Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by gatortwins
- Sail Date: July 2018
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Mid-ship Balcony Stateroom
We (4 people) flew from the east coast the day before the cruise and took a connecting flight. Not a good idea! Our first flight was delayed, and we almost missed our connecting flight. All flights later that day and the next morning were full. I highly recommend flying direct. That stress was not good for a start of a vacation! However, we did make the flight and so did our luggage.
Once in Seattle, boarding the ship took no time at all. It was super easy! When you check in you receive a card to get in your room, and you also use it to make all your purchases on ship. Lots of people had lanyards to wear around their neck to carry the card with them at all times. They also take cash in the casino, or you can use your room card. We had two balcony rooms mid ship on 12th floor. The room was nice and clean. Our steward never came up to us to introduce himself. I had to introduce myself to him and ask him his name. He was nice, but I rarely saw him. Our large suitcases fit perfectly under the bed. There were only two sets of 8 elevators, so it can be a wait for an elevator at certain times, like right after a show or right before we left a port. Download the Norwegian app for The Bliss, before you lose wifi, if you want to text or call each other while on ship. Its $9.99 for the duration of cruise. You do not need to pay for wifi if you just want to communicate with each other on the ship. On the app it will tell you what you booked and activities that are going on each day. You can also look up your account and what you have charged to your room. If you do not have the app, they also leave a paper in your room each day telling you what is going on the next day on the ship. We had some AT&T cell coverage in Alaska when we docked. If you are just now planning this cruise, I highly recommend you book your restaurants and excursions ahead of time. Norwegian told me you can cancel up to two days before cruise and get a full refund. So book early, and if you change your mind you can cancel 2 days before, but I would check with Norwegian first. Restaurants are a must to book early. If not, you will be standing in line as soon as you board the ship and that is no fun. They fill up fast. I was not able to get the Japanese Steak House before cruise, but I did within the first hour on the ship.
We had the "pick two" package. We picked the beverages and restaurants (3 restaurants). The Garden Cafe was the large buffet food room at no additional charge. Lots of choices to satisfy any person for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The specialty restaurants are definitely worth it. The food was very good, service kinda slow. At the Garden Cafe you have juice (orange, cranberry and apple) and water included, no additional charge. This is where we would fill up our water bottles. The French restaurant LE BISTRO was our favorite and the steak was really good and the Japanese Steak house TEPPANYAKI was entertaining and good. Each restaurant will ask you if you have any allergies or specialty diets. We don't, but I thought it was nice that they asked.
About two weeks before cruise I booked the Thermal Suite Pass for Spa for duration of cruise. THAT WAS THE BEST MONEY SPENT! I believe I paid $250 per person for duration of cruise. On board it was $300. We were told by people working in the spa that they only sell 120 passes. With over 4000 passengers on this ship, that was a great place to escape and relax. Only adults 18 and over allowed in the spa area. They have an indoor heated pool, sauna, steam room, snow room, salt room, heated loungers, lockers, showers, water and views that were endless. It is open until 10pm every day, except the last night it closes at 8pm.
On the ship we enjoyed the District Brew House. The 4 sample beers (flight) were an extra charge with the adult beverage package. Later we decided it would have been better to just order 4 large beers for no additional charge, since we had the adult beverage package. The Observation Lounge had beautiful views. We never had a problem getting a chair with a view, but people do save seats which can be annoying. Most mornings we would get our breakfast at the Garden Cafe and walk down one floor to the Observation Lounge to a more quiet and peaceful setting.
Our first port was Ketchikan and we got off the ship and just walked around. We saw several Eagles. Lots of touristy shops.
In Juneau we went on the Mendenhall Glacier by helicopter & guided walk. Walk is a loose term. We probably walked ten feet and talked about the glacier and the water you can drink from the stream. They have you wear slip on boots over your shoes. I recommend just wearing tennis shoes, not hiking or snow boots for this reason. They DO allow cameras and phones, but all bags must be locked up back at the Building. The guides were very funny and knowledgable. The helicopter is thrilling and feels at times like a rollercoaster. We got lucky and had beautiful weather. We were comfortable in a fleece jacket, gloves and beanie because it is windy. We felt it was worth the money. If you are not interested in Helicopters, we met other people on the ship that went on the Tracy Arm Fjord & Glacier Explorer. They left right before the ship departed from Juneau and The Bliss met up with them later near the glacier. However, they were able to get MUCH closer to the Dawes glacier and they saw whales, seals, and watched the glacier break and fall. A "must do" if I go back.
In Skagway we decided to take the White Pass Scenic Railway 3.5 hours. Before the train ride, we walked to town. It's a ten to 15 minute walk to town. Again lots of touristy shops, some restaurants, but packed. We came back to the boat and ate before going on the train ride at 12:40pm. There are snacks offered on the train half way up the mountain, but expensive, so I recommend bringing a snack if you haven't eatten. They do pass out water for no charge, but we brought our own. The train does have bathrooms. We sat on the left side going up, and I'm glad we did. However, when the train turns around they make you switch sides to give other people a chance. There was no AC, but comfortable once the train gets moving. It is not that interesting until you get near the top and the views are amazing. Many people fell asleep and the young children became bored. The smell of diesel comes in through the windows depending on how close you are to the engine.
On the ship, we saw Jersey Boys. It was ok. We went to 10pm show and I was pretty tired. The shows and activities in the atrium with Dan Dan and the Cruise Staff were more entertaining but you had to arrive early to get a chair.
Victoria was our last stop. We walked around and had lunch. You can take the bus for $11 each person round trip to town (take your credit card), or you can take a taxi which I heard was cheaper. Beautiful little town. We ate lunch on the water. They did not take American Express, but did take VISA. Lots of nice restaurants to choose from and flowers everywhere. Some friends we met on the cruise went on a whale watch in Victoria and said most of the people got sick.
During the last night and the last day of the cruise, we did not have access to the casino or the shops. They all shut down for the rest of the cruise. That was disappointing because we wanted to buy a gift in the gift shop, so buy early.
Getting off the ship on the last day took no time at all, maybe 15-20 minutes from when we left our room. We decided to take our luggage with us and walk off first thing in the morning after we docked. That was fast and convenient.
Overall it was a wonderful ship and lots to do or just relax. Alaska was amazing and I wish we had more time there.One last thing I want to mention: bring an empty water bottle, flip flops for the spa or pool, a lanyard for your room card, and download the app before getting on the ship!
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