Not My Favorite...but....Still Vacation

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 2
Helpful Votes: 24

Overall rating:

3.9 out of 5
Norwegian Bliss

12 Night Southern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 01, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Bliss

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 15162

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

We chose to take the great and good moments on vacation and take that and run with it. We were ready to go home by the end of our sailing. We were extremely thankful to be on vacation but we figured out a few things on this cruise. 12 day is too long for us. I think our sweet spot is 9 days. Also we will never go out of NYC again. Way too chaotic. We also decided that the breakaway plus class ships are too big. Some of the things we were looking forward to NCL didn't deliver on and some things we weren't expecting happened (like coast guard medical helicopter evacuation on day 2). Overall we will still stay loyal to NCL as we won't take one not best sailing as an end all be all. We will be more picky of our ships in the future as well as departure port

Embarkation

1 out of 5
So we arrived very early to port and was put in line in chairs until security opened. We purchased NCL Priority Access to be able to get on the ship quicker. Once security opened they put us in line and we went through security just fine. Before going through security we were told that Priority Access would check in in The Haven Check in. Once through security we were told no we check in further down. So my husband and I start walking down to check in and I realized I was on the wrong side of the lane belt divider. We are already passed security and there is NO ONE around us anywhere. Not in line, no where. We make our way to check in and a NCL woman rep who had very long dark hair in a pony tail walked up with another older male NCL rep. She suddenly stops my husband and I and said I'm sorry we have to talk to you before you can check in and looks at me. I was like okay...I had no idea about what so we thought it was in regards to the Priority Access. It wasn't. She continued to lecture me about how I must treat them like the TSA and that I can NEVER go under a divider belt EVER as they can toss us out of port. I was dumbfounded. We were already passed security and there was no body around the ENTIRE check in line. I was like I'm sorry?! I didn't know?? She walks away and the other older NCL make rep looked at me and said she is full of shit have a great vacation. So that's how our embarkation BEGAN. We did FINALLY make it to the group we were to get on the ship with. But when they started Embarkation they called like five groups at once and it was a mad push and shove to get on the ship. It wasn't stopped and there were NO REPS helping with crowd control. Someone could have gotten seriously injured. We are loyal to NCL but will NEVER go out of NYC ever again - this was the second time and was worse then two years ago. NCL reps were rude, mean and when you actually did need them were no where to be found. NCL has to really revamp how they approach this terminal.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
I have reviewed this seperately for specific dining venues but overall I was not impressed by the food on the Bliss in comparison to other ships.

Vibe Beach Club

4 out of 5

The Vibe on the Bliss is a great size! It did not sell out on our 13 day cruise. For two people it was $519. Was a little steep since you can't use it very comfortably leaving and entering a cold port like NYC. Bar tenders were amazing and service was always great. My only comment would be that it had only one large hot tub when it was filled almost everyday. Could have used two. Other comment is that just outside the Vibe is a sun area with the same comfortable chairs, a hot tub and a bar. So not sure why you would pay extra for the same thing?

Food Republic

4 out of 5

My husband and I visited Food Republic twice on our 13 day voyage. Both times we paid aka cart. It is pretty good! It replaces the Shanghai noodle and sushi bar as it provides both. Some of the ingredients were a little different but we had fun trying new things! Staff was amazing both times as was the food!

Q Texas Smokehouse

2 out of 5

This was the restaurant we were looking forward to the most. We were so let down. My husband and I both ordered the beef brisket and the meat itself was very very good and well portioned. However the three little sauce cup sides were clearly from the garden cafe. The BBQ beans were watery and crunchy (not cooked through), the Mac and cheese was watery and from garden cafe and the "potato salad" was three pieces of American potatoes - literally three pieces. The cornbread is jalapeno cornbread and is more savory then sweet. We didn't even stay for dessert as we paid out of pocket. I honestly would not waste your time or money/specialty dining package. NCL has this Grand idea of having a country venue but has not invested into the menu. They have put more towards the venue and live music.

The Observation Lounge

4 out of 5

This is a welcomed innovation by NCL! This area of the ship and views were amazing! We spent time playing cards and reading as well as watched a medical helicopter evac from here too. My only complaint was that there were lots of couches. The problem with couches is that if someone is sitting at one end you don't want to sit at the other for fear of crowding space. So this left lots of space unused. I think they would do well to have more Loungers and chairs or chaises to prevent this from happening. My other complaint was that there was always tons of people sleeping. You would want to go enjoy the view and there would be tons of space taken up by sleepers. You can do that in your stateroom.

The Manhattan Room - Main Dining Room

3 out of 5

We dined here one night. Was very loud. Almost overwhelmingly so. Food was just okay - nothing special. The same menu as the other dining rooms. Service was good but hard to hear your server over the noise.

The Local

4 out of 5

For some reason this dining venue was always PACKED on our sailing. It was hard at times to be seated. I think NCL would be good to do away with the around the atrium seating and create more booths or table space. But the food again was hot and tastes good - just the menu doesn't change which can get old on a longer sailing. Service was always great!

Taste Restaurant - Main Dining Room

4 out of 5

We visited taste a handful of times for lunches and dinners. Service was always good be it kinda slow. The food was piping hot and always tasted very good but the portions seem to keep getting smaller. The waiters always Everytime asked about food allergies now which I thought was a nice touch.

Starbucks

5 out of 5

Hands down best thing NCL has ever done. Thank you for getting rid of Lavazza!!!!!

Skyline Bar

5 out of 5

Great and busy place to snag an adult beverage. Bartenders are super nice and funny!

Ocean Blue

3 out of 5

This was our 7th NCL cruise and had never tried Ocean Blue. We decided to try it on this cruise and were a little disappointed. The menu was not huge so selection was smaller. The food was just okay. For the price of the food you have to REALLY like seafood. I'm glad we tried it, the service was wonderful but we won't be trying this again. Just not for usm

Los Lobos

5 out of 5

We were pleasently surprised by Los Lobos! You get SO MUCH FOOD. And it is all so good!!! The table side guac was AMAZING and the service was wonderful! This was a great swap out for Moderno! This is a must try!

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Sea

5 out of 5

I have been to Margaritaville on other NCL ships and this one did not disappoint. The nachos are huge and the drinks are strong! Very good food with of course the up charge but we always plan on visiting once 😁.

Garden Cafe

1 out of 5

I am an avid fan of NCL's Buffets. We have enjoyed them on the sky x2, gem x1 and getaway x3. So we were expecting much of the same thing on the Bliss. Maybe something more/better since she is so new?! Ummm, yeah, no.The buffet was literally the same exact stations mirrored and pretty much the food NEVER changed day to day. Literally had the emptiest plates at lunches because I was sick of eating a cheeseburger and fries with macaroni and cheese. They would say it's grille night and all that would be different is there was additional meat selections to the same food fare initially offered. We were SO disappointed in this. If you like the same lunch everyday this is the buffet for you! But for a 13 day cruise we were over it.

Coco's

5 out of 5

My husband and I did visit Coco's one night to share a dessert. Absolutely amazing and decadent! Staff was so nice and helpful!

Cagney's Steakhouse

3 out of 5

So my husband and I went to Cagney's two times during the 13 day cruise. Our first time was on Day 3 or 4 of the cruise. The food was def what we were used to from Cagney's. However the service was not up to snuff. Our waiter seemed extremely frazzled and rushed and in turn we felt rushed. But the food that night was wonderful!The second time we went to Cagney's was on Day 9 or 10. Our waiter was absolutely amazing! Funny and very very polite. But our food was not to the quality as earlier in the cruise. Our steaks were over done and things just didn't seem to taste as good. We absolutely love Cagney's and go at least once each cruise but for some reason Cagney's really struggled on the Bliss. It is def not consistent from day to day. We also heard from other passengers from crew that the Bliss was understaffed and they had people covering things they were not trained for.

Atrium Bar

4 out of 5

Was always quite busy only stopped a couple times Seemed like any other bar on board

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
We enjoyed the pool. Was comfortable. The water and pool always seemed clean. We did not partake of water slides, go karts or laser tag.

Tradewinds Tax-and-Duty-Free Shops

2 out of 5

I have always enjoyed shopping on board but the bliss has not the same things being sold as you would see on the gem or getaway. I don't go to the ship store to shop for dress pants and dressy shirts. I expect to see lots of NCL merch and blissed out merch. I found very little of this in the VERY small shop. Also NCL needs to look at bringing their sizing higher then XL. Again I was disappointed.

Bliss Casino

3 out of 5

This is our 7th NCL cruise and we were a bit disappointed in the casino on the Bliss. We were happy that there was a special smoking room so the entire casino wasn't smoking. However there were only a handful of penny slots and loads of $0.25 and up machines. We don't gamble extravagantly and really only do it on vacation - but with over 4,000 passengers I think they'd want to have more options available. Also the casino is like split up into four parts that we didn't care for either. Not our favorite

Entertainment

5 out of 5
My husband and I saw Six on our second night aboard. It was amazing! I highly recommend it! Was just like a Broadway show!

Bliss Theater

5 out of 5

Beautiful theatre - no complaints. Saw Six and was blown away again. NCL snags great shows!

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
For the most part service was top notch on this cruise. It was evident towards the later part of our sailing people were getting tired. But service wise we were pretty happy!

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The ship is laid out just like other breakaway/breakaway-plus class ships. Easy to navigate and find around. It was ALWAYS clean and being cleaned. All the time staff was sweeping, dusting, wiping. Very clean.

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5
Our cabin was immaculate and clean. We had a mini suite two rooms down from observation lounge. Our room steward Max was AMAZING so kind and always wanted to know how our day was! Our only complaint which we knew booking was the noise from above in buffet and pool deck. Constant thumping, scratching chairs, bumps and crashes. The night they put up the Christmas decor it was banging and crashing all night long. Otherwise the convenience of being near everything was nice!

Ship tip

- Book everything early like as soon as you get on board especially comedy shows, go karts, laser tag, etc - Take note the very front of garden cafe is mirrored to the back and typically there is less people. There is also a bar up there and seating looking over observation lounge - There is covered from sun loungers on deck 16 forward -

Ports of call

St. John's, Antigua

5 out of 5
We booked the Stingray Swim and Snorkel through NCL. It was a 30 minute bus ride to the facility and then another 10-15 boat ride out to the Sand bar where the sting Ray's are. So beautiful and amazing! Just note they do not let you wear any water shoes or socks so you are required to be barefoot while in the water with the Ray's. Bring money for photos - cash or card is alright and you do get one cup of rum punch afterwards.

Basseterre, St. Kitts

4 out of 5
We did not book an excursion for St Kitts but enjoyed a great day on shore shopping and soaking up the sun!

Bridgetown, Barbados

5 out of 5
We booked Harrison's Cave through NCL in Barbados. It was absolutely amazing! I highly recommend this excursion if you have never seen or been in a cave system. Absolutely incredible!

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

5 out of 5
We booked the excursion Kong Tiki II through NCL. It was wonderful! We had a tour of the harbour and history and then went to a beach to swim and enjoy St Thomas. The party boat brought us back singing and dancing. Unlimited rum punch. Drinks available to purchase on board. Lots of fun! Would highly recommend for couples and families alike!

New York, New York

1 out of 5
See Embarkation/disembarkation.

Disembarkation

1 out of 5
Just as bad as Embarkation. A cluster f+*# with not enough staff. NYC has got to come up with a better system. ESPECIALLY when there are TWO ships in Port!
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