DH and I have been on this itinerary before (once on HAL, twice on NCL), but this was the first time just the two of us, without the kids or any other family. This was a celebration of our 27th anniversary.
We had the free airfare, which worked great. Easy, nonstop flights both ways (PDX-LAX). The airport transfer process involved a lot of standing around without much direction beyond "stay against the wall and wait," but we made it to San Pedro no problem. As it turned out, there had been a surprise Coast Guard inspection of the Bliss that delayed embarkation by 2+ hours. There would have been just as long a delay at the port as there was at the airport. By the time we boarded cabins were available, so we checked out the room. We were on deck 13 port-side forward, which turned out the be a lovely location.
We'd been on the Breakaway last December and were familiar with the overall deck plan, but we found we liked the Bliss much more in terms of the public spaces. The pool deck is way better - more open and welcoming. Moving the hot tubs up to the next deck eliminated the "bro factor" from around the pools. Those folks who liked to hang out in the tubs and flex all day were on a different level entirely. We also really enjoyed being along the Waterfront, mostly near Sugarcane, the mojito bar. We'd park ourselves in one of the couch groupings and play Cribbage in the afternoon, enjoying the view, the air and the people watching.
We had the UBP, which was important. We do like to imbibe and took full advantage of the package. We tip $1 cash with each drink. Not only is it nice to do and gets us remembered, but it helps track how many drinks we've had at what point in the cruise. ;) We had the 3DP and knew we wanted to eat at Le Bistro and Teppenyaki and would decide on the 3rd option after that. It turns out the meal at Le Bistro was so good we went back a 2nd time. Our other meals in the MDRs (3 dinners, 1 breakfast, 1 lunch) were very nice, and the Garden Cafe offerings kept us happy. We sampled the Local's menu throughout the week, mostly for a late afternoon snack.
Normally we're trivia geeks on a cruise and hit karaoke at every opportunity. This time we were much less motivated. We saw Jersey Boys, which was great. Other than that we spent a little time (and money) in the casino but mostly just hung out together and enjoyed the relaxing time.
We only went ashore in Cabo to specifically visit a cantina we've enjoyed in the past. It had changed since last time and, while good, wasn't as good. We also had to buy a tiny sombrero to take home for the fur baby. We took advantage of the port days when the pool wasn't as crowded and hit the water slides multiple times. Yes, we both did Ocean Loops, and yes, we both made it all the way through each time. No trapdoor rescues for us! Do keep yours eyes open, if you can. The view is spectacular.
As always on NCL, the ship was spotless, the crew delightful and the experience just what we want and expect. We enjoyed the Bliss so much that we've booked the same trip for next year. We only have the one anniversary: why not celebrate the heck out of it every year?
Thank you to Janet from our roll call for organizing the Meet & Greet on sea day 1. It was nice to put faces to names and chat with the officers. This site is such a valuable resource for all things cruise-related.