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39,935 Norwegian (NCL) Cruise Reviews

NCL knew before the Dubai leg of this trip to Cape Town took place , that the Corona Virus would prevent us reaching any ports other than the UAE. and one of them was awful. The Captain did not communicate any useful information to us ... Read More
NCL knew before the Dubai leg of this trip to Cape Town took place , that the Corona Virus would prevent us reaching any ports other than the UAE. and one of them was awful. The Captain did not communicate any useful information to us and on several occasions told lies about what was to take place at each port of call. This is by far the worse cruise we have ever taken on NCL (This was our 16th cruise with NCL) and we will never go on the NCL SPIRIT again it was that bad. The Captain should be sacked and NCL need to hire real officers who are able to communicate with passengers and not hide at key periods of crisis and leave their front of house staff to take the flack from frustrated crowds. The poor German's on board had only one point of contact at the front desk, which caused heated exchanges, again no Officers to inform anyone or Captain to quell the crowds. The Seychelles local paper had already banned ships as did the port authority in Mauritius Madagascar was off right from the start as we got notice of that cancellation two days before the sail date...too late to pull out. Got a series of letters from the ship about Compensation and latterly one online from the CEO of NCL SAYING WE WOULD GET 100% of our money back ( I wonder how long that might take) and how good Mr.Sommer is at keeping his promise????? I understand that the COVID19 caught everyone out , including cruise companies. Miami HQ knew this as all the ship were under pressure and looking for information...our guy must have forgotten to call them to ask what to say to us, but the Captain definitely knew about the depth of the ocean , air temperature , and sea temperature as this was his key information at times of crisis ...no bloody good Inside Cabins were fitted out for four people bunk bed on wall , sofa square seat /fold down bed took up and blocked one side of the bed , so you had to climb over it when leaving or going into the bed, hopeless if you are not fit ...we got ours removed.This breaches all Health & safety guidelines that I know from my experience of Hotel management. Cabin staff were very good Children's activities were awful and consisted of the pool, only that went out of action for days...so colouring in was the activities DO NOT BRING CHILDREN ON THIS SHIP Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Very disappointed in this cruise. Cabin was so so hard to get around the veranda was small. We did have a wonderful cabin boy. Found the main dining room lacking in food and its presentation was quite boring.enjoyed the specialty ... Read More
Very disappointed in this cruise. Cabin was so so hard to get around the veranda was small. We did have a wonderful cabin boy. Found the main dining room lacking in food and its presentation was quite boring.enjoyed the specialty restaurants had entertainment twice and it was very good rest of entertainment was average. Nothing you couldn't live with out.my husband had a scooter which we were assured would fit in our room. Unfortunately could not fit in doorway. We made several phone calls with dimensions and were assured it would fit in doorway. Had to leave at the end of the hallway also had to make a call to have it picked up to be charged since it wouldn't fit in the room. We spent time on deck 16 which was for adults it had 2 hot tubs and a shallow sitting pool unfortunately you had to go to deck 15 to sign out a towel and when you were through had to return it to deck 15 i did enjoy breakfast with made to order omelet if you wanted to toast an english muffin bagel etc. There was i toaster on on side of buffet and one on the other and one that didn't work.also the cruise the fresh squeezed orange juice maker was broken. I found the help was not sufficiently schooled if you had a question. I also found you were nickled and dimed to death for instance it cost me $8.00 to have my boarding passes printed.we have been on more then 40 cruises and have never been charged to have that done. Also i found things not kept up for cleanliness i observed one elevator had spills on the floor from almost beginning of cruise till we left. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Chose cruise for stops. Excellent time crew excellent travel during Coronavirus craziness endless cleaning on ship they really made us feel safe. Captain made decisions not to port in port Rico due to uncertainty! Sailed up to ... Read More
Chose cruise for stops. Excellent time crew excellent travel during Coronavirus craziness endless cleaning on ship they really made us feel safe. Captain made decisions not to port in port Rico due to uncertainty! Sailed up to Cape Canaveral embarkation was fairly smothered considering circumstances!! provided transport to air port and we were not charged anything extra for extra days at sea!!! Excellent job NCL!!! We will definitely cruise NCL again !! Epic is a good ship for multiple stops not best ship for sea days no enough outside venues!! We have been on getaway multiple time and enjoyed the water front part of ship !! NCL is a fun cruise line for me and my wife they have good entertainment and a great staff most bar tenders on board made great drinks!! We’re a little picky we don’t like extra sweat mixers in our drinks and most time they adjusted to our taste!! Also food was great no complaints there Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I will never go on a NCL ever again after the experience my boyfriend and I had. We did get a good price because we booked it two weeks before our sail date. However, it was not worth what we paid. One of the only things we enjoyed was ... Read More
I will never go on a NCL ever again after the experience my boyfriend and I had. We did get a good price because we booked it two weeks before our sail date. However, it was not worth what we paid. One of the only things we enjoyed was seeing the stand-up comedians and a comedic magician in the Breakaway Theater. They were both very talented and amusing. As for the things we did not like...when we first got on the ship and into our room, our toilet would not flush and I had to tell a worker who then said the entire hallway's toilets were not working either. The first island we were supposed to dock at was Bahamas. The morning of that, the captain said we would not be stopping at all because of the windy conditions. While I understand that they cannot control the weather, I feel like we should of been compensated in some way for missing an entire port - the one I was most excited for. Because of that, we were at sea for another whole day. In addition, the main pool was closed for 2 days because of the wind. Again, another compensation would of been nice. Two days at sea and no one can even swim? Also, the tendering process was by far the worst and most unorganized process I've ever experienced on a cruise. And this is my 5th cruise. We had specific times we were supposed to be on the tender, but the tender boats were hours late for every port. This made us very late for our NCL booked excursions those days. In Cozumel we were supposed to be at our excursion meeting point at 12:15 pm for a 4.5 hour excursion - a speedboat and snorkel session for $135 per person. The ticket said allow 45 minutes for tendering so we needed to be on the tender around 11:30 am. We were all forced to wait in the theater until at least 1:00 pm because they said there were no tenders for anyone yet. While the speed boats were fun our snorkel session was about 20 minutes and I saw about 5 fish total. Then he made us get back in the speed boat and return to shore at 2:30 pm. We were very upset we did not get to have the full time. The taxis picked us up at 3:45 pm. When we complained to the Shore Excursion desk, the lady was rude and did not believe us. She ended up giving us both 20% off the excursion after arguing with her for 20 minutes. Lastly, the food was not the best. My boyfriend and I had to eat at the buffet at least one meal a day because there was not many complimentary places to eat at. And the Manhattan Room (main dining room) was not very big and a dress code is required for men. I've cruised with NCL before and the last time was nothing like this. I do not recommend Norwegian Breakaway. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We bid on and upgrade suite and got it.. it looked the same as a regular suite with double the size balcony and bathroom.. 3 of us in the room so it was comfortable. Mark took care of our room.. he was great and brought us anything we ... Read More
We bid on and upgrade suite and got it.. it looked the same as a regular suite with double the size balcony and bathroom.. 3 of us in the room so it was comfortable. Mark took care of our room.. he was great and brought us anything we needed right away.. we tipped Mark everyday, which we always do on a cruise, and Mark made sure we were in need of nothing! Great experience.. We were traveling with 6 family members... all of us enjoyed something different.. My teen girl loved encore.. a place she could meet 13-17 year olds.. and spent lots of time with these kids as the days went by... The cigar lounge was our favorite place to go after dinner with my husband and adult sons.. we thoroughly enjoyed all the men and women we met there.. Learned how to play craps with my oldest son! Great late night entertainment...Met the same dynamic group of people every night..So fun! My husband enjoyed the hot tubs in the quieter part of the boat.. he also loved the water slide that drops the trap door under your feet and away you go fast through a tube over the side of the boat and back again.. We all wanted sun... it was spring break, super small pool,, lots of drunk obnoxious 21 + year olds crammed around a large bath tub.. 2 days of this until we found H2O at the front of the boat with water falls to walk through when you get hot and perfect place to talk and read... Honduras was our first stop.. We all did a snorkel and kayak tour.. Our guides were awesome.. the fruit and food were delicious Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Negatives: Spring break cruise, my MISTAKE. Screaming, drinking, banging on doors in the middle of the night, singing " coronavirus in the hallways" at 3am. Watched a couple of spring breakers who coughed without covering ... Read More
Negatives: Spring break cruise, my MISTAKE. Screaming, drinking, banging on doors in the middle of the night, singing " coronavirus in the hallways" at 3am. Watched a couple of spring breakers who coughed without covering mouth and/or putting head into sleeve or anything more than one time, tried to avoid them as much as possible. Lesson learned! The balcony staterooms have been changed to have 1 glass door and a port hole design which was unexpected as we have always experienced 2 glass doors which helps you not feel confined in such a small area. Do NOT like the new design. Will never book SKY again. 1)Cruise rep: Purchased cruise credits from previous cruise, after booking new cruise called back to inquire if they could be used as discount, NO. I had to mention it at time of booking, she suggested to save for next cruise. It's on our account why didn't our cruise rep inquire if any certificates /discounts to be used when booking? Had questions from other persons traveling with us to be clear on what the "free amenities" were was asked not to send emails but to call her. She was a little condescending at times. 2)Itinerary @sea, Day 1: Was advised our trip had to be changed due to weather so we went opposite direction only to find that weather prevented us from our PRIMARY excursion and port. We did not even stop (all day at sea) but found out later that another cruise line simply waited an hour and was given permission to dock. This was first time was feeling the movement of ship as many people were crying and complained of nausea. It was horrible. Since we lost our excursion villa ($350) we tried in vain to get another one at next port, service desk rep says he could try, we began that request at 9:10 am, checked back in 4 times at the desk to hear that NCL had not received a response from folks @ Pearl Island. No courtesy feedback from NCL service desk to say, cannot confirm suggest you try something else. Day 2: docked then ran to service desk to pay $99 each ($600 for our party) to board a 15 minute boat ride (raining & overcast) to a new area "Pearl Island" that it was first come first serve to get a cabana but no one knew the "additional" cost. Literally people jumped off the boat and hurried to get that premiere spot. Society shows itself in times such as this. Talked to Pearl Island Manager to find the cost of the cabana for 6 was a mere $500 additional which included pillows, no food, drinks or private access to beach. There were other cabanas for rent maximum party of 2 adults , 1 child for $450 each no guarantee of getting 2 together so ended up on beach loungers for free. FYI: ALL of the cabanas were EMPTY the whole time, we offered half the price for the big one but were turned down. Be AWARE, NO easy access to the beach on certain areas where there are chairs, a stone wall 3-4', no steps, had to step down a good 12-15 inches into the sand with sharp shells this is OK if you are young and strong legs , horrible if older in age. On the return boat ride in the HOT sun we were given an informative lesson on who the rich and famous are in the area and a look at their homes only to see on the opposite side of the area appeared to be the working mans area which was totally depressing.. I filled out the excursion card with positive reviews for the crew but that's all. Day 3: docked @ last port, burnt from sun so stayed onboard only to find due to port laws all fun things to do are closed as not to take business away from port. Bummer. It may appear that if we kept original routing everything would have worked out as weather was better on return. My opinions are strong because my expectations were high as we never experienced disappointment with NCL and to top it off we were dealing with the corona virus pandemic...We could NOT cancel because NCL would not give refunds/credits until March 10th which was a day after we embarked. What a joke! Positives: Mar 09:Embarkation was wonderful, thank you. The Palace for lunch, server "Remian" PERFECT. Cagneys for dinner as expected- 10/10 food & service. Mar 10: Food gallery very impressive as so many choices and delicious. Lunch @ Palace recommended. Dinner @ Crossings which was a pleasant surprise. Mar 11: At port all day. Dinner @Le Bistro is undeniably our favorite worth the money. Food outstanding, server Leila was top notch. To our surprise after having the best experience ever..while walking out of LeBistro was the TOP CHEF herself as seen on NCL TV as part of the crew. She was as nice in person as she appeared on TV so we thanked her for a delicious dinner, a wonderful memory and complimented her on her dance routine on TV. Mar 12: Our favorite bar tender worked primarily in The Local bar located AFT on the ship from 6pm- closing, gave us his name as Tom Cruise... OK. Dinner @the Local was very good, pub/ bar food but a great way to end the cruise. Most often during this cruise, spring breakers were polite, but there are always a few that break the mold. It was obvious this was a success to them so good for them! Favorites: Leila. Le Bistro Tom cruise The Local Andresthia. Cabin attendant. (Adorable woman). Ramein. Crossings& The Palace Disembarking was much easier than expected, breezed through it once we were "released" by Miami. Glad to be home. Found an Uber and to the airport which is another story to be told. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I chose this cruise because it was going to Key West & Cozumel, 2 places I wanted to revisit and leaving out of Canaveral meant I did not have the additional drive to Miami. We are platinum with NCL so we know what to expect ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was going to Key West & Cozumel, 2 places I wanted to revisit and leaving out of Canaveral meant I did not have the additional drive to Miami. We are platinum with NCL so we know what to expect Ship: Small which is OK but it is laid out very poorly, you have to go thru too many places to get where you are going Cabin: we had a handicapped accessible room ( I use a wheelchair) Room layout was fine, Bathroom layout was fine. But there were a lot of issues, the toilet would not flush after about an hour of being in the room( it was fixed right away). The shower flooded all the way into the cabin ( they tried to fix it multiple times) it was never fixed. The air conditioner did not work, after they said they fixed it 3 times, until we waited in the room for the repair guy it was finally fixed , 3 days later. Dining: the food in the main dining rooms was good. The buffet is the worst I have seen on a ship. I know this was a smaller ship but the items in the buffet just mirrored on the other side. Poor selection, and some items were there for days. We tried the Sports bar for a change and that was awful. I ordered chicken tenders and my wife ordered a panini , the tenders were limp and rubbery, like someone microwaved a frozen piece of chicken, the panini was on a sub roll with a couple of grill marks on it and what was in it was inedible. We are not food snobs but this was bad Entertainment: saw the Rock and Roll show it was OK, the couple they had singing Country one night in the Bliss were really bad Service: as usual the NCL staff were great, but the room attendant was not so good, I don't think he actually cleaned the room at all, just took out the trash and gave us towels Key West : highlight of our trip, had a good time there Cozumel: too many people hassling you to buy there stuff Getting on & off he ship was fine, actually getting of was the best we have ever had , was in the car by 7:45 Would I go on the Sun Again, NEVER will I go on NCL again, yes , just has to be the right ship and go someplace new Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise based on their itinerary and length totally forgetting this is the beginning of Spring break, more later.... We left Cape Canaveral on March 3 and returned March 8th. Our destinations were Key West Fl. and Cozumel ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on their itinerary and length totally forgetting this is the beginning of Spring break, more later.... We left Cape Canaveral on March 3 and returned March 8th. Our destinations were Key West Fl. and Cozumel MX. The ship was the Norwegian Sun. This ship is one of the smaller ships in service in the Florida Caribbean circuit, the Norwegian Sun was renovated last year and it still has a clean ambiance to it and the cabin was still very fresh, actually, the cabin was the best part of the cruise in my opinion. The trip as a whole rates a 3 out of 5 in our opinion, there was some good and some not so good issues with this cruise, nothing horrible but nothing great either. Being Spring break, The young adults aboard for this cruise were definitely out for a good time BUT ship security were very good at keeping control of the situation at all times. Evening was quite busy to be expected and the young adults were out in full attire to attract their mates, it was rather nice watching, yes a lot of drinking BUT again they all seemed to be well under control, I've seen much worse at local bars in our city. The food on this cruise was simply put okay, the specialty restaurants we ate at were nothing special, we ate at the Italian and Steakhouse, both were in many ways disappointments, especially the steakhouse as I was expecting something much better. The beef was not very flavourful nor the texture very appealing, we feel, we may have done just as good having dinners at the buffet. We did spent a lot of time in the casino after dinner, oh how I wish they would ban smoking in those places, the smell is just so overpowering. So as a final note, like all cruises, this one had it's issues, nothing great but nothing horrible, would we cruise Norwegian again? I doubt it, we prefer the other lines we have travelled much more and next cruise will be with Celebrity we expect... Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We wanted to try another cruise line - we had only sailed with Celebrity before this. The ship was about the same size as our previous ships. The decor and common areas were nice and we had no complaints. The Garden Cafe food was less ... Read More
We wanted to try another cruise line - we had only sailed with Celebrity before this. The ship was about the same size as our previous ships. The decor and common areas were nice and we had no complaints. The Garden Cafe food was less than stellar. We ate one lunch here and one breakfast. The breakfast was good - the other meal was terrible. We did have great service and food in the Venetian main dining room. We like having the Irish pub open - to have a drink or a late night bite. This was nice. Hated the casino - as we are non smokers and this was bad with smoke !! The Cigar Lounge and Champagne Bar area -- were just as bad. We couldn't ever try these areas because of the smoke... absolutely terrible !! About half of the ladies restroom door locks did not work. Overall - they did push the sanitizing hands thing all over the ship - but most times the public restroom areas were not very clean - paper towels littering a lot of the floor. The entertainment was good. We went to most shows and tried most of the venues on the ship - besides the areas that were "smoky ". Service was ok. We were lucky enough to find a great waitress in the Venetian and requested her section nightly. Our room steward - never really touched base with us - but would say hello in passing. Customer service in the other areas of the ship were good. We did talk to a lot of people who were repeat Norwegian Cruisers - who told us not to judge Norwegian by the Dawn and this trip -- as they were disappointed too. We do plan on trying Norwegian in the future per this advice. Overall - our cruise was OK. Was not stellar - but we do love cruising so it was a good time. If you don't have a good time on a cruise - its your own fault ! We always meet and talk to so many people !! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Post cruise report: To start, I have to say the sanitary precautions on the cruise were outstanding. Every single day the crew washed down all the walls, doors, railings, etc. in every corridor, you couldn't walk two feet without ... Read More
Post cruise report: To start, I have to say the sanitary precautions on the cruise were outstanding. Every single day the crew washed down all the walls, doors, railings, etc. in every corridor, you couldn't walk two feet without tripping over a hand sanitizer dispenser, and the "washy-washy" (really, they say that) staff were constantly spraying your hands. They were worse than the perfume ladies at a Macy's, lol. You couldn't even get your own beverage at the buffet. A staff member had to dispense it and hand it to you. I was really very impressed. In addition, we brought our own clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and a bottle of surgical soap to wash our hands. This was our first cruise on Norwegian and it was nothing short of amazing! The ship, staff, food, etc. were all first rate. I did upgrade our cabin to what they call an Owner's Suite for our 27th anniversary. The package included a 900 s.f. suite with both a forward facing and side balcony. We had a butler, personal concierge, 3-meal dining package (the specialty restaurants are outstanding), unlimited drink package, and wifi included. Owner's suite guests also get 3 full size bottles of liquor in the cabin as well as the refrigerator kept stocked with water, mixers, etc. I had also asked for a pitcher of unsweet tea and lemonade (the lemonade was fresh squeezed) in the fridge and the butler kept it refreshed every day. He also brings an afternoon snack every day - we asked for sliced fruit and a variety of meats and cheeses. You get priority check-in and the concierge meets you at the check-in desk and escorts you to your cabin and you don't have to wait in any lines. There was also priority disembarkation. Included was both breakfast and lunch in one of the specialty restaurants - we did not eat a single meal at the buffet or the main dining room. All this for only $2,000 per person for 7 days. For what we got and being made to feel like royalty, I thought it was a bargain. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I chose this cruise because of the date and embarkation port. There was a long wait to board due to inspection of each passport. After that it was smooth and excellent sailing. On the second day the captain announced new policies due to ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the date and embarkation port. There was a long wait to board due to inspection of each passport. After that it was smooth and excellent sailing. On the second day the captain announced new policies due to the virus. All restaurant tables were cleared of everything, disposable paper menus were used, and everything was handed to diners by gloved servers. Crew were cleaning every 20 minutes. This attention to every detail kept all healthy. Other than the restaurant situation, everything carried on. We did not miss any ports, the entertainment was entertaining and the food was OK- outstanding. Please try the butter chicken Found at the buffet! Delicious!! My stateroom was well looked after and the cruise was near capacity. We were allowed to visit and disembark at each port. Disembarkation was easy. We were waiting for our ride within 15 minutes. However the Port of Miami was full of many cruise ships as NCL was not sailing for 30 days fleet wide. The entire crew went above and beyond and were cheerful and friendly despite the required extra work due to the virus. We were chosen for the Offices’s Dinner and the next day we arrived to a cabin with 3 towel animals, a birthday banner, and sign from the head if housekeeping to celebrate my adult daughter’s birthday. What a great surprise. Bravo NCL Pearl for a vacation of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our first ever cruise, and it exceeded our expectations, especially after reading so many peoples' bad reviews. I don't understand what people have to complain about? Every staff member that we talked to were so ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, and it exceeded our expectations, especially after reading so many peoples' bad reviews. I don't understand what people have to complain about? Every staff member that we talked to were so amazing, and wanting to make sure we were happy. The Whiskey Bar on Deck 6 had great service, and we got to know Joana and Jia the servers, and they always had a smile for us and by day 2 they were calling us by our name and knew what we wanted to drink. We were on deck 8, just down the hall from O'Sheehan's bar, the location was excellent. Our room steward was Komang, who was also amazing. If you take a minute to talk to the staff, you understand that they are all young and away from home, and a kind word goes a long way. Komang always called us by our name and stopped what he was doing to say hello and find out if we had a good day. It was an obstructed Oceanview, but I thought it had plenty of space. The food was good. The buffet in the morning was very busy, but just wait your turn, and the food was always hot and fresh, and you could choose whatever you wanted. We always took our food to the La Cucina italian restaurant to eat, it was closed until dinner, but we had the whole place to ourselves to eat breakfast. The Indigo dining room was great as well. No formal dress code, which was nice - of course there are always some of hthe older crowd that liked to dress up, but to each their own. Their choices were always good, and I found that if the side dishes weren't to your liking, just ask for what you want to eat, simple. We had the dining package and ate at Cagneys Steakhouse/Teppanyaki/Le Bistro. The food was great, especially Teppanyaki - I have never had tenderloin that good, and the huge shrimp, yummy! The presentation they put on was entertaining, even for the adults. Most of the port days we waited to get off the ship till after lunch. So, in the morning, we had the pool to ourselves, there was nobody around, it was great. Sea days are another story - full of the college kids partying it up - so we found other areas to hang out on the sea days. The evenings were spent at the Whiskey bar (hello to Joanna & Jia!!)- there was always a band playing in all the different lounges. Spinnaker's Lounge had great views, with windows covering the whole area. But, it was at the very front of the ship, so when the waves were high, you could definitely feel it here. The first 2 days the wind was blowing and the waves were high, so you definitely felt the motion, but that's not the ship's fault. Overall, the size of the ship was great, not too big. We would definitely cruise on the Pearl again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I chose epic because It was my first cruise and wanted a huge ship and heard norwegian was a good line. The crew took such good care of us to keep us safe from the corona virus to ensure that we all had a healthy fun cruise. Restaurants ... Read More
I chose epic because It was my first cruise and wanted a huge ship and heard norwegian was a good line. The crew took such good care of us to keep us safe from the corona virus to ensure that we all had a healthy fun cruise. Restaurants were FABULOUS. The entertainment was over top notch. Tables always clean and available.captain worked very hard to keep us safe and made sure we found a port to dock to as soon as he possibly could due to the corona virus .he was definitely a great and courteous captain. Sooo much to do on the ship. Excursions were great. Loved the eco hike and beach at st johns.came with amazing long unexpected boat ride which really made the excursion extra nice along with the amazing paradise beach in st John's and perfect hike. Zip lining in st lucia was so much fun!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We had booked a trip to China in early March. Since it had to be rescheduled due to C-19, we looked around for a cruise. The 7-day Southern Caribbean on the NCL Epic sailed from SJU, which I've never visited, and the ports of call ... Read More
We had booked a trip to China in early March. Since it had to be rescheduled due to C-19, we looked around for a cruise. The 7-day Southern Caribbean on the NCL Epic sailed from SJU, which I've never visited, and the ports of call were 83% new to both of us – so, we picked it. We had a nicer-than-expected experience to Cuba the first time we were on Norwegian in 2018; the word "Epic" sounded famous and grandiose (little did I know at the time that the fame was yesteryear's news - this ship, while massive, is beginning to show its age). Also tempting was a "free" pkg: beverage (premium, but not the top one), 3 specialty dining nights, “shore excursionS”, and 250 minutes of internet - in quotation marks because the fine print revealed they aren’t quite as generous in reality. They charge you the 20% service upfront for the first 2 up front; the bev pkg is regularly priced at $99 per day, while dining is $99 for the 3 nights; so even the gratuity for the bev pack is a whopping $140 per person for the cruise. Frankly, unless you are aready a ripe candidate to join AA, I wouldn't pay to get it - $99 (or $119 with tip) of drinks per day, even at cruise ship prices, is a lot. Now, when it's "free", sure, I can drink $20 worth easily day in and day out. And yeah, there are some sore points even in the freebie (more in a sec) Likewise, I personally won’t spring $33 for specialty dining per person per night (+ tip of course). – better to save my money for when I’m NOT on a cruise, since “specialty” does not always mean “superior” when compared to the alternative (regular dining). The internet was tricky, and while not Flash-like, not as slow as feared. The “shore excursionS” was just $50, for ONE of us – try as I may, I could not come up with any excursionS that would justify the plural number; I forfeited that $50 so that I could save more money buying my own excursions. Even before Viator came on the scene big time, there have always been options that are less expensive and/or restrictive. We spent a couple of days in San Juan before the cruise, did some prep work booking our own excursions while we were there, and looked forward to the cruise with great anticipation. Please be sure you know where you board in SJU, as there are two different cruise terminals, and they are not exactly next to each other. Embarkation was one of the smoothest – a bit of walking, but practically no line, and made even better by an enthusiastic agent. In the interest of brevity (too late, you might complain!), I’ll quickly cover some general areas and focus on a few aspects of this cruise in more detail. You already have my thoughts on excursions. Entertainment was fine, with many options when it’s a ship this size. The two main shows in the Epic Theatre were good to very good. Tthe dueling piano sessions are always helped by the free flow of liquor (guests and artists), and the mentalist guy was impressive in blowing your mind. I cannot comment on any of the kids’ programmes; the water slides were not always operational (they’re fine), and the hot tubs are always crowded. and (as usual) not nearly hot enough. I like the fitness room too – seems to be enough at least for the cruise crowd I was with – not crowded at all. So now, onto the other areas (other than Cabin, which is found below). DINING The use of melamine immediately sets them down a notch: Princess, too, had that, but Celebrity had “real” plates. I’d say the Garden café was generally 3.5 to 4 stars, if you can overlook the crude way in which they treat their esteemed guests: to wit, cantaloupes, water melon, pineapples, and honey dews are all skin on, and hewn to Brobdingnagian proportions, hard to deal with when the knife is dull. We tried both Taste and Manhattan, and yes, the latter is a touch more exclusive and refined. The selection was, again, not as bad as reading reviews would have led me to believe. I had a very nice pepper steak one evening, even the French fries served with it ruined it a bit. Try to stay abreast of dining room/café hours, as that “last resort” buffet on the pool deck outside of the Garden Café is pretty much, well, last resort. That pool bar is easily one of the busiest as well, particularly during the day. Believe it or not, they offer as “specialty” dining, sushi, and a teppanyaki place – places you’d pay probably half the price if you were on terra firma. The 3 we chose were French (C+), Cagney (A-), and Italian (B+). Again, I would NOT pay extra for any of these, but since it’s a so-called freebie, we did it. So how “special” was it? Just to give you an idea… the appetizer at Le Bistro looked similar to the one we had at Taste the first night. I ordered it just for comparison. Result: taste is about the same (yup-that unmistakable chlorine smell is !) – fancier presentation, and one fewer scallop. What do you think: worth it? I’d say only the Cagney experience was “special”: larger, Riedel wine glasses, some selections that are more special (grass-fed New York). That’s why it’s the most booked. If you want Cagney’s, at YOUR time/date, book it as soon as you get on board. It is on wine, and wine pricing, that I want to spend a minute or two explaining, as it is absolutely THE worst foot NCL puts forward. Never mind that they have those wine stations in the garden café designed to gouge the unaware (a Simi Cab, which you get at Publix for about $17, $5.50 for 1.25 oz., and $22 for 5 oz.!!!!! There aren’t enough exclamation marks in the world). So let’s say you dodge that pitfall. NCL has more. Remember the drink pkg: FREE drinks, incl. wine, up to $15 a glass. This is where they get you. You notice there are some wines that are $8/9/10, and then you see a few at $16, $18… a glass. RESIST THE TRAP. They are designed to catch the unaware. You’d think in any establishment, the pricing would be more or less consistent. Not when they want to play “Gotcha” at NCL. I have the facts (I took pix for later research). Those $8/9/10 glasses are generally priced at a quarter of a full bottle of wine (Luigi Bosca Malbec, or the Recanati or Gerard Bertrand Cab, among others, $9/$33, the Torres Crianza, $10/$35). But once you move PAST the $15 price-point, LOOK OUT!!! The Badger Mtn Cab, or the John Wine Cotes du Rousillon, par exemple, $16/$29, or a 1.8 ratio! The point? They are trying to move you into those higher-priced wines, where the mark-up PER GLASS is unreasonably and disproportionately higher. They think you’re stupid. I resent that. Don’t be! SERVICE One thing we’ve observed in our last 3 cruises this past year is that, while on Princess or Celebrity, the staff are pretty damned close to letting the guests pass first in the corridor, NCL is probably doing an 80-20. No biggie, you might say, but worth noting. Staff friendliness was not helped by the draconian measures taken about 5 days into our cruise with food – so, I’ll try not to discount it too much – but it ran the gamut of friendly to indifference. The training, though, is ostensibly lacking. When we dined at Le Bistro, I thought I’d start with, you know, a glass of Dubonnet on the rocks, arguably the national drink along with Pernod and Ricard. “Doo-fun-nay”, our cute waitress from Peru asked, quizzically, “I don’t think we have that”. Likewise, waiters would pretend know what wine you’re talking about, and either bring the wrong one, or come back to ask you again. The way their system is, wait staff often give the impression of being harried or disorganized. Our one notable bright spot was Miguel at La Cucina the last (or what WOULD have been our last) evening on board. He was polite, professional, and very much on top of his game. A gem, and a reassuring footnote on … whatever. I don’t think I’ve made it a habit to slip someone a $20 for one meal (OVER and above the mandatory gratuity we were charged!) Our cruise WAS affected by Covid-19. Day we were to dock in SJU, we were turned away - had to sail to Port Canaveral instead. The 2 extra days of cruising did not cost us extra (although they really could have tastefully handled the $15 pp/per day gratuity as long as the staff DO end up getting their share) - they handled that part alright, arranging for buses to get us to MCO. The main reason that my wife and I were less than pleased overall is summarized this way: NCL/Epic treat customers like they are stupid, math-challenged ignoramus (or is that ignorami); that may or may not be true with the majority of customers, or perhaps fellow pax are just too loaded to care, but the way NCL tried to play "gotcha" with your money is just offensive. That's why I did not buy any future credits, tempting as those deals were: it is not at all clear in my mind that we'd be three-peat customers after that cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise because the dates matched spring break-I am a professor and had the opportunity to travel (when we booked- we did not know that COVID-19 was on the horizon). We booked on "Black Monday" and got a really ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the dates matched spring break-I am a professor and had the opportunity to travel (when we booked- we did not know that COVID-19 was on the horizon). We booked on "Black Monday" and got a really good deal with 3 specialty meals, wifi, a beverage package and 50 dollars off shore excursions. Embarkment was excellent. I wished I has listened to the ship orientation-it took me days to understand processes that I should have learned! Our suite was great on the 9th floor with a balcony. The two of us friends have Celiac disease so were quickly connected to the dietary specialist who took such good care of us. We were not able to eat at the buffet because NCL does not label its food, but we had wonderful meals at the sit down restaurants including three at speciality restaurants. We upgraded to the best beverage package and enjoyed fabulous wine bottles with each meal. Our beds were comfortable. Our room was tended to twice a day. In getting off the boat for island days-we would never know we were on the giant ship! Few if any wait times or lines. Really amazing. We took one NCL shore excursion to the Virgin Gorda that was very very well done! I would say our service was good to excellent. We loved the entertainment especially "Pricilla Queen of the Desert" and the Circ show. We got the Wifi upgrade which may have been worth it for two professionals who needed to stay connected to work. WIfi on cruises is slow and frustrating but we did use it when we could. We left on our cruise just before the serious nature of the COVID-19 pandemic came to light. We were not offered cancellation or rescheduling. Once on the ship the crew did lots to keep us safe. We had no virus on ship with 5000 plus passangers and nearly that many crew. I am grateful to NCL for the care they gave us. We were the last sailing of the ship for months. Now, some criticism, mostly of the ship: *The pools are not satisfactory in terms of space, depth, or temperature. There are really no handicap accommodations for swimming. *Pool bar service was far too slow and difficult *Pool area service staff seemed to be avoiding taking orders rather than trying to serve. Our ship was diverted from Puerto Rico to Cape Canaveral due to the COVID-19. Apparently we needed a 3 day quarantine. The NCL crew and staff handled three more days with poise and grace. They treated us with the same kindness we had during the scheduled days of our cruise. BRAVO NCL! You did an excellent job in a tough situation. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I recently returned from a cruise with my family on the Norwegian Epic. Our port of call was San Juan. We were originally scheduled for a 7 day Caribbean cruise, but it turned out to be a few extra days due to the complications of the ... Read More
I recently returned from a cruise with my family on the Norwegian Epic. Our port of call was San Juan. We were originally scheduled for a 7 day Caribbean cruise, but it turned out to be a few extra days due to the complications of the virus outbreak. Everyone was temperature scanned before entry on the vessel to be sure no passengers had a fever. The staff was very, very diligent keeping everything clean and sanitary. All condiments were removed from the tables, and all the buffet items were given to the patrons from the crew. (The crew was wearing gloves, and with smiles on the faces). I'm sure this was a difficult task considering they were most likely working extra shifts to cover all the extra requirements to feed everyone in the buffet area. The condiments were handed out individually in small containers. Everywhere you looked, there were crew members cleaning every surface. Elevator buttons, casino machines, handrails, tables, walls, everything. I even witnessed two people hand scrubbing every stair on the escalator. We were given constant updates on the current situation in all of the ports we visited. When our vessel tried to return to San Juan on the last day, an announcement was made by the captain about the current situation. He stated that if we were to port there that we would of been quarantined for a minimum of 3 days on the island possibly up to 14. He decided to return the vessel to Port Canaveral for us to disembark. We were then told that every cabin would receive an hour of free Wi-Fi and a free phone call to make changes to our return travel arrangements. Our drinking package was extended along with our vacation for two days at no extra charge. The cruise line also offered to pay the difference for our return flights home, and chartered buses for everyone to the Orlando airport. I believe they also chartered a private flight for any passenger returning to San Juan. All in all I was very pleased with the professionalism and the quality of service from the Norwegian cruise line employees during the stressful time! I would highly recommend them to anyone considering booking a future cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise on 2/6/20 based on the itinerary and low price that went even lower after we booked. We flew into Puerto Rico on Friday, 3/6 and satyed3at the Caribe Hilton (amazing) while enjoying the forts, Old San Juan, some great ... Read More
We chose this cruise on 2/6/20 based on the itinerary and low price that went even lower after we booked. We flew into Puerto Rico on Friday, 3/6 and satyed3at the Caribe Hilton (amazing) while enjoying the forts, Old San Juan, some great restaurants and an excursion to El Yunque rainforest. EMBARKATION Arrived around 1:00, got tested for temperature, checked in on priority (Platinum), filled out some paperwork, got our key cards and were on the ship within 15 minutes of our temp check. DISEMBARKATION Not as smooth, but once we figured out what line to get in, we waited about 45 minutes and then were about the first 100 or so people let off. Going through customs was easy (no paperwork or questions) just held our passport by our face and walked right through. DINING Ate a 5 of the specialty restaurants and enjoyed each except for La Cucina where it took us 1.5 hours just to get served 2 courses. We ate mainly in Taste for breakfast but for a couple of early morning meals at the Garden Cafe. BARBADOS Did NCL Excursion with bus transport to Carlisle Bay Beach (beautiful) that included a welcome drink, lounge chairs and an umbrella. ST. LUCIA Did NCL Excursion for Soufriere by Land/Sea that was phenomenal. Our tour guide, Cindy, was fantastic and knowledgeable about the island and its history during our journey via small bus along the numerous twists/turns and elevated changes with a few stops to see the Pitons and amazing water views below, with our final journey via catamaran to view the Pitons and scenic coastline. ANTIGUA We booked our own excursion to Blue Waters Resort for $65 pp that included use of resort facilities (pools, beaches, water sports) but no food or drink. If you want the all inclusive the cost is $150 pp. NCL charges $349 pp (includes transportation) but we only spent $18 total for the 15-minute ride via cab from the port. You need to book this via phone directly with this beautiful and luxurious resort. TORTOLA/BVI We booked an excursion on our own via Kuralu Too for a small group (we were 2 of 20) that included 2 great snorkel spots and then almost 4 hours at Jost Van Dyke where we enjoyed the food & drinks at The Soggy Dollar Bar, the beautiful beach and warm water. ST. THOMAS We did the skyride that is but a short walk from the cruise pier that provides a quick, enclosed gondola ride to the top, while providing some amazing views at the top. Afterwards, we took an open air cab ($8 pp) to Magen'd Bay Beach to soak up some last minute beachtime at this Top 10 rated beach. ENTERTAINMENT Howl at the Moon - 5 stars! Burn the Floor - 5 stars! Epic Beatles - 4 stars SERVICE 5 Stars across the board but for a brief service glitch while eating at La Cucina. Our room steward, Irwin, was fantastic, pleasant and did a great job. We received greetings duiring our long walks in the room hallways from everyone each time we passed them. We secured POSH passes and got more than our $ worth ($59 pp) especially as our cruise was extended 2 extra days. INTERNET 1 star as I truly hope NCL addresses this really bad system they use. This was never more under the spotlight than when we were told at 6:30 AM on the day we were to leave Puerto Rico on Sunday, 3/15 through Tuesday, 3/17 where trying to make a call or change a flight via the internet were next to impossible. The extra 60 minutes were a nice gesture but were virtually useless when needed. PUERTO RICO A beautiful island that provides a rich Caribbean history, great restaurants, bars and our hotel (Caribe Hilton) was a resort we will go to again. We were upset that our ship was turned away on 3/15, and felt especially sad for the many PR People that were so close to being home, yet wre turned away like rest of us. NCL Thank you for a great cruise, wonderful service and getting us safely to Port Canaveral (no extra costs). We look forward to cruising again on NCL! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We ... Read More
I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We had done this itinerary before out of NOLA on the Dawn and loved it. We convinced another family to join us so it was a group of 8 on this trip. We all ended up having an amazing trip on the Getaway. Cabin: We had a Family Balcony on the 12th Floor. This room had a queen bed by the door and a couch and pullman for the kids. We normally sail inside but getting all the perks with the balcony made this cheap than an inside and still able to get the dining and drink package. Room was fine and it was nice having the balcony although the balcony is small on this ship. The only issue was that the sink water always started scolding hot and needed to run for a while to cool down. Our Steward was great and we received towel animals even though NCL does not do them anymore(our friends with a different steward also received them so it seems they still do it for rooms with kids). Complementary Dining: For dinner we ate at Savor once, Tropicana Room three times, and O'Sheenans once. Tropicana just feels more like a cruise ship dining room. Large and open with live music as opposed to more of a land based restaurant feel of Savor/Taste. Food ranged from good to excellent with no complaints from anyone in our group. Service was great with meals taking around 1:30 to 1:45 which is fine when you are eating a 4 course meal(we always ordered multiple apps). At O'Sheenans we ordered several apps. Wings were very good and Artichoke dip was ok. Burgers were very good also. We did the buffet for breakfast and lunch/post port meals everyday. We thought the buffet was good for a buffet. Most of the stations stay the same day to day with one or two having rotating items. The ship went to enhanced sanitary procedures on day three so their was no self service. That meant it was pretty much all hands on deck for the crew. We had engine room crew and spa crew serving our drinks and I even had the General Manager squirting ketchup on my plate. I felt bad for the crew but it was needed with the current climate/fear. Specialty Dining: We ate at Cagney's and Moderno's with our credits. Both were excellent. Our waiter at Cagney's pointed out that we could get multiple app and sides and one entree. I have read complaints that the crew was pushing only one of each but that was not our experience. On the last day we still had one credit so decided to try American Diner and it was a big mistake. There was only two other tables and everything took a long time to come out. We could see some of our items sitting under the heat lamp for a while. The nachos were one that was and although the taste was good, most of the chips were soggy. I had the Lobster Sliders and the pieces were small and probably cooked days ago. We came away very unimpressed. Entertainment: Almost all of the entertainment was excellent. Million Dollar Quartet was amazing and high energy. The dancers at Burn the Floor were really good and we couldn't believe that were going to have another show an hour later. At Syd's we saw the house band twice and Back in the Day another night. The house band was really fun. They announced at the 80s Prom on the last night that their contract was over and this was their last night. A lot of tears shed between the singers and their handler. Back in the Day is a 80s hair band tribute. They play all the great hair bands from the 80s. They also have a show in the main theater the last night but it conflicted with our Moderno reservation or else we would have been their. Howl at the Moon was fun. The setup is a little awkward since they are using the comedy club. I am use to tables and bar setups on land based HatMs but this was more of chairs setup facing the stage. Still was a lot of fun. The players were changing words around in songs to joke about the current situation, ie changing Sweet Caroline to say not touching you, don't touch me. We also saw a few of the bands playing in the atrium and thought they were good. We also went to the 70s/80s deck party and the Latin deck party. Our cruise director, Vincent, was fun. He is all about getting dressed up in different suits and outfits. He wore a gold disco outfit with a huge 70s fro and platform shoes for the deck party. Activities: This was the biggest ship were have been on with it coming in a little bigger than the Vista. We are bigger boat people. I like that there are so many more bells and whistles than the smaller boats. My wife can sit on a lounger all day but that is not me or the kids. We did the ropes course several times. The walk the plank that goes eight feet over the side of the ship is a little unnerving but we all did it. There are 5 different levels of waterslides including two slides that the floor drops out from under you. I paid for the Arcade Package and it was well worth it. There are plenty of green swipe games although some need to be re-calibrated. We did a few of the trivia games and karaoke and they were fun. All in all we had an amazing time. This was the last cruise before the shutdown. They ship was pretty full but I know there were cancellations. What ever the number of cruisers were they should make that the capacity. Nothing seems really overcrowded and we did not have to wait for anything. We were even able to find seats in the atrium/Syd's and HatM after the shows already started. There were people standing in the venues but that is the normal at land based venues. This is our third NCL cruise and while we are never tied down to one cruise line, we would cruise NCL again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We did this cruise on the Joy from 3-8 to 3-15 right before all the cruise lines suspended operations. Even with the slight anxiety geared to toward the c-virus we still enjoyed this cruise immensely. Stayed in a mini suite with extended ... Read More
We did this cruise on the Joy from 3-8 to 3-15 right before all the cruise lines suspended operations. Even with the slight anxiety geared to toward the c-virus we still enjoyed this cruise immensely. Stayed in a mini suite with extended balcony, wish it would have been a little warmer (winds were cool ) so we could have utilized more often but still enjoyed the extra room. The staff and guests all went above and beyond in regards to maintaining a sanitary environment in all areas of the ship. The staff as normal were all super accommodating and were outstanding in all services rendered. The food was overall very good to great. We didn't use the buffet very often but what we did get in there was good. Ate breakfast at Savor or Taste almost every morning and it was consistently good. The specialty restaurants we had for supper were great especially Ocean Blue.....maybe the best meal of my life. Cagney's great as always, they know how to sear a steak for sure but service was a little uneven. Really enjoyed Q Texas Smokehouse also especially the ribs....sides there were a little different but still good. First time we had ever been on one of the larger ships and was worried on that aspect with seeing some negative reviews but it didn't feel that much larger with lines everywhere very manageable.. One aspect i thought was a design flaw is that this ship only has one theater compared to most i have been on that had two. This causes the main atrium area to be very congested and loud since they hold a lot of events in the Atrium.. Elevators were kinda sluggish and the lines led to congestion in the walkways but we try to walk steps anyway to get the exercise in so wasn't a big deal to us. Entertainment was good, loved Footloose and Elements and saw a comedy show which was good. We did see the Beatles Revolution in the theater but didn't try to see them at the Cavern. Excursions were very smooth in getting on and off and the ship and very well organised. We would love to go back on the Joy again in the future for sure Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our first and last Norwegian cruise. Not anywhere near as good as Royal Caribbean. Boat was blah-no fun art anywhere, not colorful, small theater with cup holders like a movie theater-no balcony, other entertainment area had ... Read More
This was our first and last Norwegian cruise. Not anywhere near as good as Royal Caribbean. Boat was blah-no fun art anywhere, not colorful, small theater with cup holders like a movie theater-no balcony, other entertainment area had folding chairs and no sloped seating. Felt like an auditorium in a school. Only 2 shows instead of one very night. Food was absolutely awful in the main dining rooms. Fine dining was not fine dining and was insulting, especially for someone who has worked in fine dining. French fries and curly fries as sides?? Seriously??? We think they knew the ship wasn’t going back out due to the Coronavirus because there was a lot of repeat meals. They put all their efforts into the restaurants you have to pay for which was also insulting. This cruise is very expensive and to force folks to pay even more for food that is edible is shameful. No fun late night buffets. No fruit displays or ice sculptures. Very very very little live music. There was a section of the ship specifically for a higher paying group of people so we couldn’t use 1/3 of the ship. There were a tremendous amount of kids on the ship with no manners. They were unsupervised and running all over the place. If I wanted to go on a Disney Cruise, I would have. Our room ac was on a timer so woke up hot every night. No way to adjust this. Overall Norwegian completely lacks the effort that other cruise lines do. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
My BF and I just got back from our first Norwegian Cruise which was also the last that sailed before Corona Virus stopped cruise lines from continuing their cruises. I just have to say that Norwegian stepped up to the plate to make sure ... Read More
My BF and I just got back from our first Norwegian Cruise which was also the last that sailed before Corona Virus stopped cruise lines from continuing their cruises. I just have to say that Norwegian stepped up to the plate to make sure all the passengers on board were always safe from infection. There were extra precautions put in place with sanitation throughout the Joy and instructions for everyone to “washy washy” their hands as frequently as possible. There were hand sanitizer stations everywhere. Crew members were on the ready to spritz hands with sanitizer after washing as well. You couldn’t touch a railing or a wall where there wasn’t a crew member sanitizing it right behind you. Yes, some of the steps they took to keep passengers safe seemed like an inconvenience to some but we appreciated all the efforts. We enjoyed our vacation with Norwegian so much! Throughout all this chaos going on they never failed to make sure service was still on point. The food was absolutely delish all over the ship as well. The District Tap and Brew house quickly became our favorite little spot to go hang out, play some cards or listen to Zoe Jackson perform at her piano. Such fun. We will DEFINITELY be cruising with Norwegian in the future when all this stuff blows over. Hopefully that is soon. I already mis it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing ... Read More
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing how the ship was sanitized. Everyday a new process was implemented. throw pillows were removed from cabins and common area, tables were not set until people sat down. Salt and Pepper plus sugars were now on plates to be thrown away after each meal. People were not allowed to touch any food - if you wanted a glass of water, the crew got that for you. If you wanted Ketchup - the crew poured that on your plate. No one could touch the merchandise for sale. Hand washing required to enter the buffet along with sanitizer. Cabins cleaned at least 2x a day. Decks powerwashed nightly. Balconies powerwashed. Constant wiping down of common areas including the baseboards in the halls. To my knowledge, no one was sick and in fact, we felt very safe on this ship with a crew dedicated to ensure that we were safe. Thanks NCL for a vacation we will all remember for a very long time. Thanks to the Joy crew for taking such good care of us! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise because it is convenient for us in Arizona to go to the Mexican Riviera. We have been to all of these ports multiple times, so the trip was more about the experience, and getting away than targeting a specific ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it is convenient for us in Arizona to go to the Mexican Riviera. We have been to all of these ports multiple times, so the trip was more about the experience, and getting away than targeting a specific location. It was our first time on one of the LARGE ships, and I was afraid that it would feel crowded. I did not find this to be the case. After a few days, I figured many people must have cancelled at the last minute due to the corona virus scare, so I asked a customer service, and they confirmed that there was 4,300 passengers the week we sailed. Double occupancy is only 3,800 so it was a pretty full ship, yet I never felt too crowded. A synopsis of some of the good/not so good is below. Embarkation - we had flights included with our cruise fare, and arrived later than we would have planned for ourselves. Those that arrived before 10:30 got through security, health screening, and embarkation within about 1/2 hour. since we didn't get to the port till about 1:00 it took quite a bit longer. They were doing extra screenings of passports, and had extra health forms everyone had to fill out, so that slowed things down, that of course was not NCL's fault. Overall would have been better if we had arrived earlier. Cabin - We had a concierge villa suite with balcony, and loved it. the upgraded toiletries, nicer linens/pillows, and abundant storage made it a very comfortable week. We were able to get help from the concierge to arrange reservations to some of the comedy shows that we wanted to see. We had pre-reserved all of our dining, so didn't use him for that. The perk of having private Breakfast and Lunch in La Cucina was great. Dining - We did eat at Cagneys, La Cucina, and Ocean Blue as well as Taste, the Manhattan Room, the Buffet, and the Local. Once or twice an extra item we had requested was forgotten, but never had a bad meal. The staff was very attentive, and their job was made more difficult with enhanced sanitary guidelines. No one was allowed to serve themselves in the buffet, menu covers were not used in the restaurants, and the paper menu's were discarded, so as not to pass anything from one table to another. They were strict about washing hands and sanitizing before entering eateries, and it helped us feel confident that our health was being protected. The Shows, Footloose, Elements, Beatles Revolution, and Comedians, were all great. I've always been a fan of going to various trivia, but either because of the size of the ship, or technical difficulties, or doing them in the atrium, or just the staff, I didn't enjoy the trivia games on this ship. we walked away from several of them without finishing. If they had a better location for them and just stuck to basics instead of trying to make them high tech, it would have been better. The staff and service were outstanding. Our room steward kept our room spotless, and people were constantly cleaning and wiping down handrails/elevator buttons. I did need to go to customer service twice (I picked times they weren't busy as they weren't critical issues) and both times they were friendly, and helpful. There is some of everything on this ship, we really enjoyed the hot tub in Spice H20, and the Ocean Loop waterslide. A few things they could improve, the American Diner didn't seem to ever have people in it. If they could make that an included option for the dining, with perhaps some up-charge items (shakes, smoothies etc) I'm sure it would actually generate more money for them. The Galaxy Pavillion (VR Arcade) didn't seem to be very busy either. It seemed to be a chunk of prime real estate that they could have used for a better purpose. We didn't do the go karts or laser tag, so can't comment on that. We also didn't use any of the kids/teen clubs so no comment about that either. No trip is perfect, but I've found your enjoyment is based more on your attitude than other factors. If you want to be critical you can always find imperfections, but if you want to have fun, you will find that as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our first cruise and given the circumstances, it was awesome. We were worried about how this may turn out, but I wish we were still on the ship. So much to do every day! Crew was spectacular! Special hats off to Arsen from the ... Read More
This was our first cruise and given the circumstances, it was awesome. We were worried about how this may turn out, but I wish we were still on the ship. So much to do every day! Crew was spectacular! Special hats off to Arsen from the Ukraine. Just the best! My wife even started her art collection on this cruise. We would definitely sail with Norwegian again. The kids enjoyed all the activities on board. They were only disappointed that they did not weigh enough to do the loop water slide that goes out over the edge of the ship. The freestyle dining was awesome. We were able to eat when we wanted and where we wanted. There are a few premium restaurants, but for our taste, the Garden Cafe Buffet was great. The crew made sure that everyone was washing and disinfecting hands. All surfaces were constantly being cleaned and wiped down. Washy Washy was a new term we learned. :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I want to start off by saying that I recognize that this is a stressful time for everyone including and especially for the travel industry. We cruised from March 8 to March 15. On March 8 when we left, COVID19 was a concern but not to ... Read More
I want to start off by saying that I recognize that this is a stressful time for everyone including and especially for the travel industry. We cruised from March 8 to March 15. On March 8 when we left, COVID19 was a concern but not to the same extent it was by the end of our cruise. That being said, the service on this ship is terrible from day one.This as my first time with NCL, but I have cruised with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. ALL of them completely blow NCL out of the water.It seemed like they were really short staffed. At night in The Local (the only place to get food after 11:30 unless you want to pay $9.95 for room service) tables sat uncleared and totally filthy, the hot tubs in the evening constantly had empty plastic cups flying around them and squashed out cigarette butts in the filters. During the morning hours there was garbage floating around in the pool. There were never enough bar tenders, finding a server around the pool or in the theater, or really at any restaurant was a hard task. We waited about an average of half an hour for a drink. I asked Customer Service about this assuming COVID19 had them short staffed but I was told that they were full staffed and "its normal to wait a long time for things on big ships." I noticed that there were no drink servers in the main buffet area and asked about that and was told "It is self serve and we don't have servers but there is a walk up bar in the buffet if you want a drink." There are 4000 people on this ship, most of which have the "free drink package" (except for the  additional 20% added for gratuities and additional taxes you pay per drink  when docked in at certain ports) and one bar in the buffet,with one, maybe two bartenders. You do the math on this one. You get to choose between waiting in line for forty minutes for a drink or eating with your family. The staff on this ship didn't seem motivated at all and they were just down right miserable in some instances.At the bar by the kids pool my son was sitting on a stool at the bar while I was waiting for a drink and the bartender snapped "get down, no kids". the towel guys were very rude and abrupt as well. It definitely did not have the friendly feel you get used to on other cruise lines or even all inclusive land vacations  There are some things mentioned in a lot of other reviews that are definitely true. One being the crowding and the other being the nickle and diming.  This is a huge ship that has all the pool space of a small ship. The amount of people on a sea day is unbearable. We had the pleasure of being on this cruise with a bunch of 20 somethings during their march break. the "adult pool" was overtaken by drunk college students doing cannonballs and belly flops into the pool surrounded by about 2000 other annoyed and disgruntled guests while security chased them around the pool. This was a daily thing. This ship is so overcrowded. Other people have said it again and again. Its true. As for the nickle and diming, there is a program at kids club where you can leave your children later at night for a fee. If you have two children (siblings) in the club you get a discount. NCL tried to charge us separately for our boys and not give us the discount because they are step brother and not actual brothers. We were in the same room and they are on a family vacation. I thought that was shady. When the COVID19 situation got more serious on Thursday they closed down ping pong and mini golf to stop spread of germs. Those are both free things. They did however leave open the arcade, laser tag, and go carts. All payed things. I think if there is risk of someone getting the virus from the handle of a golf club, there is most certainly a risk of getting it an an arcade,or even a casino! This ship is beautiful and has some really cool restaurants and bars and some of the best food I've had on a cruise. Jersey Boys and Six were also really great shows.  It's just run by a company who seems to have no idea or doesn't care who their competition is in terms of customer service. When it comes to large ships, The Oasis class blows NCL away in every category. If I had never been a cruise before I might think this was good, but comparatively it's not. We sailed with Celebrity last spring during a promotion they had similar to NCL's where the drinks and wifi were included. We did not pay a dime more for anything that claimed to be free, we had unlimited wifi for both devices (I don't even want to say what we ultimately ended up paying for our "free" wifi) on Celebrity we didn't pay an extra 20% on our drink package, no additional extra taxes at certain ports either. Everything was just as it claimed. WIth NCL I felt like I was always looking for the fine print or the "catch" There are a few other small things that seemed off too. Bliss didn't  leave New York until about 2.5 hours after it was supposed to and no one addressed this at all. Standing outside at the "sail away party" was really cold lol, It would have been nice to know we were going to be waiting until after the sail away party ended! I still don't know why we were so late leaving. We missed the day at their private island because of high winds, which seems to be fairly common. Although whatever ship it was may have been smaller than ours, it was disheartening to see Royal Caribbean docked at their island so close to the one we should have been at.  We were at customer service so many times on account of key cards not working which was frustrating. All in all, I'm not sure this cruise was worth the 14 day quarantine my family and I are enduring from having been on it   (being Canadian citizens returning from a different country, just policy now) Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
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