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Chose this cruise because of prior experience with NCL, and wanted an Alaska cruise. Also brand new ship... Scroll to the bottom if you don't want to read all of this for the recap. Dining: The general dining rooms were about the worst we've bad (which really surprised us - NCL has historically been very good). We ate once in Taste and once in Savor. The service was terrible, the wait staff were outright miserable at best, and rude at worst. The food was literally worse than the buffet (which we didn't use except right after embarkation). We purposefully chose specialty and ala-cart restaurants (maybe that's by design?) where the service was great, and the food amazing. DO NOT miss Food Republic on this ship. By far the best food aboard. Our culinary schedule was: - Day 1: Taste (never again - thought we would go across the hall to Savor next, but...) - Day 2: Savor (never again) - Day 3: Le Bistro (5/5 - very good food, good service) - Day 4: Ocean Blue (5/5 - outstanding food & service) - Day 5: Food Republic (5/5 - by far the best food and service onboard) - Day 6: Food Republic (same as above) - Day 7: La Cucina (5/5 - outstanding food, very good service) Entertainment: - Havana was ok. Well choreographed, and the music was good but overall, just ok. - Jersey Boys was unbelievable. The music was absolutely spot-on, and the production was broadway level good. Absolute must see. - Prohibition was very very good, and very funny. Totally recommended. - Beatlemania wasn't advertised, but played a one show only on day 6 in the theater. It was very good. Excursions: Ketchikan: The Mendenhall Glacier is not to be missed. Quite a bit of walking here, but take the time to go down the Falls trail. I would avoid the Gardens & Glacier tour - we spent WAY too much time at the gardens, and not nearly enough time at the glacier. Skagway: DO NOT miss the Yukon BUS tour in Skagway. Everyone we spoke to was disappointed in the train excursions - and the bus tour was amazing. SO glad we took this one. Onboard: We took the Behind the Scenes tour. I was very disappointed in this tour. On both Carnival and on Royal Caribbean, the BtS tours took you onto the bridge for (limited) conversations with officers and a description of the stations, navigation, basically anything you wanted to know that didn't involve security. This tour was laundry, kitchens, backstage all hotel operations - nothing else. Our tour guide was VERY unprepared, and really was quite a disappointment for $80pp. Ports: Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway - all made sense for an Alaska cruise. We could NOT figure out the Vancouver stop. We were there for quite a long time, and there is NOTHING to do there. We missed the glacier cruise day due to a life/death medical emergency but aside from that, all good. Overall: Disappointed that this is an NCL product. Was very excited about the 'mega ship' experience on NCL based on prior NCL cruises. This ship was gorgeous. The service (with the exceptions noted above) was the worst we've been on - and even Carnival did better here. The crew really was miserable, and in many cases (Atrium bar, Observation bar, dining rooms, buffet) outright rude to guests. The cruise director was completely absent, except for on TV; and the onboard activities were, well, meh. Internet service onboard was atrocious. We paid for Premium streaming unlimited service, and could barely get text messages in/out for most of the time. Additionally, many of the WiFi access points onboard didn't work properly, so depending where on the ship you were, there was no access at all. NCL has a LOT to do to get this ship together. It's a billion dollar investment, and somewhere along the line, the staff onboard have forgotten that without us, there's no jobs for them. I don't want to end on a negative, so I will say this: the Alaska cruise was a bucket list item for my wife and I. I wouldn't take this trip on any other ship; and we REALLY did enjoy ourselves. Hopefully someone at NCL reads this and takes some action, because this truly is a gorgeous ship, and it's a gorgeous itinerary.

Alaska Cruise on NCL Bliss

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by chrisbennettga

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
Chose this cruise because of prior experience with NCL, and wanted an Alaska cruise. Also brand new ship... Scroll to the bottom if you don't want to read all of this for the recap.

Dining:

The general dining rooms were about the worst we've bad (which really surprised us - NCL has historically been very good). We ate once in Taste and once in Savor. The service was terrible, the wait staff were outright miserable at best, and rude at worst. The food was literally worse than the buffet (which we didn't use except right after embarkation). We purposefully chose specialty and ala-cart restaurants (maybe that's by design?) where the service was great, and the food amazing. DO NOT miss Food Republic on this ship. By far the best food aboard. Our culinary schedule was:

- Day 1: Taste (never again - thought we would go across the hall to Savor next, but...)

- Day 2: Savor (never again)

- Day 3: Le Bistro (5/5 - very good food, good service)

- Day 4: Ocean Blue (5/5 - outstanding food & service)

- Day 5: Food Republic (5/5 - by far the best food and service onboard)

- Day 6: Food Republic (same as above)

- Day 7: La Cucina (5/5 - outstanding food, very good service)

Entertainment:

- Havana was ok. Well choreographed, and the music was good but overall, just ok.

- Jersey Boys was unbelievable. The music was absolutely spot-on, and the production was broadway level good. Absolute must see.

- Prohibition was very very good, and very funny. Totally recommended.

- Beatlemania wasn't advertised, but played a one show only on day 6 in the theater. It was very good.

Excursions:

Ketchikan:

The Mendenhall Glacier is not to be missed. Quite a bit of walking here, but take the time to go down the Falls trail. I would avoid the Gardens & Glacier tour - we spent WAY too much time at the gardens, and not nearly enough time at the glacier.

Skagway:

DO NOT miss the Yukon BUS tour in Skagway. Everyone we spoke to was disappointed in the train excursions - and the bus tour was amazing. SO glad we took this one.

Onboard:

We took the Behind the Scenes tour. I was very disappointed in this tour. On both Carnival and on Royal Caribbean, the BtS tours took you onto the bridge for (limited) conversations with officers and a description of the stations, navigation, basically anything you wanted to know that didn't involve security. This tour was laundry, kitchens, backstage all hotel operations - nothing else. Our tour guide was VERY unprepared, and really was quite a disappointment for $80pp.

Ports:

Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway - all made sense for an Alaska cruise. We could NOT figure out the Vancouver stop. We were there for quite a long time, and there is NOTHING to do there. We missed the glacier cruise day due to a life/death medical emergency but aside from that, all good.

Overall:

Disappointed that this is an NCL product. Was very excited about the 'mega ship' experience on NCL based on prior NCL cruises. This ship was gorgeous. The service (with the exceptions noted above) was the worst we've been on - and even Carnival did better here. The crew really was miserable, and in many cases (Atrium bar, Observation bar, dining rooms, buffet) outright rude to guests. The cruise director was completely absent, except for on TV; and the onboard activities were, well, meh.

Internet service onboard was atrocious. We paid for Premium streaming unlimited service, and could barely get text messages in/out for most of the time. Additionally, many of the WiFi access points onboard didn't work properly, so depending where on the ship you were, there was no access at all.

NCL has a LOT to do to get this ship together. It's a billion dollar investment, and somewhere along the line, the staff onboard have forgotten that without us, there's no jobs for them.

I don't want to end on a negative, so I will say this: the Alaska cruise was a bucket list item for my wife and I. I wouldn't take this trip on any other ship; and we REALLY did enjoy ourselves. Hopefully someone at NCL reads this and takes some action, because this truly is a gorgeous ship, and it's a gorgeous itinerary.
chrisbennettga’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Dining
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin M6 8114
Outstanding as you would expect from a brand new ship. The Cabin Steward was amazing. I would name him here, but he's leaving for another ship so no point.

The 8th deck mini-suites are about the best on ship, because they are on a dead-end hallway and have massive balconies. The hallway was very quiet. One thing I'll say is that since the room is so large, the bed was directly underneath the balcony overhead. When the ship was hauling butt overnight, the wind tossed the furniture around above us on several nights. That really was the only negative on this trip as it relates to the suite. We anticipated bad weather (being mid-September), but had AMAZING weather throughout the entire cruise, and got to use our balcony quite a bit.

One of the highlights of this suite was the shower. Multiple jets, great water pressure and a REAL glass enclosed shower! Quite the change from all of the cruises we had taken before.

Lots of space (for a ship), and lots of places to put clothing, etc. The in-room safe was too small for our iPads, so make sure you're aware of that.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Mendenhall Glacier
    Absolutely gorgeous - went to Mendenhall Glacier (after the Gardens - which were not that great aside from the view at the very top of the mountain). The 2 mile round trip to the falls is worth every second.
    View All 777 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
  • Ketchikan
    The walk along the Creek Street boardwalk is amazing. We watched otters catch (and fight over) salmon, walked along the creek for quite a bit, saw the Salmon Ladder... it was a gorgeous day, and we're so glad we didn't book an excursion, because the walk around town was really nice.
    View All 11,587 Ketchikan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Ketchikan Cruise Port Review
  • Seattle
    Arrived in Seattle 2 days before our cruise to do some exploring. The Space Needle is fun, the glass gardens (sorry - can't remember the artist's name) next to the Space Needle is a bit underwhelming, but cool.

    Make sure to visit Storyville Coffee in the Public Market (Pike Street & 1st Ave - top floor).

    The walk along the Sound is very nice. We walked it several times.
    View All 727 Seattle Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Seattle Cruise Port Review
  • Yukon Van Tour
    Best of the cruise. The driver (Doug) was passionate and VERY knowledgeable about the area. We stopped at a bunch of places to go out and view the incredible views, took tons of pictures. We were blessed with gorgeous weather, and got some amazing photos of the alders, the lakes (Emerald and Bennett lake are the best), had some ice cream in Carcross, and generally just had a perfect day.
    View All 108 Yukon Van Tour Reviews
  • Victoria
    What a waste of a port and a day. We walked to the end of the breakwater and back. Not a very nice port, and kind of a head scratcher as to why it's even a destination for this cruise.
    View All 1,122 Victoria Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Victoria Cruise Port Review