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robbysbabe

Our "BLISSful" Trip

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10 of us traveled on the Bliss; 9th - 16th sailing. 8 Adults were aged 40-68 and 2 teenage girls (16 & 18)

I am a seasoned cruiser for over 25 years (Primarily RCCL) but this was my 3rd NCL Cruise; the past 2 NCL cruises were on the Escape in the Haven. As we traveled with others we opted for mid ship balcony, to be with the whole gang.

 

After reading a number of threads and comments about the Bliss etc. - I just wanted to offer our personal experience/opinions on the Bliss.

 

Overall for me, I give it a big thumbs up!

So if your hearing my "strong opinions" on items - it's truly just my observation or preferences. I'm a big cruising fan and in the end, it's what you make of it and understanding what expectations you should have before going.

 

Arriving in Seattle:

We arrived 2 days early as my niece lives in Seattle and it offered us time for a visit. Cost from Airport to Hilton Seattle was $40 Uber ride. We were there at 5:00 p.m. - Uber prices can vary based on time of day - we came at peak time.

The Hotel was in the downtown - approx. 2 miles from Pier 66.

We took the Boeing Tour on Friday - a must for airplane enthusiasts.

We also visited Pikes Market (right their in the Downtown) - What a fun and fantastic place to visit and take in the sites.

 

Boarding the ship:

Got to port about 11:00, very organized - good signage for luggage drop off and enter terminal. Did check in, met some folks in sitting area, chatted etc. - was on the boat having lunch by noon.

Our boarding group number was 13. Easy peasy.

 

Picking my cabin: We chose not to go in the Haven this trip for several reasons - traveling with others that would not be in Haven, the itinerary was port intensive (so truly less time in the room) and expense, don't get me wrong - I chose NCL Escape twice before because they had something RCCL did not - the Haven... It is wonderful, it wasn't going to meet our needs this trip and the cost for the Bliss Haven due to itinerary is double than what you can travel to the Caribbean for. I didn't miss the Haven this trip, I find that for us, it truly would be enjoyed more with your whole group or just traveling with just Hubby (we're already booked next March for Haven on Epic)

 

So my mid ship balcony... It met the needs. Plenty of storage space (luggage went under the beds), plenty of hangers in the closet. Our bed was next to the bathroom (#12240) - my sister next to us had her bed next to the balcony (#12238). If choice is offered, I would opt for bed next to balcony. Our bed was very close to the closet and it was harder to access and of course getting around the bed to go to the couch area or the bathroom was always a laugh as hubby and I were always trying to pass/trip over each other. We laughed about it a lot.

 

Learning a few things from sailing in the Haven previously... I asked our Room Steward for a few things, who I graciously tipped and he delivered! Robes, a tempurpedic pillow, the shampoo they offer in the Haven (separate bottles from the 2-in-1 canister attached to shower wall) and to clear out the fridge and to keep it stocked with a pitcher of ice water!

 

And as the boat is so new - I did have an appreciation for the beds being new and firm (some from our group thought too firm but no major complaints) and the towels were very plush.

 

Dining:

We ate in 4 specialty restaurants: Le Bistro, Cagney's, Tempanakki, and The Italian Place, also ate at The Local, Manhattan, Taste, Savor and the Buffet - hit them all!

Tempanakki was probably my favorite - all were good; I'm not a huge food critic - it was served to me, it was hot and I didn't have to do dishes. No complaints. Food tastes vary, as I kept polling the rest of the group - all seemed mostly satisfied with dining. I do think they have the edge on RCCL overall.

 

 

The Manhattan on the Bliss did not have live music playing as it did on the Escape.

The "Alaskan Buffet" was served on Sunday night - I missed it but heard it was very good. They only did it that one night.

Saw the "Prime Rib" sign on at least 2 occasions for The Local.

 

 

Shows/Entertainment:

Jersey Boys - AWESOME!! Had seen the Broadway version twice this was just as good. As they cut about 30/40 minutes out of the production - it was extremely fast paced and so energetic!! Not to be missed.

 

 

Havana - Worth Seeing. Cute story line and the entertainers could really perform.

 

 

Beatle-Mania - I'm a fan of the music and that's what I got. We were laughing the "George" didn't know the words to the songs (LOL) The guys were cute, sung well - it was something to do.

 

 

Did not get to see the Country Band but heard they were very good.

 

 

And in The District Brew House - there was a piano singing. The venue nicely supported a smaller crowd. He was funny and entertaining - good for a group sing a long and some fun.

 

 

Constant happenings in the Center Atrium Area - not my thing... but always seemed like people were having fun!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GO CARTS - $9.95 per person; approx 8 - 10 minutes. Group was divided on liking them. I enjoyed very much, it was a neat kind of rush/fun. 2 in our group were bumped by other cars and left in pain. Called it the whiplash ride.

 

 

Laser Tag - $5.00 for 2 games. Whole family played all had fun.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As with all the specialty restaurants and shows; you need reservations. If you can't book your venue prior to cruising, invest the time as soon on board to do it. If you wait a day, it may not be available. As a party of 10 - we took the 5:00/5:30 dining (we booked via telephone prior to our cruise - was not able to do it online) Same with the shows. We booked the Go Carts and Laser Tag as soon as we got on board.

 

 

The demand is so much greater than the supply for these venues - I unfortunately met some very unhappy folks that couldn't book anything. No dining or shows - they didn't know to do it ahead of time, they were new to mega ship cruising or had no former knowledge how to navigate the system. I don't have the answers on this... I just felt bad for the folks that had kids and couldn't use their dining plan until 10 pm or the limited show times with a theater that only holds 750 people.

 

 

Smoking:

I am a non smoker/Hubby smokes cigars (I am a "to each their own" opinion on smoking.)

The smokers I did come across were not happy. I can't suggest where smoking was allowed but it was very limited.

 

 

The Cigar Lounge was just that - Cigars. On the Escape, cigarette smokers used this lounge - on this trip, they were politely asked to leave the area. They were sent up to one on the outer decks. I will talk more about the Casino in a bit... but regarding smoking... The Casino has a glassed off smoking section, it was only opened when the Casino was open; otherwise doors were locked - could not be used as smoking lounge as with other ship venues.

 

 

As this post is getting very long.... I'll be back with the rest folks a little later!!

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OK... had time to come back and finish -

 

Weather:

Coming from Florida I expected to be cold!!!

I was not - the highs were 67 and lows mid 50’s. It was clear, no rain, beautiful viewing gorgeous weather!

I don’t know this to be the norm - we kept hearing we lucked out!

 

Observatory:

This was an absolutely beautiful venue - one our family did not have time to use together. Beautiful sitting areas, live music and light eating.

 

Laundry Service:

We used it! Offered for $19.95 on the Monday - since we had been in Seattle since Thursday, I took advantage. My sister would not use it as it said “could take up till Friday” to get your clothes back. We got our clean clothes back Wednesday morning.

 

Casino:

So I’ll admit it from the start... I’m a slot junkie ;)

I’m in all the programs and have some decent status on both the Sea and Land Programs.

I booked this trip through Casinos at Sea, I had a freebie but payed for the upgrade for the balcony (couldn’t get the free balancony on the Bliss - but did not mind the up-charge.)

 

I loved the casino! The games were all the latest and greatest, servers and attendants were very accommodating. If you spend any time there/they will get to know you.

 

Casino was opened first night at 9:30 p.m. and than typically 30 minute or so after departing ports.

 

Smoking area in casino - I did walk through it - most of the same games as in the open area. I did notice the majority of the Video Poker Games were in there. There were 4/5 in the non-smoking section and than the “wall” than there were 15 more video poker machines inside the smoking area. Just the way it was set up.

 

I did not play table games this trip; I did hear announcements when they opened additional $5.00 BJ tables; it seemed if there was a demand - they accommodated.

 

This was my 3rd NCL Cruise and the 3rd Cruise I walked away with hand payouts. Being from Florida - only having the Seminole Casinos; I’d play on a cruise boat over Tampa Hard Rock any day of the week! (Biloxi however will beat both ;p)

 

On the final day (Friday) the Casino and Shops all closed at 11:30 a.m. for the remainder of the trip!

 

Your port time is 4:00 - 10:00 p.m. for Victoria; it seemed a little odd that all closed for the remainder of trip but that was the schedule. There were plenty of activities happening during the day; this is when I took in the 2:00 p.m. Beatle Mania Show. This was also considered the “Final Show” for the cruise; as after Port Visit - just the bars and some smaller entertainment venues were occuring. I used this time also to pack.

 

Port Luggage Valet:

We used it and loved it!!

The “paper” came out on 2nd day and needed to be returned by following morning - very short window.

You fill out your flight information and the number of bags you want them to take.

Our family had different airlines.

We had Delta, sister had United, friends had Southwest.

By early Friday evening we had our printed boarding passes (the Cruise Ship “checks you in”) with a luggage tags delivered to our room. Bags needed to be out by 11:00 p.m.

When we arrived at Airport next morning - they suggested our bags were already checked in. All parties happily recieved their luggage with their final arrival!

NCL charges nothing for this service. If your Airline charges for bags, the cost is passed to you. If there is a reason you don’t pay a bag fee (Southwest or First Class etc. - no charges.)

I would definitely recommended this service!

 

Leaving the ship:

Since we opted for the Luggage Valet - we opted to self assist off ship. I was never off a ship so fast or through customs quicker (except when in the Haven). We walked off the ship at 7:45 (walk offs started about 6:50) and was standing on the curbside by 8:00. I had prearranged transportation for 8:30; he was there by 8:15. 40 minute trip to the airport - Sea-tec was busy and hectic as exspected; we had no issues making our 11:30 flight - would not suggest before 10:30 departures though.

 

When using the Valet Service it includes transportation via Bus to airport! We did not understand this ahead of time and had pre-booked our ride. It was explained while we were curbside; so be aware if use use the service and want the ride.

 

Everything else:

As I mentioned on the first post... if you know it going in and what to exspect - it’s not so bad.

Yes - the elevators were crowded at times and hard to catch

Yes - you will miss dining and shows without pre planning

At times - the 6/7/8 decks felt extremely crowded

There was no smoke smell anywhere - except the cigar lounge and designated casino area. If you avoid those areas, you’d swear it was a non-smoking Cruise.

This is a family style venue - you will encounter families/kids doing family/kids stuff... it was all good!

 

We took Ship Excursions in every port; not being familiar with the Alaska Cruise and having limited/odd Port Times - we splurged! No regrets, we saw so much. I’m typically a go off on my own person - so glad we booked the tours!!

 

If your not into the mega family ship - this venue will not be for you.

 

We may not due the Bliss again - but I’ll see you in the Haven on the Caribbean Itineraries!!

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Happy to answer any specific questions if I can?

 

I could go on and on...

 

Did not post pics as we’ve been following all the other Bliss Threads - LOL! Dugout took them all already!!)

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Do you mind telling me where to book Go Carts and Laser Tag? In which floor ? thanks

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When using the Valet Service it includes transportation via Bus to airport! We did not understand this ahead of time and had pre-booked our ride. It was explained while we were curbside; so be aware if use use the service and want the ride.

 

Explained to you by who? BirdTravels (who used the Port Valet service) reported after the inaugural Bliss Alaska cruise that the shuttle was $20 p/p. Motegi used a flat rate taxi for $40. He said you must specifically ask for a flat rate taxi which we were planning to take as there will be 3 of us. Free would be way better! LOL! We do plan to use the Port Valet service.

 

Just trying to gather all the information I can.

 

Enjoyed your review! Thankful to all the people posting about Bliss in Alaska.

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Thanks for sharing your perspective on the Bliss! Port Valet service sounds wonderful and I'm really looking forward to those shows.

 

Especially loved hearing your casino news. If you have been on the Escape or Getaway, would you compare the casino games/variety to those ships?

 

We were going to book Bliss Alaska through CAS, but then decided to wait for the Miami cruises on her. (Offered Ocean View for Alaska but Mini-suite for Miami!)

Maybe another season we will try that Alaska on her:cool:

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Thanks for a very informative review! We have booked the Bliss for Alaska for next June. We will have 7 children 4-12 in our group. I was interested to hear that you had good weather. I was wondering if you know whether the pool is heated? Also, would you consider the Bliss a family friendly ship?

Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Do you mind telling me where to book Go Carts and Laser Tag? In which floor ? thanks

 

We were able to book from our TV in our room!

Both Go carts and laser tag -

Rooms were ready pretty close to 1:00 - 1:30

I called to front desk first.

 

I did see people with sheets of paper with the times on them/selecting times and turning them in -

 

I recall both areas were open at 2:00 the day you board.

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Explained to you by who? BirdTravels (who used the Port Valet service) reported after the inaugural Bliss Alaska cruise that the shuttle was $20 p/p. Motegi used a flat rate taxi for $40. He said you must specifically ask for a flat rate taxi which we were planning to take as there will be 3 of us. Free would be way better! LOL! We do plan to use the Port Valet service.

 

Just trying to gather all the information I can.

 

Enjoyed your review! Thankful to all the people posting about Bliss in Alaska.

 

LOL!

I couldn’t tell you who. When you get the Port Valet envelope in your rooms with boarding passes; there were “stickers” that said “Port Valet” - you out them on to identify yourself as a “walk off or self assist” -

 

When we went outside, a nice lady said - “your bus is right there”. We told her we had transportation, she responded with “oh, the bus was included.”

 

So as I didn’t use it - I can’t confirm 100%

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Smoking - has it been restricted more so on the Bliss than other NCL ships?

 

Thanks!

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We were able to book from our TV in our room!

Both Go carts and laser tag -

Rooms were ready pretty close to 1:00 - 1:30

I called to front desk first.

 

I did see people with sheets of paper with the times on them/selecting times and turning them in -

 

I recall both areas were open at 2:00 the day you board.

 

thanks

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Would you be willing to share who you booked your transportation with to get to Sea-Tac after the cruise? Trying to find how to get our party of 7 to the airport....

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Would you be willing to share who you booked your transportation with to get to Sea-Tac after the cruise? Trying to find how to get our party of 7 to the airport....

 

 

 

Google ‘Port Valet Seattle ‘ and it will explain it all.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Do you mind telling me where to book Go Carts and Laser Tag? In which floor ? thanks

 

Deck 19/20 - Aft side

The were fun!

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I read the information on the Valet service, and could not find anything on the transportation back to the airport.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Thanks for sharing your perspective on the Bliss! Port Valet service sounds wonderful and I'm really looking forward to those shows.

 

Especially loved hearing your casino news. If you have been on the Escape or Getaway, would you compare the casino games/variety to those ships?

 

We were going to book Bliss Alaska through CAS, but then decided to wait for the Miami cruises on her. (Offered Ocean View for Alaska but Mini-suite for Miami!)

Maybe another season we will try that Alaska on her:cool:

 

I was on the Escape 4/2016 and 12/2017 (both times in Haven)

 

The casino games actually changed from first time to second. They always have the Wheel of Fourtune with gold wheel. They updated by changing the games to what’s “today” - Heart Lock Game, Wonder Woman, All the Chinese games with the “pots” 88 Fortunes. Also all had the traditional 3 and 5 line 7’s games, Quick Hits, Flintstones and Wizard of Oz. Lots of bonus and wheel games :):)

 

I never had a problem finding something familiar that I enjoyed!

 

As Floridian - the Florida ports are easy... if you’ve never done Alaska - for me it was “do at once in my life” - I have no regrets; indescribably beautiful!!

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Would you be willing to share who you booked your transportation with to get to Sea-Tac after the cruise? Trying to find how to get our party of 7 to the airport....

 

 

Absolutely!

We used Sabra Limo Services a/k/a Seattle Town Car (easy to Google)

We had booked an 11 person passenger van as we were concerned about having all the luggage. There were only 6 of us using this service, plus the luggage. After booking the Luggage Valet - we didn’t need half the room and made jokes at pier we could sell the extra seats for $10 (which we did not)

 

We split the $120 cost between 3 couples - prepaying.

(206) 229-7288.

 

New vehicle and Steve was a great driver who communicated well with us when’s we docked!

I highly recommend. And they have all size cars

/limos - price ranges etc.

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Smoking - has it been restricted more so on the Bliss than other NCL ships?

 

Thanks!

 

I am going to say yes. A lot more according to the smokers (I am a non smoker)

The cigar bar was strictly for cigars (which hubby visited a lot.)

 

Cigarette smoking was allowed in the Smoking Casino area - only when opened and in a single part of a certain deck; I am sorry I don’t know where.

 

There was a previous post here on CC that suggested that the Bliss was not for smokers... I would have to agree.

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I read the information on the Valet service, and could not find anything on the transportation back to the airport.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

I had not read anything prior either - that is why I booked our transportation outside of trip ahead of time; us being approached telling us it was included was a complete surprise.

 

My suggestion would be to call the Port of Seattle; they are the ones that actually offer the service and ask them!

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I had not read anything prior either - that is why I booked our transportation outside of trip ahead of time; us being approached telling us it was included was a complete surprise.

 

My suggestion would be to call the Port of Seattle; they are the ones that actually offer the service and ask them!

 

We used the port valet for our luggage...what a wonderful service but didn’t see, hear or know anything about free transportation for us. We did wonder why we had to wear those stickers though!

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What was in the Alaska buffet?

 

I missed the buffet as that was my evening in LeBistro.

I was told, Salmon, Crab legs, and shrimp - the crab and shrimp served cold. Also chowders.

 

I was disappointed to miss it!

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Thanks for a very informative review! We have booked the Bliss for Alaska for next June. We will have 7 children 4-12 in our group. I was interested to hear that you had good weather. I was wondering if you know whether the pool is heated? Also, would you consider the Bliss a family friendly ship?

Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

Yes we did - thank you!

 

Pools were not heated but the slides were. We saw no one at the pool except 1 brave older man .... just 1 (LOL)

No chair hogs... hahahaha!

No one used them. Slides were used at scheduled times.

 

“They” suggested our weather was unusually good!

High hit 67 with daytime lows around mid 50’s.

Clear skies no rain.

 

The dining areas near pool deck were used as there were heaters above the tables, we ate outside when buffet was busy - it was quite pleasant. Outside bars also had people at them.

 

The Bliss is extremely family friendly. Deck 5 will be your best friend - we saw many kids, being kids and having good fun. It appeared they had many scheduled family activities as well. My nieces are 16 & 18; they really hung with the adults by choice but I feel there was enough entertainment for all age groups.

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