Blissful Springbreak March 2019

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 29

Overall rating:

4.4 out of 5
Norwegian Bliss

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 16, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Bliss

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 12272

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

We had three families traveling together on this trip. This is the first cruise for my family. I have been actively planning two more cruises since arriving home. We loved it! Pros: - Staff was exceptional in every way. Exceeded our expectations. - Food was really amazing. Glad we received the free dining package we probably would not have tried it. Now I wouldn't go without it. We didn't purchase dining package for my son we just paid for him as we were not sure he would even join us for meals. The menu pricing I felt was very reasonable. We just paid for his entree and he had a little of my side and appetizer if he was still hungry. We may purchase dinning package for him on next cruise. If you don't have the dining package you can still eat at the specialty restaurants and just pay for what you would like to eat. - Entertainment staff Silas, Alex, Junior and Moret (sp?) were so much fun. Go to the shows in the atrium in the evening. They were so funny. I wish we would have gone to more of them. - We also really enjoyed the live music at night found all over the ship. Grab a cocktail and enjoy. Really something for everyone's taste. - This ship holds a lot of people we only felt the crowds on the first day until after sail away. After sail away the crowds just totally dispersed. The ship is laid out so well. - The comedy acts were terrific as were the Beatles group. - All of the kids were hooked on the Wyland TV channel! He is the artist who's work appears on the ship. Cons: - The teenagers in our group wished there was a sports course or rock wall or something else to do in addition to the go carts and the laser tag. - The miniature golf was silly, only a few holes. It was not well planned or fun. Space could have been better utilized. It was like a total after thought. A small ropes course or rock wall would have been better. - Not enough deck chairs in the sun. The Aqua racer hangs over the deck creating a huge shady area. Which no one wanted to sit under. It is very windy up there and cold if you are stuck in the shade. - I would also like to see another quick option for food at the pool besides the buffet. - This may seem silly but the entire ship was uncomfortably cold for me. We are from Iowa still snow on the ground and I was freezing on this ship the entire time. The observation lounge was like a meat locker! We are so glad that our first cruise was on the Bliss. We can't wait to go on our next cruise but worried it will never live up to the Bliss! So pretty. Our daughter still sleeps with her stuffed Bliss ship.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
Shockingly Fast and painless. We arrived very early about 9:45 I was anticipating crazy crowds for Spring Break. Zero lines walked right through. Recieved Group 1 Boarding Group. We were able to board ship about 10:45.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
As part of our perks we received three specialty dinners. We ate at Cagney's twice. Appetizers were very good I ordered crab cakes, husband had the tuna both were great. Both nights I ordered the surf and turf (filet and shrimp) each night my steak was prepared the exact same way. My husband ordered Ribeye and 16 year old son ordered the New York both nights and they were also consistently prepared. I thought the cuts of beef were exceptional. We are from Iowa and have state fair beef in our freezer at all times, we tend to be very critical of beef in restaurants. Side dishes were great. Baked potato was perfectly cooked. Desserts were nothing special. Our third specialty dinning was La Cucina the appetizers were wonderful. I had Sea Bass, husband had the beef filet, our son had a pizza that was big enough for our entire family. Each night of specialty dinning our 7 year old daughter ordered from kids menu. But also sampled some of our dishes as well if she wanted to try it. The remaining dinners we had at Taste and Savor. My favorite dish from the entire cruise was the last evening in Taste the citrus salmon. It was outstanding. My least favorite meal was the New York Strip in Savor. It was served well done I ordered medium rare and was a very poor cut. I would not recommend steak in the main dinning room. The rest of our meals were excellent. I did not personally eat from the main buffet the entire time. The kids did and said it was okay. The Observation lounge had a nice selection for lunch or light snack after port days before dinner. We ordered room service for breakfast on port days so we could get off ship quickly. We just wanted something light anyway so the continental breakfast was really what we were looking for anyway. Annoying note about the room service is you we couldn't seem to order enough to feed a family of 4. Each section muffins or pastries had a limit you could order from. Example you could only order 2 from a group. We just ordered the max and a variety so no one really ended up with what they wanted. Annoying, but not enough to drag my family to front of the boat to the buffet or a restaurant on port day. The local is a complimentary restaurant that is open I think all of the time. My least favorite of the entire ship. Although in my group of 12 I think I am the only one who felt that way. Super limited menu bar type food. Everyone else loved it.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Sea

1 out of 5

This is a complete waste of space on the ship. Never once on an entire sold out Spring Break sailing did we ever see more than 6 people in there. No one wants to each a full meal on the pool deck. Its not the money it is just silly. We did eat at the bar so we could just order the nachos. Which was enough for my husband and I for lunch. We didn't want a full on meal for each of us. I can imagine that is why the place is empty. Space could have been better utilized as a quick serve pizza or burger location.

The Observation Lounge

5 out of 5

Favorite spot on the ship. My only complaint it was so uncomfortably cold I could not be in there without long pants and sweater!

The Local

3 out of 5

Very limited menu. I didn't care for this at all. My family thought it was good.

Taste Restaurant - Main Dining Room

4 out of 5

Everything but the steak was wonderful. The steak was a horrible cut and incredibly overcooked. Wait staff was very good about asking if you had reservations for shows so they could have you in and out in plenty of time.

La Cucina Italian Restaurant

5 out of 5

Food and service was excellent.

Cagney's Steakhouse

4 out of 5

The food was excellent the service on both visits was the worst service we received on the ship. A different person took our drink order, then another to bring the drinks, someone new to take food order, another to bring more drinks, another to deliver the appetizers. You get the picture. Literally a different person each time! Both nights the same experience.

Atrium Bar

5 out of 5

I enjoyed it a lot, but wish there was more seating available.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
We enjoyed the go carts and laser tag on this ship. The water slides were excellent the kids and adults all enjoyed them. I really liked the layout of the pools. I liked how the kids area was not in a separate section of the ship so we could as a family still be in the same area. We were able to keep an eye on our 7 year old without being stuck in kiddie land. We still felt like we were part of the action. Even though we loved the go carts and the laser tag they took a huge chuck of real estate on this ship as well as the observation lounge. I think the pool area is what made the sacrifice. As with any sold out spring break sailing pool chairs are hard to come by so I think that would have been an issue no matter what, but finding a chair in the sun even on another deck was difficult. There just didn't seem to be enough. We wished there would have been a sports course or rock wall or something else for families to do besides the go carts and laser tag. We didn't go to fitness center.

Laser Tag

3 out of 5

We really would have loved laser tag, unfortunately our family of 4 were placed with two very small children who's grandparents dropped them off there. They were too little to play and didn't understand the rules. One threw his gun and left the game. It was frustrating for our competitive family. There should be an age limit or requirement for a parent to be with them. Perhaps have younger kids play at a different time?

Entertainment

5 out of 5
We loved the comedians both the adult version and kid friendly versions were very good. My son and the older kids went to a hypnotist they loved. Havana we left after 20 mins. I am a dance mom so I was really excited to see this, but honestly I couldn't take it. Dancers were so out of sync. Seriously it was just bad. I will preface that I do not like musicals, like at all. Jersey Boys was not fun for me. I fell asleep multiple times. The show seemed to last forever! The performers did a great job, just not my cup of tea. Everyone else in our group was clapping and raving about it. So if you like musicals then you will probably love it. Familiar Strangers was the band performing on the pool deck and the atrium. They were quite good. It seemed like every bar and lounge had some sort of live music in the evening we really enjoyed them all. Piano in the observation lounge, Beatles cover band, and district brew house also had great music. These all made up for the lack luster stage shows. If rating on the headliner shows alone I would not give 5 stars.

Children's Programs

5 out of 5
My daughter only attended kids club at night after dinner. She is 7 and made lots of friends in the kids club. The new friends she enjoyed playing with in the splash area and water slides during the day. They seemed to have well thought out activities as well. My older son didn't go to teen club as he was with a group and one of the siblings was not old enough to go. Couldn't leave her behind so our group of teens was kind of on their own. They are not flexible about the ages in the kids club. I think he would have enjoyed it if he went. They seemed to have lots of age appropriate things and free times to ride go carts and laser tag.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The staff was amazing on our sailing. They went out of their way to say hello to our 7 year old daughter wherever she went. Room steward was terrific. He was always around bringing ice, making towel animals, and replacing towels. I asked for a lounge chair to be brought to our balcony on the first day whenever he had a chance. 10 min later there he was with the chair! I fully expected like maybe next day. We were on sold out Spring Break sailing and we never waited more the 5 mins for a drink ever! At dinner when waiter first walked up to our table the first thing they asked was any food allergies the second was to ask if we had reservations for a show that they might need to expedite service. The last night we went to Taste and sat down we had 40 mins before show started we had reservations for. We made it with time to spare without feeling rushed. The only not wonderful service was at Cagney's. Both visits there we had not stellar service. We never had a dedicated server. Each time someone different brought drinks appetizers, took orders, refills and brought food. It was super strange a different person for everything! We ate there the first night so originally thought it is the first night so maybe there is something off due to that, but two days later when we ate there again same thing happened. Didn't ruin our experience as the food was good it just made the experience a little weird.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The ship still looked showroom new. Staff was constantly scrubbing, wiping, and cleaning. We loved the layout of the ship. The waterfront was a wonderful way to see the ship. With the restaurants and bars all located on 6,7,8 it really made things easy to get to. We were located near the aft elevators, which never seemed busy. They only things took a little longer to get to were the observation lounge and the buffet. But still easy to navigate. The layout of the ship really distributed the amount of people quite well.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
First time cruising so I don't have others to compare to. I wish there was a little bit more storage and the very close proximity of the closet to the kids bed/couch made it difficult to access. We had a wonderful location on 12th floor near aft elevators and stairs. Our balcony had a kicked out area with enough room for the standard 2 chairs and table as well as the lounge chair. We didn't pay extra for this. It also allowed for an amazing view. The bathroom was just fine for our family. I would pick this room again.

Ship tip

If you can book one of the balconies with a kick out. Check the deck plans and ask for those rooms.

Ports of call

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5
We had 3 families in our group we booked David's Fun Tours for a tour of the island. This tour was the highlight of our vacation for everyone in our group. Dave was amazing. Air conditioned bus for just our group of 12. He tailor the trip to whatever we wanted to do. No shopping to meals that we didn't want to do. He was so informative, pulling over multiple times to pick fruits and leaves and explain different foliage to our group which sounds like it would be boring for a group of teenagers but he was so much fun. He stayed with us while we enjoyed the better part of the day at Megan's Bay Beach. Had a cooler full of water for us. My daughter fed random roadside goats he had bananas for. We of course wanted to hit up a few touristy places for photos and souvenirs. That is where his professionalism really shined. We watched countless drivers struggle with parking and turning around one driver repeatedly hit a planter box trying to turn his van around....Not David. He literally took us everywhere we even went through the projects. Which was an eye opener. He is very proud of his island and it showed the entire trip. He made us all want to move there! I think if we didn't have a ship to catch we still may be riding around with David! We felt safe at all times and can't wait to go back again. Could not recommend him enough.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

3 out of 5
Escape to Jost Van Dyke we booked through NCL. Our time was 7:00-12:00 There was a long catamaran ride to the island. We sat on the top level with the captain. She was very nice. Originally from Australia. She chatted us a lot telling us all about the many islands along the way and was very knowledgeable. Not sure what the people on the lower deck did. She had two deck hands so perhaps they provided a bit of a tour as well. We were dropped off at the beach where we were able to find chairs easily since it was early am. Since it was so early not much was open, it was also pretty cold that early in the day. We were picked back up at noon just as the vendors were opening for the day. My son really wanted to snorkel, but boats arriving rather than dropping off people to swim ashore would drop anchor so there literally was no where to swim or snorkel. These were private boats not ones doing tours they dropped people off then went way out or off into the corner so guests could enjoy the beach. Not sure if the vendors and folks running the stands there could do anything about that, certainly not our tour operator's fault but for that reason alone I am not sure I would go back due to the inconsiderate parking of boats. I can only imagine how full it would have been had we stayed there past noon! The water was beautiful and calm and the shops and food stands looked wonderful we just didn't get to experience it due to the timing of our port.

Nassau, Bahamas

2 out of 5
Blue Lagoon Beach Day This was also booked through NCL. We didn't arrive into Nassau until noon all aboard 7pm. I would like to add that the largest ships from each of the major lines were also in Nassau the same day, 6 mega ships all at once. Let's let that sink in for a min. Luckily we knew this a head of time. With our late arrival we knew things would be crowded no matter what we did. Blue Lagoon seemed like a decent choice. We took a double deck boat to the Blue Lagoon when we arrived there were very few chairs left had to go all the way to the end of the beach to find anywhere to sit. The free floats were all gone. Staff instructed us to grab one when you see a person who is not using it. Each person in our group was told that when asked where the floats were. So apparently that is their policy. We were provided with a lunch which was actually decent food more than I was expecting. There was not a lot of places for purchasing a drink. Staff was down right rude everywhere we went. My daughter and husband went on the inflatables and seemed to have fun. The teenagers hated this excursion. They had hoped to snorkel, but the backside of the lagoon was closed due to high surf and dangerous conditions. Even though the place was totally full with all of the ships in port many of the stands and activities were not open. Very strange. When it was time to leave the last departure time was for our cruise ship. We were all standing in line on the dock while staff members were screaming at people to form three lines they were checking to see what ships people were on all the while music is blaring so people can't hear the instructions given. Keep in mind there is no boat to pick us up anywhere in sight. We stood on the dock getting screamed at for close to 40 mins. Many of the passengers didn't speak English very well and didn't understand why staff was screaming at them. They were separating groups trying to form these lines. It was so strange, as only two boats finally showed arrived 25 mins late and then there were no lines people were are just herded onto one boat. We were lucky and got seated on the first boat. They filled both the top and the bottom of the boat so full that not only were all of the seats taken there was no room to put another person standing on that boat. It was horrible. We left and not sure what happened to the other boat or the people that couldn't get on to the 2nd boat. Thank God we booked through NCL or I am certain we would not have made it on that boat and not made it back in time to our ship. We made it back exactly at all aboard. We should have been back 1.5 hours earlier. As soon as we walked onto ship they pushed away, clearly waiting for our group. I would give this zero stars but it moves my over all rating of my trip down and as terrible as The Blue Lagoon was it didn't ruin my trip. I just want others to not be disappointed.

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Super easy walked right into a line and off the ship. Side note we were in our room and didn't hear any of the annoucements for the groups they were calling. So when we arrived in the atrium we were a little panicked we had missed our time. It was fine though we just hoped in line and walked off.

Traveler Photos

Roadside goats on amazing tour Jost Van Dyke Large Balcony
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