In the beginning of May, several members of The Cruise Web’s team had the privilege of experiencing the brand new Norwegian Bliss at an exclusive 2-night inaugural event in New York City. Over the course of these two fun-filled days, our team was given early access to the best of Bliss! Continue below for our highlights:
I had an opportunity to bring my 8-year-old daughter on the Bliss inaugural sailing and she loved it! We had a great time going down the water slides (the colored Aqua Racer was my daughter’s favorite), went bowling and even visited Coco’s, the all-chocolate restaurant with the biggest milkshakes we’ve ever seen! But our favorite feature of all, must have been the laser tag, even if our team lost.
The laser tag and go carts were really fun, and I can only imagine they’d be even more so when set to a backdrop of Alaskan glaciers or Caribbean waters. Just be sure to make reservations in advance so you don’t have to stand in line.
I think the Bliss is a beautiful ship, tastefully decorated in earthy tones. The placement of the multitude of bars, lounges, and entertainment areas make you feel like you don’t have to walk the length of the ship—a café or bar with a different theme seems to be around every corner. A great way to enjoy the outdoors is at Spice H2O with views off the stern of the ship. Its expansive teak deck houses an outdoor bar with tables, chairs and market umbrellas that casually merge into a sun deck with plenty of lounge chairs and two hot tubs. Maltings Whiskey Bar on deck 8, right next to the Cigar Lounge and the Cavern Club, is another great hangout to enjoy a craft cocktail in comfortable leather chairs (with adorable monkey pillows).
The production of Jersey Boys was fantastic—the cast was very talented, and seemed to do the source material justice. Some guests sailing with younger children, however, might consider both Jersey Boys and Havana (the other production show) as more adult-oriented entertainment options.
I thoroughly enjoyed everything I had in the Manhattan Room, one of three complimentary Main Dining Rooms. I liked the twist that they made with the prosciutto appetizer served with grilled peaches – I loved the contrast between the saltiness of the meat and the sweetness of the peach. The pistachio-crusted rack of lamb was delicious, and the steamed lobster was great too. I also LOVED the seafood buffet that they had for lunch on Saturday – the crab legs alone (both snow and Alaskan king) were a real treat.
I loved the race track! Wow – thrilling, excellent speed, fun trying to catch my colleagues and win! It was great to be able to do all the things I would like to do when I am driving on the Capital Beltway without causing any serious issues. Making a reservation for the race track is a must – along with a sense of adventure and a desire to win!
The Observation Lounge is incredible. It’s beautifully designed with many places to eat, relax and take in the spectacular scenery of Alaska, and really any destination. I also loved the variety of dining options on board Norwegian Bliss, and the food is excellent. So many choices for different types of restaurants and food experiences.
Also noteworthy is the Starbucks on board—and I’m not talking about your tiny Target or grocery store version. This was a full-size, full-service Starbucks and they made me a perfect “flat white” – a drink that many baristas wouldn’t attempt. I was really wowed (or should I say “meowed”) by their service!
The District Brew House featured 20+ beers on tap and an impressive selection of bottled beer—several of which were unique enough to make jealous my beer-brewing brother-in-law back home. And nothing against the popular beers found on other ships, but I think this venue will be a real treat for any craft beer-enthusiast.
I also had a blast riding the Ocean Loops water slide, which features a near free-fall into two loops that extend out beyond the side of the ship. Although this particular waterslide was a bit intimidating for my wife, we were both able to ride the more relaxing Aqua Racer slides.
I thought the Bliss was very well decorated. It had a warm, elegant feel for a contemporary brand. I loved the Observation Lounge—what a great place to relax with a good book or meet with friends and still have great vistas from every angle. During the day they had small “nosh” stations set up here, and a full bar as well. I was told it can seat about 600 guests in total, and I can see it being a great place for small/large group gatherings.
I also loved the Spa and Thermal Area in the spa. You can book that area for the week and take full advantage of the Thalassotherapy pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, saunas, salt room and snow room. They also have those heated tiled chaise lounge chairs… ooh la la.
One thing in regards to the cabins – if you plan on sharing a cabin with a friend and want the beds separated, be sure to book a cabin with the sofa near the closet rather than the beds near the closet. If your beds are near the closet and separated, it’s more difficult to access the closet.
I loved the subdued and muted color palette of the common areas, very tastefully done. The new Observation Lounge located on deck 15 forward is a beautiful space to relax and view the passing scenery, especially on days that may have inclement weather.
I also loved the Broadway show Jersey Boys—this was the third time I have seen it and it compared to any of the others. In regards to the staterooms, the bathrooms were a decent size, as was the shower with the glass enclosure, and there was plenty of storage for all your essentials. Lastly, the Garden Café buffet had a varied assortment of food to choose from, and there was even a Brittle Bar for my sweet tooth.
The most spectacular feature of Norwegian Bliss is the Observation Lounge. We got up especially early one morning when it was empty, ordered a champagne cocktail and just sat in awe of the New York skyline from our chaise lounger. Watching the sunrise, I could only imagine just what an incredible experience the Bliss will offer in Alaska from this lounge.
The are some very cool venues onboard, including The Cavern Club. Being from Liverpool myself, it was a real treat to hear The Beatles’ songs, and the band was very engaging and entertaining. In fact, this venue gets packed so you have to get there early. As a plus, it’s located right next to the Maltings Whiskey Bar, which has a fabulous selection, and fortunately stocks wine too. Norwegian Bliss offers so much to do that a week will never feel like long enough!
A nice highlight was Norwegian Cruise Line putting the Sugarcane Mojito Bar on Norwegian Bliss, and having a Pisco Sour on the menu. This is a rare find, and—with it being the national Peruvian drink, and me being Peruvian—it was a great surprise to have it on the menu!
I also really enjoyed the Silent Disco! I was reluctant at first, but it was cool to control my own headset’s music and change songs whenever I felt like it.
Upon arrival in New York City, the Bliss stood tall blending into the Manhattan skyline. She showed her true colors featuring the hull artwork of marine artist, Wyland. This hull artwork gives the Bliss a unique personality, and really shows that she is built for her home port this year, Alaska. Norwegian Bliss looked great from the outside, and she was no different when onboard. Featuring soothing cool tones, she had a contemporary look and feel to her, which I liked personally.
This ship is truly meant for multi-generation families. There are not only activities for adults, but also many for kids. Personally, this ship brought out the big kid in me. There were go-karts, laser tag, and multiple water slides. I could see myself with my nieces and nephews doing the same activities together. In addition, there were Broadway-style production shows such as Jersey Boys, and a more intimate show called Happy Hour Prohibition – The Musical.
The Norwegian Bliss Inaugural was amazing, and I particularly enjoyed all of the activities that are onboard. We had a blast racing the go-karts and playing laser tag, but experiencing the virtual reality game in the deck 5 arcade was my favorite.
There were also so many places to just hang out and relax after all the excitement. You could sight-see in the Observation Lounge, go to the elegant spa and sit on the heated stone loungers or just chill in your beautifully decorated stateroom. There truly is something for everyone to enjoy on this ship!
The Observation Lounge is simply awesome, offering almost 180-degree views outside from the front and sides of the ship. The ship is extremely bright and open on all decks, there are plenty of specialty restaurants and the food was fantastic. Even the Garden Café buffet was spacious with a wide variety of food to satisfy everyone’s palate.
This ship is ideal for families with teen children. There is enough to entertain everyone and the go-cart track is simply unbelievable. It’s fun and fast, and will bring out the kid in every adult. Lastly, The Haven is spectacular, featuring a private pool, restaurant and lounge, as well as its own cabanas. Unbelievable!!!
Norwegian Bliss was incredible! To elaborate, she had so many amenities for everyone to enjoy – from an amazing pool with a lounge area to a variety of restaurants to choose from and shops to explore. There were great bars that were all over, not to mention activities such as go cart racing and laser tag. Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend Norwegian Bliss!
I really enjoyed the seafood buffet on Saturday afternoon, which featured the best Alaskan king crab I have ever had. I also thought the Observation Lounge was amazing. It would have been better if we were sailing, of course, but I think it will be awesome in Alaska during the scenic glacier cruising days. The staff on the ship were also very awesome and attentive—I think I was told “good morning” at least 25 times each morning!
I love the Bliss. I had a great time going down the Aqua Racer waterslide with the rafts over and over again until my legs wouldn’t go up the stairs anymore. I also thought the ship had a great overall layout which was easy to navigate—and even though she is a big ship, she didn’t seem that way.
The highlights above represent only a small sample of the fun to be had aboard Norwegian Bliss. From the unbelievable Observation Lounge and theater shows to the heart-pounding waterslides and race track, Norwegian Bliss is sure to have your version of paradise!
Of course, it can’t go unsaid how grateful The Cruise Web is to Norwegian Cruise Line for giving us this special first-hand opportunity to experience Norwegian Bliss. Now we look forward to giving you, our clients, that same opportunity to discover Bliss!
To learn more about Norwegian Bliss or to book a cruise aboard this incredible ship, contact The Cruise Web’s experienced cruise consultants at 1-800-377-9383.
Plus, for a more visual representation of what we experienced aboard Norwegian Bliss, check out our recent infographic showcasing the best of this new ship.
NOTE: The Cruise Web, Inc. received complimentary inaugural staterooms from Norwegian Cruise Line, which in turn were offered to the employees listed above. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Cruise Web or Norwegian Cruise Line.
The Cruise Web, Inc.