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My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and entertainment options. The ship and, for the most part, the crew did not disappoint. This review is primarily centered on the itinerary itself, as there were many drawbacks that were not disclosed by NCL at the time we reserved our cabin. For us, the coastal or "repositioning" cruise is a great way to just enjoy the ship and not worry about needing to reserve a bunch of shore excursions. With the Bliss being so new, we felt we could just enjoy the ship for this quick, 6-day cruise. The issues that we encountered deal primarily with both Canadian and US regulations and are not the result of any policies adopted by NCL. However, I think all potential cruisers for this itinerary should be aware of its limitations. First off, be aware that the ship will leave Vancouver in the middle of the night - there is no traditional sail-away party. My wife and I have found this is a great way to set the tone for the cruise - music, dancing, and tropical beverages. Secondly, and I'm not going to be able to quote the exact regulation, but when a ship is in a Canadian port, there is a limit to the number of bars that can be open on the ship (I believe that the regulation is one bar per deck). For anyone who has sailed on a mega ship, you understand that there are multiple bars and lounges on various decks. I realize that this may not be a big deal for many people, but when you reserve a cruise on a ship like the Bliss, you do not expect there to be limitations on where and what you can drink. Beverages that would be available in the District Brew House or the Mojito Bar are not available for two days. In some restaurants (Food Republic and Margaritaville in our instance), the wait staff had to go fill our beverage order at another location, slowing down the service and limiting the choices. Secondly, US Immigration. We were not aware that we would lose half a day in San Francisco because all of the passengers and crew needed to exit the ship in San Francisco to pass through US Immigration. The process started at approximately 9 AM, and we were allowed back on the ship at approximately 1:30 or 2:00 PM. However, once we re-boarded at 2 PM, most venues and services were shut down as the crew was still going through immigration. Services and venues began to open up around 4 PM. Again, this may not matter to most people, especially if you wanted to spend the day in San Francisco and/or go on an excursion, but if you planned to stay and enjoy the ship, it makes a big difference. Lastly, we did observe some reluctance of the crew to enforce rules. Examples include children being in bar areas of certain lounges (and including H2O Spice, and including children actually sitting at the Mondavi wine bar) and tours that included children and babies in strollers going through the Thermal Suite (not on embarkation day, which is normal, but on day 4). Anyway, I would go on the Bliss again but would not choose this itinerary - just too many drawbacks and not enough of an opportunity to just relax and enjoy the ship. I'm sure many people had better or different experiences, but thought I'd share mine as someone who has been on a number of NCL cruises.

Great ship, below average itinerary

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by Hugues de Payens

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Pacific Coastal
  • Cabin Type: Spa Mini-Suite with Balcony
My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and entertainment options. The ship and, for the most part, the crew did not disappoint. This review is primarily centered on the itinerary itself, as there were many drawbacks that were not disclosed by NCL at the time we reserved our cabin.

For us, the coastal or "repositioning" cruise is a great way to just enjoy the ship and not worry about needing to reserve a bunch of shore excursions. With the Bliss being so new, we felt we could just enjoy the ship for this quick, 6-day cruise. The issues that we encountered deal primarily with both Canadian and US regulations and are not the result of any policies adopted by NCL. However, I think all potential cruisers for this itinerary should be aware of its limitations. First off, be aware that the ship will leave Vancouver in the middle of the night - there is no traditional sail-away party. My wife and I have found this is a great way to set the tone for the cruise - music, dancing, and tropical beverages. Secondly, and I'm not going to be able to quote the exact regulation, but when a ship is in a Canadian port, there is a limit to the number of bars that can be open on the ship (I believe that the regulation is one bar per deck). For anyone who has sailed on a mega ship, you understand that there are multiple bars and lounges on various decks. I realize that this may not be a big deal for many people, but when you reserve a cruise on a ship like the Bliss, you do not expect there to be limitations on where and what you can drink. Beverages that would be available in the District Brew House or the Mojito Bar are not available for two days. In some restaurants (Food Republic and Margaritaville in our instance), the wait staff had to go fill our beverage order at another location, slowing down the service and limiting the choices.

Secondly, US Immigration. We were not aware that we would lose half a day in San Francisco because all of the passengers and crew needed to exit the ship in San Francisco to pass through US Immigration. The process started at approximately 9 AM, and we were allowed back on the ship at approximately 1:30 or 2:00 PM. However, once we re-boarded at 2 PM, most venues and services were shut down as the crew was still going through immigration. Services and venues began to open up around 4 PM. Again, this may not matter to most people, especially if you wanted to spend the day in San Francisco and/or go on an excursion, but if you planned to stay and enjoy the ship, it makes a big difference.

Lastly, we did observe some reluctance of the crew to enforce rules. Examples include children being in bar areas of certain lounges (and including H2O Spice, and including children actually sitting at the Mondavi wine bar) and tours that included children and babies in strollers going through the Thermal Suite (not on embarkation day, which is normal, but on day 4).

Anyway, I would go on the Bliss again but would not choose this itinerary - just too many drawbacks and not enough of an opportunity to just relax and enjoy the ship. I'm sure many people had better or different experiences, but thought I'd share mine as someone who has been on a number of NCL cruises.
Hugues de Payens’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Spa Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M9 15208
Very nice cabin with ample room. Double-basin sink with spa shower.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins