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Bliss "review" - May 19-26 Alaska


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Just now, Joeghartman said:

Awesome review. Love your observations and insight.  Would you recommend packing any light winter gloves. I can’t imagine packing a winter hat. It seems that almost every type of season is gong into the suitcase.

Thanks Joe!  I DID have light winter gloves yes...and a beanie. No actual winter hat, nor did I regret the omission. I wore those during Glacier Bay morning, as it was a bit chilly on deck, especially up front as we were still moving.  Even the little breeze stirred by that movement cools you off pretty fast.  And then when we took our helicopter ride to the glacier in Skagway.  That was actually cold.  Yes, for us, nearly every season came into play.  I never got down to shorts, but there were several days I had jeans and a t-shirt.  But the other thing I hear about Alaska is that your mileage may vary.  We had great luck with weather...not everyone does.  On the other hand, we were early in the season, when it might have been chillier (on average).

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This was an excellent review.  Very balanced and informative.  We will be on Bliss later this month with a family group for our 50th wedding anniversary.  I especially enjoyed your review of the day at Glacier Bay.  It was a great summary.  So well written.  Thank you so much for all the information.  My question would be where would you suggest to hang out (dining and otherwise) to avoid the crowds especially on the first day?

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I can't wait to go on my cruise based on your review. On Glacier Bay day, what deck should I be at when they open the very front of ship? And at what time should I be there? Did you have breakfast first before going out?

 

Thanks!!!

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15 hours ago, RedwingHockeyFan said:

With regards to your comment about Margaretville being a dud, I noticed the same thing on the Getaway this past January.  It was always empty.  And it seems to take up so much space that would be better suited for something else.

We took the Escape to the Caribbean and found the same thing, practically empty for all meals.  I think it's time the use this space for something different?

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Thanks for the review.

 

Would you by any chance know if you get the Specialty dining package (part of the choose free offers) -- what restaurants it would include?

 

 

 

 

 

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Margaritaville is a good fallback for days when the other dining areas are too busy or closed.  This comes into play especially on the Ketchikan day where everyone is back on board by 1:00 and wanting to eat lunch, but the main dining rooms never opened for lunch since it was a port day.  The wait for The Local was at least an hour, and it was impossible to find a seat at the buffet.

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15 hours ago, killineybay said:

This was an excellent review.  Very balanced and informative.  We will be on Bliss later this month with a family group for our 50th wedding anniversary.  I especially enjoyed your review of the day at Glacier Bay.  It was a great summary.  So well written.  Thank you so much for all the information.  My question would be where would you suggest to hang out (dining and otherwise) to avoid the crowds especially on the first day?

Thank you for the kind words.  

 

On the first day, we went to Taste for lunch.  It was half empty...very calm and relaxing.

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14 hours ago, sunshine3838 said:

I can't wait to go on my cruise based on your review. On Glacier Bay day, what deck should I be at when they open the very front of ship? And at what time should I be there? Did you have breakfast first before going out?

 

Thanks!!!

Deck 8.  Front of ship between DIstrict Brewhouse and Food Republic.  There is a door there that is normally closed, and we had a nice staff person "guarding" it until 8 am.  Then the door opens and you go down a long, backstage hallway.  And yes, we ate beforehand at the buffet.  6:30, I think it was.  It's an early day.  All the excitement is over by around 12:30.

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3 hours ago, timf2001 said:

Margaritaville is a good fallback for days when the other dining areas are too busy or closed.  This comes into play especially on the Ketchikan day where everyone is back on board by 1:00 and wanting to eat lunch, but the main dining rooms never opened for lunch since it was a port day.  The wait for The Local was at least an hour, and it was impossible to find a seat at the buffet.

On our cruise, we ate at The Local after Ketchikan and there was no wait to be seated.   So obviously, things vary.

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After having traveled quite a bit in Mexico and the Caribbean, I've found Margaritaville to have lost its luster everywhere.  I love Jimmy Buffet, but after a few visits to his restaurants, I lost interest.  One can only have so much Buffet.  LOL  We have never been to one that was busy, with maybe the exception of Cancun years ago when they had a band at night. 

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29 minutes ago, ZsaZsa2019 said:

After having traveled quite a bit in Mexico and the Caribbean, I've found Margaritaville to have lost its luster everywhere.  I love Jimmy Buffet, but after a few visits to his restaurants, I lost interest.  One can only have so much Buffet.  LOL  We have never been to one that was busy, with maybe the exception of Cancun years ago when they had a band at night. 

Interesting.  I feel that the cost point for NCL is wrong.  You basically can't go to Margaritaville for appetizers...you have to pay, I think, $15, no matter what.  I'd recommend they try doing it like a land-based restaurant.  Some might go for a full meal...others just for apps, etc.  From my observation of the utilization, I'd either shutter them in favor of a different venture altogether, or completely rethink how they approach the venue.

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1 minute ago, rmurray847 said:

Interesting.  I feel that the cost point for NCL is wrong.  You basically can't go to Margaritaville for appetizers...you have to pay, I think, $15, no matter what.  I'd recommend they try doing it like a land-based restaurant.  Some might go for a full meal...others just for apps, etc.  From my observation of the utilization, I'd either shutter them in favor of a different venture altogether, or completely rethink how they approach the venue.

 

You can sit at the bar and order volcano nachos, pretzel sticks, or chips & salsa without having to pay the full cover charge.  It's not very well advertised because the door to the bar has a sign directing people to the other entrance for restaurant seating.

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3 hours ago, timf2001 said:

 

You can sit at the bar and order volcano nachos, pretzel sticks, or chips & salsa without having to pay the full cover charge.  It's not very well advertised because the door to the bar has a sign directing people to the other entrance for restaurant seating.

Good to know...and yes, a well kept secret.  Although, honestly, on the Alaska cruise, I never really yearned to sit at Margaritaville.  That gets back to my original point...a significant portion of the time, Bliss is in non-sit-outside-for-a-meal weather...so I really wonder about the value of that space overall.

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9 hours ago, IRMO12HD said:

Thanks for your review -- we'll be on the Bliss in April 2020 for a 21-night Panama Canal cruise, so I appreciated your in-depth comments.  Where on the 14th deck were you?

We were in 14778.  Just slight forward of mid-ship.  Closer to the forward elevators.  

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On 6/4/2019 at 2:36 PM, rmurray847 said:

The are waiting for their elevator.  One arrives.  They immediately try to get on, no allowing anyone to get off first.  Always amusing.  

THIS.   I am not a confrontational person but by day 5 I had no problem saying "excuse me, may I get off first???" aggressively to those who tried to bowl me over getting into the elevator.  It was absurd. 

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1 hour ago, TexasCruiser84 said:

THIS.   I am not a confrontational person but by day 5 I had no problem saying "excuse me, may I get off first???" aggressively to those who tried to bowl me over getting into the elevator.  It was absurd. 

This elevator-etiquette is not unique to cruise ships...but one's use of elevators on a cruise ship goes up exponentially from "real life."  It must be nice, though, that some people can forget they're sharing a ship with 4000 other people.  Every elevator is for them and them alone.

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16 hours ago, 1threadshort said:

does the buffet serve any specialty foods i.e. a lobster night or salmon night etc

 

I don't remember all the specifics, and we never had dinner in the buffet, but they DID have themes like:  prime rib night, Alaska food night, seafood night, "foods of the world", etc.  Nothing called "lobster night".  We did NOT have lobster as an option in the MDR, so it seems unlikely they had lobster in the buffet.  If you like seafood, though, I think your options will be fairly plentiful in the buffet.  Sorry I can't be more specific.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Excellent informative review. Made notes for our upcoming Alaska cruise on the Bliss. 

I think I read that this is the time of year with very long daylight hours. Did that impact you in any way? Arrival in Victoria is late. Was it still daylight?

 

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On 6/4/2019 at 3:36 PM, rmurray847 said:

MISC / FINAL THOUGHTS:

I realize, going through this, that there are a lot of "negative" comments about our experience and the Bliss.  Like many, I tend to focus on faults to a disproportionate degree.  Overall, though, I highly recommend this cruise, this ship and this experience.  Yes, there were issues, and some were even quite annoying...but we still had a fabulous time.  Please don't mis-understand.

 

A few random things:

1)     There were many parts of the ship we did not experience this time.  Spa, gym, most specialty dining, the pool, and except for a brief visit, Spice H2O.  We didn't see the kids areas.  We (sadly) didn't get to bowl, as it was always busy.  (In case you don't know, this bowling is of the miniature variety.  A ball the size of a softball.  $5 per game.)  This was a port & sights heavy cruise...we spent all morning before arrival in Juneau out on deck, watching whales, porpoises and scenery.  We just didn't have the time to try out everything.

 

2)     Elevators.  When you're at a bank of elevators, make sure that pressing one button lights them all up.  Some elevators on some banks go higher than others and if you don't press all the buttons, you'll see some of the zip right past you.  And just be ready for the usual obliviousness from many passengers.  The are waiting for their elevator.  One arrives.  They immediately try to get on, no allowing anyone to get off first.  Always amusing.  

 

3)     Wi-fi. We splurged on the unlimited, deluxe package, and it worked fairly well.  We kept it on my wife's phone most of the time, and she pretty much never got cut off.  One morning, she was off for an hour or two, but otherwise, it worked all the time.  We were even able to watch the first 10 minutes of the GAME OF THRONES finale before it started buffering every 10 seconds.  So, while hardly what you get on land, it wasn't as bad as many experiences we've had.  It seems to get slightly better year after year.  (I still remember dial-up speeds 8 years ago.)

 

4)     Shops onboard.  We hardly spent any time here...totally typical experience.  They did have a small shop that was selling exclusively Alaska based items, which was nice if you forgot to get gifts for folks back home.  (It seems like this shop is a Margaritaville shop during parts of the year.)  

 

5)     Casino.  I spent a total of 1 hour here on the last day.  Note that the casino closes at 3:30 pm on the last day, as Victoria looms, and will not reopen for the duration of the cruise.  My one hour was plenty, the slots were all tight.

 

6)     Overall ship.  Everything was kept clean and everything looked pretty new.  The public restrooms were kept clean, although I have to say the automatic soap dispensers were all VERY finicky.  Be patient...the soap will eventually come.  The public areas looked good, and just overall it looked fresh.  Very inviting overall.

 

And that's about it for me, unless you have questions.  I will be very happy to help if I can.  Thanks for reading!!!

Did you buy the internet package before sailing or after? I am curious if there was a “sale” on board? 

Thanks for your review!

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They usually offer an internet special during first full day.. Check you daily , first when you arrive at your cabin and then later that evening for next day Daily with new specials.

Monday - This is a sea day and internet manager is available most of that day. 

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