133 New Orleans Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

We live in New Orleans- so it was a perfect opportunity to go on a cheap cruise sailing out of our native port. Our group includes one young adult and two seniors. Embarking had a few hiccups for my family- we forgot a form of ... Read More
We live in New Orleans- so it was a perfect opportunity to go on a cheap cruise sailing out of our native port. Our group includes one young adult and two seniors. Embarking had a few hiccups for my family- we forgot a form of identification, so we were pulled aside and asked to wait in a side area while we asked one of our family members to retrieve the document for us at home. After we got the proper verification, everything went smoothly. The ship's decor is classic Americana culture- the floor tile complete with the American flag. The design is not as flashy as other ships, but it doesn't feel too boring. The atrium was elegant, the theater was large and accommodating, and the dining rooms felt both large and intimate at the same time. The layout was a tiny bit confusing, but eventually when we got to know our way around, we could find things with ease. There are maps/deck plans on pretty much every wall near the elevators and stairwells. The cabin we had was at the very back of the ship on the lower decks, so we did feel the occasional rumble of the engines when we docked at a port. The room literally shook a few times- that would be an issue for any light sleeper. As for cleanliness, it was perfectly fine- and the towel animals were a surprise each night. From day one, the staff onboard the Valor made us feel so welcome. Anyone from the staff in the lido deck (Rosie's Restaurant) to the fun squad (Claire, Abbey, and Sarah are awesome), to the incredible housekeeping staff- everyone welcomed us with smiles. The Cruise Director, Kevin, was hilarious and kept us laughing the entire trip. The meals in the dining room were excellent- up to the high standard that we are used to by now from Carnival. The offerings ranged from classic steak, chicken, and fish- to adventurous things like rabbit, cured salmon, ox tongue, and the like. Dining in the Lido was also surprisingly delicious- the food was hot and fresh, the desserts were tasty. You will never be bored on this ship- from activities like trivia and games to the high-production-value shows, to the parties and nightlife, there is something for everyone. The highlight of entertainment for my family was the live house band onboard the Valor, Deep Blue Soul. They played in the Redfrog Pub on the promenade (deck 5.) Check them out. You will not regret it. The vocalists really know how to put on a show, and the guys and gals playing the instruments were so talented. The itinerary for the week included stops at both Cozumel and Progreso- our family only booked one excursion for Cozumel- and it was a trip to Mr. Sancho's beach. It was all inclusive- the drinks and food were excellent, the water was clean, the beach was not too crowded, and the service was great. Overall, we had a fantastic time. I am already trying to convince my family to go back next month! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I won this cruise playing Texas Holdem'. It included a cruise for 2 in an Inside Cabin and a seat in the $600,000 NCL Poker Challenge Main Event. We chose not to upgrade. I was fine with the tiny cabin but my wife was not (too ... Read More
I won this cruise playing Texas Holdem'. It included a cruise for 2 in an Inside Cabin and a seat in the $600,000 NCL Poker Challenge Main Event. We chose not to upgrade. I was fine with the tiny cabin but my wife was not (too small and she missed "her balcony") so this will be the last Inside cabin we will ever cruise in. Overall it was a great cruise. The entertainment was incredible. The food in the Specialty restaurants was very good. The food in the MDR's (Savor & Taste) was not very impressive though. The buffet was better than some but not overly impressive. Service was great everywhere - except one morning in the Taste dining room. Embarkation was quick and painless. We were in group 13 but because we were guests of the casino we received priority boarding. Debarkation was fast. We did self-assist because we had an early flight out of MSY. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I didn’t choose this cruise it chose me. I won the trip playing poker and my husband and daughter were unable to join me so it turned into a friends trip. It was a great time and the cruise was wonderful. The weather was great and ... Read More
I didn’t choose this cruise it chose me. I won the trip playing poker and my husband and daughter were unable to join me so it turned into a friends trip. It was a great time and the cruise was wonderful. The weather was great and everything on the ship was terrific. The mojito bar —AWESOME highly recommend Saw Aerosmith tribute band - (draw the line) was hooked we saw every show— if they are on ship it’s a must see. Food was great, service was good. If I had to find something to complain about it would be that I would have liked more time in Cozumel. The stops were really great and again weather was wonderful. Did dolphin encounter in Cozumel and it was the best dolphin encounter I’ve done. The place was spectacular the trainers were well versed and the exhibit and encounter was over the top. Worth every cent and will do it again in November! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining ... Read More
Entire boat was reserved for Road Scholar members for this cruise. Instead of the standard one day stay in New Orleans with tours, Road Scholar had two before boarding. The food and service was outstanding, either in the Main Dining Room with a very good selections or in the Grill Room/Terrace buffet. Most of us chose the Main Dining Room for dinner, wine and beer is included with dinner. and the Grill Room for breakfast and lunch. Weather was good enough for enjoying the meals on the open terrace. Cabins are very comfortable and there are suites with separate sitting area, even two story suites with seating below and sleeping area up the stairs. Lectures and tours are included, with experienced and enthusiastic guides. Free Hop on/off busses are at every port. There was good entertainment with a four piece band and three singers performing every night. Music in the Lounge during the cocktail hour and after the show. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Cruised with a large group (over 70 people and families) and planned trip for over a year. Between the stateroom, flights, extras and on board upgrades we spent 8,000 on this vacation and felt like we were cattle the entire week. ... Read More
Cruised with a large group (over 70 people and families) and planned trip for over a year. Between the stateroom, flights, extras and on board upgrades we spent 8,000 on this vacation and felt like we were cattle the entire week. Getting on the boat: was raining in Nola and process was ok. Many people pointing you in what direction to go but otherwise went smoothly. Once on the boat you are kind of clueless as to what to do or where to go. Staterooms not open yet so do you eat? Drink? Explore? None of the crew was especially welcoming. Playing loud party music as we got on does not suppliment for genuinely happy crew members who look forward to taking care of you. While the boat is still in the Mississippi, you have to pay tax on any drinks you order. Ports were terrible. Not enough time to truly enjoy anything and not a lot of culture or excursion options. We went to a resort in Cozumel, kids had fun but the place was run down and the food was absolutely terrible, no taste at all. Belize was nice but wow do they find ways to nickel and dime you at every corner! If you have the premium beverage package be prepared to pay out of pocket all day for your drinks on this private make believe island owned by NCL. When we docked at costa maya, there were two other ships at the port. 12,000+ potential people walking around a small, crowded money trap and only 3-4 hours to do it. Absolute mess. Dining options: Here’s another chance for NCL to Create and illusion for you! Freestyle dining is anything but. They claim to have upgraded restaurants for an additional charge. The problem is, you can’t get in to any of them. You see, you have to make reservations for most of these upgraded dining options and by the first night of the cruise, our party found it very difficult to book a table at any of these places. When we finally got a table at Ocean Blue and wanted to add a few more to our table, we were told the restaurant was booked for the night. Weird considering that only 2 other tables were seated during our 2 hour meal. The real truth is they don’t want you to eat there!!! They want you at the buffet or main dining rooms. It was the best meal we had on the ship. Buffet was repetitive and main dining rooms were only ok. Also are at the sushi place and Shanghai noodle and sheehans. We also ordered room service which they charge an additional $8 to deliver your order which is nearly guaranteed to arrive way later than quoted estimate and cold. Oh and if you want a pop from room service you have to pay extra for an entire can even if you have the premium bev package. Service at the bars was terrible. Long lines and not enough staff and sometimes waiting 30 minutes for a drink order. Pool deck was crowded and pools were overcrowded. Made room to room calls and was charged $5 for each call. Tried to download the on board app but never successfully got it to work which made communication with our children difficult when they wanted to be up at the sports court or running around with their friends. They also don’t tell you the app costs $10 to download so we were billed $40 for something that never worked the entire trip. Arcade was small and another way for you to spend more money on board. The extra game shows (deal or no deal for example) were fun but again, $25 card to play and you’d think everyone might win a little something but only about 10 people won a chance to win something on the days we attended. The friendliest staff we encountered were in the duty free shopping area. Getting off the boat they herded us through the casino area which smelled terribly of stale smoke, not ideal for children or families. Overall totally unimpressed with the cruise ship, staff, and all aspects of this trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had a group of 59 meet in New Orleans for 3 full days before boarding for our cruise. Our agent did a fabulous job putting together A swamp/plantation tour, visit to the New Orleans Cooking School and a scavenger hunt. Our days and ... Read More
We had a group of 59 meet in New Orleans for 3 full days before boarding for our cruise. Our agent did a fabulous job putting together A swamp/plantation tour, visit to the New Orleans Cooking School and a scavenger hunt. Our days and nights there were amazing! We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown and it was a great location to the heart of the city. Did most of our seeing of the area on foot...including the French Market and Bourbon Street. We boarded the ship in record time...might have helped with all of us in red shirts...and got acquainted with the ship. Got set up on their onboard text/call package through their app which was great for keeping track and communicating with 59 people. Got changed and headed for the outside decks. Found a bar at the front of the ship and was able to get bevies without too much of a wait. Set sail and had a nice time sailing out. Went for a late dinner and that was not the best experience. Service was spotty and we had to ask for drinks, large gaps between our order and appy; appy and dinner and dinner and dessert. Same for the following night with a poor review for all the same reasons, Went to another spot for dinner and the service was amazing, along with our meal. Was asked to give the original spot a try as it was relayed how unhappy we were from our first 2 dinners. We did and it was much better for the next 2 but back to crappy our last couple. Our first sea day was a bit trying for the bar service. There was one bartender with a huge line up. He was doing the best he could. Wait times were 20+ minutes. There was one server for our area that came around and he didn't make it too far as he could only do so many orders himself. Our last sea day was considerably better with multiple bartenders at the bars. Our agent had made arrangements for when we stopped in Cozumel and Belize City which were great. We chose to go into Costa Maya while part of the group went to see the ruins. Everyone had a great time! At Harvest Caye, several took in the shopping and found a spot on the beach to lay around while others ziplined across the bay. It was quite nice. Food and drinks were quite expensive!!! On board water slides were a ton of fun...very little lineups when we were at port. Saw a comedian, Burn The Floor and Rock of Ages and all were fantastic! Live music throughout was great and a couple evenings in the Pour House made the evenings great. Some staff were outstanding with their customer service and some...not so much. I would only give NCL another try on a smaller ship and if it was an amazing deal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We booked this trip as a weekend getaway for a bachelorette trip. It started off terribly. Trying to park at the New Orleans port was a complete disaster. We arrived before we were supposed to board but spent almost an hour and a half in ... Read More
We booked this trip as a weekend getaway for a bachelorette trip. It started off terribly. Trying to park at the New Orleans port was a complete disaster. We arrived before we were supposed to board but spent almost an hour and a half in standstill traffic.. then to be told we had to turn around and go to overflow parking and take a shuttle. We were treated unkindly and yelled at- all while just trying to figure out where to go. Once on the boat, I was very surprised at how outdated our stateroom was let alone the rest of the ship. The cabin was very small and the bathroom had not been cleaned properly. The food was TERRIBLE. The ONLY good food was the Guy’s burgers. I would give those a 5/5. Find that place and eat it for every meal. I survived on ceaser salads at dinner. Room service is a joke!! We would wait anywhere between 15-30 minutes just to get someone to answer, and then another 1-2.5 hours to get what we had ordered. We waited over 1.5 hours just for a Diet Coke. The bar service was extremely slow. We would wait nearly 30 minutes to be waited on. The bar tenders did not seem to care because most had the cheers program which has built in gratuity. We eventually figured out that we would have to pay in cash a server to come to the deck where we were sitting. Find the serenity deck and claim a chair!! There are clean bathrooms and nicer chairs on this deck. Unless you are into filthy music, bad smells, and people grinding, I would recommend the serenity deck. This boat is not kid friendly AT ALL! Our best part of the trip was getting off in Cozumel. We just explored around the port. We had excellent food at Pancho’s and loved the shops. Fat Tuesday’s was also fun. Returning to the cruise ship was dreadful. Disembarkation was a nightmare as well. Do not listed to them when they tell you that you must leave at a certain time. Have your stuff ready in your hand and on deck 3 at 7am on the dot. No one follows the rules so you can get stuck in a hallway or stairwell for hours if you do not stand on ready at 7 by the door. Good luck if your going to be on this boat. Bring lots of snacks and just try and dance out your attitude. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The overall experience was horrible! It was too crowded! They had the same food on the buffet everyday. The staff was rude and it would take over 30 min to get a drink. You had to make reservations for everything but by the time you get on ... Read More
The overall experience was horrible! It was too crowded! They had the same food on the buffet everyday. The staff was rude and it would take over 30 min to get a drink. You had to make reservations for everything but by the time you get on the ship everything was already fully booked. They did not offer refills when dining at specialty restaurants . It is not a kid friendly ship. They only have one very small pool and splash pad. There were not enough seats around the pool area. The smoking area was a small little shack on the 15th floor. The bars would close too early. There were only two channels on the tv. The beds were wore out and uncomfortable. The app was hard to download and cost $9.99 a person and only worked half the time. The help desk was not helpful at all. And the best place we visited was Costa Maya and only got to stay their for 6 hours. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My husband and I went on this cruise with both sides of the family so we had a large party overall but for now, I am going to speak for him and I. This cruise was very disappointing for the following reasons: 1. FREESTYLING - We ... Read More
My husband and I went on this cruise with both sides of the family so we had a large party overall but for now, I am going to speak for him and I. This cruise was very disappointing for the following reasons: 1. FREESTYLING - We were told this was a "Freestyling" cruise but all we kept being told was "you need to make a reservation" ... how is it there were more specialty restaurants than main dining? We even had to make reservations for the shows!! So not only did we get nickel and dimed time and time again but we felt we couldn't relax and do what we wanted because we were so worried about making reservations just to do the things we wanted to do. 2. EMPLOYEES - The amount of employees to passengers was significantly lacking. There was maybe 1-2 bartenders per bar, including the only bar on the adult deck. I think the shortest time I waited for ONE drink was 15 mins. 3. WAIT TIMES - That goes along with the meals: the shortest dinner my husband and I had was about 2 hours and 15 minutes. That was just for drinks, app and dinner. No dessert or anything fancy. You could tell NCL was clearly understaffed or were lacking in the important areas. 4. POOLS - There was only 2 pools on the whole boat, at least that we knew of. The pools, hot tubs and little water sprinkles were packed so tight with people we decided not to even try. I believe you if you have over 3,000 people on a boat, there should be more than 2 average size pools. 5. PORTS - The ports were less than impressive. I was so excited to get off the ship and have fun on land but there was nothing but overpriced souvenir shops. Nothing exciting or fun to do unless you booked an excursion through the cruise line. 6. EXCURSIONS - We booked Salsa, Salsa at Cozumel, Rainforest River Tubing at Harvest Caye and Mayan Wellness Retreat at Costa Maya. Salsa, Salsa was fun and very family oriented. I liked it a lot! Rainforest River Tubing was the biggest waste of money!!! Rode a ferry for 40 mins then another bus for another 50 mins to float on a still river for 30 mins. Almost 2 hours each way and only 30 mins floating. AND the floating wasn't floating; our tubes were all tied together with a rope and some guy was swimming, pulling us down the river. DO NOT DO BOOK THIS ONE!! Mayan Wellness Retreat was relaxing and different. I liked it a lot. Great for the price and had fun doing their culture rituals. 7. PICTURES - The amount of money you are charged extra is ridiculous. I know sometimes prices go up for certain things but some on board were per robbery. 10 pictures were $150 ... excuse me??? We were so excited to get dressed up and take family pics but we couldn't even get them because they were so expensive! 8. ENTERTAINMENT - Some of the shows looked funny and good to go to. Unfortunately, my husband and I were unable to see hardly any because either you had to pay to see them (additional charge, not included in your room price), or you had to make reservations ahead of time, or they were smack in the middle of dinner hour. We didn't see 1 show while on board this time, very disappointed. 9. SHIP - The ship is very big, clearly as you are walking up to it. But like i previously stated, the employee to passenger ratio was disappointing. It was a beautiful and nice ship but some areas didn't have enough room including restaurants, bars, pools, clubs, etc. 10. FOOD - The food was average. The complimentary dining rooms didn't change but 1 or 2 entrees on their menu every night. It was the same menu every night. Like I said earlier, there were 8 specialty dining places and 2 complimentary dining rooms. Another way to nickel and dime you. One thing I loved from the first day was the pasta bar at lunch. Lunch is from 12 - 430 then they only shut down for 30 mins to set up dinner. I went 3 times between 3 and 330 to get pasta for lunch and EVERY SINGLE TIME they were closed. I would get more mad and mad as the week went on. With that being said, one of the 'highlights' NCL would promote is their "O'Sheen's 24/7 Dining Restaurant." I thought this was awesome cause nothing is better than some fries or pizza after drinking and dancing till 2 in the morning. NO!... we were told at 11pm at night there was a 45 min wait for 2 people to sit and eat (and there were tables open everywhere, so I assume it was because lack of waiters). I asked about the bar because no one was there and they said no because that's only for dessert...? What? That's the stupidest thing I've heard! Nothing about the food was special enough to brag about and half the time that's why I go on vacation - FOR THE AMAZING FOOD! My husband and I have been on numerous cruises! We love cruising! But this is one we definitely will not do again! NCL was very disappointing in our opinions. If I had to sum it up I would say, This is for the type of people with an itinerary on vacation and don't care to spend more money for upcharges. In this case, this was not us. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Norwegian offers this so called "Unlimited Beverage Package" but what it really is is a bait and switch tactic. They lure you on this cruise with this offer then its not what it really says it is, for instance they do not staff ... Read More
Norwegian offers this so called "Unlimited Beverage Package" but what it really is is a bait and switch tactic. They lure you on this cruise with this offer then its not what it really says it is, for instance they do not staff the bars with enough bartenders or waiters, therefore it takes 30-45 minutes to get a drink even just to get a beer. 90% of all on deck bars closed by 8:00 pm. The service with the bars inside was once again the same way, short staffed and terrible customer service. Dining room staff were pathetic, they couldn't remember who ordered what and then when you got your food it was cold. Buffet staff was again terrible, basically every meal you had to go find your own utensils. 99.9% of the ship staff appeared to be angry and very unhappy. If you plan on taking a cruise I strongly suggest you do not take a Norwegian Cruise, In conclusion, don't let the "unlimited Beverage Package" fool you, Norwegian found a way to limit you by short staffing their bars and closing down early. Carnival and Royal Caribbean are 100 times better. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise for a family event. We are normally Carnival Cruise guests, but was excited to set sail with NCL. Got the NCL reward credit card and all. They refused to credit the $200 in points. They ran out of Budlight and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a family event. We are normally Carnival Cruise guests, but was excited to set sail with NCL. Got the NCL reward credit card and all. They refused to credit the $200 in points. They ran out of Budlight and Ultras and they were often hot when they did have. The mixed drinks and shots were made with watered down alcohol served by bitter bartenders. One of the ports is NCL owned in belize and was more expensive than the other 2 ports with very little to offer. There were 4 to 6 of the staff that made it worth while to rate it a 3. The pool was over crowded. The specialty restaurant was over booked and inaccessible as well as the popular bars and shows. The gym was over crowded and the spa was expensive. Unfortunately I will not be sailing with NCL. Will try Royal next or May just go all inclusive and fly to my destination. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I booked with a large group of friends and had a good time, but was not overly impressed with the layout of the ship. Service was sorely lacking in the dining. We Went eat in 3 of the restaurants on board the ship and we were never asked ... Read More
I booked with a large group of friends and had a good time, but was not overly impressed with the layout of the ship. Service was sorely lacking in the dining. We Went eat in 3 of the restaurants on board the ship and we were never asked by any of the waiter/waitress for anything to drink other than the provided glasses of water. I Paid $9.95 a day to stay in contact with my son through the NCL APP and was rarely able to reach him. The arcade package was a HUGE waist of money. All the good games that teenagers want to play still cost money and are not included in the premium $175.00 package. Picture packages were overpriced for the quality of printed photos. The pool is entirely to small to enjoy because it was overrun with drunks. The bartenders around the pool area were amazingly good and fast. The ports and excursions were amazing and we all thoroughly enjoyed seeing what these ports had to offer. Our cabin steward, Mark, was beyond awesome and friendly! Everything we needed was taken care of quickly and he always had a smile and kind words ever time we came in contact with him. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We didn't choose this particular cruise, cruise line, nor itinerary, but were part of a group choosing the vacation destination. We went to enjoy our friends and our pastime of square dancing. We hoped to also enjoy experiencing a ... Read More
We didn't choose this particular cruise, cruise line, nor itinerary, but were part of a group choosing the vacation destination. We went to enjoy our friends and our pastime of square dancing. We hoped to also enjoy experiencing a new cruise line with which we had not yet traveled. It was convenient to our home location as far as embarkation. The ship was clean and nice. There were more than enough activities and excursions to choose from. As for the negative comments, we do have a few. Having been on 7 previous cruises, this ship had the WORST bar service. At any given time or bar, there was usually only 1 server and MAYBE 1 waiter serving the sitting area (if you could find him/her). We are not heavy drinkers so we didn't sit at the bar all day long and get chummy with the bartenders. But when we did seek to buy a drink, we couldn't get served in less than 20 minutes, usually much more. We did not buy the drink package, so you think they would be glad to serve us with the 20% auto-added gratuity! I have a HUGE problem with this auto added gratuity since the service was horrible (and I'm a patient person). I asked if I could have it reduced or put my own 'gratuity' and was told that I couldn't. Needless to say, I didn't order to many more drinks. Being experienced cruisers, we are not a huge fan of the 'Anytime' dinner seating. There were multiple restaurants all serving the same meal that we could choose with Anytime seating, but the service was slow, we never had any great rapport with wait staff because it was always someone new. This was our first experience with 'Anytime' seating and we would not choose Norwegian since that's all they offer on this particular cruise. ON A BETTER NOTE, the food was probably better than other cruise lines, although we missed having lobster and escargot at the Complimentary dining like other cruises offer. It seems we are being coerced into 'buying food' at the specialty restaurants. That used to be one of the best features of a cruise, the 'Pay One Price' for this type of vacation experience. It's really bad design and courtesy to guests to advertise that the cruise ship is 'smoke free' with the caveat that smoking is allowed in restricted areas, but then have the 'CASINO' - located mid ship and central to all avenues fore and aft, as one of those smoking areas. It's disgusting to be dressed up and going to dinner and have to pass through the smoke and have your clothing/hair smell disgusting. Besides this, the casino is open to the Atrium where the smoke filters up and down to decks above and below. We find it contrary to good health concerns that Norwegian cruise lines forces 'washy washy' spray on you at every turn, but allows smoking at all - A KNOWN HEALTH HAZARD NOT ONLY TO SMOKERS, BUT TO SECONDARY INHALERS. How is this compatible with a good, clean, healthy environment to guests. We understand that Casino means money, but gamblers will gamble anyway, so let the non-smokers not be affected by this conflicting policy. We did experience a poor shore excursion, but Norwegian excursion manager was very thoughtful, kind and listened to us. He made up for the poor excursion with his attention to our concerns. We were very pleased with how it ended up and credit this manager with turning it around for us. He was so attentive, he inquired about our previous day's excursions to be sure we were satisfied, which we were. Please give him due credit for his service. Our cabin stewart, Cristian, was wonderful and took care of us very well. The embarking and disembarking was fairly smooth except for the City of New Orleans layout where you had to cross the street and railroad tracks to get to the parking lot (if you drove). That small area is a danger to guests and could be changes with a catwalk or shuttle to the parking area. Signage and communication as to how to leave your bags and where to enter the terminal was poor, but manageable. Could be improved. The shows seemed to be a crowd favorite. For us, we have experienced far better shows on other cruise lines. We found the shows too lewd and crass for any general audience. Even with the 'adult' content warning, these shows went WAYYYY beyond what we would consider a few words, innuendos. Even the family-friendly show had dancers in 'backless' costumes with very little front. I'm wondering how that is 'family' friendly. One pool and a couple of hot tubs is not enough for 4200 guests. The ropes course, and other outdoor areas were VERY nice and good ideas. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The Ship-Embarkation- Turns out NCL does not have priority boarding in New Orleans. Took us 55 minutes to board. Muster drill was supposed to be at 3:30. It didn’t start until 4 pm and there was nobody there to direct you to your correct ... Read More
The Ship-Embarkation- Turns out NCL does not have priority boarding in New Orleans. Took us 55 minutes to board. Muster drill was supposed to be at 3:30. It didn’t start until 4 pm and there was nobody there to direct you to your correct area until just before. The ship itself is really nice and the people very friendly. There are two banks of elevators, one forward and one aft, with 8 elevators each. Usually only a short wait for them to arrive. There are 22 bars on the ship but only a few are open most of the day. The Garden Café Bar has a very limited selection of beer and wine. The Pool Bar, The Atrium and O’Sheehan’s are almost always open. The Cabin- Our cabin was deck 10 just forward of the Aft elevators, Excellent location! Our cabin Steward was Jefferson and he was quite good. Lots of storage for a small cabin. Plenty of room to store luggage under the bed. The balcony is smaller than the balcony on other lines, but not too bad, since we don’t spend a whole lot of time out there. Problems with the toilet flushing some times. You need to insert a card into the slot by the cabin door, in order to get the lights to turn on, but it does not have to be the sea pass card. The Food; • The Garden Café- Great for breakfast. You can get eggs any way you want them, hash browns, bacon or ham. The coffee is as good as or better than most ships. This is a true buffet. If you want coffee, water, juice, etc. you need to get it yourself. Servers rarely come around with refills, and never anywhere in the area we were sitting. They are really quick to clear tables, though, which is a big plus. Lots of fruits and cereal, pancakes and waffles. The dinner buffet wasn’t that impressive. But there were always hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza, if you can’t find something you like. NCL excels in their breads, but falls behind in their deserts. Ice cream all day! I got food poisoning on Seafood night and was sick all that night and most of the next day. • The Manhattan Room- We had Jasmine for a server when we ate here. The chairs were a lot more comfortable than Taste or Savor, the other two main dining rooms. We both had Southern Fried Chicken with corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy. It might have been good if the chicken was hot, not soaked in the gravy and the corn on the cob was cooked thoroughly. The second night we went to this dining room, we both ordered the New York Strip steak medium rare. I asked for it without the peppercorn gravy that comes with it. Lynette’s was medium and very cordy. Mine was just right and tender. However they put little peppercorns on the steak. The deserts were uninspiring. • O’Sheehan’s- Had a hot dog and fries. Taking it easy after being sick. Lynette had the Reuben. Both were very good and the service was quick. Bring your own drinks, though, because the restaurant and bar are on opposite sides of the ship. The second time we ate there, Lynette had the corned beef and cabbage stew. This “stew” was actually more like a broth. It had 4 little squares of corned beef in it and was mostly potatoes and water. They really should be ashamed of themselves calling it a stew. • Ocean Blue- Best food that we had all cruise and it was an appetizer. We both had double orders of crab legs. They are not offered for the main course. We brought our free bottle of wine and had a great time. This is an ala carte restaurant. The Shows- We saw the magician, a world champion juggler and a really nice James Taylor tribute. We also signed up for the Cirque Dreams, Jungle Adventure dinner show. It was very entertaining. As other reviewers have mentioned, the dinner portion was mediocre. Everybody got the same appetizer, main course and desert. The steak was nice and tender. Too bad they had to ruin it with peppercorn gravy. We also went to see Burn The Floor, a dance tribute to music of the 80s. I had a cold and left early. Lynette came back to the cabin shortly after. Lounge Entertainment- The only real lounge entertainer we saw was James, the singer/pianist. He was very good and we tended to end up wherever he was playing. We did get to see a bit of a show by a duo, a keyboardist and a singer. It was very good. NCL used to have the best bar snacks of any line. Now it appears they are the worst. The Ports- We have done Western Caribbean cruises many times, which means we have seen all these ports many times (except Harvest Caye which has only been open a couple years). Harvest Caye is one of NCL’s private islands. It is staffed with locals. Word is that NCL is going to lease it out to other lines. The dock is ½ mile long, but they had carts for those that did not want to walk it. There was a butterfly sanctuary there that was pretty neat. We did a Manatee watching excursion, which we really liked as we had never seen live manatees before. We also went ashore at Belize City. This has always been a tender port and they used catamarans to transport us. There is a wood carver there that we really like. Many people may not know this, but, if you go to Terminal 4, which is all the way to the end on the left, there are some craft shops back there. Our favorite bar in Belize has been the Sandpiper Tiki Bar, which had local culture and music. Alas, they sold out to some company that didn’t have customer service high on their list. We did get a couple of ice cold Belikin Beer at the BBQ grill next door. Belikin is the beer of Belize. We had nice, quiet days on the ship when we were in port at Cozumel, Grand Caymans and Ocho Rios. Disembarking- Now that was a breeze. Very organized. In typical Free Style fashion, you can chose whatever color luggage tag you want for embarkation time. It used to be that they would assign it and you would have to go to the guest services desk to exchange them, if you want a different color. General Observations- • Cigarette Smoke- If you are sensitive to cigarette smoke, I suggest you choose a different ship. Breakaway has a huge casino on Deck 7 midship. You cannot walk through on this deck without going through the casino. It is open to deck 6 and deck 8, so it can be very irritating to walk through on those decks when the casino is open because smoking is allowed there. Also, Bliss and Club 21 are in the casino. • View From Cabin- Probably most balcony cabins had this problem. Deck 8 is the Waterfront, where all the restaurants have inside and outside seating. A roof covers the outside seating. This means you cannot look directly into the water from your balcony. To make it worse, the life boats extend out from there. • Know Your Perks- We are Gold members and become Platinum with this cruise. We never knew that the bottle of wine and two bottles of water that are in your room when you embark, are complimentary. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We selected this (10 day) cruise because a large group that travels together once a year, selected this. This is our first and last cruise with Norwegian. We could barely get waited on in the restrauants. The staff could not communicate ... Read More
We selected this (10 day) cruise because a large group that travels together once a year, selected this. This is our first and last cruise with Norwegian. We could barely get waited on in the restrauants. The staff could not communicate well and most appeared to show the stress of being highly overworked. We were even told by some staff that they were "short staffed". If you asked for anything extra, it was not brought to you until you asked a second time. There are no straws at all -I get the save the planet gig from the plastic straws but what about paper? You could rarely find a paper napkin. They charge a room charge for delivering coffee to the room - there is a small electric pot in the room with yucky packets. I went to O'Sheehans where I noticed small carafes and asked for one with coffee. I was not allowed to take one to the room BUT I could pay to have one delivered. Entertainment was average after having superb shows on other cruises. Food was ok in the "freestyle" restrauants but much better if you bought up into specialty dining. Drinks are outrageous and automatically added high gratuities for ANY service related purchases. Then we were reminded a few times in the newletter to make sure we went over and above in tipping "special" people. Requests to seat our group of 16 were continally ignored even though when checking in advance we were told that we would be seated together. The port stops were fine but honestly they all begin to look alike. Poor people begging us to buy, buy, buy and of course the cruise sponsored stores and overpriced "tours". All in all not a bad trip but we have eliminated the cheap, poorly staffed Norwegian cruises from our future. Mostly our cruises have been with Celebrity and in my opionion, their customer service, food, and entertainment will continue to be our cruiseline of choice! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We had read all the reviews possible prior to boarding on December 6th and we feared the worst. As we walked to board we asked a couple how they liked their cruise. They responded "fantastic." The embarkation process ... Read More
We had read all the reviews possible prior to boarding on December 6th and we feared the worst. As we walked to board we asked a couple how they liked their cruise. They responded "fantastic." The embarkation process actually went quite well. There was the usual excitement while in the lines and it wasn't long before we had found a high table in O'Sheehan's, and ordered drinks and chicken wings. We were on this journey with 2 other couples. This was our ninth cruise, one couple was on their fifth while the other couple was on their first. They soon joined us and we enjoyed each others company. Then it was time to explore the ship, before they delivered luggage to the room. The room was nice, but small, & the deck even smaller. We did like the little larger than usual, bathroom. The bed was pretty good, other than the usual separation that happens between the two, but the pillows were hard and terrible! We finally found some storage under the couch, two large drawers. The room service, and overall service on board, was about average. If you need hair conditioner, be sure to take some, as it is not provided, except in a shampoo mix. Take some! On board activities were sparse. Trivia, always won by the same group, that could be seen using their devices! Only a couple of crafts, & those were Origami folding in areas to small to accommodate everyone. The ship didn't have many cool areas to enjoy, as many other ships do. Boring! Prior to sailing we had made reservations in 4 specialty restaurants, 2 shore excursions and 2 of their nighttime entertainment shows. We never went to either of the shows. One excursion to Sting Ray City was cancelled, as well as the tender transportation to George Town, Grand Cayman. The specialty restaurants were fine except for the Brazilian one, all the meats were so over done or unattractive that it was very disappointing, so much so that we immediately cancelled a future reservation at that same outfit. We dined mostly in the Manhattan for dinner and the Taste for lunch with many trips around the Garden Buffet. Our night at Ocean Blue was a pleasant experience. We had a table outside and the service and meal were very good. The Japanese restaurant was enjoyed by our entire group and they sure put on quite a show. Cagney's Steakhouse was also very good. We weren't shy about going to the sit down side of O'Shehans, the wings were very good as was the nachos. Service on the bar side was very poor. Before the cruise we had read to stay away from the high table side, those remarks were right on the mark. Service inside was very good. Speaking of good service, on level 6 in the main area the bar service was very friendly and several of the bartenders were exceptional. Our first port was Cozumel. We've been there before and unless you go past the cruise ship shopping center there's not much to rave about. Rotan Bay, Honduras was next, The one street to walk, past the usual cruise ship shopping area, was narrow and was very run down. A quick glimpse of why the locals would love to leave. However, as the ship was departing the people waved goodbye to us, it seemed a very sincere display. We next docked at Harvest Caye, {Belize} NCL's little Disney like transformed island. We enjoyed our walkabout and never had to spend a dime. One person in our group thoroughly enjoyed the three zip lines. One couple took a ferry ride to a nearby island, they seemed to like the experience. Costa Maya was next. They keep enlarging their cruise ship shopping area. They've added some entertainment as people stroll by. Make no mistake, this area is packed. People crammed into the mall. When you unload 15,000 people at once it's got to be a little crowed. One lady with us found the fish eating your feet stand, to be well worth the $20. George Town, Grand Cayman was to be our next adventure. Hanging out with the sting rays in their very own city. There were early rumors that some of the excursions had already been cancelled and more might be. About then the Royal Caribbean ship next to us began tendering it's passengers into town. Soon it was announced that we would not disembark, that it was to choppy, and it would be off for Jamaica. Each passenger was awarded $22.00 for the reroute. Very disappointing, we were really looking forward to that stop. Ocho Rios Jamaica where we docked is a busy area. 3 huge ships, oh boy!! Our guide seemed to be somewhat informative on our bus ride to the rapids for our tubing ride.. Any people skills she had were short lived. After an enjoyable tubing down the river, we were off to Bamboo Beach. We were taken to our beach area and instructed to stay in our area. Soon people from another ship, were squeezed into our small space, get up & lose your dirty, old seat. Our four course lobster meal was a joke. 3 skimpy apps and a lobster you wouldn't pay for, hard & chewy. Oh yes, & there were ants everywhere, even on the food dishes. Other guides were continuously refreshing their guests drinks. Our guide disappeared and sent someone else in to try and sell $10 drinks of something. What a rip off for a $150 or so, excursion!! Stay away from, BAMBOO BEACH! The mini golf course onboard was very nice. The casino has an $80 texas hold em tourney every now and then. You get 2,000 in chips, lots of rebuys and/or re entries so you know what that means. The slots were always in heavy use, without much payouts. If smoke bothers you it might be best to avoid the casino. If you do find a spot kinda smoke free you can count on the fact someone will appear next to you quickly and light up a cigarette. In retrospect the cruise was better than expected. In closing it should be noted that there was a day onboard, toward the end of the cruise, that we noticed the salt and pepper shakers were missing from the tables at the buffet. That was a clue, the beginning of the dreaded norovirus! People were seen visiting urgent care in New Orleans after we docked. And even three days later after we got home the symptoms were apparent and we were, & are excellent washy washy washers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I have cruised on Norwegian before, in the past, and generally had a great time on the ship. However, this cruise was well below my expectations. The embarkation process at the New Orleans port was an absolute and unorganized mess. The ... Read More
I have cruised on Norwegian before, in the past, and generally had a great time on the ship. However, this cruise was well below my expectations. The embarkation process at the New Orleans port was an absolute and unorganized mess. The staff was slow (physically and mentally), confused, and unknowledgable...they looked so miserable and unengaged. The dining experience was horrible; it took 1.5-2.5 hours to get food some nights. The hot tubs were always closed, there were ONLY 2 pools on the entire ship. The rooms were tight and small. The ship and cabins rattled like crazy at certain times of the night and day. There was no complimentary steam and sauna in locker rooms. The art gallery auctioneer was arrogant and pushy. I can go on and on...but I won't waste my time on such a disappointment. This will likely be my last Norwegian cruise. I am utterly disappointed and upset. What a shame and a waste. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
It was a bingo bugle tournament cruise. I had a great time. My room was clean and airy and I was close to the elevator. I was on deck 2 and concerned because I had read reviews about the noise being so low down and close to elevator. The ... Read More
It was a bingo bugle tournament cruise. I had a great time. My room was clean and airy and I was close to the elevator. I was on deck 2 and concerned because I had read reviews about the noise being so low down and close to elevator. The only noise was a couple of drunks one night and the dropping of the anchor early one morning.i did not go on any any excursions but did go ashore for brief periods.Found the food very good although only warm at the buffet. Dining room early seating was excellent and we had 2 wonderful wait staff that addressed me by name each time and made sure I had my Diet Coke asap Every evening close to dessert time there was entertainment in the form of dance or song by the wait staff. Simply fun..Seaday brunch was excellent. I had a bottomless bubbles package and had no problems getting my pop.definitely worth buying. Embarkation went well .very organized but lots of lines and never-ending walking. I had the best time and have booked for the tournament next year on the carnival magic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Me and my wife took the cruise for our honeymoon and first vacation ever to ourselfs. I was surprised at the selections of food they had on the cruise. Me and my wife definately did not go hungry, if anything we gained a few pounds while ... Read More
Me and my wife took the cruise for our honeymoon and first vacation ever to ourselfs. I was surprised at the selections of food they had on the cruise. Me and my wife definately did not go hungry, if anything we gained a few pounds while on our cruise. The sun decks were perfect for many people to enjoy the sun as well as other company. I enjoyed trying my hand at many games in the casino, even thou I didn't win anything. My wife enjoyed a couple of the games in the video arcade, at least the easy ones. The pool side movies were a nice touch, even thou I only got to watch one of the many they showed. The cabin was spacious for two people to share, might've been crowed if more than two had the same room. The steward we had, Junaedi, was very nice and helpful with any request. We thoroughly enjoyed our excursion we decided at the last minute to go snorkeling and eat a Mexican lunch with tequila tastings with Claudia. I would highly recommend taking the cruise with the triumph going to Cozumel, Mexico. Just make sure to bring plenty of spending cash. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
there was a credit of $800.00 from a previous sailing with the American Queen Steamboat company. We wanted to try the American Queen - the biggest of the 3 ships in the American Steamboat co. We were waiting for the last minute deal ... Read More
there was a credit of $800.00 from a previous sailing with the American Queen Steamboat company. We wanted to try the American Queen - the biggest of the 3 ships in the American Steamboat co. We were waiting for the last minute deal , we found this cruise in a very short notice of departure. the ship was built in 1995 - a paddle wheeler, the steamboat built back to the Victorian history of the 1900 -including the furniture in the cabin, the theatre, dining room, lounges. entertainment -done by the ship's own members -dancers & singers, world-class musicians - organized by the Steamboat Syncopators -playing trumpet ,bass, drums ,.piano,saxophone,clarinet , flute & trombone. and also outside guests performance - Dante Vaudeville -magic show,Lainie Gulliksen -Siren Songs celebrating the Sirens of Broadway,Pop, & Opera , also the ship's own musician entertainers During the day there were River Chat ,Movie Matinee ,Bingo dinner - on the J.M. White Dining Room -we were on the 5.15pm early seating food was good service were great there was a land tour -on the ship's Hop on Hop Off busesto visit many Plantation , resorts ,museum churches. there was hardly any children Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The crew was great and Very HELPFUL!!!! Simon was a GREAT Cruise Director and helpful... DJ Saxy was smashing the tunes and knew how to mix the songs and not just play just another song. Jay Jay our Stateroom Steward was amazing and made ... Read More
The crew was great and Very HELPFUL!!!! Simon was a GREAT Cruise Director and helpful... DJ Saxy was smashing the tunes and knew how to mix the songs and not just play just another song. Jay Jay our Stateroom Steward was amazing and made sure we were taken care of in 1055. The band Nola and the Po’Boys were blazing and big shout out to I think his name was Rico(the bass player) we had great musician talk and I waiter for table 326 at the late dining was very good and remembered our names and drinks .. The Asian band was also very funky... Now would I go back??? YEP!!!! The burgers and fries was BLAZING!! Every crew memeber I seen working worked with a smile and a willing heart. The only thing I didn’t like was that I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like(Lol) but seriously, I give my hat,boots,fried chicken off to you guys.... 1 Luv!!! MB stateroom (1055) Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Engine noise and vibration in our cabin and on the aft dining deck were bad. We had several equipment failures, delays getting off the boat in several ports and having to miss one port totally. Our tie-up in Hannibal was on the wrong side ... Read More
Engine noise and vibration in our cabin and on the aft dining deck were bad. We had several equipment failures, delays getting off the boat in several ports and having to miss one port totally. Our tie-up in Hannibal was on the wrong side of the river as the American Queen got the better spot, really? Otherwise we could have walked right off and into town, one of the few ports whee the walk is so short and easy. This was totally bogus. Dining waitstaff was way below par, you can get better service and professionalism in Denny's. They seemed untrained and unhappy; perhaps overworked? After a few days their coats and cuffs had food stains all over them, ugh! Food was nothing special, sometimes lukewarm or cold. Never asked "how is everything" had to ask for another roll or condiments for baked potato. Entertainment was pretty good for the first two weeks then the Cruise Director and his two assistants (also entertainers) left and were replaced by one "Assistant Cruise Director" who was a big disappointment. Things continued downhill from there. The dining service, the entertainment and the noise and vibration plus being late off the boat, or not off at all made this a poor cruise for what could have been all very good to excellent category reviews. For example the Hop-on Hop-off buses and local guides were all very good or excellent but but being late, or at bad tie-ups lowered the rating. If you chose a similar cruise get a forward cabin, on deck 3 and go down river. But first, check more reviews for a more professional and happy dining waitstaff. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose the Dream because we went on the Freedom two yrs ago and wanted to try something else. By far the Freedom was a lot better ship. I guess the time we went out there was a lot of children and so disrespectful and rude . They ran ... Read More
We chose the Dream because we went on the Freedom two yrs ago and wanted to try something else. By far the Freedom was a lot better ship. I guess the time we went out there was a lot of children and so disrespectful and rude . They ran up and down the halls yelling and would not let an elder get by they would just stand in the way like someone owned them something. Room service was nothing like the Freedom, we only got our room freshened up one time a day on the Dream and on the Freedom it was every time we walked in or out of our room. We had to repeatedly ask for things and ice . The service in the Bar was the best they remembered our names and we met new friends there. Romela, Aundre, I Wayne, and Carlton was the best ever . Was very disappointed in Costa Maya and Belize I will recommend the Freedom over the Dream. The entertainment was not half as good as the Freedom seems like there was so much more to do on the Freedom. Will not recommend the 9th floor lol we was right under the lounge and heard every move Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My 80 yr. old mother had always wanted to take a paddle wheel boat down the Mississippi and see all the southern Plantations. We had never, ever been on a vacation together so I thought this would be the perfect gift for her, and it was. ... Read More
My 80 yr. old mother had always wanted to take a paddle wheel boat down the Mississippi and see all the southern Plantations. We had never, ever been on a vacation together so I thought this would be the perfect gift for her, and it was. From the hotel stay the night before (The Intercontinental in New Orleans) to the Old Southern Plantations we visited all along the way, we had just the best time. The ship is smaller than ocean going vessels and we found that we really loved that. It was easy to make friends fast and by the end of the cruise you felt that you had an extended family. I personally had about 6 of the staff that I wanted to adopt. Just so enjoyable and fun! The crew was simply amazing and the food was to die for (and I mean delicious beyond words!). Absolutely the best food I've ever had...not just on any other cruise...just ever! All meats and produce are fresh and locally sourced. And you can request "anything" and the chef will make it for you. Anytime we needed anything, the crew was quick to provide it. For this trip we would have liked a bit more on board entertainment and we found that for some of the excursions there was a hic up on the buses running on time but those were minor to our overall enjoyment. Everyone worked very hard to make your time extra special. There was just that personal touch about everything. I would most definitely take a small boat cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I absolutely LOVE Carnival. This is my second cruise with Carnival, and was completely satisfied. The Staff is so awesome, the food is great. The entertainment is amazing. You'll never go hungry, and you'll never get bored. I ... Read More
I absolutely LOVE Carnival. This is my second cruise with Carnival, and was completely satisfied. The Staff is so awesome, the food is great. The entertainment is amazing. You'll never go hungry, and you'll never get bored. I cant wait for my next one. Every single one of the staff that was told my name. Always knew my name each and every time I was in their presence. I was amazed by that. I didn't matter if it was the housekeeper, or the spa staff, or the bar tenders. They always addressed me by my name. I was also very impressed by the Captain. He informed us that there was a disturbance close to the ukitan peninsula that we would be going through. And to expect 10ft. Squalls. But he actually got us through it and past it in such a timely manner that we were barely affected by it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018

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