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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because it left from New York, a city I love & was going east, one of my firsts, having done 2 TAs from Europe. Another first was the roll call which was quite active but toxic sometimes. Never been on a roll ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it left from New York, a city I love & was going east, one of my firsts, having done 2 TAs from Europe. Another first was the roll call which was quite active but toxic sometimes. Never been on a roll call before where posts were removed!! I had hoped to finally visit the Guggenheim Museum while in NYC but that didn't happen, instead I lined up around the block to eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner, a place I had never gotten to before. I must say it was worth the wait, the food was good as was the entertainment. I really liked my room at the Pod Hotel on 42nd Street, it had quite the view, was close to the Port Authority Building where the Newark Express bus drops one off & also close to a Cake Boss bakery! I took a cab to the port asking the driver to let me off at the corner of 49th & 12th as recommended by my friend. He didn't & we sat in traffic 'til he could turn into the port which cost me about $20 quite a bit more than the $6.50 if he'd let me off where I requested. Met my friends inside then waited a little while, I think we were group 3 or 5 & both Platinum Plus. We headed straight away for lunch at O'Sheehan's where I had a Reuben sandwich with potato chips & a Coke that should have cost me $4+. SO the cruise begins with 6 sea days ahead, lots of meals, entertainment, lectures, gambling etc. The weather wasn't the best & there was one day where it was a little rocky. Unlike a lot of people onboard I had a great time which could have been because of the people I hung out with but also because I did not contract the noro virus or have any problems with guest services. Being on a ship with noro virus was a first I could have done without. I was amazed at the measures NCL took to avoid it spreading & the captain's tough position saying anybody who broke quarantine would be put off at the next port. I found the food to be to my liking wherever I ate & for the 1st time I had a 4 dinner package as well as my 2 Platinum specialty dinners. This cruise I had more perks than I'd ever had before thanks to a roll call member mentionning a new offer. I also had 200 minutes of phone calls which came in handy for calling my sister & good friend on their special birthdays, as well as hubby at home. The calls were really clear, just had a little delay. The entertainment was varied & mostly good. I really enjoyed the Legends in Concert: Michael Jackson, Tina Turner & Elvis. Deal or No Deal was fun to watch as were the Newlywed Game & the Dancing with the Stars type show. The lecture lady about all things Irish & the other one about having a better life were informative. The ports were the major attraction for me on this cruise as it would be my 1st visit to Ireland, country of my grandad's birth. I mostly booked private tours with other CC members & really had a good time. The ones I did through NCL from Zeebrugge (Flanders Fields) & Tilbury (Canterbury Cathedral) were fine too & the guides really good. I don't mind traveling on the big buses like some do. My cabin steward Emerson was good, friendly, brought me ice when it was allowed & made me many towel animals which I always look forward to He was quick to rearrange my beds when requested. I was surprised by the free movies on the tv, recent ones such a Green Book, A Star is Born, A Dog's Way Home & Instant Family. A guide to movies shown is available at guest services although it's a bit hard to read. I didn't interact with the CD Pedro or his staff as I didn't attend any trivia on this ship, also a first! I went to one Bingo & found the caller did it at a nice speed, sometimes it really drags on but he was quick. The photographic staff were really nice & took some good/fun pictures. The internet cafe manager was a gem, funny & patient even with the long line ups the 1st couple of days. I had 250 free minutes but upgraded to unlimited which was expensive IMO but worth it to me as I love my phone. Some things were different, maybe because of the noro virus or whatever it was like no farewell show. The solo meet up the 2nd night was overwhelming with over 30 people attending. I met a nice male friend there but didn't usually attend the gatherings or meals as I had new friends onboard to do things with. Solo travel is so much better on the bigger NCL ships with studio cabins. I did self disembarkation after one last breakfast at O'Sheehan's, a restaurant I really enjoyed throughout the cruise. That's all I can think of at the moment but will conclude by saying I really enjoyed the cruise & wasn't disappointed at all. I also had a great time with my Dutch friend I'd met on the Epic in 2011, who showed me around Amsterdam for 2 days. The Avenue Hotel where I stayed for 2 nights was great, lovely room, big breakfast & really close to a lot of places especially Centraal Station. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise so that my veteran husband could visit Normandy and the American Cemetary. Flew into NYC day before cruise. Embarkation was exhausting. Long lines. Ditto didembarkation. We loved our balcony cabin! Comfy bed and fresh ... Read More
We chose this cruise so that my veteran husband could visit Normandy and the American Cemetary. Flew into NYC day before cruise. Embarkation was exhausting. Long lines. Ditto didembarkation. We loved our balcony cabin! Comfy bed and fresh bedding everyday. Kudos to Yu!!! Def didnt pack the right clothes! We needed warmer things incl jackets and sweaters. Even gloves! Cold and rainy and stormy across Atlantic and in most all ports except Cobh.Dining was ok. Love the Freestyle idea. Buffet was too crowded. By the time we found seating food was cold. Ate breakfast at OSheehans every day. Thank you to Steven- a customer service oriented server! Shows were soso. We enjoyed the shows on ship tv. Liars Club etc. The Pearl needs to work on excursion organization and esp tendering. We missed Dublin because of the tender ops. We had a fun time and will go again! Maybe on another NCL ship! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We just completed a 19 day Panama canal cruise on the Gem and there was an opportunity to cruise again. Since a TA was on our bucket list, we had three choices to check this one off the list. Seems the Getaway ( 4/27 ), Pear and Jade all ... Read More
We just completed a 19 day Panama canal cruise on the Gem and there was an opportunity to cruise again. Since a TA was on our bucket list, we had three choices to check this one off the list. Seems the Getaway ( 4/27 ), Pear and Jade all had TA's scheduled to sail out of NYC. The Pearl was chosen since the first stop was in Ireland, a place we always wanted to see. Embarkation was out of Manhattan on pier 90, the Escape was docked at 88. I was expecting chaos at the terminal but it went unusually smooth, we arrived around 11 am and was aboard before noon. Since we booked the cruise under 60 days our first cabin was a GTY oceanview but working with a very good travel agent we were upgraded to a balcony along with no DSC as an added perk. Our cabin 9090 was a 4 person but I still don't know how. Everything was in working condition and clean. We did find the TV was just that a TV. We couldn't do anything else, seems strange that the ship was that backward with technology. Going down to the front desk and getting a print out of your account became a hassle since we found several items charged that shouldn't be, so going down every morning became a chore. Overall the ship appeared to be dated, Bliss lounge still had the leisure suit Larry feel to it, bowling alleys still there, no flow thru the bar central area ( had to snake around the bar stools and chairs ) and the crystal lights above the Atrium not working. Since we had this unwanted guest we avoided the MDR's for the first week and had our meals at the specialty restaurants. We found during the later half our cruise the food in the MDR's was subpar compared to the GEM. Pedro and his staff did a fantastic job, need to change up the liars club words and the newlywed show ( starting to get old ). NCL production shows above average, guest entertainers were also above average ( loved Bud and JP ). Since we had this unwanted guest, we watched the shows from the nose bleed section. Service at first seemed to be off, slow but as the cruise went along there appeared to an improvement. Because of the unwanted guest, the internet appeared to be really slow since a lot of the PAX remained in their cabins. Oh, the unwanted guest went by his nickname, Noro. Nobody ( except NCL ) really knows how many got sick, the captain and CD did mention that they were at stage #2 and they never have seen it this bad before. Stage #2 is the highest level of countermeasures ( paper menus, no salt / pepper at the tables, no self-serving at the buffet, ect. ) they use to contain the virus. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I wanted to go on a TransAtlantic crossing and thought the ports we visited were very interesting and enjoyable. The A.G.E. virus was brought on board by a passenger on this trip; I had been on the trip right before it and there were no ... Read More
I wanted to go on a TransAtlantic crossing and thought the ports we visited were very interesting and enjoyable. The A.G.E. virus was brought on board by a passenger on this trip; I had been on the trip right before it and there were no problems of this sort. The General Manager announced that there was a problem at the end of the Q&A by the Hotel Department and then they spent the rest of the trip trying to get the situation under control by increasing measures and restrictions. If it is true that this virus takes a day or two to show up, I can see why this was so difficult. Personally I didn't get sick and spent part of every day in my favorite area, the Bridge Viewing Room. In addition, I ate dinner most nights with the Solo Travelers Group in the main dining room and only one of them had gotten sick. I talked to a person from the cruise at the airport in Toronto after the cruise and she said that she was exposed to someone who was sick in her transportation from the airport before the trip and she was one of the folks who got sick early in the trip. Even if the original sick person had not been allowed to come on board, the others would have brought the illness on board. As a school teacher, we have similar problems with sick people exposing others and this is a tough problem to deal with any where. Another reviewer from this trip (someone who did get sick) had a very negative view of the measures that were taken to try to prevent the problem from spreading and also complained about the use of the ship's tenders in one of the ports. I think that it is good that the ships have to practice using their own tenders in case we actually need to use them in an emergency and didn't find the process tedious as was described by the person who didn't get the opportunity to see the historic port where we landed through the eyes of persons who were able to enter and land at this very interesting location. I feel bad for people who go on a TranAtlantic, North Atlantic cruise in the spring who didn't assume that they would encounter colder weather but had been sold on the trip as being a nice cheap two week cruise. My main reason for going on the TranAtlantic cruise was that I wanted to experience the crossing and am looking forward to going to Rome in October to take the Pearl's trip back to Miami, Florida. I really enjoy being on the Ocean and watching the weather and how the ship reacts to it as well as watching coming in and out of ports. I'm not one who enjoys "regular cruise ship activities" like hanging out at the pool or spas or going to the gym or shows but I really enjoy walking the outside decks and just being on the water and visiting the ports. I think that it is great that so many people can be on the same ship, taking the same cruise and all having very different and personalized experiences and think that is a great benefit of a cruise ship. The reason I only gave the trip a 4 is that there was a notable problem with passenger complaining and non compliance with reasonable requests made by the crew that then made it harder for the crew to not absorb some of their negativity and because some of the activities I had planned to do were cancelled due to the above listed illness problems. If I had known when I signed up to go what I know now, I definitely would have gone of this trip and am looking forward to a Rome to Rome trip on the NCL Pearl that I am doing this July as well. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review April 28th - May 25th, 2019 If you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Voyage 01: Transatlantic Eastbound (13 Day) April 28th - May 11th, 2019 NYC ... Read More
Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review April 28th - May 25th, 2019 If you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Voyage 01: Transatlantic Eastbound (13 Day) April 28th - May 11th, 2019 NYC -> Cobh, Ireland -> Dun Laoghaire, Ireland -> Paris (Le Havre), France -> London (Tilbury), England -> Ghent (Zeebrugge), Belgium -> Amsterdam, Netherlands Voyage 02: Northern Europe (14 Day) May 11th - May 25th, 2019 Amsterdam, Netherlands -> Newhaven, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom -> Invergordon, Scotland, United Kingdom -> Bergen, Norway -> Flam, Norway -> Hellesylt/Geiranger, Norway -> Giant’s Causeway Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom -> Dublin, Ireland -> Rouen (Le Havre), France -> London (Tilbury), England -> Brugge (Zeebrugge), Belgium -> Amsterdam, Netherlands My words of wisdom for cruising with NCL: Don’t treat the crew like crap. The crew are people too. Check your onboard account daily. Listen to announcements and read the freestyle daily for information. History: I’m Platinum latitudes and this would be voyages 08 & 09 with NCL. I originally reserved this B2B voyage while I was on the Gem sailing (NY - Quebec, Sept 2018). Although I had this B2B under 1 reservation number, the Cruise Consulate was actually able to use 2 Cruise Next certificates to secure this booking. We had a previous good relationship as he also remembered me from previous voyages on the Breakaway. Originally I reserved an IB (Inside) category cabin for the 27 day voyage but I used 30,000 BoA NCL MC WorldPoints to upgrade to an OC Category cabin. Also at the time, since I booked an inside cabin I selected the 1 free offer of 4 speciality dining. I would complete the upgrade from IB to to OC as well as payments with my USAA TA. Once my upgrade was completed and I got my cabin assignment a bunch of things showed up in my account. That I didn’t expect, and I didn’t know what to make of it. What showed up is available in my (AMENITY INVOICE) An onboard spending credit of $200. Free $50 USD On-Board Credit Certificate Non -Refundable, QTY 2
Specialty Dining Package, QTY 2
Internet Package (250 Minutes or 1GB), QTY 1
Shore Excursions Promotional Credit, QTY 1
Latitude Reward program 30 min internet, QTY 2
120 Min Ship to Shore Phone Calls, QTY 1 In addition, I’m also an NCL Stockholder and I submitted my shareholder benefit application. $250 Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 15 Days or More. $100 Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 7 to 14 Days. However, on paper I received 2 ($100) on board credits instead of the $250 for a 27 day voyage. I called NCL to see if I could get the $250 credit but the person I spoke with said that their computer saw my reservation as 2 voyages although it was under the same reservation. He did also say that he would see what he could do when I ended the conversation. Built in 2006 and refurbished in 2017, this would be my 1st time on the Pearl, 3rd TA crossing and my 2nd east bound voyage and the last of all 4 of the Jewel class vessels in the NCL fleet (Jewel, Jade, Gem, Pearl). I would also be bringing along my Citizen Miami folding bike which I had done on previous voyages. Cabin review below. I found the food overall on this voyage to be very good. From the behind the scenes tour I found that they are on a 14 day rotating dinner menu. Typically I would start my day with breakfast in the Summer Palace MDR (4 juices (2 grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 cranberry), oatmeal, then a rotating entree choice). For lunch I would vary having lunch in a different restaurant location. For Dinner I alternated every other day in a speciality restaurant or the MDR Indigo and dining only once in the Lotus Garden. The food wasn’t bad in Lotus Garden but it wasn’t Chinese either. I was telling my cousin who joined us for the 2nd voyage that I think most of the food is 10% authentic and 90% cruise ship, meaning that don’t really expect german food when they say it’s a german buffet or when it’s a specific theme night with the exception of the Indian food in the buffet which was really surprisingly really good. I found all the shows to be entertaining. The aerialists on board were my favorite. I did get to see the NCL Pearl’s main production cast of singers and dancers perform their main acts 3 or 4 times. If you are going to see the same show, for a different perspective I suggest sitting in a different location then you sat in from the previous show. I also brought this up with the Production manager during the ship tour on ships entertainment outside of the production cast seems to be broken down to: magician, juggler, comedian, musician or hypnotist. She agreed that seems to be the entertainment spectrum. The lecturer they had on board during the TA was to talk about Ireland but was not really that interesting but good try. This ship in general I found to be in good condition. There were no major areas of the ship that needed to be worked on and I did all kinds of wandering around the ship. For a quite space to watch over the water head up to the Sun Deck, Deck 14, starboard side of the ship, and can be access only by 1 staircase. To get to the Sun Deck start yourself at the rock wall on Deck 13 and follow along the starboard side while walking towards the front of the ship then go up the stairs at mid ship. This area doesn’t get used a lot. The other quite place on board the ship is Deck 11 Port side and forward which is the “Bridge Viewing Area”. The “Bridge Viewing Area” is the same location on all Jewel class ships in NCL’s fleet. April 28th, 2019 - Boarding in NYC There were also 2 other NCL ships in NYC that day (NCL Jade & Escape). I remember I was walking with my bike in the ship terminal when I got to the checkin desk and handed my documents over. I’ve previously gotten questions about the bike, but the person behind the desk asked me if he had rented me a car from Avis a week ago, which in fact he had done. This was his 2nd job. I thought that encounter remarkable. Boarding in NY (April 28th) went pretty smoothly and we ended up having lunch in the O’Sheehan’s. They also turned Lotus Garden in to a baggage storage area so I was able park my bike there until our rooms were ready. Boarding in Amsterdam (May 11th) was a huge mess for everyone but me and perhaps those others doing the back to back (B2B). The crew did this huge cleaning and sanitizing when the ship arrived to Amsterdam. But since I was on a B2B voyage and in the same room they gave me a B2B sticker so I didn’t have to do anything and just skipped the boarding process in the terminal. I didn’t even wait for the all clear for rooms to be ready as my room was the same room and it was already ready. My cabin steward as well as the cabin steward next to him knew what was up when they saw me. While my Aunt and cousin who were boarding the Pearl in Amsterdam did have to wait in line to check-in, after biking around Amsterdam and returning to the ship I went back to my room and took a shower and a nap. I did take anything they didn’t want to hold while waiting in line back to my cabin. I believe the crew took extra time cleaning the ship so there was a long delay in having all the rooms ready which was unfortunate but necessary. April 29th - May 04th, 2019 - Sea Days We had our CC M&G in the Bliss Lounge and it was a pretty good turn out. I also did the behind the scenes ship tour which included trips to the MDR, ship laundry and theater which was very entertaining and I also assisted with the slot pull. There was an outbreak of either AGE or Noro Virus on this 1st voyage but I didn’t catch it. I always used the hand sanitizers when ever possible or appropriate but from previous voyages I knew to do that before, hence why I don’t thin I got sick. By day 4, the ship did implement their upgraded containment procedures to keep passengers safer as people didn’t seem to either listen or take it seriously. As a result in the MDR, silverware, napkins and menus were brought to the tables only after you sat down. In the buffet you could no longer server yourself, instead a crew member had to serve you the item, this included the beverage areas too. I didn’t have a problem with this. They were also able to do the immigration inspection for Ireland on day 5 in the Spinnaker lounge however on my previous TA crossing they did that too. Over the course of the voyage I also did as many activities as possible and like to think I came to know the CD staff on this voyage pretty well. CD Pedro & Assistant CD Tiara CD Staff: Paul (Transferred from the Jade on April 28th), Cathryn, William, Gabby, Firat, Monica, MariAnna, Taz, Tracy, MariAnna, Katerina (on 2nd voyage which was her very 1st voyage), Facia (on 1st voyage but not 2nd) and Yasmine By random chance, I kept on running in to Captain Paul at dinner in the speciality restaurants, he and his party kept being seated at the table next to mine. Captain Paul von Knorring now calls Florida home but is originally from Helsinki, Finland. On the 2nd to last day of the 2nd voyage in Zeebrugge (May 24th) I ran in to Captain Paul on land. Captain Paul was with his wife and they were dressed like any other tourist from the ship but we recognized each other right away. Captain Paul remarked that he was impressed to just find out that I had brought my bicycle with me all this time. On May 05th, upon arrival to our first destination Cork, Ireland, I had booked a NCL ships excursion to visit Blarney Castle. It was a good excursion and yes I did kiss the Blarney stone. That all being said the next day, I was going over my onboard account and noticed that I got double the Shore Excursion Credit ($50 * 2) for the excursion. I couldn’t figure out why that happened. But then it happened again in Lehavre, France (May 08th) and again in Zeebrugge, Belgium (May 10th) for the NCL excursion. So even if the excursion was less then $100, NCL still gave me $100 per excursion. Unfortunately that was only on the 1st voyage. On the 2nd voyage I think the Shore Excursion people caught on to that mistake and only gave me the regular single $50 credit for each NCL excursion. Towards the end of the 2nd voyage, I stopped by and asked the shore excursion people why I was getting double shore excursion credit on the previous voyage and they also couldn’t figure out why but left the double credit in place. My ending balance on the 1st voyage was around -$223.40 and I was worried that negative balance wouldn't transfer to the next cruise so I went to the casino and charged $195 to my onboard account. The casino charges 3% for the transaction but I ended up winning an additional $130 playing ultimate texas holdem so that worked out. On May 06th we were in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, which is a suburb of Dublin. This was a tender port and May 06th happened to also be a holiday (Mayday). I had nothing planned that day but I did have my bike. I had been to Dublin in May 2017 and also planned to visit Dublin on our next voyage (May 20th). But I’d never been to Dun Laoghaire before, so my plan was to ride around Dun Laoghaire on my bike. Apparently, while the ship was scheduled to arrive @ 8:00AM, people thought that they could get off at 8:00AM and as such began queuing up in the stairwell before 8:00AM. There were numerous, NUMEROUS announcements to not queue in the main stairwell and that they were also passing out tender tickets. I had gone to get one but being platinum I knew that I didn’t need one, but I also knew that I should not try to be the 1st one off of the ship. No one that was standing in the main stairwell paid any attention to any of the announcements from CD Pedro nor did they follow any of the instructions from NCL staff present. Around 10:00AM I went to have a look at the main stairwell, walking up from deck 5 to deck 7 and found the queue which began on deck 4 and went all the way up to deck 7 and then extending towards the Lotus Garden both impressive and disturbing. While I didn’t count, it was literally wall to wall people compressed together trying to be the first off. I think each tender will hold 100 people and each tender takes 1 hour to complete it’s journey. You can do the math. What I realized was that for tendering operations NCL will give priority disembarkation in the following manner: 01) NCL Ships excursions
02) Haven guests
03) Gold and above latitude members 04) General Tender ticket holders (01 - 50) 05) Anyone Rather then wait in a queue on the stairs I just did normal stuff (breakfast and then trivia @ 9:15AM) until I heard the announcement that (Anyone) could get off which was around 11:00AM. I believe and understand that for the majority of the people on this voyage that: - they were unaware this would be a tender port, - they were unaware this would not be in Dublin city, - this was there only chance to visit Dublin, - they had booked their own shore excursion and were planning on meeting their guid/group at a certain time, - it was a 30 minute tender trip from the Pearl to land and then 30 minutes to get from land back to the Pearl I too was also unaware that May 06th was a holiday (Mayday), or that every tender from the Pearl was required to also have a local escort for each tender from the Pearl to the harbor and then escort the tender back out of the harbor. At 11:00AM I heard the announcement from CD Pedro that I could get off so I went back to my cabin, got my bike and changed to my riding gear. By 11:15 I was on a tender with my bike and by 12:00PM I was on land and riding around Dun Laoghaire. I had a great time in Dun Laoghaire. I followed the heritage trail to the James Joyce Tower and Museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Joyce_Tower_and_Museum which also happened to be free admission that day so I went in and up. I then rode on to the Obelisk on top of, Killiney Hall Park http://archiseek.com/2014/1742-obelisk-killiney-hill-co-dublin/ On my way back to the harbor from the Obelisk, I stopped at a red light when a huge group of hundreds of cyclists passed by me. They were all on a family fun ride so I just joined them and they ended up showing me the bike paths of Dun Laoghaire which happen to run parallel to the train tracks. 4 hours later I was back at the tender pickup point. I had a great time in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. I had a very good time on this 1st voyage but a great time on the 2nd voyage. There was a lot of negative energy on the 1st voyage. There were many also many sea days. On the 2nd voyage that included a similar itinerary but aded 4 stops in Norway the negative energy that was present on the 1st voyage seemed to have gotten off in Amsterdam and we had really perfect weather for every stop on the 2nd voyage. There were also very few sea days. Our only tender port on the 2nd voyage was in Edinborough, Scotland (May 13th) but that went smoothly as they were using tenders from the port and it also wasn’t a holiday. I got a lot of use out of my bicycle on both voyages and highly recommended you giving bringing a helmet and bicycle on your next voyage. Holland America is the only line that has a ban on all bicycles. Our one bad NCL ships excursion was in Rouen (Le Havre), France where it would have been much better if the guide had provided or used a microphone and wireless headset system as they had been used in the other ports. Lastly, since I’m platinum I’m entitled to a free bag of laundry, per voyage. However on my 2nd voyage I needed to go down to the front desk to have them correct the laundry charge for that voyage. In general I had a great time. The 2nd voyage was better then the 1st and I really enjoyed most of the destinations we went to and would do it again. The crew did a fantastic job and it’s always good to see relatives that I don’t get to see often. If you have any questions, please feel free to look up my account and see in which topic I’ve posted to recently and write me a msg there. Remember if you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Safe travels! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I had done a transatlantic cruise on the Breakaway last April, but our travel companions had to back out due to a late medical problem. So we decided to get together this year and do it again with everyone being healthy ... Read More
My wife and I had done a transatlantic cruise on the Breakaway last April, but our travel companions had to back out due to a late medical problem. So we decided to get together this year and do it again with everyone being healthy again. The cruise left from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, which is a bit hard to find, and is not really an inviting place to sit and wait for boarding instructions. However, once on board, everything went well. We had lunch in the Main Dining Room (MDR) and proceeded to our cabin (a mid-ship mini suite on Deck 11). We met our cabin steward, and have him a small cash tip to ensure good service. We never saw him again, but I must say that he did his job very efficiently and our cabin was always clean and made up after breakfast and turned down each evening. The cabin was comfortable with lots of storage space and nice verandah. Food onboard was of very good quality. We ate in the Alizar dining room a few times and found it noisy and cramped. The menu there was always identical to the menu in the MDR. My biggest problem was with the shortage of variety from day to day. Appetizers did not often change and the main entree page, while being different almost every day, often did not appeal to me. Having said that, the food was well prepared and always arrived hot. Servers varied from VERY attentive and friendly, to almost indifferent and slow. One evening in the MDR, we were seated in a corner and almost forgotten. In order to make the 9 PM show, we had to get up and leave before dessert because the server was incompetent and brought the wrong items. But, for the most part, service was good. We did enjoy the wide variety of buffet items for all three meals. Breakfast was as one would expect, with all the usual offerings. The burgers and pizza at lunch were always well prepared. Lots of great dinner items, with a different cuisine highlighted each evening. Entertainment and shows were of varying quality. We did NOT like the Cruise Director, Claire Booth. She is British, and had a nasty habit of affecting a snooty accent when making public announcements which drove us nuts! We did not find her outgoing, as has been the case with other CDs we've encountered. She did a daily TV show on the ship's system with here assistant Fabi, which was painful to watch, almost as bad as watching Hoda and Cathie Lee on NBC. The productions shows were of high quality, but we've seen better on other ships. The compulsory illusionist act was somewhat boring. However, the comedian, Tony Daro, was laugh-out-loud funny. In addition, a vocalist-violinist, Greta Salome, from Iceland was unbelievably talented. Most amazing violing work I've ever seen. We found out later that she is a violinist in the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. They are lucky to have her. Won a few bucks playing slots in the Casino. Stayed as far away from daytime gambling opps such as "Deal or No Deal," as we learned last year that it is nearly impossible to win at that game. The casino had limited table games of the usual variety. There was plenty of stuff to do onboard during the sea days and the initial six days at sea during the crossing went by pretty quickly. Having the Unlimited Beverage Package made it a lot more enjoyable as we could have a drink at any time without worrying about the cost. Bartenders were always friendly. Always ordered my Aperol Spritz with a double shot of Aperol and never had a problem asking. Ports of Call were excellent. Our first call was at Ponta Delgada in the Azores. We were there last year, so we opted to walk around the town on our own. Enjoyed the Farmers Market and an outdoor meal at a sidewalk cafe. Second call was in Lisbon, Portugal. We had our own private guide and she was great. Showed us the city, as well as heading out to the town of Sintra. I can't recommend this town enough. It was wonderful! Had lunch i the seaside town of Cascais before returning to the ship. BTW, all of our shore excursions were booked on our own and we never had any problems returning to the ship with plenty of time to spare. Next port was Cadiz, Spain. We left the ship and immediately headed inland to Sevilla. Our guide took us through the Alcazar (incredible!) and then we spent some time at the Feria (an annual fair in Sevilla in May). Unbelievable costumes and displays! The drivere who brought us back to the ship was really nice and gave us a short tour of the city of Cadiz before we got back to the pier. After another day at sea, we arrived in Barcelona. We'd been there a number of times before, so we opted for a private tour of Montserrat. This is an impressive mountain with a monastery and cathedral on top. Very impressive. Excellent British-born driver/guide here and he knew his stuff, which made the day go very quickly. After Barcelona, we stopped in Cannes, France, and had an all-day tour of Cannes, Nice and Monaco. Our guide was so much fun. She took us to the village of Eze and the Galimard perfumery there. Then on to Monaco and Monte Carlo, where we actually won a few Euros in the beautiful Casino Monte Carlo. This was our favorite port call. Next, on to Livorno, where our driver met us in town (we took the ship shuttle bus--for 5 Euros per person--and noted that lots of passengers just ignored the ticket salesperson and hopped on the bus without paying and no one stopped them at all). We went to the small towns of Siena and San Gimignano. Lots of medieval stuff to see there and we had a very nice time. Finally, we arrived at the end of our cruise in Civitavecchia (the port for Rome). Disembarkation went smoothly and our driver/guide met us at the pier. We had booked a port-to-airport transfer with a three-hour included tour of Rome and the tour was wonderful. We had all been to Rome before, but our driver took us to places in Rome that we had never experienced before (along with the usual stops at the Colisseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, etc.). A great way to end our vacation. He took us to the airport and we said "Arrividerci, Roma" to end our 14-day journey. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our second NCL cruise. Our first was on the Escape. Comparable experiences. The food at the Garden Cafe was mediocre. Long lines for omelettes, as usual. Soft serve ice cream was usually too soft. Salad selection never changed. We ... Read More
This was our second NCL cruise. Our first was on the Escape. Comparable experiences. The food at the Garden Cafe was mediocre. Long lines for omelettes, as usual. Soft serve ice cream was usually too soft. Salad selection never changed. We ate breakfast at Savour...much better ambiance and service!!! Great service! We ate mostly at the specialty dining restaurants. Ocean Blue was phenomenal! Le Bistro came in #2. The menu in The Manhattan Room and Taste were identical, at least on the nights were were eating there. We had an aft cabin, port side...which was awesome. Quiet but close to Entourage (our 13 yr old lived there all week) and Spice H2O. It was a little noisy on Glow night but we were there partying, too! I would choose this section again. Some disembarking was done in the aft section (not just mid-section)...which made port days easier. I found final day disembarking long (45min) but there was a delay getting clearance which backed everyone up. We took our own bags off the ship. Some complained of delays retrieving their baggage. Ports... Anthony's Caye in Roatan...the hubby will write a Trip Advisor complaint. It was our second time there. Great experience! Our daughter loved the dolphins which were in ocean water...not a chlorinated pool! However, they jerk d us around with our booking time which created a delay for our returning taxi! We hadn't left the pier and our cab driver was back to get us! Harvest Caye...loved it but NCL should have had food and beverages for free, like NCLs sister island in Bahamas, I believe. Booze and food were not cheap. Also, it's hot as HELL there! We rented a sun shade for $40...worth every penny. Costa Maya...we just toured the shopping area. Cozumel...I got inked! I researched Tattoo parlours...did my homework. Contacted Sailor Ink and am very pleased with the art! Plus they speak perfect English. Sea days were crowded onboard...no surprise! Wake up early to grab lounge chairs! Entertainment was fabulous!!! Burn The Floor, Rick of Ages, Howl at the Moon, the comedians...all top notch! Our CD JC Sanchez.. the king Phillipino of the ship! He's blinged out in a glittery, sequin way. Our captain was very nice. All the staff were friendly and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo ... Read More
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo lounge is a great place to escape from noisy children and obnoxious people. The coffee in the solo lounge is the best on the ship. There are plenty of places to dine with The Local being one of my favourites, but Taste and Savour are also excellent The adult area on the aft deck has two hot tubs and a bar and is a wonderful place to enjoy the scenery. It was the perfect place to view the Golden Gate Bridge sailing out of San Francisco. The crew are attentive and the food was always good. Certainly heard no complaints. The port in Victoria was excellent although a long walk from the city, however again no complaints. The weather was perfect and there was plenty to see and the path to the city was well marked. Embarkation in Los Angeles was a breeze and went much better than I expected. Disembarkation in Vancouver was also quick and painless. I would recommend this ship, especially to solo travellers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We just wanted a getaway for a few days But this one became a memorable one Can't wait to go back. The embarkation in Los Angeles is smooth and quick. We cleared in no time and head straight to the main dining room. The ship ... Read More
We just wanted a getaway for a few days But this one became a memorable one Can't wait to go back. The embarkation in Los Angeles is smooth and quick. We cleared in no time and head straight to the main dining room. The ship itself is really amazing But most importantly, the crew who truly made this trip one for the books. Not only they are courteous and friendly, but they to beyond to make you special. The entertainment is Broadway-class, amenities of the ship is top notch. The food, unforgettable with so much variety. Worth it, every penny spent. Had the chance to meet the Captain and the senior officers when we got invited to the Captain's cocktail party It was an eye opener and a humbling experience, plus you get free booze and canapes. Disembarkation in Vancouver BC is also hassle-free. We hope the future cruises will be like this, if not better. As mentioned earlier, we can't wait to get back to sea. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
My second TA cruise and my second time on the Star. Huge improvement in ship decor and design with new additions like Spice H2O and Bliss lounge, refurbished Garden Cafe. I had an inside cabin on Deck 9. The 2018 Drydock provided as ... Read More
My second TA cruise and my second time on the Star. Huge improvement in ship decor and design with new additions like Spice H2O and Bliss lounge, refurbished Garden Cafe. I had an inside cabin on Deck 9. The 2018 Drydock provided as much needed face-lift on this 19 year old ship. I know the layout of this ship very well and really enjoyed most venues including the specialty restaurants Moderno, La Cucina and Le Bistro. 6 days at sea may not work for everyone, but it was exactly what I was wanted with no work emails or phone calls to return. Cutting the digital cord allowed me to completely relax. Ports were good, no complaints l had never been to Punto Del Gado or the Azores or Madeira and their beauty did not disappoint. Seville and Granada were wonderful trips, as Was Tarragona, our final port for debarkation. Entertainment was ok, not quite the calbre or as polished as on the bigger NCL ships, but not bad. Service was good to excellent in all dining venues, one exception was a Guest Services person who was a tad condescending when i asked to have a bar charge removed from a dining bill. I was charged for 6 glasses of wine when I had ordered just 2. I was a bit annoyed that i had to insist the charge was not accurate. I then had to revisit the same issue 2 more times to get the charge removed. Weather on our cruise was fantastic and the Atlantic was like glass. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Our first transatlantic cruise! Originally scheduled to reach Barcelona but was diverted to Tarragona. Weather during the crossing was fabulous. Sunshine, warm temps and smooth seas. The Star was refurbished last year and was is great ... Read More
Our first transatlantic cruise! Originally scheduled to reach Barcelona but was diverted to Tarragona. Weather during the crossing was fabulous. Sunshine, warm temps and smooth seas. The Star was refurbished last year and was is great shape. Crew was wonderful. Entertainment ranged from great to hohum. Food was up to NCL standard. Ports were great. Could easily use NCL or go on your own. The Roman theatre in Cartagena should not be missed. The nightmare began when we disembarked. We were warned that Tarragona was a small town with limited taxis and to allow extra time. We were not told that Tarragona is an industrial port and not equipped to handle cruise ships. First, the gang plank was extremely steep and dangerous for people with mobility issues and trying to carry off luggage. Then we got into the taxi line with 2000 other people only to learn there were only 5 taxis servicing the pier. There was no pedestrian walkway and the pier was lined coal and other industrial materials so it wasn’t safe to walk off. We waited 3 hours before they finally got a bus to start taking us to the city center and then we walked about 3 blocks to the train station where we had to buy new tickets since we missed our train. We thought allowing 3 hours was reasonable for a 2.8km trip. We never saw an NCL staff person of any authority on the pier accessing the situation. I don’t know how elderly or people with mobility issues endured this situation. It was such a shame to end such a wonderful cruise at such a horrible port. Avoid Tarragona. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was appealing and it had good value. We did not have time to explore Miami before we left, but we had been there before and found it to be a nice city if you can handle high humidity. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was appealing and it had good value. We did not have time to explore Miami before we left, but we had been there before and found it to be a nice city if you can handle high humidity. Embarkation went fairly smoothly. We were on the ship by 12 enjoying our first cocktail of the cruise. On the other hand, disembarkation was a complete nightmare. It was the worst experience we have EVER had leaving a ship. The original, final port was supposed to be Barcelona. However, at some point in time, the final destination was changed to Tarragona with Barcelona in parenthesis, which on other cruises indicates an alternate name for the same city or a city located close at hand. Ex. Thira (Santorini) The reason our ship was shunted to Tarragona, which as it turns out, was more than an hour away from Barcelona, was because Norwegian had also scheduled the Epic, a mega ship with our EXACT itinerary. GRRRR! Just hours away from Epic, the Jade was also scheduled & appeared in port at least once with us. That meant a mad scramble for cabs and overcrowding in historic sites and eateries. Also, the Epic was so monstrous, that Barcelona could not accommodate both ships. That meant, our ship was dumped at an industrial port with no clue how to process passengers through immigration. It was a mad house. We couldn't leave on foot because of security. We waited for our own charter bus they wouldn't let in, because all the ship's shuttle buses had priority. (Norwegian had offered to "help" people get to Barcelona for a mere $30 pp. via their shuttles.) While trying to exit the ship, crew members had been given conflicting information about how to direct people and there was an area where 2 different lines were snaking in opposite directions. In short, it was an awful experience and by the time we got our pre-reserved ride, we arrived in Barcelona 5 hours later. This disembarkation fiasco and the double booking of other Norwegian ships at the same ports, will be at the forefront of our minds when considering whether to sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
I sailed on NCL's April 27 repositioning cruise from Miami to Tarragona. Overall, I had a great time. The cabin, dining room, bar and entertainment staff were all great other than the customer service desk, internet desk and ... Read More
I sailed on NCL's April 27 repositioning cruise from Miami to Tarragona. Overall, I had a great time. The cabin, dining room, bar and entertainment staff were all great other than the customer service desk, internet desk and excursion staff. The latter three categories got the brunt of passenger problems and showed the strain. They were brusk and unhelpful. One more negative: Disembarkation was a nightmare. Originally the cruise was to end in Barcelona. A few months before departure NCL changed the end to Tarragona, 40 or so miles south on the Spanish coast (without notifying people, there were a number of unhappy passengers who had booked hotels in Barcelona). Tarragona is fairly small and didn't have near enough taxis to accommodate a couple of thousand people in the space of a couple of hours. NCL appeared to think its responsibility ended when you got to the bottom of the gangway. There you were in a line (more a scrum) of a few hundred people jostling for a ride into town. It took about an hour and a half to get a cab. NCL earned a lot of dissatisfaction that morning. On to the good. Staff: The cabin steward was pretty much perfect. Whatever you might want seemed to appear before you thought to ask. He went so far as to straighten a pair of shoes I'd thrown in a corner. The restaurants and bars had great service with a smile. The exception was O'Sheehan's, the restaurant, not the bar. The servers were slow and made a number of mistakes in orders. Food: The food was good not great for the most part with the exception, again, of O'Sheehan's which put out pretty bad food. The main dining rooms were on a par with most chain white table cloths restaurants. The buffet? Well it was a buffet, that about says it. Great omelets though. It could get a bit crowded during the mealtime rushes. I ate at the Sushi bar, great; Cagney's, very good; the Asian restaurant whose name escapes me, good and, Le Bistro, excellent. Reservation times were honored; but, the restaurants were never overcrowded, I never had to wait for a table. Internet: I know most people don't care about internet on a cruise. Unfortunately, I need internet to work, even on vacation. The internet was barely adequate and quit working on the last two sea days before getting to the Azores. No notice from NCL as to why it was out or when it would come back on. After twenty minutes standing in line I learned that someone in Miami forgot to "tune" a satellite. And the internet never worked in Spice H2O which is a shame as the area is a really nice place to relax and have a coffee or a glass of wine. Latitude check in: None that I could find. Activities: There were a bunch, none of which interested me. Ports/excursions: I booked one excursion through NCL in Cadiz to the "White Villages" which are about an hour away. The scenery was great, the guide, not so much. Her English was not very good and she spoke it very fast, although that really didn't matter as she set a pace that left most of the, let's call us no longer young, group twenty or so yards away from her so that we couldn't hear what she said anyway. I enjoyed wandering around all of the ports through great architectural neighborhoods, stopping for a cappuccino or glass of wine. Food and drink at the cafes and restaurants was dirt cheap by American standards. Drink packages: You'd have to drink from breakfast until going to bed to make the cost of a drink package pay off (well maybe not quite that much). But, if you get one of the higher priced packages and get it as a perk, the $20 a day mandatory tip is a pretty good deal if you look at it as the cost of the drinks and a tip. I'm mostly a wine drinker and while the offerings weren't great, they were quite drinkable. The backbars looked to have most of the "top shelf" liquors you would expect. Entertainment: The primetime acts/shows that I saw were all very good. The lounge and pool deck singers and musicians were okay. NCL app: It worked nicely, showing what you have spent, what the entertainment schedule for the day was and what reservations you had. iMessage, for those with an iPhone, worked well. A couple of other things: I was apprehensive about the ship being crowded as it was sold out, or close to it. Other than in the buffet, I never felt crowded. I'd say the median age of passengers was mid to late sixties. If you are young and looking for some nightlife, you might want to stay away from a transatlantic cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because my husband had never been on a cruise before. That may sound crazy but I knew if I'd picked a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean he would have thought it far too hectic and would have said 'no more'; ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my husband had never been on a cruise before. That may sound crazy but I knew if I'd picked a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean he would have thought it far too hectic and would have said 'no more'; the six days at sea just relaxing was the perfect introduction to cruising. We are from Ontario but have a place in Florida on the Gulf coast. We decided to leave our car in Gulfport and do a one-way only rental to get to Miami port. It was very reasonable and easy to get to the ship since the car rental company had numerous shuttles to the port. Not having to leave our vehicle in long time parking was another plus. Embarkation was smooth and in no time we were sitting in O'Sheehan's having Shepherd's Pie and enjoying a glass of wine. After lunch we did a cursory exploration of the ship while waiting for our stateroom. I've never been on NCL before but even without experiencing the Star pre-refurbishment I have to say based on older images of the pool area, the removal of the slides has vastly improved the vibe. I liked the layout of the ship, its smaller size and the fact you can walk the perimeter on one deck. Our starboard balcony stateroom was near the aft on deck 9. The size was agreeable, the beds comfortable, and it had plenty of storage for our belonging in the closet, in the drawers and under the bed. The bathroom was laid out well. Everything was in perfect working order. We brought a universal plug to increase versatility for using our tablets and phones. We asked our room steward, who was low key and very efficient to remove the bar contents since we had brought our own wine. We don't care about towel animals and won't judge a person's ability to do their job based on the lack thereof. I think they are overworked enough without the added burden of providing towel animals for our entertainment. Being fairly small the only thing I was a little disappointed in was the haze on the glass balcony spoiling my view. But not to fear! A scrubbie and some cleaner got rid of it pretty quick! When we booked we got all the freebies: the specialty restaurants, the drinks package, the strawberries, wine, and internet. I figured because we were on a 15 day cruise I'd purchase an additional 4 specialty restaurant packages so we could alternate between the specialty restaurants and the regular dining venues but decided we wouldn't purchase anymore since it's really a lot of food. We were pleasantly surprised by the food in the regular dining venues. Everything we ate was very good and I loved having breakfast in Versailles and getting perfectly cooked poached eggs and properly brewed tea. With the exception of a tough as shoe leather steak which was traded in for a better entree and some mashed potatoes the consistency of glue we enjoyed the food. We didn't go to all the performances in the theatre but the ones we did go to we enjoyed, especially the Barricade Boys. There were quite a few bands playing around the ship and on the whole they were quite good but one band near the pool had a female singer who was always off-key. I found they were heavily geared to salsa or Spanish music which may have been due to the final destination. I would have liked to hear more jazz. The ports were wonderful. With the exception of the Hop On Hop On buses, we didn't do any excursions, just strolled around the ports, perusing the stores and enjoying the architecture, the gardens, and leisurely lunches. We stayed an extra three days in Barcelona and fell in love with the place. We are planning to do this cruise again next year so we can stay longer in Barcelona. I'd like to say the crowning moment was a smooth disembarkation but that would be a lie. It was smooth going until you got off the ship into a chaotic scene. Huge lineups for non-existent taxis. Lineups for pre-ordered private hire cars or mini buses that couldn't get into the port because of the buses NCL organized for a price. No one knew what the hell was going on. Every person you spoke to who seemed to be in charge gave you conflicting advice: you could walk out of the port, you couldn't walk out of the port, it was forbidden to walk out the port, it was Tarragona's fault, there weren't enough cabs, etc, etc. etc. One police officer I spoke to said the whole debacle was the fault of NCL because they had made no provisions for their passengers to leave the port. Eventually, after an ominous change from sheer frustration to outward anger to their predicaments, the police officer advised that Tarragona was going to provide buses, free of charge, to move out all these people who had been waiting for hours. People missed their train connections, their flights, endured uncomfortable conditions, and NCL staff who refused to get off the ship to talk to passengers. It was pretty shocking. And a quick review of the schedule for cruise ships to dock at Tarragona for 2019 and 2020 shows that they regularly host cruise ships, some much bigger than ours, and have been doing so for a while but in CONJUNCTION with cruise lines who obviously know what the limitations of the port are (industrial) and plan accordingly. I am very disappointed in this introduction to NCL. I am even more disappointed in their continued lack of acknowledgement for this egregious oversight, choosing to take the cowards way out and blame it solely on the port. Not cool, NCL. 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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the Transatlantic because we only had to fly one way across the Atlantic ocean.. Spent the night before the cruise in Orlando, and took am shuttle to ship. Got to Port at 11:00am. It only took 15 minutes after being dropped off, ... Read More
We chose the Transatlantic because we only had to fly one way across the Atlantic ocean.. Spent the night before the cruise in Orlando, and took am shuttle to ship. Got to Port at 11:00am. It only took 15 minutes after being dropped off, to sitting down and ordering lunch in the Haven. Fastest ever. Had just about all our meals in the Haven restaurant. We had the 4 specialty meal package, and 2 more for being platinum members. Used 2 each at Cagney's, La Cucina, and Le Bistro. All 3 were good! The haven had a snack bar by the pool. That was nice for the time after shore excursions and before dinners. Had some room service breakfasts, and the Butler delivered afternoon snacks daily to the suite. Ate 1 meal in the Chinese Restaurant, and once in Cirque of Dreams show. The entertainment on board was good. The main problem was the theatre was way too small for just the 2 shows, with 3,950 cruisers. Had to get to the shows at least 30 minutes before it started, to get a decent seat. And the smaller venues for other smaller shows was way too crowded, too. You can book reservations before cruise for some of the shows. Don't wait until boarding, unless you are in the haven. Ms. Google gave talks about the ports. Their history, things to do, pictures, etc. Not much else to do on 7 sea days. Those were given in the theatre and always full. About the only activity we participated in was gambling in the casino. It has a big casino compared to most other ships, and located right in the middle of ship. If smoke bothers you - dodge it if can. Everybody onboard goes there to smoke. Nelson (Hotel Director) knows about this problem and is working on it. OK! The machines pay out very little. So, NCL probably rakes in a pretty good profit from the casino. Like I said before the ship seems very crowded every where you go. There is no outside deck that goes completely around the ship. Not very much outside space at all, except at the top of the ship. That's the great outdoors and recreational area. The weather was kind of cool to be using the shallow pool, though there were sunbathers out most days. Just glad we were in the Haven where it wasn't so crowded. We booked our shore excursions with NCL for the ports. Platinum Members got 10% off, plus we had 2 $50 shore excursions per cabin per port. That made the prices very reasonable! Most of the tours were longer than the scheduled time allotted for them. Thought they were well worth what we paid. Well satisfied. Disembarking was a big mess! We had a 8:30am tour scheduled for Hop On / Hop Off Bus and drop off at Catalunya Square. We were over 2 hours late getting through cruise terminal to our bus. Then had to wait longer at bus before leaving, waiting for the tardy ones hung up in the cruise terminal. Purchased our cruise over a year out, for a very good price, with the extras. Wanted to be in the 2BR Haven, to be able to get away from the crowd. Liked the idea of having to fly only one way across the Atlantic. Also, had read reviews about the toilet and shower behind headboard, and sink in room. Heard a lot of cruisers complaining about that set up on board. We really enjoyed this cruise. Probably won't ever be back on the Epic again, though. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the ... Read More
Our first time in Haven on Transatlantic Cruise this April 2019. We had such high expectations based on everything I had read. Took two days until we met our Butler - were we supposed to track him down? Snacks we preordered before the cruise were never delivered. Did not prebook anything - was told to wait and let the Concierge do it. Finally met him on 2nd day and got 2nd choice on 3 of the 6 dining venues we wanted. Should have just done it myself prior to cruise. The food in Haven is quite excellent but on a 15 day cruise the Chef has got to change the menu up a bit!! It is an excellent menu but the same, day after day. There are two soup choices and three desserts for lunch and dinner. Can't the chef use some creativity and vary that up a bit. Ice cream - vanilla or chocolate -and we found out from a different waiter, also macadamia nut. Can also get lemon sorbet daily. We wandered thru the buffet one lunchtime and saw gelato and so many other flavors, that we can't get! A few more Butler issues- why did it take a guest on day 7 to tell us about the "express" elevators or day 10 when a guest explained to us about the special phone in our cabin? We only asked our butler for one thing. After a week of daily snacks - we asked for fruit and some chicken, egg or tuna sandwiches. We specifically said no chocolates, cakes,or ham or pork. Within the next week we got our request once and then back to the ham and chocolates again. Shore excursions were fine except for when our tour in Mallorca was cancelled. At Shore Excursions we picked out another tour and was put on the waiting list -#19. Settled for our third choice. Question - if NCL cancels a tour, shouldn't we be bumped to the top of the waiting list? We did make it down to #9 so there were some cancellations. Complained but told "Sorry, Corporate Policy"!!! There was one lecturer on board, a very dry British lady telling us about each port. After attending her first lecture, we had enough and waited until the Epic decided to show her lectures on the TV so we could watch from our bed. Would we go Haven again? If I'm on a 4100+ passenger ship, definitely yes! Would I ever go on the Epic again - never!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We had never done a trans Atlantic and it won't be out last. Seas were calm and blue the entire trip. We chose this due to the many sea days and access to several unusual ports. A travel partner had relatives immigrate from Madeira ... Read More
We had never done a trans Atlantic and it won't be out last. Seas were calm and blue the entire trip. We chose this due to the many sea days and access to several unusual ports. A travel partner had relatives immigrate from Madeira and I have family to visit in Seville. Then add on Malaga, Cartagena, Palma, Barcelona and oops forgot Delgato! We had a marvelous lady give us advice about the history and how to see each port to our best advantage. Her chats were so popular they filled the Epic Theater and were broadcast in the Atrium and nearby bar. Staff from top to bottom, beginning to end, were all super friendly and excellent at their jobs. We had many activities to choose every day but mainly we relaxed, visited or people watched. Never were we prodded into participation. Problems in ports were never due to NCL but the number of ships being in small ports at one time. Hopefully limits will be set and held in the future. I left feeling like I had truly seen Spain aND been relaxing at a resort. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
"We just completed a transatlantic trip on the Norwegian Getaway. A 12 day trip with intended stops in the Azores, Portland UK, Le Havre, Brugge and Southampton became a 10 day trip when the cruise company decided to cut it short. ... Read More
"We just completed a transatlantic trip on the Norwegian Getaway. A 12 day trip with intended stops in the Azores, Portland UK, Le Havre, Brugge and Southampton became a 10 day trip when the cruise company decided to cut it short. They changed ports dropping the French and Brussles area only to change again dropping the Azores and Portland. Having done that and accepted the changes, they provide a 25% discount on the trip and some refund on travel plan changes. Once the drama was over, (for us it was compounded by the fact that we were originally on the Oasis of the Seas which had an accident in dry-dock eliminating our trip), things went very well. While North Atlantic is notoriously unpredictable in Spring, it provided us with cold and rain but very smooth sailing. Because we were able to secure a spa suit and were in The Haven, a smaller area of the ship with a private dining and lounge area, we truly enjoyed the passage. The ship had great activities and good food. We enjoyed it thoroughly. However, I still wonder how Norwegian was unaware until the last minute that the long scheduled passage was to be cut 2 days short for a refitting in dry dock." Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our 4th NCL cruise, and 7th overall cruise. It was an enjoyable experience and we saw many Caribbean islands we had never been to before. The ship was clean and had enough public space that passengers could spread out in. ... Read More
This was our 4th NCL cruise, and 7th overall cruise. It was an enjoyable experience and we saw many Caribbean islands we had never been to before. The ship was clean and had enough public space that passengers could spread out in. It's a nice sized ship (2400 passengers) which is manageable - and our preference over the huge ships. It was easy to find your way around, although the only small challenge is that the 6th deck doesn't run straight through. So if you want to access the Summer Palace main dining on the 6th, you have to go up to 7, to go back down to 6. It's a beautiful dining room, and worth finding! Our balcony cabin was perfect for 2 people - lots of storage, a small couch and decent sized balcony for a cruise ship. We unpacked for our 11-day cruise easily finding space for everything, and stowed our luggage under the bed. The only small issue was that the lighting was not great after the sun goes down, so for women getting ready for dinner, it was a bit of a challenge to see in mirrors. A big thank you to Rommel, our awesome Cabin Steward, for doing an excellent job! We found the main dining rooms (Summer Palace and Indigo), and specialty dining were wonderful - we experienced great service and delicious food! Le Bistro and Teppanyaki were our favourite specialty dining venues, and Cagney's and Moderno were really good as well. The Lotus Garden, which is NOT a specialty dining venue, was great - don't miss out! However, we were less than impressed with the quality of food at the buffet, and at O'Sheehan's Pub...yuck. We ended up going to the main dining rooms for breakfast/lunch instead. We spent some time at the casino and experienced the best service from all staff: special mention - Eka, Carlver and Hong Wang were amazing, we really appreciate their hard work. The casino has a good variety of slots machines and tables, it got busy after the shows finished, but was always well-managed. We never had to wait for drink service, and the staff was always friendly and accommodating. Embarkation was quite easy and much faster than anticipated - the lines were very long, but we were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the port in Tampa. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 or 2pm, and luggage was promptly delivered to the cabin that afternoon. Disembarkation in NYC was not quite as smooth, but overall not bad. We only docked at 10am to even begin the disembarkation process, but had to be out of our cabins by 9am. The only food option available at that time was the buffet - so 2400 people waiting in public spaces for hours to depart, and food/coffee on only one deck. We booked shore excursions only after we got on the ship - and managed to get every excursions we wanted except for one - but there was another decent option available and we took that one instead. I would recommend however that you book excursions (and speciality dining reservations) before getting on the ship to be sure you are not disappointed. The excursions were very well-run and organized, we enjoyed all of them. Overall, this was a very good cruise experience. What made it extra enjoyable were the staff who work on the ship - they all work so hard and such long hours, we truly appreciate them! 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
4 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
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
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
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