7 Boston Spring Break Cruise Reviews

My first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line was negative and I approached the Gem with low expectations. Happily, this cruise was miles better than the last and I'm looking at NCL in a new way. The Gem had some misses but overall ... Read More
My first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line was negative and I approached the Gem with low expectations. Happily, this cruise was miles better than the last and I'm looking at NCL in a new way. The Gem had some misses but overall we had a great cruise. The main reason was the crew - a friendly, hard-working group who seemed happy to help in any way. The Gem itself is a very comfortable ship. The layout is great - easy to negotiate and well laid out. Though our cruise sailed at close to full capacity, the ship almost never felt crowded. With the notable exception of disembarkation, we rarely stood in line for anything. The Gem has nice decor and well appointed public areas where we always found comfortable seating. As a ship it performed well, taking us through a small storm with minimal rocking. Though we have always liked having assigned dinner times and tables we decided to embrace the "free style" dining approach and ate in all but 2 of the Gem's restaurants. We found the Garden Buffet excellent - fresh food well prepared and plentiful. There were a few flubs (the pizza was often cold, even under heat lamps) but overall food was great - especially for a buffet. We had good meals at Orchid Garden, O'Sheehan's, and the Grand Pacific, three of the complimentary dining venues. The second main dining room, Magenta, gave us decent food with terrible service - our one really bad experience with the staff on board. Among the restaurants that charge an extra fee, we liked Le Bistro and loved Moderno (and I'm a vegetarian! Even not eating meat Moderno was terrific). La Cucina, the Italian restaurant, was a mix. I had a bad entree (overcooked pasta topped by under spiced shrimp) but the tiramisu at dessert was the best we had on the ship. Desserts were a weak spot overall. The desserts at the buffet were usually bad - marked by cheap tasting ingredients and a sense that they had been cooked with stability rather than taste as the prime goal. Desserts in the sit-down restaurants were better, though still below the level we've had on other cruise lines. And coffee not from the small coffee bar in the atruim was a loser too - always weak and often cold. Entertainment on the Gem was the real stand out. The two shows we saw done by the production cast were excellent. Not only was the quality of the signing and dancing high, the shows had been put together well and deserved the standing ovations they got. Bad weather caused a change in programming that gave us a cabaret night which was a treat - the four singers doing their favorite songs left the crowd every bit as happy as the scheduled show (which we saw later in the week). The three guest performers were uneven. We adored the juggler, were bemused by the acrobat/drummer brothers, and skipped the comedian after finding his preview set on the first night a yawn. We did hear others say he had been good in full performance so he may just have been off that night. We sampled the other music on the Gem also, liking the jazz band especially. We missed having classical music but are guessing we were in a very small minority with that preference. Activities on the Gem were not a good match for us and though we saw many in passing we participated in few. In part, NCL's preferred activities are not ours. Most of the passengers seemed to like the calls for raffles and bingo. There was certainly something going on all the time and many options. We missed having a real presentation about the port - the one advertised was only about shopping. We also missed getting a newspaper daily, something we have always liked on other ships. Our son used the teen Entourage lounge as a meeting place only, rarely trying the planned activities. That's not really a comment on the quality of the programming - teens are like that! The kids in the Splash Academy seemed very happy with their activities. We were happy to find the Gem has a real promenade deck with a full, outdoor circle. Unfortunately the crew were very - in our minds, overly - cautious about letting folks out and we were frequently prohibited from walking outside. The crew were almost uniformly good. Not only were they friendly towards the guests, they seemed genuinely happy to help each other and the approach to tasks ship-wide was one of teamwork. We were impressed at the wide variety of nationalities represented among the crew and lost track of how many different countries we'd seen people from. Bermuda is a lovely pace to visit and the port facilities were very good. The pier where we docked in under construction so we used a fairly ugly, temporary building but that wasn't a problem. We appreciated very much the free ferry provided to NCL passengers that travels between the Dockyard where the ship docks and St. Georges on the opposite end of thee islands. While we mostly chose to wander on our own, we took one excursion organized by NCL, an exploration of the Bermuda Railway Trail by bicycle that ended at a private beach. It was a great way to see some of the island. We sailed back to Boston feeling really good about NCL and thinking seriously about a future cruise. Then we disembarked. Honestly, it's hard to imagine the Gem could have done a worse good at getting passengers off the boat. Those of us who wanted to walk off with our luggage were told to simply do so - no tickets, no tally, no planning. Well, we ended up in line - on our feet - for well over an hour. It wasn't customs, they were very efficient. It was just poor planning. Not a good way to end what was in most ways a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The ship is beautiful, and the staff is so friendly and helpful. There were plenty of on board activities throughout the week. The entertainment staff keeps you on your toes and laughing through the entire week, the shows and performers ... Read More
The ship is beautiful, and the staff is so friendly and helpful. There were plenty of on board activities throughout the week. The entertainment staff keeps you on your toes and laughing through the entire week, the shows and performers were all amazing. We dined at the Venetian, Aqua, and Bamboo The food was delicious, sometimes it took a bit for us to get our food after ordering however we also went at busy times .Restaurant staff was friendly and attentive. We ended our nights at Bliss Lounge and enjoyed the fun there. The DJ played some of the same songs night after night, but we still had a ton of fun. The only thing we didn't like was the pool deck area was taken over by children a lot of the time, and the hot tubs would have been much more enjoyable if there wasn't many children in them. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our first cruise. It was convenient for us leaving out of Boston. We had two teenagers with us that we barely saw. The teen club was awesome for them. The staff and crew on the ship was great. It's the little things that ... Read More
This was our first cruise. It was convenient for us leaving out of Boston. We had two teenagers with us that we barely saw. The teen club was awesome for them. The staff and crew on the ship was great. It's the little things that struck me as great customer service. One day coming back to the ship it was raining and we were greeted with plushy towels to wrap in. The entertainment was excellent and offered something for every taste. The dining options were plenty-full and varied enough to not become boring. I would recommend to take the dining package that allows for three meals at the higher level restaurants. We enjoyed that as a break from the main dining halls although they were great as well. I am not sure I will ever go on a cruise again, but if I would, the Norwegian Dawn would be ship that I'd consider. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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
very fun ship...lot to do with kids and adults...the entertainment was TOP NOTCH, and Bermuda is a great port...rooms were clean and nice...and the upgrades were very good. Only a few negative things to mention: 1) Out of Boston, and ... Read More
very fun ship...lot to do with kids and adults...the entertainment was TOP NOTCH, and Bermuda is a great port...rooms were clean and nice...and the upgrades were very good. Only a few negative things to mention: 1) Out of Boston, and maybe this is the time of the year, there were a LOT of younger (18-22) kids getting hammered...that goes obviously with a lot of adults...it's not going to ruin your time, but it can get annoying QUICK...during a more intimate cabaret show/improv comedy show, some kids were so loud you couldn't hear the performers with their mics MAXED...again this might be different when you go. 2) This is my fourth Norwegian Cruise, and I've never encountered as much of a language barrier as this ship. Normally the crew is very international, but in this occasion, we did have some issues. 3) The food outside of sit down wasn't all that great. Usually the buffet has varying options, but it seemed like the same old every day. the Bamboo included restaurant was impossible to get a reservation to. And the Irish bar pub food was not good. 4) Our inside cabin had VERY thin walls, so we could hear a lot of other people...again this could be our cabin/floor, and the party atmosphere of the ship. Overall I would recommend this cruise, just be aware of when you go. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Went on this cruise with my cousins. Our group was early to mid twenties, and this cruise was FANTASTIC! Everyone had a blast. Living right outside of Boston we were able to be drop off right at the pier where there was someone waiting to ... Read More
Went on this cruise with my cousins. Our group was early to mid twenties, and this cruise was FANTASTIC! Everyone had a blast. Living right outside of Boston we were able to be drop off right at the pier where there was someone waiting to take our bags. Boarding was a breeze. Once on the boat, there was truly something for everybody, from game shows and the casino for the gambler in our crew, or all sorts of activities during the day from trivia to mr. Sexy legs by the pool, no body ever once said they were bored. Even though I preferred laying by the pool with a drink in my hand. And with two bars near by made the wait minimal. The shows in the evenings were amazing we only missed one all week. We definetly recommend not missing the comedy shows, the second city group on the boat is hilarious!! Food was delicous from the buffet, to the Venetian all around great food. And we loved Not having a set meal time so there was no rush to get off the pool deck and to dinner on time, instead we left when ready and took our time showering and getting ready. And with three girls sharing 1 bathroom and straightener that was definetly a huge plus. Bliss Ultra lounge was soo much fun at night, its huge and the bar tenders always on point. And having osheeans open all night made for the perfect late night snack afterwards. All the staff was all fantastic but Dan, Jaime and shake it Shirley were most definetly our favorites, definetly made our week unique and a blast! All around a blast already planning for next time!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We're a couple in our 60's who went on a 7-night cruise to Bermuda from Boston on the NCL Dawn. We've been on 30+ cruises on various lines (with 11 on Celebrity). This was our third cruise on NCL. We knew that the guest ... Read More
We're a couple in our 60's who went on a 7-night cruise to Bermuda from Boston on the NCL Dawn. We've been on 30+ cruises on various lines (with 11 on Celebrity). This was our third cruise on NCL. We knew that the guest demographics would be different from the ones on the Celebrity and other lines, but this was quite a departure from what we’re used to. Since it was only seven nights, it attracted a younger crowd who could get away from work with a quick cruise w/o flying and it appeared to be the first cruise for most of them. Apparently NCL encourages smoking as you could do that anywhere in the casino and on any of the outside decks. You could even smell it on people’s clothes in the elevators and in the dining rooms and bars so you could never really get away from it. We’d be sneezing and getting stuffed up from all the smoke. There was even an ashtray mounted in the toilet area of the bathroom as they allowed you to smoke in the cabins until 2012! The buffet was really crowded and the food there was bad. The dinners in the MDRs were passable, but they were pretty basic and not very interesting. On Celebrity, we look forward to each meal but on this cruise, we had to drag ourselves there. The Dawn's décor was kind of tacky and things were worn down. There were no formal nights and people dressed down in every venue. We never saw the Captain once on the entire cruise and we only saw the senior officers when they were introduced in the theater. On the other hand, the staff was hardworking and friendly and the bars, shows and bands were very good. We danced more on this cruise than on others since you weren’t on display in the center of a room as you would be on the Celebrity Millennium class ships. We partied every night as we enjoyed our drink package. We’re pretty adaptable so that made things somewhat acceptable. However, we were very happy when the seven days were over so we could get off! We did this cruise as a way to check out NCL so on that level, we met that goal. This experience may not be typical of other NCL cruises and ships but we’ll be extra careful before going with them again. In the meantime, we’ll likely stick with Celebrity since we're Elite with them and may also try RCCL again now that we’re Diamond with them. The NCL may be just what others are looking for but it's definitely not for us. Bermuda was a pleasant surprise. We did our own tours as it was very easy and safe to do that. The ship arrived at 11:00 am so we walked around the Royal Naval Dockyard area the first afternoon. We went to the National Museum of Bermuda which is a 5-10 minute walk from the ship and was only $10 for adults ($8 for seniors). The Commissioner’s House was closed due to damage from a hurricane but we enjoyed visiting the other museums and walking on ramparts. We also spent about an hour at the Dolphin Quest watching the staff and guests interacting with the dolphins. It was surprisingly interesting (especially since it’s free to watch). The second day we bought a 2-day ferry/bus pass. We took the first ferry of the day to St. George and then connected by bus to visit the Crystal Caves. It was a little pricy at $30 pp for the two caves but it was much cheaper than the ship’s tour. We took other buses and stayed on just to see St. David’s and got off to check out several beaches before we headed to Hamilton for the ferry back to the ship. The last day we took the bus to Horseshoe Beach and swam there. We then went to Hamilton and walked around the town and saw plenty of locals wearing Bermuda shorts. We used our bus pass to get back to our dock on a different route to see other parts of the islands. The weather was perfect so we really enjoyed our time there. It’s a really nice destination and doesn’t have the crusty Third World feel of some of the Caribbean islands. So, we now know why people like it so much. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

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