Norwegian Bliss Mini Suite 13202 Review
The first person to sleep in mini suite 13202 on Norwegian Bliss was yours truly. And there's something oddly special about having that claim to fame.
Located mid-ship on Deck 13 portside, the cabin offered easy access to the mid-ship stairwell.
I was really looking forward to seeing this cabin as a few years ago, I stayed in a Spa Mini Suite on Norwegian Escape, and I was curious to see a) how things had evolved; and b) whether there was much of a difference between a standard mini suite and a spa mini suite.
Mini Suite 13202
First impression as it feels just as compact as my Spa Mini Suite did previously. According to the Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Bliss deck plans, 0.2 square metres (2 square foot) of space in the cabin has been shaved off each the cabin and the balcony. In reality, that isn't noticeable.
The facilities of the cabin are broadly the same as before. Twin lower beds convert to a queen, and there's a sofa that can become a bed if needs be. There's also a wardrobe, desk space, and roomy bathroom equipped with a multi-nozzle shower and trough sink.
A schematic of the cabin can be seen below:
Stylish illuminated door numbers located outside each cabin included small lights to indicate that you are inside the cabin. Slide your Freestyle Card into the slot next to the doorway to activate the electrics in the room, and the 'occupied' light on the door sign lights up. You can also signify not to be disturbed, and you can request the room be made up.
- I like the dark blue and brown décor. It feels clean and modern without being fussy.
- The size of the brown and white toned bathroom still impressed me second time around. While the double-width trough sink is a nice touch it seems a bit of a waste in this setup. If you and your partner are in a hurry and both need the sink then I imagine it's a godsend, but otherwise it makes little sense to me. I love the double-depth shower cubicle with its roomy feel.
- Complimentary hand-wash and shower gel dispensers are affixed to the walls in the bathroom (so less packing required). In addition, a bar of NCL-branded soap and small bottle of body lotion were supplied.
- A USB socket was located on the side of each bed-side lamp, making charging phones and cameras a lot easier than messing around with travel adapters. I'd have liked an extra USB port or two at the desk, but two sockets is much better than on some ships.
- A compact coffee maker sat on the desk equipped with a range of instant tea and coffee sachets.
- The glass-fronted balcony space is good, with enough room for two chairs and a small table.
- The balcony space offered unspoilt views and the large steel canopy overhang above helps to shade the balcony from the sun. Dividers between the cabins offered a good level of privacy, and the glass balustrade did not impede the sea views.
The not so good
- Compared to suites on other cruise lines, the term "mini suite" (with emphasis on "mini") is appropriate. There's a pinch point between the foot of the bed and the built-in furniture that can prove a tight squeeze. The bathroom and balcony are exceptions to this, where there's plenty of space.
- The multi-nozzle Hansgrohe waterfall shower is a nice touch, but I found the water jets uncomfortable. The oversized shower head on its own is infinitely better, though.
- While this cabin is three decks below the pool deck, noise from the Caliente party travelled down. We're not talking a little bit of noise either - you can feel the bass travel through the walls and floor of the cabin and hear the lyrics perfectly. Right through to at least 1am. I'm not sure how much of a nuisance this would be on a regular sailing but is something to bear in mind if you are a light sleeper or you are travelling with a child.
Is the spa mini suite a worthwhile upgrade?
Unlike the Spa mini suite, the standard mini suite has no complimentary access to the Thermal Suite, no Bvlgari toiletries, and the cabin location may not as be as favourable to the Mandara Spa as possible. But pretty much everything else in the cabin is the same.
Thermal suite passes are sold at the discretion of the Spa and on other ships generally retail somewhere in the region of $200 (≈ £154) for a week.
Bvlgari toiletries are like gold dust - they seem to be exclusively available to the tourism trade rather than end customers (I've looked as I love the toiletries - there's a second hand market on eBay but that's about it). Instead, you could always bring some fancy toiletries from home.
And as for easy access, any cabins near the aft stairwell on any deck are just a short elevator ride away from the spa.
So is it worth the upgrade to a spa mini suite? If you expect to visit the Thermal Suite regularly, want a conveniently located cabin near the spa, and you want high-end toiletries, then yes, the upgrade will likely be worthwhile. However, consider the prices of both the regular and Spa mini suites as the extra amenities might not be worth the price difference to you.
Comparing a cruise to Alaska
To draw a comparison, I picked an itinerary at random. The 15 September 2019 Alaska itinerary sailing from Seattle sails to Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan in Alaska plus Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, before heading back to Washington all in the space of seven nights. It sounds great, doesn't it?
Based on this itinerary, a Mini Suite is available from £2,049 per person. A Spa Mini Suite cabin, which includes access to the Thermal Suite and the fancy toiletries, is available from £2,269 per person.
Trade Up: If your budget allows I would recommend booking a suite in The Haven which includes access to Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship space. Suites here start from £4,909 per person on the same itinerary.
Trade Down: The real selling point of a mini suite is the larger bathroom. The next level down is a standard balcony cabin which starts from £1,858 per person on the same itinerary.
Prices are based on two sharing a cabin and are available at the time of writing.
Would you book a Mini Suite rather than a standard balcony cabin or a suite in The Haven? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: Norwegian Cruise Line kindly supplied an all-inclusive mini cruise from Bremerhaven to Southampton, while I paid for travel to and from the ports. All opinions are my own.
(Cabin schematic credit to Norwegian Cruise Line)