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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our bucket list cruise did turn out to be a "Cruise of a lifetime", but, not in the way we hoped. Arrived 3 days early in Amsterdam and had a wonderful time exploring that city. Embarkation was a breeze and we were delighted ... Read More
Our bucket list cruise did turn out to be a "Cruise of a lifetime", but, not in the way we hoped. Arrived 3 days early in Amsterdam and had a wonderful time exploring that city. Embarkation was a breeze and we were delighted with the cabin (11134), initially. Evenings were interrupted by folks playing basketball dspite the sign stating activities were to end at 5 PM. So easy to fix, just put the balls away! Dinner the first evening in the Summer Palace proved to be on par with an Applebee's. Formality of service proved to be nonexistent, quality of food was mediocre. Exploration of other options proved more fruitful, specifically, Indigo and Cagney's with formally trained servers. The entertainment, overall, was quite good. There wa an acrobat male and female team that were incredible. The ships crew of singers and dancers were on par with other cruises. Their "Legends" show was outstanding. Activities were spotty, poorly timed and some never happened. Service was subpar compared to other cruise experiences. Having numerous mishaps it appears that communication is their biggest pitfall. All mishaps (but one) were rectified, but, only after having to be (begrudgingly) a squeaky wheel. This was a repositioning cruise that came up short as one of the ships engines experienced problems that were not rectified. Our cruise ended 2 ports early and missed another enroute. This was my first Norwegian cruise and will be my last. Poor communication, training and management failing to manage seems to be the primary problem. Yes, a cruise of a lifetime and one that will never be forgotten. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It had the itinerary we were looking for. This would be our 8th cruise with NCL. It was transatlantic and we find the six days at sea very relaxing. Unfortunately on the second day out a virus out break hit and many of the facilitys were ... Read More
It had the itinerary we were looking for. This would be our 8th cruise with NCL. It was transatlantic and we find the six days at sea very relaxing. Unfortunately on the second day out a virus out break hit and many of the facilitys were closed or restricted. It was kind of a disaster. My wife and I didn't get sick and that was a good thing. Now the two excursions we were looking forward to Dublin Ireland and London England turned out to be a disaster too. In Dublin you tender from the port of Dun Laoghaire, if you see that don't book. Tendering process was terrible. We lost so much time in the process we didn't get what I paid for. In London we were at the port of Tilbury . Same thing terrible process to get off the ship. Wound up with maybe 3hrs. in London but was dropped off far from the main tourist areas. Didn't get what I paid for there. It was a mess ship times changed from what was listed. Now to be fair the excursions at Cork, Ireland Le Havre, France and Bruges,Belgium were great. The dining rooms and specialty restaurants were fine. The cabin was ok and the crew we came across were friendly and helpful and restaurant service was great. For my part this is the second NCL cruise in row were I have left a little disappointed. Maybe river cruising would be better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We just got off the Jade TA from NYC to Mediterranean. The ship was a bit small but good. kept very clean, great service. The cabin steward and bartenders were wonderful. Visit Domingo in the Whisky bar - makes the best drinks. ... Read More
We just got off the Jade TA from NYC to Mediterranean. The ship was a bit small but good. kept very clean, great service. The cabin steward and bartenders were wonderful. Visit Domingo in the Whisky bar - makes the best drinks. Entertainment was ok but you were able to see all the shows. Ports were good. The biggest issue we had was the poor excursions booked thru the ship. Not organized, too expensive for what you got, late getting off the boat, wasted time waiting around. We did three and cancelled the rest after those experiences. Oh and just a note - if you have a terrible excursion you must complain that day or they will not do anything for you. (lesson learned) Of course Norwegian says they are not part of them so they cannot do anything for you. So future if you sail book excursions from outside companies you get a better experience for your money...or less money for that matter. And if you go into a port that your have to be ferried over to port from the boat don't expect to get off for a few hours. It took us three hours to get into port. The experiences from the excursions may have cost them a customer. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some ... Read More
First, let me say that we have not cruised in about 10 years. We are retirement age people who cruised often as a family with our 2 children. They enjoyed it more than we did. Recently, we decided to give it a try again and visit some cities we've never been before, namely Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia. In the past, we cruised on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. These were standard size ships (2,500 to 3,000 passengers). The Bliss is a new (almost 1 year old) "Mega" vessel with a capacity of over 6,000 passengers (although the ship lists it at 4,000 passengers). And despite its immense size, no matter where you go, you were always jammed in with a huge crowd of people. On this ship, be prepared to do a lot of walking. From the back end of the ship to the front (or other way around). Or going up or down stairs from one deck to the next. The elevators on the ship were always jammed with passengers all day and night long. My wife found it very difficult to get around, having had knee replacement surgery recently. • I'll list all the "pros" of my experience first: • Entertainment: "Jersey Boys" was the best show on the ship. Standing ovation. Get your seat a 1/2 hour before the show starts, because it fills up fast. "Havana" was a good latin song and dance review. Elaborate costumes and stage decor. The stand-up comedians were terrific, hosted by Tim and featuring Jay Black and Larry Omaha. Book your seats on your first day on the cruise at the theater asap. I did not go to the Cavern Club shows. Way too late for us. However, "Siglo", their resident rock band that played at functions around the ship (the atrium and the pool) throughout the day were awesome. Be sure to go to the functions at the atrium, there's a lot games and shows with lots of audience participation. If you can find an empty seat, grab it fast. • Food: The best specialty restaurant for us was Cagney's steakhouse by far. Great Prime Rib (16 oz). La Cucina was good, not great. But "Q" was very disappointing and hardly anyone besides us were in the restaurant. I guess they got the word of mouth on it. The main dining rooms are good, The Manhattan room is the best of the mains, be sure to book a dinner reservation (even in the main dining rooms) or else you will wait in a long line before you are seated. Beware the breakfast and lunch service in the main dining rooms are slow, but sometimes a better alternative than the buffet. The Garden Cafe (the buffet, on deck 16) is a mad house. It's the largest buffet restaurant we have ever experienced anywhere and you can have ANY kind of food that you can imagine (asian, italian, mexican, deli, salads, on and on). But you have to scramble to find an empty table and you have to dodge and weave around the other passengers getting their food. Overall, the food at the buffet is standard in quality. Our cabin: see my separate review • The observation lounge: what could be bad about lying on a long lounge chair with a pillow behind your head and overlooking the ocean along with a drink and a snack, This is the observation lounge, a quiet area one deck below the buffet. • The Cons: • The elevators were always jam packed! I would have taken the stairs if my wife wasn't with me. • Excursions: because of scheduling problems, our time at the cities were very limited to a short quick afternoon. Plus, because of the number of passengers, we were very slow in disembarking the ship. Very frustrating. Overall, the cruise had some great aspects with a few not so great aspects. If you come in with a positive attitude and are not annoyed by the bad aspects, you'll have a great time. If you read this review you will know what to expect and figure out how to avoid the bad and indulge in the good. Good luck. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Have always been a great believer and loyal fan of Norwegian but that is decreasing. First, I made reservations for four persons to go from Miami to Barcelona and that is what our first itinerary stated. At some point, the port of ... Read More
Have always been a great believer and loyal fan of Norwegian but that is decreasing. First, I made reservations for four persons to go from Miami to Barcelona and that is what our first itinerary stated. At some point, the port of disembarkation being Barcelona, was changed to Tarragona, Spain. We were never notified of the change but just happened to pull up a more current copy of the itinerary that now stated Tarragona instead of Barcelona. I called my NCL contact person and verified the change without any explanation of why the change. NCL arranged a transfer to Barcelona from Tarragona with more than a reasonable charge. Would we have not gone on the cruise if we knew that we were not departing in Barcelona. I am not sure. I am 80 years young and to get their "drink package", it would be an additional $1300 for a couple. Okay, don't take the drink package, which we didn't. Most of the people on the cruise were in my age bracket. We all (the ones that I talked to) fully agreed that the ship kept the temperature about refrigerator cold throughout the common areas of the ship. Very miserable. Some travel companies keep their repeat travelers very happy but NCL is not doing a very good job of that for our last few cruises. We belong to Latitudes but other than two dinners in one of the Specialty Dining Rooms, what is it worth to belong. The aisles in the Buffet (crowded beyond belief) were laid out by someone that had never been on much more than a row boat. Lastly, the staff of the Star, as have been on all of the other NCL ships, still a very great bunch of of people. All very friendly and helpful. One of the biggest reasons that we keep coming back to NCL. BUT, we are now starting to look at other cruise lines. MSC has given us credit for all of the points that have earned on NCL, We'll see what the future brings us. We are certainly not as loyal as we once were. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First of all, starting from embarkation we came across with the same problem, again and again, we have Turkish special passport holders which do not require us to obtain a visa for certain countries. We told it each time to the embarkation ... Read More
First of all, starting from embarkation we came across with the same problem, again and again, we have Turkish special passport holders which do not require us to obtain a visa for certain countries. We told it each time to the embarkation personnel and passport officers but they cause us to wait sometimes 2 hours in order to get confirmation. Sometimes they do not accept official letters from embassies. So, they must update the visa requirements checklist including special passport holders. As a frequent traveler, I do not want to be treated as a missing visa issue again and again. Because I do not need to have a visa. Furthermore, as a premier guest, we experienced a lot of problems, some restaurant managers trying to tell me that there are 2000 platinum plus members staying on the ship. Therefore they can not give us a priority in the restaurants. Later I learned that this was a total lie. I reported the situation to the general hotel director and asked him that if I can not get any priority why do I need to choose Norwegian again. I received no response. Therefore you can not receive any priority even if you are too loyal to the cruise line. For thermal suite packages, the ship sold more than the available limits in the spa area. Everybody who finds the door open just jumps in. Everybody start having an argument about sitting in lounge chairs. I was assaulted twice by other passengers. I also reported this situation to the general director but nothing changed. The spa personnel most of the time left the door open or some other guests invite others to use spa for free. Therefore the majority f the passengers get really angry for why they paid extra for thermal spa if everybody can jump inside freely. At last, during the disembarkation process, everything becomes chaotic. The ship personnel can able to collect and make passport stamps while we are on the ship and inside the European premises for one week we traveled to Portugal and Spain ports. But they preferred to do EU entry passport stamps on our own during disembarkation at Barcelona. I have to wait a lot of lines, ship exit line, passport stamp line, baggage collection line and taxi stand time. It takes a complete 3 hours. I have been cruised many times but have not seen such a thing in Barcelona for the recent 10 years. I have been many times cruised with Norwegian but their loyalty seems to be nothing more than 2 free special dinners which are limited to 25 USD max order per cabin not per member. I expect them to give unlimited internet or some more dining night for free but once you get platinum, do not try to get higher because once you reach plat plus only thing you get is a dinning chance with an officer as a group of 3-4 staterooms in a main dining room. Especially in this cruise from Cape Canaveral to Barcelona, most of the passengers are really annoyed because only three shows were presented as unique for 15 days. For other days they repeat the shows again and again. Everybody goes to bed at 7 pm after dinner. So we call the ship as a ghost at late times. Epic is a good ship I have traveled with her 4 times in the past. But it was managed well and the level of the service and fun was great. Use to be Burn the floor took a showplace in Manhattan but no more. I have never heard someone playing the piano in the taste also. Furthermore, the waiters are not trained most of them newly joined to the company. Sometimes you have to wait 2-3 hours for a 3-course meal. For even the laundry they keep saying that every day they receive 5000 bags of laundry, they work so hard, they have no time to rest etc. I do not understand why are they acting like this. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The worst designed ship ever. entertainment was terrific but venues and theatre were too small...long line-ups. yoga ($12) and art classes ($35) cost extra but prices are not listed, line- up at front desk for those (called operator many ... Read More
The worst designed ship ever. entertainment was terrific but venues and theatre were too small...long line-ups. yoga ($12) and art classes ($35) cost extra but prices are not listed, line- up at front desk for those (called operator many times, no answer ever). Bottles of water in room are not free - $5 each. Had room attendant clear out the booze and water from the room. If not on a drinks package, You pay US$16,19 and 23 per drink NCL offers daily drink at $9. At the The Garden Cafe on the 15th floor be prepared to be welcomed by a high pitched irritating greeting of “WASHY, WASHY, HAPPY, HAPPY, YUMMY, YUMMY” every single time you enter this place, shame on NCL for needing their staff to act so juvenile. The buffet meals are tepid at best, and staff behind the counter need to be reminded to replenish the food in the serving dishes. The Manhatten and Taste restaurants have the same menus and the smallest portions you have ever seen. Shanghai is the best free restaurant with great service and good sized portions. Half the warm chairs in the Spa weren’t working... and it doesn’t face the sea or anything, not worth the extra $$. Continuous marketing and nickel & diming you. Most surprising: Day 4 newsletter quote: “Very Important Guest Advisory: Additional taxes may apply while in certain ports and whilst the ship is sailing in territorial waters.” : sail route on TV screen showed an unscheduled sail to Rabbat (Morroco). Also, if you’re a Canadian passenger NCL will convert your invoice from $US to $Cdn plus a 3% margin...and charge this to your credit card - another NCL cash grab! Thank goodness I met and enjoyed some great people on this cruise, but that’s a usual experience on any cruise. Forget this ship...There are far better others out there... 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
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Transatlantic crossing. My husband and I have sailed many times on NCL (Platinum Members) and thought a transatlantic crossing would be different and exciting. It sure was. Although seas were calm, it was cold and/or raining. No ... Read More
Transatlantic crossing. My husband and I have sailed many times on NCL (Platinum Members) and thought a transatlantic crossing would be different and exciting. It sure was. Although seas were calm, it was cold and/or raining. No outdoor activities to be had so indoors 95% of the journey. The ship was big and confusing, sectioned off, not flowing like most ships. Some areas were off limits entire cruise and we never were able to explore the entire ship. We found some public restrooms in a deplorable state. It was a first for us, we never experienced that before on NCL. Crew always pleasant, our room steward Fedilia was excellent, sweet and pleasant. Dining was good except buffet wasn't as exciting as previous cruises - pretty much same food every day. Only one dining room experience at Taste was bad due to incompetent rude servers. We were served bread with no plates or silverware. My husband flagged a waiter to set our table. We ordered cocktails and immediately the food waiter came to ask for our order. We said we'll order when we're done having our cocktails and the waiter walked away. During cocktails, another waiter came by and took all the silverware off the table. One minute later, 2 entrees came, neither was ours. Waiter said sorry and walked away and never replaced the utensils that had been removed earlier. My husband flagged our waiter and asked for our utensils back. Waiter gave him a snarky look and walked away to get them. During cocktails my husband could see two staff - our waiter and the one who delivered wrong entrees, talking and staring at us while giving the stink eye. Ordered dinners, then came dessert. Waiter shoved a menu in front of me from behind without saying a word. Did the same to my husband from the front of him. Rude, inappropriate behavior for dining staff. We never returned. We're not big show people but did see Cirque's Steam which was excellent. We're big Cirque fans. The itinerary was changed twice, first time was just 1 week before and it completely burst our bubble building up to this vacation. So much confusion and indifference to passenger travel arrangements that they changed the itinerary again 3 days before disembarkation to appease the onslaught of complaints and possibly legal threats. Two countries were added back. We originally booked a 12 day cruise and ended up with 10 days. Originally 5 ports, actual ports 3, LaHavre(Paris), Brussels/Brugges Belguim and Southampton/London. Excursions are always great, after all that's why we travel - the destinations. This time there just wasn't enough ports and 7 days straight at sea without being able to enjoy the outdoors was a bit much. At the end the ship docked in Southampton and we were prepared for a tour of London before flying home. Our mistake was booking an excursion that was 7 hrs and our flight was within 5. We were reimbursed immediately and grabbed a cab to Heathrow. The itinerary changes were due to NCLs decision to go to dry dock 2 days earlier than originally advertised. We never experienced a cruise before with so many disgruntled and disappointed loyal NCL passengers as this one. Collectively it was not a happy bunch. My husband and I made the best of it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
There is so much to say... First, this was our first cruise as Norwegian Platinum members. We chose this cruise because we like Transatlantic voyages, it was very reasonably priced and it was the only cruise that fit our specific time ... Read More
There is so much to say... First, this was our first cruise as Norwegian Platinum members. We chose this cruise because we like Transatlantic voyages, it was very reasonably priced and it was the only cruise that fit our specific time frame. We live in NYC and love the ability to take a cab directly to the ship. The motivating force was a desperate need to have a vacation after a hard winter. Also, we had never been to either the Azores or Belgium, so that was a plus. We booked a sail-away balcony (our first time not booking a specific cabin). We were assigned a decent cabin on deck 8 that turned out to be really well located for this cruise. One week and one day before sailing (late in the afternoon on Good Friday) we got an email from NCL announcing an itinerary change that shortened the cruise by two days and eliminated the French and Belgian ports. Much has been written on the roll call thread about this fiasco. In short, NCL managed to screw up, piss a lot of people off, and then, in their attempt to fix the screwup (by bringing back the French and Belgium stops at the cost of the Azores and Portland stops) pissed off even more people. In our case, we just booked two more nights in London to cover the earlier arrival and adjusted our other arrangements to suit. As Platinum customers, embarkation was an absolute breeze. We were checked in and eating lunch in no time (although seating in the cafe was insufficient). We had previously sailed twice on the Breakaway, a ship we really didn’t care for. This cruise convinced us never to book a large ship again. There may be some really great large ships on other lines, but we don’t feel like finding out. The large NCL ships feel much more cramped than the Jewel class, a class we have cruised multiple times and have really loved. Let’s break down the issues: The biggest one is that whenever any area in the ship is crowded, it feels like being stuck in rush hour traffic. We came to avoid the atrium completely. It’s a mess. Much too small, too loud, too few chairs and, worse, it also acts as a thoroughfare. We completely avoided all of the events held there, some of which we wanted to attend. The Garden cafe is too loud, and suffers from the same design problem, it is almost impossible to walk through without bumping into people who are hauling plates of food in seemingly random patterns. Also there is just not enough seating. The aforementioned fiasco meant that there was always a long line at guest services. Exceptionally poor communication from NCL about refunds and bill adjustments made any interaction with them difficult because of the crowds. In short, the ship design with poor traffic management, and a claustrophobic feel and an emphasis on outdoor space better suited to warm climates meant that the whole experience was cramped. Disembarkation was slow. The itinerary change meant that we couldn’t pick up the immigration officials in the Azores which meant another long line to be navigated upon arrival all the while watching the clock to see if we we would make our train (we didn’t but there was a subsequent train, so there was no real issue). As usual, the crew was quite good. What our cabin steward lacked in friendliness, he more than made up for in ruthless efficiency. Our room was always done quickly and correctly without impacting our use thereof. The wait staff was friendly, as was everyone else we dealt with. As for food, we felt that the free sit-down restaurants were hit-or-miss. We had a couple of good meals (prime rib one night, a solid burger another at O’Sheehans), a couple of meals that were poor at Taste and Savor and one good and one not-so-good at the Tropicana. As for the Garden Cafe, it was okay, not as good as we have experienced before. The specialty restaurants were much better. The filet at Cagney’s was excellent. That was comped as a Platinum perk. We paid a la Carte at Le Bistro, a meal I was really looking forward to, as I had loved both the Trois Cornets appetizer and the Canard a l’Orange on previous voyages. Both are gone from the menu, a big disappointment. The other comped meal at Moderno was exceptional. The waiter comped our glasses of wine as well. As for the journey, we found it hard to deal with the constant time changes. There is no getting around the fact that crossing time zones is difficult, but by the third or fourth one, we just wanted it to be over. The weather, although cold and mostly gray, was good. As for entertainment, the Million Dollar Quartet show was a standout, we also enjoyed the Cirque Dreams dinner show although, despite being first in line and having paid extra for floor seats, discovering that we had poor sight lines because the Haven guests got the best seats (something that we didn’t know would happen) was a bit frustrating. Music about the ship suffered from the poor design. The open atrium made for terrible acoustics and an unwelcoming experience. The ship open-space performers were just okay, in my opinion. We were looking forward to hearing some decent blues in the Fat Cats club (as we had on the Breakaway) but it was taken over by Karaoke almost every night and, as far as I could tell, nobody on board could play or sing the blues. We paid extra for access to the thermal suite, something we have done on every NCL cruise. Our normal routine is to hit the gym, shower off and soak. The gym was always crowded. Some of the equipment was broken and there were times when it wasn’t possible go work out. The thermal spa was, likewise, fairly crowded. The staff is doing a better job of policing the reservation of both the heated and regular lounge chairs, a consistent problem in the past, so that is an improvement, Despite all of my issues with the ship, it was a very enjoyable cruise. That, largely, was due to some of our fellow passengers and our decision to be more social than in the past. We made some initial connections via the roll call thread that led to one of the best times, the mad beer-sampling dash through Bruges. In LeHavre, we walked into town determined to have coffee, baguettes and butter which we found in the Sunday market in the center of town. We were determined not to let the problems ruin our vacation and we have succeeded. It is clear, however, that our non-stop string of being NCL-only customers is at an end. The emphasis on packing people in is taking its toll. I do recognize that what you get for your money is still a good deal, but it may no longer be for us. NCL has cut both service and some quality in recent years and we would prefer for our cruise experiences not to resemble traveling on budget airlines where the emphasis is on upcharges and post-sales opportunities, Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our cabin (standard balcony) was a great layout and very spacious. It was the best thing about the cruise. The ship itself was really designed for a warm weather environment. Unfortunately, our cruise was in the northern latitudes (NY ... Read More
Our cabin (standard balcony) was a great layout and very spacious. It was the best thing about the cruise. The ship itself was really designed for a warm weather environment. Unfortunately, our cruise was in the northern latitudes (NY to Southampton) and, due to weather, most of the outside areas were closed. This lead to the ship feeling very crowded. As far as I'm concerned, freestyle dining is dead. Once upon a time, one could show up at a NCL main dining room and get a table fairly quickly. However, since NCL started allowing reservations, everything gets booked up on day one and now just showing up often entails a 30+ minute wait. I'd rather they offer a fixed seating. Even though this ship carries about twice the passengers of the other ships we've sailed on (The Dawn, Pearl, Jade, Sky, and Spirit), for some inexplicable reason they made the theatre about half the size. As a result, many of the shows require reservations. Unfortunately, their reservation offerings were inconsistent between what was printed, what was on the web, and what was on their TV screen. And some of the shows changed times or were canceled. Overall very frustrating. With a large ship, you'd expect a large atrium. Not so. It was small and noisy. Worst of all, the held the trivia sessions here even though several of us asked them to change it to another venue that was quieter and were we wouldn't have to compete with everyone else just to get a seat. It didn't happen. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Itinerary: We were booked on the RC Oasis of the Seas but it was cancelled after a crane fell on the ship, so we booked this transatlantic crossing on NCL's Getaway about three weeks before sailing. With only A WEEK TO GO, we were ... Read More
Itinerary: We were booked on the RC Oasis of the Seas but it was cancelled after a crane fell on the ship, so we booked this transatlantic crossing on NCL's Getaway about three weeks before sailing. With only A WEEK TO GO, we were informed that the 12-day itinerary (which it still shows here on CC) had been modified to a 10-day journey, cutting out two ports, Le Havre and Zeebrugge, and coming into Southampton two days earlier than anticipated. Actually, NCL didn't even communicate with us directly, but we found out from our travel agent. Apparently, it had to go into dry dock two days earlier than originally scheduled. We would not have booked the trip with the modified schedule and itinerary, but decided to make the most of it. NCL did offer a partial refund (it finally came through while we were on the cruise) and a future credit, as well as allowances for airline change fees. After hearing from many disgruntled passengers, NCL expanded their allowances to cover other travel expenses such as additional hotel and other transportation charges. FOUR DAYS BEFORE SAILING, they added Le Havre and Zeebrugge back into the itinerary, and cut out Ponte Delgada and Portland. While most were happy to have France and Belgium back in, the last-minute nature of these changes created a lot of hassle and confusion. We also received refunds of the port fees from the two missed ports as credits on our cabin accounts while on the ship. Ship: The ship is relatively new (2014), and everything was clean and felt up-to-date. I believe the carpet is being replaced in dry dock. It has swimming pools, hot tubs, water slides, mini golf, and a ropes course. This would be a much better ship for a warm weather cruise. However, our itinerary was a cold-weather cruise, which meant that most of these amenities were closed/unused, and the indoor venues were overcrowded. The ropes course was fun, but not for those afraid of heights. While there is an indoor pool, it's part of the spa, which you have to pay for. The public toilets, sinks, and soap dispensers were all automatic and functioned on sensors. However, they rarely worked as intended. Everyone was doing a dance trying to get the toilet to flush or the soap to dispense. It was really to the point of ridiculousness. Even the comedian did a routine about it. For an industry so concerned about the spread of germs and sanitation ("happy, happy, washy, washy"), they sure did make it hard to wash your hands. Entertainment & Activities: In warmer weather, people might have spread up to the pool and sports decks. But ours was a cold-weather cruise and the schedule of activities did not reflect that. The cruise had about 3700 passengers (max is 3900), and all the indoor venues were always crowded...not just crowded, but can't-find-a-chair-or-move crowded. Usually, that meant standing in long lines or having to be at activities 30-60 minutes before they started in order to get a seat. They had so many people show up for progressive trivia the first day in the Atrium, that they had to move it to the main Tropicana dining room. Other activities were few and far between. There were large gaps in the schedule and then three events happening at the same time. But in reality, you couldn't plan to attend that many events because of the waiting times. The cruise director, Vincent, was outstanding! He led progressive trivia and was a constant at activities and events. Also, Romeo did a good job. However, most of the cruise director staff didn't seem to have the same energy or interest in interacting with guests. Activities seemed to be run of the mill for them and they made little effort to change things up based on our cruise itinerary/climate. They had enough staff and venues to keep things active and accommodate more guests, but didn't take advantage. I've been on other cruises with half the staff members with twice the activities and a lot more fun. As far as the evening entertainment, the shows were great, particularly "Million Dollar Quartet" (advanced tickets required). All three house bands were good, and we enjoyed the Bankaoke and Adele tribute. The Headliners venue served as a comedy club (advanced tickets required) and dueling piano bar. Both were great fun. One thing we enjoyed on this cruise was a guest talent show, which was much better than anticipated. Dining & Food: Three dining rooms (Tropicana, Taste, Savor), the buffet, Shanghai Noodle Bar, and O'Sheehan's were all complimentary. Margaritaville had free breakfast (a smaller buffet), but it closed after the second day. We were told that no one was going up there (it's outdoor, but covered) so they closed it. This left us to fend for a table in the buffet most mornings. We ate lunch in Taste/Savor two days. However, they maintain the same lunch menu from day to day and it never changes. Service for both lunch and dinner was painfully slow. One day, we sat for lunch at 12:40pm and didn't get our entrees until 1:50pm. O'Sheehan's was typical pub food, but sometimes a better option. The fajitas were good. The service in Tropicana for dinner seemed to be better than the other two dining rooms. A band played music during peak hours and people danced on the dance floor in the center. However, if seated anywhere in the center section of the restaurant, the volume of the music made it impossible to talk to others at the table. Getting reservations for the complimentary restaurants was impossible. We were told by a restaurant manager that all reservations were fully booked through online booking before the cruise even left. So much for "Freestyle" cruising. Every night, regardless of the hour, we had to wait in a long line (typically 20-30 minutes) to get to the host desk. Then we were usually given a pager and had to wait even longer. One night, we waited 90 MINUTES from the time we got in line until the time we were seated. This is unacceptable. The food itself was ok, not great. The buffet had a lot of options for breakfast and lunch. The quality of the food in the dining rooms did not meet the standard of past cruises, both on NCL and other cruise lines. They also didn't feel very balanced. If a dish included vegetables (some did not), they were minimal. One night I received two baby carrots, another night three small broccoli florets. Service: We had two wonderful, attentive, and hardworking waiters, Yuli and Mohammed, in the Tropicana dining room. Vincent the cruise director was fantastic. But otherwise, service was just ok, but not great. I don't know if it was because the ship was going into dry dock and some people were leaving or if this is always the case, but the staff seemed to lack energy. They very happily told you if something was not their job, handing you off to wait in another queue. All in all, with the final itinerary, we probably would not have booked this to start with. It has yet to be seen how easily they will handle reimbursement for travel expenses under the allowance. Regardless, after our experience, it is unlikely that we will cruise with NCL beyond our next cruise (using our future cruise credit), which will be cheap and cheerful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
It went through the "new panama canal". It was amazing to see and enjoy the passage. Other parts were not so amazing. The casino was the poorest we have ever seen at sea with very tight slots. Bingo was a joke they did ... Read More
It went through the "new panama canal". It was amazing to see and enjoy the passage. Other parts were not so amazing. The casino was the poorest we have ever seen at sea with very tight slots. Bingo was a joke they did not do a roll over and a last game grand prize winner. the real winner was norwegian. In place of over $5000 the final coverall got $1000,not bad, but not was expected. The ship is confusing to get around, all of the hot tubs have no shade so it's early morning or later at night. Entertainment was spotty, comedy was good , havana was good, magician was good, jersey boy's was a bust in my opinion, and the cavern was good. As for the food it was great, with the exception q which served some poor dry brisket. Would recommend gagneys and teppanyaki. Both were exceptional and worth the cost. Disembarkation was the worst experience of our 25 plus cruise's. This was not norwegians fault,it was cause by the port of los angeles. The most un organized mess i have ever encountered. Porters laughing at people in line waiting as they breezed by to a special line where they and their cruisers were they had no waiting saying for a few bucks you could be gone by now. Union i assume. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I had a cruise credit with NCL that was expiring. I selected this cruise for itinerary. The price was fair for two but I feel it unfair to double the rate for one person. I do not eat or require twice the food or service. The ... Read More
I had a cruise credit with NCL that was expiring. I selected this cruise for itinerary. The price was fair for two but I feel it unfair to double the rate for one person. I do not eat or require twice the food or service. The ports were good, service was very good. Shows were good since I rarely attend them, I managed to go to 4 out of the 10 and was surprised. The crew dance group were very good.. The food was good and open dining was quite easy with good selection of restaurants to choose from. The staff was very nice and always helpful. 80 countries represented. I have to comment on the room service charge ($7.95). This was a first for me, as in the past breakfast delivery has ALWAYS been free. I would recommend bringing a wrap as most of the time the public rooms were chilly. Overall it was a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise to see some of South America and cruise through the Panama Canal. We have traveled on the Norwegian Sun previously and had a good experience. The ship was upgraded last year and looks good. The staterooms are now ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see some of South America and cruise through the Panama Canal. We have traveled on the Norwegian Sun previously and had a good experience. The ship was upgraded last year and looks good. The staterooms are now elegant and other areas of the ship nice. This was a repositioning cruise, so there were seven sea days, which was a bit much for us, as we don't participate in bingo, karaoke, art auctions, knitting, etc, although I would have to say the ship did do a good job in offering all kinds of daily activities catered to the mostly older passengers. We are 60, but the average age is a bit older. The ship never felt crowded, except on sea days around the pool. Embarkation was easy, as we arrived late, so no crowds. Disembarkation in Miami was slow and bottlenecked through customs. Probably not NCL's fault. Service on the ship was generally good. Cabin, bar, restaurant, drills, excursions, port disembarkation, shows, lectures, etc. were all well organized. Only complaint was disembarkation for ship shore excursions, which was a joke. We were an hour late for every excursion due to a very poorly designed system. We did a combination of ship and third party shore excursions, all were pretty good. Some ports had limited attractions and things to do. For some reason the ship organized about a half dozen separate excursions under different names that ended up at the same place (rain forest, tram and zipline) and doing about the same activities. Ship excursions are a bit pricey compared to what is available from Viator and other companies, which get you off the ship quicker. NCL needs to fix this. Meals in the main dining room was surprisingly good. Cagney's and French Bistro meals were mediocre. Teppenyaki and Sushi restaurants were very, very good. Good drinks at Los Lobos. We had a complimentary NCL drink package, which we overused. Buffet inside was predictable, small, and generally crowded. The deserts on board were excellent just about everywhere. Drinks were easy to get and bartenders were some of the best on any cruise ship I have been on. The Great Outdoors buffet was better and convenient to the back seating are, where we spent a lot of time. South American ports are a bit rougher than other parts of the world. A lot of poverty and trash around. Still, many great sites. We did enjoy the extended time in Santiago. The couple we traveled with went to Machu Picchu and loved it. We enjoyed the Panama Canal experience and many of the Inca and other historical sites. Lima and Cartagena are overrun with Venezuelan refugees, which is sad but pretty much ruined most of the excursion. The ziplining experience in Costa Rica was a lot of fun. I would use NCL again and would cruise the Sun again for the right itinerary. Read Less
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
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
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We were glad to find the ship had been refitted during it's 8 day lay-over in Singapore, before the relocation cruise to Sydney. However engine problems meant we were given a revised itinerary for the cruise on boarding. Many people ... Read More
We were glad to find the ship had been refitted during it's 8 day lay-over in Singapore, before the relocation cruise to Sydney. However engine problems meant we were given a revised itinerary for the cruise on boarding. Many people were unhappy as they had made prior arrangements for some scheduled ports of call. The ship could only manage half speed. $200 USD per person was credited to ship board accounts as compensation. However by the time we reached Darwin new parts were delivered to the ship and the remainder of the schedule could revert to the original. The rooms, while refurbished to a good standard, are still very small. We were on deck 9 with balcony. In the toilet (smallest ever - when sitting on the toilet you could rest your forehead on the facing wall - beware if you are a larger travelers!) Room steward was excellent and was very helpful. Food was overall disappointing and lacked variety. The Tsar's Palace dining room was nicely refurbished, but staff were overall quite indifferent at times, and didn't interact, as on other cruise lines. We dined at The Azura Restaurant the first evening, but found the staff inattentive and the food was cold - yes we complained! Le Bistro was our 'best of the bunch' with a good selection and attentive staff. We are early diners so benefited from having the venue mainly to ourselves. The 'Chinese' restaurant on board was disappointing, a very limited menu (you could pay extra for two alternative dishes) and again service was average. The Irish themed restaurant was lacking in real Irish themed food, and was really just a cafe. Shore excursions were reasonable, although on Bali it was quite shocking to see the poverty in the areas we were driven through. The ship has limited shopping options but service was good. The entertainment was a highlight , very high standard and good variety. Another highlight was the 'The Spinnaker' lounge which was a nicely refurbished lounge at the top of the ship, with glass all around, a bar, and events and entertainment throughout the day and evening. A nice area to 'chill out' during the day with a book. The on board TV and video system has been upgraded and vision quality is good (best 'bow camera' we have seen) though there is no 'programme guide and many 'genre' are misnamed - some of the most violent movies were on the 'family movies channel'. Also there is no system to check your account in your room on this system, you have to go to Guest Relations and request a printed copy. Major disappointment was the shore excursions to shore at Airlie Beach were via 'ships tender' and also contractor's catamarans, we went on a 'cat' and returned on a ship's tender. The return crossing was 30 minutes in rough seas (10 minutes outward on the'Cat') the rough seas resulted in sea water coming into the boat at times , very frightened passengers and 2 people in our tender suffering minor injuries. It was very scary with waves crashing over the boat. On returning to the ship, I went to 'Guest Services' and said that having had some experience in Work Health and Safety, I would recommend not using the tenders for the remainder of the day, instead using the 'Catamaran's', in the interest of passenger safety. The Guest Services staff member seemed uninterested and said if there was a problem it was up to the 'Pilot' to report it! I said I had passed the message to them and that I could do no more. One other matter worth mentioning, was an excellent presentation by the staff responsible for future cruise bookings, on the things guests should be aware of, and wary of, when booking cruises. The jargon and pitfalls were explained and some of the background on how and why cruise lines offer upgrades and specials. Also there relationship with agents. We found this quite refreshing and very helpful. It would be good if other 'lines' were as open on these issues. A 'Q and A' session at the end was unhurried and everyone was able to ask there individual questions, long after the session was supposed to conclude. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we had a fantastic time. We had a 2 week trip to Italy planned and decided it would be fun to sail home instead of fly. There were a lot of positives but there were some things that we ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we had a fantastic time. We had a 2 week trip to Italy planned and decided it would be fun to sail home instead of fly. There were a lot of positives but there were some things that we didn't like about this ship. Embarkation in Rome was very quick and easy. Disembarkation in Miami was an absolute disaster. The problems could have been avoided if the ship improved their process. Times were assigned but they had no way of tracking which times people had. So at least half of the people got in line with the first group departing causing a huge jam in the terminal. We got in line at 8:45 and finally got to the luggage area at 10:00. Immigration took another 45 minutes which was the cruise lines fault but may have been better with a more controlled process. Our cabin was fantastic. Plenty of room for all of our belongings. Cleaning services was fantastic. Bathroom layout and space was great. Shower had really nice pressure and a lot of space. One negative is the mini fridge. It's a waste of valuable space and who would use it especially with the Ultimate Beverage Package. Room maintenance problems: When we tried to flush our toilet for the first time it clogged. This was 15 minutes after we got to our room (and was not our fault if you know what I mean). I told the cabin steward about it and had to complain again when it wasn't fixed 3 hours later. Took 5 hours to finally be corrected. A couple of days into the cruise it clogged again but was fixed much quicker this time and we didn't have a problem again. Our AC worked great for the first 9 days of the cruise but then didn't cool as well for the last 5. I asked Guest Services to look at it but never heard back if they actually did and it never improved. Cabin location was not ideal. You were not close to O'Sheehan's and had to go down a very winding hall to get there. Pool and buffet areas were 4 floors up and buffet was on the other end of the ship. Main restaurants were on the other side of the ship. If I took this ship again I would do so with a rear cabin. Dining on the ship was good. We had 4 nights of specially dining. Cagney's Steakhouse gets 5 stars and we ate there twice. The Brazilian Steakhouse and the Teppanyaki gets 4 stars. The free Asian restaurant also gets 4 stars and we ate there several times. The Buffet gets 3.5 stars. Most of the food was very good but the layout was horrible. There are a lot of narrow areas that were constantly log jammed. Food was different at different areas and confusing. Ice and water machines were terrible and often had out of order signs. Entertainment was mediocre. We went to several shows and most would receive 3 stars. The bar entertainment was better however the sound setup in most of the bars distorted the music and singing which made it bad. Bars: Best bar on the ship is the mojito bar inside the Brazilian Steakhouse. It's very small and most people don't even know about it so it was private. Bar staff was fantastic. A general issue on this ship is the staffing levels in the bars. There are some really good bartenders but they need help. If you ordered a drink from your seat you were going to wait for a long time. Best thing to do is to go the bar as most of the bartenders wait on people first and then work on the orders from the wait staff when then have free time. Casino: Nice selection of games. I only play poker and I was pleasantly surprised to find a real poker table on board (instead of the machines that most cruise ships have). The negative was the rake. 10% with a max of $25 is ridiculous. Having said that I did play on about 9 days and left the cruise up a couple of hundred because there are some really bad players which overcomes the horrible rake. Other negative about the casino is that they allow smoking. There is no ventilation and there were days when I wanted in and immediately left because you couldn't breathe. The Gatsby bar is down the hall and you could often smell smoke there when you were having a cocktail. Ultimate Beverage Package: It was really good with most drinks included. Also plenty of wine options. Negatives: bottled water and specially coffee is not included (both are included on other cruise lines that I've used). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise to travel with friends, and specifically for the Funchal port which we ended up missing. This was probably not the cruise lines fault, but we could have made better use of our Barcelona time if we had known in advance ... Read More
We chose this cruise to travel with friends, and specifically for the Funchal port which we ended up missing. This was probably not the cruise lines fault, but we could have made better use of our Barcelona time if we had known in advance about the repairs that they were doing. Overall the biggest disappointment on this ship was the food, followed by the service level, and finally the overall appearance of the ship. The food was barely above all inclusive resort standard....usually lukewarm, often over salted to an amazing degree, and variable. Sometimes overdone, sometimes underdone. We had a package with the paid restaurants, in which the food was very good. The service level in the restaurants, with one or two notable exceptions, was horrendous. We avoided Versailles after about day 3, after we waited 45 minutes between ordering dessert and receiving it. Cagneys steak was excellent, but there were mixups on orders, entrees arriving at different times for the table....I expected way better. On board service was also variable. The staff just seemed more interested in talking to each other than to serving guests. Our steward very grudgingly brought us requested bathrobes after about 2 days, which ended up having no tie belts. Service in any restaurant was exceedingly slow, unless you were lucky enough to get a really great server. It was hard to believe this ship just came out of refurbishment. Our cabin had cracks in the plastic on the floor edging in the bathroom, and overall the ship is run down looking. We received towels and facecloths with holes in them. Cleaning buckets were always left in the hallways; a major tripping hazard and just not a professional look. Public washrooms were hard to locate, and often non functional. This ship just feels tired, and so do the staff. There is just no positive energy. No activities planned for the transatlantic days - I've been on other transatlantics such as Carnival, which planned a shipboard "Olympics" which was really fun. There is almost nothing for added activities on this ship, and curiously, only 4 round deck relaxing "pods" for the whole ship, which must have been staked out for the day by about 5 am. After 6 sea days in a row, they chose to do the famous "White Night Party" the night before our first shore day, which is just remarkably poor planning. The library is not overly well stocked, and I never saw anyone there to check out books, even during the posted hours. Sadly, this trip is almost enough to make me reconsider Norwegian. I can live with the nickel and diming, I know they have a rep for that, but I think all cruise lines do it. I'd rather not be telephoned in my cabin to be sold things though, that is over the top, and it did happen on this trip. We have been on the Jewel and the Epic, and I think the Jewel was really well managed and fun. On the Jewel, we purchased a next trip coupon. We chose not to this time, as we are no longer certain we will travel with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Our friends who we cruise with every couple of years suggested this cruise and we loved the itinerary and wanted to try the Star. We did this cruise back to back with the Caribbean cruise after this one. Embarkation in Civvi was very ... Read More
Our friends who we cruise with every couple of years suggested this cruise and we loved the itinerary and wanted to try the Star. We did this cruise back to back with the Caribbean cruise after this one. Embarkation in Civvi was very easy; we were not in the suites waiting area long at all, the concierge basically said welcome, and a butler came by and escorted us onto the ship. He took us to Moderno for lunch where all the suite passengers can eat lunch. After a nice leisurely lunch we went to our suite. We loved O'Sheehan's. Always friendly and never seemed too busy. The chicken wings are great. We ate at Ginza a couple of times and were pleased. Service was excellent, food hot. I was wishing there was a wider selection of sushi. Moderno was very good. Again slow the first time around. Second time much, much better. Lots of things to choose from and very good meat. Teppanyaki was outstanding. The show was fun, the food melted in your mouth. Service was good except the first time a waiter kept yelling in my ear (I couldn't hear because the chefs were singing). I'm not a fan of the cake for dessert but the green tea ice cream is really good! Cagney's was very good; melt in your mouth steaks. The second time I ate there, however, I literally walked out of the place because I had already waited an hour for my entree. The third visit they were extremely attentive and the service was very good. LeBistro was off the chain wonderful. It remains my favorite place to eat on NCL. The Garden Cafe was mostly cafeteria food quality. One night my friend wanted a quick dessert and they had closed 15 minutes early. I enjoyed the "deck food" burgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit and the like on sea days. The pool was nice, a little chilly at first but fine after that. There are 4 hot tubs on deck with varying temperatures. Suite passengers can eat in Moderno for breakfast and Cagney's for lunch. Moderno brought one of my cruise mates a cold waffle. Service was slow. Once we found a waiter we liked, Dennis, we had quick service and great food. Cagney's for lunch was very good and service better. I went to the spa one time for a pedicure. It was fine, the lady was engaging and friendly. Of course she tried to sell me everything in there, but I did not want anything but a pedicure. Activities and entertainment were so-so. I ran into the cruise director (Simon) only twice; once at the VIP party and once in the Atrium. He was very friendly but otherwise the only time we ever heard him was on the loudspeaker every day. Cruise staff was not to be found. Later on I was told because of the weather, the staff was mostly in Bliss Lounge. This was weather-related; our first few days out of Barcelona were chilly. I did not attend any shows. I cannot speak for them firsthand. Our cruise mates were very happy with the shows. The casino is fine, played 3 card and blackjack. The dealers were friendly and a lot of fun. I am a smoker, and on this cruise, the smoking area on deck 12 was sadly neglected, a lot of full ashtrays. It became apparent toward the end of the cruise that someone got spoken to, because it sure was kept clean the last few days! You may smoke on deck 12 portside, deck 13 at Sky High Bar, and on deck 7 outside of 5 O'Clock somewhere. Our concierge was the best we have ever had; Suzanna. She walked on deck every day and made sure to stop and say hi, ask how you were doing and if you needed anything. When restaurant reservations were confused, she would straighten those out right away (my fault, not hers). She had not seen me for a day or so and actually left a voice mail to see how I was doing. That woman is the hardest working concierge I have ever encountered. Our butler was Loy, he was amazing also. If you needed so much as a bowl of potato chips, he was right on that and happy to deliver. The stateroom attendant was Artie. Our room was sparkling clean all of the time. And for you towel animal fans, he never missed a night of leaving one on the bed. We got an extra night in Barcelona, because of heavy weather to our west. We took advantage of that and got to go into town and spend time milling around and eating some great food. We had to skip Portugal because of the weather, which is understandable. Our shore excursion in St. Maarten was very good, we had a very informative and friendly guide on our way to the airport to watch the planes. Disembarkation in Miami was easy for suite passengers and more difficult for non-suite passengers. The ship not only had to go through customs, but a CDC inspection and a USGC inspection. Many crew members had to be up at 3:30 AM for immigration. Many were blaming NCL for this. This was not NCL's fault. This was the United States Government. I definitely would sail the Star again. My humble opinion is that there was a young, inexperienced crew working in the dining venues, they seemed very overwhelmed and tired. I'm sure this will improve. I do not cruise for the food itself, I cruise for the cruise experience. Read Less
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