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Tell me about all things Norwegian Bliss!


KateQ22003
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Good morning,

 

I am going on the February 2-16 Norwegian Bliss out of NY to the Caribbean. I have never been on one of the larger ships; my experiences with NCL have been on Spirit/Dawn/Gem. I love the smaller ships, but really wanted to do a 14-day cruise this winter from the East coast.  So, I'm ready to dip my toe into a mini suite on the Bliss!

 

For those of you who have sailed her, can you share some tips with me? Things not to miss, things not worth the time, shows that wow, food that is memorable, places to get away for some solitude with a good book? I have looked at the information about the ship on NCL, but it is a tad overwhelming. It has been a tough year medically for me, so I am looking for lots of relaxation and tropical libations!

 

So, what are your Bliss thoughts?

 

Kathy

 

 

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14 minutes ago, ColeThornton said:

Check out YouTube, there are a ton of Bliss videos to watch.

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=norwegian+bliss

Thanks Cole for this link. I have been looking at anything and everything that I can find on YouTube. What I'm hoping for is to get some inside information on what people liked and what people didn't like. That kind of thing. I'm getting pretty acclimated to what's on the ship and where, but the videos don't really tell you what's worth it and what is not.

Edited by KateQ22003
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I was just on the Joy, sister ship of Bliss.  The place we enjoyed for reading and privacy was the Deck 8 boardwalk.  Easy to get drinks on deck 8 and nice couch/easy chair seating groups.  It was chaos on the top pool deck and the one above it with the jogging track.  If you like to walk the track, do it early in the am, its covered with sun loungers later in the day.

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It's a beautiful ship, and crew was by far the friendliest we have encountered in a long while.  Be prepared and pre-reserve all that you can before sailing.  Then, make a plan to immediately go to the deck (seems it was 6th, but don't remember for sure) to reserve other things like Prohibition, etc . upon boarding.

 

Speaking of Prohibition, while a personal preference, I would not do this again.  Make sure you are Really early to get a seat for the Beatles cover band.

 

The Atrium bar is a good place to people watch.  Servers are top notch here.

 

Observation lounge is a beautiful place to sit and watch the world sail by.  Bar is also very good.

 

Best meal was at Teppanyaki.

 

We were disappointed in the expensive behind the scenes tour, but again personal preference.

 

Enjoy your cruise in good health!

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I am just off the Bliss 12-day Southern Caribbean sailing out of NYC. Returned home on Friday. I plan to do a full review write-up, but here are a few of my quick thoughts:

 

  • See Siglo every chance you get! They are an amazing band. We tried to see every set we could.
  • Britain's Finest is also fun, but make sure you get to the Cavern Club at LEAST 45 minutes early if you want a seat for any of their shows. If you don't get a chance to see them in the Cavern Club, they will do a couple of shows in the Theater on a 14-Day sailing.
  • On our 12-Day sailing, they were not taking reservations for the comedy shows in The Social. They were just first-come--first-serve. So again, just show up about 30 minutes early if you want a seat.
  • I really enjoyed the new show, SIX, but my SO did not. It was "too much" for him, meaning too high energy, loud, lots of lights, etc.
  • I didn't see Jersey Boys this time, having seen it on the Bliss last February, but everyone I talked to on board who did see it on this sailing said it was good. Definitely worth seeing if you haven't seen it before.
  • For either of the main theater productions, you should definitely make reservations!
  • On sea days, the buffet is just insane. Getting a table will require making multiple laps around and stalking people. We avoided the buffet as much as possible!
  • There is a "light" buffet available at lunch and breakfast in the Observation Lounge, which is much less hectic. However, it does not include any hot items. Breakfast will be yogurt, pastries, cereal, etc. Lunch is sandwiches, salads, cold cuts, and desserts.
  • The Observation Lounge is generally not too crazy, but on cold sea days when the pool deck is useless, it becomes VERY crowded.
  • The Waterfront is also a good, quiet place to hang out, weather permitting.
  • As for food, it's subjective, of course. We ate in specialty restaurants for seven dinners, The Local for one dinner, and the MDRs for three dinners. This time around, I think our favorite specialty dinner was a tie between Ocean Blue and La Cuccina. Le Bistro was disappointing this time, which surprised us. The food there was cooked well, but as very bland. Q and Los Lobos were good and Teppanyaki was about the same as always. We ate at Margarittaville twice for lunch, which is always good, but as always gives you WAY WAY WAY too much food. Every time we go there, we wish desperately that items would be a la carte. Our favorite new discovery food-wise on this cruise was the chili in The Local, it was truly delicious.

If you want to see 360 videos of all of the public spaces on the Bliss, you can go to my YouTube channel linked in my signature. My SO used a 360 degree camera to tour the ship when we sailed last February.

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I see you're from Brewer, ME. I assume that means you're a beer drinker? 😁

 

If so, you'll enjoy the District Brewhouse. They have about 30 beers on tap. Service is also very good, especially if Carlo is still there.

 

By the way, my favorite baseball team is the Brewers. Small world...

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Don't get too disappointed if you can't book your dining in advance.  Only about 25% of the specialty reservations are open before embarkation.  You can book on board, either by waiting in line at (I think) Teppanyaki or by using the touchscreens by the elevators, which rarely had lines.  Those same screens are used for scheduling tenders if your itinerary has ports that use them, the first ones listed may not be the earliest available so scroll a bit.

 

I'll echo the praise for the Observation Lounge and for the Waterfront - both really nice places to relax.

 

If you want to watch an Atrium activity but don't care about participating, grab a seat by the rail in The Local.  I watched a few activities from there.

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Bliss from the quiet introvert perspective...

 

  • The Waterfront on deck 8 is a terrific quiet spot most of the time. I particularly liked the seating area midship port side (Sugarcane on the Waterfront) for reading and chilling out with a refreshing adult beverage.
  • The Observation Lounge can be crowded, but it can also be a good reading spot if you’re good at blocking out the noise. Be courteous and pick a spot further away from the windows if you’re going to read instead of gawk at scenery.
  • Maltings Whiskey Bar felt less noisy than the other bars, and was my preferred indoor spot when I wasn’t in the OL.
  • But... you must go to Sugarcane and try all the mojitos. If you have a beverage package, don’t bother with the mojito sampler because you’ll have to pay extra for it. Just order regular-sized mojitos! I feel so boring because I preferred the standard Bacardi mojito over the variations...
  • Garden Cafe is a zoo during prime times. As noted, the OL offers light breakfast and lunch items. I went there for embarkation lunch and wound up returning there for almost every other lunch. Seating in the Garden Cafe is challenging. At busy times, don’t even bother searching through the indoor seating - take your food out of the indoor GC and through the door out to the seating by the pool deck on either side. There’s a beverage station on the port side next to the pool bar (not Waves, but the forward one closer to the GC area). Handy tip: the outdoor seating area is heated and covered so it’s usable on Alaska cruises too (with fantastic views!). 
  • If you book dinner at Le Bistro, the profiteroles were sooooo good. I also loved the black cod skewers at Food Republic.
  • Starbucks is a lot less crowded than you’d think. On my sailing, one of the baristas was skilled at latte art - he added an adorable bear to my flat white. If you have a Starbucks card or gift card, it works fine onboard as does the Starbucks app. You can’t redeem points but you will earn points.
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10 minutes ago, coastcat said:
  • But... you must go to Sugarcane and try all the mojitos. If you have a beverage package, don’t bother with the mojito sampler because you’ll have to pay extra for it. Just order regular-sized mojitos! I feel so boring because I preferred the standard Bacardi mojito over the variations...

 

Look for a bar tender named Nestor from the Dominican Republic at Sugarcane! He is the best bar tender I have ever had anywhere. Just an awesome human! I loved him so much that I went to visit him every day, even when I wasn't getting a Mojito. He turned me on to the Ginger Mojito though and I am so glad he did. I always liked classic Mojitos until I tried that and now I can't go back! Anyway, I asked him if he will still be on board when I return to the Bliss in March and he said he would, which means he should be there for your February sailing. He might not be at Sugarcane by then though. He gave me the impression that the bar tenders do often get moved between bars.

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Just now, JamieLogical said:

 

Look for a bar tender named Nestor from the Dominican Republic at Sugarcane! He is the best bar tender I have ever had anywhere. Just an awesome human! I loved him so much that I went to visit him every day, even when I wasn't getting a Mojito. He turned me on to the Ginger Mojito though and I am so glad he did. I always liked classic Mojitos until I tried that and now I can't go back! Anyway, I asked him if he will still be on board when I return to the Bliss in March and he said he would, which means he should be there for your February sailing. He might not be at Sugarcane by then though. He gave me the impression that the bar tenders do often get moved between bars.

I didn’t even try the ginger version. Why didn’t I? I love ginger. Thanks for the tip, that will be my first drink onboard on the Joy next month!

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Just now, coastcat said:

I didn’t even try the ginger version. Why didn’t I? I love ginger. Thanks for the tip, that will be my first drink onboard on the Joy next month!

 

It's basically exactly the same as a classic mojito (muddled mint and lime), but uses ginger ale instead of soda water and a stronger rum. Plus it comes with a little piece of candied ginger on a stick!

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Just now, JamieLogical said:

 

It's basically exactly the same as a classic mojito (muddled mint and lime), but uses ginger ale instead of soda water and a stronger rum. Plus it comes with a little piece of candied ginger on a stick!

You had me at “stronger rum.”

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We were on the Bliss 5/18 for a trip thru the PC, and like you we prefer the smaller ships.  I too like to find quite spots to read, and Maltings Bar was my go to spot, although as mentioned in a previous post, the Waterfront would also be a good spot.  The Observation lounge is also a good spot to relax, but it can get very busy.  The garden café was a zoo most days, especially lunch and dinner, so you might consider Savor or Taste for meals.

Personally, I wasn't that impressed with the shows.....way too long.  But you might like them.  Hope this helps!

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Just returned from December 1st Bliss Cruise.  Since we enjoy the thermal spa it is always worth the extra on a winter cruise.  It was quiet with many spots to read and just relax with all the spa amenities.  Decided on a mini suite that was an easy access to the 16th floor.  Well worth the extra money.  Enjoy the cruise.

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6 minutes ago, kalkal said:

Just returned from December 1st Bliss Cruise.  Since we enjoy the thermal spa it is always worth the extra on a winter cruise.  It was quiet with many spots to read and just relax with all the spa amenities.  Decided on a mini suite that was an easy access to the 16th floor.  Well worth the extra money.  Enjoy the cruise.

 

I was on that sailing with spa passes and on the cold sea days, the spa was mobbed. People were jerks about reserving loungers with their stuff instead of putting it in lockers. You couldn't even get a non-thermal lounger on those cold sea days. It was definitely lovely on the port days and the warmer sea days, though! Except the one day I went in and someone had decide to dry all of there personal laundry in the Sauna and Sanarium. I did NOT pay $300 to sit next to someone's dirty socks! I reported it to the front desk and they got the items quickly removed.

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11 minutes ago, JamieLogical said:

 

I was on that sailing with spa passes and on the cold sea days, the spa was mobbed. People were jerks about reserving loungers with their stuff instead of putting it in lockers. You couldn't even get a non-thermal lounger on those cold sea days. It was definitely lovely on the port days and the warmer sea days, though! Except the one day I went in and someone had decide to dry all of there personal laundry in the Sauna and Sanarium. I did NOT pay $300 to sit next to someone's dirty socks! I reported it to the front desk and they got the items quickly removed.

What time did you arrive at the spa on the cold sea days? Were you able to get a lounger?

I want to make sure that we can get 2 loungers for our cruise in March without having to fight for them.

Edited by Chesneygirl
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The afternoon of the last sea day did see more people.  We usually arrived upon opening and stayed a few hours and the same before dinner.  On port days we got off early,done private tours and returned to a quiet spa.  Seems we had different experiences.  I must agree with you about the chili.  It rates among the best I have ever tasted.  Stopped a few times just for chili.  Wish I knew the secret ingredient.

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I was on the December 1st sailing and I enjoyed it. I mostly kept to myself and didn't do a ton of activities but I did hit up some of the parties (in which I learned the glow party is now called Caliente) as well as the two big shows. I really enjoyed SIX. I thought Jersey Boys was fine though I laughed at the entry sign warning of "profane Jersey language" as if to split hairs on types of profanity. 

 

I didn't do the go-karts but I thought it looked cool (the guy running it told me $15 for eight laps). 

 

The garden cafe was challenge. Maybe I am spoiled from my Escape cruises this year but I found the layout a bit annoying and it was impossible for me to find a seat on embarkation day so I ate outside in the cold very quickly since there were seats available outdoors. It wasn't as bad once we got moving but the design of it makes it feel tight. I thought the same thing regarding Savor and The Local.

 

The Starbucks on board also charges 20% gratuity fee but you can use the Starbucks app to buy things there too, so that was nice.

 

Room really wasn't any different than the other mega ships (I had a balcony) though the Smart TV on Bliss is better IMO than TVs on other ships. 

 

The silent disco was fun. The 80s party was a blast on the pool deck. The 90s party ended up being in the atrium instead of the Spice due to weather but it was a lot of fun too. 

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I sailed her this past summer in Alaska. The observation lounge is a MUST. People complain about all the sleeping bodies, but it was not bothersome for me. I dozed off while reading. It’s relaxing and comfortable and a great social gathering.

 

get a thermal spa pass if that is your thing. It was worth every penny and made great use of it. Beautiful views and beyond relaxing. This was a highlight for me.

 

Also, give the go karts a shot.  I shot them down from when I heard about them on the Joy and was completely surprised. Although, I think a ropes course is appropriate for the Caribbean, the go karts are perfect in Alaska and surpassed my expectations.

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1 hour ago, kalkal said:

The afternoon of the last sea day did see more people.  We usually arrived upon opening and stayed a few hours and the same before dinner.  On port days we got off early,done private tours and returned to a quiet spa.  Seems we had different experiences.  I must agree with you about the chili.  It rates among the best I have ever tasted.  Stopped a few times just for chili.  Wish I knew the secret ingredient.

 

We were usually trying to go between lunch and dinner. It was only bad on those cold sea days, as on the warmer days or port days, there was a lot to do outside the spa, which drew most of the people out.

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I haven't been on the Bliss, but I have sailed both the Breakaway and Getaway.  The floor plan looks similar on deck 8 for Maltings and Sugarcane.  Those are two of my favorite daytime reading spots.  Nearly zero traffic since the bars are not yet open, plus fairly comfy couches that allow you to curl up.  It may be a good option for when the Observation Lounge is busy.

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Kathy: Here is my review of the Bliss from the Thanksgiving cruise.  Hopefully your experience will be better, but there were many on my cruise that fully agreed with my review.

http://click.email.cruisecritic.com/?qs=ce58d6a4e7b088018fefbee0878572a654d5f02840c9d9c83dccdf70d8fb09fab8e2c48a85c68eb8ecaf6ae56ead386934d19f19ccc4d5365be2da17eff91f7e

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