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Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,207 Reviews

15 Day Panama Canal Cruise on Amazing New Ship - NCL Bliss

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by momfalc

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America
  • Cabin Type: The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony

We flew in to Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at a hotel close to the airport and the port. Embarkation was a breeze but we were in The Haven so were escorted onto the ship as soon as we arrived at the port. We were taken directly to the Haven lounge but our room was already ready so we dropped off our stuff and went to the Haven Restaurant for lunch. By the time we finished lunch and went back to our room, our luggage had arrived so we were able to unpack and relax a little bit before setting off to explore the ship. The ship is huge. Amazing but huge. We were still finding new places on the ship the day before we got off. Our cabin was fairly large and the balcony was nice size with 2 chairs and a table. We were on Deck 18 and could look down on the balconies in the Haven on Deck 17 which appeared to be larger and had a lounger and a chair and table. If we do this ship again we would book one of those cabins to get the larger balcony. We tried most of the specialty restaurants since we had the 4 meal dining package and 2 more as Platinum perks (Cagney's, Q's Texas BBQ, La Cucina, Los Lobos, Le Bistro and 4 of the complimentary ones - Manhattan, Savor, Taste and The Local). We were very pleased with the quality of the food and the level of service. Beyond our dining package we also tried The Local one day for lunch and the rest of the time we ate in the Haven Restaurant which was easily as good as or better than any of the other restaurants onboard. We were a little disappointed initially that the menu didn't vary at all but when we mentioned to the Haven restaurant manager that we would like a little more variety, the chef started including a daily special to the lunch and dinner offerings.

Of the entertainment offered, we went to see Jersey Boys which was really good and Havana which we also enjoyed. The Beatles show was very disappointing both in quality of the performers and choice of songs. There are so many popular Beatles songs but they seemed to pick all the more obscure ones. The piano player was very good and very funny but seemed to operate more as a comic than a musician and never really sang any song all the way through. It was not a performance that you could sing along with, which is what we enjoyed on other cruises. The level of service we experienced was very high but again one would expect that in The Haven. And the butler, concierge and room steward didn't disappoint. We celebrated several special occasions during the cruise including our anniversary and the butler and room steward decorated our room with balloons and banners and made kissing towel swans with orchid flowers and set the table with white linens, crystal and orchid flowers and left us a really pretty cake.

We took the following shore excursions: Puntarenas, Costa Rica A Real Coffee Experience, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Macadamia Nut Farm, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Tequila, Tiles & Shopping and Los Angeles LA Overview/Farmers Market (ending at the airport). We really enjoyed each of the shore excursions and would highly recommend them. By taking the one in Los Angeles our disembarkation was really easy. Our luggage was taken off the ship very early and segregated in a smaller area in the terminal so was ready when we got off the ship and was really easy to find. The excursion itself helped pass the time until our flight much later in the evening. We would definitely sail on the Bliss again but would probably not do the Panama Canal cruise again. We enjoyed it once but feel no need to do that again.

momfalc's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin H5 18712

The cabin was fairly large and included one large room with a king size bed, a dining table and 2 chairs, a love seat, a counter top with lots of drawers for storage and a coffee/dining cabinet with espresso machine and mini frig. It also included an assortment of glassware and plates and utensils. There was a passthrough closet with hanging space on both sides and more shelves and drawers and the safe. The drawers in this area would not open reliably because the one closet door obstructed it. We pointed it out to the butler but didn't have them fix it for our cruise because the other drawers provided more than enough storage space for the cruise. The bathroom was large and included a bathtub/shower combination and a double sink. Again lots of drawers for storage. And a scale so you could keep track of how much damage you had done if you were so inclined. The room was beautifully decorated and felt very luxurious. Our butler and room steward were excellent and made sure that we had a fresh pitcher of ice water 3 times a day. Our butler also tailored our daily snacks to our liking.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

City Tour

This tour gave us an overview of Los Angeles and stopped at the Farmers Market for lunch. Then took us to the airport. It was very valuable to us because it helped pass the time until our flight later in the evening.

View All 52 City Tour Reviews

We flew in the night before and stayed at a hotel close to the airport and the port.

Excellent tour both by bus and walking. During the walking portion, the street vendors were very persistent.

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Coffee Plantation

The title of the excursion was A Real Coffee Experience. This was our favorite excursion of the cruise. It was really interesting to see how coffee is grown, harvested and roasted. We also got to sample several coffees and had the best cup of coffee we have ever had.

View All 38 Coffee Plantation Reviews
Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Our shore excursion here was the Macadamia Nut Farm. Again we enjoyed seeing how the nuts are grown and harvested. And we got to sample some chocolate with nuts in it and pancakes made with macadamia nut flour.

Tequila Factory Walking Tour

The tile factory was very interesting and we enjoyed watching the artists painting the tiles free hand. The tequila distillery was our favorite part of this excursion. We tasted 6 different tequilas and chose the peach and the almond as our favorites.

View All 85 Tequila Factory Walking Tour Reviews

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