We went on this cruise with a group from a radio station. The rooms were so small two people could not move around at the same time because there was a king sized bed taking up most of it. For us, that was a waste. There was a odor which ... Read More
We went on this cruise with a group from a radio station. The rooms were so small two people could not move around at the same time because there was a king sized bed taking up most of it. For us, that was a waste. There was a odor which was similar to sauerkraut on certain levels of the ship that never went away. The food was serviceable but nothing outstanding. I can say the same about staff. On other cruises, the staff genuinely seem like they are happy to do anything for you (before you even realize you need or want it done). This staff wasn’t like that at all. One big negative for me was I got a hot shower the first day but not a single time after that! Worst of all, our room was right under the buffet style dining room. The sounds of the staff working at all hours was jarring in our room and while the bed was comfortable, I couldn’t sleep for all the racket. We purchased the specialty dining package but didn’t get to use it because there were no reservation times still available! Overall, pretty disappointed. Read Less
Yes the ship is dated....yes it is a bit rough around the edges....yes the room is small and the furnishings need updating but having said all that, it took us to CUBA. Check in was smooth but for a disabled guest there was a shortage of ... Read More
Yes the ship is dated....yes it is a bit rough around the edges....yes the room is small and the furnishings need updating but having said all that, it took us to CUBA. Check in was smooth but for a disabled guest there was a shortage of wheelchair assistance and the walk to the ship a long one. The staff were great and were always on hand to assist. But try and ring through to reception....impossible....the same recorded message that they were busy. Our cabin 9268 was small but had a balcony and it was just great to sit and watch the sea. Cagney which was extra was awful. Tough filet mignonette and even worse tuna steak. After that we ate each evening in the buffet which was surprisingly good. The last night being a Mexican buffer. Dress was always casual. We were helped through immigration as I could not stand in the long queues and once through and out a whole new world was opened. Havana is sensational and the colours of the old American cars held together by tape in many cases was a joy to watch. We toured with Cuban Landscapes who took us in an old Plymouth with a hard top on our day and a half tours. We did not get off in Stirrup Cay but had a relaxing day on board. Eparture was a doddle and we were off the ship and in our car in 45 minutes.
Would we go on this ship again....probably not but it was a great choice for this short cruise. Read Less
We choose this cruise to see the culture of Cuba. The Norwegian Sky is a smaller ship in the fleet and has been refurbished. We didn’t have some of the amenities that we enjoy, such as multiple electrical outlets, updated ... Read More
We choose this cruise to see the culture of Cuba. The Norwegian Sky is a smaller ship in the fleet and has been refurbished. We didn’t have some of the amenities that we enjoy, such as multiple electrical outlets, updated restrooms, wide choice of restaurants, and photography service and packages.
We were able to experience the Cuban culture.
We chose the private excisions instead of the ship excursion, and received personal attention. We interacted with the people and experienced first hand the actual culture of country.
We received great service, especially our Cain steward, Fernando. The service in the dining rooms was excellent.
The photographers were not as friendly or knowledgeable as I have experienced in other Norwegian cruises.
A majority of the crew was from the Phillipines. I found this to be unusual.
Overall, we enjoyed our cruise and look forward to the next cruise adventure.
Sandy & Greg Read Less
Let me start by saying we just got back from the Norwegian Escape, during NJ Week. This is a week that all NJ schools are closed for 2-3 days, so it's a popular time for families to go with school-age children. We went with 4 teenagers ... Read More
Let me start by saying we just got back from the Norwegian Escape, during NJ Week. This is a week that all NJ schools are closed for 2-3 days, so it's a popular time for families to go with school-age children. We went with 4 teenagers (15-17) and a toddler (less than 3). We booked this trip for a few reasons: It sailed from NYC so we didn't have to fly, it looked VERY family/kid friendly, it was a newer ship with lots to do.
The Ship: The ship is GORGEOUS! It's very well maintained, very clean, and has quite a bit to do on it. After being on it for a day or so, you get used to it and know where to go and how to find places.
Bars: There are a TON of bars. If I didn't have the unlimited drinks package, this would actually be annoying as it seems there's a bar every 10 feet (similar to a Starbucks on every corner in NYC). The drinks were GREAT! There's a mojito bar (Sugarcane) that had amazing passionfruit mojitos, and a bunch of other varieties. Margaritaville (on Deck 17) had amazing margaritas, etc. Drinks were great overall.
DOWNSIDE: I had to choose one of 5 free things when we booked and we booked the Drinks Package. Because of how many rooms we had and how we were situated, we had one adult, one child in the rooms. Even though if we had 2 adults in a room, we each would have gotten the Unlimited Drinks package, we only were able to get a Soda package for our kids. This is fine, until we got hit with a charge for a variety of "drinks" my teens got such as a non-alcohol pina colada (that cost the same as a regular one). This seems very bizarre to me as the only reason they couldn't get one is it's not included in the soda package but if they were over 21, this would not be an issue. They credited me back the money, but I think it's bizarre that teens can get a "smoothie" drink but can get soda if they're part of the "perks package."
Food: Food was pretty good. Some nights it was amazing, some it was ok. I must give a HUGE shout-out to Aleia Puey, the Asst. Maitre'D who was BEYOND helpful to us. We have a child with allergies and she was always helping us with the menu and ensuring our child was able to eat without worrying if it had the allergen in there. If you go with anyone with allergies, they will custom-make food for you, and we are forever grateful to her (and many others) who were very helpful and accommodating. The food was very meat/dairy heavy. If you're vegetarian, you have some decent options. If you're vegan, you have salad. I'm mostly plant-based, so it was tougher.
Service: This was VERY hit or miss. The people who tended to our rooms were amazing and very accommodating. Many of the people at the restaurants (specifically the hostess at the Manhattan Room) and some of the staff at the buffet were just rude! They would pretend not to notice things, almost like if someone fell, they would look the other way just to not have to deal with it. Overall, service was good, but there are a few people that if they reported to me, I'd def fire over their carelessness.
Activities: Great arcade! We had several issues w/ money being charged and games not working or not giving tickets (this was troubling for my toddler) but these were fixed very quickly so I'm happy about that. The biggest challenge here for us was that most activities were geared for either babies under 1, or kids over 14. There were probably some that kids who were 3-8 can enjoy but not many. I was shocked that there was no play room/indoor park for kids. The guppies room was TINY and my toddler refused to go there after going one time. There were very few options for a parent to go play w/ the child. These were all drop off services (paid) which would be fine, but my toddler is almost 3 and didn't make the cutoff to the bigger room. They should split it up into 6months-24 months, and then 2-3 years old. They currently have it as non-walkers vs. walkers. Some kids walk at 10 months, so it's a 35 month old with a 10 month old. Doesn't make sense to me. The Splash Academy is 3+. My son was bored a lot!
Entertainment: This is the biggest miss on the ship. I will say Alvin, the entertainment director, was Amazing! Very engaging, always "on" and happy, and I have no idea when this guy sleeps! The shows were eh. My son loves going to shows with us, from cirque du soleil, to broadway style, and he could not sit through some of these. Some of the shows were comedy shows. I'm sure these were great, but most kids aren't into it. One of the shows, The Brat Pack, while amazing (the stars were just wonderful and had great energy and voices) is a 16+ show. They used quite a bit of offensive language (F you was said several times, as were other words), had several half naked scenes, and had a lot of strobe lights. My son loved it but couldn't sit through it. My teens loved the half naked guys of course, but it was def more of an 18+ show than a family-friendly show. The Scotty Cavanaugh (sp?) show was great where it was comedy mixed with juggling. I would've expected better show options.
Excursions: This is where the rating became a 3. We've cruised before (never Norwegian) and this was the first time this happened. When we got to the private island, in order to get off the boat (using the smaller boat), we had to first file into the theatre and SIT there... for about 30-40 minutes. I was ready to forget the whole thing at that point. I understand there are many people who want to leave, but this should've been orchestrated much better. I was VERY disappointed w/ NCL at this. The island itself was very nice.
Overall, I would recommend this cruise only to people going without kids. There were also a TON of adults complaining about amount of kids which was annoying. Don't they seem commercials and see that it's supposed to be for families? if you don't want to see kids on vacations, go to adult-only vacations or to cruises without an aqua park. Or not during Jersey week! Read Less
I will start by saying the ship was absolutely beautiful and is very well maintained. The staff was mostly helpful and extremely nice. The food was about the same as we have seen on other cruise lines, nothing that stood out. That being ... Read More
I will start by saying the ship was absolutely beautiful and is very well maintained. The staff was mostly helpful and extremely nice. The food was about the same as we have seen on other cruise lines, nothing that stood out. That being said, there were several experiences that left me disappointed. First, Escape holds over 4,200 passengers, which made it feel like Christmas at a shopping mall most of the time. It seems that Norwegian just stacked the decks higher to fit more people but did not provide sufficient public space to accommodate those people. The pool deck was a nightmare. Unless you got there by 8am there was no way you were getting a lounge chair near the pool. You had to settle for space on the higher decks, far away from the pool, which is not very convenient for people with children. In addition, the Escape offers only one pool that is open to children, and it is the smaller of the two pools on deck. The larger, more open pool near the music is adults only. The kids pool was tiny considering there were probably over 1,000 kids on board. It is also very closed off and parents can only see their children if they stand on one side, which is also a walkway so it is a bit crazy. There are 4 waterslides, but only 2 are open to children under 100 lbs. The ropes course was great, but the line to get on took about 45 minutes. It also goes over the mini golf area, which made it hard for people to play golf because parents were walking around the course looking at their kids on the ropes. My children normally love to go to the kids club on ships but this time they did not want to go back after the first night. They said it was very chaotic and they all got separated into different areas from their friends we were travelling with even though they were the same age.
As for dining - the food was okay but the buffet was extremely crowded and frustrating. The options for the "free" food were very limited. There are at least 10-12 places you have to pay to eat in, but the only dinner choices are the main dining rooms of O'Sheehan's which were all very crowded. The staff did a good job of seating our large party on most nights, but one night at the "Taste" dining room it took us nearly 3 hours to eat dinner. 45 minutes before we got drinks and nearly 2 hours until our main course arrived. The manager said he would "take care of us" the next night but he was nowhere to be found. We were also approached by the assistant food and beverage manager one night when he overheard us talking about the poor service at dinner and promised he would "send something special to our room"....which we never received.
On other cruise lines we have been able to just show up for the entertainment and watch the shows without reservations. On Escape, you have to book ahead of time (because there are so many people), and sometimes the shows were sold out. You also needed to pay to watch some of the shows (wine lovers musical and choir of man). They also offered a lot of programs such as towel folding demonstration and cupcake decorating, but all of them were in the atrium near customer service and there was not enough space for everyone who wanted to participate. This was especially frustrating on the last sea day when it was too cold to go outside. While they did offer a few different things each hour, they were all very crowded.
The staterooms were about average or slightly smaller than we have seen on other lines. The room steward was wonderful and called us by name every time he saw us. The main issue with the staterooms was the noise in the hallway or neighboring rooms carrying into our cabin - especially when the housekeeping carts were rolling by.
The private island was amazing. We were very happy we decided to do the private cabana so we were on the quieter part of the beach. The only downside was that we were not near the buffet or , but we were able to get our attendant to bring food to us and we walked over to go snorkeling. The main beach looked like spring break in Ft. Lauderdale.
Getting on the ship took about an hour fro the time we arrived at the terminal and we spent about 40 minutes going through customs after disembarking. The disembark procedure was different - everyone had to go to customer services and select their own luggage tags which were color-coded by time you wanted to leave the ship. It worked out fine and we were able to eat breakfast before getting off the ship.
I would likely not travel on Norwegian again, and certainly would not go on a ship that held so many passengers. I encountered many people who felt the same way which is a shame because it really is a beautiful ship. Read Less
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th anniversary and although we have taken 12 cruises, have never been to the Bahamas. One thing I do not understand is why ships port at Port Canaveral. There is nothing to do in port, no shops, no ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th anniversary and although we have taken 12 cruises, have never been to the Bahamas. One thing I do not understand is why ships port at Port Canaveral. There is nothing to do in port, no shops, no restaurants, nothing. Excursions are offered to several Disney attractions, but between the travel time and crowds, it is hardly worth the effort. We took the shuttle ($15 per person round trip) to Coco Beach and wandered around there for a couple of hours. Great Stirrup Cay was very nice. There were plenty of chairs available both in the sun and shade. The food at the Taco place was good. In Nassau we took the land and sea tour which was a joke. The land part was a bus driver taking us to Atlantis for 25 minutes so we could wander around the high priced shops. He then returned us to the port area where we boarded a boat and took a tour. Our guide was so entertaining and made the trip fun. He pointed out all the celebrity homes and history of the area. The down size to this trip was we were left off about five blocks from the security check point and there were several people with mobility problems that had a great deal of difficulty returning to the ship. No where did it say you would have to walk that far after the water tour. The crew on the Gem was very friendly. This was our fourth cruise on the Gem and we like the size of the ship. As you may have read in other reviews, the food is mediocre at best and rarely arrives hot. I ordered pancakes and they arrived cold. I sent them back and the next ones were cold also. I will say we were pleasantly surprised on our last night when we finished dinner and three waiters came to the table to sing Let Me Call You Sweetheart" in celebration of our 50th anniversary. Our balcony cabin was fine with plenty of room to put all our clothes and articles away and room to shove the suitcases under the bed. The bed was one of the most comfortable we have ever slept on while cruising. The only thing I did not care for was our cabin steward did not make up our room between 1:00 and 2:00 in the afternoon. We often return to our cabin in the early afternoon for a nap or to read on the balcony and we could not because she hadn't cleaned it. We did not have a problem getting on line although it was slow, very slow. But we always got on and even had a few minutes left at the end of the cruise. Embarkation was very long. We are platinum members and still had to wait as the computers went down. Leaving the ship was not bad. There were lines, but they moved along. We have found that if you wait until 9:00 or 9:15 to leave, it is not so backed up. Norwegian does need to improve their embarkation service. When we have sailed on other ships, it is much, much easier. Read Less
The cruise is great, should be perfect if we spend 2 days at Nassau instead one! The Great Stirrup Cay Island is gorgeous, we love it... BUT the swimming with the pigs tour was ridiculous! You pay $109 per person to feed the pigs, they are ... Read More
The cruise is great, should be perfect if we spend 2 days at Nassau instead one! The Great Stirrup Cay Island is gorgeous, we love it... BUT the swimming with the pigs tour was ridiculous! You pay $109 per person to feed the pigs, they are NOT at the beach at all! They made a gate and space for them but it’s very commercial, they are not free...
You don’t swim with them at all, this is fake add! You see them, you feed them, pad them and that’s it! Very expensive for what they offer!
Beside that we like it everything else!
Just wish to spend more time in Bahamas... for me FL stop wasn’t worth at all...
We are there for Bahamas, and Florida was just a waste of time! ;/
It’s a great Cruise, they just have to improve somethings...
How about a partnership with Atlantis as well? Could be great.... Read Less
We chose this cruise because it was a short weekend trip, cheap and the drinks were included.
The ship was the smoothest sailing ship I had ever encountered - there were times I didn't even realize the ship was moving until i looked out ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a short weekend trip, cheap and the drinks were included.
The ship was the smoothest sailing ship I had ever encountered - there were times I didn't even realize the ship was moving until i looked out the window.
Drinks were great - we never had to wait long at all.
Food was good but the Palace had poor service at breakfast (waited over an hour for food).
The cabin was average - we had a balcony room and it was of normal size. We never got a hot shower it was tepid at best (but we did not complain so we did not give them a chance to fix it). The outlet in the bathroom did not work. (again, we did not complain so they did not have a chance to fix).
The island was awesome - plenty of beach chairs for everyone, restrooms were clean and stocked and the food was ok.
we did do the Hop on/off buss in Miami with a drop off at airport - this worked out great since our return home flight was late in the evening and this gave us a chance to see Miami.
I would do this cruise again because it is a nice short get a way and it was not too expensive. Read Less
I Cruised to the Bahamas out of Miami on November 2 2018 with a group of 8. Had an amazing trip for my mother’s 50th birthday. Only complaints would be I was told that gratuity was going to to $88 and ended up coming out to $120 also ... Read More
I Cruised to the Bahamas out of Miami on November 2 2018 with a group of 8. Had an amazing trip for my mother’s 50th birthday. Only complaints would be I was told that gratuity was going to to $88 and ended up coming out to $120 also one of my service wasn’t very kind to my family and I at the Palace restaurant and my husband and I never seen my stateroom server (only got one animal towel ) waited 45 min for an Iron. I would suggest that there would be more guidance as to where to go when trying to get to the ship & More signs as to where to enter the building was a little bit confused went around in circles for about 20 minutes before realizing where to go.
Everything else was clean and everything else was very organize. Really enjoyed my trip ready to plan the next one. Read Less
We have sailed with NCL and other cruise lines and we felt that on this cruise the service and the quality of the food was definitely declining. The food in the Garden Cafe was not well displayed and the way the cafe is laid out makes it ... Read More
We have sailed with NCL and other cruise lines and we felt that on this cruise the service and the quality of the food was definitely declining. The food in the Garden Cafe was not well displayed and the way the cafe is laid out makes it very difficult to get to the buffet. There was limited seating and it was incredibly noisy - we avoided the Cafe as much as possible and ate in O'Sheehan's which was easy to get into and quiet enough to carry on a conversation, but the menu is quite limited. We ate in the main dining room, Versaille a few evenings and mornings for breakfast and the service was just terrible - our food never came at the same time, sometimes it was cold and sometimes items were missing. The menu was also not very appealing - not once was steak and lobster on the menu. We ate at the speciality dining restaurants 3 nights and they were all excellent.
As for the bars - they were always understaffed so we had to stand at the bar to order our drinks and usually there was only one bartender so it took a long time just to get a glass of wine. We typically met in Gatsby's.
The couple we were traveling with were in a cabin that had a faulty toilet and for the entire 8 day trip they had to call Guest Services to have a plumber come fix the toilet and then wait for housekeeping to come clean up the water all over the bathroom floor! Literally everyday, and sometimes twice a day they spent time in their cabin waiting for a plumber
I'm pretty sure none of us will travel on the Star again. The itinerary was spectacular even though we missed a stop in Kotor - our captain said the weather was too bad to get into the port. However when we spoke to our tour guide abou canceling our planned tour he said our Captain made a big mistake because the weather was beautiful. Very disappointing. I'm all about safety, but I felt they skipped this stop out of convenience to the ship, not because of weather. Read Less