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Sail Date: February 2015
I took this cruise because it was a new ship , and I wanted to experience this ship. But it was a disappointed. This cruise is just long and narrow. It is very congested, they tried to pack all these restaurant in this ship, but its no ... Read More
I took this cruise because it was a new ship , and I wanted to experience this ship. But it was a disappointed. This cruise is just long and narrow. It is very congested, they tried to pack all these restaurant in this ship, but its no good. the restaurant were like small cafeteria, who design this ship, bad design. The theater is so tiny, that's another complete disaster for a so call huge ship. the theater cant even accommodate the amount of people on the ship. You cannot go and enjoy a nice evening in the theater unless you make reservation, because of the size of the theater. would not take it for a longer cruise than two days. The only thing I really enjoyed was the shows, and I had to make reservation and pay extra, but it was worth it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
I have cruised quite often, to the Caribbean many times, to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera...on RCI, HAL, Princess, Carnival (once) and Celebrity. I cruised on NCL three times before: Hawaii, Alaska, and Bermuda. Only Bermuda was a ... Read More
I have cruised quite often, to the Caribbean many times, to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera...on RCI, HAL, Princess, Carnival (once) and Celebrity. I cruised on NCL three times before: Hawaii, Alaska, and Bermuda. Only Bermuda was a freestyle ship. I do not post often to these boards but read a lot here. I believe I am an experienced cruiser. My last cruise on NCL was to Bermuda. I felt then that NCL made the free restaurants mediocre so that you had to go to the upcharge places. I wanted to try the Breakaway to see if the new ship meant a new paradigm and if I could sail NCL again. So I took this cruise to nowhere. This was the worst cruise I have ever taken. It is really a shame but I am glad I only spent 2 nights rather than 7. This was a stripped down, bargain basement experience. Period. One would think they would go all out to impress on this mini cruise to entice people to take the longer ones. This did the opposite. I will never go on NCL again. The Food: Paradigm is the same. Serve mediocre food that is not fresh, overly salted, no flavor, no style in presentation so that you are forced to an upcharge restaurant. That is their ploy. But the upcharge restaurants are barely the quality of the free dining on other cruise lines. The best food I ever had was on HAL. The worst was on Carnival. Until now. Cagney's charged me ten dollars extra to have a rubbery lobster tail with the steak. Other cruise lines ask, how many and one cruise line just put six on the plate. At Cagney's, one steak was all fat and came with frozen fast food onion rings. Manhattan had a nice dance floor show but the food was inedible. The lasagna was something out of a hospital cafeteria. I couldn’t finish lasagna? Unheard of. My personal trainer said I lost weight when she saw me after this cruise. Wow. No grab and go, no taco bar, no chicken sandwiches. O'Sheehans was loud, greasy, old cold mozzarella sticks. Two sabrett hot dog trucks. What was the discussion at the board room: Let's have Sabretts because new Yorkers on this ship don't want to eat anything else? All they want is a hot dog and beer anyway? Trouble is, were they correct? Cold and stale cupcakes at the cupcake upcharge place. Guy behind the counter did not understand what I was asking for even when I pointed it out. There was a grill on one of the highest decks outside that seemingly served the best fresh made burgers and salads and gave them to you in a box. We keep reading about it in reviews. Pity we found this out too late because they never posted this place for lunch in the daily Latitudes, and gave only breakfast hours on that sheet. We would have eaten there twice. The only people who knew about it were up in the adjacent game room. Why was this kept a secret? The buffet was the worst mob scene at all times. I have never seen any cruise buffet that crowded and organized so poorly. The food was not fresh, desserts like a Chinese buffet. Was there a reason there was cauliflower in 3 of the hot dishes one day? In a burrito, really? How about a taco/burrito bar like on other cruise lines? They broke down one side early so that the mob was concentrated on the other side. You are trying to take food and they take the tray out from under the tongs you are holding. Stir fry looked like canned La Choy and Chun King (some will know what I’m talking about.) No cucumbers or onions on the salad bar. But some poor staff had the time consuming chore of squeezing a flowery dab of cream cheese on each cucumber slice at breakfast for people to put on a bagel. Let us put our own cream cheese on it. Are people wasteful or messy? So that there was a pile of wilted and wasted cucumbers and all the cream cheese taken just to get a decent schmear? Because the passengers couldn't behave in a civilized manner? Do you know from experience? I guess you all do. The Passengers: The 4000. Now I knew there were a lot and I knew that there would be some drinking. I enjoy a cocktail too. What I did not expect was the overt, excessive drunkenness of most of the passengers. This was a booze cruise, no more, no less. People were lying on the floor in some areas drunk. Groups of men, groups of women drinking all day. I guess from research NCL thinks that is all NYC passengers want because that is all there was to do during the day, more about which later. These people were loud, obnoxious, shoving, catcalling, yelling, fighting, heckling acts in the clubs. Imagine a loud college party atmosphere but with people in their 50s. No wonder security was walking around the decks. This was not just 20-30 year olds in a revival of spring break mode. There is something particularly unattractive about 40-60 year old women roaming in packs, each with a bucket of beer under their arm. Many passengers purchased a bottle of hard liquor in the bucket with sodas and walked around with their own BAR. They also thought the food was wonderful because they actually ate the buffet food with repeated gusto which makes your local buffet seem gourmet. It didn't matter. They were there to drink, scream Journey on the top of their lungs and screech and curse at Cagneys. This was a group, crowd experience that was not nice. In spite of warnings, they brought kids to Rock of Ages, a well done professional show, but clearly not for kids with simulated intercourse and drug use. That and kids had to watch all these drunken adults. No decorum and irresponsible. The majority demographic on this cruise belonged on Springer or Maury. Dressed like hell and wearing pyjamas by day and women ready for 10th avenue by night. Ladies, size 4 to 24, doesn’t matter, those outfits are not becoming. Some people dressed with some taste and class at night but that wasn’t the majority. Thermal Suite: Sorry we didn't do it. So sorry. We checked out the Thermal Suite and considered it, but thought there would be enough to do and not enough time to use the Suite. It is my biggest regret. 120 people soon realized it was the only quiet, decent place to relax and bought all the tickets. Again, if you wanted some quiet you had to pay extra. Otherwise, there was really nothing during the day: Acupuncture, bingo, detox seminars. Take your pick. Evening entertainment: The best show was the in Fat Cats Blues club with Big Poppa. That band is great, the music fabulous, the jokes bawdy but all fun. Too bad a heckler was loud. We saw this show two nights in a row and it was the best thing on this cruise. Keep Big Poppa and his group. Excellent talent. The dueling pianos were fun, great players and good atmosphere. There were many things good at the same time. If you did not get advanced tickets you did not get in. Their reservation system does not work. Same with dinners. If you had a reservation you still needed to wait. Could not see Second City. La Cirque was a pay event. Layout of the Ship and overall design: This ship was not designed well for NY departures. You lose a few days just getting out of the cold. There is no place to go. The outdoor seating and spice H20 were useless. NCL should make a retractable roof over spice h20 so that people can go in tubs and see films in all weather. There was no place to put 4000 people when it is under 40 degrees. Except in bars. The theatre was useless during the day. no films, nothing but a short bingo game. Every public area is crowded and loud. The entire time I felt I was walking back and forth on 34th Street. Awful. Further more, if you scope out decks 6,7,8, you've seen it all. We saw it all in two hours. You can barely walk. It felt like a bad 1980s indoor mall, not a cruise ship at all. The smell of smoke permeated the public areas because it wasn’t contained somehow in the casino. Other ships don’t have this problem. The smoke went into dining areas and it was old, stale smoke. This was disgusting. Why would you hold your 10 dollar sale right where people have to walk? Then you have the pushing, shoving women grabbing and standing around waiting to check out? Take a lesson from other cruise lines that use empty, unused restaurants, like Taste and Savor, and hold your sale in there. There would be more room. You wouldn't crowd your only way to walk on that deck. You can also monitor the people at the one door and make sure people pay. Some of your passengers thought paying was optional due to the lack of organization of your sale. There are only two banks of elevators: Forward and Aft. No elevators in the Centrum or Atrium. Just glass stairs that are not wide enough for two way traffic. It is hard to walk down those stairs sober, much less in the condition that these passengers put themselves in. With only two elevators on the extreme ends of the ship, that means you have to walk the Whole way on 6, 7, 8 to get anywhere, walking through the mob scene, again and again: 34th street, CANAL street or 5th avenue. Not Pleasant. Finally, the stateroom. Stripped down, no frills. No towel animals. How can you make towel animals with no towels? There were two towels in the bathroom. No glasses. No chocolates. No Room Service. People were expecting it for breakfast. I heard them Friday saying they looked forward to it. It would have cut down on the mob scene in the garden café. Instead we commiserated upon finding out no one had a room service menu because no one was getting any. Refrigerator locked. Beds pushed together you felt the Seam down the middle. We are 49 and 50 years old. This wasn't the cruise for us or the line. If you want a 40 hour booze cruise with a “Whatever happens on breakaway stays on breakaway” atmosphere, then maybe this is your spot. Perhaps the cruise to nowhere attracts a different demographic and NCL knows they don't care about food quality or amenities, just the bars. The main issue for us is that it seems their MO is to serve mediocre free food so that you pay the upcharge. But this food still is not as good as the free places on other lines. So it appears that a lower price gets more people on ship and you can keep it a low quality experience if you want or must pay more for a little better quality experience. If you want to be cloistered away and never see the great unwashed, drunken masses with uncontrollable children you pay for the Haven. But, you still have to get out there eventually and it's not nice. That is what Freestyle really means, and it's not for us. Once again, you get what you pay for. We would rather pay more for the overall experience to be excellent and not feel we got the bait and switch. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
My family and I set out on April 4th, 2014 for a one night cruise to nowhere for my grandmothers 85th birthday (300$ per person.) The day started out great after getting the family (11 people) together to celebrate such an occasion. ... Read More
My family and I set out on April 4th, 2014 for a one night cruise to nowhere for my grandmothers 85th birthday (300$ per person.) The day started out great after getting the family (11 people) together to celebrate such an occasion. Shortly after boarding the ship at 2:30pm, I began to think that maybe the getaway wouldn't be so great after all. Now were do I start...after boarding I noticed that there was only a single bar open to service a ship full of excited cruisers. Not only did the bartenders move entirely too slow, it took me over 30 minutes to get a drink. None of the activities on-board were up and running, and when we asked why, we were told that the activities didn't open until 6:30, and when they did open, many of those activities required an up-charge.There was only one dining hall open that offered terribly bland food and produced overcrowding and a lack of available seating. Above all else, my biggest complaint was the atrocious customer service. Almost every employee I encountered had a nasty attitude and didn't want to answer any of our questions or give us directions. The only positive interaction I had was with the cocktail waiters in the nightclub. Upon disembarking the vessel, we had to go through "customs," which took over an hour; upon reaching the fort we realized that there was only one employee checking guest out. I have to say, I have been on many cruises through royal Caribbean and Carnival and never had such an appalling experience and I must say that I will NEVER give Norwegian cruise line dollar of my money again! CRUISERS STAY AWAY!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
I have been on a number of cruises over the years, including a few "Cruse to Nowhere" cruises. However, this 2 day Cruise to Nowhere on the Breakaway was the WORST cruise I have ever taken. Since my husband is in a wheelchair, I ... Read More
I have been on a number of cruises over the years, including a few "Cruse to Nowhere" cruises. However, this 2 day Cruise to Nowhere on the Breakaway was the WORST cruise I have ever taken. Since my husband is in a wheelchair, I booked my room through one of the Access Coordinators, explaining our needs. When we arrived at the terminal, I was told to stand by the blue Special Needs Sign. I wheeled my husband over there and stood waiting with a woman with a walker. We waited for a while and no-one came to assist us. That was pretty much the way the whole cruise went. I had to push my husband's wheelchair while pulling a suitcase (I am almost 70 years old) by myself. The did have help for two short legs of the trip but we for most of the time, there was no help, even when I asked for it. The room was cold even though the heat was set all the way up. When I called for help, someone arrived about a half hour later and told me that the cabin was warm enough. It wasn't and didn't actually become comfortable until the next day. The toilet often didn't flush. The first time that happened, I called downstairs and someone was sent up about a half hour later. The toilet flushed perfectly when he was there. He said that sometimes the toilet didn't flush when too many people were using the water on that line. That continued to happen often. I called to get blanket because it was still cold and was told they would be sent, but no-one came. I finally went out in the hall and was able to find someone to get my husband a blanket. The corridors are very narrow and were often obstructed by supply carts and laundry bags so that I couldn't get the wheelchair through. I asked for help but got none so I had to move the carts myself. As we were leaving the terminal, I had difficulty getting into the elevator with the wheelchair and our suitcase and asked the woman there if she could please hold the handle of the suitcase for a minute while I turned the chair around. She refused, saying that that was not her job. Seriously!!! The passengers in the elevator jumped to help me and expressed disbelief at the woman's attitude. Overall, it seemed that there were too many people on-board for the resources available. I heard many people comment about the waits for seats in restaurants that they were closed out of tickets to shows. The description on the Norwegian Cruise of the 2 day Cruises to Nowhere on the Breakaway states that there is "complimentary room service" on those cruises. The daily printed schedules that were given out also said that room service was available. When I called for room service, however, I was told that there was no room service on 2 day cruises. Since my husband was exhausted, I had hoped to eat in the cabin but no such luck. Customer Service was terrible. People rarely apologized for anything that went wrong and often didn't seem to understand what I was saying when I asked for something. We were sent a complimentary fruit bowl by someone from Guest Services when I made a complaint but most people didn't seem to care at all. This was my first and last cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
I spoke to the Access Coordinator before I booked this trip because I would be traveling with my husband who is in a wheelchair. I was given an handicap accessible room but wasn't asked any questions about what my husband's ... Read More
I spoke to the Access Coordinator before I booked this trip because I would be traveling with my husband who is in a wheelchair. I was given an handicap accessible room but wasn't asked any questions about what my husband's special needs might be. Before the trip, I called the Access Coordinator again to see what help I could get with getting on and off the ship. I was told that there were no porters so that only carry-on luggage could be brought, I said that we had carry-on luggage but I would need help because I would also be pushing a wheelchair. I was told to look for the Special Needs Assistant when I got to the terminal. I was directed to a blue sign that said Special Needs Passengers but there was no-one there. After waiting a while, I inquired and was told to go on ahead to check in - with no assistance! We then had to walk from Pier 90 to Pier 88 which I again had to do with no assistance. I did get some help from "Margaret" who said she was a VP at NCL. She pushed the chair up the steep ramp unto the ship for which I was very grateful but I was on my own after that. I asked for help when we got on the ship and finally had someone push the wheelchair for me. He told me that our room was not yet available but that we could go up to the 15th floor buffet to get some lunch. I asked where I could check my suitcase since I did not want to be dragging it around while we went upstairs to eat but the man just kept repeating that the buffet was upstairs, not seeming to understand what I was saying, even after I repeated myself many times. Fortunately, he was told that the room was available a few moments later so I wasn't stuck having to drag a suitcase with one hand while pushing the wheelchair with the other. The buffet was a madhouse. It was hard to find a table, there were long lines for food and the food was poor. Getting around the buffet with a wheelchair was particularly difficulty because it was so crowded. Our room was nice but had mechanical problems. The toilet only flushed about 2 out of 3 times which I was told was due to the fact that so many other people were flushing their toilets at the same time. This happened throughout the weekend. It was cold in the room but it took a long time for someone to come up to the room and he never really did anything. I then asked for a blanket because my husband, who has a neurological condition, was cold. The blanket was never sent but I was finally able to get one from our cabin steward, Sheila. Sheila was one of the few people on board who was helpful. The lights over the desk stopped working the second night and the shade for the window broke our second night as well. The corridors leading to the cabins were very narrow and were often impassable with the wheelchair because of the housekeeping carts with towels. I called out to a staff person for help when we were unable to get past a housekeeping cart but he looked right at me before turning on his heel and disappearing. I had to move those carts out of the way myself, something that I had to do frequently throughout the weekend. The information that you have online about the 2 day cruise on the Breakaway says that there is "complimentary room service". The Freestyle Daily that was given out both days we were there also stated that room service was available. However, when I called for room service, I was told that it wasn't offered on the 2 day cruises. My husband was feeling very tired and I had hoped that we wouldn't have to leave the cabin to do battle with the wheelchair in order to get something to eat on Friday night. Since it is not safe for me to leave my husband alone, I had to get him dressed again and take him out in the wheelchair to get something to eat which was very inconvenient. If I had known that there would not be any room service for this weekend, I probably would not have booked the cruise. I had to go to Guest Services when I had a problem booking a show on one of the large touch screens on the 7th floor. The person at Guest Services was actually pleasant, something I had not come to expect from the staff by that time. I told him about the things that I was not happy about and later found that he had sent a complimentary fruit bowl to our room. That was nice of him but I needed assistance a lot more than I needed free food. The Cirque Jungle Dream and Dinner in the tent was the one bright spot in the cruise, It was a beautiful show that was very professionally presented. Overall, my impression was that there weren't enough staff members on board to take care of the large numbers of passengers who were on the ship. There also wasn't enough physical space to accommodate the numbers of passengers on the ship. There were long waits for elevators and long lines to get into the complimentary restaurants. I also heard people complaining that they had been closed out of all of the shows. I have been on a number of other cruise lines but have never encountered such poor customer service before. I can truly say that this was the worst cruise I have ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I’ve cruised 41 times, mostly solo, all over the world,and am an active, enthusiastic, cruise-loving adult traveler. NCL’s weekend getaway cruise from New York City in the dead of winter appeared to be a good ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I’ve cruised 41 times, mostly solo, all over the world,and am an active, enthusiastic, cruise-loving adult traveler. NCL’s weekend getaway cruise from New York City in the dead of winter appeared to be a good change of pace, and I booked a mini-suite for this trip. From past experience, I realized this cruise would be a “party cruise” atmosphere, but hoped for tolerable conditions, and I missed the ocean and needed another cruise “fix”. I used Amtrak’s Acela express to New York from my home town, first class, and it was superb, with return home the same pleasant way. HOTEL: I stayed at my favorite hotel in New York, the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square, and received their usual warm and royal service. It’s about a 15 minute ride from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal piers. The few minor glitches with the hotel were taken care of to my complete satisfaction. EMBARKATION: This is where things began to go wrong. The ship holds over 4200 passengers, and they all apparently got there early. The reservations agents I spoke with, multiple times, told me that porters load passenger’s bags for them on this cruise. The cruise line emails an information “booklet”, and it states how to put the luggage tag on one’s bags and they will be delivered to the stateroom. When I arrived at the pier, several surly and grouchy people from the cruise line, presumably, were barking orders at people to just keep moving, keep moving and there was no baggage service. Inside the pier terminal, the heat was going full blast, and the lines of people filled the building, snaking back and forth. Some people had been in the city or traveling long enough to have large luggage, and some were elderly, struggling to push and pull their bags with them because of no porter service. The NCL-uniformed agents kept barking at people to keep moving, keep moving. It was like the old descriptions of Ellis Island and the refugees struggling in lines with their bags. I was in line (and I’m a Latitudes Member in NCL’s loyalty program, which had an “expedited” check-in line) for 90 minutes. Normal check-in for cruises in my experience is 15 minutes. Agents had problems with their computers, and other NCL personnel kept misdirecting passengers to the wrong lines. Security checkpoints were manned by grumpy, surly agents who stood and watched while people struggled to lift full-size suitcases onto the conveyor belts of the scanners. Once through this area, there were unclear, tiny, and poorly placed signs as to where exactly one could finally get on the ship. That took another 15 minutes in the maze of people and locked doors to finally reach the gangway. The gangway was extended into a long, huge zigzag climb at a steep angle. I’m fit and strong, but many people again struggled to climb up the steep ramp while hauling their bags. No help was visible that I could see. Upon entering the ship, no “welcome committee” of crew members, just deadly serious security people at their podiums who scanned the passenger ID cards. I entered a crowded vestibule of some sort, filled with cigarette smoke and mobs of humanity lining up for elevators. The blasting, blaring rock music made any conversation impossible, and was horrible. It took forever to get jammed into an overloaded elevator and finally reach my cabin on deck 11. The critical, important SOLAS law-mandated lifeboat and emergency drill was chaotic and unruly. At my muster station, there was a huge crowd of boisterous, drunk, noisy, inattentive, shouting, cell-phone using, selfie-taking, profane people who were so loud you could not hear anything. The officer on the public address system was trying to get some degree of order, and to quiet people down, but people just yelled him down, even when he said if we did not “shut up and pay attention, we would do this again tomorrow”. Inappropriate comments about what people had been doing to make them late for the drill were embarrassing to listen to, especially when shouted by staggering drunks. I heard the “F” word more times than I care to remember, as well as other swearing. Between the ill-informed passengers, the narrow corridors on cabin decks, and the badly delivered drill (recording nearly inaudible above the noise level), I had honest doubts about getting off that ship alive in an emergency. People paid no attention to the instructions, officers and crew who worked very hard to deliver life-saving and legally required information before the ship sailed, and I feel that somebody in authority should have called the captain to the scene for order, and to have some of the worst of the drunks removed from the vessel before it sailed. There is a difference between happy people enjoying themselves and out of control drunkenness and bad behavior, and this cruise reminded me of an animal house mentality where company profit mattered more than how the passengers behaved and affected other passengers. I love to see people happy and having a good time on a cruise, as I myself enjoy doing, but not to the degree where it affects my health and safety on a ship. SHIP INFORMATION: The Norwegian Breakaway is a monster at over 145,000 tons, with gaudy hull art that is eye-catching in its own unique way. The sheer size of this vessel would stop traffic anywhere, but it is not really attractive either inside or out. Due to cold and later stormy weather, all I saw of the ship was my cabin deck and the several entertainment, dining, and shopping venue areas. The ship’s décor reminded me strongly of a modern New York office building, with dark functional colors, odd lighting, and a lot of sharp corners, use of metals, and nothing remarkable enough to even comment on. The casino was huge in the ship’s center, and open, and smoking is allowed in that area and/or areas in close proximity to the extent that the strong cigarette smoke odor is sucked into the ship’s ventilation system and spreads throughout most of the ship. With all the metal in the ship, the noise level is such a roar that it’s impossible to converse in normal tones anywhere, or to be heard. ACTIVITIES: There were plenty of activities on the ship’s daily newsletter, aimed at the party atmosphere. For whatever reason, I always marvel at ship activity planners who don’t seem to realize that people on party cruises stay up late – yet all the activities relating to fitness seem to be at dawn or shortly thereafter. I don’t “party”, and took this cruise mainly for the boat ride, not having to cook for two days, possible good exercise options and socializing – plus I love to sleep on ships while they are underway at sea. The only “activity” I did and thoroughly enjoyed was the 8 AM Zumba class. The handsome, young male dance entertainer from the Dominican Republic gave the best Zumba class I’ve had in years, and as I’m a former professional dancer, the two of us really burned up the floor for a marvelous solid hour of good music and dance moves. Shopping was popular with the “captive audience” crowd – nobody could go outside due to storm conditions with rough sailing and high winds. The casino rocked out 24/7, and there were several theatrical productions and shows at night. I could not get reservations for any of the shows at the time convenient to me, but having seen enough cruise ship shows, it wasn’t a problem for me. I was thrilled just to read quietly and relax in my cabin, as the rough trip didn’t really encourage a lot of activity, especially outdoors – I would have enjoyed the ropes course in good weather, however. The internet service on the ship was the slowest I’ve ever seen, and outrageously expensive. I only was able to connect once for a few minutes from an IPad, after paying for 30 minutes of internet access. There were frequent, raucous, tacky announcements loudly on the ship PA system throughout the day about the money-maker activities such as the art auctions, gambling, and shopping opportunities. Every little thing on this ship for sale was overpriced, and every opportunity to make money for the cruise line was the priority. The cruise director was a total disaster. The first time I heard his off-key, terrible, singing on a PA announcement, I thought it was one of the drunk passengers who had somehow gotten access to the PA and was trying do karaoke. This singing prelude to early morning announcements on the ship and at debarkation were absolutely awful and dreadful to hear and start the day with. The way this cruise was presented overall made one of Carnival’s legendary bad trips look like a high-end cruise in comparison. SERVICE: This was a very serious, almost depressed bunch of crew on this cruise. I did not see one smile, and I kept overhearing crew discussing how many months, weeks, days, and hours it would be until they could get off the ship and go home. Not a good sign. The crew were attractive and international for the most part, but some of them had problems with enough English to communicate with. I never got accurate answers from the guest relations desk crew, either in person or by telephone while on the ship. Service in the dining room was very good, just serious. It was like being on a cruise with a robot crew. My cabin steward did his job, but the cabin was not serviced until afternoon on the one full day at sea. I waited in the public areas as long as possible, but the cigarette smoke aggravated my allergy to it and I was forced to return to my cabin eventually. I was there when my cabin steward showed up finally to make up the cabin, and he was mature and nice, but also seemed depressed and all I heard was how long it would be until he could go home. I was not impressed at all by the service – just the lack of it from seemingly miserable people. The last morning of the cruise, no statement appeared under my door as we were told to expect, despite seeing the statements in and partially under other cabin doors in my vicinity, and when I phoned guest relations, I was told rather nastily to just pick it up myself in person. I insisted on having it delivered and somebody pounded on the door and woke me up to give it to me, despite the electronic light above the door clearly indicating not to disturb. When I asked early in the trip where the room service menu was in my cabin, or might I please have a menu at the guest services desk, the young man on duty told me he would get one right away – and then was stopped by his supervisor, who stated that this trip had no room service. Reservations told me several times that I’d enjoy the room service available on this particular cruise. The one pleasant exception to the lack of service noted above was the hostess at the Tepanyaki restaurant, who graciously cancelled my prepaid reservation and waived the cancel fee when I checked the menu, found everything either loaded with garlic and/or had foods I can’t tolerate, and I told the hostess I had to cancel as I could not eat the food there – this saved me $25. There is the option available to raise or lower the prepaid gratuities, and I should have lowered the tips based on what I received. After trying to deal with the guest relations staff many times with poor results, however, I decided it wasn’t worth it, and they would probably have not done it right anyway. EXCURSIONS: Since this cruise was only 36 hours, it offered pre- and post-cruise New York City excursions which I did not participate in, and can’t give any feedback on. CABIN: I had a deck 11 midship mini-suite, which seemed slightly smaller than the average regular balcony cabin on most ships. The décor was depressing, with more “office building” feeling. Dark colors, sharp metallic edges, cheap fake wood and other hard surfaces. Extremely narrow balcony with two chairs and a tiny table. Balcony wall was full glass with a sliding door. The queen bed was two twins connected, and very comfortable with decent linens. The AC system did not work when I first got to the cabin and I had to call the engineer to fix it. Be aware that this ship has key-card activation for electricity use in the cabin! No card in the slot in the cabin equals no electricity. There are no drawers in the cabin, just shelves, but they are quite adequate. I found the refrigerator locked, and called to have somebody open it. Nobody ever appeared to do this despite repeated calls. There was no ice in the ice bucket. Also, oddly, no pen, notepad, usual book about how things work and where things are on the ship, no map of the ship, no postcards, nothing. It was like the cabin was completely stripped of anything moveable by somebody and not replenished or even checked. Only the bolted-down TV and phone and small refrigerator were in the cabin as standard items, but had they not been bolted to the ship, I would not have been surprised if they had been removed, also. Repeated calls to the guest service desk to have missing items brought to the cabin resulted in a rude answer to “come pick up these things yourself”. Are you kidding me, when I’ve paid double the high fare for this cabin? The closet was large with a safe and plenty of wooden hangers in those metal hooks on the rod to prevent theft of them. There is adequate storage space for two people at least, despite no drawers, as there are a lot of clever shelves and cubbyholes for everything. The carpet was peculiar, and did not go with the room. It was a sand color, with ripple-like darker sand color patterns in it which made the carpet looked like the ripples were real or raised on the seabed floor, and it was rather disorienting to see it and walk on it. Lighting was very poor, just ceiling spots and small low-wattage lights and lamps elsewhere. Turn-down service was a joke, as nothing looked any different in the evening before bed than when I first entered the cabin. There were visible clumps of gray dust in the corners of the furniture. There is a rather clever electronic light system above the cabin door on the corridor side which allows a light to show by color that the guest wishes either to have the cabin made up, or not to be disturbed, and is activated by a light switch inside the cabin. This system was not always observed by crew, however. It was good, however, in keeping prankster passengers and kids from either reversing the do not disturb signs hanging on doors, or removing them altogether. Having been walked in on several times due to improper door signage, the lights were a relief. When I first looked in the bathroom, I noticed empty towel racks, other than two bath towels. No hand towels, no washcloths. There was a tub mat on the under-sink shelf. I called housekeeping twice, who assured me that somebody would deliver the missing linens, and 30 minutes later they were delivered. This is something cabin service should have taken care of when setting up the cabin after the last guests departed. The bathroom was very large, with a huge glassed-in shower featuring a rain shower and various water jets. There was a large, trough-like very modern double-faucet sink. Dispensers in the shower provide shower gel and shampoo amenities, and there is a soap dispenser at the sink, but no body lotion of any kind – if you use it, bring your own. The bathroom looked clean and new. The main problem with it, however, was the lack of cold water. The faucets were installed in reverse, as well, with the colored dots of hot and cold water opposite what actually came out of the faucet. Two calls to the engineers resulted in cold water, but I had to wait up to 30 minutes for the cold water to actually come out every time I used the bathroom sink water. The water came out in a very thin, low-pressure stream at the sink faucets, but was normal in the shower. Cabin walls were paper-thin, and I can’t repeat here what I heard going on from either side of me. The cabin door was also very thin, and the rowdy, drunken party guests on board roared and pounded through the corridors all night long. There were a surprising number of children on this trip, and the unsupervised kids would run through the corridors, pounding on doors and pounding their feet on the floor when they ran – when they weren’t trying to push passengers or each other down the stairs, where these kids congregated in their boredom. DINING: I ate dinner in one of the two main dining rooms. Nice views out the windows of the evening sailing from New York City. Good but serious service. Terrible ambiance, as it was very dark, and I was seated at a table for four close to the doors to the kitchen, which had a harsh bright lighting glaring into everybody’s eyes at the table with the doors open all the time. Very unsanitary place mats of some kind of plastic with the utensils placed on this mat – it was sticky and did not look clean. Very basic menu of typical American home meal items such as spaghetti, salad, steak, etc. Certainly not gourmet, as that costs extra in the premium restaurants on this ship. Portion sizes were just right, however, and the fish I had was very good. Tasteless, unimaginative desserts. People began lining up for the dining rooms with their free-style eat when you want service, and the waiting area was jammed and reeked of the cigarette smoke filtering throughout the ship. I enjoyed the two mature couples I dined with the two nights on the ship. The noise level in the dining room was extremely high, and we had to shout to hear each other, even sitting fairly close together. This was for the earliest seating, around 6 PM. The enormous buffets higher up in the ship had food for every taste on the planet, literally, but seemed disorganized and opened late. Tiny little plates, no trays, and it was hard to get even a decent meal onto one plate and have a hand free to serve with. The lines were far too slow and long to go back for deserts or seconds, besides losing seating. Unsanitary practice of putting serving tongs on the counter edge before putting them into the food when the buffet opened, and people handled the food with their hands or fingers, and the tongs were put anyplace but where they should have been, or just left on the presumably soiled counter tops. Plenty of seating, but it was hogged by people just reading or using computers, and it was hard to find seating to eat, even early. Terrible service, with seemingly just two or three unhappy-appearing people for one side of the ship’s huge buffet seating area, and to get bar service for a soda took forever – and it was done by the same few staff cleaning the tables with what looked like dirty grayish dish rags. Be prepared for a surprise when you order a soda. I ordered diet Pepsi, and got a tiny plastic cup which held maybe 4 ounces of liquid and a lot more ice. No can full of soda, as on Princess or other lines, and it was $2.35 for this tiny cup. I had to order four to get enough to drink with my lunch. Some of the hot foods were improperly held at lukewarm or even cold temperatures. Surly serving staff at the buffet, and total confusion and more depressed crew visible. Very good Indian food was available. I had brought some nonperishable breakfast food items and bottled water with me, as I always travel with these things, and at least could enjoy breakfast the two mornings of the cruise in the privacy and convenience of my cabin. I’m glad I did, after seeing how the buffet operated. ENTERTAINMENT: I did not go to any of the on-board entertainment, as I could not get reservations at a time convenient for me. DISEMBARKATION: Total chaos at 7 AM when the ship docked. Huge mob trying to leave the ship at the same time, through too-narrow corridors, with people having to haul their own bags off the ship. Reservations staff told me there would be baggage removal, and to be sure and leave my bag outside the door the last night. Good thing I did not do this. The corridors were clogged, as were the elevators, with people hung over and in very bad moods. It took about 40 minutes for me to get off my 11 deck location with one rolling bag, down the elevator, and finally off the ship, down the long, zig-zag gangway, and into the terminal. I had a limo reserved to pick me up at the terminal, and the signs in the terminal were unclear as to where to go for this with different level roads outside. A middle-aged woman in NCL uniform was directing people by yelling at them rudely to “get in the elevator”, over and over again, and she had the ugly expression and personality of an angry pit bull. Questions directed at her as to where to catch a taxi, limo, or bus were snarled at and barely answered. I was misdirected, and ended up on the icy street where some very suspicious people were loitering. I called my limo driver, and he told me he had been blocked by the cruise people from entering the terminal roads at all, and was worried about finding me in the freezing cold and mobs of people. It took 20 minutes of calls, plus having to walk several long blocks with my luggage in a bad neighborhood before my kind driver finally saw me and collected me into his vehicle. Other than the rude woman in the terminal, there was nobody else directing mobs of people, many of whom had questions as to where to go for their various transportation. Absolutely hideous, and totally disorganized. The usually rather serious customs people looked like angels, and were very nice, in comparison. SUMMARY: Most of what I was told about this cruise was not accurate, but might apply to regular full-length cruises. The cheery, hyper reservations staff kept repeating the company slogan about “cruise like a Norwegian”. From what I saw, this style of cruising has nothing to do with Norwegians, and is an insult to this legendary country and its people. I am of Nordic heritage, and would hate to think that the world views my people by how this cruise line operates. Maybe the ancient Vikings partied in their own way on their dragon ships and longboats after a raid or war party, but that doesn’t apply to today’s standards of service and behavior on an overpriced cruise line. If one is young of mind or at heart, and loves to drink a lot, be in a noisy atmosphere, breathe cigarette smoke until you strangle, party until you drop, eat until you waddle, loves loud contemporary music, has to shout to converse, doesn’t expect much if any service, and enjoys being packed into too-small public spaces with too many people who behave similarly, than this is the cruise line and way to cruise for you, especially with world-class New York party people. I did enjoy being on the sea, and watching an impressive winter storm from my cabin – it was too windy to even be able to open the balcony door. What sleep I got between noises from drunks in the corridor was superb on a very comfortable bed. The luxury shower was an activity in itself, and I was in there for an hour at a time. There was good TV variety available. Most of what I ate was good, considering it was not high-end gourmet. My concern is for people who use these short getaway cruises as their first cruise, and who form quite the wrong impression of how good cruising can and should really be. I don’t feel that I got the service or value for which I paid, and I paid double as a single occupant for a mini-suite solo occupancy. Previous NCL cruises some years ago were nice basic cruises, although overpriced even then, and I had reasonable expectations that this short cruise would be pleasant. After this cruise, I would not go on this cruise line again even if it were free.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
Just returned this morning from a one night voyage and was never so happy to be home. Nutshell of this 24 hour trip is as follows: check-in was lengthy and very confusing; state rooms would not be ready for 2 hours and so the line to check ... Read More
Just returned this morning from a one night voyage and was never so happy to be home. Nutshell of this 24 hour trip is as follows: check-in was lengthy and very confusing; state rooms would not be ready for 2 hours and so the line to check your bag was about 100 deep on the ship (only 2 men tagging suitcases); lunch in the main dining room was good but the portions very small (big eaters should go to the buffet where 90% of the guests so there is a lot of pushing, shoving and NO available tables to sit so people where standing withe their plates of food). I did not eat there so I have no comment; no internet in your room have to pay; constant overhead loud speakers telling people what to do and where to go (this went on most of the trip except for about 8 hours in the evening); the theatre group at 7:00 PM were entertaining and enjoyable; dinner in one of the "speciality" dining rooms for an additional cost of $20 per person was horrible. They ran out of food by 8:30 PM; 7:00 AM the House Keeping crew arrives and all heck breaks loose. Loud voices, carts going up and down the hall and a meeting of the group right, smack in front of my stateroom door. After 15 minutes of this I swung open my door and told about 15 employees to be quiet. Yep....this really worked ....not!; Went to the dining room and although the loud speakers are screaming for you to disembark our breakfast took 32 minutes to arrive and then we had to rush eating to get off by 10 AM. Getting off the boat was the same as getting on (read the above). Never again with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
After years of avoiding NCL, I took this inaugural cruise to nowhere because the Norwegian Epic had managed to achieve a five-star rating, so I thought that the Breakaway would be at least as good. This cruise was sadly disappointing in so ... Read More
After years of avoiding NCL, I took this inaugural cruise to nowhere because the Norwegian Epic had managed to achieve a five-star rating, so I thought that the Breakaway would be at least as good. This cruise was sadly disappointing in so many ways. Embarkation was fairly efficient. My first impression of the ship itself was that a five-year-old had decorated the outside, which I learned was actually the masterwork of an artist named Peter Max, who was also selling his artwork on board. I can't imagine who finds these simple doodles worth so much. My niece, at age five, had more artistic skill than this artist. Most of the public areas are nicely decorated. Norwegian's rooms are small...very small...about 20% smaller than the industry average (even the suites). The food was absolutely terrible. Norwegian managed to mess up food items as simple as bacon, if that gives you an idea. The lobster and shrimp served in the main dining room on the first night was rancid and no one in my party of eight could stomach it even with a lot of lemon. One of the specialty restaurants, Cagney's, had good (not great) steaks but of course they normally charge $30 per person for the "privilege" of eating here. These are the type of steaks that you would find in the main dining room on Royal Caribbean or Crystal. The ship also has a couple of completely pointless and boring venues. On Deck Six midhip is a gigantic TV screen adjacent to a dance floor, and then they have exactly the same thing towards the back of Deck 16. Why make two venues that offer exactly the same experience? A surfing simulator like Royal Caribbean has would be a better idea for the Deck 16 location. All in all, a bad cruise, and I won't be returning to NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2010
I was so disappointed with this one night cruise to nowhere that I wrote to NCL corporate headquarters. My companion and I recently attended the one night cruise to nowhere on January 23rd, 2010 out of NYC cruise port. We are both ... Read More
I was so disappointed with this one night cruise to nowhere that I wrote to NCL corporate headquarters. My companion and I recently attended the one night cruise to nowhere on January 23rd, 2010 out of NYC cruise port. We are both regular NCL cruise customers and even attended the one night cruise to nowhere last year. This year, though, we were both extremely unsatisfied. To begin, the line was extra long this year. We waited about an hour and 20 minutes to board. We arrived at 1pm. After we were aboard, we went to get lunch. The buffet was too crowded and there were no seats. It was like this last year so we expected it. We then abandoned the buffet and headed to the Blue Lagoon. I ordered tomato soup and a grilled chicken sandwich. My companion ordered buffalo wings and chicken fingers. I also ordered a Mai Tai to drink. After 25 minutes, the food arrived except for the chicken fingers. We were told they were still cooking. In short, the food was terrible. Everything was cold. The chicken sandwich was very small and the bread was stale. The chicken wings were actually rotten. There was a wing that had disintegrated black bone parts in it. We showed it to the server. She shrugged and walked away. We then waited another 25 minutes for the chicken fingers to arrive. I laughed out loud when I saw the portion size. There were literally six bites of food on the plate. We are not large people at all. This plate portion would not have filled a 7 year old child. While waiting so long, I decided on another Mai Tai. The second drink arrived but this time it was in a shorter glass of the same proportion. My guess is it was about 4 ounces less than the first one. When I inquired about it, I was told that the bar ran out of glasses. I was charged the same price. After the so called lunch, we went to our room. As we were putting clothes away, the crew came to turn down our beds. This was about 5pm. Naturally, we were not ready for that so I asked him for two extra towels and sent him on his way. Because of the late lunch, we decided to do a later dinner. Mistake- the dining room had a wait so we decided to eat at the buffet. Out of all my cruises including NCL and other cruise lines, this was the worst buffet I had ever eaten at. All the hot food was cold. All of the desserts were bland and all the bread tasted as if it was a day or more old. I felt as though we were eating left overs from the previous cruise. Breakfast buffet was the same way. Example-watered down cold eggs, ice cold pancakes, double reheated greasy potatoes and a broken coffee machine. I am very troubled by this as we have a cruise booked on March 20th on this very same ship. I am hoping that there will be a different chef aboard! As for the evening entertainment, we attended karaoke which was poorly run. I came on this cruise with specific intentions; to sing karaoke and to dance at the night club. The karaoke lady lost my ticket and I had to go to her twice to see when I could finally sing. Bingo ran late so karaoke was shortened. I was one of the first to submit a song and next to last to sing. After heading to the club, well, the music was a mix of seventies and eighties even though it wasn't supposed to be. We were in Bliss lounge. I could have dealt with it but the real problem was the temperature. It was so hot you couldn't dance without sweating up a storm. The air conditioning on the entire ship was obsolete. Usually I am wearing a sweater indoors on a cruise. Not this one. Finally, it was morning and I received the bill. I noticed the $12 per person service charge on it. I did not think that we deserved a service charge since we did not have any turn down in our room and we did not eat in the dining room or specialty restaurant nor was the service worthy at the Blue Lagoon. I went to the front desk and asked for a partial amount to be removed. I was told that this can't happen on the one night cruise. In conclusion, I believe that NCL should make this mandatory charge known to the customer before the ticket is purchased. We paid $460 plus the $24 service charge plus $30 to park the car and then the high prices of liquor where I even was ripped off on that. If I were able to, I would cancel my March 20th cruise on the Gem and if I were able, I might even think about canceling the booked cruise we have on October 20th on the Epic. In my opinion, I feel that NCL takes advantage of the customers on the one night cruise and does not give the service and attention that is normally given on a longer cruise. Overall, we were very disappointed and may resort to booking with Royal Caribbean for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Ok 1st off this was my 16th cruise (my 4th with NCL). I was the 1st person in the port but I was about the 100th to be let on board after sitting for over 4 hours. I went straight up to deck 12 for the buffet since we were told we could ... Read More
Ok 1st off this was my 16th cruise (my 4th with NCL). I was the 1st person in the port but I was about the 100th to be let on board after sitting for over 4 hours. I went straight up to deck 12 for the buffet since we were told we could not enter our rooms until after 2 pm due to them cleaning the rooms, I find this very ironic considering my "cleaner" just made my bed with wet piss in it from the previous cruise...but I will get back to that later. There were no tables to sit at, I wound up going outside in 20 degree weather to eat. Not a fun way to start my cruise! I went to order the bucket (buy 5 get 1 free as in every other ncl cruise I have taken)...When he rang me up i asked about the free beer the response was oh no we don't have that on the 1 night...Ok fine just give me the 1 beer..I got an attitude well why don't you want the bucket? I responded well if i am going to have to pay for them all separately why would i want to carry around 6? The guy just rolled his eyes. I usually book a balcony room or a mini-suite but I booked an inside room since it was only a 1 nighter and the first thing I did was request a soft pillow. It never came. I explored the ship for a while and while it is beautiful I could not walk more then 10 feet without a new waiter or waitress asking me if i wanted a drink (Even though I had 1 in my hand at the time). While the embarkment party was going on at 4pm i went to wait on line in front of the duty free shop to buy cigarettes, the store opening was supposed to be at 4:30. All the other stores opened on time but the duty free shop did not open until 5:30. By that time the line went down 2 hallways. When they did open the mad rush of people grabbing stuff was UNBELIEVABLE. A man knocked items out of 1 woman's hand then grabbed the stuff off the floor, the same man a minute later lifted his fist as if he was going to hit another woman. Her husband went berserk and the employees basically looked at the guy like he was crazy when he was just trying to defend his wife. Had that been me I would have picked up a bottle and cracked him over the head with it. I stood there to see if they were going to do anything about the guy and nada...they actually helped the guy pick up his 40 cartons of cigarettes and brought them to the register!! If that were my store he would have been escorted out and if i were the woman that had her stuff knocked out of her hands I would have requested a copy of the video and had the guy arrested. My cousin was already at the register so i gave him my stuff and walked out because it was getting to be a near riot and since I had my stuff I did not want to be caught in the cross-fire. We went to dinner at Teppenyaki and enjoyed the food very much. I should have expected that since it cost me over 70 bucks. After dinner we went to the casino for a few hours and I decided to go to my room for a quick nap. Well here is where the real fun began. I lifted the duvet and put my hand down on the mattress to get into bed.....IT WAS WET...not only was it wet...IT WAS YELLOW!!!!!!! Someone had pissed the bed and the cleaner just made the bed over it. (mind you this was about 11 at night so there was no chance in hell that when he made the bed at 10 am that he did not see it, since it was still wet over 12 hours later. I went downstairs to get a new room and i basically had to tell them to check the video (I was in casino, restaurant, casino) I was only in my room 10 minutes during the day to drop off my luggage before they called security to come to my room so they could "see what I am talking about". After much arguing I was given another room. I was told my luggage would be moved for me. I went back to the casino and went back to my new room at 2:30 in the morning to find my luggage was still in the old room. I walked down the hallway and ran into a crew member and I am in the middle of telling him I needed access to the old room and as I was talking to him he turned and went into a crew only area, totally ignoring me. I grabbed a house phone and called the front desk and she promised to send someone up. As I am hanging up the phone the same guy comes down the hallway. I AGAIN ask him for help and he says to me "well where is your room key?" I wanted to flip on the guy but before I had the chance the other man came to the room to help move my stuff. I wound up lugging my stuff to the other room. I finally got to bed after 3 in the morning. When I got up in the morning I went to get into the shower but changed my mind when I looked at the bottom of the shower and there was a wet, moldy towel at the bottom of it. I suggest they train their personnel on the 4th deck on how to clean a room. I cannot believe that they had the audacity to add a 12 service charge to my room for that kind of service I could have stayed in a roach motel and still had the same level of service. 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: 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: October 2007
Having been on Celebrity, Disney, RCCL and Carnival, I must say this was the worst cruise line I have ever experienced. Always wanted to try NCL and thought that the one-night might give me a first hand experience before booking a 7 night ... Read More
Having been on Celebrity, Disney, RCCL and Carnival, I must say this was the worst cruise line I have ever experienced. Always wanted to try NCL and thought that the one-night might give me a first hand experience before booking a 7 night cruise. I am sure glad I did.... First, going out of New York is horrible. The pier is old and dingy - I know that the port is close to my home in ocean city, NJ, but I would never go out of there again. At first impression, the older Spirit seemed to be okay when we boarded, but as the day went on, my opinion did also. Our balcony cabin was extremely small which was not cleaned properly - they don't even provide top sheets on the bed - the bed had a bottom sheet with a feather blanket on top which I am sure is not changed with each incoming guest - I asked for a top sheet and one was provided. The food was the worst I ever experienced - I basically ate nothing and I am not a picky eater - always eat on all other lines, but it was terrible. WE were a group of 23 and had to eat in the dining room as the specialty restaurants could not handle such a large group - dinner was not eaten by most!!!! The staff never smiled and never were accommodating - such a shame that they automatically bill you in advance for gratuity - which is probably the problem - no one had to work for their tips!! Entertainment was mediocre and the smoking in the casino and attached nightclub was thick and disgusting. Stay away from this line - so many other lines that are fantastic!!! It was really a shame that some of the 23 people in our group will probably not ever cruise again as their first experience was so poor. NCL gives cruise vacations a bad name - Can't wait for my RCCL cruise in the spring - hats off to a line that does the job so well! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
I purchased this Cruise to Nowhere as a gift for my mother, and what I had hoped would be a very memorable and relaxing trip for both of us. I also purchased this cruise as I was planning on purchasing two family cruises to the Caribbean ... Read More
I purchased this Cruise to Nowhere as a gift for my mother, and what I had hoped would be a very memorable and relaxing trip for both of us. I also purchased this cruise as I was planning on purchasing two family cruises to the Caribbean within the next year, as well as plan a wedding on a cruise ship. I am glad I made this decision, as reserving long vacations and a wedding would have been a huge mistake, waste of money, and disappointment. My mother and I entered the ship with a very positive attitude and open minds. We did not know what to expect as weve never been on a cruise before, but weve heard wonderful things. We were excited upon entering the ship and felt it would be all we hoped for. Im writing this review for other consumers so they do not have to experience what we have. We reserved a balcony room. I wouldnt suggest reserving anything smaller because this room was comfortable for a maximum of two people. The balcony was a very nice touch, and I would say well worth the money. The dEcor is a little on the tacky side, however, what I had typically expected. Everything seemed to be going well until we had a Safety Drill. Everyone was required to learn how to use safety vests and report to a certain deck. At this time, we overheard other passengers talking about dinner reservations. We did not know we needed reservations as Freestyle Dining is what seems to be advertised, which would lead you to believe you can eat at any time. Upon hearing this, we decided to go check out the restaurants and make reservations to be safe. We went to their steakhouse, Cagneys. We were told, with about 5 other couples, that they had been booked for the entire night. One of the other cruisers advised us that all of the restaurants had been already booked too. They were upset as it was their wedding anniversary and they couldnt even find a place to eat for dinner. (Please keep in mind we were told we could only boarded the ship between 2:00pm-3:00pm, and it was literally 2:20pm.) I questioned how all of these reservations could have been made, thinking I missed something and we could have called in advance or done it on the website. I was told certain cruisers were able to board as early as 12:00 and made the reservations then. I then questioned how these people could board as early as we were not given that option. About 8 of us stood there and instead of answering any questions they decided to squeeze us into the restaurant at opening time, 5:30. I still wonder how these people made all of these reservations or got on the ship so early. Regardless, we accepted the reservation. We then decided to take a walk outside on the pool deck. I was shocked that there was only one public pool, and it was extremely small. It was definitely not the type of pool that should be available for thousands of cruisers. The entire pool area and bar was crowded and uncomfortable. I couldnt imagine being on a longer cruise with these type of amenities. This was definitely not an environment of children or anyone elderly. We sat and had a couple of drinks and tried to ignore the Spring Break environment surrounding us. We went to dinner and were seated in a nice area overlooking the water. The restaurant was empty for our entire dinner, and left me wondering how they had no reservations available. I cant imagine that many people did not show up. The service was poor as no one refilled our drinks and we werent even given dinner menus for about 20 minutes. We both ordered steaks and sides. Lobster was not available among other things. I cant say we enjoyed the food and I could have had much better in a local restaurant. The dessert was also not good. The only thing good on the ship seemed to be drinks. I was shocked as I always heard others rave about the food on cruise ships. We also tried the Blue Lagoon and a couple buffets. All that seemed available was hamburgers, hot dogs, dried and bad looking cold cuts, and salad. We still stayed positive and tried to make the best of our experience. The rest of the night was ok, Ive seen some describe the quality of entertainment as Vegas style shows, Id say it was more so that of Atlantic City, NJ. It seemed everything was over crowded and the only people truly enjoying themselves were obnoxiously drunk and unaware of their surroundings. I was surprised at the lack of free food, as I was under the impression most was included. They nickel and dime you for everything, cover charges for restaurants, service charges, and gratuity automatically charges to your account. If I would have known the amount we would spend on top of the price of the cruise itself, I wouldnt have gone. It was a waste of money. For one night it totaled around $900, and we didnt participate in half of the activities or go shopping. We had a total of 5-6 drinks together. Still, by this point we stayed positive and felt the experience was ok. This was until we decided to back to our room and go to sleep. Upon pulling the sheets down to get into bed, we saw glitter, sequins, and hair all over our sheets. I was quite disgusted. It looked as if someone slept in our bed and they didnt bother to change the sheets. I called downstairs to customer service and requested a change of bed linens. They told me they would be up shortly. We sat on a very small couch and waited. An hour passed and I called the customer service line again wondering when we could expect a change of sheets. They told me the request was never made. I insisted I called an hour ago, and was told that the girl in the earlier shift must have not written it down. They told me someone would be up shortly (again.) Another 30 minutes went by, and the customer service line called me. They said the request could not be made because we had turned our outside dial as Do not disturb. I insisted we did not touch it the entire night. I said I made this request an hour and a half ago, why am I just now receiving this call if it was a problem. She responded Well are you going to change the sign or not? Before this point, I was calm and very open minded about everything. However, I was shocked by the attitude and response from an employee, never mind customer service. I told her I will change it, but I think I should have been called earlier, and they should not take a sign as seriously as anyone outside of your room can change it, including the hundreds of kids running up and down the halls. She then hung up on me. I called back and asked to speak with a supervisor or someone in charge. I was told she was in charge and there was no one else to speak with. I said ok, and requested her name. She hung up on me, AGAIN! By this point I was furious. I worked in customer service for years when I was younger and never experienced or witnessed something like this in my life. I walked downstairs to the desk and stood on line with about twenty other cruisers with complaints. Many complaints consisted of room keys not working and dirty rooms. In fact, as I waited, I watched the customer service woman receive four calls regarding a change of sheets, and she responded saying their Do Not Disturb sign was also on and it is why they didnt receive the service for hours. They had a total of two women at this main desk. They should have had more employees available to fulfill requests. But more importantly, their employees should be trained on how to respond to requests and talk to consumers. We all waited on line as they answered the phones and ignored the line of people. One man commented I would have been better off going up to my room and calling and another woman said No, I tried calling for two hours and they dont answer so I chimed in and said Well, I got through, and they hung up on me! I was shocked. I couldnt believe this is what a cruise was like. Five of us discussed we had never been on a cruise, and now we most likely wouldnt want to, especially with Norwegian. When I finally got to the desk, I said I would like to speak with a supervisor or fill out a customer complaint form. She asked why. I told her I made a request for a change of sheets, and I was hung up on twice. She told me You were not hung up on. I said So Im a liar now? I walked down here to make this up? She told me I am a liar, and that no one hung up on me, and to go back to my room. I requested a complaint form, and she slammed a piece of Norwegian stationary on the counter. I wrote down her name and plan on contacting their corporate office about this rude, unprofessional, and obnoxious employee. As I would hope, this is not the type of individual they want representing their corporation. I understand you cant judge an entire corporation by one employee. However, I can judge the corporation by the fact this is the person they leave in charge of thousands of passenger requests. This is their lead customer service representative. I wanted this trip to be something special for my mother, and it was nothing but a headache and waste of money. The food was horrible, the additional charges were ridiculous, and the service was shocking. I would not recommend cruising with Norwegian to anyone. Im going to try Royal Caribbean or Princess as Ive heard better things about them. Read Less

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