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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and ... Read More
My wife and I originally chose this cruise as we live on the West Coast and thought this would be a great way to experience NCL's newest ship. Regarding the ship, it is truly beautiful and provides a multitude of restaurant and entertainment options. The ship and, for the most part, the crew did not disappoint. This review is primarily centered on the itinerary itself, as there were many drawbacks that were not disclosed by NCL at the time we reserved our cabin. For us, the coastal or "repositioning" cruise is a great way to just enjoy the ship and not worry about needing to reserve a bunch of shore excursions. With the Bliss being so new, we felt we could just enjoy the ship for this quick, 6-day cruise. The issues that we encountered deal primarily with both Canadian and US regulations and are not the result of any policies adopted by NCL. However, I think all potential cruisers for this itinerary should be aware of its limitations. First off, be aware that the ship will leave Vancouver in the middle of the night - there is no traditional sail-away party. My wife and I have found this is a great way to set the tone for the cruise - music, dancing, and tropical beverages. Secondly, and I'm not going to be able to quote the exact regulation, but when a ship is in a Canadian port, there is a limit to the number of bars that can be open on the ship (I believe that the regulation is one bar per deck). For anyone who has sailed on a mega ship, you understand that there are multiple bars and lounges on various decks. I realize that this may not be a big deal for many people, but when you reserve a cruise on a ship like the Bliss, you do not expect there to be limitations on where and what you can drink. Beverages that would be available in the District Brew House or the Mojito Bar are not available for two days. In some restaurants (Food Republic and Margaritaville in our instance), the wait staff had to go fill our beverage order at another location, slowing down the service and limiting the choices. Secondly, US Immigration. We were not aware that we would lose half a day in San Francisco because all of the passengers and crew needed to exit the ship in San Francisco to pass through US Immigration. The process started at approximately 9 AM, and we were allowed back on the ship at approximately 1:30 or 2:00 PM. However, once we re-boarded at 2 PM, most venues and services were shut down as the crew was still going through immigration. Services and venues began to open up around 4 PM. Again, this may not matter to most people, especially if you wanted to spend the day in San Francisco and/or go on an excursion, but if you planned to stay and enjoy the ship, it makes a big difference. Lastly, we did observe some reluctance of the crew to enforce rules. Examples include children being in bar areas of certain lounges (and including H2O Spice, and including children actually sitting at the Mondavi wine bar) and tours that included children and babies in strollers going through the Thermal Suite (not on embarkation day, which is normal, but on day 4). Anyway, I would go on the Bliss again but would not choose this itinerary - just too many drawbacks and not enough of an opportunity to just relax and enjoy the ship. I'm sure many people had better or different experiences, but thought I'd share mine as someone who has been on a number of NCL cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Just off the 5 day Coastal cruise Vancouver to LA. I cruised in the solo studio cabins. I loved the studio cabin and lounge concept. The lounge was perfect for snacks and drinks, especially the specialty coffees. Jose who ran the 5 ... Read More
Just off the 5 day Coastal cruise Vancouver to LA. I cruised in the solo studio cabins. I loved the studio cabin and lounge concept. The lounge was perfect for snacks and drinks, especially the specialty coffees. Jose who ran the 5 o’clock meet ups was an excellent host. Wasn’t totally impressed with the specialty restaurants, Teppanyaki was my favorite, Cagney’s was ok, and I didn’t think Ocean Blue was worth the additional surcharge. Food Republic, sushi and dumplings were excellent. Lots of fun activities in the Atrium but be there early to get good seating. Beatlemania performance and the crew show in the theatre were excellent. Loved the Observation Lounge, no problem every finding a spot to sit, chair hogs did not seem to be an issue. The food stations were excellent, I ate my breakfast and lunch there most days, avoiding the Garden Cafe craziness. Star crew member, in my opinion, was Jose from Cruise directors staff, with a second to ‘Jackie Chan’. Disembarkation in Los Angeles went very fast. The only issue, and it was not a fault of NCL, was getting off the ship and through Customs in San Francisco. Started at about 8:30 and last people got through around 1:15. A lack of custom officers seemed to be the issue. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Prior to the ship being built , I booked. I followed this vessel for months and read countless posts and reviews-this is unadulterated. I wish I continued on the next 8 day sailing! The embarkation in Vancouver was sketchy-but it was ... Read More
Prior to the ship being built , I booked. I followed this vessel for months and read countless posts and reviews-this is unadulterated. I wish I continued on the next 8 day sailing! The embarkation in Vancouver was sketchy-but it was their first time with the Bliss. From the moment we boarded it was special. Our cabin (13844-balcony mid) was awesome and clean. The Garden Café fantastic-no problems with food or seating as prior reviews stated. Met a great gang at Spice H2O and we gelled (smoking section)...so I missed all other meet and greets. La Cucina was fabulous/Cagneys was good/ Le Bistro awesome...Savor and Taste great...didn't care for the Local.Mario and team at Spice H2O did a great job at bartending and providing exceptional service. Jersey Boys good, ample theatre. The Beatles show awesome! The Casino was also great-wish more machines but they played nicely!!! the waiters and waitresses were phenominal, food exceptional, drinks great, our cabin steward was so so...do the racing experience! I wish they get rid of Margaritaville-it was dead space. Elevators were also fast-not as many reviews stated. What I realized is that you cant please everyone....many passengers would try to cut lines, complain about trivial things, not respect the staff...it is sad. I met many seasoned cruisers who loved this experience for a larger ship I believe I got hung up with many posts and prior reviews but this was exceptional! If staying in Vancouver-Sutton Place is phenominal! Victoria a nice stop, San Francisco was good-did the Hop On Hop Off and not disappointed-only disappointment was the behavior of a few folks who wouldn't disembark for customs and the behavior of the mob to get back on! The only other thing I can say-the karaoke was dull and machine wasn't good....met many nice new friends from all over! Many friendly people! A few that should have stayed home! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the California Coastal 5 day cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles which stopped in Victoria and San Francisco. After reading reviews on Cruise critic we booked the shows and restaurants we wanted to see before ... Read More
We chose the California Coastal 5 day cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles which stopped in Victoria and San Francisco. After reading reviews on Cruise critic we booked the shows and restaurants we wanted to see before boarding.Boarding was quick and efficient as was disembarking. There was an issue in San Francisco because it was the first US port of entry with immigration.Everybody had to get off the ship and go through immigration. They started with cabins on Deck 15 and worked their way down to Deck 7. That process started at 8.20 am and as we were on Deck 8 we did not get off the ship until 1.30 pm, If you had booked excursions you were let off at 9 am. We did not really eat at the buffet except for a quick bowl of cereal but chose to eat at the Local for breakfast. It had a decent menu and the food / service was good. For dinner we ate at the Taste where it was much quieter than the Manhattan room with the same menu. The selection was good and the food tasted very good. The specialty restaurants we ate at Q and Los Lobos were just alright. Really enjoyed the District with its beer selection and views. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was a short 5 day cruise out of Vancouver with stops in Victoria and San Francisco before disembarking in Los Angeles. We don't normally take short cruises, but we wanted to experience a brand new ship. We had a wonderful time. ... Read More
This was a short 5 day cruise out of Vancouver with stops in Victoria and San Francisco before disembarking in Los Angeles. We don't normally take short cruises, but we wanted to experience a brand new ship. We had a wonderful time. Although this is one of NCL's larger ships we never felt overcrowded or overwhelmed. We have preferred smaller ships in the past but this changed our perspective. We arrived in Vancouver two days early to explore the city. We stayed at the Marriot Downtown Pinnacle. This is a perfect place to stay precruise because it is walking distance to many spots as well as to the cruise terminal. Unfortunately on embarkation day it was pouring down rain, so we took a taxi for a five minute ride. Because the ship arrived empty from Seattle, we were able to board early in the morning, about 10:00. There were no lines at all and were able to get to our room immediately. We immediately began exploring. The ship is easy to get around and all restaurants and bars are easy to locate. We had lunch in the garden buffet. Excellent variety of fresh food. We then checked out the rest of the ship. There is a giant screen TV at the main pool where live NFL football was on. They also show movies there at night. Very cool. Our bags were delivered to our room promptly and we met our room steward who was very pleasant. We are "Platinum Members" and we also had a meal plan so we dined at specialty restaurants each night. We ate Cagney"s which never disappoints, Ocean Blue, La Cucina, Los Lobos and Q. A little disappointed at the selection at Ocean Blue as they did not have lobster. They also dropped my wife's favorite tea that she had on the Getaway. La Cucina has been updated and was very good. Los Lobos and Q are both new restaurants. Los Lobos was upscale Mexican complete with table side guacamole preparation. The rest of the menu was excellent. Q is the new barbecue restaurant and was excellent as well. As far as bars, the new District Brew Pub had a great variety of micro brews on tap. We also enjoyed the on board entertainment. We watched Havana, which was okay, would have preferred more music along the lines of Buena Vista Social Club. The Jersey Boys production was top notch. We also watched a comedy show from Levity. First comedian was okay, the second was hilarious Dylan Mendalsohn. The Cavern Club was a great venue for 60s 70s and 80s music The bands were also great. The cruise only had two stops, Victoria and San Francisco. We have spent time in both places, so we simply walked off the ship and and walked around town. There are plenty of things to do on board, but the only thing we tried was the waterslide that extended over the ship. You get loaded into a tube and the bottom drops out from below you. It was fun and exciting. Disembarkation was a breeze. We were renting a car offsite in order to drive to Disneyland for a couple of days so we carried our own suitcases off, quick and easy. All in all for a short cruise we had a great time. We would love to do the Bliss for another longer cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I'm a platinum member of NCL and been over 12 cruises with the line. I'm a supporter and was looking forward to the Bliss and booked the year before it came out. Four thousand people is a lot to tackle and per the previous reviews the ... Read More
I'm a platinum member of NCL and been over 12 cruises with the line. I'm a supporter and was looking forward to the Bliss and booked the year before it came out. Four thousand people is a lot to tackle and per the previous reviews the elevators especially forward take a long time usually a 5 minute or 10 minute wait. Specialty restaurants where i ate every nite are very good maybe not as good as others I've been on but the biggest problem is the lack of training as well as communication regarding wheelchair accessibility. I walk with a cane and when we got off the ship in San Francisco I got off with the last group since I was told to do so and yet there was an hour and a quarter wait in a circular line to get off the ship and no mention of where wheelchairs would be and embarkation was fine with the wheelchair but disembarkation was an issue as when I arrived to the theater with 45 minutes before the time I needed to get off the ship and there were 9 wheelchairs before mine- was a lot of disorganization .I decided to walk off the ship on my own as I knew I would miss the bus to the airport Etc. A lot of training needs to be done with the staff as I met a lot of blank stares when I ask ed questions as well as their inability to master the iPad which was used to order for the menu. Seems like many staff members boarded the ship right before embarkation in Vancouver. Usually an awesome experience with NCL but Bliss is a work in progress. It's a beautiful new appointed ship but more attention needs to be paid to the details and training and the cruise director plus the assistant dynamic is a little weird and you never saw them on board the ship just on the TV Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We took the five day Pacific Coastal (re-positioning) Cruise on the Bliss and had a great experience. I was a bit nervous having read many mixed reviews about the Bliss but would certainly sail on the Bliss again in the future. There ... Read More
We took the five day Pacific Coastal (re-positioning) Cruise on the Bliss and had a great experience. I was a bit nervous having read many mixed reviews about the Bliss but would certainly sail on the Bliss again in the future. There were some minor negatives, but overall it was an excellent experience. One thing that is clear about the Bliss is that it benefits those that like to plan ahead or, on the other end of the spectrum, those that are extremely relaxed about what they do or do not experience on the cruise (eg just show up and see if it works out). If you are in the middle, it is a lot easier to be disappointed on the Bliss. For those that are planners, making specialty restaurant and show reservations through the NCL website well in advance of departure is a must. I would say make the reservations as soon as you can. Then, once you board, go to a screen on the ship and make go-kart, laser tag and any additional show reservations (those that couldn't be reserved online) right away. This will help ensure the best experience. That being said, if you are not a planner and just go with the flow there seemed to be enough cancellations, no-shows, etc..., that you can do just about everything. Again, you just can't have that expectation. I suspect that many of those disappointed in the Bliss fall somewhere in between these two ends of the spectrum. Those that want to eat at 7pm at Le Bistro or Cagney's on the first sea day, but wait to make a reservation until they get onboard will not be happy. With that being said, some of the points from the Bliss are: Embarkation -- Vancouver + NCL was a great experience -- I never got on a ship so quickly or so easily. Cabin - small but workable space. We had a balcony cabin on the 11th deck and it easily fit 2 adults + a teen. The free movie options on the TV were an improvement. Storage space was good. I felt the bed was a bit firm compared to other cruises. Dining - We ate at specialty restaurants 3 nights, the main dining room 1 night and the buffet 1 night. All were good and we did not have a bad experience. The buffet was a real highlight and one of the better cruise buffets I have experienced. On past NCL cruises it seemed that the staff was slow in cleaning tables at the buffet, that was not the case on the Bliss. The food in the main dining room (Manhattan Room) was as good as the specialty restaurants, but the service was nowhere near as good. Our best meal was at Le Bistro. We also hit up the Local several times on the cruise and feel this is a vast improvement over O'Sheehans. Entertainment and Activities -- Very good experience with Laser Tag and Go Karts. I felt they were expensive going in (they are), but worth it. Bars were good and I especially liked the district brew house -- I hope this concept catches on for additional ships. Pool and slides were crowded even in cooler weather. This is a constant issue on megaships like the Bliss. I will say they added enough hot tubs at different locations and that was a plus. Night club was a ton of fun with better than average cruise DJs. Jersey Boys was amazing, Havana was terrible (I think it was written by a 6th grade drama class that ran out of time). Spa -- Had to set this aside as it was my least favorite aspect of the cruise. The actual set up is nice, so that is not the issue. The problem is the hard sell. Can I just get a sign/flag that says "I don't want to buy anything". The don't have the Brazilian steakhouse on the Bliss, but the green button / red button system could also work. If I am paying $200 for a service, I don't need you to lay into me to buy $250 miracle cream. Sure, let me know what is available, but a sales pitch in the guise of a "consultation" is an awful experience. I was waiting for the attendant to say "well, if you don't want my shampoo for $100 an once, are you interested in hearing about a timeshare I am selling". Service -- Good service, they got the job done with a smile. Ports -- It is not the fault of the ship (it is a customs/immigration issue) but the delay to get off the ship in San Fran should have been explained better in advance. I live close enough to SF that we did not have big plans, but felt bad that were visiting the city for the first and possibly only time. We did not do any ship based excursions. I look forward to the possibility of sailing on the Bliss again. For the right type(s) of traveler it is a really great experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
very disappointing embarkation went smoothly cabin ready when we arrived at noon. cabin small, but appreciated muted colours of brown and teal and coffee maker since room service costs 7.95 per delivery. noisy music blaring ... Read More
very disappointing embarkation went smoothly cabin ready when we arrived at noon. cabin small, but appreciated muted colours of brown and teal and coffee maker since room service costs 7.95 per delivery. noisy music blaring everywhere including the elevator. only cabin and observation deck quiet, except several times day and night, cabin shuddered from slamming doors. pop music played so loud in the cafeteria we took breakfast in our cabin. bar in the cafeteria opened at 6 am food served at 7 am. thank goodness, Savor and Taste restaurants open at 7 am. music loud, but I was not in danger of going deaf. ALL food stations noisy w/ silverware clashing w/ metal Holland America and Celebrity use wooden salad bowls, Princess uses plastic. Bliss uses meta; bowls and metal utensils.-- adds to the constant din. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT WAS THE NOISE IN THE THERMAL SUITE. Some women were talking so loud we couldn't hear the meditation music. I went at 8 am to avoid the crowds. On Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, RCI there r signs requesting silence and the staff remind the rare persons who forget. No signs on the Bliss and no one cares. I sailed on the Epic a couple of yrs ago. The Spa was quiet. even in the main dining room and specialty restaurants, people's voices rose as they drank alcohol. bliss advertised free bar as a perk and most people took advantage of this offer. in fact, because i am a silver member i get a free bottle of wine in my cabin even though i do not drink. no matter how many times i request sparkling water i get wine. some stranger getting off the elevator when i arrive benefits. i suspect the powers that be on Norwegian r alcoholcs. i am diabetic and i tell them every time i sail.-- no one cares Norwegian provides lousy customer service. when we arrived in San Francisco, due to unclear instructions i disembarked early b4 i had eaten breakfast. an officer came to me after i complained to security that i could not wait 4 hrs to get back on ship to eat he assured me he would solve the problem. i was shaking by this time on the verge of passing out. he never returned. i will forever be grateful to Gina from Frisco security who gave me a yogurt from her lunch. NorwegIan also disembarked people in wheel chairs who had to sit for hours b4 returning to the ship why couldn't they have been taken off the ship last, not first? when i finally got back on board i whimpered bitterly to a supervisor about them putting my life in jeopardy. to calm me they sent chocolate coated strawberries and a bottle of wine to my cabin. chocolate and alcohol will kill me. some travel agents already tipsy in the early afternoon benefitted. how hard is it to google diabetic diet? i was so upset i went to a manager at guest sevices who listened, but probably won't implement my simple suggestions eventho she said thet were good ideas. on the plus side, The Jersey Boys show in the theatre was great as were the Beatles impersonators in the Cavern Bar. we left Havana when a young lady on stage took off her bra. for a moment i thought i was in Vegas The food on Norwegoan ships has improved. I like the fact that i can order 3 appetizers and call that dinner. Teppenyaki was terrific except for the woman who spilled her beer on me. the food was almost as good as if i had eaten in Vancouver. Los Lobos served fresh quacamole which was as good. they had IMPORTED the corn from Chilliwack BC i recognozed the peaches and cream corn which was delicious why do i cruise Norwegian? Itinerary and spa. The Bliss stopped in Victoria where my daughter andi had planned to visit the Egyptian Exhibit at the museum. this seemed like a better idea than an overnight in a hotel. BIG MISTAKE Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our second cruise and we were excited to be aboard the brand new Bliss. Overall we had a great time. The food was good but it was disappointing that the three complimentary dining rooms (Savor, Taste, and Manhattan) all have ... Read More
This was our second cruise and we were excited to be aboard the brand new Bliss. Overall we had a great time. The food was good but it was disappointing that the three complimentary dining rooms (Savor, Taste, and Manhattan) all have the exact same menu despite being represented as different restaurants. The food at the Local dining room was good most of the time but inconsistent in quality. Ie. one day my Rueben was perfect and the following day it was so full of fatty meat that it was inedible. Our cabin was clean and in good repair. The boat was spotless. The staff were Friendly and helpful. It was difficult to get a booking at the race track or laser tag as they close when raining. My only complaint about the cruise is the smoke stacks are too close to the upper decks and as a result the soot falls on the rear portions of the boat including the racetrack and H20 bar area. We had several instances of having soot on our hands or clothing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Our first cruise so we kept it short and close to home for this trip. Turns out everything was great. Beautiful ship, great service, good food so overall a really nice vacation. Room was clean and well appointed. Only lineups were after ... Read More
Our first cruise so we kept it short and close to home for this trip. Turns out everything was great. Beautiful ship, great service, good food so overall a really nice vacation. Room was clean and well appointed. Only lineups were after safety / muster point talk. Shows were fun and good quality. Speciality dining was really good. We really enjoyed the meals at Q and Cagney’s. the casino was fun although the smoking room didn’t have much ventilation so it was really smokey. Our only complaint was the time it took for everyone to disembark in San Francisco and get through customs (5 hours) but this had nothing to do with NCL, just US border security. The crew and staff were all very friendly and professional and always took the time to say hello and ask how your day was going. We will be booking a second cruise soon. Read Less
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