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We chose this cruise because we have cruised the eastern Caribbean many times with P & O, flying directly to Barbados. Cruising from NYC to the Western Caribbean offered something different, with a different cruise line and a very different demographic on board. The Bliss is a lovely ship but, as others have noted, there are simply too many people for the on-board facilities. Rather than attempt a complete review of all the facilities, I would like to focus on certain features of the current offering from NCL, both good and bad. Firstly, the Free at Sea promotion, where customers get the choice of two out of five packages. The Premium Beverage package is a must have, and it works well. The limit per drink is about $15, compared with the rather more stingy $9.99 on the Celebrity Classic Drinks package. In fact, so many people were on the Premium Beverage package that the barmen were run off their feet, and there were nowhere near enough drinks waiters. Also, in the last couple of cruise days the ship had actually run out of most varietals of white wine - tough luck if you don't like Chardonnay. The second choice from the 2 out of 5 was a difficult one. We had chosen five meals at speciality dining venues, because this seemed the best value. However, in the final weeks before the cruise I realised this was a mistake. Why? Because it became apparent that so many other people had chosen this package that it was impossible to get a booking at the restaurant of your choice and the time of your choice. I changed our second package to the excursions credit ($50 credit per stateroom per daily excursion). Once on the ship I did not regret this change, as it was very difficult to get speciality restaurant bookings at convenient times. This was another problem arising from the popularity of the Free at Sea promotion. Entertainment: again, too many people on board. Seating at the entertainment offerings had to be pre-booked. As soon as we got on board we attempted to do this. Guess what? No seats at Jersey Boys throughout the whole cruise, apart from one 10.30 slot on one day. Message to NCL: This is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Guests should NOT have to compete or queue for seats at the entertainment offerings. Embarking at Manhattan: a total nightmare! Thousands of people being herded like cattle. After checking in and receiving our cruise cards, mine was rejected twice at the final gate, I suspect because the agent checking us in was new to the job. Result: hours of queueing, re-queueing and re-re-queueing. Checking in at Southampton cruise port is a complete breeze by comparison. Never again! Getting on and off board ship during the cruise: at ports where we had docked, this was borderline acceptable. After all, on a ship this size you do expect a bit of queueing. At the 3 ports where we had to tender, getting on and off the ship was very very tedious: hours of queueing in the bowels of the ship. We have cruised on big ships before (eg Anthem of the Seas) but have never experienced scenes like this. Service in the main dining rooms: very patchy, but this is not the fault of the staff, who do their best despite being run off their feet. Internet: acceptably fast, but the usual rip-off. Unbelievably, the NCL app only worked when you were connected to the internet, which means it was totally unusable unless you had paid up for full internet access. We reserved our precious minutes for sending and receiving emails. This system is so inferior to the set up on Anthem of the Seas, where the Royal Caribbean app is available at all times, whether or not you are connected to the internet. The Latitudes loyalty scheme: there was no mention of this when buying excursions with the stateroom TV. I assumed that our 10% discount off shore excursions would be applied at the end of the cruise. When I noticed that it was NOT applied, I was told at the desk that I should have asked for it!!! Admittedly, an adjustment was made at that point - I have no idea whether it was correct or not, but..... Message to NCL: Loyalty schemes which are not automatically applied at the point of purchase are COMPLETELY USELESS!!! I could go on about the ludicrous nature of the service charges at speciality restaurants, self service wine dispensers in the Garden Restaurant, the fact that water is not included in the Premium Beverage package, but perhaps I am being unreasonable. I think I am being generous in giving this cruise an overall rating of 2 out of 5.

Bliss? You've gotta be kidding!

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review by Thaumas

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2020
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
We chose this cruise because we have cruised the eastern Caribbean many times with P & O, flying directly to Barbados. Cruising from NYC to the Western Caribbean offered something different, with a different cruise line and a very different demographic on board. The Bliss is a lovely ship but, as others have noted, there are simply too many people for the on-board facilities.

Rather than attempt a complete review of all the facilities, I would like to focus on certain features of the current offering from NCL, both good and bad.

Firstly, the Free at Sea promotion, where customers get the choice of two out of five packages. The Premium Beverage package is a must have, and it works well. The limit per drink is about $15, compared with the rather more stingy $9.99 on the Celebrity Classic Drinks package. In fact, so many people were on the Premium Beverage package that the barmen were run off their feet, and there were nowhere near enough drinks waiters. Also, in the last couple of cruise days the ship had actually run out of most varietals of white wine - tough luck if you don't like Chardonnay.

The second choice from the 2 out of 5 was a difficult one. We had chosen five meals at speciality dining venues, because this seemed the best value. However, in the final weeks before the cruise I realised this was a mistake. Why? Because it became apparent that so many other people had chosen this package that it was impossible to get a booking at the restaurant of your choice and the time of your choice. I changed our second package to the excursions credit ($50 credit per stateroom per daily excursion). Once on the ship I did not regret this change, as it was very difficult to get speciality restaurant bookings at convenient times. This was another problem arising from the popularity of the Free at Sea promotion.

Entertainment: again, too many people on board. Seating at the entertainment offerings had to be pre-booked. As soon as we got on board we attempted to do this. Guess what? No seats at Jersey Boys throughout the whole cruise, apart from one 10.30 slot on one day. Message to NCL: This is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Guests should NOT have to compete or queue for seats at the entertainment offerings.

Embarking at Manhattan: a total nightmare! Thousands of people being herded like cattle.

After checking in and receiving our cruise cards, mine was rejected twice at the final gate, I suspect because the agent checking us in was new to the job. Result: hours of queueing, re-queueing and re-re-queueing. Checking in at Southampton cruise port is a complete breeze by comparison. Never again!

Getting on and off board ship during the cruise: at ports where we had docked, this was borderline acceptable. After all, on a ship this size you do expect a bit of queueing. At the 3 ports where we had to tender, getting on and off the ship was very very tedious: hours of queueing in the bowels of the ship. We have cruised on big ships before (eg Anthem of the Seas) but have never experienced scenes like this.

Service in the main dining rooms: very patchy, but this is not the fault of the staff, who do their best despite being run off their feet.

Internet: acceptably fast, but the usual rip-off. Unbelievably, the NCL app only worked when you were connected to the internet, which means it was totally unusable unless you had paid up for full internet access. We reserved our precious minutes for sending and receiving emails. This system is so inferior to the set up on Anthem of the Seas, where the Royal Caribbean app is available at all times, whether or not you are connected to the internet.

The Latitudes loyalty scheme: there was no mention of this when buying excursions with the stateroom TV. I assumed that our 10% discount off shore excursions would be applied at the end of the cruise. When I noticed that it was NOT applied, I was told at the desk that I should have asked for it!!! Admittedly, an adjustment was made at that point - I have no idea whether it was correct or not, but.....

Message to NCL: Loyalty schemes which are not automatically applied at the point of purchase are COMPLETELY USELESS!!!

I could go on about the ludicrous nature of the service charges at speciality restaurants, self service wine dispensers in the Garden Restaurant, the fact that water is not included in the Premium Beverage package, but perhaps I am being unreasonable. I think I am being generous in giving this cruise an overall rating of 2 out of 5.
Thaumas’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MC
Generally ok, but lacking in storage space - should not include the word "suite" in it's description
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews