As the name implies, every December we take an NCL cruise out of NYC with the same itinerary to the "south seas", it's a habit I hope never to break. This year was unique because we had a chance to cruise the NCL Bliss. December is known for winter storms along the Atlantic and this year was our turn to be blown around. The captain decided to modify the itinerary and slow our south bound leg of the trip to minimize the effect of the storm rocking the ship. The rain, the cold, the wind, all kept us off the outdoor spaces except for quick "I wonder how bad it really is..." ventures outside. I will say that I hardly felt the ship's motions but some other travelers did feel poorly. The last Nor'Easter we went through was much worse. Although the Bliss is larger and should have a worse wind profile the stabilizers worked very well.
So we had a full days' stay in Canaveral with all the excursions extended to a full day (which is good for the Disney trips); followed by a full day in Nassau with 3 other super-sized cruise ships (read into that very crowded in town). The private beach was skipped because the tendering process would be too dangerous (I agree). Unfortunately for us the private beach day was the only excursion we intended to take.
The on-board services were very good, we had 5 nights of specialty dining and they were all great. I was worried that my digestion system may not handle the Q Smokehouse menu but there was no difficulty. Teppanyaki was fun as usual. Le Bistro and La Cucina also had excellent service and great food. This was our first time at Ocean Blue and I would recommend it to all.
We decided to take the 'Behind the Seas' tour of the ship and both of us were pleased with the experience. The theater show 'Jersey Boys' was wonderful the actors really made the show feel real, explaining the life experiences of the characters lives and the time table of their musical accomplishments. The singing was astonishing and the dancing was great. If you have kids along on your cruise you should be aware that there is considerable use of adult language. By comparison, we were not impressed with the performance of the show 'Six'. There was very good singing by the performers but the lousy plot structure of the play left us confused and not entertained. There seems to be no structure leading us to a resolution of character. Additionally, there is not real relationship between the six leads, they led separate lives sequentially but here they try to converse about their similar life experiences. I hear it is headed for Broadway. It may fit in better there.
Our biggest problem with this trip was the parking in NYC for our car. We successfully used Park-Right in the past with their 'white glove' door-to-door service. We will not use them again and I won't be recommending them in the future.
The bottom line here should be "How is the Bliss?"
The NCL Bliss was designed specifically for the Alaska cruise circuit and although it is a wonderful ship I think it should have stayed there. The Alaska circuit plans on cold weather so it needs less open deck space, and more internal viewing space. This leads to a design with a wonderful Observation Lounge area on deck 15/16. But in the process the Spice H2O is smaller, the two swimming pools are smaller and pushed together so that the adult pool is very close to the family pool so all the kids noise and activity is imposed on the adult pool visitors. In bad weather the go-kart circuit and water slides are shut down leaving a lot less for people to do. The Bliss has 2 more decks of cabins making it a larger ship for NCL to sell but none of those cabins provide more services for the rest of us. When you increase the size of the ship from 2000 guests (Gem) to 3000 guests (Breakaway) to 4000 guests (Bliss) you better add more seats in the garden buffet and other restaurants, in the theater, in the bars & clubs, and in the casino. They didn't so I will look forward to cruising on Gem & Breakaway in the future. Remember the staff on all these ships are always the perfect example of customer service with a personal touch.
I can't wait until next December for another NCL cruise........Poptop
A large space for 2-3 people to use daily without trouble. Good size balcony for 2. Plenty of closet and cabinet space and under the bed storage space. Quality of décor and cleanliness were excellent. But this was the best lavatory and shower area we have had on 30 cruises.
Been here many times already.
Been here many times.
this stop and the excursion was cancelled by NCL