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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
First time on Princess and this cruise fit into my schedule is why I choose these dates. 5 nights on the Regal (10/21/17) from NYC to Saint John and Halifax. I originally booked through princess but later got a competing offer online that ... Read More
First time on Princess and this cruise fit into my schedule is why I choose these dates. 5 nights on the Regal (10/21/17) from NYC to Saint John and Halifax. I originally booked through princess but later got a competing offer online that was too good to pass up so canceled and booked with them and also got some OBC. A short while after that, princess price dropped and less than 5 minutes on the phone with TA got me the price drop. 550 PP for minisuite (MC) L225 and I retained my OBC as well. This must be an off week as the cruise the week adjacent to mine was going for 2200 PP for the mini (which wouldn’t be worth it as that approaches Haven pricing on NCL or yacht club on MSC). I feel fortunate and was thrilled with the pricing. My only previous cruise experience was 2 times on the NCL Breakaway (BA) so I may make comparisons from time to time and my references are all from the perspective of a new cruiser to princess in an effort to educate newbies and old timers alike. BROOKLYN PORT I preferred Brooklyn to Manhattan even though it was a longer drive. 25 vs 40 bucks a day for parking and the terminal was mostly better than Manhattan. However, Brooklyn needs a PA system because any directions the lady was shouting to the crowd of 3000 people were not heard correctly and we all started to go toward the gate when she started talking. But it was a false start and we were told to sit back down. Talk about being deflating. They need a better system of filling out the health forms rather than “fighting” for a writing utensil then waiting to deposit them in a box in the middle of the terminal. I don’t know why you don’t do this at the main desk when you check in. Also do not get in the line at the front counter right inside the door as we were told erroneously. That apparently is for people doing the lunch on board. When you enter the terminal you go to the right and show your boarding pass and ID and then you get in line to be body scanned. Then there’s a line you wait in and you are directed which station to go to register. It was much faster than NCL and very efficient. We had to change what credit card we were using and even that didn’t take long. Of course since health forms and pictures aren’t done here, that’s why it’s so fast, as we later discovered. EMBARKATION We arrived shortly after 10 and we got boarding number 2. Yippee! I am not sure how far the numbers go up though, but knew this was good. Our picture was taken aboard the ship at 1227pm. This was different than NCL where when you checked in and gave your CC you had your picture taken. We took a few pics of the piazza and were eating pizza at alfredos at 1255. You must try the pizza. And you can special order so don’t be afraid to tell them your pleasure. They looked at my gf funny when she asked for a Hawaiian without pineapple though. But she likes to live dangerously and repeated the order for the nice lady, who had a quizzical look. We then set out to explore the ship and made our way to the cabin. It was ready and very nice. I’m glad we had the extra space as we were doing an ultimate balcony dinner and it was too cold to be outside. There are many pics and videos of cabins online so I’ll just make some observations. The room has your typical card slot to keep things turned on when you are in the cabin and has a delay so when you leave your room it all doesn’t get instantly turned off. The amount of light switches and what they control can take some time to figure out. Especially the lights over the desk. You will have fun figuring all this out. Reward yourself with a beverage when you do figure it all out. There is a nice small ledge close to the door to put your keys/wallet etc if you are so inclined. It’s a great paper collector too. This was heavily used during out trip. I’m glad we had a tub in the minisuite because pics I’ve seen of the shower stall are too tiny and not as much room to hang wet stuff. That being said, the tub was extremely slow to drain and you showered in a pool of water every day. But since the pool outside was too cold, maybe this was their attempt to make us happy. There was a nice fancy faucet to just set the temp and forget it for the hot water. And the pressure was good. The toilet positioned at an angle is weird but you cannot really change it without some plumbers tools and I did not bring mine. I have to say I was impressed with 100% button success. On the BA last year, we had to press the button 4 or 5 times to get it to flush but on regal, we had 100% success every time we pressed the button. Very rewarding. There’s ample room and hangars to hang things and you can ask for robes to be delivered to the room but my guess is if you weigh over 200 lb they really won’t close and they don’t have larger ones, we asked. The life vests are on top of the closet, unlike on the BA which are under the bed. You must take the vest to muster but don’t wear it to muster or you will look like a newbie. And make sure you don’t drag the straps either or you will fall and be in the med center for a tour you don’t want. The bed is a queen as advertised (bit too small for people used to a king) and beds are all subjective but we found it reasonable to sleep on. Not the best, not the worst. You have high and low pillows to suit your preference. Light switches next to the bed are nice but why on a new ship isn’t there at least one outlet next to the bed? There are table lights fastened into the end tables next to the bed and they have their own switches which is nice. The sofabed was comfy to sit on but we didn’t open it to inspect it otherwise. We never sat at the desk but found it spacious and used a few drawers. The steward put our ice bucket in the fridge after the 1st day but I don’t know if this is the norm or not. We never use ice. The in room phone is very crackly but we called to get our UBD dinner set up. There’s an extra chair in the corner to hang your clothing on if you need to or you could sit on it of course. The balcony door was very hard to open but that assured us we would be safe from any waves that got as high as deck 16. The balcony is the same size as the BA (except for that time I got the angled one on the BA and enjoyed that space) so we didn’t know any better if this size was good or bad relative to other princess ships. There is a light switch to turn off your outside light if you would like. I did not like that the air vents were directly above my bed. We don’t have hot air heat at home and we were very dried out every morning. The positive about this is that if you want heating or cooling that it’s virtually instant. I’ve seen videos online of the regal showers and I have to say I’m glad I sprung for the tub in the mini. WARNING: in bad weather this room creaks worse than a 100 year old with joint problems. We had force 10 winds (scale only goes up to 12) and for 2 days and one night we heard the room constantly moaning and groaning. It definitely affected our sleep and we would never stay in 225 again. I was pleased the bathroom door stayed in place through it all (no rattling or swaying). The noise in the walls and ceiling was just crazy and constant. Also someone apparently tried to jamb something up in the corner of the ceiling to stop the noise prior to our cruise. On the BA last year we had pretty big waves and wind and never heard this type of room noise. My guess is it’s luck of the draw with regards to room structure. Also I wanted to say that noise from the retreat pool area above was only heard one day at 9 am. I never heard it early morning. I was worried about noise from above but I wouldn’t worry about deck noise here. And the convenience outweighs it anyway. THE SHIP I always try to study the deck plans so I know my way around before I board, but admit the accordion one they gave us came in handy! One note for people staying forward is that if you take the elevators to 6, you must go to the theater, the casino or club 6. Those are your only choices. The club was open as a pass through most times except one time closed for elite activities. I thought it weird there was no hallway to avoid any of these areas. Even when you get off and go past the spa there is a public walkway on that deck. We explored the ship from top down. Elevators go to 17 but if you want to go to 18 or 19 and get some really cool views, you must hoof it up the steps to those observation areas. I didn’t go there except while in port, but imagine it’s nice and peaceful up there during transit. You could probably even sunbathe topless and no one would know. The free retreat area on 17 is an adults only area with a pool, 2 hot tubs, rental cabanas and a nice amount of seating. We did not use this area at all due to weather and the pool not being heated. The pool on 16 was moderately heated but not enough for us. Outdoor temps were 60s. We did a tour of the sanctuary and found it to be pleasant but surprised there was no pool since it was a pay area. Maybe there’s a wilder crowd on other sailings but I found no need for such a paid quiet area on this sailing. I counted maybe 10 to 20 kids and no wild and crazy behavior at all. Heck I wondered if the ship was really even full as allegedly all ships sail full. There are 2 hot tubs on 17 but we never tried them out. We spent time on 16 in those tubs, which were hotter than the breakaway’s. Never had to fight to get in and always a seat. Waiter even offered us a drink one time. It was fantastic being on lido deck so we had such a short walk to the cabin and could pick up food from the pizza joint or the grill on the way back to the cabin. Also we could check out the crowd in the hot tub before deciding to get changed and get in or not. But there was never a crowd! The terrace pool aft 17 was the smokers lounge. Since the pool was ice cold we never went back there again but it looked like a nice retreat. Deck 16 near the pool has pizza, a bar, and a grill. The grill menu changes at night so make sure you get there when you need to or you may miss out on the ribs or other things that are only served at a specific time. I believe it changes at 5pm to evening stuff. Also even if it looks closed, it’s open. We had no crowds and thought it was closed one time but nope, the guy doing prep on the side would make you what you want. I didn’t think the brisket was good but the dogs were and the pizza was as well. Also if you have your soda cups they just fill them at the bar without you even showing your cards. Nice when you have hands full of other food. Again the lido was fantastic, I can imagine how much fun it would not be if I had to take an elevator to get a drink. Gosh the exercise! Love the lido deck! Did I say that before? And strangely enough even 2 months before sailing, most of the minis were still available on lido. Unsure why they aren’t more popular. Perhaps the creaking? The seawalk was a fun glass walkway to walk over the ocean and everyone should try it once. Or a few times if you are scared of heights. It will help you get over it. Try it at night too, I had zero issues then for some reason. Probably because I couldn’t see the sharks lurking below ready to feast. The fountain shows next to the pool are neat to watch and are totally weather dependent. Watch them when you can because they may be canceled later in the trip. One thing I did notice for people trying to watch football once during the day is they were staring directly into the sun but they didn’t turn the ship to accommodate this issue nor did they move the sun. So be warned of this. People were watching with hands over their heads to block the bright light. There’s an assortment of seating both in and out of the sun and even some fancy cushioned sofas. A welcome from the hard loungers. Even if this was a more crowded cruise, I believe things are spaced out well enough to enjoy yourself. We did not spend a lot of time on deck 7 except to go in the upper theater entrance and had muster in the art gallery. However “princess live” is there and we saw ‘true or moo’ in the studio and it was pretty funny. Definitely a good spot for a rainy day and seating inside deck 7 is pretty nice. I bought the obligatory 40 dollar ship model in the gift shop. Also they have some unusual things in the gift shop. Never saw tightie whities in any gift shop before. One note, if you try to use a credit card and the machine is offline, they will give you a blank stare because no one has ever tried to do this before apparently in the history of the world. I had to stand there 5 minutes. What they do in the end is charge to your room then your CC when the system goes back up but the girl was like a deer in headlights when I wanted to do this. I felt bad. Deck 6 is where you get on the ship and get your security pic taken, and as stated above, yummy alfredos is there for your dining pleasure. We ate there twice. Also walking through the casino it’s tempting to do the ‘claw machine’ to win cash instead of stuffed toys and I do believe the machine is rigged. One time I released the lever and it continued to go to the top. But still it was a unique thing to do and took much longer than losing 10 bucks at a slot machine. The smoking area of the casino is on the exterior side of the ship and I really didn’t smell smoke on a walk through because the main aisle is smoke free I believe. I played a little on the machines just in case someone wants to give me casino rate on the ship someday. Should also note here that if you want the allegro dining room you can’t get there from the mid section of deck 6. Weird design but you only have to come down the aft elevators/steps once and get off 6 to realize you are trapped. Deck 5 is where the spa is and you can walk by without being accosted by sales people. On the BA they would frequently have hoards of employees out there trying to rope you in. Kind of annoying after the 1st day. I felt no pressure anywhere on this ship and upon embarking and eating in alfredos was the only time anyone approached us to buy something (wine event). The piazza is the center of the interior world on this ship and is a huge reason I booked this ship. It has enough seating and things to do during bad weather and it seems so much larger than the BA’s atrium because it is! The atrium on BA is horribly crowded and tiny. It’s more a nightclub stage vs the beautiful and classy and spacious piazza. Lots of dancing classes to watch people and things like a bean bag toss. Little things to help pass the time. The international café has wonderful beef steak pie and the cheesecake was fantastic. The muffins in the morning were good as well. This is a great spot to get some free food. I regret not trying some of the sandwiches but ran out of time. ULTIMATE BALCONY DINING After muster we contacted room service and the waiter said he’d be right down to discuss the menu. I asked if there was crab instead of lobster and he said no but they had salmon. I was ok with that but it just seemed like he didn’t want to substitute nor had a list of things and I was lucky to get what I got. You get half bottle of champagne, one alcoholic drink, salad, crab for an app, yummy birthday cake, a chocolate and raspberry dessert and other things which no way could we eat for dessert. The bday cake was a small square with the princess logos on and was cool. Oh almost forgot about the other apps because we didn’t really eat them. I think one was salmon with crackers and one was probably caviar or something. I forget now. It takes many many trips for him to set up the table/cloth, glasses, silverware etc so just sit back and relax. Also, while the weather was too cold for outside, I don’t see how this really would work on the small balcony. The person in the rear of the table could never get out if they had to. Also they had a photographer in the room because you get one free 8x10 which is 25 dollar value. We bought 5 more pics for 90 bucks downstairs and got the cute ship USB as well. I think there was 6th pic free also. Speaking of pictures, I found out why princess doesn’t ask your room number when they take your pics. You have to look for them in the gallery. Insanity in this 21st century world. On the BA they ask your room number then they all come up on the screen for you. Regarding the service of the dinner in your cabin: If anyone is worried about being awkward, don’t. Sometimes he would open the door and see we were still eating and not ready for the next course and I didn’t feel it was too obtrusive at all and I normally would be bothered by stuff like that. He also had an assistant with him once service started. This is a wonderful treat and I have to say I’d do it again. The filet was the best I’ve EVER had, including a local place that I’ve gone to for years. He said it’s the same as down in the steakhouse. My gf is not a steak fan but she really enjoyed it too. The salmon was also done wonderfully and since the chocolate dessert had raspberries on it, it was 100% healthy. The UBD is also a great deal financially for the 100 bucks. Here’s the breakdown with my estimated conservative pricing if I got this at home: 2 apps crab (10x 2) =20; surf and turf (est. 35 in any home restaurant) = 70; 2 drinks (8x2) = 16; 2 desserts (5x2) = 10; bday cake and other extra desserts =15; roses = 10; ship pic = 25; half bottle champagne = 10 and then the apps which I forget what they are would probably be 10 as well so that’s nearly 200 bucks worth of stuff for 100. Just do it! and if the steak really is what is served in the steakhouse I’d gladly pay 29 for it and eat downstairs! INTERNET Because my provider didn’t do out of country service in Canada, I paid for one month of ATT prepaid service which gave me full phone service in Canada for just 40 bucks. I know some cars have GPS in them but you never know what rental car you get until you are there so I wanted to have GPS for sure to make sure I didn’t get lost. Also it’s great to check in with family and friends for ‘free’ using the phone. Remember you need to turn roaming on. I didn’t know we had to do this but thankfully the Rogers signal prodded the correct settings on the phone. Very impressed! I’m also aware that Verizon postpaid service has a good plan but I haven’t used it. I did not use internet on the ship at all so cannot comment there. SAINT JOHN Due to tides you have weird times to arrive/depart. We got there at 5 and the car rental didn’t open until 8. We had a muffin at the international café and walked a few blocks to enterprise. This walk is doable for most people. It’s a moderate hill and very safe and about 10 or 15 minutes at a very slow pace. I think it took 2 or 3 minutes on an ipad until we were keys in hand and driving away. super-efficient. I believe it was about 65 USD. One word of warning. When you go to get gas do NOT hit ‘fill up’ on your gas pump when you prepay. It will hit you will a 150 or 200 dollar preauth that ties up your CC for days. That being said, I used 10 USD worth of gas on my trip here. The drive to St Martin to see the caves is mostly along a 2 lane road. You pass by some nice and some not so nice houses. This is real world Canada! I could never live in such an isolated place but it was very cool to visit. Before you get to the parking lot for the caves there is a neat cove where when the tides are out, the boats literally sit on the ocean floor. Makes for a cool pic. Maybe I’ll come back and post some later on. We were 2 of only 4 people at the caves already. It was nice having the place to ourselves. You have to wear some kind of sturdy shoes/boots as you will be walking in the ocean. Tons of rocks of all shapes and sizes and if you were in flip flops you’d have a serious issue. The closest cave is the largest and the magnitude of it all is amazing. You can go further out to a 2nd set of caves and that is fun but I’m betting very few people go out to what I call the 3rd set. The rocks get full of seaweed and you really have to pick your path carefully. But there is a huge cove that is absolutely stunning. You could fit probably a few thousand people in there for a concert and I walked all the way to the back of it. It took some time. I could barely see my gf, who waited at the front. In pictures you can zoom and see the little dot she was. I was all alone and this was truly a memorable moment. Coolest excursion I was ever on being so far out in the ocean. Yet dry. I wrote my name in the sand knowing it would be covered by many feet of water in just a few hours. On the way back from the cove, turns out the water already was coming in and we had to do a slight detour to get back to the 2nd cave area. We came at absolute low tide and I highly recommend you do that as well. Looking back to the restaurant in the parking lot, it was amazing at how far out we were. I cannot imagine what it would be like being trapped out there. They should make a horror movie here with a bunch of people entrapped at high tide. I believe the restaurant was open but we didn’t walk up to try to front door. Also on the way back you will see a lighthouse sign with an arrow. Do not follow this if you want to see a lighthouse because you won’t. Trust me. Argh. We headed back to town to take a peek at the reversing river. We got there just about as it was time to reverse but unless you stand there about 1 hour you won’t really see it do its thing. We did see where one part of the river appeared to be fighting itself and was actually calm. Then we left and went to the city market which was decorated for canada’s 150th birthday. We got some fish and chips and it was yummy. Lots of local crafts and food to look at. Then we went and found a local supermarket which is a thing of mine for every new country we go to. I like to see if there are any unique food or snack items to be brought back home. I found a few different kind of potato chips so I was happy. Prices were nowhere near as crazy as Bermuda. We returned the car and the nice people at enterprise drove us back to the ship. Also they are not allowed to enter the lot so they drop you off on the street in front of the ship. No biggie, just don’t be surprised. In order to leave port, you have to wait for the tide so you can get over a sand bar then we were on our way to Halifax. The captain was good at explaining all this to us. I never saw this reasoning anywhere on the cruise forum and you can impress your friends with the knowledge. This is also the reason that the ship will never wait for you at this port. They literally cannot! HALIFAX: With a 10 am arrival there is really no need to set an alarm unless you want to watch the docking. Hertz is literally across the street from the ship and was half the price of all the other car rental places (I think we paid 35 USD and the others were up over 70). However we found out why hertz is cheaper. Their office is literally a closet in the building across from the ship. You could probably extend your arms and touch both sides of the office. Only 2 people can stand at the desk and in the office at one time and the guy that works there is very slow to type stuff in the computer and he likes to chat. So while everyone is out in the lobby waiting it’s a bit frustrating. So be forewarned. I think it was almost half an hour in there vs 3 minutes at enterprise the previous day. While the drive to peggys cove was not hard, I’m still glad I had my phone and gps. Again it’s pretty much 2 lane local road and very scenic with a variety of homes and tons of water picture opportunities since you literally are next to the ocean for the drive. The driveway to the lighthouse is narrow and you must go 2mph so you don’t hit all the tourists that are out exploring, or if you do they won’t hurt your car too much. We arrived during peak lunch hour but found that by the time we were done there, it emptied out nicely. If you can stay until 1 or 2pm you will have a much less rushed time. The rocks and lighthouse are amazing and you really do have to keep on your toes. No handrails here! It truly is rock climbing and you have to choose your footing carefully. I found it fascinating to walk all over the place and sometimes you hit a dead end and had to turn around. Topping it all off was the fact that they had record warmth of 74 I believe and I didn’t bring shorts! I’m not complaining though. Last year’s patter showed 40/50 degrees as the normal temps. We had 100% perfect weather. We could have spent hours on the rocks but with gf’s knee we had to cut it short. The gift shop had ton of stuff but we didn’t buy anything. If you like climbing on rocks and picking out the best path to do so, this place is so much fun. Just don’t be an idiot and go on the black rocks. Black means wet and you will fall into the ocean and die. There are newspaper reports on the internet about this if you don’t believe me. Be safe! We decided to go the ‘long way’ back to town (vs the way we came) and ate at the Finer Diner because we looked at reviews on tripadvisor and it was pretty good. We were happy with the food there and I love eating at local places in strange lands to get a real flavor for what it’s like. It is a very scenic drive going that long way back to town and we enjoyed it a lot. Even the buses take it back. We got caught behind the same one on the way home as we did coming out of town. Back in town we just drove around a bit including a trip to the citadel but we just felt like going back to the ship and enjoying so we returned the car and shopped at the port a bit. But the views from the citadel were very cool. The boardwalk in Halifax is located literally next to the ship but it’s a bit confusing. It’s not one long boardwalk with tons of shops like I’m used to seeing back home. It’s more like you walk, find a few shops, walk more where there really is nothing, then find a few more shops. We found a nice tourist shop to buy stuff and also at the shops literally at the port, found some very cool metal art. My gf found an elephant made of springs and other metal parts and we got it. I found this stuff more unique than some other ports. I’d imagine when the boardwalk renovations are done it will be a much better experience. MDR We only went to the MDR on the last day. We got there at 445 to peek at the menu and no one was there in line. I wondered if we got the time wrong because at 445 on the BA, the line for the MDR was a huge mess with loud impatient people. Then along comes a single woman and she was first in line and we fell in line behind her. When it opened her mother joined her and they showed their cards. The head waiter told them they had traditional dining at 530 in the other dining room and he cannot help them. He said you have a standing reservation there and you cannot be here. I think the woman was trying to say she didn’t like her tablemates but the guy said you can move your table. She said she didn’t want to make trouble there but the guy stood firm that she cannot go in. So we wound up being first in. I believe our server had 8 tables in the section from how it was setup. He was perplexed that my gf didn’t want mushroom gravy on her meatloaf and eventually he understood and called it ‘plain.’ Why didn’t we think of that? Drinks, salad, entrée were all done well and served perfectly. However, he never came back to ask if things were ok and did we need anything. Around 5:50 it all fell apart. We were done for a while, beyond any normal time frame of waiting and he definitely walked past the table many times without stopping. My irritation was piqued when I saw him just filling water across the aisle. Certainly not a priority compared to our table and now the table next to us being finished. He eventually gave us a dessert menu and the next table but waited longer and gave a 3rd table a menu then. It seems like he wanted us all to be done at the same time like an assembly line. Oh it’s not a perfect world and it’s not possible for everyone to be done at the same time. Then came the Alaskan bake thing which was a total surprise to me. We were not in a time crunch but to have half dinner perfect and the end not, was kind of a let down. Very inconsistent. I do realize they get busy but not coming back to even check on us is really sad. Time out of there was about 630. They gave me the same bday cake as I got for the UBD in my room and no way could I finish it. ROOM SERVICE I found this menu to be better than NCL. I ordered lasagna which surprised me when it was served in a bowl like chili. Got a cheeseburger and fries as well as chocolate cake. We had an entire plate full of condiments which was nice. Then a hot dog and fries, and a nice salad. Everything was very good and to top it off we had pizza from deck 16 for good measure. You would not starve even if you had to just order room service. I could eat the room service a few days a week and work my way through the menu. BUFFET From all I had read this was supposed to be a much better buffet than I was used to. One objective note is that it has a wonderful layout. 1000% better than the BA. It’s so spread out with so many stations that we never ran into anyone nor was anyone poking us in the back with their plates like on the BA. (not exaggerating) There’s a distinct front and back section and we never were there when both were open. I guess we missed peak time. I don’t remember everything we ate but I do know the beef stew was good and I was disappointed I never saw chocolate mousse but instead they had other strange flavors. The scrambled eggs were horrible but I didn’t realize there was a made to order omelet station in the back of the buffet. I read later on the forum this is better. There was definitely a huge variety of items so I can say with certainty that you will find at least one or two good things no matter how picky you are. One thing different about princess is you sit down and the servers bring your drinks. A nice feature. Oh and the bacon was actually done nice and well, not fatty like so many other restaurants. 2 points for princess! Just a quick note about the soda package. It includes soda and mocktails and it’s a steal at about 8 bucks a day. Unless you can drink 6 or more drinks a day, the full booze package just isn’t worth it and since we aren’t drinkers, just found the soda pack plus a la carte boozing to be right for us. I had many strawberry daiquiris. ENTERTAINMENT Comedian AJ was super funny. He made the show about cruise ship topics and they were all spot on. I wish I could remember half of his jokes. One thing about the theater is that the end seats were taken 30 minutes before show time. So get there even earlier if you want them. If you want front row or seats up front you can wait until 5 minutes before showtime. No one wanted them. We came down from the 2nd level entrance and scored midway end on the right side seats. Thankfully they are far enough apart that you don’t have to get up to let people in past you. Also, Princess live is a very nice place to spend a rainy day. It is a small tv studio with all kinds of interactive shows on a daily basis. We saw ‘true or moo’ and it was funny and there are a variety of trivia and other activities in there. One reason I choose this ship was for the indoor activities because I’ve been on another ship that didn’t have that many and it can feel closed in. This ship seemed so much more spacious and had more places to relax on indoor days. I would cruise this ship in colder weather without hesitation again. Much better than the breakaway for bad weather. Also regarding the tv, it’s so much better than NCL. Many free PPV type movies, tv shows, etc. much better choices to sit down and relax with after a long port day. I don’t know about you but after a day walking in the ocean and climbing rocks, I really don’t want to do any other ship activities but eat and rest. This was a nice welcome. We also watched what I believe was cricket. Nothing like expanding your horizons with learning other sports. On the cold weather days something was always going on in the piazza and we saw people dancing, bean bag toss, and the champagne tower. DISEMBARK: On the BA you went to the desk next to the guest services and picked what tag you wanted for your time to disembark. But on princess, they tell you when you can get off even though you fill out a form with your preferences. I question the need to even do this then. We wanted self assist to carry our own stuff and even though that was on the preferences sheet we filled out, we didn’t get it. I had to go down to guest services and stand in line to get this fixed. One GREAT thing they have is someone walking the line to try to assist before you get to the counter. The very nice lady had me fixed up with about a 3 minute wait to get my self assist tags. Very very good princess! Also you meet 645 or 700 I believe in the casino for disembark. It was not crowded and it was very easy to get off. There were no lines this early at customs and I didn’t even see any porters. Normally in manhattan I’d pay the porter to take my luggage and cut in the customs line for me then to my car but no need for that here. Super easy disembark. Matter of fact, I don’t think any porters were even around. SUMMARY: Regal is an excellent ship and if it was in the northeast more often I’m sure I’d sail her again. Or if the price was right like this trip. Though I doubt a mini can ever be had for $550 again and I got lucky. I would say this is a better cold weather ship than NCL breakaway for sure. There are many more indoor places to hide on a bad weather day. Also, at least on this trip, there were virtually no kids and it was an older crowd compared to the BA. The hot tubs were warm and the access to food on lido deck is THE reason to stay on that deck. I would definitely try another cabin on that deck and hope not to get such a creaky one. The ports were interesting to explore with a car rental and you should not hesitate to rent while you are up there. If you have any questions, no matter now crazy, I’ll attempt to answer them. Casino info: I had been writing this review over the course of a few weeks but now as this goes to press, I have some new info. PLAY in the casino even if you hate gambling. I just got some very good casino rates out of FLL for the next 2 months and we put well less than 100 through the slots. Examples of these deals include 14 nite on the carribean for 509 balcony (mid ship balconies are priced 3100 on the site!) and other 10 and 11 nite trips for about 400. Then there are the crazy regal deals for 149 and 199 for a balcony for 7 nites! Even an inside for 99 bucks. The air is also on sale now and the week before Christmas would only be about 40 bucks for air. That’s crazy! so put money thru the slots, you will not regret it! Delays in posting this have enabled me to add this update. I was able to take advantage of one of the casino offers for an obstructed balcony for 169 in January on Regal vs the 719 list price. I was lucky enough to snag one with a view over, and not through, the boats. Very very thrilled to be sailing on her again with 2 more days than last time. I will eat more from the IC this time! And maybe even get to enjoy the retreat with warmer days. Something tells me it will be a tad more crowded given the warmer climate. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We enjoyed the ports of call, the dining and entertainment. However as of day 7 rumors regarding the Propulsion equipment on one of the engines put a cloud of worry over everyone. We were reassured the ship was safe and all services ... Read More
We enjoyed the ports of call, the dining and entertainment. However as of day 7 rumors regarding the Propulsion equipment on one of the engines put a cloud of worry over everyone. We were reassured the ship was safe and all services proceeded as normal. Except by wednesday, day 8 it was announced the ship could not return to New York and would need to dry dock in Barbadoes. We were informed that we would be asked to disembark in Barbadoes on Friday or Saturday and chartered flights would be arranged to get us back to NY city. We received one questionnaire asking us 2 questions. What was our final destination and to check if we had arrangements with hotels, air, bus etc. in NY..not other info was asked. By 5 pm thurs. my husband and I and friends received notification we would need to be packed and have bags out by 10pm Thurs. Report to Barbadoes immigration at 2 am, be bused to the airport where we would board the first flight out at 7am. The flight was delayed 2 hours, we got into NY 2 hours late and waited 3 hours for our luggage to begin to surface as the charter flight did not have ground crew arrangements in Newark. We were then told to get on a bus to be taken to a hotel. We got to first grungy hotel in Newark and were told by NCL rep we were not at that hotel. GEt back on bus and wait for further info. at last we arrived at another hotel by 6pm where we spent the night. Next morning bused to our airport for our flight connection at la Guardia. The NCL team let us down. Did not provide updated info while on the ship, they didn't consider needs to allow for seniors to pack and arrange themselves to be at immigration by 2 am. The disembarkation plan was poorly organized. Many who went to complain before seemed to have considerations taken into account however we didn't have the heart to become involved in the shouting fiasco in the atrium the Thurs, which was our only our 10th vacation day. We didn't get our 11th day or needed support and reassurance from NCL. Have filed complaint but not heard anything in over 15 days. Very dissatisfied with NCL ability to handle this situation which was not life threatening but stressful and worrisome. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The upgrades were fabulous - beverage package, speciality dining, shipboard credits, and excursion credits. What a value. The ship is quite nice - great layout - super entertainment, wonderful suites, nicest staff ever. First Norwegian ... Read More
The upgrades were fabulous - beverage package, speciality dining, shipboard credits, and excursion credits. What a value. The ship is quite nice - great layout - super entertainment, wonderful suites, nicest staff ever. First Norwegian cruise, but we are looking now to find another one. Lovely trip up the St. Lawrence river - trees in full foliage. The ports were interesting and the excursions informative - don't miss the falls in Quebec! 10 wonderful days. ONLY complaint: Heavy smokers in the casino - we did not use it at all - and did not even want to walk through there to get to the theatre. Gross. We had the owner's suite and it was grand - top of the ship with 180 degree view and our own hot tub and butler. The speciality dining in Cagney's, Le Bistro, and La Cucina is fabulous - book they early as soon as you get on board - they fill up fast - worth the upcharge! Highly recommend this trip. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose the cruise for the itinerary - eastern Canada including Halifax, Quebec City, Corner Brook and Sidney. The ports were excellent, but the last port, Sidney, had to be cancelled because of rough weather and concerns about getting ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary - eastern Canada including Halifax, Quebec City, Corner Brook and Sidney. The ports were excellent, but the last port, Sidney, had to be cancelled because of rough weather and concerns about getting into New York on time. We enjoyed the buffet for breakfast and lunch, ate at the Magenta most other nights. The food was, for the most part, excellent and the service was good too, other than one night in the Grand Pacific where the server couldn't seem to find a tea bag so I could enjoy a cup of tea with my dessert. We chose a midship outside cabin on deck 5. Mostly, it was quiet although we had one night where the crew was doing maintenance somewhere close by and were still drilling and pounding at 10:30 at night. A call to Customer Service ended that noise. Most of the entertainment was excellent, although we found the show "Blazing Boots" very raunchy and offensive. There should have been stronger warnings in the daily newsletter about content. If we had known how sexually explicit it was, we wouldn't have gone. There were a lot of "sea" days on the cruise. A lecture series or something a little more stimulating than Goofy Golf or Trivia would have been appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Love NCL Gem and received great value for our cruse. All aboard were very friendly and helpful to make our cruse a great time. The entertainment was well planned and preformed with precision. The bars were great and the unlimited drink ... Read More
Love NCL Gem and received great value for our cruse. All aboard were very friendly and helpful to make our cruse a great time. The entertainment was well planned and preformed with precision. The bars were great and the unlimited drink package was very fine, had drinks with breakfast thru midnight. Specialty restaurants were great, Teppanaki dinner was presented well and he put on a great show cooking it. We really enjoyed the evening and food. The other restaurants also had great meals and great staff. We had hit some rough weather on the way home and the Captain put the ship in high gear to get us around the worst of it but we did have to go thru some 21 ft waves for about 20 hours. The ship really rocked and rolled and stuff was flying everywhere but I must say the Captain kept us safe and we were thankful but some people were green. We did have a great time and would recommend the trip to anyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise because it was staying overnight in Quebec and was stopping in Newfoundland. A few days before leaving, we learned that our time in Quebec would be shortened; instead of arriving at 1:00, we would be arriving at 5:00. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was staying overnight in Quebec and was stopping in Newfoundland. A few days before leaving, we learned that our time in Quebec would be shortened; instead of arriving at 1:00, we would be arriving at 5:00. By the time we docked and got to town, everything was closing or closed. It would have been nice to know this prior to our going into town. The ship did provide a shuttle ($15 per person) for both days we were there and the shuttle ran continually. Unfortuantely, it rained the next day so it hampered our doing all we had planned. After Newfoundland, we were scheduled to go to Sydney, Nova Scotia but a tropical storm prevented us from stopping. We then spent Sunday and Monday with very turbulent weather basically floating toward New York. The cruise was basically senior citizens and we were very impressed with how helpful the crew was in attending to everyone's needs. The entertainment was very good, especially the Second City. The food was okay, nothing exceptional. The main dining room had the same menu everyday, with just one or two exceptions. We noticed little changes since our last cruise with Norvwegian - no more half and half for coffee, no lobster or fillet served in the dining room. We are glad we took this cruise because we were able to experience the beauty and friendliness of Newfoundland but were very disappointed in our shortened stay in Quebec and not being able to go to Sydney. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I like this ship because I live in Toronto and its only an hours flight to New York where it is based. I have been on the Gem and both its sister ships before and have come to appreciate the smaller size. I have become sick of the bigger ... Read More
I like this ship because I live in Toronto and its only an hours flight to New York where it is based. I have been on the Gem and both its sister ships before and have come to appreciate the smaller size. I have become sick of the bigger and bigger ships trying to please everyone and looking more like Disney Land than a cruise ship. I studied design and several teachers taught me that the most important thing about design is "functionality" and this ship has really nailed it. On deck by the pool instead of being gassed to death by cigarette smoke there is a full buffet and often a deck BBQ...the deck is also covered with tables to sit and eat, beds to sun bath and of course the pools and spas. The full Buffet is more then ample and there is a third at the Aft area of the ship outdoors and covered from the sun or rain. The theater is the right size and the sound system does NOT blow your brains out. The shows are first class as are the feature artists. The main dining room is great and I ate breakfast there every morning as I'm not awake enough to navigate the buffet. What can I say..."Eggs over easy...are eggs over easy" not cooked hard or med but just as you request. Bacon side is close to half a pound, delicious, a bit too much for me and there is everything else one would expect. For $200. Canadian I booked the specialty restaurants for the 10 day cruise...One evening in a comparable restaurant on land would cost you what I paid for the entire 10 days. Cagney's prime rib. Fillet, tenderloin, huge shrimp, oysters, etc. don't forget deserts. Le Bistro, French and fabulous, Amazing, non salty Onion soup, or Muscles in wine sauce to start, Fillet, lamb, veal, fabulous deserts and an amazing cheese assortment with your wine. I alternated these two restaurants all trip except for one must do night in the Teppanyaki Japanese with the chef show and fabulous cooked to order food. There are Chinese, Brazilian and the 24 hr. O'Shaunasies ... never run out of food that's for sure. I am now Latitude Platinum and this gave me wonderful perks...it pays to be loyal...I got two specialty restaurants for two, a free bag of laundry, Campaign, chocolate covered strawberries...talk about pampering. I was really luck this time as I was assigned the cabin I always wanted and never could get...I got it by chance and it was dead center aft looking out over the wake...what a view from my balcony and the cabin was excellent...sleeps four but I have no idea where you would put the others...my cloths took ALL the hangers...and the bathroom was great but just room for my stuff, thank heavens I was alone. The person who never seems to get a mention is whoever it is that hires the staff. Boy what a lot of wonderful, happy, helpful people, Bravo you always hire people who suddenly become your best friends at sea. Boarding in New York was easy...on return I walked off with my suitcase so I didn't have to wait and search the dock....I was dashing for the airport for my flight back to Canada...Oh, yes, that's where the ship went...Quebec City, Halifax, Sydney, New Foundland (Corner Brook) A bit of rain at this time of year but I still enjoyed every minute of this cruise to a part of my country that I had never visited and the was the perfect way and opportunity to get a sampling of the good stuff in Eastern Canada. By the way the Fall Colors were breathtaking and I have dozens of photo's to prove it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose this cruise on the Norweigen Gem the week of 10/21 for 10 days because of the ports in Canada that the ship was stopping at -Halifax, Quebec, Cornerbrook and Sydney. Ship met up with whales so we lost a day in Quebec and then ... Read More
I chose this cruise on the Norweigen Gem the week of 10/21 for 10 days because of the ports in Canada that the ship was stopping at -Halifax, Quebec, Cornerbrook and Sydney. Ship met up with whales so we lost a day in Quebec and then hurricane Phillipe caused us to miss the port of Sydney, Nova Scotia. The captain was very nice and took us around the storm. We did have 20 ft waves but all was fine on board. I called Norwegian directly and spoke to an agent who assured me that my dietary needs were going to be met. Only then did I book the cruise with that Norwegian agent. I had a hard time finding out what food items are on the ship that were either gluten and or dairy free. There is no where a published list that lets you know there is soy and almond milk available, or that there is gluten free hamburger, hot dog rolls, or that there is white bread, English muffin and bagels available. Also, there are gluten free blueberry muffins and a flourless cake if you ask the right person. It took me to the last day to find these things out and it was all just by asking and getting the right person who knew what was available. Best bet is to talk to the Sous Chef in charge at the buffet each day. They can make your food without sauce and gravy which is on many of the hot items on the buffet. And each night, you will have to pre order your dinner if you eat in the dining rooms so the chef can prepare your food to your dietary needs. Desserts are an issue though. Keep that in mind so you are not disappointed as I was. The pastry chef needs to learn to make some better desserts for dietary needs. My friend I traveled with had no food restrictions and had no problem. He especially enjoyed the pool side barbecues and the buffets for both breakfast and lunch. But, each evening we did eat in the Main Dining rooms. Due to my dietary restrictions, we did not eat in any of the al a carte specialty restaurants. Friends who did thouougly enjoyed that experience. Everything else was good from the embankment to the disembarkment. It was organized and quick. Make sure you pick your times in both cases so your getting on and getting off is easy. The entertainment was fine each evening. Just like the opening shows in Las Vegas. There are some games and demonstrations daily plus the casino but the casino has poor ventilation and it is so smoky smelling even if you just have to walk through it. I really enjoyed Park West art gallery giving informative talks and auctions. That was so much fun. Everyone should go to an auction just for the experience. The staff on this cruise were an outstanding 3 some from South Africa. It is fun to have your picture taken but when you go to purchase them, you should take the 10 photo package deal if you want pictures from professionals. Otherwise, $25 for an 8 by 10 and $15 for a 5 by 7 photo will really add up. This was my first time cruising on Norweigen and I had not cruised in 20 years. We were celebrating my friends birthday and it was his first cruise, so this was a special occasion cruise. They sent chocolate covered strawberries to the cabin and a birthday card. At dinner he was presented with a birthday cake and the wait staff sang Happy Birthday making the experience very enjoyable. Before cruising with Norweigen again, I would have to so more research to see what other cruises offer for my dietary needs and would try another cruise line before taking another cruise on Norweigen. They offer a really good deal to travel with them again on future cruises. I could not take advantage of the special deal because I did not have an enjoyable dining experience on this cruise ship and would not want to be disappointed on another Norweigen cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife wanted to take a cruise with different stops in Canada. Checking in was slow needed more windows open seem to have more employees walking around behind the employees waiting on guests.Shore excurions in Quebec were un ... Read More
My wife wanted to take a cruise with different stops in Canada. Checking in was slow needed more windows open seem to have more employees walking around behind the employees waiting on guests.Shore excurions in Quebec were un organized,needed to have persons display signs with the different places to go.Person responsible for the tours needed to have a better way of communicating instead of yelling,many guests around and you could not hear. Overall great cruise. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.Food was outstanding and the entertainment was inspiring.Enjoyed the Behind the scene tour,our guide was very nice and the management within different areas of the tour were informitive and cordial.Enjoyed playing Deal or no Deal,Cruise director and staff were very upbeat through the entire cruise.Had alot of different activities through out the entire ship,every day.Really enjoyed listening to music with Sonata,they were outstanding. This is the first we have cruisied with NCL since 1982,Thank you for a great and enjoyable 10 days on the GEM. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Norwegian Gem is my favorite ship it is smaller very convenient to find everything. No need to make reservations for everything as one has to do on the larger vessels. Crew unbelievably accommodating. Music on this voyage was exceptional ... Read More
Norwegian Gem is my favorite ship it is smaller very convenient to find everything. No need to make reservations for everything as one has to do on the larger vessels. Crew unbelievably accommodating. Music on this voyage was exceptional we had several concerts by the band of Dixeland Jazz they were wonderful. It was very obvious that all the musicians were passionate about their music an it showed in the performances I was truly sorry when they ended. Dana the piano player in the lounges was unbelievable what a repotoire and he played for hours with no break. The shows in the theatre were great especially Swing the amount of energy the dancers had was mind boggling. Broadway couldn't have done better. It was a marvelous cruise although the weather could have been better. Room service was great had our coffee every morning brought hot and on time by an extremely happy and friendly server always chatted a moment or two. It was a great way to start our day. Read Less

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