Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
KateQ22003

Tell me about all things Norwegian Bliss!

Recommended Posts

I cannot thank you all enough for these wonderful tips and tricks! I too am somewhat of an introvert, and enjoy nothing more than a quiet spot to look at the sea and read. I am going to print out this thread and study it on the plane to New York! Did any of you either go to Spice H2O or get a pass for Vibe? I know getting passes are very difficult; trying to decide if it's even worth the money if I were lucky enough to get one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vibe only takes up half of the width of the ship, the same space on the port side seems to be an open sun deck with padded loungers.  Not many people seem to find it (I did by accident and it didn't seem like it was fully populated).

 

Spice - I went there once on each of my trips on this ship, but neither trip was especially warm for the majority of the trip.  For the time I wanted to spend in the pool area, I found the seats I needed on the sun deck above the pool without issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hallux said:

Vibe only takes up half of the width of the ship, the same space on the port side seems to be an open sun deck with padded loungers.  Not many people seem to find it (I did by accident and it didn't seem like it was fully populated).

 

Spice - I went there once on each of my trips on this ship, but neither trip was especially warm for the majority of the trip.  For the time I wanted to spend in the pool area, I found the seats I needed on the sun deck above the pool without issue.

This is a big help. I will admit Vibe looks pretty swanky on the videos, but I have learned to take promotional videos with a grain of salt! Everything I have read about the main pool deck sounds like a place to avoid, but I do enjoy the chance to hear a tropical band while soaking up some rays.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is the one area where I felt this was probably needed for the Caribbean. It was completely empty in my Alaskan sailing. While we were at glacier Bay I caught a good view of it while sightseeing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, KateQ22003 said:

but I do enjoy the chance to hear a tropical band while soaking up some rays

That's where the sun deck comes into play.  Port side gives you a view to the stage if you want to see (it's in the forward-starboard corner of the pool deck) but you shouldn't have a problem hearing whatever band it is from anywhere surrounding the pool area.  Siglo played up there a few times, I was even able to hear activities and music while sitting on my balcony on deck 14 port-side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't answer for other cruises on the Bliss, but on our cruise Spice was practically dead, which was nice for me because I could pick were I wanted to camp.  I have a feeling it just didn't get discovered.  Also, the slides and the go-karts were a blast!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tips you say...

- book anything & everything you can't book in advance (and book everything you can in advance before you even get on the ship) on the screens by the elevators the very moment you get on the ship.  Some things may open up later in the cruise but you can't count on that.

- Observation lounge is amazing and quite large.  We could always find a seat/couch even when it was very busy because it is that expansive and filled with seating.  We found the loungers up against the wall (not as close to the windows but you can still see plenty) with the high backs to be the most comfortable.  Others must have agreed because those filled up fast.

- Take the stairs as much as you are able. Not enough/quick enough elevators for the number of people on the ship.

- If one of your ports is Port Canaveral, there is NOTHING nearby and nothing whatsoever in walking distance.  Kennedy Space Center is one of the closest things - taxi stand will charge you $60, Uber is even 40 and that is just for one way.

- The crepes at Coco's are small but delicious.

- Maltings Whiskey Bar was quiet and fantastic.  Honey Lemonade - have one or three; goes down way too smooth.

- Upgraded dining is totally worth it (granted, we always choose it as a "free" perk) and so much better in every possible way than the main dining rooms, which are much better than the buffet.  Put bluntly but tactfully I hope, my digestive system definitely knows which days are upgraded dining days and which aren't. We can't afford to eat every meal in one (and they aren't available at lunch anyway) but would if we could.  Savor & Taste tried their best.  The Manhattan crammed as many tables as they possibly could into the area and the service and food suffered for it.

- You MUST check in with the hostess at The Local before snagging a table even over in the bar area on the other side.  They will "catch you" to tell you this and make you wait in line with everyone else (as it should be really).

- The District Brewhouse was also very quiet  - unless there was a NFL game on at the time, as this is the only place to watch it with sound.  Very comfy couches and some great cushy chairs.

- Laser tag and go karts will be closed quite often due to windy conditions.

- Love that there were a few sinks at the entrances to Garden Cafe for you to actually wash your hands properly if you chose instead of the "washy, washy" and being sprayed by staff or using the hand sanitizer dispenser.

 

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jenn117 said:

Tips you say...

- book anything & everything you can't book in advance (and book everything you can in advance before you even get on the ship) on the screens by the elevators the very moment you get on the ship.  Some things may open up later in the cruise but you can't count on that.

- Observation lounge is amazing and quite large.  We could always find a seat/couch even when it was very busy because it is that expansive and filled with seating.  We found the loungers up against the wall (not as close to the windows but you can still see plenty) with the high backs to be the most comfortable.  Others must have agreed because those filled up fast.

- Take the stairs as much as you are able. Not enough/quick enough elevators for the number of people on the ship.

- If one of your ports is Port Canaveral, there is NOTHING nearby and nothing whatsoever in walking distance.  Kennedy Space Center is one of the closest things - taxi stand will charge you $60, Uber is even 40 and that is just for one way.

- The crepes at Coco's are small but delicious.

- Maltings Whiskey Bar was quiet and fantastic.  Honey Lemonade - have one or three; goes down way too smooth.

- Upgraded dining is totally worth it (granted, we always choose it as a "free" perk) and so much better in every possible way than the main dining rooms, which are much better than the buffet.  Put bluntly but tactfully I hope, my digestive system definitely knows which days are upgraded dining days and which aren't. We can't afford to eat every meal in one (and they aren't available at lunch anyway) but would if we could.  Savor & Taste tried their best.  The Manhattan crammed as many tables as they possibly could into the area and the service and food suffered for it.

- You MUST check in with the hostess at The Local before snagging a table even over in the bar area on the other side.  They will "catch you" to tell you this and make you wait in line with everyone else (as it should be really).

- The District Brewhouse was also very quiet  - unless there was a NFL game on at the time, as this is the only place to watch it with sound.  Very comfy couches and some great cushy chairs.

- Laser tag and go karts will be closed quite often due to windy conditions.

- Love that there were a few sinks at the entrances to Garden Cafe for you to actually wash your hands properly if you chose instead of the "washy, washy" and being sprayed by staff or using the hand sanitizer dispenser.

 

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

 

Wonderful tips!!! I have reserved what I can on line, which was pretty minimal. I'm hoping to get on the ship early enough to be able to book the rest. I especially like your comment about Port Canaveral. I have been trying to figure out what to do there; I'm thinking now it will be best to stay on the ship. I am not paying $60 for a cab to go anywhere! I also agree with you about the specialty dining. Did you have a favorite? Mine has always been Cagney's, but I have read differing opinions on the Bliss.

 

Another question. I just realized the day we sail out is Superbowl Sunday! Kind of poor planning on my part. I am going to assume they will show the game somewhere on a big screen, but what other options are there? Would the District Brewhouse be the place to go?

 

Kathy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KateQ22003 said:

 

Another question. I just realized the day we sail out is Superbowl Sunday! Kind of poor planning on my part. I am going to assume they will show the game somewhere on a big screen, but what other options are there? Would the District Brewhouse be the place to go?

 

Kathy

We were on the Breakaway two years ago for Super Bowl Sunday.  The game (minus commercials LOL) was on the big screen in the Atrium as well as on the TVs in the cabins.  Since our team was playing (yay!), we parked ourselves down right in front many hours before the game.  We read our books, talked to other fans, took turns getting food and drinks and bathroom breaks while we waited.  We were surprised how many people arrived as the game started and complained that there were no seats left.  As if they hadn't noticed all week that the Atrium was too small for any activity!   

 

We were on the Bliss a few weeks ago and loved the District Brew House.  However, it is a small venue, so I assume the game will also be shown on the big screen in the Atrium.  And maybe even on the big screen outside.  NCL will post everywhere it will be shown in the Freestyle Daily.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KateQ22003 said:

Mine has always been Cagney's, but I have read differing opinions on the Bliss

I liked Cagney's, La Cucina and Le Bistro.  Of course - I don't dine in similar high-end restaurants on land so I can't be critical of them like others can or will be.  Shoot - the MDR has better food than I eat most days.  If you like French Onion Soup, Le Bistro has it and it's good.

 

I thought the theming in Q was really cool, but it wasn't my favorite use of SDP credit and I'm not a country music fan so when the band started playing (REALLY loud) we finished eating and got out of there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, KateQ22003 said:

Another question. I just realized the day we sail out is Superbowl Sunday! Kind of poor planning on my part. I am going to assume they will show the game somewhere on a big screen, but what other options are there? Would the District Brewhouse be the place to go?

 

Kathy

 

I was on the Bliss for the Super Bowl last year and the Escape the year before that. They had the game on the big screen on the pool deck and in the Atrium, as well as on all the small screens at bars throughout the ship. You can also watch it in your room. The actually decorated the atrium with the colors of each team playing and had special snacks available. Note that there will be no commercials, just dead air during commercial breaks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, KateQ22003 said:

Wonderful tips!!! I have reserved what I can on line, which was pretty minimal. I'm hoping to get on the ship early enough to be able to book the rest. I especially like your comment about Port Canaveral. I have been trying to figure out what to do there; I'm thinking now it will be best to stay on the ship. I am not paying $60 for a cab to go anywhere! I also agree with you about the specialty dining. Did you have a favorite? Mine has always been Cagney's, but I have read differing opinions on the Bliss.

 

Another question. I just realized the day we sail out is Superbowl Sunday! Kind of poor planning on my part. I am going to assume they will show the game somewhere on a big screen, but what other options are there? Would the District Brewhouse be the place to go?

 

Kathy

 

Well, you got lots of answers on the Super Bowl question already.  I found the seating much more comfortable - especially for the long term like any football game really - in the District Brewhouse.  The Atrium would have a much bigger screen though than the projector screen the D.B. pulls down.

We ate at Cagney's, Ocean Blue, Le Bistro, and La Cucina and I'd say we liked them best in that order.  Even La Cucina was really, really good though.  Our one to two experiences in Savor and Taste were both fine; we did not have a good experience in the Manhattan Room.  Tables were way too close together to cram as many people in as possible and the food (overcooked and cold when we got it) and service (just too many people for staff to keep up with so slow and not attentive) suffered for it.  The Local is very convenient since it is open 24/7 but that food was often cold and is really just typical pub food - most staff we encountered there was great though.  I did not have any bad experiences with staff at all - just a couple instances like I mentioned where you could tell they were frazzled a bit and trying to keep up.

Oh, you may know this already but do not let all the announcements convince you that the Garden Cafe Buffet is the only place to go for lunch once you board on day one.  We had a great meal and service in Savor for our first meal on the ship (I believe Taste was open as well - they are right across from one another with a bar in the middle).

Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, jenn117 said:

 

Well, you got lots of answers on the Super Bowl question already.  I found the seating much more comfortable - especially for the long term like any football game really - in the District Brewhouse.  The Atrium would have a much bigger screen though than the projector screen the D.B. pulls down.

We ate at Cagney's, Ocean Blue, Le Bistro, and La Cucina and I'd say we liked them best in that order.  Even La Cucina was really, really good though.  Our one to two experiences in Savor and Taste were both fine; we did not have a good experience in the Manhattan Room.  Tables were way too close together to cram as many people in as possible and the food (overcooked and cold when we got it) and service (just too many people for staff to keep up with so slow and not attentive) suffered for it.  The Local is very convenient since it is open 24/7 but that food was often cold and is really just typical pub food - most staff we encountered there was great though.  I did not have any bad experiences with staff at all - just a couple instances like I mentioned where you could tell they were frazzled a bit and trying to keep up.

Oh, you may know this already but do not let all the announcements convince you that the Garden Cafe Buffet is the only place to go for lunch once you board on day one.  We had a great meal and service in Savor for our first meal on the ship (I believe Taste was open as well - they are right across from one another with a bar in the middle).

Have fun!

Thanks so much, Jenn! You bring up an important point that I hadn't considered - lunch on embarkation day! I would rather stick forks in my eyes than go to the buffet the first day. Always a ridiculous situation and guaranteed to start the cruise off on a stressful note. What else is open that day? Is Margaritaville? I am not picky; anything but the buffet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, KateQ22003 said:

Thanks so much, Jenn! You bring up an important point that I hadn't considered - lunch on embarkation day! I would rather stick forks in my eyes than go to the buffet the first day. Always a ridiculous situation and guaranteed to start the cruise off on a stressful note. What else is open that day? Is Margaritaville? I am not picky; anything but the buffet.

I'm not sure, but my understanding is that Magaritaville has been replaced with "The American Diner" ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Waffopossum said:

It was still Margaritaville on the Bliss when I last was on there December 13-20.  Not sure if it was open though.

Thank you for the correction, I enjoyed Margaritaville on the Escape and was looking forward to it on the Bliss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, KateQ22003 said:

Thanks so much, Jenn! You bring up an important point that I hadn't considered - lunch on embarkation day! I would rather stick forks in my eyes than go to the buffet the first day. Always a ridiculous situation and guaranteed to start the cruise off on a stressful note. What else is open that day? Is Margaritaville? I am not picky; anything but the buffet.

 

We had lunch at The Local on embarkation day. We always do O'sheehans's/The Local on embarkation as it's our tradition. I always get my first drink and a Reuben there and enjoy people-watching. As far as I know, Margaritaville was not open on embarkation day. They don't do the mini-buffet there at breakfast on the Bliss either. They did originally (back when we sailed the Bliss in February), but we asked the maitre d at Margaritaville about it at lunch one day on our most recent sailing and he said they had stopped doing it because, with the buffet on the front of the ship and Margaritaville at the back, it was too much work bringing the food the length of the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind - the Observation Lounge also has light fare for lunch on embarkation day.  Last time I was on the Bliss I just grabbed a couple things there as we boarded late (CG inspection caused a 2 hour line outside the port building) so as I was giving a tour of the ship to my companions we just grabbed a couple things when we got there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sailed on the Breakaway and Bliss this year, and have to say I'm hooked on these large ships.  There's so much to do, and places to go.  One of the main areas that has won me over is The Waterfront.  I just loved walking this deck, and hanging out on the lounges watched the world go by (I never had a problem finding a place to sit and relax). 

 

They have separate venues for dance clubs, comedy clubs, and music venues.  It's nice because you have plenty of options, not just one venue going on at a time. 

 

I ate at La Cucina and Cagney's and was pleased with both.  The buffet on the Bliss was much better than the Breakaway. There was quite a variety of food, and I never really had a problem finding somewhere to sit (but then again, I was solo, and needed to share a table with other parties sometimes). The dining rooms were fine (not great, not bad), and with three of them, I never had to wait more than a couple minutes to get a table.

 

The Thermal Spa is amazing on the Bliss.  I especially loved the Snow room, and Salt room.

 

I hope this helps a little.  I never thought I would like the larger ships, but now that I've been on them, I'm totally hooked. I just booked a cruise for next year on The Escape.  It's nice all these ships are laid out the same.  Once you board, it feels like home because you already know where everything is, and you don't spend days trying to figure out where everything is 😊.  Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, jcscv said:

I hope this helps a little.  I never thought I would like the larger ships, but now that I've been on them, I'm totally hooked. I just booked a cruise for next year on The Escape.  It's nice all these ships are laid out the same.  Once you board, it feels like home because you already know where everything is, and you don't spend days trying to figure out where everything is 😊.  Have fun!

 

There are actually some layout differences between the Bliss and the Escape. On the Escape, the buffet is at the back of the ship, the spa is on the front of the ship, Le Bistro is on Deck 6, and the Arcade is on Deck 16. On the Bliss, the buffet is on the front of the ship, the spa is on the back, Le Bistro is on Deck 17, and the Arcade is on Deck 5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on the Bliss  Panama Canal 21 day cruise, during which there were illness outbreaks, both gastro and respiratory.

 

I hope that there is not any residual illness, but February is not a good month for Noro.  The hygiene protocol in the buffet was very lax until the beginning of the outbreak. Then they got progressively more serious.

 

Service in ALL of the free MDRs ranged from horrible to okay. We heard that they withdrew a lot of the more experienced crew to staff the Encore. Specialty dining service really wasn't much better. If you can stand to eat early, I'd recommend going to either Taste of Savor as soon as they open to have a chance. If you go in the last hour you will find that a lot of staff gets pulled to do other things, like rolling up silverware for the next service.  Good luck getting a refill of a drink or even a checkback during your meal. 

If you like a cocktail or soft drink with your meal and have a beverage package, you may want to order it at a nearby bar and just bring it with you. My friend had a terrible time with orders that needed bar service in the MDRs.

As far as service, Le Bistro was the best, then Ocean Blue, then Los Lobos, then Cagneys (only one out of three services was good). Food Republic is a whole different thing where you order from a touchscreen. For reservations, you can use the touchscreens to book all of your meals, do it as far out as you can for the MDRs. The specialty restaurants not sure how it works if you cancel.  The nights they have the big shows (Jersey Boys, Six), getting a reservation and finishing your meal on time is a problem. It's easier to get into the late seatings of the shows.

 

We liked Jersey Boys better than Six. I liked the Beatles.

 

The regular balcony cabin are fine, not even sure you need a minisuite.  Read the reviews. A lot of people didn't think they were worth the upcharge.

 

The Indian Food in the buffet was a savior, I had it for breakfast lunch and dinner. The Observation Lounge is nice, but in the afternoon, they remove the food as soon as service starts in the buffet.

 

We didn't have issues with disembarkation at the ports, but getting off the ship in NYC was a cluster. Of my three pieces of luggage on embarkation, one was outside my room, one was lying in the middle of the hallway halfway to the front of the ship, and one was missing until 7:30pm (which was 6 hours after we arrived).

 

I would do self-help boarding if you can get away with carry-on and laundry service (there should be one $20 bag per week) if you don't have it free.  There is a clothesline in the shower. You won't get bottles of lotion or conditioner (maybe if you ask your steward). And even though you are charged corkage for wine consumed in your room, there is no corkscrew and the only glasses are tumblers.  Even the cheap rooms have individual coffee makers. Ask your steward for a bathrobe if one isn't in the room, and to clear out your minifrig if you want to use it for snacks, yogurt cups, etc.

 

Beware of the room service upcharges.

 

Spice H20 was quiet until whenever it becomes a night club. Observation Lounge was nice but full of sick people.

 

Edited by mlgb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/25/2019 at 5:00 AM, KateQ22003 said:

Thanks so much, Jenn! You bring up an important point that I hadn't considered - lunch on embarkation day! I would rather stick forks in my eyes than go to the buffet the first day. Always a ridiculous situation and guaranteed to start the cruise off on a stressful note. What else is open that day? Is Margaritaville? I am not picky; anything but the buffet.

 

Margaritaville was definitely open on the Dec 13 - 20 cruise but not on the embarkation day for lunch.  Their drinks are delicious although we didn't pay the upcharge to eat a meal there.  As others have mentioned, the Local was open for lunch too it seems.  We went straight to Savor after reserving everything we could on the screen once we boarded.  We did not reserve dinner at any of the free main dining rooms but it is a good option to have.  We never waited more than twenty minutes and that was the day we went right around 6, most times we got right in immediately.  Not sure how full your sailing is - ours was sold out.

 

We loved the bigger bathroom and "spa" shower in our mini-suite, as well as the large balcony (I guess not all mini-suites have a large balcony though).  Granted, we paid for a balcony room and then I asked for an upgrade once the price dropped considerably. I would NOT recommend the room we had at the front of the ship on the 8th floor (8120) traveling out of NYC in the winter.  We hit some rough weather and I am not a rookie cruiser but was sick our first full day.  It did get a bit better once I got more mid ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...