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153 Norwegian (NCL) Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

We have sailed on 22 cruises decided to take in a little cold after the hot summer we had in Maryland. We got a great Casino price so we took this one. This was our 5th NCL Cruise in the past few years. The Ship is beautiful and clean. ... Read More
We have sailed on 22 cruises decided to take in a little cold after the hot summer we had in Maryland. We got a great Casino price so we took this one. This was our 5th NCL Cruise in the past few years. The Ship is beautiful and clean. Staff was wonderful. Cabin was to small, we opted for inside since the temps would be to cold for BC tried to bid to OV but none was available. Dining was just so so. Nothing made us want to get more of anything. We did not go to the extra ala cart dining rooms, just the compliminary ones. The ala cart prices have gone crazy. Comedy club was good, we saw the same guy three nights, the production shows were great, After Midnight, and Choir of Man. It was a port intensive cruise, we stopped four ports four days, two sea days. Canada was very cold this early in the year. We did two ship excursions, hop on hop off in St. John, not impressed. Halifax did the harbor hopper, freezing cold, it was to windy to go on the water, so instead we got a condensed version of the town tour. Tour guide and driver were great, just not alot to see. Because of the cold we did not find enough to do on ship days, or after being on shore. It was bingo, deal or no deal, or casino. This was a much older crowd and slower thats for sure, we think the average age must be 60. There were only 80 children on this sailing. I think we might wait again before sailing in NCL to see if they make a few changes. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The trip was definitely uneven starting with the loading process. We waited online for about 1.5 hours to get on the ship and found that most of the employees were not helpful at this point until someone complained to management and they ... Read More
The trip was definitely uneven starting with the loading process. We waited online for about 1.5 hours to get on the ship and found that most of the employees were not helpful at this point until someone complained to management and they came and started to direct the lines. If all of your paperwork is printed out, there is no reason that people should take more than 3-4 minutes at the counter. Cases that become more complicated should be directed to a different help desk. Most of the people working on the ship were wonderful. They had very positive attitudes. I didn't expect the overall sleezy feeling that people were always trying to sell me something. For instance, I went to a lecture on metabolism not realizing until after 40 minutes they were now going to try to sell me a product to help cleanse my system. Most talks ended up being some type of sales pitch. I truly enjoyed the Thermal Suite but resented the blatant lying about how many passes they were selling. When I bought my pass, I was told there were 20 passes left and the limit was 120. A couple of hours later, I went back for a raffle and again heard how there were only 20 passes left. Then I realized that they were also selling day passes as the cruise went on. To be honest, I only felt crowded once during my time there, but the unnecessary lying seemed foolish. Another major issue was communication. I wanted to get off at Bar Harbor a couple of hours before my tour which started at 12:50 from inside the ship. I was discouraged by the crew saying they would not be responsible if I didn't find the group off of the ship (turns out very easy to find them)- hence I stayed on the ship. Other people I met were told sure meet the tour in front of the ship and yet others were told that they could absolutely not leave the ship. Overall, the food was fine and the staff serving were exceptional. As stated- it was a very up and down experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because I am single now, and I had friend going on this sailing. I sailed NCL in1987 and had been very happy with the experience. On the plus side I found the staff very pleasant and helpful. Officers did not engage ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I am single now, and I had friend going on this sailing. I sailed NCL in1987 and had been very happy with the experience. On the plus side I found the staff very pleasant and helpful. Officers did not engage at all. The ship was very clean and my cabin comfortable with plenty of closet space. The food was hit and miss, my visit to the Italian specialty restaurant was disappointing, food Luke warm, sent back, still not hot. I gave up. The entertainment was low budget, but I found that I enjoyed most of the entertainers. We missed three of our ports due to poor weather, all needed to be tendered, I don’t recommend this ship if you have a disability, tendering difficult with lots of stairs. I would have gone on NCL again, if I had friends going, but this is the deal breaker. They having smoking in their casinos, putting their employees and customers in a proven unsafe health environment. With what we know of the hazards of secondhand smoke, this is unforgivable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was an extremely average cruise, and by the time we were done, I felt like our "good deal" had become "a little too expensive." I have written a very detailed review below, but if you want a TL;DR here you go: The ... Read More
This was an extremely average cruise, and by the time we were done, I felt like our "good deal" had become "a little too expensive." I have written a very detailed review below, but if you want a TL;DR here you go: The service was horrible, the food was one step above hotel catering if you paid extra and right at cheap convention center quality for free dining, the wine is overpriced but delicious, the shows and entertainment are excellent but require extra fees and/or reservations, the spa is worth every penny, the ship is too big for comfort, and the app is garbage. On, and expect to smell cigarette smoke everywhere but your stateroom and the main theater which was super gross. We booked on a promotion which offered the ultimate beverage package and 3 upgraded dining options at no additional charge (but plus the gratuity for the packages) and we prepaid our general gratuities. More on the beverage package below. The initial cost for 2 adults splitting a balcony room was about half of the cost for 2 adults in an inside room on our preferred cruise line (DCL) for a similar itinerary. Ship: The ship itself is in good shape and things were in good repair and good working order. The crew could be seen working to clean and maintain the ship daily, which is a good thing. There are eight elevators at the banks located fore and aft, but no easy way to access the center of the ship. Wait times for the elevators could range from a few seconds with empty cars to a 10-15 minute wait. I thought the ship was too big- it was difficult to make plans to meet people and I almost never just "stumbled" on folks I had met at other activities in the evenings- things were just too big. This also means all the relaxation areas were constantly full- it was difficult to find seats on the Waterfront or in the bars at night. The overall decor of the ship is mid-range casino glitzy, if you're into that kind of thing- I prefer classy or elegant. The main atrium, which is not where the LED chandelier in all the pictures is located, looks like a 1990s living room done in taupe and boring. The three story centerpiece with the light was a design mistake- while it is striking to look down from the waterfront interior shops or up from the ground floor restaurants, the middle is open to the casino...and that means the cigarette smoke goes everywhere- into every restaurant, bar, and venue open to decks 6, 7 and 8. Truly disgusting. Dining: The food is about cheap hotel catering quality for free dining. I was underwhelmed by the quality of the food and there were no innovative or interesting regional offerings or signature cocktails in the paid restaurants. O'Sheehans food comes from the buffet. The upcharge dining at Cagneys was pretty delicious, at Modern Chiaroscuro was mediocre, and at Teppanyaki was very salty (even for someone who loves soy sauce.) Margaritaville isn't work the charge- don't waste your money- it is buffet food on a colorful plate. The buffet had lots of variety for lunch, themed dinners each night, and a standard breakfast rotation with made-to-order omelets, amazing french toast, cold waffles, and the usual assortment of hash/potato/scrambled eggs/bacon/cereal/etc. It closes at the same time as the restaurants, so forget late night nosh or second dessert. Room service has a flat additional charge of $8/order (plus gratuity) except continental breakfast, which is free. The cheesecake was a standout surprise- order it every chance you get if you love NY-style cheesecake, and also the tiramisu. Otherwise, nothing stands out enough to recommend it. The service in the regular dining rooms was slow and inconsistent- we were not impressed. There was always a fifteen minute + wait to be seated as well. Dining package: if it is free, take it. Otherwise, plan on adding $300-$400 to your tab to enjoy actual cruise-level dining variety and experiences. The service is slightly better and more entertaining in the upcharge dining rooms, but still not to my standard for 'fine' dining. The alcohol package. So, Norwegian changed the package the week before we sailed and offered to "upgrade" us for $90 more (plus gratuity) to the NEW premium plan. Basically, they marked up all the single malt scotches and higher-end liquors to be $25-30 oz instead of $15-20, moved most of the bold reds to bottle-only (not included on package) or marked up the by-the-glass wines from $10-18 a glass to $15-35/glass. There are a slew of really mediocre table wines at $9/glass and then everything is either by the bottle, or outside the package limits without the new upgrade. This was very disappointing, and terrible customer service considering our booking terms. We used our drink package for traditional cocktails. Do yourself a favor and just order everything a double- trust me, you might get a single serving of alcohol if you order the doubles. If you order all doubles, the package is worth it. If you order all doubles and drink lots of wine and nicer liquor neat (which is not diluted, yay!) then upgrade your package. Definitely visit the Mojito bar and make sure you visit the bar INSIDE Margaritaville on deck 17 for good margaritas- don't be fooled by the crappy "5'o clock somewhere" bar on deck 8- their menu is not the same and it is subpar. The wine on the ship is pretty great, but very overpriced. Sign up for tastings if you can. The Macallan "Experience" tasting is a great way to get 3-4 oz of scotch for 20 bucks and you can order it any time at Tobacco Road. Head's up- the actual tasting is sponsored by Macallan and it shows in the spiel- do your own research before you pay asking price for any of the "special" scotches on sale. I drink whisky all the time- the flight was a great deal, but that's it- the rest is marketing gimmick and markup. Smoking: seriously, who allows smoking all over ships these days? Norwegian, apparently. Smoking is permitted in the casino when it is open, and the casino is open to all three floors due to the atrium and the rotunda. It pollutes everything. There is also smoking on the forward port side of the pool deck and apparently also in Spice H2O, which totally ruined the adults-only section of the ship. Again, prepare to shell out an additional $200 to access the Vibe Beach Club if you want access to a pool deck that doesn't smell like smoke. Spa: Beautiful, gorgeous, wonderful. Well worth the upcharge, I spent 2-3 hours here every single day. I can't recommend it enough. The water therapy pool was a lot of fun and surprisingly effective. The sauna, sanarium and steam room were excellent (although the aromatics in the steam room are STRONG.) I didn't really notice the salt room working that well and a lot of the crystals had degraded, but it was warm and pleasant. The snow room was AWESOME but they closed it on our last full-sea day. Kind of lame. I did receive a therapy treatment and the treatment rooms are beautiful, clean, serene and tasteful. The spa was easily the best part of the ship experience. Housekeeping: Our experience was awful. Our housekeeper rarely came by the room and often explained to us she would have to finish our room the next day because she ran out of time. She refilled washcloths and pulled the sheets straight- and usually removed the dirty dishes- but that's it. When we wanted towels, pillows, refills for the coffee maker, or anything else we had to call and ask for it. This includes missing refills for toilet paper and tissues. There were never fun surprises at turndown. DCL now uses the bed blankets for the 'animals' to save on waste with clean towels- we were luck if our beds were made. The blankets were "put away" by her after the first night and we never saw them again (even when they were needed.) It felt like cheap hotel housekeeping, and we did not tip extra. Ports and Excursions: Meh, this was a rough itinerary. We went to Portland (Maine), Bar Harbor, Saint Johns (NB) and Halifax. Other than Bar Harbor, none of these towns are really ready to accept cruising visitors and they are not easy walking towns unless you like to climb hills. Halifax was definitely my second favorite port but I wish I hadn't disembarked for Saint Johns. I look forward to returning after a few years as they grow their cruise market. The lobster in every port was well worth finding. Entertainment and Activities: The shows are fantastic, but they cost extra and/or require reservations. Reservations don't work well with free-style dining. My travel partner had good luck walking up to shows and waiting for cancellations to see things- I don't have time to wait around for stuff like that. I can't recommend the Wine Musical enough- it was amazing!! It also cost $30 (including tip) per person, so there's that. All of the 'fun' stuff in OSheehan's costs money. Bowling is $6.50/person (not per game.) Outrageous. Skiball, table hockey, pool, mariokart, and basketball range in price from $2-$5/person. The ropes course got rave reviews from my family. The minigolf was frustrating at sea (but hilarious- make it a drinking game!) and usually closed in port. The pools and hot tubs were always crowded except late at night or early in the morning. There were plenty of sunny chairs, but I think that is because we were in cold-weather ports the whole time. The water slides received great reviews from my family. At the end of the day, you're still on a cruise ship and that is awesome. We accepted the lower service and expectations as the cost of booking a cheaper cruise. I may sail Norwegian again, but it will be to sit in the spa. The entertainment was pretty great, but the reservation system was difficult to work with given the lack of assigned dining. I got tired of getting charged for every little thing (six dollars a person to bowl. Seriously- A PERSON.) and it was frustrating that things were always crowded. I never really found a 'space' for me to hang out in like I have on other ships and adventures. Personally, the extra cost for that sense of personal service is really a worthy investment. Your personal travel style will greatly impact whether or not this bothers you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise based solely on the itinerary as we wanted a relaxing cruise to Canada. The ports did not disappoint as we found good things in all of the ports, especially going to Peggy’s Cove in Halifax. If you like lighthouses, ... Read More
We chose this cruise based solely on the itinerary as we wanted a relaxing cruise to Canada. The ports did not disappoint as we found good things in all of the ports, especially going to Peggy’s Cove in Halifax. If you like lighthouses, it is the best one to visit. Bar Harbor was also awesome, and we were lucky to have great weather the whole time. We had a cabin on Deck 11 which was average at best. I would say most everything about the ship was average or below, except that we very much enjoyed the Howl at the Moon dueling pianos shows and karaoke. This was my first NCL cruise, and I was surprised about the below average quality of the meals. The buffet was disappointing, and the main dining room choices were not much better. The two biggest issues with cruises in general are crowds and pushy sales gimmicks. We experienced both. My wife got a massage at the spa, and she said from the moment she went in she was pressured to get more services and buy products. The Atrium was used for all the game shows and events, and it was way overcrowded almost every time. Other than for the itinerary, I would not recommend this cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
New England/Canada Staff is top notch however I have traveled on Royal Caribbean and was disappointed with the amentaties Norwegian offered. Restaurants were hard to get reservations for. MargaritaVille was only open 12:00 to 5:00 ... Read More
New England/Canada Staff is top notch however I have traveled on Royal Caribbean and was disappointed with the amentaties Norwegian offered. Restaurants were hard to get reservations for. MargaritaVille was only open 12:00 to 5:00 which was disappointing because you were in port doing excursions at that time. The buffet was average. At times would wait 10 minutes or more just to get a soda compared to Royal Caribbean were you had a cup if you got the drink package and could access soda at all times. Not many activities compared to the ship's I have traveled on with Royal Caribbean. But as I said at the beginning the staff was excellent very friendly and helpful. If not for the staff I would have been totally disappointed with cruise. Talked with many others on ship and most shared the same thoughts. If I would have cruised with Norwegian first would have been happy but traveling another cruise line first and knowing what they offer let me a little disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Ship as chosen for the New England, S Canada experience.. Loved the outside decks for walking and relaxing. Staff was very polite, friendly and accommodating.Good choices of food and restaurants on board. Size of the ship meant a lot of ... Read More
Ship as chosen for the New England, S Canada experience.. Loved the outside decks for walking and relaxing. Staff was very polite, friendly and accommodating.Good choices of food and restaurants on board. Size of the ship meant a lot of walking and stair climbing and long waits for elevators. Wished a free WiFi service could be provided to contact friends on board. A bit hectic embarking and disembarking the ship because of the number of people on the ship, especially on the NYCity port in finding luggage and busses. Small pool for the size of the ship. Larger areas for the entertainment shows. Health office was closed for several hours during the day. Frustrated always in finding our room with the number of rooms on the ship. Enjoyed the ports and the daily newspaper informing us of the events of the day. We were blessed with great weather and calm seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Too crowded at times, not personalized, nothing out of the ordinary. We normally have at least have one night where lobster is offered in general dining on cruises with other carriers and it was not offered on NCL. We feel that NCL pushes ... Read More
Too crowded at times, not personalized, nothing out of the ordinary. We normally have at least have one night where lobster is offered in general dining on cruises with other carriers and it was not offered on NCL. We feel that NCL pushes specialty dining a lot to make more money rather than put money into regular dining. Regular dining was good, just not exceptional. We did always go to buffet dining for Breakfast but very crowded and no place to sit and the waiters were really not interested in serving us. We had to ask them for coffee, etc. They were not very friendly either. On other cruises the crew was always very friendly. etc. It just seemed like they were lacking in enthusiasm or whatever to wait on anyone. Maybe they are just too tired of waiting on everyone, too many people. It seemed that way all throughout the ship. Your cruise director was fantastic! Alvin was really the best! We urr were part of the Jimmy Sturr Polka Group and that was difficult also, since other than the last day of dancing, the room we had was way too small and crowded and not comfortable at all for the number of people in our group. It was not a safe environment at all! It felt like when y ou take a bunch of people and stuff them into a room and keep shoving them in until you can't get anymore in! Very disappointed in that!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
There was a major problem on this cruise: SMOKE from disgusting cigarettes. There was smoke from the casino that permeated all 3 floors of the area by the restaurants, floors 6,7 & 8, by the Tobacco Rd bar (The cigar room was there), ... Read More
There was a major problem on this cruise: SMOKE from disgusting cigarettes. There was smoke from the casino that permeated all 3 floors of the area by the restaurants, floors 6,7 & 8, by the Tobacco Rd bar (The cigar room was there), by the jogging track where it went by a bar ( I was walking and had to breathe smoke), by the Le Bistro. Also there were not enough seats to listen to the guitarist by Tobacco Rd,and smoke by H2O bar and hot tub. We even smelt the dam smoke when I opened our balcony door. You could even smell the smoke in the Atrium area. When we got out of Le Bistro (which was mediocre and ridiculously small portions) the smoke hit you in the face. We would of spent more time gambling if it were not for the fact that it was hard to breathe with all of the smoke. When we were in the hot tub by the adult pool, young parents were bringing there below five year old's in there. There was nobody to supervise and watch for this and get them removed. I do not need to be in a hot tub with kids splashing. This ship was too crowded and had inadequate elevator service. You literally had to wait for multiple elevators to pass before there was enough room to squeeze in one. There was elevator congestion for most of the cruise. We did not have these problems on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We have been on ten cruises, 3 of them NCL. We will never take another unhealthy air NCL cruise. We have to wash the smoke smell out of out clothes. There was also the constant smell of dried urine from the toilet. I just searched the net and this another common complaint about the ship, in addition to the smoking. I constantly told the steward about it and he used cleaning supplies to mask the smell but it did not take care of the problem. I am going to add this to my social media postings, so potential cruiser's will know what they are getting into. NCL falls far short of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We will never plan a cruise on NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
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
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
Had such a good experience with NCL on our Hawaii cruise we thought we would book for New England with them. Called NCL and booked through their agent. We had two issues with NCL booking: 1. Booked an extra day for sight seeing for the ... Read More
Had such a good experience with NCL on our Hawaii cruise we thought we would book for New England with them. Called NCL and booked through their agent. We had two issues with NCL booking: 1. Booked an extra day for sight seeing for the plane tickets. When we got the tickets the flight back was out of Montreal, not Quebec where the cruise ends. I called customer service and was told "they don't change flights". All I wanted was to know how I was supposed to get to Montreal. "Your problem" is a direct quote. I attempted to escalate the issue and was told by NCL that I had to talk to Alexander who booked the cruise. I said..."he works for NCL".. they said it didn't matter. Called him, he told me thats the way they do it. I demanded he find out how I am supposed to get to Montreal. He said he would call back...never did....and wouldn't return my future calls. We eventually found out there is a bus 1/4 mile from the dock we took to Montreal. So disappointed that NCL couldn't take the time to help us once we paid them. 2. The recommended room 11600 which we booked was right below the kitchen for the garden cafe......they clean that place every night until midnight and start every morning around four. I know, I heard them every day. Once on board we found the ship to be clean and well maintained, though a little dated. Staff was nice and the stops were just gorgeous. We really enjoyed the shows put on by the NCL crew (Swing and Blazing Boots). and most of the activities aboard ship. Ship internet stinks (but every ship I have been on stinks) so nothing new there. Spent alot of time dining (who doesn't). On board restaurants (free) were both very nice. Good service and decent food but nothing to really write home about. Found the cafe food to be about the same but the level of service to be a little lacking. there was plenty of table clearing going on but was a little difficult to order drinks from the table. we dined in the Japanese Steakhouse. Food was very good and unbelievably plentiful. Overall, not the experience I was expecting. We did disembark in Quebec and took the Orleans bus to Montreal. Stayed in the Bonaparte Hotel in Old Montreal, I would highly recommend it (had a blast in Montreal!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Have never been to any part of Canada, was hoping this would be an opportunity to see whales etc. and wildlife. Boston departure was ok, ship dock located in a typical big city port area, mostly industrialized, pick up at airport was ... Read More
Have never been to any part of Canada, was hoping this would be an opportunity to see whales etc. and wildlife. Boston departure was ok, ship dock located in a typical big city port area, mostly industrialized, pick up at airport was easy once we identified the ship's folks handling transfers....no sign or anything, noticed ladies had name badges, assumed, correctly, they were with Norwegian transfer. Cabin was fine, ship was a little dated, main dining room was a disappointment from the menu changing very little from day to day........service was very slow (one hour wait for Breakfast...really two eggs, bacon?), waiter told my wife the reason they took so long is "Busy, busy"! Best Food was in Buffet, and Best Service was O'sheehans (spa?) Loss of two best ports, due to storm was very disparaging, replacement (Portland) was ok, but not on my list. Balance of Ports were Beautiful places, with very little to do or see, unless you jumped on a tour, mostly available from ship. Saguenay was pretty, but, required a $50 shuttle to main part of town, which was eleven miles away......Port area was very minimal shopping, however, there was a seaplane or Helicopter ride readily available next to ship dock....Beautiful Fjord area! Departure was very poor, we opted for walk off early with luggage, due to early flight (airport in Quebec ws 30 min. cab ride), ship allowed most of us to leave at about 7:15 AM, except me, (wife and I were 10 the in line to leave, was stopped at exit, due to red flag on my account......it was due to me having a $51 credit on my Sea pass account.....had to go up to Customer service and "wait" in line 15 mins(no notation on the bill which I received the night before to go down to Customer Service, close my bill out by collecting my $51....finally returned to debarkation line and was allowed to break the line to exit, and was stopped again, saying I still had a red flag...showed my receipt, noting my account was cleared, necessitated a call to CS, before allowing me to leave! My wife was just ahead of me when we started down ramp, when I was stopped, had no idea what was going on, however, she did not panic, and waited on dock for 15 minutes till i exited.....than the fun began: walked about three blocks thru warehouse to Cab pick up, then we were told by personnel at door, it would be at least an hour before we might "see" a cab! wow! so much for early departure.....we were about halfway back to fence gate, maybe 100th in line when this announcement was made...also, we were told it was a 10minute walked to train station, with luggage, where we might find a cab? Not very impressed, wife and I stayed in line, from 7:45AM until 9:10AM, when we were able to join another couple in a cab to Jean Lesarge Int'l airport, made it, checked luggage, Kiosk were not working, were told a luggage check in we had 15 minutes to get to gate for our flight....fortunately we made it! Note: Some of the folks we were chatting with, while in line to depart ship, opted to return to ship and take the cruise shuttle, we noticed they were arriving at airport after we had processed our luggage.....Our Departure Flight was scheduled for 10:25 AM! Very dissapointed with departure operation...... Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise as it was going North during hurricane season and bought trip insurance thru NCL. We believed the cancel for any reason. When we wanted to cancel the trip due to hurricane, we found we should have read the small print ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was going North during hurricane season and bought trip insurance thru NCL. We believed the cancel for any reason. When we wanted to cancel the trip due to hurricane, we found we should have read the small print carefully as weather was not included. The weather caused an itinerary change from Bar Harbor to Portland, ME. Halifax closed the port so we could not dock. Ship spend additional day at sea. I felt there should have been more activities available for at sea days. There were many older passengers so there should have been more activities focused on this group. Dining in main restaurants and Le Bistro was great. Buffet seating was always an issue. Entertainment was okay--ranged from really good sing/dance troupe to not very good individuals. Atrium was always loud. Service in sit down restaurants was very good. White Zin is NOT rose wine. Try explaining that to a limited English bar tenders. Several limited English employees in bar/waiter positions. Menus were in English so even pointing did not always help. Do not waste your money on unlimited internet. It is really not unlimited as you cannot access it easily and only one device can be used at a time. Notice on screen in Atrium said to be patient about getting online due to many users! Also, it does not include internet phone calls. In spite of it all, I will probably give NCL another try but I do not feel the value for payment was in my favor on this trip. Blame it on Mother Nature. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this ship because of the dates and the ports it was supposed to visit. As it turns out, Hurricane Dorian was coming towards the New England and Canadian coasts. We had to go to Portland, Maine rather than Bar Harbor and then ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the dates and the ports it was supposed to visit. As it turns out, Hurricane Dorian was coming towards the New England and Canadian coasts. We had to go to Portland, Maine rather than Bar Harbor and then they skipped Halifax altogether due to the port being closed. The next 2 stops, at Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island - both areas had been affected by the hurricane and were coping with loss of electricity and many downed trees and related damage. I was disappointed to miss Halifax and although it could not be helped, I wished that we had added an additional day in Portland, letting the storm get well ahead of us, or add Bar Harbor back in after the storm had passed by there. Instead, they put in an "at sea" day, which is great I guess with some people, but it is also more of a money making opportunity for the cruise line, with nothing really being handed out to the passengers to compensate for missing one port entirely and having to adjust to Portland instead of Bar Harbor. I went on this cruise with my two grown children and their spouses, plus my husband and sister in law. We had fun because we enjoyed the opportunity to be with each other, rather than anything in particular on the ship. Of all the dining on the ship, Cagney's, the steakhouse was far and away our best experience. It had the best food, best service, best atmosphere, etc. The Teppanyaki hibachi restaurant food was good, and the chef was entertaining, but it was very crowded seating and very loud, The regular buffet dining on deck 12 was good and we ate there for lunch and breakfast most of the time, most of the time getting our food and then moving outdoors to the aft deck. The evenings we were mostly in the Grand Pacific dining room, and other than confusion about "reservations", it was pretty good with good service. We did not go to really any entertainment or activities; did not hang out at the pool which seemed to be closed a fair amount of the time; the hot tubs enjoyed a fair amount of activity, but not from us. The rope climbing area which I had thought my son in law would enjoy was closed most of the time - I don't know for what reason. Several of us used the gym equipment and enjoyed walking the deck. Two of us used the spa for a massage and enjoyed that. We planned virtually all of our own shore excursions, although two of us did enjoy the Celtic music show at Sydney right there in the cruise port area. I would say that there are problems with the "tender" process, especially because they expect you to climb this giant step to get on and off the tender boat. This was a stressful and dangerous situation for anyone who had anything less than great mobility. The ship personnel there wanted to feel like they were handling all the problems with people getting on and off and they did not want the person's able bodied family members assisting in any way, just telling them to stay out of the way. This was just not a good situation. So, all in all, we had a good time because we were together. It was not really because of the ship or the activities or the ship's personnel (most of whom were very friendly and helpful). It was our first time on Norwegian and I picked it due to the itinerary and the dates that it sailed - I don't know that I would be looking to sail Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first cruise. We always wanted to see the beluga whales in the st.lawrence seaway and to see Nova Scotia and PEI. This sounded perfect. Unfortunately, due to hurricane Dorian, two of the stops were rerouted and we ended up ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We always wanted to see the beluga whales in the st.lawrence seaway and to see Nova Scotia and PEI. This sounded perfect. Unfortunately, due to hurricane Dorian, two of the stops were rerouted and we ended up spending an extra day at sea. That was out of NCI’s control we understand. But the ship went thru the st.lawrence seaway at night, so no belugas to speak of and we arrived too late in sanguanay to go on an excursion to see them. I would have expected NCI to plan that better. As far as the cruise itself went, we enjoyed it but there were things that weren’t so great. Like paying for an all inclusive drinks plan, but having to pay extra for coffee and tea. And the WiFi was ridiculous. We paid an extra $170 for the week for ONE device. Another annoyance was constantly being upsold on everything. There were good things too: dinner at the extra cost restaurants was great. The spa was beautiful. The housekeeping staff made ship sparkle. Our cabin attendant, Berlin, was friendly, conscientious, and super helpful. All in all, maybe we’d try another cruise, but probably with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
At Manhattan Terminal, the Embarkation staffs are rude and shouting to the senior guests, this is the worst Embarkation experience have ever experienced for 25 years Cruse vacation. Free Dining: (1) Bamboo (Deck 7): Bamboo is the ... Read More
At Manhattan Terminal, the Embarkation staffs are rude and shouting to the senior guests, this is the worst Embarkation experience have ever experienced for 25 years Cruse vacation. Free Dining: (1) Bamboo (Deck 7): Bamboo is the best ship's restaurant. Recommend menu items: appetizers (pot stickers and spring rolls), soups ( egg drop), mains (kung pao chicken, vegetarian fried rice), BBQ Pork noodle soup and desserts (coconut tapioca pudding, crispy chestnut and red bean triangles). (2) Main Dining Rooms: Venetian and Aqua (Deck 6): Prefer Venetian for comfortable seating and better services. Aqua has more crowded sitting. The Best Cruise Director and programs: the best Show “Elements”, the best Vocalist Jenene Caramielo, Jose & Patti@ Grand Atrium. Balcony Room class BB @ 10/FL Mid-ship is a little quieter than Class BA @9/FL mid-ship. The Room layout is not good to use. The storage has only 3 drawers. 1/3 Inside cabins (353) crowded the Buffet and public area. The TV is very small. The Buffet area are always crowded and food quality is so so. The Movies at Bliss room has poor quality and sitting. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have cruised many time and this time we chose the Norwegian cruise from NYC to Quebec City for the itinerary. Overall we had a good time in the locations on most of our excursions. Our cabin steward, Rhayan, was outstanding, friendly ... Read More
We have cruised many time and this time we chose the Norwegian cruise from NYC to Quebec City for the itinerary. Overall we had a good time in the locations on most of our excursions. Our cabin steward, Rhayan, was outstanding, friendly and worked very hard to keep our cabin in excellent condition and help us have a good experience. We did take at least one excursion in each port and enjoyed most of them. The ones we felt lukewarm over were just our taste. Unfortunately the “NCL specialist” that helped us book our excursions and room was either not knowledgeable or just wanted to sell. After asking for a cabin in a quiet location, we were booked into a cabin directly above the Bliss nightclub. The first two nights the music was overwhelming and our bed vibrated. Each visit to the customer service counter resulted in earplugs and an apology that seemed more like an accusation that we shouldn’t complain since we chose the cabin completely ignoring the fact that it was chosen by the “NCL specialist”. If I ever chose to sail Norwegian again, I would definitely be sure to pick my own cabin! We were also told we would not be able to disembark before noon so we chose an excursion that ended at the airport and booked a hotel there overnight. Turns out we could have gotten off the ship early and flown home the same day. The food had good flavor but always came to us lukewarm. Even after returning the food to be warmed it came out less than warm. We did visit speciality restaurants and this must be where they put their efforts. Guess they want you to spend more money. If you sail Norwegian, do your homework first! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Overview (C): We rated each category A-F based on our experience on the NCL Dawn. Overall the ship was okay... nothing exceptionally glamorous but not terrible either. Our main issue with the Dawn was terrible communication and ... Read More
Overview (C): We rated each category A-F based on our experience on the NCL Dawn. Overall the ship was okay... nothing exceptionally glamorous but not terrible either. Our main issue with the Dawn was terrible communication and transparency especially when it came to logistical problems such as boarding the ship (which took over two hours and we were there at our allotted time) and two different tender ports which precluded us from getting off the ship for the first two hours. People on Cruise Critic talk about the layout being confusing and not as easy as more updated cruise ships and they are correct. We LOVED all the ports and had great excursions. If you are a loyal NCL cruiser and like smaller ships, you will love the Dawn. All the people we met that like "less crowds, smaller ships, NCL perks, etc." loved it. But, if you are more loyal to Royal Caribbean or Princess and slightly larger ships (ex. Princess Royal at 142K tons and holds 3600 people or RC Adventure of the Seas at 137K tons and holds 3100 people vs Dawn 92K tons and holds about 2300 people), you will likely be disappointed. Dinning (C-): In comparison to RC and Princess, the food quality was subpar. We ate at four specialty restaurants (three were included in our "package" and one was free but mandatory reservations). We felt even at those places the food was okay - not great. They have two main dining rooms - we tried them both. We felt Aqua had better ambiance than Venetian, but they served the same food. The food was never impressive no matter how many options we ordered. Also, we found there to be a lack of dining options outside of 5:30-8pm. For breakfast it was only the giant buffet (for a brief time the dining room would open up, but it was the same food and it took 30 min longer to get). There was no "all the time sandwich, pizza, sushi, ice cream bar, etc" open all day and at all hours of the night which is different than what we've experienced on RC, Princess, and Carnival. The Dawn did have dining options out on the main deck, but they were closed 5 of the 7 days due to "inclement weather" which we were told was because of the temperature (which it was between 55-69 every day). There was one rainy day, but even in the 60s in the sun it was nice on the main deck so we were confused why there wasn't food being served. Also, there was NO room service without a charge! I know RC and Princess will charge during late-night hours but at least they have complimentary breakfast you can order to your room in the morning or a mid-day snack if you wanted something. Entertainment (C): All the entertainment was lackluster at best. Our one day at sea should have been the "Super Bowl" for the cruise director and it was just as pitiful as all the other days. Typically they had four things going on every night: the main show on one end of the boat, karaoke on the other end of the boat, the cruise ship musicians in the main atrium, and a guitar player next to the Champagne Bar (which was also right next to the Cigar Bar and the Casino - so it reeked of smoke all the time). None of the shows on this ship compared to the RC or Princess. Drink Package (B): The plus is you can buy two drinks at a time with one card. You still have to have both people in the room with drink packages, but it is nice to pull out one card. We did get up to $15 for any drink, but NCL also has higher prices in in comparison to the other cruise lines. What I was REALLY disappointed in was their wine selection...especially in the Wine Bar. They had about 30 wines, but only about 10 were within the package. I wasn't impressed and considered them "drinkable." Also, they only had about two types of liquor in each category as part of the package. On the other ships, pretty much everything except one "top shelf" was included. The most disappointing part of the drink package is NCL does NOT include coffee or water like the other major cruise lines. Even if you pick the drink package as one of your "free" options, they are still going to charge you an additional fee (ours was $139/person) to compensate for the additional cost in comparison to the other "free" options. Please note that if you are in a U.S. port, even with a "free" beverage package, they still charge a "port tax" on every drink purchase. It isn't much, but it will appear on your bill and would be nice if NCL informed you of that. Spa Package (C): We ordered this in advance because we loved the one on Princess so much. We don't regret buying it ($139/person in advance, $186/person once on the ship and they only let 60 people in). But, in comparison to what Princess had, it was not nearly as impressive. This ship had a very small "lap pool" as they called it, but if you are a true swimmer, you would spend more time doing flip turns than swimming. They had a hot tub and a hydrotherapy pool. The hydrotherapy pool was half the size of what was on the Princess and it looked very industrial versus the sleek and upgraded design on Princess. Princess had four temperate and scent showers (cool mist that smells like lavender, warm mist, waterfall, etc), but there was nothing like that on the Dawn. The Dawn had sauna and steam rooms - but segregated between men and women which was disappointing for us because we could do that together on Princess. Also, the men had both a warm and cold plunge tub, but neither for the women. Both ships had the stone/tile heated chairs, but the design on the Dawn was too curvy which contorted your body versus the Princess Royal which was more ergonomic. The only plus for the Dawn was you could sit in these chairs and see out the back of the boat - but the drawback is it was always very light in there versus Princess who kept it dim lit like a spa. The Dawn did have "Reflection Rooms" which allows you to see off the back of the ship as well and just relax anytime the spa was open. One final thing - if you do the spa tour on day one, it seems like the various exfoliating scrubs are included, but actually that was just for show and then it was an "upcharge" if you want it. Again, lack of transparency. Logistics (D): MUTLIPLE times they really messed up the logistics. The first day just getting on the ship was a nightmare. NCL is the first line I've ever had to "select a time" to board when I was filling out my registration. I even called customer service to ask if I got there early or late, what would happen and she said we would have to wait until everyone in the designated time had boarded and then we would get on afterwards. That was NOT true. There was no time for anything. No place you reported for your specified time. We got there 20 min early just to make sure we would be in our boarding time and it took us TWO HOURS to get on the ship! I also asked customer service prior to our boarding if we boarded at noon, would our rooms be ready (because on other lines, they normally aren't ready until between 1:30-3pm). She said yes - but the answer was no...rooms were not ready until after 1:30pm. When we hit our last stop, Newport, RI, they only had FOUR tenders. NCL was NOT transparent with us that it would take this long nor did the Captain, Cruise Director, or Transportation Direction make any announcements about why this was the case. All the Cruise Director kept saying was to be patient. We tendered at 11am and were not allowed to leave the ship until 1:15pm. We had to be back at the tender station at 4:30pm, so we only had three hours to explore this port which was very disappointing. Another fact NCL was not transparent about was that if you booked an excursion with them, you were first off. So, anyone who did an excursion with other vendors or no formal excursions were not allowed to leave for over TWO HOURS! When we went to ask about it, guest services said it was a port limit that we couldn't have more than four tenders; whereas that might be the case, communication and transparency is essential. When you disembark the ship, they let people who carry their own luggage off for the first hour and they get to the colored bag tags. We got off near the end of the "self-assist," and it took us less than 10 minutes to be out of the cruise terminal, including customs. Maintenance (B): We had our toilet go out for about 18 hours. Not ideal, but we know accidents happen and apparently it was a whole block of rooms due to a "clog." Again, no one notified us it was more than just ours until I started asking questions. Even when we returned the maintenance people couldn't tell us how long it would be. NCL did send us a bottle of Chardonnay and some chocolate covered strawberries two nights later, but honestly, even that was not transparent. It was a simple guest services card that said, "Thanks for traveling with us." So I didn't' know if it was for the toilet issues, because we were in a balcony, because we were first time NCL travelers, or because the logistics in Newport was so terrible. Also, there was always a few coffee machines that didn't work for breakfast in the large buffet which always created a cluster. Kid Friendly (A): They have an area on the back of the ship that is the best I have seen so far. It is perfect for kids ~3-7 years old. All shallow, a few slides, giant dinosaurs, and other fun things. It's at the back of the boat so you are somewhat secluded. The downside for our trip was the cooler weather, so people only really used it the first and last day. But, for other locations, it would be great. We also met a lady who said her kid was 12 and was in the 8-12 group and had such a fabulous time he never wanted to leave. She said the hours are great and they do lots of fun events with them. They have classes for all ages and even the tiny babies/toddlers have a place parents can bring them and let them play with the toy in a safe environment. Recommended Excursions: Halifax - Segway Nova Scotia (only one in town) - the crew here is very friendly and the tour is beautiful. They do a very thorough job making sure you are fully trained on the Segway before they take off on the tour. St. John, Bay of Fundy - Moosehead Brewery Tour - very informative and TONS of free samples to include one inside their vat that is 3 degrees - the freshest beer you'll ever have! We booked this through NCL and they provided transportation to and from the brewery which also included a drive by the reversing rapids. Bar Harbor - Bar Harbor Whale Watching - location was literally right off the tender boat which was great. But, if you get sea sick at all...DO NOT TAKE THIS TOUR! Many people on the boat were sick because they go 25-33 miles off the coast to see the whales and even on a beautiful day like ours, the wind was so strong the boat was rocking very hard. If you are not typically sea/motion sick, you will be fine and have a great time. We did get to see a Fin Whale (2nd largest on earth behind the Blue Whale) - but that was the only one we saw, so they actually gave a voucher to go again in the next three years for free. That is a great thing about this company - if you don't see a whale, they will give you a 3-year return voucher. Specifically we did the Whale and Puffin Tour and the only thing I would say is don't expect to see a puffin up close unless you have binoculars (which they do rent for $5 on the boat). Portland - Maine Food For Thought Walking Food Tour - this is a MUST to do it with this particular company (which I booked through Viator, but you can book it directly with them). It's rated #1 on TripAdvisor for Food Tours in Maine and there is a reason for that. Every place is upscale and/or unique and Brice (the owner) really knows his stuff! He's well educated and takes the "farm to table" discussion to another dimension. Newport, RI - We did not plan a specific excursion for this city and instead took the trolley to the Breakers and walked the 3 mile (1.5 miles each way) coastline and saw the amazing mansions which brings it so much popularity. We would have done more, but this was the stop NCL really messed up the logistics and we only had a few hours. Fortunately you tender one block from the Visitor's Center which is where you can buy tickets for the trolley to take you to the coastline. Everyone was very friendly and helpful to get you the right ticket on the right trolley. 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Sail Date June 2019
I used to carry on a bottle of wine to enjoy in my cabin, and there was no charge. They would only charge you a corkage fee if you took it to the dining room to open and enjoy. Now, they stop you immediately after TSA and make you feel ... Read More
I used to carry on a bottle of wine to enjoy in my cabin, and there was no charge. They would only charge you a corkage fee if you took it to the dining room to open and enjoy. Now, they stop you immediately after TSA and make you feel like a criminal! I asked the guy taking my information to charge me, when this rule came to be and he would not answer me. I guess the nickel and diming will continue! Our bathroom flooded twice because the drain backed up. Thank god it was not the toilet! There was no offer of any compensation, almost as if its a regular occurrence. They did clean my sisters pajamas, which got wet. We did enjoy the food, went to 3 specialty restaurants, all of which were spectacular. Also, the Venetian dining room was wonderful all 4 times we went there. Service around most of the rest of the ship was just average. Something must have been up with the employees, because they were the least friendly bunch in all of my 19 cruises. The ports were all great, with the exception of St. John. We left on time, every time and got into port on time, every time. If you are going to Newport RI, make sure you book a tour so you can get off the ship quickly! They tender in and from what people said, they waited for hours. Then only had a few hours on short, then we ALL had to wait in an hour long line to tender back to the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We choose this cruise because our adult children chose it. We would choose it again if they wanted to, but we would never choose it for ourselves. We prefer higher-end ships and cruise lines. All features of the ship were adequate. ... Read More
We choose this cruise because our adult children chose it. We would choose it again if they wanted to, but we would never choose it for ourselves. We prefer higher-end ships and cruise lines. All features of the ship were adequate. Some of the specialty restaurants were exceptionally good. The gym had great machines, but the mats and exercise balls were locked up and we couldn't use them. Bar Harbor was a great port..fantastic lobster and cute shops! Entertainment was not so great. Here is what we did not like: our luggage was delivered to the wrong cabin, and we had to find it ourselves; they refuse to provide CPAP water; need to use pumice on the toilets; cafe menu is limited, but the food was ok; we asked for ice, but it was never delivered; rooms have insufficient plugs (but you can check out extension cords). The tender process was horrible!! At one port, the ship arrived at 10am (one employee told us it was because it costs a lot of money to anchor there). We waited in endless lines and finally got to the port at noon. This gave us almost no time to enjoy that port. We should have stayed on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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