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Sail Date: April 2013
After 20+ cruises it's time to submit a review especially after reading all the whining about this cruise. We do not fly and normally sail with Princess and NCL. We sailed to Southampton via the Crown Princess for 2 weeks and it was ... Read More
After 20+ cruises it's time to submit a review especially after reading all the whining about this cruise. We do not fly and normally sail with Princess and NCL. We sailed to Southampton via the Crown Princess for 2 weeks and it was delightful. The day we arrived in Southampton we transferred to the Breakaway for the 7 day T/A to NYC. This ship is amazing. The entertainment is outstanding. We booked directly through NCL as we always do. The agent told us 2 things up front: This is not a normal port for NCL (which explains any boarding confusion in Southampton) and this was the T/A to get the ship to NYC. The hoopla would commence there and not before. Those complaining about this & that should be ashamed given what was paid for this trip no matter what category cabin you paid for. Yes, there are design flaws and the cabins are teeny tiny but the showers are to die for. The ship has so much to offer for all ages. Since the weather was a factor only indoor activities could be appreciated. We are 65+ yrs old and found all the entertainment to be great. Rock of Ages was fun, Burn the Floor was incredible. Slam Allen was great. Second City was very good as usual and Graffiti Classics was a hoot. The food was just ok but then all cruse food is only ok unless you are willing to pay for the extra tariff restaurants. There is no perfect ship or cruise line. If there were we would all be on the same ship. We met the CEO Mr.Sheehan on 2 occasions. In the 5 years he has been at the helm he has done his best and has our vote of confidence. The lights in the cabin are controlled by inserting your key card. After locking myself out only once I realized all you had to do was put something like a piece of cardboard in the slot. We used our Princess key card from the week before. Since we live in Florida it is not likely that we will be on the Breakaway again but the Getaway will be home ported out of Miami and we will we booking a cruise on that ship in the future. -- Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
Wow! We had a fabulous time aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. It certainly lived up to our hopes and dreams. Thought cabin was nice and roomy (although reading on here it was ... Read More
Wow! We had a fabulous time aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. This was our first cruise so did not know what to expect. It certainly lived up to our hopes and dreams. Thought cabin was nice and roomy (although reading on here it was smaller than other cruise lines). We did have a balcony and did think balcony was small (not cruised before so maybe same on other ships). Restaurants again found good most of the time. Service seemed to deteriorate by the 6th day. Ate in Cagney's Steak House and thought this was amazing (although had to pay $30 per person extra). Entertainment was good - although very disappointed with Rock of Ages. Burn the floor was exceptional. Disappointed with the Ice Bar too - and having to pay to go in it. Being a transatlantic cruise and being on the ship 7 days by day 5 was looking forward to getting off - so will try a stopping cruise next time, Again found service charges confusing and bit expensive $12 per person per day, then extra service charges on every drink. We did find out (when it was too late for us) that we could pay less if we asked! After reading other reviews on here we are definitely going to try other cruise companies. Overall for our first (of many) cruises it was good! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
1. Introduction. 1.1. Background and why we did this. Cruise food -- what a controversial topic! Everyone has an opinion about the food on a cruise. After all, other than the cabin accommodation and actual ship movement, food is just ... Read More
1. Introduction. 1.1. Background and why we did this. Cruise food -- what a controversial topic! Everyone has an opinion about the food on a cruise. After all, other than the cabin accommodation and actual ship movement, food is just about the only thing included in the price. Besides, everyone has individual tastes and likes. Furthermore, everyone has a different level of gustatory experience -- some have dined in the best establishments around the world, while others always cook their own meals. Even the cruise food reviews are quite variable. Some reviews rave about the wonderful food while other reviews seem to indicate that ptomaine poisoning was a daily occurrence. 1.2. What we did. To try to address this controversial subject, four of us decided to do a fairly rigorous joint review of the food on a cruise. We chose the Norwegian Epic on a trans-Atlantic repositioning cruise. We sailed on 2012-Apr-14 from Miami and enjoyed 11 days on the way to Barcelona. We were most fortunate that this large and impressive ship was half-empty, so perhaps we had more than the usual amount of personal attention. Considering that Epic has 21 different food outlets, we had our work cut out for us. Accordingly, we created a disciplined review technique and did our best to visit as many restaurants as possible in 11 days. Each of us had a review sheet for every meal and recorded our findings right at the table. We broke the meal experience into 13 different scored factors as explained in paragraph 3 below. We often photographed the servings. All four of us did our scoring as independently as possible. We did our best to evaluate each meal as a stand-alone, not by means of a comparison to other ship-board meals. In other words, we tried to do our scoring using an absolute scale such that the same scoring technique could be applied to a super fancy formal dinner with the Queen or to a quick sandwich at a street corner barbeque pit. For each meal, the maximum possible total score was 100 points. At the end of the voyage, we summarized the scores, analyzed everything, and reached some conclusions about the food. 1.3. Who we are. The four of us are close friends who have traveled extensively together. We are two couples, all over 60 (but not by a lot), from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We are all in relatively good health, all things considered, with no dietary restrictions at all. We are all retired now, but our previous occupations include an engineer, a technical writer, a teacher, and a nurse. 1.4. Our qualifications. Why is our review any better than the other dozens of cruise food reviews? First, we enjoy and have experienced dining in anything from very high-end establishments to greasy spoon dives. All of us cook our own meals from time to time, and we have a bit of professional chef training among the group. We have all cruised before. We have experienced five different lines on 16 cruises, not all together. Our review process is disciplined, repeatable, and transparent. It is explained fully in paragraph 3 below -- we tried to avoid qualitative opinion as much as possible in preference for quantitative facts. 2. Results Summary. 2.1. Overall conclusion. We were pleasantly blown away by the food; it greatly exceeded our expectations. We have been on five different cruise lines and enjoyed the NCL "freestyle" form of food service the best. When the opportunity arose, we returned to our favorite outlets. The staff developed a personal relationship with us and treated us like individuals. Some meals were among the best we have ever experienced, but even the worst were significantly better than the average world-wide restaurant. Bravo, NCL and Norwegian Epic, job well done. 2.2. Numeric score summary. The numbers prove our conclusion. Overall, we experienced 124 "person-meals" at 14 different food outlets. The average score for all the restaurants was 88.06 out of a possible 100, a very high score. This shows that the food on board Epic is very good, much better than many land-based restaurants. The table below shows the average score for each of the restaurants we visited. Rankings Placing Outlet Average 1 Le Bistro 98.63 2 La Cucina 98.50 3 Moderno 97.25 4 Cagney's 90.25 4 Shanghai 90.25 6 Manhattan 89.38 7 Teppanyaki 87.75 8 Cirque Dreams 87.00 9 Garden Cafe 86.43 9 Taste 86.43 11 Great Outdoors 85.25 12 Spice H2O 85.00 13 Wasabi 84.75 14 O'Sheehan's 80.67 2.3. Restaurants Visited and Exceptions. Clearly, we visited only 14 of the 21 outlets on board Epic. Even 11 days were not enough to visit all. Some outlets such as the crew's messes were off-limits to us. We looked at but did not eat in the Haven dining room where the Haven suite guests can get away from the unwashed herds. Nonetheless, we made a concerted effort to hit as many outlets as possible, including the Cirque Dreams performance dinner and the Spice H2O outdoor snack bar. We made multiple visits to all the restaurants we reviewed, with 40 person-meals in Garden Cafe, 28 in Taste, eight in Manhattan and Le Bistro, and between six and two in the rest. 2.4. Results Accuracy. Statistically, our analysis shows that the maximum score awarded was 100, the minimum was 68, and the standard deviation was 7.39. In other words, all four of us generally agreed in our scoring. As a validation of our technique, we did the same evaluation at a local mid-range restaurant, with a resulting average score of 80.8. We did find that our scores increased as the cruise progressed, but part of that trend is because our visits to the more preferred restaurants were concentrated at the end of the cruise. We found a potential problem with our results in that some of us misinterpreted the scoring definitions. Accordingly, our conclusions are based only partly on the numbers, and rely for confirmation on the notes and pictures we made during the meals. 2.5. Our Personal Impressions. Numbers tell only part of the story, particularly with something as subjective as food. Accordingly, we have some individual impressions of the food. 2.5.1. AW. In my opinion, Epic has done an extremely good job of providing food for the passengers. Feeding even a couple of thousand people three times a day is no mean feat, but the fact that they feed about five thousand month after month on a ship and aiming at a very high quality level simply amazes me. On this cruise, I had a couple of the very best meals I have ever experienced anywhere. Even the meals I enjoyed the least were still very good. I was disappointed at the extra cost for some of the outlets, but then I am known as a cheapskate at the best of times. To counter that, the restaurants that do not charge extra are perfectly fine in my opinion. I would be very happy to avoid the extra cost places. On the other hand, in most but not all cases, I was glad to pay the extra cost since the dining experience was exceptionally good at the special places. Overall, I would take another cruise on Epic simply because of the food. 2.5.2. EW. The overall gastronomic experience was great -- I enjoyed it all. The enormous variety of food overwhelmed me a bit in the beginning. Everywhere we went, the serving staff were extremely courteous and always smiling. Was that because there weren't very many passengers? I can't understand how anyone can say the food was terrible -- even the lowest rated meal was far from inedible, and we did not get ptomaine poisoning even once! 2.5.3. HF. I found all of the restaurants, including the buffets, to be of very high quality and easily on a par with most land-based restaurants. I feel that some of the extra-cost restaurants did not offer additional value for the money, with respect to special ambience, service, or food choice and quality. I was impressed with the buffet in the Garden Cafe because of the variety of foods offered and because of the myriad healthy choices available. I particularly enjoyed the attentiveness and helpfulness of the serving staff who seemed genuinely interested in us as individuals. 2.5.4. PF. This was such a neat adventure. Having the opportunity to taste many different styles of food from different countries was an enlightening experience. It was great just planning where we would go and when, trying to make sure all the different restaurants were covered. Once having tried a particular style, I enjoyed the discussions on whether we should try to get there again. I especially enjoyed visiting a number of the restaurants particularly Garden Cafe and Taste to try other items on their menus. Our theatre meal at Cirque Dreams was unique with the 'show' taking place right in front of us or even directly over our heads. The ambience in some of the restaurants with the ocean just outside our table window, sometimes with waves splashing the window, helped to make the meal even more enjoyable. I found that most of the specialty restaurants had wonderful dedicated staff who would go out of their way to explain the meal, the ingredients and anything special about the preparation. All were most attentive and I always felt welcome and 'special' in their restaurant. It was even special to have the different chefs come to explain why certain things were done in a particular way for a particular restaurant. At times I felt a little uncomfortable about filling in the forms as we were eating but I understood the need to write it down promptly so we did not get confused or forget. I am sensitive to capsaicin (pepper) but I had little difficulty with spices or foods that would irritate my digestive system since I was told ahead of time if something might be too hot for me. I did try a few hot things and knew that if the staff said it was hot or not I could trust their opinions. The ambience for most meals added greatly to the pleasure of eating in a particular place. The staff made me feel important and most of the time if they were seen in a different location they would recognize me, smile and sometimes comment. All in all it was a positive adventure. 3. Methodology Summary. 3.1. Score Sheet and Explanation. The score sheet we used is described below. In essence, we broke each meal experience into thirteen separate factors, as described below. Each scorer rated everything completely independently, without any significant discussion among us. In addition, the maximum score was defined to be the best meal or dining situation ever experienced anywhere. In other words, the scoring was to be an absolute measurement, not a comparison against other restaurants or meals on board Epic, or even on any cruise ship. The scoresheet had space for numeric scores as well as written notes and comments. 3.1.1. Table setting. Maximum score 5. The equipment to consume the meal must be appropriate, ranging from six forks, five spoons, and four knives for a super fancy formal dinner, through to bare hands and paper napkins at a fast food joint. This includes plates, utensils, napkins, glasses and so on. 3.1.2. Seating comfort. Maximum score 5. If the diner is not comfortable, the meal experience suffers significantly. This factor includes things like chairs, table height, and space between tables. 3.1.3. Ambience. Maximum score 5. A pleasant environment definitely enhances the meal enjoyment. Furthermore, the ambience must be appropriate -- an Italian restaurant should look Italian! The surroundings, lighting, sounds, and staff clothing contribute to the ambience. 3.1.4. Presentation. Maximum score 5. If food looks appetizing, the dining experience is better. For this factor, we primarily looked at how the food was displayed on the plates or in a buffet. 3.1.5. Taste. Maximum score 20. This is the most important factor as shown by the high maximum score. Sweet things should be sweet, beef should taste beefy, and so on. This factor captures the scorer's opinion of the flavours of the meal. 3.1.6. Texture. Maximum score 10. Almost as important as taste, the feel of food as it is chewed and swallowed impacts meal enjoyment significantly. This factor assesses mouthfeel, chewability, tenderness, crunchiness, and similar textures. 3.1.7. Smell. Maximum score 10. The odour of food is a major part of taste, so we assigned a separate factor for this assessment. Smell also includes possibly obtrusive odours from the surroundings. 3.1.8. Food temperature. Maximum score 5. Hot things should be hot, but not too hot. Similarly, food should be warm or cold as appropriate. 3.1.9. Service. Maximum score 10. Good service is a significant part of meal enjoyment. The attentiveness and promptness of the wait staff is assessed here. 3.1.10. Cleanliness. Maximum score 5. This factor is sort of obvious, but must be assessed. Food service should always be clean. 3.1.11. Quality. Maximum score 10. Even with impeccable preparation and presentation, poor ingredients will detract from the diner's enjoyment. This factor captured our impression of the food "goodness". 3.1.12. Drinks. Maximum score 5. We deliberately didn't evaluate wines or other alcoholic beverages because they are not included in the meal. On the other hand, beverages like water, coffee, milk, juice and so on are definitely part of the meal. We rated the quality, temperature, quantity and the like. 3.1.13. Overall impression. Maximum score 5. Sometimes the whole is more than the sum of the parts. This factor allowed for that possibility. Here, we captured each person's own opinion of the entire dining experience. 3.2. Analysis techniques. Our analysis procedure had three components. 3.2.1. Statistics. Since the scores are numeric, we could do quite a bit of statistical analysis. Using a spreadsheet we calculated average, maximum, minimum, median, mode, standard deviation, and kurtosis for each meal, each restaurant, each day, each scorer, and for the entire data set. Rather than explain each measure here, you should simply do an Internet search for each measurement if you are curious. We used the various statistical measures to rank the restaurants and meals as well as to validate our scoring process. 3.2.2. Notes and photos review. Having done the number crunching, we then referred to the notes and pictures we made during the actual meals. That data helped us to truly determine what we collectively liked or disliked. After all, numbers tell only part of the story. 3.2.3. Consensus. We discussed the data and findings to reach a consensus. All four of us agree with the conclusions presented here. 4. Results details. 4.1. Breakfast. Since some restaurants were not open for breakfast, our choices were somewhat limited, though definitely not small. On the other hand, the extensive food selections at each facility made every morning an adventure. What different food will I try today? In the Garden Cafe buffet in particular, the chefs seemed to go out of their way to prepare the breakfast just the way we wanted. The large toaster in the Garden Cafe could have been hotter -- passing toast through multiple times was a pain. Probably because of the very small passenger load, we always managed to find a window seat, which definitely added to the ambience. At O'Sheehan's, the bowling alley was being maintained during breakfast, so the ambience was pretty bad! Taste was a very good choice for breakfast because of the attentive table service. We clearly enjoyed breakfast in Taste since we returned there four times! Overall, the average breakfast score was 87.48 points, even higher than lunch. 4.2. Lunch. Most of our lunches were taken in the Garden Cafe buffet; other locations were Taste, Wasabi, Spice H2O, and Great Outdoors. The buffet choices are numerous and each of us ate our fill. One feature particularly enjoyed was the ph? bar where one could select from a wide choice of food ingredients and herbs and have the soup served fresh and hot. In general, one can have as healthy, or unhealthy, a meal as one wants. The score of 86.43 for Garden Cafe, highest of all our lunch venues, is testament to the high quality of its offerings. Taste was a nice elegant change on some days when we just wanted to be served instead of serving ourselves. Our very first impression of the ship's restaurant food and service was obtained at Taste on boarding day and we were not disappointed. A polka band at Great Outdoors enhanced our German dining experience on day 10. Our final lunch was at Wasabi, the sushi bar where we noshed through several types of raw fish and other denizens of the deep. The average score for all 10 lunches (we had one lunch on shore in Ponta del Gada) was 84.68. 4.3. Dinner. As might be expected, the dinners we had were generally the highlights of the cruise food. The average score for all 11 dinners was 91.66, a very good score compared to all the world's restaurants. One recurring theme across all dinners was the quality of the breads. Without fail, we found that the various different types of bread were excellent. The freshness contributed to the quality significantly, on top of the large variety of breads. We commended the on-board bakers, another of those unseen but vital components of a cruise ship crew. The detractor for the dinners at most places was the extra cost. At a couple of dinners, we gladly paid the extra charge. Unfortunately, at a couple of others, we were inclined to ask for our money back. Clearly, the ship offers a very wide variety of dinner experiences, ranging from a self-service buffet through an extremely high-end formal dinner. We appreciated the casual Epic dress code and did not see anyone abusing the very relaxed rules. On the other hand, we did not see anyone exceeding the dress code -- we saw not one tuxedo other than on some of the wait staff! Finally, we quite enjoyed the attention given to us by the crew. The service was very good, even at the worst. In some cases, the wait staff knew us by name very quickly. That may have been a reflection of the ship being only half full, but we sincerely hope it was not because they realized we were doing a food review. 4.4. Taste. We enjoyed our first meal on the ship in Taste, and it was quite good considering the turmoil of the change-over day. Overall, Taste scored 86.43 and placed ninth of the 14 places we tried. Taste is the only restaurant where we ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We enjoyed the ambience in Taste, depending on where we sat. The open center area was like being in an echoing bowl. The noise from around and above was very obtrusive, especially when the casino was open. The window seats were much quieter and definitely had a better view. Generally, the food was good and the service improved somewhat as the days went by. As a "mass market" outlet, Taste probably ranked just where it should. 4.5. Manhattan. This upscale main dining room looked very appealing, with many window seats and a band playing nearby. As we discovered, the band was a bit too nearby and loud for our enjoyment. When we requested seating somewhat farther away, the ambience became much better for us. At times, the service left something to be desired. We sometimes had a long wait for dishes to arrive, and sometimes they were not warm enough. Manhattan scored 89.38, a very good score in comparison with the rest of the world, but it ranked sixth overall on Epic. In general, we are of the opinion that Manhattan could have been better, though it was definitely not a bad place to dine. 4.6. Garden Cafe. We visited this restaurant the most of any on board. The score for Garden Cafe was 86.43 in a tie for ninth place. We had many meals here - five breakfasts and five lunches, totalling 40 person-meals. Overall, breakfast here was a pleasant way to start the day. Each meal had a large variety of food choices with the most popular being an omelet of various sorts, often with fried tomato on the side. We also enjoyed smoked salmon and shrimp as often as possible. All our choices were nicely done with no exception. The eggs were hot and runny (when wanted) and spice was seldom needed to enhance the flavour. We even tried the spinach benedict which was runny and delicious. Coffee started each breakfast and servers were usually quick to clear away used cups. Servers also brought around various juices (orange, cranberry, grapefruit and so on) during the meals. If one had any difficulty carrying a tray, a server was generally on hand to help before one really noticed needing any help. We generally sat at the bow overlooking the staff hot tub and the ocean ahead -- this clearly added to the ambience. A couple of times we did sit aft and port and once in La Cucina, which gave us a quieter dining place and a different ambience. Breakfast also included yogurt of various varieties and fresh fruit. Apples, bananas, pineapple, and oranges were among the many fruit varieties always available. The buffet setting allowed for great variety and an opportunity to speak to many of the staff. On entering the restaurant we were always greeted by smiling staff members, some of whom had worked in the different speciality restaurants the evenings before. They usually recognized us and gave especially welcoming smiles. The ocean view was fantastic and the table setting was comfortable. The tables were always appropriately set and equipped. We went to the Garden Cafe for 20 person-meals at lunch, our most popular lunch spot. Once again we had plenty of choices for food and the setting was quite pleasing. We enjoyed pork ribs, salad with feta cheese, meatloaf, beef stir fried vegetables and grilled fish. Various salads and soups were also part of a lunch time meal. We also tried the veal wellington, lamb stew and buttered chicken. All were generally done to a desirable degree. The beverage of choice was usually water or juice but iced tea was also enjoyed. Desserts included pecan pie and excellent ice creams: rum raisin, raspberry sherbet, vanilla, and chocolate to name but a few flavours. A variety of sauces were also available. Lunch was generally enjoyed and the view was wonderful even on one very rough day. Surprisingly, considering the number of meals we ate here, we took very few pictures of the food. In addition, we did not try the evening meal service in Garden Cafe -- we had simply too many other choices. Overall, as our most popular restaurant, the Garden Cafe was a resounding success, even considering the buffet nature of the place. 4.7. Le Bistro. This restaurant was simply spectacular. As a French-themed high end place, one would expect the dining experience to be absolutely top-notch, and it was. This restaurant was our definite favorite. We returned for a second evening here, and by then, the wait staff and ma'tre d's knew us by name! Three out of eight scores were 100, implying that this is the best restaurant ever experienced. Even the average score of 98.63 out of 100 is superb. The fantastic mushroom soup elicited much praise, as did the excellent breads. The roast pork had a fine earthy smell, and the cote de boeuf was delicately tender and beautifully presented. Similarly, the bouillabaisse was served piece by piece with an explanation. The only detractors were some noise from the bowling alley directly overhead and the artwork with advertisements. Still, those were very minor details that barely marred a beautiful experience, twice! We took lots of photos! 4.8. Cagney's. This high-end steakhouse was a good experience for us. The score of 90.25 was a tie for fourth place overall. We visited once for our final dinner on board. A flood in the Manhattan dining room meant that Manhattan and Cagney's and Moderno were disrupted for several days, but we managed to get a booking on the final day of the cruise. By then, our scores were being inflated a bit, and one of us had a slight cold, so our scores might be somewhat inaccurate. Nonetheless, our comments and pictures help allow for any possible inaccuracy. We were very pleased with the soups and appetizers, particularly the lobster bisque and Portobello mushrooms. At first, we thought the steaks were more tough than they should have been in an establishment at this level, but we eventually determined that the problem was actually the knives. Fairly dull steak knives gave a definite impression of meat toughness. All four of our knives were dull, to the point that we raised the problem to the head chef for Cagney's and Moderno. He agreed that it was time to replace the knives because they had been in use since the ship was commissioned. The ambience and seating comfort drew raves from us; the chairs were the most comfortable we encountered anywhere on board! Dessert was good all around. Overall, we found the dining experience in Cagney's to be worth the extra $25 per person, but barely. If Epic sharpens the knives, perhaps the score would be better. 4.9. Moderno. In this Brazilian churrascaria, the salad bar was a joy to use. Unusual items combined with beautiful presentation really enhanced our enjoyment. The meat presentation directly off the skewer was an entertaining addition to the very good food. Moderno ranked third and scored 97.25 points out of 100, an extremely good score. We did find that the meat delivery came too fast, but that means we should have showed our red cards to slow things down. We did find that the chicken was a little dry, but otherwise, the meats were top-notch. In all, this was an excellent experience well worth the extra cost, and enhanced by a visit at our table from all three chefs! 4.10. La Cucina. We had one dinner in this Italian restaurant. The ambiance was enhanced by the pillars, fake library, and nice music; the ocean view seating sure did not hurt! Unfortunately, the table was small and crowded for four. We enjoyed the Cucina salad and various antipasti including figs in a salad. Everyone enjoyed the many courses, from carpachia and ossobuco to the pizza Margherita with a nice thin crust. Our salads were colourful with various forms of lettuce and grains. The greens were crisp and colourful. String band music added to the Italian atmosphere. Our main courses included chicken parmesan, seafood fettuccine with tomato and mozzarella, and spaghetti carbonara. All of us agreed that the pasta was delightfully al dente, and that the various sauces were tasty and perfectly spiced. Most enjoyed the tiramisu for dessert. La Cucina scored an extremely high 98.50 out of 100, giving a ranking of second, just a fraction of a point out of first. This was a delightful dining experience for all of us. 4.11. Teppanyaki. There's nothing like a teppan grill for an exciting dining experience. Your chef stands at a large stainless steel grill and prepares your food right before your eyes and with great flair. Typically, the chef juggles his implements and the food with the greatest of ease then serves each diner individually. Teppanyaki puts this performance over the top. Our chef had great rapport with the diners, speaking to us as if we were old friends, all the while cracking jokes, flipping his tools, the salt and pepper shakers, and anything else that would make a noise. His overall performance was worth half the price of admission. This was a great fun meal but detractors included being seated with four other diners who didn't mingle well, noise and smells from the other grills operating (there were eight grills with three in use), and generally too much clatter. There was a good selection of foods including edamame beans and miso soup appetizer, lobster, shrimp, scallops, steak, seaweed salad, and so on. It is amazing that the chef can cook for eight people all at once and get all the orders correct but he did. The only downside was having to watch the beautiful scallops being overcooked. Teppanyaki would be great value at half the $25.00 per person we paid. The score was 87.75 for a ranking of seventh. 4.12. Shanghai. We finally got our Chinese food fix at Shanghai's for a $15.00 surcharge. It struck us as too expensive for what amounts to dining in a large family-style Chinese restaurant not unlike those to be found in any city with a large Asian population. The decor was Asian appropriate -- lots of reds and blacks, decorations, pictures, etc. We didn't care for the "last supper" knockoff painting featuring a collection of young Asian girls in that famous setting -- just a bit too weird for us. Service was attentive, maybe overly so, but since the restaurant had hardly anyone in it they were probably just happy to serve us. We were going to order "combo number 4 plus all 4 desserts" but we ended up with six mains under staff urging. The items included Kung Pau chicken, beef broccoli, mahi-mahi, pork, stir-fried rice, and some noodle dishes. Overall, we found the items to be well prepared, hot, tasty, but nothing better than what one can find in the aforementioned family Chinese restaurants. For the price, one would expect to have items like dim-sum, whole fish floating in sauce, 5-jewel something, and so on -- specialty items in addition to the standard fare -- and a little less 5-spice powder. Plus some typical Chinese fruits (Lychee, Longan, and so on) for dessert. Oh, and the green tea was too weak and the crème br'lee too runny. Overall, we judged Shanghai to be as good as most Chinese restaurants we've eaten in. The score of 90.25 surprisingly gave a ranking of tied for fourth. In this case, our opinion clearly contradicts the scoring, so we lean toward the opinion side. 4.13. O'Sheehan's. This is NCL's attempt to provide a pub-like atmosphere. The place is large but separated into two areas on each side of the center aisle. Seating varies from sit-down tables to a bar to high tables and chairs. There's a bowling alley on one side. The morning we went for breakfast the pin-setter was going through some sort of maintenance cycle. Noisy, but only a few minutes duration, thankfully. Pub-style foods are served in napkin-lined open-weave baskets but why NCL would want to imitate low-end fare we can't fathom. There are lots of comfortable pubs that have better presentation of food than O'Sheehan's. The photo below shows how they serve fish and chips. The green stuff is supposed to be mushy peas but they're nothing like the real thing. For breakfast, one choice was some croissants and a turnover; the croissants could have been flakier and the turnover was skimpy on the filling. Not a great start to our day. Our other diners found problems too like over-buttered toast, greasy hash-browns, over-crisp bacon, powdery eggs. Coffee was excellent (Yay!!!). We scored O'Sheehan's as 80.67 which ranked the place 14th, or last. 4.14. Cirque Dreams. Since this restaurant is actually a circus performance, our experience here was a wonderful adventure. Although we all found it very crowded with hardly room to breathe, being very close to the performance floor was most advantageous for us. By the nature of the restaurant, the menu is fixed, and the meal is really secondary to the circus performance. Our meal started with prosciutto, cheese, and a delicate sauce. The presentation was appealing and all enjoyed the taste and texture. Our surf and turf main course was served efficiently. The shrimp was a bit chewy but the steak was medium rare and juicy. The dessert was three small sweets, beautifully plated and very delicious. The circus atmosphere was wonderful and the show left nothing to be desired. We were particularly impressed with the servers who maneuvered their way through the cramped areas, not interfering with the circus performance at all. This restaurant scored 87.00 and actually placed eighth, a surprisingly good finish for a restaurant that is mostly about the show. 4.15. Wasabi. Either you love sushi (cold rice and possibly seaweed wrapped around other ingredients) and sashimi (sliced raw seafood) or you don't. Wasabi shares space with the noodle bar and Teppanyaki. Seating is on stools at a long bar where one can look at the raw ingredients used and also at the chef who prepares everything. One sour note: there was some very nice flute music being played at the bar but louder music from the deck below took away from an otherwise enjoyable environment. The menu lists a number of individual items but, mercifully, lists combination plates having selections of different items that go well together. There are also some fully cooked items for those who are squeamish about raw fish. Our selections were prepared in front of us but, unfortunately, one cannot directly view preparation as the work table is blocked from view by the chef. Nevertheless, the final placement of food on the plates was right before our eyes. There is a very modern, clean, even sleek appearance to Wasabi that complements the neat, orderly presentation of the food. Overall we rated Wasabi as 84.75, but individual scores from 70 through 96 have much to do with one's appreciation for this type of food. Here is the Ruby combo: tuna, octopus, eel, cucumber, tuna. 4.16. Great Outdoors. This restaurant is primarily a fast food outlet for the pool area. We enjoyed a German-themed special lunch, with schnitzels, bratwurst, sauerbraten, spaetzle, and other German specialties. The score of 85.25 out of 100 places it 12th of 14 food outlets. The majority of our comments indicated that the meal was fairly ordinary compared to other German dining establishments. The buffet environment detracted from the ambience though the good band helped somewhat. We found the pork schnitzel to be delicate, and the Sacher torte awesome, but the sauerbraten was nowhere near "sauer". We did not take any photos at this meal. Unfortunately, this special meal might not be representative of the usual burgers and pizza at Great Outdoors. As shown by the score, this was not among our favorite restaurants, though a score of 85 is pretty good in comparison to all the world's restaurants. 4.17. Spice H2O. This outdoor cafe has a minimal variety of food, but that may be because we visited it late in the meal period. In addition, we had only two person-meals here, so this might be a somewhat inaccurate evaluation. Nonetheless, the sunshine and hot tubs added to the ambience. We can see that this would be a very nice place to escape from the hordes of kids on a normal cruise -- on ours, there were only 40 children out of 2000 guests. Spice H2O scored 85.00 points and ranked 12th overall, not particularly high. Even though the curry was tasty, a larger choice would have enhanced our enjoyment. The service here was very good from the attentive waiters. We have no pictures of the food at Spice H2O. 5. If We Were to Do This Food Critique Again. We enjoyed doing this review. Between the planning well before the cruise and the post-cruise analysis and report writing, we stretched the experience into a period of several months. We are convinced that the 13 meal factors are valid, though we would probably rearrange the scoring form somewhat. Similarly, we would separate the numerical scores from the narrative comments, simply for ease of manipulation and analysis. We might also implement the scoring on a smartphone or tablet, but good old pencil and paper worked satisfactorily for us. On the other hand, it appears that not all of us understood the previously defined scoring technique. In essence, each of us used somewhat different ways to establish how points were awarded or deducted. Consequently, we have had to lean on opinion rather than fact more than we desired for this report. For a number of reasons, we were unable to complete the report until a couple of months after the cruise. That meant our memories of the experience had faded a bit. If we were to do this again, we would concentrate on completing the review within a month of the end of the cruise and we would make absolutely certain that everyone agreed with and fully understood how the scores were to be assigned. By doing so, the review would become much more rigorous and scientific. Nonetheless, this whole experience was fun and educational. We learned that restaurant reviews are hard to do, particularly among a group. We will always look at any meal very critically now, mentally reaching for the scoresheet! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We booked with NCL and this re-location transatlantic cruise primarily because it was the itinerary that we wanted. It was our first time trying the "free-style" sailing and for the most part was a good experience. We found the ... Read More
We booked with NCL and this re-location transatlantic cruise primarily because it was the itinerary that we wanted. It was our first time trying the "free-style" sailing and for the most part was a good experience. We found the crew to be friendly and doing what they could to make our cruise a good experience. We had most of our evening meals in the Seven Seas dining room. Service was good, however a little different not having the same waiters every night like one has on other cruises. The biggest disappointment came near the end of the cruise docking in Nynaeshamn, Sweden instead of Stockholm. We were mislead by our travel agent that the ship was docking in Stockholm. Nynaesham was an hour away and since we had to take a tender into port it made for a very short day. Anyone with NCL tours were given priority and were the first off the ship. Although Nynaeshamn was a quaint little town it was not Stockholm and we were not able to make it to our reservations that we had previously made. It seems Princess was docked right in the port of Stockholm where we thought we were to dockThe second downer was that a number of people got very sick the last evening on the ship. It seems everyone that had eaten their mixed seafood cocktail got a bad case of montezuma's revenge. I tried to find some pepto or even tums with no avail and was told they could not do anything without seeing their doctor. Not easy to do in the middle of the night. And not a good condition to be in with long flights the next day. There were several on our flight that were very sick... I had gone to the Garden Cafe early in the morning and asked for a banana for my wife but was ignored. Finally after some persistence a kind staff person found one for me.A big plus for NCL was their ice cream bar. We enjoyed that. The Cruise Critic group on the cruise was wonderful and we so enjoyed that. Big thanks to MickyAlthough we enjoyed our cruise as the ports of call were marvelous it is doubtful we would choose NCL again... Happy Cruising to you and yours Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
We were very pleased, my wife and I with the great ports visited, the Greek Islands plus Split and back to back return to New York, it was very convenient. We experience waves on deck 8 in the Tequila bar that came up as high as the ... Read More
We were very pleased, my wife and I with the great ports visited, the Greek Islands plus Split and back to back return to New York, it was very convenient. We experience waves on deck 8 in the Tequila bar that came up as high as the middle of our window. This was an exciting event to say the least. On three occasions plates and furniture hit the floor and some passengers were hurt. It was worst on the 12th floor and it had to be closed down. This event although a bit dramatic, was a memorable experience and a first for us. It also brought a significant number of passengers to the main dining rooms. Freestyle works when all of the dining areas are open. An event like this one brings utter chaos because sitting procedures and choosing a table are much more time consuming than fixed table seatings. Thus for myself I just went to the Blue Lagons instead of waiting for hours. We ate tomato soup and hamburgers and this continued next day. One can say that Freestyle dining contributes to occasional chaotic table service but is pleasant when it works (70 to 90% of the time depending on the dining area. By the way the cafeteria style of the Garden Cafe would also require cafeteria style trays. Getting up every time to fetch food is a pain and requires constant attention because staff very rapidly remove your empty plate and others can very easyly take your table... Although pleased with the personel and the ship the smoking policy permitting smoking in the cabins was a very important draw back. On the very first day of the second leg of my back to back cruise, I was surrounded by a pack of smokers. We complained about the smell and very prompty, the staff cleaned the room sprayed the carped with perfumed stuff and made our day or so we thought. We unfortunately stayed in the room to read and after an hour plus we became lightheaded and nauseated (excuse my English my French is better). We were feeling ill enough to tell personel at the front desk that we would get off at the next port. It was impossible to change rooms (sold out cruise) and we tried an electronic air purifier. The smell of cigarette was replace for the next 14 days by a strong smell of ozone but we accepted this. We were pleased with the cruise but felt ill in this envirement. Runny nose, smokers cough, red eyes...WE WILL MAKE SMOKE FREE PERSONAL LIVING SPACE A MUST FOR OUR NEXT CRUISES. NCL SHOULD STOP EXPOSING THEIR NON SMOKING CUSTOMERS TO SECOND HAND SMOKE. Their courageous personel would surely benefit from smoke free corridors and cabins. I know that selling tax free cigarettes is a big motivating factor for them but is also very bad for those who smoke in a rapid fire fashion in their smoky cabins. Non smokers be ware! Good and healthy cruising. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
It was 13 days from NYC to Amsterdam I'm an experienced cruiser. This is the first time I have experienced such a sick ship. Norovirus was rampant from day two! Sick passengers or crew were allowed aboard this ship! This was 13 ... Read More
It was 13 days from NYC to Amsterdam I'm an experienced cruiser. This is the first time I have experienced such a sick ship. Norovirus was rampant from day two! Sick passengers or crew were allowed aboard this ship! This was 13 days of pure displeasure. Many of the crew had bad attitudes. I experienced one of the Supervisors making excuses regarding sanitation methodology. With this type of Management attitude, no wonder the virus continued to expand. I missed two ports and NEVER once heard an apology from the staff. The gym was closed. Many other on board amenities were curtailed -- however, the Casino was always open when not in Port. Self-service at the buffet was curtailed. You had to beg for sugar, salt, pepper, catsup, etc. If you contacted the norovirus, you were quarenteened in your cabin, with your cabin key confiscated. You food was delivered to you on paper plates with plastic utensils. If you had a cabin mate, you could sneak out with them and continue to spread the germs, with no reprocussions unless caught! Thanks to a "sneaker", to whom apparently rules do not apply, I got sick and so did one of my friends! Norwegian, you need better sanitation and better monitoring of sick passengers. I was very disappointed with my cruise and will think long and hard before booking another NCL cruise. The specialty dining was great at Le Bistro, good at La Cuchina, very good at Moderno. I missed the dinner at Cagney's due to the Norovirus. The two dining rooms had very good food, but they tend to seat solo cruisers in the middle of the floor, and couple's get the better tables. Us solo cruisers DO PAY FOR TWO, and only eat for one. The service was hit or miss. Many of the crew had bad attitudes, probably because they had to do the work of multiple crew members because of the crew members who were sick with the Norovirus. I missed a lot of the entertainment, trying to avoid the Norovirus. When I did go to a show, there were groups of passengers talking and being disruptive during the shows. The entertainers were very talented. The trivia was strange, not really testing knowledge, but asking a crew member's age. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
The itinerary was exactly what I was looking for. However, as soon as we were on board, the upsell was relentless. I began to feel very very pressured and uncomfortable. The cruise across the Atlantic was wild. However, it was ... Read More
The itinerary was exactly what I was looking for. However, as soon as we were on board, the upsell was relentless. I began to feel very very pressured and uncomfortable. The cruise across the Atlantic was wild. However, it was unnerving when the captain came on and said he didn't anticipate the weather. We were rocking bad ... 12 to 15 ft waves. I thought they could avoid those issues. Then the noro virus hit. We heard over half the passengers were quarantined ... and 200 crew. The captain came on and said anyone trying to leave their cabin would be removed from the ship!!!! Many of the staff were saying they had never seen it this bad. The food was less than appetizing and we spoke with one family who got food poisoning. The food was consistently repeated (tasteless and some seemed rotten). There was nothing high end other than the specialty restaurants. The entertainment tried, but it appears they just couldn't afford or didn't attempt to gather decent entertainment. There was nothing much to do all day with 6 days at sea. I was expecting activities all day. We ended up watching the same 4 movies the entire trip. They just kept repeating themselves. Even airlines have a better choice of movies. My friend (who was not sick) ... went to medical to purchase some Imodium (accidentally forgot it) and they charged her $219 for 10 pills. He never examined her, just sold her the pills. It appeared the crew was instructed not to discuss anything with passengers after a few days, and they began to get irritable (probably double and triple shifts). Dublin (beautiful city) was a horror trying to get off the ship. Six shuttles for over 1000 people. Nightmare!!! I would not recommend this cruise line. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose the cruise for the itinerary. I was traveling with my 80 year old mother and we really liked the ports. Both of us are well traveled but never could we have expected such a disaster of a cruise. I can let the terrible weather ... Read More
I chose the cruise for the itinerary. I was traveling with my 80 year old mother and we really liked the ports. Both of us are well traveled but never could we have expected such a disaster of a cruise. I can let the terrible weather not bother me. Or even find fun in the 50 mPH winds with 30degree F wind chill. That’s Mother Nature and what can you do. Since we didn’t get sea sick it was almost calming feeling the sway. But unfortunately that was not the case for many. I feel we had an experienced captain who thinks it’s ok to threaten everyone that he will throw you off the ship if you don’t do what he says. I also feel that based on the fact that I heard the number of sick people by day 3 was 27 and by day 10 was over 1000 of the 2500 passengers. Even if it was your traveling companion sick you too were quarantined to your cabin. They ACTUALLY sent in these poor crew members dressed in hazmat type gear to clean up after these sick people. I’m very sure the cruise company made a lot of money by forcing people to see the ship doctor at $200 minimum a visit. Even room service is an extra charge at $7.95 per person if you use it and that is per time you use it. I was told Norwegian doesn’t like seeing dirty dishes in the hallways, so this stops people from ordering in the middle of night. So no dishes in hallways, but there were ALWAYS cleaning carts blocking halls. You are also not allowed to bring even a water bottle on board. The crew will happily make you pour it out. They lie and say it’s security like at the airport. But that is a lie. It’s to force passengers to do it one way only and that's to spend on Norwegian. This company is a bunch of people acting like Natzi’s and risking our lives from poor cleaning, poor security and a crew that liked to bully passengers. Even if an announcement was very very important they weren’t smart enough to have it in every room instead only in some. It’s their way of keeping the passengers in the dark. The excursion company that Norwegian used is more than awful. Plus in Dublin since my excursion was in the afternoon and you had to use your excursion tickets as your tender ticket, the Pearl crew would not let me off early to go into Dublin. Since my excursion was in the countryside, I didn’t get to see ANY of Dublin. They wouldn’t let us off the ship. People also got hurt on tenders due to not having caring staff helping people get on and off. If I hadn’t. Even there for my 80 year old mother I’m sure she would have fallen. I’m Le Havre the Security was a joke. The terminal staff left promptly at their end of shift regardless of people standing in line to get packages, purses and bags scanned, and for people to walk through scanners. Norwegian let more than 50 people just walk on like it didn’t matter. In FRANCE!! Are they kidding me. Even things like broken locks on doors to balcony’s didn’t matter. I reported my two locks broken 8 times. Nothing in mini fridge and was accused if asking for an empty mini bar. It took 5 days to get mini bar partially filled. Was told by cabin steward that no Diet Pepsi was available for mini bars but bar manager said it would be filled. I got used to three things being a constant comment from the guest relations staff. One-just lie, two, say you don’t know, and three just say no. Not one map of one town or any info was included in nightly program like on every other cruise line. This cruise line is cheap and even if you have a mini suite you get the same amenities as a inside cheaper room. Sure there are free packages for drinks but the tipping for two people on this so called free drink package was in excess of $550 total for 2. Then there is extra tipping on the so called free specialty restaurants. They just keep asking for more money and gave less quality, less everything! I probably would have saved by going on a more expensive cruise line then with all the nickel and diming Norwegian does. We were given one of those really small bars of soap for two people to share for 13nights. Even when it fell into pieces we weren’t given a new one. Many days we couldn’t even get a bath mat for the tub/shower. And forget getting more than one body, one hand and one wash cloth for towels per person. No way no how. Do not go on this line for any reason. Even though we were treated like crap and it was our first cruise with Norwegian, they treated people who had spent more than 150 nights traveling with them worse. What a horrible company!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
35th anniversary, wanted to get to some highlights in northern Europe - first cruise (and most likely last ever) My wife rolled her ankle the day of the cruise and was experiencing some discomfort so we went to the medical services on ... Read More
35th anniversary, wanted to get to some highlights in northern Europe - first cruise (and most likely last ever) My wife rolled her ankle the day of the cruise and was experiencing some discomfort so we went to the medical services on the ship. There was a couple there before us, the wife looked like death warmed over and we listened to them fill out a form of where they ate over the last 3 days. They went into the doctor's office first, when they came out the doctor gave the woman some pills and told them they were quarantined in their cabin. Then the doctor asked us in the office and placed my wife on the examination table, checked her out and then talked to us while we sat in the chairs in his office. The seas were pretty rough on the Atlantic... first time on the ocean... already got charged $180 from the doctor for the ankle... so when my wife got sick we presumed it was motion sickness - at least at the start. They forced us all to go through customs on the boat, called us large numbers forcing us to stand outside in the cold and waves - my wife threw up standing in line - good times. She got better, then I came down with it - I have never had sweat drip off my nose like that. The doctors quarantined me, we missed the first excursion (one of the few days without rain). While we were quarantined, the captain came on and told everyone if the were caught outside their room we would be kicked of the ship at the next port - then he repeated it in the same announcement. My first response was - this is our out!!! My second response was - sick people probably won't report themselves as being sick now. My biggest complaint is that they waited too long to get serious about the sickness (shutting down the gym, controlling the dining areas). For days after the quarantine you still won't enjoy food again - especially when you have to see someone else's puke on the floor in the dining room. The excursion disembarkation needed some help with planning - at the end of the day I wouldn't mind a 3 hour delay if I could have stayed in my room or grabbed some breakfast - imagine several hundred people waiting in a room, booing the cruise activity director as she asked them to please be patient (for the 40th time). The longest delay involved tethered boats. My wife and I finally got on the tethered boat and it was pretty frightening - big gaps as the boat separated away from the boat, raised higher than the step off landing, and dropped away from the step off landing. They helped us on the lifeboat then we were on our own - there was an older woman screaming in horror, I lost my footing and hit a corner with my shoulder (glad it wasn't my wife's head). A young Norwegian employee performed the sign of the cross and later put on a life vest (I got that on video). They ended up disconnecting the boat before it was full (separating one of the families) - they re-positioned the lifeboat on the other side of the ship to finish loading. There was a lot of pressure to get folks off that ship - but that was dangerous. The dude who cleaned our rooms was awesome - the folks who served us in the dining areas were great - customer service... not so much (they should plant some secret cruise testers to try to call the front desk from their rooms) Its not how low you go, its how far you fall - we were both so excited about our first cruise Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We will never cruise Norwegian Cruise Lines again. They were very expensive but low quality compared to any other cruise line we've sailed. Didn't even include water or coffee in their vert expensive drink package. Even their ... Read More
We will never cruise Norwegian Cruise Lines again. They were very expensive but low quality compared to any other cruise line we've sailed. Didn't even include water or coffee in their vert expensive drink package. Even their Specialty dining was terrible. They nichol and dime you to death....literally bill you for 20% gratuities. We were with a friend group of 7, and we all agreed we will never sail Norwegian again. The only thing good we have to say about Norwegian is they had the best on board Musicians we have seen on a cruise, and our room stuard was excellent. They had the most inconsistent mixed drinks I have ever had. They say they care about customers satisfaction, but it is apparent that their profit is their only true concern. We had a back to back transatlantic 24 day cruise and never saw a person win a decent prize at bingo even though they charged more for bingo than any other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We were asked to join a couple for their anniversary cruise. The cruise ship was very overcrowded with more than 4,000 rude and inconsiderate guests. There were very, very few quiet spaces anywhere except our nice but tiny stateroom. ... Read More
We were asked to join a couple for their anniversary cruise. The cruise ship was very overcrowded with more than 4,000 rude and inconsiderate guests. There were very, very few quiet spaces anywhere except our nice but tiny stateroom. Food was like eating in an army mess hall with people crowding in line and reaching in front of you for something they wanted. The food was poor unless you like mac and cheese. Many people using the dining hall had no manners or courtesy. After paying $2,000 each for this cruise, we got the mess hall dining experience unless we wanted to pay $25-$40 per meal each to eat in a "special" restaurant, a couple of which were nice. Most of the crew staff were surly, but our cabin steward was nice and did a good job. There were poor entertainment offerings. We went to a dinner theatre and ordered a tenderloin steak, medium rare, and it came to me well-done and dried out. Pools and deck spaces were overcrowded. The best parts of the cruise were the shore times at Mallorca, the Axored, and other stops reroute to Barcelona. NCL? Never again! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to try NCL for the first time, we have cruised Disney and Princess for year. The ship and food were great, but the customer service was really bad. Honestly about 50-50, half the staff were very friendly the other half were ... Read More
We wanted to try NCL for the first time, we have cruised Disney and Princess for year. The ship and food were great, but the customer service was really bad. Honestly about 50-50, half the staff were very friendly the other half were very rude. I do not think we will be going back on NCL after this experience. It is a shame because we really liked the ship and the food. I did hear from crew this ship in particular has a bad reputation for the management, so hopefully that is the case. It is also not family friendly in any of the entertainment, so with all the activities for kids the nightlife has nothing for the kids. Spa is behind right now so they are pushing very hard to sell you anything if you have any treatments. We really enjoyed the specialty dining apart from the service by the staff. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Just wanted to get away for New Years.....we had taken several NCL cruises in the past so we felt comfortable choosing them again. We like cruising because we like to be pampered and enjoy some nice meals while we relax. We usually boook ... Read More
Just wanted to get away for New Years.....we had taken several NCL cruises in the past so we felt comfortable choosing them again. We like cruising because we like to be pampered and enjoy some nice meals while we relax. We usually boook suites in the Haven just for these reasons. NCL totally dropped the ball on this cruise..... My wife was horrified at the spa.....a woman was assigned to her who had never done a massage in her life.....she burped in my wifes ear every 2 minutes....when she asked to speak to a manager, she was avoided for 3 days and then told that there was nothing that could be done. We went to the buffets that were lacking any flavor or variety.....nobody was putting any extra effort into anything !!!! We tried to go to O'Sheehans for a "break" and were served wings with feathers still on them......we pointed this out to our server who looked at us strange and asked us when we expected her to do about it !!!! The specialty restaurants were just not up to par......we have dined at these restaurants SO many times in the past and we know what its SUPPOSED to be like......its just as if nobody cares anymore...... Thank God we already knew the Haven concierge from a previous NCL cruise to Italy....if not for her and our butler, this would have been even MORE of a nightmare. I believe that NCL came up with a great idea for their freestyle cruising....and that this gave them a lot of business.....unfortunately, they are now obviously resting on past laurels. I sent in all of this (and more) on a survey and nobody from NCL responded..... At this point, I really dont expect them to and we will probably cancel our Fall Foliage cruise with them for later this year..... Absolutely no fun involved at all when you are looking more forward to getting home than being on the cruise !!!!! At least when I got home, I only had my wife yelling at me....on the cruise, I had to deal with the "bingo-mama" and the other "entertainment staff" that was clearly more comfortable questioning the perceptions of the passengers rather than trying to address any possible problems..... At least I was happy to get home to my own toilet.....lol......the one in our cabin would spit the toilet water back up at the person sitting there every 2 minutes......never asked for a bidet....??? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I chose it for it having Madeira scheduled as a stop. That stop was cancelled. I have been on many cruises on at least nine different lines and by far, this is the most disgusting ship that I have ever been on. The staff are young, ... Read More
I chose it for it having Madeira scheduled as a stop. That stop was cancelled. I have been on many cruises on at least nine different lines and by far, this is the most disgusting ship that I have ever been on. The staff are young, inexperienced, and poorly trained and many don't speak enough intelligible English. They hang in slap happy packs and seem to look at you blankly when you ask for something. I had several instances of being almost knocked down by rude staff with no social skills who cross in front of you and run to get ahead of you. The public bathrooms were hard to find and many had toilets that didn't flush. The casino was smoke filled and dirty. I watched two instances were tri-poker players were so drunk that they kept throwing around chips and they were kept in fresh drinks. This is definitely poor sporting. everything about this cruise was a hustle to buy buy buy cheap tee shirts and jewelry...you are bombarded by flyers in y our room every night and even get harassed on the phone to stop by for cruise deals. Our luggage tag color coded was forgotten and we consequently had to wait on the hot deck with no shade or water. Many elderly and immobile people were suffering. This ship is a disgrace of poor management. Someone needs to be fired. BTW, if it was a potato, a pasta, or a rice dish, it was served every day..day in and day out.....food was not hot enough either.... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
No information provided by NCL on where to find the shuttle bus in Civitavecchia from the train. Aft facing Penthouse suite had serious mold issue at our arrival that was never resolved. We chose this room and cruise specifically to relax. ... Read More
No information provided by NCL on where to find the shuttle bus in Civitavecchia from the train. Aft facing Penthouse suite had serious mold issue at our arrival that was never resolved. We chose this room and cruise specifically to relax. We couldn’t even sleep well with the horrible air quality let alone relax in the suite. We both ended up sick by the end of the cruise. Room did not look refreshed (2014) Furniture and bath sink were beat up. Concierge was invisible during the cruise. We ate at all but one of the specialty dining options and ate at the main dining room and buffet. Food was mediocre quality and almost always cold. At the Specialty restaurants and dining rooms, service was slow and food was barely warm. The two shore excursions we did through NCL were not great. The St. Martin excursion was basically a bus ride to the French side where we were dropped off at tourist tents for an hour. Bus driver/ tour guide did nothing more than repeating the same three things he had memorized and the bus smelled of burnt rubber. The Barcelona tour was better, both the bus and actually had a tour guide, but the description did not explain we would be dropped at Mt Montserrat for two hours. Barcelona port had shuttle buses from the port to downtown that were inexpensive (make sure you have a few euros). We do not recommend this ship and are very disappointed in the NCL experience compared to our previous NCL cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This is a smokers alert- Norwegian Bliss Nov. 3rd Panama Canal cruise. Prior to booking I was advised I could smoke on Deck 17 at the Spice Bar, In the humidor lounge, and somewhere at the pool area. I smoke mini cigars which are ... Read More
This is a smokers alert- Norwegian Bliss Nov. 3rd Panama Canal cruise. Prior to booking I was advised I could smoke on Deck 17 at the Spice Bar, In the humidor lounge, and somewhere at the pool area. I smoke mini cigars which are slightly larger than a cigarette. Arrival at LAS airport and awaiting transfer (prepaid) of the shuttle. We waited and waited and after an hour finally saw a woman with a blue scarf (no signage just a blue scarf) a gentlemen advised me he too was waiting an that I should speak to the woman with the blue scarf. I was advised that we were waiting for one more couple and the shuttle bus had been called. An hour after that I was told there were more customers arriving on different flights and that the bus had been called. Three and a half hours later – you read that right – a bus finally arrived and we were told it would be about a thirty minute drive to the port. The ride was uneventful but the three and a half hour wait started telling me this isn't right. Chaos upon arrival- no one tells you what is going on. Where are the bags, do they take them, do I, or where to check in. Checking in wasn't bad except there is no information available. Cabin #14796, Balcony; OK room, shower could use an enlargement but was acceptable. Room was fine, midships, except for at night the band playing at the pool area was loud in the room. Cleaning staff was excellent, friendly, and always asking if there was anything he could do. “Z “ Bags don't arrive till late at night the first night- wasn't use to that type of service. This is probably due to it being a large ship with 4000 guests. With no luggage to unpack it was time for lunch and a snack. Learned where the Cafe is, front of ship. Had an acceptable meal and headed off for a smoke at the rear of the ship. It's a long walk when you are unfamiliar with the ship. You get used to it! Upon arrival I was advised that I could only smoke cigars in the Humidor. I promptly went to guest services and asked for a complete refund at the first port. After a discussion I was advised that I could also smoke at the Spice Bar on deck 17 by guest services but there is no smoking at the pool area. I thought I would be ok with that until the arrival at the spice bar located behind Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville. I asked for a Bailys coffee at the bar. No! They don't have coffee at the bar. They advised to go to Buffets and get a coffee and then bring it to the bar. (I should do that?) Yes! Drink in hand I was further told I could only smoke on the Starboard side of the ship in an area no bigger than 12' x 35'. I thought I would be ok with that until other smokers showed up. I went to sit at a small table approx 24” in diameter and there were about 5 tables there each with about 5 chairs at each. Note- when we started the first day there were three umbrellas in this area. Three days into the cruise there were only two umbrellas. There is a covered area in which to smoke approx 12'x20' the rest is open or semi covered by umbrellas. Note- remember there are 4000 people on this ship. Another problem is that the starboard side railing is covered by sheets of glass or plastic with spaces in between them so that wind blows extremely forceful through the slats. ( hmmmm- creating cigarette ash to blow off a lit cigarette....fire hazard....naaaahhhhh! This ship was designed for Alaska waters and I don't think it would be pleasant to smoke in a cold climate with no wind protection. At the table the four ashtrays on the table were full of cigarettes. I complained to guest services that I don't clean ashtrays- this was taken care of and was acceptable for the rest of the cruise with one exception which I'll mention later. It got crowded as people learned where you can smoke- Humidor, Spice and the CASINO!!! Casino- smoking of cigarettes is allowed. Cigars-NO. People complained that if you didn't have money in a machine you couldn't smoke.-I don't know! I do find it odd that you couldn't smoke in the casino if the casino was closed-all ashtrays removed while in ports after all it is a smoking area but I guess you have to pay money to smoke there. The spice area holds approx 40 people maximum and they couldn't open up the entire deck area for some unknown reason. Rumor was it's a rule-Captain doesn't like smokers- Seems to me the non smokers have numerous bars they can attend but smokers are herded to an area the size of a cabin. On top of that the non smokers utilized the smokers rest room- It was comical watching some of them hold their nose as they walked by to open the rest room door- PS there is a bathroom on the non smoking side but they didn't use that one!!! I think you get the idea so far. It is now standing room only. A person of authority assured me the reason for the small smoking area was to prevent fire hazards. A travel agent aboard stated that all cruise lines are doing away with smoking. Appears so! I would say it is a beautiful ship except for all the walking one has to do especially since the elevators are always on the wrong floor and when you do get one it was usually full- to the stariways. What I found odd was that since it is a new ship what was a lot of the paneling on the walls coming buckling- front of the Cave/Cavern by the humidor. In the humidor and numerous other places. I guess someone didn't tag out the ship before taking possession from the factory. Guest speaker for canal trip was good- however on his first day the theater was packed full. Went to the atrium and you have to hear people complaining at guest services a few feet away from the speaker----- this also works in reverse- speaking to guest services you can't hear employees due to they always have music or show going on in the atrium area. Need sound walls installed. At guest services I stated this noise wouldn't be a problem if the speaker was on the TV in the rooms. The next day it was on the TV- problem solved. Back to the cafe- another design flaw- no where near enough seats. You get your food in a line and people are picking a piece of food and tasting it in front of the serving area. I was shown an area that is not crowded. Get your food and take it to the table towards the pool area. Set your food down and go way back to get a beverage, etc. Food is edible but I noticed that the India cafe area is hardly used. Manhattan room- excellent service the first night- then it went downhill from slow to bad. Food quality was fine. No charge. La cucina Italian? I don't think so- no lasagna, no eggplant $$ Cagneys steakhouse excellent. $$ This was a repositioning cruise- the ports were the worst. We always docked in the commercial parts of the ports. They charge for a bus ride to the towns. Seems petty to me- I your taking me somewhere at least have some service available. Due to 4000 people NCL needs a lot of work in this area. If you can't handle it hire more people or get out of the business. Even people that paid for tours advised that it was so disorganized that they got refunds. NCL- this is not good business sense. At Puntenaras we had to pay $15 PP to get to town. The HAL docked about 100' from where our bus dropped us off. Hmmmmm! THE OTHER SHOE DROPS- So I finish dinner and go to smoke on deck 17 in what I was now calling the CAGE! I am told that the area is closing in 15 minutes for a special party. OK- where do I smoke! Told to go to deck 19 top of the ship behind to smokestacks. I go to deck 19- couldn't find an elevator with 19 on it but finally did – there is only one elevator to 19. Talk about an unsafe area to smoke- on deck 19 the wind is howling. There is no wind protection, the bar is closed, no ashtrays, and no cover-overhead. There is however an NCL rep standing there that didn't have a clue about anything. Back to guest services- The complaint is written down a refunds due. I had it with NCL.... I was told that the bar did open- it was too windy- and ash trays were on hand after my complaining. Should never have happened. None of this was in the brochure. I suggest that any smokers avoid this ship. I have numerous cruises with NCL and this one has caused me to seek other cruise lines. As for non smokers who like large crowds, lines at dining areas, unavailable show tickets, disorganization of the highest level from getting to the ship and from the ship, terrible fill in ports with no transportation unless you $$$$. I further suggest that NCL reads this article- It could help but then again, maybe not! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
very disappointing embarkation went smoothly cabin ready when we arrived at noon. cabin small, but appreciated muted colours of brown and teal and coffee maker since room service costs 7.95 per delivery. noisy music blaring ... Read More
very disappointing embarkation went smoothly cabin ready when we arrived at noon. cabin small, but appreciated muted colours of brown and teal and coffee maker since room service costs 7.95 per delivery. noisy music blaring everywhere including the elevator. only cabin and observation deck quiet, except several times day and night, cabin shuddered from slamming doors. pop music played so loud in the cafeteria we took breakfast in our cabin. bar in the cafeteria opened at 6 am food served at 7 am. thank goodness, Savor and Taste restaurants open at 7 am. music loud, but I was not in danger of going deaf. ALL food stations noisy w/ silverware clashing w/ metal Holland America and Celebrity use wooden salad bowls, Princess uses plastic. Bliss uses meta; bowls and metal utensils.-- adds to the constant din. BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT WAS THE NOISE IN THE THERMAL SUITE. Some women were talking so loud we couldn't hear the meditation music. I went at 8 am to avoid the crowds. On Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, RCI there r signs requesting silence and the staff remind the rare persons who forget. No signs on the Bliss and no one cares. I sailed on the Epic a couple of yrs ago. The Spa was quiet. even in the main dining room and specialty restaurants, people's voices rose as they drank alcohol. bliss advertised free bar as a perk and most people took advantage of this offer. in fact, because i am a silver member i get a free bottle of wine in my cabin even though i do not drink. no matter how many times i request sparkling water i get wine. some stranger getting off the elevator when i arrive benefits. i suspect the powers that be on Norwegian r alcoholcs. i am diabetic and i tell them every time i sail.-- no one cares Norwegian provides lousy customer service. when we arrived in San Francisco, due to unclear instructions i disembarked early b4 i had eaten breakfast. an officer came to me after i complained to security that i could not wait 4 hrs to get back on ship to eat he assured me he would solve the problem. i was shaking by this time on the verge of passing out. he never returned. i will forever be grateful to Gina from Frisco security who gave me a yogurt from her lunch. NorwegIan also disembarked people in wheel chairs who had to sit for hours b4 returning to the ship why couldn't they have been taken off the ship last, not first? when i finally got back on board i whimpered bitterly to a supervisor about them putting my life in jeopardy. to calm me they sent chocolate coated strawberries and a bottle of wine to my cabin. chocolate and alcohol will kill me. some travel agents already tipsy in the early afternoon benefitted. how hard is it to google diabetic diet? i was so upset i went to a manager at guest sevices who listened, but probably won't implement my simple suggestions eventho she said thet were good ideas. on the plus side, The Jersey Boys show in the theatre was great as were the Beatles impersonators in the Cavern Bar. we left Havana when a young lady on stage took off her bra. for a moment i thought i was in Vegas The food on Norwegoan ships has improved. I like the fact that i can order 3 appetizers and call that dinner. Teppenyaki was terrific except for the woman who spilled her beer on me. the food was almost as good as if i had eaten in Vancouver. Los Lobos served fresh quacamole which was as good. they had IMPORTED the corn from Chilliwack BC i recognozed the peaches and cream corn which was delicious why do i cruise Norwegian? Itinerary and spa. The Bliss stopped in Victoria where my daughter andi had planned to visit the Egyptian Exhibit at the museum. this seemed like a better idea than an overnight in a hotel. BIG MISTAKE Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
The cruise wasn’t good we stayed on the boat more than we were suppose to didn’t get to go to the destination that we paid for instead ended up in Florida and a stop for a few hours at a private island. Didn’t get to see anything I ... Read More
The cruise wasn’t good we stayed on the boat more than we were suppose to didn’t get to go to the destination that we paid for instead ended up in Florida and a stop for a few hours at a private island. Didn’t get to see anything I wanted and customer service on the boat wasn’t the best. We still haven’t gotten money back for not going to Bermuda But other cruise lines did give their customers money back and a money off the next cruise. I won’t be going through them again for a cruise. The food on this cruise was okay. It could be better and also the entertainment was probably the only good part of the cruise. The shows saved my vacation but everything else was no worth the trip. Also the drink package was a good thing to have on the cruise without those two things I would have had a worse time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
This ship went to the towns that I wanted to visit and ended up in Quebec City, Canada, which was important to me. The rooms were itty-bitty. The bath had doors to toilet, etc. but no more than 1/2 of a person could fit in there at ... Read More
This ship went to the towns that I wanted to visit and ended up in Quebec City, Canada, which was important to me. The rooms were itty-bitty. The bath had doors to toilet, etc. but no more than 1/2 of a person could fit in there at a time and I am not a large person. I could only raise my arms to shampoo my hair if I turned on a diagonal. The food was terrible and served over and over. There wasn't a truly good meal the entire trip except maybe the prime rib on the last night. That too was thin and covered with an indescribable sauce. A few dishes of fish were ok, no shellfish except tiny, cut in half shrimp. The steak was terrible. Everything was overcooked and then covered with unrecognizable sauce. They had several days at the buffet with very strong Indian food that I could not eat, so it was back to salads and eggs. The tours were abominable based on what people said and I had read that earlier in the reviews. Most towns were easily walked in about an hour so tours were mostly unnecessary. I did take a Hop On-Hop Off Bus in Boston and asked why they were charging $69 for one person when I remember it being much cheaper last time I was in Boston, or any other city for that matter. The staff at the kiosk said it was because NCL owned the buses. At the very least, they had a connection. Never mention that you are on the NCL! The staff was remarkable but usually unhappy, we saw some cry while working. Entertainment was 2 days of real entertainment. There was a juggler/comic who couldn't. In the bars there was a piano player who was wonderful but they made him sing, which was awful. Being tone deaf would help the audience immensely. I have been on Holland America, Princess, and even Carnival (although I wouldn't recommend them either) I have loved the first two. I heard so many people complain, almost everyone I met. Also directions to exit were barely posted, not even the floor number so we had to ask other guests or follow any line we saw. Speakers didn't usually work in our room. Directions for the next day weren't even printed. Plus events were canceled so eventually we stopped going. Never again on NCL!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My husband and I wanted to do a transatlantic cruise to Europe from Miami since long time ago, and after trying many other cruise lines we decided to try Norwegian "Big Mistake" The ship was old, falling apart, rusty, the food ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to do a transatlantic cruise to Europe from Miami since long time ago, and after trying many other cruise lines we decided to try Norwegian "Big Mistake" The ship was old, falling apart, rusty, the food was terrible, and the entertainment was not the best. The ship was understaffed, poorly trained, and the menus were the same every single day. If you do a cruise for 14 days you have to be creative. \ After being 7 days in the water we made our first stop in Ponta Delgada on a Sunday where almost everything was closed, and the Captain gave us 2 extra hours to be in that place. When we got to Lisbon they just stopped for a couple of hours, and it was not enough to see such an important and beautiful city. There was not variety of food, and the quality was poor. We tried the specialty restaurants and were not that great,but they also had the same menu every single day. We got offered an upgrade a few months before our trip and they asked us to put a bid for a mini suite or a family suite, we got the upgrade from the balcony to a mini suite and it was a total fiasco, the room was not that big and the distribution of the space was really bad, I am petite and skinny, and couldn't even move to adjust the clothing into the closet right next to the bed, the drawers for the extra clothing were broken, and the chairs inside the room were full of rust and one of them had a piece of the leg missing, when we made a complain they sent us a bottle of wine with 3 chocolate strawberries, and 2 dirty bathrobes "disgusting" The whole trip started with 4 hours of lines before boarding. Nobody says anything, and nobody knows nothing in there. I will be firing my travel agent after this trip. Never again with Norwegian. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We arrived on time and then had to wait 3 hours before we could check in. Electrical plugs did not work in cabin. Took me a day and three staff members that could not plug into the sockets to finally get an electrician, who after ... Read More
We arrived on time and then had to wait 3 hours before we could check in. Electrical plugs did not work in cabin. Took me a day and three staff members that could not plug into the sockets to finally get an electrician, who after considerable effort was able to angle the plug downward, prey up ward and jam it in, said, (if it is even possible for anyone to believe this), "All the plug ins on the ship are child proofed, I cannot I cannot make yours different without doing it to every plug on the ship." When I responded, you do not mean that it is child proofed but that it is also customer proofed and your own staff proofed, because after 4 hours and 4 different people trying no one could get that plug in." He then agreed to go get his tools and fix the plug. None of the gym equipment works. The various measure from miles to heart monitors to TV's nothing works. We made reservations for a show and when we got there 10 minutes early their were no seats for us. Getting up at 4:30 am to have breakfast in there "all night restaurant" they never had any coffee, food or as in this morning as I write this a bit pissed off even a seat. They told me I had to leave and go sit elsewhere because they were going to vacuum. When I asked if I could have a glass of water, a scowling staff simply slid over a glass that had water in it and had been clearly standing on the counter all night. No ice and could well have been someones discard hours before.. Needing full internet service that did not work. I had to stand 4 different times in a line 8 to 15 people deep to get assistance from the one IT person the ship offered. I literally spent hours in that line, coming back again and again until they were forced to provide the connection I had paid an extra $300+ for. Wanting to go on an excursion that had been sold out, we asked if there was anyway we would be able to hire a cab or other transportation and were told," We do not help with that, we only have information about our excursions if you are not on one you are on your own." The bedroom TV, are tiny,you cannot see them well from the bed nor can you use the remote without getting up out of bed and going over to the TV. The food runs bad with few exceptions. All of the restaurants serve identical menus. We have been on a great many cruises, never have i seen a more poorly trained staff or a ship with such an unhappy and unwelcoming group. Norwegian - Never again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My husband and I are retired and decided a Transatlantic cruise was on our bucket list. When we saw the price of this repositioning cruise, we couldn't resist! We didn't know what we were in for! When booking, I accidentally ... Read More
My husband and I are retired and decided a Transatlantic cruise was on our bucket list. When we saw the price of this repositioning cruise, we couldn't resist! We didn't know what we were in for! When booking, I accidentally chose the dining package and free internet as my free package instead of the beverage package and free internet.  When I tried to change, I was told I could only change if I paid an additional amount per day up front.  Doesn't seem like a free perk if I have to pay for it!  So I was stuck with a dining package that I did not use. In New York, we had an appointment to get on the ship at 0930.  So we got up early, had a rushed breakfast, and got down to the ship, expecting to check in and get on board. Imagine our surprise when we didn't board until after 1300 and were told that, even if all had gone perfectly, we still wouldn't have been allowed to board until after 1200.  But there was a delay, supposedly caused by Customs, so everyone was lined up, no seats were even available, and, in spite of the delay not being our fault, no remuneration or apology was offered.  First five days were uneventful other than a rough sea and decks being closed.  Finding out that the vast majority of activities on board required a further outlay of cash was rather disappointing.  Finding out the big shows required even more cash was very disappointing!  I have never been on board a ship that required so many additional charges!  Even the majority of restaurants were paid!   With decks 6, 7, and 8 all being open to each other, the stench of the smoking area was horrible!  The smoke doesn't apparently know it is supposed to stay outside when people are coming in and out of the doors.  It reeked of tobacco smoke all around the area on all three decks.  Additionally, being open meant that there are few (If any) quiet areas.  The noise is constant especially when some event like Deal or No Deal or anything being done in that particular area is on. A friend had arranged for a Bon Voyage package in our room.  The next day, we had to request a smaller plate so the cake fit in the fridge.  The steward didn't cover it so it was quickly stale.  We ended up having to take the decorations down ourselves after they started to come down but weren't taken away.  The entire trip, the only time housekeeping carts were not in the hallways was after 10 pm. Watching some of the guests on Larks trying to get past them was difficult to watch. Several times, we helped to move one to assist one of these passengers. Our first restaurant was the Manhattan.  The service was terrible but the food was okay.  We didn't even have dessert because the waiter never came back to our table after the initial service of our food! The next night (and all subsequent nights) we ate at Taste.  The maitre d', Cielo Romo, was AMAZING, apologizing to us for the prior night's service and making our night special!  The waiter, Donny, was friendly, sweet, and made the effort to learn our names!  You need more employees like these two! They both deserve a raise or additional paid vacation or something! The Garden Buffet was okay, the chefs/servers were not very friendly.  The staff who came around in the morning with pastries were a delight!  The food was great at breakfast and adequate the rest of the day.  We joked that the theme nights just meant the same food served differently!  The service at the spa was awesome!  The young lady who was my massage therapist was extremely knowledgeable and I appreciated the consultation with the acupuncturist afterward.  However, prices were so high!   When we got to Punta Delgada, there were lines to get out but we were unconcerned as we had no excursions planned.  But after spending a pleasant day, we then had a long line to get back on board.  A couple more uneventful days and this was about when our steward started to pay some attention to us.  In Cobh, we had to go to the theater for our excursion.  We got numbers on the way in. After sitting for a bit, the young lady at the front mentioned that everyone in your party had to have the same numbers.  We ran to the back to get our friends, who were just coming in.  They had different numbers.  We spoke with staff at the door to try to get this straightened out.  The staff member was rude, not just to us but to several others who were there with the same problem.   There had been no notification of this policy and yet we were chastised like children for not knowing it!  We finally got it straightened out and went on our way to the Blarney Castle and Blarney Woolen Mills excursion.  The guide, although very nice, seemed more like someone they had grabbed last minute rather than a professional guide.  By the time we got to our destination, it boiled down to having enough time to see Blarney Castle OR Blarney Woolen Mills, there was not time to do both.  We were extremely disappointed! This was the one stop I was really looking forward to and there was no way we had time to climb the castle and kiss the stone, given the long lines of passengers from our ship who were ahead of us.  It was all a big rush! The drive in each direction seemed longer than the tour itself.  And the tour of Cork, although interesting, was mostly just visible to one side of the bus or the other.  Would rather have had more time at Blarney! Next came Portland, once again no excursions.  Once again one of our best days.  If you get a chance, go to their D-day museum! Still a line to get off the boat but we didn't care.  Then a line for the bus to town.  Then a line to catch the bus from town.  Then a line to get back on board.  Guess we know why it is called Norwegian Cruise LINE. Next day was La Havre.  We were supposed to meet in the theater at 0700.  At 0645, the theater was not open and there was a line that stretched LITERALLY from the theater, to the Manhattan Room, and halfway back to the casino again!  After about an hour, we finally made it to the theater and then on board a bus.  The bus ended up breaking down and it was at this point that we realized that the tour guide had no idea when we had to be back!  The failure to change to local time compounded this problem!  Our much looked forward to tour of the D-day beaches became more of a rushed drive by with no lunch (as we had to choose between lunch or a rush through the museum) and a couple of stops!   For the amount we paid ($400 for 4 people) I expected better. When we arrived back at the ship, we were lined up for 50 (FIFTY) minutes, in the cold, trying to get back on board.  And what were we offered to make up for this travesty?  Once we were inside, we were offered tiny cups of hot chocolate. FYI, booze might have been a better choice! When it came time to disembark in Southampton, surprise surprise, massive lines again. My bill had been messed up, showing charges for excursions I had paid for before embarking so that took some time to fix, during which the person in charge of excursions (Ms Jeanne Grignola) refused to come out to speak with us, in spite of us requesting several times that she do so!  So, after completing that, as we stand in line to leave, the line comes to a complete stop apparently because the tide came in and the gangway had to be moved to another floor?  Don't they have tide tables so they know when this is going to happen?  Another hour of my life I will never have back!  So, to sum it up, 1) I am fairly certain people chosen at random from the public could have organized most events better than they were organized by Norwegian 2) they really need to have their employees work to be more friendly and 3) they really need to replan their excursions to give them more time or change the excursion to fit the time.  As of this moment, unless something radically changes my mind, I will NEVER recommend Norwegian to anyone and will probably randomly interrupt strangers talking about Norwegian in order to tell them my story. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our 36th Cruise overall and my 5th with NCL. For the past 7 years, we have cruised exclusively with Celebrity and have never found anything negative. Let me begin with positive comments. The entertainment was outstanding! ... Read More
This was our 36th Cruise overall and my 5th with NCL. For the past 7 years, we have cruised exclusively with Celebrity and have never found anything negative. Let me begin with positive comments. The entertainment was outstanding! Best ever on any cruise we have been on. The performers very talented. The cruise director Andre, was great. This was a 15 day transatlantic cruise and he made sure to schedule shows in the afternoon during the crossing. The food was inedible in the 2 main restaurants. The meat was tough, the chicken was like rubber, the side vegetables and soup was always cold. The buffet choices were very limited. The portions were unbelievably small. In the buffet, a turkey sandwich contained one thin slice of turkey. We actually took 6 sandwiches apart to make one sandwich. At breakfast I ordered a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon. I was server a half bagel with a smear of cream cheese that was barely visible to the naked eye. We had the ultimate drink package which allowed us to drink any brand of wine, liquor or any cocktail that was priced up to $15. That was great, but, it did not include water. There was a charge for water. We ate at four specialty restaurants. Cagney steak house was great. Tapanyake was wonderful and the Italian restaurant was also very good. However, Le Bistro was a big disappointment. They were completely disorganized. We were 4 at our table. 3 meals were served and the 4th meal was served 10 minutes later. Service was horrible. Food quality was no better than their regular restaurant. This is the first cruise that I have taken where Lobster Tails were not served on the last night. The last nights meal was no different than the other inedible meals. Embarkation was very easy. Debarkation was a nightmare. The luggage was on a carousel justly like the airports use. After wailing 20 minutes and not seeing any of our luggage, a fellow passenger told us that he found his bags against a back wall of the terminal. We went to the was and found our luggage. There were about 100 pieces of luggage there while nervous passengers were watching the carousel. I will never sail with NCL again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have just returned from the "Cruise from HELL" aboard NCL Sun. During our 15 night cruise, there was construction going on. There was insulation blowing around, paint dust blowing everywhere, the muster station doors were ... Read More
We have just returned from the "Cruise from HELL" aboard NCL Sun. During our 15 night cruise, there was construction going on. There was insulation blowing around, paint dust blowing everywhere, the muster station doors were closed off during DAYS of our cruise, the pool area was closed for a few days, sanding the decks, drilling, jack hammering etc from sun up until around midnight EVERY NIGHT. Our cruise was a complete DISASTER!! There was between 15% - 30% of the ship CLOSED on all days! A few of the specialty restaurants NEVER opened during the entire vacation. Many people have been sick with respiratory issues due to the nauseous fumes of the products they have been using while passengers are on board this cruise ship. The Sun is scheduled to be on dry dock for more renovations, but yet NCL chose to also inconvenience its passengers and put us all in danger as many of the Emergency meeting stations were not accessible while they were refinishing the deck floors on deck 6, the meeting deck. STAY AWAY from NCL! They don't care about their passengers...only saving money! This ship was quite old and dated. Many times, there was industrial fans running down the hallways as there were plumbing leaks. The crew did do the best they could during this situation. I particularly enjoyed Victor at the bar deck 11 aft. He was always smiling and trying his best. Room was OK. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary. However, NCL, were obviously trying to save costs at every opportunity, by arriving at container ports, instead of main ports, or using tenders and buses. Unfortunately, they were completely ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary. However, NCL, were obviously trying to save costs at every opportunity, by arriving at container ports, instead of main ports, or using tenders and buses. Unfortunately, they were completely dis-organised in these tender operations which resulted in guests having to get up at 6 am in the Morning to get a ticket to get on a tender. Even when you had a ticket very often you were not able to get off the ship until lunchtime. This continued at every port. They did not learn. The tenders were driven by staff who either did not have any training or where incompetent. They did not give any safety instructions and often crashed into the side of the ship call the dock morning to get a ticket to get on a tender. Even when you had a ticket very often you were not able to get off the ship until lunchtime. This continued at every port. They did not learn. On one occasion they forgot to close the door and water was coming into the tender (this was that night) and guests were having to deal with water entering the tender. The issues involved poor customer relations staff on the ship who could simply not handle all the complaints they were getting. Also there were not enough sunbeds around for guests to sit on and when this was raised with guest relations they simply replied, well there are 2000 people on board what do you expect? There were also issues with food not being labelled clearly, as to whether it was vegetarian or not. This was such a shame as the itinerary was excellent and this could have been such an amazing cruise. And fortunately it turned out to be fully organised mismanaged and pennypinching. I think Norwegian will lose a lot of customers following this cruise. They kept making excuses after excuses but were not resolving any issues. The captain was nowhere to be seen I think he must’ve been hiding in his cabin ! Read Less
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