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Sail Date: January 2009
My friends were going on the 1/2/10 CTN, so we decided to give it a try, having had pleasant past cruises with NCL. I could rant and rave for a long time but I will just list my major complaints. 1. Way overpriced for what's ... Read More
My friends were going on the 1/2/10 CTN, so we decided to give it a try, having had pleasant past cruises with NCL. I could rant and rave for a long time but I will just list my major complaints. 1. Way overpriced for what's included. Whats included is not much, forcing you to pay for extras-overcrowded main dining = high priced optional restaurants. 2. Too many people, many of whom could care less for common courtesy.For instance the Number system for boarding. We happened to have a #20 due to a disability; people with higher numbers(#25 you know who you are) cut the lines so they could get on-board ahead of their turn; And the big problem was that NCL staff were not enforcing the number sequence procedure. 3. NCL advises call Access Desk if extra help needed for disability; Called and was assured help available with boarding for wheelchair bound passenger; no one available and request of helper personnel resulted in "talk with supervisor" answers from NCL personnel at embarkation; had to push wife up gangplank myself with breathing problems and past heart attack. 4. Welcome aboard is now an excuse to sell overpriced drinks - alcohol only available at outrageous prices; and solicitations for all extra charge services were rampant. 5.Show was OK, but again rude people showing up at the last minute and forcing their way to random open seats caused blocked views of the show for people who had arrived on time. 6.People, many with too many drinks under their belts, being obnoxious and loud at all hours of the night. 7. Poor service since they charge a per diam gratuity per person automatically which discourages individual accountability and rewarding for actual level on individual service. I am sure I could list more negative items, but lets just say if the CTN is supposed to make non-cruisers want to cruise, I think NCL does not have it's oars in the water. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This was our 8th cruise, 1st on Norwegian. Loved that this is a new ship. We had a balcony cabin. Bathroom had the best layout on a ship yet. Seems that the extra space in the bathroom cuts down on the bedroom space (one nighttable vs ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise, 1st on Norwegian. Loved that this is a new ship. We had a balcony cabin. Bathroom had the best layout on a ship yet. Seems that the extra space in the bathroom cuts down on the bedroom space (one nighttable vs two on Princess). Love that there's a coffee maker (with coffee!) in the room. As with most cabins, shortage of outlets. Cabin was smaller than other ship cabins we've had (all balcony cabins). I liked the bright colors. The small couch was nice but I missed 2 decent-sized night tables. Very limited TV channels though on the Norwegian channels they had some funny comments like: inbox; empty (boohoo). Also the time is on the screen with (not that it matters) underneath. Cute. The cabin did need a good dusting; with sunlight pouring in you could see dust on all surfaces. Liked the bathroom dispensers for soap and shampoo. We didn't have access to the minibar on a 1-nighter. Sheets on bed looked nice but close-up were very pilled. Very nice outside areas. Wide promenade deck that went all the way around. Forward sundeck with nice loungers, water slide, pool, hot tubs. Nice aft outdoor dining area (too cold in January!). Many many bars all over the ship and lots of restaurants to try. Spinnaker lounge was very funky! I liked the decor a lot. We ate lunch in the aft dining room upon boarding and it was very good. A little slow, but the servers were very friendly and enjoyable. Breakfast in the buffet was mayhem. Though a hostess tried to tell people they could get omelets at other stations, people were hesitant to lose their place in the long line. Very crowded. Purell would be better near tables as opposed to entering dining room where you will have to touch utensils many times. We went to the Colorz show which I enjoyed, and the Second City improv show which was very good also. I LOVE their method of disembarking at your leisure by 10:30. And it seems to work. Would other cruiselines please try this out?!?! Only potential problem is when you board at 1 as we did your cabin is not cleaned yet. I liked this ship and had a great time on this one-nighter. I just might do one of these again sometime! Intrepid is right next to the pier too, and if you missed going on the Concorde when it was flying, you can walk through the cabin (though in Barbados you can sit in the seats!) Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This is not my first but my third cruise to nowhere. I have done two on the Dawn and this one on the Gem. This may be the first cruise (I have been on over 40) that I was not happy with. I understand there were two weddings,(there were 3 ... Read More
This is not my first but my third cruise to nowhere. I have done two on the Dawn and this one on the Gem. This may be the first cruise (I have been on over 40) that I was not happy with. I understand there were two weddings,(there were 3 on the Dawn)my question is did all the experienced people working on the ship get off in New York? When we arrived (I was on by 12:45) the food was cold in the buffet and the choices were very limited. I really didn't see a variety at all. The format of the buffet was small and when more people arrived it was crazy. After we ate, we walked around the ship, to find it more like a cut up puzzle then a smooth open ship. It was very difficult to book a specialty restaurant because you are in a corner where people are trying to walk through as well as book their reservation it was not organized. We did eat at La Bistro, I enjoyed my dinner and this was the best part of the cruise. While I thought drinks were very expensive, I ordered the peach bellini and it came wrong twice. (first time I was given a glass of champagne, then the next time was something that looked like a coffee martini. It seemed people need to understand how you eat on the NCL ships. I could not believe how many people were standing infront of Magenta's waiting to see if they could eat.( I would say 45 people) No drill and our room was fine (we usually do a balcony but we did an inside this time) The next morning, we woke up and was out for breakfast by 7:15, it was not crowded. Why do they toast all the bread, bagels and muffins so they sit there and get cold and hard. The other breakfast items were not so appealing. This was really bad, they had rows of all of these baked goods already toasted and cold. The other cruise to nowhere were not like this at all. We went back to our room and they were there changing the sheets already, I had left my belongings open on the bed, my backpack......(which I used as my purse) sitting on the floor. I really don't think they should enter your room till your items are out. In my opinion, the Gem does not compare to the Dawn or the Spirit. The prices were expensive (drinks $9.95/ea plus tax and 20% tip now the drink is $11.73/ea) The ship did not impress me and I must say I am disappointed that it didn't. We were off the ship on the train by 9:00 am........... I only wish I had a nicer time on the Gem....... This experience will not stop me from going on NCL. I will just sail another ship. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
We are both in mid 30th. We have been on two cruises before - Holland America's Noordam ( 11 nights) and Cunard's QM2 ( 4 nights). So I was comparing everything on NCL Gem with two previous trips even thought it was only 1 ... Read More
We are both in mid 30th. We have been on two cruises before - Holland America's Noordam ( 11 nights) and Cunard's QM2 ( 4 nights). So I was comparing everything on NCL Gem with two previous trips even thought it was only 1 nighters. We drove to the port 40 min from central NJ and paid $ 30 for parking (last time it was $ 24 per night). I found ship very cramped and boring. There are no open spaces, no wide halls. And whatever space was available in mini atrium, it was taking by photographers. We ate dinner at Magenta and breakfast in Grand Pacific Dining room. Food was nothing special at all. I checked buffet on the Deck 12 and discovered that food for lunch and dinner was totally the same. Lunch was extra crowded but for dinner hardly anyone was there. Show at 9.15 was just OK. After that we went to White Party. Female entertainment staff (who was dressed in white with angel wings) hardly was engaged with the dancers. The men from entertainment group were just standing around. I also didn't like the music so we left pretty soon. I though it will be crowded since pretty much nothing else was going on after the show, but only about 100 people showed up and half of them actually danced. We had inside cabin which was tiny. I can't even imagine going on 7-10 night cruise and have inside cabin especially with kids. I booked this trip by using some points. So at the end we got a good price. If we would stay one night in NY, saw the show and ate few times out, we would pay three times more. I don't think we will be cruising with NCL any time soon at least not on GEM. I would probably try another ship if the price is right. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2008
I wrote a review of the spirit based on staying in a butler/concierge suite for an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. If you read that review you could see my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and that is why we booked the one night ... Read More
I wrote a review of the spirit based on staying in a butler/concierge suite for an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. If you read that review you could see my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and that is why we booked the one night cruise on the spirit sailing on 10/11/08. The one night cruise was a fun little getaway however there was a huge difference between the two sailings. Embarkation That was pretty organized and smooth. The wait to get on the boat was not bad either. The only thing about this embarkation was that because we were not on a suite this time we were not the first ones on the boat (which is a perk if you have a suite). However my husband and I were on the boat pretty early. I would make to suggest to those who do a one night cruise that if you plan on having dinner at a specialty restaurant that night the first thing that you should do when you board the boat is head straight to the restaurant reservations desk. My husband and I made a reservation for Cagney's that night as soon as we entered the boat (which was about 12:00 pm) and were able to easily make that reservation. By 3:00 pm we heard the specialty restaurants were all booked except for the asian restaurant. Things to do on the ship I have to say that because this is a one night cruise most people were trying to cram every and all activities in that one night. Again if you plan to do anything that requires a reservation I suggest you do so when you first board. My husband and I attempted to make a reservation for a massage in the spa (we tried at about 4:45 pm) and was told everything was booked already except for a few time slots after 9:00 pm. When the duty free shops opened at 5 pm it was like they were giving things away. There were already lines outside the doors of the shops at 4:45 pm to get inside the stores. Because there was no limit as to how much alcohol, tobacco products, jewelry, and other duty free items, many people went crazy scarfing things up. It was like every man or woman for themselves and there were people actually pushing to get to the head of the line first. That was not cool. I have to say that during our eastern caribbean cruise the feel was more laid back. On the one night cruise it was very frenzied. It also seemed like there were people who were trying to win a "who can drink the most alcohol in one night" contest. My husband and I woke up early to beat the crowds for breakfast and saw many people still stumbling around and still drinking alcohol. There were activities scheduled for a one night cruise such as bingo and there were a few shows scheduled for that night as well. The casino opened at about 6 pm and became very packed very quickly. Staff I was amazed as to how many crew members remembered my husband and I from the cruise in August. That just shows how attentive and personable the crew members are on the spirit. Many of the crew members walked up to us throughout the night and welcomed us back on board and chatted with us for a few minutes. It was like...coming home to family.... and we greatly appreciated it! We had asked that a refrigerator be placed in our cabin and an hour later our request was fulfilled. Again the staff on the spirit really does go above and beyond even if you are not booked in one of the suites. Sadly the spirit is not going to be back to NY for a while and we will miss our friends on the spirit! All and all it was a great little getaway and we will definitely do another one very soon! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
The cruise line called me about this cruise. Since it was near my wife's birthday, I asked her to go and she said yes. Some background: we are not new at cruising. This is our 8th cruise. We have cruised on Norwegian, Princess, ... Read More
The cruise line called me about this cruise. Since it was near my wife's birthday, I asked her to go and she said yes. Some background: we are not new at cruising. This is our 8th cruise. We have cruised on Norwegian, Princess, Carnival, Dolphin, Discovery and Imperial Majesty. The traffic coming in from Long Island was horrible. It took 1 hour to go from the Midtown tunnel to the port. We left plenty of time and arrived at about 1pm. The embarkation was smooth. In about 20 minutes we were on board. We went to the Raffles buffet for lunch. A large variety of food and good tasting. No problem finding a table. We found this unusual since often you can't find a table. Our cabin was on deck 11 midship. Norwegian is known for small cabins so we knew what to expect. It was smaller than other cabins even those on other Norwegian ships. It was unusually warm for October in New York. The pools and hot tubs were in constant use. We rested for a while and dressed for dinner. We ate in the Garden dining room. The menu was somewhat limited. I believe that this was because it was a one night cruise. I had a steak it was good not great but good, my wife had turkey; medium portions all in the middle of the plate. She said it was good also but not great. The show was a magician. He was really good. The speciality restaurants were doing a brisk business. There seemed to be no problem with reservations. We have tried all the speciality restaurants on a 7 day Hawaii cruise. The comedian was ok just ok nothing special. There was a group of 4 young men that were called Home Free they were truly great. We wished they could have played longer. We could have listened to them all night. Their style was a cappella. We went to bed fairly early. The beds seemed smaller probably singles instead of a twin. Woke up early and went outside on deck to take pictures of sunrise and the Verrazano bridge and Statue of Liberty. This is our second cruise from New York and we never get tired of sailing past Lady Liberty. Breakfast was in the other main dining room Windows. This dining is at the back of the ship and about double the size of the Garden dining room. Standard breakfast fare but the corned beef hash was truly outstanding. The service here was quick and efficient. That can not be said about the debarkation. We were supposed to dock at 8am. We were told that we were coming in at 9 instead. Thats when the "fun" started. We had wanted to get off as early as possible so we could meet friends at the Jet game. We got on a long line near the main atrium. I saw a couple of people who obviously had taken care of the ship's crew. They were let out a door that was not accessible to us. After 1/2 hour a crewmember told us that the debarkation was at the aft of the ship. No explanations so about 400 of us were herded like cattle and waited another 1/2 hour to finally get off the ship. One thing is that there were many bachelor and bachelorette parties on board. This was your typical one night booze cruise. But you make the best of it. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
We decided to take a one night cruise to nowhere because cruising is our favorite way to vacation, and since we just got back from a May cruise on the Dawn to Bermuda, we couldn't afford any longer than one night! So when I say we, I ... Read More
We decided to take a one night cruise to nowhere because cruising is our favorite way to vacation, and since we just got back from a May cruise on the Dawn to Bermuda, we couldn't afford any longer than one night! So when I say we, I mean my boyfriend and I, (both in our mid twenties). We took the train in from CT, then walked from times square to the Port. Not too long of a walk,although we did take a taxi on our way back..We boarded the ship around 1:30, after waiting in a rather long line. I guess we picked a popular time. Champagne and mamosas were offered right before getting onto the boat. I guess this is a standard thing, but we always get excited to see it offered. We went to the Raffles buffet because it was the first place we could find, and we were starved. Good size room, good variety of food. A lot of the windows to the outside and the windowed doors seemed to be fogged up with residue. Which surprised me because NCL has always kept their ships very clean. For lunch we had a mix of everything, macaroni and cheese, baked chicken, fries, salad, pizza,and some chocolate cake. (told u we were hungry) Then found our room. Each deck had a different carpet color, ours was reddish. The bathroom was a good size, although I wasn't crazy about the yellow tiles, and the shower head was peeling its silver paint. There was also no mini fridge like on the Dawn, and no room service binder. Not sure if thats a cruise to no where thing. After sitting on the pool deck and listening to the band sing, and watching cruisers dance and swim, we went in side to explore the ship. Looked around the store, art gallery, and casino. We decided to make a reservation at Cagney's steak house. The only opening they had was at 1030 pm, so we booked it and wondered how early people must have started to make reservations... At about 6pm we got hungry again, we realized that Cagney's status was listing as 1/2 full. (they have LCD screens with the status of all the restaurants) So we took a chance and walked to the restaurant to see if they'd let us in. They did, but said they'd need the table in hour 1/2. We said sure. The waiters were very nice,speedy with the food. We shared and amazing crab cake, and shrimp cocktail. My b-friend got a wonderful filet mignon, and I the lobster tails. We were very happy with dinner. The casino was standard, but had a nice night club attached. We saw the comedian, who was ok. After the comedian there was a game called the Quest, which we participated in. Not knowing how crazy it would get. It was a quest to see what team would do or give up the craziest things...bras, shoes with no laces, and guys with only tighty whiteys. Very fun if you like it a bit risque! I couldn't sleep the whole night due to walls and a ceiling that make loud noises. we were on the 5th deck, not sure where all the noise came from, but it lasted the whole night. Over all we had a great night. And I'd recommend it, specially for people who live in the NYC area. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
We booked this one night cruise to nowhere for my mother's birthday celebration. We were 3 families with one teenager and one 10 year old. The unpleasantness began in the cruise terminal, the lines are long and take forever. We ... Read More
We booked this one night cruise to nowhere for my mother's birthday celebration. We were 3 families with one teenager and one 10 year old. The unpleasantness began in the cruise terminal, the lines are long and take forever. We have cruised before on RCCL and never had this problem. My nephew was not allowed to board since they did not bring photo ID with them or a birth certificate. This meant that they had to get someone to go their home and send a fax. It took hours and the poor kid had was so bereft in the terminal. They were inflexible about it, but the cruise goes nowhere so we did not understand why the cruise line was being so difficult. They had other ID for him but they were adamant. US Customs did not take issue with it and it is their discretion. Well, eventually they got the fax and were permitted to board. The scene at the main pool was a bit crazy. People had buckets of beer and there was a lot of smoke from all the cigarettes and outdoor BBQ. The music was blasting. It felt like a booze cruise with a bunch of very drunk partiers. My parents who were in their 70s were appalled. The furniture was tacky. People were very loud and rude. There were many bachelor and bachelorette parties. So if you take one of these cruises, know about the noisy, drunk party atmosphere. I realize that may appeal to some of you. We finally found a quieter area in the back of the ship. The casino is like that also, crowded, smoky and full of drunk, loud people. What won't appeal to any of you is the really awful food, at Raffles, at the BBQ and in Windows. Three of us ordered steak at dinner and it was raw. The waiter, who did not understand English well enough, kept thinking we were saying rare. The salmon was raw too. You needed a magnifying glass to see the scallops in the appetizer. And when they say baby shrimp cocktail, they mean 1/4" miniature shrimp. The food was obviously cheap. It was all oversalted and mostly inedible. We left the table hungry after trying to get edible food in Windows for 2 hours. Turns out the waiter was brand new and they had sent him without any help. There was no captain. This poor man who barely knew English was on his own and he just kept messing up the orders. Dishes never came, dishes were wrong. This caused us to miss the show. And we did have to wait 20 minutes for a table. If that is freestyle, give me a seating any day. The Raffles buffet was just terrible. We tried it at 3 different times, breakfast, lunch and late night. The atmosphere inside Raffles is like a noisy tacky cafeteria. Keep walking to the back and outside where it is quite a pleasant place to sit. Unfortunately you aren't eating anything worth eating, but the tables out back are nice wicker bistro tables. The balcony rooms are small (and the balcony is small) and the beds were very uncomfortable. When we awoke the next morning there were new mattresses in the hallways. When we saw them removing some of the old mattresses after breakfast, we realized we had been sleeping on junk that was being tossed in the garbage. Old, stained, cheap mattresses. A noisy kid who was out on the balcony at all hours of the night kept all of our cabins awake. Even if this kid wasn't up for hours, the rooms creak very badly, also making it noisy. We had nice quiet rooms on Royal Carib. These were awful. We came off the boat the next morning as zombies. It's a good thing this was just for one night or we would have been really miserable. The cabin steward tips and dining tips are added automatically to your bill. No wonder they give terrible service, they all pool the automatic tips. There is no incentive to do a good job. A terrible system. If this had been our first cruise, we would never go on a cruise ship again. I know my parents will never cruise again. Thank goodness we have sailed with Royal Caribbean and know what a nice cruise is all about. We will never sail Norwegian Cruise Lines again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
With vacation time at a premium this year, we decided to splurge on a 3-night introduction cruise for this brand-new ship for Labor Day weekend, and were excited to try a new cruise line. The good: Sailaway from New York This experience ... Read More
With vacation time at a premium this year, we decided to splurge on a 3-night introduction cruise for this brand-new ship for Labor Day weekend, and were excited to try a new cruise line. The good: Sailaway from New York This experience alone was worth the entire price of admission. Since it was the first journey for the ship, we received police helicopter escorts and a special fireboat tribute, as well as a spectacular sunset sailaway. Those things on top of the usual spectacle of sailing from New York with the eye-to-eye view of the Statue of Liberty and the breathtaking sail under the Varrazano Bridge made it an unforgettable night. Our stateroom (mostly) (See "plumbing problems" below). Stateroom was nicely appointed with toiletries, tub, DVD player, comfortable mattress and bedding, and other niceties. But it was much smaller than other comparable balcony rooms we've stayed in, and the layout was weird - if someone was asleep in the sofabed, it was nearly impossible to get on the balcony. Dining Choices We had "As You Wish Dining," but pre-booked the specialty restaurants Pinnacle Grill ($20 pp) and Tamarind ($15 pp) for the second two nights, and upon boarding, reserved Canaletto, the Italian restaurant within the Lido, for the first. All were perfection in service, food and atmosphere and we were very impressed. The reservation system (see "the bad") seems flawed but everything worked out. We never got to the main dining room. Retreat Cabanas We decided to try one of the much-debated retreat cabanas for one day, and it was a memorable experience we'd recommend to honeymooners and anyone looking for a peaceful getaway with nice service and lovely ocean views. Pool Atmosphere For the most part, the pool was quiet and relaxing. We did not miss the obnoxious activities and games and thumping rap/dance music around the pool that mark some other cruise lines. Wine and Liquor We brought our own champagne and wine, and happily paid corkage fees to enjoy them in the restaurants. We also enjoyed ordering our own bottle of vodka for before- and after- dinner cocktails. Hydro spa Though we'd prefer a single gender experience, the thermal chairs, showers, and hydro pool were a nice treat for a fairly reasonable fee. NY Times partnership Complimentary access to the NY Times online in the Explorations cafe, and mini-NYT newspapers delivered every day were a nice touch. The bad: Plumbing problems Our toilet overflowed the first morning of the cruise, and continued to flush itself and overflow repeatedly for nearly an hour while guest services summoned the plumber. We did receive a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and chocolates with a form apology note later that day. Embarkation/Lifeboat drill We were among the first in the terminal and weren't given a boarding number. We got attitude from the first HAL employee we asked, who suggested that we should board after group 9. Eventually, someone did help us. On the plus side, we were on board by 1:10, earlier than the advertised time of 3pm. The unorganized lifeboat drill took place at 9:30 Saturday morning, immediately after our plumbing drama, and ate up another hour of an already shortened morning. Disembarkation The process needs some help, more announcements, and more employees to direct traffic.   The "eh" (not good, not bad):   Family Programs "Club HAL" has a cute but tiny space dedicated to the program, and in our experience, it's not as robust a program as other lines offer. In 4 cruises, it was the first time my son had actually declined the program during part of the cruise. Even Club HAL was plagued with new-ship mixups. The much-promoted "Un-Birthday Party" on the last night was a bust because the cupcake order never showed up. It's the little things-especially when you're 6. A few kid-friendly items on the dining and room service menus, and a "family pool" with a shallow end (minimum depth was 4'5") would be a great addition.   Culinary Arts Center We were excited about the adult and children's programs here - but sadly, no classes for the 3 day cruise.The "huh?": Dining Reservation System We made reservations for Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind to coordinate with Club HAL hours. We received multiple confirmations with conflicting information about times. When we went to inquire about the problem, we were told, in one case, "well, there's a note here that you're dining at 8, but the reservation system will only allow 20 that time, so you're down for 9." So when are we eating, exactly? At the other restaurant, we were told "well, we have 43 people dining at 8pm and that's too many." Why did you overbook, then? Puzzling malfunctions The first time we tried to use the thermal spa and hydro pool, the access key cards did not work. We were told it was "because the ship was built in Europe, and it's still being adjusted to US time." The computer system in NY was not fully functional (or maybe the staff not really trained) when we checked in and it took three tries, two employees, and two computer terminals to finish our check-in. Even after that, one of our key cards didn't work. Elevators and rest rooms were randomly malfunctioning all three days, and an air conditioning problem left us sweating for all of the first morning (at the same time as our plumbing problems - fun!). Even with some of the issues, there were some truly high points on this short cruise. On the whole, though, we will probably not sail on HAL again for a while. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
WE ARE: Seasoned cruisers Marla (51) and Jorge (51) along with my co-worker and her friend Rachael (20) & Freddy (23) first time cruisers. EMBARKATION: arrived at the pier at 10:20 a.m from the Bronx (left the Boogie down ... Read More
WE ARE: Seasoned cruisers Marla (51) and Jorge (51) along with my co-worker and her friend Rachael (20) & Freddy (23) first time cruisers. EMBARKATION: arrived at the pier at 10:20 a.m from the Bronx (left the Boogie down Bronx at 9:55 a.m.) - easily parked RIGHT next to the ship (WE SAW OUR CAR FROM OUR CABIN WINDOW WOW) $30 for the night either cash or credit cards acceptable (we used NCL MC) Went straight through security to check in which took all of 5 minutes and we were in group 4 to board (Group 1 was a wedding party - Groups 2& 3 Villas/Suites)- Took our embarkation photos and then sat down - we chatted, people watched, and ate fresh cake/cookies and drank OJ while we waited to board - Boarding started at 11:30 - There were mimosas to enjoy as we entered on Deck 7 - A+ RESERVATIONS: As Jorge and I have been ont his ship before we knew exactly what to do - we went straight to the reservations desk and reserved Cagney's for 7:30 (for 4). All of the menus are out for review (one woman was getting crazy trying to get 10 people (at that moment) to decide where and when they wanted to eat) but we stepped aside from her and just did our thing (maybe NCL can have more than 2 people taking reservations) but we were quick so no problems there for us - A+ SHIP/STAFF/CREW: She is still as beautiful as we left her in August. easy layout overall and there is "YOU ARE HERE" signage all around to make getting around pretty easy. If you look for wear and tear I guess there is but we don't look for that (even in August we didn't) so all we saw was a very clean and crisp ship with the friendliest crew and staff - although she is going into dry dock in the fall - A+ LUGGAGE: We went straight to our cabins to drop off luggage. Although the rooms were about 90% ready the steward let us leave our stuff - A+ CABIN: OV - 8036 AWESOME LOCATION and IS 11025 sideways inside VERY LARGE CABIN - great location also - both clean, neat - new bedding - but definitely BARE of anything extra (comparing it to an 8 nite cruise in terms of bathroom goodies which I always look forward to) NOTHING - not even a shower cap - there was soap/shampoo in dispensers..and plenty of towels..that's it...they also give you a laundry list of everything that needs to stay in the room otherwise you get charged for it..it's headed: "Your Cruise...Our Stuff..." I guess this is possibly necessary, somewhat funny, but VERY TACKY for those of us who don't even think about taking things from ships... BUY A SOUVENIR people..and if I were cruising for the FIRST time I would look upon this memo and lack of amenities as very low budget on NCL's part...sometimes 1 nite cruisers become long time cruisers and this policy on 1 nite cruises does NOT make NCL look good as a first impression for some .LOCATION - A+ CABIN - A - MEMO - F LUNCH: We knew to go to Windows for a quiet pleasant start to the long day/night ahead - It opens at 12:30. The personnel in the stairwells directed people to Raffles on Deck 12 if they wanted to eat sooner than 12:30. Short line when we got there - maybe 4 small groups ahead of us. We wanted to sit by the BIG WINDOWS and they accommodated our request with smiles. The wait staff there was prompt, courteous, funny, helpful with our selections and anticipated our every need. A+ We did stroll through Raffles at some point - loud, noisy, but the food looked and smelled WONDERFUL so I'm sure that it was good too. Lots of choices there ACTIVITIES: There is the usual stuff going on - the spa was open (HELLO Colette) for tours and treatments - prices were around the same as in August a couple of specials going on...the pools and hot tubs were open - they were packed - even though it was misty/overcast/very light rain and many people got in regardless of the weather. Indoor activities were plentiful.. Karaoke in Maharini's lounge -TV games on at the bar next to Blue Lagoon - Shangrila's ...dancing at the Galaxy of the Stars..all of the lounges/bars were open and performers were performing at their venues... Photographers were around but not annoying and bar servers as well...later in the evening the Quest game was played..there was a magician as the "show" - we didn't go and we missed Quest but heard it was funny as always - the casino and shops were open..the art gallery was open and selling - just not an "auction" per se - HI IAN - Art Director and JACKSON his assistant - The Cruise Rewards Program people had a presentation with FREE mimosas _ Hola Jorge and David...love ya... A+ DINNER: We ate at Cagney's - were treated like royalty...awesome staff...the maitre'd ROMAN....is awesome...not only does he look hot in his tux (YOU KNOW YOU DO ROMAN), he goes beyond the call of duty to insure that you have a good time. He remembered us immediately when we stopped by to say hi when we first boarded and then came by to see us when we were having lunch in Windows earlier in the day. His waitstaff is great as well - A+ FOOD: Lunch - Windows - B - tasted good but funky choices Snack - BBQ - B+ - Hot DogsFrench Fries Dinner - Cagney's - A+ -Colossal Shrimp Cocktail - Portabello mushrooms (appetizers) Lobster Bisque (soup/salad) Surf/turf - 6 oz. lobster tail/ 5 oz filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms as sides - Desserts- cheesecake, warm chocolate molten cake, bananas foster - most of had some or all of the above - FINGER LICKING GOOD- YUMMY!! 1 AM Snack - Blue Lagoon - A+ Hot chicken wings - VERY HOT - I like mild sauce better but they are GOOD.. Wonton Noodle Soup - WOW - Yummy and of course fish & chips (french fries - ask for 2 pieces of fish and one french fries order - cookies - it is the perfect MUNCHIES snack.... YUMMY Snacks- Latitudes Lounge - A+ - chocolate chip cookies STAFF: Karan - Concierge - AWESOME - we have mutual friends from previous cruises and when I delivered their regards to him, he greeted us as if he knew us already and treated us to our choice of wine at dinner, asked us if we needed dinner reservations (which we already had) or anything else to make the cruise special especially for my young friends... Cruise Director - never saw him - only heard his voice on the PA system - no rating just FYI same with the Captain Jorge and David - Cruise Rewards Consultants - GREAT GUYS - lots of fun and full of information to make your next cruise even better Roman - Maitre'D of Cagney's - HOT and FABULOUS...he really is sweet and takes care of his staff and dining rooms....you see him in Raffles as well during the day...he is in charge of scheduling and told us his secret for keeping his staff so happy 24/7....(no I can't tell you the secret..if I tell you then I gotta kill ya..lol) Colette - Spa Manager - Terrific - a special lady that remembered us from the Dawn as well back in 2006 and 2007.. her spa is well run and no real push from the staff to "sell the products" . Just enjoy your treatment and but stuff if you like. Room Steward - never really met him, didn't get his name...when we got to the cabin he just said that it wasn't ready but ok to leave things... at around 7 pm he came by to ask if we needed anything (yes to refill ice bucket and fresh glasses) but that was it....and that's okay especially on a 1 niter..and then there's EDGARDO - the BEST bartender...his domain is Champagne Charlie's...during the longer cruises he runs the Martini and Mojito tasting clinics...HE IS AWESOME!!! Generous with the drinks and a great guy...we really had a good time with him on our August cruise and to be able to visit back with him one more time was fun. STAFF: A++ ...It didn't matter whom we were in touch with - all of the staff/crew. whether we met them previously or not, made us feel very special and welcome on this short cruise... FINAL THOUGHTS: Cruises really are what you make them. When we got up on Saturday and saw the miserable weather I thought - well, at least I will be spending a bad weather day/nite in a beautiful and special place with some great people....yes there were the inevitable "booze cruisers" who feel the need to consume the maximum amount of alcohol in the least amount of time..and that's okay if that's what makes the cruise good for them...no judgment here..they are actually fun to watch - and there are those who complain from the MOMENT they enter the parking lot/pier/ship wherever..those people need to ENJOY the moment for whatever it is....but overall from our perspective...everyone (that we mingled with) had a good time. For a very long time I was a CCL fan and I still like them but I gotta tell you NCL is so growing on my that my next (already scheduled) 5 cruises are with NCL...so come join us and as the the Love Boat theme song sings..."Come Aboard..we're expecting you"...my email is Salsera718@aol.com if anyone has any more questions. I love doing the 1 niters especially on a weekend nite...wish more ships did them in NYC throughout the year.NCL counts them as a regular cruise in your effort to go up the Latitudes ladder (GREAT PERK) remember - in my opinion - a bad day on a cruise beats a great day at work...Marla Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
I'll keep this relatively short as this was my 7th cruise, second on this ship. I have been on RCL 3x, CCL, Princess and NCL all 1x. You can search them out if you want more details. Short background, I work for an internet travel ... Read More
I'll keep this relatively short as this was my 7th cruise, second on this ship. I have been on RCL 3x, CCL, Princess and NCL all 1x. You can search them out if you want more details. Short background, I work for an internet travel agency which will remain nameless, in cruise operations. With that said I have much knowledge about what a good cruise should be. I was traveling with my wife of 16 years, left the child home. We drove the 2 plus hours to the New York pier. My in-laws were going on the 7 nt Carnival Victory Canada/NE so we dropped them off and made our way to check in for the cruise to nowhere. We arrived around 1215pm after a GPS mixup. The lines were average but very slow. It was the usual people on cell phones not paying attention, people not having docs ready, etc. BUT the agent we had after 40-45 minutes in line, was very slow. She swiped my CC 3 or 4 times and then typed very slow. This process took another 10+ minutes. We were onboard around 115pm. We were greeted with bubbly and mimosas. Since we know our way around the ship we bypassed the cluster and found our cabin, deck 9 almost mid ship though NCL classifies it as a forward cabin, same layout as last cruise on the Spirit different color. The bedding was brand new and second only to CCL. Spent much time on the balcony. We headed for the buffet..what a disappointment. It was very limited and average at best. NCL was pushing people outside for the barbeque hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, etc. My first thought was if we were first timers, it would be our last time. We ate what we could and walked around. My wife tried a burger from the outdoor grille which was not much better. We headed for the Blue lagoon which did not open until 4. The Freestyle daily offered very little to do so we headed back to our room for a short nap. Headed down to the Blue Lagoon at 4 to find it packed. More walking and the got ready for dinner. The dinner menu did NOT have any type lobster dish as advertised. We did get in quickly, no wait and had a table for 2 by a window. My meal was very good but not great. My wife had a steak with peppercorn sauce....it had zero flavor, no pepper flavor just a steak with a bland sauce. Our server was like a robot with no personality. Again first timers would be very disappointed. We then headed for the comedy show...or lack of comedy. The performer was off and people heckled him, probably the funniest part of his act. We stayed for the Adults only Quest which was wild. Headed back to the cabin for the night. Had breakfast in Windows the next morning, quick seating and window table for 2. The server was much more personable and food was much better but too little too late. The ship was not as well kept as a year ago but still in good shape. The overall service was average. The other guests were mainly party crowd, bachelor and bachelorette parties so sometimes a little loud and crude. The shopping was poor unless you were a smoker. Overall disappointing. I paid a reduced agent rate with NCL and even the discounted price did not make up for the food quality and slow check in line. If NCL wants to use this to attract customers for longer pricier cruises, they need to rethink it. This is a money maker for them and as such they should offer top notch food and service. It was ok at best for what I paid, at a consumer price it would have been rated much lower. I have 2 more to review in the near future. I am going on the Solstice inaugural Nov 12, the first sailing to leave the FLL port and Disney Wonder land/sea in January. Feel free to email any questions. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
Let me start off by saying this one nighter was for my fiance and I's bachelor/bachelorette party. We had an AWESOME time. There were 18 people in our party ranging in ages 17-30. The ship had something for everyone. We got ... Read More
Let me start off by saying this one nighter was for my fiance and I's bachelor/bachelorette party. We had an AWESOME time. There were 18 people in our party ranging in ages 17-30. The ship had something for everyone. We got on board around 1:00pm and went to the outside buffet for lunch. The food was pretty good! Burgers, chicken fingers, fries, etc. There was something for everyone and you didn't leave hungry! The drinks were EXCELLENT. A little pricey (+/- $10.00 a mixed drink) but worth the money! We hung around the kiddie pool all day as there were Jacuzzi's on each side of it. Not many little kids which was cool. We drank buckets of beer in the jacuzzi as the ship left the port. It was very cool. We went to dinner in the main dining room around 8:30pm - dinner was good! Once again, you didn't leave hungry. After dinner, part of the group wanted to go to the Karaoke Bar and the other half wanted to gamble - so we split up! Me and my friends drank and sang the night away on the 12 deck Karaoke Bar while my fiance and his friends were at the craps table until 4:00am. We had breakfast the next morning and left the boat around 11:00am. GREAT TIME! Highly recommended for a bachelor/ette party. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
This was our seventh cruise. My first cruise was a Bay of Fundy crossing to Nova Scotia in the 70's when I was a teenager. First cruise as an adult was RCI's Song of America NY to Bermuda 7/98. Second was Carnival's ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise. My first cruise was a Bay of Fundy crossing to Nova Scotia in the 70's when I was a teenager. First cruise as an adult was RCI's Song of America NY to Bermuda 7/98. Second was Carnival's Sensation Western Caribbean, 2/99. Third was the Regal Empress, NY to nowhere, also Labor Day, 8/99. Fourth was the Enchanted Isle, Western Caribbean, 4/00. Fifth was the Carnival's Victory, New York to Canada. Sixth was the Norway, Eastern Caribbean, July 2002. I loved the Norway, the Regal Empress so I am a fan of older, more traditional ships. When I drove up to the Eurodam, I was so impressed. The Victory was also in town, but the look of the Eurodam was so much classier. Embarkation was fine. I picked my husband up on 55th Street, we drove to the pier, he dropped me off with the luggage and went to park the car. We were docked at Pier 88 and according to my husband, got one of the last spots in that parking lot (our embarkation started at 1PM, last call 5PM, the Victory was earlier, they left at 5PM, we left at PM) because Pier 92, where the Victory was docked, was overbooked and those cars were sent to Pier 88. Apparently, Carnival has refurbished one or more of the piers in New York. Airconditioned, very comfortable. Embarkation took about 20 minutes. We were not escorted to our cabin. We wheeled our luggage on, so the luggage was not an issue. We had booked late and as a result got the last available cabin, an inside on the eighth deck. The cabin was sufficient, with a king size bed, desk, a table, several closets. The problem with the design, which I assume management figured out during the inaugural in Europe, was the door opened inward, there was not really room to hold the door open for room services, etc. So several door stops were supplied. The pools were gorgeous. Teak decking all around. And, at least on this cruise, never a problem to get a lounger, if that is what you are into. (I don't sun myself.) Rear pool was the "adult pool", mid ship pool with the waterfall was the "family pool". Lots of kids. The average age on this cruise was far below the (what is said about HAL) traditional HAL demographic. Food in the Lido was good to very good. Had the standard sandwich stations, omelette stations during breakfast, etc. They did have the place servings with silver ware, however, I never had my tray brought to the table, although, I did see that happen with an elderly couple. I thought the Lido food was second to only the Regal Empress, in terms of quality, taste and freshness. I was given "open dining". I do not like the concept. I would rather have had an assigned table in late dining. We did meet a woman who was cruising alone and decided that we would dine with her the other nights. We always met at the dining room at 8:45PM. I thought the food was okay, but I must say, I thought the food on Carnival, Regal, Commodore and RCI was better. The only line that was worse (remember, I am reviewing the dining room, not the Lido here) was Norweigian. The public rooms, hallways and stairwells were beautiful. Art work everywhere. No announcements other than the mandatory life boat drill. Hint on this,my husband had a cold on the trip and didn't do the life boat drill. The management theoretically did a roll call, didn't call my cabin. The shops were primarily diamonds and souvenir type. Activities were typical, although, instead of the belly flop or hairy man leg contests one experiences on Carnival or RCI, we have golf ball putting contests at the main pool.Just as annoying, just classier. The president of HAL was on our cruise. He had just done the inaugural transatlantic and was hosting the best producing travel agents on the cruise. As a result, alot the amenities that would have been available normally, such as the cabanas and spa treatments, were not available to the average passenger. For instance, I booked a $200 spa treatment for Sunday morning. I showed up, at 8:45AM, and was told the treatment was at 8:45PM. I asked if I could use the spa amenities (spa pool, whirlpool, thermal suite) and they said not until I had the spa treatment. How could I have a 90 minute spa treatment starting at 8:45 at night when the spa closes at 10:00PM. I pointed this issue out to them when I returned to my cabin and they did not really respond. I cancelled my spa treatment. I was not going to do a spa treatment at that time when I had to wake up at 7AM to get off the ship by 8AM. Formal night, more than 60% of the men were in tuxedos (including my husband, who rented his on land and brought it aboard), 50% women in gowns (including myself). After dinner, there was a string quartet in one of the lounges, however, they stopped playing at 11:00PM. I must say, versus other lines, there was not alot to do after 12 midnight. Because we are late night people, I do not know if we would cruise HAL again, despite our absolute love of the ship because of the lack of nightlife. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
My husband and I eagerly embarked on our cruise to nowhere on HAL's brand new ship, for it's maiden U.S. voyage. The embarkation process was the smoothest yet of my 14 cruises, with pleasant staff and efficiency. Our cabin was ... Read More
My husband and I eagerly embarked on our cruise to nowhere on HAL's brand new ship, for it's maiden U.S. voyage. The embarkation process was the smoothest yet of my 14 cruises, with pleasant staff and efficiency. Our cabin was attractive, but quite small for a standard veranda. HAL seeks to make up for space reduction with cabin design features, ie. storage inside desk seat/ottamon and adjustable and removable shelving in closets. The bedding, towels and robes are above-grade. The flat screen TV had a surprisingly limited number of available stations. The ship is easy to get around and attractive, with an elegant flare. The theater is spacious with comfortable seats, and there is a separate "Screening Room" for movies, which is small, cozy and comfortable. The public areas, bars and lounges are pleasant and well staffed. The Lido had some of the usual chaos and a shortage of various essentials, such as cream for coffee. The lack of self service for breakfast dishes such as waffles and eggs made for unnecessarily long lines. The food on the ship overall was of a decent quality as expected and the staff was generally helpful. The thermal suite and hydrotherapy area (for an extra charge) were worth it for us. The gym was ample and well supplied with quality equipment. The location of the spa is awkward, as the public passes through it to get to the pool and Lido areas on Deck 9. There were less enrichment activities than I expected on a Cruise to Nowhere, although the ones that we attended were of good quality. The shows were excellent, with the best in-house production talent that we have seen yet. The least appealing aspect of our cruise was signing up for Anytime Dining in the Rembrandt (the two level main dining room). Reservations for the selected times filled up quickly and upon arriving at our daily reserved times, there were always dinner lines to get seated. Those who didn't reserve at all had to wait longer. Next time, we will book assigned seating (late) and then go directly to our table each night. If you choose Anytime Dining, make your reservations (you can book up to to two days ahead) right as you get on the ship, either by going straight to the Rembrandt or by calling 88 on any ship phone. Sojourn Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
LET'S START WITH THE SKINNY ON THE FUN NEW EURODAM Frequently Asked Cruise Questions How's the morning coffee? --Good, and served in china mugs. How does the e-mail/internet connection work? --It's well-organized, veeeery ... Read More
LET'S START WITH THE SKINNY ON THE FUN NEW EURODAM Frequently Asked Cruise Questions How's the morning coffee? --Good, and served in china mugs. How does the e-mail/internet connection work? --It's well-organized, veeeery slow, but functional. What about Wi-Fi? --It's available throughout the ship, although some problems were reported with using it in cabins. Do the rooms have safes? --Absolutely, the best yet, capable of securing your laptop. Can I iron a shirt? Do a wash? --Nope, not on Holland America. Can you "promenade" the prom deck? --Yes, indeed, all the way around two decks. Are decks real wood, or linoleum? --Both. The Promenade Deck is composed of real wood panels, and the one two decks above is linoleum printed with the same wood panels shapes. INTRODUCING THE EURODAM -- After the pleasure of sailing a few other cruise ships in their debut year, I was hoping that a holiday weekend on the brand-new MS Eurodam from Holland America would be a sweet adventure, and indeed it happily exceeded all expectations. Built to the tune of $450 million by classy Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, this 86,000-ton vessel seems gracefully enormous as you stroll about the decks and pools and bistros, yet it's been crafted slim enough to fit through the Panama Canal, and can therefore be hailed as "Panamax." The ship has eleven decks and 1025 staterooms, with 67% balconies. With an additional deck for cabins built on top of a basic Noordam plan, the Eurodam has entered the Holland America fleet with 63 new staterooms more than their latest Vista-class ship, with 10 of the cabins said to feature floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall panoramic windows. Eurodam is fitted out with several of the features HAL regulars have come to expect, such as glass elevators that look to the water, a Pinnacle Grill (this one has handsome formal chairs), and a Greenhouse Spa. The ship boasts the latest state-of-the-art navigation and safety systems and brand-new Azipod propulsion technology. Other additions are the Explorer's Lounge, Canaletto, which is an Italian specialty section of the Lido, and a show lounge with theater-style seating where culinary classes are offered. There's also a new wine bar, but it has such ultra-modern decoration that it looks like an uninviting ice sculpture; on the other hand the photography gallery includes an intimate studio area for private shoots. MANHATTAN EMBARKATION -- Turned out to be surprisingly pleasant, especially considering the disorganized chaos of the disembarkation later. Although the Coast Guard had announced it was conducting exercises on the ship requiring embarkation to delay starting until 3:00, passengers arriving at 1:30 were able to come onboard immediately. And while the Manhattan dock is getting to be one of the oldest in the industry, much of it had been sufficiently refurbished to create a veneer of bright surfaces over the ancient boards. Several groups of lucky passengers in line around me had booked not only our introductory holiday weekend onboard but also the next sailing up along the Canadian coastline. THE STATUE OF LIBERTY -- Eurodam sailed away at 7:00 instead of 7:30 in order to greet Lady Liberty at sunset. Although it was cloudy and darker than might have been wished, many of the crew had never seen her and crowded onto the decks in their various uniforms to ooh and aaah and photograph themselves beside her. The city coming up in glittering nightlights was beautiful as ever; I'd forgotten how exhilarating it is to view the water-spouting fire-boat show down by the South Street Seaport; and fitting under the Varrazano Bridge was pretty spectacular as well, and certainly worth a snapshot or two. SHIP -- Everywhere we went onboard this beautiful vessel, passengers were enjoying a variety of activities, from heavily-attended bingo and poolside demonstrations, to afternoon tea and the "On Deck for the Cure" 5K which was "run" on the Promenade Deck as a fund-raiser to fight breast cancer. The ship felt quite stable at sea; she didn't "wiggle her bottom" as do many ships, or rock us to sleep, but that may have been because we were sailing at only 11.5 knots. It was pleasant to think how that might have attracted cresting dolphins if we'd been in the right area. The ship is covered with flowers. Tightly-packed mammoth flowers arrangements (perhaps Asian-influenced) grace hallways and entrances; hundreds of votive-lamp glasses with a single orchid blossom on tables influence the ambient fragrance of many of the bars and meeting rooms. STATEROOMS -- Cabins are fitted with blonde wood, grey carpet, and highlighted with touches of red; many verandas are furnished with wicker chaises and small tables. Cabins and hallways were impeccably cared for, and groomed with a pleasant-smelling rug deodorizer. With all the buzz around the industry, and indeed right here on the boards, about the "new bed program" in the various lines and ships, here is Eurodam coming right out of the gate with Euro-top Mariner's Dream bed-spread-free beds and and light blankets wrapped in duvet covers. Personally I still think the new bed program is basically an excuse not to purchase and maintain dressy bedspreads, but the high-rising bed was a comfort to my back. Cabins feature flat screen televisions with DVD players, massage shower heads, and really strong hair dryers. Many cabins had fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets, although not mine. Adjustable wall lights of the minute tenser variety are mounted above the bedside tables although they are nearly useless for nighttime reading. Although drawers in the desk area would have been appreciated, a side cabinet did provide two small shelves and the leather stool under the writing table had a removable top with room for storage. A small halo-lit magnifying vanity mirror built into the wall is not only convenient for the ladies, but creates a pleasant night light. BATH -- It was easy to navigate the highly familiar modular bathroom which was, if possible, a few square feet larger than on other ships, and the majority of staterooms are equipped with bathtub/showers. It was a pleasure as well being surrounded by brand-new bathroom surfaces, spanking clean right down to the corners, a still-pristine shower curtain, and the use of complimentary Elemis bath products. And Holland America has given me a new prospective on the bathrobe term "waffle" (which to me sounds like the non-suite inferior variety) because their new "waffle-terry" bathrobes were delightfully substantial and smooth to the skin, and ready in the room at check-in without a hassle. DINING ROOM -- Both levels of the Rembrandt Dining Room are graciously appointed with lovely furniture and, press shots notwithstanding, the tables come in a variety of shapes and sizes and most are in fact not of the cramped, thin-slice Vegas-show type. A smaller internal dining room, the Kings Room, is available for weddings and VIPs. What a sweet traditional touch it was to have a young crewman kitted out in scarlet bum-free jacket with epaulets marching up and down the hallways along the dining room deck with a small xylophone in hand ringing us in to dinner from our cocktails, just like cruises of old. The food was excellent, and most of the familiar cruise favorites were well-prepared and well-presented. Considering that every week we passengers are reported to consume over 300 cases of beer and 2000 bottles of Champagne & wine, a ton of watermelon, and 300 gallons of ice cream—one wonders where they manage to fit it all! And since debut ship seasons can be plagued by inexperienced staff unfamiliar with ship-life and struggling to learn table-service in a strange new culture, I'm glad to report what a privilege it was to enjoy the services of excellent, if sometimes slow, dining room staff and a really stellar cabin steward. LIDO DINING -The cafeteria dining area is furnished with rather appealing lemon-colored leather chairs and the poured-plexiglas tables are set with napkin-rolled silverware packets which make going through the lines easier. Freshly-squeezed orange juice available at breakfast is a real treat and fresh fruit -- and quite good coffee, urns for which have a dandy button feature that dispenses a neatly filled cup. Live phalaenopsis orchid plants decorate the tables, which are set with linens at night and table service is offered in certain sections. POOL LIFE - With pools both amidships and aft, much of the day was spent relaxing on deck enjoying the sunny ocean view. Eurodam has much expanded its poolside merchandising opportunities, with "Cabanas," small curtained-off rental areas each containing a circular king-size chaise and chairs along the starboard side of the pool, and also the new "Retreat" area with cabana rentals available topside and forward in the ship arranged around a center lounge area. Nearby "Spa Cabins" with special amenities add to the new Retreat experience. I especially enjoyed a deck forward and above the retreat area for my own sunning, and it was filled with the same comfortable wooden chaises which are dotted throughout the promenade deck below. Even with all the space taken up by the two areas of rented cabanas, there were still plenty of deck chairs available, though perhaps not as many by the pool. However, with the largest Jacuzzi available only for a hefty premium, Eurodam could definitely use two or three more hot tubs; they were crowded so constantly I never managed to set foot in one. EXPLORATIONS CAFÉ/CROW'S NEST - This area spans impressively the entire arc of the ship's front end topside. The portside corner is custom-fitted with crushed velvet sectional divans; there are sections of banquette framing part of the windows with easy chairs facing it and the ocean; and finally, right in the center are a dozen good-sized loungers perfect for the panoramic viewing pleasure of passengers overlooking the ocean. The Explorations Cafe, which is the Library/Coffee/Internet Cafe area, is quite pleasant with; I especially enjoyed the selection of current magazines library-mounted in covers, and there were plenty of computer terminals powered by the New York Times. While oppressively slow, the sign-on system had good functionality and allowed guests to take in the scenic backdrop of the ocean while keeping in touch with home. ENTERTAINMENT - Music was playing in several locations during most of the evenings. Several friends at our table thoroughly enjoyed the comic performer onboard and regaled us with stories of his performances. Both shows with song-and-dance production numbers, "Night Life" and "Dream Park," were energetically performed by four female and four male dancers plus singers, one girl and two guys, and a female trio of swing singer/dancers as well. Although two of the singers wore cheek-mikes wired to radio-packs, still nearly all the vocals seemed to be recorded with performers lip-syncing and live performing only minimally. Even then, they sang only in "karaoke" style, following the tape, but this is getting to be the custom now throughout the cruise industry. The shows made extensive use of colorful digital background images and some fireworks at the climax. SHIP'S MUSTER -- Chaotic and claustrophobic, this may not have been Eurodam's finest hour. While squashed in noisy military lines with my fellow passengers, I did discover HAL's admirable practice of demanding hospital-style ID-wrist-bands be worn by all children for the entire cruise, but taped instructions about how to put on a life vest were redundant since we were ordered to don them on in our cabins. Although it was the first time to see attendance taken being taken at a muster, administration might do well to visit other ships and see how it's done on other cruise lines. Rather than encourage an informed sense of safety, I predict Eurodam's ship's musters may occasionally incite episodes of panic. EURODAM CHRISTENING -- After enjoying her charms for a few introductory days, I was ready to appreciate viewing the July 1st Eurodam dedication ceremony included among the daily television offerings. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands presided over the festivities in a lovely orchid picture hat, formally naming her and ringing her bell, and there were steamers, a crashing Champagne bottle and spectacular music. Although it took place in Rotterdam, the service was conducted in English, but at the end all voices on hand joined in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony chorus and it sounded as though it may have been sung in Dutch. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2008
Embarkation: It was interesting. We were not supposed to be able to board until 3 PM, but there was speculation it would be earlier. We took a chance (and earlier train) by arriving early, and were onboard just before 1:30. That was a nice ... Read More
Embarkation: It was interesting. We were not supposed to be able to board until 3 PM, but there was speculation it would be earlier. We took a chance (and earlier train) by arriving early, and were onboard just before 1:30. That was a nice start. Everyone was being sent to the Lido (Deck 9) to eat lunch, but we walked up the 2 decks to Deck 4 and went to our aft Veranda cabin. We met our cabin steward, Anom, stowed our carryons, and went to the Lido to eat some lunch. Cabin: The cabin was very efficient with a flat screen TV (it should have been wall mounted), a mini-fridge (full of extra cost mini-bar drinks but room for our wine and water as well), a very comfortable bed, and quite a bit of wardrobe space. Hanging space and shelves are plentiful, but be warned that drawer space is very limited (2 small ones in each of the night stands). There is no lighting in the wardrobes and it was difficult to tell if we had cleaned out the safe except by feel. The bath was also efficient, but be careful when using the shower. The shower curtain is too short and unless you use the shower head as a hand-held (standing so the spray is toward the wall) the floor will be soaked when you are finished. Durability of the design might be a concern - wallpaper was starting to peel in the room and the flimsy shower curtain track had already pulled loose (I had to snap it back in). Service: All the staff we met were invariably friendly and willing. This was a high point for us. Was the delivery 100% seamless? Of course not, but the effort always seemed to be there and that rates high in our book. One nice touch was the Lido staff helping passengers (those who needed it) with their trays without being prodded. The staff in the Tamarind (outstanding), Canaletto's (excellent), Pinnacle (excellent), and the Rembrandt (excellent) were all worthy of mention. The overall staff in the Lido was also very good. Our cabin steward was good to very good and always seemed to deliver what we requested on a timely basis. Cleaning in the bath (hair in the bath before we ever used it) and cabin (vacuuming so-so and a rubber glove dropped by the veranda door one day) were somewhat spotty, but I think he was new. Public Rooms: A big disappointment. They seemed small (not intimate) like HAL wanted to build a 100,000+ ton ship a squeeze it into the Eurodam's 85,000 ton hull. The atrium is a real let down small with an odd pinkish-purple stalactite chandelier. It certainly did not seem to be the hub of the ship. The ship's daily bulletin listed 12 bars. That seems like a lot and resulted in small venues that, in many cases, seemed like passages turned into a lounge (Explorer's) to closed off the rooms (Piano Bar), to strangely decorated, uninviting areas (Northern Lights). The shops are in a setting like a cheap shopping mall with the same pull down security grates. Not inviting at all. The high points were the Screening Room (a great place to see a movie but seats for only 36 people!)and the Silk Den (a beautiful, calming bar across from Tamarind). Artwork is always subjective, but we enjoyed only a little - antiques, old photos, "theater" art pieces, and the asian decor in Tamarind and The Silk Den. Dining: Tamarind was just outstanding. We dined there for lunch (a no charge set dim sum that is a steal!) and it was excellent. The decor, service, and food were the best on the ship and we cannot recommend it highly enough. Book on-line before you go. Caneletto's is a separate area of the Lido and does not take on-line reservations. we dined there the first night and the food was again excellent. With no surcharge, it was another bargain. Pinnacle Grill was a disappointment. The decor was very attractive and the service was very good (I had no forks when we sat down), but the food was only average - tough filet (medium rare), warm (fresh but not hot) baked potato, and a so-so souffle (ordered in advance it should have been much better). Rembrandt's - a mixed bag. The Rack of Lamb was excellent but trying to pass off a thin lido breakfast pancake as a crepe is inexcusable. Activities: Not as many as one might expect. Perhaps it is the norm for HAL or it was the 3 night itinerary or the many TAs/media/VIPs that were supposed to be onboard but, with no ports, we expected a few more choices during the day. With a new ship, a few new twists would have been welcome. Instead we got the same old/same old. Even some that we would expect were not there - wine tastings, enrichment talks (perhaps on the long, distinguished history of HAL), etc. Casino: Small. Intermittent Hip Hop music seemed a very strange choice given the average age of the clientele. One plus is that it did not seem as smoky as casinos on other ships we have sailed. Spa/Gym: We toured these areas but did not utilize them. Other posters will be more qualified to comment. Pools/The Retreat/Cabanas: We did not use these facilities but they seemed very popular. Overall Organization: No one seemed to know when the Muster Drill would take place. We did not find out until it appeared in the daily bulletin - 9:30 the morning after sailing. We have never had it the next morning. I am not sure the shore personnel had any idea when Embarkation would take place, but we chalked that up to the Coast Guard inspection. Calling the boarding numbers was an adventure since you could not hear the gentleman making the announcement unless you were pretty close to him. Disembarkation was a real challenge and detailed below. Disembarkation: A disaster. The ship was to be cleared by 10:00 AM, but we docked late (how does that happen on a cruise to nowhere?). We were not taking HAL transfers (on Amtrak) so we were assigned Expedited Disembarkation and would take our own bags off. We considered this a real plus so we could by pass the usual traffic jam claiming bags and grab a cab to Penn Station. It was to be coordinated by deck. That was the last communication we had and resulted in a mass rush for the gangway when it opened. We were not even told the deck or location (forward or mid-ship). We were fortunate to be fairly close to the gangway (totally by luck since we decided to wait in the Explorer's Lounge) but others were caught in a real crush of people. At the hatchway there was a small child running around (no parents in sight) with a cruise card distracting the security guard from his duties. Horrible organization and communication. Overall Impression: Pretty average, which is disappointing for a brand new ship. No WOW factor. Some definite hits and a lot of misses as noted above. On the whole, an OK ship we would not purposely seek out to sail on again. We have to ask - is this the best of HAL or a disappointment for seasoned HAL passengers? Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
In contrast to Vegas, 18 year olds can gamble on cruise ships... so my nephew, whose favorite movie is "Vegas Vacation" wanted to go on a cruise so he could gamble. He is still in high school so we had to do a short cruise where ... Read More
In contrast to Vegas, 18 year olds can gamble on cruise ships... so my nephew, whose favorite movie is "Vegas Vacation" wanted to go on a cruise so he could gamble. He is still in high school so we had to do a short cruise where he could miss a day or two of school only. My TA found this cruise for us. We chose an AE cabin (it was the best we could reserve about 60 days prior to sailing). There would be three of us in the cabin: my nephew, my mother (his grandmother) and me. We utilized the mini-suite to sleep 3 people separately. It was fine for 2 nights but I would have preferred more room. With the bed pushed apart to make 2 beds it was difficult to use the closet and with the sofa bed out there was hardly room for the furniture and access to the balcony and fridge. But we managed. Hey, we were on vacation. The room was clean and we never had to ask for anything. We flew in to NYC a day early and stayed with friends. That was nice. We took a cab to the port and embarkation was easy. I had ordered the birthday package and the room was great! There were banners and balloons and a very nice cake. It was well worth the money in my opinion. Besides, I am not sure how I could have snuck in early to decorate. This way we all had the element of surprise. Next, thanks to CC I knew to go to the Main Restaurant and not the buffet. I do not like buffets and avoid them whenever possible. When my nephew and I went to the casino we were in for a surprise. All of the table limits were very high $25 for blackjack and $50 for Pai Gow Poker (which we had both learned to play recently). It did not take long for us to lose a bundle. I was a BJ dealer for a long time so I was doing everything right. But when you split and double down at $25 a pop - and the dealer draws to 21 - OUCH! We did play slots. There were plenty of all amounts. Luckily we found a blackjack machine in the lounge that sat 5 people. The minimum bets were $5.00 - now you're talking! It was a hoot. There were digitally enhanced buxom female dealers. Everyone was cracking up. But who cares? SInce we all won and won and won. I never even cashed a traveler's check. My nephew got to play a lot of blackjack and he was happy. That machine saved us! We went to dinner in Salsa night one for IL POPO - this is my mother's favorite NCL restaurant and her favorite NCL dish. It was just as tasty as when we had it on the Jewel last year. Salsa was wonderful. We all loved it. (Being from Texas I was not impressed with the salsa or guacamole, but what can you do when you are out of Texas?) The next night was my nephew's birthday celebration and we ate at Le Bistro. Now the day before I had made reservations (right after embarkation) and they had us in the "wine cellar". Well, when they went to seat us it was just a place in front of the restaurant where the piano player is. It might be ok if you don't care about atmosphere, but I was disappointed to not be in the very nice dining room with the nice artwork. When I expressed my unhappiness they cheerfully offered us a nice table in the back, near the Renoir. Voila. It was perfect! We made friends with the people next to us and enjoyed wonderful conversation. My nephew and I split the Chateaubriand (an extra charge) and it was wonderful - fork tender. My mother had escargot and filet mignon. We all had chocolate souffle. I can't imagine a better celebratory dinner. We had breakfast in the main dining room both mornings. It was fine. Nothing special - but it gave us the morning fuel! We tried to have a late night snack in the Blue Lagoon but we soon found what a difference a ship makes. I loved the Blue Lagoon on Jewel. On the Dawn it is a loud teen hangout. There is no way to have a conversation in there. The first night I had a treatment in the spa. It was an exfoliation and massage. I am not a big fan of ginger so they used coconut. It was great. After my body was rubbed with the salts I was able to shower in the same room and then have the massage. It was a splurge, but worth every penny. Besides, I received a $100 OBC from Cruise Rewards (more later. Played bingo a few times, never won. It was very expensive in my opinion. But on such a short cruise I went for the gusto and played the computer. What the heck. Was able to play the morning and movie trivia games. My mom and I came in 2nd on morning and our team won the movie trivia thanks to my mom's historical movie knowledge. It was fun. Because of the short cruise length, no internet cafe, shopping or the like. I never used the outdoor pool or hot tubs, but a lot of people did and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Disembarkation was slow, but hey, everyone was leaving. Since this was a 2 nighter we all had to transport our own bags all of the time. It was a little hard on my mom (we tried to help her but she wouldn't give up her suitcases). I much prefer the traditional way of leaving the bags outside the door the night before leaving. I booked the Cruise Rewards and have already reserved an AC PH on the Sun for next February. I think the Dawn is a lovely ship. I had a great time. The crew was very nice and I am a fan of Freestyle - so what's not to like! My one complaint was that I could not find a decent cup of coffee in the late evening (the Java cafe had just closed). Luckily in my AC PH I will have a nifty coffee maker with a great brew. In closing, this was a wonderful trip to give my nephew. I don't think we could have come up with a better present for him. Besides, the additional time in NYC (Broadway Shows and Restaurants) was a real treat too! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
Friday: Embarkation was a breeze. At check in I was given a sheet of paper stating that the rooms wouldn't be ready until 2:00. Ours was ready before 12:30. When I got on to the Dawn I immediately went to the line for reservations. ... Read More
Friday: Embarkation was a breeze. At check in I was given a sheet of paper stating that the rooms wouldn't be ready until 2:00. Ours was ready before 12:30. When I got on to the Dawn I immediately went to the line for reservations. At first it seemed to move slowly but it quickly picked up pace and I easily got the two reservations I wanted: Salsa on Friday and LeBistro on Saturday. We ate lunch in the main dining room. It was enjoyable. Then we went back to the room, my DH changed into his bathing suit (I didn't bring mine) and then we headed to the pool. DH went over to the pool, but said he "wasn't feeling it" so instead he got a bucket of beer, he changed and we explored the ship and played some ping-pong until the muster drill. The muster drill was different on this cruise than on my last three. I don't know if this is common for the Norwegian Dawn (We were on Norwegian Spirit in 2006 & 2007 and it wasn't this way), but our drill was held in different indoor areas of the ship. Ours was in the Impressions dining room. It was really short. However, my one great complaint about the cruise is this: The tables were already set up for dinner. Everyone was touching everything on the tables. You couldn't help it. You were bored waiting for the rest of the people to get there. Kids were playing with the forks; adults were rubbing their hands on the glasses. I refolded the napkin ten times. DH spun the plate around about a hundred times. Ewww, and I meant to ask for a new place setting when we got to Salsa that evening but of course, I had forgotten about it by then. The reason I call that my one great complaint is because it is the only thing that I would say I should actually formally complain about. In fact, I think I am going to post something about it to the board on the Norwegian boards. Anyway, back to the cruise: Since we didn't have a balcony (we got an OV on 4th deck) we went up to the pool for sail away right after the muster drill. I'm not sure if we ran late or if I just got the time wrong, but we didn't leave until after 6 and I thought it was supposed to be 5. But that was okay because we were enjoying people watching and had secured a nice table on the Starboard side so that we'd have a nice view of the Statue of Liberty as we went by her. I was surprised that the large crowd that was on deck had left before we had gotten that far. Now that I am writing this I thought of another "issue" that perhaps I should formally complain about although I do think it would be weird for me to be the one to do it as I am a smoker. Here it is. The Port side of the Pool deck is smoking. The Starboard side is not. Even though I am a smoker, I chose a table on the starboard side specifically for sail away. I was aware that it was non-smoking and wouldn't have dreamed of smoking there. We were about two or three tables in from the bar area. At the first two tables was a large group in probably mid twenties. I actually think they didn't know they couldn't smoke in that area, so I don't blame them. I also don't know how the ashtrays arrived at their tables. Perhaps they did know and went across the deck to get them, or maybe they were already close by or at the tables. Anyway, they ALL smoked A LOT for over an hour. Staff went by—different staff. Nobody said anything to them. As a passenger I shouldn't have to enforce the rules to the other passengers, so it was not my place to say anything to them. And as a smoker I am embarrassed that I am even complaining about it. Anyway (again) back to the cruise: We went back to the room and waited for someone to come to fix the safe. Someone came about 7:15 and found that the problem was the battery brut he couldn't fix that and we had to be in the room to have it fixed. We had 7:30 res so that wasn't going to happen. We never did call them to have it fixed. No problem, I didn't really have anything that valuable. On a longer cruise it would have mattered more. We changed for dinner and headed to Salsa for our 7:30 res. Table was ready. Dinner was really nice. The appetizers were better than the entrEe (we both got the burrito and expected something more like we get in an area restaurant that is so delicious so it is almost not fair to compare) The service at Salsa was very efficient and everyone was polite and friendly. When I told the waiter not to be shy with the guacamole, he brought over a nice sized side of it. We went to the evening show which we enjoyed and then to adult karaoke (only to observe :) ) and that was fun as well. At midnight we went to the casino and lost our first $100 in record time. (this would become a pattern each time we went to the casino—good thing it was only two days) We headed up to the Blue Lagoon which is a 24 hour food spot. One of the hostesses told us that people had been waiting a long time for their food and suggested we go back to the casino for the buffet they had set up in there. We decided we didn't really need the food anyway and called it a night. Saturday I awoke early (as I usually do on vacations) took a shower and then harassed DH until he got up. We normally get room service for coffee each morning on our cruises. But when we got back to the room on Friday night there was no pen in the room to go along with the b-fast room service menu. We didn't want to wait for them to come with the pen so we just didn't bother with it for the one morning. Not a big deal. (btw, I found that I had a pen in my bag the next but didn't think I had at the time) We went to the buffet for breakfast which is really unlike us. I normally like the service at the sit down restaurants on the cruise and avoid the buffet as much as possible. It was still early enough that they were only using one side of the buffet and there was ample seating. We enjoyed the breakfast. I just really didn't like the coffee. After breakfast we went down to the Java Cafe and got coffee there. It was like $2 a cup but I liked it better. Then we headed to the first activity we were interested in: Trivia. We did not actually participate in a team we just sat and observed and thought of the answers ourselves. It was fun. Then they had the Wii bowling at the same location. We watched two "tournaments" and then we went to Bingo. I am not much for Bingo on the ships especially since it cost me $92 to play. Yes I misunderstood something and ended up with an addition final round sheet and some kind of pull and play cards, but it was okay because I won about that much back when I split the $330 prize with two other people on the second game. Niceeee. Then I had to go to casino to get the cash, so bye-bye $$ again. My main problem with the casino is that you can smoke in there! I smoke and I found it a convenient place to go for a smoke, but I literally felt the urge to gamble each time I went in there. Each cigarette cost me about $40 in slots! Perhaps I should have just dealt with the wind out on deck. After losing the bingo winnings and then some, we went to the main restaurant for lunch. We were invited to the Honeymoon/Anniversary champagne & cake party at 4pm at the star bar because I ordered the anniversary dinner package. We arrived at 4 and were told that only 4 other people were expected. This was not an rsvp event, so we just waited to see if they arrived while enjoying a glass of champagne after taking a picture in front of the cake. After 15 minutes no one else came so the hostess cut the cake and offered us each a piece. We had the cake and another glass of champagne and then left at about 4:30. When we were leaving another couple arrived and insisted that the photographer come back even though they were late. I thought that was rude since they were pretty late and they didn't ask—they demanded. We wanted to go to Win Lose or Draw and to the Movie trivia. The movie trivia started ½ hour after Win, Lose, or Draw so we really couldn't do both. We just went to the movie trivia. The room was divided into two teams. The trivia worked off of a DVD. It was a fun game (especially since our side was consistently in the lead but it was always very close) we then hit the casino again so I could smoke and lose money before changing for dinner. Dinner at Le Bistro was yummy! The service was a bit sluggish, but no problem since we knew we wouldn't make the 8:30 comedy show anyway. We went to the 9:30 show "Band on the Run" which was really good. Then we went into the casino again to lose money. There were still a few activities on the schedule that we were interested in, but we decided to call it a night instead ;) Again Sunday morning I got up early and showered then harassed DH to get up. Oh, I forgot to mention that they kept the beds Desi/Lucy style and DH loved that. Now he wants his own bedroom-lol! I, on the other hand, although I like my isolated space on the bed, I still like to know that he's next to me. Again, (I trail off a lot), back to the cruise: We went to breakfast in the main dining room. No line (about 7:30am) but the place was beginning to fill up. By the time we left (probably 8:00 ish) the lines were forming at the entrance. We picked up our free 5x7 photo from the honeymoon/anniversary party then went back to the room to get our suitcase. I'm not sure what time we go off the ship, but we were home by 10am, I think, and that was with stopping at Dunkin Donuts and briefly at A&P. We really enjoyed the cruise and found it a really great break. We didn't feel rushed at all. I would definitely do a two-night cruise again, if the timing and price worked out for us. We don't think we'd like a one night. Saturday morning we said we'd not feel satisfied if we had to leave at that time. At present, the next 2 night on Norwegian from NY is next May 1st (2009) which is too soon after our $$$ 12 night cruise in April. Carnival is having one in October this year, but we'll be on Freedom in October. So we'll wait and see if one shows up at a time that is in between the two or sometime better in Summer/Fall 2009 and if we financially able to go. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
I should start be saying my boyfriend and I have been on 3 other NCL cruises but all 3 have been on the Dawn. On those cruises we had oceanview, inside, mini suite. Now let's start at the beginning of this cruise. Since this is ... Read More
I should start be saying my boyfriend and I have been on 3 other NCL cruises but all 3 have been on the Dawn. On those cruises we had oceanview, inside, mini suite. Now let's start at the beginning of this cruise. Since this is a one nighter we choice to drive and park at the pier. Parking was quick and easy. I like the security precaution of the dog who sniffs your car. It was $30 to park but let's face it for one night overnight parking in the city that isn't bad. I like to be early and we were. Since for once we had a penthouse we got to breeze through the lines and wait in the VIP waiting lounge. There were 2 weddings and we were allowed to board immediately after the wedding guests at around 12:15. We stepped aboard and were greeted by friendly staff providing champagne. Everyone we spoke to was able to answer our questions and properly direct us. Another perk of penthouse was we were able to eat lunch and breakfast the next morning at Cagney's so we headed straight to lunch at Cagney's. Service was great food was really good. Then on to our room. Penthouse 9002 category AC. This is one of the few rooms with a balcony off the front of the ship. Now for our purposes on a one night cruise this worked out fine but for others beware the rules. I wanted the balcony off the front to watch us leave out of NY and go past the Statue of Liberty and for this we had no problem. However, the door to the balcony is not a normal balcony door but is more like a bulkhead door and it says right on it that the door is only to be opened in port not at sea due to high winds. Now when I am in port I tend to be off the ship and I like to use my balcony while at sea so for a longer cruise this room is not for me. I also don't like that the website doesn't tell you this when you look at the room categories. I mean you pay for an AC room but if you can't use the balcony it is like an oceanview. In addition, you are supposed to close your curtains at night so your lights don't affect the bridge which is above you. Again I think the website should tell you this because now at night it is like you have an inside room. One of the things I love from oceanview on up is being able to leave the curtain open at night and watch the moon and the stars. The one night was what you would expect good food - since it was only one night we ate in the main dining room the Grand Pacific where the service was impeccable, a great show - Colorz, gambling, white party with icydrinks (no rocks needed the glass was made of ice). I did like the Gem although I must admit at this point I like the Dawn better. We try the Gem again on Jan 14th for a 10 day and I'll review after that. My boyfriend likes the big screen in the main atrium but I don't think that compares to the atrium and the glass elevators on the Dawn. I liked that they did away with the wasted hallway space and expanded the Casino (compared to the Dawn), but they did the opposite with the shops. On the Dawn it is one shop with different areas and enough room to move around (except of course when the place was full for certain events). On the Gem they broke the store up into 3 different stores with wasted hallway space between them and even when mostly empty it seemed they were too small and cramped. I like the Dawn theatre better or I should say the upper level of the Dawn theatre compared to the upper level of the Gem. For one thing on the Dawn they had these comfy benches and also a rail to set your drink on. Second what is with the rather steep stairs up and then down again like you're going over a mountain on the Gem? I have never seen anything like that at any theatre anywhere. Back to the casino - On the Gem I like the idea that the chairs by the slots move but someone did not plan enough room for them when people are playing there is no aisle left to walk. The food was comparable Gem to Dawn, the show on the Gem-Colorz I thought was better than any of the Dawn shows. The singers and dancers were really good on both. I'm sure I'll have more of an opinion after our next cruise on the Gem. All in all we love NCL, we love cruising, we loved the one nighter and will do it again, we can't wait to be back on the Gem in 9 days. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
My wife and kids booked the cruise as a birthday present for me.The kids,both under 10,were really looking forward to using their own money to purchase the birthday room decoration package as a present to me. Only they don't do it for ... Read More
My wife and kids booked the cruise as a birthday present for me.The kids,both under 10,were really looking forward to using their own money to purchase the birthday room decoration package as a present to me. Only they don't do it for the one day cruise. Nothing in the web site about that. The trip was booked at the last minute,so all that was left was a minisuite.Very nice cabin, plenty of room for 4. Total cost was $930.Over $240 of that cost was for government taxes and fees.  Check in was easy,on the ship at 12:30,dropped the bags off at the room,room guy was still cleaning room,slipped him $10 to make some towel animals for the kids. He never made them and we never saw him again. We went down the the Cafe buffet. It was outstanding! Nice selection, all good.By 1:30 there were no tables and people had to eat standing up. Went bowling for $40. The one day cruise had an interesting mix of people.Some families,some who couldn't afford a full length cruise,some 18 or 19 year olds who were waiting for the ship to get 3 miles out ,so they could drink and gamble. But mostly was a booze cruise type crowd.The temperature was in the 20's on deck and yet the hot tubs were always filled with drinkers. Funny how you never saw anyone leave to use the bathroom. Diner at Magenta was terrible.The drink waiter seemed annoyed we had kids and therefore wasn't going to get a big drink order from us.I ordered a drink that didn't arrive until we were leaving. I refused it and had it taken off the bill.My wife and I both had beef dishes that were disgusting.We waited for the kids to finish their food,chicken fingers and mac & cheese, than went back to the buffet for dinner.Our waiter didn't care. We went to the Colorz show. It was all about songs that had a color in the title.Boring We had one of those 19 year olds and his girlfriend with an open bottle of wine sitting behind us in the theater.Talked the whole time until I shushed them away. When we got out of the show, you could see how people were starting to get sloppy and stupid.We went back to the cabin and called it a night. The next morning we were lucky to find a table for breakfast.Getting an omelet made was impossible.The food was good,you really can't mess up breakfast. This was our first Norwegian cruise.I didn't like the layout of he ship. I like Royal Caribbean's atrium going down the middle of the ship. Also the 24 cafe on the Gem requires you to get seated and order your food. On Royal Caribbean, their 24 hour cafe is basically self serve. You can sit and eat or take it back to your room. I'd never do the one day cruise again.Not really for families.The next time I would take the money to Atlantic City,get a room at the Borgata,eat there and still have $400 left over for gambling. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
A friend and I recently sailed on the Norwegian Gem for the "Savor the Night" Celebrity cruise out of New York. I was very impressed with the initial size of the Gem. Overall, the Gem is a beautiful ship. The exterior is truly ... Read More
A friend and I recently sailed on the Norwegian Gem for the "Savor the Night" Celebrity cruise out of New York. I was very impressed with the initial size of the Gem. Overall, the Gem is a beautiful ship. The exterior is truly something to behold. The colors were very vibrant and bright. The wood trim in the cabins was very sleek and had a high gloss finish. Everything was so new. Embarkation was very smooth. We entered the Manhattan cruise terminal just before 3:00 pm (thanks to a delayed flight) and there were no crowds. They had literally rolled out the red carpet. Everywhere you looked there was red carpet leading to the ramp to board the ship. After a very brief check-in, we were onboard within 10 minutes of entering the terminal. A quick snapshot by the photographers and the next minute we were being greeting with glasses of champagne welcoming us onboard. What a perfect way to begin a cruise. This was my first experience on NCL and I thoroughly enjoyed the Freestyle Dining experience. This is very similar to Princess' Anytime Dining, which I enjoy very much. The huge HD/Plasma screen in the atrium was very enjoyable. While taking photos of the ship, we somehow missed the basketball or tennis court (not sure which) and the rock-climbing wall in the rear of the ship. There are also two bowling alleys onboard adjacent to the Bliss Ultra Lounge & Nightclub. The cost is $5 per game inclusive of shoe rental. We were in cabin #10602 and although it was a balcony, the room size was very modest. The beds were no less than 8" apart with a tiny little nightstand between the beds. The nightstand could not have been wider than 6" or 7". The total room size was in the neighborhood of about 160 sq. ft, which is pretty small. There was a semi-couch in the room (not full size) and appeared to be a storage compartment for extra comforters. The beds were very comfortable and appeared to have an egg crate on top of the mattress. The balcony was average sized with two chairs and a table. Needless to say, we didn't spend much time out there as the weather was roughly 39 degrees. Our cabin stewards were very entertaining and had a great sense of humor. We enjoyed them very much. My only room complaint was that the heat appeared to be non-existent! We didn't notice how truly chilly it was in the room until it was time to dress for dinner. I checked the balcony door to ensure that it was closed securely. We later found that the heat had been turned down to zero so we bumped it up to the highest notch. When we returned from dinner and the show it was still cold so we let the hot water in the shower run for a few minutes to warm things up a bit. It helped but only slightly. After heading out to the casino and later the nightclub, we thought it would be warm when we returned at 2:30 am but we were sadly disappointed. We fired up the shower once more and jumped into bed for a 5-hr nap. Although it was cold, it certainly did not ruin our cruise. Next time, we will notify the front desk early on. It could have been a mechanical problem easily rectified. We liked the layout of the bathroom and the amount of storage space available. The bathroom had three separate areas, semi-divided by sliding glass doors. The shower was larger than the average shower stall on other cruise lines. The commode area was separate as was the sink area. There was more than enough wall storage space (see link to pics below) to place toiletries and other items. Luggage fits nicely under the bed and the safe was large enough to hold my laptop. The hanging closet space seemed a bit small. We were only on for one night but once we hung our coats, there wasn't much space for much else. I can't imagine how hard it would be to hang everything in the closet on a 7, 10 or 14-day cruise. The room was also equipped with an LCD screen television and a coffeemaker. The entertainment was top notch: John Legend performed in the Stardust Theatre. Show times were fixed at 8:30 and 10:30 and the venue had reserved seating. Someone had planted themselves in our seats in the Balcony area and we were asked to wait on the sidelines while they retrieved another spot for us. As a courtesy, we were upgraded to Section A Floor seats - FIRST ROW! We couldn't believe our luck! John was very energetic and delivered a very powerful performance. We were able to get some great close-ups. One thing I didn't like was the fact that we had to retrieve our concert tickets from the CS desk. At one point in the early evening a long line formed at the CS desk; we later realized that it was for people picking up their concert tickets. All other cruise lines I have sailed delivered excursion & event tickets to the cabins beforehand or were mailed with cruise docs. This was my only pet peeve with CS. We were also told when booking with AMEX that balcony cabins or higher would be able to participate in a meet-n-greet with John Legend after the show. I found this to be untrue on the evening of the event; only those in the Penthouse Suite or Courtyard/Garden Villas were able to participate. Although a bit disappointed, I had the opportunity to meet Bobby Flay later that evening which made up for not meeting John. There was a Bobby Flay book signing from 6-7 pm but they ran out of books early on ($35 for an autographed copy). We chose the Bobby Flay meal consisting of Pumpkin Soup with Mexican Cinnamon, Crème Fraiche and Crispy Tortillas, Porterhouse Lamb Chops with Tangerine- Jalapeno Sauce & Cilantro Pesto Mashed Potatoes and for dessert: Chocolate-Coconut Bread Pudding with Passion Fruit. Two types of wine were included with dinner, which really complemented the meal. We ate in the Magenta Main Dining Room where the lighting is very dim and had a more intimate appeal. This was perfect for couples. I much preferred the Grand Pacific Dining Room that had more of a traditional, formal appeal but it was already closed when we went to a late dinner following the 8:30 show. We were pleased that we were able to participate in such a fantastic event with such extravagant meals and entertainment. However, we were a bit disappointed to find suites selling for close to half of what we paid for a balcony two weeks prior to sailing. As with most NCL bookings, the reduced price was only for new bookings. We later found that they were offering up-sells at the customer service desk onboard for $20-$50 pp. Disembarking was equally painless as it was self-disembarkation. We ate in the Grand Pacific for breakfast and did not feel rushed as we initially anticipated we would be since we docked at 7:00 am. We left the ship just before 10:00 am and headed to Macy's for a Day of Christmas shopping. Hint: For anyone wondering what to do with your luggage while shopping or sightseeing in the city, Macy's in Herald Square has a coat check in the cellar near the restaurant. Note: If you eat here, you must try Macy's famous crab cakes - they are to die for! They will hold your coat & luggage as long as Macy's is open (they were open 24 hours due to X-mas season on 12/21). Thanks for reading my review of the Gem. Please enjoy our pics in the link below. http://good-times.webshots.com/slideshow/561862874jJihyi;jsessionid=abcv1g6nKSToAhk9JWJCr __________________ Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
A little background. We have taken 31 cruises and this was the first on NCL. We booked this three days prior to sailing as a little getaway. They reduced the cruise-rate to a great price at the last minute. It We chose an inside because a ... Read More
A little background. We have taken 31 cruises and this was the first on NCL. We booked this three days prior to sailing as a little getaway. They reduced the cruise-rate to a great price at the last minute. It We chose an inside because a balcony was a waste in NY a few days before Xmas. The ship was very nice, It was very colorful, but not as gaudy as we expected. We loved the enormous screen television in the lobby. We watched most of football game and it was fun to see it on a two story wall. The interior cabin was tiny. After taking a few steps into it, I went back into the hallway to see if we went in the wrong room, and it was actually the broom closet. This was hands down the smallest cabin I have seen on a newer ship. The last small cabin like this was on the Nordic Empress, which has already been retired from US cruises. We couldn't go next to the sides of the bed without sitting on the bed and moving our legs under the corner of a little table. The bed wasn't even the usual length. My feet hung over the end, even though I was all the way by the headboard. I am tall. but this never happened before on a ship. What was nice about the cabin was the bathroom. I had more room than a standard cabin usually has and the shower wasn't tiny. I can't figure out what would motivate them to build these cabins so small. We would never book this cabin again at any price. I don't mind inside cabins at times, but this was extreme. We looked at a mini-suite across the hall and that was just the size of an average balcony cabin on RCI. The food was excellent. We ate lunch and breakfast in the Garden Cafe. It was better than any other ship buffet. The food was hot and always seemed to be fresh. For breakfast, even the french toast was hot and not hard or dried out from sitting. The one complaint we had was that the tables are close together and it is very hard to navigate around them. We ate dinned in the Tex-Mex Restaurant. We don't usually eat this type of food, but we had little choice as the two main dining rooms were only serving Lamb (special menu by Bobby Flay) that evening and we don't like lamb. Let me say that this was the best Mexican food we ever ate in any restaurant on land. It was great food and great service. We sat by the window and watched the NYC skyline as we sailed by. Another thing that we loved was a day pass to the spa. It was twenty dollars and allowed you to use the facilities for the day. We spent a few hours laying on the heated chairs and in the different tubs. I would suggest trying it. All in all, we had a nice time and would go on this ship again if we get the chance. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Background: Fiancee and I are in our mid to late 20's. We traveled with my mom (late 50's), his parents (early 50's) and his younger sister (17). We have sailed only Carnival prior to this, first time for my mom and younger ... Read More
Background: Fiancee and I are in our mid to late 20's. We traveled with my mom (late 50's), his parents (early 50's) and his younger sister (17). We have sailed only Carnival prior to this, first time for my mom and younger sister. FI's parents last sailed 25 years ago. Our cruise to no where on the Spirit was a great weekend had by all in our party no matter the age! We had no flights as we drove from New Jersey and Massachusetts right to the cruise terminal. Everyone arrived at the terminal without incident. Parking was a breeze. $25 for overnight at the pier. Embarkation: We arrived at 11:20, quickly parked our car and made our way down to the terminal. 10 minutes after parking we were on a very very short and quick line for security and then to check in and register our credit cards. The whole thing was a breeze, and couldn't have gone any smoother. We walking on board about 20 minutes after we parked. Can't complain there! Ship: Overall the Spirit is immaculate. For 10 years old she really doesn't show her age much at all. She is very tastefully decorated. Simple, and elegant. No real "wow" factor other than Windows dining room, Galaxy of the Stars, and the Tivoli pool was very nice. I think Windows was the most impressive room on the ship, but I do have to say I LOVED Galaxy of the Stars. The large windows in back of the ship in Windows were spectacular. The ship is fairly well laid out, we were pretty much familiar with where everything was by the end of the night. The other smaller rooms, we didn't get to see all of them as our time was limited. But the ones we did see were all very nice and tasteful. Henry's pub looked fun, but very small for the crowd that was there. Teppanyaki looked great, casino was smaller than I expected but nice and easy to navigate. This was the smallest ship we have sailed, so it was a different experience for us. We are used to the large open public spaces of Carnival, with the wide hallways on the public decks, grand atrium etc. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more seating in the main lobby area. I love to sit and just watch people. But otherwise it was very beautiful. Room: BC Balcony room on deck 9 aft. Room was nice and very clean. Noticeably smaller than Carnival. I am still not sure how I feel about the bathroom. It's nice to have a shower stall rather than curtains, but it did make the bathroom feel a lot smaller than it should have as it was a good size. I think i prefer the more open layout and will deal with the shower curtain :) It was clean, but didn't feel as clean as it could have been. We had 3 people in our room, wasn't bad for one night or maybe two or three, but I think I would have died after a week! Bedding was average, sheets a little scratchy. Nothing spectacular but not bad at all. I love that the balcony door was sliding. This is one huge plus as on Carnival, I am so used to hearing balcony doors slamming all day and night. I also loved that we could leave it open which leads to my next point. You can control the temperature of your room! Haven't had this on any of my past cruises, loved it. Our day/night on board: We boarded and straight away went to make reservations for Cagney's. Line was a little slow and long, but I attribute that to people checking out the menu. No biggy. We went straight to Windows for lunch. Appetizers: The Tarro Chips with Avocado Salsa were excellent, as were the goat cheese quiche, and pea soup that I tasted. Salads were very fresh, all dressings were excellent. Most of us had the Risotto which was excellent. I tasted the tilapia which my fiancee inhaled. I thought it was excellent as well. Dessert was okay - but I find that common on most cruises. Sailaway was great. There is nothing like sailing out of New York harbor. I could do it over and over again and still be as breath taken as I was this time. You get to sail past Ellis Island, all of upper and lower Manhattan, Statue of Liberty and under the Varrazano bridge. Music was good, the band Trini Flavor (i think) was excellent. They had some fun games, but not many. Sail Away BBQ was yummy, good selection. Pina Coladas were delish. Just one word of advice, don't sit on the lounge chairs by the balcony in front of the Beir Garten while they are preparing for the BBQ, otherwise you'll smell like one for there rest of the night! We spent a good deal of time in Galaxy of the Stars after we made it past the Varrazano as it got very windy on deck. This was very nice and enjoyable. Back on deck for pics of sunset, which by this time the wind had calmed down and it was very nice outside. We shopped a bit. Nothing spectacular at the shops, they did have some good prices on cosmetics. Cagney's for dinner was excellent!!! The food was outstanding as was our waitress. Very fun and vivacious. We had a little bit of a rough time here as some of our party started to get sea sick. We hit some very rough seas around this time for the rest of the evening. Appetizer: Crab Cakes - OUTSTANDING! Salads:Basic salads, nothing great. Liked Windows salad better! Meal: Filet was tender and cooked fantastic. Sides: Corn and onion shoestrings were great. Cream of spinach and mashed potatoes very basic but good. Dessert: Didn't make it there!!! :) Afterwards we caught the end of the production show which looked to have been okay. Not crowded AT ALL. Casino was a ZOO. Didn't win anything, cut our losses at $20 each. No big deal, I never expect to win. Back to Galaxy of the Stars to catch the end of the quest. I am disappointed we didn't make it there in time to play. It looked to be a blast! Except for some sore-looser college kids. My mom was even hysterical laughing. The rock band which was EXCELLENT! Lead guitarist which I believe to have been the cruise director was outstanding. We had fun here dancing with the crew etc. Comedian Chris was cute for the girls. Guys thought she was okay, she did have some really funny lines, the rest was mild and just kept a smile on your face. It was a family show, guys were looking for something more intense. After that we had about had it and headed for bed. Slept great due to the huge waves rocking us to sleep! I woke up sometime around 5 for a few and we were just sitting somewhere off Long Island with another ship. I didn't wake up again in time to catch sailing into the city, but did catch the sunrise over the city. Breakfast: Heard Raffles was not so good. We went to Windows again. Everything was fine. Just a good average breakfast. Debarkation: Ridiculously easy. Off the ship around 9:30, in our cars at 9:45. Overall: Great time, would do it again in a heart beat. Only few things I didn't like - Port security were a bit asinine. I guess they have to but the cruise line representatives were embarrassed. They apologized profusely to me for one security guard that was particularly rude to me. No big deal! Getting up the escalator was a PITA. If your bag even looks like it's touching the floor the yell! Time to chill out a bit! Ship was a bit small for me for much longer than a few day cruise. But it was nice none-the-less. And my last dislike - Cagney's was WAY too tight. It was hard to get in and out of your seat as well as in and out of the restaurant. It seemed almost dangerous if there was ever an emergency. Waiters and waitresses even had a hard time getting food to customers. If they just took out one table, then I think they would be in a lot better shape! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
My husband and I are both in our early 30s, we have been on 8 cruises together - this was our 4th on NCL. (Others were on RCCL) We were just on a 10 day Canada/New England cruise last month (Norwegian Dawn), but we booked this "Cruise ... Read More
My husband and I are both in our early 30s, we have been on 8 cruises together - this was our 4th on NCL. (Others were on RCCL) We were just on a 10 day Canada/New England cruise last month (Norwegian Dawn), but we booked this "Cruise to Nowhere" as a way for my aunt and uncle (late 40's) to try cruising for the first time. We thought it would be a great introduction, and a fun night away... Check-in at Pier 90 was surprisingly smooth! It was so fast, we arrived at 11:45am, and were literally on the ship within 10 minutes of arriving at the pier. The cabins were not available until 2pm, so we had lunch in the Raffles buffet. None of us were at all impressed with the buffet. Having just traveled on the Dawn in September (where the buffet was slightly above average), this Raffles buffet was extremely disappointing to us. The salad dressings were all remarkably watered down to the point that when you brought the fork to your mouth - the dressing would drip all over the table (and you!). I had to put the salad aside because it was so drippy, and I didn't even load it up with dressing. The entree choices were medium-warm at best, and not tasty at all. They also did not have a nice cut-fruit salad like they did on the Dawn. The slices of fruit they had at the buffet had the rinds still attached, were cut awkwardly, and difficult to eat gracefully. The signs stating that the cabins were not ready were still on the hallway doors well after 2pm, and finally we just opened the door and continued onto our cabin. There were a handful of other people we heard complaining about that as well from other corridors. One thing that was WONDERFUL - no muster drill! I can't tell you how thrilled we were to not have to go through that this time around! We both loathe the muster drill on cruises, and cannot truly begin to relax and enjoy our vacation until the muster is done - so we were excited to see there would be none! We normally choose to eat dinner in the specialty restaurants most nights when we cruise, and our favorites are Cagney's Steakhouse/Le Bistro...but we were traveling with my aunt and uncle who were first-time cruisers, and they really wanted to stick to the "included" restaurants. We had no problem going along with this, because my experience with the dining room or dinner buffet on the Dawn was always decent. Unfortunately, the menu for the dining room on the Cruise to Nowhere featured salmon, veal, and a few other choices that did not appeal to my relatives - so we accompanied them to their choice - the buffet. I have to say that the dinner buffet was the worst I have ever experienced on any of my previous 6 cruises! I felt bad that we had talked it up as being full of selection and fresh...then when we got to Raffles - it was not anywhere near as pleasant as the buffet on the Dawn! It was small, cramped, and the servers had their own agenda. I had to stand there and wait for someone to finish their conversation with a co-worker before they could answer my question about what something was. At least two of women passing out the plates/silverware were noticeably rude in the way they asked people to sanitize their hands first. I actually witnessed one of the waitstaff pull the plate back out from someone's hands when she realized they had not sanitized! I am a frequent cruiser so I automatically do this step anyway, but I witnessed them being rude to other passengers - I think they could have handled it differently. After dinner we walked around the ship and checked out the various public rooms, including the casino. It seemed larger than on some ships I have been on, and it handled the crowd well. I didn't feel overcrowded inside. My husband and I aren't big gamblers...but we took advantage of playing a few slots and had some fun for about an hour. We ended up watching Game 3 of the World Series in the Shanghai Bar. We would have preferred to watch it in Henry's Pub, as they had a more enclosed area and cozier atmosphere, as well as the Sox game on the larger flat-panel screens...but NCL scheduled karaoke in there for the entire evening. Not a good combination to hear the screeching of drunken passengers while trying to watch the game. Around 11pm - we took a quick run over to the Blue Lagoon for a late-night snack. Service was quick...we ordered potato skins, buffalo wings, french fries, and soup. (There were only fast-food type choices in here) The sauce on the buffalo wings was anything but "buffalo" sauce. I forgot that I had also experienced this at the Blue Lagoon on the Dawn - or I would have skipped that choice altogether. (Why can't they figure this one little thing out??) The potato skins were actually good, but covered excessively in sour cream. I also enjoyed the tomato soup. It was hot and had a pleasant taste. My husband said the fries were too greasy for him to eat, so he shared the potato skins with me instead. NCL certainly made a killing on this one-night cruise! What a great idea to cut the Canada/New England itinerary down to 6 nights and offer the 7th night that week as a Cruise to Nowhere! They probably pulled in more money from drinks and gambling during this one-nighter than the entire 6 days on the Canada/New England cruise! There were many groups of passengers, clearly with organized groups and they were all having a great time! By about 9pm there were numerous people who were completely bombed and staggering all over the ship. I was fine with that, but it was unfortunate to see that so many passengers were careless about where they left their empty beer bottles and cocktail glasses...and they were seen stacked up in public areas, in common hallways, in and around elevators -I even saw a few left in plants around the ship! There is no reason for adults to act that way in any situation - so it was somewhat unsettling to be on a ship with that class of people...but alas, it was only for one night! Disembarking the ship was a breeze. NCL allowed guests to remain in their rooms until about 10am (although we left MUCH earlier!). It was nice to leave the luggage in your room and enjoy a leisurely breakfast before departing. The breakfast buffet was disappointing. The eggs were super-watery and there was nobody making omelets or waffles. Again, the fruit was cut into awkward shapes with the rinds still attached, and the watermelon had seeds vs the seedless variety onboard the Dawn! Walking off the ship was as easy as swiping your card at the gangway on Deck 7. No lines, no waiting. I heard some people complaining about the steepness of the ramp from the Ship to the Pier, but it didn't bother me. It was carpeted and steep, yes, but there were handrails the entire way down and I had no problem maneuvering it. Unfortunately, our traveling companions did not fare well on this cruise. One of them got seasick about 4 hours into the sailing and was unable to emerge from her cabin until the next morning. This was no fault of the cruiseline, of course, as the seas are what they are - but I felt bas nonetheless. Her husband was able to get out and explore some of the events of the evening and had an enjoyable time, but it isn't the same when you are on your own. I wish things were different for them, because I enjoy cruise vacations so much and would love for my relatives to experience it in the same way...but it was just not meant to be. Overall, I would say that I thoroughly enjoyed the decor and layout of the ship...it was much "fancier" is design than the Norwegian Dawn, with the Spirit having red oriental-style carpeting, black lacquer and brass furnishings. (Although, I prefer the more understated look of woods and rich, yet warmer colors as on some RCCL ships) On the Spirit there seemed to be more nooks and crannies to relax in - should it have been a longer trip. The layout of our interior cabin was super-enjoyable! I loved the shelves and safe in the closet, and also the tv/shelving area and vanity mirror layout. The only things I had a problem with were: 1) The tiling in the bathroom was the most shocking color of fluorescent greenish/yellow that I have ever seen, and the corners of and around the shower area were extremely discolored and looked moldy, although further inspection proved it to be only rust. Still, it was unexpected for NCL. And 2) When we asked the cabin steward to put our single beds together into one bed - we came back in the room to find much lint, dirt, stains and even a stray pill (!) on the side of the room that one of the beds originally occupied. It was only for one night, and we were really only in the room to sleep... so I didn't say anything to the staff about it, but maybe I should have. I would hate for that to happen to someone with a small child in the room. In summary, for $150/pp this was a worthwhile experience for the novice cruiser. For someone with multiple 7-day and 10-day cruises under their belt - I wouldn't recommend it at all. The only circumstance it would be recommended would be if you were planning to go with a large group of people to celebrate something. It really isn't long enough to be relaxing - it is just an opportunity for a very quick getaway. Heather Colchester, CT Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This cruise was a surprise for my husband's birthday. We were coming from the Bronx and we arrived at the port at 12:15 p.m. Once at the port, we parked in the lot for $25.00. We went to the registration area and it took us 5 minutes ... Read More
This cruise was a surprise for my husband's birthday. We were coming from the Bronx and we arrived at the port at 12:15 p.m. Once at the port, we parked in the lot for $25.00. We went to the registration area and it took us 5 minutes to register. The staff at the registration area was efficient and quick. Upon arrival on the ship, we were directed to go to Raffles for lunch as our rooms were not ready . The lunch at Raffles was okay. We went to our room at 1:50 pm and it was ready. We had the balcony room and it was small. It would be a tight fit for a family of four especially on a long cruise. I called reservations a few days before to have the room decorated for my husbands birthday. The room was nicely decorated with streamers, balloon and a cake. After we settled down we went upstairs for the departure barbecue. The food was average. There was chicken, franks, hamburgers, bratwurst and ribs. Everyone went to the upper deck to view the Statue of Liberty. The view from ship of the skyline is amazing. The ship was clean and well kept and the staff was very polite. Duty free shopping are on the 8th floor. We bought alcohol and cigarettes for the fraction of cost. We were able to purchase as much as we liked since we did not have to go through customs. We went back to the room to relax until about 7:30 p.m. We changed and went to Window's for dinner. I had originally reserved a table for Teppanyaki's, however, I decided it was best to go to Window's since my husband is a picky eater. I was pleased with dinner. I had the salmon for an appetizer and steak for the entrEe. My husband at Jerk chicken with rice for an entrEe and pineapple dish for an appetizer. He was actually pleased with his meal. After we ate we went to the Stardust theater for entertainment. The performers were a family of four. Later we went to the Galaxy of the Stars for the comic act. I was bored, however my husband enjoyed it. Around 10:30 pm there was another buffet at raffles that consisted of pizza, franks, cookies and some other things. Again, it was okay. We went back to room to sit on the balcony. There was complete darkness with the excepting of the moonlight glistening off of the water. It was a beautiful view. In the morning, I had breakfast at Raffles while my husband slept. The eggs were horrible. It taste like the eggs were cooked in fish oil. Other than that, everything else was fairly good. We were off the ship and at the parking lot in 15 minutes. It was a very quick process. I would suggest this cruise for anyone that wants to try cruising for the first time. Overall we enjoyed ourselves. It felt good to drive to the port instead of flying to Florida. It is also a great one day getaway from the hustle and bustle. I would do a another one day cruise with NCL. However, I'm not sure if I would do more than a one day cruise on the Spirit. There does not seem to be a lot of activities aboard the Spirit. If I have any complaints, it would be regarding customer service. I called several times to find out if the room could be decorated. No one knew for sure and I had to finally speak to a supervisor to confirm. I was also told that the ship does not open the shops for the one day cruises. They were wrong about that. Customer Service needs to make a better effort in communicating the right information to guests. Read Less

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