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Sail Date: August 2019
Choose for the pools and activities for teens we brought. Very crowed pool area with just one adult pool that you could not stand up in. Child pool not so great either. I would call this "Cruise without pools". Cruise for the ... Read More
Choose for the pools and activities for teens we brought. Very crowed pool area with just one adult pool that you could not stand up in. Child pool not so great either. I would call this "Cruise without pools". Cruise for the 18 to 25 age group that like much noise. The big water slides are very slow with long lines, rope course not used much. They would have been better off using the room for more pools, these were not used much. Plenty of so called hot tubs with few umbrella's in upper quieter decks. Food was mediocre at best, restaurants all seemed to get food from same location with some minor differences. Don't bother with the filet, tasteless dry beef, they should wrap it with bacon. If your want hot food and real toast just go to buffet for breakfast, breakfast at restaurant will give you: no toast, under cooked bacon and just plain cold breakfast that is brought in from above. Maybe the buffet is the best for all meals, so skip the specialty restaurants, not worth it. They are strange about the towels, just make sure you leave what was in your cabin back when you leave. Balcony rooms are very nice with plenty of room, do not get inside cabin. Shows and activities just repeat every night it seems. Bottom line I/we will never go on this cruise again. Will look for something much better. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We just returned from 7 day trip to Bermuda with NCL Escape and I've come to the conclusion that cruises are not what they used to be anymore. Stay at the Haven was fantastic - great service, hospitality and amenity. However, the rest ... Read More
We just returned from 7 day trip to Bermuda with NCL Escape and I've come to the conclusion that cruises are not what they used to be anymore. Stay at the Haven was fantastic - great service, hospitality and amenity. However, the rest of the ship and what it offered was just average, nothing unique or spectacular. The Haven review - Staying in The Haven was worth every penny, just to be able to avoid the layers and layers of people at the main pool deck on sea days. We appreciated the constantly high level of attentive, friendly and professional service from the entire staff on the Haven (room steward, concierge, Haven restaurant staff, and other service staff). - Embarkation/Disembarkation was very smooth, having an ability to use Haven only priority lane as well as the Haven only elevators. But don't expect any welcome cocktail anymore (at least not at New York terminal). - We spent a lot of time on the Haven pool area. Because of the time of the year, there were many families with small children, but they were all relatively well behaved. There is also an adult only part of the Haven on sundeck, including hottub, if you want to get away from kids. That said, Haven pool area was never crowded or loud and we were always able to find a lounger or place to sit and relax. - We ate a lot at THE Haven restaurant. Food was very good with varieties of stuff on menu so we never got tired of eating there. I say the quality was equal or better than the high end specialty restaurants. The service was a bit slow but that's expected on cruise ship restaurant - you slow down your pace and get to enjoy your meal and family time for a change! Cabin (H5 on port side) Rooms are significantly small, compared to those on older ships, which is the downside of these newer ships. It's much smaller than family suite on Dawn, for example. It is enough for 2 adults and 1 kid but if you wanted to dine in your room, a table is not big enough (it's cocktail table). A deck is small, enough only for 2 chars and a small table. But since we were so close to the Haven lounge/pool/sundeck, it was fine. If you carry a lot of clothes, there may not be enough closet space though. One tip of advice - if you are going to Bermuda, a port side will face the island but there is a beach party some nights, which is pretty loud and goes to wee hours so if noise is an issue, you may want to consider the location. However, you get to see a beautiful sunset from your balcony. Rest of the Ship - Main pool area is small and compact (and crowded as expected) - Kids pool area is right next to the main pool, which is good and bad - adults can go get drinks and other things easily, but it feels really cramped. - H2O area is nice and it is open to all ages after 6pm. We enjoyed the outdoor movie night and dance party thereafter. - I thought indoor entertainment amenities were lacking. There are 2 lanes of duck pin bowling and arcade games - that's pretty much it. I wish they offer more music and other fun activities indoors during a daytime. I personally think RCI offers better fun amenities. - We ate at Cagneys, Teppanyaki and Cucina and I thought food qualities were much better than other NCL ships. I was pleasantly surprised by the teppanyaki filet. - Main entertainment was pretty good. We enjoyed magician and Choir of Man. However, the rest of the entertainment/activities throughout a day were very disappointing. Many were clearly designed to sell you stuff, which really turned us off. - Jogging track is a joke and seemed like it was completely afterthought. RCI, for example, has jogging track secluded from the main deck. This one cuts through the bars and busy access area to the pool areas so it's only open till 9am and after 6pm, which is fine as I usually run early in the morning, but the worst part was it was only 0.2KM in length! After about 5 laps, I lost track. For a ship this size, I expected much bigger and better jogging track. Also, it is right beside the smoking area so you get to enjoy second hand smoking as you run. Ports - We love Bermuda and this is our 4th trip there. We independently booked the access to Elbow Beach Resort. Since it was a private beach, it was not crowded and beach was great. However, wave was pretty rough (not sure if it was particular for that day or is usually like that) so was not ideal for families with small children. Also, food/drinks were so overpriced (2 regular beer on tap and 1 OJ = $35), we ended up not eating there. - Glass bottom tour was nice - our captain was very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about Bermuda, its marine life, architecture and history. It was packed but we all were able to see the glass bottom. - Snorkel beach is very tiny and is not nearly as nice as other beautiful beaches Bermuda offers but it's convenient. I hear it gets pretty packed on the last day so recommend going there the first day. Kids This was the second cruise on our 4 year old and she enjoyed it. It was nice that there were many families with kids in the Haven level. She did not want to go to Splash Academy until the last day - and when she finally did, she really enjoyed it. Hopefully she will go more the next time! Kids pool area looked fun but again, it was very crowded so she spent most of her time in the Haven pool area with us. I wish there were more kids friendly amenities indoor. Final thoughts Although experience at the Haven was very nice, I am not sure if it was worth the money we paid. We've been to all-inclusive beach resort with personal butler/chef/nanny included for the similar price. Although we will definitely go cruising again (what can I say, we love cruise), I think it is time to try different brand. NCL has become a bit too formulaic, and does not offer that special feeling you get on the cruise trip anymore. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
All the entertainment options my wife and I wanted to experience were fully booked by the first evening on the ship. The complimentary restaurants all had the same menu so there was only really two food options each day, one of the ... Read More
All the entertainment options my wife and I wanted to experience were fully booked by the first evening on the ship. The complimentary restaurants all had the same menu so there was only really two food options each day, one of the complimentary restaurants or the buffet. There was more food options but of course you would have to pay extra if you wanted to dine at them. The internet package that my wife payed access for only let her connect have of the time. Although the ship looked big the deck space was limited and almost all lounge chairs were claimed by 9am each morning. On the positive side the room steward was excellent and very attentive. He provided ice for us every day so we could keep or son’s baby food frozen. We did do excursions but decided to book on our own because it was cheaper then to book through the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
For our family vacation this year we chose the NCL Escape. This was our 3rd cruise on NCL, and the 2nd on a Breakaway class ship. This cruise was, unfortunately, just OK. The Escape is a HUGE ship, over 4000 passengers, but I found it ... Read More
For our family vacation this year we chose the NCL Escape. This was our 3rd cruise on NCL, and the 2nd on a Breakaway class ship. This cruise was, unfortunately, just OK. The Escape is a HUGE ship, over 4000 passengers, but I found it to be poorly thought out and crowded. Our embarkation was flawless, NCL really has this down. Since we are latitude members we went from parking on the pier, to being on the ship in less than an hour. We were able to get into our cabin in about 2 hours, and finally start to relax. We sailed on time and leaving NY is always amazing to see! The ship is beautiful, clean and BIG! NCL's mantra has always been "Freestyle Cruising", so if that is the case why do I have to BOOK EVERYTHING! The one thing that I don't want to do on vacation is to make appointments and to keep them, but I can tell you from experience if you do not book shows, dinners, etc beforehand you will NOT get in. On our last NCL cruise you could just show up to the dueling pianos, or the comedy club, or theater, not this time. Everything was sold out, standing room only. The specialty dining sold out almost immediately so even though we had the dining package we ended up eating at the included restaurants most nights. The other issue I have is the "mandatory" tipping that has caused the service to go away. In the past tipping was something that we did when the service was excellent. Now, with mandatory tipping there is no reason for any of the staff to go above and beyond. I can tell you that I would wait almost 20 MINUTES for a drink at the pool bars. There was only 1 bartender on staff! My cabin steward for not unfriendly, but he rarely spoke to us. He worked his butt off and our room was spotless, but on past cruised they were always so friendly and went out of there way to get to know you. Also an FYI, NCL has stopped doing towel animals, stating that they want to cut down on washing, how about if you just put one less towel in the room and make the animals anyway, those little things cannot be emphasized enough. You can ask for them, but I did not know that until our last day. The food was hit or miss, some entrees were to die for, others I could make better at home. The staff in the dining rooms was also unpredictable. Some nights the servers were amazing, others they just did not seem to care. It was disappointing. Debarkation was as smooth as getting on. We walked off the ship through customs to our car in about an hour. It is definitely worth it to walk your own bags off the ship if possible. Any vacation is what you make it to be and we did have a great time. However, because of the things I mentioned above I will have to consider other cruise lines for our next trip even tough we are Latitude members. The ship was just too crowded and poorly thought out and mandatory tipping has taken the great service away from what has always been a great cruise brand. We may have to try Royal Caribbean next time. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I think it's important before leaving a rating to understand the frame of mind of the traveler and their expectation levels before cruising. Let me say that in my case - I love cruising. To be it's about relaxation, the ... Read More
I think it's important before leaving a rating to understand the frame of mind of the traveler and their expectation levels before cruising. Let me say that in my case - I love cruising. To be it's about relaxation, the vacation coming to you, the full itinerary, the work is done for you, and the fact that everything is settled in advance. You go, you don't have to think too much about spending a fortune, you unwind, recharge, and when you get back, you don't feel like you need another vacation. That said on The Escape... The service was absolutely excellent, the food was excellent. The shows (Choir of Man and After Midnight, their Magic duo) were excellent. Our weather and our "ride" to an fro were excellent. So why just a 3-star review? The Escape loses points because it is simply overcrowded, there are not enough "open" spaces to just conversate or relax unless you want to tan on the upper deck and even that is way too overcrowded, and a little unruly and dirty (not their fault, the guests just leave food and drinks and dirty towels everywhere and the staff can't keep up). A lot of the indoor functions took place in the Theatre or the "Atrium," and it too was way overcrowded. The Theatre was fine, uncomfortable and rather small considering that there are 4000 guests on the ship. Spice H2O is a great party space, but again, way too overcrowded. This made it uncomfortable for my kind of tastes. As NY'ers, we go on a cruise to get away from that shoulder-to-shoulder discomfort, not to enter into it. Bars were hit or miss with service. O'Sheehan's., the main bar overlooking the Atrium was incredibly understaffed at the bar, and on a number of occasions we were simply ignored for 10-15 minutes at a time. Thankfully, there are other bars where it's easier to score a drink...no big deal. Felt a bit nickel-and-dimed at times (do they really have to charge $5.50 for a bottle of water in the room, especially when they charge guests $15 a day already?), and way, way, way too much space designated to art and photography. that's just a money grab and a waste of good space. On nights when photographers were around you had stairways blocked, cues of lines in hallways just to pass, it was rather obnoxious at times. It's a problem because the Escape just doesn't have a lot of usable space for a ship this large, there is simply too much congestion, and then throw in blocked hallways and staircases into the mix simply to take a portrait, c'mon now! And to do it for the final 4 nights on the cruise is a little too much. Choose a single night to do that, people dress up, take your picture, and be done with it. The Escape just hits you over the head with that nonsense. The automated bingo with predetermined winners was a letdown and way too expensive. Deal or no Deal and some of the other "game shows" were really boring and a letdown, but because that's not why I choose to cruise it didn't lose too many points. The bottom line is this - the Escape is NOT cheap and it is a good time. Where it needs to deliver - Food, drink, service, cleanliness, embarkation process - it truly is fantastic! but there a lot of minor annoyances that certainly will have me looking to "try something different" next time around, not because it's a bad ship but because I didn't walk away saying, "Wow, that ship is amazing" and that's simply what I want when I cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
My Wife and I are a dual income, no kids couple (aka DINKS) and we vacation frequently with the notion of work hard, play hard and have no problems paying for luxury experiences. We had heard great things about the Boston to Bermuda NCL ... Read More
My Wife and I are a dual income, no kids couple (aka DINKS) and we vacation frequently with the notion of work hard, play hard and have no problems paying for luxury experiences. We had heard great things about the Boston to Bermuda NCL cruise. Being local, we absolutely LOVED the idea of getting dropped off at the ship and hopping right on to start our vacation. We decided to book the Owner's Suite with the large balcony, Hot Tub, King bed, large bathroom, Butler and Concierge service. The Hot Tub did not have a heater and it did not bubble,which caused us to sit and wait for it to be repaired on our first day. We usually book the more luxurious trips because we like the memorable experience it offers along with the pampering we do not receive on a day to day basis. Our summer Boston to Bermuda cruise left quite a bit to be desired and unfortunately, DID NOT meet our expectations. Given that we booked the Blue Diamond Suite on the Gem, our expectations were Extremely HIGH!! Day one of vacation came and embarkation on the ship as a Haven guest was as expected, we were greeted by the very professional MassPort personnel and shown to the Priority boarding area. There were some light refreshments and we met our concierge (Anoop) who was pleasant and provided an excellent vacation experience. He checked in with us at every dinner, helped to switch dinner reservations and provided ideas for a free day that we had in Bermuda. We do not consider ourselves High Maintenance guests and we appreciated Anoop's pleasant demeanor and his daily if not 2-3/day checking in with us to see if we needed anything. That being said, this is Actually the kind of thing one expects when you are spending the money to have the HAVEN experience, furthermore to be guests in the OWNERS Suite. One of the disappointing experiences was being told at dinner we had to pay for the $27 bottle of wine, champagne and cappuccino (it's espresso people) above and beyond what we ALREADY PAID. I understand it costs money to run a ship, overhead, etc, but we did not expect to be able to drink as much wine, champagne and coffee as we want when we went to the bar or in our room and not at dinner. It just doesn't make sense. Our Butler upon our arrival informed us that we are provided with 3 bottles of alcohol which included wine and liquor, and 1 complimentary bottle of champagne which of course makes sense. However, when after hours of sitting in the room waiting for the Hot Tub to be repaired (by very nice mechanics), I asked her if we can get more champagne while the sun is shining and it's 85 degrees and I'd like to start my vacation. There was no suggestion of the bottle being complimentary until I had suggested that some more champagne would alleviate the "inconvenience". I will say our Butler, Josephine, was pleasant, hard working and took good care of us, but if we needed anything we had to summon her. We certainly didn't feel like she was checking in on us and she did stock our fridge with 2 bottles of Prosecco the next day after considering my suggestion. Another rather disconcerting event happened near the end of our cruise in the Haven Courtyard. Apparently only cruisers who booked HAVEN Rooms are allowed in the Haven Courtyard. Given this was our first cruise, I was not aware of this because while hanging out in the Haven Courtyard two days prior, several of us who were staying in the Haven had a impromptu Pool party with buckets of Adult Beverages for everyone, good conversation, laughter etc, While socializing I realized that it was obvious several of my fellow passengers had brought their friends who were NOT HAVEN Guests up to the courtyard, I assumed that this was allowed and it seemed reasonable to me. All the guests at our impromptu pool party were great people, classy and we were all having a really good time. So, when I brought a friend who happened to be on the ship serendipitously, I of course thought it was fine. Hey, rules are rules, I totally understand. However, our concierge (Anoop) sent a younger HAVEN Staff member (Made, the Haven Courtyard Valet) to address this issue with me in front of my Guest and my wife, I was MORTIFIED. Listen, we've all been kicked out of bars or nightclubs when we're in our twenties for too much celebrating etc., but when you pay a pretty hefty sum of cash to stay in a premier room and are scolded and treated with such utter DISRESPECT over a misunderstanding I have a bit of an issue. Anoop, (The Concierge and the BOSS) should've take it upon himself to have a private conversation with me and clarify the rules, not send his subordinate over and embarrass me in front of my wife and friend. This small incident was the final straw in what we thought was going to be a 5-Star White Glove Service. In Summary, this was our fault, we lacked experience cruising and with NCL in particular. We had an EXCELLENT Vacation but We did NOT get the VALUE for the money we spent. The NCL Gem is obviously not a luxury based ship and trying to provide white glove 5 star service with their HAVEN option was not up to par. We would've been better off and less disappointed if we booked a much less expensive option for the experience we had. If NCL wants to provide high level white glove experiences to guests who are willing to pay then they need to stop nickel and diming their guests and offer more 'all inclusive' type packages with attention to detail if they are looking to garner a higher level clientele who are willing to pay. We would definitely go on another Boston to Bermuda NCL cruise, however, we will absolutely book a much more cost effective package. Booking the package we booked along with our disappointment is akin to going to Outback Steakhouse and believing you are going to get the same kind of Filet that one gets at Del Friscos or similar high end steakhouse that in short, is basically the experience we had. I love to have some Kukkaburrow wings while wearing jeans and a t-shirt but you will not catch me ordering a premium steak and at the very least having the expectation that it will be 5 star!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
THE GOOD: I can't stress enough how having a great, caring, and helpful staff can make or break your experience, and this staff shined as bright as the sun! The bartenders and servers were all so very quick to provide any ... Read More
THE GOOD: I can't stress enough how having a great, caring, and helpful staff can make or break your experience, and this staff shined as bright as the sun! The bartenders and servers were all so very quick to provide any assistance and did so with a friendly smile. The events staff was exceptionally amazing. Shauna started the cruise off wonderfully doing the thankless job of giving the safety lecture in the Liquid Lounge, which was our muster station. She also was joyfully the KJ for many of the karaoke events in the Red Frog Pub. Adam and Diego were a joy to bounce back-and-forth with at Bingo, Pablo (hola!) was surprisingly a funny opener to the comics at the dual lineup of standup comedy in the Liquid Lounge (he also made a fun trivia host), and Tyler was by and far my favorite trivia host (lo siento Pablo) and ran the last night of karaoke. Of all the talent performing throughout the cruise, Scott at the Piano Bar was so enjoyable. He was funny, accommodating (especially when he didn't have the requested song), and supremely talented. We found ourselves spending the remaining hours of three different nights relaxing and singing along in the bar. For those reading this, he has three-month contracts on these cruises and our last night on the Sunrise was his too, as he now is performing on the Carnival Magic. When the service is universally this amazing, you can tell that it stems from great management, because a truly successful leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. Chris (aka The Flying Scotsman) was the cruise director, and boy was he a delight. He devised great activities and events throughout our time on the ship, and also was a great host and performer. One highlight regarding his hosting skills was at the Love & Marriage event on the last day at sea. This is basically the Newlywed Game on a stage. I've seen it done on different ships (including Royal Caribbean) before, but Chris was by and far the funniest host, and really worked great on the spot with the contestants who were chosen at random as the show started. I laughed harder at him than I did even the hilarious raunchy comedians the night before. I purchased this vacation to celebrate the 3rd anniversary with my girlfriend, and to propose to her (she said yes by the way). Part of the advanced planning involved ordering the Happy Anniversary Celebration Package provided by The Fun Shops. It included a small cake (I chose chocolate), a 5" x 7" photo frame, 30" x 60" beach towel, and four dangling banners with romantic words on them that were hung on the ceiling via magnetic ends. When ordering, they ask what day of the cruise you would like this to be set up in the cabin. I chose the first day, hoping that the cabin would have everything ready to go before we stepped foot in it after embarkation. My whole idea of getting the package as a surprise to my then-girlfriend was to propose to her in the cabin at the very start of the cruise. After purchasing the package online months before we set sail, I called the Fun Shops to confirm that, if I chose to have the room decorated on the first day if the cabin, would the cabin be decorated before we set sail at 4pm? They could not confirm this, because the only guarantee they make is the decorations will be set up before the "end of the day" (i.e. as late as 9pm as I recall them saying). Given we had dinner reservations for 7pm, and I wanted to propose before dinner, this was a small concern. They suggested I talk with someone in the Retail Cares department (as they're the ones responsible for delivering the packages in the cabins) via the Guest Services desk on the day I embark to confirm if it was set up yet. We embarked at around 1:30pm, so I went solo to the Guest Services desk and a helpful agent (I really wish I remembered her name because she was so sweet and helpful) made the call to confirm if it was set up yet. She wasn't able to reach the person who could confirm that, so she stepped away from the desk for about 3 minutes and physically went to my cabin to check and confirmed it was! The way they decorated the room around the bed with the banners was lovely (and the chocolate cake we had later that night was DELICIOUS). It really made for a memorable proposal. My only gripe was I filled out a personal, meaningfully romantic message to be printed (like the small ones you can get printed with a flower delivery) when I ordered the package online many months before, and it was never printed. Depending on where and what you ate, the food ranged from nearly flawless to cheap hospital/institutional-tasting. The best restaurant food we ate was the steak and sides at Fahrenheit 555. It was an extra $38 per person, but well worth it for food that compares to what prices you normally find at a nice steakhouse. Our filet mignons were huge (the menu said 9oz, but I swear they were bigger), perfectly trimmed, and flawlessly cooked to medium-rare. This is not as much of a surprise to me if they're a great steakhouse because many I've been to in NYC can provide this too. The best surprise for me was the side of sautéed medley of fresh mushrooms. I'm not even a fan of many mushroom dishes, but this was one not to be missed; I only wish I ordered two of them instead of wasting a side on the decent mac and cheese. The best room service by far was a small thin-crust pie we ordered through the Pizzeria del Capitano for only $5 (you order through the helpful HUB app mentioned below). They deliver these pies to nearly every area on the ship. I'm a pizza snob and have had most all of the best pizza places in NYC. This pizza definitely wasn't in the upper-echelon, but man was it better than so many NYC slice joints. Seriously, do yourself a favor and try one of these pies. Also, on a whim, we were going to have the buffet for brunch on Deck 9 around 12pm, but the line was so damn long (something I've read in nearly every review on this website), so instead we opted for some burgers and fries at Guy's Burger's Joint. These burgers compare to the best you'll get at Five Guys (the fresh cut-style fries are pretty much the same) and other fast-casual restaurants. The burger patties are loosely formed and well seasoned, which lends itself to why they taste so damned good. The donkey sauce is a perfect burger topping. Oh, and do yourself a favor and dip those fries in a side of Guy’s bar-b-que sauce on the topping station. I thought it was going to taste cheap and just be nothing but sweet like bottled Kraft sauce. It was on the sweeter side, but it was really well spiced and finished with a nice little kick of heat. Finally, I haven't been on a cruise in over 5 years (my last one being with Royal Carribean), and so I've never seen an app quite like Carnival HUB. This app is amazing, and I hope all cruise liners copy its format and make some small common-sense improvements. Once you're on the ship, it immediately provides a listing of all events happening on the ship each day, from early morning to late at night, as well as every dining option available, based on the time of day, and allows you to create a daily planner well in advance to set your customized itinerary. What's more is you will get helpful push notifications on your phone ahead of time, reminding you of the next event or dining reservation you have. Without going on endlessly though just about the app, here's more info on it: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/carnival-hub/id925117977 . My only gripe with it is that it lists some rooms as being on a specific deck, but the entrance to that room is on an entirely different deck. For example, the Sunshine Dining Room (the main dining room on the ship) is listed on the app as being on Deck 5, but the entrance is on Deck 3. This is so frustrating and makes me wonder why the app doesn't list that specific info, to make it easier to navigate on the ship. Also, as far as improvements with technology, it would be great if the ship had a WiFi-centric GPS on each deck, so you can navigate your way to each location. That might be wishful thinking, but it would be such a helpful tool on a ship with difficult to find entrances for various rooms. THE BAD: The ship was cramped in all public spaces and the bars sprinkled throughout. These caused inconveniences galore just walking around the ship. For instance, the beautiful lobby on Deck 3 had a ceiling, which extended many floors above, and each floor overlooking the lobby walkways around this, but those walkways were so small in width, it would always be congested from people just standing around and looking towards that beautiful space. And when there were events or musicians performing in the lobby, that made things even more congested. Having to constantly bump into people when you're just trying to walk by on a huge cruise ship feels really inconvenient. And the orientation of the pools, whirlpools, and deck chairs on the Lido deck (9) was almost impossibly to walk through without bumping into people. On my last cruise (Royal Caribbean), the main public walking spaces were so nicely spread out this kind of congestion almost never occurred. Not only were the walkway widths small, but also so was the seating in many event rooms. Given the Sunshine is a renovation from the Triumph, and that it added more cabins, they didn't do a good job in making the event rooms more accommodating for the higher passenger count. The Limelight Lounge (where the comedians were most every night) was so cramped and small, you could never get a seat and the body heat from the room made it uncomfortably hot. The congestion trying to get around and the small rooms, given the number of people on the ship also had the unfortunate effect of making life difficult for the servers delivering drinks to guests who weren't sitting at the bar. For example, the cramped quarters of the Liquid Lounge made it nearly impossible for the servers to get guests their drinks, especially when they didn't have any space to walk through the aisles. It felt like being served a drink in the stands at a baseball or football game. And bless the patience of those drink servers on the Lido deck. The entrees at Cucina Del Capitano (Italian restaurant), some of the lunch items for room service, and all of the dinner in the Sunshine Dining Room were just way off the mark. At Cucina Del Capitano (which has a $15 per person charge), the appetizers we got (Nonna’s Meatball) were tastefully seasoned and had a wonderful crumbly, tender texture, and the red sauce accompanied it well. The three-component desserts we got (Agrumi/Torta Al Miele e Polenta/Sorbetto di Limone) were very tasty too. But the entrees (Cavatelli with pork Bolognese and the Pappardelle with shrimp and pancetta) were so disappointing. Like, no joke, we've both had better food (regrettably) at an Olive Garden. The free room service items we ordered for lunch were hit-and-miss. We both got sandwiches. The grilled cheese with was had nice Panini-style grill marks on the bread, but it was dry and tasted like they used zero butter or any other kind of cooking fat on the bread to give it the taste we all are used to with grilled cheese. The accompanying potato salad chosen was just a couple of red potatoes, cut in half and slathered in mayo, and tasted as plain as you would expect. This was not what anyone would want if they were expecting potato salad. The BLT was a nice surprise with bacon galore and a good smattering of mayo to lubricate the whole sandwich and I got it with a handful of (what I think were) Wise-brand potato chips. The chocolate cake was delicious but the cheesecake didn't have any tang you want from cream cheese and the crust was weird in taste and texture. On a side note, we had the "Bottomless Bubbles" drink package that includes free soda and juices, yet we were told we had to pay for soda delivered via room service. That makes zero sense. We decided we would dine in the Sunshine Dining Room on the elegant evening attire night (second night). From the cheaply made appetizer (a pathetic 5-piece arrangement of tiny rubbery shrimp cocktail with a watery-thin cocktail sauce) to the lack of seasoning on the entire snapper entree (despite this, the snapper was really perfectly cooked) to the misworded dessert (hazelnut malted chocolate cake that, to me, would taste something close to Nutella, but because it had no hazelnut flavor to be found, just tasted like an overly-rich chocolate cake). The dessert was so disappointing, I simply asked for the vanilla ice cream, just to clear the overkill of chocolate, and the ice cream had a gummy texture similar to low-quality supermarket ice cream and (worse) contained unappetizing ice crystals throughout. But, this was part of the free food on the ship, so my expectations were already low. To top it all off, the steeping water that accompanied my order of black tea was not even close to boiling temperature. Finally, when Chris would cheerfully make his non-emergent announcements at 8 in the morning, almost always just to provide an extra promotion for some various events throughout the day, it would be nice to NOT have the hallway speakers blaring in the cabins at 8 in the morning, so the (sometimes) hung-over and (always) tired guests like us at 8 in the morning could be able to sleep in a little. After all, we were enjoying our nights in the public spaces until at least midnight or later. THE UGLY: The servers and bartenders throughout the various locations on the ship were all courteous and helpful, but there was one exception, and that was at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse restaurant. As I mentioned above, the food at this restaurant was the best on the ship, but the service, from the hostess, to the drink server, to the bread server, to our main server, was just rude; the kind of rude service some snooty French restaurants are stereotyped as having. The hostess basically chided us for arriving 15 minutes early before our reservation time and said we would have to wait (which we didn't mind), but her rude tone was one that would have been somewhat appropriate if we just walked in without a reservation and insisted we get sat immediately. The drink server took forever to return with our drinks (just soda), didn't return our cards after serving the soda and gave an attitude when I simply asked for the cards back, and the sodas were both flat for some reason, which we hadn't experienced in any other bar or restaurant the entire cruise. The bread server’s frown looked like he was serving prison time. The main server had a snippy tone that seemed bothered with any question I had about the menu items. Plus, when I ordered the steak, I forgot to mention the sauce I would like to accompany it on the side. When I was finally able to hail down the waitress to ask, she read me the list of three different sauces, and I asked if they also maybe had a simple house sauce (which many steakhouses of this ilk have). Based on the tone of her answer (which was no, by the way) you would think I asked her "how much do you weigh?" The only bright spot of service was the chef (can't remember his name) who came to the table asking about how the food was. Speaking of food service, other than the room service mentioned above, also ordered it twice for breakfast. Both breakfasts’ were awful experiences. First off, the pre-order room service door hangs you get to fill out in the cabins offer 1/2 hour windows for delivery. I would imagine many people, such as myself, set your alarm to wake you up very shortly before you expect the room service. With a 1/2-hour window chosen, I understand if it doesn't get delivered until the very end of that time, but both mornings, the room service attendant delivered them between 5-10 minutes early. So, not to be petty, but it woke us up that much earlier before our alarms went off, and we didn’t like losing any minutes of sleep. The really terrible thing though (and why it's in the "ugly" section of my review) is the quality of the food was just reprehensible. The first morning we only ordered fruit. I don't know about you but I like my fruit to be ripe and our fruit was both under and overly ripe. Unless you're baking or making smoothies, bananas should be perfectly yellow, not overwhelmingly covered in "liver spots" like ours were. And melon should be soft and juicy, not crunchy and flavorless like ours were. Even more abhorrent was the second morning (July 20) we got breakfast. We ordered cereal and the little 8oz containers of skim milk were all spoiled upon arrival, and they weren't even past the printed sell-by date of July 22. Like, I know it's the summer, but keeping milk cold and far from spoiling is food service 101 for a dining operation. Also spoiled, by the way, was the little 8oz container of low-fat chocolate milk, which had the same sell-by date. Finally, the orientation of entrances to various different public spaces in this cruise was just confusing. As I mentioned in the “good” part of the review above, the Sunshine Dining Room is listed as being on Deck 5, but the entrance is on Deck 3. The Limelight Lounge on Deck 4 was so difficult to find (go off the walkway, into the middle of the casino on Deck 5 towards an unseen staircase and then walk down to Deck 4). It was so meandering and confusing, they had to put signs on a stand just to give passengers a hint. I'm convinced it was easier for Harry Potter to find the entrance for the Hogwarts Express train on Platform 9 & 3/4 than it was for passengers like me to find the entrance to the Limelight Lounge. Overall, given the great staff and fun activities, I would highly consider cruising with Carnival again, just not on the Sunrise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We went on this cruise with 13 people because we had a lot of young adults with us and figured it was the most economical. First off the pool area is way to small for the size ship. When your on vacation you shouldn’t need to get up at ... Read More
We went on this cruise with 13 people because we had a lot of young adults with us and figured it was the most economical. First off the pool area is way to small for the size ship. When your on vacation you shouldn’t need to get up at 6:30 in the morning just to try and save a few seats together. If the pool is packed your not getting a seat if you show up later than breakfast. Second we had multiple issues at the extra restaurants. We waited almost more than an hour after our reservation at Cagneys the steak house and then were finally given a table with no view whatsoever next to a wall. We also went to Tapenyaki and two peoples orders were either wrong or didn’t get the full meal. We didn’t realize until after because one of our younger girls didn’t want to make a big deal about it. But when your paying extra, you should get what your paying for. Finally we were at dinner in the Manhattans room. We had an adult order a diet soda and instead was given a jack and coke. Not a big deal unless the mistake was done to a minor or even worse a recovering alcoholic. The staff was always apologetic and always very pleasant with that being said. I just think the ship at full capacity is unable To ruń efficiently and smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
So I was a little weary about this cruise just by reading some of the most recent reviews but I decided to go in with an open mind. NYC is the port my family and I travel out of the most. Out of this port we have been on the Gem, ... Read More
So I was a little weary about this cruise just by reading some of the most recent reviews but I decided to go in with an open mind. NYC is the port my family and I travel out of the most. Out of this port we have been on the Gem, Breakaway, and now the Escape. We sailed to Bermuda in 2013 on the Breakaway for her inaugural season. We really enjoyed the Breakaway and thought that we were going to really enjoy the Escape as it was a sister ship to the Breakaway. When I learned that we were going on the Escape I started doing my research on the ship. I noticed that it was the first of the Breakaway Plus class. I was pretty excited as I have been following the Bliss and Joy which are also breakaway plus ships. Unfortunately what I failed to realize is that the Escape holds almost 400 more people than the Breakaway. This paired with the higher than usual drunk New Yorkers that seemed to love to try and fight people from Jersey, (as someone from Mass I don't understand the feud) made the cruise a little bit frustrating. By the end of the cruise it seemed that people were generally less relaxed than when they got on. The atmosphere was pretty tense the morning of disembarkation; seemed like people just wanted to get off. We were a group of 5 split between 3 Family Oceanview Staterooms. We all put in bids to upgrade from inside to Oceanview at $50pp per stateroom and they were accepted. Couple in one room had one room stew and myself and another couple had a different stew for our two rooms. Our room stew Kutut was honestly the best room stew we have ever had on NCL. He anticipated our needs before we even had to ask him and was just generally a pleasant person to have a quick chat with throughout the cruise. The food seriously ranged throughout the cruise. On sea days the food was usually rushed and seemed as if the quality was lacking. The people in the Garden Cafe had some trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of people that the restaurant sees during high traffic times. People clearing tables were on top of their game and there was ample amount of staff for that and getting new forks and napkins and such. We dined in the Manhattan room the first Sea Day evening and the last night we were in Bermuda. Same situation here. Since people were out and about on Bermuda there was less demand from the Kitchen Staff so the quality of meals went up pretty good. O'Sheehans didn't seem to serve Mozzarella sticks. This is just a personal snack that I would have loved to have. They served them on the Breakaway so I am not sure what makes the escape different. All in all I would say that I was underwhelmed with the food on the ship throughout the week. Embarkation was an absolute breeze. We got to the port around 11:30 and we went through TSA, Customs and the Check In area right away. We were on the ship by Noonish. Our cruise director was Alvin. We have never had him as a cruise director. At first he is a little annoying but he grew on us by the end of the cruise. The Cruise Director staff was pretty good for the most part. Another thing about this ship is how poorly planned the Gym was on board. Way too small of a room to try and work out. Not enough machines and equipment for the amount of demand the gym has. Good luck trying to work some of that food from the Garden Cafe off. Everything went pretty smoothly throughout the cruise and didn't seem to have a problem. The shuffle board equipment was all pretty banged up and in need of serious repair but that was whatever. Slides and ropes course are truly the coolest thing about the ship. I did the ropes course on the Breakaway when we were in port. I did them this time on a Sea day. Long story short, next time I will wait until we are in port to do the ropes course. The only thing that was the worst part of the cruise was the sheer amount of people. It was like we were packed in like sardines. You could not move around comfortably throughout the ship. Thankfully were were docked in Bermuda for three days so it thinned out the herd a little. Bermuda is absolutely beautiful this time of year and its my favorite place in the world so there was nothing stopping me from enjoying the vacation. We will most likely cruise on NCL again but definitely will be shopping around next time instead of going right to NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
My fiance and myself decided to sail with the Gem because a huge chunk of my family wanted to go on vacation together. We ended up with a group of 28 (though we all booked separately) and overall had a blast. The buffet food was ... Read More
My fiance and myself decided to sail with the Gem because a huge chunk of my family wanted to go on vacation together. We ended up with a group of 28 (though we all booked separately) and overall had a blast. The buffet food was delicious, and they had a different theme every night (American, Caribbean, BBQ, Mexican, etc). There were burgers, pizza, and a few other staples each night for my one who didn't want the themed food. The Pacific dining room was mixed. We ate there one night and although my fiancee and I were happy with our meals, about half of my family members were not. The meals looked fine, so I believe it was more a matter of taste/not being overly impressed rather than any mistakes. Thwere was plenty of entertainment after 4pm, but before that we couldn't find much tp do besides music at the pool or drinking. There was a different live music/dancing show twice each evening, as well as a few comedy shows. All were fairly well done, but nothing most people would regret missing. There are also a few live musicians/bands that play every day for hours. We particularly enjoyed the piano player/comedian, Justin Golan. The glow party was marketed as a family friendly event, but was more it less a rage sans drugs. A lot of electronic, incredibly loud music in a fairly small space. I heard multiple guests complaining about being disappointed/misled. Embarking was smooth and painless, and disembarking was fine as well. It does take an hour or so, but the process is simple and the staff is very kind and efficient. Any issues were caused by confused guests and were handled as efficiently as possible. However, my room was right next to a crew space, and maintenance woke us up on three different nights letting their door close loudly and banging (maybe hammering something). The first time this went on for an hour around 1 am, stopped, and then continued again around 3 am. We called the desk and they told us they would make it stop, and then got a call the next day around noon to ask if the noise was still happening. When we told them no it stopped early morning they responded "thank you for the positive feedback!". The second instance it only happened for about 20 minutes so we didn't call. The third time it happened again around 2 am and after my fiancee called it stopped for a while and then continued. He called back and they told him "we checked and the crew wasn't making noise". He told them they were right now and to please tell them to stop, which finally worked. If it hadn't been for the noise issues we would definitely consider booking again. However the noise wasn't something we can overlook, as we lost quite a bit of sleep and the cruise line never compensated us or even gave us a proper apology. **Something to consider is that, while water is available at the buffet, dining area, and bars, the glasses are small. The only place we found to fill bottles (besides the bathroom sink, where there is a sign that says it is not drinking water) is the buffet, where they have a sign stating the statiom should not he used to fill bottles. Many people do not listen to this request, which isn't a big deal when it's not busy-though I believe part of the reason is hygiene. Some guests would fill multiple glasses of water to dump into their bottle. Other than that, you can buy fairly expensive bottles water. Not a huge issue, but definitely something to consider! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to take our two grandsons on their first cruise. This was our fifth Celebrity cruise, but the first in three years. After we boarded (in a reasonable amount of time) we went to our stateroom (a family veranda) and were ... Read More
We chose this cruise to take our two grandsons on their first cruise. This was our fifth Celebrity cruise, but the first in three years. After we boarded (in a reasonable amount of time) we went to our stateroom (a family veranda) and were quite pleased especially the size of the veranda. Unfortunately the room was not totally clean. Couple this with our not getting one of our suitcases until after we left port made for a stressful first day. There were plenty of activities and more than enough to keep an eight and twelve year old busy. Unfortunately unless you got on deck by 8:00AM you got no deck chair. Also twice we could find no seat to watch a show. IMO the ship cannot handle in a comfortable manner the number of passengers they had on board. The food and service in the main dining were both good and our waiter really took care of our grandsons. We also felt that breakfast in the mdr was very good. We ate some breakfasts and all lunches at the buffet and other than finding a seat sometimes thought both the quality and variety were very good. The dock in Bermuda was near both shopping and transportation and Celebrity did a great job with getting on and off while in port. Overall an above average cruise but nowhere near as good as what Celebrity use to be. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on ... Read More
1st and last time we will be sailing on Norwegian. The Escape carries at least 1000 more passengers than it really should. The ship itself is beautiful and very clean. It took a day to figure out the layout after always sailing on Royal. We liked the entertaining, food and bar layout on decks 6, 7 and 8. The ship was packed!!! I hace sailed on similar sized Royal ships and never felt crowded. Not on the Escape...way too many people. Dinner at Taste and The Manhattan Room were nice but we felt rushed. The main course came while eating our appetizers each time. Food Republic, Moderno and Teppanyaki wer all really good. Definitly make reservations on-line or at any resturant as soon as you get on. The pool area was always very crowded. The pool itself is very poorly designed. It is 20x10 anf 6'8" deep, so unless you want to tread water, you better hope for a spot around the edge. The deck furniture is literaly on top of each other so much so that you can smell the breath of the person sitting next to you. The bar staff is WAY understaffed for a ship this large. 2 or 3 bartenders at the pool bar is not nearly enough. They are so overworked that it effects their attitude. Most are not friendly at all, agin, because their workload is too much. On Royal, if the bar is crowded, the bar officer jumps in to help. Not on the Escape. The smoking area is on the top bar area above the pool. Twice I saw cigarettes blow into the pool and you can often smell the smoke. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We have sailed on NCL before- last year on the Gem to the Bahamas. That trip was lovely- the boat was smaller and not as modern, but the overall experience was better. Getting on and off the ship was easy- unfortunately, the called ... Read More
We have sailed on NCL before- last year on the Gem to the Bahamas. That trip was lovely- the boat was smaller and not as modern, but the overall experience was better. Getting on and off the ship was easy- unfortunately, the called “last call” for our check out at 7:40- when our check out was 8:30-9:00- so we rushed- and that was the issue. You had to get to everything before it ran out it sold out- the shows- the buffet- the lounge chairs( good lord- let’s not go there- people save them forever and tons at a time- then go and sleep til noon. You go to deck at 7 am- and it’s empty, but all the chairs are taken- NCL has a policy on this, but doesn’t follow through). 18 and over deck- lol- no one is going to say much to dad putting his kids in the hot tub- so much for that. Want to watch something in the Atrium- better get there 1 1/2 hours early to be able to see anything! It was exhausting and created a negative vibe. And staff was fine- just so obviously overwhelmed and overworked- very different than our last experience with NCL. We made the best of it and had a great time- but it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you are surrounded by workers so obviously exhausted and stressed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We went on this cruise because we were traveling as a family group of 24, with ages ranging from 2-96. It is not a cruise I would select traveling as a couple of empty nest adults. Frankly, the children's activities were also ... Read More
We went on this cruise because we were traveling as a family group of 24, with ages ranging from 2-96. It is not a cruise I would select traveling as a couple of empty nest adults. Frankly, the children's activities were also lacking, as described below. A few tips: 1. The ship was vastly overcrowded. There is ONE adult swimming pool (and the adult-ness is not enforced) for 5200 passengers. The pool at our 200-unit condo is at least twice the size. The one children's pool reeked of urine. The hot tubs are small and not particularly hot. I never went into one pool or hot tub on our week long cruise, they were that unappealing. Naturally, it is impossible to get a lounge chair for the same reason. 2. The beverage package includes wine- yet only up to $15. The only included wines were underwhelming and there are no $15. glasses; it's $9 or you pay full price for anything over $15, which is the wines you might care to drink. 3. Child Care- there are no included children's activities for under 3 year olds. Our grandson went once to the afternoon children's center and was so upset about the experience that he never went back again. Also, the ship needs to have an option for in-room babysitting at night. We were willing to pay for babysitting, but unwilling to have him fall asleep in one place and then need to move back to his own room. 4. Don't bother with internet. It is very expensive and hard to log out of. Consequently, our minutes constantly disappeared with every use. 5. The staff is trying and most were kind and helpful. Security staff are unnecessarily harsh. 6. Food is decent, though certainly not memorable. We enjoyed meals at Cagney's and Le Bistro, for which there were a la carte upcharges. All in all, we have done 2 other multigenerational cruises on Royal Caribbean, and we enjoyed those more. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We were on an Ultra Casino event on the Carnival Sunrise June 24-July 2 Quick to process, on board by 11:30 am Pig and Anchor very good on deck 10-still don't have water/lemonade/ice tea there. In cabin 7372 inside-plenty of ... Read More
We were on an Ultra Casino event on the Carnival Sunrise June 24-July 2 Quick to process, on board by 11:30 am Pig and Anchor very good on deck 10-still don't have water/lemonade/ice tea there. In cabin 7372 inside-plenty of room, love the usb ports. Close to mid/aft stairs and elevators. Comedy shows were great-could always get in, sometimes had to stand. Loved Chris Williams the cruise director-all about the ship. Also very talented don't miss his show. Don't care for some of the changes-by adding the Taco stand and burger bar took out the aft buffet line. Got very congested there at breakfast but there are many other locations that can prepare eggs, breakfast etc (deli, seafood shack, cucina, etc) Food on the hole was better than our last Carnival ship. We did my time dining, never had to wait. Check in deck 5 and walk down aft stairs to deck 3-Get table with Rachelle she is the best. Very efficient and always smiling. You may see her up on deck doing bar service also. Never had a problem getting a chair-but it was very hot this week and there isn't alot of shade on the ship. Several days we sat by where the DJ performs to escape the sun. Didn't go to spa, production shows, have pictures taken. Went to Steakhouse one night (courtesy of the casino) filet was very fatty by waitress never checked. Had to mention to the hostess then the waitress got an attitude. Being that we were on an Ultra cruise event we had alot of drawings, etc in the casino. We also had 'free' drinks while playing. Biggest complaint is not enough bar servers. Would wait over an hour for a drink as you can't go to the bar and order. Each days more and more people were getting the drinks on us card adding more people that could get drinks. Prob the worst service in the casino. Plus they ran out of everything Corona, Kahluha, Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. Wouldn't have it one day get it the next and gone the next. Maybe when a casino event is going on they need to order more-just saying. On orientated the ship was pretty easy to navigate-we used deck 5 as it went front to back-Liquid lounge (shows) forward on 3/4 and Limelight lounge deck 4 mid ship so used stairs by casino. First time to Bermuda-don't think I would rush back. We took the ferry over to Hamilton ($4.50 token/person each way). Walked around the town. Found things extremely expensive. All of the locals we encountered were great-very friendly and helpful. Returned to the port area and walked around the Royal Navy Dockyard. Water surrounding looked great-you can swim from Calico Jacks at the pier for a fee. We stopped and had a beer at the Frog and Onion brewery and it was about $18 for one 16 ounce beer. I am sure the beaches are beautiful but being that we had 4 sea days we didn't really need more sun. NCL Escape was in port with us and they spend almost 3 days in Bermuda but offer their passengers free shuttle to St. Georges. Our only other stop was Grand Turk which we had been to many times. Laid by the pool at Margaritaville and then back on the boat. Our casino hosts on this trip were Adrian and Jen and were very personable. They were out on the floor talking to guests. We have been on several RCL cruises and the hosts just sit at a desk. Don't miss the Quest-prob one of the best we have seen in 35 cruises. Debarkation was handled very well by Chris the cruise director. If you did self assist you were allowed to leave only when your deck was called-if you attempted to leave earlier you were sent back. Previously it was like a free for all for all the self assist folks-like this way much better. We were off the boat by 9am. Overall had a good cruise, met lots of great people. Don't know if all the changes on the ship were good. The ship still need alot of TLC. I know the additions are about $$-cabins, pay dining venues, etc. No cruise is ever bad-just felt this one lacked due to the congestion in the buffet, lack of servers in the casino, and running our of bar items in the casino. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Choose this for the length of cruise, time of year, and the ports. The ship was very nicely decorated and had a lot to do, but just too overcrowded. We stopped going to buffet because of not much choice and too long of a line. All of Deck ... Read More
Choose this for the length of cruise, time of year, and the ports. The ship was very nicely decorated and had a lot to do, but just too overcrowded. We stopped going to buffet because of not much choice and too long of a line. All of Deck 9 was just too crazy including the pools. We had a nice time, but wouldn’t choose Sunrise in future, due to its layout and just seemed they did not manage crowds well. MDR has good choices but found food to come out lukewarm, sometimes cold. Again didn’t seem organized to us. Staff was very friendly and does their best to satisfy. They need drink station nearer buffet. Have make separate trips once get food, then drinks, plus look for a table. Why we stopped going there. Specialty Steak and Italian were good. Service and meal to expect every night on cruise and not have to upgrade. Bartenders were great! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Have sailed lots of mega ships including Vista and Horizon. Was Excited to try a smaller ship especially since they added a lot of the goodies from the megaships like guys burgers the taco place picking anchor the ropes course waterslides ... Read More
Have sailed lots of mega ships including Vista and Horizon. Was Excited to try a smaller ship especially since they added a lot of the goodies from the megaships like guys burgers the taco place picking anchor the ropes course waterslides there seem to be enough to keep my kids occupied. excited to try a smaller ship especially since they added a lot of the goodies from the megaships like guys burgers the taco place spic and anchor the ropes course waterslides there seem to be enough to keep my kids occupied. However the flow of the ship caused bottlenecking everywhere I turned the Buffay was the most awful experience of any cruiseship I have ever been on I gave up eating at the buffet because most times it would take 20 to 30 minutes just to get through the line by the time I would sit down my food would be cold . We had a family of five which included two adults and three children ages 11,14 and 17. The room was very small very crammed and I’ve never seen a cot have to be brought into a room for the 5th person. The bunk came over the main bed which meant when you woke up in the morning you had to remember before you sought up that there was a bunk over your head or you would smack your head. The room is not an appropriate size for five people when they did the remodel it’s as if they tried to cram as many people onto the boat as they could. I found the staff to be great they were very pleasant they were definitely overworked and appeared very tired. Both embarkation and debarkation went smoother than a lot of cruises I have been on so that was a plus. All in all I had a great vacation but I can say I will not cruise on this ship again. We cruise about once a year and this was the most money I’ve ever spent on booking a cruise and it definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
My in-laws booked this cruise as a family weekend getaway. From the beginning, the ship felt crowded. The lobby bar area was always very full as were quick dining locations. You could wait in line for 30-40 minutes at the food options ... Read More
My in-laws booked this cruise as a family weekend getaway. From the beginning, the ship felt crowded. The lobby bar area was always very full as were quick dining locations. You could wait in line for 30-40 minutes at the food options around the main pool. We chose to eat at the restaurants on board. We were very pleased with the steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555 and the Chef‘s table. There were some rude guests on our cruise; however, the staff impressively handled these difficult situations. The cruise ship needs to update and use room key bracelets rather than the cards. It got to be insulting how many times crew members would ask you for your card and a bracelet would have been a much simpler way of scanning for drinks, towels, etc. Disembarkment was a little messy in the morning, we paid for the faster to the fun pass but had to wait 45 minutes to disembark as some of the rude guests mentioned earlier needed to be escorted off of the ship by NYPD. It would have been nice to have had them wait with NYPD on the ship so the rest of us could have left on time (my husband and I needed to go straight to work). Our cabin steward, Larson, was wonderful! He sensed our needs before we had them! The highlights of this cruise for our group were Nikola and Denis at the Alchemy Bar and Scott at the Piano Bar. Nikola was a highly knowledgeable and talented bartender, we took his mixology class on the Sunday afternoon of our cruise. You could tell that he loves what he does! Scott had us laughing and singing for hours. He had a great personality and played off of the people in the room. For adults on this cruise ship, I recommend using the Serenity area of the deck (quieter, just get there early for a daybed). Overall, I think that the best way to do this cruise is to pay extra for the better dining options and to spend your time at the Alchemy Bar and Piano Bar. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our 5th cruise. 1st with Carnival (3 NCL, 1 RCCL). 1st with kids (ages 11 and 13). We chose the cruise because the length was good for the kids, we hadn't been to Bermuda, leaving from NY was easier than flying to FL, and the ... Read More
Our 5th cruise. 1st with Carnival (3 NCL, 1 RCCL). 1st with kids (ages 11 and 13). We chose the cruise because the length was good for the kids, we hadn't been to Bermuda, leaving from NY was easier than flying to FL, and the Sunrise had recently undergone a $200M refurbishment. Embarkation: Cruise port was relatively easy to get to. Parking was right next to the ship. Definitely older than port facilities in Miami; less high tech experience, but lines weren't bad. View of the city on the way out was a really nice highlight. Statue of Liberty, Empire State, 1 WTC, etc. Room: Standard balcony room. Just like others we have had on other ships. Standard bathroom. USB outlets on headboard were a nice touch. Good storage space. Tasteful decor. Bathroom standard; not used to shower curtain vs shower door but no issues. Crew: Friendly but not outgoing. Were hardly greeted entering the ship. No one greeted us when we entered the buffet. No "washy, washy!" In fact, no one on the ship offered us hand sanitizer; not once. This is a real surprise and something that concerned us a bit. Bartenders were a bit slow, but not unacceptably so. We saw our cabin steward several hours after boarding. He had us sign a paper stating when we wanted the room cleaned. We didn't see him again until the obligatory goodbye around tip time. Room was made up once a day. If we took an afternoon nap, the bed wasn't remade in the evening. That said, several staff members were very kind to us. Our waiter quickly learned the kids' names and remembered them when he saw them at a different time in a different part of the ship. I saw another crew member assisting a mom whose child was seasick, which was nice. Food: Buffet was average; not as much selection as we are used to. Main Dining Room fare was also standard; nothing to rave about, but no complaints. Other free restaurants - Guy's Burgers, Guy's BBQ, Blue Iguana, deli, and pizza place were all quite good. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants. Crowds: Crowd flow was poor. In trying to update the ship and add more stuff, they've created a number of bottlenecks. There was always a line for food. They couldn't make pizzas fast enough. All of the buffet items are in a row, so you have to get in a line and go through everything just to get one item. Individual stations would be much more efficient. In addition, there are so many food places on the Lido deck that it seems like one continuous line, particularly when combined with crowded pool and bar areas. Entertainment: Pretty good. We went to see a band play rock/pop hits a few times and they were quite good. Kids liked Hasbro Game Night. PG rated comedy acts were both funny. We liked the vibe at Red Frog Pub, including the little game room in the back. Disembarkation: Terrible. Not enough to ruin the cruise, but it does end it on a down note. They ask you to wait in your state room until they call your deck. I don't think people listened. We did but even then, we got our bags down from Deck 7 to Deck 5 and then had to wait in a mass of people to get down the stairs to Deck 3 for at least an hour if not more. Balancing heavy bags on narrow stairs with hundreds of irritated people and restless kids was not fun. They need to fix this ASAP. Thankfully we didn't have a flight to catch. Overall: A good time, but don't let the $200M in upgrades fool you into thinking the Sunrise is the equivalent of one of the newer megaships. It's solid and standard but by no means spectacular. I don't see us taking the Sunrise again unless the itinerary and the price were too good to pass up. We're even a little skeptical of Carnival. Again, no major negatives, but we felt other cruiselines did it better. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Have sailed on all of the major lines but never a ship of this size. Although the crew was pleasant and responsive the experience seemed impersonal due to the large number of passengers they had to deal with. The buffet food was fair, ... Read More
Have sailed on all of the major lines but never a ship of this size. Although the crew was pleasant and responsive the experience seemed impersonal due to the large number of passengers they had to deal with. The buffet food was fair, restaurants much better. Teppanyake specialty restaurant had the best food; quality and quantity, but prepare for an entertaining and loud performance by chefs preparing your meal. My balcony cabin was good size, clean and well maintained. Disappointed in the public areas; seemed in the attempt to make areas more intimate they felt small and cut up. Biggest disappointment was the lack of a grand and elegant open lobby most ships, especially of this size, boast. Mid ship is an attractive glass staircase but due to the fact it was open to the casino an awful stench of stale cigarette smoke infiltrated all three decks adjacent to it. I'll sail again with NCL but not this ship. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My mom and I cruised Anthem to Bermuda in June. We cruised RCCL to Bermuda about 7 years ago and wanted to go back on a newer ship. Being that we live in NJ, the convenience of leaving out of Bayonne was great. Checking in was easy - we ... Read More
My mom and I cruised Anthem to Bermuda in June. We cruised RCCL to Bermuda about 7 years ago and wanted to go back on a newer ship. Being that we live in NJ, the convenience of leaving out of Bayonne was great. Checking in was easy - we got to the port at 10:30 and boarded soon after. Cabins are not available until 1PM, so we wandered around the ship and then headed to the Windjammer for lunch. It was utter chaos there. We ate quickly and waited until we could get into the cabin. Our seapasses were waiting for us. We had a junior suite - it was great! Very spacious and laid out well. A nice sized balcony too. There were upgraded toiletries in the bathroom. I think the cabin was the best part of the trip because when the ship felt crazy crowded, we had a quiet balcony to retreat to. BTW - I was offered an opportunity to upgrade with a bid on 3 other types of cabins. None of my bids were accepted. I was a little bummed, but again, was happy with the cabin we had. In general, the pros: * The ship was clean * Service for the most part was good * Lots of fun activities all day * Several no extra fee dining options * Bermuda is gorgeous * The cruise port is very easy to navigate with parking located close by * We rented an electric car from Oleander to cruise around the island - great customer service and lots of fun Cons: * The disembarkation process was a pure disaster - no clear directions, and was running behind schedule. Passengers were cutting in front of others, just so much confusion to end the trip on. * The Bermuda Triangle Nature Preserve excursion - do NOT waste your money! The excursion is nothing like the description. For what it cost, you could go to Horseshoe or one of the other nearby beaches, and get lunch and beach chairs for less with a prettier view. * A big ship has a lot of people and you can tell there are a lot of people. * Technical difficulties kept us from being able to see "We Will Rock You" twice. * Same food was served in the Windjammer every day. * The sales they offer are a joke. * Extra fee dining - as if it didn't already cost a lot to go, so why pay extra for food * The thermal suite doesn't come close to what NCL offers * Cabin 13236 is right under The Living Room and was quite noisy overhead We had a good time and will sail RCCL again, just be mindful of the pros and cons. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I've always wanted to travel to Bermuda, but hotels are pricey. This cruise gave us the opportunity to check out the island without making a commitment. Bermuda is a wonderful island with pristine pink sand beaches, western food and ... Read More
I've always wanted to travel to Bermuda, but hotels are pricey. This cruise gave us the opportunity to check out the island without making a commitment. Bermuda is a wonderful island with pristine pink sand beaches, western food and conveniences and everyone speaks English fluently. the island is exceptionally clean—a very nice contrast to the Caribbean islands. People are friendly and helpful. Sadly, we didn't get enough time to explore it in depth as we wasted half a day on the port tour which was a waste of time. We also did the full day island tour. This tour was a good idea for first-timers. Norwegian Gem is a beautiful ship.The staff are friendly and accommodating. Reynaud and Gavin were wonderful attentive servers in the Grand Pacific and Shirley was awesome at helping me manage my dietary issues. The French Bistro is probably the best kept secret on the ship and Stanislav does an amazing job of keeping this restaurant humming. We ordered the filet mignon and it was beyond superb. If you can't get into Cagney's, be sure to get a table here. Also kudos to the girls and bartenders in the Martini bar. Great friendly service and very prompt. I don't know how they keep so many orders straight. Our complaint was with the maintenance department. They were painting on Deck 13 and the fumes were coming down into our cabin, spoiling our ability to enjoy our beautiful room. We complained constantly throughout the week but nothing changed. They kept painting. I ended up with a very sore throat and sinus problems. One day the a/c was not working. This was repaired in a few hours. We were on Deck 11 under a dining area. At night the cleaners banged around waking us up. Again we complained. It helped a bit, but didn't stop completely. Our sleep was interrupted. This department gets a grade zero in their customer service. RE the casino: we don't appreciate smoking being allowed in the casino. I'm sensitive to cigarette smoke. In Canada we enjoy non-smoking casinos. This casino didn't make any money from me. In general most general areas are quite crowded, but good staff ratios made for expedient service. I looked for a pilates or yoga class, but didn't see one listed. Overall the cruise was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Background information: My husband and I are in our 80s, and I use a small mobility scooter to help me get around. This was a cruise to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary with our four children. This was Bob's 19th cruise and ... Read More
Background information: My husband and I are in our 80s, and I use a small mobility scooter to help me get around. This was a cruise to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary with our four children. This was Bob's 19th cruise and my 30th cruise overall. It was his fifth and my sixth cruise on Royal Caribbean. We booked this cruise everyone could get off work on those dates and because it went out of Baltimore to Bermuda, and we always love to go to Bermuda. None of our children had seen much of Bermuda, so it was pretty new to them, and two of them had never been on a cruise before. Embarkation - One daughter came a day early and stayed an inner harbor hotel. She Ubered to the port. One daughter was driven by her husband. The third daughter's family flew in and stayed in a hotel near the airport. Our son drove up from SC and stayed in the same hotel. He took them all to the ship. Bob and I drove up from southern Maryland and arrived at the cruise terminal about 11. Check in was pretty quick. But we could not get into the room until 1:00 and the dining room was not open which meant everyone had to eat lunch in the Windjammer with all their luggage. This was NOT a good experience. I was supposed to have on-board credit, and it was never added to my account I thought the muster drill was kind of sketchy. They held it out on the deck (which meant that only about one in eight people could see because most people were behind another person). It was outside even for the people in wheelchairs, walkers and scooters. Unlike some ships who do the muster drills for the mobility challenged inside. Some people have a problem standing for that period of time. Ship: We have sailed on this ship before and it is a nice smaller ship, although it is quite noisy. There is always loud music in the atrium. One of the girls did the climbing wall and that was fun. There was a group on board and some of their meetings would close the Solarium or other venues. Two of the elevators were out of service for the entire cruise. The internet was the worst I have ever had on a ship. I could not post any photos because it was too slow. I could not even play a game of solitaire without having to turn the modem back on and log on again. We wanted to play dominoes and could not find a table anywhere that was big enough. Activities: There were scavenger hunts. We did trivia and had a good time with that. They had Harry Potter Trivia, Friends Trivia, and Pub Trivia in addition to regular general trivia. There was also Pictionary. Some of the group did Karaoke, and that was fun. My son-in-law tried to play Bingo, but he missed marking one of the numbers and then when he marked it and had Bingo, they said it didn't count because he didn't have the last number called. The Family Feud game was very poorly done. We didn't go to any shows and those of us that did weren't very impressed. Service was good. Our children commented that the bar service was particularly good (they had the drinks package) Our cabin steward did a good job and kept the cabin clean. We had a group photo that were taken on the first night. I decided that one of the group was good and we should get one for everyone. Everyone was good except one daughter who had her eyes closed in one of them. So I ordered four of the good one and one of the one with her eyes closed. They put that we should come and get the photos at 8 the next night and they were closed then. When we actually got the photos, they had done it the wrong way. 4 with her eyes closed and one with her eyes open. Dining: The Windjammer buffet was absolutely not an option for me. The labels were over my head and I could not see them from the scooter and I could not reach some of the food. Occasionally someone would offer to help me, but usually I had to get my husband to get me food. There were some times when it was not possible to get any food. For example, earlier than 6:30 am, or between breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. They did a good job with the various allergies in our group (gluten, peanuts, lactose). In the main dining room, we had a nice round table for all of us on the first night (My Time Dining). We went to Chops the second night, and we were never able to get that good table again. We would get to the dining room as it opened and there was already someone seated at that table. Instead we had to have a long table which meant that we couldn't really talk to the people on the ends of the table. We mostly ate breakfast and lunch in the Great Gatsby. I like the chopped salad at lunch, and one afternoon, Bob had just shrimp and ice cream. The dinner at Chops was good - they did the sides family style. Port & shore excursions: I did not take any excursions because I have been to Bermuda eight times previously and I had booked a private guide. It was absolutely ridiculous to keep people not on excursions from getting off immediately. My children liked the Hidden Gems Tour and the Crystal Caves Tour, and one of them (who brought her bicycle) did some of the Railway Trail. Disembarkation: Very quick and easy Summary: We were able to do a lot of family activities and we had fun together. Bermuda was, as always, beautiful but our time there was too short. A five day cruise is just not long enough. I think two of our daughters are coming back by airplane and staying on the island Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We sailed on the Summit (about a year ago), the appearance/maintenance of the ship wasn't that good, but the crew and food preparation was excellent. Now after millions of dollars of upgrades, the ship almost looks like the Edge. We ... Read More
We sailed on the Summit (about a year ago), the appearance/maintenance of the ship wasn't that good, but the crew and food preparation was excellent. Now after millions of dollars of upgrades, the ship almost looks like the Edge. We paid extra for Aqua Class, because we wanted fine dining, any time dining, and no waiting (like you have to do with Select Dining). Celebrity added additional rooms to Aqua, which has caused, some of the problems. Instead of what we expected, here's what we experienced: 1. Log wait times for a table, twice over an hour. They don't make you wait in line, like Select Dining, they give you a pager and send you to the Cellar Master Bar. Once they ran out of pagers. Having a pager doesn't make waiting any more fun!!!!!!!!!!! 2. Extremely slow service, from ordering your meal, to having the different courses arrive. Dinner took from 90 minutes to 2 hours, Breakfast was a little better, but not by much. When we ordered our meal, we started telling, just bring it out all together. That didn't help!! Don't forget, sometimes you had to wait, up to an hour to get inside!!!! 3. "Cold food" I believe "Hot Food" should be served hot!! 4 of my meals had to be returned, because of this. This occurred at Breakfast and dinner. 4. "Food Quality/Selection" Some times what they served wasn't what it was suppose to be, or the quality was so poor, it didn't taste right (i.e. Beef Wellington). 5 times (out of an 11 night cruise) I ordered off the Cosmopolitan Menu. 5. Improperly trained personnel (Maitre D), has to be the worst Maitre D we've ever had (38 Celebrity cruises). Here's some of the things he did: a) Charging Elite Plus members for their cappuccinos, there free for us! b) Refusing to put two tables together, so the 4 of us could sit together. c) Refusing to take special request orders. Celebrity has always has always allowed this, as long as they were given, a 24 hour notice. Room service wasn't any better!! For breakfast, I ordered two over medium eggs. What I got was two sunny side-up and they were raw in the center and cold (as well as the rest of the food). Tuscan Grill, because the Blu Restaurant had such slow service, I decided to go to the Elite Breakfast to get my hot chocolate. I placed my order and had to wait about 20 minutes, for a cup of hot chocolate. I could see into the kitchen from where I was sitting, so every time the door opened I could see inside. The waitress was standing with her arms crossed, leaning back against the counter. After about 15 minutes, I approached the Captain's Club hostess, she stated "she's getting it." I waited another 5 minutes, the waitress hasn't moved!!! I looked at the Captain's Club hostess, who this time went in and talked to the waitress. I saw the waitress finally turn around and start making my hot chocolate. All of these experiences are not what we've experienced from Celebrity in the past, or we wouldn't have sailed 38 times. If this is the new Celebrity experience, your not going to see another 38 cruises out of us!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We live in CT and drove down the day before to stay at the HIE on Tonelle Ave in Jersey City. I would not recommend this hotel as it was difficult to locate and in a very industrial area. But in fairness, it was clean and our sleep quality ... Read More
We live in CT and drove down the day before to stay at the HIE on Tonelle Ave in Jersey City. I would not recommend this hotel as it was difficult to locate and in a very industrial area. But in fairness, it was clean and our sleep quality was excellent. OVERALL We have not sailed Celebrity since 2000, although we have been on 17 cruises in total. This cruise did not live up to our fond memories of the Celebrity experience. Dining and the On board entertainment options were the low points for us. The Service saved our cruise. EMBARKATION was a breeze. No lines--no waiting. We left the hotel at 10:30 and we were in our cabin at 11:40. CABIN I used the Celebrity Move Up program and won an Aft Family Veranda, cabin 7201. We loved the extra space. We felt a lot of movement on one rainy sea day but otherwise, we were very comfortable. The cabin was spacious and quiet and our attendant, Marylou was excellent. DINING We choose Anytime dining and there was always a line so we asked to switch to the late seating and the initial request was bungled by one of the dining managers. We got that problem squared away and had an excellent waiter, Moe in the main dining room. Always smiling and happy and bringing us extra food--lol. However, the menu selections were disappointing and curry seemed to be the preferred spice in a number of dishes. We ate at the Tuscan Grille on the 1st and 5th nights for a reduced rate of $30 pp. For us, it was worth the up charge. We did not try Qsine. We had sashimi for lunch one day in Sushi on Five and enjoyed that experience. The Oceanview Buffet was as expected. The high points were the raisin bread at the bakery and the ice cream at Scoops. Also, fresh omelets for my husband. My husband absolutely hated the coffee in the Oceanview--weak and no real half and half. It was also hard to get half and half in the dining room--it seemed to be milk or watered down beyond recognition. Also the desserts at the buffet looked great but for the most part, tasted bland. They were better in the dining room. Butter seemed to be rationed in the main dining room. ENTERTAINMENT We enjoyed the group Horizon and the pianist, Linda Gentile. There was also a female singer who was pretty good but I don't remember her name. The production shows were amateurish in my opinion. We did not see the comedians. We were horrified by a male singer, Domenick in the theater and left during the first song. He claims to be associated with the band Foreigner in some way. Hard to believe. SERVICE The service was the saving grace for us.The employees seem happy which means that Celebrity must be doing something right! SHORE EXCURSIONS We only took one cruise excursion in Bermuda and it was fine. I will give Celebrity props for the tender service in Bar Harbor. It was well-organized and they used a vendor's boat to get more passengers over in a short period of time. DISEMBARKATION was the usual mess but I find that to be the case with all lines. Tip for Cape Liberty: Use a porter, they have a special line to get you through customs, I would lump Celebrity in with the other mass market lines--not worth paying more for in my opinion. Presently, HAL and Oceania are on my list of favorite lines. Read Less

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