51 Boston Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

The Pros: Excellent food, productions, activities and the ship was very clean! The new renovations were lovely, and items that needed to be fixed were being attended to. I assume they are listening to folks' comments! So-So: ... Read More
The Pros: Excellent food, productions, activities and the ship was very clean! The new renovations were lovely, and items that needed to be fixed were being attended to. I assume they are listening to folks' comments! So-So: I would refrain from the specialty restaurants if you expect to be wowed. I was more wowed with the buffet. Long lines despite reservations and little attention to detail at Teppanyaki and Moderno made it a mediocre experience. Cons: Some staff members were surprisingly rude! In the Mandara Spa and the Java Café, I encountered tired and short-tempered staff. The housekeeping and waiters/waitresses were wonderful, but those that deal with problems or intricate orders are not pleasant at all. I was very surprised. Scrunched-up faces and a holier-than-thou attitude does not earn repeat business. Why are customers questioned? Customer service is about service, not quick fixes or ignoring requests. If towels are out or water is warm, why would someone walk away with a groan and a headshake? Are they understaffed? I smiled and even had a sing-song voice when I made the request! *sigh* Mandara: If you book a free "pamper party" and show up, the "computer" may book you for a haircut, facial or other spa package - all after you are told it's complimentary. This happened twice (to my brother and to myself). We paid over $300 for things we were told were free. That is shady business Norwegian! Java Café: Wow! I ordered an iced coffee and got something entirely different. When Ramon (I assume to be a bar manager) brought it over, I told him that it was not what I ordered. He became rude, short and pretty much yelled at me as I walked away. I gave the café another try and he was still quite angry at me for his getting my order wrong. Poor, poor service. Guest Relations: After signing a request not to have other people's charges put upon my account, I still received charges for folks in my party. Even though I signed the form, and the charges were made after the form was signed, the guest relations staff refused to reverse the charges. They admitted that all the above were true. Again, calling it a "computer" problem. "Sorry, there is nothing we can do." Are you kidding me? I actually had to pay for my brother's charges. Once again, way to be nickel and dimed. If I had known that I would be charged for such crazy things even though I covered my bases, I would not have booked with Norwegian. I was very disappointed in their customer service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
NCL Cruise in a Wheelchair On October 21-28, 2016 my wife and I went on the second cruise we have taken on the Norwegian Dawn out of Boston. In August 2015 we sailed with a group of family, 22 of us altogether. This time around, ... Read More
NCL Cruise in a Wheelchair On October 21-28, 2016 my wife and I went on the second cruise we have taken on the Norwegian Dawn out of Boston. In August 2015 we sailed with a group of family, 22 of us altogether. This time around, however, it was just the two of us traveling on our own. There was a great deal of press regarding the drydock and renovation of the ship this past June, so we were very anxious to see for ourselves. It turns out the changes we saw were almost entirely a matter of decor, flooring, window and wall treatments, and furniture. We do not go to bars or clubs, but we did get around seeing a great deal of the ship in general; regarding the new décor, most of the ship was brighter and even more pleasant than it had been the previous year, the changes were definitely for the better. We enjoyed the entertainment, taking in quite a few of the different shows during our cruise. There was a nice variety in the types of shows to see. The single greatest aspect to be noted about the cruise was the staff and crew, they were fantastic, it cannot be stressed enough. They were friendly and accommodating and wonderfully helpful. We literally have many accounts per day regarding individuals going above and beyond to make our cruise better and more memorable. At dinner the first night of the cruise things were not looking good to start. The restaurant was extremely busy, we had been shown to our table and after 15 minutes of seeing no one my wife went to the maître d”s station which happened to be just around the corner from our table and complained. She asked to speak to the dining room manager who did not just get us someone to wait on our table immediately, but he himself waited on us for the entire meal. This was the sixth cruise that I have been on and the recommendation that he gave me for the dinner I had was the single best recommendation I’ve ever had. Not only on a cruise but at any restaurant. I’m in a wheelchair and cannot walk at all. Any time our cabin steward saw us returning to the cabin, however far down the hall he might have been, he would proceed directly to our cabin greeting us and getting the door, assisting us back into our cabin and making sure everything was all set before returning to his work which he did diligently and well. If these were isolated examples that stood out from normally good service they would certainly have been enough to raise the quality of our vacation on board. The fact was that these were in no way isolated examples, this level of service was the standard on the entire ship. We dined in La Cucina, Teppenyaki, Le Bistro, they were all great from start to finish, especially the service. Although the duck at Le Bistro was somewhat flat; on the other hand the soup was phenomenal and the desert, the Napoleon was delicious making it one of only 4 individual exceptions to disappointing deserts served throughout the ship. We also ate at Bamboo, a definite all-star from start to finish; O’Sheehan’s was a surprise previously untried by us, and an excellent venue when not over crowded. Then there is the Garden Café (the buffet). The buffet was disappointing. The space is attractive and the presentation of the line is very good, but the food itself was only mediocre and it was quite redundant if you went there more than once. Aside from the carving station the meats and meat dishes were dry and sadly overcooked, but if you liked a hamburger with the consistency of pressed sawdust the buffet and Topsiders by the pool are for you. Most of the vegetables were limp and lifeless. There was one small section of the buffet which was an exception, once I found it I stopped bothering with the rest beyond a passing look. If you come across their Indian style cauliflower then feast away, also this station had by far the best noodles on the buffet. With only four individual exceptions during the cruise every other dessert served was disappointing. An old chef’s adage is, “every meal is eaten twice, first with the eyes and then with the mouth”. While all the desserts were beautiful to look at, they seem to have forgotten that eventually the food has to actually cross the pallet. The most shocking disappointment in regards to the ships desserts was in the form of the pecan pie they were serving on the buffet. It started out as a picture perfect dessert and was absolutely beautiful to look at, sadly its merits ended there. Never in my life had it even occurred to me that it was be possible for the filling of a pecan pie to actually be dry. I took two small bites and simply could not stand to try another. The cruise was very nice and we did enjoy it. For any able-bodied person I would definitely recommend this cruise so long as you are not a dessert person; no longer having Carlo’s Bakery aboard is a big loss. Unfortunately, when it comes to looking at the cruise from a wheelchair things begin to change. Overall the ship was wheelchair friendly and could be easily maneuvered around in the wheelchair. Many of the doors to go from the inside areas to outdoors on the decks are automatic and operate when approached which is great. There are, however, a few doors between the inside and outside that are manual and for some reason these same manual doors have a short steep ramp going up to and down from the door which made them impossible to negotiate without the assistance of a person who could stand holding the door open. The Java Café located on deck 7 opposite the Guest Services desk was also a large disappointment. The Café itself was on a raised level up three steps with no ramp to make it accessible. There were some tables off of the raised area and there was wait staff, but their instructions seem to be to only serve these tables if you had first gone up into the café area and placed your order. You could sit at a table for hours without receiving service. Also there were demonstrations held here that took place on the raised platform of the café not only making it impossible for those of us in wheelchairs to get anywhere near but also making it impossible for us to even see what was going on. Our handicapped balcony state room was the most disappointing part of the ship. Upon arriving in the room the bed was set up as a single king size bed with the telephone in the corner of the room between the bed and the wall. This space was perhaps 12 inches making it physically impossible to even get to the phone so no contact with other state rooms, no ordering room service, and no contacting Guest Services to report the problem. There was a 4 inch step from the room up to the balcony making it impossible to get onto the balcony in a wheelchair. Also with the bed set up as it was, it extended part of the way in front of the balcony door so even if the temporary ramp which is available were in place it would be physically impossible to get out the door. We spoke to the cabin steward about the arrangement of the bed and he happily split it into two twin beds on opposite sides of the room and moved the phone to where it was accessible. When a handicapped person books a room with NCL they are contacted by the NCL Access Desk who is supposed to make sure any special accommodations the person might require are taken care of. When we sailed on the Dawn in 2015 we had seen a video posted online of the handicapped state room on the opposite side of the ship from ours which had a pole coming down in the entryway of the room which limited access. When we contacted the Access Desk directly they assured us that no such poll existed, of course when we arrived at the room the pole was most definitely there. Also there is a form the access desk emails handicapped passengers outlining available standard accessibility arrangements you might need in place and asking about any special requests that you have. They ask you to have it back to them 60 days before sailing to make sure they can have all your requests in for you when you arrive, which I did fill out and email back to the representative I had been contacted by. When we sailed in 2015 on the Norwegian Dawn the access desk failed to take care of two of the four things I had requested. This time they failed completely and nothing I had requested was there. The only value this process with the Access Desk had at all was that I printed a copy of this form and brought it with me and went to Guest Services with it. They were extremely helpful and were able to get some of the things I had requested, although not all. The bathroom in the handicapped state room was also very disappointing. First of all it was small and cramped with barely enough room to pivot the wheelchair around in place. The sink in the bathroom was at a height for a person standing; to a person in a wheelchair it just below shoulder height. Apparently when brushing your teeth they are under the impression that a person in a wheelchair wishes to rest his or her chin on the edge of the sink. The grab bars in the bathroom were chromed and their surfaces polished, I am sure it looks quite lovely in pictures, but is a bad choice for safety. The single worst feature of the handicapped state room was the bed. The bed sits at a height of 28+ inches. Next to a standard wheelchair this puts it even with the top of the armrest. To provide a perspective for people not in wheelchairs the standard height of a kitchen or dining room table is 30 inches. So apparently, if you are in a wheelchair, by being in an NCL handicapped state room when you need to get into or out of bed you can miraculously stand, or have temporarily developed a rather extraordinary ability to climb. As I had previously mentioned I had sailed on the Norwegian Dawn in August 2015 after which and I had written to them making them aware of most of these issues, the steps up to the Java Café, the failure to provide items requested through the Access Desk, the step up to the balcony, and the bed height. Sadly no accessibility deficiencies were addressed during the drydock of which they are so proud. For people who are fully wheelchair-bound and cannot stand or walk a couple of steps I suggest you avoid NCL. While it is a lovely ship and the crew is so superlative the state room is extremely tiring to manage and even somewhat dangerous in a couple of respects. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I cruised on the NCL's Dawn to Bermuda during hurricane season and loved it! This was my first cruise and I cruised with 3 other couples. Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) updated us as they learned of the information of the ... Read More
I cruised on the NCL's Dawn to Bermuda during hurricane season and loved it! This was my first cruise and I cruised with 3 other couples. Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) updated us as they learned of the information of the impending storms and through social media, encouraged us that they had our safety as their highest concern. I had a sea sick patch and the other couples used motion sickness wrist bands to handle the gentle tossing of the ship. Both were effective. One of the couples didn't use anything and didn't have a problem. Even though we were the only ship to make it to Bermuda in between Hurricanes Matthew and Nicole, the ship really didn't rock all of that much! We did need to leave 8 hours early to avoid Nicole which struck Bermuda head on as a Catagory 4 Hurricane, but anticipating that we might need to leave early, we did arrive 3 hours earlier than anticipated, giving us a full first day as well as a full 2nd day. This, in fact, worked much better than a 1/2 first day, a full second day and a 1/2 third day. Locals projected that we would leave early, and veteran cruisers anticipated it. I was surprised, but rolled with it, just being glad that NCL was taking care of us. We arrived on the island on Sunday, a day in which the shops are closed. The Royal Naval Shipyard had plenty to do, however, we rented scooters and off we went to explore Bermuda! First we went to Horseshoe Bay Beach, but so did everyone else! The riptides were particularly strong (due to the effects of Hurricane Matthew) and everyone was mostly sunning on the beach. One of our friends remembered from a past visit, a small cove nearby - Jobson's Cove Beach, a tiny, rock enclosed cove on South Shore in Warwick. Whereas I could not even stand in knee high water in Horseshoe bay due to the riptides, the cove provided a wonderfully safe shelter to swim, float and snorkel. And wow, was it magical!!! I couldn't believe that we found this! On our particular Sunday morning, we were the only visitors. There were amazing rocks to climb, water to safely swim in and sandy private spaces to enjoy. The large boulders completely surrounded the cove, breaking the riptide. By mid-day, one local family joined us, but that was it. At one point we looked up and saw folk on horseback riding by. Later we took our scooters and rode to Hamilton, the capital city. In Hamilton, we had a blast at the Hamilton Street Party filled with local food vendors and live music. It is intended to offer Bermudians the opportunity to enjoy each other and to buy local. Locals were welcoming and we had a blast. We did dash into a local grocery store which was open to purchase some fresh fruit to eat before we returned to the ship. Monday brought more touring on the scooters... we rode up and down the entire chain of islands. Having ridden to Hamilton the day before, on the second day, we chose to take the Hamilton ferry to get our day started. The ferry accommodates both passengers and scooters, but you need to purchase a second token for your scooter. We explored the island from Hamilton to St George. St George is not to be missed! The historic churches and architecture are beautiful, The shops are so warm and welcoming. And the beaches - so inviting. We stopped to eat at Wahoo's Bistro and Patio,a local favorite, and the fish chowder was amazing. At this time of year, we had our choice of seats with great views. We took a break from the rain (the weather changes often in Bermuda in October, but not to worry, the bad weather never lasted long) and ate inside while enjoying the picturesque view of the ocean. We took our time scootering back to the ship. Traffic was a little scary for me, a first time scooter driver. However, the locals were very patient and it really wasn't that difficult driving on the left side of the road. You really do get used to it! We returned to the ship for a late night dinner and some more great entertainment. At this point, the captain still believed that we would be departing at 5:30pm Tuesday. At 8am Tuesday, I was awakened with an announcement that the ship would be leaving port at 9am. Apparently, everyone was still on board. NCL Dawn worked with the local scooter company to return our scooters and keys. We stayed on board while the scooter company sent a box to collect our keys. This was particularly nice, because renting a scooter was not a "NCL Excursion" but they worked with us anyway. By 10am, our Cruise Director had rearranged a full line up of activities for us including some standard favorites as well as some new activities. I particularly enjoyed the wine and chocolate pairings, the martini tasting, BINGO and "Who Wants to Be a Bizzillionaire". This was particularly important, because not only were we now on the ship (verses being on land), but we were also limited to staying inside the ship and not using the decks and pools due to high winds. There were still plenty of places to sit and enjoy the majestic views, but frankly, I had so much fun, that I hardly even noticed! To me, it was a terrific bonus day on the ship! Being a first time cruiser, I have strong expectations. However, I did not expect that by the end of the cruise, the staff and fellow passengers would all feel like one big club. Between cruising with my friends from my hometown, my new friends though cruise critic and my delightfully unexpected newest friends that I met on the ship, I had plenty to enjoy. I never was bored and could have wished for even more time on both the ship and at port. A week isn't nearly long enough! As for the hurricane weather, well, the hurricanes worried more of my friends back home than anyone on the ship - for we were having too much fun! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Second time we were on this cruise. Enjoyed the ports and embarking process. They were quick and efficient in Boston. Staff pleasant and hard working. Main dining food was good and service was great. Entertainment was ok but we had ... Read More
Second time we were on this cruise. Enjoyed the ports and embarking process. They were quick and efficient in Boston. Staff pleasant and hard working. Main dining food was good and service was great. Entertainment was ok but we had seen most of the entertainers on prebius cruises and their shows were the same. Cabin attendent was great and tried his best to help with the wet carpet isses (see cabin review). Tendering in Bar Harbor was disorganized and our tour was cut 30 minutes short because we left so late. Halifax was very nice and can be seen without joining an organized tour. Leaves were still green so if you want the vibrant colors, consider a later cruise. Weather was not the best but that was not anyone's fault. Bar staff was friendly and actually had a show demonstrating their "Tom Cruise bar skills". Enjoyed cruise despite of the cabin issues. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We wanted to experience the Holland Line. This fit into our schedule, so this is the trip we experienced. Holland in this ship is a smaller and older ship and could see the aging in various parts. The ship was very clean in all the ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Holland Line. This fit into our schedule, so this is the trip we experienced. Holland in this ship is a smaller and older ship and could see the aging in various parts. The ship was very clean in all the public areas. The ship did not have as many daily see activities as some of the others, but that did not bother us since we read most of the time. The library on the ship was bigger than most cruise lines. However, other things were odd at times. The Lido Deck the food is served to you and not as a selection as other cruise lines----but still good. The dinning room food was very comparable to other cruise lines. The food was not offer at all times, so you had to make sure you did your dinning and 10:30 buffet or order room service. One of the best for me to enjoy was the daily tea times.....very nice----very good. The price is higher than other cruise lines, so probably will try a different line or go back to one of the other lines we liked. This is not a party cruise----very formal and eating is more form dressed even casual nights. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was approximately my fourth cruise with Holland America. I expected better than this cruise. The bathtub wouldn't drain. The sheets had cigarette burns. Half the time the towels were threadbare and like cardboard; the other ... Read More
This was approximately my fourth cruise with Holland America. I expected better than this cruise. The bathtub wouldn't drain. The sheets had cigarette burns. Half the time the towels were threadbare and like cardboard; the other half they were newer and softer. There was only one plug in the room, for two phones and three tablets. The Front Desk could not get plans or instructions straight for trying. I'd discuss a problem with them, we'd agree on a solution, I watched them key it in the computer --- and nothing. Every day it was like talking to a brick wall. They always had "no record" of the previous discussions even though I watched them input the requests. I would not do the 10 day cruise again -- stick to the 7 day cruise. The last three days were an exercise in wasting time. Or somebody getting kickbacks from the cruise line docking there. The ONLY thing in Percy, is Alexander Graham Bell's house (seen on a distant island) and his museum (which you pay extra to get in to). The ONLY thing in Gaspe is a town 2 blocks long, all in French; French souvenirs and French only clerks, and way overpriced. One day's excursion was 4 hours to a goat farm and @20 goats, and a 20 minute lecture on glass blowing. Getting physcial assistance was like it was somebody else's job; they all stood and looked at each other. Daily. I asked the embarkation if they had our request, "oh yes." Well they might have had the information, but nobody acted on it. Disembarking was discussed with the Front Desk. Yup, they had it. Then several phone calls that they couldn't figure it out. Once we were off the ship, we were on our own, to start the whole process over again with the pier crew, and trying to get to where we needed to be. Nobody knew what the other person's instructions were. Go to this end; no go to that end; no sit here; move here. The food was excellent. The room steward and dining room service was excellent.The bed was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I have always liked the HAL for the library, the food, and the service. This is my 29th cruise, 4 of which is HAL. The embarkation was great with no long lines. But once entering the ship there was no one to show which direction to go, ... Read More
I have always liked the HAL for the library, the food, and the service. This is my 29th cruise, 4 of which is HAL. The embarkation was great with no long lines. But once entering the ship there was no one to show which direction to go, which side. Confusing. The cabin furnishings were worn including the rug. The bathtub looked dirty but close inspection it had caked on grime and was discolored. The toilet water was too high! There was a good variety of shore excursions. The port was very convenient, Hamilton, right in town.I went to the hair salon and was extremely pleased with the result. I dined in the dining room and my only complaint was at the end of the meal servers were scant and it was almost impossible to get their attention. The ship did not have any helps for the hearing impaired as was previously understood.Therefore, I had to leave any classes like computer or culinary. Disembarkation was easy and speedy. I was with a hometown group which made it so. The cabin service was lacking. Sheets were NEVER changed and ice bucket had no ice everyday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Our cruise left Boston on October 30. The first three days were nice, getting to know the ship and activities for the cruise. Dingo Dave "cruise director " and his staff did a great job of keeping all occupied with activities ... Read More
Our cruise left Boston on October 30. The first three days were nice, getting to know the ship and activities for the cruise. Dingo Dave "cruise director " and his staff did a great job of keeping all occupied with activities throughout the day. While at poolside a nice touch was fruit sticks passed around the area, and then wet hand towels to get refreshed. As usual there were far too many guests reserving lounge chairs at poolside around 800 and then not showing up until 1100 or noon. Our excursion experience was fair. The first trip was to the rain forest in Puerto Rico was pleasant. Though there wasn't many flowers blooming it was colorful and the guide was infomitive. On Bonaire the beach escape was a trap. Taken to a resort that was only a quarter mile from the dock. On the description in said activity level was 1 "easy" the beach was covered coral and rocks and not suitable for just swimming. Anyone who has a mobility issue cannot use the beach as described. There was a large pool onsite which did make the tour tolerable but still not worth the price offered. On Curaçao we were to take a bus tour of the island and a beach. Arriving at the bus we were informed that we would have to sign a waiver by the tour company to ride the bus relinquishing our rights in case of accident. This was unexceptionable and not in the description of the tour. An excursion rep from the dawn was summoned and a refund was given to us. This was the first time in 35 years of cruising that a waiver was needed just to board a bus. Norwegian should check into this practice, and make adjustments to the tour described and make passengers aware of signing waivers allegedly giving up their rights should an event occur. On Jamaica I took the zipline and watertubing excursion. This one you needed to sign a waiver and I concurred due to strenuous activity involved. What was not described was the you needed covered shoes to zipline and someone had to rent water shoes. Also not described was that you needed to rent a locker to keep belongings secured, while on your excursion. On the Grand Cayman tour I it was good and the turtle farm was exciting. Not a lot of time left after excursion to do shopping. On Aruba and Cozimel we went on our on due to multiple trips previously to these stops. The best part of the trip was the nightly entertainment. Jose and Patti were by far the best duo I have aver listened to cruising. Elements was a great show, kept you going. The voice was fantastic. Second city, the magic show, Irish comedian, Mr Solomon and his Jersey boys routine were all good. All entertainers are worthy of praise and contract renewals. The photo staff was great and took care of specials needs of the customers. I would give the food experience 3.5 out of 5. Bringing it down was certain meals prepared were dry and tasteless, mistakes by waitstaff in the Venetion room, and some undercooked food and the presence of flies around the buffet lines salad areas. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our first cruise in 20 years. Last one on the Norway in 97. Embarkation and debarkation were painless, less that one hour each. The Dawn is an older ship and is starting to show her age. What made this cruise so good was the crew and ... Read More
Our first cruise in 20 years. Last one on the Norway in 97. Embarkation and debarkation were painless, less that one hour each. The Dawn is an older ship and is starting to show her age. What made this cruise so good was the crew and officers . Our first contact with the crew was Depak our steward. A big smile and welcome let us know we would treated well. Our room, 5628, was always immaculate and the the towel animals great. The dining room staff were top notch, still smiling and energetic even after a four hour service. All crew were clean and neat from the start of their shift to the end. We ate most meals in the Venetian dining room, even tho both dining rooms, Venetian and Aqua, used the same galley, it just tasted better in the Venetian. During peak times the managers and officers in their pristine white uniforms pitched in. They all worked together for the benefit of us cruisers. At first the notion of tendering into ports concerned us, my wife has bad knees and I have had a stroke, the tender crews were experts at giving us a reassuring hand on and off the tenders. We loved this NCL cruise so much that we already booked our next cruise for January 16 on the Norwegian Star and looking at the Panama Canal in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We very much enjoyed our time on the Maasdam. The ship has been impeccably maintained and of course the HAL crew/staff are all top-notch. No complaints and I even won in the casino! Canada/New England has some very rural stops as well as ... Read More
We very much enjoyed our time on the Maasdam. The ship has been impeccably maintained and of course the HAL crew/staff are all top-notch. No complaints and I even won in the casino! Canada/New England has some very rural stops as well as Montreal and Quebec. We always take the ship excursions if we are leaving the port where we're docked just so we know we will make it back without any problems. This was the case in both Montreal (ship-airport transfer/tour) as well as Quebec. Tour guides were great and added humor to the tours. We ate in all the venues and enjoyed the main dinning room more this time. Canelettos and Pinnacle are good, but we enjoyed the pulse of life in the main dinning. Also enjoyed the snack bar poolside. If we have a complaint, it is that Maasdam does not have a thermal pool; it has whirlpools and the famous "hot chairs", but not enough room for a thermal pool. Spa and exercise room were clean and smelled fresh. Good driver, too, with an exciting departure from Boston. Don't miss the bridge at Quebec, close fit! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I came back from Bermuda which I go to every year as I love Bermuda more than any other caribbean island. The Dawn was the worse ship I ever been on peroid. About 7 years ago I went on it and wasent so bad. Still my favorite is Celebrity ... Read More
I came back from Bermuda which I go to every year as I love Bermuda more than any other caribbean island. The Dawn was the worse ship I ever been on peroid. About 7 years ago I went on it and wasent so bad. Still my favorite is Celebrity Cruise Line. Not one, let me say again NOT one staff said hello to me or helped me out with my parents who are disabled and use walkers through out the ship and Dad who also uses a wheel chair. Could not even help me with their plates up in the buffet or drinks like coffee or cold drinks. They stopped serving shrinp in the dinning rooms for supper as a starter, so if you like your shrimp cocktail you will not get it. NO more lobster, or Baked Alaska.... just to name a few favorites. Food was not good at all. Cold, and not much to pick from up in the buffet. I have never been one a ship where you dont get a hello, or have a nice day from your cabin stewards etc. The only good thing I can say is the shows were excellent! I got 2 bottles of wine because of my complaining about things I should have gotten but did not. I will never go on this ship again and most of all it was more than Celebrity or Holland America which are both wonderful cruise lines with wonderful food.I can go on and on about all that was wrong but dont want to write a book here. The ship was dirty, people in my family got sick a few different times. Just horrible. If you are a new cruiser than you will not find any problems cause you know any better but for people like me, never again. I only went back on this ship cause my parents won it at Foxwoods but it would not have been my choice at all. NO ONE ent out of their way for anything. Oh and the bingo last to days they say you will win 4000 or 5000. No way....... it was only 1000. So they lied to all the bingo players.People were pissed off all right. No one cares about their job on this ship and it sure showed. NCL you have gone down hill, never again. They have some of the smallest cabins, also get this my brother booked 4 in a cabin cause they had the promo going on, 3 & 4 in a cabin go free just pay sales tax, well they have NO 2 uppers . They only have 1 upper and 3 lowers thats right, on the whole ship and in rooms to hold 4 in a cabin theirs a small cot they take out that hides under one of the lowers. so if you like sleeping like 3 in a queeh size go right ahead. The Dawn and Spirit both are set up like this so beware!!!!!!!! so why dont NCL tell you this ahead of time my brother and family almost walked off the ship the day of departure. Not only that. but their bottom bed looked like someone was sleeping on the top sheets, and had a big yellow stain on it which was disgusting, when he asked the cabin steward about this he didnt know what to say. 3 people had to come in and show him how to make up a bed. All in all I can go on and on. Dont waste your money if you have cruised many times before, you will NOT be happy. First time cruising is ok. I had a mud slide frozen drink, $10.78 plus the 18% guartuity was added on to that and i seen the bartender use a one small shot glass and put all three liquaiors in it talk about cheap all it tasted like was cold ice milk. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Let me say upfront, that this review is skewed towards the disabled and the problems we encountered would not affect most people. Overall it was a great cruise and the staff was fantastic. The good out weighed the bad, for both of us. ... Read More
Let me say upfront, that this review is skewed towards the disabled and the problems we encountered would not affect most people. Overall it was a great cruise and the staff was fantastic. The good out weighed the bad, for both of us. Embarkation was a disaster, although it was more a problem with the Black Falcon Terminal than with HAL. We had requested wheelchair assistance, but none were to be found. A HAL agent got us to the front of the check-in line and did everything she could, but DH still had to wait in a rather long line to board and walk halfway onto the ship before we spotted, and grabbed a wheelchair leaving the ship. Luckily DH can stand and walk, but with constant pain. We've had worse problems in airports. We're new to the disabled group and next time we'll have the scooter delivered to our hotel and avoid this issue. Live and learn! The ship was beautiful and I was amazed at all the comfortable places to sit throughout the ship. Nothing was crowded although I can see why all the reserved deck chairs on the wrap around deck could be annoying. We didn't mind someone else using ours when we weren't and it wasn't an issue.... until we got to Bermuda. This was only our 3rd cruise, but we understand the constant maintenance that is needed to keep the ship in good condition. But for the two full days we were docked in Bermuda, the Lower Prom deck was closed off outside our cabin as they scrapped one day and painted the next. The first day,we had booked a a 5-hour accessible van tour so it wasn't a problem. The driver knew just where to go to optimize seeing the island for the disabled and, although island history wasn't her strong suit, we were able to see St. Georges, get to some beaches the lighthouse and easily see the sights. Expensive, but money well spent. We didn't find any of the HAL excursions workable for DH. The second day the maintenance wouldn't have been an issue for me, I could easily go somewhere else. For DH the door to the hall was too much to handle without my help and he planned to use the automatic door from our cabin out to the deck and enjoy the lanai while I walked to BUEI and took the ferry to the dockyard. Instead he came with me to the dockyard and work was still going on when we got back in late afternoon. Monica, the front desk manager was great and we did get a credit to our ship board account for the inconvenience, but we would have preferred to have access to the lanai we had paid for. If HAL had worked on a smaller area, I think it could have been done in one day. The MDR was a disappointment. We had anytime dining and had no problem being seated, but service was slow between courses and the food, while acceptable, was just that. Nothing special. The Pinnacle Grill was fantastic and the Cannellato, while better than the MDR, was disappointing. We were surprised at how good the Lido was and ate there more than we would have liked. I got DH's food, then went back for mine. We did see Lido staff helping other passengers but we never asked for their assistance. Again, the staff was fantastic. Room service was always right on time and food was served hot. The hot dogs and hamburgers at Dive were good. We didn't do any HAL excursions as they all required too much walking for DH. Instead we booked a 5-hour private island tour in a wheelchair accessible van. No need to take the scooter apart and put it in the trunk! We found our cabin so comfortable that at night we enjoyed the DVD player and the movies available for guests. The lanai and DVD player were our evening's entertainment for the most part. We did go to the Showroom at Sea the first night for the intro to the entertainers on board. Seas were rough on the way to Bermuda which affected DH. That night, I spent a little time enjoying the entertainment in the Ocean Lounge and Mix. We took a cooking class on our last full sea day and there was a counter height chair made available for DH so he could enjoy and class and sit when he needed to. It was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the included lunch, with wine, in the Pinnacle Grill. I love to cook and, at 68, learned how to make a chocolate souffle! We both enjoyed the computer classes. I participated on the "On Deck for a Cause" 5K walk to support cancer research. Disembarkation in Boston was much better. HAL seemed to have all those needing assistance assembled in the Ocean Lounge. All the ship wheelchairs were ready and waiting. Some passengers took the chairs before their disembarkation number was called, but HAL crew were on top of it and asked them to allow others to use the chairs, assuring them that the chair would be available for them when their group was called. We made the mistake of taking the ship's transfer at the end of the cruise. The motorcoach was too tall to fit under the overhang at the United terminal's departure area. The driver had to let us off at arrivals, where there was no signage for where the airlines were located. The driver was great and did all he could to help his disabled passengers (there was another couple needing a wheelchair). He got off the bus with us and asked an airline person to call for wheelchairs. Unfortunately, we ended up walking upstairs to departures to get a wheelchair, which meant a lot of painful walking for DH. Overall it was a lovely cruise and we both enjoyed the Veendam. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our fourth cruise. My husband and I were so looking forward to the same wonderful service, excitement and entertainment we were used to having sailed on the freedom of the seas. We were some of the younger passengers in our ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise. My husband and I were so looking forward to the same wonderful service, excitement and entertainment we were used to having sailed on the freedom of the seas. We were some of the younger passengers in our fifties, while the median age seemed to be 70 to 80. Apparently this cruise had over 350 diamond members which left little service or preference for non-diamond members. There seemed to be a collective sense of entitlement by this crowd that left many servers and waiters exhausted. Folks were not friendly, unless you were from the east coast or were in the "diamond club." Frustrated, we gave up our "my time: dining because we were told we could not reserve or have preference for where we wanted to sit, while all the diamond members took all window seats and had them every night. (I thought that was the purpose for my time dining) Twice we came to the dining room and the seating waiter was given a seat for us but by the time we walked to our specified table, it was already occupied by another couple, causing us to turn around and find whatever was available, each time away from where we wanted to sit. So we relegated ourselves to the windjammer where they will offer you half and half for your coffee unlike the dining room where they said they did not know what 1/2 and 1/2 was and tried to tell you that non-dairy creamer was cream. The Pool Areas: while there were signs saying no reserving chairs around the pool, by 8:00 am all chairs were reserved in both the solarium and main pool. They were reserved for hours upon hours. I saw seniors with leg sores in the hot tub, each day I saw the same people dominating the hot tubs, some sleeping with their mouths gaping open. The majority of the seniors in the Solarium would sleep under their towels around the pools with mouths gaping open. This was not the view my boyfriend and myself imagined for our vacation. When we went to the pool bar, their were passengers arguing with the bar tender who was yelling back at them. I found that very disturbing. I thought it humorous and sad to have disco music playing in the background with these views. If I ever cruise RC again, I will call ahead to find out if the cruise is dedicated to seniors, or mostly diamond or pinnacles members, so my boyfriend and I can enjoy ourselves on a more active cruise, and one that will enforce the "no pool chair reservation" rule. There was a light in all this turmoil, the two violinists were wonderful and Murial the greeter in the Windjammer was most delightful. It was her consistent cheerfulness that helped break the depressive atmosphere.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our 11th cruise and our 2nd with RCI. Dining: First, the good: The food in the dining room was comparable to other cruise lines and the presentation was good. The bad: While the main server was excellent, his assistants limited ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise and our 2nd with RCI. Dining: First, the good: The food in the dining room was comparable to other cruise lines and the presentation was good. The bad: While the main server was excellent, his assistants limited English posed a problem with almost anything you asked for. She couldn’t multi-task making the main server do all the work. The ugly: The buffet closes at 9:00 and then your only options are very limited. You can’t get a fresh burger or fresh pizza and when I asked the omelet man for a fresh ham/cheese omelet, he told me to get one of the pre-made ones. Dining options are very limited. Food in the buffet is lukewarm and usually dry. Entertainment: The good: The violinist blew us away. What a talent! The one comedian was excellent as was the juggler. The bad: The only entertainment in the evenings was in the main theater. If you didn’t want to see another production show, you had no options. The ugly: My DH is sometimes confined to his room due to health and yet the tv has no movies and shows the same episode of the same show over and over. We saw the same “King of Queens” episode every day, several times a day. The movie screen out by the pool only showed three movies. Dr Zhivago, a very old movie; Despicable 2, a kids movie on a cruise with all adults and “About Time”, the only decent one. If you aren’t going to have other entertainment at night, at least have decent movies as an option. Worse: all the entertainment in the centrum. You have this large disco and other venue areas, but instead you schedule all the participant entertainment in this small confined space where only a few can participate. This is where the 50’s party, the 70’s disco party, the Bollywood lessons and about everything else was held. Seating is very limited and the rest fight to see over the heads of others. Forget about getting on the dance floor as it only holds about 20. Room: The good: We had a handicap accessible room which was large and easy to maneuver. The shower was large and had a very convenient stool. The bad: The automatic door was the only way to open the door from outside and the switch kept the door open for about 60-90 seconds. This was great if no one was in the room, but if someone was in bed or in a state of undress, anyone could look into your room. The ugly: mold in the shower on the grout. Tendering: Only good. They did a great job with tendering. Pools & hot tubs: The good: NONE; The bad: everything. The ugly: none of the hot tubs had jets that worked. The night before a sea day, we went up to get in the hot tub. The two hot tubs in the open area were roped off. The heated pool in the solarium was drained and being cleaned. That left one very small hot tub with no jets. We got in and were joined by two very nice ladies. Within a few minutes, 4 women came and asked “how much time do you have left on your 15 minutes”. We asked what she was talking about and she pointed to the medical advice about no more than 15 minutes and asked again. We stated we had just got in and she said “fine, we’ll time it from 15 minutes from now” and they proceeded to stand there and watch the time. Not relaxing at all. Now don't get me wrong, I can have fun on any cruise as long as it doesn't sink. But I felt there was much lacking that would not take much to fix. Get the jets in the hot tubs fixed. Don't close them the night before a sea day when you can stay up and relax. Get some decent movies on the tv and especially on the big movie screen and lastly, use the disco or another venue where everyone can participate in the fun without getting hit in the head.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I have taken this sailing several times before. This was the first time I was able to see how handicapped are handled as my 97 year old grandmother travelled with us using her wheelchair (sometimes scooter). I was disappointed initially ... Read More
I have taken this sailing several times before. This was the first time I was able to see how handicapped are handled as my 97 year old grandmother travelled with us using her wheelchair (sometimes scooter). I was disappointed initially with how gram's wheelchair was handled with the staff. The staff in the dining rooms seemed put out by having to work around or deal with her chair. As the week progressed, it became a little more "accepted" and convenient getting to the tables and storing her chair/scooter. The staff in the Blue Lagoon went above and beyond to help gram. She would go there for breakfast in the morning and they would get her food from the buffet for her. I think the only other disappointment of the sailing was how little I saw of the hotel director, Alain. I do understand that he was transferring his position during this week though. He was leaving the ship when we did. On previous sailings, I have become accustomed to seeing the hotel director often and everywhere. Now on to the MANY things I did enjoy... Cruise Director Armen was great! He was visible and participated in events/activities during the week. He seemed very approachable and very friendly. Exactly what I would hope for in a CD. Executive Chef Noriel made our cruise so enjoyable. I was able to speak with him several times over the week. He always had a smile and helped us plan where to eat and when. lol My fiance inquired about the lack of cold soups on any menus anymore. Chef Noriel proceeded to put chilled watermelon soup on the buffet the next day!!!! Absolutely made my fiance's day! Magician Christian was thoroughly entertaining. I would watch his show every night if it was an option! The cruise director's staff was fantastic at the various activities. Leslie, Big Ben, Shelly, Bianca and Joey were so fun to spend time with doing activities. I personally am not a fan of Bingo, but I went with my grandmother to each session, and the CD Staff made it tolerable for me (that's a huge compliment for bingo!). Leslie was my favorite trivia leader and Joey was funny in the pub crawl (and everything he did). My cabin steward was Putu... he was the best cabin steward I have had in several sailings. I know they are all friendly, but Putu just seemed more genuine to me. He gave us fantastic towel animals (sometimes twice a day!!!). Finally, I found Captain Martin was one of the friendliest Captains I have had the opportunity to chat with. He was even kind enough to come down to a lower level to take pictures with my grandmother who was unable to get up to his location. Wonderful! I love this itinerary so much, I do it whenever I get the chance. This crew made it enjoyable, thank you NCL! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Reading recent, highly negative reviews of Veendam's Boston/Quebec run, I can hardly believe DH and I were on the same trip! We enjoyed our cruise and would happily embark again. I'm not saying there are no areas for improvement ... Read More
Reading recent, highly negative reviews of Veendam's Boston/Quebec run, I can hardly believe DH and I were on the same trip! We enjoyed our cruise and would happily embark again. I'm not saying there are no areas for improvement on Veendam, but in general we enjoyed the food, the crew, and the itinerary. Our stateroom was comfortable and our Indonesian steward was thoroughly professional. He spoke English without difficulty. In fact, I rarely had any difficulty making my wants understood to the serving staff, and they were always responsive and courteous. Veendam is an old ship and one sees signs of patch-ups and such, but everything was clean and comfortable. Some of the Veranda deck chairs were set aside for those who paid for a Veranda cabin, but there were others not reserved and available. DH and I really loved the new Explorer's Cafe and library setup. There's an excellent selection of books and magazines, plenty of internet terminals, board games, and lounge chairs. The entertainment in general was good, although the screen in the theatre is too small for the room. I was sitting on the left aisle and had to crane my neck uncomfortably to see the film. We ate mostly in the Lido, due to DH's physical mobility problem. I did find it odd that one side of Lido was reserved for the what appeared to be officers and senior staff; most ships provide separate dining facilities for the crew. When the passenger side of Lido was full we ate on the crew side. Nobody threw us out, or made us feel unwelcome, but I did wish I did not have to invade the crew members' space during their down-time. Food in Lido ranged from very good to occasionally dry and tough. It's a buffet, and the early bird gets the best food. the cold sourps--peach, cherry, and rhubarb, were quite tasty. Sometimes they ran out of things like mashed potatoes. There is definitely room for improvement in the Lido setup, although it might take a complete re-design of the food service counters and lanes to get it right. More staff is needed to run Lido, especially during the first 48 hours, when, for hygiene reasons, the passengers are not allowed to serve themselves anything, even ice water. Breakfast, in particular, is chaotic! Other reviewers have complained about the captain. Apart from a stern announcement on the PA from him about hand-washing, and the daily weather announcements, we had no contact with him. Hopefully he was on the bridge, running the vessel. We did not encounter the cruise director, either, so don't know what he/she is like. The service desk staff were polite and helpful. The instructor for the computer courses was particularly good. The July 4th US holiday was celebrated with a barbecue on the Lido deck that we thoroughly enjoyed. Not so enjoyable was the poutine bar set up to introduce what is supposedly Canada's favorite fast food. I can't believe our northern neighbors actually enjoy soggy french fries with gravy and curds on top, but it was certainly an experience. I greatly preferred the taco bar that usually occupied that space. All in all, it was a fun cruise, with interesting little port towns that haven't been spoiled yet by hordes of cruise passengers. Quebec City is magnificent, and we were anchored right in the middle of it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our third Bermuda cruise. We like the Bermuda itinerary because unlike other cruises you get to spend days rather than hours in port. That means having more time to get the feel of a place. This was our fourth cruise on NCL, the ... Read More
This was our third Bermuda cruise. We like the Bermuda itinerary because unlike other cruises you get to spend days rather than hours in port. That means having more time to get the feel of a place. This was our fourth cruise on NCL, the second on the Dawn. My partner has some significant physical disabilities and so the issue of handicap access and assistance was very important to us as we prepared for the cruise. We arrived at the ship about 1 hour before sailing time and we able to go through the embarkation process very easily. Our cabin was good size, and the handicap-accessible bathroom complete with roll-in shower was a godsend. Our cabin steward was extremely efficient and accommodating. Every night we ate in Aqua, the smaller of the two main dining rooms. Every night the menu offered a good selection. The waiter and assistant waiter we had the first night were both excellent, and we tried to be seated in their section every night afterward. My only complaint about Aqua is that when it's full it's very noisy, making it difficult to hold a conversation. For breakfast we would go the breakfast buffet on Deck 8 midship which was very convenient since our cabin was on Deck 8. The only specialty restaurant meal we had was the Jazz Brunch which was served on the first of the two returning sea days in La Cucina. In addition to a great selection of buffet items there was a choice of entrees from each of the ship's specialty restaurants. The jazz combo was excellent and their music provided a wonderful backdrop. We selected this cruise partly for price and partly for convenience (we live only 100 miles from Boston), and so we feel that this cruise was a great value. The only shortcomings I would point to are: 1) Attendants need to do a better job of picking up after passengers on the Pool and Sun Decks. (I noticed a dirty dinner plate next to an unoccupied lounge chair that wasn't picked up for 2-3 hours.), 2) The handicap access to the Venetian (the larger of the 2 main dining rooms) is poorly designed and poorly executed, and so we stayed away from eating there although Venetian is far more attractive and has a much more spacious feel than Aqua. 3) While we like the casualness of NCL's Freestyle Cruising concept I thought the Dawn was a little too hang-loose. I'm OK with dressing casually for dinner, but I think requiring men to at least wear a collared shirt of some kind for dinner is not asking too much.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This was our 5th cruise. The Brilliance was spotless. Every inch of the ship was clean. The staff was also adamant that guests use hand sanitizer before & after every meal. We had a cruise ruined a couple years back because of a virus ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise. The Brilliance was spotless. Every inch of the ship was clean. The staff was also adamant that guests use hand sanitizer before & after every meal. We had a cruise ruined a couple years back because of a virus so it was comforting for us to see. The staff bent over backwards to meet our every need. The staff seemed genuinely happy and our dinner crew had a great sense of humor. They kept us laughing during dinner. We love to go to karaoke night but we were sorely disappointed in the host and organization for the karaoke. If you like karaoke, don't bother. The high point of our cruise on the ship was the 70's party in the Centrum, the entertainment on the last night, and believe it or not, a silly party up in the Starquest lounge. We put on headphones and got out on the dance floor with no ambient music playing. What seemed like a stupid game ended up being a blast. With headphones on even shy people like myself can be a rock star and not care about what anybody thinks. We had an accessible cabin as two out of three in our party have disabilities. The crew was very accommodating. As is usually the case, the shore excursions were more difficult to accommodate but overall everything went well. Unlike other cruises we have been on, all parties that had mobility issues were assigned one room to wait in for disembarkation. That way there were dedicated crew members to help everybody get off the ship. Our assigned crew member took us all the way through customs and to a taxi. Couldn't have been smoother. I rate this cruise a 9 out of 10. Woulda been a 10 except for the karaoke and a small issue we had with our cabin steward. Overall, one of the best cruises we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Do not be afraid of this ship. I went last year for 4 nights and came back for 7. It was ust as good as last year and I had a great time. Our room was never bad, comfortable and very very quiet !. the food was good, never a issue. The ... Read More
Do not be afraid of this ship. I went last year for 4 nights and came back for 7. It was ust as good as last year and I had a great time. Our room was never bad, comfortable and very very quiet !. the food was good, never a issue. The signature restaurant is a MOST GO ! unbelievably wonderful. My husband had the Lobster Ravioli and expected little flat pockets. What he got- 3 5 inch towers filled with whole pieces of Lobster was entirely unexpected and delicious. HIs chesse cake desert, as he joked, was the size of the Titanic, not kidding. Please go , it will well worth it and you will love it. Only 1 issue, I think we at 55 and 58 , where some of the youngest people on the ship. We did go during school, and we wanted quiet, and we got it. But, had a great time. We rented a car in Nova Scotia, had a great time, didn't do many shows, the Marriage show was good, And sat a table with 8 strangers for dinner and had a great time. Also did the art show for the first time, that was good too, even purchased art ! I do need to add I was in a manual w/c due to a foot injury , and even though my foot was sticking straight out, other cruisers were rude and would run into me, the staff where great ! Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We did have the pleasure of having a suite on this cruise. My wife has some mobility problems so the extra room was very welcome. Being booked in a suite made getting on the ship and off the ship a breeze. The cabin was forward and had a ... Read More
We did have the pleasure of having a suite on this cruise. My wife has some mobility problems so the extra room was very welcome. Being booked in a suite made getting on the ship and off the ship a breeze. The cabin was forward and had a balcony facing forward and another on the port side, which was nice when docked in Bermuda. The room stewart was friendly and kept the cabin looking like the first day every day. Our butler Jennifer was outstanding. We asked for coffee every morning at 6:30, like clock work she was there. We ate in our cabin several times and she was more than anyone would expect. She and my wife were sharing family photos during the cruise, and my wife wants to book again, only if we can have Jennifer again. The food was very good in my opinion, every meal, in every venue. Granted the Garden Cafe was not Le Bistro, but it was quick, hot and we had outstanding views. We ate Italian, French, Brazilian and American, the extra cost was worth it, we both enjoyed the food and the service. One thing I did notice, some of the people in charge of the extra cost venues seemed a little too business like, until you pull them aside and tell them what a great job the whole staff was doing. Sometimes we forget that these people are on these ships for weeks at a time, a kind word, at the right time, seemed to go a long way. Bermuda was great, weather was great. My one complaint, SMOKE. The casino was terrible sometimes our balcony was just as bad as the casino, the pool area was no better. I wish NCL would try one cruise a month as non smoking cruise. Or even do one cruise next season as a non smoking event, see how the bookings go. We did one shore excursion, the Gosling Sunset Rum Cruise, worth every penny. You get samples of all the Gosling products, Rum Cake too, along with the history of Goslings and Bermuda, Dark and Stormy my new favorite dring. We'll probably book again next year, if I can keep in touch with Jennifer and find out what cabins she is working, she was that good.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Mom is in her 70's and has been wanting to cruise - but not for many days, and no flying to ports. Carnival fit the bill, and securing a balcony to accommodate her smoking was reasonably priced. Embarkation- Mom used a mobility ... Read More
Mom is in her 70's and has been wanting to cruise - but not for many days, and no flying to ports. Carnival fit the bill, and securing a balcony to accommodate her smoking was reasonably priced. Embarkation- Mom used a mobility scooter and EVERYONE went out of their way to give assistance, resulting in a very quick and easy trip! First Impression: we stepped onto a lively scene, music pumping and somewhat forced party atmosphere. We were ther just befor 1pm and were able to drop our bags in the room, though it was still being cleaned. Cabin: my first balcony, cozy and room enough for two, but it got pretty chilly leaving Canada. Didn't deter mom from smoking! Very nice to enjoy morning coffee, though mostly too foggy for any view. Dining: I feel for 4 nights we got a good mix of experiences. First night MDR at table 377- great because it was just off a ramp and allowed for parking the scooter mom used. Never met the other two people who were supposed to share our table for 4. Delicious brisket for dinner and that chocolate melting cake is to die for! We also did MDR for breakfast one morning, open seating meant some wait time, but we were accommodated with a lovely table for two at a window, that allowed for scooter parking. The omelette was tasty, the comedian had a tough crowd but did a short routine ( we never did see where he was). Emerald Steakhouse was not crowded at our 6pm seating. The party of 3 ahead of us arrived on the wrong day for their reservation, but they were going to be seated, except for not wearing appropriate clothes (had on shorts). This could have been remedied by a quick change, but they seemed done with the experience and left. In the steakhouse's defense they do write the expectations on the confirmation card and again remind you when they call to confirm that day. Okay, onto the food. Very GOOD. Mom had filet and loved it, I had ribeye, tasty. Also tried beef carpaccio as a starter, which I did not care for. They offered another starter, but I knew the large steak coming would be more than filling. Desserts were also delicious - chocolate sampler for me, baked apple in pastry for mom. Other dining included Guy's burgers -good, blue iguana cantina (?) burrito place - DELICIOUS, TRY IT!, and buffet. Had great carved jerk pork one night, tasty roast beef another, and nice blackened chicken that was not black at all. I was disappointed with the meatloaf which I had been anticipating, but it was spicy to my taste. Desserts were good, not great. Breakfast buffet standard but adequate. My mother loves a buffet and truly enjoyed this part of the cruise, trying lots of offerings. Shows- wasn't interested, did see the end of Divas and it looked like a good time. Activities - didn't really do any from the Fun Times, but did some shopping, which mom loved. Casino - good way to kill an hour and 20 bucks a day. Went two times, allowing mom to smoke and try our hands at the slot machines. I would have enjoyed a tutorial or explanation of how t use sign and sail card with the machines, but figured it out with little problems. Shore Excursion: just before leaving on the cruise I found out Mom loved a bus tour, so we booked the trip to St. Martina's and Bay of Fundy. It was a fun 3 hours, knowledgeable guide and fun driver, but the village was TINY, and it was a gray, rainy day. Had I known, I would have brought water shoes to negotiate the rocky shore and water to enter the sea cave, then changed into dry shoes for way back, but I didn't and so, did not get into the cave. We didn't see St. John at all, but we had time before the excursion, so that's our fault! Gym: okay I planned on visiting, but wasn't impressed at first day look around, and was possibly too comfy in cabin o really try to get there. No report. Notes: our cabin was just off the elevators, great for accessibility, but the music from the Atrium was pumping until 11:00 or 12:00 each night. I like to use a noise machine to go to sleep, but this took it's place, so not a problem for me, but could be for others. I know Carnival had no control over this, but the foghorn sounding every two seconds throughout day and night for half the cruise cold be jarring. Crowded and sometimes hard to maneuver the scooter, luckily I could direct/block foot traffic as needed, but for solo travel with a scooter it could be tricky. Overall: a fun time, good for a first cruise. I personally probably wouldn't go again on Carnival, but that is because my preference leans to a quieter environment. If I went with children it may be a different story, but fr me, a cozy seat with a great view is great. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I love HAL, and they get some things very right. The Maasdam is a beautiful ship. The food was good. Entertainment was above average, with numerous venues with live music. There were some great extras including a PEI Mussel bake and ... Read More
I love HAL, and they get some things very right. The Maasdam is a beautiful ship. The food was good. Entertainment was above average, with numerous venues with live music. There were some great extras including a PEI Mussel bake and Cape Bretton music. But the ship has some major problems. As You Wish dining was an absolute disaster. Customers were booked into fixed dining, and then at some point were told there was no more fixed dining available and were booked into As You Wish. When we went down to the dining room the first night around 7:15PM, we were told that the dining room didn't have enough capacity for the number of As You Wish customers, and there was a 1 1/2 hour to 2 hour wait time to be seated, and that you had to physically stand on line for that time. It was strongly recommended that we eat at the Lido (buffet) instead, and that we make reservations for the remainder of the cruise. When we went to the Lido, it turned out that the Lido closed supposedly at 8PM, but they actually shut it down about 10 minutes early. On subsequent nights I made advanced reservations (which worked out in the dining room), but you could only make reservations at either 5:15PM or 7:45PM. These times corresponded to early and late seatings. This is the first cruise ship I have ever been on where you could actually get locked out of dinner. My wife has a handicapped scooter. We have been on numerous cruises before with the scooter, and at night we just leave it parked outside the cabin. The Maasdam has a policy where they take the scooter from your cabin at about 10:30PM and then return it in the morning at about 7:00AM. This left me very insecure. What happens if there's an emergency at night? We would be stranded in the cabin. Further, I forgot to take the battery in for charging on two nights and couldn't access it. Those gripes aside, the ship has a lot going for it. The dining room is absolutely magnificent (if you can get in.) There is a full buffet (of course), although it is not open 24/7. Dinner was about 5:00PM to 8:00PM. Then the buffet closed and reopened from 11:00PM to 12:00PM. This was a real issue due to the disaster in the dining room. There is another area on the far side of the pool which has hamburgers and hot dogs. There is also a Mexican buffet there, but only on certain cruise days. There are 2 pay restaurants. One is tied into Le Cirque, and charges $40pp extra. The other is an Italian restaurant which is physically located in the buffet, which charges $10pp extra. On the first 2 days of the cruise HAL mandates servers rather than buffets as they are concerned with the Norwalk Virus. This means that things like the Mexican Buffet are closed during this period. The food was actually better than other cruise lines I've been on. There is an eggs benedict bar every morning, although it's not as elegant as I've seen it on other HAL ships. The soups were actually edible, which is more than I can say for other cruise lines. On some nights the menu in the main dining room was rather strange and I couldn't find anything. There is salmon available every night and I had that instead. The salmon was excellent. There were 2 nights with lobster. The last formal night was surf and turf, but you could get 2 lobster tails if you wanted. One of the earlier nights had a half lobster as an appetizer. There were several food events at the pool as well. One was a clam bake, which turned out to be more of a PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussel bake. This was excellent. The second was a special breakfast where they brought on board a duo to play Cape Bretton music. For this breakfast they served pancakes and crepes. I really appreciated that. Entertainment on the ship centered around the theatre. There were 3 nights of review acts which have become so common on cruise ships. There were also 2 nights of comedians. Additionally, there were 2 special shows - one with the Cape Bretton duo mentioned above. On another night, members of the staff put on an Indonesian show which was excellent. This included music and dances from Bali, Jaffa, and Jakarta. There were several venues with live music. One was a trio which played jazz. A second was a pianist and violinist which played quasi classical music. Very nice. The staff was lovely and very friendly. One thing I appreciate which the ship did very well as to have on-board activities geared around the location you were in. We went in June, and the weather was very spotty. Typical weather was cold (high 50's to low 60's) and rainy. We lucked out and had beautiful weather for the major ports of Quebec City and Montreal. Boston weather was terrible. There's not all that much in the other ports - Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, and Charlottetown. I'll review the ports separately. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Norwegian Dawn May 17, 2013 Boston to Bermuda Jade Suite, 11020 Cast of Characters: Me, 50ish woman 6th cruise to Bermuda, 1st on the Dawn Boyfriend, around the same age, 1st cruise Dad, 76 year old, parkinsons and a touch of dementia, ... Read More
Norwegian Dawn May 17, 2013 Boston to Bermuda Jade Suite, 11020 Cast of Characters: Me, 50ish woman 6th cruise to Bermuda, 1st on the Dawn Boyfriend, around the same age, 1st cruise Dad, 76 year old, parkinsons and a touch of dementia, cruised before, 1st cruise to Bermuda Daughter and friend, two 19 year old women, both cruised before We live 15 miles south of Boston so we had a driver pick us up at 10 am. We were at the Black Falcon Terminal by 10:30, long line of traffic, there were still people being picked up from the prior cruise. We looked like FBI agents in our HUGE black Cadillac SUV. Driver dropped us off, within 5 minutes a porter came and grabbed our luggage (including a wheelie cooler that we had stocked with diet coke, coke and bottled water). Dad uses a walker, so we went to the handicapped line where we waited for a crew member to bring us onboard with a wheelchair, that took about 40 minutes.  did a lot of people watching (checking out our fellow cruisers). Once King came (he was the crew member with the wheelchair) we were off and running, zipped us through all the lines and check in. Then he took us to the Suite area where they served us coffee and sweets..Then he took us up and showed us our suite.  VERY IMPRESSIVE the JADE Suite, 11020. Absolutely beautiful..Then he brought us to Cagneys where we had our lunch!! Bye Bye King.Never saw him again, he was very nice. Our family suite with balcony was very roomy, even for 5 of us and a walker. We ate most breakfasts at Cagneys. If not Cagneys, then it was the garden buffet. One dinner at the Venetian, two at aqua, then the rest of the time we ate in the suite or Blue Lagoon (not too impressed with Blue Lagoon), or buffet, I thought the buffet was great for a buffet!! Had pizza delivered to the cabin one night, it was very good and worth the $5 charge. Flor, our butler, was great, any wishes were granted and Virginia, our concierge was so nice and helpful. Our cabin steward (dont know his name) was the hardest working man on the ship!! We LOVED Tim Kaminsky, the comedian I think we saw all his shows but one. Second City was a let down after him, not funny at all. Not So Newlywed Show, funny as usual. Dont think we went to any other shows  Loved playing Deal or No Deal, even though we didnt win The girls played bingo one night (again no winners here) Did well in the casino, Blackjack and slots, came out a bit ahead!! My dad even played one day when the table was empty. (he just needed a little help telling the dealer what he wanted) First day in Bermuda, because we were in a suite we were able to disembark first!! Great perk!! Only about 30-40 of us waiting to get off the ship, they had us wait at LaCuccina (I think), then it was off to Horseshoe Bay (we took a taxi cause of Grandpas limitations) Spent a couple of hours there, the girls swam, Grandpa ate (he ate non stop all week) Taxi back, then we relaxed on our balcony the rest of the day. Scott took the girls to their first bar that they could order drinks legally, so they went to the Bone Fish, which is right off the dock .. Second day, didnt do too much, just walked around the Dockyard. Sampled rum cake, watched the glassblower ..Did some souvenir shopping, then back to the ship. Monday night they have Destination Dockyard, Scott and I walked over, listened to the music, purchased some more gifts, then stopped at the Bone Fish for a couple of drinks then back to the ship. Third and final day. The girls got their hair braided at Snorkle Park, then Scott and the girls took a jet ski tour. They left from the dockyard. It was 75 minutes, the guide took them to a shipwreck (in the Bermuda triangle) That was the most fun they had all trip. Well worth the $$$....$440 for the three of them. While they were jet skiing, Grandpa and I sat in the shade, people watched and rode the trolley around. Note: The Grandeur of the Seas was docked next to us. It had sailed down from Baltimore. We met a couple of women that were on it, they were unhappy with the ship. But then again, they were unhappy with Bermuda and the dockyard, too ¦..Not sure if they were just cranky or if they had real concerns ¦..Unfortunately the ship just caught fire the other day in the Bahamas and the cruisers had to be flown home. We left Bermuda about 5 pm Heading back to reality stinks . Disembarkation in Boston was tough (a little easier for suite passengers) , but we were home by 10 am. Already planning our next cruise!! Loved the Dawn, will cruise her again to Bermuda next May. Note: There were only a couple of children on this cruise. I think I only saw maybe 20? So if you dont like to wait for an elevator while the kids play Ghost Rider (when they hit all the buttons and get off) this is a good week to cruise!! Staying in a suite was the best!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Embarkation was a breeze with wonderful people helping my friend in the wheel chair. I am guessing it took 45 minutes to an hour to get from the taxi to on board. Almost as good as our Disney experiances and way better than Princess. We ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze with wonderful people helping my friend in the wheel chair. I am guessing it took 45 minutes to an hour to get from the taxi to on board. Almost as good as our Disney experiances and way better than Princess. We went straight to Windjammer for lunch. The six of us had a time finding a table mainly because people were using the tables and chairs for a lounge area while waiting for their rooms to be made ready. There needs to be some rule where if you are not partaking of a meal you do not sit at a table. Staterooms - They were exactly as I expexted. We had Staterooms 7614, 7616, and 7618. All were balcony rooms. 7614 was a handicap accessable room and was unbelievable. My friend said he wished he had that nice of a bathroom at home. Royal Carribian deserves a big well done for having such nice facilites for those with disablilities and not charging extra for them. Some notes here on the rooms, There are only two recepticles in the room, both located at the vanity. I thought to bring an extension cord with multiple outlets and am glad I did. We had phones, camera batteries, and a computer to charge each evening. Also, there is storage on each side of the vanity mirror that we did not notice until the last day. Wish we had known sooner. Food - We had late seating for dinner. We were a party of six and really thought we would have our own table. We were put with 2 other couples who were from Scottland at a very large table. When you put that much space between older people you are going to get a lot of "Huh, what did you say?"I did enjoyed the other two couples company but feel it would have been better with a smaller table. All of the food was great. We were the first to get the new menus. I can not compare this menu to any other since I have never sailed with RC Int before. I can tell you that the crab cakes were fabulous and all other items we had were top notch. Our servers, Head Waiter on down, were great. They looked out after our every need. I found the buffet to be quite good as well. Breakfast was always good with a wide variety of different foods available. I was surprised to find oatmeal, grits and cream of wheat every morning. To me the oatmeal was overcooked to almost a slime but as long as I have my grits I am OK. We only had one lunch there and no dinners. Snacks each afternoon were above average and sometimes as good as a meal in themselves. Soft serve ice cream was available every time I wanted it. Vanilla and Strawberry on one side and Vanilla and Chocolate on the other side. On Sea Days the Tides dinning area was open. I found the food and service here less than spectacular. They have a salad bar that was wonderful but the entrees were like hotel food. The coffee was very good when you could get it hot. They brew Seattle's Best and it is probably some of the best coffee I have had on board any ship. By late evening the coffee at the beverage station was getting cool. I had the Coke plan and I found it worthwhile since I am not an alcohol drinker. JMHO.Ports Of Call - In Portland we rented a van from Enterprise on Marginal Way right in town. Heather and Eric took good care of us. We were picked up at the terminal and then returned there after we turned the van in. We drove van down to Kennebunkport so we could see Walker's Point, home to the Bush family. That area is beautiful. Some of the leaves were turning and the air had a slight nip to it. We had lunch, my firt ever lobster roll, at Allison's in the downtown area. We all thought Allison's was over rated and could not survive except in a tourist town. In Bar Harbor we tendered into town. A note here for anyone wondering about handicap accessablity of the tenders. If you are in a wheel chair they have a lift that carries the chair and occupent down eight steps. Our friend was able to step from the ship dock to the tender with little trouble. RC staff were very attentive and helpful. Same thing we got to the dock. They even had someone push him up the ramp. We were picked up by Woody with Bar Harbor Coastal Cab. He did a great job showing us the sights and driving us around Acadia National Park. Call Woody if you are heading that way. We had a lobster lunch and then headed back to the ship. In St John we contracted with Roy's Taxi Service to give us a tour of the Fundy Trail and other surrounding sites. Roy was already booked so the arranged for Dave to show us around. We rated this tour as Just OK. Dave was a great guy but had too quiet a voice to be heard in the back seat. Lunch at the caves was terrible. Everything was frozen and had no taste. None of us have a desire to go back to St. John. Halifax - We rented another van here and drove out to Peggy's Cove. It was an easy walk from the ship to the car rental place. All we can say is WOW! The people we met on bus tours were unhappy because of the short time they had to see things. We took our time, made hundreds of photos, ate chowda at the Sou westerner and then just took a leisurely drive back to the ship stopping at the cemetery to see the Titanic graves. We all want to go back to Halifax. Disembarkation was easy and almost timely. They had coffee and pastries available in the theater where you waited. Again we ran into people at breakfast that decided to hog the tables and use the Windjammer as a lounge and waiting area. Entertainment was hit and miss. A tribute to the Temptations was great, Tribute to Broadway was terrible, Bobby Arvon, singer of Happy Days, did a great show as well. We did not go see the juggler or the Brazilian dancers. Complaints - Lousy elevator service. With six people and a wheel chair it took forever to go up 4 decks. Terrible computers. They were slow. Take your own. There is no internet service for Droid phones or pads. Some newer Ipads were not connectible as well. Very little sports coverage. Sports Bar had about 20 TVs all on the same fishing show and it was smoky. Everyone wanted to know the college football scores and they were not to be had. Not all sports lovers are smokers. Even the non smoking section of the casino was smoky. After the cruise we spent two nights in Boston and did all of the history sight seeing including the Duck Boat Tour. Wonderful Experience. Will I book again with Royal Caribbean and Jewell Of The Seas? Durn Right. If there is anything I can answer for those making a similar journey please ask. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Our background: DH and I have cruised 4 times previously, once on NCL. I have limited mobility, so some of my comments reflect that situation. We didn't have an HC cabin, as I can get around short distances, just not long ones. We ... Read More
Our background: DH and I have cruised 4 times previously, once on NCL. I have limited mobility, so some of my comments reflect that situation. We didn't have an HC cabin, as I can get around short distances, just not long ones. We flew into Boston the day before embarkation and stayed at Embassy Suites, Logan Airport. Since all we wanted was a restaurant and a place to sleep, it was an excellent choice. The free breakfast buffet was a plus. The minute we stepped off the elevator the day of the cruise, we were asked if we wanted a taxi to Black Falcon, so they must get a lot of pre-cruise business. Hoping for an early boarding, DH and I arrived at Black Falcon at 11:00 am. for our 7 day Canada / New England cruise going from Boston to Quebec. Dropping off our luggage was quick and easy, but then we had to join an unmoving line snaking around the entrance. At 11:30, NCL representatives came around explaining that the Coast Guard had arrived for a surprise security check. No one could be admitted until the Coast Guard released them. Around 12:15 they finally started embarkation. NCL did a good job of keeping us informed about the situation. The Spirit is beautiful. Even knowing that cabins would be small, seeing their size for the first time was a shock. But our belongings fit in amazingly well, and we adjusted to the size quickly. We didn't see as much seating in public areas as we have come to expect, so I sometimes had a long (for me) walk. Muster Drill was held on the Promenade Deck. Everyone had to stand in line wearing their life vests until it ended. For everyone, this was an uncomfortable change from Muster Drills held in lounges as we had always seen before. Since our only Sea Day was Day 6 of our 7 day cruise, we had an informal Meet and Greet immediately after Muster. Much to our disappointment the captain turned down our CC petition requesting that he turn off some lights one night for better viewing of the Northern Lights that were predicted. Since it was cloudy for most of the cruise, we probably would not have been able to see much anyway, and the prematurely cold weather convinced us that we would have been miserable waiting for a display with no guarantee of seeing anything. Thanks to posts from previous cruisers, we found more food to our liking than on our previous NCL cruise. The chilled fruit soups were delicious as were the crepes in Raffles where we ended up going most nights for dessert. Hamburgers at the Blue Lagoon were very good. One unexpected treat was the availability of Alaskan King Crab Claws for $15.95 at the Blue Lagoon, Shanghai Bar, and Henry's Pub. This was much cheaper than paying a $25 pp cover charge plus $10 to order them at Cagney's, yet they were just as good! The only drawback was the limited seating during peak hours. We got excellent, courteous service throughout the ship except at Windows MDR. There, I finally saw what many posters complain about. Service was slow, and the servers were abrupt. Service was quicker in Cagney's than in the Garden Room, but that could be explained by the relatively small number of passengers to be served. Other than at Windows, the crew went out of their way to be helpful, and several knew us by name. We didn't enjoy the shows as much as we've enjoyed them on previous cruises. The musicals seemed to be randomly patched together songs with no real connection unless it was the style of music. We didn't go to the comedy shows, but, from what we saw in the Freestyle Dailies and on the TV when they were broadcast later, they were not always family friendly. We did the Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor. It was a pretty drive, but the photo stops were momentary pauses so photos could be made through the bus windows. We couldn't see anything but fog from Cadillac Mountain, so if you do this excursion, go in the afternoon after the fog burns off. We chose to wonder around on our own in Halifax and Saint John. We got lobster at the Steamer across from the dock in Saint John. It was good, but according to locals, it would have been much cheaper at Billy's. In Sydney the Heart of the Island excursion was enjoyable, but again photos were made through bus windows. Our only real problem was due to my limited mobility. The ports of Sydney and La Baie had accordion ramps requiring passengers to walk about ¼ mile before reaching ground, then another1/4 mile returning to the ship. La Baie was worse because the ramp went downhill, then uphill, then downhill, etc. For a person with limited mobility, this was a real challenge. They had placed park style benches at the landings, but they were always occupied when we got to them. Since this was a new NCL itinerary, the Shore Excursion desk and the Special Services were not able to tell us in advance that I would be required to walk so far. We did the Saguenay By Land and Sea excursion, which was enjoyable until I had to walk an additional ¼ mile to get from the excursion boat to the bus which took us back to the ship. So even though we enjoyed seeing the Saguenay, the day in La Baie was not good. In Quebec, we enjoyed the Caleche ride through Old Quebec. It was very informative and gave us a good view of the old parts of town without my having to do a lot of walking. Our room at the Manoir Victoria Hotel post cruise seemed palatial after a week on the Spirit. This hotel was also a good choice for us as we were close enough to be able to see Old Quebec, and I was able to enter without having to climb stairs. The St. James Pub in the hotel provided surprisingly good food. Other than the problem with my having to walk long distances, we had a wonderful cruise! The Spirit is beautiful, and we felt pampered and spoiled. Once again, we saw why we love to cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009

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