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alyssazoll

Bliss 1/12/19 - 1/19/19 Review (ft. MDR menus, The Baths, & Atlantis)

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Hi CC readers! I just got home today from the Bliss 1/12 to 1/19 on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. There have been some great reviews since the Bliss started it's winter sailings, but we had such a good time that I had to share. Plus, writing a review will help me ease out of the post cruise depression that is so real (as I think about my unpacked suitcase and going back to work tomorrow). As the title states, I have most MDR menus, and will review our experiences with the Virgin Gorda Baths and Atlantis, which are two very popular places on this itinerary. Plus all the stuff in between! Thanks for following along!

 

If you are sailing the Getaway in the future you can read my review of it here

 

The "less exciting" background information: (I won't be offended if you skip ahead to the fun stuff...). We are Alyssa & Ryan, 23 and 27, and this is our second cruise, both have been on NCL. We are from Michigan and enjoy vacationing this time of the year to try to escape the cold and snow. We had a group of 9 that included us, mine and Ryan's brothers, my mom, her husband, husband's mom, my younger sister, and my other younger brother, an age range of 14 to 69. It was our siblings first cruise, so we were really excited to share this experience with them. 

 

Friday - Travel Day: We all left from Detroit and flew to Fort Lauderdale, which was much cheaper than flying to MIA and offered non stop flights. 

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We used Jiffy Jeff for our transfer to Miami. It was $18/pp plus tip from FLL to our condo in Miami. There was more than enough room in the van for our group of 9 and our luggage, and the driver and his wife were very informative as they are avid cruisers. We booked a condo in Brickell through booking.com that could fit everyone rather than booking multiple hotel rooms. The condo was spacious and the balcony had great views. There was also a Publix in walking distance. We had a late flight, so we all went to bed at a decent time to prepare for the week ahead. 

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Looking forward to your review Alyssa!  We are sailing the Bliss at the beginning of March and cannot wait!!!

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Great start!  We will be on the Bliss next month.  Looking forward to reading about your cruise 🙂

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Sorry, everyone! I wanted to get a big chunk of this done last night, but every time I logged in on my laptop I was getting an error message. Hopefully I have better luck tonight! Until then, I’ll just keep wishing I was still standing here, rather than sitting at my cubicle...6C89BFD4-8B11-4746-804D-4A14D684D90C.thumb.jpeg.37aa9d2d18db00d40dd7c6909aeb8cca.jpeg

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I hope you will be able to continue as we are enjoying your review 🙂

Cruise Critic site is definitely having problems on the major forums.....very frustrating!

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Today's writing of my review is brought to you by post-cruise crud 😷 (more than likely caught from the guy coughing his lungs out who refused to put on a mask on the airplane back...) Hopefully thinking about warm thoughts from the previous week will make me feel better.

 

Saturday - Day One - Miami: Good morning, Miami! 

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Pictures of this trip were taken with our iPhones and our GoPro Hero 7. 

It was finally the day we all count down to! We had a 9:30am check in time, so we requested 3 Ubers to Port of Miami at 9:00am. Our UberXL cost $16. Our bags were to the porters by 9:20 and we were ready to go through security and check in. Both were a breeze. I was a little worried due to the government shut down, but thankfully no issues at the port or airport. Everything went so well, we even found ourselves with one of these...

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We weren't really planning on Vibe passes because we were in Terminal B, while the rest of our group was in Terminal C and in group 2, so we know it would be really tough for all of us to get passes. But, seeing how we got group 1, we gave it a shot. Someone even offered to buy our boarding card from us. We stood in line by the door, probably the 10th people in line for our terminal. Boarding began at 11:00am, we did our fast walk from the 7th deck where you board to the Social on deck 6, andddddd already sold out. We later heard that only 40 passes were sold. Oh well. Off to find a drink! 

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Mmmmmm Bahama Mama 😎

 

Next I went to Guest Services because my mom was signing the Alcohol Waiver for my 20 year old brother to buy beer and wine. Since she is remarried with a different last name, we were sure to bring both her and my brother's birth certificates for this purpose. It was no problem, and soon he got a new care with "PC" on it. I did ask if he paid the gratuities for the Corks and Caps package, could he upgrade his soda package to a drinking package? They said no. I even showed them a screenshot from the DougOut's reviews, and she still said no. Another oh well, it wasn't going to make or break his vacation. 

 

From here on out, "we/our" will refer to me, Ryan, one of my brother's, Nick, and Ryan's brother, Eli. Next we went to Spice H20 and had a few drinks and took in the sunshine! We went to Taste/Savor for lunch. Disclaimer: I am not a foodie! You will see no adventurous meals here 😂 3 of us ordered the burger and fries, Eli ordered the Mahi Mahi sandwich, we he said was amazing. It was announced that rooms were ready at 12:30! Off to see our rooms...

 

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Edited by alyssazoll
Took a picture out

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Saturday - Day One - Miami (continued):

Our stateroom = 9922, Aft facing balcony! At our current point in our lives, we have no desire to cruise in the Haven because we want to cruise as much as possible right now. The minisuites don't offer us enough to pay more, and while a spa room would be nice, I don't think I would utilize the spa much with this type of itinerary. We spent a good amount of time on our balcony on the last cruise, so we decided to spend the extra money on an aft facing balcony. I'm not sure we'll ever cruise another way! It was amazing! I did a lot of research trying to pick the best deck. For Bliss, deck 9 is the deepest, which is why I picked it. I was worried about noise from the Waterfront, but it was never an issue. The A List bar is right below you, but doesn't open until 5, but was a good place to grab a drink at night, or go back to balcony with. Other close bars on deck 8 were Sugarcane, Maltings, and the Cavern on the Waterfront. The stateroom was standard, but the balcony had 2 loungers, 2 regular chairs, and a small table. The room had plenty of storage for the 2 of us. 

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Ugh. I miss it so much. 

 

We booked our brothers an inside room, and at the time it was only GTY rooms left. About a week after we booked them, they were assigned an inside family room, 12685, which was right above us 3 floors up, so it worked out well! I have no pictures of their room because they are 20 & 22 year old gross boys 😂

 

We went out and explored before muster and sail away. I did not take a lot of pictures of the ship since other reviews have done that so thoroughly. Muster drill was quick and easy. The bar was back open, and we decided to watch sail away from our balcony! 

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Saturday - Day One - Miami (continued):

Sail away from our balcony! It was perfect. The aft of Bliss was facing out towards sea, so we did a u-turn in port. We passed MSC Seaside, Carnival Glory, and Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas on our way out. 

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An amateur sail away time lapse. We were trying to find our tripod, but didn't find it until we were almost done! 

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Saturday - Day One - Miami (continued): 

For dinner we went to the Local for the prime rib special. The dinner was very good, the service not so much, as we were seated in the bar area.

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We found that when we were seated in the restaurant area, the service was great. Late night service also wasn't an issue. One of the days, we were seated around the counter over looking the Atrium for lunch, and only my brother and I got our meals. We couldn't track down our waiter, so we asked another one who assured they would have the rest right out. 20 minutes later, nothing, and we ended up going to the buffet. 

 

After dinner, we put on our bathing suits and went up to the pool deck to find a hot tub. They were showing Rams vs Cowboys on the screen. We very much enjoyed watching football and relaxing at the hot tub at the same time. They close the hot tub at 10:00pm, so I went to bed, and the boys went to the casino. It was a long first day! Also note that we did not make any reservations for go-carts, shows, etc., when we first got on the ship. I checked on the TV when we got back and everything was sold out. If these things are important to you, make sure you do them ASAP when you get on. 

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Sunday - Day Two - At Sea:

It ended up being a late night for the boys. I woke around 8am, and took a balcony nap.

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I woke up again at 10:00am and went to the Garden Cafe to grab breakfast with my brother. After eating, we saw my other brother and sister on the pool deck and hung out with them. Everyone else woke up, and we headed to the pool deck again. We found some chairs in the shade to leave our things on while we checked out the pool and slides. Nick & Eli did the drop slide, and Eli said that he got stuck in one of the turns and had to push himself through. I have heard from many people that there is issues with this slide. We did them on the Getaway (different configuration) so I didn't have the desire to try this one. We did the Ocean Loop and that was pretty cool! Mr. Sexy Legs started on the pool deck, so we stayed to watch that. It was really funny, but definitely got rated R fast. We then ate lunch at the buffet. We loved the thin crust pizza! We went downstairs to check out the Observation Lounge. What an amazing space, and definitely would be perfect for Alaska. We ordered from the bar and snacked some more from their food stations. We went back to rooms as the boys needed a nap and I just hung out. Football was on after they got up, so we went to the pool deck again to watch. 

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Ryan & I had dinner reservations at Cagney's at 9:00pm. We loved Cagney's on the Getaway, so we couldn't wait to go back!

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Porkbelly appetizer and the 12 oz NY Strip. Ryan got the 8oz Filet Mignon. Both were amazing. With the dining package you get an appetizer, a soup/salad, entree, 2 sides, and dessert. We were stuffed! 

After dinner the rest of our adult group was at Spice H20 for the Decades Party. The Spice bartenders were amazing. So funny and great service. After getting our drinks, I turned around to see my brother up on stage dancing....🙈 He was born in 1998, he knew basically no songs, but apparently he had enough liquid courage in him that it didn't matter. 

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We had a great time dancing and singing through the decades. Ryan and I went to bed when the party ended at 12:30am. Our brothers continued the party at the Social which transforms into the night club. 

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We were going to bed early to try to get good chairs in the morning. 

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Monday - Day 3 - At Sea: 

Ryan & I woke up at 8:00am and headed up to Margaritaville for breakfast. This is our favorite spot! They have hot and cold breakfast choices. No omelette station like the Getaway had, but great views and open air! We headed out to the jogging track (deck 17) for chairs. We found some no problem, but it did get busy fast. 

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This picture was taken at 10:30. Are these prime spots? No, but we never had a problem finding a "chair" on the sundecks. But if you want the sun, get out there early. 

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Enjoying the view from the hot tub. 

Ms. Biceps was starting on the pool deck. Again, very funny but probably more rated R than Mr. Sexy Legs. By 2:00pm, we were done with the sun and ready for lunch. We decided to go to Local again. We were seated in the restaurant and the service was good.

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MDR menu for Day 3. 

 

It was nap time, and we woke up just in time for sunset. 

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Monday - Day 3 - At Sea (continued):

We had dinner reservations for Q at 7:30pm. I'm not a huge BBQ fan, but the boys really wanted to try it. 35.jpg.bb8dbce77f812f2c3a7c3533c04378f1.jpg36.jpg.fb80181d4fed18123934989b1326d080.jpg

I got the loaded fries with pulled pork for my appetizer, and the beef brisket for dinner. It comes with more sides, but I didn't like them 😜 Eli said that they were just okay. Ryan & Eli also got the beef brisket, and we all enjoyed it, especially with the different BBQ sauces. Nick got the pulled pork and said it was good. The country band was playing and there were couples on the dance floor. It ended up being a good night. We ended the night at Sugarcane laughing with the bartenders there. It was another relatively early night for us since we had an early excursion for St. Thomas!

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Tuesday - Day 4 - St Thomas, USVI: 

Ryan, Eli, & I booked the St. John Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel through NCL. Nick was going with my mom's group to do an island tour and stop at Magen's Bay. We did breakfast at Margaritaville again and waited for the ship to clear. 

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For our excursion, we took an open air shuttle to the marina to get on the catamaran. It was about a 40 minute sail to St. John to Honeymoon Beach. Eli had never snorkeled before, so we geared up and jumped in. There was a rocky area by the beach that had decent snorkeling. The beach area was beautiful. I went up for a couple minutes, but we stayed in the water for the rest of the time. For people who did not want to snorkel, they had a dingy (small boat) to take people back and forth to shore. 41.JPG.f39d159b57e69cd695efa74c46e35135.JPG40.JPG.3425c64caa790eb96b2da1f1c85935fc.JPG

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It was a great excursion. We only got around an hour and a half off the boat, but we enjoyed it. The staff were very knowledgable about the islands.

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Tuesday - Day 4 - St Thomas, USVI (continued):

We got back to port and did our shopping. While walking around we saw the booth for the Skyride to Paradise point. Ryan and I decided to ride it. It was $21 a person, and totally worth it. The views were amazing. 44.JPG.d2627415af2c57500c2cf32df7a82463.JPG43.jpg.8373e8830515906317eb0dae4ff61490.jpg45.jpg.8331df886184301f85dba5aa115c5e35.jpgThere were shops at the top, as well as a restaurant where we enjoyed a few drinks. We were back to the ship by 5pm, with all aboard being 5:30. We meet up with our brothers to watch sunset and sail away on the balcony. Check out this much better sail away time lapse video from St. Thomas!

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Enjoying your review. We are aft balcony on Bliss 2/2. Did you experience any of the slot issues I have heard about ? 

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Tuesday - Day 4 - St Thomas, USVI (continued): 47.jpg.ef7bd0d63a81f5ad589b8a782917cc30.jpgDinner tonight was in the Manhattan Room. 

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I ordered the potato croquettes for my appetizer and got the pork loin for dinner but didn't take a picture. Nick got the NY strip. Ryan & Eli both got the chicken cordon bleu and loved it. 

It ended up being another early night. The staff on our excursion kept the rum and punch flowing and of course the drinks didn't stop coming on the ship (obviously have to take advantage of the drink package!). Our excursion tomorrow was even earlier, so it was off to bed. 

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11 minutes ago, CRUELLA1114 said:

Enjoying your review. We are aft balcony on Bliss 2/2. Did you experience any of the slot issues I have heard about ? 

Thank you! Soot problem? Not on deck 9 thankfully! Maybe with the higher decks?

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Great review!  Thank you.  So do you still have the charge at Margaritaville for breakfast?

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10 hours ago, CRUELLA1114 said:

Enjoying your review. We are aft balcony on Bliss 2/2. Did you experience any of the slot issues I have heard about ? 

 

10 hours ago, alyssazoll said:

Thank you! Soot problem? Not on deck 9 thankfully! Maybe with the higher decks?

Alyssa.....Cruella mentioned slot issues, not soot issues.   Residual effects from the UBP?

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14 hours ago, CRUELLA1114 said:

Enjoying your review. We are aft balcony on Bliss 2/2. Did you experience any of the slot issues I have heard about ? 

We have an aft balcony on 2/2 as well!  

 

Alyssa, great review, thanks for sharing your experience with us!

 

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15 hours ago, alyssazoll said:

Tuesday - Day 4 - St Thomas, USVI (continued):

We got back to port and did our shopping. While walking around we saw the booth for the Skyride to Paradise point. Ryan and I decided to ride it. It was $21 a person, and totally worth it. The views were amazing. 44.JPG.d2627415af2c57500c2cf32df7a82463.JPG43.jpg.8373e8830515906317eb0dae4ff61490.jpg45.jpg.8331df886184301f85dba5aa115c5e35.jpgThere were shops at the top, as well as a restaurant where we enjoyed a few drinks. We were back to the ship by 5pm, with all aboard being 5:30. We meet up with our brothers to watch sunset and sail away on the balcony. Check out this much better sail away time lapse video from St. Thomas!

 

 

Great review so far! I have the GoPro Hero 7 and will be using it on our Bliss cruise in a couple of weeks and would love to do some sail away time lapses. Do you by any chance recall your STT time-lapse settings?  It came out so smooth! 

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Great review, following along.  Grand Rapids Michigan here!  we are 30 days out on same itinerary.  I hear you on flight costs.  We are driving to Detroit also and to Fort Lauderdale.  Can't wait to see more.  Go Green, Go White

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