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CincyJen

My Week Aboard Norwegian Bliss - Nov 24 - Dec 1, 2018

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There is a group of us that were on the Escape last Feb.  We had such a great time we all booked the Bliss for this year.  Really need to get out of the North during Feb..  Thanks again for your review and the photos!

 

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Day 4 - St. Thomas, USVI - Tuesday, November 27, 2018, continued

Today, we hit the Garden Cafe for breakfast, around 9:00, so it was relatively empty considering all the cruisers getting off the ship to meet their shore excursions.  The omelette station is amazing!!  There are two of them, right across from each other, so if you encounter a line in one, maybe cross and find a shorter line.  We really didn't encounter any issues in the Garden Cafe as far as lines, crowds, or finding tables, but, admittedly, didn't spend a lot of time here.

 

So, confession time.  Guys, we didn't get off the Bliss.  Not even once.  When our dream cruise in a Penthouse Suite on the Star fell through, DH said, when we rebooked, that he wanted to Ship-Shop and not Port-Shop. We've been to the Caribbean before, we just wanted warm weather but not necessarily destinations. With the help of our PCC we chose the Bliss and yeah, we stayed on board her at the ports.  During our Med cruise on the Epic in 2016, we knocked ourselves out at the ports, but this time, we just wanted to chill.  Everything looked lovely from the wonderfully, all-ours, empty ship.  I'm sorry.  Don't judge me.  

 

 It's been a rough year. The worst, really.  Long story.  Won't bother you with it.  

 

Back to fun!!  So, when you stay aboard, they still offer lots of activities!  After breakfast, we headed for The Atrium, which we hadn't yet experienced, and spent the bulk of the late morning, early afternoon there, watching games and participating in a few.  We won the trivia contest!!!  We got NCL Keychains!  We had a blast.  Got to know the bartenders, and became friends with Concepcion, who, upon discovering we were celebrating our anniversary, made some yummy shots just for us.  She called them Nuts and Berries.

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Day 4 - St. Thomas, USVI - Tuesday, November 27, 2018, continued

During our Fun Day at the Atrium, we first met our friend Bruce, who we hung out with for the rest of the cruise.  He was an absolute hoot, and one of the things we love about cruising is meeting new friends.  Next up, we played the Scattergories game with Bruce as our lead, but, sadly, lost.

 

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Unfortunately, toward the end of our Atrium Fun Day, some truly obnoxious cruisers showed up and were horribly rude to the sweet and kind bartenders we had made friends with.  Hated to see this.  I believe they had just come off shore and were pretty fired-up.  I'm in the F&B business, was horrified to see their behavior, and I did snap at them, but to no use; outnumbered and nobody else spoke up.  We got another drink, again tipped our bartenders, and said goodbye for now. It was so unfortunate to see, but a part of cruising, I suppose.

 

Got a little hungry, and went up to the Observation Lounge for some snacks.  It was Tea Time by now, around 3:00, and we munched on some focaccia, some salami, some cheese, some hummus.  Loved this space so much.  Yeah, there were some nappers, but it didn't ruin the experience.  Contrary to other blog reports, we weren't bothered by nappers at all and didn't find any seat-saving and were always able to find some prime spots for relaxing and enjoying the views. YMMV!! The Observation Lounge Bar is terrific, as well.  A great place to employ your Ultimate Beverage Package on Cranberry Mimosas or Gin & Tonics.

 

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Day 4 - St. Thomas, USVI - Tuesday, November 27, 2018, continued

 

It's sunset and time for Sail Away from St. Thomas.  We left the Observation Lounge to view it from the balcony of our stateroom. The stateroom itself was so pretty and tidied-up by our steward. Just look at that!!!  Swoon....

 

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Think about how much you would have to pay on land for a room with a view like that... cruising is the best!

 

A few more photos as the sun went down and we sailed away from St. Thomas... note the nice overhang for shade during sunny days on our Deck 15 cabin, and the pretty lights on the Carnival ship as we passed.

 

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Edited by CincyJen
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Day 4 - St. Thomas, USVI - Tuesday, November 27, 2018, continued

A truly idyllic Sail-Away from St. Thomas at sunset.  It was hard to pull ourselves away from that balcony, but it was time for dinner.  We were truly Free-Styling it like a Norwegian, not even sure of where we'd dine that evening, and presented ourselves at Savor, where we were promptly seated at a table for two!  You gotta love it.  This is why I don't think we'll ever leave NCL...

 

Our server was Boieto, and he was our best and most engaging server of our entire cruise.  Took drink orders right away, we asked for the wine list, chose a wine by the glass, and I am here to tell you that without asking, Boieto made certain those glasses were never, ever emptied during our entire meal.  The Mediterranean beef skewers sounded yummy to me, but Boieto said he heard they might be a bit dry, and maybe choose something else!  Interesting.  So I went for the Rotisserie Chicken, while DH chose the Chicken Cordon Bleu.  Wouldn't you know it, the beef skewers magically appeared as well!  

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I really hope the NCL Brass read these reviews, because, Boieto was our best server of the entire cruise (we chose him as our Cruise Hero), our meal was delicious and memorable, and I think our impromptu dinner at Savor was our absolute favorite. Boieto was pouring us so much wine that at one point one of the maitre d's came over, and, thinking maybe he'd scold our server, instead said, you need a cheese plate!  And then, it appeared, along with these delicious potato croquettes.  We had yet to see Jersey Boys, but, Oh, What a night!!!

 

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2 hours ago, CincyJen said:

Guys, we didn't get off the Bliss.  Not even once. 

 

I am very glad that staying shipbound worked out for you! This is actually my plan (although my wife's opinion may differ); I could definitely spend the port days on the Waterfront reading, making use of the beverage package and taking the occasional break for food. 

 

None of the excursions in the Virgin Islands or Nassau really appealed to us, especially for the NCL prices, and I'm not as confident in booking third-party options either at St. Thomas or Tortola. I might peruse the catalog again once onboard, but I think the ship itself is the experience I want this time.

 

Were the skewers at Savor decent enough? If so I think that might be my choice as well, although I'd probably leave the rabbit-food-ish arugula-looking side greenery alone. 🙂

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38 minutes ago, ev98 said:

 

I am very glad that staying shipbound worked out for you! This is actually my plan (although my wife's opinion may differ); I could definitely spend the port days on the Waterfront reading, making use of the beverage package and taking the occasional break for food. 

 

None of the excursions in the Virgin Islands or Nassau really appealed to us, especially for the NCL prices, and I'm not as confident in booking third-party options either at St. Thomas or Tortola. I might peruse the catalog again once onboard, but I think the ship itself is the experience I want this time.

 

Were the skewers at Savor decent enough? If so I think that might be my choice as well, although I'd probably leave the rabbit-food-ish arugula-looking side greenery alone. 🙂

 

I imagine staying on the ship is an unpopular choice.  But it worked out well for us and I'm happy we did it, if only for this particular itinerary. We are pretty well-traveled and have visited the Caribbean ports before. In retrospect maybe we should have disembarked and done some shopping close to the port, but hey, think of the money we saved!  (DH voice here)  We booked the Bliss because of the Bliss, and really wanted to enjoy every possible moment aboard her.  We've never had the joy of experiencing such a new ship before.

 

The Mediterranean skewers at Savor were pretty good, but our server was right, they were sort of dry. It was so great that he brought them out anyway, even after steering us away from them.  Just a super experience at Savor.

Edited by CincyJen

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On 12/6/2018 at 3:09 PM, CincyJen said:

Good afternoon, Cruise Critic Family!

 

It's only been six days since we left the Norwegian Bliss, and although I'm back to work and still in that post-cruise funk, thought I'd start my full review.  I blogged semi-live during the cruise, but it's time to do a more thorough write-up.  So here we go!  I'll be going day by day.  Thanks for reading!

 

Thanks for your review, it certainly helps pass the time as we wait for our turn in February!

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Thank you for your review.  We did the Epic out of Barcelona in Sept 2018 and found that it was just too many ports and not enough time on the ship.  So we choose the Bliss out of Los Angeles in April 2019 with the idea of not getting off the ship since we have been to those ports many times.  Glad to see we are not the only ones that think this way.

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On 12/9/2018 at 4:39 PM, CincyJen said:

Random Stuff, Part Two!!

 

TV Channels on Norwegian Bliss

 

OMG What?!??  Who goes on a cruise vacation to watch TV??  Well, probably not very many people.  However, at one point, while sipping morning coffee and watching Bliss Today channel, I decided to jot down the TV channels offered on the Norwegian Bliss during our cruise. Some people may find it informative.  We usually flipped on MSNBC in the morning just for a brief news catch-up before flipping over to the Navigation or Bliss Today channel, and that was about it.  At any rate, here you go, in order of channels:

 

- Navigation (showed ship location, weather conditions, your cruise path so far)

- Live Bridge Cam (self-explanatory; would probably be a terrific way to for Studio or Inside Cabin cruisers to check the weather)

- Feel Free (this was a rotating loop/infomercial of stuff you could buy on Bliss)

- Port Infomation

- Activities (really just another infomercial and not terribly informative)

- Onboard Offerings (oh heck yeah, it's another looping infomercial; this one focused on Spa Treatments and the Art Auction)

- ShoreEx/CruiseNEXT (again, an infomercial about shore excursions and the CruiseNEXT program)

(You know, what we really need here is another Infomercial Channel)

- Port Shopping (And there it is!! They would also repeat the port shopping lectures held in the Bliss Theatre and Atrium)

- Safety Channel (You might want to watch at least one loop of this feed. Kinda interesting. Titanic, people. Concordia, people.)

 - Bliss Today (OK, actually watched this a lot. Cruise Director Silas Cook and Asst. Cruise Director Jackey Chan. Very funny!! In addition to the daily update, they repeated Pool Games, Crew Talent Show, etc. Our Fave Channel while chilling or getting changed or while sipping coffee)

- Wyland (this was basically a Wyland bio channel)

- BBC (live)

- MSNBC (live)

- CNBC (live)

- FOX News (live)

- Sport 24 (essentially a futbol/soccer channel)

- Prime (never really figured this one out.  Kind of an International Travelogue channel.)

- Special Feed Channel (OK this one was important to us, as it showed the NFL Games during our cruise! FYI, football fans, we weren't able to view any College Football whatsoever, in cabin or in public areas, so we were sadly unable to watch our OSU Buckeyes crush Michigan on Day 1, but they did show some NFL games on Sunday Day 2, Sunday night, and the MNF game)

- Free Movie Channels - There were four of them. We didn't watch. One was Adventure, one Family, one Comedy, one Drama I think)

- TV Favorites (this showed American sitcoms)

 

That's it for the free TV offerings.  There were also Pay-per-view movie channels if one is so inclined.

 

Feel free to ask any questions about the TV offerings and I'll do my best to answer!

 

 

Were the Sunday NFL games shown in any of the public areas?  Pool big screen?

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On 12/11/2018 at 10:48 AM, rd4sun said:

Were the Sunday NFL games shown in any of the public areas?  Pool big screen?

Hi, rd4sun!

 

The Sunday NFL games were shown at The Local and at the Skyline Bar in the Casino. Not sure if they were shown on deck. Also, we only received one game at 1:00, one game at 4:00, the Sunday night game, and the MNF game. Your Freestyle Daily will show you which game you'll receive.

 

Hope this helps! Happy Sailing! 

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On 12/11/2018 at 2:18 PM, JJAuckland said:

Am loving your review.  Thanks for sharing your holiday with us. Am loving all the photos

You're so sweet to say so!! Thank you very much! More soon. Got busy at work. Ugh, if only we were all independently wealthy and could cruise year-round and just follow the sun, right? 🌴🌞⛴️

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Haha I'm in this picture! I'm wearing the BRIGHTEST orange shirt..you cannot miss me lol

 

 

On 12/10/2018 at 6:46 PM, CincyJen said:

 

 

 

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We saw you playing - we got back on the ship just about halfway through this game. You guys were good!!!

 

Now I officially feel like a stalker LOL.

 

PS - I think I saw the group that you're referring to. People like that really irk me. 

 

 

On 12/10/2018 at 9:03 PM, CincyJen said:

Next up, we played the Scattergories game with Bruce as our lead, but, sadly, lost.

 

Unfortunately, toward the end of our Atrium Fun Day, some truly obnoxious cruisers showed up and were horribly rude to the sweet and kind bartenders we had made friends with.  Hated to see this.  I believe they had just come off shore and were pretty fired-up.  I'm in the F&B business, was horrified to see their behavior, and I did snap at them, but to no use; outnumbered and nobody else spoke up.  We got another drink, again tipped our bartenders, and said goodbye for now. It was so unfortunate to see, but a part of cruising, I suppose.

 

 

Edited by JC5240

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Thursday nights game was shown on the big pool screen.

 

 

 

On 12/10/2018 at 9:03 PM, CincyJen said:
On 12/11/2018 at 10:48 AM, rd4sun said:

Were the Sunday NFL games shown in any of the public areas?  Pool big screen?

 

 

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On 12/8/2018 at 5:07 PM, CincyJen said:

 

After breakfast, it was time for our much-anticipated Cruise Critic Meetup, hosted by the inimitable shadowmeboy, Matthew, and his beautiful wife Susan.  The Meetup was held in The District Brewhouse and was easily the most well-attended CC Meetup we've ever been to. Many thanks to shadowmeboy for putting it together and for such a great turnout!  We were served passed crudites and champagne and mimosas, and one of the F&B directors in attendance even fetched a Stella Artois for DH!  It was so warm, friendly and informative, attended by many staff members, especially from F&B. (I'm a Food and Beverage professional in real life, so chatting with these F&B cruise pro's was especially interesting to me.)  It also provide our first glimpse of Silas Cook, our Cruise Director, who we absolutely adored throughout the remaining cruise.  He's soooo good at what he does.  Can't compliment him enough.

 

Following our Meet and Greet, it was time for the Cruise Critic Slot Pull, also organized by shadowmeboy!  Oh dear gawd, was this a hoot!  Matthew may correct me but there had to be, what, 25 or so of us?  We had such a blast, and became the center of attention at the Bliss Casino as we yelled and cheered and basically made a ruckus watching each other take their turns.  This event was one of the highlights of our entire cruise, even though we didn't really win anything but happily got our money back.  Met so many fun Cruise Critic members at the Slot Pull who we enjoyed running into the rest of the week.  If there's such an event on your cruise, make sure to attend!

 

 

 

Thank you for your kind words! Loving your review! I am just about ready to start mine!

 

We actually had 40 people at the slot pull, it was so much fun!

 

thank you for showing your room on short notice, it was very nice of you!

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On 12/13/2018 at 9:06 PM, shadowmeboy said:

 

Thank you for your kind words! Loving your review! I am just about ready to start mine!

 

We actually had 40 people at the slot pull, it was so much fun!

 

thank you for showing your room on short notice, it was very nice of you!

 

Hi, Matthew and Susan!!!  Thank YOU for making our cruise all the more special.  Thanks to your organizing and planning, we were able to engage in activities we never would have otherwise.  And thanks for showing your awesome aft balcony cabin as well!!  Can't wait to see your review and relive all our memories!

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On 12/13/2018 at 11:40 AM, JC5240 said:

We saw you playing - we got back on the ship just about halfway through this game. You guys were good!!!

 

Now I officially feel like a stalker LOL.

 

PS - I think I saw the group that you're referring to. People like that really irk me. 

 

 

 

 

 

UGH. Did you?  They were awful.  It's such a bummer when everyone is having such a wonderful time, and it seems like the staff is maybe even enjoying you, that some jerks come in and step on all the fun for everyone.  I bet you did see them.  They would have been hard to miss!!

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Day 5 - Tortola, BVI - Wednesday, November 28, 2018

 

Ohhhh my gawd, we're back again!! 

 

Sorry for the delay in updating my Cruise Report, for those following along.  WORK WORK WORK I need more PLAY PLAY PLAY but we all know how that goes...

 

So it's Wednesday and we're in Tortola, BVI!  So lovely to wake up to these views from our balcony...

 

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Swooooon. So lovely to sip our coffee and enjoy these views, no plans, no phone calls, no emails to answer, no deadlines...

 

I didn't get a photo, but we did notice a little orange helicopter outside the ship all morning.  Looked to us as though they were maybe filming?  It just sort of hovered, and it wasn't terribly noisy, and we noticed it throughout the day.  Maybe all of us Bliss Cruisers that week will be featured in a future NCL commercial...?

 

For breakfast (second breakfast!!) today, we headed up to the buffet once more, and found the area pretty quiet. Had another omelette and those hash brown potato pancakes thingies I have unfortunately become addicted to.

 

It's going to be a chill day, so after breakfast, we decided to check out The Chill Bar to match our mood!  Oh, no, they don't open until noon!  So, let's snap some photos of our surroundings, shall we?

 

Here's the Disney Magic, our only other port-mate this day! She's lovely. 

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Day 5 - Tortola, BVI - Wednesday, November 28, 2018, continued!

 

While wandering the deck, we ran into our new friend Bruce, who followed us to The Chill Bar, which had just opened, and which was sort of delightfully empty, where we ordered our first real margaritas of the trip. Contrary to a rumor we heard quite often onboard the Bliss, YAAAAAS people, Margaritaville drinks are indeed included in the UBP!  So, drink up!  Be sure to try lots of different bars onboard Bliss, as many bars have specialties that other bars don't serve. (That adorable blender cup isn't included in the UBP,  obvs;  it adds $6.00 to your account.  Who cares!! I just had to have the thing.)

 

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We also met our new friend, Josh, at the Chill Bar.  Chill Bar is a great place to meet Chill People, people.

 

We spent the rest of the afternoon just lounging about, flitting from here to there and enjoying all the public spaces while most of our fellow cruisers were on shore.  We spent an inordinate amount of time gazing at the Bliss Model in the Observation Lounge. So awesome!! 

 

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Day 5 - Tortola, BVI - Wednesday, November 28, 2018, continued!

 

Our time in Tortola was relatively short, and we began sail-away around 3:00.  We headed to the Observation Lounge forward, and found a perfect spot and a really lovely family with which we shared the experience.  Yes, I know you will find OL Nappers if you go looking for them, but in our entire week-long experience, and we visited the OL a LOT considering our Deck 15 location, it was never a problem, and we always found a nice area to enjoy.  It's such a gorgeous space, and I'm not sure we'll even be able to book a ship that doesn't have the OL again.  Encore and Joy, we're looking in your direction...

 

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Sigh....

 

Headed back to the cabin with our Cranberry Mimosas to enjoy our final glimpses of Tortola.  Does it get any better than this? No. No, it probably doesn't.  Just lovely.

 

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Day 5 - Tortola, BVI - Wednesday, November 28, 2018, continued!

 

After a nice respite at the Mandara Spa Thermal Suite, we changed and went out for the early evening, as we continued to cruise past the BVI and as the sun began to set.  The Waterfront is so perfect for sunset strolling and we indulged.  The Cavern Club Bar on The Waterfront is so perfect for our mood. Have I told you guys yet how much I love this ship??

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The only thing we have planned tonight is an evening at Cagney's, early dinner for 7:00 pm.  The place is already crowded.  It's just beginning to get a bit hectic and we're starting to think, maybe just bail and go to Los Lobos? 😉 Glad we waited it out. Cagney's didn't disappoint. 

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Service was a bit slow, but the food was worth it.  As much as I enjoyed my steak  DH had the lamb chops), the sides were the most memorable to me.  Those Au Gratin potatoes?  I can still taste them...

 

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