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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife and I decided to try a cruise. The Good: great food, suprisingly well equipped fitness area, and the staff was super friendly. The Bad: Prepare to pay additional costs for anything and everything. See Details Below. We spoke to ... Read More
My wife and I decided to try a cruise. The Good: great food, suprisingly well equipped fitness area, and the staff was super friendly. The Bad: Prepare to pay additional costs for anything and everything. See Details Below. We spoke to an older couple at dinner early in the cruise who indicated they had been on countless cruises since 1984 and they assured us this is the worst they’ve been on so far. This confirmed our concerns about our own poor experience. Our first cruise experience and probably our last. We stayed in room 2343. Not a suite but not really a room either. The bed was hard as a rock. The room smaller than any hotel room we have ever stayed. Barely any TV except the massive array of royal Caribbean commercials and channels trying to sell you Royal Caribbean cruises and sponsored products. There are only two electrical outlets in the entire room so you may have to take turns charging devices. The food: Is delicious if you don’t mind waiting in line regardless of reservations. We didn’t bother trying most of the specialty dining restaurants as they are all additional costs on top of the already expensive trip. Internet package: Don’t bother. I understand the limitations of wireless at sea. However with the amount they charge per day per device, you would expect to be able to reliably stay on the internet or load a webpage. Don’t expect to stream anything. With so many people on the ship even simple web browsing is impossible. It might be cheaper and less frustrating to talk to your cellular provider if they offer international or roaming options instead. Beverage package: Don’t bother. You get a cup that you can fill up with soda or water in only 2 locations despite there being 14 decks (The Windjammer dining area and the 5th floor). You get no bottled water in the room nor is it available without paying. They really want you to pay the 3-6 dollars for bottled water or even more for other beverages on a cruise you could have sworn you already paid for in full. The worst part is the mandatory 18% gratuity on everything. We can understand that tips are essential to service personnel and having it automatically included ensures a consistent pay for all employees. However, we prepaid the service gratuity per day before embarking. The crew does provide good service but you’re asked if you will leave an additional tip on top of the mandatory 18% on each item you buy on the ship. Not only did you prepay for service tip, everything on the entire ship has 18% automatically added as an additional fee (that 3 dollar coffee is 3.54). Don’t be shocked if the crew gives you a look when you don’t put a tip. Overall, I don’t know if we will be back on a cruise. If we want to throw away money we’ll go to Vegas. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Have always wanted to see Quebec and New England States. Next time I will choose a smaller vessel, and earlier time of the year to travel. The ship needed a lot of updating, especially the bathroom in the rooms. Much too old, too worn and ... Read More
Have always wanted to see Quebec and New England States. Next time I will choose a smaller vessel, and earlier time of the year to travel. The ship needed a lot of updating, especially the bathroom in the rooms. Much too old, too worn and too small. The dining in the restaurants were outstanding, the buffet was just okay and your choices were limited as far as main dishes and desserts (except cookies) all tasted store bought. Fruit was not ripe and the help was very nice. Entertainment was poor. Elton John was horrid. Comic had poor taste in jokes. The quartets about the ship were great. Our service was always top notch. Port excursion expensive. Getting off the ship was terrible--very steep, with no one to help you down.Lines very long to leave the ship. Again, thought the staff was amazing. Would not travel this large of a ship again and this old of a ship. . Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Took this cruise to see what was left of the Fall Colors along the Eastern seaboard plus the Canadian ports which were new to us. Enjoyed Quebec City even in the rain and wind. Ship was docked right at Old Town. Other ports were fine. ... Read More
Took this cruise to see what was left of the Fall Colors along the Eastern seaboard plus the Canadian ports which were new to us. Enjoyed Quebec City even in the rain and wind. Ship was docked right at Old Town. Other ports were fine. We missed St. Johns, Newfoundland because of very bad weather. That's just one of the chances one takes while cruising. Enjoyed Boston and NY, NY. The ship, itself, is badly in need of renovation. On the outside, it's rusty and beat-up. Inside, there were lots of problems starting the minute we walked into our mini-suite. The smell of sewage was obvious and the room steward told us to be sure to run the water in the bathroom faucet before we used it as the water had debris in it. That was obvious when you opened the toilet and saw all the black particles that had accumulated. The sewage smell emanated from the toilet and even the closed lid did not keep it out. The bed center looked like a sink hole. It was many cruises and perhaps years since it should have been trashed. I tried it the first night and didn't sleep. Talking to our steward the next morning he said he'd turn it over and put a board under it. That worked for one night and then I never slept well again. Even tried the couch but it was no better. Food was OK but nothing special and service was sloooooow. Horizon Court food was cold and the variety was limited. And then the Norovirus hit. It was all over the ship and the trip wasn't quite the same after it became prevalent. Two at our table got it and were "isolated" in their cabins for one to three days. As we disembarked some poor fellow began puking right in the middle of the floor of the Wheelhouse Lounge which was our assembly point. Not a good ending but an exclamation point on the problem. We are elite with Princess and have two additional cruises already booked with them--a BtoB to Europe and cruise around the British Isles plus a 60 day Pacific Circle. Our last ten cruises have been on Princess. We did not experience anything like this on our last cruise and hope this is not a trend. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I have been on the Gem before. Nice sized ship – not too large, not too small. No cruise is ever perfect. But on other lines there is “guest services” that are there for the guests. BTW while the cruise was titled ... Read More
I have been on the Gem before. Nice sized ship – not too large, not too small. No cruise is ever perfect. But on other lines there is “guest services” that are there for the guests. BTW while the cruise was titled "New England and Canada", we only stopped in Canada! Food I say is edible, not great but you certainly will not starve. I had heard about the Orionid Meteor shower that was happening where the ship was going to be. So I wrote a note, and handed it to guest services as soon as I got on board, and said PLEASE give the note to the appropriate person. Well, the ship did nothing, and the only light pollution was from the Gem. They could have turned off, or at least covered 4 lights that were on two 2 poles. They could have untied some chairs (why were they still tied up after we set sail!??) The light pollution really was terrible. This was going to be a once in a lifetime experience. I was so excited. The next day was at sea, so I and the others trying to see it did not care about the time, or going to sleep. Some other ship lines, when you travel solo and pay the ridiculous solo supplement, give you extra points per trip. Not NCL. (And the points really do not do much – go to a cruise discounter and you get many of the same perks.) When there were locals from the current port on board, NCL kept it a secret. If you happened to walk by, you would see them. Otherwise you would have missed out on some great information. True many ports have representatives on shore, but having them on board lets you know about it before getting off the ship. When we had 23 foot waves and the show - I saw the apparatus for I guess gymnastics stuff, or a fantastic dance routine, had to be cancelled. The spur of the moment show was excellent. I actually thought it was the best of the week. Try complaining and you get the runaround. Write – they say call, Call they say write. NCL is not the only game in town, there are other cruise lines that also leave from close-by ports. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The food was the worst on any crusie we have ever taken, i.e. Eggs Benedict in Main dining room were hard bolied with no canadian bacon on bread and very little hollandase, plus ti took an hour to be served. Pancakes in the Garden cafe ... Read More
The food was the worst on any crusie we have ever taken, i.e. Eggs Benedict in Main dining room were hard bolied with no canadian bacon on bread and very little hollandase, plus ti took an hour to be served. Pancakes in the Garden cafe were stone cold, and the scrambled eggs looked like soup. The French Onion soup was slightly colored water with cheese you could not cut or bite, just awful. Now the pan fried flounder and steaks were consistantly good and great ceaser salad. We ate in 4 specialty restaurants, all good, the best being Le Bistro. We chose this cruise because of the ports, and excursions in Quebec City country side and Prince Edward Island were great. Halifax and Sydney NS were a dissapointment ! Halifax stores on the boardwalk were closed up for the season already, and in Sydney not much to see in the City. We were shorted time in Quebec and Prince Edward because the ship had to slow up due to whales in the shipping lanes. Now whales migrate about the same time every year and NCL doesn't know this ??? Come on. After over 60 cruises, this will be rated as one of the worst, and I was the one pushing for NCL over HAL and RCL. The entertainment and bands were really good and NCL always has the best parties, but hard to overcome bad food, shorted time, and not good ports of call. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Chose this cruise to visit Quebec and see the fall foliage. They had to cut the time down in each port because we could not sail faster than 10 knots in the St Lawrence due to Whale migration. This was our 6th cruise with NCL and our last. ... Read More
Chose this cruise to visit Quebec and see the fall foliage. They had to cut the time down in each port because we could not sail faster than 10 knots in the St Lawrence due to Whale migration. This was our 6th cruise with NCL and our last. 27 cruises total on all different lines. So I have some experience, and this was one the cheapest quality cruises we have ever been on. I have never complained about a cruise ever. I don't mind paying for something but I do expect some value for what I pay for. NCL is now the the #1 nickel and dime cruise line. They put there hand in your pocket from the time you step on the ship till you get off. For instance if you go to the Dining room and not a "Specialty Restaurant" the only fish you will see is the fake fish Tilapea. There is no shrimp no lobster no nothing from the Ocean. There are pot pies and goulash though on the menu and rotisserie chicken. I thought that was novel. You always had to wait a 1/2 hour to get a table in the dining room, and if you tried to go to a Specialty Restaurant you could't as they were all booked, everyday. A Newcastle beer was 10 dollars, why???. A pina colada is now in the neighborhood of 12 dollars, and it's a mix. If you cruised in the 70s and 80s you would know everything was fresh made. There are no midnight buffets and O'Sheehans on the Jade has a very small menu. The entertainment on the other hand was very very good and varied. The crew was especially nice, always helpful, always a hello. Weather was great. NCL hasn't started charging for nice weather yet. All in all you make your own good time, but it will be on another cruise line for sure. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
First the good. The breakfast buffet was the best I've ever encountered on any cruise line. All food was hot, not just lukewarm. Eggs Benedict was made to order, not left on the buffet line with congealed hollandaise sauce over cold ... Read More
First the good. The breakfast buffet was the best I've ever encountered on any cruise line. All food was hot, not just lukewarm. Eggs Benedict was made to order, not left on the buffet line with congealed hollandaise sauce over cold eggs. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and quick. Other than a long delay in Quebec when the gangplank malfunctioned, port disembarkations were relatively fast. Music in the bars was pretty good. Now the bad. I've never paid much attention to the ship itself and don't usually notice small things that aren't up to standard. But, it seemed like everywhere I turned, there was something not quite right. There was scalding (and I do mean scalding) hot water that came out of all faucets in one public restroom and was never fixed (when I actually pointed it out to a crew member who I ran into in that restroom, he said it had been that way for awhile. When I asked why he hadn't reported it, he said it wasn't his responsibility). There were faucets and dryers in several restrooms that never worked. Several automatic doors had to be forced open rather than opening when you walked up. There was a 30-40 minute wait virtually every night for dinner in the MDR. Specialty restaurants were completely booked for the entire cruise after the first day, so the only way to eat at one was to try walking up and hoping for no-shows. The food in the MDR was pretty bad as well. I only expect mediocrity anyway, but this failed to even meet that. If you like Indian food, you may like the buffet, but I'm not a fan and found very little else that interested me. Lunch menus in the MDR never changed, so after a couple of visits, we stuck it out with the buffet for lunch. I think I had a hamburger there most days. The strangest thing about the buffet was that one morning it would be self-serve, but lunch would be served by the staff as if there was a norovirus outbreak. The next day, it might be reversed with breakfast served by staff, but lunch self-serve. You never knew what to expect, and it was never explained why they would change. Our biggest complaint was the lack of interesting activities on board. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of activities, but day after day we struggled to find even one thing that we thought sounded worthwhile. There were a ton of the same old, tired game shows and a ton of things that NCL charged a fee for, but it seemed that there was little else. I'm guessing that many other passengers felt the same way because I would walk by venues with scheduled activities and see one or two passengers in the seats. We ended up reading a lot of books during this cruise. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Spoiler alert: This is quite long! But if you’re contemplating taking a cruise on the Norwegian Dawn, the few minutes that it takes to read this will help you make an informed choice as to whether or not this vacation is for you. ... Read More
Spoiler alert: This is quite long! But if you’re contemplating taking a cruise on the Norwegian Dawn, the few minutes that it takes to read this will help you make an informed choice as to whether or not this vacation is for you. In today’s world of technological marvels, there are many amazing cruise ships providing warm and memorable experiences for travelers across the world. The Norwegian Dawn is NOT one of them! This was our second cruise; the first being on a Royal Caribbean ship about 12 years ago. The two experiences could hardly have been any different. Though the Norwegian Dawn was fully refurbished in 2016, this 2001 ship is really starting to show its age and lacks many of the cool features found on the more modern cruisers. Additionally, some of the most basic comforts and amenities are missing that would have made this trip so much more enjoyable. We were off to a rocky start right at embarkation. We were told to arrive by 10:00 AM, and were there ten minutes ahead of schedule. It was an absolute free-for-all! No one at the dock had any useful information, cabs were backed up all over the place, the handlers were slinging bags onto carts with total disregard, and we ended up having to drag our own luggage several hundred yards to check it in. We were told to go way and return at noon, only to now find ourselves at the back of the queue and waiting for well over an hour in a tent to be boarded! We couldn’t get to our rooms for another hour or two, and what was left of our luggage didn’t arrive until around 4:00 PM. They absolutely destroyed my wife’s new suitcase: one handle missing, and the other broken on one end. On the second night out, I found out why some folks had nick-named the ship “Galloping Gertie” (after the highly-unstable Tacoma Narrows bridge that ultimately shook itself apart!) The Dawn seemed to handle seas up to six feet fairly well, but when we hit those six-to-nine foot waves (not that uncommon in the Atlantic during a storm), you had to hold the handrail with one hand and brace against the hallway with the other just to stay upright. Finally, at about 4:00 AM, I’d had all I could stand, and went down to the restaurant to have a cup of coffee and try to ride it out. I was surprised to find several other folks already there, doing the same thing. Well, at least I made a few new friends due to my lack of sleep. But the whole time I was looking out the window, the words to "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" kept running through my mind! Another issue that we ran into continuously was the language barrier. They claim to have dozens of different nationalities represented on the ship. However, reportedly 60% of the staff is from the Philippines and for most, their English skills are highly lacking. Whether it was ordering a drink, selecting a meal, or a simple request for directions, it was typically a toss-up as to whether or not they’d get it right. This seemed to be the chief complaint from everyone I talked to. Oh, as an aside, I was told that they had a grand total of 10 Americans on the ship. I guess that it’s hard to get folks to work 10 hours a day, seven days a week for nine months at a stretch! The only person on the ship who provided excellent service was our room steward. When he noticed that I was struggling with sinus issues, he brought me two boxes of somewhat softer tissues. Well, softer than the sandpaper they had in the room as standard issue. He was highly attentive and took great care of us and the room. As it turned out, he was the notable exception on the ship. Pretty much the rest of the crew were short, terse and of no help at all. They were always saying “if anything’s not right, let us know and we’ll make it right.” But when you did, you’d better be ready for a healthy dose of snarky attitude and a full-on fight. One of the best examples of this was when we were waiting in the main theater to get called upon for the shore excursion. When someone questioned something regarding the process they were using—a simple and justified question asked in a respectable manner—the guy in charge responded “because that’s just the way it is.” In other words, we know what’s best for you, so go along with the program and don’t ask questions! This was indicative of the “customer service” we experienced from the first contact to the last with everyone we met from the cruise line. The thing that worried me most about being on this ship was their cavalier attitude toward safety. Their idea of a “safety drill” was to have everyone muster in a common area and await further instructions. In our case, it was the ~2,000 seat theater. Can you imagine if they had a fire or other serious incident on-board, and 2,000 folks were all crammed in a crowded theater with limited access via steep stairways with no handrails? Add to this nightmare scenario a crew with limited English skills and sorely lacking leadership, and you have the recipe for disaster. At no time were we instructed on how to egress to the life boats or how to respond in an emergency other than to go into the hallways and throw ourselves at the mercy of the crew. My advice is to anyone travelling by sea is to scout out the two quickest, safest routes to the lifeboats, and walk it with your entire family until you are 100% confident you can do it in an emergency by memory. And by all means, bring a couple of reliable pocket-sized flashlights and keep one with you at all times! Speaking of safety, another big frustration was the lack of lids for the coffee cups so you could easily take a cup back to your room or out on the deck. I just couldn’t figure out why’d they’d risk their passengers burning their hands with scalding hot coffee for the lack of a two-cent lid. Then it occurred to me that what they would prefer you do is have room service deliver the coffee to your room at an outrageous charge. Of course, you could always go to their coffee bar and order some $5 concoction and they’d be happy to give you a lid. When I challenged the director in charge of food and beverage about this policy, he became highly flustered with me, cut the conversation off, and ignored me completely. To make matters worse, the other thing that irritated me incessantly was that they always served your glass by grabbing it by the rim. Given that you’re always just one step from a virus outbreak on a ship like this, I couldn’t believe that no one ever called them out on this highly unsanitary practice! Getting around the vessel also proved to be a real challenge. We were constantly running into locked doors and dead ends. It wasn’t until day two that I figured out that the only sure-fire way to get from one end of the ship to the other was on the seventh floor. Of course, to work your way through this main concourse, you had to dodge the relentless photographers trying to take your photo, crew members hawking everything from T-shirts to spa treatments, the casino, the jewelry store (one bracelet for $14.99, or two for just $30.00), and every other scheme they had contrived to effectively separate you from your money! This also meant that every time there was a big show, event, or return from shore, there would be a mad dash for the elevators, and the subsequent long wait to get one that wasn’t already at capacity. I’d always heard how incredible the food was on these cruises, and indeed that was the case on our last one. Not so on the Dawn! We had one or two pretty good meals at the specialty restaurants (which is not included in the basic package), but even those were nothing spectacular. My requested medium steak came about two shades beyond well done, and by the time they brought out a replacement, my wife had completely finished her meal. At the Chinese restaurant, it took us 45 minutes to even get a glass of tea, and nearly 90 minutes to get our food. The buffet was pretty much the same grub day in and day out. It wasn’t terrible, but it was a long way from what I’d enjoyed on our previous cruise with Holland America. Instead of gaining several pounds as I had anticipated, I ended up losing five. It’s a very expensive weight-loss plan that I heartily don’t recommend! Unfortunately, the quality of the entertainment wasn’t much either. There was only one show that was up to the quality you’d expect from a major cruise line. Most of the others were variants the used the same cast (or members of the crew) over and over. They even somehow managed to merge the acrobatic show, the magic show, and one other act into some sort of disjointed, incoherent menagerie toward the end of the cruise. Nearly all of the singing acts were what you’d expect to find at an average piano bar. For those who may have the illusion of actually getting anything done via the Internet while out to sea, you can forget that unless you want to get up at 3:00 AM—and even then there was pretty limited throughput. I asked the “engineer” about the lack of stability and bandwidth as he was rebooting the system for the umpteenth time, and he said that dropped signals were just a way of life on the ship—despite the $200+ charge for unlimited Internet for the duration of the cruise. When I asked about throughput, he said to expect 30 megabits. And oh, that’s not to your room; that’s for the entire ship to share! For those who aren’t familiar with download speeds, that’s about one-half to one-fourth of the throughput to the average US home. The thing that just ate at me relentlessly was how deceitful they were about all of the charges and services. For example, they offered to do a full bag of laundry for $19.95. However, when I got the bag, it was thin as toilet tissue! You could barely get two or three garments in it without it tearing wide open. This, of course, was their way of limiting how much laundry you could include in each bag. And again, something so cheap and simple that could have been a positive customer experience turned into yet another exasperating incident. We had also been told that if we chose the ultimately beverage package (three of these premium packages were included in our deal), then we could have unlimited drinks of any kind every day of the cruise. I’m not much of a drinker, but given what they charged for sodas, and bottled water ($36 for 12 bottles of water!), we chose this as one of our options. However, when we got on the ship, we were informed that sodas and bottled water were NOT included in the deal. And of course, you’re strictly prohibited from bringing any drink—including a single bottle of Coke or water—on-board at any time. An oh, they don’t have Coke, just Pepsi. Gak! So it went for the whole trip: One frustration after another, one deception after another, and one disappointment after another. I’m not sure what next year’s vacation may include, but you can be sure that thanks to this experience, this will be my absolute last cruise! I’ll close with a quote from a friend: “A cruise is like being in prison, but with a much greater chance of drowning.” Several times during this trip, drowning was starting to seem like a much better option! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
I have been cruising since 1994 and with Royal Caribbean since 1999. Last year I made Diamond Level with Crown and Anchor. This is the only ship in the fleet that I can not recommend. The Good: There were lots of on board activities ... Read More
I have been cruising since 1994 and with Royal Caribbean since 1999. Last year I made Diamond Level with Crown and Anchor. This is the only ship in the fleet that I can not recommend. The Good: There were lots of on board activities of every kind. The entertainers were magnificent and the best I have ever seen. The food was for the most part good to very good. The staff were as always polite, friendly, competent. The various technological gizmos were a nice touch. Embarkation and Debarkation went amazingly smooth for such a large passenger complement. The Diamond level kitchen tour I was invited to was excellent. The Kitchen staff were masterful hosts and hostesses. The Bad: This ship has the highest guest to staff ratio I have ever experienced on any cruise line. I spoke to a staff member who told me that people transfer off the ship as soon as they can because of the staffing levels. Our wait staff were expected to cover almost 20 tables in the main dining room. We never go out of the main seating for dinner in less than two and a half hours. The ride was very bumpy and there was a lot of movement. I was on board the Navigator (an Excellent Ship BTW) when we skirted a hurricane in the mid-Atlantic back in 2014, and we had a smoother ride then. The ship The North Star viewing platform was only raised and lowered. It was never swept side to side like in all of the advertising. During a kitchen tour and brunch I was invited to, there were 3 wait staff servicing over 40 tables. Eventually we had to go to the waiters station and get our own water pitcher for the table. Finally the pastry chef for the Windjammer thought that to make a pie you dump yellow cake batter into a pie crust and then you cover the results with frosting. Those things were really awful. The Truly Horrible: On our first night at sea the Head Waiter for "The Grande" dining room displayed the most vile behavior I have ever seen on a cruise ship. .While his people were setting up for the second seating, he was on the PA system for the dining room berating his subordinates. He was using racial slurs to describe members of the staff. He was calling names in order to humiliate individuals. He told several to pray to their respective deities for speed. The Head Waiter's behavior was both obscene and dehumanizing. Many people including myself complained about this behavior. The ships only noticeable response was to close the doors to "The Grand" before seating time and turn off the PA system. As of 10/21/17 no disciplinary action had been taken according to staff members. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first Seabourn cruise...and our last. Past sailings have been on Oceania and I regret this trip was not with them, as well. I will repeat another review in saying the food was a huge disappointment for all the upscale hype ... Read More
This was our first Seabourn cruise...and our last. Past sailings have been on Oceania and I regret this trip was not with them, as well. I will repeat another review in saying the food was a huge disappointment for all the upscale hype associated with Seabourn. The selection of items lacked variety and portions were incredibly small. Size of portion is more appropriate for a ten year old. It was also challenging to find healthy selections. You could not even find a banana or apple without asking, and even then a banana took 4 days to rippen if you kept it in your cabin. One night I ordered the vegetarian crepe (filled with ricotta cheese and spinach). When the dish arrived, the plate contained merely a three inch crepe with nothing else. I was shocked to see such an embarrassing small portion especially for dinner, and when I questioned the waiter, he merely indicated I could order another portion. On another occasion, dinner came with frozen (not fresh) green beans that were terrible; almond pancakes for breakfast arrived without the almonds on top, which were brought by the table when the meal was half consumed; chicken breast was good one night and very dried out the next night. It didn't matter which of the two restaurants you ate at - service, selection and portion size were all disappointing. Even dinner at the Keller Grill was nothing to rave home about. On the positive side, the cabin was lovely and shore excursion size was kept to no more than 25. However, I do not feel Seaboun is worth the money invested and will return to Oceania in a heartbeat. Read Less

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