• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,207 Reviews

Traveling with a mobility disability on NCL

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by 6theagle

1 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Apr 2019
  • Destination: the Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Inside Stateroom

When I cruise, which is every few years, ¬I welcome the chance to join a community specific to our choices to be together on an adventure. The community we create is supported generally by the staff of the cruise line. I have needs, but I usually accommodate myself. However, on my last cruise I experienced a different community. It wasn’t the fellow cruisers but the actual cruise line that reduced my ability to have fun.

I have been home now for 3 days and I thought long and hard about writing this letter. First the compliments which will take up more space than the complaint. Most of your staff were excellent at their jobs, and those who were very new to their jobs can be excused as poor English speakers which led to few interesting misunderstandings which were humorous and easily resolved.

Mihael who was my first maître d’ was very kind and sincerely supportive. His commitment to customer service is exceptional and sincere. When we are remembered, we feel valuable, it was very kind. When I dined at Taste he was so kind and helpful. Our room steward, James was very responsive, and great at his job, we a party of 3 adored him, were grateful for his help and kindness, not to mention his towel folding ability was greatly appreciated.

The food was great, some of the best that I ever ate. I loved dining in the Manhattan Room, the broths Pho in the Garden Buffet was amazing and lifesaving to both my cabin mate and I. My friend spent a ton of time at the smoker’s area on Deck 17 and had a blast with all the wonderful people she met there. I was very fond of deck areas on 7 that were outside and so comfortable, I found many folks there who like my friends and I enjoyed being out of the harsh sun. We saw everything we wanted to and marveled at the wonders of nature that we experienced. Whales, flying fish and the west coast equivalent of the end of the continent. My ADA stateroom was clean and welcoming. When we began to plan this trip, we were unaware that our cruise began on the day of the show we had waited for 2 years to see, would premier on the first day of our cruise. We were VERY concerned about what we should do, and my internet package which was suggested by one of your call center employees allowed me to watch Game of Thrones, which was an event that my cruise mates were so excited to share. Thanks to that person for making our day. I wish I had written his name down as it was soo special to be able to do that. Attention to hand sanitizing was vigilant and I appreciated the staff assigned to those stations.

A couple of my cruise-mates I and have worked in many theatres and we were not very impressed with Havana, as it was a confusing storyline. However, it was well sung, danced and the acting was pretty good. That said, Jersey Boys was a treat to the senses. The singing was great! Despite the noise from below our feet as the show was in its first half hour, and the rolling of the ship, the cast did not miss a beat or step. The lighting was unexpected, and I would like to extend my appreciation for the cast and crew. They transitioned from one effect to costume changes to moving of set pieces in a non-obtrusive manner which is appreciated by those of us who have worked for many many years in this field. One of our party is a Drama teacher and I am a retired stage manager, who is married to a lighting designer. In other words, we know a good show when we see one and we saw a great show on this cruise. The ship is beautiful, huge and well designed. huge It could use better signage, maps and directions as it’s a huge ship and mid ship is hard to find.

Now for what was not great, no, not great at all. I was very uncomfortable navigating the halls with your room service carts. I rented the smallest of scooters and still got stuck nearly every day in the halls due to them taking up all the hall space that would allow walking and those of us requiring mobility assistance needed to proceed. Your staff seemed inconvenienced by my NEED to have them position the cart so that not only I but others could navigate to our staterooms from the common areas. A suggestion: can the staff move the carts into the alcoves of the rooms that they are cleaning? Could they somehow be more aware of their blocking the hallways which is dangerous for us. As the rooms they are cleaning are usually empty, this seems like an easy fix for those of us with strollers or other mobility assistance devices required to have the same experience as those who can walk. People are very helpful, but they are not always. Those who can walk are sometimes unaware that they should be more aware of those who cannot walk. I saw parents bring this to their children’s attention, but not for days did it register. I pay to be able to travel without discrimination and the lack of any way to get to my stateroom due to the elevators being crammed full of people who could walk, was really frustrating and off putting since it was easily corrected.

This brings me to another complaint. When we who require an elevator to navigate from our staterooms to any place on the ship, we have to wait because there is no room for us in the elevators, We wait and wait for nearly 20 minutes as I did my first day, it seems obvious to me that at those peak hours you reserve a family/mobility assistance elevator for us? That way people like me would not look into an elevator full of people who are clueless and do not even appear to notice that they could use the steps instead of monopolizing the only way we with mobility issues would be able to get to where we need to go, this was true at the muster and every day there was a shore excursion, and again at debarkation. Signage, like busses have reminding people that they can/should give others a chance. This usually applies to those traveling with children, disabilities and others with special needs. To throw us into the general population to fend for ourselves is not a way to assist us with obtaining our needs.

Additionally, please provide the ingredients on the menus, like agave instead of honey. I am allergic to agave and when I ate at Margaritaville, I had a salad that had agave instead of honey. I did not put this food allergy down as with my shellfish allergy manage it myself. However, I was sick for 2 days and very uncomfortable and felt terrible. I will never not list that again, however, remember, until this trip and my meal at Margaritaville did I need to even mention it. No restaurant, café, nothing before this instance.

And finally, I was called twice from 8:00 am to 8:05 am to ensure that I come to guest services to collect a nonrefundable deposit. Since I was returning my scooter to the same place it was in my plans anyway. When I got there I got into an expected line. I waited while the staff took care of each one of the guests who proceeded me in a very efficient and what appeared to be a very respectful manner. When it came to me, I was asked to wait as the person answered a call, then he went to another guest at a location where they were seated. He then went behind the desk, remember I have now waited in my mobility scooter, while he cared for no less than 3 guests ahead of me while I was seated first in line. As I have mentioned, I waited a lot on this trip and at the end of it demanding that I wait while others were receiving respectful treatment was truly above my patience level. I yelled and pointed at the very rude gentlemen, who sent over a really nice Asian woman, who apologized for my dissatisfaction with my treatment, to which I told her, I appreciated her gracious apology, but it did not excuse the rude behavior that her predecessor had assaulted me with. You see when it has been clear that the only thing about you, that mattered to NCL was the money I spent. My comfort was never a priority, that is a really a bad thing to say about a cruise, isn’t it?

As you may be able to tell, I enjoyed this as much as I could, but in the face of rude and disinterested staff, which by the way, this is my 5th cruise but my first and probably last on NCL. You see there was cruise to Greece presentation that my cruise mate and I had always wanted to take, which because of my rude treatment we both decided that we would look elsewhere, I was also interested in purchasing a trip for my sister to Hawaii as a retirement present. One person is responsible for those choices otherwise I would be booked for at least two more cruises for at least 6 more people. This is a very unfortunate choice that I feel I MUST make for my own safety, and the enjoyment of my companions.

Please consider that I am aware of the difficulty of managing everyone’s good time and how hard that work can be. However, it was a costly trip, I was denied upgrades because of my mobility disability and the above difficulties made this a very painful experience both emotionally and physically. Getting stuck in the hallway was scary.

This was a treat for myself and my friends of over 40 years. They helped me tons. They were not supposed to have to. They are both nearly 70 and they were moving carts out of the way, not your staff, whom were oblivious to what they caused in the hallways and when they were asked for help, they were as I said with few exceptions notably inconvenienced.

Getting on board was very efficient both I and my travelling companions were so impressed by your staff and their understanding of the mobility challenged and the same was true once I got a wheelchair and was off on the debarkation adventure. I was so secure in the gentleman who helped me to get off the ship and to the bench before I caught the cab. I found so many comfortable places to rest play and eat. I needed the rest, as did my companions and we all enjoyed the Observation Lounge and the side decks around 7 and 8 which had the perfect shade and temperature for us elder travelers.

When I tried to contact the special assistance coordinator, all I got was a form letter, twice. Weather was great, travel to and from was great, only the items listed above were reasons to mention anything other than my appreciation, that said there should be nothing. I was appalled that a person in a walker was left to fend for herself at the dock in Puerta Vallarta. Equally appalling was the fact that this was witnessed by several cruisers and let’s face it the woman using the walker was the most responsible in her party as she was at the dock. Hoping for rescue only to see her chance sail away. NCL is not completely responsible and did everything to warn those who went ashore that they were to keep to ship time, and it was clear that these people were not able to adhere to the rules, nor keep time, it was still horrible to see an elder left at the dock. My culture says that we never leave our elders out. I understand that this is unique. ¬¬¬

Please understand that it is solely my poor treatment at checkout that cost you two cruises, and about 6-10 thousand dollars

Thank you for a good time as far as it went. I wish I didn’t have to bring your attention to the details above, but they were glaring to me and deserved comment. I will attempt ¬¬to warn others about the possibilities they may face at the guest services check out desk and, in the hallways, as well as the elevators. To be treated as a lesser species by the very people who are benefiting from my spending, is harsh treatment to say the least.

6theagle's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Sign Up for Price Drop Alerts
Get tomorrow's price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Inside Stateroom
Cabin IX 9447

There was sufficient room in the ADA cabin. We parked the scooter in the ADA shower. The bed that was a Pullman was very uncomfortable as described by the person sleeping in it. My bed was great, there was sufficient room for all of us, and it was well appreciated by us all. We were serviced with fresh linens daily. One request would be for the staff to be aware of trays left by room service in the room. We had to ask several times to have our tray removed after breakfast, but i am certain that it was not James who was negligent.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Los Angeles

We took an UBER from the Best Western to the port. It was a very efficient operation both departing and arriving back at LA.

Puerto Vallarta

We found a great spot on the 7th deck and enjoyed the sun while playing cards.


I was here 26 years ago and when I arrived we were at the Pacifico Brewery and it was ugly and industrial. Now I see the brewery in the distance, and there is about 1000% growth.

Cabo San Lucas

The weather started out a bit gloomy but it was beautiful by noon.

Previous ReviewNext Review
1 Reviews Written
1 Helpful Votes
Never Miss a Deal!
Subscribe and Save
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

More Norwegian Bliss Reviews

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.