PaulzyJC

PaulzyJC

First Mate
Wesley Chapel, Florida
Joined 07/2019

5

Cruises

3

Reviews

49

Helpful Votes

My first cruise experience was on Celebrity (Equinox). After being on Infinity, Celebrity seemed...tired. Now I'm trying Norwegian, despite the bad reviews. I do try and enjoy my life, and keep the complaints down. I am grateful and try to be honest. As for traveling, not experienced. But, I would like to get around and engage more.

Upcoming cruises

Past cruises

Norwegian Bliss

January 2022 - 14 Night Panama Canal - Eastbound (Los Angeles To Miami) Cruise on Norwegian Bliss

Excellent start to New Year cruising the Mexican Riviera & Panama Canal! Awesome 1st time on NCL Bliss.

This is LOOONG review with over 300 pictures, so skip it if you don't like reading. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to sail on this vessel when I did. I knew I would never be able to cruise on a ship this big at full capacity, willingly. So I jumped on the chance to sail on the Bliss on a 14 day cruise from Los Angeles to Miami. Despite some party poops saying the ship would be at 60% capacity, this cruise sailed with only 1313 passengers aboard (34% capacity), and it was AMAZING!! In fact the Primary reason I was willing to sail during the pandemic was that Norwegian Holdings (which owns NCL and Regent Seven Seas) was, at the time, the ONLY cruise line allowing only fully vaccinated passengers with a negative COVID test to board their vessels. That boosted my confidence, so I wasn't worried. This cruise was intended to give me a great start to 2022 doing two things I've always wanted: The Mexican Riviera & the Panama Canal. I had heard fairly bad things about NCL in the past, as such my 1st cruises were on Celebrity for their premium status. However, when looking for a Panama Canal, this was a perfect cruise. It was 14 days, and on a ship that had a lot to offer. Since Bliss is one of NCL's newer ship (ships less than 5 years old are still considered 'new'), there were no verifiable bad reviews, except NCL's fleet wide practice of charging for extras, and the 'so called' "Service Fees". This would be my first time on a mega-ship, however my main motivation for doing this on Bliss was the reduced capacity. This was so I could enjoy all the amenities without crowds and long lines. The longest line I stood in was about 6 people, excluding exiting the ship on port days. Embarkation was smooth and I was onboard within an hour, as expected. This cruise had seven ports: Mexico - Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Nicaragua - San Juan del Sur, Guatemala - Puerto Quetzal, Costa Rica - Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Panama - The Canal (New 2016 Locks), and Columbia - Cartagena. When I looked at the itinerary I suspected that Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Columbia might close their ports, and prepared for that. In December we were informed that the Nicaraguan government closed it's ports ahead of the cruise. On the first sea day I got a notice and voicemail that my zip-line excursion in Costa Rica was canceled and the money refunded to my onboard account. I was able to book a replacement zip-line & aerotram excursion. The evening before we were to arrive in Guatemala we were informed by the Port Authority we could not dock, so we passed the port for an extra sea day. It wasn't until we docked at Costa Rica, that after 3 hours we were told the Pier Manger would not allow passengers to debark and we left port an hour later. I was getting frequent alerts for Columbia well ahead of the cruise, so I was very surprised that we were able to dock and debark. The Panama Canal, the reason I took this 14 day cruise, was awesome! It took 11 hours to get through the new 2016 locks, and it was actually cool. Now I want to cruise on a much smaller ship and go through the original Locks! The food was amazing! I had no issues whatsoever, and I am a bit finicky. My reservation had a 4 meal dining package so I used it at Cagney's, Le Bistro, La Cucina, and Teppanyaki. I wished I skipped Teppanyaki for my dining package; it was over-hyped, and not as flashy as Benny Hanna's. I should've used Ocean Blue for my dining package, as that was the most expensive restaurant. American Diner was the only specialty restaurant I went to twice, because it was the only one that had fried chicken (though it was too salty, even for my Black ass). Savor was great (Taste was closed, except for the crew) and ate here most days for breakfast and lunch; The Manhattan Room was awesome; I ate here more than once. Food Republic was great and had really strong drinks! Q Steakhouse was fine and the dessert was awesome! By this time in the cruise (day 12) I was so stuffed from food that I never finished all of my meals. I tried to finish my dessert (a bread pudding that was frikken awesomeness) at Q's, but couldn't and only ate half - I was so mad at my fat self!! I put off doing most amenities in the first week because of the ports; so during the second week I went to the Bliss Speedway (I was hoping to have the track to myself, like one person shared in another review), mini golf (meh, way too mini, and no castles or traps!), and laser tag. I did water flume (loop tubes) 4 times (the 1 st time I didn't make through the first loop), and I did the tube racer 4 times; that was fun!! Laser tag was fun, except the guns didn't have straps and the field was more cramped than I expected. The Atrium is amazing and so big and spacious. This is where they did demonstrations, game shows, and showed movies (I caught the end of a Boss Baby movie), most movies I watched in my room. Speaking of, I discovered that there were some form of ambient noise was on every part of the ship. There were no actual quiet spaces, not even the library. Noise from the Atrium poured into the library, so reading in silence was impossible. So unless you were on this one sundeck outside Vibe Beach Club (on this cruise anyway, can't speak for a full capacity cruise) or the Thermal Spa, the only truly quiet place to be was your cabin. I only used the Pulse fitness center twice, because it attracted those people who like to show off how great they are at working out. I did manage to get through an entire early morning stretch routine on the 3rd day of the cruise, but never went back. I paid for the Thermal Spa pass, so that got waaay more use, though there a couple of days I never made it to the Spa. PREPARE FOR AN EXTRA SEA DAY. NO cruise itinerary is guaranteed and all the cruise documents state VERY CLEARLY THEY CAN CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITH SHORT NOTICE. So don't go off whining and blaming the cruise line or Travel Agent like a little baby! IGNORE those who say “Don't waste money on the souvenir mugs”. Bunk those people! Get the mugs. However, get them from the bars and restaurants, NOT the Duty Free shops: those are outrageously expensive. My NCL branded thermal coffee cup cost 24$ from Tradewinds. I paid 10$ for my Los Lobos Mexicanidad Skull Mug (plus the cost of the drink), and my Pineapple mug cost 6.57$ (plus drink tax, as we were still in US waters). It's worth the cost, if you don't have such a mug. Everyone kept asking about my Skull and Pineapple mug, even NCL crew from other restauraunts. This cruise was just phenomenal (despite the extra seas days), and when I got back to Tampa, it felt like I never should have left. Now, I know I'm ready for that Transatlantic on Regent 7Seas Splendor in 2023. I am even ready for a world cruise or a grand cruise. I am glad I sailed the Bliss at 34% capacity, but will I cruise him at full capacity? Probably not; I have learned that when it comes to cruising I like space to move about, both on the ship and in my suite or cabin. I liked the Celebrity Infinity because it was a small ship, and it only felt crowded in the clubs and lounges. All in all, I will sail on the Bliss again - IF it is ever less than 40% capacity again! Ahoy!

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Seven Seas Mariner

July 2021 - 10 Night Stunning Grecian Shores (Athens To Venice) Cruise on Seven Seas Mariner

Celebrity Infinity

December 2019 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Infinity

Cute Xmas Cruise, albeit not very Xmassy

This was an Xmas cruise, meant to give me more time in Cozumel.

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Celebrity Equinox

June 2019 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Celebrity Equinox

Too short a cruise, but very deserved and well planned!

I had a great time, it was just too short! I wanna go again, but next time Asia or Africa.

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Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss

Sail date: January 21, 2022

Excellent start to New Year cruising the Mexican Riviera & Panama Canal! Awesome 1st time on NCL Bliss.

This is LOOONG review with over 300 pictures, so skip it if you don't like reading. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to sail on this vessel when I did. I knew I would never be able to cruise on a ship this big at full capacity, willingly. So I jumped on the chance to sail on the Bliss on a 14 day cruise from Los Angeles to Miami. Despite some party poops saying the ship would be at 60% capacity, this cruise sailed with only 1313 passengers aboard (34% capacity), and it was AMAZING!! In fact the Primary reason I was willing to sail during the pandemic was that Norwegian Holdings (which owns NCL and Regent Seven Seas) was, at the time, the ONLY cruise line allowing only fully vaccinated passengers with a negative COVID test to board their vessels. That boosted my confidence, so I wasn't worried. This cruise was intended to give me a great start to 2022 doing two things I've always wanted: The Mexican Riviera & the Panama Canal. I had heard fairly bad things about NCL in the past, as such my 1st cruises were on Celebrity for their premium status. However, when looking for a Panama Canal, this was a perfect cruise. It was 14 days, and on a ship that had a lot to offer. Since Bliss is one of NCL's newer ship (ships less than 5 years old are still considered 'new'), there were no verifiable bad reviews, except NCL's fleet wide practice of charging for extras, and the 'so called' "Service Fees". This would be my first time on a mega-ship, however my main motivation for doing this on Bliss was the reduced capacity. This was so I could enjoy all the amenities without crowds and long lines. The longest line I stood in was about 6 people, excluding exiting the ship on port days. Embarkation was smooth and I was onboard within an hour, as expected. This cruise had seven ports: Mexico - Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Nicaragua - San Juan del Sur, Guatemala - Puerto Quetzal, Costa Rica - Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Panama - The Canal (New 2016 Locks), and Columbia - Cartagena. When I looked at the itinerary I suspected that Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Columbia might close their ports, and prepared for that. In December we were informed that the Nicaraguan government closed it's ports ahead of the cruise. On the first sea day I got a notice and voicemail that my zip-line excursion in Costa Rica was canceled and the money refunded to my onboard account. I was able to book a replacement zip-line & aerotram excursion. The evening before we were to arrive in Guatemala we were informed by the Port Authority we could not dock, so we passed the port for an extra sea day. It wasn't until we docked at Costa Rica, that after 3 hours we were told the Pier Manger would not allow passengers to debark and we left port an hour later. I was getting frequent alerts for Columbia well ahead of the cruise, so I was very surprised that we were able to dock and debark. The Panama Canal, the reason I took this 14 day cruise, was awesome! It took 11 hours to get through the new 2016 locks, and it was actually cool. Now I want to cruise on a much smaller ship and go through the original Locks! The food was amazing! I had no issues whatsoever, and I am a bit finicky. My reservation had a 4 meal dining package so I used it at Cagney's, Le Bistro, La Cucina, and Teppanyaki. I wished I skipped Teppanyaki for my dining package; it was over-hyped, and not as flashy as Benny Hanna's. I should've used Ocean Blue for my dining package, as that was the most expensive restaurant. American Diner was the only specialty restaurant I went to twice, because it was the only one that had fried chicken (though it was too salty, even for my Black ass). Savor was great (Taste was closed, except for the crew) and ate here most days for breakfast and lunch; The Manhattan Room was awesome; I ate here more than once. Food Republic was great and had really strong drinks! Q Steakhouse was fine and the dessert was awesome! By this time in the cruise (day 12) I was so stuffed from food that I never finished all of my meals. I tried to finish my dessert (a bread pudding that was frikken awesomeness) at Q's, but couldn't and only ate half - I was so mad at my fat self!! I put off doing most amenities in the first week because of the ports; so during the second week I went to the Bliss Speedway (I was hoping to have the track to myself, like one person shared in another review), mini golf (meh, way too mini, and no castles or traps!), and laser tag. I did water flume (loop tubes) 4 times (the 1 st time I didn't make through the first loop), and I did the tube racer 4 times; that was fun!! Laser tag was fun, except the guns didn't have straps and the field was more cramped than I expected. The Atrium is amazing and so big and spacious. This is where they did demonstrations, game shows, and showed movies (I caught the end of a Boss Baby movie), most movies I watched in my room. Speaking of, I discovered that there were some form of ambient noise was on every part of the ship. There were no actual quiet spaces, not even the library. Noise from the Atrium poured into the library, so reading in silence was impossible. So unless you were on this one sundeck outside Vibe Beach Club (on this cruise anyway, can't speak for a full capacity cruise) or the Thermal Spa, the only truly quiet place to be was your cabin. I only used the Pulse fitness center twice, because it attracted those people who like to show off how great they are at working out. I did manage to get through an entire early morning stretch routine on the 3rd day of the cruise, but never went back. I paid for the Thermal Spa pass, so that got waaay more use, though there a couple of days I never made it to the Spa. PREPARE FOR AN EXTRA SEA DAY. NO cruise itinerary is guaranteed and all the cruise documents state VERY CLEARLY THEY CAN CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITH SHORT NOTICE. So don't go off whining and blaming the cruise line or Travel Agent like a little baby! IGNORE those who say “Don't waste money on the souvenir mugs”. Bunk those people! Get the mugs. However, get them from the bars and restaurants, NOT the Duty Free shops: those are outrageously expensive. My NCL branded thermal coffee cup cost 24$ from Tradewinds. I paid 10$ for my Los Lobos Mexicanidad Skull Mug (plus the cost of the drink), and my Pineapple mug cost 6.57$ (plus drink tax, as we were still in US waters). It's worth the cost, if you don't have such a mug. Everyone kept asking about my Skull and Pineapple mug, even NCL crew from other restauraunts. This cruise was just phenomenal (despite the extra seas days), and when I got back to Tampa, it felt like I never should have left. Now, I know I'm ready for that Transatlantic on Regent 7Seas Splendor in 2023. I am even ready for a world cruise or a grand cruise. I am glad I sailed the Bliss at 34% capacity, but will I cruise him at full capacity? Probably not; I have learned that when it comes to cruising I like space to move about, both on the ship and in my suite or cabin. I liked the Celebrity Infinity because it was a small ship, and it only felt crowded in the clubs and lounges. All in all, I will sail on the Bliss again - IF it is ever less than 40% capacity again! Ahoy!

Read full review

Cruise tips

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I had a good time here. It did rain the first hour into the tour while we were still on the bus, though. Though some complained, I didn't mind. It reminded me of living in the valley of North Hollywood. The rain turned the streets into rivers as we drove through. I was surprised to learned that PV was such a small city. The streets were so narrow, and PV is a nice and quaint place. When the rain stopped we got out, and I visited an VR emerald show. Outside the shop they even had a show where performers did a dance telling the story of the emeralds. We stopped off at a nice restaurant where we got lunch. Then saw a show where 5 guys twirled down a pole.

Miami, Florida

This was our disembarkation port, so I didn't spend any time here. I was reminded why I hate their airport, it so horribly laid out. But transit from the pier to the airport was issue free. And the city does look nice. One day I'll spend more time here.

San Pedro (Los Angeles), California

Being form LA, this was 'home' for me. So I knew the area well and was not put off by it like some outsiders. The port had a cool battleship museum. The port itself was so easy to get into, I was amazed it was not as fancy as the Fort Lauderdale port, being that this was L.A. The signage was not confusing at all. I did realize that was not NCL's home port, like the fancy port Celebrity has in Fort Lauderdale.

Cartagena, Colombia

This was a beautiful city and the city buildings, as we sailed in, were so white, it was amazing to look at. My pirate excursion was pretty stupid. The pirate tried twice to get me to join in the play, but I didn't want to. I thought that they were going to sail the pirate ship out to sea and attack another ship. But no. It stayed docked. Then we went for a very nice walk. I'm from Los Angeles, so I'm not actually bothered by all the locals trying to get you buy stuff. But I can see how white folk from the mid-west or south could find this annoying. I got some advice: get out of the tourist area and go into the actual city and country. If you're in the tourist areas, you'll be hounded by vendors and locals. Get over it. Santa Monica, Venice, Downtown L.A. are all the same way. I had a great time, and enjoyed myself. Bought some coffee and mug.

Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica

When I saw that we were pulling into Costa Rica I was excited about my 4 hour zipline and aero-tram excursion for this port. After we docked, we sat in the theater waiting for the ship to be cleared. Michael the ShortEx Team Leader is a funny guy, I love his 'accent'. He always says “Crikey!” He kept us entertained during the whole ordeal. I was supposed to meet my excursion at 830am. At around 10:30am we were cleared by the Port Authority and the Local Health Official. However, the Pier Manager and owner of the pier wouldn't allow the ship to disembark passengers. So after being docked in Costa Rica for 3 ½ hours, the Bliss sailed away to Panama at 11:30 am local time.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

I loved this port, as it was pure Mexico, that I love. I even saw many sea lions, one up real close begging for fish, with some pelicans chilling by. I needed some deodorant and allergy pills (which Bliss did not have), and was glad I found a small shop that had what I needed. El Arco was cool and we even saw whales jumping out the water. I just wished we could under the arc, but I understand why we couldn't. I did wish I had chosen a longer excursion that allowed us to get off the boat and get closer to the sea lions and beaches though. But, oh well – next time.

Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala

(We did not visit this port, and the check box to specify so is broke.) I was supposed to do a jeep safari excursion. But on the evening before we were to arrive the Captain announced that the Guatemalan Government had closed the port siting COVID-19 related causes. I was refunded the excursion money. But I knew this port would likely be skipped when I booked the cruise. I used this day to go on all of Bliss' water rides, twice.

Panama Canal Transit

Ahhh, the reason I took this cruise. I was a little miffed we were going through the new locks and not the old. In fact, I didn't even know there were two sets of locks. The old locks were for the smaller ships of the time. But as ships got bigger, they needed wider and longer locks. They also needed a more efficient way filling up each lock. So these were built in 2016, and have “lakes” on both sides of the locks to drain and re-fill each lock. One day I'll go on a smaller ship through the old locks. The new locks have gate that open sideways. The old lock gates open outwards, like doors. We arrived at the Pacific bridge (The Bridge of the Americas) at 705am PST and began entering the first set of locks at 7:54am PST. The first lock was Balboa. We exited the last lock at 10:01am PST. Looking at the Pacific Bridge in the distance it's hard to believe it took 3 hours. By 10:55am PST we crossed under the Centennial Bridge (Puente Centenario) and entered Gatun Lake to begin the 4 hour trip across Gatun Lake. At 2:55pm PST we entered the first of the second set of locks; and exited the locks, crossing under the Atlantic Bridge at 5:10pm PST. I was running around trying to find a good spot to shoot Bliss passing under the Atlantic Bridge, but I should have planted myself on the mini golf court, or the deck above the pool movie screen, so my shots of us passing underneath the Atlantic bridge were limited. By the time I got to the back of this massive ship we had already passed under it.

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Bliss

1) PREPARE FOR AN EXTRA SEA DAY. NO cruise itinerary is guaranteed, all the cruise documents state VERY CLEARLY THEY CAN CHANGE AT ANY TIME WITH SHORT NOTICE. 2) Get the souvenir mugs, they are waaay cheaper than you think (7-10$). 3) Don't use the Dining Package on Teppanyaki, pay the cover; it's the only Specialty Restaurant that has no a la carte menu. 4) Explore, explore, explore! Learn the deck plan early on; getting to Deck 19 is tricky with a mess of stairs and elevators. But it has a nice (semi) quiet public sun deck outside of Vibe Beach Club. It even has it's own bar, assuming it's for the public. I never saw it open on this cruise.

Cancun, Mexico

Visited here for a week in 2001. Had a great time in the Booze Cruise. However, it was mush like being back in Los Angeles. I had to walk the street to find culture. The beach was nice though. My hotel had a nice lake in back. It rained one day. I went during East Coast Spring Break and got caught up in that. I was 32 at the time and no one suspected I was the older one among them college students! I had fun, but bit was touristy at times. I had a nice big room to myself! It was no suite though.

Key West

At first I felt like a tourist in my own country. But I like Key west it feels so much like Santa Monica or Venice Beach! I enjoyed the walking tour and my first time there I went to the aquarium and pirate museum and Wrecker Tower.

Key West, Florida

This small key reminds me of Santa Monica and Venice Beach. I live the culture and chickens running around. The 🐔🐓 chickens run the city!! Be kind to the Chickens or else!

Miami, Florida

I didn't spend to much time here. It was nice to see the airport, and visit the common ares near the ship port, though. I had more fun in the Everglades post cruise. I went aboard the hover boats and saw some awesome gators

Cozumel, Mexico

I love the beaches and shops. This is great spot. Those who complain just don't appreciate Mexico and what has to offer. I did the underground river tour inside the caves and it was amazing. My first time here I did an helmet dive. It was cool but the blanket and other souvenirs I bought were better.

Celebrity Infinity

Celebrity Infinity

I like this ship for it's small & quaint size. The Persian Garden was a nice experience; used the sauna daily. Ate at the SpaCafe 1st day, LOVED IT! Blu was great but the SAME MENU every night hurt the experience. Always use hand sanitizer! Avoid the silly musicals, not the comics nor Silent Disco.

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

Those who say this is a boring port never tried to explore oitside the port. Boo for them. Exploring outside the port is amazing. The local beaches are very nice, as are the shops. In 2019, while cruising with Celebrity Equinox, I did the 8 1/2 hour excursion through the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich and Dzibanché. It was amazing, got to scale the pyramids and got in a lot of cardio.

Cozumel, Mexico

It was pretty nice, a little hot, but nothing I;m not used to. Wished I could mail the postcards from there, though. But couldn't.

George Town, Grand Cayman

I wish had spent more time here. I want to go back. I went to the stingrays and it was crowded. I was pretty disappointed at how much a tourist trap it was. I thought it was sanctuary spot. I did rain a bit. But I was surprised how comfortable the weather was - it was humid.

Celebrity Equinox

Celebrity Equinox

The SpaCafe has weird hours. It's open from mid-morning to mid-noon. On this ship I never got to eat there, because is was closed by the time got back aboard the ship from excursions. I also woke up late or just missed it out sea days. Plan your excursions ONLINE B4 sailing, you'll get better deals.

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