6 Norwegian Bliss Repositioning Cruise Reviews

First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some ... Read More
First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some cities we've never been before, namely Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia. In the past, we cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. These were standard size ships (2,500 to 3,000 passengers). The Bliss is a new (almost 1 year old) "Mega" vessel with a capacity of over 6,000 passengers (although the ship lists it at 4,000 passengers). And despite its immense size, no matter where you go, you were always jammed in with a huge crowd of people. On this ship, be prepared to do a lot of walking. From the back end of the ship to the front (or other way around). Or going up or down stairs from one deck to the next. The elevators on the ship were always jammed with passengers all day and night long. My wife found it very difficult to get around, having had knee replacement surgery recently. • I'll list all the "pros" of my experience first: • Entertainment: "Jersey Boys" was the best show on the ship. Standing ovation. Get your seat a 1/2 hour before the show starts, because it fills up fast. "Havana" was a good latin song and dance review. Elaborate costumes and stage decor. The stand-up comedians were terrific, hosted by Tim and featuring Jay Black and Larry Omaha. Book your seats on your first day on the cruise at the theater asap. I did not go to the Cavern Club shows. Way too late for us. However, "Siglo", their resident rock band that played at functions around the ship (the atrium and the pool) throughout the day were awesome. Be sure to go to the functions at the atrium, there's a lot games and shows with lots of audience participation. If you can find an empty seat, grab it fast. • Food: The best specialty restaurant for us was Cagney's steakhouse by far. Great Prime Rib (16 oz). La Cucina was good, not great. But "Q" was very disappointing and hardly anyone besides us were in the restaurant. I guess they got the word of mouth on it. The main dining rooms are good, The Manhattan room is the best of the mains, be sure to book a dinner reservation (even in the main dining rooms) or else you will wait in a long line before you are seated. Beware the breakfast and lunch service in the main dining rooms are slow, but sometimes a better alternative than the buffet. The Garden Cafe (the buffet, on deck 16) is a mad house. It's the largest buffet restaurant we have ever experienced anywhere and you can have ANY kind of food that you can imagine (asian, italian, mexican, deli, salads, on and on). But you have to scramble to find an empty table and you have to dodge and weave around the other passengers getting their food. Overall, the food at the buffet is standard in quality. Our cabin: see my separate review • The observation lounge: what could be bad about lying on a long lounge chair with a pillow behind your head and overlooking the ocean along with a drink and a snack, This is the observation lounge, a quiet area one deck below the buffet. • The Cons: • The elevators were always jam packed! I would have taken the stairs if my wife wasn't with me. • Excursions: because of scheduling problems, our time at the cities were very limited to a short quick afternoon. Plus, because of the number of passengers, we were very slow in disembarking the ship. Very frustrating. Overall, the cruise had some great aspects with a few not so great aspects. If you come in with a positive attitude and are not annoyed by the bad aspects, you'll have a great time. If you read this review you will know what to expect and figure out how to avoid the bad and indulge in the good. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date April 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 choose this cruise because it was a new ship going through the new locks of the Panama Canal. The crew were excellent and the majority were happy and helpful. The cabin was fine, we had a mini suite which had a nice sized bathroom. ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was a new ship going through the new locks of the Panama Canal. The crew were excellent and the majority were happy and helpful. The cabin was fine, we had a mini suite which had a nice sized bathroom. The ship is too open and very loud. The free restaurants very noisy because they are so open. The entertainment was good when you could get a seat. Having to book for shows was inconvenient. If you didn't book weeks or months before the cruise you didn't get in or you could get in a standby line. Several of the smaller venues seat less than a hundred people and when the ship hold over 4,000 your chances of getting in is nil. The no pay lunch restaurants don't change the menu so that gets old after a few days. Breakfast at the buffet is a disaster with way too many people and not enough space. The ship had to dock in commercial ports due to it's size and getting from the ship to the towns required busses and once again 4,000 people on our ship . The lines were long and the buses not up to what we are used to. We ended up being bussed to one tour destination in groups of four in taxis which took overall two hours and therefore shortened our tour considerably as we were the last to get there. They didn't utilize the theatre for enough activities and over used the atrium where there were way too many people and too much noise. If you went to a customer service desk, shore excursion desk etc which were all in the atrium area you couldn't hear anyone trying to help you because of the noise of the activity going on. Very bad planning. All in all we saw what we wanted going through the Panama Canal but I doubt Ill ever go on Norwegian again and I won't go on any of the mega ships again. Too many people, and having to book for average meals and entertainment just doesn't make for a relaxing holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Review of Norwegian Bliss based on its Maiden Voyage - April 21, 2018 12 Day Transatlantic (TA) Cruise Background: This review is based in part on comparisons with our past experience on 2 Celebrity TA’s, 1 Cunard QM2 TA, 1 Celebrity ... Read More
Review of Norwegian Bliss based on its Maiden Voyage - April 21, 2018 12 Day Transatlantic (TA) Cruise Background: This review is based in part on comparisons with our past experience on 2 Celebrity TA’s, 1 Cunard QM2 TA, 1 Celebrity TP and 2 Celebrity Caribbean Cruises. We have no connection with the travel industry. At the time of our Bliss TA, starting from Southampton UK on 4/21/18, the ship carried about 2200 passengers - or less than 50 percent of its passenger capacity. Similar to all our other cruises, we had a mid-priced Veranda Mini-Suite room on Deck 10 for which the total cost, including all fees, taxes, mandatory gratuities, ultimate beverage package service charge, etc. was $4053.42. That included an Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP), 250 minutes of internet usage, and $125 of On Board Credit (OBC.) Positive Points - The staff is outstanding everywhere, without exception. They lean over backwards to solve problems. I would rate them even higher than our past cruises on other lines. - The food is very good in the Manhattan room and restaurants using the same menu, such as Savor and Taste. We preferred Taste because it was smaller, quieter and more intimate. The food in the Garden Cafe buffet was also very good. - The quiet spots in the Deck 15 Observation Lounge are very, very nice, as is the small buffet available there. As the cruise progressed, others discovered this as well and the space began to reach capacity. - The cabin bathrooms, showers and sinks are wonderful - much better than in the other ships in our comparison. - The talks on upcoming ports (by Janice Leader) were very detailed and complete, including maps, pictures and history. These were much better than we have seen on other ships which just seem to guide you to jewelry stores. - The Jersey Boys, Tenors of Rock and Beatles shows were absolutely outstanding. (In contrast, the Havana show team and sets were very good, but they were tied to a completely forgettable musical score.) - Internet access was good throughout the ship and the speed and delay much better than on the other ships we have been on. - The Gym is quite good, and open early. - We enjoyed the short morning Trivia, Origami and food demonstrations in The Atrium. It is also close to Starbucks, whose coffee we preferred to the ships. Minor Negative Points - OBC cannot be used for mandatory gratuities as on other lines. - There are no daytime enrichment talks (on sea days) as opposed to the rich lecture series we have seen on other ships. On our other crossings there were usually 2 morning talks and an afternoon talk or show in the theater on sea days. - The cabin light scheme, requiring the insertion of our key card before the room lights come on, is cumbersome and unsafe at night. We finally resorted to having one person hold open the cabin door to let in hallway light, while the other person went in to activate the room lights. - The soap dispensers in the public restrooms are of very poor design. Most people could not figure out how to use them, and by the end of the day many were empty. - We had numerous billing errors which took several days to sort out. - Early in the cruise, there was a very noticeable smoke smell on the 8th floor covering the area from the elevators to the Atrium. Smoke was also sucked into the Cavern club when people came in. This got much better as the cruise went on. - There were no seat covers available in the ladies rooms, as there were on other ships. - We paid extra for a mini suite, but the available space seemed about the same as a standard Veranda cabin on other ships. Shelf/cabinet space for storage seemed less than on other ships. - There were no daily world news summary newspapers as on other ships. - There seemed to be no daily announcements from the bridge giving weather, sea conditions, location and area facts as we have become used to on other lines. The daily event announcements were fairly easy to hear. The art auction announcements were the loudest, most frequent, and most annoying. Most Important Points - Even carrying less than 50% of capacity, there was insufficient capacity and excess competition for key events. For example, for evening shows in the main theater (capacity about 870), you needed to line up 30-45 minutes before the show to get a fair seat. At the Cavern Beatles show (which is superb) we arrived 30 minutes early and got standing room only. A few nights later, we arrived 45 minutes early to get a seat. The capacity of that room is only about 250, depending on how many standees can squeeze in. - The same is true of the better specialty restaurants. There is a very good computerized display in the main hallways that shows dining availability. But if you want to eat at the better restaurants you need to book days in advance or accept a poor time. - Consider the value of the Ultimate Beverage Package carefully. At its list price, you would have to drink 7 - 8 drinks per day per person to break even. (We chose it is as one of our bundled benefits, so the break-even point might have been lower.) It also added an additional total of $427.20 in mandatory service charges (covering 2 people for 12 days) to our bill. I should have investigated ala-carte pricing or an alternate use of the bundled benefits more closely. - Consider the useable value of the Specialty Dining Package carefully. You may need to schedule days in advance and may not get in to your desired restaurants. Overall The Bliss is a beautiful ship with an outstanding staff, and we had a very good cruise. But we both observed that, even at less than 50% load, there was a competition for resources that we did not like. A cruise should be a relaxing thing and one should not have to worry about lining up early for something. I cannot imagine what this ship would be like at closer to full capacity. Even a major re-thinking of the number of shows and venue sizes leaves the specter of the need for careful advance pre-scheduling for shows and restaurants. This is not like the casual cruising that we have seen on other lines, and the opposite of the promise of Free Style. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Inaugural cruise, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was beautiful however only 2300 people were on the ship and you could not get a seat in any of the bars to listen to the music. I was in the Haven and the room was extremely small, ... Read More
Inaugural cruise, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was beautiful however only 2300 people were on the ship and you could not get a seat in any of the bars to listen to the music. I was in the Haven and the room was extremely small, never been on anything that small . The room had a bathtub that was so small and curved you could not stand properly I have a problem climbing so I asked for a seat for the tub and they supplied me with one, however,the seat did not fit in the tub . Comforter on the bed Was so heavy it would fall off the bed on the floor when you got up during a good chance you could trip and fall(good thing I travel with a light). The haven restaurant should have a different menu every night or a special for the night you get tired of the same every night. They give you 4 specialty restaurant and that was nice, but it is nice if you could meet people in the haven and eat with them. Food was great and service excellent. Read Less
Sail Date April 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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