Not My Favorite...but....Still Vacation
Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review
Review summaryWe 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
Food and Dining
Vibe Beach Club
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?
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Hands down best thing NCL has ever done. Thank you for getting rid of Lavazza!!!!!
Great and busy place to snag an adult beverage. Bartenders are super nice and funny!
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
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
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 😁.
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.
My husband and I did visit Coco's one night to share a dessert. Absolutely amazing and decadent! Staff was so nice and helpful!
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.
Was always quite busy only stopped a couple times Seemed like any other bar on board
Tradewinds Tax-and-Duty-Free Shops
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.
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
Beautiful theatre - no complaints. Saw Six and was blown away again. NCL snags great shows!
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
- 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 -