Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Norwegian Cruise Line
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeSmall

Along with its sister ship Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Bliss, is an expanded Breakaway-Plus version of the Breakaway-Class. Although it is a slightly larger vessel, it carries fewer passengers and, like its Breakaway-Class sister ships, it has three main dining rooms and numerous specialty restaurants, some of which offer outdoor dining. You can check restaurant wait times and make reservations on digital screens throughout the ship. Entertainment is a highlight on Norwegian Bliss and includes not only a Cuban dance show, but also a full-fledged Broadway production of Jersey Boys and a lounge featuring a Beatles tribute band.Read More

Outside, you’ll find the largest racetrack at sea where, for a fee, you can take a ride on the two-level competitive track. In the Laser Tag arena, which also charges a fee, you can participate in a stellar space-themed battle. There are also pools, hot tubs, waterslides, and an aqua park for children. Youth and teen clubs are large and offer a wide variety of age-appropriate activities and programs. For adults-only, the Vibe Beach Club offers serenity for a fee.

Norwegian Cruise Line set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept—regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established the line as a winner for active adults and families. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for decades, and its fleet is as much at home worldwide as in the Caribbean. Several of the line’s ships cruise Alaska’s Inside Passage, including one of its newest, Norwegian Bliss.

Noted for top-quality entertainment, Norwegian combines action and high-energy activities as well as a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Norwegian’s freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. The ships’ accommodations include some of the largest suites at sea, studio cabins for solo travelers, and a private ship-within-a-ship complex called The Haven, a more luxurious area with personalized service.

From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it’s often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian’s largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.

  • 16 passenger decks
  • specialty restaurants, 3 dining rooms, buffet, ice cream parlor
  • Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator
  • 3 pools, children’s pool
  • fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa, steam room
  • 22 bars, casino, dance club, library, showroom, video game room
  • children’s programs
  • dry cleaning, laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • no-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
You can make dining reservations on screens throughout the ship
The observation lounge has floor to ceiling windows for good visibility in Alaska ports
Smoking is limited to small areas, but there is a lounge for cigar smokers
There are charges for some of the entertainment, laser tag, and the racetrack
There is a charge for room service
Charges can add up in the à la carte specialty restaurants

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Cabins
Suites
Studios
Accessibility

Cabin décor is chic and modern, but most balconies are disappointingly small. Storage space is adequate, but drawers are lacking. Bathrooms are moderately sized with small showers and large sinks. In mini-suites and above showers are expansive with multi-jet fixtures and vanities have double sinks. Shampoo and shower gel are provided in shower dispensers. All accommodations have a safe, hair dryer, minibar, flat-screen television, and good lighting.

Haven suites include access to an exclusive concierge lounge, restaurant, and shared open courtyard with pool, hot tub, sundeck, and small gym. Spa suites include access to the spa and thermal suite during the cruise.

Strictly for single passengers, the tiny studios have private bathrooms and access to the shared Studio Lounge.

Thirty-nine cabins are wheelchair accessible.

Food & Drink

Food

Three main dining rooms serve open-seating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Specialty restaurants include old favorites like Le Bistro and the new Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea. Reservations are suggested and all include a charge, either set or à la carte. Casual selections are the Garden Café Lido buffet and The Local, serving classic pub fare around the clock. There is also a bakery, chocolate shop, gelato bar, and Starbucks—all with à la carte pricing. Available 24 hours a day, room service comes with a convenience charge of $7.95 per person, per order. Continental breakfast until 10 am is excluded and Suite Guests are not charged at any time.

Entertainment

More than a dozen bars are located throughout the ship, including the Cavern Club, a nostalgic Liverpool-style bar where a Beatles tribute band entertains, a comedy club, and the Humidor cigar lounge. Happy Hour Prohibition—The Musical, set in a New Orleans–like speakeasy where madams share tales of bootleggers and serve Prohibition Era specialty cocktails, carries a cover charge. This show is not suitable for children under 16. The Broadway show Jersey Boys and ¡Havana! which celebrates the music and culture of 1950’s era Cuba, are both complimentary.

Spa & Fitness

The huge spa offers beauty and medi-spa treatments; a full service salon; a barber shop; and large thermal suite with pools and hot tubs, a heated salt room, chilled snow grotto, sauna, steam room, and heated lounges for relaxation. The Fitness Center features a wide range of machines and free weights and fitness classes—some complimentary, others with a fee.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2017
Number of Cabins
2,002
Passenger Capacity
3,802
Crew Members
1,821
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.09
Gross Tons
167725
Width
136 ft.
Length
1,094
CRUISE LINE INFO
305/436–4000 or 800/327–7030

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