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93 Norwegian (NCL) Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

I am an experienced cruiser having sailed at least 20 times in Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada/New England. Most of my experience has been with Celebrity, which I love, but I have also cruised with Princes, Carnival, Royal ... Read More
I am an experienced cruiser having sailed at least 20 times in Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada/New England. Most of my experience has been with Celebrity, which I love, but I have also cruised with Princes, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. This was my first cruise on Norwegian and I will not be back. Here is why. The drinking water policy on the ship is obviously Norwegian’s strategy to get its guests to fork over money for what is a health necessity. You cannot bring any bottled drinking water on the ship. It will be confiscated. If you want to avoid paying for NCL’s bottled water, then you are forced to use the tap in your bathroom or the water dispensers up in the buffet. Both of these options will give you water that smells and tastes of chlorine. Yuk! The water dispensers are not without additional problems, because despite posted directions to the contrary, people fill their germy water bottles and used glasses directly under these dispensers. If you want to avoid these contaminated dispensers and purchase NCL’s bottled water, you will be forced to pay $6 per liter bottle or $16.95 for 6 bottles, $29.95 for 12 or $44.95 for 24 bottles of NCL’s “purified water,” which is not spring water and tastes exactly like the stuff out of the tap or dispensers.. For all of these prices, add a 20% gratuity as well. Really, NCL? I understand your wanting to make money on people’s desire for soda or alcohol, but water? That is pushing the limits of common decency for making a buck off of your guests. I won’t cruise with you again specifically because of this policy. My friend and I found out about the water policy when we each purchased two sealed bottles of water in a port and tried to bring them back onboard the ship. They were confiscated as we entered the ship. When we went to Guest Services to talk to them about this event, we were dealt with very shabbily. One representative pointed to a tiny blue box titled Agricultural Notice on the daily events sheet which said that “Due to public health regulations, food of any kind (hot, raw or unpacked/packed) is not allowed to be brought onboard or taken off the ship at any time. Beverages cannot be brought onboard. Wine or liquor purchased in any port of call will be stored by the ship and given back to the guest on the evening before disembarkation or the morning of disembarkation.” I understand the food restrictions for health reasons and the wine and liquor restrictions for making money, but not the restriction on bringing in water. It is not justified under any circumstances and the policy should be dropped. If NCL is going to continue such a policy to fleece their passengers, then they should make an announcement explicitly telling passengers leaving the ship to not purchase water as it will be confiscated upon their return to the ship. Don’t hide such information behind a notice regarding health restrictions and the prohibition of carrying alcohol onboard. Additional sources of irritation on the Gem were the lack of entertainment options if you did not want to go to the live shows in the theater. Forget the casino; it reeks of smoke and there is no designated movie theater on the ship like you will find on Celebrity and Holland America. Movies are played at 10:30 at night in the very public area of the atrium where you will also find a bar, Guest Services, the Excursions desk and the future cruise desk. Movies will sometimes be played here in the afternoon as well, but with all of those other services and people walking through the area to get to other portions of the ship, good luck seeing and hearing the movie. Besides, most seats there lack backs and are very uncomfortable. Very limited television options await guests in their cramped cabins. There is a movie channel but it does not always play movies and what movies there are repeat throughout the week. We found that A Star is Born was playing at least three nights on this channel. If you want more movie selections, then fork over $9.95 per movie for a just few more more films, less than a dozen. I remember that Holland America offers a huge collection of free in-room movies and the guests have their choice of numerous DVDs that can be picked up or delivered from the guest services desk. Seating for the buffet upstairs is very limited and we found that our food often got cold while we searched for a place to sit. I think this is because, unlike all other cruise ships I have been on, the buffet seating is limited to only one side of the ship. A pay restaurant and its kitchen takes up the space on the other side. You can sit in it’s very limited dining space in the morning and afternoon up until about 2 pm, but after that, it’s given over to the paying guests. While you are in there, you are bombarded with the noise of a basketball court above you. What a joke! We didn’t take any ship excursions, which are always overpriced and herded into big busses. We hired cabs and shared them with other cruisers off the Gem. If you haven’t ever done this, try it. Stand around outside and ask if anyone is interested in joining you. Negotiate a price with the cab driver and enjoy your small group excursion. The cabbie will always get you back to the ship in plenty of time and you won’t be traveling with 39 other people. Sadly, I wanted to like this cruise line, but I didn’t. That ridiculous drinking water policy ended my cruising with NCL. I won’t be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After witnessing how badly passengers were treated on the recent NCL Spririt Mystical Fjords Cruise, With an appalling 25% discount on a future cruise, it has become obvious NCL sees customers only as livestock. Ship is old(2005), ... Read More
After witnessing how badly passengers were treated on the recent NCL Spririt Mystical Fjords Cruise, With an appalling 25% discount on a future cruise, it has become obvious NCL sees customers only as livestock. Ship is old(2005), refurb in 2015. Jewel class ships now look worn and dated. The lack of amenities compared with the newer Breakaway/Bliss class of ships is very evident. The Norwegian formula is easily summarized: nickel & dime the passengers with up charges, and make food look appealing with cheap ingredients. They make a killing on beverages including bottled water, and use cheap Philippine /Indonesian labor wherever possible. It seems even their cruise directors are now cheap labor with incomprehensible English. The head chef is Indian, leading to baffling food items like chicken tandoori paninis!? All of the food is prepared by untrained cheap labor following a cook-by-numbers approach. Food lost in translation. The soulless minions of profit have removed slightly more expensive items like butter and cream. Now witness the result: Omelettes cooked in oil “pan release”, ice cream with little cream, and cheese cake with little cream cheese. Pastries made with margarine and minimal filling, not worth the calories. Grilled cheese sandwiches which contain spongy bread and unmelted cheese. Veritable Frankenfood! Food lost in translation. Since they are not under any supervision, are we being fed trans fats, banned in first world counties? A prior Canadian maritime cruise visited St John’s & Bay of Fundie - but our cruise had lopped off that additional leg (because it cost Norwegian port charges) and instead we were a captive audience, relentlessly upsold for 2 days at sea while they crept at 5 mph from Halifax to Portland .. a mere 100 miles. This cruise is now less of a tour of the Maritime provinces, and more of a floating bar & casino. NCL entertainment was good! Particularly the company which staged Swing, Blazing Boots, and Get Down Tonight. Unfortunately the theater seats were mostly worn out and broken. Sadly, the remaining experience is an exercise in appearance versus reality - assuming passengers can be fooled by something which looks good, even if it isn’t good. This isn’t good. It’s a sad commentary on the gullibility and dumbing-down and exploitability of most Americans. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
If you're used to spending your holidays in the hands of Celebrity or better cruise lines, I would not recommend you try Norwegian because you'll be disappointed several times per hour. Their processes are efficient and ... Read More
If you're used to spending your holidays in the hands of Celebrity or better cruise lines, I would not recommend you try Norwegian because you'll be disappointed several times per hour. Their processes are efficient and streamlined, but the quality of everything on board is rather poor. We found it took us more than half hour to find a place to sit in the garden cafe since the weather wasn't good and everyone was trying to eat there. Once we found an empty table, it seemed rude not to offer the two extra rooms to other passengers who were also waiting, and the experience turned out more of a school cafeteria in a rush than a vacation. There was nothing wrong with those other people, they were as hungry as we were! Other nights we were refused from all dining rooms since they were full. I realize the whole ethos of this line is based around "Freedom" and being "Free to choose" whenever and whenever you want to eat, but on the Norwegian Gem there just aren't enough seats for every passenger indoors when the ship is full and the weather outside is rainy. Yes, you can always go and pick up some poorly prepared items at the buffet and eat standing up, or room service has a delivery charge. I can go on and on about how the dishes elegantly described in their dining room menus were shockingly disappointing once they arrived at the table. Presentation was rather good to mask the poor quality of ingredients/preparation. The first night we were pretty sure that the steak had been pumped with something to make it fluffier and cooked on a george foreman grill. It tasted fine but the texture was artificial. Didn't order that again. The entertainment was wholesome and included several acts with one man and his guitar, as well as dance sketches from the ship dancing crew and an acrobatics show that was very good in athleticism but had very poor production and artistry. Since we felt like we were trapped at a suburban mall on this Norwegian Gem ship while traveling from port to port, we did the best we could, relaxed and tried to find the positive aspects. However, if you think it's going to be like their brochures and videos promise, beware it will likely not be like that. Also it was a bit shocking that smoking was allowed in the casino, so passing through isn't pleasant if you are allergic to cigarrette smoke. The ship needs maintenance, and there were some workers doing their repairs, etc.. a lot of painting is needed in public areas, some of the banisters and furniture were broken and fixed with tape... all in all it was cheap but not too cheerful. Kudos for their sanitary procedures which were excellent, as well as their port services Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Destinations were good, a bit boring at Sydney Nova Scotia Miss communication between ncl rep and agency rep and ncl online. I choiced shore credit and was told final destination could be one,,however after booking I was told by shore ... Read More
Destinations were good, a bit boring at Sydney Nova Scotia Miss communication between ncl rep and agency rep and ncl online. I choiced shore credit and was told final destination could be one,,however after booking I was told by shore excursion offc that not true, however the beginning of the cruise port Quebec I could use it for..but wasn't able to due to the miscommunication. Also book as soon as possible since alot of the better excursions were already sold out prior to sailing. Also alot of the extra cost for drinks, ex: water pkg was better to buy on ship to save money Also wasn't told we will be doing a tandem in Sydney which of course they used the life boats and started to make noise at 06:00. Food everywhere was tasteless and mostly cold..also they never change the menu, main dining room has a few more options and apparently changed those few options nightly. The specialty Italian was adequate in taste temperature and quality and quantity. Service was Wonderful there. Elsewhere not so good. Seemed like they always were in a rush. No Lobster or crab in restaurants..come on we're doing a Canadian and New England cruise Will not book NCL most likely again. At least not on the GEM Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Norwegian has decided to nickel and dime people as a way to become more and more profitable. It became baffling. Buying water to drink as it was not included in the beverage package we ordered. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Norwegian has decided to nickel and dime people as a way to become more and more profitable. It became baffling. Buying water to drink as it was not included in the beverage package we ordered. Paying a gratuity for a free beverage package. Specialty coffees not included in the package either. The cruise director was active and all around the ship however as he was Filipino his accent was at times very hard to understand. There was also a Japanese member of his team that I never could understand. Entertainment was quite good however. The food experience was average. Service in the complementary restaurants was quite slow to get started but when orders were finally able to be placed the food was delivered in a timely manner. I had a package for specialty restaurants. The steakhouse and the French restaurant would both terrific. The Italian restaurant was, I hate to say it, disgusting. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The whole point of this trip was to see Canadian ports. Norwegian massively let us down. Although there was only supposed to be one tender port, without explanation, there ended up being three, two of which the captain claimed the weather ... Read More
The whole point of this trip was to see Canadian ports. Norwegian massively let us down. Although there was only supposed to be one tender port, without explanation, there ended up being three, two of which the captain claimed the weather was too rough to visit. It didn't seem that windy or wavy to the passengers, and everyone on board was bummed out and bored. Other cruise ships were docked at the ports in these locations, but apparently Norwegian didn't consider this a priority. We would not have booked this cruise if we knew such an outcome was a possibility, yet other than a half-hearted apology, Norwegian has as of yet done nothing to compensate us for a ruined voyage. This ship was not made for three consecutive days at sea. All the dining venues were severely over-crowded, old people were eating at the buffet standing up, good luck getting a drink at the bars even with the drink package, and the only additional activities they added were for-pay ones such as shopping and gambling. Every spot on the ship was a zoo, as passengers were meant to be away on excursions instead of being corralled on board with nothing to do for an endless period. The food was edible but uninspiring. I didn't even gain weight as there was no temptation to overeat. We did enjoy Teppenyaki, Le Bistro and Moderno that were a small cut above regular dining.The entertainment was quite good, other than two of the evening shows being by one man, an Irish singer who was only mildly comedic the first time. I thought we were supposed to see Blazing Boots, but it didn't happen. The staff were almost universally nice, and our room had a lot of storage with a very comfortable bed. I could have been quite happy if they hadn't cut the itinerary in half. The highlight of our trip was getting off the boat in Quebec city. After three days without stepping foot on dry land, we practically kissed the grimy ground of the port terminal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We were invited to go with a group of friends. We were a group of eight. This would be our first cruise. We spent a few days in NYC at Crown Plaza in Times Square. Hotel was okay, location was great! Though we all had downloaded the ... Read More
We were invited to go with a group of friends. We were a group of eight. This would be our first cruise. We spent a few days in NYC at Crown Plaza in Times Square. Hotel was okay, location was great! Though we all had downloaded the Norwegian app, we found out through some people we met the ship would be late. No notification from Norwegian about this. We delayed going to the port about two hours. We still had to wait two hours at the port with no where to sit in the heat. We were given a ticket for a drink or snack. Very uncomfortable, even painful for some of our group with back and hip issues. Boarding, finally, went smoothly. Our cabin was adequate and clean. Lots of activities. The food was just okay. Never really had a hot meal. Warm at best. The staff, especially the wait staff, was very good. The entertainment was good. Shore excursions were good, for the most part. We found we had a better time in port if we just "did our own thing". Then there was the disembarkation. We had paid, through Norwegian, for transportation to the airport. Thinking we would have a shuttle to the airport, as was the case from the airport to the hotel. No shuttle, just a row of buses, and no one knew where the buses were going. Port security even the bus drivers didn't know where they were supposed to be going. Lots of people, pushing and shoving, and yelling. It was beginning to get very ugly. We waited two hours for a bus to take us to the airport. Port security, I think, just finally told the bus drivers to take this group to LaGuardia and this group to JFK. It was total chaos and actually scary! As they let more people off the boat, the crowd grew larger and everyone was upset! I don't know if I will ever take another cruise, but if I do, Norwegian will be last choice. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have been on many NCL cruises usually in a balcony cabin. NCL tends to nickel and dime its passengers on most items. Free perks are not really free as you are required to pay a 20% gratuity unlike Celebrity cruises where its totally ... Read More
We have been on many NCL cruises usually in a balcony cabin. NCL tends to nickel and dime its passengers on most items. Free perks are not really free as you are required to pay a 20% gratuity unlike Celebrity cruises where its totally free. Alcoholic beverage packages do not cover tee, coffee or water unlike Celebrity where you get a better deal covering all drinks for one competitive price. The last cruise we had on Breakaway, the disembarkation was a total disarray where the disembarkation passenger line wrapped around the ship. We decided to try Haven suite class cabin on Escape to see if its really worth the premium price. NCL does priority embarkation and disembarkation rather well for its Haven class passengers. You are escorted on and off the ship avoiding the long lines. Food in the Haven restaurant is very good especially the breakfast; as good or better than the specialty restaurents. However you dont get lobster even in suite class; you have to get it ala carte at the specialty steak restaurant for over $40 for the lobster alone. Most of the specialty restaurants are ala carte and the charges are rather expensive. Better go to a good restaurant on land. Tried the specialty French restaurant; ordered a T-bone steak which was on special and was served an end cut of something that was definitely not a T-bone. The Haven lounge charges for everything! Celebrity suite lounge serves everything free including snacks. Princess serves tea and coffee free. No food or drinks served on embarkation morning! Service is generally good. The concierges are excellent and take care of almost all your requests. In-suite food service is free whereas other cabins are charged $7.95 per order. The assistant maitre d takes care of all preorders for food intolerances. The $18 per day per passenger gratuity charge does not cover butler, concierge or beverage service. This is the highest of all the major cruise lines. Celebrity charges $17.50 and it includes everyone. We had to pay 20% gratuity for the beverage package. So did NCL not pay their beverage servers and instead told us to tip them? Disembarkation was almost a disaster. We were escorted off the ship but when we reached the terminal, the ground personnel told us priority luggage pickup was not available yet and the NCL rep there told us the same. After some confusion, we found out that the luggage was already ready for pickup. Then we could not find our luggage and the NCL rep there offered no assistance, just keep on looking. After half an hour we located one piece in another color coded section and not the priority section. Luckily found the second one way in the back of the priority section and made it to the airport in time to catch our flight back. So, not a good experience on NCL twice in a row for disembarkation. So, do you think we will choose NCL again?! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I choose this cruise to see fall colors and visit the Maine and Canadian ports, which were great. The cruise on the other had was not great for me. It was far too large of a ship, very crowded, and there were virtually no quiet spaces ... Read More
I choose this cruise to see fall colors and visit the Maine and Canadian ports, which were great. The cruise on the other had was not great for me. It was far too large of a ship, very crowded, and there were virtually no quiet spaces other than on our stateroom deck. I felt like I was trapped in a casino/shopping mall/disco, with far too many people. Positives: a great gym, with great staff. Excellent ports and shore excursions. Ship seemed entirely safe. Variety of food was great, and most of it was good considering they were feeding 4K+ a day. Negatives: - A staff member with a tambourine greeting us every morning in the main cafeteria (for breakfast), singing versions of "washy washy," to encourage hand-washing. This is racist and offensive. - There were problems in our stateroom that were not fixed, such as a USB port that did not work and a bathroom sink that could not hold water for hand washing of laundry. We told our steward, but these issues were never fixed. - We had to ask to have our bathroom cleaned. Staff came in to make the beds every day, but by Wednesday it was clear that the bathroom was not being cleaned very well, if at all. - Some of food was not great, and often served barely warm. - I traveled with a friend who can't walk very far, and sometimes there was no place for her to sit down when she needed to. Staff did not help her much, especially when she was getting off the boat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our 4th NCL cruise and will be our last. We are not big eaters, but enjoy a "snack" before going to bed. The buffet, under title "24/7", closed at 10:30. We came up from shows and could not eat in the ... Read More
This was our 4th NCL cruise and will be our last. We are not big eaters, but enjoy a "snack" before going to bed. The buffet, under title "24/7", closed at 10:30. We came up from shows and could not eat in the buffet. We did not want food from a restaurant, just bread or a cookie. We ended up going up earlier, getting bread and leaving it in the room. We are not "foodies" so the food was fine. Seems as though they were cutting corners. Outside entertainment was very good to excellent and production "elements" was excellent. The room was noisy because we were under a galley, but it seems that a lot of people had a noise problem. After complaining it got a little better and they did give us complimentary wine when we complained. Other then the noise, the ship was fine. The staff was courteous and friendly so we had no complaint with them. The ports were very good, unfortunately we had to tender in 4 of the 7 ports. We got credits for excursions so we used only NCL tours. The best tour was "Peggy Cove and the Titanic Cemetery" in Halifax. Excellent guide. You usually overpay for Cruise Line tours, but with the credit, it wasn't worth looking around. Since we had only 1 bag each, we disembarkation was easy. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Wait staff, ship's officers and crew, security & maintenance, as usual, are all top notch. Management is just the opposite. From 6 hours on the phone over 5 weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a return call from a ... Read More
Wait staff, ship's officers and crew, security & maintenance, as usual, are all top notch. Management is just the opposite. From 6 hours on the phone over 5 weeks unsuccessfully trying to get a return call from a "supervisor" at the NCL Air Department to rectify air connections that flew us into a City 200 miles from the port on the wrong day to condescending, rude, in-your-face "service desk" managers who couldn't communicate effectively and blamed you for their errors. We overheard one loud argument that would later echo our sentiment exactly. He was yelling "This is your mistake, not mine. I shouldn't be having to work for YOU to straighten out YOUR errors on MY vacation and spend MY time trying to resolve YOUR problems." They called security on him. We smiled and thought, well, he probably could have handled that better..." Little did we know that a day or two later we would find ourselves in the same position and being goaded by these very same incompetent, argumentative "service personnel" about our credit card and saying roughly the same thing and ultimately having to "go to work" on our vacation to correct yet another error by NCL. (I guess they figured since we let them get away with taking our $200 in airfare they'd attempt to go back to the well for more.) Ours is far from the only observation on the web that over the last 5 years, while the day-to-day personnel continues to remain gregarious, friendly, courteous and competent, there has been a tectonic shift at the Helm of NCL's home office & bean counters resulting in business management that just gets more pathetic with each passing cruise. Not vessel management, "hospitality" management. As for the air department in particular, don't waste your money. Read the plethora of negative reviews about this cruise and those who've been snookered into the Montreal/YQB switcheroo. Since no one would return our calls, we finally just wrote off the $200 airfare as a loss and booked ourselves into Quebec (YQB). NCL may have taken our money, but we refused to let them steal our joy. We spent 4 fantastic days enjoying Quebec Quebec City, and wished for more to be honest. Sadly we listened to horror stories each day of people with similar experiences who had to find their own way to the port from some far away city or who sat for hours on the side of a major highway, the bus rocking from the traffic whizzing by their broken down bus. They said it was terrifying thinking about becoming a statistic. One reviewer said it took NCL 12 hours to get them from Montreal Trudeau to the ship. It's so laughable even the comedian made their misery the butt of several jokes in his act. So if you think they'll actually treat you differently than all the other thousands of guests they've hoodwinked, then the joke'll be on you. One day NCL is going to screw over the WRONG attorney who's going to file a class action suit over their "bait and switch" tactics and false repeated claims that "there aren't seats into Quebec," to which we responded, "We've got 4 windows open with 4 different airlines with flights from 4 different cities into YQB all with empty cabins, so don't sit there and lie to me. I'm looking at planes I could play ping pong in and never hit a soul with a serve." It's a shame management is slowly sinking what was once a fine cruise line. The ship's older design must have been originally for the Caribbean or Mediterranean as the only observation areas are outside. A lot of women don't like their hair being blown around after they've fixed it up. There's no area aft to sit and watch the horizon recede. The ship has mysterious humps in the floor, odd, dead-end nooks and crannies and there is no bridge viewing room like there is on Jewel-Class vessels. The curries on the buffet were, as always, excellent. Healthy choices on the buffet were plentiful. Main dining rooms were on par with other ships in the NCL fleet. Specialty dining went from totally inedible in Los Lobos (other reviewers agree) to "OMG, this is the best meal I've ever eaten!" in the Italian Restaurant (La Cucina?) The manager Vaughn, was fantastic and very observant, not to mention funny. He's a true asset to the company. All of the ports were enjoyable other than maybe Halifax and simply because it's such a big city and industrial port. I mean there's nothing WRONG with Halifax, it's just not very walkable it's so large. Bar Harbor or Portland were likely our favorite, due to Acadia and the breath-taking views from Cadillac Mountain and the views of the lighthouses from Fort Williams. Still, each port was charming in it's own way. Quebec City is worth a week. Don't let NCL entice you into cheap airfare only to find they didn't give you time to explore this fascinating world of old and new. I'm told the entertainment on board was good. I don't go on cruises for food or entertainment, but my wife and other party members enjoyed the variety of shows. The pool deck was generally lightly populated due to the chilly temperatures. The library is in an odd, but very quiet place. I liked its location. Not alot of traffic due to it being isolated at the start of a U-shaped hallway of forward cabins. It's kind of where the health club "class" workout room is often located on the Jewel-Class vessels. We did not find the Ultimate Beverage Package to be a very good deal for us because we don't drink a lot so a beer or glass of wine would wind up costing $50 when you averaged it out per diem. And forget finding a Mountain Dew when you wanted one. I mentioned earlier the attentiveness of the staff. I should clarify that I mean wait staff, room stewards, etc. If you see an officer or security personnel, they are almost always approachable, congenial and helpful. On the other hand, any "hotel staffer" in one of the dark, business-like suits - is a waste of your time. The only solution they can offer is to write an email to the home office, because they have no authority to provide any solutions for you. Your room steward on the other hand can answer 90% of your questions and solve the majority of your issues, just remember all he did for you at the end of the cruise. Same with the food services. If you ask for something politely, if it's on the ship it will magically appear at your table generally within a reasonable time. Not always, but generally. A lot of it depends on your attitude toward your server. One final tip - and it's about tips. When we wanted to acknowledge a staffer who went above and beyond, we would add an amount above what was included in our prepaid tip package to the paper receipts at the restaurant only to learn that those tips went into the general pool for all workers, thus eliminating what we were attempting to do, which was let someone know we appreciated their specific extra effort. After learning that, we always carried a little cash around and looked for opportunities to make someone's day when it was deserved. I hope I can remember that the next time I cruise with Norwegian. They may be the American Airlines of the cruise industry, but they're cheap - sadly in more ways than one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I choose this cruise because of the ports of calls visited and the cruise length was the shortest (9 days) of all cruise lines. This was the second cruise we’d taken with NCL, the last was about 20 years ago. The embarkation process ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the ports of calls visited and the cruise length was the shortest (9 days) of all cruise lines. This was the second cruise we’d taken with NCL, the last was about 20 years ago. The embarkation process in Quebec City was clumsy and resulted in long lines and wait times even though you were required to select a check in time in advance. All of the port of calls, except two, required you to be tendered to shore and required you to pick up tickets in advance. One of the two ports where we docked required passengers to be bussed to the terminal because the dock was a commercial facility. Tender process took away from the amount of time in port, especially in New Port, RI where we only had 5-1/2 hours in port. The disembarkation process in Manhattan was quick and easy. I was most dissatisfied with the quality of food on the ship. The ingredients were stretched very thin and and in many cases the food was over cooked, and was overall not very tasty. The food in the speciality restaurants (3 visited at additional cost) was better, but not up to the quality on other cruise lines The service in most venues was slow, and we only ate in the Main dining room once. We also ate at O’Sheeans, which was was no better than other venues, and we ended up walking away from our table because it took so long to get our food. We ended up eating our mid-day meals in town at the port of calls which was our best meal of the day. The overall look of the ship was good (recent upgrade), service at bars, excursion desk and customer service was good. The entertainment was average and onboard activities typical to other lines. Our cruise package included 250 internet minutes. However the quality of the wi-fi was very spotty across the ship and poor in our cabin. I spent a lot of those 250 minutes “spinning”. Shore excursion offerings were passive in nature (bus tours) and and didn’t really appeal to us as we have an active lifestyle. Therefore, we researched the ports of call and made our own tour. Overall very dissatisfied with our cruise and won’t be sailing with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
On Thursday September 12 I had a rather testy conversation with a man who was working the customer service desk on that morning. I began the conversation by starting to explain that we had received a voicemail saying that my wife had left ... Read More
On Thursday September 12 I had a rather testy conversation with a man who was working the customer service desk on that morning. I began the conversation by starting to explain that we had received a voicemail saying that my wife had left her purse in a public area and that it had been turned in to lost and found. What I actually got out of my mouth before being interrupted was “we received a voicemail saying” at which point he interrupted me and asked my room number. I stopped talking and gave him my room number but then began again explaining why I was there. He again interrupted and started talking over me. I told him I was trying to explain what I wanted but that he kept talking over me. I started utalking again trying to explain what I wanted and he again started talking over me. At this point he would say I was rude to him. I will call it not being very happy with him. I became very frustrated with him and told him that I wanted to talk to someone else. He waved his hand toward several other people at the counter and I moved over to that area and began to explain what I was wanting to another male worker but he moved over and tried to interject his opinion of what was going on. I then told this new person that he wouldn’t let me talk but kept interrupting me. The new person then said that was fine and how could he help me. I then explained (without being interrupted) why I was there. I gave him my name and room number and he was familiar with my wife’s purse so he went back to get it. When he came back with her purse I had my room card and ID out for him and in a matter of just a few minutes I was done. The rude worker was watching everything that went on and was laughing with another female employee as I was getting ready to leave. I asked him if he thought this was funny and he said no that he thought it was sad. I said that I thought it was sad also. I decided that I wanted to get this persons name so when I was sent an evaluation of my cruise experience I would know who he was. I did not see him behind the service desk again until the evening of Saturday September 14. All I really wanted was his name so I walked up toward him and tried to take a picture of his name tag. He tried to cover up his name tag and then tried to engage my wife in a conversation about how rude I was to him. He said I was not allowed to take pictures of him and said he was calling security. I said go ahead that I would talk to security. During that time my wife and I were able to read his name tag and I made a note of it. So, I waited. A woman who said that she was his supervisor came out to talk to me and I explained all that had happened. She said that for security reasons I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of him. I told her all I wanted was his name and that I now had it so I would delete the pictures of him. With her watching I deleted both pictures I had taken. She said that she would talk to him. By the way, a security representative did show up while I was talking to her but I never interacted with him. For the life of me I don’t know why he over reacted like that. As I explained to his supervisor I am the one on vacation here and the one who has spent a lot of money to be on this ship. All of the employees of this ship should feel like they work for me and most do. I am not sure what his agenda in working on that ship is but on that morning it was certainly not to listen to me or try to help me with a problem. It seemed to be to interrupt me and talk over me. While still on the ship I went to the NCL website and filled out a comment on my experience and made a note of the confirmation number and after not hearing from them I filled out another comment form a couple of days later (all while still on the ship). Two days before disembarkation I received a call from the manager over the service desk (a different lady) wanting to talk to me. I went down to talk to her in person. She was very nice and mentioned the NCL form that I had filled out on the NCL site. So at least I had got their attention. She was very apologetic and kept apologizing for his actions. She mentioned that they would use it as a training tool. The cruise itself including the itinerary was not bad and we enjoyed the ports. I will say that we have never been on a cruise that tendered so many ports. Out of the 8 ports we visited 5 of them were tendered and one of the dock ports was at a commercial dock so they had to bus us over to the passenger dock. So 6 of 8 were non-standard docks. Also, the food in the food court was subpar. We spent most of our breakfast and lunch meals in O’Sheehans. And unlike most Princess cruises we never had a dinner choice of shrimp, scallop or lobster dishes. The only fish meals we were offered were a variety of filleted fish. My wife and I frequently take cruises and they are almost always enjoyable. We have 14 on Princess, 4 on Disney, 7 or 8 on Carnival, 2 on Oceania and 3 on Viking. I believe this is either our 4th or 5th on NCL. I will tell you that this man and his actions will certainly make this cruise memorable but not in a positive way. But I walked away satisfied that someone had finally heard me and apologized for his actions. Ken Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had not cruised on Norwegian since the mid-nineties, but past experiences had been good. More recent cruises had been on Princess and Celebrity. Our biggest disappointments were with the food in ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We had not cruised on Norwegian since the mid-nineties, but past experiences had been good. More recent cruises had been on Princess and Celebrity. Our biggest disappointments were with the food in the "complimentary" venues and with the seemingly constant nickel and diming we saw. The food on past Norwegian cruises had been good- the "specialty" restaurants had been for a special occasion, not to get a good meal. This is our first cruise ever where neither shrimp cocktail or escargot was offered- the menu reminded us of a diner or Cracker Barrel- nothing exotic at all. Can you imagine a cruise to Canada and New England not offering lobster? We certainly couldn't, but they didn't. On the plus side, our mini-suite was spacious and nice- the only negative was it was below the uncarpeted buffet dining area and patrons or cleaning staff moving chairs made noises that carried down to our room. This will be our last cruise with this line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Due to hurricane Dorian we were notified several days before this cruise that the ship would be arriving late and that embarkation would take place from 4 to 7 pm (rather than 11am-2pm). We dutifully arrived at 4:30 pm only to be met by ... Read More
Due to hurricane Dorian we were notified several days before this cruise that the ship would be arriving late and that embarkation would take place from 4 to 7 pm (rather than 11am-2pm). We dutifully arrived at 4:30 pm only to be met by thousands of passengers milling all over the terminal. Since there we’re not enough chairs, people were sitting and lying on the floor. There were hardly any NCL employees to ask about what we could expect. We’d were at one point handed a ticket good for one bottle of water ( if you were willing to stand in another line!). This went on for 3 hrs,! We saw many disabled or elderly passengers who seemed to be in real distress and talked to one man who was diabetic and couldn’t get anything appropriate to eat. Although we finally got on the boat at 7:45, there were people who told us they had not received the message (phone and text) and arrived at the terminal at noon, waiting more than 7 hrs to board! Norwegian officials made only perfunctory apologies for all of this and NO compensation was offered to passengers for time taken away from a cruise they paid for, the extra expenses of meals in NY, or the extreme stress of the day. I finally received my luggage at 10:30pm. Although the hurricane was not NCL’s fault, once they decided to go ahead with the cruise they had a responsibility to make embarkation at least bearable! In this regard, they failed miserably! Unfortunately their inefficiency didn’t end with the embarkation. There were four ports on this cruise so we signed up for a shore excursion on each one. Three of the excursions started late, two of them a whole hour late! The meeting place for one of our excursions was also the meeting place for numerous other trips and the room became dangerously overcrowded! Passengers were camped out in the halls and could not hear announcements so had to pull over those streaming out to ask which trip was being called. The crowd became so dense I had to leave to get some air! Regarding entertainment, the two shows we attended I would rate somewhere between fair and good. The crew talent show was over almost as soon as it began! You were only able to prebook one show,(After Midnight) so you had to sign up for the others after boarding. By the time we were deciding what to do, the venues were mostly booked. Also, a lot of the entertainment happens late at night so if you’re not a night owl you’re going to miss it. Although they had a lot of bars, the smaller ones are constantly changing the hours they’re open so it was difficult to keep all that straight. There is little in the way of any educational programming except when NCL is trying to sell you something which they do consistently throughout the cruise! As one previous NCL cruises, the food was very good and of consistently high quality and the service was good. No real complaints about our cabin either. The biggest problem I see with Norwegian Escape is that it is just too big and NCL has not mastered the art of handling that many people efficiently. Everything is always crowded and there seems to be very few places on the boat to have a quiet moment. The layout of the ship is not really user friendly although I coudn’t tell you exactly why. It is noisy, chaotic, and is the only cruise I have gone on where I came home with jangled nerves and in need of a vacation! This was our 5th Norwegian Cruise and will most probably be our last! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary. We have cruised to New England and Canada in the past with another cruise line and were very satisfied. We were able to book this cruise through our Marriott Vacation Club membership. The ship ... Read More
The cruise was chosen for the itinerary. We have cruised to New England and Canada in the past with another cruise line and were very satisfied. We were able to book this cruise through our Marriott Vacation Club membership. The ship itself is fine. The way it is run is a joke. From start to finish there were issues. Hurricane Dorian delayed the ship's arrival in New York but we were not notified of the delay. We spent about 4 hours in the cruise terminal waiting for embarkation. Weather delays are understandable and not the fault of the cruise line, not keeping passengers apprised of the situation is not. Of course, once onboard cabins were not available but that's not unusual either. The dining rooms were open due to the lateness of embarkation but unprepared for the onslaught of diners. Service was a little sketchy but acceptable given the fact that most first night onboard meals are not the best. After dinner the cabin was available and miraculously the luggage was also there. Our steward stopped by to introduce himself but we never saw him again for seven days. The safety presentation didn't occur until 10:30pm which was well past bedtime for many of the passengers. Norwegian doesn't place life vests in the cabins and given the chaos of their general assemblies is probably a disaster waiting to happen. Going ashore for excursions was a thrill. Direction was generally lacking onboard and no better when you got ashore. Busses were not assigned you just stood in line and were loaded on as you arrived. The saving grace is that the tours and guides we took were generally good. Food onboard in the main dining rooms was generally good and so was service for the most part. The specialty restaurants seemed pricey for what they offered so we avoided them. The ability to make reservations for the dining venues from your in cabin tv was touted but didn't work. The onboard entertainment we saw was very good. Knights and The Choir of Man were worth the time. The Manhattan dining room had music during dinner which was good and dancing was available. It was a great venue. The cabin was nothing special. Tight but sufficient storage. We made arrangements for airport transfer, post cruise, through Norwegian. What a joke. In fact, the entire disembarkation was a chaotic joke. As with most cruise lines disembarkation occurred based on luggage tag color which is based on airline schedules, etc. Unlike other lines we have cruised with, there was no gathering point for each color just a free for all to the disembarkation deck when the color was called. You were told to go to either the forward or aft lobbies. We went forward as that was where our cabin was and were then paraded through the ship to the aft gangway where we were then paraded around the outside of the terminal to the forward part of the ship! Once we found our luggage we were directed toward the exit but with no direction as to where our transfer to the airport would be. We finally were told to "go to the left" at the exit for airport transfers. The chaos continued as we exited the terminal to see a line of passengers stretching two piers with an adjacent line of busses with no indication as to what airport they were travelling to!! With three airports in the NYC area you have to know which bus will take you to your airport. If that wasn't enough, no one was being allowed to board the busses and no one was there to direct passengers to their appropriate transport. At least, my wife pointed out to me, the weather was beautiful during this fiasco. Eventually, we made our way onto a bus to LaGuardia and our trip and any further cruising with Norwegian came to an end. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
it recommended by a travel agent, the ship was late because of hurricane but did not received a notice from the ncl app. waited 4 hours to board the ship. did not like the excursions for the money. the stops were good but awfully ... Read More
it recommended by a travel agent, the ship was late because of hurricane but did not received a notice from the ncl app. waited 4 hours to board the ship. did not like the excursions for the money. the stops were good but awfully expensive, dining was open I like reserved dining. the food was cold most of the time. needed a area for playing cards or games embarkment was chaotic should have a ticket to keep it orgqanize to get on a bus for the airport the help was very nice. smooth sailing, had to go to service agent to find out about our money, it did explain it too clearly. liked the food and service at o'sheehans the buffet was ok need to keep food warmer getting off and on the boat for excursions was great. I would not go again on the ship, I ight try another norwegian Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I have traveled with Norwegian six other cruises and have had great experiences. This time was terrible. The delay from the previous cruise was because of the storm. Which I totally understand however they should’ve adjusted the time for ... Read More
I have traveled with Norwegian six other cruises and have had great experiences. This time was terrible. The delay from the previous cruise was because of the storm. Which I totally understand however they should’ve adjusted the time for everyone to arrive even later than they stated. We did not board the ship until almost 8:30 PM and had a muster drill at 10 PM to which prior to them starting that the captain gave a long speech. The food was not fresh and cold for the most part, the room was definitely not up to cleanliness standards of the past, and overall was just a terrible experience. When most people you encounter said that this was their worst trip and they could not wait for it to be over I think pretty much sums up how terrible it really was. I’ve always had positive experiences with Norwegian in the past but never cruised on the ship so I don’t know if it was a combination of factors, the ship itself, or the company just lowering its standard but I think I’ve had enough cruises with Norwegian due to this past experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was one of my bucket list trips. New England in the fall. The ship arrived tp port several hours late due to a storm. I was glad safety was priority for this cruise line. the issue was they failed to notify anyone, As a result ... Read More
This was one of my bucket list trips. New England in the fall. The ship arrived tp port several hours late due to a storm. I was glad safety was priority for this cruise line. the issue was they failed to notify anyone, As a result hundreds of us were at the pier with a few very misinformed Norwegian employees, Communication was an issue the entire trip. We were late to every port. All of our excursions were 1 to 2 hours late beginning. No explanation was ever given or compensation offered. The lack of organization at every port to disembark was terrible and did not improve at any port. The ship was under staffed and staff poorly trained. Many staff members had limited understanding of English. The food was marginal and service as well in the dinning rooms. This was a very disappointing experience. I will not be able to recommend this cruise line to anyone. This is only the highlights of issues that arose, a week of disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The timing of the cruise fit within our schedule so NCL was chosen. This was our 2nd cruise, 1st with NCL and probably the last with NCL. One reason we won't go NCL again - is it's too old of a clientele. The comedian has it ... Read More
The timing of the cruise fit within our schedule so NCL was chosen. This was our 2nd cruise, 1st with NCL and probably the last with NCL. One reason we won't go NCL again - is it's too old of a clientele. The comedian has it correct. It's a floating nursing home. At 50, we were the youngest on the boat ! Expect most to turn in at 10 pm or earlier. You'll also be stuck behind many walkers in the many lines. While the hurricane wasn't their issue, they could have communicated it better. We had to hear on the local new (we're from Maine) that the ship would be re-routed to Portland due to Dorian. NCL had not told us yet. We called the customer service # and they still had no information yet. So we traveled from Portland to Boston, just to head back to Portland - oh well. They gave us a port charge credit of $10 each. Halifax closed their port so we had to skip that port. So it was a day at sea instead. Still waiting to hear about a port charge credit for Halifax. Several calls/emails still nothing. Cabin was on deck 4 (4553) Inside. Good for us. Less movement. Never met the steward but he/she did a good job. It was just the 2 of us so this fine. Dining - The pay restaurants - Japanese place, french place were too close to the Casio and cigar bar so they stank of smoke. We passed on those. We did eat at the restaurant - grand pacific (included in your cruise fare). Service was excellent. Food needs improvement. Meat (Prime Rib) was excellent, but the corn cob was so overcooked, was not edible. The steak, also good, was served with shoestring fries (Really ?) way to take the ambiance down - serve french fries with a quality steak. No local seafood? No lobster.. we were in Maine? really? Scallops also were no larger than your fingernail. Tiny. No Blueberries that I could find. Again, this is the area for it. Buffet - we ate there a lot. Seating was at a premium though and our ship was not fully booked. Lots of choices - including vegetarian. So real creative designs with fruit carvings Entertainment = we thought it good. Shows were worth going to. One we actually went to twice. They have them at 7 and 9 pm. Dancing - I appreciated that the professional dancers came out to dance at the clubs to get the party started. They missed the Latin night unfortunately, which my wife and I went to. We had the floor to ourselves. Excursions - Dorian caused some damage. Many areas had no power. Not NCL's issue but they cancelled some of the tours and the other ones quickly became overcrowded. Alcohol - packages not worth it. Not even if they are "free" as you still pay the service fee. Do the math. You'd need to drink about 5 drinks each day (for every one in your room) to break even. That's including the first day when they leave port at 5 pm. Skip the packages, and just pay by the drink. We did the "drink of the day" which had a reduced price. They do tack on 20% already, so don't add another tip unless you're really generous. Plenty of free booze around - each night they gave out sample to taste. Hit them up ! Casino also has a "learn" night with free booze. It was the first night was relatively free from smoke and smell. We just took the drinks and walked :) . The art show also has free champagne. Take some, browse for a bit, and walk if you want. Again, would not use NCL again. Customer service on the front end desk is often contradictory. One person would say one thing. If you come back and talk to another person you'd get a different answer. After the cruise, good luck in getting any response - we're still waiting. Average age of our boat I'g guess was mid 70s as well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
When I started traveling on cruise ship years ago, a travel agent told me : the most important factor for a cruise is the SHIP, destination and ports are are not important. In this case the Dawn should not be on top of your list. ... Read More
When I started traveling on cruise ship years ago, a travel agent told me : the most important factor for a cruise is the SHIP, destination and ports are are not important. In this case the Dawn should not be on top of your list. Lets start with the negative: Embarkation is long process, cannot blame NCL its a private company who does all the work Cabins: NOT confortable , small narrow no chair to sit bathroom has 3 section with 16 inches doors between each of them (take your measurements first) As mentioned by many previous members the ship is outdated .... Dining: hits and miss, no WOW .... too many "breaded meat or fish" the appetizers are practically the same every night, only the order changes and a few are replaced every night Cabin attendant : I guess we had a "new guy on the job" never knew would do the cabin if we took a nap at 11:00 he would knock on the door, sometimes after lunch .... no steady schedule. NCL gives returning customer a bottle of sparkling wine NO glasses, we asked twice ..... Nothing Now the good: Have to admit the personnel (except security staff who take their job too seriously) is very nice always smiling Dining room. Buffet, bars The shows are not too bad, its free - nothing to say. the ports were interesting we didn't take any excursion, because of all bad experience in the past. shore excursion always end up being bus ride Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit New England and Canada. I am a Norwegian gold member. Unfortunately the Dawn disappointed. Being on the Dawn felt like being in a Petri dish. My husband and I are in our early 50s, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit New England and Canada. I am a Norwegian gold member. Unfortunately the Dawn disappointed. Being on the Dawn felt like being in a Petri dish. My husband and I are in our early 50s, generally healthy and active people. On the Dawn, we both got very sick about eight days in with an acute sinus infection. I have been sick for about three weeks, and imy husband for 1.5 weeks. I should’ve known what was coming when we walked into the room the first day...The sunlight was coming in so we could see all the fingerprints and dirt all over the cabin walls, doors and around the bathroom. There also appeared to be a small spot of feces on the toilet seat! I kid you not. I showed my husband. We immediately went to the cabin steward who insisted that the mark on the toilet was part of the seat, but that ‘he would try to clean it just in case.’ I asked him to also wipe down the room a little bit better. When we returned to the room, the spot was gone from the toilet seat. We didn’t complain to steward’s superior because we wanted to give him a chance. I recommend that you bring Lysol wipes on the Dawn. I ended up having to go to their doctor, get an antibiotic, and was charged $255. Guest services wouldn’t budge and I didn’t have the ship’s travel insurance protection. When I came home I had to get a stronger antibiotic over a week later because the bacterial infection was so bad. The ship as a whole just didn’t feel good and clean and fresh.... The food was just OK and the food quality was also just OK. The dining service was good. It’s time for Norwegian to offer more fresh alternatives like calcium free yogurt, dairy-free milk ( without having to wait for them to find it in the kitchen for you ) nuts, less salt in the food, etc. There weren’t any berries to be seen. If you go on Celebrity, and probably other cruises there are restaurants like Blu where you can enjoy a better, healthier quality of food. I think Norwegian should get with the program and not stereotype its clientele as unhealthy eaters The spa was terrible. We always go to the spa when we cruise. We paid upfront online. Right when we got there we saw that it was very small; there was just a pool and a little Jacuzzi that wasn’t even hot. What a rip off! So we immediately insisted on getting a credit for that and didn’t go to the spa for the rest of the trip. Stops were delightful. We couldn’t go to Charlottetown because a hurricane was looming. The captain did a great job making us feel safe. We did all of the excursions on our own. We enjoy activities involving exercise. So we rented bikes in Newport (awesome but wear a helmet!) Bar Harbor and Portland... all beautiful places to explore with bicycles. Lots of rental places right in town. Stayed in an Air BNB in Quebec City for a night afterwards....lovely, kind of expensive, European city. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I booked a last minute porthole cabin on the deck 4. This cruise jammed five ports into seven days (Halifax, St. John, Portland, Bar Harbor, and Newport, which was canceled due to weather). The Dawn's refurbishment had varied ... Read More
I booked a last minute porthole cabin on the deck 4. This cruise jammed five ports into seven days (Halifax, St. John, Portland, Bar Harbor, and Newport, which was canceled due to weather). The Dawn's refurbishment had varied results, but you can't change the architecture and in that regard, the Dawn will always be inferior to the NCL Jewel Class. The decor ranges from mystifying (the artwork in the Venetian) to tacky (the 1970's shopping mall-style atrium). I would advise anyone booking the Dawn to AVOID DECK 4! I was kept awake for half the week with a rhythmic metallic banging every ten to 12 seconds! Despite reporting it, no solution was found until it seemed to go away on its own - only to be replaced with more random noises. As a single traveler, my beds were pushed together to make one big bed. The only problem is this left little room to safely get into bed on either side due to the built-in desk on the right and the 'stored' bunk on the left, which juts out eight inches into the room. Who looks at this and says "that's okay?" The solution was to push the against the left wall, which was okay for me, but what if a couple were in that room and wanted a double bed? They would have to disturb their partner to get in and out at night! My bedside tables looked like they were from the original 2002 design and were eroded and chipped at the edges. The shower temperature nob was missing its button and sharp metal edges were exposed. The closet hinge was detached. Again, who looks at all this and says "that's okay?" Deck 4 was once shut down completely for a crew drill. The two tender ports used deck 4 as well, so our corridor was a windy, cold, crowded place for two full days. Don't get me started on the elevators, which were a real trial for even the most patient traveler. The ship tries to be accessible, but trips over itself in the customer service area of accessibility. Activities are often held in the atrium, three steps up from the floor. The Venetian Restaurant has ONE elevator to avoid its idiotic grand staircase, but just try to get the staff's attention when they are all on a staircase behind you when you enter! This was a Canada New England cruise, but the only lobsters you'll find are on the postcards. Not even in the premium eateries! The NCL menus are all the same whether you are in Cairo or California. The Venetian (the main dining room) serves brown and serve previously frozen sausage and deep fried hash brown patties - McDonald's at Sea. Worst thing about NCL - they NEVER STOP UP-SELLING! Nearly everything except a game of trivia costs an added fee. I was getting target marketed sales pitch letters and robo-calls IN MY CABIN! I had to demand to be taken off the list. Still, every announcement for activities at sea is for things that require a fee. The staff is generally very nice and super accommodating, except for one woman at the Shore Excursion desk who barely looked up and never spoke while I was telling her how their "HIGHLIGHTS OF ST. JOHN" was a misnomer. The first stop on the bus was a view of the reversing rapids that was dominated by a HUGE Paper Factory belching white effluence into the air. The second stop was a cross between a craft fair and a supermarket. The third stop was closed! All the while, feedback from the guide's microphone and condensation on the bus windows due to the weather. Neither driver nor guide knew what to do about these conditions, despite their experience. If I wanted to see factories and shopping centers I could have stayed in New Jersey. Even if it had been a clear, sunny warm day - St. John was a massive let-down. For Newport and Portland, NCL's only help for those not using their own tours, was a poster board next to the customer relations desk. No map, no shopping tips, no restaurant guides - nothing. Just one bulletin board for everyone wanting to plan their own day off the ship. The Dawn should be retired. It will never satisfy the experienced cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We were offered a "Free" cruise from NCL through our local casino. First and foremost, it is not FREE. Having worked in the maritime business for almost 30 years including with cruise, we knew that we would be responsible for ... Read More
We were offered a "Free" cruise from NCL through our local casino. First and foremost, it is not FREE. Having worked in the maritime business for almost 30 years including with cruise, we knew that we would be responsible for the port charges and taxes which we had no issue paying. However, there was a $20 per person, per day "administrative" charge which is not something you pay on a regularly booked cruise. That being said, we booked to give another try to the Canada/New England itinerary which we took on another line last year ~ we missed two ports of call due to weather so thought it would be a good way to try again, AND we were celebrating our anniversary. It was still a significant savings over booking regularly so we figured we'd go with it. We feel that NCL should NOT use the term FREE since you have to pay a fee as noted above, and if you choose one of the five FREE items, you still have to pay gratuities, therefore it is not FREE. Perhaps using the terms "reduced cost" would be a better option. Embarkation was smooth. We knew from experience that the buffet would be mobbed, so we chose to try the Venetian Dining Room for lunch. We were greeted fairly quickly and seated, but after 20 minutes with no acknowledgment by anyone we left. Our second major issue was the next evening for dinner. We went to the Venetian again and the hostess remarked that shorts were not permitted in the dining room. She was very rude about it when we mentioned that we reviewed the dining information and there was only one dining venue that did not permit shorts; subsequently we spoke with the maitre'd who was also very rude and condescending. We showed her the daily activity sheet showing only one restaurant, but she continue her rude behavior and blamed it on the department that puts out the activity sheet. It was very embarrassing to be treated that way. We never returned to the Venetian. We tried Aqua one night since you can wear shorts, but the service was very lacking. The staff was not friendly in the least. To top it off, my husband's chicken picatta was grossly undercooked. We didn't eat in the dining rooms for the rmainder of the cruise. The flexible dining could be a good thing, but NCL doesn't seem to handle it well. The idea is to go to dinner when it works for you, but when you are told that there is a 45-60 minute wait, what is the point? We have sailed on Carnival who offers both seated times and "my time dining" and it works much better. The Garden Cafe buffet was usually a cluster, and it was the same food day in and day out; very little change at all, maybe one dish per day. They really need to learn how to cook bacon; it was extremely undercooked, almost raw some days. If you dug to the bottom of the heap you could find some that was somewhat cooked. I will say that the Crispy Crab and Cream Cheese Wontons on our one day in the main restaurant were very good, otherwise, the best food on the ship was at O'Sheehan's Pub. The Norwegian app could be helpful, but they did not list the dining room menus (which ended up not being an issue for us afterall) but other cruise lines do list the choices each day on the app and that is certainly helpful. Another issue is in the Garden Cafe when the staff practically hovers over you waiting to take your used plates. One evening late, three staff members were milling around just waiting to pounce on our used plates ~ it's not comfortable having people hang over you. The entertainment on the ship was very good. "Soul Rocking Nights" was a fabulous show. The theater performers were great, although the seating in the theater was very tight. I'm only 5'5" and my knees were into the seat in front of me. The only thing that was strange was during the "elements" show where there were three people in long black hooded robes hanging around in the state props ~ made no sense with the rest of the show. Just thought this was strange. The musicians throughout the ship were also very entertaining. The ship is tough to navigate as not all decks go through so it takes some time to figure things out. We love to play trivia, but the lounge where they hold the trivia is directly next to the cigar bar where everyone hung out to smoke. While it is enclosed, unfortunately, the smoke permeated the entire area. I'm asthmatic so I couldn't sit there. Only went into the casino two times at the beginning of the cruise before that became too smoky as well. On our last port day which we were looking forward to in Newport, Rhode Island, we went to get our tender tickets and the staff member said we would be delayed due to weather and the captain would let us know. One and one-half hours after we should have arrived the captain finally announced that we would miss the port due to winds which would be too rough for tendering. I get that and totally understand that safety is first, but why so late with the announcement? Most of the staff we saw throughout the ship was friendly with the exception of the dining staff as noted above. We have sailed Carnival, Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Disney and have never had such a disappointing sailing as we did with NCL. With so many other choices we will probably not sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Newport, Rhode Island and two stops in Canada. We were excited that after this cruise we would be 1 point away from becoming Platinum Plus (175 points). We booked the cruise as a ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, particularly Newport, Rhode Island and two stops in Canada. We were excited that after this cruise we would be 1 point away from becoming Platinum Plus (175 points). We booked the cruise as a Latitudes Insider Special. The "reward" was double points (14) and 30 extra internet minutes, So far, they rewarded us with 7 points, and we were unable to connect to the internet all cruise long. The Wi-Fi did not work. Upon arrival at the Cruise Terminal in New York, things started a little off. As platinum members, we directed ourselves to the Platinum embarkation area. The guard twice refused to let us in. It wasn't until another NCL member gave the green light that we were allowed to enter. When we got to our cabin, our tour tickets were already there, But, our Champagne and waters were not. We asked about them and were told they will be delivered soon. The champagne bottle arrived, but NCL did not provide us glasses, and even after insisting, we were told NCL does not provide glasses. I guess we have to drink champagne directly out of the bottle. The steward delivered 1 bottle of water, and it took 3 calls and 2 days to get the second bottle (champagne and water are benefits of being Platinum). Every day, we watched the NCL channel for weather and arrival/departure updates. The channel reflected information of the previews cruise and gave details fo the wrong arrival and departure times. One day it even stated a 2-hour error that caused us to have to call the Guest Services twice to confirm. On day 1, we went to O'Sheehans for lunch. We sat and saw 4 other groups sit after us. All ate and we waited for salads over 40 minutes! The others ate hot food! A night later, we went back for desert. We were directed to a table that needed to be cleaned and set-ups brought to us. Food crumbs were still on the table. The waitress came, took our order and saw us clean the table ourselves without even hinting about helping us! We ate in the Garden only once. The table servers were awesome, but the people behind the buffet areas had an attitude or did not understand English. We enjoyed eating at Le Bistro, arguably one of the few bright spots. However, we were extremely disappointed with Moderno. The meat was less than adequate in terms of temperature (we asked for medium) and taste (hard). We tried booking a couples at the spa, but the reps were rude and wanted to force us to take a time slot we did not want and wanted to charge us a non-promotional fee for the same service they were promoting at a nice discount. The tours were awesome. The guides were knowledgeable and attentive. The weather did not cooperate in Canada, though. In summary, NCL is not longer at the top of our list. If NCL does not make good on the additional 7 Latitudes points, we are going to cancel one of our two next booked cruises. We are scheduled to go to Cuba in August and South America in December. We might keep the Cuba cruise, but we will cancel the other and start using Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Azamara, or any other willing to give us a good value and treat us well. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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