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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a 18 night South America Cruise from Santiago Chile to Miami, FL. We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. The ship is old...built in 2001 and refurbished in 2018. Our Cabin was a Vista View Junior Suite on Deck #10 ... Read More
This was a 18 night South America Cruise from Santiago Chile to Miami, FL. We choose this cruise based on the itinerary. The ship is old...built in 2001 and refurbished in 2018. Our Cabin was a Vista View Junior Suite on Deck #10 (0067)...on the very back of the ship. The size of the balcony was average. This balcony provided an excellent view for the Panama Canal crowding. The Junior Suite was average size...had a walk-in closet and a bath tub/shower. I was not impressed with the service from the room steward. The main dining room service and food is awful....we ate in specially restaurants 14 of the nights. The production shows in the theatre are excellent...other shows are average. The bar staff is excellent and they cocktails are also excellent. Of the specialty restaurants...we prefer Cagney's Steakhouse and LaBistro French Restaurant. There is no lobster served on this ship.....not even in the specialty restaurants (this is unacceptable). The only restaurant that serves shrimp cocktail is Cagney's Steakhouse....and they charge an extra $4.99 + specialty restaurant fee (this is unacceptable). Most of the shore excursions that we booked on the ship were good. Boarding the tours were not handled efficiently. The cruise director is a former "Miss Colombia"....we rarely saw her. We rarely saw the Captain. None of the fish at any of the restaurants are eatable....sent the fish back every time....never came back any better (this is unacceptable). The breakfast in the main dining room was good. Overall service was average. They never tell you when they are having a dress-up (elegant) night. We did like the entertainment in the Windjammer Bar (Keiffer Wiley). Disembarkation process was average. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore ... Read More
Staff was marvelous. They were very attentive. We had the drink package. The drinks were excellent especially the martinis at the Champagne bar. The ship was very clean. Food was good in dining room. Buffet was decent. Shore excursions were not impressive and they were always late. They would tell you to meet in the theater at 8:45 but you wouldn't get called for your excursion until 9:45. Felt like a lot of time was wasted waiting for the shore excursions. We tried to go to the beach in Ecuador but it took 1.5 hours to get there. We were supposed to have 3 hours at the beach but ended up only getting 1.5 hours. Enjoyed the activities that were provided daily. Went to 3 specialty restaurants. The food was overcooked in the Moderno which is not the usual case for that restaurant. We were a bit disappointed. Shows were pretty good. Loved the quietness in our cabin. It was nice not hearing your neighbor open and close their drawers and flush their toilet. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its interesting itinerary visiting several countries like Cambodia and Vietnam which we had not visited in the past. After sailing on 7 previous NCL cruises, we were well used to the freestyle crushing which NCL is famous for. Hence had no reservations about booking the cruise on NCL Jewel. We have always liked the smaller NCL ships like Spirit, Sun, Star and Jade. The only NCL cruise which we didn't like was on the Epic and hence have resisted in booking on bigger ships. Also itineraries on bigger ships are catered for mass markets whereas the smaller ships offer very interesting itineraries sailing to ports which are not visited by bigger ships. We flew to Singapore from London via BA and stayed for 1 night at one of the riverside hotels in Singapore. We had been to Singapore a few times before hence only stayed for 1 night however if you have never been to Singapore before, I would highly recommend staying 3 to 4 nights prior to cruise to take in most of this fabulous city. On the day of the cruise we took a local taxi to the cruise terminal for only 10 Singapore dollars and were at the port just after 11am. Check in was quick however as the cruise was visiting so many different countries, everyone's passports had to be throughly checked to ensure everyone had correct visas. I had made sure we had all the visas required (only Cambodia visa required for UK citizens) however lot of people who were checking in didn't have the correct visas so were charged a huge amount by the ship to get the visas and this was even before the cruise had begun. Thus lot of people were complaining how they were charged so much money eg. Ship charged $89 for each person for Cambodia visa however I had obtained them for £30 each by visiting Cambodian embassy in London. It is the passenger's responsibility (not the cruise line's) to ensure they have the the correct visas. So please be carefully in checking if any visas required well before travelling. In this cruise, the cruise line could arrange the visas (at a much higher cost) for all countries it was sailing to which was great for those who hadn't arranged them. However for some cruises you wouldn't be allowed to board if you didn't have the correct visa. Once checked in, we queued for the immigration which took about half an hour (much lesser than my previous cruise from Singapore which had taken well over an hour in the queue). Thereafter we boarded this beautiful ship which was just refurbished a few months ago. Everything seemed new in the public areas like furniture and carpets which was great. However I was surprised to see no embarkation photos being taken. In fact we noticed that very few photos were taken either at ports, or on open decks or in dining areas. May be this is for the best as most people don't end up buying them and hence have to be discarded. We were asked to go to garden cafe for lunch as cabins were not going to be ready till 1pm. There was plenty of choice including plenty of vegetarian options. However NCL have changed their food labelling system in the garden cafe. Before, all vegetarian food had a green symbol on label and red for non veg. However now they have green symbol for cold food and red for hot food which is silly as one can see if the food is hot or cold. When I queried that with the senior staff member at the restaurant, I was told that NCL had made that change so junior staff could interact more with customers as they would have to verbally advise someone who was vegetarian regarding what food was vegetarian or not. This was silly as most staff didn't know what food item was vegetarian or not when I queried and had to check with someone else. Also they were too busy to talk to guests. NCL need to bring in another system to identify vegetarian foods in garden cafe like 'V'symbol on the labels which is what they have in menus in all other restaurants. I was also advised by the senior staff that there was a seperate vegetarian section. However I told him that the vegetarian section only had Indian options and if I wanted to try other vegetarian cuisines I had to go to other areas of buffet which didn't have correctly marked labels. Anyway there was nothing he could do as NCL head office had made that decision. Although we used garden cafe for breakfasts and lunches only we soon became used to what foods were vegetarian or not as the menu didn't change much there. Food was good and loved their Indian veggie South Indian breakfast options. Cabins were ready after 1pm as advised. We had a port side balcony cabin on level 9 towards the aft of the ship. Great place as it was close to get to restaurants and was always quieter at the back end of the ship. The cabin was well appointed with new carpets and wall paintings. The bathroom was similar in design to Jade with seperate shower and toilet with sink in middle. Seems no changes had been made there. TV was on the smaller side compared to big screen ones on newer ships. However it had a great range of movies and news channels. It had around 4 movie channels showing drama, action, comedy and family movies. Also several news channels like BBC and several American and Australian ones but no CNN. The balcony was adequate size with 2 chairs and a table. Storage area was adequate too with plenty of drawers and shelves and hanging space too. The cabin steward, Alexandro, always kept the cabin nice and tidy with lovely towel animals every evening on the bed. He knocked the door when the luggage arrived (around 2pm). We unpacked our cases straight away and hid them away under the beds so we didn't have to see them again for the next 12 days. That is the beauty of cruising, you visit fascinating places nearly every day without packing and unpacking. After the fire drill and safety briefing at 4pm, the ship soon set sail after 5pm towards Koh Samui in Thailand. Food in the main dining rooms (Tsars palace and Azura) was great with a few vegetarian options everyday. Also I had a voice message and a letter left in cabin to say that if I wasn't happy with the vegetarian selections, I could speak to maitre'd who would arrange to get any other special requests prepared. However I didn't need to as I was happy with the choices they had on main menu. We dined mainly at Azura as it had a more intimate atmosphere but also visited Tsars palace a few times. As we had 3 day dining package in addition to the drinks package included, we visited the Italian, teppanyaki and French restaurant on 3 nights. Loved the French and teppanyaki restaurants and would be happy to go back. However not happy with the Italian one as the food choices that had were already in main dining room and garden cafe menus. Also service at Italian restaurant was not up to the mark. Never tried chin chin and O'Sheehans restaurants which were the other 2 complimentary options. However visited the O'Sheehans bar regularly as got great service from barman there. The other bars that we visited were at bliss lounge, pit stop which overlooked the pool deck and bar at the back of the ship. Didn't visit most of the bars on level 6 as we used to in the Jade. Late evenings we mainly visited the spinnakers lounge as it had the dance floor and live bands playing followed by DJ. However the bar staff were not very good and often got drinks mixed up or couldn't understand what we wanted. Anyway we enjoyed our times there most evenings. The shows in the theatre were great. Loved the 3 production shows: Rock you, velvet and Cirque De Bijou were all brilliant. Singers were great and so were all the dancers and aerialists. Also loved Mary Jess, the British singer who wowed us all with her operatic singing. Also enjoyed the local Thai dancers show, the Australian tap pack show and music shows by 2 of the singers from the production shows. In fact there wasn't a single show we didn't like which was a first as usually there always a few shows we don't end up liking. The cruise director, Dan, seemed to do a good job and also sang in the bands in spinakkers lounge. However we were shocked to see him telling off some junior staff when we docked in Hong Kong that they couldn't get off the ship until all passengers were off the ship. That is no way to talk to anyone, no matter how senior you are to them. Other than that he was always approachable and friendly. The other bands who played music around the ship were not as good as what we have experienced on other ships. There were very few activities during sea days with only 1 afternoon movie on each of the 4 sea days. We were given popcorn on 2 of those days but not the other 2. Probably ran out. NCL should certainly be screening more movies especially on sea days. Also lack of daytime activities during sea days was a disgrace. Luckily we had 3 good sunny sea days so most people were busy around the pool area. However on our last overcast and cooler sea day, there seemed to be nothing much to do around the ship. The captain of the ship could hardly ever been heard or seen. In fact we didn't hear him for first 2 days. Also he wasn't present at the finale show. An apology regarding the tendering chaos at Koh Samui (more about that later) came 2 days later. In our recent cruises, we have got used to captains who have been very visible around the ship and making announcements and jokes over the tannoy system. However this captain didn't seem to enjoy interacting with his guests. The first port of call was Koh Samui. This was the only port where ship had to tender. It was a beautiful sunny day and tendering process started early in the morning. We took an excursion to see temples and views of Koh Samui which was great. As we were on the tour, we didn't need a tender ticket to get off ship so were one of the first ones to get off. Tour finished at lunch time after which we went around the town and got back to tendering area around 2.30 or so. We were one of the lucky ones to get a tender back as soon as we got there. However thereafter it seems some people were queuing up for 3 hours or so to get a tender back. We were not sure what was happening as no announcements were made at the time. We were supposed to depart by 5pm but we didn't leave till around 9pm as passengers couldn't be brought back to the ship. Later we found out that due to change in tides, they couldn't load tender boats to full capacity. However that should have been known in advance and arrangements made to bring guests back from another tendering area. Lack of information to guests on ship was frustrating and captain only apologised regarding that 2 days later which is not good. If an incident happens, passengers need to be informed as soon as possible. We were in lam Chabong (gateway to Bangkok which is 2.5 hours away and Pattaya which is an hour away) for next 2 days. On the first day we did canals and Royal barges tour in Bangkok which was excellent with a great meal at a 5 star hotel. A lovely sunny but very humid day. Got back to ship around 6pm that day. Next day was another hot and sunny day and we did an ancient city tour near Bangkok which was very interesting too. Ship departed at 4pm that day and we were back an hour before that. The problem with this port is that it's too far away from the main cities. So one couldn't enjoy the night life offered by any of these 2 cities unless you were prepared to pay extortionate taxi costs (as no shuttles were offered at night). The ship should make arrangements for this for any overnight ports so guests can enjoy nightlife at these ports. Also, if you didn't do an excursion, the costs of day time shuttles to Bangkok were quite high. I'm sure guests wouldn't have minded paying for night time shuttles rather than for taxis. So in our opinion, this was a wasted overnight port and would have rather been in a port like Halong bay overnight to enjoy the nightlife offered there as it was easy to get into town from port area. This was our last port in Thailand. Next day, we were in Cambodia (Sihanoukville). We enjoyed this port and did a lovely excursion to temples, market and beaches on a sunny and hot day. However would have loved to visit Angkor Wat if we had an overnight stop. The main reason people visit Cambodia is to see Angkor Wat. So an overnight stop here rather than in Lam Chabong would have been better. Anyway, will have to make another trip to Cambodia too see that. After a day at sea, we entered Vietnam. Our first port was Saigon however the city was over an hour away from port. It was very hot and humid again. Very busy city with lots of motorbikes everywhere. It was a long day (over 9 hours) and we visited Buddhist pagoda, market, notre dam cathedral, presidential palace, lacquer showroom and were given 1.5 hours free time in between. No lunch was included. In fact not even a bottle of water was provided on this long day. Very difficult to cross busy roads in this city as hardly any pedestrian lights and no one pays attention to zebra crossings. Good to see this city once but would never go back there again. We had another sea day and then visited chan May in Vietnam where we did an excursion to see Da nang and marble beach. Had a good day sightseeing, visiting a museum, temple, da nang beach and a marble showroom but didn't actually see marble beach as it was a private beach for the 5 star hotels there. So not sure why the excursion had marble beach in its title. However we enjoyed the day which was once again hot and humid. The last stop in Vietnam was Ha long bay which was the highlight of this cruise. It was a misty day but luckily no rain which was forecast. We did a junk boat cruise around the islands and visited a cave which was very interesting. In the afternoon we walked to a local theme park and went on some really good roller coasters there. Surprised that the entry free to theme park including unlimited rides was only US $2 each. However when we tried to walk around the town area, we were hassled by guys on motorbikes trying to sell you stuff. So we returned back earlier. After another day at sea, we docked in Hong Kong. Debarkation was smooth on ship's part. However after a smooth immigration, the queue to get out of baggage area was long as there was not enough ground transportation for everyone as 2 ships were disembarking at same time. For Hong Kong to have such a nice new terminal and not have enough ground transportation for 2 ships, was a surprise. Hopefully it was a one off situation and doesn't happen regularly. We were out of the baggage area by 10.15 or so. We took a MTR tube to Hong Kong station which has down town facilities to check in luggage for certain flights. We got our boarding passes and then went to explore the beautiful city before returning back at night to take train to airport. All went very smoothly with no hiccups and we arrived back to London next day morning. On the whole I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to see highlights of Far East countries like Vietnam without any hardship involved. The itinerary was great but if they make minor changes in future like having overnight stop in Cambodia or Ha long bay, it would only make it better. The ship was great and I would give 4.5 stars for the cruising experience. Definitely one of our best cruises ever. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Booked this cruise as a means to achieving a long held curiosity to see South America. By sailing this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago and following that up with the Santiago to Miami leg we were able to see a great deal if not the ... Read More
Booked this cruise as a means to achieving a long held curiosity to see South America. By sailing this cruise from Buenos Aires to Santiago and following that up with the Santiago to Miami leg we were able to see a great deal if not the full monty. Not much space to do justice to 30great days but I’ll try! The Sun is a small ship and did suffer because of this at times on the first leg on sea days. This was especially true of the buffet where spaces were frequently at a premium. Size also meant that the options for light dining at lunchtime were very limited. Sandwiches were limited to filled croissants and there were few cold meat options. By contrast I found the range of choice in the main dining room to be excellent. In 30 nights I never duplicated a main course choice and was never disappointed. Of the speciality restaurants if found La Cucina and Los Lobos to be very underwhelming, but Le Bistro was excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Windjammer, especially Kiefer Wiley, who always kept the party going. A young pianist, Walisson, had joined the ship’s crew at Buenos Aires so it was early days for him but he settled well and was well worth a pre dinner listen. We caught a performance by the ship’s singers in Bliss one evening. Backed simply by electric piano, they were superb and distinctly better than in the over amplified main theatre. The show and produced a similar quality performance at each of the Jazz Brunches we attended. Old adage if you’re good enough you don’t need to be loud. We didn’t use any of the ship’s excursions, joining fellow Cruise Critic members on a series of excellent trips. Not once were we in danger of missing departure and one of the early questions we were always asked was when does the ship leave? I’ll probably give a thorough review of each excursion on a post under South America Ports of Call. Special stand out mentions now however for Dennis Purtov at Puerto Montt and Patricia at Trujillo. We also had great experiences at Valparaiso, Coquimbo and Puerto Chacabuco. I have to say that embarkation at Buenos Aires was excellent. A clean, comfortable waiting hall, a speedy transition through check in and a good transfer by bus to the ship was a really good quality service. Compare that to the sloppy positioning of colour tag luggage, muddled exit pathways and haphazard progress through security at Miami and it was like being in two different worlds... and it wasn’t the third world country that was shown up! Just an extra point of minority interest. It was so nice to be able to run on the Promenade deck and not feel guilty. Runners don’t have to feel compelled to run on treadmills in a humid gym or up on an exposed top deck. We made so many new friends on this trip and hope to meet up again some time. A lot of that was down to a really active Cruise Critic Roll Call, so thanks for making it all such a great trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because it fit perfectly into our schedule. The cruise itself was wonderful. We loved all the ports and excursions. The only problem was the food. The whole reason we switched from Royal to Norwegian was the food. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit perfectly into our schedule. The cruise itself was wonderful. We loved all the ports and excursions. The only problem was the food. The whole reason we switched from Royal to Norwegian was the food. This trip we saw the same shrimp in a dish most nights. Our favorite lava cake dessert, which is usually offered nightly, was only offered one night. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. Our room was extremely small, but our room steward was excellent. We had a great time in the casino, the dealers were very friendly. I was very impressed with the life guards around the pool. I had never seen them on prior cruises and always thought they were necessary. These lifeguards made sure parents controlled their children and kept the drunk people from drowning the 7 foot deep pool. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We have traveled with NCL once before and enjoyed it so we decided to take another one. The food had quantity but not quality. Most food was cold and just average. There was only one bar/resturant to get food after 10:00 pm. Bar ... Read More
We have traveled with NCL once before and enjoyed it so we decided to take another one. The food had quantity but not quality. Most food was cold and just average. There was only one bar/resturant to get food after 10:00 pm. Bar service was extremely slow. We waited as much as 15 minutes to get a drink. Employees seldom cleaned off tables with used glasses or ash trays. Once we spilled a drink and we actaully cleaned it up with no help from them and they knew a drink had been spilled becuase they gave us towels to clean it up! There were only three places to smoke on the ship and one of them was the cigar room which was much to smoky to smoke in. Our cabin steward was awesome. No probelms there. The cabin was always clean and fresh. Harvest Caye, NCL's private island in Belize, was not worth getting off for unless you had booked an excusion. We booked a snorkeling excursion and was well worth the money. It was the highlight of the cruise for me. The last time I stopped in Belize was my highlight stop and we ported in the country of Belize and not NCL's island. The island is a tourist trap with nothing to see or do and of course if you get a drink or food that's out of your pocket. I don't know about all NCL's ships, but the Breakaway has so many extras charges that I feel should be included in the cost. There are bars that have a cover charge and some of the entertainment is extra. However, the free entertainment was good, but the seats in the Breakaway theater was extrmely uncomfortable after sitting for more than 45 minutes. The free dining rooms all had the same foods which we didn't like so we ate at the café most of the time. The ship offers three upscale dining rooms but the cost is extra. The Spice H2O (adults only) floor has no pool but offers a large water fountain and two hot tubs. No music or entertainment during the day which would have made it much better. Occasionally they had entertainment at night at Spice H2O but even though it was for adults only there were many teenagers running through the people. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill had the best food but the menu didn't have much to pick from. The best was the cheeseburger. This was the only place to get food after the café closed down. I'm a soda pop lover and it was very disappointing to receive a flat Diet-Pepsi every time I ordered one for the entire week and my husband loves unsweet tea and the tea was so bad he couldn't drink it. The Breakaway holds 4,000 guests and I can say that it didn't seem overly crowded. The ship was clean other than many, many dirty tables. The embarkation and disembarkation went extremely well. The next time we cruise we will be taking another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. ... Read More
We are cruising for several years now with Norwegian and we are pleased with their service and free style cruise is what we liked most. My wife have never been to Australia, Indonesia and Singapore so I decided to take her to that cruise. We had a balcony a couple besides our stateroom is my wife's high school classmate from 1971 and 6 other new guest with NCL and first time cruisers. We had a great time and and had a lot of specialty dinners. Our group had received a lot of surprises from the Senior Officers that we have met on previous cruises with Norwegian and made our cruise more enjoyable not only for us previous cruisers but for our 6 other friends that we brought with us. They even sent fresh tropical fruits from Indonesia was sent to all our cabins. Shore excursions was great that we all got into the same bus every time we book. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to try NCL for the first time, we have cruised Disney and Princess for year. The ship and food were great, but the customer service was really bad. Honestly about 50-50, half the staff were very friendly the other half were ... Read More
We wanted to try NCL for the first time, we have cruised Disney and Princess for year. The ship and food were great, but the customer service was really bad. Honestly about 50-50, half the staff were very friendly the other half were very rude. I do not think we will be going back on NCL after this experience. It is a shame because we really liked the ship and the food. I did hear from crew this ship in particular has a bad reputation for the management, so hopefully that is the case. It is also not family friendly in any of the entertainment, so with all the activities for kids the nightlife has nothing for the kids. Spa is behind right now so they are pushing very hard to sell you anything if you have any treatments. We really enjoyed the specialty dining apart from the service by the staff. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
It was our sewenth cruise with Norwegian. We were three times on Star, two times on Spirit, one time on Geteway , and this time on Gem. We decided for this cruise, because, after Geteway, we concluded, that we prefer smaller ships, and 19 ... Read More
It was our sewenth cruise with Norwegian. We were three times on Star, two times on Spirit, one time on Geteway , and this time on Gem. We decided for this cruise, because, after Geteway, we concluded, that we prefer smaller ships, and 19 days for the price we get, was a good deal. All the ports were very interesting. We were two cupels, and made private excursion, because we prefer to be independent. Embarkation was not so quick, like we used to have by Norwegian. Also we used to meet concierge in port. This time she wait on us in ship, colect all of us , toeld us where we can eat, where and when we can meet her.We used , to get more information first day from concierge. Food was very good , no complaint. A lot activites and , lot music everywhere on the ship. Fantastic atmosphere. Service very, very good. We spend a lot of time on 13 deck ,smoking area, and water Nikola was so nice, all the time with big smiling, made for us fantastic coctailes. Alltogether, this was fantastic cruise, and 19 days went so quick. Gem is beautiful ship, with fantastic stuf , from captain , who informed us daily about all interesting things for guests ,until our steward. Only our bathroom in caben disappointed us a little bit, and concierge was inapropierte. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Panama Canal was on our Bucket list and with 19 days aboard the Gem, we couldn't resist. First a little information about us, I would consider us Newbies to cruising since we only sailed on NCL ( this was our 13th cruise ). NCL ... Read More
Panama Canal was on our Bucket list and with 19 days aboard the Gem, we couldn't resist. First a little information about us, I would consider us Newbies to cruising since we only sailed on NCL ( this was our 13th cruise ). NCL makes sense for us since they offer different ships/types and itineraries out of NYC. This was our 6th time aboard the Gem. Here are my random observations. We flew out to Vegas for a few days before the cruise, then an early Sunday morning flight into LAX. We took the NCL shuttle to the pier, had no issues in locating the reps. Short wait for the bus. Since it was Sunday morning the ride to the pier took about 30 mins. From the time we got off the bus to board the ship, it was less than 45 mins. Our cabin, 8604 ( type OA, ocean view ) was right down the hall from O'Sheehan's was available around 2 PM. We had issues with the shower drain backing up into the drain under the sink but it was finally corrected on the second day. Cabin Steward was excellent ( first cruise back from vacation ), and by the third day knew our routine. The ship was in great shape ( last dry dock 2015 ), all public areas were well kept. Maintenance and painting was observed daily. Only negative comment is for the railing on deck #13 near the basketball court. They used a 2x4 to replace the rail and it was a rough finish that could cause a splinter. We purchased a 6 meal plan and along with our 2 free meals ( Platinum perk ) we spent several nights at Cagney's. It was strange that on most nights it was almost empty. Our only complaint was that they changed the mac n cheese to Kraft, it was terrible. Food and service was top notch. We had two meals in LeBristo, service was exceptional but the food seemed to be off compared to our last cruise aboard the Breakaway. Taste was bland to me. We also had one meal in La Cucina, food was OK but I kept feeling like we are eating in the Buffet. Other nights were spent in Magenta, had no issues in getting a table if you arrived before 6pm. Had to laugh at the folks standing in line at the Grand Pacific, while there was none at Magenta. Can a guy get a hamburger? O'Sheehan's - burnt, every time. Topsiders - raw, most of the time. Before I forget, the crew, from the captain to washy washy girls, fantastic, one of the best if not the best. Bars - Great time, great bartenders ( Sherwin - Boom Boom at Spinnaker and Lennie \ crew at Shakers ). Never had to wait more than a few minutes before getting served. PAX, I was told the average age was 64 but some nights up in Spinnaker I thought it was a Holland America cruise. The entertainment at bar central ( Shakers ) was exceptional, from Leo to Vibe quartet to the Gem band. Only two main shows standout for me, the piano guy and that checkerboard guy. Everything else was average Cruise Director staff, have to say it, bad. Poor attendance / cancelled Bingo sessions. Announced that they had a $2000 dollar pull tab winner but kept selling out of the same box. Morning show was a joke, stopped watching by the third day. The cruise director was OK but the staff is a reflection of her. Ports of call. Mexico - Tender in on our first two stops, tender process was real slow on the first stop, Cabo. The second stop, Puerto Vallarta had a dock issue. Almost a two foot drop from the tender to the dock, those who had a mobility issues had problems. These two stops felt safe in both, just wander around. Manzanillo, stayed close to the ship. Puerto Quetzal - Guatemala and Corinto - Nicaragua as per the State Department warnings stayed real close to the ship. The visitor center ( new cruise terminal ? ) in Guatemala even had a guard tower, manned. Puntarenas, Costa Rica - Walked around the town in the morning and took an NCL excursion in the afternoon. Panama Canal, Transit - Exceptional performance by NCL. Cartagena, Columbia - Great place to visit except for the hawkers. Made it almost impossible to enjoy the city. Very pushing and relentless. Santa Marta, Columbia - container port, they could have skipped this port too. ABC islands - always a great, safe place to visit. Finally, Thank you to the CC members who attended the meet and mingle, slot pull, pub crawl, to the members who arranged shore excursions and the cruise T shirt Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire ... Read More
The service was good. The room was kept clean and orderly on our schedule. The food staff and the bust boys were always courteous. The busy bartenders had kept their smiles up the entire duration. "Neli" rocks. The entire range of drinks they had made were terrific. Get the drinking package, it is a great investment. Made every port on-time, except one slight delay. With cooperating weather, we were able to do all of our excursion pre-purchased on the NCL website. The excursion staff on shore were friendly, knowledgeable, entertaining, and accommodating. The food at Ocean Blue was amazing and still quite memorable. The Teppanyaki had us laughing the entire duration with good food to follow. "Burn the Floor," has some amazing dancers, period. After a great day on shore with an excursion, the adequate time alloted for shopping, and then a great dinner at the various restaurants on the Getaway, we were able to dance and drink the night away with themed music at "H2O" every night, followed by more clubbing at "Bliss." To us, that felt like such a great bonus, a gift from the ship we had not anticipated. Compared to the previous cruise we were just on a month prior with Holland America Line, it was night and day. Wish I had a chance to review the Veendam on here with you. Overall, Norwegian Cruise Line Getaway has a much happier staff. We had felt that ship vibe from the get-go. A happier staff equals a happier trip for all of the customers on board (and returning customers). It is also a great reflection of a successful business. In the end, we had met great people who are now friends. Great photos were taken. Great memories were created. I'll forever miss the "washi-washi" hand-sanitizing girls on deck. Thanks to them we didn't get sick this time. Thank you NCL! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
So first off, I’m the guy that brought the bike. I boarded the ship in New York on January 02nd and got off the ship February 15th 2019 in New York. This was my escape from wither in the north east and chance to explore several new ... Read More
So first off, I’m the guy that brought the bike. I boarded the ship in New York on January 02nd and got off the ship February 15th 2019 in New York. This was my escape from wither in the north east and chance to explore several new ports that I had not been to before and after this 44 day voyage I enjoyed this ship and it’s staff very much. I had a great and memorable experience from really every department onboard. Spending that much time on board the ship I think I really got to know the cruise director and recreation staff well. Some even remembered me from my previous September 2018 trip on this ship, or perhaps the bicycle helped them remember too. Security staff definitely remembered me and the bike from September. But I was really surprised with how many of the overall ships crew called me by my first name when just walking by even though I had very little interaction with them. For me, during the cruise I always kept in mind that for most of the staff on board they are here on a 6 month contract and even though they don’t have a day off and work around 10 hours or more a day, they still start every day as if their goal was to make sure that my trip was going as best as it could. I didn’t do any drinking or gambling and I think I booked a total of 0 shore excursions and purchased about the same amount of photos but I still had a great time. Yes, the bike played a huge roll too. Since there was a lot of overlap on the ports that we would be visiting, when in port, I treated the 1st leg (west bound journey) as an exploration trip and the east bound journey I applied what I learned and explored the port more efficiently. The bike also helped a lot. Regarding the bicycle, it’s a folding bike, (specifically a Citizen Miami). The bike retails new for $275.00 but I purchased off of craig’s list for $100. I upgraded the original seat to a gelled saddle and I also brought with me: a helmet with a GoPro, an air pump and lastly the padded seat underwear. I also know now that I should bring a bike tire repair kit too, however I was able to find a bike repair shop while we were in Santa Marta, Colombia that replaced the tube, tire and the shop had WiFi for a total of 16,000 Colombian Pesos (or $5.16 USD). While not in use the bike went under my bed, and I didn’t have to worry about checking in the bike at the airport as luggage since I was doing a round trip from NY. I walked the bike on board and there was no additional fee for bringing it. Yes I also received many offers from the crew about purchasing the bike from me. I can not put to words on how welcome the cruise ship staff made me feel while on this entire voyage, but it was really great. Every department did a fantastic job. I think security had the toughest roll as they get the least appreciation for keeping people safe especially as people were climbing over ropes, railings and each other during the panama canal transit which lasted about 5 hours. The cruise director staff came in a close 2nd as they have to keep everyone as happy as possible over the entire journey but in my opinion every crew member on board did a fantastic job. I enjoyed the food very much, but my problem is really with portion control. I felt that Breakfast in the grand pacific dining room was the right way to start my morning. Glen, the only female waitress on board named Glen is the best waiter on board this ship. In regards to the evening entertainment, I would try to go to both evening shows whenever possible but I would sit in 2 totally different areas in the theater which gave me a totally different perspective of the show. Special shout out from me is included to the sign language interpreter they had on board for the east bound (LA-NY) journey. While she wasn’t meant to be part of the entertainment she was both very entertaining, informative, educational and really added a layer to the show that I had never experienced before. I learned later that some times, like for the ventriloquist or comedian, a rehearsal performance is not available so the translation is just live action and there is no pause button available to look terms up. It was also really nice to talk and interact with the entertainers when they weren’t performing on stage. While the Gem’s cast performers can also be found working in places like the ship’s library, the guest performers were friendly and approachable in all areas of the ship like the gym, restaurants or even just random encounters in the elevators and hallways. Yes I also encountered people who were not enjoying the cruise, but from my perspective they were either asking for too much, just ignorant of the rules and policies, just totally missed stuff that was clearly listed in the daily schedule or just really novice cruise ship travellers (aka noobs). But yes I also had the upper had when it came to ports that we had visited before so I knew what to expect. I myself knew that I had to be a bother to the ship’s hotel director because I kept stopping by his office looking for his secretary’s signature for the ship’s scavenger hunt but kept running in to him instead. But he seemed ok with it or at least understanding and just kept telling me to keep trying to find her each time I visited. Lastly, I highly suggesting doing the behind the scenes tour for a great perspective on what goes on onboard and how and why things operate as they do. It’s free to do for platinum latitude members. Thank you very much for a very enjoyable voyage. I’m strongly considering doing this voyage again next year and I hope you next voyage on the Gem is just as enjoyable. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Just wanted to get away for New Years.....we had taken several NCL cruises in the past so we felt comfortable choosing them again. We like cruising because we like to be pampered and enjoy some nice meals while we relax. We usually boook ... Read More
Just wanted to get away for New Years.....we had taken several NCL cruises in the past so we felt comfortable choosing them again. We like cruising because we like to be pampered and enjoy some nice meals while we relax. We usually boook suites in the Haven just for these reasons. NCL totally dropped the ball on this cruise..... My wife was horrified at the spa.....a woman was assigned to her who had never done a massage in her life.....she burped in my wifes ear every 2 minutes....when she asked to speak to a manager, she was avoided for 3 days and then told that there was nothing that could be done. We went to the buffets that were lacking any flavor or variety.....nobody was putting any extra effort into anything !!!! We tried to go to O'Sheehans for a "break" and were served wings with feathers still on them......we pointed this out to our server who looked at us strange and asked us when we expected her to do about it !!!! The specialty restaurants were just not up to par......we have dined at these restaurants SO many times in the past and we know what its SUPPOSED to be like......its just as if nobody cares anymore...... Thank God we already knew the Haven concierge from a previous NCL cruise to Italy....if not for her and our butler, this would have been even MORE of a nightmare. I believe that NCL came up with a great idea for their freestyle cruising....and that this gave them a lot of business.....unfortunately, they are now obviously resting on past laurels. I sent in all of this (and more) on a survey and nobody from NCL responded..... At this point, I really dont expect them to and we will probably cancel our Fall Foliage cruise with them for later this year..... Absolutely no fun involved at all when you are looking more forward to getting home than being on the cruise !!!!! At least when I got home, I only had my wife yelling at me....on the cruise, I had to deal with the "bingo-mama" and the other "entertainment staff" that was clearly more comfortable questioning the perceptions of the passengers rather than trying to address any possible problems..... At least I was happy to get home to my own toilet.....lol......the one in our cabin would spit the toilet water back up at the person sitting there every 2 minutes......never asked for a bidet....??? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is a beautiful ship. We had a mini suite and thought the bathroom was great. It had a huge double sink with 2 faucets and a big shower. Worth the extra charge for sure! The room is a bit smaller than Celebrity Ships I've been on ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship. We had a mini suite and thought the bathroom was great. It had a huge double sink with 2 faucets and a big shower. Worth the extra charge for sure! The room is a bit smaller than Celebrity Ships I've been on width wise but same length. Nice room. Ample storage for clothes. The only thing I'd recommend is bring a light of some sort for the bathroom otherwise you have to turn the overhead light on during the night. We thought the food was pretty good on the ship. We did speciality dining 6 of the 7 nights and thought the food and service were really good. Ate one night in Taste, the regular dining room and thought the food was pretty good there too. We did breakfast almost every morning at either Taste or Savor and thought they were great. Service was good too. The ship is easy to navigate. Sometimes elevators are a bit full but another one comes along fairly quickly. Thought embarkation and debarkation were very easy. Everyone on the ship always has a smile and really tries hard to make your experience a good one. The Observation lounge is a great place to hang out plus they serve food all day long and there is a bar if you want a drink. As the week went along, more people found this treasure. They have comfortable furniture for reading and just watching the water. Neither of us had the drink package but we did notice that with all the people that did have it, bars were open everywhere on the ship all day long. When we were on Celebrity, it was pretty hard to find a bar open during the day except at the pool. Loved the outside deck that surrounds the specialty restaurants. Great place to hang out on the couches or to take a walk or get a drink. Really nice atmosphere and great place to watch the sun rise or set. On other ships this type of deck view is blocked by the life boats. The boats are on deck 7 on the Bliss a deck below Deck 8 where the specialty restaurants are. The ship definitely has places to view the water all the time; something that was lacking on Royal Caribbean's mega ships. On that ship, I felt like I was floating on an island where I rarely saw the water. NCL knows how to bring the ocean into the cruise experience especially when you eat outside at the specialty restaurants. Now here are my cons about the ship. The pool area is crowded and the music is SO LOUD it literally hurt my ears. I was surprised parents let their little ones hang out there...it was deafening. Actually we found the music was too loud almost everywhere. Couldn't hear the words to the music when bands played. Only the instruments. Love the adult solarium on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. NCL has a small adult area with chairs and a bar. The only problem is there is no shade even with 3 or 4 small umbrella's. Too bad cause that would have been great. Now for the shows. I liked Jersey boys although its a shorter version of the Broadway production. I left 15 minutes into Havanna. I couldn't get into it. Saw the comedienne's. Hard to get into The Social Club so appreciated the show that happened in the theater one time during the week. Liked the Beatle's tribute although again the music was so loud in a tiny venue. I missed a regular show that you could catch at either 7:30 or 9:30 on Celebrity ships. You always had to make reservations for the shows and they didn't always coincide with the times booked before you get on the ship at the specialty restaurants. Lots of stuff happened in the atrium. It's way too small for the purpose it serves for some of the shows there like the Newlywed game. People were everywhere with no seats. The theater would be a better choice for that and later in the night. The cruise director tried to make it sort of risqué yet there were young kids around cause it was pretty early. Overall, its a great ship that is staffed well. Like I mentioned earlier, the staff is always smiling and trying to make your experience a good one. I would like to see the music at a decibel that doesn't bust your eardrums and make your ears ring along with a show you could see every night with a 7:30-8:30 reservation. (Most shows were in the Atrium then) There is something for every age on this ship for sure!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Chose to go freestyle instead of Ruby Princess which has been our choice over many years to the Mexican Riviera in December. Stateroom even though midship towards the front (4009) had humming noises nonstop. Called guest services ... Read More
Chose to go freestyle instead of Ruby Princess which has been our choice over many years to the Mexican Riviera in December. Stateroom even though midship towards the front (4009) had humming noises nonstop. Called guest services several times to report it. Once an officer came and confirmed noises would make one difficult to sleep. No further follow up by guest services to tell us the reason for the noises. Entertainment nightly in the theater was excellent with wonderful production shows except for 2 nights a comedian and a magician which were also entertaining. Many venues of entertainment throughout the ship most of the time except port days. Music throughout poolside, atrium and lounges were entertaining. Good selection of menus throughout specialty, buffet and dining rooms. Had a dining package so was able to sample most of the restaurants. You could also have some complimentary meals in some of the specialty restaurants which was nice. We enjoyed Ginza and O’Sheehan’s offerings. You could always go to O’Sheehan’s which was midship and open most of the time. Nice Internet cafe with tables for playing games. Departure from the ship was a disaster with lines of people waiting to come off the ship. We chose to wait until the lines had cleared before coming off. We found wheelchair service was a premium and not enough people assisting people embarking the ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The ship was generally in good shape but the stairs were not solid and sagged at times when you went up or down the stairs. We had a nice balcony cabin for overlooking the Panama Canal. It was mid ship and we were able to see the other ... Read More
The ship was generally in good shape but the stairs were not solid and sagged at times when you went up or down the stairs. We had a nice balcony cabin for overlooking the Panama Canal. It was mid ship and we were able to see the other ships going in the opposite direction. For most of the cruise the bathroom smelled from sewage. We had the hotel director's staff come and look at the issue. They eventually fixed the problem. There was no reason for us to keep going to Guest Services to complain about the problem. The food service at the seven seas was awful. The food arrived cold and once the food was delivered, the server did not come back to check on us. We never saw the head waiter. In the four seasons, the waiters were very attentive, the hot food came hot. In the buffet it was hard for us to usually find food that we could eat. The Indian food is too spicy. Most of the other items had pork or pork products in it and we do not eat pork. This included bacon in the mac and cheese, ham in the sour kraut. various ham sandwiches and bacon in the salads. Towards the end of the cruise, they were running out of food and the milk was spoiled, same for the yogurt and you needed to find a manager to get the spoiled products removed. The cruise director was hard to find, he was hard to understand at the main theater and P A system announcements. The production shows were good. The cruise director staff provided us with good games and trivia challenges but they reused a number of the questions over and over again. Besides that there was not much to do on sea days. For some of the ports, the length of time in port was too short to really enjoy the port. I don't understand why we stopped at some of the ports. They barely even has a choice of shore excursions. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We travelled the entire length of the Panama Canal and visited Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile. We had great shore excursions organized by some of our great roll call members. Waaaay cheaper than the NCL offers. I had read both good and bad reviews for the Norwegian Sun. Personally I found the ship the perfect size. Frankly I don't want or need water slides or thousands of people on a cruise of this type. The refurbished ship looked great especially the large fitness centre. Our inside stateroom chosen for us by NCL was larger than we expected and was a nice surprise. We only dined in either the buffet or complementary dining rooms. The food in the Seven Seas and Four Seasons was so good that we felt that paying extra for the specialty restaurants would be a waste of money. We dined early and the food arrived in good time and was hot. We liked the slower pace of the dining rooms allowing us to take our time and enjoy the meal. I found the buffets offered a good choice of food and we liked the themed nights. We did not purchase any alcohol on ship as we felt that it was overpriced. The drink packages at $69 and $99 per day seemed grossly overpriced. I couldn't conceive drinking that much every day. We found the complimentary tea, coffee, ice tea and lemonade sufficient. Finally the staff were terrific. Our cabin steward Amol was great. He learned my name the first day and always chatted with us about our day. Overall we had a great time and came away happy. Lastly I must mention that we LOVED the Atlantis Strings trio. We listened to them every night. A rare offering of culture amid the usual cruise fare. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We were quite happy with this cruise. It was a repositioning cruise from Miami, through the Panama Canal, to Santiago, Chile. This was our first suite experience and had a fantastic time. This was the smallest ship we have been on, with ... Read More
We were quite happy with this cruise. It was a repositioning cruise from Miami, through the Panama Canal, to Santiago, Chile. This was our first suite experience and had a fantastic time. This was the smallest ship we have been on, with a little less than 2,000 passengers. The ship itself was very easy to get around and never had a feeling of being overcrowded. We would absolutely recommend the Sun, depending on what is important to people below. Itinerary/Ports: The reason we booked the cruise was because the itinerary was completely new to us. After the sailing, we would absolutely do it again. For the most part the ports are ugly looking, commercial shipping ports. Once we left the port, we were very happy. Because so few cruise ships stop at these locations, it did not feel like we were being shuffled through the same, tired tourist, commercialized trap ports found in the Caribbean. We were able to get some good, authentic experiences, and felt like we were off the beaten path in many of the stops. On the flip side, the ports still seemed immature and still learning how to offer a wide-range of fun things to do for a couple of thousand of tourists only there for 5-12 hours. Ports included Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia), Manta (Ecuador), Trujillo and Lima/Callao (Peru), and Arica, Coquimbo, and San Antonio/Santiago (Chile). At three of the ports we saw some great wildlife - sea lions, dolphin pods, and a walrus. The Panal Canal Transit was outstanding and I would highly recommend to anyone. Seeing the locks and how they are done to lift and lower the ships was awesome. There were a couple of ports we only had 5-6 hours at - in general, I would recommend going through the ship for excursions for any port with that little time, unless there is a nice little town/beach right off the ship. This itinerary did not have those nice little port villages/beaches at the port. Food: We tried the Main Dining Room three times for dinner and then stopped going. Every night there seemed to be some kind of issue with temperature, quality, or options. The menu itself seemed very boring and repetitive. If we went more, we probably would have just returned food we didn't like or wasn't cooked right. Because we were in a suite, we were able to go to Cagneys for breakfast and lunch every day. After our dining packages ran out, we just paid ala carte at the specialty dining restaurants the rest of the cruise. We found all of the specialty restaurants to be good to excellent. Cagney's was probably the best - the meats were also cooked correctly. This was probably the best lamb I have ever had. Bistro was also very good. There were a couple of items I tried I didn't care for, but most of the menu was outstanding. The menu on La Cucina changed from our last sailing and I think we liked the older menu better. The new menu included some pizza options. We were pleasantly surprised by Los Lobos - we ended up going there three times. We did not have one item we didn't like. My favorite was the stuffed poblanos. We did Sushi one night - the Sushi on the Sun was better than the experiences we had on Celebrity's Sushi on Five. Moderno was ok - probably our least favorite of the options. It did not seem as good (quality of the cuts and options at the salad bar) as other ships, and we are spoiled with several Brazilian Steakhouses where we live that are much better. We did not go to the Teppanyaki - it looked like it was usually full, but we've done that so many times that the show the chef does is not exciting any more. Our only real gripe was the Sun does not have the Irish Pub, but has the Sports Bar instead. The menu and food at the Sports Bar was much worse than our experiences with the Pub and its not open as long. We never went to the buffet, so can't provide feedback with that. Entertainment: The entertainment on the Sun was below average for other NCL sailings we have been on. Maybe it was because it was a smaller ship. The production was not that good - the dancers seemed to always have a timing issue and only two of the singers were really good. Outside of the production, they had too much magic/hypnotism shows - it seemed like it was every other night. There was a Cuban born singer that performed two nights and she was outstanding. The Sun was also missing other options other NCL ships have, probably because of size: there is no Howl at the Moon dueling pianists, Cirque show, Burn the Floor, Bowling Alley etc. They did have a couple of hours of karaoke every night. There was also the typical Deal or No Deal, Bingo, and Trivia activities found on other ships. Service/Others: We were happy with the service on board (restaurant and room) and was a little above our experience on other Norwegian ships. My partner did three sessions with the Spa and really enjoyed the treatments. Often he has mixed reviews on spa treatments, but we have 100% positive about his experience on the Sun. The were plenty of bars scattered across the ship and never had difficulty getting served drinks. Because it was a small ship, the public pool area was small, but it never seemed overcrowded and there was always lounge chairs free. The Casino is tiny. Some of the table games only had one option, and the slot machines were boring. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I've been on the Sun now 4 times. I must say I believe that this is my favorite ship in the NCL fleet. I must say that the recent refurbishment has been a real plus. The color schemes are really great. This ship has plenty to ... Read More
I've been on the Sun now 4 times. I must say I believe that this is my favorite ship in the NCL fleet. I must say that the recent refurbishment has been a real plus. The color schemes are really great. This ship has plenty to do, but it's not like the mega ships. Being the smallest in the fleet it can't offer all the choices. I find it a ship where you can chill out and relax. The balcony rooms have more storage than any other balcony room I've been in. The shelves, cabinets, and drawers will provide more room to store your stuff than you may need. The bathroom is smaller. Plenty of shelve space but really only one can fit in the bathroom at a time. The Shower is also a bit small but not the worst I've seen. The dining is standard NCL. Now that all the ships follow the same menu if you like the food it is just as good here. I personally find the selections and quality of the food to be very good. Both the main dinning rooms are very nice. Either one is an enjoyable place to dine. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it right after the holidays. It was two family members in our party, previous cruisers with NCL. We embarked in Miami, excited we were able to cruise through the line and get onboard. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and it right after the holidays. It was two family members in our party, previous cruisers with NCL. We embarked in Miami, excited we were able to cruise through the line and get onboard. However, at the entrance our keycards didn’t work. That was the beginning of one issue after another, we spent 7 of 10 days at the front desk feeling exasperated attempting to find staff who could fix the issues without explaining the inconveniences multiple times. Lets start with the new keycards didn’t work to unlock the cabin-exchanged 3 sets of keys in a 4 hour period. Thankfully our Steward let us in our cabin, who ultimately became the only excellent interaction/service in addition to dinner at Cagney’s. The next days were uninadated with errors to discounts for shore excursions (we did tours at each port, 6), refusals to apply excursion credits appropriately, smells of bowel movement coming through our walls, no working water during the night on entire ship, lack of service in the restaurants, and a horrible disembarkation (waited in line for over two hours for easy walk-off). The overall condition of the ship appeared clean, but the decorations for Christmas were dismal (lights on trees and wreaths surrounding the atrium area were rarely on). Our biggest complaint was no running water and poor toilet pressure. The need to choose between holding your bowels/urination or smelling the disgust of toilets unflushed shouldn’t have occurred. No notice from customer service advising they would be turning off the water everywhere in the ship, we had to call to find out what was going on. The cabin was an inside room on the 4th floor, we didn’t feel congested as we had plenty of room to move around. The new position of the television and the ability to pull it out and adjust the tilt made for easy viewing. We weren’t too sure about the lower level aft as our previous cruises had been higher levels mid ship. Dining was below par, service was slow and the menus rarely changed. A ten day cruises having to flag down staff to get service and eating the same food over and over again wasn’t ideal. The last two days of the cruise we received service after our issues were addressed with an apology about the service. It was clear we had not received adequate service as one of the managers in the dining area noticed we had been sitting over 45minutes waiting on a salad. We ate at two specialty restaurants, Cagney’s and LaCucina. Cagney’s was superb, the best food and service of the 10 days, it has value as an specialty restaurant. LaCucina didn’t have much of a variety, I ordered a meal with chicken (not tasty) and my sister ordered a pizza. The pizza was delicious, much better than pizza in the buffet. I was happy to see my favorite dessert on the menu (tarimusu) as Cagney’s didn’t serve it as one of their options on our chosen night. The complimentary restaurants, Alizar, Grand Pacific, and Jasmine were mediocre after ten days of repeating meal choices. However, the breakfast in Grand Pacific was better than the buffet, I loved the golden waffles and hash browns. In Jasmine’s a good dessert was the green tea icecream, nice to have a different choice than machine in the buffet. I had been accustomed to the icecream station on the larger ships, multiple choices for some of the best flavors (I wanted ice cream, so I bought a cone off the ship in port). The entertainment didn’t appear to grab my attention, the descriptions weren’t detailed enough to decide to spend hours in the theatre when I could be exploring. Multiple activities were scheduled throughout the day, the population of the ship was older couples, so not too exciting as I’m sure they were catering to that genre. We attended two events in the theatre, which was Elements and a comedy show. I’d seen Elements before, but the show I would advise one to see and rate as good (however, I was tired and dozed through the show). The Hot White Party was a party, we enjoyed the music and seeing the cruise staff in their Angel wings and costumes. The old and young partied into the night together, it didn’t matter if you didn’t have on white to join in the fun. Service was excellent from our stateroom Steward. He had a friendly personality and knew us by name. Each day he wore a smile and wanted to know about our day and how he could be of assistance with any needs with the room. Customer service was poor, we received mutiple answers to the same issue, their lack of knowledge/understanding was unacceptable. The overall feeling was they had our money, and trying to nickel and dime you for more is all that mattered. No customer satisfaction, we left the ship with inaccurate Billings. The ports were a great choice, however the itenary changed from our original booking. There was no explanation, we just received an email after we had paid off the cruise two ports were switching. We had Martinique and Dominican Republic, again we choir this ship for the itinerary. Some ports didn’t have a variety of chooses and they were over priced for value. However, selecting the port excursion as a “free at sea” choice offsets the costs....make sure to check your bill daily for discounts and credits. The companies chosen as affiliates to handle the tours cause some hiccups. Drivers and tour guides didn’t speak the best English, making it difficult to understand information about the points of interest. Additionally the roads on the Islands are very narrow and driving occurs on the opposite side of the road compared to the U.S, safety can be a concern. On our tours exploring the Islands drivers drove fast, with the narrow roads the boisterous plants and tree limbs were against the buses (open safari style), easily injured by the foliage if you’re sitting on the outward seats. Out of six ports we had rain on one day, the excursions did allow for various photo ops and overall we enjoyed all six (beach breaks, Island tours, rum factory, and exploring). We didn’t travel with any children, and there weren’t many on the ship. Primarily retirees/older couples. I would go again for an itinerary, but not on this ship. We were scheduled to disembark at 6:15, it was almost 8:00 A.M, caused us stress over possibility of missing our flight in FLL. We are thankful in all of the chaos for an awesome Steward who helped us to remember we were on a vacation inspeight of the difficulties, he added value to the ship. Overall average cruise for the value of our purchase. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Was looking forward to the 11 day cruise out of New Orleans. Have sailed on the Getaway twice and as the Breakaway is basically identical, could find my way around. I really love the Boardwalk feature as it provides a calm oasis away from ... Read More
Was looking forward to the 11 day cruise out of New Orleans. Have sailed on the Getaway twice and as the Breakaway is basically identical, could find my way around. I really love the Boardwalk feature as it provides a calm oasis away from the poolside hustle and noise, Always found a comfy chair to read or relax. Embarkation was smooth and quick once my friend was provided a wheelchair and staff assistance, FOOD- a bit of a letdown in both Savor and Taste, entrees ranged from very good to just passable. Only ate occasionally in Garden Cafe so cant review it, Always east breakfast at O'Sheehan's and often lunch as well after shore excursions, We both liked Moderno and La Cucina, and i enjoyed Teppanyaki. Jimmy Buffet's was awful and had poor service. Did not get to Oceans Blue or Cagney's on this trip but have tried them on the Getaway previously. Manhattan Dining Room was usually very good and consistent, SERVICE: This was a huge letdown, First day on board, we asked a staff person for directions and she literally rolled her eyes at us, Wow, We found the service level to be all over the place and really inconsistent, My friend and I are not demanding travelers and are willing to overlook small waits, On one occasion, we waited 20 minutes for my drink to arrive while eating our appetizer and then the server had the wrong order. Activities: Good always enough to do, even enjoyed the ropes course, Excursions: Enjoyed Jamaica, Belize, Grand Cayman and Harvest Caye. Isla De Cozumel is always fun as i have been there before, You have to pick wisely as you tend to get what you pay for, Debarkation: Fine no issues as we both had a late airport transfer, Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We had never visited most of the Islands on this Cruise and specially wanted to visit Aruba & Curaçao. We loved each port and all of our excursions! The ship was just coming from a remodel and was beautifuly redone. It felt like ... Read More
We had never visited most of the Islands on this Cruise and specially wanted to visit Aruba & Curaçao. We loved each port and all of our excursions! The ship was just coming from a remodel and was beautifuly redone. It felt like we were traveling on a brand new ship clean & bright. We never traveled on the Star before but, we have been on the Dawn and we loved the improvements. Everything about this ship met or far exceeded our expectations. We found this cruise had the most diverse group of passengers from religions, race, nationalities and the friendliness was amazing. We seem to make new friends no matter where we went! We did have problems with a very late embarkation. The ship & crew had to undergo an intense inspection (because the ship had been out of the US for awhile). This was out of NCL’s control- but I thought NCl could have done a better job adjusting the schedule one we were on board- reschedule the safety training. The staff was just incredible- our room steward (Rai) couldn’t do enough for us! We made friends with many of the waitstaff in the restaurants and would look for favorites when ever we went to eat! By the way we just love freestyle!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Value, cruised 8 times prior, this was the worse! Billed for more than should have with no reason, took 3 days to correct it. Premier eatery was out of Ribeye steaks and had been for 3 weeks. Failed to have proper glasses for wine ... Read More
Value, cruised 8 times prior, this was the worse! Billed for more than should have with no reason, took 3 days to correct it. Premier eatery was out of Ribeye steaks and had been for 3 weeks. Failed to have proper glasses for wine served all in small white wine glasses, even offering “wine classes, then not following through. La Bisto was right next to the music venue, making the restraint very noisy, almost unbearable. The wine cellar was a plus, wine steward knew her wines, very knowledgeable. Carney’s was still the best, wait staff and others, reservations were on time, excellent food. LaContina was the surprise very, very good, food, might say almost the best speciality. Very arrogant photo staff, all they wanted to sell was pictures, talk down to folks asking advice. Submit comment cards during the cruise only got one response from Raj the beverage manager, satisfied my question. Latitudes get together was very quick all they talked about was “CruiseNext” nothing about NCL and what was on the horizon, what is coming. Found information very lacking concerning future cruises. Will make me think twice when choosing my next cruise did not sign up for my next CruiseNext. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Primarily chosen for the reduced rate, I was, as usual, pleasantly surprised at the variety of quality entertainment, game shows, great entertainment staff, parties and ports of call. I went to a cardio dance class every morning on the ... Read More
Primarily chosen for the reduced rate, I was, as usual, pleasantly surprised at the variety of quality entertainment, game shows, great entertainment staff, parties and ports of call. I went to a cardio dance class every morning on the dance floor in the Manhatten dining room. Food was very delicious and we are vegan, but there was always something to preorder with Alex, our personal liaison waiter for Taste restaurant. We don’t do extra pay restaurants and so never ate at any other venues than what were included— food was excellent anyway! We became groupies of the Epic Beatles shows and enjoyed the stellar rock guitar of Albatross Air band, I was also in a guest choir which performed as the opening number for the Crew Talent Show. Only criticisms have to do with the design of the ship which can’t be changed. The walking track was more like a dog run, going back and forth on half a deck where lifeboats blocked most of the ocean view. The pools were as hot, sometimes hotter than the hot tubs, and are pretty small for the ship population. The bathrooms are just weird, but we learned to manage... Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
You need to understand that I'm probably one of the worlds pickiest eaters. No really I helped the medical community discover many thousands of adults that have the same disorder ARFID. So my wife and I chose the Bliss because of ... Read More
You need to understand that I'm probably one of the worlds pickiest eaters. No really I helped the medical community discover many thousands of adults that have the same disorder ARFID. So my wife and I chose the Bliss because of past experiences on the Breakaway and the Getaway which we had great times on and I was able to find enough food that I could tolerate at the Garden Cafe. So my review will not cover all the upscale dining on the Bliss which has many many choices. I'm going to cover the eating issues at the end of this review. Now here is the rest of the ship review first. The Casino was outstanding. The best I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Over 300 brand new slots and table games with seperate smoking and nonsmoking areas. However the smoke did leak out to the nonsmoking portion when the doors to the smoking section were opened and closed. The leaked smoke was a minor problem that did not affect most of the non smoking portion. My wife had 3 wins of $200 and one $400. Seemed to me like the machines were looser than many you play in shore based casinos. I would caution that they seemed to tighten up quite a lot on the last day. While we are discussing gaming let's talk about the Bingo game on the last day of the cruise. Bingo really is a suckers game but the Bliss took it to a new level. There were probably 250 people playing the game and the average cost per person including the additional sale of cards just before the last game was easily around $50 per person. So I would guess the revenue collected was near $14,000. The event consisted of three games. The first two were some sort of regular Bingo and the last was a cover all in 47 numbers or less for a prize of $5000. If no one got their card blacked out the prize was reduced to around $500 and continued until a blackout was completed. Of course no one blacked out their card in 47 numbers. It is ridiculous to think anyone would ever win the $5000. Look at it this way you need 24 of the first 47 numbers called to be successful blacking out your Bingo card. That would leave 28 other numbers that were not drawn yet. If you look at this in reverse. When was the last time you ever had a Bingo card go through the first 28 numbers and not have a single one of those numbers on the card? The odds of a blackout in 47 number is so small. I wonder if NCL has ever had to pay the $5000 jackpot. So at the end of the Bingo game The Bliss paid out about $1750 total which included blackout and the first two games prizes. I would guess the ship made a tidy profit of $12,000 to $13,000. I have been on cruises that each day the blackout number was raised by 1 making it slightly more possible to win the jackpot So if you love Bingo go ahead and play. Just don't expect to ever win the $5000 jackpot by blacking out in 47 numbers or less. Excursions were just OK. The Bliss is so big that many regular cruise ports can not accommodate the size of the ship. So in 4 of the 5 ports we visited we were docked in an industrial location. In those locations you either had a tour bus at dockside or if you wanted to wander on your own shuttles were provided to the port entrance. I was in the US Navy and if you were on a small destroyer port visits were lots of fun and the local populace treated us well while ashore. One thing that would always ruin a visit was the docking of an Aircraft Carrier with 5000 crewman. Well you might say the Bliss and mega ships like it are the Aircraft Carrier of the cruise ship world. My wife and I are not very mobile so the excursions we took were always on an air conditioned bus. The Bliss had all excursion passengers assemble in the Theater. Then we would be called one group at a time and hustled down 3 or 4 flights of stairs. Only to stand in long lines while waiting to board the tour busses waiting for us on the pier. This hurry up and then stand in line left our legs feeling weak. So in the next ports we timed leaving the ship to about 10 minutes before the excursion groups departed. We were able to locate our bus that had a sign on it describing what tour it was. This provided us a way to always get a great seat in the front of the bus. This could be a great tip. Seems each of our tours were accompanied by 4 or 5 other packed buses going to the same places. So it was always hurry up move along. Watch out you don't run into another traveler. Sometimes I felt like the ball in a pinball machine moving through the crowds at each location. Finding a bathroom during the tour was always a problem. Some of the other excursions for more mobile travelers might have been better. Now when you review the entertainment on the Bliss we have a great review There were so many great shows to see. I especially liked the Jersey Boys the last night of the Cruise. Wow what a great show it was. The audience was so pleased with the performance. Havana was really great also. The Beatles band put on a great show featuring the early sounds of the group. Place was packed to gills. There were other musical acts that were all great to listen too at various locations around the ship. The go kart track was just terrific. I lapped my wife twice. It is really neat that all the cars are electric powered. You would never know it. The cost was about $10 per person for about 8 to 10 laps on the course. If you like water parks the Bliss has some very interesting water slides including the one that you just get dropped straight down. I have never seen anything like it on a Cruise ship before. The internet was great once I got it working. I would advise you to create your login on one of the internet cafes terminals before trying it on your phone. You will probably save lots of time and aggravation if you do it that way. Everytime you use it make sure you enter logout.com to finish your session. A really great part of this ship is the service and the crew that provides it. Wow what a great group of dedicated people. From our steward to the food service staff including the bartenders at all the bar locations. The Bliss just has terrific people everywhere. They deserve 5 stars plus. There is so much that I did not cover. I really like this ship and my wife and I prepaid a deposit for two future cruises with NCL and we are hoping to do more on the Bliss. Now my food issues. I hope someone from the Bliss food service reads it. As I mentioned I'm the worlds pickiest eater. I have a web site called www.pickyeatingadults.com established in 2003. I have found out that the world is populated with lots of people just like me. Most of them never like to talk about it. Here is all I need to be happy regarding food and then I will grade the bliss on how they did. In the morning some toast, crispy bacon, cereal, plain pastry, and a cold glass of milk. This has been my breakfast for most of my adult life. Really it's very simple. I will give the Garden Cafe a B for breakfast. The serving line had many commercial grade toasters and lots of bread stations in the Buffet lines. It was very easy to toast your bread of choice. There was lots of cereal along with cold milk. Never had a problem with milk. I did stockpile extra milk in our cabin's now empty mini fridge. I like pastry like a plain sugar donut. Never did find a single plain donut anywhere during any meal. The reason for the B is the bacon. While it was plentiful and usually well cooked it was at times so thick and tough to chew. Many times I would start to chew a strip of bacon and ended up spitting it out because it was so tough. On our last NCL cruise started from Miami the bacon was always perfect as you would ever get on a cruise ship. Could be the west coast supplier of bacon to NCL should be changed or at least obtain bacon that is not so thick. Lunch and dinner C All I require is more of what I like for breakfast or I do like a grilled cheese sandwich made with white bread and American cheese. French fries like you would get from Mcdonalds, plain cake or donuts, Cold milk. This is really simple. How did Bliss do? Never saw a grilled cheese once. The French fries were great if you could get them hot. That was the problem. Almost always they were cold or worse. Seems the staff is making them too fast and they get a pile that is too big which results in loss of all heat before someone puts them on a plate. The wonderful toasters during breakfast are all stowed away during lunch and dinner. Also there was no plain sliced bread available. I was able to find some pound cake that was great once in awhile. There was never any milk unless you took it from the dispenser located in the coffee area. I have to admit the dispensers provided some really great cold milk. Like most ships Bliss has soft ice cream dispensers at about 6 stations in the Garden Cafe. They were almost always working and full. One small problem was the temperature of the product was always high enough to make the ice cream runny. You could not make a cone that was very tall because it would run over the sides of the cone if you tried. I tested these machine at off hours when they were not being used very much. Always runny was what I found. The staff needs to lower their set temperature probably about 5 degrees to dispense a more satisfying product. My food review could be much better if a few changes are made. I hope the Bliss staff will read this review and make their ship a place people like me would always want to visit. It's a great ship overall. I doubt any other cruise line has a better one. I highly recommend you take a cruise on the NCL Bliss. Picky eaters hopefully things will improve for you soon. It would be so simple. Read Less
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