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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because my husband had never been on a cruise before. That may sound crazy but I knew if I'd picked a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean he would have thought it far too hectic and would have said 'no more'; ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my husband had never been on a cruise before. That may sound crazy but I knew if I'd picked a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean he would have thought it far too hectic and would have said 'no more'; the six days at sea just relaxing was the perfect introduction to cruising. We are from Ontario but have a place in Florida on the Gulf coast. We decided to leave our car in Gulfport and do a one-way only rental to get to Miami port. It was very reasonable and easy to get to the ship since the car rental company had numerous shuttles to the port. Not having to leave our vehicle in long time parking was another plus. Embarkation was smooth and in no time we were sitting in O'Sheehan's having Shepherd's Pie and enjoying a glass of wine. After lunch we did a cursory exploration of the ship while waiting for our stateroom. I've never been on NCL before but even without experiencing the Star pre-refurbishment I have to say based on older images of the pool area, the removal of the slides has vastly improved the vibe. I liked the layout of the ship, its smaller size and the fact you can walk the perimeter on one deck. Our starboard balcony stateroom was near the aft on deck 9. The size was agreeable, the beds comfortable, and it had plenty of storage for our belonging in the closet, in the drawers and under the bed. The bathroom was laid out well. Everything was in perfect working order. We brought a universal plug to increase versatility for using our tablets and phones. We asked our room steward, who was low key and very efficient to remove the bar contents since we had brought our own wine. We don't care about towel animals and won't judge a person's ability to do their job based on the lack thereof. I think they are overworked enough without the added burden of providing towel animals for our entertainment. Being fairly small the only thing I was a little disappointed in was the haze on the glass balcony spoiling my view. But not to fear! A scrubbie and some cleaner got rid of it pretty quick! When we booked we got all the freebies: the specialty restaurants, the drinks package, the strawberries, wine, and internet. I figured because we were on a 15 day cruise I'd purchase an additional 4 specialty restaurant packages so we could alternate between the specialty restaurants and the regular dining venues but decided we wouldn't purchase anymore since it's really a lot of food. We were pleasantly surprised by the food in the regular dining venues. Everything we ate was very good and I loved having breakfast in Versailles and getting perfectly cooked poached eggs and properly brewed tea. With the exception of a tough as shoe leather steak which was traded in for a better entree and some mashed potatoes the consistency of glue we enjoyed the food. We didn't go to all the performances in the theatre but the ones we did go to we enjoyed, especially the Barricade Boys. There were quite a few bands playing around the ship and on the whole they were quite good but one band near the pool had a female singer who was always off-key. I found they were heavily geared to salsa or Spanish music which may have been due to the final destination. I would have liked to hear more jazz. The ports were wonderful. With the exception of the Hop On Hop On buses, we didn't do any excursions, just strolled around the ports, perusing the stores and enjoying the architecture, the gardens, and leisurely lunches. We stayed an extra three days in Barcelona and fell in love with the place. We are planning to do this cruise again next year so we can stay longer in Barcelona. I'd like to say the crowning moment was a smooth disembarkation but that would be a lie. It was smooth going until you got off the ship into a chaotic scene. Huge lineups for non-existent taxis. Lineups for pre-ordered private hire cars or mini buses that couldn't get into the port because of the buses NCL organized for a price. No one knew what the hell was going on. Every person you spoke to who seemed to be in charge gave you conflicting advice: you could walk out of the port, you couldn't walk out of the port, it was forbidden to walk out the port, it was Tarragona's fault, there weren't enough cabs, etc, etc. etc. One police officer I spoke to said the whole debacle was the fault of NCL because they had made no provisions for their passengers to leave the port. Eventually, after an ominous change from sheer frustration to outward anger to their predicaments, the police officer advised that Tarragona was going to provide buses, free of charge, to move out all these people who had been waiting for hours. People missed their train connections, their flights, endured uncomfortable conditions, and NCL staff who refused to get off the ship to talk to passengers. It was pretty shocking. And a quick review of the schedule for cruise ships to dock at Tarragona for 2019 and 2020 shows that they regularly host cruise ships, some much bigger than ours, and have been doing so for a while but in CONJUNCTION with cruise lines who obviously know what the limitations of the port are (industrial) and plan accordingly. I am very disappointed in this introduction to NCL. I am even more disappointed in their continued lack of acknowledgement for this egregious oversight, choosing to take the cowards way out and blame it solely on the port. Not cool, NCL. 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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, but turned out to be basically two cruises, back to back: A TransAtlantic out of Tampa, and then a week in the Mediterranean ending up in Venice. Another recent review called it "A Tale of Two Cruises" and I agree with that impression. We were interested to see that RCI treated it like two separate cruises although we've been on other b2b's before on other cruise lines that didn't do that. Anyway, I am aware that The Rhapsody is different from the mega ships in the RCI fleet, but it is similar in size to the other ships we've sailed with, and we basically liked the ship a lot. The public areas are beautiful, especially the "Centrum" and the theater. We really liked the layout of the Windjammer buffet (although it was often very crowded). But, O.K., here are my personal "complaints": Our ocean-view cabin was very small, with barely enough room to wedge our suitcases under the bed. We're used to small showers, having been on river cruises and traveling in an RV--but the shower is really, really small. And I missed having a nice place to relax and look out over the ocean. The best views are in the Windjammer at the front of the ship, but it isn't a place to "hang out". There are good views aft from the "Shall We Dance" lounge, but that space was underused except for the hundreds of "Diamond" level passengers who pretty much took it over. And I was really upset that the "Royal Crown Lounge" (a small but lovely venue overlooking the pool area) was pretty much off limits unless you were "Diamond Plus". In fact, the daily newsletter advertised a special price on Martinies in the Royal Crown Lounge, but we were informed that we were not allowed to sit down and enjoy our drinks there! Many activities were scheduled in the Schooner Bar which is a narrow, noisy hallway, basically. I just think there could be a better use of the various areas overall. We thought the food was very good, almost without exception. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants, but enjoyed the bounty of the Windjammer and the choices in the main dining room. My husband had a New York Strip Steak that was tough, one night. But everything I ordered was delicious. They did a good job of providing a lot of interesting things to do during the TransAtlantic sea days--almost to the point that we had to make some time for ourselves to just sit and read. My only complaint about the activities was that I would have enjoyed a lecture or two about the history of the areas we were going to visit. The "port talks" they did have were mostly about ship excursions and/or shopping. In fact, there was very little advice or help forthcoming for those who just wanted to get off at the ports and explore. We attended all the evening entertainment in the theater and thought it was all outstanding. Unfortunately many of the shows were repeated in the third week, but it was so port intensive that we didn't really care. Everyone comments about how friendly and accommodating the staff and crew are, and I agree. How all those hardworking people stay so cheerful and nice is amazing. And they are so good about getting to know you and making everyone feel special. But (I guess I always have a "but") we did have a little problem with someone's inefficiency. As I said, the two portions of the cruise were treated as two different cruises. And at the end of the TransAtlantic in Barcelona we were required to get off the ship and be issued new "Seapass" cards. When we booked the cruises we had to pre-register for each one separately and give all the usual info about passport numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Well, as we got ready to disembark in Venice we got a call in our room informing us that we needed to come to the desk to settle our account!?? I was politely but firmly informed that security would not allow us off the ship until we paid our bill in cash! What!? The bill for the first two weeks had been taken care of automatically--this was just for the third week. So, we had to stand in line with all the disgruntled passengers complaining about overcharges, etc., until our turn when the guy at customers service poked the computer for about 10 minutes and then remarked casually that this had happened to a couple of other people who did back to backs. Someone just forgot to re-register our credit card. While I'm talking about money, I do need to mention that RCI obviously tries valiantly to offset the original low cost of the cruise with "nickle and diming" everything else. The "specialty restaurants" charge outrageously high prices, I think. And wine, and cocktails--crazy prices! They did have that happy hour martini special ($9) in the Viking Crown Lounge (Where the only place you could drink it was at the bar) and a 2-fer price on Margaritas in the Schooner bar. We had most fantastic weather. It was balmy and smooth sailing all across the Atlantic. The only rough seas were one night in the Mediterranean and we slept right through it. We enjoyed all the ports. We booked ship tours in both Canary Island stops and the one in La Palma was especially good ("North Shore") with an overview of the island including a stop in a beautiful interior rain forest, and a visit to a rum distillery that included a tasting. One of the highlights of the trip was sailing through the Straits of Gilbralter at dawn. Several hundred passengers stood on the upper decks looking at the lights of Africa on one side and the famous Rock of Gilbralter on the other with the beautiful sunrise behind it. We did our own thing in Malaga.We made our way through the historic old town center past the cathedral to the Alcazaba. We purchased tickets and wandered through the gardens and and rooms of that ancient Moorish fortress. It reminded me a lot of a smaller Alhambra. Then we walked up (and up) the hill behind it to see the "castle" behind it. By then it was hot and sunny, and we wore ourselves out climbing that path. When we got to the top we discovered that there was a bus stop there, and the "Hop On Hop Off" could have taken us to the top! Oh well. Beautiful views! In Barcelona we got a taxi to Sagrada Familia where we had bought tour tickets on line to see the inside. Then we taxied back to Los Ramblas where we strolled down with all the crowds, and then detoured off into the Gothic quarter we had a light lunch at at sidewalk cafe. After Barcelona the whole ship had a different feel after the leisurely trip across the ocean. A lot of the "retirees" disembarked, and there were many more young people and family groups. And we had a different port every day. In Cannes we once again "did our own thing". We jumped on the little tourist train loading up right at the pier and got a good look at the seaside boulevard and all the beautiful yachts on the one side and fancy hotels on the other. We've been to Rome before, so we opted to take the only ship tour doing something different out of Civitavecchia: a visit to an olive farm in Tuscany. It was a pleasant bus ride through the countryside with a visit to the sleep mountaintop village of Tuscania before a light snack of bruschetta with various flavored olive oils as well as a glass of wine at the olive farm. Our last ship tour was to the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum which was buried in the same volcanic eruption as nearby Pompeii. Fascinating. In Catania, Sicily we looked out our cabin window to see Mt. Etna all covered with snow! We later learned how unusual it is to have snow on Mt. Etna in May. Gorgeous! Unfortunately we didn't get pictures because clouds rolled in and Mt. Etna disappeared. We took a smaller group tour arranged through our Cruise Critic roll call. It was a beautiful day making our way up to the little resort town of Taormina after a harrowing drive up switch-backs to the mountain medieval village of Castelmola. Amazing views! And we also did a Cruise Critic tour to Krka National Park in Croatia. On the way back to the ship our guide gave us a quick visit to Zadar and their "sea organ". This review is getting too long to gush on and on about the beauty of Krka--all the waterfalls and rivers and emerald pools. Truly a beautiful spot. And I also don't want to do a whole separate review of our time in Venice where we disembarked and spend two wonderful (although rainy) days. All in all it was another great cruise--small criticisms notwithstanding. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
It was a glorious error that I ended up on this cruise ship! I had the most amazing time on this Transatlantic cruise from Miami’s to Spain. The passengers were friendly, considerate and there was no drama. The staff focused on our ... Read More
It was a glorious error that I ended up on this cruise ship! I had the most amazing time on this Transatlantic cruise from Miami’s to Spain. The passengers were friendly, considerate and there was no drama. The staff focused on our happiness, wellbeing and safety. The entertainment onboard was fun and engaging. The show on the last few nights were memorable. The sailing over the transatlantic was so smooth and we were always on time or even earlier than promised at the ports. The food onboard was delicious (Buffett and specialty restaurants), the selections were varied, the distinctions for adult and family entertainment/venues were clear and followed. I greatly enjoyed my time aboard the Norwegian Star. The veterans group was the best group of folks. I made new friends and the staff was amazing. I feel like they were a part of my family! Would cruise with them again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I sailed on NCL's April 27 repositioning cruise from Miami to Tarragona. Overall, I had a great time. The cabin, dining room, bar and entertainment staff were all great other than the customer service desk, internet desk and ... Read More
I sailed on NCL's April 27 repositioning cruise from Miami to Tarragona. Overall, I had a great time. The cabin, dining room, bar and entertainment staff were all great other than the customer service desk, internet desk and excursion staff. The latter three categories got the brunt of passenger problems and showed the strain. They were brusk and unhelpful. One more negative: Disembarkation was a nightmare. Originally the cruise was to end in Barcelona. A few months before departure NCL changed the end to Tarragona, 40 or so miles south on the Spanish coast (without notifying people, there were a number of unhappy passengers who had booked hotels in Barcelona). Tarragona is fairly small and didn't have near enough taxis to accommodate a couple of thousand people in the space of a couple of hours. NCL appeared to think its responsibility ended when you got to the bottom of the gangway. There you were in a line (more a scrum) of a few hundred people jostling for a ride into town. It took about an hour and a half to get a cab. NCL earned a lot of dissatisfaction that morning. On to the good. Staff: The cabin steward was pretty much perfect. Whatever you might want seemed to appear before you thought to ask. He went so far as to straighten a pair of shoes I'd thrown in a corner. The restaurants and bars had great service with a smile. The exception was O'Sheehan's, the restaurant, not the bar. The servers were slow and made a number of mistakes in orders. Food: The food was good not great for the most part with the exception, again, of O'Sheehan's which put out pretty bad food. The main dining rooms were on a par with most chain white table cloths restaurants. The buffet? Well it was a buffet, that about says it. Great omelets though. It could get a bit crowded during the mealtime rushes. I ate at the Sushi bar, great; Cagney's, very good; the Asian restaurant whose name escapes me, good and, Le Bistro, excellent. Reservation times were honored; but, the restaurants were never overcrowded, I never had to wait for a table. Internet: I know most people don't care about internet on a cruise. Unfortunately, I need internet to work, even on vacation. The internet was barely adequate and quit working on the last two sea days before getting to the Azores. No notice from NCL as to why it was out or when it would come back on. After twenty minutes standing in line I learned that someone in Miami forgot to "tune" a satellite. And the internet never worked in Spice H2O which is a shame as the area is a really nice place to relax and have a coffee or a glass of wine. Latitude check in: None that I could find. Activities: There were a bunch, none of which interested me. Ports/excursions: I booked one excursion through NCL in Cadiz to the "White Villages" which are about an hour away. The scenery was great, the guide, not so much. Her English was not very good and she spoke it very fast, although that really didn't matter as she set a pace that left most of the, let's call us no longer young, group twenty or so yards away from her so that we couldn't hear what she said anyway. I enjoyed wandering around all of the ports through great architectural neighborhoods, stopping for a cappuccino or glass of wine. Food and drink at the cafes and restaurants was dirt cheap by American standards. Drink packages: You'd have to drink from breakfast until going to bed to make the cost of a drink package pay off (well maybe not quite that much). But, if you get one of the higher priced packages and get it as a perk, the $20 a day mandatory tip is a pretty good deal if you look at it as the cost of the drinks and a tip. I'm mostly a wine drinker and while the offerings weren't great, they were quite drinkable. The backbars looked to have most of the "top shelf" liquors you would expect. Entertainment: The primetime acts/shows that I saw were all very good. The lounge and pool deck singers and musicians were okay. NCL app: It worked nicely, showing what you have spent, what the entertainment schedule for the day was and what reservations you had. iMessage, for those with an iPhone, worked well. A couple of other things: I was apprehensive about the ship being crowded as it was sold out, or close to it. Other than in the buffet, I never felt crowded. I'd say the median age of passengers was mid to late sixties. If you are young and looking for some nightlife, you might want to stay away from a transatlantic cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We recently booked a back to back cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas. The first segment was transatlantic, Tampa FL to Barcelona. The second from Barcelona to Venice. In fact, these were really two separate cruises. Segment 1 - The ... Read More
We recently booked a back to back cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas. The first segment was transatlantic, Tampa FL to Barcelona. The second from Barcelona to Venice. In fact, these were really two separate cruises. Segment 1 - The Tampa-Barcelona leg of the cruise started out extremely well. Boarding in Tampa was a breeze and we were on board and having lunch in no time. The sea days were very pleasant. The food in the Windjammer cafeteria was varied and quite acceptable while the food in the main Dining Room was excellent. The menu included Prime Rib (more than once) and Rack of Lamb, Service was also excellent. RCCL had made a mistake, assigning us early dining time instead of late but that was easily corrected. Our cabin was quite small and, like the rest of the ship somewhat dated. It did not even have a mini-bar or refrigerator. Storage space was likewise quite limited but we made do. Our cabin steward was an old pro and handled every detail without having to be asked. In short, this first segment of the cruise went by too fast Segment 2 - This second part was so diffferent as to almost have been on another ship. Because RCCL had made a mistake with our dining time before I made a point of contacting them before the end of segment 1 to make sure that everything was as it should be for the second segment. I was assured that everything was taken care of. On the day of "checking in again" in Barcelona I discovered that the same error had been made in our dining arrangements. I immediately contacted Guest Services and was assured that the problem had been corrected. When we proceeded to the Dining Room that evening we found that the D.R. staff had no idea about the change. Finally the Head Waiter took us to an unoccupied table, where we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally at 9:15 a waiter appeared, apologized for the delay, left us a glass of water and took our order. Then we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally at 10:00 we got up and left, explaining to the Maitre the problem with the service and requesting a new table. Finally the next night we started getting normal service. I can only assume that our first waiter felt 'put upon' by being assigned another (our) table and decided to let us know. In any event, this put a pall on the remainder of the cruise. Additionally,a few nights later the air conditioning in the ceiling decided to leak water on both our nightstands at 10:30 in the evening. Fortunately the crew was able to fix the problem in about an hour. During the entire second part of the cruise there seemed to be a marked tendency on the part of the crew to be less friendly and less helpful than during the transatlantic segment. I will not book on Rhapsody of the Seas again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to visit the Azores and try a transatlantic cruise for the first time. Unfortunately a week before the cruise NCL decided to shorten our 12 day to a 10 day and eliminated 50% of our ports, I never saw the Azores. They canceled ... Read More
I wanted to visit the Azores and try a transatlantic cruise for the first time. Unfortunately a week before the cruise NCL decided to shorten our 12 day to a 10 day and eliminated 50% of our ports, I never saw the Azores. They canceled Portland England as well which we could have dealt with. They did all this to displace their guests in order to put the Getaway to dry dock earlier than anticipated. Saw the dry dock results, looks like Starbucks was added onboard and new furniture. I'm not sure why that was necessary to ruin our vacation to complete this upgrade earlier for NCL. The ship itself was dirty, service slow and passengers mostly upset. We made the best of the situation making some great people but still very disappointed with NCL's decision. Also the 25% credit towards a future cruise was what you had paid for the room charges only on the Getaway? Seemed like yet another way to disappoint us. Carnival has given us 25% off before, due to a hurricane cancellation and it was a % off the future cruise price itself. Was definitely able to see the NCL customer service difference, they don't seem to have any. The ship was dirty, public bathrooms smelt so bad they propped the doors open. Glassware was dirty, received a lot of drinks with a side of lipstick. The entertainment and enrichment activities were lacking. Either sold out so you couldn't attend, or completely pointless like Burn the Floor. Interpretive dance is meant to tell a story, no one seems to know what that was. The rock climbing, ropes course and water slides were closed most of the trip. Not enough shore excursions for the passengers after the last minute change in itinerary. The one we did manage to book, everyone was sick from the cruise. There was some respiratory bug that went around. Just overall a bad cruise experience, I've been on a lot of cruises and I have never experienced anything like this. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have sailed with Norwegian twice before on the Pearl and the Spirit and enjoyed both. The Epic was a huge disappointment. We wanted to experience a larger ship but will not make that choice again. The Epic certainly accommodates a ... Read More
We have sailed with Norwegian twice before on the Pearl and the Spirit and enjoyed both. The Epic was a huge disappointment. We wanted to experience a larger ship but will not make that choice again. The Epic certainly accommodates a lot more people but it does not match that increase in numbers with amenities on board. There are no lounges to sit indoors like the other ships. Seating is all outdoors with minimal shade available. I hate to think what would happen if there was bad weather on an Epic cruise! You hardly ever get to see the sea when inside the ship. It is very dark and gloomy. All views are only avasilable in dining areas but not all. We love O’Sheanans on the Spirit and the fact that booths looked out over the water, not on the Epic. Very dark and closed in. You don’t feel like you are on a ship. It felt more like a casino that manages lighting so you don’t know what time of day it is. It’s was hard to tell where the casino started or ended. Slot machines everywhere. So much space is wasted in shops. There could be lounges for passengers instead. Norwegian never stop trying to squeeze another dollar out of you. The theatre seemed smaller than on the Spirit that carries half the number of people) We never got to see one show because they were sold out before we boarded. We were told we could queue and wait on standby for a seat. Thanks but no thanks. The theatre is so small that even information sessions had to be broadcast to 2 other venues to accomodate people. The lifts were a nightmare and often out of service. There are only 2 lift wells on a ship this size? It was chaos getting on and off. Bad luck if you couldn’t manage a lot of stairs, you will spend a lot of time waiting for a lift. There is no promenade deck. The walking track is a section on one side of the ship with a 2 way path painted on it. We missed the games and bingo etc that are usually held in the lounge on other ships. Everything centred around the atrium (with little seating), which by the way is not what it is on other ships. No grand stair cases on the Epic. On this cruise we shared every port with the Star. That meant that around 6,000 Norwegian guests hit the port at the same time as all the other ships. The ship and the ports were way too crowded. I think it has put us off cruising all together. This particular cruise had a real discounted feeling about it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the ... Read More
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the cruise were never delivered. Did not prebook anything - was told to wait and let the Concierge do it. Finally met him on 2nd day and got 2nd choice on 3 of the 6 dining venues we wanted. Should have just done it myself prior to cruise. The food in Haven is quite excellent but on a 15 day cruise the Chef has got to change the menu up a bit!! It is an excellent menu but the same, day after day. There are two soup choices and three desserts for lunch and dinner. Can't the chef use some creativity and vary that up a bit. Ice cream - vanilla or chocolate -and we found out from a different waiter, also macadamia nut. Can also get lemon sorbet daily. We wandered thru the buffet one lunchtime and saw gelato and so many other flavors, that we can't get! A few more Butler issues- why did it take a guest on day 7 to tell us about the "express" elevators or day 10 when a guest explained to us about the special phone in our cabin? We only asked our butler for one thing. After a week of daily snacks - we asked for fruit and some chicken, egg or tuna sandwiches. We specifically said no chocolates, cakes,or ham or pork. Within the next week we got our request once and then back to the ham and chocolates again. Shore excursions were fine except for when our tour in Mallorca was cancelled. At Shore Excursions we picked out another tour and was put on the waiting list -#19. Settled for our third choice. Question - if NCL cancels a tour, shouldn't we be bumped to the top of the waiting list? We did make it down to #9 so there were some cancellations. Complained but told "Sorry, Corporate Policy"!!! There was one lecturer on board, a very dry British lady telling us about each port. After attending her first lecture, we had enough and waited until the Epic decided to show her lectures on the TV so we could watch from our bed. Would we go Haven again? If I'm on a 4100+ passenger ship, definitely yes! Would I ever go on the Epic again - never!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Just got back from the TA cruise to Barcelona. We cruised with Norwegian 3 times before, but first time on Transatlantic. Despite many negative reviews on Epic I have to say everything was almost perfect and exceeded our expectation. ... Read More
Just got back from the TA cruise to Barcelona. We cruised with Norwegian 3 times before, but first time on Transatlantic. Despite many negative reviews on Epic I have to say everything was almost perfect and exceeded our expectation. Embarkation took 5 min. because we spent the morning by the pool at a hotel and didn't come to the terminal until 2.30 pm. Nobody in the terminal by that time, of course. Went straight to our cabin that was ready waiting for us. The cruise was sold out, so we kind of worried about the crowds on board, but there was literally no lines nowhere except maybe at the pool bar in some afternoons, but even then the wait was like 5 min at the most. After a couple of days we were puzzled about where all the people are and even asked different crew members how many passengers were on board. The answers were consistent - about 4,320. So it was sold out, but it didn't really feel at all. Maybe has to do with the demography, but we never regretted that! All bars and restaurants were good. The music bands were awesome! Didn't see any of the shows in full, but sneaked in a couple of times to stand in the back and watch for a few minutes. Nothing really exciting as we've seen them before. The service was phenomenal with almost no exceptions. The crew did their best to accommodate the guests, and they succeeded in that in my opinion. Overall an awesome trip and a beautiful ship! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I really enjoy cruising and the idea of a transatlantic including the numerous ports of call is what attracted me. I had never cruised with Norwegian before. I will definitely cruise with Norwegian. The ship is older so some areas need to ... Read More
I really enjoy cruising and the idea of a transatlantic including the numerous ports of call is what attracted me. I had never cruised with Norwegian before. I will definitely cruise with Norwegian. The ship is older so some areas need to be refreshed. There were more people on board than expected so there were line ups for the entertainment areas as well as the educational activities. After a few days, the problem with the educational activities was rectified. The pool sites were really well kept.There was the Spice H2O pool, were it is more quiet! Then there is the other pool where you have availability to listen to music and the Garden-Café is right there. There is food at this Café at all times. The sea was so calm all the way across and time just flew by. There were lots of fascinating activities including live bands where the music was really great. I truly enjoyed the free-style dining. There were lots of choices and the menus were delicious. The service was also excellent in these restaurants. My cabin was small but very comfortable. I could enjoy the balcony when I wanted quiet! The ports of call were great and I am very pleased with each shore excursion that I booked with the ship. I would do it all over again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was appealing and it had good value. We did not have time to explore Miami before we left, but we had been there before and found it to be a nice city if you can handle high humidity. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was appealing and it had good value. We did not have time to explore Miami before we left, but we had been there before and found it to be a nice city if you can handle high humidity. Embarkation went fairly smoothly. We were on the ship by 12 enjoying our first cocktail of the cruise. On the other hand, disembarkation was a complete nightmare. It was the worst experience we have EVER had leaving a ship. The original, final port was supposed to be Barcelona. However, at some point in time, the final destination was changed to Tarragona with Barcelona in parenthesis, which on other cruises indicates an alternate name for the same city or a city located close at hand. Ex. Thira (Santorini) The reason our ship was shunted to Tarragona, which as it turns out, was more than an hour away from Barcelona, was because Norwegian had also scheduled the Epic, a mega ship with our EXACT itinerary. GRRRR! Just hours away from Epic, the Jade was also scheduled & appeared in port at least once with us. That meant a mad scramble for cabs and overcrowding in historic sites and eateries. Also, the Epic was so monstrous, that Barcelona could not accommodate both ships. That meant, our ship was dumped at an industrial port with no clue how to process passengers through immigration. It was a mad house. We couldn't leave on foot because of security. We waited for our own charter bus they wouldn't let in, because all the ship's shuttle buses had priority. (Norwegian had offered to "help" people get to Barcelona for a mere $30 pp. via their shuttles.) While trying to exit the ship, crew members had been given conflicting information about how to direct people and there was an area where 2 different lines were snaking in opposite directions. In short, it was an awful experience and by the time we got our pre-reserved ride, we arrived in Barcelona 5 hours later. This disembarkation fiasco and the double booking of other Norwegian ships at the same ports, will be at the forefront of our minds when considering whether to sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Our first transatlantic cruise! Originally scheduled to reach Barcelona but was diverted to Tarragona. Weather during the crossing was fabulous. Sunshine, warm temps and smooth seas. The Star was refurbished last year and was is great ... Read More
Our first transatlantic cruise! Originally scheduled to reach Barcelona but was diverted to Tarragona. Weather during the crossing was fabulous. Sunshine, warm temps and smooth seas. The Star was refurbished last year and was is great shape. Crew was wonderful. Entertainment ranged from great to hohum. Food was up to NCL standard. Ports were great. Could easily use NCL or go on your own. The Roman theatre in Cartagena should not be missed. The nightmare began when we disembarked. We were warned that Tarragona was a small town with limited taxis and to allow extra time. We were not told that Tarragona is an industrial port and not equipped to handle cruise ships. First, the gang plank was extremely steep and dangerous for people with mobility issues and trying to carry off luggage. Then we got into the taxi line with 2000 other people only to learn there were only 5 taxis servicing the pier. There was no pedestrian walkway and the pier was lined coal and other industrial materials so it wasn’t safe to walk off. We waited 3 hours before they finally got a bus to start taking us to the city center and then we walked about 3 blocks to the train station where we had to buy new tickets since we missed our train. We thought allowing 3 hours was reasonable for a 2.8km trip. We never saw an NCL staff person of any authority on the pier accessing the situation. I don’t know how elderly or people with mobility issues endured this situation. It was such a shame to end such a wonderful cruise at such a horrible port. Avoid Tarragona. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the Transatlantic because we only had to fly one way across the Atlantic ocean.. Spent the night before the cruise in Orlando, and took am shuttle to ship. Got to Port at 11:00am. It only took 15 minutes after being dropped off, ... Read More
We chose the Transatlantic because we only had to fly one way across the Atlantic ocean.. Spent the night before the cruise in Orlando, and took am shuttle to ship. Got to Port at 11:00am. It only took 15 minutes after being dropped off, to sitting down and ordering lunch in the Haven. Fastest ever. Had just about all our meals in the Haven restaurant. We had the 4 specialty meal package, and 2 more for being platinum members. Used 2 each at Cagney's, La Cucina, and Le Bistro. All 3 were good! The haven had a snack bar by the pool. That was nice for the time after shore excursions and before dinners. Had some room service breakfasts, and the Butler delivered afternoon snacks daily to the suite. Ate 1 meal in the Chinese Restaurant, and once in Cirque of Dreams show. The entertainment on board was good. The main problem was the theatre was way too small for just the 2 shows, with 3,950 cruisers. Had to get to the shows at least 30 minutes before it started, to get a decent seat. And the smaller venues for other smaller shows was way too crowded, too. You can book reservations before cruise for some of the shows. Don't wait until boarding, unless you are in the haven. Ms. Google gave talks about the ports. Their history, things to do, pictures, etc. Not much else to do on 7 sea days. Those were given in the theatre and always full. About the only activity we participated in was gambling in the casino. It has a big casino compared to most other ships, and located right in the middle of ship. If smoke bothers you - dodge it if can. Everybody onboard goes there to smoke. Nelson (Hotel Director) knows about this problem and is working on it. OK! The machines pay out very little. So, NCL probably rakes in a pretty good profit from the casino. Like I said before the ship seems very crowded every where you go. There is no outside deck that goes completely around the ship. Not very much outside space at all, except at the top of the ship. That's the great outdoors and recreational area. The weather was kind of cool to be using the shallow pool, though there were sunbathers out most days. Just glad we were in the Haven where it wasn't so crowded. We booked our shore excursions with NCL for the ports. Platinum Members got 10% off, plus we had 2 $50 shore excursions per cabin per port. That made the prices very reasonable! Most of the tours were longer than the scheduled time allotted for them. Thought they were well worth what we paid. Well satisfied. Disembarking was a big mess! We had a 8:30am tour scheduled for Hop On / Hop Off Bus and drop off at Catalunya Square. We were over 2 hours late getting through cruise terminal to our bus. Then had to wait longer at bus before leaving, waiting for the tardy ones hung up in the cruise terminal. Purchased our cruise over a year out, for a very good price, with the extras. Wanted to be in the 2BR Haven, to be able to get away from the crowd. Liked the idea of having to fly only one way across the Atlantic. Also, had read reviews about the toilet and shower behind headboard, and sink in room. Heard a lot of cruisers complaining about that set up on board. We really enjoyed this cruise. Probably won't ever be back on the Epic again, though. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
While the cruise itself was pretty good, the total mess up be NCL of the disembarkment killed all the joy we had. 2 1/2 hours to get a taxi because guest services on the ship told us they would be at the port so we didn’t need to ... Read More
While the cruise itself was pretty good, the total mess up be NCL of the disembarkment killed all the joy we had. 2 1/2 hours to get a taxi because guest services on the ship told us they would be at the port so we didn’t need to schedule one. That was a joke. It was our first cruise and maybe our last. Everything we did on board they wanted money to give us the information we were supposed to get in the seminar. I.e., how to increase your metabolism. Teas to heal the body. Bingo etc. the ports were nice as we booked excursions at each. We did find out we could have picked someone at port for the same excursion at half the price. Go figure! The shows were ok. A few better than the rest. And you couldn’t swim in the pool the water was to cold for us. The only issue with the room was the size. Had to squeeze by to get to the other side of the bed. And the toilet area was a joke. We had a mid ship balcony on the 10th floor. Well good thing we didn’t put down a deposit for another cruise!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We had booked this cruise two months before the date and were looking forward to the 12-day transatlantic itinerary with a more southerly route from NYC to Ponta Delgada, Azores. I had previously been on the Getaway on its inaugural season ... Read More
We had booked this cruise two months before the date and were looking forward to the 12-day transatlantic itinerary with a more southerly route from NYC to Ponta Delgada, Azores. I had previously been on the Getaway on its inaugural season in the Caribbean out of Miami so was looking forward to being a returning guest. One week before our departure, NCL decided to let the passengers know that the 12 day itinerary had been cut to a 10 day and two ports (Le Havre and Zeebrugge) would be dropped. The only compensation would be a limited amount for airfare changes and 25% off the cruise fare. After serious backlash by passengers the compensation was increased, however just a few days before the cruise the itinerary was changed again, this time adding the previously dropped ports and dropping Portland UK (who cares) and Ponta Delgada, which of course ended any chance of warm weather on the crossing. These last minute changes that NCL claimed were due to 'circumstances beyond their control' caused a lot of grief and stress for us on what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. We had negative feelings about our cruise before it even began and were hoping the staff would go above and beyond to make up for the disappointing changes. This however did not take place and the cruise itself was just as bad as the initial issues. Throughout the cruise there were long waits (20-40 mins) just to get into the complimentary dining venues. I had been on the Escape in December for Christmas with an above capacity 5000+ passengers and never waited more than 5 minutes yet on this under capacity transatlantic cruise we had to wait 40 minutes just to get into O'Sheehans, unacceptable! I have done 5 NCL Cruises and can tell you the service in the speciality restaurants on the Getaway was not on par with NCL standards. We asked for water refills multiple times and waited 5-10 minutes. Long waits between all courses. Our visit to Cagneys was over 2,5hours and this was not by our choice and by 2.5 hours our order for dessert was still not taken and we just gave up and left. We asked for extra bread in Le Bistro and this was forgotten and had a bottle of wine and no one offered to refill our glasses, we had to reach over and refill our glasses by ourselves, embarrassing and unacceptable when you are paying a hefty extra sum!!! The buffet was a total zoo which surprised me since there were barely any kids on this itinerary. Garbage food in the buffet, we went twice and gave up. The watermelon would always run out. The entertainment on board was not adequate for a transatlantic itinerary. There was barely any activities between 10am and 7pm. We enjoyed the guest lecturer at 9:30am but wish there would have been another enrichment activity in the early afternoon. Our favourite entertainment activities were the ABBA and Adele Tributes. In the theatre we went to Matt Johnson Magician Show which we enjoyed. We did not attend any other shows but heard they were all excellent. Entertainment in the night was fine, but daytime activities were scant, unacceptable for a cold weather cruise where everyone is inside and bored. If you wanted to do rock climbing and ropes course there were no waits, we did both. The service at the bars was the one bright spot for service on this cruise, and we frequented MIXX between Taste and Savour. We booked the D-Day landings excursion for Le Havre. Meeting time was 7:30am and we did not get off the ship until 8:45 ugh. Disembarkation was very disorganized on both port days. The tour buses were not ready for us when we arrived Sunday Morning in Le Havre, because of the delay, we missed an hour of our excursion which was the rushed. 20 minutes at the US Cemetery in Omaha Beach is not enough!! We felt ripped off on this excursion and would not recommend. D-Day beaches require multiple days to be properly experienced. We did however enjoy our Flanders Fields excursion in Zeebrugge. It was much more organized. Always long waits at Guest Services and Shore EX, but was mostly due to butchered itinerary. Overall we enjoyed our vacation albeit not due to this ship! A cruise is a cruise, we still had unlimited food, booze and thermal suite access so we cannot say it was a terrible time, however this cruise did not meet the previous standards I experienced with NCL and the unprofessionalism regarding last minute changes ruined our perception of the cruise line. We felt that the crew and staff just wanted to get us off the ship and get into dry dock. When we docked in Southhampton, crews were immediately on board and began work in front of us. We were to disembark at 12pm, and by 11am the buffet and all bars were closed shut. When I asked a crew member in the Garden Cafe where I could get drinking water she replied with an indifferent "I don't know, we're closed" we could not even get a glass of water to take with medications, How is that allowed? They just wanted us off the ship. We got that vibe throughout the cruise. In the minds of NCL it was just a repositioning of the ship, not a vacation of a lifetime for the guests. Avoid this ship! I enjoyed the Bliss and Escape, large ships but still had good service. This cruise however left us with a bitter taste of NCL and we will not be eager to cruise with them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our 12th NCL cruise and we've always been pleased but this transatlantic cruise going to Europe was not good. It started to go bad when NCL cut the cruise down from 12 days 10 days a week before the cruise (cutting out two ... Read More
This was our 12th NCL cruise and we've always been pleased but this transatlantic cruise going to Europe was not good. It started to go bad when NCL cut the cruise down from 12 days 10 days a week before the cruise (cutting out two of the four ports). We had to scramble to change our other travel arrangements. The $300 per person reimbursement that they offered is not going to cover what it costs us to change our flights to Paris, two extra hotel days in Paris and the transfer to Heathrow. We will have to use some of the 25% refund that they are supposed to be giving to help defray the costs. Dining was a problem for breakfast and lunch for the first 2-3 days. There were huge lines for the two smaller dining rooms Savor and Taste (largest dining room not open for breakfast or lunch). I've never seen it like that before. I attribute that to a very high number of Latitudes members - something like 435 Latitudes Platinum and Platinum Plus with a huge number of Gold and Silver. The passengers were also an older crowd. With the Latitudes members and the age of passengers, I think that a lot people wanted to be waited on instead of having to go to the buffet. To make matters worse. The daily sheet only listed Savor open for breakfast and lunch, which was not actually the case. Don't know if they were trying to make a lot of people think that they had to go to the buffet. We discovered after a couple of days that Taste was also open and we got in without much trouble. As far as the quality of the food goes, the food in the dining rooms for dinner seem to have improved from our last cruise and we were very satisfied. The food in the buffet continues to decline in quality and selection. The desserts are especially bad with the the cake toppings made with chemical-laden ingredients. The lunch menu in the dining rooms need to have more variation. As always with us, we had one meal at Le Bistro and it was wonderful as usual. We also had one at Moderno. The Moderno salad bar is fabulous but their meat is not of good quality. They also slice it wrongly (with the grain and not against as one needs to do with less tender cuts). The meal for the Cirque show was great (surf and turf). For the first time in our 12 NCL cruises, our cabin attendant was not very good. In fact he was lazy. We had a difficult time getting clean glassware and didn't clean the bathroom sink very well. Disembarkation was terrible - worst of our 12 cruises and it could have been prevented. There was a disembarkation schedule with tags for the luggage color-coded for the time but it wasn't enforced. The problem was that tags are not given for carry-on luggage, which is what people have with them when they are disembarking so there was no way for the staff to tell if people were disembarking at the proper time. It was a free-for-all with terrible lines. I know that some people missed their bus for a London excursion. Also, there was not supposed to be people going through the disembarkation/customs process with all their luggage and that caused a bigger mess. I heard many people say that they wouldn't take another NCL cruise. I would not recommend doing an Europe bound transatlantic cruise. It was way too difficult to adjust to 6 nightly time changes losing an ho fqur each time. It's way easier for me to doing it all at once. We were constantly exhausted. We've gone on a transatlantic cruise in the other direction and it was fine. Since we're Latitudes Platinum and get quite a few perks, we'll stay with NCL but if this had been our first cruise with them, we'd never sail with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was a repositioning cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida to Barcelona. We had never cruised on a large ship, and won’t do so again, primarily because of the noise level. Why is trivia played in the atrium, where the sound of the ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida to Barcelona. We had never cruised on a large ship, and won’t do so again, primarily because of the noise level. Why is trivia played in the atrium, where the sound of the microphones reverberate throughout two floors? The plus sides of this trip include: 1. Medical care (ear infection not responding to prescribed treatment). 2. Ports of call 3. Excursions (four out of four get thumbs up) The food in the Manhattan dining room was better than expected. The service there was excellent. The room configuration while unique, was acceptable. What wasn’t good about the room was the shortness of the bed. If anything, having a non-standard-length bed seemed bizarre. The worst part of the cruise was the noise. The card/game room had stone floors (voices and chairs scraping reverberated), and the room was much too small for a cruise of 4,000 plus passengers. We were allowed games in one of the private restaurants until 3:00 pm; but evening card or board games were just out of the question. The focus of this ship is casino and alcohol and constant noise. The pool is incredibly small, and again, there is always a band or DJ, so no escaping the noise there, either. Overall, we conclude “average”. Much better than prior Azamara cruise, but far below our favorite Oceania trips. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first trans-Atlantic cruise so we were very excited and a little nervous. We enjoyed every minute of the trip! The staff was attentive and very friendly. The food was way above average. The fellow passengers were lovely ... Read More
This was our first trans-Atlantic cruise so we were very excited and a little nervous. We enjoyed every minute of the trip! The staff was attentive and very friendly. The food was way above average. The fellow passengers were lovely people. And most important, the seas were calm throughout the journey! As vast majority of our fellow travelers were seasoned cruisers and I heard that about 80% had diamond status or above with RCCL. We have already signed up for another TA next May. The shows were just ok, but the bands were awesome! Kinetic band always entertained the audience and played great dance music. We had an interior cabin which was small as we expected, but we spent very little time there. The fitness center is also sort of small and limited. We selected my time dining for dinner and had wonderful service and great meals. It was a wonderful cruise across the deep blue sea! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Great opportunity to experience travel through the ocean getting to Portugal Islands, and Spain. Unbelievable the variety of food. Wonderful Crew each of them very friendly, helpful and educated. Good teamwork of the boys and girls ... Read More
Great opportunity to experience travel through the ocean getting to Portugal Islands, and Spain. Unbelievable the variety of food. Wonderful Crew each of them very friendly, helpful and educated. Good teamwork of the boys and girls from the restaurants to the stateroom, without them there would not be so much success. Surprisingly the cleanliness throughout the boat is the main thing. There are good entertainments but they should have better space to be able to dance especially people have fun in dancing class. It would be very convenient if they offered Wi-Fi service cheaper or free in the future. Live music groups is the best that one can enjoy although The show honoring Tina Turner is incredible. Unquestionably the salsa music is the favorite of almost all passengers. I lost the gala night with the Captain, I did not expect it to be the first night of boarding and it would be fantastic if at least two dresses where made Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have tried many cruise lines before and thought we would give Norwegian a try!! It was worse decision! We came away very disappointed and sad that we traveled at greatt cost only to have bad experience. We have always really enjoyed our ... Read More
We have tried many cruise lines before and thought we would give Norwegian a try!! It was worse decision! We came away very disappointed and sad that we traveled at greatt cost only to have bad experience. We have always really enjoyed our cruises and this was cruise number 18 for me and never have I come across issues like this cruise line. First of all the ship had very little entertainment other than what you had ton pay for to see! when they did have free entertainment it was in such small area only about 100 guest out of 4000 could get in to see it. Nightly shows in theatre that was free was repeated same show up to 3 nights to let all on ship seeing the show. So that meant no show for ones who already seen it so that was disappointing. Main dinning was only offered for evenings and not the 3 meals a day. Buffet was awful same food everyday other than 1-2 items. Not even close to what’s offered on Royal, Princess, Celeberty or Carnival. Staff in buffet area was awful no service at all. If we asked for drink they would point out where to get it ourselves. We were not use to this from our other cruise experiences. Even with the highest drink packages we were told we are not allow serve you can pop or squeeze orange juices it’s not included in the package yet when we got the package we were told everything was covered up to drinks 15.00 each. I don’t think can Soda or glass juice is over 15.00. Daily Activities were limited on board not much at all. Maybe 30 minute game rest was trying sale you something. The final end to our worse cruise experience ever was I bought jewelry from on board shop only to come back to our room from off the ship and find it missing. We were treated terrible they made us feel like we were trying rip them off. They told us they would have to search our room make sure it wasn’t there. I told them it wasn’t there before contacted them I had search everywhere. They said they had to it’s policy so I said ok thinking they were looking like on floor, dresser things like that. NO! They ripped our room apart leaving no privacy at all. Even pulled empty suitcases from under our beds checked inside. I think They actually thought i said it was missing to rip them off. I told them if I was going pretend something got stolen I would gotten nice diamond ring not cheap 300 dollar jewelry. Three of them in uniform invated our privacy over 289 value missing item while telling us we must misplaced it because their staff checks all garbage so it couldn’t be in garbage by mistake and their staff would never take it. So at that point I ordered them out of my room as they were now insulting me by as good as telling me I am lying if the room attendant didn’t take it then we were only others that could have it. Unbelievable treatment to first time customers looking to check out their cruise lines. It was a family cruise and all three rooms booked all said they would never return. We have done many cruises and never claimed missing item before so it really insulted me to have them make us feel like we were scamming them. End result they told us put claim in with insurance so we never did get our missing jewelry back after missing day of our vacation dealing with it. Final day getting off the ship was nightmare took over an hour and 1/2 in lineups getting off ship. It was experience we never want have again. Lesson learn, if it looks like good deal there’s reason for it. If they are posting specials get new customers what’s the point if treated like this. I was not the only disappointed guest I heard many complaints from other guest over the two weeks. I would advise looking else where when picking cruise line if you want to have fantastic vacation. We made the best of it since we were on vacation but very disappointed over the quality of service we received on Board. In closing I have to add my positive. The evening main dinning The server there was awesome and the photo gallery was awesome. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We were asked to join a couple for their anniversary cruise. The cruise ship was very overcrowded with more than 4,000 rude and inconsiderate guests. There were very, very few quiet spaces anywhere except our nice but tiny stateroom. ... Read More
We were asked to join a couple for their anniversary cruise. The cruise ship was very overcrowded with more than 4,000 rude and inconsiderate guests. There were very, very few quiet spaces anywhere except our nice but tiny stateroom. Food was like eating in an army mess hall with people crowding in line and reaching in front of you for something they wanted. The food was poor unless you like mac and cheese. Many people using the dining hall had no manners or courtesy. After paying $2,000 each for this cruise, we got the mess hall dining experience unless we wanted to pay $25-$40 per meal each to eat in a "special" restaurant, a couple of which were nice. Most of the crew staff were surly, but our cabin steward was nice and did a good job. There were poor entertainment offerings. We went to a dinner theatre and ordered a tenderloin steak, medium rare, and it came to me well-done and dried out. Pools and deck spaces were overcrowded. The best parts of the cruise were the shore times at Mallorca, the Axored, and other stops reroute to Barcelona. NCL? Never again! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because it was sailing across the Atlantic. Neither of us had ever partaken of a cruise before. It exceeded all our expectations. As first time cruisers we were completely at a loss what to do, where to go, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was sailing across the Atlantic. Neither of us had ever partaken of a cruise before. It exceeded all our expectations. As first time cruisers we were completely at a loss what to do, where to go, procedure once we boarded the Star. Although staff at the passageway door, no real instructions provided not even when we asked. Some sort of orientation session would have been nice for the few of us who had never cruised before. 99% of the time the staff was fantastic doing everything they could to ensure we had the best time of our lives. The only negative related to staff was the information/customer service desk. We learned quickly that if you asked a question, even about important stuff (lost items, disembarkation/customs procedures) the answer would be different with each staff person you asked. Dining was incredible. So much variety and so well prepared and tasty even at the buffet, the available restaurants were icing on the cake. Ginza was our only disappointment. Tried it twice. Food not bad, just not very good compared to everywhere else. Loved the crossing best of all. Ideal port/shore excursion scenario for us would be to alternate shore days with sea days. Enjoyed the shore excursions on the islands immensely. Soon realized that one could have just as rich a shore experience on our own at mainland ports without the extra expense of booking a tour and without the 'forced shopping' stops as one person put it. The entertainment each night was spectacular. Such talent on the production team (singers, dancers, musicians) as well as the guest performers. The musicians who performed on a daily basis throughout the ship varied in style and ability. The best by far was Duo 4:40. It showed by the audience they drew. No matter the venue they played at, it was always packed. All in all a wonderful, marvelous experience that went far about our expectations. Definitely go for it!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
If you can cope with the strange cabin layout, love trivia games and slots machines, don't mind lining up, even for things you reserved, and like paying for services, then this ship/hotel is for you. Be prepared: Your shower and ... Read More
If you can cope with the strange cabin layout, love trivia games and slots machines, don't mind lining up, even for things you reserved, and like paying for services, then this ship/hotel is for you. Be prepared: Your shower and seperate toilet are immediately inside the cabin door. You will be visible and struck by anyone opening the door once you step from either glass doored facility. Make sure you travel with companions who do not mind seeing you performing your toilet functions. There is no basin in the toilet, there is a tiny one in the cabin area. If you use it, be careful not to strike your face on the tap which juts into and up from the sink. There are only 2 power outlets in the cabin. You will need to crawl under and reach inside the vanity to access them. The shaver outlet is inside a mirrored cabinet. Once you plug in a razor, you cannot close the mirrored door. The lighting levels are low with LED fixtures controled from various locations. The overhead storage is above the bed and sofa and cannot be reached. There is no place to store shoes. Cabin balcony doors are tight access. If any vanity drawer is opened a bit, you will not be able to get into the cabin from the bacony without climbing over the bed. The bed is curved and short. If you are over 5'10", your feet will overhang. There is nowhere in the cabin that 2 people can pass each other. There is no promenade deck going around the outer decks, if you like walking or a jog the best you can do is back and forth on one side deck. The fitness centre does not have steam rooms or saunas, yoy must pay $340.00 to use the spa area. The freestyle thing seems to be mostly an inconvenience. You still have to line up for everything, you will just be in a separate bigger lineup than guests without reservations. Hotel staffs try very hard to mitigate the quirky arrangements and do what they can to cope. Food is of good quality but often not hot enough, service is generally friendly and adequate with a lot of supervisory staffs drifting around not doing much of anything. Entertainment scheduling is progressive, so only one venue is open at a time which causes crowding. Anyone taking a trip on Epic needs to be accepting and open to something unusual. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We have looked forward to a transatlantic trip and the itinerary was great. We were hesitant to book such a large ship but wanted to give it a try. Boarding was the easiest ever! But once on board, things started to grind slowly. We tired ... Read More
We have looked forward to a transatlantic trip and the itinerary was great. We were hesitant to book such a large ship but wanted to give it a try. Boarding was the easiest ever! But once on board, things started to grind slowly. We tired quickly of standing in lines to watch a show ( in a WAY to small theater), get dinner, or ride an elevator. Many people enjoyed the ship and really enjoyed the free drinks package. The cabins were odd. The frosted glass free standing toilet and shower were poorly thought through. Lighting in the cabin was dull. The short bed was curved at the bottom and my feet extended a good 6” off the end! The meals were good but we found the speciality restaurants left a little to be desired. The service was good and a few times we were really impressed by the attentiveness of the servers. Even though we had several complaints about the ship, We still had a wonderful time. But, we won’t be on the Epic again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
My second TA cruise and my second time on the Star. Huge improvement in ship decor and design with new additions like Spice H2O and Bliss lounge, refurbished Garden Cafe. I had an inside cabin on Deck 9. The 2018 Drydock provided as ... Read More
My second TA cruise and my second time on the Star. Huge improvement in ship decor and design with new additions like Spice H2O and Bliss lounge, refurbished Garden Cafe. I had an inside cabin on Deck 9. The 2018 Drydock provided as much needed face-lift on this 19 year old ship. I know the layout of this ship very well and really enjoyed most venues including the specialty restaurants Moderno, La Cucina and Le Bistro. 6 days at sea may not work for everyone, but it was exactly what I was wanted with no work emails or phone calls to return. Cutting the digital cord allowed me to completely relax. Ports were good, no complaints l had never been to Punto Del Gado or the Azores or Madeira and their beauty did not disappoint. Seville and Granada were wonderful trips, as Was Tarragona, our final port for debarkation. Entertainment was ok, not quite the calbre or as polished as on the bigger NCL ships, but not bad. Service was good to excellent in all dining venues, one exception was a Guest Services person who was a tad condescending when i asked to have a bar charge removed from a dining bill. I was charged for 6 glasses of wine when I had ordered just 2. I was a bit annoyed that i had to insist the charge was not accurate. I then had to revisit the same issue 2 more times to get the charge removed. Weather on our cruise was fantastic and the Atlantic was like glass. Read Less

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