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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: July 2019
NOT THE ZENITH SHIP. MONARCH Ship was our cruise. All Spanish speaking, some English. Overall a fair cruise. Do not take interior room as walls are thin. Fruit was not ripe, hard and lacked flavor. Coke and other soft drinks plus most ... Read More
NOT THE ZENITH SHIP. MONARCH Ship was our cruise. All Spanish speaking, some English. Overall a fair cruise. Do not take interior room as walls are thin. Fruit was not ripe, hard and lacked flavor. Coke and other soft drinks plus most alcohol free in open main pool/deck area. Poor looking few channels on 17-20" TV. Few activities, guess we are spoiled. Yellowish brown nasty looking hot water for 3 days, took cold shower. It is an adventure. All Spanish speaking cruise, some English. Overall a fair cruise, fun for first timers but experienced cruisers will not be happy unless you are old hippies. Do not take interior room as walls are thin and some people will party all night into the wee hours of the morning... plus staff do not like complaints, so it is best to hold complaints until you can make them online. The Filipino staff were great, but some of the Spanish complained about being underpaid. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I stayed on Riviera Deck Midship. No balcony but spacious except for the shower. There was a lack of storage space and Small tiny nightstands. We moved the life vests and placed them under the bed so we could use the closet space. It ... Read More
I stayed on Riviera Deck Midship. No balcony but spacious except for the shower. There was a lack of storage space and Small tiny nightstands. We moved the life vests and placed them under the bed so we could use the closet space. It had a nice size tv, we just watched ship cameras or ship location channels. Only used one electrical outlet to plug in our multiport gadget to charge our electronics. The toilet made an unusual sound of a long foghorn after flushing and since I use the toilet 4 times during the night, I thought would wake everyone on my side of the ship. There were no complaints, thankfully. And of course our stewards were courteous and friendly. There was garbage odor on some elevators and smoke throughout the Casino. Deck 3 and 4 were were a pain since at one point or another, a restaurant blocked the front to aft part of the deck. Our Time Dining we requested same waiter Camilo. He is GREAT. Sang songs and danced on some nights. Really great and funny individual. Request for a table he manages and you wont be disappointed. I selected foods I knew I liked so To me, the food was good. Im not a sun worshipper so I wont comment on the pools and chairs. The jogging track is a bit small but I enjoyed the Rope Course. It was complicated at first due to my big gut, but once I got the know how, it was a piece of cake with a bit of sweat of course. Guys Burgers are delicious, the pizza is so-so. Breakfast is same each day with no variety. Had to skip the Midnight Buffet with the Ice And food sculptures due to the mob trying to take pix and the LINE seeming endless. But Im sure it was delicious. ( I didnt gain any weight that night) Bartenders and staff introduced me to some delicious drinks. There were a couple good shows with the singing and dancers but wasnt interested in hypnotism and card tricks. The good seating area in the Liquid Lounge is small. There are poles blocking the way, lighting fixtures if youre too high up, and cant see the stage at all if youre anywhere to the side of the stage. Remodeled and all, from 1 to 5, I rate the ship a 3. Fun Factor I rate the ship a 3 as well. Friendliness I rate it a 5 There were not enough sanitizers and people were hardly using the ones available. I rate cleanliness a 4. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because it went to Costa Rica where neither of us have been, The Panama Canal which neither of us have been to either. We haven't been to Half Moon Cay either. My wife once went to Grand Cayman more than 30 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went to Costa Rica where neither of us have been, The Panama Canal which neither of us have been to either. We haven't been to Half Moon Cay either. My wife once went to Grand Cayman more than 30 years ago though. My wife has mobility problems and the many sea days appealed to us. We have been on this ship before, as the Carnival Triumph three times. So this was our fourth time on this vessel although it has been remade since. The embarkation process went smoothly. Did notice that keys to staterooms are no longer given out at embarkation. Stateroom attendant leaves key at stateroom. Can be bad if wrong person gets it. They no longer take picture and use picture on passport for identification. Staterooms weren't ready so we dropped off carry on luggage and went to Lido Deck for refreshment. You will find things about our stateroom in the stateroom section below. The food in the dining room isn't as good as it used to be. The Carnival Sunrise has a new Executive Chef. He likes to cook with spices. We, wife included, do not like spicy food. Ate Salmon most nights. The Beef Wellington, had on one of the three formal nights was good. Most desserts were good. Ate two at times. My wife spread out what she had to other things. Many things were good, service didn't meet former Carnival standards although most times was acceptable. The pizzeria was very good and ate there most days after got finished playing in the casino. The food on the Lido Deck was pretty good too. Had a few burritos that were very good, some of the food at the buffett was good as was the Deli. The Deli had long lines and most times didn't want to wait on them. About Entertainment and Activities: The shows were okay. My wife liked them. We had seem them before. Missed two shows due to doing other things. The enrichment talks were good. As a veteran liked the veteran meeting, and enjoyed the veteran's table at the high tea. Like playing in the casino. Played there every night. Most times played at the craps table and at times played slot machines. My wife likes to play slot machines. Met some people that were known from other cruises. Even made a few new acquaintances, a rarity for me, in the casino. The staff at the craps table was pretty good. They were for the most part, very competent dealers, box men, and pit bosses. Hope they are there when I next go on the Carnival Sunrise in the fall. The Cruise Director was Chris "The Flying Scotsman" Williams. He is a very good Cruise Director. It is no mistake that many of his people are getting promoted. Also of note, although many passengers didn't seem to like Adam, he is very competent and will one day make a fine Cruise Director himself. Houston is a very funny guy. One day he will be a very fine comedian. However, he does many things well on the activities staff. He should be given a night at the comedy club. One day, he might even make a fine Cruise Director. Disembarkation was a complete disaster. They were slow in getting luggage set up in the terminal and that was why we had long waiting times. Had to explain to car service why it took us so long to get off the ship. Next time bring fewer clothes and use laundry room more. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise for the full Panama Canal transit. We were on board for the first 15 days from LA to Ft. Lauderdale. The ports visited were Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco Mexico, San Juan Del Sir Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, full transit ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the full Panama Canal transit. We were on board for the first 15 days from LA to Ft. Lauderdale. The ports visited were Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco Mexico, San Juan Del Sir Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, full transit of Canal, Cartegena. This was our 12th Princess cruise and as usual embarkation was smooth and efficient. We enjoyed all the ports and took several excursions - more on that later.The ship had just come out of dry dock. Our balcony cabin was fine except that the balcony had numerous paint chips/rubber pieces all over. In order to get the door to lock we had to slam it. Numerous problems with elevators, laundry facilities didn't work, problem with toilet that was resolved fairly quickly. The food was just ok except for the Crown Grill which was excellent both times we went. Buffet was lacking in selections the few times we ate there, dining room ok, enjoyed the triple smoked burger at the Salty Dog Grill, wanted to go to Planks for the BBQ but was closed the several night we wanted to go. The service in dining room was wonderful, our sever was organized, efficient and very funny. We ate about 1/2 our dinner meals there. Bar service in Crooners was excellent as well. Entertainment was not bad, the production shows ok, comedian was fine, several guest entertainers were fantastic and a few others I could have skipped. Crooners pianist fine, the party band was ok but the other 2 entertainers were ones we checked out once and that was it as didn't enjoy. The destination speaker was outstanding, the other speaker Leo Rossi who talked about his time in rock/roll was interesting. The really ugly part of the cruise were the shore excursions and the staff there. Our Puerto Vallarta excursion was a big disappointment as we only did 1/2 the tour and spent the last 15 min listening to our guide give a sales pitch for his products. We complained to desk and asked for a 50% refund. It took 4 days to hear back and after several lies they refunded us 25%. That was bad enough but the whole fiasco that occurred with the Costa Rica excursions is unforgivable. Except for tender ports we have never met on board somewhere before getting off for an excursion. For some reason this cruise we had to meet in the Princess Theater each day BUT there was no organization, no stickers or tours sitting together. For Costa Rica they had 1 gangway open and lost control as we were all leaving for excursions in long lines, people merging in from all over. We were in the 4th row of Princess Theater - made it to our bus but had to wait over 90 min for everyone to get there due to fiasco. Many people stood out in heat for over an hour, tours were cut short because they started too late - just a general incompetence. People complained to the desk but nothing happened - no apology letter, nothing - no acknowledgement of mistakes or loss of control. Just ridiculous. So bad that for last week of cruise it was a continuing topic of discussion everywhere. I filed a complaint with Princess upon returning home, they responded but all I heard during phone call was excuses - not a real understanding or comprehension of what had transpired. Disembarkation was fairly seamless despite a bit of confusion with the transfer buses. Overall despite everything we enjoyed the cruise but don't think we will be sailing Princess anytime soon as this definitely didn't live up to expectations based on our past experiences. There are other cruise lines such as Celebrity that have better customer service in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not organized and although our luggage was labeled "priority" it was the very last on - not that it mattered but what did is we kept wondering if it would show up at all. But note that the disembarkation was very well organized and fast. Holland America has figured out how to make money - we paid $150 for water, $300 for internet (it is just $150 if you stick to social media only) and they must have saved a lot by purchasing low quality food. The Gala Dinner with filet mignon and crab béarnaise was the worst with crab nearly too spoiled to serve a piece of meat that was not filet mignon but some grass-fed animal's "surprise." Some meals were good but spaced well apart and the Lido food began to taste the same no matter what you took. The crew was very well-trained and friendly. Our Neptune suite was ok but I do not believe this ship was updated in 2017 or 2018 as it was worn pretty well including our suite. The ports of call were good and although many were shipping ports, I understand it is hard to find dock space for a ship sized like Oosterdam. The people we encountered onshore were very friendly. We will use another cruise line for our next cruise maybe we just expected better like we got on the Ruby Princess last year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was a spur of the moment decision due to the Super Bowl Ad offering all the freebies. Mistake, I usually do a ton of research, but not this time, My major take-aways: freebies aren’t ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was a spur of the moment decision due to the Super Bowl Ad offering all the freebies. Mistake, I usually do a ton of research, but not this time, My major take-aways: freebies aren’t worth it unless you drink a lot. Basically, the amount we paid in service charges would have paid for our drinks anyway. Free airfare meant a horrible itinerary, causing an overnight in a hotel that wasn’t free, baggage fees and seat selection costs. Excursion credits we only used twice because NCL excursions are so overpriced that even with the credit they were more expensive than a local guide. The specialty restaurant freebie was probably worthwhile, just to have some variety, though we would have been happy to just do three nights instead of five. And the WiFi package was a joke, since the WiFi didn’t work most of the time. The good: I was afraid 4 days at sea was too many and that we’d be bored, but the games and activities kept us busy. The musical entertainment was very good. I did like the itinerary and the ports of call. The not so good: 1. Seating comfort. Our mini suite cabin had a couch/convertible bed that was so hard it was uncomfortable to sit on. Plus, if you leaned back, it would start to slide forward to create a bed...basically making it impossible to use to watch tv or just relax. The seating in the theatre was horrendous. I stood during one show because I couldn’t take it anymore. The couches in the Spinnaker Lounge also were uncomfortable, canting forward so that you slide off of them. What is wrong NCL? 2. Communication. NCL did absolutely NOTHING in terms of education about the Panama Canal. Wasn’t that the purpose of the trip? The library had no display. There was no lecturer, no channel on tv with the history. Nothing. In fact, no announcement as to when exactly we were going through the canal and suggestions on when to get up or where to view. It was pathetic. Besides the canal, they did a very poor job about all the ports—the only maps we got were incomplete shopping maps. The excursion info was incomplete as well. There is no excuse for people to wonder about the timeline of the excursions, it should be up front. People on the Panama Canal ferry had no idea they would be taking a bus for an hour and a half each way. A bus with no restroom, by the way. There were plenty of people who didn’t know we were tendering at Roatan. NCL had two signs ( with conflicting info regarding timetable) in the entire ship. Why? Why don’t they use the elevator monitors for something useful rather than just listing the floor number? That might be a good place for daily announcements. And why make people run around to the dining rooms to see the menus? Just post them on the app, or on the monitors. Have more monitors around the ship...make them touch screen! It’s 2019 for crying out loud! All NCL seems to care about is selling you something. 3. I guess we drew the short straw with regards to our cabin steward, we never got an introduction to the room. The little sign with his name and extension showed up partway through the cruise. We had no room-service sheet. He always forgot a washcloth, or other towel, etc. we did complain and the towel animals started showing up, but unfortunately he grossed me out because he replaced the paper doily on the glassware, even though the glass was used. He did this 3 times. Made me wonder about the cleanliness and standards. 4. $19 for 4 ounces of robitussin. Lots of people developed coughs, and they take advantage of it. That’s just mean. 5. Food was generally ok. The beef and lamb were particularly good. I thought the Asian food was good. The bread was awful...no good crust, not good texture, the soft serve ice cream was not worth the calories. Our best meal was at La Cucina...excellent pasta, and ask for gelato. I felt much of the food was under salted, leaving it flavorless. The accompanying sauces were little dots on the plate. The mixed drinks were generally very good. The service in the dining room and bars was good. 6. I don’t know how embarkation is supposed to work, but it was hideous. The terminal did not have enough seats. The announcements were difficult to hear ( again, why not use monitors?) and it took way too long. Embarkation at Cartagena was a mess. Disembarkation was rather disorganized as well...lots of people crowding the stairwells with nary a crew member organizing it, Overall, I’m glad we went, as we wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but NCL didn’t convince us to become regular cruisers. ( last time we cruised was 20 years ago with Princess to Alaska. That was wonderful.) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Pro: Entertainment is great. Best shows anywhere. Helpful staff. Observation lounge is perfect place to relax. Lots to do throughout the day and night. Taste Restaurant is the best for a quiet dinner. Waterfront ... Read More
Pro: Entertainment is great. Best shows anywhere. Helpful staff. Observation lounge is perfect place to relax. Lots to do throughout the day and night. Taste Restaurant is the best for a quiet dinner. Waterfront promenade deck has great sitting space with comfy chairs and sofas. Also has two outdoor bars. Con: Ship creaks a lot. Deck 9 right over noisy deck 8-avoid deck 9 cabins. Crew very busy and limited guest interaction. Disembarkation took almost an hr just to get off ship. Food ok but nothing special Cagney’s and Manhattan restaurants extremely noisy. Guest Services promises to resolve noise issues, but issue kept reoccurring. Gift shops kept selling the same stuff everyday. No rotation with fresh products. Cookies only available in evening in buffet. Cabin storage is mostly shelves, not pull out drawers. TV channel selection very limited. Navigation info on TV was sometimes very inaccurate. We would not go out of our way to cruise on this ship again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
It went through the "new panama canal". It was amazing to see and enjoy the passage. Other parts were not so amazing. The casino was the poorest we have ever seen at sea with very tight slots. Bingo was a joke they did ... Read More
It went through the "new panama canal". It was amazing to see and enjoy the passage. Other parts were not so amazing. The casino was the poorest we have ever seen at sea with very tight slots. Bingo was a joke they did not do a roll over and a last game grand prize winner. the real winner was norwegian. In place of over $5000 the final coverall got $1000,not bad, but not was expected. The ship is confusing to get around, all of the hot tubs have no shade so it's early morning or later at night. Entertainment was spotty, comedy was good , havana was good, magician was good, jersey boy's was a bust in my opinion, and the cavern was good. As for the food it was great, with the exception q which served some poor dry brisket. Would recommend gagneys and teppanyaki. Both were exceptional and worth the cost. Disembarkation was the worst experience of our 25 plus cruise's. This was not norwegians fault,it was cause by the port of los angeles. The most un organized mess i have ever encountered. Porters laughing at people in line waiting as they breezed by to a special line where they and their cruisers were they had no waiting saying for a few bucks you could be gone by now. Union i assume. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on ... Read More
We are health conscious vegans and one of us has a gluten allergy. In January 2019 we sailed aboard the Princess Regal on a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise. We went with relatives which didn’t give us much time for us to enjoy being on the boat or for relaxing. We needed another cruise and fast! However, we had limited funds having just cruised. We choose a 14 day repositioning cruise on the Norwegian Star which departed Los Angeles and sailed through the Panama Canal with Miami being it’s destination. We went on “the cheap” getting an interior cabin which we do not mind because the darkness helps us sleep longer and better. To save money we used the "Let Us Choose" option where Norwegian selects a cabin for you. The ports of call ranged down the Western Mexican coast, with stops in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, passage through the Canal and last stop in Columbia before heading to Miami. We did not take any tours since we had seen Mexico on other cruises and enjoy having the ship to ourselves when others are ashore. The Star had a historian give several lectures on the Panama Canal history and someone narrated during our passage through the Canal. Both were very nice. Traveling as vegans (avoid foods containing meat or products from animals), always poses a challenge. On the Princess Regal the Main Dining Room offered a vegan menu each night and gladly adjusted for gluten intolerance. The Princess had assigned seating and dinner times which worked well for us. Our waiter became familiar with our special needs and things flowed very smoothly. The Princess morning buffet had mixed greens as well as beans and several types of breakfast grains. They also had non-dairy options on the buffet. The labels above each buffet item had a “V” if it contained no animal products and /or a “GF“ if not made with wheat gluten. On the Norwegian Star, the buffet selection was more limited and we frequently went to the main dining room if we wanted something “green” in the morning. No dish on the buffet had identification as to whether it was vegan or gluten free. Non-dairy and/or gluten free items were available upon request but often took a while to get from the buffet staff. The Norwegian Star has a Free Style approach to dinner. We explained our special dietary needs to the restaurant manager and he introduced us to their special diet coordinator. He was great! At first, we would tell him what we desired for dinner but later just gave him the freedom to create meals with the chefs. The meals were very good and exciting to see what we would get that evening. However, with Free Style dining, you never knew how crowded the restaurant would be at any given time and most of the time we had a new waiter who was unfamiliar with us and our diet. English was not spoken well by some waiters so explaining each night that we had a special meal became tedious. Some nights meals took a very long time to prepare particularly if the restaurant was unexpectedly crowded. The Princess approach with an assigned waiter, assigned dinner time and vegan menu was much more efficient and pleasant for us. The entertainment on the Norwegian Star in our opinion was not as good as some other ships we have been on, however, one show by the ship's production cast was outstanding and among the best I have seen. The Star’s exercise room and decks for walking were superior to many other ships. We enjoyed the Star’s indoor movie theaters rather than the Princess ship design which features an outdoor screen for that “drive-in theater” experience. Overall we achieved our goal of being able to enjoy leisure time at sea and remain healthy. It was a good cruise but from our perspective it could have been better with a few simple changes by Norwegian. It was our first experience with Norwegian so we do not know if our experience is representative of other Norwegian ships or cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise because I had heard they were a notch over Royal Carribbean. The Island Princess is an older ship. No wow factor. A lot of elderly people some in wheelchairs and walkers. Activities were few. Music was very good. I ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had heard they were a notch over Royal Carribbean. The Island Princess is an older ship. No wow factor. A lot of elderly people some in wheelchairs and walkers. Activities were few. Music was very good. I loved the cleanliness of the ship and the stateroom. BUT hated the very small shower stall. However the water was hot and strong. The food was good. but a lot of repetition. Great deserts. Great lattes on fifth deck, but not included,. The first evening I felt like I had boarded a shopping mall . They pushed selling everything from jewelry to pictures and wine. The pictures that were taken were over priced and we were not allowed to take our own pictures when disembarking everything had a price.That was really sad. I took one Princess tour to see the Indians that was very nice. However the trip to the area was gross. Lots of garbage everywhere. On the return to the ship we passed Colon city.What a horrible place. looked war torn and garbage dumped everywhere; knocked down buildings everywhere. Panama is not taking care of the people. And I would never return.. I was totally bored by the pool it was too deep for me, 7.5 feet. and they seemed to show movies half the morning.. and I did not go on this vacation to watch movies. No rules were applied as passengers bogarted the best lounge chairs with towels for hours at a time,even in the theatre people held chairs. The grill by the pool served decent hamburgers but their hot dogs and knockwurst and pizza were not of good quality .We had to stand on line to get grill food. The shows were good. we chose anytime dining but the lines were long and they actually let people ahead of others who had made reservations which I felt was kind of unfair. The people who served the food were very nice, but seemed stressed and tired at times. Same with the activity staff. Not enough activities. In summary it was nice. but I would not go on princess again. Unless its a new ship. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Choose for the Panama Canal crossing. The entertainment was good overall. The meals were medium good but not noteworthy. We ate in buffet, both main dining rooms and 3 specialty restaurants. Only Cagney's was worth the money. ... Read More
Choose for the Panama Canal crossing. The entertainment was good overall. The meals were medium good but not noteworthy. We ate in buffet, both main dining rooms and 3 specialty restaurants. Only Cagney's was worth the money. Desserts with the exception of ice cream were uniformly disappointing. The shops devoted too much space to high end jewelry and perfume (money makers?) and nothing to makeup or sundries or candy. Liked the shore excursions we took and fond them very enjoyable. Staff was very friendly. Enjoyed cruise director Dave and the Captain too. the hypnotist/comedian was not anyone I would want to see again. Jennifer Fair was delightful once again. the production band and cast did a very good job. Atrium music bounced up to the internet cafe and was deafening! acoustic issue. Although recently refurbished, The Star seemed drab and and the decor old. Overall we had a good time but are unlikely to choose another NCL cruise unless family or friends invite us to sail with them. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I wanted to go thru Panama Canal and I had a previous good experience with the Princess Cruise line. I was disappointed on this ship. The food was sometimes below what I expected and the activities on board weren't as fun as my 11 ... Read More
I wanted to go thru Panama Canal and I had a previous good experience with the Princess Cruise line. I was disappointed on this ship. The food was sometimes below what I expected and the activities on board weren't as fun as my 11 other cruises on various cruise line ships. The musicians were good but there weren't any magic shows or acrobatics on this cruise. The back of the boat view was taken over by the Lotus Spa area that you had to pay extra to be in. The fitness center was in a lower deck with no windows. The shower stalls were so small you couldn't bend over in them. Our waiter was the best thing on the ship. He was friendly and brought out the food fast. Most of the tours were good, but one of the tours on Grand Cayman had so many waiting to touch the Stingray that we only got to touch it once for the hour we were waiting in the water. We liked the chocolates left on the pillow each night. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise to see the Panama Canal, which was great in itself, so you could say the objective was met. I do have to say though that the excursions were not always as good as the write up, a lot of money for not a great ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the Panama Canal, which was great in itself, so you could say the objective was met. I do have to say though that the excursions were not always as good as the write up, a lot of money for not a great experience. We complained about one excursion in particular and received a refund, by doing a little bit of research beforehand we could have booked excursions for ourselves at half the price. There is a lot of waiting about, you are told to meet at set time but could still be there for another hour waiting on others or just for staff to get organised with so many people going off on different excursions. The dining experience onboard was also not good standard, you never received a hot meal, it is always served lukewarm, in the dining room the main meals came out with food covers, however if someone had two starters or took a long time to eat the main meals sat by the waiters desk until everybody was done, one night our meals sat for ten minutes before being served. If you have dietary requirements then you struggle, no food labels to advise of ingredients if you are intolerant to anything, when you ask they are unable to inform you without going to find out. Very limited choice if vegetarian (no fish and eggs), ends up being repetitive. They need to bring this area of service more up to date, it is crucial to some people if they are intolerant to particular ingredients, could ruin their cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a ... Read More
We chose this particular Panama Canal cruise for the itinerary. The ship stopped in Aruba, Curacao and Costa Rica, in addition to traveling through the canal, which were all new ports for us. After reading reviews, I did not expect a "new" ship, but since it had been in dry dock less than 2 years ago, I figured it would be okay. My husband and I have taken about 10 cruises over the years, and this was our first Holland America cruise. The cruise before ours had a norovirus outbreak, and we received an email the day before embarkation alerting us to a late embarkation due to their need to sanitize the ship. A bit disconcerting to say the least, but we preserved. As a result, embarkation was a bit hectic due to the larger crowds boarding the ship at the same time. The embarkation agent forgot to give us the activities planner for embarkation day, which we did not realize until much later, when we did not find any information in our cabin. After asking our room steward for the activities information we kept hearing others speak of, it was only then that we realized we were missing information. That did not start us off on the right foot, but we let that go and had a nice evening. The first stop was Half Moon Cay, the private island of HAL. There was another ship on the island that day as well, so it was extremely crowded. The ship arrived around 8:30, and after disembarking and being tendered over at 10:00, the clam shells we had signed up for (and paid for) were nearly gone. We had to walk a VERY long way down the beach, speak with a variety of (grumpy and inattentive) personnel at stations along the way to continue to direct us to some open clam shells. We stayed on the beach for a couple of hours -- which WAS beautiful -- then decided to head back to the ship. The thought of fighting for a meal with so many on the island was unappealing. Not the most auspicious start to our much anticipated cruise. Recommendation for Half Moon Cay - many of the loungers are under trees and are nicely shaded. Save your money and do not get a clam shell. We would not have had to walk so far if we wanted a free lounger in the shade. The next day was a sea day, and we attended a wonderful wine tasting. The day was really relaxing and enjoyable. The following days at the various ports of call were fine and we enjoyed Aruba and Curacao. Going through the Panama Canal is an experience not to be missed. We THOROUGHLY enjoyed the experience, and we very happy with the day. We opted to get off the ship in Colon "just to say we were in Panama." We spent about 10 minutes there and got back on the ship. Not a nice place, to say the least. Unfortunately, it was POURING rain in Costa Rica. We did go on a canal tour, but honestly, it was pretty miserable due to the weather. It was raining so hard, it was hard to see into the jungle at times, and we were just plain wet. No one's fault, to be sure, but it did take much of the enjoyment away from that day. Overall, the cruise was enjoyable, and we met some wonderful people with whom we dined with and enjoyed our time with on sea days. Our experience in the main dining room was EXCELLENT. The staff was warm and accommodating. We had anytime dining, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated. And as the cruise went on, we went to dinner with a group of other couples, and were easily and quickly accommodated. The food was varied and tasty. I think there was only 1 night that I was underwhelmed by the choices for the evening. The wine stewards were helpful and accommodating as well. We had ordered a wine package which we felt was a good value. However, there were some problems that HAL needs to address, and we did tell them so in our survey response to HAL. 1. Maintenance: It was VERY disruptive the amount of maintenance that was ongoing during the cruise. There was the smell of paint/varnish several times when sitting and relaxing on our veranda. Also, one day after arriving back on ship, we grabbed a meal in the Lido and went to sit outside to enjoy our meal. Amazingly, there was LOUD banging and sanding/sawing going on right above the area where the tables were -- so that option of where to sit outside was totally out of the question. WHY?? And to our shock, one day when we had just arrived in a port and were readying to leave our cabin, all of a sudden a man was on our veranda hosing down the entire deck, and he was opening all the dividers and washing all the decks on our side of the ship. No warning given at all by anyone. All the cushions were soaked, as was a beach towel we had left on a chair. We were flabbergasted to say the least! If maintenance such as this needs to be done - and it so disruptive to those of us who have paid a considerable amount of money to enjoy a vacation - this ship should spend a week out of rotation to be attended to. Much of this was "routine" maintenance, not something that broke while at sea. We found this unacceptable that we were forced to endure noxious fumes and "wet paint" as well as sanding/noise etc. on various decks. 2. Lido Dining: Okay, so Lido is the buffet/cafeteria style dining. I do understand one has to pack some patience for the buffet, We went there for lunch when on the ship, and for breakfast on days when we were heading out early for an excursion. . But the drink stations were woefully inadequate - there were only 2 for the entire dining room. That means only 2 water filling spots for a ship that had 1,700 people on board. Waiting in line for a glass of water, from machines that trickled out water (thus the line) and the ice machine that was frequently empty, was inexcusable. We did discover that the staff in the eating area inside would bring you water (they had pitchers), but they were busy with lots of folks, and it was hard to get them to focus to get to your table. We really did feel that we had to "work too hard" just to get a glass of cold water during dining times. Also, while in ports where we had early calls, they did open the Lido earlier than usual so we could get breakfast -- the problem was they only opened half the available stations, so the lines were VERY long, and the staff was fairly inefficient. This made for a stressful start to a vacation day - as we were on a time schedule to make our excursions. Fellow cruisers: We are in our late 50's and had plenty of company. There were very few younger than us, however, and there were plenty older. Disembarkation: We opted to take our own luggage and leave as soon as they allowed as we had a morning flight. This was the quickest disembarkation we ever experienced. From the time they let us off the ship to arriving at Ft. Lauderdale airport less than 30 minutes. No stress at all! Overall, in spite of some "head shaking" worthy circumstances, we really did overall enjoy our vacation. We chose to focus on the positive. Interesting ports of call, meeting wonderful people whom we hope to remain in contact with, and for the most part, very accommodating and caring staff. Was it the best cruise experience we ever had - no - but honestly, when we reflect back on the trip, it was a good trip overall, one that we were happy we took. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Cruising through the Panama Canal was on the bucket list. HAL cruised all the way through which was the high point of the 14 day cruise. The ship was beautiful and the service overall was good, but the spa staff was highly aggressive and ... Read More
Cruising through the Panama Canal was on the bucket list. HAL cruised all the way through which was the high point of the 14 day cruise. The ship was beautiful and the service overall was good, but the spa staff was highly aggressive and treatments way too expensive. Watch your bill - we had multiple charges for other people's alcohol and for things that were included in our beverage package. They did reverse the charges, but it took time away from our cruise to get the items corrected. The cabin was comfortable and clean and the cabin stewards were wonderful. We were on the 8th deck near the bridge and had no issues with rolling seas or noise from any of the entertainment. We did have to walk through the spa area every time we went to higher decks - odd set up. We are 60 and felt like we were the babes on this cruise. This appeared to be an older group that was in bed by 9PM. The first night at sea we expected to be wowed by the entertainment. Instead we got a movie on the main stage and the sound system was not good. We saw perhaps 3-4 entertainers that were good, but this was highly disappointing for a 14 day cruise. We arranged our excursions a month or so before cruising. The descriptions were somewhat misleading - "a motorized catamaran" was actually a booze cruise with 150 other passengers - not what we pictured. We thought we were going to a nice cove to swim where we could snorkel and see the native fish. After cruising with everyone else drinking we got perhaps 30 minutes in the water with no fish at all (didn't need to bring our snorkeling equipment or the rolls we took from breakfast to feed the fish). We did sign up for one excursion on the ship and then chose not to go because we were not feeling well. HAL has a 14 day refund policy - not very accommodating on a 14 day cruise. We couldn't get a refund but could trade to a lesser priced excursion, but still lost the money. We did have a wonderful time with our dinner table - table for 8 at the 8PM seating. Overall we did enjoy our cruise. We chose the itinerary for this cruise and not the cruise line. For a number of reasons we perhaps will not cruise with HAL again. They are way too focused of making a buck. For example - every cruise we've been on before with other lines we've been able to use all of the spa facilities on the day we had a treatment. Not on HAL. Everything had a separate price tag. As a last thought - we completed HAL's online survey after our cruise and indicated that they could contact us for clarification or comments. It's been a month and there's been no attempt on their behalf to follow through. Aside from the on board cruise staff, HAL needs a lesson in customer service. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We have only sailed on Celebrity ships before; enough to rise to the elite level which also entitles us to several perks. So why sail on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam? We wanted to do the ocean to ocean Panama Canal itinerary in the ... Read More
We have only sailed on Celebrity ships before; enough to rise to the elite level which also entitles us to several perks. So why sail on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam? We wanted to do the ocean to ocean Panama Canal itinerary in the late winter or early spring when it was cold in the Washington, DC area. Celebrity no longer offered this cruise during this time of the year. So, we reviewed the ships that sailed during this time and decided that the Nieuw Amsterdam would be our choice. (Note: We did compare the Nieuw Amsterdam to the other Holland America ships that provided this itinerary. The Nieuw Amsterdam was reviewed best by Cruise Critic.) How did we like the cruise? Staff. The service staff in all areas of the ship were wonderful, especially their personalities and how they strove to accommodate all requests. Of course, we would only politely ask for something that our experience indicated was reasonable and also within the prevue of a particular service person. We particularly were impressed with the towel creatures left on our beds at night and learned onboard about how they were created and surprisingly how little time each one takes to create. Stateroom. We thought the stateroom size, bathroom (with tub), balcony, comfort of the bed, sitting area, and storage areas were all quite nice---certainly not to be outdone by the Celebrity Infinity which was their ship sailing this itinerary. The stateroom attendants kept the cabin clean and neat daily and were very responsive to requests; although, we had few. Dining. We were pleased with the breakfast and lunch buffets in the Lido; although, we thought the choices and quality of the food were good, but not exceptional–choices and quality for breakfast better than for lunch. The poolside hotdog/hamburger and pizza options helped to make some of our lunches enjoyable. We were not so satisfied with the Lido evening dining because of the limited selection and quality of the food the one night we dined there. Of course, the staff was attentive and friendly. Our regular evening meals were in the Dining Room on deck 3. We thoroughly enjoyed the staff. However, there were only a few dishes that we truly enjoyed eating. We found most of the food unappealing, often inadequately prepared, and providing unsatisfying pleasure. The wienerschnitzel and the surf and turf were the two entrée selections that we found quite appealing. We particularly enjoyed the desserts which had plentiful choices and were mostly prepared well and quite tasty. The entrees we selected in the Pinnacle Restaurant, particularly the Alaska King Crab, was by far the best entrée enjoyed during the cruise. We would have expected that the regular Dining Room would have provided more of this level of quality. Entertainment. The performers in the Mainstage theater were just ok, especially in comparison to our Celebrity experiences. That said, the comic John Wing and the English piano player/comic, Brett Cave, were quite enjoyable. We wouldn’t want to see any of the other acts twice. The cruise’s backup band and the classical quintet were superb. Playing together on the Mainstage to provide the musical background for the featured nature film was a great way to highlight their talents. A particular performance highlight was the Columbian Ambassadors who provided a show on the Mainstage one afternoon. In our opinion, they provided the best performance of the entire cruise and should have had more exposure--perhaps an evening performance. Finally, we thoroughly enjoyed the performance featuring members of the wonderful Filipino staff performing with great enthusiasm. Shore Excursions. We enjoyed the excursions we selected which included city highlights, horseback riding, rafting, snorkeling, zip lining, nature watching on a river, and an equestrian show. The only excursion we were quite disappointed with was the Lake Atitlan full day excursion which required a 2 ½ hour, extremely bumpy bus trip followed by a 45 minute boat ride across an average-looking lake to an unexceptional resort for a basically enjoyable lunch followed by a 45 minute return boat ride exactly the same as the first one, followed by a 2 hour return bus ride exactly the same as the first one, but a half-hour shorter because of driving downhill, and less bumpy apparently due to the lighter loads of trucks going toward the port. All in all, this excursion included too much traveling with very minimal enjoyment for the effort. We also noticed that the Holland America written descriptions of the shore excursions that we took were often not truly reflective of the actual experiences. That said, it was still only the one excursion mentioned above that was disappointing and perhaps a more accurate description of the excursion would have helped us to make a better decision. Informational and Cultural Lectures. In particular, the Shore Excursion informational leader, Jeanette, was superb. Her presentation describing the next day’s experience of sailing through the Panama Canal was clear and comprehensive, allowing an enjoyable understanding of the next day’s experience. Additionally, Jeanette’s other presentations providing information of what we’d see upon arriving in other destinations was thoroughly well done and appreciated. Holland America Onboard Internet. The Holland America onboard internet that provided information about daily activities and dining menus, person-to-person onboard texting, and enabled us to keep track of our own cruise itineraries was extremely effective, reliable and useful. That said, access from our cell phones were not up to the exemplary level of the in-cabin TV access and the technical staff should strive to make both access pathways equally effective. In Conclusion. The purpose of the trip was to enjoy the ocean to ocean Panama Canal itinerary during the late winter or early spring. Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam provided the desired itinerary. The stateroom, the Lido breakfast and lunch buffet along with the hotdog/hamburger and pizza poolside options, the shore excursions, the informational/cultural lectures, the Pinnacle specialty restaurant, and the entire staff were, in our opinion, quite good. The entertainment and the evening dining were, in our opinion, just average. Will we sail with Holland America in the future? Probably not, particularly because the entertainment and evening dining we’ve experienced on Celebrity ships—which we consider to be extremely important parts of the cruising experience—are much better. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Ship is very pretty & clean. Lovely decor and artwork. Our cabin 5090 had plenty of storage, and a bathtub! Bring a bar of your own soap if you don't like the liquid soap dispenser on the shower wall. There were inconsistencies ... Read More
Ship is very pretty & clean. Lovely decor and artwork. Our cabin 5090 had plenty of storage, and a bathtub! Bring a bar of your own soap if you don't like the liquid soap dispenser on the shower wall. There were inconsistencies between our cabin and our friends next door. We had a mag makeup mirror and a small note pad on the night table (which I used a lot). Our friends didn't have these things. We had the open dining and because of the great dining room hostess, had the same wait staff each night, whom we loved. Dining room food was usually ok. There was a meal or two we traded in, the red snapper being one. Great presentation, small quantity. We were disappointed that we were on one of 4 HAL ships in an experimental dining mode, charging $10 for a second entree. I hope this initiative fails as trying different foods is one of the best parts of cruising. We did the buffet twice for breakfast and a few times at around 3pm for a snack. We are never fans of the buffet. This one wasn't too bad though. TAMARIND is by far the best dining experience on the ship. Try it early on and go often. So pretty up there too, at the bar. Weak entertainment, disappointed at how poor most of it was. There were three nights of 14 in which we thought the Main Stage entertainment was up to cruise ship standards. BBKing All Stars consistently great in the BB King lounge. Gets people up and moving and happy. More activity choices needed, especially on sea days. America's Test Kitchen could be better with another cook/demonstrator. Same with the EXE talks by Jeanette, boring. Cruise director Nick also lackluster. This may all be by design as the clientele, at least on this cruise, much older. Many over 80. At 58 I was definitely in a minority decade represented by the guests. All services were *impeccable* EXCEPT for room service and the wait staff at both Canneletto and Pinnicle Grill restaurants. In fact room service breakfast on port days was as if it was the first day they ever offered room service breakfast on a port day. Many complaining. We had a snafu where we never did get any breakfast on a port day waiting for pre ordered room service which never arrived. I must mention they did make it up to us with hand written notes, a bottle of wine, follow up phone calls and priority delivery of room service breakfast the second (and last) time we ordered it. Loved the unlimited laundry service and they did a superb job. Passing through the Panama canal was wonderful, being served the Panama rolls and coffee throughout the early morning hours. I recommend you don't miss the early up at 5:30am to experience the canal at the beginning. I was going to skip it, BUT am so very glad I decided to get up for this once in a lifetime experience. We headed to the back of the ship on deck 9 by the pool as we left the first set of locks. Nice perspective, and not many thought of doing this. Central America hot & humid . Costa Rica our best day using a private tour company call Thumbs Up tours, their 10 in 1 day tour.Ten folks in a nice, cool van. Perfect. We loved our day at Huatulco, MX with the sandy beach and restaurants right off the ship. Great swimming cove. We did enjoy all ports. Did not do a tour in Guatemala, only walked around the "faux" town just off the ship. But with food, bars, entertainment and shopping, we had a great time there. This was my 5th cruise. Probably would use another line (Royal Caribbean again maybe) for our next one in a year or two. HAL was very good, but just a bit too low key for us. I would suggest another itinerary which may cater to younger guests or maybe not choosing HAL at all if under 45. Research it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
10 day Panama Canal. Feb 28 - Mar. 10, 2019 Boarding was good in Ft. Lauderdale. Immediate impression:, cozy, intimate ship. Public areas are small but pretty. Mini suite was spacious. Wow, 2 TVs.... Don't let 2 tvs fool you ... Read More
10 day Panama Canal. Feb 28 - Mar. 10, 2019 Boarding was good in Ft. Lauderdale. Immediate impression:, cozy, intimate ship. Public areas are small but pretty. Mini suite was spacious. Wow, 2 TVs.... Don't let 2 tvs fool you - THERE IS NOTHING TO WATCH. Pathetic choices on tv. The bathroom looks like a dumpy Motel 6. Honestly, they should be embarrassed to have guests in these bathrooms- at a charge, no less. Linoleum floors that are curled up on the edges, tile on the tub wall that is rusty, discolored, peeling, moldy-looking. Grout falling out between the tiles. Just awful. Water pressure in shower is great and the water is hot. The shower curtain attacks you and you can't keep it down on the tub. Keep in mind, there is no exhaust fan in the bathroom... which might explain the gross grout. Internet is a freaking nightmare. Who wants to spend an entire vacation trying to figure out cellular, wifi, internet, messaging? It's beyond frustrating. The Princess at sea messaging system is utterly, completely useless. There is no way to know if you have a new message- no notification. If you have the messaging system on- on your phone, you can't use the internet on your laptop. Princess at Sea (internet) can only be used on one device at a time. The ship should have new technology installed. There is no excuse for this. We've been on several ships where you could use your phone's text messaging to communicate (you cellular provider charges a minimal cost) - not on the Island Princess. NOTHING works on this ship to communicate. Dont even try, you'll end up frustrated and angry. I pre-paid for an internet package (240 minutes). Only 220 showed up on my account. I'm sure they do this on purpose and many people never notice the difference I didn't notice until the 3rd day. Seemed like we were constantly down to the internet cafe or Passenger services straightening out some mess. Not how I want to spend my cruise. Horizon court is crowded. Don't bother with it unless you go at an odd meal time. The food is pretty good but, the long lines and exposure to contaminated tongs just isn't worth it. Lunch in the MDR was always good, and uncrowded. The dinners in the MDR were very good. We were on the Royal 4 years ago and a Celebrity ship 2 years ago and the meals on this cruise were hands down, the best. Beds were pretty comfy and the rooms are very quiet so a good night's sleep is quite possible. If you are next door to friends or family and like a shared balcony, forget it. They only have a small door that they remove between the two balconies. It's pretty much useless. Furniture on the balcony is unimpressive and dirty. We did go to a few trivia games. Overall, the questions were pretty hard and everyone seemed to enjoy the challange. I like the ship size... not too many people, and not too small, It is old but public areas are elegant and have fresh, nice carpet. Most of our MEALS we ate in the Main Dining Room, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. 90% of the meals were excellent. A couple were so-so. We avoided the Horizon crowds and noise and really enjoyed the MDR. SERVICE is excellent everywhere on the ship. My impression of the evening shows was pretty positive. The secret silk was an interesting show. Vocals were off pitch a few times and too loud, but the show overall, was well worth seeing. Costumes, backdrops, props, dancing were just beautiful. Second show was soloist, Colleen Williamson. I enjoyed her entirely. She had a beautiful stage presence and an amazing voice. Being a vocalist myself, I could appreciate her range and control. Didn't particularly like the songs she chose, but she did an excellent job, held the audience in her hand, and flawlessly performed the show. The Bayou Show was very good. They amaze with the costumes and dancing. The Encore show was also very beautiful. Some of the vocalists were occasionally off pitch, but the shows are well worth seeing. Colleen Williamson starred again in the Encore show and she is stunning. The set was jaw dropping and the orchestra was something else. Also went to Luke Hefner's show. It was very good. I especially liked his performance of "O Sole Mio" and his duet with a female singer of "All I Ask of You" was flawless. One of those unforgettable moments. They were both amazing. I didn't particularly care for his country music. We did not go to the comedian or magician shows as they did not interest us. Attended 2 craft sessions. Do they think we are in kindergarten? First was buttons and the second was box making. My pre-school grandkids are way, way beyond these projects. Don't even bother with them. Good Hope House tour "Taste of Jamaica" Great tour overall. Very hot. Bus ride up was 20 minutes, and air conditioned. Pretty interesting guide. House is no longer used, but very nice. Lunch was outstanding. Traditional Jamaican food. Also did the open train ride to banana plantation In Costa Rica. Save your money on this one. HOT, humid and boring. We had a great guide and pleasant driver and learned a few details of Costa Rica, but there must be better tours here to choose. DO NOT waste your time or money on the wine tastings. VERY boring. Wines were good, but my $12 HandCraft Malbec from California is still my favorite. Wine Tasting for $25 - waste of money. Wine was good, speakers were boring, canapes were so-so. Spend your money on internet !!! Wine Tasting for $10 - waste of money. Same boring speakers, cheese was so-so. Spend your money on internet ! Disembarking was efficient. Then we got in the port area and the nightmare began. We docked at a different dock far away from where we began our cruise. They had a couple of small shuttles to take you back to the parking garage 2 miles north of pier 19. Everyone got pretty aggressive getting on, piling all the luggage into a van that really was not equipped for this. Our plan was for 1 of our group of 4 to get on the shuttle, get the vehicle and come pick us up (and our luggage). Well over an hour later, he arrived at the passenger/luggage pick up. Really not a good situation, at all. After 10 days on this ship, major complaints are still: grungy bathroom, worthless on-ship communication, lack of tv choices, and internet, internet, internet. It's unfortunate Princess won't address these issues because the Island Princess is a lovely ship for people who don't care for the mega ships. She deserves some TLC. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Unwelcoming excursions for wheelchairs and unsafe, uncomfortable handicap washroom. The excursions was unadaptable, unwelcoming for wheelchairs and all our water excursions was cancel out, without letting you see fit to make your own ... Read More
Unwelcoming excursions for wheelchairs and unsafe, uncomfortable handicap washroom. The excursions was unadaptable, unwelcoming for wheelchairs and all our water excursions was cancel out, without letting you see fit to make your own decisions. It was disappointing because we were so excited for the island princess to enjoy some water and the island feeling. We did not get to do any snorkeling or any water activities and been deprive from it because of wheelchair unfriendlyness and discrimination. However, the diamond princess excursions allow you to have freedom in choosing your excursions and you can decide if the excursions is right for you in real time or can choose to sit out if you feel uncomfortable. Whereas, Island princess excursion will just cancel you out without gaving you the freedom to choose. Handicap washroom was unergonomic, uncomfortable, unsafe because the handrails was design horizontal poking at your back. On comparison, the diamond princess to Japan with handicap washroom was design much better and the excursions was helpful than “ Island princess cruise for being wheelchair unfriendly.” Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. The reason for the low score for NCL is that there were lots of little things which were not as good as other cruise companies and they added up to make a big difference. Firstly the good: The organisation of the Freedom dining is fantastic. We only had to wait (briefly) for a table on a couple of occasions - the rest of the time it worked like clockwork. This is down mainly to the ladies who work at the front desk. They do an exceptional job. The staff in the dining rooms were all fantastic. Hardworking and always cheerful. No mean feat! The chinese restaurant is included rather than the usual cover charge and we thought the food was superb. The presentation of the food in the main dining rooms was the best we have seen There were proper showers in all of the rooms (not just shower curtains) The bad: The menus in the Chinese and O'Sheehans never changes nor does it in Grand Pacific at lunch time. Not too bad if you are on a 7 day cruise but this was 19 days of the same choice. The drinks are very expensive The ship was late in to nearly every port. Sometimes just by 15-20 mins but it messed up our plans (and on two of the occassions this was when the ship was only travelling a short distance between ports) Disembarkation was a shambles with poor communication. They put on too few tenders when needed so that it took us until after 1pm to get off the ship when we had to be back on board by 4pm. We paid for an upgrade to an ocean view room and yet all we could see was a lifeboat. There was no warnings about it being a partial view. There was insufficient shade on the ship so there was always a battle to be up early enough to grab some. They have a great lounge at the front of the boat where you can sit in the shade and cool and look at the view but insisted on running bingo and other talks in there all through the day despite having other areas that would accomodate these things. They even had to draw the blinds in the room to make it dark enough to see the projector. The talks about the ports and countries we were visiting were awful. The entertainment in the bars was not to our taste and hardly varied. No gala type dinners so no lobster or other special food. Food was the worst we have had on a ship (not bad like other reviews have said - just not as good as other ships) The food in the buffet was not great and was very repetitive. All of the entertainment was geared towards Americans (even though they were in the minority on the ship). I understand that they are usually the majority so I guess it would be too much trouble to change things cruise by cruise. Guest Relations were terrible. They handled a minor complaint so badly that it ended up being a big issue. They have zero authority and a terrible attitude. One thing that isn't the ships problem but is worth mentioning is that we like to share our table with others in the evening. Clearly most people who choose NCL don't like to so it was rare that we managed to get a table with other people on it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I chose this cruise (my first) based on itinerary to a partial passage of the Panama Canal and chose Princess on its reputation for good food and levels of service. The itinerary to visit Columbia, Panama and Costa Rica was good but visits ... Read More
I chose this cruise (my first) based on itinerary to a partial passage of the Panama Canal and chose Princess on its reputation for good food and levels of service. The itinerary to visit Columbia, Panama and Costa Rica was good but visits to Grand Turk and Jamaica (Ocho Rios) were a waste of time and more time at the other ports would have been better. Before I talk about Princess I must add two caviates. First that this is my first cruise and my expectations were set by Princes advertising and other reviews. Second caviate is that the previous cruise had several nori virus outbreaks and there was several measures in place to combat another outbreak. I mention this second one as the ship felt understaffed and the workload of the staff seemed to affect the attitude of the majority of serving staff. An example was that even in the buffet you could not serve yourself and the staff served you. If I was less generous I would say it was a cost cutting exercise to reduce the portions. I only mention this as there was a general air that there was cost savings being made in the quality of food and service. Along with the constant added costs or trying to find ways to charge more was disappointing but this may be all cruise lines. (Role on Virgin Voyages style charging). Overall I was disappointed with the quality of service at evening dining, who seemed rushed/under staffed. Another disappointment was the afternoon tea which started with tea being served followed by a line of people trying to get food on to you plate all at once and get you out. I chose anytime dining which was what I would choose again as it gave me the opportunity to meet a new group of people each evening. However the quickest time from starting to queue to sitting was 25 mins and the longest was 55 minutes. What was more annoying was to then see empty tables not being used. This was for a single looking to share on a large table. The evening entertainment shows were generally good and different music in each bar was good enabling you to choose what you wanted. I stayed in a mini suite and this was a very good size with a great balcony. It has very nice flat screens but no use has been made of the space where the old style TVs used to be giving a slight feel that something is missing. Overall a disappointing first cruise and may be a while before I take another one. If I do I am pretty sure I will go with another cruise line as I think Princess are making cost cuts where they can. This was also the view of other passengers who had taken many Princess cruises and said this was the worst Princess Cruise they had been on. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to see the new Panama Canal. Entertainment was good. Many options during the day and evenings. The food was good in the Resturant but service was very slow. Anytime dining was not managed well. Long lines/wait even though there were ... Read More
Wanted to see the new Panama Canal. Entertainment was good. Many options during the day and evenings. The food was good in the Resturant but service was very slow. Anytime dining was not managed well. Long lines/wait even though there were many available tables. The grill food was good but there again service was slow. Pizza was ok but not up to my standards. Crooners bar was my favorite - usually not too crowded after dinner. Easy listening music in the Atrium made it easy to enjoy a drink and conversation without having to yell to be heard. The buffet was ok for breakfast but I did not like the choices for lunch or dinner. The formal nights allowed for those who wanted to dress up to do so but also allowed those who didn’t bring a suit to enjoy the evening without any problem. (I really do not see the point of having formal nights) Excursions were a disappointment. The descriptions of the trips did not match the experiences. Our cabin steward was very efficient and more than exceeded our expectations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Choose for Panama Canal experience. Like watching paint dry, lol. OK, it was interesting but I got bored standing around waiting to go through the locks so I went back and watched it on the cabin TV. Good - Room size, B216. Overall ... Read More
Choose for Panama Canal experience. Like watching paint dry, lol. OK, it was interesting but I got bored standing around waiting to go through the locks so I went back and watched it on the cabin TV. Good - Room size, B216. Overall entertainment. Hamburgers and Pizza. Bad - Anytime dining. Bad joke. Wait staff was only good the last night. Had to arrive to the show 15-30 minutes early to get a seat in theatre. Organization of daily activities bad. Not much music in pool area. Mostly movies all day. Ugly - Horizon Court. Food was boring, bland and repetitive. Breakfast was usually lukewarm and I threw away more than once. One waffle iron for 2000 passengers??? Staff seemed put out if they had to wait on you. Had to wait 15 minutes to get a specialty coffee because length of line. Buffet focused so much on cleanliness that other parts of ship service went l Excursions were OK not great. Worst cruise experience we've ever had. I packed at noon last day and couldn't wait to depart next morning. If I ever see Island Princess (or even another Princess cruiseship) it will be too soon!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted a winter cruise to warmer climes and a chance to transit the Panama Canal. Pros: -Our Coral Princess cabin was very quiet and comfortable, entirely adequate. The Promenade Deck was a delight, great place to walk, nice ... Read More
We wanted a winter cruise to warmer climes and a chance to transit the Panama Canal. Pros: -Our Coral Princess cabin was very quiet and comfortable, entirely adequate. The Promenade Deck was a delight, great place to walk, nice deck chairs to relax in, great viewing of the Panama Canal. -Dinners in the main dining room were outstanding. Had seafood virtually every meal, the staff was fantastic. -The Theatre entertainment was also outstanding. Great shows, highly professional, not to be missed. Cons: -Abusive prices for wines purchased on board in the main dining rooms. Outrageous! -Stern Serenity Area: $20/half day!!! Seriously?! -Lido Deck Hamburgers & Pizza - awful, don't bother. Worst we have ever had. -Breakfast sausage - greasy! -Food selections in the Horizons Cafe quite limited except for salads. -Far too few port stops on this cruise, far too many days at sea for length of cruise. One port stop (Nicaragua) was cancelled due to rough weather. -No self serve of beverages except water, tea, coffee. Even lemonade is by special request! -Internet service is hardly worth paying for, marginal at best. -On-board smart phone messaging between passengers about like Windows 95. Terrible, no sound alerts, often had to be re-loaded, re-booted, exasperating! -Main doors to Promenade deck, Lido Deck, Sun Deck, Horizons Cafe are very heavy wooden things that require a huge effort for most people. Great place to transfer germs, they feel sticky and will knock you down if you are not prepared. The should be automatic! -Overall the ship had a very "Stodgy" feel and atmosphere. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is our 1st cruise with Norwegian but we have cruised several times before. This was the longest cruise at 14 days however. We had been informed to Star had recently been renovated. Ship was very clean. Staff was efficient but not ... Read More
This is our 1st cruise with Norwegian but we have cruised several times before. This was the longest cruise at 14 days however. We had been informed to Star had recently been renovated. Ship was very clean. Staff was efficient but not very friendly. There were exceptions like Ivan our room steward. There were parts of the ship that should/could have had service but didn't - the front and back of the ship where sunbathers were. Not one waiter ever came by to ask if you wanted anything. Yes there are bars near by but you would have to leave your chair,etc. to go get something. Also no light snacks at any of the bars - spicy corn nuts at Gatsby and Sugar cane only. Eric in the Tiptop bar is very nice. There's only one casual dining room (Agua)where shorts are acceptable, all the rest require reservations,long pants/collared shirts and are either ala cart or specialty priced. We came on the cruise to relax and be casual. But I didn't come on a cruise to eat at a cafeteria which the upstairs buffet reminded me of. It was crowded and noisey. The specialty restaurants were very nice though - Le Bistro was excellent and so was the Moderno - a meat lover's dream. Gapo our waitperson there was wonderful. The salad bar at the Moderno was amazing. I would have been glad just to eat that. I have come to realize that I do not Asian fusion cooking. The Ginza was a complete disappointment. The sushi rice was not correct (too sweet) and the tuna texture appeared to have been frozen. I understand that we are on a ship and frozen fish would/might be required for health safety but then do not serve sushi to consumers that will know the difference. Or when we are in port buy local fresh fish from the area. That would have been exciting to try instead. O'Sheehans was a hit or miss. I ordered buffalo wings 2x's and they came to the table cold and overcooked both times. Have your waitstaff learn how to pour a pint of Guinness beer as well. It is different from regular beer. I should not have to tell them how to do it at a place called O'Sheehans! The Tradewinds shopping area had lovely clothing. Prices were actually quite reasonable in comparison to other cruise lines. Both a few items there. But the toiletry selections is very limited. You should expand it to include more things that people either forgot or ran out of . I bought some lovely earrings and lost a back - couldn't wear them because you didn't sell any replacement backs. No AA or AAA batteries or phone chargers. Another missed opportunity. We met 2 lovely couples from England and Australia on our cruise and being with them made any of our disappointments bearable. However, not sure if we will do Norwegian again. Read Less

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