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Sail Date: September 2019
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, ... Read More
To spend seven days on the Baltic as guests with the Nautica-crew as host is unique. It is the experience of a week in a floating five-star hotel. Everything, with a small exception, was perfect. The accomodation, the infrastructure, the maintenance of the rooms and, last but not least, the great choice of excellent food, cannot be toppled. The major experience, nevertheless, is the disponibility and the kindness of the crew, from 41 different nations! All men and women, from the Captain to the single sailor, are kind, very attentive, helpful and friendly. The standard of the rooms is superior and the available space generous. The crew shows and lives an "esprit de corps" and a "unité de service". One point has to be improved by the management: it is not acceptable, nowadays, that a couple can only dispose of one free WLAN account and has to pay (a lot of) money for further accounts. A couple, today, has two cell phones and to tablets/computers. At least three accounts have therefore to be included in the basic offer! Please adapt this NOW. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2019
a one week Baltic cruise fit our schedule and we wanted to sail on a newer ship.They did an excellent job handling 4500 guests We are regular cruisers on several US lines. after reading reviews of this ship I was somewhat cautious. It ... Read More
a one week Baltic cruise fit our schedule and we wanted to sail on a newer ship.They did an excellent job handling 4500 guests We are regular cruisers on several US lines. after reading reviews of this ship I was somewhat cautious. It turns out that the experience was great. MSC is extremely organized, both getting on and off the ships as well as their excursions, theater reservations, and meal times. While not our favorite dining experience you can find plenty to satisfy. They have some excellant Gelato, chocolate, and British pub locations we tried, all good. The overall entertainment was the best we have encountered. The Cirque du soleil and theater presentaions were great. Also a very friendly crew. Beautiful newer ship. We met people from all over the world, but they did not overwelm you with foreign language announcements. Would not hesitate to sail with MSC again. This ship is heading to Miami. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our second cruise (our first was with Disney). I should preface my comments by acknowledging that, on the eve of our cruise start date, our "bid" to secure an upgrade to the Haven was accepted and so my comments are ... Read More
This was our second cruise (our first was with Disney). I should preface my comments by acknowledging that, on the eve of our cruise start date, our "bid" to secure an upgrade to the Haven was accepted and so my comments are necessarily impacted by that fact. That said, I had other family onboard who were not staying in the Haven and I think it is fair to say that they were equally impressed by the ship and its crew. Unlike our experience with Disney, the embarkation and disembarkation was seamless, quick, and well organized. Some of the differences were beyond Disney's power to control and were attributable to the "theatre" and "spectacle" of security that pervades North American travel (see sailed out of Vancouver on the Disney cruise and out of Copenhagen this time around) rather than differences in approach. Still, the Getaway was a larger ship and the team from NCL running embarkation seemed better organized and far more efficient. The lines moved quickly (for everyone in my family) and within minutes of arrival, we had our keys and were onboard. I was truly impressed. In terms of the layout, the ship was easy to navigate and logically organized. We had our 15 year old son with us and many of the features were clearly aimed at keeping him and his peers engaged -- including a rope course, water slides, a sports deck, and an arcade. With respect to our rooms, we (my family/party) had a room on Deck 12 and a room on Deck 16 (the Haven). While the features of each room were, obviously, markedly different -- rooms on Deck 12 are more modest -- for the price, I would say each was exceptional value for money we spent. Both were bright, spacious, clean, and well designed. The selling feature (for us at least) was the service provided by the crew. From the bartenders to cabin attendants, everyone was enthusiastic, energetic, polite, helpful, and seemed genuinely interested in ensuring we had a good time. There was great variety in the restaurants and service was certainly above average. That said, it was never really clear when reservations were required and when they weren't and so at times we were not able to "get in" to a restaurant for reasons that were never really made entirely clear. The shore excursions were, I believe, fairly comparable to other ships and companies. Some of the tours were "hosted" by subpar operators but more in the nature of "boring" or simply not that energetic rather than poor content. The places we wanted to see, we were able to see but, on occasion, the experience might have been made more interesting with a guide who was a bit more invigorated and knowledgable. Groupings/people on tours were reasonably well managed and transportation to and from various locales was efficient. Overall, I have no hesitation in recommending NCL and the Getaway to one and all. The ship was comfortable and fun, the crew was "service" oriented, and the itinerary/ports of call were exactly what my family expected. Anyone looking to go on a Baltic cruise will find that the Getaway (NCL) deliver great value for effort and money. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Loved the ship. The layout was not as open as some ships I have been on but there were tons of drinking and dining options to enjoy. The top deck and outside areas were not used much due to weather on this particular cruise. Having said ... Read More
Loved the ship. The layout was not as open as some ships I have been on but there were tons of drinking and dining options to enjoy. The top deck and outside areas were not used much due to weather on this particular cruise. Having said that a balcony room is a great plus on this cruise as the Baltic is small and you will get to see lots of things out your window on a daily basis especially getting in and out of the ports. I was amazed at the number of cruise ships in the Baltic (there were 8 other ships in port in St. Petersburg). The destinations were great with the exception of Germany. The Berlin for a day trip was very expensive and really not very enjoyable. 3 hours each way on an a non-air conditioned train with 6+ hours on a bus in between. We were very rushed. Little opportunity to get off and take pictures. It was also a brutal heat wave while we were there (close to 100 degrees F). The centerpiece destinations on this cruise are St. Petersburg and Stockholm as they are both incredibly beautiful sightseeing opportunities. You will not be able to take pictures fast enough in the palaces and churches in St. Petersburg. I would also recommend arriving into Copenhagen Denmark a few days early and explore that beautiful little country. Tivoli Gardens, all the castles and fortresses scattered in and around the city are very impressive. The dining in general was very good. We really enjoyed the food in the main dining room and the buffet was well appointed. What wasn't worth the cost, was the upgraded dining package. The Brazilian steakhouse was excellent and we enjoyed it the first night and the Cirque dinner show was excellent bu the food was a set menu from the main dining room. Ocean Blue and Cagney's were big disappointments. They ran out of lobster 2/3 way through the cruise so our "upgrade" meal at ocean blue was fish or shrimp similar to what was on offer at the main dining room. We dined at Cagney's our last night and the steaks were tough with very little flavor. Got better cuts of meat at the main dining room in the evening. My family that I was traveling with had gone Norwegian last year and raved about the upgraded food only to be let down this year. The on board entertainment was decent. This really isn't a big factor in cruising for me to begin with. We enjoyed the upgraded cirque show and a dance show called Burning the Floor. We enjoyed a night at the dueling piano bar and a night with an 80's cover band. To be honest many of the excursions were so long and required so much walking that we went to bed early many evenings as our departure times for excursions were also very early (between 7 and 8 am). Not complaining about this but we needed our rest. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We loved the itinarary for this cruise and being able to have 2 days in St. Petersburg was a huge bonus. We were also able to get the deluxe owner's suite so that was the deciding factor. Being in the Haven has excellent ... Read More
We loved the itinarary for this cruise and being able to have 2 days in St. Petersburg was a huge bonus. We were also able to get the deluxe owner's suite so that was the deciding factor. Being in the Haven has excellent benefits, plus this ship has its own Haven restaurant which was really good. I don't think I had one bite of anything I did not like. We also had our own bar which we frequented every day and the staff there is excellent. There were plenty of entertainment choices but we ended up at Sid Norman's several nights because the band there was really good and played a great variety of music. Loved the Wine Lover's musical and also saw several other shows that were very entertaining. The only thing I do not like are the shore excursions with hoards of people. Their private tours (which we did in St. Petersburg) are very expensive, but it was worth it to be able to see what we wanted. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This is my fourth trip with NCL, and I think it's been my favorite. I liked the boat and the ports were fabulous to visit! As for the ship, I thought the embarkation process went very smoothly. We came into Copenhagen the day ... Read More
This is my fourth trip with NCL, and I think it's been my favorite. I liked the boat and the ports were fabulous to visit! As for the ship, I thought the embarkation process went very smoothly. We came into Copenhagen the day before and did some sightseeing in the morning before embarkation. We left for the boat from our hotel around 1:00 pm, so I think I may have boarded on the later side. The lines were short, and it was easy to get on. My daughter and I booked a mini-suite on level 13. The beds were comfy; the shower was nice; and our room steward was very helpful. I have only 2 minor complaints with the room. First, I remember on other cruises, we had a curtain divider that I could pull across to separate the sitting area from the bed. This would have been nice as my daughter likes to sleep in a bit longer than me. : ) Second, at times, the room could be noisy. I would hear alot of toilet flushing from other rooms, and my neighbors talked very loudly at times. Regardless, I would book the room again. I thought the food was decent on the Getaway. I stayed away from the Garden Buffet as much as I could as I don't like crowds there. We ate breakfast at Moderno, which is still a buffet but less hectic. I had the dining speciality package and had dinner at Ocean Blue, Le Bistro, La Cucina, and Moderno. I wasn't crazy about Moderno as It's not my type of restaurant. However, I thought the other restaurants were excellent. As a matter of fact, I thought it was the best Le Bistro I've eaten ate when compared to the other ships. I mentioned this to our waiter, and he brought out the head chef for me to tell him this. I thought it was cool that I was able to tell him this and the chef was very appreciative. The main dining was good too. However, I did find out on the first night, that "rare" means rare. I think Americans tend to like meat cooked a little more done than those from other countries. I just ordered medium rare going forward and I was fine. I enjoyed the entertainment on the boat, but the venues do get crowded. I wish the atrium, syd's pour house, and headliners could be bigger to hold more attendees as it's a "big" boat. For Ports, we did the following: Copenhagen - stayed at a hotel near the palace and Nyhaven. We visited the Rosenburg castle and the Round Tower on our own and walked around the city. Wundermunde - booked the Schwerin Fairy Castle tour. This was enjoyable, and I was glad we did this instead of Berlin. It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit that day, and it was hot!!! I felt bad for those who had to take an un-air conditioned train to Berlin. We visited the castle and a local church in the village. Both were interesting to visit. We also got to visit a farmer's market with this tour, and we enjoyed the brats that were being cooked at the market. Tallin - Tallin was a neat town with lots of neat architecture. We didn't book a NCL tour, and instead walked into town and attended a free walking tour of the city. I liked the shopping here, and I would recommend eating at the Russian restaurant (can't remember the name) in the main square if you have a chance. The food was pretty authentic, and I thought the infused vodkas were better here than in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg- my daughter and I booked a lot of NCL's tours in SPB. I really wanted to do the evening at the Hermitage tour and had to piece the rest of the tours together. First, we went on the Panoramic View of St. Petersburg tour. We did this so that we could shop and walk up and down Nevsky Prospekt. My daughter is learning Russian in college, and it was neat to see her speak with the retailers at various stores. In the afternoon, we attended Life in the eyes of the Russian People. The metro ride was neat, and we enjoyed the visit to the farmer's market. Both tours visited different parts of the city, so we got to see a lot of SPB. At night, we did the evening at the Hermitage tour. In my opinion, this is the only way to see this museum. Our group of 30 were the only ones in the room. Needless to say, we were exhausted Saturday night, but it was worth it! On Sunday, we did a tour that visited Peterhof and Sts Peter and Paul Fortress. I would recommend booking a tour that visits Peterhof on the 2nd day if you can. Our guide mentioned, we got to spend more time in the gardens as the disembarkation process is a lot quicker on the 2nd day. Helsinki - We visited this city on our own. Easy city to take their public transportation. We downloaded their transportation app (HSL) and bought a day pass for 8 Euros. We enjoyed reindeer and moose burgers at a restaurant called Stone's. Stockholm - Took the NCL tour bus into the city. In the morning, we visited the city hall and it's tower. We then saw the Vasa museum, had lunch at a cafe on Djurgarden. After lunch we visited the Prince Eugene museum. We ended the day walking around Gamla Stan. To get around the city, we took an Uber to get from city hall to Djurgarden, and then used public transportation around Djurgarden, and a ferry to Gamla Stan. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise when invited by friends of ours who sailed with NCL on many cruises. It was the first time I had ever been on a cruise ship this large. I was wondering what it would be like to sail with 4000 other people but ... Read More
We chose this cruise when invited by friends of ours who sailed with NCL on many cruises. It was the first time I had ever been on a cruise ship this large. I was wondering what it would be like to sail with 4000 other people but thankfully there wasn't too much traffic. Here's how our cruise went: Embarkation: Very smooth as we were told to check-in in Terminal 2, which was pretty much empty when we arrived. After getting our cards, we followed the other guests and got on the ship rather quickly. As our rooms were not ready, it allowed us to explore the many decks of the ship. Pool area (Deck 15): Yes, it can get crowded when we are 4000 people together so if you want some sun, be sure to go out early and grab your deck chairs. There is also a stage for music as well as wacky participation events such as Mr. Sexy Legs and Ms. Biceps The pool area also has a walled smoking room but anyone nearby can smell smoke so if you are sensitive, do not plan to lounge in that area. There are also ping pong tables around if you want to be a bit more active. Again, it can be a challenge to find a time when a table is free. Garden Cafe (Deck 15): Connected to the pool area is the Garden Cafe buffet. It served OK food and there are many choices at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dinner had a different theme night (e.g. Russian, Italian, Scandinavian) every night to have some variety. The Fitness Center & Spa (Deck 15): Connected to the other end of the pool area is the spa and fitness center. The spa offers a full range of services, including acupuncture. The fitness centre offers machines, weights, and classes. Physical Activity Choices: The ship is impressive that it offers mini-golf (nine hole), ropes course, trampoline, spider slide, rock climbing, a jogging track, and a basketball court. The Tropicana Room: This is the main dining room, with a dance floor in the middle for people to dance while dining with live music usually playing at dinner. The Tradewinds shops: For such a large ship, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of shopping choices. On a positive note, with so little to buy, I saved money in this aspect! The shops had special sales events and even a Russian Bazaar night as the days progressed. Photography: I appreciated the non-pushy attitude by the photographers as well as the sales staff for the printed photos. It was entirely up to you if you wanted to pose for photos and to buy the prints afterwards. A sample 8 X 10 print will cost you $24.95 USD. Casino: The casino has table games, slots, as well as blackjack tournaments, and slots tournaments. Betting is in US dollars and no gaming is permitted while at any port. O'Sheehan's Restaurant: This is a nice hidden restaurant that runs 24/7 and is rarely ever crowded during the whole cruise. If you are hungry and just want food, and don't really care what they serve, come here to beat the crowds elsewhere. The restaurant is like a pub so there are also games like pool, darts, and even bowling to pass the time. The Atrium (deck 6): This is the center of the ship. Here, you will find Guest Services, Starbucks, the Internet stations, games room, library, and meeting rooms, as well as the two-storey big screen, stage area and chairs. The cruise director's staff have all sort of games (e.g. trivia, deal or no deal, bingo) pretty much every hour for entertainment. It is rarely crowded during the day but a huge draw at night. Headliners: This is a room designed like a comedy club, with an intimate stage but any act can perform in here Syd Norman's Pour House: This is another small venue but does feature almost nightly karaoke (note that their song list is very limited) as well as regular performances by Switch (a tribute band of songs from the 1980s mostly) SugarCane Mojito Bar and Ice Bar: These are specialty bars located on deck 8, one floor above the casino. Sugarcane also features live music at night. Seating is limited so get there early. Getaway Theatre: This is the main theatre where performance of "Million Dollar Quartet" and "Burn the Floor" are performed. Deck 8 walkaround: Deck 8 allows people to walk outside pretty much around the whole length of the ship. There are plenty of chairs around to take in the scenery as the ship sails. Magaritaville This is a restaurant that will charge $15 USD per person for a limited Magaritaville-type menu (just best-selling items). The portions are large and well cooked so $15 was a steal compared to how much a visit to a traditional Magaritaville would cost. Cruise Director and his staff: For such a large ship, Francesco and his assistant Lester worked very hard to be visible here, there, and everywhere throughout the cruise. Special mention also to all his staff who had to be able to entertain people sitting in the atrium with the latest activity of the hour. The activities also come with a participation card, the more activities you participate in, the better NCL merchandise you can claim at the end of the cruise (such as T-shirt, key chain, koozie, etc.) Excursions: They were pricey but the tour operators used were well-organized, professional, and knowledgeable. Entertainment: a. Funky Duo: This is a husband-and-wife team from Romania. They can sing pretty much anything. Andreea's (yes, it is spelled this way) singing voice is something that you just need to hear. b. Karl Loxley: Karl was a finalist on the Voice UK. His performance was breathtaking at times. c. RAEGAR: Another husband-and-wife: he's from the UK while she's from Texas. They both have amazing voices. Disembarkation: It can be a long wait depending on where you are going after leaving the ship (e.g. on your own, to the airport, to the city, etc.). You do have the option of disembarking with your luggage if you want but be warned the wait for the elevators on disembarkation day can be long (some elevators are put out of service). Surprises: 1. There seems to be a service charge on almost everything. Purchase additional items/services carefully. 2. Even if you are a couple in your cabin, you each have your own account. I could not understand why we kept getting messages about a credit amount when the total of my wife's and my account did not show that. It turned out the accounts cannot be combined so I wound up owing them money while my wife got a refund for her credit amount. 3. The Do Not Disturb cabin light will mean just that. I had forgotten to turn it off before leaving for an excursion and we came back to a room that had not been cleaned and made-up. We had to ask after-hours service (as it was after 9 PM) to get the room made, which they did to our delight. 4. Ship internet is very expensive, such as $125 USD for 250 minutes. However, you can still connect to the wi-fi and use the NCL app free of charge to be able to have the day's schedule on your phone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I booked the Haven for our anniversary. This was my first cruise, though my wife has had many. We have both travelled extensively. The ship is large, well appointed, but easy to navigate. There are signs all over the ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Haven for our anniversary. This was my first cruise, though my wife has had many. We have both travelled extensively. The ship is large, well appointed, but easy to navigate. There are signs all over the ship that makes finding things easy. One quibble, is that posted services and shops are not always open at the appointed times meaning it would take several trips, for example, to get into the duty-free free shop. Services on the ship are generally both easy to locate and access. The exception to this was the spa. The actual services, massage, etc, were good, if pricey. However, the spa uses the pretense of assessment and consultation to provide a pseudo-scientific basis for what can only be described as, "You really should buy our most expensive products and services." My wife, for example, has a highly developed care routine. After receiving a facial, her 'consultation' wound up being a pitch for $1000 in product. This was made even worse when every visit to the spa resulted in a billing issue, as promotional discounts were either not applied or additional charges were added when polite but firm 'no' resulted in a charge anyway. By the end of the end of the cruise, it was pretty clear that passengers were studiously avoiding the spa and its high pressure tactics. There were, individually, many wonderful people inside the spa who appeared miserable under the pressure to sell. Our experience with the spa is the only thing that prevents us from giving the cruise 5-stars. The cabin was large, spacious, and relaxing. The balcony provided gorgeous views visited ports, and was a quiet, enjoyable space to spend time with one another. Having the cabin made up twice day was an unexpected, if not for my wife, treat that I greatly appreciated as throughout the cruise. Laundry service was easy to use, and made the sweaty hiking through the ports even more enjoyable as dirty garments could be quickly laundered rather than tossed in a suitcase for two weeks. Dining was another highlight, with running the entire spectrum of both quality and quantity. The buffet, as one might expect, was always hot and easy to access, if not always the highest quality. The free, 24-hour access to ice cream was a high point. The quality of food continued up the scale of restaurants. O-Sheehans offered tasty, but small bits for quick eating while the main dining rooms upped the quality to the high end. The speciality restaurants were generally on-par with the main dining rooms, with the exception of the Bistro. the Bistro's food is some of the best food I have ever had anywhere in the world, and my wife and I were happy to make multiple visits. By the end of the cruise, it was all but impossible to even make a reservation. My only quibble with the food is that some of the smaller restaurants take reservations ... even for very large parties. When a restaurant only has 30 or so seats and 25 have been reserved it was frustrating for both staff and customers. The Entertainment on the ship is quite good. Generally speaking, you cannot go wrong with any of the shows. The exception, again in a good way, was Burn the Floor. The dancers and routines are nothing short of exceptional. One of the final perks of the Haven is a dedicated staff for Haven guests. This made everything on and off the ship incredibly easy. All questions were handled quickly and easily by knowledge friendly staff. A dedicated restaurant for Haven guests was perfect for post excursion relaxation in a quiet, conversational atmosphere. The food was, also, generally, a cut above the rest with only Bistro having a chance to produce better food. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We loved our Baltic Cruise on the NCL Getaway. We had high expectations and were not disappointed. We booked this over a year ago and looked into many cruise lines and itineraries before choosing NCL (mostly for the itinerary). Ship: ... Read More
We loved our Baltic Cruise on the NCL Getaway. We had high expectations and were not disappointed. We booked this over a year ago and looked into many cruise lines and itineraries before choosing NCL (mostly for the itinerary). Ship: The ship was big. This was our first "big" ship cruise. It was always too crowded in the public areas and buffet. The number of passengers, as well as some very rude passengers (there are always some aren't there), was the only con. However, everything was accessible and very clean. Cabin: We had a mid-ship inside cabin (category IA). We prefer inside cabins so that we can use the money we save on other things. The cabin was normal size, the closet was a little small and there wasn't much shelf space (no drawers). The bathroom was a generous size for a cruise ship especially the surprisingly large shower (which had a door, not a curtain). Dining: We dined in all complimentary venues for dinner. We made reservations in advance and were always seated when we arrived - no waiting - and the food was excellent every time - lots of choices too. We never had an issue getting into a dining room for lunch either. We ate at Cagney's (great food) and LaCucina (not my favorite). We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at O'Sheehan's and every time it was excellent (service here for breakfast was the best we experienced). We could not, no matter how much we tried or how many times we stopped by, get into Shanghai Noodle House so we were very disappointed about that. Entertainment/Activities: No complaints about the entertainment, especially Syd Norman's Rock the House band. Matt, Roxey and Anna (and the band too) were beyond excellent and we found ourselves at this venue on multiple nights-great music and great voices too - especially Roxey. Activity staff were amazing and there was always something to do - at certain times there were so many things to do that they conflicted with each other. We were never bored. We participated in the ropes course (lots of fun), climbing wall, SpiceH2O (adults only section with hot tubs), many of the trivia games, mini golf, and so on. This was a port heavy cruise and you only had limited time on board. Service: No complaints about service at all. Our cabin steward was great, always leaving a clean wine glass in the room (without asking), bartenders, waitstaff, guest services, etc. were always on point. Ports: All of the ports were wonderful. We booked with SPB tours in Berlin and St. Petersburg and toured the other ports independently. We were disappointed that we weren't closer to city center in Helsinki but were able to get a shuttle bus ($10/per person). Tallin was an interesting city but the fact that there were many ships in port made it overcrowded. While we weren't in the city center in Stockholm, there's a train about 15-20 mins from the port and it was easy to locate and buy tickets at the port (much appreciated) which you could use for other modes of transport in the city (tram, ferry, bus - we used them all). Embarkation: Wow! After spending 2+ hours in line on a recent Cunard cruise just to get on the ship we couldn't believe how smoothly the Getaway embarkation process was, especially since the Getaway was twice the size. We were through the embarkation process within 10 minutes from the time we arrived at the terminal. Disembarkation: Since our flight was later in the day we chose the latest independent disembarkation time. We left the ship, our bags were waiting and we stood in a taxi line for about 10 mins. No issues at all. While the ship was big and there were A LOT of people, everything went as smoothly as possible. We were apprehensive about dining because of reviews that said if you had reservations you still had to wait but this was not our experience (maybe we didn't dine at popular times?). I highly suggest making dining reservations, even in the complimentary dining venues and especially at the specialty restaurants. Read your Freestyle Daily thoroughly. We didn't buy the beverage package because it's not worth it for us. In the end, we spent about $300 total on drinks which was definitely much less than the package. While we understand that everyone's experience is different, and everyone is looking for something different, we cannot understand the negative reviews for this ship or itinerary. It was fantastic, and getting off and on the ship at each port was a breeze. Everyone was friendly, accommodating and pleasant. The cruise staff were fun, exciting and made sure you had a great time. The CruiseCritic meet and greet (our first) was really nice. Many ship officers attended (even the captain) and that was very much appreciated. This is our 3rd NCL cruise and will not be our last. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
MSC was by far most reasonable price point. Meraviglia was a best value. Beautiful, Swarovski Crystal-laden vessel. Less than 2 years old with the latest technology on board-MSC For Me, and access to Cirque Show, sailing the MSC ... Read More
MSC was by far most reasonable price point. Meraviglia was a best value. Beautiful, Swarovski Crystal-laden vessel. Less than 2 years old with the latest technology on board-MSC For Me, and access to Cirque Show, sailing the MSC Meraviglia to the Fjords was the right move. Ship large enough to handle all on board without problem. However, as with any large vessel, guests must be smart about how to get from point a to b. Also, when getting on and off the ship, advanced planning is required. Service on ship could not have been better. From guest services to restaurant staff, to disabled assistance, all areas were well handled by crew. In particular, wait staff was so friendly and well coordinated. Also, ship was spotless with all workers doing utmost to keep the vessel sparkly and shiny. Specifically, theatre shows and food could not have been of better quality or variety. Overall, IF guests watch their alcohol consumption and ship specific excursion purchases, one can really gain tremendous value without giving up anything in choosing MSC and the Meraviglia to sail on their next journey. Bon voyage!( Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Our travel agent chose the company and we chose to cruise in order to visit countries we had not visited before. Also we are senior citizens and wanted a quiet cruise, and a freestyle cruise. At ther airport, representatives of NCL met us ... Read More
Our travel agent chose the company and we chose to cruise in order to visit countries we had not visited before. Also we are senior citizens and wanted a quiet cruise, and a freestyle cruise. At ther airport, representatives of NCL met us and transfer to the ship and embarkation went smoothly. The cabin was super and the cabin attendant, Mr. Farid, did an excellent job throughout the cruise. The food was excellent, in the buffet and in the other restaurants. It was even better than what we expected. Crew members as well as support personal were helpful and always smiling. We did not watch any show, so I do not have any comment about entertainment. We did not play at the casinos and did not participate in outdoors activities either. We did 2 excursions in Saint Petersburg, guides were competent and funny. On the negative side, your beverage plan ought to be more flexible. My wife does not drink alcohol and I would have had to buy two packages. You will agree that 200$ per day is a lot of booze for a single individual, I do not drink that much. We appreciated the daily leaflet, it answered many questions. It was nice to have a French-speaking representative, Mrs Dionne, on board. We will definitely go again on a crise with NCL but we cannot make any commitment right now. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Never thought we would do another Baltic cruise but as my wife is Polish there was never a question. We took full advantage of our Platinum benefits getting five on this particular cruise. Having flights, transfers and excursions booked ... Read More
Never thought we would do another Baltic cruise but as my wife is Polish there was never a question. We took full advantage of our Platinum benefits getting five on this particular cruise. Having flights, transfers and excursions booked through NCL made most everything go nice and easy. A few bumps however did occur. First we landed on the day of the Gay Pride Parade which was no fault of the cruise line, unfortunately the normally 25 minute ride from the airport took two and a half hours. As mentioned in another review getting back on board in Gdansk took quite some time, as I recall both gangways were open but all of the cruise excursion buses seem to all get back at the same time. Another problem seemed to be with the passengers themselves. As with our previous cruise four years ago I can honestly say that we have never seen so many rude people or experienced a total lack of manners from fellow travelers. I even observed one lady verbally abuse one of the crew members for attempting to spray hand sanitizer, which is done at every entrance to all dining areas, as she felt she was being accused of being dirty. This complete lack of manners is totally unacceptable and was reported to the Director of Food and Beverage. Excursion to Berlin was great and we had one of the best guides ever. Russia was as impressive as always and we did a repeat visit to the Hermitage. Room steward was most polite and attentive, cabin always nice and clean. Didn't go to any shows however we really enjoyed all of our meals especially at Cagney's Steak House. Hardest part of the entire trip was going through Customs at JFK which took over two hours of being in line after line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Customer service prior to leaving is attrocious. Promised phone calls from customer service never returned, not once but 3 times. Once they have your money the pre cruise staff don't really care. However once on board cruise ... Read More
Customer service prior to leaving is attrocious. Promised phone calls from customer service never returned, not once but 3 times. Once they have your money the pre cruise staff don't really care. However once on board cruise services did everything they could to sort out our issues and did this successfully. On a positive note the entertainment was great, the cabin stewards were excellent, the cabins comfortable and spotlessly clean. The food was hit and miss. The Shanghai was probably the worst Chinese we have ever eaten. O'Sheehans was pretty good although Ceasar salad should have chicken and cheese in it as far as I can remember. Lettuce leaves with croutons isn't quite the same thing. The worst food was in the Tropicana on our last day. The fish I ordered smelt off, it was so salty as to make it inedible, the potatoes with it were practically raw. If you are trying to avoid food poisoning this isn't the right way to go. We also had undercooked chicken once when they had a Greek buffet. Indian lunch buffet was superb. Generally the food was disappointing, the only good thing to come out if it was that we didn't put on lots of weight like we had on other cruises. Kids club was well run with great staff, special mention to 'Sparkles', outstanding member of the team. Excursion prices are a rip off even comparing them to other cruise companies. You can be creative and get around this by going on your own or through other agencies like Cruise Excursions or Viator. (St Petersburg excursion prices were astronomical on board) In summary this cruise is like Butlins at sea. It's fun if you have kids and you can get away for some peace if you need it. Would I go on NCL again? Probably not unless their food improves substantially and they sort out their customer services prior to sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We were a group of 10 people (8 adults and 2 children) celebrating my parent's 50 Anniversary and thought the cruise would be the perfect holiday for everyone to bond and spend quality time. We live in Dubai hence we approached ... Read More
We were a group of 10 people (8 adults and 2 children) celebrating my parent's 50 Anniversary and thought the cruise would be the perfect holiday for everyone to bond and spend quality time. We live in Dubai hence we approached Imagine Cruising (The authorised agent for the UAE) for our bookings. We finalized 3 Balcony rooms next to each other and were pretty excited about the arrangements. We paid approx USD 6300 for a family of four for the 9 day full board cruise. On embarking we realised that there were people who had booked directly from NCL who got great deals on beverages, alcohol, speciality restaurants which we were never made aware of by imagine cruising. One of the things that really irritated us was the fact that on arrival the cabin had two bottles of water - One still and one sparkling. Being travelers and been to our share of hotels, usually bottles kept out meant complimentary, however we were told later that sparkling bottle costed USD 6 odd and since the bottle was big and didn't fit in the mini bar it was kept out. When we argued with the guest services that there was no mention of the charges, their reply was "well, it doesn't say that it is free either" WOW!! That's when the distrust started with the cruiseliner...Imagine straight off in the first 15 mins of people embarking the cruiseliner makes approx USD 9 per cabin for the water consumed by unassuming people. Around the fifth day we became aware of a charge called gratuity fee which is USD 15 per person per day. For a family of 4 it came to USD 540 which was never communicated by Imagine cruising to us. We started freaking out coz we had budgets for our trip and this was serious curveball. We are happy to pay gratuity if we are told about these expenses and we raised it with the guest services. It took them 2 days to reverse the fees and we were stressed for 2 days as 3 families were going to get hit with approx USD 1300. We were charged for mini bar consumption which we debated and was reversed. People go on holidays to forget stress but we had it in abundance on this cruise. Everyday we didn't know if we would get a seat at any of the complimentary restaurants, wait time was 40 mins. Garden Cafe Buffet is where we ate our Breakfast/lunch and dinner for about 5 days. O'sheehan's would have a special for the day which would be served till 9pm only and then regular food would be served again with no change in the menu. We didn't understand the concept of having 3 complimentary restaurants with the same menu for 9 days! You basically are finding ways to push people to go for the speciality restaurants out of sheer boredom! A lot of the arcade games across the ship were money making machines, people playing were getting frustrated losing their money. Being travelers we understand that you are docking at lesser known countries like Poland, Estonia to increase their tourism and generating revenue but Poland as a port can be missed entirely as the scenic tour wasn't great. Estonia was a pleasant surprise and St Petersburg was bustling. For some reason when docking at St. Petersburg all gambling activities on the ship ceased leaving us very little to do in the evening time. Good things on the cruise was the food across the restaurants we ate in. The service was good and staff was friendly and helpful. Very good layout of the ship allowed people of different age groups to do their own thing. All in all we could have had a much better and relaxed experience had all the money related problems not been there. I don't think we will sail with NCL again as I don't trust them to be transparent in their dealings, charges and overall approach to customer service. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This cruise had good itinerary and dates were convenient for us. Embarkation was fast because we're platinum members. We also booked a transfer to the airport so disembarkation was good too. However in my opinion NCL still has a lot ... Read More
This cruise had good itinerary and dates were convenient for us. Embarkation was fast because we're platinum members. We also booked a transfer to the airport so disembarkation was good too. However in my opinion NCL still has a lot to learn how operate ships of this size - 4000 people. Coming back from the shore was always a challenge, in Gdansk it was a disaster with hundreds passengers coming back to the ship and only one gangway open. The room cleaning service was good. Entertainment was ok, nothing special. We didn't travel with children so we didn't use any child care. We booked shore excursions to Schwerin castle and to Gdansk. Both tours were good. In Saint Petersburg the Norwegian was trying to scare people to buy their tours and this was unseemly. For the complementary dining we were hugely disappointed with Garden Buffett. The selection was extremely limited. The food was tasteless and cold (except for soups and drinks). Tables weren't cleaned on the timely fashion. Dirty dishes kept piling up and sometimes it took up to 20 minutes for the staff to take them away. We took 15 cruises but this was the worst buffet service by far. Main dining rooms were ok, not that there were many choices for the complementary dining. Our package included four a la card restaurant. They were ok. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We have never cruised before, and chose the specific cruise we went on, due to the availability of kid’s activities for our 10 year old daughter, the destinations throughout the Baltics and a decent price. Getting on board as newbies was ... Read More
We have never cruised before, and chose the specific cruise we went on, due to the availability of kid’s activities for our 10 year old daughter, the destinations throughout the Baltics and a decent price. Getting on board as newbies was a bit stressful, as we did not know the process and there was little information about what to expect. We also was more stressed than was required as we roamed around trying to find out how to register a credit card to our cruise card (which wasn’t obvious on the machines) and find out how the kids club works and how/where to go. As it turned out our daughter never gelled with the kids club, as she was hitting the top end of her age group and felt they were being treated childishly and there were few kids of her age. I did get the feeling a lot of other kids truly enjoyed it, just not ours. The boat was generally fairly busy and the common areas (particularly the buffet and the pool areas) could be very crammed and chaotic. At times the central inside area was blocked by other activities. The dining area was great, with a new menu every day, so there was always lots of choice. We did ultimately enjoy our cruise and had some nice on land days, both self served and on excursion, though it will probably be better if we do another cruise now we know what to expect. The staff was generally attentive, smiley and professional, and the fact that all gratuities were paid centrally was more comfortable, as we come from a culture where wages are fair and tipping is only applicable if the service is exceptional. Disembarkation was brilliant, taking us 10 minutes from we were called till we were in a taxi. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We were looking for a cruise on specific dates because we were already in Europe. The Baltic Sea cruise on NCL was a first for us as we normally sail on Windstar. However, the “Haven” seemed to help us bridge that small boat feel ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise on specific dates because we were already in Europe. The Baltic Sea cruise on NCL was a first for us as we normally sail on Windstar. However, the “Haven” seemed to help us bridge that small boat feel with big boat entertainment. The Haven would likely be the only way we would sail NCL again. Private restaurant, bar, concierge, priority seating at shows and priority boarding and disembarkation - all wonderful perks with good food and excellent bartenders. The entertainment exceeded our expectations, especially the “Howl at the Moon - dueling pianos”. The Cirque show was good and the Wine Tasting play was fun. The Folkloric program after visiting Russia was OK - just not our favorite. The Barricade Boys were terrific. The best specialty restaurant was “Le Bistro” by far. The Mojito tasting and Margarita tastings were really fun and very reasonably priced. Loved the spa - very large and with a sweeping view on 3 sides. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I always wanted to cruise the Norwegian Fjords and this cruise suited my available dates. I travelled with my teenage niece who was cruising for the first time - it was my 4th cruise holiday and first one with Royal Caribbean. The ship ... Read More
I always wanted to cruise the Norwegian Fjords and this cruise suited my available dates. I travelled with my teenage niece who was cruising for the first time - it was my 4th cruise holiday and first one with Royal Caribbean. The ship is impressive overall though, on closer inspection, is showing some signs of wear and tear. I was impressed with cabin size. The evening entertainment was good in the main though the main headline shows were very short - a maximum of 45 minutes. That's fine for a so-so show but far too short for a good one - and we had one excellent show in particular, Beatle Maniacs, a Beatles tribute band who were exceptionally good. I'd have loved another hour or so of them! The main restaurant was where we dined every evening, we had availed of the My Time dining option. The food was simply outstanding as was the service. We had the same waiters each night and they felt like old friends by the end. We had a la carte breakfast in the main dining room most mornings and, while the food was good, the service wasn't. In the main service in the mornings was slow, impersonal and, we felt, unprofessional at times. We witnessed staff arguing with each other in front of passengers a few times. We weren't very impressed with the Windjammer buffet restaurant in terms of food quality. There was usually an Indian selection but we found that far too spicy for our palates. The cost of port excursions was very high - prohibitively so in my view in most cases so we ended up just doing our own thing at most ports. Finally our cabin steward was wonderful - friendly, cheerful and very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Although we had cruised with NCL in the Baltics before, we were excited to try out the new Getaway, and were also looking forward to experiencing the new kosher dining which is being touted (at least in Israel) on its splash page. Please ... Read More
Although we had cruised with NCL in the Baltics before, we were excited to try out the new Getaway, and were also looking forward to experiencing the new kosher dining which is being touted (at least in Israel) on its splash page. Please note that we had taken a kosher cruise the previous time, meaning that we had our own dining room with a kosher chef. We have also cruised previously without a kosher program, and were aware of the challenges of having warmed-up frozen items. We typically take precautions, bringing our own pots and some essentials (cheese, meat, challah) just in case there are issues. We had a beautiful suite in the Haven, and ate all of our meals in the Haven dining room We were severely disappointed to discover that when we boarded, the luggage carrying the food-related items was confiscated, and they threw away all of the food and the pots. Note that while they were supposed to return them to us at the end of the cruise, one of them was actually lost, and we had to be reimbursed. The real challenge was that the kosher options that were initially offered to us on our first day quickly began to run out. By the end of the cruise, there were no burgers left (tough when you have two young children who live off them), chicken fingers had run out, and worst of all, the challah that is promised in the FAQ page in NCL ran out on the first day, so we had no challah for Shabbat, ours having been thrown away. The catering staff kept promising that new food would be loaded on in subsequent ports, but having been in this situation before, I explained to them that they were incorrect, as in my experience (see below) there is no kosher food loaded once the boat has come from N. America. We also had several dishes served to us that proved to be moldy or had clearly gone "off". While I love NCL (this was our 6th cruise with them), the handling of the kosher food was simply deplorable. I would caution anyone kosher cruising with them outside of N. America to ensure that you aren't the last cruise of the season, or you are likely to be very disappointed or very hungry. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our 10th cruise on NCL and we loved that itinerary. Embarkation went smoothly and our room was ready by the time we checked in. I did find it wierd that there wasn't a picture stop prior to getting on the ship. The ship ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise on NCL and we loved that itinerary. Embarkation went smoothly and our room was ready by the time we checked in. I did find it wierd that there wasn't a picture stop prior to getting on the ship. The ship is definitely huge. We had an inside cabin but the layout felt roomy so it didn't feel too small. I liked the lighting in the room this time because it felt bright. I was disappointed that there were no usb outlets by the bed. We've been on other renovated ships like the Pearl that has it. I was also disappointed with the limited variety of TV channels that was offered. It was very limited and it catered to a liberal audience. So be prepared to watch reruns of the same show and movies and CNN and MSNBC. There was no FOX news. Was also disappointed that the gym was always packed and because of that I think it smelled bad. So we always just did the Jog Track instead. We only watched one show which was the Million Dollar Quartet and it was a great show. We did buy the Cirque Show for the first time and it was totally worth it. The dinner included with the show was a surf and turf and the show was variety circus show. We really enjoyed it. We loved the specialty dining, Lebistro and Ocean Blue were our favorites. Service in general was just ok. I did not like that on the first day, hosts from the main dinings were asking if we made reservations. We were only a party of 2 and we have never had to make reservations for regular dining. So plan on making reservations on your first day as soon as you get there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Friends told us a Baltic cruise would be good for us. It was. We really enjoyed this cruise. We were told that our cabin was ocean view or better. We were told that meant if there were better cabins available we would be upgraded. There ... Read More
Friends told us a Baltic cruise would be good for us. It was. We really enjoyed this cruise. We were told that our cabin was ocean view or better. We were told that meant if there were better cabins available we would be upgraded. There was better available, but no upgrade. We were on a low deck that was extremely noisy. Not a very romantic send off for our first ever cruise and our honeymoon. The service in many areas left a lot to be desired, however we encountered some staff that was over and above any expectations and really blew us away. Food in main dining areas was bland and very small portions. We had the drink package and the fine dining package. The restaurants in the fine dining were simply amazing. We loved NCL’s freestyle cruising and would love to cruise NCL again but to know that balcony cabins went unused and activities staff seemed unprepared or even uninterested in some of the games and such makes you wonder if NCL even cares that you are there. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Russia. The ship was amazing. So much entertainment in so many parts of the ship. Definitely the best entertainment that we have had in all our cruises. The cruise staff weren’t great but ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Russia. The ship was amazing. So much entertainment in so many parts of the ship. Definitely the best entertainment that we have had in all our cruises. The cruise staff weren’t great but their cruise director, Francisco was outstanding. The food on board was excellent, better than we expected. The ports that we visited were worth seeing. Although the ship is geared to families with children with all the Amenities that they have for them it didn’t impede on the wonderful nine days that we had on the Getaway. We went to the Cirque night. Well worth it. The dualling piano show was very good as were all the shows. We really liked Sids Bar and it’s outside bar. Never seen bars and restaurants on the port and starboard sides of a ship before. Fantastic idea. Well done Norwegian Getaway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Excellent cruise. The captain provided informative narratives each day. The production shows were outstanding. The art lectures were quite interesting. Food was outstanding, particularly at dinner in the dining room. Most nights I ... Read More
Excellent cruise. The captain provided informative narratives each day. The production shows were outstanding. The art lectures were quite interesting. Food was outstanding, particularly at dinner in the dining room. Most nights I ordered the fish entree and was never disappointed! There were so many choices of healthy deliciously prepared vegetarian dishes at the buffet as well as a wide selection of amazing desserts. We appreciated our balcony room when we pulled out of Oslo. What breathtaking scenery. If you are thinking about going on this cruise, consider these things: You are at ports from a few hours to a couple of days. As a result you only get a small picture of each city. Rather than spending hours going to and from Berlin, consider staying in the port town. It has a wonderful family beach and a delightful village--perfect for people watching and absorbing the culture. Helsinki is another place that I believe for the short time you are there that you can experience it best without a tour. Get a ticket for the cruise ship shuttle which will take you to 4 different locations, then explore major attractions on your own. St. Petersburg and Stockholm are best experienced with a tours. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We’ve been on Odyssey twice before, which we very much enjoyed, and were interested to compare the newer Ovation. There is no comparison. Ovation wins hands down. The decor is magnificent: really classy and all gleaming. The larger ... Read More
We’ve been on Odyssey twice before, which we very much enjoyed, and were interested to compare the newer Ovation. There is no comparison. Ovation wins hands down. The decor is magnificent: really classy and all gleaming. The larger Thomas Keller works very well and we just adored the sushi restaurant - beautifully fitted out. The deck outside The Grill is a great secret terrace for when the Colonnade gets busy, with its own salad bar too. Think of it as a free version of The Retreat on the top deck! We love the way Seabourn Square has been rethought - it looks wonderful and it’s a great place to hang out. Even though space per passenger is a little lower on the Ovation, it feels the opposite. We couldn’t believe the cruise was full (it was, apparently) as it seemed so quiet most of the time. Captain Stig was the best we have had...always present and friendly. The crew were engaged, almost all incredibly welcoming and friendly...and much better at name recognition than on previous Seabourn cruises. Much has already been said on here about the legendary Handré, the cruise director. It’s all true. He is brilliant at his job and always out and about. A true professional. Food was excellent (we particularly enjoyed the specialities brought on board from Helsinki). Entertainment and enrichment was good. The new caviar is great but I can’t say that the new champagne is an improvement. It’s cheap and tastes it. We were very happy with the included wines and stuck to them. We plumped for a V5 cabin this time (having had an Owners Suite before) and were not disappointed. They are plenty spacious enough, well designed and quiet, with loads of storage space. The only thing we wished for was a coffee machine in the room. Stewardess service was excellent although we could have done with more toiletries (this was quickly rectified). Overall a wonderful cruise and we aim to get back on the Ovation again. If only Seabourn could have done something about the weather! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Embarkation was very smooth and we were on ship within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. Our cabin C212 was ready for us and luggage arrived very soon. Anyone using this cabin in future should note that although the theatre is on deck ... Read More
Embarkation was very smooth and we were on ship within 20 minutes of arriving at the port. Our cabin C212 was ready for us and luggage arrived very soon. Anyone using this cabin in future should note that although the theatre is on deck 6 and 7 the sound travels all the way to deck 10 where we heard every rehearsal and every show very loudly. You would have thought that perhaps they could have put some kind of sound baffle in between decks but I guess not. Our cabin steward was very good and our wait staff in the MDR were wonderful. The food in both MDR and buffet was up to the usual standard. Princess excursions were expensive and we only used them once. This was for a disembarkation tour which took us to a fishing village just outside of Copenhagen before dropping us off at the airport. We only went on this tour as our flight was not until 4.30. At the other ports we just got off the ship and did our own thing. In St Petersburg we used Cruiseexcursions.com for a 2 day tour and our guide, Natalie was very knowledgable. I can thoroughly recommend that tour which is about half the price of the Princess one and includes a visa. Nynashamn was the only disappointing port. We were told it was a lovely place where people from Stockholm came to relax but there was nothing there. We should have taken the train into Stockholm which seemed really easy to do. Read Less

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