232 New York (Manhattan) Repositioning Cruise Reviews

This was our 34th cruise and several of them have been crossings on the Queen Mary 2. We chose this crossing to get us to Europe for an extended stay. There were no surprises, pleasant or otherwise. Overall we were pleased. Some ... Read More
This was our 34th cruise and several of them have been crossings on the Queen Mary 2. We chose this crossing to get us to Europe for an extended stay. There were no surprises, pleasant or otherwise. Overall we were pleased. Some positives: Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Maybe Cunard has solved some of the problems that used to plague Brooklyn departures. The ship is in excellent condition and we were thrilled to return to our favorite public rooms, the Chart Room and the Commodore Club. Our Princess Grill stateroom was comfortable and well-designed. We received excellent help from the Concierge on a number of issues. Overall very good service. We continue to be underwhelmed by the food choices and quality on Cunard. It's just the same old quite old fashioned cruise ship cuisine, blah and not very interesting. English and French stye, few true ethnic choices. The exceptions were the alternative dining at night in Kings' Chaos where the menu was adventurous and quality very good. Note that this was a very formal experience with 3 formal nights out of 7, and with the expectation that men would wear jackets on the other evenings. The QM2 crossing is not for those who pack only casual clothes. We have another QM2 crossing scheduled for 2020, and hopefully there will be others. It's a great way to get across the Atlantic without jet lag. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My first impressions began with late lunch on embarkation day in Kings Court. Dodging employees with food carts, they didn’t give way for guests - to the point of being dangerous. Good food selections available, although meat over cooked ... Read More
My first impressions began with late lunch on embarkation day in Kings Court. Dodging employees with food carts, they didn’t give way for guests - to the point of being dangerous. Good food selections available, although meat over cooked to toughness. First day party impressive poolside and music was excellent as we watched NYC fade away. Our eight-person seating companions at dinner each evening were excellent and we promised to stay in touch. Disappointed in repeated shows in planetarium. Was hoping for something other than dark matter and meteorites. Arson lecture was really good. As was lecture on British history. Live shows excellent in theater but very short. My very favorite restaurant was the Golden Lion. Trivia contests and space sharing brought us in contact with so many fine people for the fun competitions. My biggest concern was uneven flooring that felt like rotting wood under carpets, especially in the casino. With all the alleged grandeur, this seemed dodgy. Would not opt for balcony cabin again. North Atlantic, even in dead summer, is not conducive to enjoying outdoors. We didn’t use it. Food good in Britannia but as I don’t drink much alcohol, waiter acted as if I was less than when I ordered a soft drink with my dinner. Public spaces are beautiful. I might do it again, but looking at nothing but water for seven straight days was trying. I was excited on day six when I saw actually spied a bird as we approached land. All in all, I wasn’t all that impressed after reading all the glorious reviews about this glamorous ocean liner. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Six months since our last holiday, by May 2019 it was time for a break. I am a firm believer in the HR notion that a break every six months is restorative (if not to ones bank account, at least for the soul). So I looked for a cruise that ... Read More
Six months since our last holiday, by May 2019 it was time for a break. I am a firm believer in the HR notion that a break every six months is restorative (if not to ones bank account, at least for the soul). So I looked for a cruise that would please me and my wife. A bit about us: we are late middle-aged (later 50's, early 60's), one of us still works, and we have done many cruises since 2001. Mostly on Holland America, yet more recently on Seabourn. We very much liked the almost all-inclusive nature of our Seabourn cruises, as well as the smaller ships. In May 2019 Seabourn had an interesting cruise option, yet on that ship the verandah cabin guarantee offered may well have come with the opaque (metal) balcony railings. That is a show-stopper for my wife, who wants to be able to see out her balcony while seated. Seabourn would put us in a balcony with the Plexiglas railing--yet only if we ponied up another $2 grand each. It looked like we would not be cruising after all in May. Happily, searching the usual websites, I found this interesting Regent cruise--a trans-Atlantic, which we like (the days at sea can be quite restful), some interesting ports, a departure from New York, which is only an hours flight from Toronto, and with the airfare and shore excursions included. We also would have a proper balcony in the verandah cabin, with no metal railing blocking the view. All this, including business class air for the transatlantic flight home, for about the same price as Seabourn wanted for the obstructed view balcony. Hmmm, it was time to give Regent a try. Cutting to the chase for any impatient readers, we quite enjoyed our Regent cruise and would return to them. This line is now on our list, along with Seabourn. We would also return to HAL, even though we do like not having to sign for most things, for the right itinerary and pricing. It is nice to have options and choices. We found Regent a well organized operator. Their shore staff met us at Newark airport, and we were escorted to the van (we were the only passengers) provided to take us to the port of Manhattan. Ironically, the drive from the airport took longer than our 1.3 hour flight. It was nice, accordingly, that I did not have to pay for a taxi or limo, and that such ground transportation was included. As we checked in around 2PM, we had missed the rush. On board quickly, we headed to the Verandah for a casual lunch. This was the first of many very good meals on board. Ultimately to our cabin--we had received and accepted an upsell offer for a penthouse. The basic amenity was that the cabin, same size as the verandah cabin but better located, came with a butler, who was excellent! Between the butler and our stewardess, and her assistant, we were very well looked after for the next 15 days. Having never had a butler before, and wondering what we would use him for, now I wonder how we could survive without one! The cabin was a little tight compared with what we are used to. On HAL we get a Neptune Suite, and on Seabourn a regular verandah. Yet the Seabourn ships are newer than this particular ship, Navigator, which is about 20 years old. We found that there was not quite as much drawer space or storage generally, as we have had on Seabourn in the regular verandah cabins--yet we managed to get everything put away. Still, I would not have wanted a room service dinner in the cabin. Again, other than having the daily snacks which the butler brought, it was a tad tight for dining. We were not impressed with the lifeboat drill. Held partly inside, and then being taken out to the boat deck was superfluous, as the boats you were shown at the drill may well not be the boat to which you would be assigned when you gather in the event of an emergency. In my view this is not well thought out. Either do the entire drill outside, or inside. I would also think specific lifeboats should be assigned per cabin, so everyone knows exactly where to go in case of an emergency. Other lines do this in a more organized fashion. We had a little difficulty in getting the cabin stocked with my wife's favourite Vodka, Chopin, a potato-based vodka. A substitute was provided, and Chopin was available in the bars. Ultimately, our butler scrounged us a bottle for the cabin. Unfortunately, we were told that Chopin was no longer to be provided on Regent once current inventory was finished. Too bad, as it is an excellent luxury brand. The included/available Scotches were also not quite top drawer. I mean, seriously, Johnny Walker Red? Yes, they had Black, Chivas Regal (my daily tipple), and some single malts. Yet for a luxury cruise line, at a minimum 12 year old single malts (not just one, but a choice of several) should be included, and frankly, they should provide 15 year old Scotch without a surcharge. In addition to most friendly, warm, welcoming, and personable cabin staff, the same could be said about all the bar staff. They were great. It was nice to be seated, and ones regular drink brought around without having to say a word. Kudos to them for fostering a welcoming and clubby atmosphere. The food quality was truly excellent--and we are foodies. It was the best we have experienced on any cruise. Being fair, HAL provides in our experience very good Banquet style meals. Seabourn provides very good meals as well, just not a lot of variety at times, and at times, overly salted. Regent's food was not overly salted, yet was well seasoned. There was also plenty of variety at lunch, and especially at dinner in the main restaurant. Some of the "always available" dinner items included genuine whole Dover Sole, which would be filleted table-side--a pleasure to watch. We found the food prepared "a la minute", and was an example of fine dining. Not every dish was a success, but the effort was clearly present. We were surprised that someone on the cruise after ours, a Veterans charter, did not enjoy the food. Yet that may have been because it was a charter. We enjoyed the dining room or the upstairs casual restaurant which becomes an Italian restaurant at night. Happily, it was not a buffet, unless one wanted to go up and select items. We much preferred the lovely Italian servers bringing us our meal. We also enjoyed two meals in the steakhouse. We found the personnel there most welcoming and accommodating, too. The beef was very good. Yet, as I have a great local butcher, and enjoy making a BBQ during decent weather, unlike some I do not get all excited about a steakhouse! Service in the dining room, however, was not quite as good as was the food. Some of the servers were great: warm, friendly, yet also competent. Over 15 days there can be one or two food items that are not to ones taste--the better wait staff knew to check and to quickly rectify the situation. Alas, not all of the servers fit into that category. We are used to on HAL our fixed table at 8PM, where we build a rapport with the same team of waiter, assistant waiter, and wine waiter over the cruise. While we do appreciate the flexibility of open seating available on smaller ships, one sacrifices, to some extent, that personal rapport which can, if one is lucky (and we have always had good luck on HAL in that regard), develop between server and customer. The challenge for Regent and Seabourn is to imbue their wait staff with the feeling that, even if for one night, each passenger is "their" passenger, and the goal should be to make the evening special, for each guest. Not easy to accomplish, but worth aiming for. In any case on this cruise we had a word with hotel management about some initial service issues, and happily, things improved. The ports included Bermuda, and the shore excursions, also included, were very good. Unfortunately, a couple of the afternoon tours were cancelled. As I get up early most weekday mornings, the last thing I want to do on any cruise is get up early to go on tour. I prefer a leisurely morning. In most European ports, Regent did offer afternoon tours, and again, we enjoyed them. We found the laundry to be expensive, albeit thankfully we were using "Monopoly money" (our ship-board credits) for that. Seabourn offers laundry at $50 for as much as one can stuff into a bag. Regent should follow that example. If I did not have sufficient credits, the cost of laundry would be a factor worth considering, along with the other factors such as included shore excursions, included air-fare, etc. There are, it seems, always trade-offs to be made. The lectures were in our view poorly timed. The fellow who spoke at 10 AM I would have preferred hearing in the afternoon, and I could have skipped the afternoon guy who talked about photography. The onboard shows were decent, although the layout of the theatre makes it hard to find an unobstructed view unless you arrive early. Some of the specialty performers were excellent! The piano bar was ok. While the piano player could play, he often mangled the lyrics. A little more practice to make perfect may help. Bar staff there, however, were great. The demographics of this cruise included, in our view, a somewhat older crowd. That made us feel comparatively younger (not a bad thing!). Still, we met a few folk to, on occasion, have a drink with. People were quite pleasant for the most part. We were surprised that the dress code on Regent was specified as "elegant-casual" each night. Apparently for cruises of 15 days or less, there are no formal-optional nights. I had brought a couple of ties, yet never wore one. In the main dining room, however, most men did wear a sports-jacket or the ubiquitous navy blazer. People were for the most part indeed elegantly casual. We flew home on May 30, and have to say that Amsterdam's airport is very disorganized. I would also warn folks not to connect through London-Heathrow, as the security and other line ups are horrendous. In hindsight, I would have tried for a non-stop flight which, as we all know, is the best bet. Generally, and if the price is right, we would definitely return to Regent. Yet right now they seem to be charging nearly $1,000.00 per person per day. That is far more than what we paid for this cruise. So, if one can afford it, go for it--yet it pays to shop around. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
It was 13 days from NYC to Amsterdam I'm an experienced cruiser. This is the first time I have experienced such a sick ship. Norovirus was rampant from day two! Sick passengers or crew were allowed aboard this ship! This was 13 ... Read More
It was 13 days from NYC to Amsterdam I'm an experienced cruiser. This is the first time I have experienced such a sick ship. Norovirus was rampant from day two! Sick passengers or crew were allowed aboard this ship! This was 13 days of pure displeasure. Many of the crew had bad attitudes. I experienced one of the Supervisors making excuses regarding sanitation methodology. With this type of Management attitude, no wonder the virus continued to expand. I missed two ports and NEVER once heard an apology from the staff. The gym was closed. Many other on board amenities were curtailed -- however, the Casino was always open when not in Port. Self-service at the buffet was curtailed. You had to beg for sugar, salt, pepper, catsup, etc. If you contacted the norovirus, you were quarenteened in your cabin, with your cabin key confiscated. You food was delivered to you on paper plates with plastic utensils. If you had a cabin mate, you could sneak out with them and continue to spread the germs, with no reprocussions unless caught! Thanks to a "sneaker", to whom apparently rules do not apply, I got sick and so did one of my friends! Norwegian, you need better sanitation and better monitoring of sick passengers. I was very disappointed with my cruise and will think long and hard before booking another NCL cruise. The specialty dining was great at Le Bistro, good at La Cuchina, very good at Moderno. I missed the dinner at Cagney's due to the Norovirus. The two dining rooms had very good food, but they tend to seat solo cruisers in the middle of the floor, and couple's get the better tables. Us solo cruisers DO PAY FOR TWO, and only eat for one. The service was hit or miss. Many of the crew had bad attitudes, probably because they had to do the work of multiple crew members because of the crew members who were sick with the Norovirus. I missed a lot of the entertainment, trying to avoid the Norovirus. When I did go to a show, there were groups of passengers talking and being disruptive during the shows. The entertainers were very talented. The trivia was strange, not really testing knowledge, but asking a crew member's age. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The itinerary was exactly what I was looking for. However, as soon as we were on board, the upsell was relentless. I began to feel very very pressured and uncomfortable. The cruise across the Atlantic was wild. However, it was ... Read More
The itinerary was exactly what I was looking for. However, as soon as we were on board, the upsell was relentless. I began to feel very very pressured and uncomfortable. The cruise across the Atlantic was wild. However, it was unnerving when the captain came on and said he didn't anticipate the weather. We were rocking bad ... 12 to 15 ft waves. I thought they could avoid those issues. Then the noro virus hit. We heard over half the passengers were quarantined ... and 200 crew. The captain came on and said anyone trying to leave their cabin would be removed from the ship!!!! Many of the staff were saying they had never seen it this bad. The food was less than appetizing and we spoke with one family who got food poisoning. The food was consistently repeated (tasteless and some seemed rotten). There was nothing high end other than the specialty restaurants. The entertainment tried, but it appears they just couldn't afford or didn't attempt to gather decent entertainment. There was nothing much to do all day with 6 days at sea. I was expecting activities all day. We ended up watching the same 4 movies the entire trip. They just kept repeating themselves. Even airlines have a better choice of movies. My friend (who was not sick) ... went to medical to purchase some Imodium (accidentally forgot it) and they charged her $219 for 10 pills. He never examined her, just sold her the pills. It appeared the crew was instructed not to discuss anything with passengers after a few days, and they began to get irritable (probably double and triple shifts). Dublin (beautiful city) was a horror trying to get off the ship. Six shuttles for over 1000 people. Nightmare!!! I would not recommend this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The first day aboard, I was pleasantly surprised. Our inside cabin was nicer than expected. My sister and I had plenty of room and the bathroom had a lovely shower. Our steward was excellent during the whole cruise. However, it went ... Read More
The first day aboard, I was pleasantly surprised. Our inside cabin was nicer than expected. My sister and I had plenty of room and the bathroom had a lovely shower. Our steward was excellent during the whole cruise. However, it went down hill fast. We were notified on the 2nd day that a virus was discovered on board. By the 4th day everything in the Buffet was covered with plastic and we had to be served our food by employees who didn't know what they were doing. By the time we got to our table our food was cold. It was really depressing, so we started to eat in the main dining rooms. Here the food was slightly better and usually warm but the service again was terrible. I might add that the food was bland everywhere and the desserts all had some kind of gelatin in them. Even the cheesecake!! The precautions the staff were taking to contain the virus was ridiculous. We had to have our hands sprayed upon entering any dining room and we were given paper menus. However, I seldom saw the staff disinfect their own hands and cleaning the tables in the Buffet was a joke. I did not see anyone in the public areas with disinfection. There were 2 nights where they supposedly disinfected the halls and some public areas but a lot of germs could be around between cleanings. They were constantly making announcements about washing our hands and staying in our rooms if we were ill. But they gave no information as to the viirus' containment. They cancelled the Behind the Scenes Tour and a few other events with flimsy excuses when we all knew it was because of the virus. Just be upfront about it! On top of all of that, we had very choppy seas for about 3 to 4 days. Obviously that was not the cruise line's fault but it just added another layer of discomfort. The excursions were very expensive and disappointing. We went to Cork and arrived in Kinsdale to find there was a big rugby game going on and as it was Sunday most of the shops were closed! The London excursion was a joke. We went through some neighborhood that had warehouses converted to apartments. I can see that at home! Then we stopped at the Tower of London and waited 20 min. while our guide got the tickets. Once we got in, we should have been allowed to wander around and meet up at a certain point. Instead we ALL had to wait at least 30 min while everyone used the rest rooms and then we saw the crown jewels and barely had enough time to get back to the bus. We never saw the cells or armour. We only had an hour for lunch which left no time to shop. The bus driver didn't even slow down so we could get some pictures. I have never been on Norwegian before and after this I never will be on it again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Ncl provided the lowest grade of food possible whenever they could. Poor grades of meat & fish in main ding rooms and buffet. The menus were very limited in both dining rooms and buffet. Wait staff was mostly inattentive and poorly ... Read More
Ncl provided the lowest grade of food possible whenever they could. Poor grades of meat & fish in main ding rooms and buffet. The menus were very limited in both dining rooms and buffet. Wait staff was mostly inattentive and poorly trained. This was certainly not the type of service we have come to expect after 51 cruises! The weather was bad (not ncl's fault) so all outside venues were closed, including the outside buffets and seating. Ncl did nothing to compensate for this. Seating was very limited in buffet because of this. Ncl also did not add any inside activities or entertainment considering the weather. They were not flexible in any way. Theyn did not even bother to change the daily schedule to reflect the closings etc. There was a severe outbreak of the norovirus, so ncl removed all condiments from tables, kept bathroom doors open, cleaned constantly, did not allow cruisers to get their own food or drinks in buffet, etc. But did leave casino open where people were touching slot machines. I guess the money factor was more important than health in that regard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise so that my veteran husband could visit Normandy and the American Cemetary. Flew into NYC day before cruise. Embarkation was exhausting. Long lines. Ditto didembarkation. We loved our balcony cabin! Comfy bed and fresh ... Read More
We chose this cruise so that my veteran husband could visit Normandy and the American Cemetary. Flew into NYC day before cruise. Embarkation was exhausting. Long lines. Ditto didembarkation. We loved our balcony cabin! Comfy bed and fresh bedding everyday. Kudos to Yu!!! Def didnt pack the right clothes! We needed warmer things incl jackets and sweaters. Even gloves! Cold and rainy and stormy across Atlantic and in most all ports except Cobh.Dining was ok. Love the Freestyle idea. Buffet was too crowded. By the time we found seating food was cold. Ate breakfast at OSheehans every day. Thank you to Steven- a customer service oriented server! Shows were soso. We enjoyed the shows on ship tv. Liars Club etc. The Pearl needs to work on excursion organization and esp tendering. We missed Dublin because of the tender ops. We had a fun time and will go again! Maybe on another NCL ship! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was the first time my wife had been to Europe, so what better way to see lots of places and spend five days as see crossing the Atlantic than sail on the beautiful Norwegian Pearl. We have sailed the Pearl Five times and loved it ... Read More
This was the first time my wife had been to Europe, so what better way to see lots of places and spend five days as see crossing the Atlantic than sail on the beautiful Norwegian Pearl. We have sailed the Pearl Five times and loved it every time. The ship is in great repair and the staff is always friendly. The food on every cruise we have made on the Pearl is always above par to say the least. Embarkation out of New York was a breeze and getting off the ship in Amsterdam was just as easy. No issues or time wasted on either end of the 2 week trip. Our stateroom was amazing and had its own private hot tub on the balcony along with a tub and seperate shower in the stateroom. The haven area was great, as it was on all our other trips on the Pearl. In two weeks we ate in every resturant at least once and some twice and they were all above other cruise lines dining experiences. The entertainment was equal to or above what we have had on other ships. The Ports were all really exciting and we had an excursion picked for every port so there was no disappointment there either. All our excursions were booked thru NCL and they were worth the money. Our only regret was we had to come back to the real world of work at the end of our cruise. We have come to feel like we know this ship better than most other ships we have been on and we have never been disappointed with anything on the Pearl. Service, food, entertainment, staterooms and public areas are always the best that can be expected of a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
It had the itinerary we were looking for. This would be our 8th cruise with NCL. It was transatlantic and we find the six days at sea very relaxing. Unfortunately on the second day out a virus out break hit and many of the facilitys were ... Read More
It had the itinerary we were looking for. This would be our 8th cruise with NCL. It was transatlantic and we find the six days at sea very relaxing. Unfortunately on the second day out a virus out break hit and many of the facilitys were closed or restricted. It was kind of a disaster. My wife and I didn't get sick and that was a good thing. Now the two excursions we were looking forward to Dublin Ireland and London England turned out to be a disaster too. In Dublin you tender from the port of Dun Laoghaire, if you see that don't book. Tendering process was terrible. We lost so much time in the process we didn't get what I paid for. In London we were at the port of Tilbury . Same thing terrible process to get off the ship. Wound up with maybe 3hrs. in London but was dropped off far from the main tourist areas. Didn't get what I paid for there. It was a mess ship times changed from what was listed. Now to be fair the excursions at Cork, Ireland Le Havre, France and Bruges,Belgium were great. The dining rooms and specialty restaurants were fine. The cabin was ok and the crew we came across were friendly and helpful and restaurant service was great. For my part this is the second NCL cruise in row were I have left a little disappointed. Maybe river cruising would be better. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose the cruise for the itinerary. I was traveling with my 80 year old mother and we really liked the ports. Both of us are well traveled but never could we have expected such a disaster of a cruise. I can let the terrible weather ... Read More
I chose the cruise for the itinerary. I was traveling with my 80 year old mother and we really liked the ports. Both of us are well traveled but never could we have expected such a disaster of a cruise. I can let the terrible weather not bother me. Or even find fun in the 50 mPH winds with 30degree F wind chill. That’s Mother Nature and what can you do. Since we didn’t get sea sick it was almost calming feeling the sway. But unfortunately that was not the case for many. I feel we had an experienced captain who thinks it’s ok to threaten everyone that he will throw you off the ship if you don’t do what he says. I also feel that based on the fact that I heard the number of sick people by day 3 was 27 and by day 10 was over 1000 of the 2500 passengers. Even if it was your traveling companion sick you too were quarantined to your cabin. They ACTUALLY sent in these poor crew members dressed in hazmat type gear to clean up after these sick people. I’m very sure the cruise company made a lot of money by forcing people to see the ship doctor at $200 minimum a visit. Even room service is an extra charge at $7.95 per person if you use it and that is per time you use it. I was told Norwegian doesn’t like seeing dirty dishes in the hallways, so this stops people from ordering in the middle of night. So no dishes in hallways, but there were ALWAYS cleaning carts blocking halls. You are also not allowed to bring even a water bottle on board. The crew will happily make you pour it out. They lie and say it’s security like at the airport. But that is a lie. It’s to force passengers to do it one way only and that's to spend on Norwegian. This company is a bunch of people acting like Natzi’s and risking our lives from poor cleaning, poor security and a crew that liked to bully passengers. Even if an announcement was very very important they weren’t smart enough to have it in every room instead only in some. It’s their way of keeping the passengers in the dark. The excursion company that Norwegian used is more than awful. Plus in Dublin since my excursion was in the afternoon and you had to use your excursion tickets as your tender ticket, the Pearl crew would not let me off early to go into Dublin. Since my excursion was in the countryside, I didn’t get to see ANY of Dublin. They wouldn’t let us off the ship. People also got hurt on tenders due to not having caring staff helping people get on and off. If I hadn’t. Even there for my 80 year old mother I’m sure she would have fallen. I’m Le Havre the Security was a joke. The terminal staff left promptly at their end of shift regardless of people standing in line to get packages, purses and bags scanned, and for people to walk through scanners. Norwegian let more than 50 people just walk on like it didn’t matter. In FRANCE!! Are they kidding me. Even things like broken locks on doors to balcony’s didn’t matter. I reported my two locks broken 8 times. Nothing in mini fridge and was accused if asking for an empty mini bar. It took 5 days to get mini bar partially filled. Was told by cabin steward that no Diet Pepsi was available for mini bars but bar manager said it would be filled. I got used to three things being a constant comment from the guest relations staff. One-just lie, two, say you don’t know, and three just say no. Not one map of one town or any info was included in nightly program like on every other cruise line. This cruise line is cheap and even if you have a mini suite you get the same amenities as a inside cheaper room. Sure there are free packages for drinks but the tipping for two people on this so called free drink package was in excess of $550 total for 2. Then there is extra tipping on the so called free specialty restaurants. They just keep asking for more money and gave less quality, less everything! I probably would have saved by going on a more expensive cruise line then with all the nickel and diming Norwegian does. We were given one of those really small bars of soap for two people to share for 13nights. Even when it fell into pieces we weren’t given a new one. Many days we couldn’t even get a bath mat for the tub/shower. And forget getting more than one body, one hand and one wash cloth for towels per person. No way no how. Do not go on this line for any reason. Even though we were treated like crap and it was our first cruise with Norwegian, they treated people who had spent more than 150 nights traveling with them worse. What a horrible company!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We just completed a 19 day Panama canal cruise on the Gem and there was an opportunity to cruise again. Since a TA was on our bucket list, we had three choices to check this one off the list. Seems the Getaway ( 4/27 ), Pear and Jade all ... Read More
We just completed a 19 day Panama canal cruise on the Gem and there was an opportunity to cruise again. Since a TA was on our bucket list, we had three choices to check this one off the list. Seems the Getaway ( 4/27 ), Pear and Jade all had TA's scheduled to sail out of NYC. The Pearl was chosen since the first stop was in Ireland, a place we always wanted to see. Embarkation was out of Manhattan on pier 90, the Escape was docked at 88. I was expecting chaos at the terminal but it went unusually smooth, we arrived around 11 am and was aboard before noon. Since we booked the cruise under 60 days our first cabin was a GTY oceanview but working with a very good travel agent we were upgraded to a balcony along with no DSC as an added perk. Our cabin 9090 was a 4 person but I still don't know how. Everything was in working condition and clean. We did find the TV was just that a TV. We couldn't do anything else, seems strange that the ship was that backward with technology. Going down to the front desk and getting a print out of your account became a hassle since we found several items charged that shouldn't be, so going down every morning became a chore. Overall the ship appeared to be dated, Bliss lounge still had the leisure suit Larry feel to it, bowling alleys still there, no flow thru the bar central area ( had to snake around the bar stools and chairs ) and the crystal lights above the Atrium not working. Since we had this unwanted guest we avoided the MDR's for the first week and had our meals at the specialty restaurants. We found during the later half our cruise the food in the MDR's was subpar compared to the GEM. Pedro and his staff did a fantastic job, need to change up the liars club words and the newlywed show ( starting to get old ). NCL production shows above average, guest entertainers were also above average ( loved Bud and JP ). Since we had this unwanted guest, we watched the shows from the nose bleed section. Service at first seemed to be off, slow but as the cruise went along there appeared to an improvement. Because of the unwanted guest, the internet appeared to be really slow since a lot of the PAX remained in their cabins. Oh, the unwanted guest went by his nickname, Noro. Nobody ( except NCL ) really knows how many got sick, the captain and CD did mention that they were at stage #2 and they never have seen it this bad before. Stage #2 is the highest level of countermeasures ( paper menus, no salt / pepper at the tables, no self-serving at the buffet, ect. ) they use to contain the virus. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise because it left from New York, a city I love & was going east, one of my firsts, having done 2 TAs from Europe. Another first was the roll call which was quite active but toxic sometimes. Never been on a roll ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it left from New York, a city I love & was going east, one of my firsts, having done 2 TAs from Europe. Another first was the roll call which was quite active but toxic sometimes. Never been on a roll call before where posts were removed!! I had hoped to finally visit the Guggenheim Museum while in NYC but that didn't happen, instead I lined up around the block to eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner, a place I had never gotten to before. I must say it was worth the wait, the food was good as was the entertainment. I really liked my room at the Pod Hotel on 42nd Street, it had quite the view, was close to the Port Authority Building where the Newark Express bus drops one off & also close to a Cake Boss bakery! I took a cab to the port asking the driver to let me off at the corner of 49th & 12th as recommended by my friend. He didn't & we sat in traffic 'til he could turn into the port which cost me about $20 quite a bit more than the $6.50 if he'd let me off where I requested. Met my friends inside then waited a little while, I think we were group 3 or 5 & both Platinum Plus. We headed straight away for lunch at O'Sheehan's where I had a Reuben sandwich with potato chips & a Coke that should have cost me $4+. SO the cruise begins with 6 sea days ahead, lots of meals, entertainment, lectures, gambling etc. The weather wasn't the best & there was one day where it was a little rocky. Unlike a lot of people onboard I had a great time which could have been because of the people I hung out with but also because I did not contract the noro virus or have any problems with guest services. Being on a ship with noro virus was a first I could have done without. I was amazed at the measures NCL took to avoid it spreading & the captain's tough position saying anybody who broke quarantine would be put off at the next port. I found the food to be to my liking wherever I ate & for the 1st time I had a 4 dinner package as well as my 2 Platinum specialty dinners. This cruise I had more perks than I'd ever had before thanks to a roll call member mentionning a new offer. I also had 200 minutes of phone calls which came in handy for calling my sister & good friend on their special birthdays, as well as hubby at home. The calls were really clear, just had a little delay. The entertainment was varied & mostly good. I really enjoyed the Legends in Concert: Michael Jackson, Tina Turner & Elvis. Deal or No Deal was fun to watch as were the Newlywed Game & the Dancing with the Stars type show. The lecture lady about all things Irish & the other one about having a better life were informative. The ports were the major attraction for me on this cruise as it would be my 1st visit to Ireland, country of my grandad's birth. I mostly booked private tours with other CC members & really had a good time. The ones I did through NCL from Zeebrugge (Flanders Fields) & Tilbury (Canterbury Cathedral) were fine too & the guides really good. I don't mind traveling on the big buses like some do. My cabin steward Emerson was good, friendly, brought me ice when it was allowed & made me many towel animals which I always look forward to He was quick to rearrange my beds when requested. I was surprised by the free movies on the tv, recent ones such a Green Book, A Star is Born, A Dog's Way Home & Instant Family. A guide to movies shown is available at guest services although it's a bit hard to read. I didn't interact with the CD Pedro or his staff as I didn't attend any trivia on this ship, also a first! I went to one Bingo & found the caller did it at a nice speed, sometimes it really drags on but he was quick. The photographic staff were really nice & took some good/fun pictures. The internet cafe manager was a gem, funny & patient even with the long line ups the 1st couple of days. I had 250 free minutes but upgraded to unlimited which was expensive IMO but worth it to me as I love my phone. Some things were different, maybe because of the noro virus or whatever it was like no farewell show. The solo meet up the 2nd night was overwhelming with over 30 people attending. I met a nice male friend there but didn't usually attend the gatherings or meals as I had new friends onboard to do things with. Solo travel is so much better on the bigger NCL ships with studio cabins. I did self disembarkation after one last breakfast at O'Sheehan's, a restaurant I really enjoyed throughout the cruise. That's all I can think of at the moment but will conclude by saying I really enjoyed the cruise & wasn't disappointed at all. I also had a great time with my Dutch friend I'd met on the Epic in 2011, who showed me around Amsterdam for 2 days. The Avenue Hotel where I stayed for 2 nights was great, lovely room, big breakfast & really close to a lot of places especially Centraal Station. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I wanted to go on a TransAtlantic crossing and thought the ports we visited were very interesting and enjoyable. The A.G.E. virus was brought on board by a passenger on this trip; I had been on the trip right before it and there were no ... Read More
I wanted to go on a TransAtlantic crossing and thought the ports we visited were very interesting and enjoyable. The A.G.E. virus was brought on board by a passenger on this trip; I had been on the trip right before it and there were no problems of this sort. The General Manager announced that there was a problem at the end of the Q&A by the Hotel Department and then they spent the rest of the trip trying to get the situation under control by increasing measures and restrictions. If it is true that this virus takes a day or two to show up, I can see why this was so difficult. Personally I didn't get sick and spent part of every day in my favorite area, the Bridge Viewing Room. In addition, I ate dinner most nights with the Solo Travelers Group in the main dining room and only one of them had gotten sick. I talked to a person from the cruise at the airport in Toronto after the cruise and she said that she was exposed to someone who was sick in her transportation from the airport before the trip and she was one of the folks who got sick early in the trip. Even if the original sick person had not been allowed to come on board, the others would have brought the illness on board. As a school teacher, we have similar problems with sick people exposing others and this is a tough problem to deal with any where. Another reviewer from this trip (someone who did get sick) had a very negative view of the measures that were taken to try to prevent the problem from spreading and also complained about the use of the ship's tenders in one of the ports. I think that it is good that the ships have to practice using their own tenders in case we actually need to use them in an emergency and didn't find the process tedious as was described by the person who didn't get the opportunity to see the historic port where we landed through the eyes of persons who were able to enter and land at this very interesting location. I feel bad for people who go on a TranAtlantic, North Atlantic cruise in the spring who didn't assume that they would encounter colder weather but had been sold on the trip as being a nice cheap two week cruise. My main reason for going on the TranAtlantic cruise was that I wanted to experience the crossing and am looking forward to going to Rome in October to take the Pearl's trip back to Miami, Florida. I really enjoy being on the Ocean and watching the weather and how the ship reacts to it as well as watching coming in and out of ports. I'm not one who enjoys "regular cruise ship activities" like hanging out at the pool or spas or going to the gym or shows but I really enjoy walking the outside decks and just being on the water and visiting the ports. I think that it is great that so many people can be on the same ship, taking the same cruise and all having very different and personalized experiences and think that is a great benefit of a cruise ship. The reason I only gave the trip a 4 is that there was a notable problem with passenger complaining and non compliance with reasonable requests made by the crew that then made it harder for the crew to not absorb some of their negativity and because some of the activities I had planned to do were cancelled due to the above listed illness problems. If I had known when I signed up to go what I know now, I definitely would have gone of this trip and am looking forward to a Rome to Rome trip on the NCL Pearl that I am doing this July as well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
35th anniversary, wanted to get to some highlights in northern Europe - first cruise (and most likely last ever) My wife rolled her ankle the day of the cruise and was experiencing some discomfort so we went to the medical services on ... Read More
35th anniversary, wanted to get to some highlights in northern Europe - first cruise (and most likely last ever) My wife rolled her ankle the day of the cruise and was experiencing some discomfort so we went to the medical services on the ship. There was a couple there before us, the wife looked like death warmed over and we listened to them fill out a form of where they ate over the last 3 days. They went into the doctor's office first, when they came out the doctor gave the woman some pills and told them they were quarantined in their cabin. Then the doctor asked us in the office and placed my wife on the examination table, checked her out and then talked to us while we sat in the chairs in his office. The seas were pretty rough on the Atlantic... first time on the ocean... already got charged $180 from the doctor for the ankle... so when my wife got sick we presumed it was motion sickness - at least at the start. They forced us all to go through customs on the boat, called us large numbers forcing us to stand outside in the cold and waves - my wife threw up standing in line - good times. She got better, then I came down with it - I have never had sweat drip off my nose like that. The doctors quarantined me, we missed the first excursion (one of the few days without rain). While we were quarantined, the captain came on and told everyone if the were caught outside their room we would be kicked of the ship at the next port - then he repeated it in the same announcement. My first response was - this is our out!!! My second response was - sick people probably won't report themselves as being sick now. My biggest complaint is that they waited too long to get serious about the sickness (shutting down the gym, controlling the dining areas). For days after the quarantine you still won't enjoy food again - especially when you have to see someone else's puke on the floor in the dining room. The excursion disembarkation needed some help with planning - at the end of the day I wouldn't mind a 3 hour delay if I could have stayed in my room or grabbed some breakfast - imagine several hundred people waiting in a room, booing the cruise activity director as she asked them to please be patient (for the 40th time). The longest delay involved tethered boats. My wife and I finally got on the tethered boat and it was pretty frightening - big gaps as the boat separated away from the boat, raised higher than the step off landing, and dropped away from the step off landing. They helped us on the lifeboat then we were on our own - there was an older woman screaming in horror, I lost my footing and hit a corner with my shoulder (glad it wasn't my wife's head). A young Norwegian employee performed the sign of the cross and later put on a life vest (I got that on video). They ended up disconnecting the boat before it was full (separating one of the families) - they re-positioned the lifeboat on the other side of the ship to finish loading. There was a lot of pressure to get folks off that ship - but that was dangerous. The dude who cleaned our rooms was awesome - the folks who served us in the dining areas were great - customer service... not so much (they should plant some secret cruise testers to try to call the front desk from their rooms) Its not how low you go, its how far you fall - we were both so excited about our first cruise Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review April 28th - May 25th, 2019 If you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Voyage 01: Transatlantic Eastbound (13 Day) April 28th - May 11th, 2019 NYC ... Read More
Norwegian Pearl Cruise Review April 28th - May 25th, 2019 If you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Voyage 01: Transatlantic Eastbound (13 Day) April 28th - May 11th, 2019 NYC -> Cobh, Ireland -> Dun Laoghaire, Ireland -> Paris (Le Havre), France -> London (Tilbury), England -> Ghent (Zeebrugge), Belgium -> Amsterdam, Netherlands Voyage 02: Northern Europe (14 Day) May 11th - May 25th, 2019 Amsterdam, Netherlands -> Newhaven, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom -> Invergordon, Scotland, United Kingdom -> Bergen, Norway -> Flam, Norway -> Hellesylt/Geiranger, Norway -> Giant’s Causeway Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom -> Dublin, Ireland -> Rouen (Le Havre), France -> London (Tilbury), England -> Brugge (Zeebrugge), Belgium -> Amsterdam, Netherlands My words of wisdom for cruising with NCL: Don’t treat the crew like crap. The crew are people too. Check your onboard account daily. Listen to announcements and read the freestyle daily for information. History: I’m Platinum latitudes and this would be voyages 08 & 09 with NCL. I originally reserved this B2B voyage while I was on the Gem sailing (NY - Quebec, Sept 2018). Although I had this B2B under 1 reservation number, the Cruise Consulate was actually able to use 2 Cruise Next certificates to secure this booking. We had a previous good relationship as he also remembered me from previous voyages on the Breakaway. Originally I reserved an IB (Inside) category cabin for the 27 day voyage but I used 30,000 BoA NCL MC WorldPoints to upgrade to an OC Category cabin. Also at the time, since I booked an inside cabin I selected the 1 free offer of 4 speciality dining. I would complete the upgrade from IB to to OC as well as payments with my USAA TA. Once my upgrade was completed and I got my cabin assignment a bunch of things showed up in my account. That I didn’t expect, and I didn’t know what to make of it. What showed up is available in my (AMENITY INVOICE) An onboard spending credit of $200. Free $50 USD On-Board Credit Certificate Non -Refundable, QTY 2
Specialty Dining Package, QTY 2
Internet Package (250 Minutes or 1GB), QTY 1
Shore Excursions Promotional Credit, QTY 1
Latitude Reward program 30 min internet, QTY 2
120 Min Ship to Shore Phone Calls, QTY 1 In addition, I’m also an NCL Stockholder and I submitted my shareholder benefit application. $250 Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 15 Days or More. $100 Onboard Credit per Stateroom on Sailings of 7 to 14 Days. However, on paper I received 2 ($100) on board credits instead of the $250 for a 27 day voyage. I called NCL to see if I could get the $250 credit but the person I spoke with said that their computer saw my reservation as 2 voyages although it was under the same reservation. He did also say that he would see what he could do when I ended the conversation. Built in 2006 and refurbished in 2017, this would be my 1st time on the Pearl, 3rd TA crossing and my 2nd east bound voyage and the last of all 4 of the Jewel class vessels in the NCL fleet (Jewel, Jade, Gem, Pearl). I would also be bringing along my Citizen Miami folding bike which I had done on previous voyages. Cabin review below. I found the food overall on this voyage to be very good. From the behind the scenes tour I found that they are on a 14 day rotating dinner menu. Typically I would start my day with breakfast in the Summer Palace MDR (4 juices (2 grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 cranberry), oatmeal, then a rotating entree choice). For lunch I would vary having lunch in a different restaurant location. For Dinner I alternated every other day in a speciality restaurant or the MDR Indigo and dining only once in the Lotus Garden. The food wasn’t bad in Lotus Garden but it wasn’t Chinese either. I was telling my cousin who joined us for the 2nd voyage that I think most of the food is 10% authentic and 90% cruise ship, meaning that don’t really expect german food when they say it’s a german buffet or when it’s a specific theme night with the exception of the Indian food in the buffet which was really surprisingly really good. I found all the shows to be entertaining. The aerialists on board were my favorite. I did get to see the NCL Pearl’s main production cast of singers and dancers perform their main acts 3 or 4 times. If you are going to see the same show, for a different perspective I suggest sitting in a different location then you sat in from the previous show. I also brought this up with the Production manager during the ship tour on ships entertainment outside of the production cast seems to be broken down to: magician, juggler, comedian, musician or hypnotist. She agreed that seems to be the entertainment spectrum. The lecturer they had on board during the TA was to talk about Ireland but was not really that interesting but good try. This ship in general I found to be in good condition. There were no major areas of the ship that needed to be worked on and I did all kinds of wandering around the ship. For a quite space to watch over the water head up to the Sun Deck, Deck 14, starboard side of the ship, and can be access only by 1 staircase. To get to the Sun Deck start yourself at the rock wall on Deck 13 and follow along the starboard side while walking towards the front of the ship then go up the stairs at mid ship. This area doesn’t get used a lot. The other quite place on board the ship is Deck 11 Port side and forward which is the “Bridge Viewing Area”. The “Bridge Viewing Area” is the same location on all Jewel class ships in NCL’s fleet. April 28th, 2019 - Boarding in NYC There were also 2 other NCL ships in NYC that day (NCL Jade & Escape). I remember I was walking with my bike in the ship terminal when I got to the checkin desk and handed my documents over. I’ve previously gotten questions about the bike, but the person behind the desk asked me if he had rented me a car from Avis a week ago, which in fact he had done. This was his 2nd job. I thought that encounter remarkable. Boarding in NY (April 28th) went pretty smoothly and we ended up having lunch in the O’Sheehan’s. They also turned Lotus Garden in to a baggage storage area so I was able park my bike there until our rooms were ready. Boarding in Amsterdam (May 11th) was a huge mess for everyone but me and perhaps those others doing the back to back (B2B). The crew did this huge cleaning and sanitizing when the ship arrived to Amsterdam. But since I was on a B2B voyage and in the same room they gave me a B2B sticker so I didn’t have to do anything and just skipped the boarding process in the terminal. I didn’t even wait for the all clear for rooms to be ready as my room was the same room and it was already ready. My cabin steward as well as the cabin steward next to him knew what was up when they saw me. While my Aunt and cousin who were boarding the Pearl in Amsterdam did have to wait in line to check-in, after biking around Amsterdam and returning to the ship I went back to my room and took a shower and a nap. I did take anything they didn’t want to hold while waiting in line back to my cabin. I believe the crew took extra time cleaning the ship so there was a long delay in having all the rooms ready which was unfortunate but necessary. April 29th - May 04th, 2019 - Sea Days We had our CC M&G in the Bliss Lounge and it was a pretty good turn out. I also did the behind the scenes ship tour which included trips to the MDR, ship laundry and theater which was very entertaining and I also assisted with the slot pull. There was an outbreak of either AGE or Noro Virus on this 1st voyage but I didn’t catch it. I always used the hand sanitizers when ever possible or appropriate but from previous voyages I knew to do that before, hence why I don’t thin I got sick. By day 4, the ship did implement their upgraded containment procedures to keep passengers safer as people didn’t seem to either listen or take it seriously. As a result in the MDR, silverware, napkins and menus were brought to the tables only after you sat down. In the buffet you could no longer server yourself, instead a crew member had to serve you the item, this included the beverage areas too. I didn’t have a problem with this. They were also able to do the immigration inspection for Ireland on day 5 in the Spinnaker lounge however on my previous TA crossing they did that too. Over the course of the voyage I also did as many activities as possible and like to think I came to know the CD staff on this voyage pretty well. CD Pedro & Assistant CD Tiara CD Staff: Paul (Transferred from the Jade on April 28th), Cathryn, William, Gabby, Firat, Monica, MariAnna, Taz, Tracy, MariAnna, Katerina (on 2nd voyage which was her very 1st voyage), Facia (on 1st voyage but not 2nd) and Yasmine By random chance, I kept on running in to Captain Paul at dinner in the speciality restaurants, he and his party kept being seated at the table next to mine. Captain Paul von Knorring now calls Florida home but is originally from Helsinki, Finland. On the 2nd to last day of the 2nd voyage in Zeebrugge (May 24th) I ran in to Captain Paul on land. Captain Paul was with his wife and they were dressed like any other tourist from the ship but we recognized each other right away. Captain Paul remarked that he was impressed to just find out that I had brought my bicycle with me all this time. On May 05th, upon arrival to our first destination Cork, Ireland, I had booked a NCL ships excursion to visit Blarney Castle. It was a good excursion and yes I did kiss the Blarney stone. That all being said the next day, I was going over my onboard account and noticed that I got double the Shore Excursion Credit ($50 * 2) for the excursion. I couldn’t figure out why that happened. But then it happened again in Lehavre, France (May 08th) and again in Zeebrugge, Belgium (May 10th) for the NCL excursion. So even if the excursion was less then $100, NCL still gave me $100 per excursion. Unfortunately that was only on the 1st voyage. On the 2nd voyage I think the Shore Excursion people caught on to that mistake and only gave me the regular single $50 credit for each NCL excursion. Towards the end of the 2nd voyage, I stopped by and asked the shore excursion people why I was getting double shore excursion credit on the previous voyage and they also couldn’t figure out why but left the double credit in place. My ending balance on the 1st voyage was around -$223.40 and I was worried that negative balance wouldn't transfer to the next cruise so I went to the casino and charged $195 to my onboard account. The casino charges 3% for the transaction but I ended up winning an additional $130 playing ultimate texas holdem so that worked out. On May 06th we were in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, which is a suburb of Dublin. This was a tender port and May 06th happened to also be a holiday (Mayday). I had nothing planned that day but I did have my bike. I had been to Dublin in May 2017 and also planned to visit Dublin on our next voyage (May 20th). But I’d never been to Dun Laoghaire before, so my plan was to ride around Dun Laoghaire on my bike. Apparently, while the ship was scheduled to arrive @ 8:00AM, people thought that they could get off at 8:00AM and as such began queuing up in the stairwell before 8:00AM. There were numerous, NUMEROUS announcements to not queue in the main stairwell and that they were also passing out tender tickets. I had gone to get one but being platinum I knew that I didn’t need one, but I also knew that I should not try to be the 1st one off of the ship. No one that was standing in the main stairwell paid any attention to any of the announcements from CD Pedro nor did they follow any of the instructions from NCL staff present. Around 10:00AM I went to have a look at the main stairwell, walking up from deck 5 to deck 7 and found the queue which began on deck 4 and went all the way up to deck 7 and then extending towards the Lotus Garden both impressive and disturbing. While I didn’t count, it was literally wall to wall people compressed together trying to be the first off. I think each tender will hold 100 people and each tender takes 1 hour to complete it’s journey. You can do the math. What I realized was that for tendering operations NCL will give priority disembarkation in the following manner: 01) NCL Ships excursions
02) Haven guests
03) Gold and above latitude members 04) General Tender ticket holders (01 - 50) 05) Anyone Rather then wait in a queue on the stairs I just did normal stuff (breakfast and then trivia @ 9:15AM) until I heard the announcement that (Anyone) could get off which was around 11:00AM. I believe and understand that for the majority of the people on this voyage that: - they were unaware this would be a tender port, - they were unaware this would not be in Dublin city, - this was there only chance to visit Dublin, - they had booked their own shore excursion and were planning on meeting their guid/group at a certain time, - it was a 30 minute tender trip from the Pearl to land and then 30 minutes to get from land back to the Pearl I too was also unaware that May 06th was a holiday (Mayday), or that every tender from the Pearl was required to also have a local escort for each tender from the Pearl to the harbor and then escort the tender back out of the harbor. At 11:00AM I heard the announcement from CD Pedro that I could get off so I went back to my cabin, got my bike and changed to my riding gear. By 11:15 I was on a tender with my bike and by 12:00PM I was on land and riding around Dun Laoghaire. I had a great time in Dun Laoghaire. I followed the heritage trail to the James Joyce Tower and Museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Joyce_Tower_and_Museum which also happened to be free admission that day so I went in and up. I then rode on to the Obelisk on top of, Killiney Hall Park http://archiseek.com/2014/1742-obelisk-killiney-hill-co-dublin/ On my way back to the harbor from the Obelisk, I stopped at a red light when a huge group of hundreds of cyclists passed by me. They were all on a family fun ride so I just joined them and they ended up showing me the bike paths of Dun Laoghaire which happen to run parallel to the train tracks. 4 hours later I was back at the tender pickup point. I had a great time in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. I had a very good time on this 1st voyage but a great time on the 2nd voyage. There was a lot of negative energy on the 1st voyage. There were many also many sea days. On the 2nd voyage that included a similar itinerary but aded 4 stops in Norway the negative energy that was present on the 1st voyage seemed to have gotten off in Amsterdam and we had really perfect weather for every stop on the 2nd voyage. There were also very few sea days. Our only tender port on the 2nd voyage was in Edinborough, Scotland (May 13th) but that went smoothly as they were using tenders from the port and it also wasn’t a holiday. I got a lot of use out of my bicycle on both voyages and highly recommended you giving bringing a helmet and bicycle on your next voyage. Holland America is the only line that has a ban on all bicycles. Our one bad NCL ships excursion was in Rouen (Le Havre), France where it would have been much better if the guide had provided or used a microphone and wireless headset system as they had been used in the other ports. Lastly, since I’m platinum I’m entitled to a free bag of laundry, per voyage. However on my 2nd voyage I needed to go down to the front desk to have them correct the laundry charge for that voyage. In general I had a great time. The 2nd voyage was better then the 1st and I really enjoyed most of the destinations we went to and would do it again. The crew did a fantastic job and it’s always good to see relatives that I don’t get to see often. If you have any questions, please feel free to look up my account and see in which topic I’ve posted to recently and write me a msg there. Remember if you’ve found this review to be helpful please remember to leave me a helpful thumbs up. Safe travels! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Why this cruise? I enjoy sea days more than port days and was excited to take my first Transatlantic Crossing (13 days from NYC to Amsterdam, with 7 sea days) on Norwegian. This would also mark my first cruise with NCL, to whom I was ... Read More
Why this cruise? I enjoy sea days more than port days and was excited to take my first Transatlantic Crossing (13 days from NYC to Amsterdam, with 7 sea days) on Norwegian. This would also mark my first cruise with NCL, to whom I was attracted by the many consecutive sea days, ports of call, Free Style Dining, Deal or No Deal Game Show, attractive rate, and that it left from NYC, where I live. I booked via a travel agency and did not qualify for any perks based on my category/rate (Inside Guarantee). This cruise also marked my introduction to Cruise Critic, where I spent many hours pre-cruise reading forums and tips, as well as interacting with others in my Roll Call. I was delighted to connect with others from the Cruise Critic Roll Call and ended up having lots of fun at the events which were hosted by other CC members: Meet and Greet, Slot Pull, Cabin Crawl, Specialty Dining with a new friend (Thanks, Jo!), and even a fantastic excursion to Mont St. Michel in France which was not offered by NCL (Thanks, Cherie!). NCL Supplements I added: * 3-Meal Specialty Dining Package (booked pre-cruise). Were I to travel with NCL again, I would add this again. * 250 Internet Minutes (booked pre-cruise). Were I to travel with NCL again, I would add this again. Next time, however, I would use the wisdom gleaned from a fellow traveler: answer emails in an offline word processing document and then connect to the internet when the response is ready to send...a much better use of the precious internet minutes! * Thermal Suite Pass (booked on embarkation day) Based on my experience, were I to travel with NCL again, I would NOT add this again. Dining I used my 3-Meal Dining Package at Cagney's Steakhouse, Le Bistro, and Teppanyaki; I did not dine in Moderno or La Cucina. I eat a lacto/ovo/pescetarian diet and was able to enjoy a variety of options on-board. Of the three specialty restaurants I dined in, I enjoyed the food at Le Bistro the most, though all three were good and the package price was more affordable than dining purely a la carte. Incidentally, as a solo traveler, I was able to book dining reservations for 1 person pre-cruise at Cagney's and LeBistro, but not at Teppanyaki. I was able to make a reservation for 1 person for Teppanyaki on Embarkation Day at the Restaurant Reservations Desk immediately after boarding. I ate one lunch in the Lotus Garden (which was fine, but not exceptional) and all of the other meals in the Garden Cafe (buffet), O'Sheehan's, or the Summer Palace. I did not dine in Indigo, though Summer Palace evidently shares the same kitchen and an identical menu to Indigo’s. Overall, the food everywhere was good, and I was glad I had peppered in some Specialty Dining to add more variety to the dining. (I have cruised on Celebrity in the past and their cuisine was definitely on a higher par with more subtle seasonings, more "quality" selections etc, but the prices are also higher, so you get what you pay for. :) ) As a vegetarian-ish diner, I found it annoying that veggie burger patties could only be gotten in the Garden Cafe/buffet, instead of also at the Great Outdoors Grill or Topsiders Grill, where burgers were the mainstay, but it ended up being that both of these venues were closed much of the time because of weather and/or the virus which was spreading during this cruise. I know that other vegetarians had issues with the Garden Cafe’s grill simultaneously sharing cooking space for both meat products and veggie burgers, or there not being a large variety of vegetarian options, but for my needs, there was plenty of variety (from fresh fruits and veggies to vegetarian Indian cuisine to roasted vegetables, etc.) and I chose not to focus on the "mixed" aspect of the grill itself. I really enjoyed the concept of Free Style Dining, which ended up being my favorite aspect of cruising with NCL. A few times when dining solo, I offered to share my table with other diners or was invited to share theirs, and ended up meeting some great folks along the way. Activities and Issues The rating-lowering factor for me regarding this cruise was, in a word, communication, or rather the lack thereof. For example, the ship hosted a Solo Traveler's Dinner each night, but, on the first night of these dinners, there was no manifest printed out (to indicate which rooms housed solo travelers) and subsequently the staff were "surprised" that nearly 50 Solos showed up when they were "expecting 2-5 people." Although only around 30 people ended up dining with the Solos the first night, many others stopped by, witnessed the chaos, and never came back on subsequent nights, even though the ship eventually provided a dedicated host for the dinners, as well as a separate dining area. On this first night, it took over 3 hours for several of us to receive our 3 course dinner. Had the actual number of Solo Travelers been communicated to the hosting department and the restaurant beforehand, this debacle could have been avoided. Following this initial Solos Dinner (before there was a plan for an ample reservation or separate dining space for the Solos), I went to Guest Services to talk about the experience. The response from Guest Services was not one of empathy, but literally, "Who told you to come here? This is not our issue." When I asked to whom I should be speaking instead, I was told, "Cruise Staff." When I asked if the Cruise Staff had a desk to go talk to someone, I was told, "No. This is the only Service Desk." So, I asked if there was someone from Cruise Staff with whom I could talk. I was told, "No one is available because of the game show, but someone will contact you from the Cruise Staff by 9 AM tomorrow." No one contacted me the next morning, nor ever throughout the duration of the cruise, despite several written followup requests left at Guest Services in the GM's comment box. This was Day 2 of the trip and a perfect example of the old adage: "You don't get a second chance to make a good first impression." I attended all four days of Deal or No Deal (the 5th Day was cancelled because they were "not selling enough game cards to justify the expense of the license for the game show") and had a great time each day. For $25, you got to play two separate games in conjunction with the person who was selected to be on stage, with a chance at winning from $.01 to $1,000 (if selected to be onstage) or from an "Instant Win" Pull Tab all the way up to $5,000 or a Caribbean Cruise for 2 (if playing along in the audience with your game card). Although I only ended up winning $3 on $100 in spent over the 4 days, I definitely had $97 worth of fun along the way! Also, for what it's worth, most Bingo games carried costs of $39 for the least expensive card packet with a possible win of $150 versus the $25 Deal or No Deal cards, with their much higher prize payouts. Although I attended a couple of the other game shows on-board, I found the sense of humor of some of the hosting Cruise Staff or Guest Judges to be "mean," making fun of the guests who were participating instead of having fun, but not at a guest's expense. After I observed this a few times, I stopped going to the other contests and game shows, with the exception of Bingo on the final Sea Day. Even being told by the hosting Cruise Staff to "boo" a fellow contestant who is getting close to a Bingo seemed somewhat mean-spirited and off-putting to me. Everyone is there to have fun and that fun doesn’t need to come at another’s expense. I attended the violinist’s show, as well as both the "regular" and "adult" versions of the comedian's show. Both of these acts were fun and entertaining. Having watched snippets of the other acts on the ship's TV channel, I opted to skip those, in favor of the movies in the Atrium or in my room instead. The selection of movies in the Atrium (and also available complimentary on the stateroom TV) was great, though there were never enough chairs available, and Guest Services was often talking too loudly in the background to make the experience wholly enjoyable. I did write a comment card suggesting more chairs be added based on attendance, and though some chairs were added a few nights, there were still less seats than viewers in the Atrium throughout the cruise. As has been mentioned in other reviews, this was the cruise where the A.G.E. Virus (a variety of Norovirus) was spreading after only a day or two at sea. I commend NCL and their hard working staff for taking the measures that they did to contain the virus, including eliminating self service in the buffet, providing paper menus and cutlery only after being seated, propping open restroom doors in public areas, continually washing the hallway walls and handrails, constantly reminding passengers about hand washing, and quarantining sick passengers as necessary. However, I was disappointed and frustrated by other containment measures which lacked communication and empathy from the staff and management. For example, supposedly only 100 passengers (most of whom are represented by couples in the same cabin) are sold the Thermal Suite Pass. Purportedly, in an effort to contain the virus, the cold plunge pool, hot tubs, and large pool in the Spa were closed and/or emptied of water on several days (not including the rough sea days when they could not keep water in the pools because of the ship's rocking), the steam room would be intermittently closed, and even the dry sauna was closed periodically too, leaving only the 7 heated lounge chairs available to enjoy (as well as non-heated, regular lounge chairs). While I sincerely appreciated the efforts to contain the virus and maintain guest and staff health, these measures could have easily been communicated to the 100 guests who had purchased the Pass (again, most of whom were in the same cabin thereby representing even less than 100 explanations). Instead, the Spa Manager was never available for a conversation or explanation, nor did she respond to a written request for the same. In fact, though I went to Guest Relations and also completed the Dear Cary (GM of Hotel Operations) comment card asking for some communication several times, I never received a response from anyone on the ship during the 13 day cruise. Apparently due to the virus, eventually the gym, library, game room, etc. were closed, as well as several scheduled events. Unfortunately, instead of closures like this being clearly communicated over the intercom system or via a letter left in the stateroom, it was often indicated by a note posted on the door of the facility. Then, when the hot tubs and pool in the Spa were closed "because of the virus" (with no notification to the 100 guests who had Passes), strangely the hot tubs available to the entire ship on Deck 12 were open and available. Furthermore, the Casino, where you can’t not touch a machine in order to play, remained open throughout the cruise. Contradictions like this, with no explanation, made it feel like "the virus" became a convenient way to avoid communication with the guests. And, again, if ANYONE had been communicating or showing empathy for the guest experience, this would not have been an issue and would have created a much better overall experience. I did eventually hear from Guest Relations, about a month after writing a complaint, six weeks after the cruise ended. NCL’s form tells you that you can expect a response within 15 Business Days. Thankfully, another traveler reported that they had inquired post cruise about the delayed response from NCL Guest Relations, and evidently, they were backlogged with issues from this cruise and would not be responding until closer to 30 days. BUT EVEN THAT illustrates my point: the delay and its reasons could have been COMMUNICATED by NCL to any pending claimants, but was not. Had it not been for that other cruiser sharing the information in our Roll Call, many might still be wondering what is/was going on. Hospitality is about making guests feel acknowledged (at the least) and appreciated (when done well). And a cruise is supposedly about hospitality, not just transportation from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, my experience was soured enough by the lack of communication that I ended up returning the Cruise Next Deposits I had purchased, 30 days after purchase, at which point I had still not heard from Guest Relations following my post-cruise written comments. At the end of the day, though there were certainly aspects of the cruise I enjoyed, NCL's lack of ANY direct communication until six weeks after the cruise left me feeling like they are unconcerned with genuine customer care...and that experience is definitely below “Average” or, using the CC rating system, “Poor.” For these reasons, it is unlikely that I will recommend NCL, nor am I likely to spend my money to travel with NCL again. Ports/Excursions Cobh, Ireland I took the local train from Cobh to Cork where I had reservations for a Free Walking Tour. The suggested tip amount was roughly $10/person/hour so I paid 20 Euros for what ended up being an excellent, informative, 2-hour walking tour. Dublin, Ireland (Port of Dun Laoghaire) Particularly in Dun Laoghaire where tenders were used to reach shore, many people missed their non-NCL excursions. I met a local friend here; no excursion. I had a tender pass for Group 8 and was able to join the tender around 10:30am, arriving into Dun Laoghaire around 11am. Le Havre, France Based on what happened to travelers in Dun Laoghaire who did not have excursions booked via NCL and ended up missing their excursions, I was grateful that the excursion I had planned via some CC organizers for Mont St. Michel was not pre-paid in case we were delayed. This excursion was not offered by NCL and was a highlight of the trip for me. The travel time to/from the Mont in Normandy was about 2.5 hours each way, and the climb up to the Abbey atop the island and the ensuing tour was fascinating. Following the tour, there was time for a quick lunch/short shop in the village below. This full day excursion was well worth the trip and as promised, our guide had us back to the ship in time for departure. Many thanks again to Cherie from our CC Roll Call for arranging this wonderful trip! Tilbury (London), England Having been to London on another visit to the UK, I decided to explore nearby Gravesend, just across the river from where we were docked, and accessible via a water shuttle for a nominal fee. Highlights of the visit included antique shopping, seeing the Pocahontas Statue, having authentic fish and chips at one establishment, followed by classic afternoon tea at another. Zeebrugge, Belgium I ended up taking public transportation (tram first, then train) from Zeebrugge to Bruges. The round trip cost for both was slightly less than the 20 Euro shuttle which was available near the port. Highlights of the trip included taking photos of the quaint medieval city itself and feasting on chocolates at Chocolatier Dumon, The Chocolate Story, and other chocolatiers. Amsterdam, Netherlands I stayed for 2 nights following the cruise at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton. I selected this location because I could book via Hilton Honors Points and because it was walkable from the cruise ship terminal and also to the main train station (to get to the airport for the return flight home). While in Amsterdam, highlights included the Free Walking Tour: Classic version, the Anne Frank House Tour, and the Houseboat Tour. Purchase tickets to the Anne Frank House before the cruise, as this self guided tour sells out quickly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Transatlantic crossing. My husband and I have sailed many times on NCL (Platinum Members) and thought a transatlantic crossing would be different and exciting. It sure was. Although seas were calm, it was cold and/or raining. No ... Read More
Transatlantic crossing. My husband and I have sailed many times on NCL (Platinum Members) and thought a transatlantic crossing would be different and exciting. It sure was. Although seas were calm, it was cold and/or raining. No outdoor activities to be had so indoors 95% of the journey. The ship was big and confusing, sectioned off, not flowing like most ships. Some areas were off limits entire cruise and we never were able to explore the entire ship. We found some public restrooms in a deplorable state. It was a first for us, we never experienced that before on NCL. Crew always pleasant, our room steward Fedilia was excellent, sweet and pleasant. Dining was good except buffet wasn't as exciting as previous cruises - pretty much same food every day. Only one dining room experience at Taste was bad due to incompetent rude servers. We were served bread with no plates or silverware. My husband flagged a waiter to set our table. We ordered cocktails and immediately the food waiter came to ask for our order. We said we'll order when we're done having our cocktails and the waiter walked away. During cocktails, another waiter came by and took all the silverware off the table. One minute later, 2 entrees came, neither was ours. Waiter said sorry and walked away and never replaced the utensils that had been removed earlier. My husband flagged our waiter and asked for our utensils back. Waiter gave him a snarky look and walked away to get them. During cocktails my husband could see two staff - our waiter and the one who delivered wrong entrees, talking and staring at us while giving the stink eye. Ordered dinners, then came dessert. Waiter shoved a menu in front of me from behind without saying a word. Did the same to my husband from the front of him. Rude, inappropriate behavior for dining staff. We never returned. We're not big show people but did see Cirque's Steam which was excellent. We're big Cirque fans. The itinerary was changed twice, first time was just 1 week before and it completely burst our bubble building up to this vacation. So much confusion and indifference to passenger travel arrangements that they changed the itinerary again 3 days before disembarkation to appease the onslaught of complaints and possibly legal threats. Two countries were added back. We originally booked a 12 day cruise and ended up with 10 days. Originally 5 ports, actual ports 3, LaHavre(Paris), Brussels/Brugges Belguim and Southampton/London. Excursions are always great, after all that's why we travel - the destinations. This time there just wasn't enough ports and 7 days straight at sea without being able to enjoy the outdoors was a bit much. At the end the ship docked in Southampton and we were prepared for a tour of London before flying home. Our mistake was booking an excursion that was 7 hrs and our flight was within 5. We were reimbursed immediately and grabbed a cab to Heathrow. The itinerary changes were due to NCLs decision to go to dry dock 2 days earlier than originally advertised. We never experienced a cruise before with so many disgruntled and disappointed loyal NCL passengers as this one. Collectively it was not a happy bunch. My husband and I made the best of it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Around a week before our start date, NCL changed the itinerary by reducing the cruise from 12 to 10 nights and removing La Harve and Zeebrugge. A few days later it changed again adding La Harve and Zeebrugge again but removing the Azores ... Read More
Around a week before our start date, NCL changed the itinerary by reducing the cruise from 12 to 10 nights and removing La Harve and Zeebrugge. A few days later it changed again adding La Harve and Zeebrugge again but removing the Azores and Portland. So before the cruise started we had to re-arrange travel and could only claims our expenses back after the start of the cruise. Once onboard a lot of the shows required everyone to book in advance and then queue up 30 minutes before the show starts. If you didn't manage to book in advance you had to queue even longer. The issue was there was no organisation of the queue, so people who hadn’t booked were in the wrong queue and vice versa. Once they decided to open the door to the theatre or headliners everybody needed their cruise card to be scanned, slowing down the process even more. The most stupid part of the process, is that it wasn’t for all shows. The shows that didn’t require booking as you may have guessed were very well organised and nobody had to queue at all. A plus point on the entertainment for us was duelling pianos at the Headliners bar and you didn’t need to book it. The food was generally quite good, but there were problems with service. Sometimes very slow then other times too quick, we had main meals arrive, while we were still eating starters, toast arrived after we had eaten breakfast and there are other examples. Two days before we left the ship, we informed customer services that we had a early flight and needed to leave early but the earliest time they would give us is 8.15 unless we paid them $72(55ish) to book a transfer to Southampton airport which is about 6 miles away and a £27 taxi ride. We started the leave the ship at 8.15, but didn’t get off until 9.15 and our flight was at 10.25. Despite the inadequacies of NCL we arrived at the airport at 9.40, 15 minutes after luggage drop off. But Southampton airport was great and we still managed to get our flight. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, but would have preferred the itinerary we originally booked, better organisation in the restaurants, no booking for any of the free shows and a guest services team that listened. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
There is so much to say... First, this was our first cruise as Norwegian Platinum members. We chose this cruise because we like Transatlantic voyages, it was very reasonably priced and it was the only cruise that fit our specific time ... Read More
There is so much to say... First, this was our first cruise as Norwegian Platinum members. We chose this cruise because we like Transatlantic voyages, it was very reasonably priced and it was the only cruise that fit our specific time frame. We live in NYC and love the ability to take a cab directly to the ship. The motivating force was a desperate need to have a vacation after a hard winter. Also, we had never been to either the Azores or Belgium, so that was a plus. We booked a sail-away balcony (our first time not booking a specific cabin). We were assigned a decent cabin on deck 8 that turned out to be really well located for this cruise. One week and one day before sailing (late in the afternoon on Good Friday) we got an email from NCL announcing an itinerary change that shortened the cruise by two days and eliminated the French and Belgian ports. Much has been written on the roll call thread about this fiasco. In short, NCL managed to screw up, piss a lot of people off, and then, in their attempt to fix the screwup (by bringing back the French and Belgium stops at the cost of the Azores and Portland stops) pissed off even more people. In our case, we just booked two more nights in London to cover the earlier arrival and adjusted our other arrangements to suit. As Platinum customers, embarkation was an absolute breeze. We were checked in and eating lunch in no time (although seating in the cafe was insufficient). We had previously sailed twice on the Breakaway, a ship we really didn’t care for. This cruise convinced us never to book a large ship again. There may be some really great large ships on other lines, but we don’t feel like finding out. The large NCL ships feel much more cramped than the Jewel class, a class we have cruised multiple times and have really loved. Let’s break down the issues: The biggest one is that whenever any area in the ship is crowded, it feels like being stuck in rush hour traffic. We came to avoid the atrium completely. It’s a mess. Much too small, too loud, too few chairs and, worse, it also acts as a thoroughfare. We completely avoided all of the events held there, some of which we wanted to attend. The Garden cafe is too loud, and suffers from the same design problem, it is almost impossible to walk through without bumping into people who are hauling plates of food in seemingly random patterns. Also there is just not enough seating. The aforementioned fiasco meant that there was always a long line at guest services. Exceptionally poor communication from NCL about refunds and bill adjustments made any interaction with them difficult because of the crowds. In short, the ship design with poor traffic management, and a claustrophobic feel and an emphasis on outdoor space better suited to warm climates meant that the whole experience was cramped. Disembarkation was slow. The itinerary change meant that we couldn’t pick up the immigration officials in the Azores which meant another long line to be navigated upon arrival all the while watching the clock to see if we we would make our train (we didn’t but there was a subsequent train, so there was no real issue). As usual, the crew was quite good. What our cabin steward lacked in friendliness, he more than made up for in ruthless efficiency. Our room was always done quickly and correctly without impacting our use thereof. The wait staff was friendly, as was everyone else we dealt with. As for food, we felt that the free sit-down restaurants were hit-or-miss. We had a couple of good meals (prime rib one night, a solid burger another at O’Sheehans), a couple of meals that were poor at Taste and Savor and one good and one not-so-good at the Tropicana. As for the Garden Cafe, it was okay, not as good as we have experienced before. The specialty restaurants were much better. The filet at Cagney’s was excellent. That was comped as a Platinum perk. We paid a la Carte at Le Bistro, a meal I was really looking forward to, as I had loved both the Trois Cornets appetizer and the Canard a l’Orange on previous voyages. Both are gone from the menu, a big disappointment. The other comped meal at Moderno was exceptional. The waiter comped our glasses of wine as well. As for the journey, we found it hard to deal with the constant time changes. There is no getting around the fact that crossing time zones is difficult, but by the third or fourth one, we just wanted it to be over. The weather, although cold and mostly gray, was good. As for entertainment, the Million Dollar Quartet show was a standout, we also enjoyed the Cirque Dreams dinner show although, despite being first in line and having paid extra for floor seats, discovering that we had poor sight lines because the Haven guests got the best seats (something that we didn’t know would happen) was a bit frustrating. Music about the ship suffered from the poor design. The open atrium made for terrible acoustics and an unwelcoming experience. The ship open-space performers were just okay, in my opinion. We were looking forward to hearing some decent blues in the Fat Cats club (as we had on the Breakaway) but it was taken over by Karaoke almost every night and, as far as I could tell, nobody on board could play or sing the blues. We paid extra for access to the thermal suite, something we have done on every NCL cruise. Our normal routine is to hit the gym, shower off and soak. The gym was always crowded. Some of the equipment was broken and there were times when it wasn’t possible go work out. The thermal spa was, likewise, fairly crowded. The staff is doing a better job of policing the reservation of both the heated and regular lounge chairs, a consistent problem in the past, so that is an improvement, Despite all of my issues with the ship, it was a very enjoyable cruise. That, largely, was due to some of our fellow passengers and our decision to be more social than in the past. We made some initial connections via the roll call thread that led to one of the best times, the mad beer-sampling dash through Bruges. In LeHavre, we walked into town determined to have coffee, baguettes and butter which we found in the Sunday market in the center of town. We were determined not to let the problems ruin our vacation and we have succeeded. It is clear, however, that our non-stop string of being NCL-only customers is at an end. The emphasis on packing people in is taking its toll. I do recognize that what you get for your money is still a good deal, but it may no longer be for us. NCL has cut both service and some quality in recent years and we would prefer for our cruise experiences not to resemble traveling on budget airlines where the emphasis is on upcharges and post-sales opportunities, Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Our cabin (standard balcony) was a great layout and very spacious. It was the best thing about the cruise. The ship itself was really designed for a warm weather environment. Unfortunately, our cruise was in the northern latitudes (NY ... Read More
Our cabin (standard balcony) was a great layout and very spacious. It was the best thing about the cruise. The ship itself was really designed for a warm weather environment. Unfortunately, our cruise was in the northern latitudes (NY to Southampton) and, due to weather, most of the outside areas were closed. This lead to the ship feeling very crowded. As far as I'm concerned, freestyle dining is dead. Once upon a time, one could show up at a NCL main dining room and get a table fairly quickly. However, since NCL started allowing reservations, everything gets booked up on day one and now just showing up often entails a 30+ minute wait. I'd rather they offer a fixed seating. Even though this ship carries about twice the passengers of the other ships we've sailed on (The Dawn, Pearl, Jade, Sky, and Spirit), for some inexplicable reason they made the theatre about half the size. As a result, many of the shows require reservations. Unfortunately, their reservation offerings were inconsistent between what was printed, what was on the web, and what was on their TV screen. And some of the shows changed times or were canceled. Overall very frustrating. With a large ship, you'd expect a large atrium. Not so. It was small and noisy. Worst of all, the held the trivia sessions here even though several of us asked them to change it to another venue that was quieter and were we wouldn't have to compete with everyone else just to get a seat. It didn't happen. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Itinerary: We were booked on the RC Oasis of the Seas but it was cancelled after a crane fell on the ship, so we booked this transatlantic crossing on NCL's Getaway about three weeks before sailing. With only A WEEK TO GO, we were ... Read More
Itinerary: We were booked on the RC Oasis of the Seas but it was cancelled after a crane fell on the ship, so we booked this transatlantic crossing on NCL's Getaway about three weeks before sailing. With only A WEEK TO GO, we were informed that the 12-day itinerary (which it still shows here on CC) had been modified to a 10-day journey, cutting out two ports, Le Havre and Zeebrugge, and coming into Southampton two days earlier than anticipated. Actually, NCL didn't even communicate with us directly, but we found out from our travel agent. Apparently, it had to go into dry dock two days earlier than originally scheduled. We would not have booked the trip with the modified schedule and itinerary, but decided to make the most of it. NCL did offer a partial refund (it finally came through while we were on the cruise) and a future credit, as well as allowances for airline change fees. After hearing from many disgruntled passengers, NCL expanded their allowances to cover other travel expenses such as additional hotel and other transportation charges. FOUR DAYS BEFORE SAILING, they added Le Havre and Zeebrugge back into the itinerary, and cut out Ponte Delgada and Portland. While most were happy to have France and Belgium back in, the last-minute nature of these changes created a lot of hassle and confusion. We also received refunds of the port fees from the two missed ports as credits on our cabin accounts while on the ship. Ship: The ship is relatively new (2014), and everything was clean and felt up-to-date. I believe the carpet is being replaced in dry dock. It has swimming pools, hot tubs, water slides, mini golf, and a ropes course. This would be a much better ship for a warm weather cruise. However, our itinerary was a cold-weather cruise, which meant that most of these amenities were closed/unused, and the indoor venues were overcrowded. The ropes course was fun, but not for those afraid of heights. While there is an indoor pool, it's part of the spa, which you have to pay for. The public toilets, sinks, and soap dispensers were all automatic and functioned on sensors. However, they rarely worked as intended. Everyone was doing a dance trying to get the toilet to flush or the soap to dispense. It was really to the point of ridiculousness. Even the comedian did a routine about it. For an industry so concerned about the spread of germs and sanitation ("happy, happy, washy, washy"), they sure did make it hard to wash your hands. Entertainment & Activities: In warmer weather, people might have spread up to the pool and sports decks. But ours was a cold-weather cruise and the schedule of activities did not reflect that. The cruise had about 3700 passengers (max is 3900), and all the indoor venues were always crowded...not just crowded, but can't-find-a-chair-or-move crowded. Usually, that meant standing in long lines or having to be at activities 30-60 minutes before they started in order to get a seat. They had so many people show up for progressive trivia the first day in the Atrium, that they had to move it to the main Tropicana dining room. Other activities were few and far between. There were large gaps in the schedule and then three events happening at the same time. But in reality, you couldn't plan to attend that many events because of the waiting times. The cruise director, Vincent, was outstanding! He led progressive trivia and was a constant at activities and events. Also, Romeo did a good job. However, most of the cruise director staff didn't seem to have the same energy or interest in interacting with guests. Activities seemed to be run of the mill for them and they made little effort to change things up based on our cruise itinerary/climate. They had enough staff and venues to keep things active and accommodate more guests, but didn't take advantage. I've been on other cruises with half the staff members with twice the activities and a lot more fun. As far as the evening entertainment, the shows were great, particularly "Million Dollar Quartet" (advanced tickets required). All three house bands were good, and we enjoyed the Bankaoke and Adele tribute. The Headliners venue served as a comedy club (advanced tickets required) and dueling piano bar. Both were great fun. One thing we enjoyed on this cruise was a guest talent show, which was much better than anticipated. Dining & Food: Three dining rooms (Tropicana, Taste, Savor), the buffet, Shanghai Noodle Bar, and O'Sheehan's were all complimentary. Margaritaville had free breakfast (a smaller buffet), but it closed after the second day. We were told that no one was going up there (it's outdoor, but covered) so they closed it. This left us to fend for a table in the buffet most mornings. We ate lunch in Taste/Savor two days. However, they maintain the same lunch menu from day to day and it never changes. Service for both lunch and dinner was painfully slow. One day, we sat for lunch at 12:40pm and didn't get our entrees until 1:50pm. O'Sheehan's was typical pub food, but sometimes a better option. The fajitas were good. The service in Tropicana for dinner seemed to be better than the other two dining rooms. A band played music during peak hours and people danced on the dance floor in the center. However, if seated anywhere in the center section of the restaurant, the volume of the music made it impossible to talk to others at the table. Getting reservations for the complimentary restaurants was impossible. We were told by a restaurant manager that all reservations were fully booked through online booking before the cruise even left. So much for "Freestyle" cruising. Every night, regardless of the hour, we had to wait in a long line (typically 20-30 minutes) to get to the host desk. Then we were usually given a pager and had to wait even longer. One night, we waited 90 MINUTES from the time we got in line until the time we were seated. This is unacceptable. The food itself was ok, not great. The buffet had a lot of options for breakfast and lunch. The quality of the food in the dining rooms did not meet the standard of past cruises, both on NCL and other cruise lines. They also didn't feel very balanced. If a dish included vegetables (some did not), they were minimal. One night I received two baby carrots, another night three small broccoli florets. Service: We had two wonderful, attentive, and hardworking waiters, Yuli and Mohammed, in the Tropicana dining room. Vincent the cruise director was fantastic. But otherwise, service was just ok, but not great. I don't know if it was because the ship was going into dry dock and some people were leaving or if this is always the case, but the staff seemed to lack energy. They very happily told you if something was not their job, handing you off to wait in another queue. All in all, with the final itinerary, we probably would not have booked this to start with. It has yet to be seen how easily they will handle reimbursement for travel expenses under the allowance. Regardless, after our experience, it is unlikely that we will cruise with NCL beyond our next cruise (using our future cruise credit), which will be cheap and cheerful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise to spend 12 days on vacation. It was my second NCL transatlantic experience and I had a great time on the first. I expected four nice ports and lots of relaxing, fun days at sea. A week before we sailed we were ... Read More
I chose this cruise to spend 12 days on vacation. It was my second NCL transatlantic experience and I had a great time on the first. I expected four nice ports and lots of relaxing, fun days at sea. A week before we sailed we were informed that we were cut to ten days, with two marginal at best ports. After much noise we got two better ports back, but the chaos caused by the changes were not worth the trouble. The changes caused a massive amount of upheaval and required multiple visits to the guest services and shore excursions desks to try to correct overcharges, cancelled excursions, etc. After being reassured for four days that I was on the list for a shore excursion I had booked and paid for, when tickets were issued to others I was told I had in fact not made the list and was out of luck. Not even an apology. There were not enough excursions for the number of passengers and the port changes were not planned for or handled well. I have a mobility issue that prevents long walks, multiple stairs, etc, but I do not need a wheelchair or other assistive device. There were minimal excursions planned at "Level 1" and the online sales descriptions were not complete. On the ship I was told I could not participate in the other two I had booked that I had been rebooked for because of the physical requirements. The only excuse given was "it's Europe". Again, not even "sorry". I am still waiting for refunds for the shore excursions that were taken away. We were redirected to a more northern shipping lane, resulting in it being too cold to spend any time outside. Almost 4000 people were crammed into the indoor spaces, resulting in MANY passengers coughing and reporting respiratory infections. One major annoyance was that from what some passengers reported, a very large block of rooms was sold at a low price to a large group of rude, unpleasant people. This group mostly pretended not to speak English as the pushed through lines and led their friends past people who'd been waiting patiently. They overwhelmed public spaces and the Garden Cafe, taking up full tables of seating all day, refusing to share, pushing through lines and hoarding food. They took over spaces with events scheduled for their own purposes and ignored requests to allow the events to take place. I personally witnessed this at least twice. The staff worked hard to deal with the changes and angry guests. There were many clogged toilets, many soap dispensers not working in public bathrooms. Twice I was served drinks in glasses with lipstick on them. Not mine! Cleanliness was next to impossible apparently. This could account for the many illnesses onboard. It was not all bad. My cabin and steward were wonderful, most of the specialty restaurants had good service and decent food. The O'Sheehan's staff did a wonderful job at breakfast no matter how large the crowd. Million Dollar Quartet was an exceptionally good show. Cirque Dreams and Steam was very entertaining. Burn the Floor was good but is getting a bit tired. The entertainment in the Atrium ranged from really good (music in the evenings) to horribly lame. The daytime events were always at volume that was much too high for the setting. The afternoon movies were too loud to even allow sitting in the general area. I have hearing issues from years of rock concerts and it was still too loud for me! I am not ready to give up on NCL yet, but I may not cruise out of NYC again if the partial charter nightmare continues. I hope they made enough money from the group to make up from the lost business from the people who's vacations were ruined by the constant stress of dealing with pushing, shoving and general rudeness. Lack of cleanliness is inexcusable when so many people are packing indoors in a relatively small space. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
"We just completed a transatlantic trip on the Norwegian Getaway. A 12 day trip with intended stops in the Azores, Portland UK, Le Havre, Brugge and Southampton became a 10 day trip when the cruise company decided to cut it short. ... Read More
"We just completed a transatlantic trip on the Norwegian Getaway. A 12 day trip with intended stops in the Azores, Portland UK, Le Havre, Brugge and Southampton became a 10 day trip when the cruise company decided to cut it short. They changed ports dropping the French and Brussles area only to change again dropping the Azores and Portland. Having done that and accepted the changes, they provide a 25% discount on the trip and some refund on travel plan changes. Once the drama was over, (for us it was compounded by the fact that we were originally on the Oasis of the Seas which had an accident in dry-dock eliminating our trip), things went very well. While North Atlantic is notoriously unpredictable in Spring, it provided us with cold and rain but very smooth sailing. Because we were able to secure a spa suit and were in The Haven, a smaller area of the ship with a private dining and lounge area, we truly enjoyed the passage. The ship had great activities and good food. We enjoyed it thoroughly. However, I still wonder how Norwegian was unaware until the last minute that the long scheduled passage was to be cut 2 days short for a refitting in dry dock." Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 12th NCL cruise and we've always been pleased but this transatlantic cruise going to Europe was not good. It started to go bad when NCL cut the cruise down from 12 days 10 days a week before the cruise (cutting out two ... Read More
This was our 12th NCL cruise and we've always been pleased but this transatlantic cruise going to Europe was not good. It started to go bad when NCL cut the cruise down from 12 days 10 days a week before the cruise (cutting out two of the four ports). We had to scramble to change our other travel arrangements. The $300 per person reimbursement that they offered is not going to cover what it costs us to change our flights to Paris, two extra hotel days in Paris and the transfer to Heathrow. We will have to use some of the 25% refund that they are supposed to be giving to help defray the costs. Dining was a problem for breakfast and lunch for the first 2-3 days. There were huge lines for the two smaller dining rooms Savor and Taste (largest dining room not open for breakfast or lunch). I've never seen it like that before. I attribute that to a very high number of Latitudes members - something like 435 Latitudes Platinum and Platinum Plus with a huge number of Gold and Silver. The passengers were also an older crowd. With the Latitudes members and the age of passengers, I think that a lot people wanted to be waited on instead of having to go to the buffet. To make matters worse. The daily sheet only listed Savor open for breakfast and lunch, which was not actually the case. Don't know if they were trying to make a lot of people think that they had to go to the buffet. We discovered after a couple of days that Taste was also open and we got in without much trouble. As far as the quality of the food goes, the food in the dining rooms for dinner seem to have improved from our last cruise and we were very satisfied. The food in the buffet continues to decline in quality and selection. The desserts are especially bad with the the cake toppings made with chemical-laden ingredients. The lunch menu in the dining rooms need to have more variation. As always with us, we had one meal at Le Bistro and it was wonderful as usual. We also had one at Moderno. The Moderno salad bar is fabulous but their meat is not of good quality. They also slice it wrongly (with the grain and not against as one needs to do with less tender cuts). The meal for the Cirque show was great (surf and turf). For the first time in our 12 NCL cruises, our cabin attendant was not very good. In fact he was lazy. We had a difficult time getting clean glassware and didn't clean the bathroom sink very well. Disembarkation was terrible - worst of our 12 cruises and it could have been prevented. There was a disembarkation schedule with tags for the luggage color-coded for the time but it wasn't enforced. The problem was that tags are not given for carry-on luggage, which is what people have with them when they are disembarking so there was no way for the staff to tell if people were disembarking at the proper time. It was a free-for-all with terrible lines. I know that some people missed their bus for a London excursion. Also, there was not supposed to be people going through the disembarkation/customs process with all their luggage and that caused a bigger mess. I heard many people say that they wouldn't take another NCL cruise. I would not recommend doing an Europe bound transatlantic cruise. It was way too difficult to adjust to 6 nightly time changes losing an ho fqur each time. It's way easier for me to doing it all at once. We were constantly exhausted. We've gone on a transatlantic cruise in the other direction and it was fine. Since we're Latitudes Platinum and get quite a few perks, we'll stay with NCL but if this had been our first cruise with them, we'd never sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019

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