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Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise because we always wanted to visit Bermuda. My wife had just completed another Norwegian cruise on the "Sky" to Cuba. The Norwegian Escape is a much larger ship. Too many passengers for the ships facilities - ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we always wanted to visit Bermuda. My wife had just completed another Norwegian cruise on the "Sky" to Cuba. The Norwegian Escape is a much larger ship. Too many passengers for the ships facilities - specifically the pool area(s) and the buffet area and the outdoor bars. I do NOT recommend this cruise or cruise line! The ship had over 4200 passengers and the pool could only hold maybe 50! Add to that, there were signs posted around the pool area ADULTS ONLY. These were routinely ignored by "parents" who let their little ones fill up the two (count them, two) hot tubs. The food , especially at the "Upscale" restaurants was mediocre at best. All side dishes were served cold in temperature. The dining service was terrible. Long long waits (in excess of 20 minutes) between courses. Beyond that there were tons of OUT OF CONTROL kids and teenagers. No cruise personnel did a single thing to correct these problems. I will NEVER cruise on a "Mega Ship" again, especially Norwegian cruise line which has evidently become the "Carnival" of cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Background: I "won" a "free cruise" after gambling at a casino near my hometown. I was hesitant at the idea that it was "free", but after researching the offer, I decided to take a gamble (pun intended) on ... Read More
Background: I "won" a "free cruise" after gambling at a casino near my hometown. I was hesitant at the idea that it was "free", but after researching the offer, I decided to take a gamble (pun intended) on this "free cruise" to see how free it really was. It was basically me paying the taxes and port charges only, with an option to bid to upgrade from inner to ocean view and/or balcony. I had attempted to put in a bid for a balcony, but my bid wasn't accepted, and the sailing was full. (No complaints about the room quality I ended up receiving.) I wrote a very lengthy review of the Cabin below, so here I will list off the other items that I feel are important for people to know. Ship: It is well-maintained and clean. The decor was fine. It was on par with other cruise lines and I had no complaints about the level of quality with the ship itself. It had as nice of decor as Royal, Princess and Disney. No issues here. Cabin: See below for lengthy description and list of annoyances / lack of privacy. Dining: This was the most sub-par dining experience I have ever had while cruising. The food quality on the Gem was embarrassing. The only 2 photos I am attaching have to deal with the dining. First off, let me say, I found it hilarious how they listed meals as "complimentary" with many of the high end restaurants requiring a $39 charge per person along with a forced 20% gratuity. I can not comment on any of those, as I downright refused to pay extra for restaurants that I could experience at home. There is also no free room service on this cruise line, except for a very meager continental breakfast. If you wanted any other room service, there would be a $7.95 service "convenience" charge. Ridiculous. A can of soda from the refrigerator was $3.95. I bought one. I admit, after days of non-carbonation, I found myself desperate for a Sierra Mist... The only "free" 24x7 dining is the "Irish pub" O'Sheehans, which offered typical pub-like food. We went there once, and laughed at the godawful chicken wings they were serving. I would have swore the wings were made like 2-3 days previously, tossed with whatever sauce you ordered and re-heated. My son got the "Buffalo" wings and they were so red as if they were dyed, that they actually dyed his fingers bright red. There are 3 dining rooms, and only one, the Grand Pacific, is considered a "dress-up" which isn't even "dressing up" as it just doesn't allow shorts, as the others do. The first night was the best night, and after eating the first night, I had some high hopes for the meals, but they only went downhill. As this is a freestyle cruise line, which many people will hail as awesome, since you don't have to dress up, you don't have a set reserved dining time, etc... I personally found it made things LESS enjoyable. You didn't have the same guaranteed server, didn't build any rapport or closeness with dining staff... and while I am an introvert, I still enjoy feeling like I get to know my servers, and with this freestyle mode, I definitely didn't feel like that happened. I can tell you also that if you are not a person that is going to order from the bar, you can forget receiving "exceptional service" in regards to your choice of beverages and getting bread served, etc. My son and I had a difficult time getting any lemonade or iced tea. We were lucky to have our water glasses filled in any decent time. We were laughing because around the 4th night of dinner, when we were dining towards the end of the evening, we literally were given only brown bread and water (when on all other nights, we had a variety of bread choices of 2-3-4 types of bread offerings) - We didn't have any "chef's recommendations" and the staff seemed more rushed and understaffed, ready to get us in and out as fast as possible. We went to the "fancy dining room" just today for lunch. It had a nice view, overlooking the back of the ship. We were handed the menus, but had the typical hurried experience of taking our entire order, including dessert. The peanut butter cup cheesecake was overall a disgrace. They make the plating look nice, but then you bite into it and wonder how long it was in the freezer before it was quick thawed and served to us. It was not at all creamy and I was hard-pressed to find any peanut butter cup taste to it. Service: I am well aware that cruise ship employees come from fairly impoverished nations and are looking to make a better life for themselves, as well as providing for their family, but you can see their unhappiness through the forced smiles and furrowed brows. While the whole "washy-washy" sing-song of the woman spraying our hands every time we entered the buffet area soon became humorous and meme-like, reading in the daily guide that they don't recommend handshaking because it spreads illness... I was like, okay, enough of the dirty-tourist shaming. Not all of go to the bathroom to relieve ourselves without washing our hands afterwards. I get it, noro-virus is real.. But, again, it actually became insulting to me. WiFi: This is my biggest complaint, and one I plan on fighting with the cruise line itself to get my money back. I spent over $350 for my son and I to have unlimited WiFi on 1 device each for the week-long cruise. Now, this may seem like a ridiculous fee to many of you, but I back my choice up with we enjoy what we enjoy, and we enjoy having access to email, news, YouTube, games, etc. My first cruise was in 1996, and let me tell you, after using the "Internet Cafe" back in 1996, the speed we had for this WiFi was NO BETTER than it was back in 1996. Dial-up speed at its finest. I am well aware we are OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. I get that. I get that WiFi may be sporadic. We paid for the HIGHEST LEVEL QUALITY of WiFi and we could barely do anything we wanted to do. We would be disconnected in the middle of reading news or email, games would be reset, videos wouldn't load. I paid the amount of 5 MONTHS of Cable Internet for ONE WEEK of WiFi on a cruise line, and so I'm going to say again, I expect for the cost of FIVE MONTHS of cable internet, we should have a RELIABLE connection. Otherwise, cut the cost in half. Would I Go Again: I love to cruise. I have done quite a few cruises. Would I ever sail with Norwegian again? NO WAY. Too many kids running up and down the hallways un-escorted. Too many younger children WAILING. Now this is not something Norwegian itself can fix, or can they? I mean, I guess it's time for me to look at more adults-only cruises. Way too many people trying to do a bunch of nothing on the 4 days at sea. Being docked over night for 2 nights while in Bermuda was kind of a new experience for me, and those days/nights it did seem a lot less crowded as people were off doing excursions, but yeah, too many loud and sheep-like tourists not at all realizing how annoying they and their kids were being. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Well I recently spent a week on the escape, traveled from NY to Bermuda with 22 people for my nieces sweet 16. I was on the ship for about 30 minutes when I realized the drink package I purchased for the family was somehow removed. I went ... Read More
Well I recently spent a week on the escape, traveled from NY to Bermuda with 22 people for my nieces sweet 16. I was on the ship for about 30 minutes when I realized the drink package I purchased for the family was somehow removed. I went to customer service, where I was told no one could help me since the main office in Florida was closed on Sunday. i ended up purchasing another drink package, and was told to work it out later. The next 3 days of the cruise was fun. On the 2nd day we were in Bermuda we decided to take the Norwegian cruise lines ferry over to ST George to sight see. We spent about 3 hours in St George and had to return back on the ferry for out dinner reservations. About 15 minutes into the trip back with the ferry completely full, I could hear screaming on the Ferry and then a loud crash. The ferry crashed hard into the rocks, the women standing next to me flew about 10 feet crashing to the ground and broke her Femur. My wife smashed her knee on the metal table leg and my daughter struck the table with her chest. There were Multiple injuries, people were screaming and hysterical. The Ferry PA system failed to work, to advise the riders of the situation, there was no first aid available for the injured, not even ice. The Ferry slowly returned back to the dock to be inspected, to make sure it was sea worthy to take Us back to the cruise ship. This entire process took over 3 hours, still no medical attention given to the injured until we were back to the ship. Not once did the staff apologize for the inconvenience, they pretended like nothing happen. Let's say I'm a little disappointed in the lack preparation for an emergency. The entire process, including the trip to the ship doctor took over 5 hours, wasting 1/2 of the 2nd day in Bermuda. Over the years I have been on a few different cruise lines, all with customer service far surpassing that of Norweigen. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I did this cruise on the Dawn a couple years ago and had a great time. However, Norwegian seems to be cutting service on the Gem. The boarding process seems to have improved. We spent less time standing in line and our baggage was ... Read More
I did this cruise on the Dawn a couple years ago and had a great time. However, Norwegian seems to be cutting service on the Gem. The boarding process seems to have improved. We spent less time standing in line and our baggage was delivered much faster than in 2017. That is where the improvements end. The ship itself has seen better days. Aside from the gaudy decor, upholstery, fixtures, carpeting were all worn and a bit dirty. Our bedspread had a few small stains on it. The pool towels were so old and worn that once you dry yourself off with them, you have a thick layer of lint stuck to your skin and clothing. It seemed like they were starting to disintegrate. Our balcony furniture looked like it was splattered with white paint. Regarding the service, every employee on the ship was quite busy. They seemed to be working hard to do what they could but still all service was pretty slow. My partner and I walked away from one of the bars because we had been standing there for quite some time without being served. Despite having reservations at the restaurants, it often took over a half hour to be seated. Once seated, it often took an hour to an hour and a half to receive our entrees. We could expect most meals to drag on for 3-4 hours from the time we arrived at our reserved time until the end of the meal. In the Italian restaurant, we waited close to 2 hours to receive our entrees. By the time it came, my salmon was hot, but very dry and tasted like it had been reheated. I only ate 2 bites. Luckily, the gnocchi (which we had been served an hour before the entree) was delicious, so I wasn't too hungry when the fish finally came out. The excursions were a mixed bag. It seemed like any excursion run by the Fantasea company was quite well done. The tour guides were attentive, organized, and had a good sense of humor. We did the Gosling Rum Cruise and the Wild West Kayak with them and were happy with both of those excursions. The Caves and Waves excursion though wasn't as good. Instead of traveling by boat, you take a small bus across the island. This is a long drive and they stop at Horseshoe beach, not so that you can visit, but to find out if anyone is getting motion sick. The cave visit ran smoothly, but the beach was atrocious. They drop you off at lunchtime at what they called a secluded beach. In fact, the only reason why it is secluded is because nobody else wants to be there. It's called Clearwater Beach. If you take a look at it on Google street view, you'll get a good idea of what this place is (note the sign that says no weapons allowed). It is very close to the airport, so the air traffic is constantly overhead, and being so close to a transportation center, I can't imagine that it could be a very pristine area. The restaurant and bar at the beach are a bit grimy. It looks as if they were built inside of an old skating oval, so everything is surrounded by concrete topped with barbed wire. The one good thing I will say is that even though the restaurant was a dive, the burgers were excellent. The beach itself is man made, not natural. So they have basically just dumped sand on top of rock. To get in the water, you have to walk over large pebbles and stones. My mother was with us and couldn't go in the water because the rocks hurt her feet, even with flip flops on. The water is nice and calm, so it may be ok for kids, but it is very shallow. Once you are out far enough for the water to reach waist height, you are contending with the seaweed and the wildlife living in it. On the upside, it does give you a chance to see a turtle. Again, check Google and look at the satellite images - the dark spots are the seaweed. But it's okay if you aren't having a good time there, because you only get a couple of hours before the bus comes back to take you to St. Georges which you only have a couple of hours to explore before the last ferry leaves to take you back to the Royal Navy Dockyard. Honestly, I expected Norwegian to do a better job vetting this excursion. The only reason why we do the cruise's excursions instead of finding things ourselves is the comfort of knowing the event has been vetted. Back to the ship issues though, there were a lot of thugs traveling on this vacation. There were theft issues and harassment issues. We were using white boards to communicate with our group and one morning we woke up to find someone had written threats and vulgar insults on them. The ship security didn't seem to be doing anything. We had an item stolen and heard others complaining about thefts too. We missed most of the evening entertainment because the meals took so long. However, the one act we couldn't seem to get away from was the piano player. This man had a voice like a high school kid trying out for the school play. He was also crude and vulgar. One example, his act included a song all about crude slang for women's bodies. He was in the champagne bar and the atrium. It was loud and obnoxious. At the end of it all, we did have a good time. After all, we were on a cruise to a beautiful location. However, I think next time we'll fly to Bermuda and skip this cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Chose NCL for Activities to entertain a 13 year old boy, amenities for two 80 year olds. Destination to beautiful Bermuda. The ship was at capacity; much too crowded for our party of 5. LONG lines on all kid friendly activities. Most ... Read More
Chose NCL for Activities to entertain a 13 year old boy, amenities for two 80 year olds. Destination to beautiful Bermuda. The ship was at capacity; much too crowded for our party of 5. LONG lines on all kid friendly activities. Most shows sold out. Specialty dining reservations extremely difficult to make. Childrens pool too small and too crowded. Would suggest including a tween/teen pool, or allowing tween/teen time in adult pool. The ship lack the ability to accommodate so many travelers. Guest services staff not empowered to solve issues; simply offer smiles, apologize and re-iterate that the experience was fully booked. Long lines at guest services. Long waits at elevators. Bars not adequately staffed. Staff told us several times the ship was crowded and sailing at capacity. 13 year old spent more time in cabin reading than opting to wait to participate in activites. He did not consider his time on board as fun/vacation. We LOVED our dining experience at Manhattan Room, Moderno and Cagneys; Cagneys and Moderno not our first choice. First choice Tapenyaki, sold out. Beyamo sold out. Beverly at Tapenyaki most helpful representative. LaCucina, noisy, average food, hair found in sons pizza. Eddie our steward, Excellent. Excellent experience with K & S watersports...parasailing excursion on land not available thru NCL. Also beach day at Elbow beach, booked through resortforaday. Snorkeling Catamaran excursion booked thru NCL, thoroughy enjoyed by all. Information before cruise not forthcoming unless we called. Couldn't book dining for 5. yet on board, couldn't reserve dining for less than 8. Many opportunities and emails received to spend more money for upgrade. Onboard WIFI minutes not explained. We thought we'd be able to talk among our five travellers. This requires a $10/day/person fee. On board bowling, $6 per game. Gaming pass for the week....$170. All onboard charges applied to credit card....if paid with a travellers check would result in waiting on a line to "cash out" at the end of our trip. Disembarking goes quickly....a problem if you have a car service reserved to get you. Needed to leave cabin at 8:30am; yet our disembarking time 9:45am. We were told to plan luggage would be available 10:30. It was available at 9:15. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise was a disaster from the beginning. Took the entire family to celebrate the high school graduation for my two oldest grandsons. When checking in at the terminal all but one of my group got their pass cards promptly. Getting ... Read More
This cruise was a disaster from the beginning. Took the entire family to celebrate the high school graduation for my two oldest grandsons. When checking in at the terminal all but one of my group got their pass cards promptly. Getting the last card took over half an hour. Seems that they ran out of blank cards and had to wait until someone from the ship came down to bring more cards. How can you be expecting over 4,000 guests and not have over 4,000 cards? At the end of our first day, we had an urgent message left in our cabin. Somehow, they lost the copies of our ID documents. I had to get them all together and go down to guest services at 1:00 am. It took me four trips to guest services to get a credit card assigned to my daughters room for charges. The first three times we were assured that everything was set. After each time when they tried to use their card to pay for something they were told the account was closed. Finally got it right after the fourth trip. On the first day on board I tried to book reservations at the specialty restaurants and was told the entire week was booked at all of them except 1. Same issue with entertainment; everything was booked but you could go there and wait to see if someone didn't show up. Bought my youngest grandson the soda package. What a waste. The only place for him to get a soda was at the regular bars which were always crowded. How do they expect a 12 year old kid to muscle his way to the front of the bar, and then get the attention of a bartender? Ridiculous. Wanted to have dinner with seven of us at one of the complimentary restaurants. Went to the restaurant in the morning to get a reservation and was told that they do not give reservations to groups of less than 10, but to come down when we wanted and we would be seated promptly. When we went there at 7:00 and told the host that we wanted a table for 7, he looked at me and said "did you make a reservation'? Are you kidding me? Staff in general was very unprofessional. The only friendly one was the women who took care of our staterooms. Don't even get me started on the elevators. This ship needs at least one more bank of elevators. I could say more, but I already said enough. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Poor drink service near the pool. Waiters and waitresses rarely seen if ever. Terrible layout on the pool deck, difficult to walk around. Cagneys Steak House was terrible, 3 of 8 got the wrong meal. Drink waiter never showed up. A ... Read More
Poor drink service near the pool. Waiters and waitresses rarely seen if ever. Terrible layout on the pool deck, difficult to walk around. Cagneys Steak House was terrible, 3 of 8 got the wrong meal. Drink waiter never showed up. A simple request for bread was forgotten or ignored. Nearly 3 hours for dinner. During that time was able to get 1 drink. La Cucina was equally as bad. Pasta could have been rope, I’m still not sure. Far too many kids, many underage drinking. They had a few pool deck cookouts, they ran out of food by 12:30pm and then served raw vegetables before even cooking them. Spinnaker Lounge was great. Great Outdoors dining/buffet area is beautiful. Sailing was smooth. Staff was great. Food in main dining areas equally as good as specialty dining. Be careful shopping on board, prices on liquor and jewelry is better in the states. Do your homework. I won’t return to this ship. The Norwegian Dawn was far superior. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because we had a limited time-frame to book and because it left out of NYC. I like that we don’t have to fly. We always park at the pier it’s $40 a day and it’s the closest parking. There are other options such ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a limited time-frame to book and because it left out of NYC. I like that we don’t have to fly. We always park at the pier it’s $40 a day and it’s the closest parking. There are other options such as Uber and spot hero to find close parking but this works best for us. We have been to Bermuda before and we really liked it. Especially the fact the boat is in port over a 3 day period. We arrived at the pier about 11:00 and we had hardly any line to wait in. We dropped the luggage off with the porters (who work in part for tips $1-$2 a bag is standard. We wanted to avoid the craziness of the buffet for lunch so we just had some water and soft drinks in the starlight bar next to the casino because our room was not ready. Once it was we went up to the mini-suite we had bid on and won ($50) it had a larger bathroom with a multi jet larger shower and a double sink. The bed was a king (2 twins pushed together) it was not very comfy (the MSC bed was a foam bed ) very thin foam. Pillows were ok. The closet had sliding doors with several shelves (plenty of storage for 2) on one side and a bar with hangers on the other side. There is a small safe (4 digit type) in on one of the shelves. One thing we noticed was that the lights on either side of the bed had usb plugs to charge phones, iPads etc. the vanity area has two three prong plugs and one European plug. We always bring a power strip (non-powersurge type) so there are plenty of spots for us to charge things. There is a small coffee pot that uses pods, not a Keurig. They provide coffee decaf tea, cream, sugars and cups. It’s small one cup. They did away with the ice bucket and I noticed the stewards didn’t have a cooler with ice in the hall anymore. So think ahead of you want ice you have to get it from the buffet. The hair dryer is an economy type that is slow, but not having to carry one from home makes up for it. The cube stool under the vanity has a hard top that is removable and acts as a tray. We use it on the small table on the balcony. The balcony was not very large, just enough room for 2 chairs and a small metal/plastic table. The a/c turns off when the slider is open so we had to be sure the door was closed properly or the a/c wound turn off. The mini bar is not included, it’s all extra, it’s expensive. Also the bottle of water (Aquafina) with the tag is extra. It’s better to buy a water package once on board. We bought on line and it was more money. They don’t allow you to bring water or soda on board any longer. Wine may be brought on, but they charge a corkage fee (not sure how much). The ship will provide distilled water if needed for a cpap although it was difficult at first for the crew to understand what we were talking about. The vanity has a small tv with a few news channels, a movie channel and a bunch of ship channels. The TV can be used to check your account and reservations, but sometimes it takes s while for things to show up. We had s cabin on the 13th floor, sadly sandwiched between a family who were back and forth slamming the doors and yelling across our balcony. So it was noisy. The last thing about the cabin is that there is slot right inside the door that controls the power for the room. It’s designed for you to put your room key in when you come in and take it out when you leave. Any card with a magnetic strip seems to work. I used a casino card from another casino and we were able to continue charging our electronics. The ship is really beautiful and clean. The elevators are ridiculous. There are 4000 plus people and only two sets of elevators. I use the stairs most times except when I had on heels. We didn’t go to any shows, game shows or slides because the boat was absolutely packed with kids. They seemed to be running unaccompanied in packs. Dashing on the elevators knocking wine all over me, no manners. We tried to partake in some of the games offered on the boat like the ropes, bocce, mini golf and pools and hot tubs, but they were often monopolized by the kids. They also ran the halls at all hours sounding much like a stampede. The hot tubs in the adult (H20 area) were full of adults who never seemed to leave. Somehow there were kids in the grotto area too. The movies they played in h2o were kid based. I kind of felt like I was in the wrong all the time wherever I went on the boat. One thing i did for myself was book the Thermal Spa, it’s expensive $199 but it’s worth it. It has a thermal pool, hot tub, heated loungers, a snow room (-14 degrees), steam, sauna etc. they have fruit infused ice water, hot tea and oranges to snack on and the best part no kids! Don’t get me wrong I like kids, but not when they are acting like maniacs. I will never again book a cruise when kids are out of school. I learned my lesson. . NCL likes to nickel and dime its passengers and it has only gotten worse with time. We don’t eat out often so when we vacation we like to eat in the better pay restaurants. I can’t comment on taste, savor or the Manhattan room because we didn’t eat there. We went to Cagney’s (who now charges extra for shrimp cocktail) the fish restaurant (which had an up-charge on top of the dining plan and additional charge on top of that for previously killed lobster) it wasn’t good. The food was almost always cold, including the sides. Steaks were overcooked, seafood under cooked. Soups bland. Went way down hill to save a buck! The buffet is and has always been ridiculous. The food cold, mostly carbs, bland tasting. Add to that a bunch of kids dashing in and out in front of people and it was less pleasant. One good thing was the crepes station in the late afternoon/evening. Lots of topping choices, fresh made. And the omelette stations provided fresh egg options if you asked. The toasters were slow and it usually took 3 trips to toast a muffin. That is most likely because so kids don’t burn themselves (in spite of the warning signs). The few issues we had were ignored by the customer service staff who must have been at the end of their contract. They were trying sometimes, but they were tired and beat. They didn’t seem to care much. The room steward was good. Sam I think his name was, or a variation of that. He did kind of take his time with cleaning the room, and there were no towel animals. The at sea days were beautiful weather wise, but there was no getting a lounger after 10:00 am. The crew tried with the little stickers (indicating they had not seen anyone using the chair in a while) but they gave up after a day. We had better picks on shore days. Bermuda is a beautiful, friendly island, but it was crowded at the beach. We purchased two day bus/ferry passes somewhere in the $31.50 per person. We were able to go all over the island by bus and ferry to Hamilton. The bus hub was in Hamilton and all busses started out there. I think pink poles (at bus stops) brought you to Hamilton and blue poles brought you away from Hamilton. This time around we went to the small aquarium/zoo and it was (for the price) a fine way to kill two hours. NCL purchased an older high speed ferry from Block Island RI (I think I remember seeing it a few years ago before the refurbishment) and NCL uses it to bring people out to St George. It’s a nice 45 min ride. Of course the only rain we had the whole trip was just when we were heading to tobacco beach. So we went to the Fantasy Caves instead. We went to Crystal Caves last time. They were beautiful and the guide let us pose for pictures with ”Simba” which was a broken stalagmite that everyone seems to hold up the way Rafiki held up Simba in the Lion King. It was fun. We went over to the bar/restaurant The Swizzle Inn. Food was excellent. The final day we spent at the royal Naval Dockyard Shopping and having lunch at the Frog and Onion. I recommend the brisket sandwich. Then we were back on board to do as many with balcony’s do: watch the people who get back to the ship late. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I chose this cruise due to price, destination and inclusion of airfare to/from New York. The cruise was to Bermuda with a three day porting. The excursions were good. The mini suite should titled as a balcony room because it was not any ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to price, destination and inclusion of airfare to/from New York. The cruise was to Bermuda with a three day porting. The excursions were good. The mini suite should titled as a balcony room because it was not any sort of a suite. Cabin and balcony very cramped. The main floor (6th) with the Customer Service, Shore Excursions, Next Cruise, and Internet were all cramped into a small area with a very loud venue right next to them. It was so loud a person could not hear any of the personnel at any of the services counters. In addition, directly down the hall was the open cigar lounge that permeated the entire floor. And further down the hall was several of the up class dining areas that were directly under a open casino and the cigarette smoke was also permeating the area. Totally unpleasant unless you enjoy the smell of cigars and cigarettes. Too congested and smelly. The Spa and their personnel were nice but very aggressive in selling their oils and herbs. The coffee bars advertised having Chia Tea Lattes but neither had any and personnel seemed offended that I even asked for one. No caffeinated teas on the ship so if you don't drink coffee, which I don't, you are in for caffeine withdrawal. The dining on the ship was good but again no caffeinated teas were available. We enjoyed Cagney's steakhouse and it was very good. The Japanese hibachi restaurant was also very good and entertaining. The bar service was slow and one drink we received had no alcohol in it, only the mixer. I did not enjoy the entertainment as it was not entertaining. Just loud. The activities were not well advertised and changed without any notice. The shopping aboard was poor and sale times were changed without notice. The pool area was very crowed and difficult to get lounge chairs. The only thing really good about the ship is that they had the disembarkation down. Easy to get off of ship without having to deal with the usual crowds at Customs. I will not cruise NCL again. I do not have any photos of the cruise ship because I did not see anything worth photographing aboard ship. One does not want to photograph unpleasant memories. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Norweigan Escape Ny to Bermuda: Food was a disappointment, some of the staff was not friendly, no captains night, freestyle was not freestyle because if you dont do all your planning before you go you have very little options for shows and ... Read More
Norweigan Escape Ny to Bermuda: Food was a disappointment, some of the staff was not friendly, no captains night, freestyle was not freestyle because if you dont do all your planning before you go you have very little options for shows and some specialty dining because everything gets booked . They have a huge theatre, and instead of using that, they cram all the guests into the atrium for almost all entertainment events like game shows, dance offs etc. So when they have events like these especially during at sea days there are no chairs, it clogs up the hallway for passing traffic because there can be a ton of people standing trying to see what is going on ,all while the theater is empty, it makes NO sense! Some tips if your booked for this cruise: 1. Make sure you use the purell they have or bring a travel size . Every time you use the stairs( which i am assuming you will IF you can because catching a elevator sometimes takes a long time) use it after every flight cuz i never see them cleaning the handrails and i got sick and now I am on antibiotics. 2. I was told I could get two liters of alcohol or i have to fill out a customs form. So i got 3 , when i went to front desk to get the form and they told me i only need form if i spent $800 in liquor / cigarettes. When i left no one checked my bag so I dont know how they would know what i had anyway. 3. Book everything you can possibly book as far as dinning or entertainment online before you board. 4. Dont expect to find much souvenir shopping onboard,unless you like jewelry or merchandise that says "ife is good".. They had hardly any hats/shirts that said ncl. 5. If you have a balcony and you look out before you leave and see the intrepid museum, you have an advantage of not having to cram in on top deck. You can see Statue of Liberty and see under the bridge all from your side. If you are on the other side of the ship and do not see the intrepid you have another advantage coming back home.You get to get up at aprox 3am and take amazing pics of lady liberty all lit up without going out of your room, and yes you also get to see the bridge lit up. 6. Bring a selfie stick, pics on board are aprox $20 each , my selfie stick broke and ended up buying one on board for almost $40 . 7. Get a luggage lock, i heard a woman nearby say something was missing from her room, so its always good to be safe then sorry 8. Its not advertised very well but they do have painting on board. I got the last possible spot so go to box office and book it early . Strangely you must bring your wine with you if you want. Its a byob or glass lol. 9. Download the app, they must be saving paper. You used to get a daily "what's happening on board " flyer on each bed, now its one per stateroom. Also when checking in, i asked for another flyer of map of ship- i was told no. Really? Im paying close to $2000 and i cant have a piece of paper????? 10. Bermuda: I recommend some type of nighttime sunset sail or something away from the ship at night. Usually theres is not much going on so get out see a sunset , have a rum sizzle or not and see the boat all lit up. I would ask the guys on the tour boat what side has the best view of the boat going back to the ship so you can get amazing oics. I chose Harbor nights but the festival was mostly food vendors, most stores in hamilton were closed except for maybe 3 or 4. If you like festival music, walking in dark ,eating food from local vendors this could be your thing, i did see a lot of security but not something i would do for a solo traveler if you go as a group especially with a guy you should feel safe (just my opinion). **book choir of man the best show i saw THE BEACH:Take a mini bus or taxi to horseshoe bay beach dont waste your money on an excursion. It cost $7.00 minibus, $35 for taxi each way. I took minibus going and taxi back and both are safe, and you get to come and go whenever you want, you dont have to keep looking at your watch. Wear sunscreen and reapply no matter what the conditions. I personally know someone that got a second degree burn on a shady day on horseshoe beach and they had block on. Also this time the beach had seaweed (very unusual). Id get swim shoes because Portuguese Man of War ( a type of jelly fish) are sometimes under seaweed Shopping: If you have the time I would take a ferry to St George and Hamilton see what its like. I would like to go go back to St George, I stopped briefly as part of a bus tour. Hamilton has a few souvenirs type stores, they also have a lot of expensive stores. If your short on time you can pretty much get all your souvenir shopping at port. Side note: When i was there we were the only ship in port (as per tour guide this is very rare it can be 2-3 at one time - that's approximately 10k- 12k people. Dont wait to the last day at bermuda to do your shopping at port. it was crowded at the last day for me , can not imagine if another ship was there. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my 4th cruise to Bermuda and 3rd with NCL. By tradition, we take a family picture while the ship passes under the Verrazano Bridge. Apparently, The Haven sundeck is now age restricted and taking a single is out of the question ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise to Bermuda and 3rd with NCL. By tradition, we take a family picture while the ship passes under the Verrazano Bridge. Apparently, The Haven sundeck is now age restricted and taking a single is out of the question if one of the family members is under 16. I can see the reason for the restriction if kids are raising hell on the sundeck when people are trying to relax, but their Procrustean enforcement of this is absurd. On previous NCL cruises, we had trouble getting our son to leave the children's' program. On this cruise, he asked to leave after 90 minutes and refused to return the remainder of the cruise. He did not provide any reason other than describing it as "boring". NCL's "signature cheesecake" is off the menu. I mentioned this in The Haven Restaurant and was informed that it was still available, but I had to submit a request 24 hours in advance. Speaking of The Haven Restaurant, the menu is exactly the same, every day. The meat was frequently served under cooked. Our butler didn't do very much, but we got a lot of personal attention from our steward. The other restaurants on the ship had very slow service. Overall, service seemed not to be very good, but not lack of trying on the part of the crew. It seemed as though they were working exceptionally hard to deliver service with limited resources. In effect, not the crew's fault, but the people running the operation. NCL's "White Hot Party" is now called the "Glow Party" and seems to be more of a marketing gimmick for their overpriced booze. It's not NCL's fault that it rained during the party, but you would think since they regard this as one of their "signature events", they would hold it indoors. Handicapped access in The Haven is lacking. My sister is in a wheelchair and it was an ordeal to get her in and out of the cabin through a narrow door. They did have a complimentary ferry to St. George which I thought was nice. Overall, it seemed like everything was just a little bit worse. I enjoy Bermuda, I've been there 6 times, but next time it will be on a different cruise line. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
As a heads-up, we were a group of 6 aged 30-45 with 2 seniors over 65 but still physically capable, all sailing May 19-26, 2019. We’ve also sailed on other cruiselines to compare (RCI, Princess, Holland America). The 2 seniors were ... Read More
As a heads-up, we were a group of 6 aged 30-45 with 2 seniors over 65 but still physically capable, all sailing May 19-26, 2019. We’ve also sailed on other cruiselines to compare (RCI, Princess, Holland America). The 2 seniors were celebrating their 50th anniversary. We're pretty casual and sensible people, but we sure know quality when we see it. I hope this lengthy review helps you out, because it sure could've helped us out before booking! While the NCL Escape wasn’t a horrible cruise, it was disappointing in too many areas that it really has left us just vexed and irked. It’s almost a completely different cruiseline compared to a few years ago, and not in a good way. They don’t offer a good enough product for the NYC area, with nothing premium that is not in The Haven (the ship’s suite facilities). The ship’s biggest flaw was not being able to fit the passenger capacity in the facilities onboard due to them being too small or an afterthought. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: Embarkation was congested yet semi-organized, which took about ~1hr from the entering the marina to getting on the ship. Many hurdles to jump through, and towing luggage while doing it isn’t too fun and I can’t imagine doing this regularly/monthly. Disembarkation was initially a disaster since the ship docked many hours earlier than expected, and some rocket scientist in charge thought it was a good idea to call our tag color 1hr before it should have. You should have seen the madness that was the buffet and elevators by then (8AM). Absolutely NUTS. And the staff was no longer as pleasant, but go figure special thanks to rocket scientist. Then once we managed to squeeze into an elevator, it was ~20min total time off the ship and passing customs. The $40/day pier parking was totally worth the convenience, and we could have gotten a marginally cheaper shuttle arrangement if we researched in advance. DEMOGRAPHIC: Basically the Carnival cruise kind of crowd, in mid-May. Passengers were mainly 30-60 yrs of the blue-collar-with-tattoos kind of crowd who looove to drink and consider the burgers and pizza to be gourmet, and there were some kids running around or making scenes and spreading germs via poor hygiene. But most passengers were respectful and we all treated each other as such. SHIP: Bigger isn’t necessarily better, and this ship’s a clear example. Aside from being a big & beautiful ship and all that, it’s packed to the gills with passengers like a sardine can (~4300 total). There simply aren’t enough pools & hot tubs for everyone. It’s hard to find a seat in the buffet most of the time. You have to hunt down lounge chairs often to get the location you prefer. I could go on. The ship also seemed to be cheaply assembled since it constantly creaked and rocked from the slightest choppiness at sea. I’ve felt less rocking in smaller ships, on WORSE waters. The walls aren’t well insulated or secured as evident by the constant creaking in the stateroom and several facilities. The strangest thing was that the engine’s vibrating was felt all the way up to the 10th+ floor, with sometimes jolts of vibrations that would dissipate randomly. Why? How? Imagine having to sleep with that….NOT fun! CABIN: Our cabin was a mid-ship balcony, 9280, smack-dab next to the elevators. The elevators weren’t a noise issue because they were partitioned from them, but the cabin walls were thin enough to hear a cough from the neighbors or flip flops in the hallway. Especially door slams and toilet flushes, what a drag. The bathroom was OK in size, but the toilet paper roller is installed in a hidden place which doesn’t make sense. Also, 9280 had the bed closest to the balcony rather than the sofa (as some balconies do), which while it’s nice for couples, it didn’t work out at all when having guests over. The dark wood and the sofa material were terrible design choices, because it cheapened & visually confined the cabin. SERVICE: The crew overall helped to create a positive cruise experience, and for the most part the staff is pleasant. Our housekeeper Edwin was the rudest, laziest housekeeper we’ve ever met. Not to go into much detail, he was in a bad mood no matter what, constantly neglected to refill or clean certain things, hung up on our call requests to fix them, ignored us when we ran into him and said hello, and rushed us out of our cabin whenever he felt like making up our room. Sure, he had 16 rooms to clean, but frankly that wasn’t our problem since we were on vacation. We had to beg him to arrange an anniversary surprise for the senior couple traveling with us. He didn’t even provide the “anniversary cake” card they were promised, so we had to get it at guest services. Other than folks like Edwin, the crew was overall friendly and hardworking however lacked refinement or training when it came to good service (eg MDR). Most are no longer willing to go above and beyond. Most are no longer eager to please. Those small details that make a vacation special were missing. The absence made sense when we saw staff being rotated around the ship instead of focusing on one area (eg one day Richard’s in the MDR, the next he’s in the buffet). The MDR was understaffed, lacking hands to manage several tables. The whole experience were even less special as a result of lacking food, service and timeliness. Other passengers complained of similar service issues in the specialty dining restaurants. Why pay more for the same experience? The anniversary surprise resulted in a quarrel between the staff of who were or weren’t in the mood to sing for the couple. On their 50th? A crying shame. DINING: The food aboard was overall acceptable, however was cut back a good amount since we sailed with NCL in 2015. It’s obvious that the cruiseline decided to go with a cheaper & lower-end selection of meals, even in specialty dining. Even Carnival has more gourmet dining options now (and that’s saying something). The Garden Café (buffet), while ideal for quick & no-frills meals, was limited or unimaginative when it came to selection and quality of food options. Where was the salmon, gourmet cheeses, array of cured meats, unique ingredients/foods/proteins or fine pastries? Because 80%+ of the time we couldn’t find them. Buffet breakfast was disappointing, with the same boring assortment every single day: continental/American usual choices, an embarrassing European selection, and congee. The buffet offered cuisine themes, but 1) themed ethnic dishes were NOT authentically prepared (not even the Mexican dishes! Really??), and 2) just the dinner themes were advertised while nobody knew what was going on for lunch. The pizza would upset ANY native NYC’er since it was essentially tomato sauce & cheese on a bland and greasy insult to pizza crust. Buffet desserts were mostly boring and repetitive, including the crepe station. There were always 1-2 no-sugar-added options (eg vanilla ice cream; strawberry mousse), but again, VERY boring and repetitive. The executive chef (an Indian man whose name I forgot) did nail down not seasoning the dishes too much/little, much like on RCI. He especially excels at Indian buffet dishes, but as much as I enjoyed the fish curry or chicken korma, I had to skip it often due to being too heavy/spicy, and most of the passengers apparently did the same. O’Sheehan’s was a pub-style free dining option, with decent wings and other bar snacks of varying quality. The whole place kind of felt like an afterthought, like “yeah, welcome, what do you want, are you done yet?”. The atrium right next to it was deafening loud a lot of the times where you just couldn’t hear each other at the table. Most things we tried on the menu were overall good, not great. The service, just meh. The desserts were disappointing, including me not finishing the brownie cheesecake -- something I NEVER did on a NCL cruise in 2015. It didn’t even TASTE like cheesecake or brownie. What happened? Oh that’s right, quality cuts the company hoped their passengers wouldn’t notice. The MDR menu selections were reduced a good amount, and lacked gourmet touches when it came to the ingredient quality and cooking technique. No special sauces, no complex flavors, barely/no textural components, no unique proteins/fish/etc, no Lobster night, and no prime rib or salmon every night like before. The MDR for breakfast and lunch was a COMPLETE afterthought in both food and service, glacial in pace (avg meal there was 1-1.5 hrs), and had a noisy ambiance forcing you to yell across a table of four just to hear each other (see sardine can notes above). Besides at the specialty dining, 75% of everything we saw was just repeating classic fare available every day and night. MDR dinner was barely considered a memorable event due to scaling back the quality & presentation so much (not to mention the service lacking), so they never felt that special like before. We’re not picky eaters at the end of the day. But most food options were seriously lacking that gourmet touch we expect when cruising (especially compared to the past); instead they just came off as upper-casual at best, or ideal for hangover recovery. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment is all over the place from poor (eg After Midnight) to pretty good (eg Choir of Man). All the outdoor parties were underwhelming (deafening?), with the oldest of the age range doing most of the interacting/dancing while most of the youngest were just standing around and drinking. The comedy-magician guy was alright. Howl at the Moon was actually pretty good. The dance-off competition was funnier than the comedian. Again, all over the place. SHIP AREAS, ACTIVITIES, ETC: There were 2 shuffle board courts, a ropes course, water slides, 2 tiny pools, a kid-zone, a mini-golf course, and probably some other small things I cannot think of right now. The pools were empty most of the time, with people all around the perimeter dipping their feet. Why? Because a) the pools are too deep to touch the bottom, and b) they’re too cold to enjoy most of the time. At least they were salt water. The ropes course & mini golf were nice but forgettable, and could have been removed to make (desperately needed) space for more pools & hot tubs. The running track on deck 17 is obviously an afterthought. It didn’t have a dedicated pathway and is actually a hazard for both the runners and non-runners. Who wants to run while dodging puddles, loungers and second-hand smoke? The Waterfront on deck 8 was the ship’s saving grace for adults wanting R&R outside their stateroom. You can only walk on it due to dividers. It has plenty of chaises and lounge chairs to enjoy actual peace and quiet (something very rare on this ship). The muster drill is a congested joke to get up the elevators, so we just waited it out in the Waterfront (deck 8) until the crowds cleared. Deck 18 is a nice place to get some sun and relax, and there’s usually plenty of loungers available. There’s 2 hot tubs up there, outside of the Vibe Beach Club entrance. But the problem is that a) it sometimes is too windy to enjoy, and b) not enough hot tubs for the deck’s capacity, so they were always crowded. Spice H2O area is nice and adults only, but all the loungers are taken unless you snag one before 10am. Again, not enough space. The (scarce) umbrellas are almost always closed unless there’s barely any breeze, so hope you like tanning. Not enough hot tubs, and the waterfall just takes up wasted space. I mean, I could see the need to go black-Friday-doorbusters for the 1st-come-1st-serve Vibe passes at guest services upon embarkation (~$100 each IIRC), to get guaranteed access to umbrellas and hot tub. But because it’s deck 18, it’s oftentimes too windy to enjoy whenever. Enrichment activities were available, but many weren’t for pure knowledge and just ended up with upselling something you didn’t need. All other adult activities besides the gym, buffet, Waterfront & pools/tubs were basically fee applied. The gym was decent size for after 1st sea day when it cleared out, with plenty of treadmills, ellipticals, weight machines, etc as well as a yoga/dance room. The gift shop had some good items, clothing and jewelry for sale, and at decent prices during their flash sale events. Honestly, not all of it looked like chintzy Made in China stuff like I assumed. BERMUDA: Our 1st time visiting and we look forward to going back! We thoroughly enjoyed having a port of call for more than a day so we could explore it at our leisure. We did the mini-bus shore excursion which was a great way to see the island, but the experience is mostly all about the driver’s knowledge & proficiency (and we got a bad one). The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse area was probably my favorite part of the island. A view up there so nice that the Queen approved of it. The free ferry going from the dockyard to St. George (complete opposite side of the island) is nice if you go early to explore the area. We passed by Horseshoe Bay, and it’s $14 pp round-trip, but it appeared underwhelming with not-so-pink sand like we kept hearing. CONCLUSION: NCL Escape has so much room for improvement that there are some key areas that cannot be improved or fixed. Don’t get me wrong, the crew is overall pleasant and there’s activities here and there, but NCL needs to bring back the quality in dining, comfort and service. There’s not enough space in several ship areas, and NCL clearly knew this when designing the ship. They cram the passengers like a can of sardines in order to maximize profits. It’s kind of like the airlines: if nobody complains, they keep cutting. They act like a premium cruiseline by offering The Haven and specialty whatevers, but what about everyone else? NCL’s missing the big picture when it comes to what makes a cruise special, because they’re so transfixed on dumbing down everything to become plain or casual. Dining and entertainment experience has dropped to a new low which is unacceptable. Based on how the cruiseline trends are going, we’re basically left with no choice but to resort to the more premium lines (Princess, Holland America, Celebrity, etc) to ensure we get the quality and service we pay for. No more NCL for us, which is too bad! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My family and I went to Bermuda on the 5/5/19 sailing on the Escape. It was our 3rd cruise with Norwegian and our second cruise with NCL to Bermuda. The first one was on the Breakaway. We love the island and enjoy the trip. We have ... Read More
My family and I went to Bermuda on the 5/5/19 sailing on the Escape. It was our 3rd cruise with Norwegian and our second cruise with NCL to Bermuda. The first one was on the Breakaway. We love the island and enjoy the trip. We have also together on RCL as well as Carnival. We were in a balcony cabin on the 9th deck. Pros - The ship was clean and seemingly well maintained. - The staff was very friendly and engaging. Everyone that I encountered was exceedingly nice. It made me feel wanted. - The Choir of Man is a fantastic show. Best show I've seen on a ship or land. - The washy washy team was great - The senior F&B team was very visible and interactive the whole week - The embarkation and disembarkation process was smooth and orderly - While shows booked nearly instantaneously upon entering the ship, we were successful in getting seats via the standby process. - Smoking areas were restricted which was nice. - The Captain decided to take a different route out to the Bahamas which seemingly reduced the motion. The Celebrity cruise the same week went direct and in talking with people on that ship it was very rocky for the whole duration. Cons - The room steward was not attentive. We never met him on day one and when we departed the room we left a note asking for him to split the beds. That never happened and at 9:00 when we called directly to request the change his response was..."Right Now"? - There was no body lotion or bar of soap in the bathroom, trash was left day over day, no bottle of wine as a latitudes member, just no communication at all. - We booked two rooms as we had 5 people. We put the majority of onboard purchases on my account simply because I always had it readily available. We came to find out on the last night when we received our bill that we had $150 of onboard credit on the other room. I specifically asked my cruise consultant if we had any OBC and he said no. And NCL never let us know either. It was very frustrating to see that we had to return that OBC and pay on another account. - The internet was very slow. This was expected but still a con. - The shows and dinner reservations booked very fast on day one. The first afternoon many of the best times were taken and shows completely booked. It was frustrating. But see pro above as we were successful in going standby and not having long waits for dining. But we never seemed to be able to get good seats as a result. - The food in the main dining halls was very average. Very little seafood available and the nicer steaks were just ok. - Wait times to get seated in a dining room were ok, but once seated the dining process was quite long. It took me over 20 minutes to get a coke. In summary, Bermuda is one of my favorite places on earth. Cruising out is a great way to take advantage of a nice ship and have great availability to the islands for 3 days. I had enjoyed my previous cruises on NCL much more and developed an affinity for the brand. While I intend to cruise again, I am not sure that NCL will be my first choice. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
The cruise experience was less than optimal. First the dining experience. The waiters could not get the orders correct, it was cold and not very tasty. Second, the customer service in the casino was terrible. Very few of the dealers ... Read More
The cruise experience was less than optimal. First the dining experience. The waiters could not get the orders correct, it was cold and not very tasty. Second, the customer service in the casino was terrible. Very few of the dealers engaged in any discussions. They were robots. The public restrooms were disgusting, not clean. Overall the service was average, not remarkable. Members of my family spent a lot of money on this cruise and the value was just not there. The shows booked up immediately so it was a challenge to experience the ship shows. Advice to those book your shows early. Same with excursions. Several of these sold out fast. Last the bingo is a scam. They clearly had a nice turnout but the payouts for the games were significantly less than what they took it. I know they need to make money but they only paid out a fraction of what people paid for the games. I have been on several cruises and the experience as noticeably inferior on the NCL Escape versus other cruise ships. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Family Cruise with Children ages 26 to 15(5Kids) along with wife's Mother and Father and my father. We tried to make dinner reservations on Fri/Sat and Tues night for the Freestyle dining room for 7pm and were told they do not take ... Read More
Family Cruise with Children ages 26 to 15(5Kids) along with wife's Mother and Father and my father. We tried to make dinner reservations on Fri/Sat and Tues night for the Freestyle dining room for 7pm and were told they do not take reservations for that many between 5 and 7. My Father who is 90 and in a scooter was told he could take his scooter off the ship in Bermuda even though we took it off the previous day. We took it and when we came back security told him he had to walk through security, which he couldn't. The day we arrived the room housekeeper said she showed no one being in our room for the cruise. We went to the Irish restaurant for lunch one day I got there 10 minutes early and they seated me by the window for 11 people, the mgr came over and told I could not sit there unless all 11 people were there because someone else may come in and want the window table. The restaurant was empty and no one in line to come in. Food was cold in the dining room(magenta) Very unfriendly service all around. I have been on Norwegian a few times and was very surprised. Seems like things have gone down hill when it comes to service. In the past when we embarked the cruise lines including Norwegian always had a large amount of staff greeting us, servers offering drinks, music playing. Not this time, there was 1 person as you got on the ship. No music nothing very blah. The Wednesday we were at sea all day they closed the pools for maintenance, people were not happy. It was reopened Thursday but by then we were further North and too cool to swim. The basketball court and rock climbing wall were open very limited hours 5-7pm one day. They had a family dodge ball tournament one day from 5 to 530pm-- not much time for a game. I not consider going on the Norwegian Gem again. I was on a Carnival Cruise last year and it was outstanding. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We just arrived home this morning after our 7 day cruise to Bermuda. My husband, who is disabled, was made to wait in the terminal for 2 hours before we were permitted to enter the ship. There is no priority boarding for those who are ... Read More
We just arrived home this morning after our 7 day cruise to Bermuda. My husband, who is disabled, was made to wait in the terminal for 2 hours before we were permitted to enter the ship. There is no priority boarding for those who are handicapped or for those who are in a mini suite. The only passengers allowed priority boarding were those who were in “the Haven”. There were 4998 passengers on this ship, too many for amount of service staff. There are 16 elevators on the ship, 8 in the aft and 8 in the front. We waited nearly one hour for an elevator after the life boat drill. One of the officers offered us a drink in the cocktail lounge. He knew this was an impossible situation. The staff worked very hard to keep everyone happy. This is the reason I did not rate the cruise as terrible. Six months ago we cruised to Panama aboard the Island Princess, smaller ship and a little ‘Tired’. But, this cruise was fabulous. We had a full suite for this 10 day cruise and we paid $1000.00 less than this 7 day cruise in a stateroom the size of a postage stamp. If you are into imbibing from morning til night than you might like this cruise. The food in all the restaurants was good. No problem there. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
It was my wife and I first trip in 24 years . We embarked out of ny and it was a total mess so disorganized finally on board after a 3 hour wait to find our room was not ready for another 2 hrs and our luggage didn’t get to our room ... Read More
It was my wife and I first trip in 24 years . We embarked out of ny and it was a total mess so disorganized finally on board after a 3 hour wait to find our room was not ready for another 2 hrs and our luggage didn’t get to our room until 8pm . Finally on our room we were greeted by the sounds of metal banging in the floor and ceiling . The stateroom smelled like an outhouse and the whole fifth deck smelled like it to . The atm was shut of the minute we left port so the could charge us when we charged anything to our room account . The entertainment was good but it was held in a small area and was always sold out because of the room size. There was hardly no communication as to what was going on on the ship by the time you found out about an event it was full . The casino and drink attendants were so slow by the time you got to order a drink and when you got it was about an hour and it was usually wrong . Disembarkment was worse than embankment it took almost 2 hours to exit the boat and get through the terminal . Then after your cruise they place a hold on your account for up to eight days even though they were paid in full before you exited the boat for example if you paid them 3200.00 they placed a hold on your bank account for an additional 3200.00 . So I advise using anther account for your trip otherwise it will cause problems with your bank if you don’t have the funds to cover the hold amount . They could give me a cruise for free and I would not take it Norwegian sucks Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Booked a Haven 2 bedroom suite In my opinion: Embarkation was slow. Actually saw guests on the regular line get onboard faster than we did. Suite was OK master bed/bath was nice but 2nd bed/bath was really small. Butler and the room ... Read More
Booked a Haven 2 bedroom suite In my opinion: Embarkation was slow. Actually saw guests on the regular line get onboard faster than we did. Suite was OK master bed/bath was nice but 2nd bed/bath was really small. Butler and the room steward was good. Haven Restaurant had the same menu every night +1 special. Fine for the first few days but very boring after that. Service very slow (2 +hours for dinner) Tried the buffet for lunch while the ship was docked in Bermuda what a mistake.There was only a few choices and whatever i tried was terrible. Major issue with the concierge. The desk is only manned between 9am-9pm and they do not ID people coming into the Haven area. So, there are a lot of people who did not pay to be in the Haven using the services. After they close its a free for all.. Also notices haven guests bringing in other people to hang out with them. Our last night on the cruise about 2:30 am we heard a lot of noise coming from the Haven pool (which was closed at 11 pm) When i went to see what was going on there was 30 kids (18-25) throwing their own party. I called the operator and requested security and about 20 minutes later they showed up and escorted them out.. Guard told me none of them were Haven guests. Very limited entertainment. Suppose to get priority debarkation when back in NY. We were escorted to the security area were there were 300 tourists waiting to get off the ship. We waited almost an hour to get off the ship. Once off we were waiting in another line to get out luggage. No one from NCL directed us to the Haven line which was empty. Same with Customs, No one from from NCL directed us to the Haven line. We have been on more than 40 cruises (10+ on NCL) and this was our first time booking the NCL Haven Suite. Compared to MSC Yacht Club NCL is a joke. there is no comparison. My next trip on NCL (if there is a next time) we will book a regular balcony and get a pass to the Vibe Beach club ($99 for the week) that is located next to the haven roof top deck and believe it or not they screen everyone to make sure you have a pass. For the money we spent on this trip we were very disappointed Haven Suites not worth it at all Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I have cruised many times with other lines. I joined a group of about15 other women. I will tell you I will never try another Norwegian ship. First upon boarding at 2 p.m. our rooms where not ready, they where not ready till we left ... Read More
I have cruised many times with other lines. I joined a group of about15 other women. I will tell you I will never try another Norwegian ship. First upon boarding at 2 p.m. our rooms where not ready, they where not ready till we left port. Second we ate at a few of the different restaurants onboard, we tried NY strip steaks on 3 occasions at 3 different restaurants , you could bearly saw the meat with the steak knife they gave you , let alone chew it once you got it cut. Breakfast meals were also terrible, if asked for sunny side eggs you got either hard boiled or undercooked. It was the same when we got eggs Benedict. Thirdly when we allowed the staff to clean our suite, everything was moved from where we had it, this was to me a violation of my privacy and my belongings. So after the first time we kept our suite on don’t disturb. Fourthly 2 different times I was given wine glasses with chips and cracks in, this was dangerous. Fifth the ATM was broken the entire trip, when going into Bermuda the only funds I got out of ATM’s where Bermuda currency, when I reboarded I asked to have this money exchanged and they would not do it. Sixth I don’t feel there was enough elevators to move guests around ship. The handicapped often had to wait for numerous elevators before finding room. Seventh I was upset to know that the premium beverage package didn’t include water , really you’ll let us drink all the alcohol we want ,but no water to hydrate. A little strange. I will say the shows and activities we attended where enjoyable, the bars that we dealt with where very friendly. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose to do a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda because we live in NH and it seemed easy - just Uber to Boston and Uber home. I don't typically love cruises, I've been on maybe 10 in my life but I have found as I have gotten ... Read More
I chose to do a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda because we live in NH and it seemed easy - just Uber to Boston and Uber home. I don't typically love cruises, I've been on maybe 10 in my life but I have found as I have gotten older I am pickier about my vacations and cruising just always seemed like a "cattle call" to me. However, I have a 14 year old and was traveling with just him, so this seemed like the best option. I should preface this by saying that, if you are happy with Carnival or 3 Star vacations then this cruise would be right up your alley. It's all about expectations, I suppose. But for the money, I found the food to be sub par and the service to be downright horrendous. Our Embarkation was relatively painless so I had high hopes. We went to eat lunch and when they made the announcement that the rooms were ready, we headed downstairs only to find that ours was, indeed, just being started. We had to wait an additional hour to get into our room. The luggage arrived about a half an hour later. We had made reservations for Cagney's that evening as a cruise rep I talked to on the phone said it was like a 5 Star Steak restaurant that would rival Ruth's Chris. This was not the case. The service was terrible, for starters. Our server was not friendly, seemed irritated she had to do her job, and rushed us through our very expensive dinner. The steak was tasteless and I had to keep asking our server for things that she had forgotten. Service continued much the same throughout the cruise. The bartenders tended not to make any eye contact so I was often not sure if they heard my order or not. No smiling, minimal interaction. The pool bar and the Spinnaker Lounge seemed to be the worst, but I did find two good bartenders at the Martini Bar on the 6th floor. Only personable bartenders I came across the whole seven days. The service at the pool is not good. If you wanted a server to come get your drink order, you essentially had to chase them down. They spent much of their time just standing there, looking unhappy and unapproachable. One time I ordered a Rum Swizzle, the national drink of Bermuda (where we were cruising to) and he came back and said the bartender had never heard of this and they couldn't make it. I got up myself and went to the bar and was happily sipping one within 5-10 minutes (service is also not fast). My worst experience was with the Excursion Manager. I had gone up to the desk to try and cancel my night fishing excursion because my son was seasick. I was two hours past the cancellation time and when I was told I couldn't cancel, I asked to speak to the Manager. He came barreling out of the back room, didn't greet me and had absolutely no customer service skills, and proceeded to tell me that if I had a problem I could take it up with the front desk and then turned on his heals and went back to his office. I was shocked, and did complain, but I didn't really get the impression that anyone was that concerned about my negative experience. One woman who helped me make dinner reservations for the week was rude and surly. I got one word answers to my questions and she kept looking around while i was talking to her. I finally gave up and walked away with only the two reservations I had made because she was so distracted and unfriendly. We ended up dining at Moderno, La Cucina, Magenta, and the sushi bar. Moderno was ok - very overpriced and the meat wasn't that tasty and was overcooked. La Cucina was, in my opinion, the best restaurant for the money and service onboard. We ate there twice, canceling our second pre-reserved night at Cagney's after our first experience. Burratta appetizer is good, pizza is good, Osso Bucco was above average. The sushi bar was terrible and I believe we were eating previously frozen tuna. Magenta, one of the two main dining rooms, was surprisingly ok for mass produced food. The only downside about La Cucina is that it's right under the basketball court (bad planning) and you can hear the game going on right above your head, so it's a bit distracting. The buffet was the "cattle call" I was expecting. Tons of people cluelessly milling around for the feeding. Burgers were overcooked, eggs terribly runny, etc...The french fries were ok, when they were available. They were constantly running out and the "chef" in charge of them didn't seem to notice or care. The cruise director and staff were very loud, verging on obnoxious. Any interaction I had, from bingo to pool entertainment, had me gritting my teeth because of incessant chatter and commentary. They weren't personally friendly on a one on one basis, but really put on a show that went overboard when they were in front of a crowd. I had a facial at the spa, and the very young woman who performed the service opened boxes and wrappers right in my ear while I was trying to relax and enjoy the $165 50 minute facial. It was distracting and showed lack of experience. I thought the spa services were terribly overpriced. The excursions, outside of my experience with the excursion desk, were ok. Our Kayak trip got canceled due to wind; and the night fishing was average. We did the Dolphin Quest excursion but didn't book through the boat. That was the highlight of the whole week and definitely worth the money. My son spent a lot of time in the Entourage, the teen room. The person who runs this is named "A OK" and she doesn't really seemed interested in her job. She looks bored and isn't very engaging. There were some good activities that my son enjoyed, but mostly the kids play video games and she reads the paper. I got the distinct impression from every interaction I had with the staff of this ship that 90% of them were miserable and annoyed. I could have lived with the sub par food had the service been friendly and engaging. I will NEVER take another Norwegian Cruise. This is my second (first was on the EPIC). My first experience was similar, although not quite as bad, and I thought I would give it another try. If a great vacation for you includes good food and a friendly service staff, you will want to steer clear of the Gem and even Norwegian as a whole. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Go with Carnival if you want to have a fun time and great food. Specially if you have kids. Let’s start with embarkation on the Gem. We had to wait because the rooms weren’t ready. Why? I mean didn’t they expect us? My son and I ... Read More
Go with Carnival if you want to have a fun time and great food. Specially if you have kids. Let’s start with embarkation on the Gem. We had to wait because the rooms weren’t ready. Why? I mean didn’t they expect us? My son and I wanted to drop off our things and then explore and eat. We couldn’t. As soon as I walked in it was dead. Nothing exciting. I actually fell asleep for a little on the chair. No cruise director or staff to make you feel like you’re going to have a great time. When I went on my cruise with Carnival as soon as we walked in they greeted us with huge smiles and pictures then we went to our room. Afterwards on the deck there was a live DJ with some awesome music. Overall great atmosphere but not Norwegian. So after finally going to our rooms we got some food. The buffet was blah and the burgers were GROSS. I went with my 12 yr old and he wasn’t liking the food either. When it came time for lunch/dinner the staff was super nice but very busy. They are under staffed. I waited too many times. It’s not their fault though. On Carnival they were staffed well and way better service and way better food! The menu on the Norwegian dining rooms are repetitive. Everyday same thing! Every morning/evening same thing! Ugh The itinerary on the gem was sooooooooo boring. Nothing to do! Just bingo here and there and then some bootleg game shows. The cleaning staff did an awesome job with our room though so I can’t complain there. They were super friendly and always made our cabin up. Also, Everything on the ship is extra and expensive. Not going with this cruise line again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Chose the escape because it was the right time and the right place to the right destination. My wife and I usually cruise by price and we have had some wonderful experiences!!! This time we needed to get away between April 12-22, 2019 ... Read More
Chose the escape because it was the right time and the right place to the right destination. My wife and I usually cruise by price and we have had some wonderful experiences!!! This time we needed to get away between April 12-22, 2019 and choose the Escape out of NYC to Bermuda for three days and home again. Not a bargain $750 for 7 days, unassigned obstructed view . We live in Baltimore and decided to take the bus (Greyhound) up and back leaving plenty of time for connections. The embarkation process was very slow and port staff and Norwegian staff were all screaming for us to carry our bags off the ship on debarkation. Very slow and the first step on this ship we realized the ship has a fatal flaw... not enough public space! I have been on 35 cruises, in fact I work chartered cruiser ships providing my services, often! There simply is not enough space. The cabin was nice, clean comfortable. We paid for a unassigned obstructed view, usually we take an unassigned inside. You can take "the cruise of a lifetime" and fall victim to the cruise industry or you can take several cruises a year, just have to know how to play the game. Think price, not location and eventually you will have traveled the world many times over. We have previously traveled on Norwegian , last cruise was a 30 day south American cruise... $529 for first half and $1189 for second half on the Sun and it was a great cruise, but this cruise line is my last choice. On that cruise we had an unassigned room and they moved us to a cabin on the other side of the ship and the couple in our old cabin got our new cabin... and I asked Norwegian why... and they said "because we can"... That's the Norwegian attitude!!! Other cruise lines are very accommodating to back to back to maybe back to back loyal customers, but Norwegian "not so much" just adjust the gratuities accordingly! Freestyle is not my style. Sign me up for Holland America :) This cruise was two days at sea, three days in Bermuda and two days back. The food was at best bargain buffet, shrimp is tiny, no surf and turf, just salty pre-processed food... the Manhattan dining room was the same crap they served up top. Terribly salty, lots of saturated fat, a lot of unhealthy choices and so few healthy choices. Spring break spelled a lot of spoiled children. Not as many whales or corpse's, but oddles of spoiled children screaming running, making messes, and no parental oversight. On @$750 and forward Starboard 5702... low is always nice, one floor up to the public floors 6 7 8. Elevators were too deep and difficult for people getting on and off as many people would have to step out to let people off. Elevators would be great to get concerts pianos from floor to floor and that's what I do for a living, and elevators are always a problem (size) for moving pianos. Any who, got to Bermuda, first cruise of the season, chilly, Bermuda is a wonderful port of call, the people are friendly and no "you want, you like, you Buy", but remarkable personable people. Rented a Scooter for a day from Olingers, don't recommend, unless you are seeking an early death. They tried to rip me and extra $15 because I returned the Scooter with a full tank, with receipt. As for scooters that things was worn out! 40K KM and worn out, blue smoke trail left behind everywhere we went and not power hills and you can rent a scooter many places in the world for 15% what you can in Bermuda. A $2,000 scooter is $75 a day! Wish I had a piece of the action! Take the Bermuda speed limit by three (3), or you will be run down, narrow streets, brick, or block walls everywhere... "a death in progress". They offered a free ferry to St George, which would be the ticket. the Navy dockyard is distant from Hamilton and St Gorge and not a lot to see. A bus ride or long walk to church beach and little further horseshoe and then elbow... if you like beaches, it does not get much better... might try the Navy cemetery… a hoot checking out tombstones. Not much shopping for Bermudian product unless you are a rum drinker (gosling) but no bargain as you can buy stateside for less. 30 kids each of 2 hot tubs, I'll pass. A trail of soft melted ice cream leads to the ice cream machine and kids throwing food because "hey its spring break and its fun and I need every one to notice me!. Appalling uneaten food waste and the usual whales in wheel chairs in handicap spaces shoveling it down. The deck 7 boat deck, rear is REMARKABLE!!! small, saddled between many "non-complimentary" spots meaning swipe your keycard for a ten page statement at the end of the cruise. Hey, the biggest bar tab does not spell winner, what don't they get. You can sneak 1.75 liter of vodka or rum with a drop green and a drop of blue food coloring in a mouth wash bottle and drink for free, just saying. It is all plastic teak, deck rail and chair, but nice plastic! It is a remarkable shiop of plastic, but I think the Manahattan dining room has a solid wood floor, please don't ruin my dream. The promenade is silly rubber track, does not go 360 and not level. I love a nice boat deck, a teak lounge, teak deck, varnished cap and hand rail, but that is Holland America, not Norwegian. Think freestyle, wear a tux and your wife vasachee ha ha , and be seated next to a table of rednecks dudes in kakki shorts and tee shirts on "dress up if you want to or not" night, while beautiful people in their skimpies run the boat deck while you are scarfing it down. Food was miserable... way too salty, gained 15 pounds in one week, no healthy choices... two gallons of water a day after and I dropped 12 pounds in two days, "if I am lying I am dying" :-) on return. Terribly unhealthy choices and cheap cheap cheap. However there was one day, a steam ship round on upper deck and the second night meddallions of tenderloin that was "acceptable" Bread was all good, but too salty. Cheese was cheap and I thought I never met a cheese I didn't love. Past Norwegian cruise had great smoked Norwegian salmon and blue cheese, but not this one! Lots of desserts but "a moment on the lips, forever on the hips" no Thank you! The debarkation was absolute HELL! Can you say unbearable rotten absolute hell, spose to be off at 8:00AM and finally after hours of lugging suitcases up and down flights of steps after Norwegian locked down all the elevators and there were no announcements until 10:30AM. Norwegian should be ashamed of themselves and before they cleared the walk offs they announce the others making cray gridlock. 5000 people on the ship all wanting to get off and it was hell. The ship has a fatal flaw and NYC port is not ready... four immigrations officers to process the whole ship. Claim a disability and have your own walkway and b first through immigration! "where di I put my cane?" It was torture!!! It was Norwegian negligence. All cruise lines want to rape you, they want to hold you buy your ankles and shake all the nickels out of your pockets. They just LOVE suckers!!! In my 35 cruises I have never had an onboard charge. I be the food on the escape may be a bit better in the non-complimentary restos, but I'll wait for the next cruise... 15 day Asian cruise on the Fortuna in December, if I don't snag a summer bargain... had a wonderful back to back on the Nordam last August, Alaska two weeks @$1316 for an obstructed outside, wonderful experience :)~ Terribly pestered by crew pushing drinks the first two days... I just dock $5 each time off the gratuities.. ended up being $100 off.. Hell gratuities are a joke the cabin boy and waitresses see nothing, they see $500-$600 a month and the cruise line pockets the gratuities, don't believe me read the guest ticket contract... what a joke! always best to dock the gratuities for what-ever-reason... they may make it a hassle ,and they charge you a "service charge" which is technically a gratuity "freely given for above the call of duty service" but unfortunately the crew does not see it unless you hand them cash! Yes, a train wreck getting off the ship, and unfortunately that's what you remember! I vowed last time to never sail Norwegian again, and I signed up again... Shame on me! There are many better choices! Bermuda is a choice destination, though, beats any Caribbean port by a mile! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Food and service were excellent; however, NCL has a serious problem with design of its mini-suites and the staff's ability to determine reasonable fixes. NCL offered incentives to book mini-suites for two cruises that we booked, one ... Read More
Food and service were excellent; however, NCL has a serious problem with design of its mini-suites and the staff's ability to determine reasonable fixes. NCL offered incentives to book mini-suites for two cruises that we booked, one in April (7 days) and one in June (14 days). The April cruise we just completed became an issue about an hour after we gained access to our cabin. There are no electrical outlets next to the bed headboard. The fix was to string a residential extension cord across the cabin and duct tape it to the floor to allow use of a CPAP machine. We had an 11 year-old grandchild in the cabin; the dangling cord to the floor was a tripping hazard. The larger problem was the bath/shower combination in the mini-suite. The shower was over the bathtub, not a separate unit. This would have been fine if the design used a shower curtain; however, a 3-piece sliding glass door system was installed on top of the tub. It added four (4) inches to the access height. My spouse could not access the tub. Reception immediately send a 6-inch stool to the cabin to correct the problem. The response was so fast it must not be the first time it happened. My spouse attempted to use the stool; however, the fixed pane of the 3-piece glass door restricted access. So, for seven days, my wife had to take "bird baths" in a mini-suite. Our June cruise is on the Norwegian Pearl (same type ship). So, I attempted to obtain help to change our cabin for the upcoming cruise to one that has a usable bathroom. The staff on the Gem (Next Cruise) was rude, no help. The reception desk researched deck plans for the Gem and Pearl and gave helpful advice on which cabins would meet our needs. Caution: If you are 5'4" or less and have two knee replacements or any other medical restrictions, I recommend you avoid mini-suites on the Gem. We are trying to get NCL to revise our cabin assignment to one with only a shower or to one that has separate shower and bath facilities. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
When we booked with norweign agent we requested twin bed with recliner and was told this would not be a problem. But when we arrived to our room it was a king size bed with no chair. Upon several calls and hours someone brought my ... Read More
When we booked with norweign agent we requested twin bed with recliner and was told this would not be a problem. But when we arrived to our room it was a king size bed with no chair. Upon several calls and hours someone brought my distilled water and a plastic pool low back for my husband. We had explained upon making reservations that he had a broken neck and needed a high back chair to sleep. We were accused of not making reservations with Norwegian agent because they wouldn't make that mistake. The embankment was ok but really needed a wheel chair for my husband. We did not received the distilled water and breakdown of bed and plastic chair until 10.30 PM. My husband had to sleep sitting on the bed and leaning back on the light with pillows he was unable to sleep more than 2 hours because of the pain. The excursion was terrible I fell asleep on the bus it was so boring the only good part was we stopped to shop but not enough time could only go into one store. The buffet was terrible but the specialty dining was fabulous. The service people were very helpful but everytime we ordered a wheel chair we needed a large and everytime we specified large but it didn't matter we received a small one. My husband was in so much pain from sleeping sitting up that he could not make the excursion. Our person who took care of our room was remarkable and all the dining and bars were wonderful. But with all the problems we had we should have been visited by upper management. On the last day we met the hotel director while he was smoking on the 13th deck. We spoke with him about our issues and he told us he would have a large wheel chair at our room at 8.30 am. No one ever came when our service person called to help us they refused to send someone so we had to make our way down to the 7th deck on our own. There we waited for a large wheelchair to disembark. The gentleman the helped us disembark was fabulous and very well mannered. Overall the cruise was terrible we spent a lot of time in our room because my husband was exhausted and in a lot of pain due to the sleeping conditions. We spoke to several families who had been on many cruises including the couples we were traveling with that this was the worse cruise they had been on and that the buffet was terrible. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Overall: C- cruise ship which may be enjoyable if only option based on port of call or schedule, or have low enough expectation. Worst aspects, 1) food; 2) dated feel; 3) NCL seemed to be looking to squeeze money from patrons at every ... Read More
Overall: C- cruise ship which may be enjoyable if only option based on port of call or schedule, or have low enough expectation. Worst aspects, 1) food; 2) dated feel; 3) NCL seemed to be looking to squeeze money from patrons at every turn; 4) pool area; 5) smoke-filled casino. The ship is dated to say the least, having been built in 2003. Despite being renovated a few years ago, the Gem was lacking in quality, style, technology and comfort. Compared to many other ships/brands, it is wholly underwhelming, with dark and unappealing public spaces and limited entertainment other than eating/drinking and spending money. The whole experience seemed to be focused on NCL trying to get passengers to spend more once onboard. You couldn't go 10 feet without encountering some way for staff attempting to sell services (more cruises, pictures, artwork, duty free, excursions, etc) or otherwise increase charges (food/drinks, Wi-Fi, casino); it came across as tacky to say the least. More information / specifics (trip was from Boston to Bermuda in mid-April): * Boarding: mostly straightforward and efficient enough. Took about an hour * "Lobby" on deck 7: small area which is often crowded, especially the bar. There is a piano and small stage with varying entertainment through the day, but limited seating so often crowds would congregate around all open areas * Cabin: 11th floor balcony room was ok/passable. Comfortable enough bed and room to survive if using cabin for sleep (which should be expectation on a cruise). Bathroom had major leak on day 1 which necessitated a maintenance call. Water pressure and temperature sufficient * Food: generally mediocre or below average - Buffet was pretty basic and often unappetizing; highlight may have been Asian soup offering for lunch - Main dining room had a pleasant, art deco design that elicits feel or old-world cruising glamour; however, quality / taste was lacking (especially fish entrees, which were generally horrible) - Tried various specialty restaurants 1) Cagney steakhouse: decent steak options, but not much better than main dining room. Tuna steak awful. Nice atmosphere. Fantastic desserts (highlight) 2) Hibachi: pleasant "chef" but amateurish and limited. Food was terrible 3) Le Bistro: best food experience on board. Felt special and worth the "splurge" * Drinks: we had the beverage package - were satisfied with the alcohol offerings - were quite surprised did not include juices or coffee outside of buffet / espresso drinks; seemed slightly absurd given the cost of the package * Service - mostly friendly but with some noticeable exceptions, such as many bartenders across various bars, including in lobby * Entertainment - many daily events required extra payment - nightly entertainment was decent but mediocre compared to offerings of bigger ships; dancers were pretty talented and engaging * Pool: tiny and cold. A few hot tubes which were always packed with teenagers/children. Lame/boring slide * Gym: one of best parts of the ship; modern and clean with plenty of cardio equipment, although weight room was small and would get crowded in the mornings * Kid zones: better than nothing, but under 3 area (Guppies) was essentially a 100 square foot room with 1 hour of activities a day * Excursions (Bermuda) - varied but highly overpriced - offered free ferry to St. George, which was much appreciated and quite comfortable * Wifi: basic service had average quality. Passable generally but was not functional at times. IT director helpful * Casino: disgusting as full of smoke and no ventilation. Also, have some "games" ("key", "claw") which may or may not be rigged and should be avoided. Blackjack uses auto shuffling machines; dealers had an impressive streak of 21 when we were there... Read Less
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