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Jen731

Overly wordy review of our extended family week on the Bliss

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Hi friends,

 

We are just off the Bliss and I wanted to write my review in case it helps anyone else. I especially wanted to focus this review on traveling with a large group with kids of all ages.

 

First of all, the tl;dr version of this review is that we had a great time! The Bliss is a great ship, crowds were only a problem a few times, and the variety of onboard activities kept everyone busy. I’m not going to do many photos in this review since others have done better than I, however I plan to post a separate topic with just dailies, kids club schedules, and menus. (Haven’t unpacked the paperwork yet, sorry!)

 

To introduce our group: I traveled with my parents, my husband and three children (ages 8, 15, 17), my brothers, their wives, and my niece and nephew (ages 6 & 12). Most of us traveled to Alaska 9 years ago on the Pearl and 5 years ago on the Oasis. My parents have cruised to Alaska a number of times. We live in the Seattle area and my extended family is all from the east coast. We booked early last year so we could have rooms all in a row, which was awesome. We booked two connecting balconies for my family because we wanted the two bathrooms. 

 

The morning of the cruise we left my house very early as we were concerned about traffic from the Pride Parade. Ended up getting to the ship by 9:30. Got the luggage checked in just before the first rush of other passengers, then went inside the Pier for check-in. We had selected a 10:30 arrival time but we were just about the only people in line inside the pier. We were given boarding group 4, then my brother sweet talked his agent and asked if she had any group 1's and a little ncl Magic later we had a group 1 boarding pass. Hey, never hurts to ask. Waiting room filled up quickly but before we knew it it was time to board.

 

We walked on around 11 am and went straight to the Social to book everything. Luckily we were about the first ones in line, but the computers hadn’t been turned over yet so our agent was doing everything on paper and it took a long time for our group of 13. We easily reserved go karts (and were glad to make those in person since we needed to reserve doubles for the younger kids), laser tag, escape room, comedy show, and prohibition show but by the time we were done the line behind us was extensive. Some of our group went to make spa reservations, the rest of us hit up Taste for lunch. It was great, not crowded and good food. As we finished up, they announced that rooms were open so we went straight to the room to change into swimsuits so the kids could swim. Most of the east coasters were not impressed with swimming when it was only 75, but hey it’s Seattle and that’s a warm day for us! However, the pool was COLD! We did get used to it, but it was a rough entry. Kids waterpark is heated but the water slides weren't open, not even the kiddy ones. We went to shower and change before muster and our suitcases had arrived. Yay. 

 

Muster was crowded in the Local, most of us were smooshed into nooks and crannies. We went to sign the kids up for Splash Academy and Entourage and it was a long wait. My brother went earlier in the day and they were in and out in under 20 minutes. We waited at least 20 minutes and then sign ups took awhile. We found out the kids club wrist bracelets would have to be worn all week, and though we could sign the teenagers up at the same time as splash academy, we needed to go pick up the wrist bands and there were probably 20+ kids in line ahead of us and it was almost time for dinner, so we skipped getting bracelets. Once my teens hears they’d have to wear the band and not be able to take it off (or pay the $20 replacement) they weren’t so keen on entourage. 🤷‍♀️ Teenagers. 

 

Our family had made group dining reservations ahead of time and we had 6 pm in the Manhattan. There were tons of groups on board and the Manhattan had lots of tables pushed together so I can tell they know how to handle large groups. But this dinner was the worst service we had for the week. We were there over 2 hours. Luckily we spent most of the time catching up and chatting, but it was a long dinner. I wanted to go to the welcome aboard show but we missed that by a mile, so instead we hit the Beatles show at 9:30. It was cute, the band does a good job but if you want to play a fun drinking game, take a drink every time they say “How's everyone doing tonight?”  You’ll be drunk in no time at all. It drove us a little crazy. The music was good though and there were still seats available when the show started. None of the kids went to kids club that night either because we got out of dinner so late. 

 

Got back to the room to finally get sleep only to discover the hard way that our youngest gets motion sickness on cruises. ☹️ It was a long night!

 

 

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Day 2: Sea day

 

After having a long night, I stayed in the room with my youngest all morning to snooze and recover. We had set up a breakfast order and enjoyed breakfast on the balcony. We had to skip our go kart reservation sadly and there were no times for double karts the rest of that week. However, the rest of the family went after lunch and had mixed reviews. As many have said, if you get stuck behind a slow driver it ruins the drive. Then my niece got slammed by another driver so hard that they stopped everyone’s karts and had to check her over and reprimand the other driver (though to my chagrin he wasn’t taken off the course). I think they mostly enjoyed it but no one was begging to go back. 

 

Everyone split off for most of the day exploring. Some had spa appointments, others played Deal or No Deal. We all came together for a photo shoot through Perspectives on deck 6. We had signed up for this in the Social after signing up for go karts and laser tag. Spoiler alert: we didn’t end up super happy with the photos we got. If anyone plans to use them for a shoot, I suggest meeting first and specifying your expectations. They like to do artsy photos that are tilted (as opposed to traditional, centered photos) and photos that have a lot of white space. Some of our family liked those but I hated them. By the time we reviewed them the next day, they had been edited to the point that we couldn’t undo how they had been framed. 

 

We had dinner that night at Teppenyaki and it was delicious. Our chef was fairly new and he loved to sing, so we loved him. We had 6 Pm dinner and 7:30 Havana reservations so we showed up to dinner a little early and they got us out around 7:15. Ran the younger kids to the kids club (no trouble checking in) , and there were still seats for us to sit together up front. Mixed reviews on Havana. Brother left halfway in lieu of the casino, mom hated it, I loved the music and some of the singing, some of it was over-acted, and I could have done without the dancers wearing short skirts and thongs in the end as it made the older kids uncomfortable. 

 

My husband and I ended up at the comedy show that night and while it was advertised as 18+, it was pretty pg-13. We got to the Social pretty late, but there were still lots of front row seats (haha, no thanks). Even once the standby line was let in, no one wanted to sit front row. We enjoyed the comedians a lot, lots of fun cruise jokes. Slept so great that night!

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Day 3: Juneau

 

Woke up to lots of fog and clouds, but still a nice day. We had breakfast at the buffet, where we discovered that the entire ship was also meeting for breakfast at the buffet. The largest tables are up in the front toward the observation windows, but getting seating together was a nightmare. We heard folks squealing over whales in the distance, which got us excited for our excursion later that day.

 

We went to review our photos and that’s when we found out for the digital rights to the whole shoot would be $2000. Gasp. For a 45 minute shoot and some light editing. I mean, I realize we were a captive crowd but my sister in law does shoots all the time, with digital rights and it’s nowhere in that vicinity. 

 

We met up in the card room for some games then went to Q to Escape the Big Top. The younger kids went to play mini golf while we escaped and that ended up being a great idea. Even the tween/teenagers felt like it was a challenging activity. The little kids would have died from boredom. Escape the Big Top was my first escape room and sadly we didn’t escape. We got 5/6 clues eventually but the last one totally eluded us. We even tried bargaining for hints from the tables around us the last 5 minutes, but everyone was stuck on the same clue. They do reveal the solutions after the time is up and we were on the right track. 

 

We got lunch in Taste again and then got ready to disembark in Juneau. This is where the size of the ship really shows. Clearing took a few extra minutes and then the line was extensive to get off the ship. People were being aggressive for position in the lines and my oldest got shoved back a couple people behind us (which I didn’t realize in the commotion). Well when she went to scan her card, she was told she wasn’t allowed to get off without her parents - even though we were just walking ahead of her a little. They told her she had to call us. I had to get back on the ship and rescue her and sadly that’s when I had to teach her to throw elbows to stay with us if she has to (she’s a timid girl who didn’t feel like confronting the people who had cut her off in line, figuring what difference would two people make. We found out). 

 

Whale watching with Harv and Marv was our trip for the day. Their bus couldn’t get into the parking lot because the port was so backed up so it was a trek to finally get on the transport to the marina. We had a private boat since we had younger kids and had ordered snacks since we’d be on the boat until 7. Had a very friendly captain and naturalist and saw Sasha the humpback, 8 orca, and lots of sea lions. Weather was great and we enjoyed it. Last time we took a bigger boat and I will say I think I preferred the bigger boat for the ride because the little boat got pretty bumpy at times, but it was great not having to fight for deck position and since my parents had done this many times before, the captain tried to find a few new things to show them which was really nice of him. 

 

We wandered around Juneau and did some light shopping. Let the kids get all the free charms from the jewelry stores which they liked, and some of which turned out to be fairly cute. 

 

I think we hit the buffet for dinner that night when we got back on the ship and it wasn’t too bad since the all aboard wasn’t until 10:30 pm. 

 

Will finish up tomorrow! 

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Loving the review. Thank you. We are going with extended family in 2 weeks. It is very helpful. Thanks for taking the time.

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This is a great read! We sail in 32 days. How much is the escape by the way? I had no idea there was one on the ship.

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5 hours ago, Joeghartman said:

This is a great read! We sail in 32 days. How much is the escape by the way? I had no idea there was one on the ship.

 

Brace yourself - it’s FREE! 😱😱 It’s held in the Q smokehouse restaurant during morning/early afternoon and it really was fun. Sign up in the Social when you first get on board or I think through the Box office. 

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Day 4: Skagway

 

The last time we were in Skagway, we did a minibus tour of the Yukon. We loved it and were excited to go again. We went with Frontier our previous cruise and they did a good job, this time we booked with Dyea Dave of cruise critic fame. After being stuck in the long lines to get off the ship in Juneau, I was extremely happy with my decision to ask the tour company to allow us to meet at 9:30 am instead of 7:45 am. The teenagers got to sleep in to a more reasonable hour and we all had time to eat breakfast and walk right off the ship with no delay. 

 

It was a fairly warm day for Skagway with a high of about 80 that day and we had some smoke from the Canadian wildfires that added haze to the skies, but overall it was a great day. We saw amazing views, met some sled dog puppies, and had tons of stories from Dave about the area.

 

We walked around Skagway a bit to collect the kids' free charms and trinkets, then got back on the ship in time for a late(ish) dinner. After the lengthy dinner in the Manhattan room our first night I managed to get us dinner in Taste and it worked out really well. Much faster and more attentive service and I just liked the smaller atmosphere better. After dinner we went out to try to get macarons from the Bake Shop on 8, but found them to be closed. Argh. We hadn’t really explored the waterfront areas on 8 yet, so we opened the doors and were greeted by an absolutely gorgeous sunset. So in the end we weren’t mad at all. 

 

Got back to the rooms and I had snuck a post it request to our room steward asking if he wouldn’t mind making some towel animals for the kids. My older kids remembered cruising 9 years ago and discovering towel animals every night and it was so cute to see teenagers nostalgic for something. Our steward was nice enough to leave them animals the next three nights. You should have heard them happy gasp when they found them each night. I made sure to leave our room steward a tip at the end of the boat for his extra time and we tried to keep our rooms neat so he didn’t have so much to do. Those guys really do work hard!

 

I think we all had big plans to do things around the ship that night but we all ended up being so tired that we were asleep early!

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Day 5: Glacier Bay (July 4th)

 

There is nothing better than waking up in Glacier Bay. It is a day like none other in cruising. I love when the boat is going slow and everything is quiet and still. We woke up to the naturalists coming over the PA to narrate our entrance into glacier bay. We were on the Starboard side so we didn’t have early viewing of the Margerie Glacier. So we went up for breakfast in Taste so we could see out the windows. Then around 9:15 we decided to venture outside to see where we could see the first Glacier. We walked out of deck 16 and there next to the ping pong tables was plenty of space to view the Glacier. Not only that, but because we were in a covered area, we didn’t have the cold wind on us the whole time. The ship has alternating glass barriers on that area of the ship that extend up high, so there is some glass and then some open air; in the end it all worked well because we could snap photos through the open air but still be protected from the cold air. 

 

Now my husband, he was out the cabin door by 7 and on deck 17 by 8 am and he said there was plenty of room right up until we got in front of the Glacier. In fact, he walked from one side of the ship to the other. By the time 9:30 rolled around it was more congested, but he said he would stand patiently, wait for a first row person to move, then move up and take their place. He had his fancy camera for photos and had no problem finding places to stand and shoot. 

 

Having said that, if we had it to do over again we would have gone to deck 8 aft. We had scheduled a photo shoot with the Glacier at 10 am with perspectives and when we went to deck 8, there was no one there. They were running two photo shoots at the same time, so it was more hurried. I’m not sure they got better photos than we could have taken ourselves, but it was nice to get a group shot with the Glacier behind us. We sprinted back to our room when we were done to watch the Glacier fade in the distance behind us from our balconies. Ended up outside for the next 2 hours just loving the scenery. 

 

Somewhere in this time is when we discovered that we that there was a medical emergency and we had a passenger who needed immediate hospital attention. The captain had warned us that a helicopter evacuation would be taking place by the Coast Guard. 

 

We went to The Local for lunch and everyone loved it. Loved the room, loved the food, what a gem that place is. The kids did some bowling on the little two lane alley behind us and they enjoyed it. The lanes even have bumpers and the tiny bowling balls are fun.

 

I headed out to take my youngest to the family ranger talk at 1:00. Not many families attended, but it was a great presentation. When we first arrived and got the kids' schedule I had been disappointed that there wasn’t a Junior Ranger talk like we had done 9 years before. Thankfully while it wasn’t on the splash academy schedule, it was in the Freestyle. So now all 3 of my kids are Glacier Bay Junior Rangers. They took the oath and got badges and their activity books. During the talk, the helicopters arrived for the evacuation, so we lost a few families to go see that. 

 

At 2:00, the staff had planned a 4th of July carnival on the pool deck. Now, the Daily had said the temperature for the 4th would be 80 and I didn’t believe it because we had just left Glacier Bay, but sure enough it was warm and sunny and the pool deck was packed. The staff did an awesome job with the carnival. There were different stations with games like ring toss, cup stacking, face painting,  etc. There was a performance of the national anthem by the jersey boys cast members, but we missed it when we went to Coco's to finally get our chocolate fountain (which the kids had been planning for all 16 months of waiting for the cruise). Chocolate fountain was okay, but the fact that the chocolate wasn’t warm was a miss and only really serving fruit was also a bummer. I have never had cantaloupe and honeydew with chocolate and I’m not sure I was converted. However, the sweet lady working there overheard my daughter saying how much she loved chocolate covered strawberries and she brought us a huge plate of them for dipping. Later in the cruise we realized we should have brought pound cake from the buffet for dipping - ugh, that would have been awesome. Next time! 

 

At some point during the afternoon we found out there was another medical evacuation needed. This time, we were going to veer off course and meet a boat who would take the passenger to the hospital. Unfortunately, this was also going to impact our arrival into Ketchikan but the captain wasn’t sure yet what the impact would be. 

 

We had laser tag reservations for 5 pm. I’m not sure I have played laser tag before, if I have it has been 20 years since I’ve done it. The staff wouldn’t check the 5:00 people in until exactly 5:00 and we were at the end of the line, so we were put in group 2. 11 of our group wanted to play and they were going to split us up, but in the end they pulled 2 people out of standby and made two teams of 11. Our helper got everyone fitted and then gave us horrible advice on how to shoot our guns, which was to tell us that there is a shield option but you shouldn’t use it because then you have to wait for it to reload. NOOOOOOOO! Our team got destroyed, I mean DESTROYED! When we paused between round 1 and 2 my brother coached everyone how to put up your shield, run out to fire, then go back and hide until you can shield again. We still lost round 2 but it was very, very close. We had a blast. We finished just in time to walk downstairs for our 6 pm Q dinner reservations. 

 

Going into Q, we knew we were going to be tight on time because we had Jersey Boys at 7:30. The staff was so good to us, they got us all our food and even dessert in time so we could get out in time. Q was great, the portions are very large and then you get a ton of sides with them. Our group split up, some of us had dessert, some went to save seats, I took the little kids down to Splash Academy for their Mission to Mars. My husband and I had seen the Jersey Boys Broadway touring production so we were a little taken back when Frankie Valli was played by a guy who was not only a little older than we expected but also very buff. 😂 By the end he really grew on me, I thought the production overall was good and while it did seem a bit rushed I didn’t notice any large sections that had been missed. 

 

Getting out of Jersey Boys we discovered that we wouldn’t arrive in Ketchikan until 9:30 am. That meant any excursions before 10 am through NCL were canceled. Well, my extended family had planned a 7 am fishing trip and after emailing the company they had the option to do rock fishing but they chose to cancel instead. Also my kids were going to do the ship ziplining excursion and that was auto-canceled as well. Cue disappointed and grouchy teenagers. 

 

Luckily i I had opted for the Internet package as one of my three free picks during booking, so I got online to find our family a few new options for the next day. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Day 6: Ketchikan

 

I woke up around 8:15 am and could tell we had arrived in Ketchikan and were positioning into the port. I checked my our door in the hope maybe the ziplining excursion had been saved, but there was nothing there. As we puttered around the room, I realized the phone voicemail light was blinking. Hooray! The ziplining excursion had been rescheduled and they needed to meet in 30 minutes on the pier. Whoosh, it was a flurry of activity to get everyone dressed and ready to get off the ship! My youngest and I headed to our new favorite spot, The local, for breakfast which was beyond delicious. Real eggs (not powdered like the buffet), quick service, and delicious.

 

We decided to get off the boat around 9:45, no line thankfully. We planned to walk around downtown, but I got caught by a tour company doing a 90 minute tour to the fish hatchery, a waterfall and around Ketchikan.  Sounded good to us for $50. We hopped on the 10:30 tour and what a win. The fish hatchery was fish-free, but was completely full of bald eagles. They flew over our heads, they picked a salmon clean, they perched in the trees. It was great. We drove to the waterfall, then asked if we could see the totem poles at Saxman. Our guide drove us slowly past the street where Saxman village is and the totems are really cool. I wished we had a few extra minutes to hang out there. 

 

We got back to town at 12 and had 30 minutes to walk around downtown Ketchikan. We walked back up to see the two big totem poles near Whale Park and the library. There was also an adorable fence that was perfect for taking funny photos of my youngest daughter. 

 

We got back to the ship and 🤦🏻‍♀️ the entire 4000 passengers were all in line to get back on at the same time. I guess with a condensed port time, everyone wanted to squeeze as much time out of their stop, so with all aboard at 12:45, most people seemed to arrive right at 12:30. It was a long line to get back on the ship, but we made it. It was such a warm, sunny day, my youngest was begging to spend the afternoon at the pool so that’s what we did. We grabbed food at the buffet (omg, was the pizza that good or was I just hungry? I think it was that good. Yay ncl, most improved pizza award from that cardboard garbage from 9 years ago!) As soon as the ship pulled away the kiddie water slides were open and my daughter had a blast. The water was still cold, but we stayed warm enough until maybe 4 when the breeze really started blowing off the water and I couldn’t take it anymore. 

 

As an aside, parents of the Bliss, *PLEASE* watch your children. The whole time. I had a kid jump on my daughter's head. I watched two young preschoolers wipe out in the water park and have to toddle across the whole pool deck to find their parents. It’s not that hard to watch your kids. 

 

Dinner that night was Cagney's. Mmmmmmm. 10/10 everyone was very happy with their meal and the chocolate cake is worth saving room for. My husband and I did some ship wandering after dinner. I hadn’t been in the observation lounge itself yet (just the buffet overhang), and we listened to some live music and relaxed. I dropped my husband off at the room and went to find the rest of the family in the casino. Slot machines have changed a lot in the last few years. I had absolutely no idea how to play these new machines, but let me tell you, I had so much fun. Dancing Drums is my new favorite game and we laughed so hard trying to figure out how to activate the big screen mini games. Played 38 cents a spin and make almost $70 before sacrificing some of it back to the game. Still walked away a winner. And a loser, because we lost an hour of sleep that night and I didn’t get back to the room until LATE! 

 

Cool Ketchikan wall

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Edited by Jen731

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Day 7: Victoria 

 

I woke up as my middle daughter left to go do her Canvas at sea activity at 10 am. Yay vacation. She is a talented artist and she has wanted to try one of these canvas classes for awhile. She ended up feeling okay about the class. The lady in charge was also in charge of many of the trivia/social activities and so my daughter wasn’t sure how much art experience she had. I thought their pictures turned out cute.

 

I had a late breakfast at The Local (yum again) and then we took my youngest to the arcade. The arcade. 🤦🏻‍♀️ It’s not the fact that the games were so expensive, it’s not watching my daughter tank at Deal or No Deal two games in a row,  but I will warn other parents, after dropping probably $25 in games to accumulate 200 tickets, we found my daughter could buy just about nothing. The prize area is an insult. She spent half her tickets on a little stuffed ball and the other half on two sets of funny fake teeth. I mean,  Chuck E Cheese has a better and more equitable collection of cheap plastic toys for tickets. Had I known how bad the prize situation was, we would have skipped the arcade altogether. 

 

The weather turned on us Saturday and it was cloudy and cooler. We decided to try mini golf anyway. After going up the wrong way to the mini golf deck, we played the 5 holes two times and had a great time. Not many people playing that day so we could relax and enjoy it. 

 

We went to the international staff talent show, which was more like a singing show since everyone sang. I enjoyed the end when the officers and staff came into the theater to take their bows. This was a very full show, we got the last seats up toward the stage. I realized that I missed the really old days of cruising when the chefs and waiters would parade around the dining room to applause at the end of the cruise. That was fun. 

 

We had some time to kill before Beatlemania round 2, so we snuck into the Social and asked them if they minded if we hung out. We brought dice and Yahtzee cards and the kids pretended to take turns on stage. We finally got kicked out around 4, so we headed back to the room. On the way we caught a few minutes of the cast member Q&A in the atrium and it was really interesting. We wished we could stay longer to hear about how they auditioned for jersey Boys and Havana and what their life on the ship is like. 

 

We watched Beatlemania the Hits at 5 and it was another fun show, we loved the costume changes. Got asked another 8 times how we were feeling. 😂

 

Dinner was in the Manhattan room that night and we all sort of dreaded going back. Some of the group decided to hit the buffet instead, but it was their loss. We had much better service, though it was still a long dinner. In the end it didn’t matter because the arrival into Victoria was a disaster.

 

Now, we got an email a couple of months ago that made it seem like NCL had done us a favor by changing the Victoria arrival time from 8:30 pm to 8:00. OH NO YOU DIDNT NCL! My booking documents and every page to that point said we were arriving at **7:30** pm. Don’t pretend this was a benefit. When the port arrival changed to 8 pm I told my husband I wasn’t getting off the ship. I’d rather enjoy the ship all day Saturday and pack that night. So we were in no hurry to finish dinner. My brothers and their families wanted to get off in Victoria and have poutine and Canadian beer. However, the ship didn’t clear until after 8:30 and by the time they got off the ship, it was almost 9. The wait for the shuttle into downtown Victoria was 20 minutes long. They decided to just walk the pier and then get back on. My older daughters went with them and didn’t have a problem leaving the ship without us. 

 

We packed and mourned the end of the amazing week. My youngest went to the kids club for the last night pajama party and pillow fight which she loved. My husband and I walked the ship one last time and laughed at how many places we hadn’t even had time to explore yet. Did our packing and got to sleep at a halfway decent time. 

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Day 8: back to Seattle 

 

The deboarding announcements started at 6:45 so even locals like us in no hurry to get off the ship had no chance at sleeping. They were also quite a few decibels louder than the normal ship announcements from the week. Yes, we get it NCL, the cruise is over. 

 

I was getting off the ship with my parents, who were port valet service and were told they absolutely had to be off the ship by 8 even though their flight wasn’t until 5:30. So we got in line around 7:30 and it was a disaster. The line on the stairs barely moved for 30 minutes due to “congestion in the terminal” and when it did move, it moved down to 7, around the local, and then out the doors. I finally got through customs and out the door by about 8:40. Man, the grumbling and complaining during the wait was quite loud. And what’s worse is we weren’t even halfway through The Local when they started calling color groups to join the queue. 

 

In any event, we made it home before 10 and had many, many, many loads of laundry to do while we pondered back on out great week on The Oasis. I’m happy to answer any questions and will try to get the menus, dailies and schedules posted by this weekend. I told my husband, when we finished our week on the RCL Oasis, I remember feeling like it was fun but I was ready to go. I was sick of the crowds and elevators and lines. But I was not ready to leave the Bliss Sunday, I felt like there was still so much I hadn’t explored or done. I will say this, it’s Wednesday and I still feel like I’m full from last week. 😂🤣 Thanks, Bliss!!

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Great, Great review.  We will be on the Bliss this fall.  One question...do you suggest scheduling dining times in Taste, or Manhattan for dinner ahead of the cruise (and if that can be done, how do I do it), or can a party of 5 just have a short wait for a table if we just show up whenever we want to eat.  Thanks for your advice!

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On 7/10/2019 at 12:14 AM, Jen731 said:

then my brother sweet talked his agent and asked if she had any group 1's and a little ncl Magic later we had a group 1 boarding pass.

We are traveling with 10 people.  Would love to know the tricks of getting an earlier group number.  Is the trick to just ask? 🙂

 

On 7/10/2019 at 12:14 AM, Jen731 said:

We easily reserved go karts (and were glad to make those in person since we needed to reserve doubles for the younger kids), laser tag, escape room, comedy show, and prohibition show but by the time we were done the line behind us was extensive.

What is the escape room?  

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Can you view the glaciers from your balcony or do you have to go upstairs onto the deck

 

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Great review.  I really enjoyed it.  Lasting memories:)  We will be aboard the Bliss In October, headed to Mexico.  So looking forward to it. 

 

Thank you and Happy Cruising:classic_biggrin:

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15 hours ago, madre2 said:

Great, Great review.  We will be on the Bliss this fall.  One question...do you suggest scheduling dining times in Taste, or Manhattan for dinner ahead of the cruise (and if that can be done, how do I do it), or can a party of 5 just have a short wait for a table if we just show up whenever we want to eat.  Thanks for your advice!

 

Someone else may need to help me out here... You can reserve specialty dining ahead of time, 120 days out if I remember correctly. I think we could only reserve the main dining room because we were a large group? Having said that, you *can* reserve in any of the 3 dining rooms through the app once you get on board. You can also definitely just show up, I saw plenty of people waiting standby to be seated. I would suggest Taste or Savor, the line for the Manhattan both nights we were there was long. I doubt it took long, I think it was more just walking people to available tables. I think you can also use the touch screens to see which eateries have openings and what the wait times are like. The Local never seemed to have long waits and they are super yummy with nightly dining specials (I was very bummed we couldn’t stop by for schnitzel night). The ship staff really pushes the buffet too, they hold signs with the nightly specials for each night (Alaska night, seafood night, prime rib night, mixed grill night). 

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15 hours ago, Montykins said:

We are traveling with 10 people.  Would love to know the tricks of getting an earlier group number.  Is the trick to just ask? 🙂

 

What is the escape room?  

He just asked with a wink. My brother is one of those people that just asks and gets what he wants. I don’t know what else to say! 

 

The Escape to the Big Top is a puzzle based challenge that takes place in the Q Smokehouse around late morning/mid afternoon. You are in a group of 10. They introduce the challenge for the day and you are given a bag of props/puzzles to solve. There are also stations throughout Q that have posters or props that help solve the puzzles. It is a 45 minute activity, family friendly (I suggest teen and older just to be able to work the puzzles), and a good mental challenge!

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14 hours ago, Lduane1815 said:

Can you view the glaciers from your balcony or do you have to go upstairs onto the deck

 

 

You can 100% see the glaciers from your balcony. BUT keep in mind if you’re starboard, you won’t see them first. The ship moves toward the Margerie Glacier and it appears first on the port side. The ship is moving very slowly toward it, then stops for a few minutes, then turns 180 degrees and stops for another 20-30 minutes.

 

Then after leaving Margerie Glacier, the ship heads toward the Johns Hopkins Glacier. You’ll have a map from Glacier Bay park service the night before and can follow the ship's location on the screens. We had perfect views of Johns Hopkins Glacier from our balcony, the the ship turned around to exit the inlet. On the starboard side, we then passed the Gilman glacier, Hoover glacier and the Lamplugh Glacier. The passengers on the port side would have seen those on the way into the Johns Hopkins inlet. 

 

The photos below are of the Margerie Glacier, a long shot of the Johns Hopkins glacier, and the Gilman glacier, all take from our balcony. 

97878139-3321-49B4-95CE-A2AE535AFBFE.jpeg

F111F408-6A85-41D1-BD9F-64A13C02C158.jpeg

F6FC9789-1BF8-4EA9-BDF2-2923070F2B9C.jpeg

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LOVE overly wordy reviews!! Makes you feel as if you're there too 🙂

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