My Wife and I are a dual income, no kids couple (aka DINKS) and we vacation frequently with the notion of work hard, play hard and have no problems paying for luxury experiences. We had heard great things about the Boston to Bermuda NCL ... Read More
My Wife and I are a dual income, no kids couple (aka DINKS) and we vacation frequently with the notion of work hard, play hard and have no problems paying for luxury experiences. We had heard great things about the Boston to Bermuda NCL cruise. Being local, we absolutely LOVED the idea of getting dropped off at the ship and hopping right on to start our vacation. We decided to book the Owner's Suite with the large balcony, Hot Tub, King bed, large bathroom, Butler and Concierge service. The Hot Tub did not have a heater and it did not bubble,which caused us to sit and wait for it to be repaired on our first day. We usually book the more luxurious trips because we like the memorable experience it offers along with the pampering we do not receive on a day to day basis.
Our summer Boston to Bermuda cruise left quite a bit to be desired and unfortunately, DID NOT meet our expectations. Given that we booked the Blue Diamond Suite on the Gem, our expectations were Extremely HIGH!!
Day one of vacation came and embarkation on the ship as a Haven guest was as expected, we were greeted by the very professional MassPort personnel and shown to the Priority boarding area. There were some light refreshments and we met our concierge (Anoop) who was pleasant and provided an excellent vacation experience. He checked in with us at every dinner, helped to switch dinner reservations and provided ideas for a free day that we had in Bermuda. We do not consider ourselves High Maintenance guests and we appreciated Anoop's pleasant demeanor and his daily if not 2-3/day checking in with us to see if we needed anything. That being said, this is Actually the kind of thing one expects when you are spending the money to have the HAVEN experience, furthermore to be guests in the OWNERS Suite. One of the disappointing experiences was being told at dinner we had to pay for the $27 bottle of wine, champagne and cappuccino (it's espresso people) above and beyond what we ALREADY PAID. I understand it costs money to run a ship, overhead, etc, but we did not expect to be able to drink as much wine, champagne and coffee as we want when we went to the bar or in our room and not at dinner. It just doesn't make sense.
Our Butler upon our arrival informed us that we are provided with 3 bottles of alcohol which included wine and liquor, and 1 complimentary bottle of champagne which of course makes sense. However, when after hours of sitting in the room waiting for the Hot Tub to be repaired (by very nice mechanics), I asked her if we can get more champagne while the sun is shining and it's 85 degrees and I'd like to start my vacation. There was no suggestion of the bottle being complimentary until I had suggested that some more champagne would alleviate the "inconvenience". I will say our Butler, Josephine, was pleasant, hard working and took good care of us, but if we needed anything we had to summon her. We certainly didn't feel like she was checking in on us and she did stock our fridge with 2 bottles of Prosecco the next day after considering my suggestion.
Another rather disconcerting event happened near the end of our cruise in the Haven Courtyard. Apparently only cruisers who booked HAVEN Rooms are allowed in the Haven Courtyard. Given this was our first cruise, I was not aware of this because while hanging out in the Haven Courtyard two days prior, several of us who were staying in the Haven had a impromptu Pool party with buckets of Adult Beverages for everyone, good conversation, laughter etc, While socializing I realized that it was obvious several of my fellow passengers had brought their friends who were NOT HAVEN Guests up to the courtyard, I assumed that this was allowed and it seemed reasonable to me. All the guests at our impromptu pool party were great people, classy and we were all having a really good time. So, when I brought a friend who happened to be on the ship serendipitously, I of course thought it was fine. Hey, rules are rules, I totally understand. However, our concierge (Anoop) sent a younger HAVEN Staff member (Made, the Haven Courtyard Valet) to address this issue with me in front of my Guest and my wife, I was MORTIFIED. Listen, we've all been kicked out of bars or nightclubs when we're in our twenties for too much celebrating etc., but when you pay a pretty hefty sum of cash to stay in a premier room and are scolded and treated with such utter DISRESPECT over a misunderstanding I have a bit of an issue. Anoop, (The Concierge and the BOSS) should've take it upon himself to have a private conversation with me and clarify the rules, not send his subordinate over and embarrass me in front of my wife and friend. This small incident was the final straw in what we thought was going to be a 5-Star White Glove Service.
In Summary, this was our fault, we lacked experience cruising and with NCL in particular. We had an EXCELLENT Vacation but We did NOT get the VALUE for the money we spent. The NCL Gem is obviously not a luxury based ship and trying to provide white glove 5 star service with their HAVEN option was not up to par. We would've been better off and less disappointed if we booked a much less expensive option for the experience we had. If NCL wants to provide high level white glove experiences to guests who are willing to pay then they need to stop nickel and diming their guests and offer more 'all inclusive' type packages with attention to detail if they are looking to garner a higher level clientele who are willing to pay.
We would definitely go on another Boston to Bermuda NCL cruise, however, we will absolutely book a much more cost effective package. Booking the package we booked along with our disappointment is akin to going to Outback Steakhouse and believing you are going to get the same kind of Filet that one gets at Del Friscos or similar high end steakhouse that in short, is basically the experience we had. I love to have some Kukkaburrow wings while wearing jeans and a t-shirt but you will not catch me ordering a premium steak and at the very least having the expectation that it will be 5 star!! Read Less