What it’s like to sail on the Norwegian Bliss?

Bliss was built in 2018 and is the sister ship to the Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Escape and the Norwegian Encore, which will start sailing toward the end of this year, 2019. The Norwegian Bliss can carry a little over 4000 passengers and has 1700 crew onboard. The Bliss has 20 decks, 5 complimentary dining options, 9 specialty dining restaurants, 21 bars & lounges and we have to mention that the Bliss is home to one of 2 go kart tracks at sea. The other track lives on the Joy, which is the sister ship to Bliss.

We loved the Bliss. It is an absolutely stunning ship. We got a tour of the Haven and it is beautiful so it would be really cool to get to sail in the Haven on the Bliss. We absolutely loved the Observation Lounge. Besides the Go Karts, the Observation Lounge was the highlight of the entire week. It was such a great place to hang out. And of course, go karts at sea, who knew that would be so much fun. The Bliss is a great ship and it makes me even more excited to try out her sister ships

Stand Out Things on the Norwegian Bliss

Go Karts at Sea
Observation Lounge
Los Lobos
Laser Tag
The Haven
Happy Hour Prohibition
Jersey Boys

Norwegian Bliss Playlist (click on playlist arrow in top right corner)

Our Review – All Things Good & Bad

Ship Design

  • Let’s start with the layout. Something very unique to the Norwegian newer ships is the 678 Ocean Place. These are decks 6 7 & 8 and this is where all of your main inside stuff is going to be located.   
    • This is great for getting to places throughout the evening easily
    • You have most of the specialty dining restaurants on 6, 7, and 8. 
    • All of the complimentary main dining rooms are on 6, 7, and 8. 
    • You have most of your lounges and bars on 6, 7, and 8. 
    • The main theater is located on deck 6 
    • Seriously, everything is on deck 6, 7, or 8 
  • We really love that everything is so centrally located. Makes it really easy to get around.
  • We will say that with everything being centrally located, everyone on the ship is also there. So things like Atrium shows (game shows and such) are extremely crowded. When the theater lets us, it’s also very crowded on these decks. Everyone is basically being funneled through one location. 
  • Elevators on the Bliss: 
    • Elevators are bad on every ship and this is not an exception on the Bliss. 
    • One thing you will notice on the Norwegian Bliss is that there are no mid ship elevators or stair wells. This is due to the Solo Cabins. The Solo Cabins are occupying that space so therefore, no elevators there. This again pushes everyone to the forward and aft elevators so the elevators on the Bliss do tend to be on the busy side, especially at night. But our advice is if you are able bodied, take the stairs. 6,7,8 is nice because it is only 2 decks up from 6 or even 1 deck up from 7. Going down the stairs is of course easier. B
  • One of the prettiest places on the Bliss is the Observation Lounge. Now this is not on deck 6, 7 or 8. Nope it is on Deck 15, all the way at the front of the ship and it is spectacular. It because our favorite hang out spot. The lounge itself is gorgeous. Best views ever. There is also a small buffet there during breakfast and lunch. It’s just a great place to hang out and chill. Watch the scenery. Read a book. Play some cards. It was our very place on board
  • Overall thoughts on the Bliss Design:
    • We like the layout. Everything is straightforward on the Bliss. Walk from front to aft and you will see everything on that deck. No hidden restaurants or anything like that. Very easy to navigate but keep in mind, that everyone on the ship is typically on the 3 inside decks at night. This can lead to a bit of crowding at times when there are shows or activities happening. This is not all the time, but we just wanted to point it out because crowds do happen.


  • Before we start we wanted to explain what Norwegian likes to call Freestyle Cruising. Freestyle cruising basically means do want you want, when you want to do it. We love that philopsophy. So with the freestyle dining, there are no set dining times. It’s just like going to a local restaurant. You show up, put your name on the list and wait until your table is ready. Keep this in mind when thinking about your dining times. Dinner time (6-8) is going to be extremely busy. So there will probably be a line. So if you want to avoid the lines, head to dinner a little earlier or a little later. Of course, we have eaten on Norwegian at all times and I think the longest wait time we had was around 25 min. We always grab a drink and enjoy the evening while we are waiting. 
  • Taste, Savor and the Manhattan – Main Dining Rooms (complimentary B, L, D)
    • Taste and Savor serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and the Manhattan Room serves dinner
    • The food in the main dining rooms is fantastic. We have always enjoyed every meal we have received. The food is great and the options are great as well. 
    • We have cruised with Norwegian many many times and we would have to say that Norwegian Main Dining Room food is always consistently great. It’s not the best food we have had at sea but it is always consistent and we always find something on the menu that we like.
    • Now we should mention that one cool thing about Norwegian sailings are they are completely casual 100% of the time (remember Freestyle Cruising). You can dress how you want. They have designated dress nice nights but you don’t have to dress up if you do not want to. 
    • Keep in mind the main dining rooms at night all serve the same food but the Manhattan Room does have a small dress code. They want you to look nice – smart casual. If you do not want to dress in Smart Casual attire, you can always go to Taste or Savor.
  •  The Garden Cafe (complimentary buffet B, L, D)
    • Really liked the location of the buffet. The views are spectacular. 
    • The food is good. Typical buffet food. Lots of options. 
    • The buffet is huge. 
    • A tip: during busy times, there is usually a second station set up towards the back that repeats what you see in the front. Take a walk all the way to the back and check things out. There is usually less people in the back and less pushing and shoving. We always head to the back of every buffet we visit.
  • The Local (complimentary B, L, D & Snacks)
    • The Local is the pub on board. They have some great food there and it is open 24 hours so if you have a hankering for a hot dog at 2am, you know where to go
  •  Cagneys (specialty D)
    • Steak house on board Norwegian ships. This is typically our favorite restaurant on NCL but our meal wasn’t great. We were actually very disappointed because Cagney’s is typically our gold standard of steak houses at sea but this meal was just bad. 
    • We ended up getting a refund for our meal and got a meal at Los Lobos for free to replace it. That was really nice.
  • Los Lobos (specialty D)
    • Brand new restaurant for Norwegian. Bliss is the 1st ship to have Los Lobos
    • OMG! The best mexican food at sea…or anywhere.
    • This is definitely a recommendation. Where Cagneys fell short, Los Lobos made up for it 10 times
    • Best guacamole – it’s fresh. They prepare it tableside. So yummy
    • The corn, oh my, you have to try the street corn…and ask them to de-husk it. So so good
    • We were definitely in a food coma after Los Lobos.
  • Q (specialty D)
    • BBQ 
    • So so good. 
    • Better BBQ than we have had in Nashville
    • Loved it.
  • Food Republic (specialty D)
    • Food Republic is such a cool restaurant. You order everything on an ipad. It’s tapas style so once your food is ready, it comes to the table. So everything comes in pieces rather than set meals. We really like that. It’s kind of like you are at a dinner party and little foods just keep showing up. 
    • With that said, we didn’t think Food Republic on the Bliss was as good as Food Republic on the Escape. The food we had on the Escape tasted better. 
    • The food was good. It just wasn’t the same standard that we were use to. 
    • If we went back on the Bliss, this is probably one I would skip. Los Lobos and Q are so much better in my opinion.
  • Specialty restaurants we didn’t try on this ship but we have been to on other Norwegian ships
    • La Cucina – italian restaurant 
    • Le Bistro – French Restaurant
    • Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea
    • Ocean Blue – It’s mostly seafood and with Sean’s allergy, we just stay away
    • Teppanyaki – japanese steakhouse


  • Jersey Boys – this is the Broadway show on the Bliss and it is great.
    • The show is all about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
    • Gotta see it. It is great. 
  • The Cavern Club
    • Norwegian has recreated the legendary Liverpool club where the Beatles performed
    • Such a cool environment
    • It is the one thing that we have yet to see. We never seem to get in there. 
    • It is always packed. So if you wanna see this, make it a priority to get there super early and find your spot. 
    • Everyone loves the Cavern Club
  • Happy Hour Prohibition
    • This is an up-charge show but worth every penny
    • This is a drink tasting with a show
    • You enter a New Orleans speakeasy and you are served 5 drinks that are are from the Prohibition era. The show is led by Miss Lulu and her girls and they give you the history of the liquor you are drinking all while performing a burlesque type show. 
    • There is no nudity though.
    • This show was so much fun. Definitely recommend this one.

Onboard Activities

  • Spa 
    • Best thermal spa at sea that we have experienced
    • The whole place is huge. Plenty of seats.
    • The hydro therapy pool is super large. Lots of space for everyone. We really like the waterfall thing in the middle. Turn that sucker on and put your shoulders under that and let your worries just melt away.
    • There is a nice hot tub
    • Lots of heated stone loungers.
    • They have a snow room, a salt room, steam room, and a sauna.
    • We got a day pass while we were in port. We did the spa instead of an excursion. I don’t remember the exact cost but it was around excursion pricing and I thought that was a great way to spend the day
    • They do sell a week pass to the spa as well. So if that interests you, you can book that before you sail. 
    • For us, doing so much all over the ship, the day pass was perfect and I think we actually used it more. We have had week passes in the past and we would spend an hour or 2 a day in there on sea days and we didn’t even go on port days. But with the day pass, we spent the whole day there and used every facility. Loved that
  • Vibe Beach Club – the vibe beach club is a private, adults-only sun deck that is only for a very small number of guests. 
    • There is a bar inside and the servers bring you things like fruit skewers and water spritzers during the day. 
    • There are also hot tubs as well. 
    • It is an awesome place to relax in the sun and not have to worry about finding a chair to sit on
    • Now here is the crazy part about the Vibe and why we don’t bother with it anymore…getting in is somewhat of a sport. The only tickets are available through Guest Services once you get on the ship. This means it is a full on sprint with those who get on first to guest services. Seriously Amazing Race up in there. They do sell out and they sell out fast. I would say it is probably the most sought after thing on the ship.
  •  Laser Tag – There is a full on permanent laser tag set up on the very very top deck, deck 20
    • Looks super fun. I love how it is permanent
    • We had reservations for our one night but it was closed for wind. We weren’t able to get another reservation on another night. We tried to do stand by but because they had so many wind closings, everything was booked. 
    • Advice: Do laser tag as soon as you can just in case they have to move your reservation due to weather. 
  •  Aqua park – We were on the ship in December and it was not warm enough for us.
    • One of the slides is a drop slide that has like 3 loops in it. It is crazy looking. Definitely want to go back when it is warmer and try that one. 
  • Go Karts at Sea – the BEST on board activity we have experienced
    • This is the largest race track at sea and it is amazing (Encore will have a larger track when that is built)
    • It is different at night and during the day
    • We purchased a week long pass which allowed us to ride whenever we wanted, without a reservation. We absolutely loved this because we could go in the morning and we could then go after a show. The choice was ours and the freedom to come and go was awesome
    • They also sell one ride passes and for those you need to make a reservation. Make the reservations as soon as you get on the ship. We bought our passes in The Social and that is also where you make reservations.

Video Review – Norwegian Bliss

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