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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a ... Read More
I have not previously done a short cruise so when the price and timing worked in with our life we booked around 5 weeks from sailing in a twin berth ocean view level 8 right near the back. Embarkation Not sure why but they started a bit late but it was quite smooth once it got going, before getting on I had a good look at where our cabin was (we only found out days before) so when I got on I was able to make my way directly to our room which was ready, by chance we saw our bags on the way so grabbed them as well on the way to the room. The Cabin The rooms on Explorer are not huge but for 2 it was adequate and comfortable, the windows on level 8 outside (where the life boats are not) are huge and offer a great view out and somewhere to sit to admire the view. The bed was comfortable, the AC and fridge worked as did all of the things that are supposed to work but the shower was locked at a just warm temperature that I would have liked to be hotter Food An important feature of cruising to many and if its the most important thing to you P&O is not your cruise line, 3 night cruise allowed us a night in each free restaurant and no need for the pantry, no meals were great but all OK Entertainment Really good, there were 4 comedians on board who did a range of shows which I really enjoyed, the only criticism would be the venue for the late comedy shows was too small and even half an hour early there wasn't many seats. One of the PG shows was a mime act which was also great. besides the comedy they also put on a "rock of the ages" show which was 45 minutes of non stop entertainment and a fantastic show. Service Our room steward asked us early how often we wanted our room cleaned which I found unusual, normally its daily with a nightly turn down but for our first 2 days we were happy to go along with not being disturbed by it only having the towels changed over, the last day he cleaned up for us doing a really good job of it and he did the turn down, I kind of feel he was a bit lazy with us but at the same time I didn't mind it and to be fair if there was anything we wanted he provided without hesitation so I am actually going to say that was a good thing as much as I am sure plenty of others would not have been so happy with it. Other service throughout the cruise didn't stand out either way for the most part, the future cruise lady was really helpful and went out of her way to help us, dining staff were efficient, friendly and accommodating with the more senior staff doing the rounds to make sure we were happy at most meals. The ship I often read reviews where it seems some people have a terrible experience because of things like "they allowed somebody in the dining room wearing a T shirt" or "the ship needs repair" or "I noticed a rust mark" or my favourite, "the chairs look old", if this is you spend twice as much for a newer ship on another line because it is a 20 (plus) year old ship and it does show signs of its age but for me that does not detract from how much enjoyment I can get from it, in fact some of my more memorable cruises have been on ships not long before they are retired from the fleet, Pacific Sun, Celebrity Century and the Pearl. Value Everywhere you go there seems to be something to spend more money on, while giving me a free short massage as I was walking through they tried to sell me a hair cut and shave for around $120 which I found outrageous and every meal seems to have "indulgent" items to spend more on. The free food venues close at 9 so if you want something to eat after that you are paying for it but with a little will power its easy enough to say no to the extra items. With the above in mind however it was a good value cruise, P&O bank on you spending more money during your cruise to make up for the cheap fare and while I do spend some money whether it be a beer with a meal or buy something from the shop it still ended up cheap for me and certainly my on-board spend was no more than it would have been with any of the more expensive lines The drinks package Being a 3 day cruise you cant have the alcohol packages (not that I do normally) but they still offer the 2 non alcoholic packages, $7.50 per day for soft drink only or $19 a day (if pre booked otherwise its $25 on board) for mocktails, coffees, juices, water hot chocolate, iced chocolates or soft drink. My wife paid the $19 per day before we left and probably got the value from it whereas I drank water and free tea from the buffet and had 2 or 3 bears a day for around the same amount of money which worked out better for me (and probably healthier as I didn't drink more than I needed trying to get my money worth) To sum it up I have now been on 9 cruises in 7 years with 4 different cruise lines on 7 different ships, mostly P&O and I am yet to have a cruise that I didn't enjoy, your more upmarket cruise lines are better for a lot of reasons and deserve a loyal following but for me I love cruising so much I prefer quantity to quality (most of the time), this doesn't mean I wont spend more to go on the other lines but I do spend a lot of time looking for the good deals which do come up if you are prepared to be flexible, my problem is that when I am looking I normally find much better value deals with P&O that I cant resist :) Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
So just a heads up - we won this cruise and it originally was supposed to go out to sea and then back. We were told that due to Port Laws it couldn’t do that but there is some question as to whether that was the fact or if the number ... Read More
So just a heads up - we won this cruise and it originally was supposed to go out to sea and then back. We were told that due to Port Laws it couldn’t do that but there is some question as to whether that was the fact or if the number of indivduals who requested day passes made it non-viable to go anywhere. At first we were not really impressed with this as we could not get off of the ship and all shops and the casino were closed. They made up for this by making everything all inclusive including, speciality dining, alchol, and all attractions to ensure we got a good overall feel. As this was a “get to know” the boat tour I think Norwegian did well - with a major surprise to us all on the Saturday night....more on that later. We were travelling as a couple but kept our eyes open for those things families and singles would also like. This was the first visit to NYC by the Bliss on it’s way to Seattle for the Alaska season. She had just crossed from Europe to North America so we think a lot of the kinks in the operations would have been ironed out by then. The great things seasoned travellers will love include: - Streamlined cabins with efficient use of space. Curved cupboards (so no sharp corners to bang into on less than stable days) and double use of furniture (seat that doubles as a table but tucks away when not in use). - Lots of “things” to do including go kart track, laser tag, casino, pools, quiet places, bars and various venues for food. - USB ports in the night lights so you can have your phone/alarm clock right there with you by the bed (also adding more spots to plug in and charge - one on each side of the bed) - A well trained staff who were getting to know the Bliss like us made for efficient service that was above par. - Plenty of choices for food and drink connoisseurs. Staff was more than willing to amend or adjust food and drinks for various dietary needs. - A beautiful massive indoor observation lounge that is great to grab a snack, a drink, visit with friends, enjoy the view or curl up with a good book. The venue is open and airy so even with a lot of people in there you were not overwhelmed with noise. - A separate sun bathing area for adults (normally a fee applies at the Beach Club) away from the pool area to allow for a more laid back day in the sun (located beside the Haven private area and just as lavishly appointed). - Cavern Club provided some unique entertainment and was jammed with many people wanting to sing along to some great songs. - Interactive screens located on each deck to book speciality dining, laser tag or go karts or to provide you with information. - Buffet had themed food stations (like another line we go on) and is less cafeteria style as we have seen on other lines. - Nice having that Starbucks for the coffee fix - it is a legitimate Starbucks and not just coffee brewed with Starbucks products (this is normally an extra charge but sometimes you just need that brew). - Linens are currently plush and soft - now this is a new ship so who knows it may become the regular exfoliating towels however we noticed the towels were actually designed for the Bliss so maybe they will retain some ability to provide plushness rather than roughness. - The Waterfront is a unique deck where several specialty restaurants are located and allow you to access them from outside and in fact most of exterior seating - this will be really nice when the Bliss embarks upon her winter home port in the Caribbean. - Beer selection was excellent...not sure if it was due to the event or this is normal but you didn’t have to go a special beer bar to get a larger selection of world wide beers (though there is a special craft beer bar if the “regular list” isn’t enough). So here are some “myahs” on the ship: - There is not a lot of movement room in the rooms - to be expected but they seem to have ensured you are only getting the space you need - there is nothing extra. - Closet design was a little hinky in that about 6 inches became unusable due to an indent (unless you are bringing your own broom or hockey sticks and needed somewhere to store them). For me closet space is always premium so to lose that much means my husband suffers...ha ha. - Other than the observation deck (as noted) the ship was loud. Now it could be because there was a lot of amenities being provided however we found it to be noisy. The smaller dining rooms had bars outside their doors and I think that contributed to it - but once you were in the restaurant, it was still loud. - This is a weird one but was commented on by several people....the elevators (which we all know can get really full) had only a bank of floor buttons on the one side. As one person said they didn’t really consider left handed people. So while there are a lot of elevators you find yourself sometimes getting up close and personal with people standing just a little to close to those buttons. - Speaking of buttons.....the automated opening of exterior doors is not sensor based but instead you have to place your hand on a round disc located “somewhere” on a wall near by (sometimes you got lucky and it was on the door) but there were many people trapped sometimes between double doors as they could find the disc to open the next set. This is actually surprising as it increases the amount of surface space people are touching and therefore increasing the amount of germ transferrance. I don’t think this one was thought through from either an operational standpoint or from a health standpoint. - The only speciality restaurants we went to (and not for lack of trying but most were blocked off for private functions for those “day pass” people we mentioned) was Margaritaville. The day we went it was relatively warm 23C/mid 70s F, and the ship was not moving but it was cold sitting in this venue. The wind funnels through the deck to this area (the race track is above and there is an open stairwell up to it which we think just pulls the air through). There are no heaters (that we could see) which made for a chilly meal. The chairs used are trying to capture that blue/green beach chair look but if you are wearing shorts or have exposed legs be prepared for a little roughness. I ended up putting a towel on the chair to eliminate the scratching and draped it over the back to help reduce the draft on my back. The food was probably the worst we had on the ship - not bad - just the worst. We have eaten at land based Margaritavilles and this restaurant does not measure up. Considering there is normally a charge for this restaurant I would say it is not worth it. You can go to the shops and buy your souvenir glass there in comfort. - Theatre venue is small, entrance only on one level - considering the size of the ship (and the show they are putting on - Jersey Boys) this will probably lead to a lot of disappointed travellers not seeing this amazing production. - I don’t think the chefs believe in using salt.....at all. I am not a big salt lover so when I am adding salt to every meal you know that the seasoning is not quite right. Of course it is easier to add rather than take away...however it led to some very bland first bites. Lastly some nice little surprises that I am know are not going to be there as a rule but were cool to have. First - we went to the production of Jersey Boys. If this is on your to do book early - we went to try to book on embarkation day (we weren’t allowed to before) and all shows were sold out. We did stand by and got in but did the proverbial hunting of seats - which we got just not together. The show was excellent. We’ve seen the Broadway production and this production did homage to it. Though about an hour shorter nothing was left out. They were able to do this by eliminating any intermission and shortening some of the storylines. But here was the great thing.....as we were all getting ready to start watching this, in walks.....Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio....two of the original Four Seasons!!!! That was pretty surreal to watch a production about their lives with them! The next day The Four Seasons were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. They ran out of white wine....how is that a nice surprise do you ask. Well first let me explain that the Bliss was sailing to Miami on Sunday and without passengers so the ship was not fully stocked. Add on top of that the number of day pass individuals who were there on an open ticket I am sure it wasn’t the only thing they ran out of. So when I ordered a glass and they didnt have any at dinner I was not too impressed....until they replaced it with some high end Champagne......adding bubble to any drink make things always better. Overall I think people will enjoy this ship. The fact they have listened to the passengers and are accommodating single travellers (single suite area is great with a independent lounge just for them), Kids activities and big “kid” activities, as well as meal choices for the various palettes makes Norwegian ahead of other cruise lines who are not quite there yet. However I think there were some design flaws by the various groups who either didn’t test drive the facilities (Margaritaville) or have no left handed friends (elevators). Would we cruise again on the Bliss - absolutely - would love to see her in action in the Caribbean. I also think that cruisers on the Alaska season are in for a real treat being able to view the various ports without getting chilled (especially the glaciers - so get there early and claim your viewing space) and just absorbing the scenery in a comfortable warm environment where someone will bring you a hot toddy if the chill still reaches you. Read Less
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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
It was our wedding anniversary so we thought a short cruise would be a good way to celebrate. We had been on a P&O cruise before and so had high hopes about eveerything. Sadly we were very disappointed this time. Embarkation was ... Read More
It was our wedding anniversary so we thought a short cruise would be a good way to celebrate. We had been on a P&O cruise before and so had high hopes about eveerything. Sadly we were very disappointed this time. Embarkation was pretty easy. No problems there. On board the ship there was a very unpleasant smell in some areas, like sewerage. Our room was small but ok as we only needed to sleep there. The bed was quite comfortable and the feather pillows really good. The air conditioning in the room was also good. The thing we were most disappointed with was the food and some service. We did not like having to line up for service in The Pantry, particularly when the staff behind the counter did not or could not understand what you asked for meaning you had to ask several times. The food in almost every instance from The Pantry was really tasteless. I couldn't honestly make a comment about how delicious any hot food or dessert was with the exception of porridge with yogurt and the french toast. Everything else was bland and boring. We ate at Angelo's, the Dragon Lady and the Waterfront. These restaurants proved to be better. The biggest disappointment of all was the Shell and Bones seafood restaurant inside the pantry. That should have rung a bell but we thought there would be different chefs to those in The Pantry. Unfortunately I don't think that was the case. We ordered a hot Seafood Extravaganza anticipating something out of the ordinary, but no, it was very disappointing and to make matters worse, it was a paying restaurant. My husband, a keen fisherman and very good cook of seafood, said it was the worst seafood meal he had ever had. The (American) lobster was tough, the tiny (and I mean tiny) fried scallops balls and prawns in breadcrumbs were cooked in old oil it seems as they were very dark brown and overcooked, the salt and pepper squid had no salt or pepper and a little bit rubbery, the 3 octopii were the size of 10cent pieces. No oysters, no mussels and not even a few chips. We were so disappointed. The staff overall on the ship were very friendly and courteous and helpful. No complaints there. The lifts at the end of the 3 nights were starting to break down making moving between decks time consuming and difficult for those who couldn't manage the stairs. We also experienced two toilet facilities where the toilets weren't flushing. A real bugbear was how inconsiderate some people were with monopolising the popular deckchairs. People would put towels or bags on them early and disappear leaving an empty but monopolised chair for long portions of the day. With limited seating in popular areas some sort of time limit on chairs should be worked out. The entertainment was quite good, especially the rock band revival show and the trivia nights. Overall it was nice to be on the water relaxing but my husband and I would not go on this particular ship again as it definitely didn't measure up. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My wife and I booked a night on the Astor to see what it is like as living in Perth there are few cruises to choose from. I cannot give a view on actual cruising on the ship as it was an in port celebration, so we didn’t actually ... Read More
My wife and I booked a night on the Astor to see what it is like as living in Perth there are few cruises to choose from. I cannot give a view on actual cruising on the ship as it was an in port celebration, so we didn’t actually leave the dock. I have also been on around 13 cruises with Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and Celebrity. The ship is small, built in the 80's and is getting on for a cruise ship. Embarkation was ok, we were given a group number and sat in the terminal till our group was called. We had arrived at 1130am and didn’t board till 1.30pm so a two hour wait in the passenger terminal. There appeared only 5 staff booking over 500 people hence 2 hour wait. After getting a 'seapass card' we walked on board. After getting on board we went straight to the room. We had booked a premium suite on Atlantic deck. Arriving at the door we realised there is no swipe or insert card entry. The door was unlocked, and two keys were on the desk. Given the ship had undergone an upgrade I would have thought electronic locking on doors to modernise it would have been a given. The suite was very good and extremely spacious and bathroom excellent. What let the décor down and also around the ship was the expanse of fake mahogany veneer everywhere making open spaces very dark and closed in. We had lunch in the buffet area which was average, Food was unimaginative, bland and lacked choice. There was also no staff member ensuring that people sanitized which given the increased risk of norovirus on ships I find amazing. We had a walk around the ship and given the size, deck space was at a premium. We checked out the indoor pool in the Wellness Centre at level one. I’m not sure Wellness Centre is appropriate as the area stank of cigarette smoke apparently from staff quarters. For dinner we went to the Waldorf restaurant and had to wait for a table. The waiting was not organised, and no queue was in place. The menu was good with lots of choice and presented very well. What let the service down was the food served in a luke warm state. After dinner we took in part of the show featuring singers and dancers. To be fair they do a very good job with the space they have to work in. On return to the cabin we had instructions that we were to be out of the cabin by 7am which I thought was very poor. During the night the noise from the funnel was loud and made sleeping difficult. In summary, the Astor I am sure caters for many people not wanting the frills / attractions / variety other larger cruise ships offer but I was not for me. I also think it is overpriced given the lack of facilites. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Having cruised numerous times but never with Cruise and Maritime, we decided to try the overnight Christmas party night. The embarkation from Tilbury was excellent and quick. The cabin was standard and clean. The food and service in the ... Read More
Having cruised numerous times but never with Cruise and Maritime, we decided to try the overnight Christmas party night. The embarkation from Tilbury was excellent and quick. The cabin was standard and clean. The food and service in the restaurant was good. However, our reason for writing this review is as a warning to other passengers. The following morning we left our luggage in the designated area manned by 2 CMV staff and were given a ticket with our cabin number on. We left our luggage there whilst eating our breakfast. Upon our return, approx. one hour later, our suit carrier containing our clothes from the night before was nowhere to be found. We reported it straight away to Reception, who were not really interested and told us it happens all the time. The Head of Housekeeping came to speak to us and told us that he would sort it out but didn't come back. We were kept waiting at Reception for 45 mins and largely ignored during that time. In the end we demanded a claim form, which somebody duly appeared with. Our contact details were taken and despite contacting Head Office twice now we have been told that it is not the responsibility of Cruise and Maritime, even though it was an area manned by their staff and with no warning sign to passengers stating that they accept no responsibility for loss or damage. As far as CMV are concerned the matter is closed and we on the other hand have lost £400 worth of clothes! The cruise line itself is let down by extremely poor customer aftercare. Read Less

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