8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
9 Helpful Votes
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
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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We did the Trans-Atlantic cruise last year on the Celebrity Eclipse and wanted to try a different cruise line this time around. The Bliss was still being built when we booked last September and looked like an amazing vessel, so we thought ... Read More
We did the Trans-Atlantic cruise last year on the Celebrity Eclipse and wanted to try a different cruise line this time around. The Bliss was still being built when we booked last September and looked like an amazing vessel, so we thought we'd give it a try. This is our third cruise, we did the Caribbean on the Disney Magic back in 2009, which was excellent. Boarding at Southampton was a fairly smooth, we arrived at 2:00pm and most of the passengers were already processed. Baggage drop-off signage could've been better, we had to drag our luggage about half the length of the ship to get it where it needed to be. Our bags rolled, so no big deal. I'm sure they'll get this ironed out soon. There was really no line to deal with processing in, we were in our room within ten minutes of arrival. Our initial room was 11209 aft with a balcony, but my wife bid on an upgrade and received it a few days before while we were still in London. Our new room was a mini-suite, 11109 mid-ship with a balcony and was absolutely beautiful. The entire ship was beautiful and smelled like a brand new car, everything shiny and spotless. We did Norwegian shore excursions in Ponta Degada, Azores and Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Azores excursion was to the Furnas Valley and we had lunch at the Cozido Das Caldeiras. The area reminded us of Yellowstone National Park with all the boiling hotpots and steam coming from the ground. Our outstanding meal was cooked by being steamed for six hours in a large container placed in the ground. We highly recommend this excursion. We also stopped at a tea plantation and tested local brews. We were back at the ship by 5:00pm and heading out to sea by 6:00 pm. Beautiful countryside to enjoy. The Halifax excursion took us to Peggy's Cove, about 40 miles away. Unfortunately the weather was not great, raining heavily at times, but Peggy's Cove was just beautiful anyway. Rain or shine it's worth checking out. We bought the hop-on hop-off bus pass but didn't end up using it because we found a nice restaurant about a 10 minute walk from the ship. The Waterfront Warehouse served the best seafood chowder and lobster I've ever had, and I grew up in New England. Friendly staff and outstanding beer to boot! Can't wait to get back there. The food on board was a hit or miss situation. We liked the Garden Cafe Buffet, beautiful setting in the front of the ship on Deck 16. Good variety but nowhere as close to Celebrity. Ate at the following Specialty Restaurants: Ocean Blue, oysters on the half shell were great but the main meal of sauteed scallops was nothing special; Cagney's Steakhouse, Surf & Turf and the Prime Rib were excellent; Teppanyaki's, the chef chopped and cooked everything right there, excellent Oriental cuisine. Great running commentary by the chef!; Los Lobos, Some the best authentic Mexican cuisine we've ever had. Guacamole salsa made fresh at you table, the chef stopped by to make sure everything was just so. Enchilada's to die for, just amazing. Highly recommend this place.; Margaritaville on the Deck 16, if you love delicious margarita's and Cheeseburgers in Paradise, this is your place to be. When we went for lunch, the Captain and his three senior officer's were having lunch and they looked content. Loved the overhead electric heaters to keep you toasty. The Savor and Taste had excellent atmosphere, but the food was just average. With twenty something restaurants on board, we were just a little disappointed. The entertainment was exceptional. We saw Jersey Boy's in Las Vegas in 2011 and the group of performers on the Bliss put on a high energy version that was perfect. A must see. The Beatles cover band was very good, doing songs from their early years, the Sgt Pepper's era and the Abbey Road years. The Cavern Club was small and cozy so get there early for all shows if you want a seat and table. We arrived an hour and a half before the show, sixth in line and the line got very long. If you loved the Beatles, well worth the wait. The highlight of the voyage for us was going under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge (all lit up) into New York City at 1:00am and then passing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Most of the passengers were up and about to see this. To top off the trip, we docked at Pier 88 in downtown Manhattan next to the aircraft carrier Intrepid, with an SR-71 on it's deck. Overall a very enjoyable voyage with just a few minor gripes on our part, but I'm sure Norwegian will correct within a few sailings. Customs at the Port of Manhattan was smooth and professional, all the Customs Officer's were friendly and helpful. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I’ve taken out on inaugural trips the latest Norwegian ships since the Epic, so Bliss was the latest. Having sailed Escape in 2015 I was familiar with the core layout and so concentrated on what is different for this ship. The ... Read More
I’ve taken out on inaugural trips the latest Norwegian ships since the Epic, so Bliss was the latest. Having sailed Escape in 2015 I was familiar with the core layout and so concentrated on what is different for this ship. The bad points first (then we will get to the good points). No Moderno ☹️. My favourite restaurant in the fleet has been replaced by a Mexican which I didn’t fancy. Moreover not many others did, everytime I went by it it was near empty! New Cagneys menu. No baked potato Soup?!!! Or Oreo cheesecake . Also they have increased the prices so the larger filet is now over the $20 platinum limit (you can pay the upcharge if needed) Non theatre ents: lacking. No white hot / glow party. The caliante? Party was a bit of a flop, maybe better in warmer weather as a deck party but not in Alaska so not sure how that works. The skyline bar has now been swallowed up by the Casino and no longer the night venue. Instead the comedy club social doubled up as a half decent if sometimes cramped nightclub venue. No Howl at the moon either! The bar ents sang the same songs and the Beatles were the worst tribute act I’ve ever heard (and can’t unhear). There was another band that played in the Cavern which were half decent if you could get a seat. The Good points: The headline shows Havana and Jersey Boys we’re both great! I was a bit suspect as Jersey Boys out of my age range but sat through the 1hr 45mins clapping and tapping away. Havana was also a hit. The guest ents like tenors of rock were also great acts. Go-kart racing- was a lot more exciting than I thought it would be and well worth the $7 charge. Similarly the laser tag at $5 was a youthful blast from the past. Smokehouse venue, much better use of this venue and a late night bar. The food was really good and first time I’ve failed to finish a portion! All dining services were great, the crew were all great. The Brewhouse had loads of beers And lasted a lot longer than on Escape with some guest ales from Canada being added when we reached Halifax. Embarkation and disembarkation were fine, although we were at only about 50% capacity I had a trip into the Haven and it looks fantastic! The observation lounge was a bit hit and miss. It’s big, the bars at the very front, the toilets and the very back .. the walk in between at some stage resembled a cross between a retirement home and an inside sun deck with people sprawled out over sofas and yes some even had towels on the Chaisse long in the morning! The Internet when it was working was fastest I’ve had on any of the fleet and was able to stream live video from the ship during several events. Now if only they could bring back howl of the moon, white hot party and sort out a better night venue (smokehouse would have been better in my opinion) oh and Moderno it would have got 5* but can only give it 4*. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We did the first transatlantic trip on this boat. The ship is beautiful, the staff attentive and the food was sublime. Well it should be as they had pulled the best of the best crew for this trip. There was some training in evidence and ... Read More
We did the first transatlantic trip on this boat. The ship is beautiful, the staff attentive and the food was sublime. Well it should be as they had pulled the best of the best crew for this trip. There was some training in evidence and we did have some snagging going on but I personally had no problem with this. I did have a problem with the extremely limited smoking facility. It was improved slightly during our stay but you either had to get very cold and wet on the H2O deck or go in the humidor which was a small box of a room which held about 20 people comfortably but was often filled with far more This was not fair on the cigar smokers who do not like to be surrounded by cigarette smoke when enjoying the very expensive cigars they purchased. The range of cocktails was good and they were freshly made on the whole. The food was really nice, we mainly ate at the Garden Cafe and the variety and amount of food was such that any one could have a good meal at any time. There is a bit too much time spent trying to upsell to you, the deposits on future cruises does not need to be mentioned several times a day, give the info and let people make their minds up, if you go to the demos about good posture or acupuncture but it is always just another way that they want you to spend money and lots of it, these are not cheap items. There is a lot to do but not always the space to enjoy it. The ship holds over 4,500 guests but the Cavern Club only holds 150, The Q room was always packed out for seminars and is badly planned to allow standing room, The Social was also too small. The theatre is only one level and that is not inclined enough so at the back it is very hard to see what is going on with all the heads in front. I am disabled and from a disability point of view I could not easily enter the H2O smoking area as the pathway was too narrow for the chair and I could not even begin to get into the humidor. There was a place to smoke in the casino but you could not smoke unless playing a machine or at the tables and I do no gamble very much. The staff soon chased you out even if you were playing a slot or table that was not available in the very small area of the casino that smoking was permitted. The 2 ports that we stopped at on the Azores and Halifax in Canada were very good although the tours would have been cheaper to have paid locally for. All that said we did have a good 12 days of chilling and having 99% of everything we needed done for us. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
The ship is beautiful, the spa is now located at the back of the ship and a new 2-story, large observatory lounge is forward with the 2nd floor the Garden Buffet. In the Observation lounge: cruisers were putting their feet and laying on ... Read More
The ship is beautiful, the spa is now located at the back of the ship and a new 2-story, large observatory lounge is forward with the 2nd floor the Garden Buffet. In the Observation lounge: cruisers were putting their feet and laying on tables and chairs. Finally, the FreeStyle Daily, directed people to stop putting their feet on those objects and to stop laying on tables: how some people have bad manners! Plus, the majority of the passengers onboard were middle aged and older, and regular cruisers. The food’s temperature was remarkably improved from past experiences on NCL. The crew went out of the their way to make sure everything was “correct.” I booked the Thermal Suite Spa online and was charged an additional 18% gratuity. Had multiple NCL agents say the gratuity was correct and then incorrect with no one through the 800 number helping me. It took 8-days to have the charge reversed, thanks to Jovo Sekulovic, Hotel Director. The spa management never acted on my behalf; Sam Hurst, assistant Spa Manager- tried to help me. CRUISENEXT: did a hard sell on future cruises, I made 2 deposits to discover I was never given the “on board” credit associated with the future bookings. I canceled the both deposits. Tenors of Rock, Hypnotist Brenda Kaye, JERSEY BOYS were terrific. CASINO has enclosed the smoking part of it, which makes the 6th deck more tolerable, especially, when walking through the casino. The minimum bet for Black Jack is now $10/hand. On the 12-night cruise, just about no one played black jack. Automatic shufflers are used at all tables. As on the Getaway in 2017 transatlantic from Miami to Copenhagen, no one was winning in the casino which continues on the 2018 Bliss Transatlantic. There were some winners at the slot machines. Debarkation in NYC at 8am as a walk-off was simple and no lines. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
The opportunity to go on our first trans-Atlantic cruise, on a brand new vessel, with our favourite cruise line was too much to refuse. All of our party were at work the day before the sailing, as we live in the UK and have visited ... Read More
The opportunity to go on our first trans-Atlantic cruise, on a brand new vessel, with our favourite cruise line was too much to refuse. All of our party were at work the day before the sailing, as we live in the UK and have visited Southampton on several occasions in the past, we travelled down on the morning of the cruise. A four hour car journey meant we were in plenty of time for the scrum of a Southampton check-in. The check-ins at Southampton always seem so hectic and disjointed, but passed quite smoothly once we squeezed up to a desk. A bit of advice, if needed, always check in on line, it really helps. Embarkation itself was very easy and passed with no problems. On boarding the Bliss we were a little taken aback, the ship is beautiful. Wide open spaces in the centre of the ship, flanked by great bars and eateries. I liked the way the second MDR had been split in two (Taste and Savor) and the great Mixx bar put in between them. The décor in parts of the ship is art deco or is it art nouveaux? I can never quite distinguish the two, very reminiscent of a liner from the 20's or 30's. The Casino seemed to take up the central portion of deck 7 along with the Local, with the theatre at the bow and the Manhattan Room aft. The piece de resistance was saved for deck 15 .The observation lounge is wonderful and with the front of the Garden Café looking down on it from deck 16 and then moving back through the ship on either side. The pool area was very similar to most pool areas on most cruise liners. The much vaunted go kart track and the laser tag were situated on Deck 18, with the Haven taking up most of deck 17. Thanks to a cheeky minimum bid we were upgraded from inside staterooms facing each other to adjoining balcony staterooms, all on deck 11 midship. Very close to the crew areas on the deck which did get a little bangy on occasion, but hey I got an upgrade for £55 each so I'm not going to complain too much. I thought the cabin was slightly narrower than cabins on other ships and the balcony was tiny but adequate, the bathroom was fine and the toilets seemed quieter than normal. The only real complaint was that our steward was not informed of our latitudes status, probably down to the late upgrade, and there was no bottle of water or fizzy wine. That's not strictly true, there was loads of water due to us being all inclusive, but none for us being Gold. A quick word with our steward and then guest services soon rectified the problem along with some chocolate strawberries courtesy of the Hotel Manager. We don't usually go for any of the Speciality Dining options so mostly ate in the MDR and occasionally in the buffet. The food was good, as it always seems to be. We tried Savor one evening, although it could have been Taste. Our travelling companions are more buffet orientated and raved about how good it was compared to other cruises they have been on, not that any of those were poor. We took in two shows. Havana! which wasn't really my sort of thing, and Jersey Boys which also isn't really my thing, shows aren't really my thing, but Jersey Boys was excellent, if a tad too long. NCL shows are usually very well performed, and these were no exception. Jersey Boys was up there with Priscilla on the Epic. Most of the time we entertained ourselves in the many bars. Particular favourites were Sugarcane Mojito and the District Brewhouse. We sometimes had a look at what was going on in the Atrium and these two things led to my only concerns about the ship. I don't think they're big enough. People were grabbing chairs from elsewhere so they could take in the entertainment on offer in the Atrium and the bars are all on the small size, most open out onto the Boardwalk but are only really utilised in really good weather. The ship coped well with the 2500 passengers aboard, but I'm not sure how it will fare with 4000. As usual the service was excellent, happy smiling faces from the crew, impromptu entertainment from the barstaff, left you with a good feel about the place. Room service breakfast was always on time and correct. It was good. We didn't really go for Port excursions but did pay for the Hop on Hop off Bus in Halifax. I think NCL must have a hook up with the local supplier because we bought the trip once ashore but it was charged to our rooms, missed the 10% discount but it was our own fault for not really taking much notice. So our first trans-Atlantic, would I do it again? Probably, I love sea days. Would I go on the Norwegian Bliss again? Absolutely Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We wanted to take a cruise that would start in Southampton and land in New York. The food, entertainment (Havana, Jersey Boys) and the amenities on the ship was excellent. The staff, seeing that this was a new ship, was very well ... Read More
We wanted to take a cruise that would start in Southampton and land in New York. The food, entertainment (Havana, Jersey Boys) and the amenities on the ship was excellent. The staff, seeing that this was a new ship, was very well coordinated, well trained, extremely polite and very efficient. The games that they had during the off night of major stage productions were well presented and executed by the staff. The comedians they had on board were excellent. Selection of liquor in the Duty Free Store was very limited. We did a room crawl and got to see all the different kinds of rooms available on the ship: Ocean View Category: Front of the ship, very spacious Inside Room: sleeps 4, wall to ceiling room, very much closed in feeling Inside room: for 2 persons, very nice but small Studio room : for singles, very small rooms, but great meeting place for gatherings Balcony Rooms: Nicely appointed Mini Suite: Just means a larger bathroom/tub, no extra room in the other parts of the stateroom when compared to a balcony room Spa Balcony: don't get the tub in the bedroom area concept Spa Suite Haven: very very nice, but very very expensive Overall it was a very smooth cruise across the Atlantic Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose the cruise because it was the maiden voyage for the Bliss and offered the opportunity to stay a few nights in both London and New York. It would have been nice if NCL offered transportation from London hotels to the port in ... Read More
We chose the cruise because it was the maiden voyage for the Bliss and offered the opportunity to stay a few nights in both London and New York. It would have been nice if NCL offered transportation from London hotels to the port in Southampton, something other cruise lines do. Dining on the ship was excellent especially Le Bistro. Ocean Blue was good but not worth the surcharge. We didn't try all the specialty dining but people we talked with were generally impressed. Buffet was fine but coffee was not good. Also missed smoked salmon in the morning something we got used to on other cruises. Really enjoyed the craft beer in the District and JIm Badger cabaret. Entertainment was good, particularly Jersey Boys. Amazing sets and dancing on Havana but forgettable music. Smaller venues were hard to get into (ship just more than half full, no less). Race track was enjoyable. Weather prevented use of pool and water slides except for the very hardy. Not much activity either in Margaritaville Service throughout was impeccable. Lots of places to catch up on reading especially on the observation deck. Library was so-so re selection and hours (books locked up? c'mon). Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was my first transatlantic but I didn't want to miss out being on a brand new ship. We had a great group on the roll call and many events on-board that were set up but ship was the main focus. First off, the crew was ... Read More
This was my first transatlantic but I didn't want to miss out being on a brand new ship. We had a great group on the roll call and many events on-board that were set up but ship was the main focus. First off, the crew was fantastic as always, there were a few hiccups in the newer venues since they were still learning too but everything was easily fixed. The entertainment was great with the new show Havana and Jersey Boys both having a great cast. The singers and bands were also top notch as they played throughout the ship. Food and drinks were some of the best I have had on board an NCL ship I really enjoyed the new venues Q and Los Lobos. I had a studio cabin and the beds have been changed to be a bit smaller which opened up some more area from moving around, I liked the change. The lounge was like the Escape in that it didn't have a bar but it still has the great coffee machine. The only downside to my cruise was that I had purchased a spa pass and unfortunately everything was not working in the pool area. The jets under the seating didn't work the entire cruise and several of the stations were hit or miss for working. Otherwise, it was my best cruise yet. Read Less
Norwegian Bliss Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 3.5 0.0

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