Disappointed by NCL Biss

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review to Panama Canal, Central America

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 13

Overall rating:

3.2 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Bliss

14 Night Panama Canal Eastbound (Los Angeles To Miami)

Sail date: November 03, 2018

Ship: Norwegian Bliss

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 9236

Traveled as: Large Group

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Disappointing. Crowded and unorganised, especially the tours. Restaurants were busy and the menus limited. Norwegian have a booking system for shows and restaurants, which allowed you to book, but not cancel reservations. This was our 5th cruise and we won't cruise again on a ship this size. Too many passengers for the cruise line or ports to manage.


3 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
Main dining rooms were crowded, noisy and not pleasant most of the time. We felt extremely rushed through our meals and felt sorry for the staff trying to manage the passenger numbers. Did not use the Specialty restaurants and the Garden Café buffet was crazy busy and you were lucky to get a seat. Menus didn't vary, with most items repeated each day.

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5
The water slides were fun. Mini golf was lame, go karts were $10 a go and you had to book. Sea days were slow with not much to do.


3 out of 5
You had to book the theatre, with the main shows booking out well before the performance date. Most of the shows were good, but not enough of them.

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
The staff were great.

Ship Quality

2 out of 5
Cleanliness was good, but you would expect this on a brand new ship. Design and layout are poor. Minimal outside areas that were insufficient for the number of people wanting to use them. The Atrium was used for entertainment that should have been in the Theater and was too small and crowded. This ship doesn't have enough public areas for the number of passengers. It is a massive ship, but they have increased the number of cabins, but not the public areas.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5

Ship tip

Re-think booking on the Norwegian Bliss unless you like crowds and waiting in lines

Ports of call

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

3 out of 5

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico Did not visit port

This was a port change to Ensenada, which was very disappointing.

Mazatlan, Mexico

3 out of 5
These ports cannot cope with the volume of passengers participating in tours. We docked at the container port for all ports, which meant we needed to be shuttled to the tour bus. Due to another ship in port, this was changed to taxis at the last minute, with over 100 people needing to be transported by taxis (4 passengers at a time) to the resort. Poor tour passenger management, with us arriving nearly 2 hours after the commencement of our 5 hour tour, which meant we weren't able to use the resort facilities after the Salsa demonstration.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

1 out of 5
Tour buses were on the dock, however not all had arrived. Huge groups of passengers trying to get onto the buses. Hot, unorganised and the delays meant we weren't able to see Antigua, except from the bus. Our tour should have included 90 minutes in Antigua but this was reduced to about 15 minutes and still the ship had to delay departure waiting for us and several other buses.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

4 out of 5
Again, the bus was late arriving, which reduced our time on the walking tour from 90 minutes in the botanical gardens to under 60 minutes. The souvenir shop stop on the way back to the ship wasn't cut short though!!

Panama Canal Transit

3 out of 5
Poor disjointed commentary. We booked a balcony thinking that we would be able to see down to the locks. On level 9, the balcony looks onto the roof of the lounge and restaurants on level 8.

Cartagena, Colombia

4 out of 5
We visited Old Town for a walking tour. Guide took us to a jewellery shop for about 20 minutes, but only gave us 2 or 3 minutes in some beautiful churches and squares. We were to meet at Hard Rock Café after some free time, with the Guide & tour leaving before the designated meeting time, leaving us behind along with other tour members. We then needed to make our own way back to the ship.

Miami, Florida

3 out of 5
Went straight to the airport


4 out of 5
Given our previous experiences with wait times and passenger management on this ship, we ensured that we were very early for self disembarkation.
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