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Boarding and Vibe beach club passes: We were novices to NCL so didn’t know what to expect. We knew the ship was sold out. Also none of our upgrade requests were accepted so we knew ship would be crowded. I had read about the Vibe and we decided to try to get passes. The Vibe is a private deck area with a dedicated bar, snacks, hot tubs and cabanas. There are also dedicated attendants. We knew the pool decks would be insanely crowded as this week is spring break for a number of groups. So we decided to try for the Vibe at 200$ per person. We were not provided a boarding time at on-line check in time. But we had heard that was irrelevant and so getting a Vibe pass would be all related to ones time getting on the ship and getting a low group boarding number. Thus we did not use ship transfers and arrived to the terminal on our own early. We showed up at 9. Everyone there was pretty much doing the same thing. I’d say there were about 20 people in front of us. People were “well behaved” lol until security. Then it was a mad dash- we tried to check in as quickly as possible then ran up the escalator to get our boarding number. The agent gave us one of 2 remaining boarding group 1 cards. From there a line formed early on to wait for boarding even though boarding would not be until 11. People were pushing and shoving to be closest to the boarding door. The security guard moved everyone away from that door, and then people were upset since they had been lining up. Security guard threatened to call police. People moved back. I noticed a family who was not group 1 boarding tried to board with group 1. Etc etc it was chaotic. Then - the doors opened. There was an almost stampede. People ran to guest services. We were among the first and were told Vibe sold out. But then we hung around there a bit and a couple of people changed their minds so we got in by the skin of our teeth. The Bliss is a bit of a problem for vibe as this ship was built for Alaska. So the outdoor deck size is less of an issue for an Alaskan cruise. But for the Caribbean??? Smaller deck space meant that there were only 80 vibe spaces available. And I’m pretty sure one “representative” per group meant that one person could buy a bunch of passes. I think passes should be capped at 4 per individual but that’s not what happened. On top of it, Haven guests could already buy these passes before non Haven guests boarded and they did (based on what we saw.) The vibe itself is really nice. There are 6-7 cabanas and pool chaises laid out in 2’s. There’s a private hot tub and bar. There’s a limited menu and they bring around fresh drinks and fruit skewers. It’s very similar to the private Haven area (it’s actually immediately adjacent but there’s a door for Haven access which remains closed) except they have a white terry cloth covers on the chairs in the Haven. Price was 209 per person each for a lounge chair and 489 for a cabana for 2. The waiters kept key cards upon entry. At one point there were about 9-10 Green key cards (identify Haven guest) versus my orange card as a minisuite guest. Haven guests do get priority boarding so simply needed to ask for vibe passes upon boarding. I’m not sure I agree with that as they have their own private area. But that’s what happened. Also I’m not sure if loyalty status with Norwegian would provide a green key card. Mike from the Vibe was excellent and took care of us very well. Rooms: we had a mid-ship mini suite for 2. I honestly found the room rather small. Balcony also small. Rooms modern and had the necessities. Bathroom was nice and had shampoo plus conditioner (2 in 1) so glad I brought my own conditioner. We were on deck 11, 3 floors above the waterfront (outdoor promenade). The waterfront is noisy at night so we could not leave our balcony door open until after 11 or so at night. Dining: Day 1- Manhattan. We booked a reserved time for all dinners given the sold out status. From what I saw we were wise. Not sure how “any time” dining works on a sold out ship. Lots of people were waiting to be seated for dinner. So book a time and go.... or not go but probably a better idea to at least have a booked time in my opinion. Day 1: embarkation. We booked manhattan dining room (complimentary) and food was pretty good. Service also good. We also ate at the garden cafe for lunch which was good and we especially liked the Indian food and rotisserie chicken. Day 2: at sea. Booked le Bistro specialty restaurant. This restaurant has an upcharge but 3 specialty restaurants were included with our booking. I found the servers a bit uptight. When we entered they would not seat us unless everyone was there. My daughter was a bit late so they were only going to seat us if we gave up her place. Eventually they relaxed and said they’d seat us, but at a table without any view. They then sat us at a good table and we had a very nice meal. Again, like embarkation, it took a bit of work and persistence. Day 3: at sea. Los Lobos - mexican specialty restaurant for upcharge- this was a group event, so not sure if it was the regular menu. It was very good as well and excellent service. Thanks to Karl who went above and beyond. We write out cards to thank him. Day 4: st Thomas- always an excellent port stop. Great shopping and sightseeing. la Cucina Italian specialty restaurant for upcharge (again included with our booking). This was excellent. Really really good. Service started off rocky as they were trying to rush us but once we established that wasn’t going to happen we had an excellent meal. We met the chefs who were very kind. And this restaurant has an outdoor patio on the waterfront (deck 8) so we ate outside, and we were able to watch as the ship was departing St Thomas port. Beautiful sunset. Just a wonderful setting. Day 5: Tortola. This island was very primitive and it seemed in the middle of no where, and that not much was there. There was a huge cost to go to the beach. 50$ return US for 2- but we paid it. The place was devastated by the hurricane and there were still upended yachts in the waters that had not been claimed. 2 cruise ships a day go to Tortola. The beach was perfect but I would have preferred a different port. Taste dining room for supper was really delicious. Shrimp dish had 6 huge tiger shrimp and the beef short rib was really nice too. Jersey boys show- was surprisingly good. Was 2 hours long and was much better than I expected. Day 6: at sea. Taste dining room for lunch was lovely. They had very nice selections and yummy peanut butter cheesecake. Dinner at Manhattan restaurant was very good once again. Day 7: Nassau and Cagney Steakhouse There were 5 ships in Nassau so it was very chaotic getting off the ship. Line to return to ship was also long. Cagney was really really good. Excellent meal for main courses. Desserts were not so great. Re: specialty dining. We did not see the communication to book these in advance to avoid disappointment. By the time we knew we were supposed to book it was very difficult getting reservations. At guest services on arrival, there were restaurant representatives that booked at the dining. And unlike online, all the restaurants, laser tag the go karts could be reserved. With the ship at capacity it was definitely a good idea to reserve immediately on boarding to avoid disappointment. There are people who were upset with not being quick enough. We were able to move around reservations once on board but this required immediate attention. Reservations were otherwise filled for the week except for Los Lobos. The spa - is beautiful. The view of ocean is gorgeous and the pools are unreal- like being in the ocean. Based on Turkish baths. There is one hot tub like area where there is a honest to goodness tide and sound of the ocean. Water rises and falls and pulls you along with it. Just beautiful. Highly recommend getting a weekly pass for about 225$. On board a daily pass is 60$ so it makes more sense to buy the weekly pass in advance. We went every night at around 8 pm. Not crowded at all then. Such a relaxing area at the front of the ship with full views and floor to ceiling windows. Observation lounge- deck 15. Not to be missed. It’s absolutely a stunning place for coffee, snacks, or a drink from their bar in the evening. Gorgeous room! Staff on Norwegian by in large very very good. Most greeted us only with smiles. You do feel on this ship that you are being constantly charged - so you need to be careful with what you’re charging etc, Norwegian has lots to offer for kids (water park) and entertainment. So that’s good. But at capacity it would be very difficult to find ones own space without the Vibe Beach club pass. My kids loved the laser tag and I did go karting once and wish that I hadn’t!! It’s not for those who don’t want to race. I did the inner tube water slide once which was great. Did not do the drop water slide one. Internet on board- unlimited did work, but there were limits on browsing and attachments. I messaging for iPhones worked. Could not otherwise text. We didn’t know about the 9.95 messaging service that you could do through the Norwegian App and had we know that definitely would have used that service. Overall: very good cruise. Now that I understand how Norwegian works I would do a few things differently the next time and try and cruise off peak.

Detailed Review of Norwegian Bliss Caribbean March 9-16 Spring Break

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by Kingstonmom111

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Boarding and Vibe beach club passes: We were novices to NCL so didn’t know what to expect. We knew the ship was sold out. Also none of our upgrade requests were accepted so we knew ship would be crowded. I had read about the Vibe and we decided to try to get passes. The Vibe is a private deck area with a dedicated bar, snacks, hot tubs and cabanas. There are also dedicated attendants. We knew the pool decks would be insanely crowded as this week is spring break for a number of groups. So we decided to try for the Vibe at 200$ per person. We were not provided a boarding time at on-line check in time. But we had heard that was irrelevant and so getting a Vibe pass would be all related to ones time getting on the ship and getting a low group boarding number. Thus we did not use ship transfers and arrived to the terminal on our own early.

We showed up at 9. Everyone there was pretty much doing the same thing. I’d say there were about 20 people in front of us. People were “well behaved” lol until security. Then it was a mad dash- we tried to check in as quickly as possible then ran up the escalator to get our boarding number. The agent gave us one of 2 remaining boarding group 1 cards. From there a line formed early on to wait for boarding even though boarding would not be until 11. People were pushing and shoving to be closest to the boarding door. The security guard moved everyone away from that door, and then people were upset since they had been lining up. Security guard threatened to call police. People moved back. I noticed a family who was not group 1 boarding tried to board with group 1. Etc etc it was chaotic.

Then - the doors opened. There was an almost stampede. People ran to guest services. We were among the first and were told Vibe sold out. But then we hung around there a bit and a couple of people changed their minds so we got in by the skin of our teeth.

The Bliss is a bit of a problem for vibe as this ship was built for Alaska. So the outdoor deck size is less of an issue for an Alaskan cruise. But for the Caribbean??? Smaller deck space meant that there were only 80 vibe spaces available. And I’m pretty sure one “representative” per group meant that one person could buy a bunch of passes.

I think passes should be capped at 4 per individual but that’s not what happened. On top of it, Haven guests could already buy these passes before non Haven guests boarded and they did (based on what we saw.)

The vibe itself is really nice. There are 6-7 cabanas and pool chaises laid out in 2’s. There’s a private hot tub and bar. There’s a limited menu and they bring around fresh drinks and fruit skewers. It’s very similar to the private Haven area (it’s actually immediately adjacent but there’s a door for Haven access which remains closed) except they have a white terry cloth covers on the chairs in the Haven. Price was 209 per person each for a lounge chair and 489 for a cabana for 2. The waiters kept key cards upon entry. At one point there were about 9-10 Green key cards (identify Haven guest) versus my orange card as a minisuite guest. Haven guests do get priority boarding so simply needed to ask for vibe passes upon boarding. I’m not sure I agree with that as they have their own private area. But that’s what happened. Also I’m not sure if loyalty status with Norwegian would provide a green key card. Mike from the Vibe was excellent and took care of us very well.

Rooms: we had a mid-ship mini suite for 2. I honestly found the room rather small. Balcony also small. Rooms modern and had the necessities. Bathroom was nice and had shampoo plus conditioner (2 in 1) so glad I brought my own conditioner. We were on deck 11, 3 floors above the waterfront (outdoor promenade). The waterfront is noisy at night so we could not leave our balcony door open until after 11 or so at night.

Dining:

Day 1- Manhattan. We booked a reserved time for all dinners given the sold out status. From what I saw we were wise. Not sure how “any time” dining works on a sold out ship. Lots of people were waiting to be seated for dinner. So book a time and go.... or not go but probably a better idea to at least have a booked time in my opinion.

Day 1: embarkation. We booked manhattan dining room (complimentary) and food was pretty good. Service also good. We also ate at the garden cafe for lunch which was good and we especially liked the Indian food and rotisserie chicken.

Day 2: at sea. Booked le Bistro specialty restaurant. This restaurant has an upcharge but 3 specialty restaurants were included with our booking. I found the servers a bit uptight. When we entered they would not seat us unless everyone was there. My daughter was a bit late so they were only going to seat us if we gave up her place. Eventually they relaxed and said they’d seat us, but at a table without any view. They then sat us at a good table and we had a very nice meal. Again, like embarkation, it took a bit of work and persistence.

Day 3: at sea. Los Lobos - mexican specialty restaurant for upcharge- this was a group event, so not sure if it was the regular menu. It was very good as well and excellent service. Thanks to Karl who went above and beyond. We write out cards to thank him.

Day 4: st Thomas- always an excellent port stop. Great shopping and sightseeing. la Cucina Italian specialty restaurant for upcharge (again included with our booking). This was excellent. Really really good. Service started off rocky as they were trying to rush us but once we established that wasn’t going to happen we had an excellent meal. We met the chefs who were very kind. And this restaurant has an outdoor patio on the waterfront (deck 8) so we ate outside, and we were able to watch as the ship was departing St Thomas port. Beautiful sunset. Just a wonderful setting.

Day 5: Tortola. This island was very primitive and it seemed in the middle of no where, and that not much was there. There was a huge cost to go to the beach. 50$ return US for 2- but we paid it. The place was devastated by the hurricane and there were still upended yachts in the waters that had not been claimed. 2 cruise ships a day go to Tortola. The beach was perfect but I would have preferred a different port.

Taste dining room for supper was really delicious. Shrimp dish had 6 huge tiger shrimp and the beef short rib was really nice too.

Jersey boys show- was surprisingly good. Was 2 hours long and was much better than I expected.

Day 6: at sea. Taste dining room for lunch was lovely. They had very nice selections and yummy peanut butter cheesecake. Dinner at Manhattan restaurant was very good once again.

Day 7: Nassau and Cagney Steakhouse

There were 5 ships in Nassau so it was very chaotic getting off the ship. Line to return to ship was also long.

Cagney was really really good. Excellent meal for main courses. Desserts were not so great.

Re: specialty dining. We did not see the communication to book these in advance to avoid disappointment. By the time we knew we were supposed to book it was very difficult getting reservations. At guest services on arrival, there were restaurant representatives that booked at the dining. And unlike online, all the restaurants, laser tag the go karts could be reserved. With the ship at capacity it was definitely a good idea to reserve immediately on boarding to avoid disappointment. There are people who were upset with not being quick enough. We were able to move around reservations once on board but this required immediate attention. Reservations were otherwise filled for the week except for Los Lobos.

The spa - is beautiful. The view of ocean is gorgeous and the pools are unreal- like being in the ocean. Based on Turkish baths. There is one hot tub like area where there is a honest to goodness tide and sound of the ocean. Water rises and falls and pulls you along with it. Just beautiful. Highly recommend getting a weekly pass for about 225$. On board a daily pass is 60$ so it makes more sense to buy the weekly pass in advance. We went every night at around 8 pm. Not crowded at all then. Such a relaxing area at the front of the ship with full views and floor to ceiling windows.

Observation lounge- deck 15. Not to be missed. It’s absolutely a stunning place for coffee, snacks, or a drink from their bar in the evening. Gorgeous room!

Staff on Norwegian by in large very very good. Most greeted us only with smiles. You do feel on this ship that you are being constantly charged - so you need to be careful with what you’re charging etc,

Norwegian has lots to offer for kids (water park) and entertainment. So that’s good. But at capacity it would be very difficult to find ones own space without the Vibe Beach club pass.

My kids loved the laser tag and I did go karting once and wish that I hadn’t!! It’s not for those who don’t want to race. I did the inner tube water slide once which was great. Did not do the drop water slide one.

Internet on board- unlimited did work, but there were limits on browsing and attachments. I messaging for iPhones worked. Could not otherwise text. We didn’t know about the 9.95 messaging service that you could do through the Norwegian App and had we know that definitely would have used that service.

Overall: very good cruise. Now that I understand how Norwegian works I would do a few things differently the next time and try and cruise off peak.
Kingstonmom111’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11802
Please see above review.
Deck 15 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins