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927 Norwegian (NCL) Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

Had great experience in Hawaii, much smaller ship but NCL seems to take very good care of customers. The Joy is a newer ship and I wanted to preview for Alaska but I will not recruise on this ship. Small inadequate spa, missing hot ... Read More
Had great experience in Hawaii, much smaller ship but NCL seems to take very good care of customers. The Joy is a newer ship and I wanted to preview for Alaska but I will not recruise on this ship. Small inadequate spa, missing hot chairs and hot tub, out of the ingredients for the massages I wanted. Long lines for dining and shows, everything sold out on 1st day of cruise, and stand by was no fun. They cancelled Victoria stop a few days before leaving and said it was due to tides. How do they not know the tides, they are available years ahead of time. That was NCL's excuse but rumors were a flying saying the port fees were raised and they did not want to pay. At San Franscisco, it was a long wait to get back on the ship because every one had to disembark and 10 people held it up for everyone and we could not reboard until like 2PM. We came back early from our bus tour because of black out conditions due to wildfires, if we were aware we would be waiting at the pier for hours, we certainly would have changed plans. Lots of kids and very noisy in common areas, no full walk around deck unless you go up to pool deck which is very loud. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
First of all, the employees were awesome and the onboard entertainment was very good; otherwise, we were very disappointed. Our room was an inside room on the 10th floor. There were loud noises from the ship all night long. We never got ... Read More
First of all, the employees were awesome and the onboard entertainment was very good; otherwise, we were very disappointed. Our room was an inside room on the 10th floor. There were loud noises from the ship all night long. We never got a good nights sleep. The noises were NOT from other rooms, it was definitely from the ship. The food was also disappointing. We had 1 evening it was okay. Getting off the ship for excursions was a nightmare as they stopped running the elevators during that time. People were backed up for floors trying to get off. Getting back on was fine. They changed the time on one of our excursions without letting us know and would not work with us to be sure we were able to make it. We didn't and lost our money for it. Overall, we were very disappointed... I would not suggest this cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was a spur of the moment decision due to the Super Bowl Ad offering all the freebies. Mistake, I usually do a ton of research, but not this time, My major take-aways: freebies aren’t ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was a spur of the moment decision due to the Super Bowl Ad offering all the freebies. Mistake, I usually do a ton of research, but not this time, My major take-aways: freebies aren’t worth it unless you drink a lot. Basically, the amount we paid in service charges would have paid for our drinks anyway. Free airfare meant a horrible itinerary, causing an overnight in a hotel that wasn’t free, baggage fees and seat selection costs. Excursion credits we only used twice because NCL excursions are so overpriced that even with the credit they were more expensive than a local guide. The specialty restaurant freebie was probably worthwhile, just to have some variety, though we would have been happy to just do three nights instead of five. And the WiFi package was a joke, since the WiFi didn’t work most of the time. The good: I was afraid 4 days at sea was too many and that we’d be bored, but the games and activities kept us busy. The musical entertainment was very good. I did like the itinerary and the ports of call. The not so good: 1. Seating comfort. Our mini suite cabin had a couch/convertible bed that was so hard it was uncomfortable to sit on. Plus, if you leaned back, it would start to slide forward to create a bed...basically making it impossible to use to watch tv or just relax. The seating in the theatre was horrendous. I stood during one show because I couldn’t take it anymore. The couches in the Spinnaker Lounge also were uncomfortable, canting forward so that you slide off of them. What is wrong NCL? 2. Communication. NCL did absolutely NOTHING in terms of education about the Panama Canal. Wasn’t that the purpose of the trip? The library had no display. There was no lecturer, no channel on tv with the history. Nothing. In fact, no announcement as to when exactly we were going through the canal and suggestions on when to get up or where to view. It was pathetic. Besides the canal, they did a very poor job about all the ports—the only maps we got were incomplete shopping maps. The excursion info was incomplete as well. There is no excuse for people to wonder about the timeline of the excursions, it should be up front. People on the Panama Canal ferry had no idea they would be taking a bus for an hour and a half each way. A bus with no restroom, by the way. There were plenty of people who didn’t know we were tendering at Roatan. NCL had two signs ( with conflicting info regarding timetable) in the entire ship. Why? Why don’t they use the elevator monitors for something useful rather than just listing the floor number? That might be a good place for daily announcements. And why make people run around to the dining rooms to see the menus? Just post them on the app, or on the monitors. Have more monitors around the ship...make them touch screen! It’s 2019 for crying out loud! All NCL seems to care about is selling you something. 3. I guess we drew the short straw with regards to our cabin steward, we never got an introduction to the room. The little sign with his name and extension showed up partway through the cruise. We had no room-service sheet. He always forgot a washcloth, or other towel, etc. we did complain and the towel animals started showing up, but unfortunately he grossed me out because he replaced the paper doily on the glassware, even though the glass was used. He did this 3 times. Made me wonder about the cleanliness and standards. 4. $19 for 4 ounces of robitussin. Lots of people developed coughs, and they take advantage of it. That’s just mean. 5. Food was generally ok. The beef and lamb were particularly good. I thought the Asian food was good. The bread was awful...no good crust, not good texture, the soft serve ice cream was not worth the calories. Our best meal was at La Cucina...excellent pasta, and ask for gelato. I felt much of the food was under salted, leaving it flavorless. The accompanying sauces were little dots on the plate. The mixed drinks were generally very good. The service in the dining room and bars was good. 6. I don’t know how embarkation is supposed to work, but it was hideous. The terminal did not have enough seats. The announcements were difficult to hear ( again, why not use monitors?) and it took way too long. Embarkation at Cartagena was a mess. Disembarkation was rather disorganized as well...lots of people crowding the stairwells with nary a crew member organizing it, Overall, I’m glad we went, as we wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but NCL didn’t convince us to become regular cruisers. ( last time we cruised was 20 years ago with Princess to Alaska. That was wonderful.) Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Choose thus iteniary to do Panama Canal in less than 2 weeks. Got off at every port, some were amazing, Panama canal is an engineering marvel, but took all day, be prepared. Costa Rica, amazing jungles, only issue on ship was planning of ... Read More
Choose thus iteniary to do Panama Canal in less than 2 weeks. Got off at every port, some were amazing, Panama canal is an engineering marvel, but took all day, be prepared. Costa Rica, amazing jungles, only issue on ship was planning of activities, they had painting events (that you paid for) in same lounge as balloon folding, painting had no microphones, but balloon instructor did. Dis embarkment waa chaotic beyond any other cruise.. Very disappointed. They let those that used a stair case not instructed too use, to exit endlessly. While those that follows directions were left piling up in tight hallway. Food was tasty, service was impeccable, iteniary was unique. Private island was beautiful, pool enormous, beach beautiful, but jelly fish warning. Cute little shops. On ship have to collect signatures for trivia, n other games, n at end of cruise trade in for gifts, missed the presentation, so never got to trade in progress report Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our third trip to Panama via Norwegian. We traveled as a group of 5 couples. There was a coast guard inspection on the day of our embarkation which slowed the process down, but in general it went smoothly. We feel that the ... Read More
This was our third trip to Panama via Norwegian. We traveled as a group of 5 couples. There was a coast guard inspection on the day of our embarkation which slowed the process down, but in general it went smoothly. We feel that the cruise director is the heart of the ship, planning events and making the ship fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, our cruise director was not that good. The cruise was very low key and lacked a really happy vibe which Norwegian is known for and what we experienced on other cruises. The food did not meet any of our expectations. The buffet offered the same food quite often and the desserts very rarely changed. Specialty dining we would consider as being the worst. The only one we all enjoyed was Cagney's We avoided the main dining room because it took a minimum of 2 hours to get out, and the food was sparse. We all noticed it was difficult to understand many of the crew and vice versa. The entertainment in the Magnum lounge was very good and the Elements show and Jeff the Juggler were great. The games shows with our cruise director were awful. Leaving the ship was painless and we were out of the terminal in a timely manner. In general, in spite of the few shortcomings, we all considered this to be a very good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We caught an 11am shuttle from our hotel to the port. By 12.10 we were upstairs and waiting to board. We didn’t realise when checking in we required our ESTA which was packed in our suitcase. Thankfully they let us board anyway. We were ... Read More
We caught an 11am shuttle from our hotel to the port. By 12.10 we were upstairs and waiting to board. We didn’t realise when checking in we required our ESTA which was packed in our suitcase. Thankfully they let us board anyway. We were on board by 1pm. We met our cabin steward the day we embarked and we saw him at least once if not twice a day. Our cabin stewards service was great. We only ate in O'Sheehan's once on Embarkation day. We didn't have trouble procurring a table. I was dissapointed O'Sheehan's don't serve the chicken tenders anymore. Our first day at sea we ate lunch in the Grand Pacific Restaurant after we attended the Meet & Greet. I wasn’t fussed by the lunch options and wouldn’t choose to eat lunch in the restaurant again. The remainder of our lunches we ate in the Garden Cafe and we always found enough options to eat. We ate dinner in Alizars every night. We almost always arrived for dinner at 7pm and at least half the time we had a 20min wait for a table. Magnums was a great bar to spend the time whilst we waited for a table. The bar staff in Magnums were fabulous(very entertaining and prompt service). The food in Alizar was great and service was almost always outstanding. The day we were traversing the Panama canal we were upstairs by 5am. We had planned to be outside on deck 13 but by the time we made it upstairs there were already too many people so we settled on a 2nd row seat on the port side in Spinnaker instead. A fortuitous decision we were very glad we made when it started to rain. We had pretty awesome views of the locks including an LPG tanker coming the other way. Before we completed the crossing I went down to Deck 7 to get an up close view of the mules (towing trains) and the walls of the lock. We had two tender ports(Gatun Lake, Panama & Puerto Limon) but only one where we had to line up for tender tickets. I was in line for tickets by 8.10(for an 8.30 pickup) and I was about 50th in line. We just missed out on tickets for the first tender but were two of six who managed to get on the first tender at the gate. We booked two tours through NCL (Gatun Lake and Harvest Caye) the remainder we booked independently. My original tour of the Mayan ruins of Nim Li Punnit (8.30) was cancelled and I was moved to a later tour which meant I wasn't able to spend anytime checking out Harvest Caye. I utilised the gym most days. A couple of times I used the pool and the spa. The temperature of the spa was perfect. I wasn't impressed by the DJ who played in Spinnaker. The dance floor would be full and he would stop playing the song half way through. On our second night I came across Dave McHugh a guitarist from Newfoundland who was amazing. The venues where he played were always packed and standing room only. We elected to be in one of the last groups to disembark, disembarkation was VERY slow. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to ... Read More
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to supply our every need. The Jade only carries about 2500 passengers so there were no long lines for meals, shows, etc. With a longer cruise an added bonus is an older crowd and very few young children. Our cabin was smaller than we've become accustomed to but we settled in quite easily. Bathroom setup is really smart with sink in the center, shower to one side and toilet to the other side. Shower and toilet had glass doors for privacy so more that one person could use the bath at the same time. The staff was outstanding with friendly smiles, good suggestions and a world-class friendliness that was remarkable.Ship excursions were pretty pricey but very worthwhile. Every bus we traveled on was immaculately clean. Guides spoke English very well too. Excursion tips: tour the old city in Cartagena; don't miss the Aerial Tram and Exhibits in Gatun Lake, Panama; banana plantation, scenic drive & Shopping (if you consider a convenience store as shopping); dolphin encounter in Costa Maya is good with limited dolphin contact but pictures with dolphins start at $40 each. The best beach day was at Maya Key Private Island retreat. There is a huge winding beach, lots of shade or sun, no blaring music, a nice buffet was also included. There are guides to help beginners snorkel and see parts of the beautiful reef. Very comfortable and safe. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and ... Read More
First let me say we had an AMAZING 14 day cruise through the Panama Canal. Everyone from the baggage handlers to the Captain were warm, inviting and went over and above to ensure our bucket-list cruise was all we imagined it would be and more. NCL corporate on the other hand were HORRIBLE and need additional training and a means to correct actions, which are truly of their making, which affect their employees. I planned for close to a year to ensure my near 80 year old father’s bucket-list cruise through the Panama Canal was everything and more he could have imagined- and it was. I watched countless hours of YT videos on what to pack, what to expect and any precautions which would help us avoid any hiccups during our trip. I called and emailed our personal cruise consultant and Concierge MANY times before our cruise to ask questions and request any items due to my father’s health and to confirm all was done and nothing would missed off or forgotten to avoid any troubles later. I even went to far as to create a daily guide to help us remember what day it was and what the daily activities were to help us commeroate our time together and scoured over our paperwork before and to comply with all NCL required per our cruise documents to ensure our check-in process and our cruise went as smoothly as possible. My parents even paid for the extra travel insurance just to make sure if anything happened prior to or during our trip medically, we would have some peace of mind knowing we had options available to us for added peace of mind. For our cruise we opted for the prepaid gratuities so we made certain EVERYONE who was due money was paid their dues as they are the hardest working people on the seas. You see them in the sunrise breakfasts and the midnight buffets- they must be vampires cause they never seem to sleep from the baggage handlers and dishwashers to the Captain. Lol. My husband and I traveled with my soon to be 80 year old parents to help with baggage and flew literally across the country from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angels in one day. Every step along with way we were there to help with bags from the vehicle to the airport, gate to gate, airport to hotel and hotel to ship. If we were not there this trip of a lifetime would not have been possible. Everyone we met along the way was awesome- a little hectic but what vacations don’t have great stories to tell from memories made after right?? We purchased a two bedroom- two bath suite for our extended cruise and truly had a great vacation. Everyone from the wait staff who waited on us daily, Susi our Concierge and JonJon our butler were exemplary in helping make sure this was the time of our lives and we cannot say enough great things about them- KUDOS to them all. Our issue arose when representatives from each suite were called together to discuss how disembarkation would go and where to meet. It was at this meeting- during the last two sea days of our trip north of Cuba- that Susi let us know our butler was not covered under the gratuities paid which got an audible gasp in the room. Mind you, HOURS of research, emails & phone calls to NCL were made and videos were watched to avoid circumstances such as this from happening. During my research and even during their Shore Excurision presentation they mention at certain ports, “do NOT display obvious signs of wealth.” Which, to be honest, can apply to any street in any town in the US as well so no shade. Our issue is knowing we were told ALL our gratuities were prepaid under our cruise fare by NCL beforehand we all carried cash to tip our baggage handlers, tour guides, bus drivers and a little more if anyone went over and above and deserved a little more appreication than the standard allowed- not extra money which is truly rightly due those who were not covered as we were told by NCL ALL gratuities were already paid. We were absolutely aghast. We went to our room and quickly pooled all our remaining money we had left to give to him. We purposefully didn’t travel with a lot of extra cash as, who carries cash anymore let alone buckets full when everyone cautions you against doing so and being told they were already paid? When we got into the port of Miami, (Saturday) I emailed our personal cruise consultant immediately about what had happened. I was able to speak with her on Monday as she was out of the country as well and she assured me that as we elected to prepay our gratuities our butler, along with everyone else, was covered but to contact Guest Services and let her know of what they said. I just got off the phone with GS, Anthony (i), I believe was his name and he said Butlers were NOT covered by the gratuities we paid and there was nothing that could be done to rectify the matter and it stated in the seven pages of cruise documents he wasn’t covered. I didn’t have the cruise documents in front of me at the time but when I got home later that evening i went straight to them and in fact the butler was NOT mentioned in my cruise documents as I was told it was. This completely taints our entire wonderful vacation because we actually stiffed someone who absolutely positively deserved it the most and earned every last penny of the money during our cruise as we couldn’t be happier. We’re so upset and disappointed with NCL over this, we cannot even begin to properly express them. SHAME ON YOU NCL for doing this to us and well as to your employees. Shame. On. You. You have absolutely taken a wonderful trip of a lifetime and tainted it with a policy that even your own employees do not fully grasp and in turn cheating hard working employees out of hard their earned money without a means to rectify it?? SHAME ON YOU!! We have been looking for our butler on social media to figure out a means to wire them money via PayPal, Venmo etc they are truly due without success. We are just sick over this whole debacle and pray a solution can be found as this has caused us all unnecessary stress as a result. WONDERFUL cruise and staff - - HORRIBLE Corporate office policy!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this for an extended family cruise (3 suites) for our 50th anniversary. Panama Canal on our bucket list. The cabin was nice, cabin steward attentive, and the restaurants were OK but not something to write home about. Entertainment ... Read More
Chose this for an extended family cruise (3 suites) for our 50th anniversary. Panama Canal on our bucket list. The cabin was nice, cabin steward attentive, and the restaurants were OK but not something to write home about. Entertainment meh. We did enjoy the talks about the Canal. Customer service desk personnel were unacceptable and mostly just angered us by blaming ship problems on us (it was somehow our fault that the batteries in the cabin door locks failed twice). The Bistro restaurant was our first choice (we did 4 extra-cost dining experiences). The main dining rooms (Versailles and Aqua were OK, but the food was only OK. Strangely, the onion soup at the Bistro was excellent but really poor at both Versailles and Aqua). Tepanyaki restaurant gave a very good show; food was like Benihana. There's a big current focus on using hand sanitizers--understandable given norovirus outbreaks. There was one "washy washy" girl (as they called themselves) in the Garden Cafe who made the most of this--super friendly and entertaining. Kudos to Hannah. Promises that we would somehow be compensated for 2 days without toilets, 1 day without water, and having to lock our door fail twice proved to be empty promises, However, I did have a long talk with the head of hotel operations, and he seemed genuinely concerned about our experiences. By the way, it wasn't just our room that had major plumbing problems. The 12th deck bathroom immediately above our room overflowed into the hallway and many other cabins suffered without toilets for some days (including one of our daughters' cabins). The internet only worked sporadically and was basically down for most of 2 days in a row. The average age of passengers was noticeably older than previous cruises we've been on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Choose for the Panama Canal crossing. The entertainment was good overall. The meals were medium good but not noteworthy. We ate in buffet, both main dining rooms and 3 specialty restaurants. Only Cagney's was worth the money. ... Read More
Choose for the Panama Canal crossing. The entertainment was good overall. The meals were medium good but not noteworthy. We ate in buffet, both main dining rooms and 3 specialty restaurants. Only Cagney's was worth the money. Desserts with the exception of ice cream were uniformly disappointing. The shops devoted too much space to high end jewelry and perfume (money makers?) and nothing to makeup or sundries or candy. Liked the shore excursions we took and fond them very enjoyable. Staff was very friendly. Enjoyed cruise director Dave and the Captain too. the hypnotist/comedian was not anyone I would want to see again. Jennifer Fair was delightful once again. the production band and cast did a very good job. Atrium music bounced up to the internet cafe and was deafening! acoustic issue. Although recently refurbished, The Star seemed drab and and the decor old. Overall we had a good time but are unlikely to choose another NCL cruise unless family or friends invite us to sail with them. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on ... Read More
We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on the boat or for relaxing. We needed another cruise and fast! However, we had limited funds having just cruised. We choose a 14 day repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Star which departed Los Angeles and sailed through the Panama Canal with Miami being it’s destination. We went on “the cheap” getting an interior cabin which we do not mind because the darkness helps us sleep longer and better. To save money we used the "Let Us Choose" option where Norwegian selects a cabin for you. The ports of call ranged down the Western Mexican coast, with stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, passage through the Canal and last stop in Columbia before heading to Miami. We did not take any tours since we had seen Mexico on other cruises and enjoy having the ship to ourselves when others are ashore. The Star had a historian give several lectures on the Panama Canal history and someone narrated during our passage through the Canal. Both were very nice. Traveling as vegans (avoid foods containing meat or products from animals), always poses a challenge. On the Princess Regal the Main Dining Room offered a vegan menu each night and gladly adjusted for gluten intolerance. The Princess had assigned seating and dinner times which worked well for us. Our waiter became familiar with our special needs and things flowed very smoothly. The Princess morning buffet had mixed greens as well as beans and several types of breakfast grains. They also had non-dairy options on the buffet. The labels above each buffet item had a “V” if it contained no animal products and /or a “GF“ if not made with wheat gluten. On the Norwegian Star, the buffet selection was more limited and we frequently went to the main dining room if we wanted something “green” in the morning. No dish on the buffet had identification as to whether it was vegan or gluten free. Non-dairy and/or gluten free items were available upon request but often took a while to get from the buffet staff. The Norwegian Star has a Free Style approach to dinner. We explained our special dietary needs to the restaurant manager and he introduced us to their special diet coordinator. He was great! At first, we would tell him what we desired for dinner but later just gave him the freedom to create meals with the chefs. The meals were very good and exciting to see what we would get that evening. However, with Free Style dining, you never knew how crowded the restaurant would be at any given time and most of the time we had a new waiter who was unfamiliar with us and our diet. English was not spoken well by some waiters so explaining each night that we had a special meal became tedious. Some nights meals took a very long time to prepare particularly if the restaurant was unexpectedly crowded. The Princess approach with an assigned waiter, assigned dinner time and vegan menu was much more efficient and pleasant for us. The entertainment on the Norwegian Star in our opinion was not as good as some other ships we have been on, however, one show by the ship's production cast was outstanding and among the best I have seen. The Star’s exercise room and decks for walking were superior to many other ships. We enjoyed the Star’s indoor movie theaters rather than the Princess ship design which features an outdoor screen for that “drive-in theater” experience. Overall we achieved our goal of being able to enjoy leisure time at sea and remain healthy. It was a good cruise but from our perspective it could have been better with a few simple changes by Norwegian. It was our first experience with Norwegian so we do not know if our experience is representative of other Norwegian ships or cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" ... Read More
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" Nothing easy about it. Long drive and the assault of street vendors is trying! We learned to take the shorter tours as more than 3 hours on a tour bus is too much. Did breakfast and most lunches at O'Sheehans and dinner in the Aqua Restaurant. Do not recommend the buffet for dinner unless it's the Seafood Night. Lunches at the buffet was plentiful, more than we wanted to eat. Did O'Sheehan for burgers and wings mostly. Staff are very friendly, helpful and accommodating. Premium Drink Package is worth it. High quality alcohol and wine (no bar liquor like at the all-inclusive resorts) Great choice of bottled beers. Internet is slow and expensive. Best to catch a cafe on shore with free wifi, or just go dark for two weeks! Was an enjoyable , relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were ... Read More
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were plentiful and tendering was very difficult and not organized. Next stop Acapulco and Do Not Get Off the boat, very dirty and people rude. Next stop Guatemala and very nice excursions and people friendly. Next stop Nicaragua and we saw volcano on this stop, bus ride very very long and not enough time set for excursions, people very friendly and sides of roads were very dirty. Next stop Costa Rica and beautiful countryside and nice excursions did train ride but too short and not much to see besides poverty and crocodile excursion down Tarcoles River and wished it was longer. Weather very hot everywhere we went and hats and sunblock very necessary. Next was the canal transit and took all day and absolutely beautiful and so much to see from any location on the ship. The captain did a wonderful job of opening the crew deck in front for passengers and also brought a narrator on board from Panama and she was wonderful. Next stop was Columbia and we did not feel very safe here at all, probarly should not have gone on excursion. Street people were so rude and begging and in our face that we couldn't enjoy ourselves. Ship was very nice and staff was exceptionally nice. Restaurant staff was highly efficient and food was Excellant. Buffet staff in the morning went above and beyond everyday. Thank you for a wonderful and relaxing vacation. As others have stated we also would like to see the towel animals reinstated and ship pins brought back. Also would like to see Latitudes Platinum members benefits reviewed. We were not able to use all our benefits including disembarkation, this process was terrible and took too long to get to our excursions. 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 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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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