17 Boston Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

Sailing to Bermuda for our 40th wedding anniversary. We were unexpectedly treated to a special cake at the Chef's Table dinner one night. Meals were very good, and the specialty restaurants were fantastic! The main dining room was ... Read More
Sailing to Bermuda for our 40th wedding anniversary. We were unexpectedly treated to a special cake at the Chef's Table dinner one night. Meals were very good, and the specialty restaurants were fantastic! The main dining room was good, with a buffet offered at breakfast, as well as the order off the menu. The main buffet offered a wide variety, from salad to pizza to Indian and Chinese food. There were always a lot of entertainment going on. Music in the Centrum, which could be heard up several levels varied from Regae to accoustic guitar. There is a piano in one of the lounges, and that was good too. The movie selection was bad, mostly old movies, and the one that was new was only shown once, and conflicted with something else we had scheduled. If you're into wine tasting, there were several opportunities. I wish the lounges and pub would serve finger food so we had something to eat while having drinks. We loved the ship, and would definitely sail again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Although my husband and I are not first time cruisers, this cruise was the first for us in a few ways: our first cruise with NCL, first time for both the Flynn Cruiseport in Boston and Bermuda and first time for me traveling with mobility ... Read More
Although my husband and I are not first time cruisers, this cruise was the first for us in a few ways: our first cruise with NCL, first time for both the Flynn Cruiseport in Boston and Bermuda and first time for me traveling with mobility issues. Overall we had an enjoyable cruise. The Gem is a lovely ship and Bermuda a wonderful destination. We had beautiful weather for the most part and calm seas. The stateroom services by our cabin steward, Christian Paz, butler, Joaquin Dumipig, and concierge, Anoop Bhanu were exceptional. The Boston Cruise Port was convenient for us as we could drive there. The traffic at the Port is heavy, but we managed to sort ourselves out and use the parking garage and shuttle to deal with the car. Embarkation and disembarkation were made easy for us as because as Haven cruisers we bypassed the general lines which did seem to be congested. We also had a private waiting area and were then escorted onboard to Cagney’s for lunch while we waited for our cabin to be ready - only one of the perks for Haven level passengers. Dining and drinking: Our promo package included 3 free specialty restaurants. We chose Moderno, Le Bistro and La Cucina. All three were superior to the MDRs. I loved the escargot at Le Bistro, but overall we found that La Cucina was our favorite. We found that the MDRs had problems with getting food to the table hot, or sometimes even warm. We gave up at our second night at Magenta when both the appetizers and entrees were cool to the touch. I will give credit to the manager for coming over to try to offer us something else, but it was too little too late. We also enjoyed having the promo Unlimited Beverages package. Entertainment: We saw three shows at the Stardust Theater: the Welcome Aboard Show, Swing and Duo Wings - Aerial Acrobatic Show. The production band was especially good. We didn’t attend musical offerings in other venues as we found them to be excessively loud. At one point we decided to have dinner at O’Sheehan’s, but turned around as the music in the Atrium was too loud, and the singer sounded like bad Karaoke. Turning up the volume for a dance party is welcomed, but not in venues where you would like to carry on a conversation. Spa: I used the spa to get my hair shampooed and blown dry and had a manicure. Yes, it’s pricier than at home, but not outrageous. There was some up-sell, but it wasn’t too pushy. Accessibility Issues: Onboard the ship: Public halls are plenty wide enough for walkers, wheelchairs and scooters, but, beware of the narrow stateroom corridors when housekeeping carts can block the way. The theatre has designated handicapped passenger rows, but getting to them sometimes required going up and down a relatively steep incline. Restaurants are accommodating with ‘parking’ areas for the equipment once you’re seated. Hint: to avoid stairs, The Grand Pacific dining room’s accessible entrance is to the right of the stairs to the main entrance. I did find a fully accessible washroom on Deck 13 where Cagney’s and Moderno are located, but didn’t need or look for others. Going Ashore: Those of us with mobility issues face challenges finding suitable excursions offered by NCL. I had reserved the wheel chair accessible full island mini-bus tour, but it was cancelled due to lack of participation. We ended up hiring a private taxi for a tour and we were glad that we did. Of note: there is a road behind St. Peters Church in St. George’s that has a back, semi-accessible entrance to the church. It is well worth the effort to visit this lovely church and walk through the cemetery. The assistance to get on and off the ship at the dock was wonderful. The ramp can get steep at the end when getting off of the ship and there was always a strong person to help slow my walker down. When returning from walking around the Dockyard I would request and wheelchair ‘push’ up the ramp. The dockyard is fairly flat, but the surfaces can be uneven. 
The tram that circles the Dockyard can accommodate walkers. The National Museum of Bermuda was only accessible for me on the lower level due to a fairly steep incline to get to the upper area. The exhibits on the lower level were interesting and watching the Dolphin Quest participants was fun, but I was disappointed that there wasn’t more accessibility support from the Museum. We loved this itinerary and there are so many things to see and do in Bermuda, more than one visit is a must do for us. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We love the "small ship" experience of American Cruise Lines and selected this 11 day Grand New England cruise for the wonderful scenery, food, and ports. Two special highlights - the lobster roast picnic in Rockland, ME at the ... Read More
We love the "small ship" experience of American Cruise Lines and selected this 11 day Grand New England cruise for the wonderful scenery, food, and ports. Two special highlights - the lobster roast picnic in Rockland, ME at the Sail Power and Steam Museum, and the sail on the Schooner Lannon in Gloucester, MA. The new ship the Constitution was lovely but seemed very crowded. Staff had to conduct Cocktail Hour in both lounges and it was still difficult to get a drink and find a place to sit. Dining room was crowded and noisy. Not everyone could be accomodated on all of the shore excursions they wanted to take. This is the largest ship American has built so far - we had to take the tender in 4 of the ports which really cut into touring and sightseeing time. Was this because the ship was too big to dock at the smaller ports? The food was excellent for the most part with a few misses, and the service was pretty good in the dining room most of the time. Wine is included at lunch and dinner, but American serves very low end inexpensive wines. They are now offering room service breakfast and an additional cocktail time after dinner - I guess to make it feel like a more luxury line - but I feel you still choose American for the small intimate ships and opportunity to see the smaller ports, and this trip did not deliver as successfully as other trips. Some of the staff - Guest Services Coordinator, Assistant Hotel Manager to mention two of them - were especially gracious, and we did book another trip on American. It will be our 14th to clearly there is much to love about this cruise line. We long for the older ships - the 50 passenger Eagle and Glory - but I guess American just can't make a profit with a ship that size. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Sailing from Boston is very convenient as we live in the area and we love Bermuda. Theses two factors led us to choose to sail on NCL Dawn. We loved the casual dress onboard. It was a very relaxing cruise with Good food and service. ... Read More
Sailing from Boston is very convenient as we live in the area and we love Bermuda. Theses two factors led us to choose to sail on NCL Dawn. We loved the casual dress onboard. It was a very relaxing cruise with Good food and service. Bar, lounge and atrium entertainment was excellent. The theatre entertainment could use improvement. Dancers very good but in need of production improvement. Bingo and Deal or no Deal Game are just money makers for NCL. Large prize bingo is a coverall which must be done in 47 numbers. I felt there should be $500 coverall for each day given the cost of bingo cards. Venetian Main Dining room ( aft) is much prettier and brighter with large windows than Aqua Dining room which is midship. Embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient. When first getting onboard the Venetian is open for seat in dining and well as Gadren buffet. We opted for the Venetian and it made the day very relaxing instead of crowded and harried at buffet. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Chose this cruise for intergenerational travel with my parents and children. LOVELY way to cover a lot of ground. We used the ship more as a means of transportation to get from point A to point B, but it was a really wonderful trip. ... Read More
Chose this cruise for intergenerational travel with my parents and children. LOVELY way to cover a lot of ground. We used the ship more as a means of transportation to get from point A to point B, but it was a really wonderful trip. Pros: food, service, staff excellent. We had basic family room with bed hung from ceiling in interior state room-- more than adequate to meet needs. There are plenty of rich foods, but I can't eat them and was able to eat healthily during the entire cruise as there were many food options. Ship also has a 1/4 mile walk around on deck six and ample health club. Nice free stretching class for early mornings. Cons: children's programming is in need of a total overhaul. If you want to park your child someplace where they can have unlimited media- this would be sufficient, but the children's programming is decidedly lacking. Our children enjoyed going after dinner for an hour or so and they had one night of truly interactive activities, but this was a far contrast to the children's programming in Splash Academy that they had on Norwegian. Norwegian's programming was media- free, dynamic and organized. Staff was lovely, but the programming was an after-thought, room smelled terrible and it was stuffed with media. Shore excursions were overpriced as one would expect. In Bar Harbor, there is a free LLBean shuttle which operates in the summer for only the price of a park pass (fourth graders are free and seniors get discount). Great way to see park at a fraction of the cost. Hired private car in Charlottetown. Discovery Tours PEI and Shuttle Service, K. Fraser/T. Thompson-- info@discovertourspei.com. This was the sweetest man who loved our kids. We negotiated the rate up front and he took us all over island-- to Canadian national park, anne of green gables house, a mariner port, a toy factory, a place to pet the goats... He was so kind and it turned out to be about 30 a person for the tour of the island. Great way to explore. If you splurge for any excursion there is NOTHING to see in Sydney. We were glad the boys went to see Alexandra Graham Bell museum that day. They loved it and there really is nothing to do in town and I am generally very easily entertained! Overall, wonderful trip and a great way to cover a lot of area in a very relaxed way-- wonderful trip! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I was a little hesitant just before leaving due to some of the recent reviews of this very cruise. Yes, the ship is a little tired in places. Seating cushions in public areas need to be replaced, along with the deck chairs on lower ... Read More
I was a little hesitant just before leaving due to some of the recent reviews of this very cruise. Yes, the ship is a little tired in places. Seating cushions in public areas need to be replaced, along with the deck chairs on lower promenade, etc. The 'hot tub' area aft seemed rather worthless. However, the ship is clean. The service and food were very good. I was impressed with the Lido restaurant. Happy to see the buffet has been done away with and the food and food utensils are not handled by guests. There were hand washing stations everywhere. The ship is smaller than many of the mega ships I've been on and this was a big plus given I was traveling with two individuals who use walkers. The ports of call I liked best were Bar Harbor and Quebec. Sydney didn't seem worthwhile. We dined at both of the 'specialty' restaurants. The Italian one was good, but they kept pushing the family style option and we all just wanted our own dish. It was fine, but seemed a little over the top. The Pinnacle was a real disappointment. We had much better service in the dining room. I had to ask for a finger bowl or something to wipe my hands with after my King Crab. We had to track down the waiter(s) a few times. Just didn't do a good job of reading the table in my opinion. Souffle for dessert was a real disappointment. Entertainment was OK. Comedian was very good. Piano man was awful, yet popular. Didn't understand that at all. Singers and dancers on board were acceptable, but we only went once. Spa was pretty good as far as packages available, but wait a few days as the prices go down and specials come available. Hot tub within the spa is worthless. No jets. Cabins are OK, tight as you expect. Bathroom was decent size and we had a tub. We were on lower promenade deck. Nice to be able to walk right out and it was mid ship and close to the gangways when we docked. Overall good value for the money and we enjoyed our week. I think the ship is worth a trip into dry dock to update her. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We loved Bermuda. Leaving from Boston is a breeze. We have traveled on the Dawn many times. Getting on the ship was so easy. We arrive at Black Falcon at 11;30. We were on the ship by noon. We choose to go to the buffet for ... Read More
We loved Bermuda. Leaving from Boston is a breeze. We have traveled on the Dawn many times. Getting on the ship was so easy. We arrive at Black Falcon at 11;30. We were on the ship by noon. We choose to go to the buffet for lunch. The buffet is OK. The area is very clean. The food is OK. It is not fabulous, but it is not awful. I usually get a salad with fruit. So the buffet is good. Lots of burger/hot dog/sandwich choices. We went to the welcome show. It was OK. We have seen it so many times. We went to Los Lobos for guacamole. It is unreal. They makes it at your table. Worth the $5.99. day 2 I spent doing trivia, reading, casino, and being lazy. Trivia was fun. Since I have been on many cruises, trivia does not use the same games over and over. The casino took my $$$$$. Day 3, we arrived early to Bermuda. I went to snorkel beach. They were charging double. NOT worth it. The beach is full of broken glass and bottle tops. They do not clean the beach after the nighttime party. Several people stepped on broken glass. They had to get stitches. Day 4 I took the new FREE NCL ferry to St. George. I arrived to see the dunking. This is a reenactment of how women were punished in the 1700. It is a very funny show. St George is trying to come back. Most of the stores were closed. An hour is all that is needed there. Such a cute town, but not much to do there. Day 5, I took a free tour of the dockyard. It was wonderful. The tour starts at the moon gate at 9:30 AM. They reenact the year 1863. You meet townsfolk as you walk. It was fun. I also took a tour of the fort. It was $15. I thought it was great and worth the $$. I also took a walk to the clock tower for shopping. I do not like to go far on departure day. Day 6 was a sea day. I spent the day at trivia, casino, reading, and shows. Saw Elements. I have seen this show several times. It is still wonderful. Casino took my $$$$. Day 7, I spent doing trivia, casino, and talking to friends. Casino took my $$$$. We ate at several restaurants. Our favorite is Los Lobos. We love the guacamole and grilled shrimp. Service is the best. We had dinner with a friend at Moderno's. I love the salad bar. The desserts are super. Service was excellent. We had a meal at Bamboo. The food is good, not great. But it is a free restaurant....so I was happy. We also ate two nights at Cagney's. Cagney's is the reason for a lower review. As latitude members we received two free dinners with wine after our 30th cruise (we now have 77 with NCL) About six months ago, NCL took our well-earned rewards away. We now receive one free meal with wine and one free meal with water, They also took away allowing us to order a side. A 20 cent order of fries after 77 cruises. They give you a pieces of meat all alone on a plate. The Breakaway and the Gem allow their loyal customers a side. The NCL Dawn does not. The manager is very rude. He refuses to budge. I ordered lamb the first night. It was delicious. I ordered it again the last night. It had a sour taste. I sent it back. The second order also had a sour taste. The manager refused to believe the meat tasted bad. He argued with me. I love the Dawn. It is my favorite ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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