907 Miami Spring Break Cruise Reviews

This cruise was like Spring break gone bad. Multiple people who are 1st timers and 20 plus cruises under their belts agreed that this was just an awful awful trip. 2 ports missed. Stinky smokey ship Horrible customer service horrible food ... Read More
This cruise was like Spring break gone bad. Multiple people who are 1st timers and 20 plus cruises under their belts agreed that this was just an awful awful trip. 2 ports missed. Stinky smokey ship Horrible customer service horrible food unless you did specialty dinings which obviously costs more. Hidden costs every time you turn around. Terrible communication on board, and can't hear the captain when you are in your room. Slides were closed. Pool WAY too small. Several people fell in walkways away from the pool as they were wet. I consistent soap in restrooms as well as sanitizer stations, although they are constantly preaching to washy washy, yeah okay, y'all don't practice what you preach. Staff members seemed miserable and expressed that they have a disdain for the other staff members on the ship. We will NEVER recommend this cruise line. We will ALWAYS tell everyone how low budget and basic this experience was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise as a replacement option. Our Cuba cruise was cancelled by presidential order and NCL offered us to take this cruise, instead. Although the itinerary wasn't our first choice, vacation time was set aside and this ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a replacement option. Our Cuba cruise was cancelled by presidential order and NCL offered us to take this cruise, instead. Although the itinerary wasn't our first choice, vacation time was set aside and this was our only alternative. NCL discounted our cruise 50% and gave us a 50% discount towards a future cruise. Therefore, the deal was right. The vessel looks beautiful inside. We learned it was recently refurbished. Other than difficulty finding public bathrooms (few and far between), and the A/C blasting far too much, particularly around the Stardust theater (trust me, way too cold), the cruise was fabulous. The attention to detail and the incredible high customer service made it even better. Our recent experience with NCL wasn't good. Customer service was lacking, and the little things missing. This time around everyone was very attentive to our every need. A couple of disappointments included learning that our Platinum standing was limited to on-board discounts. We did not receive our "usual" perks (water, champagne, free laundry, free specialty dining, etc.). NCL claims that said perks are reserved for cruises in excess of 5 days, which was news to us. We had never heard such thing before. We did two tours: Atlantis on our own and swimming with the pigs. Both were perfectly organized and fun. A final thought: NCL must realize that Royal Caribbean and others charge virtually the same, do the same itineraries, and have a better reputation. Every time NCL changes the rules, it turns us off. We have two more cruises coming. Afterwards, we are going back to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Hello. I was looking for a cruise to wind down and relax. However the cruise was a tornado of dysfunctional proportions by the cruise line. I get to the window and give them my passports. They ask for my room number. I offer it. The lady ... Read More
Hello. I was looking for a cruise to wind down and relax. However the cruise was a tornado of dysfunctional proportions by the cruise line. I get to the window and give them my passports. They ask for my room number. I offer it. The lady says, no the room number on the website is not your room. The supervisor female comes over and says they double booked us. Here is our number to our room. They gave us 2 sets of keys Incase (liability) all day long. We tried our room number from the website a gentleman and his female were in the room. He got angry with me from entering. Clearly NCL screwed up. Days 1,2,5 we had a toilet not working. I called days 1 & 2 to fix it. On day 2 the toilet comes out of the wall. I called guest services no answer, I tried again, finally someone answered. I said “didn’t you guys put the toilet back on after fixing it” I had charges from this other couple on my bill. I had photos on my card of this same other couple. On the day we were supposed to leave, I never got a letter that affords my group to be taken to Miami airport. Went down to the desk asked for the letter. The room number on the letter was different.... again. Plus all the charges on my bill were someone else. By fighting when them days 1,2,5 I was mentally exhausted by 8 pm. I had anxiety from the stress and my grandmother so angry. My grandmother has been on lots of cruises but this one was beyond her comprehension. I asked for a full refund. I didn’t enjoy at all. It didn’t live up to the amount I paid. The food was OK like a upscale Disney Park. The people working on the boat always smiling and exceptional. But no one has authority. Even when this guy hit me. No one took a interest in my concerns or safety despite writing in the comment box. And NCL never responded to my email. So. I would not recommend NCL Dawn. In good faith I was looking for a apologize. Don’t know if I will ever get it. The toilet came out of the wall bruised my leg. Just a really bad time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I can’t complain much. This is my 3rd Norwegian cruise and 6 overall. I’ve been on the escape in 2017 and the sky in 2012. The escape by far was the best. The bathroom toilet on the Dawn smelt terrible the whole time. The bathroom were ... Read More
I can’t complain much. This is my 3rd Norwegian cruise and 6 overall. I’ve been on the escape in 2017 and the sky in 2012. The escape by far was the best. The bathroom toilet on the Dawn smelt terrible the whole time. The bathroom were the toilet was, was very tight. I’m not a huge person either. I had 2 specialty dining package when I booked. Ate at los labos and cagneys steakhouse. The steakhouse was great. Los labos is an acquired taste if you love Mexican dishes. I also paid extra for modernos which was really good and worth a try as well. I had free house drinks through the casino the whole cruise. I booked a “free cruise” through the casino here in Maryland. Still had to pay taxes. This was a good beginner cruise for someone who wants to see what cruising is about. I feel like almost a veteran cruiser now except haven’t been on Royal Caribbean yet lol. 5 day cruise from Miami. Stopping at Belize I think this small island is owned by ncl. Then stopping at costa maya Mexico. I’ve been to both of these places on the escape. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
First and foremost, it was a good cruise. I'm a firm believer in a cruise being what you make of it. Embarkation was incredibly smooth. I don't think we've made it through check-in and onto the ship as quickly on any ... Read More
First and foremost, it was a good cruise. I'm a firm believer in a cruise being what you make of it. Embarkation was incredibly smooth. I don't think we've made it through check-in and onto the ship as quickly on any other cruise as we did this one. The staff on the ship, specifically our wait staff in the MDR and our room steward were fantastic. Easily some of the best we've ever had. The food was pretty good in the MDR as well, although I think Celebrity may be off a bit on their portion sizes. Some dishes were way too much, when it should be less, and not enough when it should be more. We had a concierge class cabin, which was great, although most of the perks were just sort of "eh". My husband is Elite and gets better perks. This was the smoothest sailing I've ever been on. There was hardly any rocking, the entire time. The shows were amazing. We weren't a huge fan of the comedians that they had but the shows and the magician were great. This was our first cruise, out of 17, where we actually wanted to attend as many of the shows as we could. All the ports were great. We were even able to tender into Grand Cayman, which I missed the last time we were supposed to stop at this port due to high winds. We did all of our excursions independent of Celebrity and paid way less per person than what they wanted for the same trip. There were a few things that really irked me, though. My husband and I are fans of winding down at the end of the night playing some card games where it's kinda quiet and we can actually hear each other talk. So on previous cruises, there's always been the library or the card room that's pretty closed off from a lot of noise. It's been great. We expected the same thing on this ship. However, the card room and the library are both positioned in a manner that when there's a band playing in the grand foyer, and there typically is up until about 11pm every night, the sound drowns out everything. Both the card room and the library are not closed off. The only place we were able to find quiet enough in the evening, aside from our own cabin, was in the World Class Bar. They seemed to have a bit of an issue stocking the bars, too. Several times over the course of the cruise, my husband would order a drink from a bar menu and he'd be told "we don't carry that". So it was a little strange they'd list a drink they don't carry. We were usually able to find what he wanted in another one of the bars but that was after a couple days and having that, "oh, hey look! that beer is here" moment. For example, at the Passport Bar, my husband ordered a specific beer that was on the Passport Bar menu and the bartender told him "we don't have it" and when my husband asked about it being on the menu, the bartender just sort of shrugged. I can understand being OUT of a particular thing, but not carrying it at all when it's on the menu is a bit ridiculous. Debarkation was a bit of a disaster. Mainly due to the fact that other than a sheet of paper they give you with your luggage tags, there's no real communication about it. We were told two different things in regards to where to wait for self-assist and even then, where we actually needed to be was different. It was a bit stressful. I'm cruising on Celebrity again in June so I won't say that I'd never sail on them again but this cruise certainly wasn't up there in my list of the best cruises. It was still a good cruise, though. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This cruise was so wonderfull. The first time I went in the carribeans. Stops were so fabulous. About the ship : I have already cruise on the seaview, and it's exactly the same ship. It was plenty but, because of his design, you ... Read More
This cruise was so wonderfull. The first time I went in the carribeans. Stops were so fabulous. About the ship : I have already cruise on the seaview, and it's exactly the same ship. It was plenty but, because of his design, you don't feel there are too much people. Just sometimes at the buffet or restaurant. Embarkation and disembarkation wasn't a problem, except at Grnad Cayman where we should take a boat to go to he port, and it was a bit longer but not too much. It was a little bit long to be serve at the bar, depend on the server. But this is the same problem on the other boat of MSC. I have the "My choice dining", so we went dining all days at 9h00, after the show (8h30). And it was allways simple to find a table, no waiting. We can ask for the same server all along the cruise. For the breakfast we went 4 times to the restaurant, and it was great. The others time to the self. Finally, I have no little children, so I can't critik the children installation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The ship is beautiful. The staff on this ship were not very friendly. They didn't really want to help you out. I have only sailed on Royal Caribbean and this ship is the only one I would not recommend. They were going to have a movie ... Read More
The ship is beautiful. The staff on this ship were not very friendly. They didn't really want to help you out. I have only sailed on Royal Caribbean and this ship is the only one I would not recommend. They were going to have a movie at the Aqua theater and they cancelled it for a staff party. Please don't tell mainly kids and then cancel. So we rented the movie and watched it in the room as to not disappoint the kids. One example of not taking care of passengers. I could go on. The cabin was outside balcony. It was nice. Liked the sofa bed was two separate twin beds. The main dining was good. The buffet was not good the food the was to be hot was cold. For breakfast you cannot get omelets in the Windjammer, we only found the in the dining room. That buffet was really good. Did not try any dining that cost extra. Hairspray was good. The dive show was boring. Getting on the ship was very smooth if you have all your paperwork done ahead of time. Getting off ship was easy until we went to get on shuttle. They need to get that organized. It is a free for all. Put a lady on first that need assistant which is fine until she could not put her foot in front on the seat. Everyone was then hitting it. Many little things add up but over all we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 14th NCL cruise but our first on the Sky. I was joined by my wife, son (21), and daughter (18). I will first review the ship and then review Cuba. SKY First, a few words about the Sky. The staff was absolutely the ... Read More
This was our 14th NCL cruise but our first on the Sky. I was joined by my wife, son (21), and daughter (18). I will first review the ship and then review Cuba. SKY First, a few words about the Sky. The staff was absolutely the most friendly out of any of the 20 cruises we have been on. They did not just welcome us to every venue, bar, and restaurant; they emphatically thanked us for joining them for the week. Simply outstanding service. The Sky itself was in much better condition than we have read in some other reviews. It is old. But it is clean and well maintained. The Sky is the smallest ship we have cruised on (our last two cruises were on the Epic and Escape). The advantage was no lines, ever. We found deck chairs whenever we wanted, never waited for a table in the dining rooms, and walked off the ship when we were ready to leave. The entertainment venues were not as polished as other larger, newer ships. But the performers did their best with the space they had. We might have gotten bored if this was a 7-day cruise. But the Sky was just fantastic for a 4-day cruise. One tip: If you like a quiet cabin, get a room on deck 6. These cabins are isolated from the rest of the ship. CUBA Like the Sky, Cuba was a very pleasant surprise. Part of the surprise was that ships dock right in the center of Old Havana. So you can walk on and off the ship as often as you like without any issues. As per our usual practice, we did not purchase an excursion on the ship. Instead, we had a tremendous adventure by putting together our own itinerary. Actually, all I did was spend about 1/2 hour searching the internet the night before. 1) Walking tour of Old Havana to orient ourselves 2) Found a great English-speaking driver and a beautiful restored 50's lime green Dodge convertible to take us on a 2.5 hour guided tour. The tour included detailed reviews of Old Havana, New Havana, brief visits to all three forts, a stop at the Bay of Pigs memorial, time at Revolution Square, and a photo stop at the Cristos statue. 3) Hopped on the ship for a quick lunch 4) Walked to the Almacenes San Jose Artisans market. Hundreds of booths selling mostly the same stuff at just "fair" prices. It seemed to be the Cuban equivalent of Nassau's straw market. 5) Took a cab to Santa Maria Del Mar and spent 2.5 hours on the beach. Nice sand but a bit rocky just at the waters edge. Caught a very interesting cab back to the ship: A restored 50's wagon that had been in the driver's family for 45 years. His father gave it to him when he retired as a cab driver, and he is about to give it to his son. 6) Quick shower and dinner in the dining room. 7) Walk off the ship and search for night life in Old Havana. We didn't find much. We were told the next day that a cab could have taken us to all of the hot spots. But at that point we were pretty worn out anyway. 8) Get back on the ship at 1 am and collapse in our beds, absolutely marveling at what a delightful day we had. In conclusion, the Sky's Cuba itinerary is a tremendous value and well worth the trip. Frankly, it was a better value than we thought, since we didn't realize that drinks were included until the second day! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise mainly due to our time constraints and this was one that fit our schedule. We had a great time. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well. The ship was recently renovated and everything looked great. We traveled ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly due to our time constraints and this was one that fit our schedule. We had a great time. Embarkation and disembarkation went very well. The ship was recently renovated and everything looked great. We traveled with our teen son. This is a small ship as are all the ships that can be accommodated in Havana. What it lacks in water slides and things for kids, it made up for in fun music shows, entertainment and nice staff. We enjoyed the food in Palace and Crossings for breakfast and lunch. We had a dinner at Cagney's which was included in our package and we enjoyed it as well. We did eat at the buffet for a breakfast and some lunches. I prefer Palace and Crossings over the buffet. Most family's with younger kids went to the buffet. We did a Panorama excursion in Havana in the evening through the cruise. It was a choice we made last minute and it still had openings. We did a stingray excursion in Stirrup cay and it was excellent. We also rented a snorkel, in addition to the 2 we brought from home (ours were better, dry snorkels and theirs had too large a mouthpiece for me but it fit my son) and snorkeled on our own at Stirrup Cay. We saw lots of fish. Early morning the waters were cool but later in the day it felt just right and we were not at all cold in the water. Our cabin was 9239 and it was near elevators but not too close to be annoying. It was very quiet and we had a nice view of Havana as we pulled into port. The cabin is small but it was large enough for the three of us. The only semi problem was that our son, about 5' 8" was a bit too tall for the pull out sofa bed. We had to put the sofa bolster at the foot to support his legs and feet. He seemed ok with it but someone older and even taller may have more difficulty with that. We would go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We just got back from 6 nights on the Horizon. Had a great time and would sail this ship again. We were a family of 4 sailing at the same time as several other families from our neighborhood. My family stayed at Sunny Isles Residence Inn ... Read More
We just got back from 6 nights on the Horizon. Had a great time and would sail this ship again. We were a family of 4 sailing at the same time as several other families from our neighborhood. My family stayed at Sunny Isles Residence Inn and loved the pool and room. Price was more reasonable than anything closer to South Beach. Left for port around 9:30 AM and we were in the priority line by 10:00. We only had to wait about 5 minutes to get into the building. They began boarding the ship around 11am and we went straight to our cabins since we had Faster to Fun. We had Havana cabins 5209 and 5211. We had a cabana and our 13 and 16 yo had an interior. Our steward was efficient but I barely saw him. Our luggage didn’t arrive until after muster even with priority. Therefore plan accordingly and bring a carryon with a swim suit and change of clothes. We loved the Havana area but since our kids were mostly upstairs on decks 10 and 12. we didn’t use it as much as we thought. I did love the easy access of our location to the back stairs and everything on deck 5 including breakfast in Ocean Plaza and Coffee at Java Blue. We also loved having elevators and stairs nearby. We had early dining for our group of 17. Servers were good. Food was hit or miss. I had great short ribs but my friends was dry and crusty. Same with the prime rib. Best meal for me was taking advantage of the steakhouse selection and getting the filet and lobster. That and the teppayaki were worth the extra money. I also loved the pizza and I am disappointed they are switching to Papa Johns. I don’t even get that at home! My husband tried the Mongolian wok and hated it. He also had Sushi with my daughter and liked it. I tried guys burger and didn’t like it as much as last year on Glory. We only ate at the buffet 1 time and that was the late day in Cozumel. It was okay but nothing special. Kids did the ropes course and sky ride. They enjoyed the dive in movies but didn’t try the IMAX. Might be because the movies weren’t something they would want to see. My daughter said the waterslide was okay but gave her a wedgie. My son went to club O2 a lot and made a lot of good friends. He even went to Sea day brunch with a group of 16. Except for a couple of comedy shows we mostly went to the casino after dinner. Nice pit bosses but some of the dealers weren’t super friendly but most okay. I lost overall but that’s just bad luck or choice of seat! Overall it was s great week. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Cruise director was wonderful. Waitstaff was kind, rooms were always clean. Atrium bartenders were not great. Shakers was amazing, as were all fine dining experiences. Entertainment staff were a hit or miss. Some were wonderful, others ... Read More
Cruise director was wonderful. Waitstaff was kind, rooms were always clean. Atrium bartenders were not great. Shakers was amazing, as were all fine dining experiences. Entertainment staff were a hit or miss. Some were wonderful, others were rude (without much of a reason) towards guests -I can recall the female British insulting another guest rather curtly and want too impressed. Costa maya is a bust of a shopping port, could do without it as a port since there wasn’t much to do and most of the shops are repeats of one another. If you fond something you’re interested in excursion wise just do it. Although there aren’t many interesting excursions in Costa Maya, which was a bummer. Harvest Caye is a letdown without the drink package. The beach and pool were fine if that’s how you’re looking to spend your day. Cozumel is wonderful! We went to Chichen Itza and loved it! Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. We wished we had more time in Cozumel. Roatan is nice but a bit dodgy in some areas. Just pay a cab driver to take you around the island. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was my first cruise ever and we chose this cruise due to the sail dates (I teach and was on Spring Break) and the destinations. We enjoyed everything about the cruise, the ship, the service, the destinations, etc. We had a wonderful ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever and we chose this cruise due to the sail dates (I teach and was on Spring Break) and the destinations. We enjoyed everything about the cruise, the ship, the service, the destinations, etc. We had a wonderful experience, but were especially pleased with the assistance my now fiancee received when trying to plan the perfect proposal for me while on board. Yes, we are engaged to be married and neither of us can think of a better way for it to have occurred. We enjoyed the on board shows, ie. Cirque Jungle Fever Dinner and Show, Rock of Ages, The Pour House, etc. Spice H2O was a great place to sun and hangout during the day and have a couple of drinks and dance in the evening. I enjoyed my Ladies Night Out at the Spa and took advantage of the offered services and purchased products. We LOVED all four of our excursions!! The Shore Zip-Line in Honduras, the Ke'kchi (sp) Chocolate Farm and Culture in Harvest Caye, Belize, ATV and beach in Costa Maya, and Salsa and Salsa in Cozumel. Loved EVERYTHING!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have been on many NCL boats over the years and thought the Breakaway would be the perfect ship to celebrate my daughter graduating high School. We loved the layout of the boat the many restaurants and bars. the Waterfront bars outside ... Read More
We have been on many NCL boats over the years and thought the Breakaway would be the perfect ship to celebrate my daughter graduating high School. We loved the layout of the boat the many restaurants and bars. the Waterfront bars outside areas were our favorite. We attended the Burn the Floor and Rock of Ages show and loved them both. We thought the talent was amazing. Overall I felt the food was good, not great. I thought the quality at the garden buffet was not the best. We did opt for the up charge restaurants every night. The food was very good at most places we at except for the French Restaurant (we did find that strange because that place normally is our favorite.) Our new #1 was Ocean Blue and the Sushi. The food and service was the best. We also loved the new Sid Norman bar show! Overall I felt the staff was not as up as past cruises. Boarding and departing the boat there was a very low energy welcome aboard, not a full dancing, greeting staff as past cruises. The bar staff was totally of their game at many places. The Irish Bar staff was the worst. They were rude and ended up telling me they could not make a Mojoto for me but made it for someone 10 minutes later. I did sit buy the pool for 2 days and not once was I offered a drink. The bright spot was the outside waterfront bar, Courtney and sidekick were great! Having the drink package I was disappointing I had to paid $4.00 extra for an espresso martini. No red stripe at the pool bar was a bummer too. The Cabin Steward was very good , he would have received a great score if he stop making the sofa bed every morning rather at night when needed. The room is small enough. He was also hard to find at times. As for the ports we loved Rotan, both places in Mexico. The stop at Belieze was NCL's port(island) and it was clean nice but just missing something. Seemed fake! Also it seemed strange they were charging you for every little thing on their island, drinks,food etc... I think if they did a huge BBQ party it would have been better attended. Tom e it seemed most people walked around and were back on the ship for lunch! for the first time we paid the $9.99 per phone to use txting on baord to others in our party. it worked ok, a few lockup and reboots needed during the week. We were able to find everyone in our party when needed. Overall it was a good week, perfect weather and well relaxed! We did book NCL's new boat for next February 2020. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We've had a long, cold, snowy winter in Maine, and really needed this cruise vacation to the Western Caribbean! Let me start by saying NCL caters to ALL age groups! There is plenty to see and do no matter your age! There are ... Read More
We've had a long, cold, snowy winter in Maine, and really needed this cruise vacation to the Western Caribbean! Let me start by saying NCL caters to ALL age groups! There is plenty to see and do no matter your age! There are continuous activities onboard to participate in, or not. The food is amazing, from the myriad if specialty restaurants to the Garden Cafe buffet where every evening there was a theme (prime rib nite, seafood nite, Mexican nite, etc). There are numerous bars inside or outside, and the bartenders are top notch! The entertainment was fantastic! From dancing, singing, comedy to magic! We thoroughly enjoyed the Cirque Jungle dinner show! Very entertaining and the surf & turf meal was delicious. Service is always provided with a smile wherever you are. We had a fabulous. and very much needed, cruise vacation! Thank you, NCL! We can't wait for our next cruise with you in June!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We love Celebrity and this is our fourth cruise. The only reason I took a point off was because stopping in Punta Cana was a complete waste of time. This in my opinion should be removed from the itinerary. There is absolutely NOTHING to do ... Read More
We love Celebrity and this is our fourth cruise. The only reason I took a point off was because stopping in Punta Cana was a complete waste of time. This in my opinion should be removed from the itinerary. There is absolutely NOTHING to do unless you pay $$$ to visit a resort. I also understand the ship is being refurbished and it needs to be. More furniture for the Lawn. Staff as usual AMAZING. They are always such a credit, so helpful and want you to have the best experience possible. I always choose Celebrity because the food is consistently serious. Far too many towels by the poolside this year but that could be spring break. I managed to find a super quiet spot on the 5th deck which was less windy and packed out. ALL cruises need to up their involvement for helping the environment and cleaning up oceans. Encourage recycling. Educate people onboard. I was pleased to see paper straws and recycling stations but still plastic bottles of water. Let’s give all passengers a reusable water bottle and commit to The Ocean Cleanup. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My teenage daughter and I just returned from our very first cruise and we loved it! The Equinox is a beautiful ship and everywhere we went there were staff members cleaning and keeping it beautiful! My daughter is a "germophobe" ... Read More
My teenage daughter and I just returned from our very first cruise and we loved it! The Equinox is a beautiful ship and everywhere we went there were staff members cleaning and keeping it beautiful! My daughter is a "germophobe" and appreciated that they was hand sanitizer everywhere :) All the common areas were very nice and with the exception of the pool deck they did not feel crowded. The public bathrooms were immaculate and in one of the bathrooms there was an attendant who would open the stall door, clean the seat, squirt your soap in your hand, turn your water on and hand you a towel (a real towel, not a paper towel) to wipe your hands. The pool deck and solarium were busy during peak times as expected, but we were always able to find a chair somewhere. The solarium pool (adults only) was not very crowded but the outdoor pool was pretty crowded during the middle of the day on sea days. Our cabin (6165) was spacious for the 2 of us and there was plenty of storage. The bathroom was more spacious than I anticipated and had lots of storage space. We enjoyed our balcony very much. Each morning it was nice to sit out there and look at the ocean or watch the ship pulling into the next port. The beds were comfortable. We took everything out of our mini fridge the first day and used the space to store the water and soda we brought with us. I read complaints that the fridge didn't keep things very cold, but I thought it worked just fine. Our room was serviced twice a day but we often had to request items (additional shampoo, etc) and I felt that our stateroom attendant should have replaced these items without being asked. From what I have read, our experience was not the norm and service is usually better than what we encountered. We were very pleased with the dining options. We did not visit any of the specialty restaurants because we thought the food that was included in our cost was very good. In the main dining room our waiters were very attentive and remembered our preferences. We enjoyed the food and if we ordered something and found it not to our liking the waiter would replace it with another item. They seemed to genuinely want us to enjoy our meal. We thought the steak and desserts were especially tasty. The Oceanview Cafe had more options for food than you can imagine! Everything was hot and tasty, and we especially enjoyed the omelet station, stir fry station and desserts. The selection at the Mast Grill was limited but very tasty and was perfect for a quick lunch on sea days. There was a drink machine at the Mast Grill as well, so it was convenient to grab some tea, lemonade or fruit punch to cool off while sitting by the pool. Being first time cruisers, we thought there were a good variety of activities. We enjoyed trivia, game shows and poolside activities. We went to 2 production shows, 2 comedians and a magician. They were fairly good. Our favorite thing was Silent Disco! So much fun to watch everyone sing and dance to their own music! The fitness area was adequate - I had to wait for a treadmill but not for long. There were plenty of activities but also plenty of spaces to just hang out and relax. Each port had something different to offer and we enjoyed them all. In San Juan we took a food and history walking tour, in St. Thomas we took a shopping/signtseeing/beach tour, In Nassau we went to Blue Lagoon Island and in Punta Cana we went to Scape Park and Juanillo Beach. We really felt at home on the ship and it was nice to come back at the end of our port days. We loved every minute of our trip and hoping to do it again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Pre-Cruise in Miami We flew in a day before the cruise, as we had never been to Miami before. For our June cruise, we are actually flying in 2 days before and flying out 3 days after the cruise so that we can explore Southern Florida a ... Read More
Pre-Cruise in Miami We flew in a day before the cruise, as we had never been to Miami before. For our June cruise, we are actually flying in 2 days before and flying out 3 days after the cruise so that we can explore Southern Florida a little more. We flew Southwest from RDU into Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International and got a rental car to drive down to Miami. This was cheaper than flying into Miami. We had a short layover in Tampa, but that didn’t bother us as Cigar City Brewing (one of our favorites) has a taproom in that airport. We spent the day doing what we love to do when we travel – brewery hop. We hit up as many as we could, but two of our favorites were M.I.A. Brewing and J.Wakefield Brewing. We also hit up the Taco Stand for some great food (great Elote and Carne Asada fries!) We also hit up Growler USA-Wynwood. While this is a chain, we knew we could get some local beers on draft that we wouldn’t be able to reach in our short time there. Great service, and even better brews! We stayed in Doral, which was about 15 miles from the port. Friday, it took us about 45 minutes to get from Doral to close to the port due to regular traffic. Saturday morning when we woke up for embarkation, it only took us about 15-20 minutes. Crazy how that works! If you pick Enterprise and drop off at the Doubletree Grand, it can be a bit confusing. You have to park where the Ubers/Lyfts pick up, go inside to the hotel shopping area, and then find Enterprise. Woof. I’d recommend having Miami International Airport be your dropoff location and use their shuttle service. Embarkation MSC Seaside goes in and out of Terminal F at the Port of Miami. Traffic here is…terrible at best, especially when there are 6 ships in port. This isn’t necessarily MSC’s fault, but more the POM and the crew that controls traffic there. Once we were able to drop everything off, the Embarkation process was rather easy compared so some ports that we’ve been to. We arrived around 11am and were able to get through security in less than 5 minutes. The line for check-in was a little longer, but since we had the Aurea package (more on that later), we were able to skip most of the line. We proceeded to the waiting area, where they had water, orange juice, and pineapple juice available. We had to wait about an hour for clearance, and then we were able to get on the ship. Entering the ship Oh wow, is this ship gorgeous?! Guests enter into the atrium, which has 3 open levels surrounded by staircases filled with crystals. It’s rumored that each step is work $2,000. The atrium features a decent sized bar. It also is home to a screen that’s split up into three sections that rise the entire height of the atrium. They had fun backgrounds here, including waterfalls and even “fireworks” shows at night. Also surrounding the lobby is plenty of windows that provide spectacular views all cruise long. Bars MSC Seaside is home to many spots to get your favorite drinks. They vary in their efficiency however. At times, we had GREAT service. Others, they seemed to be overwhelmed. The Seaside bar in the atrium on Deck 6 forward is decent, but the highlight of Deck 6 is the Venchi Chocolate Bar. We tried one of each of the cocktails and liked most of them. They feature two different chocolate martinis (both of which were delicious), and a drink called “Bubbles and Chocolate.” This features champagne with Chocaviar floating in it. It’s quite fun! Other bars on the ship include the Casino bar on deck 7 (slow service at times despite the size of the bar), the Champagne bar on deck 7, the Garage Club on deck 7 (which didn’t open until later at night), the South Beach Bar on deck 7 aft, the Seaview Lounge on Deck 8 midship (smaller, more quaint bar), the Sports Bar across from Seaview on Deck 8 (a wide variety of beers and really good chicken wings for purchase – although the speed of service varied from really quick to dead slow), Bistrot la Boheme on Deck 8 midship (home to one of my favorite beers of all time – Desperados!), Marketplace Bar inside of the Marketplace buffet (usually filled in the morning with folks trying to get espresso – this bar continues outside as well!), Wine and Cocktails on Deck 16 (never actually found this one…), the Miami Beach Bar on deck 16 (always busy given that it’s on the pool deck), the Jungle bar on Deck 18 (a hidden gem in my opinion), the Miramar Bar on on deck 19 (usually a little less busy than Miami Beach), and finally the Aurea Bar on deck 19 forward (more on this later as well). The bar process is interesting in that you just simply give them your card or have them scan your wristband. If you have a drinks package, you rarely have to sign for it. Depending on the bar, they may have some service attendants that will take your order and scan your card, limiting what the bartender has to do. This SHOULD speed things up, but usually there was only 1 bartender at some of the bars and they were really overwhelmed. They still had good service, but just slower than normal. A note on drinks packages – make sure you know what you’re getting. From what I can tell, it’s best to upgrade before you go. The packages are actually different on board. Even if you bought a sailing that included “drinks on us,” know that it’s VERY limited. We called MSC directly before sailing and upgraded for about $180 per person for the whole week and got pretty much everything except cocktails over $13 and the super high-end liquors. Use this pdf to help you decide what package is best for you! Pools and Public Areas The Miami Beach Pool on Deck 18 is the main pool. It is home to the stage where activities go on all day. Finding a chair isn’t really that difficult, but finding one that has everything that you’d want (close to the pool, ability to see the stage, and not “cramped”) is hard to find. The pools are 6ft deep, which is different from most ships. Miami Beach features a large “beach” area where you can lay in the water without being in the actual pool itself. Connected to this is a little “waterfall” feature that’s nice. South Beach Pool on Deck 7 aft is the adults only section. It is overlooked by the Bridge of Sighs, which is not for the faint of heart. This pool DECK was usually pretty busy, but the pool itself wasn’t very crowded. If you can get there early enough, you can get a chair that overlooks the aft of the boat to get that view that you can only get on a cruise ship, the wake. The Jungle Pool is located on deck 18 midship. It’s usually filled with families as it’s closest to the water park. The water park has 2 racing slides that go over the starboard side of the ship (decently fast!), a tube slide that goes over the edge of the port side of the ship and has a nice drop at the end (you can ride doubles or singles), and a decent slide that is in the center of the ship. The splash area looked quite fun for the kiddos! The Casino was a little on the smaller side for what we’re used to when it comes to ship casinos. To me, the casino wasn’t pushed very much. There are probably around 50-75 machines and 10-15 tables for card games and roulette. As far as I can remember, there was not a craps table. Passengers are allowed to smoke in the Casino if they are currently playing games. It’s the least smoky of the casinos that we’ve been in, so that was a nice surprise. When we boarded, we thought the casino was smoke free because of how clean it smelled. There is a channel on your cabin/stateroom TV that is dedicated to the Casino where you can even play roulette (paying, of course). There were a few sessions of Bingo, but we never attended these. They didn’t offer my favorite Crazy Money machines, so we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the casino. The Cabin Our view of our cabin will be a bit biased for this trip. We were in room 10003, which is quite large for an interior. It’s pretty much your standard cruise room outside of that. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the room, but it’s where we have our most gripes. The bathroom on cruise ships are tiny. This shower takes the cake. Seaside uses glass doors on their showers as opposed to curtains. While curtains fly away and can be messy, they at least have some give. We felt cramped all week in that tiny thing! It hosts a clothesline, which I used to dry our bathing suits and to hang my shirt to steam/dewrinkle after I was done showering. The closet had two shelves and a safe. It also had two drawers. The space for hanging clothes was decent. This, however, was the only storage that we had in this room. On our next trip, we’re going to bring an over the door organizer to put some of our clothes in. The bed was on the more “hard” side for our liking. Obviously, this is a personal choice. I tend to like my mattress a little on the soft side, so having this hard mattress wasn’t the greatest for me. The TV was a decent size and featured some “Smart” capabilities. You could check out the daily program from your TV (including signing up for shows) and even order movies on demand (a note on this: this includes adult entertainment – some of the “posters” for these videos are explicit and therefore should be monitored!) The Entertainment The MSC Brand is obviously centered around the Mediterranean/European clientele. Therefore, their shows are quite different from what you’d see on Royal or Carnival Ships. That’s not to say that they aren’t good, they’re just…different. Each of the shows featured acrobats, a juggler, champion dancers, and some singing. To me, there wasn’t really a storyline that these shows followed, but they had their own themes. The best show by far was the one that featured Michael Jackson impersonator at the end of the week. You can sign up for the shows as soon as you get on board (I recommend this…) We usually did the 8:30 show, as we had 5:30 dining. The shows only last about 30-40 minutes each. Outside of these shows, they featured Beerprov comedy. We’re used to going to see comedians when we cruise. We see as many as we can, so not having any on board was different for us. Beerprov is a troupe of comedians that mixes Beer and Improv. We went to all three 10:45 adult R-rated shows during the week. They were outstanding! We didn’t get a chance to make it to their 2:00pm Family Friendly show, but I have no doubt that it was great too. Gene Young was our cruise director, and while he was quite funny, he was probably the least visible of any CD that we’ve ever had. We saw him at the beginning of shows and a few other times throughout the week, but we never saw him out and about the ship. Anytime the Entertainment Staff was doing a dance lesson or amping up the crowd, we never saw him. We like our CD’s to be more visible, but some people don’t mind it! The rest of the entertainment staff was decent. He was a part of the Liar’s Club game show which featured Beerprov giving different definitions of words. We had to guess which definition was right. While this wasn’t advertised as R-rated, it would definitely say it was PG-13! The Quest Game show was pretty tame for shows that we’ve been to. One interesting thing to note is that for many of the announcements made during shows and on board, they’ll do the same announcement in about 6-7 languages. If you’re around to hear the Captain speak, he’s fluent in 5-6 languages himself. While I understand that need for this given the fact that over 100 nationalities were on board, it got to be a bit much at times. Also, it’s important to note that there is NOT a bar in the theatre. In fact, they have a sign outside that says “NO DRINKS,” but we were able to bring our drinks in as long as we were careful. They prefer that it not be in glass, so if you can get plasticware or be drinking from an aluminum can, they’ll be more lenient. CLOSEST place to get a drink would be the Casino bar, but it’s usually slow so make sure you build in time to get a drink before your shows! We would stop by any other bar that we could as to avoid the wait at the casino bar. Dining I’ll preface this by saying that we didn’t do any specialty restaurants, but we did hear from multiple guests that the Asian Fusion restaurant was outstanding. We’ll probably try that out in June when we sail on Seaside again. There are two buffets on board. The first is Biscayne Bay on Deck 16. This one consists of only one line that spans the width of the ship. It is BUSY because it’s the closest to the pool. Kids were constantly cutting me off, and people couldn’t get the concept of a line… The second, more vast buffet is the Marketplace Buffet on Deck 8 midship. This buffet was much more spread out and featured two pretty much identical sides. It has more of a variety than that of the Biscayne Bay buffet. It is also home to self-serve soda, Heineken, and wine dispensers. Simply tap your card or wristband and serve! The food at the buffets varied little throughout the week, but it was all pretty decent. We had My Time dining and chose to go at 5:30 every day as this worked for our schedule. The host offered us the option to do this and we’d get the same table every day. We got seated at a 2-top right by the window! Great views every single night. Our 7 night cruise offered two elegant nights (one of which included Prime Rib), an Italian night, and a Mediterranean night. The My Time dining was never full and offered quick service (we had a few appetizers, main course, and dessert within an hour each night). The food was pretty decent throughout the week, but nothing I’d say was outstanding. The only odd thing about the dining room was that we couldn’t really order alcoholic drinks outside of beer and wine. If we wanted liquor, they’d have to bring in a separate attendant to do this. Weird. We just stopped at a bar before dinner if we wanted anything for the rest of the week. They also poured fresh water from 1L water bottles – included in our drinks package. The Aurea Experience We decided to splurge this trip and went for the Aurea package. This meant that we got priority boarding, My Time dining, a free wristband that could be used as your cruise card to get into your room and make purchases (you needed your card to get on and off the ship and to get access to the Aurea bar) a 50 minute massage each, access to the Aurea only bar and area on deck 19, and access to the thermal area all cruise long. We aren’t usually into these kind of things, but loved every minute we spent in the spa. There were two dry saunas, a bright steam bath, a dark steam bath, a salt room, a snow room (oddly refreshing), an odd geyser room where cold water shot out from the floor, a decent sized hot tub, and plenty of seating to just relax. There were multiple showers that had overhead faucets that were extremely relaxing. The locker rooms had lockers that you used your wristband or card to lock and unlock (a plus to the wristband). The Aurea Bar was a great place to go and hang out. It had comfy chairs that were shaded near the bar, plus plenty of sun loungers and two hot tubs. It was right outside of the Yacht Club, which made us a little jealous. We never got to check out the YC, but maybe on a future cruise? The Aurea bar was a great place to go and hang out after we were done in the sun. It offered great views off the stern of the ship! Ports of Call This itinerary included a night stop in San Juan (5pm-1AM), plus stops in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas USVI, St. Maarten, and Nassau. It was very different being in port in San Juan at night. We were able to get off and head to the home of the “original” Pina Colada – Barrachina. After this, we wandered around Old San Juan before deciding to take an Uber to a local brewery – Ocean Lab. If you like venturing to breweries when you travel, this is a good spot. It’s connected to a beach club, which was closed for the night. The beer was decent, and for $10 each way in an Uber, it gave us something to do. I’d like to see it during the day, as it looks awesome at night! Unfortunately, the brewery’s shop was closed, so we didn’t get to get any merch. We did a Catamaran Snorkel excursion in St. Thomas. The crew of the Castaway Girl was outstanding. The snorkeling wasn’t the best that I’ve experienced, but it was a pretty lengthy snorkel and a beautiful ride back. Rum Punch, Rum and Coke, water, and juices were provided on the way back for free. They sold t-shirts, of which I got one of the blue longsleeve dryfits that features SPF protection. Really nice shirt! The even took Venmo for it! Joleen, Marshall, and Patrick were all great! Once back in port, we went to Tap and Still and had lunch. They were delicious! The fries were fresh cut and the cheese dog was delicious (it came on a hamburger bun which threw us off, but it was great!). They’re connected with Rock City Brewing. We were able to get a beer there, PLUS their taproom and shop was right across the street. We asked about another brewery on the island and were told that some of their beers were featured at a restaurant right at the port. We stopped by the Smoking Rooster and tried out some Frenchtown Brewing. They were decent, but not as good as RCB. St. Maarten has always been a favorite stop for us. We paid $7 per person round trip to ride the water taxi across to town. You can walk around to get to town, but we weren’t feeling that. It was worth it. St. Maarten is home to Guavaberry Rum, which is a great souvenir. Lots of vendors have chairs and umbrellas for rent along the beach. We got two chairs, slow wifi, an umbrella, and 5 drinks for $20. This is a pretty standard deal all along the beach. Just pick one that looks good to you and go with it. This was a quick port, as we docked at 8am and left at 2pm. Nassau is good for one thing for us: Pirate’s Republic Brewing. They have a taproom that is right one of the main strips in town near the Straw Market. We stopped by in December and knew we had to come back. Their main bartender is the “Bahamian Tracy Morgan” and is a trip. They beer is really delicious and they have food, but we’ve never tried it…They had a deal for two beers and a shirt for $28, which we took. We also went to Twisted Lime, which was kind of hidden down an alley. This is a definite must as well. We got the Jerk Chicken Mac and Cheese. MAN was it hot! But it was that kind of spicy that you just can’t stop eating! Delicious! It was a huge portion for the price we paid. Their pizza looked outstanding, so when we’re back in July, we’ll definitely be stopping to try that! Disembarkation The most bittersweet part of any trip is the day that you leave. MSC follows the standard disembarkation procedure of luggage tags, which were placed in our stateroom. We opted to place our bag outside of our rooms by 11pm and lazily waited until we were ready to get up and disembark. There are assigned times to get off of the ship, but nobody follows or regulates them. We had Aurea, which was the earliest to leave, but left around 9am. This was the EASIEST I’ve ever seen a disembark go. We did a “passport” check when we got off the ship, got our luggage, and left. We didn’t have to wait in line for customs! It’s something new that they’re trying I guess. So nice! Traffic was just as awful getting off of the ship as it was getting on. Most of the rental car agencies have free shuttles to MIA airport. Check those out before committing to another company. There are plenty of shuttles available without having to reserve anything, however, for $10 per person to the airport. Conclusion While the MSC Seaside does have its faults, we absolutely loved our time on board. We are already booked for another sailing at the end of June, and even went ahead and booked a sailing for next spring break in our same Aurea stateroom. We’ll be in the Fantastica level for our June cruise, so I’m interested to see how things differ. We plan to purchase a cruise-long spa pass, however! It’s worth the $260 per couple before boarding! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The food/buffets could have been better. And should not be repeated everyday. Best thing was open bar, too forget the food. Dinner at the restaurants-worth it! Comedian was great! So funny! First stop-pvt island-loved it. Family Cabana ... Read More
The food/buffets could have been better. And should not be repeated everyday. Best thing was open bar, too forget the food. Dinner at the restaurants-worth it! Comedian was great! So funny! First stop-pvt island-loved it. Family Cabana very nice-complimentary fruit was one small plate. Towels/floats supplied. 50$ reimbursement of food, it was just ok. It’s still Buffett and open bar on beach FYI. Second stop is all about gold mostly. It’s a town of shops. Shows on board, were good but could have been better. Casino. Starbucks, Sushi bar. All white party-tu don’t have to be in all white FYI: any color. Teen club-you need to register them in with an adult. Arcade budget go with the deal-they use there room card. Shampoo/conditioner lotion included. No toothpaste. Best drink-bush wacker! Follow the fish on the rug for front of ship. They put the beach loungers away much too early. It was great to see Bahamas. Cuba is next for Me! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first Norwegian cruise after sailing twice on Carnival and wanting something different. We sailed during "Spring break season" for us New Englanders, so prices were higher than we had experienced in the past on ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian cruise after sailing twice on Carnival and wanting something different. We sailed during "Spring break season" for us New Englanders, so prices were higher than we had experienced in the past on Carnival, so I personally had high expectations for everything on this 5-day Western Caribbean ship. We booked our flight through the NCL Air promotion. We had a difficult experience getting to the ship, as our first flight with American Airlines was delayed and subsequently cancelled the morning of the cruise. After contacting the airline and Norwegian's Emergency Air Hotline and discovering they couldn't get us on any other flight, we had to decide to last minute drive to NYC (3.5 hours getting into the city during rush hour) and incur a $250 parking fee which we had not planned for. I was very worried about parking and getting through security at the airport so we didn't look into other options. Thankfully, security was quick and we had an hour before boarding. We dealt with our return flight later on in the cruise, as the AA rep said she did not want to alter an existing reservation that morning, before we boarded our flight to Miami. NOTE: EVEN IF YOU BOOK AIR THROUGH NORWEGIAN, GUEST SERVICES ON SHIP WILL NOT MAKE NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOU/BE EMPATHETIC OR KIND. When we spoke to them about fixing our return flight, they first of all did not understand our problem (our return flight was now to a different airport where our car was not parked) and insisted our return flight was not cancelled (yes, we know!). Then, once they understood the problem they said the only thing they could do is email American Airlines and wait for a response in the morning (What? It's an airline. They're open all the time. *eye roll*). The representative also said that we "should have come to guest services sooner to address the problem" (this was the second to last day, and when I spoke to the American Airlines rep they said we would have no problem even doing it the day we returned to Miami). I asked the NCL rep, "so you're saying this whole problem is our fault and you won't help us?" "No, ma'am, that's not what I'm saying." OKAY. Whole experience left a bad taste in our mouth. Rep was rude, condescending, and un-empathetic which are exactly the things you should not be as a customer service agent. I believe this was a supervisor. I will say there was another Guest Services rep who chased after us to understand our problem correctly and make the email, which was nice. Basically, all in all we had to take an hour of our own time out of our vacation to call the Airline and make the appropriate arrangements ourselves, even though we booked the flights through Norwegian. Maybe I'm foolish, but I thought they would handle that for you if you booked through them. Anyway, moving on! THE SHIP 5/5: The ship itself was very nice. We have only cruised on some of the older Carnival ships with the tacky Vegas-style decor, so this was a nice change. I really did like the style and decor of the ship throughout. It was a little hard to navigate at first, but we learned quickly. OUR CABIN 4/5: We originally booked interior but won an upgrade for oceanview with a nice large picture window. This was new for us, and we loved it! We did experience our light going out in the shower on the 3rd day, which was fixed by the next day after telling our steward. Steward also left several empty drinks in the room for a whole day without taking them. Maybe he didn't see them... not sure, but had never experienced that before. DINING 3/5: I thought the food in the free dining areas was okay-good. First meal at O'Sheehan's after boarding left me perplexed: I ordered fajitas and received no plate on which to make them, and received huge strips of meat that were way too big for fajitas. However, they tasted good. First night in Venetian was best meal in MDR, I got bruschetta, caesar salad, chicken milanese, and a sea salt caramel chocolate tart which was out of this world good. However, on other nights, the MDR dinner menus just didn't speak to me. For the rest of the cruise when I sat down to look at the menu I had a hard time deciding because nothing jumped out at me (never remember experiencing this on Carnival). We were very impressed with specialty dining, however. Los Lobos was the highlight of our dining on the ship! Our waiter was awesome and we only ordered sides, apps, and margs and were stuffed to the brim! A great value. We also experienced the Brazilian steakhouse which was a new experience that we greatly enjoyed as well. I really did not like the morning breakfast buffet, which is strange for me because I usually don't mind buffets. Lunch buffet was okay. As for drinks, they seemed to take a long time to be made no matter where you went. Forget about even trying to get one out on the main pool deck. When I tried to get one at Bimini Bar, it took a good 20 minutes. Long lines everywhere. EMBARKATION 5/5: Don't remember too much from this, I think it went smoothly and quickly! ENTERTAINMENT 4/5: We saw two shows and one comedy routine. The first show was the "Soul Rockin" musical show, which I personally did not enjoy very much. Perhaps because most of the songs were older and I didn't know them; I also thought many of the performers did a very poor job lip syncing. However, my mom really enjoyed it so maybe it's again just because I wasn't familiar with the songs. The Elements show was phenomenal! Really felt like an experience you'd have off-broadway. We were both blown away by this one. Loved the magician who was in it, and we were bummed that we couldn't make it to see him the last night. I always love comedy on the ships, so we saw the last night late-night adult only show. Francis DeLorenzo was pretty good and I laughed quite a bit. Yes, I know the comedy is for adults, I just thought the routine was trying a bit too hard to be all about SEX !!! Lmao. ACTIVITIES 5/5: I enjoyed the onboard activities that the ship offered. Never felt like we were bored or didn't have something to do. We enjoyed one round of Bingo (the caller was a riot), a painting class (new experience for us which we thoroughly enjoyed), dance parties (mostly people watching for us lol), shopping, and the live music. We also purchased the spa pass and went there 4/5 days -- very relaxing and worth it. SERVICE 4/5: Now this one is hard for me to describe. I guess overall, we had more exemplary service than not. But we did have a few notable times when service was disappointing: first moments on ship at O'Sheehan's with waiter, spa rep who was affronted when we did not want to try his teeth whitening sample, and of course our guest services friend. Overall though, we had more great waiters than not, and the live band Azaelea sought us out after their Fleetwood Mac set to thank us for staying! We thought this was super nice. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We only booked one excursion through NCL and that was the "Monkey River Eco Tour." The tour did not depart until 2 hours after scheduled time because our ship got into port much later than expected due to rough seas. This excursion was pretty good, but it made for a long grueling day in the heat and sun, and we were left with little time to explore Harvest Caye. Our tour guides were very good. Other guests seemed taken aback that we did exactly what the tour specified - a boat ride through jungle river and a hike through jungle looking for howler monkeys (which we did see plenty of them). I think just due to the later timing of the activity (starting at 12pm instead of 10am), people were drained, dehydrated, and exhausted at this peak of the day for such an outdoor activity. The other excursion we booked through Native Choice tours and was fabulous. VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5 I just feel like we spent SO much more for this cruise when the services received were very similar to Carnival. It also honestly felt like the addons and extras were around every corner and pushed way more than on our past cruises. Like I said, I did really like the updated ship, but I'm not sure if that it is entirely worth it to me for the price I paid. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I don't normally complain. We love cruising and being on the ocean. There was nothing absolutely horrible. Nothing great either. Service is slow and poor. Had to wait forever to be served at the bar, or flag down bar service who ... Read More
I don't normally complain. We love cruising and being on the ocean. There was nothing absolutely horrible. Nothing great either. Service is slow and poor. Had to wait forever to be served at the bar, or flag down bar service who always seemed irritated to be asked. The main dining service was awesome. We had wonderful servers and was the highlight of each day. Julius in the seaside lounge bar was the only great, kind, friendly bartender. None of the shows were good, except the Michael Jackson show. Comedy was all vulgar improv. The food was fine, but the salad bar was literally lettuce and shredded carrots. We saw our cabin steward once. He never cleaned our shower or bathroom floor. It was nasty by day 7. This was our second msc cruise. Both have had a theme of poor service. Hoping they can use these reviews to improve in the future, as their ships are beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise as it was very reasonably priced and it was our first time with Norwegian.. Embarking was quiet an experience with the staff shoreside being quiet short and abrupt if you had a question to ask. Once onboard we ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was very reasonably priced and it was our first time with Norwegian.. Embarking was quiet an experience with the staff shoreside being quiet short and abrupt if you had a question to ask. Once onboard we went straight to the outside restaurant on deck 11 for a snack and drink, the bar staff seemed very rushed and a tad rude, probably due to the amount of people they were trying to serve, so put it down to work overload. Our reservation was deck 4 mid ship, I didn’t like the fact that we could only access it from either end of the ship and the aft access was via 1 small elevator or small staircase. After spending the night in the room we simply had to move, the AC noise was, at the very least annoying. We upgraded to a balcony on deck 8, this was much more roomier and not quiet so loud, much easier to access and better located. We were allowed to choose which restaurant we went to for dinner, thankfully this was the case s the 1st one went to was awash with the smell of smoke, seven seasons on deck 5 aft. We then went to Four seasons, deck 5 mid ship, although the smell of smoke was all around the atrium it didn’t creep into this restaurant too much. Our service in this restaurant was excellent, although I think the menu could have been a bit more varied from day to day they did try to please us. We found the layout of the ship very disjointed with having to go up and over to come down again just to get to somewhere next door on the same deck, very weird. The worst part of this ship is the smell of smoke on some days, I think most was coming from the casino and maybe because of the age of the air handlers it seemed to spread far and wide, it really was quiet sickening and I found I couldn’t sit in many places due to this awful smell. I did make it know to customer services how unpleasant I found it and it seemed many others were of the same opinion, the ship did try to pump air fresheners thru it’s system but they we short lived. Our cruise was only 6 days and we were ashore for 4 of them so we didn’t have much time for the entertainment but the daily activities was a little bare. In brief, if you are not handicapped and if you don’t mind the exercise then you will overcome the ships layout.. if they stopped smoking in any indoor areas or upgraded their air system this was a very pleasant cruise. The staff were very welcoming and helpful and the service at dinner was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
To start I am no expert for traveling, and before travel i usually do so much research. When doing my research for this trip I literally spent HOURS searching through cruise critic page after cruise critic page to find all the ... Read More
To start I am no expert for traveling, and before travel i usually do so much research. When doing my research for this trip I literally spent HOURS searching through cruise critic page after cruise critic page to find all the information i needed. I will start from the beginning of my trip. ___________________________________________________ PACKING: I research "Marie Kondo" packing method, she has a youtube video showing how she packs her suitcase. Using her method helped keep things organized while living out of the suitcase. Traveling with children it is hard to figure out what you will need and what wont even get used. Here are a few things I packed: KIDS - 4 swim suits 2 rash guards 2 swimwear covers (girls) 2 Sunglasses 2 Sandals ( 1 pair of flip flops for the pool, 1 fashionable pair for dinner) Water shoes (so they can run around but wont fall with wet floors) 5 pair of shorts (the kids are mostly in their bathing suits) SPF rated Sun Hats (we use spf 50) 10 Shirts Life vest for swimming in deep pools (helped out because it isn't provided) 1 pair of sneakers GIRLS: Bring a dress for each night of the cruise, 2 camisole sweaters, cute bows and head bands BOYS: 4-6 Pair of pants (depending on the number of nights for your cruise) a button down or collar shirt for each night, a pair a dress shoes, 1 suit jacket for elegant night. Baseball cap for dry day activities. Things I packed and never used: Dramamine for kids Sickness Sea bands Toys MEN: 2 Pair of shorts (you probably wont event use these) 4-5 Bathing suit trunks 7 Tank Tops/Mussel shirts 3 t-shirts 1 Suit Jacket 7 going out shirts(dress collar shirts or t-shirts) (1 for each night) 4 pair of pants (for dinner) 1 pair of jeans 1 pair of dress shoes 1 Pair of sneakers 1 pair of flip flops 1 pair of fashion sandals (birkenstock) WOMEN: 1 pair of flip flops 1 pair of heels 1 pair of sneakers 2 pair of fashion Sandals 7 Dresses or Rompers (a mix of midi dresses and Rompers for dinner) 1 camisole 6 shorts 6 shirts (sporty/loose fitted) ______________________________________________________ Pre-purchased Add-ons: 1.Trio dining package -if you purchase on the boat, their current promo offered 4 dining reservations rather than the trio -If you don't like any of the cuisines you are allowed to double up on a restaurant -Our favorite was the Asian Market restaurant & Butcher Cut **Dining review that helped me: https://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/review.cfm?ShipID=994&pgtype=dining 2.We choose to book our excursions separate from MSC which was fine but I wish we did it with MSC for our Bahamas stop, so we can use the Atlantis shuttle rather than paying for a cab. ________________________________________________ A few days before embarking, everyone must have paper print outs of your itinerary. On your itinerary you will find a your cruise info, embarking time (it is not a mandatory time, you can arrive as early as you want), pre-purchased packages, & bag tags hat must be placed on any checked bags. ___________________________________________________ EMBARKING DAY: We arrived to the port in Miami at 3:30/4pm. You drop off your bags with the port crew members curb side (which can make you feel uneasy) and proceed to security. Security requires the same as in the airport, Passport and boarding pass ( located on itinerary printed). Once you get through security you will go up the escalator or elevator to the MSC customer service window. The MSC customer service member will take your passport information, they take a current photo & provide you with your key card. This key card is used to open your cabin door but also will be used at the bar each time you order a drink. Once you receive your key card you may enter the ship, the security will scan each key one by one and ask that the person he is scanning pass him. When traveling with kids its best to divide and concur. So I took my son through security and my husband took our daughter. __________________________________________________ ARRIVING TO OUR ROOM: Upon arrival our beds weren't set up the way we needed it. No biggie we just pushed the two twin beds to make 1 bed. We hung up our sweaters and dropped off our bags and we immediately left our room to begin exploring the ship. Stop #1: Guest Services There is always a long lone no matter what time you go. (I would suggest to go around 7pm it seemed to be the best time) At customer Service you are allowed to deposit cash but upon checking out you either have a bill waiting for you or they have to refund you. If you use a debit card you have to swipe the card again on the day of disembarkment. MSC crew members suggest adding a credit card on file as it is literally the easiest way to pay any tab you might have because you no longer have to go back to customer service.(unless you have a question in regards to a charge) **But one thing that they don't mention is YOU DO NOT have to stand in line to add a credit or debit card, there are 2 credit card machines in the customer service area to add your card. Stop #2: The Seaside Bar The Bartenders on level 5 is great, everyone is super nice and make great drinks. We had the "Drink on Us" promo package. This package had a few hidden fees and limitations, which wasn't a complete surprise. (considering nothing is free) The hidden fee was a service fee per drink order. (usually $1-3) So we upgraded to the premium package which is $530 for two adult, we didn't have to upgrade the kids because they had a drink package as well. The premium package is WORTH IT! priced at $33 per person/per day which is on average about the cost of 3 premium drinks and if you are out in the sun you can easily drink 3-4 Miami Vices (slushy mixed drink). Mimosas, slushy or mixed cocktails with good liquor and the best cappuccinos arent included in the drinks on us package. Stop #3: Dinner at the Seashore Restaurant - Level 5 The staff is amazing, so sweet and since it was the first night they allowed us to be in our shorts for dinner. The steak had a gravy that i wasn't a big fan of and the food was just okay. Stop #4: 8th floor deck to watch the sun set as well sailed away from the Miami port. We continued to explore the ship and found ourselves checking out the kids pool area on level 18, we found a great spot to watch the sun set and continue to watch our sail away from Miami on deck 19 (which is walking access only.) _____________________________________ As we continued to explore the ship we found the casino which is small but nice. We found the arcade (with 4 games total) & the 2 bowling lanes. _________________________________________ On day 3, we received a service charge and upon arriving to customer service they informed us that is the gratuity charge ($12.50 per adult/per day & 1/2 the price for small children/per day.) _____________________________________________ ENTERTAINMENT Staff: The entertainment staff was great, they definitely knew how to keep the party going. The all white party was on deck 16 and the 70's party was near the seaside bar and could be viewed from deck 5-8. ______________________________________________ Jamaica - Try your best to book an excursion or something to do. We went to Margaritaville where people asked if we wanted to smoke weed 1000x. Also try your best to avoid talking to anyone outside of the port, they all want to call you boss lady and take your money, even if they suggest it is only based on whatever you want to give them. Grand Cayman - This port is on the ocean, so there is a ferry boat to take you to and from the dock. You must pick up a ticket from level 8 first thing in the morning and they begin calling numbers by 8am (1-50). Once your number is called then you may enter the Haven night club, only to be let out of the night club to go down to deck 4 to disembark (which took a total of 2 hrs for us). The return ferry was much easier. we arrived to the docks around 2:30pm and were on one of the first two ferrys back. Cozumel - We scheduled snorkeling for this stop which was totally worth it!!! I highly recommend using: http://cozumelcruiseexcursions.net/snorkel-in-cozumel.html the photos on the website does it NO JUSTICE! we used biodegradable sunscreen SPF 50 and still got a little burned, dont forget to keep applying sunscreen the sun is strong. Bahamas- We booked Atlantis directly from its website, we took a $4 per person cab and had a wack driver. (i would recommend using MSC excursion for this one) When the ship docks at a port it usually empty's out, if you return back at a good time there are no lines for any of the slides or bars and the pools are empty. _________________________________________________ DISEMBARKING DAY: On the day we returned to Miami we had breakfast at the buffet and made our way to desk 7, which is where were allowed to leave from. We were told that we had to wait for your color to be called for people who checked bags but after arriving to to deck 7 we were told that all bags were already out and we could leave when ever. I would suggest bringing only carry on items as this might make leaving easier. _________________________________ Each day you will receive an itinerary of what the following day has to offer and on each of these brochures your will find the dress code. But just to get an idea this is what our cruise had. Dress code optional per nights: Night #1 - Smart Casual Night #2 - Elegant optional // Smart Casual Night #3 - Smart Casual Night #4 - All White optional // Smart Casual Night #5 - 70's Theme Party optional// Smart Casual Night #6 - Smart Casual Night #7 - Elegant optional // Smart Casual Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, ... Read More
After promising three stops in Cuban Ports, Royal Caribbean promptly cancelled one port about three days after the final payment was made. When asked about cancelling the trip or taking a credit on another cruise, I was told sorry, "you can cancel, but you will not get a refund". After taking at least 20 cruises on many different cruise lines, this one ranks as the worst. The food was barely edible. The food on the buffet was generally cold and when I brought it to their attention, they found a legion of middle managers who apologized profusely and then did nothing about it. In Cienfuegos, the crew was totally unprepared to handle the tender disembarking and return.They shuttled passengers back and forth with two small tenders. At least 1500 passengers were left outside in a pouring rain for two hours while they slowly brought people back to the ship. The only shelter from the rain was crowded with the ship staff. The passengers were so upset about conditions on this ship that they were yelling at the MC on the evening show. I would not recommend Royal Caribbean based on this experience. The ship is old but and poorly maintained, but if the ship was managed better, it would have been a much better experience. We have been to Cuba on other cruise ships and had a very enjoyable time. I agree with other customers. Choose another cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I picked this cruise rather last minute, which for me is unusual. I am usually the deal hunter who books in advance. In fact I still have a booking for Carnival Magic in December 2019 that was already booked when I found this cruise. This ... Read More
I picked this cruise rather last minute, which for me is unusual. I am usually the deal hunter who books in advance. In fact I still have a booking for Carnival Magic in December 2019 that was already booked when I found this cruise. This cruise fell into spring-break for my kids schools. We had originally planned to vacation at Destin on the outer bank, and my wife had submitted her vacation request as far back as last November. Unfortunately they did not approve her vacation until 2 weeks before spring break. We actually booked this cruise early march and had resigned ourselves that she would have to put in her 2-weeks notice if it came down to it, as that is required in order to get re-hired there. It was rediculous. Needless to say the condo's we were looking at had become unavailable by mid january. This was the only cruise that happened to have a schedule that did not require leaving school days early or arriving after classes had resumed. Given its last minute nature the pricing was not too egregious, but I am sure booking earlier might have yielded better results. This was the fifth cruise I had sailed on and subsequently the 5th distinct ship as well. In the order of sail date I have sailed on: Carnival Victory, Allure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Carnival Liberty, and now Norwegian Sun. We were excited by the free open bar and the free-at-sea upgrade to the ultimate beverage package. We usually get the drink package on all our cruises, as they not only get you premium wines and sprits, but also those special irish coffees and mochas, as well as bottled water. My first bar experience was the Atrium Cafe and Bar. Having the Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP) I looked over the menu to find a decent Cabernet. They only listed one wine that wasnt just a generic name 'cabernet'. It was a Simi Cabernet, which is a fairly decent $20 bottle at most retail stores. Some excuse from the bartender about not having come up from the stock room yet. This was his excuse also on Day 2 and Day 3. Ironically this was a similar excuse at other bars EXCEPT for the Observation lounge, who had Simi available on the first night at sea. The 'house' cabernet they kept trying to pass off ..... Livingston. This stuff is worse than franzia. Its normally sold in JUGS. I have no idea how they got these 750ml screw-top bottles. To upgrade someone to the UBP and then deny them any premium wine is just plain wrong. They listed 6 different premium tequila, gin, and vodka's. But if you were a wine drinker they just wanted to serve swill. DAy 2 my wife came to another realization regarding the bait-and-switch nature of the UBP. BTW when you get your free upgrade they still make you pay the gratuities (20%) of its essential value. This means that not only are you paying an increased daily gratuity on your cabin ($20.50/pp/day instead of $15) but you're essentially paying another $6/pp/day for those with the UBP. My wife goes down to the Cafe to get a specialty coffee. These are supposed to be included like every other cruise line as long as you dont go to the starbucks counter. Well they only have ONE cafe on the whole ship and even though its not starbucks, thats the only kind of coffee they serve. So another bait-and-switch lie. She found out when they charged her account $6.50. Later on day 2 I noticed everyone complaining that ALL the bars kept denying them bottled water even though the UBP includes that. They claimed they were out. Its an unlimited open bar cruise. To not have water is purely irresponsible considering the risk of dehydration and alcohol poisoning. It wasnt until I complained to management about the wine, coffee and water did it get rectified on day 3. Their plan was to deflect and excuse until it was too late and assume the guests would just go along with it. Day 3 had the whole ship angry. Harvest Cay clearly says no tenders on the information. We and everyone was told no tenders. So guess what? Info in the Freestyle schedule talked about tender tickets. My wife calls the customer service desk, gets fed a lie about low ocean levels. The NCL Sun weighs 78,000 GT, its the lightest ship in their fleet. The fact that the NCL Getaway weighs 147,000 GT and was tied up to the peer blew that story out of the water. Heavier ships sit DEEPER in the water. its called submerged displacement for a reason. So our 10am peer time turned into sitting around for an extra 2hrs before the first passenger got off the ship. They only had 3 tenders and they were taking too long to cycle. They needed 6 tenders so they could get people moving faster. The lines consisted of 15min periods where nothing moved. The last group made it to shore at 2pm for a all-aboard 5:30pm departure. UNACCEPTABLE. IF that was not enough the captain of the NCL Getaway did the most irresponsible, dangerous, maneuver you could imagine. I was on the tender at 4:30 returning to the ship when the Getaway starts backing out of port. We were next to the ship trying to get off when that IDIOT captain spun up his engines to rotate at flank speed (full speed) it sent such a turbulent wake our tender kept crashing into the ship repeatedly. My daughter (16) and son (9) had litterally just stepped off the tender when this happened. They were not 6 feet in front of me when we had to hold on and try not to capsize. My son (handicapped) standing there crying and terrified that he is watching his parents die right in front of him because this IRRESPONSIBLE captain could not wait till the tenders were clear of collision before tearing out of port at break-neck speed. It was bad enough he came along and screwed us out of the peer, but letting him leave first??? Should have made his butt stay at the peer until ALL tenders were completed. Had I been on that ship I would have charged up to the bridge and relieved him of duty myself (possibly more than just that) I have the martial acumen to back it up and endangering peoples lives unnecessarily is unacceptable. He should not have command and NCL policy should state that peered ships must remain in port as long as tendering operations are underway if within 1 nautical mile of the anchored ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We wanted to be on the cruise on our anniversary, so we selected this cruise. We usually go on smaller ships, such as the Pearl, but there were none available from Miami on our dates. We were pleasantly surprised by the Getaway. The ... Read More
We wanted to be on the cruise on our anniversary, so we selected this cruise. We usually go on smaller ships, such as the Pearl, but there were none available from Miami on our dates. We were pleasantly surprised by the Getaway. The staff and crew were fantastically friendly and accommodating. The ship was very upbeat, and we were able to find quiet areas, although it was spring break. Our cabin steward was the best we have ever had, and we’ve been on 25 cruises. We loved the Ice Bar, and enjoyed Fat Cat’s and the Headliner. We liked the Trivia contests, the various competitions, the Tropicana for dinner, and everything about the ship’s set up. Our only two suggestions would be to have more shows in the theater. The same shows kept repeating. Also, the shows in the Atrium were great, but seating was not available. Maybe these should have been in the theater. We did not take any shore excursions. We visited Roatan by taxi, and enjoyed the chocolate factory. The guide there was very knowledgeable. Harvest Key had something for everyone, including giant chess and checkers games and zip lines. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019

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