I'm not as talented as so many others here on the board to write a fancy review with pictures and so many details ( I LOVE reading them, btw), but I did want to share a bit about our cruise that we just came back on. Sorry if it's hodge podgey.
A little background info - we have cruised Carnival and NCL back in the 90's, then later RCL (2001?) and Celebrity (2016?). At that point, the Celebrity was our favorite. After being on the Bliss, hubby and I both agree it was our BEST as far as food and service, and overall ship. We were very impressed. They are always collecting your room card for drinks and dinner, etc, so they always made a point of calling you by your name. Somehow they miraculously would remember your name, sometimes even a few days later, when they would see you again! Just loved that attention to detail. Food was also some of the best we've had.
Embarkation was quick, almost too quick. We arrived approx 10:30am and were told to drop off our luggage in this line, get in that line, then that line........it was so rushed that we were all flustered! Our group of five met up in the buffet once on the ship (around 11:30 maybe) and we just had to sit down and say "What just happened???" LOL Glad to get on the ship so quickly, but wow.
Our rooms and luggage were ready about 2pm or 3pm, I can't quite recall. Everyone was pleased with their cabins. We had balconies on the 9th floor, mid ship. We met our room steward the second day. He did a good job, but nothing above and beyond (we never made any requests, in fairness). I did notice, someone had mentioned this on another thread some time ago, that we had an ice bucket but it was removed at some point during the week. Wouldn't have noticed if it wasn't for the thread. We did get towel animals most days. Conditioning shampoo was supplied on the shower wall. I had brought my own conditioner, but their combo shampoo seemed to work fine, even on my highlighted hair. We were given one bar of soap at the sink which we chose to use in the shower. It was never replaced, but did manage to make it last the whole week.
We had the 3 free dining pkg promo along with the UBP. No problem with any of the drinks or prices, but I wasn't a fan of the wine. I knew I could bring my own bottles on board, but it wasn't THAT big of a deal. The last night I did try the NCL North and South red and actually found it OK. Too late. We had pre-reserved our three dinners a few months ago, but since the times and number of people were off (we had 5 and it was hard to reserve for that number) we simply went to Teppanyaki that first day on the ship and they were able to move things around for us. It was all very easy, so don't stress about it like I did. Note that the reservations were only showing up on the cards they scanned, so my hubby who wasn't with me at the time never saw the reservation on the app, but I could, for example. Kind of confusing.
We dined our first night at the Teppanyaki and everyone loved it. On Wed while returning to the ship from Juneau about 9:30pm, there was some confusion as to what was open. A lady on the ship was greeting us as we got back on promoting the buffet (no way) and when I asked if The Local was open since it was 24/7, she said "yes, but it closed at 9:30. Arg, what? We stopped in at Q while walking up the steps (the smell brought us in). They were still serving and pretty empty, but a live country band was just about to begin. We took a table but the must was SO LOUD we had to scream at our waiter. We opted to pay ala carte on this meal because we already had our other two free dining reservations with our friends later in the week. They couldn't understand us, so we just took it as one freebie on the plan. Just easier. By the way, the food was fantastic. We also dined at Le Bistro (my filet was amazing) and then Cagney's. That meal was also covered by the plan, so we actually got four free meals. Our last night just hubby and I tried Los Lobos and we also found it to be excellent. We are a big fan of Mexican food, and it just hit the spot. I believe we dined at 8pm and the place was empty. Sad to see that.
The buffet might be one of my only complaints. It was utter chaos. You could not find a place to sit, people everywhere, cutting in here and there (there was no good flow), bumping in to you and your plate. I started twitching uncontrollable if we even came close to the entrance. Needless to say, we gave this a skip after our first try. We did give the Local a try one day for breakfast. Food and service were good. Hubby tried it once for lunch, but it was another place that is SO LOUD. You are open and above to the Atrium with something going on all the time (loud microphones or music, for example). It just gave me anxiety. Taste and Savor were good for lunch and dinner (note the lunch menu is the same for both every day). The Manhattan Room was a bit more "fancy" and we enjoyed our meal there one night. I believe this one is only open for dinner, never lunch.
As for ports/shore excursions:
Juneau - hubby and I did a whale watching tour. Very informative. Unfortunately it was foggy and drizzly. We were inside a boat with large glass windows, but the rain made it hard to see out of them. We saw a few tails, but that was about it. I guess I had higher expectations. In fact, this was THE thing I was looking forward to on this cruise, and it was a little letdown. It's nature tho, how can one guarantee any more? We'd do it again.
Skagway - this was our favorite. We started off with a Good Time Girls/Ghost city walking tour. That was the highlight of the day! Our tour guide, "Anita Busch", really played the part, costume and all. She was a wealth of information on the history of the city, the gold rush, just everything. She really made it fun for everyone. That afternoon we did the VIP White Pass train tour. We decided to splurge on this one with our friends and do the VIP which gave us a car with only 14 cushioned/recliner style chairs, food and drinks. We were spoiled. The scenery alone was worth it.
Ketchikan - a short stop from 7am-12:45. We didn't make it off the ship until almost 10am then just walked around town. Very cute. Had lunch at the Harbor Bar (ok), a few drinks at a townie kind of bar near the ship and we were soon off and sailing again. Wish we had more time.
Victoria - we have been told this stop was just to make the cruise international, allowing gambling on the ship. We never got off the boat, but it was a sunny evening and probably should have. Being on the ship all day, or friends and I had fun at the bars, so it was best to just hang. Odd time, too. We docked about 8pm-midnight.
Overall, there is a lot of time on this ship. We wished for more stops, or more time at the ports. We aren't big cruisers, and just find our time on the ship to be boring at times. One can only eat or drink so much. I was reintroduced to the game of blackjack, so that took up a bunch of our time. There are activities going on all day, but you have to be interested in them, and sign up for them ahead of time (some, not all). Making a photo cube? How to relax? Win a free necklace? Hubby and I did do a wine and chocolate pairing (about $22 ea) that was informative and fun.
We will look back on this trip fondly. Scenery so beautiful you can't even believe it. Such a great staff on board. Wonderful food. We miss it already.