NCL Bliss - Panama Canal - November 2018 - 14 Days
We recently returned from a cruise aboard the NCL Bliss traveling to Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama Canal & Cartagena, Columbia. We enjoyed the cruise a lot. This being a two week cruise at the beginning of November there were probably only 20 kids on the ship in total and the average traveler age was probably 60. These factors did influence our experience significantly. There were some highlights and there were some disappointments.
About us: We are mid 50's, have cruises 40+ times, were traveling with a group of 14, ages ranging from 50 to 85. Had never sailed on NCL. We booked a spa balcony stateroom, our rate included the unlimited beverage package and a dining package (we dined 9 nights in dining rooms with an additional cost(Specialty Dining), with a prepaid package for 8 of those nights) Dining Venues used: Manhattan, Savor, Taste, Tepannyaki, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Ocean Blue, Q, The Local, Garden Café, Los Lobos, Food Republic, Cagneys, Coco's, Margaritaville, Starbuck, The Bake Shop, and Dolce Gelato. Activities and entertainment we participated in: Cart track, both water slides, pools, spa thermal suite, massage, bowling, Jersey Boys, Havana, Happy Hour Prohibition, Beetles show, Comedy Social, and the Cavern Club.
Spa Balcony stateroom. Same size and set up as a regular balcony stateroom. You may get some "upgraded" bath amenities. Get access to the spa thermal suite and location close to the spa. (We were on deck 15 and spa on deck 16 right above us. The stateroom is small. Space between the bed and the wall where you have to walk to get to the other side of the room is only about 18". Bed flips back and forth from one cabin to the next being by the closet or being by the balcony. Our bed was by the closet. The space between the bed and closet in our cabin was about 12". I'm 6'3" 215 lbs and had to usually sit on the bed and open the doors to the closet to pick cloths. We took a lot of cloths for our 14 day cruise and were able to put it all away. If we had a third person in the room storage would have been a big challenge. There is a coffee maker in the room which was nice! The bathroom is well laid out and even though small it felt more that adequate and had good storage. There is a sofa, footstool/coffee table, desk, interactive television, usb port in the light fixture by the bed, stocked mini fridge (extra cost), balcony with two chairs and table, large mirror at desk and a good full length mirror. We liked the décor and thought the room was more than adequate, nice and well appointed.
We used the NCL provided transportation to Antigua which offered about 3 and 1/2 hours to explore Antigua on your own. What a beautiful city! The history in the stone streets and 100's of year old architecture is fantastic. The street vendors are very aggressive and much of what is for sale is common but look around for unique. Look back into the properties as you walk the street and you will see so many beautiful courtyards and gardens. It was a long drive for the time we had in Antigua but that is a cruise line issue. Wonderful place to visit. I would return again and stay for a few days.