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We took the five day Pacific Coastal (re-positioning) Cruise on the Bliss and had a great experience. I was a bit nervous having read many mixed reviews about the Bliss but would certainly sail on the Bliss again in the future. There were some minor negatives, but overall it was an excellent experience. One thing that is clear about the Bliss is that it benefits those that like to plan ahead or, on the other end of the spectrum, those that are extremely relaxed about what they do or do not experience on the cruise (eg just show up and see if it works out). If you are in the middle, it is a lot easier to be disappointed on the Bliss. For those that are planners, making specialty restaurant and show reservations through the NCL website well in advance of departure is a must. I would say make the reservations as soon as you can. Then, once you board, go to a screen on the ship and make go-kart, laser tag and any additional show reservations (those that couldn't be reserved online) right away. This will help ensure the best experience. That being said, if you are not a planner and just go with the flow there seemed to be enough cancellations, no-shows, etc..., that you can do just about everything. Again, you just can't have that expectation. I suspect that many of those disappointed in the Bliss fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. Those that want to eat at 7pm at Le Bistro or Cagney's on the first sea day, but wait to make a reservation until they get onboard will not be happy. With that being said, some of the points from the Bliss are: Embarkation -- Vancouver + NCL was a great experience -- I never got on a ship so quickly or so easily. Cabin - small but workable space. We had a balcony cabin on the 11th deck and it easily fit 2 adults + a teen. The free movie options on the TV were an improvement. Storage space was good. I felt the bed was a bit firm compared to other cruises. Dining - We ate at specialty restaurants 3 nights, the main dining room 1 night and the buffet 1 night. All were good and we did not have a bad experience. The buffet was a real highlight and one of the better cruise buffets I have experienced. On past NCL cruises it seemed that the staff was slow in cleaning tables at the buffet, that was not the case on the Bliss. The food in the main dining room (Manhattan Room) was as good as the specialty restaurants, but the service was nowhere near as good. Our best meal was at Le Bistro. We also hit up the Local several times on the cruise and feel this is a vast improvement over O'Sheehans. Entertainment and Activities -- Very good experience with Laser Tag and Go Karts. I felt they were expensive going in (they are), but worth it. Bars were good and I especially liked the district brew house -- I hope this concept catches on for additional ships. Pool and slides were crowded even in cooler weather. This is a constant issue on megaships like the Bliss. I will say they added enough hot tubs at different locations and that was a plus. Night club was a ton of fun with better than average cruise DJs. Jersey Boys was amazing, Havana was terrible (I think it was written by a 6th grade drama class that ran out of time). Spa -- Had to set this aside as it was my least favorite aspect of the cruise. The actual set up is nice, so that is not the issue. The problem is the hard sell. Can I just get a sign/flag that says "I don't want to buy anything". The don't have the Brazilian steakhouse on the Bliss, but the green button / red button system could also work. If I am paying $200 for a service, I don't need you to lay into me to buy $250 miracle cream. Sure, let me know what is available, but a sales pitch in the guise of a "consultation" is an awful experience. I was waiting for the attendant to say "well, if you don't want my shampoo for $100 an once, are you interested in hearing about a timeshare I am selling". Service -- Good service, they got the job done with a smile. Ports -- It is not the fault of the ship (it is a customs/immigration issue) but the delay to get off the ship in San Fran should have been explained better in advance. I live close enough to SF that we did not have big plans, but felt bad that were visiting the city for the first and possibly only time. We did not do any ship based excursions. I look forward to the possibility of sailing on the Bliss again. For the right type(s) of traveler it is a really great experience.

Big Fan of the Bliss

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by BigGuru

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2018
  • Destination: Pacific Coastal
  • Cabin Type: Mid-ship Balcony Stateroom
We took the five day Pacific Coastal (re-positioning) Cruise on the Bliss and had a great experience. I was a bit nervous having read many mixed reviews about the Bliss but would certainly sail on the Bliss again in the future. There were some minor negatives, but overall it was an excellent experience.

One thing that is clear about the Bliss is that it benefits those that like to plan ahead or, on the other end of the spectrum, those that are extremely relaxed about what they do or do not experience on the cruise (eg just show up and see if it works out). If you are in the middle, it is a lot easier to be disappointed on the Bliss. For those that are planners, making specialty restaurant and show reservations through the NCL website well in advance of departure is a must. I would say make the reservations as soon as you can. Then, once you board, go to a screen on the ship and make go-kart, laser tag and any additional show reservations (those that couldn't be reserved online) right away. This will help ensure the best experience. That being said, if you are not a planner and just go with the flow there seemed to be enough cancellations, no-shows, etc..., that you can do just about everything. Again, you just can't have that expectation. I suspect that many of those disappointed in the Bliss fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. Those that want to eat at 7pm at Le Bistro or Cagney's on the first sea day, but wait to make a reservation until they get onboard will not be happy.

With that being said, some of the points from the Bliss are:

Embarkation -- Vancouver + NCL was a great experience -- I never got on a ship so quickly or so easily.

Cabin - small but workable space. We had a balcony cabin on the 11th deck and it easily fit 2 adults + a teen. The free movie options on the TV were an improvement. Storage space was good. I felt the bed was a bit firm compared to other cruises.

Dining - We ate at specialty restaurants 3 nights, the main dining room 1 night and the buffet 1 night. All were good and we did not have a bad experience. The buffet was a real highlight and one of the better cruise buffets I have experienced. On past NCL cruises it seemed that the staff was slow in cleaning tables at the buffet, that was not the case on the Bliss. The food in the main dining room (Manhattan Room) was as good as the specialty restaurants, but the service was nowhere near as good. Our best meal was at Le Bistro. We also hit up the Local several times on the cruise and feel this is a vast improvement over O'Sheehans.

Entertainment and Activities -- Very good experience with Laser Tag and Go Karts. I felt they were expensive going in (they are), but worth it. Bars were good and I especially liked the district brew house -- I hope this concept catches on for additional ships. Pool and slides were crowded even in cooler weather. This is a constant issue on megaships like the Bliss. I will say they added enough hot tubs at different locations and that was a plus. Night club was a ton of fun with better than average cruise DJs. Jersey Boys was amazing, Havana was terrible (I think it was written by a 6th grade drama class that ran out of time).

Spa -- Had to set this aside as it was my least favorite aspect of the cruise. The actual set up is nice, so that is not the issue. The problem is the hard sell. Can I just get a sign/flag that says "I don't want to buy anything". The don't have the Brazilian steakhouse on the Bliss, but the green button / red button system could also work. If I am paying $200 for a service, I don't need you to lay into me to buy $250 miracle cream. Sure, let me know what is available, but a sales pitch in the guise of a "consultation" is an awful experience. I was waiting for the attendant to say "well, if you don't want my shampoo for $100 an once, are you interested in hearing about a timeshare I am selling".

Service -- Good service, they got the job done with a smile.

Ports -- It is not the fault of the ship (it is a customs/immigration issue) but the delay to get off the ship in San Fran should have been explained better in advance. I live close enough to SF that we did not have big plans, but felt bad that were visiting the city for the first and possibly only time. We did not do any ship based excursions.

I look forward to the possibility of sailing on the Bliss again. For the right type(s) of traveler it is a really great experience.
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