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My husband and I (both 62 years old) have cruised with NCL on the Gem, Epic, Pearl and Dawn. I have been on the Gem and Epic twice. We have always preferred NCL because of the Freestyle Cruising idea since neither of us are interested in getting dressed up when we are on vacation. However we have also cruised on Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival so we can do some comparisons. We left on November 7th from NS and stayed overnight in Miami at the Airport Hilton. We arrived at the port at around 10 AM and we were on the ship by around 11:30. The embarkation went very smoothly which may have partially been due to our early arrival. Naturally we headed up to the Garden Café to have lunch. I was very impressed with the layout of the whole area especially the idea of having different colour schemes on each side which made it easier to find where you were sitting. Lunch was rather disappointing in the buffet as I did not see many alternates to hamburgers, hotdogs and French fries. Breakfast was a much better meal in the buffet and we only had supper there once and it was OK. Once we had lunch we headed down to our cabin (#10976) a mid-ship mini-suite. This seems to be where the ship designers have gone off the tracks. Apparently some (idiot) thought that the cruise passengers would be spending most of their time in the bathroom and none of their time out on their balcony! Seriously?? A huge, totally unnecessary bathroom with a double sink (why?) and a shower that could hold three people! So we have all that wasted space and then a balcony that is 4 feet by 8 feet. Very, very bad idea. This is one of the first cruises where we hardly spent any time out relaxing on our balcony. Perhaps that was the idea? We aren’t down in the bars buying drinks? But not having a decent sized balcony is such a turn-off for most cruisers that I am sure it will affect a lot of future cruisers especially if they have been on other ships. I remember watching the TV show about the Breakaway and one of the things they mentioned was that our luggage would get to our room before we did. Afraid not; I was very surprised that our luggage didn’t arrive until after supper. But, when I did start to unpack I discovered another design problem: no DRAWERS! I can only think this was some type of cost-cutting measure when building the ship but it was another big mistake. Where, exactly are we supposed to store our pills, jewelry, watches, hair accessories, etc? Most people these days have prescriptions, etc and the ONLY drawer in the whole cabin was a tiny one at the bottom of the bathroom vanity. Not easily accessible and with all the humidity, not a good place to store pills. Then there is the non-existent table. I realize that the vanity stool is multi-use but I was hardly going to switch it back and forth every time I wanted to sit down. Our cabin was arranged with the bed next to the balcony doors and the space between the wall and the bed might have been one foot! Not much fun if you are getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom! The table on that side of the bed was very tiny. The bedside lights are too high on the wall so that if you are already lying in bed, you have to get up to turn them off. Moving on... Only ONE swimming pool for over 3,000 guests (not counting the pool in Haven and the kids’ pool). What happened to the pool in Spice H2O? The seats in the main theater are poorly constructed and not comfortable. If you sit up straight you are hitting what feels like a “2 X 4” under your bum. To avoid this you have to slouch in your chair. Headliner’s Comedy Club – we only went here once at 9 PM and the featured comedienne was not good at all. Don’t remember his name but he is supposed to be going on some TV shows. Very slow and poor performance. But the other problem, again, was the seating: solid, HARD wooden chairs! After 20 minutes my back started to bother me. Then there are the elevators; I thought I was entering a dungeon or a tomb: dark, dark and dark. We did try the bowling several times. The first time we were on the right-hand lane and discovered that the “#10 pin” did not register when it was knocked down. I realize that this is all just for fun but my husband is an avid bowler and was NOT impressed when he got a strike and a spare and BOTH of them did not show up because of this problem. We noticed later on that the strings on the pins had tangled and there was no one around to fix the problem. Considering that it was costing us $10.00 to play, this would have been an issue and we would probably had to go down to customer service to get our money back. The mini-golf was rather interesting. We went to play twice but the first time there were no “adult-sized” clubs available. There were only about 10 people on the course so it was rather surprising. The second time there was only one club available so we had to share it. FOOD – We ate in Taste and Savor at least three times. The only time it was “OK” was for breakfast. Supper was pathetic. Waiters never placed our napkins in our laps, service was slow and poor. My water glass was empty for over 5 minutes. My tea came with no milk and by the time the waiter came back (15 minutes) it was cold and had to be replaced. Main course was lukewarm. At least 15 minutes before our (finished) salads were removed and during our second meal the waiter never came back to ask how we were enjoying our meal or if we needed anything. I especially enjoy the “chocolate Volcano cake” for desert but both times that I had it, it was not nearly hot enough. It almost goes without saying that everything on the ship was TOO LOUD. The announcements were especially annoying and extremely loud. We always have to wear earplugs for all the shows in the theaters. The only place on the ship that was quiet was the card room and the library. I used to enjoy the Spinnaker Lounge but apparently it is also gone and there is only ONE lounge on the ship now and I am hardly going to go to Bliss to sit and read a book. I will end this on a happy note and tell you what we did enjoy on the ship. First of all, she is beautiful and the central chandelier is amazing. Our room steward was very good and the whole ship was kept very clean. The shuffleboard courts were great and I was very pleased to see so many of them. Once we discovered O’Sheenhan’s Pub we hardly ate anywhere else. Food was fantastic and so was the service. Prime rib was excellent. We would order our food and it was in front of us within five minutes. The waiters in Taste and Savor should take notes. The shows, Burn the Floor and Legally Blonde were excellent. Disembarkation was very well managed and we were off the ship and in a taxi within 25 minutes. I did try the Spa for a day and unfortunately (again) the designers missed the mark. The hydrotherapy pool is wonderful but because it is so loud and noisy it is not enjoyable to lay on the heated tile beds or the loungers for any length of time. I presumed the idea of a “spa” is peaceful relaxation. We will be going back to Carnival and RCCL next year and may never return to NCL unless we return to the older ships.  

NCL is going downhill. New ships are not better.

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by NSAHO79

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2014
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
My husband and I (both 62 years old) have cruised with NCL on the Gem, Epic, Pearl and Dawn. I have been on the Gem and Epic twice. We have always preferred NCL because of the Freestyle Cruising idea since neither of us are interested in getting dressed up when we are on vacation. However we have also cruised on Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Carnival so we can do some comparisons.
We left on November 7th from NS and stayed overnight in Miami at the Airport Hilton. We arrived at the port at around 10 AM and we were on the ship by around 11:30. The embarkation went very smoothly which may have partially been due to our early arrival.
Naturally we headed up to the Garden Café to have lunch. I was very impressed with the layout of the whole area especially the idea of having different colour schemes on each side which made it easier to find where you were sitting. Lunch was rather disappointing in the buffet as I did not see many alternates to hamburgers, hotdogs and French fries. Breakfast was a much better meal in the buffet and we only had supper there once and it was OK.
Once we had lunch we headed down to our cabin (#10976) a mid-ship mini-suite. This seems to be where the ship designers have gone off the tracks. Apparently some (idiot) thought that the cruise passengers would be spending most of their time in the bathroom and none of their time out on their balcony! Seriously?? A huge, totally unnecessary bathroom with a double sink (why?) and a shower that could hold three people!
So we have all that wasted space and then a balcony that is 4 feet by 8 feet. Very, very bad idea. This is one of the first cruises where we hardly spent any time out relaxing on our balcony. Perhaps that was the idea? We aren’t down in the bars buying drinks? But not having a decent sized balcony is such a turn-off for most cruisers that I am sure it will affect a lot of future cruisers especially if they have been on other ships.
I remember watching the TV show about the Breakaway and one of the things they mentioned was that our luggage would get to our room before we did. Afraid not; I was very surprised that our luggage didn’t arrive until after supper.
But, when I did start to unpack I discovered another design problem: no DRAWERS! I can only think this was some type of cost-cutting measure when building the ship but it was another big mistake. Where, exactly are we supposed to store our pills, jewelry, watches, hair accessories, etc? Most people these days have prescriptions, etc and the ONLY drawer in the whole cabin was a tiny one at the bottom of the bathroom vanity. Not easily accessible and with all the humidity, not a good place to store pills.
Then there is the non-existent table. I realize that the vanity stool is multi-use but I was hardly going to switch it back and forth every time I wanted to sit down.
Our cabin was arranged with the bed next to the balcony doors and the space between the wall and the bed might have been one foot! Not much fun if you are getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom! The table on that side of the bed was very tiny. The bedside lights are too high on the wall so that if you are already lying in bed, you have to get up to turn them off.
Moving on...
Only ONE swimming pool for over 3,000 guests (not counting the pool in Haven and the kids’ pool). What happened to the pool in Spice H2O?
The seats in the main theater are poorly constructed and not comfortable. If you sit up straight you are hitting what feels like a “2 X 4” under your bum. To avoid this you have to slouch in your chair.
Headliner’s Comedy Club – we only went here once at 9 PM and the featured comedienne was not good at all. Don’t remember his name but he is supposed to be going on some TV shows. Very slow and poor performance. But the other problem, again, was the seating: solid, HARD wooden chairs! After 20 minutes my back started to bother me.
Then there are the elevators; I thought I was entering a dungeon or a tomb: dark, dark and dark.
We did try the bowling several times. The first time we were on the right-hand lane and discovered that the “#10 pin” did not register when it was knocked down. I realize that this is all just for fun but my husband is an avid bowler and was NOT impressed when he got a strike and a spare and BOTH of them did not show up because of this problem. We noticed later on that the strings on the pins had tangled and there was no one around to fix the problem. Considering that it was costing us $10.00 to play, this would have been an issue and we would probably had to go down to customer service to get our money back.
The mini-golf was rather interesting. We went to play twice but the first time there were no “adult-sized” clubs available. There were only about 10 people on the course so it was rather surprising. The second time there was only one club available so we had to share it.
FOOD – We ate in Taste and Savor at least three times. The only time it was “OK” was for breakfast. Supper was pathetic. Waiters never placed our napkins in our laps, service was slow and poor. My water glass was empty for over 5 minutes. My tea came with no milk and by the time the waiter came back (15 minutes) it was cold and had to be replaced. Main course was lukewarm.
At least 15 minutes before our (finished) salads were removed and during our second meal the waiter never came back to ask how we were enjoying our meal or if we needed anything. I especially enjoy the “chocolate Volcano cake” for desert but both times that I had it, it was not nearly hot enough.
It almost goes without saying that everything on the ship was TOO LOUD. The announcements were especially annoying and extremely loud. We always have to wear earplugs for all the shows in the theaters. The only place on the ship that was quiet was the card room and the library. I used to enjoy the Spinnaker Lounge but apparently it is also gone and there is only ONE lounge on the ship now and I am hardly going to go to Bliss to sit and read a book.
I will end this on a happy note and tell you what we did enjoy on the ship. First of all, she is beautiful and the central chandelier is amazing. Our room steward was very good and the whole ship was kept very clean. The shuffleboard courts were great and I was very pleased to see so many of them. Once we discovered O’Sheenhan’s Pub we hardly ate anywhere else. Food was fantastic and so was the service. Prime rib was excellent. We would order our food and it was in front of us within five minutes. The waiters in Taste and Savor should take notes.
The shows, Burn the Floor and Legally Blonde were excellent. Disembarkation was very well managed and we were off the ship and in a taxi within 25 minutes.
I did try the Spa for a day and unfortunately (again) the designers missed the mark. The hydrotherapy pool is wonderful but because it is so loud and noisy it is not enjoyable to lay on the heated tile beds or the loungers for any length of time. I presumed the idea of a “spa” is peaceful relaxation.
We will be going back to Carnival and RCCL next year and may never return to NCL unless we return to the older ships.
 
NSAHO79’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MB 10796
The cabin was very quiet and we never noticed any noise. Ship movement was hardly noticable. The balcony was TOO small (4 by 8), there were NO drawers in the main room. Bed was extremely comfortable. You could not see the wake of the ship from the balcony because the life boats are blocking the view. Bed was beside the balcony doors with about one foot of space to get out of bed.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins