drink onboard in under 40 minutes. NCL had dozens of check-in staff, and we weren't kept waiting at all. Very impressive. Entertainment was top-notch, although getting reservations was tedious, confusing, and decidedly non-luxurious. Why not open up more entertainment to pre-cruise reservations? We took part in less entertainment than usual because of the sold-out performances, although Jersey Boys and Prohibition Happy Hour are definitely worth seeing. And now the big question mark -- the food. When it was good, it was terrific, but the other times...oh my. The very first lunch at The Local was awful. Spinach dip had the taste and consistency of warm glue, and I swear the wings came covered in ketchup. MDR meals were average, as you'd expect, very much hotel-banquet quality. Specialty restaurants were hit-or-miss, with some mediocre duck and tasteless foie gras at Le Bistro, and terrible service at La Cucina. However, Food Republic is great, and Tepanyaki was a pleasant surprise -- lots of fun and the food quality is high. The Garden Cafe buffet was incredible! Very interesting and delectable choices, including Florida stone crab one night. Never disappointed there. I had considered doing a Haven room, as they took the luxury aspect to another level, but in the end went with a regular balcony room and week-long passes to Vibe Beach Club and the spa. I think I got 70% of The Haven experience for 5% of the price. Vibe was a fun place to hang out, but not exactly designed for the Alaskan climate. It would be awesome in the Caribbean. I should also mention that NCL does a great beverage package -- while you do pay for gratuity upfront, not signing a slip at all does feel nice. Overall, the ship is drop-dead beautiful. A new ship really does make a difference, and this one's a winner. A couple of other minor notes, in case any NCL staff is reading: It would be very nice to have onboard passenger-to-passenger communication -- DCL does a great job with this with their Wave phones. I know you like to promote laser tag and go carts, but they're off-limits to most passengers unless you reserve ASAP on day 1. Why keep the hours so limited? I met 5 people who wanted to do them for every 1 who did. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We went to Alaska on the Bliss. It was absolutely amazing. Everything was well organized and thought out. There were plenty of activities on board for the at-sea days. Our balcony room was perfect, and we enjoyed the views each day. ... Read More
We went to Alaska on the Bliss. It was absolutely amazing. Everything was well organized and thought out. There were plenty of activities on board for the at-sea days. Our balcony room was perfect, and we enjoyed the views each day. Well worth the price when traveling in Alaska. We saw whales and eagles from the balcony. We did a shore excursion booked through the ship at each port. We enjoyed them all and only wish we had had more time in each place. Our grown sons loved the casino. The restaurants were great especially La Cucina, and the service and friendliness of the staff was exceptional. We absolutely loved The Garden Cafe and having breakfast there each morning. It was perfect, quick, and delicious. We loved the comedy show, Havana and Jersey Boys, and the game shows. What made the trip extra special was the staff. We enjoyed seeing Aleena each morning, Jeffery our cabin steward was attentive and a master at his job, and Silas the cruise director. All of them made us feel special and pampered. Suggestions - make reservations early; everything fills up quickly. We would highly recommend this trip and ship. We will sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We traveled on the inaugural voyage for the Norwegian Bliss to Alaska the first week in June. This was our first cruise, and we went with my 82-year-old mother, my brother and his wife and their 2 teenaged kids. After the initial booking, ... Read More
We traveled on the inaugural voyage for the Norwegian Bliss to Alaska the first week in June. This was our first cruise, and we went with my 82-year-old mother, my brother and his wife and their 2 teenaged kids. After the initial booking, which went fine, we found that every step of the process and the cruise itself was frustrating and disappointing. Some key problems: - We got dozens of marketing emails from NCL, but NO email letting us know that excursions were available for purchase. I just had to guess - The excursion booking site was slow, crashed often, and was difficult to use - There was supposed to be a way to book activities and dinners on your TV or on screens around the ship, but I was never able to get any of them to work. I called to get dinner reservations one night, was put on hold for such a long time that I finally hung up and went to the restaurant in person. Same for the fitness center, tried to set up times for classes, there was often no one to help in the gym and no way to book electronically - There was no air conditioning in the fitness center on-board - The staff was poorly informed and communication was often terrible. The woman at Guest Services was incredibly surly. The internet team didn't know anything about the NCL site. We often got one piece of information from one person, then different information from someone else - The comms on board was terrible. The internet was slow and crashed often. There was an NCL site that got pushed to us, but it was useless - The observation deck and Garden Cafe, the main buffet, was consistently over crowded, with people sleeping on sofas in the observation deck. The common areas in general seemed way to small for the number of guests on the ship Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My husband and I cruised the Bliss for our anniversary. First, all the great things. Embarkation in Seattle was seamless and quick. The ship has a "new house" smell. It's immaculate and new. The crew was constantly ... Read More
My husband and I cruised the Bliss for our anniversary. First, all the great things. Embarkation in Seattle was seamless and quick. The ship has a "new house" smell. It's immaculate and new. The crew was constantly polishing. Our balcony room was smartly designed, clean and comfy, plenty of room for 2. Largish shower with plenty of hot water. There are so many light controls in the cabin and from both sides of the bed! Everything from tiny reading lights to lights that illuminate behind the bed softly, to various overheads. (I love mood lighting so this was a real nice feature for me). There are phone charger outlets on each side as well. Smart and state-of-the-art. Our steward was attentive and friendly. He made us cute towel animals :) Great fitness room, and plenty of activities to keep us entertained during sea days. Observation Deck: The best part of this ship in our opinions was the gorgeous observation deck. We never stopped marveling at how wonderful it was to watch the spectacular scenery go by in a climate controlled environment. Unlike other reviewers, we did not find this area overly crowded, we always managed to find seats up by the windows. I think there was one time when there was going to be an audio lecture on the glaciers as we passed by them, and the deck was exceedingly crowded, however, we grabbed a couple of cocktails and watched the beautiful scenery from our balcony. Shows: Jersey Boys is a must see, but get reservations before you cruise as it does fill up. The performance was on par with those we have seen in Broadway. Do not miss the Beatles performances in the Cavern Club!! My husband and I are both musicians and Beatles fans, and folks, these guys are good. We loved the Sgt. Peppers show so much, we went back for Abbey Road and Beatlemania. The Cavern club is an exact replica of Liverpool, but again, get there at least 30 minutes early for a great little table up close. We also saw Havana!, but to be honest, we didn't really like it. Or maybe we just didn't get it. The dancing and music was cool, but neither of us really got the storyline. Wouldn't do that one again, but entertainment is subjective of course. The not so great things: The Garden Café. Strap on your gear because you will be fighting with your life for a plate of mediocre food. Then you will fight again to find a table. Beware of people who will sit right down at your table while you are up filling your plate, push your belongings aside and refuse to move when you return (yes, this actually happened to us). I got so stressed at the pushy people that I let my husband know I would never be eating in that cattle call again, the food was in no way worth the battle. And I place the blame for this squarely on Norwegian for not planning adequate seating for the number of guests. Good news though -- Taste and Savor are both complimentary dining rooms that have wait staff and plenty of seating. No stress, no crazy rude people. The specialty restaurants are okay, solid B+. Constant Upselling: "Free Bingo" is not free. We get a sense that Norwegian is trying to trick us all the time with cute little cons. Like announcing "Free Bingo" with a cash jackpot, only to find out when you get there that the "Free" part is one free card when you spend something like $49 on the first two. (don't quote me on the price, it was something underhanded, that's all I remember) You get a sense that they are constantly nickel and diming you on everything from photos to spa treatments. It all felt very embarrassing and tacky, and I think it cheapens Norwegian's image. Overall though, our cruise was a wonderful experience. Alaska is the bomb. I would encourage anyone to cruise the Bliss. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I recently completed a 7-day Alaska cruise onboard Norwegian Bliss. In fact, this was the second cruise to Alaska for this ship. I have been on several NCL cruises, and look forward to the excellent level of service, high quality dining, ... Read More
I recently completed a 7-day Alaska cruise onboard Norwegian Bliss. In fact, this was the second cruise to Alaska for this ship. I have been on several NCL cruises, and look forward to the excellent level of service, high quality dining, and great entertainment. While I understand that no cruise is perfect and minor things come up from time to time, I encountered a high number of issues. The press and others that follow the cruise industry game this ship very high marks on the preview voyages. It appears that the Norwegian Bliss is experiencing a lot of issues in its first weeks of taking fare paying passengers. I detail my experiences and observations below. Embarkation Considering this was the second embarkation of this ship, I was expecting quite a long and lengthy process to checkin and board the ship. I arrived at Pier 66 around 10am. Check-in was extremely smooth and efficient. The layout of the terminal was somewhat confusing (a lot of twists and turns, down corridors, etc.) to get to the waiting area. However, there was staff stationed along the way. I completed checkin and was sitting in the waiting room shortly before 11:00am and was in boarding group 3. Embarkation started around 11:30am. I was on the ship by 12:00pm. Embarkation Score - 10/10 Ship The Norwegian Bliss is the newest ship in the fleet and the fifth in the Breakaway/Breakaway Plus Class. I have previously sailed on the Breakaway, Getaway and Escape and was familiar with the similar layout of those ships. The Bliss has a very similar layout, but included a lot of enhancements. I was blown away by the ship as we boarded. The decor was stepped up a notch from the other ships in her family. As the cruise progressed, I continued to be impressed with the ship. Many improvements were made to help with passenger flow. The pool deck area is extremely open compared to her sister ships. The Garden Cafe (Lido Deck buffet) was moved to the forward section of Deck 16 (vs the aft section on the Breakaway/Getaway/Escape) and was opened up some to help with passenger flow. There were still a few bottlenecks but greatly improved. Additional outer aisles were added in the theater with helped tremendously with passenger flow at the end of shows. The only area where they took a step back in regard to passenger flow was at The Local Restaurant (O'Sheehan's on the Breakaway/Getaway/Escape). Walking through this section got tight at times due to a decreased sized walkway. The elevators on the shift were a pain point for many passengers, including myself. I took the stairs a numerous occasions but there were times I prefered to take the elevator. The elevators were a pain point on my other cruises on Breakaway plus ships, and I don’t understand why this area was not addressed on the Bliss. Other mega cruise ships have addressed this area by installing smart elevators (you select the deck you want in the elevator lobby and are assigned an elevator). Ship Score - 9/10 Stateroom I stayed in a studio cabin on Deck 10. I have been in the studio cabins on the other Breakaway class ships, and the layout is similar. The walls have a light woodgrain finish to break up the all white cabinetry. Replacing the one-way mirror/window from the other Breakaway class studio cabins is a virtual window. This has been done on other cruise ships, but this is a first for NCL. The virtual window gives you a live look outside the ship anytime day or night. I was blown away by the quality of the picture. You could also lower a shade which would turn off the virtual window monitor. The layout of the studio cabins on the Bliss remains unchanged from her sister ships. The only exception was a smaller width bed. The beds in the studio cabins on the other Breakaway Class ships are full size, and the Bliss has a bed that is somewhere between a full and a twin. Personally, I appreciated the smaller width bed and the increased floor space. The stateroom television and interactive features were a significant improvement compared to her sister ships. The only downside was the sleep timer on the television did not function. I called guest services to inquire about this--they seemed confused about my request. After explaining what a sleep timer was to the guest services staff, they said they would send someone down. The ship was unable to get this resolved while onboard. Housekeeping services were top notch on my sailing. My stateroom steward, Leslie, did a fantastic job! Stateroom Score - 9.5/10 Dining I dined in all three main dining rooms (Savor, Taste and Manhattan Room) and three of the speciality restaurants (Margaritaville, CoCo’s, and Q Texas Smokehouse). Main Dining Rooms - The quality of the food was stellar on this cruise. I have always been impressed with the meals I’ve had in the main dining room on NCL ships. It appeared to me that the number of available dishes at dinner were lower in number compared to previous cruises. One dish in particular, Meat Lasagna that I have grown to love on NCL cruises, was not available any night of the sailing. Also, the chocolate lava cake dessert was not available every night at dinner as I have come to expect. I inquired about these during the cruise and was told that corporate had made some changes to the menus and the ship had to follow the menus. Service was hit and miss in the main dining rooms. Some meals we received excellent service while others were very lackluster. Garden Cafe - I had a few meals in the Garden Cafe. This space would get extremely busy one hour prior to arrival on port days. The selection and quality was on par with other NCL ships. The outdoor seating for the Garden Cafe featured overhead heating elements which was appreciated on our sailing to Alaska in early June. Margaritaville - I joined three friends for lunch in Margaritaville after a long day in port. The venue was busy, but there were still tables open. We were seated immediately, but the service was extremely slow. We waited over an hour for our entree that never came out. Two of us in our group (myself included) had to leave without having lunch due to another reservation. The manager ended up comping the meal for the other two in our party while myself and another that had to walk out and leave went without a meal (or an apology). Q Texas Smokehouse - I dined with a group of 6 at Q Texas Smokehouse for dinner. I was really looking forward to this meal and trying the BBQ. I’m a product of the South and appreciate good BBQ. I ordered the sampler platter which came with four smoked meats (brisket, pork, sausage, and chicken) and four small sides. We asked our server if we could substitute sides (I really wanted to try the Mac & Cheese and Cheese Grits), which he said we could. The food was very good! I left extremely full and wasn’t able to finish my meal. We did receive some sticker shock when I was charged for additional sides where I had substituted. After making the inquiry, the additional charges were removed. I was never given a clear answer if the substitutions are extra charges or not. The service was very good in this venue. Live country music started around 9pm in this venue. The band was very good! It would have been nice if this music would have started earlier in the evening. We were getting ready to leave when they started. CoCo’s I joined a group for an after show dessert at CoCo’s one evening. I had one of their crepes, and it was excellent! The menu had a large variety and the prices were reasonable. The service in CoCo’s was very good! Service at the various bars on the ship was excellent! Overall Score of Dining - 6/10 due to lackluster service at times, lacking menu selections compared to other NCL ships, and poor service at Margaritaville. Public Spaces A lot of activities were held in the Atrium (deck 6 midship near guest services). The turnout for these were high which made for tight seating (and lack of seating) at these events. Some of these events should have been held in the theater. There was ample seating around the Waterfront (deck 8) but wasn’t utilized much on our sailing due to the cooler temperatures. It would be nice if they had some overhead heaters on this deck which would have made it a nice place to hang out in the evenings. The space in the pool area is dramatically increased compared to the other BA class ships. New to the Bliss is the Observation Lounge on Deck 15 forward. This was my favorite public space on the entire ship! Ample seating--only a few occasions where I was unable to find a place to sit. The Observation Lounge also features a light breakfast and lunch, beverages (juice coffee, water), and full bar service. Overall Score of Public Spaces - 9/10 Solo Travelers Program The Norwegian Bliss offers a solo travelers program. This includes a member of the cruise staff serving as solo travelers host. A solo travelers meet and greet is held each evening. The time and location are printed in the freestyle daily. Our first solo travelers meet on my sailing was held at the Sugarcane Mojito Bar. We met our solo travelers host for the cruise. She took us as a group to the studio lounge. She had sign up sheets available for people who wanted to attend shows and other activities (silent disco, race track, laser tag) as a group. She also made dinner reservations for us. Overall I was pleased with our solo travelers host and her work to book reservations for the group. We ended up with close to 10 people that consistently attended dinner and shows as a group. The solo travelers program that NCL offers makes their cruise line stand out ahead of others for those travelling by themselves. Only a few minor things with the solo travelers program which I attribute it to being a new ship. There was an absence of a solo travelers communications board in the studio lounge that is available in the studio lounge of the other NCL ships. I feel like this affected turnout for events as some people were not aware of the solo travelers program. I wish NCL would make some additional effort to communicate to passengers traveling solo prior to the cruise about this program. It is a great benefit when cruising solo on NCL. Additionally, we had trouble getting bar service in the studio lounge during our evening solo travelers meet. The studio lounge on the Bliss does not have a bar (similar to the Escape). When I cruised on the Escape, they had a bar waiter come to the studio lounge and take drink orders. After taking this question to the assistant hotel director, he worked on getting a similar service started on the Bliss. Overall Score of Solo Travelers Program - 9/10 Entertainment The two main shows on the Bliss are “Havana” and “Jersey Boys”. NCL has always invested heavily in quality entertainment and shows. The production quality of both shows on the Bliss were top notch! I didn’t quite follow the storyline of “Havana” but really enjoyed the music from the live band. “Jersey Boys” was hands down the best show I’ve seen at sea! Other musical acts on the ship were solid as well. A new entertainment feature new to the Norwegian Bliss was the “Silent Disco”. This required reservations in advance. Our solo travelers host made reservations for us. For those unaware, a silent disco consists of participants wearing wireless headphones. All music during the event are played through the headphones. The music in the headphones can be switched from four different genres of music. I had never participated in a silent disco before and signed up out of curiosity. I was very pleased with my experience and would definitely do it again! The Norwegian Bliss also offers an upcharge show called “Prohibition”. I did not attend this show as reservations filled up very quickly. The headliner party on the Norwegian Bliss is called “Caliente”. This replaced the Glow Party on other NCL ships. Caliente features latin techno music. Many of the Glow Party elements are gone as well. Personally I am not a fan of Caliente and would like to see the Glow Party on the Bliss instead. Other Activities Race Track - The Norwegian Bliss alongside her sister ship, the Norwegian Joy, feature the only race tracks at sea. The race track on the Bliss is slightly longer than the Joy. There is a charge of $9.95 per person for an eight lap race (up from $5 initially and $7.95 two weeks prior to my sailing). Reservations are required for this activity. I would highly recommend making these reservations soon after getting onboard the ship. I heard that these reservations were full prior to sail away on day one. Overall, my racetrack experience was mixed. All participants are briefed on rules and procedures (safety, proper lane use, etc.) prior to the race. I observed a lack of enforcement of rules by the staff during the race. In particular we were briefed to stay in the right lane if we were going slow to allow other to pass to the left. Some of my fellow racers that were going slow stayed in the middle of the track which prevented passing. This took away from the experience. During my race some oily, liquid substance came out of the smokestack of the ship and get all over my clothes while racing. I brought this to the attention of the staff after the race and was directed to guest services. The guest services staff offered to launder my clothes complimentary. Upon return of these items, the stains were gone but the clothes had shrunk and no longer fit. Repeated attempts by guest services to rectify the issue were not successful. I have escalated this matter to guest relations at NCL’s corporate office. At the time of this writing this issue has not been resolved. Laser Tag - This activity also required reservations in advance. I joined a group of solo travelers for a laser tag reservation. It was raining during the time of our reservation and it was cancelled. We inquired about rescheduling and were told this wouldn’t be possible as no other slots were available. I don’t understand why they built an outdoor laser tag venue without some sort of cover from the elements--especially when this ship was purpose built for Alaska. Ports and Excursions Ketchikan - This was our first port of call on my cruise. The cruise ships are docked right in downtown so it was an easy walk to dining and shopping ashore. I participated in the Rainforest Zipline Canopy Adventure Tour offered through the ship. We were transported by motor coach from the pier to the zipline location. The trip took approximately 20 minutes which included some information about the area from our driver. The zipline tour itself was excellent! It was one of the best zipline canopy tours I have participated in. We were in smaller groups and never felt rushed through the tour. After the zipline tour we were transported back to the pier. After my shore excursion, I had ample time to shop before all-aboard. Juneau and Dawes Glacier - Juneau was the second port of call on this tour. There are several cruise ship piers in Juneau and the Bliss was at the furthest from downtown. A free shuttle is provided. The walk to downtown is approximately one mile. I participated in the Helicopter Glacier Walkabout tour through the ship. We were picked up at the pier by the tour company, Northstar Trekking, and transported by van to their location near the airport. The excursion consisted of a 20 minute helicopter tour of the Mendenhall Glacier followed by a one hour guided walk on the glacier. Everyone was outfitted with a windproof/waterproof outer layer, gloves, special boots, and a trekking pole. The guided walk on the glacier was very informative and we even had the opportunity to drink glacier water! After the walk, a helicopter picked us up for return to the airport. This excursion was one of the best experiences I’ve done in my life! I cannot recommend this tour and Northstar Trekking enough! Departure from Juneau was early (1:30 pm), and due to my shore excursion I did not have any time to explore the downtown area of Juneau. The afternoon was spent cruising towards the Dawes Glacier. Our itinerary had us going to the Sawyer Glacier but the conditions did not permit. There are numerous public spaces that provided excellent viewing. They opened up an additional space, the bow on deck 8 forward, for viewing by guests. This space is normally a crew only area. I thoroughly enjoyed the views. We even had several wildlife sightings including bald eagles, whales, and seals! An absolutely great day! Skagway - Skagway was the third and final Alaska port of call on this cruise. The pier in Skagway is about a 15 minute walk to downtown. A free shuttle is available to take you to/from the pier and downtown. I booked the Yukon Territory Scenic Drive excursion through the ship. This was a 6 hour bus tour that included multiple stops along the way for pictures and lunch. Our tour bus consisted of only 22 passengers so it was a nice small group. Our tour guide/driver, Doug, was fantastic! He told us all about the gold rush and the areas we were driving through. Doug was extremely knowledgeable about the area and was a great speaker and storyteller. I had a little bit of time after our tour to do a little shopping in Skagway before getting back on the ship. Victoria - Our final port of call was in Victoria, British Columbia. We had a late arrival (4:00pm) to port. The pier used is about a 20 minute walk to downtown. A shuttle bus is available for $13 round trip. Our group opted to walk to downtown. The walk is relatively flat and nice. I didn’t participate in any organized excursions in Victoria. I just walked around the city, enjoyed dinner with friends, and took pictures. The port area offers great places to take pictures of the cruise ships. Disembarkation Disembarkation began shortly before 7am. I enjoyed one last meal in Savor with my friends. I had chose the self-assist disembarkation where you leave the ship when you are ready and carry all your luggage off the ship. By the time I had finished breakfast they were already calling the second group to disembark (those who had placed their bags outside their stateroom the night before for delivery inside the terminal building). It took approximately 20 minutes from my stateroom to being off the ship, past customs, and being curbside at Pier 66. One of the easiest disembarkations I have ever experienced. Overall Thoughts This was a great cruise. The ship was well designed with plenty of public spaces to enjoy the views. The ports and excursions were fantastic. I had a higher number of issues come up during this cruise. The majority of them were resolved on the ship. I was a little disappointed in the level of service. I came in with high expectations on NCL’s newest ship but they were unable to deliver on these at all times. Despite the opportunities, I would definitely sail on the Bliss to Alaska again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Must admit I was reticent about going on cruise however my wife talked me into it! For me a good vacation is having space to relax and being on a ship with over 4000 other people didn't match that description. Norwegian delivered such ... Read More
Must admit I was reticent about going on cruise however my wife talked me into it! For me a good vacation is having space to relax and being on a ship with over 4000 other people didn't match that description. Norwegian delivered such a customer focused, customer friendly experience that it made this week relaxing and enjoyable. Staff were extremely friendly and helpful. Ship had enough areas to relax without being in a crowd. Food was excellent and we only used the complimentary restaurants. Embarcation and disembarcation at all ports was well organized with very little crowding or waiting. Entertainment was world class (Jersey Boys and Beatles band). We got to interact with senior crew in Q&A sessions and they were very approachable. Cabin was more spacious than expected with plenty of room to store clothes and suitcases so we were not tripping over them. Plenty of other activities to participate in if you were so inclined. Highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date June 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 3.9
Family 3.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 3.5 3.5

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