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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Where to start, and apologies in advance for the length of this but when you are spending this amount of money knowing the line and ship is critical. First, we are experienced cruisers having been on Holland American, Celebrity, Royal ... Read More
Where to start, and apologies in advance for the length of this but when you are spending this amount of money knowing the line and ship is critical. First, we are experienced cruisers having been on Holland American, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Viking and Brendan. This was our first and last cruise on NCL. It started before we sailed. We actually chose the cruise based on the Maritime ports we wanted to visit. Even before we sailed NCL dropped one of the ports we wanted to see but it was too late to cancel our trip without a penalty. Then NCL asked if we wanted to “bid” on a cabin upgrade. We had selected a lovely cabin on the picturesque side of the NCL Dawn for this cruise but thought, what the heck, and put in a minimal bid for an upgrade, big mistake. We got an “upgrade” to a mini suite. Unfortunately it was on the other side of the ship directly under the buffet. We researched the suite, 11150 on the Dawn, which got terrible reviews for constant noise from the buffet restaurant above. We called NCL immediately but were told “ sorry, no cancellations or changes;” we even asked to go back to our old room and forfeit our bid, no deal, so we purchased ear plugs and hoped for the best. On to our trip. We were supposed to be met at the Boston airport upon arrival, well we arrived, got our bags and still no agent. After calling we were told the agent would be there shortly. After 20 minutes she arrived and said she needed to check with her supervisor for when we would get transportation. We finally got a van 30 minutes after that, so one hour after we had our luggage we were on our way to the port. Now on board, the observations. The Dawn is a smaller, older ship, refurbished a few years ago but still showing some age. Being smaller the entertainment is nice but no big shows. The theater stage is small and old theater type seating a bit uncomfortable and tight. There are no tables for drinks or even cup holders. Some have renamed NCL to “Nickel and Dime” as they really seem to push selling raffle tickets, bingo cards, art and wine auctions. Every venue you go to they are pushing some raffle. On board internet is absurd at almost $35/day for unlimited access for one device and you need to book it for your entire cruise. You can pay $1.00 per minute plus $4.00 activation charge for basic email and web but no audio, video or VPN. It was sometimes hard to find a quiet spot just to read especially if weather was a bit inclement and everyone was inside. Our cabin was decent from an appointment perspective but if you are a light sleeper make sure you have ear plugs. In this suite you will hear every chair scooch and cart from the restaurant above all day until 10:00 pm and then again from breakfast setup starting at 5:30 am. Next, don’t get the Ultimate Drink Package unless you are a true alcoholic. At $89.00 per day per person this may seem like a deal but what is in the fine print is the additional 20% automatic “tip” additionally added to your bill, so break even is about 10 drinks a day per person and it doesn’t cover specially coffee, soft drinks, bottled water or juices. The staff onboard were friendly and amenable but not exceptional. With the combination of NCL’s automatic daily, per person service charge and freestyle dining, where you were constantly with different staff no one seemed motivated to do anything special. Some bar staff would engage a bit more when we slipped them a couple of bucks on drink orders. Beyond basic room services, folded towel animals were the extent of our steward service. The biggest disappointment on this ship was the food. The food in the “free” dining rooms, Aqua, Venetian and O’Sheehan’s doesn’t even qualify as average. You will find 200% better quality at your local casual dining spot. Everything is geared to drive you to their premium,”pay for” restaurants. At least the Garden Cafe is what you would expect for an average buffet. Personally we ended up enjoying making sandwiches from the cheese and cold cuts and getting our expensive “Ultimate Drink Package” drinks and taking our food and sitting by the pool. This cruise was my first experience with “freestyle” dining and I don’t think I like it. First we were told that you could make reservations either by the onboard app, on the tv or by phone. What they didn’t tell you was that was for the pay restaurants only. They would take reservations for the free restaurants only by phone and then only for specific times. Being freestyle all the free restaurants were in a hurry to turn the table so every dinner seemed rushed; frequently we would get our appetizers even before our drinks. Even the speciality restaurants were a bit of a disappointment as here we were in oyster, mussel and lobster heaven and not one restaurant had any of these on the menu any night. If you do decide you are willing to pay extra for decent food book your tables days in advance especially for “at sea” days or you will find nothing available until after 9:00 pm if there is even an opening. The “pay” dining has good but not great food. On our cruise we dined in the Italian and Japanese restaurants and both were good but the quality was what we have had on other cruises in the main dining rooms yet here we had to pay an additional $30/person with an automatic 20% tip. Shore excursions. So we came to the Maritimes to enjoy the scenery and most importantly the fresh seafood. Needless to say we never saw “fresh seafood “ on board but thought we would at least enjoy it on shore in the excursions. In Nova Scotia we took the excursion to Peggy’s Cove with a billed lunch at Murphy’s Seafood Restaurant. When we boarded the tour our guide asked how many people wanted a lobster roll for lunch and how many wanted pasta. So we went to Peggy’s Cove and saw all these lovely, fresh lobster spots and started salivating for our lunch. Then we rolled back into Halifax around 2:00 pm only to turn into a strip mall Steak and Stein not for a fresh lobster roll but for a “lobster wrap” and salad, something I would have expected from a chain sandwich place. On P.E.I. known for lobster, mussels and oysters, our included lunch was the choice of a boxed turkey or ham sandwich. Luckily we got back to the pier early enough to buy and enjoy a lobster roll. Also, these are small ports and typically have three and maybe even four ships in port at any given time so all the buses end up at the same locations simultaneously. My recommendation is skip the NCL tours, get off the boat early and either hire or rent a car see what is important to you then find a nice spot for some wonderful local food. Although we enjoyed seeing the Maritimes the NCL “Cruise Experience” was a big disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I always wanted to see New England and Quebec Canada and had the best time ever. The Dawn had been very nicely updated and we were not disappointed at all. Our Mini Suite with balcony was very comfortable and roomy for a ... Read More
My wife and I always wanted to see New England and Quebec Canada and had the best time ever. The Dawn had been very nicely updated and we were not disappointed at all. Our Mini Suite with balcony was very comfortable and roomy for a cruise ship. The Staff and service were outstanding and the food was the some of the best we ever experienced. Plenty of entertainment to choose from too. Only thing we did not appreciate was the very expensive and slow wifi. Shore excursions were Okay but we found the towns and local restaurants on our own to be just as much fun. The locals were very friendly and helpful pointing out places to go or sight see. Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor was beautiful. Halifax great and Charlotte Ville PE Island were our favorites. La Baie so so. Spent the night in Quebec City after debarkation at Hotel PUR. Nice room with ceiling to floor window view of City was awesome. Would have liked to had more time to explore there. Other than that we would sail again on NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I always wanted to visit Quebec City, but the surprising lack of an non-stop airplane from BOS to YQC made a long weekend by air too much trouble. So, illogically, we took a cruise instead. We live near Black Falcon Terminal, ... Read More
My wife and I always wanted to visit Quebec City, but the surprising lack of an non-stop airplane from BOS to YQC made a long weekend by air too much trouble. So, illogically, we took a cruise instead. We live near Black Falcon Terminal, so did not need to deal with flights for our outbound let. Because the cruise was during the school term and the destinations were along the New England/Canadian coast and St. Laurence River, the demographic was (ahem) mature, which suited us just fine. We no longer need to party like it's 1999, or whatever, although the opportunity was there for those so inclined. This seven-day cruise was perfect, with the right combination of port calls and at-sea periods. We did not get pier side at as many calls as I hoped, but the boat handlers did a nice job in getting people to/from shore. This is a first time we tried a cheaper cabin (4506) which was a the lowest deck for passengers, all the way forward and had a port light. Previously we always paid extra for a balcony. As it turns out, while the added amenity would have been nice, we didn't miss the balcony as much as anticipated. When we did drop anchor, we could hear the chain rumble threw the hawse pipe, which I found rather amusing and connected me with the ship.We found plenty of fresh air on deck. The cabin was small but more than adequate, with plenty of storage of our roll-ons and personal items/clothing. The condition was excellent and spotless, and remained so throughout the cruise. We had a minor fresh water supply leak which puddled in the head; a minor inconvenience which was resolved with a quick call to housekeeping. They followed-up to make sure we were happy ... nice touch. We packed light and rolled our luggage on/off. Given the "freestyle" cruise approach, we were able to get everything we needed in what you could carry on an airline flight, which we did for our flight back to BOS. My suggestion: don't over-pack and keep things simple. The Dawn was the right size for us. She rode comfortably, which was a concern given our cabin location all the way forward. Admittedly, the sea state was remarkably calm, so this wasn't really put to the test. The entire trip was executed professionally, from embarkation to meals, entertainment and crew performance. Some items which could have been improved on: 1. We tended to dine in Venetian and Aqua rooms. Both were equivalent experiences but lacked menu selection changes throughout the cruise and had nearly identical offerings. I suggest changing selections up a bit more during the cruise.Otherwise great dining and service. 2. The entertainment was generally good, but I found some of the shows featuring dance routines to be overwrought with a lot of lip syncing and contrived choreography. That said, the Elements show and the Irish folk singer/comedian were both excellent. 3. The in-cabin TV was nearly worthless. I realize one does not cruise to sit in a cabin and watch the TV, but it would have been nice to pick up some local channels to get the weather and news to get a preview of the upcoming port visit. The ship's information channel (e.g., navigation, sea state) was useful, but being a maritime geek, I think it could use a design update with more information. The Garden Cafe, which offered cafeteria style service, had a great selection and was perfect for breakfast and lunch. We also sampled the Irish Pub and Bamboo Asian, which provided additional selections without the additional cost of specialty dining. When the weather was warm enough, and this was "shoulder season", we carried our meals from the Cafe to the adjacent pool deck. Half the deck (the side with the ashtrays) allowed smoking, but going to the opposite side solved any problem from smokers. Lots of fresh air for everybody. I would recommend this itinerary and cruise line, particularly if hot sun and beach destinations are not a priority. Happy cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We selected this cruise as an extension of our week stay in Boston, hoping to see some Fall color and planning to spend a week in Quebec after the cruise. Embarkation was crowded but went smoothly, we were having lunch less than an hour ... Read More
We selected this cruise as an extension of our week stay in Boston, hoping to see some Fall color and planning to spend a week in Quebec after the cruise. Embarkation was crowded but went smoothly, we were having lunch less than an hour after arriving at the terminal. Our balcony room was midship on 10th deck. I made dinner reservations before the cruise and was able to change them during the cruise. The ship was 2/3 full. We had the bar and premium dining package. All the wines were good. The Cellar wasn’t crowded so it was nice to hang out there. We ate at Le Bistro, Cagneys, Cucina, Los Lobos. All were good, Cagneys was my favorite. The Venetian and Bamboo were good, Aqua - not so much. The first day I definitely noticed rocking of the boat, but got used to it afterwards. The sea was not rough and we had three sunny days. We liked all the shows. All the stops were great except for Charlottetown. Four ships were in port that day and this small town can’t handle that many people. If you didn’t have reservations for anything, you were our of luck. Fellow cruisers liked the lobster excursion. We went on the Savor the Island tour thru Norwegian which was a ripoff. My wife took another Norwegian excursion we took was the Island tour on Halifax to Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg which she liked, except for the lunch stop. I took my own walking tour of Halifax, which has a lot to offer. At Bar Harbor we took a ferry to Winter Harbor and took the free bus around Schoodic Peninsula where we hiked and had lunch. We finally saw fall color in Quebec. La Baie was our favorite stop. The fjord was beautiful. We took a four hour tour thru Route du Fjord. They met us at the terminal and made sure we were back to catch the boat. The guide was fantastic. The two days at sea were an unexpected treat. These were the first days to rest after being on the go for 20+ days. We had one problem with the room which was fixed quickly. It was great to sit on the balcony, watch the ocean and relax. We walked off the boat in Quebec. Disembarkation was quick, no customs, we were at our hotel in Quebec City less than an hour after leaving our cabin. This cruise experience may have been different if the boat was fully occupied, since we didn’t encounter many long lines. Quebec City is beautiful. We spent half a day at Montmorency Falls where the fall colors were spectacular. We stayed in Quebec City three days before going on to Montreal. We put a deposit down for our next cruise on Norwegian. Two suggestions: 1) Norwegian should offer orientation info on each stop the evening before, and 2) Ditch the Savor the Island tour or cut the price in half. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the cruise because we had a Norwegian deposit to use and because we really wanted to visit this area. This was my first time on Norwegian having sailed with Princess and Holland America in the past. All to follow is with the ... Read More
We chose the cruise because we had a Norwegian deposit to use and because we really wanted to visit this area. This was my first time on Norwegian having sailed with Princess and Holland America in the past. All to follow is with the understanding that such experiences can vary from person to person, ship to ship, and line to line. Norwegian missed on a lot of little things. Didn't ruin the cruise but didn't stack up to other lines. During the my first three meals on the ship they forgot to bring me a course I'd ordered until I reminded them. Then once they brought TWO. There seemed to be no quiet places to sit and have a drink on sea days. They have beautiful bar up top but it seemed to always be used for dance lessons, bingo, trivia, etc, etc. Music everywhere and it sometimes clashed with what was being played at the next place. Maybe it's just me but doesn't anyone enjoy a nice drink and quiet conversation anymore? The main dining room never once made me say "wow, I really want that" with their entrees. Magenta did have the advantage of being a more quiet venue in which to dine. The appetizers were fine, entrees blah, and the desserts were not as good as other ships. Other lines will bring you coffee and juice at your table at the buffet but not Norwegian. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Guest services was excellent as was embarkation and disembarkation. We enjoyed our excursions. Note: If you are considering the "Hiking Saguenay National Park pay attention when they say you need to be an experience hiker and you certainly need to be in shape. You hike up a trail made of large rocks as steps for long distances with a steep incline. Coming down is easier but you must pay attention to every footstep. All in all, the line missed on a lot of little things that will probably lead me to choose a different cruise line next time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The cruise to Canada and New England was considered a "distinctive voyage". It was okay, but there are a lot of caveats. It's not like Norwegian had anything disastrous happen on this cruise (and I hate people who complain ... Read More
The cruise to Canada and New England was considered a "distinctive voyage". It was okay, but there are a lot of caveats. It's not like Norwegian had anything disastrous happen on this cruise (and I hate people who complain excessively about vacation), it's just that it was... well, a boring itinerary and a boring ship. Additionally, it's important to know that the Canada cruises skew a lot older than other ships (not that NCL can change that). We did this as our honeymoon and oftentimes, by midnight we were the ONLY people out in public areas. If you like nightlife at all, this ship has none. There was never anybody in Bliss, the nightclub. There were almost NO children on our ship. It was pretty much only older folks. First, the ship. The Gem has a sort of confusing layout. It's not intuitive. Our cabin was aft and many of the activities we enjoyed were in Spinnaker Lounge, on deck 13 Forward. The problem is, to get there oftentimes you have to go up or down a deck to get across the ship. The flow of getting around takes a lot to get used to on the Gem. I hit a lot of dead ends trying to get to an attraction. The Gem also clearly is in need of an update in terms of its attractions and restaurants/bars. A lot of the "theming" is blatantly dated, like the martini bar. Our cabin was great, no complaints, a lot of storage space. In fact, I had more closet space in an oceanview than I had on my last cruise in a balcony! Only complaint is that NCL televisions are tiny, but that's true across the line and not just on the Gem. Dining was sometimes an up and down experience. Meals we had in the MDR were muddled - for example, my husband loved his prime rib one night, but another night would think he had the worst French onion soup he's ever had. The specialty dining was excellent, as usual. We think the specialty dining is still a good value, compared to DC where we are from. The buffet was usually just for a quick meal - I would avoid it at breakfast and go to O'Sheehans or the MDR if possible. You'll get a way more appetizing breakfast. The ports were mixed. We loved Bar Harbor, Maine - incredibly charming, a lot to walk around in the downtown area, and beautiful in its national park. St. John was cute and the reversing rapids was a nice attraction. By far the worst place was Sydney, NS - very little to see in the town and the decent excursions were taking you 45 minutes or an hour away. Ending in Quebec City was a highlight of the cruise, although I question the cruise beginning or ending with an overnight, as we did and the next cruise did. It means that for a lot of the cruise, relatively, things like the duty-free shop and casino are closed. Service was great. We always enjoy the staff and our steward. Never had to wait to get a drink or be served in a restaurant. Not a lot of lines on the Gem. We got a lot of great tips from the crew, who go out of their way to be friendly. Entertainment on board was a mixed bag. First of all, the production singers were great but the shows showcasing them were really terrible. A lot of jukebox revues without any plot or substance to them, and songs that did not show off their particular cast. I am lucky I went to the cabaret and got to see songs picked particularly for the singers - they were amazing when able to be themselves. The other entertainers did well - we enjoyed the acrobatics show and the comedian - but none were really stellar. We liked the four-piece band that traveled around the ship. Definitely, the piano player/singer aboard was awful - he had no energy and terrible vocals. I actively avoided places where he was playing. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves but would not take this ship or itinerary again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Norwegian Gem, like all other Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships in the fleet, espouses what it calls "Freestyle Cruising." This means that there are no set dining times, and you may dine in either of the two free main dining ... Read More
Norwegian Gem, like all other Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships in the fleet, espouses what it calls "Freestyle Cruising." This means that there are no set dining times, and you may dine in either of the two free main dining rooms (the larger Grand Pacific or the smaller Magenta), or in one of the free specialty restaurants (such as Orchid Garden or O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill), or in one of the up-charge specialty restaurants (such as Cagney's Steakhouse or Le Bistro). The up-charge restaurants have either a $25-30 cover charge, or are priced a la carte. When one books a cruise, sometimes specialty dining packages are offered as an enticement, and it would be wise to snag one of those packages if one books NCL. Freestyle Cruising also means there are no dress codes on the ship and in most of the dining rooms and restaurants, except for Le Bistro and Cagney's, which ask gentlemen to at least wear long trousers and a collared shirt. Jackets for men are never required. This lack of dress codes draws an extremely casually-dressed crowd. This would be delightful if one enjoyed seeing men dressed for dinner as if they just cleaned out the garage. Or there was the woman at dinner in the very high-class Le Bistro wearing a wrinkled red t-shirt with some freakin' message on the front. If that's the atmosphere you like, well, good luck with it. I missed not having a set dining time with the same servers every night. And I don't mind putting on a jacket. But to each his own -- freestyle. I found the casualness, well, just too damn casual. Unfortunately the food in the main dining rooms and in the buffet-style Garden Cafe (there is nothing garden-like about it) is just so-so. I stopped going to the main dining rooms after the first three nights of my 10-day cruise from NYC to Quebec City. The food was mediocre and the service seemed to be provided by waiters still in training. One evening I ordered bratwurst with sauerkraut. I asked for some mustard for the bratwurst and you would have thought it was the first time the staff had ever heard of such a thing. Finally one of the captains (who are always on their cell phones, talking to who I don't know) came over and said they could give me some Tabasco sauce for the bratwurst! No, I said, I want mustard, and preferably spicy brown mustard. Eventually they located an individual-sized bottle of Dijon mustard. I made do, trying to pep up the very bland sausage on my plate. No spicy brown, I'm afraid. Appetizers, entrees, and desserts may sound very appealing on the menus, but what is brought to the table is often disappointing. The food tends to be bland, which is probably pleasing to many of the more mature passengers. The up-charge specialty restaurants, however, can be very good, proving that NCL knows how to provide fine dining. They just don't provide it to everyone on the ship. I loved Le Bistro for French. Cagney's was the most popular, with great steaks. But the Dobosh torte I ordered there for dessert one night was more thick frosting than cake, enough to put you on the expressway to diabetes. For those who drink from morning to midnight, it is perhaps advisable to look into the somewhat economical drink packages. I don't drink much, but on one of the early days of the cruise I ordered a Manhattan, made with Maker's Mark. Imagine my surprise when the bill was presented -- $22.00 including the mandatory 20% gratuity. For the rest of the cruise, when I occasionally wanted a cocktail, it would be whatever the drink-of-the-day special was -- usually $8.95 a throw. Enough complaining. Let me tell you what's good. The Norwegian Gem was built in 2005, so it is an older vessel. It was refurbished in 2015. Some areas of the ship appear a bit dated, but the vessel is kept immaculate, and you won't see any worn carpets or frayed upholstery. All is spic and span. Everything runs on time -- embarkation, disembarkation, tenders, etc. You never feel vibrations from the engines. The ship is extremely stable, even in 11.5-foot waves. All the staff, in fact, are friendly and eager to please for the most part. The redone Stardust Theater is wonderful, and that leads me to one of the great things on the ship: the production shows are the best I have even seen on the seas. We had three: Swing, which was music and dance from the 1930/40s swing/jazz era; Blazing Boots, which was country-western; and Get Down Tonight, which was music from the 1970s. The singers and dancers on the Gem were nearly all Broadway-quality. We also had a juggler, a comedian, a Cirque de Soleil-type act, a magician, and a singer on other evenings -- some good and some just okay for an after-dinner 45-minutes of entertainment. Acts and music in the various lounges were also good to excellent. The first day there was a meet-up for solo travelers, which I attended, and which I haven't experienced on other ships. It was nice, and I met a couple of very interesting, well-traveled folks. About 30 people showed up, and most of us went to dinner as a group (until I dropped out). Now for some of the ship's lesser qualities. There is no indoor pool on the Gem, except for the thermal suite which has a hydrotherapy pool and various accoutrements. But to use the thermal suite you must shell out $240. There are no day passes, you must buy the package for the whole cruise. Which is sad, because in the men's locker room, and I assume on the women's side as well, there is a wonderful spacious sauna with large windows looking out to sea. It would have been delightful on this cool-weather itinerary to use it once in awhile. But I didn't feel like splurging $240 bucks. A few hardy people braved the cool Fall weather to go out to the hot tubs on the ship's pool deck. Cookies were almost impossible to find on the vessel. I never saw them anywhere, until the last day I discovered they had some at a snack bar out on the pool deck. Well, few people used the pool deck on this itinerary, which is perhaps why they hid the cookies out there. And no avocados, asparagus, or berries anywhere on the ship, except as an occasional garnish. No pies, just lots of cobbler, which was the usual canned fruit pie filling with a barely-baked layer of crumbs on top, onto which you could ladle some creamy or sugar-laden sauce. The cakes tended to be two-layer jobs, with just different frosting or garnishes each day. Dessert portions tended to be small, which was probably a good thing. Ice cream or soft-serve was always available. NCL never used the theater for movies, which is sad because all of the other activities on the ship were things like trivia, bingo, game shows, and the usual pitches to patronize the spa or buy orthotics. There were no cultural events or port talks, not counting the initial presentation of all the various excursions one could buy. And there were the shopping talks, steering passengers to so-called NCL-approved retailers. NCL has done away with a daily news sheet of world news, something that is disappearing on most ships these days as passengers get news online or on their stateroom TVs. There was, of course, the ship's own newsletter listing all the day's activities, etc., which also delineated any time changes and so forth, as well as containing the inevitable NCL promotions. In the atrium, there is a large digital movie screen, but most of the time it just played one NCL commercial after another. TV channels in the staterooms were extremely limited compared to what is available on, say, Princess. Ports going up the coast into Canada vary. Bar Harbor (great lobster rolls) and Prince Edward Island were very nice. St. John, you can forget it; the Reversing Falls are overly-hyped. It was pouring in Sydney, so I never went ashore, as even three guidebooks couldn't find anything good to say about it. Halifax has a nice maritime museum with a Titanic exhibit. Saguenay had a great welcome committee, all dressed in historic French attire as loggers, bakers, schoolchildren, etc., and they served us blueberry pie and maple syrup taffy. The highlight of all was Quebec City, with a UNESCO-protected Old Town, not to be missed. And I also took a countryside excursion on the second of our two-day stay in QC that was enjoyable, and it dropped me off at the QC Airport. My two flights to get home (QC to Montreal on Air Canada Rouge and Montreal to DC on Air Canada Express) were fine, leather seats and all, despite having to pay $25 to check my suitcase. But a rain delay in Montreal caused me to almost miss my connection. Montreal is a l-o-n-g airport when you have to walk from one end to the other. My connection time was supposed to be 90 minutes, but the rain delay caused it to be reduced by half. And you have to go through US customs/immigration in Montreal, which was also slow. I needed track shoes. Thank goodness my connecting flight was also delayed, or I would have been spending the night in Montreal, as it was the end of a three-day weekend, and the airports were mobbed Would I book another NCL cruise? Well, if I did, it would have to be at a bargain fare (which I got on this trip), and I would definitely want a specialty dining package. And I would need to be content with the great production shows, and also want to just read a few good books while at sea. With so many other cruise lines to choose from, I just don't think I'd be in a rush back to NCL. But friends I met on my recent Cunard crossing have invited me to join them on two NCL cruises they do in the winter. I haven't said yes or no -- just we'll see. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship needs updating especially the stardust theatre- seats uncomfortable - steps terrible and many people almost fell or tripped and this cruise because of the time of year was full of seniors who had trouble navigating steps - seat ... Read More
The ship needs updating especially the stardust theatre- seats uncomfortable - steps terrible and many people almost fell or tripped and this cruise because of the time of year was full of seniors who had trouble navigating steps - seat arm broke in my hand- lightening is old and whole auditorium need to be redone from top to bottom- first time on NCL cruise I’ve been extremely disappointed with food in the main dinning room and the buffet on deck 12- the only meal that was good was breakfast - food chef and menu’s need to change drastically - I heard a lot of complaints - meat of all types were over cooked and tough - all beef meals were terrible - pork chops - chicken all tough and over cooked - A few shows in stardust lounge need to be retired - especially the juggler - his career needs to retire - show troop from ship were great , all 3 shows fantastic. Room staff were very good - room always was clean and fully supplied. Game shows and kerokee in bliss were good - but second Saturday need more activities. Need better tv shows and movies - some live tv would be great for relaxing in room - the movies were strange and not entertaining at all - I did enjoy the live football games broadcast and wish we could have seen more live tv other than 5 news channels - some comedy and action television or movies would have been nice Disappointed in this NCL cruise Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We took this cruise because of a very attractive, bargain basement, clearance fare on the cruise. We cruise regularly, but this would be our first time with Norwegian. While initially impressed by the ease of embarkation (Tip #1 - arrive ... Read More
We took this cruise because of a very attractive, bargain basement, clearance fare on the cruise. We cruise regularly, but this would be our first time with Norwegian. While initially impressed by the ease of embarkation (Tip #1 - arrive later in the day on embarkation day) and the initial impression of the ship, we were overall disappointed by our Norwegian experience. The Cabin, an inside stateroom (category IB,) was clean, well laid out (for the most part) and comfortable. Our cabin steward was great and took care of any issues that arose. The food experience was good. A few fantastic meals interspersed with many good, yet underwhelming, meals. The buffet food was also good, but fairly underwhelming in selection and quality compared to other cruises we have been on. The service was good but fell short on a few occasions. Definitely not up to the standards I expect on a cruise. Entertainment was good... with the exception of one lounge act who could play the piano well enough, but his singing was enough to make me avoid the atrium whenever he was scheduled to play. Where this cruise really fell short was aboard communication. It often appeared that the left hand did not know what the right hand was thinking. The first full day aboard the ship, after checking the daily newsletter for the buffet house, I went for a late breakfast 25 min prior to the printed end time, only to be told that they had just closed until lunch. That was just the first of many times we read or were told by staff one thing only to find the information inaccurate, misleading or just plain wrong. The ports were for the most part all great. In particular, I was very impressed with Saguenay, Quebec. The port facilities are good and people of that area are going out of their way to provide a great shore experience. Unfortunately I never made it into Bar Harbor, MN. It appears nobody onboard, including the captain, knew why NCL scheduled to go to the US after a stop in Canada. This was a major pain as everyone, whether going ashore or not, had to be seen by US customs for a passport check before anyone was allowed to go ashore. I certainly agree with the need for the check, but if this is the process that must be followed, I would have rather just spent that day floating at sea. It would have made more sense, from this perspective, to stop at Bar Harbor before leaving for Canada. All in all, the cruise was a good trip and well worth the small amount we paid. For first time cruisers who have not experienced better, it will provide a great experience. I may have written off Norwegian as an option for future cruises, but several people we met that had cruised Norwegian in the past said that the previous cruises all were a better experience than this one. I will consider trying Norwegian again, but if I do, it will likely be on one of their new ships... if the price is right. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
All shore tours! As an independent traveler with a Tour Company, when we took our shore excursions, we were ignored shoved to the side. Shoved to the side so only NCL tours could get by. Even when a bus slot was open, our tour bus was not ... Read More
All shore tours! As an independent traveler with a Tour Company, when we took our shore excursions, we were ignored shoved to the side. Shoved to the side so only NCL tours could get by. Even when a bus slot was open, our tour bus was not allowed to enter. Had to park the furthest away and our group was always the last off the ship. I (we) have never been treated so poorly traveling,. I have already refused to go on Bermuda cruise with NCL end of April 2019' On board staff were excellent. Only small complaint, which I passed on to upper crew staff, was a lot of hot buffet food, was cold to slightly warm. So we made sure and ordered food that had to be prepared on the spot. Cabin was a little smaller than expected, should have checked square footage a little closer.Weather on cruise was not very good, but still went ashore. Also the changes NCL made on our cruise, from when we originally signed up for was not appreciated. NCL response to that was to give us a $50 dollar oer cabin onboard credit. Really $4500 per cabin invested and they give us $50 dollars!! Read Less
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