83 New York (Manhattan) Holiday Cruise Reviews

Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins ... Read More
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins for 4 people with connecting rooms which worked very well. Cabin steward was very helpful! (Thank you Lloyd!). First day at sea was a little rough but I did not mind at all. I actually enjoy that once in a while. We had several specialty dining experiences and a couple normal dining room experiences. The best thing about the regular dining rooms was that you could order multiple items. We had no bad food in any restaurant as we pretty much already know what we do not like and did not order any of that. Tim Kaminski was the comedian on the cruise and was extremely nice. Very personable as well. He'd always take time to stop and say hi to people throughout the cruise. Excellent comedian and a great person as well! The only downside to the entertainment was that there were a couple shows we did not get to see because of timing with dinners and other shows. A little disappointing that we did not get to see the other Second City show. We were disappointed that we were not able to get one of the excursions we wanted but the excursion staff helped us find an alternate that was very good and as such never felt like we missed out on the other. The person we worked with was very helpful in explaining some of the ones we were interested in and explained the groups of people that each was targeted for. Some were actually targeted for kids under 10. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen ... Read More
We had a wonderful vacation on the 11 Journey cruise from NYC to Miami over Thanksgiving. It was just myself (43 year old mom) and three sons (15, 13 and 10 yr). This was our third Carnival family vacation, but I have sailed on a dozen cruises on multiple lines. We had an Ocean Suite and it worked for us. The room had plenty of storage and was well arranged to make the most of the space. The bathroom was also very spacious. We didn't hear any noise (room 7353) and this was a great location. We never used the elevators. I only wish the room would have been a little cooler. I got hot a lot while sleeping and it couldn't be turned down and further. We had early dining and I thought food was very good. Not every meal was a hit, but certainly not bad and some things we excellent. We had excellent waiters and servers who worked very hard. Drink service was slow so I usually grabbed a drink before coming in the dining room. The Steakhouse was amazing!!! Food was outstanding. I was a little disappointed in the service. I had to ask for a second glass of wine (not on Cheers program) and for water to be refilled. Other than that, it was the best meal of the trip. We ate lunch at the Italian restaurant. It was good. We liked Guys Burgers and Blue Iguana. Lido deck was good for breakfast and lunch. I was surprised at how easy it was to find seats and how there weren't a lot of lines. Pizza had the longest lines so I only got it once. It isn't my favorite. We enjoyed room service a few times for snacks and lunch. The new Pig and Anchor was also good. There are so many places to eat that even in 11 days we didn't get to try them all. The salads in the serenity area were wonderful but the line is very slow. I would have had that more often if it didn't take so much time. Variety of options was outstanding! Yes the two main show lounges were horribly designed with moving chairs and obstructed views. Hopefully this will eventually be corrected or at the very least not repeated on any future ships. We didn't try the Imax or the Thrill theater. We loved the Skyride and Ropes courses. So much fun! We never had trouble finding chairs around the pool. Sometimes we had to go up a few levels but I preferred that anyway. The sports zone was awesome. Best mini golf on any of the ships I have been on and we enjoyed playing shuffle board, ping pong and the other games. Nicely done! The areas to sit outside were more then plentiful. Something for everyone. Casino. I didn't spend any time here. Too smoky to make it enjoyable so I spent my money elsewhere. I was surprised at how much I loved the Atrium. I didn't think I would like the LCD centerpiece but it was really cool. They could use some better shops. These were basic and boring. The live music was also amazing in the Atrium. They had a violinist playing popular music. Even my kids wanted to stop and hear them play night after night. And they had real steel drums at the pool. Yay!!! Keep that up. Shows I thought were a little lacking. The one production of Flick was amazing but didn't really care to see a lot of the others. The comedians were good. I don't mind rated R shows but it did seem like a lot of the humor was not very funny compared to my past Carnival trips. The outside movies were great. I found the crew to be very friendly and had no complaints on the service. I did hear some passengers complaining about the most ridiculous stuff. I think the reason why most ships don't get higher marks is because there are a lot of experienced cruisers on these ships. I heard conversations like "I like the booths in the dining room on such a such ship better" and I liked the décor better on "such and such" etc. They have so much experience that they will always have had a better experience somewhere else but not all the best experience on any one ship. Just my opinion. Many repeat cruisers on this ship and it had only launched 6 months ago! My kids were in each of the different age kid centers and loved it. They didn't always stay in the center, but would meet up with kids and then go play in the arcade or get food etc. Try to encourage your kids to visit it on the first day so they can make friends. My kids only want to cruise now because they get to meet people as opposed to going to a resort and being stuck with mom at night. :) I did not do the cheers program and think it was the right call for me. I did really enjoy the Alchemy bar. It was so fun to sit there and watch them make drinks and light things on fire. You could just give them a suggestion and they would make something up for you. I would say I want something light and not very fruity. Voila, a drink would be concocted. I did learn to bring a drink into the comedy shows because bar service was spotty. They only had 2 waiters working and depending upon where you were in the lounge they may not have gotten over to you. Grand Turk - We enjoyed Jack's Shack and Margaritaville. Bonaire - We loved the SeaCow excursion. We had all snorkeled before but we really enjoyed this trip. Aruba - I booked Jolly Pirate on my own and the kids and I had a blast! Snorkeling was only so but my kids loved the rope swing. St. Martin - We were here on Thanksgiving with 7 ships. I booked Robinson Boat Tours and we had a 6 hour 14 person speedboat that took us to both sides of the island including lunch, snorkeling stops and Moho Beach. It was the best excursion we have EVER taken. Highly recommend and they were great when Carnival changed our itinerary two days before and then changed it back the day before our sailing. Dismemberment was a breeze. We had the best vacation. Yes there are things we could find to complain about but why bother. We were on vacation. Great memories made! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
I booked this cruise to start a family tradition. My grand daughter (17 months old) had never been on a cruise. I thought departing from New York City would be a good option instead of flying to a port for embarkation. If your looking for ... Read More
I booked this cruise to start a family tradition. My grand daughter (17 months old) had never been on a cruise. I thought departing from New York City would be a good option instead of flying to a port for embarkation. If your looking for a generic experience or have not cruise prior, this is the cruise for you. The embarkation was fairly quick and efficient. The Cabin Steward was friendly and attentive. The cabins are narrow as well as the hallways. Navigating these halls can be challenging especially with a stroller or wheelchair when the linen carts take up the hallways. Free style dining is a nice concept but don't expect the food to be warm or fresh. Food hoarding seem to be a past time of many travelers. The days at sea were too cold to enjoy the outside areas or pool. Some Excursions were over price and not worth the time. Great Stirrup Cay is nicely laid out with little shade. One has to pay for a Cabana, covered chaise or sit at a picnic table under the pavilion. There are water activities and a giant inflated slide for an additional cost. The Spa is a quiet respite with lounge chairs, saunas, whirlpool and hot tile chaise. There are a variety Spa services but be prepared to be pressured to purchase additional services or items. Splash Academy has programs for children age three or older. The Guppy Program (3 yrs. and younger) exists in name only. Their is a separate room with a few toys. Gift shops had the range of over priced jewelry or low end cruise nick knacks. The there is a variety of restaurants with table side service but the portions are small and the food may be over cooked. In general the ship is large with a variety of activities with audience participation. The price of the cruise is basic with many add-ons such as for sodas, wines and liquors packages or enrichment activities. Be prepared for a time-share experience of being asked to purchase items. If you see Spa staff outside of the Spa area, run!! You will be approached to purchase even more services. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Took the NCL Breakaway on a Xmas cruise with wife and kids. Ship is big and it is nice but that is all it has going for it. We have been on RCL, Holland America, Costa, Carnival and NCL. First lets start with the food if you eat in the ... Read More
Took the NCL Breakaway on a Xmas cruise with wife and kids. Ship is big and it is nice but that is all it has going for it. We have been on RCL, Holland America, Costa, Carnival and NCL. First lets start with the food if you eat in the main dinning ( free ) food to me was not much better then hospital food we heard lots of complaints about this. The pay restaurant's food is better so if you go try them out. I don't think you should have to pay to get a good meal when you are putting out a lot of money in the first place. We could not wait to get off the boat in FL and Nassau to get a good meal. We had problems in the kids arcade with games that where not working and getting charged for them this was a big fight with them so watch out if you play in arcade. Plus games are expensive in arcade $1.50 to $2.00 per game for the kids I think this is a rip off. They messed a bunch of our photo's up also and wanted to charge us to fix them. Everything with them is about the money and that's it, No personal experience and I found a lot of the crew to be rude. Maybe this was because it was the Holidays and they wanted to be home but still if you are paying you expect better. So if you ask me I would not sail NCL go with a better line even if you pay more it will be worth it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We decided to book a Holiday cruise this year for the fist time ever. It was amazing! From the moment we walked onto the ship there were beautiful gingerbread houses and Christmas trees everywhere. It was beautiful! This is our second time ... Read More
We decided to book a Holiday cruise this year for the fist time ever. It was amazing! From the moment we walked onto the ship there were beautiful gingerbread houses and Christmas trees everywhere. It was beautiful! This is our second time on the Gem and she looks just as beautiful as ever. I was worried because I had read reviews saying that she was not in great shape. I did not find this to be the case at all. The ship was fully booked and there were a lot of kids with it being the holidays which was great for our 10 year old. She didn't want to go to the kids club as much as she has on other cruises but i think she is just at an age where she isn't into it which was fine with us as there were always lots of kids by the pool for her to play with. The kids club always looked full and like they were having a great time. The pool area did get busy on sea days and we witnessed a few fights over chairs but we always managed to find a spot to sit, even if it was just sitting along the side of the pool. I still don't get these people who put their towels on chairs to save them fist thing in the morning and then not return till later in the afternoon and then get mad if someone had taken their chair???!! Anyways, this happens on all cruise ships so nothing new here. Food was pretty good and some days really good in the included dining rooms. We did not try out any of the specialty restaurants. There was never a long wait for a table either which was great. Christmas eve they did Christmas carols in the atrium which we loved. Christmas dinner was fantastic, we were very happy to enjoy a turkey dinner. No lobster night on this cruise so not sure if they no longer have it which was a little disappointing but not a huge deal. We saw a few shows which were good and spent lots of time in the atrium or at the piano bar where there was always something going on. The kids party out by the pool one evening was fun as well. We had an issue with a lot of creaking in our room that they tried fixing every day and then we got a phone call that we were being moved up to a balcony room which was amazing and so unexpected. We have never booked a balcony but i think from now on we will! It was fantastic. They also brought up chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine which was so nice. We bought the drink package for the first time. I was a little worried when i read through all of the rules which stated that we would each have to get our own drinks and one at a time and knowing beforehand how busy the cruise was going to be i pictured my husband and i taking turns to go wait in line to get a drink the whole cruise but it didn't turn out like that at all. They allowed one of us to order 2 drinks on one card and there was never a wait and we could pretty much order anything off of the menu so it was fine. Not sure if i would get the package again though as i feel like we might have drank more than we normally would had we not had the package, not that that's a bad thing! The white party was really good and New Years eve they really went all out. Was so much fun! The crew are just terrific and always smiling. We figured for them to be away from their families during the holidays can't be easy but they were all just great. On the last day we decided to carry our own bags off and were told we could start leaving at 8 a.m. I was ready for a huge line up of people crowded into the atrium trying to get off of the boat so when we finally got our stuff together at around 8:30 we were shocked to get an elevator right away and were out of the ship in about 3 minutes! Customs was super quick and we were checked into our hotel in NYC just after 9 am. Hope to get another chance to enjoy this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
25th cruise, 1st NCL, never had a bad cruise, still haven't. We were looking for a very inexpensive holiday cruise and that is what we got. Embarkation was outstanding as was walk off. Plenty of parking at pier although somewhat ... Read More
25th cruise, 1st NCL, never had a bad cruise, still haven't. We were looking for a very inexpensive holiday cruise and that is what we got. Embarkation was outstanding as was walk off. Plenty of parking at pier although somewhat pricey. Overall, the food was just ok; definitely not a fan of freestyle dining. Cabins were small and lacking in storage space. Crew was congenial and did their job well. Entertainment was outstanding - first class. Kids activities were plentiful and appeared to be fun even though we did not utilize. Met lots of very friendly passengers. Too many "extra charges" kind of like a nickel and "dime me to death" experience. NCL would not be my first choice but I would sail again if looking for an inexpensive get away. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I cruised NCL Breakaway last July and again on 11/2014. THe first went to Bermuda and this one went to the Bahamas. I must say I was totally impressed with the changes made to the menu and entertainment this time around. We were thinking ... Read More
I cruised NCL Breakaway last July and again on 11/2014. THe first went to Bermuda and this one went to the Bahamas. I must say I was totally impressed with the changes made to the menu and entertainment this time around. We were thinking about purchasing more dinners at the specialty restaurant but only did 1 at Cagney's as we enjoyed the dinners at the Manhattan Dining room. Cagney's was amazing. Overall, we were most impressed with the wait staff- each one we dealt with weather for breakfast lunch or dinner including the host/hostess were absolutely wonderful. We wound up requesting the same wait staff for our dinners as the service she provided was second to none. She had us hooked when we went to her the 2nd night and she knew our names and our drink preferences, always very polite, courteous, and on top of her game. SHe definitely made us feel like royalty and Im sure she did same with all the passengers she took care of. The one thing I noticed they havent improved on is their custumer service staff. THey are not the most friendly nor do they really seem to know how to treat their passengers with excellent care-ensuring their issues are being resolved. I felt that way last year as well.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the ... Read More
We sailed on the Christmas Cruise to a sold out ship. Literally every cabin in the ship was booked. Embarkation and Debarkation were smooth and easy. But lines for everything else was an issue. The food was amazing! Really enjoyed the Mongolian Wok and the Tandoori on the Lido Deck. For Dinner, we had late dining at the Gold Pearl. Our waiter, Dwain, knew exactly what we would want on every day. The Warm Melting Chocolate Cake was to die for. The lines for the food were long. We waited an hour and a half for the Mongolian Wok on the last day...but it was totally worth it. There were not as many activities as past cruises I have taken, but everyone in our group found some way to stay occupied at any given time. The cruise director, Eli, was funny and chock full of corny jokes, which we enjoyed. In Port Canaveral, we booked a Surf Lesson with the Cruise Line and really enjoyed it. We booked the Catamaran Sail and Snorkel excursion in Nassau, and because of the odd timing, the smack middle of the day, we were only able to spend about 30 minutes in Atlantis. The worst part was that when we got back to the ship, we were told that the trip was cancelled because of bad weather. However, we got a full refund, which was nice. So we spent the rest of the day in the Straw Market and roaming around Downtown Nassau. We have travelled this itenirary a few times and have learned that the best way to enjoy Freeport is to take a taxi to Taino beach and do any watersports there. DO NOT BOOK WITH THE CRUISE. What costs you $75, to parasail, in Taino will run you $100 something onboard. Overall, an enjoyable cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The ship is beautiful and the accommodations were adequate. The staff seemed to be friendly enough. I/we did not get that real customer satisfaction feeling we have had before. Food was OK. No fee restaurants did not have interesting menus ... Read More
The ship is beautiful and the accommodations were adequate. The staff seemed to be friendly enough. I/we did not get that real customer satisfaction feeling we have had before. Food was OK. No fee restaurants did not have interesting menus at all. Savor and Taste had the exact same menu. Buffet was bland and as boring as Savor and Tastes. Room service was prompt. O'Sheehans was the go to place for us but even they did not change the menu??? By the way, do NOT try and get chocolate ice cream at O'Sheehans. It will cost you $4.00. You can get vanilla or strawberry at no fee. WHAT???? Appears NCL is pushing the cruiser towards spending money on the specialty restaurants? We have cruised many times and realize that this is a business. However, on this cruise we felt like we were being nickle and dimed. Once upon a time the mens locker room had showers, sauna and steam rooms as well as the womens side. Now you pay $199.00 for that experience and it is coed. That is a bit uncomfortable. Casino is large and has many tables and slot machines. I lost as usual :o). However, I did NOT hear anyone talk about winning. I also did not hear much excitement there. Odds/payout on slots were terrible. Ports= Could not stop at Stirrup Cay. Not NCL fault....weather made it unsafe. Bahamas...OK I guess. Most shops and straw market was closed on Christmas Day and the next day (Boxing day) is a holiday there as well. So pretty much a waste unless you booked a tour. Bottom line is the cruise was Not really the experience we expected. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I would like to start by saying that I have been on several cruises and never written a review for any. I read many reviews about the Breakaway on this website and more bad than good. I was a little nervous going on my cruise given all the ... Read More
I would like to start by saying that I have been on several cruises and never written a review for any. I read many reviews about the Breakaway on this website and more bad than good. I was a little nervous going on my cruise given all the so-so reviews. I now feel obligated to write a review because I had such a great experience on the Breakaway. I have lived in New York City my whole life and think of myself as a type A personality. I mention this because I want anyone reading to realize what kind of person I am. I expect only quality and good service when I am paying - especially a premium. I now realize that people that write bad reviews want to find reasons and excuses as to why they didn't enjoy their vacation to the fullest. I get that not everyone has a good experience for whatever reasons but complaining about the smallest things is just ridiculous and I just don't get it. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. My husband and I decided to go on the Breakaway because it would be a very easy vacation for us. We realized that it would be a crowded given it was a holiday week. We booked a spa balcony suite and I have to say the room did not disappoint. Our cabin was mid-ship and exactly as we expected. I would say the balcony was a little small but to be honest I don't think it was any smaller than any other balcony I have ever been on. Our cabin stewart, Andrew, was very attentive and accommodating. I asked him when we first met him to please empty the fridge when he got a chance. It was done within hours. Our embarkation was easy and flawless. We got to the pier a little earlier than we had planned and had to wait about 45 minutes to board but there were no lines and we were able to spend that time booking our spa treatments and talking to other passengers. We were one of the first groups to board and walked around for a bit getting to know the ship before having lunch at O'Sheehan's. The menu is exactly what you would expect at an Irish pub. I should mention that I did pre-book our shore excursions and some restaurants. However, we did have two credits for dinner that could not be booked in advance so we also decided to take care of our dinner reservations. I loved that you could make reservations via the touch screens located throughout the ship, with the restaurants themselves, or on your cabin TV's. We ate in mostly specialty restaurants including Cagney's (2x), La Cucina (2x) and Moderno. We had breakfast every morning in the Garden Cafe and never had an issue getting a table. They served the same thing every morning which was fine with us. Lunch we usually grabbed a salad also in the Garden Cafe. I was very satisfied with all the choices. Cagney's ranked up there with any fine steak place in NYC. We went there on lobster night (which we didn't even realize it was lobster night) and the waiter asked us if we wanted the lobster served with our meal. We very much enjoyed La Cucina and it was also well worth the extra money. Everything we ate was delicious. I could have done without eating in Moderno only because we had steak 2 times already but my husband wanted to try it and it was very good. Service in all the restaurants was excellent. We went to the all three of the dining rooms around 9:25pm one night and was told that they were already closed for the evening. We ended up eating in the Garden Cafe and it was surprisingly good. We did eat in the Manhattan dining room and it was good but nothing great. The room itself is lovely with a live band playing. We went to Disney World in Orlando as a shore excursion. Not NCL's fault but it was very crowded and to be honest not sure I would ever go again during Christmas. i knew it would be crowded but it was wall to wall people most rides were 90+ minutes long and we just didn't have the time to wait on such long lines. We did see a parade but that was pretty much all we got to do. We didn't get to go to Great Stirrup Cay which was fine with me. To be honest I was glad they decided not to go because of winds and high seas. I was not looking forward to going in a tender. Instead we went to Nassau a day early and spent the night docked. None of the stores were open due to Christmas but it was still nice to get off the boat and take a walk. We were planning on doing some shopping the next day and met with David. He gave us some pointers and do's and don't which turned out to save us a lot of money. We did go to Atlantis for the day - the excursion we booked gave us access to everything just like a hotel guest. I think the hotel is great but overly expensive. We had lunch there which was nothing fancy - a fruit bowl and a salad which came to over $25. Again, not NCL's fault but wow! Now, for my favorite part of our cruise - entertainment. Rock of Ages was good. I would say this - It was better than the movie. I thought the cast was really good but the story is sorta silly. I am not a fan to begin with so that is a glowing review in my book. They warn you over and over that the play isn't for kids. Personally I didn't see the big deal but it does have some adult themes. Clearly NCL has gotten some complaints but I think kids hear and see worse in school. Use your own judgement. Burn the Floor was cancelled due to some cast injuries. I was disappointed but not enough that it would ruin my vacation. People really got into a tizzy. I am sure it was not an easy decision for the line to cancel a headlining show but it is what it is. In its place they put Slam Allen Blues Band in the main theatre. We had seen him a couple of times during the cruise and he is great - very engaging and talented. Very much enjoyed the substitution. Second City was good - exactly what you would expect. Our favorite thing to do almost every night was going to Headliners and enjoy "Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos". It was great just listening to some music and getting to sing along. We did watch game shows and participate in other activities but those were the highlights. The spa was great! Our room came with a weeklong pass to the thermal spa which we took advantage of in a big way. It was an oasis to getting away from everyone in an adult environment. The ship only makes available a number of passes available. I believe the only other way to have entry is to book a spa treatment. We had a number of treatments which were all excellent but very expensive. And I am saying that as a New Yorker going to New York Spas for massages and facials. Disembarkation was easy for us. We docked around 6am and was cleared by customs around 7:30am. We were able to take advantage of the "easy walk off disembarkation" and it was. We were off the ship, in a cab, home and unpacked by 8am. Before finishing I would say just one thing that I really loved about this cruise. My husband and I do not drink and I never felt pressured to order a cocktail or drink. The wait staff would ask and if you said a soda or nothing they responded with a smile and moved on. I have noticed on other ships and other cruise lines there is an overwhelming pressure to drink - I give NCL a lot of credit for this great attitude. Hope you enjoyed my review. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
There seems to be more and more negative reviews lately. All I can say is they must have all been on a completely different ship or have an agenda that I can't figure out. We had a great vacation in almost every way. I traveled with ... Read More
There seems to be more and more negative reviews lately. All I can say is they must have all been on a completely different ship or have an agenda that I can't figure out. We had a great vacation in almost every way. I traveled with my wife, my two boys (12 and 14), my adult sister and parents. The food was so enjoyable and varied at the included restaurants that we cancelled our reservations at the paid ones. We did see the Cirque Dreams dinner and show and agree with most people that this is worth the added expense. We registered the boys for the Splash Academy and Entourage, but they mostly did their own things at the sports complex and arcades when not with us. Youngest said the Splash Academy did many camp games and all he wanted was free choice. Most entertainment is labeled appropriately. We did not bring the kids to the Rock of Ages show and felt that it was the right decision as this show has many adult themes. Why some parents brought their kids with plenty of forewarning I do not know. Comedian/Magician, various game shows, music offerings and Second City were enjoyed by all. The ship is big enough that it rarely felt crowed. This included the Garden Buffet area where even at its busiest we were able to find a table. It does get a little packed for Atrium shows later in the cruise after the Rock of Ages show takes over the theater. Elevators also get a little crowded for brief periods of time too - we took to the stairs to avoid this. First port in Florida we decided to stay on-board and use the ship's facilities. We did not get to go to Great Stirrup Cay (about 50% of time wind is too high to safely use tenders we were told). This allowed us to get into Nassau earlier, but being Christmas day not much was open. The next day they celebrated Boxing Day with elaborate parades and costumes. We also went on a sailing and snorkling excursion that we enjoyed. Everyone we encountered was friendly and professional. If you are looking for a great time with tons of things to do the Norwegian Breakaway is a great choice. If you are a complainer and can't relax or go with the flow stay home so people who want a good time can enjoy it.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our seventh cruise, first time on NCL. We previously sailed on Carnival (once), RCI and Celebrity. embarcation - horrible, never expirienced anything like that, it took us 45 minites and it took 2.5 h for our friends to get to ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, first time on NCL. We previously sailed on Carnival (once), RCI and Celebrity. embarcation - horrible, never expirienced anything like that, it took us 45 minites and it took 2.5 h for our friends to get to the ship. comparing to RCI/Celebrity from Bayonne - was about 20 minutes to get to the ship... The ship is big and beutiful, but the design is poor in my opinion - long narrow corridors, no Promenade, strange buffet design (you need to "make laps" again and again...). in general, having a long corridors and no wide open space on the ship creates a feeling of overcrowded supermarket... Food - very good in general , but i would prefer assigned seating and cafe promenade instead of the irish pub they have on Breakaway. also, the menu is VERY similar every day and almost NO seafood... Casino - too much smoke, it is absolutelly insane! Was too smoky even for smokers! entertainment - great, especially liked Rock of Ages, disco music on deck 16 (evenings) and fireworks. Stuff - person who cleaned our room was great, but there were so many rude stuff members on the ship... Not much smiling and almost like giving you a favor for every thing you would like to get from them - especially stuff working in buffet... In general, Free Style was the idea for some stuff members to do the leaast they could - giving you hard time when you ask them to repead something etc. for example; the rere was soccer tournament there (sports deck) - the guy showed up, gave a couple of instructions and left... great tournament... To finalize - i prefer assigned seating so waiters know me well to know what kind of food i like and could do something special to make me and my family feel good instead of new waiters every day 9and some of them showed no interest in pleasing you at all; i prefer a little more "formal" atmosphere so you actually feel you are on a cruise instead of feeling you are in Wallmart. I guess I am not a Free Style fan! Would I sail on NCL again? Only if no RCI or Celebrity is around... Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Good The most polite and hardworking staff. This is our 8th cruise, 2nd on NCL, cruised Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. They followed up and really listened when we had a problem. Food was good no tough cuts of meat,there was a ... Read More
Good The most polite and hardworking staff. This is our 8th cruise, 2nd on NCL, cruised Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity. They followed up and really listened when we had a problem. Food was good no tough cuts of meat,there was a nice selection of food, lobster was excellent first evening. Air conditioning was excellent in the stateroom and very cool on the ship itself. Room service was great. Beer selection good it was served was ice cold. Not so good Christmas Dinner took 4 hours. It took one hour to be seated and it then took 3 hours until it was finished. The wait in the Grand Pacific dining room was painful, for a drink, for the wine list, for the food. We went the evening before and it was also quite slow. We never went back. Dining is not a fun experience. The other dining room, the Magenta is also crowded. We were wasting so much time with dinner, and missing things constantly. We opted to eat at the buffet instead and arrived at 8:00pm. i was getting pasta, there was no one else waiting, the cook took forever, first he made me wait while he washed dishes, then, he did not have the pasta and had to go get it, then he didn't have enough sauce, I sat down with my food, and my husband went to get his food. It was 8:25 and they were closing up! He went to the other side, got some food, and they locked him out, outside in the back of the ship. He told them that his wife was inside, with his beer on the table, and they were not letting him in. Then he finally got in and I ordered a beer, and the waiter came back with another waiter and tried to sell me a bucket of beer telling us we could take the bucket wherever we want. I just wanted a beer, by now it is 8:45 and the two waiters left the table, and we see them just standing there talking. My husband was so aggravated, he took back the card and got the beer himself. This was like a training cruise. The staff was really not sure what to do and when. We tried so many times to get drinks and it would take forever, in the dining room, at the pool. The waiters would run around trying to get several drink orders before going on to get the drinks we ordered. They also were pushing buckets everywhere. We even saw these poor people accidently get a bucket of Fosters which was like 2 feet tall. The people returned it instantly. How funny! On 5 different days we had no hot water to shower. Once was at 6:00 am which was frustrating since we wanted to get ready to go ashore early to St. Martin. The crew members do not always know what is going on. We asked where theater was and were sent to the wrong place, and some don't understand English. Another thing was my husband bought the drink package and I didn't when we got on board. The next day on Christmas Eve day at 8:30am, someone calls and wakes us up and tells my husband that they are taking it away and cancelling the first day of using it, even though he had a signed contract which in the end prevailed. When we got onto the ship, the day before, there were 3 people trying to recruit us for the package waiving us over, and we told them that I was not interested in it for myself and that my husband would like to get it. They said fine. The next day we were sound asleep, and were called up and aggravated. It was so unfair and unprofessional. The ship is very crowded in general. Days at sea are tougher than other cruises. People are all over the place, in clothes that are not suitable for eating from an inside buffet, including bathrobes. There is a lot less cleaning up of common areas and so many faucets did not work correctly in the restrooms to wash your hands. Many bathrooms also did not have soap. The coffee cups and breakfast dishes were left on tables for a long time especially upstairs pool bar. Also,one thing that I did not care for when I was leaving, I took my suitcase out from under the bed and there were 2 sets of clean sheets on the floor being stored there for some reason. I wonder if they were going on the bed when it was going to be changed. The carpet was not so clean. To sum it up, the staff is very nice and very hardworking, but they do not seem to have the support they need,or are being trained a little differently then we are used to, they are so willing to make you happy though. We just feel that our problems were due to an overall lack in the cruise line. In fact, we are confused by NCL, we cruised them in Europe awhile ago and it was so much more organized.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Hi everyone! So for Christmas 2013 my family had decided to try the NCL Breakaway. We were very hesitant booking this after reading the reviews but all in all we had a great time. A little background information about me is that I am ... Read More
Hi everyone! So for Christmas 2013 my family had decided to try the NCL Breakaway. We were very hesitant booking this after reading the reviews but all in all we had a great time. A little background information about me is that I am probably one of the youngest cruise reviewers. Being only 19 years old people may think I am a bit amateur to be writing a review but non the less, this was my 10th cruise within the past 7 years so I think I know what I'm talking about. I have cruised with RCL, NCL, Holland America, and Carnival. Disembarkation: We chose the Breakaway for its convenience of leaving from NYC because we are from CT. A short 2 hour car drive and parking right at the port, we thought we would be on the boat in no time. Wrong. We weren't allowed on the boat until 12:00 pm making us wait for nearly 2 hours. We normally leave from Florida and down there, you get on the boat almost instantly after getting your seapass card. And there are usually snacks and water if you have to wait. NYC was terrible, not enough seats for everybody to sit as they wait and no snacks or water provided. The Manhattan cruise terminal needs to work on this. The boat was great. It was brand new to 2013. I've been on RCL Oasis of the Seas so it was pretty hard to find a boat that would even come close. The Breakaway still fell short compared to the Oasis though. Some of the ship highlights were the atrium areas between floors 6,7,8. This is where most of the activites happened and most people hung around at night because it was the center of the shops, casino, 24 hr restaurant, and stage and screen where movies were played and they had different shows. Bliss nightclub was fun after 11:00pm. Obviously I am young and after 11:00 was when the older crowd left and the younger crowd came in. Bliss needs more sitting areas though. The dance floor was nice and big but lacked on places to sit to take a break. Didn't gamble myself but others seemed to enjoy themselves at the casino. Gym was way too small to accommodate everyone. The way it was designed was that you were back and forth between a room of cardio machines and a room for weights. Not enough equipment and you were always waiting around to use a machine. Did not use spa. Shows were good but I didn’t like how they made you reserve seats in advanced. Burn the Floor was very good and Rock of Ages was too. The comedy show was hilarious and I wanted to see it again but there weren’t any seats left for the showing. I think it should be first come first serve like most of the other boats. And they should have more show times. Some days we were forced to aimlessly walk around the boat after dinner because there was nothing else we could do. Other perks of this boat were deck features including the ropes course. It actually proved challenging and the zipline at the end was a lot of fun. Did not use the rock climbing wall or mini golf but others said they were fun. Sadly didn't get the chance to use the water slides because lines were either way to long or it was too cold but they looked awesome and the people getting off sounded like they were a blast. But like the other reviews, NCL should have made the pool bigger to accommodate everyone who didn’t have the VIBE or Haven package. Hot tubs were also barely warm and the no kids in the hot tub rule didn’t apply. The food was surprisingly good. Like I said earlier, we were hesitant with booking with NCL again because the last two times, the food was terrible. I was happy to see that they changed things around. Steak was on point every day. I must have consumed at least a pound of steak a day. Desserts were ok. The only thing I would recommend to NCL is to use less salt in their foods. A few days, my meals were so salty I could only eat a bite or two. Food was usually hot. The buffet was ok, I've had better on all other cruises. The dining rooms always had great service. With NCL being a freestyle cruise, I was nervous about getting proper service but they exceeded especially in the Manhattan Room. O’Sheehans was open 24/7 and it was great to have a late night snack after dancing all night in Bliss. Didn’t eat at any specialty restaurants but got sushi at the sushi bar and it was very good. The Carlos Bakery was a rip off and can barley fit 5 people in the store at a time. My brother and I shared room 12100. This was an ocean view room in the front of the boat. It was really cool that we had a window that was facing the front of the boat. Awesome view of NYC before we left. Bad thing was that it was a long walk to stairs and elevator. Our room steward was great and was very pleasant and cheerful. There was a lack in storage space in the room. We were surprised to see not a single drawer in the entire room. Closet was fine but my brother and I lived out of our suitcases for the most part. Weather We knew that we were taking our chances when booking a cruise from NYC in the winter time. The day we left was absolutely gorgeous seeing that it was December 22nd, and 70 degrees in NYC. The next day we were at sea. It was a rocky and cold sea day. I thought that being a brand new huge boat, the boat would have better stabilizers to help with the rocking of the boat. Now I don’t personally get sea sick but many others on the cruise had that problem. It was also too cold to be out on the deck still. Our third day was in Port Canaveral, Florida. Of course the day we get there, it’s a mere 63 degrees. Too cold for the beach and not enough time to do a Disney park (my opinion, even though they offer Disney shore excursions). So we spent that day inside the boat as well. Our fourth day which was also Christmas day was supposed to be spent at Great Stirrup Cay- the private island in the Bahamas. We had to skip it and go straight to Nassau because the water was too choppy for the tenders to carry passengers safely. Nassau was finally warm and we docked their overnight so we were able to go to the Atlantis bright and early the next morning. Sadly the two days we spent in Nassau were our only warm days. Our trip back up to New York were also too cold to use the deck activities unless you were layered up. We very much enjoyed our vacation. I think we would have enjoyed it more if we took this itinerary during the spring or summer because it was just too cold. NCL has stepped up their game with the Breakaway. I can see myself going on NCL again but I will always be a RCL fan.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship! All the public rooms are wonderful, as was our cabin. Embarkation was a little hectic, as they are trying to get so many people on in a short time...the cruise leaves at 3:00 p.m. But, other than that we never felt crowded, even though the cruise was sold out. Also, being a vacation week, there were over 1,500 children on board. However, the crew is so attentive to them we never felt the children were an issue. The food on this ship was as good or better than we have had on any cruise. Several specialy dining options are available and we tried four of them...all were great but we enjoyed Le Bistro the best. The entertainment was fantastic. You have to try the dinner theater, which features magicians, acrobats, and jugglers. Amazing! Burn the Floor was also amazing. But, what made this cruise one of our favorites was the crew. They are incredibly polite and accommodating. One word of caution to people who get sea sickness, this cruise is rough. The Atlantic is much more rough than the Caribbean. It didn't bother us, but it did many others. We thought our mini suite was very nice. We booked our cruise late and was offered this cabin, which is normally reserved for handicapped passengers. Because of this, the room was much larger than a normal mini suite and had a very large deck. The only minor inconvenience is the door was automatic and took an long time to close each time we entered or left. Our cabin steward (Michael) was amazingly accommodating, professional and polite. We had an issue with the passengers above us throwing cigarette buts ant trash down on our balcony and Michael took care of that for us, saving me from getting myself in hot water! No sofa in this cabin though, but that was not a concern for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
What an amazing time we had on the Carnival Splendor (Dec 19 - Dec 27, 2013). I would certainly recommend this ship, its cruise itinerary and time of cruise departure (Christmas) for families. My husband and I traveled with our two ... Read More
What an amazing time we had on the Carnival Splendor (Dec 19 - Dec 27, 2013). I would certainly recommend this ship, its cruise itinerary and time of cruise departure (Christmas) for families. My husband and I traveled with our two daughters, (ages 11 and 15) and still had pockets of time to spend together alone. Our eldest enjoyed the C02 lounge and met a network of other teens from around the country. She continues to correspond with those she met. By the end of the cruise my youngest was hanging with friends from Circle C. There were over 1200 children on the ship! My husband and I spent time nightly at The Comedy Club, Dance Club and Piano Bar. The excursions were great too!! We had a beautiful tour of The Banana Lagoon (â„… Island Cruises, Cape Canaveral Florida), then on to Atlantis (Nassau Bahamas â„… Carnival Cruise Lines) and finally Snorkeled (Freeport The Bahamas, â„… Pat & Diane Excursions). While the weather was warm on the way down it was cold on the way home. This did not dampen our spirits (and it was raining outside too!). I would not linger on the lines on The Lido Deck, instead enjoy a dining experience in the Black or Gold Pearl Dining Rooms. We loved our wait staff and the food is delicious, the service is lively and accommodating. Thank you Igor! We miss you. Igor even cut up my daughters steak!!! We ate each meal in a dining room. Our dinner was scheduled for 6p and we made that nightly. It was a time to return as a family as my eldest remained with her CO2 friends. However, I would recommend that you take dinner with out a time scheduled, this way you can return to the ship leisurely, when at a port and still eat in the dining room. We raced a bit when we were in Nassau. The pizza is as amazing as everyone says (Lido Deck). We did not eat in The Pinacle but we did experience a wine/food pairing and that was really fun (The Pinacle). We enjoyed eating brunch and breakfast in The Gold Pearl with other passengers. We dined, listened to music, laughed and lingered in the lobby with passengers from Queens, NY, Pennsylvania, Syracuse, Maine, California and Kentucky -- and everyone we met was friendly, engaging and we might have lingered a bit longer than normal because we enjoyed our conversations so much. Our room was cleaned beautifully each night, new towels appeared when we needed them and guest services was friendly and helpful. We did purchase Faster To The Fun, which I also recommend so that you can use a personal phone number to contact guest services and use the same line as Diamond and Platinum guests at the front desk. FTF also gets you on board the ship and to your stateroom earlier than most other guests. Please consider renting or purchasing in advance walkie talkies as the ship is a bit big in the beginning. However, once you understand how to navigate through either the Main Deck or 5th floor you will not mind and will have fun. I promise. Great trip. Hope you experience the same. Can't wait for our next cruise with Carnival.. :-) Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Pros: (1)Very positive check in experience. Lines moved quickly and we were on board within 30 minutes after arriving at the terminal. (2) Vibe Beach-immediately upon boarding ship went straight to desk to sign up for Vibe Beach. ... Read More
Pros: (1)Very positive check in experience. Lines moved quickly and we were on board within 30 minutes after arriving at the terminal. (2) Vibe Beach-immediately upon boarding ship went straight to desk to sign up for Vibe Beach. Eventhough the weather didn't cooperate during the week we still were able to utilize this oasis. Would recommend to anyone who likes to relax in an adult only area. Well worth the money! (3) Room-very nice and an improvement over the room that we had on the Epic. Plenty of space for two people and I prefer the bathroom arrangement on this ship vs the one on the Epic. Balcony is small but still is a great place to watch from as you leave NYC as well as arriving in the different ports. (4) Food-was great, no complaints. Service a couple of times was slow, however it was a completly full ship so it is understandable that it took longer on a couple of occassions. Ate at Savor, Taste, The Manhattan Room, O'Sheas and Moderno Churasscaria. Also purchased the wine package (4 bottles for $88) and that was a great deal. Would do that again. (5) Entertainment-Went to two shows, Rock of Ages and Burn the Floor. Both were OK. Also went to the casino a few times and left a looser. Machines did not appear to be paying at all...Oh well. Cons: (1) Completly full ship that included 1500 children that enjoyed running up and down the hallways all day and all night. Not really a complaint just something to be aware of when booking a Thanksgiving week cruise. (2) Weather-not the cruise ship's fault. Mostly cloudy and rainy the entire week. Overall a great cruise on The Breakaway and I would cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We were on the Thanksgiving cruise. This was the first cruise for my husband, DS (12) and DS (5) and my second Norwegian cruise. I'll start with the negative first. The weather was awful, but that had nothing to do with the ... Read More
We were on the Thanksgiving cruise. This was the first cruise for my husband, DS (12) and DS (5) and my second Norwegian cruise. I'll start with the negative first. The weather was awful, but that had nothing to do with the ship.....it was all about Mother Nature. We couldn't tender to their private island because of the wind and waves so we headed right over to Nassau. Our excursion was canceled due to the weather so we went to the atlantis resort to walk around. We were in cabin 8728 - a mini suite with a large balcony. The room was plenty for 4 of us. The balcony was huge, the bathroom was amazing and the bed was soooooo comfortable. Yes, we felt the rocking of the boat, but we got used to it. Our cabin steward was SHAKE. He is now preparing the Getaway for its maiden sail, but he was amazing. The towel animals were so cool. The kids club was fantastic. My 12 year old has cerebral palsy and they were wonderful with him. My kids hated to leave every night. We purchased the week long spa package. GET IT!!!!!!!! While we were waiting to board, they set up a table in the lobby and we purchased it right there. Loved it!!!! The food was great....lots of choices. You most certainly will never be hungry. Beware....you will be nickel and dimed for everything. We had two bottles of wine one night, that was it and all the little things added up to over $1200. So make sure you budget in for the little things. The ship is beautiful and we can't wait to go back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I had originally seen this cruise advertised last year as a re-positioning cruise from NYC to Vancouver, including the Inside Passage so made a note to keep an eye out for this for 2013. When it was advertised, it wasn't posted as a ... Read More
I had originally seen this cruise advertised last year as a re-positioning cruise from NYC to Vancouver, including the Inside Passage so made a note to keep an eye out for this for 2013. When it was advertised, it wasn't posted as a re-positioning cruise and we were told that because of the Jones Act (Law) we couldn't cruise past LA if it wasn't a re-positioning cruise. Then, after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between NCL and the travel agent, we were told that because the ship was going to a foreign port (namely Cartegena) we could sail to San Francisco. You can imagine my anger when we got on board to have the cruise advertised as a re-positioning one There were three of us travelling, so we chose a mini-suite with balcony on deck 11, being told it was a bigger cabin. The three of us have travelled together before and have had no issues with the third bed. Embarkation was quite simple but we were dismayed when we saw the size of the cabin. The interior one we'd had on deck 5 with Holland America on the last trip was just as big. Of greater concern was the third bed. It was the lounge which was as hard as a board. It took 4 days of asking for more padding before the bed was comfortable enough. The one layer of well-used foam that was put on the first night was insulting. If you are going to sell a cabin as being suitable for 3, make sure the bedding is suitable. Even if a child is the third passeger, they deserve better than what we got. Of great concern also was the state of the cabin. It was very dusty, and we found evidence of a previous occupant with trash left in the wardrobe and one drawer, and also a very dry remnant of a coffee bag in the coffee maker. We waited for three days before we asked for it to be removed. The first night we went to the Azure Dining Room, waited for a long time for a meal which was a bit hit and miss. We subsequently found out that we had a substantial number of new wait staff on board, none of whom are given any pre-training re serving, just given a manual or two. Then we tried the Tzar Dining Room and faced the same issue. I don't expect silver service in a dining room unless I've paid for it but I do object to servers reaching across my face to deliver a meal or remove a plate. We took advantage of having our bottles of wine stored each night, and on the third night, one party member was told her wine was finished. This wasn't the case, it had at least one glass left. We really had to insist, speaking to a senior staff member before the bottle was replaced. The next night, another bottle was obviously off. It had a screw cap which was faulty and didn't close properly so the wine had gone off. We were told that wine should be drunk on the same night, and what could we expect with a screw cap. Once again we insisted and had the bottle replaced. Unfortunately, this sort of experience didn't end there. We had cold food served, had to send several dishes back when meat was stringy or tough or had a very strange taste. We had chocolate dipped strawberries delivered to our cabin on two occasions as an apology and were given a free bottle of wine because of problems with food. Two nights it took 90 minutes before we left the dining room, with waits of up to 20 mins for the entree to be served. Some problem had occurred in the kitchen. The final night I had duck salad which tasted delicious, only problem was it contained only one piece of duck measuring about 1 inch by 1/4 inch square. The Lamb Shank dish the same night tasted very nice also, but it was a pity that whoever served it had slopped the sauce all over the side of the dish and then wiped it with a very greasy rag. I should have sent that back but by that stage was over it. We ate a number of times in the Garden Buffet and were satisfied with the offerings, but it would be nice if the fruit provided was ripe. Couldn't help wondering why staff weren't rostered on earlier on shore days. We had to wait for cups, plates etc to be replenished. Staff seemed to be astonished that all these passegers were milling about - what are they doing here? And could someone mentioned to all serving staff that a soup spoon is for soup and a dessert spoon, used for cereal, dessert etc. We complained about the lack of entertainment during the day which is available on other ships. We were told by the entertainment director that budget cuts meant that information talks were't offered any more. We turned up in the Showroom for a talk on the shore excursions to be told they weren't being held as only one staff member had done the Panama trip before. Then we were told that they would do one only after passengers boarded in Miama. Yes, it was held, but not all the printed information on each of the ports was available and we were given information on a lot (but not all) of the excursions which was too much to take in. Yes, they ran in on the TV but we got the whole talk even up to the last day of the cruise. We figured out that things like deck games, beanbag throw and talking to entertainment staff cost no extra for the cruise line, so that is what we got. Thing is, not everyone can do or is interested in the activities that were available. The movies that were available on the big screen were for the larger part not late release, with offerings like Pretty Woman. Was it just coincidence that half way through the cruise suddenly we were offered Les Miserables, Jack Reacher and Lincoln? Or did we all complain. I question the wisdom of showing a kids movie, Wreck-it Ralph, when only 17 children were on board. Another reviewer mentioned the poor offerings on the room tv and I must agree with them. Re-runs of the movies shown in the theatre, and re-runs of the same tv shows shown over and over. Plus of course the remote that didn't work unless it was held right in front of the on/off light. We did do excursion off the ship, and mostly they were quite good. I do object however, to be taken as an almost captive group to jewellery stores with enormous pressure brought to bear to buy. The offerings in the shops on board were quite good but as others have mentioned, over-priced. And I can never understand why people will pay thousands of dollars for jewellery that had no valuation offered with it. We did go to the Art Auctions but by the last one were more than a little jaded by the same old information. I've never heard of a ship tour that cost money (don't think we were ever told how much). We though we had pretty much seen it all but on the last day the organisers (????) excelled themselves. We were all told what bag tags we needed and where to be at a certain time. We turned up where we were supposed to be to be asked if we had been through Immigration? No, we didn't know we needed to. Though it must be on shore. So round we turned, walked from the front of the ship, all round the deck to the other side of the ship to join the queue for Immigration. Then when we got back to the front of the ship where we were before, got our amusement from all those who came after.and who didn't know either. Felt sorry for the staff who had to bear the brunt of passengers anger. Comments from other passengers who have cruised before with NCL but not on the Jewel, said there was no comparison between it and the other liners and they would not cruise on the Jewel again. Came to the conclusion that Freestyle cruising is just another term for sub-standard offering. If passengers don't want formal nights, why do so many make the effort to get dressed up night after night. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I'm sad to report that I wasn't thrilled with our cruise. We love to cruise and actually booked this trip because it was the 5th anniversary of the night DH proposed on the Gem in Cagneys. Recreating that night was one of the ... Read More
I'm sad to report that I wasn't thrilled with our cruise. We love to cruise and actually booked this trip because it was the 5th anniversary of the night DH proposed on the Gem in Cagneys. Recreating that night was one of the highlights of our trip but there were so many other things that just weren't up to par. Embarkation could best be described at organized chaos. The ship was late coming back from her previous voyage because the seas were so rough. We had gotten to the port early around 11:30 a.m. but they had only just begun disembarking passengers. We stood for over an hour in a hot crowded line before the metal detectors at security started admitting people. Once through there we stood for another hour to reach check in. Friends in the Garden Villa only had to endure the security parts but were then whisked onto the ship. Others in suites report that they were able to sit down and then were escorted through check in. Once on board, we hid in the library until our cabin was ready. A few others had the same idea but it was relatively quiet and we could sit. I knew better then to brave the pandemonium I knew I'd find if we had ventured to the buffet. While we were in the library, we heard an announcement that muster was being pushed back so after dropping our gear in the cabin once it was opened, we actually managed a leisurely snack at the Blue Lagoon. Muster without the life jackets was far more civilized then seeing a ship full of people wandering around with the extra bulk but I couldn't help but wonder if the lack of jackets changed the dynamic for first time cruisers. I was happy to familiarize myself with it that first time. I should report we had a rough sail down . . . with heavy seas. It wasn't as bad as our trip up 5 years ago but you knew you were at sea. This was not gentle rocking. This was being conscious of where the floor was when you walked because it might move between the time you picked your foot up to step and when you put it down. The crew placed sea sick bags by all the elevators & in many public areas. They were used. I probably could have handled the movement of the ship or my New Years' Hangover. The combo was deadly however & I'm not the only one who suffered. When NCL scheduled our CC meeting for 11 a.m. on New Year's Day I knew were weren't getting a lot of people and we didn't. Attendance was down even further because of the waves. Although the entire senior staff showed up they didn't stick around & socialize. I assumed the captain had things to do but I wondered why the hospitality staff disappeared so quickly. They were friendly and personable when we met them throughout the rest of the trip. Ironically they didn't even give us the usual speech about tell us while you are on board if there's something we can do; don't just go home & write about it on CC. We booked an OV guarantee, as we usually do. This time we were assigned a handicapped cabin. It was awful. The bathroom has a spacious roll in design which must be wonderful for someone who needs that, but the floor drains throughout the room are not effective enough to contain the water. As a result of the movement of the ship, the water flows out of the bathroom and drenches the carpet in the cabin. You can see the water when you step down. I was afraid to blow dry my hair for fear of being electrocuted. We tried stuffing towels under the door but that only slowed the flow of water into the cabin; it didn't stop even when I used 2 beach towels. (At my request the cabin steward had given us extra for that purpose & he changed them daily.) I don't want to think about the amount of mold which must build up under the carpet immediately outside that bathroom door. Even the carpet in the hallway was damp. NCL tried to help. They sent us an industrial dryer to absorb the water but it was hot and noisy. The cabin was designed to accommodate 4 people. We slept on the "queen" which is the two twins pushed together. A trundle bed was under one side and popped up to be for a 3rd person. A wall platform was mounted above the beds & flipped down for a 4th person. The problem was the placement of the mount made it so you couldn't sit up in bed because if you were straight and your head was against the platform there was about 8 inches of space between your back and the wall so you had no support. This made it difficult to sit up & read. In all fairness, my frustration with this cabin may have adversely colored my entire perception of this trip. Overall the food quality on the Gem has gone down in my opinion, except for the pizza. While not real NY pizza by any means it was a vast improvement over the frozen Elio's style squares we'd been served on other voyages. Coming from NYC, you'd think NCL & the chef would realize that the majority of passengers like flavorful meals. There wasn't a spice to be found in anything -- the jerk chicken I had for dinner had a mild flavor at best. Even the Indian food at the buffet was bland. Several mornings I ate cereal and yogurt for breakfast because the eggs at the buffet were cold & they tasted like powdered eggs, rather than fresh. The omelet station offerings were too greasy. It became a joke among our group. I had to order first because no matter what I got, it was substandard, so my companions would order anything else. Even my duck at Le Bistro was tough, although everybody else's steaks were good. DH had the salmon which he liked but it looked dried out & overcooked from where I sat. The special BBQs by the pool were pretty good, especially the side dishes but the meats were all cooked well done which meant they were dried out & flavorless. I was told it was for food safety reasons. It wasn't just me. We had met another couple on board. We saw them coming out of Cagneys & she was so upset. They thought they saved the best for last but she said it was one of their worst meals on the ship; her shrimp were rubbery and her salmon oscar had such a old fishy smell, she couldn't even eat it. NCLs wine list has gone downhill too. It used to have a lot of good mid-range wines that were very well priced. I remember getting a Gingrich Hills which is usually $36 in the liquor store and about $65 on most wine lists for $42. It wasn't even on the wine lists. They had a lot more stuff that was $9 -- $12 in the store and was selling for the usually mark-up to $30 on the list. Although the Berringer Pinot Noir which was available by the glass is priced at $34 per bottle on the dining room wine list but $31 per bottle on the wine by the glass stand up menus at the bars. I don't care about the $3 but the inconsistency bugged me. (Maybe I've been watching too much Bar Rescue on TV) I was so glad that we boarded with 4 bottles of champagne because they were pushing Moet ice which didn't appeal to me at all. Tattingers and Dom Perignon were the only good champagnes available and there were no more champagne by the glass choices even at the champagne bar in bar central. The bar staff commented that this was a quiet cruise. That assessment could be applied to our Roll Call thread which wasn't very active. Often times we were the only ones at bar central, although the chairs to watch the entertainers were usually occupied by non-drinkers. I think everybody on the ship under 30 was in Bliss every night but even then, there were more empty seats than anything else. One of the bartenders also speculated that sales would pick up if they moved the pub crawl from its current late afternoon time slot to an evening after dinner event. I think the bartender was right; I didn't want 6 drinks on an empty stomach so NCL if you are reading this, think about changing the time. There were no deals on the drink of the day; I didn't have one but friends complained the $4.99 margaritas by the pool were watered down and made without tequila. MDR service wasn't what we were used to from other voyages. The staff didn't smile. Everything took too long. They seemed disorganized and rushed. It was hard to get anybody to take our wine order. They would bring the wrong thing -- bottle of merlot when we ordered chardonnay. While we were waiting to get that straightened out 4 people including the DR manager asked to take our dinner order. I had to repeatedly explain that we wanted our wine before we ordered. Since an automatic tip gets added to the bar bill, I didn't understand why this was so difficult on this trip when it had never been a problem before. I was very disappointed to learn that the souffles were gone. They were always my favorite dessert. The hotel director, Jenny Linn, a delightful woman performing a difficult job, sent DH and I fabulous, scrumptious, decadent chocolate cake worthy of one of those dessert shows on the Food Channel for our anniversary. People deride NCL for its freestyle dress code but on this voyage the majority of people were dressed up most nights. I think at least ½ the passengers were in formal attire for New Years Eve; the other half saved it for the next night, Norwegian's Night out. When I dared wear capris and a nice top, I felt underdressed. I suspect this level of fashion is more a function of the fact that the ship sailed from NYC than a change in NCL's demographic but I didn't see any sloppy people. Even the few kids on board were dressed most of the time. While others complained about chair hogs, I never had a problem finding a chair on the upper deck. In fact, many times there were still chairs stacked up. NCL does need to enforce it's adults only pool rules. There were always children in that pool even though the family pool was only a few feet away. The on board entertainment was good. We liked Michael the piano player and the jazz band. The comedians were funny and the dance troop was good. They deserve great respect for their ability to make some of those leaps look effortless even when the ship was moving. There were other little picky things around the ship that indicated NCL needs to give the Gem some TLC. The signs by the elevators needed to be repainted. The plates at the bottom of the stairs banged and boomed when stepped on. Almost every public ladies' room around the ship had at least one stall where the lock was broken. Yes, those are picky details but I couldn't help but wonder if that was an overall sign of budget cuts or just a lack of caring, both of which made me worried that there were bigger safety issues I didn't know about. Disembarkation was fine especially given the extra problems which still exist after Hurricane Sandy. That's nobody's fault and NCL seemed to be doing the best it could. I was appalled by how rudely some of my fellow disembarking passengers treated the staff and the customs officials. By the way they acted you would have thought they were being held prisoner on the ship. We'll be back but if things are like this next time, we may start looking for a new favorite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We haven't cruised with Royal Caribbean before and expected that its quality was less than we were used to, and it was. However, for the price, it was better than we had expected. The entertainment was fine - very impressed with the ... Read More
We haven't cruised with Royal Caribbean before and expected that its quality was less than we were used to, and it was. However, for the price, it was better than we had expected. The entertainment was fine - very impressed with the orchestra and the dancers. The headliners were a bit weak, but the comedian was particularly funny. The Cruise Director, Leigh Xerbus, was funny as well. We had children with us and much of the entertainment was more adult oriented, whcih was too bad as we like to spend some time with the children after dinner. The ice show was perfect for family entertainment. Not to be missed. If we have any complaints, it was the fact that this boat is out dated and badly needs a rehab. It is unfortunately dirty in places, not for lack of cleaning, just due to long time wear. There is also A LOT of smoking on the ship. Even where people are not supposed to be smoking, there is smoking. Very few of the rules are enforced and it made for a an occasionally unpleasant experience. Kids in the adult pools, smoking, kids in the casino horsing around, etc. I understand not wanting to ruin people's good time, but allowing other cruisers to impose on guests ruins their good time....just sayin'. The food for the first two days was not good. We sat with another family and we broke the ice over the bad food. Other than that, I'm not sure why the chef would have allowed such bad, cold food to be served. By day three, the kitchen seemed to have its act together. Some of the dishes were quite good and the buffet upstairs went from Fair to Good. I can say I always found something to eat, but I can't say the food is a selling point. Portofino, however, was very nice. quiet, elegant and the food was above average. Well worth the extra fee. The staff was fine. The service was fine, but the cruise seemed generally understaffed. You could always get assistance, service, etc., but there was usually a wait. Finally, although it was very convenient to cruise out of Bayonne, the cruiseport itself is an embarrassment. The abandoned shipping port looks like a mafia killing ground, but we weren't there long. The customs officials were fast. God Bless the USA. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
A friend and I decided to get away for the dual holidays of Christmas and New Year's and decided that the Carnival Miracle was a perfect option because it sailed from New York (we're New Yorkers) and we were looking for something ... Read More
A friend and I decided to get away for the dual holidays of Christmas and New Year's and decided that the Carnival Miracle was a perfect option because it sailed from New York (we're New Yorkers) and we were looking for something "all inclusive" Our embarkation went smoothly and we quickly found our room, finding our bathroom was another story because story because it took about a minute of two for the light to turn on. We then took our bottle of champagne and put it in our little refrigerator which did not work and took 5 days of an 8 day cruise to have replaced. Our luggage then arrived in a timely manner. However, my brand new suitcase was damaged with a pretty severe oil stain. We immediately went to guest services to complain, where we were rudely told.. "What do you expect?... Sometimes luggage gets dirty".... The agent reluctantly took the bag and smartly said "We'll clean it, but don't expect it to be "perfect" We then went to the Bacchus room for dinner, I ordered a soda with dinner, only to find out that only Iced Tea and Lemonade were "complimentary" The following day I decided to book some spa appointments for hair and nails. Each appointment lasted roughly an hour.. let me rephrase, the procedure lasted about 1/2 and hour, the sales pitch for the nail cream, hair cream, and face cream took the other half. That evening we dined at Nick and Nora's, the tenth floor steak house. NO COMPLAINTS here whatsoever. The service and the food were IMPECCABLE! On Thursday we arrived in Port Canaveral. We went on a shore excursion called "Pontoon Lagoon", which was a little ferry ride through people's backyards to look at trees where pelicans go to the bathroom. On Friday we arrived in Nassau, Bahamas, again by mistake we booked an excursion to the "Blue Lagoon". After spending more that an hour in a line that changed directions for fun and games, we made it through the hordes of natives trying to sell us anything from bottled water to cocaine. We arrived at our destination at 2:00 to be told that we need to be back on the boat at 4:15... Really screwed on that one! The following day we arrived in Freeport. My friend and I said "screw it" to our planned excursion (Fool me once....) But to Carnival's credit, they were willing to give us a credit on this. THANK YOU!!!!! We proceeded off the boat to go to the little port "village" that was set up. THIS WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF OUR TRIP. There was a bar/restaurant there called Senor Frogs. This establishment provided an atmosphere of fun and adult entertainment that we could not find on the Miracle. THIS AFTERNOON WAS THE BEST PART OF OUR TRIP.... this was the first time a venue existed for the passengers to mingle and have fun with each other.... The consensus at the bar was that Carnival needed to provide an atmosphere like that.... and this was exactly what the Miracle was missing. We then set sail for New York, which was two more days at sea. This should have been relaxing and peaceful... BUT.... on our floor was a group of about 10 teenagers that amused themselves by knocking on cabin doors and running away at all hours of the night. This and prank phone calls lasted until the end of the trip. The cruise ended with New Years Eve... may have been fun, wouldn't know because at this point my friend and I were so tired of this atmosphere, we decided to stay in out cabin. Also, should be noted that after 8:30 PM the only food available is Pizza... edible, but after 8 nights, barely. Never so happy to see the Hudson River and New York City as I was on 1/1. THINK VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE TAKING THIS TRIP.... The best time you will have is at a bar in a tourist trap.... but that was TRULY an amazing time! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Just getting around to posting my review of the Norwegian Gem cruise from Dec. 13 to 22nd. First, let me state that the overall experience was very positive. Norwegian seems to aim at a younger crowd and the entertainment factor was ... Read More
Just getting around to posting my review of the Norwegian Gem cruise from Dec. 13 to 22nd. First, let me state that the overall experience was very positive. Norwegian seems to aim at a younger crowd and the entertainment factor was outstanding. However, a couple of things to watch out for and had they been different I would have had a much better overall experience. Embarkation - Took the shuttle ride from Laguardia airport to the pier. Remember to factor in the fact that it is Thursday near lunch in Manhattan. The ride took almost two hours (11:00am to 1:00 pm), so factor this is to your calculations. Found out later that although further away, Newark is a much easier arrival. Once at the pier I was greeted by a disaster. I still have less then 10 cruises on my resume and have split them amongst different lines to see what I like about each cruise line. However, this meant that to Norwegian I was only a Bronze Member and had to wait in the longest line I had ever seen for boarding. After a one hour and 50 minute wait I finally got to the desk only to be greeted with surely service. It didn't seem to be just me either as I could hear other passengers having the same problem. No customers should be exposed to that experience!!!! Way too few service stations to handle this load. By the time I got onboard my room was ready and it was quiet nice. I tend to book an interior cabin as I spend very little time in the room. Overall rating for the room and cabin stewards was 8+. Surprisingly, the first two days in the Buffet you had to stand in line as all food was handed out individually. The first morning I had to wait for over 10 minutes for my coffee as my eggs got cold. When I asked one of the servers why this was taking place, he replied that they wanted to make sure that the passengers did not burn themselves on the hot coffee :) I found out later that this was because the previous cruise had a serious flu epidemic and they had to put extreme measures in place until they were sure they had this under control. However, none of this was communicated to the passengers which could have eased the frustration level for all involved. Entertainment - Okay, on to the good stuff!!! Ever night there was a choice of two fabulous shows at the main theatre. Singers, dancers, Second City comedy, A Cirque de Soleil show, Hypnotist and Comedian. Seriously, what other ship offers anything close to this!!!!. As well, the lounge entertainers were awesome. Laurie on Piano and Pablo on guitar were fantastic. As well, there were two bands which played near the pool on several days (an throughout the other lounges at various times). Both were outstanding and could have headlined on another Cruise Line. The White Nights event at the disco and the Chocolate Buffet and the first day Pub Crawl were all great. All three are can't miss. As well, one of the bar's featured a "Flight of Patron Tequila". For $12 you got 3 shots (Regular, Silver and Gold). I don't know about prices where you live, but this might have been the best deal going onboard. Add this to game shows and trivia and other daily activities and I found myself sometimes hustling to get from one to the next. If you are bored on this ship, you probably have to blame yourself. Dining - Food in the buffet and Main sit down dining rooms was average (but acceptable). One night I ordered a strip loan steak off of the main menu and it came out grey. Service in the dining room was also quite average. Twice I had to ask for bread for my table. In all it really seemed that the push toward the "for pay" restaurants and the guaranteed gratuity has definitely reduced the normal dining experience. The 24 hour restaurant (Blue Lagoon) was hit and miss. The chicken wings were quiet good while the fish and chips were terrible :). Pizza was available as well from room service for a $5 charge. A huge meal which could feed 6 people. An option for a smaller serving or a 24 hour pizza station as with other lines have would have been welcomed I used the workout room every morning and the facilities were very good. Especially on port days it was uncrowded and the equipment was all in very good shape. Didn't do any excursions, but did get off the boat for shopping. San Juan and St. Thomas were disappointing (run down and very expensive respectively). St. Maarten was wonderful. The last port was a private one in the Dominican Republic. Although I didn't go, the beach was reported to be wonderful. However the rest of the area is undeveloped and you may be disappointed if you try to do anything else. Remember this is a 9 day cruise for a reason. Leaving from New York in the winter means you lose at least one day in each direction where it is too cold to be outside:) As well, expect some rough Seas as when the hot and cool weather meet the storms tend to appear. The last day at Sea on the return had more then a few people looking quite green. So, to summarize, I will return to this line, but will probably try another competitor first before going on Norwegian again. I will definitely avoid a New York departure as even stowaways should be treated better the the port staff handled us. With a couple of small changes this cruise could have been fantastic. Still, value for money was quite high and on the whole it was a great time on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
After trying other lines for the past 12 years, we decided to give NCL another try. We had only carry-on luggage so we opted to take the train from New Jersey, then a taxi to the port. We arrived at 10:00 a.m. and was pointed to a line. ... Read More
After trying other lines for the past 12 years, we decided to give NCL another try. We had only carry-on luggage so we opted to take the train from New Jersey, then a taxi to the port. We arrived at 10:00 a.m. and was pointed to a line. Shortly thereafter we were lined up to go through security, we were then seated in a waiting area. We spent approximately 90 minutes waiting before actually checking in and boarding. Our pictures were taken while checking in which was great as we avoided waiting on line to enter the ship. My first impression was that NCL has lost the Midas touch. Before the line was sold, we were always greeted with a white-gloved waiter with a welcome drink and thereafter we were guided to our cabins. A very cold greeting indeed. Unlike other cruise lines, access to all staterooms was blocked so you had to go directly to the buffet or restaurant for lunch. We dragged our luggage and opted to go to the Grand Pacific where we had a wonderful lunch. They offered an option to drop carry-on luggage at the Bliss lounge but we declined. A little after 2:00 p.m. we received an announcement that our rooms were ready. The stateroom was quite small and very difficult to move around in and, for someone with long legs, it was a challenge sitting on the commode comfortably. We requested one large bed but got two small ones which were quite comfortable so we left them that way but again space was very limited to move around. I was also disappointed that conditioner and lotion was not provided as I did not bring any since it was always available on other lines. I did not like the fact that everything was in a dispenser. Sort of cheapened the experience. They also did not provide a beach bag, which is customary on other lines so I had to ask the room steward to try to find a couple for us since we did not bring one. Meals and entertainment were quite good and I didn't see the need to pay for a specialty restaurant. The Groove International band was outstanding and very versatile. We had the pleasure of meeting the Executive Chef and Assistant Housekeeping managers. They were very professional and did their best to ensure that everyone was well taken care of. They are an asset to the company for sure. Our room steward, Christian, was also a gem. He did an excellent job taking care of our room. Once we experienced a few waiters the first couple of days, we asked for the same waiter, Norman, for the rest of the cruise as he was the best at what he does. The cruise director and his assistant are very good and quite personable but I have one comment about the Fountains show. It may have been entertaining for some but watching people exchanging bodily fluids by spitting on each other was not my idea of good entertainment and I thought it was a tad raunchy for the number of kids at the show. I did, however, enjoy his Beyonce Single Ladies performance. No paper and pen was provided in the room nor was there a daily news synopsis available, like on other lines, and the TV was very limited. Unlike other cruise lines, there was no form to complete indicating your disembarkation arrangements. You had to go to the front desk to inquire. Disembarkation was a nightmare and very disorganized. The worst I have ever encountered. They need more staff to guide people around and monitor the lines as people getting off the elevators were cutting the line which extended out into the cold. I was definitely happy to get off at that point. Overall it was a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
MY boyfriend and I took our first cruise aboard the Miracle from Christmas Eve to New Years. For the price we booked (booked an obstructed view balcony room but got bumped to a regular balcony) we felt the cru8ise, ship, staff and service ... Read More
MY boyfriend and I took our first cruise aboard the Miracle from Christmas Eve to New Years. For the price we booked (booked an obstructed view balcony room but got bumped to a regular balcony) we felt the cru8ise, ship, staff and service was excellent. Being that this was a long trip with a total of 4 sea days, it helped that there was lots of food and activities (good food at that )to keep us busy and and a fun fun trip. We went to Port Canaveral in Florida (Our least favorite, and could have done without it), and then off to Nassau and Freeport Bahamas. We did the Atlantis excursion in Nassau and fell in love with the resort and water park. We hit the beach ih Freeport and did some shopping. Overall we felt it was well worth it and made for a great and affordable holiday vaca!!! :) * we did not know that there is no heat on the ship in the rooms. There is only AC (so u can turn that on or off) but there is no heat to turn on. We would've been a little more prepared for that if we had known, since the first 2 days leaving NY was very very cold. They did provide us with extra blankets *Internet via satellite can be purchased (a little expensive however) *You must check out the Nick and Nora's steakhouse- its the only place you pay for food. Make a reservation ($35 per person). We did it one night (NYE night) and the food was awesome Read Less
Sail Date December 2012

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