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MSC Cruises has canceled another month of cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas from Florida ports on three cruise ships.
MSC has extended their pause in cruising from U.S. ports through the end of April 2021.
The cruises canceled include voyages on MSC Meraviglia and MSC Armonia from PortMiami and MSC Divina from Port Canaveral.
Guests paid in full and booked through MSC Cruises USA or affiliated US-based travel advisors on the impacted sailings between April 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021 will be offered a 125 percent future cruise credit (FCC) of the original cruise fare to be used on any future cruise of their choice — on any cruise ship, and any itinerary that is open for sale. They can also request a full refund of their cruise fare.
The 125% FCC provides guests with opportunities to upgrade their stateroom category and add pre-purchases such as specialty dining, beverage packages, Wi-Fi, or spa treatments to their booking.
For additional details, guests should contact their travel advisor or MSC Cruises directly.
MSC Cruises has followed other major cruise lines by canceling cruise operations in the U.S. for even longer. The extension impacts three MSC cruise ships originally planning on resuming cruises from two major Florida homeports.
MSC Cruises Extends Suspension
The cruise line has announced that the suspension on U.S. operations is being extended through all of April 2021. This now means that MSC Cruises won’t resume cruises until May 2021 at the very earliest.
The further suspension impacts three MSC cruise ships set to resume sailings out of two major Florida homeports. Schedules for MSC Divina out of Port Canaveral are now canceled through April, along with sailings from MSC Meraviglia and MSC Armonia out of PortMiami.
Even though it’s a huge disappointment for MSC guests, it doesn’t really come as a surprise. Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line have already suspended cruises into May, and it was just a matter of time until MSC did the same.
MSC Cruises will be making it up to guests who were hoping that their cruises would still go ahead.
Guests who paid in full and booked through MSC Cruises USA or affiliated US-based travel advisors on the impacted sailings between April 1, 2021, and April 30, 2021, will be offered a 125 percent future cruise credit (FCC) of the original cruise fare.
The credit can be used on any future sailings on any ship. Guests can also request a full refund if they no longer want to cruise at all in the future.
Why Another Extension?
It’s taking much longer than first thought to work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on a safe return to operations. We already know that cruise lines are waiting for more specifics and that the new Biden administrations could be another reason.
There is a growing trend that cruise lines might not resume cruises until July. That came after predictions from a Wall Street analyst and comments from Port Canaveral which is a major cruise port in Florida that MSC will operate from.
For now May seems to be the month when cruises resume but the industry has had a number of set backs and we’ve still not seen any test cruises to tress tests new health protocols. We’ll just have to wait and see what direction the CDC provides moving forward.
Not All Doom & Gloom for MSC
Even though we’ve got another extension from MSC today, the cruise line has had some positive news. MSC Grandiosaresumed cruises from Italy on January 24, 2021, and the cruise line is among the very few cruise ships sailings at the moment. In fact, MSC Grandiosa has hosted almost 40,000 guests under MSC Cruises’ new health and safety procedures in the Mediterranean.
The Norwegian Bliss cruise ship is pretty new, only entering service in 2018. As such, the ship features a lot of groundbreaking and cool amenities that you definitely won’t find on any older ships.
If you’ve traveled with Norwegian Cruise Line on sister ships like Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Encore or Norwegian Joy, you’ll be pretty familiar with the type of experience you can expect aboard Norwegian Bliss (although, there’s the one caveat, in that Norwegian Escape stands out as the only ship in this class without an onboard race track).
Built specifically with Alaskan cruising in mind, in 2018, she traveled from its builder in Germany, to New York for christening, then on to Seattle via the Panama Canal.
This is significant primarily because she was the largest cruise ship to ever travel the canal at the time. She sailed Alaskan cruises throughout much of the 2018 summer, then moving on to the Mexico Riviera and then the Caribbean.
Wherever you want to cruise in the near future, though, if you’re considering a Norwegian Bliss cruise, there are a few things you may want to know. Here’s an overview of all the must-know facts and features for this magnificent cruise ship, as well as all the details on things to do when you’re finally on board.
It follows just behind Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas, which are all just a mere few hundred GT larger than Norwegian Bliss.
One cool feature? Norwegian Bliss’s hull was designed by Robert Wyland, an artist who’s renowned for his wildlife art and life-sized whale murals that can be spotted all around the world. Fittingly, the Norwegian Bliss hull features a pod of huge whales.
Norwegian Bliss is a member of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus class. The Breakaway Plus class is a bigger, better version of the cruise line’s previous Breakaway class, which includes ships Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway.
As mentioned above, the three NCL cruise ships are pretty much the same, and then Norwegian Escape stands out as having fewer amenities and being on the smaller side (so it offers an experience a bit more similar to the original Breakaway class — which makes sense, given that it was the very first Breakaway Plus-class ship).
Norwegian Bliss Staterooms
Of course, one of the first things you’ll want to know about your cruising experience? What kind of stateroom you’ll be staying in. Even if you don’t plan on spending a ton of time in your stateroom, you still want to pick it with care, for the best cruising experience possible. Norwegian Bliss offers…
1,088 balcony staterooms
308 mini-suite staterooms
111 ocean-view staterooms
374 interior staterooms
82 studio staterooms
Less than 100 Haven staterooms (which we’ll get to in a moment)
Overall, the staterooms aboard Norwegian Bliss are elegant, sleek and upgraded. You’ll definitely be able to tell the ship’s young age just by looking at them.
Rather than having a bright, bold, Caribbean resort-style aesthetic, they’re more refined and sophisticated, with white linens, accent lighting, dark carpet and plush seating arrangements.
Since balcony staterooms are the most popular option aboard the ship, it would be no surprise if you found yourself with one of these. Balcony staterooms offer a little more room than, say, the interior or studio staterooms, with couches, bar areas and, of course, a large balcony accessible via floor-to-ceiling glass doors.
Norwegian Bliss Haven Staterooms
If you want an upgrade over your traditional stateroom, though, you can opt for the Haven experience, which is basically Norwegian Bliss’s VIP offering.
The Haven is an off-limits area of the ship where only Haven passengers reside. There are gorgeous suites as well as a range of amenities open only to Haven guests. The Haven area offers…
2 deluxe owner’s suites
5 2-bedroom family villas
24 courtyard penthouses
24 aft-facing penthouses
14 forward-facing penthouses
5 connecting staterooms
6 spa suites
Haven accommodations are extra-luxurious, and more like a hotel penthouse or villa than any cruise ship stateroom that you’ve likely seen.
Think tons of windows and great ocean views, plenty of seating no matter how large your party might be and all the finest furnishings money can buy. Haven guests enjoy access to a superior concierge service and a private Haven sundeck.
Norwegian Bliss Fare Inclusions
Of course, after you book your stateroom, you might find yourself thinking… Now what? What do I get with that purchase? It is a cruise, after all? Should it be all-inclusive?
Well, if you’re new to the world of cruising, that’s not exactly how it works. On most cruise lines, you receive a fair amount of stateroom fare inclusions, and then other items are an additional fee.
For example, when you’re on a Norwegian Bliss cruise, you’ll enjoy complimentary….
Meals at main dining rooms, the buffet and a handful of select restaurants, as well as select room service options
Access to the main theater
Most daily events
Access to the gym
Access to the outdoor fun (water park, sporting areas, etc.)
This leaves out all of the other things you might want to enjoy during your cruise, like alcoholic beverages, spa treatments, special classes and access to some of the coolest amenities like the go-kart track and laser tag arena.
Norwegian Bliss Restaurants
Norwegian Cruise Line is somewhat known for its stellar dining options, but there’s just one problem: most of those stellar dining options come with additional fees.
When you’re on a Norwegian Bliss cruise, you do get access to nine different complimentary dining options (if you stay in The Haven; everyone else gets seven options).
It could very well be enough to keep you satisfied for the entirety of your cruise, but you also may find yourself tempted by the wider array of specialty dining options.
Complimentary Dining Options:
The Garden Cafe buffet
Select room service
Savor Restaurant (classic and contemporary dining)
Studio Lounge (light bites)
Taste Restaurant (inspiring, modern plates)
The Local (a 24-hour pub)
The Manhattan Room (a main dining room with dancing)
The two extra Haven guest-only restaurants are The Haven Lounge, for cocktails and light bites, and The Haven Restaurant, for private indoor and outdoor fine dining.
Specialty Dining Options
If you decide to splurge and try one of the specialty dining options, you have a whopping 16 options to choose from, and each restaurant offers something completely different. There’s…
Cagney’s Steakhouse, for your classic steakhouse fare
Coco’s, for sweet treats and crepes
Dolce Gelato, for gelato, of course
Food Republic, for international cuisine
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville at Sea, for Buffet-style burgers and margaritas
Teppanyaki, for Japanese cuisine
Q, for Texas-style barbecue
Ocean Blue, for waterfront seafood cuisine
Los Lobos, for upscale Mexcian food
Le Bistro French Restaurant, for great views and a great French menu
La Cucina Italian Restaurant, for Tuscan cuisine
The Bake Shop, for standard baked goods
The Cellars, for light Italian-themed bites alongside wine
The District Brew House, for pub eats and beers
Vibe Beach Club, for adults-only drinks
As you can see, there’s a lot of different dining options to choose from, once you branch out and start exploring the for-a-fee restaurants. One thing’s for sure — you’ll never go hungry on the cruise ship!
Norwegian Bliss Bars and Lounges
Did you think the places to wine and dine were done? Nope — she’s is just getting started. There are even more spots to pull up to the bar and enjoy a drink with a snack or two, or possibly some live music and dancing.
Your bar and lounge options on a Norwegian Bliss cruise include:
The A-List Bar (for handcrafted cocktails)
Atrium Bar (for mingling and wine)
Chill Bar (for Margaritaville-adjacent drinks)
Garden Cafe Bar (for great views and drinks)
Maltings Whiskey Bar (for international spirits and beers)
Mixx Bar (for the perfect cocktail)
Skyline Bar (for a casino-side drink)
The Cavern Club (for live music and a Beatles theme)
Sugarcane Mojito Bar (for your favorite Caribbean cocktails)
Spice H2O (for adults-only fun)
Studio Lounge (a space for single travelers to mingle)
Social Comedy & Night Club (for stand-up sets and dancing)
The Humidor Cigar Lounge (for smoking and drinks)
The Local (for a sports bar vibe)
Waves Pool Bar (for poolside drinks)
Norwegian Bliss Entertainment
While you might need a reservation to attend one of ship’s shows, you can rest easy knowing that most main entertainment in the theaters is free of charge.
The highly-rated shows include some of your favorite Broadway hits, like Jersey Boys. Other options include a burlesque-style musical with a prohibition theme, a Beatles cover band and stand-up comedy.
Norwegian Bliss Deck Fun
The entertainment options aboard Norwegian Bliss aren’t simply limited to indoor fun and theatrical shows. You also have a ton of adrenaline-pumping activities and ways to lounge about, outdoors.
There are two pools aboard the ship, including the main pool on Deck 16 and another that’s more kid-friendly, also on Deck 16. There are four hot tubs on Deck 17 that overlook the ship’s side.
The adult’s only outdoor deck does not have a pool, unfortunately, but there is a hot tub and waterfall. Another adults-only, for-a-fee outdoor deck (Vibe Beach Club) has a hot tub as well.
Of course, you can’t miss the electric go-karts. The huge, 1,000-foot-long racetrack extends over two levels and accommodates 10 cruisers at once. You can race around the track at up to 30 miles per hour, so there are sure to be some thrills. This is one feature you won’t want to miss.
There’s also the laser tag course, which is outside. This fun, one-of-a-kind feature is a memorable family activity and best experienced during the evening hours, when the lights are on.
There are two water slides on Deck 17. One shoots you out over the edge of the ship, with clear tubing to give you a heart-dropping view. The other is a two-person, inner tube water slide. A special splash zone for kids is nearby.
If you want to stay dry of both pool water and sweat, you can take a nap in the shade on one of the many sun decks. There are sun decks on both Decks 16 and 17, and some are adults-only, including Spice H20 and Vibe Beach Club (with the latter requiring an extra entry fee).
Norwegian Bliss Children’s Programming
Even if all of the above is enough to keep you and your entire family entertained, you can still find even more for the kids to enjoy, courtesy of the ship’s children’s programming.
Splash Academy is located on Deck 5 and offers programming for various age groups, including teens. Children’s programming is available nearly all day long, until 10:30 p.m. After that, babysitting services are available for a fee.
This is very handy, considering many of the indoor public spaces are not that kid-friendly and even the ones that are may not appeal to your kids (they might find the fancier dining options and live music to be a real snooze fest).
In other words, while Norwegian Bliss is family-friendly, it’s not necessarily 100% family-oriented, in the ways some other cruise lines might be.
Ready to Book Your Norwegian Bliss Cruise?
We wouldn’t blame you at all. With so much to do, see and enjoy, this new ship offers it all in style.
Norwegian Bliss FAQ
Can you smoke on the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship?
Cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipes are only permitted in the ship’s designated smoking areas. These areas are indoor and outdoor public spaces as well as designated smoking lounges, cigar bars, and the casino for players.
Is the Norwegian Bliss one of the biggest ships in the cruise industry?
At over 168,000 tons, the Norwegian Bliss ranks among the top ten largest cruise vessels of all time, and it is the largest in Norwegian’s line of cruise ships.
Is it expensive to cruise with Norwegian Bliss?
If you are budget conscious but still want an incredible trip your entire family will enjoy, then Norwegian Bliss is definitely worth the booking and offers affordable cruise fare options for select sailings.
What is a Freestyle Cruising concept?
This cruising concept was first pioneered by Norwegian Cruise Line. They eliminated set schedules and instead allow the passengers to decide when they want to eat and where they want to eat. It allows passengers to have much more in the way of flexibility.
Do I need a passport for a Norwegian Bliss cruise?
United States citizens that are taking “closed loop” cruises are not required to have a passport. This kind of cruise begins and ends at the same US location. For this, you will need your certified birth certificate and a government issued ID.
Most cruise lines, with closed loop itineraries or not, strongly recommend that you obtain a passport. Some destinations do require a valid US passport and sometimes a multiple entry visa. There is no need for a passport on a Hawaii cruise, for example, but you will need one if you choose the Panama Canal cruise.
What are the required documents for Norwegian Cruise Line?
Again, they strongly recommend that all passengers carry a valid US passport. In addition, they may need to provide proof of citizenship such as a certified birth certificate and a government issued ID. A US citizen under the age of 16, however, does not require a government issued photo ID.
What are the accommodation options on the Norwegian Bliss?
The Haven offers some of the most luxurious and lavish accommodations aboard the ship and provides passengers with amazing ocean views, a wet bar, and spacious balconies.
There is also a king size bed, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. The Haven Penthouse option boasts of a private balcony, a king size bed, and a single sofa bed. No matter your family size or needs, there is something to accommodate everyone on board the ship.