Since we are more mature and seasoned cruisers (over 50+), we probably have different expectations and reasons for cruising. We have sailed NCL several times, but this was the second, and probably last, on their mega-ships. The first was ... Read More
Since we are more mature and seasoned cruisers (over 50+), we probably have different expectations and reasons for cruising. We have sailed NCL several times, but this was the second, and probably last, on their mega-ships. The first was on the Breakaway out of New York.
This was a repositioning Coastal Cruise; LA to Vancouver with stops in San Francisco and Victoria. We took it for a quick and close getaway and the two stops are favorites of ours. We flew to Los Angeles from Phoenix the same day and reserved a Supershuttle to take us to the pier. Easy, peasy, and cheaper than taxis or transfers. There were no other stops, since all passengers were going to the port.
The Bliss is a beautiful ship with a sophisticated vibe. There are certainly plenty of places to go and things to do, with go-karts and laser tag as NCL’s latest entertainment venture. We tried the go-Karts - $9.95 for a double (two person) kart – 4 laps. Singles are the same price, but you get 8 laps. Caution: the seats are VERY tight and anyone with flexibility issues may want to reconsider. They were lots of fun and certainly a first on a cruise ship.
There are lots of bars, restaurants and specialty shops (Ice Cream, Starbucks, etc.). The Bliss has a rather large selection of Specialty Restaurants as well, all with an up charge. So let’s talk about food.
The food in any of the three main dining rooms was good, but not exceptional. Free style dining works for many, but we like having the same waiter and fellow diners, especially for dinner. There was rarely a feeling of care that we have received on other cruise lines. The buffet is huge, but the selections were not memorable. Trying to find a table during peak times is a challenge. We tried three specialty restaurants; Le Bistro, which is a favorite, La Cucina, the Italian Restaurant and Q, the bar-be-que place. Le Bistro never disappoints; the food was excellent, servers friendly and efficient and the décor soft and sophisticated. The only strange thing was the location; on Deck 16 close to the go-kart entrance. Access was through an outside deck near the elevators and on a chilling evening, could make you walk faster. La Cucina was very nice, the food was very good and they accommodated us when we arrived a bit early. Q is more casual and pricing a la carte. They have a country band playing there, so the atmosphere is appropriate; also very good food and friendly servers.
The Atrium is an area on deck 5 where most of the passenger activities take place; trivia, game shows, cooking demonstrations, etc. This was a major disappointment. The area is ringed by a bar, customer service desk, future cruise desk and Internet café, so there is lots of traffic, with most of it not engaged with what’s happening on stage. The area is open above and the Local (Pub style restaurant) has a bar where passengers can eat lunch and view (and comment on) what’s happening below. Children would run around the stage – chaos ensued. Noise level was through the roof.
We had a balcony cabin(13300) located on deck thirteen. It was a good nice location, aft and close enough to a bank of elevators, but far enough away to avoid noise. Beds were comfortable; two different types of pillows and wonderful top quilts. Storage was somewhat different. Nightstands were about 9 inches wide with one shelf (no drawers). There were two storage cabinets adjacent to the desk, again no drawers. The closet was RIGHT NEXT to the couch, so accessing hanging clothes was a challenge. The bathroom was roomy and had glass shower doors and enough shelf space for everything we had. There were more shelves in the closet, as well as the safe. Workable, but not my favorite configuration.
As far as entertainment on board, there were lots to choose from. Jersey Boys was excellent, Havana was good, but about average for a production show, but the music and costumes were very good. My advice is to book pre-cruise for these shows. They are complimentary, but if you want to see the earlier shows, book in advance. There seemed to be enough duos and bands, but they played in restaurants and/or small bars, so dancing was difficult. The guest entertainers were diverse and a hit or miss, depending on your personal expectations.
In general, while the ship is beautiful, it seemed more like a hotel/resort than a cruise ship. There is a center aisle along most decks and very few windows, so you might not know you were at sea. Good for some, not for others. This is a ship more for families and young adults. Prepare to pay for many things above and beyond your fare. Also be aware with so many passengers (Over 4500) the noise level and traffic will be above average. Read Less