220 Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

The embarkation and disembarkation processes were both fine, no problems or delays at either Southampton or New York. I must confess that the balcony stateroom i received was extremely small (not even 140sqft), wardrobe is just so closed ... Read More
The embarkation and disembarkation processes were both fine, no problems or delays at either Southampton or New York. I must confess that the balcony stateroom i received was extremely small (not even 140sqft), wardrobe is just so closed to the bed and very difficult to get in out anything out of it (and i am skinny). Bathroom was ok, no complaints. Dining venues were fine, as the ship has a bit of everything for everyone. The service and attendants were very good throughout. The entertainment and activities aboard the ship were numerous and for everyone. Good quality shows suck as Jersey Boys and the Tenors of Rock, and excellent display of Art shows and auctions. The internet service was very good 99% of the transatlantic voyage. I selected the unlimited internet package which i prepaid before embarkation, and it was a great decision. (Cunard should learn from this service and implement it!!!) Likewise, NCL should learn from Cunard QM2, that the SPA should be opened and available for everyone willing to pay for the service, and NOT TO LIMITE the service to only 180 people out of thousands travelling, i was very disappointed about this. However, the pros and cons, I will travel again on the Bliss, and perhaps I should try The Heaven next time. Will see!!! Cheers!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Inaugural cruise, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was beautiful however only 2300 people were on the ship and you could not get a seat in any of the bars to listen to the music. I was in the Haven and the room was extremely small, ... Read More
Inaugural cruise, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was beautiful however only 2300 people were on the ship and you could not get a seat in any of the bars to listen to the music. I was in the Haven and the room was extremely small, never been on anything that small . The room had a bathtub that was so small and curved you could not stand properly I have a problem climbing so I asked for a seat for the tub and they supplied me with one, however,the seat did not fit in the tub . Comforter on the bed Was so heavy it would fall off the bed on the floor when you got up during a good chance you could trip and fall(good thing I travel with a light). The haven restaurant should have a different menu every night or a special for the night you get tired of the same every night. They give you 4 specialty restaurant and that was nice, but it is nice if you could meet people in the haven and eat with them. Food was great and service excellent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
First the Pros: Embarkation and debarkation were swift slowed only on debarkation because many non-USA had to be photographed and fingerprinted. The ship still had the ‘new-car’ smell. The Observation Lounge was spectacular with ... Read More
First the Pros: Embarkation and debarkation were swift slowed only on debarkation because many non-USA had to be photographed and fingerprinted. The ship still had the ‘new-car’ smell. The Observation Lounge was spectacular with 180-degree ocean views, sides and top. The bars were numerous. Opportunities for dining, snacking or just sitting were more than adequate. The layout of the Atrium was perfect. The District Brew House with dozens of taps and 180 ocean views was our favorite. The electric outlets in the cabin were three, four if you have a European to US 2-prong plug where the coffee maker plugs in. The automatic closing of drawers and closet doors was a nice touch. The shower is magnificent with six directable jets hitting your body plus the pull-out shower head. The soft couch cushion is an improvement over the board-like couch on other NCLs. The touch entry key card was very convenient. The ‘make up cabin, etc.’ switch inside the cabin was convenient. The race track was a hoot. The simulated sound of the engine made you feel as if in Daytona. The Jersey Boys show was spectacular. Now the Cons: We expected to be the first inhabitants of our stateroom. After finding a hair ball in the shower and the coffee maker with a used packet, we felt let down. We booked a mini-site. The word ‘suite’ envisions something ostentatious. The cabin was about the same size as that on NCL smaller size ships. The balcony was even smaller, barely allowing two chairs and a small table. The splendid Observation Lounge was turned into a bedroom. Guests were sacked out and snoring on the long lounges. With food and drinks near, they hogged the couches all day long. The race track needed at least three hours to book and this with the ship at 50% capacity. The Jersey Boys reservation was booked on all days and a matinee performance had to be scheduled. There was no way to tell if people reserved more than once. Strange debits appeared on the account for us and other guests and had to be reversed. The Wi-Fi was slow and took about 5 minutes to reach one’s e-mail server. The Wi-Fi logon instructions where in error. The username was your e-mail address. Our 60 minutes per person were not 120 per cabin. To utilize the next 60 minutes a new username was needed but since wife and I have the same e-mail address, using her 60 minutes bounced. “Just use a fake e-mail address” we were told. Some table placements in the Taste and Savor were ridiculous such as placing a 4-person table in a 90-degree corner or as happened to us, a table where we had to rub elbows with the servers in the food prep area. Ordering was done by the server using a blue tooth touchpad screen held like a baseball glove. Searching for the proper entry took time and selection was limited to the entries on the screen. “Want eggs benedict without the potatoes?” No such selection. The table placement in the Manhattan center area was so tight that if you wanted to get up, you bumped someone. Those beautiful mahogany railings only took up needed space and forced the server to reach over them to serve you. There were a few free TV movies but no schedule as to when they would start. Many others were available for $9.90. It seemed as if you were nickel-and-dimed to death. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Review of Norwegian Bliss based on its Maiden Voyage - April 21, 2018 12 Day Transatlantic (TA) Cruise Background: This review is based in part on comparisons with our past experience on 2 Celebrity TA’s, 1 Cunard QM2 TA, 1 Celebrity ... Read More
Review of Norwegian Bliss based on its Maiden Voyage - April 21, 2018 12 Day Transatlantic (TA) Cruise Background: This review is based in part on comparisons with our past experience on 2 Celebrity TA’s, 1 Cunard QM2 TA, 1 Celebrity TP and 2 Celebrity Caribbean Cruises. We have no connection with the travel industry. At the time of our Bliss TA, starting from Southampton UK on 4/21/18, the ship carried about 2200 passengers - or less than 50 percent of its passenger capacity. Similar to all our other cruises, we had a mid-priced Veranda Mini-Suite room on Deck 10 for which the total cost, including all fees, taxes, mandatory gratuities, ultimate beverage package service charge, etc. was $4053.42. That included an Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP), 250 minutes of internet usage, and $125 of On Board Credit (OBC.) Positive Points - The staff is outstanding everywhere, without exception. They lean over backwards to solve problems. I would rate them even higher than our past cruises on other lines. - The food is very good in the Manhattan room and restaurants using the same menu, such as Savor and Taste. We preferred Taste because it was smaller, quieter and more intimate. The food in the Garden Cafe buffet was also very good. - The quiet spots in the Deck 15 Observation Lounge are very, very nice, as is the small buffet available there. As the cruise progressed, others discovered this as well and the space began to reach capacity. - The cabin bathrooms, showers and sinks are wonderful - much better than in the other ships in our comparison. - The talks on upcoming ports (by Janice Leader) were very detailed and complete, including maps, pictures and history. These were much better than we have seen on other ships which just seem to guide you to jewelry stores. - The Jersey Boys, Tenors of Rock and Beatles shows were absolutely outstanding. (In contrast, the Havana show team and sets were very good, but they were tied to a completely forgettable musical score.) - Internet access was good throughout the ship and the speed and delay much better than on the other ships we have been on. - The Gym is quite good, and open early. - We enjoyed the short morning Trivia, Origami and food demonstrations in The Atrium. It is also close to Starbucks, whose coffee we preferred to the ships. Minor Negative Points - OBC cannot be used for mandatory gratuities as on other lines. - There are no daytime enrichment talks (on sea days) as opposed to the rich lecture series we have seen on other ships. On our other crossings there were usually 2 morning talks and an afternoon talk or show in the theater on sea days. - The cabin light scheme, requiring the insertion of our key card before the room lights come on, is cumbersome and unsafe at night. We finally resorted to having one person hold open the cabin door to let in hallway light, while the other person went in to activate the room lights. - The soap dispensers in the public restrooms are of very poor design. Most people could not figure out how to use them, and by the end of the day many were empty. - We had numerous billing errors which took several days to sort out. - Early in the cruise, there was a very noticeable smoke smell on the 8th floor covering the area from the elevators to the Atrium. Smoke was also sucked into the Cavern club when people came in. This got much better as the cruise went on. - There were no seat covers available in the ladies rooms, as there were on other ships. - We paid extra for a mini suite, but the available space seemed about the same as a standard Veranda cabin on other ships. Shelf/cabinet space for storage seemed less than on other ships. - There were no daily world news summary newspapers as on other ships. - There seemed to be no daily announcements from the bridge giving weather, sea conditions, location and area facts as we have become used to on other lines. The daily event announcements were fairly easy to hear. The art auction announcements were the loudest, most frequent, and most annoying. Most Important Points - Even carrying less than 50% of capacity, there was insufficient capacity and excess competition for key events. For example, for evening shows in the main theater (capacity about 870), you needed to line up 30-45 minutes before the show to get a fair seat. At the Cavern Beatles show (which is superb) we arrived 30 minutes early and got standing room only. A few nights later, we arrived 45 minutes early to get a seat. The capacity of that room is only about 250, depending on how many standees can squeeze in. - The same is true of the better specialty restaurants. There is a very good computerized display in the main hallways that shows dining availability. But if you want to eat at the better restaurants you need to book days in advance or accept a poor time. - Consider the value of the Ultimate Beverage Package carefully. At its list price, you would have to drink 7 - 8 drinks per day per person to break even. (We chose it is as one of our bundled benefits, so the break-even point might have been lower.) It also added an additional total of $427.20 in mandatory service charges (covering 2 people for 12 days) to our bill. I should have investigated ala-carte pricing or an alternate use of the bundled benefits more closely. - Consider the useable value of the Specialty Dining Package carefully. You may need to schedule days in advance and may not get in to your desired restaurants. Overall The Bliss is a beautiful ship with an outstanding staff, and we had a very good cruise. But we both observed that, even at less than 50% load, there was a competition for resources that we did not like. A cruise should be a relaxing thing and one should not have to worry about lining up early for something. I cannot imagine what this ship would be like at closer to full capacity. Even a major re-thinking of the number of shows and venue sizes leaves the specter of the need for careful advance pre-scheduling for shows and restaurants. This is not like the casual cruising that we have seen on other lines, and the opposite of the promise of Free Style. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
So just a heads up - we won this cruise and it originally was supposed to go out to sea and then back. We were told that due to Port Laws it couldn’t do that but there is some question as to whether that was the fact or if the number ... Read More
So just a heads up - we won this cruise and it originally was supposed to go out to sea and then back. We were told that due to Port Laws it couldn’t do that but there is some question as to whether that was the fact or if the number of indivduals who requested day passes made it non-viable to go anywhere. At first we were not really impressed with this as we could not get off of the ship and all shops and the casino were closed. They made up for this by making everything all inclusive including, speciality dining, alchol, and all attractions to ensure we got a good overall feel. As this was a “get to know” the boat tour I think Norwegian did well - with a major surprise to us all on the Saturday night....more on that later. We were travelling as a couple but kept our eyes open for those things families and singles would also like. This was the first visit to NYC by the Bliss on it’s way to Seattle for the Alaska season. She had just crossed from Europe to North America so we think a lot of the kinks in the operations would have been ironed out by then. The great things seasoned travellers will love include: - Streamlined cabins with efficient use of space. Curved cupboards (so no sharp corners to bang into on less than stable days) and double use of furniture (seat that doubles as a table but tucks away when not in use). - Lots of “things” to do including go kart track, laser tag, casino, pools, quiet places, bars and various venues for food. - USB ports in the night lights so you can have your phone/alarm clock right there with you by the bed (also adding more spots to plug in and charge - one on each side of the bed) - A well trained staff who were getting to know the Bliss like us made for efficient service that was above par. - Plenty of choices for food and drink connoisseurs. Staff was more than willing to amend or adjust food and drinks for various dietary needs. - A beautiful massive indoor observation lounge that is great to grab a snack, a drink, visit with friends, enjoy the view or curl up with a good book. The venue is open and airy so even with a lot of people in there you were not overwhelmed with noise. - A separate sun bathing area for adults (normally a fee applies at the Beach Club) away from the pool area to allow for a more laid back day in the sun (located beside the Haven private area and just as lavishly appointed). - Cavern Club provided some unique entertainment and was jammed with many people wanting to sing along to some great songs. - Interactive screens located on each deck to book speciality dining, laser tag or go karts or to provide you with information. - Buffet had themed food stations (like another line we go on) and is less cafeteria style as we have seen on other lines. - Nice having that Starbucks for the coffee fix - it is a legitimate Starbucks and not just coffee brewed with Starbucks products (this is normally an extra charge but sometimes you just need that brew). - Linens are currently plush and soft - now this is a new ship so who knows it may become the regular exfoliating towels however we noticed the towels were actually designed for the Bliss so maybe they will retain some ability to provide plushness rather than roughness. - The Waterfront is a unique deck where several specialty restaurants are located and allow you to access them from outside and in fact most of exterior seating - this will be really nice when the Bliss embarks upon her winter home port in the Caribbean. - Beer selection was excellent...not sure if it was due to the event or this is normal but you didn’t have to go a special beer bar to get a larger selection of world wide beers (though there is a special craft beer bar if the “regular list” isn’t enough). So here are some “myahs” on the ship: - There is not a lot of movement room in the rooms - to be expected but they seem to have ensured you are only getting the space you need - there is nothing extra. - Closet design was a little hinky in that about 6 inches became unusable due to an indent (unless you are bringing your own broom or hockey sticks and needed somewhere to store them). For me closet space is always premium so to lose that much means my husband suffers...ha ha. - Other than the observation deck (as noted) the ship was loud. Now it could be because there was a lot of amenities being provided however we found it to be noisy. The smaller dining rooms had bars outside their doors and I think that contributed to it - but once you were in the restaurant, it was still loud. - This is a weird one but was commented on by several people....the elevators (which we all know can get really full) had only a bank of floor buttons on the one side. As one person said they didn’t really consider left handed people. So while there are a lot of elevators you find yourself sometimes getting up close and personal with people standing just a little to close to those buttons. - Speaking of buttons.....the automated opening of exterior doors is not sensor based but instead you have to place your hand on a round disc located “somewhere” on a wall near by (sometimes you got lucky and it was on the door) but there were many people trapped sometimes between double doors as they could find the disc to open the next set. This is actually surprising as it increases the amount of surface space people are touching and therefore increasing the amount of germ transferrance. I don’t think this one was thought through from either an operational standpoint or from a health standpoint. - The only speciality restaurants we went to (and not for lack of trying but most were blocked off for private functions for those “day pass” people we mentioned) was Margaritaville. The day we went it was relatively warm 23C/mid 70s F, and the ship was not moving but it was cold sitting in this venue. The wind funnels through the deck to this area (the race track is above and there is an open stairwell up to it which we think just pulls the air through). There are no heaters (that we could see) which made for a chilly meal. The chairs used are trying to capture that blue/green beach chair look but if you are wearing shorts or have exposed legs be prepared for a little roughness. I ended up putting a towel on the chair to eliminate the scratching and draped it over the back to help reduce the draft on my back. The food was probably the worst we had on the ship - not bad - just the worst. We have eaten at land based Margaritavilles and this restaurant does not measure up. Considering there is normally a charge for this restaurant I would say it is not worth it. You can go to the shops and buy your souvenir glass there in comfort. - Theatre venue is small, entrance only on one level - considering the size of the ship (and the show they are putting on - Jersey Boys) this will probably lead to a lot of disappointed travellers not seeing this amazing production. - I don’t think the chefs believe in using salt.....at all. I am not a big salt lover so when I am adding salt to every meal you know that the seasoning is not quite right. Of course it is easier to add rather than take away...however it led to some very bland first bites. Lastly some nice little surprises that I am know are not going to be there as a rule but were cool to have. First - we went to the production of Jersey Boys. If this is on your to do book early - we went to try to book on embarkation day (we weren’t allowed to before) and all shows were sold out. We did stand by and got in but did the proverbial hunting of seats - which we got just not together. The show was excellent. We’ve seen the Broadway production and this production did homage to it. Though about an hour shorter nothing was left out. They were able to do this by eliminating any intermission and shortening some of the storylines. But here was the great thing.....as we were all getting ready to start watching this, in walks.....Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio....two of the original Four Seasons!!!! That was pretty surreal to watch a production about their lives with them! The next day The Four Seasons were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. They ran out of white wine....how is that a nice surprise do you ask. Well first let me explain that the Bliss was sailing to Miami on Sunday and without passengers so the ship was not fully stocked. Add on top of that the number of day pass individuals who were there on an open ticket I am sure it wasn’t the only thing they ran out of. So when I ordered a glass and they didnt have any at dinner I was not too impressed....until they replaced it with some high end Champagne......adding bubble to any drink make things always better. Overall I think people will enjoy this ship. The fact they have listened to the passengers and are accommodating single travellers (single suite area is great with a independent lounge just for them), Kids activities and big “kid” activities, as well as meal choices for the various palettes makes Norwegian ahead of other cruise lines who are not quite there yet. However I think there were some design flaws by the various groups who either didn’t test drive the facilities (Margaritaville) or have no left handed friends (elevators). Would we cruise again on the Bliss - absolutely - would love to see her in action in the Caribbean. I also think that cruisers on the Alaska season are in for a real treat being able to view the various ports without getting chilled (especially the glaciers - so get there early and claim your viewing space) and just absorbing the scenery in a comfortable warm environment where someone will bring you a hot toddy if the chill still reaches you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin on the 8th floor was very nice. If you drink, the drink package is well worth it. Our ultimate wi-fi internet package was a bust. We canceled after 3 days as we could not get on.Still waiting for a FULL ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin on the 8th floor was very nice. If you drink, the drink package is well worth it. Our ultimate wi-fi internet package was a bust. We canceled after 3 days as we could not get on.Still waiting for a FULL refund. The staff was great on the whole with just a few exceptions whom I am sure will be weeded out. Favorite restaurant La Cucina - veal marsal was great as was the pasta. Also Los Lobos - great tableside guacamole. Order the filet mignon at Cagney's Steakhouse. Teppanyaki was fun and a good way to meet people. Q, Le Bistro and Ocean can be missed. Missed out on the shows. Heard Happy Hour Prohibition was great. Make reservations as soon as you are able. Some of our favorite staff (not sure who picked who- them or us) were: At the Whisky bar Jelica Mihajlovic and Razvan Correa We stopped to visit them each night. During the day at the Wave Bar Glen Gomes made sure we were well hydrated. In the Manhattan Room Wine Stewart Efren Abarico was our guy. During the great piano playing by Jim Badger In the District, Engelbert Gutierrez kept us happy. Talk about happy, Cabin Stewart Christian Paz (who was taking care of guests down the hall) made us smile each time we saw him, which was 2-3 times a day.What a great attitude he had. If he did not make you happy to start your day you are a grump. I hope you get a chance to meet these great people. Bring clips for your pool towels and plenty of sun screen. The Observation Lounge is very relaxing. Lovely at the bar will keep your cocktail coming. Had a great massage but the attempt to upsell after took the zen out. Tried the accupunture seemed to have been some help but beware that a session is a side (I had thought a session was as it implied a full session). Since I had to do 2 sides it was double of what I expected. Luckily they did not try to upsell me, as they did some nice people we met on th boat. We nick named the cruise "upsell on the sea". Signed up for the spins classes and the PT, both good -avoided the upsell on that. If we did not have a large group going on the ship in October we would not cruise on this line again. It may have been that 15 days was too much for us. You can only eat, drink and be merry for so long. Maybe the shorter 7 day will change our mind. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did the initial Panama Canal cruise on this ship. As always I will keep it simple and do a Pros and Cons section below. The biggest issue we had on this cruise was the ports and the dining room foods. The buffet foods were great. ... Read More
We did the initial Panama Canal cruise on this ship. As always I will keep it simple and do a Pros and Cons section below. The biggest issue we had on this cruise was the ports and the dining room foods. The buffet foods were great. Seated dining not so much. PROS: The ship is amazing Great layout Excellent staff and customer service (Largely Filipino...this is huge) Buffet Food was excellent Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan were both pretty nice ports. The only ones that were decent. Nice variety of entertainment Great pools Plenty of variety of places to relax and get lost Havana the show. Very nice. Laundry bag full of dirty clothes washed for $19. Good deal. The District was a fantastic Brewery. Best ever on a cruise. Food Republic was excellent but no one was ever there. Too many specialty restaurants on this ship and most were not great. CONS: The Ports (Cartegena, Puntarenas should not be spots to stop. You have to take a minimum of a 90-120min ride to get anywhere even remotely interesting. The same could actually be said for Guatamala.) You are porting at Shipping Yards. Its bad. Real bad. The Seated Dining food: Average at best. You won't get any Crab or Lobster nights in these nicer restaurants either. They don't actually announce those nights, they just make them pop up in the Buffet at nights. We missed 2 out of 3 after finding out the next day. The Beatles experience: These guys are so out of sync and so out of tune they have no business being on this ship. It's really really bad. The bands like Siglo are much better. Excursion costs: $209 per person to take a ferry out to Tortuga Island in Costa Rica. The bus ride to the boat is 30 mins. The Boat ride is 2hrs!! Each way. Thats 5hrs of your day, gone. When we asked WHY the boat was going so slow we were told to save gas. With 40 people onboard paying $200 each, use your gas. Thats absurd. Norwegian iConceirge was a big selling point. Nice to be able to text with your people you are traveling with onboard. Except it didn't work and no one knew why or how to fix it. Specialty Restaurants are EXPENSIVE. $29 for steaks, $10 for sides etc...$30 for a teppenyaki PER PERSON. Whats the purpose of going on a cruise exactly? They charge for EVERYTHING: Go Carts $7 per person, Lazer Tag $5....why not charge to use the pool and slides? Dartboards, Suffleboard etc....they had them on the Getaway and they are greatly missed. Removing the Brazilian Steakhouse in exchange for Los Lobos was a big mistake. A boat should have a brazilian steakhouse, that was an epic addition on the Getaway that the Bliss deserves. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
new ship seemed exciting, boarding in Miami good, a bit down hill from there. The ship is large with plenty of open spaces, clean as you would expect. The decor fine, food excellent in the buffet when you can get a seat to enjoy it, a bit ... Read More
new ship seemed exciting, boarding in Miami good, a bit down hill from there. The ship is large with plenty of open spaces, clean as you would expect. The decor fine, food excellent in the buffet when you can get a seat to enjoy it, a bit hard to find gluten free stuff though. food in main restaurant a bit strange at times ie: half a chicken and very little veg, then huge portions of beef again no veg to speak of, fish strangely on its own a bit of garnish, it seemed all or nothing. The cabin we had was an inside aft, well we had bunks over our bed so had to crawl around to get out of bed, the back of the bed has a lowdown metal rail feature so no comfy sit-ups in bed. The bathroom was just fine, not so the tiny closet that was so dark and dingy I found clothes I didn't know I had taken still clean when I unpacked. We were on a package that included 2 litres of water a day, well shock horror this was delivered in bulk on day one. If you don't drink it all they advise give it away or to the steward as they throw it away(disgusting waste) The entertainment was ok Jersey boys ok seen better, the Cavern and the Beetles tribute must have most of them turning in their graves seen better at Butlins. One thing we didn't know as first time NCL cruisers was to book shows within first day or so or miss out, we were not used to this so missed some shows we would have liked, Movies in the cabin were pay to view if you wanted to see anything decent, as was the go carts, laser tag etc. The service on board was pretty good with helpful cheerful staff. Some of the shore excursions were iffy like hop on hop off with no time to hop off or chance of getting another bus back to the ship. On the whole slightly disappointed but would give NCL another chance possibly on a smaller ship Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
NCL Bliss is okay and and we looked forward to the cruise (we were on the NCL Escape inaugural cruise from UK to Miami. Generally the staff was good. However, excess focus on revenue generation and penny-pinching (fake Equal and Splenda) ... Read More
NCL Bliss is okay and and we looked forward to the cruise (we were on the NCL Escape inaugural cruise from UK to Miami. Generally the staff was good. However, excess focus on revenue generation and penny-pinching (fake Equal and Splenda) diminished our cruise experience. Penny-pinching was evident in almost every aspect of NCLs operations. The mapping system and the passenger information screen were significantly less informative than other cruise lines (lots of "N/As" for categories that scrolled across the top of the screen). Generally, service quality. We were happy to provide numerous positive comment forms but, but the quality of service was inconsistent (we refrained from submitting negative comment cards). Our steward seemed to be disinterested and un-managed. His schedule to attend to our room varied a lot. We were unable to plan a day based on when the steward would be done with the room (or need to be in our room). Food was good but menus in the restaurants did not change sufficiently (some menus did not change for days). This is appears to be an effort to push people to "specialty" (additional charge) restaurants or the buffet. The buffet is good but poorly managed... very crowded. There were TOO MANY specialty restaurants. Stateroom size has been reduced. Our balcony stateroom was much smaller than the Escape. The restrooms have been redesigned and are nice. The closet is awkward and difficult to access. NCL has reduced the number of elevator banks from 3 to 2 (no elevators mid-ship). This created long wait periods and long walks to staterooms and other venues. It was frustrating the way NCL provided only partial information about seaports. Emphasis was on selling excursions and shopping at stores that partner with NCL NCL did not inform passengers of alternative touring opportunities (concealing information). Excursion presentations exaggerate tour content. Once a excursion was bought, passengers are informed excursions are provided by third parties. NCL goes on to disclaim responsibility and limit NCL liability. Entertainment was very good (with a few exceptions). The theater seems to be smaller and clearly less impressive than the Escape (or other contemporary cruise lines. Here again there are clear signs of the accountants having too much influence on design. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Selected this cruise based on being a brand new ship with thoughts that it would be a special memory standout. Was on the maiden voyage in May. Yes, it was in some respects. Let's review the pluses and minuses. PLUS SIDE: ... Read More
Selected this cruise based on being a brand new ship with thoughts that it would be a special memory standout. Was on the maiden voyage in May. Yes, it was in some respects. Let's review the pluses and minuses. PLUS SIDE: 1. Glamorous ship with all the whistles and bells of supposed modern technology 2. The Locals Pub and Grill : outstanding deli food and staff 3. Enjoyed the Margaritaville eatery. Small and well staffed for breakfast. 4. Spa very nice and spacious. 5. Language activity events- super (Russian. italian and Portuguese 6. Food acceptable in the dining room. 7. Waiting time for dining. none 8. Dining room staff good. 9. THE OBSERVATION lounge was super, comfy, snacks, view and a good staff. 10 Heard only good things about the Racecar track. 11 Specialty Restaurants: Excellent 12. Aft end of the ship with hot tubs and bar and small stage really cool MINUS SIDE 1. Deck 6: This is the so-called Atrium where a lot of activities are going on. There is also the Atrium Bar, Customer Service, Excursions, Different venues in center area Future cruises and Starbucks. There was so much noise coming from the different areas of this Atrium that Passenger Service has to shout to us to hear; Future Cruises were three people behind the counter who could not hear us; Starbucks was massive and why that big space is beyond me. There was noise from the bar. The elevators were near by and people were congregating around plus the center area had a lot going . No real room for dancing. Too much activity for such a small area. Sorry, but poor planning. 2. Entertainment: Just average. The comedians were hopeless and some of the well advertised venues were just OK. There were various singers and duos doing their routine from different entertainment areas. they did not change their routine when going from area to area so if you saw them once in a 14 day period and then again, it was the same song and dance. 3. Observation Lounge which is great but FREEZING COLD. We asked to turn the temp up but it went on deaf ears. 4. LIBRARY and Game Room Ridiculously small. they had some 4 tables for games or cards which everyone was on top of one another so you could not speak above a whisper. 5. Cruise Director: In our minds, he did not seem to mingle too much with the passengers. 6. Shops: Nice shops and pricey msde but no real bargains. 7. Cabins Balconies cabins a lot smaller than expected. Bathrooms good. Not too roomy in the bedroom area. Outside Balcony space nice. 8. Observation Lounge Despite telling people NOT to put bare feet on couches as well as putting feet on tables and chairs, they did this. It was not well monitored. 9. Entertainment: already commented. 10. Beatles show: Far too small a place to accommodate the audience. We tried to get in but did not want to be nose to nose and toes to toes and end up sick. 11. Deck Lounge chairs. Needs monitoring. People think they can keep the chairs an entire day by putting a book or magazine or towel on lounge chairs and then they disappear for hours not allowing anyone else to sit. Not a good thing. 12. Food handling I got sick at end of the cruise. Too many people touching food utensils to pick up food. There has to be a better way like having some staff serve people in the Buffet area. A constant issue on some cruise lines. 13. ELEVATORS. The elevators were not synced. Either they were all the way down or all the way up. Created wait lines. I think that gives you an idea as to some of the downsides, A lot of it can be handled by proper management on the ship , Some can't due to the way the ship is structured. We made the best of it and irt was our first cruise on NCL. Will we go again, thats the 64 dollar question. Thank you...... Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was the inaugural Panama Canal cruise. So we expected so much more! We have cruised with several other Cruise Lines. I and my wife had never been on a Norwegian Cruise Line before. However our daughter and family had. She influenced ... Read More
This was the inaugural Panama Canal cruise. So we expected so much more! We have cruised with several other Cruise Lines. I and my wife had never been on a Norwegian Cruise Line before. However our daughter and family had. She influenced us to join them. Too many people for that ship. The common areas were constantly crowded. The shows were good, if you were lucky enough to get in! The buffet? Horribly crowded with a total lack of seating. They closed sections of the serving lines way too soon. That forced you to go much further away and encounter even longer serving lines! Overall, I was very displeased with the operation of this ship and it's lack of foresight for handling the large crowds. Talking about lack of foresight they sure blew it selecting ports! Two ports were replaced/cancelled because the ship was not going to fit! A company this large could not know this beforehand? This my final time using NCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The newest NCL Bliss was chosen to sail the Panama Canal itinerary. The NCL Bliss is a new ship however the decor is practically the same as the NCL Gateway and NCL Escape. Marketed heavily but no mention on the NCL website that ... Read More
The newest NCL Bliss was chosen to sail the Panama Canal itinerary. The NCL Bliss is a new ship however the decor is practically the same as the NCL Gateway and NCL Escape. Marketed heavily but no mention on the NCL website that there is a charge of $7 per Go-Kart Race and $5 per Laser Tag session. Both offerings were fun but the duration of each session is really short. In addition, there is no sports court for basketball/soccer but room was made for a Vibe Beach Club (Adults Only) with a fee for daily passes. Spa daily passes were not made available to purchase. Stateroom: Beds are really hard perhaps they have not been broken in yet. Balcony room continues to get smaller compared to NCL Escape, NCL Gateway, NCL Epic, NCL Pride of America. Limited TV channels, with no ESPN and other popular TV channels. Haven Lounge available only to, you guessed it, Haven guests. Restaurants: The Manhattan restaurant no longer plays live music like on previous ships (NCL Gateway and Escape) so the ambience is not the same. Cagney's Steakhouse food quality was excellent. Los Lobos (Mexican) limited menu items and not worth the use of a dinning plan. Q Texas Smokehouse food quality was great. Buffet: Fruit selection is limited. Itinerary was changed by NCL last minute removing one of the scheduled stops/ports of call which resulted in another sea day, however, no partial refund/credit was provided for the port fees for that specific port. Read Less
Sail Date May 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
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 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
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
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
New ship just a sparkly token to get your money! The overall experience was really not good at all. The trip itself, to Alaska was one of The most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen in my life and the balcony is the only way to go, however ... Read More
New ship just a sparkly token to get your money! The overall experience was really not good at all. The trip itself, to Alaska was one of The most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen in my life and the balcony is the only way to go, however we went to Alaska for eight days and that was about $6700 for three people for the cruise and that was with one “FREE” well it wasn’t “FREE” it was almost 800 for The free traveler (and that doesn’t include tips and fees along the way) 1200 for the plane tickets and then another $1300 whenever we got off the boat, most of that 1300 was tips and fees. 14.50 a day per person then 20% tip on everything else, even their “free at sea isn’t free!! It’s a total rip off!! and if you go to the spa and get a facial and some Botox, it is 20% of whatever they charge you so if you get a and your bill is so the bill was supposed to be 1800 dollars then your tip amount they charge you is 360 dollars, yes three hundred and sixty dollars!! They don’t tell you that part!! So when your bill comes it it is 360 dollars more that it was supposed to be but hey they deserve a 20% tip on EVERYTHING YOU DO OR BUY!! so for a trip cost was well over $10,000 yes it was a nice trip would I do it again probably not if I’m gonna spend that kind of money I’ll go back to Disney where it’s more geared towards the kids. Way over priced and by the prices they have the boat should be lined in gold. lol I don’t think that we will be traveling again with Norwegian. Not really happy about the company, also it was the last night on the boat and I started my lady thing and I wasn’t prepared so I called down to customer service to see if they had any female products and the operator stammered and shuddered and said oh I do t know what to do oh boy I don’t know what to do, I said are you kidding me, it was 11 at night and so long long story short I finally was told to go to medic and they would help me so I do that and the lady tells me that sure we can help you I have them right here and she pulled out a box of 5 tampons and says we charge a fee of 39.99 PLUS the cost of the tampons which I believe were almost ten dollars. Well I said you are freaking kidding me and she said no and I had a few choice words and said OkY I don’t think I need any 50 dollar tampons I will use a damn washrag it’s cheaper!! Pissed me off beyond belief! And it is for that reason we won’t travel with Norwegian again. Absolutely unacceptable to take advantage of a situation like that. I can see a little charge to cover the cost of the product but 50 dollars really? For a dollar box of tampons!! If that isn’t robbery I don’t know what is. Customer service is mediocre most on board hardly speak English and value is less than acceptable and the service wasn’t the greatest. Not what we expected at all. Thank you Norwegian for costing the same price as 2 years of vacations in just over one week with them and that is with going on a Disney Cruise!! I could go twice for the price of once with Norwegian. Pretty sure it was cheaper to go with Disney and they are expensive but not even as expensive as NCL. For the price go with Disney where you always feel like a special visitor and not just another dollar. Many things I liked but really torqued about the tips and fees. And having to tip 20% even if the service was mediocre. However a perfect example of mediocracy being the new excellence!! They charge extreme prices and give mediocre service!! But hey whether they do good or great or poorly you still have to tip them 20% in the end!! Ridiculous!!! Hey that is the last dollar they get of mine. Really sad because I really hoped it was a good company to travel with so we could return every year with Norwegian but I think we will pass on that and let anyone and everyone know that Norwegian isnt the best for families, it is for the wealthy who don’t care about 10-15 thousand dollars!! Thank you but no thanks for that amount I’ll buy my dream corvette. I’m not so impressed, and they sort of ruined the experience for my family. I don’t like rip offs and I think this is a rip off they say free but then it is hundreds of dollars more than expected, free is free free isn’t 300 dollars or 14.50 a day per person even the FREE PERSON, and a dollar or two for a tip for the service of your FREE drinks or a 19.99 fee for your free ultimate dinner you receive! Or 360 tip to the spa for one thing!! That’s just the tip!!! RUN TO DISNEY DONT GO NORWEGIAN. I traveled on 6/9/2018-6/16/2018 on the bliss(new ship) and I was in cabin 10310. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We were especially looking forward to this cruise, particularly because it was a new ship and we would be only the 2nd group on the ship. Staff was good and our cabin steward was excellent, food was very good too but some things were ... Read More
We were especially looking forward to this cruise, particularly because it was a new ship and we would be only the 2nd group on the ship. Staff was good and our cabin steward was excellent, food was very good too but some things were very dissappointing. For a new larger ship it felt as thought they added more cabins to carry more passengers but they didn't enlarge any of the common space or add and extra elevator bank (there were only 2). Most ships have 2 elevator banks plus some glass elevators near the atrium. Always a line to get elevator. The atrium was where many activites took place and it was right next to guest services/excursion desk. It was very noisy. When you needed to go to services you had to scream to be heard or hear. Getting off ship for excursions wasn't well organized. It was rather chaotic. And then once you got on the dock it was still chaotic. No signage so you weren't certain where to go. We took the Alaska cruise and port times were too short. If you did an excursion you weren't left any time to walk around town. It all felt very rushed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because it was a new ship. It is beautiful and we did have a nice time! Things I would like to say is there are way too many people! The elevators were always packed, rooms were small and we can handle that because the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a new ship. It is beautiful and we did have a nice time! Things I would like to say is there are way too many people! The elevators were always packed, rooms were small and we can handle that because the bathroom was nice and large with glass shower but closet was TINY with no light. We tried to make a reservation for one of the shows and they booked up the first day! Water slides were only open once in a while and it was beautiful outside. The buffet was confusing and packed with people. We were not told of the port charges and tax on our unlimited drink package. The observation lounge is generally crowded and I got yelled at by a staff member for wearing my boots while sitting on a lounge chair. I wish I would have known no shoes were allowed. It is a crushed velvet type of material that will not last. Dining rooms are no dress code but do not wear a hat or you will get asked to remove it. Overall it is a nice ship but after being on Princess, I will continue cruising with them. Couldn't try the go carts because they were booked the entire time. The cost was double or more the cost of Princess. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Used the ships porter system, NCL gives you boarding passes, and airline tags, leave bags outside room before midnight, you do not retrieve in hanger, bags get taken to airport by cruise and checked into your airline. I received 1 bag, 2nd ... Read More
Used the ships porter system, NCL gives you boarding passes, and airline tags, leave bags outside room before midnight, you do not retrieve in hanger, bags get taken to airport by cruise and checked into your airline. I received 1 bag, 2nd bag never got checked into airline. Hopeful 2nd bag will show up. Will never use this system again. The ship is great, service wonderful. Front desk for service is understaffed, very slow!! Food excellent, bartender's very attentive. The spa would not let you buy a day pass for back wet area, and soak very high pressure to purchase their products, more than usual.NCL charging extra for everything. Laser tag, and go carts are an uncharged. They will only take dinner reservations up to 25%capacity ahead of cruise, so you have to call as soon as you get on ship to restaurants for reservations. Which I did not get most. I have always loved NCL, but not the same. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Overall, the newness of the Bliss makes up for some of the shortfalls. Not entirely, but a bit. Dining - This was our first cruise with Norwegian, and we were a bit underwhelmed with the dining choices that didn't cost extra. ... Read More
Overall, the newness of the Bliss makes up for some of the shortfalls. Not entirely, but a bit. Dining - This was our first cruise with Norwegian, and we were a bit underwhelmed with the dining choices that didn't cost extra. Savor and Taste were meh, and after those, we didn't bother with the Manhattan Room, although we did walk by it during disembarkation! The Garden Cafe was our default, which while not bad, was not exactly what we thought we were bargaining for when booking. The Observation Deck, with the smaller selection of dishes, wasn't bad, if you could get a seat, with all of the people forgetting they had actual rooms they could sleep in! The pay restaurants? Not happening; with as much as we paid for our trip, we weren't paying more to eat while on board. Entertainment - We saw Jersey Boys and Havana. The latter was much more entertaining than the former, loved both the singing and dancing. We didn't bother to try and get into the Beatles thing, they were a very overrated band, IMO, so no interest in seeing any impersonation. The comedians were pretty funny; not the dude opening the show, but the other two. We attended the adults only show in the Bliss theater, and it was hilarious. Activities - We didn't participate too much in onboard activities; we go on cruises for a bit of a break from all the personal interaction. The gym was very nice; a good place to work off some of those calories. I did the go cart track, which was a blast! One minor nit, however. The leader board after a race should have the #1 spot awarded to the person who completes the highest number of laps, not the person with the fastest lap. We're not racing for pole position, we are racing that race. I finished 10 laps, and was ranked #2, behind a guy that finished 8 laps... Ship - Beautiful ship, and nice to be on one so new, still the "new car smell". The Observation deck is a cool feature, but I suggest that Norwegian pull the chaise lounges out, and replace them with chairs. Too many people snoring and hogging furniture in this room; if you're that tired, go back to your cabin. Service - Excellent service from all we interacted with. Absolutely no complaints, everyone should be proud of their efforts. Ports and Shore Excursions - We really enjoyed the first three ports and excursions, went kayaking in Ketchikan, bicycling in Juneau, and zip-lining in Skagway. All very fun, with fun employees of the excursion companies. The last port, Victoria, honestly could be skipped, in our opinion, and my wife is a Canadian! Pretty boring, just more shopping. We didn't do an excursion, because they were all basically ride around and look at old buildings. Yawn. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Another great area of service. Travel to and from the ship, booked through Norwegian, is only $20 per person, per trip, which I found to be a bargain. And we took advantage of the free "book to final destination" option for our luggage when we disembarked. The only cost is what the airline charges for luggage, and you don't get charged extra for overweight bags. Simply put your bags outside your room the night before, and the next time you'll see them is at your home airport! Using this service also makes it easy to pack light for the trip home, allowing you to qualify for At Will disembarkation, which translates to walking off the ship when you want, and not having to wait for your group to be called. Winner! The District - One final word... as a beer snob, I can't say enough about The District. The quality of the beers served there is phenomenal, and Engelbert is a true professional. The gal from Croatia is also to be lauded, sorry I didn't catch her name. The only thing I think Norwegian needs to fix in this area is the growlers. They are sold at $6 each, with the note that you can refill them for free with the Unlimited Beverage Package. Except you can't, as the neck on the growlers is too small, so they can't be filled without causing massive amounts of foam. Either get larger necked growlers, or stop selling them as devices you would actually get filled in The District. Overall - Nice ship, great service, poor dining choices, too many add on charges and shows booked completely well in advance. Will we sail Norwegian again? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I choose it for the dates and the price as I wanted to see Alaska. There were too many people on this cruise that were not handled efficiently.. The food was nothing special. The one day that they did have crab legs, they were served at ... Read More
I choose it for the dates and the price as I wanted to see Alaska. There were too many people on this cruise that were not handled efficiently.. The food was nothing special. The one day that they did have crab legs, they were served at the buffet and generated long, long lines and few seats. There were long lines for everything. All of the shows were listed as sold out as people made reservations in advance. However, I found out later that most of these people didn't show up at the shows and there were many seats available. It seemed that all aspects of the cruise created a sense of scarcity the made it necessary too stand in longs lines in order to not miss out instead of just enjoying the cruise. The excursions were booked to capacity and were frequently sold out. When I was able to obtain a train ride, It was very crowded, hot, stuffy and very uncomfortable. In every stop we had, there between four to six other cruise ships in the same port at the same time making the entire town too crowded to enjoy. The observation deck was very nice but it was very difficult to get a seat, especially a lounger. Several people would get there early and save several seats for many people for the entire day. However, even though the seats had something on them, there were not people using them. None of the staff policed this. This cruise provided cheap goods to provide the minimum to the large quantity of people over quality. Staff was hesitant to provide basic items to the rooms when requested. Even the toilet paper was very thin. I was sent a survey from the cruise line, When I tried to complete it, it said"touch arrow to continue" but there was no arrow. I sent an email to them Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I had never gone on a cruise. So many people raved about their cruise experiences so when my sister asked my husband and me to join her and some friends on a cruise to Alaska, we thought it was about time to give a cruise a try. We ... Read More
I had never gone on a cruise. So many people raved about their cruise experiences so when my sister asked my husband and me to join her and some friends on a cruise to Alaska, we thought it was about time to give a cruise a try. We decided to go on the Norwegian Bliss, a brand new ship. I was very disappointed. The ship was very crowded, very noisy and very disorganized! The atrium , the center of the ship, was so crowded and noisy! The guest services as well as the trip excursions desk were also located in this area which made it difficult to communicate with the staff. We had a voucher for a free specialty dining experience. We went to guest services as soon as we boarded the ship and all but one specialty dining were already completely booked. A complimentary acupuncture session was filled when we inquired about it the day we arrived .You could not get tickets for the racetrack, booked. A painting class was offered for a maximum of 12 people. On a ship of 4000, this seemed ridiculous, obviously this was filled. One night the buffet was a seafood dinner. You could not get near the shrimp or crab legs and if you were lucky enough to get your food, it was impossible to find a table to sit. There is only one pool. There is no adult only area which I understand most ships have this. It seems Norwegian Cruise Lines added more rooms on this ship but not enough common space to accommodate the added passengers. There is also a lack of elevators to accommodate the clientele. On a ship with 4000 people, trying to disembark for excursions was total mayhem. Much more organization is needed in this area. I have heard that other cruises have shows most nights but on the Bliss there were only 2 shows for the entire week. That said, the production of Jersey Boys was amazing! It was as good as any Hollywood production. Positives The entire crew and staff are excellent. They are very helpful and professional. The wait staff in the Manhattan Room are the best! They are not only very professional but they are friendly and enjoy engaging in conversation with the guests if you so choose. The staff in the buffet are excellent. They clear the tables as soon as you are done eating. The chefs always have fresh food available and will make you exactly what you would like, omelettes, pasta etc. This is not negative about NCL but more about human nature On Sunday, our first day at sea, we went to the library to check out the games. They had 6 backgammon games, at least 4 scrabble games, at least 10 decks of brand new playing cards and several monopoly games among a few other games. On Thursday, day 5, there were only 2 backgammon games, none with dice, 1 scrabble game, no monopoly games, no cribbage boards and not one deck of playing cards Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The Norwegian Bliss was way too crowded. 4200 people and two elevator areas made it always a long wait. Every theatre was crowded and you had to reserve a spot or you had to wait to enter. Atrium area was very crowded. Standing room ... Read More
The Norwegian Bliss was way too crowded. 4200 people and two elevator areas made it always a long wait. Every theatre was crowded and you had to reserve a spot or you had to wait to enter. Atrium area was very crowded. Standing room only. The ship was so large that it could not come close to glacier. You were miles away and could only see half. All other ships get the whole experience. This ship is not suitable for Alaska. That was suppose to be the highlight of the ship and was extremely disappointed. The Manhattan Dining room was very slow. The waiter brought ketchup in bottle to our table and then took it away to Bring to other table without even asking. There was a private event for an Indian group on ship that took the whole front of observation deck and we were kicked out. Another night the Margaritaville room was blocked off for another private party. One night the Bliss Theatre had an entire section blocked off for them. Really? We all paid for this ship. Warning! Don’t use this ship if you want to see Glacier Bay! 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 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
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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