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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes ... Read More
About the Reviewer: I’m a mid-30s male who sailed in a balcony stateroom on the NCL Epic from Rome on 6/12 to 6/19/2019. This was my 26th NCL cruise (including charters) and my 46th cruise overall. My prior cruise history includes sailing on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC. In 2018, I took a break from NCL and sailed with Royal Caribbean and MSC with MSC Seaside being my last cruise. Pre-Cruise I met up with friends in Rome, Italy for a few days prior to the cruise. It was nice to explore the sights at a more leisurely pace than what you can do with it being a ship’s port of call. I flew into FCO (Rome airport) and transferred with a private company versus taking the train to Termini Station. I stayed at a hotel close to Termini Station in Rome and Termini is a great focal point for which to travel regionally as well as within Rome on the public transit system. I purchased the Roma Pass and with the ability to get into attractions cheaply and the use of the public transit system for 48 hours, it was a very wise investment. NCL EPIC CRUISE – Roundtrip Rome DAY 1 – ROME, ITALY Embarkation: The most cost-efficient way to get to the cruise port from Rome city is by train. I booked the Intercity 510 on TrenItalia arriving at the Civitavecchia port just before 11AM on 6/12. Unfortunately, the elevators on the platform at the train station were not working and you had to take the luggage up and down two flights of stairs to get to the outside. Minor inconvenience. Once outside, you need to purchase a ticket for 2 EU for the red bus to take you to the port entrance. Fair enough, but the line for the bus was disorganized and not all cultures understood the need for a proper queue when the bus arrived. It was rather chaotic. I would’ve just walked it and if you’re able-bodied to do so, you might as well as it’s not too far to the port entrance and with city traffic on port days, it would be easier to do so. At the port entrance, since there were 6 ships at least doing embarkations during this date, you had to get into a queue for a bus to take you to the designated terminal. How kind of the bus driver to allow us to load our own luggage under the bus and then tell us the bus for the NCL Epic only had one working compartment versus the other side for Holland America which had two. We were going to the same terminal so it didn’t matter what compartment it went into. How silly and disorganized. Upon arrival to the terminal, the bus unloaded for both ships and we were split up once inside the terminal. Luggage was taken finally and check in was upstairs further over. Latitudes members didn’t have a separate check-in line, however, the main check in line was moving swiftly so it didn’t matter too much. Once checked in, we were told to proceed to the gangway which was down the escalators. When we got to the bottom, there was another bus waiting to take us to the ship! Good grief already. The ship was a short walk down the pier from where the terminal was. Holland America had the gangways in use for their embark that was in the terminal. The bus was hot and stuffy and by this point, I just wanted to walk to the ship to get it over with. Crew were walking to the terminal so it wasn’t unsafe for passengers to do so as well. We had to wait for the bus to fill before we were driven an absurdly short distance to board the ship. All told from arrival at the train station to when we got on the ship and had drinks at Spice H2O, it was two hours. NEVER AGAIN!! A complete and utter mess with 2 transfers within the cruise port to get on the ship. Stateroom Balcony GTY: Room 13039 I’ve sailed on the Epic three times and all the other times were in a studio room. This was the first time I sailed in a balcony. I booked a guarantee and was put into this family room at the ships first bump out. The room had a very large angled balcony which I loved. I could see why this stateroom configuration wouldn’t work unless sailing with a spouse. The layout is funky and while it mirrors the studios design, storage was in the most random of places – including within the sofa! The electrical outlets are hidden under the counter by the coffee maker. The phone in the room also didn’t have a working voicemail button, it would take you to the voicemail and delete it instantly. I learned a trick to bypass it by mid-cruise. Charlton was my incredible stateroom steward. He did a wonderful job looking after any small request the entire cruise and for making sure everything was perfect. He even provided me with towel animals daily without request despite NCLs announcement they were getting rid of them on future sailings a couple months back. After unpacking rather quickly, it was time to head off to the theater for a joint muster drill for all stations embarking in Rome. It was mandatory for all guests who embarked and some didn’t like it that they were shut off from their alcohol until they attended. Rome embarking guests had purple cards so that’s how ship’s crew knew to stop serving you for the mandatory drill. After that, I went to the solos gathering with Julianna hosting for this portion of the cruise and then the LGBT meet up. A group of solos went to dinner at 7PM and we joined them in Manhattan Room. It was a leisurely dinner service since we were a big table and it took over 2 hours to dine but the company made up for the gaps between courses. The ship was supposed to sail at 7PM but some “scheduled maintenance” wasn’t completed in time and the ship would be delayed sailing until 10PM. After dinner was done, I headed back to the room to relax and it was getting close to 10PM. The ship didn’t sail at 10PM. I fell asleep on the balcony waiting for it to sail and when I awoke after midnight we were finally moving. DAY 2 – FLORENCE, ITALY The previous day’s delayed departure caused the Epic to arrive two hours late to Florence, Italy. The tour provider stated they would work with delayed arrivals so I wasn’t worried but there was a mass upheaval in the atrium where guests demanded to use the phone to contact their individual tour companies. The Epic staff caved in and did allow for usage of the phone for people to contact tour companies about the delayed arrival. We arrived in Florence at 9AM instead of 7AM. PRIVATE TOUR: Best of Florence and Pisa by ItalyTours.EU As was mentioned in the confirmation for the tour booking, ItalyTours waited for the arrival of our ship and when I disembarked, I found my name being held by the driver almost immediately. When he rounded up the rest of the guests, we left the port and headed for Florence. Once in Florence we met up with the tour guide from Vox who walked us around the city and took us inside the museum to see the Michelangelo statue. The tour guide provided us with insights about what we were seeing and the history as we walked around. The driver recommended a lunch pizzeria and took some of us there. After gathering the rest of the guests, we went to a scenic overlook of Florence before heading for Pisa. Upon arrival in Pisa, we had a small amount of time which was actually fine to see the sights before heading back to the ship. The tour accomplished everything it stated it would do, even with the time delay. I would highly recommend this tour provider for tours in Italy (they also have tours for Naples and Rome). The tour size is much smaller than what NCL offers (van with Italy Tours versus bus with NCL) and the cost is cheaper than what NCL charges. NCL’s shore excursion prices have skyrocketed since the introduction of the Free at Sea promo. If you take the shore excursion discount, you’re still paying what you’d be paying if you didn’t even bother booking with NCL. ItalyTours guarantees your arrival back to the ship prior to sailing or will get to you the next port for the ship at their own expense. You don’t see any private tour companies really offering such a guarantee! Back on the ship it was a quick change to get to the solo’s gathering in the studio lounge and then off to the LGBT gathering before a Platinum Plus Latitudes perk – Dinner with an Officer. Either there weren’t a lot of Platinum plus cruisers on this sailing or they weren’t interested in dining with an officer. I was the only person to sign up and had dinner with Brett, the Ship’s Training Specialist. It was a nice dinner and we talked about cruising past and present while enjoying dinner in Taste Restaurant. Grace, the Hotel Director’s assistant, arranged the dinner for us. It was a nice time and very well done! It was one of the highlights of the cruise. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Priscilla, Queen of the Desert The major production show on the NCL Epic is Priscilla, QOTD. I had seen the show just after it was loaded on the Epic back in 2015 so it was nice to see it again. It is definitely a PG-16 or higher rated show. Leave the kids in Splash Academy! It’s a good time to follow the gang to the Australian outback for their show. Lots of good dance numbers and a good storyline. The show has evolved a bit since it was first brought to the Epic but the overall production was enjoyable. I was surprised to see some of the original cast from the first loaded show still doing it nearly four years on! After the show completed, it was time to give Bliss Lounge a try. When we arrived, it was already busy and it wasn’t possible to get into the bar to order so the supervisor sent a bar waitress over to take our order. The service was incredibly slow in there but we did notice one bartender going faster than the others and that’s why people were queueing for him. It took forever for our first round to arrive. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered I was charged for the round of drinks. I did NOT have the beverage package and was shocked when I got the check for $20 for one drink. The last time I sailed on NCL in 2017, the cost was just shy of $12 having gone up from $10 for a Grey Goose and soda. A nearly 100% increase in drink cost? NCL you’ve gone mad. I don’t drink much and with the ridiculously measured pour you did for this $20 drink; you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re not Vegas and with all the nickel and diming lately to justify the CEO’s salary, you should be doing much better instead of getting worse. The drink included an increased gratuity I’m sure the bartenders weren’t getting and an additional $1.50 for a port tax. Trying to fix this error at guest services later would result in the transfer of the $1.50 to the other person’s account. When that person complained about the $1.50 charge, it was reversed back to me with the full charge of the drink I didn’t have. Lesson learned… the waitstaff in Bliss were incompetent. Order directly from the bar staff to avoid this screw up, especially if you don’t have the package and are ordering with people who do. DAY 3 – CANNES, FRANCE I went to a highly-rated beach club from TripAdvisor on the Cannes beachfront. Riviera Beach Club was not far from the ship and for a small fee, you could have a lounger in front and have bar service. It was sunny when we arrived but became more overcast as the day wore on. The wind was kicked up so the sand from the beach was blowing on us. We had a few drinks and then returned to the ship. We did so just in time as the wind had kicked up quite a bit slowing tender service down. When we got in queue, it was just at the guard shack and after that, it was all the way up to the street. It was reported by some guests that it took two hours to get back onboard. Naturally, we sailed late again from Cannes towards Mallorca. Tonight, we had the solos gathering where we met Michael, the Filipino bartender who was dancing in Bliss the prior night and constantly had a line for service. He was very fast, efficient and remembered what you were drinking for all my friends and water for me as I wasn’t drinking. If he saw an empty glass he would ask if the person wanted another one. His energy was amazing and we became fans of his for the rest of the cruise in Bliss or finding him at Howl at the Moon. It was sometimes much faster to go to Howl at the Moon to get a drink than it was to get one from the rest of the bartenders in Bliss. The other bartenders in Bliss just didn’t seem to have the same energy or motivation Michael had. SPECIALTY DINNER: Le Bistro Tonight, we had the first of two specialty dinners given to Latitudes members Platinum or higher. We had a 9PM seating meaning most of the restaurant was just about finished their dinner when we came in. I had the duck which was nice along with escargot and crème brulee. The service was nice and our waitress had to leave after the main course to work in another restaurant. We finished up eating shortly before 11PM. It was a good dinner. You had to chose a main course less than $20 which meant four main courses to choose from – duck, chicken and two fish dishes. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Glow Party This was originally supposed to be up at Spice H2O but when we went up there after dinner, it wasn’t up there. It was down in Bliss Lounge. This is always the featured nightclub night of the voyage. Since Mallorca is a late arrival, the ship put the party on this night. This was the ONLY night of the voyage where the party was scheduled for Spice H2O. When the ship is in the Caribbean or Canary Islands as it had been in the past, Spice H2O was used more frequently. I didn’t feel compelled to go on the dance floor as the music just didn’t move me. It was hard to move anyone since the DJ was mixing in and out of songs so fast you couldn’t dance to one. While it shows a good DJ to mix smoothly, let a song play a bit more. I actually ordered two drinks tonight and it was accurately billed since I ordered it directly at the bar. It was an ok night but definitely not the greatest Glow (formerly White) Party I’ve attended on NCL. DAY 4 – PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN Our delayed departure from Cannes caused a delayed arrival into Mallorca. We arrived just before 3PM when we were supposed to be in by 1PM. This caused a mad rush when the ship arrived for people to get off. I went for an independent Hop On, Hop Off excursion. I walked one bus stop up as the line at the port was a bit crazy so I could get a spot on the bus. It worked as the next stop down was the port and the bus filled without clearing the queue. I took the whole circuit which didn’t take too long and then got off in town by the church to see the cathedral closer up. On Saturdays, the cathedral might not be available for viewing as it can be used for weddings. It was closed this day to the public because of a wedding. It was reported by people who had a shore excursion they received a credit for it. The artisan markets strewn about the area had all sorts of interesting wares for sale, from food to crafts. Save yourself the hassle and see Mallorca for 18 EU on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Back on the ship we dined with the solos we had made friends with during the voyage so far but were disembarking in Barcelona the next day. Tonight, we dined in the Manhattan dining room and I had the Prime Rib which was amazing. Dinner was leisurely as we had a big group and we watched the ship sail from there. I had a 9:30PM reservation for Burn the Floor but because dinner went longer, I missed it. DAY 5 – BARCELONA, SPAIN This is the main turn around day for the ship so guests were being told to disembark the ship. Surprisingly, I expected the ship to have more announcements than it did in the early morning hours. My friends and I headed off the ship to find some churros around 9AM to avoid any more announcements and to get off the ship before the new folks showed up to embark. We ventured up to the churros place, took the transit up to Parc Guell and discovered you now needed a ticket to enter it. The last time I was there in 2003, you didn’t need to have a ticket to enter. They were sold out for the day already so I headed for Palau Guell and my friend headed back to the ship. Along the way, I headed to Starbucks for a caffeine fix the ship doesn’t offer. Back on the ship, it was interesting to come on the ship as an in-transit guest. When I arrived to the terminal, I had to go through security in the terminal but then just bypassed everything else and went up the escalator back onto the ship. Very easy to do! Embarkation was well underway at that point for the new cruisers. During the ship’s lifeboat drill, I enjoyed working out in the quiet gym. Since I had done the drill on embark day in Rome, I didn’t have to do this one. It was a great time to use the ship’s services in peace and quiet. I met up with the solos and went to the LGBT meet up to meet the new cruisers. SPECIALTY DINNER: Moderno Churriscaria We had a dinner reservation for 7:15PM in Moderno. We figured it would be easier to dine specialty the first night where everyone was so new and getting their bearings. It was a nice dinner where the passador were fast and efficient at bringing all the meats. We were asked for what else we wanted. The waiter was attentive to my friend’s alcohol requests throughout the dinner service as well. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Beattlemania Show The band who usually is setup in the Cavern Club was in the theater. I do know Beattles hits despite my age and decided to take in a bit of the show. It was just as you’d expect for the Beattles. The singers were really good in the band. The show was well attended. I went to Bliss Lounge afterward and hung out there for a short bit before strolling the ship. Bliss didn’t get all the kids out of it by 11PM like usual and so there were kids in there trying to get drinks off adults who had the beverage package. The crowd who embarked during Barcelona was decidedly younger than the crowd who was on the first leg of our voyage. Security was slow in removing the minors as well. We ventured to Howl at the Moon and then onto Cavern Club where Fire and Ice were playing. Not finding our groove anywhere, we decided to call it a night. DAY 6 – SEA DAY Finally, a full day at sea! It was nice to head up on deck and go to the quiet zone up front before most of the cruise passengers discovered it was there. I found a lounger immediately and setup shop for hours. It was nice and quiet to read and snooze while the room was being made up. I left for a late lunch at Taste with my friends before returning to my room and sitting on the balcony which was also in the sunlight. We passed through the Strait of Bonifacio around 1PM and had the land masses of Sardinia and Corsica between us. It was nice to be on the balcony for the last part of the transit. Tonight, we dined with some solos from the studio lounge in the Manhattan Dining Room before heading off to the 9:30PM showing of Burn the Floor. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Burn the Floor I couldn’t figure out why I disliked this show so much before. The dancers are so elegant to watch and technically proficient in their movements but the story is lacking. The dances don’t progress from one genre to a more upbeat genre, they hop around with no rhyme or reason. There’s no story that links them and the singers with this cast were horribly bad, especially the male vocalist. I stayed for about 50 minutes before giving up and leaving. I’ve seen Burn the Floor on other ships but this production just doesn’t make sense or have a flow to it. If Priscilla isn’t your cup of tea, this is the only other show on the ship you’ve got. FEATURED ENTERTAINMENT: Norwegian’s Night Out Party This party was well attended and for a change, the DJ let a song play out. I finally got out on the dancefloor for the first time this voyage. The vibe was finally right to do so or at least early on it was. As the night progressed, the music changed again and just made me stay at the bar with my friends more while they drank. Michael, the Filipino bartender, had to come up and help get my friends drinks because the other bar staff couldn’t keep up. He was dancing around while he did so and having a good time on his own while still offering faster service than the rest of the bar staff who were stationed there. DAY 7 – NAPLES, ITALY We made it to the port ON-TIME! Hurray! The only problem was, I didn’t need to get off the ship early so it didn’t matter. However, I felt with the way this cruise had gone so far, a bravo to the Epic for an on-time arrival is warranted. After having a room service breakfast on the balcony, I went ashore and walked around Naples center for a bit. There’s a not-so-helpful tourist desk setup in the cruise terminal. Just walk out of the terminal and you’ll be hit up by taxi drivers offering tours. You’ll also have options from the Hop On, Hop Off Tour provider just at the end of the drive way to the terminal. It was here I discovered my grave mistake of booking a tour through NCL for Herculaneum for $100 USD when it would have cost 28 EU for the trip out there on my own and then admission cost at the site. NCL SHORE EXCURSION: Herculaneum In 2004 when I returned to the Med, I was supposed to visit Herculaneum but skipped the tour and went to Capri with newly made cruise friends instead. This trip allowed me to redeem this and go. Since I didn’t have the logistics worked out before sailing, I booked with NCL. Since I am Platinum Plus, I went to the shore excursion desk to get the discount for booking. You can’t get the discount unless you go there and mention it. The tour started with a bus ride from the terminal at 1PM towards Herculaneum. It was a standard sized tour bus but it wasn’t full of passengers. Upon arrival to the ancient site, we waited while the tour guide purchased the tickets for our entry. She guided us around the site describing things we were seeing using a single earbud setup. The group was too large to fit into some spaces while she was talking so you had to go in afterward or squeeze in together. This is why small group tours were more advantageous. After we completed our summary visit to Herculaneum, we boarded the bus to head to a cameo factory. This is where I really dislike NCL’s tactics. The cameo factory and “teaching you how they do it” is a total joke. They put a video on and have you stare at someone who is sitting at a table near the TV and then take you around back to their showroom where you are expected to buy something from which not only does the vendor make money but NCL gets a kick back from. We could’ve spent more time at Herculaneum and seen more of the sites there versus needing this waste of time. It was when we stopped there that I remembered why I have steered clear of NCL excursions lately. My recommendation is you do the same. You can easily go to Herculaneum on your own for much less than what this tour cost and they have audio guides available at the site. Save your money and do it yourself. Just go earlier to get back and avoid all the port traffic. When we returned to the port, so many tours were returning at the same time that it was chaos for traffic with the containers and trucks coming in and going. It would’ve been faster to walk but we stayed on the bus for over a half hour just to get from the port entrance to the terminal building! Tonight, we dined with a large group of solos, some of whom were with us from Rome, in the Taste Dining Room. It was a fun dinner service after the solos gathering where Michael was bartending at. Service was surprising efficient given our table size. Our dinner moved right along and we were done by 9:30PM. I had time to return to see Priscilla at 10PM for one final time. I loved the production, so I wanted to catch it again on standby. I had no problems grabbing a decent seat. Afterward, it was the 70s dance party in Bliss. I stayed for a bit but was so exhausted from the tour in the hot sun, I called it a night at midnight. DAY 8 – ROME, ITALY Disembarkation was much smoother than embarkation for two reasons. We called the driver who picked us up from the airport to the hotel in Rome to see if he could pick us up at the terminal. He did at 9:30AM. The ship’s transfer option to the airport was to leave at 7AM and cost $60USD. For three of us with a taxi at a more convenient time it was 50EU per person and had door to door service. We disembarked the ship shortly after 8:30AM. You do have to be out of your room by 8AM so people were hanging out in public spaces and not leaving the ship at their assigned times. It caused the lifts to get backed up but we had our trick to get one and got off when we were supposed to. The terminal we were at wasn’t the same one we embarked at and had limited facilities. It was also quite hot outside so we waited in a semi air-conditioned area for the taxi. If you were taking the train, you’d have to go through the bus transfer to the port entrance and then pick up the city bus to head to the train station. I customarily close out my reviews by thanking those on the ship who provided exceptional service. This cruise, only two people stood out for me. The first was my stateroom steward, Charlton from the Philippines. His attentive service and his friendly nature from the first day’s greeting to me and to subsequent chats in the hallway were much appreciated and never forced. The nightly towel animals were a nice touch and the towel body one day was a new one for me after all these sailings! The other person who stood out was Michael Misargano (last name might be misspelled) who was a bartender with salt and pepper hair from the Philippines in the solos lounge, Bliss and Howl at the Moon. This man is to be commended for his energy and quick ability to sling drinks. He was incredibly friendly to those who got to know him and he knew everyone’s drinks without having to ask them for it, only if they wanted a refill. I’m not sure how NCL stole him away from Princess but he could do well training some of his peers to be faster and have more fun while doing so! Special thanks to Brett, Training Officer, for the officer’s dinner and making it interesting. All in all, the Epic isn’t the ship I remembered her to be from previous sailings. The room costs have gone up, the on-ship alcohol prices have gone up, everything has gone up exponentially on NCL. Originally, due to NCLs inflated pricing for their promos, I was booked on the MSC Seaview which sails the same day from Rome, Italy and also embarks there. I switched when after final payment NCL finally came down to be reasonably close (without perks) to what MSC was charging and to be with my friends. MSC is privately owned and while they’re struggling with service issues of their own, the NCL Epic minus the people mentioned above was no different in its service struggles. Cruise lines are expanding too fast and now that NCL is publicly traded, it’s all about squeezing the cruiser to make the investors happy. This cruise couldn’t have been more in your face about it. It’s sad because it’s not the NCL I’ve come to know over the years. While I do have two CruiseNext deposits to return in the future, I won’t be in a rush to use them. I will only sail from the Rome port again with flying in directly and using a NCL transfer directly from airport to cruiseport. It’s sad how every new CEO since Colin Veitch has come to NCL and cheapened the product by so much and yet commanded passengers pay so much more for it. Frank del Rio, CEO of NCLH, should be ashamed of what he’s turned this company into. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I've now set out to cruise on all NCL ships, having sailed too many times on one and the first one (NCL Wind) I sailed on was decommissioned many years ago. The Escape delivered! I purchased a guarantee cabin with one perk, which ... Read More
I've now set out to cruise on all NCL ships, having sailed too many times on one and the first one (NCL Wind) I sailed on was decommissioned many years ago. The Escape delivered! I purchased a guarantee cabin with one perk, which was the beverage package. This was my third guarantee cabin, and all of the locations have been great. The Escape is similar to two other ships I've been on: Breakaway and Getaway. They are all beautiful ships with many activities to suit many tastes. The only drawback I see with these ships is that they are a bit crowded overall and much too crowded in the pool area. I thoroughly enjoyed the shows Choir of Man and After Midnight, as well as the piano entertainer in The District Brewhouse. Howl at the Moon is getting pretty old and sloppy, although I admire the endurance and versatility of the performers. I've seen this show on many of the ships over the years. As a Platinum Latitudes member, this was the first time I was unable to use one of my coupons for a complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant, as they were all booked up. Cagney's delivered an amazing meal and dining experience. Food in general at all of the venues was excellent. As a solo female traveler, I really appreciated the level of service I received at the bars, restaurants, theater, and guest services. I enjoyed a few of the solo gatherings and the coordinator did an excellent job! The New York/Italian/New Hampshire/Pennsylvania/Connecticut crowd was a blast to hang around with! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Just returned from a fabulous 7 day cruise to Grand Cayman, Roatan-Honduras, Belize and Cozumel. The Caribbean Princess is one of the bigger ones and has just been outfitted with Ocean Medallion. The biggest plus for this is the excellent ... Read More
Just returned from a fabulous 7 day cruise to Grand Cayman, Roatan-Honduras, Belize and Cozumel. The Caribbean Princess is one of the bigger ones and has just been outfitted with Ocean Medallion. The biggest plus for this is the excellent internet service. You can now purchase internet for the entire voyage. It is quick and you don't have to log in and out to save minutes. BUT be sure to purchase on the first day at a greatly reduced price. The ports on this itinerary were excellent - 4 days of non-stop fun. The entertainment on board was fabulous. It was nice to see new shows and entertainers and Princess is really trying to appeal to a younger crowd now with their shows. There was a much younger crown on board than I've previously seen on Princess but there was something for everyone-us slightly older folk and the younger cruisers. I can always count on Princess to deliver a quality experience. Entertainment is one of their specialties with the Voice of the Ocean to culminate a great week of entertainment and game shows/trivia. If there is a choir offered on board, I always join that as it's a great way to meet people. This time you could learn the steel drums and our fellow passengers delivered a really great concert on the final day. Grand Cayman- port is right downtown George Town. I did the tourist things like going to the Tortolla/Rum factory for tastings (very busy place), visiting the town of Hell and going to the Turtle Farm - I really enjoyed them all.Then I bought a brand watch in town - was very grateful for the Princess discount offered to me. Roatan-Honduras-this is a beautiful port made specifically by Carnival Corp. I did a dolphin encounter to Anthony's Key Resort. I loved the small group we had and the fact that our dolphins were in a very beautiful, natural setting. They were very healthy and having so much fun with us. The trainer was excellent. It is only an encounter, not a swim though. Water was lovely and warm. Then back at port, I couldn't resist taking the chair lift to Mahogany Bay beach - a man-made beach resort - I enjoyed the ride so much I did it twice. It costs US$14 at the port or US$12 bought through Princess for unlimited rides. Great views as you are taking the 5min ride and right next to the cruise ship. The beach area is noisy though and appeals to a younger crowd. I was so glad to hear that the port area provides lots of jobs for the locals as this is a very poor island and is an eye opener to see. You need to have compassion for the locals. Belize-the people of Belize are very warm and friendly. I took the tour to the Lamanai ruins. It was the highlight of my trip. You are taken by bus to a boat dock area and taken by speedboat to the Archaeological site of Lamanai deep in the jungle. We did an hour's hike round 4 of the best sites - the Jaguar Temple, the High Temple, the Mask Tempe and the Ball Court. You could climb a staircase they had built to the top of the High Temple - highly recommended - views are amazing. It feels surreal standing on top of a structure that was built over 3000 years ago. Walking trails are uneven so wear good closed toed shoes and it is HOT so bring lots of water. Back at the boat dock we were given a nice lunch of chicken, rice and beans, potato salad and fruit punch - all very welcome after a hot hike. Cozumel-I did a dolphin swim at this port and an encounter with manatees which are sweet, docile creatures. This is a commercial facility that churns out dolphin swims by the thousands each day so, whereas I was glad to fulfill a bucket list item of swimming with dolphins, I enjoyed my gentle encounter at St. Anthony's Key Roatan much more.The port shopping area is teeming with multiple ship loads of people so be aware of the crowds. Overall I chose this itinerary because of the port stops on offer and felt that visiting 4 ports in the 7 days made my trip really good value. Highly recommended. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose a cruise on Norwegian Sky from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas and Great Stirrup Cay. This was my second cruise on Norwegian - being thus, I was offered priority check in, which never happened, and was supposed to receive a bottle of wine ... Read More
I chose a cruise on Norwegian Sky from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas and Great Stirrup Cay. This was my second cruise on Norwegian - being thus, I was offered priority check in, which never happened, and was supposed to receive a bottle of wine in my stateroom, which never happened. They told me once I was in my stateroom and checked in that they only offered a bottle of wine for 4 or more day cruises. And I never got an answer as to why I didn't get priority check-in even though it was offered when I booked the cruise. Why don't they share that information PRIOR to checkin when I booked my cruise? Here are my thoughts about this lackluster cruise line and this very mediocre cruise: 1. Watered-down alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Poor carbonation in all soft drinks. 2. Juice in buffet has sugar substitute in it - would have been lovely if they let consumers know somewhere on the machine. 3. Broken outlet falling out of the wall in the stateroom bathroom. 4. No soap in stateroom bathroom and watered-down shampoo and body wash in shower. 5. Noise level was appauling in staterooms. Never a moment of peace and quiet, and guests next door partying as if they were the last human beings on earth. 6. Great Stirrup Cay - Norwegian's private island - you have to bring your own towels from the ship, the island is dirty, incredibly high priced shore excursions that are not worth the money. If you lose one of your 2 towels, Norwegian bills you $25. This is an outrage. 7. Nassau, Bahamas - similarly, incredibly high priced shore excursions that are not worth it. Be careful to check your bag after purchasing anything at the Straw Market. I purchased a bracelet at one of the stalls, and the saleswoman never put it in my bag even though I paid for it. Taxi cabs will rip off any tourist - just be prepared to be financially raped in the Bahamas. 8. Good luck eating at the Great Outdoors buffet and not having your uneaten food taken off the table the moment you get up to grab a drink for your dinner. Staff in the buffet are disturbingly excited to clean off the tables the moment a guest gets up. If you think you will return to your table with your food there, dream on. It is quite amazing that the staff on the ship were not helpful or communicative about how to disembark for shore excursions or to leave the ship at the end of the cruise, yet they are curiously excited to destroy your peaceful dinner by clearing the table BEFORE YOU HAVE EVEN STARTED TO EAT YOUR DINNER. 9. Palace dining room is one of the worst places I have ever dined. Food is bland, wine is unimpressive, wait staff are not attentive - unlike those crazy staff cleaning off the tables in the buffet. 10. Art auction was a joke. They give you 3 post-it notes with your number to put on any painting you would like to bid on. All of the paintings I was interested in were not put into their auction, even though there were no more than 15 people at the auction. The auctioneer chooses which ones HE wanted to try to sell - all lackluster artists, very unimpressive. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
To put it mildly.....We really need a vacation after this Cruise! We ~hesitantly booked this Alaskan Glacier cruise with 7 other family members from around the US. This was to be a true "Bucket-List Cruise". There were 3 ... Read More
To put it mildly.....We really need a vacation after this Cruise! We ~hesitantly booked this Alaskan Glacier cruise with 7 other family members from around the US. This was to be a true "Bucket-List Cruise". There were 3 Seniors with our party..one of them a "Diamond RC" member. We aren't typically cruise people, but we wanted to participate with this one for the aging members of the family. We are Luxury Vacationers and Platinum Marriott Members. We enjoy fine food, fine wine and luxury amenities. Yes, the Ovation is a sparkly new ship. The balcony stateroom was adequate, the staff were quite nice. That's all the positive energy I can put into this review. The biggest disappointment..BY FAR...was that THIS Alaskan Cruise did not get to see the glacier we had on the itinerary...This ship is TOO BIG to get to the glacier!! So I'll bet no one will ever see the glacier if you take this ship! The 3 other ships that sailed with us all went to the glacier. Also, the same cruise the week ahead of us didn't go to the glacier either. Safety aside..this was THE hallmark of the trip. If they couldn't do it, they should've told us ahead of time. Right off the bat, they want your individual picture! Not because it's " A time to Remember" ...it's all about facial recognition. Don't believe it's true? Think again! For beginners, the embarkation was total chaos, stress and disorganization from Seattle. The seniors were exhausted and so were we. The dining experience.... Some of our family were staying in Junior Suites...They ate at a separate dining room every night. We were not allowed to attend that dining room. So unless we wanted to pay the upcharge for a specialty dining venue we never ate dinner together....NOT ONCE! So we did lunch together instead. Here is where we ate our meals and our thoughts on the experience.... Where ARE the fantastic Buffets? The ice sculptures? The shrimp towers? The chocolate fountains? Not on this ship! None of it.... We ordered coffee/Juice & danish from room service each morning..free with a tip. OK Windjammer is like a hospital cafeteria. Food was Eh... Cafe Two70 another hospital cafeteria. Food was Eh... Cafe Promenade 24hr coffee/ stale pastry & Sandwich shop is the size of a kiosk at the mall. Nothing special here. Chic MDR dining where we ate dinner was ok, staff was very attentive. Average food, nothing special, didn't leave hungry. Solarium Bistro Breakfast to order was a hidden gem in the mornings and decent. Solarium Bistro Dinner...not that great. Eh... Lunch in the The Grand was ok, good place to gather if you are with a group. The smoking/vaping sections of the ship. If you are a smoker, vaper or enjoy a cigar...Beware! There are only 3 places on ship to indulge in your stress-reducing cigarette. #1 The 5th Floor patio near Vintages Wine bar- the quietest place and most difficult place to find (but closed many times for cleaning?, without any cleaning going on?) #2 The 14th Floor open air hallway between the Solarium and Splashaway Bay. This is quite a hike from most staterooms. Not a favorite place to go. #3 The back left section of Casino Royale if you want to be out of the weather & wind. Another not-so-favorite place to go, but nice at 6:30 am if you'd like a little peace & quiet. Night time activities were mediocre at best. We usually ended up in the Music Hall for a silly game or two and some music...not as good as my local bar. Schooners had some nice piano music. We never did see any of the shows. They were booked up from day #1. We did the Skagway train excursion, which was nice. We booked that several months in advance. The " Refreshment package" was expensive, but covered all of our bottled water & Virgin Mary drinks & Mocktails. We also used it for other mixers because we purchased a few "Royal Gift" packages of Absolute Vodka for our room so we could mix our own drinks. We also brought on 2 bottles of wine from port on embarkation day. The others with us hardly got their money's worth from the alcohol packages they spent almost $1,000 on. Most of the bars were closed during days in port. FYI... The PUSH to SPEND MORE ! OMG!!! The constant push to spend more money blew my mind! As if you haven't spent ENOUGH already!!!! Every activity is put in place to help you spend more money. From the "Smokey-Eye" Demo (to purchase Urban Decay Makeup Pallets) to the Seminars. They want you spending..spending...spending! Even the TV stations...non-existent so you are out spending instead of watching tv. VOOM Experience..=...DOOM Experience...need I say more...totally NOT worth it. Even in an emergency. Formal nights....FWIW what is the point? Nothing special...No fancy dinners here or reduced drink prices...Just more opportunity for pictures to sell you later. The Captains Reception....Hahahaha....reception? I though most receptions came with a drink and a small bite? My mistake. Ports..Interesting tourist traps...bought a few things, saw a few things, drank a beer, ate a lunch....maybe did an excursion....got back on ship This is just the tip of the iceburg...haha..But you've got the idea. Perspective...If you're a cruiser, you'll always be a cruiser...it's your thing. No offense, but I just don't see how this is a relaxing or pampering way to vacation. I would not classify this as a Luxury Cruise. When the bills roll in and begin to hover near the $8,000 mark and we have nothing special to say about this vacation, that's just sad. I can put a much better vacation together with 1/4 of the money we spent and say.."I have had a vacation"...Ahhhhh. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Adventure of the seas 8N cruise Bahamas and perfect day Stayed overnight at doubletree Hilton. Free airport shuttle and $25 to the port. Wasn't happy they threw my luggage in the back of their free airport shuttle and as only ... Read More
Adventure of the seas 8N cruise Bahamas and perfect day Stayed overnight at doubletree Hilton. Free airport shuttle and $25 to the port. Wasn't happy they threw my luggage in the back of their free airport shuttle and as only 2 other people the bad slid around and was black not red! I still can't get it clean. Hotel excellent, and had swimming pool, cafe and Starbucks. Cruise Check in was quite quick although the queue for security was long and this was 10.30am. Once onboard there was a long queue waiting for the buffet Windjammer restaurant to open. Best avoided so went to cafe on deck 5 for a cheese and ham sandwich instead. Signs at guest services saying no upgrades as full. I did receive several emails since I paid for my cruise asking me to bid for an upgrade so it would appear unlikely you would now get any free upgrades or be able to pay for any onboard, instead they will go to the highest bidder. I selected my balcony cabin location right by the elevators so didn't want the upgrade anyway. Cabins opened just after 1pm. If you have ever bought a new build house you will understand what I mean when I say I then went on to 'snag' the room for issues. The TV volume would not turn down and was so loud I had to keep it off. The cabin steward said he has reported it but on day 2 I called maintenance myself and they sent an electrician within 30 minutes who advised it was a faulty cable. Several hours later after dinner they swapped the cable and it then worked fine. The sink tap was spraying water all over me as was probably clogged with lime scale and spraying everywhere, the cupboard door to the safe was loose on one of the hinges and almost fell off and one of the balcony chair seats was very dirty. The air con also doesn't seem to work properly either. Again my room steward said he reported these issues on day 1. On day 3 I rang maintenance again myself and within half an hour the tap spray was swapped and works perfectly now and he called a colleague who sorted the cupboard door also. Should I really have to do these things, I would suggest the room steward or supervisor should test these things. You should book my cabin 8622 I have had it fixed! Surprisingly I didn't have to ask for my free drink and welcome gift for crown and anchor which I normally spend two days chasing so that was good. I pre booked arcade credit as it came with a bonus amount so I had a letter in cabin to go to the arcade and dial a number. I did this and was told to just put my card in the machines and it will work out the credit. A nice man appeared and was very helpful, showed me how it all worked. A lot of machines were broken, poorly stocked or simply would not accept the sea pass card. You win tickets and can claim them at a machine in the arcade room on the last evening from 7pm. Needless to say we had to stand around waiting for someone else to arrive as the machine was broken! Then we had to wait whilst all the kids took forever choosing their prizes. Casino credit - was told can use OBC in the casino at no charge. You transfer the money on the machines. They have instructions in the casino. Unfortunately the casino was ruined by the smoking as usual. It goes through the whole casino and not just the smoking section. This is very poor RC. The staff are very unhappy here and are worried about the smoke to their health. People were using the casino as a smoking room instead of going outside. I walked through when it was closed and there were 2 people smoking. Entertainment was good. Mix of dancers and comedians as well as a fabulous entertainer. Dinner was busy in the windjammer most nights which is unusual. It was often busy but plenty of tables in the evening for those not wanting to go down to the restaurant. I had to live on Frosted flakes for breakfast as there were no weetabx. They also had no salad cream which normally I manage to find a bottle hidden away. The restaurant manager told me they've never had it. My reply was that on my last 20+ cruises, I must have imagined it then! I struggled to find any cooked vegetables, broccoli some days but lots of fried food and potato wedges - same all week. It was much better last year. Lovely man in the Windjammer looked after me and was very helpful. He even went to get me some French fries the last evening when they were not on the buffet. Diamond lounge - lovely to see Christopher there again, nothing was too much trouble and he even helped me find something to do the last day whilst waiting all day for my flight. Buffet continental breakfast is served in the diamond lounge although they don't have cereal in there now so was a bit disappointed. Also no snacks during the say when I went in there. I guess it gets wasted so no point putting too much out but would have been nice to find a few cookies. Diamond and above guests please note that guest services advised RC's new policy is to open all cans in the happy hour promotion (5-8pm offer). So where we get 3 X free drinks per day, if we choose to have soda cans, they now open them. I was given two cans of Coke Zero open which I then wasted as couldn't drink two at once. I like to save one for the next afternoon. Apparently they tell me they now open them so we don't give them away! I said look, I don't drink alcohol so I want my free cans of soda to enjoy when I like. If this is your new policy I will still give them away opened or waste them. I suggested RC stop those people who are costing them a fortune drinking for 3 solid hours alcohol at the free bar each night rather than worry about a few cans of soda. I am really cross having got to diamond plus I may now have to switch to P&O!!! The 3 free drinks is a perk I have spent a lot of money with RC to get. Port info: Very little information on each port, maps were not given out unless you went to some sales talk! They just wanted to talk about the overpriced stores and bamboo sheets. I assume they get commission? The Ship ha the usual merchandise, and overpriced general items. I even gave one guest some Ibuprofen for a headache as they were a small fortune in the shop. Usual $10 tat sale as I call it. Day 3 Port Canaveral - very hot! Harmony of the Seas had taken the best dock right by the Exploratory Tower so we ended up too far away to walk to anything by the Port and certainly is this 90F plus heat. There was nothing you could walk to and one of the few attractions nearby was also closed Sunday's. I got off to check I hadn't missed anything but just got bombarded by these giant flies which were everywhere. If not been before, would have done the trip to Kennedy but as we did that in November we stayed on board. Disappointed we couldn't walk to anything. Other people cancelled their tours to Disney as it was just so oppressively hot. Found some people who went to Universal Studios and they said it was unbearable and couldn't queue in this heat. Day 4 Miami - loads of cruise ships in port as you would expect. We docked on the starboard side, walked through the terminal to the HOHO buses. I booked this $49 tour on board as had lots of OBC otherwise would have bought cheaper on shore. Lots of people selling tours ashore and cheaper. They didn't tell us that we would queue for 45 minutes to get a bus that then dropped us off 5-10 mins away to then stand and wait for the proper bus to start the tour. We were left stood next to buses with engines running, it was so hot, 91F/33C in the shade plus the heat from the buses. A lady then shouted we were in the line for the blue route and we would not get on the next bus so would have another 30 minutes to wait after the next one arrived, so she said we could queue for the red bus route and moved us further along. There was no organisation, it was a free for all when the bus came. Nobody dare get off as they knew they would not get a seat back. No air con downstairs, I guess as open top buses but very poor for a hot city. I wouldn't be surprised if people were unwell due to the heat. Even with the windows open downstairs there wasn't much of a cool breeze, in fact it was a warm breeze most of the time. Other than then beach and shops, there wasn't much to see. After the tour ended we had to get off the bus and wait another 20 minutes for the bus back to the Ship. Total waste of $49 as had been to Miami before. Took 4 hours to do nothing. I did give the diamond concierge feedback which he did log and I would have left it at that but as I was infuriated at being given two cans of coke open (total waste) I went to guest services to complain. The excursions manager did call me to discuss and offered a 50% refund which was fair. Day 5 Nassau - docked furthest away so four ships in front of us. On the port side so I had a view of the ocean, ships the other side. I booked the morning essential Nassau tour in advance saved ten dollars. This was a fantastic tour. The only thing I was unhappy about was the man who decided to walk us from the furthest dock to the bus (a good 5-8 minute walk) just as the rain fell down. To say we were all soaked was really an understatement. I took out a cardigan to cover me but it was literally wringing wet. Needless to say the rain stopped after ten minutes and the man abandoned us for another ten minutes. Like they couldn't have waited for the heavy shower to pass! It took 2 hours to dry out. We went to the rum cake factory, Atlantis, the rum factory and more, it was great. Restrooms at every place. Had 3 other ships in with us so was busy around the shops/market right by the port. You can walk wall around this area. There is even a McDonalds just round the corner by the Hilton. Be prepared to haggle at the stalls though. Change was given in local currency at one of the shops on the tour so ask if paying cash whether it's USD change or Bahamas currency. Day 6 the much talked about Perfect Day, Coco Cay We docked on the left as you look at the island so the whole island was to the back of the ship as we had turned around. Grandeur was also in port. Little open mini buses took us from the ship exit to the island. They were driving a little fast! The water park looks amazing. There is also the balloon but it looked too swaying to tempt me. There are a number of shops in huts to the left of the island. Unfortunately I am very fair skinned to cannot stay out in the sun for more than a hour or so, even with factor 50 on. They were selling factor 70 and one lady factor 100 cream in the huts. There was very little shade on the island, some under the food places but not all tables were in the shade. Also you had to venture off the path through sand and sharp shells to find a table. They need to work on this which I'm sure they are doing. Also all the restrooms all had queues for the ladies. Enjoyed seeing the island but too hot for me and set my heat rash off! Internet package $15.99 for the basic one device if purchased for the duration of the cruise, 24 hour pass gone up to $22.99. Slow connection but handy to keep in touch with family and friends. I tried to download the Uber app for cheaper taxi to the airport but the pictures where you have to select store fronts etc. just would not load as it was too slow speed. Disembarkation - transfer to Newark airport it was $27.50 and left at 7.40am only! The excursions booklet had 2 X 4 hour tours leaving at 9.30am (note meeting time is 8.30 in lounges to get you out, collect luggage and through customs etc). At the back of the booklet it said have a late flight, after 3.30pm we have late tours - what they actually meant was the tours in the booklet would get you to the airport for flights after 3.30pm - total waste of time confusing people! They went on to do the same with just airport transfers saying if not in a hurry and flights after 3pm book a transfer to Newark ($27.95) or Times Square ($44.95)Again, they meant only one bus for each, both at 7.40am!!! Seriously! Excursion desk were not helpful at all. They offered no long tours or later tours and said latest time to get off her ship was 9.45am. I was going to book one of the tours but they were all cancelled as they didn't have enough people to run them. So, I was left with nothing to do and a flight at 10pm at night! RC were not helpful at all. I asked if there was luggage storage at the airport and they gave me a leaflet for storage in New York. I google one near the HOHO bus and it said sorry this location is temporarily closed. The rest appeared to be self storage. For those not knowing New York this was not good. Can someone please set up a business collecting luggage from the cruise ship on departure day and returning to the airport or nearby later. Surely a profitable business. I opted to leave at 9.30am, but was told final call to leave around 8.30am. I was going to get a taxi but there was a shuttle for just $20. Ok, so it went to the Hilton and Best western first but didn't take long. Far cheaper than a taxi if just one person. Met a lovely family also from the UK on the shuttle. Worth noting you can get a day room for around $79 plus tax $90 if you have a late flight. Newark Airport - Delta wouldn't let me check in nor offload luggage saying had to wait for virgin Atlantic (code share) staff at 5.30pm. No luggage storage they say after 9/11. However, I was able to walk all around the airport and get within 50 feet of aircraft on the AirTrain with a suitcase that had not been scanned/checked. This is really poor security. So I had 12 hours to kill before my flight. A lovely man in the shop suggested I take the shuttle outside P4 on the AirTrain to The Mills at Jersey Gardens shopping mall. I took the AirTrain around the terminals, just 2 stops and was at P4. The shuttle was outside waiting. $5 one way, $9 return. They accept luggage and even put it onboard for me. The mall is 10 minutes away, buses every half hour and he even gave me the timetable. It is huge! I never covered half. Really good prices and on designer stuff like handbags. I'm not a big shopping fan but really enjoyed this. Luckily I had my suitcase so wedged some things in! Another option with a late flight is to take the train to Manhattan. Follow signs to AirTrain at Newark airport and buy a ticket at the machine right at the AirTrain entrance (I think they were orange/blue). Buy a ticket to New York Penn station (not Newark Penn station). This ticket will cover both the AirTrain and the N Transit train. Take the AirTrain to Newark Liberty International Airport AirTrain station. Takes 10 mins max. Then get off the AirTrain and get on the NJ Transit train going to New York Penn Station. There are signs at the station. Download a map online. Once there, you can either walk around or get the underground to the main sights. You may be able to find a luggage storage location! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
While on a majestic fjords cruise and leaving Amsterdam we hit a foreign object on a initial inspection and short delay we had the all clear to carry on but never got to Norway, around half way the boat developed a mechanical vault so had ... Read More
While on a majestic fjords cruise and leaving Amsterdam we hit a foreign object on a initial inspection and short delay we had the all clear to carry on but never got to Norway, around half way the boat developed a mechanical vault so had to turn back. The cruise was eventually terminated and we went back to Amsterdam. We still enjoyed a full program of entertainment and everything else on board. They announced that we would be going back to tilbury by ferry They had already given us £25 each and a free bar fo one night but then told us we would get a full refund + free cruise of same duration anytime in the next 2 years or if we wanted a longer one they will deduct the value of this cruise We only lost one day of the whole trip it’s good to hear of a company doing the right thing with out having to spend hours complaining. Nice one CMV Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ... Read More
I have only been on one other cruise, that was Carnival, so that is the only comparison I have. First, the good thing... The entertainment was great. The people in the show do a wonderful job. Most of the staff are nice enough. The ship is clean and beautiful. There are many nice pools and hot tubs, so they were not crowded (yet they close them all down early which is irritating). The bed was comfortable and the room quiet. The food in the buffet was just okay (deserts were good), better than Carnival, but the food in the dining room was much worse than carnival. And now I move on to the bad things... Eating in the dining room on Carnival was a great experience we looked forward to every night, but on MSC it felt like a punishment. Usually the food was not good and the waiters also made us feel uncomfortable and unwanted. They do not have "anytime dining" like other ships, you have to pick 6 PM, 8 PM or 10 PM. They kick you out after an hour or so to get ready for the next crowd. They are always rushing around in a hurry yet take forever to bring the food. We waited an hour for our first course one time, then had 15 minutes to eat the rest and get out. It is loud and there is constant banging from the dumbwaiter bringing down food. We asked to be switched to a different time and got a better waiter and location after the switch. I cannot believe they charge you for water in the dining room! Water was free on Carnival. Which is my next complaint, they are constantly after more money. They pester you all the time to buy the drink and food packages. The drink package would have cost $700 for the two of us ($40 a day). If you're drinking $700 in alcohol in one week you have a problem. We spent $80 on drinks, that's it. The food package would have cost around $260 for 3 meals for the two of us. That's seems high for mediocre food. The worst experience by far were the excursions! DO NOT book a tour. Have them bus you and walk around on your own. The tour company they use in Italy is a nightmare! We were not given all the things promised in Pisa and Rome. In Rome they lost an elderly man and left him there. Don't know if he ever made it back to the ship. I did not listen to the tour guides speak, they are hard to understand. Our English speaking guide hardly said anything anyway. The guides have deals with shops to take you there so you will buy things, like the "Pearl Factory" they said we needed a ticket to get into. It was a jewelry store! Nothing more, and it is free to go in. They wasted my time with this stuff. I felt very ripped off over the excursions. The internet was poor, and we had a router right outside our room. The zip-line cost $12 a person and is boring. It should be free! The constant up-selling is just a nightmare. We have decided not to go on MSC again because of these issues. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I am the basic economy cruiser. When I cruise solo, I choose Norwegian for a number of reasons. First, they have an excellent solo program, with an assigned solo cruise director. Second, their single supplement is generally less than 100%, ... Read More
I am the basic economy cruiser. When I cruise solo, I choose Norwegian for a number of reasons. First, they have an excellent solo program, with an assigned solo cruise director. Second, their single supplement is generally less than 100%, especially if you are able to book at the last minute. Third, they let me take a bicycle on board, keep it in my room, and use it in every port if I wish. For this cruise, I flew economy with a carry-on and a backpack. From the Seattle airport, I took the light rail ($1.00 for seniors) to downtown and walked to Port 66, about 30 minutes. I arrived at the port at my scheduled arrival time and experienced no difficulty in embarkation. My room was almost ready, I dropped off backpack, and set off to explore Seattle. I seemed to be going in the wrong direction in leaving the ship, but there was no problem. Pike Market was really crowded (it was Saturday), but I found a wine shop there and was able to sample a flight of Washington wines. I found the production quality of the two main shows, Footloose and Elements, to be excellent and enjoyed both of them. I took most of my meals at Taste and Savour, because I enjoy being waited on and sitting at a table with a tablecloth and I eat less when ordering from a menu. When my dining partners had a scheduled excursion, the breakfast staff was accommodating and they made it to their point of departure on time. The food was good, pretty much as expected from previous cruises, and the deserts were generally exceptional. I avoided the Café as much as possible, finding it difficult to find a seat and with people everywhere. However, the crepes and ice cream at the Café were a major draw after the shows. Being an economy cruiser, I didn’t have any additional expenses on board except for the bundled laundry service and tips. I don’t gamble (the expected value is less than zero), drink alcohol on board, take ship excursions, or partake of any other add-ons. I find the value of Norwegian cruises to be exceptional. The work-out facilities on Norwegian ships are fairly small and tucked away in an upper corner of the ship. When I wanted, I was able to find machines and space for a work-out, however. I must admit that I greatly enjoyed the ropes course on the Breakaway and wished it had been duplicated on the Joy. Disembarkation wasn’t a problem. Customs just waved me through. I rented a bicycle from a shop in Seattle rather than using one of the many sitting around. I was able to store my suitcase for a couple of hours and got good advice on where to bike in the two hours I had available before I had to catch my flight back. Personally, I find the bike trails and weather in Denver to be preferable to those in Seattle, but the rental agency assured me that if I had more time, they could direct me to a better path. I took the light rail from downtown back to the Seattle airport with no problem. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I have had a cruise to Alaska on our bucket list for most of our married lives! We took this cruise to celebrate our 50th anniversary and it could not have been better! Princess Cruise lines had a moving Memorial Day ... Read More
My wife and I have had a cruise to Alaska on our bucket list for most of our married lives! We took this cruise to celebrate our 50th anniversary and it could not have been better! Princess Cruise lines had a moving Memorial Day gathering! They also have a Military Veteran's get together! My wife and I are both U.S. Air Force veterans! We enjoyed meeting fellow veterans and hearing their stories of military service! There were two incidents within our cabin that were quickly corrected! The toilet that ceased flushing was made operational within two hours! A desk area light bulb that failed was replaced within an hour!! The only negative during this entire cruise was beyond Princess' control. The embarkation process was changed from the usual board as you will to a structured boarding "due to two ships in port and departing at the same time". The fact of to ships departing should not have been a problem. Difficulties arose when the port authority shunted the passengers from both ships into the same security check line!! Only AFTER clearing security were the two groups divided!!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This is my sister and I second experience sailing on seaside along with my nephew and his girlfriend for my sis 59 birthday. The trip didn't disappoint and hold up to our great pervious experience. Embarkation was a breeze and the ... Read More
This is my sister and I second experience sailing on seaside along with my nephew and his girlfriend for my sis 59 birthday. The trip didn't disappoint and hold up to our great pervious experience. Embarkation was a breeze and the line moved from the port lobby very quickly to get us onboard in no time. The staffs were great and friendly as well as the other cruisers who did speak English. Please keep in mind majority of the cruisers are from abroad therefore English is not the first language but you will get a smile with no words. I am ok with that. The shows on Seaside are entertaining and holds your attention the entire time. I am a average cruiser total 15 ytd on RCCL and NCL and I can gladly confirm, Seaside shows are the best at sea. The food are above average and taste the same. Nothing to write home about here. It's cruise food so we made the best used of it. The public areas are kept clean with plenty of bathrooms around but 2x I found 2 of the smaller bathrooms out of toliet paper. So always check for toilet papers first before undressing. Words of wisdom. The room Stewart Manuel is a ninja at keeping the cabin clean and stocked. Our restaurant hosts were also friendly. The ports were nothing to write home about since I am also from the Caribbean and have done the Eastern routes more than once. I have learned very quickly to enjoy the cruise ships life and not the destination since I live in Fl. This was my floating home for the week. My overall experience was great and booked another MSC Experience for Nov 2020 on the next new ship coming to Miami. Looking forward to another week of R&R next year on MSC. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
What an absolute mess of an entire trip. Norwegian really really dropped the ball on this one. This was our 2nd time on that boat and the second trip was nothing like the 1st. The boat was right off of dry dock, all new staff, no one ... Read More
What an absolute mess of an entire trip. Norwegian really really dropped the ball on this one. This was our 2nd time on that boat and the second trip was nothing like the 1st. The boat was right off of dry dock, all new staff, no one knew what they were doing, never even met our room steward. No customer service to call, lines were hours long to get anything answered. Syd Norman nice addition with syd Norman band very entertaining. Burn the floor and million dollar quartet nice entertainment Dueling piano entertaining at first but played same songs over again No smoking in casino should be implemented. Smoke permeates bistro, makes whole 6th floor unusable Food in buffet was commonly cold, chicken over cooked. Indian food was not as wonderful as it was on the bliss. Specialty restaurants were exceptional - Brazilian, steak, Italian, raw bar. Missed 2 ports, one due to leaving 4hrs late and the other from what we hear was due to Norwegian passing it off as weather but it wasn't. The tendering was an absolute nightmare. Took hours to get off. Some ports you'd literally have 2hrs before having to come back and stand in another line for 90 mins to get a tender. HOT MESS. We are likely done with NCL after this one. First trip on Getaway in the Baltics was great, Bliss thru the Canal was wonderful, this was all unacceptable and they offered no refund for missed ports nor compensation for missed tours not refunded on the missed ports. Bad. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise 3 weeks before the sail date, I just happened to see an email with the itinerary, which was great. NCL does offer great itineraries, but these very large ships are not for me. NCL took my money without making a ... Read More
I chose this cruise 3 weeks before the sail date, I just happened to see an email with the itinerary, which was great. NCL does offer great itineraries, but these very large ships are not for me. NCL took my money without making a reservation for me. Took days to clear up and resulted in my credit card company suspecting fraud on my account and then insisting that I get a new card with a new number. A very stressful start. I traveled alone for the first time and NCL provided a solo travelers meeting place daily along with reservations for dinner if you wanted to dine with the group, which was very nice. The cruise director was the best I have ever seen on my 14 cruises, very friendly entertaining, spontaneous and funny. BURN THE FLOOR was great ( saw it 2x), so was MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET. NCL needs to improve its service in the dining rooms, seemed like most of the wait staff had no idea what they were doing. Long waits for the food most days. The food is mediocre compared to other cruise lines. It was very hard to get a table att the buffet, We missed 2 ports, very disappointing, but I did get my shore excursion money back. Most of the excursions were good, Bergen on Foot very disappointing. Scotland had to wait over an hour for tenders to get back to the ship. Poor planning on NCL part, having all the excursions end at the same time. Large ships like the Getaway are not for me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my fourth Norwegian Cruise. Good points: 1. Itinerary awesome! Norway, Iceland and Scotland leaving from Copenhagen (I stayed here for 3 nights prior to cruise) 2. Food good (hey I don’t have to cook or wash dishes ... Read More
This was my fourth Norwegian Cruise. Good points: 1. Itinerary awesome! Norway, Iceland and Scotland leaving from Copenhagen (I stayed here for 3 nights prior to cruise) 2. Food good (hey I don’t have to cook or wash dishes plus I’m not a fussy eater) 3. I stayed in the Studio cabins (for solo travellers) and we have our own lounge area with own bar and bartender (scheduled between 5-7 pm) plus our own social director. 4. I did see some entertainment. Not bad. Vincent (the cruise director) and Nicolas (one of the entertainers who came onboard) were good as a duo one night in the Headliners. I recommend seeing Million Dollar Quartet which was excellent! Albeit the music was too loud ( ), Syd Norman’s House band was very good. Bad points: 1. We left Copenhagen 5 hours late so the next day the captain decided to cancel the first port of call of Haugesund, Norway. We got a refundable port charges but didn’t think the non-refundable $50.00 each cabin was good enough. Should have been maybe a bit more and each person. Also we missed Invergordon because captain said it was the weather. I had a private tour here but with luck I got a full refund. Some people felt there was nothing wrong with the weather but I’ll have to take captain word for safety reasons, I think. So I feel we kind of got gipped anyway. At least we should not have missed the first port. 2. The tendering was awful both ports of Geiranger and New Haven (for Edinburgh). I missed my private tour in Geiranger by 15 minutes (in this case those tours won’t give full refund but they were nice enough to give me 50% back). I told Guest Services (I know they won’t care because wasn’t ships tour). I told them I tried to book the tendering on the TV and couldn’t find where (I found out later it was under entertainment, the daily newsletter was vague on how to find it on the TV menu). I went right away next morning went to Box Office to book and was told earliest was tender #5 and that I would be there by noon (that’s when my tour left). Guest Services said others booked on TV. I wasn’t happy with that response and said “well I guess I’m not so techno savvy, eh?” He booked me on #2 tender for New Haven. Didn’t have a private tour in Edinburgh but took a heck of a long time to get tendered as I waited for over an hour in the theatre then it took 25 minutes to get to the port. 3. We solos have our own activities person. I think someone needed to train her better because all she did was get us together for a quick meeting then dinner. We met in another lounge instead of our studio lounge like other ships. The poor bartender (scheduled from 5-7 at the studio lounge) was there alone every evening. A few people here and there got drinks. The activities director did bingo one evening (I won). I kind of felt sorry for her. Maybe I should have trained her. 4. With 4,000 people yep it does feel crowded at times especially at the buffet. Most mornings I’d grab my breakfast and head to our lounge area. I liked my cruise but at the same time this tendering business kind of spoiled it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
20th May Singapore- Ko Samui-Pulau Redang- Singapore Hi Genting Dream, FrequentCruiserDominic here at your service. 1. Being a recurring cruiser for numerous ships on many cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess, ... Read More
20th May Singapore- Ko Samui-Pulau Redang- Singapore Hi Genting Dream, FrequentCruiserDominic here at your service. 1. Being a recurring cruiser for numerous ships on many cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, and Costa. I must say it was a huge leap for me to try out Genting Dream which I have researched it being a home port for Singapore. Thus, I embarked on a 8hour flight all the way from Melbourne, determined to experience and try out Genting Dream experience, with hopes of have the dream experience of course. My Itinerary was as follow, Singapore- Ko Samui-Pulau Redang- Singapore. 3 NIGHT Asian luxury cruise with big colourful ship sailing on the high seas as seen within my brochure. 2. Upon arrival at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre of Singapore, I was greeted by havoc and chaos with almost no walking space. Noting that it was a Public Holiday in Singapore & with Voyager of the Seas docked in the terminal as well, I rendered it as a norms for the crowd for the cruise line or even the terminal and thus did not take it to heart a lot as I was looking ahead to better services and experience ahead. Reviews Reader let me guide you through the process and my experience of your Genting Dream Experience! 3. There was much confusion as I noted 6 different type of uniform don by the staff at pier but the most assuring part was seeing the well known Intercruises uniform code of White and Blue, but it surprises me on why they wore green with white here at Singapore. I was rendered no assistance when I approach the security personnel in black for assistance probably so as it wasn’t included within their job scope of security presence and crowd control, Oh well! 4. Kiosk self-check in was organised and swift which were definitely delightful! I was issued with a boarding card #9 which I had no idea what was it for? Boarding in sequence? But anyway, I senselessly followed the surge of crowd into the security counters whereby scanning of bags and belongings were in process. 5. Yet again, senselessly, I was ushered to the waiting area as of 1535hours as the staff mentioned immigration will only start boarding at 1600hours? I took it with a pinch of salt as it was probably a norm for the terminal and cruise line again. 6. Here comes the slight dramatization part. Being the Dominic in me, ( I do that at every port), I spoke to the Intercruises embarkation staff named Gerald and Ben? which were extremely helpful and attentive to my numerous numbers of questions regarding the flow of guest. Managed to understand more of the flow and operation flow of Genting Dream which I must say is very differing indeed to other cruise lines as Genting only offers short turnaround time from what I researched which is CRAZY! Kudos indeed to the embarkation team from Intercruises. You go, Boys! 7. Engulfed within the crowd with languages I do not understand, I had no alternatives but to look around and observe the staff and other cruisers. What surprises me was the constant shouting and noise transmitted from walkies talkies held by Ben even though he tried to reduce the disturbance at times as observed by me. Shouldn’t they be having earpieces for their walkie talkies or even have amiable tone within their communication systems? Once again, being the Dominic in me, I managed to track the sources to 2 individual personnel in blazer which was standing at the railing of Level 3. Seem to be the supervisor or overall in charge, I must say, they are capable of giving instructions to the staff on ground very well, pointing and directing staffs just from one origin but it would definitely be better that cruisers are not exposed to the noise transmitted or the ground staff are not exhausted by them just pointing and giving instructions! 8. Fast forwarding, I managed to board the ship at 1625hours even though the crowd was crazy, I must say, Intercruises embarkation team that facilitates boarding at Singapore is really superb, their capabilities to handle such massive crowd with that lacking amount of seating capacity. Thank you Gerald and Ben for the service rendered. I promised a commendation and I will deliver it for sure because, I am Dominic Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I traveled solo on a May cruise to Bermuda from NY and got a pretty good last minute deal on an oceanview cabin. Norwegian has a lot of programs for solo travelers especially if you get a studio room. Since I was not located in the ... Read More
I traveled solo on a May cruise to Bermuda from NY and got a pretty good last minute deal on an oceanview cabin. Norwegian has a lot of programs for solo travelers especially if you get a studio room. Since I was not located in the studio section I did not get access to lounge or any of the solo activities, hence I didn't meet many people. Overall I was surprised by the amount of kids on the cruise especially since it was mid May. Most seemed decently behaved but others just ran wild everywhere. For this reason I did not find this cruise to be totally relaxing. The food for the most part, with the exception of one meal I had in the dining room was excellent. I tried Savor, Taste and Manhattan. All serve the same food. I liked the Manhattan room the best. I did not go for any of the specialty dining. I found the buffet to be endless and had some great selections including crepes. I really enjoyed the supper club and saw both shows. This was one of the highlights of my cruise. I didn't care for the pool activities. Belly flop contests, who has hairiest chest, twerking,. Just not my things. But The waterslides were pretty cool. I tried two of them. On one you used an inner tube to slide down a series of turns and twists. The other one was a 30 foot drop followed by a couple of corkscrews. Beware because water goes up your nose on this one and it is quite intense. I'm gonna try to Celebrity next time. It's more expensive but it seems to check more of the boxes I'm looking for. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I booked a last minute porthole cabin on the deck 4. This cruise jammed five ports into seven days (Halifax, St. John, Portland, Bar Harbor, and Newport, which was canceled due to weather). The Dawn's refurbishment had varied ... Read More
I booked a last minute porthole cabin on the deck 4. This cruise jammed five ports into seven days (Halifax, St. John, Portland, Bar Harbor, and Newport, which was canceled due to weather). The Dawn's refurbishment had varied results, but you can't change the architecture and in that regard, the Dawn will always be inferior to the NCL Jewel Class. The decor ranges from mystifying (the artwork in the Venetian) to tacky (the 1970's shopping mall-style atrium). I would advise anyone booking the Dawn to AVOID DECK 4! I was kept awake for half the week with a rhythmic metallic banging every ten to 12 seconds! Despite reporting it, no solution was found until it seemed to go away on its own - only to be replaced with more random noises. As a single traveler, my beds were pushed together to make one big bed. The only problem is this left little room to safely get into bed on either side due to the built-in desk on the right and the 'stored' bunk on the left, which juts out eight inches into the room. Who looks at this and says "that's okay?" The solution was to push the against the left wall, which was okay for me, but what if a couple were in that room and wanted a double bed? They would have to disturb their partner to get in and out at night! My bedside tables looked like they were from the original 2002 design and were eroded and chipped at the edges. The shower temperature nob was missing its button and sharp metal edges were exposed. The closet hinge was detached. Again, who looks at all this and says "that's okay?" Deck 4 was once shut down completely for a crew drill. The two tender ports used deck 4 as well, so our corridor was a windy, cold, crowded place for two full days. Don't get me started on the elevators, which were a real trial for even the most patient traveler. The ship tries to be accessible, but trips over itself in the customer service area of accessibility. Activities are often held in the atrium, three steps up from the floor. The Venetian Restaurant has ONE elevator to avoid its idiotic grand staircase, but just try to get the staff's attention when they are all on a staircase behind you when you enter! This was a Canada New England cruise, but the only lobsters you'll find are on the postcards. Not even in the premium eateries! The NCL menus are all the same whether you are in Cairo or California. The Venetian (the main dining room) serves brown and serve previously frozen sausage and deep fried hash brown patties - McDonald's at Sea. Worst thing about NCL - they NEVER STOP UP-SELLING! Nearly everything except a game of trivia costs an added fee. I was getting target marketed sales pitch letters and robo-calls IN MY CABIN! I had to demand to be taken off the list. Still, every announcement for activities at sea is for things that require a fee. The staff is generally very nice and super accommodating, except for one woman at the Shore Excursion desk who barely looked up and never spoke while I was telling her how their "HIGHLIGHTS OF ST. JOHN" was a misnomer. The first stop on the bus was a view of the reversing rapids that was dominated by a HUGE Paper Factory belching white effluence into the air. The second stop was a cross between a craft fair and a supermarket. The third stop was closed! All the while, feedback from the guide's microphone and condensation on the bus windows due to the weather. Neither driver nor guide knew what to do about these conditions, despite their experience. If I wanted to see factories and shopping centers I could have stayed in New Jersey. Even if it had been a clear, sunny warm day - St. John was a massive let-down. For Newport and Portland, NCL's only help for those not using their own tours, was a poster board next to the customer relations desk. No map, no shopping tips, no restaurant guides - nothing. Just one bulletin board for everyone wanting to plan their own day off the ship. The Dawn should be retired. It will never satisfy the experienced cruiser. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because of the chance to see the Inner Passageway up close, and because it sailed round-trip from Seattle. Visits (and excursions) in both Juneau and Sitka were beautiful and worthwhile; Ketchikan is just one big ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the chance to see the Inner Passageway up close, and because it sailed round-trip from Seattle. Visits (and excursions) in both Juneau and Sitka were beautiful and worthwhile; Ketchikan is just one big souvenir shop and hardly worth the stop. This was only my 2nd ocean cruise (the first was on Viking; all others were various river cruises) and I admit to having been spoiled by smaller ship size and ambience. In my opinion, this ship does not deserve a 4.5/5 rating. We ate at the Lido, in the Dining Room and in Pinnacle Grille and, at best, the food deserves a 4 (in the Lido, a 3 would be all I would give it). Service in the Dining Room and Pinnacle was good and efficient. Lido was hit or miss service (usually ended up filling and refilling all drinks ourselves), and food was cafeteria quality (except for omelet station, which was good tho' lines were usually quite long). Food stations were not organized well for crowd flow and table bussing was often slow. Onboard entertainment was not very exciting: America's Test Kitchen was just watching from a distance as someone else prepared a meal, and the Billboard OnLine performers were just OK. Best entertainment was the movie "Alaska in Concert," which was excellent (shown two times on one night of the cruise). I had paid for a spa pass and was sorry I had. The 6 lounge chairs in the spa were usually full and there was a separate aqua pool but no hot tub. Sauna's were nice but how long can you stay in one of those? WiFi was awful: slow and sporadic and you can only connect it to one device at a time. Very expensive for what you get. The worst thing about this cruise was the constant "upselling" that went on. We were interrupted several times during lunch conversations with waitresses telling us about specials in Pinnacle and Tamarind (the additional cost restaurants). Every fitness and spa experience was an infomercial and the absolute worst were the ship photographers who were in your face at meals, on the deck and as you were heading off for shore excursions. If I heard "let's see those smiles!" from the male photographer once I heard it 24 times during the 7 days of the cruise. Finally, I would not recommend going on the Eurodam as a single traveler. Fortunately, I had family travelling in another cabin, but the large ship size makes it more difficult to meet and connect with new people. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they ... Read More
It was nice to be back on Explorer after many years. Embarkation was very quick and i was on board before 11 am. I know Explorer is due an upgrade soon but it didn't worry me at all. The crew were amazing always smiling and kind they really made my cruise. I enjoyed the food and didn't feel the need to eat in any other restaurants other than the main dining room and the windjammer. I have to say i was very tempted i have to say to eat in Chops though. My cabin was 6441 an inside which was ideal for me i was well looked after by the kind steward looking after my room. Entertainment was good in the Promenade and the Schooner bar, i didn't see any other entertainment. I was told by many people i met how good the shows were and the ice skating show. I didn't do any shore excursions but as normal just did what i wanted when we arrived in the ports. Shore excursions seemed busy but i never spoke to anyone that had booked any so i cannot comment. I am very lucky to be back on Explorer in September and October and i cannot wait. As i said the crew made my cruise for me and i hope to meet up with some of them again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
I booked a Sailaway inside cabin for this Alaska Inside Passage cruise out of Seattle. The ship is absolutely beautiful and well suited to Alaska and any other location, for that matter. The Observation Lounge was wonderful with snacks, ... Read More
I booked a Sailaway inside cabin for this Alaska Inside Passage cruise out of Seattle. The ship is absolutely beautiful and well suited to Alaska and any other location, for that matter. The Observation Lounge was wonderful with snacks, a bar, gorgeous views, music in the evenings, and lots of seating (except when people decided to take up an entire couch to sleep on with feet on the upholstery, etc. - there were many chaise lounges for this, but for some reason people were pretty rude hogging the regular couches for sleeping). My cabin #5715 was in a great location on deck 5 near much of the indoor entertainment. It was below the Q restaurant, which did have a band playing at night. I could hear very faint noise from this at times, but it was usually quiet after 11:00 p.m. Speaking of the Q, I ate there the last night of the cruise and it is another new favorite with wonderful upscale southern food (BBQ, cornbread, pecan pie, etc.). Great entertainment, great fun on this ship. Although the food was excellent, I didn't give it a full excellent rating, as I was really looking forward to my meal in Lobos Cantina, but the guacamole was made with unripe avocados, and I was served the wrong entree (it had ingredients I can't eat and the entree I'd ordered was served to another person at the table, who thought it was his). When I mentioned this to the waitress, she said no, that was what I'd ordered. My table mates had just about finished their meal by the time the waitress came back to check. Anyway, it was a big mess and left me wanting to cry, and the overall experience took hours! Everything else on the ship in terms of food and service was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Just back from the repositioning of Star from Miami to Terragonna and stayed for Terragonna to Venice. (Actually April 27 - May 24) The restaurant servers seriously needed training. I am now 4 days short of Platinum plus and was ... Read More
Just back from the repositioning of Star from Miami to Terragonna and stayed for Terragonna to Venice. (Actually April 27 - May 24) The restaurant servers seriously needed training. I am now 4 days short of Platinum plus and was shocked by the lack of training. Normally an experienced server has a 2nd person they are training as they serve. Not this time. I had servers pouring water so high above glass it poured all around the glass .... 3 times. Didn't bother the server at all. Consistently servers could not remember what was ordered and had to ask for repeats and be corrected. Could not remember who ordered what when serving. This happened repeatedly in all restaurants. Even the paid restaurants which ought to have most skilled servers. Also, those did not have their own bar tenders and they had to go out to a very busy bar and take a long time to get drinks. Shore excursions were consistently mishandled. Not close to up to par of NCL on prior cruises. Port planning was extremely poor. Many on NCL for first time were commenting they would never do NCL again. I had to ask them to not judge NCL by this poorly managed ship. They blamed ports, which was very bad cause NCL ought to know their ports by now. Rome was a complete disaster for everyone. Not everyone had been properly notified of the change to Terragonna. The ticket management of the shore excursions were very bad. worst was for the White Houses tour. Told to meet on pier. Nobody on pier. Some had walked all along pier to outside the building and were waiting there. My friend and I were stopped from going into building and sent back to gangway. This time we found someone with a clipboard ... no sign. Had not been there before. Walking back she gets stopped by bus driver on other side of fence where we had been refused before. Now we form two lines there. 1 for our excursion and 2nd for a different excursion. She never goes to get people who had gone out front .... they just kind of discover the buses on their own and manage to come back to form lines. It was a total mess. Her attitude sucked. If you travel with a buddy credits only go on the first named passenger. It is a mess to get it sorted out. My buddy was listed first..... I am the stockholder. Hard to get my stockholder credit on the right accounts even though printouts had said I would have them. Took emails to corporate. Oh, and on a back to back they treat it as a single cruise and hard to get the freebie onboards for 2nd cruise. Don't wast a freebie on the credit per port for excursions. Two people can't do anything for $50 total. Our cabin stewards were great .... although 1st cabin always moved my nightgown to other person's bed. 2nd cabin guy (Joe) was much better. 8162 should remove the wall between sink counter and toilet. It just makes the space choppy and smaller. Other than that it is a really nice oceanview. On the TA the bridge instructor was great. Kept my bridge buddy happy. The passenger dance for the passenger show was taught by Naomie and she is an awesome dance captain. The singing was by Dominique. Shorter than the dance, 1st day of practice had no singing. Short song had first half done by 3 people ... all others only got to do last half of song. I am used to Choir getting 3 songs and all sing. Very disappointed. Production shows are great. Aerlists are great. Barricade (former Les Mis singers) were great, wish they were kept on so I could hear them again 2nd cruise. Internet is right above Atrium and sometimes the noise from music in atrium was too loud to try to do Internet (and connectivity was bad and guy running it unskilled). Trivia was consistently fun ... although Simba got irritating with his pride and insistence on poor pronunciation. Educators are not fond of people unwilling to learn. Prizes were so bad that we didn't even bother going to get them after 2nd cruise. Kudos to the frequency with which NCL has Karaoke... consistently popular. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Embarkation- super easy out of San Pedro. Was in boarding group 9 and on the ship before 12:30. Ate in the main dining room-delicious! Kept my carry-on with me. Rooms were ready by 1:00. Stateroom L311- nice and clean. Furniture had a ... Read More
Embarkation- super easy out of San Pedro. Was in boarding group 9 and on the ship before 12:30. Ate in the main dining room-delicious! Kept my carry-on with me. Rooms were ready by 1:00. Stateroom L311- nice and clean. Furniture had a few scratches. No USB Ports. No barrel chair. Bed was heavenly. Balcony could use paint. Got Lotus Spa lotion every day. Had to remind steward for ice once. Buffet- nice selection. Mainly made salads for lunch. Coffee and Cones- pizza was good. Baristas seemed like making coffee was a bother. Salty Dog Grill- the Triple Smoke Burger is outstanding. Will cook burger to order. Fries were always fresh. Chef’s Table- WONDERFUL! International Cafe- great as always. Casino- too many of the same machines. Spa- wanted the thermal spa. Signed up and went the first night. Got lost. No one to help. Went back again at 9:10 (closes at 10). They were picking up water. Just relaxed at 9:40 and housekeeping came in. Got my money back and will never go back. Shops- wanted Matrishka Dolls. Asked if they would be available next day. They said yes. Went back next day and they were gone! Asked for them and they said no. On disembarkation they were in the window. Bummed. Disembarkation was easy but too soon! Took a Princess transfer to the airport. Had a bit of a wait so I checked bags and took Sky Train to Outlet Mall (2 stops). Customs was harried. Would have been a 5 except for spa experience and shops/dining options not keeping their hours. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Embarked in Warnemunde, embarkation was fine. Went to the rooms, was room 10241,aft balcony. Large balcony however the engines shook so much, I couldn’t sleep half of the 10 nights. Then, the food. Half of it was inedible, the other ... Read More
Embarked in Warnemunde, embarkation was fine. Went to the rooms, was room 10241,aft balcony. Large balcony however the engines shook so much, I couldn’t sleep half of the 10 nights. Then, the food. Half of it was inedible, the other half was disgusting. I ate salad and salad the whole cruise. There was lack of diversity in food. No prepared sandwich, no omelet station, the burgers were stale, all the food was so gross, I was popping tums and zantac the whole time. The staff, came out with a roast beef that they couldn’t even cut into with a chef knife. Everyone on the ship was complaining on how hard it was, and then i found the same meat cut up in the dining room. NO one speaks English, no one helps, the shows are laughable and the rooms are tiny. We booked a excursion for handicap and they showed up 1 hour late. One of the ports they didn't put a ramp for wheelchair and it was impossible for handicaps. I would never go on this cruise line again. I cruised on here 8 years ago on a Caribbean itinerary and it was great. I don’t know what happened but it took a turn to the worse. Heed the warnings in this review, this cruise is for EURO traveler, unless you are VERY adventurous traveler and don’t care about customer focus. I have been on over 50 cruises this one ranks number #50 on worse. No sympathy or compassion towards their customer Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. ... Read More
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sea travel has opened up a new world of exploration and last week I repeated my first ever cruise, but this time with Cunard. Would the grand histories of the Baltic ports be matched by the royal splendours of Queen Victoria? THE PORTS Every city on the Baltic itinerary is steeped in history and if palaces, galleries and cathedrals are your thing then this cruise does not disappoint. And if, like me, you appreciate Scandinavian art and design, the ports have some wonderful specialist shops and art studios as well. Be prepared for eye watering prices, however. A cup of coffee and a pastry in Copenhagen for £9 is one thing, but £925 for a cake slice is quite another, albeit an exquisite one designed by Georg Jensen. St Petersburg remains the highlight destination and these days there is more of an effort to make visitors feel welcome: immigration formalities have been streamlined and stern faces replaced with occasional smiles. This is one port where organised excursions are the only way to enjoy the city’s palaces and museums because independent sightseeing is impossible without a visa. I started with a four-hour walking tour, led by a witty and knowledgeable guide who was as happy to be quizzed about Salisbury as she was to rib Putin. One of many highlights was the Church on Spilled Blood with its onion domes reaching to the sky, still beautiful despite a major programme of renovations. Stockholm’s royal palaces are as good a starting point as any for understanding the city’s history but there is so much more. The Museum of Modern Art on the island of Skeppsholmen is worth a visit, its gardens home to colourful and zany sculptures. Although there is a shuttle bus service available, I found it as quick to take the riverside walk past the Film Museum and enter Stockholm via the warren of narrow streets in the Old Town. Of the other ports, Tallinn is compact and the easiest to explore on foot. My starting point was the 13th century cobblestoned main square where I enjoyed a coffee in warm sunshine. From there I walked up to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an orthodox and gloriously ornate cathedral funded by public donations. Kiel on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast was less impressive. It is twinned with Coventry but has not been as successful in rebuilding after the devastations of war. The Rathaus, or Town Hall, with its ornate interior survived the bombing but Kiel is one place where the best plan might be to book an excursion. THE SHIP Ask loyal Cunarders which is their favourite ship and the answer more often than not is Queen Victoria. I can see why. My cabin was spacious and the public areas luxuriously comfortable, with deep sofas and armchairs waiting to help relieve tired legs after busy days ashore. The dark wood veneers, deep pile carpets in golds and creams, and art deco marble tiling all recall a golden era for passenger ships. The elegant Queens Room on Deck 2 is a popular haunt, not only for afternoon cream teas served by waiters in white gloves but also because it is a ballroom where every evening there is dancing to live music. Cunard dance hosts offer to partner single guests and during the day there are classes led by a professional dance couple. Guests Jane and Robert from Harlow in Essex are keen dancers and the ship’s ballroom was one of the reasons they booked the cruise. “The setting is beautiful,” Jane told me. “We love dancing and enjoyed our times in the Queens Room – but more opportunities for sequence dancing would have been nice.” The handsome two-storey library is well-stocked and the two librarians impressed me with their courtesy and knowledge. At the Purser’s Desk, international receptionists like Lisa from Berlin, Martin from Vienna and Charles from Cambridge were fine ambassadors for Cunard, cheerfully responding to my questions and often providing me with additional maps before going ashore. I cannot think of any area where service was less than excellent. On deck and in the bars, stewards were attentive however busy they were and in the Chart Room ($4.83 for an Illy cappuccino), waiters Julito, Martina and Rolando made every visit special thanks to their professionalism. It was the same in the Britannia Restaurant with waiters Gede and KC delivering faultless service at our table, and Cyril offering expert wine advice. The House wines were good although $14 for a glass of red made my eyes water! The galleys prepare around 5000 meals a day and standards are high. My beef sirloin and pork medallions were first rate, piping hot and full of flavour, and the fish was also excellent, whether the roasted monkfish or the grilled turbot. When I asked for chips, they were delivered immediately. For desserts, and knowing that coffee and chocolates or petit fours would follow, I generally restricted myself to the ice creams. Yes, there were disappointments but they were remedied quickly. My roast turkey one evening was lukewarm and Gede handled the matter without fuss, apologising and returning promptly with a hot replacement meal. There was a wide range of activities to choose from on sea days, from bridge and watercolour art classes to port presentations and talks from guest speakers, all of them well attended. Captain Tomás Connery was seen around the ship every day – always a good sign - and at midday updated us with navigational details. In the evenings, The Royal Court Theatre Company presented music and dance shows to packed houses and there were guest artists too. My favourites were Roy G Hemmings who spent ten years as a singer with The Drifters and Jon Courtenay, an energetic pianist comic. Perhaps because of the Baltic itinerary, there was an international dimension to the cruise. The majority of passengers were British but there were several other nationalities as well – mainly Australians, Americans, Germans, French and Dutch . . . and one South Korean. Does such a mixture have a major influence on menus? Not according to Jackie Bott, the ship’s Hotel General Manager (HGM). “People generally come to Cunard because it’s Cunard,” she told me. “Our international guests tell us that they don’t want to be served with their local dishes. They want to taste British food.” Nancy and John Keisman, guests from Brandon in Mississippi, took the same view. “We loved this cruise,” said John. “Not only for the ports with their different cultures but also for the opportunity to enjoy some great British food - Yorkshire pudding was new to us but we kinda liked it!” Nevertheless some of the food did reflect Continental tastes. The variety of bread and pastries served at breakfast in the Lido restaurant on Deck 9 is one example, with white, black, rye and brown breads, along with bagels and croissants, available each morning. WORTH BOOKING? The Baltic itinerary features throughout the Cunard 2019/2020 brochure and, although I have now done it twice, I would happily do it a third time because each port offers such a diverse range of history and culture. But the real star of this cruise was Queen Victoria and I can’t wait to return on board. HGM Jackie Bott unwittingly summed up the ship’s success when she told me what appealed most about her work in leading a department of 800 officers and crew. “Passengers think it must be the chance to see the world that is the best part of the job, but ports are secondary to people and in any case I’ve visited most ports more than once. People are far more interesting and complex and they are central to everything we do at Cunard.” No surprise, then, that Queen Victoria delivered such a successful cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I was really excited to go on this cruise since it was my first cruise with NCL. This was my 10th cruise overall. I was happy to see that it was recently remodeled but it still lacks amenities that other competitors have. The buffet ... Read More
I was really excited to go on this cruise since it was my first cruise with NCL. This was my 10th cruise overall. I was happy to see that it was recently remodeled but it still lacks amenities that other competitors have. The buffet area is so small and crowded on this cruise ship and the food offerings are that of a basic cafeteria. The upgraded restaurants particularly the steak house and French restaurant are NOT worth the money. The steak house cooked my steak wrong 3 times and the French restaurant served me cold food. It was not worth the upcharge. The Italian restaurant was good and the sushi was good. The room was nice and updated and the pillows were soft and the bed was comfortable. The entertainment was okay but again subpar to its competitors. The NCL owned island was pretty and offered lunch but that about it. The excursions on this island are extremely high and I feel they take advantage of the cruisers especially since they own the island. There is no shopping at this port if you are a shopper. Its more of a lounging day if that is your thing. The comedian was not very good and again i've seen better on other ships. I feel this cruise line is for cruise beginners or those looking for a cheap get away. Its definitely not for the avid cruiser and definitely not worth the dining package upgrades they offer. Spend a few more bucks and get a memorable experience in another line. Read Less

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