Ship is nice, Norwegian is awful

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 30

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Norwegian Bliss

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: March 02, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Bliss

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 12236

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

My husband and I just returned from a cruise on the Bliss that we booked through one of NCL’s sales agents. We booked the entire trip through this NCL employee including air fare and cruise insurance. We were nervous about the flights, and requested to fly out the night before the cruise (with overnight lodging at our own expense) or on the first flight out of Tulsa Saturday morning (as we had a layover in Dallas).We were told that we did not really get a say in booking the flights but that they would put a note on our account for our requests. When we got our flight assignment we were booked on the second flight out of Tulsa on Saturday morning which gave us a 50 minute layover in Dallas and was not scheduled to even land in Miami until 12:51 PM, after which we would have to gather our luggage and shuttle 30-35 minutes to the Port of Miami. We were concerned about this tight timeline as this would leave no margin for error for traffic or travel delays and our paperwork suggested that we not board the ship later than 2:00 PM. When we called NCL representatives 4-5 times about this and other questions leading up to the cruise we were given the same answer by each, “since you booked your flights with NCL, as long as you are to the port before 4:00 PM and this ship is still in port, you will be allowed to get on.” On the day of departure, our 6:40 AM flight from Tulsa to Dallas was delayed for 3 hours, causing us to miss our layover in Dallas. We were re-booked through the airline on a flight to Ft. Lauderdale which was to land a 2:45 PM as this was the only option available to get us to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale before 4:00. Throughout this morning, we attempted to contact our agent, the emergency travel line listed on NCL edocs, as well as all available NCL numbers to gather information about options, as we knew the flight delay would cause the time to be very close to ship departure. We were unable to get in contact with any NCL representatives, despite 30-45 minute holds, until we got to Dallas. The representative told us that we would be cutting the time very close but was unable to offer any information except telling us to call the shuttle company (that we had paid for to transport from Miami Airport to the Port of Miami). We did as he told us to but because it was Saturday the shuttle company was not open and had no way to be contacted. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, retrieved our luggage and hired an Uber driver (as we could not contact the pre-arranged shuttle) and got to the Port by 3:45 PM. We knew that we were very close to departure, but based on what we had repeatedly been told by NCL, fully expected to be allowed to board since NCL had booked our flights and made all other travel/transport arrangements. As we got out of the Uber, we were met by a NCL representative that said we would not be allowed on the ship and handed us a paper with contact information for NCL to see what our options were with the insurance. We told her what NCL had told us about getting on the ship and she said that no one was allowed on after 3:30 PM. We understand if this is the policy, but that is not what we were told by multiple people within NCL, including the rep we talked to in Dallas. In fact, we were never given a cut off time, only a statement that if the ship was in port we would be allowed to board. The NCL representative at the port offered no further help and told us to find a hotel. We spent the next 4 hours trying to contact NCL from the paper we were given at the port and spent 30 minutes at a time on hold. We then received different answers from different NCL representatives blaming the airline and us for not getting there on time and telling us conflicting information about how the insurance works. No one was able to lay out our options for us or break down the situation and help us, making it difficult to make an informed decision as to whether to meet the ship at the first port or fly back to Tulsa without cruising. We were extremely disappointed with the customer service of a cruise line that is touted as a premium cruise line. We had no problems getting answers or in touch with NCL when we were booking, but when we ran into a problem, no one was available to help. We stayed in a hotel in Miami Saturday night and ended up flying to Tortola to meet the ship on Tuesday. All of which was paid out of pocket (flights, hotel, taxis,food, etc.), amounting to $2000 on top of the almost $5000 we had already spent on the cruise itself. We were not able to join the cruise until day 4 of 7. This was our first cruise experience, we were traveling for my birthday, and we were very excited and pleased with NCL until we ran into a problem. We are very disappointed, as we enjoyed the ship and attentiveness of the staff once aboard, but the issues with the flights booked through NCL, the incorrect information given to us, and the poor customer service would make us extremely hesitant to ever sail with this cruise line again. UPDATE: We have been denied any compensation or credit twice now despite missing half the cruise and being out an extra $2000 for NCL's decision to deny us entry to the ship. They have strung this out over 3 months when it was supposed to take one. We have fought over and over with them, but they continue to accept no responsibility. We will NEVER use this cruise line again, and neither will anyone with any connection to us. Their lack of customer support is dumbfounding. Do not believe their reputation of being a luxury cruise line. Once they have your money, you mean absolutely nothing to them. I strongly encourage you to put your money elsewhere.

Embarkation

1 out of 5
They denied us entry to the ship due to the flights THEY booked being late. Ship was still in port.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Specialty dining was exceptional. Buffets were average. With drink package, the drinks were well worth the cost.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Mini-golf, Laser tag, and go karts were all very entertaining. Some cost extra, but the cost is minimal.

Entertainment

4 out of 5
Jersey Boys was a wonderful show that we enjoyed very much.

Children's Programs

Did not travel with kids and did not look for child programs

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
Most all of the staff was eager to assist with any problems ON THE SHIP. Their customer service via telephone and email is absolutely atrocious.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
Very clean ship. Design was fine. Brand new ship, so everything was state of the art.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Mid-ship mini-suite with a balcony. Bathroom was very spacious for a cruise. Shower had plenty of room and had a double sink in the vanity. Bedroom included a mini-fridge and a couch along with a closet and drawers for storage. A nice size overall. Always kept clean by the staff.

Ship tip

Make reservations for the shows well ahead of time. Some get booked up quickly.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida Did not visit port

Did not spend enough time here to leave a review

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

2 out of 5
No excursions. We were stuck here for 3 days waiting on the ship. Unfortunately, the island is still fairly devastated from the hurricane a couple years ago. Minimal restaurants and shops available. Beaches on the north side are beautiful.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

4 out of 5
Plenty of shopping available within walking distance from the ship. Taxi rates are dictated by the government so they are very affordable. We rode the skyride which was great for aerial views of the island. Shopping and dining available at the peak.

Nassau, Bahamas

4 out of 5
Walked to junkaroo beach which was about 20 minutes away from the ship. Lots of street traffic. Lots of shopping and dining along the way. Beach was fairly busy. Volleyball and other activities available. Overall nice beach with nice views.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
We exited the ship first since we joined the cruise later than expected. Got us to the front of the line for the shuttle which was nice.
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