13 Boston Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

Everything about this vacation was relaxing! People were saying that cruises are boring.. They were wrong, I had the best time of my life and am looking forward to my next cruise with them! My only downside was the deserts were not the ... Read More
Everything about this vacation was relaxing! People were saying that cruises are boring.. They were wrong, I had the best time of my life and am looking forward to my next cruise with them! My only downside was the deserts were not the best, but the actual food was delicious and they had healthy food and plenty of junk food!!! The entertainment was amazing all the bands and the shows were top knotch. The staff were amazing always had a smile on there face which was wonderful and they were not afraid to talk to you which was even better. The gym was great and the staff there were amazing as well. I did two excursions with Norwegian and I had a wonderful time Mike from the crystal caves was wonderful he new Bermuda and made everyone laugh. Would just do a bus tour with him for hours!! Thank you Norwegian for a wonderful experience! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Everything about this vacation was relaxing! People were saying that cruises are boring.. They were wrong, I had the best time of my life and am looking forward to my next cruise with them! My only downside was the deserts were not the ... Read More
Everything about this vacation was relaxing! People were saying that cruises are boring.. They were wrong, I had the best time of my life and am looking forward to my next cruise with them! My only downside was the deserts were not the best, but the actual food was delicious and they had healthy food and plenty of junk food!!! The entertainment was amazing all the bands and the shows were top knotch. The staff were amazing always had a smile on there face which was wonderful and they were not afraid to talk to you which was even better. The gym was great and the staff there were amazing as well. I did two excursions with Norwegian and I had a wonderful time Mike from the crystal caves was wonderful he new Bermuda and made everyone laugh. Would just do a bus tour with him for hours!! Thank you Norwegian for a wonderful experience! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
First time going north. Chose this ship and port (Boston) for a new experience. Getting on the ship was super easy. Uber from the hotel dropped us off at the entrance. Showed passport and sea pass and was on our way. Interior cabin ... Read More
First time going north. Chose this ship and port (Boston) for a new experience. Getting on the ship was super easy. Uber from the hotel dropped us off at the entrance. Showed passport and sea pass and was on our way. Interior cabin again. Spacious but (as always) difficult to tell time. Bed mattress were well worn. could use replacing/revitalizing Main Dinning room (MyTime dinning). Jithenra "G2" & Bojan were awesome! Spacious in and around the chairs and table. Allure was like a sardine can. Food was well. Service was great. Bojan totally earned his wage and more. G2 was most polite and most accommodating. Did not attend much of the shows (Headliners, Comedy, Quest, Battle of the Sexes, etc) spent most of the free time at the Schooner bar with David, CHeefield, Reynoldo, & Karen. Which they were great with service. Drinks were well but Danny the piano guy needs to get a few new songs for he played the same songs with the same jokes each night. First night or two was fine but when you can predict what is going to happens next, well .. the joke is gone and becomes annoying to hear. Schooner bar was the nicest looking, view was awesome. coloring and appearance was really nice. Guest Services - They should be ASHAMED! My first experience with Guest Services ever. Friends in the past had an issue with Mystery Dinner where their reservation was unknown and required much effort to resolve. Therefor I so stopped in and asked about it. The only thing she said was to call 333 or something like that and then asked for the next guest like I had nothing else to discuss. which I did stop the other Guest and restated at which she stated they would be the people to talk with and asked for the next Guest again. Second experience, I had witnessed a door in the Schooner lounge area blow open, i think this was was Day 2 or 3. There is breezeway between the interior and exterior doors. The Exterior door must not have been properly closed by RCI maintenance crew (not a public area within and exterior has the crew only sign on it). The interior door (violently) blew open and the rush of wind knocked over several drinks onto a guest's laptop. Door could have hit someone and seriously hurt someone. Another Guest (different then owner of the laptop) actively attempted to close the door but couldn't, A second Guest helped and they almost didn't get the door closed while almost getting hurt in the process. Mean while a RCI employee (Supervisor role maybe due to gold strips on the shoulders) a few feet away, on the phone, did nothing. Guess that phone call must have been more important. The long short on this is: The only employee that help the Guest was David the Bartender (not a server). At Guest Services they told her to pack the laptop in a sealed bag with rice and then use a hair dryer on it, which they provided a holey bag and rice. It did boot up but she said that the "T" key did not work. Guest Services informed her that her configuration was wrong and she needed to correct it. Breakfast on Day 7 (the last full day) she was still discussing (exclaiming) with Guest Services. Now this is after they (GS) went to David and had him show where this supposed door is (They told the Guest that there isn't any door in the Schooner Lounge). Most sad that an RCI employee made a mistake of not closing and locking a door resulted in a damaged laptop, potentially causing serious damage to people but didn't. And RCI GS giving the Guest the run around, accusing her of lying, giving her false information to correct the issue, etc. Just take down the event information and pass it onto the people that take care of these things ... grrr Ports were great! Bar Harbor, Saint Johns, Halifax, etc were beautiful. Sad the colors didn't turn but enjoyed what there was. Fog was really bad in St John's for a few hours in the morning but let up and then came back in. GLBTQ - really didn't see any. Had tried to get to the Friends of Dorothy but was most complicated for our schedule and dinner time. Would have enjoy the company of others... I would do this trip again on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We took this cruise as a last minute deal to get away from Hurricane Irma. Had a wonderful time on board. Shows were great, food way to good, and staff was friendly and hospitable. What a way to ride out the storm. The fine dining ... Read More
We took this cruise as a last minute deal to get away from Hurricane Irma. Had a wonderful time on board. Shows were great, food way to good, and staff was friendly and hospitable. What a way to ride out the storm. The fine dining was great except for the way you now get a certificate and can only choose one salad-or- soup. In the main dining room, you can order whatever you want, as much, or little, as you like. Fine dining is limited and sometimes I'd love to have a soup and salad. You have to pay extra. Not quite worthwhile when the main dining and buffet areas have such fabulous items too. The port is so easy to get around - just walk off and you're already in a fort. Jump on the free water shuttle to go to St. George's. Overall a fabulous cruise. Love NCL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This is my third time on this exact same boat, and my grand kinds seem to enjoy it tremendously. This year one of my granddaughters is thirteen, and was in the teen program, The loft. She had the absolute time of her life and has made ... Read More
This is my third time on this exact same boat, and my grand kinds seem to enjoy it tremendously. This year one of my granddaughters is thirteen, and was in the teen program, The loft. She had the absolute time of her life and has made friends she's still super close with months later. The crew is polite and excellent, and food is delicious. The shows were enjoyable, especially the comedians. The pots were fun, and I truly got to see part of Canada. the ship however is a little older than the others, but still works perfectly fine. The ship is a perfect size, not to small, and not to big. I rarely got lost, and when I did there was always crew members nearby willing to point me in the right direction. getting off the ship and disembarking was an easy and smooth journey, and made getting back home easier then expected. Best cruise I've ever been on! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose to get married in Bermuda, and sailing on the Dawn to get there seemed convenient and cost effective for us. We ended up bringing over 60 of our friends and family aboard with us. In a word it was AMAZING!!!!! This was for me, and ... Read More
We chose to get married in Bermuda, and sailing on the Dawn to get there seemed convenient and cost effective for us. We ended up bringing over 60 of our friends and family aboard with us. In a word it was AMAZING!!!!! This was for me, and many of my guests, a first time cruising. I have to admit, I was getting nervous as there are A LOT of negative reviews out there on the Dawn. Don't be fooled, if you are a fun, down-to-earth, easy-going person, you will have the time of your life on this cruise! THE SHIP: The Dawn recently underwent a refurbish right before we came aboard. It was beautiful! The pool area was a lot of fun- we spent a ton of time on the pool deck. I'll admit the pool could be bigger, but it didn't hinder our experience. Drinks were flowing, music was pumping, and the sun was shining- what's not to like?? The Stardust Theater is very nice, not a bad seat in the house. Bliss Lounge (dance club) was great too, lots of room to dance. One thing important to note, is that I was shocked at how much I could feel the boat moving. It didn't bother me, but if you're someone who gets seasick, I would highly recommend you get the patch. Apparently the seas between Boston and Bermuda are known to be a little rough. Nothing crazy, but I was very surprised as I thought I wouldn't be able to notice it at all. THE FOOD: To my surprise, the food was fantastic! We didn't opt to eat at any specialty restaurants. We just stuck to the main dining areas that are included in your cruise. It was so much fun at dinner- every night I got an appetizer, entree, and dessert (or two!) If you didn't like what you got, or simply just wanted to try something else, the servers are more than happy to bring you another meal, and the best part? IT'S FREE! Many of my guests did opt for at least one specialty dining. The feedback I got was that it was 10 times better than the free dining (which we all agreed was already pretty good!) If I do this cruise again, I'll likely be booking at least one specialty dining night. We ate breakfast at the Garden Cafe mostly everyday. This is a buffet with millions of selections. Again, if you're on a budget, even the free buffet was pretty good and open all day long! THE ENTERTAINMENT: Probably one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to get the Norwegian iConcierge app. It's $9.95, but totally worth it. It allows you to text other people on board who have the app, keep track of your on board account (how much $$ you're spending), and also gives you an hourly calendar of events going on around the ship. We had so many people with us, without the app it would have been hard to stay connected with everyone. It is slightly difficult to set up, but once you get it- it's super easy to use. There is ALWAYS something going on, on board...and for all ages! We had quite a few kids with us. My flower girl who is 5 absolutely LOVED the kids club. She would beg to go there, and ask us to come back later when we would pick her up! Some fun things we did that I would recommend include: Thrillusionist Show, Deal or No Deal Game Show, Not-so-Newlyweds Game Show, White Party (NOT TO BE MISSED!), Comic Show, Karaoke, the Casino. THE SERVICE: The service was top-notch. I truly felt like all they wanted was for me to be happy! Again, I read some pretty terrible reviews about rude servers- and quite honestly, I'm wondering if they were on the same ship??? We got the Ultimate Beverage Package included with our cruise (thank god, because I think the drinks are ridiculously expensive if you don't have it!) We never had trouble getting drinks. I did find that if I tipped a server around the pool area, they came around a lot more often- which was great and I didn't mind throwing out an extra $20, they deserved it. Our cabin steward, Nick was absolutely outstanding. He knew us by name after only about 10 minutes of us being on the ship. He also knew we were getting married on the trip, so he made it extra special for us. Everyday we had some new, awesome towel animal and a perfectly spotless room. On the night of our wedding, we came back to our cabin to a huge "CONGRATULATIONS" sign, balloons, our names spelled out in chocolate mints on the bed, and a bride, groom, and heart made out of towels. It was just the cherry on top of the most perfect night of my life. BERMUDA: Bermuda is gorgeous, and by far the nicest beach I have ever been to. Horseshoe Bay is breath taking and shouldn't be missed. The great thing about Bermuda, unlike most other islands I've been to is that the poverty rate is extremely low. You feel safe walking mostly anywhere! I loved that. But, that does come at a price--and a very expensive one. Bermuda is VERY, VERY expensive. I'm not kidding- two eggs, with nothing on the side- $18!!! Beware, I highly suggest eating on the boat. We did the mopeds which was super fun, but definitely dangerous. You drive on the opposite side of the road, and you don't really know where you're going. If you're comfortable on a moped, it's worth a try for sure! Only $105 for a 24 hour rental of a double (two person) moped, I thought that was a pretty good deal! We also did a Jet Ski Snorkel Adventure...it was a blast!! The snorkeling kind of sucked, didn't see much other than murky seaweed, but the jet skis made up for it! We also chartered a private yacht called UberVida for our wedding. We did a sunset cruise, and it was absolutely beautiful. If you have a large group and are interested in some kind of private charter, contact Roxi at Ubervida--it was amazing and not nearly as expensive as it sounds!! Overall, this was the most fun trip of my life. The cruise was great, but I can tell you that you make your own fun. All these people writing terrible reviews clearly don't know how to make the most of where you are and who you're with. If you're in the Boston area and looking for a fun, inexpensive trip for your family- travel on the Dawn! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Prior to the cruise, there weren't any email communications/updates from the cruise line. It felt as though I wasn't sure the reservation existed until I did the online check-in. I guess I expected some email reminders or ... Read More
Prior to the cruise, there weren't any email communications/updates from the cruise line. It felt as though I wasn't sure the reservation existed until I did the online check-in. I guess I expected some email reminders or countdowns, etc. The cruise was certainly for the retired crowd. There were very, very few people under 60 on the cruise. Because of this (I’m guessing), everything closes early, about 12-1am. FIRST DAY On first day, you’ll probably have to wait for your stateroom if you board early. If so, go get lunch in Windjammer while you’re waiting. Windjammer will be very busy around this time, but you can eat out by Rita’s Cantina if it’s nice weather. It’s actually a much better option if the weather is nice! The mandatory drill is at 4pm, so plan things around that. In between lunch and the drill, try to find out when the formal nights are, and when the specialty plates are being served in the main dining room. It’s good to know when the formal nights are so you can book spa treatments (hair styling or shave) on formal nights. Similarly, you’ll want to know when the special plates are being served in the main dining room because you don’t want to have a reservation for a specialty restaurant when they’re doing something special in the main dining room (lobster night). The Guest Services desk should be able to give you all this info, but don’t take “We’re not sure yet” as the answer. Tell them you need to know to plan your spa and specialty restaurant reservations. You might have to push a little because they’re quick to give the easy reply that doesn’t really answer your question. But why wouldn’t they know this well in advance? You could also find out when they’re doing tours of the ship (if any – I didn’t see any on my cruise), and what type of entertainment is playing, and where it’s playing. It’s fun to be on deck for the “Sail Away Social” with a drink for the departure. However, get your drink at one of the inside bars, because they’re less busy than on the deck bars and may have quicker service. If you find out what other entertainment options are playing during departure, you may prefer the classical violin music (Schooner Bar), or Rock music (on the deck), or dance music (in the Centrum). You can also make your reservations for the spa based on what you’ve planned for the week (i.e. if the men want to get a shave, or if the ladies want to get their hair done, before the formal nights). However, do your mani/pedis on land before the cruise because I’m sure it’ll be way less expensive on land. This would also be a good time to make reservations for the specialty restaurants, assuming you’ve already found out when the specialty plates are being served in the main dining room as mentioned above. More advice below on that… There were rough seas on my cruise, which meant for a lot of rocking. Not much you could do about that. The ship had to stop for a few hours for the storm pick up ahead of us. It was OK after that. DINING Dining is the biggest reason I’m drawn to cursing as my vacation choice. In my opinion, the purpose of the cruise is to treat yourself, and indulge in great food. I book cruises because I love the excellent food, but I was seriously annoyed, if not disgusted, that Izumi and Rita’s had a la carte pricing and NOT a cover charge (as advertized online when I booked). Chef’s Table, Chops Grille, and Giovanni’s were still cover charges, gladly. This meant that Izumi and Rita’s had prices on the menu, which basically meant you would pay for each item you order from the menu. The prices were quite expensive too, even for a NYC resident like myself. I was looking forward to trying out Izumi and Rita’s, but not when I can get the same food for the same price on land! Because of this, 50% of my specialty restaurant options were effectively no longer of value to me. Sorry to say it folks, but this change in pricing put a HUGE damper on my trip. And now for the rest of the dining experience… We ate in the Windjammer every day, and the main dining room several times. We also ate at the Chef’s Table, Giovanni’s, and Chops Grille, but as I mentioned above, not at Izumi or Rita’s, even though I would have liked to. The first two nights of “My Time” dining had very long lines and waits, even with reservations. To avoid this, you could take advantage of the discounts they offer (20% off) if you eat in one of the specialty restaurants on the first night. You could also avoid the lines if you eat during the last sitting, which is 8pm I think. Specialty restaurants were fast to book up, but when we were there, there were lots of tables open, which was confusing. Make your specialty dinner reservations early, but make your reservations for nights towards the end of the cruise. I recommend this because eating in the specialty restaurants during the early part of your trip makes the food in the main dining room look poor in comparison to the amazing food in the specialty restaurants. Save the best for last, if you can. As I mention above, try to find out when there are special plates being served in the main dining room (you don’t want to be in a specialty restaurant on lobster night). Don’t forget; you can order multiple items on the menu, so don’t be afraid to try several things. I suggest making your dinner reservations earlier in the evenings, unless you don’t mind eating (a lot of food) at a later sitting. I prefer to not sleep on a full stomach. Give your poor body some time to digest all the food you’re about to eat. The chefs table was very well done. When you arrive, you’re greeted by a crew member (they'll recognize you by face and address you formally by last name the entire dinner). You wait in a small private room with the other guests, and are given a glass of champagne. You're seated at your assigned spot, and you chat with the other guests. Formal dress is requested, so if it's not a formal night, it will be a third formal night you'll need to pack for. You get a five-course meal with excellent wine pairings with each course. The chef will explain (very quickly, unfortunately) how the dishes are prepared. Be ready to listen carefully, because the chef’s accent can be difficult to understand because he speaks so quickly. The first course was a jumbo shrimp and salmon, followed by scallops, followed by soups, followed by Kobe beef, and ended with peach desert and side of wonderful chocolates. We ate at Giovanni’s on another night, and didn’t think anything could beat it, until we ate at Chops Grille on another night. They were both absolutely amazing. I have 4-5 bakeries within a few blocks of my apartment in NYC, and Chops Grille had the best Red Velvet cake I ever tasted, and I’ve tasted some great Red Velvet cake. Windjammer was buffet, and it was good on first and last day. The other days were good also, but not as good as first and last. I suppose you have good and bad days everywhere. FYI; the orange juice in the Windjammer is not orange juice; it’s concentrate. Gross. Because seating can be sparse at times in Windjammer, eat out by Rita’s Cantina because the view is great on nice weather days, and there is usually seating readily available. The Windjammer crew was pretty attentive to the guests, but the drink bar attendants weren’t friendly, and sometimes rude. For instance, I was getting wine with lunch one day, and I accidentally knocked over a wine glass (this happened primarily because there are no trays, so you need to carry your plate, drink, flatware, and personal belongings, etc. to your table). When I knocked over and broke the glass, the attendant just looked at me and didn't do anything, almost as if he expected me to start cleaning it up. I would have, but he didn't even offer me a paper towel. I’m in the service industry, and that response was completely unacceptable. If a guest accidentally knocks something over, you do whatever you can to make sure they don’t feel bad about it. I was also unpleasantly surprised that the fresh juice bar was only open for a limited amount of time in the mornings, and on one day, they ran out and closed early. Not sure how this can happen on a cruise. It was annoying because I paid for the drink package. BTW; the Park Café (in the Solarium) has salmon, bagels, and cream cheese each morning. This is not available in Windjammer. ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT The classical guitar was absolutely fantastic. The guitarist was in Schooner Bar when I checked it out, and the ambiance there made the music even better. On another night, big band entertainment looked like it would have been nice to dance to, but I got there too late. Temperature (a singer and 3-person band) was excellent. The main singer was an entertainer at heart and I could have listened to him all night. I saw the aerial acrobatics in Centrum. It was cool, and different, but still not my cup of tea. The piano player/singer was not good I’m sorry to say… The string quartet was also nice if you like classical music, which I do. It was very relaxing. The late nice dance option was totally empty every night, which was depressing, and meant we stopped trying after 2nd night. However, the bartenders and DJ were always a blast to hang out with in the empty bar! One-on-one entertainment! We went to the later seating of the shows in the theater, and it was hard to get seating. I think that’s because all the older guests went for earlier dining, and went to the later show after dinner. Therefore, the later shows were packed, unlike what the daily program suggested. EXCURSIONS We thought we heard announcements that excursions were all booked up, but I later found out that they weren't. It made me wonder if they made those announcements to spur bookings. Excursions were expensive for what you were getting. We went on the Halifax Titanic tour, and the tour guide was great. However, there absolutely wasn’t enough time in the museum. I only saw about 50-60% of what was available to be seen, and had to rush out without even seeing the gift shop. The guide explained everything we were seeing while on the bus, and did a very good jog explaining the Titanic graves. BTW, the tipping etiquette for tour guides is 10-15% of the tour price, if you’re happy with the guide. I’m sorry to say the St John was disappointing, even though the tour guides were fun. We did the Scenic St. John tour. We could have saved the $50 each and just walked around town. They brought us to the Reversing Falls Rapids. It was nice, and somewhat interesting, but the backdrop was a HUGE power plant, which killed the scenery. I would have rather taken a cab to the museum, and then go to the Old City Market to walk around. The Old City Market had some really cool stuff, and GREAT food. Definitely check it out. We had great weather in Bar Harbor, and it was beautiful town. We didn’t do an excursion, and I’m glad we didn’t. We walked around, browsed the shops, and ate at an AMAZING restaurant named Paddy's Irish Pub & Restaurant. Best clam chowder! We didn't even get off the ship in Portland due to lack of interest. Weather was great, so a sailboat trip may have been nice, but it’s hard to guess the weather. Nonetheless, it’s a depressing day since it’s the last day, so maybe an excursion would have been nice, but they were expensive, so I guess it depends on your energy levels. CABIN Our cabin was smaller than other rooms in same class (class “H”) by 20 sq ft. Not sure why our cabin was so much smaller, and there was no notice about it. I only found it out because our travel partners were in adjacent room. The bathroom smelt mildew; not terrible, but noticeable. The shower was tight. I'm 5'11", 170lb male, and if the shower was any smaller, it would have been too small for me. It makes me feel claustrophobic just thinking about it. The shower curtain didn't reach ground, so a lot of water sprays all over the bathroom floor. Also, the rim at the bottom of the shower was very low, which made it even easier for water to spray on the floor. Make sure you put down a floor towel. The showerhead was a misty spray, as opposed to a stream, which was a little annoying. There was good closet and drawer space. We couldn’t find channel guide, and there was no iron. The cabin steward was good. And BTW, the tipping etiquette is $3 per day per person. I wish I found that out before I went on the cruise, because I under-tipped the steward. Oops… Sorry Mark… OTHER I got the Premium liquor package ($55/day), but it doesn't include items in mini bar or room service. The bars make measured drinks, which means the drinks aren’t strong at all. I would've been annoyed if I had to pay for each drink. Most, if not all, of the drinks were under $10, which is what the package covers. The Ultimate drink package (one step up, for an additional $10) would have also allowed you to get premium coffee, premium tea, sparkling bottled water, and fresh squeezed orange juice. It would have been worth the price with 1-2 lattes a day, and a fresh squeezed orange juice at breakfast (because as I mentioned, the OJ is concentrate otherwise). When you start the cruise, pick a bartender, and tip that one so you can get speedy service from him/her during the rest of your trip. They’re pretty responsive to tipping passengers. They'll also provide a heavier pour sometimes. Although you prepaid tips, an extra $1-2 a drink will go a long way when you need speed things up during busier days. Cash tips are even better. For the shopping on board: the brands on the ship are ok, but not spectacular. The only benefit is not paying duties/taxes, so don’t plan on any great deals other than saving on duties and taxes. The shops on the ship sell pretty cheap (as in quality, not price) goods. The prices are incredibly inflated, so they offer big discounts throughout the cruise to spur buying. There were raffles that felt like a racket because the prize was a free fifth item if you buy four other items. THAT was the raffle prize; a free 5th item after buying 4 others. The same thing happened with the artwork. They gave a seminar that imparts value for the artwork, then offers a discount if you “buy today.” For instance, they were selling paintings that “would normally go for $750-$1250 each”, but they’ll sell them to you for $350 each, or $950 if you buy five. Are you serious? Maybe I just wasn’t a fan of the art? I got really annoyed by a towel attendant (male, Eastern European) at the pool one day. When I was done with my towel, I wanted to return it to them instead of leaving it on the deck for them to pick up. When I asked the attendant if this is where I can drop it off, he didn’t even reply, and just rudely pointed to a basket. Again, I’m in the service industry, and he could have just said “Oh thank you sir. You can just place in that basket.” Instead, I felt treated as if I was an annoyance. I just wanted to help… The photographer on board was good and took great pictures, and had great energy. The down side is that the prints were $24 a print for 8x10 and $14 (I think) for 5x7. I had tons of my own digital pics (as does everyone else), so I’m surprised they cost so much. They should lower these prices to make the option more appealing, especially since they throw out the prints if they're not purchased. There's no laundry avail to guests. You can have wash and fold laundry done on board for $30 a bag, and it’s a pretty small bag. The bag should take 24-48 hrs. They’ll allow pajamas, pairs of socks, shorts, swimwear, t-shirts, and underwear only. The bag would probably fit a pair of shorts, a few pairs of underwear and socks and 2 t-shirts. You can also do the laundry per item cost (not cheap). You can also get items dry-cleaned. That should take 24hrs, or you can do express service for 50% extra. PUBLIC SPACES Seating in Centrum was sparse at times, especially when the entertainment was good (Temperature). The gym is very good, which is important when you’re eating and drinking whenever you’re NOT in the gym! I wish they had heavier free weights, but the machines were pretty good, and covered the basics. It wasn't crowded whenever I went, but I think that’s because of the demographic on board. Their "library" was two bookcases. They call it a "nook". It is not a “library.” Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My gf and I took the Brilliance of the Seas out of Boston on Oct 13th 2013; we are from Long Island and had a very easy 4 hour drive up tp Boston the night before, we stayed at the Clarion Hotel in Wakefield Mass, which wasn't too ... Read More
My gf and I took the Brilliance of the Seas out of Boston on Oct 13th 2013; we are from Long Island and had a very easy 4 hour drive up tp Boston the night before, we stayed at the Clarion Hotel in Wakefield Mass, which wasn't too bad; it's going through some refurb, but it worked for the night, it was less than 30 mins from the terminal. Parked a block away from the terminal, very easy, although the long term parking is on deck 5 of this garage and a bit of a hassle when you return with your luggage, but not bad. Check in was a breeze, porters were great, we arrived around 11am or so, and just as we were ready to take our seat, boarding began. We usually cruise from the NY area, so there seemed to us a quiet flow to the day; probably because the average age on this cruise was probably 75; but there didn't seem to be too much energy on embarkation day, but everything was fine. I won't go too much into the ports because the BOTS only has one more itinerary to Canade/NE, then it's off to the south, but we actually enjoyed this cruise much more than we expected. Portland was nice, and we took the 105 minute trolley tour, we had JJ as out guide and he was great; you really got the sense he loved his town; Bar Harbor was our favorite, and we spent all day there waiting till the last tender to head back to the ship; St John NB was ok, nothing jumped out to us here, and Halifax was very nice and historic, we just don't get much out of the history thing, but it was nice, we took the horse drawn trolley and this was enjoyable, although our guide there could kind of collect his thoughts.. he was kind of all over the place. The ship was beautiful and in great shape; we had a wonderful balcony and enjoyed some privacy there, although it was just a touch cool, as the weather was perfect, but the breeze would cool things off just enough to need a jacket and toss the bikini's (bummer). The meals for us were so-so; not bad, but no real wow factor, we had My time dining, and one of the waiters we had two nights in a row would wait till all of his tables (4 I think) got seated, then serve everyone simultaneously as if it were regular dining; this caused us to have to wait quite a long time to be served as we were at a table for 2. Kind of defeated the purpose of my time dining; we ate frequently at the Windjammer too which we liked, although there could be more seating, but this has fallen on deaf ears. I think the constant complaint you always here are the pools are too small, not enough seating by the pool, and not enough seating at the buffet; well over the years I have seen nothing done about this, so I guess this is the way it is. But it was ok, we managed. All the staff were extremely nice, every single one of them. Nee Nee the bar server in the theater is just an Angel. Met so many wonderful fellow passengers, it was a joy. Entertainment we felt was ok, the centrum bungee acts was actually a little disappointing to us. It is impressive that they can do this on a ship, but the actual act, we felt like they are still rehearsing the act. The song and dance team were forgettable, but the BOTS orchestra were the best we have ever heard, and their drummer Holbrook, you can just tell loves his job. He was awesome on the drums. All in all a nice time and a nice cruise and itinerary; we will just look forward to heading south and getting our tan on next time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
To gauge if my review is for you, you need to know a little about me. I'm a 30 year old Bostonian male who cruised with another fellow Cruise Critic member (philamike). I've taken several cruises over the years with many mass ... Read More
To gauge if my review is for you, you need to know a little about me. I'm a 30 year old Bostonian male who cruised with another fellow Cruise Critic member (philamike). I've taken several cruises over the years with many mass market lines including Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean and one time even Carnival (ICK!!). Since 2009 I have sailed exclusively with Norwegian Cruise Line with this being my 14th cruise with them and second time sailing with Platinum Latitudes status. Overall this was my 24th cruise so as you can tell I am a seasoned cruiser. How I prefer to write the rest of my review is in a journal format reviewing things in the order in which I experienced them with special headers for entertainment and specialty dining. DAY 1: EMBARKATION -- BOSTON, MA I arrived to Cruiseport Boston early (10:30AM) and upon arrival I discovered cruisers from the previous sailing were still disembarking. The porters were not busy and we quickly got rid of our luggage and headed up the escalators to the security checkpoint. There was no line to get through security and we were through in a flash! There was no line at the check-in counter for Platinum Latitudes and before I knew it, we had keycards and a number for boarding. Cruiseport Boston underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment and basically changed the entire process and look of the building since the first time I cruised out of Boston in 2008. The entire system flows with ease. For cruisers waiting in the terminal, it's not the white walls as it was before but rather more vibrant and colorful with natural sunlight and tons of nostalgic ocean liner pictures on the walls. I was very impressed with the new look of the terminal. I skipped cruising from Boston in 2011 so this was the first time I got to see the completely renovated terminal. It was still under construction in 2010. Very nice job Cruiseport Boston! After meeting up with a shore-side friend at Cruiseport Boston, it was time to begin the embarkation process with the embarkation photo and next thing we knew, we were onboard and dining in the Venetian Restaurant for embarkation lunch. The lunch menu didn't change from the January cruise so I had my typical lunch fare of Vietnamese Spring Roll with that awesome sauce and my first of many New York strip steaks. It was all very tasty. During our lunch service we inquired about some crew members from January who may or may not still be there. To our surprise Michael from the Philippines was still onboard and stopped by. He let us know some of our other favorite wait staff was still there. Most of them were assigned to Aqua Restaurant. OCEAN VIEW CABIN: Stateroom 5630 After lunch cabins were already available for occupancy. They were ready just after 1PM which is earlier than usual. We went down to the cabin and began unpacking. Here we met our very nice cabin steward Owen and he delivered our bags shortly thereafter. The cabin was in great overall shape. Everything was neat and clean with the bed split into a twin configuration. The only bad thing was a bathroom door that failed to close easily unless you slammed it. This was more problematic at night then during the day but nothing to scream about. We were completely unpacked and in vacation mode before muster drill which was at 3:15PM! Now that's a way to start things off! Our muster station was in Aqua Restaurant and even though I was on an 11 day in January 2012 on the Dawn I had never once set foot in the restaurant! The decor was very white and very well... ugly in comparison to all other dining venues on the ship. I am very happy this is the true FreeStyle dining room where if you don't want to dress in anything particular, you don't have to. I stuck with Venetian like January where the decor is MUCH MUCH better and dressed in resort casual attire like always. It was disappointing since our favorite teams were in Aqua except when they had a lunch rotation in Venetian. After muster drill it was time to go topside and get the party started! Bought my first drink of the cruise in an NCL signature plastic hurricane glass and waited for the ship to leave. We left later than 4PM but that gave us time to take in the dance number from the dancers onboard at the party. Finally we left and for the first time I can say I didn't freeze while leaving Boston. It wasn't cool or cold but nice and HOT and a perfect sail away! We also got to meet up with the ship's resident DJ Keith Armian who is one of the better NCL resident DJs. We also got to meet the Celebrity DJ Suga Ray (NYC). So far things in the music department were off to a great start! SPECIALTY DINING: Le Bistro Restaurant In early August 2012 NCL introduced a book ahead dining package for their specialty restaurants. If you booked Le Bistro (French), Cagney's Steakhouse & La Cuccina (Italian) then you would save $8 per person on the cover charge. We took advantage of this and started with a 7PM reservation at Le Bistro. I had the escargot and the French onion soup along with the lamb. All were very good dishes. I had the lamb which was cooked to order and nice and tender. For dessert I had the crème brule. We also took advantage of NCL's Facebook Fan special offer with a free bottle of wine if you dined in a specialty restaurant on embarkation night! It was a nice way to start off the cruise and it was great service provided by Pamela Estipona and Emilio Andrews. We skipped tonight's featured Stardust entertainment which was a variety show of the acts coming up in the cruise and instead sat at the Star Bar to meet others on our sailing and take in the sounds of the pianist. It was a great little gathering and lots of folks showed up! Next, it was off to the Spinnakers Lounge for the first of many nights this cruise to catch the tail end of Southside performing the Dawn Breakaway Dance Party and then DJ Suga Ray took over. It was here we were finally able to meet up with my crew friend who I've sailed with many times before. It was so nice to see her again and be able to hang out. A great night in the disco between DJ Suga Ray but an early rise prevented us from staying for DJ Keith's session. DAY 2: SEA DAY After our 8:30AM wake up call by room service and a very brief CODE BRAVO in laundry, it was off to the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet at 10:30AM. It was attended by all senior management who were kind enough to provide our group with complimentary pastries, coffee and some juice. Captain Paul also stopped by as well to give us an update on the laundry area and Leslie, a Tropical Storm threatening our trip. All was well and then it was off to a Cruise Critic organized Poker Cabin Crawl! Featured in our trip was an interior, balcony, mini-suite and aft-penthouse suite and culminating in the Owner's Suite forward on Deck 10. It was a great way to see other accommodations onboard the vessel and what I could do with my money if I crOuise less (and that's not going to happen)!! The afternoon was relaxing after a small buffet lunch. I went up on the pool deck in the Quiet Zone forward and sunned for the afternoon before coming back for dinner at Venetian Restaurant. Tonight I had two signature appetizers including the Spring Roll and the Tortilla Crisp (aka Quesadilla) along with some main dish I can't remember. It was all good though and then it was off to the early show. STARDUST SHOWTME: Band on the Run! As mentioned previously I did an 11 day on this ship in January 2012 and since then they had changed the production cast. This show features 70's club hits with live band music. I can say this new production cast had great choreography this time compared to January and were spot on with each other but the singers; especially the male lead one with blond hair (Trent?) was so horrible and murdered most of the songs! I wanted this man to stop singing and let the other guy do it but it never happened. One of the two female vocalists was also off on their singing but Trent took the cake. The good part the dancing was back up to par though. SPINNAKERS: Norwegians Night Out Party DJ Keith spun the beats and it was a great night out at the club. We left before Suga Ray took over because the ship's clocks were springing ahead one hour. It was a great night out in Spinnakers! DAY 3: NOW ARRIVING -- BERMUDA! It was our intent to get up and watch the ship sail into Bermuda but that didn't happen. A look outside the window showed a tug boat and the coast line and we weren't moving! After having a leisurely lunch in Venetian where we re-united with Dewi (Aqua Restaurant Waitress) from January, it was time to go shore-side to take a tour of the Dockyard for Mike who had never been before. After some shopping and seeing the Dockyard sites including the glass blowing demonstration at the Bermuda Glass Factory, it was time to head back on the ship for the show and dinner. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Duo Volgyi The opening act was a ballet number from Marsha and then it became a show of aerial artistry with silks and ropes. It was a great show and it wasn't going to be the only time during the cruise we got to see them as they appeared in Band on the Run and more so in Bollywood. Definitely worth checking out! SPECIALTY DINING: Moderno Churriscaria Located on Deck 8 opposite the Blue Lagoon, this lovely dining venue will satisfy any carnivore's appetite. Our seating was at 9:30PM and one of the last ones. After a small salad at their expansive salad bar, it was time to start the flow of meat by flipping the handy little card to green! After sampling each of the meats, which for the most part were very tender, it was time to get some more! My roommate flipped to red. I kept going with more Filet Mignon and a few other meats and finally flipped to red. Mike was ready to fall asleep at that point! Dessert consisted of a papaya cream and a flan! This restaurant is amongst the options available to Platinum members instead of dining in Le Bistro (which we purchased before sailing as part of the new NCL dining package). ATRIUM ENTERTAINMENT: Arvin & Emily While dining at Moderno we were being serenaded by Arvin & Emily. It was a nice addition to the dining experience. This duo knew all sorts of songs from every genre from Broadway to Country, Pop to Rock 'N Roll. They were always a great time throughout the cruise but this night in particular we were able to catch them for more than just a few songs due to our length of dining at Moderno. We dined so late into the evening that we missed the 70's Groove Party in Spinnakers and instead decided to grab a drink topside. The bartender was fantastic and I wish I caught his name but he was at Topsiders during the deck party with DJ Suga Ray. We moved down to Spinnakers to finish out the night with DJ Keith at the turntables! I stayed until the wee hours of the morning and grabbed breakfast at Blue Lagoon. DAY 4: BERMUDA During our sailing it was the US and Bermuda's Labor Day holiday. As such there were a lot of places that were closed to tourists but shopping and beach options. This day after a late rise and lunch in Venetian we went ashore to Horseshoe Bay Beach. A friend of ours from the ship showed us a more quiet area of that place and we went there and hung out for the afternoon. Great photo opportunities to be had and the waves were crazy due to the storms in the Atlantic. It was a great afternoon at the beach. Handy tip for new people traveling to Bermuda: Cab fare is $33 to Horseshoe Bay from the Dockyard in each direction. Back onboard the vessel it was an early dinner at the Venetian Restaurant where Asheesh and the newly embarked Danielo from the photo gallery stopped by to take our pictures. This night will be memorable for the picture they took and how it all came about! LOL! Having been to Bermuda three times before, there is a night for each cruise that is either in Hamilton or in the Dockyard. All the other times I've been to Bermuda it was cancelled due to bad weather. This trip it was actually held at the stage by Clocktower Mall and it was a great time. There were percussion (drum players) and Gombey dancers. The police were out to make sure there was peace and were also kind enough to pose for pictures! We stayed out and walked around to the vendor tents outside before heading back to the ship for... STARDUST SHOWTIME: Extreme Vegas (Second Show) We had missed their opening act in the Variety Show on embarkation night. We had heard their section was really good and to check it out. This duo did a fantastic job of entertaining with illusions, one of which is in the show ELEMENTS on the Norwegian Spirit. I can't really describe how great this show was and entertaining. I was happy I checked it out and I recommend you do as well! After a quick wardrobe change and meeting up with some folks in Spinnakers it was time to get off the ship for a night of dancing shore-side! The crew party ashore has more energy to it then most nights in the disco onboard. I love the Bermuda overnights for this one night! Otherwise, the Dockyard is deadsville and the cab fare to Hamilton is INSANE! Great night ashore with so many memories! DAY 5: BERMUDA I continued partying until the wee hours of the morning. I didn't get back to the ship until sometime after 3AM and then went to Blue Lagoon for yet another breakfast of chicken tenders and fries before retiring. My roommate left the party earlier and got up early to head off to St. George's. I stayed onboard for a little while longer until the crew muster drill began and the announcements were being made in the passenger cabins! Numerous announcements were made in the cabin to the point where I was so annoyed I called up guest relations and told them to knock it off already! If it was a crew drill then keep it in the crew areas and general public areas. I got an apology and sorry for the inconvenience but it was going to continue. Being wide awake I went shore-side to get away from the noise of it all and went to BUZZ at the Dockyard Pharmacy for my second green tea latte of the trip! If you don't know where BUZZ is, ask for the Pharmacy in the Dockyard. It's the only pharmacy there and inside is this neat little coffee shop which is basically a Starbucks. They have Starbucks coffee and they make all the same drinks as Starbucks does. With some explanation they even make a Green Tea Latte which is charged the same as their chai lattes. I watched the Enchantment of the Seas pull out before getting back on the ship since the announcements had stopped. I plunked down in the Quiet Zone on deck and slept a few hours. When I awakened it was just before the Starboard Promenade Deck & Pier-side Party! This new party featuring music and housekeeping department folks dancing shore-side is a neat and fun way to welcome guests back onboard. Some guests would get involved in it and it made waiting for cast off a little easier. DJ Keith was spinning and the three male housekeepers seemed to make up their own dance for the new "Cruise Like a Norwegian" theme song which was played every half hour until 5PM when it all ended. There was a female housekeeper, who bless her heart for her age and still working on ships, was keeping up with the guys pretty well! I saw her later on in the cruise by chance and told her she was awesome!! What a great time!! After a nice relaxing dinner again in Venetian, we went up to the Star Bar for more drinks with new friends made onboard before I retired for the evening. I was informed by some of these people when I described the Second City's usual routines in their main show that it still hadn't changed. Second City definitely needs new material, especially for repeat cruisers. DAY 6: SEA DAY It was nice to sleep in and have no interruptions this morning. A quick breakfast in Venetian lead to the Captain & Senior Officers Question and Answer session in the main atrium and then next thing you know it was time to go to the Latitudes past passenger party for all tier level members. It was at 1PM and Captain Paul came by to talk with us. We were also showed a video of Norwegian Breakaway, joining NCL's fleet next May 2013. Thereafter we returned to the cabin and relaxed for the duration of the afternoon until dinner time. SPECIALTY RESTAURANT: Cagney's Steakhouse I have dined in Cagney's several times over the years cruising with NCL. I truly miss their Porterhouse steak option. It was great for carnivores like me to have as a single dinner option. This trip I decided to try the ribeye after having appetizers of shrimp cocktail and New England clam chowder. The dinner was great overall and the service provided was great. STARDUST SHOWTIME: The "V" Show The Norwegian Dawn cast basically makes up their own show for this one-time only showing. It features dancers doing their numbers, aerialists and the singers. The blond haired singer got to be interesting in seeing just how well he could butcher any song he got his vocal chords on. I was so hoping for a good cast this cruise but this one guy who sang so much just stunk so badly! The other singers were great compared to his vocal abilities but it seemed they were hardly singing. I would pass if you see this guy with the ripped abs and bleached blond hair in the earlier Band on the Run performance. STARDUST SHOWTIME: The Paul Scally Show -- LIVE Comedy (Adults Only Show) This was my fourth cruise with Paul Scally as the Cruise Director. I met up with him several nights out at Spinnakers while he was in the back checking how things were going. He encouraged me to come and check out his new show this night and I did. It was a great time and all of his jokes were good. I would recommend this show as an alternative to the earlier "V" show. SPINNAKERS: White Hot Party!!!! A quick wardrobe change once more led me to the entry way of Norwegian Cruise Line's best party on the high seas! The dancers come out and do a number on the dance floor and the cruise staff have their angel wings on. Cruise passengers, including myself, really get into the act with their attire and it's just a great night of music and dancing and it goes ALL night long! DJ Suga Ray (NYC) kicked it off before the resident DJ Keith finished out the night in the wee hours of Thursday morning.DAY 7: SEA DAY The day actually started off right at midnight with the continuance of the White Hot Party and an early morning breakfast of Blue Lagoon chicken tenders and fries. The rest of this day I spent in my cabin until it was time for dinner! I wanted to relax and that is what I did. I ordered room service and watched some of the movies on their movie channels including "Ghost" and "Up." It was cloudy so it wasn't really good sunning weather. Relaxing in the cabin was a great alternative option. SPECIALTY DINING: La Cuccina Restaurant (Italian) Out of all the Norwegian cruises I've done, I have only eaten in this restaurant one other time. The decor of this restaurant is by far the second best on the Dawn (just behind that of Le Bistro). The food was nice and there were other options available besides just pasta and pizza like most Italian eateries state-side have. I tried the Risotto and it was fantastic. My dessert stole the show though as it was a flourless chocolate cake. For the price of this specialty restaurant, the decor and food alone make it a great value. STARDUST SHOWTIME: Bollywood This was the best performance by the new production cast. This premiere night of entertainment features more dancing, aerialists, acrobats than singing so it was by FAR the best show of the entire cruise. Furthermore, compared to January 2012's show, this new cast brought a lot of new items to the table making it far more engaging for the audience. I do give props to NCL for getting this show back to a level of somewhat equivalence to the show of the same title I saw originally back in 2003 with Jean Ann Ryan Productions. NCL Productions definitely stepped it up a notch for this show. "Jai Ho" the main song was butchered again by that singer but since he didn't sing much this production, the production was THAT much more enjoyable! Bravo NCL productions on this new edition of Bollywood. Upon completion of the show was the premiere of the new Norwegian farewell song. I missed the Norwegian Way / Wave farewell but sometimes new things are good! The crew and staff came up to wish us farewell one last time and the Captain accepted flowers from a kid in the audience as he was signing off for vacation this Boston. After the show, we headed upstairs to say goodbye to new found friends at the Star Bar. Our meeting time had changed this last night but we didn't care and arrived at the time we'd had all the rest of the cruise. The pianist this night seemed to be a little overpowering and it was unclear why but he finished up and we could actually continue talking without yelling. It was time to go back and finish up packing before heading out to Spinnakers for the remainder of the night. SPINNAKERS: The Second City Unplugged (Adults Only) Most of this is show is improv and not sketch comedy so it can be sometimes more interesting. I went to get seats for the show after this one but it turned out to be an ok time. SPINNAKERS: Adult Quest Game Show Now this always provides for a fun time. I forewarn anyone to go and be a spectator but don't participate unless you are very open-minded. It's amazing what people will do for a grand prize of a free shot at the bar! This cruise didn't disappoint and we were joined by some crew friends and other friends made onboard before this concluded. SPINNAKERS: Norwegians Farewell Party featuring DJ Keith This disco was short and sweet. It lasted only 1.5 hours until the crew and passenger curfew at 2AM. Afterward, a few of us passengers popped over to Blue Lagoon for one last breakfast of chicken tenders and fries before retiring. DAY 8: DISEMBARKATION -- BOSTON, MA Woke up at 8AM and headed off to Venetian Restaurant for one last breakfast meal before clearing out of the cabin. NCL prefers you clear out of the cabin by 9AM and we happened to stay just a little longer than that. We decided to head up to the Star Bar and wait for the last call on disembarking the ship. I had a ride coming to get me at 11AM and my friend had to wait to check into his hotel so we stayed until the very end. Last call came at 10:15AM and we were off the ship shortly thereafter. Cruiseport Boston simplified the disembarkation process by just having the collection of the US Customs Forms. Baggage claim was accessed by a new type of escalator walkway but instead of there being steps; it was just a slanted drop to the bottom floor. Coming down this moving walkway, our bags were the only ones left to pick up! It made fishing for them that much easier!! FELLOW CRUISERS ON THIS SAILING: I have sailed out of Boston four times with Norwegian. By and far this was this worst cruise behavior by fellow cruisers of any NCL cruises departing anywhere! Parents were not watching their kids on this sailing resulting in a wake up call in ALL passenger cabins at 4:30AM on Saturday morning looking for a 15 year old boy who later turned up in another passenger's cabin. Rumor had it the boy was in a cabin with women (plural). Furthermore, later on in the cruise yet more announcements were made during the daytime but in the cabin for a missing 7 year old girl. It was so bad even Paul Scally cracked jokes about the kids being sucked down the toilets for heaven sakes since so many went missing and weren't being watched closely by their parents. Furthermore, guests who chose to be in the Star Bar at a certain time were either illiterate or were there to heckle and be a pain. You have so many other things to do on vacation then to stare people down and make other fellow cruise passengers uncomfortable with your staring and comments - go elsewhere! There are several other public venues to hang out around the ship. There really shouldn't be any need to call up ship's security to have them come up and speak with you about your behavior. What is wrong with cruisers nowadays, especially on a ship that originates out of BOSTON of all places given our history on individual freedom? Thankfully security did patrols of this venue for the rest of the sailing and things were kept well under control thereafter but I'm still irritated that fellow cruisers would act in this manner at all when everyone is there to have a good time. I don't blame NCL but rather these intolerant people. NCL's security response was above and beyond! Not all the fellow cruisers were bad; I did make some new friends off this sailing who were repeatedly in Spinnakers each night. These folks were fun and didn't care about anything. Bravo to them for being the coolest people to hang with outside of crew this vacation! WRAPPING IT ALL UP: I couldn't have asked for more of what I wanted which was relaxation balanced with a healthy dose of partying. Having crew members onboard who are like family just made it that much more special and without the following people, this cruise wouldn't have been as good as it was: Liga (Photo Lab Manager) & DJ Keith Armian first and foremost, Relizon (Bar Waiter -- Spinnakers for always keeping me hydrated with my drink. You just give the man the card and you get your drink, nothing simpler than that!), Captain Paul, Paul Scally (Cruise Director), Les Riley (Hotel Director), Dewi (Aqua Restaurant Waitress), Michael (Aqua Restaurant Waiter), Asheesh (Photo Gallery), Justin Short (Cruise Staff), Blue Lagoon early AM shift staff and every dining room hostess we encountered who seem to know my name without me telling them! A special shout out to the Norwegian Dawn Security team for their service during this voyage as well! What a great trip with a great crew! I highly recommend the ship and its crew to anyone (just leave that bottle blond singer guy on the pier)!!! I look forward to my next voyage on Norwegian's newest ship Norwegian Breakaway in 2013. Until then, it's dreaming like a Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
My partner set out to sail on July 27th from Boston. Boarding the vessel was relaxed, fast and easy. After walking around for about 45 minutes, we decided to have lunch in the Venetian; one of many lunches and dinners there (more on this ... Read More
My partner set out to sail on July 27th from Boston. Boarding the vessel was relaxed, fast and easy. After walking around for about 45 minutes, we decided to have lunch in the Venetian; one of many lunches and dinners there (more on this later). At about 2 pm our stateroom was ready. We were in stateroom # 5118. Being that this stateroom was a connecting room, I was afraid that this could cause lots of noise but to my surprise, the room was quite quiet. We would sometimes hear a little "windy" noise which we believe to be the vacuum in the aqua dining room (located just above), this never woke us up or bothered us. The bathrooms are on the small side, but really you won't be spending the bulk of your time there. The room was clean, being a germ freak; I had brought a bit of cleaning towels (kills 99% germs) to do some extra "Cleaning" and besides from a little scrubbing this was pretty good for a "hotel"! The bed was very comfortable and the big picture window sure helped the room feel more "open"! The room was centrally located and made it so you couldn't really feel the movement of the ship. The television was good with 18 channels (10 promoting the boat). On the plus side lots of good TV shows when you just feel like doing nothing. Food on the boat was OK, nothing to write home about, but plenty of choice even for the most demanding of guests. We didn't have dinner in any of the paying (extra) restaurants but the Brazilian seems like a great hit (confirmed by friends we made on the boat). The buffet had different specialties every night and some safe bets. All in all plenty of choice, good food and variety, what could ask more? I did fall in love with one plate; the fruit plate offered by room service. I went through at least 2-3 per day. The fruits were just perfectly ripe and juicy. Presentation was nice and service was quick. Perfect for snacks in the morning, afternoon and evening (without the guilty feeling). Portion were on the smaller side in the dining room. If you're very hungry don't be shy and ask for seconds. Bermuda is so beautiful. We could just move there. Heritage wharf is convenient for walking around, catching a bus, taxi, ferry or mini-van. On our first day we meet Donna at the wharf and she drove us to Horseshoe Bay (yes at the bottom of the hill) for 6 dollars. A taxi ride is $28 to $35 dollars depending on traffic and time. Our second day was spent walking Hamilton (about 1 hr) took the bus to the crystal caves (27$ both caves) and then on to St George to visit the town and go to a nearby beach. We took the last ferry back at 6h30 to heritage wharf. Day 3 was spent visiting the museum and the small beach close to the royal navy dockyard. Very nice, clean and surprisingly not too crowded. Our return to Boston was much slower than our way down. I would have enjoyed an extra day in Bermuda rather than the 2 1/2 days at sea. But I do understand that the cruise line makes more money when it's at sea! Great vacation, great price and definitely recommended! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We flew from South Bend, IND to Boston, MA with a layover in Detroit. I have flown many times & have never had any issue with delays so we decided to fly in early that morning rather than the night before. While on the runway in South ... Read More
We flew from South Bend, IND to Boston, MA with a layover in Detroit. I have flown many times & have never had any issue with delays so we decided to fly in early that morning rather than the night before. While on the runway in South Bend we were advised there was ice on the planes wings so they were going to de-ice it. About ten minutes later the pilot apologized and said the de-icing vehicle did not have gas in it so they were fueling it before it would arrive. By the time we were on the way we were about 40 minutes behind schedule. We flew Delta and they only have about an hour layover in Detroit. By the time we landed in Detroit we literally ran from one end to the other to board the plane to Boston, and were the last to board, making our plane by about 3 minutes. After that experience I would hesitate to fly and board the same day in the future. In Boston it was sunny and we opted to take the Water Taxi from the airport. There is a free shuttle at the airport which takes you right to the pier. A CB handset with a direction sign allows you to call the water taxi. They were floating not far off the pier and we boarded easily. The taxi does make other stops on the water front but the ride was great and it only cost us about $12 each. It was definitely a scenic way to arrive in the city and afforded us wonderful photo shots of Boston and the ship when we came around a bend. We got off the water taxi right at the boat on a boardwalk. There were no lines and we were able to walk right up to check in. Our bags were taken quickly by porters and we only stood in line for about 5 minutes before being attended to by a very nice lady who checked us in. I had been slightly concerned because we do not have passports. We do have Enhanced Michigan Drivers License's which are issued by Homeland Security for the purpose of driving across the border. We also had our certified birth certificates as stated on the website requirements for closed entry loop cruises to Canada. I did not see anyone else around us using these type of documents to check in as most people had passports. While we had no problem with our check in process and were cleared quickly for boarding, I would consider a passport in future Canadian cruises as I think it might have been even quicker to get thru the check in. As we were approaching the gangplank to board the ship we were shuffled in for the first of many photographs by the ships photographer. I have no problem getting a few pics but there are literally photographers everywhere you turn throughout the week. It is beyond annoying. Eventually we started refusing pictures and going around the photographer stands. We finally boarded the ship around 2pm. The ship is a nice size but not so big that you can't quickly navigate yourself to the layout or get around in a reasonable amount of time. We went to the Windjammer Buffet to get a light lunch. The tables were all packed so we went to the outside pool area and sat down to eat. It was breezy and a bit chilly but it was nice to be in the sun. Our rooms were ready as soon as we boarded and our luggage was there by 6pm. We left the port at 5pm and stood towards the rear to watch our departure. Watching Boston slip away in a setting sun was magical. We spent the day walking the ship and were the only ones playing mini golf at 10pm. There were plenty of things to do on board but we preferred exploring on our own and enjoying our time walking the decks. We chose to utilize room service for all of our breakfast's. This allowed us to eat leisurely while getting ready to get off at the port of calls. I found on cruise critic an article about a lady who made little tip bags filled with hard candy's and thank you notes to give to the employees who brought room service food. As it was almost Halloween we did these tip bags and they were a hit with the employees. I'm glad we took the time to make that extra effort of appreciation to those who made our trip so enjoyable. We ate lunch in port. We did not go to the formal dining room for any meals. There were several reasons for this. We do not like to dress up on formal nights, we did not want to be seated at a large table with strangers (I know some people love this part of cruising, we prefer to enjoy the time to ourselves as our jobs at home have us on opposite hours), and we have plainer tastes in food preferring a good Italian pasta and marinara compared to some of the more "fancy" dishes being served. With that said, we found the other places to eat more than adequate in choices, flavors and quality. I believe we would continue to dine in this matter on future cruises. We did not eat at the reservation only establishments which required additional fees. Being our first cruise we felt we would have enough choices with out the additional cost. We enjoyed the movie cinema which showed fairly recent movies, most of which we had not seen. We also went to the magicians show. We thought it might be a little hokey but we really enjoyed it and were glad we went. We went to the tango show and it was wonderful. The other dancing/singing show performed by the ships performers we skipped. They seemed a little too silly, singing songs that would be more appropriate for a cruise commercial, and you could catch the show on your TV the following night. We had intended to use the rock wall but on the days we could have the weather was not cooperating. Mini Golf was fun, the hot tubs were open but packed so we did not go. The other amenities looked nice (gym, shuffleboard, ping pong, etc) looked fun but we had so much to absorb that we just never got around to it. Our days at sea were extremely wavy. My partner took Bodine religiously and had not problems with sea sickness. She did not enjoy the constant rocking motion of the ship and the feeling of compression (compared best to a non stop light headed feeling) that came with it. I don't get seasick and the motion did not bother me more than it was becoming annoying by nightfall. Luckily our 2 days at sea were spaced apart and knowing that we only had to endure a day of it before we'd be right back on land again made it easier to deal with. Our favorite spot was sitting on the interior balconies by the coffee shop, drinking coffee, playing cards and listening to the music coming from the bottom of the centrum. The band they had there were amazing and watching the "older couples" dance at random below was sweet. The ship never felt crowded although on sea days you did notice more people around however we were always able to find a place to be by ourselves. I loved the aspect of cruising and being able to wake up, be at port, enjoy a day in port and get back on the ship was fantastic. No driving, no traffic, literally 24hrs of doing whatever , whenever we wanted. All the employees went out of the way to be friendly. They remembered our names and our likes/dislikes. I purchased the Romance Package to be waiting in our room on arrival. I had non-alcoholic champagne, red velvet cupcakes, a gourmet breakfast in our room one day with mimosa's, silver picture frame with a picture from the cruise of us, appetizers delivered to our room before dinner one night. Cost wise I felt this was an excellent value. There were a few issues though. The order menu showed the cupcakes were vanilla, my significant others favorite, however red velvet were delivered, not so much a favorite. I think substitutes should be avoided especially when it comes to food/taste. Because we had avoided some of the photographers after a week of being hounded, we did not have a 8x10 photo to put with our frame. I explained to the clerk, this was fine, we would take the frame and if it was OK , a smaller 5x7 pic and I'd find a way to matte it at home. She continued to pressure us into taking another picture. After having just come from a port with rain we did not feel like having a picture taken looking like a drowned rat. I thanked her but assured her I would rather take the smaller picture. She continued to rant but after a few minutes she stopped and supplied the frame and smaller pic. The breakfast served in our room could only be ordered by physically going down to the main dining room and finding our assigned head waiter. Due to the fact we had not been dining in the formal dining room it became a big production and 3 employees to bring our waiter out to us. He then "scolded" us for not being in the main dining room and wanted to know why we had not been there all week, and how our table-mates were disappointed and on and on..I felt like my dad was there ready to ground me. I know they depend on tips but we tipped anyway and being an adult I did not appreciate being made to feel guilty about where I chose to eat on MY vacation. I feel RCI could handle this whole dining situation differently and as far as the breakfast, I should have been able to order it via the telephone like we did for room service, or thru my cabin steward to took our breakfast cards the rest of the week. Due to these two incidents, I most likely would not order this package in the future. I did all of the planning for the trip thru the Internet on my own. RCI's website is easy to navigate and between that and cruise critic I was able to get any questions answered. I enjoy the process of planning and researching our vacations so being able to have total control during the booking process is important to me. I also booked all our off shore excursions on my own utilizing the internet and Trip Adviser's ratings. This saved us easily 50% off the cost of excursions. If we were to go to a European Cruise, I would rely more heavily on the ships excursions due to language and geographical restraints, but for the Canadian area I felt comfortable navigating the towns on our own. I would jump at the chance to go on another cruise and would search RCI first for their options. My partner will go also although she is not as fond of sea days, she was relieved to know she wouldn't get sick and I think she will be more relaxed next time knowing what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
About Me: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother on the May 21, 2010 sailing of the Norwegian Spirit from Boston to Bermuda. This was my fourth NCL cruise this year sailing twice on the Norwegian Jewel and once ... Read More
About Me: I'm a 28 year old male who sailed with his 60 year old mother on the May 21, 2010 sailing of the Norwegian Spirit from Boston to Bermuda. This was my fourth NCL cruise this year sailing twice on the Norwegian Jewel and once on Norwegian Sky and my ninth NCL cruise overall. I've sailed on other cruise lines including with Princess (5x), Celebrity (3x), RCCL (1x) and Carnival (1x). I primarily cruise NCL these days switching completely from Princess as of January 2009. I prefer the FreeStyle concept and love NCL for their innovations they've brought to the cruise industry. With that said now here's my review... Embarkation: For Boston this process went VERY smoothly. This was my third time cruising out of Boston and the other two times had torturous embarkations with long lines for everything from getting the bags to checking in. This time it was not the case. We got rid of our bags promptly and walked inside the terminal and through security to the check in counter where there was a five minute wait and then it was our turn. Then it was right up the escalator and onto the ship after being greeted by Bruce (Concierge). Before we knew it we were having lunch! I don't know how NCL fixed this problem from the past two years but it was a very enjoyable embarkation! The Ship: The title of my review is inspired by her Oriental dEcor. Originally the SuperStar Leo she is now some 12 years old and in the public areas she's not showing her age at all. Everything looks brand new and is well polished and shiny. Her dry dock just over a year ago probably helped to keep her looking so fresh and new. Each of her specialty restaurants have incredible artwork - mostly Asian inspired (minus LeBistro and Windows). Our favorite dining room was Windows because you could see daylight no matter what part of the dining room you are in. Other public venues I enjoyed this trip included Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro and Maharini's Nightclub. The gym onboard is not as well appointed as the Jewel class ships with less equipment available and squished together. This is due to the lack of aerobics studio so part of the gym serves as this space. The Stateroom: Our cabin was 11010 for this voyage. This was the only part of the entire ship where we thought she was showing her age. While not in a sad state of disrepair things were noticeably broken but easily fixed (for the most part). A handle on the nightstand drawer came loose and hung down. It was repaired by maintenance in 24 hours after it came loose. The bathroom tile needed re-grouting in the shower badly. I think since the bathrooms take the most abuse from passengers for a 12 year old ship it was in an ok shape. The carpeting in the stateroom had been recently replaced though as it had no spots showing wear and was stain free. Food: To our pleasant surprise one of the very few familiar faces onboard from last year was the Executive Chef Hans Peter. We knew we were in great hands in the culinary department when we saw him out and about the first night. He is very friendly and always seeking guest feedback about the food onboard. Love NCL's chilled soups and didn't miss any of the favorites this cruise! I've cruised so frequently with NCL to know their menus inside and out and refer to them by their dinner numbers. Dinner 5 is my least favorite of the entire menu series on NCL. We did venture to two specialty restaurants this cruise and it was to Cagney's Steakhouse whilst docked in Bermuda and the other time was to Le Bistro. The food in Cagney's was excellent. Le Bistro onboard the Spirit has an open kitchen and so the food is really fresh and hot! Love the escargot in Le Bistro and also on the Dinner 7 menu. Great work Peter! Fellow Passengers: The cruise from Boston always has such a mixed crowd and this cruise proved that you are as only as old as you act! I had a blast making friends of all ages this sailing. Bostonians don't seem to appreciate vocal house music as much so the disco wasn't as hopping as I would have liked but I understand a DJ has to play to their crowd and majority rules. Now here's what I did on a day-to-day basis so that you can gauge the cruise as seen through my age group's eyes: Day 1: Boston, MA - Embarkation - After boarding the Spirit we had a leisurely lunch. From there it was to the stateroom to drop off the bags which were ready just before 2PM. Hung out in the cabin for a while getting some of the carry-on stuff put away before watching the ship cast off from the balcony. Our cabin was on the starboard side and it had great sight lines to the bridge which is on the same deck. We watched the Captain pull away from the pier using the thrusters and such. It was neater than being up on deck. After they cleared out of that bridge wing we went upstairs to the Tivoli pool area and finished watching the ship back out and turn around. After freshening up really quickly and changing into the clothes which arrived at some point when we were up on deck we headed to dinner at Window's Restaurant. Dinner was excellent and then it was off to the one show only Paul Scally & Friends. It's a variety show where you get to see clips of what the entertainment will be throughout the vacation. Great way to kick off the cruise! For me it was off to Maharini's Nightclub to meet DJ Jasper and give him a CD for the White Hot Party. Since I was early to the club it was nice to actually get to talk with him and get to know him a little bit. I live for nightlife so it's good to get to know the DJ and their likes. DJ Jasper gauged his crowd and did very well during the rest of the cruise with playing to everyone's favorites. I'm sure the bar revenue numbers is proof positive that he knows what he's doing. Day 2: Sea Day - Sea days are designed to sleep in and that's what any late night owl would be doing. My day started around lunch time and was just a lazy day at sea. Did some power walking of the Promenade Deck and poked around the shops onboard before taking a PM disco nap. Dinner tonight was in Window's Restaurant and was flipped around. Usually the menus are sequential but on this trip we had Dinner 3 menu on the second night. Instead of having Beef Wellington we had the Prime Rib. No biggie. I like both menus and welcomed a change to the menu sequence! Next it was off to Stardust Showtime of "On Broadway." With the new cast that signed on some four weeks previous there was a change to this show from last year. Some of the musicals were taken out (most noticeably my favorite "Hairspray") and were replaced with a few numbers from "In The Heights" and "Movin' Out." The new cast was incredible both on-stage and off-stage. I loved the Mamma Mia numbers at the end and the cast really seemed to come alive during this part of the performance. Great show and not to be missed! Back to Maharini's after briefly checking out the 70's Groove Dance Party in Galaxy of the Stars for a night of dancing and chatter with new found friends. Day 3: Sea Day / Heritage Wharf, Bermuda - After a leisurely breakfast on the balcony and watching the Spirit approach Bermuda we hung out and watched the ship pull into its berth on the Promenade Deck. We actually arrived and cleared customs earlier than anticipated so we watched the people getting off the ship before having lunch in Windows. Once we knew everyone was off the ship and the mad rush was completed we leisurely went ashore and explored the shops in the dockyard and Clock Tower Mall. All the vendors are pretty much the same as they were in 2009. Nothing new to see there and the pharmacy remained a popular place to get Coca-Cola products (as NCL now sells Pepsi products exclusively). After walking around for a bit it was back to the ship to get ready for Cagney's Steakhouse and some al-fresco dining on the Promenade Deck. After checking several times about whether this event was still on because there was a slight breeze on deck, we showed up and were shown to a table inside. It was explained to us that it was simply too windy and it really was to dine outside. Things would have flown off the tables. This is a hidden gem to dine outside and watch the sunset and it's ONLY available on days when the ship is in port (Sunday and Monday nights) and there is good weather. Had a nice Porterhouse steak and ate it all myself to the surprise of Svetlana Kostunko, waitress and Rogeliza Nanad, hostess. Both were very attentive to our needs and Executive Chef Peter even stopped by for a few minutes to chat and make sure dinner was enjoyable and it was. Tonight's show was Duo Acrobatique starring Roberto & Dorota. This is a definite must-see show. They explain what they're doing and just how dangerous it really is so that you will appreciate their performance later in the week during Elements. Two show times given of 7:15 and 9:15PM. Galaxy of the Stars hosted the 50's & 60's Sock Hop while the disco was largely dead this night because Snorkel Park and Hammerheads on the other side of the dockyard was hosting their opening night party. I went in and checked it out. It's $5 for Spirit passengers and free for the Spirit crew. Drinks are slightly more expensive from what you'd pay onboard depending on what it is that you are drinking. The music was mostly reggae tunes and some hip hop. There were a few DJs spinning that night. Day 4: Bermuda - BERMUDA DAY - Since this is Bermuda's annual holiday celebration with parades and festive outdoor parties we went down to Hamilton to check it out. We were skeptical that the parade would even happen but the weather gods were on Bermuda's side and the really rainy weather and winds had largely died down for the 4 hour long parade. It's the longest parade I've ever attended! Bermudians really like their dance routines, most of which was to reggae or hip hop music. We were opposite the main viewing stage with all the public officials from the island including the Premier and his wife. Since it was a national holiday in Bermuda very few shops were open and those that were in Hamilton shut down at 1:30PM to catch the parade going down Front Street. After the parade mom and I headed back to the ship. After another great dinner in Window's Restaurant mom and I attended the show of the Second City comedy troupe. It was an ok entertainment option. The weather was no cooperative to have the deck party out on deck so it was relocated to Galaxy of the Stars. I lurked around that for a bit and it just seemed to lack energy so I went to bed early and skipped Maharini's completely. Day 5: Bermuda - St. George's - Since the weather was so windy there was no direct route to St. George's as the ferry was not running. As a result you had to take the fast ferry to Hamilton and then bus it up to St. George's. When we arrived in St. George's we set out to find the house with the printing press that we missed two year's ago on the walking tour. We found it and it was open. St. George's is so great that you can go up and down streets and discover things you didn't see before and old houses with historical significance. Sadly St. George's has gotten hit hard by the cruise ships pulling out. What was once a bustling shopping street just outside of Ordinance Island and off the town square is now just a dead zone. Most of the shops are closed now as are most of the restaurants that we recalled from a few years ago. The White Horse Tavern is still there though. We hopped on a bus to St. David's to check out the other lighthouse on the island. The only way to get to it is from St. George's by taking the St. David's route. The bus drops you at a stop just a few feet from the lighthouse. Unlike what most locals tell you this lighthouse is not open to the public. However, if you are a lighthouse aficionado like my mother is then just getting some pictures of it and seeing it in person is perfectly fine. After doing some last bit of shopping in Hamilton, including at A.S. Cooper Men's store which is the best line up of clothing for men I've seen on the island - especially for designer names, it was back to the ship for departure. The weather was still windy and rainy mess. We hurried down to the dining room and got a window seat in Window's Dining Room to watch cast off from the pier. Since the wind was blowing us back to the pier it was interesting that we shoved off and then slowly drifted back and then bounced off the pier. No damage to the ship other than rub marks from the bumpers when we returned to Boston and we finally got under way after turning around. This night the seas were quite rough due to the weather they were having on the island the last two days we were there. We caught the late show of Soul Rockin' Nights to go back to the cabin and finish watching our departure from Bermuda. The production cast did a great job of dealing with the ship's swaying this night. If you like the genre of Rock music then you'll love this show. It was mom's favorite and my least favorite of the three productions onboard (based on the music involved). The highlight of any NCL cruise for me is the White HOT Party and it was Tuesday night in Galaxy of the Stars. DJ Jaspar at the wheel and played a wide range of music for the premiere event up in Galaxy of the Stars. The night wasn't as hot as the one in March onboard the Norwegian Jewel with DJ Jean but it was an ok night. When the party moved to Maharini's Nightclub the music changed to more of a house beat, which is what a white party should be! Got to dance quite a bit this night and had a blast overall. Day 6: Sea Day – No need to start early as the White Party went very late into the early hours of the day. Got up and had brunch this day and floated around the ship a bit doing some more browsing of deals and walking the Promenade Deck. Afternoon show of magic with Chorgis was a good way to spend 45 minutes out relaxing. Nice to have options during sea days in the afternoon which also include having a main show in the theater! Off to dinner in LeBistro tonight with hot escargot. Very nice dinner service and the wait staff were very friendly and attentive. The open kitchen was a nice favorite although at our angle we couldn’t see it. We had a nice window seat overlooking the Promenade and the setting sun. Afterward it was off to show time with Paul Scally, Cruise Director, doing his comedy show. Glad there were some audience members who played along this trip. Two dwarfs who he joked about came up on stage from the audience and kicked his butt for the jokes. It was cute, definitely staged, but cute. Tonight was the Chocoholic Buffet in Window’s Restaurant. What a fabulous venue and what an incredible job done by the pastry chef onboard with the culinary presentation of chocolates. Doors were at 11PM and be sure to get there early to get your photos before all the food is gone! Next it was off to VIP All Access Evening in Maharini’s Nightclub. It was nice to see a NEW evening in the nightclub with suggested attire of red or black. This was also the fall back night where you regained the hour you lost earlier in the cruise. It was great to hang out with the crew friends I made onboard while waiting for the adult male revue of “Ship-N-Males” to begin. Women out there (and gay men)… be sure to check out this revue! It features the hunky Brock (Production Dancer), Eduardo (Guest Relations), Kwasi (Happy Happy Washy Washy Guy) & Paul Scally (Cruise Director). It’s an adult’s only revue and it’s well worth staying up to midnight for (even if you’re not a spring chicken). A great night for the nightclub onboard and it was definitely nice to spend the night here until 3:30AM. Day 7: Sea Day – Sleeping is the name of the game here. It’s a bit chilly outside so just hung around and had a late lunch and went to the International Crew Talent Show. This is a definite must attend. The crew work so hard for us and the least we can do is go and support them and cheer them on with their very good hidden talents. The show time was at 3PM in the Stardust Theater. Tonight was the lovely Dinner 7 menu with the escargot, chilled black cherry soup and beef tenderloin in Window’s Restaurant. Great dinner service and special thanks to Bruce for getting us in the dining room in record time considering we didn’t call him beforehand to set this up. Very nice last dinner onboard and I highly recommend this dinner as it is the best dining room menu on this night of the cruise! Next it was off to show time of “Elements.” It’s a new production to the Norwegian Spirit for this year’s Boston to Bermuda season. It’s a fire and ice Cirque-style show with acrobats Roberto & Darota. There is no signing in this production, just performance and dance numbers. If you’ve seen Cirque Bijoux produced by Jean Ann Ryan, this show goes a step further in the cirque style. The closing part of the show is just fantastic with the acrobats and dancers flying high and confetti raining down. A strong suggestion is to sit a few rows back to catch the full performance. Also, be sure to have an empty bladder before attending the shows as the aisles are used frequently by performers. People getting up and getting in their way just does not enhance the performance and is dangerous for everyone involved (passenger and cast member). This show is definitely a must-see event of the cruise! It was so good I saw it twice! After the “Elements” second show be sure to get up to the Galaxy of the Stars to participate in the always hilarious “Quest” game show. It’s an adult’s only show featuring a quest for items that are not easily found or produce-able but on your person. That’s all I’m saying! It’s always hilarious!! It was off to Maharini’s Nightclub for the farewell disco which featured a toga party. Most guests got into the spirit of the event and it made the last night onboard great. I called it quits fairly early knowing that disembarkation morning is always an early one. Left the disco at 1:30AM and it was still hopping. Thanked the DJ for the nice house sets he played throughout the cruise and off to bed I went. Day 8: Boston, MA – Disembarkation – Woke up at 7AM to find us already docked. Usually we’re still coming into the city at that point. Went back to bed until 8AM and got up and had some breakfast. Disembarkation was the smoothest I’ve ever seen it and all luggage tags were called by 10AM. A lot of folks did the Express Walk-Off with their own bags so there were very few that the porters had to handle. Since it is a Friday morning we opted to be the last group off to avoid rush hour in Boston as we were driving. Blue and Light Blue are the luggage tags which are the last ones off. Thanks to the nice send off by Scott of the Cruise Staff. Conclusion: Since we’ve done this itinerary before the ship was really the main attraction and her crew did not disappoint! The Oriental Lady rolled out the VIP red carpet for mom and I and it was a great cruise. I wish Mother Nature had cooperated quite a bit more for our port time in Bermuda because it dampened the fun ashore but we fully realize that sometimes you have a bad weather cruise. Just means you have to cruise more frequently or repeat the cruise again!! I would like to take a special moment to thank all these people for whom made this cruise so enjoyable for me: First and foremost a big thanks to Bruce Van Der Boon, Concierge Extraordinaire, who without his services this cruise would not have been nearly as smooth flowing as it was. Bruce was nearly always the first person to greet me in the morning for breakfast and was always hospitable no matter the request – no matter how late the request was prior to the time of wanting it. The incredible dining service team on this ship was so nice and so hospitable no matter the dining room. My two favorite hostesses were Rogeliza Nanad and Neysi Webster who no matter where mom or I would be on the ship would always come over and greet us with a big smile and warm welcome. Svetlana Kostunko in Cagney’s Steakhouse was incredible the entire trip. Thomas and Miguel Rodrigues in Window’s Restaurants remembered us by name days after we sat in their section. Quite impressive the level of service offered by the dining room crew! Annalyn Paz was the best bellperson we had for figuring out a recurrent room service need and scheduling times for it. That is really great customer service right there! Jeniffer Balisacan and Josue Echano were incredibly helpful and attentive stateroom stewards on Deck 11 forward. Josue took care of some problems including a backed up drain for us when maintenance had their hands full on embarkation night. Josue also found a large enough trash bag to wear as a poncho because the ones on shore didn’t fit my height and I was soaked from the waist down after going out for an hour. Very good work Josue! A trash bag might not have looked glamorous but it kept me dry and that’s what counted! A shout out to my favorite Maharini’s Nightclub staff of Irma (Waitress), Dewa Padma (Bar Waiter) and to Reynoldo and Pedro (Bartenders) who besides the DJ made Maharini’s a great place to hang out nearly every single night of the cruise! DJ Jaspar did an incredible job spinning house music where he could and any DJ who likes house music is an instant favorite of mine! Nice work DJ Jaspar! I mention all these people by name because they stood out and each earned themselves STYLE cards in their own right. The production cast members and cruise staff was incredible to hang around with as well and I thank them for their company and the memories! Thanks to Milka for setting up the onboard Meet & Greet for Cruise Critic and for taking care of a special task given to her with great care and speed! I am looking forward to my next cruise with NCL in the not too distant future! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Introduction: I'm a 27 year old male who sailed with his 59 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving Boston on May 15, 2009 and returning on May 22, 2009. I go on vacation to have fun as well as relax and this should ... Read More
Introduction: I'm a 27 year old male who sailed with his 59 year old mother onboard the Norwegian Spirit leaving Boston on May 15, 2009 and returning on May 22, 2009. I go on vacation to have fun as well as relax and this should shine through in my review.   Pre-Cruise Booking with NCL Direct: A few weeks prior to sailing there was a restructuring of prices and I figured it wouldn't be a bad thing to call up and see if I could surprise my mom for Mother's Day by moving us from an ocean view cabin to a balcony. The Arizona reservation agent was fantastic in his ability to help me out and had to confer with a supervisor in Miami named Michelle. Between the two agents I was able to make my Mother's Day present a reality and not lose anything! Yes it cost a little more but it was well worth the investment! All the while the service offered by the two never faltered. Nice work NCL!   Norwegian Spirit Cruise: Embarkation: I am familiar with what NCL has control over and what they don't. Unfortunately the shore-side operation this year like last year was lacking and this was not NCL's fault. The way the longshoreman take the luggage you will stand forever in a line outside the terminal and then move inside and move MUCH quicker and get on the ship. The NCL reps inside the terminal moved things right along. I have never seen a lazier bunch of porters and we again left late because the ship wasn't fully provisioned by the time by 4PM. We arrived at the terminal shortly after Noon and were not on the ship until 1:20PM. However, as I usually do I met people in line and it helped pass the time.   The Ship: Built as the SuperStar Leo for NCL's parent Star Cruises, this ship is a one-of-a-kind gem in the Norwegian fleet. Her Asian inspirations are everywhere and the attention to detail in all paintings - especially on Deck 7 aft and in the Garden Room (Deck 6 - Mid-ship Dining Room) are just breathtaking. Stunning in its ability to have an abundance of natural light aft is the Windows Restaurant. This restaurant was also the resort casual ("no jeans and shorts") restaurant.   The Maharajah's casino had low ceilings on the gaming floor so if you're 6'4" or taller be sure to mind your head as those little security globes become quite the obstacle course to dodge. Forward on Deck 7 is Maharini's Lounge with TV screens and a nice U-shaped bar. The loungers in this area are more like beds (although not quite so comfortable to lie on). Just forward of the lounge was Maharini's Nightclub. This was the nightly entertainment venue when it came to dance club music. Both the lounge and the nightclub were the best designed with dEcor that I've seen at sea. It's very dark but elegant.   While I didn't dine in any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise I did go into each one and thought the dEcor was up to par with the Asian influence. Cagney's Steakhouse and Shogun (Asian cuisine and sushi bar) were very elegantly decorated. Le Bistro shies away from the Asian influence but that makes sense considering it's a French bistro.   Overall the public areas of the Spirit were very well preserved given the ship's recent dry dock in late 2008. Worn carpeting was hard to come by in all public spaces and upholstery was freshened just about everywhere. The ship's beauty does not disappoint.   Food: Completely subjective experience for anyone. This cruise's food was like the past Norwegian cruises since the menu change. Executive Chef Hans Peter did a fantastic job with presentation of the food on each plate. Thanks to the Executive Chef we were able to have another helping of Blueberry Chilled Soup on another night outside of the original night it was offered. If you haven't tried Norwegian's cold soups you are missing out on a signature item that you can only find on NCL! All of the cold soups are great from Peach, Blueberry, and Strawberry to Chilled Melon. The only one I didn't like which seems new to me is the Avocado and Tomatillo chilled soup. Ick on this one but the waiter (Kelton "Fox") was happy to replace it with another menu item. Main entrees were exceptional in presentation and preparation including the Beef Wellington and Prime Rib. I was surprised to see Escargot on the menu on the last night in the main dining room as well. I thought most cruise lines had gotten rid of it of their main restaurant menus so it was a pleasant surprise to have it and I very well enjoyed it!   Service was exceptional all around minus some early snafus but nothing to be highly critical about. To address the exceptional service where it was due I am going to just run through the events of the cruise as they occurred:   Day 1 - Embarkation Day - Boston: Embarkation was a slow process. If you're Latitudes then make sure you make yourself known so you can move further down the line once the longshoremen outside take your luggage away (which is the bulk of the line). Once onboard we explored the beautiful Spirit after having lunch in Raffles, the buffet. The buffet is a straight buffet line and not the action station concept that you find on other NCL ships. As such the line was very confusing to get to items you wanted, even within the same section (for instance the salad station's order was a bit skewed so that in order to get to the lettuce you were in the middle of the station and had to go either left or right to get toppings such as tomatoes or carrots). I did miss the action stations on the newer NCL ships but this not really a bad thing about the Spirit - just something to recognize is there and to deal with. Lifeboat drill was a bit longer than usual since a technical difficulty stopped the recording mid-way during the announcement. So we were extra informed when the recording finally started again and ran to the end! No biggie! The Muster Station Y2 still had fun anyway!   Dinner was at the Garden Room the first night. We didn't feel like unpacking our clothes with the late embarkation and still weren't familiar with the ship and with reading the FreeStyle Daily and the policy about no jeans in Windows we headed to the Garden Room around 6PM. It took until 7:55PM to have the entire dinner service. I don't know what caused this mishap but space between courses was very lengthy. More so than we're accustomed to and some thought it was prudent to leave because the service was bad. Our waitress seemed overwhelmed. I'm not sure if she was new or what but we were in no rush since the Variety Show was at 9PM.   The Welcome Aboard Showtime is at 9PM and the Cruise Director Paul Scally doubles as a comedian during this opening act which thankfully included other acts like Home Free (an Acapella group which left the Spirit when we arrived back in Boston) and a beginning production by the singers and dancers. This is not to be missed. It gives you an entertainment preview of the entire cruise - including what is worth coming back to the ship to in Bermuda and what isn't. Maharini's Lounge at 10:30PM had the nightly Friends of Dorothy gathering and Maharini's Nightclub was the nightly 18 plus dance club onboard. During the first night I made it a point to seek out the DJ to provide him with music to play during the White Hot Party. My biggest hope was that the White Hot Party would live up to the reputation of the party from which NCL stole the concept from and I hoped this CD would help in that endeavor for me.   Day 2 - At Sea: Ordered room service which was delivered promptly - even when it was sped up because we got up earlier than expected. The convenience of having a stateroom close to mid-ship is that I could walk up the buffet and grab a plate of food from there and consume it with the additional sides ordered from room service and eat on the balcony (if it were warm enough too but this day the fog was still with us and there was a chill in the air). At 10AM we had the Cruise Critic gathering which was well attended by senior staff members onboard including the Hotel Director (Frank), Food & Beverage Director (from Austria... name escapes me at the moment), Executive Chef (Hans Peter) and Front Desk Office Manager (Amnita). I mentioned the CD to the Hotel Director Frank and he said he'd follow up with DJ Freddy. Frank was also very interested in hearing how our cruise was going so far and what we thought of the first night onboard. He took all of our feedback in stride - most of ours (mom and I) were positive comments minus the first night service but that was minor since we're not cooking and we're cleaning so waiting is not an issue! Remember - you're free to whatever!!!   That evening we dined in Windows Restaurant and had really great service provided by dining room staff. The maitre d' also stopped by our table to make sure everything was going smoothly which it was. This night our stateroom stewardess Meyrine (aka Nona) had made us our first towel animal of the cruise. Nona who services the deck 9 midship area of staterooms was fantastic in her service and very personable to us during the entire cruise. Excellent service provided by her and her assistant steward.   Showtime tonight was at 7:30PM and it was "On Broadway". The show consisted of great musical featuring numbers from Hairspray, Wicked and Mamma Mia. One singer's energy was clearly noticeable and when you see this show if she's still onboard you'll instantly recognize her talent if you know anything about singing and dancing. Jaylynn's voice is incredible. Best at sea I've ever had the opportunity to hear and this was cruise number 15 for me. I can only say a guest singer like Kimberly Locke had a better voice (but was not a regular on the cruise ship). Incredible show with tons of energy and not to be missed! Monte Carlo Night was also this night. Since this a promotion for casino to get the casino revenues up (as well as drink revenues), it was largely a bust for me since I don't gamble but since the disco was right next door it was easy enough to go up there and hang out.   Day 3 - At Sea / Bermuda @ 11AM - Woke up and did the walk a mile with the Fitness Instructor Johan from South Africa. Very nice and welcoming individual and he gave me and another fellow student onboard the low down on places to go ashore as we completed our walk and were heading down the channel into the Dockyard harbor. We arrived on-time and were cleared by officials to go ashore by 11AM. The masses were waiting everywhere to go ashore. We opted for lunch in Windows and waited out the rush. It was the first time we got an aft window seat. We were very excited and this spot was very nice. Service and food again were excellent. Since we didn't have anything booked until later we got off the ship and explored the area in the immediate vicinity of the dockyard to get our bearings.   Dined again in the Windows Restaurant for dinner and again had excellent service - this time provided by Kelton "Fox" from Nicaragua. He was the best waiter team we had onboard the ship although every other team performed well (with the exception of the first night). He also gave me tips on where the best happening nightlife was ashore. As a result I ventured ashore the first two nights we were there.   SHORE EXCURSION: Bermuda Triangle Night Glass Bottom Boat Ride - For $50 this tour was a rip off. It lasted less than 2 hours and we saw some coral and if you could see in the nearly pitch dark then you could make out the hull of a ship wreck. The sunset on the way over was the most picturesque part of the tour and the tour provider really didn't control that. I wouldn't recommend this tour to anyone.   Nightlife onboard the ship consisted of Comedy Showtime of Second City and the 70's Groove Dance Party with the cruise staff. I passed on both of them and went back to the ship after the night excursion and changed and went ashore to the Frog and Onion and met up with some new found crew and passenger friends I made onboard.   Day 4 - Bermuda - SHORE EXUCRSION - West End Highlights - This tour was fantastic for $55. You got a nearly private tour with a taxi driver taking you to the sights of the Western end of the island including a fort, a small church erected by servants to worship, the Somerset drawbridge (which you drive over) and to the scenic Gibb's Lighthouse. The entire tour took its leisurely time with no pressure coming from the driver on when to get back to the taxi. We moved at our own pace during the entire tour and we were given a quick stop in the Botanical Gardens before heading onward to Hamilton where we were dropped. The other option was to return to the ship via taxi. There were four people total in our taxi van. I highly recommend this tour because seeing all the West End highlights on your own with doing the bus would take all day with hopping on and off. Cost of climbing the lighthouse is $2.50.   We spent the remainder of the day in Hamilton seeing sights that were closed or not there during our 2008 Norwegian Dream cruise (which docked at Front Street in Hamilton). The Bermuda Historical Society re-opened the museum near the first post office on the island around the corner from Front Street. We hit that first and it closes by 2PM. Allow a good half hour to see everything if you can speed read. Next up we went on a journey down the other end of Front Street and nearly out of Hamilton to the BUEI - Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. Through the end of the time when cruise ships are there (late October) they have a Titanic exhibit which is spread through their regular exhibit. This place is fun for people of all ages from kids to adults. Hands on activities are good for the kids and adults alike and keep you from becoming bored. If you're a Titanic buff then you will not want to miss this exhibit. They even have some of the props from the movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. This is a fairly new museum in Bermuda and well worth a visit! Admission is $12.50 for adults, $10 if you're 65 plus. It is a little bit of a walk down Front Street and diagonally across from a gas station on the outskirts of the City of Hamilton.   We returned to the ship for a later dinner and once again had Kelton as our waiter. Again a great dinner service provided by him and the food was great. Tonight's onboard entertainment featured a magician / comedian. We opted to skip this entertainment and instead lurked around until the Super Spirit Bermuda Deck Party. It seemed like a lot of people were ashore. This deck party had the lowest attendance of any deck party I've seen on any regular cruise. I went back and changed and ventured to the crew party ashore. All I can say is the crew knows how to party and I didn't get back onboard until 3:30AM. Great time ashore and had a great time with the crew.   Day 5 - Bermuda - Slept late and ventured ashore to do some last minute souvenir shopping in the Dockyard area. Mom and I returned to the ship to have a sit down lunch in the Blue Lagoon - a fast food style sit down restaurant. Found a nice cafe inside the pharmacy in the dockyard. They make Green Tea Lattes! I was in heaven since I was missing Starbucks! Went and got one for the late night that would soon follow.   Back onboard it was dinner in Windows with Kelton again. Fabulous food and fantastic service! Afterward we headed to the first show time of Home Free a cappella group in the Stardust Theater. These guys were very good. Then it was back to the room to finalize the wardrobe for the White Hot Party in Galaxy of the Stars!   Frank, the Hotel Director, came through with the music which was interlaced with the regular music line up they play during the White Hot Party. Thanks to Beverly on the cruise staff for giving me her wings for a short while and for the photo op! Frank made this night as close as to the way it should have been and the cruise staff helped in that endeavor. The party lasted until 1AM upstairs and then moved down to the after party in Maharini's Lounge and Nightclub. Passengers were out to have a great time on this evening and several new friends were made. We stayed up well beyond when the club closed at 4AM and headed off to the Blue Lagoon for a leisurely late dinner / breakfast service (Burgers, wings and fries). Got back up to the stateroom in time to wake mom up to watch the ship cast off at 6AM on...   Day 6 - At Sea - The ship was prompt in pulling out at 6AM. This is the first time that no announcements have been made onboard the ship for missing passengers. I don't know if it had to be due to the early hour or what but we left and navigated the channel. I fell asleep before getting a chance to see the Norwegian Dawn pass. I was informed by my crew friend at the Omelet station in Raffles that we did pass and you could clearly make her out. The rest of the day I slept and woke only for grazing (I mean eating). Ate at Windows that night and again had service by Kelton. I do highly recommend him. Tonight's entertainment was "On The Radio" - the second large scale production onboard. Great variations of music performances to music that you'd find on the radio - from Oldies and Country to Pop. Jaylynn once again shined during this performance. I wouldn't miss this show!   Later in the evening was Le Cabaret Glamour Party. This is something unique to the Norwegian Spirit so far and it's a cabaret style entertainment with a twist. There is a section called Ship 'N Dales at the end that women (or gay men) definitely don't want to miss. Everything is pretty skimpy all the way around and it's definitely NOT recommended for under 18 years old. Don't try to get them in either - proper ID is required. It seemed like a fantastic show from what I could see but the venue seems off. You can't really see most of what the dancers were doing because you're on the same line of sight as everyone in front of you so unless you're in the front row you can't see as much.   Day 7 - At Sea - Full Sea Day - Floated around the ship and shopped for souvenirs onboard and picked up the pictures I wanted. Bumped into the Hotel Director in the lobby and again he checked in to make sure everything was going great. He made mom and I feel very welcomed. He wanted to be sure this was our best cruise ever and through his crew and his efforts it certainly was right up there. Later in the evening after dining in Windows this final time (unfortunately Kelton didn't have a window section and wasn't anywhere close to where there was an open table) we had to sit somewhere else. During our dinner the ship slowed because we were going through a whale mating area east of Nantucket Island and Cape Cod. During this time we saw several fishing boats. Reality was calling and it was a reminder we were getting ready to dock in Boston tomorrow.   Two shows this night made our final evening onboard enjoyable including the Farewell Variety Show consisting of all acts onboard during the cruise minus Second City. It was an ok show but I'm happy we skipped the magician because his humor was not great and his acts were far too drawn out to keep people's attention (including my own). I was getting my camera ready for a part of the show that never materialized called Fountains. In between we enjoyed a special gift given by the Hotel Director while packing our luggage. It was a very nice touch at the end of the cruise and capped off a really memorable experience. Next up at 9:30PM was the International Crew Talent show. This cruise we didn't know anyone in the talent show but we still go to support the crew that work so hard for us. At the end of this show was the Norwegian Way with the presentation of all the higher ranking officials including the Captain and crew members from each department. It was nice to applaud everyone for their hard work. They get a much deserved standing ovation! Just wondering what happened to Fountains? I would much rather have had the Cruise Director spat on by his fellow staff members then listening to his old jokes. It would have been much more hilarious watching the Fountains performance. I do hope they bring it back on the Norwegian Spirit. Checked out the disco for a little while to say by to friends I made onboard and it was time for bed.   Day 8 - Boston - Debarkation: I woke up at 6AM and we were still navigating through Boston harbor. There was no need to get up fully at that point but we did anyway. Our luggage tags were Light Blue which was the second to last bag tag color to be called off the ship. We docked at 7AM and shortly thereafter we dined at Windows for our final sit down meal of the cruise. Service was impeccable and the menu was scaled back. Anything that took a lot of preparation was gone (noticeably the waffles). However, there was a pretty regular menu of items still to choose from including eggs, potatoes, oatmeal, grits, pancakes and French toast. We took our time dining since the ship hadn't cleared customs and the walk off passengers weren't off the ship yet. After breakfast we went up on deck to take a few more pictures with the Boston skyline in the background. The promenade deck was loaded with walk-off passengers. Luggage was everywhere and it was impossible to navigate so we went up to the pool deck which was nice and warm. We took our pictures and the ship was still not cleared by customs. Foreign guests didn't show up as they were supposed to and this delayed debarkation. People who owed tariffs because they exceeded the customs allowances were also MIA. The announcement for debarkation commencing wasn't made so the timing was a bit off. However, it wasn't until after 9:30AM when the first group of tags was called. We were the last group off when an announcement came over saying "All remaining passengers onboard please disembark the vessel." The time was 11:05AM. Once we cleared the terminal with our luggage it was nearly 11:30AM. This is the latest we've ever stayed onboard the cruise ship - ever! I didn't mind it at all though. We hung out in the cabin until 10:30AM on the balcony and let the stateroom attendant do her thing with the cabin (putting the beds back together). It was a very relaxing last morning and we "chilled" like the last morning brochure told us to do. We have no complaints about the disembarkation. When our time came we walked right off the ship and through customs and got our luggage and drove home. Cost of the garage for the week is $105 USD.   Conclusion: The Norwegian Spirit is the best ship for Boston to Bermuda. Thanks to the staff and crew specifically Nona (stateroom stewardess), Frank (Hotel Director), Beverly (Cruise Staff), Hans Peter (Executive Chef), Johan (Fitness Director), Sydney (Nurse) and the Maitre d' from India in the Windows dining room for making my NCL experience incredible! I highly recommend this cruise to anyone and if you see any of these people onboard - be sure to stop them and say hi to them for me! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009

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