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JamieLogical

Random Bliss Stuff - We'll Call This a Review

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Sorry for the long break everyone! We had plans with friends last night and I have been swamped with work today! Will try to get a bit more posted soon, but in the mean time, I want to go back and answer some people's questions.

 

20 hours ago, yankees111 said:

Nice review so far. You said you were not able to book comedy show reservations upon boarding. Was that a glitch and were you eventually able to reserve the reservations you wanted?

 

17 hours ago, hallux said:

 

This is very discouraging to hear.  I enjoy comedy shows, and I'm used to Royal Caribbean where they have two comedy shows in the main theater - one is suitable for all ages, the other is more appropriate for adults and is at a later hour but in a theater that seats 1,000+ you can get a decent population in.  It sounds like NCL restricts comedy acts to the smaller venues, which limits the number of people that can see them.

 

So, I will get into more detail when I get to Sunday, but we were unable to book any of the comedy shows in The Social. I was told by some other passengers that a lot of people did make it in from the stand-by lines, we just never tried it ourselves. There was a single show in the main Theater later in the week where all the comedians performed portions of their normal sets, but we missed that as well.

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12 hours ago, kayjay76 said:

I know you havnet touched on this but 1 thing we were so disappointed with was the 80's party. It's usually my favorite part of the cruise and held in H20. It was held in 1 of the clubs instead on the Bliss. Way, way too small a venue for all who wanted to attend, tiny dance floor, super hot inside and was only an hour. Oh, and speaking of H20.... for some reason it was smaller on this ship and with no screen. Not a fan of this h20.

 

I'll add a quick review about staff. WONDERFUL!! We were on the Getaway last year and it was the general review by all on these boards the staff was "off". Just bad service everywhere. Really got us scared for this cruise. And we were so very happy to see the NCL great service back. Smiles everywhere!! Washy washy peeps, love em. Our steward was fantastic, servers, bar tenders.... erveryone was AAAA+++!!!

 

We didn't do the 80's party (we never really do the themed parties on any ship) so thanks for posting about that and letting anyone who might be interested know.

 

As for the tremendous service, I agree that it was fantastic throughout the ship and I hope I made that clear and will continue to make that clear as I post more about our experiences. :classic_biggrin:

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Haven't yet been on the Bliss. Going next month. Thanks for doing this review Jamie

Regarding the Comedy reservations, I seem to have recently read that you need to go to the Comedy Club to fill out a paper form and they allowed you to make a max of two reservation times. Not into doing standby line 

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Okay, on to Sunday! First up, we had our "first breakfast" delivered to our room. This has become a tradition for us since sailing on the Gem. Back on our first sailing on the Escape, we didn't realize this was an option, but I learned about it here on Cruise Critic and I am so glad I did! For those of you that don't know, NCL does a free "continental" room service breakfast. This consists of beverages and "cold" breakfast items. Hot breakfast items still incur the normal $8 room service fee. The way it works is you should have several door hanger cards in the room service binder in your stateroom. You fill out you name and room info (VERY important as we accidentally left that blank one night and didn't get breakfast!), what time window you want your food delivered, and the items you want delivered, then you leave that hanging outside on your door by 4:00 am. Here's what the cards look like:

 

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We enjoyed our coffee and pastries out on the balcony, then showered and dressed at a leisurely pace, then headed out for "second breakfast" at the Garden Cafe. I have already shared my rant about that!

 

The only thing on our agenda for the day was the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet in the District Brewhouse at noon. We tried stopping by the Box Office to see if we could get into any of the comedy shows and/or make reservations for the Beatles tribute band in the Cavern Club. We learned that there are no reservations for the Cavern Club, it's just first-come-first-serve. The only comedy show that had reservations still available was for that night (Sunday) and we already had reservations for Havana. We asked about moving our Havana reservation to the next night, but it was already fully booked as well. So, we kept our Havana reservation and decided to maybe take our chances in the stand-by line for comedy (ultimately we never did).

 

We also stopped by the Spa to make an appointment in the Barber Shop for my SO. The first time we were on the Escape, he got a haircut and it was the best haircut he'd ever gotten. So now he makes a point of getting his hair cut every time we cruise. We got an appointment for 3:00pm that day.

 

I don't recall how we killed the rest of our morning, but I think we ended up doing a light lunch in the buffet because we knew there would be food at the Meet & Greet. Unfortunately, no offense to anyone involved, but that turned out to be a bit of a flop. What had happened was, a woman who was traveling with a group of something like 75 people had called NCL about a private Meet & Greet. She was informed that NCL only does one Meet & Greet per sailing, the Cruise Critic one, so her gathering became the Cruise Critic gathering. She seemed well intentioned, but it just wasn't as organized as we've experienced in the past. She didn't get up to speak, there was no gift exchange, no group activities, no slot pull after, etc.

 

Also, weirdly, despite being held in the District Brew House, no beer was served, just mimosas. There were still small finger food served. The Cruise Director, Dan Dan, and some of the officers stopped by, stood in a line, were introduced, and then left. None of them stuck around to mingle, unlike other Meet & Greets I've done in the past. So that whole thing ended up not lasting long.

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Sunday evening, there was a lot going on. It was the Super Bowl, but we had ZERO interest in watching the Patriots win another one. So we had reservations for Los Lobos at 6:00 and Havana at 7:30.

 

We got dressed up for our Los Lobos reservation. We always dress nicely for the specialty restaurants (except Q the night before). We headed down and asked to be seated on the Waterfront. We were literally the ONLY people out there. Even during the course of our entire dinner, we never saw one single person walk by who wasn't an NCL employee. It was a completely lovely and wonderful meal from start to finish. The Assistant Maitre 'D, Ramesh, came out and chatted with us several times. Our waiter, Suma, was incredibly friendly and helpful. The food was so much better than we expected! We have a local, upscale Mexican restaurant that we frequent and we kept telling ourselves that we needed to set our expectations way lower for one on a cruise ship. And while it definitely wasn't as good, it was still VERY good.

 

I ordered a frozen margarita that was clearly going to be a struggle to drink without a straw (I had accidentally left my Final Straw) back in the room, since I had no pockets in my dress). Ramesh hunted all over and managed to snag a paper straw for me.

 

My SO ordered the empanadas and I ordered the queso fundido for appetizers. The emanadas were no match for our local place, but the queso was really good. I kept threatening to fight Suma every time he offered to clear it. For entrees my SO got the carne asada, which Suma recommended and he loved. I got the enchiladas de mole with cheese instead of chicken and was pleasantly surprised with their mole sauce, which is generally hit-and-miss with Mexican restaurants. Suma also recommended we get the "elotes", which is Mexican street corn, which hadn't even been on our radar and my SO got the tamales. The tamales were so-so, but the street corn was AMAZING. Do not skip the street corn if you go to this restaurant!!!!

 

We got the beignets for dessert. I was really too full to eat much of them at that point, but they were just okay. I also got the Mexican Coffee, which was DELICIOUS and I highly recommend!

 

We took a leisurely walk along the Waterfront and I posed for a picture under the cool ceiling lights behind the Manhattan Room. Then we were off to our show.

 

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Thanks Jamie!  Looking at the Bliss for a potential future cruise...

Enjoying your review - both the depth & quality of the information!

Cheers  --  Von & John

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Always love your insights.  Sounds like you're having a great time!

 

The buffet on Bliss did not drive me crazy but must say had to chuckle about searching for that sausage gravy!  Agree the Indian buffet is the best in the fleet with expanded offerings at lunch and dinner.  Really authentic spiciness and nice variety.

 

You have offered a lot of help on this board especially on the upgrade bidding process.  So it's fun to see your onboard adventure (and lovely pic in that fresh air on the deck!)

 

We thought the best thing about Bliss is that Observation Lounge that seems to go on forever.  What a great job they've done putting out some breakfast & lunch items on a small buffet.  Gorgeous decor and views!

 

Thanks again for sharing your cruise with us!

 

Did you like the Go-Karts and Laser Tag?  

How did you find the entertainment onboard in the lounges and theater?  

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Thank you for posting this review, Jamie. We're considering Bliss for Alaska next summer, and it's really helpful to read first hand accounts.

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21 hours ago, JamieLogical said:

We also stopped by the Spa to make an appointment in the Barber Shop for my SO. The first time we were on the Escape, he got a haircut and it was the best haircut he'd ever gotten. So now he makes a point of getting his hair cut every time we cruise. We got an appointment for 3:00pm that day.

 

 

Haha, I said the same thing after I got my haircut on the Escape last summer (my first haircut on a ship ).... best one ever!

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Sorry it's taking me so long to get these posts up. I have been completely slammed at work.

 

Okay, so after Los Lobos on Sunday evening, we headed over to Havana. The show is a lot of fun. Very high-energy. We really enjoyed it from start to finish. There's not much of a "plot", just various song and dance routines. The costumes are bright and fun. The singing and dancing are excellent. You will definitely get a lot of opportunity to admire the physiques of all the dancers!

 

Here's a photo of the set from before the show started:

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After Havana, my SO walked around and tried to film some of the Super Bowl events happening around the ship with his new 360 camera (I'll be posting all that video eventually). Then we tried to get the Cavern Club super early to grab seats for the 10:00 performance by Britain's Finest, the Beatles tribute band. We got good seats, got lots of drinks, and thoroughly enjoyed the show.

 

I was so happy to see the Cavern Club being put to such better use on the Bliss than the 5 'O Clock Somewhere Bar had been on the Escape. On the Escape, the only "performances" they ever had in there were karaoke. But on the Bliss, there were real shows there almost every night between Britain's Finest and the house band, Siglo, who I will talk much more about later. We found ourselves hanging out in there a LOT in the evenings, despite never once attending any karaoke. It has an outdoor bar as well, similar to 5 'O Clock Somewhere. We only got drinks outdoors once so I can't really give a true assessment, but the bar service indoors was really great every time we were there.

 

After Britain's Finest, we finally crashed. That was actually a really late night for us on a cruise. We are early risers and almost never make it past 11:00!

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Thanks, Jamie.  Enjoying your review.  I'm "dancing around" making reservations either on the Bliss or the Escape next month.

 

Keep it coming. 🙂

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Before I move on to Monday's activities, I wanted to touch on two subjects before I forget: drinks and the casino.

 

Drinks

On the Gem in June and on my last Escape sailing in October, we noticed more and more of the drinks being pre-mixed. My SO actually had a conversation with one of the bar tenders at Tobacco Road on the Escape about it and found out that it was something they had started doing since SO MANY passengers have the drink package now and will ask for a drink, try it, and not finish it. Taking the time to make so many drinks individually, only to have so much go to waste was a drain on resources, so they started pre-mixing what they could.

 

I saw VERY LITTLE of that on the Bliss, so I don't know if it is a fleet-wide shift or not. The only time I received a partially pre-mixed Mr. Worldwide was once at the Observation Lounge bar, though all my other Mr. Worldwides I ordered there throughout the week were fresh made. On that occasion, the Pimm's and Vodka were premixed in a Pimm's bottle with the label crossed out with a red X. All the other ingredients were added separately as usual.

 

At many of the bars, the liquor for a Mudslide was all pre-mixed in a Skyy Vodka bottle. And then, of course, at the poolside bars, they had some of the drinks pre-mixed in their slushy machines, like the Mango Meltdown. But they did make me a couple of those fresh as well when the machines were empty.

 

Towards the end of our sailing, two different bars we stopped at (Observation Lounge and Surf Bar) were out of Bailey's. Also, on the last day (Friday) they seemed to run out of the large, clear, NCL branded plastic cups at the poolside bars and used much smaller, translucent solo cups.

 

And of course, straws were in limited supply. I only received paper straws at specialty dining restaurants, never at any of the bars. Once, as described before, I received a straw for my frozen margarita at Los Lobos. And then at the end of the cruise, we had our last dinner at Ocean Blue where I ordered a mojito and eventually received a straw for that. We had brought our own reusable Final Straws and had them with us most of the time. Since they are kind of a pain to keep clean, I only used mine in my mojitos and in the occasionally frozen drink that really was just too frozen to sip. I do recommend them for anyone who thinks they will need a straw, because they fit nicely in pants pockets.

 

Final thought on drinks. The new prices had gone into effect, but had zero impact on us. We don't drink wine and we mostly do mixed drinks where the quality of the liquor is not such a big deal. I only drank a few specialty drinks at the specialty restaurants, screwdrivers, Mr. Worldwides (my favorite NCL drink!), mojitos, Mango Meltdowns, vodka sours, and Irish Russians. An Irish Russian is something I discovered on the Escape in October. I tried to order a White Russian at the District Brew House (which does have a full bar, not just beer), but they had no milk/cream, so they offered to make me one with Bailey's instead and I was like "YES!!! Why did I never think of this?!?!!" So since then, I never order regular White Russians anymore.

 

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Casino

Just some quick thoughts on the casino. The new smoking room has drastically cut down on the smoke-smell in the rest of the casino. It's still there, but not nearly as bad as on other ships. I never once came back to the room smelling like an ashtray.

 

The slots are more modern. Fewer reel games and many more video-screen games. Also, because it is so much more narrow than on the Escape, it did feel really crowded. It felt like more machines were just in hallways and walkways. In case you are unaware, deck seven is more narrow on the Bliss than on the Escape, because the lifeboats are now sunken into the sides of the ship instead of hanging off the sides. This makes The Local a lot tighter than O'Sheehan's on the Escape as well.

 

In order to "make up" some of the space in the casino, they have removed the performance area near the Skyline bar and a lot of the seating there as well.

 

I didn't play any table games, so I am afraid I can't answer any questions you might have about those.

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Jamie, love all your details! 

By chance, do you know who is the Executive Casino Host on the Bliss now?    We will be onboard soon and will be spending lots of time in that new casino:classic_biggrin:

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Please describe a Mr. Worldwide.  Haven't heard of that one before.

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Thank you for the review!  Heading out on the Bliss next weekend, can’t wait!

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4 hours ago, tarps14 said:

Please describe a Mr. Worldwide.  Haven't heard of that one before.

 

It's Pimm's, vodka, strawberry puree, lime juice, and then a splash of sparkling white wine added on top.

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Jamie, thanks for your review - very informative and enjoyable.  I will be on the Bliss at the end of March for Panama Canal cruise.

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Thanks for the review, we will be on the Bliss in March. I really loved the Getaway casino, won 3 hand pays during our 7 day cruise.  Did you have any luck in the Bliss casino or see any BIG slot wins? Thanks 

Edited by tony0aces

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8 hours ago, tony0aces said:

Thanks for the review, we will be on the Bliss in March. I really loved the Getaway casino, won 3 hand pays during our 7 day cruise.  Did you have any luck in the Bliss casino or see any BIG slot wins? Thanks 

 

I lost about 50% of my total gambling budget. Really only had one day where I came out way ahead on my daily budget. I didn't see any big winners but people did seem to be having a lot of fun, which it what it's all about.

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Enjoy the weekend and come back soon with all your Great information!

Curious HOW EARLY did you go to the Cavern to get the great seats? Like an hour beforehand? Thanks

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Just read your 'official' review.  Thanks for posting the link to it! 

Very well done....as usual for you:classic_smile:

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