Boarding began rough, with a long line caused by equipment malfunction in the port of Manhattan, NYC. By the time we got in, it was nearly 4 PM, an hour after the listed sailaway time. The ship only left port at 5:40 PM, nearly 3 hours late. Buffet was less crowded than usual on embarkation day, and stateroom was ready with luggage by the time we boarded the ship. Sailaway party was cancelled due to rough weather, and we did not hear about a muster drill but sure there was one, just before we boarded.
We dined in the MDR Taste at 6 PM, before the show "First Night". Food in Taste was excellent but slightly delayed service than normal for a ship this size. The buffet also had an ice cream stand, something I either never noticed before or there never was on cruise ships, but nevertheless great feature. We also tried out MDRs Savor & The Manhattan Room, located on Deck 7 Aft, a deck above the Taste/Savor MDRs. Food was of equal quality but service was more expedited in The Manhattan Room, where we celebrated a birthday.
Our ports were Orlando, FL, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. The ship did unfortunately skip Great Stirrup Cay due to weather, but the 2 stops we had were fabulous. We got $28 OBC per person (port fees). Since we booked through the CruiseNext program from our previous NCL cruise, we had OBC from that as well. Unfortunately, on both the 1st sea day and the last sea day in/out of NY harbor the ship had encountered rough weather causing her to rock hard. The crew had put out barf bags on all the stairwells too.
In Port Canaveral (Orlando) there were excursions to theme parks, NASA, & a beach. We decided to just have a walk around the port and then get back onboard and watch some ship sailaways from Disney, Carnival, & Royal Caribbean. The port had not much to offer except until you turned out of the port itself, unlike Nassau. Nassau was a more busy port with shopping and cafes right on the dock. We heard there was a beach nearby but didnt end up going to it. Nassau is another great place to watch ship sailaways from your favorite cruise lines from onboard.
The ship also had a lot of fun activites and entertainment on board. There were 2 water slides, Ocean Loops & Aqua Racer. On the outdoor decks there was also the Bliss Speedway, which was the largest race track at sea before Encore's debut. There was also Laser Tag on the top deck. Both the speedway and laser tag have a fee.
Entertainment was perfect. 2 complimentary broadway productions: Jersey Boys & SIX. You do need to reserve the shows however. There was also Happy Hour: Prohibition onboard but for additional fee. The ship also had a comedy club, a bar with a piano, and live music in the atrium and pool decks.
Overall, the NCL Bliss became one of my favorite ships within a 1 week period and would definitely recommend her to anybody wanting to cruise Alaska, the Panama Canal, or the Caribbean/Bahamas!
Great room, slightly tight but what you would expect in an inside cabin.We did have a squeak coming from inside the walls on the last night whenever the ship rocked, but not a deal breaker for us.
Embarkation was simply a hot mess.
Good port, but not much to do until leaving the port.