47 Miami to Panama Canal & Central America Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. ... Read More
I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. Lauderdale. When a friend suggested going on a Panama Canal cruise I instantly agreed to go with her. We chose to go on the Norwegian Bliss since there would be so many activities and things to do on this longer than normal cruise. We were not disappointed! Everything was awesome - the ship, the entertainment, food, bars, and service. There was an abundance of free activities as well as the ones that cost extra. The entertainment was first class! The small groups that played in various venues around the ship were excellent. There were many choices for food. The weather was great and we did not encounter any difficulties. The port stops in Mexico changed several times from the time we booked the cruise until we actually went but it was okay. I especially like sea days so this was a great cruise for me - 6 ports in 15 days with 9 sea days. The whole day transit of the Panama Canal was fabulous! The age of the cruisers on this trip was slightly older than normal since it is longer and more expensive and there were fewer children on board. Those who were on board seemed to thoroughly enjoy the extra time they got on some of the amenities. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Pro: Entertainment is great. Best shows anywhere. Helpful staff. Observation lounge is perfect place to relax. Lots to do throughout the day and night. Taste Restaurant is the best for a quiet dinner. Waterfront ... Read More
Pro: Entertainment is great. Best shows anywhere. Helpful staff. Observation lounge is perfect place to relax. Lots to do throughout the day and night. Taste Restaurant is the best for a quiet dinner. Waterfront promenade deck has great sitting space with comfy chairs and sofas. Also has two outdoor bars. Con: Ship creaks a lot. Deck 9 right over noisy deck 8-avoid deck 9 cabins. Crew very busy and limited guest interaction. Disembarkation took almost an hr just to get off ship. Food ok but nothing special Cagney’s and Manhattan restaurants extremely noisy. Guest Services promises to resolve noise issues, but issue kept reoccurring. Gift shops kept selling the same stuff everyday. No rotation with fresh products. Cookies only available in evening in buffet. Cabin storage is mostly shelves, not pull out drawers. TV channel selection very limited. Navigation info on TV was sometimes very inaccurate. We would not go out of our way to cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We picked this cruise because it traversed the Panama canal and had ports of call we had not been to. We were very disappointed in NCL. The crew ranged from outright hostility to complete indifference. The menu was not varied enough for ... Read More
We picked this cruise because it traversed the Panama canal and had ports of call we had not been to. We were very disappointed in NCL. The crew ranged from outright hostility to complete indifference. The menu was not varied enough for such a lengthy cruise, and the food only mediocre at best. And they up charge for everything. This has not been my experience in other lines (Royal Caribbean, Holland America). The day before the cruise ended we didn't even get any disembarkation information or luggage tags. I had to go back up to the service desk and even then was only directed to a table with a few colored tags and no information. Ports of call: I really liked Cartagena Columbia and Costa Rica. Guatemala - the closest area of interest is 90 minutes one way from the cruise dock. Further, it was Passion day, so none of the tours were going into the city proper, they would drop you off outside the city. NCL not only didn't cancel the tours, but they didn't reduce the price on them either. Needless to say, we explored the market at the dock and got back on the ship. The entertainment on the ship was a mixed bag. Jersey Boys was great, as was the Beatles tribute band. Havana was ok, but not great. Aside from the shows, a lot of the "entertainment" listed in the freestyle daily were events trying to sell you something, limited to certain guests, or outright cost money. It just seemed like the planning and running of the daily ship events was so poor. This isn't their first rodeo, I expected better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and ... Read More
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and the length of the trip turned out to be just right. We prefer NCL for two main reasons: open dining and on-board music. The Bliss did not disappoint. The smaller main dining room, Savor, was our go to place for diner. The food was exceptional (especially the Salmon), the waitstaff so friendly, and the ambiance very appealing. There were numerous shows, concerts and events on board, and where else could you be at poolside in the evening watching the NCAA Final Four on a big screen tv? The main event was the Panama Canal, and the full day going through Panama was thrilling. Other ports of call added to a great trip. We do some shore excursions, but find that getting off the ship and wandering the public places are culturally very rich. Hats off to all of the staff, and another special thank you to the Fourever Fab, the Beatles tribute band that took all of us back to special times. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this criuse to celebrate our 50th anniversery and had a wonderful time. We chose the beverage and dining packages and could not have been happier with the choice. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to feel free to try new ... Read More
We chose this criuse to celebrate our 50th anniversery and had a wonderful time. We chose the beverage and dining packages and could not have been happier with the choice. We are not big drinkers but it was nice to feel free to try new ones that we would not have if we didn't have that package. The dining package gave use many great chioces. We chose Cagneys for our anniversery diner and loved it. The only negitves where the soup and potatoes where lukewarm. The service was great and, as it happened, our waiter was also our waiter when we sailed on the Star. We also ate at Le Bistro and Los Lobos. Le Bistro was above average and Los Lobos was so good we eat there two more times. Yessina at Los Lobos is a treasure. On our second night there she made my wife a napkin rose that she kept and admiered for the rest of the cruise. We ate at Savor and The Local alot and they were always top notch. Service on the ship was excellent with only a couple of grumpy grew members. I have a great deal of respect for the crew members. They work 12 hour days for up to 9 months without a day off and still show great attitudes. As far as the ships entertainment and activities go the entertainment was great! We mostly liked to just relax and read a good book, so I can't really review the activies, although there seemed to be something going on all the time. Embarkation was a breeze but disembarkation could be termed organized chaos. We only took one Norwiegian excursion and it was just OK. We took a Thumbs Up 10 in 1 excursion in Costa Rica and it was awsome. If you ever get to Costa Rica you should check this out and request Allie as your guide. Overall we were very happy with the Bliss and would cruise on it again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made ... Read More
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made every effort to ensure that the transit and the whole experience was exhilarating - and it was! The entire fifth day of the cruise was spent going through the canal - which took from about 7:00 A.M till close to 9:00 P.M. ; the weather was perfect and the excitement was shared by many of my fellow cruisers (most of which were transiting the new canal for the first time). There was even a guest lecturer on board who gave two lectures; one on the history of the canal and another on the conquering of yellow fever in Panama. This guest expert also narrated the crossing throughout the day. His anecdotes and color commentary greatly added to my enjoyment of the experience and appreciation of the new Panama Canal (opened in 2016). To commemorate the canal transit, the officers of the Bliss issued every guest a beautiful color certificate memorializing the trip, signed by the captain and included a glossy color certificate documenting the cruise and ports of call. These are genuine souvenirs worth framing and a very fitting commemoration of the adventure. One thing worth noting: during the time spent on the crossing, NCL facilitated guest access to the bow area (not usually accessible to guests) for viewing the canal locks and the tug. They also furnished refreshments and set up canopies to protect guests from the intense sun. A very nice touch. This viewing area at the bow on deck 8 allowed a great up close view of the tug guiding the ship and the operation of the locks that we could not have gotten from the observation area on deck 15 (a great area to view but deck 8`s observation area was much closer to “the action”). This special access was greatly appreciated and allowed me to get some great photos and video of the entire canal crossing Oh, I speculate that NCL booked this time slot so as to facilitate the best viewing (daylight) of the Panama Canal - again, my heartfelt thanks, NCL! You made the trip truly memorable !!! While the crossing was the highlight of my cruise, the rest of the trip was also magnificent. Sea days with first class entertainment and shore excursions that offered a sampling of the best that the port had to offer. Fandamtastic experience! Thanks to all on NCL Bliss! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are platinum members and sail on many NCL ships. We normally like smaller ships however we wanted to experience the new locks on the Panama canal with this ship. We have priority boarding and it was easy to get on board, however had ... Read More
We are platinum members and sail on many NCL ships. We normally like smaller ships however we wanted to experience the new locks on the Panama canal with this ship. We have priority boarding and it was easy to get on board, however had difficulty finding our cabin, inside Deck 12 midship. Well as it turned out it wasn't midship it was due aft net to an elevator. Cabin was extremely small, I had to turn sideways to get into bed, never before on NCL that we had an inside that it was this small. Now the specialty restaurants: used to be one price now it priced per item. We had two coupons for free restaurants Steak house and Italian, Steak, ribeye was great, now you only get one salad or soup, one on try and one desert for you free meal...if you want something else you pay for it, like if I wanted the Kansas City steak it was 5 dollars more, for appetizer another 5 bucks.....in the Italian restaurant, well there is no spaghetti and meat ball or meat sauce, no egg plant etc., you can get ravioli's with lobster??? well I had a pizza which was just about the same as the one you get in the buffet. The buffet area closes down, I mean door locked you can't even get a cup of coffee after midnight unless you go to the Local which is a 24 hour limited menu dining area midship and then you only get small paper cups. Now we're smokers and in the morning would like to have a cup of coffee and smoke, the only place to smoke is on deck 17 starboard side of the H20 spice bar, which has no coffee, if you're luck to get to the Margarita place right next door they have coffee only for 2 hours for a limited breakfast buffet and the hours were never the same, after they close it down they drain the coffee, I asked them why, and they couldn't give me a reason. Walking was terrible , with most food stuff in the front of the ship and we're in the back so you see our problem. Now the ship is pretty, but huge, too big , too many people, reservations are needed for almost everything and if you don't get reservations when you first get on you are out of luck. Jersey Boys was great free show, but had to pay to see Havana shop which was terrible, pay to see a show NOT....The itinerary changed three times just before we got on board, we even went to Acapulco, only got off the ship to walk to a pharmacy and back on. Never again on this ship and if all NCL ships are paying extra for meals , sorry but no more NCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had a great time on Bliss. We were back to back for three weeks. It was mostly great; a few things could improve. First, NCL's business model seems to be to jam as many people onto a ship as possible and have passengers sort out ... Read More
We had a great time on Bliss. We were back to back for three weeks. It was mostly great; a few things could improve. First, NCL's business model seems to be to jam as many people onto a ship as possible and have passengers sort out how to manage the crowds. The pool deck is chaotic. Noisy. Chairs all gone by 9 AM by hogs who put towels down and leave for hours. NCL should enforce its stated rules and remove belongings left unattended for long periods of time. The sam can be said for the observation deck and the waterfront. Very crowded and filled with hogs who leave. This dynamic leave passengers with no place to find peace -- even a little quiet to read and reflect in the nice areas of the ship. The MDR's are similarly busy until 8:30 PM, meaning that if you can wait, you will have a great, peaceful meal, which we did most nights. Having said that, the crew is amazing. Our steward, Andy was awesome. Bartenders at A-Lost (Rowena, and two fellows from India, and Rakesh (wine Steward) made us feel like we were most important), Maltings (Salavatore) and the Cavern Club equally wonderful. The ladies in the Spa (Emear and Tanya and others who kept the thermal suite safe) were great. Likewise, we enjoyed virtually every waiter at MDR for the most part. Entertainment. This was the highlight of the cruise. Siglo, Familiar Strangers, the Beatles band the first week (March 23), Jersey Boys, and all the comedy acts were fantastic. We constantly listened ti music and lauged at the comedy. Havana was not so good and Uptown was pretty good. Specialty restaurants. Cagneys, Ocean Blue and Teppanyaki were absolutely fantastic. Le Bistro was one of the worst meals we had the whole time (extremely rushed and disjointed service) and La Cucina (food was cold and tasteless). I wrote comment cards and even spoke to someone who said he'd have the restaurant manager call me -- but the call never came. I have spent 43 days on NCL and will not go back to Bistro or Cucina, even though I have had great meals there on the Epic and Getaway. The ship is gorgeous; the nerve center on the 6-8 level is great, and the spa was terrific. If they fix some of the crowding and chai hogging and improve meals in those 2 restaurants, this would be a 5 star experience Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Loved this cruise, the ship was awesome so many things to see and do, the entertainment was varied and terrific. We especially enjoyed the comedians. Jersey Boys was fantastic, what a great show . We enjoyed all our meals,especially ... Read More
Loved this cruise, the ship was awesome so many things to see and do, the entertainment was varied and terrific. We especially enjoyed the comedians. Jersey Boys was fantastic, what a great show . We enjoyed all our meals,especially the steak at Cagneys. The sea bass at Oxean Blue was perfectly cooked. All our meals at the buffet were so tasty and enjoyed the ethnic variety. Met some terrific ladies at the stichers group, we got together every morning on sea days, shared ideas, crafts and stories We plan to start our own facebook group, and have promused to schedule a stitch group on every cruise we go on We were a bit disappointed when disembarking, it was crazy busy,understandable Our transfer bus to the airport was a mess as we ended up having to get off 2 different buses and then told to wait for a third bus. (Arrival time unknown )We felt time pressured so found an alternate form of transportation. Hope to get refunded Last words, wow a fantastic cruise and want to biard the Bliss again for another cruise soon Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Had the most amazing 15 days on Bliss through the Panama Canal. Ship is beautiful and the staff went over and above to make our trip the best yet. Specialty restaurants certainly worth it with the exception of "Q", not worthy of ... Read More
Had the most amazing 15 days on Bliss through the Panama Canal. Ship is beautiful and the staff went over and above to make our trip the best yet. Specialty restaurants certainly worth it with the exception of "Q", not worthy of the "specialty restaurant" label. Majority of the excursions were as advertised but Acapulco was a bust, walking tour was not worth the money or the time. Old Mazatlan walking tour with amazing definitely undersold in the description.Deck 15 cabins can be noisy as they are under the Pool Deck. Observation Lounge was great but way too many people sleeping all day on the loungers. Shopping on board is below par compared to other cruises we have been on, very little choice and the same items came out almost every night. Looking to book our next cruise on the Bliss really soon. A visit to the A List Bar is a must, the bartenders are awesome, lots of fun. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Just got off of our 15 night Norwegian Bliss vacation yesterday. We departed Miami on 03/30/2019 and arrived back on 04/14/2019. I have been on a total of seven cruises, and this is my first NCL cruise. This review will be very detailed, ... Read More
Just got off of our 15 night Norwegian Bliss vacation yesterday. We departed Miami on 03/30/2019 and arrived back on 04/14/2019. I have been on a total of seven cruises, and this is my first NCL cruise. This review will be very detailed, for all of those who enjoy details; however, it will not include any pictures. This is also our longest cruise to date. Please feel free to ask any questions! My cruise history is as follows: 2007 - Carnival Triumph 2008 - Ruby Princess 2010 - Caribbean Princess 2011 - Carnival Miracle 2015 - Carnival Breeze 2017 - Carnival Vista 2019 - Norwegian Bliss BACKGROUND: My name is Ryan, and I am currently 39 years old. I was traveling with my Husband, AndyMike who is 33 years old. We reside in Southern California. This is my seventh cruise and his third cruise OUTGOING FLIGHT: Our outgoing flight was a red-eye on 03/26/2019 from LAX to FLL on Jetblue, which arrived early in the morning on 03/27/2019. THE DAYS BEFORE THE CRUISE: I arrived in FLL early in the morning on 03/27/2019. I rented a car from Enterprise, which it is quite easy to get to the car rental center from the terminals at FLL. Renting with Enterprise was painless and very quick. The Car Rental Center at FLL is very organized and you shouldn't have a very difficult experience. We got married in Fort Lauderdale before our cruise. Our wedding was on the sand in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and our wedding reception was at the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, FL. Everything exceeded our expectations and it was a wonderful experience. We got married with 50 members of our family and friends. The day after our wedding, but before the cruise 15 of us took a pedal boat by a company called Lagerhead Cycleboats on the waterways of Fort Lauderdale which was awesome. We stayed at the Doubletree Hollywood Resort which is in Hollywood, FL not too far south of the Fort Lauderdale airport. I recommend this hotel for friendly service, a great hotel pool and a good view if you are on the north rooms of the property. TRANSPORTATION TO THE PORT: Although we picked up our Enterprise rental at FLL, we dropped it off at the Doubletree Grand Hotel in Miami, FL at 9am on cruise embarkation morning. We then took an Uber, which was only about $8.00 from that hotel to the port. EMBARKATION: This was the easiest and most painless embarkation I have ever experienced. We chose a check-in time of between 9:30AM and 10:00am. We arrived at exactly 9:30am. We queued up and the security lines opened up at about 9:45AM. I would say that we were probably number 20 in the security line. We received boarding group 1 cards and after getting our key cards sat in the terminal to await boarding. We were called to board by 11am. WHAT WE DID FIRST: It is important to book some of your most important reservations immediately once you board. The current process is to go to the Social on Deck Six to board those. You can also book from one of the many, many kiosks on almost every deck of the ship. Now, please note --- the kiosks may or may not be working immediately upon boarding, so we did end up going to the social. The lines were really not that bad and everything was booked in about 45 minutes. We booked Go Karts, Laser Tag, Comedy Shows, Happy Hour Prohibition, and got the Vibe Beach Pass all in the social. Please note that we booked the Wifi Package, Thermal Spa, Photo Package, Jersey Boys, Havana and Specialty Restaurant Reservations before we boarded the ship online. OUR PERKS: Our perks that came with our reservation was the premium beverage package for two, prepaid gratuities and $50 per port (per stateroom) shore excursion credit). OVERALL IMPRESSION/DECOR This was a sold out cruise! Overall, it did not seem that crowded to us. Yes, there were some crowded areas, which I will go into detail with later on in the review; however, overall it did not seem that crowded. I credit the excellent design of the ship. The ship is beautiful. The ship has only been in service since the second quarter of 2018. The ship is in GREAT CONDITION, as all of our cruises have been. One of the things that impressed me the most is was the artwork around the ship. There is high quality artwork everywhere on every wall of the ship. This includes all public areas and all guest room hallways. It is beautiful and amazing. STAFF OVERALL The staff of this ship is simply amazing. Remember, treat people the way you want to be treated. That was our motto and is always our motto. The staff overall was very friendly. I rate them at a 9 out of 10. I would say there were maybe a handful of less than 10 that were pretty miserable. Not bad for over 1700 cruise members. I will talk about some individual staff members in other parts of my review; however, I will talk about the Cruise Director, Silas here. Silas is a wonderful cruise director. He is a very organized cruise director and has a pretty good cruise activities staff. He is very visible on the ship and we usually saw him three of four times a day. He is energetic and has a great personality. Now, as you probably know if you are a frequent cruiser on NCL, most people have the premium beverage package as a perk. Since most people have that, I will point out that there are plenty of bar servers in almost every venue; however, you have to usually ask them for a drink. They are always walking around; however, you should ask them as they will not be asking you. (They don't have to ask since it is included for most people). Of course, if you can't find a server, you just walk up to one of the many bars anywhere on the ship. TIPPING: Tipping is a personal thing; however, let me take time to remind you that this wonderful hard working staff on these ships work very hard and many of the staff members do not get paid a lot. I encourage you to celebrate and applaud the hard work that they do by tipping appropriately. My personal way of tipping is that I leave the suggested gratuities of Norwegian on my Onboard Account (which I believe is currently about $15.00 per person per day), and I give additional cash gratuities to individual staff members during the middle of my cruise, if I feel that there service is excellent (which this time it was with everyone I gave additional gratuity to). I gave additional gratuities to my favorite restaurant hostess, favorite restaurant server, stateroom steward, and favorite bartenders. 2 STATEROOM: Our room was available by 1:15PM which was before the promised time. We went to our room at about 1:45pm, which was after we finished lunch. We were also pleasantly surprised that our luggage was delivered by 4pm. We had room 8116 which was a mini-suite with large balcony on the port side forward. We never heard any noise from above or below our stateroom and it is a very quiet hallway. There are limited rooms on Deck 8 and usually the only people that use this hallway are crew members. The Mini Suites on this ship are essentially the same as the regular balcony staterooms with the exception of the bathroom which is larger. The shower is an improvement from other cruise lines I have been on. It is a glass enclosed shower that is about two times the size of other cruise line showers and it has multiple jets and great water pressure. It also has a double faucet sink. The room itself is a little smaller that other cruise lines I have been on; however, still had ample closet and storage space. The bed was comfortable and the USB ports beside are very nice. The lighting in the room is great. The TV has multiple movie channels available and ship specific channels available. Our balcony was HUGE, almost about 60% of the size of our room. These balconies are completely open to all the rooms above you; however, we did not find this be a problem. These balconies have two small chairs with one small table and two large lounge chairs with a larger table. My only complaint is that the safe was really small and would not fit a laptop or even an Ipad. Our stateroom steward, Aaron was very nice and kept everything very tidy throughout the stay. There is an electronic do not disturb or make up room indicator outside your door. Your lock is controlled by your keycard. Service is twice daily and towel animals are usually every other day. The room is so well designed for space and efficiently considering the somewhat small size of cruise cabins. I liked the fact that the doors open outward when you are coming in or exiting the room. The balcony doors are also slide instead of push/pull, which is a great improvement. Just remember, slide your empty luggage under the bed after putting everything away! PORTS: We did excursions in each of the ports. On this trip, we booked all excursions on NCL. All of our excursions were of high quality and operated by local tour operators. Debarkation and embarkation at the cruise ports is painless and easy. I couldn't believe how easy it was. Cartagena, Colombia - Here we did a four hour tour of Cartagena including the walled city which is beautiful. We had about 40 people on this tour and I would rate it is a 8 out of 10. Panama Canal Day - It is always amazing to cruise the Panama Canal. This was our first time and it is simply an engineering marvel. We went through the new locks, since this is a very large cruise ship. The Norwegian Bliss also opens up the front of Deck 8 (usually only reserved for crew members) on Panama Canal Day for viewing. Costa Rica - Here we took an excursion which involved ziplining. It was a very fun day; however, we enjoyed ziplining in Dominican Republic a little bit better. Guatemala - We took an excursion to Antigua in Guatemala, which is a beautiful city in the higher elevations of the country. Acapulco - Although this was our least favorite port for things to see and do, we still had a beautiful time. The views from the higher elevations of Acapulco rival any of the views we saw during our trip. It was cool to see the Cliff Divers. Mazatlan - Our second favorite port. This is a beautiful Mexico port and we had a fun excursion of Salsa and Salsa, which included a Salsa Making and a Salsa Dance Class. We had an excellent tour guide and awesome instructors and it was a super fun tour. Cabo San Lucas - Our favorite port and our favorite excursion. We did the electric bikes which we did a tour on the beach and in the desert. Our tour guide was so much fun. After the bike ride, we got to make our own margaritas (unlimited) and they also provided us with a quesadilla lunch. FOOD: I'm going to rate each venue that we ate it, and give my comments. I feel that everyone can find something good to eat on this ship. There are so many great options. MAIN DINING ROOM: (Taste, Savor and Manhattan Room) Food 9/10 and Service 9/10. We ate in the main dining room for dinner 5 of our 15 nights plus lunch on embarkation day and breakfast on debarkation morning. We usually ate in Savor; however, ate once in Taste and once in the Manhattan room. All dining rooms have the same menu. We never made reservations for the main dining room. We always showed up and got seated immediately or with less than a 5 minute wait. The service was almost always fantastic and the food was always delicious. We usually ordered two appetizers, one main entree and one dessert and were stuffed. One of my favorite apps was the lobster ravioli. BUFFET Food 9/10 We found the buffet food to be some of the best buffet food we have ever had on a cruise ship. The buffet is huge and you could always easily find a seat except on some port mornings and at ports where almost everyone came back at the same time. For breakfast, the food is the same most mornings, as breakfast food should be. There are so many omelette and egg stations that you will never wait long in line for these. I believe I counted 9 operating at the same time. Lunch in the buffet had some of the same daily stations and some rotating stations daily. Dinner also rotated. We usually had breakfast and/or lunch in the buffet and then we ate one dinner in the buffet. The buffet has limited stations open during certain periods and after 9:30PM. It closes down at 11:30PM. Juices are available during breakfast, coffee and hot chocolate anytime, and iced tea and lemonade during non-breakfast hours. Also, there is now homemade ice cream available during lunch hours with rotating daily flavors. CAGNEY'S STEAKHOUSE Food 10/10 Service 10/10 We had dinner on our first night at the Steakhouse. We had the 7 night ultimate dining package, which we pre-purchased. That means that we got to go to 7 specialty dining restaurants and the only upcharge beyond was a minimal upcharge for Ocean Blue. We had excellent meals at all of the dining venues. I recall having jumbo shrimp and a crab cake here, along with an amazing steak for dinner and a variety of sides. The overall experience was awesome. There are so many amazing choices, that we left very happy. LOS LOBOS Food 10/10 Service 8/10 It is possible our server here may have been having a slightly off night, as this is one of the crew members we ran into that didn't provide an over the top wonderful experience. However, the food was amazing. We had tableside guacamole which we shared. My appetizer was the shrimp quesadilla. I also had a shrimp platter for dinner and a delicious Tres Leches cake for dessert. LA CUCINA Food 10/10 Service 9/10 Tucked away behind a wine bar, this intimate restaurant has excellent food in a casual and classy setting. I don't even recall what I had at this restaurant, but I recall it being excellent. Q TEXAS SMOKEHOUSE Food 10/10 Service 10/10 This new concept to NCL was awesome. There was a live band playing during our meal, and the food was amazing. I had a crab cake. I also shared the loaded fries with my hubby and I had the Pitmaster Platter which was a sampling of all of the meats on the menu. The banana pudding was also an excellent dessert choice. LE BISTRO Food 10/10 Service 10/10 This restaurant is on one of the upper decks of the ship. The service at this restaurant is great, and I had an amazing French Onion Soup, a delicious shrimp platter and an amazing cheesecake for dessert. OCEAN BLUE Food 10/10 Service 10/10 My favorite specialty restaurant. Our server Hazel was one of the best servers we had on the entire trip. She was the most pleasant, kind and sweet person ever. Our meal was just fabulous. I recall that everything I had at this restaurant was simply stunning and full of flavor. TEPPANYAKI Food 10/10 Service 10/10 What an awesome and entertaining experience. Our chef was spectacular and the food was very filling and so much of it. The garlic rice was superb and I had the shrimp and scallop combo. THE LOCAL Food 8/10 Service 8/10 The Local is the restaurant that is open almost all day every day including late into the night. We had one breakfast, two lunches, and two dinners here. Almost every meal had excellent service, and most of the food was quite delicious. I had prime rib here one night, some good burgers, some good wings and some excellent french toast. We did not try Food Republic, Margaritaville, Dolce Gelato or Coco's. BARS Service and Drinks 10/10 There are so many bars on this ship. Some of our favorites included the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, A List Bar, Maltings Whiskey Bar, District Brewhouse and the Observation Lounge Bar. One of the few rather rude crew members we encountered on this ship was in the interior portion of the Sugarcane. I do not recall his name (It was not Bong) ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES Seriously...if you cannot find something to do on this ship, it is your own dam fault! Read your Freestyle Daily. There is so much to do each day. There is an awesome activities staff onboard this ship, that is always present everywhere you go. Wow! Get involved people! MAIN POOL DECK and WATERSLIDES: The Main Pool Deck on Deck 16 can get a little crowded on days of beautiful weather; however, you may have trouble finding a chair right by the pool. Don't believe the people who tell you that you cannot find a deck chair. There are plenty of deck chairs, if you expand your horizons a iittle bit. Try Deck 17, 18 and 19 where there are almost always plenty of pool chairs. I tried one of the two waterslides (the calmer one). You ride down in a tube and it was so much fun. I did not try the Ocean Loops which is the one that swings out on the side of the ship. Yes, a lot of people do get stuck; however, there is always a staff member to get you out where you end up getting stuck, if it happens. GO KARTS Make reservations. We tried it twice, once in the daytime and once at night. We had an amazing time. You usually get a generous 5 to 7 minutes of riding time on each race. There are usually up to 10 people at one time. There were a few annoying people during our second time (usually the unlimited pass people); however, it was still a blast. The go karts go quite fast, and some of the turns are fun and difficult to navigate. They will slow everyone down if you start bumping or running into people. LASER TAG: Wow! This was awesome. We wish we did it more than once. It is up on Deck 19 near the front of the ship and open in the evening. I believe the charge was about $10.00. Each time you get two rounds of 5 minutes, and you play on a team against one other team. It is a fun time had by all. SPA AND GYM We had the thermal spa pass, which can be purchased online prior to your cruise. The thermal spa on this ship is great. There are some relaxing loungers, ceramic heated beds, a thalassotherapy pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, salt room and snow room. It is so relaxing and you could usually find a place during most hours to relax. It is open only to the people who purchase the pass or are located in spa rooms. We only tried the gym once, and it is well equipped with all of the latest machines and weights. CASINO The casino is lovely and large on this ship. It takes up a good portion of the center of Deck 7. The entire casino is non-smoking, except for a small enclosed room near the aft/center of the casino which is reserved for smoking players. We had a great time and spent some money on this ship. No big wins; however, we had a great time and don't expect to win in casinos; however, it is a pleasure when we do. MAIN PRODUCTION SHOWS: On this cruise, there were three main production shows. I attended the shows called Havana, Jersey Boys and Uptown. We rated Havana as a 7/10. We thought the wardrobe/costumes were amazing; however, we didn't necessarily enjoy the lack of a story line. Jersey Boys was a 10/10. Just such a great production. It is the full length of nearly full length show at 1 hour and 45 minutes. For this longer cruise, they also had a group called Uptown, which was a group that we gave a 10/10. In the main theater, we also found that they had shows from a hypnotist (we rated as 6/10), a comedy juggler (we rated as a 10/10) and a comedy magician (which we missed) SOCIAL/COMEDY We watched three comedy shows, all of which we had reservations for. Two of the in the social which were the 10pm adult shows, both excellent. We also watched one the second to last night with three comedians in the main theater. We thought one of the two comedians was awesome in that show. ATRIUM: A lot of activities and events occurred in the atrium. Yes, the atrium can get crowded and I do wish it was bigger or there was an alternative venue for many of the events in this area. I truly do believe that the criticism of this area is deserved and I wish there was a better way of handling this. The activities including Trivia, Newlywed/Not so Newlywed Game, and so much more took place here. ART GALLERY AND AUCTIONS: The art crew on this ship is excellent, and we attended about three of the art auctions. We ended up purchasing three pieces of art on this ship, and we thoroughly enjoyed all of the events. SPICE H20 There are plenty of events that happen (usually nightly) in this area. Unfortunately, we only got to attend one event in this area, which was the 80's party and that was very fun. SILENT DISCO This is fun and reservations will fill up fast; however, it is complimentary. If you never experienced this, it is fun and you should try it. LIVE MUSIC: The excellent job with live music continues throughout this ship. There are top quality options almost all day long. During the day, the music is primarily centered on the pool deck area; however, by late afternoon and late into the night you got live music in the main atrium, Observation Lounge, Sugarcane Mojito Bar and the District Brewhouse. OBSERVATION LOUNGE: What a beautiful place. This takes up a large portion of Deck 15 and is simply beautiful. There is always a seat for everyone, and there are light snack options available through the breakfast and lunch hours. Don't miss the sunsets in the O Lounge. THINGS THAT WE MISS: Being that all of my prior cruises have been on Carnival or Princess, there is one thing that I miss more than anything else. Piano Bar. I understand that some NCL ships have them; however, I missed having a piano bar on the Bliss. There was some piano players; however, not the same as having a sing along piano bar. I'm sure I missed some things; however, I hope this gives you a starting point about some of the options available on this great ship. PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS if you would like to know anything else. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
It went through the "new panama canal". It was amazing to see and enjoy the passage. Other parts were not so amazing. The casino was the poorest we have ever seen at sea with very tight slots. Bingo was a joke they did ... Read More
It went through the "new panama canal". It was amazing to see and enjoy the passage. Other parts were not so amazing. The casino was the poorest we have ever seen at sea with very tight slots. Bingo was a joke they did not do a roll over and a last game grand prize winner. the real winner was norwegian. In place of over $5000 the final coverall got $1000,not bad, but not was expected. The ship is confusing to get around, all of the hot tubs have no shade so it's early morning or later at night. Entertainment was spotty, comedy was good , havana was good, magician was good, jersey boy's was a bust in my opinion, and the cavern was good. As for the food it was great, with the exception q which served some poor dry brisket. Would recommend gagneys and teppanyaki. Both were exceptional and worth the cost. Disembarkation was the worst experience of our 25 plus cruise's. This was not norwegians fault,it was cause by the port of los angeles. The most un organized mess i have ever encountered. Porters laughing at people in line waiting as they breezed by to a special line where they and their cruisers were they had no waiting saying for a few bucks you could be gone by now. Union i assume. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way ... Read More
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way through to the Pacific Ocean. This was a 15 day cruise and we where a little skeptical if we would get bored being gone that long. Well, after the 1st week , all 6 in our party agreed that there will never be another 7 day cruise again. The staff and crew aboard the Bliss get 10 stars for all their hard work. We did an Alaska cruise on the Bliss last July and this trip seem 100% better than the last. The activities and nightly shows where all professionally presented and with 5000 people on the ship, it never really seemed crowded. The food, OMG!!! Unbelievable, we meet the executive chef, who became quite friendly with our group. He would surprise us with special deserts and send cookies to each of our state rooms. Thank You Mohammad, for being so thoughtful. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Bakery at Noon is a joke that a group of us that met on the ship came up with - long story Overall the cruise leaving Miami to LA thru the Panama Canal was very nice. We met some extremely great people and the Panama Canal was ... Read More
Bakery at Noon is a joke that a group of us that met on the ship came up with - long story Overall the cruise leaving Miami to LA thru the Panama Canal was very nice. We met some extremely great people and the Panama Canal was amazing. The ship is beautiful and is kept extremely clean. Our cabin steward Nollie was very good. Thank you to Rommel - Michael - Carlos (bartenders) for doing a great job and making the trip fun. GOOD 1) Jersey Boys - this show is excellent 2) Garden Buffet - thank you NCL for changing the layout to make it less crowded and the food selection was pretty good for a buffet 3) Race Track - it was a lot of fun - something that just about anyone can do 4) "Q" - plenty of food and the meats are very good 5) Los Labos - great food and plenty of it 6) Pool - thank you NCL for making this area larger and getting rid of the smoking area by the pool 7) Casino - again good job NCL enclosing the smoking area to help reduce the smoke smell from being all over the ship 8) Ship staff - overall the vast majority are very good but NCL needs to work on the staff being able to speak English and more attentive to the customer. Sorry but I felt many were just going through the motions. 9) Observation Lounge - beautful area and great for lunch BAD 1) Bartenders - I know most of the people have the beverage package but at least act like you care - except for the 3 bartenders I metioned before. The worst bartenders are in the Observation Lounge and the bar between Cagneys and Los Labos. 2) Cagneys - this was my favorite restaurant on the Escape and Getaway but on the Bliss the service was terrible and the steaks are tough and tasteless. We dined there twice on this crusie and it was the same both times. The service staff is guilty of just going through the motions and could care less about you as a customer. 3) La Cucina - I love Italian Food - they should try serving it there. Italian food has garlic in it and La Cucina must have not gotten that memo. 4) Havana (the show) - one word "terrible" - don't waste your time. We were on this ship for for 15 days and were never bored. I went on this cruise with concerns about having so many at sea days but I have to admit it really was enjoyable. Speciality Restaurants are not really that special - NCL you need to kick it up a notch. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We really really wanted to sail on the Bliss. The ship exceeded our expectations. The food was great, but what was needed was more time, perhaps another week or two to continue our good time aboard the Bliss. We enjoyed all the ... Read More
We really really wanted to sail on the Bliss. The ship exceeded our expectations. The food was great, but what was needed was more time, perhaps another week or two to continue our good time aboard the Bliss. We enjoyed all the entertainment, the hypnotist, the juggler, the magician, the Jersey Boys, Havana and the dancers. All made the evenings more to look forward to and daily meeting new friends. The fun show Deal or No Deal was a favorite. We enjoyed the atmosphere of happy faces all around the ship. On the way home we realized we could easily turnaround and go back for more happy times on the BLISS. We enjoyed the Garden Buffet, the Local Restaurant and the Observation Lounge on deck 15. There was great Country Music in the Steakhouse and Ribs restaurant. My wife had fun in the Casino and the shops had some nice Panama Canal tee shirts. So overall we have many good memories of this Cruise. Thanks to the people of Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had a beautiful 15 day cruise through the Panama Canal. The ship is gorgeous, the food delicious, and the entertainment spectacular. Our cabin steward Komang, was very helpful and polite. We found the staff to be friendly and attentive. ... Read More
We had a beautiful 15 day cruise through the Panama Canal. The ship is gorgeous, the food delicious, and the entertainment spectacular. Our cabin steward Komang, was very helpful and polite. We found the staff to be friendly and attentive. We visited Cagney’s three times and each time both the food and service was outstanding. I visited the spa and had a very relaxing facial. There was a hypnotist on board that had everyone cracking up during her shows and informative during her seminars. We enjoyed both the anthropologists talks and the one given by the Captain and Chief engineer. Our excursion in Columbia was great. Our tour guide Victoria was a wealth of knowledge, teaching us about the fort and the culture in Columbia. Bravo! However, our excursion to Costa Rica was terrible. Our tour guide Jose for everyone along with the bus driver were over 10 minutes late getting to the bus after our first stop at the store. We had a few passengers on the tour that wanted to get back on the bus early so they could sit. Some had disabilities and needed to sit. There were no seats saved for them in the front so they had to walk to the back of the bus. The tour was Scenic Costa Rica, we saw a mango tree a Brahma bull, a cashew tree, a soccer field all from our bus. We were taken to a small park where we saw children dance and look for money. They were cute but by that time we were totally discussed with the tour. Stay away from that tour! Our other issue was the transfer we booked on board the ship. We had a wonderful porter that helped us find our bus. Our bus broke down about 3 miles from the port! We were going less than 5 miles an hour on the freeway with tractor trailers blowing their horns at us, passengers yelling to the driver to get off of the freeway, passengers calling the state police. It was crazy. The driver wasn’t giving us much info. Finally he said a new bus would be there in 10 minutes. My husband and other passengers got off of the bus to unload the luggage so we could get it back on the new bus quickly. The bus never came! After about 45 minutes we called an Uber so we didn’t miss our flight. People were calling cabs and worried about standing on the side of the road with their luggage and possibly missing their flights. Some elderly folks without cell phone. I told the cab driver to radio to have more cabs come. It was a very scary experience. We loved the Bliss and would go back on in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin on the 8th floor was very nice. If you drink, the drink package is well worth it. Our ultimate wi-fi internet package was a bust. We canceled after 3 days as we could not get on.Still waiting for a FULL ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. Our cabin on the 8th floor was very nice. If you drink, the drink package is well worth it. Our ultimate wi-fi internet package was a bust. We canceled after 3 days as we could not get on.Still waiting for a FULL refund. The staff was great on the whole with just a few exceptions whom I am sure will be weeded out. Favorite restaurant La Cucina - veal marsal was great as was the pasta. Also Los Lobos - great tableside guacamole. Order the filet mignon at Cagney's Steakhouse. Teppanyaki was fun and a good way to meet people. Q, Le Bistro and Ocean can be missed. Missed out on the shows. Heard Happy Hour Prohibition was great. Make reservations as soon as you are able. Some of our favorite staff (not sure who picked who- them or us) were: At the Whisky bar Jelica Mihajlovic and Razvan Correa We stopped to visit them each night. During the day at the Wave Bar Glen Gomes made sure we were well hydrated. In the Manhattan Room Wine Stewart Efren Abarico was our guy. During the great piano playing by Jim Badger In the District, Engelbert Gutierrez kept us happy. Talk about happy, Cabin Stewart Christian Paz (who was taking care of guests down the hall) made us smile each time we saw him, which was 2-3 times a day.What a great attitude he had. If he did not make you happy to start your day you are a grump. I hope you get a chance to meet these great people. Bring clips for your pool towels and plenty of sun screen. The Observation Lounge is very relaxing. Lovely at the bar will keep your cocktail coming. Had a great massage but the attempt to upsell after took the zen out. Tried the accupunture seemed to have been some help but beware that a session is a side (I had thought a session was as it implied a full session). Since I had to do 2 sides it was double of what I expected. Luckily they did not try to upsell me, as they did some nice people we met on th boat. We nick named the cruise "upsell on the sea". Signed up for the spins classes and the PT, both good -avoided the upsell on that. If we did not have a large group going on the ship in October we would not cruise on this line again. It may have been that 15 days was too much for us. You can only eat, drink and be merry for so long. Maybe the shorter 7 day will change our mind. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We have just been introduced to NCL when we bid on a cruise at an American Cancer Society auction. We chose the Escape (western Caribbean) for this first experience. We enjoyed it so much that we booked our next cruise while on board. Six ... Read More
We have just been introduced to NCL when we bid on a cruise at an American Cancer Society auction. We chose the Escape (western Caribbean) for this first experience. We enjoyed it so much that we booked our next cruise while on board. Six months later we had the most marvelous cruise experience on the Bliss. There isn't anything I would have wanted to change. We took advantage of nearly EVERYTHING the ship offered. The staff is so well trained, so professional, and so personable! The size of the ship could be daunting to some people, but we have found that the restaurants and common areas are designed in such a way that you never feel like you are being 'herded' with the masses. I particularly felt the entertainment was extraordinary. We were treated to "The Jersey Boys," 'Havana' and 'Prohibition, the Musical.' The food cannot be matched...it's sumptuous, plentiful, and diversified. We have already pre-booked our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This brand new Breakaway Class ship from NCL is amazing. I am NCL Platinum Plus and have sailed on a number of NCL's ships, both smaller and mega sized BUT this one is unique. It's really beautiful. Some of the features will ... Read More
This brand new Breakaway Class ship from NCL is amazing. I am NCL Platinum Plus and have sailed on a number of NCL's ships, both smaller and mega sized BUT this one is unique. It's really beautiful. Some of the features will remind you of the Breakaway or Epic, but this ship has lots of new cool venues.....like a go-cart track on top (was so fun) and laser tag. A full-service real STARBUCKS.....just to name a few. And the ship has some of the favorites, too, like SPICE H2O, Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro, Garden Café, etc etc. Speaking of dining, a couple of new restaurants Q and Los Lobos were excellent. Food Republic is on this ship (and I think only also on The Escape) and was totally awesome. But, I also ate several times at The Garden Café and all three MDR's and I thought the food everywhere was EXCELLENT. The crown jewel though is the Observation Lounge. I've never seen anything like it. It is huge, spacious, plush and very comfortable....with spectacular views. Just overall, great cruise with great service which is one reason I have stayed exclusively with NCL is their absolutely amazing service.....consistent amazing service I should add fleet wide. In closing though, this ship is a must see even if it is a short cruise, you have to see it to fully appreciate it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
What a wonderful trip. We started our adventure from Miami. We arrived a day early and spent the evening at the Romero Britto Gallery in Liberty Square. After a fun outdoor dinner we went back to our hotel filled with excitement for the ... Read More
What a wonderful trip. We started our adventure from Miami. We arrived a day early and spent the evening at the Romero Britto Gallery in Liberty Square. After a fun outdoor dinner we went back to our hotel filled with excitement for the next days boarding. I had been told by other cruise passenger that the Miami Cruise port was a difficult port to deal with, long lines, difficult port personnel etc. So I was prepared for the worst and hoping for the best. As our Uber car dropped us tat the luggage area, a very kind and respectful person welcomed us, took our luggage and directed us to the correct entrance. Well this wasn't the experience I was expecting, Next we looked up at the ship, starring at the waterline and then looking up and we continued looking up and up and up. This was the biggest ship we had ever seen. I remember thinking to myself how does this thing float. It was huge. At the very top we noticed a water slide that jetted out over the edge of the ship. After having such a good experience with our luggage porter we walked into the terminal, (here's where I figured the problems would happen) again to my dismay there were folks waiting to direct us to the proper area to check in and within 15 minutes we were on our way to security and then onto the ship. After hearing the stories about the port of Miami, I have to say this was the smoothest check in process we have ever experienced. Kudos to all in the cruise port. As we boarded the ship the first thing we noticed was folks crowed around large touch screen TV's , all working feverishly to secure show reservations, or dinner reservations. Never having cruised with Norwegian I wasn't quite sure what was going on, but figured we should stand and watch for a bit. After a few minutes I realized these folks were trying to get the best dinners times, best show times etc. I said to my wife, I don't have any idea what times we want for anything yet and we decided it was our vacation and we'd let the chips fall as they may and we'd book later, after we sailed. Our rooms were not yet ready so we ventured to the buffet area for a bite to eat. As we walked into the buffet, there were so many folks and an almost chaotic feeling in the area. For a moment I thought we had made a mistake booking on such a large cruise. After we made our plates we tried looking for a place to sit and as I said earlier it was a bit chaotic, we must have had the OMG what have we done look on our faces as one of the staff members approached us and said if we wanted more seating the observation lounge was on floor below us. We thanked him and set off to find the observation lounge and hopefully seating. Much to our surprise, not only was there seating but the chaos of upstairs was gone, replaced by floor to ceiling pictures windows looking out over the port, the water and the city in all directions. The lounge was huge, decorated in beautiful Shades of Black, Greys and Whites with beautiful hardwood flooring that looked like a path through a forest of tucked away sitting areas. As we made our way to the back of the lounge we were greeted by a very large center bar that had been designed to in no way block a view from any sitting positions. This was to become our favorite area and we spent many hours watching the view, talking to the wonderful wait staff, and exploring new drinks with the help the bartenders. Our favorite is the Mudslide, they are fantastic and each evening I'd enjoy a Grand Marnier as we watch the sun set. Once our room was ready started our trek to find the room, as we were walking towards our room, our room Steward (said his name was V) greeted us and asked if we had any difficulty in finding our rooms. We said no, it was quite easy to find. He said this was the easiest ship to navigate, there are only two banks of elevators and once you are on the correct floor all we had to do follow the fish on the carpet, they were swimming towards the front of the ship. Our room was very nice, about the size we had expected, with one exception, the closet. While long enough the depth of the closet is very small and coats hanging in the closet had to turn on the side in order for the closet to actually close. The TV was, at first as a bit of a challenge, but once we figured it out we used it each day to plan our events. We also figured how to schedule reservations for restaurants and shows. What we found interesting is we were able get the times and restaurants we wanted without having to work with the crazy scene that happened earlier in the day. As each day progressed the ship felt less and less busy, and there were times when there were only a few dozen folks were in the observation lounge. Food on the ship was wonderful, some of the best we've ever experienced. We very much enjoyed the freedom of being able to eat when we wanted. Deciding each day if we wished to eat early or late. The excursions were done quite well, and we enjoyed each new adventure. Our favorite was the Zip line through the rain forest in Costa Rica. When we had Sea Days, we enjoyed the activates offered throughout the ship as well as the Park West Art Gallery. Chris and his crew were wonderful. We ended up purchasing several items to add to our collections. Passing through the Panama Canal was interesting to watch as this was the biggest cruise ship to have ever gone through the canal, and there was press, and drones that flew by the ship as we moved though the journey. To sum the trip in a few words, it was wonderful. I would recommend this passage to anyone thinking of going through the canal. The Bliss is a large ship that doesn't feel large, (after the first couple of hours) and there is so much to do. We plan on doing this trip again in the future, but we'll go from LA to Miami. Thank you for a great vacation and we look for many more vacations with Norwegian. Bud and Lorraine Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Chose for the itinerary plus the fact of being a new big ship Cabin 14th deck balcony had excellent views. TONS of storage and well designed spaces. Shower did however leak onto the floor. Decor was interesting, sophisticated. Has call ... Read More
Chose for the itinerary plus the fact of being a new big ship Cabin 14th deck balcony had excellent views. TONS of storage and well designed spaces. Shower did however leak onto the floor. Decor was interesting, sophisticated. Has call buttons to alert staff to make up rroom or do not disturb. Food was the star. EVERYWHERE you went the food was outstanding. Willing to even endure the buffet lines due to quality of the buffer, including excellent Indian and Asian dishes to rival any Asian restaurant. Main dining room very noisy unless you sat at one of the areas with a lower ceiling. We preferred the other two included restaurants TASTE and SAVOR which were essentially twins with slightly different color schemes. Food was consistently first class and varied every day. Went to BISTRO but service was so slow we missed seeing HAVANA show which only played 2 nites. Cagneys was just so so-food was cold and somewhat indifferent for the price. Japanese steak house could be fun depending on the energy of your chef but food was great. Cons-gym was tiny, entertainment cheesy except for the Jersey Boys and UPTOWN Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I was on the Panama Canal cruise in May 2018 as the ship was being moved over to the Pacific side of the world in order to do Alaska cruises this summer. This was my sixth cruise with Norwegian, and my 44th cruise overall. Even though ... Read More
I was on the Panama Canal cruise in May 2018 as the ship was being moved over to the Pacific side of the world in order to do Alaska cruises this summer. This was my sixth cruise with Norwegian, and my 44th cruise overall. Even though I've done more cruises with Carnival than any other cruise line, in recent years I've come to think of Norwegian as my cruise line of choice. It really seems to be the best fit for me, for numerous reasons which I'll try to expand on here. I was really impressed with the design of the Norwegian Bliss, and noticed numerous improvements over her sisters... Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, and Norwegian Breakaway. The most important improvement was the addition of the observation lounge at the front of the ship, and moving the buffet up to the front of the ship, too. This provides two fantastic indoor spaces where you can sit and enjoy great views ahead of the ship. We spent a LOT of time at these areas at the front of the ship, enjoying drinks, food, and fantastic views, without dealing with wind or any other kind of weather. The way NCL put a variety of comfortable seating in the observation lounge was absolutely brilliant. There is everything from chairs to couches and even super-comfortable loungers. Whoever designed the observation lounge hit a grand slam home run with this one. My only suggestion for future NCL ships would be to add a staircase at the very front of the ship, between the observation lounge and the buffet dining area. We frequently could not find an available table anywhere in the entire buffet restaurant and had to either settle for a table outside near the pool or down one level in the observation lounge. A staircase at the very front of the ship, connecting the observation lounge and the buffet restaurant, would lessen the seating shortage at the buffet restaurant. Another great improvement over the previous generation of ships was the addition of the go-kart racetrack, which really was a lot of fun. Some people complain about the $7 charge to ride the go-karts, and cite it as an example of nickel-and-diming by NCL. But I completely disagree, and understand that the small fee is necessary to prevent huge long lines that would occur if the go-kart were available at no extra charge. If I were in charge, I think the fee might be $5 instead of $7, and there would be no fee for Haven guests. Speaking of The Haven, even though I wasn't staying in The Haven on this particular cruise, I did get a tour... and I like the changes they've made over the previous generation of ships. The two-level lounge with views forward is a brilliant improvement. There were also some really nice improvements made to The Haven Sun Deck, including an improved arrangement for loungers and daybeds, and a really cool set of bar stools that looks over the bow of the ship and has spectacular views. I love the waterslides on Norwegian Bliss. There's only one vertical-drop waterslide, compared to two on the previous generation of ships... but one is enough... and there is a really cool waterslide where you sit on an inner tube and get a very gentle but fun ride that won't scare anyone, but everyone will enjoy. The vertical-drop waterslide is only for thrill seekers... it will scare the heck out of you, but it's also a lot of fun. Of all 44 cruises I've been on, the food and dining on Norwegian Bliss was the best match for my tastes. I've never enjoyed cruise ship food more than I did during this cruise. Not only was the buffet excellent, especially the breakfasts, which were the best I've ever had on a cruise ship... but I also enjoyed several good dinners in the Manhattan Room (one of several main dining rooms onboard, at no extra charge)... as well as the wide variety of specialty restaurants, including a couple of new ones that the previous generation of ships did not have. The best new specialty restaurant was Q, which is the Texas smokehouse. I loved the food I had at Q, and I hope this restaurant finds its way on to other NCL ships. Fantastic idea, perfectly executed. Well done, NCL! When I first heard they eliminated the Brazilian steakhouse in favor of a whole new restaurant idea, I was disappointed. I used to love the Brazilian steakhouses on the previous generation of ships. But Q was even better. I also enjoyed my meal at Los Lobos, the new Mexican food concept. Mexican food is so popular in California, where I live, that I'm glad to see NCL is starting to embrace it. They do need to take it even further, though... adding a Mexican station in their buffet at every lunch and dinner. I don't think NCL fully understands the popularity of Mexican food, but Los Lobos is a good step in the right direction. I also had good meals in La Cucina, Cagneys, and Margaritaville. Be aware that Cagneys is the most popular and that it's nearly impossible to get a reservation there unless you make your reservation from home, before the cruise. If you expect to just board the ship and then make a reservation at Cagneys, you will be disappointed. I love the idea of Margaritaville, but I think NCL needs to make a few adjustments. The extra fee they charge to eat there is WAY too high, and therefore the restaurant is under utilized. In other words, there are an awful lot of empty tables... which is a big waste, considering how overcrowded the buffet is. I know that it would not work to have no additional charge at Margaritaville... it would get too crowded... but they need to lower the extra charge significantly until they find the price point that will fill those seats at Margaritaville. Right now, it's just a waste of potential that there are so many empty seats there. Something that really surprised me during our cruise was how good the Internet connection was for downloading and uploading files. I create videos for YouTube, and normally I have to wait until I'm home to upload cruise videos... because the upload speeds on most cruise ships are dismally slow. But on Norwegian Bliss, I was uploading gigantic video files in a matter of a couple of minutes. I had never seen anything like that, even on Royal Caribbean, which uses an entirely different (and superior) kind of satellite network than all the other cruise lines do. Royal Caribbean's use of the O3B network gives them very low ping times, which means very little latency in the Internet connection, which means that when you use the Internet it feels very fast and responsive to your clicks. The system Norwegian uses doesn't offer the low latency and responsiveness that Royal Caribbean's system uses, but what it does offer is extremely fast upload and download speeds. So as you click things, it doesn't really respond that quickly to your clicks, but once you start it doing a big upload or download, that occurs extremely fast. That's great for someone like me who uploads and downloads big files. However, in order to take advantage of that, I did have to purchase the most expensive Internet plan that NCL offered, which cost $30 per day. Other lower priced plans are available, but they are limited to having access to only certain sites. For example, on the lower priced plans you CAN post to Facebook and Instagram, but not to YouTube. Also, the speeds are throttled... so even though NCL's network has tons of bandwidth, you don't get full advantage of it on the lower priced plans. On the $30 per day plan, I was quite impressed, though! So, if you absolutely need high speed Internet during your vacation, for some business reason, the $30 per day plan is the one that offers the super fast speeds needed for video conferencing and video uploads. Another thing that really impressed me about this cruise was how experienced and competent the crew was. NCL must have cherry picked their best crew members from the rest of their fleet to staff this new ship. These folks all seemed to really know what they were doing, even though this ship had just come out of the shipyard. Earlier this year, I did a cruise on the MSC Seaside, and at the time of my cruise the MSC Seaside staff had already had something like 6 or 7 previous cruises to work out some of the kinks in the learning curve... yet I still witnessed numerous examples of things that the crew just was not good at yet, and needed more time to learn and improve upon. On Norwegian Bliss, there had basically only been one previous cruise... the transatlantic... before our Panama Canal cruise. Yet this crew was impressive in how well they did everything. If I hadn't known it was really only their second cruise on this ship, I never would have known it from the crew's behavior. They seemed to know exactly what they were doing, and they performed extremely well. After 44 cruises, I can tell when things are going well and when they are not, and this crew did everything very well. Bravo! Embarkation was among the many smooth operations I witnessed... and I was absolutely FLABBERGASTED by how smooth the self assist disembarkation went. I had never seen any disembarkation go that smoothly in all of my cruises. The only reason I can think of to explain how that happened was that perhaps, since it was a 15-day cruise and a much older-than-usual group of passengers, there must have been far fewer passengers doing self assist disembarkation than usual, and more requiring the full service disembarkation. Because when we walked off the ship with all of our luggage, it was completely un-crowded and we made the quickest disembarkation we have ever made from a cruise ship. Entertainment was also excellent on the ship. I like the shows and all the music they had. I already mentioned that cruise I did a few months earlier on the MSC Seaside. Entertainment on that ship was a joke. I hated the entertainment on that ship. It was SO much better on Norwegian Bliss. Where MSC seemed to be trying to do their entertainment the cheapest way possible, it sure looked to me like Norwegian spent a ton of money on the various musical acts and other entertainers for this ship. There was such a large variety of entertainment acts... a little something for everyone... even something you almost never see on a cruise ship... a country music band. Not a cover band from the Phillipines trying to sing country songs with an accent... a genuine American country music band that was actually pretty darned good. And there was a cover band from the Phillipines, and a soul/Motown group, and a female headliner performing with the ship's band, and a female singer/comedian that was kind of like Weird Al on estrogen, and a Beatles tribute band, and a full-length broadway-style show about the Four Seasons, and more. It was impressive... how much money and effort NCL put in to entertainment on this ship. The comparison to what I saw on MSC Seaside made me laugh... NCL did such a better job at keeping me entertained! If you ever happen to do a Panama canal cruise, be sure to spend a lot of time looking in the water when the ship is off the coast of the southern portion of Mexico. I'm not talking about the Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta part of Mexico... I'm talking about the area much further south, such as near Acapulco, and even farther south than that. When your ship is in that area, keep an eye on the water. You will see an incredible amount of sea life such as turtles and sting rays... much more than you'll ever see on a Caribbean cruise or even a Mexican Riviera cruise. For the entire day we cruised off the coast off southern Mexico, we spent time on our balcony looking at the water, and we literally saw hundreds of green sea turtles. If you've sailed on previous NCL ships, you will notice that they've continued with their tradition of building an excellent thermal suite within the spa. It's one of my favorite features on NCL ships, and I always try to book a spa cabin or a Haven Spa Suite so that I'll have full access to the thermal suite at no additional charge. On the previous generation of NCL ships, the thermal suite was at the front of the ship. On this new ship, it's at the aft end, with a beautiful view of what's behind the ship. For this particular cruise, since it was 15-days and also since it was a brand new ship, the price of a Haven Spa Suite was just out of my reach... so I booked a spa mini suite instead. I can definitely recommend it! A mini suite gives you a much large bathroom and shower than you get in a regular balcony cabin... and the difference between a cramped shower and a shower roomy enough for two people makes a huge difference to me in how much I enjoy my overall cruise experience. I hate starting the day with a shower in a tiny, cramped shower! If you can afford a Haven Spa Suite, you really should go that way, though! They've made the Haven Spa Suites much bigger on this ship than they were on the previous generation. So, I give Norwegian Bliss my highest recommendation! This is the cruise ship you should sail on, if you want to see what the state-of-the-art looks like in cruise ship design. Since it's the newest ship in the fleet, NCL is charging the highest prices for the privilege of cruising on this ship. I thought it was worth it, but if money is tight for you, you may want to consider Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, or Norwegian Breakaway instead. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did the initial Panama Canal cruise on this ship. As always I will keep it simple and do a Pros and Cons section below. The biggest issue we had on this cruise was the ports and the dining room foods. The buffet foods were great. ... Read More
We did the initial Panama Canal cruise on this ship. As always I will keep it simple and do a Pros and Cons section below. The biggest issue we had on this cruise was the ports and the dining room foods. The buffet foods were great. Seated dining not so much. PROS: The ship is amazing Great layout Excellent staff and customer service (Largely Filipino...this is huge) Buffet Food was excellent Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan were both pretty nice ports. The only ones that were decent. Nice variety of entertainment Great pools Plenty of variety of places to relax and get lost Havana the show. Very nice. Laundry bag full of dirty clothes washed for $19. Good deal. The District was a fantastic Brewery. Best ever on a cruise. Food Republic was excellent but no one was ever there. Too many specialty restaurants on this ship and most were not great. CONS: The Ports (Cartegena, Puntarenas should not be spots to stop. You have to take a minimum of a 90-120min ride to get anywhere even remotely interesting. The same could actually be said for Guatamala.) You are porting at Shipping Yards. Its bad. Real bad. The Seated Dining food: Average at best. You won't get any Crab or Lobster nights in these nicer restaurants either. They don't actually announce those nights, they just make them pop up in the Buffet at nights. We missed 2 out of 3 after finding out the next day. The Beatles experience: These guys are so out of sync and so out of tune they have no business being on this ship. It's really really bad. The bands like Siglo are much better. Excursion costs: $209 per person to take a ferry out to Tortuga Island in Costa Rica. The bus ride to the boat is 30 mins. The Boat ride is 2hrs!! Each way. Thats 5hrs of your day, gone. When we asked WHY the boat was going so slow we were told to save gas. With 40 people onboard paying $200 each, use your gas. Thats absurd. Norwegian iConceirge was a big selling point. Nice to be able to text with your people you are traveling with onboard. Except it didn't work and no one knew why or how to fix it. Specialty Restaurants are EXPENSIVE. $29 for steaks, $10 for sides etc...$30 for a teppenyaki PER PERSON. Whats the purpose of going on a cruise exactly? They charge for EVERYTHING: Go Carts $7 per person, Lazer Tag $5....why not charge to use the pool and slides? Dartboards, Suffleboard etc....they had them on the Getaway and they are greatly missed. Removing the Brazilian Steakhouse in exchange for Los Lobos was a big mistake. A boat should have a brazilian steakhouse, that was an epic addition on the Getaway that the Bliss deserves. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We flew in to Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at a hotel close to the airport and the port. Embarkation was a breeze but we were in The Haven so were escorted onto the ship as soon as we arrived at the port. We were taken ... Read More
We flew in to Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at a hotel close to the airport and the port. Embarkation was a breeze but we were in The Haven so were escorted onto the ship as soon as we arrived at the port. We were taken directly to the Haven lounge but our room was already ready so we dropped off our stuff and went to the Haven Restaurant for lunch. By the time we finished lunch and went back to our room, our luggage had arrived so we were able to unpack and relax a little bit before setting off to explore the ship. The ship is huge. Amazing but huge. We were still finding new places on the ship the day before we got off. Our cabin was fairly large and the balcony was nice size with 2 chairs and a table. We were on Deck 18 and could look down on the balconies in the Haven on Deck 17 which appeared to be larger and had a lounger and a chair and table. If we do this ship again we would book one of those cabins to get the larger balcony. We tried most of the specialty restaurants since we had the 4 meal dining package and 2 more as Platinum perks (Cagney's, Q's Texas BBQ, La Cucina, Los Lobos, Le Bistro and 4 of the complimentary ones - Manhattan, Savor, Taste and The Local). We were very pleased with the quality of the food and the level of service. Beyond our dining package we also tried The Local one day for lunch and the rest of the time we ate in the Haven Restaurant which was easily as good as or better than any of the other restaurants onboard. We were a little disappointed initially that the menu didn't vary at all but when we mentioned to the Haven restaurant manager that we would like a little more variety, the chef started including a daily special to the lunch and dinner offerings. Of the entertainment offered, we went to see Jersey Boys which was really good and Havana which we also enjoyed. The Beatles show was very disappointing both in quality of the performers and choice of songs. There are so many popular Beatles songs but they seemed to pick all the more obscure ones. The piano player was very good and very funny but seemed to operate more as a comic than a musician and never really sang any song all the way through. It was not a performance that you could sing along with, which is what we enjoyed on other cruises. The level of service we experienced was very high but again one would expect that in The Haven. And the butler, concierge and room steward didn't disappoint. We celebrated several special occasions during the cruise including our anniversary and the butler and room steward decorated our room with balloons and banners and made kissing towel swans with orchid flowers and set the table with white linens, crystal and orchid flowers and left us a really pretty cake. We took the following shore excursions: Puntarenas, Costa Rica A Real Coffee Experience, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala Macadamia Nut Farm, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Tequila, Tiles & Shopping and Los Angeles LA Overview/Farmers Market (ending at the airport). We really enjoyed each of the shore excursions and would highly recommend them. By taking the one in Los Angeles our disembarkation was really easy. Our luggage was taken off the ship very early and segregated in a smaller area in the terminal so was ready when we got off the ship and was really easy to find. The excursion itself helped pass the time until our flight much later in the evening. We would definitely sail on the Bliss again but would probably not do the Panama Canal cruise again. We enjoyed it once but feel no need to do that again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Norwegian Bliss Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.0
Value For Money 3.5 3.5

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