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Sail Date: July 2013
My family and I had anticipated this cruise for a long time especially since we had no problems on out previous NCL sailings. We have sailed on RCL (Oasis, Liberty), Carnival (Breeze, Legend), NCL (Jewel,Gem,Epic), and Disney (Magic). ... Read More
My family and I had anticipated this cruise for a long time especially since we had no problems on out previous NCL sailings. We have sailed on RCL (Oasis, Liberty), Carnival (Breeze, Legend), NCL (Jewel,Gem,Epic), and Disney (Magic). What was supposed to be a nice, relaxing vacation turned out to be the opposite and reflected the true "New York" experience, which this ship is all about. Literally! The New York attitudes from staff, massive crowds, limited space and small tiny rooms and balconies like you would find in a cramped NY apartment. If this is what the NCL head office was going for, they hit the nail right in the head. We hadn't experienced this on previous NCL sailings. The only complaint we had on the Epic was the bathroom lay out and smokiness in the casino, which I guess they hadn't listened to guest comments because on the Breakaway, it was the same deal! On to the review! Embarkation: Fast, efficient, no complaints. We got there after the rush of the crowds and it all went smoothly. Ship Decor and Layout: The ship is very different in terms of the design NCL used to have in with their Jewel class, the Breakaway resembles more of the Epic. It is tastefully done but the layout is awful! Small corridors, not enough space for people traffic, crammed seating at the buffet and venues. This is the biggest problem. There are way too many people for the ship of this size. NCL really needs to take tips from Royal Caribbean on ship design. On the Oasis, there was plenty of space and it never felt crowded, except for normal things like when shows let out, parades, etc. On the Breakaway it always felt crowded like NYC!! Food:Basic and expected in Taste Savor and Manhattan Room. We all know NCL is all about upselling and getting you to the specialty restaurants, but for the price you pay for this ship, the menu should be better for the non fee dining areas. We did go to Le Bistro and Moderno. Both were excellent but again you are paying for it, right? Buffet was your typical buffet on NCL...acceptable, just again CROWDED! Cabin: Smallest one we have ever encountered on a ship! Ridiculous and unacceptable! Service: AWFUL! This is what would make me not want to cruise on a NCL ship again! A lot of staff seemed new and even the veterans didn't seem to care about any of your concerns. Most of the time it felt like they just said things to get you out of their face. Very arrogant and obnoxious attitudes! NCL really needs to look into this because a lot of people on here have complained about the customer service. The only person who was sincere was our room attendant who was always smiling and happy. Entertainment: We loved Sam Allen! Very entertaining but again trying to find a seat was nearly impossible, standing room only. Rock of Ages was ok, we have seen the broadway version so this was amateurish to that. Burn the floor we saw in the manhattan room. It was nice and high energy but after awhile it gets boring unless you are a dance lover. Pool Deck and Ropes Course: Pool Deck is a JOKE!! really NCL? The pool was so small, no one could swim, just stand there or sit on the outer parts of the pool. It was disgusting to see. Also when the pool did clear out, seemed like everyones spray on tan or dirty bodies came off because the pool water was brown. It was difficult trying to find a chair as well..again because there are too many people. There were a lot of fights between the staff and guests because the staff would remove the towels and belongings off the chairs if the chair hogs did not return. The slides were fun, but again overly crowded. Ropes Course was enjoyable. Ports: Bermuda was beautiful as always! Loved Horseshoe Bay and Elbow Beach! Overall: I would not recommend the Breakaway to anyone! If you are hesitant about booking this ship or thinking about canceling your cruise, do it! Go on the NCL Jewel Class or even the Epic if you want larger. Don't waste your money on here. If you really want to experience a mega ship, go on Royal Caribbeans Oasis or Allure of the Seas. They know how to design ships that don't make you feel like a sardine in a can! This was not a vacation, it seemed more like rush hour in NYC!   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We planned a trip on the new NCL Breakaway for late July and just returned. I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I was with the level of service from start to finish on our trip. To begin with I booked online at NCL.com. I called ... Read More
We planned a trip on the new NCL Breakaway for late July and just returned. I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I was with the level of service from start to finish on our trip. To begin with I booked online at NCL.com. I called NCL a couple times to confirm items and ask about airport transfers. The gentlemen who tried to help me said there must be sold out as the rate for a transfer from La Guardia to Manhatten was coming up at $39m dollars. Yes, you read that correctly. I inquired about a hotel in NYC for the night before our cruise and was quoted $450 which included the $15.00 transfer to the ship on Sunday. I booked a room on Hotwire for $250.00 and stayed at the Michelangelo which is an amazing hotel on 51st Street not far from Times Square. We had to pay for a cab ride to the terminal but saved almost $200.00 from the get-go. Checking on-board was a please after a wait outside sorting out where to drop your bags. Unexpected bonus was they take your ID photo at check-in, rather than on the gangway as many other lines do. Security was efficient and timely. There was quite a contingent of security on-board. Far more than I believe necessary having worked for Princess Cruises in the past. The passenger to crew ratio is terrible and lines everywhere were experienced. The cabin (aft facing balcony on deck 14) was very nice. The layout was odd as the hair dryer was next to the fridge but one makes due. The mini bar was stocked with overpriced items as one would expect but then convenience does cost a bit more if you cannot live without a Pepsi at 2:00am. We removed some items to put fruit in our fridge and were charged for them. I pointed this out to our cabin steward who acknowledge the item but the $25 charge was never corrected. I have to say our cabin steward(ess)was the worst I have encountered in 30+ years of cruising. She spent more time in the passageway on her cell phone than cleaning cabins. Some days she did not stop in until 3:00pm for her morning rounds. If you were in the cabin she would refuse to clean and say just dial 00 when you are ready. This meant another memeber of the crew have to come up to clean our cabin. Room service trays sat in the passageways for up to 15 hours. I watched as crewmember after crewmeber vacuumed and moved around them with no thought of maintaining the ship. This was not only a sanitation issue but a safety one as well. Passengers in wheelchairs and scooters were hard pressed to clear the obstacle course of dishes up and down the passageways. In my experience if the crew does not maintain the passenger areas, they are not maintaining the crew only areas of the ship either. There was little Free Style about this trip. I had booked The Deluxe Romance Package before sailing. The flowers and amenities were excellent. However, when I inquired about dinner reservations at Le Bistro which was included with the package I was told we could only do so on-board and not in advance online as many had. When we made reservations 8:45pm was the earlist seating available and we only had 2 of the 7 nights to choose from. The food was mediocre and I've received better service at Waffle House. The server spent her time chatting with passengers she had met earlier on the voyage, not even bothering to offer coffee with our dessert. When we got up to leave she said we couldnt go yet and asked us to sit back down so she could prepare the check. She was in such a hurry she charged us again for a prepaid dinner. When I inquired at Guest Services they offered to check into it and I provided a copy of the package confirmation letter which I carried with me. I went to Guest Services a second time at which point The Assistant Guest Services Manager spoke to me. He said he would check into it again and took my original confirmation. When I said I had provided one yesterday, he said it should be ok in a few hours and that he would have to check with someone at Le Bistro before a decision could be made. Shows were difficult to get as the showroom is so small. If you did not know to make reservations for the show by the end of the first sea day you could not get a reservation at all. The shows Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor were decent. No award winning enteriners on this ship with the exception of Slam Allen in the Blues venue. We were able to enjoy the waterslides while in port but my friend who is 52, but only 4'11 and 85 pounds could not use the slide that drops you for safety reasons. She was too light and did not have the body weight to create enough momentum to make the high arching turn. I commend NCL on checking each person before they can use the slides to make sure they can do so safely. Burmuda was fabulous. Temps 80-85 with water temps @89. The catamaran snorkel trip was a highlight of our first port day. We were especially glad we took the tour as the guide explained we were there during their 4 day independence day celebration. What this meant is that almost every shop and restuarant on the sland would be closed. This bit of information would have been nice to know before we arrived. The Shore Excusion staff at the dock was lazy and misdirected people multiple times. We made our tour only because we read reviews ahead of time that talked about similar experiences and asked 6-8 different tour operators where to meet to make our particular tour. I took advantage of the laundry special which was not a bad deal. $25.0 for a bag full of clothes. The down side you turn them in Wednesday by 9am to have back by 5pm on Friday. @8pm on Friday after our turndown service still no clothes. I call Guest Services who tracked our laundry down and had it delivered. The service was good with the added touch of being folded into a nice wicker basket. Getting off the ship was a breeze. Customs took our form without looking at it with no passport check at all. We carried our luggage off the ship and were off by 7:45am. Wish we had not been told to schedule flights after 2:00pm as thet made for a long wait at the airport. Overall, this was the single worst cruise experience I have had as a passenger. I could not recommend NCL to my friends or family. When an NCL Cruise Consultant called me today to help book another cruise, I told him of my experiences. He said he has not received a single complaint about the Breakaway. I thanked him for calling and tadvised him that I would not be bookign another NCL cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2013
I sailed on the Breakaway from July 7th to 14th with my husband and 2 children (4yrs and 2 yrs). Let me preface this review by saying that we have been on 9 other cruises prior to this one, sailing on NCL( 1 prior), Carnival and Royal ... Read More
I sailed on the Breakaway from July 7th to 14th with my husband and 2 children (4yrs and 2 yrs). Let me preface this review by saying that we have been on 9 other cruises prior to this one, sailing on NCL( 1 prior), Carnival and Royal Caribbean. This was a group trip so I decided to give NCL another shot since this was a new ship even though I was less than impressed with them the 1st time. I have been on new ships and some older ones so I expect to get what I paid for. This Breakaway and NCL in general is not for anyone who has a child under 4 yrs of age. Unlike Carnival and Royal Caribbean who will watch children under 4 (even babies), NCL has no options. My biggest problem with this ship is how small the rooms are!! By far the tiniest cabin I have ever had on any of my cruises. I was given an inside family stateroom which cost $5100 for the 4 of us!! There was only a queen bed 2 pull down beds and one tiny closet. No dresser no couch no table...no exaggeration. It was TINY. I walked in that room the first day and walked back out to guest services as I was certain this was a mistake for $5100. I politely asked for an upgrade and offered to pay more and was rudely told that they were 100% booked...which was not true as someone in our party was moved to another room as their original room was located right above the theater. On top of the $5100 we paid (I've been to 5 star all inclusive resorts and paid less hence me repeating the price) NCL nickel and dimed for every single thing. Room service was $4 after midnight and took forever to come. If you wanted a pizza delivered to your room it was an extra $5. I ordered 2 cups of apple juice for the kids and they wanted to charge me $2 per cup??? The specialty restaurants on the ship charge from $15 to $59 per person!!! Oh and the shows...you have to pay for those too!!! The only thing free on this ship was the buffet in the Garden Cafe. Not one night was lobster served...you would have to go to the specialty restaurant to get this and pay for it. So for that price basically all you get is a buffet and a super tiny super cramped room. This is a total rip off and if I can convince one family to not spend their hard earned money on this overrated and expensive ship then my job is done. Choose Carnival or Royal Caribbean...not NCL. Their ships are boring and are way overpriced. I would never ever recommend this cruise line or this ship to anyone. This is not coming from a disgruntled cruiser, trust me I work hard for my money and I am mad that I wasted so much money on this overrated ship where you have to pay for every single thing. You can get better deals on the other cruise lines or go to an all inclusive. Yes I know it's a new ship but it was designed poorly and definitely not worth the price. PROS: embarkation was a breeze, Cheryll our stateroom attendant was awesome,water park CONS: price, have to pay extra for everything on top of price, tiniest rooms on any cruise ship, narrow hallways, no services for under 4 yrs old, boring ship, charge for room service after midnight, only one place to eat after 11 pm, small night club (terrible DJ) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
We have cruised many times, on many different cruise lines in the past, and this was by far the most disappointing experience we have ever had. From the minute we stepped onto the Breakaway, we felt we had been mislead. The boat did not ... Read More
We have cruised many times, on many different cruise lines in the past, and this was by far the most disappointing experience we have ever had. From the minute we stepped onto the Breakaway, we felt we had been mislead. The boat did not feel state of the art and new- instead it smelled like smoke from the casino and felt dated. There were no open spaces or promenades like on other ships we've been on (RCCL- Independence of the Seas and Allure of the Seas and Celebrity Eclipse), and people were packed in everywhere. The rooms (we had a spa mini suite) were tiny and the balconies pathetic. There were never lounge chairs available and when we asked cruise staff for assistance we were told it was too bad and there was nothing they could do to help us. They did suggest we get up at 7:30 am to get chairs, but seeing as we were on vacation, we did not want to do that. The food on the boat was disappointing as well. Our first night, we were handed a beeper and told we would have a 45 minutes wait at the main dining room. We went to Ocean Blue the following night ($49 per person up charge) and were so disappointed. Portions were tiny, and we were told we could only have one appetizer or we would be charged more. My husband was told not to order the black sea bass entree because it was really small- we questioned the waitress as to why they would put something on the menu that was too small to be served. My risotto in Ocean Blue was fine, but was no better than the risotto I have the next night in the regular dining room. The lunch buffet at the Garden Cafe was boring and limited, and in general, there was not much food available on the boat throughout the day relative to other cruise ships we have been on. Our cabin steward (Nicole) never came to meet us the entire week we were there, and in general the cruise staff was argumentative instead of helpful and friendly. We have never experienced anything like this before. One standout on this cruise was the entertainment- Rock of Ages was amazing!!! Overall, this was a disappointing cruise for us. Do not go on the Breakaway. You can do much better- there are much nicer ships with better food and nicer cruise staff for the same price. This ship is certainly no bargain! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Our family group of 13 sailed out of NYC on June 30. Ages ranged from 19-89.Veteran cruisers to virgin cruisers.All in agreement-first and last NCL cruise. Still reeling after three weeks back. How could we have paid so much and been so ... Read More
Our family group of 13 sailed out of NYC on June 30. Ages ranged from 19-89.Veteran cruisers to virgin cruisers.All in agreement-first and last NCL cruise. Still reeling after three weeks back. How could we have paid so much and been so dissatisfied? We certainly did not expect perfection but we expected a relaxing cruise. First the pros Pros-Best coffee of any cruise we have ever taken -Rachael Vibe Beach Club great! -Niki Nemis Deck 5 room Steward (not ours mind you but other members of our group)Fabulous -Olga Shakers Bar great service -Milk on buffet line ice cold! -Debarkation very smooth Kind of sad those are our pros after spending $$$$$$ to take this cruise! Now for the cons -Guest services (where do they hire these folks-some DMV office?)music too loud cannot hear-and most of the transactions handled here you had better be able to hear -Vibe Beach Club sold out by 1145am You really are not supposed to be boarding before 12n-half of our group got in the other half did not. Believe me you did not want to fend for yourself trying to get a chair. Saw many altercations over chairs. They could have auctioned off chairs by Tues. and made a lot of $ -Manhattan Room Nice room when empty-Extremely noisy. Could not even hear live band over noise. Our party of 13 had ONE waiter. No busboy, no beverage server. Unlike any other DR on any cruise we have ever taken. One drink per dinner. By Wed. we were leaving the DR to go to a bar and get drinks for our table. -Specialty DR reservations once on board FORGET ABOUT IT! We hadn't made dinner reservations prior to cruising. Party of 13, ages 19-89 who plans the week of dining ahead? We were laughed at when inquiring! We offered to split up, we offered cash, we asked why they had empty tables at 530 and yet would not seat us-the reply was they had people coming in at 7pm. Sooo NCL would rather pass up revenue than have us in and fed in an hour and a half. This is how our dining experience went the entire cruise. Freestyle my %&^$#%! -Actually saw our room steward 2 times the entire sailing-ash tray never emptied. -Room service trays sat outside in narrow hallways over two days-We are very familiar with NYC and Bermuda-you will have extra psgrs. (not 2 legged)if that keeps up. -4 days to get our laundry back-still charged -One outlet in room in balcony rooms. -Karaoke (realize for some not a big deal)1 hour hosted by a snarky cruise employee (said he was Simon from South Africa, later found out he says that to get another employee in trouble)Paying cruise psgrs would perform only to be mocked by this man and other (we thought guests)men standing by the stage. Believe it or not they were performers from the show on board Rock of Ages. Apparently NCL lets them hang out in bars in their free time and make fun of guests! -Pool area not adequate for number of guests. Very hard to find space to walk let alone snag a lounge chair. -Gym space very small very crowded not adequate for such a large ship. -Balcony rooms very small. Save your $ get an oceanview family room much larger. As you can see extremely disappointed in our experience with NCL. Very sad considering how long we looked forward to sailing on this ship. The Breakaway should carry 700 fewer psgrs. and 700 more staff. For the most part the staff tried but were terribly understaffed. NCL is missing the boat(bad pun)if they staffed DR with normal staffing they would turn over tables faster and generate more revenue through liquor sales. Instead every day of our cruise was a battle to find a place to eat. If they are having trouble accommodating family groups now, just wait until Thanksgiving and Christmas! Will be contacting Kevin Sheehan (CEO) to voice our displeasure and get some kind of explanation. We did find out the Captain was let go the day we arrived back in NYC so hopefully they are aware there are problems on the Breakaway and NCL had better fix what is broken. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
My entire family of 12 sailed on the Breakaway in June, we all looked forward to a wonderful time on this overly rated new ship. Embarkation was not too bad in New York, went rather smoothly. Sail away party was also very good at Spice ... Read More
My entire family of 12 sailed on the Breakaway in June, we all looked forward to a wonderful time on this overly rated new ship. Embarkation was not too bad in New York, went rather smoothly. Sail away party was also very good at Spice H20 Well, the ships pools were no bigger than one would have in there own back yard. Not enough pools for 4,000 passengers. The water slides took up too much room and the water that fell from them made it very difficult to walk on the slippery floor. The entertainment in the theater was just ok except for the Rock of Ages Show that was utterly sexually disgusting. Cirque Dreams had a wonderful dinner and show,but of course there was a $29.00 charge and more money for better and closer seating. Our family did enjoy this! The Main dining rooms and the Garden Buffet's Food was not as good as the other 4 cruises that we took on NCL's other ships. They definitely cut back significantly on the quality of their food. Many people would have to go to the fancy restaurants and pay for a decent meal. After paying quite a bit for this particular cruise, I see no reason not to provide passenger with better food in the dining rooms and the buffet area. We had a balcony room for the 3 of us which was very tight and had to walk sideways to get by another person. The only good thing about our cabin was the bathroom was a decent size. All the balconies were so small! I personally wrote a letter to guest relations at NCL which was 3 pages long and they sent me back a short generic letter by e-mail saying that if we sailed with them again that they would provide amenities. I listed in detail of the many complaints that me and my family had and it all fell on deaf ears. I am sick over this horrible cruise and the way NCL has handled this matter. NCL'S all about the $$$ and not much concern about their passengers. Hope they make changes to the New Getaway or else many people, especially New Yorkers and people from New England see all the negative complaints about this ship, they won't sail with them anymore. I will never give up trying to send my message about our horrible experience on the Breakaway!! Very Unhappy in RI   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
Long lines to board even though I pre registered on computer. No one to direct you once on board. Confused as to where to go. As a solo traveler I opted for a studio cabin. However, a fellow passenger in the room next to me snored the ... Read More
Long lines to board even though I pre registered on computer. No one to direct you once on board. Confused as to where to go. As a solo traveler I opted for a studio cabin. However, a fellow passenger in the room next to me snored the entire trip. Our headboards were connected by a non-sound proof wall. It was as if he was in my room the entire vacation. I did not sleep. I spoke to guest relations - their reply-- get ear plugs. I was so insulted. The woman in the next opposite room had company on several nights, laughing, etc until 2am. I could not sleep. I was told they would try and change my room when we docked in Burmuda but there never followed up to tell that that was impossible. Instead of 4,000 on the ship, they had 4,500 and with bad weather most of the week we were all crammed inside. The closet doors in my studio moved from side to side and unless you held them they slammed. I constantly heard everyones closet doors closing and opening in surrounding rooms throughout the cruise which woke me all the time. By the way, no more than 8 people ever showed up at the studio lounge. Only about a handful of single people on the ship. I was never told that my not leaving a credit card or room card in the wall that the power would go off. When I found out I did not realize that my cell phone was never charging. Also the sheets were only changed maybe twice during the cruise as compared to hotels where they are changed everyday. Bring your own soap, shampoo and conditioner. Just a shampoo and soap dispenser on the shower wall. The shower head had no water power and the head on the shower was huge and awkward to use.Dining Room - As a solo traveler I ate alone. NCL waiters never sat me with anyone and never offered.  I would have like to have joined other travelers. Luckily I knew some married couples from NY and was able to join them on occasion as they had confirmed reservation every night. Otherwise, you had to wait a long time to be seated for dinner. Food was ok. Same menu every evening except they would change or add maybe 4 new items. I had the menu memorized by the end of week.Smoking - Smoking was allowed at all the pool bars which kept me away from them. Other cruises I have taken had areas just for smoking. The pool depth started at 6 feet. You had to hold on to the ledge if you could not swim or tread water. Very few people used the pool areas. you went to the kiddie area of the ship and hung out there. The casino allowed smoking in the entire casino. Once again not in designated areas. To get from the main restaurant to the theater you walked through the casino and felt like you had smoked a pack of cigarettes. The smoke could be smelled on the deck under the casino too and I am sure after a few weeks the smoke smell will spread to more open areas. With 4,500 people on this ship I felt they could easily be a fire. Atrium room - Movies were shown here on the same level as guest relations. Triva, a singing combo played several nights and even the captain and crew gave a question and answer show. However, above the atrium was a bar and bowling alley and hockey puck game. Because of the openness all you ever heard were noisy people and games being played while trying to enjoy the atrium area which only seated maybe 100 or less people. Most people on the ship had to stand to witness any activities going on here. My married friends were on the 5th floor under a nighclub that played music to 1-2am. They were awake all week too . Technicians were sent to their rooms and it was confirmed that the noise was awful. They at least got an onboard credit. The only thing I got was an offer for ear plugs. Bathrooms were plain and not really kept clean. I never saw an attendant or cleaning person for the entire triip The gym was small and separated into 3 rooms. Turned me off I never saw many people using it. I entered an elevator and there was food all over the floor. The elevators were small. Unlike Royal Carribean, you never knew what was on each deck before you got off the elevator you just knew the floor. Royal Carribean even had the day of the week in the elevator and changed it each day. This ship catered to the 30 and under group, kids and families. There were only disco clubs for dancing or the Manhattan Dinner Club had a dance floor while having dinner but few people danced. This is my fourth and last NCL cruise. Bigger is not better. I felt more stressed on this vacation than being at home. There were hidden charges noone expected. Bring your wallet.The only positive thing was some of the entertainment but I suggest staying in NYC for that instead of risking you life on this huge and costly ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
It is a 146000 GT ship and has capacity for 4,000 passengers. Great as a stable and modern ship as it is fast and stable even on rough sea as we returned to New York. We had a group of 26 boarding the ship for a 7 day journey to Bermuda. ... Read More
It is a 146000 GT ship and has capacity for 4,000 passengers. Great as a stable and modern ship as it is fast and stable even on rough sea as we returned to New York. We had a group of 26 boarding the ship for a 7 day journey to Bermuda. The boarding was disorganized as some had to wait for over 1 hour to register, while latecomers did register within 20 minutes. It was a bad first experience. The Manhattan Dining room is beautiful and the food is good. The service needs to be desired when compared with competitive cruise lines. There is a long line up for free style shipping as you have to wait to get seated. The Iron Chef: Geoffrey Zakarian is simply a disappointment to many of us, as it is $49 additional for an ordinary dining experience in the Ocean Blue. The deck 7 is the main floor, but you have to go through a big casino with free smoking; and it is not good for anyone who is allergic to cigarette smoke. The ship is maximizing for restaurants that charge and a spa that charges; and you have to pay $199 to use the state of the art facility throughout the journey. The casino is huge and it is good for anyone who wishes to spend a lot of time there. It is not for those who wish to do a lot of exercise, as there is not even a proper track in any of the floors, and very limited free classes and dance lessons etc. The card room and library are small and the public space is limited, as most of them are used for money making purposes. The new technology is interesting, except that when I purchase a package for wifi, and after you log out, you can accidentally logged into pay as you go, and you are charged for higher charge even though you paid for a package and has unused minutes. There is very limited information about excursions, or the weather or the special events. However, if you like new and enjoy the food at the Garden Cafe on 15th floor, this is a ship for you. The last good comment is the water slides and they are very interesting to be enjoyed in a ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
We booked the Norwegian Breakaway cruise on May 12 because they sold it as an "Inaugural" cruise. They did NO inaugural celebrations at all. They also charged twice the price of the next cruise, but did nothing for it.Their sad ... Read More
We booked the Norwegian Breakaway cruise on May 12 because they sold it as an "Inaugural" cruise. They did NO inaugural celebrations at all. They also charged twice the price of the next cruise, but did nothing for it.Their sad excuse of an "Ice Bar" is really pathetic, it is nothing but a refrigerator. Don't waste your $20 on it!The food is cold, bland and boring in the main restaurants. And the dessert menu never changes. But don't think you can go out for a gelato after dinner, because they close at 5:00pm. What a waste!The staterooms are small, cramped and the storage is lacking. The balcony is extremely small! The bathroom was spacious for a cruise ship, but all the nice things I can say about that. Making reservations for everything is not convenient at all. And if you have to make changes or cancel, they have the nerve to charge you for it. There is no reason for that.They charge so much for excursions... if you have half a brain you can do it on your own (Bermuda). We saved a ton of money doing everything ourselves.NCL has the worst customer service, our letter was completely ignored and we received the usual auto responses in return. We are not happy & will be spending our cruise money on other lines from now on. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
So this is not my first cruise. It's not even my first Norwegian. My first cruise was Norwegian Majesty to the western caribbean back in 2005. So I went on the Norwegian Star to Bermuda.For some reason we left at the same time out of ... Read More
So this is not my first cruise. It's not even my first Norwegian. My first cruise was Norwegian Majesty to the western caribbean back in 2005. So I went on the Norwegian Star to Bermuda.For some reason we left at the same time out of New York as another ship (Holland America Veendam) and sailed alongside them and (Celebertiy Summit) out of Bayonne New Jersey of course all going to Bermuda all sailing together. Now enough of that now to my experience. First the dining because you go in at any time you want the waiters don't dance around like they do on other lines. You don't have the same waiter every night unless you reserve a table with that waiter. The food oh god the food. Three words [THE FOOD SUCKS] Sometimes you waited so long for your food it was cold when you got it. It was undercooked prepackaged food that I could buy from the gas station. The menu had the same thing every night even in the main dining room and only one special. The Worst dining experience ever. I could probably get better food and service at a McDonald's. Now for the Entertainment good-bad soorta in between I guess it all depends on your taste. Shopping even though the shops on board are tax and duty free I could get any of that cheaper at a Kohl's at home. Now as for the gift shop, If you want something to remember the cruise by then you can get something in their but theirs not much of a selection. Rooms, as for them we got a three person balcony VERY SMALL. Lets just say when the pull out couch was out you had to walk across it to get to the balcony. Now we bought three rooms one balcony and two inside which are super small they have no walking room and are not worth the money we also stayed on deck 11 if you would like to know. Another thing I have to complain about is the pool deck and outside areas. VERY SLIPERY. Why put all this slipper cement stuff or whatever it is instead of the original classic teak wood. if it was wet it wasn't slippery. Steward service was ok and they remembered our names at least. So overall this was the worst cruise I have ever been on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2012
This is my 3rd cruise trip and the experience with Hollad America is the least satisfactory among all. We went with my parents and they are both over seventy years old. Given their very pleasant experiences with Noreigean cruise they had ... Read More
This is my 3rd cruise trip and the experience with Hollad America is the least satisfactory among all. We went with my parents and they are both over seventy years old. Given their very pleasant experiences with Noreigean cruise they had high hopes coming in. But as soon as I entered the cruise terminal I sensed the differences. Cruise staff are not as enthusiastic and slow in responses. The whole check-in process took over an hour and a half. As soon as we arrived at the ship we checked out the Lido deck. It was crowded and unorganized. The ship has a 48-hr no self-serve policy so we had to wait in line for everything including drinks. Apparently they were short-staffed because you often found empty plates sitting on the table and no one would clean it. We later found out that we had to make dinner reservations for all our dinner meals, which is inconvenient. You are not allowed to make reservations all at once so you have to remember to call every few days. The only other free dinning option besides the main dinning room and Lido deck is the Italian restaurant, which was always completely booked. We expected late-night snacks at all times but they were available only for an hour usually between 11pm and 12, not flexible at all. Everything else you need you sill have to call room service and the line was so busy during the first day or two. Even for simple requests such as hot water you will have to call then every single time because they don't even have coffee machine in the stateroom. The entertainment at night was ok, but they only have a small group of entertainers so expect to see them every night. Compared to Noreigean, this boat is simply boring. I am glad we only got to spend two days at sea or otherwise it would be even worse. Overall I would not recommend Holland America to anyone who is looking for superior cruise experiences. If you are used to large cruise lines such as the Celebrity or Noreigean, well, stay away from HAL!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
When you sign up for a cruise, you'd think that there would be enough crew members on board to service the ship. This was not the case on this cruise. The number of crew members were cut to the bare minimum -- not our concept of a ... Read More
When you sign up for a cruise, you'd think that there would be enough crew members on board to service the ship. This was not the case on this cruise. The number of crew members were cut to the bare minimum -- not our concept of a "premium cruise experience". To eat dinner in the main dining room on Deck 7 or 8 took anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 hours -- every night. One night on Deck 8, there must have been 400 people in the upper dining room, and we only saw a couple wait staff for the entire room. We couldn't even order wine, there were no wine stewards anywhere. And, there's this big black net underneath the ceiling to protect the passengers from falling debris. Because of the long delays waiting for dinner, we never had time to make the shows. We couldn't get refills on bread, butter, ice tea or coffee. When anyone at our table ask for anything, the waiter just said "no". He had other people who were waiting for food. Some nights he'd serve hot tea with no cups or saucers. Another night we went up to the self-serve Lido deck, and the empty tables were full of dirty dishes. I cleaned off a table, then another passenger wanted to sit there. They only had 1 bus boy for the entire floor. (As an aside, dining out in Hamilton was really not an option. We ordered lunch at one of the hotels, and it was $64 for 1 cheeseburger & fries, 2 small bowls of fish chowder and 2 iced teas.) The cut backs were not limited to the dining rooms. The Pinnacle Grill was also understaffed, and our cabin steward had 21 cabins to clean -- twice a day! We were repulsed by the lack of service, and with every HAL cruise, it's getting worse. This ship is neglected, and the crew is overworked -- not a good combination at all. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Just arrived back from Bermuda today and could not wait to get on Cruise Critic. Bermuda was lovely, no complaints with that portion of the cruise. I was cruising with my 2 sisters, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew and looking forward ... Read More
Just arrived back from Bermuda today and could not wait to get on Cruise Critic. Bermuda was lovely, no complaints with that portion of the cruise. I was cruising with my 2 sisters, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew and looking forward to this for months. I had sailed with RCCL 5 times previously and was anxious to compare NCL to them -NO COMPARISON!! Royal blows them away. Service was practically nonexistent in the Versailles dining room. We didn't even know who our waiter was half the time. Service was exceptionally slow and food was so-so. Ate there a total of twice for lunch and three times for dinner. At our last dinner there the waiter dropped a fork on my b-i-l's new pants and never said a word. He dropped the butter dish on me and again not a word nor apology. Eat at the Aqua dining room instead and ask to sit at Renalyn's table - she was wonderful, atmosphere and service were much improved over the Versailles. The dinner menu was lacking in both dining rooms, however. There was no veal, lamb chops, filet mignon, or shrimp cocktail served for any of the dinners. It seems they skimp so that you will make a reservation in one of the specialty restaurants. The buffet was awful, food was cold, and seemed leftover from the night before. Beverage machines were broken for last 3 days of cruise. The restrooms were filthy, with excrement on the floors and walls (casino and deck 7 near Aqua, no paper towels in some. It seems there are not enough crew members. Our cabin was fine and our room steward Mark was very efficient. Bingo was very disorganized, instead of selling cards as you entered the Spinnaker lounge which would have speeded up the process, you got your seat and then made to stand in a long line to buy your bingo package which I felt was overly expensive ($39 for a package of 3 cards for only 3 games). Also, there were a large group of gay and lesbians on the ship (code name "Friends of Dorothy" This does not bother me per se, but when a 23 year old gay man stalks my 18 year old nephew who told him he was straight, and was told that "you have to at least be bi", that's where my tolerance ends, as it would if a straight man was stalking my niece. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Just returned from a very disappointing 7 night cruise to Bermuda on the Norwegian Star. Embarkment was fine, we were on the boat by noon and decided to go to Versailles for lunch instead of the pool buffet. That was our first mistake. ... Read More
Just returned from a very disappointing 7 night cruise to Bermuda on the Norwegian Star. Embarkment was fine, we were on the boat by noon and decided to go to Versailles for lunch instead of the pool buffet. That was our first mistake. We sat there for at least 20 minutes before someone even acknowledged us. Finally someone came over and said he didn't even know who our waiter was but took our order anyway. Never asked if we wanted a drink. After waiting over an hour we received our lunch which was so-so. Dining in the Versailles for dinner was a disaster. We went there our first night and again waited for someone to come over to take our order. The menu was extremely disappointing....bean burrito on the menu for dinner??? The choices just were not what I would expect on a cruise ship. I have cruised Celebrity, Princess, Holland & Royal and this ship is not in their league. We sat there for at least 30 minutes with empty water glasses when my niece finally decided to get the water and fill our glasses, then our waiter finally came over a bit annoyed with my niece. We decided to give Versailles another chance the following evening, but the service did not improve, if anything, it got worse. The staff is not friendly, never once introduced themselves to us, or asked us if we would like a cocktail from the bar or even soda. We tried the Aqua dining room our 3rd night hoping it would be better than Versailles. Even though the atmosphere isn't that nice in Aqua, the service was 100 times better! Our waitress was attentive, she introduced herself, asked if we wanted a drink...we were shocked, was this the same boat? She brought our orders out quickly and with a smile. Unlike in the Versailles when the waiter dropped a dish on me and never acknowledged it. The buffet was horrible, from breakfast - dinner. Nothing was fresh, the eggs used for the "fresh" omelets were from a carton! The scrambled eggs were wet and runny. The best item on the breakfast buffet was the french toast. There were some items on the lunch menu that were just not edible, everything was cold and all the vegetables were frozen. I decided to try a burger at the grill...how could you go wrong with a burger? Well I did. It was cold and dried out. The ship was very filthy, the toilets overflowed and water was all over the floor, I almost slipped several times, there were no paper towels, and the smell was enough to make you puke! The pool deck was extremely crowded and you had to get up very early to get a chair, even though reserving of chairs is not allowed, people had towels on them that never showed up all day. The pool itself was very, very small. The floor by the pool was always wet and very slippery. The entertainment was so-so, nothing great. The cruise director was annoying and always shouting but very hard to understand. The female photographer was obnoxious and annoying, hounding you to take a picture. This was the worst cruise I have taken. I received a free cruise for next year on Norwegian that I will not be using. I would rather pay to go on any other ship, than the Star. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
Mom and I have previously traveled with Holland America to Alaska. We have also cruised with other lines (Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, Princess) and consider ourselves experienced cruisers with 10+ cruises now completed. We booked ... Read More
Mom and I have previously traveled with Holland America to Alaska. We have also cruised with other lines (Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, Princess) and consider ourselves experienced cruisers with 10+ cruises now completed. We booked this cruise to see if we would like them for a longer cruise that this ship typically sails. What we liked about this cruise: Embarkation -- was the easiest and fastest that we have ever experienced. We arrived at the pier about 11:30 and walked right to a counter to have our pictures made and get our ship card. I thought it was strange that we were given an embarkation number because there were 100 or less people waiting to board including us. We sat down and had to wait about 15 minutes before our number was called. When they did call the numbers, groups of less than 25 were allowed to board at one time which again was strange. Once onboard we were able to quickly drop off our rollerboard bags in our cabin and then head to the main dining room for embarkation lunch. Smaller ship size -- easy to get around, not a crowded feeling, and being able to dock in Hamilton due to the smaller size Unlimited laundry -- loved sending out a bag of clothes everyday and getting clean laundry back the next day. This is the first trip we have taken in which we came home with clean clothes and not a pile of laundry to do. The set price of $49 for the week was well worth it. Cabin steward -- we had a great cabin steward (Alton) who always greeted us in the hallway when we saw him. He left us towel animals most nights and was kind enough to strip the blankets from the beds and leave them off since the room was so hot. He also made sure that we had a laundry bag and laundry slip daily for our unlimited laundry. Beverage card -- loved that I did not have to reconcile a ton of receipts midcruise or the last day with our account. I only had to keep the previous receipt and check for accuracy comparing the new receipt given with our drinks. I was able to get two cans of soda from one of the bars onboard the last night to have at breakfast in the morning in order to use up the last of our funds.... sometimes the beverage cards don't work on disembarkation day according to the staff. Great concept and being able to use it for two people was nice as well. Explorations Cafe -- Kelvin in the coffee bar was terrific. After the first day he knew that I liked hot water to make my own tea in my travel mug. I've stopped wondering why the cruise lines can't have decent tea bags and just bring my own. We did try a couple of the iced mochas (which he blended when we asked) and they were pretty good. Kelvin was even kind to ring up one last iced mocha for disembarkation morning the night before and write a note on the receipt for the morning barista to fix it for me... sometimes the beverage cards don't work on disembarkation day according to the staff. Pinnacle Grill -- dinner here was really good. The service was great and the food was well prepared. I wouldn't necessarily pay to eat here but will happily take it as a gift from our TA. Omelet station in the Lido -- I had a fresh made veggie omelet most mornings and the chef was willing to cook it to my tastes (mom calls my eggs burned.... I call them well done). If you like spinach in your eggs and don't see just ask...the chef will happily add fresh spinach. Mariner's lunch -- this was one of the best meals that we had onboard. The food was really good and the free champagne was a nice touch according to my mom. Afternoon tea -- this is a great concept that Holland has but the minimal staff for service makes it very difficult to enjoy. The treats served were good for the most part (there were a couple we didn't care for during the course of the week). We only received one cup of hot water for tea each time we attended which was disappointing and definitely due to a lack of staff to serve the number of passengers who were participating. The tea choices for afternoon tea are very good...just make sure they bring the tea box to the table and not a tea bag. Harbor Nights -- we thoroughly enjoyed the street festival -- we loved all of the different dancers and the bands that played. The vendors selling handmade items were great as well. Craft classes -- we attended two classes...one where we made a lanyard and another we made a cruise journal. The lanyards were nice when we finally finished but somewhat difficult to put together as some of the beads couldn't be threaded onto the string provided and there were not any beads to be exchanged that worked any better, so your lanyard ended up not balanced if you weren't paying attention. The journals were okay -- more like a scrapbooking project which we are not fans of, but we had fun with the new party planner Sydney. These classes were held in the culinary arts center and it was difficult to see some of the materials on the kitchen counter because they blended in too well. The classes would have been better if they had been held in a room with tables and chairs to sit at to work instead. Shows -- we loved the costumes of Bob Mackie's Broadway -- they were fantastic. The music, singing and dancing were just okay. The two costumes (yellow cutout dress and a bronze ball gown) in the show lounge are also Bob Mackie originals so we were able to have up-close views of his work after the show. Kevin Jones, comedian was very funny and we enjoyed this show. The other shows were forgettable. What we didn't like: Cabin -- we had a midship ocean view on the promenade deck and had several issues with our cabin. The first issue was the bathtub that did not drain -- it was not a lot of fun to take a shower and have the dirty water be over your ankles when you finished. The second issue was the room was hot. Upon arrival in our room I immediately turned the thermostat down to the coldest setting because it was very warm in the room. We never moved the control again and the room stayed very warm to hot for the week. It never got cool -- the hallway outside was cooler than our room. We were offered a fan to help cool the room down but had no place to put it so declined. We spent as little time in our cabin as possible as a result. Getting dressed in the mornings, for formal night or changing clothes after a hot day of touring was not a lot of fun in this cabin due to these issues. Waking up soaked in sweat was not a great vacation experience either. We reported these issues the first morning by phone from the cabin and three more times to the front desk to no avail. It was Thursday before the tub drained and we weren't showering in dirty water. The room temperature never changed to cool. The front desk did try to make up for the cabin issues. According to the front desk staff, they called several times but could never find us in the room; so they finally left a message. We spend as little time in the cabin as we can because it's simply too hot I told them when we called back after hearing the message. On Thursday night at bedtime they brought my mom chocolate covered strawberries of which she shared one with me. On Friday night at bedtime they brought me a bottle of wine -- I don't drink so this was wasted on me but my mom enjoyed it at dinner the next night. These tokens didn't appropriately address the cabin issues. Holland obviously knows that a/c is a problem on this ship (I've read about it in reviews for the past 2 years) -- so this problem should already be corrected and since it hasn't been corrected there should be rooms available to move passengers. If a hotel is able to take a room out of service when something breaks and can't be fixed and move the customer to a different room then cruise lines should do it as well in my opinion. Canaletto -- while the service was fine the meal as a whole was a serious disappointment. Many of the appetizers were over salted and not at all edible. The main entrees were just okay and not anything special. I ordered lasagna and they made the sauce with hot dogs rather than sausage. It was overly salty and not very tasty. The seafood pasta dish was okay according to my mom. Promenade deck loungers -- these need to be checked more frequently for breakage and replaced. I sat in two different chairs (opposite sides of the ship) on two different days and was thrown backwards by the chair because the backs were broken and would no longer sit upright when someone sat back in the chair. Service - It is truly sad to see that service is an area that has been significantly cut back on Holland America. Main dining room -- service was very lacking here for every meal. We ate here for our embarkation lunch and waited 20-30 minutes before the waiter took our drink order. Meals eaten in the main dining room (breakfast, lunch and dinner) were excruciatingly slow and drawn out due to one waiter and their assistant being assigned so many tables and passengers to serve. There simply wasn't enough staff on hand to take orders and deliver meals and drinks. If we ordered a single glass of soda, beer or wine it would not arrive until we were halfway through our main entrees if we were lucky. Lido -- while the staff did an okay job of clearing dirty dishes from tables but that was all they did. Previous cruises we have found the lido staff to be very helpful in bringing drinks or additional drinks, helping to carry something when hands are full, or help in locating an empty table and none of that was happening on this cruise. Bar service overall -- we did see the occasional bar staff but more often than not I had to go to the bar and order our drinks only to be told to have a seat and they would be delivered. My mom would order an occasional wine or beer and I would have the occasional ginger ale unless it was in the morning and then we had to have our caffeine fix at breakfast in the form of a cold soda. Most of the time we had our travel mugs in which we had made tea at Explorations Cafe. Onboard activities were again limited this cruise. At least two days I couldn't find a single thing listed on the daily paper that sounded interesting. While docked in Hamilton several onboard activities were cancelled due to a lack of participation. I was less than 5 minutes late to one activity to find a sign informing me that it had been cancelled due to a lack of participation. We waited 10 minutes past the start time for another activity and no one from the cruise staff ever showed up to tell us it had been cancelled. I downloaded the art tour to my ipod prior to leaving. The ship has undergone a renovation since this tour was first made and many of the items discussed in the tour are no longer located where they tell you they are. I did find some of these items elsewhere but many have apparently been removed. I was very disappointed to have wasted an hour on this very poor tour considering how much I enjoyed the one I did on the Statendam in Alaska. Overall we had a nice time. Bermuda is not an itinerary we would have chosen...it's a little too slow for us; but we wanted to try this ship to see if we would like it for a longer cruise. I had pretty much decided after taking my mom to Alaska that Holland was not the cruise line for me because it was a much older demographic and had such limited onboard activities, but I was willing to try again. With the added disappointment of a cabin not in proper working order, limited response to our concerns, and the significant staff cutbacks I am still of that same opinion and I won't be returning to Holland America. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
I booked my sister and I on this cruise about a year ahead. It was a special treat to her as a gift from me and she had never been on a cruise before. We booked a best available outside cabin. I found out that we received a partial ... Read More
I booked my sister and I on this cruise about a year ahead. It was a special treat to her as a gift from me and she had never been on a cruise before. We booked a best available outside cabin. I found out that we received a partial upgrade up to a D. However, I found out that dinner companions who had booked an inside cabin and had never sailed on HAL were upgraded to a lanai stateroom. Since I had booked long before them, and have sailed on HAL six times before, I was not happy. Embarkation was extremely fast. However, trying to get lunch in the Lido was almost impossible due to the long lines and lack of table space. There was a Norvovirus outbreak on the cruise prior to ours, which meant everything needed to be served, and there was not adequate staff to do that. The new lanai staterooms have changed the teak lounger policy. One of my favorite things on HAL was reading in a teak lounger. The lanai rooms have two loungers reserved for each stateroom, and there are no loungers available with any view other than the solid metal part of the ship, and this is assuming you can find some that are not broken. Service in the dining room was appalling. Service was so slow some nights we could not go to the show. I could not get a second glass of water for four days. We never got bread or butter for two days. The waiter and assistant waiter never introduced themselves for three days. They were rude and slow to our entire table the first three days. Any little request which previously on HAL had never been a problem was a huge obstacle for them. The maitre d never ever came by. I have never been on a cruise where he did not introduce himself on the first day, let alone the entire cruise. Food was acceptable, but there was much less variety of food than in the past, especially seafood. The crew member who hands out dinner mints, dates, and ginger is a thing of the past. The singing and dancing troupe were fairly amateurish. There were only two dancers, and both of them were women, so there was no cool couples dances. A couple of the singers were dreadful. Two nights there was no big show in the theater. I was extremely disappointed in the entertainment. The cabin had no refrigerator. It was well located, but had huge air conditioning issues. I woke up dripping in sweat every night. One of the reasons I booked this cruise was that you got four days and three nights in Hamilton. The schedule stated we would leave Hamilton at 2 on the last day. That day, the itinerary was changed so that we were scheduled to leave at 12, and had to be on board by 11. That mean you could not go to the beach . Had this been announced even the day before, I would have changed my plans. I booked a 75 minute massage at the spa. I showed up 10 minutes early, and waited for an hour for my therapist. When I got my massage, it was only for 50 minutes. The ship is getting pretty dingy and run down. I guess with the lower passenger volume, the entertainment budget is cut, so the entertainment is much below what I had seen on previous HAL ships. The food is the Lido was not the same quality or variety it has been on prior HAL cruises. I have always loved HAL for the special touches of elegance, better food, and better service than other ships. That was sorely lacking on the ship. I can only compare this cruise to the previous cruise I took on Celebrity, and Celebrity comes out way ahead. I have always been a loyal HAL customer, but I am not sure I will sail on HAL again. I wrote to the line, and they gave me a few comps for a future cruise, but not what they should have. This was not a special cruise for me or my sister. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
Our 09/11/11 - 09/18/11 Bermuda Cruise vacation of last week turned into something of a nightmare. I will suggest up front that anyone wishing reasonable treatment stay away from Continental Airlines (now Continental United, I believe). ... Read More
Our 09/11/11 - 09/18/11 Bermuda Cruise vacation of last week turned into something of a nightmare. I will suggest up front that anyone wishing reasonable treatment stay away from Continental Airlines (now Continental United, I believe). Norwegian Cruise Line was only slightly better, but still nowhere near the Norwegian cruises we took in the 90's. Our old and dear friends, S---T and M----A, were with us on their very first cruise, after retiring. They may never take another! This was our 13th cruise, with 3 Norwegian back in the 90's, so we are not novice cruisers. Day one, the outward flight to Newark, started off badly with the confiscation of my toothpaste - it was too large a tube! I offered to squeeze out half of it and even squeeze some into my mouth to prove it was toothpaste, but Homeland INsecurity took it anyway! Guess I looked dangerous! So I decided to buy another tube on ship after sailing, BUT the ship had sold out long ago and had not restocked! We gargled a lot for 4 or 5 days. The shuttle to the dock was not too bad and only half an hour late, but the check-in process at the dock was NIGHTMARE time! I have seen better organized Mongolian fire drills! When we were in line to be processed (no help, despite the fact that we were "Latitudes" members, having sailed three times on Norwegian), we were rudely informed that the ship would NOT be going to Bermuda due to the weather. So we boarded not knowing where we would sail. The cabin on this shiny new ship (an outside, picture window cabin, not a cheapo), was a sardine can, the smallest cabin we have ever had on a cruise - they are obviously building the new ships for maximum carrying capacity and profit, not passenger comfort. Fortunately, the little Philippine cabin steward turned out to be one of the bright spots on the cruise. The rest of the cruise ship staff, about 80% Philippine, was also fairly cordial and helpful. BUT the new itinerary was NOT good, and the food was the worst we have ever experienced on a cruise ship in 20 years of cruising. First stop was Port Canaveral, FL, a huge parking lot and not much else, unless you took a very expensive excursion many miles inland. It was NOT even worth getting off the boat, a total waste of our time. The 2nd stop was the cruise line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay, with a decent beach and some comfort amenities ashore. This was the ONLY day and stop on the entire cruise which might be considered fun and interesting at all. The last stop on the cruise was the Bahamian island of Nassau, a dirty, run down little town and island which is not worth getting off the ship for, BUT I had to get off and go wandering around the dirty little town for a tube of toothpaste, which I finally found at a scruffy little quick mart, at the exorbitant price of $5.50! The last two days were at sea, getting back to New York, and much of it was bad weather and rough seas. So we had to focus on the food and entertainment, which were decidedly uneven. We had as many really bad meals as we had good ones, and the cost of the specialty restaurants had gone up considerably - the steak restaurant on board was $25/person! Two of our party had a pork dish on the 3rd night which gave them both "Montezuma's Revenge" - what a nice added feature to the cruise from Hell! Drinks had almost doubled in price since our last cruise, with automatic gratuity running to a total of over $8.00/drink, and over $6.00 for a beer! I would say that there was only one night of decent entertainment, and the cruise director, who we heard from often, was an unintelligible Turkish fellow who was much more irritating than informative! Norwegian has slipped markedly since our last cruise on that line, especially in both the quality of meals and passenger comfort. We will take no more of their cruises. Holland America and Celebrity have given us vastly better cruise experiences in recent years. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
My family sailed with RCCL for the first time, with expectation the it was a shade better than other cruise lines (Carnival,NCL,etc.), but was quite disappointed with the service, food, onboard activities offered on the ship. The ship ... Read More
My family sailed with RCCL for the first time, with expectation the it was a shade better than other cruise lines (Carnival,NCL,etc.), but was quite disappointed with the service, food, onboard activities offered on the ship. The ship sailed in the midst of hurricane Irene and the sea was very rough, which was kind of expected. For the first 2 days, almost all on-board activities were closed (pools, Ice skating, rock climbing) due to rough weather. However, RCCL did not make any attempt to arrange any indoor activities to keep the guests entertained. The staff was rude (including some senior officers), when guests enquired about any alternate indoor activities that were planned, instead. The food was very ordinary and quality was mediocre. Some items listed on the menu were not available. We were very concerned about the food cleanliness, after finding human hair in the food - on two separate occassions. We showed the food to the waiter and filed complaint with the chef. An apology note was sent to our stateroom, but no one contacted us personally. The staterooms were clean, however there were issues with the PA system, awkward design of bunk beds, warm/cold water in the bathrooms, etc.. Some were addressed, though after multiple reminders to housekeeping. Most of the staff at the ship could hardly communicate in English and had trouble understanding/responding to guests' requests. On one occasion, the housekeeping abruptly hung up the phone in the middle of the conversation. Overall, RCCL did not show address guests' concerns adequately, who practically lost 2 days (out of 5), due to onboard activities shut down due to extreme weather. No attempt was made to make up for it. Overall, it was an extremely disappointing experience for our family. This was our first cruise with Royal ... and probably the last. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
I just got off the Dawn yesterday morning following a 7 day cruise from NYC to Bermuda.  I was with my wife and 3 year old daughter.  I should mention that this was my first cruise and most likely my last thanks to NCL First the ... Read More
I just got off the Dawn yesterday morning following a 7 day cruise from NYC to Bermuda.  I was with my wife and 3 year old daughter.  I should mention that this was my first cruise and most likely my last thanks to NCL First the positive, which really has nothing to do with NCL, Bermuda is beautiful,  great beaches, friendly people, very safe island, and most of all 3 days on the island is 3 less on this horrible ship. 10- Mass chaos getting onto boat.  There was no one to guide me and my family as to where to go once we boarded.  No one to ask, trust me I looked. I tried to ask the reception desk, but wasn't in the mood to wait on a line of about 50 people deep. 9-Got a balcony room that was as small as a walk in closet.  Not completely unexpected, but do not book this for anymore than 2 small people, you'll hate it. 8- need more towels?  need to get your valuables out of your broken safe? Need to get your toilet to flush?  Well just try getting someone to pick up the phone when you call reception!!!  No one picks up EVER!  Un real! Pick up the phone!  Give me some service or choice B, could be, provide me with more than 2 bath towels, provide me with a safe that opens, and please for the love of g-d, give me a toilet that flushes!!! so much to ask?  I don't think so for 3 grand? 7- My safe broke twice, locking me out from my wallet, camera, jewelry, medicine, etc.  There's 40 minutes off my trip waiting for a supervisor to come to the room to open my safe, I'll never get back! 6-Ahh yes, the filthy balcony.  The balcony I paid a major premium for.  Used match sticks, dirt and cigarette ashes.  Had to wear shoes on that one. 5- How did I almost forget the nightly party in the hallways.  About 2 am every night, screaming and yelling from other guests?  Security, please do something?  Nothing like my 3 year old waking me to say, Dad, i'm scared! from the noise!! 4- the food is terrible.  from the awful buffet to the over packed main dining rooms, which if you do decide to go after this review (perhaps you like bad food), make a reservation or expect a nightly 40 minute wait starting at 630 pm 3- wait staff, not a big fan of smiling, or speaking english, really.  very hard to communicate.  If you speak Fillipino, you'll do great. 2-No water pressure in the shower and the number one reason you should never get on the Dawn... THE POOL!  THE 1 POOL!  IT IS SO PACKED, YOU CAN'T MOVE.  IT IS SO LOUD AND THERE IS NO ESCAPING IT, UNLESS YOU WANT TO SIT 3 MILES AWAY FROM THE POOL. YOU LITERALLY HAVE TO SEARCH FOR A LONG LONG TIME (TOOK ME 30 MINUTES ON DAY 2) TO FIND A LOUNGE CHAIR, BECAUSE EVERYONE RESERVES THEIR CHAIR AT THE CRACK OF DAWN, AND THE STAFF DOES NOTHING TO CONTROL IT.  WE HATED THE POOL AND BEING AT SEA FOR 4 FULL DAYS, YOU HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO GO DURING THE DAY.   PLEASE DO NOT GO ON THIS CRUISE.  I WILL POST THIS REVIEW EVERYWHERE, SO NO ONE ELSE SUFFERS THROUGH THIS AGAIN.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
don't be fooled into thinking you will get quality: we took a week long cruise on the Dawn from NYC to Bermuda. our first cruise and most likely our last cruise, especially with NCL  $250/week parking at NYC......yet another ... Read More
don't be fooled into thinking you will get quality: we took a week long cruise on the Dawn from NYC to Bermuda. our first cruise and most likely our last cruise, especially with NCL  $250/week parking at NYC......yet another rip off !  Bermuda is over priced & over rated even with it's beautiful beaches. the bermuda police must do a great job cause the island felt safe without the usual suspects lurking around even in the evening hours.i liked the top 10 list format another poster used, so i will use a similar posting format. 10- from the moment we boarded it was long lines and unorganized. we waited 1 hour on line to book an excursion. we asked for a manager, the woman smiled and ignored our request, she was selling spa packages to people waiting on endless lines and only cared about that.  There was no management present execpt those who were welcoming their own families onto the ship. there was noone to ask for help. even the front help credit desk was100 people deep. 9-found a piece of half eaten cake in the room fridge, the extra $1000 for the balcony was not worth it. the balcony was dirty and the railing had peeling paint and rotted metal under it. the glass was not cleaned in ages. the sliding door required 2 hands and a good lean to move......terrible ! 8- if you need more towels,like we did, be prepared to wait till the next day.  7- the worst food period, even the upcharge (total rip off) restaurants were awful.loaded with salt the buffest was packed with cheap foods. what a disappointment. the menu remained the same in the restaurants all week long, with only 6 entrees to choose from,this forces you to pay for the upcharge restaurants which were a joke too. 6- a 13" old tv in a $3000 room ?   again a disappointment 5- not safe or secure after dark on the outside decks, never saw a uniformed security officer anywhere. this is not safe,especially with the news reporting people missing on these cruises. 4- back to the gross food..     it was the worst , we eached gained 10 lbs from water weight due to the salt !    we maintain a healthier diet and were not enamored by the endless supply of cheap salty food.the awful buffet had long lines, good luck finding a fork and napkin...we had to ask other people if we can take a set off their table....this is ghetto style cruising !!!   the main dining rooms were packed because the ship was over crowded with 30 minute waits.  i was told 3 corporate employees were on board, i saw one man in a wrinkled shirt writing notes on a napkin, turns out he was indeed from corporate....what a joke !    these people should be fired immediately !!! the executive chef walked around like he was someone important, he did not test the temperature or taste a  single item on the entire buffet line. the food was more often then not cold or just warm. 20 minutes for an omlette in the mornings because they had one employee making the omlettes for 300 cruisers, again what a joke !!!but don't worry, if you want powdered eggs , they had plenty in the cafeteria style pans at the buffet.remember we paid $3000+++ for this cruise....all in, it cost over $4500 with excusions.the french restaurant le bistro was the worst and it cost $25+$10 extra per person to dine there. the food director of the ship is french , he needs to go to paris and actually taste real french food, for if he served that garbage to a real french chef, he would be laughed out of paris ! 3- the wait staff or servers were not professional for the most part. this is because you are forced to leave a tip at the end of your cruise regardless of your own opinion....there was no incentive for them to provide quality service. they have a guy who drank too much espresso or red bulls screaming into a microphone,this was the dawn's cruise director. he was annoying by the second day and made us feel like we were on a college party cruise,yet the crowd was mature so yet another ncl misfit. the dance company (especially the 2 russian couples )jean ann ryan was fantastic as was the piano player bernie, the comedian dave & the magician greg. 2- upon entering the aqua restaurant ,we were asked by a manager if he could help us. we asked for a table for 2....he walked outside the glass entrance door and looked inside at us and other guests standing and waiting to be seated....that is the level of service we received. there was one manager in the venetian who was professional, a young woman who should be the head manager.  1- the pool was tiny and packed with as many of the 3000 cruisers who could find an inch of room to stand in it.4 feet deep, this is not a pool, it is a joke !the carnival ship had a giant slide on it which we saw while docked in NYC, the Dawn has No slide or No real pool in reality.....packed liked sardines,loud people laying inches away from one another, you will be searching for a lounge chair everyday. this was truely ghetto and an awful experience.the jacuzzis were not hot and they were over crowded ,as they only have a few for 3000 people ?plan on being charged $150 each if you want to "swim" in their 20 foot long pool adjacent to the gym.DO NOT WASTE YOUR HARD EARNED EARNED MONEY WITH THIS CRUISE LINE !!! 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Sail Date: July 2009
THIS IS NO CRACKIN, CRACKERJACK,SMASHING GOOD TIME. MORE LIKE A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY! LET's be Blunt this cruise stunk. The Sun has set on this ship appropriately named the dawn because it must be hoping the dawn will soon ... Read More
THIS IS NO CRACKIN, CRACKERJACK,SMASHING GOOD TIME. MORE LIKE A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY! LET's be Blunt this cruise stunk. The Sun has set on this ship appropriately named the dawn because it must be hoping the dawn will soon come, or maybe renamed the NCL DUSK since the sun has went down on this ship a long time ago. CRUISE DIRECTOR— They make the cruise memorable, John was horrible. He even knocked his own ship a few times. WHERE TO START!!! The terminal was chaos no direction people flooding in from every direction, glad I was able to take a train to Grand Central from upstate 21 dollars RT and an 8 dollar taxi to the terminal beats almost $300 to park. Got introduced right from the start to the endless supply of skin drying alcohol based hand sanitizer, started with the initial spray down before getting on the ship. Got FREE glass of champagne upon entrance to the ship. Must have tried to use as a distraction from the mass chaos in the lobby. The lines were deep and all in this small lobby for excursions, restaurants, promotions, customer service. There was no direction and worst of all no visible hospitality staff to assist. THIS WAS A GIANT FREE FOR ALL. One person was working the excursion desk upon entry she was very nice but overwhelmed by the line of so many people finally a second person appeared after I was on line for over a half hour. We were told our room was ready. We had two twins we specifically asked to have them together. Could not find our room steward. We wanted our fridge emptied, I like Ice in the room so I wanted that, most of all I just wanted that cruise type service. The room size was OK, small 13" basic tv no remote. Still no room steward called front desk guess what slow to answer, finally got someone, said they would take care of it. Still did not meet room steward until next afternoon and did not even introduce himself. Never got ICE, never got turn down service, no TOWEL ANIMALS, barely got towels had to call about that too guess took forever to get answer. Never removed any dirty dishes or glassware. We negotiated some of the gratuity at the end with the front desk. FOOD: HORRIBLE!!!! Food was seemed to be the same everynight the menus never seemed to change. Very manufactured not appealing, lacked flavor but very high in salt at least by taste. Breakfast: stunk! Buffet horrible with long lines, powdered eggs one omelet station in each line with only one cook doing 2 omelets at a time. Blue Lagoon was ok more like a mini diner. Lunch: the outdoor BBQ's were ok but if I'm spending the money I did I should get better than hamburgers and hot dogs. You could go to the buffet hall more like a school cafeteria line and have a few more choices and a decent variety. Dinner: They almost force you to go to specialty rest. They are good they have the legendary service you expect to get on a cruise but you pay for it. Monday nite was our anniversary we went to cagneys it was very good but with two drinks and dinner $81. Tex Mex Salsa was excellent worth the money there. The Italian joint was also good but service was very poor which seemed to be a theme for the ship. The main dining rooms horrible service and same menu every night. Blue lagoon, bimini bar, -good for a quick snack. Entertainment- Pub crawl was great had a lot of fun, the shows were good not spectacular, the comedian was great, and so was the improve show. Other than that the entertainment was non-existent after dark any where you went full of young kids if there was. The bars were all ok but all closed early and lacked service and entertainment. Deckside- pool?? WHERE???? Couldn't find it through the sea of 2000 people trying to do the same thing. On the deck -get out early to try and find a lounge chair because everyone else does and staff does nothing about it. So when in Rome do as the Romans RIGHT!!!! Otherwise be prepared to search for some time for a chair. No deck security at all even at night this is not good especially for a ship that has lost people at sea and is full of rowdy adults and teenagers. Biggest positive -BERMUDA was beautiful but expensive but we knew this ahead of time. Do not use cruise excursions you can walk off boat and find many wonderful people that will be willing to assist you with whatever your needs are. Save you nickels and dimes they will take them. Example for $150 you could get access to the big lap pool in the spa as well as the sauna, and whirlpool. Why do I have to pay that much, my gym membership at home for the year costs that much and has all the same stuff. I could probably go on forever about how bad this cruise was and I have many other things but the best I can tell you is unless you get this cruise at a very cheap price. DO NOT TAKE!!!!!!! I didn't listen and I learned the hard way Read Less
Sail Date: May 2009
My wife and I took a trip on Norwegian Dawn out of NY for our Honeymoon on May17th to Bermuda. I am sorry to say that other than 2 of the shows we saw onboard Bermuda was the only good part of the trip. I have taken Carnival a number of ... Read More
My wife and I took a trip on Norwegian Dawn out of NY for our Honeymoon on May17th to Bermuda. I am sorry to say that other than 2 of the shows we saw onboard Bermuda was the only good part of the trip. I have taken Carnival a number of times. Most were fantastic , I had one bad trip but I did not expect much for a 7 day cruise for only $299, worse part is, it was much more enjoyable than the Dawn.             Lets start with the food. In the dining room, we had dinner twice, both times we walked out and went to Salsa restaurant and put up the extra money. Once because the food was awful and once because we waited over an hour and still had no meal. We went once for lunch and had a very tough steak. We went twice for breakfast, waited 45 minutes and left one time and had an ok breakfast the next. The food that was served at the buffets was about as bad as I have ever seen anywhere in my life. Have you guys ever heard of refrigeration? The cheese and cold cuts would go out about 11:00 AM and stay out until probably around 4:00 PM with no refrigeration!!!!!!!!!! The cheese was actually dried out and warm. The rest of the food on the hot bar was barely edible. If you are going to depart from New York with allot of New Yorkers on board you should make sure that if you have a place called the New York Deli that it somehow represents a NEW YORK DELI!!! Room temp cold cuts and bread ( not rye bread ) is not a New York Deli, especially all the disgusting hot dogs and sausages floating in dirty disgusting water, dirty water dogs is about all you had that was New York, you even had andoulli sausage which is a Cajun thing. The food we had at Salsa restaurant was amazing every time we went, but with a $1400 ticket for each of us I think it stinks that we had to pay to get good food. I saved the worst food story for last, the room service. I got a grilled cheese sandwich, that was 2 slices of white toast with one slice of a cheese product between the toast.  I got a burger, not bad if I am comparing it to McDonalds. The best was that out of about 12 containers of milk during my stay more than half were sour, once like cottage cheese. So, the only good food I had was at Salsa and in Bermuda, the rest was barely edible and at points sickening , I am surprised the health dept has not done something about your obvious refrigeration problems. P.S. Carnival had a New York Deli also, there was a person behind the counter making hot corned beef and pastrami sandwiches. They also had a free standing pizza counter making fresh pizza 10 times better than whatever it was you guys served.             Lets move to the room stewards. On Carnival I knew the names of my room stewards the first day on the boat and did not have one complaint about them for the entire trip. On the Dawn however, not so good. They never introduced themselves. They actually took dirty wet towels off the floor and folded them back up and put them on the shelf. There was dirty glasses and empty soda cans from the first day until the last day among allot of other garbage.             I found very few people on board spoke good English. That made it very hard to find our way around the boat. You also need allot of work on the way you disembark. I was one of the first people down because I wanted off the boat so bad but I was told to wait in the wrong spot and wound up at the end of the line.             Pretty much everything about your boat and company stinks and I am sure that neither I or anyone I know will ever be on a Norwegian ship again. When we got home we actually took a 2nd honeymoon to Delaware just so we could forget about our horrible exp. on your boat. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
We sailed on the Aug 3 New York-Bermuda run; Frank Tartaro's review "Dawn Disaster" pretty much sums up our experience, though we ate in fewer restaurants than they did. Embarkation was the easiest I've ever ... Read More
We sailed on the Aug 3 New York-Bermuda run; Frank Tartaro's review "Dawn Disaster" pretty much sums up our experience, though we ate in fewer restaurants than they did. Embarkation was the easiest I've ever encountered, as was disembarkation. Alas, everything in between was much less satisfactory. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 was adequate, nothing more. On previous ships the balcony was large enough for two lounge chairs; here only two chairs, not loungers, fit. Likewise the bathroom was as small as any I have ever seen on a ship and the smallest I have ever seen in a balcony grade cabin. The cabin itself was also tight, though we got used to it. The room stewards kept the cabin clean, and, unlike others on this cruise, ours did introduce themselves. The food was a major disappointment. We ate in Aqua the first night and hated the room, disliked our lackadaisical server and thought the food was mediocre. We ate in the Venetian on four nights and enjoyed that more, though the food was again mediocre at best and almost always too salty. I agree with the reviewer who wondered what the kitchen did to the prime rib; it was unlike any I have ever encountered and I fervently hope never to encounter it again. Salsa was an improvement, as was the sushi bar. Both of those meals were quite good, though nothing better than we can get locally in the New York area. We might have tried Impressions (Italian) or the steak house, but quite frankly, I resent paying extra for food on a ship. This was my 21st sailing and I have watched the nickel and diming of passengers grow apace; I for one dislike the trend! I have subscribed to "Cruise Travel" magazine for years and have read with interest the ongoing discussion of freestyle cruising versus the traditional sit-at-the-same-table approach. I understand both sides of the argument but having now sampled Norwegian Line's version, I opt for traditional! One image that was truly shocking was of dozens of people standing outside the two main (free) restaurants on the first night, waiting for tables. Actually only half were standing; the others were sitting on the steps. This is NOT an image NCL uses in its brochure, and hardly matches one's expectations of shipboard dining! To be fair, things did get better as the days passed, but this is the first time on any cruise ever that I have waited, even a minute, for a table. The other aspect of this cruise that was completely unsatisfactory was the tendering ashore. At King's Wharf the ship doesn't even offer free transport; one must purchase a ride on a large local ferry. That turned out to be a blessing, however, as we learned when we "sailed" a mile into the harbor for the third day in Bermuda. There we boarded another local ferry that took over 30 minutes to load and another 30 to unload. TOTALLY unacceptable! I can't comment on the ship's entertainment because we don't go to shows or take part in activities. We cruise to relax, read and spend time together, preferably in a lounge chair on our balcony - we'll book with another line for that. Oh, one last comment: NCL claims to require "resort casual" attire in the ship's public rooms after 5pm - don't believe it! We saw plenty of shorts, t-shirts and worse in the dining rooms. Elegance, you are sorely missed! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2008
This review may be lengthy, but I wanted to warn people off this ship before they waste their hard earned money. My wife and I sailed on the NCL Dawn from New York to Bermuda on August 3, 2008 and returned August 10, 2008 along with ... Read More
This review may be lengthy, but I wanted to warn people off this ship before they waste their hard earned money. My wife and I sailed on the NCL Dawn from New York to Bermuda on August 3, 2008 and returned August 10, 2008 along with eight of our cousins. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8. Our cousins booked 3 cabins with windows on Deck 9. Our ages range from 15 to 57. EMBARKATION: Our cousins arrived at the pier at 12 noon and flew right through the boarding process. My wife and I arrived at 1 PM and were greeted by a line that spanned the length of the Passenger Ship Terminal. There was one line for two ships, the NCL Dawn and the NCL Spirit. There were no porters or luggage carts to help with the luggage until you reached the main entrance to the terminal which took about 45 minutes. Once inside the terminal our ID and boarding pass was checked and our carry-ons were scanned. This went very smoothly. The next line was to arrange for our on-board credit and to obtain our key cards. This line took about another ½ hour. We boarded the ship at 2:30 PM. We were not offered any welcoming champagne although other people were walking around with a glass in each hand. Asked how to get to our cabin so we could drop off our carry-ons we were told the cabins were not ready. An announcement was made around 3:15 PM that the cabins were ready. CABINS: The cabin was of adequate size with enough storage space for the two of us. We got a cabin with a balcony because I am a smoker and my wife isn't. The balcony was well worth the additional cost. The room was kept very clean by our room stewards, but the balcony area was totally ignored. Every morning I had to clean the balcony myself, i.e., empty the ash tray, wipe down the table and chairs, etc. I left a napkin on the balcony that I used to clean up on the first morning and the same napkin was still there on the last day. CABIN STEWARDS: As stated above, the stewards kept the room very clean but ignored the balcony. Neither steward introduced themselves and till today we do not know their names. On the first night, the steward handed me two pieces of candy and a bingo card in the hallway and said goodnight. This was repeated a couple of times. On other nights, we would return to our cabin and find the bed beautifully turned down with chocolates on the pillow and animals crafted out of towels on the bed. DINING: What can I say. Unless you want to pay extra for dinner every night, do not expect much. We ate breakfast at the buffet every day except one. The breakfast offerings at the buffet were diverse and the quality was good. If you want eggs, an omelet or waffles, expect to wait on a long line. One morning we went to the Venetian for the longest breakfast ever. The waiter kept disappearing for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Coffee cups were never refilled. I ordered Eggs Benedict and they were served dried out and cold. Breakfast took almost 2 hours to complete. Dinner was an experience. The first night we ate in the Venetian (free). The waiter was totally disinterested in what he was doing. Once again he would disappear for long periods of time. Three of us ordered steaks. The steaks were about 1/4 inch thick, overcooked and dried out. We asked for A-1 Steak Sauce in the hope of salvaging the meal. We were give HP sauce which did nothing to help. Dinner took about 2 hours. This scenario was repeated the only other time we ate at the Venetian. The other free restaurant on board is Aqua. The wait staff at Aqua was much more attentive and friendly with the exception of the drink server. One night 5 of us arrived and were seated at our table. We asked to order drinks while we waited for the rest of our party. We were told by the drink server that we would have to wait for the rest of our party because she did not want to walk back and forth with separate drink orders. When we told her we did not want to wait, she said she would not take our drink order until the entire party was seated. I called over the waiter and requested the drink server be removed from our table. He immediately took care of the situation. The quality of food was a little better than at the Venetian. This could be because the food was served hot. The lobster was overcooked and you only got drawn butter if you requested it. If you are going to eat in a free restaurant, eat at Aqua. We tried 3 of the added charge restaurants. The first one we ate at was Tappanayaki, the Japanese restaurant located inside Bamboo. This restaurant carried a $25/head charge. Once we were seated, we were told we had exactly 1 hour 15 minutes to complete our dinner. If we did not finish in the allotted time, we would have to carry our plates out to the Bamboo to complete our dinner. It seems strange that we would be given a time limit to eat in a much as we had just spent $250 plus drinks for the privilege of eating here. The food was just OK. I ordered the steak and shrimp combo. The shrimp was delicious but the steak was overcooked. We were continually offered more fried rice as a way of filling us up because the portions were small. The Italian restaurant, Impressions, was good. This restaurant carried a $10/head cover charge. With the exception of having to ask for plates so we could eat the antipasto they had on the table, the service was very good. Food was served promptly and hot. This was well worth the extra 10 bucks. On the last night we ate at Cagney's Steakhouse. This carried a $20/head cover charge. If you ordered things like lobster or crab legs an additional $10 per item was added to the cover. We made a reservation for 5:45 hoping to beat the crowd but the restaurant was packed. Service was good and the staff was very attentive. I ordered a porterhouse steak medium rare and it was delicious. When I asked the waiter why I could not get a steak like that in the free restaurants, he said it was because they wanted you to pay extra for quality food. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment on the ship was OK. The shows in the Stardust was varied. The comedian was funny, the magician was run of the mill. The main feature was the Jean Ray Ann Troupe. The dancing and costumes were good, the singing was bad. Every night in the Stardust you were attacked by cruise staff members trying to sell you raffle tickets. The entertainment in the lounges was basically the same every night with the entertainers rotating venues. If you were not into karaoke, all entertainment ended at 11:30 PM. PORTS OF CALL: Kings Wharf (Royal Naval Dockyard): King's Wharf was very nice. It is basically a shopping area with a small beach and a couple of restaurants and bars. This port is very conveniently located. You can buy a three day, $28 transportation pass and come and go as you please. St Georges is only a 20 minute ferry ride from King's Wharf while Hamilton is only a 25 minute ride. We took the ferry into Hamilton twice in the same day. We also took a bus to Horseshoe Bay and spent a beautiful day on the beach. It should be noted that if you want to see any of the tourist attractions go early. Most attractions close for the day between 2 and 4 PM. Hamilton: We spent time in Hamilton while we were docked at King's Wharf so we decided to go to St. Georges. This day was a complete nightmare. You get 8 hours from the time the ship anchors until the time it leaves for home. The ship anchors out in the ocean as it is too large for the dock in Hamilton. We went down to get the tender to Hamilton. We waited 35 minutes before we were loaded onto a life boat that was used for a tender. The life boat was hot and smelled of the exhaust fumes. It took another 25 minutes to reach the dock in Hamilton. We went to the bus terminal and enjoyed the 50 minute ride into St. Georges. After an enjoyable 3 hours in St. Georges, we returned to the bus stop for the trip back to Hamilton. We were told the last tender was at 4 PM. We tried to beat the crowd back to the ship and arrived at the tender area at 3 PM. By this time there was about 500 people ahead of us on line for the tender. We were told by someone on line that they were there for 45 minutes without seeing a tender arrive. We asked a NCL staff member how long the wait would be and he said they were having trouble getting the tenders in because of sea traffic. He also said a ferry boat was coming in due to the large crowd. We finally got on the ferry after an hour wait. We were told by a ferry worker that this takes place every week From my perch on the upper deck of the ferry, I heard a count of over 500 people crammed onto the ferry. After the 25 minute ride back to the ship it took another half hour to get off the ferry. We finally arrived at the elevator on the ship at 5:02 PM, two hours after we got on line for the tender. When we went to complain at the reception desk we were told there was nothing that can be done and this was an unusual occurrence. When we told her the ferry employee said this happens every week she basically called us liars. CONCLUSION: If you want to have an enjoyable cruise, avoid this ship at all cost. Freestyle sailing means NCL is free to charge you extra for services you would normally get for free, i.e., a decent meal, courteous service, etc. Three out of the eight hours we were anchored in Hamilton were spent using the tender. When you complain, you are insulted. The restaurant staff in the Venetian is extremely slow and disinterested. If you ask for something you get a nasty look. Our cousin bought a watch in the gift shop that needed a couple of links removed. When she went to pick it up the crystal was smashed. When she asked for a refund she was told "We are here to make money, not issue refunds". If you want to purchase a photo you must buy an 8" x 10" photo at $25 each in order to earn the right to buy a 5" x 7" copy of the same photo. If you are not into karaoke, the only entertainment option after 11:30 PM is to go to the casino. This was my seventh cruise and the worst cruise I have ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
1. Embarkation was smooth and easy but one of us needed a wheelchair from the curb only to be told that you must go inside about 400 feet from the curb to get a wheelchair- figure that one out! 2. Initial room impression was good only to ... Read More
1. Embarkation was smooth and easy but one of us needed a wheelchair from the curb only to be told that you must go inside about 400 feet from the curb to get a wheelchair- figure that one out! 2. Initial room impression was good only to find hair in the sheets and a less-than-clean bathroom. 3. Apparently, "Freestyle" means "nickel and dime" as any time you want to eat somewhere other than the two dining rooms, Aqua and Venetian, you are required to pay a cover charge. Not the worst thing in the world but the food in the Aqua and Venetian were absolutely horrible for dinner leaving us no other option but to pay the cover to eat elsewhere. Unfortunately, once you pay the cover charge you are also subject to paying even more for certain items on the menu. As an example, it was insulting to pay a $20 cover charge for entry to the mexican restaurant. To pay $20 for something like chicken fajitas is horrendous. To pay $20 for entry to Impressions, the Italian restaurant is equally as bad- $20 to get a bowl of pasta- and, frankly, it was the worst plate of pasta imaginable. Someone in our party commented that the food is intentionally bad in the Aqua and Venetian so people will be forced to pay more and east elsewhere. 3. Contacting the front desk or restaurant reservations is the worst. Phone rings and rings until the phone goes dead or you get a fast busy. 4. No enforcement of polices at the pool "Adult-only" Jacuzzis always had young children in it. It seems that no one at any time was looking after enforcing any policies while aboard. 5. Apparently theres not much to do for young adults because at all hours of day and night packs of teenagers who were too young to buy alcohol were walking around with bottles of beer, etc. 6. Almost no scheduled activities aside from "rip-off" bingo and "rip-off" artwork for sale. 7. No food late at night except for Blue Lagoon which is a fast-fried-food area and on two nights there was a 45 minute wait to sit and even for takeout. Imagine being on a cruise and not being able to go somewhere and get something to eat without waiting an hour. 8. Internet access was awful slow. 9. Overall, only a small handful of wait staff smiled and were friendly, the rest seemed cold without any desire to get what you want or assist in any way. "obnoxious" is a great description for the majority of staff. 10. Excursions in Bermuda didn't even include Scuba diving for people who were certified, only the Discover Scuba for beginners. Overall, the worst cruise I've taken. Dirty rooms, poor service, few activities. If you want to go on a cruise, get drunk and let your teenagers stay out all night the Dawn is for you. If you want something with the slightest amount of class and good service go elsewhere. Read Less

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