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We recently returned from a cruise on board the Norwegian Bliss. We had been on Norwegian once before about 9 years ago, and were shocked at how downhill they have gone. We have cruised with many other cruise lines in the last several years and there are some things that Norwegian do to exploit their customers that differ from other cruise lines. I believe these are things somebody considering a Norwegian cruise needs to be aware of. I list some of them below. There are more. (i) Surely the most expensive drink prices on the high seas. In 2019 you will pay USD 8.40 for a small bottle of Heineken or Stella, after adding in compulsory 20% gratuity. The cheapest glass of chardonnay available on board will set you back USD 10.80. A bottle of Matua Sauvignon Blanc, which you can buy for about USD 7 at home, will cost you USD 44.40 (thats USD 37 + 20%). Furthermore, there are no happy hours of any kind. Other cruise lines have lower beverage prices to start with, but also have happy hours every day with substantial discounts. (ii) You will pay an additional USD 7.95 "convenience charge" every time you order anything from room service. I have never seen any other cruise line charge a fee for room service. (iii) You will pay USD5 plus 20% gratuity for a bottle of drinking water. The water in cabins out of taps isn't suitable for drinking. Every other cruise line we have been on provided bottled water to cabins each day for no charge. You cannot simply go ashore and buy water and bring it to your cabin - it will be confiscated at the gangway as if it were wine or liquor. There were self service water dispensers in the garden cafe on level 16 of the Norwegian Bliss but there were signs saying you were not allowed to fill water bottles there. We ended up bringing on an empty water bottle each at a port (we discovered empty bottles are okay to bring through security). When we went to the garden cafe we would take our water bottles to our table. We would bring cups of water to the table and tip them into our bottles until they were full. (iv) the specialty restaurants are very expensive. On other cruise lines, they recognise that you have already paid for the meal in your cruise fare and just add a surcharge of about USD15 to USD20 per person for eating in the specialty restaurants. On Bliss they make you pay prices you would pay in an expensive restaurant at home, and the food is mediocre anyway (thats feedback from other passengers - we chose not to eat there). For example, a meal in the Teppanaki restaurant will cost you an extra USD 46.80 per person on top of what you have already paid for food in your cruise fare. A rib eye steak in Cagneys will cost you US$32 plus $3 for sauce plus $6 for each side plus 20% gratuity. Thats US$56.40 if you want potato and some vegetable with your steak. (v) movies in your cabin are pay per view. I can't remember seeing pay per view movies on any other cruise line.

Norwegian - The RyanAir Of The Seas?

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by RobertX2

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Trip Details
We recently returned from a cruise on board the Norwegian Bliss. We had been on Norwegian once before about 9 years ago, and were shocked at how downhill they have gone. We have cruised with many other cruise lines in the last several years and there are some things that Norwegian do to exploit their customers that differ from other cruise lines. I believe these are things somebody considering a Norwegian cruise needs to be aware of. I list some of them below. There are more.

(i) Surely the most expensive drink prices on the high seas. In 2019 you will pay USD 8.40 for a small bottle of Heineken or Stella, after adding in compulsory 20% gratuity. The cheapest glass of chardonnay available on board will set you back USD 10.80. A bottle of Matua Sauvignon Blanc, which you can buy for about USD 7 at home, will cost you USD 44.40 (thats USD 37 + 20%). Furthermore, there are no happy hours of any kind. Other cruise lines have lower beverage prices to start with, but also have happy hours every day with substantial discounts.

(ii) You will pay an additional USD 7.95 "convenience charge" every time you order anything from room service. I have never seen any other cruise line charge a fee for room service.

(iii) You will pay USD5 plus 20% gratuity for a bottle of drinking water. The water in cabins out of taps isn't suitable for drinking. Every other cruise line we have been on provided bottled water to cabins each day for no charge. You cannot simply go ashore and buy water and bring it to your cabin - it will be confiscated at the gangway as if it were wine or liquor. There were self service water dispensers in the garden cafe on level 16 of the Norwegian Bliss but there were signs saying you were not allowed to fill water bottles there. We ended up bringing on an empty water bottle each at a port (we discovered empty bottles are okay to bring through security). When we went to the garden cafe we would take our water bottles to our table. We would bring cups of water to the table and tip them into our bottles until they were full.

(iv) the specialty restaurants are very expensive. On other cruise lines, they recognise that you have already paid for the meal in your cruise fare and just add a surcharge of about USD15 to USD20 per person for eating in the specialty restaurants. On Bliss they make you pay prices you would pay in an expensive restaurant at home, and the food is mediocre anyway (thats feedback from other passengers - we chose not to eat there). For example, a meal in the Teppanaki restaurant will cost you an extra USD 46.80 per person on top of what you have already paid for food in your cruise fare. A rib eye steak in Cagneys will cost you US$32 plus $3 for sauce plus $6 for each side plus 20% gratuity. Thats US$56.40 if you want potato and some vegetable with your steak.

(v) movies in your cabin are pay per view. I can't remember seeing pay per view movies on any other cruise line.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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    Norwegian substituted this port for Costa Rica only three weeks out from the cruise date, which angered many cruisers. Cruise ships only recently started coming back to Acapulco as it had been too dangerous in the past. We walked around the old town - only thing worth seeing is the fort (10 minutes walk from the cruise terminal). We went back to the ship for lunch and in the afternoon walked in the opposite direction to the beach areas. We found a nice bar with a happy hour and view of the beach - more enjoyable, and lots cheaper than drinking on the ship.
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  • Cabo San Lucas
    Lovely town. You are tendered to shore (bit chaotic on the Norwegian Bliss with 4000 people. Lovely harbour, and you can walk into town. You can also walk to the beach (Medano Beach is about 20 mins walk from the tender pier). Some lovely bars around the harbour with happy hour prices about 20% of what you would pay for the same thing on the ship. Don't miss the sea lions that jump up on the back of the fishing boats heading into the harbour. A good place to watch them is from the rocky breakwater that juts out at the harbour end of Medano beach.
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    The old town is wonderful - colourful and chaotic are the words that come to mind. You have to get a taxi there as it is about an hour walk. Taxis inside the port are a fixed USD20, which is extortionate. We walked just outside the port entrance and negotiated a USD10 price for us and another couple to share (USD5 per couple). A lovely day can be had just wandering the Old Town and the Getsemani district. I highly recommend the Colombian beer, which can be had for about 20% of the price of beer on the ship.
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