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733 Norwegian (NCL) Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

We have sailed with Norwegian twice before, and have always loved the destinations, the value, and the service. We chose this tour because we had always wanted to see Quebec and the surrounding territories in the fall. Although the colors ... Read More
We have sailed with Norwegian twice before, and have always loved the destinations, the value, and the service. We chose this tour because we had always wanted to see Quebec and the surrounding territories in the fall. Although the colors were not yet vibrant, we did see some fall foliage and the weather was perfect. Be aware that travel to Quebec can be problematic: major airlines only land in Montreal which is 3-1/2 hours away. For us, the train was a good option (Via Rail). Once at the Port, embarkation was disorganized: there were no staff to direct us and we had to wait about 3 hours for a wheelchair assist, even though we had a scheduled arrival time. No one seemed to know if there was a line or where to drop luggage and none of the employees were available to ask. Once on board we were impressed with the cleanliness of our stateroom (we had a mini-suite), the efficiency of our steward (Lillies), and the beautiful public areas of the ship. I loved the Promenade for my morning walks as it goes the full circle of the ship with no stairs and plenty of room. We sailed about 3 hours late for some reason--there was no announcement from the captain or explanation given. In fact, communication could be improved on the Gem. One example was a notice that all guests must submit documents to immigration, starting at 7:45 and ending at 9:00 am. Groups were to be called.... those with excursions were to be in the first group, but for well over an hour there were no announcements at all, and people were stressed about missing their excursion buses. The Gem offers plenty to do onboard as well as on shore, and they even did our laundry for us one day (a big bag for 19.99). We got the Thermal Spa Package--highly recommended for relaxing and being pampered! We enjoyed listening to music every evening in the lounges and attending the nightly shows. The piano man, Nathanael Reed, was especially talented! We did not do many excursions this time, but we went ashore at the ports to shop, visit restaurants, and walk downtown. I also enjoyed going ashore for a bicycle ride in Sydney--"I Bike Sydney" offered many varieties of bicycles to rent right on the dock, and there was an adjoining parkway for riding. One excursion we did take was to Acadia Park and Carriage Ride. It was scenic and relaxing, very memorable, and now we want to go back again. Disembarkation was the exact opposite of embarkation--fast, easy and organized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Fall in New England by cruise was a bucket list item. Really enjoyed spending time in Quebec City before the trip started. Processing for boarding was going well until we all got stuck in a line outside as small groups were allowed to ... Read More
Fall in New England by cruise was a bucket list item. Really enjoyed spending time in Quebec City before the trip started. Processing for boarding was going well until we all got stuck in a line outside as small groups were allowed to enter the ship, waiting in line for 40 mins. The rooms were all available by 1pm which was better than previous ships. Our cabin steward was the best. The buffet was the lowest quality we encountered, always the same and sometimes lacking of food. The entertainment was below par. We had a feeling that the majority of the staff was tired and in a bad mood. But some were very nice and helpful. Our first formal dinner in the back of the ship was really bad, worthy of complaining. Bad slow service and marginal food. The Magenta and the steak house were much better. The best shore excursion was Bar Harbor with lobster and sunshine. The ship is getting old and needs updating and paint. Getting off the ship in Boston was good and unhurried. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I am a solo traveler This was my 7th NCL cruise but first on the Gem. The crew was fantastic and so was the food in all the free venues. The Activity person running the solo group was very wonderful and so enjoyed the group. The ship ... Read More
I am a solo traveler This was my 7th NCL cruise but first on the Gem. The crew was fantastic and so was the food in all the free venues. The Activity person running the solo group was very wonderful and so enjoyed the group. The ship layout is easy to navigate and clean. I loved spending time in Spinnaker lounge such a great place to read. The entertainment was fun and great shows. I love the mid size ship great mix of ages and not over crowded. My room steward took excellent care of me and was very friendly. My favorite part was the Activity Staff and the fun activities they planned, I loved it. I highly recommend the Gem for any cruise with NCL great ship and staff made it a pleasant fun filled cruise. I love the way NCL treats Solo's and the Solo groups are always fun. I loved the ports of call and had a great time on the Gem Look forward to sailing on her again Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our 4th NCL cruise and will be our last. We are not big eaters, but enjoy a "snack" before going to bed. The buffet, under title "24/7", closed at 10:30. We came up from shows and could not eat in the ... Read More
This was our 4th NCL cruise and will be our last. We are not big eaters, but enjoy a "snack" before going to bed. The buffet, under title "24/7", closed at 10:30. We came up from shows and could not eat in the buffet. We did not want food from a restaurant, just bread or a cookie. We ended up going up earlier, getting bread and leaving it in the room. We are not "foodies" so the food was fine. Seems as though they were cutting corners. Outside entertainment was very good to excellent and production "elements" was excellent. The room was noisy because we were under a galley, but it seems that a lot of people had a noise problem. After complaining it got a little better and they did give us complimentary wine when we complained. Other then the noise, the ship was fine. The staff was courteous and friendly so we had no complaint with them. The ports were very good, unfortunately we had to tender in 4 of the 7 ports. We got credits for excursions so we used only NCL tours. The best tour was "Peggy Cove and the Titanic Cemetery" in Halifax. Excellent guide. You usually overpay for Cruise Line tours, but with the credit, it wasn't worth looking around. Since we had only 1 bag each, we disembarkation was easy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wait staff, ship's officers and crew, security & maintenance, as usual, are all top notch. Management is just the opposite. From 6 hours on the phone over 5 weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a return call from a ... Read More
Wait staff, ship's officers and crew, security & maintenance, as usual, are all top notch. Management is just the opposite. From 6 hours on the phone over 5 weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a return call from a "supervisor" at the NCL Air Department to rectify air connections that flew us into a City 200 miles from the port on the wrong day to condescending, rude, in-your-face "service desk" managers who couldn't communicate effectively and blamed you for their errors. We overheard one loud argument that would later echo our sentiment exactly. He was yelling "This is your mistake, not mine. I shouldn't be having to work for YOU to straighten out YOUR errors on MY vacation and spend MY time trying to resolve YOUR problems." They called security on him. We smiled and thought, well, he probably could have handled that better..." Little did we know that a day or two later we would find ourselves in the same position and being goaded by these very same incompetent, argumentative "service personnel" about our credit card and saying roughly the same thing and ultimately having to "go to work" on our vacation to correct yet another error by NCL. (I guess they figured since we let them get away with taking our $200 in airfare they'd attempt to go back to the well for more.) Ours is far from the only observation on the web that over the last 5 years, while the day-to-day personnel continues to remain gregarious, friendly, courteous and competent, there has been a tectonic shift at the Helm of NCL's home office & bean counters resulting in business management that just gets more pathetic with each passing cruise. Not vessel management, "hospitality" management. As for the air department in particular, don't waste your money. Read the plethora of negative reviews about this cruise and those who've been snookered into the Montreal/YQB switcheroo. Since no one would return our calls, we finally just wrote off the $200 airfare as a loss and booked ourselves into Quebec (YQB). NCL may have taken our money, but we refused to let them steal our joy. We spent 4 fantastic days enjoying Quebec Quebec City, and wished for more to be honest. Sadly we listened to horror stories each day of people with similar experiences who had to find their own way to the port from some far away city or who sat for hours on the side of a major highway, the bus rocking from the traffic whizzing by their broken down bus. They said it was terrifying thinking about becoming a statistic. One reviewer said it took NCL 12 hours to get them from Montreal Trudeau to the ship. It's so laughable even the comedian made their misery the butt of several jokes in his act. So if you think they'll actually treat you differently than all the other thousands of guests they've hoodwinked, then the joke'll be on you. One day NCL is going to screw over the WRONG attorney who's going to file a class action suit over their "bait and switch" tactics and false repeated claims that "there aren't seats into Quebec," to which we responded, "We've got 4 windows open with 4 different airlines with flights from 4 different cities into YQB all with empty cabins, so don't sit there and lie to me. I'm looking at planes I could play ping pong in and never hit a soul with a serve." It's a shame management is slowly sinking what was once a fine cruise line. The ship's older design must have been originally for the Caribbean or Mediterranean as the only observation areas are outside. A lot of women don't like their hair being blown around after they've fixed it up. There's no area aft to sit and watch the horizon recede. The ship has mysterious humps in the floor, odd, dead-end nooks and crannies and there is no bridge viewing room like there is on Jewel-Class vessels. The curries on the buffet were, as always, excellent. Healthy choices on the buffet were plentiful. Main dining rooms were on par with other ships in the NCL fleet. Specialty dining went from totally inedible in Los Lobos (other reviewers agree) to "OMG, this is the best meal I've ever eaten!" in the Italian Restaurant (La Cucina?) The manager Vaughn, was fantastic and very observant, not to mention funny. He's a true asset to the company. All of the ports were enjoyable other than maybe Halifax and simply because it's such a big city and industrial port. I mean there's nothing WRONG with Halifax, it's just not very walkable it's so large. Bar Harbor or Portland were likely our favorite, due to Acadia and the breath-taking views from Cadillac Mountain and the views of the lighthouses from Fort Williams. Still, each port was charming in it's own way. Quebec City is worth a week. Don't let NCL entice you into cheap airfare only to find they didn't give you time to explore this fascinating world of old and new. I'm told the entertainment on board was good. I don't go on cruises for food or entertainment, but my wife and other party members enjoyed the variety of shows. The pool deck was generally lightly populated due to the chilly temperatures. The library is in an odd, but very quiet place. I liked its location. Not alot of traffic due to it being isolated at the start of a U-shaped hallway of forward cabins. It's kind of where the health club "class" workout room is often located on the Jewel-Class vessels. We did not find the Ultimate Beverage Package to be a very good deal for us because we don't drink a lot so a beer or glass of wine would wind up costing $50 when you averaged it out per diem. And forget finding a Mountain Dew when you wanted one. I mentioned earlier the attentiveness of the staff. I should clarify that I mean wait staff, room stewards, etc. If you see an officer or security personnel, they are almost always approachable, congenial and helpful. On the other hand, any "hotel staffer" in one of the dark, business-like suits - is a waste of your time. The only solution they can offer is to write an email to the home office, because they have no authority to provide any solutions for you. Your room steward on the other hand can answer 90% of your questions and solve the majority of your issues, just remember all he did for you at the end of the cruise. Same with the food services. If you ask for something politely, if it's on the ship it will magically appear at your table generally within a reasonable time. Not always, but generally. A lot of it depends on your attitude toward your server. One final tip - and it's about tips. When we wanted to acknowledge a staffer who went above and beyond, we would add an amount above what was included in our prepaid tip package to the paper receipts at the restaurant only to learn that those tips went into the general pool for all workers, thus eliminating what we were attempting to do, which was let someone know we appreciated their specific extra effort. After learning that, we always carried a little cash around and looked for opportunities to make someone's day when it was deserved. I hope I can remember that the next time I cruise with Norwegian. They may be the American Airlines of the cruise industry, but they're cheap - sadly in more ways than one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I choose this cruise because of the ports of calls visited and the cruise length was the shortest (9 days) of all cruise lines. This was the second cruise we’d taken with NCL, the last was about 20 years ago. The embarkation process ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the ports of calls visited and the cruise length was the shortest (9 days) of all cruise lines. This was the second cruise we’d taken with NCL, the last was about 20 years ago. The embarkation process in Quebec City was clumsy and resulted in long lines and wait times even though you were required to select a check in time in advance. All of the port of calls, except two, required you to be tendered to shore and required you to pick up tickets in advance. One of the two ports where we docked required passengers to be bussed to the terminal because the dock was a commercial facility. Tender process took away from the amount of time in port, especially in New Port, RI where we only had 5-1/2 hours in port. The disembarkation process in Manhattan was quick and easy. I was most dissatisfied with the quality of food on the ship. The ingredients were stretched very thin and and in many cases the food was over cooked, and was overall not very tasty. The food in the speciality restaurants (3 visited at additional cost) was better, but not up to the quality on other cruise lines The service in most venues was slow, and we only ate in the Main dining room once. We also ate at O’Sheeans, which was was no better than other venues, and we ended up walking away from our table because it took so long to get our food. We ended up eating our mid-day meals in town at the port of calls which was our best meal of the day. The overall look of the ship was good (recent upgrade), service at bars, excursion desk and customer service was good. The entertainment was average and onboard activities typical to other lines. Our cruise package included 250 internet minutes. However the quality of the wi-fi was very spotty across the ship and poor in our cabin. I spent a lot of those 250 minutes “spinning”. Shore excursion offerings were passive in nature (bus tours) and and didn’t really appeal to us as we have an active lifestyle. Therefore, we researched the ports of call and made our own tour. Overall very dissatisfied with our cruise and won’t be sailing with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
On Thursday September 12 I had a rather testy conversation with a man who was working the customer service desk on that morning. I began the conversation by starting to explain that we had received a voicemail saying that my wife had left ... Read More
On Thursday September 12 I had a rather testy conversation with a man who was working the customer service desk on that morning. I began the conversation by starting to explain that we had received a voicemail saying that my wife had left her purse in a public area and that it had been turned in to lost and found. What I actually got out of my mouth before being interrupted was “we received a voicemail saying” at which point he interrupted me and asked my room number. I stopped talking and gave him my room number but then began again explaining why I was there. He again interrupted and started talking over me. I told him I was trying to explain what I wanted but that he kept talking over me. I started utalking again trying to explain what I wanted and he again started talking over me. At this point he would say I was rude to him. I will call it not being very happy with him. I became very frustrated with him and told him that I wanted to talk to someone else. He waved his hand toward several other people at the counter and I moved over to that area and began to explain what I was wanting to another male worker but he moved over and tried to interject his opinion of what was going on. I then told this new person that he wouldn’t let me talk but kept interrupting me. The new person then said that was fine and how could he help me. I then explained (without being interrupted) why I was there. I gave him my name and room number and he was familiar with my wife’s purse so he went back to get it. When he came back with her purse I had my room card and ID out for him and in a matter of just a few minutes I was done. The rude worker was watching everything that went on and was laughing with another female employee as I was getting ready to leave. I asked him if he thought this was funny and he said no that he thought it was sad. I said that I thought it was sad also. I decided that I wanted to get this persons name so when I was sent an evaluation of my cruise experience I would know who he was. I did not see him behind the service desk again until the evening of Saturday September 14. All I really wanted was his name so I walked up toward him and tried to take a picture of his name tag. He tried to cover up his name tag and then tried to engage my wife in a conversation about how rude I was to him. He said I was not allowed to take pictures of him and said he was calling security. I said go ahead that I would talk to security. During that time my wife and I were able to read his name tag and I made a note of it. So, I waited. A woman who said that she was his supervisor came out to talk to me and I explained all that had happened. She said that for security reasons I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of him. I told her all I wanted was his name and that I now had it so I would delete the pictures of him. With her watching I deleted both pictures I had taken. She said that she would talk to him. By the way, a security representative did show up while I was talking to her but I never interacted with him. For the life of me I don’t know why he over reacted like that. As I explained to his supervisor I am the one on vacation here and the one who has spent a lot of money to be on this ship. All of the employees of this ship should feel like they work for me and most do. I am not sure what his agenda in working on that ship is but on that morning it was certainly not to listen to me or try to help me with a problem. It seemed to be to interrupt me and talk over me. While still on the ship I went to the NCL website and filled out a comment on my experience and made a note of the confirmation number and after not hearing from them I filled out another comment form a couple of days later (all while still on the ship). Two days before disembarkation I received a call from the manager over the service desk (a different lady) wanting to talk to me. I went down to talk to her in person. She was very nice and mentioned the NCL form that I had filled out on the NCL site. So at least I had got their attention. She was very apologetic and kept apologizing for his actions. She mentioned that they would use it as a training tool. The cruise itself including the itinerary was not bad and we enjoyed the ports. I will say that we have never been on a cruise that tendered so many ports. Out of the 8 ports we visited 5 of them were tendered and one of the dock ports was at a commercial dock so they had to bus us over to the passenger dock. So 6 of 8 were non-standard docks. Also, the food in the food court was subpar. We spent most of our breakfast and lunch meals in O’Sheehans. And unlike most Princess cruises we never had a dinner choice of shrimp, scallop or lobster dishes. The only fish meals we were offered were a variety of filleted fish. My wife and I frequently take cruises and they are almost always enjoyable. We have 14 on Princess, 4 on Disney, 7 or 8 on Carnival, 2 on Oceania and 3 on Viking. I believe this is either our 4th or 5th on NCL. I will tell you that this man and his actions will certainly make this cruise memorable but not in a positive way. But I walked away satisfied that someone had finally heard me and apologized for his actions. Ken Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had not cruised on Norwegian since the mid-nineties, but past experiences had been good. More recent cruises had been on Princess and Celebrity. Our biggest disappointments were with the food in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had not cruised on Norwegian since the mid-nineties, but past experiences had been good. More recent cruises had been on Princess and Celebrity. Our biggest disappointments were with the food in the "complimentary" venues and with the seemingly constant nickel and diming we saw. The food on past Norwegian cruises had been good- the "specialty" restaurants had been for a special occasion, not to get a good meal. This is our first cruise ever where neither shrimp cocktail or escargot was offered- the menu reminded us of a diner or Cracker Barrel- nothing exotic at all. Can you imagine a cruise to Canada and New England not offering lobster? We certainly couldn't, but they didn't. On the plus side, our mini-suite was spacious and nice- the only negative was it was below the uncarpeted buffet dining area and patrons or cleaning staff moving chairs made noises that carried down to our room. This will be our last cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Time of year and cruise itinerary. Ports of call were about what we expected but found the tendering to be very tedious . Snacks or light food in the late afternoon could have been more varied. The crew were very polite and helpful. The ... Read More
Time of year and cruise itinerary. Ports of call were about what we expected but found the tendering to be very tedious . Snacks or light food in the late afternoon could have been more varied. The crew were very polite and helpful. The entertainment for the most part was top notch and Harry O 'Donoghue present a very funny and entertaining program. In addition we had dinner with him one night and thoroughly enjoyed his company.. I would suggest you have more performers like him. We ate at four of the specialty restaurants and enjoyed all of our meals (especially Cagney's - went twice) except for Modero's which I found the food to be overdone and very dry. We were very impressed at the cleanliness of all phases of the ship and the effort by the staff to keep every one germ free (washy, washy?) Will do Norwegian again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
DINING/DRINKS/SERVICE: We paid for the Meal Specialty Dining Package, Adult Ultimate Beverage Package and the Prepaid Service Charge. It was money well spent and a great value. We were able to eat at four specialty restaurants and the ... Read More
DINING/DRINKS/SERVICE: We paid for the Meal Specialty Dining Package, Adult Ultimate Beverage Package and the Prepaid Service Charge. It was money well spent and a great value. We were able to eat at four specialty restaurants and the food in each was excellent. The Venetian Main Dining Room also had great food. Some of the desserts were better than what we had in the Specialty Restaurants. The Garden Cafe was great for breakfast and snacks, fresh fruit, soft serve ice cream, salad, breads/muffins. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill had good food. The dinner food in the Garden Cafe served was mediocre. SERVICE: The service throughout the ship was great and the staff works hard. I saw some of the wait staff, especially bartenders put up with some rude people and they did it gracefully. Even though we prepaid Service Charges we tipped our room steward extra and also tipped extra in some of the specialty restaurants (even though 20% was included). ENTERTAINMENT: What we saw in the Stardust Theater was okay. The seating in the main area is cramped, not much leg room which made it uncomfortable. The upper side levels had more comfortable seating. Because the majority of the people were older the Stardust was packed the two times we attended a show. BAND ENTERTAINMENT We really enjoyed the Jose and Patti AND the band Sonata. SHORE EXCURSIONS: All of our excursions were booked through Norwegian and most of them were excellent. The "Fortress of Louisbourg" was good; however, our bus arrived 30 minutes late and returned us to the dock 10 minutes early. The time was 10:30 AM-2:15 PM and we note each excursion states "estimated." It was an extreme rush to try to see and enjoy the Fortress of Louisbourg which was a disappointment. This excursion should be longer because there is a lot to see and they have reenactors in the buildings which are period dressed and it is very interesting. The "Iconic Towns of Nova Scotia" tour our guide on the bus was excellent. The area the bus stopped at in Mahone Bay is across from a beautiful church and next to the water. It is a beautiful area; however, there is only shopping here. It would have been better if they eliminated Mahone Bay so more time could be spent in Lunenburg and Peggy's Cove. Regardless, it was wonderful and the prices were very reasonable. HOT TUBS/POOL: The hot tubs (6) and swimming pool were great and often empty at night Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
wanted to see the Maritimes, hopefully with fall colors, but too early for that, up the St Lawrence was great, lots of little , villages. fantastic homes in Newport, must hv been nice to have money in those days only downfall was number ... Read More
wanted to see the Maritimes, hopefully with fall colors, but too early for that, up the St Lawrence was great, lots of little , villages. fantastic homes in Newport, must hv been nice to have money in those days only downfall was number of ports where you had to tender in, some were 25 min each direction ship was very modern, wonderful staff in rooms & eating places ate all meals in Garden Cafe where food was very varied and good dress was casual which I prefer , entertainment in Stardust lounge very good enjoyed Halifax, Pier 21 was very enjoyable ( this is where immigrants landed, and had a Titanic exhibit, weather was good, sea rough coming into Rhode Island, end of hurricane Dorian Did not leave ship in most ports because of tendering and I use a cane to get me around very happy with trip and will most likely do it again Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The ordeal started in port. The boat was six hours late to dock due to tropical storm Dorian...Ok, not much can be done about that except, maybe a heads up from NCL. Too much to ask for I guess. This trip was booked by a cancer foundation ... Read More
The ordeal started in port. The boat was six hours late to dock due to tropical storm Dorian...Ok, not much can be done about that except, maybe a heads up from NCL. Too much to ask for I guess. This trip was booked by a cancer foundation as a “wish” for my son who is battling leukemia. To console everyone for the late arrival of the boat, they offered a free bag of chips and a bottle of water. We decided to get out and walk around the city. After six hours of waiting, we were finally able to board the ship. After boarding the ship, we were told that we could not access our cabins because they were still cleaning them and they didn’t anticipate them being finished for another hour and a half. Again, okay, we’ll just try and find a place to dine.....of course, EVERYONE has the same idea which made some halls impassable and getting an elevator almost impossible (my child uses a wheel chair to get around). We finally get to a dining area and find out that if you don’t buy a drink package, a cup of soda is $3 per cup. I expected it to be a little inflated but goodness (I’ll chalk that one up to my own ignorance). So, we finally leave port and head out to sea at about 10pm. First night in the books and all seems well. Next day, we all awake and lounge in the cabin for a while and decide to get brunch, by this time breakfast is over. We head to the complementary taste restaurant and order. My son gets the shrimp pasta with red sauce (another round of 3$ sodas). We take my son and his brother up to the teen lounge and let them “lounge” while I go back to the room to fill out paperwork in anticipation of Canada, when I get the call that my kid isn’t feeling well and has been vomiting. We get him back to the room and try to use some of him medications brought from home to see if that would do the trick. Unfortunately, he was still vomiting and using the bathroom. In fear of dehydration, we take him to the medical floor. They give him IV fluids and insist on going thru their base clinic in Cleveland who instructs them to give him an antibiotic we’ve told them several times he is allergic to. My wife makes them call his on call dr (via Satellite phone) to direct them on exactly how to treat him bc technically once he developed the 102 fever they wanted him in a hospital asap but they keep him overnight. The next morning we are ferried off the boat to the post hospital for observation. The ship calls and instructs us to come get our baggage and disembark because they don’t believe he should be on the boat. All the while, we are in Bar Harbor, Maine and basically have to figure out how to get home only to receive multiple notifications that they’ve charged and MAXED OUT our credit card for their medical services and the 8 cups of soda to the tune of $8,000. I will NEVER take another NCL cruise again. I expected better! Beware, the shrimp and pasta with red sauce is a doozy! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
0 Stars. Negative stars, really. I’m sure Norwegian doesn’t care that I had a bad time. Just one customer lost over thousands that board happily every day. But, I want to leave a review anyway. Maybe one customer will listen and ... Read More
0 Stars. Negative stars, really. I’m sure Norwegian doesn’t care that I had a bad time. Just one customer lost over thousands that board happily every day. But, I want to leave a review anyway. Maybe one customer will listen and second guess NCL. Just came back from Norwegian Escape heading up New England and Canada. I did not enjoy the experience one bit and I let Alvin the cruise director and I assume the Captain or an Officer know upon exit (as they were standing there). I get it, Hurricane Dorian messed things up and when my family arrived at the Terminal in NYC, tons of people were there and the staff may have been overwhelmed. But that doesn’t excuse the misinformation and the attitude staff members were giving myself and others. Let’s start off with those who booked directly with NCL and were told via phone calls and text messages to not come to the Terminal until 4pm, meanwhile apparently people who did not book through NCL were never told there was a delay and arrived at the Terminal much earlier than 4pm. Not an issue, except these people who arrived before 4pm received embarkation numbers in the single digits or teens while those who listened dutifully to NCL received numbers in the high 30s or not at all. So, how is that fair? When I entered the terminal, no one told me I had to find this mysterious person who had embarkation boarding numbers but I did find the snotty employee who asked me why I needed 6 health cards (I don’t know? Because I have 6 people in my family?) Second, when we finally got processed and boarded the ship there was zero traffic flow control. Everyone entered in deck 7 and flooded both the aft and forward elevators. The elevators were always full for whatever reason, when the doors opened, it was full. Eventually one staff member arrived and while I was first in line for the elevator, the staff member ushered others in, leaving me with two suit cases and a baby carriage (no baby, as my wife walked with the baby the 7 flights up to our room after ten minutes of waiting). Finally, disembarkation. You’re supposed to claim your color for an orderly disembarkation the night before . On this day, green was for disembarkation prior to 8am, orange 8:15-8:45, then other colors for later disembarkation and luggage removal. Well, no one is checking tags, so everyone is running amuck and trying to flee the ship, which can you guess? Leads to ridiculous wait “lines” at the elevators. I use the word “line” loosely as people were just on top of one another. And, while the down button was pressed, every single elevator headed down was already packed when the doors opened in 14, leading people now to go up, just to go down, leading to even more packed elevators. We waited for 10 minutes and realized we’d never get down. So my 69 year old father grabbed his own luggage and carried it 7 flights. While I lugged my luggage down 7 flights. No order, no traffic control. A straight mess. If NCL is known for their “free style” cruises and “free style” is supposed to be chaotic and disorganized, then you’ve found your ship and company! But it’s not my cup of tea. One final thought on the elevators from hell. Their AI system needs a reworking. If you want all the elevators at the bank to work, you have to press the down or up buttons in the starboard and port side, one button won’t light them all up. But I’ve also personally watched as 5 minutes passed with no elevator stopping on my floor despite me pressing the down button (on other occasions). In fact, I saw the elevator come to 14, light up, make a noise, but sail past my floor to 16. Anyways, heed my warnings or not, up to you. But I’m sure Alvin, the Captain and NCL won’t care as they already pocketed my money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Don’t go near this cruise line you are warned. Utterly Utterly hopeless unless you want cold food , cold t and coffee, served on cold plates with order that belong to other people. We obviously got training staff who had not got to - ... Read More
Don’t go near this cruise line you are warned. Utterly Utterly hopeless unless you want cold food , cold t and coffee, served on cold plates with order that belong to other people. We obviously got training staff who had not got to - how to make toast lesson, or serve everybody at the table their first course before serving others their second . If our happy to let other tables order your food this is the cruise for you. They will tell you that all complaints can only be dealt with after the cruise is over and they never get back to you. Embarkation was late due to storm which they could do nothing about but then we had a eight hour delay when we were treated to a bottle of water and a packet of crisps. I assume the idea was that after you had eaten them you had to get to get her with others to make a seat for you to sit on for the eight hours. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Due to hurricane Dorian we were notified several days before this cruise that the ship would be arriving late and that embarkation would take place from 4 to 7 pm (rather than 11am-2pm). We dutifully arrived at 4:30 pm only to be met by ... Read More
Due to hurricane Dorian we were notified several days before this cruise that the ship would be arriving late and that embarkation would take place from 4 to 7 pm (rather than 11am-2pm). We dutifully arrived at 4:30 pm only to be met by thousands of passengers milling all over the terminal. Since there we’re not enough chairs, people were sitting and lying on the floor. There were hardly any NCL employees to ask about what we could expect. We’d were at one point handed a ticket good for one bottle of water ( if you were willing to stand in another line!). This went on for 3 hrs,! We saw many disabled or elderly passengers who seemed to be in real distress and talked to one man who was diabetic and couldn’t get anything appropriate to eat. Although we finally got on the boat at 7:45, there were people who told us they had not received the message (phone and text) and arrived at the terminal at noon, waiting more than 7 hrs to board! Norwegian officials made only perfunctory apologies for all of this and NO compensation was offered to passengers for time taken away from a cruise they paid for, the extra expenses of meals in NY, or the extreme stress of the day. I finally received my luggage at 10:30pm. Although the hurricane was not NCL’s fault, once they decided to go ahead with the cruise they had a responsibility to make embarkation at least bearable! In this regard, they failed miserably! Unfortunately their inefficiency didn’t end with the embarkation. There were four ports on this cruise so we signed up for a shore excursion on each one. Three of the excursions started late, two of them a whole hour late! The meeting place for one of our excursions was also the meeting place for numerous other trips and the room became dangerously overcrowded! Passengers were camped out in the halls and could not hear announcements so had to pull over those streaming out to ask which trip was being called. The crowd became so dense I had to leave to get some air! Regarding entertainment, the two shows we attended I would rate somewhere between fair and good. The crew talent show was over almost as soon as it began! You were only able to prebook one show,(After Midnight) so you had to sign up for the others after boarding. By the time we were deciding what to do, the venues were mostly booked. Also, a lot of the entertainment happens late at night so if you’re not a night owl you’re going to miss it. Although they had a lot of bars, the smaller ones are constantly changing the hours they’re open so it was difficult to keep all that straight. There is little in the way of any educational programming except when NCL is trying to sell you something which they do consistently throughout the cruise! As one previous NCL cruises, the food was very good and of consistently high quality and the service was good. No real complaints about our cabin either. The biggest problem I see with Norwegian Escape is that it is just too big and NCL has not mastered the art of handling that many people efficiently. Everything is always crowded and there seems to be very few places on the boat to have a quiet moment. The layout of the ship is not really user friendly although I coudn’t tell you exactly why. It is noisy, chaotic, and is the only cruise I have gone on where I came home with jangled nerves and in need of a vacation! This was our 5th Norwegian Cruise and will most probably be our last! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary. We have cruised to New England and Canada in the past with another cruise line and were very satisfied. We were able to book this cruise through our Marriott Vacation Club membership. The ship ... Read More
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary. We have cruised to New England and Canada in the past with another cruise line and were very satisfied. We were able to book this cruise through our Marriott Vacation Club membership. The ship itself is fine. The way it is run is a joke. From start to finish there were issues. Hurricane Dorian delayed the ship's arrival in New York but we were not notified of the delay. We spent about 4 hours in the cruise terminal waiting for embarkation. Weather delays are understandable and not the fault of the cruise line, not keeping passengers apprised of the situation is not. Of course, once onboard cabins were not available but that's not unusual either. The dining rooms were open due to the lateness of embarkation but unprepared for the onslaught of diners. Service was a little sketchy but acceptable given the fact that most first night onboard meals are not the best. After dinner the cabin was available and miraculously the luggage was also there. Our steward stopped by to introduce himself but we never saw him again for seven days. The safety presentation didn't occur until 10:30pm which was well past bedtime for many of the passengers. Norwegian doesn't place life vests in the cabins and given the chaos of their general assemblies is probably a disaster waiting to happen. Going ashore for excursions was a thrill. Direction was generally lacking onboard and no better when you got ashore. Busses were not assigned you just stood in line and were loaded on as you arrived. The saving grace is that the tours and guides we took were generally good. Food onboard in the main dining rooms was generally good and so was service for the most part. The specialty restaurants seemed pricey for what they offered so we avoided them. The ability to make reservations for the dining venues from your in cabin tv was touted but didn't work. The onboard entertainment we saw was very good. Knights and The Choir of Man were worth the time. The Manhattan dining room had music during dinner which was good and dancing was available. It was a great venue. The cabin was nothing special. Tight but sufficient storage. We made arrangements for airport transfer, post cruise, through Norwegian. What a joke. In fact, the entire disembarkation was a chaotic joke. As with most cruise lines disembarkation occurred based on luggage tag color which is based on airline schedules, etc. Unlike other lines we have cruised with, there was no gathering point for each color just a free for all to the disembarkation deck when the color was called. You were told to go to either the forward or aft lobbies. We went forward as that was where our cabin was and were then paraded through the ship to the aft gangway where we were then paraded around the outside of the terminal to the forward part of the ship! Once we found our luggage we were directed toward the exit but with no direction as to where our transfer to the airport would be. We finally were told to "go to the left" at the exit for airport transfers. The chaos continued as we exited the terminal to see a line of passengers stretching two piers with an adjacent line of busses with no indication as to what airport they were travelling to!! With three airports in the NYC area you have to know which bus will take you to your airport. If that wasn't enough, no one was being allowed to board the busses and no one was there to direct passengers to their appropriate transport. At least, my wife pointed out to me, the weather was beautiful during this fiasco. Eventually, we made our way onto a bus to LaGuardia and our trip and any further cruising with Norwegian came to an end. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
it recommended by a travel agent, the ship was late because of hurricane but did not received a notice from the ncl app. waited 4 hours to board the ship. did not like the excursions for the money. the stops were good but awfully ... Read More
it recommended by a travel agent, the ship was late because of hurricane but did not received a notice from the ncl app. waited 4 hours to board the ship. did not like the excursions for the money. the stops were good but awfully expensive, dining was open I like reserved dining. the food was cold most of the time. needed a area for playing cards or games embarkment was chaotic should have a ticket to keep it orgqanize to get on a bus for the airport the help was very nice. smooth sailing, had to go to service agent to find out about our money, it did explain it too clearly. liked the food and service at o'sheehans the buffet was ok need to keep food warmer getting off and on the boat for excursions was great. I would not go again on the ship, I ight try another norwegian Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I have traveled with Norwegian six other cruises and have had great experiences. This time was terrible. The delay from the previous cruise was because of the storm. Which I totally understand however they should’ve adjusted the time for ... Read More
I have traveled with Norwegian six other cruises and have had great experiences. This time was terrible. The delay from the previous cruise was because of the storm. Which I totally understand however they should’ve adjusted the time for everyone to arrive even later than they stated. We did not board the ship until almost 8:30 PM and had a muster drill at 10 PM to which prior to them starting that the captain gave a long speech. The food was not fresh and cold for the most part, the room was definitely not up to cleanliness standards of the past, and overall was just a terrible experience. When most people you encounter said that this was their worst trip and they could not wait for it to be over I think pretty much sums up how terrible it really was. I’ve always had positive experiences with Norwegian in the past but never cruised on the ship so I don’t know if it was a combination of factors, the ship itself, or the company just lowering its standard but I think I’ve had enough cruises with Norwegian due to this past experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was one of my bucket list trips. New England in the fall. The ship arrived tp port several hours late due to a storm. I was glad safety was priority for this cruise line. the issue was they failed to notify anyone, As a result ... Read More
This was one of my bucket list trips. New England in the fall. The ship arrived tp port several hours late due to a storm. I was glad safety was priority for this cruise line. the issue was they failed to notify anyone, As a result hundreds of us were at the pier with a few very misinformed Norwegian employees, Communication was an issue the entire trip. We were late to every port. All of our excursions were 1 to 2 hours late beginning. No explanation was ever given or compensation offered. The lack of organization at every port to disembark was terrible and did not improve at any port. The ship was under staffed and staff poorly trained. Many staff members had limited understanding of English. The food was marginal and service as well in the dinning rooms. This was a very disappointing experience. I will not be able to recommend this cruise line to anyone. This is only the highlights of issues that arose, a week of disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is my second cruise with NCL (and second cruise ever). My first was on the Epic in 2011. For our honeymoon and my birthday we decided to try a fall cruise to Maine and Canada. The itinerary wasn't spectacular but we wanted to ... Read More
This is my second cruise with NCL (and second cruise ever). My first was on the Epic in 2011. For our honeymoon and my birthday we decided to try a fall cruise to Maine and Canada. The itinerary wasn't spectacular but we wanted to something other than Caribbean or Bermuda out of NYC. The trip started on the wrong foot due to hurricane Dorian. As a result of the storm, the Escape arrived in port very late on our embarkation day. But NCL gave us plenty of advance notice of the change in Check-in and departure time. We adjusted accordingly with no issue. We were told check-in would commence at 4pm instead of noon so we arrived around 5:30 to allow some of the crowd to dwindle. And this is where it starts to sour. Upon our arrival at the pier we see big crowds milling about. We are instructed to go to pier 88 and check -in our baggage, then come back to pier 90 and get our boarding group assignment number. By the time we got back to pier 90, NCL was out of boarding assignment numbers. We were asked to be patient and given vouchers for free snacks at the pier 90 refreshment stand. Upon presenting our vouchers at the stand we were informed that they would no longer honor them. Voucher were worthless. And we were in no way compensated for the roughly 6 hours of lost cruising time. We then stood around for until boarding began. They called roughly 51 boarding group numbers before finally telling all the losers with no boarding number to head over to pier 88. Security went very smoothly. Check-in less so. We were inline for a very long time waiting for our check-in. We finally got to check in and it went quick until the end. Apparently they have to have all non American passports "OK'd" by a senior staff member. So our check-in employee stood there holding the passport over his head for the longest time waiting for the senior staff member to maybe notice him and come over. It took so long that by the time we were finally allowed to board the boat we were just about the last ones on. Now I can review the actual cruise. Big beautiful ship. Our mid ship balcony room on Deck 15 was small but nice. Not too small. Somewhat comfortable bed. Didn't hear a lot of noise. The balcony was a perfect size for sitting outside (but not lying out). However the rail sits right at eye level so you can't see clearly. We were only one deck down from the buffet and the pool, etc so meals were pretty convenient as was getting to outside bars. Or cabin was kept very clean throughout, although we did find the previous cruiser's shorts wadded up under the bed.. We attended the Choir of Man and After Midnight shows. Both were very good and worth checking out. Maybe a little too much tap dancing in After Midnight, but great performers. Choir or Man's version of of Adele's "Hello" was amazing and mesmerizing. We tried Howl at the Moon once night but couldn't get in. Too crowded at show start time. I am sure its easier to get a seat if you go back after 10. The buffet was fine. Plenty of choices of things to eat. I am especially picky and have a limited range of foods I'll eat and I managed to fill up every meal. None of what I ate was amazing in any way. Just good enough. No complaints except that it should be open over night for late night snacking. We only did two specialty dining nights. We did La Cusina and Moderno. At La Cusina the food was good but the menu very limited. I had better pasta choices at the Manhattan room. Our server the first time was a bit brusk but ultimately very good and generous. Definitely wanted us to be satisfied. Our server the second time was a bit too "by the book", by she did sing Happy Birthday to me and bring me a tasty desert cake, so she gets bonus points. However, she soured me when she handed me a pre-filled out form stating that she was my Cruise Hero. Moderno was a very nice place with great service. The salad bar was outstanding as were the side dishes. Unfortunately I don't eat much meat so on the whole, the restaurant was lost on me. If you like meat you will love it. One of my biggest problems with this trip were the bars. When I cruise I expect all the bars open and attended by bartenders. On this cruise, on multiple occasions I sat down at what appeared to be open bars but found no bartender. The TVs were on. The booze sitting out unlocked, but no one to serve it. This happened at the MIXX bar twice. Another time they closed by like 10pm. It also happened at the bar near the Vibe beach Club. I stood at these bars for over 10 minutes ad got no service. Another annoying thing was they closed all the bars that allowed smoking one day. Big groups of people all seated outside these bars wanting to get drinks. We were told that while in ports they could only have a certain number of bars open on board. They decided that the smoking bars were going to stay closed, pissing off many people. Many not even smokers, but people who wanted to hang outside (even when cool out). I don't care where we are sailing, they should have ALL the bars open. We paid for that. Instead everyone is forced inside to the overcrowded interior bars. I will say that bartenders Nick and Tommy? at the deck 17 bar overlooking the pool area were both nice guys and pleasant to chat with. The other bar tenders were for the most part pretty stiff and unengaging. I will say that the staff and crew all over the ship were for the most part pleasant and professional, but very few really went out of their way to engage me. I didn't feel like "friends" with any of them or like we scratched the surface of getting to know them. With a couple exceptions they did the minimum but nothing more. Alvin the cruise director was always very friendly. The itinerary was kind of blah. We hit Bar Harbor, Portland, Halifax and Saint John. Bar Harbor had the nicest view from the ship. A quaint fishing town. Unfortunately we got off the ship so early that most of the shops were not open yet. By the time we were tendering back to the ship, the town was in almost full swing. Would like a late afternoon or night there instead. But a very nice little town. The Portland stop was ridiculous. The ship was only in port for about 4 hours. We barely had time to wander the place and see what they had to offer. Portland needs to be done in afternoon and evening. This stop was a tease. Halifax was and Saint John were both nice stops. We opted for the Hop On Hop Off bus tour. The history and sites where all nice. But we barely got off for anything. Unfortunately the hurricane had just hit Halifax, so stops of the bus such as the Titanic Cemetery were bypassed due to issues. The Citadel was cool but only for so long. We stayed in Saint John for a full day, not leaving port till 10pm. The Hop On Hop Off Bus was ok. Our guide was a little less smooth and engaging, but the info was great. Only hopped off for the Moosehead Brewery which was ok. Nothing special. If you go there, I recommend getting the fish and chip place across the street to deliver some food over to you at the brewery. Walking around Saint John's downtown was nice. Lots of cool buildings and shops. Steep hills though. Not for the old or weak legged. I will say that one of the let downs of the ports on this trip were the views from the ship. Aside from Bar Harbor and its rustic seaside charm, the other three were all ugly industrial ports with big oil refineries and eyesore views. Amost forgot: the Internet was horrible. Almost not worth choosing it as a perk. So overall I was underwhelmed by this trip. A combination of a bland itinerary, bad embarkation, bad bar service and less than engaging crew really left me with a sour taste in my mouth. I so wanted the trip to be special for my honeymoon and birthday. And to convince my wife that we might want to take more trips. But this trip made us question whether its worth the money. Maybe we need to so a southern trip instead... PS I do want to give NCL Escape credit for the nice Meet & Greet they provided for us Cruise Critic folks. It was a nice turnout and great to meat some senior staff. Also thanks for the complementary beer tasting and food on the final day at sea. Much appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
1. Our trip from NYC fell on tail end of Hurricane Dorian. NCL gave us repeated daily text messages, phone calls, and emails for days prior to the cruise informing us there would be delays on embarkation. No problem, except that the ... Read More
1. Our trip from NYC fell on tail end of Hurricane Dorian. NCL gave us repeated daily text messages, phone calls, and emails for days prior to the cruise informing us there would be delays on embarkation. No problem, except that the terminal only had a handful of chairs for hundreds and hundreds of people told to be there at between 2-4 PM. Tempers and frustration was high as people sat on the floor for hours with a coupon redeemable for water and a bag of chips. Many people who booked through travel agents or traveled from abroad never received messages from NCL about the delay and were stuck in the cruise terminal from 8 AM until we finally started boarding around 7 pm. This process was long and tedious unless you were a Haven guest with priority boarding and treatment. No other priority boarding (for prior NCL guests like us) was honored. NCL had days to make arrangements for a smooth process but did nothing. No ship credit was offered for missed hours onboard or for our inconvenience. 2. Our group of four (all in our 50's) enjoy craft beers. We were excited to try out the District Brew House / Sports Bar onboard. Our first trip there we were told it was closed for a private party for Cruise Critic guests. Our next trip, a quarter of the bar was shut down for an "educational tasting party" that required extra money but the staff spoke so loud that the whole bar got the "education". On two other visits we had to leave because the piano player was playing so loudly (over loud speakers) that we couldn't hold conversation. The piano music was sleepy "elevator music" that only worsened when the player also decided to sing. On Saturday (last full day at sea), we all donned our college football jerseys and headed to the Brew House expecting to play cards and watch the ball games. Again, we get there to discover they are closed for another private event. An hour later, they reopened for the peons, and we discover the same soccer game is playing on every single tv in the bar. Staff has no ability to change channels and guest services informed us that soccer is the only thing showing in every bar on the ship. We return to the bar disappointed, only to discover the same boring piano player is setting up again to put everyone into sleep mode. NCL obviously has no clue what music is appropriate for a brew house and they over-rate American interest in soccer. (This being said, there are good beer choices in this pub and we had no complaints with service because there were very few patrons). 3. We weren't aware that our stop in Bar Harbor would require a scheduled tender to get ashore until we arrived back at our room and read it on the itinerary. By the time we got back down to get it scheduled, all the early times were done. A staff member took us to the kiosk to get us scheduled, but ended up only booking one person of our group for four tenders instead of booking four of us on one tender. This forced us into an even later time slot which made us late for our privately-booked excursion. Thankfully, they waited for us but it limited our time at port. 4. Taste and Savor stop seating for breakfast at 9:30 AM. This is fine since they need time to set-up for lunch service. But on port days, they don't serve lunch but still will not seat guests for breakfast past 9:30 AM. This is ridiculous given that thousands of people are trying to eat breakfast at the same time before going to shore. 5. We have traveled on NCL Getaway twice before taking NCL Escape. The ships have very similar lay-outs and amenities. We were completely surprised that the guys could not smoke cigars at the OUTSIDE deck bar directly outside the smoking lounge. Instead, they had to go up to Deck 16 or 17. The biggest absurdity to this, is that NCL allows indoor smoking at their casino which inconveniences every single non-smoking guest onboard. For this reason, I didn't give one dime to that casino. 6. If you want food or alcohol service at the high-tops at O'Sheehans, be prepared to walk over to the hostess and get registered. Staff will come by to clear tables, but without being seated by the hostess, they will not give any service. 7. The highlight of the cruise was the shows in the Escape Theater. Escape the Big Top was very fun, but not enough time is given to really work on the clues. The Choir of Man was amazing and had everyone clapping and singing. After Midnight was very entertaining, as well. The comedians (late night) were very funny. We didn't get a chance to catch the dueling pianos show. 8. The game shows are very funny to watch (and participate), but they were exactly the same as our prior sailings on NCL Getaway. We were hoping for more variety and more entertainment given this was a cruise with cooler weather where guests wouldn't be spending much time in pools and decks. 9. Bingo and Deal or No Deal are a rip-off and people should not waste their money. 10. Le Bistro remains our favorite restaurant onboard all NCL ships. We were disappointed with the quality of our steaks at Cagneys. Tempanyaki is good, but every chef does the same show, so you know what's coming because you hear it from people who were seated before you. 11. The ports on this cruise did not disappoint. We booked privately for the ports in Maine, and did Halifax and Saint John on our own. 12. The cabin staff was wonderful. We had coffee and danishes delivered to our room each morning (no fee) and they were on time and coffee was hot. 13. The staff at O'Sheehans restaurant was a mixed bag, as was the food consistency. 14. The ropes course was often closed due to wind. We did get to do half the course and it was fun. Mini golf is a fun hour spent. Bocci Ball is the best deck activity and very popular. They could use more of these courts. 15. Overall, we would do this itinerary again, but NCL Escape will not be our ship of choice. In fact, we are scheduled for a 14-day Scandanavian cruise on the NCL Escape in May 2020 and we have decided to cancel because of our disappointment on this trip. It's a shame, because it is a pretty ship with lots of potential, but just poorly executed. The smoking situation in the casino and the disappointment in the District Brew House Sports Pub are deal-breakers for us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Maybe it was the size of the ship..or the layout...or the itinerary..but overall it was just an average trip. This was our first time cruising on Norwegian and to this part of the US/Canada. We have been on several other lines and on ... Read More
Maybe it was the size of the ship..or the layout...or the itinerary..but overall it was just an average trip. This was our first time cruising on Norwegian and to this part of the US/Canada. We have been on several other lines and on ships of varying size, but nothing with 4,500 passengers. Here is a 100% real and honest review. I'm not being paid to say this. I've never been employed by a cruise line. I'm not a multiple times per year type cruiser. I'm not a complainer or a negative person in general. In fact, I'm just a guy who works full time in a corporate setting and actually prefers to be more "outdoorsy" than cruising, although it's always a nice way to see a few places in a short time and let someone else do all the work for you. Embarkation was an absolute mess. First, we were delayed in leaving due to a hurricane and the fact the ship couldn't get back to NYC on time. Okay, no problem..nothing NCL can do there..at all. The problem is that UNLESS YOU BOOKED THRU NCL directly, there was NO emails, texts, phone calls sent to you. We only knew to arrive later than planned because we checked the website. Many, many, many others did not and were not communicated with and some waiting 5+ hours to get on the ship. This is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. You have our information due to all of us filling out the online check-in. Whether we booked 3rd party or thru NCL directly, you still have to complete online check in THRU NCL's website. We arrived at 4:15 (told to arrive at 4) and it was a madhouse. We were told it would be 2-3 hours to get in. We left the ship. Went up the street (its NYC after all, I'm not spending 2-3 hours in a warehouse) and got somethign to eat. Came back around 6:15 and STILL didn't get on the ship until almost 7:30. What did NCL do for us? Absolutely NOTHING. Room was actually good. We "only" had a regular balcony room and it was fine. Nice color scheme. Comfortable bed. Good amount of storage space. Bathroom was adequate. Decent shower size with great water pressure. Nowhere near the shower size of the mini-suites, but a BIT bigger than the "half circle" showers on many other ships. Dining was hit and miss. The buffet was absurdly busy and because this was a "old persons cruise", we learned early on to go RIGHT TO THE BACK of the buffet. Same food as upfront..with NO LINES OR PEOPLE. Buffet food was fine. Seemed to be about the same as the other lines we've been on. Loved the French toast. Dining in the main dining rooms was also hit and miss. Food was good, but man the service could really suck. The wait staff was great to us. Very pleasant. The speed was sometimes just horrible. No rhyme or reason to it. The speciality restaurants are also hit and miss. Bayamo, Cagneys, Teppenyaki. Delicious, but oh man, so much food. I thought it was all well prepared and tasted fine. Wait staff at all of them, again, was great. Teppenyaki was a blast. Best I've ever had..on or off cruise ship. Cagney's was absurdly slow. Like it is ridiculous that it took our party of 6 well over 2.5 hours to get out of there from start to finish (we also are not ones to talk talk talk...we eat, finish and get out). Really liked O'Sheehans. Ate their twice. Cleanliness throughout the ship was never an issue. Common areas, pool, cabin were always spotless. Kudos to the staff on this. Entertainment. Alvin, the cruise director, was fantastic. We say it every cruise, but man, the cruise director is one of, if not the, hardest working person on that ship. That person is seemingly every where at once. Great entertainment options, even if some of them didn't get great audience participation (again, older crowd). Pool area was a bit small...and I could imagine on a warmer weather cruise/location it would be absurdly crowded. Enjoyed the ropes course and waterslides. Best part was that there was almost NO WAIT for these as it was chilly and the older crowd meant no one was really using them. Okay, now to the ports and excursions. First, the itinerary. Bar Harbor to Portland to Halifax to St John, NB. Bar Harbor was fantastic...even if you have to tender in. Really, it's not that bad. Maybe takes a few more minutes than walking directly off, but eh, it's not as bad as some people make it seem. Bar Harbor is a beautiful "small" basically fishing and resort town. Our excursion, thru the ship, for the Acadia National Park and Lobster Bake....The Lobster bake was fantastic. Got to eat in the Bar Harbor Club which was built in the 1930s for the rich and it was like stepping back in time. Excellent lobster lunch. The excursion to Acadia National Park itself was NOT GOOD (to put it mildly). It was a motorcoach tour of "the loop road". We had two quick stops and got off, but basically it was a history tour thru thru window. The guide was great. Knew her stuff really, really well. It was like "There is X. We aren't going to stop there, but there it is" and "There is Cadillac Mountain, isn't it beautiful? You should come back sometime and go up it". We didn't get to experience the park at all. We got to walk around the town a bit, which had a nice mix of shops and restaurants..local goods to souvenirs and in between. Portland. We were only there for I think 5 hours TOTAL. Like why even stop here if it's for that short? Got off the ship at 8:30 (i think) and literally nothing was open, as far as shops and restaurants..most don't open until 10, some opened at 9. We did a later food tour and it was really cool and got to get a bit of local history and eat a few bites at some local places. Back on ship at 1:30. Wow. Long stay. Halifax was a really neat city. Definitely larger than I thought it would be. Cruise ship docks next to a couple of "markets". The first one was touristy, the other one was more local with some good local vendors and food. It kind of docks in an industrial part of town, so the rest of the city is a good 1/2 mile or more away. Compared to Portland or St John where you are literally right there. Great tour to Peggy's Cover..our guide was fantastic and was a true local, so he knew all about the city/locations we passed, history of everything. Really enjoyed him. Only 12 of us on this excursion (hooray for small tours). Peggy's Cove was fine...it's scenic for sure..BUT..the throngs of crowds make it way less enjoyable. Can't get good pics without people in them. The actual village right there is neat and has a couple of shops and restaurants in it. St John was great. Beautiful city that has done a great job of mixing the old and the new. A lot to do within a short distance or you can travel away from the city and see other stuff, as well. Locals were friendly. Food was good. Nice market near the port. Restaurants all over the place. The reversing falls are really cool if you hit it at the right times of the day. The ship itself really has no quiet spots on it. There are a couple of designated quiet zones, but even those are usually full of people hanging out and talking. Floors 6 thru 8 are absurdly loud. Way too many bars and lounges in a small space. This gets so congested with people to..as with the "older" crowd, almost none took the stairs...so if you don't mind the stairs, its great exercise and can sometimes be much faster, especially after shows. Loved the "Freestyle" dining and you could just show up in basically whatever clothing (I like to still be presentable, but they didn't mind sneakers and t-shirts in the main dining area). I can only imagine what they see in the warmer locations/cruises as far as clothing in the restaurants. The "Freesytle Disembarkation" is a joke. For one, unless you've cruised with NCL before, you have NO idea this is going to happen. They don't alert you to it..and if they do, it's the day before in the Daily Compass or TV. They limit the number of colored tags they put out..so if you aren't aware, you might get stuck with a horrible color/late time. Now, the last thing...the colors really don't matter at all because NO ONE IS ENFORCING IT. You literally just walk down and you're in a queue (thru the hallway into the dining room and around) and walk off. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My sister and her husband chose this cruise and we joined her on it. There was a major delay on embarkation due to Hurricane Dorian. Some people received numerous notifications from NCL and a lot of others were like us with no ... Read More
My sister and her husband chose this cruise and we joined her on it. There was a major delay on embarkation due to Hurricane Dorian. Some people received numerous notifications from NCL and a lot of others were like us with no notification. I will not forget pulling up to the pier and not seeing a ship docked. We were able to drop off the suitcases but were giving conflicting information on when to return. We narrowed it down to the ship was going to leave at 8pm or 10 pm. To fill in the hours we decided to get tickets to a Broadway show. The upside was we enjoyed the show and it filled in the time the downside was spending $500 before we even got on the ship. We arrived back at the pier at 5:30 where people were being directed to go to another terminal because it was over crowded. I am platinum on NCL so we were able to go in and get on that line which saved some time. They started checking my line in at a little after 6 and it moved pretty quickly. We went straight to Osheehans got a table and thankfully we had a wonderful server. I think her name was Jamika from Grenada. She really helped diffuse my anger. I will say the first day of the cruise was ruined. I didn’t get my luggage till after 11 pm instead of being at a show we were doing a muster drill. I felt bad for my sister and brother in law paying $15 dollars for each glass of wine in NYC when they should have been using their beverage package. If just one of us in our group of 5 had received a notification of the delay we would not have been in the city so early. It was irritating to hear some people started getting text messages, and robo calls 2 days before the cruise and our group got nothing. Moving on, the Escape is big and there is only a set of elevators in the front and a set in the rear which means a lot of walking to mid ship and back.Our room was right by the elevator on deck 11 forward. Perfect location for us. I had my 10,000 steps by 2pm everyday. The food in MDR was very good. We had great service from Jaha and his sister Sarah. We enjoyed OSheenans for breakfast and had 2 dinners there also. The comedians on the ship were really entertaining and super friendly when you ran into them on the ship or in the ports. Choir of men and Midnight were very good and when you could get a seat Howl at the Moon was good.I enjoyed our cruise but comparing this ship to the Anthem of the Seas that we did in July I liked RCI better. I felt there was more to do on Anthem. The other major problem on Escape is the smoke in the casino. They have to come up with a better ventilation system. I came home with acute sinusitis. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Embarkation was a little bit disorganized because of the late arrival of the ship due to Hurricane Dorian. Disembarkation runs smoothly with no hitch. The ship is nice and clean but the cabin is getting smaller compared to their other ... Read More
Embarkation was a little bit disorganized because of the late arrival of the ship due to Hurricane Dorian. Disembarkation runs smoothly with no hitch. The ship is nice and clean but the cabin is getting smaller compared to their other fleets. They have limited entertainment and usually need to make reservations. Ports and shore excursions were not as expected especially the one in Bar Harbor, Maine. The local specialist in Portland and Nova Scotia were very good and knowledgeable. Also there was limited time spent in Portland. Nova Scotia is a beautiful place and it’s one place that I can say I will visit again. Dining was good but their food choices were a little bit limited. The service was very good and the staff are nice. We usually cruise in Europe and this is our first cruise within the US and Canada. I can say that there were differences with cruising locally and in Europe. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We love NCL but this was not our favorite ship. The good: the staff was wonderful. The entertainment was really good. Choir of Man was awesome! I loved the Wine Lovers Musical. A fun experience. The food in the Manhattan Room and ... Read More
We love NCL but this was not our favorite ship. The good: the staff was wonderful. The entertainment was really good. Choir of Man was awesome! I loved the Wine Lovers Musical. A fun experience. The food in the Manhattan Room and Taste and Savor was really good. The ropes course and mini golf were really fun as well. The rooms; The rooms were nice. The bathroom was the biggest we have had on a cruise. (balcony room). Drawback: the closet was in a weird spot. It was hard to access by the couch. The couch was also very uncomfortable. Not so good: the smoke smell was horrible in the stairwell with the chandelier, Headliners Comedy Club, the art hallway, and sometimes the atrium. We left Dueling Pianos because it was pretty strong. Embarkation and Debarkation was crazy. I realize the hurricane created a delay. Embarkation: The issue was the person on the overhead system gave one direction and the workers were telling us something different. People were confused. Debarkation: the area where you exit and catch the buses was jam packed. A lady who worked there was yelling at us because we weren't moving. We couldn't move because it was a tiny area and way too many people. We were following an excursion line for NYC. The excursion lady disappeared and we were left in the luggage area with no clue what to do. It was really chaotic. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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