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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We picked this cruise for the destination and ports and because we like the smaller ships (we did a trans-Atlantic on the Epic in the spring and can now say we were on the Epic -- too big and too odd of a ship). This was our sixth cruise ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the destination and ports and because we like the smaller ships (we did a trans-Atlantic on the Epic in the spring and can now say we were on the Epic -- too big and too odd of a ship). This was our sixth cruise on Norwegian, two trans-Atlantic crossings and two 7/8 day cruises, so we had an idea of what to expect, but we were a bit disappointed in our experience on the ship. The port visits, though, were excellent and a driving trip to visit those areas is in our future. I tagged this "Random" because of a number of things -- the random selection of when movies and TV shows were shown on the cabin TV, the random choices of meals in the Grand Pacific, the random choices of themes in the Garden Cafe, and the random times that there was a 30-minute wait for seating in both dining rooms. I also added the "Sailing with the B Team" subtitle since the service, meals, and offerings weren't up to what we have seen before on our past cruises. Breakfast was fine since it is hard to screw up eggs, omelets, etc. on the buffet or in the dining room. The issue of service and food came up with dinner in the Grand Pacific. The standard choices were the standard choices that are on just about every Norwegian menu (steak, flounder, chicken, pork, and pasta). The daily variable menu choices on a couple of days weren't outstanding or exciting, leading my wife and I to comment, "Well, we can find something to eat, even if it is just appetizers." The option was to find nothing we liked on the themed buffet. Both my wife and I were disappointed several times, me with a steak without much flavor and her with the veal that also had no flavor. At one meal at a shared table (which we enjoyed) several appetizers were served cold (especially the spinach dip that should have been hot). Some special requests for the entree didn't get communicated well so substitutions for vegetables or other sides didn't show up. Most of the table asked for coffee with desert but it took action by the maiter de to get the coffee served -- after everyone had finished their desert. The service just wasn't there at times. Outside of the dining room, the singing entertainment seemed to be made up of lower-level performers. A number of people we talked to mentioned the atrium piano player who couldn't sing. We briefly listened to another group and didn't seek them out again. This was disappointing because we enjoyed listening to good performers in the evening in the atrium on other cruises. Other activities that were available seemed limited and didn't really appeal to us. Deal or No Deal is fun to watch the first time but is more of a racket at $25 a card to play with limited rewards. Another failure (and a Norwegian trait on other cruises) is the control of guests when there is a need to appear/line up for something. When we arrived in Bar Harbor everyone had to line up for the immigration officers. There were set times for different groups and decks to show up but there wasn't any type of check to see if someone was in the appropriate group, which meant anyone could show up at any time. This has happened on past cruises, too, which makes for longer lines filled with people who aren't supposed to be there. The staff never enforces who or when someone should or shouldn't be there. The same went for lining up for the tender trips in Bar Harbor and Newport. People grabbed early tickets (1, 3, 5, etc.) but didn't show up until they were calling 12, 14, 17 ticket numbers late in the morning. The feeling among those who were bumped by these late arrivals was that if you didn't make it when your number was called, you went to the end of the line. The ultimate failure of this was at the end of the trip in New York. Because of problems at the dock (not of Norwegian's making) everything was an hour late. When they finally started calling for the self-supporting people to disembark, there was a rush for the exits. At one point there was an announcement that if you were in a color group and your luggage wasn't available, you would be sent back (don't know if that was enforced). We ended up joining the "shuttle" group ahead of our color group because we needed to get to Penn Station in time to catch our train home (yes, we did what we complain about by jumping the line but the delay shortened what had been a comfortable window of time). Bottom line as far as the ship goes is that is was a nice cruise despite the little things and we are still keeping our reservations for a future cruise on Norwegian. As to the ports and excursions, we were very pleased -- although the excursion selection was tough to work through to balance interest and cost. In Halifax we chose the Hop On-Hop Off bus excursion. We got a good overview of the city and had an excellent guide for the first section who was knowledgeable and provided good commentary. We hopped off downtown to walk around and have lunch (and had a wonderful meal at Stayner's Wharf). The return to the ship also had an excellent guide; kudos to the company for their selection and training of their guides. We did a walking food tour in St. John and again had an excellent guide. We started with a beaver tail (a "Canadian donut") then cruised the City Market where we were given samples of Dulce, maple butter, candied and smoked salmon, a lobster roll, and a wonderful lobster tail pastry. In addition to the food, we learned the history of the city and area, had various architecture features pointed out, and worked in a visit to a restored theatre. When we were done, we had some free time to walk around a bit more. We booked another foodie tour for Bar Harbor and again the guide was very good (unfortunately my wife didn't make the tour; something from the buffet didn't agree with her and she wasn't up to the walk in the cold). The guide covered the history of the area as we walked to the first stop where we were served a delicious lobster bisque. Next stop was the Independent coffee shop, with a wonderful lobster roll, blueberry coffee cake, and a cold coffee delicacy. We visited the Bar Harbor Popcorn Shop for a tasty snack, then went to the Episcopal Church to view the Tiffany stained glass and hear about the Astors. Last stop was the Acadia Country Store and a slice of blueberry pie. None of the excursions for Boston appealed to us, so we opted for a Hop On-Hop Off bus tour. The service had a kiosk on the pier and the ticket price was the same as the on-line price so it wasn't a bad deal. The first bus shuttled us from the port to the Quincy Market area and stop 1 on the loop. We walked around Quincy Market and marveled at the variety of food stalls. We then picked up the bus for a 2-hour overview of Boston. Sully was an entertaining and knowlegeable driver/guide who provided a lot of background information. It was a quick overview that convinced us we need to return to Boston for an extended visit. A late lunch at the Quincy Market compled the day, followed by a down-to-the-wire return to the ship right at 3:30 (although we didn't leave until after 5 p.m.). Newport was a surprise -- we didn't pick from the limited list of excursions but didn't know what to expect. After a wait for a tender, we started a walk around the downtown, which turned out to be a nice place to visit and shop. On recommendation from a shop clerk, we made our way to The Mooring restaurant for lunch -- one of the best meals of the trip. We walked off lunch going back to the landing, where we had a bit of a wait for a tender. Bottom line for this is we accomplished our goal for this cruise -- to visit some places we haven't been to before. As mentioned, a road trip is in our future to return to this region for an extended visit now that our appetite has been wheted by this trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I traveled with my husband and my mom. We stayed in a 2 bedroom Haven villa. The room was beautiful. The Haven pool area was beautiful. Made, was the Valet in the pool area. He was wonderful. Great service and great personality. Our ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and my mom. We stayed in a 2 bedroom Haven villa. The room was beautiful. The Haven pool area was beautiful. Made, was the Valet in the pool area. He was wonderful. Great service and great personality. Our butler's name was Teo and cabin stewart was John. Loved them all. We chose this cruise for the scenery, which did not disappoint. The New England coastline was beautiful. Being in the Haven, embarkation was great. No lines, private sitting area. Once onboard, we were escorted to Cagney's for lunch. The food on the Gem, was very good, however, we had better food on the Pearl in Alaska in August of 2017. The soups all tasted the same - bisque and chowders should be thick. Both were runny and tasteless. The corn chowder tasted like pulverized canned cream corn. Watery, flavorless. At every meal, with the exception of two, our coffee was cold. At Moderno for breakfast, they bring a french press coffee pot to the table, even that was cold. The shows were good and the three of us enjoyed them. However, if it wasn't for being in the Stardust Theatre, we would have NEVER seen our cruise director Lorena. I have been on 20+ cruises and she is by far the worst cruise director I have ever had. She would announce the show and beat it. You never saw here anywhere on the ship, ever. When she made announcements over the PA system, you could not understand her. I never saw (except on the TV in the room) the assistant cruise director. Tours - Poor offering. This is the first cruise I booked my own tours, with the exception of Boston - and I wish I would have booked that on my own as well. We chose the Salem Witch Museum, which is NOT a museum. It is a bad enactment of the witch trials. Hooky, stupid, boring. Our tour guide Cathy (thank you NCL, NOT) spent the entire time on the bus yelling at the driver. How he kept his cool is beyond me. Every other word out of her mouth was Etc., Etc., Etc. Waste of money. Stop doing this tour. I can't believe it would even appeal to a young adult or child. Gift Shop - Hello, does anyone who is purchasing items for the gift shop realize that you are cruising to New England and Canada, and not a Caribbean Island? All summer clothes, beachware, flip flops. The temperature was COLD. How about a sweatshirt or t-shirt from one of the actual stops on the ship? All in all, I love Norwegian Cruise Line. I love their dining options. I did feel that the food on the Gem was not as good as other NCL ships I have been on, but I went on this cruise to see the scenery, which was beautiful. We will definitely cruise again, on NCL, however I will try to find out prior to booking who the cruise director will be. They make or break your trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We had taken many cruises on the Disney Cruise Line but we hadn't tried any other lines or taken a northern cruise and this one did not disappoint. We did Halifax, St. John, Boston, New Port, and New York City. The Gem is an older ... Read More
We had taken many cruises on the Disney Cruise Line but we hadn't tried any other lines or taken a northern cruise and this one did not disappoint. We did Halifax, St. John, Boston, New Port, and New York City. The Gem is an older ship, but very well maintained and not as big as some of the newer additions. The excursions were good, well organized and worth the money. I especially enjoyed the tours of Acadia National Park and, the one of the Vanderbilt mansions in Long Island. Our guide was super and the houses were exquisite. Our stateroom was good, with adequate space and very hard working staff. I enjoyed the live music, especially the guitarist, Angel. The passengers seemed to be a lot more friendly than on a Disney Cruise and we certainly didn't miss the plethora of children to be endured on the DCL! . On the other hand, the embarkation and debarkation processes were not handled as well as Disney, and the immigration Process was very poorly executed. The one show we attended was not up to Disney's standard, the food was only fair, except in the specialty restaurants for Italian food and the restaurant, Cagney's for steaks, etc.; and we missed the split bathrooms offered on the DCL. But all in all it was a lovely, if cold, cruise and we were very glad that we took it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to see fall colors. Loved Quebec City. Go see Montmorrecy Falls and Basilica St. Anne. Breathtaking and enjoyed fall colors. Sydney was nice but no big deal. Peggy’s Cove was breathtaking and gorgeous. Bar Harbour was soooo ... Read More
Wanted to see fall colors. Loved Quebec City. Go see Montmorrecy Falls and Basilica St. Anne. Breathtaking and enjoyed fall colors. Sydney was nice but no big deal. Peggy’s Cove was breathtaking and gorgeous. Bar Harbour was soooo beautiful and lots of fall colors. Weather is a huge factor for this cruise. We were prepared with our coats, hats, scarves and gloves. But had St. John cancelled and had to stay on the ship due to gale force winds. This time of year is huge with wind, chances of rain and we even had some snow flurries one day. So be prepared for alittle disappointment due to weather not the cruise lines fault. The ship was nice and clean, staff great but entertainment was the worst I’ve seen on five Norwegian cruises. Only saving grace was Jose and Patty. Food was good. I believe they’ve shifted the great food to the specialty restaurants so main dining is good but not great. But we aren’t picky at all. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
There were only two instances keeping this from being the perfect cruise. First was the extremely hard sell after my massage. It made me so tense that the wonderful massage I got was null. My husband experienced the same with his ... Read More
There were only two instances keeping this from being the perfect cruise. First was the extremely hard sell after my massage. It made me so tense that the wonderful massage I got was null. My husband experienced the same with his massage, plus his therapist tried to do upsell in the middle of his massage. It made it to where he couldn’t relax after that. When getting a massage a person does not want to think about money. I feel that the therapists realize that the client is in a vulnerable position and tries to take advantage of that. Second, was with a CruiseNext staff member. As a Platinum Plus Latitudes member, I have cruised with NCL many times. Usually more than once a year. I was not invited to the Dinner with The Officers, Behind the Scenes Tour, or The Private Cocktail Party. Since this was my first time on the Dawn, I was looking forward to these events. When I went to inquire at the CruiseNext office, the assistant there was quite condescending to me. When I said it was not making me feel like a very welcome guest, she continued to berate and tell me all that I was doing wrong. I did share this with Tony, the Hotel Director, and he seemed to take this very seriously and I am happy with his response. Pedro Sera, our Cruise Director, was one of the best, if not the best we’ve had. He made the whole cruise go seamlessly smooth. We were amazed at the amount of participation that Pedro had during the events. Bravo!! Thank you, Pedro & Tony. We have never had any complaints about the food on NCL, but this cruise consistently was above and beyond expectations. Many compliments to the chef and his staff. Awesome job!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We enjoyed the ship but didn’t like the casual. Dining. People were still wearing the same clothes they put on in the morning.we had a drinks package but it didn’t include coffee. This was very petty. We enjoyed the amount of ... Read More
We enjoyed the ship but didn’t like the casual. Dining. People were still wearing the same clothes they put on in the morning.we had a drinks package but it didn’t include coffee. This was very petty. We enjoyed the amount of restaurants that were available with any extra cost. Disembarking was a disaster. This was the 1st time we had opted to tcarrying our own cases off. Our cabin was on 5 but we hasp to carry our heavy suit cases up to 7 just to join the Queue. The ship was not what I expected. The piano bar was the best place on the ship. We had a day an extra day at sea due to rough sea, we had no communication from anyone about any on board credit being added to our account. We have alway gone with Celebrity and we will continue to go with this company Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
The Canadian Cruise was the first for us in that area and was a great experience. The trip was set up by a local cruise club and every detail was handled by our tour guide including excursions and travel. We opted for the eight night meal ... Read More
The Canadian Cruise was the first for us in that area and was a great experience. The trip was set up by a local cruise club and every detail was handled by our tour guide including excursions and travel. We opted for the eight night meal package which turned out to be very nice for most of the restaurants. We also had the drink package that was offered and found that to be very nice. The main Dining Room was used for three meals, however the food served was not as nice as the specialty restuarants.We used the cafe for breakfast and lunches and found to be average food. Our cabin was a little small and the bathroom even smaller than we experienced on other cruise lines, but that was our choice. The room was a sea view window on deck five mid-aft ship. The bathroom also needed updating due to stained toilet and cracks in sink, howerver the shower was ok. The service throughout the ship was great in all departments especially in the cabin which was visited at least two times a day.I would say the entertainment was average with some shows better than others. The embarkation and disbarkation was very easy with no problems. Our ports of call were great to visit and had sights that were interesting to see. We had two days at sea on this cruise and one from Boston Mass. to N.Y. was not needed for the ship went out in the Atlantic and turned back toward N.Y. Also this time of the year the Atlantic Ocean can have rolling seas which might make some a little uncomfortable. All in all this was a good cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We stumbled on this cruise while checking out Latitudes offers. I was hesitant but my wife had never been out East so this would check quite a few boxes for her and I had 2 or 3 places I would be willing to go see. The thought of doing ... Read More
We stumbled on this cruise while checking out Latitudes offers. I was hesitant but my wife had never been out East so this would check quite a few boxes for her and I had 2 or 3 places I would be willing to go see. The thought of doing the Atlantic Provinces & New England by cruise ship never actually occurred to us but once we learned about it, we thought it might be a good way to see a part of North America neither of us had ever been too (for the most part). Sailing out of Quebec City was great for us and getting an extra day there was a bonus as we love that city! (We had been once before) There's so much to do & see. We just walked around looking a various historic sites and were surprised by a local art exhibit we found at the City Hall. The second stop was La Baie/Saguenay. We had no idea Canada had fjords!! Great stop for such a small town. After that was Charlottetown. Such a pretty city with great food & even better people! Then on to Sydney. From here, we took an excursion to my personal favourite spot of the cruise - Louisbourg!! Just an amazing restoration. Halifax was next. Another great historic city with plenty to see (too much to do in just 1 day). Saint John was the last Canadian stop. Not much to see within walking distance but a few nice photo ops up the hill at King's Square. There were 2 stops in Maine - Portland & "Bah ha ba"! (Bar Harbour) They embrace their accent even on the souvenirs. Both very touristy but if you like lobster, you can certainly get your fill at either place! For the beer snob (I count myself as one), Portland has a ton of craft breweries to explore & sample!! Last stop before NYC was Boston. So much history here too but the only drawback is that we would have needed several days to explore it all as everything is so far apart. The Freedom Trail is a very good starting point and/or reference. The only negative about the trip/itinerary was the weather at this time of year was cold and damp most days. Would have preferred a summer tour instead. As for the ship itself, it was very nice. It's been renovated recently and looked good. The service was typical NCL - spot on! Only 1 blemish with the service: the main dining room & kitchen had multiple instances of difficulty adjusting to simple requests to slightly modify meals choices. Overall, it was a great experience and worth doing. Should be done at least once! For the history buff, it should be a bucket list item! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Took the Canada/New England cruise with a last-minute solo offer and was my second cruise on NCL. Overall it was great value, but food and service were not as good as the Norway cruise on NCL Star two years ago. ★The GOOD★ ... Read More
Took the Canada/New England cruise with a last-minute solo offer and was my second cruise on NCL. Overall it was great value, but food and service were not as good as the Norway cruise on NCL Star two years ago. ★The GOOD★ Excellent itinerary (overnight at Quebec and 8 other ports of call) with reasonable port hours and just two sea days. Dock at Quebec City was farther away from the old town but still walkable. Departures at 5pm could squeeze port visits, but that also meant we usually sailed out just before sunset. Entertainment is subjective, but most productions were well delivered - the band and production cast were outstanding. The loudspeakers' volume could tame a little but I don't think the music genres were out of place. The guest magician was underwhelming. Took part in the Canvas by U! painting class on the first sea day. At $35 it was reasonably priced and we all had a good time, albeit a bit rush. Cruise director staff could proceed slower as I had no time to just wash the brush. Spinnaker Lounge was a great place to hang out. Breakfast in main dining room looked and tasted better, though the parfait could use fresher granola. There are always 2-3 new "daily features" except for the last day. Embarkation in Quebec and disembarkation in New York both smooth and quick. Onboard passport clearance at Portland more efficient than I had anticipated. ※The AVERAGE※ Most inside / oceanview staterooms are small and come with only one stool that was uncomfortable to sit on. Carpeting and textiles in the room have been updated and I hope they will keep the fixtures too, especially the square table. Good storage options. Plenty of hooks in bathroom plus a clothes line, so it was easy to hand wash clothes. Had all dinners in the main dining rooms and Asian restaurants. Had a couple of good Cuban mains, but execution of Asian dishes were uneven, mostly sub-par and bland. Red meat still a safe bet. None of the dessert was impressive. Buffet breakfast lacked rotation and real sausages. Variety would be fine for a weekend getaway, but it was a 12-night cruise. No complaint on the quality though. No more annoying push for drink and dining packages (probably because many already had them as part of their ticket), instead front line staff would go an extra mile to ask you write appreciation letters. ▼The BAD▼ Mandatory drill was first scheduled at 3:30pm on embarkation day. An outright stupid decision as we were going to dock overnight at Quebec. So it was cancelled after 3pm because few were onboard and postponed to 5pm the next day. It disrupted schedules of those who planned to make good use of their first day in Quebec after embarkation. Announcements were minimal on this cruise. Missing the many engaging updates from bridge crew and cruise director I had in my 2016 cruise. Two of the four Deal or No Deal game shows on this cruise were cancelled due to low participation. No day-time performances or movies in main theatre during sea days. Instead movies were shown in atrium with limited seating and all the ceiling light effects on. No free movie-on-demand in staterooms and most channels were showing NCL’s own promotional clips. As with my previous NCL experience, there was no attempt to run enrichment programs or activities related to the places we were visiting. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
The fall leaves were gorgeous. The weather was too cold to enjoy the outdoor areas very much. I think in the future I might choose an itinerary with fewer ports, as we exhausted ourselves with port after port. However, some people ... Read More
The fall leaves were gorgeous. The weather was too cold to enjoy the outdoor areas very much. I think in the future I might choose an itinerary with fewer ports, as we exhausted ourselves with port after port. However, some people might love that. But I did love the ports. And I would hate to have missed any of them. This late in the year (early October), it was dark for most of the sail in and out of beautiful Saguenay Fjord, which was a big shame. Maybe Norwegian could have adjusted the schedule a little so that either the sail in or the sail out was during daylight? The ship was very nice. The food was good overall. The evening entertainment would have been very good except it was WAY too loud. Painfully loud. I couldn't even stay for most of the nights. When I asked if it could be turned down, I was made to feel stupid and was told that no one else had complained. However, there was a Q and A at the end of the cruise. I didn't go, but friends told me that many people there complained about the ridiculously loud volume of the shows in the theater. The excuse of "It's live music; it's loud" is nonsense. It's AMPLIFIED live music. Just turn down the amplification. They gave my mom a really hard time about carrying distilled water onboard for her C-Pap. It's a medical device, yet they made her feel like a criminal. They supposedly provide distilled water, but we had to beg about 3 times for the first fill-up, and they didn't simply give us the water. They put it in the machine themselves while we weren't there. I don't like the idea of other people touching my medical equipment, especially if they have no training on the particular machine (they all have quirks). And how do we know for sure it was really distilled water? The crew was all very nice except for the people at the desk who dismissed me and made me feel stupid because the noise level was physically hurting me. Read Less
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