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1,070 Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We wanted to visit Cuba. The Good - Our best experience was table 512 in the main dining room! Marvin and Louie, awesome people! Dinner we had the best service, great guys with a sense of humor, friendly and professional! The shows ... Read More
We wanted to visit Cuba. The Good - Our best experience was table 512 in the main dining room! Marvin and Louie, awesome people! Dinner we had the best service, great guys with a sense of humor, friendly and professional! The shows were fantastic and there was plenty to do on the at seas days! The food was nice, kudos to the chef as things were no overly salted or sweet! The Bad - No Jacuzzi was available the entire trip and the pool was not available until after two days . We decided to do an inside cabin this time and the cabin was much smaller than the pictures show you on the Royal Caribbean website . In addition the beds were put together and there was no walking space. The only way to get to the restroom was to jump over the bed and out through the front of the bed . The bathroom was much smaller than I remember another crew ships. In addition, multiple days on the more common floors there were foul odors transmitting through the air . I attempted to do the Royal Caribbean survey however I missed the deadline so I thought it would be best to put it here . The Ugly - The ship was in poor condition and definitely showed its age . Also, because we did not book shore excursions with Royal Caribbean we were treated as second best . In areas where there were tenders, we were not allowed to get off the boat until all the royal Caribbean shore excursion people were off first . When you asked a Royal Caribbean employee what can be done since they were time limit on the excursions they said if you didn't book them through us there's nothing we can do . One employee even said, next time get down to the room where they were giving out passes earlier. Which was just a rude comment! I certainly wouldn't consider that customer centric! I did call him out on it and even though there was an apology, it was disheartening to be spoken to like that while on vacation. I'm not sure if it's the ships we picked on royal but I'm doubtful I would choose Royal again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because it fit perfectly into our schedule. The cruise itself was wonderful. We loved all the ports and excursions. The only problem was the food. The whole reason we switched from Royal to Norwegian was the food. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit perfectly into our schedule. The cruise itself was wonderful. We loved all the ports and excursions. The only problem was the food. The whole reason we switched from Royal to Norwegian was the food. This trip we saw the same shrimp in a dish most nights. Our favorite lava cake dessert, which is usually offered nightly, was only offered one night. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. Our room was extremely small, but our room steward was excellent. We had a great time in the casino, the dealers were very friendly. I was very impressed with the life guards around the pool. I had never seen them on prior cruises and always thought they were necessary. These lifeguards made sure parents controlled their children and kept the drunk people from drowning the 7 foot deep pool. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I was disappointed on this cruise. My bag never made it to my room. I had to find it myself - at 5pm. That is unacceptable! The food was good and I like having the same table every night that was a plus. My cabin mate felt the rug was ... Read More
I was disappointed on this cruise. My bag never made it to my room. I had to find it myself - at 5pm. That is unacceptable! The food was good and I like having the same table every night that was a plus. My cabin mate felt the rug was very dirty in our room. In the Windjammer they have the cruisers serve themselves - that is not good because that can spread disease very quickly. That is why I prefer ships that don't allow that- like Holland America. The ports were good on this cruise - Puerto Rico, Saint Maarten and Labadee Haiti - where I ziplined which I really enjoyed. The biggest positive comment I have about this ship was the entertainment - it was AMAZING. Mama Mia was just as good as on Broadway in NYC! Ocean Aria was very different - like a Cirque Show! The comedians were awesome!!! Royal Caribbean's entertainment has improved and I have always love their entertainment but it actually got better! So all in all there were positives and the bags not arriving till 5pm was a definitive negative! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have traveled with NCL once before and enjoyed it so we decided to take another one. The food had quantity but not quality. Most food was cold and just average. There was only one bar/resturant to get food after 10:00 pm. Bar ... Read More
We have traveled with NCL once before and enjoyed it so we decided to take another one. The food had quantity but not quality. Most food was cold and just average. There was only one bar/resturant to get food after 10:00 pm. Bar service was extremely slow. We waited as much as 15 minutes to get a drink. Employees seldom cleaned off tables with used glasses or ash trays. Once we spilled a drink and we actaully cleaned it up with no help from them and they knew a drink had been spilled becuase they gave us towels to clean it up! There were only three places to smoke on the ship and one of them was the cigar room which was much to smoky to smoke in. Our cabin steward was awesome. No probelms there. The cabin was always clean and fresh. Harvest Caye, NCL's private island in Belize, was not worth getting off for unless you had booked an excusion. We booked a snorkeling excursion and was well worth the money. It was the highlight of the cruise for me. The last time I stopped in Belize was my highlight stop and we ported in the country of Belize and not NCL's island. The island is a tourist trap with nothing to see or do and of course if you get a drink or food that's out of your pocket. I don't know about all NCL's ships, but the Breakaway has so many extras charges that I feel should be included in the cost. There are bars that have a cover charge and some of the entertainment is extra. However, the free entertainment was good, but the seats in the Breakaway theater was extrmely uncomfortable after sitting for more than 45 minutes. The free dining rooms all had the same foods which we didn't like so we ate at the café most of the time. The ship offers three upscale dining rooms but the cost is extra. The Spice H2O (adults only) floor has no pool but offers a large water fountain and two hot tubs. No music or entertainment during the day which would have made it much better. Occasionally they had entertainment at night at Spice H2O but even though it was for adults only there were many teenagers running through the people. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill had the best food but the menu didn't have much to pick from. The best was the cheeseburger. This was the only place to get food after the café closed down. I'm a soda pop lover and it was very disappointing to receive a flat Diet-Pepsi every time I ordered one for the entire week and my husband loves unsweet tea and the tea was so bad he couldn't drink it. The Breakaway holds 4,000 guests and I can say that it didn't seem overly crowded. The ship was clean other than many, many dirty tables. The embarkation and disembarkation went extremely well. The next time we cruise we will be taking another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this to fill in the gap between visiting Singapore and Hong Kong. A disappointing start at embarkation. We were concierge class but no effort had been made for us to embark quickly and we had to find staff to usher us through. As ... Read More
We chose this to fill in the gap between visiting Singapore and Hong Kong. A disappointing start at embarkation. We were concierge class but no effort had been made for us to embark quickly and we had to find staff to usher us through. As it was we boarded at 1pm, we had been invited for luncheon valid until 1.30pm. We could have missed this. Our luggage did not get to our cabin until 8pm which we consider very poor. We dined in the restaurant each evening, second sitting. Every time we complained on the temperature of the food and why supposedly hot food was served on cold plates. We were not aware that we had a classic beverage package until the penultimate evening, If we had known we would not have purchased a wine package. Why were we not informed of this when the wine package was purchased? We had a Shore Excursion to Na Trang, Vietnam, where our Guide always seemed to be in a hurry getting off the coach and walking well ahead of the group leading them along busy streets and across roads with no consideration for those who could not keep up. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The breadth of ports was very attractive, from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, the long way. It enabled visiting places that one might not see otherwise. Prices for cabins with an "obstructed view" were excellent & the view ... Read More
The breadth of ports was very attractive, from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, the long way. It enabled visiting places that one might not see otherwise. Prices for cabins with an "obstructed view" were excellent & the view was still quite good. Dining & entertainment were terrific! Condition of cabin was very fine. A couple of excursions were horrible and many very over-priced. Sailing around the tip of S. America was lovely and very interesting. The crew failed to assure that all passengers had valid travel documents. This resulted in our being kept in Montevideo for several extra hours & arriving in Buenos Aires about 9 hours late. That meant hundreds of people missed their flights home & we missed our flight to visit Iguazu Falls. Plus, hundreds had to sit in a non-air conditioned terminal while waiting many hours for the ship to arrive. Some Princess employees should be fired for that, or shot! Fitness Center was the best of any ship that we have been on. Princess over sold the excursion to the Christ The Redeemer Statue in Rio. Result was standing around for hours due to not enough vehicles for the number of passengers. Tour should have taken 90 to 100 minutes. It took over 4 1/2 hours. At a couple of ports, Princess only bought space for one tender boat at a time to dock. This resulted in the trip on the tender boats to take 50 to 60 minutes when it should have taken 15 to 20. The staff at the Excursion Desk were not empowered to satisfy the many, many dissatisfied customers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because we had not been on the Crystal for a few years and as it was a round trip return from and to Los Angeles it seemed to be very convenient. For years we have been trying to convince our friends to try the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been on the Crystal for a few years and as it was a round trip return from and to Los Angeles it seemed to be very convenient. For years we have been trying to convince our friends to try the Crystal and were finally able to get them to come with us only to find it was not as good as it used to be. The lunch buffet was so bad that we just gave up after a couple of days. We tried the dining room which turned out to be even worse The specialty restaurants were fabulous. The food, staff and atmosphere were exemplary. The ship did not appear to be as clean as it used to be. Our suite which had been refurbished seemed smaller due to the new configuration but the shower was incredibly worth the extra money.The toiletries were horrible, with artificial scent which I am highly allergic to. Entertainment was excellent. However, the casino rules were disgusting and no wonder it was always empty. Lastly - to have 6 ports on a 7 day cruise on the West Coast was a total loss. Aside from San Francisco and Cabo San Lucas (which was not on the itinerary) are the only 2 safe and exciting places to stop at. Most passengers complained they did not enjoy the quiet ocean experience when the ship is at sea. Crystal needs to recognize that plus the savings on Port Charges could benefit the pricing for passengers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Took easiest and most comfortable way to meet Oceania Nautica in Cape Town. Excellent port calls. Better than flying. 5* Art Deco furnishings. 3* service. Staff does not smile and does not greet guests unless guest talks first. Service ... Read More
Took easiest and most comfortable way to meet Oceania Nautica in Cape Town. Excellent port calls. Better than flying. 5* Art Deco furnishings. 3* service. Staff does not smile and does not greet guests unless guest talks first. Service seemed to be a burden on crew. Our cabin steward was the exception. Smaller than Phone booth size showers drove many to use showers in the fitness center. Balcony ok for two. Glass and rails were cleaned twice. Entertainment and lecture series outstanding. Am now on Oceania Nautica where food quality and presentation are far superior. The Brits seemed to like and praise the food but we could not. Stewards pushed guests aside with service carts in the buffet line. They had no other path to transport clean or used tableware. Paper napkins in the buffet at night are not in step with the smart dress code requested. Maybe the Queen is intended as transportation rather than cruising. It does that well at 22+ knots. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We are Celebrity fans having first cruised on Equinox in 2013. We only ever cruise at Christmas and with friends we met on our first cruise. The biggest disappointment was the arrogance of some of the passengers especially with the ... Read More
We are Celebrity fans having first cruised on Equinox in 2013. We only ever cruise at Christmas and with friends we met on our first cruise. The biggest disappointment was the arrogance of some of the passengers especially with the sunbeams. Now we Brits have a reputation for competing with other europeans for beds around hotel pools in europe but seizing 20 beds at 0630 using 4 towels per bed, smacks of selfishness and arrogance and to top it all, from fellow Brits1 We cruised at Christmas from Abu Dhabi including Goa, Mumbai, Dubai, Sir Bani island and back to Abu Dhabi. Abu dhabi is rather boring, Goa was disappointing, Dubai is impressive but hugely expensive, Sir Bani island (never went ashore) seemed pointless. Why have to wait two ours to be tendered to a beach for a BBQ? We were deck 11 in AquaClass and our cabin attendant was fantastic as were 80% of the crew some, clearly their first contract, need a short sharp shock. Celebrity has a policy of not allowing reservation of sunbeds and if you leave, its 30 minutes or your personal belongings are collected and taken to guest relations. Never happened. Pool butlers seemed either intimidated or were perhaps, getting a little kick back for turning a blind eye. Now I appreciate that there are never enough beds on sea days especially if the weather is hot, but it kind of iritates you knowing you have to hunt for a bed after you've had breakfast and certainly put us and our friends, in a bad mood - not the way to start your day! The ridiculous use of 4 towels per bed, kind of flys in the face of Celebrity's "save the waves" campaign and perhaps should require you to sign for a maximum amount of two towels using your sea pass and return them otherwise, you pay for them. Better policing would also help. We always book AquaClass mainly because Blu restaurant has, in my opinion, the best food on the ship along with a comprehensive and impressive wine list. Neither was obvious in Blu in fact, its probably some of the most mediocre food we have ever had. Celebrity have definetly reduced the selection too, even though we always opt for Premium Drinks Package as opposed to the Classic Drinks Package. I would be replacing executive chef too. Are Celebrity aware of the dozens of potato dishes that can be created rather than has or chips? Or sauces rather than some light hearted attempt to disguise yesterdays with todays? As a former chef, I was deeply frustrated at the lack of culinary skill or imagination AND the bloody lack of potato dishes! Connie is showing her age and any any amount of "refits' makes little difference. She is shabby and unloved and should be scrapped. Going back the Solstice class a in September and then Christmas 2020 - never again on a Millennium Class. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We like Viking. It was going to the Azores which we had wanted to see and had never been to during any of our travels. We have sailed on Viking Ocean 4 times now. This was a cruise that did not live up to our expectations. The cruise ... Read More
We like Viking. It was going to the Azores which we had wanted to see and had never been to during any of our travels. We have sailed on Viking Ocean 4 times now. This was a cruise that did not live up to our expectations. The cruise director was very talented herself but pretty much dominated the cruise and did not let the other entertainers perform to the best of their abilities. The food which is usually excellent was still good but the service in the restaurants was unusually slow. Disembarkation was truly a disaster. Handled by the shore excursion manager it could not have been worse. This is the second time we have had this manager for shore excursions on Viking. Unfortunately he is not the best and often unorganized or ill prepared. In addition he is not accessible and does not speak English very well which makes him hard to understand. The ship is excellent and most of the staff would do anything for you. Since this cruise had 8 scheduled sea days there should have been more activities. We would be unlikely to take such a cruise again however we most likely will travel again on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The ship was generally in good shape but the stairs were not solid and sagged at times when you went up or down the stairs. We had a nice balcony cabin for overlooking the Panama Canal. It was mid ship and we were able to see the other ... Read More
The ship was generally in good shape but the stairs were not solid and sagged at times when you went up or down the stairs. We had a nice balcony cabin for overlooking the Panama Canal. It was mid ship and we were able to see the other ships going in the opposite direction. For most of the cruise the bathroom smelled from sewage. We had the hotel director's staff come and look at the issue. They eventually fixed the problem. There was no reason for us to keep going to Guest Services to complain about the problem. The food service at the seven seas was awful. The food arrived cold and once the food was delivered, the server did not come back to check on us. We never saw the head waiter. In the four seasons, the waiters were very attentive, the hot food came hot. In the buffet it was hard for us to usually find food that we could eat. The Indian food is too spicy. Most of the other items had pork or pork products in it and we do not eat pork. This included bacon in the mac and cheese, ham in the sour kraut. various ham sandwiches and bacon in the salads. Towards the end of the cruise, they were running out of food and the milk was spoiled, same for the yogurt and you needed to find a manager to get the spoiled products removed. The cruise director was hard to find, he was hard to understand at the main theater and P A system announcements. The production shows were good. The cruise director staff provided us with good games and trivia challenges but they reused a number of the questions over and over again. Besides that there was not much to do on sea days. For some of the ports, the length of time in port was too short to really enjoy the port. I don't understand why we stopped at some of the ports. They barely even has a choice of shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We choose this cruise is because we have never been to South America. We took an excursion in Puntaeranes, Costa Rica and could not find the bus that was supposed to take us to St. Jose. There were no guides at the terminal and we ... Read More
We choose this cruise is because we have never been to South America. We took an excursion in Puntaeranes, Costa Rica and could not find the bus that was supposed to take us to St. Jose. There were no guides at the terminal and we asked the bus drivers where our bus was and was directed to outside the gates of the terminal but the bus was actually the first bus in the terminal closes to the cruise ship gate. The food was very salty especially the soup which cannot be consumed. In the Royal Princess, there were 2 pots, one salted and the other not salted and we could blend both soups to make it not too salty. The food is also very salty, not like on other Princess ships. The menu was always the same especially at breakfast. The entertainment was excellent and we enjoyed the production shows. Service was sometimes lacking especially in the early mornings when half the staff was not on duty yet although the restaurant was open. The cabin was comfortable. I would avoid Star Princess in my future cruises. I will stick to Royal or Regal which are better managed although the Captain of Star Princess was very attentive and resolve problems on the spot. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The basics: Howdy. I went on the 30-day encompassing travel from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. Travel was part of a family/family friends unit accompanying passengers in their 60s and 70s, one with mobility, non-wheelchair ... Read More
The basics: Howdy. I went on the 30-day encompassing travel from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires. Travel was part of a family/family friends unit accompanying passengers in their 60s and 70s, one with mobility, non-wheelchair considerations; we're mostly a group that wanted to see the sights and hopefully get an inkling of the life of the region with less emphasis on the bells and whistles of cruise life/services and holiday cruising. Some, but not extensive cruising experience prior to this one. All in all, I feel that our days were lucky and well spent with very comfortable service/passage, interesting ports, and fortunate weather with the caveat and advice that the experience is also more driven by your own efforts, energy, and embracing come what may of the cruise experience. Ship: Ship spaces are generally pleasant. The Star feels more of a modest environment: There are few-to-no grand visual statements and often swaths of low ceiling, unexciting carpet, and mild patterns; the best of what decor offers is more in some updated spaces that are intimate and comfortable (Wheelhouse Bar, and the fee-dining areas of Sabatini's and Crown Grill - perhaps my gravitation for polished wood and booths, here). Other areas feel a little more perfunctory and are deflated a little by what feels to be almost consistently cramped design: The flow and available space in the Horizon Court dining areas, for example, seem to subdivide yet compress traffic flow, and the Piazza/shopping area feels a tad compact and cold in comparison to other cruise experiences. There are also some awkward moments, such as locating the nearest bathroom of the Amalfi 6th-floor dining room one floor up, the random corridor/dead end in navigating from one side of the ship to the other, and what came to be called 'elevator roulette' in trying to figure out which door opened (sometimes behind you) - small details and decisions that don't necessarily make sense or feel accommodating to the passenger. Cabin: Cabin space continues the general idea of functionality without much flair - for three passengers, ours was an obstructed view starboard with two twin beds and two fold-down options. Sharing for three is possible, but dependent on traveling style. Storage includes a small safe (not for anything larger than small electronics - maybe one camera, a footprint not much larger than a paper sheet) and cabinet column next to an open closet (with plenty of hangers) and then a few open shelving corners, drawers, and a night table per twin bed. There was some fair space in the closet for standing luggage, but at the same time there was barely desk space for two and open floor was very limited - seating and rest were pretty much constrained to the beds which were happily comfortable. (Note that the upper berth has a light switch that is permanently lit in green.) Unfortunately we didn't check the lamps for USB ports; we relied on the two available room outlets to rotate between charging our gadgets. The bathroom is basic with a shower stall and again some limited open shelving and one outlet. TV and phone were without frills and fine - ultimately, our cabin only served for rest and recuperation as needed. Service: Professional service was the norm - overall, the impression was attentive and dedicated, particularly despite the extensive hours and scheduling being worked by some staff. The weaker points come from the instances of when service fell through, most prominently in information distribution and scheduling and handling of port day organization. Causes seemed variable - a lack of confidence in providing/committing advice, an outdated piece of information here and there - but it also felt almost structural - never had I been more aware of feeling like the staff somehow needed more resources and bodies to address the needs of the passenger audience. Nevertheless, those thoughts don't diminish that we had wonderful stewards and waiters during our month on board, with great conversation and care that made traditional dining always a highlight to wind down the day (many thanks to Julius and Fitri!). There are many teams hard at work on board - dining, bar, entertainment, photography, to name a few - and the sparks of friendliness helped to create a sense of consistent community on the ship, especially in the cheerful atmosphere set from LA to Santiago under the command of Captain Michele Tuvo (a definite highlight - passengers on the Sky Princess will be in good hands). Dining: Mostly traditional, no-fee for our experience; for the most part (along with our excellent service) we were pleased with the various menu ideas and items if equally occasionally disappointed in the execution. Appetizers - a wild mushroom tartlet, crab cake, for example - were probably the most satisfying, with dessert second. Cold soup options like one with crystallized ginger and a lychee-coconut drink and sorbets in honeydew and apple cider were among our favorite and most surprising discoveries over the whole course. On the other hand, savory soups were frequently salty, and over the course of two menu cycles it was possible to encounter variance in quality in any item (a disappointing, fibrous vegetable quiche to a fantastic slice; a supremely sweet mousse to one well balanced). For traveling along South America, fruit itself also seemed inconsistent, perhaps a necessity of cruising but still perplexing. Outside of dinner, the options were serviceable: Secondary notables included the reliable and satisfying Prego Pizzeria slice for lunch and the often overlooked afternoon tea on sea days (tea, scone with jam and cream, sandwiches, and desserts in a brief window). The Horizon buffet options were standard with a clear orientation towards quantity production - a good option for a do-it-yourself sandwich, but for most items often featured idea over execution with a few finds. Paired with tight spacing and inconvenient seating, it was less favored than a formal dining room or grab-and-go. Late-night grub is also limited to one option after 11 p.m., which ties a bit into the overall ship life... Entertainment, Programming, and Ship Life: Programming/ship life unfortunately was probably the flimsiest portion of our cruise experience, whether navigating past the cascade of jewelry and gallery events to queuing for limited seating in craft sessions to the early morning scheduling of enrichment lectures and so on. Personally, I was a little disappointed by how promotional activities wanted to be, with art lectures that tried to tie into the auctions, craft sessions with purchasable kits, and port lectures with excursion ops: these seemed less suggestive of personal enrichment and kept events from feeling as professional, educational, or enjoyable as they should have. Intentions, demographics, and target audience aside, many ship activities never seemed to really gel, dogged by a feeling that resources and space were never really meant to accommodate the audience that arrived. Easier options included Movies Under the Stars (which sometimes allotted three showings of the same film), but seating, preparation, and planning otherwise for events would have benefited with more attention - not placing an event at the same site as a sale or an auction, ensuring that passengers waiting for an event had an alternative to sitting on the floor, checking that equipment compatibility did not delay a start for twenty minutes - the cumulative details felt unrefined. Entertainment quality was also mixed - musical entertainment outside of evening shows held up well with performers providing enjoyable listening (what felt like nightly Tango music with the Bujacich Quintet was very in-theme and well appreciated) whereas mainstage acts could impress (magician Alex Ramon, guitarist Nestor Santurio) or less depending on the evening. One major miss for me was a silent run through Glacier Alley: whether simply unscheduled or maybe a technical malfunction, the Star Princess sailed through the area without announcement and a far cry from the Alaskan Glacier Bay experience on a different cruise line. Port/Itinerary/Excursions: The port schedule serves to balance out the unflattering as-you-go nature of sea days - the itinerary, particularly in the main leg of San Antonio/Santiago to Buenos Aires, is filled with singular experiences of landscape, wildlife, history, and culture, paced often with an alternation between port days and sea days to rest and prepare. The repositioning from Los Angeles to Santiago is deceptively slow, with two sets of three sea days back-to-back, but its ports of call can also provide for some expansive offerings to those traveling first-time like we were (San Martin was a spectacular surprise in providing terrain and wildlife we'd never seen before). As strong as the itinerary is (and our schedule also saw us as the only ship in most ports), a warning that doing research on the ports and vendors available can be well worth the time and money saved. Skip out of what might seem like a convenient bus-based city tour for taking the courtesy shuttle and/or walking the path directly (San Martin, Punta Arenas, and Montevideo come to mind) and also realize that comparable and reliable options do exist at sometimes less than half the price. Another major shortcoming is the management of tender and shuttle ticketing: we were ill-prepared for how poorly operations went for Lima shuttle tickets and not-insignificant wait times were involved for most tender operations without personal planning. (Aside from the iconic Captain Tuvo, nothing unified the ship more than the antipathy towards the WiFi and tender services.) Odds and ends: For repositioning to the first run of the season, the 30-day sailing does encompass the winter holidays and New Year's. Nods in the decor were trees, wreaths, and other decorations for the entirety in addition to some light scheduling of holiday events (card making, gingerbread houses, caroling, etc.) and a special dinner menu for each occasion. A piazza balloon drop celebrated the turn of the year - enough late-night fun for me! - but other cruisers might have preferred something that felt more extensive and encompassing. Young adults on this cruise should be prepared to find or prepare their own entertainment. The two portions of the cruise were markedly different in composition, so finding a similar cohort was even more challenging before the family groups and end-of-year cruisers arrived for Santiago to Buenos Aires. There are all-ages activities and enrichment opportunities, but nevertheless, targeted activities were scarce. Embarkation from Los Angeles went smoothly with friendly service. Disembarkation was more reflective of the organizational ambivalence that emerged through the course of the cruise with disembarking excursion passengers called very early in the morning to assemble before waiting further to disembark. Nonetheless, the excursion itself was a very smooth process (be warned - EZE was not). In any sort of going on and off the ship, those with mobility issues were often lost in the crowd. Conclusion: In hindsight, we all had a memorable experience with the essence of what we had hoped - new experiences, culture, land, and people with hopefully more revelation of how little we do know. In that regard, I'd like to say that it was excellent. Nonetheless, for the purposes of this review, I can't really say that we lay that claim to the Star Princess, however grateful we are for the excellent instances of service and the privilege for the convenience and comfort of the ship. Depending on what you're looking for, this could be a very good cruise - one where you form friendships and memories and travel affordably - but if it is, it will likely be because of your own efforts, investment, and objectives as opposed to the experience of the vessel. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container ... Read More
We travelled on the Dawn Princess ,Pacific Explorer a few Times before she became the Explorer . We had to have a look what she was like after the Refurbishing in 2017 ! Dining Rooms lost their Charm . Waterfront looks like a Container Dining Room , with Food to match . Items on the Menu , when they came to the Table could not be Identified as the Item you ordered . Garden fresh Vegetables was a term used on the Menu ,yet on most Dishes we ordered they could not be found on the Plate . After alternating between Dragon Lady and Waterfront for 3 Days ,we gave the Dining Rooms a miss ,and went to the Pantry where you could see what you where eating ! Most Upgrades in the Public Areas were ok .Some were obvious Money generating changes , we did not use .We could not Comment on them . Food in the Pantry was fine . The best Idea was that Passengers could not serve themselves .What happened after the Food got to the Table is a different Story . Cleanliness in the Dining Room and Pantry left a lot to be desired . It is either Lack of Staff or inadequate Training causing these Problems . Entertainment in the Marquee Was excellent !Cruise Director and her Programm to entertain Guests very good . Except for Love Riot ,deserves to be Kiel hauled !! Embarkation went Fine , Disembarkation not so .Could have been because Tent Disembarkation set up . The Ship and Cabin were fine , Shower Cubicle a bit Tired ,Floor does look a bit worn ! Service was excellent , Except for lack of Staff during Rush Hour at Pantry ! Tender Services a little shoddy ,but you can always blame the Wind. We will not go with P&O again ! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Started the cruise in Genoa Italy. This was in cruise crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, the first few days were spent at different Mediterranean ports then onto the island of Tenerife, now there was five days at sea,this is when the ... Read More
Started the cruise in Genoa Italy. This was in cruise crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, the first few days were spent at different Mediterranean ports then onto the island of Tenerife, now there was five days at sea,this is when the problems started, the largest populations on the ship were German,French,Italian with smaller groups of Spanish and British, all sunbeds on the top deck were taken by 6 o'clock in the morning,towels were placed on sunbeds all day with many not being used at all. Complaints were made to the ships staff but nothing was done, then some Italian families actually had fist fights around the pool area because they had taken"there sun lounger area by the pool" staff were called but refused to get involved. Many complained again but nothing done. The theatre shows were Italian in origin rather than international and became monotonous after a few days. We were on an all inclusive drinks package 25 Euros a day, but many of the drinks were not included! Although it says beer is included its not, only Heineken lager is included, all other beers are chargeable, when you order you have always to ask if it's included which is embarrassing as people think you cannot afford it. The bar and cabin staff go out of there way to make your stay enjoyable and always pleasant, on the other hand the security staff on the exit and entrance onto the ship were anything but. They would grunt at you take your hats and glasses off, stand still while we check your card,no smiles no talking to you, just as thought you were entering a country, inside the ship they would walk into you as though you shouldn't be in the way, had no respect for any passengers ( but they would not attend to the fighting by the pool , cowards). Yes people join the ship in most ports but that dosnt cause a problem, although you get a little tired of the safety drill at every port. Be aware that there is no self service laundry facilities on-board, although the ship will do your laundry for a price. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I chose this cruise as I wanted to be away to avoid a certain anniversary. I looked for a Reposioning Cruise as I like plenty of sea days and not many port calls. Travelling as a single is always expensive and this was not a cheap holiday ... Read More
I chose this cruise as I wanted to be away to avoid a certain anniversary. I looked for a Reposioning Cruise as I like plenty of sea days and not many port calls. Travelling as a single is always expensive and this was not a cheap holiday even though it included drinks and gratuities. So one could not say ‘ You get what you pay for’ and imply it was a bargain rate and that I should have known better... The ship itself is fine, very clean and the majority of the staff are good at their job, helpful and courteous. The food is again ‘fine’, good choice, plentiful and varied, if somewhat overcooked at times, but the chefs are catering for a wide range of tastes and appetites. The Turf and Surf had very good food and was well worth the supplement.Embarkation and airport transfer were excellent. Excursions were pretty standard and reasonably priced. My problem was I am not vastly overweight, don’t wear Primark clothes, wouldn’t dream of drinking a pint of lager at ten in the morning, dislike having to strain to speak to people over the incessant row made by the talent-challenged entertainers in the bars, would have loved to sit on the sundeck without loud pop music blaring out - so I didn’t really fit in. It sounds snobby I know, but had I been aware of the target market of Marella Cruises, I would have realised it was out of my comfort zone. We all have different tastes and it doesn’t make us better or worse than each other, but Marella was not for me. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Nice ship! RC obviously have their ship design sorted and Marella now own a nice/modern ship. It isn’t a monster either and we like ships this size. We’d prefer this ship over P&O’s Oriana and Aurora and it’s that much ... Read More
Nice ship! RC obviously have their ship design sorted and Marella now own a nice/modern ship. It isn’t a monster either and we like ships this size. We’d prefer this ship over P&O’s Oriana and Aurora and it’s that much ‘nicer’. Shame about the buffet being at the front where every other ship puts a bar: Many tables weren’t available due to people being sat at the windows with a glass of orange juice just to watch the world go by. The ship. Looks and is very nice. Great to walk around, shiny and well maintained. Humorous captain and most of the crew very attentive. The culture on our sea-day intensive cruise was lovely & laid back. The main restaurant was good; 3 courses for all and the house wine or Prosecco please. We enjoyed our 2 weeks aboard, one week of which was at sea (we love sea days). The enrichment talks and presentations on board were great (Astronomy/Space, Piracy, belly dancing lessons and others) and the trips ashore to Petra, Wadi Rum and Spinalonga were a proper cultural immersion. Shame about the extremely average food at Spinalonga. (we didn’t order the rain either but we didn’t complain to Marella about that…) Marella forcibly entertain you. Most of the entertainment is in your face. There is some (usually good) music and performance in the Atrium but it is often overpowered by the performance from the live room, itself sometimes overpowered from the music in the Squid & Anchor. Ordering your cocktails from the all-inclusive menu? Don’t worry about the alcohol content as they all will be short-measured. Our cabin, 6500, was over the entertainment at the front of the ship. Early nights were a nightmare of music, music and music, courtesy of the Squid & Anchor. On one occasion we had to wait an hour between starter and main course. We had to be blunt with the restaurant manager whose staff kept telling us ‘it’s on its way’ so many times… The buffet was just a buffet. The bacon was unsmoked, the sausages mundane. (The moussaka was great!) The afternoon tea was OK; you could tell we weren’t sailing Cunard. Oh, we also liked having ‘technical problems’ a couple of days before Oman. We enjoyed the ship cruising far more slowly and having an extra night on board Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We were glad to find the ship had been refitted during it's 8 day lay-over in Singapore, before the relocation cruise to Sydney. However engine problems meant we were given a revised itinerary for the cruise on boarding. Many people ... Read More
We were glad to find the ship had been refitted during it's 8 day lay-over in Singapore, before the relocation cruise to Sydney. However engine problems meant we were given a revised itinerary for the cruise on boarding. Many people were unhappy as they had made prior arrangements for some scheduled ports of call. The ship could only manage half speed. $200 USD per person was credited to ship board accounts as compensation. However by the time we reached Darwin new parts were delivered to the ship and the remainder of the schedule could revert to the original. The rooms, while refurbished to a good standard, are still very small. We were on deck 9 with balcony. In the toilet (smallest ever - when sitting on the toilet you could rest your forehead on the facing wall - beware if you are a larger travelers!) Room steward was excellent and was very helpful. Food was overall disappointing and lacked variety. The Tsar's Palace dining room was nicely refurbished, but staff were overall quite indifferent at times, and didn't interact, as on other cruise lines. We dined at The Azura Restaurant the first evening, but found the staff inattentive and the food was cold - yes we complained! Le Bistro was our 'best of the bunch' with a good selection and attentive staff. We are early diners so benefited from having the venue mainly to ourselves. The 'Chinese' restaurant on board was disappointing, a very limited menu (you could pay extra for two alternative dishes) and again service was average. The Irish themed restaurant was lacking in real Irish themed food, and was really just a cafe. Shore excursions were reasonable, although on Bali it was quite shocking to see the poverty in the areas we were driven through. The ship has limited shopping options but service was good. The entertainment was a highlight , very high standard and good variety. Another highlight was the 'The Spinnaker' lounge which was a nicely refurbished lounge at the top of the ship, with glass all around, a bar, and events and entertainment throughout the day and evening. A nice area to 'chill out' during the day with a book. The on board TV and video system has been upgraded and vision quality is good (best 'bow camera' we have seen) though there is no 'programme guide and many 'genre' are misnamed - some of the most violent movies were on the 'family movies channel'. Also there is no system to check your account in your room on this system, you have to go to Guest Relations and request a printed copy. Major disappointment was the shore excursions to shore at Airlie Beach were via 'ships tender' and also contractor's catamarans, we went on a 'cat' and returned on a ship's tender. The return crossing was 30 minutes in rough seas (10 minutes outward on the'Cat') the rough seas resulted in sea water coming into the boat at times , very frightened passengers and 2 people in our tender suffering minor injuries. It was very scary with waves crashing over the boat. On returning to the ship, I went to 'Guest Services' and said that having had some experience in Work Health and Safety, I would recommend not using the tenders for the remainder of the day, instead using the 'Catamaran's', in the interest of passenger safety. The Guest Services staff member seemed uninterested and said if there was a problem it was up to the 'Pilot' to report it! I said I had passed the message to them and that I could do no more. One other matter worth mentioning, was an excellent presentation by the staff responsible for future cruise bookings, on the things guests should be aware of, and wary of, when booking cruises. The jargon and pitfalls were explained and some of the background on how and why cruise lines offer upgrades and specials. Also there relationship with agents. We found this quite refreshing and very helpful. It would be good if other 'lines' were as open on these issues. A 'Q and A' session at the end was unhurried and everyone was able to ask there individual questions, long after the session was supposed to conclude. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we had a fantastic time. We had a 2 week trip to Italy planned and decided it would be fun to sail home instead of fly. There were a lot of positives but there were some things that we ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we had a fantastic time. We had a 2 week trip to Italy planned and decided it would be fun to sail home instead of fly. There were a lot of positives but there were some things that we didn't like about this ship. Embarkation in Rome was very quick and easy. Disembarkation in Miami was an absolute disaster. The problems could have been avoided if the ship improved their process. Times were assigned but they had no way of tracking which times people had. So at least half of the people got in line with the first group departing causing a huge jam in the terminal. We got in line at 8:45 and finally got to the luggage area at 10:00. Immigration took another 45 minutes which was the cruise lines fault but may have been better with a more controlled process. Our cabin was fantastic. Plenty of room for all of our belongings. Cleaning services was fantastic. Bathroom layout and space was great. Shower had really nice pressure and a lot of space. One negative is the mini fridge. It's a waste of valuable space and who would use it especially with the Ultimate Beverage Package. Room maintenance problems: When we tried to flush our toilet for the first time it clogged. This was 15 minutes after we got to our room (and was not our fault if you know what I mean). I told the cabin steward about it and had to complain again when it wasn't fixed 3 hours later. Took 5 hours to finally be corrected. A couple of days into the cruise it clogged again but was fixed much quicker this time and we didn't have a problem again. Our AC worked great for the first 9 days of the cruise but then didn't cool as well for the last 5. I asked Guest Services to look at it but never heard back if they actually did and it never improved. Cabin location was not ideal. You were not close to O'Sheehan's and had to go down a very winding hall to get there. Pool and buffet areas were 4 floors up and buffet was on the other end of the ship. Main restaurants were on the other side of the ship. If I took this ship again I would do so with a rear cabin. Dining on the ship was good. We had 4 nights of specially dining. Cagney's Steakhouse gets 5 stars and we ate there twice. The Brazilian Steakhouse and the Teppanyaki gets 4 stars. The free Asian restaurant also gets 4 stars and we ate there several times. The Buffet gets 3.5 stars. Most of the food was very good but the layout was horrible. There are a lot of narrow areas that were constantly log jammed. Food was different at different areas and confusing. Ice and water machines were terrible and often had out of order signs. Entertainment was mediocre. We went to several shows and most would receive 3 stars. The bar entertainment was better however the sound setup in most of the bars distorted the music and singing which made it bad. Bars: Best bar on the ship is the mojito bar inside the Brazilian Steakhouse. It's very small and most people don't even know about it so it was private. Bar staff was fantastic. A general issue on this ship is the staffing levels in the bars. There are some really good bartenders but they need help. If you ordered a drink from your seat you were going to wait for a long time. Best thing to do is to go the bar as most of the bartenders wait on people first and then work on the orders from the wait staff when then have free time. Casino: Nice selection of games. I only play poker and I was pleasantly surprised to find a real poker table on board (instead of the machines that most cruise ships have). The negative was the rake. 10% with a max of $25 is ridiculous. Having said that I did play on about 9 days and left the cruise up a couple of hundred because there are some really bad players which overcomes the horrible rake. Other negative about the casino is that they allow smoking. There is no ventilation and there were days when I wanted in and immediately left because you couldn't breathe. The Gatsby bar is down the hall and you could often smell smoke there when you were having a cocktail. Ultimate Beverage Package: It was really good with most drinks included. Also plenty of wine options. Negatives: bottled water and specially coffee is not included (both are included on other cruise lines that I've used). Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise to travel with friends, and specifically for the Funchal port which we ended up missing. This was probably not the cruise lines fault, but we could have made better use of our Barcelona time if we had known in advance ... Read More
We chose this cruise to travel with friends, and specifically for the Funchal port which we ended up missing. This was probably not the cruise lines fault, but we could have made better use of our Barcelona time if we had known in advance about the repairs that they were doing. Overall the biggest disappointment on this ship was the food, followed by the service level, and finally the overall appearance of the ship. The food was barely above all inclusive resort standard....usually lukewarm, often over salted to an amazing degree, and variable. Sometimes overdone, sometimes underdone. We had a package with the paid restaurants, in which the food was very good. The service level in the restaurants, with one or two notable exceptions, was horrendous. We avoided Versailles after about day 3, after we waited 45 minutes between ordering dessert and receiving it. Cagneys steak was excellent, but there were mixups on orders, entrees arriving at different times for the table....I expected way better. On board service was also variable. The staff just seemed more interested in talking to each other than to serving guests. Our steward very grudgingly brought us requested bathrobes after about 2 days, which ended up having no tie belts. Service in any restaurant was exceedingly slow, unless you were lucky enough to get a really great server. It was hard to believe this ship just came out of refurbishment. Our cabin had cracks in the plastic on the floor edging in the bathroom, and overall the ship is run down looking. We received towels and facecloths with holes in them. Cleaning buckets were always left in the hallways; a major tripping hazard and just not a professional look. Public washrooms were hard to locate, and often non functional. This ship just feels tired, and so do the staff. There is just no positive energy. No activities planned for the transatlantic days - I've been on other transatlantics such as Carnival, which planned a shipboard "Olympics" which was really fun. There is almost nothing for added activities on this ship, and curiously, only 4 round deck relaxing "pods" for the whole ship, which must have been staked out for the day by about 5 am. After 6 sea days in a row, they chose to do the famous "White Night Party" the night before our first shore day, which is just remarkably poor planning. The library is not overly well stocked, and I never saw anyone there to check out books, even during the posted hours. Sadly, this trip is almost enough to make me reconsider Norwegian. I can live with the nickel and diming, I know they have a rep for that, but I think all cruise lines do it. I'd rather not be telephoned in my cabin to be sold things though, that is over the top, and it did happen on this trip. We have been on the Jewel and the Epic, and I think the Jewel was really well managed and fun. On the Jewel, we purchased a next trip coupon. We chose not to this time, as we are no longer certain we will travel with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Due to weather we missed one port which could not be avoided I guess. Disappointed with entertainment. Production company and Russian arial act only decent evening entertainment. Lady violinist should have had prime time and put juggler, ... Read More
Due to weather we missed one port which could not be avoided I guess. Disappointed with entertainment. Production company and Russian arial act only decent evening entertainment. Lady violinist should have had prime time and put juggler, hypnotist, magic act and others during afternoon. Producers need to watch America’s Got Talent and recruit entertainers as what we saw was amateurish. Miss crew talent night. Passenger talent night was a joke and waste of time. Food has gone way downhill in dining room. Crew on NCL continues to be outstanding. Not a prob there. Really enjoyed having lectures. Would recommend having lecturers with a little more depth and not so much fluff. Transit to Miami was a little hairy trying to find. Disembarkation in Miami was a nightmare and we almost missed our flight after allowing four hours to get off and to airport. The problem was blamed on Miami customs. We thought ship was totally refurbished but evidently not. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Our friends who we cruise with every couple of years suggested this cruise and we loved the itinerary and wanted to try the Star. We did this cruise back to back with the Caribbean cruise after this one. Embarkation in Civvi was very ... Read More
Our friends who we cruise with every couple of years suggested this cruise and we loved the itinerary and wanted to try the Star. We did this cruise back to back with the Caribbean cruise after this one. Embarkation in Civvi was very easy; we were not in the suites waiting area long at all, the concierge basically said welcome, and a butler came by and escorted us onto the ship. He took us to Moderno for lunch where all the suite passengers can eat lunch. After a nice leisurely lunch we went to our suite. We loved O'Sheehan's. Always friendly and never seemed too busy. The chicken wings are great. We ate at Ginza a couple of times and were pleased. Service was excellent, food hot. I was wishing there was a wider selection of sushi. Moderno was very good. Again slow the first time around. Second time much, much better. Lots of things to choose from and very good meat. Teppanyaki was outstanding. The show was fun, the food melted in your mouth. Service was good except the first time a waiter kept yelling in my ear (I couldn't hear because the chefs were singing). I'm not a fan of the cake for dessert but the green tea ice cream is really good! Cagney's was very good; melt in your mouth steaks. The second time I ate there, however, I literally walked out of the place because I had already waited an hour for my entree. The third visit they were extremely attentive and the service was very good. LeBistro was off the chain wonderful. It remains my favorite place to eat on NCL. The Garden Cafe was mostly cafeteria food quality. One night my friend wanted a quick dessert and they had closed 15 minutes early. I enjoyed the "deck food" burgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit and the like on sea days. The pool was nice, a little chilly at first but fine after that. There are 4 hot tubs on deck with varying temperatures. Suite passengers can eat in Moderno for breakfast and Cagney's for lunch. Moderno brought one of my cruise mates a cold waffle. Service was slow. Once we found a waiter we liked, Dennis, we had quick service and great food. Cagney's for lunch was very good and service better. I went to the spa one time for a pedicure. It was fine, the lady was engaging and friendly. Of course she tried to sell me everything in there, but I did not want anything but a pedicure. Activities and entertainment were so-so. I ran into the cruise director (Simon) only twice; once at the VIP party and once in the Atrium. He was very friendly but otherwise the only time we ever heard him was on the loudspeaker every day. Cruise staff was not to be found. Later on I was told because of the weather, the staff was mostly in Bliss Lounge. This was weather-related; our first few days out of Barcelona were chilly. I did not attend any shows. I cannot speak for them firsthand. Our cruise mates were very happy with the shows. The casino is fine, played 3 card and blackjack. The dealers were friendly and a lot of fun. I am a smoker, and on this cruise, the smoking area on deck 12 was sadly neglected, a lot of full ashtrays. It became apparent toward the end of the cruise that someone got spoken to, because it sure was kept clean the last few days! You may smoke on deck 12 portside, deck 13 at Sky High Bar, and on deck 7 outside of 5 O'Clock somewhere. Our concierge was the best we have ever had; Suzanna. She walked on deck every day and made sure to stop and say hi, ask how you were doing and if you needed anything. When restaurant reservations were confused, she would straighten those out right away (my fault, not hers). She had not seen me for a day or so and actually left a voice mail to see how I was doing. That woman is the hardest working concierge I have ever encountered. Our butler was Loy, he was amazing also. If you needed so much as a bowl of potato chips, he was right on that and happy to deliver. The stateroom attendant was Artie. Our room was sparkling clean all of the time. And for you towel animal fans, he never missed a night of leaving one on the bed. We got an extra night in Barcelona, because of heavy weather to our west. We took advantage of that and got to go into town and spend time milling around and eating some great food. We had to skip Portugal because of the weather, which is understandable. Our shore excursion in St. Maarten was very good, we had a very informative and friendly guide on our way to the airport to watch the planes. Disembarkation in Miami was easy for suite passengers and more difficult for non-suite passengers. The ship not only had to go through customs, but a CDC inspection and a USGC inspection. Many crew members had to be up at 3:30 AM for immigration. Many were blaming NCL for this. This was not NCL's fault. This was the United States Government. I definitely would sail the Star again. My humble opinion is that there was a young, inexperienced crew working in the dining venues, they seemed very overwhelmed and tired. I'm sure this will improve. I do not cruise for the food itself, I cruise for the cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid 40s who have done about 15 cruises, this was our 7th NCL cruise but first time on the Epic and first time on a ship with more than 2,500 passengers. We like sea days and this cruise was very affordable so thought it was a good opportunity to try a mega ship. We had just come off a cruise with 900 people and hence felt the bigger crowds immediately. Embarkation, the crowds and queues were huge and it felt like mayhem but soon lines got organised. For the first time ever we needed printed ESTAs which was a pain but they had computers with printers. Finally onboard we went to the restaurant for lunch and it was obvious from the start that the crew were not as experienced and trained as on other ncl ships. Our first course (shrimp arugula salad) came without shrimp and arugula. These sorts of errors became common place at almost every meal. One lunchtime we were the first in the restaurant but had not seen a server after 20 minutes and had to get the maître d to move us as it appeared nobody knew who was looking after that area, basic things. Queues for the restaurants at night were huge and wait times were at least 30 minutes but then the buzzers never functioned so you usually waited longer unnecessarily. Unfortunately small problems continued all cruise, our account was wrong every single day of the cruise and guest relations seemed to be trained to either deny there was a mistake or accuse the customer of making the error. Eventually a meeting with the hotel director where he admitted to the ongoing problems they were having with the restaurants and dealing with port taxes at least acknowledged some of the poor training and supervision and led to some of the problems being rectified. We were given a meal in the Epic club in the Haven as an apology, interestingly while the food was amazing the service problems continued there. As platinum members our meals in French Bistro and La Cucina we were treated as second class citizens, with countless comments about our meal being a “voucher meal” and constantly being told we were limited to certain courses taking the shine from what should be superior dining experiences. The food in the Bistro was very mixed (mains excellent, starters average and dessert poor). La Cucina was disappointing after loving it on our last 2 Jade cruises, the pizza was no better than that in the buffet. Pasta dishes were good. We liked the atmosphere of the Manhattan dining room, tables were well spaced and there was often music. Unfortunately the supervisors never picked up on small things like missing cutlery, broken table lamps, missing condiments. Several fellow guests made similar references to the lack of management and supervision on the ship and in the restaurants in particular and it lead to a feeling of slackness and lack of care by the management. The telephone messaging system broke down, the one night we wanted to watch a movie in our room the channel broke down, the outdoor movie screen was a good concept except they refused to put chairs out for it. The indoor movie was about people using sign language except they put Spanish subtitles up. Osheehans regularly opened half an hour late for lunch. Originally we just laughed off these mistakes as the cruise was so cheap but after a week it starts to grind you down and just takes away from the fun you are generally having. On all our other cruises we have written at least a dozen hero cards for our favourite staff on this cruise we only wrote 2. As with many others we didn’t really like the ship itself, the main problem was it was difficult to see the ocean which is what we love about sea days. There is no real promenade, the small area there is has life boats blocking the view, exhaust fans blowing out kitchen fumes, and smokers. There are very few windows. Upstairs you have to get one of the few deck chairs on the upper level to see the sea. There is no forward facing bar and the screen in the h2o bar at the rear of the ship blocks most of the view. Public venues are too small, the theatre only holds 700, the restaurants less than 500, most of the bars only cater to about 50 ... on a ship that was full with 4,500 guests! The worst aspect is you smell smoke everywhere, the casino is mid ship and open so smoke fills surrounding bars and restaurants, disgusting. No mid ship staircase or lifts. We only use stair cases and thankfully most didn’t so they were easy to manoeuvre about. Entertainment is excellent but because the venues are so small the same acts are repeated over and over to allow for people to see the shows but if you went to more than one show (eg the afternoon matinee and then maybe a comedy show later that night) for the first few days you were out of options after a week. As usual the activities were plentiful, we liked the water slides as well, the pools were all heated despite us being in the Caribbean???? Gym was a good size but very busy especially as so much of the entertainment staff using it. Only one walking track for 4000 people and the staff use it to get to their smoking spot. We were given 3 loads of laundry which was s nice surprise. We had an inside cabin which had a comfortable bed and plenty of storage but we didn’t like the unusual bathroom design which is hardly romantic or practical. The sink is a joke. Our cabin steward was excellent. There were only 3 ports and of course NCL made this as difficult as possible as per usual (they are the worst line for port experiences). Took more than an hour to get back on the ship in Funchal with everyone forced to stand in the rain. St Maarten was cancelled due to weathe (fair enough) and we changed to Antigua, they did a good job of accomodating this change on short notice, St Thomas I can’t comment on as we had to do US immigration on the shortest port day and were in the last group so had less than 3 hours ashore. We of course still enjoyed ourselves as the weather was good and we met some great people. This was the first time we have not bought future cruise deposits as it was just a little too underwhelming and we are trying MSC to compare. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it had lots of at sea days. We prefer those to the stops in ports since we're not keen on spending so much on the commercialized tours. It was a bit of travel down memory lane as well, because I had sailed across the Atlantic several times as a kid. We were glad it was this ship because it was as large as the Escape on which we had sailed a couple years ago and we enjoyed that. This was our third cruise with NCL, the other one being on the Sun through the Panama Canal, This ship was great in terms of its design and features. However, our biggest complaint was that there was not a single lounge on the ship that was not loud all day and evening. On our first day, we asked at the guest services desk if there was a quiet place we could relax. The person told us, in an accent that was almost unintelligible, that the only place was the library. Great. We went there and discovered it was packed! Only about 20 seats all lined up. For a ship with 4,000 guests, one quiet room with 20 seats doesn't seem to be enough. We had difficulty imagining that we were the only ones on the ship that would have appreciated a lounge with quieter music where one could relax and read. We certainly were younger than most guests on the ship and we're not old-fashioned in our tastes. We found that the variety of food on the menus at the free restaurants was quite limited. The Garden Cafe (the buffet) was great but again there was not as much variety as we had previously experienced. One last thing... the luggage pickup part of the disembarkation process was an absolute disaster! Confusion reigned. Nobody knew where we were supposed to go or wait. The staff was arguing with each other. We decided we'd probably try a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this ... Read More
I returned to Norwegian for my second cruise in 10 years because as solo traveller I wanted to experience the solo studios and I also wanted to do a trans-Atlantic. Like before, the Norwegian experience is hit and miss. But on this cruise two things were exceptional: the solo studio experience and the onboard entertainment. I never expected the solo traveller program to be so brilliantly organized, I never expected to make good friends, I never expected to never eat alone! NCL had a brilliant young Filipino named Ters Tesoro (or Terry) who held daily meetings in the solo lounge with solo travellers. The lounge is a great concept as the single studios are so small. You can hang out there, drink good coffee or nibble cookies or croissants (supplied daily) and chill with fellow cruisers. Several dozen attended the late afternoon daily meetings, when Ters would offer those who felt sociable a chance to have dinner together, avoiding the queues, or a show where seats were put aside for us. We could meet for all meals, and soon several small groups befriended each other and would do stuff together. It was huge fun and completely unexpected. Entertainment was also first rate: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Burn the Floor were excellent and with pianists, comedians, hypnotist, Beatles tribute band, and a wild Icelandic singer/violinist all available, evenings rocked on the Epic. Now for the bad stuff: I love to deck walk, and the narrow jogging track on one side of one deck is a joke. I so missed the Princess's promenade decks! I tried to walk on Deck 15 but was told no. The food was mainly poor to terrible. It was almost impossible to get warm, let alone hot, food in Taste, one of the main dining rooms. I don't blame the servers, it was a systematic failure from Kitchen to Table. You know things are bad when the plates are cold to the touch. And that was 90% of the time. Meals took forever: sometimes two hours to complete breakfast. I have cruised more than a dozen times, and this was by far the worst dining room experience. The other "complimentary" dining room, Manhattan, was a little better. The 24-hour pub always managed to provide piping hot food, but the wait at lunchtime was often very long. I was surprised when I first entered my studio room at 3 pm on sailing day to find it was not made up and clothing from the previous occupant was still hanging in the closets. He had apparently moved to another room for the TransAtlantic but no-one had removed his clothes. Weird. The other really annoying thing about NCL is the constant pressure to put money down on your next cruise. A phone message. Messages on the TV. Almost daily notes or letters encouraging you to put money down. The worst (and most disgusting) tactic was to send you a copy of your bill to date (showing your charges) to make the point that a future cruise deposit would waive these charges. Well I had prepaid grats and grats on the drink package, so my bill should have shown zero, not the $500 or so in charges the invoice said I had run up. I saw several people take these fake invoices to guest services who said it was nothing to do with them and had come from the NextCruise people. Shameful. I enjoyed my cruise overall but feel the experience was hugely enhanced by the solo program which allowed me to put up with the negatives. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018

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