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Sail Date: September 2018
Given rich African/Black cultural traditions and experiences in Halifax NCL needs to offer related excursions. We did the research and planned an outstanding day by visiting: 1 Africvile Museum with an outstanding presentation by ... Read More
Given rich African/Black cultural traditions and experiences in Halifax NCL needs to offer related excursions. We did the research and planned an outstanding day by visiting: 1 Africvile Museum with an outstanding presentation by Brittany Vaillancourt 2, the Black Cultural Centre, We met Johnson on the evening of September 24, when we realized the mix up over our Savor Restaurant reservation. In addition to immediately seating us, when he learned about the birthday celebration, he not only make arrangements for the customary cake and singing, he provided complimentary wine for the table. For the balance of the cruise, Johnson gave us ultra VIP treatment (from strawberries in our rooms to complimentary wine). When we celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday he made arrangements for NCL celebrations at dinner on the 28th and 29th!!!! She felt honored and remains thrill about the attention and care shown. He was attentive to our every need. He has a warm and engaging personality and exquisite training in customer-centered care and treatment. We also very much appreciated Stefanny Moore (wait staff in Savor) and George (wait staff in O Sheehan’s). Our cabin Stewart Jose was also attentive, respectful and highly pleasant...had more than passing concerns about the pre-boarding contact with NCL. The website is inefficient, slow and not well designed. Calls to the NCL help lines resulted in 10-15 minute holds, not given the option when setting up account to register credit card, then receive an email on September 20, 4:443 pm regarding “We are happy to announce that we have added additional functionality to our On-Line Check-In. You can now record the credit card that you will be using onboard as well as purchase our Essentials Travel Protection (if you have not already obtained travel protection) which will provide trip delay and medical coverage while you are on your cruise vacation.” When signing into my online account the option was NOT available. I in turn called 1-866-234-7250 and was on hold for 14 minutes only to be advised that the option was not available to me and that an mass email was sent to all customers. The embarkation process was inefficient and long. In part this is due to the large number of people on the cruise. However there is an absence of customer care with the process. We were asked to complete forms while in line, without tables and writing instruments. The Canadian declaration form seemed ill timed and a waste of time for the majority of the vacationers. Not able to use the dining package due to the venues being over subscribed. Challenges with setting up complimentary internet package. Only one staff to assist everyone. We had to wait more than 30 minutes to receive assistance.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Introduction We previously sailed on the Escape in 2016. When we saw the fall colors itinerary on this ship, we decide to book the Escape again. We have traveled on several cruise lines, but have the most cruises on NCL and MSC. ... Read More
Introduction We previously sailed on the Escape in 2016. When we saw the fall colors itinerary on this ship, we decide to book the Escape again. We have traveled on several cruise lines, but have the most cruises on NCL and MSC. Embarkation We arrived at the port by 10 a.m. Our flight arrived early, and we decided to go to the port early. This was a good idea. They opened security a few minutes after our arrival. We were given boarding number 1 as Platinum members. We waited about an hour, and then our number was called. The process was quick and we were dining at O'Sheehan's by 11:30 a.m. Our luggage arrived by 1:30 p.m. Overall one of our better embarkation experiences. Room We previously stayed in the Haven on our last Escape cruise, but with just two folks and the ever escalating Haven prices, we were fine with a balcony. Curiously, we got four emails from NCL asking us to bid for an upgrade. As the minimum bid for a Haven upgrade was $1,000 per person, we passed. This was another good idea. The room was fine with a bed, couch, small bathroom and balcony. We never use the butler or concierge anyway so no loss on that front. Our room steward was very good. Prompt room make up and turn down. Dining This is were NCL really shines. We dined twice at Le Bistro, twice at La Cucina and once at Cagney's, Taste and the Manhattan room. All the meals were good. Le Bistro and La Cucina were particularly excellent. A side note on these venues. We are not snobs, but do like to dress consistently with the venue. These are beautiful dining rooms, yet half the folks show up in jeans and tee shirts. Le Bistro now even calls you in advance to remind patrons not to wear shorts. Freestyle appears to be taken to the nth degree by folks going casual even in fine dining restaurants. Entertainment This is a problem on all the new NCL ships. Every since they went to Broadway shows, you basically have only two or three nights in the theater. We saw the Brat Pack, After Midnight and a Magic show on the last night. The later two were very good, but the Brat Pack was disappointing. The rest of the days, we congregated in the atrium which had some music acts. The problem is the atrium's acoustics are terrible. It was not built for musical performances and seating is limited. The comedy shows were all reserved by the first day. There are alternative shows in the dinner theater for a fee, but known of them seem particularly worth the fee. There are few enrichment activities on board, unless you count towel folding and bingo as enrichment. Onboard Experience NCL is geared to sell things 24/7. Art auctions, bingo, fee shows, tee shirts, drink packages and Cruise next rewards Ad nauseum. About four of the T.V. channels are devoted to sales. We don't experience anywhere near this level of sales pitches on any other cruise line. We attended the Lattitudes Party. After the crew introduction, exclamations of how much they loved us and one drink per person, we were told basically to get the hell out of the room because they had to set up for another event. Total time 30 minutes start to finish. Shore Excursions Another hit and miss area. Our tour to Bar Harbor was cancelled due to the inability to tender. Our Nova Scotia tour, booked through NCL, reminded us of the Peterman Reality Tour from Seinfeld. The tour guide was fixated on tales of woe including: 911, a Swiss Air plane crash and the Titanic which she connected to Nova Scotia's involvement. Interesting stories, but a bit much for folks on vacation. After driving about one hour to Peggy's Cove, we started our return and the bus promptly broke down. We waited about an hour for a replacement bus. This bus arrives, but the air conditioning and sound system is out. We made it back to the next stop the Titanic Cemetery. At this point, many folks are hot and are few looking sick. The tour company indicates a third bus is coming. At this point, about thirty of us revolt and tell the driver we are not going on a third bus, many of us have dinner reservations and we want to return to port. The company relents and returns one bus to the port and one to continue the tour. The next day I go to shore excursion desk to express my issues with the tour. The gentleman, after hearing my story, launches into a defense of NCL. Basically, he asserts that NCL has no responsibility for tours that it sponsors through its web-site. I attempt to explain the law of agency to the employee, and the concept of customer service, but this falls on deaf ears. After much debate, he agrees to a 30% reduction of my fee. However, we still never acknowledges NCL's roll and responsibility in this matter as promoters of these tours. Service With the exception of the above incident, service was good. Waiters, the room steward and others we encountered were all friendly and competent. Value for money It is clear since Mr. Del Rio was named CEO, the emphasis at NCL is drive revenue and reduce costs wherever possible. As a NYSE listed company, I certainly understand quarterly margin pressure, but you can take this concept too far and it impacts the customer experience. I recently priced Alaska cruises for next year. NCL's price on the Joy for a balcony for two was more than the cruise I booked on Holland for four in a 500 to 700 sq. ft. Neptune Suite. The pricing increases on NCL has been relentless the past few years, and it is very noticeable when you compare pricing with other cruise lines. My wife is about to turn Platinum Plus on NCL and I am one cruise away, but even with status, I doubt we will be back at NCL anytime soon unless the value for money proposition changes. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Just got off the Escape. I should say this was a 7 day cruise to Maine and Canada out of NYC. The Escape is about 3 years old and was a BIG ship by Norwegian standards. We had 4300 passengers, and I guess if there was a theme here it ... Read More
Just got off the Escape. I should say this was a 7 day cruise to Maine and Canada out of NYC. The Escape is about 3 years old and was a BIG ship by Norwegian standards. We had 4300 passengers, and I guess if there was a theme here it was massive crowds everywhere. We have been on Allure of the Seas, which is bigger, but this one felt much more crowded, the most crowded I have ever been on out of 25 cruises. Long lines to get on the ship too. We waited 90 minutes to get our room key, but lines after us were even longer. So let me talk about the crowds first. Getting food at the buffet and finding seating wasn’t bad, and getting a seat in the main dinning room wasn’t bad, but the hallways, especially near the buffet was just packed with people. The Atrium, which I’ll talk more about later, gets so packed that everyday they need to add hundreds of folding chairs to contain all the people, and finding a seat there can be impossible. Then there were the elevators. Instead of 3 banks of 6 elevators each, like you would expect on a ship this size, this one has 2 banks of 8 elevators. You often have to wait for elevator after elevator to find one that WASN’T packed full of people. And here is another weird thing about the elevators. So lets say you are on the 8th floor, but want to go to the 18th floor. So the elevators are in a bank of 8, with most only going to the 17 or 16th floor, and only maybe one goes to the 18th floor. (They say the floors serviced above each elevator) So you press the “up” button which connects to all 8 elevators. Lets say an elevator comes but it only goes to the 16th floor, so you press the “up” button again, and maybe it only goes to the 16th floor, so you have to press the “up” button again and again and eventually you get the 18th floor elevator. This has to be the most stupid design I have ever seen. STUPID STUPID. So let me describe the ship more. Its a new ship, so you expect an grand multistory atrium, with grand stairways and those fancy glass elevators. NOPE none of these are in the Escape. The atrium is a single story, but it does have a hole in the top where people at O’sheehan's can look down. And note that the atrium on the Escape is the main stage here entertainment like game shows and bands play. There is never enough seating, so they bring in hundreds of folding chairs and there still isn’t enough seating. It makes the place more look like a Sunday bingo parlor than a billion dollar cruise ship. Very cheap looking. Overall the ship has 23 bars (I think) and many extra charge restaurants. There is this room called “5 O-Clock Somewhere” that LOOKS like a bar, but its really a room where they hold jewelry and watch sales. Headliners is another used for comedy shows, and also, wait for it, art auctions. Overall this ship is very plain. No notable paintings or sculptures. On the back of the staircases are just mirrors. There is no theme, like on most ships, that I could see. I should note that the nicest part of this ship were on top. The ropes course, the pool, a grotto, and miniature golf, but as I said, this was a cruise to colder climates so we didn’t get to use these things. The ropes course was open but it was cold and windy, so you need to be very brave. There was no covered pool on this ship, so maybe not the best choice for cold weather. So the room. We were in a mini suite and it was big by cruise standards. It was maybe a foot wider and a few feet longer than typical for a balcony. Plenty of storage, with room between the couch and the closet. There was maybe 2 feet between the end of the bed and wall, which is really good. And the bathroom was roomy. A double sink and a shower that must have been 6 feet wide. The shower had 6 water jets you could control in groups. Very nice. Bath gel was on the wall, as was shampoo/conditioner combination. I DEFINITELY like separate shampoo and conditioner much better. No DO NOT DISTURB door hanger here, the room had Do Not Disturb and Make Up the Room lights which can be switched on. You need to put your ship card in a slot to power the room, like in European hotels. Food: The only cost restaurant we went to was Food Republic so I will start there. Its a la carte and ordered with a tablet at your table. We ordered a California Roll which cost about $8.50 after taxes and gratuity. The menu was mainly sushi rolls and small snacks. My wife asked if they had any “Tempura” but they didn’t know what that was. The California Roll was OK, maybe halfway between a good Japanese restaurant and grocery store sushi. I’d give it 6 or 7 out of 10. Next the buffet. For breakfast, the only thing missing for me was smoked salmon. Eggs were good, and there was an omelet station. Seats were available and lines weren’t bad, BUT here is the negative. The buffet runs about 1/3 the length of the ship, and different things are in different locations. Want a toasted bagel, ham and eggs, and be prepared for some walking. Lots of walking. For lunch, the buffet wasn’t great in my opinion. They had pizza, burgers, salads, hot dogs, but only two different sandwiches each day, and two soups, which were usually very strange. They had an Asian section, but it was mostly Indian and not Chinese or Japanese. No sushi except one night for dinner. The pizza and sandwiches were fine, but nothing special. For dinner, the buffet was better than lunch, certainly fine but nothing you would say WOW over. Mostly baked fish, chicken, pork meals with hamburgs, pizza, pasta, salads, and a few odd-and-ends. There is no stir fry, no request pizzas or sandwiches. You won’t starve to death, but not much beyond typical fare. If its expensive, like crab, or scallops or lobster, nope, not here. For the dinning rooms, the Escape has three, Taste, Savor and the Manhattan Room. All have the same food, but for dinner, the Manhattan room has a singer, band and dance floor. This is a nice touch but note the singer leaves about 7pm, so for later dinner, no music. We had breakfast and dinner in the dinning rooms. Both were good. You can get smoked salmon on bagel for breakfast. Portions are a bit small, but you can order two so not a big deal. You can get omelettes (as long as its some combination of ham, cheese, mushrooms and spinach), pastries, fruit, etc. For dinner, the meals were good, but nothing expensive or exotic. As usual, I ordered two appetizers and an entree. On ALL cruises up to this point, they would ALWAYS bring one appetizer, then when finished they would bring the second. NOT this cruise. I mostly got both at once. Service was excellent but they also seemed short staffed. Dinners had shrimp, but lobster, scallops, and many other choices weren’t offered. They did have salmon. O’sheehan's was the third free venue, open 24 hours a day. We only had lunch there. They had bar food which was fine. I had the “buffalo chicken wings” which looked great, but had absolutely no “heat” at all. Rubin was good, soups weren’t bad. All the food was fine, but nothing that strayed too far from normal. For entertainment, we went to “For the Record” and “After Midnight” and a comedy show. All were good, but also ALL required reservations by the first day, or they would be sold-out. The theater was only one level, believe it or not on such a large ship. No balcony at all. Just regular theater seats that made it hard for the waiters to get to you if you wanted a drink. The stage had microLED displays around it, cutting edge and pretty cool. Most of the other entertainment was the usual Deal or No Deal, Bingo, Trivia, and stuff like that. We didn’t see even one “enrichment talk.” My wife likes those. So overall, a good cruise, certainly nothing special on the food side, service was excellent, but the ship was pretty blah for a new ship. It did have a two-lane bowling ally, with small balls, but it cost $6 and few used it. Very few photos were taken, and only two photo areas were set up in the atrium. We never saw anyone getting their pictures taken. Pictures were $25, and almost never saw anyone else in the photo store. You could see photos on a touch screen or in binders they had for each room. Mark my words, in the next refurb in 2020, I bet the photo gallery is history. With phone cameras everywhere, do we really need $25 photos? Customers have voted NO. Oh almost forgot, the gym. Pretty large and also never more than 5 or 6 other people in it. This was an older crowed. Not the exercise type I guess. After this cruise, the wife and I decided, no more LARGE cruises. The crowds have become too large, and having to make reservations for everything not why we go on cruises. Apparently “Freestyle” doesn’t apply to entertainment, only to food. The Escape is not a ship I’m dying to go on again. Maybe for a Caribbean cruise, but not likely otherwise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Nice cruise, average passenger age very old. Mediocre food. Nice service.One of the ports had to be cut due to weather which wasn't a big problem. A helicopter evacuation was needed for a medical emergency, not a problem either (except ... Read More
Nice cruise, average passenger age very old. Mediocre food. Nice service.One of the ports had to be cut due to weather which wasn't a big problem. A helicopter evacuation was needed for a medical emergency, not a problem either (except for those who had to leave their cabins for about an hour). The dining staff was excellent. Staff was very well trained in friendliness and service. Shows were good. A big backlog at the disembarkation port caused a long delay in exiting the ship. I don't think we would choose Princess again because of the food. I also think the drink packages were very high priced, so we paid individually for drinks. We usually purchase the package on other lines. The shore excursions were good - knowledgeable and friendly guides, they ran on time, the buses were fine, no problems there. We would definitely choose anytime dining option again. The end. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Food was excellent. Room was great Excursion was baid and switch to a cheaper venue. We boked the Breakers and Marble House They switched it to Breakders and RoseCliff, a $40 difference in ticket but never refunded us. The ... Read More
Food was excellent. Room was great Excursion was baid and switch to a cheaper venue. We boked the Breakers and Marble House They switched it to Breakders and RoseCliff, a $40 difference in ticket but never refunded us. The dining staff was great, friendly, and accommodating. The drinks and food was always excellent. The ship was very clean and the entertainment was above expectations. THe most talented entertainers that we have ever seen on a ship. Bravo! I puirchased an item in the spa. They said it would be delivered to my state room, They never delivered it and now I am trying to reolve this issue. Very disappointed in these 2 things. I have learned, never pay for anything unless you have it in your hand. Also, don't expect they will be fixing issues with excusions as a point of honesty. You would have to fight to get resolution. We were very disappointed in these things on the Princess Regal. If it is resolved, I will repost. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we have enjoyed in the past and the 9 days was perfect for us. We had been on many Holland America and Celebrity Cruises in the past and thought we'd give RC a try. For us, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we have enjoyed in the past and the 9 days was perfect for us. We had been on many Holland America and Celebrity Cruises in the past and thought we'd give RC a try. For us, the ship was too large and we felt that everything you wanted to do had to be programmed before you boarded the ship. For us, vacation means spur of the moment and not regimented. Tried to play bingo on first sea day and when we got to venue (10 minutes before start of game)there were no available seats, so we left. Being in a Jr. Suite, we got to eat in the Coastal Kitchen for dinner. While the food was good, the selections were limited and many menus were repeated over the 9 days. We ate in the Chops Grille and were disappointed with both the service and the quality of the food. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
EMBARKATION: I stayed at a Hilton the night before the cruise and took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port in Bayonne. We arrived at the port around 10:45 to sit in a 45 minute line, 3 lanes wide. When the bus finally find a place to ... Read More
EMBARKATION: I stayed at a Hilton the night before the cruise and took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port in Bayonne. We arrived at the port around 10:45 to sit in a 45 minute line, 3 lanes wide. When the bus finally find a place to park, we had to sit another 30 minutes until enough port staff was available to unload the baggage. Once all the luggage was unloaded onto carts, we were allowed to leave the bus, and were told to now FIND our luggage on the numerous carts and check to see that they were properly tagged. This seemed very strange. If a bag was not tagged properly, why wasn't it set aside during the unloading process? It was onerous to try and find your luggage under mounds of other bags, and many had to have the luggage handlers pull bags off the cart in order to see if their tags were still on, since they were turned around and hidden from view. Finally, we were allowed to enter the hall for security. This was another enormous line (unless you had one of the suites, which had a much smaller line). There were no allowances for emerald or diamond members to get in a shorter line. Once through security, there were numerous, and confusing lines in order to check in which was required, even if you checked in on line. Finally nearly an hour later, you boarded the ship. The rooms would not be ready until 1, which was no problem since there was so much time spent during the check in process. The Windjammer Cafe on 14 is very crowded, and there are crowds at the elevator, so it is better to go to Two70 on Deck 5 and get something to eat, and look at the view from the large windows on the aft of the ship. CABIN: My cabin was 7278. Do NOT book this cabin. Move higher. When I booked the cruise, I was assured that this was an "unobstructed" view cabin on the 7th floor. I like being closer to water in order to sit on my deck and view and listen to the waves as the ship cruises. I knew that the lifeboats were on deck 6, but I was NOT told that they jutted out, over the deck of 6, so that when you are sitting on Deck 7 all you can see beneath your balcony rail is a giant orange lifeboat, and to your right, and huge metal post blocking your view and ruining sail away pictures. Any and all pictures must be taken above the deck railing, and/or be able to crop out anything below and to the side of the deck railing view. No views of the running water along the side of the ship...everything is ruined by the giant orange blob within your deck view. This room is an "ocean view balcony", 7 D, and is small. There are 2 slivers of an end table on either side of the bed, a small couch, and no table near the couch to put your drink. The mattress on the bed is rock hard. I mean, NO bounce. After 9 days, my lower back is killing me. One person I met own the cruise, who actually had a nice large suite, said her bed was so hard, she took the cushion off the lounge chair and placed it under her sheets, with little relief. Unfortunately, there are no lounge chair cushions on the regular balcony rooms. There are 2 small cupboards to hang clothes. I was traveling solo, so I was able to use both cupboards. There would be real clothing space issues for the 2 adults this room was supposed to hold. The welcoming "gift" for an Emerald/(now Diamond) member was a few cookies. No fruit, no champagne,..... The cabin stewards are lovely; always smiling, always friendly. A robe was not provided, but you can ask for one from the steward. Ice is not provided either unless you ask for it. There is a generic shampoo in the tiny shower, but no lotions or conditioners provided. DINING: I chose My Time Dining. Never ever again. I had reservations for 6 pm. I arrived at 5 45, to find myself in a huge line...all the way back to the elevator. There are 4 lines. The right side is for those with "reservations", and the left side for those who just want to go into dinner. It didn't matter. There was chaos...people with reservations were lumped with those making reservations, or without reservations, and even when you were finally through the line, you had to "wait" to be escorted to your table, which could take over 10 minutes (after waiting 30 to get through the long line). By the end of the cruise, at least there was less chaos, but the lines were still enormous, and there was still the wait time after you made it past the checkpoint. The first day is the worst. As one passenger complained "this may be OUR first day here, so we are in chaos, but this is not Anthem's first day dealing with this.". There should have been more staff to guide the passengers through that first day. I didn't go back to My Time Dining until the last day. Wonderland: Wonderland is a uncharge restaurant, of $45 with 18% gratuity. The food is delicious. The staff is wonderful. My waiter, Iljer, was amazing. But the place was nearly empty. If RC would lower the price to match "Chops", and perhaps add some plants, or interesting decor, instead of the dark purple shears on the walls, they might get more interest. I can't imagine how it will survive. Solarium Bistro on 14 is a lovely little restaurant, no fees, but you need to make reservations. It specializes in Middle eastern cuisine, but that should not scare anyone. You can get steak, or fish, or lobster, and the appetizers are wonderful. The Windjammer on 14 is typical of other ships...the food is lukewarm, to cold. Staff is very nice, but it seemed short staffed, especially for those who wanted a glass of wine. Each passenger has to go through a "washy washy" process before entering, but really, I wondered if that "washy" sink room was EVER washed itself. I think the use of hand sanitizers probably would be better at germ prevention. Lines were everywhere.Lines to get off the ship, lines to get to dinner, lines to get an elevator, lines for activities.... There are 4800 people on this ship. It is a city. Some ships, like the Oasis or Allure have just as many, but for some reason, there seemed to be less lines and claustrophobia on those ships. Waiting for the elevators was a constant line. It is better to get your exercise and walk up the 7 or 8 flights when necessary. Service was the staff was always friendly however this is the first cruise I've had on Royal Caribbean where I heard so much grumbling from so many people. Many times I heard people say "I'll never come on this ship again" or worse: "I'll never cruise with Royal Caribbean again". It seems as if the Cruise Line has tried to cut corners on just about everything on the ship. EXCURSIONS. I usually love taking excursions and my memories from previous New England Excursions were of informative trips, that usually included amazing lobster meals. Not so this time. It seems as if Royal Caribbean has upped the charges for excursions, but downgraded the experiences. For Bar Harbor I chose a bus tour that included a lunch at a seafood restaurant. I'd had lobster at this restaurant before (Gaylans) and it was delicious on my last cruise. However, with this cruise we were limited to a couple choices; haddock or a lobster roll. I should have chosen the haddock. For the Boston port, I chose the Cape Cod trip. I've seen Boston on other cruises, and have never experienced Cape Cod. The excursion advertised that the trip included a cruise around the Bay of Cape Cod, as well as 2 stops in quaint towns: Sandwich and Chatham. It was an 8 hour tour (which lasted 10 hours--more later...). This excursion is a complete rip off. You do NOT see Cape Cod. Not in the least. You are herded off the bus after 3 1/2 hours with a 10 minute pit stop in "scenic Sandwich" --which allowed you to see the scenic public bathroom and that is ALL! No pictures, no shops, no touring...just get off the bus and back on as fast as possible. By the time we arrived in Cape Cod, we were all hungry. It was 11 am. We left at 8 am. No snacks or water provided. We we put on the "cruise" around the harbor...which included a short drive into the center of the harbor (about 5 minutes) where we stopped for 30 minutes to "look" at the various "houses" along the coast--that looked like ants. If you had a binocular, you can perhaps see windows, and the color of the houses...otherwise, they were dots on the landscape. We turned around, "cruised" back to the bus, and were loaded on. no lunch, no shops, and no idea what Cape Cod looks like... Then it was to be another 1 1/2 hours to Chatham for lunch. EXCEPT, the bus driver had a great idea, he wanted to "avoid" highways, so we were driven down neighborhood roads, ran into a roadblock, and since apparently neither the driver nor the guide was using GPS, we ended up on a dead end street in a tiny, quiet neighborhood. This necessitated, backing out, and retracing the entire way, to ultimately get on the highway anyway. Meanwhile, no apologies, no "interesting" tidbits of where the heck we were.... In fact, the guide was completely unprepared and unaware of what to tell us, and the driver was so erratic, speeding through lights, slamming breaks in the middle of an intersection when he missed the red light, that I was very worried about our safety. Finally, we get to Chatham for "lunch". The guide gave us NO history of Chatham, no tips, no recommendations for restaurants or shops. Considering that it was a Sunday, this would have helped, since most of the good restaurants were closed. The only thing she said was to ORDER us to be back on the bus in an hour. The town was a good 10 minute walk from the bus. There was a mild mutiny as many yelled this wasn't fair, the driver already cost us 45 minutes in lost time...and her response was not only unapologetic, but angry "I said be back here by 3 PM!" Wow. It looked like a tv scavenger hunt as we all sprinted off the bus, without a clue where we were going to find a meal in order to eat, use the restrooms and get back on the bus. Shopping in this "quaint town" was of course, out of the question. We got back at 6 Pm that evening. Most did not tip either the driver or the guide. A few of us went straight to the Excursion Desk to demand our money back. There was a wonderful and sympathetic man, "David" who promised to try and help us get a refund, but of course, he is just an employee and could not change policy. I got a phone call later saying that since we "stopped in Sandwich, Chatham and Cape Cod" the tour fulfilled it's promise. I said I would rather have had 3 free meals on board ship that day, and thrown in a massage, than sit on that bus possibly risking my life to "see" stops that I could not enjoy. I looked up the tour bus on Yelp: It is "Peter Pan" lines...and has numerous one star ratings, with a few curse words thrown in. Royal Caribbean should consider hiring higher quality tours. Another tour, in St. John's promised a tour of the Bay of Fundy and a lunch at a famous restaurants, The Caves. The tour was nice, the area is beautiful, but "lunch"???? Again we were herded into a back room of the restaurant...passing the lobsters, and seeing the diners feasting on fresh lobster and fish and chips. After the staff passed out cans of pop, we were asked if we wanted chowder or chicken fingers. I chose chowder, and got a small cup of chowder. That was lunch. Should have gone with the frozen chicken fingers and fries. At least that would be more filling. For dessert we got 2 chocolate chip cookies. I added them to the free cookies I got in my room for being an Emerald member. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment consisted of 3 shows. I saw 2 of them: The Gift and We Will Rock You. The Gift is short, about 45 minutes, and at first very strange as most of us were confused by the plot, but the message at the end was nice, and the singing was very good. We Will Rock is about 2 hours long. The talent of the musicians and dancers is very very good. This show lasted a little long as it took a good 45 minutes before the recognizable Queen songs were sung. DISEMBARKATION MORNING was a Nightmare.! The Windjammer opened at 6:30 am, but good luck getting in there. The lines wrapped all the way around past both elevators to the other side. It is easier to go down to the Cafe and grab a coffee and roll. We landed in port around 7 am, and disembarkation began for the walk offs at 7:45. There was an enormous line on the ship waiting disembark with your own luggage. I thought at first I was glad I was not doing that....until my number was called around 8:45 am. When I got to the hall to claim my luggage and get in line for Customs, it was a sea of thousands of people. TIP: Get a porter. It is well worth the tip fees to go through the expedited "porter" line, otherwise, you will spend an hour lugging your luggage through line after line, while others are cutting in around you. When you get to Customs, you see that while there are 20 kiosks for Customs, there were only FOUR open to serve 4800 people. Cell phone service did not work in the hall, so you had to wait to get outside to call Uber or Lyft. But then, it was another mess of buses, and cabs both disembarking and embarking. It took about 30 minutes for the uber drivers to get to you. If you waited on the ship to disembark to avoid the long lines, it would be even worse considering that embarkation was heating up, causing delays for cabs to enter the port. FINAL NOTES ON THE SHIP. The ship is huge and filled with things to do, especially for young adults and teens. From the iFly, to bumper cars, to the Xbox room, and so much more. Grandparents can bring their children and grandchildren and be assured the kids will love it. The decor is modern, minimalist. There are plenty of dining options. The only difficulty is the lines for so many things...excursions, getting off the ship, meal times..... It seemed to me that Oasis of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas, while also huge ships, did not have so many lines. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the ship for the itinerary and had been on the ship once before in Croatia. Great itinerary then and only 1 sea day. On this trip, The itinerary was changed about a month before departure, cancelling several experiences due to ... Read More
We chose the ship for the itinerary and had been on the ship once before in Croatia. Great itinerary then and only 1 sea day. On this trip, The itinerary was changed about a month before departure, cancelling several experiences due to WHALE MIGRATION. The whales migrate every year so the company should have not been surprised and should have offered other ports. There were 3 sea days...keep in mind we were in Canada, so we did not expect warm weather. With 3 sea days, there was little to do and of course we couldn’t sit out on the deck...too cold and windy. We took 1 ship tour against our better judgment. We spent a lot of time waiting for people to come out of the bathroom. Food was good but service was inconsistent. Many times meals did not arrive together or parts were forgotten and never delivered. Often food was not hot. Reception staff was excellent. Captain did not keep us very informed about sea conditions and was also invisible. Disembarkation was smooth and pleasant. I would not recommend this itinerary (Canadian Maritime) on any ship in the chilly spring or fall if there are many sea days without programmed activities. The movies that were chosen during sea days were horrendous. Overall, not up to our previous Windstar experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We have been on multiple cruises ,first time on seaborne .I like the small ship ,the crew driving the ship ,especially the captain was very professional and competent .Our suite was very nice .Food in the main dining room was very average ... Read More
We have been on multiple cruises ,first time on seaborne .I like the small ship ,the crew driving the ship ,especially the captain was very professional and competent .Our suite was very nice .Food in the main dining room was very average with a heavy emphasis every night on salmon and shrimp .Service was disorganized and poor taking up to 2 hours to eat .No obvious supervision .The Colonnade dining room was much better with themed meals each night ,much better service and excellent supervision by the maitre di .Coffee bar is excellent .Excursions are extremely overpriced .Entertainment is very average .One singer was fairly good ,comedian wasnt funny . Lecturers were of very mediocre quality to what we are used to ,often getting facts wrong . Ports were good ,better to arrange ones own tour with a local taxi etc ,more personalized and cheaper . Average age on the cruise was 80+and was mainly Americans . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I recently took a cruise on NCL Gem, this was our 5th cruise with NCL and 38th cruise overall. This was their New England/Canada cruise dated Sept 8th. No complains regarding the "actual crew" however there were several ... Read More
I recently took a cruise on NCL Gem, this was our 5th cruise with NCL and 38th cruise overall. This was their New England/Canada cruise dated Sept 8th. No complains regarding the "actual crew" however there were several incidents that I can only blame on their supervisors. 1) The library was only open for a minimal amount of time twice daily. This did not allowed those passengers on tours to check out books. Very irrational rule. 2) Twice during breakfast in the rear (open air) sitting area of the buffet there was no ice, nor water available to the passengers. Only when several passengers complained very loudly to the ship's officers present was anything done about the situation. 3) Three times during the breakfast buffet the orange juice ran out and when passengers complained they were advised that they were out. How can they run out of orange juice during their breakfast schedule? 4) The Tiki bar on deck 13 was the only place (besides the casino) that passengers could smoke therefore a large group would gather there to smoke and drink coffee. However, the coffee available was ALWAYS ice cold even though they knew that many passengers wanted hot coffee that early in the morning. Only by being very vocal and loud could we get any of the crew members present to bring us HOT coffee. 5) The casino was one of the worst at sea casinos that I have ever seen. Old, dated slots, rigged to not pay. I do not blame the crew for these issues, I blame the officers for doing a very poor job regarding the needs of the passengers. In not a single other vessel that I have been on these issues would had never allowed by the supervisory staff. As such I will not ever sail on the Gen again! Read Less

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