I've been on a ton of cruises in my life, but this was my first NCL experience (Feb. 23 out of NYC.) Due to the hype of the Bliss, I had high expectations - perhaps that was my problem, but honestly, shouldn't they be high? Clearly, I was highly disappointed with this cruise experience as a whole, but I want to preface my review by saying, I'm not a complainer, I'm not a "negative Nancy." I've literally never written a review like this in my life, but I felt like I HAD to after this experience. Both my husband and I came to the conclusion about mid-way through this cruise that we would not be cruising again anytime soon, and certainly not with Norwegian. Here are just some of the issues we had: WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE, and not nearly enough things for them to do. Yes, we sailed from NYC in February, we knew it would be cold. Everyone who signed up for this cruise knew it would be cold, as did the company and the staff. We all knew what we were in for, but what I did not expect is that every single outdoor activity would be shut down due to "cold weather" until we made it down to Florida. I walked up to the water slides every single day and they were never open - until, of course, we were in port and we had excursions so we couldn't use them. I bought VIBE beach passes (more on that later) and thank god, the hot tub up there was open, but it wasn't even close to warm enough. I have a hot tub, and I would guess the temperature was about 10 degrees below what a hot tub should be set at. Also, the hot tub in the Vibe was about half the size of other hot tubs on the ship. There were a lot of days at sea on this ship and with the outdoor activities pretty much useless, the interior ship areas were incredibly packed at all times. I've been on a lot of "big ships" but never felt so claustrophobic as I did on this ship. NCL really need to revaluate indoor activities to keep people occupied on these cold season cruises.
• Total and utter lack of service! First off... Where were my towel animals?! Why is that not a thing on Bliss?? There was a serious, serious service issue on this ship. This was my first cruise where I was offended at the level of service. I mean, if anything you can expect when cruising, it's usually being treated really well by the staff. Not on this cruise. Every staff member seemed overworked and just wanted to get the job done, with no interest in pleasing guests. I HATE buffet food, so I usually try to eat my meals in restaurants, but NCL clearly knows those require more staff. They do a real slick job at setting weird dining times in an attempt to funnel people to the buffet. (Also, there were huge advertisements everywhere about the buffet. It's a buffet. Give it a rest.) Towards the end of the cruise, there was so many drinks/food on menus that said "Out of Stock." Really? How do you not plan for these things? At dinnertime, in the main (not paid) dining rooms, service was absolutely abysmal. Here's how a meal would typically go:
- We'd sit down and wait at least 10 minutes until anyone even acknowledged us.
I've had a mini-suite on RCCL before and was very impressed with the size, layout, and general amenities afforded to us. I did NOT get that impression on Bliss. Also, I have no idea how these categories work. I was traveling with family and we had 3 rooms on the 14th floor, all close to one another. My cousin paid for a regular balcony stateroom, I had a mini suite, and my parent's had a higher category mini suite which they paid more for. Each one of us had the EXACT same room!