Peter Morrell and his wife spend two very indulgent days enjoying the food, facilities and sheer fun of NCL’s impressive new offspring
My fondness for cruising increases with every voyage but after two days on NCL Bliss it leapt up factorially. It was a combination of culinary magic, comfortable environment and a mix of activities and entertainment that made the trip so engaging.
NCL Bliss was built in Germany and launched in April 2018 so it is bang up to date in terms of amenities and décor. My wife and I recently boarded the ship in Bremerhaven for a leisurely cruise back to Southampton. First sight of the new vessel was impressive, the bow graphics have been created by Robert Wyland, famed for his sea life works. Wyland’s inspiration for the artwork featuring whales and other marine animals came from the summer cruises that NCL Bliss will be making to Alaska.
The ship itself is large and roomy, and the statistics are mind-boggling, it’s nearly 1000 feet long, has 20 decks, 27 dining options and 14 bars serving up to 4004 passengers. Its sheer size means that the cabins are spacious and very comfortable with a sofa, well-appointed bathroom, and a large balcony where you can soak up the sun and the sea views.
If you think you would find the size of the ship overwhelming there is a novel concept on board called The Haven. It’s a private area with suites, it’s own pool, dining room, lounge and observation space, There are concierge and butler services so it’s the ultimate luxury experience and you may even rub shoulders with an A list celeb.
Outside is The Waterfront, an amazing quarter mile long promenade right next to the ocean. You can stroll around it and on the way visit the ice cream parlour, dine al fresco in a number of restaurants or watch the sun go down over a mojito.
Outside – The Attractions
You can spend all day outside, for those who want a cool vibe then Spice H2O is a floating Ibizian beach club, chill in the hot tub with a cold cocktail and as day turns to night things hot up as you dance under the stars in front of the mega video screen. For an even more relaxing experience, the Vibe Beach Club will give you peace and tranquillity. If its adrenaline that turns you on then around the main pool area on the top deck the Ocean Loops free fall aqua slide flips you over the side of the ship more than 150 feet above the ocean. More sedate aqua slides including a tandem are there for both kids and adults.
If you want full-on fast action then you can indulge in a laser tag adventure or drive a mini sports car around the double deck race track which at 1000 feet is the longest afloat.
Inside – Bars and Lounges
Inside with 14 bars to choose from there is something for every taste, craft beer enthusiasts can indulge themselves from a choice of 50 bottled and 24 draft beers, The Cellars are a must visit for the wine buff and the Maltings Whiskey Bar is for anyone who fancies a wee dram or three. For sheer style head off to the double height Observation Lounge with wrap around forward facing panoramic windows. It’s easy to imagine sipping a cocktail while marvelling at the majesty of the Alaskan glaciers.
After a refresh in the cabin bathroom’s multi-level spray shower, an evening of cocktails, food and entertainment awaits. Choose your venue to relax and enjoy an aperitif before dinner, every bar has got expert mixologists and if you are on the Premium All Inclusive package then all drinks are free.
Although we kept to our daily routine you can eat when you like and choose to sit ‘a deux’ or with a party. Another attractive aspect was the dress code, smart casual was the norm and there is no mandatory dinner jacket night.
My wife and I thought that the food on board was one of the highlights and it was all exceptional. There are four restaurants included in the cost of the cruise and a wide range of speciality supplementary eateries offering many tempting culinary styles. Our lunches were taken in the complimentary Savor dining room. Standouts were the hand chopped beef hamburger and the frittata which were both pitch perfect.
The choices for dinner were almost overwhelming ranging from Tuscan to Teppanyaki and Tacos to Texan BBQ. On our first night we chose the steak house Cagneys, and although the steaks were tempting on the menu was a mix of fish cooked ‘a la planche’ that was beautifully executed. Dinner on the second night was in the modestly named Le Bistro which had delights like foie gras and scallops, on land the quality of the food and service would have had the restaurant boasting a Michelin star. The matched wines on both evenings were red and white burgundies from the well-respected house of Louis Jadot.
After dinner, the next high spot was a West End quality show, we saw a well-staged version of The Jersey Boys one night and Havana, an upbeat Cuban musical specially written and directed for NCL. This could be the first show that reverses the norm and goes from ship to Broadway.
The show finishes at around 11.30pm but the night was still young, you can visit the Cavern for a walk down memory lane with the bootleg Beatles or go to The Social Comedy and Nightclub that morphs from stand-up fun to funk as the night progresses.
After all this, there is just enough time for a nightcap in one of the bars before a good night’s sleep to prepare for another day of non-stop enjoyment. If you feel a little jaded in the morning then book a treatment in the Mandara Spa. Take a dip in the Vitality Pool, breath easily in the Salt Room or chill out in the Snow Room.
This was a memorable trip and we reluctantly left the ship at Southampton after two days of utter heaven on the aptly named NCL Bliss.
NCL Bliss is based in Seattle offering voyages to Alaska in the summer and operates from Miami in the winter cruising to the Caribbean
NCL has sixteen ships in its fleet all offering similar facilities to Bliss. Cruises are available from North America, Europe, Latin American, Asia and Australasia
For full details and to book go to
For a taste of NCL Bliss watch the video below