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1,146 Repositioning Cruise Reviews

Cruise was chosen for the Itiniary. The ship was a disappointment. Nowhere to go for a quiet space. Lacking inside observation area. Noise everywhere, The open area from the atrium up to OSheehans, so noisy you could hardly have a ... Read More
Cruise was chosen for the Itiniary. The ship was a disappointment. Nowhere to go for a quiet space. Lacking inside observation area. Noise everywhere, The open area from the atrium up to OSheehans, so noisy you could hardly have a conversation. Lines, lines, lines everywhere. Food was fair, nothing to rave about. The specialty restaurants, Cagney’s and Italan I rate as ok, nothing special. Memorable parts were Weymouth, Consail and Paris. Missed Azores due to high winds . The first few days for breakfast was lacking. We were told they were training new staff. Did not go off the ship at the private island. The tenders were numerous and took forever to transport all the passengers to the island. It took several hours for the last ones to go. So many people sick, coughing and sneezing. I have come to realize that these mega ships are not for me. Sorry to not have more positive things to report. Although my cabin Steward was super, as was most of the wait staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a 19-day cruise from Copenhagen to New Orleans, with stops in England, France, Ireland, Azores (cancelled), Bermuda, Great Stirrup Cay and Miami. For the first time, this ship ended the transatlantic cruise in New Orleans. This ... Read More
This was a 19-day cruise from Copenhagen to New Orleans, with stops in England, France, Ireland, Azores (cancelled), Bermuda, Great Stirrup Cay and Miami. For the first time, this ship ended the transatlantic cruise in New Orleans. This was our third cruise on the Getaway, but the first after its spring drydock. It was our first Transatlantic cruise. The trip was quite memorable for many reasons. The ship was nicely spruced up in a number of areas, most noticeably along the Waterfront on deck 8, but nothing really big. The biggest change that we saw from previous cruises was a friendlier staff (maybe just due to the length of this cruise allowing them to get to know us better with 10 days at sea). Another noticeable change was the conversion of a jazz bar to a rock themed bar called Syd Normans with an outstanding band and three very energetic and interactive performers. It was so popular that it was packed every night. We also thought the food was better with more choices than our previous cruises on the Getaway. Although this ship is large, it has small public areas. There were nearly 4000 guests on this sailing so it was REALLY crowded. (Balconies and above were sold out 6 months ago.) Because of the cooler weather during the first two weeks, we were mostly inside. Needless to say, it got crowded and noisy. Long lines were the rule everywhere. Lines for Guest Services and Shore Excursions. Getting on and off the ship was a pain. Tendering to and from their private island took hours. The theater was packed early for most shows with standing room only. There were lines for the earlier dinner times. The buffet was packed in the morning, like most ships. And the WiFi was almost useless due to the high volume of use. Because this was a unique re-positioning cruise, there were a few different port and passport procedures that were not fun at all. On the sea day before we docked in England, everyone had to bring their passport to a room to have a face-to-face meeting with an immigration officer and get their passport stamped. There were long lines that got longer as the day went by and many guests were upset. Then, two days before we got to Ireland, we had to turn in our passports to get them stamped. They were returned 3 days later after we left Ireland. Again, many upset guests. Then, when we arrived in Miami, US immigration required all guests get off the ship to go through US immigration and then, after everyone was checked, we could get back on the ship. We were told this ahead of time so many guests booked sightseeing excursions to pass the time. (We took a taxi downtown to shop and have a beer.) However, many guests apparently did not totally understand that there would be a long delay before they could get back on. For those that stayed, some as long as 5 hours, the small Miami terminal was packed for hours, with not enough seating for seniors, no water, food or communication. A lot of guests just sat on the floor. I think the NCL staff could have helped with better communication about the expected conditions (of course I recognize that the US CBP were running the process but this was not NCL’s first time in Miami) and more signs and staff to direct guests, not to mention providing some vending machines and water. Of course, our sightseeing trips in Copenhagen, England, France (Normandy) and Ireland were quite rewarding and memorable. However, our transit through the North Atlantic to the Azores was quite memorable for a different reason. We had to pass through a low-pressure area that turned into tropical storm Pedro which then quickly turned into a hurricane with up to 115 mph winds. The captain turned the ship into the wind so we were not significantly impacted because the ship is so large. In fact, we were in the theater watching the dancing show Burn the Floor during that period. (The dancers kept their shorter high heels on instead of the high stiletto heels.) We also experienced high winds for the next few days due to a storm named Rebekah and we could not dock in the Azores because the winds were greater than 40 mph. We were really looking forward to seeing that island. We were also supposed to pick up supplies there so there was some shortage of fresh foods, like lettuce, pineapple and wrapped butter pats. So, we ended up with 7 days at sea until we got to Bermuda. A lot of guests were happy to get off the ship. My biggest complaint is about the loud atrium. This atrium has a large screen and seating area where many activities are held. For some reason, the technicians kept the speaker volume up so loud on most events that it made it difficult to talk to the Customer Service, Shore Excursion, Cruise Consultants and Internet Desk staff which share that open space. People with hearing aids found it almost impossible to talk to the staff with all the background noise. NCL can't change the design of the lounge but they can reduce the volume of the speakers so that the other business activities can take place. There is no need to have the volume turned up that high. It seemed like they thought that the higher the volume, the more guests would participate. My second biggest complaint was about the disastrous disembarkation at the New Orleans terminal. We had all gone through immigration two days earlier in Miami so all we had to do is collect our luggage and get through the terminal to our transportation. The terminal and surrounding streets just cannot handle 4000 guests getting off the ship in a timely manner. Construction in the area limited taxi and Uber access. Even buses to the airport were running late due to the congestion. After an hour, we finally broke out of the still longer line ahead of us to go outside. We walked up the street a couple of blocks and met up with an Uber on a side street. Even he was delayed due to the traffic backups in the area. Be prepared and allow extra time. I cannot imagine what it will be like combining immigration along with luggage pickup during future disembarkation in New Orleans. Again, NCL staff should have set up separate lines for buses, taxis and Ubers. On the positive side, the Getaway staff was mostly friendly. The bar service was efficient. There were plenty of waiters on the pool decks when the weather got better. The food in the dining room and in Taste and Savor was very good with lots of choices, even over the long 19-day cruise. The common areas were clean. Our steward was great. There was a very popular Halloween party and costume contest. That contrasts with two poorly organized and poorly attended Spice H2O parties that played tunes that did not appeal to the guests on this cruise. The outside Waterfront areas on deck 8 were great, after the weather improved, allowing us to sit in soft lounge chairs, have a drink at the Sunset bar or walk or jog along the outside in the shade. The pool was heated on a number of days and quite a few guests took advantage of that luxury. Beach balls were quite popular. The Captain was quite talkative and informative in his morning announcements. He also did a good job keeping us informed during the rough sea periods. The shows were very good, especially the Million Dollar Quartet. The Cirque Dreams and Steam show in the Illusionarium was quite unique. We had a good time at the Wine Lovers Musical in there as well. Something new and perhaps unique to a Transatlantic cruise was a professional naturalist who made a number of very informative presentations in the theater about the history, economy, geology and culture about upcoming ports. This was not the usual “port shopping talk”. It was quite popular because the theater was packed for most of his presentations. I hope NCL continues these types of presentations. In conclusion, we will no longer sail on this ship again due to its poor design. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose this cruise because of its itinerary and that the "at sea" portion would be no more than 4 days at a time. Would not accept on-line reservations for complimentary dining rooms. A Maitre'D and Restaurant Hostess were ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of its itinerary and that the "at sea" portion would be no more than 4 days at a time. Would not accept on-line reservations for complimentary dining rooms. A Maitre'D and Restaurant Hostess were wonderful in helping us with that problem. The tendering process for Great Stirrup Cay was a mess mainly as a result of the Cruise Next Manager who was tasked with informing Latitude members of the process. So was the passport inspection in Miami with some passengers being held hostage in the terminal for up to 5 hours. Although this was blamed on the U.S. Border Service, NCL should have known about the process, asked for changes or at least informed the passengers. Dining service in the main dining rooms was disorganized. Staff needed floor plans of the room to seat people. Food was brought to the wrong tables and orders misunderstood or misinterpreted by the galley. Air Canada deprived my spouse of her luggage till day 7 into the cruise but we were greatly assisted with this distressing matter by Guest Services staff. Beyond the ship's control was the stormy weather for days in the North/Mid Atlantic and the ship's inability to dock in the Azores due to wave conditions and Harbour Master blunder. Individually, there were some outstandingly helpful staff members. Captain was informative and truthful in his daily comments and for his part apologized for the various things that went wrong. Cruise directors wear on us. This one was no exception...too off the wall! Passengers were generally compatible and courteous with few children onboard.[ Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We went on a back to back cruise and this one was going to great places as well as across the Atlantic. Something we were looking forward to doing. Ship too large and it seemed like many of the staff were in training, especially in the ... Read More
We went on a back to back cruise and this one was going to great places as well as across the Atlantic. Something we were looking forward to doing. Ship too large and it seemed like many of the staff were in training, especially in the dining areas. The hours that were scheduled for areas like internet and toys were not only too short and not always convenient. Lines were always long. At times we stood in lineup to 45 minutes. The theatre is wya too small for the size oh the ship. Many times they only had one showing of the entertainment and could not get in even with Sro. Syd norman’s Way too small and the same problem as with the theatre. Not enough areas to play cards etc. especially when going on a cruise with many sea days. And then when using the area on the 15th floor during off hours were told to leave. Officers did not get back to us with issues we had. Problem with moving about due to no center elevators. Miami was a bust. Not being able to stop at the azores was depressing. Something should have been done about this to compensate us. Being a platinum member we did not expect this. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Value and prospective ports. Length of some port stay were short. Excursions for some ports were to short or two long of bus ride verses walking around. Miami was a nightmare. Was not able to have any time to explore. Some parts of the ... Read More
Value and prospective ports. Length of some port stay were short. Excursions for some ports were to short or two long of bus ride verses walking around. Miami was a nightmare. Was not able to have any time to explore. Some parts of the ship were cold. We not attend functions in the forward theatre, because it was too cold. I would think Norwegian would have a different port to stop at other than the Azores. I think the port’s entrance is to small when weather is problem. Schedule of trip should not end up to have seven straight days at sea because of weather and port entrance. Some on board functions are to limited and not interesting. Ex. Cup cake making, art and jewelry selling and some sports that are not geared for senior citizens. For our likes the ship was a little to big, thus to many people. It get too crowded when attending functions or eating. Ex. Dealing with returning to the ship in Miami after immigration. Norwegian must have known of this problem before hand Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
My husband and I are seasoned travelers but have only taken three cruises all with competitors (Carnival, Princess and Cunard) prior to booking this cruise. We were attracted to this cruise because of our desire to experience a ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned travelers but have only taken three cruises all with competitors (Carnival, Princess and Cunard) prior to booking this cruise. We were attracted to this cruise because of our desire to experience a transatlantic cruise, the specific itinerary and the fact that it debarked in New Orleans. Their “free style” sales pitch also seemed to resonate with our travel philosophy and so we booked our cruise in April, 2018. Unfortunately, our experiences both before and during this cruise made me question NCL's commitment to customer service. Pre-Cruise * Technical problems associated with setting up 'My NCL account” Two phone calls and one hour later technical support was finally able to establish the online account.. * Purchased a 4 dining package through 'My NCL account”; set up all reservations the same day; mysteriously 3 of the 4 were auto deleted except the Cirque Dreams perhaps because I had to attach my credit card to complete this particular reservation. Was told I must have done something wrong and would have to rebook the other 3 on the ship even though I had a copy of the "Payment Statement" generated at the time I had made one of the Le Bistro reservations. *Pre-purchased Thermal Spa passes which was one of the saving graces of our NCL cruise experience. * Problems with having my NCL's Shareholder Benefit posting to "My NCL account”.requiring multiple email and followup calls before begin resolved. During the cruise, I realized this is the attitude which permeates NCL's business model, no one is ever responsible for taking on an issue and ensuring that it is resolved; they simply dump it back on their guest. Internet We wanted to use the Group Chat functionality of their Mobile App so shortly after boarding I headed to the Internet Café area in the Atrium and stood in line to purchase. Niether the clerk nor the Manager could provide the cost of this product even though their website sited a one time flat fee of $9.95 per phone. Finally after an additional nearly 30 minutes wait the Manager confirmed that I was indeed correct. This was a nice feature which worked well. Dining * Long lines at complimentary dining options, ate at Taste and Savor for breakfast and lunch several times each time wait staff was incapable of providing ordered items without having to request multiple times before the correct food or drinks were served. Taste staff seemed to be even less capable than Savor staff. First breakfast eaten at Taste ordered Eggs Benedict which came with “complimentary” egg shells included! * Tropicana food was consistent and wait staff was much better. The efficiency of the dining room was amazing and all staff there should be acknowledged. * Compliments should also be given to Garden Café staff for quickly turning tables. * Also hostess, “Abby” at Le Bistro was outstanding and very easy to work with; any request made of her was always accommodated and she always greeted us warmly anywhere she saw us on the ship. * As others have noted during our crossing, the ship ran out of many food items, not to be considered luxury items. Premium Beverage Package * We selected the Premium Beverage Package and for the most part were pleased with this selection except for the very limited selection of wines which were offered with this option. * Also, the wine list consisted of wines which were not even available on the cruise! Entertainment * Atrium seating is so limited to make it next to impossible to enjoy anything. * To say the entertainment provided by Cruise Director, Vincent and his staff was “cheesy” is to be quite generous. * The requirement to “reserve” seats at most “major” talent performances is also laughable. In order to get a good seat one must get in line one hour prior to a performance as there are really no “reserved seats” instead just a “reserved number of people”. That said, Burn the Floor and Million Dollar Quartet were very enjoyable performances. Guest Services * When I visited with the Guest Services’ staff about an issue I hoped could be resolved in Bermuda, I was told that we weren’t going to Bermuda on this cruise. I inquired if the itinerary had changed and was told “no, we were never scheduled to go to Bermuda.” I had to explain to the Guest Services agent that Royal Naval Dockyard was indeed located in the country of Bermuda just as stated in their itinerary. *On day 10 of the cruise we missed our planned stop at Ponta Delgada due to weather. (Our Captain and his staff were extremely capable and took good care of the ship and all souls onboard.) When I inquired at Guest Services if the port fees would be reimbursed to us as a credit to our credit card or added as an onboard credit, I was advised they did not know if any reimbursement would be issued and it was something “headquarters” was looking into but we would be informed. At no time were we advised, but out of the blue sure enough two small non-refundable onboard credits appeared on our account without any explanation. * The interactive TV account information overview and detailed statement are not well presented and confusing, I had to have a calculator in order to ascertain the correctness of the statement detail. Lines, lines and more lines * English Immigration officials: someone on the Hotel Manager’s staff decided all the guests would be called by Deck and would be corralled into the inside seating area of La Cucina to have our “face to face meeting with English Immigration”. While in line, many prior Latitude guests complained saying on previous cruises this was done in the main dining room which because of its size allowed guests to simply queue through the dining room with no standing endlessly in line. * All aboard at Portland, England was a nightmare of standing in an endless line in the cold and rain outside the cruise terminal for over an hour. * Our port stop at Great Stirrup Cay was a joke. First, Cruise Director, Vincent announced that guests had to book a tender reservation. Cruise Director Vincent said this reservation could be done on “your interactive TV”; in fact there was no ability to do so. Also NCL logistics staff decided to allow the "Sun" to also dock the same day and time. There were 2 tenders to transport the nearly 6400 guests from these two ships! By the time we arrived at 1 p.m. on the island all we could do was run to the buffet line before it closed it at 2 p.m. then scramble to the edge of the island and grab a lounge chair to catch a few rays of sun before we had to make our way back to re-board a tender. * Our last port stop, Miami: We had gotten wind that nearly 200 Florida residents decided they were going to debark in Miami instead of proceeding to New Orleans. In fact the number ended up being even greater. As this was our first U.S. port entrance, everyone crew and guest had to present themselves to CBP staff. In the Hotel Manager’s infinite wisdom, guests were only allowed to present themselves when their deck was called. We did not clear Immigration until 11 a.m. with an all aboard time of 1:30 p.m. The ship agent and the Hotel Manager should have met with the CBP chief to establish a better way to accomplish the task. Because the all aboard time in Miami was 1:30 p.m. we returned to the terminal at 12:45 p.m. only to stand in line outside in the terminal in excess of a half hour in the heat. Once inside the terminal we learned that the last of the guests had not been processed by CBP until after 1 p.m. but boarding had still not been announced. There was no communication with the guests who were sitting and standing everywhere including on the floor and the stairs we were simply handed a boarding group number. When it was time to board, the first ones called were Haven guests followed by Platinum and Platinum Plus guests. The roar of disgust from those holding Group 1, 2, etc. was the result of a total lack of communication. This discontent could have been averted had there been announcements giving an update on when boarding was anticipated and the order of boarding had been shared with the guests. We entered the ship after 1:30 p.m. and of course, lunch service was already completed by that time; no matter that not all guests were aboard. Disembarkation: And now to the nightmare of debarking in New Orleans. There was a total lack of understanding of the type of resources needed to handle the disembarking of nearly 4000 guests and all their luggage from a 19 day transatlantic fall cruise. The number of porters, the number of taxi drivers, and the number of buses needed was totally underestimated. The anger of the debarking guests was not only palatable but also vocal. Two and a half hours after we were to vacate our staterooms, we finally made our way out of the terminal to a taxi, but this “swift” exit was only because we had paid a porter who led us to the front of the taxi line. Our last cruise impression was of a madhouse of travel weary folks schlepping through the terminal with their luggage. Such a shame because this cruise could have been such a great experience. As you can see there were things which I had problems with but we enjoyed the “free style” flexibility and many like-minded guests who convinced us that this was not indicative of their former NCL experiences. So therefore, we booked another transatlantic cruise (not anytime soon) but on the April 11, 2021 San Juan to Barcelona again, the itinerary was an important element of this choice. We were also told that the weather is generally better on spring TA crossings, fingers crossed. Ports and Shore Excursions Copenhagen: stayed at Absalon Hotel for 3 nights; great hotel in a superb location; purchased the Copehagen Card good value used for Hop On/Hop Off bus, canal cruise tour, entrance to Tivoli and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Great food at Frk. Barners Kælder, Paté Paté, Restaurant Kronborg and Cafe Gammeltorv for smørrebrød, the Danish open faced sandwiches. Rotterdam: walked across the Erasmusbrug bridge. There is a Waterbus stop next to the Spido boat tours at the bottom of the Erasmus Bridge. Took the Waterbus to Kinderdijk, a World Heritage site with 19 windmills dating from the 18th century. Took the Cruiser boat tour of the canal then walked along the canal and visited one of the windmills. Southampton: met extended family and spent day in medieval city of Winchester. Le Harve: took the shuttle from port to city center and caught the Bee Le Harve Honfleur Tour. The old harbor is lined with 16th- to 18th-century townhouses. Nearby is 15th-century St. Catherine's Church, a vaulted timber structure erected by shipbuilders. Portland: took shuttle to Weymouth where we picked up a lorry (taxi) for the day - would highly recommend lorry driver Barney. He can be reached at 07740360090. He took us to the highlights along the Jurassic coast. Spectacular sights. Cobh: Took taxi to Jameson Distillery Midleton for tour and whiskey tasting. Fun and enjoyable Reception staff called for a taxi for our return to ship. Miami: took a taxi to HistoryMiami Museum, a Smithsonian Affiliate. Nice museum suggested by the CBP officer due to the fact we only had 2 hours to explore Miami. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise for the uniqueness of it's itinerary and length of cruise. Unfortunately Copenhagen, Denmark was the crew change-over (maybe Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and we had 3800 plus passengers and 1300 crew. Service was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the uniqueness of it's itinerary and length of cruise. Unfortunately Copenhagen, Denmark was the crew change-over (maybe Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and we had 3800 plus passengers and 1300 crew. Service was typically slow in all dining rooms, food was bland, tough, or not cooked correctly in many instances. Since we skipped Portugal it seems we ran out of many food items (Orange Juice, pats of butter, fresh lettuce etc.). We had some of the toughest beef and had fish that was served raw! If you did not have a Dining package the up-charge restaurants were ala-carte and could easily run $120 to $200 (U.S.) for one meal! Boarding and disembarking the ship at all the ports was a nightmare and took hours to complete. In Miami, all passengers had to disembark for a face to face with U.S. Customs and we were not able to re-board for 6 hours. This was a trip with many older passengers (only four children aboard) and many had canes, walkers (me), wheelchairs, or electric scooters. For 3800 passengers there were only 17 wheelchairs available to get on/off the ship, so long lines of dis-abled people had to wait. Room attendants had up to 22 rooms to clean and we never had ours done before 2PM. Bar service was good, but most bars in common access areas were generally very crowded. Entertainment was good, but the theatre only held 800, and smaller venues sat 120 or less and put on one-time only shows several times. No way to ever get in, even arriving 30 to 45 minutes ahead. This was our second time on this ship, and we were disappointed on this trip, but did arrive safely, even though most of us got colds and sicknesses from other people sneezing and coughing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Reposition back to home state. Price was reasonable. Had mini suite, size good, bathroom wonderful, high marks on this. Food in specialty restaurant was very good, main din8ng room food average, nothing’s special. Buffet had wide ... Read More
Reposition back to home state. Price was reasonable. Had mini suite, size good, bathroom wonderful, high marks on this. Food in specialty restaurant was very good, main din8ng room food average, nothing’s special. Buffet had wide assortment, breakfast really good, as well as some lunch entrees. Activities were always offered but spaces to participate or view was limited for size of ship and number of passengers. Lounges were always packed or you could not get in even going 20 minutes early. Million dollar quartet was excellent, rest of shows take or leave. All staff was excellent and friendly, savor restaurant staff outstanding. Tours very pricey, don’t do Van Gooh Musuem disappoint, not musuem but tour! Just dropped you off and told to meet in 30 minutes where we had more time to walk the narrow streets but tour guide did not seem interested . Blarney Castle was also surprise. The castle in in rubbles and you can go in, the only thing you can do is wait in line for about an hour to climb the 100 plus stair to try to kiss Blarney Stone. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I selected the cruise by the stops the ship was making. Of course, the stops were quick stops & really not worth the expense of the cruise to spend 4 hours to 6 hours in port. The entertainment at the show room was less than good. We ... Read More
I selected the cruise by the stops the ship was making. Of course, the stops were quick stops & really not worth the expense of the cruise to spend 4 hours to 6 hours in port. The entertainment at the show room was less than good. We walked on three of the shows, but it could be the shows was not up to our standards. The worst part was that ship is being neglected, poor maintenance. Several of the cabins on deck 9 had serious problems that the crew was unable to patch or fix. Passengers on Deck 9 were, were & still are upset about it. Sad to say THE SHIP NEEDS TO BE SCRAPPED. The food aboard was fair, not great as you would expect. Breakfast is hard to mess up, but the bacon in the buffet was plumb terrible. CAGNEES Steak was great (all 3 times), no complaints there. Excellent meal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Warning signs started when we borded and we couldn't find the life jackets in the wardrobe. Later on our steward found them stuffed way under the bed where you couldn't see them without a flashlight. We had smooth sailing aross ... Read More
Warning signs started when we borded and we couldn't find the life jackets in the wardrobe. Later on our steward found them stuffed way under the bed where you couldn't see them without a flashlight. We had smooth sailing aross the Atlantic. Problem occured upon reaching Puerto Rico. US Customs was understaffed and it took us over 2 hours standing in line to make it to our excursion. Customs wanted everyone including the crew to come off the ship before they would let anyone back on. It was a gong show including fist fights among angry passengers when they opeded the gate at 6 pm to let people back on. Zero organization from the staff to keep it from looking like a cattle drive. Entertainment on the ship was very hit and miss. Fantastic singer in the atrium every night. Shows in the theatre had a bit too much opera content for some tastes but other shows were entertaining. Never got a hot meal in the dining room in the evening. The french onion soup was guaranteed to be hot. Mains were lukewarm at best. Breakfast in the dining room sometimes took well over an hour. We understood this was an international clientele aboard, but the maitre'd would usually seat you with anyone and it usually wound up being with people you had no common language with. Its very awkward to be sitting across from a couple you can't communicate with and doesn't enhance the meal for either pair. One day we went to the specialty pizza joint and ordered a pizza with sausage on it for which we paid around $19. It arrived with cut up hot dog weiners on it! Never seen such a cheap ingredient on a pizza before. Ship is beautiful. Huge amount of wasted spaces devoted to the spa area and then the gym is tiny. Never a bike or treadmill free. Shower with glass doors in the cabin was a nice touch. For a 19 day repositioning cruise we would have expected a couple of trivia quizzes per day but there was never more than one per day. You really had a sense that the entertainment staff would rather be doing anything else than entertaining us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose this cruise because the dates and destinations fitted, and we quite like the sea days. Took advantage of the coach from Birmingham Airport direct to Southampton, bit chaotic with people pushing in the queue but got us there ... Read More
Chose this cruise because the dates and destinations fitted, and we quite like the sea days. Took advantage of the coach from Birmingham Airport direct to Southampton, bit chaotic with people pushing in the queue but got us there efficiently and embarkation was excellent. The ship was larger than we normally go for and a bit confusing to get around sometimes. I think that even after 2 weeks people were getting lost. Our cabin, an inside one on deck 10 was fine, seperate area for hanging clothes, enough hangers etc and a comfy bed. We chose set dining in the Oriental Restaurant, we had a good table and enjoyed it. The food was a bit 'samey' though. We were quite interested in the ballroom dance lessons, but so was everyone else. Although the dance teacher was excellent the lessons took place in the atrium-far far too small, so we dropped out. We joined the guest choir, an excellent experience and met some lovely people. Having been on this ship for a long weekend previously I was keen to see how the Manhatten lounge would cope on a longer voyage as it had been inundated by the groups of hen parties on board. As previously, if you didn't get there over an hour before any entertainment you hadn't a prayer of getting a seat. The main theatre was fine, that too got full, especially when the resident 'headliners' were performing. I must say that they were very talented, just not enough of them-they didn't join in any other activities, were seldom seen around the ship and did 4 shows in 2 weeks! the other entertainment ranged from Beatles tribute, excellent Song and dance man, a couple of typical cruise ship singers and a mind reading act from BGT, and a Freddie tribute act that only performed in the Manhattan-so we never got to see him. Generally the drinks service was poor-cutbacks were obvious throughout the ship. Why did I entitle this review 'clash of cultures' ? I shall explain. There was one group who took no notice of the rule not to reserve sun loungers, took no notice of smoking restrictions, and let their kids run riot. I know that is a sweeping generalisation but the same people were in the pool area day after day, the kids were either dive bombing in the pool or frequenting the spa pools, they were in big groups, very loud and, as I say, smoking (or vaping) all around. Unfortunately, and this is my big criticism THERE WAS NO POLICING OF THE SUN LOUNGERS, THE SMOKING/VAPING, OR THE KIDS. Putting signs up just doesn't cut it. I know that they are on holiday too, but the rules are there so that everyone can enjoy themselves. Although the excursions were generally fine I would like to draw your attention to one of the Antigua trips. Party bus to private Red Bus Rum punch beach, private facilities, price included transport with guide, party bus, free drink (plus opportunities to buy food and drink if you wanted) and 3-4 hours on the beach. £45-£50 each. In reality, 14 of us were crammed into an old transit van with no suspension and inefficient AC, a Bob Marley tape and just dumped off at the afore mentioned beach. You then could hire a gazebo & Sun bed (if you were quick enough-short supply). We were told that as they only given a few quid per head from P & O that it no longer included a drink-which were expensive). We had paid £100 per couple for an old van taxi to a beach. I was also appalled that you had free drinks in the casino whilst you gambled. Did we enjoy the cruise?-yes, would we go again? yes. Was it value for money,?yes What could be done to make it a better experience? Police the Sun beds, the smoking, the kids and start looking at a bigger venue for the ballroom lessons-a massively increasing sector. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose this cruise to finish our two month itinerary of 4 cruise ships, on 4 different cruise lines, from NYC to England, Europe, and the Mediterranean. We did not want jet lag so the final cruise was a crossing after a few stops in ... Read More
We chose this cruise to finish our two month itinerary of 4 cruise ships, on 4 different cruise lines, from NYC to England, Europe, and the Mediterranean. We did not want jet lag so the final cruise was a crossing after a few stops in Spain and the Azores. The ship is new and beautiful. The crew and staff were efficient, friendly and wonderful. The captain did a great job dodging bad weather and keeping us informed. The Neptune Suite was fabulous. It was large, great extended balcony around the back of the ship. The stewards were wonderful. They did a great job. The Neptune Lounge was great and the concierge did a great job. The Club Orange dining room with it’s own chef was a highlight. We had five star dining every night. The servers in there were excellent along with the wine steward. We had the premium beverage package which was expensive but necessary since almost every drink was an extra, latte, bottled water, etc. here’s the downside for us personally. It’s just too many people. Sooooo many scooters and walkers. The pools were crowded with rude, demanding guests who pushed and shoved their way through this ship for 14 days. The ship constantly charged for everything, gelato, pizza, etc. there was very little to do if you don’t gamble in the casino, buy overpriced jewelry, or drink continually. The music walk area was really good. We loved the Lincoln Center Stage area. The performers were wonderful. The BB King, Rolling Stone, dueling pianos were all good. The large theater was a disappointment. No big shows just small groups, pianist who was great, ladies group, ok, the rest comedians, so so, and magician, ok. The six sea days were so boring. There were two lectures that were good and a cooking lesson most days. Maybe crossings are supposed to be boring and it was. We enjoyed our balcony, read, and slept for the most part. We used room service occasionally that was good and the Neptune Lounge to avoid the obnoxious herds in the pools and lido deck. The elevators were sooo overcrowded. The bar service was terrible. Bad drinks, bad service. Getting on the ship was a breeze in Civitavecchia but getting off in Ft. Lauderdale was awful. We have Global Entry but it still took almost 2 hours to get through immigration. It must have taken the regular lines hours to disembark. People were passing out in line. Not sure that was the fault of the cruise line due to immigration people were just slow and few lines. So, no more ft. Lauderdale in and out for us. We talked to several couples who feel the same way we do. It’s too bad Holland America is being turned into a dressed up Carnival situation. For 14k for two weeks we can do better on Viking, crystal and other smaller ships. It was apparent they slashed their fare at some point and got a low end demographic passenger on this cruise. That sounds rude but when we spend that type of money we don’t expect this type of experience. Too bad because it’s a great ship with great staff. Goodbye Holland America! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny ... Read More
Why? The Itenary A not so common one, long and much to see. Done out of Europe, by a German travel office: Berge und Meer Yes we know it's an old ship wich had the atmosphere of faded grandeur But the compagny plays it all very poche, a bit pathetic... This was our 23rd cruise, and the first with HAL. There was a cabin on the promenade deck confirmed by the HAL 5 months in advance. However, 5 days before this was moved to a so-called upgrade, I was not happy with that. after complaining seems nobody could change it any more. cabin 6100 was a terrible loft, I could not get up straight from bed, the desk was unusable and the layout unlogical, curtains had to be closed with Velcro tape. In the afternoon was no sleep possible, 2x 1.5 hours were practiced with the music, so noise, in the evening, 2x1.5 hours the performance, again noise till 22.00 hour and sometimes from 00.00 hour to 2.00 hour practice with the staff presentation for a few hours. After difficult reaching the hotel director, (permanently protected by guest service employees), I got the cabin that was originally promised after a week by grace. Incidentally, with that rediculous small bathtub it is difficult to shower, you cannot take a shower over you, but shower against you. Later I got out of the bath and fell because I had the handle in my hand, it was not stuck in the wall, the next day it was screwed in another place in the wall. Evening meals were good, but monotonous, and not always in accordance with what was on the menu (but that happens with more ships; drinks were extremele expensive. Breakfast and lunch in Lido and restaurants were exellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
It is our first Holland America cruise. We knew it is more for mature passengers but we didn't care as we just wanted to try the Mexico Riviera cruise and the timing was right. We embarked from Vancouver and our check-in was a ... Read More
It is our first Holland America cruise. We knew it is more for mature passengers but we didn't care as we just wanted to try the Mexico Riviera cruise and the timing was right. We embarked from Vancouver and our check-in was a breeze. Our oceanview stateroom with a large square window was very spacious but it was on deck one where most of their oceanview staterooms are located. The location of our stateroom was problematic as it was below Billboard Onboard. We could hear music until midnight or 1:00 am and noise from moving chairs as the place has hardwood floors. Thanks to Guest Services, they were quick to help and had us relocated to another stateroom. Main Dining Room: There were pros and cons to open seating, we liked the flexibility of no fixed dining time but the wait for a table was around 15 minutes. The main dining room service was great but slow. Food was good generally but they were exceptional on Gala nights. Lido Market: food options at this buffet restaurant were not bad but waitstaff's service was average. Trying to find a table was always a challenge, perhaps it's the set up of the restaurant. Their dinner closing hours of the restaurant was too early as many guests were still coming in for dinner passed 8:30 p.m. not realizing the restaurant was already closed. The strangest thing was that they reopen at 10:30 p.m. for an hour for late night snacks. So between 9:00 p.m. (main dining room closes) and 10:30 p.m. guests can only get room service at that point. Specialty Dining: Pinnacle Grill (Steakhouse), Tamarind (Asia) and Canaletto (Italian). They were nice but it would have been better if there were more choices, perhaps French or Spanish. Ports: Cabo San Lucas was most fun as we took the boat trip around the Arch and spent some time on Medano Beach. We did the hop-on hop-off in Mazatlan and we were able to cover a lot of grounds in a short time but it is probably cheaper to hire a car to take you around as well. Puerto Vallerta would be great for scuba diving but we didn't go this time. Activities: I enjoyed America's Test Kitchen where I got to see demonstrations of tried and true tested recipes by amazing chefs. I was lucky to see Andy Matsuda demoing his masterful skills of sushi making. Other workshops such as Microsoft and photography were pretty good too. There were some other for-fee activities such as wine tasting and martini sampling but we didn't participate. HAL ships fell short on its entertainment options and its operating hours were limited. Billboard Onboard's music was mediocre; Lincoln Center Stage performance was good but it seemed out of place; BB King's Blues Club is probably the only one that is noteworthy with good performance. Their main stage shows were disappointing and lackluster. Navigator App: convenient for checking the daily schedule, account balance, chat with fellow passengers. I suggest that more details be provided for each event that's happening onboard instead of just the title. HAL really needs to plan more activities during at-sea days or theme events on the Lido Deck: improve their entertainment options and have a look at the gaps in their dining hours. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The Cruise itinerary was fantastic. We stopped at ports in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Bermuda. Our visits to all were very good. San Miguel island in the Azores especially was terrific. We also like that NCL allows travelers ... Read More
The Cruise itinerary was fantastic. We stopped at ports in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and Bermuda. Our visits to all were very good. San Miguel island in the Azores especially was terrific. We also like that NCL allows travelers to bring wine on board with a $15 per bottle corkage fee. This was a big factor for us because the allegedly free liquor package in our program was not free. When booking, I questioned an $800 charge and found I had to pay tips based on the cost of what the program would be if it was charged. We drink some wine but even at $20 per day for 16 days, it would not be $800($320). And we did buy wine and a few drinks during our trip while at restaurants but even with the corkage fees we never came to $800. So the program where we can bring our wine is super. When we got on the ship we were taken to the suite Dining area where we enjoyed lunch. As suite passengers we were told we could use that restaurant for lunch and breakfast throughout the cruise. We never used it for breakfast instead getting coffee and pastries delivered to the room. The lunch menu never changed throughout the 16 day trip. It was good, a couple of choices excellent but tired after a week or so. The soups were fantastic. After we saw the suite restaurant we went to our room and we were in a forward small suite with a large balcony. It was super and all we needed, the balcony being great. We were settling in when the loud speaker screamed out directions for the Coast Guard required life boat drill. The screaming actually hurt my ears and I could barely understand. I had to go outside on the balcony and tightly hold my ears closed to allay the pain. A terrible experience. NCL needs to change this. We met our butler and steward and they remained terrific throughout the voyage. We met our neighbor on the starboard side who had an owner’s suite. They were good friends throughout the trip. We are not much for the entertainment so I cannot report on that but the room TV choices were meager for the 16 days. Maybe four movies that played over and over. Foreign language movies were awesome but only once in a while did they have subtitles. The US movies were bland. The provided DVD’s were old and the selection meager. We chose three and one was unavailable. So much for that. We selected unlimited internet for one device and that worked out well. Food on cruise ships obviously is important. We normally like the buffets for the ability to have a range of selections and time to either take our meal to our room or eat when we want. The Pearl executive buffet chef is terrible. Selections were same old, same old throughout the trip with pork over and over in the beginning of the trip and very little good stuff. Our package had five speciality selections and we chose the Japanese restaurant first. It was not very good maybe 4 out of 10. The Italian not much better. My wife got a cheese pizza and it was akin to a frozen one we get at home. My meal was not memorable. The mater de for the Italian restaurant was great and he took care of some friends who were having a birthday. But the food was not what we expected. The French restaurant also was a disappointment. My lamb chops were maybe what I might expect at a neighborhood chain. A previous Pearl trip had great French food. This trip not so much. The steak house a bit better but only an OK. Maybe a six out of ten. We used it for our fifth time, a meal our butler brought to our room and served us. We used one cruise shore excursion. That was from Cadiz to Seville. It was terrible. The bus stopped near Seville at a gas station for folks to use the facilities. Several buses were there and the ladies room only had two working toilets, sometimes a third worked. There was no toilet paper and the men got some paper that they gave to the women in line. The women started to use the men’s room, the men not complaining until the management posted a person to keep the women out. So the long line kept us at this stop almost an hour. We then got to Seville maybe 20 minutes later. We visited some places in Seville, but the beautiful city I remembered was not shown. My wife says it was the worst excursion we have ever had. Our other stops we did our own trips and had great experiences. One is notable mainly for NCL’s failure to tell us about it. The ship was docked right next to an amazing museum and dolphin program in Bermuda but never told anyone about it. We found it on our own and the $12 entry fee per person was well worth it. The Commissioners House was fantastic and Dolphin Quest part of the fee. Hardly any ship passengers were there. On San Miguel in the Azores we got a private tour that was fantastic. It was 40 Euros per person and well worth it. Being in the forward part of the ship we could see weather in the distance and how the captain avoided it. He was terrific. We had one rough night that I actually enjoyed. It was a little rough another but the Captain kept us in smooth seas most of the voyage. I trusted him fully. Our butler was super, the concierge ok even though misleading and poorly informed about a couple of things. Our purchased itinerary did not include a stop at Port Canaveral on the trip to Miami. But we did stop there. Having been there a couple of times before we decided to stay on the ship. Well the ship underwent several crew exercises necessitating our leaving the ship with no place to go other than a costly bus ride to shopping that we did not need or want to do. We sat on a curb where we were almost run over by a servicing delivery truck for the ship until we could get back on board. There was no place to go and many folks sat on steps leading up to locked NCL areas. We then went to our suite lunch place and found our we could not get our meal for a while because of crew exercises. We did get a couple of free glasses of wine but that did not allay this wasted day that we had paid for. Very poorly done by NCL. In Port Canaveral we were required to enter passport control. In Miami we did not have to go through customs. Our bus to the airport was great with an ability to check bags just as we got off the bus. We did not know about this. Our stop and half the bus were flying American. This was great. Overall the trip was great and we would do another but hope NCL gets it act together on food and it’s management. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was a birthday gift from me to me with Love. October 26th I was in beautiful Bermuda! I chose this cruise because the price was right, the itinerary Was great. I wanted to see as many places as possible My criticism is about ... Read More
This was a birthday gift from me to me with Love. October 26th I was in beautiful Bermuda! I chose this cruise because the price was right, the itinerary Was great. I wanted to see as many places as possible My criticism is about the food. I had an expectation of wonderful fresh ingredients from Italy being served since that is where we were leaving from. The food tasted frozen, stale, not fresh at all. Even in “fine dinning” the food was horrible. I spoke with many passengers that have traveled from 43-100plus cruises and they ALL said that the food was the worst they’ve experienced I’m not sure why this was the case, but really it should be addressed and fixed!! Is it possible to bring on fresh produce and products and make them tasty as if we were on land and ordering from REAL restaurants? Even the coffee(which is my favorite thing in the morning) was UNdrinkable! It was literally repugnant. Being on a ship for 16 days without good coffee is a big hardship when you’re on vacation and dreaming of enjoying the food and drink. It was such a huge disappointment. Then there’s the shows: They were really SUB par to say the least. I loved the acrobatic duo. I loved when they did the “legends” and the 3 ladies I think they were called the queens of rhythm? Or soul? They were great, and the juggler was entertaining also, but the rest of it was torturous. I tried every night to stick it out but I along with many other audience members walked out of a lot of the performances. I was really expecting more professional type of shows other thank you the ones I just mentioned, they were a huge let down. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that ... Read More
We were aboard the Jewel for the annual repositioning cruise from Alaska to the winter itinerary. There were several really great things about the ship that deserve 5 stars. But there were also several dismal things about the ship that deserve 0 stars. First, the good news. I was highly impressed by the efficiency in embarkation and disembarkation. It went so smoothly! Very orderly and methodical. This was the first time that we were able to get on board at Noon, eat lunch, and go directly to our cabin by 1 PM. Disembarkation was simple too, using the Walk Off program. US Customs came onboard and the process was very easy. The ship was super-clean and tastefully decorated. The cabin was a standard balcony cabin, small but in perfect condition. The room steward, Eric, was excellent, too! Very friendly and hard working! We appreciated his efforts. End of good news. Sadly, there is more bad news than good. Let's start with the food. The breakfast buffet was always excellent, but lunch and dinner food was low quality. You could really tell that Norwegian was trying to stretch a dollar. For example, in the Azura dining room, they served scallops as an appetizer. Sounds good, right? It might have been if they weren't BAY SCALLOPS! That's right, five teeny, tiny bay scallops on a plate. If you can't serve real SEA SCALLOPS, then don't bother serving scallops at all! Cuts of meat were pounded paper thin and there were no expensive fish dishes in the main dining rooms. Lots of tilapia-type dishes, but no shrimp cocktail, lobster, etc. Unlike the luxury cruises, which of course, Norwegian is not. Now to the specialty restaurants that we tried: The Chin Chin restaurant (Asian) is horrible. I took one bite of the chicken dish and spit it out. Disgusting! If you are used to good Asian cuisine, don't bother going here, even though it is free. Cagney's Steakhouse was OK, but not great. A sad note about Cagney's - if you are a Platinum Latitudes member, you get a comp for Cagney's. This would be good BUT the comp limits you to only $35 per person. Which doesn't go far in a steakhouse. Be aware if you use the comp. The Brazilian steakhouse was the high point of dining. It is excellent. However, if you use your Latitudes comp, be aware that it only covers about one half the cost of dinner, which is typically $39 per person. The absolute WORSE thing about the ship is the Spa. What a joke. The hot tubs weren't hot, the saunas were broken, and there was a male crew member in the Ladies locker room while there were women in it getting dressed! I complained to the Spa manager, and asked for a refund. She said that she couldn't refund me for my thermal spa package, since I had bought it online, so I had to wait until I got home to call Norwegian. (I went to Guest Services onboard, though, who quickly processed a refund. Strange that they could help me but the Spa Manager could not.) My final complaint about the ship is the choice of onboard activities. I would honestly guess that half of the activities are designed to sell you something. For example, the Look 10 Years Younger seminar is a sales pitch for Botox. The Wine and Chocolate Paring is a chance to sell you a $19 sample of wine and chocolate. The list goes on and on. I was really getting tired of being "nickeled and dimed at activities", so I stopped going. We will take another Norwegian cruise for sure, but we have learned what to do, and not do, while on board these ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Because we did not WANT it to be true, we ignored reviews like this prior to our October/November 2019 Cruise on HAL Neiuw Statendam. There are many very good things about this ship and this cruise line, but this description is ONLY to ... Read More
Because we did not WANT it to be true, we ignored reviews like this prior to our October/November 2019 Cruise on HAL Neiuw Statendam. There are many very good things about this ship and this cruise line, but this description is ONLY to give a detailed assessment about dance opportunities and conditions on board. We took a cruise on this ship six months ago and ended up a bit dissatisfied with the opportunities to dance. Nonetheless we were persuaded by the overall high standard of service, very good dining experiences, well designed staterooms, highly desirable itinerary, AND by representations from corporate management that they hoped to do better, to give Neiuw Statendam another go. This was, from a dancing perspective, a mistake; things had not improved and practices had become so ingrained that in some respects they were worse. Staff on board were unresponsive at best and dismissive on occasion. I will elaborate with specifics below, but the message for the casual reader is that if dancing on board is at all important to you, this is probably not the ship for you. Just as important, contrary to what you may recall about HAL in the past, regrettably, it gives me no pleasure to report, this is likely no longer the cruise line for you. The old Northern Lights disco is no more on the pinnacle-class ships, and we have heard it will be disappearing in upcoming refits elsewhere in the fleet. This did not seem to us a serious loss. It was dated and poorly attended. The space is probably put to better use. A far more serious loss is that the dancing that used to be available in Ocean Lounge is no longer an option. The dance floor on Neiuw Statendam, is a mere 3 meter circle—(no kidding!!!)--that could accommodate just two couples at most, and was idle for all 34 days of our most recent cruise. The piano on the dais, we were told, had not been played since the ship commenced operation in December 2018. A waiter even joked when we asked about the venue, "It is just a prop." Don't expect the HALkats either; they are history. Don't expect any performances by the showband in this venue or anyplace other than World Stage. Don't expect a small combo; corporate management says they are too costly and too uneven in quality to be used any more. There is what looks like a grand piano, but it could have been cardboard for all we know. You simply will no longer find opportunities for anything approaching latin, swing, or ballroom dancing before dinner or at any other time here in Ocean Lounge. So, when and where COULD you dance and what sorts of dancing is it going to be? The core of the entertainment concept is now "Music Walk," a frankly over hyped apologia for the corporate partnerships, commercially branded, dueling piano bar; new rock music stage; and old blues club in a very elegant and functional reincarnation of the former Queen's Lounge. There is not much new here, however, except the glitz, though the musicianship is admittedly strong and the HARD, HARD (did I mention, HARD?) rock music is now LIVE; but it is so ear shattering that they had to erect glass doors to reduce bleed-over down the hall into other venues and that most patrons forget to close when passing through. Result: music salad. There is another tiny dance floor in the Billboard on Board dueling piano bar. For most performances chairs are set up on this floor, though it can be used for dancing when the rock band is playing across the wide open hallway. Dancing to dual pianos can be challenging as there is no percussion and generally no base line to give a beat, though some songs can the followed nonetheless. Some of the performers in the piano bar are genuine rising stars, and here you will find the greatest variety of popular dance music. But it is difficult, and dancing here is high profile. You will get the feeling that you should not be dancing on the dance floor. But nobody will say anything. Dancing in the Rolling Stone Rock Room is possible on the comfortably large oval floor, which is about 8 meters at its widest and 4 or so at its narrowest. The genres of music are severely limited to HARD rock swing (east and west coast) with the occasional Cha Cha, or possibly adapted "high speed" rumba or perhaps a rare nightclub two step. The driving beat is monotonous, and the repertoire is exhausted after two or three nights. The volume, however, can be downright painful. Many guests complained. The crowd, most of whom seem not to be regular patrons of live music, are nonetheless enthusiastic and appreciate the hard rock favorites of their youth and may find the volume a compensation as well as an accelerant for hearing loss. Dancers range from 1960s freestylers, young weight shifters (mainly women in spike heels), a few genuine swing dancers, couples in warm embrace, and loners made embarrassingly bold by alcohol. The greatest opportunity for dancing to live music is in the BB King Blues Club with its very fine but over scrubbed 8x8 meter and padded hardwood floor. This floor is a gem and arguably one of the best at sea. The music here is a little more varied than the Rock Room. There is lots of blues and jazz improv of course, suitable especially for West coast swing, but also some East coast, with occasional cha cha, rumba, or nightclub two step. A night with one or two fox trots over the course of three sets is possible, but rare, and the dance floor, crowded with fired up free stylers in the early sets--most with little situational awareness and little inhibition--and is more likely to frustrate than please more serious dancers. Still everyone has a right to the dance floor, and not just dancers who know steps. Patrons who are tipsy and with sloshing wine glasses or beer bottles in hand are, sadly, a common sight. A grand old line like HAL might just remind you here of their parent company during some sets, though unaccompanied children are less common, but equally dangerous, as on Carnival. The less serious dancers tend to thin out in later sets. The singers are trained performers who frequently interrupt the music with rightside/leftside, complete-this-lyric, or stop-the-music-because-of-weak-response antics. It is a good show to be sure, but not so great for dancing. And, like all blues clubs, each performance will include at least one long piece of solo ad libs for each musician in the band, which is generally as undanceable as it is ubiquitous and too lengthy. This venue affords the most numerous and varied opportunities for dancers, but it couldn't lay claim—and HAL wants to do, to being a dance club. As the name implies it is a Blues Club, though ‘blues purists’ will have their own reservations. With the obvious exception of the cha cha, Latin music, regrettably, is for the most part absent in all these venues. Salsa, mambo, samba, meringue, and bolaro rather rare. Tango (and waltzes for that matter, and of both varieties) are on the endangered species list on this ship. Argentine tango, oddly given the line's promotion of South American cruises, is apparently extinct here. But, good news, the cruise director offered a morning lesson on the electric slide, and we did observe it performed twice and led by the members of the band on the dance floor to encourage participation. That, friends, was the sole dance lesson offered in over four weeks. This on the line that just three years ago sponsored ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on every cruise. Oh, how the mighty have fallen! There is a new CEO with a different demographic in mind, and you are not it. If you enjoy dancing, know a few steps, and especially if you recollect the very good dancing that used to be associated with this line, you will find these opportunities just tantalizing enough to disappoint. But all this is not at the core of our frustration; this has to be reserved for the dismissive attitude and trifling pretense to address our concerns from the line's Seattle management right down to on-board staff. This could be summed up as: "But we have music walk, what else could you want?" It is fine to make a conscious business decision to market to a different demographic, but suggesting otherwise and telling customers that certain pallatives are being implemented (even saying "fleetwide") and then failing to do so, is not. Here are some insights about the recorded dance music in dance venues when not in use. Music was played in the BB King area between sets, but it was almost nearly all of the very same genre that was performed there, though at a lower decibel level. And band members will often loudly rehearse over it rendering useless for dance purposes. "Ballroom" dance was scheduled a few times. Two afternoons on the first (10 day)cruise, none on the second, and once on the third. These opportunities were always at "back on board" time, right as guests are returning from excursions. These 45-minute sessions were however frequently interrupted by lengthy and repeated public announcements seeking missing passengers, the captain's daily report detailing exactly how he planned to maneuver away from the dock, through the channel, past the breakwater, past the lighthouse, through the waves, and out to sea with nonetheless appreciated weather information. This was typically turned over to the cruise director for the inevitable and the re-re-reiteration of when towel folding seminars, acupuncture clinics, jewelry sales, and game show events would be offered. Once an interruption occurred, the music totally stopped and the song and its genre (perhaps the only one of its type) were gone and the next melody was already in progress when it started up. Ballroom dancers could reasonably expect half a dozen songs. On one occasion the session listed in the on-line program did not happen as the space had been double booked for bingo. No rescheduling, no apology, just too bad. "But hey, we have bingo and Music Walk." Finally, there is the hopeful and welcome nightly opportunity called "Dancing to the Hits" with the DJ. You will have to stay up fairly late for this most nights, which may not be suitable if you have an early shore excursion or are over 50. The exact time varies, but 11:30 or 11:45 is typical. Requests are NOT accepted; in fact, the DJ told patrons that the playlist was set by the corporate office! There is a danceable mix of golden oldies from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, lots of Motown, and a few standards from the “great American songbook.” A waltz or foxtrot may even slip in! On two occasions, when the band had the night off, "Dancing to the Hits" was scheduled for a welcome, convenient, and popular 10pm. Unfortunately, on BOTH occasions, after half a dozen songs, the ship's official paid "pub crawl" arrived at this final of its more than twenty stops. You can imagine the state of the participants by then. They were served their final tumblers of drinks and physically literally took over the dance floor for a guys vs girls dance contest. We tried to wait this out, but the literal writhing on the floor of this irresponsible bacchanal was too disturbing to endure. So it is recommended that if you attempt to dance when it happens at 10pm, that you be there at the start because it is not going to last very long and will soon degenerate into something like a college fraternity party. Holland American is a great traditional cruise line with many wonderful features. The staff is well-trained, eager to please, and always attentive. The dining, even in the complimentary venues, is first rate. The ship is new, well designed, and genuinely gorgeous. The itineraries are appealing and the excursions well planned and efficient. But this grand old line with a rich history of fine opportunities for dancers no longer affords them or seems to care about patrons who see them as part of the traditional cruise experience. So, if dance is important to you, think carefully about selecting this line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Seemed like good value offer, had concern about the age of the ship (1999) but schedule fitted into ours.I don't know where the $54 million restoration was spent but all I could see for the money was the upgraded Palace Suites, there ... Read More
Seemed like good value offer, had concern about the age of the ship (1999) but schedule fitted into ours.I don't know where the $54 million restoration was spent but all I could see for the money was the upgraded Palace Suites, there was a lot of painted rust around the ship. Our holiday got off to a shaky start when were booked into a hotel in Singapore when we were really flying to Shanghai where we were to spend 3 nights before the cruise, luckily I picked up the error when I was organising tours in Shanghai. Tried to check in online with Dream Cruises but was not able to do so or book excursions before leaving home. When in transit in Singapore the company handling our transfer to hotel wanted to know where we were ,our agent had not cancelled with them after being notified of the hotel error. Embarkation in Shanghai was a shambles, 2 hours in mob of people on shore was not fun, then another hour on gangway mostly because Dream Cruise use access cards which have to be swiped like a Eftpos machine, not the latest technology as used on other lines. (My travelling companion had to replace her card 6 times during voyage). Communication with crew was difficult, especially in dining room, on one occasion it took four bottles to arrive at the table before the correct one was delivered.I believe some of the crew were replaced in Hong Kong and Ho Chi Min City and by the time we arrived in Sydney things were improving. The service desk was located in the main piazza on deck 7 right next to the entertainment area, try explaining problems to a person lacking skills in the English language with all that background noise in the room! I refused to take an internet package which started at $32 per day and picked up hot spots on shore whilst in port. The stateroom was smaller than we were used to, the wardrobe had two sliding doors which were broken and going by the damage to the door frame had been for quite a while, four small drawers a desk with a drawer but at least it had a decent shower recess with a glass sliding door. Entertainment was brilliant with state of the art technology used to great advantage in the theatre which was of a good size. After finally booking excursions on board the disembarkation procedure and the tours were very good and we enjoyed them immensely. Ate in the dining room, did not like the choice of food in the Lido buffet,mostly Asian influence where as the dining room had a good range of choice on the various menus. The eating areas closed early in the evening and after many complaints the opening hours were extended. The excuse was that the Chinese eat early and hit the casino. We did not eat at any of the speciality restaurants which specialised once again in Asian food. The ships water supply was supposed to be drinkable but after the first week the drinking signs came down and we had to use bottled water. Without any notice, whilst in port workers started repainting the ship, we suddenly had a worker on a gantry looking into our cabin, no regard to privacy for the passengers. Disembarkation was the worst I have encountered. one hour late due the fact that they allowed most of the Asian passengers off first and that caused big delays with immigration. When our turn came to go the rest of the Asians tried to bullock their way through the line, almost a mutiny from the remainder (anglo minority) of the passengers. I would not travel with this line again, it will be hard work for Dream Cruise to satisfy Australian travellers unless they up their game., big trouble if any Americans are on board, P&O have nothing to worry about. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We booked this cruise only 30 days before sailing. Reading the reviews, many people had booked this 6 day cruise well over a year ago. This was billed as a 6 day cruise, and everyone paid tips for a 6 day cruise. It was really 5 days. ... Read More
We booked this cruise only 30 days before sailing. Reading the reviews, many people had booked this 6 day cruise well over a year ago. This was billed as a 6 day cruise, and everyone paid tips for a 6 day cruise. It was really 5 days. The ship arrived at the pier in Vancouver at about 6:30PM and check in was slated to start at 7PM. Guess what happened at boarding? Most people started lining up at 4PM and by 7 there were several thousand people standing in a line that wound around Canada place. This is part of the ugly. We had done 2 other late departure NCL repositioning cruises from Vancouver before. The first was really bad and a woman waiting actually had to be taken away by ambulance due to a panic attack it was so bad. Well this time we did not even show up to check in until 9:40pm! We still waited about 10 minutes in line and we were just about the last 2 passengers to board the ship. We tried to eat as soon as we boarded but we had our drill and everything was shut down. Still the ugly! When we arrived in our room, we found a letter letting us know our itinerary had changed. Since the cruise was announced it had its first day in Seattle. Now it was changed to eliminate Seattle and we had an overnight in Victoria. This was OK for us but many passengers were disappointed. The excuse was not having enough time to notify the US authorities for immigration purposes. Now, all 4,000+ pax had to go through US customs in San Francisco! We did the drill and enjoyed the ship. The next morning we arrived in Victoria. This would be the good for us. Victoria is a beautiful place to visit and we had a beautiful day there. We took a nice walk to Craigdarroch Castle (about 3 miles) as we had never visited there. Well worth the visit. Then we headed back to town and enjoyed happy hour! Swan's was our first stop then we visited Canoe. Both fun places for adult beverages! We had enough energy left and walked back to the ship. The Liverpool Beatles did a show at 7:30 in the showroom and it was standing room only. They did early Beatles in this show and everyone enjoyed it. The next day we were to leave at 2PM so we just walked into town and back. Again it was a beautiful day. Sail away was nice and we just explored the ship. We had dinner at the Q which was good. DW stayed and to watch the CW band (ok but not great). I went to the Cavern club and got there early enough to get one of the last seats there. The 9PM Beatles show was the early years. This was great for me as a Beatles fan to see these guys performing in a small club environment and I could imagine what it was like to see them in Liverpool in 62/63! Now for our first sea day. We received a notice that we would be refunded our port charges for Seattle and they gave each cabin $100 OBC. This was a positive move as NCL knew full well the immigration situation long before our cruise but did not tell the passengers until we were onboard and could do nothing about it! Our Cruise Critic M&G was at noon. This was also the time the ship scheduled the Veterans get together at Maltings. I went to the Veterans and DW went to the M&G at the District Brewhouse. I visited with the one other Vet at the bar for a few minutes and then wet off to join in the M&G. NO SHIPS OFFICERS attended the M&G but they did have champagne for us (nice touch). There were 30-40 cruisers there. Great to meet those we were chatting with on the roll call. The schedule said there would be an Alaskan Beer tasting at 2PM at the District Brewhouse. I was in a group of 10-20 standing outside the closed doors to the District at 2 pm. I just left and came back about 10 minutes later figuring I could join in the tasting a little late. When I got to the District, it was empty. They had kept the doors closed and then the bartender said nobody was there at 2 so he just cancelled the tasting! Poor management! Dinner was at the buffet and it was fine. Then we went to Six. DW liked it, she was listening to each of the "wives" as they sang about their life with King Henry. I was a well done show but not up my alley! Overall, the sea day was good. Now for San Francisco. Since we now needed to clear customs in SF (which was originally going to be handled in Seattle) it meant that EVERYONE would be getting off the ship when we arrived. We had booked a trip to Alcatraz on our own for 10:30AM. I had gone to the front desk on the sea day and managed to get with the correct person to assist us in getting off the ship in the first group to go through customs. This did work fine and we were walking around in SF by 8:30AM. I heard the ship was cleared by around 11AM. We had a good day and BEAUTIFUL weather in SF. On Alcatraz, they were saying how unusually beautiful and clear the day was. Parts of the island were opened to the public that normally are off limits. We spent the remainder of our day walking in the Fisherman's Wharf area. We would have ridden the cable cars but it was way expensive and a long line just to get on. Not for us. Back to the ship and the buffet for dinner. We finished dinner and it was about 7 so we wandered by the theater. There was no line so instead of sail away we went into the Jersey Boys show. Mistake missing sail away! Jersey Boys was an excellent show right up until the point in the show where they dropped the first "F" bomb! There was an audible gasp in the theater. To be fair NCL does have a sentence to warn passengers in the Daily and a piece of paper size sign at the theater when you walk in. We never saw either of these. That just tainted our enjoyment of what otherwise was a great show. It is just sad that NCL feels like this language is necessary in their primary entertainment show for a ship that is marketed to families! The language could be changed without damaging the performance. Another example for us of the BAD! We did eat breakfast and lunch at the local. They did an outstanding job and the food was fresh and hot. Dinner on our last sea day was at La Cuchina and it was good food and the service was good. We just wandered a bit and packed. The ship is new. It is well maintained and the crew were all happy. We did not care for the size of the ship. You have 3 levels of shops, shows and places to eat (6,7 and *8). Then you have 7 levels of hotel and 15 and 16 for food and pools. The only place they used for games, trivia, presentations etc was the atrium. This is typical of NCL in that they really do not pay attention to those types of activities. The atrium in big and impersonal and when we cruise, we typically make friendships at trivia and other small group activities. Not so much on NCL. Disembarkation went great. We walked off with our bags. That started at 7:30 and we left at 8 with NO LINES! this was a good! We have continued to try NCL but sometimes it is just not a good fit. I tried to add photos but the review would not allow it! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Beautiful ship and attentive crew. Comfortable stateroom. Good food, entertainment, amenities, etc. for just about any interest and taste. Theater shows were high-quality plus the go-kart track was a blast. Go figure - Getting back ... Read More
Beautiful ship and attentive crew. Comfortable stateroom. Good food, entertainment, amenities, etc. for just about any interest and taste. Theater shows were high-quality plus the go-kart track was a blast. Go figure - Getting back into pingpong was an unexpected bonus. All of the good stuff had a terrible downside. Poor communication of key information such as boarding/disembarkation was only surpassed by the pain of actually enduring the process used. Instead of a staggered boarding process, there was only an extremely long line that snaked through a very large building, plus around it outside. This took about 3 hours to complete. At one point, the line snaked around a big room only to end up seating people near the door that they entered. An entire port visit was cancelled completely. At San Francisco, every passenger was required to exit with none allowed to return until everyone was off. We felt lucky to take only 2 hours on this, although others took much longer. Since we had no knowledge of what was involved until the night before, we thus missed an onshore appointment. Whereas I suspect that the port authorities have certain requirements, it almost appeared that the cruise line had not actually gone through these activities before. Of course, because the line in fact regularly enters ports of multiple nations, there is no excuse apparent for the long lines, waits and significant (un-communicated) reduction in shore time. We did not take any cruise-line arranged shore excursions, so I cannot comment on them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October ... Read More
Traversing the Panama Canal had always been a "bucket list" for my husband and me ages 67 and 72, respectively); being veteran HAL cruisers, we chose the NIEUW AMSTERDAM 21-day Panama Canal Cruise, 28 September to 19 October 2019, from Vancouver BC to Ft Lauderdale FL. We enjoyed a few days visiting Vancouver, BC before boarding the ship. Embarkation/disembarkation was fast and smooth. If there were children aboard, we never saw them (ok by us!)...what we DID see was more folks using power chairs and walkers than on any previous cruise! OVERALL RATING: 3.5 stars. As always, the HAL cusine and service staff were WONDERFUL, abosolutey 5 stars. What made this overall experience score a mere 3.5 for us? I've detailed a number of "hits" and "misses" below. ACTIVITES: Woefully inadequate, e.g., TOO FEW trivia offerings (and those offered frequently conflicted with mealtimes). Also, holding the trivia games in the Billboard Lounge--immediately across from the Casino--is HORRIBLE! Noise conflict/intrusion=totally unacceptable. All the fun we used to have singing karaoke and playing trivia in the Crow's Nest aboard other HAL ships: gone. And for goodness' sake, STOP the money-grubbing, pushy Spa/Shops "activities," e.g., the "Foot Analysis" (do you really think cruisers are too dumb to recognize that these offerings are merely poorly-disguised sales pitches?). Why charge $15 for riding a bicycle in the workout room? Please! Suggestions: offer stretching/yoga/etc., at later times in the morning (for those who don't rise at the crack of dawn every day). ADD more fun + games, especially in the morning...DON'T schedule pickleball during the hottest hours of the day...add INSTRUCTORS for bridge, mah jong, shuffleball, other games. And make sure everyone who wants to play card games are accommodated: every time we went, foursomes were already set, denying us a chance to play. ENTERTAINMENT: Comedian Jim Short was super, as always, but we didn't care for the younger comedian (the one whose first joke involved a fart. The dance act was OK. Lincoln Center players, as always, were absolutely FABULOUS...most of their classical music offerings were standing-room-only. B. B. King band was very good. We missed having the small jazz trio for listening/dancing we'd enjoyed on previous cruises. SUGGESTION: why not have one of the pianists lead a passenger "Glee Club"? Not everyone enjoys singing, but for those of us who do, it surely would be WONDERFUL to have had the opportunity (as we did aboard another cruise)...plus, it's a super, fun, healthful activity in which older, less physically active passengers can participate. AMERICA'S TEST KITCEN: Unlike the previous cruise when we enjoyed the same ATK instructor, this time, she always looked at the camera, vs. the audience members. As she was less engaged with the audience, it made the experience less fun. Also, there used to be an opportunity to TASTE the dish that had been prepared, which was fun: we missed being able to do that. LECTURER: merely OK. He needs to listen to a recording of himself talking...he has an irritating/distracting vocal tic (a tongue-smack, like a tsk-tsk sound). COMPUTER: The Microsoft Studio person was of great help: solved a Windows 10 issue we'd been having. EXCURSIONS: The Puerto Vallarta all-inclusive beach resort opportunity was lovely, but too short. We got there too late for breakfast, and left too soon for lunch. Having all-you-can-drink between 9 and 11 a.m. is great if you're an alcoholic. The best part of this excursion was the water aerobics in the pool with one of the hotel's staff (a very cute & vivacious senorita). Nobody cared that she didn't speak English!--the acitivity was fabulous, and made us wonder why a water aerobics workout isn't offered on the ship! The Aruba Public Beach Bus excursion was SORELY lacking. The beach was great, but HOW COME NOBODY TOLD US in advance that we would need TEN DOLLARS to rent a lawn chair? We ABSULOUTELY should have been told in advance, or better, include the lawn chair rental in the cost of the excursion (which, all tolled, was basically just the bus ride). Also, to use a bathroom/cold shower involved walking 100 yards and cost another dollar...give me a break! SHOPPING: why so little reasonably-priced/cute women's clothing? Why no sparkly "bling" lanyards this cruise? The orange cloth lanyards were totally blah...I definitely would have bought an orange BLING version! Forget the high-end jewelry boutique (never saw a soul in there). PHOTOGRAPHERS were more pushy/annoying on than on our previous HAL cruises. Plus, if their photos were more affordable (e.g., $5 instead of $50 each), they would sell a lot more, plus avoid being stuck with thousands of prints that end up as trash. PANAMA CANAL: Experiencing the Panama Canal--the whole reason we went on this cruise--was a real treat, although less joyful that I'd hoped. Because I use a walker and fellow passengers were insensitive, I could never get close enough to the ship's edge to see from that vantage point (husband shot the photos with this review). Also, in plain view of the passengers, the cruise director and other staff enjoyed the view from the deck immediately below us: very frustrating, since passengers were not allowed access to that deck. I finally gave up and watched most of the crossing on the TV in our stateroom (very fuzzy camera reception). Later, I realized: AH HA!--it's another chance for the photographers to make money! Their marvelously clear video souvenier was exhorbitantly-priced. DINING: As ever, HAL dining was overall marvelous. Lido is consistently GREAT. Noticing the lovely fresh flowers on our Pinnacle Grill table reminded us of when you used to have fresh flower vases on every table in the LIDO! Pinnacle Grill dining was lovely, but we weren't convinced it was worth the extra money, especially for the Rudy's Sel de Mer nights. New York pizzas could've been better: most were underdone. Burgers were great. BEVERAGES: The biggest hit: at-sea days Mixology classes--FABULOUS fun!! Bartenders Jonathan (Ocean Bar) and Michael (Pinnacle Bar) are amazing! Not so great: the Dale deGroff cocktail selections...many were very weird, and tooooo sweet (Mixology classmates /daily Happy Hour friends agreed): bring back the standard cocktail menu!! SERVERS/STAFF SUPERSTARS: Besides Bartenders Michael and Jonathan, waitress Catherine; Sommolier Alex; and our excellent cabin stewards, Bayu and Andreas. Cruise Director (forgot her name) was pleasant, but nowhere near as engaged and fun a Cruise Director as we've experienced on previous HAL cruises. Would we go again? Maybe for the cruise itinerary, but NOT aboard Nieuw Amsterdam. That's all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Was really looking forward to being on the Majestic again. Absolutely thrilled and delighted that Princess offered us an upgrade from a balcony suite to a Mini-Suite for a minimal cost. Unfortunately some of the passengers ruined the ... Read More
Was really looking forward to being on the Majestic again. Absolutely thrilled and delighted that Princess offered us an upgrade from a balcony suite to a Mini-Suite for a minimal cost. Unfortunately some of the passengers ruined the experience with their ignorant behaviour - noisy, pushy and totally unaware of fellow passengers. We utilised Anytime dining and the experience varied from really good to disappointing. Our last dinner was dreadful - had to wait for an hour to receive the main course and the wine we ordered. The wait staff did not come near us when we finished the main course and as we had waited a ridiculous amount of time, gave up and left the dining room. I had made an enquiry at the front desk as to the latest we could disembark so I could inform my son who was picking us up. The answer was vague. Then we were not provided with the normal form to nominate a departure time. Lucky for us, it was a short cruise so we only had a small suitcase that I could manage myself getting off. The WiFi speed was the worst we have ever experienced on Princess. It would lose connection but still gobble up the Internet minutes unless I rebooted my iPad and then try to log off. I lost 60 minutes because of this. I keep my iPad up to date with the latest OS and have no issues at home. The stage show “Fantastic Journey” was one of the best we have seen and I would highly recommend it. Sadly the experience was spoiled by the hordes of ignorant passengers, constantly talking and letting their children run about. These passengers came late, crowded around the stairs. Hopefully this is only a blip as we are booked on five more Princess cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After ten previous Princess cruises on several ships, I've about decided I need to take a break and try another line for a while. The allure of Princess has faded some, though it's hard to switch after becoming an ... Read More
After ten previous Princess cruises on several ships, I've about decided I need to take a break and try another line for a while. The allure of Princess has faded some, though it's hard to switch after becoming an "elite" customer. Food options are much reduced; menus are stale and repetitive; prices continue to escalate for "smaller" items; and the quality of the entertainment is not what it used to be. Embarkation in LA was horrific, with chaos abounding and no one seeming to know a thing. On the plus side, the crew continues to amaze me with their caring attitudes and how they go out of their way to make you feel welcome and important. Mattress and pillow quality are superb. Deck burger grill and International Cafe never cease to amaze and delight. The folks in their shops department went out of their way to help when my wife's wheelchair broke. A wheel snapped off and they fixed it overnight at no cost. Amazing service! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Here's how we would (and do) compare Regent to Oceania. The ship was lovely, our cabin was spacious, and the walk-in closet was more than sufficient. In addition, the service was very good, albeit not quite up to what we have come to ... Read More
Here's how we would (and do) compare Regent to Oceania. The ship was lovely, our cabin was spacious, and the walk-in closet was more than sufficient. In addition, the service was very good, albeit not quite up to what we have come to expect on Oceania. The showroom and shows were every bit as good as Oceania. The entertainment director, Andy, was the best we have ever had and we met some really nice couples, whom we hope to hear from in the not too distant future. Now, the reason we will not go back to Regent any time soon. The food was inconsistent, ranging from usually just OK to downright it had to be sent back, and even after that, the replacement was only 50% good, starting with two lamb chops ordered medium-rare. one of us had overly salted meals, mostly in the main dining room, one of which was almost inedible, but she did not send it back because she was eating very little. She found other meals too salty, as well. Finally, in our favorite restaurant, the Italian, where we did not need reservations and where we ate 4 times, the 4th time the meal surprisingly was almost incredibly over-cooked. It seems the only restaurant of the four (including the main dining room) that could cook meat as ordered was Prime 7, the steak restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019

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