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1,252 Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

I have just disembarked from this Norwegian Spirit cruise that started in Southampton on 27th September and was supposed to call at Ijmuiden for Amsterdam then on to Bergen, Flam and Geiranger in Norway before heading off to Iceland to ... Read More
I have just disembarked from this Norwegian Spirit cruise that started in Southampton on 27th September and was supposed to call at Ijmuiden for Amsterdam then on to Bergen, Flam and Geiranger in Norway before heading off to Iceland to visit Akureyri and Reykjavik then on to Belfast and Dublin before returning to Southampton. Prior to departure from Southampton passengers were informed that due to very strong winds we would not be visiting Ijmuiden but would go instead to Le Havre. This port of call was cancelled the following day due to bad weather and the ship proceeded to Bergen then on to Flam and Gerainger. Whilst in Gerainger the passengers were told that due to very high winds and rough seas the ship would be unable to visit Iceland and instead would spend another two days in Norway visiting the ports of Hellesynt and Allesund before heading off to an additional port of Greenock for Glasgow.. Many passengers were upset that the Icelandic part of the itinerary had been cancelled and a minority felt so upset that they held a protest meeting in the atrium. Videos of this protest were posted on line. The number of passengers involved was quite small and the vast majority of passengers, including myself, were completely unaware that a protest had taken place. Once the videos were placed on social media the newspapers got hold of the story. Despite the published views of a minority of passengers that the whole cruise was terrible the actuality was almost the reverse. Despite the disappointment of not being able to visit Iceland the majority of passengers fully understood the reasons for the changes to the itinerary in that Norwegian Cruise Line places passenger safety ahead of other considerations. The passengers who demonstrated on board and demanded refunds of their cruise fares would more that likely have sued the cruise line for putting them in harms way if the itinerary had not been changed. As it turned out the visit to Greenock did not eventuate even though the pilot was on board, as winds in excess of 40 knots prevented the ship from mooring up. The two final ports of Belfast and Dublin did not pose a problem weatherwise. It is unfortunate that the ships Captain is not a good communicator and his accent is sometimes difficult to understand but his announcements to passengers were, if important, relayed by the Cruise Director so everyone was adequately informed of the reasons for the changes to the itinerary. Life on board the ship was very pleasant with the crew being extremely friendly and helpful.Despite the bad weather there was a full programme of entertainment that passengers could avail themselves of if they felt so inclined. I believe that only one show had to be cancelled due to the weather. The food in the main dining rooms was of an acceptable standard and that in the speciality restaurants was very good indeed. These views of mine are shared by many of the passengers that I spoke to and many were astounded at the negative remarks made to the press and on social media by a vociferous minority. The reported problems associated with the sewage system and the reports of stale food being served in the restaurants was not experienced by any of the many passengers that I met on this pleasant if rather rough weather cruise. I would certainly cruise on this ship again although I will probably take a greater interest in the time of year to book a cruise that includes Iceland in the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We enjoyed the places we visited. Our stateroom was quiet and well serviced. We enjoyed meeting different people at meal times. The staff were invariably friendly and helpful. Provision was made of a meeting room for an informal church ... Read More
We enjoyed the places we visited. Our stateroom was quiet and well serviced. We enjoyed meeting different people at meal times. The staff were invariably friendly and helpful. Provision was made of a meeting room for an informal church service on Sunday evening. BUT We found the number of people on board a bit much and would consider a smaller ship therefore another time. The music was often loud. Our first meal in Tropicana was spoiled in this way. The background music in the corridors was irritating. We felt the excursion to St Petersburg was over priced and the lunch provided disappointing (no bortsch!) The guide, however was very good. If we had known about independent excursions we would have booked one of those. Apparently one of those had a short river cruise and a visit to the Church of Spilled Blood (and bortsch!) and some free time ashore, all of which which we would have enjoyed. On the second day of the tour we had to stand for a while for admission to Peterhof. This was made bearable by a brass band and that the weather was dry. To stand in the rain would have been miserable. We were disappointed that the speciality restaurants attracted a charge and that internet was charged at too high a price. It wasn't clear just what our basic drinks package allowed. At the rescue drill on the first afternoon, we found it hard to hear what was being said, partly because a gaming machine was playing music, until an enterprising passenger unplugged it - but surely it should be good practice for staff to ensure that there is no distracting music happening during safety drills. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise to visit Baltic capitals, specifically St Petersburg. Chose NCL based on our prior experience with Alaska (Sun) from Vancouver and Gem ( Eastern Caribbean from NYC) experience more than 3 years ago. This big ship with ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit Baltic capitals, specifically St Petersburg. Chose NCL based on our prior experience with Alaska (Sun) from Vancouver and Gem ( Eastern Caribbean from NYC) experience more than 3 years ago. This big ship with 4000+ Passengers was a big disappointment for many reasons. There were also some good points. Good: Great cabin stewardess, Varied cuisines in Garden Cafe, Clean and spacious mini suite with balcony on the 11th floor. That’s about it. Bad: confusing ship with all sort of carnival like money making outfits between the fore and aft sections of the ship. You pay for almost anything that is tasty or of quality (like Cappuccino, gelato, water bottle, fountain soda and many such items). You pay through your nose for alcoholic beverages with 18% mandatory gratuity and the same for specialty dining. Included dining rooms serve at snails pace and food is mostly cold by the time it’s gets to you. If that’s not enough there are continuing game shows, Bingo and other scams that are heavily weighted in favor of the house. Casino area, unavoidable as you go for dining area, are smoke filled. For this big ship, the deck board walking track is about 1/8 of a Kilometer as opposed to nearly 1/4 of mile or so on the smaller Gem class ship. Avoid taking shore excursions with the cruise line. You can save more than 50%. Viator offers St Petersburg 2-day Excursion (Russia exempts one of Visa if taking approved tour) with 18 or less passengers in AC van for about $220 per person (you pay for lunch that costs about $15- $20 or less per person per day). Compare that to some $550 per person! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I prefer traveling alone and I sail Norwegian because of the studio cabins. I also have rewards with Norwegian because I have sailed them so many times. I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad since the 1960's and I wanted ... Read More
I prefer traveling alone and I sail Norwegian because of the studio cabins. I also have rewards with Norwegian because I have sailed them so many times. I have not had the opportunity to travel abroad since the 1960's and I wanted to be more adventurous so I chose this Northern Europe cruise, I was interested in the ports, the culture, the people, the history, the beauty, etc. If I were to do it over again, I would have done so much differently. I stayed in Copenhagen for four days pre-cruise. I bought the Copenhagen Card but lost money because I did not use it enough. I wish that I had bought the HOHO bus in Copenhagen. I stayed at First Hotel 27 and can recommend. Breakfast was excellent and so was wi fi. Staff was great and I loved the personal care items. Location was very good. Copenhagen is great. Beautiful City with lots to do but as you have heard, it is also expensive. For Germany, I did not want to deal with the trek to Berlin and went to Schwerin and Schwerin Castle. I was not disappointed. I was surprised at how beautiful Tallinn was. I took The Palace and Old City tour. I learned a lot but HOHO bus might be a good option depending. St. Petersburg was still very crowded with tourists. The Hermitage was still overcrowded and frantic. I wish that I had chosen the evening visit. Try to avoid using the cloakroom if possible because it is so hard to get your things when leaving. Things were so chaotic in the Hermitage that I took a fall. Peterhof was beautiful. Recommended. Another very pleasant surprise as I was not expecting it to be so beautiful. Helsinki was a peaceful and relaxed respite after St. Petersburg. While I took an excursion, this would be a good port for doing the HOHO bus or just walking. In Sweden, I took the Stockholm by Sea and Land excursion. Stockholm is beautiful and so interesting but then so were all the ports. Another port where the HOHO might be a good choice. I believe that it picks up and returns to the port. I ate at the Garden Cafe and 24/7 restaurant only. The food was just so so. It was a hit or a miss. However, if you had a miss, you could always go back trying to find a hit. Desserts were always delicious and coffee is always terrible. The Atrium was always too loud and noisy. NCL needs to move some of the entertainment to The Theater or somewhere else on the ship. I did enjoy the Abba Tribute. I also sent to the Farewell Show and Million Dollar Quartet. Both very good. I was upgraded to a large size Oceanview which had a bathtub but no coffee machine. While I liked the window, I often could not see out because of water and fog. Embarkation and Disembarkation went smoothly for me. Some staff was friendly and helpful while others were not. That has been the situation on all my cruises and I have learned to go with the flow. Weather was good to us. It was always in the 50's and overcast but only a few sprinkles now and then. Very comfortable with the right clothing. it was a wonderful learning experience but it was a very demanding and exhausting and intense voyage. Also, a very expensive cruise. I went way over budget and I still was frugal and cautious with my spending. If possible, try to avoid having to change planes at Heathrow which is a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We only booked this because when we were on a Mexican Cruise 2 years ago, we got suckered into their Cruise Next promotion and prepaid $1000. This is a party boat designed for the Caribbean with water slides, blasting music, 4000 ... Read More
We only booked this because when we were on a Mexican Cruise 2 years ago, we got suckered into their Cruise Next promotion and prepaid $1000. This is a party boat designed for the Caribbean with water slides, blasting music, 4000 passengers, and a constant fake party atmosphere. There is no quiet place to go for a drink or to listen to music. The food in the complimentary restaurants was so lousy, we opted to pay for specialty restaurants. The shore excursions had 32 or more people, and usually, no microphone system. And very expensive! Negatives: The seafood restaurant ran out of lobster in a few days. The free restaurants were awful. The noodle restaurant had the most bland food and worst service on the ship. It was continually noisy and crowded! Everywhere! I hated the blaring speakers and fake crew dancing to welcome us back from Stockholm. I hate the constant pitch for the horrible art auction, jewelry, and shopping. I think the casino pumped in a smoke fragrance into the air to stimulate play. Lots of very heavy drinking. The ice bar was filled with drunks every time I tried to get in. I had food poisoning one night from eating at the Tropicana room. I think it was the coconut sherbet, since that is the only different food I had from my husband all day. Disembarkation directions should be printed in the daily schedule; some of us are not glued to our phones or the TV. Positives The stateroom was clean. Service was very good. We were able to change a shore excursion at the last minute. One bartender made the best French 75. Several shows were excellent. Suggestion: Provide movies related to shore excursions. It would really provide context for the sights and reduce the inane questions some people ask on excursions. Most have no idea what they are seeing because they don't read. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Due to poor weather we missed four ports. I have to believe that HAL knew the weather would be difficult for tender ports before we left Amsterdam yet kept us guessing. Being that we had more overnights in a port because we could not go ... Read More
Due to poor weather we missed four ports. I have to believe that HAL knew the weather would be difficult for tender ports before we left Amsterdam yet kept us guessing. Being that we had more overnights in a port because we could not go to the next port, they did not plan things to do on the ship assuming all would get off the ship. That did not happen and you had many bored people. The only time they did plan was the last sea day which was supposed to be a tender port. Along with that many many people were sick and there was so much coughing and sneezing on the ship and on the bus tours. I also was sick and by the end of the cruise after talking to many passengers found that about 1/4 of the ship was sick. After traveling with HAL for many cruises this was my first experience with this kind of sickness, I have experienced the stomach problems but not this. The whole experience was sad as after you plan for a great experience you come home so disappointed and still sick. Since home have gone to the doctor and on antibiotics. I stgill wonder is many of the crew were sick and they still make them work or something is wrong on the ship. My worst experience on any of the 25 cruises I have been on. Have to say service was great Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
First off, we were told we had a free upgrade. I tried to contact the travel agent to no avail. When we got onto the ship, I asked about the upgrade and had a sign literally pushed into my face which said there are no free cabins. We ... Read More
First off, we were told we had a free upgrade. I tried to contact the travel agent to no avail. When we got onto the ship, I asked about the upgrade and had a sign literally pushed into my face which said there are no free cabins. We were told to board the ship at 5.15 pm. We discovered that the ship had been parked at Southampton all day and most people just got on when they felt like it. Like wise disembarkation, we were told 10.15 am. We left at about 10am and discovered that most people had already left. Dining:- The quality of the food was poor, lukewarm at best and it was impossible to get a hot drink. The buffet area was horrendous, doesn't do to be a shy retiring Brit. Survival of the fittest (loud Europeans). Excursions:- Extortionate. Bruges transfer approx. 55 Euros. Lovely lady gave us information (including safety) on the coach into Bruges. Very pretty town. Rotterdam:- Transfer to Amsterdam about 55 Euros. Horrendous. The ship was parked up all night (until 6am next day) and yet we had to be back on the ship by about 4pm. It took 1.5hours to get into Amsterdam and nearly 2 coming back, and so we had about 2.5 hours in Amsterdam, time to do next to nothing. There was a commentary going on all the way to Amsterdam, in German. We asked the German guide where we were when we arrived, he drew a circle on our map, we asked him which direction we should go in and he pointed to a street, which was a very seedy back street selling undesirable items in the shops. Best value was taking a trip round Amsterdam on one of those bikes that holds two passengers. People who had been to Amsterdam before said Rotterdam is much nicer. We complained at Excursion reception and we were told by a very rude lady that there was no guide on the bus. True but there was no safety instructions either on or off the bus. Don't bother complaining about anything, you are wasting your time. Hamburg:- We took the shuttle which was about 15 Euros. Unfortunately it was Sunday so all shops closed. We took a HOHO bus which was good value. Once again we had to be back on the ship way before it left. Le Havre: we just stayed in Le Havre because most of the trips were expensive. E.g. Paris 119.99 Euros. 11 hours but takes a good few hours to get there. Le Havre is a dump. Entertainment:- Most shows were very samey and only lasted for about 30 minutes. Cabin: We had an indoor cabin which we will never do again. Cabin staff were very good though. The ship itself was fantastic, but trying to partake in any activities was difficult due to overcrowding. We will not travel with MSC again and cannot recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a ... Read More
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a change from Stockholm to Nynashamn, however none of us received notification of a change from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. In addition passengers were expected to pay the cost of the transfers to the original destinations. Eventually after some protracted communications we were offered cabin upgrades. The Baltic cruise is special, with great cities on offer to explore. We had previously visited some of the cities. For new ports were Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Rostock / Wanermunde and Helsinki. We used the shuttles when available and either self guided or chose the excellent freewalks. The only tours booked were in St Petersburg. Our 2 half-day tour with CMV were very disappointing. Too much time travelling and in the same tourist shop, too little time in the Spilled Blood Church and Peter and Paul Fortress. My advice is to book through an independent operator. We also attended the evening ballet to see Sleeping Beauty which was enjoyable and well organised. Just a few comments about the ship: Staff worked hard and efficiently, although we found sometimes the crew did not understand our request. At the 1st sitting in the Waterfront waiters had no time to chat with us. The food was lovely and well presented. Other times we used the buffet where the food and service were good. The buffet can be very busy and sometimes full. They also varied meal times and these were not always matched to our needs. On one occasion we found the breakfast finished at 9 and we were too late. Our cabin boy was friendly and efficient. The daily quizzes were too difficult. Typically the winners scored 11 / 20. Some of the bar waiters were great and remembered our order, and offered packages to save money. Raffles was strange though with one particular miserable and unhelpful waitress. She was downright rude, and they often closed up when the bar was still well populated? Customer Services were not interested to receive feedback on this issue! In summary, we were generally satisfied and think the cruise provided good value for money. CMV need to ensure their staff are better trained and improve their shore excursions and caucus to receive service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We haven’t sailed on Seabourn since 2012 as we were put off by their liberal smoking policies. We decided to try them again especially since the itinerary for the British Isles was unique having a good number of stops in Scotland. ... Read More
We haven’t sailed on Seabourn since 2012 as we were put off by their liberal smoking policies. We decided to try them again especially since the itinerary for the British Isles was unique having a good number of stops in Scotland. Embarkation was quick and our suite was ready at noon time which was a great plus for us. We stayed in a spa penthouse suite which was quite nice but not sure it is worth the extra money versus a regular penthouse suite. You really don’t get much extra except for a few extra soaps and sponges, and a larger balcony. Seabourn advertises healthy snacks in the spa suites but we had great trouble getting them to deliver what was advertised. Perhaps it was due to a totally clueless stewardess who failed to replenish items on several occasions and seemed uninformed about extras for the spa suite, among other issues. When reported to the supervisor, we were told that she was new and to give her a few more days, and if we weren’t satisfied, they would replace her. Although we had numerous other problems with her and reported them, the housekeeping supervisor never replaced her. We ate most of our meals in the Restaurant where the food was top notch and wait service excellent. We used room service for breakfast every day and several times for dinner. They also delivered the same top notch service and excellent food as the Restaurant. Used private tour guides so did not sign up for any of the ship shore excursions. Staff at Seabourn Square were efficient and helpful. We especially enjoyed this area for coffee and snacks during the day. In terms of entertainment, we only attended one show which included a comedian which was okay, just okay. Handre served as cruise director and certainly lived up to his fine reputation. Overall, this is a lovely and comfortable ship that handles rough seas quite well. Except for a problem with housekeeping oversight and our stewardess, sailing on the Ovation was a very enjoyable and memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Cabin size was not so bad for two people BUT - there is a sound underneath or on the side of your walls that is like flowing water - loud flowing water like gushing in - and just every night it woke us up - it's not the ... Read More
Cabin size was not so bad for two people BUT - there is a sound underneath or on the side of your walls that is like flowing water - loud flowing water like gushing in - and just every night it woke us up - it's not the toilet from the next door, it's a like a big gush of wave going through underneath the floor or on the side of the wall - also, sometimes that flush in the toilet doesn't work - and one day, all the toilet didn't work in our floor === our cabin steward "Muhamed", was awesome === When we were going to Sweden, I asked one of the Deck 4 staff if they accept US$ in Sweden, the answer given was, I don't know as I have never been to Sweden. there were two of them who can't answer a basic question. They are not deck hands, they are actually crew that's stationed by the stairway on Deck 4 before going to the Port Security, and Port Security didn't know either, and there was not notice on the daily bulletin. Wish you could staff those areas with more knowledge of the city we are visiting ==== The waiters on our last night at Tropicana Room, are, hands down, awesome ! - starting from the Manager - Ivan - there were 19 of us, and we ahve earlier requested with our reservation 2 long tables of 10. We got to our reservation early enough so that we can be seated to our tables, but as it turns out, the tables are not ready because one table, the guests was just beginning to order dessert, that's understandable. - Ivan, started with 3 square tables put together, for 10 people (squished in) and a round table of 8 - then another square table came open, he then added it, then another one - to the point that we were able to accommodate 14 of us in a long table - and 5 in the round table - perfect night - it was my wife' birthday too, so the waiter sung and surprised her with a cake and candle blowing - the singers, Funky Duo, greeted my wife twice - plus we had wine and bottle of Champagne from our Travel Agent for her birthday - but the champagne was warm, so "Gede", assistant Manager, replaced with a cold one - it was a great last night dinner for all of us === Special mentions to other waiters - at Wasabi Bar - Gary (waiter) , Stephan (chef) - Deepa, at Savor and Moderno, not only did she recognized and greet me everytime, she was even able to pass on a message to my brother at the restaurant. She is of greet asset, very diplomatic, very nice, and a great dining hostess Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I was very interested in travelling to the Baltic and Scandinavia. I chose to take a cruise and overall enjoyed myself but found it to be short of my expectations. This ship is huge with approx. 4000 passengers. Everything is crowded ... Read More
I was very interested in travelling to the Baltic and Scandinavia. I chose to take a cruise and overall enjoyed myself but found it to be short of my expectations. This ship is huge with approx. 4000 passengers. Everything is crowded and exceptionally noisy. My cabin was beautiful, a room with a balcony. It had a very comfortable queen sized bed and was immaculate. Everything worked well, coffeemaker, safe, tv,etc. The bathroom was clean with lots of hot water and good pressure. I was frustrated with NCL's nickel and diming. They charged extra for everything from soft drinks to drinking water. There is a mysterious $15/day charge on your bill on top of everything else. They call it a service charge They charged extra for the better shows and restaurants. The shore excursions were exceptionally expensive, ie approx $300/day for sightseeing tours. To make things worse, the day trips all had 30-40 people in them and required a lot of time for assembly, waiting for stragglers etc. I should have arranged for independant plans for shore excursions. All of the ports are very accessable for taxis and buses. Prob. more enjoyable and less expensive to do it yourself with a little preplanning. I had intended to go to the spa for massage and facial but the prices were staggering. Over $200 for a 50 min. massage. The fitness center was well equipped for cardio and free weights, there were no classes offered. The food situation was below expectations. You have 3 choices. 1- Several restaurants that you pay for, approx. $40/meal, not including wine. 2- Restaurants which are included. These have inexpensive items like chicken and pasta, no seafood. Wine is extra. These places fill up fast so you must make reservations. 3- Buffet. The buffet on this boat reminds me of university dorm room food. Very bland, cold by the time you get to your table, ( if you can find a table) and poorly prepared. Also, the organization of the buffet is weird. For example, macaroni and cheese in the Asian counter, eggs and bacon 3 counters apart. In the mornings, the coffee is on the buffet, so when you get up to find it and pour yourself a refil, approx. 50% of the time, some server has swooped in and taken your plate away. The pool deck is great, 4 jacuzzis which were great after a busy sightseeing day. The waterslides look great however it was late in the season and a little cold. The pool doesn't seem to be heated.... brrr. I had a problem with the noise levels in the common areas. Music and mikes were on full blast and there was standing room only for most of the shows and entertainment. A lot of drinking and drunk people on board. I would go back to the region again, just wouldn't take a cruise. Not my cup of tea. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The price was good and the date fit our schedule. The cabins are in need of an update, but they are due for one shortly. The tv needs to be across from the bed, instead of at a weird angle. Our room attendant was very good, and we could ... Read More
The price was good and the date fit our schedule. The cabins are in need of an update, but they are due for one shortly. The tv needs to be across from the bed, instead of at a weird angle. Our room attendant was very good, and we could count on him to get it right. The restaurant servers were hit and miss. Some were excellent, and some clearly did not enjoy their jobs. The shows were pretty good. Not as good as our previous cruises, but smaller cast. The afternoon tea was great, but again scones were super dry and some of our waiters made sarcastic remarks about us eating too much, which was not professional. And this was asking for two items! The excursions were hit and miss. Partly, the rainy weather put a damper on our enjoyment of certain locations. I really liked Helsinki City Highlights and Bruges: A Medieval Gem. We missed out on going to RIga and Visby, because the ports were too rough to disembark. That meant an extra day in Tailynn, which wasn't that great of a location for two days. Wish we could've had 2 days in Copenhagen instead. Liked being able to do our laundry on the ship. The meals were overrated. I had to be sure to ask for the salmon to be cooked rare, or they would overcook it to the point of ruining it. I disliked all the buffet lunches, and ended up getting a salmon burger most every time. I wanted to get a massage, but I heard they charged $200, which is just excessive. And unfortunately, I got tonsilitus and had to see the ship doctor. Just to be seen, get a strep test and some antibiotics, they charged me $365! Way to take advantage of sick people. I don't know if this is the case on all cruises, but my mom had a fall on her ship and they charged her nothing. In summary, I don't think I will do Oceania again. Crystal was so much better in every way. Even Celebrity Cruises, which is comparable in price, had better service, food, and entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We cruise at least once a year and had been with NCL before, albeit a smaller ship last time. Embarking was fine, although we had to wait at the airport for sometime before the transport arrived. Having been with NCL and having bronze ... Read More
We cruise at least once a year and had been with NCL before, albeit a smaller ship last time. Embarking was fine, although we had to wait at the airport for sometime before the transport arrived. Having been with NCL and having bronze rewards we were supposed to have priority boarding, this didn't happen, not that we were that bothered about that. Our stateroom was lovely and kept very clean by our steward. We had a balcony and I would do that again. We opted for the all inclusive drinks package and gratuities were included so this was a fairly expensive cruise. Unfortunately there appears to be a hard sell all the time with NCL, which can be annoying. The included restaurants were good but the food in the buffet restaurant was always tepid, probably because of the number of people. There was always something going on quizzes etc, so plenty to do but it was disappointing that the casino area stank of smoke and you very often had to walk through that area. The excursions were fine but quite expensive, especially in St Petersburg. We were not able to get into Gothenburg because of the weather and I fully support that decision as safety comes first. However, the captain managed to get clearance for the ship to go to Copenhagen earlier so that guests could visit the city if they wished to. Fantastic we thought. Unfortunately when we got there it was utter chaos, no shuttles people wandering around phoning for taxis and not knowing quite what to do. There was a local bus stop and ticket machine which we managed to figure out how to use and then we all queued for the bus. We did manage to eventually get into the city and walk to the little mermaid. We then went to get the bus back only to find the last bus finished at 7pm. This wasn't NCLs fault but I was very disappointed that there was a total lack of information for people and we were left to figure it out for ourselves. I would have thought when they knew we were going to go to the port early then a few phone calls could have been made to organise shuttles. We wouldn't have minded paying for this. Having been with another cruise line (Viking) and a similar thing happened where we were not able to get to the place we were supposed to, they organised coaches to take us there and compensated us with credit towards another cruise with them, which we didn't expect as we still got to do the excursion and our lunch was provided in a hotel as we were away from the boat all day. NCL did refund our excursions cost but this was paid in dollars not back on the credit card, which means you lose some of it when getting it changed to your currency. NCL offered nothing in the way of compensation for missing one of the ports, which as there wasn't many made a big impact on the cruise. If we had been offered something towards another cruise we probably would go with them again, but it seems they are not interested in doing that unlike Viking, despite the latitudes reward scheme. Summing up, I think I wouldn't go for such a large ship as there were no quiet areas, unlike their other ship the Jewel that we went on before, also the hard sell was more evident this time. The floor on which the casino was situated smelt of smoke all the time. The positives were that there was always good entertainment and the staff were lovely. The stateroom was really good and spacious. There were lots of restaurants to choose from but I was surprised how many were dedicated to the 'additional cost' category. I would chose another cruise line over NCL just because of their lack of after sales customer relationship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Never been on a cruise before (myself and wife) and I would NOT enjoy any type of formal dressing up; so, chose this for a beginner. The embark and disembark went well and if you are fearful of sea sickness...the ship is too big to be ... Read More
Never been on a cruise before (myself and wife) and I would NOT enjoy any type of formal dressing up; so, chose this for a beginner. The embark and disembark went well and if you are fearful of sea sickness...the ship is too big to be rocked by a few waves. The GOOD - Large ship with a few entertainment options. Initially I thought it was massive, quickly realized that it was just right. - Cabin was comfy (balcony), the room was made up every day (twice) and all was good. - Food was acceptable, although the chefs from the various restaurants (even the a La Carte) has a VERY similar menu with minor variations. The BAD - Shore Excursions. Book your excursions with OTHER companies as the Prices NCL charge are equal to Robbery! However, be warned, if for whatever reason the ship does not make it to any port (due to weather etc...) you have lost your money. The UGLY 1. The information disseminated was poor; as the ship did not make it to Gothenburg; instead made it back to initial port (Copenhagen). NCL put on free transport to the city centre HOWEVER announced NOTHING. 2. As I was not pleased, I went to Customer Services (CS) queued for 20 min and asked for a gesture of good will from the ship (like additional credit etc..) the response someone will be in touch... I am still waiting... 3. I had credit due so I went to Customer Services (queued for 20 min) and asked if it was possible to get the dollars due put back into the account; the response certainly sir. So, I went away. The next day message on the cabin phone to report to Customer Services; again (queued for 20 min) went to CS discussed the refund and was given the same response that it will be paid to my account. The following day cruise over went to leave got pulled to the side and was given a wad of cash... I explained to no avail... Final Assessment To me it appears that when staff do not have an answer to either a complaint or an issue the resort to saying that someone will be in touch... do notice that when they resort to this they immediately avoid eye contact... I am not alone in this assessment; I believe that NCL staff are trained to deal with things in this way as you have no way of getting anywhere. I noticed this more than once with others on the cruise as well. I won't say that I will NEVER cruise with NCL again however be VERY wary as they have your money and they REALLY DO NOT CARE!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my second NCL cruise. The first one out of Miami was exceptional. This one was just a little off, below the standard set by the Escape. Overall it wasn't bad but there was one thing that really affected me: nobody answered ... Read More
This was my second NCL cruise. The first one out of Miami was exceptional. This one was just a little off, below the standard set by the Escape. Overall it wasn't bad but there was one thing that really affected me: nobody answered the phone when we had a problem with our stateroom. Our stateroom steward forgot to leave us towels on the second day. I tried calling housekeeping. Went to voice mail. Tried calling the operator. Went to voice mail. Walked the entire deck. No stewards. Went to guest services. Really long line. Eventually walked to the spa to get towels. The rest of the cruise I had the feeling that there would be no-one to take care of me should I have a problem. Overall it wasn't as nice as my experience with the Escape. Having said that the ship was clean, and Elliam was exceptional in taking care of us at Taste restaurant. It was a pure joy getting on and off the ship so quickly, as that has not been my experience with Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
BACKGROUND: seven day cruise out of Southampton, to Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Hamburg and LeHavre. Mother, 88yrs, and daughter 50’s, active and love to participate in activities like trivia. Mom uses a scooter on cruises due to severe ... Read More
BACKGROUND: seven day cruise out of Southampton, to Zeebrugge, Rotterdam, Hamburg and LeHavre. Mother, 88yrs, and daughter 50’s, active and love to participate in activities like trivia. Mom uses a scooter on cruises due to severe arthritis which makes walking long distances challenging. SHIP: I liked the ship. It isn’t particularly easy to navigate as there are multiple bars and rooms but that’s why there is a readily available map and guide. It was very easy to find a hideaway to escape the crowds. The Swarovski Crystal staircase is beautiful. DINING: I found the dining room horrible for me, my mom loved it. I don’t eat meat and the options were abhorrent. Everything was cold and tasteless. The buffet in both our opinions was disgusting although my mother didn’t have to navigate the bun fights as I usually chose for her knowing very well her likes and dislikes. It was truly chaotic. The buffet did not have a natural flow and was always an incredibly unpleasant dining experience. The food was very cold. The only way to get a hot cup of tea for my mom was to go to the barista and get boiling water from the bar. The urns of “hot water” were either cold or empty. I have read that people eat food colder in Europe...ummm not in my experience. This food was inedible except for the wonderful fruit available at breakfast. We tried one specialty restaurant (Butcher’s Cut) as it was gratis having been granted a “Black Card” in MSC’s reciprocity offer as I am Elite Plus with Celebrity and Diamond Plus with RCI. (The other specialty restaurant was was Asian fusion that I could have enjoyed but definitely not mom’s thing). Mom’s veal chops were like hockey pucks and my salmon was again cold and over cooked. It would have been an incredibly expensive meal (+++€120) and I would have had a hard time not seriously challenging paying for a meal as it was THAT bad. One good caveat was that I lost weight...a fairly big feat on a cruise. CABIN: We were in our first accessible cabin. I am a firm believer that accessible cabins should be for wheelchair dependent people, not for someone like us that can manage, albeit sometimes challenging, to be able to fit a scooter inside a cabin. As we only booked two months before the cruise it was actually the only balcony available. I must admit the space was wonderful...the cabin steward...not so much. I actually wrote to no avail IN THE DUST on the table “please clean me.” Mom used the little milk cups for one cup of tea on the first day and despite daily requests, it was never restocked nor was the tissues or tea bags. One morning he told me that “he was too busy to clean our room.” I just chuckled to myself and took fresh towels off his cart. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES: The shows were OK, some better than others. What I did find rather amusing was that two of the shows were VERY similar just different music and costumes. The cirque-like performer with a big ring did the same routine. The aerialist..same..different colour silk. Trio of acrobats...exactly the same tumbling etc. It was a really weird dejavu. There are multiple performers in the many bars around the ship that was wonderful. The multicultural influences were also fabulous. As for activities, the staff didn’t show up for one of the trivias...no response when I queried this with guest services. When they did show up it was OK though. The staff were very nice and personable. What was annoying was that as people can embark and disembark at all the ports, Hamburg was considered a big turnaround day and there were no activities at all until 3pm and that was “hair analysis” in the spa. No trivia/nothing. Furthermore, Hamburg was on a Sunday and there is notoriously nothing open except for the Zoo and a “Miniature” Park. PORTS: As my mom wasn’t feeling well at times, we only got off the ship in LeHavre. We used the ship’s shuttle into town for ~ €8 each. We walked around a bit and went to the Mall. I felt that Brugge would be too difficult for her in her scooter with all the cobblestones. It is one of my favourite ports though. BOTTOM LINE... would I go on MSC again? I highly doubt it though never say never. I now know what to expect from MSC which was one of the goals of this trip. Despite all the banter about how the service, activities and food on CELEBRITY and RCI have dropped a bit it’s still FAR superior than MSC...IN MY OPINION. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Cruise and excursion GOT-004 12:30pm – 4:30pm in Gothenburg, Sweden, cost $179.00 per person was terrible. It was a total waste of our day which we cannot get back. We departed around 12:45 pm and arrived at our first stop Skarhamn at ... Read More
Cruise and excursion GOT-004 12:30pm – 4:30pm in Gothenburg, Sweden, cost $179.00 per person was terrible. It was a total waste of our day which we cannot get back. We departed around 12:45 pm and arrived at our first stop Skarhamn at 2:00 pm. We were allotted 20 minutes at this stop and used the time to wait in line for a restroom. Nothing open at this stop except the one restaurant we used for the restroom. Next stop was Kladesholmen. This is a residential resort area with nothing to see except a sea view. We walked to a church (which was not open) for a photo op. Back to the bus for the ride back to the ship. The tour guide (who made sure we all knew she hated the Norwegians) didn't even have anything of interest to point out along the highway except for 4 smoke stacks that were no longer in use and a Volvo factory. I can't believe Oceania would even have such an extremely poor excursion. The four hour excursion had approximately 45 minutes off the bus the rest of time it was mostly highway driving. Back on the ship my wife and I encountered a large group (about 20 other people) who were waiting for the Destination desk to open to complain about this terrible excursion and request a refund. We filled out a Shore Excursion Guest Tour Report. Two days later (last night of cruise) we finally heard back from the main office in Florida and were denied a refund. Other issues were staff shortages in all eating establishments. They are running around trying to keep up with everyone regardless of the venue. The food was always warm and rarely hot except for the soup which was always hot. The one person that was of great help to us was the Concierge on Marina Ray Kucharski. We can't say enough good things about him. This was our third and will be our final cruise on Oceania. We spoke to others who feel the same as it appears Oceania has gone downhill since bring purchased by Norwegian. Won't be cruising or recommending Oceania again. It is sad as it used to be exceptionally great in all areas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chosen for ports of call. Great destinations. However the ship is worn down. The food is substandard compared to competitors. Many of the workers did not now how to charge versus packages. We were overcharged many times and had to go to ... Read More
Chosen for ports of call. Great destinations. However the ship is worn down. The food is substandard compared to competitors. Many of the workers did not now how to charge versus packages. We were overcharged many times and had to go to guest services to get charges fixed. This was do to employed not knowing benefit package allowances. Smoking is still allowed in many areas mainly casino just behind the times. We would have spent a lot of money in the casino as we usually do but do to your out dated policies we did not spend a dime unfortunately for both of us. Activities and programs are ok but could easily be improved. We last did Celebrity and they have evolved compared to Norwegian. This cruise could have been much better with little effort. Evolution is part of buisness if you do not evolve you will be left behind. We are well employed and fairly young 40-50 years of age. People like us will either use your brand or go to your competitors. Look at your future Customers or not? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Because Princess gave us compensation from our last cruise on Golden Princess (which was a disaster, no toilet etc). Had to drink hot beverages out of plastic cups in Horizon. Also in the same place when needing a cold plate they were ... Read More
Because Princess gave us compensation from our last cruise on Golden Princess (which was a disaster, no toilet etc). Had to drink hot beverages out of plastic cups in Horizon. Also in the same place when needing a cold plate they were always hot and when you required a hot plate they were cold. Most food was Italian or curries (always with a sauce), it would have been nice to have some plain and simple cooking on the menu! If we wanted a hot drink (just regular tea and coffee) we had to pay (which we did not realise until the last few days of the cruise) this was at the International cafe. The food was free but not so the drinks and it could add quite a lot to your final account. A ship to recommend for non drinkers because the drinks prices were excessive plus a service charge on top. If you bought shuttle tickets on board to town destinations were ($19.95) then stepping off the ship, went to shuttle gave in our tickets and the vender gave us the ticket for the shuttle bus which was 15 euros!! Sometimes it was just a one trip ticket! Most of seating areas were pleasant but quite dark, and it was always cold areas in the theatre. Our cabin steward was exceptional and was very discreet. The Trident Grill was very popular (really hot food) where as in the Horizon, food was not always hot and were given sauces with most of it. St Petersburg visits were exceptional because of the guides. We enjoyed most of the other destinations except Poland because one person had been for a walk and joined his wife on our coach 30mins after the time due. So the rest of the day went downhill, we should have had plenty of free time and ended up with 30mins. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult ... Read More
We have cruised with P&O and NCL and decided to do a Royal Caribbean taster cruise before we committed to booking a full cruise for us and our children. We travelled with our 2 and a half year old, we have found it very difficult to get the right level of entertainment for him on previous cruises as he’s not a baby but still too little to go into any clubs/groups. There was a fantastic aqua park for him with a baby area which was great. The water was heated too which was a brilliant idea. There wasn’t much else going on for him though, there were a few toys laid out in a nightclub area in the day but very limited. We could pay $6 an hour to put him in a under 3’s club which we didn’t do. The food was comparable to NCL, a good standard and plenty to chose from. However, there were strict times on when food was available. On previous ships there was always food available in the buffet but it closed in the day for 3 hours and at 9:00pm in the evening which seems a bit early considering there is nearly 5k guests on board and there was a wait for a table. The only other option if you missed the buffet or dining room was pizza which is very limited, especially if you have dietary requests. We ate in the main dining room every night which we do on every cruise, A manager came to the table every night to ask how our dinning experience was which was great. We love the formalities of cruising and were disappointed when the waiters started doing the Macarena in the middle of dinner service, it really wasn’t great. Also on formal night, a guy wearing jeans and muddy running trainers was sat next to us in the main dining room while we were wearing a tuxedo and a cocktail dress. It’s disappointing that people can’t make the effort but also respect that people don’t always want to however, I feel on formal nights especially, trousers and shoes should be worn as a minimum to get into the main dining room. We decided to have an inside cabin as we were only sailing for 3 days. When we got to the cabin I was so disappointed. It was very dated, even though the independence had apparently had a refurb recently, the carpet was grubby and the sofa had stains on it. The cabin wasn’t cleaned properly with stains on the mirrors and marks on the walls. The cabin was really knocked about, dents in the wood work, paint chipped and just really dated. We did feel the need to complain about the cleanliness and someone was sent to shampoo the carpet and sofa but I feel for the price of a RC cruise, this shouldn’t be happening and I expected a much better standard. The toilets in the public areas were not cleaned all the time like on other ships. Bins were over flowing in the toilets and no toilet paper. The main promenade was dated too, i don’t understand where on this ship there has been a refurb. There were plenty of lifts which meant the wait time for one wasn’t too long, this is a plus when you have a buggy. For a taster cruise, I thought all the stops would be pulled out to ensure further bookings on RC but I felt it wasn’t, I think it was a true representation of RC. Would I sail with them again? Yes but only on a new ship which I think would be completely out of my price bracket. For the price of RC I think the standard should be a lot higher and couldn’t help but think it was a bit ‘butlins at sea’. I would definitely pick other lines over RC especially for the price of them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Try a new cruise line and ship, ship was excellent our cabin very good especially the shower food ok ,we are not fussy eaters, now for the very bad , the life boat drill was simply not good enough there was no leadership at all ,a ... Read More
Try a new cruise line and ship, ship was excellent our cabin very good especially the shower food ok ,we are not fussy eaters, now for the very bad , the life boat drill was simply not good enough there was no leadership at all ,a table of four people and a table of three people never even put there life jackets on at all. people where making a mess of putting the life jackets on no one helped I don't think people listened because of all the different languages. Next noise our cabin was not far from a crew only door,when opened it was left to shut on its own results banging door at all hours only got better after two complaints but not stopped totally. Some staff are excellent others very very poor. Also prices a bit high. I recommend listening to the morning show hosted by UK cruise Director Darren and Activities Manager Candice very very good. If you get a chance to talk to them I would do so they are very helpful and great to just have a chat to ask Darren about his teddy bear. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I was highly disappointed with this cruise. We had a wonderful river cruise with Viking; this was no where near the quality. The food was so-so. I had trouble finding options for gluten free, especially at lunch. Service was great, ... Read More
I was highly disappointed with this cruise. We had a wonderful river cruise with Viking; this was no where near the quality. The food was so-so. I had trouble finding options for gluten free, especially at lunch. Service was great, though. The included excursions were a joke. Most of them were just bus rides. Sometimes, we were just left to explore on our own. I expected much higher quality tours. I was also very upset that by the time we were allowed to schedule tours, most morning included tours were full. The extra excursions that we took were very good, although not always as described. The cabin was good. The entertainment was mediocre with a few exceptions. The elvis show was great. Activities in the morning were almost non-existent--that after not being able to schedule included tours in the morning. I am not a night person. The new ship was wonderful, so clean. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. If I travel with Viking on an ocean cruise again, I probably will not schedule any included tours. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose this cruise for the itinerary which was excellent. Loyal Royal Caribbean diamond member. The cabin was as expected. Very clean. The bathroom sink had shallow cracks in it. The shower faucet had obviously been repaired but not ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the itinerary which was excellent. Loyal Royal Caribbean diamond member. The cabin was as expected. Very clean. The bathroom sink had shallow cracks in it. The shower faucet had obviously been repaired but not well. There was a sharp hole in the left side handle. On the right side we had to learn how to manipulate the handle to get enough hot water. They did send the plumber in good time to replace the side with the hole. Dining was disappointing in the main dining room for the evening meal.. Not a lot of variety and the food was not much better than a local restaurant. No lobster for a twelve day cruise. The Windjammer was pretty much the same. Breakfast in the dining room was the same every day. Nightly entertainment was excellent. One complaint - one night no entertainment at all. Casino very smokey. The waiters and room attendant were excellent. The ports and excursions were excellent. I feel that loyalty benefits are eroding. They are selling the key instead of treating loyal members who have spent a lot of money cruising with them to more benefits. I also think they are lowering quality in the dining room in the hopes of selling specialty dining. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise to see the Baltic Region (St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Stockholm, etc.) and the Norwegian fjords - as well as to celebrate a birthday and our wedding anniversary. This was our third Holland America cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the Baltic Region (St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Stockholm, etc.) and the Norwegian fjords - as well as to celebrate a birthday and our wedding anniversary. This was our third Holland America cruise since December 2018 and the second on the Nieuw Statendam. Overall we've had 16 extended length cruises in the past 8 years (5 Carnival, 2 Princess, 6 Celebrity and 3 Holland America). Celebrity and Holland are our current favorites. A few comments on our recent 21 day Norway and Baltic cruise on the Nieuw Statendam: The pre-cruise Movenpick Hotel suggested by Holland was a good choice - simple like most European hotels (3 Star at most), but very convenient. HA may want to offer something a little more upscale for those wishing something nicer. The ship continues to look great since our cruise last December and the crew do a very good job - Room Stewards, Main Dining Room, Lido and Crow's Nest. They all seem happy and eager to help in any way. The Captain is very personable and engaging. The passengers are another story. We met a few nice couples but most are rude, "pushy" and seem "entitled". I had hoped for a bit more refinement relative to a 24 day Mediterranean cruise we had on the Celebrity Eclipse last September (it was full of folks from New York City - but who were nowhere near as impolite). Not sure if it's the age group that HA attracts, the northern European culture or what. Simply "old and mean". The Signature Suite (SR 7100) was great. I think the design on other ships (without a Murphy bed) will be very nice (it's only two of us). The Pinnacle Grill is a disappointment. Poor service and poor food preparation (the Main Dining Room is much better on both). It seemed to be less than half full for dinner on each of the 21 days. Our "included" dinner was only available on the day of embarkation. We had hoped to save it for either our wedding anniversary or my birthday. We ultimately dined in Tamarind for the birthday - it was nice. The Pinnacle needs a rework. We enjoyed dinner in the Main Dining Room. Good food and very attentive and quick service. The Lido continues to be very hot when full of people (inadequate air conditioning) and the wash stations have exchanged the paper towels for something similar to Klennex. There are always gobs of it lying on the floor. Passengers become frustrated attempting to pull 2 or 3 sheets from the dispensers, which are routinely hanging out of the cabinets. One of the officers standing next to me agreed that it was poor. The silverware in the Lido is consistently dirty (large particles of food); the MDR has very clean place settings. The Hotel Director (large fellow who is very personable / friendly) always seems to be in the gym "pumping iron" or shaking hands. Maybe a little more quality control? The entertainment was disappointingly poor relative to the December 2018 sailing on the NS and the April 2019 sailing on the Koningsdam: Billboard 100 and BB King's were amateurish at best; Rolling Stone Rock Room was lame - a bunch of old fellows that can't play or sing. Lincoln Center was good. The World Stage is very uneven. Not sure why HA spent so much money on it - it is consistently under utilized. HA's "Speakeasy" performance had poor reviews from the fellow passengers. We finally attended half way through the cruise since we like performances, but left after 10 minutes. During the last 4 days of the 21 day cruise, dancers were brought on board to perform "Humanity" and "Stages". Nowhere near as good as on the other two sailings - watchable but uninspired - seemed like a last minute adjustment. We think these type of shows, and level of skill, are very good but need more). If you like performances on moderately sized bigger ships, probably better to stick with Celebrity The dis-embarkations for HA cruise tours were poorly managed. For St. Pete., we were assembled in the World Stage at 6:30 AM and 7:00 AM on the two days. We waited for 45 minutes both days before getting off the ship and then waited another 45 minutes outside the terminal for immigration. HA tried to blame it on the Russian officials. The same on the last day for disembarkation; many passengers were called to proceed to Deck (2 or 3) for offloading. We waited in a line that wrapped from the mid-ship to the rear elevators twice over and stood there for a very long time - with no movement. Because of the early assemblies and the age group, at least half the ship became quite sick. The coughing and sneezing was persistent everywhere. At one point it was so loud in the World Theater that the Excursion Guide halted his presentation for a bit. At no time did HA provide any guidance as to health measures or ask what seemed to be some very ill individuals to either remain in their cabin or seek medical attention. While we are quite athletic and healthy, we eventually became ill during the last few days from others coughing on us. Between cruises, we could not return to the same port in Amsterdam but instead docked in an industrial setting (Elbaweg 10). Bus service into the city was provided. However, upon returning we had to walk through a large dirty warehouse (chairs were set up for those joining the ship for the 14 day Baltic cruise). Very unsafe with fork lifts speeding past and behind passengers. I was nearly run over by a "smart aleck" driver even though I was in the outlined walking zone. He just laughed about it! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were a group of 10 people (8 adults and 2 children) celebrating my parent's 50 Anniversary and thought the cruise would be the perfect holiday for everyone to bond and spend quality time. We live in Dubai hence we approached ... Read More
We were a group of 10 people (8 adults and 2 children) celebrating my parent's 50 Anniversary and thought the cruise would be the perfect holiday for everyone to bond and spend quality time. We live in Dubai hence we approached Imagine Cruising (The authorised agent for the UAE) for our bookings. We finalized 3 Balcony rooms next to each other and were pretty excited about the arrangements. We paid approx USD 6300 for a family of four for the 9 day full board cruise. On embarking we realised that there were people who had booked directly from NCL who got great deals on beverages, alcohol, speciality restaurants which we were never made aware of by imagine cruising. One of the things that really irritated us was the fact that on arrival the cabin had two bottles of water - One still and one sparkling. Being travelers and been to our share of hotels, usually bottles kept out meant complimentary, however we were told later that sparkling bottle costed USD 6 odd and since the bottle was big and didn't fit in the mini bar it was kept out. When we argued with the guest services that there was no mention of the charges, their reply was "well, it doesn't say that it is free either" WOW!! That's when the distrust started with the cruiseliner...Imagine straight off in the first 15 mins of people embarking the cruiseliner makes approx USD 9 per cabin for the water consumed by unassuming people. Around the fifth day we became aware of a charge called gratuity fee which is USD 15 per person per day. For a family of 4 it came to USD 540 which was never communicated by Imagine cruising to us. We started freaking out coz we had budgets for our trip and this was serious curveball. We are happy to pay gratuity if we are told about these expenses and we raised it with the guest services. It took them 2 days to reverse the fees and we were stressed for 2 days as 3 families were going to get hit with approx USD 1300. We were charged for mini bar consumption which we debated and was reversed. People go on holidays to forget stress but we had it in abundance on this cruise. Everyday we didn't know if we would get a seat at any of the complimentary restaurants, wait time was 40 mins. Garden Cafe Buffet is where we ate our Breakfast/lunch and dinner for about 5 days. O'sheehan's would have a special for the day which would be served till 9pm only and then regular food would be served again with no change in the menu. We didn't understand the concept of having 3 complimentary restaurants with the same menu for 9 days! You basically are finding ways to push people to go for the speciality restaurants out of sheer boredom! A lot of the arcade games across the ship were money making machines, people playing were getting frustrated losing their money. Being travelers we understand that you are docking at lesser known countries like Poland, Estonia to increase their tourism and generating revenue but Poland as a port can be missed entirely as the scenic tour wasn't great. Estonia was a pleasant surprise and St Petersburg was bustling. For some reason when docking at St. Petersburg all gambling activities on the ship ceased leaving us very little to do in the evening time. Good things on the cruise was the food across the restaurants we ate in. The service was good and staff was friendly and helpful. Very good layout of the ship allowed people of different age groups to do their own thing. All in all we could have had a much better and relaxed experience had all the money related problems not been there. I don't think we will sail with NCL again as I don't trust them to be transparent in their dealings, charges and overall approach to customer service. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019

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