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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Had sailed last October on their Pride of America, to Hawaii. Worst Cruise ever! So, we thought. We vowed to never sail NCL ever again... yet, a few months later, my friend booked a Cruise to the Baltic Sea with NCL... At ... Read More
Had sailed last October on their Pride of America, to Hawaii. Worst Cruise ever! So, we thought. We vowed to never sail NCL ever again... yet, a few months later, my friend booked a Cruise to the Baltic Sea with NCL... At first, one always wants to be fair, and believe that "it will be better"... No! If they fail so badly to meet your expectations, it is "their way", "their pattern / mentality". So, we flew from LAX, CA all the way to Copenhagen, Denmark to catch this NCL Cruise. Plane cost $2,422.98 Cruise cost $4,700.14 We had pre-paid all this way prior to the Cruise, and i had pre-paid the Credit card Co. by $500.00 ( max allowed to be pre-paid). Well, all hell broke loose constantly, and to the very end. We were offered IN WRITING, a FREE Beverage Package. I phoned numerous times to inquire if there was any gimmick to that, or if it was totally free. Was told No gimmick, totally free. Well, here is the SCAM: The FREE beverage Package cost $356.40. It is FRAUD to pretend that something is FREE, and to charge on a credit card $356.40. So, I'll have to report this to the credit Card Company. Our Cruise was paid a month or 2 prior to departure. 3 days before disembarking, a bill was left by our cabin. Our card had been charged $30.00 per day to make the 1 bed. A GRATUITY, a TIP...... is at our discretion to pay if and how much, to whom... This obligatory overcharge without telling us ahead, is thievery. $30.00 per day to barely clean a small cabin, is by far, an overcharge............. Paying for the Cruise, pays for the room already, and the food, etc. This must be stopped. Everyone should fight this. .... To pick you up at the Airport is $25.00 per person. The wait was 2 hours, and going through the "Check-in" was an other 2 hours, and then, we were rushed to the Theater to listen to a life jacket demonstration, and this took a good 1- 1/2 hours, or so. They repeated in 4 languages, over and over again. It was ridiculous, very badly put together. The meals were not very good at all. The attitude was "bad", "superior"........... The shows were mostly bad. Next to no activities. NCL is all about money, not the Guests. They sell anything... and everything has a scam to it. We attended a sale marked lowest prices guaranteed. NOTHING was on sale, and a shawl on shore ( at Immigration) was $28.00 and on the ship was $75.00. So, lowest price is FALSE ADVERTISING. We bought 2 bottles of Vodka for gifts. They packaged it for travel in their NCL box, which we could only pick up the day before disembarkation. Those broke in transit. They were not packaged securely and the luggage was handled by NCL. We were handed a suitcase filled with wet clothes and broken glass. I bought 2 music boxes $35.00 each, and paid $70.00, but, I have two charges of $70.00. Bought batteries, which did not work, and attempted to return / exchange... That was a Twilight Zone. They DO NOT care at all and do not stand by the Guests. It is all very unethical, unprofessional, illogical, UNFAIR. Why are shows bad? The microphone is too high. You hear extremely loud yelling, screaming, noises. That is one aspect. The same performances are shown on an other night, leaving nothing for you if you already saw this... So, not a new show nightly, and shows not always good. Reservations............. What a Twilight Zone Nightmare on that............ A Bar requires a Reservation, so does a Restaurant, so does a Show. They say No when you phone... but, to get in......... is SOOOOOO problematic. Then, this Circus Show cost EXTRA. Never could go to the "Noodle Bar" Restaurant. I could see lots of empty tables, but, they were saying that they were full....... The Miniature Golf was closed for repair. Many bathrooms were closed for repairs. Still Daylight at 10 at night... and again by 2 am................ Much rain. FREEZING COLD. Never used the pool or hot tub... Simply too cold. At our age, we don't climb walls. Bingo is overpriced. One "Lecture" was "How to reduce belly fat forever?" So, we attended.... WASTE of time. It is a come-on to get you to sign up for a package $199.00............... When I tried to dispute the charges: They were leaving bills daily on our door, and the phone was blinking to come down ans see them... So, I went DAILY. Their attitude was that I HAD to pay whatever they wanted me to pay even if it was not due. I asked to speak to the Supervisor and was refused this. Olga and her Supervisor ( Not the higher person) were treating us as inconsequential, and we were waved away. When I insisted that I wanted to speak to a higher person, a Captain......... the Security Guard was called. I thought that he told them to remove the fake charges... The next day, on the way out, my friend, the Tour Bus, everyone was waiting for me while I was detained and obligated to pay $100.00 CASH. They refused to print a bill or let me pay with a Credit Card. The man was laughing, telling me to go to the 6th Floor and wait in line.......... So, this is Abuse, fraud, Extortion. kept against my will, obligated to pay what is not owed, laughed at, and our trip ruined. I was shaking for a long time after, because I was so stressed and upset. We both were. Last day, the elevator button would not stop on the 4th floor, and nothing was marked... We had to use the stairs with bad knees. Later I was told that one side worked... but, nothing was marked............ WHY repeat all this Online? People need to be warned. If you do not fight, this perpetuates itself, and escalates as it goes. Is it costly to eat ashore, or at the Airport? Sweden: Tiny little nothing place, 2 coffees and 2 tiny pastries ( not very good either): $18.00 Copenhagen, Denmark Airport: )'Leary's 1 SMALL beer $9.17 O Leary's: 1 small water, 1 small Coke, 2 tiny very bad fish and chips (very tiny portions of oily, badly cooked, still raw batter on 2 small fish pieces, bad fries) $59.86 ????????????????????? HOW can this be? Souvenirs anywhere? In California, one can purchase an oven mitt for $1.00 at any Dollar Tree Store, or 99 cents Store. In any of the Norwegian places... $16. to $21.00 for 1 oven mitt. A cap is a good $16.00 + Excursions: Cobblestone streets. Nice to see, but, difficult to walk. Overpriced Excursions. MUCH walking. If you are an Elderly person, someone with arthritis, you will have much difficulty... Chairs do not roll well on grass, or cobblestones, and much is steps... A tour in a boat, in the cold freezing rain... is difficult to enjoy. Bathrooms: $1.00 Euro per person. The Subway is Russia, very clean, beautifully decorated, very well organized. Much walking, steps, escalators. Not for wheelchairs and slow persons. We almost fell. Older persons must be seated, or it is unsafe. Many warnings of Pick Pockets......................... Our Bank Card Companies had said NOT to bring Euros. This is a bit wrong. Bathrooms do not take Credit Cards. You need Euros. Some Places, and Street Merchants do not take Credit Cards. If you can hand a NO INTERNATIONAL Fee Card, that is the best way to pay, but, there are Exchange Currency Booths here and there ( some at Airports). We should have brought $50 Euros, but, had relied on our Credit Cards. Credit Cards: Make sure to use NO INTERNATIONAL Fees Credit Cards. How were we dressed? You need long pants, no sandals, warm socks, sneakers for a lot of walking, long sleeve flannel shirts, sweaters, or light jackets. I brought a backpack and we kept our light jackets in them when not used. Bring a rain poncho in your backpack. Too windy for umbrellas. The 99 cents Store sells rhinestone room key card holders to put your room card key around your neck. On the ships, the cost is multiplied 6 to 10 times............. I said it before, and foolishly expected better.... NCL was not a good Cruise Line the first time, and was NOT the 2nd time either. Hardly any activities for persons 70- 80. Lots of long lines, walking, being pushed. Disappointed. Bored. The hour changes: NCL does not have clocks in the rooms. We brought a travel clock. "Jet Lag" The time changes numerous times. It takes 2 days from LAX to Copenhagen and again, 2 days back. Rather than waiting 10-12 hours at the Airport, we had reserved Connect Hotel in Arlanda Sweden $59.07 We had requested Confirmation via e-mail, and had printed everything. They have a Shuttle and will pick you up and bring you back the next day ( Shuttle is every 30 minutes. They have their own Shuttle, marked Connect Hotel), you will have a nice room, with TV, bathroom, dryer, and you'll get a great, copious breakfast. Staff was pleasant, courteous, helpful, cheerful. They have a Chain. Look them up. ( Yes, the Staff also spoke English.) Bottom line, we had an OK, so-so, overpriced, tiring trip. Too much money for what it was. We will NEVER Cruise NCL ever again. They ruined out vacation again. Can't forgive them. This is Abuse, Thievery, Disrespect, FRAUD. We have a Cruise this October 2019 with Carnival. We have sailed that Ship and Destinations prior, but, it is for a Class Reunion... so we are attending ... We have sailed with Carnival many times. I am now informed of costs rising again? NCL told us that Carnival no longer folds towels like animals...So, I'll have to see for myself... Cutting out the nice little fancy things... is never a good idea. Why do we Cruise and spend so much money... if there is nothing nice, nothing to do, nothing included? Overcharging people.......leads to Guests staying home the next time. NCL advertised FREE beverage package, GIVEN to us FREE. $356.40 is FRAUD. Adding $30.00 per day, after the cruise is fully paid, is FRAUD. A tip is never mandatory. That is a modern, pretentious, unfair expense. A tip is solely at the discretion of the people to do, not do, and decide how much. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
To be clear, we chose Norwegian because of the port stops and because the timing of this cruise allowed us to take it with another family. Overall, we had a great time with our friends, liked the port stops (except Russia), but the ... Read More
To be clear, we chose Norwegian because of the port stops and because the timing of this cruise allowed us to take it with another family. Overall, we had a great time with our friends, liked the port stops (except Russia), but the Norwegian part of the experience was disappointing. In the past, we have cruised with Disney (2), Princess (1), and Carnival (1). Liked... 1. The ports and excursions were generally good, but expensive. 2. Bar services were very good (few lines, good drinks). Sugarcane Mojito Bar was excellent. 3. The few on-board entertainment / shows were very good (Burn the Floor and Cirque Dreams & Steam, Sid Norman’s nightly rock entertainment). 4. Food was good, but best food was at restaurants where an extra cover charge was paid ($30+ per person). 5. Laundry service ($20 per bag) was a great service to offer. 6. My son enjoyed the 13-17 kids club. Activities were plenty and well-structured. Did not like… 1. The ship was not ‘full’ (we were told) but it felt crowded everywhere we went, especially on at-sea days. We found it difficult to find seats in the lounges & common areas; seating at the Garden Grill / buffet was terrible; lines at guest services were almost always 20-30 people deep; had to wait for an elliptical machine in the fitness area; waited 20 minutes in the internet café and walked away; no-cover restaurants had a wait unless you had reservations. 2. Did not like the "Free Style" dining option. They advertised 5-10 minute waits but, in reality, it was 30-45 minutes. If you did not make a reservation at least the day before, you will wait. 3. The pre-booking process did not support groups. We were not allowed to book an 18 & 14 year old in a room together. We could not link our reservation with that of our friends. Room or balconies do not connect. This created a lot of inconvenience when it came to booking things as a family or with our friends. 4. Lack of entertainment options and general poor timing of the entertainment. There was maybe one option for entertainment in the evening. No nightly movies available anywhere on the ship. Most entertainment options were something you had to pay for, or were geared towards selling you something. We were absolutely bored in the mornings and afternoons. 5. St. Petersburg Russia stop was a missed opportunity. If you did not book an expensive excursion with the Cruise Line, and you did not have a special Visa, you could not spend time at the port. The Visa issue was NOT communicated during booking and in all of the conversations my wife had with the agent. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports. The Baltic ports were great. Unfortunately, this ship is poorly designed and way understaffed. And the staff, although friendly, was unable to do much if it wasn’t in their guidelines. No extra towels, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports. The Baltic ports were great. Unfortunately, this ship is poorly designed and way understaffed. And the staff, although friendly, was unable to do much if it wasn’t in their guidelines. No extra towels, etc. there was ALWAYS a 45 min line for customer service desk. Day and night. The specialty Restaurants only open at night and they are hard to book. The other food was about quantity not quality. Staffed gave us wrong information about free meal packages. The Poorly designed ship filters everything into the very loud and crowded atrium. They wouldn’t help off load luggage or book a taxi because we left too early. Good grief. On a positive note, they have a Starbucks where you can buy good coffee. Bottom line, They nickel and dime you for everything. The internet, free drink packages and dinners - that you pay a 20% charge for tips- aren’t free. Think those go to the staff? We could have gone on a luxury small ship and had excellent attentive service for what we paid. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This particular cruise checked all of the boxes for length, dates, ports and price. Having cruised over twenty times on Norwegian, Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean, I feel I have a pretty good frame of reference when it comes to ... Read More
This particular cruise checked all of the boxes for length, dates, ports and price. Having cruised over twenty times on Norwegian, Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean, I feel I have a pretty good frame of reference when it comes to making comparisons and following historical trends. That being said, I'll break my review down by topic so readers can skip what they like. EMBARKATION: We arrived in Copenhagen early in the a.m. on cruise day. We handed our luggage off to VALIZO after customs so we could explore the city without the burden of suitcases. They were happily waiting for us to arrive and provided outstanding, to-our-stateroom-door, service for a very reasonable price. We purchased a 24-hour pass for the Copenhagen public transport system (good for bus, metro, and train) and hopped on the Metro to the city center for a fun morning of shopping and exploring. After doing some homework, we learned we could catch bus 25 or 27 from Osterport Station directly to the Oceankaj cruise terminal. The bus stop was absolutely slammed with people. Bus after bus came and went - the driver shaking his head that he was full - and more and more people arrived with hopes of a ride. Even though a courteous line had formed early on, new arrivals just went to the front of the line and stood there like they'd been there all along. Many more buses came and went and none of us got on. After about an hour, we decided to grab a taxi for about $22. The cruise terminal was very poorly organized. There were groups of passengers walking every which way and clogging up whatever traffic flow existed. We finally made it to the check in counter. The family of four at the neighboring agent's station all stood across the whole counter with their elbows on it (only one person is actually required to do the check in), so we had to shout over the top of them to our agent and pass paperwork over their heads. This sort of behavior would set the tone for most of the cruise, so I won't dwell on the manners of fellow passengers. Just be prepared that courtesy is not the norm. Finally walked onto the ship. Not a greeter in sight! For each and every past cruise we have been met with a kind, "Welcome aboard!" greeting and a glass of champagne. For this cruise the gangway entrance was lined with little clumps of very grimy balloons. Woo-hoo!! Staterooms weren't quite ready, so we ordered a glass of wine and explored the ship. There were two or three dining area available, but they were full of passengers sitting at the [dining] tables and waiting for their rooms so we didn't have an opportunity to sit and eat. DECOR The ship public areas were clean and well staffed. The overall décor on the ship is rather subdued. Nothing spectacular or opulent. The dining rooms are small and cramped. The theater looked like a second rate high school auditorium, with acoustic ceiling tiles lined in LED light tubes to make squares. The atrium bar, the hub for the daily activities/games/etc. is just a giant, poor resolution, video screen with a good many spelling errors in its announcements. STATEROOM We had a Spa Balcony in a nice forward location. The room was clean and our room steward, Kepler, was efficient and very friendly. The balcony is smaller than we are used to having in the same category room and the guy in the room next door would just sit outside and sing very loudly a great deal of the time. Storage could have been better. The drawers are next to the carpeted floor and do not slide open and closed very easily. Even with the key card in the slot, the A/C never really got cool and it shuts off after a short while and you have to re-press the snowflake button. Water pressure in the shower just sucked. At full force and with the head at its most open angle, the water would fall down next to the controls. Hugging the pipes was the only way to get a shower. We only got a towel animal after asking for one on the last night. No more chocolates on your pillow, folks. SPA We were psyched to have complimentary access to the Thermal Spa with our stateroom category. The spa is full of great amenities: Hot and Cold Ceramic loungers, a sauna, a steamroom, showers, padded deck chairs, etc. We went several times, but there was no "relaxation" in the equation. Each time, despite the numerous wall signs that say "QUIET AREA", there were passengers that were having loud conversations (trying to talk over the jets) and kids running and shouting. We passed several other passengers in the access hallway who were leaving because of the noise. Complaining to the staff was of no avail. Prices for treatments were quite high. Kepler came to us on day four with a cool coupon for $50 off of a treatment for port days, so we went right to the spa and tried to book something. There were zero available treatments for the remainder of the cruise. So much for the cool coupon. DINING The buffet gets a F- from me. Poor selection, cold and stale food, horrible organization and traffic patterns. Not enough seating for the size of the ship. I've been to a myriad of cruise ship buffets and this one is the singular worst. We ate in two of the complimentary dining rooms: Tropicana and Savor. Both were just "meh". Service was slow and food was never hot. Menus lack any imagination. We did enjoy our specialty dining experience. Ocean Blue was top-notch in every way. Le Bistro had a great menu and fabulous servers. Moderno has a unique dining experience with traveling servers with meat skewers - you get a red/green card to place on the table and they don't stop serving you until you flip it to red. Everything was delicious. Cagney's was just okay. We were seated in the direct sunlight (even with blinds down) so we could not actually see each other. Lobster bisque tasted burnt. All that being said, the "specialty dining" quality is what used to be complimentary on cruises for those who chose the main dining room. It is the sad truth that the cruising experience is all about the upcharges for the cruise company. A note to anyone from NCL who might be listening: Put a sign up indicating the line for those "WITH RESERVATIONS". Each restaurant hostess seemed to be clueless as to what to do with people. They barked out orders to "just get in line", so if you had a reservation, you still had to wait for those without them to be seated ahead of you. HUH??? DRINK PACKAGE We got the Ultimate Drink Package as one of our complimentary amenities. A word of caution, it is not a "free" perk. You have to pay a pretty large gratuity up front to even get the package (same with the Dining Package - 20%?). After the fact, we did the math to figure we really did not get anything for free. We are moderate drinkers, so 2-3 drinks per day each. You are limited to any drink under $15. Anything above you have to pay the difference. There were very few glasses of wine that fell within that free range. There were many familiar selections that cost $14 per glass that I could buy the whole bottle at home for $7.99. I'm not arguing that servers should not get a gratuity. I do question whether they actually receive what I pay up front. I'd rather tip in person for good service. PORTS OF CALL All of the ports were great and leaving the ship was well organized. We did Berlin By Train and Leisure Time. Lots and lots of walking and (as noted in the tour description) the train is NOT air conditioned. Unfortunately, our train broke down. It was 98 degrees F in Germany. We sat for a LONG time in the heat (not allowed to leave the train for safety reasons) and waited for another engine to come and push us into a station and then waited some more for another to tow us to Berlin. The NCL team did extend our time approximately 2 1/2 hours so that we would get the full tour and all of our free time. That meant the ship had to wait for us to get back. When we returned, we were greeted by a line of officers apologizing for the trouble (where were they on Embarkation Day??). I was absolutely SHOCKED when all 600+ of us were then allowed to re-board the ship WITHOUT going through ANY security scanners or having our packages inspected. I'm sure this was done in the sake of expedience, but I really didn't appreciate the captain and crew potentially sacrificing the safety of its passengers for something that saved 30 minutes time. Luckily, nothing happened as a result. Had something terrible occurred because of a passenger bringing something back they should not have, it would have been through sheer negligence. Best of St. Petersburg and Leisure Time was great. We took it because we were bamboozled by the cruise line that you have to use their excursions to get off the ship in Russia. I should have done more research, because we paid too much through NCL and got less than through private operators. We planned to stay on the ship for Day #2 of Russia because the time of departure was changed from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. I'm sure that messed up some folks who made Day #2 private excursion plans. We did Best of Gdansk in Poland (great tour), Stockholm On Your Own (basically a bus ticket from the port to town - 45 min. away), and HOHO bus in Helsinki. A note of warning about the Shore Excursions credits. I learned from previous experience that you have to book them in advance via TELEPHONE, and not using the online reservation system, in order to receive your Latitudes discount and $50 per port credit. I did that for all of my excursions way in advance and the Norwegian rep on the phone quoted me the total price, including Latitudes discount and port credit. However, when I got on board and had participated in two excursions already, I noticed on my account that I had received the $50 credit but not the Latitudes discount. When I went to the SE desk, I was told you have to SHOW your room card to the SE desk to receive the Latitudes discount. I have never had to do that before, as my Latitude status was always built into my account. Anyhoo….I did what they said and they then applied the discount. So, make sure you check yours. I found it all to be weird. I wonder how many people let that slip by their notice? Hmmmmm….. ON BOARD ENTERTAINMENT The bars were fun and always full of people. I was excited for the Ice Bar, but we didn't go when we found out it was another pricey upcharge. Burn The Floor was amateurish and boring. Million Dollar Quartet was definitely a highlight. The four guys were oozing talent and the narration was well acted. Could have lived without the chick singing Priscilla's role, tho. LOL Passengers were always actively engaged in the game shows, bingo, trivia, etc. that took place in the Atrium. It's always loud there, which amps up the fun-factor but degrades the experience of those trying to have a conversation at Guest Services or eat a nice meal at Le Bistro outdoors. On a positive note, I won quite a bit at slots in the Casino!! I always test out the machines on cruise ships to find that one machine that's a little loose with the payout. No one anywhere around me was winning squat. ONE BIG NEGATIVE What's with the VIBE beach club taking up the ENTIRE forward part of the ship??? This isn't a beach cruise and it's not really even an outdoorsy cruise (weather most evenings was chilly). The VIBE tix were $200 per person. If you didn't purchase, you couldn't even stand on an open deck forward to enjoy the sea. C'mon!!! OTHER Due to a mild medical emergency, I had to use the ship's medical facility. A brief consult with the doc, a blood test, a tube of OTC Cortisol cream, a pack of OTC Allegra = $925. No insurance is accepted. You have to pay up front and then submit with your own insurance. DISEMBARKATION We had an NCL transfer to the airport. Lots of pushing and shoving by passengers stressed about making flights, but otherwise fine. IN SUMMARY We had a good time DESPITE the failures of NCL and the general demeanor of our fellow passengers. Cruising has become another Walt Disney World where you pay for a ticket to get in and then pay a lot more to get a true quality experience. Many of the "little things" that used to be included are a thing of the past. (Remember the waiters dancing and singing, the midnight buffet, the "grand" buffet with all of the carvings, towel animals, flaming Cherries Jubilee??.....SIGH) All of the nickel-and-diming truly degrades the experience. NCL used to be our favorite. Going to jump ship over to Celebrity for the next one. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my best experience with NCL but, as on previous cruises, the full time assault on your senses with the myriad methods of selling is offensive and pervasive. The cruise itself was wonderful with an excellent crew and wonderful ... Read More
This was my best experience with NCL but, as on previous cruises, the full time assault on your senses with the myriad methods of selling is offensive and pervasive. The cruise itself was wonderful with an excellent crew and wonderful food as long as you stay away from the assaultive passengers in the Garden Cafe. The ports were of great interest for me and I bought more excursions than I usually do but I would say that they were disorganized and clumsy. I heard many comments from fellow guests wondering if this was the first time they were organizing these events. The food was wonderful and Chef Bennet was personable and very helpful with my dietary requirements. If he had a restaurant I’d be there every day. Miroslav, Barnabe and Mylene stood out as excellent ships ambassadors. Maybe the ship is just too big. I’ll try a smaller one next time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Excellent experience. Ship was fully staffed. Never had to wait for a drink at the bars. Public areas kept tidy and clean. Made reservations in advance for the shows and select dining. Found we did not need reservations in two of the ... Read More
Excellent experience. Ship was fully staffed. Never had to wait for a drink at the bars. Public areas kept tidy and clean. Made reservations in advance for the shows and select dining. Found we did not need reservations in two of the main rooms. Taste and Savor, we were walk right up and get a table with little wait. Heard it can be hard to find quiet spots on board. The sunset lounge was our favorite bar, located in the middle of the ship on the inside. Never too crowded or boisterous. Take the time and spend the money to see the cirque dreams steam punk dinner show. Very good production for a ship. The best shipboard entertainment I have ever seen. Burn the floor is good too. Just make your reservations before setting sail! Syd Norman’s Pour House had excellent rock cover band. Very entertaining there. For shot excursions, be sure to explore non ship options. We booked privately with Alla Tours for both St. Petersburg and Stockholm. We saved a ton of money compared to the excursions (relatively identitcal itineraries) by booking with Alla. Do it about 3 months in advance, They take care of your Visas for Russia, no worries! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked a Haven room on the Norwegian Getaway for our Baltic Sea trip. The Haven is the luxury level on some Norwegian ships. Our room was a Family Villa - two bedrooms, which was perfect for my wife and I and our adult daughter. ... Read More
We booked a Haven room on the Norwegian Getaway for our Baltic Sea trip. The Haven is the luxury level on some Norwegian ships. Our room was a Family Villa - two bedrooms, which was perfect for my wife and I and our adult daughter. First the good: beautiful room, lots of storage, very attractive. The Haven has a restricted access pool and sun area, as well as its own dining room and concierge services. The servers and bartenders are very good in the Haven. I think the best get promoted here. The ship made all stops on time and the entertainment on board was decent, though always extremely crowded. If you are in to casino play, there is a huge casino on board, well-used. The bad: We should have figured out that family villas would mean lots of kids. We thought that sailing during the school year and the extra cost of the Haven would restrict the number of young kids. We were wrong! Crying children, tantrums, running around the dining room spoiled pretty well every meal in the Haven dining room. This dining room is undersized for the 320 people in the Haven area, and the dining room is consequently crowded. You can almost always count on waiting for a table, and the noise level was always so high that meals there were uncomfortable. We compensated by eating elsewhere most of the time. The concierge staff in the Haven were generally unhelpful unless the service you were requested brought in more money to the company. Probably the worst concierge staff we have experienced in our dozen or so cruises. They were very good at saying no. The ship itself has about 4000 cruisers and a lack of facilities for this many. All entertainment venues were overcrowded and we had to always arrive 20 minutes of so early to get a seat, except in the large theatre, which has sufficient seating, but is quite unattractive. The venue we missed most on this boat is a nice, quiet piano bar where we could dance to pleasant piano songs. In summary: The Haven rooms and facilities are quite outstanding, except for the dining room. The servers, bar staff and room stewards are outstanding, though we were disappointed with the concierge staff and the butler was OK, but not great. The specialty restaurants are decent but not great. The ship's venues are crowded and loud. We will probably not return to the Haven on Norwegian. We were the wrong people for this ship. We'll return to the luxury lines we have enjoyed in the past. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Picked this cruise for the ports. Embarkation was a disaster, long lines and staff that was not trained which made the process even longer. Traveled with a family group of eleven that spanned three generations. The ship was fun, ... Read More
Picked this cruise for the ports. Embarkation was a disaster, long lines and staff that was not trained which made the process even longer. Traveled with a family group of eleven that spanned three generations. The ship was fun, clean and lots to do for all ages. Entertainment was good for everyone. One drawback was only two pools and four hot tubs. The pools were ok, but if this ship is in a warm weather destination, not enough pools. Guessing the hot tubs were full as the weather is cool. We went to three shows which were very good, similar to what you would get in Vegas. Bar service was good, but the food service. Food in the buffets was poor to average, humongous crowds and generally cool to cold by the time you ate. Food in the specialty restaurants was unbelievably slow, often cool to cold and lacked any quality. I would say Olive Garden and a cheap steak house were much better than the "specialty" dining options on board. If you dine in the specialty restaurants, plan on at least two hours and bring your own drinks as they are very slow and often wrong. Ship was clean, room was fine. They did a good job getting you off and on at the ports although communication was very poor, you had to seek out the information. The people at guest services were generally not helpful, nor interested in providing meaningful service. I had intended on putting money down on a future cruise, but the food and service changed my mind. I'll shop around for another cruise line for my next cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
First, sorry for such a long review.... This was our first NCL cruise and we chose it because of the itinerary. We have sailed quite a bit previously on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess. The ports we visited were excellent. ... Read More
First, sorry for such a long review.... This was our first NCL cruise and we chose it because of the itinerary. We have sailed quite a bit previously on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess. The ports we visited were excellent. Warnemünde/Rostock, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm. As with most cruises, there were good, bad, average, exceptional throughout the 9 days. The ship sailed near or at capacity, 4000+, and for the most part it always felt crowded and lines everywhere, with the exception of a few times at dinner around 7-7:30pm in Savor, Taste and Tropicana. We were new to making reservations for nearly everything in advance but were tipped off and did so several weeks prior to departing. Unfortunately twice we arrived at specialty dinners only to be told we had no reservations and they were completely sold out nothing could be done about it. Following a rather brief and somewhat rude conversation the first time, I returned minutes later with confirmation of our reservation on my iPad. Miraculously a table appeared and all was suddenly good and we’re sorry for the computer error. The first was at Teppanyaki (very rude), the second was at Cirque Dreams where they were very accommodating and apologetic. The final bad experience was at our excursion. Our tickets said to meet at 7:15pm for an evening show in St Petersburg. We exited the ship and arrived at the busses. No signs or direction for which bus and the only workers were sitting and chatting with each other. We finally found our bus after getting help from a security guard. We started to check in and a woman from either NCL or the bus company not sure which began to berate us and threatened the bus was just about to depart without us. I checked my watch and we were right on time, but decided not to engage her and just get on the bus, which by the way did not depart for another 10 min or so. We try not to let a couple of bad individuals be the face of an entire company. So much for the bad. We did enjoy the anytime very casual dining format. The many dining choices, and most of the time the food was very good. We loved Moderno and Cirque Dreams and Steam was not to be missed. Be sure to book floor seats and sit close to the stage. Burn the floor was a mixed review, my wife loved it, I thought it was just ok. Nearly every worker who came into contact with us were excellent and friendly. We had a balcony room on deck 11. It was rather small compared to other cruise lines but otherwise sufficient. We met our cabin steward the first day and only saw him once or twice more passing in the hallway. He did a good job with our cabin each day. We did have a coffee maker in the cabin with a selection of coffees and tea’s. We didn’t like having to make so many reservations in advance to be sure we didn’t miss out on things or dining times. Be sure to keep your confirmations in case there are any problems. Their internet plans are pretty expensive and only work for one device at a time. Meaning two people cannot be online at the same time. Reaching a live person at customer service prior to the cruise at times was frustrating with waits up to 30 min at times. At the end of the day, none of the bad things were enough to ruin our cruise only minor nuisances. The ship was clean, and modern. Embarkation was pretty easy and not too long, maybe 30 min. Disembarkation was pretty orderly and went as they stated. Port embark and disembark was good except for day one in St Petersburg which had some long lines. Day two was very quick since they had all of your info already. In trying to be fair, we are going to give NCL’s shortcomings a pass try them again in the future. Not judging an entire fleet and company based on one ship and one experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Dining was the biggest disappointment. Garden Café Buffet was disorganized and poorly laid out, food was cold and tasteless. Dessert selection small and flavorless. Moderno breakfast buffet had a nice selection but ice cold. Taste, Savor ... Read More
Dining was the biggest disappointment. Garden Café Buffet was disorganized and poorly laid out, food was cold and tasteless. Dessert selection small and flavorless. Moderno breakfast buffet had a nice selection but ice cold. Taste, Savor and Tropicana all have the same menu and nothing to write home about. Service was slow with a few exceptions (Zimik our Tropicana waitress was most excellent). Food here too was subpar compared to other cruise ships. We let the Asst. Maître D Isaac Dobson know our feeling one evening and gave him our room number but no effort was made to follow up. We spoke with a few other passengers who agreed the complimentary offering weren't great but said the specialty restaurants were pretty good. O'Shenigans was okay with good service. Bar service and drinks were outstanding (Vinnie and Darwin at the Sunset Bar were most excellent). Casino smoke was a little annoying. Theater shows are not every night. However, the Million Dollar Quartet and Burn the Floor were both worthwhile. There is no movie theater. State room was average size, nice big bathroom but the balcony was tiny (Rm 8748). Some noise from the theater until 11pm. Embarkation was pretty slow but it is a big ship. Disembarkation was smooth, taxi wait not awful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
The ship was chosen for the itinerary which was great. There were lots of activities on board and the shows at night were excellent: Million dollar quartet and Burn the floor. We didn't go to any shows with a charge as we think ... Read More
The ship was chosen for the itinerary which was great. There were lots of activities on board and the shows at night were excellent: Million dollar quartet and Burn the floor. We didn't go to any shows with a charge as we think that's tacky and unnecessary. The food was just ok and we didn't like the buffet for breakfast or lunch. The quality of food in the 3 dining rooms was better but not great. The best restaurant was Le Bistro which had a charge. The ports were great and we found a WONDERFUL tour company that we used for 2 days in St. Petersburg and one day to Berlin. The company, Alla tours was professional, on time and very knowledgeable about the area. The tour guides were wonderful and their price was very fair and much less than the cruise line. I would definitely use this tour company again. To sum up, the ship had good points and not so good points but we would sail with Norwegian again based on the itinerary. We would definitely use ALLA tours again and have recommended them to friends. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Someone suggested we go on this cruise. It was wonderful but the highlight was the massage therapist. Surina Taljaard. She was so good I had 4 massages. Whatever Norwegian pays her it is not enough We enjoyed the specialty dining and ... Read More
Someone suggested we go on this cruise. It was wonderful but the highlight was the massage therapist. Surina Taljaard. She was so good I had 4 massages. Whatever Norwegian pays her it is not enough We enjoyed the specialty dining and Tropicana and Savor. Buffet not so much. We went on excursions in every port and they were awesome. I really enjoyed Berlin and will go back when I can spend more time. The tour guide was from Pennsylvania and help dual citizenship. We went everywhere we could in 1 day. St Petersburg was spectacular. After 2 days of 12,000 steps a day I was ready for a break. If we go back, we will take 3 or 4 days. I had no idea that Sweden and Denmark were so beautiful. The cabin we had was aft facing and it really made for a great trip. We would sit out in the mornings and evenings and were able to see both sides of the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the ports. Neither of us had been to any of the Baltic ports and we were looking for an overview. We absolutely loved the ports and could have spent more time everywhere, but we knew that in advance. Cruising ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports. Neither of us had been to any of the Baltic ports and we were looking for an overview. We absolutely loved the ports and could have spent more time everywhere, but we knew that in advance. Cruising on such a large ship has its disadvantages. On a minor point, it simply takes a while to figure out the deck plans, and how get from one point to another. More serious is the issue of always being at a pier that's far from the city center. We were lucky to get to dock in Stockholm, the Getaway often has to be in a town a hour away. We shared sevel ports with an Azamara Cruise, and as a much smaller ship, they were docked right downtown. When time in port is so valuable, arranging transportation to get to the actual city becomes a drain. Although we really enjoyed the ship and Baltic cruise itinerary, if we were to take the same trip again I'd consider a different, smaller ship. Someone who uses more of the entertainment available, or traveling with active kids, might have a completely different view point. We used a private company (there are many) to tour Berlin and St. Petersburg. We were able to have a much smaller group and more flexibility than if we'd taken a ship's excursion. Luckily we were in Stockholm on a Sunday and the company Stromma has a 3 hour brunch cruise available on that Sunday only. It was actually one of the highlights of our trip. In Helsinki and Tallinn we were able to enjoy the town on our own without a tour. They are both beautiful, but very different cities. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We had a relaxing time on Norwegian Spirit. Great itinerary. Good restaurants and service staff. Our cabin was comfortable and clean although dated and the toilet had a smell that wasn’t pleasant no matter how often it was cleaned. ... Read More
We had a relaxing time on Norwegian Spirit. Great itinerary. Good restaurants and service staff. Our cabin was comfortable and clean although dated and the toilet had a smell that wasn’t pleasant no matter how often it was cleaned. Buffet was fine but not happy wth pushy people who don’t know how to queue and while the food was usually ok it was all very salty. I preferred the dining rooms. I was surprised that there was no gluten free range. I found the shore excursions very expensive. We did our own for half what they charged. I was disappointed that they didn’t offer any free exercise classes. I did a few stretch classes but the instructor wasn’t very good. I appreciated the care that bar, dining and cabin staff displayed. They were always pleasant and their jobs can’t be easy. Don’t know that I would travel on this ship again. It is quiet old and dated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise for the itinerary...12 days in Norway, including the Arctic Circle sounded like the trip of a lifetime. My only apprehension was that the ship was older than dirt and rather small. But, I am glad to say that the trip ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the itinerary...12 days in Norway, including the Arctic Circle sounded like the trip of a lifetime. My only apprehension was that the ship was older than dirt and rather small. But, I am glad to say that the trip exceeded my expectations. Wonderful food and crew members...great entertainment. As if I was on any of the bigger or newer ships in the Norwegian fleet -- I didn't feel like we were being neglected because the ship was small and old. The ship was just that---a ship. Very basic amenities, but that was more than enough for me. I actually appreciated it only have to take 5 minutes to get from Point A to Point B. On bigger ships, walking around gets complex. But not on this ship. Easy, easy. Getting to my cabin and the buffet was super easy. Minor complaints: the Asian-themed decorations were weird considering that this boat doesn't go to Asia. But that was a minor nuisance. My inside cabin was spacious. So yeah, I had a great time! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We did the Norwegian fjords and had a great time. Sun seemed to emerge every day at exactly the right moment. The ship is the oldest of the Norwegian fleet and will be refitted early next year. Still the public rooms were well appointed, ... Read More
We did the Norwegian fjords and had a great time. Sun seemed to emerge every day at exactly the right moment. The ship is the oldest of the Norwegian fleet and will be refitted early next year. Still the public rooms were well appointed, no issues. The balcony cabin seemed a bit small as did the balcony. Still no real problem until you get to the very dated bathroom. Ours had a soft spot in the floor that they covered with a bathmat. Food was good in the main dining hall and better in the specialty restaurants, although we learned to avoid fish entrees. One of the most popular excursions is the Flam railway. It was outrageously priced. Norwegian did refund 20%. I am not a fan of independent tour booking but in this case I would make an exception. Norwegian charged $169 for roundtrip with a stop for waffles. The trip is beautiful but skip the waffles and buy a roundtrip ticket at the rail station next to the pier. About $60. You'll board before the excursion and go all the way to the top. Skipping the waffle stop also avoids a half hour wait on the platform (in the rain) for the return train. trains run every hour, get an early one and no problem with all aboard time. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
The allure of the midnight sun attracted us to this cruise. We'd been on the Spirit before (Western Caribbean) and we found that the asian decor seemed a little out of place. Still the same decor - and perhaps may change next time it ... Read More
The allure of the midnight sun attracted us to this cruise. We'd been on the Spirit before (Western Caribbean) and we found that the asian decor seemed a little out of place. Still the same decor - and perhaps may change next time it is in for refit. Staff was great. Cruise directors staff came from all parts of the globe, and for some they struggled with the English language and made trivia sessions interesting with some of the pronunciations =) We had the beverage package included in our package and I can't believe how much the service charge has increased (now 20%) since we started traveling with NCL (SC included 4 years ago and tipped as you saw fit ...). Bar staff was good as were the serving staff throughout the ship. We did not engage in the specialty dining package but did go to the Bistro on a single night. We were not totally impressed with the food on this night. An appetizer came out cooler than what I had thought it should be and an entree came out not as expected. In both cases we were made to feel that we were the one's in the wrong ... that we did not ask the right questions of the wait staff in regards to our meals. I could let something like this go in one of the dining rooms, but when we are paying an additional fee for our meals ... well, we expect a bit more. That was the downside of the cruise - a single meal in a specialty restaurant. The meals in the Garden and Windows restaurant were good and was flavourful. There was a good assortment of menu options. The scenery in the Norwegian Fjords was impressive, and we were so fortunate that the weather cooperated. It was quite an experience being on deck after midnight with the sun above the horizon. The excursions through the ship were handled well in getting the passengers together and then off the ship. We did the Flam railway and the Geiringer bus tour. Both good tours but expensive - based on posted rates if one were to book on their own. We attended most trivia events that fit our schedule, and found that Champagne Charlies was woefully small for the evening event. The Galaxy Lounge was hopping most nights as the entertainment was good. They played music that most enjoyed and lots of people took advantage of the dance floor. The teen area, directly above the Galaxy Lounge did not appear to be used all that often and, especially on this itinerary, could have been utilized for viewing the scenery by other passengers. The fitness area was small and there was not a lot of selection of bikes / equipment / however, when I went early in the morning it was adequate. The area that one would use for stretching was closed until 7 am when the area opened up for group sessions. Entertainment was very good - with the ship's dance troupe doing a great job on their nights. The magician was fair; the singer very good, as were the aerialists. NCL fits our traveling needs. We will always consider them for future cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We choose this ship due to the itinerary which was one of the few things we ended up happy with. We booked initially in Dec. Two weeks after final payment the price on our trip dropped by more than 60%. I was offered a $250 on board credit ... Read More
We choose this ship due to the itinerary which was one of the few things we ended up happy with. We booked initially in Dec. Two weeks after final payment the price on our trip dropped by more than 60%. I was offered a $250 on board credit as a consolation to the almost $7000 drop. Not ever cruising NCL prior I was baffled. I have never seen a cruise line struggle to fill cabins to the extent they created such a massive drop. That should have been our first clue! We boarded the ship and there was a massive wet brown stain on my carpet that the room steward tried to cover with the ottoman. The sheets were stained in three places and the mirror had two large handprints in the middle of it. Second clue? After calling housekeeping and front desk and to deal with the carpet I was told they would replace it in two days. Three days later they finally did. We went to La Cucina on the first night and were told my sons dining and drink packages were never paid for. They were part of our fare and had the receipt. They refused to acknowledge the receipt I had with me saying they had to make contact with the mainland. For 5 days they could apparently not make contact with the mainland and it took me having to have my husband call from the US to Orlando to have this fixed. It was their mistake. They somehow dropped it from his booking. No apologies from anyone. That seemed to be the theme throughout the cruise-we had exactly 4 crew members on the cruise that made our trip enjoyable and I will make a point to send a card to NCL about them because the rest of the crew just did not seem to care about anything. La Cucina was a huge disappointment and we barely ate our food. When the waiter picked up our plates he asked how it was and we said "honestly, not very good". He then proceeded to say OK and took our food away...never once asking how he could fix it. Their excursions are marked up beyond belief. We just were flabbergasted that they charged $199 for a Flam railroad ticket when you can walk right off (or better yet book ahead of time) for less than 1/4 of that! The only NCL excursion we did was Paris on Your Own. Our 6 hours in Paris was reduced to 2 1/2. No apologies. They really didn't care. They left over an hour after the ship cleared for no apparent reason. The ship itself is in good condition and we did enjoy and make use of the thermal suite everyday. Food, which I understand is subjective, was not at all the quality you find on Disney or Celebrity or even Royal. We struggled to find anything decent to eat most nights at dinner. You almost have to have a dining package for most nights. And even that is iffy...Cagneys and Le Bistro were good. The Mojito Bar is a bright spot. If you dare to cruise with them head there and hang out with Roberto and drown your sorrows that you didnt pick a better line. The perfect end to the cruise...the last night the sliding door in the shower fell off! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary and all the stops it had to offer. The experiences in these wonderful ports were almost ruined because of the poor customer service provided by this ship. A special mention however goes to our ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary and all the stops it had to offer. The experiences in these wonderful ports were almost ruined because of the poor customer service provided by this ship. A special mention however goes to our cabin steward, Victor, who took great care of us and Reuben's staff at the Java Café who tended exceptionally well to our every drinking need! The embarkation process in Amsterdam was the worst we've encountered in over 12 cruises, making everyone wait in a large room like a bunch of cattle. There were 5 couples in total traveling in our group; the Pearl staff offered nothing to accommodate our group especially on sea days and seemed put-out that we would ask for somewhere to hang out as a group. Food was subpar, even in the specialty restaurants. Getting off the ship at ports was poorly organized as was the process for shore excursions resulting in a chaotic mess at most stops. The worst stop by far was the Tilbury port. If not booked on a ship shore excursion there was no offer of advice or help maneuvering the area - the long lines at the shuttle bus to the train stations could have been averted if the ship offered tickets for sale as they did for other ports; the train tickets to London likewise could have been offered for presale as a service to their passengers. The Pearl did NOTHING despite, we were told, a request from the locals to provide this presale service. It took over 3 hours to get off the ship and to the train station, so any plans we had for London were abandoned. We were fortunate to grab one of London's black cabs - our driver Steve saved the day with a 2 hour tour of London and his entertaining commentary. As Platinum level rewards members, my husband and I experienced no special acknowledgement. Despite what NCL advertises, there is no concierge service and, once again, the desk services team seemed surprised/put out that we expected it. We most likely will be taking our business elsewhere for our next cruise Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Although the Pearl is not one of the larger NCL ships, we chose this cruise for the Itinerary it offered to Scotland, Norway, Ireland, France, London, Belgium and Amsterdam. Embarkation went smoothly in Amsterdam as well as the day we ... Read More
Although the Pearl is not one of the larger NCL ships, we chose this cruise for the Itinerary it offered to Scotland, Norway, Ireland, France, London, Belgium and Amsterdam. Embarkation went smoothly in Amsterdam as well as the day we ended our cruise in Amsterdam. Our ship was very clean, having been refurbished in 2017. We had a Mini Suite on Deck 11 and was pretty nice and roomy for us, considering we usually get Balcony cabins. Our cabin steward was from Indonesia. Dedy was very friendly and helpful to us the whole cruise. The entertainment was outstanding, with at least 11 different shows in the theatre of our 14 day trip. The lounges were great, and we enjoyed the Spinnaker Lounge allot. There were plenty of activities offered during the cruise. Dining and services were pretty good, although some food was not as good as others, we found plenty of venues to eat at, and we mixed it up, having eaten in 5 Specialty Restaurants and the rest in the Main Dining and O'Sheihans and Garden Buffett. Takes at least 90 minutes though. We found the whole staff of the ship very friendly and helpful. The only rudeness we noticed came from ship passengers. I think their expectations are too much and they should research a ship well before choosing a cruise and ship. All of our shore excursions were great! We especially loved our Flam and Geiranger, Norway Fjords scenery. Totally beautiful! We have sailed on the larger NCL ships, Epic and Breakaway before, and enjoyed them. But in our opinion, the Pearl was outstanding for us and we enjoyed our 14 day cruise of a lifetime. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We booked last minute, so right price, right ports and right ship Overall very impressed, but let me break it down. The entertainment was varied, highlight being FUNKY ROOTS who entertained for everyone, the shows were a mixed bag, a ... Read More
We booked last minute, so right price, right ports and right ship Overall very impressed, but let me break it down. The entertainment was varied, highlight being FUNKY ROOTS who entertained for everyone, the shows were a mixed bag, a late night comedian would of been great, also Ge Luz who played some great music in Atrium. The cabin was small, with a bunk bed taking half of the room which we did not require and toliet poory positioned, but Maria was accomodating in every way. Towels were soft and shower powerful which is not the norm. Cruise staff should be more personable than spending time dancing.. All in all, a small ship with personal service which gave us a great holiday overall. I had food poisoning one night due to buffet food left too long outside. We did not use ship shore excursions as ridicously priced and felt shuttle fees are outrageous bearing in mind we arrive and nowhere to go if you dont pay? Food and drink service was superb, in every outlet. staff had a good command of English which is rare to find on some ships and a joy to converse with. The ports were very good, always something to do if you wanted, the local towns a delight. Breakfast in restaurant closes too early and only place you can find smoked salmon? Too much paperwork handed out for daily schedule, so a free online app should be provided, not one you had to pay for. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We initially chose the cruise for the itinerary from Amsterdam which included British Isles,Norway, Normandy and Belgium. We did a combination of NCL excursions and private excursions and all met or exceeded our expectations with special ... Read More
We initially chose the cruise for the itinerary from Amsterdam which included British Isles,Norway, Normandy and Belgium. We did a combination of NCL excursions and private excursions and all met or exceeded our expectations with special note to all 3 excursions in Norway(the majestic fjords were breathtaking), the tour at Giants Causeway with Nigel of Daria ( best 6 pounds I ever spent) and excellent job of Kurt to show us the wonders of Bruge, Belgium The crew on NCL were excellent with special mention of Victor our stateroom attendant, Nikola and Monika in Magnums, Emerson the best bar tender on the high seas in the Whiskey Bar, Cary the most visible and friendliest Hotel GM I have ever experienced, Red our waiter in Summer Palace who has a good voice as well, Stephen Macha Macha wine steward and deck attendant, Cristyna and bar tenders in the Casino and so many other people in restaurants and bars. Thank you and Salamat to all. Entertainment was very good with special mention to great job by Patricia in Magnums, Funky Roots in various locales, The Pearl show singers and dancers and the presentation of Legends Dining was very good to excellent with all 4 meals in Specialty restaurants with our favourite being Cagney's . In the Summer Palace main ding room food was good to very good with our expereience being enhanced by fun and efficient service from Red and his assistant waiter. Dining room captains more attentive than what we usually see. The Buffet was good for breakfast and food good in O Sheehans with service a little uneven. We were so busy with excursions on most did not take in too many activities but did play trivia quite a bit and the activity staff were friendly. Thank you staff on NCl Pearl for a great vacation for my wife and me and our four other travel companions Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had sailed previously on the Pearl and knew we loved this ship. We enjoyed every detail of every day onboard the Pearl! From our captains ( Captain Paul went on vacation mid cruise and Captain Gio ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had sailed previously on the Pearl and knew we loved this ship. We enjoyed every detail of every day onboard the Pearl! From our captains ( Captain Paul went on vacation mid cruise and Captain Gio took over), General Manager (Cary Turecamo, who showed us such kindness and kept all aspects of the ship running smoothly), Jana (Group Sevice Coordinator), Alex (Concierge, who graciously helped us with so many questions), and Claudia Ungureanu (CFA, who we loved getting to know and was so generous with her kindness to us) we were taken care of so very well! We had free air travel as one of our perks and all went smoothly. We flew from JFK on Delta to Amsterdam and KLM on our trip back to the states. Both flights were smoother and we were served 2 meals, along with free wifi and current movies. We arrived at the airport Saturday morning and found a representative for our bus transfer easily. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze for us. The entertainment was varied for many interests. They even had local group come on board to entertain in Ireland. My favorite show, though, was the Crew Talent Show. This crew is a wonderful group of caring people and it was so fun to get to see them shine in their talents! Our food was delicious. We ate in the main dining area most nights and ate in Le Bistro and Cagneys also. For breakfast and lunch we were blessed to dine in Modernos! Oh, my! The staff there were wonderful and the food was excellent! We were spoiled! We also ate in O'sheehans and at the buffet. Needless to say, we didn't miss a meal. There's a great coffee machine on the back near the Great Outdoors dining area....freshly ground beans. Excellent regular or decaf. The Great Outdoors is the perfect place to eat with wonderful views off the back of the ship. We had a very full itinerary visiting Scotland, Ireland, N Ireland, Norway, France, England, and Belgium. We cannot decide which port was our favorite! We had wonderful weather ( a little rain off and on on one of our days in Scotland), but all other days were beautiful! Do take a rain/windbreaker. I had mine daily and used it for times that it was breezy. We saw such varied beauty in each port that it was breathtaking each day! Wonderful! Our port excursions were as follows: Edinburgh, Scotland Woke @ 5:30...upstairs to see sail in.  Tender over was nice.  Caught hoho very near port.  Easy and a rep helped us with ticket exchange. Bus at 9. Rode several stops and changed to green bus for live commentary. Fun knowledge. Beautiful day...sunny and warmer than we"d hoped. Did the route our on the bus and got off to walk Royal Mile...and find Greyfriars Bobby.bar and cemetery.  Ate at Biblia for fish & chips and soup.  Very good and cute place with good music and wifi. Shopped some then finished the route and back to ship. Tender back was a "TRIP"!!! Wavy and in a lifeboat...what a ride!!!  Rocking and rolling.  Invergordon, Scotland Off to meet Wow Scotland tour.  Nice new van holding 30? Graham..driver, Sandy was tour guide..he was wonderful.. very witty and knowledgeable.  We went to the Edinburgh castle first, with stops for talks along the walk there.  The castle was outside-only viewing but gorgeous views of city and River. Back to the bus for a trip to the Monastery...beautiful area with huge trees and gravesites. On through the highlands with beautiful green vistas of mountains, water, fields of barley for whiskey...yellow fields of canola, pastures of cows, sheep, llamas, pigs, even long haired Scotland cows (coos). Many babies...cows, sheep, swans, chickens, and sea birds.  We had cloudy skies and cold winds but everything was still breathtakingly beautiful.  A yellow Bush, that has stickers but smells like coconut, was everywhere.  Unbelievably lush rhododendron just taking over the sides of roadway ... not native but thriving and invasive. Thistle  just looks brushy, as does lavender...blooms in August but has slight purple hues, not overwhelming like photos appear.  Made it along winding country (1car) roads to Loch Ness ...it is a huge lake, can't see it all!  Didn't see Nessie but we did see rain!  It was an off and on rain all day but didn't overwhelm and we had raingear. It was never hard rain, just slight drizzle but pesky. We went to a battlefield and I didn't walk out to it since raining and very windy/cold.  I did listen to info, then shopped in gift store. Next was Clava Cairns...beautiful and interesting displays of rocks, along with great info of history and folk tales which surrounds them. Very  interesting day with unforgettable scenery! Back onboard ship by 3 to depart at 4.  We were serenaded by an 8-10 piece Highland band...bagpipes & drums.  Played until we were almost unable to see them. Wonderful send off from Invergordon!  Haugesund, Norway... Out on deck while docking.  Beautiful. Off at 11. Free shuttle into town center where we caught the city bus 210 to Skudeneshavn.  It was a beautiful 90 min ride.  We passed thru smaller towns, saw homes, fields of sheep (Rocks piled in lines to form borders between properties. Many little fishing boat hamlets.  So pretty.  Skudeneshavn was so beautiful.  Rows of white houses and buildings with shops and restaurants. All along the most beautiful seaside scenery. The sun came out and we took off jackets...not sure temps but would guess 70s. I walked a trail through a wooded rocky area and saw the Moon stone...local lore is that a meteorite fell but geologists say 800 million years old and think it washed up there with shift from the melt. Interesting. Caught bus back and had the cutest driver...very nice to us, and very professional to be so young. Back in Haugesund to shop and walk around.  Much to see and not much time but enjoyed.  Shuttle back to port at 5. Got windy and cold. Flam, Norway.. Awake 5:30...up to watch entry thru fjords to Flam..breath taking scenery. Quiet and majestic. Off by 8...very easy disembark straight to RR sta.  Stood in line to make sure but already had tickets printed via internet. The ride was great! Scenery amazing.  An hour to top with quick stop for pics of huge waterfall and dancing maiden.  Got video.  Many people got off to stay a bit...some rode bikes down.  Sun came out b4 we got to top.   On decks to see sail away.  Late again due to late passengers..2 this time.  Backing out of port no room to turn yet. Turned on a dime! Amazing! Hated to leave the outside.  Geiranger, Norway... Breakfast to wonderful views of fjord. A few passengers got off in Hellesint. Then we cruised on thru Geiranger Fjord, the longest fjord.Highest waterfalls. Outside to take pics of 7 sisters and Suitor Waterfalls.  Very breezy and cold but surreal. So quiet and majestic. Sitting for great view in Moderno area with chairs.  Nice music. Perfect. Watched Norwegian moving pier...their design.  Like a folding measurer... scissors out to boat...didn't have to dock at pier or be tendered. Great invention. Off before 11.  Beautuful sunshine..warm temps...no jacket needed and by end of day...long sleeves too warm.  No internet here...had it but never connected for us. I walked a path that went around the water and wound by a school, old folks home, church and camp ground.  Many people camping....mainly small campers and many tents. Lovely area right at base of waterfall.  I walked along to near the top of waterfall.  Beautiful, forceful and so clear. Back to shop some b4 tour at 1. Big bus that went on hairpin curves all the way to top...took an hour with 2 viewing stops.  Beautiful...in the snow at the top but not windy and we were warm.  Buses and cars must stop to take turns making curves.  Amazing driving by our driver. We saw so many views of waterfalls, a huge frozen lake and many places to stay overnight.  Saw no wildlife. The top had many photo ops and we stayed half an hour. They're working on a bldg up there so will change soon.  The road closes in early Oct ...impassable.  Has to thaw in late spring b4 any travel on it.  There was an avalanche leading into Geiranger in Dec and they were stuck for 10 days with no transport other than the ferry to Hellesint...takes an hour. We then went to another overlook that had views of 7 sisters waterfalls from different angle.  Also a glass area that a waterfall flows over so u can see thru it. Back onboard at 4.  Cpt speaking now saying we'll  be late because some tour cruise excursions are running late.  Belfast, N Ireland...Giants Causeway Tour was excellent! Driver, guide. FUNNY! David. This tour was great!  We covered Dunlace Castle, Giants Causeway, 2 more castles, old town Belfast with history and reasons.  Saw walled off areas and gates dividing streets and neighbors.  Sad time for them.  But he was SO happy that Belfast has changed *miracle* and growing.  Seeing things they would never have seen in the 70s. So many deaths and devastation.  Saw Titanic memorial... also saw new area of downtown Belfast.  Thru the days we drive through moors, seaside cliffs, beaches near water, farmlands full of sheep and cows.  We also went thru many glens and saw the beauty of so many different kinds of terrain. Throughout the trip, he talked of folklore and history and made everything so interesting.  Never a dull moment.  We heard of trolls, banshees, giants.  Best tour guide ever and certainly worth the price for a day full of beauty and knowledge about Belfast. We ate at a pub at Giants causeway...fish and chips..very good and cute pub. 13.75 pounds. Order at bar and tell table # ...they serve you. Also bus had wifi and a bag in each seat with water, chips, a frig magnet, and postcard.  Great welcome gesture. Back to the ship just in time to board with a few min to spare.  No shopping near port so wasn't tempted to linger. Dublin, Ireland Got off easily in port..just went on our own. Took shuttle to city centre $15 pp... pick up right off ship. Then dropped at Stop 10 (Merrion Square) of hoho...got green bus with live commentary.  Jokes getting a little off color...not for kids.  Got off at Ha Penny Bridge for pics, then walked 2 blocks to pubs & shops.  Wandered around.  Ate fish & chips at Leo Burdocks..neat little pub where many famous folks have eaten. Used to use coal for fuel to fry fish and chips.  Cod very fresh, white, crisp crust. Chips wonderful thick sliced French fries. Went to St Stephens Park..huge with tons of tourists enjoying nature.  Also went to Trinity College. Looked a bit more and found bus to head back at 5.  We lucked out on weather AGAIN.  Few sprinkles for few min but we weren't out in it. Le Havre, France... Off ship at 8 to nice clean port bldg. Nothing but a place to buy shuttle to town centre. 5 Euros for all day riding.  Gift shop closed still.  Rainy looking.  Going prepared with umbrellas and rain coats.  Le Havre is beautiful but we had plans for Hon Fluer. We walked around for a couple of hours and saw many statues, beautiful churches and buildings. Le Havre was destroyed during WW11 and was rebuilt to reflect its former glory. World Soccer being held here...US womens team plays tomorrow...they won! 11:00 bus to Hon Fleur for 3 hours.  Half hour ride over on Bee Le Havre. Already had tickets from online. Hon Fleur was so pretty.  Beautiful old buildings, churches and a fortress surrounding a port area.  Picturesque views in every direction. It was windy and cool after our 30 min shuttle from Le Havre. But in just a few min the sun was out again and jackets came off.  We watched a pirates ship getting ready to sail and when it started away from shore, fired cannons 4 times.  There were many different plaques and memorials to those who died in WW2...including American soldiers. Among other nationalities. We shared a jambon baguette and frites for lunch ..deja vue moment from 1973. Really nice to be back in France together. After walking around to see everything and a little shopping,  it was time to head back to the ship. Rain held off for our day until we were walking from the shuttle to the ship.  Got a little wet but our raincoats helped. Tilbury, England... Docked at 9. Walked to train station from port...15 min. Brisk walking along nice sidewalk. Bought tickets easily since we beat 1st shuttle bus to station. ( free shuttle) 40 min train ride to Fenchurch station.  Nice train...commuters. off to the Sky Garden.  Had free tour tickets for 11:30. Went thru security before allowed to go up to 35th floor. Elevators fast and continuous run up and down.  At top were wonderful views of London and Thames River.  Going up more stairs gave views of 360.  Different views highlighted on windows with titled bldgs. Down to catch hoho.  Got yellow line with live commentary. Rode to see all around, then swapped to blue line to go by Kensington and Buckingham Palace...mainly can only see gardens...slight/quick view thru gardens.  Rode until time to walk back to Fenchurch by 5 to catch train. No problems. Walked back to ship. his trip was a dream trip for us! Brugges, Belgium We had a shuttle from ship to port building.  Then we took shuttle express to Brugges...it took about half an hour.  We were glad to have pre purchased because they were full. It was 20 each.  The ship offered one for 15 but only took folks to the train station, then they had to get from there to Brugges. They can't deliver to city center so we all walked to town ...took about 30minutes to the square.  We looked around a bit and decided to take a horse drawn carriage ride.  We shared with a couple from Australia and paid 25 euros per couple for a 30 min tour around the old part of the city. (50 Eu for carriage) It was nice on the cobblestone streets. There are so many old beautiful buildings! She took a 5 min break to feed and water Adeline (horse)...we took a pics of swans and surroundings. Finished our tour and went to find canal boat tour.  There was quite a line, but a beautiful day and well worth the wait! Our "captain" was young and very well spoken in English ...also knew so many details about the sites we saw.  The ride was half an hour and we saw so many places and heard the historic details of them.  He was a very good guide.  Also, I sat next to him so had a great view and could hear perfectly. We went to find Belgian Waffles.  YUM! Strawberry and whipped cream on a freshly made waffle from Chez Albert.  So delish..sat on the steps to eat it.  We bought frites from a stand...also very good.  The streets were crowded with people enjoying the day, shopping, listening to street music, eating, loving life. SO many people! I shopped a little more then we headed out on our walk back to the shuttle.  Stopped for a quick walk in Minnewater Park.  Beautiful! Could stay there for hours! So many enjoying the beautiful weather with friends and family. Many locals riding bikes...many school children on tours. Back on shuttle to ship was perfect timing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
The itinerary was what we were looking for, hoped previous experience with NCL would be improved upon, not to be. The good... We made it to all the ports, even if it was a little late a couple of days. Our room steward was very ... Read More
The itinerary was what we were looking for, hoped previous experience with NCL would be improved upon, not to be. The good... We made it to all the ports, even if it was a little late a couple of days. Our room steward was very competent and attentive for the most part. The show Million Dollar Quartet was excellent. We did not use any NCL shore excursions, mainly due to the cost and previous reviews. We used an independent company for Berlin and St Petersburg, which were very good, but used Hop on hop off tours in other cities. Most are okay, although construction, traffic and street closures impacted the ease of getting around. Highly recommend using "Free Tour" walking tours, available in many cities. The bad.... The Internet. We had been warned, but reviews I read made me hope things had improved. Not so. Given that WiFi is available in every port, I would discourage anyone from purchasing the Internet packages. The IT staff were terrible, Even leaving passengers standing at their desk, leaving without any explanation. I had over 100 minutes on my account as we were coming into Copenhagen which I hoped to use to check on travel arrangements, only to find they had cut off access to my plan, and wanted me to sign up again! Giving you bonus minutes only helps if you can get on the Internet. All your time should not be used loving on and logging off. Very slow. The meals.... Trying to get anything at the trough they call the Garden Cafe was a joke. Limited variety, mediocre to poor food, and (although not the ship's fault) incredible rude fellow passengers made it a very unpleasant experience. You should not have to pay extra plus an automatic gratuity to get good food! As the cruise progressed, both my husband and I developed breathing issues while in the cabin. Headaches, clogged throats and sneezing. We asked the steward if they had used some kind of chemical carpet cleaner, but he said no, but by the time we left the ship, neither of us was healthy and both had hacking coughs. We noticed several other passengers in the same condition. The disembarkation process was a joke. As we were taking our own luggage and had a very early shuttle to catch, we asked multiple crew where to line up. Four people, four different answers. Unless you were travelling with NCL arranged shuttles, they had no idea. We almost missed our bus, no thanks to this confusion. A simple direction on the paper delivered to our stateroom directing those who planned to "walk off" to go to the forward elevators would have helped a lot. Instead they just said N/A. Publuc announcements would really have helped, too, but none seems forthcoming. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Let me start with the positive - the ports were fantastic and our family enjoyed every minute visiting the beautiful cities. We found the disembarkation and embarkation process efficient considering the number of passengers on this ship. ... Read More
Let me start with the positive - the ports were fantastic and our family enjoyed every minute visiting the beautiful cities. We found the disembarkation and embarkation process efficient considering the number of passengers on this ship. The two NCL excursions we participated in were a good value for the money and were very well run. Our independent tours through TJ Travel were fantastic. I agree with an earlier reviewer that this ship is designed for warm weather travel, making the interior public areas very crowded, so bring warm clothing so you can take advantage of the outdoor areas and activities. We were very fortunate and had beautiful weather the entire trip. It was hit or miss with staff overall, some were friendly but most seemed to be going through the motions and giving their minimum effort to engage with guests. Our room steward did his job, but made sure we knew when he was off the clock, which we thought was odd since the only thing we asked him for were some extra towels. Our issue is with the overall cleanliness, food handling and sanitation practices aboard this ship and is the main reason we will never sail with NCL again. I understand staff can only do so much, but sanitation practices are critical aboard a ship - especially one of this size. Public areas including the railings and elevators were not wiped down and sanitized during the cruise; by the end of the cruise, visible fingerprints and grime could easily be seen throughout the ship. Vomit in the public bathrooms was not cleaned promptly. Cafe' (buffet) staff did not practice or enforce basic sanitation practices (despite signage everywhere) other than "washy washy" and passengers reused dishes and routinely filled personal beverage cups right in front of staff and staff did nothing to stop them despite our comments and complaints. A large amount of passengers were coughing and sneezing openly throughout the ship, making proper sanitation practices all the more important. Our first specialty dining experience at Moderno went well and the food and service was very good. Our next dining experience at La Cucina was not so. The members of my family ordered different food items at La Cusina, but we all wound up with identical gastrointestinal distress afterward indicating whomever handled our food did not follow basic food sanitation practices; we all refused to attend our last pre-paid dining experience at Cagney's for this reason. I have shared my experience with NCL, and can only hope that for the sake of future passengers they will review and improve the food handling and sanitation practices aboard this ship. Read Less
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