We have cruised twice before on Holland America and once with Royal Caribbean and were generally satisfied but this was by far the worst of the four cruises. The problems included:
1) We routinely had to wait 25+ minutes to eat dinner at the complimentary restaurants because the ship has insufficient dining space. When added to the 25+ typical wait for food because of insufficient kitchen staff the 50+ minutes were unacceptable. Furthermore, we were not informed that such waits would occur if we do not reserve. Had we wanted to reserve we would have had to wait an hour on line to reserve on Day 1, and once we were able to reserve all of the dining rooms were booked for all reasonable hours. Further, NCL could have allowed us to book dinner times, all shows, tendering, and laser tag etc. online prior to boarding but did not do so. The result was that we could only play laser tag once and, due to poor communication by NCL, found out about choosing tenders too late to book the first five tenders.
2) The mattresses were not comfortable. The mattress springs dug into my back, so I informed the housekeeper on day 2. He made it worse by turning over the pillowtop mattress, which caused the springs to dig in more. Only after I complained to Guest Relations on day 5 was a foam mattress topper placed on top of the existing mattress. However, I still had four uncomfortable night of sleep due to a poorly trained and inconsiderate housekeeper.
3) Despite primarily sailing to Alaska, the Bliss does not have a retractable roof on its pool deck and NCL seems to aim to avoid disclosing this fact. Therefore, we were unable to swim for most of the cruise because it was to cold to swim on the way to and from New York.
4) Wi-Fi did not work on decks 15 through 20
5) Although being cleaned frequently the bathroom in the cabin always smelled, as though the sewage was being stored in the stateroom’s toilet throughout the cruise.
6) On two evenings we had no shows to watch because the Bliss has only one theater and performs its two main shows (Six and Jersey Boys) for two nights each. Additionally, the comedian shows also repeat, and two of the three comedians were not funny. Also, one show (Brent and Sarah) was amateurish.
7) Special meals we ordered were not available on the first day. Additionally, no one informed us we have to order them in advance until the third day, so we also did not get them on day 3. Also, many orders were improperly filled and did not include our requested items. Many waiters also lacked familiarity with the process and could not speak English, which caused long waits to place orders.
8) Employees were poorly trained, lacked an understanding of English, and constantly gave wrong information. For example, on day 4 Jake repeatedly announced that we need only to bring our room keys to go on Stirrup Cay which we did. But when we got there we were sent by an employee back because we did not have passports/driver’s licenses. As it turned out passports/licenses were unnecessary, but this wasted an hour of our time because then all other tenders were called.
9) We had to wait 90 minutes to begin disembarking to Stirrup Cay and 30 minutes in Florida because NCL failed to make proper arrangements to allow us to disembark upon arrival. NCL even claimed they needed permission from the authorities to disembark onto their own private island (Stirrup Cay). This never happened on our other three cruises.
10) The children’s pool is small and constantly full for kids when it was warm. Therefore, my kids did not want to swim in it and would not have had space to do so. Also, depth is a constant 4’7”which is above most children’s heads and children are not permitted to swim in the adult pool.
11) We were promised complimentary Wi-Fi, but had to pay ~$4 to activate each package, which was not disclosed at time of booking. Other complimentary packages (e.g., drinks) also have hidden fees.
12) The cruise line refused to allow us to dispute gratuities after the cruise because we had not filled out a form while on the cruise, even though we indicated we would file a credit card dispute, we did not know this was required because they did not disclose or prominently disclose that filling out the form on the ship was required, filling out the form would have required us to wait on a long line, and they could have emailed us the form to fill out.