1 New York (Manhattan) to Cruise to Nowhere Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

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
Sail Date May 2018
Norwegian Bliss Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
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 4.1
Value For Money 3.5 3.5

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