6 Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews for Fitness Cruises to Alaska from Seattle

I decided to take vacations the last moment (needed a break from a stressful work assignment) so once I decided on the destination, an Alaska cruise, I got what was still available so it wasn't really a thorough choice. Some other ... Read More
I decided to take vacations the last moment (needed a break from a stressful work assignment) so once I decided on the destination, an Alaska cruise, I got what was still available so it wasn't really a thorough choice. Some other lines were selling out fast, the Norwegian Bliss still had a mini-suite (better accommodations were sold out) so I took it. This was my first cruise so I didn't know what to expect, but I was overall pleasantly surprised, with many ups, but also, there were a few downs. The good: the Norwegian Bliss is a very new ship, and it is tastefully decorated, with everything in top shape and working order. The service is unbelievable, with extremely friendly and helpful staff everywhere. We didn't have a single negative experience with the staff. We were impressed with how they were always willing to help, with a smile, and were very efficient, knowledgeable, and professional. The Norwegian Cruise Line must have an excellent training center for the staff! We felt pampered! Some of the food was surprisingly good. The La Cucina restaurant served one of the best Italian meals I've ever had, and I'm half-Italian (I'm a dual citizen of Italy and the United States), I know Italian cuisine very well. Food Republic was delicious with original items, very well-presented. Los Lobos was very tasty too, with Mexican food that benefits from a modern touch. The one meal we had at the complimentary Manhattan was excellent and almost as good as what we had in the paid specialty venues above. Breakfast at The Local was tasty and peaceful. The swimming pool area and the hot tubs were clean and pleasant, and never too crowded. The Observation Lounge is a very cool and relaxing space, and they have tasty snacks and a nice piano bar. I really enjoyed the cast of the musical Six (the other musical, Jersey Boys, I didn't attend because I had seen it already), and the Beatles cover band at The Cavern. A duo of Phillipino male pianist and female singer were excellent. The silent disco with earphones at the Social was cool. The bar that specializes in Mojitos was good too. The wine bar The Cellar was excellent, with very good tasting events, including lectures by a very knowledgeable sommelier. I've been studying and tasting wine for decades and still, he surprised me with some information that I didn't know. The stand-up comedians were very, very funny! My wife very much enjoyed the Spa. She had several treatments there, and found the staff to be competent, and with prices similar to what she pays elsewhere. I didn't frequent it. She also liked the Gym with Yoga and Aerobic classes. Gift shops were good; my wife gave me a beautiful Scuderia Ferrari watch and I gave her a nice necklace. These were both well-priced. Other guests were friendly, polite, and we had some nice conversations. Embarkation was easy and fast. Disembarkation, however, was rather slow, with long lines and long waiting times. The bad: The Norwegian Bliss, together with the similar Norwegian Joy, are two of the biggest ships in the business, and the elevators, 16 in total, were overwhelmed. Often, the elevators were full when they reached our deck, and we had to wait and wait for an opportunity to get in. This ship should have the double of the number of elevators they offer. It's a pity that obviously, this can't be changed. The architects should have planned it better: for a ship this size, add more elevators! Some of the food was rather mediocre. The two restaurants with the best reputation, Ocean Blue and Le Bistro, were paradoxically very weak. For example, I had a steak with five peppers at Le Bistro, and I had to abundantly add more pepper to get any flavor at all, and the meat was overcooked although I asked for medium rare. Again, I lived in Paris, France, for 5 years and I know French cuisine very well. Everything we had at Le Bistro was bland and a pale imitation of good French cooking. Ocean Blue was also rather unremarkable. We had better seafood in the other venues, as compared to this one that specializes in seafood. Weird. Two of the three main complimentary restaurants, Taste and Savor, were also very mediocre. The Garden Cafe serves a buffet, and the food there was rather unappealing as well, not to forget, it was very crowded and chaotic. A particular breakfast at Savor was almost disgusting, with a croissant with scrambled eggs that looked like it was microwaved, so mushy the croissant was, and Eggs Benedict that were pretty dry and chewy. Some of the live music was atrocious. First of all, the selection is geared towards Country and Pop, two genres I don't care for. There was absolutely no venue that played jazz. For a cruise line that is registered in the United States (as well as the Bahamas) and sails to and from mostly American cities (with the exception of Victoria, BC) with most guests being American, it is weird that they don't present at all the most quintessential American genre, jazz. I also enjoy classical music and there was none to be found. The blonde female pianist was terrible, often botching the musical lines. The rock band Blue 4, oh my God, they must be the worst I've ever heard! Slow, low energy, poor playing, and mediocre voices. I can't believe the cruise line can't find better musicians. As a matter of fact, in the talent show featuring members of the crew, there were two waiters who sang much better than most singers who were hired for the live music! It would be nice to have an indoor swimming pool for the cold weather. Apparently they do have one in The Haven, the upscale section of the ship, but it's only for the guests of that section, which was sold out when I booked my cruise. The shore excursions in general were expensive and not a good value. Some were enjoyable but others were rushed and confusing, including, it was hard to find the correct buses outside. Maybe it's the luck of the draw since there are so many options, but unfortunately some of the ones we picked weren't that great. We bought them from the cruise line website and later realized that the same excursions are offered elsewhere for much cheaper prices. Oh well, I guess next cruise I'll be smarter. A couple of them were good, though. The art auctions weren't good. We found most of the art being sold, to be very tacky. Funny enough, the one piece we liked inside the art venue, wasn't for sale; it was part of the permanent ship decor. So, overall, I'm pleased with the Norwegian Bliss, but I do think they need to hire better musicians, be a bit more even in terms of food quality, and it would be lovely to have more elevators and an indoor swimming pool, although these structural issues are set in stone and can't be changed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first ever cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed the ship, the itinerary, the crew and the meals. After reading the somewhat mixed reviews of the ship and trip, I was slightly concerned about our booking. While there were some ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we thoroughly enjoyed the ship, the itinerary, the crew and the meals. After reading the somewhat mixed reviews of the ship and trip, I was slightly concerned about our booking. While there were some small items that could be improved, it was a really great trip. As others have noted, it’s a large ship and thus you need to plan ahead to carve out the optimal vacation. Service was consistently friendly and thoughtful. The room steward was fantastic and the dining staff great. (For context, we dine out often and typically stay at 4 and 5-star hotels so have a high expectation for service). Below are some more specific thoughts to help plan your trip: • We were in a mid-ship mini-suite – 12824. Cabin was very nice, bed was super comfortable (billed as a queen but felt more spacious). Sheets were so-so soft and the pillows we’re ok (I brought one of my own). Plenty of storage, spacious bath room. Balcony was perfectly fine/spacious. Given how much there was to do and the fact that you’re in Alaska, we didn’t use it a ton but left the slider door open every night to get a fresh breeze while sleeping. • Plan ahead. This is perhaps the most important thing to do. We book all our specialty restaurants and entertainment the day it became available to do so (120 days prior to sailing, I believe). This allowed us to ensure we got in the restaurants we wanted at the time we wanted. We also booked the Thermal Spa Pass ahead of time. Also, we planned to board early so that we’d be able to secure passes to the Vibe Beach Club, which is super important. We didn’t have any issues booking excursions but did plan these a few weeks in advance. • Thermal Spa Pass: For a fee ($129?), you can get a full week pass to the spa which was important for us. I provided a great place to get away from crowds and offered a beautiful viewing area. I’d highly recommend this. • Vibe Beach Club. I’d also highly recommend this. This area provided a sanctuary from the crowds as well. For ~$139/week, you get access to a “private” deck with its own bar, cabanas, loungers and hot tub. Was amongst the best part of the ship. The crew here (Ruby and Randy) were soooo friendly and helpful, ensuring our every need was met. Again, we’re in Alaska so it can get cold up there; however, there are blankets to use to keep warm. While I believe they sell ~75 passes (not certain about the number, but limited), we never saw more than 10 people at a time on the deck. Run to the guest services to get these passes. • Spa services: This was the one area where service was not great - - there was constant upsell throughout the process to book a massage; and post massage, also an attempt to sell you products. The massage itself was great – I asked for deep tissue and was almost crying because of the pressure - - a good thing for me. • Restaurants: Our favorite was La Cucina – dined there twice. Delicious food, tasty wines and great service. Ocean Blue was also great - - both food and service. Cagney’s food was very good – service was perfunctory at best. Teppanyaki was really fun – with good food/service. Q was so-so, food was OK as was the service. We ate at Taste/Savor for lunch and both of these were perfectly good – busy but the staff is accommodating. Coco’s for crepes was delicious. • Cellars Wine Bar: Would highly recommend. Great wine selection and very helpful staff. Throughout the cruise, they have wine-classes you can take (for a fee). Was really fun and informative. • Common Areas: The Observation Lounge and the Garden Café can get crowded. The Café was often a zoo – with so many people for breakfast. We grabbed breakfast there but then took it to the Observation Lounge which worked must better. Also, some of the crown can be a challenge – e.g. kids running around, bare feet on loungers, poor manners. Overall not an issue, but at times a distraction. • The overall ship furnishings and décor are really beautiful – first rate and very nicely done. In sum, would highly recommend this ship and the Alaska trip. We’d definitely do it again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this boat because it is a brand new ship, started sailing just two months prior, and we loved the itinerary. The stops were great, we loved the excursions chosen, food was good, service was great, and we took full advantage of ... Read More
We chose this boat because it is a brand new ship, started sailing just two months prior, and we loved the itinerary. The stops were great, we loved the excursions chosen, food was good, service was great, and we took full advantage of the drink package. We enjoyed the shows, bands, live music, trivia, and hot tubs. I was surprised there was no lobster served in the dining room - first cruise I have been on where this was not on the menu. However, the food was food, and we would sail on this boat again. Our first stop was Ketchikan where we did off road vehicles through the woods. This was a great tour. We wish it would have been longer. It was about twenty minutes out and twenty minutes back, but it was so nice to be outside. We spotted a mother bear and two cubs which is a rarity. We felt really blessed to have seen them out in the woods. The tour guides were kind, and informative. Our second stop was Juneau where we decided to go whale watching. We chose Alaska Galore Tours because they had small boats. We were on a boat that held 15 or so along with a boat captain and tour guide. We learned so much, and saw 5-6 whales turning in the water about 15-20 times. Unfortunately, it was raining, but we still would have chosen this tour again. We were supposed to go by Sawyer Glacier, but the weather was too bad as it was very cloudy and icy. We still saw some beautiful scenery from the boat, and it was a lovely evening on the balcony. Finally, our last day was in Skagway. My husband and father-in-law went on a helicopter to walk around on the glacier. it was short, 20 minute ride out and 20 minutes back with about half an hours walking around and learning about the glacier. We would recommend. We also did the train ride up the mountain. It was informative, beautiful, and again, we would do this same tour all over again. The bands at night were great, especially the guy in the piano bar. He was funny and incredibly entertaining. My in-laws loved Jersey Boys, the broadway show. We would absolutely sail on Norwegian and on this same boat again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We just returned from our cruise on the Bliss for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. This trip had been planned for almost a year and all of us were looking forward to the cruise but were getting nervous after reading numerous reviews ... Read More
We just returned from our cruise on the Bliss for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. This trip had been planned for almost a year and all of us were looking forward to the cruise but were getting nervous after reading numerous reviews before going. We had 7 adults and 4 children with us (ages 6-10). The boarding process went very smooth I think we were on the ship within less than 30 minutes, but once we boarded that's when the chaos started. Once on the ship we went straight to reservations for the go carts and the lazer tag, four of us were in different lines trying to make reservations. This took about an hour and half to get tot the front just to be told that everything was booked. We did actually get reservations for both by complaining throughout the cruise but both attractions weren't even really worth it. But, if you or your kids really want to take advantage of the go carts my sister heard someone talking about a week long unlimited pass for $99, not sure it you would just wait standby to use the pass. I felt like you could probably just wait by the line whenever you want and get on. If you like the idea of waterslides think again. The slides are only open a few hours of the day and they only have two of them. One of the slides is a drop slide that they won't even let you go on unless you are over 100lb, which left our kids to only be able to use the one slide. The hours of the slide are a joke, I think it was open from 11:30 - 2;30 and again for another hour or so. It was hard to see them close the slide on a beautiful day with nothing else to really do on the ship. If you are taking kids I would really think twice there is very little for kids to do on this ship. They do have an arcade but the games are anywhere from $2 - $5 each. This ship is constantly trying to nickel and dime you for everything. As for the food it was pretty lousy even the bigger restaurants. We did go to the Manhattan Room, Savor, and Taste and they all have the same menu, I guess they just try to make them look different. The buffet is not very good just okay. We finally broke down and went to the steak house on the last night and they told us they were full but would squeeze us in, the place was empty. The food was okay nothing crazy, but not worth the $300 we had to spend. LIke I said earlier there really isn't a lot to do on the ship. The highlight of the trip was the "Jersey Boys" show, Havannah wasn't very good. But really, only two shows for a seven night cruise! Also, the drinks were excellent! I highly recommend the drink package, pretty much all we did was drink since there wasn't much else to do. And yes the elevators are horrible, stick to the stairs. I hope this helps some of you guys I could write all night about this cruise but I'm tired. And just remember this cruise is a good chunk of change for most of us that is why I took the time to right this, there are many other ships out there with a lot more to do than the Bliss. Unless you don't want to do anything but sleep and eat, and spend as little time in the ports as possible this is the cruise for you. Good Luck Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This was a bucket list check- off, fantasy vacation for our family.We had a group of 8 people. 6 adults and 2 children. We started our journey from Florida, which is a 3 hour time difference. We stayed at Seattle Marriott Bellevue hotel, ... Read More
This was a bucket list check- off, fantasy vacation for our family.We had a group of 8 people. 6 adults and 2 children. We started our journey from Florida, which is a 3 hour time difference. We stayed at Seattle Marriott Bellevue hotel, which I booked through hotwire for 135 per night. The hotel was located in the Bellevue city district. I feel the hotel would be better suited for business meetings. We were all hungry when we arrived and decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. The waitstaff was kind, but the food was overpriced and not great. When we awoke in the morning we anticipated a continental breakfast, they did not offer one. Bellevue was a very clean and beautiful city, but expensive. The hotel did not offer a shuttle to the airport or the dock. We took an uber ride to the dock, our driver was very nice and told us a lot about the city and living in Washington. We arrived at the pier around 0800. We were able to check our bags at that time, but we could not check-in until 1000. I liked that we didn't have to drag our suitcases around until check-in. We dined at a small coffee shop on the corner of the street across from the ship that offered Korean inspired breakfast dishes. It was good and the only restaurant I saw open close enough to walk with a 5 and 8 year old. We walked around the pier and looked at the ship from the outside. We were able to get some great pictures in front of the artwork of the Bliss. When we were getting ready to embark an elderly woman tripped and fell face down on the cement while on her way to check her bag. Norwegian staff was quick to help her and a medic came to address her needs. Embarkation went smoothly. We are all balcony rooms and still got in at around 1030. We explored the decks. 6,7,8 are the main ones for activities. On all the walls are screens for ordering or directions, and in the bottom right hand corner of the screen also has the time, which is important because clocks are scarce. This was also helpful, as the time zones changed twice while we aboard the ship. We ordered a game of laser tag. Later in our room we ordered race track for my husband and grandson. They had a double go kart ride for kids and adults from 5-6. I ordered the specialty dining, spa and shows before the cruise. The Garden cafe had a good mix of food choices. Indian, Asian, American, seafood, etc... unique desserts were included with each dining time in the Garden Cafe. We got to our cabin around 1330. Our luggage didn't arrive until around 1800. The cabin had the bathroom to the right, couch, and then bed by the sliding glass door. The bathroom had one sink and a glass shower stall. We had plenty of room to move. My husband is 6'2" and I'm 5'3". I put my clothes in the drawer under the couch and hung dresses in the closet. There is room underneath the bed to slide the suitcases. My husband lived out of his suitcase and closet. The other drawer had pillows and blanket for the couch. Our room was clean and comfortable. Our room steward was excellent. We ate dinner at Teppanyaki. Good show and large portions of Japanese food. They take a photo while you are eating and have it ready at the end of service. We checked out the observation lounge. Nice, large viewing windows, lounge chairs and seating throughout the area. A small buffet is offered. Soup sandwiches, some desserts and drinks. The ship is crowded, but there are places to be alone. The second day at sea we used the spa. My husband would workout and use the spa. I loved the relaxation pool with the jets. I liked the heated tile loungers too.I did some of the organized classes when I could. I would get sweets at the bake shop from time to time. The grand kids went to the kids club and loved it. The morning time for kids club is free play time, but each evening there was a different theme. They had a pajama party, superheros, pirates, and jungle circus practice for the big performance. They also had a white themed dance party for the kids, they could wear all white or florescent and glow under the black lights. The circus performance for the kids took place in the main theater and was the highlight of their time. My grandchildren were a tiger (five years) and a plate spinner (eight years). We had a cruise critic meet and mingle in the District brew house at noon. NCL provided champagne, mimosas, snacks of spring rolls, chicken, puff pastries with assorted toppings. The cruise director Silas Cook and other officers met us. They provided entertainment and a good time. After the meeting we did a slot pull at 1400. It was fun! 14 of us put money in one slot machine and took turns playing it. Kristie was the most lucky and we were able to break even. We had dinner at the Manhattan room, there isn't dancing in this one. Good food and great service. I saw Havana, it was interesting. The actors and dancers were good and professional, but the script seemed off and pieced together oddly. It was difficult to follow. On the 3rd day we arrived in Ketchican. We went off the ship two hours before our excursion and had a chance to explore the city. The town shops were quaint and had the best prices of all the excursion stops. We did the canoe ride and rain forest in Ketchikan. The views were spectacular. We got a history of the area and were able to enjoy a relaxed canoe ride. We stopped at a small cooking hut and enjoyed a wonderful lunch of home made jam with bread, salmon spread on bread, and a delicious clam chowder. They even gave us coffee and hot chocolate, all cooked over an open fire. Our guide took us on a nature walk through the Ketchikan rain forest where we learned about the native plants and their medicinal properties. On the way back we all had a blast racing the other canoe, and experienced some of Ketchikan's famous rainy weather as we docked. The grand kids had a ball paddling.We did laser tag that evening when we returned. It was a workout and fun. You could recharge if someone killed you to play some more. We ate at Le Bistro. Good food, but small portions, good service. We snacked at the garden cafe too. On the 4th day, we did whale watching through Juneau Whale Watch. It was my husbands favorite excursion. Our naturalist and ship captain were Alaska natives and offered us interesting facts about the area and were very knowledgeable about the whales and the glaciers. We saw four whales, sea lions, pilot dolphins, and bald eagles. Just the views were worth the trip. It was truly breathtaking and the boat ride was exhilarating. We cruised the glacier that night and ate at the Manhattan. On our 5th day, Skagway, Alaska, we did Mushers camp. It was a 1/2 hour ride in a bus and then 1/2 in a jeep to get to the dog carts. The ride was short. One loop around the camp. Then we had a talk on the races that happened. A short time to play with the dogs and pups. The guides were great and informative. The mushers were all professional racers and had participated in either the Jr. Iditarod or the actual race and the dogs were also professional racers. We wished we could have had more time to interact with the dogs and puppies. Then back on the jeep to the bus. That night we ate at Cagney's. My son got the Porterhouse and ate it all. It is a huge steak! Nice dinner and service. 6th day, more spa, arcade room, casino, and eating. We ate at the Local sometimes for lunch and had the chicken wings, and sandwiches. At noon, there was a past guess party at the District brew house. They gave us different beers and finger foods. It was a nice selection and the staff came and spoke to us from the different departments of the ship. I saw the "Beatles", fun show and good singing. Dinner was at the Manhattan. Food at the Manhattan room was always good and there was a good selection. We saw the Jersey boys. Excellent show! Good story line and singing. 7th day, Victoria we didn't book anything and walked to the pier, nice playground and food shops around pier. Good music and acts throughout the ship. I saw Camille Rae sing, she was good. Jim Badger was good. Tatiana was good. Duo Rika was good. The guy sang Elvis great, but had an accent when speaking. My family said they liked the comedy show. They had movies in the Atrium and game shows there. We would get yummy snacks in our room from the hotel director Mark Maeling and Jovo Sekulovic. We would get invites to various things happening aboard the ship. Something for everyone. We had a Seattle excursion on disembarkation day. They had us check our luggage the night before and we went to the theater the day of at 0800. We went through customs and the luggage was separate waiting for us on the other side of the custom building. The bus for the tour was the next stop. Disembarkation went smoothly. The Seattle tour took us to the Space Needle. We all had to pee waiting in line to go up and there are no bathrooms until you get to the top, so go before you go up! We were a bit disappointed that the space needle seemed to be under construction, but the views were still spectacular. Next stop was Pike Place market. This was a fun touristy stop, but it was so crowded and crazy that it was hard to take it all in. We did get some really fun souvenirs to take back with us. The tour guide was funny and informative. We were dropped off at the airport from the Seattle Tour. We were in staterooms 11210, 11214, 11222. Somethings that could be improved are the times in port and NCL's texting app. I would like to go again. Best cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This is the best boat I have ever been on. I have always traveled in luxary in Celebruty cruises but this beat all of them. There sanitary in the is boat is ten times best. The do not let you eat unless u put hand sanitizer or was your ... Read More
This is the best boat I have ever been on. I have always traveled in luxary in Celebruty cruises but this beat all of them. There sanitary in the is boat is ten times best. The do not let you eat unless u put hand sanitizer or was your hands. The staff is very kind and is the best. They are very kind. This cruise also have a lot of kids things to go cart racing and laser tag. This boat also is very nice. The only thing is the boat does not have great entertainment in the theater but the game shows are first class. All of the game shows are all in the atrium and I reccomend all of you that are interested on this cruise to look at one of the game shows. Best cruise ever!!! Everbody come join the happy family here in the norwegian bliss. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Norwegian Bliss Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.1
Value For Money 3.5 3.5

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