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18 New Orleans to Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

We had a package which included 4 days in New Orleans and 2 days in Copenhagen. We had a great cruise... food ...entertainment and the crew were all excellent, We had 13 days around the Caribbean and what a glorious cruise and ports, ... Read More
We had a package which included 4 days in New Orleans and 2 days in Copenhagen. We had a great cruise... food ...entertainment and the crew were all excellent, We had 13 days around the Caribbean and what a glorious cruise and ports, Our next Port was Boston and we found it to be a lovely city. 2 days out of Boston we celebrated an Anzac day dawn service with the few Aussies on board and then a 10am service in the lounge area and other guests from different countries joined in. The crew were fabulous and helpful and they made our day a successful one, The ports through the British isles were interesting as were the European ports and we did a few ship tours which were great. There wasn't any children on board probably because of the length of the cruise. We didn't attend any enrichment activities so I can't say anything about that........ Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
At first I wasn't too sure about doing the transatlantic cruise for our Honeymoon but my wife and I really did enjoy our time on the ship and at the ports. I will try and be as thorough as possible. Ship: yes the Serenade of the Seas ... Read More
At first I wasn't too sure about doing the transatlantic cruise for our Honeymoon but my wife and I really did enjoy our time on the ship and at the ports. I will try and be as thorough as possible. Ship: yes the Serenade of the Seas isn't the latest and greatest but we found the ship to be very clean, spacious that included many different amentities. we especially enjoyed the movie cinema, under the stars screen at pool deck and Chops grill/Giovannis. Spend the extra money on the package for the specialty dining. I ate some of the best food I have ever eaten at these restaurants. you cant go wrong. Staff: the dining staff were phenominal. we sat at table 462 and were served by melbert and max, paul was the head waiter. they went above and beyond to meet our needs. our stateroom attendant also did a great job and was always greeting us with a smile. the entertainment staff also were great. Bobby (cruise director), Lorenzo and debs were great. ports: we enjoyed Malaga spain the most and found it to be very picturesque. we also did the dolphin excursion in Anguilla, loads of money, but totally worth it! Days at sea: it was a transatlantic cruise, so we had many days at sea. we always found that there was something to do which was nice. but for times when we just wanted to relax we found that not to be a problem to kick back by the pool and read a book. all in all, great service, nice ship and some cool ports. we plan to try a larger ship for our next cruise. happy cruising!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Last month my wife and I did a 16 day transatlantic cruise on Norwegian Star from New Orleans to Copenhagen. We are a couple in our mid seventies and have done four previous transatlantic cruises, all with RCCL. We were anxious to see how ... Read More
Last month my wife and I did a 16 day transatlantic cruise on Norwegian Star from New Orleans to Copenhagen. We are a couple in our mid seventies and have done four previous transatlantic cruises, all with RCCL. We were anxious to see how NCL would compare. The price was certainly right. After taking advantage of all the discounts and special offers that we could find we ended up paying $105 a night for an outside midships cabin for the two of us on deck five. Mind you, we had to add $24 a night for the obligatory service fee. A 23% tip? That is more than I usually tip, but the service was excellent. We were especially interested in how the concept of free style dining would work out for us. The answer was not terribly well. We missed the opportunity of getting to know our waiter and having him or her get to know our likes and dislikes. If you wanted a seat in the main dining room, the Versailles Room, between 6:30 and 8:00 P.M. you had to join a lengthy queue and then be given a buzzer so that you could be buzzed when a table eventually became available. The answer was to make a reservation several hours in advance, but that sort of destroyed the “freestyle” concept. It took us two or three nights to even learn that this was possible. We were always given the choice of eating at a table for two or dining with others, and it was nice to be given this choice, depending on our mood. The specialty restaurants, for which you paid a hefty surcharge, always had space available. Loads and loads of space. They seemed to be 80% empty, and took up space on the ship which could have been used for other amenities. We were pleasantly surprised by the food throughout the ship, which we thought was not outstanding, but better than some of the cruise critic reviews had suggested. The food in the Market Garden café, the café restaurant on Deck 12, deserves special mention. Great Danish pastries (we were headed for Denmark after all) and pizza. Unfortunately, this café had all the ambiance of a high school cafeteria. I think the Star has a major problem with boat design. The ambient noise level in the Versailles Room, with a glass ceiling, was incredibly high. The second free dining room was better, but still noisy. The ship itself was very noisy. The seas were slightly rough for a couple of days, and the loud crash as the bow hit the waves was a bit disconcerting. This seemed much more noticeable on the upper decks towards the bow of the ship, and was aggravated there by loud creaking noises as the ship rolled from side to side. My wife and I would have liked to see some of the space which was used for specialty restaurants used for attractive lounges. The small cocktail lounges all seemed to be somewhat dismal and focused away from the sea. The casino was small, smoky and unappealing. The single swimming pool was tiny and dominated by a large unused water slide. We found the entertainment somewhat disappointing. The usual mix of singing groups, acrobats, magicians and comedians, some of which were quite good, and some of which were awful, but our fellow passengers often did not agree on which was which, so there you are. On a sixteen day cruise, we thought that NCL could have done more to organize interesting lectures. There was a great series of art history lectures given by Rebecca Fay from the art department, but they were given in a tiny cocktail lounge. If you wanted a seat you had to arrive half an hour early. NCL refused to address this problem. Interesting sessions on the use of a sextant to take sun sightings, and good impromptu lectures from a retired nuclear disaster specialist seemed to be last minute additions to the days activities. It was hard to tell. Perhaps this review has been overly critical. You don’t stay at a Motel 6 and criticize it because it isn’t the Hilton. Would we travel again on NCL? If the price were right, you bet. We had a clean comfortable room, good, if not outstanding, food, top notch service, a smooth crossing and interesting days on shore, but next time we will look carefully at other cruise line options.P.S. Two weeks in Denmark after the cruise were wonderful. Craig Cole Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I sailed with my wife and my 4 year old daughter. Boarding the ship took about one and one-half hours. I had arranged for our stateroom to be decorated for my daughters birthday and our anniversary. We arrived at our stateroom to find ... Read More
I sailed with my wife and my 4 year old daughter. Boarding the ship took about one and one-half hours. I had arranged for our stateroom to be decorated for my daughters birthday and our anniversary. We arrived at our stateroom to find it beatifully decorated with a not for my wife and daughter from me. A great way to start the trip. I have been disappointed in the past by other cruise lines. Our cabin steward, Golda was outstanding. During our trip she made a different towel animal every night for my daughter, she was very easy to work with, if we were not out of our cabin by the time she finished working she offered to come back when we were ready. Our room was always immaculate, a very difficult task considering we have a 4 year old. We ate at Portfino the first night, the food and the service were outstanding. We said we would go back another night. The crew on the ship is extremely friendly, not once in 15 days did I pass a crew member and not get at least a greeting. We saw several shows while onboard, the juggler was funny and included my daughter in the show, so that was one of my favorites. But, the ice skating show is not to be missed. The other shows we saw were good, nothing great. The food outside of the pay restaurants was also very good. The main dining room always had something very good on the menu. The night they served lobster I was very skeptical to even try it, because I am from Maine and I am almost always disappointed with cruise ship lobster. Our waiter convinced me and I am glad he did, it was very good. My only complaint would be at the buffet for breakfast, it did not have the variety that I have had on other ships. Our waiters in the main dining room were exceptional. Fahmi and Christian could not have been better. They were always right there to meet any need you had. They were also very fiendly. If I took another cruise on this ship I would want them back to be my waiters. The head waiter Leslie, was also excellent. He always took the time to stop and say hi, on several nights he made my daughter napkin animals. He also brought her plates of beef carpaccio that he found out she liked. We took shore excursions in Ponta Delgada, Toulon and Livorno. The excursion in Ponta Delgada was good, but it was not a very nice day. The tour guide was knowledgable and friendly. I could have lived without the Pineapple plantation. If I had to do it over again, I Probably would have done a different tour. In Toulon we went to Aix. I really just took this tour for the ride to Aix, I did not have any interest in following the tour once in Aix. I guess this somehow offended our tour guide, he was a complete jerk to me and my wife. We still had fun in Aix and I complained about him once back on the ship. The tour in Livorno was very good. We went to Pisa and Florence on our own, Lisa our guide was very knowledgble about the areas and gave us some great tips for getting around and what to do. On the sea days there was always plenty to do, miniture golf, rock climbing, trivia, bingo, ice skating, or just hanging out at the pool. The first few day of the trip we did not put our daughter into the kids club, because I enjoy spending time with her. But, I started to feel guilty and selfish, as I had heard other kids were having a great time. We finally decided to let her go and she didn't ever want to leave. The staff was very friendly and always had something fun planned for the kids to do. She also met many new friends in the kids club, I was happy we decided to send her. I think the ship is due to be refurbished soon, which is fine as long as they keep the Captain and crew. Overall the crew was outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in ... Read More
So all in all a good cruise with all the typical good service from RCCL. Quick notes are that they really have very limited support for kids under 3 on most of the boats below the Oasis class. We were limited to $20/hour child care in our state room and 2-3 1 hour periods with a kid's staff member in the tot room. The also had bags of lender toys which was good but our tot got board with them and the hour play periods after about a week. To be fair there were no other kids under 2 for her to play with and the staff were very friendly but we were spoiled by our 7 day experience on Oasis when they not only had child care for $9/hr in a designated Royal baby's room but a 24 hour play room as well. Taking care out our tot in our room prevented us from enjoying our room childless. It was good we got a Grand suite or out tot would have had no place to run at all! The Weather in April was only warm enough to swim 1 or 2 days so that wasn't available for our tot either. Nor was there a pool with more than and inch of water for tots. So we spent a lot of time in our room or going with out tot back and forth to the few areas that were interesting to her. This was relaxing but it didnt allow much time for many of the other activities on the ship. We are fairly experience cruisers so we didn't feel we missed too much but it would have been nice to get out a bit more. The word from the crew is that the ship is due for dry dock which will address its getting older plan, During they dry dock they are supposed to update the child area. Recommendations: 1. Until updated you can get better service for kids under 6 on other boats and kids below 3 should avoid this ship. 2. Transatlantic cruises are populated by the traditional older set. Go if you enjoy just chilling out and meeting other seasoned travelers. 3. Get a bigger cabin on the long trips. It may sound obvious but the importance will hit you quickly especially if you have a kid in the room with you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Where to start? The first night there was a madi gras parade - really? It was a video (a poor one at that)in the main lobby of a madi gras parade and it was down hill from there. The most criticism I have is of the food service and quality ... Read More
Where to start? The first night there was a madi gras parade - really? It was a video (a poor one at that)in the main lobby of a madi gras parade and it was down hill from there. The most criticism I have is of the food service and quality in the Versailles dining room and the buffet. Almost every night we had to wait 30-45 minutes to be seated in the main dining room, while some big mouthed broad managed to get tables reserved for her. I'm sure they want you to pay extra to go to the other restaurants. The servers were nice for the most part but lacked organization. I blame poor management. It was like eating in a medium/low priced restaurant not a cruise ship dining room. We rarely were asked if we wanted a beverage. When we got our dessert I asked for herbal tea and got puzzled looks every time. Our coffee and tea usually arrived well after dessert, if at all. . . etc. Food was warm at best. Breakfast was never hot. They had the SAME menu for TWO WEEKS. Same with lunch at the Versailles. We tried it a few times then went up to the buffet.The Grill outside on the top deck was good and the french fries were great. The buffet inside was a disaster. Usually dirty. They had a pasta station but there was no one around and you couldn't help yourself. It was disorganized and messy. The soft serve was frequently liquid - uneatable. It was hard to find silverware and clean tables. No service as far as getting drinks refilled etc. No service, period.We had a balcony cabin which we enjoyed. I asked for a few things when we boarded and it was taken care of immediately. Sometimes we would come back from lunch and the room was still not made up. But all in all the cabin service was adequate. The balcony furniture was rusty and messy.The public restrooms needed refurbishing and were not very clean. The theatre was comfortable and large. They had lectures that were OK. Not terribly interesting in my opinion, but they left the house lights up and you could barely see the video screen. They brought the lights down during a show so I don't know why they wouldn't do it during the lecture.Now for the good things about the cruise. The entertainment was very good. Better than any other cruise I have been on. They had a group from Second City that was great. The entertainment director was on top of everything. Very hard working. The dancers and singers were talented and well rehearsed and costumes looked new and well taken care of. We booked the cruise because we liked the itinerary. I enjoy being waited on at meal time and having a nice experience. This was not the case. You get a different waiter/waitress each time and there is virtually no service - just in and out. The food was OK. We had a couple of birthdays in our group and I will say, they went out of their way to make a nice cake and make it special. BTW the cake desserts were wonderful. We met some nice people and had a good time in spite of the cruise line, not because of it. I would not recommend Norwegian and will not cruise with them again. I hope the other cruise lines do not adopt the "free style" cruising idea. It ruins the whole experience IMHO. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the ... Read More
Review of Navigator of the Seas, Transatlantic voyage April 6 through 21. 15 days, with stops in the Azores, Toulon, and Livorno on the way to Rome. Embarkation: The cruise port in New Orleans is very close to downtown and the French Quarter. Access is very narrow, but we arrived early enough that there were no crowds. Our baggage was collected immediately. The baggage handler asked for a tip (which I was prepared to pay) before he actually handled all of the bags. (I tipped $5, for which he took the bags from the taxi and put them in a nearby cage to be rolled onto the ship.) Check-in was relatively quick. We waited a short time in line, entertained by a couple complaining that Florence and Rome had not been located near enough to the ports. I observed that it was very inconsiderate of Romulus and Remus, but that went way over their heads. The actual check in process with the staff was as fast as I have ever seen. There were airline-like security checks. We had purchased two bottles of wine, but security did not care. We could have brought two bottles in each bag. Security did check one of our bags quickly because my laptop charger and some other electronics were in there. That was about 15 seconds. I also had an extension cord and a Belkin cube tap so I could have extra outlets for charging. There has been some commentary about cruise ship restrictions on these things, but security here did not care. We boarded the ship in short order. Having arrived just after 11, the cabins were not yet ready, so we toured the shop a bit, found a table in the pool area, and had lunch from the Windjammer. Cabin At 1, the cabins were ready and we went to see our cabin and drop our carry-on bags. We had a junior suite, no. 1394. This is an aft cabin, so it has a slightly different configuration from standard junior suites, and it has a very large balcony. The room itself was very nice and spacious. Our suitcases went under the beds, which had been pushed together per our request. The bath, with its tub, was also very nice. The cabin has a walk in closet, but one difference between this and others we have had is that the closet is long and narrow, and while there is a clothes hanger running much of the length of the closet, towards the aft end the closet is narrower than the hangers. Nevertheless, with clothes for a 3+ week trip, we had plenty of storage space. The room has a stocked refrigerator, which we emptied and used for our wine, etc. There are few outlets, but with my Belkin cube tap and with a universal adapter for the European outlet, I had enough power outlets for a laptop, camera battery chargers, Kindle chargers, etc. Given the proliferation of devices which need charging, The Belkin cube tap (which includes a surge protector) is a necessity. The balcony is large and had two loungers, two chairs and a table. It has somewhat of an obstructed view because of the ship superstructure in the back. It is fully covered by the Windjammer. On the Navigator, the Windjammer is enclosed, so our dreams of dropping food from the Windjammer to waiting arms below were dashed. Because the balcony is enclosed, it had no wind whatsoever. On the other hand, if you want to sun yourself (not generally our thing), on an Eastbound TA the balcony is in the shade until late in the afternoon. We did not find the walk to and from the cabin difficult. We tend to walk everywhere and use the steps as much as possible. Our cabin steward was Reynaldo. The cabin was always clean and bed made promptly. We requested ice and we had a fresh ice bucket twice a day. The cabin comes with towels for two, but with trips to the gym and pools, we needed more, and after one request, the towel rack was always stuffed with towels. We had robes. Towel animals appeared from time to time. Baggage Delivery Despite having checked in early, our bags did not arrive quickly. We had been told that as suite guests our bags would be promptly delivered, but only two of our 3 checked bags arrived by 4 p.m., the nominal sail time. At that time we did the muster drill, and from the deck we could see my wife's bag still in a cage on the dock. Along with lots of other stuff. The ship sailed about an hour late, with the excuse that there was more to load than for its typical 1 week voyages. (Hadn't anyone figured this out?) My wife's suitcase arrived around 7 p.m.; others in our area were delivered after 9 p.m. Supervisors came around inquiring what was missing; they were suitably apologetic and kept offering the canned excuse that there was a lot to load given the 15 day voyage. Since the length of the voyage was a running excuse, let me note that the Navigator sailed with just over 2900 guests for its approximately 3800 beds. Transatlantic sailings don't attract children, and there were a lot of singles on the ship. Let's move on to the ship. Spa and Exercise Facilities There is an exercise area, indoor Jacuzzi and gender specific saunas and steam rooms. The indoor Jacuzzi was nice, and large to even swim short laps. Given that it was sometimes cool outdoors, this was a nice touch. However, on a couple of occasions it was not heated enough. The paint was peeling. (Navigator is going into dry dock for refurbishment.) The men's sauna and steam room were OK, although on one day neither was very hot as some system failed, they cooled off, and had to be started from scratch. The men's room has lockers, and to get keys you need to go upstairs to the spa check in. Some of the lockers are not for the height challenged (they are over 7 feet off the ground) and on multiple occasions after getting a key, you find that someone has put stuff into that locker without securing a key. (Just clothes.) More trips up and down the stairs, but exercise in any form is welcome. HOWEVER, the ladies steam room was closed. Broken. According to the spa staff, they expected to have it fixed in a day or two. It wasn't. Then the story was that it would be fixed in the Azores. It wasn't. We ran into several couples who were double platinum or whatever who had sailed the Navigator on its Caribbean route earlier in the year, who reported the steam room was out of commission then. When my wife asked the staff, saying it's never going to be fixed, they agreed, and said it would not be fixed until dry dock, but they had been told to say that a fix was imminent. The Navigator does not have a thermal suite, so there are no co-ed steam rooms and saunas. Outdoor Pools There were always adequate deck chairs. The weather was not hot, so there were not a lot of swimmers or sun seekers. The outdoor running track was adequate. Often one of the outdoor pools was closed for maintenance. Dining Let's move on to meals. Given our balcony, we had breakfast in the room most mornings. Service was generally good, with the meal arriving at or before the ordered time. We were able to order things not on the pre-printed menu (like lox to go with the bagels.) HOWEVER, when in port at Toulon, delivery was way late. For us and lots of people. On a morning when it makes a difference. I don't recall the precise times, but if we had asked for 7 to 7:30 delivery, it arrived at 7:45 a.m. After several calls. And incomplete although that was quickly remedied. (I had called to make sure they had our order; if they didn't, I would have simply gone to Windjammer.) A supervisor called us that evening to confirm that the problem had been resolved to our satisfaction (it had) but again offered the excuse that the kitchen was not prepared for as many people who ordered room service on a port day. Like that had never occurred before. And, on a ship traveling 900 light from capacity. We tended to eat lunch in the dining room, opting for the large table option. You meet interesting people that way. The dining room offers a salad bar where you pick what you want and the staff makes up the salad. Uniformly good. There are also a few buffet items; we tried a few and were not impressed. There is also a menu which changes somewhat daily. Those choices tended to be good. HOWEVER, the dining room opened at noon. If you arrived at noon, and promptly ordered, telling the waiter you had something planned at 1 or 1:30 (a class, exercise, walking group, etc.) it was impossible to get out before 1, and usually not before 1:15 p.m. Not the waiter's fault. The main courses are simply not ready. (Yes, I know, I should have gone to Windjammer if I'm time pressed.) Dinner was in the main dining room late seating. We had a table for six, which is good for conversation. Our table mates were diverse, which is something we enjoy on cruises. One couple was German and Austrian, living in Canada for many years. The other couple was Puerto Rican, living in South Carolina for many years. Both of the husbands were engineers. One of the great things about cruising is meeting people with entirely different life experiences and views. Our wait staff, Gezik and Neal, were great. My wife likes lemon with her water, and a plate of lemon slices arrived as we were seated every night. When she has Caesar salad, she prefers it without cheese, and that's how it came. We had a 12 bottle wine package. Whatever we selected was always in stock. Our leftover wine was stored or we took it with us. If we stored it Neal had it back for dinner the next day. We knew the wine selection in advance and it was good. The menu included about six regular items (salmon, strip steak) and about six rotating items. My wife likes salmon, but after three attempts gave up as the salmon had no taste. The way it is prepared is that after lunch it is seared on both sides to seal it, and stored in the kitchen until dinner, when it is baked. (No open flames in the kitchen.) It is not marinated in anything, ever. Sauces are sometimes offered, but they did not help. The salmon was not seasoned, either. Eventually, on a fifteen day cruise, the menu got repetitive and boring. That goes for appetizers, dinners and desserts. The kitchen did make us some souffle's on request, but, alas, our tablemates did not want a souffle every night. There was only one lobster night, and that was a lobster tail. That night was also prime rib night, so RCI got to offer two higher cost items on the same menu to reduce demand. (And if you don't think that's true, take the all-access tour like I did.) I prefer lobster tail to lobster, but, interestingly, the headwaiter thought that lobster tail was simply the tail of a Maine lobster. It's not, and after we had this discussion, he came back one night as we were leaving and said that the executive chef had confirmed that lobster tail was a separate species of crustacean. Maine Lobster was available, at an increased charge. Food service on the ship, like all cruise ships, is getting more restricted. What we like to do, for example, is to have a snack on our balcony at 5 or so, along with whatever wine was left over from the last night. However, the Windjammer is now only open specific hours, and closes about 4:45 p.m. And at that time, hors d' ouerves are not out. At 6 there will be sushi (unlabeled), meats, cheeses, etc. There is the Promenade Cafe, which is always open, but its food choice is limited. The ship also has a Johnny Rockets as an extra charge restaurant. We refrained, since the extra charge approximates what we pay at home for Johnny Rockets. Unlike some ships, this Johnny Rockets was not open for breakfast. It was largely empty, as I suspect its clientele are typically from the teenager crowd, lacking on this trip. We went to Portofino once, for a murder mystery dinner. The show was great, and the food and service were excellent. We did not try Chops. We wholeheartedly recommend the fun of the murder mystery dinner. Coffee service was always available. The ship serves Seattle's Best, which is fine with us. Starbucks is available for an extra charge at the Promenade Cafe. Frozen yogurt was available at three different stations whenever we wanted it: chocolate, vanilla, sometimes strawberry, and a combination. The ship also offers Ben & Jerry's for an extra charge. We refrained. Food was also served for lunch in the Promenade. The displays were enticing. Health We, along with a great many other passengers, developed coughs. One member of our meet-and-mingle group developed pneumonia. RCI personnel constantly urged us to use Purell, which is available everywhere. RCI personnel cleaned things like the banisters regularly. Cruise Critic and Meet and Mingle We followed the roll call on Cruise Critic (about 5000 posts) and joined meet and mingle. Did the cabin crawl, slot pull, murder mystery dinner together, book cluib, walking tour. Other activities were organized, We organized one tour with folks we met on meet and mingle. All-Access Tour I took the All-Access tour, with about 10 other people. Cost is $150, although my sense was that I was the only one who paid. Good tour, well worth it. Toured the bridge, with the officers there explaining things. Then a visit to the engine control room, where the engineer on duty gave a 45 minute talk on how to run the ship. That ran over, annoying the environmental guy. Then on to waffles in the crew's quarters. Off to the kitchen, where we saw food storage and learned about ordering stuff, and learned that the chef had a budget per person per day for food. We saw the pictures of every arrangement of food for the staff to use to make up plates, although not all of the arrangements were going to be used on the cruise. We saw salmon being seared and stored, rolls being baked, shrimp cocktail being assembled. Then off to backstage in the theater, and finally a stop for champagne. Activities There was plenty to do on the multiple sea days. There is entertainment in the evening, ranging from singers, comedians, the Dungeon dance club, the ice show and production shows. The ice show was very good; we understand that the second time it was offered, given that the ship was rolling a bit, the performers missed a few cues, but got rave reviews from the crowd for their spunk. We entertained ourselves at trivia in two different groups. What kept us attending was our two groups, otherwise we would have dropped out. The questions were prepared and had been used multiple times before (sometimes repeated during the cruise), but every day there were answers which were wrong. Not close calls. The Great San Francisco Earthquake did not occur in 1908 but in 1906. Golda Meir is not the only Israeli prime minister born in Russia; there were 7. The country closest to where the Titanic sank was not Halifax, which, last I checked, was not a country, nor is it Nova Scotia, which is not a country but a Province of Canada. The staff member running trivia took Canada, Nova Scotia and Halifax as correct answers. Internet I bought the 500 minute internet package. RCI tells you that you need to go to a hot spot. The Solarium hot spot did not work. The internet center on 8 was fine, although as usual for this type of service with high usage everyone's connection slowed. I had a problem once where the connection would not disconnect and kept billing; guest services remedied it promptly. I was able to get a connection in our aft cabin twice. Telephone I have an Apple iPhone 5 and my wife a Blackberry Bold. Service was good for the first few days. (We were just using the phones for e-mail.) Then mine stopped working and my wife's was slow. Guest Services called Verizon, which reported a world-wide problem with the ship system. That lasted about 3 days. (Not an RCI problem.) Pricing We booked a year in advance, paid retail (about $3,800), and got an aft cabin, our first aft cabin. RCI tells cruisers to book early for best selection and price. (We also got a $250 shareholder's credit.) Until our final payment was due, pricing did not change. As soon as final payment was made, RCI began offering a special, book a balcony or better and get a free liquor package, valued at $1650. (We can't and won't drink that much.) Our agent tried to get this deal for us but was unsuccessful, even though a few people on Cruise Critic reported that they had persuaded RCI to extend the deal to them. I wrote to RCI; no response. Once on the ship, we met a number of people who received the free liquor package even though they did not meet the terms of the offer, including one fellow who got a single for $470, had the single supplement waived, and got the free liquor package. He showed up at dinner every next nicely lubricated. Disembarkation We left early in the morning to catch a train to Rome. We purchased a transfer from RCI from port to the train station because we wanted to make an early train. Getting our bags was as easy as it could be. About 17 people purchased this early transfer. 16 showed up on time. So what do you do if you are RCI? You hold the bus for the last guy, 20 minutes, inconveniencing the folks seeking to make the earliest train to Rome. No manner of requesting that we leave for the 10 minute trip to the train station made a difference. (We were less concerned as we were meeting our daughter in Roma Termini and had more room in our schedule.) Dings I wrote to Adam Goldstein about the liquor package offer. I'm still waiting for a response. It's been 3 months. My wife filed a comment card about the non-working women's steam room (and other matters) very early in the cruise. She was promised a response in 24 hours from guest services. She's still waiting. My wife was publicly insulted by a member of the cruise director's staff we had not seen before or after. When we saw Keith, the cruise director, later that day, the incident had already been reported to him by others, strangers to us. While Keith said he was "spoken to," my wife has yet to receive an apology. What's Next Next year's trip is booked. That cruise is about $10,000. It's not on RCI. Will we go on RCI again? Maybe. Right itinerary, right price, we might consider it. Biggest downside for me was the reduction in ports. Our 2012 RCI TA had 6 stops; this one had 3. Second biggest downside is the Grand Bazaar approach to pricing. Third biggest downside is the rude treatment by one employee for which RCI doesn't think it should apologize. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This repositioning cruise was so cheap we couldn't resist: a little over $1000 per person for 16 days in a balcony cabin. But we also love sea days, and a repositioning cruise is full of them. Although it did seem that Norwegian ... Read More
This repositioning cruise was so cheap we couldn't resist: a little over $1000 per person for 16 days in a balcony cabin. But we also love sea days, and a repositioning cruise is full of them. Although it did seem that Norwegian had skimped on entertainment, the food was similar to other Norwegian cruises. We don't like freestyle dining and prefer to have a fixed dining time, table, and waiter. So we thought that dining in the two main restaurants, Aqua and Versailles, was chaotic. Many evenings there was a 30 to 45-minute wait for a table. That said, the serving staff worked very hard to make things go smoothly. In fact, the entire staff of the Star made every effort to be helpful, friendly, and upbeat. The real perk of the Star is the spa. Although it costs a hefty fee to use ($215 per person for the 16-day cruise), it has an indoor lap pool (warm water), two huge hot tubs, lounges in the main pool area and two additional relaxation rooms, steam rooms, saunas, and plenty of towels and robes. The Star carries over 2100 passengers, but the spa never felt crowded because only 60 passes are available, and I don't think Norwegian ever sold that many. Using the spa was like having a huge private area away from the crush of the regular crowd. We spent hours there swimming and reading. Oh, and it is in the back on the ship on deck 11, so there are panoramic windows across the entire back wall of the spa and relaxation rooms. Stunning views and serenity - what's not to love. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was our second cruise on NCL and went from New Orleans to Copenhagen, Denmark leaving on April 21, 2013 for a 16-day transatlantic cruise. We decided to upgrade to a Family Suite about 1-½ weeks prior to departure, which was well ... Read More
This was our second cruise on NCL and went from New Orleans to Copenhagen, Denmark leaving on April 21, 2013 for a 16-day transatlantic cruise. We decided to upgrade to a Family Suite about 1-½ weeks prior to departure, which was well worth the extra $484.00 above the mini suite we had booked. Within this review I will address, service, cabin and ship cleanliness, dining, entertainment, educational enrichment, cruise activities while at sea, and Butler service, SERVICE: Wait Staff: Since this is free style cruising you will probably not have the same waiter or waitress during meals. That is a drawback since they are not as friendly and at times just flat forget to bring you what you ordered. We learned very quickly on our first NCL cruise to obtain standing reservations in the main dining room so you can develop a rapport with the wait staff. Once rapport has been established the wait staff takes extra time to learn your expectations and wants and then meets or exceeds your expectations. For example we had standing reservations in the Versailles Main Dining Room every night at 7:00 pm. For non-suite passenger's reservations can only be obtained before 6:00 pm or after 8:00 pm. The waitress learned very quickly that my wife does not like real strong ice tea and always had it watered down to her liking and brought an extra glass of ice so she could keep it fully stocked with ice. She also learned our favorite foods and would have extra placed on the plate so that we did not have to order seconds. I thought that was a really nice touch. Our table was ready every night and we experienced tremendous service since we developed a relationship with the waitress and her assistant. On the other extreme when we ate in one of the specialty restaurants or the Blue Lagoon the wait staff did not know us from Adam and didn't really seem to care. In fact in the Blue Lagoon, which we ate at 2 times, I found the service was very slow, and my order was not taken correctly either time. I received foods that I did not order, and foods that I did order I never received. Refilling our drinks in the Blue Lagoon was about non-existent and my desert I ordered never appeared nor did we ever see the waitress again after delivering our lunch. I would highly recommend obtaining standing reservations for a specific table and waitperson every night for the main dining room. The lines for the main dining room were long and unless you like to stand for 30 to 45 minutes while you are hungry, get a standing reservation. In fact on our first night aboard the ship we arrived at the Versailles Dining Room at 6:50 pm for our 7:00 pm reservation. The line was up the stairs and along past the elevator bank in the aft part of the ship. The hostess told us we had to wait in the line regardless of having reservations. I found an Assistant Head Waiter and told him we had reservations and could not understand why we still had to wait in the line. The Assistant Head Waiter immediately took us to a table and sat us for dinner. I told the Assistant Head Waiter that we would prefer the waitress we had on our first cruise in January, and learned that she was now in Le Bistro French Restaurant. A few moments latter Christine our waitress from January surprised us as she was in the Versailles that night because it was so busy. She spoke with us for a couple of minutes welcoming us back aboard the Star and then spoke with the Assistant Head Waiter. The next thing we know the Assistant Head Waiter had assigned us a table in Sheila's section and the table was reserved for us every night a 7:00 pm unless we told them otherwise when we had specialty dining. Every night thereafter the Assistant Head Waiter greeted us at our table and discussed the day's events. While he was very busy every night, I was impressed that he took the time to greet us every night to say hello and ask us about our day. Ship Service: All the ships personnel that we came across were always greeted us friendly and were quick to provide directions if needed. Generally, we had excellent service. I would like to note the bar staff around the pool, does not dog you to death all the time for drinks. They ask occasionally if they can obtain you a drink and then do not pester you as some other ships do when trying to push drinks. I liked this as they allowed me to relax without constantly fending off another question if I wanted another drink. The also provided wet cold towels on hot sunny days, fruit juices they would walk around giving out, frozen ice type treats, and fruit kabobs. I thought all of those were nice touches. Ship Cleanliness: All the public areas were neat and clean at all times. They constantly would clear the deck by the pool of water so passengers would not slip. The public restrooms were always clean, and it seemed like they had someone in the restroom the entire time keeping it clean. The carpets were clean and not worn throughout the ship. The only determent I saw was some of the caulking used to seal the windows that open around the pool area were leaking through and mold had started to grow on the caulk. I would have thought given the mold is black and the frame and caulk is white that they would have seen this issue and corrected the same. The entire trip the black mold was on the caulk and growing. Cabin Cleanliness: I was a little disappointed with our cabin steward, as he seemed to miss fruit loops on the floor of our cabin when we arrived, and there was an uneaten apple under the cushion chair from a prior cruise. In addition the plate glass windows had handprints from a child on them about knee height that were never cleaned by the steward. Instead of replacing used drinking glasses he replaced the dirty glass in the holder in the bathroom or on the tray in the room and then placed the white NCL paper lid back on the glass. I crumbled up the paper lid and threw it away in the trash and left a dirty glass on the sink in the bathroom. To my surprise he did not replace the white paper lid for 3 days, and put the dirty glass right back in the holder. I even left it with grime around the rim from something I was eating, and dirty fingerprints and he still did not replace the glass. Our cabin steward seemed to be bipolar very nice, pleasant and friendly at one moment, and frowning and unpleasant the next. He was so bold that he told us how miserable he was on the ship and that he was going to leave NCL and find another cruise line. All I can say is good luck buddy. Normally, I would have tipped the cabin steward $10 a day or $160 for the cruise in cash, but as a result of his lack of performance and temperamental attitude he only received $80 for the trip. Dining: They have a set rotation of menus they use and after two weeks they began to serve the same dinners. The breakfast and lunch menus are the same every day regardless if you are a suite passenger and eat in Cagney's or the main dining room. While the Cagney's menu is a better selection of food items, I would have liked it if they would have changed the food selection after a week for variety. There were only so many mornings that I could eat crab eggs Benedict before I became tired. While the variety was lacking the taste, quality and presentation of the food was very good and we enjoyed it very much. The specialties restaurants help provide variety at least for dinner, and we particularly enjoyed Le Bistro French Restaurant and Moderno Churrascaria. I regret that we did not try the Teppanyaki Room as I heard it was very good. There was not a night for dinner that I didn't find something I liked on the menu's as the nightly dinner variety is good, just wish they would not start serving it again after 14 days so I could have tried other dishes. Entertainment: On whole the nightly entertainment was average, I was disappointed with the Second City Comedy routine as it wasn't funny and was very bland and dull. All but one of the dance routine nights was pretty good, and Bud Anderson was ok, at times he was funny and other times he was just boring me to sleep. The hypnotist was standard and nothing unusual as was the magician. I did like the John Barry (or something like that) act, but the Russian guy was terrible. The Cirque du Soleil act was very good and we enjoyed it very much. It was by far the best act of the cruise with all the balancing and the way they moved to each other and the music. I wasn't terribly happy with the passengers that tried to tape the shows, or the big guy from the Ann Arbor, Michigan that sat in the balcony and took phone calls on his cell phone during the show. Both were very disrupting while trying to enjoy the show. The best entertainment by far on the trip was on the first Monday afternoon of the cruise when a man and woman had a foul mouth loud fight down by the library over whom was the leader of the pack of the clicks that were on board for the trip. They were so loud during their fight we heard them over the hair dyer my wife was using to dry her hair and we were six rooms down from where the action was taking place. The accusations were flying fast and furious from these two about special treatment that one was getting and the other was not. Then the woman would spew out a string of profanity in retort to something the gentleman would say. It was splendid to see two mature adults reduce themselves down to children and who was the king of the sand box. I should add they had a number of game shows they did in the Spinnaker Lounge at 8:30 pm and several such as the newlywed not so newlywed game were pretty good. The Match Game show was only the really poor one and we left after about 10 minutes, it was hosted and basically paneled by the Second City folks and that is why it was probably so poor. I was also very disappointed with the Deal No Deal Show. They advertised a $5,000 prize one night, only to cancel the show and game because of lack of participation. When we were receiving our refund I inquired why they cancelled the show and was told, "Well do you want us to lose money?" Now come on lets get real here if you are going to do a show that basically you are gambling then you take a risk that you might lose money. I asked the gentleman that gave us a refund, if the passengers had over subscribed to the game and they were making too much money would they cancel the game? Of course not, and when you gamble you might lose, so put on your big boy panties NCL and play straight and fair. The next night they advertised another $5,000 Deal or No Deal and had about the same participation, so they continued the game but lowered the prize down to $1,000 from $5,000. A good lawyer should have gone after them for false advertising. Educational Enrichment: I attended the seminar on Vikings and found the slides to be crammed with too much information, a disjointed presentation, and he skipped slides as he had discussed the content on prior slides. It was supposed to be a 45-minute lecture and I found that I knew more about the Vikings then the person presenting. The presentation was flat and boring, given in a monotone and on several occasions he would make a statement and that would raise a question and then say, "I don't know why". Why make a statement that will raise a question that you don't have the answer to? I found this to be very annoying as it occurred several times during the presentation and soured me on attending any additional educational enrichment. There appeared to be several interesting topics, but again given the presentation style and flat presentation I just could not put myself through that nap preparation exercise again. Cruise Activities: My biggest disappointment was the Cruise Director was never around. Kyle the Cruise Director made an appearance out and about on the ship on the night we disembarked from New Orleans, and then no one ever saw him again except sometimes to MC a show or the Newlywed Not So Newlywed show. Normally, on other lines you see the Cruise Director mingling with guests during the day, and especially during the evening. Not so with Kyle, I think they must have had a cage they locked him up in, and only let him out sparingly. I was also disappointed with the games at the pool or lack thereof. The cruise directors' staff was rarely seen at the pool and only once tried to organize any games at the pool. I can say that of the three cruise lines we have taken, NCL had the poorest cruise director staff with little events for anyone to look forward to or attend during the at sea days. The other issue I had with Kyle the Cruise Director is every time you did see him he was cocky. For example, I saw him in the afternoon of Sunday the day of embarkation in New Orleans, and said hello from a distance down the hall. The response I received was he pointing both his hands at me like a gun and winking. What kind of response is that from a senior member of the ships staff? On the other hand the young British gentlemen that hosted Deal or No Deal, Bingo and a couple of other things (I think his name is Ian) was very professional, warm and friendly. Ian was probably the only member of the Cruise Directors staff that I saw on a regular basis around the ship, and always made it a point to make you feel welcome. Finally, my last bitch about the Cruise Director. The pool had been closed for repairs for a couple of days and as we headed further north it was becoming cold and using the pool would be out of the question. The pool had finally been filled with water, and Kyle decided to have a stunt out by the pool. It was the half waypoint of the trip; the point of no return and he wanted to celebrate. He dressed up a couple of his staff as pirates and then brought them up on charges for dereliction of duty and such (actually it would have been appropriate that he be brought up on those charges). When convicted he smeared them with food from the ship and tossed them into the pool. Now remember it is getting cooler and using the pool will be non-existent as well as it had been drained and repaired during the sunny days. The ship had to drain the pool again and it was not available for use. Come on Kyle what were you thinking, or because you hadn't been around you didn't know the pool had been closed and now you closed it again. Maybe if you made more effort to get out and see what is going on with the ship and the passengers you would not have done a hair brained stunt like that. Butler Service: Since this is the first suite we have ever had on a ship, it was our first Butler and it is difficult to critique him compared to other services. Romell was attentive, friendly and always seeking to please. If we ordered room service he would answer the call, obtain what we ordered and delivered it to the room. He kept our coffee machine fully stocked and cleaned, and even prepared the cabin's table for our one time we ate in our room with a white tablecloth, silverware and the works. He severed us as we sat down at the table and it was very nice. Romell was always at our beckon call and when we would over sleep in the morning was quite as a mouse in delivering my wife's ice tea and sweet rolls. We probably could have used his services more and not been as self sufficient or independent. Overall we had a very nice experience on the cruise. It was restful, peaceful and pleasant trip that allowed me to relax and enjoy myself. I met some really nice folks on the ship and enjoyed their company over coffee by the pool early in the morning, or during breakfast and lunch in Cagney's. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We used the Ramada Inn-Metarie in the New Orleans area for a Park,Cruise,Fly option on this extended 26 night trip. They were great. We stayed the night before and they took us to the Port, kept our vehicle safe without any extra charge ... Read More
We used the Ramada Inn-Metarie in the New Orleans area for a Park,Cruise,Fly option on this extended 26 night trip. They were great. We stayed the night before and they took us to the Port, kept our vehicle safe without any extra charge and then picked us up at the airport and we stayed that night, all for normal room rates with great service. It had been a few years since we last sailed on NCL. We were prepared for somewhat less personalized attention, but were pleasantly surprised to see that factor has improved, at least on the Star. We experienced mostly smooth seas crossing, only a couple of days were a little bumpy. The food was good. We ate in both of the Dining rooms, the buffet, the Blue Lagoon and also at the Pool area. We didn't find a need to try the "Specialty" restaurants. The entertainment in the theater was above average, especially considering that the "Ship Crew" performers were on their first time through a new performance package. The theater needs to repair quite a few of the seats, they tilt down too low in the front. We were fortunate to have good weather most days, except Dover was a little wet/cold/windy. The Azores are really nice and we would like to return there. We had pre-arranged for an "Off Ship" tour with Ricardo of Amazing Tours in Ponta Delgada. He was excellent. In Dover, we had prearranged on off-ship tour with Dover White Cliff Tours. It was O.K./Average. Richard the owner/guide took us to the country and several communities, but was weak in his ability to share about the area, etc. and when we stopped in the towns (Canterbury, etc.), he just put us out and we were on our own entirely. In Helsingborg, we took a NCL tour of the countryside. The tour was good; however, our particular bus guide was weak. The lady on the other NCL bus was much better at sharing information during the stops, etc. At Copenhagen, we just took a Hop on Hop Off bus with a Harbor Boat tour option and it was pretty good, especially the boat tour portion. Anticipating some rough waters on the crossing, we chose an oceanview stateroom low and mid-ship on deck 5. It was very comfortable. The only "grumble" was that we were located directly below the "Art Auction" area and the walking corridor. The Art people used some 4-wheel dollies to move their stuff around at night and had one with a flat wheel. it made a lot of noise. For our next trip, we will move to the other side under one of the specialty restaurants to minimize the overhead noise. We met some really nice people and enjoyed the cruise over to Europe. When we arrived at Copenhagen, we continued on with the ship for its "BALTIC" trip. I'll write another review for that portion. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was my first longer cruise, going from and to places I'd never been before, on a ship the size of which I had never been on before. My first sight of Navigator of the Seas..."holy cr**!" Big was understating it - it ... Read More
This was my first longer cruise, going from and to places I'd never been before, on a ship the size of which I had never been on before. My first sight of Navigator of the Seas..."holy cr**!" Big was understating it - it was HUGE!!! Travelling with mobility issues makes it harder these days, but not with this cruise! From the moment we entered the cruise terminal in New Orleans, the staff of Royal Caribbean couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. Wheelchair provision was great, accessibility was really good and there was no problem getting from the gangplank to my room. I had preorganized a rental scooter that was waiting for me and I had booked a disabled room for the first time. I was very impressed. Previous experience on cruises left me with cracked skulls and bruises from falling out of standard bathrooms into wardrobe doors, slipping out of the shower into mirrors and, most embarrassing of all, not being able to make it to the loo on time because of having to manoeuver up the step. Not on this cruise!!! The bathroom being on one level, no shower lip to trip over and being able to take my wheelchair in there...I was in paradise!!! For the first time, I was able to find something to do pretty much each day. Not being a drinker or a gambler, not being a sun worshipper and not being able to participate in more physical endeavours, it is sometimes a challenge...not on this cruise. There were the standard jewellery making classes and scrapbooking classes, but what made this more fun for ME were the extra craft classes provided by the amazing Connie and the always entertaining Crafty Dude (Tony, her helpful hubby). They gave me something to get up each morning for, something new to learn and taught me skills I can take home with me. Way to go, Connie!!! As someone who always declares "I have no great skill in anything", well, I can't say that anymore. RC laid on the music trivia, a different one each day. I found my niche, to the point I even gained a Trivia Posse and was actually in great demand to join other teams. I have never been one to win anything, yet I managed to complete the set of prizes at trivia!!! Yay me!!! Shout out to TT, Roberto and Alina from the Cruise Director's staff...they made everything even more fun, I wanted to take them home with me! Were there any disappointments? Well, yes. Dinner at 5.30pm was a bit rough, as I found that if I ate breakfast I didn't want lunch and if I had lunch I was not hungry at dinnertime. I did find, however, that I was at a table with six great tablemates! I even made a great friendship with two of them (we have plans to cruise again together!), something I have never done on any other cruise! The food? Not so great. Plenty of it, but with having food restrictions, it was sometimes just too hard to find something that could be modified for me (thank heavens for the windjammer!). I was very disappointed that there were no themed dinner nights...apparently discontinued. Well, Royal Caribbean, in this cruiser's opinion...BRING THEM BACK!!!! The night time shows were disappointing. Too many "guest artistes". I like the Broadway style shows and enjoyed the two they put on. The ice show was fun, especially as they kept falling over (ok, the ship was rocking!)...they had great skill and did a fantastic job for being on a moving boat. Cudos to the ice cast. I didn't book too many tours for port days, only in Livorno as I wanted to see the Leaning Tower (no, I didn't do it, I promise!). They tried their best, were very accommodating, but with the weather having closed in, I got to see the Tower so was happy with that. Being able to take my scooter off the boat in both Porta Delgado and Toulon, I was able to explore on my own which gave me not just a sense of independance but a feeling of satisfaction. All in all, the best cruise I have ever been on. It has made me want to try longer cruises and I am considering consecutive back to back cruises next year. This was one cruise I will NEVER regret taking... Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Let me start by saying that the good point of this cruise was the Cruise Critics group we met up with onboard. Fun group that met for daily happy hours and dinner each day. Good port call destinations, although the ship's staff ... Read More
Let me start by saying that the good point of this cruise was the Cruise Critics group we met up with onboard. Fun group that met for daily happy hours and dinner each day. Good port call destinations, although the ship's staff offered no destination lectures or information unless you bought a tour, and then the only info offered was where to meet the tour bus. They did have onboard lecturers, but their topics were unrelated to any of our port calls. Port information was not even offered on the ship's TV channels. NCL's ubiquitous "Freestyle Cruising" motto needs some explanation. Other reviewers have pointed out that the Star is an older vessel in need of some upkeep. The problem is not confined to one ship though. All cruise lines have strategies aimed at getting you to spend money onboard, granted. NCL's approach, however is to hold passengers hostage to their "specialty" restaurants. While its theoretically true that you can dine in one of the 2 dining rooms (which are small) "whenever", what actually happens is you are given a buzzer and told to wait up to an hour. And, when you do finally get seated, the food is mediocre at best, inedible at worst. Service is Ok but indifferent, since the wait staff never has the same people at their tables. They know that they will not be getting anything extra at tip time, so why should they exert any effort? (NCL actually discourages giving additional tips. The response from management is to try one of their specialty restaurants at a $15-50 pp surcharge. Every available inch of space on the ship has been converted to this purpose. Or to suites.Some passengers who actually like NCL pointed out that one of the lounge areas on deck 12 forward had been converted to suites during the last overhaul. There is no space on the ship where you can lounge about, read, play cards, etc. We actually counted, and there were 23 (count 'em) seats that were not part of a restaurant or bar and these were in a crowed overlook in the atrium area. Which means that we spent more time in our cabin than normal. Don't like the small cabin? Simply upgrade to a suite! That is NCL's answer to every complaint; upgrade.So don't be misled by NCL's "Freestyle" logo. It's not free, and they have no style. Being first timers we didn't know better, so now we do. And we look forward to our next cruise which will NOT be with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was our third Transatlantic crossing with NCL, and our favourite so far. The Star certainly lives up to it`s name. In my opinion, the "stars" of the ship are the amazing crew,so friendly and helpful. Everyone must have an ... Read More
This was our third Transatlantic crossing with NCL, and our favourite so far. The Star certainly lives up to it`s name. In my opinion, the "stars" of the ship are the amazing crew,so friendly and helpful. Everyone must have an off day sometimes, but you wouldn`t notice,they were always smiling! The ship is just the right size for us, not too big or small and we found it easy to get around. We had a balcony cabin on deck 10.It was clean, comfortable and nicely furnished. We ate every evening in the beautiful Versailles restaurant.The food was good,but not always as hot as I would like,probably beacause the plates were cold. I would not recommend ordering the pasta (nothing worse than lukewarm pasta). To be fair,the waiters will always get you something else, but I did not want to keep my companions waiting whilst I ate my entree.The only downside was the long queues to get in most evenings, even though we made reseravations. Lunch and (mostly) breakfast we took in the buffet on deck 12. It could get a little congested at busy times as you would expect, but the food was plentiful,hot and there was plenty of choice. Tables were quickly cleared away and cleaned after each guest,so we did not have to wait. We took a brisk walk around the track on deck 7 every day (4 times around equals 1-4 miles),so it soon became a challenge to see how many we could manage.Then in to the coffee bar in the Atrium for a drink and one of their delicious patries! Entertainment was varied, with a different show in the Stardust theatre every evening. We especially enjoyed the violinist, and the Cirque style acrobats were fantastic, (better than the Cirque Dreams on the Epic, for which you had to pay)! There was always something going on in the Spinnaker lounge, mostly amusing, except for the cringe-making, questions asked at the newly and not so newly wed game. I did not think it necessary to ask such personal questions to get a laugh,specially as there were young children present. I appreciate that you cannot please everyone, but perhaps a little more thought should go in to devising the questions. If you like crusing, and don`t mind a few "sea" days, a transatlantic crossing is an enjoyable experience, at a great price, without the jet lag! Overall we loved the cruise, and the ship, so much so that we since we came home we have booked another for next year, can`t wait! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
(Very....very....very....Long....grab a coffee mug) If you are not interested in the human component of a cruise review...this wont be of enjoyment to you.... Our Background... Widow, Early 40's, a foodie. Semi-retired ... Read More
(Very....very....very....Long....grab a coffee mug) If you are not interested in the human component of a cruise review...this wont be of enjoyment to you.... Our Background... Widow, Early 40's, a foodie. Semi-retired Customs Analyst My child almost 10, diagnosed with Angelman's syndrome (www.angelman.org ) a rare genetic disorder under the umbrella of Autism, she is non-verbal and with different mobility abilities than your typical 10 year old. I prepared a pamphlet prior to our trip to give it to the people we meet.......so they have an idea of who she is and not just her differences.... ( https://skydrive.live.com/view.aspx?...6561be750afbb9) We choose the Spirit on the basis that it was extremely cheap to get to Europe by comparison to fly out of Toronto and the option of "Freestyle" cruising. For other than fun reasons we needed to be in Europe in May....and the Spirit journey was giving me time to make life decisions while at sea and away from my normal environment.....also it was saving us lots of money. This review is focused on the great time we had, specifically because of the wonderful individuals to whom we were complete strangers and then became great friends.....after the loss of my husband and having a differently able child...I learned that the cliche of "Love as you have never been hurt before, dance as if nobody is watching and live each day as your last" is not really just a saying.... We booked mid-Nov 2011 and from the booking moment NCL was getting 10 out of 10 with me, we cruised before with my late husband, first time with NCL....I was offered a HC room 11129,,( I wanted a lower deck, to prevent bad nights if the seas got rough crossing the Atlantic, that was my only concern as there was not an HC cabin on the lower decks) .....before the last cabin payment was due, the fare dropped twice and so did my balance. Few weeks before departure a group of cabins were cancelled and my consultant called me immediately to let me know,,, even when it wasn't HC (bathroom was just a regular bathroom with a step up) was twice the space 283 sq...so, we switched as my child is able to walk short distances and stand., get in and out of places and so on. Cabin No 6535 We flew out of TO on Delta, great flight, took advantage of the Delta Lounge, allowing my child to play and relax while taking connecting flights,,and me having some munchies and complementary wine. We booked the Days Inn by the airport in NOLA, the shuttle came to get us about 10 minutes from our arrival to the waiting area and had a good night sleep, place was clean and comfortable. I requested first floor room and was very close to the entrance. When I arrived at the hotel, I had an email from NCL asking me to be at the terminal by 11 am with contact names of individuals who were to assist me with the embarkation. We slept in, had the complementary breakfast next door at Denny's where I met some of the fellow CC's members from the RC. We got ready and waited for our cab,,, had to wait a little longer for a van, since I had few extra bags and my daughter's WC took a bit of space. When we met was like we knew each other for a life time already....we have been chatting up a storm since Nov to April. We arrived at the terminal and were greeted by the Special Assistance crew,,,,,so delightful,, no lines,, just dropped our bags and kept walking, dropped my wine and champagne, got my stickers and went to the registration counter,,,without a single line,, we were on board. Walked straight to the Windows restaurant, gave my bottles to the waiter to store and chill and went to register my child at the children's place.....what a great bunch of people,,,they WERE expecting us...they had that brochure I created that gave details of my child's condition and sent it to my PCC prior to our departure........Not the norm, but they even offer to keep her if I was interested on the sail away party, we saw the magnificent kids area, all glass in one side to see the sea, lots of divisions and padded areas, arts and craft station, extra clean bathrooms, nice lounge with a large plasma TV,,, just a fun looking environment. We went to see around the ship,,,later returned to Windows and had lunch,,,by then they brought one of my white wine bottles chilled in a bucket and we had a fantastic lunch, my daughter had the short pasta with meat sauce and I had the fried calamari....more than I can have for lunch, fresh and delish and that became our standard...brunch at Windows while we were at sea. After lunch,,walked by our room,, which was ready, I had ordered a bar set up for tequila, Vodka, and Rum which was there, and a bucket with a bottle of wine compliments of my PCC. A fridge was placed under the table for my daughter's liquid meds that needed refrigeration, the Spirit doesn't have fridges. We dropped our carry-on and went to meet with the other people that were to be my new friends and 14 days on the water community. We then got ready for the drill,,,that was quick, easy and well organized. We were tired and after few introductions, went to our room, two of my suitcases were there already, but one was held at the naughty room, at 6 I went to collect the bag,,,, I had 3 bottles of my child's medication,, so they held that suitcase,,,I show them the liquids inside the stored cooler and they didn't bother to open the bottles.,,,walked around for a bit and by the time we got back to the room, the other suitcase was there. We agreed to have dinner, got ready quickly leaving a real disaster in our cases...dinner was awesome, new friends, and great food. A group of single friends traveling together...4 guys and a girl welcomed and embraced us as one of them from the moment we met, El, Geoffrey, Bill, Christoforo and Scott. Great people from all walks of life,,, I end up spending a great deal of time with them,,, and remain friends... Geoffrey was the guy my daughter fell in love with...the smiles and giggles were instant to the moment she saw him anywhere on the ship, he called her "My perfect girl". Scott a Flight Attendant ( http://www.penguinaroundtheworld.blogspot.ca ) was the guy responsible for our daily Happy hour get together, Bill.......the politically correct guy with good jokes under his sleeve.... came to visit me here in Toronto few months ago and don't want to jinx it, but hoping for another trip for some of us soon. That night we left to rest and like magic..my cabin attendant had put everything away........I was thankful and showed him my appreciation in a monetary manner at the end of our journey and made an effort to keep a tidy room so I can entertain in my cabin and share some drinks....some of the Carols can testify to that ( We had about 6 Carols). In the morning I had a quick breakfast and fed my child,,,our informal MM was at 10, I dropped my daughter at the centre and went to the meeting,,great meeting everybody and putting faces to the posts...then we went for lunch I had a great fresh Club Sandwich....nothing but laughs and getting to know everybody else...a wonderful experience. Picked up my child, fed her a great pasta lunch, she had also the Portobello stuffed, she paid full fare,, but ate every penny of it. After we went to the place which became our hang out..DECK 13....!!!!!!!! Great afternoon of drinks and laughs, I ordered a bucket of beer, but didn't drink that as there was a 2-1 that afternoon on a girly drink rum based and had two rounds shared with Bill. Hanging out with Dusty and Charleen....a terrific couple who are your new age Gypsies.. http://justmoderndaygypsies.blogspot.ca time just flew. We left the Deck 13 to get ready for another great dinner, lots of hugs, laughs and instant personal life story sharing...after dinner we saw the show, fun, fun,,, the WC seats on the first row, were being reserved for us,,,and all I can say is WAAAOOOO,,, I didn't need to ask for it,, they just held those two seats,,even if I came in late from the restaurant NCL abilitations at work. Tuesday 17th...we are in Miami, I had planned to go down to SoBe and beach the day with my girl, met two other solo cruisers and we took a cab down, had a great time at the beach, I know SoBe like the back of my hand...so walked down some cat ally after spending some great time at the beach and showed them where to get a real Cuban sandwich soooo big, they had to share, walked down the SoBe strip doing a little tour of the "rich and famous" and hot spots in Sobe... like Versace's old house. I took that opportunity and bought the rest of my wine,,,I estimated a bottle per day, between dinner n lunches.....got back to the ship, and got the stickers for all my bottles...my calculations on savings by bringing my outside purchased wine was over 200 dollars. One of the guys that went with me to the beach was an astronomer Gary an older gentleman who carried a box around giving "Free Sextant Lessons"........What a wonderful guy...full of life stories, and super funny innuendos....... he called me about a month ago when he was near Buffalo chasing Universe events, but couldn't make it to my town...we actually met the night before at the Marahini's Lounge and I welcomed him as I was welcomed earlier by other solo and couples... The other solo guy was Ray a retired private bank investor counselor-turned writer who was travelling to Spain to fly to Ibiza and fix his girlfriends mother's house. He wrote a piece on his blog about the trip and said the nicest things about my child..( http://raysbrain.com/adventure-spain-ibiza ) ....we still keep in touch. I also met a fantastic couple...Dave and Carol Covin...Carol is a writer and Dave a retired IT guy (I think) and a proud grandpa...this is Carol's blog, (http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/new_grandmas_rock ).... we were together in SoBe sunbathing watching Gary buried himself in the sand while Ray flew a kite and played with my little girl.. Another solo cruiser was Kathy...she is a very warm and funny individual who would also hang out with us until the wee hours of the nigth.....we were feeling loved...everybody was just great. Note about your wine...it will follow you by request to any of the venues...regardless of the time...I shared bottle of champagne with some of my CC RC friends one nigth at the Blue Lagoon and that was after the Galaxy was closed....we sat down and I asked the waiter to bring us a bottle from my listing and he did...it took him some time to get it from the main cellar,,,,but he did. I was also able to request a couple of beers from the bucket I ordered on Deck 13 bar while I was in the Karaoke bar. Back from SoBe.....We didn't attend the deck party, went to rest and got ready for dinner. I shared my table with Charleen and Dusty and the rest was us solo cruisers......Another great night....my pictures will tell the story of our eating experience...that was lobster night....they weren't big,,,but after eating your first lobster...they walk around with more lobster in a tray in case you want more. After dinner and the show we just hanged out at the Blue Lagoon...just sharing good old stories, having so much fun that even ( Food and Beverage Director Ivo Belev) stopped to chat with us..... Too bad I wasn't able to get a kitchen tour. Our first sea day, was the official MM which I missed...late night the night before... After eating brunch...I went to take my child to the center...I still had my reservations leaving her as she wasn't familiar with them and I wasn't watching her..,but that day,,the head counselor waited for me to have a "talk" they wanted me to have fun, to enjoy my cruise and for my child to do the same, they gave me a beeper and told me that I only needed to get her to be fed,,,I was almost in tears when so much emphasis was put in the fact that they wanted me comfortable, they also offered me DVD's if I wanted to borrow them to play in my laptop from their library. At the end of the cruise I gave them 70 dollars to be pooled between them...really nothing for the wonderful job they did...but this was bringing my overall DSC to almost 400.. I calculate another 50 between the bag handlers and WC assistance......still nothing by comparison of services received......My child was there for few hours not every day...but never wanted to leave....getting all stiff on the floor...or hugging the girls....a loud way to communicate she was being well treated. I left the center and the Latitudes party was in place...as I walked by a lovely girl Lonie who was travelling with her parents John and (another) Carol asked me to join them,,,,nobody asked me for an invitation...and I just sat down with them a had a glass of champagne while listen to the cruise director thanking everybody for choosing NCL....glad they offered the drinks,,,,as she is just awful. As I was keeping my Eastern standard time,, and we were taking 1 hour off every day after the first sea day,,,this allowed us to stay up late, watch the shows and mingle...my daughter was one of 5 to 10 children on the ship.... the playground was never crowded,,,we slept in every day, so breakfast was skipped by her, I ran to the buffet in a couple of occasions and got some lox, half of a bagel and SC for my cabin to eat it while watched TV until she was ready to get up...then I will take her to Windows and she had brunch every day...after I will take her to the center at about 1pm, and I will go and be with my new friends, played trivia, mingled, sun tanned and laughed, few days I enjoyed the hot tubs, and so did my daugther...after the trivia I would pick her up to get ready for dinner. The spirit has children's pool with couple of water slides.....Pirate themed..when was temperature permitted, she went in the water....because we had 14 fabulous days of sun..but with chilly air in the Atlantic. Now...to the sea lazy days....there were three friends travelling together...with whom I got very close...Barb, Carol both retired educators and Jerry...God knows what he does........never asked him.....for the rest of the journey we spent a lot of time together...whenever we wanted company in Deck 13.....and I can say that those days just flew by...filled with laughter and good jokes.....inspired by the FS cruising we did what we wanted, when we wanted, with whom we wanted and there was always great choices of friends to spend time with....Carol and I are very chummy-chummy.. she also came to visit me in Toronto last July...another life time friend....the older sister I never had. Jerry and Barb touched my heart with kindness as we were all widows and had emotions to share...I call Jerry my favourite old man loving him like a Dad....we keep in touch on the phone these days. I shared few drinks with my friends and then went to pick up my child from the center and spent time at the pool and hot tub with her. That evening our table mates included Dave and Carol and after the show we went to the Galaxy of the stars for some shoeless dancing which I must admit,,my child really enjoyed...maybe not the typical and accepted place for a 10 year old,,,,but then after all she is NOT your typical 10 year old...and to end the nigth...back to Marahini's for more jokes and laughs.....and boy were there good laughs....even my daughter's Dora doll was in Marahinis!!!!!! Sleeping INNNNN ...YESS..AGAIN..this was one of those days when we got up around 1 and went to windows...and hanged out all day....Beautiful day on the open ocean.....we enjoyed it very much taking advantage of the pools Dinner was good as always...but tonite were were tired and after dinner watched AFV DVD I had....we girls needed a rest.! Another glorious day of sun and fun,,,which included Martini tasting and progressive trivia. This brings us to the nigth of the 20th..the eve of my b-day..after dinner and a little bit of mingle I went to my cabin,,,to decorate it and then to the Internet room to connect at mid-nite ES time with my older children....Carol Covin helped me with the decorations and after talking to my kids..off to a happy sleep!! The 21st is here...my B-day. Previously on the RC since I LOVE b-days I advertised my b-day and wanted as many people to sit in a big table with me......well I GOT my B-day wish...and also received the most beautiful gift I could....the gift of friendship,,,,and even a wonderful "B-day letter" with an inspirational wish that had me in tears at midnight..... Well,,,our journey continues with lots of fun...and after another day at sea of doing nothing at all.... time went by between trivia and Happy Hour...tonite is the White Hot Party.....and we did just that....with a full tummy of great food...we party the nigth away... Well today is a day of taking it easy and an early nigth as we are in Ponta Delgada in the morning,,,tonite we had beautiful sunset......as if the sky was coming down on lights......look for the pictures........ We got to Ponta Delgada and Lori one of the girls in our RC did a wonderful job making arrangements for a private tour with Pedro ...here is his contact info Pedro@azores-tours.com what a fantastic day...great sightseeing, the landscape in PD is phenomenal. We drove by the city of Villa Franca do Campo ...a town with more churches than we can count....also almost more cows than people....Villa Franca is a town very green with crops of sweet potatoes and corn, also oranges and pineapples (in greenhouses) for export. Grapes, bananas and cattle....and believe me LOTS of cattle. Our second stop was the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace an authentic Marian sanctuary constructed on a mount from where you can see the village and the volcanic hole,,,which is also a balnearium. The story says that a statue of Mary was discovered on the hillside where this chapel is now built. A priest brought it down to the church, and the next day, it had vanished. It was back at the same place on the hillside. Interpreting this as a sign from God that Mary wanted to be in this place, a chapel was erected there in her honor. Goosebumps in my arms as I climbed all the steps...worth the climb specially for the exercise challenge for my little girl. One more stop over panoramic views put us on the Calderas of Furnas lake.....remarkable to see nature do as it pleases and humans taking advantage to make delicious meals. After the stop in Povoa'ão.. we stopped for me to take my usual "directions sign picture" ........after....... a quick stop to have a drink from grotta,,a naturally Carbonated Spring water....they had it with a little spout to filled your own bottles and guess what the name of the Grotta was??? GROTTA DA CANADA.... I wanted to leave a Canadian flag right there..... The area had couple of dramatic accidents by tourists who trying to get pictures fell in the furnas and died of horrible burns....caution must be observed! He took us for lunch,,,including lots of bottles of vino verde, so much food that we couldn't finish it,,,,,after that happy lunch...one last look at the panoramic view of the lake,,,group pictures and off to the Tea factory...bought some tea and thennnnn to my favourite place...finally what I waited for years........the liquor factory....there I bought 3 bottles of Liquor of maracuja,, (passion fruit) only available in the Azores,,,one of the most delicious liquors I ever had.....and with that stop..we ended our great tour. We kind of planned our own tour...Pedro made stops which were not on schedule and was happy to do it....Lori did a great job in contacting him to add more people than originally planned....we end up with 2 Vans and a car......what a wonderful day!!! The nigth ended sharing with my table mates who went on different tours our experiences of the day....and sharing a bottle of my liquor which I was able to smuggled (Guilty as charged) with them. NCL kept two bottles until the end of the cruise. The next day was a day of not much activity...and our last formal night,,,,,this nigth we were to take the group picture...I took a million of pics trying to get my little girl to pose,,,,,to no avail.. That means we must take another cruise!!! Still grateful to Ray who took the ones I have and some funny videos. After the pics were taken....I enjoyed a nice sunset in the Aft Hot tub by the children's pool and ordered from the MDR the meal of the evening....ate very late and just relax......I had a hard day ahead of me tomorrow....the anniversary of my husband passing... The day we crossed by the Gibraltar rock the sun was shinning and we were able to see ALL the landmarks in the afternoon. My good friends did all they could that nigth to help my sore spirit bounce back,,,,,and THAT night we had the hardest laughs ever. The crew was introduced and did the Norwegian crew show which ended with the crew standing by the hall while we exit the Theater. The Hypnotists did a great show at the Galaxy of the Stars which it was hilarious, unfortunately...that was the same nigth of the chocolate Buffet,,held in the MDR...by the time I got there..it was over (bad NCL planning) Coincidentally...that nigth I walked into my cabin to find a Monkey shaped towel hanging from my ceiling.....ever sooo cute. The next two days were spent in denial,,,,not wanting to admit that the wonderful Spirit journey was almost over....but even when sadness was lurking,,,we still had fun,,,,with our usual Trivia playing, and even Karaoke night. Two days later we were in Barcelona,,,debarkation was again a breeze, the Special assistance crew did everything to make us feel very, very able to do all we needed to do. I didn't want to say Good-bye to my new friends and I didn't,,,as it is not Good-bye....but....Until we meet again. I suggested a girl's lunch.....and I end up missing it......that day my daughter just didn't want to get up... Our RC didn't schedule a gift exchange but I took some Canadian key chains and bottle openers as gifts to share. Other great points,,, the main dinning room will send your dinner from any evening to your cabin,,as I said we did that one night,, read the menu and ordered the dinner to be sent on the last order,,meaning just before they close the restaurants as I wanted to eat late....we arrived to the cabin and the room service was arriving,,just timed perfect. The shows.........Loved the new dancers,,,,such an energetic and dedicated group...who paid attention to my child to the point that one performance I had to hold her down so she wouldn't climb up the stage following them......so well trained by Nathan......just a fantastic job. I didn't have a chance to eat at the surcharge restaurants....which I know I will in my next cruise....but being a foodie and having a previous cruising experiences with Crystal ...didn't agree with the comments about NCL food being compared to chain restaurants.....I know it's not Michelin rated but not chain either... The service...the company we kept made every meal just great....none of the meals we had left a complaint in my taste buds......Its not either the case of ''you get what you paid for"......and if that was the case we ripped off NCL...then again....just my personal opinion. The waitresses team was very helpful, the would always bring my child's meal with my appetizer...so I was able to make sure she ate and then I enjoyed the rest of my meal at the same pace as the rest of the table. No real down points,,, by mistake I left my Internet logged in,,, and I am still arguing that charge,,,not really their fault, also the beeper I had for my child was accidentally packed in my handbag in my suitcases and they wanted big money for the device,,,needless to say.... at about 2 am the morning of debarkation, I produced the beeper with the help of the guys carrying the suitcases to the storage area. I wont deny it..like in every aspect of life...there are people than don't do what they are supposed to do like the Cruise director,,,she was a real rotten apple.....so I separated her from the rest of the wonderful people that treated us so well, the night of the crew presentation,,, I asked her why the kid's counselors were not participating....she looked at me as if I had 2 heads and said "They are not part of the presentation" in a very rude manner. Then the girl in the sales department....is a waste of NCL's salary.....so I filled the forms for my next cruises 250 deposits and put it in the box outside the sales office,,,,and got my credits for it without dealing with that airhead. Wouldn't allow individuals that don't like their jobs to ruin my good time. The Spirit is a wonderful ship,,,,the crew makes it that way...Greeting me by name as I entered every nigth the MDR was very nice. The Special Needs department is just fantastic....from the moment I got off my cab and they saw me with the WC....all assistance was OFFERED and provided without even me having to ask. Jose the SN coordinator told me that if I choose to eat at the buffet he had put a note,,so they will assist me with my tray and food selection while I push my daughter's WC and select our food...we ate twice in the buffet for breakfast and as I rolled in the greeter immediately said "Please wait here Ms. AJ.......let me get someone to assist you with your tray"....I liked the fact that they knew my name.... I know is very difficult to think of a relaxing-doing-nothing holiday with a child who has different abilities....I was reluctant to leave my child at the centre....Today I am 90% ready to book our next TA journey with NCL. I am looking into the Epic...Its a Nickelodeon ship...the less children on the ship,,,gives my child almost a 2-1 ratio of attention from the counselors. It can be done...they even offer after hour babysitting until 1:30 am so I could mingle at the piano bar or lounges for a per hour fee that I am afraid to say what I think of it so they don't increase it..... I am looking into a way to connect with the Solo travelers on the Epic so I would be able to have others in my position to share daily activities when a partner is needed like dance classes. I would book the Epic Studio to have access to the solo cruisers activities and lounge but too small for us. I am what I call myself a semi-solo cruiser with a little squirrel as a cabin mate. But that is not going to detour me from enjoying all the wonderful experiences we can have at sea with NCL....I met wonderful people....the RC was the key to success with excursions, happy hour, wonderful dinner and entrainment companions that left me wishing for more...... My child enjoyed this journey more than what my expectations would near and to me.........that alone is a reason to come back again and again to NCL. It was my first time in an inside cabin.....and I loved it......I was able to sleep in almost every day in a dark room.....with no idea of time.......and the FS cruising gave me the ability to eat when I wanted.....and do whatever wanted...when I wanted............and as the advertising reads......."or not". The NCL theme song still plays in my head......"Come with me let's go....cruise like a Norwegian" Notes I learned on how to give yourself "suite treatment" on an inside: - I picked up fresh fruits every day and kept them in my room in a little basket I brought from home - Ask for double or triple order of chips at Windows at lunch even if you don't have the club Sandwich....great for munching while watching TV in your cabin..just bring extra large Ziploc bags for storage(or small ones if you don't want to pig out) - Pick strawberries and pineapple skewers from the buffet..I am not fan of chocolate covered but that's also a choice and bring them to your cabin before dinner - Buy a 10 dollar flower arrangement on your embarkation day....once on board ask your room attendant for a vase. -If celebrating an anniversary or BD,,,bring your own decoration..10 dollars at Party Packagers can go very far and do a nicer job than what is charged by the cruise line. Saw one BD package and would have been disappointed to pay 25 bucks for it. - Bring your child's favourite snack....I had few containers of Gummy bears....by the end of my trip I was able to get some from my cabin attendant but I think that was because he saw I ran out of the ones I had and DONT FORGET to bring a Fabreeze plug-in.....your room will always smell nice. I know it would be nice to have all this done for you as a perk.....but when travelling on a budget....you will be glad you did the little "work" when you are enjoying your cabin....specially on a TA It took me too long to write this,,,,,,if there is any questions....I am happy to answer specially regarding different abilities. I met a lot more wonderful people of whom I don't have good pictures..like Frank & Elaine, Carol & Cliff, Mark & Lori, Marcel & Cheryl, Lucy and her husband, Peggy and her husband, Joan, Ozzy John, and even more people that I never got their names,,,like the lady who hand-crafted a stuffed bear with a crochet dress and bonnet for my daughter as a gift,,....shame on me At this time I just want to THANK EVERYONE on the wonderful time which you all contributed to make......The love and respect received for me was the ultimate experience. Here is a link of the pictures., including funny shots at the end..........for which I must thank Jerry and Ray for taking many pictures of us and sharing them with me by USB drive and CD when the trip was over, as I lost my good camera on my last connecting Delta flight into NOLA...... http://public.fotki.com/18012003/var...ips/ncl-sirit/ There are notes at the bottom of the pics (not all) with the dishes names and the people on them. In order to enhance my review....please read these much better and more detailed wonderful reviews of the ship and services from two of my cruise mates.. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1631934 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1647307 AJ "Don't forget to Laugh...Love and Live TODAY.....for tomorrow is not promised" Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Voyager's spring 2012 TA crossing was blessed by mostly good, if cool, weather. Lack of entertaining or informative lectures and few quality daytime activities were a disappointment. For example: Dance instruction by staff ... Read More
Voyager's spring 2012 TA crossing was blessed by mostly good, if cool, weather. Lack of entertaining or informative lectures and few quality daytime activities were a disappointment. For example: Dance instruction by staff decidedly subpar compared to fall Mariner TA. "Workshop" scrapbooking with minimally trained staff waste of time. We did feel insulted by the condition of the ship: We were appalled by the condition of the miniature golf course, then pleasantly surprised midcruise when it was refurbished. Cabin deck halls seemed to have obstructions such as carts and cleaning equipment an uncommon amount of time. Fitness center was warmer and stuffier than previous experience. Gamblers on board had no outlet for half the cruise; some had not been informed pre-cruise. For having only 2000 passengers, public spaces often seemed crowded. The smart cruisers were those who brought along their own means of entertainment. Food was good, a few times excellent in the MDR, but there seemed to be less variety and shortages which were not replenished in the Windjammer. On the positive side, staff were pleasant and helpful for the most part. Kudos to the staff at the port of Valencia. It was the first time we had people who actually knew something and were able to inform passengers. I was told the complimentary shuttle buses had been arranged just the previous night. It would be wonderful if such service and information were available at every stop. If this had been our first cruise, I'm not sure we would have wanted to repeat the experience. It wasn't awful, but it was just okay. Perhaps RC was asking too much of the crew to provide a quality experience amidst the on board disruptions. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Voyager's Transatlantic. The ship is repositioning itself to cruise in Asia and continued after our transatlantic cruise to cruise through the Suez and on to Dubai, India and Singapore. The ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Voyager's Transatlantic. The ship is repositioning itself to cruise in Asia and continued after our transatlantic cruise to cruise through the Suez and on to Dubai, India and Singapore. The ship was undergoing some renovation to the casino during the first 8 days, which was a negative for some on board, but to compensate, all passengers received a minimum of $100 which was much appreciated. Unless you were active on the cruise critic boards, it was likely this came as a surprise to many. The ship itself is showing some signs of wear, but nothing of any great concern and staff kept the ship spotless. I have to say that in general all the staff did an absolutely excellent job. Many were new and had been hired in anticipation of a greater number of Asian passengers being on board after the repositioning. We did hear some passengers complain that there were difficulties in being understood but we never encountered this. Our cabin steward, Marlo was the best we have had in 25 cruises - simply outstanding! Entertainment was fair to good in general but the ice skating show and the performer showcase shows were excellent and not to be missed. Food in the main dining room was good, we attended every night but mainly because we had wonderful dining companions who just made dinner a delight. Service was good, but sometimes distracted. The Windjammer buffet was good, with a variety of food choices and I have to say their dessert bar was one of the best we have experienced. A negative was seating availability; many times we had to sit outside due to lack of seating in the restaurant area. I have one major complaint, echoed by many on these boards and on the ship -- the library. Absolutely abysmal, as another reviewer commented, RCCL really needs to take some lessons from Holland America. I loaded up my Kindle, only to have it die two days into the cruise so I was at the mercy of what was available in the library -- given that I read two books a week, depending on the selection on board was not a good experience. Perhaps they are anticipating changing their selection for the benefit of anticipated Asian passengers. It was a bonus to leave from New Orleans - our first visit and what an amazing city. We were there during the French Quarter Festival and had so much fun: we will be back! On the cruise, the port we enjoyed the most was Ponte del Garda in the Azores - I have never seen a place that was so clean and maintained with such pride - simply beautiful. Other ports were Malaga, Cartagena and Valencia which were interesting but are quite large cities so it was a little difficult to get a sense of Spain. We did visit the little town of Mijas out of Malaga which was charming. We ended in Barcelona along with six other cruise ships so the port was insanely busy. Fortunately we had three days there so it got a bit better but since we have been to Barcelona twice before, many places we had already seen. We did make a trip to the zoo, which was interesting. We chose this crossing since it offered more ports along the way than any other cruise line, and we were certainly not disappointed. An excellent, all round experience - thank you RCCL Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
First time departure from New Orleans. Arrived two days early and enjoyed the City and French Quarter. Boarding was quick and smooth. Departure was changed from 5 pm to 10 pm which allowed everyone on board to enjoy fireworks along the ... Read More
First time departure from New Orleans. Arrived two days early and enjoyed the City and French Quarter. Boarding was quick and smooth. Departure was changed from 5 pm to 10 pm which allowed everyone on board to enjoy fireworks along the Riverfront area. We were notified that casino was under renovations prior to cruise and received $100 on-board credit for inconvenience during the first 7 days. I quickly notice that the quality and selection of food has declined over the last ten years. However, this is not just a RCI issue but an industry change. Service from Stateroom Attendant, Waiter, Assistant Waiter, and Maitre d' was excellent. Entertainment has declined but not just a RCI issue. Another industry cost saving issue. Captain and all staff were friendly and visible throughout voyage. Voyager was in good condition considering age. TV in rooms were being changed to flat screens during voyage. Third floor Dining Area was made available for card players during sea days. Coffee and refreshments provided for the players. Diamond and Diamond Plus passengers were treated very well. RCI's loyalty program is the best in the industry. I will always pick RCI or Celebrity cruises over others due to perks. I estimate that a cruise or itinerary from another cruise line MUST cost 25% less to equal perks of Diamond/Elite status. The biggest change over the last 10 years of long voyages is the dress code. Fewer people are choosing to dress up on formal nights and other sea nights. I am not being critical, just an observation of changes made by the industry.Cruise met all expectation for a crossing trip. Can't wait until next trip on RCI or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This has been a great cruise, good weather and interesting ports of call. The food service in the dining room has been efficiently professional and friendly particularly from Edwin and Kai at table 22 in the Magic Flute dining room. ... Read More
This has been a great cruise, good weather and interesting ports of call. The food service in the dining room has been efficiently professional and friendly particularly from Edwin and Kai at table 22 in the Magic Flute dining room. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and their attention to detail have been a great part of my enjoyment on board. All crew members have been friendly and helpful and I have nothing but praise for them all. The shows in La Scala have been very good, I was really impressed by some of the acts. There at a few points that I have to bring to your attention though. Food Hygiene. Many wine glasses have water spots on them which makes their appearance unpleasant. Perhaps the glass washing machine needs cleaning more often or an additive to the final rinse from Diversy or some such company would stop that. Wine glasses should be carried either on a tray or by their stems, not with fingers inside them as I have seen. Glassware and silverware should not be polished with a cloth which could transmit pathogens, again if a rinse agent was used there would be no need to wipe them. Sports on TV and the Sports Bar were very poorly presented. I expect to see current sports not a rerun of Boxing from 1975. Showing sports that have little interest to passengers must be reducing bar takings at the Sports Bar. Most of the passengers are North Americans who want to watch Hockey, Baseball, and Basketball and Northern Europeans who enjoy Soccer particularly this month when the finals and semi finals of the European Championship are played. Two Spanish, one English and one German team are playing this week and not to show the games is a missed opportunity for increasing passenger enjoyment and Sports Bar revenues. Friendly rivalry could be encouraged and would do a lot to fill the sports bar which do not seem too busy in the daytime when these games are on. I have brought this to the attention of the Cruise Director, Jimmy Rhodes, who acknowledged my note regarding the very important soccer games but did not follow it up. I really feel a full current sports program on TV would boost your revenues in the Sports Bar like the Karioke singing fills the Pig and Whistle Pub in the evenings. The Sports Bar is a great venue but needs better utilization. Lastly the Library, it was dismal. I recently sailed with Holland America's Veendam which had a superb library and permanent librarian. I recommend you check it out. For all of this though I felt I got good value for my money even as a single passenger and will cruise with you again. This is my second transatlantic cruise with you. I do not believe in criticism without suggestions and I hope that someone out there at least considers some of the ones I have made. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012

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