We chose this cruise because it was a newly renovated ship going on a 14 day cruise, I was very upset by some extremely negative reviews right before going on this cruise and i wish to put everyone else at ease, we have been on 3 other ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a newly renovated ship going on a 14 day cruise, I was very upset by some extremely negative reviews right before going on this cruise and i wish to put everyone else at ease, we have been on 3 other cruises and so far, 5 days in this one is the best so far. I realize that there was a few bugs they needed to work out the first few cruises out of the renovation but things are running very smoothly on this 4th cruise of this ship, i have not seen any construction or finishing that is still not complete, so far no sewer issues.
The buffet is very crowded during peak times but we knew this in advance and just worked around it. We have been eating at other venues or during non peak times. Love the blue iguana cantina, guys burger joint and the pig and anchor bbq, the bbq we did on embarkation day, it was like no one even knew it was there!! No lines, i recommend the beef, super tender!!
Everything is so new and beautiful, everyone has been super helpful. Our room steward gave us a box fan for my hubby, it's been a life saver!! My advice is to ask for something, you never know if they might have it. Love the ropes course and water slides, never any lines, loving the comedy and entertainment, cruise director Chris is a blast. My daughter has trouble making friends but the youth crew has made things super fun and she had friends by the second day. I can't say enough about the great time we are having on this beautiful ship. It makes me sad that people only leave reviews when they want to complain, life is too short to be negative!! Read Less
My husband has always wanted to do the Panama Canal adventure so upon his retirement, we chose the Panama Canal Cruise. We were told by friends, Princess Cruise Line does this cruise. So, we visited our travel club and booked the 15 day ... Read More
My husband has always wanted to do the Panama Canal adventure so upon his retirement, we chose the Panama Canal Cruise. We were told by friends, Princess Cruise Line does this cruise. So, we visited our travel club and booked the 15 day cruise aboard the Pacific Princess. Little did we know what lay ahead!! Everyday was a neat adventure; never a dull moment even on sea days. So much entertainment it’s hard to choose which one to attend.
Our favorite port stop was Huatulco! Mexico! Such a quaint secret on the coast line. This town is what it’s all about. Just big enough to taste the real flavor of Mexican life. The people were so nice even when you didn’t purchase their wares. The food was excellent and the setting at the restaurant we ate at was just breathtaking!! We truly think we will revisit Huatulco!!
The cruise even had a choir that practiced on sea days and we performed the last day aboard. Such a fun experience.
The food choices were excellent and “ If you couldn’t find enough there, something is wrong with you.” Anything you wanted.
All our on shore tours were first class.
We are already talking and planning our next cruise!! So until next time; “Happy Sailing”. Read Less
Destination: Panama Canal and it did not disappoint! Very impressed with this cruise. The Coral Princess was our first ship to sail on with Princess a few years ago and it still is one of our favorites. Small enough to enjoy everything, ... Read More
Destination: Panama Canal and it did not disappoint! Very impressed with this cruise. The Coral Princess was our first ship to sail on with Princess a few years ago and it still is one of our favorites. Small enough to enjoy everything, yet large enough to not feel cramped. Love this line!
Service is superb in every venue. I don't know how they do it, but everyone remembers your name on these ships. I can't say enough about Club Class dining. Truly a great experience and so worth a few extra dollars. We also enjoy specialty dining once each trip, but really don't need it as the menu in the dining rooms are extensive and varied.
From Embarkation to Disembarking the ship, everything about this repositioning cruise was great. Only wish our travel agent with Princess had told us we could continue on to other ports of call. We would have gone on to Vancouver as the ship headed for Alaska. Thanks Princess for making everyone feel so special on your line!
Looking forward to our next adventure with Princess! Read Less
This was a cruise I have been wanting to do for a while. This was a Retirement cruise for me and to celebrate my 20th Wedding Anniversary (close to our wedding date). I was very impressed with the Captain and his crew in sailing of the ... Read More
This was a cruise I have been wanting to do for a while. This was a Retirement cruise for me and to celebrate my 20th Wedding Anniversary (close to our wedding date). I was very impressed with the Captain and his crew in sailing of the Ship through the Panama Canal. You never knew when we were in port due to the expertise handling of the Captain and Crew. Impressed and thrilled with receiving a certificate for sailing through the Panama Canal. Also I want to Thank Princess Cruise for televising the Easter Mass for people who were not able to attend Church Service due to being on the Sea and did not realize that we would be spending Easter on the Cruise. Easter Service meant a lot to me as a practicing Christian. Thank you for that special event to be aired. Loved the Zumba classed to start off our days when we were at sea. Activities were plenty. Dining was superb. Thanks to all who prepared those heavenly meals and exquisite desserts. Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly. Staff was very present and helpful. Would like to do this cruise again. Read Less
Always wanted to see the Panama Canai, and do the full cruise through to Vancouver from Ft Lauderdale. A truly amazing experience! GOING THOUGH THE LOCKS-wow-not sure what i was expecting-but it was a very unique experience. This was one ... Read More
Always wanted to see the Panama Canai, and do the full cruise through to Vancouver from Ft Lauderdale. A truly amazing experience! GOING THOUGH THE LOCKS-wow-not sure what i was expecting-but it was a very unique experience. This was one of a few still on bucket list. The staff on this cruise were very friendly and accommodating as needed. Our dining room staff were fantastic, and the food fresh and delicious.
This was a cruise to remember-love meeting new people as well. I think Princess did an awesome job of looking after what we required.
The excursions we had,were educational, and again all staff informative and helpful.Cartagenha was a little overwhelming with people putting their wears in your face.
Overall people very friendly and helpful-trying to meet everyone's expectations.
The entertainers on this cruise were awesome-and the cruise directors dealing with everything else going on-they kept everyone very busy. It was an awesome memorable cruise! Read Less
This was a destination we’ve wanted to do for awhile. Being from Alberta, Canada we liked that we started in Ft. Lauderdale and sailed through the canal and finishing in Vancouver, BC. From there it was a very short flight home.
We ... Read More
This was a destination we’ve wanted to do for awhile. Being from Alberta, Canada we liked that we started in Ft. Lauderdale and sailed through the canal and finishing in Vancouver, BC. From there it was a very short flight home.
We were lucky enough to be upgraded to a mini suite in which our room steward, Winston, kept very clean. Although we chose anytime dining, we chose not to do it. Instead, we ate breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Buffet where the food was great (sometimes a little too good), but one thing that bothered me was that various passengers refused to wash their hands even when prompted by a crew member. We had huge, delicious meals at both Sabitinis and Bayou restaurants. I would definitely recommend going to either one. You won’t be disappointed.
We booked excursions at all our ports of call but would’ve rather done our own thing on a majority of them. We didn’t find them up to Princess standards like others we’ve done on other ships. A special shoutout to the amazing staff in Crooners. Putu, Parban, and Bo became very good friends and I hope that we will cross paths with them again soon. Read Less
Panama Canal was on the bucket list, so we pulled the trigger. The price on the Volendam from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco was to good to pass up. This was a 17 day cruise in April so there were kids on board at all, and the average ... Read More
Panama Canal was on the bucket list, so we pulled the trigger. The price on the Volendam from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco was to good to pass up. This was a 17 day cruise in April so there were kids on board at all, and the average age of the cruisers was probably about 75. My wife and I are in our early 50’s so we were some of the youngest on board. We are very active so this review, especially the port stops is geared to the more active types.
Volendam is now 20 years old and she shows her age a little bit but it is well taken care of and still very luxurious. It was below capacity (about 1200 passengers) so there were rarely lines anywhere and it is a very spacious considering it’s a small ship compared to most of the big beasts out on the Caribbean. There were plenty of activities on board to keep us busy on the sea days. America’s Test Kitchen was very cool and the EXC port talks and historical talks were fantastic. Pools and hot tubs were never crowded.
Our room was an Outside View right on the promenade deck. We were right next to a door leading out to the wrap around promenade, so it was almost like having a balcony…. We loved the accessibility of the room to the walking deck. The had plenty of storage space even with all the clothes we brought for the 17 days. We used the $20 laundry bag service 1 time in the middle of the cruise. The bathroom had been remodeled and the new glass door shower was the largest we’ve ever had on a cruise ship and the temp and water pressure were always consistent.
Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale took only about 20 minutes once we got to the terminal which was only a couple miles from the airport.
Debarkation took about 30 minutes in SF. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge in the morning was also quite spectacular.
All in all, with ship, the canal, calm seas, and 9 port stops, it couldn’t have been better. Every part of the cruise exceeded our expectations. The food and service in main dining room was fantastic and even the buffet was quite good. Room service was also excellent, with a different towel animal every night! That’s 17 different animals….
Cartagena: We took a taxi to the old walled city and walked around for several hours. Beautiful architecture and very Caribbean looking. The port had a shop and a nice aviary for no charge with many parrots and other exotic birds and animals. Leave a half hour to explore this area.
Panama Canal: Awesome piece of engineering and history. Very cool to see the lock systems and the many other big ships transiting the canal.
Costa Rica: Did a HAL zipline excursion. The place was near the coastal town of Jaco and we rode an aerial tram to the top then zip lined our way down the mountain. There were reptile and butterfly displays at the base that were very interesting. Sadly, we didn’t see any wildlife other than iguanas. Very fun tour though.
Nicaragua: Took a peddle taxi tour of the little port town. The place was very poor, but our driver was very cool and spoke good English, so we learned a lot about the country and the politics. Not much to see, but made us appreciate what we have here at home.
Guatemala: Took a HAL bus for a “on your own” tour of Antigua. It was about an hour bus ride through the countryside with guides giving some history of the area. Antigua itself was very pretty with many fabulous churches. We walked all over town and it was very nice.
Puerto Chiapas: Took a HAL excursion to some Mayan ruins and then to a demonstration of how cocoa beans are grown and processed into chocolate. Nice tour but we thought a little over priced at $100 per person.
Huatulco: Our favorite stop. Excellent swim beach right by the pier. We took a $5 taxi to Playa La Entrega a couple mile away and it was great. Excellent snorkeling and many restaurants right on the beach. We were there on a Sunday so many locals were there with us which actually made it more fun. The vendors pester the locals too…..
Manzanillo: Ship docks right downtown. Lots of shops right there. We took a grueling hike up to the cross on the mountain to the right of town. We were hot and sweaty but the view was amazing.
Puerto Vallarta: Did another zipline tour through HAL. This was a great excursion but only for the very physically fit. Right of the ship we boarded a little speed boat that whisked us about 30 minutes south to a bay where we switch to Unimogs to drive to the Zipline. Basically like an Army truck. Perfect for the crazy dirt road. Then after getting geared up, we rode mules up to the top of the mountain. And then it was more than just ziplines. We also repelled down a waterfall, did 2 giant waterslides, and then a new roller coaster zipline to end the tour. Very awesome!! This was our favorite zipline ever.
Cabo San Lucas: Went parasailing then walked all over town. Read Less
We were looking forward to Pacific coast stops but Princess revised the itinerary by four days to allow for additional time in dry dock. Vancouver embarkation was smooth as silk and the three day cruise to Los Angles was uneventful with ... Read More
We were looking forward to Pacific coast stops but Princess revised the itinerary by four days to allow for additional time in dry dock. Vancouver embarkation was smooth as silk and the three day cruise to Los Angles was uneventful with two ok production shows and many onboard activities. Dined at Curtis Stone "Share" restaurant which was absolutely superb. Also dined at Steamers which was not ready for prime time. Muscles were dry lacking in cream sauce and some of the clams were cold. Others we spoke with had a much better experience, so they must have improved during the cruise. The new "Fresh Market" is a huge improvement over the crowded Horizon set up. Much more space to maneuver. We used Michelangelo any time dining room which was excellent throughout the cruise. The Dining Room Captain and door assistant were friendly and efficiently processed the many any time diners. Everything we ordered was elegantly severed and tasted great. The Panama canal crossing was made exceptional by a very knowledgeable speaker. She had a informed and unique way of expressing the history of the old canal while informing us of the construction required for the new canal. Our cabin was spacious and kept very clean by our steward. Having a bath tub and the additional shower space was a plus. We had been to all of the stops on other cruises except for Huatulco Mexico where we took a "land & sea" excursion through Princess. The contract company handling the excursion was disorganized so the excursion started and finished an hour late with a lot of waiting time in between sea & land portions. Sights along the way were good. The enrichment destination speaker was outstanding (same lady gave the canal talk). She was very thorough and gave great advise in the time allotted. The fitness center was well equipped and clean. All in all it was a very nice relaxing cruise. Read Less
Nine of us traveled together to cruise the Panama Canal. Our group consisted of three married couples and three single ladies ranging in age from 50 on up. Despite different interests among the members of the group, I don't remember ... Read More
Nine of us traveled together to cruise the Panama Canal. Our group consisted of three married couples and three single ladies ranging in age from 50 on up. Despite different interests among the members of the group, I don't remember anyone complaining of being bored. Three of us enjoyed the trivia contests, others spent lots of time (and money!) at bingo, some enjoyed the movies and entertainment in the theatre, one single lady in our group enjoyed visiting all of the lounges, and one of the married gentlemen in our party (my own DH) enjoyed hanging out on his balcony, reading and enjoying the scenery. Our signature suite, SY 8094, was situated where the ship juts out and featured a long balcony, which we both enjoyed immensely.
My only complaint would be the casino, which was dinky and did not feature a good variety. Of course, I would have done better if I would have stayed away, as I lost a bunch of money. It wasn't like there wasn't enough to do....
The shore stops were long enough to provide a good overview of places that we'd like to revisit. Entertainment was good, food was good, and I would recommend anyone for this ship and PC itinerary! Consistent quality keeps us coming back to HAL. Read Less
It was on our bucket list to do the whole of the Panama Canal,
Fort Lauderdale:- Embarkation, arrived the day before, and thankful we did, the flight from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, which should take 5 hours inc., airport time, ... Read More
It was on our bucket list to do the whole of the Panama Canal,
Fort Lauderdale:- Embarkation, arrived the day before, and thankful we did, the flight from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, which should take 5 hours inc., airport time, took 15 hours, due to malfunction of a A/C button,
Embarkation was a breeze, best ever from 17 cruises with 6 different cruise lines. Arrived at 11am, checked in, on board and lunch with-in 1/2 hour.
Cabin, A627, balcony, (we usually have inside, but choose the balcony to celebrate our anniversary). Very nice, large and spacious, lots of closet space and hangers. Bathroom the usual ship board bathroom, shower small, we’re 135 and 150 pounds, and we had problems, The cabin steward very nice, can’t remember his name and I’ve lost the paper with it on. We found the comforter too hot for us, he found a light blanket for us to use instead.
Dining:- We had “any time dining “ as we east early at home, the MDR opened at 5.15pm every evening, we chose not to eat every evening meal in the MDR, we alternated with the buffet. We also had two B/F’s in the MDR. Lunch and the rest of the breakfast were in the buffet. The food in both areas were excellent and hot, and very tasty. I have a “blue cheese” allergy and the chef at the buffet come and talked with me to assure if there was any blue cheese in anything, it would be noted.
Entertainment and Activities :- The evening theatre was excellent, by far the best we’ve seen on a cruise line. The singers and dancers out did them selves, as did the ships orchestra. Through out the ship, there were other performers who were just as good too.
During the day I attended all the trivia, and as many games as I could. The cruise director and his 5 crew staff were just a riot, lots of fun.
Service:- Service from all the crew, whether the desk, dining, bar, photography etc., were great, always smiling.
Ports and excursions:- Ports from F. L to the Panama Canal, we have done them all before, so unless I was looking to send off emails, didn’t get off the ship, used it as another Sea Day.
Panama Canal:- didn’t take any tours, relaxed on the balcony and watched the world go by,
Puerto Amador, Puntarenas and San Juan Del Sur, just walked around the port.
Huatulco Sur:- just walked around town.
Puerto Vallarta:- Took a taxi to the “New Beach”, don’t now how new, but it is a quaint beach area, has some interesting statues along the boardwalk.
Los Angeles:- Took a four hour ship tour “ Easy City Tour” not what we expected, we thought we would see some “ stars homes”. but no. It was a waste of time and money.
Santa Barbara:- A very nice town, just took the shuttle up the Main Street, and saw the Mission museum,
San Francisco:- I booked a Alcatraz tour on line, for the first ferry 8.45, you have to book at least a month in advance. It’s an easy 5 minute walk from the cruise port. A very interesting place, and well worth a visit. We took a “bicycle tutu”, along the boardwalk to catch the “ cable car” there was at least an hour wait, and after an hour in the cold wind, we gave up. Took a taxi back to the ship with a small detour to see some sights.
Astoria:- a quaint sea side town, there’s a shuttled around town, you pick up at the dock. We visited the “Marina Museum “
Victoria:- Had a taxi tour around town, have visited Victoria before.
Vancouver:- Disembarkation time. Very easy, One thing that did puzzle us we didn’t go through any customs either in Victoria or Vancouver, not even at the airport. We did see 12 police embark at Victoria, so may be they check our customs cards there, as we had to fill them out two days before hand.
We didn’t travel with children and there was only a hand full on board,
Would I travel with Princess again, yes, it was our first time with them, (have sailed 17 times all told) and really enjoyed the ship and line. I liked the way all the entertainment, from trivia, games and musicians and theatre were on two decks, 6 and 7, making it very easy to get from one to another. Read Less
Loved going through old locks on this smaller ship. Doesn’t matter which side of ship you select as one can’t be sure which locks you will go through. As it turned out we had the view of locks on the port side as we went through on ... Read More
Loved going through old locks on this smaller ship. Doesn’t matter which side of ship you select as one can’t be sure which locks you will go through. As it turned out we had the view of locks on the port side as we went through on right hand side of old locks. Tip: booking the Sanctuary which on this ship is aft gave us great views of both sides and back. For the front view we had to leave for forward of ship but this was quite crowded. We went down to our port side balcony a few times for a different perspective. Loved being in Sanctuary though as they opened for our reservation at 6am and we stayed all day. Costs extra but worth it.
The PC expert gave several talks prior to and after locks. He was interesting and informative.
Thought the food was very good. Like the changes in MDR which now offers a select Timon of “starters” then entrees. The Curtis Stone pot pie is excellent! The daily burger offered in MDR is changed up daily and quite good too for a change of pace and likely popular with kids.
Drink prices continue to be very reasonable ranging from $8.50 - $10 on average.
Ship is in pretty good shape but may be getting close to needing some refurbishment.
Definitely smaller ship in comparison of Grand Class which requires some planning. For instance we generally went to Princess Theater or other venues 15-20 min before show times to get a good seat. Not an issue but for those who arrive a minute before it may be hard to find multiple seats together.
The chef Gaetano and maitre d’hotel Sylvio are an awesome team. We did Chef’s table which was one of the best culinary experiences of my foodie life! Highly recommend!! Read Less
Cabin with Balcony Dolphin 235. Had been planning this trip for about a year and a half. Was a bit concerned after reading so many negative reviews about the ships adding 150 cabins in 2015 without increasing the public space. Our fears ... Read More
Cabin with Balcony Dolphin 235. Had been planning this trip for about a year and a half. Was a bit concerned after reading so many negative reviews about the ships adding 150 cabins in 2015 without increasing the public space. Our fears were unfounded as we found the ship to be no more crowded than any of our past cruises with Princess. The ship was in clean and in good repair. Our cabin was in good condition and the flat screen TVs that have been installed since our last cruise were a nice addition. Note- we had some service people in our room one afternoon that were installing hardware on the TV that will be allowing on-demand viewing of movies and shows. We always opt for any-time dining as we don't do Formal nights, and enjoy the buffet as much as the main dining room. Food, as always was excellent in both venues. Entertainment was what we have come to expect with Princess. I did not care for the 3 productions shows, but my partner did. The magician was great, though a bit raunchy for the crowd lol. Sonia, one of the guest female vocalist was amazing. As stated by others, you need to get to the theater a little early as it does fill up, but we never had an issue and almost always sat in the same spot. Service started off a bit "surly", but once they realized that we said please and thank you and actually engaged in conversation with crew members they warmed up. We heard so many rude and demanding older passengers, it is no wonder the wait staff starts off that way. We booked all of our excursions with Princess, and had one at each port. Very well organized! Overall Princess once again provided us with a memorable and relaxing vacation! Thank you to Chris, Duval, Nelly, Sammy, Tania, Giri, Manuel, Emil and Marius for your great service, it is crew like them that make this cruises pleasurable. Read Less
Going to Panama canal was the highlight of our cruise...friendliest people onboard
crew was excellent, dining room very slow ..plan on spending 2 hours there ...shows
old school nothing fancy, bands in red frogs excellent mainly ... Read More
Going to Panama canal was the highlight of our cruise...friendliest people onboard
crew was excellent, dining room very slow ..plan on spending 2 hours there ...shows
old school nothing fancy, bands in red frogs excellent mainly female front/male front
musicians excellent...being a musician vocalist I love good harmonies great songs,
karaoke was magical fun with great bunch of people...drawback ..karaoke was 3rd to
5th day and I think they should had it from 1st day to last night since everyone enjoyed
karaoke. Excessive amount of Bingo and trying to push selling jewelry which was a
turnoff. Excursions were excellent. Embarkation smoothly and debarkation smoothly.
Panama canal was interesting ..would have enjoyed getting off ship to view from
outside or even excursion of panama the city. The ship dining room was very unusual
colorful and enjoyed it. Miracle is nice sized ship not too big or not too small. Enjoyed
the cruise. Read Less
Coral Princess is my kind of ship. The public areas are extensive, comfortable and inviting and there was rarely a crowded feel. We had 8 sea days, and were never bored. Princess had a packed schedule every day and there was always ... Read More
Coral Princess is my kind of ship. The public areas are extensive, comfortable and inviting and there was rarely a crowded feel. We had 8 sea days, and were never bored. Princess had a packed schedule every day and there was always something to do.
The food in the main dining room was excellent, varied and beautifully presented. Breakfast in all venues was uninspired but the quality of the pastries, breads and fruit selections was wonderful. Afternoon tea was fabulous! Although I loved the lunch I had eaten in the dining room on the first day, we decided to pass on that and just scavenge at the buffet the rest of the trip (excellent cheeses, breads, sandwiches, salads and shrimp) so we could justify attending the tea.
I love the way Princess makes it a point to seat people in groups in the dining room - at every meal you meet and enjoy different people and make new friends. Even when we decided to eat at a table alone, we were so close to our neighbors that it was easy to strike up a conversation - or not, whichever worked best.
"Ocean Concierge" is a very fine feature. We logged into the ship's internet, and could see the day's schedule right on our phones. We could tap in and read about the shore excursions we had scheduled, and add daily events to our own personal itinerary. I could "share" an event with my husband, who could then add it to his list. The app also offered texting capability, Although this was of limited usefulness since you didn't know there was a text if the app wasn't open. Still, it made it easier to "find each other" on those busy days.
We booked all our shore excursions (and we booked at least one at each port) through Princess and were really glad we did. Two of our excursions were the last to arrive back at the ship, and they arrived after the "all aboard" had sounded. I would have been a nervous wreck if I hadn't known that the Coral would wait.
The excursions were generally quite good, the ports were interesting and the organization was superb. We have been on far too many ships where the instructions were to "meet the bus on the pier" and let the devil take the hindmost. Each of our tours started out in the dining room, where we were given our group number, and we were called and escorted off the ship when our group was ready.
Specialty dining was a waste. We only did it because it was a gift, but we had been looking forward to a nice, spicy meal at the Bayou. Instead we got a lot of salt and too much meat. It just confirmed my long held belief about specialty dining: We're better off in the main dining room.
Everything else was lovely. Common areas were beautifully decorated and all carpets and artwork were attractive and tasteful.
What more to say? I would go on the Coral Princess again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Embarkation was organized by group number you're assigned as you check in. We spent a few minutes chatting with fellow passengers and soon enough we were called aboard. There probably is not a wait if you arrive after 11 or so. We ... Read More
Embarkation was organized by group number you're assigned as you check in. We spent a few minutes chatting with fellow passengers and soon enough we were called aboard. There probably is not a wait if you arrive after 11 or so. We were early for this cruise, unlike others where we sailed through embarkation.
We chose the expedited group for disembarkation, meaning we carried our own luggage off at 7:30 AM. I highly recommend it because we were through customs and in a cab to the airport by 7:45. It sure beats hanging around the theater or a bar for a few hours waiting for your group to be called.
We were very happy with the remodeled bathroom in the cabin. The glass walk-in shower is super-convenient, drained well and was tiled with a no slip surface. The clothes line in the shower served to dry wet clothes overnight, no problem.
The cabin was clean and comfortable. Gatot and Sigit took great care of us including the towel animals and chocolates every night. The TV is small and could be upgraded, but it's just fine to catch MSNBC in the morning and maybe get a DVD for a movie one evening. There were plenty of hangers in the closets and there were plenty of drawers and shelves for all your things.
We took advantage of the flat-rate laundry bag and got our clothes back and pressed the same day, both times!
I'd say the food was very good. We ate at the Lido Buffet and in the Dining Room. I was very impressed by the caring service we got at anytime dining. The beverage service was prompt too. We shared meals with new table mates each time. There were always plenty of laughs. The final night was a standout, from the excellent service in the dining room to the excellent seared Ahi and the rest of the menu. The burgers at the Dive-In are delicious as are the crunchy fries.
Be sure to visit the various musical venues as they're all very entertaining. The Adagio pianist and violinist were great! We met members of the house band and their music was as nice as they are in person. Don't miss the Blue Earth show!
America's Test Kitchen is definitely worth the time. The presenter is super and you get new ideas. It's too bad that the food wasn't passed around for tasting at the presentations we attended.
The gym is clean and has good, new equipment. It's cool to watch the ocean go by as you're on the elliptical.
Bar service is great, as always. We spent most of our time at the Aft Bar in the smoking section. You always meet fun people there, and this trip was no exception. Bernard the bar man took great care of us and even arranged for servers to come by after he closed for the night. We found the Signature Beverage Package to be a good deal on this cruise. There are six sea days when you can really enjoy the package to your heart's content.
The Panama Canal is the highlight of this cruise and it sure didn't disappoint. Just wrapping your head around locks without pumps takes some understanding. The on board narration helped make you feel like you're part of the experience, regardless of where you happen to be.
The ship itself is beautiful. Be sure to notice the beautiful and creative flower arrangements all over the place. There's even orchids on the tables in the Lido Buffet. I noticed workers sprucing up the white paint in preparation for opening the forward decks to passengers during the canal passage.
The naturalist is a gifted font of knowledge. Glenn-Michael, the lead EXC is super. He was all over the ship and uniformly seen chatting with one guest or another. He shared some great hints during his port talks too. The officers impressed me by being so accessible and always being around for sail-aways and sea day parties. Even the captain had time to chat for a few minutes.
One of us needed some medical attention and found the crew there to be excellent. The check on you and make special arrangements as needed. The small charge for a bit of medicine plus the personal care turned around what could have been a major downer.
Holland America does a great job; the Volendam is a fine ship with a highly skilled and friendly staff. Read Less
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to ... Read More
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to supply our every need. The Jade only carries about 2500 passengers so there were no long lines for meals, shows, etc. With a longer cruise an added bonus is an older crowd and very few young children. Our cabin was smaller than we've become accustomed to but we settled in quite easily. Bathroom setup is really smart with sink in the center, shower to one side and toilet to the other side. Shower and toilet had glass doors for privacy so more that one person could use the bath at the same time.
The staff was outstanding with friendly smiles, good suggestions and a world-class friendliness that was remarkable.Ship excursions were pretty pricey but very worthwhile. Every bus we traveled on was immaculately clean. Guides spoke English very well too.
Excursion tips: tour the old city in Cartagena; don't miss the Aerial Tram and Exhibits in Gatun Lake, Panama; banana plantation, scenic drive & Shopping (if you consider a convenience store as shopping); dolphin encounter in Costa Maya is good with limited dolphin contact but pictures with dolphins start at $40 each. The best beach day was at Maya Key Private Island retreat. There is a huge winding beach, lots of shade or sun, no blaring music, a nice buffet was also included. There are guides to help beginners snorkel and see parts of the beautiful reef. Very comfortable and safe. Read Less
I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. ... Read More
I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. Lauderdale. When a friend suggested going on a Panama Canal cruise I instantly agreed to go with her. We chose to go on the Norwegian Bliss since there would be so many activities and things to do on this longer than normal cruise. We were not disappointed! Everything was awesome - the ship, the entertainment, food, bars, and service. There was an abundance of free activities as well as the ones that cost extra. The entertainment was first class! The small groups that played in various venues around the ship were excellent. There were many choices for food. The weather was great and we did not encounter any difficulties. The port stops in Mexico changed several times from the time we booked the cruise until we actually went but it was okay. I especially like sea days so this was a great cruise for me - 6 ports in 15 days with 9 sea days. The whole day transit of the Panama Canal was fabulous! The age of the cruisers on this trip was slightly older than normal since it is longer and more expensive and there were fewer children on board. Those who were on board seemed to thoroughly enjoy the extra time they got on some of the amenities. Read Less
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were ... Read More
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were plentiful and tendering was very difficult and not organized. Next stop Acapulco and Do Not Get Off the boat, very dirty and people rude. Next stop Guatemala and very nice excursions and people friendly. Next stop Nicaragua and we saw volcano on this stop, bus ride very very long and not enough time set for excursions, people very friendly and sides of roads were very dirty. Next stop Costa Rica and beautiful countryside and nice excursions did train ride but too short and not much to see besides poverty and crocodile excursion down Tarcoles River and wished it was longer. Weather very hot everywhere we went and hats and sunblock very necessary. Next was the canal transit and took all day and absolutely beautiful and so much to see from any location on the ship. The captain did a wonderful job of opening the crew deck in front for passengers and also brought a narrator on board from Panama and she was wonderful. Next stop was Columbia and we did not feel very safe here at all, probarly should not have gone on excursion. Street people were so rude and begging and in our face that we couldn't enjoy ourselves.
Ship was very nice and staff was exceptionally nice. Restaurant staff was highly efficient and food was Excellant. Buffet staff in the morning went above and beyond everyday. Thank you for a wonderful and relaxing vacation. As others have stated we also would like to see the towel animals reinstated and ship pins brought back. Also would like to see Latitudes Platinum members benefits reviewed. We were not able to use all our benefits including disembarkation, this process was terrible and took too long to get to our excursions. Read Less
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and ... Read More
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and the length of the trip turned out to be just right. We prefer NCL for two main reasons: open dining and on-board music. The Bliss did not disappoint. The smaller main dining room, Savor, was our go to place for diner. The food was exceptional (especially the Salmon), the waitstaff so friendly, and the ambiance very appealing. There were numerous shows, concerts and events on board, and where else could you be at poolside in the evening watching the NCAA Final Four on a big screen tv?
The main event was the Panama Canal, and the full day going through Panama was thrilling. Other ports of call added to a great trip. We do some shore excursions, but find that getting off the ship and wandering the public places are culturally very rich.
Hats off to all of the staff, and another special thank you to the Fourever Fab, the Beatles tribute band that took all of us back to special times. Read Less
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" ... Read More
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" Nothing easy about it. Long drive and the assault of street vendors is trying! We learned to take the shorter tours as more than 3 hours on a tour bus is too much. Did breakfast and most lunches at O'Sheehans and dinner in the Aqua Restaurant. Do not recommend the buffet for dinner unless it's the Seafood Night. Lunches at the buffet was plentiful, more than we wanted to eat. Did O'Sheehan for burgers and wings mostly. Staff are very friendly, helpful and accommodating. Premium Drink Package is worth it. High quality alcohol and wine (no bar liquor like at the all-inclusive resorts) Great choice of bottled beers. Internet is slow and expensive. Best to catch a cafe on shore with free wifi, or just go dark for two weeks! Was an enjoyable , relaxing cruise. Read Less
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made ... Read More
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made every effort to ensure that the transit and the whole experience was exhilarating - and it was! The entire fifth day of the cruise was spent going through the canal - which took from about 7:00 A.M till close to 9:00 P.M. ; the weather was perfect and the excitement was shared by many of my fellow cruisers (most of which were transiting the new canal for the first time). There was even a guest lecturer on board who gave two lectures; one on the history of the canal and another on the conquering of yellow fever in Panama. This guest expert also narrated the crossing throughout the day. His anecdotes and color commentary greatly added to my enjoyment of the experience and appreciation of the new Panama Canal (opened in 2016). To commemorate the canal transit, the officers of the Bliss issued every guest a beautiful color certificate memorializing the trip, signed by the captain and included a glossy color certificate documenting the cruise and ports of call. These are genuine souvenirs worth framing and a very fitting commemoration of the adventure.
One thing worth noting: during the time spent on the crossing, NCL facilitated guest access to the bow area (not usually accessible to guests) for viewing the canal locks and the tug. They also furnished refreshments and set up canopies to protect guests from the intense sun. A very nice touch. This viewing area at the bow on deck 8 allowed a great up close view of the tug guiding the ship and the operation of the locks that we could not have gotten from the observation area on deck 15 (a great area to view but deck 8`s observation area was much closer to “the action”). This special access was greatly appreciated and allowed me to get some great photos and video of the entire canal crossing
Oh, I speculate that NCL booked this time slot so as to facilitate the best viewing (daylight) of the Panama Canal - again, my heartfelt thanks, NCL! You made the trip truly memorable !!!
While the crossing was the highlight of my cruise, the rest of the trip was also magnificent. Sea days with first class entertainment and shore excursions that offered a sampling of the best that the port had to offer. Fandamtastic experience! Thanks to all on NCL Bliss! Read Less
Had the most amazing 15 days on Bliss through the Panama Canal. Ship is beautiful and the staff went over and above to make our trip the best yet. Specialty restaurants certainly worth it with the exception of "Q", not worthy of ... Read More
Had the most amazing 15 days on Bliss through the Panama Canal. Ship is beautiful and the staff went over and above to make our trip the best yet. Specialty restaurants certainly worth it with the exception of "Q", not worthy of the "specialty restaurant" label. Majority of the excursions were as advertised but Acapulco was a bust, walking tour was not worth the money or the time. Old Mazatlan walking tour with amazing definitely undersold in the description.Deck 15 cabins can be noisy as they are under the Pool Deck. Observation Lounge was great but way too many people sleeping all day on the loungers. Shopping on board is below par compared to other cruises we have been on, very little choice and the same items came out almost every night. Looking to book our next cruise on the Bliss really soon. A visit to the A List Bar is a must, the bartenders are awesome, lots of fun. Read Less
Just got off of our 15 night Norwegian Bliss vacation yesterday. We departed Miami on 03/30/2019 and arrived back on 04/14/2019. I have been on a total of seven cruises, and this is my first NCL cruise. This review will be very detailed, ... Read More
Just got off of our 15 night Norwegian Bliss vacation yesterday. We departed Miami on 03/30/2019 and arrived back on 04/14/2019. I have been on a total of seven cruises, and this is my first NCL cruise. This review will be very detailed, for all of those who enjoy details; however, it will not include any pictures. This is also our longest cruise to date.
Please feel free to ask any questions! My cruise history is as follows:
2007 - Carnival Triumph
2008 - Ruby Princess
2010 - Caribbean Princess
2011 - Carnival Miracle
2015 - Carnival Breeze
2017 - Carnival Vista
2019 - Norwegian Bliss
My name is Ryan, and I am currently 39 years old. I was traveling with my Husband, AndyMike who is 33 years old. We reside in Southern California. This is my seventh cruise and his third cruise
Our outgoing flight was a red-eye on 03/26/2019 from LAX to FLL on Jetblue, which arrived early in the morning on 03/27/2019.
THE DAYS BEFORE THE CRUISE:
I arrived in FLL early in the morning on 03/27/2019. I rented a car from Enterprise, which it is quite easy to get to the car rental center from the terminals at FLL. Renting with Enterprise was painless and very quick. The Car Rental Center at FLL is very organized and you shouldn't have a very difficult experience.
We got married in Fort Lauderdale before our cruise. Our wedding was on the sand in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and our wedding reception was at the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, FL. Everything exceeded our expectations and it was a wonderful experience. We got married with 50 members of our family and friends. The day after our wedding, but before the cruise 15 of us took a pedal boat by a company called Lagerhead Cycleboats on the waterways of Fort Lauderdale which was awesome.
We stayed at the Doubletree Hollywood Resort which is in Hollywood, FL not too far south of the Fort Lauderdale airport. I recommend this hotel for friendly service, a great hotel pool and a good view if you are on the north rooms of the property.
TRANSPORTATION TO THE PORT:
Although we picked up our Enterprise rental at FLL, we dropped it off at the Doubletree Grand Hotel in Miami, FL at 9am on cruise embarkation morning. We then took an Uber, which was only about $8.00 from that hotel to the port.
This was the easiest and most painless embarkation I have ever experienced. We chose a check-in time of between 9:30AM and 10:00am. We arrived at exactly 9:30am. We queued up and the security lines opened up at about 9:45AM. I would say that we were probably number 20 in the security line. We received boarding group 1 cards and after getting our key cards sat in the terminal to await boarding. We were called to board by 11am.
WHAT WE DID FIRST:
It is important to book some of your most important reservations immediately once you board. The current process is to go to the Social on Deck Six to board those. You can also book from one of the many, many kiosks on almost every deck of the ship. Now, please note --- the kiosks may or may not be working immediately upon boarding, so we did end up going to the social. The lines were really not that bad and everything was booked in about 45 minutes. We booked Go Karts, Laser Tag, Comedy Shows, Happy Hour Prohibition, and got the Vibe Beach Pass all in the social. Please note that we booked the Wifi Package, Thermal Spa, Photo Package, Jersey Boys, Havana and Specialty Restaurant Reservations before we boarded the ship online.
Our perks that came with our reservation was the premium beverage package for two, prepaid gratuities and $50 per port (per stateroom) shore excursion credit).
This was a sold out cruise! Overall, it did not seem that crowded to us. Yes, there were some crowded areas, which I will go into detail with later on in the review; however, overall it did not seem that crowded. I credit the excellent design of the ship.
The ship is beautiful. The ship has only been in service since the second quarter of 2018. The ship is in GREAT CONDITION, as all of our cruises have been.
One of the things that impressed me the most is was the artwork around the ship. There is high quality artwork everywhere on every wall of the ship. This includes all public areas and all guest room hallways. It is beautiful and amazing.
The staff of this ship is simply amazing. Remember, treat people the way you want to be treated. That was our motto and is always our motto. The staff overall was very friendly. I rate them at a 9 out of 10. I would say there were maybe a handful of less than 10 that were pretty miserable. Not bad for over 1700 cruise members. I will talk about some individual staff members in other parts of my review; however, I will talk about the Cruise Director, Silas here. Silas is a wonderful cruise director. He is a very organized cruise director and has a pretty good cruise activities staff. He is very visible on the ship and we usually saw him three of four times a day. He is energetic and has a great personality. Now, as you probably know if you are a frequent cruiser on NCL, most people have the premium beverage package as a perk. Since most people have that, I will point out that there are plenty of bar servers in almost every venue; however, you have to usually ask them for a drink. They are always walking around; however, you should ask them as they will not be asking you. (They don't have to ask since it is included for most people). Of course, if you can't find a server, you just walk up to one of the many bars anywhere on the ship.
Tipping is a personal thing; however, let me take time to remind you that this wonderful hard working staff on these ships work very hard and many of the staff members do not get paid a lot. I encourage you to celebrate and applaud the hard work that they do by tipping appropriately. My personal way of tipping is that I leave the suggested gratuities of Norwegian on my Onboard Account (which I believe is currently about $15.00 per person per day), and I give additional cash gratuities to individual staff members during the middle of my cruise, if I feel that there service is excellent (which this time it was with everyone I gave additional gratuity to). I gave additional gratuities to my favorite restaurant hostess, favorite restaurant server, stateroom steward, and favorite bartenders. 2
Our room was available by 1:15PM which was before the promised time. We went to our room at about 1:45pm, which was after we finished lunch. We were also pleasantly surprised that our luggage was delivered by 4pm. We had room 8116 which was a mini-suite with large balcony on the port side forward. We never heard any noise from above or below our stateroom and it is a very quiet hallway. There are limited rooms on Deck 8 and usually the only people that use this hallway are crew members. The Mini Suites on this ship are essentially the same as the regular balcony staterooms with the exception of the bathroom which is larger. The shower is an improvement from other cruise lines I have been on. It is a glass enclosed shower that is about two times the size of other cruise line showers and it has multiple jets and great water pressure. It also has a double faucet sink. The room itself is a little smaller that other cruise lines I have been on; however, still had ample closet and storage space. The bed was comfortable and the USB ports beside are very nice. The lighting in the room is great. The TV has multiple movie channels available and ship specific channels available. Our balcony was HUGE, almost about 60% of the size of our room. These balconies are completely open to all the rooms above you; however, we did not find this be a problem. These balconies have two small chairs with one small table and two large lounge chairs with a larger table. My only complaint is that the safe was really small and would not fit a laptop or even an Ipad.
Our stateroom steward, Aaron was very nice and kept everything very tidy throughout the stay. There is an electronic do not disturb or make up room indicator outside your door. Your lock is controlled by your keycard. Service is twice daily and towel animals are usually every other day.
The room is so well designed for space and efficiently considering the somewhat small size of cruise cabins. I liked the fact that the doors open outward when you are coming in or exiting the room. The balcony doors are also slide instead of push/pull, which is a great improvement. Just remember, slide your empty luggage under the bed after putting everything away!
We did excursions in each of the ports. On this trip, we booked all excursions on NCL. All of our excursions were of high quality and operated by local tour operators. Debarkation and embarkation at the cruise ports is painless and easy. I couldn't believe how easy it was.
Cartagena, Colombia - Here we did a four hour tour of Cartagena including the walled city which is beautiful. We had about 40 people on this tour and I would rate it is a 8 out of 10.
Panama Canal Day - It is always amazing to cruise the Panama Canal. This was our first time and it is simply an engineering marvel. We went through the new locks, since this is a very large cruise ship. The Norwegian Bliss also opens up the front of Deck 8 (usually only reserved for crew members) on Panama Canal Day for viewing.
Costa Rica - Here we took an excursion which involved ziplining. It was a very fun day; however, we enjoyed ziplining in Dominican Republic a little bit better.
Guatemala - We took an excursion to Antigua in Guatemala, which is a beautiful city in the higher elevations of the country.
Acapulco - Although this was our least favorite port for things to see and do, we still had a beautiful time. The views from the higher elevations of Acapulco rival any of the views we saw during our trip. It was cool to see the Cliff Divers.
Mazatlan - Our second favorite port. This is a beautiful Mexico port and we had a fun excursion of Salsa and Salsa, which included a Salsa Making and a Salsa Dance Class. We had an excellent tour guide and awesome instructors and it was a super fun tour.
Cabo San Lucas - Our favorite port and our favorite excursion. We did the electric bikes which we did a tour on the beach and in the desert. Our tour guide was so much fun. After the bike ride, we got to make our own margaritas (unlimited) and they also provided us with a quesadilla lunch.
I'm going to rate each venue that we ate it, and give my comments. I feel that everyone can find something good to eat on this ship. There are so many great options.
MAIN DINING ROOM: (Taste, Savor and Manhattan Room)
Food 9/10 and Service 9/10.
We ate in the main dining room for dinner 5 of our 15 nights plus lunch on embarkation day and breakfast on debarkation morning. We usually ate in Savor; however, ate once in Taste and once in the Manhattan room. All dining rooms have the same menu.
We never made reservations for the main dining room. We always showed up and got seated immediately or with less than a 5 minute wait.
The service was almost always fantastic and the food was always delicious. We usually ordered two appetizers, one main entree and one dessert and were stuffed. One of my favorite apps was the lobster ravioli.
We found the buffet food to be some of the best buffet food we have ever had on a cruise ship. The buffet is huge and you could always easily find a seat except on some port mornings and at ports where almost everyone came back at the same time. For breakfast, the food is the same most mornings, as breakfast food should be. There are so many omelette and egg stations that you will never wait long in line for these. I believe I counted 9 operating at the same time. Lunch in the buffet had some of the same daily stations and some rotating stations daily. Dinner also rotated. We usually had breakfast and/or lunch in the buffet and then we ate one dinner in the buffet. The buffet has limited stations open during certain periods and after 9:30PM. It closes down at 11:30PM. Juices are available during breakfast, coffee and hot chocolate anytime, and iced tea and lemonade during non-breakfast hours. Also, there is now homemade ice cream available during lunch hours with rotating daily flavors.
Food 10/10 Service 10/10
We had dinner on our first night at the Steakhouse. We had the 7 night ultimate dining package, which we pre-purchased. That means that we got to go to 7 specialty dining restaurants and the only upcharge beyond was a minimal upcharge for Ocean Blue. We had excellent meals at all of the dining venues. I recall having jumbo shrimp and a crab cake here, along with an amazing steak for dinner and a variety of sides. The overall experience was awesome. There are so many amazing choices, that we left very happy.
Food 10/10 Service 8/10
It is possible our server here may have been having a slightly off night, as this is one of the crew members we ran into that didn't provide an over the top wonderful experience. However, the food was amazing.
We had tableside guacamole which we shared. My appetizer was the shrimp quesadilla. I also had a shrimp platter for dinner and a delicious Tres Leches cake for dessert.
Food 10/10 Service 9/10
Tucked away behind a wine bar, this intimate restaurant has excellent food in a casual and classy setting. I don't even recall what I had at this restaurant, but I recall it being excellent.
Q TEXAS SMOKEHOUSE
Food 10/10 Service 10/10
This new concept to NCL was awesome. There was a live band playing during our meal, and the food was amazing. I had a crab cake. I also shared the loaded fries with my hubby and I had the Pitmaster Platter which was a sampling of all of the meats on the menu. The banana pudding was also an excellent dessert choice.
Food 10/10 Service 10/10
This restaurant is on one of the upper decks of the ship. The service at this restaurant is great, and I had an amazing French Onion Soup, a delicious shrimp platter and an amazing cheesecake for dessert.
Food 10/10 Service 10/10
My favorite specialty restaurant. Our server Hazel was one of the best servers we had on the entire trip. She was the most pleasant, kind and sweet person ever. Our meal was just fabulous. I recall that everything I had at this restaurant was simply stunning and full of flavor.
Food 10/10 Service 10/10
What an awesome and entertaining experience. Our chef was spectacular and the food was very filling and so much of it. The garlic rice was superb and I had the shrimp and scallop combo.
Food 8/10 Service 8/10
The Local is the restaurant that is open almost all day every day including late into the night. We had one breakfast, two lunches, and two dinners here. Almost every meal had excellent service, and most of the food was quite delicious. I had prime rib here one night, some good burgers, some good wings and some excellent french toast.
We did not try Food Republic, Margaritaville, Dolce Gelato or Coco's.
Service and Drinks 10/10
There are so many bars on this ship. Some of our favorites included the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, A List Bar, Maltings Whiskey Bar, District Brewhouse and the Observation Lounge Bar. One of the few rather rude crew members we encountered on this ship was in the interior portion of the Sugarcane. I do not recall his name (It was not Bong)
ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES
Seriously...if you cannot find something to do on this ship, it is your own dam fault! Read your Freestyle Daily. There is so much to do each day. There is an awesome activities staff onboard this ship, that is always present everywhere you go. Wow! Get involved people!
MAIN POOL DECK and WATERSLIDES:
The Main Pool Deck on Deck 16 can get a little crowded on days of beautiful weather; however, you may have trouble finding a chair right by the pool. Don't believe the people who tell you that you cannot find a deck chair. There are plenty of deck chairs, if you expand your horizons a iittle bit. Try Deck 17, 18 and 19 where there are almost always plenty of pool chairs.
I tried one of the two waterslides (the calmer one). You ride down in a tube and it was so much fun. I did not try the Ocean Loops which is the one that swings out on the side of the ship. Yes, a lot of people do get stuck; however, there is always a staff member to get you out where you end up getting stuck, if it happens.
Make reservations. We tried it twice, once in the daytime and once at night. We had an amazing time. You usually get a generous 5 to 7 minutes of riding time on each race. There are usually up to 10 people at one time. There were a few annoying people during our second time (usually the unlimited pass people); however, it was still a blast. The go karts go quite fast, and some of the turns are fun and difficult to navigate. They will slow everyone down if you start bumping or running into people.
Wow! This was awesome. We wish we did it more than once. It is up on Deck 19 near the front of the ship and open in the evening. I believe the charge was about $10.00. Each time you get two rounds of 5 minutes, and you play on a team against one other team. It is a fun time had by all.
SPA AND GYM
We had the thermal spa pass, which can be purchased online prior to your cruise. The thermal spa on this ship is great. There are some relaxing loungers, ceramic heated beds, a thalassotherapy pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, salt room and snow room. It is so relaxing and you could usually find a place during most hours to relax. It is open only to the people who purchase the pass or are located in spa rooms.
We only tried the gym once, and it is well equipped with all of the latest machines and weights.
The casino is lovely and large on this ship. It takes up a good portion of the center of Deck 7. The entire casino is non-smoking, except for a small enclosed room near the aft/center of the casino which is reserved for smoking players. We had a great time and spent some money on this ship. No big wins; however, we had a great time and don't expect to win in casinos; however, it is a pleasure when we do.
MAIN PRODUCTION SHOWS:
On this cruise, there were three main production shows. I attended the shows called Havana, Jersey Boys and Uptown. We rated Havana as a 7/10. We thought the wardrobe/costumes were amazing; however, we didn't necessarily enjoy the lack of a story line. Jersey Boys was a 10/10. Just such a great production. It is the full length of nearly full length show at 1 hour and 45 minutes. For this longer cruise, they also had a group called Uptown, which was a group that we gave a 10/10.
In the main theater, we also found that they had shows from a hypnotist (we rated as 6/10), a comedy juggler (we rated as a 10/10) and a comedy magician (which we missed)
We watched three comedy shows, all of which we had reservations for. Two of the in the social which were the 10pm adult shows, both excellent. We also watched one the second to last night with three comedians in the main theater. We thought one of the two comedians was awesome in that show.
A lot of activities and events occurred in the atrium. Yes, the atrium can get crowded and I do wish it was bigger or there was an alternative venue for many of the events in this area. I truly do believe that the criticism of this area is deserved and I wish there was a better way of handling this. The activities including Trivia, Newlywed/Not so Newlywed Game, and so much more took place here.
ART GALLERY AND AUCTIONS:
The art crew on this ship is excellent, and we attended about three of the art auctions. We ended up purchasing three pieces of art on this ship, and we thoroughly enjoyed all of the events.
There are plenty of events that happen (usually nightly) in this area. Unfortunately, we only got to attend one event in this area, which was the 80's party and that was very fun.
This is fun and reservations will fill up fast; however, it is complimentary. If you never experienced this, it is fun and you should try it.
The excellent job with live music continues throughout this ship. There are top quality options almost all day long. During the day, the music is primarily centered on the pool deck area; however, by late afternoon and late into the night you got live music in the main atrium, Observation Lounge, Sugarcane Mojito Bar and the District Brewhouse.
What a beautiful place. This takes up a large portion of Deck 15 and is simply beautiful. There is always a seat for everyone, and there are light snack options available through the breakfast and lunch hours. Don't miss the sunsets in the O Lounge.
THINGS THAT WE MISS:
Being that all of my prior cruises have been on Carnival or Princess, there is one thing that I miss more than anything else. Piano Bar. I understand that some NCL ships have them; however, I missed having a piano bar on the Bliss. There was some piano players; however, not the same as having a sing along piano bar.
I'm sure I missed some things; however, I hope this gives you a starting point about some of the options available on this great ship.
PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS if you would like to know anything else. Read Less
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way ... Read More
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way through to the Pacific Ocean. This was a 15 day cruise and we where a little skeptical if we would get bored being gone that long. Well, after the 1st week , all 6 in our party agreed that there will never be another 7 day cruise again.
The staff and crew aboard the Bliss get 10 stars for all their hard work. We did an Alaska cruise on the Bliss last July and this trip seem 100% better than the last.
The activities and nightly shows where all professionally presented and with 5000 people on the ship, it never really seemed crowded. The food, OMG!!! Unbelievable, we meet the executive chef, who became quite friendly with our group. He would surprise us with special deserts and send cookies to each of our state rooms. Thank You Mohammad, for being so thoughtful. Read Less
We really really wanted to sail on the Bliss. The ship exceeded our expectations. The food was great, but what was needed was more time, perhaps another week or two to continue our good time aboard the Bliss. We enjoyed all the ... Read More
We really really wanted to sail on the Bliss. The ship exceeded our expectations. The food was great, but what was needed was more time, perhaps another week or two to continue our good time aboard the Bliss. We enjoyed all the entertainment, the hypnotist, the juggler, the magician, the Jersey Boys, Havana and the dancers. All made the evenings more to look forward to and daily meeting new friends. The fun show Deal or No Deal was a favorite. We enjoyed the atmosphere of happy faces all around the ship. On the way home we realized we could easily turnaround and go back for more happy times on the BLISS. We enjoyed the Garden Buffet, the Local Restaurant and the Observation Lounge on deck 15.
There was great Country Music in the Steakhouse and Ribs restaurant. My wife had fun in the Casino and the shops had some nice Panama Canal tee shirts. So overall we have many good memories of this Cruise. Thanks to the people of Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less