We booked the Bliss for our annual family Thanksgiving cruise, but were greatly dissatisfied by the on-board service level, particularly the food service. This was by far the poorest service we have received on any cruise line/ship. And since food is a big part of a cruise, when that is poor, it pulls down the whole experience.
Cabin: 8126 and neighboring cabins have very large balconies, great for reading outside or just relaxing. Maybe, just maybe, NCL should choose not to wash down the balconies on the best port day and spray their guests with water who are trying to enjoy their balcony.
Food Service: When we boarded (and for the first two days) the Bliss crew were operating under a protocol where passengers were not permitted to serve themselves at the buffet; indeed you could not even pick out a tea bag yourself. This made service unbearably slow and crowded. And if you dared to ask for more of some food, they would glare at you as if you committed a sin. Regrettably, the dining rooms were no better. You would typically have to wait over 30 minutes to get your first appetizer. It took 80 minutes to receive an entree at the Thanksgiving dinner in Manhattan, and then only after asking the Maître D' to find out what was taking so long. At one lunch in the Local, we simply walked out after an hour passed and we had not been served. Zero stars for the food service. One exception was Le Bistro where the food and service were spot-on!
Entertainment: NCL touts their on-board entertainment and activities as the greatest feature of the Bliss, that is if you can get a reservation. Most of these events and attractions were sold out within hours of boarding. And yet despite the demand, activities like the racetrack were closed on a perfect weather day in Nassau. Jersey Boys was a great show (once we snuck-in after the doors closed).
Embarkation: NCL decided the day before we cruised to limit embarkation to a two-hour time block (2PM to 4PM) to give the crew more time to clean the ship from top to bottom. The result was obvious. Moreover, after 3PM check-in counters were only about 50% manned. Chaos and delays ensued.
Great Stirrup Cay: The good news is we made it in. The bad news is we were an hour late (without explanation) despite near glassy seas and light winds. Having one of the new Villas gave the promise of great service, but it was not to be. Order a drink from one of the few roving waiters and you might see him again in 30 minutes as he strolls by with an empty tray. Villa residents nearly mutinied, but once we started serving each other on our drink runs, morale went up. Note: The Villas are a huge expense with no service to match.
Guest Services: Watch your bill - they make numerous mistakes such as not applying Latitudes discounts, losing reservations made on-line before the cruise, and failing to follow-through on actions they promise you will be done after you walk away.
So, overall this was a very disappointing cruise and very much unlike many prior NCL cruises. When you were lucky to get good service, it was a welcome surprise. The rare few that did offer good service were appropriately rewarded.
The high point of the on-board experience was having a great cabin with a very attentive steward - Arta. The very large balcony, coupled with being in a small enclave of cabins, made our time in the room one of our best on-board experiences.
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Promised service was not given. While the Villa itself was quite nice, you had to walk long distances for any food or drink and attendants were not responsive to your requests.View All undefined undefined Reviews