istorically, cruise ship dining has been focused on pre-assigned dinner table seatings and meals with little in the way of variety or sophistication. Diners sit at the same table each day and are served food from a limited menu that is shuffled to your table with identical plates backed up in the kitchen waiting under covers for delivery. Things have changed in recent years as cruise lines focus more and more on delivering not just large quantities of food but quality food, artistically plated in an attempt to rival land based restaurants. The newest ship in the Norwegian Cruise Line, BLISS, excels at delivering fantastic food in a beautiful setting.
Norwegian BLISS officially launched in May 2018 from Seattle for the summer Alaska cruise season, but was birthed months earlier in Germany. From Germany to New York to Miami, and then through the Panama Canal to the Pacific, BLISS is now the largest ship in Norwegian’s fleet with a capacity for over 4,000 passengers. Everything about this ship is beautiful and elegant. The ship’s bow is painted with whales by Wyland, the observation lounge contains plush sofas and chairs for relaxing with a glass of wine, and the rooms have high-quality beds and linens ensuring a good night’s sleep. In addition to the luxury inside, there is some unexpected entertainment to be found in the open air. Outside on the top floor electric go-karts race around a speedy course, adults and kids alike can play laser tag, and for not for the faint-hearted, a steep water slide drops riders down via a trap door and then propels them uphill as well.
But what really shines on the Norwegian BLISS is the food, which is consistently delicious across all of their outlets. Even the cruise ship staple, the buffet, shines on BLISS. Their version of the buffet offers not just the standard, expected items. From Beet Gravlax to Paneer to Baba ghanoush, options are creative and of epicurean interest to any gourmand. There is also a smokehouse restaurant serving BBQ, a French bistro, and a brewhouse to add to the variety of dining options. For those with a sweet tooth, BLISS is truly blissful as it offers a bake shop with a creative selection of cupcakes and macaroons (try the Grand Marnier cupcake), a gelateria, and a restaurant dedicated to desserts: Coco’s.
The standout restaurant for fine dining on board is Ocean Blue. The menu offers only sustainable seafood items, such as tuna sashimi and fresh oysters, but the creativity in the main courses are where this restaurant really shines. Highly recommended is the lobster pot pie. This is not a typical rendition of the dish, but instead is more of a lobster pot pie deconstructed. A light puff pastry shell covers whole pieces of lobster meat, morel mushrooms and asparagus in a very light sauce, that enhances the flavors of each ingredient, rather than drowning them out. The dish also comes with an Americaine sauce that is best ordered on the side. Dessert at Ocean Blue also offers some creative choices including a pineapple basil sorbet.
BLISS will spend fall and winter cruising through the Panama Canal in the Caribbean. Multiple, short duration cruises will pick up and return from Los Angeles making for an ideal and delicious weekend getaway at sea.
Click here for more information on the Norwegian BLISS.