Whether you’re an experienced cruiser or planning your inaugural voyage, each ship promises a plethora of incredible experiences that will captivate, surprise and thrill you! Rest assured, there’s something for everyone on every ship you embark on.
What makes the cruise industry truly remarkable is the wide array of cruise lines and ships available to cater to every traveler’s preferences, tastes, style and budget. Even if there are aspects you may not particularly favor about a specific ship, rest assured that numerous other options exist to fulfill your requirements.
Come along with me as I reminisce about my recent journey aboard the Norwegian Bliss. Join me as I delve into my favorite moments and areas for improvement from my first experience sailing on a Breakaway Plus Class vessel!
1. Enjoyed – Live Performances
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As I mentioned in my previous article about the Norwegian Bliss review, this cruise ship offers some truly remarkable theater style performances that have impressed me greatly.
On board the Norwegian Bliss, there are currently two outstanding musical shows called ‘Six’ and ‘Jersey Boys. These performances are among the longest theater style shows I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship, with each one lasting over 75 minutes. Typically, shows on other ships only run for about 45 minutes.
If you have the chance, I highly recommend sailing on the Norwegian Bliss to witness both of these incredible performances. The artists involved are exceptionally talented and not only is their music impressive, but they also execute their shows with incredible precision and professionalism.
2. Unfavorable – Inability to Dock
In February, I embarked on the Norwegian Bliss and our planned route included two days at sea and three port visits.
During our trip, we were scheduled to stop at Roatan Honduras, Harvest Caye Belize, Costa Maya Mexico, and Cozumel Mexico. However, due to strong winds on the day we were supposed to visit Costa Maya, our ship was unable to dock for safety reasons. As a result, we missed out on a fourth port day. However, the silver lining was that we were given an extra day at sea to discover the Norwegian Bliss.
The fact that we were not able to visit a fourth port destination for exploration was a letdown, both for us and for several other passengers. Throughout the day, we overheard numerous complaints from our fellow guests.
Despite the enjoyment of exploring the ship and trying out the various water slides and amenities onboard, our day was not without its share of fun.
It is not uncommon for ships to be unable to dock at a port due to adverse weather conditions or safety issues. While this may be disappointing for passengers, if you find yourself in this situation, I encourage you to focus on the advantages and use the opportunity to discover more about your cruise ship.
3. Favorite – Cuisine and Primary Dining Experience
In my previous experiences on larger cruise ships, I have found that Norwegian Cruise Line stands out for its exceptional food. The cruise line offers a wide range of food options for guests to indulge in and relish.
In my opinion, the buffet offered on the larger cruise ship was exceptional. The variety of options and the quality of food were both outstanding. The Indian Cuisine section during lunch and dinner stood out as my personal favorite.
On the Norwegian Bliss, there are multiple main dining options for guests to enjoy, including the ‘Taste’ and ‘Savor’ restaurants, as well as a larger dining room named ‘The Manhattan Room’. This is a typical offering from Norwegian Cruise Line, with at least two main dining venues available for guests. I personally had a great experience dining at these venues during my cruise.
I find the ‘Taste’ and ‘Savor’ restaurants to be delightful with their high-quality cuisine and cozy atmosphere, rather than a bustling dining hall. These establishments exude a sense of luxury, rather than a massive, shared dining space. They are a perfect choice for those seeking a tranquil and peaceful dining experience, whether it be couples or friends.
At the main dining venues, guests have the freedom to request any amount of food they desire, catering to their individual dietary restrictions and preferences.
4. Not a Fan – Themed Parties Excluded from Spice H2O
During my voyage with Norwegian Cruise Line, I had the opportunity to experience the Norwegian Getaway before my upcoming trip on the Norwegian Bliss. It was my initial time sailing with this cruise line and I had a great time on board the Norwegian Getaway.
Norwegian Cruise Line is renowned among its passengers for its themed parties, which are exclusively for guests aged 18 and above. These events typically involve dancing to popular music played by DJs and may revolve around themes like the 80s or neon. These parties are highly enjoyable and are popular among the adult guests on Norwegian ships.
One of the features commonly found on Norwegian Cruise Line vessels is a designated space called Spice H2O. This outdoor section is exclusively for individuals aged 18 and above and typically includes several hot tubs, a bar, a dance floor, breathtaking views of the ocean, and at times, a shallow pool.
The difference I observed between the Norwegian Bliss and the Norwegian Getaway was the location of the Norwegian Cruise Line’s popular themed parties. While the Norwegian Bliss held these parties in the Spice H2O, the Norwegian Getaway hosted them on the main pool deck. For example, the renowned neon party, where guests wear white and dance to lively music, took place on the main pool deck instead of the Spice H2O.
The reason for this occurrence could be attributed to the smaller size of the Spice H2O area on the Norwegian Bliss compared to the one on the Norwegian Getaway. It is possible that the crew anticipated a larger crowd for the neon party and opted to use the pool deck instead of the limited space in the Spice H2O area on the Norwegian Bliss.
Nonetheless, this resulted in the presence of families and guests under 18 at the event. While there is nothing inherently problematic with this, it does alter the intended ambiance of a party specifically for adult attendees.
5. Enjoyed – Distinctive Experiences
The Norwegian Bliss offers a variety of distinctive onboard activities that I have yet to encounter on any other cruise ship!
Onboard the Norwegian Bliss, guests can enjoy a variety of exciting and entertaining activities such as the Speedway, waterslides, and laser tag. These unique offerings promise to provide a truly memorable vacation experience.
My experience trying out the various activities on board was truly amazing. I strongly suggest that those considering a Norwegian Cruise Line trip should consider sailing on a Norwegian Breakaway Plus Class ship to fully enjoy the top-notch onboard activities that Norwegian Cruise Line has to offer.
Engaging in certain one-of-a-kind experiences on the ship contributes to the formation of enjoyable and significant holiday recollections!
6. Unfavorable – Maintenance of Staterooms
During our recent voyage on Norwegian Bliss, we booked a standard interior stateroom. The accommodations were fully furnished with exceptional features, and provided a contemporary design and cozy atmosphere for passengers to transform their room into a personal sanctuary on the open waters.
The stateroom and bathroom were both well-maintained and orderly, with all the furnishings appearing fresh and unblemished despite the ship being constructed five years prior. The spaciousness of the bathroom and the ample storage space available in the room left a strong impression on me!
It is acknowledged that stateroom attendants on cruise lines are among the most diligent crew members on board. They typically endure extended shifts and are responsible for managing numerous rooms.
During my journey, I was let down to find out that the room, although spotless, still contained belongings of the previous occupants. These belongings included a shirt and various pieces of clothing.
Even though the room was clean, we were a bit annoyed to discover that it hadn’t been thoroughly checked for belongings left behind by previous guests. We came across two items, one in the closet and the other near the footstool, and turned them in to guest services. However, it wasn’t a major issue.
7. Enjoyed – Harvest Caye
My experience on the Norwegian Bliss was my first opportunity to discover Harvest Caye, Norwegian Cruise Line’s exclusive island. Harvest Caye is a stunning island resort that offers a plethora of activities for guests to enjoy and make the most of their cruise holiday.
Located near the shoreline of Belize, Harvest Caye is a picturesque island with a variety of exciting and distinctive activities for visitors to discover. From the exhilarating nature encounters to the expansive 6-acre beach, thrilling zip line, and spacious pool featuring a swim up bar, Norwegian Cruise Line provides a multitude of options for its guests to enjoy on this island destination.
The island, which is operated by Norwegian Cruise Line in collaboration with Belize, offers a stunning combination of lush greenery and a beautiful beach that is sure to captivate and delight guests. Its exclusivity to Norwegian and its visitors makes it an extra special destination to explore.
In my opinion, this island is among the top private islands owned by cruise lines and is definitely worth exploring. To learn more about how this island compares to others owned by cruise lines, visit this link here.
8. Not Preferred – Absence of Water Slide Schedule
The Norwegian Bliss offers two waterslides onboard, which I found to be a great feature. One of the slides is more suitable for families and is relatively mild, while the other is more intense and perfect for those seeking an exhilarating experience.
The slides on the Norwegian Bliss, called Aqua Racer and Ocean Loops, offer both family-friendly and thrilling experiences. Aqua Racer provides inner tubes, both single and double, for guests to use as they glide down the slide. On the other hand, Ocean Loops features a drop floor and two expansive loops that require guests to use the momentum from the exhilarating vertical drop to successfully make it through.
During our sailing adventure, we had the opportunity to try out both of these slides and we highly recommend giving them a shot! However, one downside we encountered was the lack of a clear schedule for when the slides were available. At times, they would unexpectedly be closed during the day without any apparent reason.
It appears that wind or other factors may have played a role, but it would have been helpful to have information on the precise schedule of the slides and their expected reopening time.
Moreover, as we had an additional day at sea in our itinerary, it would have been appreciated if the water slides were open for the entire day. However, they were not consistently available on our unscheduled day at sea. This is likely due to inclement weather, such as strong winds, which the crew prioritized for safety reasons. It would have been helpful to have a schedule or notification posted regarding closures due to unexpected situations.
9. Enjoyed – Excursions with Norwegian Cruise Line
During our voyage on Norwegian Bliss, we chose to reserve a shore excursion through Norwegian Cruise Line for our stop in Roatan, Honduras. The procedure for booking the excursion on the ship was effortless. This activity turned out to be one of the standout experiences of our entire trip with Norwegian Bliss.
I was excited to find out that this trip, arranged directly with Norwegian Cruise Line, proved to be a worthwhile expense and provided an unforgettable adventure for visitors in Roatan.
The excursion we ultimately selected was named ‘Turquoise Bay Horseback Riding & Snorkel With Lunch’. Offered by Norwegian Cruise Line at Roatan, this excursion was truly fantastic. We were transported to the beautiful Turquoise Bay resort on Roatan via bus, where we were led on a guided snorkeling and horseback riding adventure. During the excursion, we enjoyed a delicious lunch featuring both traditional dishes and American-style options. The resort also provided us with complimentary drinks and local beers.
For those planning a trip to Roatan, Honduras on a Norwegian Cruise Line, I strongly suggest considering this excursion. It was definitely worth the additional expense and gave us valuable experiences during our cruise journey!
10. Unpopular – The Procedure of Disembarking
The conclusion of a vacation is universally disliked. The day of disembarkation is consistently met with sadness and is a dreaded event for all cruise goers.
Cruise companies strive to ensure that the disembarkation process is as effortless as possible. While my previous experience with Norwegian Cruise Line on Norwegian Getaway was relatively seamless, this was not the case on Norwegian Bliss.
I am thankful that our departure from Miami (where the Norwegian Bliss had docked for our planned route) was scheduled for the afternoon, as it ended up taking us approximately two additional hours to disembark from the ship on the day of departure.
As soon as we left our stateroom and headed towards the ship’s exit, we were greeted with long and twisting queues that seemed never-ending. Normally, we would disembark from our cruise ships by 9am, but during this trip, we regretted not opting for the earliest possible departure time.
The guests aboard the ship were led through a winding path to the location where the Norwegian Bliss was performing security and port immigration checks. This was the first time I had witnessed such checks being conducted onboard the ship for disembarkation. It can be said with confidence that this method slowed down the process compared to my previous experiences with disembarking from cruises.
The reason for the Norwegian Bliss’ disembarkation process is unclear, considering that Norwegian Cruise Line recently completed construction of their impressive new cruise terminal in Miami.
In addition, the recently-built cruise terminal in Miami by Norwegian Cruise Line is incredibly impressive and the boarding process onto the ship was the fastest I have encountered so far! The cruise line has clearly invested a lot of effort and consideration into this new terminal in Miami, and the slightly longer disembarkation process may be attributed to the terminal being newly constructed and still undergoing some finishing touches.
These are just my personal thoughts about my recent trip on the Norwegian Bliss. It’s likely that other guests will have different experiences and opinions of their own.
We’ve had a really great time on Norwegian Cruise Line and we’re excited to share more about this amazing cruise line with our readers!
Because everyone is unique, there will be aspects of each ship that some people will appreciate while others may not. The cruise industry is constantly growing and every cruise company is introducing new ships with exciting features and extra amenities for passengers to enjoy. Each cruise journey offers a unique experience and is sure to create lasting vacation memories and unforgettable moments for guests.