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Romance. Adventure. Drama. The Mexican Riviera has it all. Take a quick boat ride to Land’s End and explore secluded beaches and dramatic rock formations, including the famed Los Arcos. A scenic drive along the coastline of Mazatlán offers stunning ocean views, while cliff divers take your breath away. Sample the goods at Hacienda Doña Engracia, one of the finest tequila factories in Old Mexico. This is the Baja. And your story is just getting started.

Discover Why Norwegian To The Mexican Riviera?

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Sail on one of the youngest and most modern fleet in the Mexican Riviera.

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With up to 18 dining options in the Mexican Riviera, there is something for everyone’s taste buds on board a Norwegian cruise.

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Discovering the ease of cruising with more choices of what to do and see, and more freedom to do it your way. That’s the beauty of Freestyle Cruising on Norwegian Cruise Line. Unpacking once and journeying from port to remarkable port. Exploring by day then relaxing in our soothing spa before dancing until all hours. Enjoying a variety of onboard activities, one-of-a-kind entertainment, plus more dining options than days of the week. Dressing up or going casual. Dining with friends or savoring a romantic dinner à deux. Doing what delights you with no restrictive schedules, ever. Because your vacation is exactly that — yours.

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That’s because we invented Freestyle Dining in 2000, a revolutionary concept of no fixed dining times or pre-assigned seating and more dining choices than any other cruise line. And we do it better than anyone else by continuing to keep things fresh. From the fine products we use, to our handcrafted cooking process and enticing presentations, you can taste our passion on every plate. So enjoy a four-course meal and a great bottle of wine. Or grab a burger hot off the grill. Dress up. Dress down. Sit with your friends or make new ones. Only Norwegian offers incredible culinary experiences with this much freedom and flexibility on a fleet of ships specially built with restaurants from bow to stern.

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Families play better together on Norwegian. From dodgeball to cupcake decorating, there are lots of activities all over our ships. Kids can learn to juggle at Circus School in Splash Academy, and teens have the coolest themed parties in Entourage – our complimentary youth programs. So whether you’re getting a gold medal in a family-fun challenge or dressing up as pirate for our ship scavenger hunts, these are the moments you'll remember.

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Your good morning just got great. How could it not, when you’re enjoying stunning views and ocean breezes from your private balcony? Or maybe you’re living it up in luxury at the very top of our ships in The Haven by Norwegian. Choose from a wide range of accommodations including Spa Suites and Oceanview staterooms. Plus, our Family Suites are a hop, skip and jump away from Splash Academy, our amazing youth area for kids. So kick off your shoes wherever you like and feel at home – at sea.

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Mexican Riviera Cruise Ports & Shore Excursions

From desert to jungles, quiet fishing villages to teeming cities, a rocky outcrop, or a white sand beach, the Mexican Riviera has a little of everything. Stretching from Cabo San Lucas in the north to Huatulco in the south, the Pacific coast of Mexico is home to seven jewels in a crown and a great variety of Mexican Riviera Cruise Excursions. Cabo, Mazatlan, and Iztapa are more resort in feeling, while Manzanillo and Huatulco still have more of the old Mexico feel. Then there is Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco which have a little of everything.

Life in Mexico takes place outdoors. Whether you are in the jungles of the south, the desert of the Baja, the wine region of Ensenada, on a sandy beach, or in a wildlife-rich lagoon, there is something for everyone when it comes to cruise shore excursions in the Mexican Riviera.

Whereas the Caribbean (east) side of Mexico has more of the Mayan history in uncovered ruins and pyramids, the Pacific coast has many remnants from the Colonial period (1521 - 1821) which began when the Spanish conquered the last great civilization of Mexico, the Aztecs. Missions, haciendas, and even complete Colonial towns with tree-shaded plazas and elaborately sculpted churches and mansions remain as mementos.

The Mexican Riviera is hot! The climate ranges from temperate to hot and leads to a life spent largely in the open air, near the water by day, breaks mid-day (siesta) strolling after sunset, and wearing light cotton clothing.

For adventure shore excursion lovers, there are zip lines, dune buggies, ATV tours, scuba, snorkeling, mountain biking, and hiking. For those wanting a little less activity, there is sightseeing, whale watching, cliff diving shows, tequila tasting, and shopping for Mexico's famous silver.

Most people have never had real Mexican food, only American ideas of what Mexican food should be. Rarely in Mexico will you find food labeled "hot" or "Diablo" unless you are at an American fast food outlet. Real Mexican food, with fresh meats, seafood, and vegetables, is marinated in spices or mixed with spices, not buried in spicy sauces. Although chilies are a big part of many recipes, of the 12 most popular chilies used in Mexican cooking, most of them are mild. The ones with a kick are for salsas and relish and are used sparingly. Unique agave-based liquors and Mexican wines add a perfect touch to the meal. Local beers and fresh fruit juices (with or without local rum or tequila) are a great way to combat the heat and refresh while on one of our many shore excursions on the Mexican Riviera.

A memorable part of your Mexico cruise excursion experience will be the local people. Whether it is the shy indigenous villager or the city kid with his smartphone, they seem to have a few more drops of hospitality in their veins. They love life, they love fiestas, they don't worry about timetables so much... In short, most of us should be more like them!

Enjoy our selected and unique Cruise Shore Excursions on the Mexican Riviera with Shore Excursioneer!

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Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera Cruises

Sparkling waters and hidden shipwrecks await you on a Norwegian Cruise Line cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Visit ports-of-call that truly pack a punch, like Cabo San Lucas—a luxurious and exotic place filled with romance, seclusion, and fine sunny days, which will relax and inspire you. Enrich yourself and learn of the Mexican Riviera’s history by visiting the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Test your courage and dive from a 45-foot cliff, or slide down a zip line with the Mexican breeze whipping at your cheeks. Enjoy the Mexican Riviera in the right way and choose Norwegian Cruise Line for your next cruise vacation.

Things to Do on a Mexican Riviera Cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line

Say “Ole” to a wonderful trip to the Mexican Riviera with Norwegian Cruise Line. You’ll be able to learn about making chocolate, spot birds in the wetlands and spend a day at the beach.

Norwegian Cruise Line historic architecture in Mazatlan Mexico

  • Old Mazatlan Walking Tour (Mazatlan, Mexico) Start your tour with a ride down the scenic oceanfront of Mazatlan, where you’ll see lighthouses and quaint islands. Then you’ll visit the downtown area where you can find an impressive cathedral and a perfect little shopping district, or a cove to swim in and get some sun.  

Norwegian Cruise Line gourmet maya glyphs in dark chocolate

  • Izapa Ruins & Chocolate Discovery (Puerto Chiapas) Stand in the place of what was once the home of a great civilization, a melting pot of civilizations. Afterwards, you’ll get to visit the home of cocoa bean processing, the Chocolate Discovery, including the chance to sample local fare and see crafts of the region.  

Norwegian Cruise Line beach and ocean at Mazatlan Mexico

  • ATV Mazatlan Beach Adventure (Mazatlan) For a day of thrills and high speeds, choose this exciting Norwegian excursion. Drive along the Pacific oceanfront on your ATV as you enjoy a superb breeze, some views and then finally lunch. Make your own quesadilla, and have a nice drink before heading back to the ship.  

Norwegian Cruise Line yacht with tourists near Mexican pacific coast of Huatulco

  • Five Bays Catamaran & Swim (Huatulco) The bays of this area are famous, so why not take advantage of the jewels of the region? You can view the beauty of the forestry and surrounding resorts, as well as the rock formations of Organo Bay, followed by a trip to the Santa Cruz Bay. Swimming recommended!  

Norwegian Cruise Line Colorful buildings in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

  • Town, Country & Tequila (Puerto Vallarta) Blend the mystery of old Mexico and the charm of the new way of life with this excursion. From local churches to shopping stops, you’ll enjoy the region, and then comes the tequila. Learn the manufacturing process, explore the grounds and, of course, savor that incredible Mexican flavor!  

Norwegian Cruise Line Mazatlan Mexico coastline

  • Estuaries & Birdwatching Expedition (Mazatlan) Nature lovers, and bird enthusiasts particularly, take note of this unique opportunity. Your boat will make a trip to a nearby estuary filled with miles and miles of mangroves, as well as some very exciting attractions. Then you’ll head into the wetlands for some serious bird watching and picture taking, followed by a tasty seafood lunch!  

Top 10 Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera Cruises

  • Norwegian Bliss 5 Night Mexican Riviera - Los Angeles (LAX/LAX) Departing From Los Angeles, California (Oct 2024 - Mar 2026)
  • Norwegian Bliss 7 Night Mexican Riviera - Los Angeles (LAX/LAX) Departing From Los Angeles, California (Nov 2024 - Apr 2026)
  • Norwegian Joy 7 Night Mexican Riviera - Los Angeles (LAX/LAX) Departing From Los Angeles, California (Dec 2024 - Apr 2025)
  • Norwegian Encore 7 Night Mexican Riviera - Los Angeles (LAX/LAX) Departing From Los Angeles, California (Dec 2025 - Jan 2026)
  • Norwegian Encore 5 Night Mexican Riviera - Los Angeles (LAX/LAX) Departing From Los Angeles, California (Jan 2026)
  • Norwegian Jade 7 Night Mexican Riviera - San Diego (SAN/SAN) Departing From San Diego, California (Mar 2026 - Apr 2026)

Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera Departure Ports

Learn more about your potential departure ports for a Mexican Riviera cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. Your Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera cruise could leave from any of the following cities:

Los Angeles, California

The possibilities are endless when cruising to or from the City of Angels. Let your inner rock star shine as you explore the many wonders of Los Angeles, California.

San Diego, California

San Diego, California

Situated on the Pacific Ocean, San Diego is known for its near perfect weather, beautiful beaches and abundance of activities.

Photo Gallery for Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera Cruises

Browse our photo gallery of Mexican Riviera cruising photos from Norwegian Cruise Line. Keep in mind, this is just a sample of the sights waiting for you on a Norwegian Cruise Line Mexican Riviera cruise vacation.

Mazatlan Mexico Norwegian Cruise Line

Mazatlan, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta buildings Mexico Norwegian Cruise

Buildings in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Gourmet Maya glyphs Mexico Norwegian Cruise

Gourmet Maya glyphs in dark chocolate

Architecture in Mazatlan Mexico Norwegian Cruise

Architecture in Mazatlan, Mexico

Mazatlan Mexico Coastline Norwegian Cruise

Mazatlan, Mexico Coastline

Huatulco Mexico Coast Norwegian Cruise

Huatulco, Mexico Coast

Acapulco Bay

Acapulco Bay

Cabo Lands End rocks in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo Lands End rocks in Cabo San Lucas

Mazatlan Mexico Norwegian Cruise Line

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Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review on a Mexican Riviera Cruise

I didn’t have to be asked twice when I received an invite to sail on Norwegian Bliss’ first cruise out of the port of Los Angeles after the pandemic pause. Finally, I’d have time to do a complete Norwegian Bliss cruise review.

That’s because my only cruise aboard Norwegian Bliss was a transatlantic crossing when the ship first launched in 2018.

On my first cruise onboard Norwegian Bliss, I’d spent much of my time running around getting info for a super detailed review, interviewing the hotel director, and actually writing.

So, I hadn’t had much time to truly enjoy the ship. This time, I’d have more time to relax and take in all the ship had to offer. 

Norwegian Bliss ship profile

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Review

Fast facts .

Year built: 2018 Year refurbished: n/a Weight: 167,800 Decks: 20 Passengers at double occupancy: 4,004 Crew: 1,700 Total staterooms: 2,043

COVID-19 Protocols

Norwegian Cruise Line has some of the strictest COVID-19 protocols in the industry, but because of this, all NCL sailings are maskless.

For our sailing from a U.S. port, all passengers 12 years and older and crew had to be fully vaccinated (14 days past the final shot). Proof of vaccination was required. 

All guests over the age of 2 were required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test given by a verified third party or by a medically supervised home test within 48 hours of embarkation. Digital or printed proof of negative results are needed to board.

Onboard the ship, the crew wears masks, but guests don’t need to. We saw some folks opting for masks, especially as the cruise went on (and after the port stops), but most people enjoyed living without masks for a change. 

Welcome Aboard Norwegian Bliss

Embarkation at the port of Los Angeles is endless. My sailing was the first for this ship since the cruise pause, so things might speed up a bit over time.

But the layout at the port, combined with the line’s strict protocols, makes it almost impossible to speed up significantly. (This will change after January 16, 2022, when the cruise line does not administer its own pre-cruise COVID-19 tests.)

The line tries to control the crowds at the port by assigning a check-in time, but even so, the queue to show proof of vaccination and set up your on-site COVID-19 test is long. Once you get past this first part, waiting for the actual COVID test is less than a minute. Then it’s on to the waiting area.

I got my test results in about 10 minutes. If you’ve provided your cell number, you’ll receive a text message saying your test results are in (this means you passed the test).

If you’re not using a cell phone, you’ll need to watch for your “number” to be projected on the wall. This seemed to take longer as my number still hadn’t been shown by the time I’d had my text message checked and moved on to the next step… outside to wait for a shuttle van that goes to the terminal for check-in. 

That’s another 20-to-30-minute wait. There are separate lines for different loyalty levels and suite (The Haven) guests here.

RELATED:  Norwegian Takes Delivery of Norwegian Prima!

Our Mexican Riviera Itinerary

  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Cabo San Lucas

First Impressions

Norwegian Bliss is a beautiful ship. Unlike any of NCL’s older vessels, it has a sophisticated feel, all neutral grays, and muted blues. What stands out more than anything as you walk the ship for the first time is how much there is to do.

norwegian-bliss-go-kart track

Bars and restaurants are everywhere. Plus, waterslides, Go-Kart racing, and laser tag. There’s a comedy club, Broadway shows (two of them!), and The Beatles cover band. There are multiple sun decks and pools.

Norwegian Bliss main pool deck

There’s the Waterfront, where you can dine out or enjoy your favorite tipple in the fresh air with gorgeous sea views. 

The stunning Observation Deck has floor-to-ceiling windows, upholstered loungers, and tables for quiet card games with friends. In fact, the Observation Deck is one of the most popular spots on board. If you want one of those comfy loungers, you’ll have to get there early in the a.m. to claim it.

Norwegian Bliss Observation Lounge

But there’s more to all those bars, restaurants, and activities than their appeal. A lot of the venues come a fee.

The restaurants? They’re almost all a la carte, which can add up quickly. But the food is oh so good. 

The Go-Kart and laser tag? There’s a per-turn fee for that too. Even some of the deck space (Vibe Beach Club) costs extra. 

The number of for-fee venues was initially overwhelming. I quickly learned you can have a great time on the ship without paying anything extra. (Well, maybe a meal or two in some specialty restaurants.)

The Broadway shows in the main theater are free and top-notch. The Beatles cover band is also free and a blast. The food in the MDRs is excellent. And, had I been up for it, the waterslides are also free! 

Norwegian Bliss Standard Balcony Stateroom

I didn’t spend much time in my standard balcony cabin (room 11110) on Norwegian Bliss – too much to do elsewhere! The room is somewhat smaller than you’ll find on most other cruise lines (as is the case with most of Norwegian’s standard) rooms, but it’s still comfortable for two people. 

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Stateroom Hits and Misses

In my opinion, there are several design flaws. For one, there’s not a single drawer in the room. Call me crazy, but some things (like underwear and socks) just don’t fit as well on a shelf as they do in a drawer. 

Second, the closet is the worst located closet on any cruise ship I’ve ever been on. It’s built into the wall that separates the main room from the bathroom. You have to shimmy your way between one side of the bed and the closet to get to it. Totally inconvenient. 

The closets have plenty of hanging space; you can ask for extra hangars if you need them. The other side of the closet has several shelves, including one with the safe on it.

I was cruising solo, so I had plenty of room for my clothes. With my husband, it probably would have been a much tighter squeeze for all our clothing. 

READ NEXT:  PHOTO TOUR OF NORWEGIAN BLISS PUBLIC SPACES

Here’s What I Loved About the Room

The shelf space in the bathroom: two extended, narrow faux wooden shelves, a long counter, and four suspended glasses, which I used for my toothbrush and toothpaste. Oh, and the shower has a glass door. So much better than those clingy plastic curtains! 

Hooks! So, few cruise lines put hooks by the door to hang things like jackets, sweaters, or baseball caps. In fact, I almost always bring magnetic hooks with me because I know I won’t have any place to hang these things. On Norwegian Bliss, my room had two!

Electric outlets: There were plenty of outlets, including regular outlets by the desk and a USB port on either side of the bed. 

Norwegian Bliss USB port by the bed.

More About My Bliss Stateroom 

My room steward, Muhammed, was quiet, and I seldom saw him. But he kept my room clean and serviced twice a day. And he always had a fresh bucket of ice for me every morning and evening.

He even left me a towel animal my last night of the cruise, something you virtually never get on an NCL cruise. 

Here are a few other basics to know about. The room has a couch, which is always a plus in my book.

The desk area is relatively small, but there was a ledge in front of the mirror, which was handy for putting smaller items. There’s a bit of under-desk cabinetry where you’ll find several shelves for placing anything that doesn’t fit in the closet. 

Uh-Oh..Bathroom Problem

One additional note about my bathroom. It always smelled of sewage. It was manageable at sea, but it reeked on port days.

Because I didn’t spend much time in the room, I never bothered to complain about it. I’m also convinced the cabin’s location had much to do with it. (My cabin was the second to the most forward cabin on deck 11.)

INSIDER TIP:  If your room comes with a bar of soap, do not leave it wet on the counter. It’ll stick, and you’ll never be able to move it again without a pry bar.  

Oh, about the balcony. It’s also smaller than the industry average but excellent for two people sitting and reading or watching sail away.

Of course, viewing the extended balconies a few decks below with two upright chairs, two loungers, and a small dining table made my standard balcony feel even smaller. 

Norwegian Bliss standard balcony stateroom balcony

Dining on Norwegian Bliss 

Dining on Norwegian Bliss is a highlight, even if you’re not shelling out the extra cash for specialty dining (of which there’s a lot).

READ MORE:  NORWEGIAN BLISS DINING GUIDE – ALL 19 RESTAURANTS  

Let’s talk complimentary first. On Bliss, you’ll find three main dining rooms, plus The Local Bar & Grill (open 24 hours), and the buffet. 

Food is excellent at all spots. I loved getting breakfast at The Local. Even though the menu is smaller than in the main dining rooms, the service is consistent and fast.

And I love the feel there. It’s more diner than a pub with several booths where I like to sit with my computer and check my email while enjoying an omelet or French toast. Oh, and that French toast. So good. Super thick but smallish pieces, so I never felt too guilty for indulging. 

My go-to for lunch was usually one of the smaller main dining rooms, Taste or Savor. Because of their smaller size, they feel more like specialty restaurants than the Main Dining Rooms.

The menus were the same, and the food was always excellent. There was a corn chowder one day that I could have had for lunch/dinner every day and been totally satisfied! 

On days I was short on time, the buffet was okay, but, personally, I enjoy the atmosphere of the sit-down restaurants more than a buffet. With that said, there was plenty of choice at the buffet, and everything I ate was good. 

One Note About Dining Service

Overall, the service in the dining rooms was smooth and friendly. The only hiccup I encountered was when my friend ordered a glass of rosé at lunch. The waiter brought a White Zinfandel, a white wine, and a glass of red wine, and then a different waiter brought the rosé she had ordered.

Later that evening in The Cavern, an acquaintance was also served a White Zinfandel after ordering a rosé. I’m thinking NCL might want to invest in better sommelier training outside of the wine bar. 

For dinner, I ate in a specialty restaurant or one of the smaller main dining rooms. I tried the Manhattan Room once just to check it out. It’s got the same menu as Taste and Savor, but it’s much larger and has a more traditional main dining room feel.

You’ll never feel like you’re missing out on the best food on board if you stick with the free venues. But if you are looking for something “extra,” there are plenty of specialty restaurants to choose from. All but one (Teppanyaki) are priced a la carte. 

Speaking of specialty restaurants, NCL offers all guests several value-packed add-ons when they book a cruise. One of the value-adds is a dining package that, for a one-week cruise, gives you two nights at a specialty dining restaurant.

Before the pandemic, most cruisers had a choice of two (from six options). But, for the time being, the line is offering all six to anyone who books. 

My favorite specialty restaurant in the NCL fleet, and perhaps any cruise ship, is Teppanyaki, a hibachi-style Japanese restaurant on almost every NCL ship. On Bliss, it didn’t disappoint, though COVID-19 protocols mean some of the “show” has been changed. For instance, there are no flicking veggies at diners to see if they can catch them in their mouths anymore. 

Bliss Teppanyaki

But it’s the food I come for. It’s always delicious, and there’s plenty of it. I left stuffed to the gills and happy as a clam. 

My other favorite spot onboard was Coco’s, a for-fee gelateria that serves up crazy shakes and sundaes. A word of warning: If you’re watching your waistline, don’t go. Temptations abound. Thankfully, you can also get gelato by the scoop. I loved the white chocolate (with Oreo pieces and whipped cream, thank you very much). 

Insider Tip: If the six or so gelato flavors at Coco’s aren’t to your liking, you’ll find more options (like stracciatella) at Dolce Gelato on Deck 8 outside The Waterfront. 

I also immensely enjoyed Food Republic. It’s a sit-down eatery, but you order from touch screens, and it’s all tapas-sized plates. There are various choices, including an extensive sushi menu. 

My favorites were the chicken teriyaki satay and the Mexican street corn (elote). Two to four dishes are more than enough for two people (depending on your appetite, of course). 

On my first night onboard, I ate in Cagney’s as part of a large press group dinner. Cagney’s serves primarily red meat and shellfish, both things I don’t eat. I opted for a trout dish but didn’t have high hopes.

It wasn’t bad, but I’m glad I didn’t have to go back for another meal. With that said, everyone else loved their steaks and surf ‘n turfs. 

Three other specialty restaurants I tried out were Q (a barbecue place) and La Cucina and Le Bistro, both NCL staples. 

Q is a meat lover’s paradise. I had a tasty barbecued turkey, but the venue is for those who love brisket, pulled pork, and the like. However, there is the cinnamon and butter sweet potato dish that is divine!

Q-BBQ sliced meat on a tray

Le Bistro is the line’s fine-dining French spot. I find it a bit heavy, and our dinner (another group press dinner) was a bit late for my taste. I opted for a vegetarian puff pastry. It was okay, but definitely not my favorite meal. Those who opted for the more traditional French fare (escargot, filet mignon, etc.) seemed to be enjoying their meals immensely. 

La Cucina was my least favorite of the restaurants I ate at, though the burrata appetizer was heavenly. My fettuccine alfredo and chicken cacciatore were both fine but nothing to write home about.

One last word about the “dining” on Norwegian Bliss. More accurately, the drinking. In addition to the large selection of eateries onboard, there are several bars, with many specializing in a specific type of drink.

There’s The District for beer and Sugarcane for mojitos. There’s the A-List for gin & tonics and The Cellars for wine. Even some restaurants, like Q, have signature cocktails worth trying out at least once. 

Insider Tip: There’s a small bar on The Waterfront, Sail & Sustain Bar, just outside Maltings. It’s rarely advertised on the daily program, but it’s worth visiting.

Sail and Sustainable Bar

All the cocktails there are made with reused ingredients. For instance, the buffet’s orange peels and pineapple rinds are roasted and used as garnishes.

Leftover croissants are crushed and added, and even coffee grounds are cleaned and used to make a coffee liqueur ingredient. I know that sounds gross, but it’s not. 

Entertainment and Onboard Activities 

There is a LOT to do on Norwegian Bliss. From morning to late at night. And, unlike dining, most of the entertainment is free. (The same isn’t true for activities.)

For the most popular activities and shows, sign up early! Even at 50% occupancy on our sailing, the Comedy Club had filled up within less than two days. And the Go-Kart had only a few openings. 

The same is true for the Broadway shows “Jersey Boys” and “Six: The Musical.” Sign up for your preferred time slot on day one of your cruise! 

On our sailing, “ Jersey Boys ” wasn’t playing, but I’d seen it before on a previous Norwegian Bliss sailing, and it’s fantastic. 

“ Six: The Musical ” is a newer Broadway musical I knew little about. It’s the “herstory” of Henry III’s six wives; a pop musical with fabulous costumes. Learning about their stories was interesting and prompted a Google search later that night.

Norwegian Bliss

But the music didn’t connect with me on a deep level. That isn’t saying much; I’m not a “Hamilton” fan either. Like “Hamilton,” “Six: The Musical” already has a cult following, and some fans book a cruise on Bliss just to see the show. 

You’ll need to plan your other evening activities to get the timing right for karaoke and The Beatles cover band. Both take place in The Cavern Club, an atmospheric bar styled after the famous Liverpool club where The Beatles got their start.

It’s got a great vibe but is small and fills up quickly. You’ll need to get to these at least 30 minutes early if you want a seat. 

The once-a-cruise Bandaoke (karaoke with a live band backing you up) is held in the Atrium rather than The Cavern. It drew a sizeable crowd on our sailing and was a real hoot. Sadly, it only went for an hour. I’m sure everyone would happily stay around for another hour or two!

Insider Tip: The Beatles cover band offers three shows (early, middle, and late Beatles) in The Cavern Club. A fourth show is held in the main theater (usually on the second to last or last seaday) with highlights from the other three shows.  

Other evening activities include live music in various venues throughout the ship. If you like Latin music and dancing, you’ll want to head to Sugarcane Mojito Bar, where the vibe is Caliente. 

If you’re more interested in a Piano Man vibe, head to The District Brewhouse, where you’ll find something like 25 beers on tap. 

Insider Tip: There are plenty of spots to relax and read on Norwegian Bliss, but my favorite in the early part of the day was The District Brewhouse. Few people think to go there, so it’s almost always a super quiet spot. It doesn’t usually open until the afternoon, and it’s got super comfy leather couches and lots of natural sunlight. 

Later at night, the D.J. takes over at The Social (usually the comedy club) for thumping beats that depending on the passengers, either draws a crowd … or doesn’t. I only made it to the Halloween party at The Social, but it was packed and bumping for a good couple of hours. The “Six” queens even came out to enjoy the fun. 

Laser Tag and the Go-Kart are also open in the early evening, with the laser tag arena taking on a glow-in-the-dark vibe for extra effect. On my sailing, laser tag seemed to be mostly deserted. I suspect it’s more of a kids/teens thing than an adult thing, and our sailing had no one under the age of 12. 

The same can’t be said of Go-Karts, which were regularly used by adults to channel their inner teenagers. I’d done the Go-Karts on a previous cruise, so I didn’t give it a go this time. The first time I found it a bit frustrating because if you get stuck on the track with a slow driver, there’s very little “go” in the experience. 

 You can pay for a single session or purchase a full-cruise pass. And, speaking of money, both the Go-Karts and Laser Tag cost extra money. 

And, of course, if you’ve got money to spare, the casino is always happening.

The Ocean Loops take riders out over the open water in a clear tube, though you’re going so fast you probably won’t even notice! The Aqua Racer lets you and a friend race side-by-side down the slide. The waterslides are free of charge. There’s also a waterpark for kids, but it was always empty on our sailing with no children.

Besides the Go-Karts and Laser Tag, daytime activities are more cruise traditional on Norwegian Bliss. There’s trivia (a personal favorite), cooking demos, arts and crafts, and pool games. There are art and wellness seminars, shop talks, and language classes. 

RELATED:  NORWEGIAN BLISS GO-KART UNLIMITED PACKAGES

Norwegian Bliss Race Track

Extra-fee activities include Bingo, Deal or No Deal, wine and whisky tastings, and even a wine and chocolate pairing. 

I spent more than a few hours at the spa, getting treatments. But Norwegian Bliss also has a phenomenal thermal suite with heated ceramic loungers, various saunas, an ice room (with actual snow!), a thalassotherapy pool, and a salt room.

You have to pay for a full-cruise pass to use the thermal suite. The passes didn’t sell out on our cruise because the ship was only at 50% occupancy. Full sailings usually see the passes sell out the first day. 

Who’s Onboard

While sailing from Los Angeles, Norwegian Bliss draws heavily from the West Coast. The vast majority of people on our sailing were from California, with a spattering from Washington State and Oregon. 

NCL’s vaccination policy means no under-12s are allowed, so few families were on board. I saw a few teens from time to time, but my sailing was pretty much all adults. Ages ranged from 20-somethings to people in their 50s and 60s. There were also older folks, but fewer than I usually expect to see on a one-week warm-weather cruise. 

Perhaps, because it draws from the L.A. crowd, there seemed to be lots of well-to-do 20- and 30-year-olds having a good time. I even saw a fair number of younger couples in The Haven (the ship’s suite enclave), noticeably more than I’ve seen there before.

Final Thoughts on my Norwegian Bliss cruise. 

Norwegian Bliss is a beautiful ship with lots of things to do. For me, the variety of dining choices and the Broadway shows make the ship. I honestly believe the newer NCL ships have some of the best entertainment at sea, and the performances on Bliss didn’t disappoint.

While it can feel a bit nickel and dime-y at times, there is plenty that’s free. Plus, most of the line’s fares come with some value-adds, like free dining in specialty restaurants, which can cut down on some extra costs. 

Overall, I enjoyed my time on Bliss and would be happy to sail on the ship again. 

Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship Recap

Category : Mainstream Cruise Line (with Carnival and Royal Caribbean)

Internet/Wifi:  Extra fee. 

Date of Cruise: October 24-31, 2021.

Disclosure: I was a guest of NCL during my time onboard Norwegian Bliss. I was also given a premium drink package, access to the thermal suite, and Go-Kart Track/Laser Tag. All opinions in this Norwegian Bliss cruise ship review are my own and reflect my personal cruise experience and observations. 

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Mexican Riviera Cruises

Shore Excursions

Shore excursions offer an exciting way to experience each Mexican Riviera port on your itinerary. Here is an overview of the most popular excursions.

Note: Not all cruise lines offer all excursions listed.

Play With the Dolphins A variety of spots in Mexico allow swimmers and non-swimmers of all ages to take part in a magical dolphin encounter. Learn more about these friendly creatures while getting a chance to pet one as it glides by, or dive right in and splash around with the dolphins in a supervised swim. Serious dolphin enthusiasts can even snag the job of dolphin trainer for a day -- this includes helping to prep food, learning about daily dolphin care and assisting a professional trainer with a dolphin swim program. Photo ops and videos are usually available so you can cherish your dolphin adventure long after you leave Mexico.

Shop for Bargains From the goods in the shopping districts of Acapulco to the crafts of local artisans, Mexico has a wide variety of treasures for browsers and buyers alike. You'll find upscale items as well as great bargains on jewelry, textiles, ceramics, art and other locally crafted souvenirs.

Sample the Tequila See first-hand what goes into making Mexico's famous libation as you tour a tequila factory. Or, get acquainted with various Mexican tequilas as you take part in a tasting at a local restaurant and bar.

Go Sailing With an experienced crew at the helm, relax and enjoy the view as you sail through Mexico's warm waters, then drop anchor and take a refreshing dip. You can even have the opportunity to be part of a crew aboard an America's Cup yacht. Get answers to your sailing questions, learn the history of the regatta, hoist the sails and experience the thrill of gliding along the water in a state-of-the-art vessel.

Take a Cooking Class Learn the secret ingredient to making tasty Mexican dishes. Take a lesson in cooking some of Mexico's delectable dishes -- spicy salsas, handmade corn tortillas, chilaquiles or pollo en mole could be on the menu -- and feast on your efforts at the end of class. Want to enjoy the food but need a vacation from cooking? Various excursions offer a sampling of local cuisine. Options include lunch at a local taco place or an extravagant dinner prepared by a renowned chef.

Experience an Off-Road Adventure Navigate trails through Mexico's rugged landscape in an all-terrain vehicle, or practice racing an off-road Baja buggy with the guidance of an experienced instructor. Tourists looking for a less hands-on way to experience the adventure can let someone else take the wheel on an open-air jeep tour.

Tour a Mexican Village Mexico's rich and vibrant culture can be seen throughout its many historic towns and villages. Several walking tours are available; visitors might stop by La Campana pyramids on the way to the charming small town of Comala or meet members of the Mayo tribe in Tehuecos.

Ride a Horse Horseback riding through the countryside or along one of Mexico's beautiful beaches is a fun way to discover your surroundings. Delight in Mexico's flora and fauna on one of various possible riding trips -- along one of Cabo's Pacific beaches or through the Sierra Madre foothills. Horses are matched to each rider's ability and comfort level, so saddle up and enjoy the ride.

Party at a Fiesta It wouldn't be a trip to Mexico without a joining in a fiesta. Celebrate Mexican-style with piñatas, serenading mariachis, colorful decorations, vibrant costumes, folkloric ballet, dancing horses, festive beverages and traditional fare.

Go Fishing Mexico is known worldwide for its sports fishing venues -- Cabo San Lucas in particular is one of the most popular spots to cast a line. Aspiring or experienced anglers might catch a marlin or sailfish in some of the most abundant fishing grounds. Lunch and drinks on the fishing vessel are often included on these day trips. 

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Why are there no excursions showing?

nasellemom1

By nasellemom1 , August 12, 2022 in Norwegian Cruise Line

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nasellemom1

We are booked for a Mexican Riviera 5 day cruise on the Joy in December. We are currently 128 days out and are booked in a Haven suite. I thought excursions would start showing up around day 130? Am I wrong or do I need to contact NCL? 

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6 minutes ago, nasellemom1 said: We are booked for a Mexican Riviera 5 day cruise on the Joy in December. We are currently 128 days out and are booked in a Haven suite. I thought excursions would start showing up around day 130? Am I wrong or do I need to contact NCL? 

You have logged into your account, selected your cruise, selected Explore and Plan (upper left-hand corner), and selected the Shore Excursions tab on the left hand side?

If so, and there are no excursions available, I would say that they might be sold out.

Otherwise, you might call NCL to verify.

We have selected and paid for excursions for each of our booked NCL cruises through May 2023.

casofilia

@nasellemom1

I have just looked online and one cruise has 68 shorex showing

https://www.ncl.com/nz/en/cruises/7-day-mexican-riviera-round-trip-los-angeles-cabo-and-puerto-vallarta-JOY7LAXCSLPVRMZTESELAX?sailMonths=4294940493&ships=4294949684&numberOfGuests=4294953449&sortBy=closer_to_me&autoPopulate=f&from=resultpage&itineraryCode=JOY7LAXCSLPVRMZTESELAX

A second has 50

https://www.ncl.com/nz/en/cruises/7-day-mexican-riviera-round-trip-los-angeles-cabo-and-puerto-and-vallarta-JOY7LAXCSLMZTPVRLAX?sailMonths=4294940493&ships=4294949684&numberOfGuests=4294953449&sortBy=closer_to_me&autoPopulate=f&from=resultpage&itineraryCode=JOY7LAXCSLMZTPVRLAX

And a third 38

https://www.ncl.com/nz/en/cruises/5-day-mexican-riviera-round-trip-los-angeles-cabo-and-ensenada-JOY5LAXCSLESELAX?sailMonths=4294940493&ships=4294949684&numberOfGuests=4294953449&sortBy=closer_to_me&autoPopulate=f&from=resultpage&itineraryCode=JOY5LAXCSLESELAX

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BirdTravels

2 hours ago, nasellemom1 said: We are booked for a Mexican Riviera 5 day cruise on the Joy in December. We are currently 128 days out and are booked in a Haven suite. I thought excursions would start showing up around day 130? Am I wrong or do I need to contact NCL? 

Shore excursions have been on sale for months. If there are zero shore excursons showing, then it is a website error - try again. If there are a limited number showing in each port, then you may have waited too long to book. 

scooter6139

scooter6139

2 hours ago, ggTexasGal said: You have logged into your account, selected your cruise, selected Explore and Plan (upper left-hand corner), and selected the Shore Excursions tab on the left hand side? If so, and there are no excursions available, I would say that they might be sold out. Otherwise, you might call NCL to verify.   We have selected and paid for excursions for each of our booked NCL cruises through May 2023.

I posted this exact same question as we are on the same cruise, also in a Haven.  No excursions have shown up since booking early May 2022.  Also paid in full.

image.png.6ee361ae471350ab31d405fb0eb80c49.png

Try looking at:-

https://www.ncl.com/nz/en/cruises/5-day-mexican-riviera-round-trip-los-angeles-cabo-and-ensenada?itineraryCode=JOY5LAXCSLESELAX

Then the Shore Excursion Tab and then the View All Excursions tab

When you have found the ones you want phone the Shore excursion desk

1 minute ago, casofilia said: Try looking at:-   https://www.ncl.com/nz/en/cruises/5-day-mexican-riviera-round-trip-los-angeles-cabo-and-ensenada?itineraryCode=JOY5LAXCSLESELAX

That just shows the excursion that can be done at Cabo and Ensenada, nothing specific to December sailing date.

As I said in my original thread, we are also cruising a similar itinerary in April.  That one shows available excursions.

I'm guessing it's just a bug in this sailing.

I would call the ShorEx number and ask them to check availability.  1- 866-625-1167

1 hour ago, scooter6139 said:   I posted this exact same question as we are on the same cruise, also in a Haven.  No excursions have shown up since booking early May 2022.  Also paid in full.      

I used the chat on NCL through my booking and was told I would need to call the Shore Excursions phone number. I have to wonder if it has something to do with only being a 5 night cruise not 7? 

1 hour ago, scooter6139 said:   That just shows the excursion that can be done at Cabo and Ensenada, nothing specific to December sailing date.   As I said in my original thread, we are also cruising a similar itinerary in April.  That one shows available excursions.   I'm guessing it's just a bug in this sailing.

I agree it must be a bug, but how inconvenient on our first NCL cruise..

Dannirose

On 8/12/2022 at 4:00 PM, nasellemom1 said: I used the chat on NCL through my booking and was told I would need to call the Shore Excursions phone number. I have to wonder if it has something to do with only being a 5 night cruise not 7? 

The 7 night has the same issue - we only show excursions available for Puerto Vallarta. Nothing for any other port, so it must be a bug on their end.

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Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

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6-10 Cruises

1 - 10 of 275 Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews

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Sail Date: March 2024

Review for a Mexican Riviera Cruise on Norwegian Bliss

If you don’t know any better, you may find yourself enthusiastic about NCL, but if this is the case, you are missing out! I am currently aboard the Bliss on a 7 day Baja cruise and I will tell you what to expect or what to avoid. For starters, the embarkation process is a zoo. It’s sad to say, but don’t come when you are scheduled, come way later in the day and here is why. First, there are so ... Read More

Cabin Type: Balcony

Traveled with children

I booked the 7 day Baja Mexico cruise. NCL unexpectedly canceled their port stop, on several cruise itineraries, to Ensenada - without any notice or explanation. Remember that you are paying for that port and the charges were not refunded. The NCL “free” airfare was BAD. The worst was a 11:59pm return flight that they wouldn’t change! The embarkation process was a disorganized zoo, with ... Read More

I wrote a review on their site, but probably won't get published. Here are the things my family of 7 were unhappy with on our 7day NCL Bliss 3/17-24/2024: 1.food, awful except for specialty dining. 2. too much nickel & dime, extra for drinks, race cars, laser tag, specialty dining-the quality was great, but it's what should be served without extra fees. 3. not clean enough-whole family got a bad ... Read More

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Amazing ship! Even at full capacity felt like the ship was not that crowded. I wish the port times were longer but found plenty to do on the ship. Crew was amazing, we were always greeted and felt very welcome. The food in the MDR was good! The buffet was very good and was different every night. Plenty of activities while at sea. One of my favorite thing about the ship was the observation ... Read More

We've done 15 or so cruises previously and this was our first time on NCL. We have a lot of mixed emotions. I will add some up front context to set the table as someone in a different life circumstance may feel differently. We are a mid-40s couple without kids. Shame on me for booking this trip during spring break...I get it. I was thinking about work and not about hundreds of screaming kids or ... Read More

We decided to take the Cruise because the Bliss has the Racetrack, and we booked our cruise almost a year in advance, and were told there would be ample ability to drive go carts and that there even was an unlimited race package. The whole process on the NCL site is convoluted and a bit crazy, all from not having much information to requiring you to pay on the spot or possibly get your cruise ... Read More

Cabin Type: Balcony Stateroom

We did not enjoy this cruise at all and wanted to post this for other's consideration in booking a cruise. For the record, my husband and I have taken approximately a dozen cruises, primarily on HAL and Royal Caribbean, and one on Celebrity. This was our first and last cruise on NCL for the reasons discussed below. On the positive side, I thought the observation lounge was beautiful and it ... Read More

We booked a large suite in the Havens and there were many problems with the room including the fact that all the windows on the balcony were so badly fogged up that you could not see through them. The 2 A/C units were clogged up and not working, as well as the showers were not draining. The food in the Havens restaurant was fabulous but the other restaurants around the ship were very average. ... Read More

Cabin Type: The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony

ncl mexican riviera excursions

The Bliss had the itinerary we were interested in. Wasn't a good experience. At embarkation there was standing room only in the terminal, I get that. But the lady escorting Haven guests yelled (yes, yelled) at us every time she walked by to move out of the way. She said we couldn't stand in the side aisle. There was no where to go, the terminal was packed. The food in the main dining ... Read More

Sail Date: February 2024

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Norwegian Bliss Cruise Reviews for Cruises  to the Mexican Riviera from Miami

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Mexican Riviera - San Diego

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Cruise Itinerary

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Norwegian Jewel

Newly refurbished, boasting fresh spaces and stylishly recreated ones, Norwegian Jewel will enchant and delight. Read more

The Norwegian Difference

Enjoy an unforgettable Freestyle Cruising experience with no fixed dining times and the flexibility to choose your own schedule. Read more

Relax and Unwind

Workout or wind down, sweat it out or soothe your soul. There's options for everyone to find their happy place on Norwegian Jewel. Read more

Freestyle Dining

Dine how you want, when you want. Inside or oceanside, formal or casual. Maybe even start with dessert? It’s all about choice on Norwegian Jewel. Read more

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Norwegian Jewel is brimming with activities and a wide range of choices to suit all travellers, of all ages. Read more

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Colourful costumes, spectacular shows, sensational soundtracks and side splitting laughs. Norwegian Jewel has your evenings sorted. Read more

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Travel Tips for Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship

12/28/2023 By Traveling Canucks 1 Comment Categories: California Mexico Travel Stories Travel Tips Trip Ideas

Norwegian Bliss cruise ship pool deck view with waterslides that hang over the ocean

Our experience on Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship

We recently went on a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Norwegian Bliss cruise ship. This particular cruise departs and returns to Los Angeles, with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Our departure date was November 5, 2023.

This isn’t our first cruise experience. However, it is the first time cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). The Norwegian Bliss is without question the largest cruise ship we’ve ever sailed.

The Bliss has room to accommodate over 4000 passengers and 1700 crew members. I’m pretty sure that our boat sailed at full capacity. At least, it felt like it was at capacity.

After spending one week on the Bliss, we learned a lot about this cruise ship. In this post, we share our experience on the Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship. 

We only visited Mexico on this cruise . However, these Norwegian Bliss travel tips are specific to the ship. So it’s the same travel tips if you sail to Mexico , Alaska , the Caribbean or Panama Canal .

Reader’s note – we feel it’s important to inform you we did NOT receive ANY compensation or perks for this cruise. We did NOT partner with NCL. All thoughts and opinions are based on firsthand experience. 

Norwegian Bliss interior hallway

Pick your location of stateroom carefully

Be careful when booking the location of your stateroom. At the time of booking you have the option to select where you want your room. Consider a number of factors, like noise, ship movement, views, balcony and proximity to restaurants and services.

The options for this Norwegian Bliss cruise ship are AFT (back), Mid-Ship, and Forward.  

Our room is 14116. This means it’s located on floor 14 and closer to the front of the ship.

Mid-Ship you will have more people walking past your room, which might create more noise.

Also consider the floor that is directly above you. With our room being on the 14th floor, the observation lounge is located directly above us. We did hear chairs move periodically. However, the observation lounge is a quiet space. 

We found the ship movement more noticeable in the AFT (back). Our preference is Mid-Ship to Forward.

If your room is located at the back of the ship, you will have a bit more walking to get to your room. It’s a large ship and the hallways are long. 

Click here to view the Norwegian Bliss deck plans

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Things to consider when selecting your stateroom on Norwegian bliss. 

Are you prone to seasickness? If so, a higher floor and mid-ship might be best for you.

Do you want quiet? Then maybe stay away from areas that are directly below busy areas, like the pool area.

Do you have mobility issues? Perhaps it’s best to pick a stateroom that is close to the elevators. This will limit the amount of walking from your room to the elevators, and vice versa.

Should you book the port (left when facing forward) or starboard side (right when facing forward)? For this Mexico cruise on Norwegian Bliss, I like the port side. I found we had the best views on this side, like when arriving at Cabo San Lucas.

Search for more Mexico cruises and itineraries here . 

Can you bring wine or champagne on norwegian bliss.

Guests may bring bottles of wine and champagne on board at the start of the cruise or at any port. When bottles are brought on board, a corkage fee will be charged according to the below bottle sizes:

  • 750 ml Bottle: $15.00  USD
  • 1,500 ml Magnum: $30.00  USD

Wine or champagne sent directly to the ship are subject to the same fees.  Guests do not need to pay the corkage fee if they have the beverage package. However, you will still be required to declare and show your wine or champagne.

If you bring any other alcoholic beverage on board the ship, staff will keep it for you until disembarkation.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Do you need the Drinks Package on a Norwegian Bliss Cruise?

There isn’t a straight answer to this question. It depends on how much you think you will drink.

I booked our cruise as part of a promo. Therefor, my son and I did not have any extras included (no beverage package and no included specialty dining).

When you book a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines, normally you have the option to add the Free at Sea package . This includes the unlimited drinks package, free specialty dinking, free wifi, and free excursions. 

Before sailing, I looked at how much it would cost to add the drinks package. It’s almost $1000 USD for myself, because of the promo deal I selected. I didn’t think it was worth it because I knew I would not be drinking $100 USD per day.

However, if you like specialty drinks and plan to drink a lot, it might be worth the additional expense.   

Norwegian Bliss

Waterslides and Go Karts have weight and height limits

The Norwegian Bliss (and it’s sister ship, the Norwegian Joy) offers guests a lot of unique activities. The most notable being the waterslides and a rooftop go-kart track.

Now, if you chose this cruise ship to enjoy these waterslides and go karts, you must confirm you (and your family) meet the height and weight requirements. 

The Aqua Racer waterslide with the tubes is kid friendly. My son weighs 60lbs and not very tall. He is able to go by himself in a single tube and with me in the double tube. Ship staff will check your weight (so go easy on the buffet).

Requirements for Aqua Racer Waterslides on Norwegian Bliss:

  • Minimum Height 40”
  • Minimum Weight: No minimum
  • Maximum Weight: Max weight cannot exceed 300lbs/136kg for both solo and double tube riders

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Requirements for Ocean Loop Waterslides on Norwegian Bliss are:

  • Minimum Height 48”
  • Minimum Weight 120lbs/54Kg
  • Maximum Weight 300lbs/136kg

The Ocean Loop waterslide is more intense and includes a drop and loop that people need to complete. It has has a height and weight minimum. I did see adults being turned away because they did not weigh enough.

Watch this short video from inside the waterslide.

Norwegian Bliss tube waterslide

The Norwegian Bliss Speedway also has requirements for both weight and height.

Requirements for the Norwegian Bliss Speedway are:

  • Maximum weight 265 lbs
  • Maximum height 82”
  • Minimum height 55”

Kids below the height requirement can ride in a double cart. However, they are NOT allowed to drive. They can only be a passenger.

Norwegian Bliss speedway

Dining in the restaurants will take a long time. Expect to wait.

If you’re looking for a quick meal, the observation lounge has snacks and the Garden Café (buffet) has lots of options. However, if you want to dine in one of the ship’s restaurant, expect the dining experience to be slow. Plan for 1.5 hours per meal.

I found the food to be very good, but I found the service to take a long time. 

We dined at The Manhattan Room on the first night. I found the service to be quite slow.

The next day we dined at Taste . I found it to be the best dining restaurant (we did not do specialty dining, so I cannot comment on this). 

The service at Taste was notably better than the Manhattan Room. I also preferred the smaller room and the location on the ship. We were also given a window seat multiple times, which is nice.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Early dinner to avoid disappointment (especially on days at sea)

Included restaurants and specialty restaurants on the Norwegian Bliss require reservations. Prior to boarding, I pre-booked all our meals at the restaurants, but I could only get the Manhattan room.

After our first dining experience at the Manhattan room we weren’t impressed with the service. When dinner opened at 5:00PM each evening, we went to Taste. Even though we did not have reservations at Taste, they found a table for us. We enjoyed this restaurant.

One of the days at sea, we lost track of time. We went to dinner closer to 6:30PM. I was initially told the restaurant is fully booked. However, because we had dined several times at Taste, they knew us and graciously found us a spot.

If you have a big group, this might not be possible. On this cruise it was only my son and I. Obviously, it’s a lot easier to seat two people versus a large group.

If it’s a sea day, you may have trouble getting reservations. Make sure you plan ahead. Depending on your status when you book the cruise, you can start booking restaurants approx. 3 months prior to boarding the cruise ship.

Norwegian Bliss Food

Kids meals at the restaurants are the same every day

The meals in the main dining rooms for adults change daily. However, the kids meals stay the same throughout the cruise.

The kids menu includes Burger and Fries, Hot Dog, Chicken noodle soup, Mac and Cheese, Chicken Tenders, Peanut Butter and Jelly, cheese and pepperoni pizza. 

My son ordered the chicken tenders and said they were very dry and not good. He has a dairy allergy, so this limits his options. 

I was surprised the menu did not change for kids. If you’re traveling with children, keep this in mind. 

That said, kids can order off the adult main menu. That’s what we did. He often ordered plain pasta or pasta with red sauce.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

How is the food on Norwegian Bliss?

I will write a separate post about the restaurants and food on the cruise. 

Stay tuned!

Dealing with food allergies on Norwegian Bliss Cruise

Our son is allergic to dairy (requires an epi pen). On the first day, we found it challenging to order food for him. Servers kept telling us there’s lots of cross contamination with the food.

At first, it felt like there are limited options for him in the restaurants. However, when we were struggling for food options the next day, our server at Taste restaurant advised me that we can order a dairy-free meal for the following day and a special meal will be prepared.

For the rest of our Mexican Rivera cruise we ordered his dinner meals ahead of time.

We normally ate breakfast at the buffet. Lunch was mostly off the ship at the ports of call. We ate dinners at the main restaurant.

Guests with allergies or food restrictions can pre-order breakfast, lunch and dinner at any of the restaurants.

Each evening, before finishing our dinner, we were given the next day’s menu. We chose similar options off the main menu, but made the meal more kid friendly. For example, one evening there was meatballs as a starter and a pasta option for the main course. So we asked for pasta and meatballs. 

ncl mexican riviera excursions

You can buy a Starbucks unlimited drinks package on the Norwegian Bliss

If you love Starbucks you’ll want to consider Norwegian’s Unlimited Starbucks Package. The price at the time of our sailing is $12.95 per person per day plus 20% gratuity.

If you plan to drink more than 2 drinks per day, you might find this package worth it.

The Starbucks package does not include canned or bottled drinks, food, and merchandise. It’s NOT included with the Norwegian’s beverage packages. 

Starbucks is available on most NCL cruise ships, including Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Getaway, and Norwegian Sky.

Starbucks gift cards are accepted. You can also use the Starbucks app to pay onboard if you don’t purchase the Starbucks drink package. You can order Starbucks espresso drinks in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Bring a refillable water bottle

Buying water on the ship is expensive and it’s not included in the beverage package.

Bring a refillable water bottle (my favourite is Stanley. Find them here ). There are lots of places to refill your water bottle including the buffet, the Observation Lounge, and various juice and water stations around the ship.

Please don’t refill directly into your bottle. Use the provided cups and then pour the water into your refillable bottle. 

Read more Norwegian Bliss Mexican Riviera reviews here .

ncl mexican riviera excursions

There are quiet areas to escape the crowds 

The Norwegian Bliss Cruise ship is a large ship with over 4000 passengers so many areas can be very busy. However, I was able to find a few quiet areas on the ship.

We even had the hot tubs to ourselves a few times in the evenings. 

Norwegian Bliss hot tubs to ourselves

Our favourite breakfast place is the Garden Buffet. However, the seating is quite crowded.

In the mornings, if you go to the pool deck, the ship has extra seats and coffee available. It is quiet and offers nice ocean views. 

The Observation Lounge is another area that’s not very busy. During the day, you can find various snacks here.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Is the unlimited arcade package on Norwegian Bliss worth it?

I researched the arcade package and had trouble finding info. I learned that the unlimited package only includes the green swipe readers but I didn’t know how many games are actually included.

The cost for the unlimited arcade package on Norwegian Bliss is $175 USD.

To answer the question, I do think the unlimited arcade package is worth it for my 10 year old. If his brother had joined us, they can both share the card. This would make it even more valuable.

As long as you don’t do more than 3 swipes in 3 minutes, you can play as long as you want. If you do accidently swipe more than 3 games in 3 minutes the card is temporarily suspended for 15 minutes. This did not happened during our cruise.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

What’s included in the  unlimited arcade package on Norwegian Bliss?

There are several different multi-player race car games and motorcycle games included.

Other games include Halo (2 person option), Pirates of the Caribbean (2 person option), Jurassic Park (2 person option), Basketball, Gun shooting, Star wars, Guitar Hero, air hockey, virtual reality simulator (you can ride a virtual roller coaster). And there is 2 person Mario Cart driving game where the indoor bowling is located.

Each game is at least $1.99 per play, so the cost can add up quickly.

We like the 2 person games and played a lot of Jurassic Park and Pirates. We are both able to use the same card. When one person’s game ends, you just swipe to get back in the game. 

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Embarkation Process for NCL Mexico cruise

We arrived at the Los Angeles port around 10:00AM. The lines were already busy. I had my printed luggage tags ready and there were lots of port employees wanting to take our bags. Don’t worry about bringing a stapler since the people taking the luggage had one I could borrow.

I noticed others had luggage holders like this that I thought was very handy for luggage tags.

We got a group number card (we were group 8) and key cards for our stateroom and everything else on the ship. Seating at the terminal filled up quickly, so we found space on the floor and waited.

We waited in the terminal for about an hour before the first group was called. A new group is called about every 5-10 minutes. We started to boarding about a half hour after the first group was called. The boarding process started at 11:45 AM.

Norwegian Bliss pool deck

Bring your bathing suit in a day bag on embarkation day

Getting on the ship is a fairly straight forward process. However, a lesson learned is to bring bathing suits and pool stuff (sunblock, etc) in my carry-on bag or day bag. 

I didn’t think about the first few hours between arriving on the boat and having our luggage arrive in the stateroom. Our room was not available until 3:00PM. 

During that time, we wanted to enjoy the pool and hot tubs, but we did not have our swimming clothes on hand. 

Fortunately, our room on the 14 th floor is one of the first to be available. However, our bags didn’t arrive to the room until 5:00PM in the evening. We didn’t carry anything on the ship with us, other than important documents, like our passports.

NCL pools

Some ports on Norwegian Bliss require a tender 

Sometimes ports don’t have a dock or a dock that’s large enough to accommodate the massive Norwegian Bliss ship. This means you’ll need to tender to shore.

What is a tender port?

It’s when there might not be a dock and the ship needs to anchor off shore. Passengers board smaller boats from the cruise ship that transport you to the shore/dock.

Why is it important to know if you may need to tender on a cruise ship?

For those who have mobility issues, or need to bring a stroller, it’s important to plan ahead. Also, it takes more time to tender, so you want to be mindful when booking excursions. 

We had to tender in Cabo because there is no dock. Some older guests had a bit of trouble getting on and off the tender due to the waves. There are staff available to help, but it can be challenging for some people because of the stairs and waves.

Here is a  list of tender ports for Norwegian Cruise line .

Make sure you always know the ship time.

This is tip is very important. Always know the ships time and confirm before getting off.

The Norwegian Bliss always arrived and departed on ship time which is sometimes different than the city location. Therefore, it’s important that you always know the ship time and plan your port activities accordingly. The cruise ship will leave without you if you are back on board in time.

I did feel the port calls were pretty short. Often, I felt rushed to get our activity done and get back on the ship. We would like to go back and stay longer in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas.

See the Norwegian bliss Mexican Riviera itinerary here .

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Bring your ID and ship card every time you get off the ship

NCL gives you a card that acts as payment on the ship as well as documentation. Bring these items with you when you leave the ship at every port. The card scans you when you get off and when you return.

It’s also smart to bring valid ID (passport or driver’s license) when getting off the ship. I wasn’t always asked, but a few times we were asked for extra identification to get back on.

If you were to accidentally miss the ship’s departure (it does happen!) you’ll need ID to catch a flight to re-join the cruise.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Bring an international USB adaptor

We travel with lots of devices so it’s important we have the ability to charge them. On the ship, there are only 2 USB adaptors and they are located by the bed. If you are like us and have a lot of devices that need to be charged, we highly recommend you bring an International USB charger.

This one is our favourite . We bring it with us on most trips.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Bring medicated cream if you have sensitive skin

Connor has sensitive skin. The ships hot tub and pools made his skin react and he had itchy irritations after using the pools and hot tubs. However, I suspect it was mainly the hot tubs causing the reaction.

I bring medicated cream with me, so I had lots on hand to help ease the irritation. After using the pools and hot tubs, I put the cream on Connor and his irritation was always gone by the next morning. It would have very uncomfortable for him if I didn’t have the medicated cream with me.

Norwegian Bliss with kids

Bring your own medication for kids and adults

The Norwegian Bliss cruise has a medical center onboard, located on deck 13. It is accessible to passengers and crew members 24/7. However, medical services are not included in the price of the cruise and passengers are responsible for any medical fees incurred.

You may be able to get medication at one of the ports. For example, getting medication in Mexico in easy.

However, we always travel with a pack of medication for both our kids and adults because when you need it, you often need it immediately. 

Before going on any cruise, I also suggest visiting your doctor ahead of time and get seasickness pills or patches. Both will help if you find yourself feeling unwell due to the ship’s movements.

The Norwegian Bliss is big, but you still feel the ship moving. Connor didn’t feel well the first night at dinner. We had to leave early to lie down and rest. He took some of the seasickness medication and felt much better in the morning. 

The medication we bring is typically:

  • Epi Pen (we have allergies in our family)
  • Tylenol (chewable pills)
  • Advil (chewable pills)
  • Pepto (chewable pills)
  • Cortisone cream
  • Thermometer
  • Seasickness pills and/or patches

Reminder to avoid liquid bottles if you’re catching a flight before the cruise. If the bottle is too big, airport security might not let you bring it on the plane. 

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Pick your departure flight times carefully

I initially booked flights departing Los Angeles at 3:00 PM. However, our flights were cancelled and re-booked for 12:30 PM.

The NCL portal says that we can start disembarking around 7:30AM. I thought this would be plenty of time to get to the airport for our international flight back to Vancouver.

The cruise ship offers a transfer to the airport for $25.00 USD per person. When I talked to guest services they said as long as I get off first, I would have plenty of time to get to the airport.

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Disembarking at Los Angeles cruise ship terminal

Unfortunately, our disembarkation was delayed by over an hour. The ship could not let people off until it was authorized to do so.

This meant everyone wanted to be first off the ship. The lines were crazy. Elevators were packed with people and luggage. It was absolute chaos.

It took over an hour to get off the ship.

We also should have taken a taxi, but I had pre-booked the transfer through NCL. The transfer took a very long time to get the bus filled and loaded with luggage. Then there is LAX traffic. And you need to wait as the bus drops each person at the different terminal stops. There’s a LOT of terminals.

Our flight departs from terminal 6, which is one of the last stops. It took a long time.

We did make our flight. But it was a very stressful morning. I don’t recommend flights any earlier than 1:00PM. Evenings would be much better, if you have that option.

Travel Tip – when using the elevator, go up to the top floor first, instead of waiting to go down. Once you get to the top, stay in the elevator and go back down. Otherwise, you won’t get an  elevator with room for a very long time. 

ncl mexican riviera excursions

Did we like the Norwegian Bliss and would we sail it again?

Yes, we did like sailing on the Norwegian Bliss. I would sail on this cruise ship again. And I would also cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines again.

We do like cruising, in moderation. We like the idea of visiting a few different locations in a short period of time. It’s nice that your room travels with you, so you don’t have to pack up each day. 

It’s a fun way to travel with family. 

Want more Norwegian Bliss tips? Watch these short videos – part 1 , part 2 and part 3 .

Read more blog posts about cruising:

  • Everything you need to know about an Alaska cruise on Celebrity Eclipse
  • Thinking about a European River Cruise? Here’s what you need to know
  • Taking a Caribbean Cruise? Here’s what you need to know
  • Here’s what we did on our Portugal River Cruise with Viking

Do you have questions about Norwegian Bliss Cruise Ship? 

Leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer. 

Related posts:

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