Cruise & Travel Lifestyles

Insider’s View: Pure BLISS

Insider’s View: Pure BLISS

With the arrival of the Bliss, Norwegian has definitely raised the bar and is providing a solidly upscale onboard experience. This is a really elegant and sophisticated ship with special public spaces that offer a true sense of luxury – such as in the amazing 180-degree Observation Lounge.

Designed to fit well on any 5-star vessel, the expansive Observation Lounge with its remarkable viewing vantage points is ideal for Alaskan cruising. It’s cleverly designed with intimate spots for reading, loungers for relaxing, dark wood bookcases and floor-to-ceiling windows for ocean-gazing. The calming color palette of silver, black, beige and dark grey is warm and welcoming. Light snacks, continental breakfast and a casual lunch are served here and it also has a circular bar anchoring the room’s centre at the bow of the ship, a small stage and a dance floor. All in all – it’s a perfect spot and will prove very popular at all times of the day.

Ocean Blue Restaurant features fresh seafood specialties.

The extensive range of dining choices on the Norwegian Bliss is impressive, and ranges from top-of-the-line alternative restaurants to the casual choice of family-friendly The Local, open 24-hours. There are restaurants to suit every taste, every mood and practically any cuisine choice – a stellar line-up. Try the hip dining scene at Food Republic, which serves both small and large plates of global cuisine or the new Coco’s for yummy desserts and sweet treats. Fresh seafood is found at the exquisite Ocean Blue on Deck 8 of the Atrium space and the jewel box French restaurant Le Bistro is always a winner, now offering a wonderful view from the top of the ship.

Perennial favorite steakhouse Cagneys on Deck 8 offers indoor and outdoor dining and the cocktail line-up at the A-list Bar, which is the pre-dinner cocktail spot for both that steakhouse and the new Los Lobos for upscale Mexican, is a great choice before or after dinner. And don’t forget the ever-popular Margaritaville for great burgers any time.

The ship has three main restaurants, the largest of which is the Manhattan Room with its elegant art deco theme, partial two-story ceiling height and floor-to-ceiling ocean views. Guests have the opportunity to also choose from sister restaurants, Taste and Savor which sit opposite each other, with the fun bar Mixx in the centre. These are smaller and more intimate than the larger dining room but equally lovely.

The Tony Award-winning show, Jersey Boys, on stage.

The onboard entertainment is typically top-notch with so many phenomenal choices, it’s hard to choose. Make sure to see one of the highlights – Norwegian’s own in-house production, ¡Havana!, set in 1950s Cuba. Everything about this show is fabulous, with great singers and dancers, gorgeous costumes and fun tunes – it’s standing-ovation worthy. Headlining as the marquee offering is the Tony Award-winning show, Jersey Boys, which also wowed the guests – a definite must-see.

Take a ride down Penny Lane and hit the Cavern Club where a fantastic Beatles tribute band performs – they do great justice to the Fab Four and this spot was packed every night. Other options include a comedy club, country music in the new Q Texas BBQ Smokehouse dining venue and bands and singers in lounges that offer music for every taste. Norwegian is hitting new heights with electrifying entertainment across the board.

Nighttime fun on the world's first go-kart racetrack at sea.

It’s time to rev up the excitement and take the fun outdoors for some exhilarating rides of all kinds on the action-packed Bliss. The debut of the world’s first Go-Kart racetrack at sea provides huge fun for everyone so put the pedal to the metal on this cutting-edge experience as you drive for eight laps, twisting and turning on the ship’s top deck. Naturally, there is water excitement aplenty at the Aqua Park – two multi-story slides, one with two see-through loops, one of which extends over the side of the ship and a second slide that zooms and whirls down to the deck below. Race your friends on the tandem Aqua Racer waterslide and try the new ultimate Laser Tag Adventure – all the attractions are getting great reviews and providing exciting firsts for North America and Norwegian.

For the ultimate, special sailing experience, the luxurious Haven enclave (private key card access for this ship within a ship) is impressive and definitely hits the 5-star standard. Situated forward on Decks 17 and 18 with 80 rooms and suites, it is fabulous. There are a few Haven Suites located on Deck 15, not in the enclave but with total access to same. And again, with a nod to Alaska viewing of glaciers and wildlife, the two-story Horizon Lounge at the ship’s bow is incredible.

The Haven's exclusive Horizon Lounge at the bow of the ship.

The ocean-view Haven restaurant is also exquisite as are all the public and outdoor deck spaces along with the pool area. For some extra pampering from your own butler, a little privacy or a special occasion, the Haven is worth the premium price as every amenity is outstanding. There is great attention to detail throughout the ship – from the gorgeous art and sculptures, and amazing, clever, even whimsical lighting – to the delicate fabrics and textures, to the overall design and the extensive thought put into Norwegian Bliss.

A Haven Courtyard penthouse suite.

Guests will appreciate the bold statement made with this ship and how the cruise line is taking things to a new level and emerging in a different way. Fans of Norwegian Cruise Line will be utterly delighted with the chic and sophisticated style of the Bliss!

Written by Vanessa Lee. Originally published in Cruise & Travel Lifestyles Fall/Winter 2018 issue. Main photo: Norwegian Bliss in Alaska. All photos courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.