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54,435 Family Cruise Reviews

This was our third trip on voyager and we felt that due to the corona virus issues we should have been kept far more informed than we were. Seven sea days was a joke especially as the ship could have returned to Australian port prior to ... Read More
This was our third trip on voyager and we felt that due to the corona virus issues we should have been kept far more informed than we were. Seven sea days was a joke especially as the ship could have returned to Australian port prior to the 14 day self isolation bane was brought in. Our junior suite was certainly not what I would have called clean let alone sanitised. We regularly had no room service breakfast menus or tea and sugar. The food was definitely better than our last trip and the restaurant and bar staff were wonderful. We were closed out of one port after another and the captain gave no information and when he did it was incorrect telling everyone that the 14 days self isolation started from our last port! Tempers were becoming frayed after so many stories and not enough accurate information. We were given two days refund when the trip should have been canceled or cut short! I really felt for the young families on board that now will lose income while in self isolation! This may have been our last cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We choose different destination from previous years, te cruise was lovely despite the harvoc we are going through in the world one thing that was so so horrible is that I booked 2 cabins and to be placed at 14007 another ar 12019 when ... Read More
We choose different destination from previous years, te cruise was lovely despite the harvoc we are going through in the world one thing that was so so horrible is that I booked 2 cabins and to be placed at 14007 another ar 12019 when later the next day after having requested that we are placed in the same floor then the is a cabin available when we have already unpacked-now that was not nice at all at all..food was lovely, but this time is was not so clean, the lifts were forever dirty,finger prints on mirrors on the rails etc....rooms were made but not as neat as with Musica - staff not so friendly especially on the last days you could swear that they were frustrated, didnt portray full willingness except for the ones that working at the dining rooms - it felt as if the customer care downgraded a bit - please, at reception woow you just do not find any friendliness just people with a straight face no friendliness at all - please do encourage your staff as much as possible because we takr these trips for relaxing, to be away from all the stress-either than that all went well.thank you Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We bid on and upgrade suite and got it.. it looked the same as a regular suite with double the size balcony and bathroom.. 3 of us in the room so it was comfortable. Mark took care of our room.. he was great and brought us anything we ... Read More
We bid on and upgrade suite and got it.. it looked the same as a regular suite with double the size balcony and bathroom.. 3 of us in the room so it was comfortable. Mark took care of our room.. he was great and brought us anything we needed right away.. we tipped Mark everyday, which we always do on a cruise, and Mark made sure we were in need of nothing! Great experience.. We were traveling with 6 family members... all of us enjoyed something different.. My teen girl loved encore.. a place she could meet 13-17 year olds.. and spent lots of time with these kids as the days went by... The cigar lounge was our favorite place to go after dinner with my husband and adult sons.. we thoroughly enjoyed all the men and women we met there.. Learned how to play craps with my oldest son! Great late night entertainment...Met the same dynamic group of people every night..So fun! My husband enjoyed the hot tubs in the quieter part of the boat.. he also loved the water slide that drops the trap door under your feet and away you go fast through a tube over the side of the boat and back again.. We all wanted sun... it was spring break, super small pool,, lots of drunk obnoxious 21 + year olds crammed around a large bath tub.. 2 days of this until we found H2O at the front of the boat with water falls to walk through when you get hot and perfect place to talk and read... Honduras was our first stop.. We all did a snorkel and kayak tour.. Our guides were awesome.. the fruit and food were delicious Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We booked this cruise at full price over a year ago. We wanted to try MSC, I had read all the reviews and decided to go with an open mind. First off the ship is beautiful and very clean, the only think we didn't care for is the ... Read More
We booked this cruise at full price over a year ago. We wanted to try MSC, I had read all the reviews and decided to go with an open mind. First off the ship is beautiful and very clean, the only think we didn't care for is the chopped up layout. The staff at customer service desk were unfriendly like other reviewers have stated. The lack of communication as to what was going on was unbelievable. No crew had the same story. We couldn't make any of the ports scheduled due to the Corona Virus which I do understand is out of control of MSC. But come on, a little compassion would have been nice. We were so excited to go to Tortola but missed it. We paid top dollar for this itinerary and in return did not get our money's worth. When we mentioned this to the Customer Service desk their attitude was, "what do you want me to do about it". They did not care. They also stated that the contract states that MSC can change ports as their discretion. Nice attitude there. The food started out okay but went downhill. The selection was not great. Pizza was awesome. Oh, who runs out of Bud Light? Oh, MSC does. I wanted to give this cruise line a chance but the fact that they are so unorganized makes me think twice about it. I also had an incident with one of the stores. I bought a bracelet which they sell by the inch. After they measured me they did not have the lobster clasp so they told me to come back later. When we went back they still couldn't find one. So I decided to get the bracelet anyways and would have a jeweler back home fix it for me. The girl then informs us that the sales person made a mistake on the price. I had a receipt. She would not honor that price. We had to get the manager and argue about it. we finally were told we could have this 6.00 item for free. Okay all is well, but guess what, we were charged. I didn't even bother to argue about that little amount. That is just one of the little things that bugged us over the week. Not very customer friendly. We paid $1600.00 for a balcony room which was a great deal but then we hear that people on the ship got the same room category a month before for $700.00. We asked for a credit but got nothing. So we paid full price for one of the cheapest itinerary's. Oh well, live in learn. Will we cruise MSC again? I don't know. But they have a ways to go with customer service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Let me first say the entertainment, stateroom attendant and dining room waiters were great! However........ Don’t forget to pack your patience! We planned this trip for our four teenagers during spring break. We decided to not ... Read More
Let me first say the entertainment, stateroom attendant and dining room waiters were great! However........ Don’t forget to pack your patience! We planned this trip for our four teenagers during spring break. We decided to not cancel and move forward despite the coronavirus. Which we probably should had canceled but we decided to give it a shot. Huge disappointment. First disappointed was not being able to upgrade our room despite 900+ canceling. We tried to upgrade all 3 staterooms and were told only one room “maybe” could upgrade and they will contact us. Which they never did! We wanted to stay together with our children and that was not even an option. The rooms were very outdated. Did not have refrigerators as expected. We have a diabetic daughter who requires a fridge for her insulin and it was not in the room as requested. We ended up receiving a car type plug in cooler. Very disappointing. There was no water readily accessible. The closet door was falling off. WiFi was horrible and overpriced. We had to go visit the guest relations desk at least a dozen times. Half the time you are screaming your issue due to the loud music at the centrum. Bad place for the guest relations desk. It was very hard to understand most of the staff but luckily we had a young lady that tried to handle what she could. They allowed charges on our account despite being flagged not too. Guest relations was not worried about customer satisfaction. You could tell they are used to complaints. They did not react. We shared our disappointment but was obvious they did not care. The food was terrible. The only half way descent food was in the main dining but the portions were small and very bland. However, The waiters were very friendly and did a great job accommodating our gluten free daughter. They treated her very good. Her every food needs were met! The buffet was terrible. There were not many options unless you want to pay for it. Alcohol drinks were watered down. 700 dollars for two. And barely any alcohol in the drinks! The only two fun things for the teenagers were both closed the entire trip. The rock wall and the bungee trampoline were closed. There was not even a basketball court. Just a pool for the kids...no slide. Not much at all. I can’t imagine how crowded the pool would had been if the 900 people that cancelled would had showed up. It was packed. Very small pools. Sure wish we would had done our research. This ship is not very kid friendly and is very old with limited food eateries (that are included in price). The entertainment for adults was good. Most staff members were very friendly. We have an Alaskan cruise schedule in July and will be canceling. We only booked this cruise since we had the Alaskan cruise already booked since last year and wanted to stay with one cruise line. We have cruised with Carnival in the past and will travel with them again. Beware…they charged our account the very last day 125.00 for towels which we returned all our towels. They do not give you anything stating how many you borrow and return so you are relying on the attendant to enter the correct information. They did take the charges off but I can only imagine what a mess it would had been to fix this error after the cruise. This was done the last night of the cruise and luckily I noticed early enough to dispute it. Cozumel was very nice and we seemed safe however progreso was very sketchy. I would not recommend getting off the ship there. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I have cruised MSC before many years ago and had a good experience. I have also cruise with Carnival 6-7 times, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. I realized very quickly this cruise line was not the experience I was looking ... Read More
I have cruised MSC before many years ago and had a good experience. I have also cruise with Carnival 6-7 times, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean. I realized very quickly this cruise line was not the experience I was looking for as an American. I booked this cruise because the dates worked for my step-daughter's spring break and because the prices were great, and free drinks and wifi package. We tried to cancel our cruise due to the sudden Coronavirus onset just a few days before leaving but we were unable to reach anyone after a long phone wait. When we arrived the port crew was extremely unfriendly and I immediately felt uncomfortable. I felt as though I had just arrive for my prison intake. Again, lots of cruise experiences and never felt this way. The gentleman who checked us in did a good job of making us feel welcome, which helped. However, as we boarded the ship I found the crew to be more like security, very unfriendly feeling and barking orders or demands. I am acclimated to all the smiling faces and helpful souls of the Carnival cruise experience and I will be returning to them as a loyal customer from here forward even if it means paying a little more money. At dinner we sat for typically an hour and a half because the wait staff was handling so many tables. Our waiter was friendly and did his best to accommodate. They would bring rolls, and I asked 3 times for butter while we sat there hungry for 30-40 minutes waiting on the butter. The food served was very small servings, and not up to par for an evening dinner entree experience. Shrimp cocktail contained 2 shrimp, the steak ordered was paper-thin. The second night we decided to upgrade for the rib-eye with bearnaise . When the steak came it had no bearnaise. We asked the waiter who shrugged us off and never returned with the sauce. Twenty minutes later we went to find some sauce from another waiter, but by this time the steak was cold. We asked for the head waiter, who never came. We asked for refund which we were also declined. We were offered a 20% discount, which we also did not receive as per our bill at check out. We asked for the manger on the way out of the dining room and informed him we will not be returning to eat in the dining room, nor will we return to this cruise line in the future. They continued to mix up our orders and bring out wrong dishes we had not ordered. It was clear they did not have the staff needed to get the job done efficiently. The cruise seemed to be half booked which leaves me wondering what would have happened if it had been full. Our room was extremely tidy, and our room staff were friendly. We also found it easy to obtain beverages in the bar areas which we loved as well as the ability to use use the drink package the day we were on the cruise ships owned island. My suggestions to MSC, is to train your staff for customer service, we are your customers not a bother! Add more staff to you dining room and more things to do throughout the day, the choices of entertainment were slim. Leaving us sitting in our staterooms for hours at a time waiting for the evening show. I hope this review helps those who are shopping for a great deal to see what gets cut when prices are so low. Spend the extra $50-$100 a person and enjoy your vacation experience! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We cannot praise the Captain and staff of the Golden Princess enough! We have just returned from a 13 day cruise to New Zealand that was cut short by 4 days because of the current global crisis. During this uncertain time we were kept up ... Read More
We cannot praise the Captain and staff of the Golden Princess enough! We have just returned from a 13 day cruise to New Zealand that was cut short by 4 days because of the current global crisis. During this uncertain time we were kept up to date at all times as the situation developed and were treated with the utmost respect. The food onboard was incredible and nothing was too much trouble for our waiters Edzel and Michaell in the dining room. There were many varied activities to choose from and we had lots of laughs participating. The staff were fastidious with hygiene, regularly wiping surfaces after use. Although we were disappointed that we only set foot on land for 1 day due to port restrictions we still had a very relaxing holiday on this lovely ship. A big thank you from my husband and I. We will definitely sail with Princess again sometime in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We flew from London to Auckland via Emirates. Everything ran as per schedule and we arrived in New Zealand 3 days prior to the cruise. It took about an hour or so to go through immigration and customs before leaving the airport. However ... Read More
We flew from London to Auckland via Emirates. Everything ran as per schedule and we arrived in New Zealand 3 days prior to the cruise. It took about an hour or so to go through immigration and customs before leaving the airport. However apart from usual bag checks no other checks like temperature monitoring were being carried out at the airport. We were transferred to our central Auckland hotel called Citylife heritage hotel. We were given a one bedroom suite on one of the top floors of this hotel which had beautiful views of the city and harbour. We had breakfast included at the hotel which was great and there were plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby for lunches and dinners. The hotel was in a great location, situated on the main shopping street, Queen street. Sky tower was 5 mins walk away. We spent the next 3 days sightseeing around Auckland. Took hop on hop off bus to tour around Auckland, went up the sky tower for great views of the city, took a ferry to Devonport for views of Auckland from Mount Victoria. Also visited museum and botanic gardens. On our third day, we took a full day excursion to Rotorua to visit Tepuia and Wai-o-tapu geo-thermal sights. Very interesting day visiting these lovely sites and also saw a kiwi bird at Tepuia. On our return back to Auckland there was heavy rainfall which the country desperately needed after a very dry summer. Thankfully this was the only rainfall we saw in our entire trip. The next morning we did a bit of souvenir shopping on queen street before being picked up by our trasnsfer service to be taken to the dock to check in for the solstice New Zealand cruise. We thought it would take a long time to board the cruise as they were going to do extra checks like temperature monitoring etc. However no sooner we got there, our temperatures were promptly recorded and after getting the all clear, we handed our luggage to one of the porters. We proceeded to the check in area where the queue was minimal and were checked in to board the ship in 10mins. This was one of the fastest boarding we have experienced for a cruise. The whole process from arrival to boarding ship took under half an hour! As soon as we entered this beautiful ship, we were given champagne and asked to proceed to buffet as staterooms were going to be ready by 1pm. There was plenty of food choice for lunch from pizzas to sandwiches to Indian, Mexican, Chinese, vegetarian/vegan etc. After we finished lunch, we went to tour the ship which was similar to the Reflection we had been on 6 months prior to this cruise. 2 outdoor and 1 indoor pools, 2 tier theatre, cinema, casino, plenty of bars and cafes, around 4 speciality restaurants, outdoor screen by lawn area etc. Lovely ship and everything seemed nicely maintained despite a refit scheduled in 2021. We were soon asked to proceed to the staterooms soon after 1pm. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on deck 7 on the starboard side of the ship towards the front elevators. Great location for the theatres, Sky bar and cinema. Bit further to walk for dining areas but we got used to it very soon. When we got to our cabin, all the luggage had already arrived which was great! The cabin was once again very similar to our cabin on celebrity Reflection. Lovely bathroom with shower cubicle with glass doors. Good size balcony with 2 retractable chairs and a table. The room had plenty of storage space, a big sofa and a huge flat screen interactive tv. All in all, a very pleasant cabin which was looked after by our cabin steward Joaquín. The master of the ship, captain Alex, was one of the best captain we have ever had on a cruise. He was hilarious and we eagerly looked forward to his daily announcements. More importantly he kept us reassured and worry-free through out the cruise as we were travelling at a time when the whole world seemed to be affected by the coronavirus. Moreover we saw him regularly saw him and his officers throughout the cruise. We departed Auckland after 6pm soon after the safety drill was completed. We had lovely views of the city as we sailed toward Tauranga, our first stop. We docked in Tauranga next day at 10.30am. As we had booked a 'Hobbiton film set' tour for 12.30pm, we went to explore nearby area in the morning. we hiked up Mt. Maunganui in the morning where we got lovely views of the ship and surrounding area. Went back to ship for 12.30 whereby we took a coach to see the lovely film set where some parts of Lord of Rings and Hobbit trilogies were filmed. Spent around 3 hours at this magical place before returning to the ship around 4.30pm. As the ship was not leaving Tauranga till 10pm, we had local Maui performers come and do a traditional show in the theatre and included Haka dance too. We had a sea day in between followed by 3 consecutive stops. The first stop was Picton in South Island which was extremely picturesque. We had a lovely sunny day and we did a Marlborough train tour to Blenheim which was really a scenic journey passing through many vineyards. We got off at Blenheim and had a few hours to spend in this town before taking train back to Picton. Once we got back, we looked around Picton and the beautiful scenery around the area before taking back shuttle to ship. The next day we tendered in Akaroa. However the tendering process was very quick and efficient. We did a tour to Christchurch. It was a lovely picturesque journey to Christchurch and we had an excellent tour guide/driver who was very informative. When we got there we toured the city on the colourful trams and although the city is still rebuilding from the earthquake around 10 years ago, we loved the city for its vibrant atmosphere. We returned back to the ship and sailed towards Dunedin (Port Chalmers). We were advised by the captain that night that NZ prime minister had announced that all cruise ship ports in NZ would be shutting next day and if anyone entered the country from a foreign country including Australia, they would have to self isolate for 14 days. Hence anyone wishing to get off at Dunedin would be allowed to. This was our last NZ port anyway so we didn't miss any of the NZ ports. However due to the self isolation policy, around 180 guests left the ship in Dunedin. In Dunedin, we had a tour booked to see sights of Dunedin and visit Speights brewery. This was an excellent tour as it covered quite a few areas of Dunedin like botanic gardens, the railway station (most photographed building in all of NZ) and also a very informative trip to the brewery. After the tour of brewery we were given lots of good sized samples of various beers to try. Returned back to ship after 4 hours and then went around Port Chalmers Local area to have a look at this lovely small town. The next day we were visiting the national fjordland area (dusky, doubtful and Milford sounds). As we were not docking there, we were allowed to visit this part of New Zealand. It started off a bit overcast when we cruised through dusky sound but weather kept improving through the day and by the time we got to Milford sound, it was very warm and sunny. The captain gave us a surprise by rotating the ship 360 degrees at Milford sound to view one of the gorgeous waterfalls there so every side of the ship could get great views of the falls. We also saw lots of dolphins sailing alongside the ship once again pointed out by the captain and cruise director. During the sail into other sounds, we also saw seals and plenty of different types of birds. Had a great day visiting all the sounds and our trip to NZ wouldn't have been complete without without visiting these sites. We were supposed to have 2 sea days before docking in Eden. However Australia announced they would be closing all ports to cruise ships. Hence we missed Eden but were given onboard credit for missing that stop. So we ended up with 3 sea days. We were slightly concerned whether we would be allowed to disembark in Sydney but we needn't have worried as captain Alex announced that we were given permission to disembark in Sydney and would be arriving there the night before. However wouldn't be allowed to leave the ship until the scheduled day of departure. So apart from missing Eden, we didn't have any other itinerary changes and were very lucky that everything ran smoothly and no one fell ill onboard. The ship staff were always cleaning around the ship and made sure everyone washed their hands and used hand sanitisers regularly. We dined in main dining room on level 4. Although we were on anytime dining, the hostess Carla (who remembered our names daily) always ensured she was gave us table by the window with the same waiter every night. One of the best hostesses we have seen on a ship. Our head waiter Rejoy was excellent and ensured all our needs were promptly met. His assistant Goolfee was great too but was moved to one of the speciality dining rooms later. However his replacement was great too. Wine steward Paul gave us a good selection wines daily. Since we had outstanding service in main dining room, we didn't need to visit any of the speciality restaurants. However those who visited some of them like Murano, had a great time. Food was great and loved all the choices on menu. All the shows in theatre were great. There were some guest presenters like a British magician, Australian singer and a violinist. All were very talented and enjoyed their shows immensely. The production shows were brilliant and loved all 4 of them. They included 'Rock city', 'Broken strings', 'Amade' and 'Euphoria'. The singers and dancers did a great job and we got to see how they work and train on one of the sea days when we were given a complimtary tour of the backstage areas. The cruise director Kelly did and excellent job and together with her assistant Patrick, they ensured everyone was kept entertained during the various parties on the ship. Loved the balloon launch night and st. Patrick's day party. However disappointed that Abba night was not held in foyer as the charm was lost when it was held in sky lounge. There were quite a few talks, trivial, games and shows organised on the sea days to keep us occupied. However apart from one film shown in theatre on first sea day, no other films were shown in theatre during the cruise which was slightly disappointing. Films were shown on the screen by the lawn and at celebrity central but these are not ideal venues for film screening. Hence I would recommend solstice to show more films in theatre like they had done on our previous cruise on Reflection. Disembarkation ran very smoothly and we were off the ship by 8am in Sydney. We were at the airport by 11am and luckily our flight went on time later that day. Sadly lot of flights were cancelled as the world prepared to lock down due to coronavirus. On the whole, I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to visit and see sites and sounds of NZ in a relaxed way. We were immensely lucky that everything ran smoothly from start to finish and captain Alex and his team did a marvellous job to keep us safe and entertained through out the trip. Hoping the world can get over this virus quickly and cruises and travel can restart soon. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Negatives: Spring break cruise, my MISTAKE. Screaming, drinking, banging on doors in the middle of the night, singing " coronavirus in the hallways" at 3am. Watched a couple of spring breakers who coughed without covering ... Read More
Negatives: Spring break cruise, my MISTAKE. Screaming, drinking, banging on doors in the middle of the night, singing " coronavirus in the hallways" at 3am. Watched a couple of spring breakers who coughed without covering mouth and/or putting head into sleeve or anything more than one time, tried to avoid them as much as possible. Lesson learned! The balcony staterooms have been changed to have 1 glass door and a port hole design which was unexpected as we have always experienced 2 glass doors which helps you not feel confined in such a small area. Do NOT like the new design. Will never book SKY again. 1)Cruise rep: Purchased cruise credits from previous cruise, after booking new cruise called back to inquire if they could be used as discount, NO. I had to mention it at time of booking, she suggested to save for next cruise. It's on our account why didn't our cruise rep inquire if any certificates /discounts to be used when booking? Had questions from other persons traveling with us to be clear on what the "free amenities" were was asked not to send emails but to call her. She was a little condescending at times. 2)Itinerary @sea, Day 1: Was advised our trip had to be changed due to weather so we went opposite direction only to find that weather prevented us from our PRIMARY excursion and port. We did not even stop (all day at sea) but found out later that another cruise line simply waited an hour and was given permission to dock. This was first time was feeling the movement of ship as many people were crying and complained of nausea. It was horrible. Since we lost our excursion villa ($350) we tried in vain to get another one at next port, service desk rep says he could try, we began that request at 9:10 am, checked back in 4 times at the desk to hear that NCL had not received a response from folks @ Pearl Island. No courtesy feedback from NCL service desk to say, cannot confirm suggest you try something else. Day 2: docked then ran to service desk to pay $99 each ($600 for our party) to board a 15 minute boat ride (raining & overcast) to a new area "Pearl Island" that it was first come first serve to get a cabana but no one knew the "additional" cost. Literally people jumped off the boat and hurried to get that premiere spot. Society shows itself in times such as this. Talked to Pearl Island Manager to find the cost of the cabana for 6 was a mere $500 additional which included pillows, no food, drinks or private access to beach. There were other cabanas for rent maximum party of 2 adults , 1 child for $450 each no guarantee of getting 2 together so ended up on beach loungers for free. FYI: ALL of the cabanas were EMPTY the whole time, we offered half the price for the big one but were turned down. Be AWARE, NO easy access to the beach on certain areas where there are chairs, a stone wall 3-4', no steps, had to step down a good 12-15 inches into the sand with sharp shells this is OK if you are young and strong legs , horrible if older in age. On the return boat ride in the HOT sun we were given an informative lesson on who the rich and famous are in the area and a look at their homes only to see on the opposite side of the area appeared to be the working mans area which was totally depressing.. I filled out the excursion card with positive reviews for the crew but that's all. Day 3: docked @ last port, burnt from sun so stayed onboard only to find due to port laws all fun things to do are closed as not to take business away from port. Bummer. It may appear that if we kept original routing everything would have worked out as weather was better on return. My opinions are strong because my expectations were high as we never experienced disappointment with NCL and to top it off we were dealing with the corona virus pandemic...We could NOT cancel because NCL would not give refunds/credits until March 10th which was a day after we embarked. What a joke! Positives: Mar 09:Embarkation was wonderful, thank you. The Palace for lunch, server "Remian" PERFECT. Cagneys for dinner as expected- 10/10 food & service. Mar 10: Food gallery very impressive as so many choices and delicious. Lunch @ Palace recommended. Dinner @ Crossings which was a pleasant surprise. Mar 11: At port all day. Dinner @Le Bistro is undeniably our favorite worth the money. Food outstanding, server Leila was top notch. To our surprise after having the best experience ever..while walking out of LeBistro was the TOP CHEF herself as seen on NCL TV as part of the crew. She was as nice in person as she appeared on TV so we thanked her for a delicious dinner, a wonderful memory and complimented her on her dance routine on TV. Mar 12: Our favorite bar tender worked primarily in The Local bar located AFT on the ship from 6pm- closing, gave us his name as Tom Cruise... OK. Dinner @the Local was very good, pub/ bar food but a great way to end the cruise. Most often during this cruise, spring breakers were polite, but there are always a few that break the mold. It was obvious this was a success to them so good for them! Favorites: Leila. Le Bistro Tom cruise The Local Andresthia. Cabin attendant. (Adorable woman). Ramein. Crossings& The Palace Disembarking was much easier than expected, breezed through it once we were "released" by Miami. Glad to be home. Found an Uber and to the airport which is another story to be told. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We love to cruise, we find it relaxing and love spending quality time with the family. We always enjoy the entertainment and love taking part. Its definitely easier on the 2nd cruise.. the food in the buffet it delish. Love the variety.. ... Read More
We love to cruise, we find it relaxing and love spending quality time with the family. We always enjoy the entertainment and love taking part. Its definitely easier on the 2nd cruise.. the food in the buffet it delish. Love the variety.. the evening restaurant dinner is lovely too. We loved our waitress, Jes on this cruise, so friendly and caring. My son enjoy juniors club a lot more this time. He also enjoyed the putt putt and tennis on the top deck. The theater shows were top notch. Looked forward to the shows every night. Didn't get to see Pomene , which was kinda sad. But found some entertainment and swam. The disembarkation took longer this time. I'm sure its because of the department health forms that needed to be filled out. We were very impressed with the sanitization on board .. going in and out of the buffet. Well done MSC.. we love to cruise with you Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Definitely a more European feel, so maybe not suitable for American families with young kids. The food was wonderful with a buffet running most of the day and several dining rooms. We were in the Marco Polo dining room which had amazing ... Read More
Definitely a more European feel, so maybe not suitable for American families with young kids. The food was wonderful with a buffet running most of the day and several dining rooms. We were in the Marco Polo dining room which had amazing and tasty food each night. The waitstaff doesn't bend over backwards for their guests, which I assure all you boomers is not actually rude, and a lot of them speak limited English, so just be smart about how you order things, and don't expect them to run around the ship getting you fancy drinks that aren't available in the dining room, get them yourself. The pool felt a bit crowded on the days at sea but get yourself a spot on the upper side decks with a view of the ocean and it's absolutely amazing. The bars are quite nice and well placed outside of the dining areas and theater. I think the entertainment and nightly shows were my favorite part. The shows usually featured signing and dancing and the acrobatics were very good. If you get a chance to see the Addams' Family show definitely go for it as it absolutely blew me away. The entertainment staff is a lot of fun and definitely works super hard to make your time not in port a memorable one. Again, just keep in mind that this is a more European feel if you're an American boarding for a Caribbean cruise and all will be perfectly fine. Also the guest relations are some of the most resilient people I've ever met, so don't expect a room upgrade under any circumstances; my cruise was during the COVID-19 outbreak with a much lower number of guests than usual and even so the best we got were chocolate covered strawberries after asking 3 days straight haha. All in all this was an absolutely amazing cruise and I think next time I'll skip out on Carnival and Princess and go for an MSC cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise based on their itinerary and length totally forgetting this is the beginning of Spring break, more later.... We left Cape Canaveral on March 3 and returned March 8th. Our destinations were Key West Fl. and Cozumel ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on their itinerary and length totally forgetting this is the beginning of Spring break, more later.... We left Cape Canaveral on March 3 and returned March 8th. Our destinations were Key West Fl. and Cozumel MX. The ship was the Norwegian Sun. This ship is one of the smaller ships in service in the Florida Caribbean circuit, the Norwegian Sun was renovated last year and it still has a clean ambiance to it and the cabin was still very fresh, actually, the cabin was the best part of the cruise in my opinion. The trip as a whole rates a 3 out of 5 in our opinion, there was some good and some not so good issues with this cruise, nothing horrible but nothing great either. Being Spring break, The young adults aboard for this cruise were definitely out for a good time BUT ship security were very good at keeping control of the situation at all times. Evening was quite busy to be expected and the young adults were out in full attire to attract their mates, it was rather nice watching, yes a lot of drinking BUT again they all seemed to be well under control, I've seen much worse at local bars in our city. The food on this cruise was simply put okay, the specialty restaurants we ate at were nothing special, we ate at the Italian and Steakhouse, both were in many ways disappointments, especially the steakhouse as I was expecting something much better. The beef was not very flavourful nor the texture very appealing, we feel, we may have done just as good having dinners at the buffet. We did spent a lot of time in the casino after dinner, oh how I wish they would ban smoking in those places, the smell is just so overpowering. So as a final note, like all cruises, this one had it's issues, nothing great but nothing horrible, would we cruise Norwegian again? I doubt it, we prefer the other lines we have travelled much more and next cruise will be with Celebrity we expect... Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our first cruise and didn't really know what to expect of it. But the second we got on the ship we knew it would be great. We got on the ship around 12p and went directly to the Windjammer on floor 11 due to the state rooms ... Read More
This was our first cruise and didn't really know what to expect of it. But the second we got on the ship we knew it would be great. We got on the ship around 12p and went directly to the Windjammer on floor 11 due to the state rooms not being available until 1p the windjammer staff made sure the buffet was safe, clean and a overall good experience, when you walk in they make sure everyone washes their hands and drys them and has sanitizing stations all around. The food was good for being a free meal and the staff constantly walked around and made sure the place was clean. The staterooms were exceptionally good. The room attendant I had was very good. I would recommend he get a pay raise because he was just amazing. So friendly and kind and made a elephant and monkey out of towels for the kids to enjoy. He always made our beds and cleaned the room up. Everytime we left we came back to a orderly room with fresh towels and made beds. The only complaint about this ship was that the elevators were always crowded and the system was sometimes dumb. The elevators would sometimes skip you but all in all they were quick and speedy even though 40% of people found themselves walking down stairs. The kids had multiple activities and a teen's club. They did a little dodgeball tournament, had parties, had mini golf, rock climbing, slides, arcade and a flow rider. Now for parents when they want to get away from kids they have a daycare for the little ones and multiple bars and a casino. The best place to eat to me is Johnny's Rockets. The service was great and speedy and our waitress was so kind and amazing, the food was yummy and was very good. They have fancier places with exceptional service but the food to me wasnt as good. All in all the Adventure Of The Seas was an amazing ship and I would reccomend to any families. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This cruise was influenced by politics from its start. Travel to Cuba was banned, so Oceania substituted other Caribbean islands from the original three-city tour. Then, the coronavirus caused a world-wide panic and pandemic. Measures ... Read More
This cruise was influenced by politics from its start. Travel to Cuba was banned, so Oceania substituted other Caribbean islands from the original three-city tour. Then, the coronavirus caused a world-wide panic and pandemic. Measures were instituted aboard the ship to keep everyone safe by limiting access to food and ensuring sanitizers were used regularly before entering restaurants. Everyone was urged to wash their hands often for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. As a result, no one got sick. Because of U.S. travel bans, Europeans from the Schengen countries disembarked in Antigua four days before the end of the cruise. The rest of the ports were eliminated for all the passengers on March 13. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the crew and staff pulled together to provide enjoyable activities, games, and entertainment. Food is the best on any of the ships we have traveled, and the entertainers really get to know the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was my first cruise and probably the last one. To start with when we arrived we were not told that the bags could be checked in and taken to the rooms when it was ready later. The room was not available until 2 pm. We had a check in ... Read More
This was my first cruise and probably the last one. To start with when we arrived we were not told that the bags could be checked in and taken to the rooms when it was ready later. The room was not available until 2 pm. We had a check in time of 1130-1200. The service form the start was terrible. We were not informed of any of the events that were planned for the cruise. We missed the clue game, that ran for the entirety of the cruise. I am a disabled veteran and I was trying to get the priority boarding. I was not able to get this and even when I was there and talking to the Carnival representatives, the only answer is that we can get a wheel chair. This is not the issue. What i needed was time to be able to get on and off, not in the crush of people. A sign we should have recognized as the beginning of the worst vacation customer service we have ever had. The first 2 days the trip was miserable as you could not walk around without wobbling because the ship was so turbulent. There never was any announcement or mention as to what was going on, or saying that we apologize for the roughness and let us do something to make it better. The room was small and run down. The bed was supposed to be a king but would not pass for a queen. The remote would not work. The ship as a whole looked tire and rundown and in need of maintenance. The food was mediocre at best. The hot food was not hot and the cold food was not cold. The plates and silverware was often dirty. The tables were constantly dirty and we had to move the dishes and things so we could sit down. The tables when cleaned was with a cloth, no sanitation spray was used. The serves were touching their face with the gloves and not changing them before serving food. Even the Posh Restaurant was simply OK. All of the steak was choice steak not prime rib or otherwise stated. To find clean silverware you had to check at least 4 sets. Overall not memorable food, even Guy's Burger Bar was not that good or up to my food standards. The best meal of the trip ended up being the BBQ place. Even that was simply OK. The pool was very small and always packed with kids. The kids were in the hot tub constantly and getting them dirty with orbees and other items just thrown in the hot tubs. When this was brought to the stewards attention, there was nothing done about it. There were teenagers running around throughout the ship at all hours of the day. The shore excursions was another aspect of disappointment. The one had a snorkeling session. The session was less than 45 minutes and then they were worried about getting us back to the shops. The focus seemed to be about shopping and not the excursion and some shopping on the side. It seemed to be that the on-board shopper was getting some money back for getting us into the stores as that was the primary focus for 2 of the 3 excursions. That is truly not what we were vacationing for. Once back on the ship we talked to guest services. The excursion manager was quite rude and explained that all of the excursions with water activities was 15-45 minutes. This was not in the magazine description whatsoever. Cleanliness was also a disappointment. My children went to Camp Ocean once and only once. There was over 1500 kids there. There was 2 attendants for over 70 children 6-8 years old. There were several that threw up due to sea sickness. The way they cleaned it up was by placing a towel over the spots. There was limited activities, no drinks or snacks. It took us almost 2 hours in line to pick them up afterwards. Smoke was also an issue. There was smoking on level 5 of the ship. You could still smell it several decks above. All of the music and entertainment, pictures and so on was on this level. This was extremely disappointing as we like to play games and listen to music. Something you could not do without putting up with second hand smoke the entire time. We were also conned by the on-board shopper. The man could pass for a modern day snake oil salesman. All of the savings that he supposedly had lined up were lies. We never received them even with the coupons. Also after the shore excursions were completed he conveniently disappeared for the remainder of the cruise home. When addressed with guest services we were told that we would have to speak to corporate. They simply passed the buck and did not care. The final insult to this disappointing trip was the debarkation process. We were all kicked out or our rooms at 830 am. We were then told to stay on the 5th floor or the 9th floor. They also did not limit the smoking for this process. so the smokers were puffing away. I am sensitive to this and it causes my sinuses to become swollen and painful. I would not use carnival if you value your health, happiness, money, or time. They do not care and are only looking to make money and your need and desires comes dead last. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in ... Read More
I wanted to experience a new mega ship and this one seemed right. I have sailed Norwegian several times and always enjoyed it. So getting right to it: Pros: beautiful decor and public areas. Food was very good overall and wonderful in the Specialty restaurants. Bars were plentiful. The two main shows, Kinky Boots and Choir of Man, were the best I have seen at sea. Staterooms were well designed and spacious enough. The crew was cheerful and enthusiastic. I really enjoyed the day at beautiful Great Stirrup Cay with drinks and food included in the package, if you had it. Cons: Limited deck space due to the extensive areas taken up by teen activities: laser tag, VR games and race track. Smoking areas small, crowed and sad. Music on the decks seemed to be exclusively Cuban/Miami dance and very loud. Tiny, overly salty pool. Hot tubs always full of children. Daily activities basically trivia, bingo and spa/shopping seminars. No central elevators. There seemed to be extra charges for everything. Ports were lovely but only spending an evening in San Juan was a waste. BTW, we were on the last cruise before they were cancelled due to the Corona virus outbreak and the Encore crew were fantastic. They handled the extra precautions like champs. Washy-washy! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We ... Read More
I had been watching cruise pricing for a Spring Break cruise out of Galveston or NOLA for sometime. When NCL added the 3rd and 4th free perk the price dropped a ton and I pulled the trigger on the Getaway cruise for my family of four. We had done this itinerary before out of NOLA on the Dawn and loved it. We convinced another family to join us so it was a group of 8 on this trip. We all ended up having an amazing trip on the Getaway. Cabin: We had a Family Balcony on the 12th Floor. This room had a queen bed by the door and a couch and pullman for the kids. We normally sail inside but getting all the perks with the balcony made this cheap than an inside and still able to get the dining and drink package. Room was fine and it was nice having the balcony although the balcony is small on this ship. The only issue was that the sink water always started scolding hot and needed to run for a while to cool down. Our Steward was great and we received towel animals even though NCL does not do them anymore(our friends with a different steward also received them so it seems they still do it for rooms with kids). Complementary Dining: For dinner we ate at Savor once, Tropicana Room three times, and O'Sheenans once. Tropicana just feels more like a cruise ship dining room. Large and open with live music as opposed to more of a land based restaurant feel of Savor/Taste. Food ranged from good to excellent with no complaints from anyone in our group. Service was great with meals taking around 1:30 to 1:45 which is fine when you are eating a 4 course meal(we always ordered multiple apps). At O'Sheenans we ordered several apps. Wings were very good and Artichoke dip was ok. Burgers were very good also. We did the buffet for breakfast and lunch/post port meals everyday. We thought the buffet was good for a buffet. Most of the stations stay the same day to day with one or two having rotating items. The ship went to enhanced sanitary procedures on day three so their was no self service. That meant it was pretty much all hands on deck for the crew. We had engine room crew and spa crew serving our drinks and I even had the General Manager squirting ketchup on my plate. I felt bad for the crew but it was needed with the current climate/fear. Specialty Dining: We ate at Cagney's and Moderno's with our credits. Both were excellent. Our waiter at Cagney's pointed out that we could get multiple app and sides and one entree. I have read complaints that the crew was pushing only one of each but that was not our experience. On the last day we still had one credit so decided to try American Diner and it was a big mistake. There was only two other tables and everything took a long time to come out. We could see some of our items sitting under the heat lamp for a while. The nachos were one that was and although the taste was good, most of the chips were soggy. I had the Lobster Sliders and the pieces were small and probably cooked days ago. We came away very unimpressed. Entertainment: Almost all of the entertainment was excellent. Million Dollar Quartet was amazing and high energy. The dancers at Burn the Floor were really good and we couldn't believe that were going to have another show an hour later. At Syd's we saw the house band twice and Back in the Day another night. The house band was really fun. They announced at the 80s Prom on the last night that their contract was over and this was their last night. A lot of tears shed between the singers and their handler. Back in the Day is a 80s hair band tribute. They play all the great hair bands from the 80s. They also have a show in the main theater the last night but it conflicted with our Moderno reservation or else we would have been their. Howl at the Moon was fun. The setup is a little awkward since they are using the comedy club. I am use to tables and bar setups on land based HatMs but this was more of chairs setup facing the stage. Still was a lot of fun. The players were changing words around in songs to joke about the current situation, ie changing Sweet Caroline to say not touching you, don't touch me. We also saw a few of the bands playing in the atrium and thought they were good. We also went to the 70s/80s deck party and the Latin deck party. Our cruise director, Vincent, was fun. He is all about getting dressed up in different suits and outfits. He wore a gold disco outfit with a huge 70s fro and platform shoes for the deck party. Activities: This was the biggest ship were have been on with it coming in a little bigger than the Vista. We are bigger boat people. I like that there are so many more bells and whistles than the smaller boats. My wife can sit on a lounger all day but that is not me or the kids. We did the ropes course several times. The walk the plank that goes eight feet over the side of the ship is a little unnerving but we all did it. There are 5 different levels of waterslides including two slides that the floor drops out from under you. I paid for the Arcade Package and it was well worth it. There are plenty of green swipe games although some need to be re-calibrated. We did a few of the trivia games and karaoke and they were fun. All in all we had an amazing time. This was the last cruise before the shutdown. They ship was pretty full but I know there were cancellations. What ever the number of cruisers were they should make that the capacity. Nothing seems really overcrowded and we did not have to wait for anything. We were even able to find seats in the atrium/Syd's and HatM after the shows already started. There were people standing in the venues but that is the normal at land based venues. This is our third NCL cruise and while we are never tied down to one cruise line, we would cruise NCL again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I knew this was going to be an older ship, so I didn't expect a whole lot. I loved that it was not packed with guests because it only holds about 2300 guests. The decor was definitely dated and the food left a lot to be desired. ... Read More
I knew this was going to be an older ship, so I didn't expect a whole lot. I loved that it was not packed with guests because it only holds about 2300 guests. The decor was definitely dated and the food left a lot to be desired. The excursions however were fantastic. We booked an excursion for every port except Grand Cayman. The refrigerator in the state room did not cool the drinks enough and we barely saw our housekeeping guy. There were only 4 laundry rooms on this ship. We didn't really have a problem needing to use the machine, and we brought our own detergent. I was a little disappointed that every time we ordered a drink, gratuity was included AND they had another blank line as if we are supposed to leave more. I honestly felt like we were nickled and dimed to death between the people at the ports and on the ship. Nothing was terrible, but definitely the time OFF the ship were the highlights of my trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I want to start off by saying that I recognize that this is a stressful time for everyone including and especially for the travel industry. We cruised from March 8 to March 15. On March 8 when we left, COVID19 was a concern but not to ... Read More
I want to start off by saying that I recognize that this is a stressful time for everyone including and especially for the travel industry. We cruised from March 8 to March 15. On March 8 when we left, COVID19 was a concern but not to the same extent it was by the end of our cruise. That being said, the service on this ship is terrible from day one.This as my first time with NCL, but I have cruised with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. ALL of them completely blow NCL out of the water.It seemed like they were really short staffed. At night in The Local (the only place to get food after 11:30 unless you want to pay $9.95 for room service) tables sat uncleared and totally filthy, the hot tubs in the evening constantly had empty plastic cups flying around them and squashed out cigarette butts in the filters. During the morning hours there was garbage floating around in the pool. There were never enough bar tenders, finding a server around the pool or in the theater, or really at any restaurant was a hard task. We waited about an average of half an hour for a drink. I asked Customer Service about this assuming COVID19 had them short staffed but I was told that they were full staffed and "its normal to wait a long time for things on big ships." I noticed that there were no drink servers in the main buffet area and asked about that and was told "It is self serve and we don't have servers but there is a walk up bar in the buffet if you want a drink." There are 4000 people on this ship, most of which have the "free drink package" (except for the  additional 20% added for gratuities and additional taxes you pay per drink  when docked in at certain ports) and one bar in the buffet,with one, maybe two bartenders. You do the math on this one. You get to choose between waiting in line for forty minutes for a drink or eating with your family. The staff on this ship didn't seem motivated at all and they were just down right miserable in some instances.At the bar by the kids pool my son was sitting on a stool at the bar while I was waiting for a drink and the bartender snapped "get down, no kids". the towel guys were very rude and abrupt as well. It definitely did not have the friendly feel you get used to on other cruise lines or even all inclusive land vacations  There are some things mentioned in a lot of other reviews that are definitely true. One being the crowding and the other being the nickle and diming.  This is a huge ship that has all the pool space of a small ship. The amount of people on a sea day is unbearable. We had the pleasure of being on this cruise with a bunch of 20 somethings during their march break. the "adult pool" was overtaken by drunk college students doing cannonballs and belly flops into the pool surrounded by about 2000 other annoyed and disgruntled guests while security chased them around the pool. This was a daily thing. This ship is so overcrowded. Other people have said it again and again. Its true. As for the nickle and diming, there is a program at kids club where you can leave your children later at night for a fee. If you have two children (siblings) in the club you get a discount. NCL tried to charge us separately for our boys and not give us the discount because they are step brother and not actual brothers. We were in the same room and they are on a family vacation. I thought that was shady. When the COVID19 situation got more serious on Thursday they closed down ping pong and mini golf to stop spread of germs. Those are both free things. They did however leave open the arcade, laser tag, and go carts. All payed things. I think if there is risk of someone getting the virus from the handle of a golf club, there is most certainly a risk of getting it an an arcade,or even a casino! This ship is beautiful and has some really cool restaurants and bars and some of the best food I've had on a cruise. Jersey Boys and Six were also really great shows.  It's just run by a company who seems to have no idea or doesn't care who their competition is in terms of customer service. When it comes to large ships, The Oasis class blows NCL away in every category. If I had never been a cruise before I might think this was good, but comparatively it's not. We sailed with Celebrity last spring during a promotion they had similar to NCL's where the drinks and wifi were included. We did not pay a dime more for anything that claimed to be free, we had unlimited wifi for both devices (I don't even want to say what we ultimately ended up paying for our "free" wifi) on Celebrity we didn't pay an extra 20% on our drink package, no additional extra taxes at certain ports either. Everything was just as it claimed. WIth NCL I felt like I was always looking for the fine print or the "catch" There are a few other small things that seemed off too. Bliss didn't  leave New York until about 2.5 hours after it was supposed to and no one addressed this at all. Standing outside at the "sail away party" was really cold lol, It would have been nice to know we were going to be waiting until after the sail away party ended! I still don't know why we were so late leaving. We missed the day at their private island because of high winds, which seems to be fairly common. Although whatever ship it was may have been smaller than ours, it was disheartening to see Royal Caribbean docked at their island so close to the one we should have been at.  We were at customer service so many times on account of key cards not working which was frustrating. All in all, I'm not sure this cruise was worth the 14 day quarantine my family and I are enduring from having been on it   (being Canadian citizens returning from a different country, just policy now) Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing ... Read More
20 of us from the Houston area sailed on March 8th - our spring break. While we considered cancelling, we made the decision to go forward not knowing that this would be the last sailing for the Joy for a while. It was absolutely amazing how the ship was sanitized. Everyday a new process was implemented. throw pillows were removed from cabins and common area, tables were not set until people sat down. Salt and Pepper plus sugars were now on plates to be thrown away after each meal. People were not allowed to touch any food - if you wanted a glass of water, the crew got that for you. If you wanted Ketchup - the crew poured that on your plate. No one could touch the merchandise for sale. Hand washing required to enter the buffet along with sanitizer. Cabins cleaned at least 2x a day. Decks powerwashed nightly. Balconies powerwashed. Constant wiping down of common areas including the baseboards in the halls. To my knowledge, no one was sick and in fact, we felt very safe on this ship with a crew dedicated to ensure that we were safe. Thanks NCL for a vacation we will all remember for a very long time. Thanks to the Joy crew for taking such good care of us! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise on 2/6/20 based on the itinerary and low price that went even lower after we booked. We flew into Puerto Rico on Friday, 3/6 and satyed3at the Caribe Hilton (amazing) while enjoying the forts, Old San Juan, some great ... Read More
We chose this cruise on 2/6/20 based on the itinerary and low price that went even lower after we booked. We flew into Puerto Rico on Friday, 3/6 and satyed3at the Caribe Hilton (amazing) while enjoying the forts, Old San Juan, some great restaurants and an excursion to El Yunque rainforest. EMBARKATION Arrived around 1:00, got tested for temperature, checked in on priority (Platinum), filled out some paperwork, got our key cards and were on the ship within 15 minutes of our temp check. DISEMBARKATION Not as smooth, but once we figured out what line to get in, we waited about 45 minutes and then were about the first 100 or so people let off. Going through customs was easy (no paperwork or questions) just held our passport by our face and walked right through. DINING Ate a 5 of the specialty restaurants and enjoyed each except for La Cucina where it took us 1.5 hours just to get served 2 courses. We ate mainly in Taste for breakfast but for a couple of early morning meals at the Garden Cafe. BARBADOS Did NCL Excursion with bus transport to Carlisle Bay Beach (beautiful) that included a welcome drink, lounge chairs and an umbrella. ST. LUCIA Did NCL Excursion for Soufriere by Land/Sea that was phenomenal. Our tour guide, Cindy, was fantastic and knowledgeable about the island and its history during our journey via small bus along the numerous twists/turns and elevated changes with a few stops to see the Pitons and amazing water views below, with our final journey via catamaran to view the Pitons and scenic coastline. ANTIGUA We booked our own excursion to Blue Waters Resort for $65 pp that included use of resort facilities (pools, beaches, water sports) but no food or drink. If you want the all inclusive the cost is $150 pp. NCL charges $349 pp (includes transportation) but we only spent $18 total for the 15-minute ride via cab from the port. You need to book this via phone directly with this beautiful and luxurious resort. TORTOLA/BVI We booked an excursion on our own via Kuralu Too for a small group (we were 2 of 20) that included 2 great snorkel spots and then almost 4 hours at Jost Van Dyke where we enjoyed the food & drinks at The Soggy Dollar Bar, the beautiful beach and warm water. ST. THOMAS We did the skyride that is but a short walk from the cruise pier that provides a quick, enclosed gondola ride to the top, while providing some amazing views at the top. Afterwards, we took an open air cab ($8 pp) to Magen'd Bay Beach to soak up some last minute beachtime at this Top 10 rated beach. ENTERTAINMENT Howl at the Moon - 5 stars! Burn the Floor - 5 stars! Epic Beatles - 4 stars SERVICE 5 Stars across the board but for a brief service glitch while eating at La Cucina. Our room steward, Irwin, was fantastic, pleasant and did a great job. We received greetings duiring our long walks in the room hallways from everyone each time we passed them. We secured POSH passes and got more than our $ worth ($59 pp) especially as our cruise was extended 2 extra days. INTERNET 1 star as I truly hope NCL addresses this really bad system they use. This was never more under the spotlight than when we were told at 6:30 AM on the day we were to leave Puerto Rico on Sunday, 3/15 through Tuesday, 3/17 where trying to make a call or change a flight via the internet were next to impossible. The extra 60 minutes were a nice gesture but were virtually useless when needed. PUERTO RICO A beautiful island that provides a rich Caribbean history, great restaurants, bars and our hotel (Caribe Hilton) was a resort we will go to again. We were upset that our ship was turned away on 3/15, and felt especially sad for the many PR People that were so close to being home, yet wre turned away like rest of us. NCL Thank you for a great cruise, wonderful service and getting us safely to Port Canaveral (no extra costs). We look forward to cruising again on NCL! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due ... Read More
This is my first review on Cruise Critic (pardon the length - I hope this is helpful for those who are interested). Encore was my 7th cruise - sixth with NCL. This was Encore’s last voyage before the major cruise industry shut down due to COVID-19. On that note, kudos and appreciation to the crew who worked tirelessly to keep passengers and crew safe and healthy. Each day, we noticed additional measures were put in place, including the cancellation of some events, crew serving passengers at the buffet instead of each grabbing the utensils themselves, tables in the dining room only being set once seated, paper menus, crew not handling keycards, and, of course, additional hand washing and sanitizing, to name just a few. Embarkation for this cruise took much longer than any previous cruise; partly because we couldn’t get to the port until the busiest time, but mostly because the additional screening (taking temperature and checking passports) to ensure ill people did not board. Once on board, my wife, 7 year old daughter and I marvelled at the “new-ness,” the size and the beauty of Encore. I quickly went to make reservations for dining and some of the activities. The lines for this were shorter than I expected and I was able to get most of my reservations quickly and easily. Do this on your first day on board. We ate at the Local (what is called O’Sheehan’s on most other NCL ships). There’s more space for The Local on this ship, and the food is just as good - though I missed the meat loaf this time. We looked to get our keycards hole-punched for our lanyards and were told these new keycards cannot be punched. The use a tap-system rather than a swipe-system and a hole-punch renders them useless. Conveniently - for NCL - they sell lanyards with a plastic pouch for your card for $10 - $12 on board. (And you can’t buy the plastic pouch separately.) Save the $ and just bring your own. Here is a bullet-point rundown of what’s on Encore that we really loved: - food; we only ever eat in the main dining rooms and the food on NCL is always delicious. We’ve heard great things about the specialty dining rooms but feel there’s no reason for us to try them yet as the food that’s included in the price is so good. - entertainment: Choir of Man and Kinky Boots were the best combo of main shows of any cruise I’ve been on to date. We watched Choir of Man twice, we loved it so much! Kinky Boots was so well done - a huge cast, 1:45 min show without intermission; it felt like Broadway. We took our 7 year old because she loves musicals and didn’t find the content all that inappropriate actually and the language was much better than other shows we’ve seen. Your call, if you sailing with kids. The two comedians were quite funny but we prefer improv and would love for NCL to renegotiate a contract with Second City and bring them back. - casino: we don’t ever gamble and appreciated the casino’s enclosed smoking area, keeping the smell of smoke in the public areas to a minimum. - kids aqua park: perfect size and amenities, my 7 year old loved it. - activities: lots to do for all ages; not enough time. I took my daughter with me in the go-carts for one session ($15 for about 5 or 6 laps). I did the VR experience in the Galaxy Pavilion - it wasn’t busy so I did the $29 for one hour deal. I tried 14 of the games and must admit I felt a bit woozy doing them in such rapid succession. I did the escape game BAMboozled - our team won! The Beatles show was over-crowded; great sound but a boring show actually (I expected better, given the other reviews here but perhaps didn’t give them a fair shake). - the Observation Lounge on Deck 15. A great place to relax, especially on rocky sea days. Not once did I feel like the ship was crowded or congested. - cabin: we usually book an interior room and this time we were assigned an accessible room with additional space. - wine package: I could never drink enough alcohol to make the all-inclusive drink package worthwhile, and my wife doesn’t drink at all. I usually take a few bottles of wine on board and pay the corkage fee, but this time I did the Viva Vino - 4 bottles for $110 + grat. This worked well, though still more expensive than paying corkage on my own bottles. What could have been better (certainly not make-or-break): - coffee; only good coffee on the ship is the Starbucks (extra $) - timing of the call in San Juan: arriving at 5:30 pm doesn’t leave chance to do much of anything - the ship is loud: the band on the pool deck, the blaring muster drill in the theatre, even the relentless creaking in staterooms and common areas during pitch and roll - just annoying more than anything - I’m no designer, but what is that strange chandelier hanging in 6-7-8? Not elegant. - I missed the live music in the Manhattan Room Excursions San Juan - as mentioned, arriving at 5:30 was not ideal. We walked around and bought a souvenir. St. Thomas - purchased an excursion through Godfrey Tours. I tried to give Godfrey a suggestion to give better directions as to where to find him - strangely he started arguing with me about it. Simply put: when you get off the ship, ask someone to direct you to the “pre-arranged tour” meeting area. 3rd party tours, not booked through your cruise line. That said, the tour was great! Very informative (did every hurricane hit St. Thomas?!?), and we loved our time at Megan’s Beach. Tortola - did nothing here except look at the shops within the cruise port. We did note how clean this port area was compared to St. Thomas. Will do something more elaborate here next time. Great Stirrup Cay - we made it! Tendering was possible this time. First time in three tries for my daughter; second time in four tries for my wife and I. Beautiful place, but NCL really has to build a pier here to ensure making this port of call. Shout out to a few crew members (we filled out our Vacation Hero cards but forgot to drop them off): - Henry - waiter in the Manhattan Room; friendly and quick service - John Milligan - pianist in the Observation Lounge who invited members of the Choir of Man and Kinky Boots to sing as he accompanied. I want to quickly address some of the major criticisms of Encore by other reviewers. ** Not enough space for sunning around the pool. I can see this being an issue, but we are not pool people or sun-worshippers so it didn’t bother us at all. We could always find a lounge chair in a shady part of the pool deck near the Kids Aqua Park. If this is a major priority for you, consider a different ship or purchase the Vibe Club. ** NCL “nickel and dimes” you. Yes. And thanks for doing so. By not including all the extras in the initial fare, passengers can pick and choose what they want to experience rather than pay up front for all of it. It keeps the price down, lets me pay for the activities I want to do, and minimizes long line-ups. We absolutely loved this cruise. A wonderful mix of active and relaxing vacation. Encore has a few kinks (no pun intended) but is a spectacular ship. We would love to sail on her again. NCL in general meets our family’s desires - great food, lots to do (or not to do), top rate kids programming and amenities, affordable. It’s remains our cruise line of choice. Thank you NCL for a great week - especially given what was going on in the world at the time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the ... Read More
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the world's biggest ship had to offer, and 3/ they ship stopped at islands we hadn't been to before - including RC's own CoCo Cay. We booked an outside balcony cabin on the 10th deck. The price was quite reasonable - certainly quite a bit lower than Disney. Check in was a breeze. We did get on late - choosing to board after the early rush, and also figuring we could manage quite well without the obligatory Day 1 lunch. Entering the ship was kinda uneventful. We barely got a "Hello", with a greater emphasis being on sanitizing our hands - understandable given the outbreak of Corona Virus. We entered on the Promenade 5th deck and then headed to our cabin. initial impression was that the decor lacked any level of luxury or plushness. Yes, it was huge, and very interesting to have a promenade in the middle of a ship, but the decor was kinda tired - like being in a slightly dated hotel or office building. I think they expect your entrance in to a city-like promenade to do the trick. It doesn't!!! ENTERTAINMENT: This is where RC did well. Their main attraction shows were most excellent - certainly gave Disney a run for their money. And there was always something to do for all ages. There were parades on the Promenade and all kinds of music at various venues in the evenings. Solo guitarists, excellent jazz, and a band in the Dazzles bar that could really rock a crowd - and get them to dance. Before we went on this cruise, the reviews indicated that RC did an excellent job with the entertainment, and they certainly lived up to their billing here. CENTRAL PARK: Loved it. So relaxing. Vintage is a good place to get some good wines. However, the open area did tend to get windy and there were always some drops of water splashing down from above. Not sure from where - but it tended to happen even when the sky was clear. However, it's quite amazing to have this large atrium right in the middle of a ship. BOARDWALK: I think this was a bit of a let down, and didn't live up to its billing. The boardwalk leads to the aquatheatre, but apart from that, and a bar and hot dog restaurant, there's really no reason to be there. It was rather dead most of the time. FOOD: THIS was a massive let down. This ship has a ton of specialty restaurants. Having done these kinds of specialty restaurants on other cruise lines, we just figured these would not be worth the extra cost - since the main dining hall would always have something worth trying. I will add that we are big time foodies, who usually eat at anywhere from 125-175 restaurants a year - including some of the world's Top 50 restaurants. The food at the Main Dining room was completely substandard. We chose the Any Time Dining option - which was good for us. While it did mean a different serving crew every evening, in general they were pretty good - not great, but good. However, 1 evening it was so bad that for the first time in 10 cruises, I felt compelled to complain to the section manager. The waiter took 14 mins to even bring us a menu, and did not bother to introduce herself or even apologize for the significant delay. when it came time to take our order, she simply came to us and said, 'SO, what can I get you!". May be she was stressed, however, not only had we been patient all the while, but she was extremely cheerful with her other tables. Her manager noticed this behavior and tried to step in to make up for that. But the damage had been done. It took them 35 mins to get our appetizers, and an hour and 20 mins to bring our entree. To top it off, the food was inedible - and I ended up leaving most of my food. I thought I'd head over to the buffet and get some food, but by then even the buffet had closed. I ended up with a sandwich from one of the cafes. After 2 days of sub-par food at the main dining hall, we decided to try 3 of the specialty restaurants. Despite there being so many restaurants on board, there was only 1 that was really worth trying - the rest being rather generic - something that some of the other patrons who visited some of the restaurants told us. Simultanenously we dicovered that the buffet at dinner offered several ethnic options - and so we started going there for dinner - and canceled our 3 restaurant packae. Apart from the fact that the food in the main dining hall was low quality, the variety was even worse. They had the same, bland continental food every single day. Ridiculous! The only optional variety was the option to ask for some indian food. Upon further reflection, it's almost like the main dining option is designed to push you to their specialty restaurants. Not a good idea. When it comes to Indian food, there was always some indian food available at the buffet for all 3 meals of the day. The taste was not particularly great - which is surprising considering the executive chef for the whole ship was Indian - and would typically have had 5-star hotel training in India - where the food standards tend to be high. One evening in the buffet they served Caribbean food - which, while flavorful was a bit bland. And finally on the last day they had a chinese noodle station - where alls you could get is noodles. For such a large ship, the options for food without having to pay extra were not the greatest. RC certainly failed here. The late night food was decent - but got a little boring after a few days due to the lack of any variety. Desserts - easily the poorest and most unimaginative dessert selection of any cruise line we have done. The items were pretty much the same every day, and just loaded with cream - and extremely 'mild' flavors - what I mean by that is that if you didn't read the label of the dessert, you'd be left wondering if there was actually any flavor, let alone what it was. When we got home today, I made the family Molten Chocolate cake from the frozen Costco stuff. Even my kids said the frozen stuff at home tasted better than what they had on the ship. CoCo Cay - not bad. never felt crowded. But the island isn't too big. Disney's Castaway Cay is in a different league in terms of size and atmosphere than this island. Even NCL's island next door seemed to be significantly larger. CoCo is still being built out, and you can make out certainly sections have just been gotten ready - as everything seems to have a 'recently planted' look. Our kids used the water park, and really enjoyed it. I would suggest springing for that. I toyed with the idea of getting a cabana or bed....however, at $1000 for a bed for a day for 2 adults it simply wasn't worth it. If you have a large party, then it might be worth the cost. But the, a number of reviews said that lounge chairs were easily available. And frankly, that was plenty. Didn't see the cabanas or beds being worth the expense - even when we were on the island. So, I think we made a good call there. The food on the island was in line with the set expectations - bland and boring. They certainly had good choices and options - but the food was bland - even the Mexican food. When it comes to drinks, the options available were good. We bought the unlimited drinks package, and even though we didn't do justice to the cost, it was a headache-free option. The drinks were pretty good, and the bartenders accommodating and friendly. WiFi- we bought a package for multiple devices. The connections were good and strong - on the ship as well as on CoCo Cay. Worth the cost. Photo Package - we bought an unlimited photo package. This was a bit of a let down as the photographers were very few and rarely available. They were set up every evening in the Promenade - but rarely available at other locations - including at dinner and CoCo Cay. We didn't do any shore excursions thru the ship. We've done so many islands thru other cruises and vacations that at this point, they all are pretty much the same - and so we prefer to go to the beach and just relax. In St. Kitts we went to the Marriott - as we were told the beach is safe. The beach was OK - uncrowded, but the resort isn't up to usual Marriott standards. At St. Thomas, we decided to take a private tour of the island. We took a taxi tour of the island, and for a coupla hours it was just right. We should have done the beaches on this island - but didn't have time. Maegen's breach is certainly worth the trip and cost. Spa/health club - didn't use the spa, but it looked pretty standard. The work out center was also pretty standard. Casino - a LOT of slots, but not enough of Blackjack tables. Dealers were not too friendly. Maybe they were stressed out about Corona. The one thing we should have done was get The Key. Not knowing what it provided, we ignored it prior to the cruise. Then when we tried to get it onboard, they told us that it wasn't available as it had to be bought prior to the cruise. While I'm not entirely sure what all this "Key" offers, from the little I learnt, it certainly seemed to be worth the expense - at least to us - at $32/person/day. Not cheap, but the privileges would have been worth it. HIGHLIGHTS: 1. The big ticket shows - most excellent! I would put them in the league of good Broadway productions 2. Music - excellent options, and went on late in to the night 3. Promenade and Central Park LOWS: 1. Food 2. Food 3. Friendly, but not warm service Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
My parents took us on this cruise as a way to introduce us to one of their favorite past times. While it wasn’t flawless, it was incredible and we cannot wait to cruise again! HIGHLIGHTS: staff, beautiful ship, fun atmosphere, cabin ... Read More
My parents took us on this cruise as a way to introduce us to one of their favorite past times. While it wasn’t flawless, it was incredible and we cannot wait to cruise again! HIGHLIGHTS: staff, beautiful ship, fun atmosphere, cabin LOWLIGHTS: leaving :( The first two days of the trip were rough seas. The ship’s staff did everything they could to help make us comfortable. 4/5 of us did just fine while one person spent one day a little green, but recouped with Dramamine and Sea Bands. On/Off: Embarkation was easier than I anticipated. Disembarkation was as well despite some guests immediately reverting to rudeness once we returned to port. Ship: The ship itself is beautiful! She had everything we needed and even in 7 nights we didn’t see or do everything. I have heard many complaints about the layout of the ship, but there wasn’t a smoky smell throughout-just in certain areas of the casino. Cabin: Our cabin had a balcony and was more than enough space and storage. We were comfortable for our entire voyage. Our room connected to my parents on deck 13. It was a great location especially to Splash Academy dropoff/pickup on deck 12. Dining: The Garden Cafe on deck 15 was my son’s favorite and had varied, tasty options. Occasionally something wasn’t up to par, but it is what it is but you can go pick something else and find your favorites. The hash brown circles in the morning were a must! During our trip, they went from self serve to staff serve due to Coronavirus and the staff handled this gracefully. I honestly wish it would stay this way. Teppenyaki was good for our first night, but not as incredible as I expected based off reviews. The Manhattan Room was hands down one of our favorites. Chrisologo was one of the best servers I have ever had anywhere! The food was delicious and the menu changes slightly each day. La Cucina was good per my parents report. Moderno Churrascaria was okay- seemed rushed, but the food was good- especially the fried yucca, Brazilian cheese bread, and white rice. The American Diner was slow and stumbly for service, but the food was phenomenal and it was a nice little escape. Entertainment: Wonderful! Highly recommend the Howl at Sea experience. My son loved Splash Academy and the kids pool. Decks 17 and 18 were closed due to high winds for almost all of our cruise so no bungee jump, mini golf, or ropes course, but we had plenty to do and this didn’t alter our experience. Service: I cannot day enough about this! These crew members were out of this world and went out of their way to ensure a good time was had and Coronavirus changes were implemented smoothly. This was all despite the fact that the cruise industry was shutting down and they would be out of jobs for the foreseeable future. I applaud them for being away from their families for so long and bringing so much joy despite some pushy, elitist people on board. Ports: Great Stirrup Cay cancelled due to weather. I was fine with this as I wouldn’t have wanted to tender in the waves we were riding. Ochos Rios Jamaica offered great excursions and was enjoyable. Do the chair lift and bobsled even if wary of heights it was a highlight and not as scary as I thought! Grand Cayman was fun, but the tendering process back to the ship was long and hot. We waited in line for an hour due to difficulties, but staff brought drinks and cool towels out. Cozumel another tendering mess, but I think this was less due to NCL and more due to world events. The port itself was fun and I wish we had been there longer! Other: My son had to visit the hospital for bronchitis and the nurse, Diogo, and doctor were fantastic, caring, and thorough! No trip will be perfect, but you gettin out of it if you can go with the flow. I am already researching other cruises and contacting NCL about the staff members I have mentioned here. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Due to having to use tenders, one port was canceled. At the other two, it took hours to re-board. The cruise director did a TERRIBLE job of communicating in Cozumel. Yes, there were a lot of ships which I understand makes it more ... Read More
Due to having to use tenders, one port was canceled. At the other two, it took hours to re-board. The cruise director did a TERRIBLE job of communicating in Cozumel. Yes, there were a lot of ships which I understand makes it more congested. However, they refused to communicate over the loudspeakers as to how we were to disembark on the tenders, leading to mass confusion. It took us 4 hours to get off the ship. We were told they were going to make sure we got there for the excursion, but that time came and went. Then they said the excursions would wait, but when we finally got ashore we were told they left without us. We had a grand total of 2 hours at the port before we stood in line another 2 hours to get back on the boat. I completely blame the cruise director and the crew for their terrible communication and organization. They made an already difficult situation 10 times worse and ruined our vacation. I used to love Norwegian but I will never sail with them again after this. Learn how to make proper announcements so people can plan accordingly and disembark in an organized manner. The dining was actually good, especially Ocean Blue. Many of the cruise staff were amazing through everything, but several were really obnoxious. We missed our first port because of choppy waters, but Jamaica and Grand Cayman were awesome. I highly recommend the ATV excursion in Jamaica and checking out Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. The parties on the ship were lackluster at best, and we really missed the white party which they normally have on Norwegian but didn't this time. Syd Norman Pour House was cool for music but usually too crowded to enjoy. Same thing for the pool. The shows were great as well. We loved Six! All in all, I would not go on another huge ship like the Breakaway again. Q Read Less
Sail Date March 2020

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