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sid_9169

Bliss / Live / Solo - Dec-01-08-2018...

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Four score and 687 days ago, I booked myself a cruise upon the Norwegian Bliss... It was still only a couple of months into construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany... It's inaugural transatlantic sailing was still 465 days into the future. The deck plans were not even made public yet, but after sailing the Epic, Getaway, and Escape, I knew it was my destiny to sail upon her to the sunny Caribbean... This will only be the 3rd cruise for the Bliss once it reaches Miami, following it's transit of the Panama Canal. 

 

Now that the Bliss has made it to Miami for it's official Caribbean debut, a few mostly mixed reviews have trickled in on the CC message boards. Some include words, such as "underwhelmed" and "folding chairs" in the Garden Cafe, to "slow" or "poor" service in some of the restaurants, "the public bathrooms were a nightmare", ect...  Also, reports of laser tag and go-karts completely booked up on boarding day, with no reservations for the rest of the cruise... As usual, I'll be going in with a totally open mind, and look forward to an awesome week on the nearly new ship!...

 

***This photo stolen from NCL FB page... I don't have any actual ship photos yet...

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The final work day before vacation is underway... I'm hoping for a "low stress" easy day, but that's not how it usually pans out...

 

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For whatever reason, the website added my previous photo to the next post. Have I mentioned that I hate that they did away with the Cruise Critic app? It was so much easier and straight forward for use with a mobile device...

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I will be following and will be boarding the Bliss on the 8th.  Have a great cruise!

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One final check of the PO box before leaving town...

 

***Side note: I can't stand the way that the "new improved" CC website loads and then loads a second time every time I visit the page. Am I the only one who experiences this? Any tips or tricks would be helpful, I haven't totally figured it all out yet...

 

 

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This cruise will mark my "return" to Norwegian. My last 2 sailings being on the Carnival Vista in May, and the Carnival Magic in September... I will try to compare / contrast the similarities and differences along the way. As I don't really attend the entertainment on either line, the main differences for me are mostly the ship, with Carnival being a bit more "basic" while Norwegian leans a bit more "upscale"... Other than that, the food and beverages on the 2 lines are a bit different, with Carnival offering more "included" lunch options, while NCL offers more "specialty" / "for fee" options... The one thing I will miss the most is Carnivals' Alchemy Bar, which NCL has no equal, other than possibly the Haven Bar, which I will not have access to. 

 

I booked my flights way back in February of this year, and I used Priceline Express Deals (where you don't actually know the hotel until after booking) and ended up at the Conrad Miami in Brickell, which I've stayed at before. My normal pre-cruise night shenanigans will include eating and drinking at several places around the Brickell area. I'll be hitting a few of my regular happy hours spots, as well as a couple of new places, which I try to do each visit. 

 

I'm booked in the Studio Cabin complex in the exact same cabin that I've stayed in 3 times on the Escape (12539) I don't have any sort of specialty dining package, but I'll definitely be trying out Los Lobos and the new "Q" bbq venue, as well as Food Republic... I'm going to visit Cagney's and La Cucina for my 2 free Platinum meals, as well... I can't say that I'm excited at all about the go-cart track or laser tag, but I believe that I'll be able to find plenty of things to occupy my sea days... I do plan on going for a Vibe Pass, so I plan to get to the port relatively early on embarkation day to stake out my spot at the front of the boarding area. Being Platinum helps in this regard, as I won't require a boarding group number. 

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As a precautionary measure, I always load up on this stuff for several days prior to traveling...

 

 

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How's this for an exciting pre cruise day lunch? I need to eat quickly. Things are starting to get really busy on my final work day.

 

 

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Greetings, and THANK YOU for your background and pre-trip report. We will be boarding with you (although at different times as we're not near Platinum). This will be great fun. Now if only the NCL Upgrade fairies would render a positive decision. I mean, they only have a few hours to accept one of our awesome bids ............

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Following along on this one for sure!   

 

Scheduled to sail on the Bliss in February, so very anxious to hear your thoughts.

 

Hope you have a great trip!

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As far as my port plans, I will probably take the Red Hook ferry to St John while in St Thomas. In Tortola, I have a catamaran trip to Norman Island, the Caves, and the Indians booked with Aristocat Charters... For Nassau, I've decided to just count it as a "sea day" on a mostly empty ship...

 

I've gone back and fourth on whether to buy NCL's obscenely priced Unlimited Premium WiFi Package for the Live Review. It costs about twice the amount of Carnivals', but in order to go "totally live" I'm going to have to just "grin and bear" the absurdly priced plan. Hopefully this review gains some traction, so as to make spending all that money worth it for both of us... $206.50 buys a lot of food and adult beverages, you know... Also, with the "Death" of the Cruise Critic App, I find using the site with the browser to be a real battery vampire, but hopefully with the use of 2 different phones, I'll be able to keep it moving along... I'll be alternating back and fourth between my trusty rusty Motorola Droid Turbo II and my newer Google Pixel II XL, which takes fantastic pictures. 

 

Hopefully you're all ready for a week filled with plenty of food and beverage p0rn, as well as whatever else interesting I can get into on Norwegian's nearly new flag ship... I will try and answer some questions along the way, if you have any. I will bring home a full set of the Freestyle Daily, but I don't have the computing skills to upload them. I would be willing to mail them to someone's PO Box, if anyone is interested. My reviews lean more towards "entertaintment" than "informative", but I will try my best to cover all the bases... (My reviews lean towards something of a "train of thought" type narrative more than anything. Often just ramblings about this or that...) Other than that, my style of cruising mostly revolves around eating and drinking and exploring about the ship. Hopefully I can make this entertaining enough to keep you engaged throughout the week. 

 

***Another stolen from the internet pic...

 


 

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Edited by sid_9169

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My work day has been (thankfully) serene... I'm hoping to make it through the next hour and a half stress-free. Unfortunately, I then have to do my "part time job" which will hopefully be done before 7:00 PM. I clean a local small office building weekly for extra cash. Cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors isn't really my idea of a good time, but my goal is to pay off all of my credit card debt in the next few months, and every penny counts. (Plus, I'm going to be spending a small fortune this week, first in Miami for Happy Hour. Then I have some port plans that will put another nice dent in my wallet...)

 

After that, it's home make dinner and pack my suitcase. I never do this any further in advance than the night prior to leaving. (Tradition, I guess) Of course, there will be some adult beverages flowing during and after the whole dinner / packing thing. My entire suitcase will mostly consist of swimming trunks and T-shirts, so it should come together pretty easily...

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2 hours ago, sid_9169 said:

How's this for an exciting pre cruise day lunch? I need to eat quickly. Things are starting to get really busy on my final work day.

 

 

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I never put tobasco on them before. I might have to try that if I can't find the ones canned in hot sauce. 

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In case you're wondering what you're getting yourself into, here's a link to my epic adventure on the Carnival Vista earlier this year... (Yes, I'm shamelessly plugging a prior review, don't you judge me!...)

 

 

 

 

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Are you planning on attending the planned solo meetup groups for studio cabiners? If so, please let us know things like... how attendance is, how (and who) the solo coordinator is and how overall the experience is.

 

Its an excellent program, generally, but I have seen instances where it can get rocky depending on the participants and how well the solo coordinator can work to keep people concordant. In one instance, I witnessed a full-blown revolt against the solo coordinator, complete with a letter of complaint posted publicly and signed by participants.

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9 minutes ago, marktwothousand said:

Are you planning on attending the planned solo meetup groups for studio cabiners? If so, please let us know things like... how attendance is, how (and who) the solo coordinator is and how overall the experience is.

 

Its an excellent program, generally, but I have seen instances where it can get rocky depending on the participants and how well the solo coordinator can work to keep people concordant. In one instance, I witnessed a full-blown revolt against the solo coordinator, complete with a letter of complaint posted publicly and signed by participants.

 

I always attend on the first night, at the least... The solo group can vary from sailing to sailing. Sometimes a nice fun group, who does things together, sometimes the whole thing goes to s#!t pretty quickly. For myself, I normally feel it out at the beginning, but depending on how that goes, I head out on my own... I will fill you in once on board...

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38 minutes ago, sid_9169 said:

 

I always attend on the first night, at the least... The solo group can vary from sailing to sailing. Sometimes a nice fun group, who does things together, sometimes the whole thing goes to s#!t pretty quickly. For myself, I normally feel it out at the beginning, but depending on how that goes, I head out on my own... I will fill you in once on board...

I was shocked and stunned to hear that you had no other solos with you at the solo table on your Vista cruise. Not even one. What a let down.

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I finished my side job in a little over two hours. It normally takes three. Nothing like a little vacation motivation! Heading home now to pack and eat and drink...

 

 

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Looking forward to your live blog...really enjoyed the last one!!!  We've only done two NCL cruises...one many years ago and then the Getaway Thanksgiving a few years ago....I thought the shows were amazing...but probably like Carnival and Holland a bit better!!  Enjoy!!

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Traffic wasn't terrible, and I made it home in a reasonable amount of time...

 

Remember my crappy lunch consisting of a can of sardines and crackers? Well, I'm about to throw down about a pound and a half of prime boneless ribeye steak. Not the grocery store kind, but from the real neighborhood butcher. That and a nice bottle of Spanish garnacha. (You can't eat steak without wine)

 

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Following along - enjoyed your last review, and need to learn more about Norwegian, as I may be taking my  first cruise on them next year.

 

Nice steak picture - know a local butcher shop here that occasionally has waygu beef (too pricey for me, but always looks amazing!)

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I heard that Cagney's steak house has done away with their ribeye recently. Hopefully this will hold me over... About the size of the old, but not forgotten tomahawk (minus the bone)

 

 

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Packing is officially underway... Most of the wine is gone, but I've got beer as backup when necessary...

 

 

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I was reading your Vista review and just ordered the Rebound patches.  Going to give them a try!

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Just set up my Uber pick up for tomorrow morning... Packing and drinking continues...

 

 

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The clothes are mostly done now... The little stuff comes next... ( Wine is gone, and the first beer has been opened)

 

 

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Can't really watch TV while packing, so I'm cranking up some old Kiss CDs... I guess I'm really showing my age now...

 

 

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Following along and looking forward to reading about your adventures on the Bliss!

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"He's making a list, checking it twice"

 

Yes, my famous hand written packing list that I use before every sailing... Although, one day I would like to get my hands on Santa's naughty girl list...

 

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Little things mean a lot... Finally gathered together all the odds and ends. Qtips, sunglasses, medication, passport, cologne samples, envelopes full of cash, phone chargers, handy wipes, ear plugs, sun block, eye gel, deodorant, pens, wrist watch, shampoo, toothpaste, chapstick, floss, Miami and Atlanta mass transit cards, ect...

 

 

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I am glad found this as you are just getting started. I enjoy your reviews. Always great commentary and lots of drink porn. Safe travels

 

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