Just got back from the 8-day Norwegian Bliss (Bahamas & Florida from New York) Christmas cruise
If you’re the type of person who likes to stay on board during port stops, then this maybe the cruise for you (my wife enjoys spending time on the ship, whereas for my kids and myself we use it as a floating transportation hotel mechanism to the islands)
• Friendly staff
• Immaculate rooms and the ship is kept very clean (ship built in 2018)
• Food was very good (even the buffet)
• Entertainment shows were very good (especially for a cruise ship)
• Boarding was a quick and painless process.
• If you like to eat, then this is a cruise for you (a floating “golden corral” – eat sleep repeat)
• My teenage kids complained about the ship not having a basketball court, this was a common nightly event on other ships where they would congregate during evenings. This ship had go carts and laser tag (for additional charges), but did not interest my kids.
• We were at sea and there were NFL Saturday games (w playoff implication) blocked from the TVs throughout the day where they only showed international soccer games (great if you’re a European, but where most of the people on the ship were from the US, it was a complete disaster).
• Port Canaveral is not that exciting if you do not venture out to Disney or Universal. We would have gone to the theme parks if we had longer port times. It takes an hour to get to the parks, but the first day you arrive at 1 pm and parks close at 9 pm, so you would not get your money’s worth. The second day we had to be back on the ship by 4:30 p, so that would only allow for a half a day. What NCL should offer is a full 8 am until 10 pm option, this way you could spend a full day at one of the parks.
• We had signed up for scuba diving, but due to strong currents the ship canceled the excursion. So we booked an excursion to the Blue Lagoon Island. Perhaps it would be okay if you wanted to swim with the dolphins or if you had small children. But in my opinion it was not worth the money. The one ocean beach was rocky and you could not swim due to the currents (but even without currents, it was a rocky beach). So the only alternative was a knee deep river that goes in between the island. We got a lunch ticket, but lines were long and food was sub par.
• The next day we were supposed to port at Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, only to find out the current was a bit too strong for the tenders to take us to the island. NCL purchased the island in 1977 (42 years of ownership and you cannot invest in a port?? really) Meanwhile next to the island was Royal Caribbean Little Stirrup Cay and they had a port, so they got to spend the entire 'sunny' day on the island and to make matters worse we could see them, where we could not disembark. Our cruise ended up heading back to New York early. NCL gave us a whole $18 per person for the inconvenience.
• Next exciting event, people got sick on board (and do you think passengers are going to quarantine themselves per the rule… nope they went out and shared the love) NCL has a policy where they remove salt n pepper shakers etc to keep from spreading the virus. Note: fortunately none of us got sick, minus a cold and a kid throwing up just missing my son.
• Departure back in NY was a disaster too, we needed to be out of the rooms by 9 am and yet we could not leave the ship until our color times were called. So most of the people were in long lines and sitting on the floor.
Summing it up, this was the worst cruise I have taken (we have been on several cruises). Now clearly I have seen videos of cruises where the ocean was pouring into the cabins due to a hurricane, now we didn’t have it that bad. But it was not worth the premium Christmas week up charge.