Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by KilljoyTXinWA
- Sail Date: January 2019
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom
This was our 5th cruise - 1 carnival, 4 Norwegian [Sun, Pearl, Escape, Bliss]
Observation Lounge: Comfy and quiet, except for the front row (noise from Garden Cafe). Many many seats, everyone can see outside.
Room: Our standard balcony room was essentially the same as the other ships we have been on. Maintenance had to come twice when the toilet would not flush.
Activties: Go Carts had fun, nice cars, and a short wait time when we arrived at our appointment time. Glad to see that putt-putt was not missing. The water slides looked fun and the lines dind't seem overly long. Did not break into the budget to play laser tag, and it did not seem to be very busy at any time, even though it was also "sold out".
Shows: Havana was good music, but no plot. Jersey Boys was probably the best show we've seen on a ship. Tried (and failed once) to see Beatlemania in the Cavern Club. Club is too small -- but a very good size to handle our small group (50 person) meetings. Open the shutters and pipe that music to the outside bar so that more people can enjoy.
Outdoor decks: The deck 8 "Promenade" has a lot of outside, quiet. non-pool seating. Putting the hot tubs on the level above the pool is a great way to add access to water. The area outside the Vibe Club was a good quiet area to get away from the rowdier poolside crowd. The jumbotron at the pool was great for watching playoff football.
Garden Cafe: Good variety, even Indian food. Best general lunch buffet we've seen so far, visited three different days. Ate twice at The Local - ok pub food, nothing exceptional. Cagney's was good, as always. Los Lobos had a huge amount of food per order. The menu at the Manhattan Room, and Taste/Savor were above average. The Q had adequate barbeque, a serviceable example of Americana for foreign travelers. Crepes at Coco's were a treat. Don't miss the macaroons at the Bake Shop.
Dining: The chefs at Teppanyaki were overly loud, excessively banging metal objects - legitimate potential migraine triggers. Beware of Margaritaville - its $15-$18 per person, just to sit down. This was a huge waste of prime space on a ship that needs more room for hot tubs and deck chairs. Of course, it was empty most of the time. At the bars, with all of the free drink packages being sold, the staff are easily the most worn out and impatient on the ship.
Indoors: Beware of getting a room midship, ESPECIALLY on Deck 15. You will be awake as long as there's something going on in the pool area (a party every night), and our bed was literally ~vibrating~ until after 11pm during the final night's party. Then, at 6am, be prepared to hear the deck chairs rattle your room again, as they are literally -thrown- back into place on deck. If you are lucky, you might even catch a whiff of smoky flavor from the Q.
Outdoor decks: As others have mentioned - there's one sole tiny adult pool. The music at the pool is OBNOXIOUSLY loud. Lounge chairs are jammed so close together, you cannot access them from the sides - you have to climb onto them from the end. Dozens of people entertained themselves watching a majority of the water-tube riders fail to make the loop. Parents were freely allowing their kids into the hot tubs, instead of routing them to splash park.
Logistics/Ambiance: Something is very deeply wrong with the scheduling and logistics on this ship. Or, perhaps they were short-staffed.
Prior to leaving port, we could not get a reservation at Ocean Club. When a couple cancelled their reservation to dine with us elsewhere, on a different night. the system told them they had still dined there. When we ate at other restaurants that were listed as "fully booked" - Q, Cagney's, and Los Lobos, they were always FAR from capacity, over a 90+ minute span. The Brewhouse menu still had the Alaska taps listed, and did not have the All-Star souvenirs avaialble. We watched contestants in the Atrium events compete for $5 koozies and cupcakes, instead of $20 t-shirts and bottles of wine.
These reservation snafus extended to the Vibe Club as well. A year ago, we had an amazing cruise - we were in the first 500 people on board, and raced down to get passes to Vibe Club. We had other friends and family get day passes to join us, to get a "VIP" experience. This trip, we had ther priorities, but we heard from other 2017 Escape / Vibe cruisers that the line "sold out" after the 16th person in line. We heard that there were only 40 passes sold. Every day when we looked, the club was no more than 1/3 full - we never saw 30 people there, even in the middle of a sunny at-sea day. When we tried to get day passes to visit with friends, we were told at Guest Services that "they don't do that on this ship". Most of the time, there were 20+ people in line at Guest Services throughout the cruise.
If the Bliss management goal was to confuse and frustrate repeat cruisers, spiff the customer as little as possible, and cheapen the entire cruise experience - mission accomplished !
Still -- can't wait for our first Alaska cruise in July, and the Breakaway next January.
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