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klacey11

First time cruiser — Bliss questions

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Hi there,

My husband and I are considering a late December sailing on the Bliss out of NYC. We have zero interest in the ports, so the point of this trip would strictly be to enjoy Bliss's amenities and figure out if cruising is something we'd like to do in the future. We'd both be first timers. I do have a few questions though...

 

1. How much of the ship is "up and running" during port days? Would we be able to do the go karts and play laser tag? Water slides? Mini golf? What restaurants are open?

 

2. How much can we prepay for in advance/before we step on the ship? I think I saw where we can preorder cases of water for our stateroom. Can we also pre-pay for go kart tickets/unlimited go-kart pass? Spa treatments? My husband really likes an all-inclusive feel and I'd love for us not to take out our wallets, so to speak, during the week.

 

3. We do not celebrate Christmas—would there be anywhere on the ship we could go for meals and/or activities on Christmas Day that wouldn't feel overly...festive?

 

I really appreciate all of your expertise and help with my questions!!

 

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I do not celebrate Christmas either and, while NCL does set decorations in public areas, I personally do not find them "overly festive." 

 

You will find many families with children on your late December cruise, as schools are out.  A month later, the passengers will skew quite a bit older. 

 

My experience on the Escape this past winter was that the buffet and the pub-type restaurant were open for lunch on port days, while the main dining rooms (MDRs) were not.  All eating venues were available for breakfast and dinner. 

 

I hope you enjoy your first cruise and become an NCL regular, as are many of us on this board. 

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13 minutes ago, klacey11 said:

Hi there,

My husband and I are considering a late December sailing on the Bliss out of NYC. We have zero interest in the ports, so the point of this trip would strictly be to enjoy Bliss's amenities and figure out if cruising is something we'd like to do in the future. We'd both be first timers. I do have a few questions though...

 

1. How much of the ship is "up and running" during port days? Would we be able to do the go karts and play laser tag? Water slides? Mini golf? What restaurants are open?

 

2. How much can we prepay for in advance/before we step on the ship? I think I saw where we can preorder cases of water for our stateroom. Can we also pre-pay for go kart tickets/unlimited go-kart pass? Spa treatments? My husband really likes an all-inclusive feel and I'd love for us not to take out our wallets, so to speak, during the week.

 

3. We do not celebrate Christmas—would there be anywhere on the ship we could go for meals and/or activities on Christmas Day that wouldn't feel overly...festive?

 

I really appreciate all of your expertise and help with my questions!!

 

 

All the ship is up and running on port days.  Would you really want to use the water slide in December, though?  As Flaham stated, not MDR for lunch.  The rest of the casual eateries are though.

 

You can pre-purchase lots of things through myNCL.  For those you cannot, there is the option to purchase on board credit, effectly paying in advance.  Whatever OBC you don't use is refunded to your credit account, or in cash on the last night if requested.

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  1. The MDRs are usually closed for lunch on port days. Sometimes Margaritaville and Food Republic are also closed on port days. You'll need to check your dailies to find out what is open for lunch. The buffet and The Local will always be open for lunch. Weather permitting, the laser tag, go karts, and water slides will be open on port days.
  2. You won't be able to book or pay for go karts or laser tag before you board. Those you will want to reserve as soon as you get on board on embarkation day. Some spa services and spa passes CAN be purchased through My NCL prior to sailing. You'll never have to take out your wallet. EVERYTHING goes on your on board account via your key card. Whether you have paid in advance or are being billed on board, you will have your key card scanned for every transaction and every activity. That's how they know if you have pre-paid or need to be charged. Have reservations at a specialty restaurant? They scan your keycard at the hostess stand. Have reservations to ride the go karts? They will scan your keycard at the entrance. Have the drink package? They will scan your keycard at each bar with each drink order. If the transaction is included in your perks or pre-paid, your account won't be charged. If it is a new purchase, the amount will go on your room account and will be billed to your credit card as a lump sum at the end of the cruise.
  3. Sorry, I haven't sailed over Christmas before, so I can't answer. My best guess is that the MDRs might have some sort of turkey dinner available and there will be "winter" decorations on board?

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2 hours ago, JamieLogical said:
  1. Weather permitting, the laser tag, go karts, and water slides will be open on port days

 

Go karts were closed for every port on our Bliss cruise last december, and the weather couldn't have been better.  I believe they opened at 5pm. 

 

My advice would be to schedule go karts and laser tag first thing when you get on the ship. So you at least have a first round confirmed. Scheduling fills up fast with unlimited pass riders. 

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3 hours ago, klacey11 said:

 

3. We do not celebrate Christmas—would there be anywhere on the ship we could go for meals and/or activities on Christmas Day that wouldn't feel overly...festive?

 

 

 

MDRs will likely have a mixed menu of holiday dishes and regular items. Winter decorations (not necessarily christmas) are throughout the ship, but it's not over-the-top or corny. 

 

specialty restaurants may have the least of that though. 

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3 hours ago, FLAHAM said:

I do not celebrate Christmas either and, while NCL does set decorations in public areas, I personally do not find them "overly festive." 

 

You will find many families with children on your late December cruise, as schools are out.  A month later, the passengers will skew quite a bit older. 

 

My experience on the Escape this past winter was that the buffet and the pub-type restaurant were open for lunch on port days, while the main dining rooms (MDRs) were not.  All eating venues were available for breakfast and dinner. 

 

I hope you enjoy your first cruise and become an NCL regular, as are many of us on this board. 

Good to know about the Christmas decor! It's not something we find offensive, we just wouldn't really enjoy a dinner with over the top caroling or something like that haha. Families with children won't bother us! The cruise we're looking at actually leaves 12/20 so I do think it'll have slightly less children than the ones that leave the 28th.

 

We're excited to try NCL!

 

3 hours ago, Port Power said:

 

All the ship is up and running on port days.  Would you really want to use the water slide in December, though?  As Flaham stated, not MDR for lunch.  The rest of the casual eateries are though.

 

You can pre-purchase lots of things through myNCL.  For those you cannot, there is the option to purchase on board credit, effectly paying in advance.  Whatever OBC you don't use is refunded to your credit account, or in cash on the last night if requested.

I didn't really think about how cold it'll be...mainland Florida obviously can greatly fluctuate in December, so I guess it would depend. We're pretty brave when it comes to cold water, though--so if the pools/slides were open we'd try them!

 

2 hours ago, JamieLogical said:
  1. The MDRs are usually closed for lunch on port days. Sometimes Margaritaville and Food Republic are also closed on port days. You'll need to check your dailies to find out what is open for lunch. The buffet and The Local will always be open for lunch. Weather permitting, the laser tag, go karts, and water slides will be open on port days.
  2. You won't be able to book or pay for go karts or laser tag before you board. Those you will want to reserve as soon as you get on board on embarkation day. Some spa services and spa passes CAN be purchased through My NCL prior to sailing. You'll never have to take out your wallet. EVERYTHING goes on your on board account via your key card. Whether you have paid in advance or are being billed on board, you will have your key card scanned for every transaction and every activity. That's how they know if you have pre-paid or need to be charged. Have reservations at a specialty restaurant? They scan your keycard at the hostess stand. Have reservations to ride the go karts? They will scan your keycard at the entrance. Have the drink package? They will scan your keycard at each bar with each drink order. If the transaction is included in your perks or pre-paid, your account won't be charged. If it is a new purchase, the amount will go on your room account and will be billed to your credit card as a lump sum at the end of the cruise.
  3. Sorry, I haven't sailed over Christmas before, so I can't answer. My best guess is that the MDRs might have some sort of turkey dinner available and there will be "winter" decorations on board?

 

When I said "pull out our wallets, so to speak" I really meant spend money onboard that hadn't been "spoken for" pre-cruise, not the physical act of pulling out money or swiping a key card. I really like the idea of pre-purchasing onboard credit and budgeting that way—that's a great idea that I knew nothing about. Thanks for the tip on reserving the karts and laser tag upon boarding!

 

20 minutes ago, seizetheseas said:

 

Go karts were closed for every port on our Bliss cruise last december, and the weather couldn't have been better.  I believe they opened at 5pm. 

 

My advice would be to schedule go karts and laser tag first thing when you get on the ship. So you at least have a first round confirmed. Scheduling fills up fast with unlimited pass riders. 

Aww man that's a bummer! We were hoping port time would mean short lines for the karts. We are considering the unlimited pass as it looks like something we'd really enjoy...

 

14 minutes ago, seizetheseas said:

 

 

MDRs will likely have a mixed menu of holiday dishes and regular items. Winter decorations (not necessarily christmas) are throughout the ship, but it's not over-the-top or corny. 

 

specialty restaurants may have the least of that though. 

We definitely may consider a speciality restaurant for a few nights, especially Christmas. 

 

Thank you all so much—this is all super helpful!!

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