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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
This is a cruise ship for the masses. At almost 3000 passengers I would have to expect some sacrifices on a quality product. The two major items I look for in a cruise are the cabin and the food. Carnival gets a mixed bag on both. The ... Read More
This is a cruise ship for the masses. At almost 3000 passengers I would have to expect some sacrifices on a quality product. The two major items I look for in a cruise are the cabin and the food. Carnival gets a mixed bag on both. The cabin featured a tired pleather (plastic leather) couch in the cabin with hair and dirt from previous occupants in the drawers. Carpet that had seen better days and furniture from pressed wood products round out the quality of the cabins. These negatives were balanced by a very nice group of guys who maintained the cabins with a smile and greeting every time they saw you. Dinners were excellent. The wait staff in the Washington restaurant were top shelf. They anticipated your every wish and made each dinner stunning. All dinners were high quality with nice varied selections. Breakfast and lunch were another matter altogether. Think one step up from high school cafeteria. Buffet food that lacked taste and lukewarm food dominated. The specialty areas only passed muster when the food was "How can you mess that up?" Burgers and fries at the grill were good. Pizza was ok. Deli sandwiches also just ok. The fish and chips was awful. The batter was tasteless and you could squeeze enough oil out of one piece of fish to fry an egg!! Mongolian wok always had a long line and the food had a ton of salt in it. Very few servers had a smile on their face and most of the clean up crew smiled or greeted you. The made to order egg station had the most unfriendly workers. No greeting or smile. Just a yeah what look. If you have low expectations then carnival may be for you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
I stayed in a Haven Spa room #16100. This is suppose to be a 3 person spa room, it actually is a 4 person spa room and the other Haven spa rooms are all 3 person NOT 2. While in the Haven courtyard area there were a number of children ... Read More
I stayed in a Haven Spa room #16100. This is suppose to be a 3 person spa room, it actually is a 4 person spa room and the other Haven spa rooms are all 3 person NOT 2. While in the Haven courtyard area there were a number of children unsupervised throwing balls all in the pool area, between the top deck & pool area, jumping on the furniture in between the pool area & screaming, running through the Haven in front of concierge as well as rearranging the furniture on the upper deck 19. I paid a ton of money over 11K to be in the Haven & my family & I never once enjoyed the pool area because of these children or any part of the Haven. They were in the hallways throwing balls and playing dodge ball, screaming up and down the stairs and even playing in the elevator. The Haven is supposed to be a retreat NOT romper room. Adrian did address all those parents whom in turned yelled at him. If one of those kids would struck me or someone else in the face with that ball, you would’ve been sued, if one of those kids running or playing their dodge ball in the hall wall while someone was walking & knocked someone over, you would’ve been sued, if one of those children would’ve fell because of their jumping & running in the pool area & hurt themselves, their parent would’ve been screaming & yelling at all of you & wanting to sue. They have over 3,000 cameras everywhere including the Haven and still nothing was done. I went down to guest services several times & still nothing was done. I met with the Assistant Hotel Director & he was upset this was going on, plus I should him my videos. He told me he was going to reach out to corporate to inform them as on what occurred. There were kids in the adult only sections several times on the ship. Skyline had a toddler running thru & around the stage while the wonderful singer performed. The adults with the child were drinking & hanging out on the couches. Several people got up & left. The last night a young man took two young girls behind one of the curtains & sat on the couch next to my husband with his arm around them & then a woman came over & asked the girls if they wanted a rum & coke. I informed the waitress, she informed security & they were escorted out. The girls indeed were only 16 years old. I am happy that their team acted swiftly because this could’ve turned out badly for all parties. Overall the cruise ship is beautiful BUT the lack of caring about other guests in the Haven whom paid their money also is quite disturbing to me. The kids is a HUGE issue with me because of the lack of caring on the parents part, the attitude of guest services about the kids in general & telling guests well it’s thanksgiving & we are a family cruise ship is no answer. If any adult tries to go into the kid areas: their clubs we would be asked to leave! Why not make the Haven have a minimum age limit on it to ensure other guests who paid good money to be there enjoy it as well. Or have some sort of agreement prior to sailing for all parents to ensure they will not allow their children to do certain things on the cruise ship & if they do act this way consequences will ensue & if they get hurt NCL is not liable. The food in the Haven was wonderful if you like to wait 2 hours for it. This included breakfast. We went to all the specialty restaurants. The service on all of them was extremely slow. It was 2+ hours at Bistro for 3 people. That is crazy! Service was slow in all the bars. Plus there was no apple pucker to make an apple martini or Washington apple martini. I was informed that corporate was going with new things and getting rid of certain alcohols because the bars are all specialty including the Haven. There is no where that it says Skyline is specialty or Haven bar. So, the beverage manager got apple pucker in St. Thomas. I was very grateful to him. His put apple pucker everywhere for me, I told him if anyone wants a martini made with apple pucker let them, I want everyone to enjoy themselves. The shows were GREAT!!! I loved For the Record! Went to see it 2x with my son and then he saw it a 3rd time. If you like John Hughes movies you’ll love this show, if you don’t know the movies you won’t like it! The Jazz Show was incredible…BEST SHOW! We even got to see the Tenors of Rock…Outstanding! The comedians on board Rodney Lane and Warren Hall were extremely funny, I saw all there shows. Overall the ship is absolutely beautiful BUT it is apparent that they need more staff members and some things MUST change. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Group of 15 with the following demographic: 28-45 Years of Age Multiple Ethnicities Straight & Gay Let's start with the positive, the ship is beautiful with all details accounted for down to the salt and pepper ... Read More
Group of 15 with the following demographic: 28-45 Years of Age Multiple Ethnicities Straight & Gay Let's start with the positive, the ship is beautiful with all details accounted for down to the salt and pepper shakers at the restaurants. Also, the water slides where very nice and lots of fun when they were open. The adventure course was pretty cool too. Night Life: THERE IS NOT ONE INDOOR CLUB! They have an open sun deck in the back of the ship that is only open weather permitting. It's windy and interesting the first night but you get over it pretty quickly. Then there's the Skyline...the second in line "club wise". Fully open smack next to the casino...feels like part of the casino. The bartenders were literally ALL very rude and just not happy to be there. There was only one bartender that is usually in the pool bar and would go to the Skyline to back up that was super nice and full of energy. He was always happy, dancing, and made excellent drinks. His name is Clarense Bennett from Honduras and the only one that would always wear a straw hat. Then the worst part, since the Skyline is so open, the teenagers would constantly crash the party (we did the best we could with the so so music). All of them in mass groups doing the nae nae and cupid shuffle amidst the drunken old men. Super inappropriate and unsupervised. Many times my drinks would disappear and while I thought the bartender was just cleaning the bar too fast, I saw one of the young ones with sheer talent stealing one of my friends drink...pure stealth. Only the last night after a complaint did the security guard go in and kick them out. The Service: For some reason the person in charge of my stateroom was all attitude with mediocre cleaning. I called daily for proper cleaning and one day the guy gave me his schedule and basically insinuated with his tone he would come and make up the room as a favor. The housekeeping manager was very nice and the last couple of days everything was up to par. The couple a few doors down with a different person had a good experience and I haven't asked the rest of the group so maybe it was just mine. The Spa: It was nice...nice but after sailing in the NCL EPIC, I was expecting the same or more. The pool was smaller and the overall set up was not as impressive. The snow room was super cool, that was my best memory from the space. The attendants in the front can use a training on proper "spa" service...again, the ladies at the EPIC were also very nice and professional. The Gym: You have everything you need but very tight..although the ship is bigger, the gym is smaller than the one in the EPIC. The view from the cardio area, very nice as usual. Brace yourself to bump sweaty arms in the weights area. The Restaurants: The only 2 restaurants that I can say were excellent and worth the expense were Food Republic and Le Bistro in second place. The rest were OK, noting to die for. The H2O Sundeck Area: Light and low low music...good place to get sun while taking a nap. The Main Pool Area: I like my pool area with a DJ and drinks. Most of the time there was a live singer with unbrushed hair. I consider the pool to be small for the size of the ship and there are not enough Jacuzzis. Speaking of jacuzzis, full of children all day. Packs of 10 snorkeling under the bubbles....for hours. Children EVERYWHERE except their kiddie area. Thank goodness for the area upstairs that's enclosed. I don't remember the name but you have to pay extra to be allowed in and it's adults only. I recommend the drink Pain Killer! In conclusion, if you're looking for a fun lively ship with a night life and modern music, this is not it. This ship is meant to relax, gain 10 pounds (all you can do is eat) and play bingo. I kissed the floor when I finally got off the ship (so was my entire group). After this experience I don't want to think of a cruise but when I do, my eyes are shifting over to another line...my heart can't bear another ESCAPE experience. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
The long delay in embarking on the ship was the first indication that this was going to be a bad cruise. Though the Spirit has 13 bay doors, only one was being used to load our luggage. This caused a traffic jam at the port. On St. ... Read More
The long delay in embarking on the ship was the first indication that this was going to be a bad cruise. Though the Spirit has 13 bay doors, only one was being used to load our luggage. This caused a traffic jam at the port. On St. Thomas, we had to tender. I watched the crewman try to hoist the NCL flag on the tender for nearly one-half hour before giving up. We had tender ticket number #18. After 1-1/2 hrs., the crew was still only on ticket #2. It took several representatives (working through until I found one who understood English) before I finally found an officer who understood my frustration and had us follow a Guest Services Rep down to the awaiting tender. This became an official issue, #129291, for complaint to NCL. The food was bland in the complimentary restaurants, the Windows and the Gardens. Windows requires a better dress code for dinner, yet their menus are the same. ??? Raffles buffet food was the worst. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
We were so excited to do our family vacation with the new escape. This boat was very beautiful but if you read all the negative reviews, sadly they are all true. The service was pitiful the waits for everything was such a nightmare. A ... Read More
We were so excited to do our family vacation with the new escape. This boat was very beautiful but if you read all the negative reviews, sadly they are all true. The service was pitiful the waits for everything was such a nightmare. A hour for a glass of milk for my 3 year old son. Really. The food was very disappointing. Some shows were amature and some were awesome. I ended up get the extra fee dining package and when we're got into the ship I was told they are all sold out all week. After spending 15 hours with customer service before boarding with issues and like 3 hours of my vacation time complaining it was a total waste of my time and money. Some people were so nice and some rude. The child care for my 10 month old and my 3 yr old were amazing. They had a blast. We did get a nice surprise from upper management for all our troubles. They got us in cagneys steak house the last night with a surprise cake and decorated our room for my wife's bday. That was very nice. Other then that it was so upsetting that we spent 6000 for a week and our big getaway for the year was sooo upsetting. They wear pins that say vacation heros. We kept saying we need you to save our bad vacation and be the hero and no one did. 7 days for 1 night in a specialty dining was not exceptable. We deserve a free cruise to come back because this was not cool. My wife happens to work in a travel industry and I am a wedding Dj. We deal with lots of people who ask about vacations. As of now Norwegian is not on my good list. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
From this point forward, I've decided I will write a review for every cruise that I take because I don't normally, and if you report the bad, then I will need to make it a point to report the good. I've taken two in the ... Read More
From this point forward, I've decided I will write a review for every cruise that I take because I don't normally, and if you report the bad, then I will need to make it a point to report the good. I've taken two in the past...1998 when the Carnival Ecstacy was pretty new and 2014 for Christmas on the same, much older, ship. The ship was older but the staff was amazing...the staff can make or break a ship...anyway, I digress. This was my first time on NCL and OMG what a disappointment! Maybe I should have waited a few months for everyone to get used to being on this new vessel, I don't know....at this point I don't think I will take another NCL cruise. I know for sure it wouldn't be a new ship and it would have to be one with lots of reviews that says the staff is on point. I chose NCL since my good buddy had a great time on the Getaway, so I figured I would have a great time as well on the Escape. I was a bit concerned when I read a few of the reviews prior to my Thanksgiving sailing, but I really thought that many were probably being over critical, and that most people probably enjoyed their cruise, but didn't bother to give a review....Well, I have to agree with what many have stated...the most glearing issue was how unhappy the staff seems to be. I deal with clients daily via phone, so I make it a point to sound cheery and upbeat during my training sessions. If you're in customer service, it is your job to smile and be engaging. I literally would ask those that looked especially down troddened how their day is going and tried to start conversations. Majority of the staff seemed just downright stressed and unhappy in their roles and most times I felt like I was a bother. The only person that I can say was pretty nice and consistent was our steward Gary. I will say, Thanksgiving day and the last day of the cruise was a bit better, where you actually got smiles and greetings. I had a couple run ins where some of the staff were just terse and rude...I totally was taken aback, but hey I didn't let any of it ruin my day. The food in The Manhatten was so so, but the service was very good. The Savor breakfast was good, but the service...we waited an extended amount of time for our meal, he got my girls orders completely incorrect, and never bothered to stop back by. I had to hunt someone down to bring cream. The food was not good enough to tolerate the wait and lacking service, so I didn't go back, nor did we bother trying Taste. We did go to O'Sheenans a few times...the hot dog and burgers were gross but the wings are good. What I found pretty consistent, they take your order but rarely return to see if you need more water or if you'd like anything else. No one ever asked if everything was ok. Oh I even questioned them about the cheese on the nachos which looked like watery mustard and the response was "that's the way it is today." One of the visits, I sat there for a really long while before anyone came over and it wasn't that busy. What really annoyed me was the Maitre D walked right by my table (though I was looking right at him) and went to the table behind me to ask how their food was. The absolute worst food on the ship was at Margaritaville...it was down right disgusting. First off, we were given a pager and told it could page us anywhere on the ship, so we went back to our room. When it went off, I headed right over, when I got there the host said to her mgr with an attitude that she had been paging me for a long time (like I wasn't standing right there)...as though I shouldn't get seated. The mgr seated us, but I couldn't believe how I was greeted. On top of that, the wait was LONG and the food was horrible! The chicken fajita was made from some kind of bbq pulled chicken and the conch fritters were a salty glob of dough. I am so glad I didn't order an entree. My husband ordered dessert and the waitress that was serving us disappeared. Like thirty minutes later we (along with three other tables) were complaining asking what happened to our waitress. The mgr and another staff member finished up the orders and the sad thing is keylime pie was aweful, so def not worth the wait. I am pleased to say the food in the Garden Cafe was pretty good. The breakfast options were EXCELLENT. I loved the crepes and the scooped ice cream. They had this pumpkin chilli dish for Thanksgiving that was just out of this world delish!!!! They offered lots of Indian and Asian dishes that were really good. So, needless to say we ate there most days. We didn't bother with the speciality restuarants because they were all booked before we even got on board. The last night of the cruise though, the Garden cafe dinner time offering was less than appetizing. It was as though they just made a hodge podge of whatever was left over. I was glad that I really wasn't too hungry at all. Other than that one time, the food was really good there. The best thing on this cruise were the shows...they were OUTSTANDING! I went to After Midnite, Million Dollar Quarter, Tenor of Rock, and the Comedy show in the theater...it totally made the cruise tolerable. We aren't drinkers and there wasn't a real party club for dancing. Just a couple nights of themed parties that were just ridiculously lame. The DJs played the same music and vids, there was no "feeling" the crowd for the music that really got people dancing. I will say the other singing acts on board throughout were really great performers but there weren't able to get people motivated to dance either. The lady at Howl at the Moon was just amazing!!! It was another bar setting, with the two dueling pianos, so no dancing there either and packed to the brim every night. The different little games with the cruise director Julie and such were cute, and the singing acts nice and all, but there should really be a dedicated space for dancing nightly. The ship is broken up into little pieces, the different singers, and the DJ's are at different places all the time, there isn't one consistent place where there is happening music, fun, and dancing for ADULTS. When they did have the so called parties...everyone was invited, so you would have little kids/teenie boopers there...like really??!!. The ship was great for lots of sitting and drinking... boring. My hubby and I started to joke that they were going to do some redition of the Lawrence Welks show any minute. Music with Juan had the old couples up doing the waltz and cha-cha...ok to watch, but not my cup of tea. Said all that to say, the shows are absolutely top notch, but if you are looking to have a fun party to go to in the evenings, this is not the ship for you. Now regarding the ship itself...loved the slides, rope course, mini golf, gym, all of that was great! Again the staff though, oh my Lord on one of the slides, the man was sleeping at his post. The kids knew to go on the green, but still. I was going to report him and I changed my mind. I wouldn't want anyone losing their job, but gosh I'd feel horrible if someone had gotten hurt. I loved that there were bathrooms everywhere and they were clean. Like I mentioned earlier, though the ship is huge, it is so compartmentalized it seemed almost tiny in some ways. No big grand entrance. The Splash Academy section seemed pretty cool but neither of my girls were interested so they weren't there much. The gym weight area was too small, but that is pretty normal from what I've read. The lack of gym ettiquette was perturbing to say the least, but I was happy to get in a couple workouts. Our room was tiny, but I knew that would be the case. Loved the bathroom and the room was well kept by Gary. I thought there was ample closet/shelf space considering you could store luggage under the beds. Just something I think I should mention, I have teen boys that enjoyed Entourage except they were forced to hang out with a kid that made some really offensive remarks. Though the kid was reported by multiple kids, other than my own, they were all told that if the kid wasn't allowed to participate then they would not be able to participate in the teen activities...like WHAT? How about someone address the adverse remarks made by the kid? So, the kids in turn, opted to instead meet up outside of the teen club to avoid the kid. They had a blast none the less, but that sure did put a bit of a damper on things for a minute. Embarkation took too long because the lady did something wrong and had to keep doing my two son's keys over again...that went on for a good 20 minutes. Those in other lines though seemed to fly through pretty quickly. isembarking went GREAT!!!! We took our own luggage and walked right off the ship when the port opened. LOVED THAT! I was ready to go, it was orderly and efficient. Loved the ports, had a great time. If you go to Tortula, take the ferry (you can walk over) to Vista Gorda to the Baths! Breath taking experience. I wish St Thomas departure was at 3pm and Tortula the longer stay, but oh well. Liked Bahamas too, so much has changed since my last cruise there. St Thomas...be careful and negotiate before getting in the private taxis. It shouldn't be more than a few bucks per person to take the short trip to the beach. Another thing, be very careful going up and down the stairs around the hot tubs on the main pool deck. I slipped and fell, but thank God I didn't hurt myself. A gentlemen was actually doing a report at the exact moment I slipped, so security was already there. I got the impression that they were more chalking it up to not being careful/drinking, but the surface was really slick. I didn't bother to give a report since I was fine. What I should have done a report on was the glass that sliced my big toe on the pool deck. Uggh, it still isn't completely healed. I just didn't realize how deep it was at the time. I hate complaining and I didn't bother addressing my feelings to any of the staff on the ship. I honestly didn't get the impression that they would have cared. I could be wrong, but that is just the vibe I got. Though there were many negatives that really shouldn't have been, my family and I still enjoyed ourselves. The amenities and the shows helped overshadow the not so friendly staff. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our 5th Cruise. 2 With Carnival (Fantasy, and a mid size who's name escapes me) and 2 with Disney (Magic). We had a fabulous time and a great vacation despite the ship/staff which we found lacking in many ways. The ... Read More
This was our 5th Cruise. 2 With Carnival (Fantasy, and a mid size who's name escapes me) and 2 with Disney (Magic). We had a fabulous time and a great vacation despite the ship/staff which we found lacking in many ways. The specialty restaurants that we tried were awful. The food in Moderno (the Brazilian steak house) was cold and uninspired. When I mentioned this to the head waiter he shrugged and said he'd ask the chef about it (we never heard from him again). If you are going to charge an uncharge for specialty restaurants I expect them to have better than buffet food. This was NOT the case. We actually preferred the buffet food over any of the regular restaurants. (contrast that to Disney's up-charge resturaunt Palo, same price as Moderno, which is in the top 1% dining experiences I've ever had). The main dining rooms (Taste and Savor) was OK, about the same as the buffet, but portions were small and the staff just didn't care about serving food. In fact, none of the staff on board seemed to care about the customer at all. I don't think we had a single person ask how things were and listen to the response (let alone do something about it). When ever we did bring up a problem it was always referred to a different person (or different line) with no one actually taking initiative or responsibility for the issue. I will not only never sail on the escape again, we won't be going back on Norwegian ever again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This cruise was the first cruise in 10 years for my wife and I, and the first ever cruise for our 6 year old daughter. For the last 10 years, we have been timesharing, as we are Marriott Vacation Club owners in Aruba and NJ. My cruise ... Read More
This cruise was the first cruise in 10 years for my wife and I, and the first ever cruise for our 6 year old daughter. For the last 10 years, we have been timesharing, as we are Marriott Vacation Club owners in Aruba and NJ. My cruise history is 3 previous cruises on Royal Caribbean, and my wife has been on 6 cruises. Two of her cruises were on Royal with me, and the other 4 were split from Norwegian and Carnival. MIA Transfer and Embarkation: We decided to go with the NCL transfer, as we’ve done that in the past and it was smooth. This time, it was also very smooth. There was a NCL rep waiting at the baggage claim for our flight with a sign. She walked us over to their desk, tagged our bags and asked us to sit down until the next bus was available. It took about 20 minutes for the bus to arrive, and then we walked about 100 yards to get to the bus. NCL handled the bags from the time they tagged them until they showed up in our cabin. The bus trip was pretty quick and the driver was entertaining. There were lots of people in line at the port. The first line is for security. Here, you need to show your cruise doc to prove you are a passenger, then you go through security, just like going through TSA for a flight. After this, you go into another line to “register” for the cruise and obtain your onboard ID/cabin cards. Then, you go upstairs and get into another line to wait to be called to go onto the ship. This is in a large sitting area, so you can also just sit and hang out. The security line was about 20 minutes, then 15 minutes to register, then 10 minutes before getting on the ship. As we boarded, there was a lot of island type music playing, and friendly staff greeting us onboard. We went right to our cabin to put down our carry bags and then headed up to the Garden Cafe for lunch, as it was about 1:30pm. Cabin (5164 Family Oceanview/10246 Balcony): We booked the O1 midship (5164). The cabin was similar to the floorplan images available on NCL.com. It seemed plenty spacious. There was a decent separation between the queen bed and childs sleeping area. We just used the couch that converted to bed for our daughter. There was also a drop-down bunk from the ceiling. The bathroom was very good size. It was probably the size of a older home (60s/70s) full bathroom. There is a full tub/shower instead of a stall, and the sink is a double sink. There was also plenty of shelving/cabinet space in there. They provide shower shampoo/conditioner and body soap, as well as liquid hand soap at the sink. Just note that if you are taller than 6’2”, you will have to hunch over to fit in the shower. I’m 6’0” and there was probably 2 inches above my head in the shower. Our daughters favorite part of the cabin was the large window area. She would actually sit up there and shut the curtain, and play on her tablet while we were in the cabin. She loved it. I don’t really have anything negative to say about the actual cabin, other than the room between the foot of the bed and the wall, which is less than a foot. We did have a problem with this cabin though. UNBELIEVABLE NOISE!!!! This cabin is below the Atrium’s seating area between the internet kiosks and the guest services area. That seating area has about 4 sofas and 12-16 chairs. Each of the first 4 nights, there was an activity going on in the Atrium lounge area at the big screen. We didn’t really hear anything from the activity. However, during these activities, we did hear people moving all of the furniture from the window area that it is meant to be over near the middle of the ship. The dragging of the furniture literally sounded like we were in a metal box while the roof of that box was being ripped off. It was as loud as someone yelling right next to you. Needless to say, it woke us up. Waking up my wife and I is fine. Waking up my 6 year old, I get upset. This would go on from about 9pm to 2am. The activities weren’t that long, but the furniture would be moved several times, maybe some pieces at different times, throughout that timeframe. This caused my daughter to wake up, be in a daze and cry. It also caused all of the other children in the surrounding cabins to wake up. There were smaller kids in the cabins around us. Those kids, from no fault of their own, would start screaming for the next 15 minutes until their parents would calm them down. Then it would happen all over again 20-60 minutes later. And so on... We were moved to cabin 10246 (BC mid) on Wednesday. I’ll get to that later (see Issues). This cabin, having a balcony, felt substantially smaller than the O1. There was no separation between our bed and our daughters bed. We were about 10 inches away from each other. There was more room between the foot of the bed and the wall. There was also a lot less clothing storage. The O1 had a TON of clothing storage in lots of drawers and 3 closets. The BC had 1 closet and less than half the drawers of the O1. We made it work. The shower in the BC had at least 4” more height than the O1. The shower is a stall, the overall bathroom is probably half the size of the O1 bathroom. A lot less shelving, obviously. The ship: The ship is large, as we know. One thing I was worried about was how packed it would feel on the ship. Even though it is larger, I was worried with the number of guests that would be on the ship. I never really felt like it was packed. There is enough space on the ship for people to spread out. The layout was pretty standard for many ships. But, I never really got the lay of the land throughout the week. I think this may be because of all the dining options, you are never always going to the same place. We went to restaurants on 6, 7, and 8 for dinner. Some are midship, some are aft. We were always trying to find signage or something that showed which way to go. But the signage only existed at the elevators. The signage was also not laid out very nicely, IMO. If you come down a staircase, you have to either know which way to go, or go to the elevators to find out where to go. I tried the ropes course on the morning we were arriving in Nassau. I could see Nassau in the distance while up there, so it was cool. I am not really a fan of heights, so it was a little nerve racking for me, but it was very fun overall. I did 2 of the zip lines, including one that swings out past the edge of the ship. I was very nervous to do that one. I did not do either of the planks, as I watched a 12yo do it, and wanted to puke just from seeing him do it. The pools were somewhat disappointing. Of the 2 pools on deck 16, they are both pretty small. Neither are really for swimming, just wading around. The pool by the aqua park is tagged the kids pool and the other is adult only. Out at sea, the ship rocks so much that it was also nearly impossible to wade in one spot, so we were being smashed into everyone else around us. On one day, the rocking was so bad that the water was going out of the pool onto the deck, rising 3 feet on either end. It was more like a wave pool, and not really safe for younger kids. The kids pool is 5’0” at one end and 5’7” at the other. So your kid has to either know how to swim or wear a life jacket, so plan for that if you have younger kids. I stayed in the pool with my daughter at all times as she is a novice swimmer. The elevators did not seem to be configured properly. Both forward and aft had 8 elevators (for most floors). Each bank of 8 was configured in two separate groups of 4. Because of this, everyone would push up/down on both banks. This means you will likely be stopping at several floors to pick someone up, but there is nobody there because they already got on the other bank of 4. Expect to stop at almost every floor on your elevator journeys. I am not a smoker. I, personally, find the faintest smell of smoke disgusting. As many have discussed on this forum, the rules were switched in the casino about smoking. I spent as little time as possible in the casino, while walking through, so I don’t know where the smoking area is or isn’t. But, it doesn’t matter where it is or isn’t. I smelled smoke on decks 6/7/8 forward to aft. For us, this meant if we wanted to go to the shops on 8, we were smelling smoke the whole time. Same for anything along these 3 floors. The most disappointing part of this, for us, was when we walked out of the door of Teppanyaki. As we opened the door to exit the restaurant, we were immediately hit with smoke smell. For a non-smoker, this is not the greatest thing after eating a nice meal. I felt even worse for the diners at Le Bistro that were sitting in the seats out in front of the restaurant. They had to eat in that smell. I’ll also say that when we were on deck 5, we smelled smoke all around the elevator/stair area, and slightly less in the hallways to our cabin. We did not experience the same thing on deck 10. Dining: We ate at several different locations on the ship. The food, for the most part, was good to very good. Some places were not good at all. For breakfast, we went to the Garden Cafe every day except for one day. The Garden Cafe food was decent, but it was the same list of items every day. The other day, we went to O’Sheehans. My food was good, and my wife liked her food. My daughter would not eat the scrambled eggs they made her. My wife tried them and said they were also disgusting. We ended up going up to the Garden Cafe afterwards to get my daughter some food. But, honestly, the scrambled eggs up there were exactly the same, so we didn’t eat those all week. We did have the omelet chef make scrambled eggs one day, which were good. For lunch, we ate at the Garden Cafe almost every day as well. Again, the list of items was almost the same every day. The desserts differed. The food was decent, like breakfast. There is nothing I had that I said, this is really good. We weren’t expecting culinary gems though. We did attempt to go to Margaritaville twice, but never wanted to wait for the 90 minute wait. Our dinner was different almost every night. We had some very good food at dinner. My favorite would probably be a tie between Teppanyaki and Cagneys. I had the 8oz. filet at Cagneys, which was fantastic. I had the Azura (filet and lobster) at Teppanyaki, which was also fantastic. My wife loved Teppanyaki as well. We really liked the food at all the specialties we went to. In all, we did Cagney’s, La Cucina, Moderno and Teppanyaki. We had the 4UDP for the 2 of us. At each of the specialties, except for Moderno, our daughter had a kids menu item. However, unlike the information we read on NCL.com, at Moderno and Teppanyaki, it is up to the Matre d’s discretion as to whether you can get a kids meal. We only had to beg at Teppanyaki. At Moderno, our daughter actually ate the meats sent around. She ate plain filet mignon and they also cooked her a chicken breast without bacon wrapped around it. She loved both. Because she ate so little, they did not charge us for her, which was a nice surprise. There are 2 complaints I have for the dining. First, we had reservations for each night. We were never seated within 20 minutes of our reservation. We made reservations for a reason. Either because we are used to eating on the early side with our daughter, or because we had a show or something else scheduled on the same day. The worst was at Manhattan Room. We had a 5:30 reservation there on Saturday and Thursday nights. We arrived 10-15 minutes early each night. The fact that they had 1 person available at the first desk to get people through the line was not good. With so many people attempting to go to this main dining room, they should have 2 lines, one for reservations and one for walk-in. Because they didn’t, there were several groups of people that did not have reservations, but were seated ahead of us. I know this because on Saturday night, I thought that maybe the line was for walk-in, and we could walk right up to the desk for our reservation. But when I got up there, the woman said, you’ll have to go to the back of the line. I asked, do all these people have reservations? She said, reservations do not matter, we seat everyone as they come. HUH?!? What’s the purpose of the reservation then? As we walked back to the end of the line, I asked several people if they had reservations and many of them said no. At the other venues, there was always a few families trying to walk-in without a reservation and they would argue with the staff for several minutes, stopping them from seating anyone, so it took a long time to get seated for our reservations. Again, only one person serving the front of the restaurant. My second complaint is about the drinks. We had the soda package, as my wife is not a big drinker. I like to get a drink or two at dinner. Whether we ordered soda or alcohol, or both, it took forever to get our drinks. It took even longer if we wanted a refill. Ports: On St. Thomas, we took at taxi to Secret Harbour. This is a $20pp ride, each way. We hadn’t been there before, but I read about it on TripAdvisor as a great place to go. We thought the place was great. It was not too busy. There is a nice restaurant and bar right there, as well as bathroom/changing area. There is also a nice “surf shop” there where we rented snorkeling gear. The water and beach are was very nice. My daughter and I snorkeled for a while and she loved seeing the fish in the water. We ate and had drinks at the restaurant. The food was pretty good. At Tortola, we took a taxi to Brewers Bay. This is a $8pp ride, each way. Again, we went there due to TripAdvisor info. This beach was awesome. The sand beach and sand in the water was so nice. It is not a large beach, but it was not busy at all. We rented a lounge chair for $5. On the other hand, the restaurant/bar looked so run down that I don’t think anyone got any food or drinks, except beer in the bottle. The bathrooms were disgusting. Only 1 of the 2 was functional. When you take your kids in the bathroom, there will be some education for them written in black marker on the walls. How to go to the bathroom as a male and female, where, and what to do afterwards. Nassau was our only pre-paid excursion. My daughter loves dolphins, so we did the shallow water dolphin interaction. While the time in the water with the dolphins was very short, less than 30 minutes, she loved it, and so did we. When we booked on NCL.com, the details said our excursion was 1pm-3pm. But when we arrived, we were given bracelets for 3:11pm with the dolphins. We sat around at the port for about an hour before getting on a bus. We had 90 minutes to waste, so we had access to the Cove Beach area. We went out on the beach, found some nice seashells, and then we asked if our bracelets also allowed us to go into the pool. The staff said it was fine, so we hung out there for an hour. After the excursion, the staff didn’t tell us how to get back to the ship, so it took us some time to figure that out. There was a ton of traffic getting back to the ship. The driver said it was because it was Friday night and everyone is heading to bars as well as the locals heading to cash their paychecks. Once back to the port, my daughter had her hair braided because she loves that. Entertainment: We went to After Midnight Issues: In the cabin section above, I mentioned that the O1 cabin was way too noisy. It truly was to the point of unacceptable. We travel several times per year, so we know that you have to expect surrounding noise, but this was to another level. After the first night, I went up to Guest Services (GS) and asked them if they could stop guests from moving all of the furniture because of the noise. I was told that it was impossible that the furniture was moved because “that furniture is always in a specific layout, so is not moved”. I informed the GS rep that I came up during the night to see that it was causing the noise, and was again told that it was not possible and I did not know what I was talking about. This was the first of our bad experiences. I go into these interactions as polite as possible because I deal with customers all the time in my line of work, and I know that the more polite you are, the best resolution you’ll get. But, that didn’t seem to matter. This is when we went to O’Sheehans for breakfast. The waiter was not good. First, it took well over 5 minutes to come to our table. There were only 5 other tables seated in the entire place and several wait staff on duty. When he asked for our order, we asked if it was possible to get scrambled eggs for our daughter. They aren’t on the menu there. His response was, “well, we do have a menu, which I can see you are reading, and scrambled eggs is not on the menu.” He could have simply said that we need to order what is on the menu. So I said, “I’m sorry we asked.” He then said that he would ask, but don’t get our hopes up. They did get us scrambled eggs, so the attitude from him was not needed. There were several other occasions when the staff was either rude, had an attitude or was just clueless about things they should know about. When we got to Tortola, it started pouring. We stayed in until it stopped. Once it stopped, we headed down to the gangway to get off the ship. On our walk down the gangway, my wife was behind my daughter and I. When my wife got to the bottom of the gangway, she slid on the metal, her legs going out from under her, and she slammed down on her side on the gangway ramp and the concrete pier. An officer of some sort came running down the gangway, asked if we were OK, took down our names and cabin number, and asked if we needed medical attention. My wife was very sore, but felt she was OK. He said, we could go to the infirmary at any point, completely free. We said we would see how the day went and go if needed when we got back. He said, go any time as it would be documented. We had our nice day in Tortola, but my wife’s hip, arm and ankle became all black and blue. She had a large cut on her ankle. When we got back, we went up to the infirmary, hoping to just be checked out and maybe get some anti-inflammatory. We found that the hours are 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening each day. There was a phone to call for immediate assistance. I called. I was asked for our cabin number and the issue. I informed the medical staff what happened on the gangway and that my wife had lots of bruising and some cuts and wanted to be checked out. The response I got was, “well, this is certainly not a medical emergency, so feel free to come back during the hours that are posted on the door to the infirmary.” I asked if she was kidding and she said no. I couldn’t believe it. After the third time I went up to ask about the chair movement, we ended up getting a call from the GS Manager. She said they wanted to move us. We ended up moving Wednesday evening. We were told to go pack our bags and call them. We did. They said they were sending someone to get our bags and move us, immediately. We waited at our door with all our bags for about 20 minutes. Several officers (staff in white suits) walked by us without saying anything. That’s fine, as it wasn’t there job. Then, another one stops and asks us if we needed help. He was the Director of Food & Beverages. We told him what was going on and he made a quick call. 3 minute later, someone showed up. The Director asked why it took so long, and the response was, I just got the request to move them 30 seconds ago. While we were waiting, we were talking about why we were moving. He told us that they always use the first several weeks to identify the noisy cabins, and then block those off for future cruises, unless demand required them. He said the whole stretch of cabins we were in were being identified as noisy cabins. He ended up sending us some chocolate covered strawberries in the new cabin. He was great. We got a call the first night in the new cabin at about 10:30pm. We were all sleeping. The GS rep told us that we had an emergency in our cabin and we needed to inform them what it was. My wife answered the phone and she was confused. She didn’t know if he meant there is an emergency, or if he was asking us if there was an emergency. After several attempts of trying to find out the true nature of the call, she told me to get on the phone. He was saying that they have an alarm going off down at the GS desk saying that we have an emergency in our cabin. I asked what kind of emergency and he said he didn’t know, that’s why he called. He then asked if we were all OK and I said yes. He then asked me to turn off the emergency alarm by pressing the green button near the door for 7 seconds. There was no button and I attempted to tell him that over and over. He started laughing and said not to worry about anything, and they would fix it in the morning. I went back to bed, but my wife was worried that something was wrong in our cabin. I got dressed, went downstairs and talked to the guy that called. He told me to listen for the alarm. I heard it. We then walked over to that part of the desk where the alarm message screen is. He then says, there are 4 cabins with alarms right now, and I will read them off to you. Cabin X, Cabin Y, Cabin Z and your cabin, cabin 10846. I said, I’m in 10246. Again, he started laughing and said not to worry about anything. I asked, does this mean that someone in 10846 truly has an emergency and you better contact them or get someone up there ASAP? He got embarrassed and started to call that cabin as I left. Simple mistake, but late in the evening, and he could have avoided it by being detailed in what he did. Especially when I told him we didn’t have the green button (only in handicap accessible rooms), he should have realized the mistake. Moving our cabin was great. I never asked them to do that, but they did, and it was nice. It caused some additional issues though. GS never informed housekeeping that we moved, so it took until Friday, when we called, to get our cabin made up and get new towels, etc. Because we switched cabins, our photos got all messed up and was a hassle to figure out. The room credit was all messed up, so we couldn’t figure out what our true cabin credit was via the TV. Our reservations were not moved over, so they also were not on the Vacation Planner on the TV. I had to call and have them tell me all of our reservations, as I didn’t bring my laptop on the cruise. We also didn’t get any disembarking documentation or tags for our paid transfer. We needed to go get that from the GS. They said they sent it to our old cabin. None of this is very major stuff, but add it all up and it was annoying. We did get a call from the GS Manager on the last night of the cruise telling us that she understands we experienced several unacceptable issues on the cruise. She said she documented all of what happened to us from her staff and the experience itself. She sent it to corporate and I will be hearing from them about future cruise credits. I thanked her. Overall experience: We did have a great vacation. Would we knowingly select to go back on NCL again, after this experience, NO. Will we cruise again, not sure. We really love our timeshares and the other dozens of Marriott Vacation Club locations we have been to. We’ll see. We talked to several people on the cruise, both on the ship and on the islands. Almost everyone we spoke to had similar complaints as us about the staff being bad. One guy said he felt the UBP was a rip-off because there are so few bartenders at each bar, it takes 20 minutes to get a drink, so you can’t even make good use of it. That’s not the staff itself, but lack of staff. We loved our family time, met some very nice people on this trip. Its certainly at the bottom or near the bottom in overall experience for us though. Not what we were expecting. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Ship was clean, nice layout & friendly staff. The staff taking care of our cabin was very responsive. The food in the Opus dining room was very good. Our waiter made suggestions each evening and didn't steer us wrong. Great ... Read More
Ship was clean, nice layout & friendly staff. The staff taking care of our cabin was very responsive. The food in the Opus dining room was very good. Our waiter made suggestions each evening and didn't steer us wrong. Great red wine selection. But all of this can't overcome the negatives and pull this rating up above anything but poor to average. There are not enough activities to do on this ship. BORING. Come on Celebrity, we want to be amused and entertained. We want options and choices. I traveled the Princess Regal last Thanksgiving and there were so many things to do throughout the day. On Princess, I had to choose between an activiy I really wanted to do and anothe activity I really wanted to do!! The sea day itinaries on Celebrity were filled with self promotions to lead you into buying something for your aching feet, your skin, etc. Sprinkled between those snoozers were a handful of activies that had extra charges attached. The enterntainment was average except for the ventriloquist, who was exceptional. If you like music they did have a few music related events and venues. No sports bar, no comedy club, no piano bar, no karaoke, bars that weren't open except for a few hours which forced you to go to one that was two deep with other cruisers looking to be served...again, BORING. Bar service was terrible. They have too few servers so the lines at the bars were long while you competed with out guests for the bartenders attention. And forget about having a server come up to you while you are relaxing by one of the pools and offer to get you a drink. They made appearances every so often to pick up empty bottles. I don't know if there is any motivation for the few servers they do have since they tack on an automatic 18% gratuity. And then there are the drink packages that many cruisers buy, so if you have already spent the money on the alcohol package they can save money and make more margin by making it difficult to get a drink. My point of reference is Princess and Carnvial. Two very different cruise experiences but both that offered lots of activities and entertainment. I won't travel Celebrity again. It is a mystery to me why they are rated so highly by others. Perhaps they don't know any better, having never traveled on another cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Service is poor starting checking in was chaotic and you have do a second card check in on ship to turn on your card. This is done once at all other cruise lines. USA and Canadians stay away from this cruise line language issues was a ... Read More
Service is poor starting checking in was chaotic and you have do a second card check in on ship to turn on your card. This is done once at all other cruise lines. USA and Canadians stay away from this cruise line language issues was a major problem. Food was terrible and service at restaurants was European style which translate as extremely SLOW. If travelling with children don't expect much from the day camps. We had 6, 9,13 year olds travelling and they were disappointed with what was offered for their age groups. Young children under 6 they do have plenty of activities. On our cruise during holiday week they decided to film so they closed off sections of the ship for full days at a time. This was a major problem as the deck areas were already crowded this made it worse. They should of done the filming while in port less people on ship, but this cruise line does not use any common sense. BIG issue for the kids ice cream was only available from 2-5 and was never really frozen. Best to stay away until they work out issues if they are going to serve the North American cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Boarding was fast and easy, great tribute to Vets. Cabin steward asked us everyday if we wanted the room made up. What is this cut backs? Formal night 25 % of the boat was in shorts, during fromal sitting some in flip flopts. ... Read More
Boarding was fast and easy, great tribute to Vets. Cabin steward asked us everyday if we wanted the room made up. What is this cut backs? Formal night 25 % of the boat was in shorts, during fromal sitting some in flip flopts. Casino no enforcement of no smoking section. Spa the relaxing heat beds were great until it rained as the ship leaked and you would get splashed from all the drips. Exiting at ports lond delays as photograpers blocked the esit to snap pictures. The lines were so long they had get off one floor up to line up and then take the steps down. One day they put no ceral out on the breakfast buffet for the kids, the following day we had ceral but no orange juice. The staff was not the friendly normally on other cruises they are grant you a good morning, or evening, how are you etc.... Only once did this happen. There seemed to be a lot of complaining on this ship. When buying liquor on board to take back home, beware they do not delivery it to your rooom. You get a note instead telling you on disembarkment you must go to the sunrise restraurant at 6AM to pick up your goods. I guess it was a way to cut staff. The night stands and refridge was taken out of the lower floor units, I assume to reduse weight of the ship to save on fuel? LUCKY for me I was on the 12th floor I got both but heard a lot of complanints. I have a little took kit I take for my camera equipment they took it for safety when boarding. !st time ever, I guess my mini pliers was a terriost concern. Yet steak knifes were everywhere on board!!!!!! Did I mention the casino bathroom was always flooded with pee, had to keep telling them to clean it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I really wanted to like this cruise seeing as our family of 19 spent a considerable fortune on it. Alas, this was our first and last cruise with Norwegian. Rather than just throwing a couple stars at it, I shall endeavor to explain how ... Read More
I really wanted to like this cruise seeing as our family of 19 spent a considerable fortune on it. Alas, this was our first and last cruise with Norwegian. Rather than just throwing a couple stars at it, I shall endeavor to explain how a cruise line can fail on the most basic levels, even when you pay for a “premium” experience and allegedly “unlimited” drinking and dining packages. First, overall: I’ve been on four cruises in my life. This one ranks fourth when it comes to tone, atmosphere and execution. So much of this operation smacked of Amateur Hour that it made me remember, and cherish, the memories I have of the other three cruise lines. We were consistently surprised at how Norwegian managed to stumble - at everything - from small details like serving a beverage, to large-scale operational problems such as being chronically short-staffed. Add to that dysfunction the inescapable (pun intended) feeling that one is being nickeled-and-dimed at every single opportunity and it’s a recipe for resentment that begins before you leave the port. Mere moments after boarding one of our group ordered a coffee from the lounge in the “Haven” as we waited for our rooms. Haven is the premium section of the ship that you shell out extra bucks to access. After being served he was told the “unlimited beverage package” didn’t apply to coffee there. There was a surcharge. Welcome aboard! We were then informed that the cases of wine we’d brought aboard were being held hostage pending the payment of a $15/bottle corkage fee (and $30 for magnums). We had known about the corkage so the fees had been paid in advance of the trip, but Norwegian didn’t know this. The result was that rather than standing on the deck during the departure we were instead standing at guest services trying to determine where our wine was and why. Not 60 minutes into the trip we came to learn that all the information we’d been told before the trip was wrong. We’d been told we’d be able to make reservations on board. Everything was already booked. We’d been told we could arrange for the “Chef’s Table” while on board. Turns out the Chef’s Table didn't even exist yet. Fortunately the concierge worked hard to sort things out but it also required us to spend a great deal of time milling about his desk or on the phone in the hopes of landing somewhere to go for dinner. So relaxing. It would not be an exaggeration to suggest that petty items like those – which occurred moments apart and minutes after boarding -- set the tone for the trip, and ultimately would contribute to the fact that we will not Cruise Like A Norwegian in the future. ESCAPE The ship is gorgeous, massive and brand new. No complaints there. The “Haven” premium section is well named. It’s the best thing going for this ship. We spent almost all of our time there because the main ship is an absolute cacophonous zoo. The Haven pool was quiet. The Haven deck was quiet. The Haven stateroom we had was stellar. Best stateroom I’ve stayed in, to be honest. Puts most New York City apartments to shame. The food at Haven’s restaurant is among the best on the ship and the Haven lounge is very comfortable. However, the service was inexplicably slow on almost every occasion -- whether you were in the restaurant, in the lounge, or on the sun deck praying that someone would come by. More on the service issue later. MAIN SHIP The midship floors 6-8 are an open floor plan with a casino, shopping mall and several dining and drinking venues. Curiously, the ship designer located the casino smack dab in the middle so kids run right though it and cigarette smoke fills all three floors in that area. It smells and looks like Atlantic City. The ship’s pool is absurdly small considering the sheer number of passengers on board. The hot tubs were not hot at all - merely lukewarm stews of sloth and gluttony. The main pool deck area was louder than loud. Music blasting all day. No refuge. There’s an 18+ deck in the back with two more uninviting warm-tubs, but no pool. Less loud. The water park, water slides and rope course entertained various family members. The kids love the arcades but naturally the games cost $1 - $5 to play. If you don’t monitor your child’s swipe card (or better yet, turn it off) you could wind up with a “courtesy call” telling you your kids racked up $700. This happened to someone we knew on the boat. RESTAURANTS Garden Café is the feed the masses restaurant. Good for undeveloped palates and quick, low-expectation dining. Moderno Churrascaria. I believe Moderno means “Incredibly Salty” in Spanish. It was sodium-heavy but delicious and one of the gauchos had a wonderful personality - so he stuck out. Probably the fastest meal on the ship next to Garden Café. As we sat down at Bayamo we were informed that despite being on the “unlimited” dining package, Bayamo was actually limited and there was a surcharge. We were not told of this by the concierge when she made the reservation. The food was good, though two family members fell ill after eating the swordfish. Olé! Food Republic was also not on the “unlimited” dining package. It was quite delightful Asian fusion. It’s the only meal on the boat where I didn’t feel like I was damaging my body. You order from iPads at the table. If you're tech savvy you can hack the iPads to see that the crew has very fast internet on the ship (as opposed to the slow/expensive internet the passengers get). Manhattan Room has a great atmosphere. I did not eat there because I decided take a day off of eating. La Cucina. The most memorable thing here is that it took three hours for dinner. Three hours. This was mainly because of service, but partial blame goes to a member of the family who pretends she’s allergic to gluten. Everyone else had to wait while her dish was specially prepared. But in general, terrible service and a forgettable meal. Cagney’s Steak House. A surprisingly good porterhouse delivered by a waiter who needed a second waiter. Another long drag of a dinner. Seriously Norwegian, hire more people. O’Sheehan’s. Low-grade pub food in an “Irish” restaurant (because there are some pictures of Ireland on the wall). They claim to be open 24 hours but what they don’t tell you is that “open” means that in the wee hours they put pathetic trays of leftovers out for everyone to finger through. They hope you’re too drunk to notice. Teppanyaki. An interminably long meal of rice with stuff in it. The only reason to go here is if you have kids and they like the "loud clang of spatulas" show. SERVICE This is where NCL fails terribly. Poor service is endemic from stem to stern. There are several factors at work here. They clearly have lower fluency requirements than the other cruise lines I’ve been on. A lot of the front-of-house staff have trouble speaking and/or understanding English. This leads to misunderstandings when it comes to restaurant or room service orders and answering questions. I believe the fluency problems have a lot to do with the fact that many times the crew don’t come off as “friendly.” They look at you and look away. They don’t respond to hellos and good mornings. They bump into you and say nothing. I got barked at in the casino for placing a bet improperly - didn't understand exactly what he was saying - just that he was yelling at me. But the root of service is the training. Especially when it comes to food and drink service. I was once a waiter so I have empathy but I also speak from experience: Many of the servers have not been adequately trained. They forget to come to the table. They ignore the table. They forget to check back after the food is served. They leave wine glasses empty or don’t know how to properly pour wine in the first place. They can’t answer basic questions about menu items. They screw up orders because of the fluency issue. They don’t clear the table. Someone finally takes my drink order, then returns to the deck 20 minutes later and hands it to someone else. The waitress – who should be moving about the lounge taking drink orders – is actually standing by the bar and chatting. It’s like every annoying dining experience you’ve ever had but all coming at you within the time-span of seven days, and for a lot more money. On numerous occasions I had to put down my book, don a shirt and trudge down two floors to the Haven bar to get a drink myself. Bad enough in any circumstance, but it stings harder when you’ve ponied up funds for the “premium” area on the ship. If Norwegian has managers, I’m curious if they’re on the same boat. FACILITIES Gym - Pretty good. No shortage of treadmills and a decent weight circuit. Didn't take advantage of the TRX classes and the like because I didn't feel like paying even more money. Stores - didn't spend much time in them. I don't understand the shopping-at-sea thing. Haven - If it weren't for Haven I would have begged the captain to steer us into an iceberg or coral reef. DESTINATIONS I wouldn’t have chosen a Caribbean itinerary if I’d had any say in the matter, but it was large family affair and I didn’t have any input. The ports are similar and unremarkable: duty free shops, touristy restaurants, souvenirs. We walked around for the sake of getting some exercise. We didn’t take advantage of the excursions because they were either not particularly interesting or overpriced for what they were. IN SUMMARY -Escape is a gorgeous ship, but thank Poseidon that we stayed in the Haven section because the other 7/8 of the ship is a circus. -Service is very mediocre all over. -Food is mostly bad save for Haven and the “premium” restaurants. -The nickel-and-diming is a total turn-off. -The four cruises I’ve been on – best to worst: Crystal, Radisson (now Regent), Disney, Norwegian. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our 7th cruise, 4th on HAL, and 3rd on the Oosterdam. Our first cruise was on Carnival in 1987, and that experience was so bad it took me 23 years to convince my wife to try another cruise. When we started cursing again it was ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise, 4th on HAL, and 3rd on the Oosterdam. Our first cruise was on Carnival in 1987, and that experience was so bad it took me 23 years to convince my wife to try another cruise. When we started cursing again it was on the Oosterdam, and my wife liked it so much we took annual trips. All were great until this trip. The Oosterdam and Holland American have cheapened their product. Cost cutting can be seen everywhere. The room stewards, who were excellent, were very over worked. On earlier trips they had about 20 rooms to service, on this trip they had over 30 rooms. HAL always used to brag about their beds, which were always very comfortable, now the are hard as a brick, and when we asked about an egg crate pad, our stewards didn't know what we were talking about. The food had always been excellent on our cruises, and the quantities ample. The menu in the Vista dining room was very large with 5 or 6 items that were offered daily, and good selection of daily specials. The new menu was only 2 pages, with only 3 items offered daily, and only 4 specials. Very few seafood items, and the amount of food on the plate would leave a bird hungry. The special one night was surf and turf, and my wife really likes lobster so she was looking forward to dinner. When it arrived, the steak on each plate was the size of a hockey puck, but only 1/3 in thick, and the lobster on my wife's plate was only a shell. The waiter kept trying to get something out of the shell, until he finally had to admit the there wasn't anything there. They did go back to the kitchen and came back with a small lobster tail with meat in the shell. The Lido buffet was better, but again they used to have a great dutch ham at breakfast, and now they have a much lesser quality ham. Also the Pinnacle Stake house was excellent, and the food quality and quantity was great. The cost cutting was also seen there as they no longer offer lobster on their menu. What is a steak house without lobster? Another area of cost cutting was entertainment. They used to have great entertainment in the Crows nest, and all the other lounges. Now only a piano bar, a classical duo, and a dance band, which doubled up as the band in the Vista lounge show room. One plus entertainment was the BB King blues band. They were great, and we saw them every evening, and every show was different. In summary, I think that HAL, which is owned by Carnival, but until this trip was on a much higher level than Carnival Cruises, has devalued its image and is falling to Carnival"s level, yet they are still charging HAL prices. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
This is one of the most disappointing vacations I've ever taken. I've been on ~8 cruises in the past 10 years, but I can't see myself being a patron of RCCL going forward. My girlfriend and I booked this cruise almost 9 ... Read More
This is one of the most disappointing vacations I've ever taken. I've been on ~8 cruises in the past 10 years, but I can't see myself being a patron of RCCL going forward. My girlfriend and I booked this cruise almost 9 months in advance and were extremely excited to see the "newly renovated" Freedom of the Seas after being on it 2 years ago. Little did we know they weren't actually renovating the ship, just removing club and adding a premium ($) restaurant. Whatever, no big deal. We rushed to our cabin to check it out and it was alright. The bathroom door was a bit damaged and there was some black mold in the shower. Ugh, not the best start, but we're on vacation! We'll make do. Next, we went to the main dining room to check out our table. I had requested a 2-top over the phone with the Crown and Anchor rep who assured me that it would be "no problem." We walked up to our table...an 8-top. Great. Thanks C&A rep! We waited in the main dining room for 45 minutes to speak with the Maitre D who got us changed to a private 6-top. I don't mean to be petty, but there's a big difference between trying to have a romantic dinner at a 2-top and a 6-top. We went back to the cabin to find that my parents sent us a wine/cheese plate from the shore. Awesome! We had about an hour before the muster drill, so we called up our room steward and asked if he could somehow procure us a corkscrew so we could get at the wine and get crackin' on our vacation. He said it would be no problem and he'd be right there. Whelp, no sign of him at all until after the drill. The cheese my parents bought was now sitting at room temperature for 2 hours. It was at this point that we realized we didn't have hot water, so we asked about that. I guess asking for a corkscrew and a functioning shower was too much, so he blurted out "are you SURE you don't need anything else?!" This set up a feeling of "lets not bother the room steward or he'll get mad" sort of feeling for the rest of the trip. We were in charge of taking out any glasses we brought back to the room for the rest of the trip (he would just make the bed when he came in). One day, when we came back from port, our steward was done cleaning (nowhere to be seen/out of the hallway), but our door wasn't shut all the way. It was very obvious from the hall. We pushed lightly on the door and it swung open with all of our electronics and whatnot out in the open. Maintenance came to look at the shower. They twisted a knob that did nothing, told us it was fixed, and left. Our showers would hold a lukewarm temperature for about 30 seconds before fluctuating heavily between "cold" and "room temperature." It was awful. We had no hot water for this 7-night cruise. So, excursions. RCCL's website was very particular about a SCUBA dive I was interested in. The requirements specifically stated to bring your "PADI" certification card. I was certified with a "NAUI" card, which is an equal but different SCUBA certification company. I called customer service and they told me not to book it, but to check with the excursion counter and book it onboard. I did that shortly after we left port. They told me they didn't know, but to go ask at the dive shop. When I got there, he assured me that yes, my certification would work on the dive I wanted! Sweet! Oh, but then he told me it was full. What a colossal letdown. The average age of this cruise was, for lack of a better term, geriatric. I know RCCL can't control that, but events were being changed or cancelled from the cruise compass because of this. The heavily advertised "football Sunday" at the "On Air" bar was replaced. There was one small TV playing the game I wanted to watch behind the craps table (?!?!?!) People were dragging seats to watch it together. Trivia was cut short so the host could host more bingo games. Again, what a disappointment. The food in the main dining room is mediocre, but some of the specialty dining is admittedly fantastic, namely the Vintages wine pairing and the Chef's Table. The staff for both of those were great. One other complaint about the main dining room - the menu now has ads for the drink package (everything has ads for the drink package). Breaking away from dining for a bit, I constantly had ads thrown at me. "BUY THIS PACKAGE, BUY THAT PACKAGE." It got very unnerving. I'm very liberal with my spending when I'm on vacation. I don't need a constant reminder to open my wallet. I spent $300 on a couples massage for my girlfriend and I. We were looking forward to this so much. The massage was good, but immediately when we got dressed, the therapist who worked on me started this sales pitch for two bottles of oil I should use for my back. The two bottles cost $110. She got upset when I told her I wasn't interested and left her partner (who was not fluent in English) to finish checking us out. They incorrectly billed my girlfriend (how? I booked it). I asked if they could switch the billing to me and she did. We went back and checked our statements in the cabin and the original wasn't removed. We kept an eye on it for two days and it was never taken off. Seems like a smooth way to get some easy autograt money? Seems like a very simple thing to miss. Overall, the crew was very "checked out." It seems like everyone was coming up on the end of their contract and was irritable and couldn't be bothered to do what they were supposed to do. I've worked in service and hospitality and I get how people can be, so I am damn sure to be overly polite and to properly thank everyone. With their apathy, the lack of entertainment (possibly due to scheduling changes to fit more rounds of bingo in for the clientele on the ship), and the awful cabin, I absolutely couldn't wait to get home. We felt trapped on the ship. This should not happen on a cruise. I sent a long e-mail to Royal Caribbean's customer service (politely) detailing my disappointment. I'm neither one to fish for some sort of "guest recovery" nor to look a gift horse in the mouth, but her reply was an offer of $100 in onboard credit if I book another cruise for next year. If anything, that's a slap in the face. I can find a better coupon than that if I googled for 15 minutes. They couldn't stop trying to sell me things onboard and that attitude follows through to their corporate e-mail support team. I was brand loyal and racking up the C&A points, but I will not book RCCL (or any other cruiseline owned by them) going forward. If we go on another cruise, it will almost certainly be Disney. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was our first cruise and we were so excited! We arrived on time and had to wait 3 hours (with a baby) to board the ship. We bought a drink package, but didn't realize they were charging us every day for the entire 8 days. That is ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were so excited! We arrived on time and had to wait 3 hours (with a baby) to board the ship. We bought a drink package, but didn't realize they were charging us every day for the entire 8 days. That is partially our fault for not reading the fine print, however, we were never given a receipt to sign and were pretty upset at the end of the week when they charged is $400 for a drink package we barely used. I went to customer service and asked to see the receipt, and they didn't have a signed one on file for us. They said, oh we are sorry, you should have been made aware of how the drink packages work. They admitted we never signed anything authorizing them to charge our credit card but would do nothing to help us out. That's what was so frustrating. Yes, it was our fault but it was their fault too. They could have done something to help us, being that we barely used it. The whole experience left a bad taste in our mouths for this cruise line. Also, there was always sometime trying to sell you something...that got annoying. However, our room attendant, Ricky was awesome! And our servers Michael and Marcelo were wonderful as well. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
First off I would like to say that this was my first cruise and my wifes 11th and I was very excited and looking forward to this trip for months and then this all happened. Check in took 2.5 hours as their computers were down, so we ... Read More
First off I would like to say that this was my first cruise and my wifes 11th and I was very excited and looking forward to this trip for months and then this all happened. Check in took 2.5 hours as their computers were down, so we were herded under a shelter to wait in line as it was raining very hard, all guest luggage was put onto trollies but were left out in the rain, everyone's bags got soaked and clothes as well, we tried our best to dry them but went to our first dinner in damp clothing. Because all our clothes were wet in the case for so long they got a musty smell so we used the ships laundry service and it took 2 full days to get the clothing back, needless to say, I was in the same shirt for three days, I wasn't happy. I had to buy shirts in Haiti just to get bye. We decided to buy the drink package for myself but not for my wife as she only had the occasional drink, the front desk made a mistake and put the drink package on sharons card and not mine so I was still being billed. The next day I went back to the front desk and told them and was told, it did not matter as the cards were linked together that I would not be billed. Happy about this I went back to my vacation at the bar. Later that night I checked the bill on the tv in our room and of course it was not fixed. So for a third time I went back to the front desk and explained again. They then corrected the problem and the drink package was put on my card. I also asked at this point about the charges for those drinks as they never should have been on there in the first place, the front desk manager agreed and removed the charges. The next day I checked our tv account again and found that the charges had been removed and then put back on again. So of course, now for a fourth time, I had to go back to the front desk and ask what was going on? as you can imagine, by this point I am very frustrated and lining up for a half our every day to fix the same problem over and over was annoying. I was told that the charge was put back on by the bar manager and I would have to speak with him. They called him down and I had to explain myself to him just like I did every other day to the front desk staff, and yes now that he knew the situation and what error was made he then took off the charges again. Food: The one thing I had heard about cruising was that the food was amazing, we found the very first night fantastic, I don't think I had ever had prime rib that tender, simply awesome and the service was excellent. It went down hill from here though. Every other piece of beef was tough or loaded with fat, we found ourselves ordering another dinner or just going to the buffet. One of our nights we went to Chops Grille, my wife ordered the fillet mignon and I had the 12oz strip loin, hers was a little tough and mine was like leather, I had a steak knife but felt like I was using a butter knife, I ate 1/4 of the steak and called the waiter, I told him that I could not eat this, he then said "I will tell him, and what can I get you for desert" I said another steak would be nice, so he handed me the desert menu, we ordered desert and left without eating it as both our appetites were gone. We did enjoy the breakfast buffet in the windjammer, and if you liked your scrambled eggs with the texture of vanilla pudding then you would have loved it or if you liked your sunny side up eggs undercooked then this was the place for you. Other than the eggs I did enjoy the rest of their food, and I really liked all the fresh buns, very nice. Music: This would have been great if we had it everyday. Instead we got tennis, yes I said tennis, EVERY DAY!! When out on deck all you heard every day was the sounds of two men grunting as they hit the ball with their tennis rackets. The big screen played tennis or football with the volume on every day. No music at the bars or the pool, just tennis. There was a live band on two of the days out at the pool, and on those days, once the band had finished about 5 songs, the DJ would play music till they came back, but once they were done, so was the music. The only time people on our ship got to dance and listen to music was when we were in port and parked beside another ship that was playing music. This was an onboard joke at the bars after awhile, because it did not feel like a vacation on board at all without music. I guess if I was a tennis lover, this would have been a dream vacation. My wife kept telling new people we would meet on the first and second day that this was my first cruise, and all said the same thing "you are going to love it" by day 5 and 6, those same people were saying to me, "don't let this sour you on cruising, its normally much better than this". For awhile I was just thinking that it was me, that maybe cruising just wasn't for me, but after speaking and making so many new friends I found that everyone was disappointed in some way, shape or form. Upon arrival to Haiti I was up early, 6am, excited to pull into port, I had just opened the patio door to the balcony when the engines made a weird sound and a large plume of thick black smoke poured over the back of the ship and completely engulfed our balcony, I honestly thought the ship was on fire it was that bad, our room smelled of diesel fumes for the next couple of hours. I asked one of the cleaners if there was a problem with the ship and was told no. But clearly over the next two days we were running on one engine only. I asked the front desk about the smoke and was told this was normal. I said normal to fill a room with thick black smoke and laughed. Later on in the trip they shut the elevators down for a test on an emergency generator (or so they said) I sat on my balcony listening to the engine trying to start and watching for more think black smoke, there was some smoke but once it was running again the smoke went away and we were now clearly running on two engines. If we did lose an engine I understand not to tell the passengers so they don't panic, but to tell me that black smoke in my room was normal, well that's just laughable. When we got back we complained to Royal Caribbean and they offered us a $250 voucher for each of us that we must use by the end of the 2016 or it expires. So what they are saying is, "spend another $4200 with us and we will give you $500 off". This to us does not feel like RC really cares about its customers and we will never travel with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My husband and I went on the inaugural seven day sailing of the Norwegian Escape for our honeymoon both of us are in our mid twenties. We have been big fans of NCL and have gone on 4 cruises with them in the last two years making us silver ... Read More
My husband and I went on the inaugural seven day sailing of the Norwegian Escape for our honeymoon both of us are in our mid twenties. We have been big fans of NCL and have gone on 4 cruises with them in the last two years making us silver latitudes members. I will start with the good things. The ship was beautiful, specialty restaurants had wonderful food as well as the buffet, the beer selection was great in the District and the right light district the best drink on the ship we had the unlimited beverage package which is a must as most drinks are at least $10. The entertainment was stellar, and the staff at guest services and the bars were great. The salon services at the spa were great and accommodate two requests for me and I scheduled each the day of. If you need a hair cut I highly recommend Lisa. The cruise director Julie was great and made playing the Newlywed not So Newlywed game great. Our favorite dueling piano player Vince Strong was on the ship and remembered us from last cruise in September of 2014 when we got engaged I highly recommend howl at the moon to anyone going on the ship as long as you are over 18 as children in the audience ruined it for everyone on the last night. The shore excursions on St. John and Virgin Gorda were breathtaking. We did the champagne catamaran sail and snorkel and the baths excursion. Now the not so good parts. The aft balcony room on the 13th floor was very comfortable with plenty of space for the two of us however the balcony was small not even room for one lounge chair and the balcony door extremely noisy and made it very hard to sleep also if you do not put clothing on the hangers they are also very loud when the ship rocks side to side. The at sea days were very rocky we were told that this was because the speed of the ship and was traveling to slow which was causing a rough ride. However others mentioned the same discomfort we felt and thought it was abnormal when discussing the handling compared to the Getaway. With the change in leadership of the company we have seen several new policies that led to a poor experience. we loved Spice H20 however the first time we went in there just after settling in and using the grotto we were kicked out for a private event. The freestyle daily should list when its closed. The new dining policy with a la cart pricing lead to longer dining times in the specialty restaurants and made it difficult to get reservations even with the unlimited dining package. It was on our third day on the cruise that I was contacted by restaurant reservations and asked to change my dining time for tepanyaki which I had made at least 60 days in advance of our sailing. I was told it was because our dining time conflicted with a scheduled entertainment event. However I went to restaurant reservations and asked why this was changed as we did not have any entertainment booked I was told it was not because of our schedule but were bumped to an earlier time slot so they could accommodate a group of 15 people completely unacceptable as no one was bumped when I wanted a reservation. On the secondary after dining at Cagney's the first night we requested another reservation they were completely booked. We asked to be put on the waiting list for any available time but were never contacted. We called everyday to check for a reservation finally on the last night we were given a time at Cagney's within ten minutes of our call only because someone missed their time. It's a shame they changed the O'Sheehan's menu as the new choices were not very good we couldn't even get a hot hamburger and avoid the shepherds pie. If you like craft hard cider bring your own the selection is Strong Bow or Angry Orchard only. The spa pass was to expense for both people over $400 for the both of us or $59 per person on an at sea day. The announcements over the intercom were completely inaudible in your cabin even if you were silent. The professional photo shoot we did at Perspectives was great but the photos cost way to much in my opinion. The entertainment for children was a big let down with no themed characters from Nick as originally advertised. We were expecting a mini golf course filled with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character. Disembarkation was a slight mess in the terminal when trying to get to your luggage if it was picked up the night before I highly recommend the easy walk off carrying your luggage. I don't think will be back on NCL anytime soon. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
having booked my cruise well over a year in advance for my daughter's 40th b-day, to say that the anticipation of the escape came to a complete stop soon after boarding, is being kind. The CONNECT group took over the entire ship, ie: ... Read More
having booked my cruise well over a year in advance for my daughter's 40th b-day, to say that the anticipation of the escape came to a complete stop soon after boarding, is being kind. The CONNECT group took over the entire ship, ie: travel agents; from all the specialty dining rooms, the spas, the pool, the theater, the H20, i could go on but you get the picture. having to eat in the garden cafe for dinner was disgusting. the group had their private events every day, all day and again into the evening. walking by a restaurant and not seeing a soul at the tables but were told everything was booked was worse than a slap in the face. i paid a lot of money for this cruise but was treated like a low class citizen. the food was not the best, the staff were in their own world feeling overwhelmed by the numbers of people. very limited vegan choices. the entertainment was cancelled for the week. the super slide was out of order. the line to the jimmy buffet somewhere was a joke, standing for several hours only to find out over an hour waiting time. forget that. the cabin was quite small for 3 people, however, the bathroom with its shower was a delight. the fitness room was wonderful, altho, i never once saw a staff member. service was poor, even at Taste, the food was worse. the atrium was used for so many functions and was so loud if you needed to be at guest services to complain, it was impossible to hear. very little room if something was going on at the atrium. i am a platinum guest and have been on many NCL ships in the past. Unfortunately, i have a family cruise planned in april 2016 so i will join NCL once again, however, i will have second thoughts if i plan another cruise on NCL. i have never been so disappointed in the service. the ship was beautiful and i loved the waterfront. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Waited for a year to take our first cruise - what a major let down. Embarkation - waited at check-in counter over 1/2 hour while they tried to get key card to work. Ship delayed at port 2 hours due to weather - had to pay port tax on ... Read More
Waited for a year to take our first cruise - what a major let down. Embarkation - waited at check-in counter over 1/2 hour while they tried to get key card to work. Ship delayed at port 2 hours due to weather - had to pay port tax on every drink during that time despite having the Ultimate Beverage Package. Booked Million Dollar Quartet and complimentary dining rooms 3 weeks prior to embarkation. Million Dollar Quartet cancelled on Tuesday and rescheduled for following night but for 6:15 instead of 7:30. Cancelled dinner reservation at 5:30 in Taste in order to attend. Went to room to change for dinner at 4:30 only to find a message advising cancellation for rest of week. This was the one show we were really looking forward to seeing. Have they not heard of "understudies or replacement singers" who could have filled in that night? Tried to get into the 5 O'clock Somewhere bar 3 times and Margaritaville 2 times - not available due to "Private Function". Everywhere you looked, there were signs "Private Function". There were several large groups (I heard one group of travel agents was more than 800 people) who were given priority at restaurants, theatre, etc. over all the other passengers. Line-up at Margaritaville was always a minimum of 1 to 2 hours to get a seat despite many empty tables. Pools were very small and unless you could swim and/or climb up and down a ladder, you were out of luck. Shallow end was over 5 feet deep. Music and announcer at pool was so loud, I had to cover my ears. Room was nice (Mini-Suite Balcony, mid-ship) and room attendant did a very good job. The final insult was on the last night. I had booked the Savor Restaurant 3 weeks prior to boarding. I went to the reservation desk at 4:00 pm and asked if everything was still o.k. with my reservation at 5:30. I was told yes, your reservation is there. We arrived at the restaurant and what was outside the entrance door - a sign stating "Private Function". I told the girl we had confirmed reservations. She waved her hand and said, "You'll have to go over there" indicating the Taste Dining room across the hall. I informed her that if I had wanted to go to "Taste" I would have booked it. She then called over the manager. I asked why this group was more important than us - and that the reservation had been confirmed not more than 1 1/2 hours prior. After a few minutes, he said "Well, I guess we could "fit you in somewhere". Really! Really! Fit us in! I told him not to do us any favors and left. I then went to Customer Service, however the reservation people were no longer there. My complaints fell on deaf ears - "Oh, so sorry" at that point just didn't seem adequate enough for me. There are too many other places to go, whether it be resorts or cruises, where we are not treated as second class passengers. If this is "Cruising Like a Norwegian", they can keep it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
The highly anticipated maiden voyage on the Norwegian Escape was a disappointment to say the least. Approximately 800 travel agents were "invited" on the cruise and received all the special treatment. Paying customers, such as ... Read More
The highly anticipated maiden voyage on the Norwegian Escape was a disappointment to say the least. Approximately 800 travel agents were "invited" on the cruise and received all the special treatment. Paying customers, such as ourselves, were treated more like we booked in steerage. Anniversary dinner with my husband at Le Bistro was not memorable. Waited almost 10 minutes for water to be refilled during our meal while the travel agents were getting their food salt and peppered. Was bumped off an excision that was booked and paid for online and put on a waiting list so travel agents could get the first option. Too many private functions being held in many areas of the ship which were off limits to paying customers. Booked a spa balcony with thermal suite access. Was told our stateroom was being re-categorized and our stateroom would either be changed or would still be given spa access. Our stateroom was never changed and once onboard we were not on the list for spa access. Spent my first day on the ship running between guest services and the spa to get the pass that we already paid for. Many issues in the thermal suites. Snow room and steam room periodically working. Whirlpool tubs lukewarm. Tile loungers were barely warm. The only good points on the ship was the ease of getting around the ship. The elevator banks were positioned well so you were able to walk all the way through the ship on each floor. We did enjoy the free style dining and the food quality was much better than we have experienced on Carnival. I don't think we will ever book another maiden voyage and give the cruise line time to work through all the bugs. The travel agents should have been "invited" when they set out on the sea trail to the Bahamas a week before the maiden voyage. Not sure we will be booking on NCL anytime in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
13 years ago we opted to do our daughters 15 Bday with Carnival...amazing experience. Enjoyed so much we opted to hold her wedding with them too. Wedding Amazing (the mic & sound was not working but quickly handled.) Understand 189 ... Read More
13 years ago we opted to do our daughters 15 Bday with Carnival...amazing experience. Enjoyed so much we opted to hold her wedding with them too. Wedding Amazing (the mic & sound was not working but quickly handled.) Understand 189 guest. Reception going well until one of the servers insults my oldest daughter by calling her pregnant which she replied no mam I'm just fat. I guess no sensitive or cultural diversity training provided. 50 guest opted to join our cruise to included several MLB players. There is no doubt the quality of the food all over has diminished dramatically. Note room service includes chicken wings for a small additional $5 fee yet they must be grade 4 as they only bring the "flats" & the bones are crushed into hundreds of pieces. Useless when eating wings. Do not prepay your drinks as they make it seem that yes you can 15 drinks per person per day but really, why limit you to the list & no doubles? Count them as 2 for all we care. Bathrooms dirty can not describe them yes I'm referring to the public ones. Captains night NOTHING like before, what happened to the file mignon & lobster tail? Don't sit in the bar & offer drinks to others sailors... no, not drunk & even if you are offering to purchase that round the bartender is eager yet wait...security said they had receive complaints...why wouldnt the bartender cut you off or ask you to stop. Be aware if you complain to the right people they will refund you the drink package as they did for the 2 that made it a point to be persistent. Their private island in the Bahamas...well its the ship with sand...again the food, poor quality cold burgers & chicken. Where are the ribs? Folks I could go on & on but our minds are made up Carnival has changed & for the worst. Our next cruise next year...well definitely not Carnival. Again great wedding but wait!!!! They hire a company to handle that so in essence they don't handle that. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Cruise on the Escape, first full week cruise of the new ship. Food was very disappointing except for dinner at Le Bistro (very good). Service was poor, ate twice in O'Sheehan's, first time had to wait 1 hour for food to ... Read More
Cruise on the Escape, first full week cruise of the new ship. Food was very disappointing except for dinner at Le Bistro (very good). Service was poor, ate twice in O'Sheehan's, first time had to wait 1 hour for food to arrive, second time waitress never even asked for our drink order until after food was served, (with no separate plates for fajitas). And had to ask her to take the drink order. After 7 days never got into Margaritaville, 1 1/2 hr wait lines and it's only open between 11-4pm. Freestyle dining, however, several locations close down and are unavailable for dinner. Ate twice in Savor (one of main dining rooms) waiter had no knowledge of the items on the menu. A side note, majority of the crew were from other NCL ships, so they were experienced). Ship shook and rolled like crazy, waking us several times during the night, not sure if this was a problem with the ship itself. Seas were moderate with 8 ft waves at times. But have never been on a ship that rolled and shook that much. Cruised on the Allure 2 yrs ago and it was fine. Took tour on Tortola, port is under construction, guess they are gearing up for cruise ships, not much in the immediate walking area. Decide to take a tour of the island from one of the tour groups located on the dock. We were given the price of $16 per person. About half way through the tour the driver announces he will be collecting the fee at the next stop. Then tells us its $20 per person, no big problem but should have told us in advance. Overall disappointed, guess I'll be going back to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
I was a returning passenger to NCL and the Gem. This was my 4th NCL cruise, and 14th cruise overall. I has last sailed on the Gem two years ago. Last year's cruise was on the Breakaway. When I booked thus cruise in December '14, ... Read More
I was a returning passenger to NCL and the Gem. This was my 4th NCL cruise, and 14th cruise overall. I has last sailed on the Gem two years ago. Last year's cruise was on the Breakaway. When I booked thus cruise in December '14, I knew that it would be a bit of a let down after sailing on the Breakaway. Due to health issues, a handicapped cabin is always booked. The cabin on the Breakaway must be at least 50% larger than its' corresponding cabin on the Gem. This was expected as the Breakaway is a newer ship. The cabin almost comfortable for two people and a mobility device. The cabin steward was new on the job as he had recently been promoted. However he did not yet have the skills required to be effective. I.e. he did not put wash cloths in the bathroom until they were requested. The room steward would take used towels when he straightened the cabin in the AM, but neglected to replace them. I have very severe asthma and had requested that no chemicals or scented products be used in the cabin. Well our cabin steward used some product that caused me to have severe asthma attack, that required to treatments to get under control. The executive housekeeper had to be contacted as the cabin steward had continued to use a vacuum that put a scent into the air. This after the cabin steward was told not to do so. The cruise left NYC and stopped in San Juan, PR, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, St Maarten, and Tortola. I went on two shore excursions. One excursion was in PR to the Yunque Rain Forest. This excursion was well planned and very interesting. There are actually two excursions to the rain forest, a drive and a hike. I went on the drive as health issues prevented me doing the hike. It was quite an interesting experience. My other excursion was in St.Maarten to the Butterfly Farm and island tour. On the day we were in St. Maarten, there were a total of 7 cruise ships in port. This was my 2nd time to the Butterfly Farm. f you go to St. Maarten, this is a place I recommend you experience. The information regarding the importance of butterfly's to our world is staggering. Of course the tour includes a stop in the French capital of the island, Marigot. I did my shopping in the open air market, not the stores. If you are parched or hungry, visit Rosemary's. Very good food, good drinks, I had an awesome virgin margarita. On the Gem itself, the crew was awesome for the mot part. However the service and food in the complimentary restaurants was less than stellar. There seemed to be an aversion the servicing hot food, hot. Many times I was served hot food that was actually cold. Soups normally full bodied i.e. cream of broccoli, New England Claim Chowder had broths that akin to dish water. The menu's were just boring. NCL used to offer lobster tails at dinner the first night out, there is no longer done. I had pre-purchased 3 dinners at the specialty restaurants. I had dinner at LaCucina-Italian, Moderno-Brizilian, and Cagney's-steakhouse. Two of the three were terrific. Thee food in Moderno was so salty it was inedible. However the quality of the service in each restaurant was top notch. A big issue was the inability of crew members to understand English. Many of the staff at the reception desk were unable to understand basic questions. Since this was my 2nd sailing on the Gem, many of the crew I had interacted with remembered me. A crew member from the Breakaway even remembered me. Something I do on a cruise ship is to become friendly with the ship's officers. People such as Miller, maitre d in Garden Cafe, Cagney's and LaCucina. Micheal Morris, asst maitre d, Megenta restaurant, and Dennis asst maitre d in the Magenta Restaurant. These people made the cruise much more pleasant. There were others whose names I do not remember. There was a disconnect between cruise staff and engineering. A project that needed to be performed in the Atrium was scheduled at the same time Gone With the Wind was being shown. Hence the passengers who would have liked to enjoy the movie were unable to. Many passengers were very unhappy with the Gem and complained among themselves. I had scheduled a meeting with the hotel manager; Vuk. I told the other passengers to do the same. If the management did not know there was a problem, they could not fix it. The new NCL president; Frank Del Rio is changing the cruise line to make it more upscale. In my opinion he is actually ruining all the hard work done by Kevin Sheehan. The board should examine the actual feelings of the people who pay the bills. Things are not improving, they are worsening. Embarkation and disembarkation were a nightmare. Needing a wheelchair I had to wait two hours to board the ship and two hours to leave the ship. It as very poorly executed. The Breakway used more crew members to push wheelchairs, the Gem crew did not use enough crew as pushers. I choose to not attend the big shows, however there is entertainment in the bars and lounges. I thoroughly enjoyed Carlos and Pedro, two very talented men. Will I cruise on NCL again, yes. On the Gem, maybe not. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
food is okay, but could use some work. I remember throwing out the fish cakes, crab cakes, some dry chicken, some really HARD uncooked pasta, watered down dressing, veggie patty (turkey patty and beef patties were good!). breakfast got ... Read More
food is okay, but could use some work. I remember throwing out the fish cakes, crab cakes, some dry chicken, some really HARD uncooked pasta, watered down dressing, veggie patty (turkey patty and beef patties were good!). breakfast got boring after 3rd day. its just bacon, eggs, sausage, waffles, french toast. FYI, excursions are alot cheaper thru local people. bamboo rafting was $80 thru RCL, we paid $40 a person. snorkeling was $74.xx , we paid $40. jetskiing and canoeing was $74.xx per hour, we paid $30 per hour. golf rental was $90 for 3 hours, we paid $40 for 2 hours. was expecting there to be more activities, but there was nothing since it was outdoors and it rained out. mini golf tournament was cancelled, volley ball tournament rained out on last day, ice skating was only open from 5-7pm on 2 days of the 9day cruise. ping pong table was played outside. keep in mind there is 15-16 mile winds. lots of balls got hit outside of the ship. rock climbing was cancelled and so was the boogie surf board area. water park was not open due to rain. got yelled at for shooting a basketball in my flip flops (i was the only person on the court shooting free throws). dining area was dirty, lots of plastic scoops and utensils in the hot cheesy sauces and heat lamps (im sure the plastic melts and causes cancer). they should have used metal tongs. anyways, the metal tongs were touched by many travellers and just thrown back into the food serving area. thousands of hands touched the handle and then the handle touched the food. plates, cups and utensils were dirty/water marks. blood stains on bed sheets and my wife didnt have her period. too much stuff too list or maybe i am too picky. this is my first experience with Royal carribbean. ive cruised 4 times in the past with norweigian and carnival(good bang for the buck) and never had alot of problems. i was expecting a better experience. if i could do it all over again, i would pass on royal. All of the shows except 2(ice skating, and acrobats ) were boring. lots of people left during solo performances on 2 individuals. i felt bad and stayed til everyone left or when it got dark so they couldnt see me leave. last day show was boring. 10pm adult shows were okay, i took naps from 1-4pm because there was nothing to do after lunch. from 5-6pm i ate dinner and played a bit at the casino. the employees there told me they worked there for 15+ years and they dont play. odds are very slim to win big....you get lucky, but impossible to get lucky forever. smart employees =) lots of old people on board, they were nice....but not my type of crowd. on norweigian cruise, alot of younger and hip people. carnival is in the younger genre....you will see high school kids and their parents, but very few seniors in the 65 and up. staterooms were smelly. the attendants did everything they could to keep it clean...but it has that oily nappy head smell in the pillows and sheets. carpet is old and soaked in alot of germs and dust. its smelly but once you sleep and pass out, it should be okay. the tv is a small 30 in flat screen that shifted alot during the ships movement, but like i said...it shouldnt be a problem once you fall asleep. bathrooms were just like every other bathroom on a cruise ship. the staff was very nice. this includes the cabin staff, windjammer, jade staff, rembrandt dinign room staff (shout out to gina and khalef!), sorrento staff (not the black drink dispenser guy), promonade cafe staff was nice as well. they gave me alot of food when i only asked for 1 piece. lol dining areas were same as every other cruise ship but the silverware and plates were not that clean. i had to get hot water from the hot water dispenser and give it a good wipe down on my plates and cups just to be safe. last day of cruise was bad, they gave up on the lunch, dinner. one half of the cruise was closed down and only a few options were available. i remember on that day all i ate were fries, broccoli and a beef burger patty. the soup was crap, asian corner was crap, etc. im glad i gave royal carribbean a try. should have listed to my roommate (cruise expert) when he said to stick with norweigian. if it werent for my wife and her family, and my parents i wouldnt have went. they had the same experience as well and have always been with norweigian. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
This was the first time of cruising with Carnival having been with numerous other cruise lines. We were somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer size of the boat - but we expected this having done some basic research beforehand. The firs thing ... Read More
This was the first time of cruising with Carnival having been with numerous other cruise lines. We were somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer size of the boat - but we expected this having done some basic research beforehand. The firs thing that struck us was that the cabin (Deck 8 - balcony) was OK for size but not drinkmaking facilities (coffee or tea). OK, so not to worry we brought our own kettle which has faithfully travelled the world with us. Open cases and - lo and behold - no kettle! Our bags had been searched for "illegal" items such as kettles/coffee makers. Straight down to Guest Services to be informed that the company reserved the right to remove items that might be a fire hazard - such as a kettle. A bit dumbfounded by this as they had left a set of hair straighteners, an extension electrical outlet and numerous other items which were, in my opinion, much more of a fire hazard than a simple kettle. This was a concept beyond their understanding and explanation other than to be told that Carnival were very concerned about the risk of fire aboard ship hence the strict no smoking policy at other than designated areas on deck. At this point, I asked why it was then permissible to smoke like a chimney in the casino. Again, no sensible explanation forthcoming. I suspect it more a case of not wanting punters wasting their time smoking outside when they could be more usefully employed stuffing money into the slots - or is it me being cynical?? We found that, overall, the cruise ship is more like a floating money machine - if you've got it, they want it and there is usually a way of finding an extra charge for that. That said, we did find that the outside projection screen was fun whilst the weather held but other than that the entertainment was rather on the poor side. The much-publicised comedy club we visited and saw what can only be described a foul-mouthed woman masquerading as a comedienne - most dissappointing. dining was a most enthralling experience - the buffet deck - offered a selection of foods to appeal to the "buffet buster" brigade. The ports visited were good and we enjoyed the cruise despite the efforts of Carnival to impose ludicrous and senseless rules which only served as a constant irritant. Read Less

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