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

Disappointing New Ship Experience and a Poor Value

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by Phrogflyerdave

0 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jul 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom

This review was sent directly to Norwegian as well.

Some background: My 84 year old mother booked this trip for her four children and their spouses (10 of us in total) as a last special family vacation. All but two in the group are over 60, all are retired. My mother has 200 plus days at sea and my wife and I have at least 150 days at sea now with several other cruise lines, so we all pretty much know the ropes and our way around a ship. The new Bliss was supposed to be a huge step up in cruise ships with numerous new amenities and with all the media hype, that is why my mother choose NCL over Princess and was willing to pay thousands of dollars more for the total package. None of us are not hard to please and generally we all just go along with whatever comes our way, but considering what was paid and expected, this was not the best experience or value.

So why did I rate my overall experience as “fair” in response to your survey:

First - you booked our cruise at a significantly higher rate than comparable cruises to the same destinations. When she was booking the cruise, I reminded my mother that we should all get senior discounts and that two of us were eligible for veteran’s discounts or cabin credits. She told me then that you had denied all senior discounts/cabin credits and disabled veteran qualifications for this particular ship. I personally contacted Norwegian Customer Service about it in writing and was promised a response within a few business days. What I got was a call from an unintelligible oriental woman about two weeks before we sailed saying something to the effect that my concern had been forwarded somewhere. We still have not received any contact or resolution from anyone at NCL. You over charged for shore excursions. I say this because six of the ten of us have sailed to Alaska within the past few years on different cruise lines and took some of the same excursions. You also required that we pay months advance. No other cruise line has ever done that to us. You advertised a go-cart track and a laser tag game that were both completely booked by the first morning and remained so for the duration of the cruise. We were told we could stand in line each day on the happen stance that someone might not show up. We tried for 5 weeks in advance of the cruise to sign up for shows which should have been not only free, but also “first come – first served”. Those too were completely booked and none of us could reserve anything except The Jersey Boys, so that was the only show we saw. (On a side note: The Jersey Boys were absolutely phenomenal!) Our cabin steward was a total no show for the duration of the cruise. On the third day out we ran out of tissues and called House Keeping. The person that brought them to us turned out to be our steward. He knocked, introduced himself, handed us the tissues and then turned and left. About 5 seconds. That was the entirety of our association with the cabin steward, though he did maintain the room satisfactorily. While we are on the subject of the cabin, they are small and cramped, the beds are hard and uncomfortable and your closets do not accommodate the standard hangers which we brought from home for our formal clothing. The dining rooms were nice and a couple even had large windows which made the experience nicer when you managed to get a window seat. Steaks/carved meats in the buffet and The Manhattan dining room were horrid, tough and gristly every single time we ordered them. This was not just me, but voiced by every person in the group of ten. The Garden Buffet was generally an acceptable place to eat with tasty food and a nice variety, though several times we had to take our meals back to the room because there was absolutely no seating available anywhere in the vicinity of the dining room. The best meals were served in the Specialty dining rooms, though every single meal we took on the ship with the exception of the Garden Buffet took two full hours from the time we sat down until the dessert was served. We could never understand why service was so slow. The only time we were ever offered coffee before, during or after our meal was in the Le Bistro. Otherwise, the wait staff never came around so we could ask and we had to flag them down for refills on things like iced tea though they refilled water without request. Alcohol was grossly overpriced on this ship and since we did not choose the unlimited drink option, we had few. Also, the value of your bingo and slot tournaments was pitiful based on the prize money. Enough said there.

In general, the new Bliss is an average appearing ship with basic amenities available without reservations. We have sailed on several new inaugural ships with both Carnival and Princess. Their ships add sparkle and glamour to their décor. They also provide enough elevators to move passengers between decks without excessive waiting. Where are the Bliss elevators? You have only two banks of elevators on this massive ship carrying up to 4,000 passengers. Even Carnival has four additional glass elevators in the atriums of their larger ships. The Bliss was clean and well run; the staff was friendly and polite. I am sorry to have vented so much, but our week on your new ship was somewhat disappointing and my mother now wishes she would have booked us on Princess. It is unlikely we will recommend NCL to our friends or other family members based upon our experience and the poor value provided.

Phrogflyerdave's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BF 13130

Smaller than Carnival and Princess. Closets do not accept standard sized hangers. The beds were extremely uncomfortable.

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