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728 Norwegian (NCL) Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

The Jewel is the newest ship in NCL's fleet. The ship is beautiful and well run with an experienced friendly crew. For anyone who has sailed on the Dawn the layout of the Jewel is very similar. We sailed the Canada/New England ... Read More
The Jewel is the newest ship in NCL's fleet. The ship is beautiful and well run with an experienced friendly crew. For anyone who has sailed on the Dawn the layout of the Jewel is very similar. We sailed the Canada/New England itinerary for the past 4 autumns on different cruise lines but enjoyed sailing on the Jewel and the 11 day cruise even more than the standard 7 day cruise that does a NYC round trip. EMBARKATION -- Since the Jewel was the only ship in on September 29 (Thursday) embarkation was easy and quick. A pleasant surprise for us was that our room had been upgraded to Penthouse status. We soon found out the advantages of being in a penthouse; butler, plasma screen television and concierge service, chocolate dipped strawberries, doorbell, I think you get the picture. ITINERARY -- Boston, The Canada/New England itinerary is fairly standard for most of the cruise lines. By departing on Thursday we docked in Boston on Friday when everything is open. The last several times we did this itinerary we docked in Boston on Sunday when most stores etc. are closed. There is a lot to do in Boston but you do need to take some form of transport from the pier, it is too far to walk into town. Cabs and transport buses are available at the pier. Bar Harbor You need to tender in from the ship at Bar Harbor. The town is an easy walk with many shops, stores and restaurants to visit. There are beautiful areas to just sit and people watch or visit the park up the hill from where the tender leaves you off to view the ocean, ships and New England scenery. Halifax This Canadian city is a port of call for all cruise ships. You can easily walk into town along the boardwalk for sightseeing or shopping. There is even a casino downtown for anyone who has not lost enough in the ship's casino. If you are interested in renting a taxi for some sight seeing there are plenty on the pier. One word of warning, be sure you negotiate price in Canadian or US $, how long you wish to engage the service and is the price for the cab or per person. One group we knew had a bad experience with one driver who rents a stretch white limo (the only one at the pier). He scammed them into paying several hundred dollars more than agreed to for an afternoon's rental because of what he said was their misunderstanding of his price quote. Quebec City Depending where you dock you may have to use the bus shuttle to drop you off in Old Quebec and bring you back to the ship. Quebec is a beautiful city with many interesting sights and lots of history. There are many cafes and stores to visit. Read up on the sites before leaving the ship so that you see the things you may want to see, but didn't know were there. Cruising the Saguenay River -- This is part of the trip which I found quite interesting and beautiful. The ship had a person tell us about the river's history, the native peoples and the geology of the area as we sailed up then back down the Saguenay. Sydney This is a port where you can easily walk into the town. On days when the ships are in there are local vendors at the pier and near town who offer their crafts for sail. The town is not large with limited things to see and do, but charming nevertheless. Saint John Saint John is another small Canadian town that is within easy walking distance from the pier. It is bigger than Sydney with more to see and do. There is an interesting cemetery at the top of the hill that also doubles as a beautiful park. THE SHIP -- We experienced excellent food in all the restaurants we ate in, and we ate in them all! I'm amazed that the quality of the food, as well as the variety, is so well maintained and with such consistency. Mama's Italian Kitchen and Teppanyaki (Japanese) were VERY popular so plan to make your reservations well in advanced. The sushi bar was a personal favorite of mine. Who can beat all you eat sushi lunch for $5? There are monitors near the restaurants that show how busy the restaurants are around the ship—great idea. You can be at one and see that others are less crowded. There are no buffet lines on the Jewel. The set up is to place large oval stations that provide for such things as a salad station, entrEe station, dessert station etc. It works very well and there is never a long line to contend with when going to dine at the Garden Cafe. There are launderettes for the passengers (which strangely were not shown or advertised in the original maps). This is an important feature, especially for passengers on longer cruises. The casino is large and full of the newest slot machines. The entertainment was excellent throughout the cruise with one criticism about the singing and music at the shows; louder does not make it better, it makes it louder. FreeStyle Cruising is an NCL trademark and I enjoy it a great deal. You eat when you want in resort casual attire. The crew was absolutely wonderful. Everyone we dealt with was pleasant and helpful. We recognized crew members (and they recognized us) from other NCL ships we sailed on this year. This was a great cruise experience for us on so many levels. Read Less
Sail Date September 2005
We enjoyed this trip more because of the itinerary and reason for doing it than anything else. We wanted to see fall foliage and in Quebec we were not disappointed at all. The other ports we were a little early for fall foliage but enjoyed ... Read More
We enjoyed this trip more because of the itinerary and reason for doing it than anything else. We wanted to see fall foliage and in Quebec we were not disappointed at all. The other ports we were a little early for fall foliage but enjoyed them just the same. We had a trainee at embarkation so it was a little slow but still OK. Our room was great as we had a Verandah to go on. My wife has tendency to get motion sickness but with the sea bands did well but having a verandah always makes the difference for her. If she can get air she does much better. The entertainment was High quality as the Ryan company was very very good but the three shows were duplicative of each other in performance other than the music was different. The Jewel did not have enough different things to do like Princess has but what they had was pretty good. The movie situation is poor as it was held in the spinnaker lounge as well as the Stardust theater where it is more appropriate. The movie selection also not great in fact one movie several people walked out, as not appropriate for clientele on board. Spa and fitness center were great. Library was very good. Did not do the bar scene so can't comment. Cruise director Paul Baya was very good. His staff was also top notch. Hotel Director Klaus was the best ever and is best we have seen. The food was good especially in the specialty restaurants. The Filet Mignon in Cagney's was one of the best I have eaten. The Main dining rooms were beautiful but the waiters and waitresses made three mistakes in our orders during the cruise and the most upsetting thing was they would post a menu and we would make reservations accordingly and then they changed the menu just before opening. The worst was the farewell dinner, in the Tsar's posted filet mignon and when we were given the menu in the restaurant it was replaced with NY strip. It was still good but I was very upset not to get the filet mignon I was anticipating. Mama's Italian rest. was very very good and you do not have to pay extra to go there, but you must make reservations early in the cruise or you will be left out unless you like to eat at 10pm. The buffet was good with plenty of assortment and the lay out is the best I have seen on any of our cruises. Coffee was very strong so went to hot tea often. The Service by the staff was the best we have had especially since the ships went to automatic tipping. The staff was very visible and greeted you every time you went by one. In spite of the mistakes they were still the best. The cabin stewards and stewardesses were also fantastic and you were always greeted no matter where you were on the ship. Our CC group was small (6) (which may have turned out to have been a blessing) but the meeting was good and the ship staff that attended including Klause the Hotel director were fantastic and each one of them gave us there cards and they took our room numbers and from there the gifts kept on coming. Canapes delivered to our cabins each day, VIP tender tickets and disembarkation, VIP captain's cocktail party, special invite to a specialty rest free, and breakfast and lunch in a specialty rest where there were no more than ten people each time we were there, and more!! One final food comment is the menu's tended to repeat themselves on a three day cycle, or so it seemed or it moved to the different rest when we did. In total it was an excellent cruise on a very nice ship with the best staff you could ask for in spite of errors or mistakes or carpet that already needs cleaning or replaced on a ship less than 6 months old. If the staff stays I would highly recommend a trip on this jewel of a ship. This Itinerary is also the best behind Princess Alaska itinerary. Feel free to email for more info as long as you mention the Jewel in the re box. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
I just got back today from the October 10th sailing early this morning. I had an amazing time. I loved Freestyle cruising. It was such a different experience [read mediocre] from my only other NCL cruise on Norwegian Dream in 1998. ... Read More
I just got back today from the October 10th sailing early this morning. I had an amazing time. I loved Freestyle cruising. It was such a different experience [read mediocre] from my only other NCL cruise on Norwegian Dream in 1998. Highlights for me included the specialty restaurants. I felt Cagney's and Chin Chin's Teppanyaki were the best. Le Bistro was a close second and their serving size of seared foie gras was enormous. I don't get that much in Manhattan for only an additional $8! I loved being able to make reservations for all the restaurants and we only ate in the Tsar's Palace twice and never in Azura (the two main dining rooms). I made most reservations on the first day of the cruise and it was easy to get other reservations later on too. Embarkation was a breeze in a cab to the pier with no wait in line (arrived with an hour to spare). The only thing about the cruise which was really aggravating was the lack of advance information given about Bar Harbor. Nowhere on their website did they say we would be tendering. (As another aside, NCL's website is really awful.) Everyone had to clear Immigration and get up at the crack of dawn to do so (at least 6am). We had to scramble as this was the only day we did not book their tour. We had a private car waiting for us on the dock and we were late. NCL could have warned people not to book anything for at least 2-3 hours after docking. They also preferentially let their tours go on the first few tender boats. My dad went on the ship tour and tried to explain to me about their hydraulics for ship stabilization. I did get mildly seasick the first night but amazingly did really well overall - only needing to prophylactically use those accupressure wrist bands and take some Meclizine occasionally even when we were in a gale and the captain slowed the ship's speed down. Usually, I would be comatose in my cabin and miss dinner completely. I loved the bright, fun decor of the ship. The staff were very professional and friendly. The buffet was pretty meager for lunch and dinner. They repeated themselves in the stations. Their bread puddings were excellent though. The Chocoholic Buffet was excellent but it seemed to have less choices than I recall on the previous NCL cruise I took. They could also put out their dinner menus earlier in the day for the main restaurants. I went to more shows than usual. I loved the comedian, David Naster and also thought the Le Cirque Bijou was the best show I have ever seen on a cruise. Their Iron Chef competition was also fun but a little different from the show. Better get there early. I did my obligatory bingo but those handheld computers for some users slowed the game down as people kept entering in the wrong numbers. They also need to hold it in a bigger venue as often they ran out of room and people were standing in the back. Another highlight for me was the Bora Bora Spa. I recommend everyone get the Cruise Spa Pass for $65. You can use the facilities for the entire cruise. I loved going from the steam room, to ice drench shower, to sauna, to the cold dip pool, to the whirlpool. They also had fruit and drink available. There is also a coed room with heated tiled lounge chairs and another kind of pool where you can lie on steel bars with air jets to relax more. You also have great views from the front of the ship. The ports were very good. Quebec was my highlight. You can just walk to the Old City and do everything on your own. There is nothing to see in Sydney so sign up for a tour. The Ride the Rapids in Saint John was really fun but do take their recommendation of bringing a spare set of clothes as we all got totally drenched. Bar Harbor was so special because of Acadia National Park. We hired a car service which was wonderful as we could go at our own pace and make more stops than when you are trapped on a bus. Halifax - we did the Peggy's Cove Route which was really great too. Boston - it was disappointing that they charged $12 for a shuttle bus from the pier to Quincy Market. I have never been on a boat when they charged for that! Overall, I had a fantastic, relaxing time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself on this ship and hopefully can take it again next year from Athens to Istanbul! Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
This was our 6th cruise on NCL and having enjoyed the Norwegian Dawn,we had to to sample her new sister ship Norwegian Jewel. We were not disappointed. She is a beautiful ship for which her builders in Germany can be very proud. Upon ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise on NCL and having enjoyed the Norwegian Dawn,we had to to sample her new sister ship Norwegian Jewel. We were not disappointed. She is a beautiful ship for which her builders in Germany can be very proud. Upon boarding, we were happy to see many familiar faces from the Dawn including the talented cruise director Paul Baya. After arriving in our cabin, we had an excellent lunch in the opulent Tsar's Palace, which does for Russia what the similar Venetian Restaurant did for Italy on the Dawn. We began each day there having breakfast at table #8 to fine food and service. ACCOMMODATIONS: Since this was the only time Norwegian Jewel would be sailing out of New York, we felt we had to experience her innovative courtyard villa cabins. To say we were delighted would be a gross understatement. By far, the best accommodations we have had on over 30 cruises. The cabin is huge and could easily handle two adults and three children in the second bedroom. There were four TV sets including one above the tub, two showers, two bathrooms and two safes. The private courtyard was bright, with a glass retractable roof. It had numerous lounges including one under a canopy which will be ideal in the Caribbean. At first sight, the pool appears small but it has controllable jets at one end where you can set the speed of the current to swim in place. A great place to swim on the rainiest day. There was also a whirlpool and gym with treadmill and another exercise machine. Private gender steam rooms and showers on each side of the gym. At the opposite end of the courtyard is a huge service bar which butler stocks throughout the day with juice, soft drinks, pastries, sandwiches and other goodies. If you want to celebrate a special occasion on a cruise, try a courtyard villa. You won't be disappointed. DINING: We enjoyed breakfast every morning in the Tsar's Palace with their delightful selection of dark breads, especially the walnut bread, cheese blintzes and eggs sardou. Familiar faces there were a familiar trio from the Dawn Romanians Florina, Nicolina and Christina. Best place to start the day. We would have liked to have had lunch there more often but the luncheon menu was rather limited so we usually had lunch in the Garden Cafe buffet which offered great variety. It tended to get crowded but if you don't mind walking a bit from the buffet, the tables aft in Mama's Italian Kitchen are a wonderful place to enjoy lunch or breakfast. For dinner, we really enjoyed Cagney's ably hosted by aptly named Maitre D' Joe Cagney and excellent service by one of our "Romanian All-Stars" from the Dawn- Elena. We also enjoyed dinner in Mama's Italian Kitchen, pizza to order and a large choice of pasta and sauces expertly served by Jana from Slovakia Alena and Alga from Romania. Of the main restaurants, we preferred Azura for dinner as it was less crowded than Tsar's Palace and outstanding service by Efrem from the Philippines and Patricia from Poland had us returning to their tables many nights. Finally, we arranged a dinner for our Cruise Critic group at Tango's and even though 40 of us showed up, the staff handled our individual orders with aplomb by their efficient staff. Everybody seemed to enjoy the Tex-Mex offerings and the Hotel and Food and Beverage Directors, Klaus and Sean stopped by to assure everything was in order. We thought the food and service throughout the ship were universally excellent. ENTERTAINMENT: The Jewel showband provided great dance music in Spinnakers almost every night. Pianist Vladimir and violinist Jacob were popular nightly in the Star Bar. They could have used a larger, less smoky room. We felt sorry for the pianist in Bar Central who had to play next to the open cigar room, the smoke of which was evident throughout the area and even the deck above. It should be an enclosed room. We had looked forward to some of our favorite musicians from the Dawn, Pamala Stanley and Anna Y Los Vientos who were scheduled to be on the Jewel. Unfortunately, they left before we boarded due to medical reasons. However, the Big Time Quartet which replaced them in the atrium were very good and played to a large appreciative audience nightly. The outstanding performer in the Stardust Theatre was pianist Juan Pablo Subirana whose piano virtuosity evoked memories of Carmen Cavallarro, to whom he paid tribute during his brilliant performance. The three production shows by the Jean Ann Ryan company were very good but we felt the material selected was not up to the talent and energy of the performers. The first show "Band On The Run" featured the music of the Seventies. Other than a Village People medley and "American Pie," the musical selections were little known to the older audience who would have appreciated music from the Carpenters, Barry Manilow and Saturday Night Fever, music that was more representative of the seventies. The second show "Country Gold" managed to showcase songs little known to any but the most fervent country music fans. The familiar music of Dolly Parton, Patsy Kline and Loretta Lynn would have been more appreciated. The final production "Cirque Bijou" was so spectacular in its superb athleticism that you could easily forgive the unrecognizable musical score. The excellent cast was never mentioned in the Freestyle Daily program so it is hard to identify performers who deserve recognition. There was a dance couple from Beloruss who were show stoppers. Her contortions were unbelievable. Several members of the cast performed in Spinnakers on the final evening but again I felt their considerable talent was too often wasted on songs few in the audience had ever heard of. The exceptions were Cruise Director Paul Baya combining with a member of the cast in a familiar selection from "Phantom of the Opera" and a rendition of "If I Loved You" which made all the other selections pale in comparison. Overall, the entertainment was very good. ACTIVITIES- I thought CD Paul Baya did a fine job providing lots of varied activities throughout the cruise. We especially enjoyed the numerous trivia contests, as many as three a day, where host Fernando Alexis a.k.a. Antonio Banderas, stood out with his hilarious, convoluted presentation of the questions and answers. "Name That Tune" was also very popular and well attended. Country dancing by Amy and the ballroom dance lessons of Igor and Natalia were very well attended. There were not enough no charge fitness classes but the few there were were well done by Lori from the UK. PORTS OF CALL: Weather influenced many proposed shore excursions. Rain in Boston caused us to cancel the Duck tour and rain in Quebec prevented our biking excursion to Montmoncy Falls. Weather was delightful in Halifax and we enjoyed walking through the beautiful Public Garden, the Citadel and along the waterfront. The best day ashore was in Bar Harbor where we rented bikes and rode along the carriage trails, surrounded by the fall foliage in beautiful Acadia National Park. SUMMARY- Comparisons to the Dawn are inevitable. I preferred the soaring glass elevators in the Dawn atrium, the indoor lap pool and the separate cinema on the Dawn. However, the Jewel has two large outdoor pools, one with a slide that doesn't end among the swimmers in the pool. Finally, the courtyard villas provide accommodations not available on any other cruise ship yet, though I suspect other cruise lines will soon follow in NCL's innovative wake. The only fault I could find with this ship was that poorly located and inadequately enclosed cigar room. Hopefully, that shortcoming will soon be corrected. Finally, I cannot say enough good things about the friendly and efficient staff of this ship. They are obviously well trained and for this Hotel Director Klaus from Austria, NCL's best, should take a bow. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
We left New York on 10/21 on the 11-day cruise to New England and Canada. This was our 4th NCL cruise. We anticipated that the weather might not be too good and basically that's how it turned out. Half the trip was very cold and ... Read More
We left New York on 10/21 on the 11-day cruise to New England and Canada. This was our 4th NCL cruise. We anticipated that the weather might not be too good and basically that's how it turned out. Half the trip was very cold and rainy, the last half became much better. The Jewel is a "Jewel". We sailed on the Dawn 2 years ago and were so impressed by the freestyle program and the ship that we didn't want to go any other way. We weren't disappointed. The Jewel handled rough seas like a hot knife through butter. Hardly felt a thing. That's important for anyone who has a weak stomach. We arrived at the ship around 3PM with sailing time at 4PM. We did this because we have learned not to arrive at 1PM when boarding first starts because everyone else is there at the same time. It took us all of 5 minutes to get on the ship. We had an inside cabin since I believed that we wouldn't spend much time in the cabin anyway, so why spend the extra money. There's plenty to spend on in the casino, the specialty restaurants, the photos, extra tips for excellent service, excursions, etc., etc. Also, no light shines through in the mornings and one could sleep all day! That brings up another point, the ship is incredibly quiet. We never heard a door slam or any noise from a next door cabin. Not even the toilets flushing. Hmmm...maybe everyone waited till we were out of the room later in the morning? The ship, like the Dawn, is absolutely beautiful. And pretty much laid out the same way. The food was excellent especially in the specialty restaurants. The buffets were different every day and had excellent food. We were stuffed from morning till night. Service was excellent from the waiters to the room staff. One thing though, if you eat in the big dining rooms, the service can be slow. So be prepared and relax. It's not the end of the world. Entertainment was once again outstanding. From Dave Naster the comedian to all of the Jean Ryan dancers and singers. Excellent, excellent, excellent. Paul Baya, the cruise director and his staff do an excellent job. We love the freestyle program because we eat when we want, where we want, what we want. Not everyone likes it this way because they like set times, at a set table, with the same people. Then this is not the cruise line for you. If you want flexibility, great food and service, a beautiful ship, lots of activities, the Jewel can't be beat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
We arrived at the pier around 1 pm. Since this was an 11 day sailing we purchased the 1 month parking pass for $180.00. We checked in our luggage and headed inside the terminal. We were greeted with extremely long lines which were at a ... Read More
We arrived at the pier around 1 pm. Since this was an 11 day sailing we purchased the 1 month parking pass for $180.00. We checked in our luggage and headed inside the terminal. We were greeted with extremely long lines which were at a complete standstill. We felt the entire process was a mess and needs major improvement. Our entire time on line was over an hour. We boarded the ship and of course we amazed by how beautiful and colorful everything was. Not the drab colors we had always been use to. You cannot get a full appreciation of the colors from pictures but really have to see for yourself on board the ship. We took many pictures around the ship but the true richness of the different colors could not be captured as with the human eye. Even as we walked around during the entire cruise we noticed everything being scrubbed down and cleaned day and night inside and out. Amazing. We were VERY impressed by the hand sanitizers at the entrance of every restaurant. Never saw that before. We even were served by employees wearing gloves in the buffet which is also a great idea to prevent germs from being transferred. NCL gets an A+ for cleanliness and hygienic practices. The Mini-Suite cabin was more than roomy enough for the both of us. It was the nicest cabin we had sailed in by far. Comfortable sized balcony. I could even stretch my legs out with no problem (I'm 6'3"). Perfect size for two people. We were concerned that the service provided would be below par compared to what we had come to expect from other lines, since the tips are automatically charged to your account. NOT. We found the service to be wonderful with very few errors made by the servers. The thing that we noticed was the employees demeanor seemed much more pleasant all around the ship. It's obvious that they enjoy working for NCL and enjoy the "Free Style" system. Much less stressful working conditions compared to other cruise lines. We felt the Concierge service is really only valuable if you are in a Penthouse cabin or above. I compared the Mini Suite category to the ugly stepchild of the suite family. Always watching the other suite categories getting perks we can't get. The only thing we used Concierge for was making all our reservations when we boarded the ship. We could have done this ourselves. That was it. We ate in Le Bistro and Cagney's exclusively for the entire 11 days. The food, service and ambience were superior. A special mention goes to Elena in Cagney's and Melvin Lobo, the Assistant Maitre D' in Le Bistro. Melvin deserves a promotion. He was wonderful and extremely friendly and became a FRIEND to us. Special mention goes to the entertainment on board. Paul Baya was great and always entertaining. The shows were far superior compared to anything we have witnesses on any other cruise line. The Jean Ann Ryan Company were fabulous. We found ourselves watching both shows when they were performing. They are NOT to be missed. In closing I want to say a special thank you to Hotel Director Klaus Lugmaier. We had a small issue which came to his attention during the cruise. He went out of his way to listen to our concerns and genuinely cared about our opinions. He honestly turned a great cruise into the most enjoyable cruise we have ever taken. We had never met anyone who cared so much about his guests. We certainly intend to sail with NCL again and again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Norwegian Jewel Canada/New England Cruise, 10/21/2005- 11/1/2005 Background: This was our 6th cruise, dating back to April, 2002, all have been with NCL. We are great fans of NCL FreeStyle, their service, food, ships, and entertainment, ... Read More
Norwegian Jewel Canada/New England Cruise, 10/21/2005- 11/1/2005 Background: This was our 6th cruise, dating back to April, 2002, all have been with NCL. We are great fans of NCL FreeStyle, their service, food, ships, and entertainment, and we were disappointed by the Jewel. Arrival/Return: We made the 1 ½ hour drive from our home in Connecticut, parked at the pier, where we took advantage of the new elevators in the garage, paid the monthly fee of $180, and set foot in the terminal at 11:30 a.m. We were directed to a Latitudes waiting area where we spent no more than 10 minutes, before we began the "Embarkation" process. Only the VIPs were ahead of, along with some travel agents who went onboard for a presentation. By noon we were in our cabin, took a quick tour of Decks 7 and 12, and headed for a nice lunch at Tsar's. Upon our return home, Disembarkation was smooth to say the least, beginning at 8:30 am, and we were on the Henry Hudson Parkway by 9 am. One of the longshoremen took our bags on his cart, took us up to the pier level where our car was parked. I retrieved the car, loaded it up away from the hustle and bustle of passengers leaving, taxis arriving, etc., and we headed home. Ship: Of course it is a beauty, sparkling clean and bright, in show room condition. They are constantly maintaining it in mint shape, as I saw them replacing a patch of carpeting that led to a kitchen area, probably soiled from heavy use or spillage. Outside, crew was spotted regularly power washing the hull while we were ashore, right up to sail away time. Staff: Jewel staff is certainly consistent with the high quality service we have come to expect with NCL. Hotel Director Klaus Lugmaier heads up a team of top notch managers and associates. We met Klaus in 2003 on the Dawn, and have sailed his former ship, the Dawn three times. Accordingly we were excited to have the opportunity to cruise with him on the Jewel, and enjoyed every minute of it. Our experience has been that all staff have been trained to go above and beyond our expectations, as they constantly do exceed our "rising" expectations. Some fear that non traditional dining eliminates the motivation to excel, but we've never sensed it. From cabin stewards to wait staff to senior staff, right up to the Captain and Hotel Director, NCL service has always been terrific for us. Restaurants: S.T.Y.L.E. is the way to go for us, as we love the options available so we can match our daily plans with dining preferences, allowing us the freedom to pick our restaurants each day in line with our schedule. It also allows us to modify dining plans as needed. For instance, on this trip we met a couple late in the cruise who had not eaten in any of the Specialty restaurants, because they did not get their reservations in early enough. As big fans of NCL, we wanted them to experience Cagney's with us, so we were able to change our reservation from two to four, and they fully appreciated and enjoyed the evening. Our preference for food and service is the Specialties, so as soon as we boarded, we made our reservations for two nights each at LeBistro, Cagney's and Mama's, 6 pm each day. As FreeStyle Dailies were delivered, we occasionally modified our schedule. We also managed to sneak in a nice unscheduled dinner at Tango's. Being our 6th cruise, we have developed some favorite menu items we look forward to at each restaurant, including Cream of Forest Mushroom Soup, Escargot, and Chocolate Fondue at LeBistro, Filet Mignon and the daily FlambE at Cagney's, and Lasagna and Tiramisu at Mamma's. Cagney's also offered a 1 ½ lb. Maine Lobster, as good as I've ever had. The new station arrangement at the Garden Cafe enticed us to eat there more often than usual, mainly some breakfasts and a couple of dinners. No longer self-service, we never found much of a wait. As noted often on the board, we enjoyed taking our meals into Mama's for a quiet dining experience. We also appreciate the hand sanitizers at each entrance. Entertainment: NCL entertainment has built a reputation for great shows and high quality entertainers, and the Jewel does not disappoint. Starting with the Jean Ann Ryan Shows, they are "Don't Miss" productions. Three great shows of continuous singing and dancing are held in a spectacular setting at the Stardust Theater. Lead singer Eric Reid is a favorite of ours. Other shows included a terrific comedian, David Naster, a highly skilled and entertaining juggler, Romano Frediani, and other fine artists each evening. We also enjoy the passenger talent show, as well as the crew version. Our favorite band aboard NCL ships is a 7 piece band called the Ironics. Hailing from the Philippines, three young ladies sing the majority of their songs as a trio, but often performed solos and duets in their nightly location in Spinnakers. The cold weather limited their poolside shows to the sail away. Their music spans recent decades, and were focused on an audience who head to Spinnakers for their listening and dancing pleasure. The Ironics basically sing everything, and will take requests and dedications, and are a very personable group. Other quality music can be found throughout the ship in the Atrium, Fyzz (recorded), and piano locations. Fyzz is the place for Karaoke, including three sound booths for small groups to reserve and have their own private venue. Cruise Director Paul Baya is the best we've experienced, though all of them have been terrific. This was our 2nd time with Paul, and he is a classy guy, very professional, very entertaining, and is an excellentis also very energetic, and seems to be everywhere. Excursions: Though we did not take advantage of many ship sponsored excursions, there was a wide variety of offerings which allowed passengers to experience the highlights of the six port cities we visited. Since we booked this cruise at the last minute, we pretty much waited until we arrived in port to finalize our plans for the day, also taking any cold or inclement weather into account. Since this was the last of four New England/Canada cruises for the Jewel, I'll skip the details, but we enjoyed our visits to each city, and were grateful for the terrific welcomes and farewells we experienced throughout the journey. Sydney stands out as one where a local singer performed a lengthy welcome concert upon arrival, and a sizeable band did the same upon our departure. The "finale" included a moving tribute from a female soloist, singing "The Star Spangled Banner," "Oh, Canada," and "God Bless America" as we watched from above while the Jewel prepared to sail. It was also common to be warmly greeted by bagpipers. Dawn vs. Jewel Notes: - Though cold weather negated the regular use of the hot tubs, we would much prefer at least one hot tub in a location similar to the Dawn's facility located in the bow. - The large water slide was very inviting on the warmest of days, but never did try it. - The permanent nature of Mama's is much nicer than LaTrattoria, though we enjoy both. - Not pleased about the Cigar Bar not being enclosed on the Jewel. - Having enjoyed a number of late night grilled snacks and pizza on the Majesty's outdoor grill, I was a little disappointed the Great Outdoor Grill did not have a similar offering. - We did not miss the Cinema, as when tried to go to the theater on the Dawn, too many others were thinking the same thing, and it was always filled. We did enjoy two recent release movies in Stardust. On a related issue, we did miss the fresh pop corn machine from the Dawn. - Speaking of the popcorn machine, located in the Pearly King's Pub, we really missed that bar and atmosphere. We preferred the separate bar locations to the Jewel's multi themed approach. No big deal, but just our preference. - The new Blue Lagoon setup has its pros and cons. It has a more formal look to it, and no longer has any "walk up" features. I liked going by there in the morning or evening for a quick coffee, and maybe a cookie or two. On the Jewel, it is now a nice place to stop for breakfast, a new alternative. The menu is limited, but there appears to be something for everyone. Some items were not readily available, but our waitress offered to get them for us, but we chose to order what was available. At night, the Blue Lagoon area serves as an extension to Tango's. We also noticed that Tango's was a popular spot during the day for passengers to play cards and other table games. - The Specialty restaurants had half price dinners from 5:30 - 6:30 each evening. Other: - As a "Frequent Flyer" at NCL Martini Clinics, I preferred the Dawn and Star venue at Star Bar. I'm assuming they were moved to the Martini Bar on the Jewel to showcase the new area, but would suggest the clinic themselves would be more entertaining, enjoyable, and yes, educational, at the more "secluded" and "captive" area. - The Jewel sent a strong contingent to our Cruise Critic gathering prior to arriving in Boston. Hotel Director Klaus Lugmaier led his group with a great welcoming talk, and invited everyone to call the appropriate staff if they needed with anything. The best part of such an offering from Klaus and his NCL counterparts is that they mean it. They do not want you to feel unsatisfied with any particular issue or problem, rather you give them a chance to fix it. - Ruth Haggar was the Concierge on board, and now has an able assistant, Haley. One of them is always available to those passengers they serve. I'm assuming the new courtyard villas necessitated the added staffing. Summary: The Jewel is a beautiful ship, and her staff is a credit to the industry and NCL. We don't know what are future holds for cruising, but we will certainly look favorably upon another voyage on the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
This was my 18th cruise and my husband's 15th. We have sailed on several cruise lines, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, and NCL. We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary and the fact that it left ... Read More
This was my 18th cruise and my husband's 15th. We have sailed on several cruise lines, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America, and NCL. We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary and the fact that it left from New York. We had never seen this part of the country before and were excited about seeing it. We also wanted to extend our stay in New York. This we did on our own -- not through the cruise line. We made our own air arrangements and purchased NCL's transfer to the Pier. This went as expected. An NCL Representative was in the baggage area at the airport and directed us to our bus which we took to the pier. Because we were NCL Latitude Members we were directed to the front of the line. We were on the ship within an hour and a half after arriving at the airport. This was great. We were on the ship by 12:30 p.m. Our room was not ready and would not be until 2:00 p.m. so we headed for the buffet along with the other passengers. The downfall of not having our room ready was that we had to carry around our carry-on luggage with us until the room was ready. At 2:00 p.m. though the doors opened and we were allowed to our room. We immediately met our room stewards and within minutes they had our luggage to us. We had a balcony room and it was typical of most ships. It was really nice to have the separate shower and toilet areas. If you have not experienced this, there are glass doors that close off the shower and the toilet from the sink area. We did find the room to lack cupboard and shelf space though. Especially near the vanity area and in the bathroom. Since there were only the two of us we managed. Having more than two would have been a problem though. The closet space was sufficient as well. The ship was decorated with bright colors. More so than we had experienced on other ships. Our Cruise Director was great. On the first day he told us that there were 3 banks of elevators. You could tell where you were at on the ship by the pictures hanging near the elevators. If there was a picture of flowers you were near the front of the ship. Pictures of Marilyn Monroe indicated you were mid-ship, and pictures of a sunset let you know you were at the stern. We found this to be very helpful throughout the week. We were disappointed that you had to pay a surcharge to use the indoor pool. It was in the SPA Area. I saw it the day I had a massage --it was small, but nonetheless, I shouldn't have to pay extra to use it. The ship was very clean. We found the crew to be friendly and helpful. The entertainment was quite good. More variety then we have had on other ships and the on-board singers and dancers were very good. We have pros and cons on the Freestyle dining. We liked being able to go to dinner whenever we wanted, but we missed being seated with others. Every night we would ask to be seated with others and only about half of the time were we. This made it difficult to meet others on-board and develop any friendships. The service in the dining rooms was a little slower than we had experienced on other ships but we related it to the Freestyle Dining. When everyone comes in at one time and sits at assigned tables all the appetizer, soup, etc. gets served to all tables at the same time. With Freestyle one table may be eating appetizers and the other is eating their main entree. This means the server has to be jumping all over to keep up with everything. There was no time to personalize with the servers. This we missed. We found the food to be only fair and not much variety. We talked to others that had paid for the speciality restaurants and they were pleased. We, however, feel that we have already paid for top quality food and service and should not have to pay additional to receive it. On Royal Caribbean they have speciality restaurants, but the quality of their food in the main dining rooms is so good there is no reason, other than to maybe celebrate a special occasion, to even want to go into or pay the surcharge for the speciality restaurant. This was our biggest complaint. The menu needs more variety and food quality improved. As for having to wait to get into the dining room, this was never a problem for us as we are early eaters. We would usually arrive about 15 minutes after the doors opened and we could get right in. If you wait until 7:00 p.m. or so though you may have to wait. We enjoyed all the ports. Since we are seasoned cruisers, we are comfortable booking shore excursions on-line outside the cruise line. For the ones we did book with the cruise line though everything went well. Commendations for NCL on their on-board booking program. Before leaving we already had a Hawaii cruise booked on NCL for January. While on-board we met with their Cruise Consultant and she wound up saving us another $600 by canceling the first reservation and booking with her. We also got an upgrade in our cabin. Even though we were not happy with the Freestyle Dining and the food quality on the Dawn we figured we could use the additional money we saved to visit the speciality restaurants on the Hawaii cruise if need be and decided we would give the Freestyle Cruising another chance before we write if off entirely. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
Lets us begin: When we got to NY everything was fine with the organization of checking in to the ship. The only positive thing about this cruise was knowing that we would be back home in 7 days. Once myself, my wife, and child (2 yrs ... Read More
Lets us begin: When we got to NY everything was fine with the organization of checking in to the ship. The only positive thing about this cruise was knowing that we would be back home in 7 days. Once myself, my wife, and child (2 yrs old) were allowed into the stateroom we had noticed that the fridge was loaded up with beverages (soda, and liquor) which we wouldn't use. Please note that on our cruise with Celebrity, a fridge was placed in our room upon our request, completely empty, allowing us to utilize it as we wished. I asked the room steward if he could remove the items, so I can use this for our son's food and milk and also some of our own beverages and he said, sure I will do this, but my shift doesn't begin until 6pm. I was like are you kidding me?? This was the week that the old Hurricane Ernesto was leaving the area. The Captain, genius that he was, thought we still can go to Martha's Vineyard and use tender boats. We went there on Sunday morning and the waves were 20 feet high with winds above 50 mph. He didn't know that would be like this when we got there with all of the GPS information? So an announcement came over the loud speaker to say we would not be able to see the city and we will continue to Halifax, NS. So now we have two sea days instead of reversing the itinerary or staying two days in another city for the problems we have had so far. We arrived in Halifax, NS and took a tour and that was a non-event. On Wednesday, before we could arrive in Bar Harbor, ME we had to go thru US Immigration, which we arrived around 8am and couldn't get off the ship for about 2 1/2 hrs because from what we heard Immigration got to the ship late and there was one person that caused us to be backed up on the ship waiting for a stamp to get off. The line was from the lounge all the day down the whole length of the ship. The tender boats also were running late so we didn't get ashore until around 10am. On Thursday we were in Boston and since there was no tender boats we walked off the ship and took a bus ride booked with NCL to Quincy Market. The cost was $12.00 a person, but we had to wait until the majority of the bus was full and there was no A/C on in the bus, and the bus driver was too busy giving us a history lesson instead of trying to make us feel comfortable. The rest of the day was great as we were far away from the ship as possible. On Friday we were supposed to be in Newport, RI and we arrived there right on time at 9am but we didn't get clearance until around 1130am so we only had from noon-5 to look around due to problems with the tender boat again and local clearance. I spoke to a customer care person on deck 7 and they said since it's the first time that the Dawn has done this route there would be problems. I said to my wife that is not my problem and we were paying the same rate no matter when we go. I then spoke to and filed a complaint with Carolina C. on Sept 8th, 2006 who is the front office manager and she took all of my situations and suggestion down, but what was the outcome? Also here are some other items that were wrong or went wrong on this horrible cruise considering RCCL and Celebrity wer excellent compared to this cruise: *Golf on the top level wasn't open to the public and there were no golf clubs around to have fun with. *No ping pong or basketball ball around. *In order to play Trivia or Bingo they were always held in a smoking lounge and I don't want to bring my toddler son in to a smoking lounge let alone my family when they could have used a non smoking one. * No activities on the sea day and the sea day we had due to skipping Martha's Vineyard. * You have to reserve your specialty restaurant early in the cruise otherwise you will never get a reservation or seat until 830pm. * We took this for freestyling but even when my family wanted to eat at 7pm there was lines up to 40 minutes long. When we were on RCCL yes we had to eat at either 630pm or 830pm but at least you knew you would eat at that time and not have to wait. * The service in the room was horrible and the signs outside the door was useless as they only make up your room once and remember there shift doesn't start until 6pm for turning down your room. * The kids program is excellent and Erin was the greatest with our son. * Leaving the ship we took advantage of express checkout but it wasn't express as everyone was getting off before us anyways and taking the elevator down to level 4 even though there was no announcement. * No priorities for children. What I mean in this statement is this cruise had alot of people older than 55 and people in wheel chairs had priority on the tender boats and skipping to the front of lines, but we had a child who as people know doesn't like to sit for more than 5 minutes but we paid the same as other people and they are like you will have to wait as you're not a VIP member? This was crazy. * My wife requested extra hand towels from the room attendant but he said they don't have any more? * I asked for Bananas on Wednesday for my son but on level 12 (Garden Cafe) they said they were out. How can they be out if they were never on display and you had to ask for them? When I went to get a drink on Deck 12 poolside there were plenty of bananas for mixed drinks though. * On Friday I asked for chocolate ice cream and they ran out of that as well? Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Lets us begin: When we got to NY everything was fine with the organization of checking in to the ship. The only positive thing about this cruise was knowing that we would be back home in 7 days. Once myself my wife and child(2 yrs old)were ... Read More
Lets us begin: When we got to NY everything was fine with the organization of checking in to the ship. The only positive thing about this cruise was knowing that we would be back home in 7 days. Once myself my wife and child(2 yrs old)were allowed into the state we had noticed that the fridge was loaded up with beverages (soda, and liquor)which we wouldn't use. Please note that on our cruise with Celebrity a fridge was placed in our room upon our request completely empty, allowing us to utilize it as we wished. I asked the room steward if he could remove the items, so I can use this for our son's food and milk and also some of our own beverages and he said sure I will do this but my shift doesn't begin until 6pm. I was like are you kidding me?? This was the week that the old hurricane Ernesto was leaving the area. The captain genius that he was thought we still can go to Martha's Vineyard and use tender boats. We went there on Sunday morning and the waves were 20 feet high with winds above 50 mph. He didn't know that would be like this when we got there with all of the GPS information? So an announcement came over the loud speaker to say we would not be able to see the city and we will continue to Halifax, NS. So now we have two sea days instead of reversing the itinerary or staying two days in another city for the problems we have had so far. We arrived in Halifax, NS and took a tour and that was a non event. On Wednesday before we could arrive in Bar Harbor, ME we had to go through US Immigration, which we arrived around 8am and couldn't get off the ship for about 2 1/2 hrs because from what we heard Immigration got to the ship late and there was one person that caused us to be backed up on the ship waiting for a stamp to get off. The line was from the lounge all the day down the whole length of the ship. The tender boats also were running late so we didn't get ashore until around 10am. On Thursday we were in Boston and since there was no tender boats we walked off the ship and took a bus ride booked with NCL to Quincy Market. The cost was $12.00 a person but we had to wait until the majority of the bus was full and there was no A/C on in the bus and the bus driver was too busy giving us a history lesson instead of trying to make us feel comfortable. The rest of the day was great as we were far away from the ship as possible. On Friday we were supposed to be in Newport, RI and we arrived there right on time at 9am but we didn't get clearance until around 1130am so we only had from noon-5 to look around due to problems with the tender boat again and local clearance. I spoke to a customer care person on deck 7 and they said since its the first time that the Dawn has done this route there would be problems. I said to my wife that is not my problem and we were paying the same rate no matter when we go. I than spoke to and filed a complaint with Carolina Clavijo on Sept 8th, 2006 who is the front office manager and she took all of my situations and suggestion down but what was the outcome? Also here are some other items that were wrong or went wrong on this horrible cruise considering RCCL and Celebrity was excellent compared to this cruise: *Golf on the top level wasn't open to the public and there were no golf clubs around to have fun with. *No ping pong or basketball ball around *In order to play trivia or Bingo they were always held in a smoking lounge and I don't want to bring my toddler son in to a smoking lounge let alone my family when they could have used a non smoking one. * No activities on the sea day and the sea day we had due to skipping Martha's Vineyard * You have to reserve your specialty restaurant early in the cruise otherwise you will never get a reservation or seat until 830pm. * We took this for freestyling but even when my family wanted to eat at 7pm there was lines up to 40 minutes long. When we were on RCCL yes we had to eat at either 630pm or 830pm but at least you knew you would eat at that time and not have to wait. * The service in the room was horrible and the signs outside the door was useless as they only make up your room once and remember there shift doesn't start until 6pm for turning down your room. * The kids program is excellent and Erin was the greatest with our son. * Leaving the ship we took advantage of express checkout but it wasn't express as everyone was getting off before us anyway and taking the elevator down to level 4 even though there was no announcement. * No priorities for children. What I mean in this statement is this cruise had alot of people older than 55 and people in wheel chairs had priority on the tender boats and skipping to the front of lines but we had a child who as people know doesn't like to sit for more than 5 minutes but we paid the same as other people and they are like you will have to wait as your not a VIP member? This was crazy. * My wife requested extra hand towels from the room attendant but he said they don't have any more? * I asked for Bananas on Wednesday for my son but on level 12 (Garden Cafe) they said they were out. How can they be out if they were never on display and you had to ask for them? When I went to get a drink on Deck 12 poolside there were plenty of bananas for mixed drinks though. * On Friday I asked for chocolate ice cream and they ran out of that as well? Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
This was our 6th cruise, but the first and last one on NCL. Service, food, and entertainment were lower than the lowest rating I was allowed to give. First off the room was smaller than my closet at home. I never met my room steward, ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise, but the first and last one on NCL. Service, food, and entertainment were lower than the lowest rating I was allowed to give. First off the room was smaller than my closet at home. I never met my room steward, everyone I ran into told me they weren't in charge of my room, and since it was our first NCL cruise we didn't know we had to turn a little dial to get service until the 2nd day. The dining room staff was almost nonexistent except in the Steak restaurant(service was great here). That's what happens when they automatically add the tipping to our bill and do not give you the option to tip for the service you received. The food was completely flavorless. This is the first cruise that I actually lost weight on because nothing had any flavor so I ate as little as possible and then we ate, when we could, on shore. The way they had the tendering set up was ridiculous. On the day we were at Newport, RI we reached Newport at 9am but we were not allowed on a tender until after 1pm. They made everyone take a number and then you had to wait until your number was called to go ashore. The last tender going back to the ship was at 4:30 so we had less than 3 hrs on shore. We decided to do the express checkout, which was a joke. We were told we should be ready to go ashore by 8am, but we ended up not getting called to go ashore until after 10:30am. The entertainment was the worst of any cruise we've been on. The worst part is the only reason I chose this cruise line is they were the only cruise line that stopped at Martha's vineyard, and because of the waves, we didn't even stop there and ended up having to spend an extra day at sea. They should of changed the order of the stops so we could of stopped on the way back but they didn't. This was the most expensive cruise we've taken and it was the worst by far. What ever happened to you get what you pay for? Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
We were on the NCL Dawn cruise ship and chose this line because of the itinerary. Our mini suite was very nice and spacious and we boarded in New York. Embarkation was so easy and getting a cab from LaGuardia was absolutely no problem and ... Read More
We were on the NCL Dawn cruise ship and chose this line because of the itinerary. Our mini suite was very nice and spacious and we boarded in New York. Embarkation was so easy and getting a cab from LaGuardia was absolutely no problem and cost about $30 per couple with toll and tip. However - we were not impressed with the Free Style cruising. It is very difficult to be seated for dinner and the menus in the Main Dining rooms were very poor. The restaurants where you were charged a fee $15-$20 per person were delicious and we ate most meals there. We were 3 days into our cruise before we met our stateroom attendants. We got NO SERVICE for ice or replacement towels etc. without asking for it. We had one excursion ticket that we turned in for a refund 3 days before arriving at the port, but were still charged for it. Finally, we did manage to receive a credit. I recommend that someone cruising NCL pay close attention to their final bill as many errors occurred. Their web site is very hard to find answers to questions or to order Bon Voyage gift items (we ordered Red wine for a fellow passenger and NCL delivered white wine instead). The entertainment for our cruise was a juggler, a comedy skit act and a magician - not exactly entertaining. There is no on-board television viewing of your account, but however there are 2 free movie channels which was nice. At the spa and exercise area, there is no attendant - if you need towels - you get them yourself; if you have questions - you just figure it out; if you want to know how to operate the equipment - you ask a fellow passenger. Needless to say, we were very disappointed in the staff - but like I said in the beginning - maybe we are just not NCL Free Style Cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
This is my first attempt at a cruise review so bear with me and I will try to communicate my cruise experience the best I can. Embarkation: We arrived in NY around 7:00 am and was directed to the overflow parking above the cruise ... Read More
This is my first attempt at a cruise review so bear with me and I will try to communicate my cruise experience the best I can. Embarkation: We arrived in NY around 7:00 am and was directed to the overflow parking above the cruise terminal, went and roamed around NY returned to the terminal around 11:30 moved the car to our berth and went to check in. I was delighted to go from security to boarding the ship within 30 minutes. I was floored by the embarkation the fastest I have ever made it on to a ship and this was my 4th time on the Dawn. Once on board we were told the cabins would not be ready until 2:00 so we had a little lunch and stopped by Pearlys Pub for a drink, all good so far. Went to our cabin got settled in noticed a little wear & tear but the ship has been in service for going 5 years I think, so considering that the cabin was as nice as we remembered from our last trip. As for the ship in general you can see most of the seams in the carpet now and a few signs here and there of disrepair but I am in the construction industry and most of what I noticed would probable go unnoticed by most. We decided to have dinner at Le Bistro and here is where things started going a little south. First, because of the storm the seas were a little rough nothing we havent experienced in the past so we werent very concerned our waitress on the other hand was positively alarmed. Several times proclaiming Oh, Lord-Jesus Christ going around our table to stare out the window and letting out intermittent squeaks at what she thought was disturbing conditions needless to say making our dining experience a little uncomfortable. Then the food arrived and I was not overly impressed with what they offered but was not too concerned. Day 2: Marthas Vineyard- We proceeded into what I assumed to be the harbor where we were to tender from. Sat anchored for about an hour then was told due to weather we would not be visiting this port. Though disappointing it was understandable, but it took until around Noon for them to have a revised itinerary for onboard activities. I found this to be unprepared we were after all following in the wake of a tropical storm and every one was wondering the night before if we would stop. So I would imagine the cruise director would have a back up but no, instead we were presented with such activities as Airbrush tattoos $7.50, Bingo $$$$, Aerobics extra charge applies. Oh yes I almost forgot a seminar on Irritable Bowl Syndrome this was free, what cruise isnt complete without that? Day 3: At Sea- Not a lot to do again, I really feel a lot was left to be desired for the activities on this cruise, We did the lunch thing at the Buffet and yes the dessert station is no more, I few selections at the end of the buffet line. 3 choices for regular and sugar free. No description of what you are choosing just assorted pastries. This evening we dined at the Venetian. Wow!!! I heard about the Lobster thing, forgot about asking them not to include the special sauce. When the presented the plate I was disgusted, Not only was the lobster tail tiny, I was only half of a tail!!! That right they split the tail down the center and gave me half& What the *~^# was that? And the sauce reminded me of kindergarten paste. Not a lot going on at night, plenty of photo ops the Disco did not open until midnight, with nothing to occupy us till then we often turned in early. Day 4: Halifax: I love this port, nothing but nice. I was a little surprised at the Cost of the Tall ship excursion though, Its about a 10 minute walk from the ship and is $22.00 for the cruise, NCL charges a little over $80.00 per person for this one but you do get a sandwich. The weather decided to get better and we were to find it remained this way throughout the rest of the cruise. We were grateful. Back on the ship and on our way& We tried to call and make reservations for Salsas we were told nothing available until 8:00 PM so we decided to forgo Salsa and maybe stop by Blue Lagoon, we happened past Salsas however and found it to be almost deserted asked for a table and were seated at a table for two at once. I must say Salsas was the best our waiter Glen was awesome we left a comment card naming him the highlight of our cruise. We ate there on two more occasions this trip and I tipped Glen about $20.00 over the amount automatically credited. I made sure to give him cash. Day 5: Boston- It was on this day we were the most upset with NCL. Just before our arrival my wife was informed her father was in the hospital with heart trouble and it was likely he would need open heart surgery. As you can imagine my wife was very upset and we were ready to send her home. We went to the purser's desk and found no help, First they said we needed to inform them 24 hours in advance so they could prepare the paperwork, We had to pay $300.00 for my wife to depart due to the Jones Act of which we were aware. We asked to see someone in charge; we were told she was upstairs dealing with other issues to return in an hour or so to see her. We went upstairs saw two people with passports, asked them if they seen the person in charge of immigrations and they directed us to a room where we found the woman in charge as well as a US official. He told us to meet him on the gangway at 9:00 that morning and he would escort us to the immigration station where my wife would receive clearance and would most likely not be charged $300.00 due to the emergency. We asked him what paperwork we needed from the ship and were told none just our ID and passport. She did not end up leaving due to the lack of flights and later found her father would not get the surgery until the following week. We were dismayed however at the lack of help or compassion for that matter from the officials on the ship assigned to deal with these matters. This evening we had reservations at Salsa again; I tried to get earlier seating and was told again the restaurant was booked. Again when I went to the restaurant I found plenty of seating and was placed with our favorite waiter just as before. Later I got the feeling if you try to dine at a pay restaurant if you dine before 6:00 PM it was half price. I think this is why early seating at the reservation desk always seemed to be booked up until it was full price but the restaurants never seemed to be full? Day 6: Newport- This one was the Big one. We anchored a 9:00 am as scheduled. As usual the announcement they would begin tendering once cleared. Our balcony was directly above the tender station, at about 10:00 crew like the photo department headed to shore. It was not until 12:30 that we arrived on shore and we were among the 2nd group to leave the ship. Later I talked with people that did not make it to shore until 2:30  3:00 that afternoon and had to be at the last tender returning @ 5:30. Their were a few unhappy people, they used tender tickets White tickets from 0 to 1000 then blue from 0 to 1000 plus. We had white 0145 & 0146 so I am sure you could imagine the disappointment of blue 1000 plus. Day 7: NY home at last- Nothing to report we were among the first off left parking left NY via GW bridge best way to exit in my opinion. At the end of the cruise I was not disappointed with the ship or crew for the most part they were present and the ship was nice as usual. I am disappointed with NCL as a company however, I did really notice a decline in the services available, the food offered, like the cookout on deck hamburgers and hot dogs, No chicken No ribs No steak. Most of the activities offered were focused around spending more money  Power Shopping Bingo Air brush Tattoos @ $7.50, Pilates (extra fee applies). The shows were all the same and the Art action was a joke. This itinerary was really directed toward the senior crowd and not a lot for the younger guest to do. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Embarkation in New York was not as difficult for us as some have mentioned. We were a group of 11 seniors coming from New Jersey by Limo. We were on the ship having a buffet lunch at the Garden Cafe 30 minutes after we arrived at the pier. ... Read More
Embarkation in New York was not as difficult for us as some have mentioned. We were a group of 11 seniors coming from New Jersey by Limo. We were on the ship having a buffet lunch at the Garden Cafe 30 minutes after we arrived at the pier. One person from our group was coming by taxi and did not know where the pier was located. NCL gives its address 711 12th Avenue but does not say its around 51st street so the taxi driver got lost. Our rooms were all ready by 2 PM as promised and we all had our luggage no later than 3PM. The beds can be separated and made into two twins by just calling reception. Entertainment was good. The shows were fun especially the show on the last night . I will not spoil the show by telling you about the ending, but that show was almost worth the price of the whole cruise. We all were rolling on the floor. When I tried to convince my friends to see the juggler because I heard he was fantastic, my friends thought that I had had one too many Blue Hawaii. How great could a juggler be? He was! His name is Romano Frediano and you must see his act. Food- Some meals were good and some were fair. Nothing was really bad. The service in all restaurants was excellent. They do not rush you but if you have limited time due to seeing a show, just let them know in advance. There are a few restaurants that have a fee but if you make a reservation for a table between 5:30 and 6 PM the meals will be half price. We ate the Le Bistro and had a wonderful dinner for only $7.50 instead of $15 per person. I have heard some people say that the chocolate fondue was wonderful and some people say it wasn't. I do not think it was wonderful but they do give you a half pineapple filled with fruit for dipping. We heard from some passengers that Salsa was very good. It was also very popular so we had to eat at either 5:30 or 8:30. The appetizers and tapas were very good . All of the soups were terrific. The 3 of us who picked the Mamas Meatloaf were not that thrilled because the BBQ sauce was much too strong and overpowered the rest of the meal. The mashed potatoes that came with it were great. Please skip the Italian restaurant. I read many reviews here and most people said it was not very good except for the lasagna. I ordered lasagna and it was terrible. Nobody liked their meals. The next afternoon we had the same waitress in the Venetian. She remembered us and we were talking about how great the food was in the Venetian and how bad our dinner was the night before. She said that we should have told her we didn't like it and she would have brought us something else. She said that the lasagna always was great there but they had to change their recipe due to the fact that they couldn't use spinach due to the recent e-coli problems around the country. She admitted that she had tried the "new" recipe and it was terrible. Blue Lagoon- usually open but very small and hard to get a table at mealtime. Its not really a place to "dine" but a place to get a snack. Garden Cafe- We ate there most mornings and a few lunches because it served when others did not. I didn't discover the French Toast until almost the end of our cruise unfortunately. It really was very good. We were really getting bored at the buffet. It had basically the same foods every day with a few exceptions. I think that could really use a salad bar. One thing that was very good was the bread. Every restaurant had good bread. At breakfast they have juice along with coffee, tea and milk but they do not have juice for lunch or dinner. They also do not have lemonade anywhere. Venetian, Impressions and Aqua all serve the same food and are all good. The service is great and some of the wait staff even entertained us by making napkins into "babies". I read a review here about how great the hamburgers were by the pool. I hate to disagree but the burgers everywhere are served very well done. They are not allowed to serve them rare or medium, or even medium well. Nobody in our group liked them. In fact, nobody even finished them Casino- I thought that we would lose but several of us won on the slots and video poker. The biggest winner in our group won over $600 but I heard that someone won over $2000. Don't waste your money at Bingo. Cards were very expensive and not a big payoff. TV- each room has one and you can watch some of the shows that you missed. Jimmy's behind the scene tours are good. You get to see the kitchen, engine room and the staffs quarters. Ports- We liked them all and usually we split up and took different ones in each city and everyone was satisfied. In Martha's Vineyard it was raining so a few people took a cab ride around town and spent around $15 each and got to really learn about the island from a college kid. They enjoyed that "tour" the best of all. Pools- I was given incorrect information from NCL about the indoor pool. I was told it was free but when we all went there to swim we were told that its $15 per person per day. We were all really upset about that. Final Day- It was crazy because 3 ships were all letting off passengers at the same time. Because our group had rooms on different floors, we had to wait in the luggage area over an hour for their group to be called. It was not pleasant. Our limo was waiting in line behind several buses so it took him almost an hour for him to pull up in front to collect us and our baggage. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
This was our 10 day NCL cruise we took on September 13th to New England and Canada. We feel like the amount of money we paid for this cruise ($4400.00 for a mini suite) was totally excessive for what we received. What we got was more in ... Read More
This was our 10 day NCL cruise we took on September 13th to New England and Canada. We feel like the amount of money we paid for this cruise ($4400.00 for a mini suite) was totally excessive for what we received. What we got was more in line with a ocean view or balcony cabin. Below are the areas of dissatisfaction with this cruise and NCL: Not only did we not receive concierge service (per NCL), we never saw or met our cabin steward (to this day we don't know who it was) The coffee maker worked sporadically. This was reported to housekeeping on the second day of the cruise with no results. We "fought" with the coffee maker for the rest of the cruise - most times it took at least ten minutes to get it to work. The coffee pot was not cleaned regularly, nor were new coffee packets left on a daily basis. Balcony not cleaned on a daily basis.  Room steward did not empty ashtrays on the balcony where we smoked.  No Robes or slippers offered. (cabins on both sides of us had them) No Daily fresh fruit or flowers (cabins on both sides of us had them)  No garbage can in the cabin To date we have never received our latitude pins Ordered extra towels for entire trip, only got them the first day (via note to steward which was the way we had to communicate with our cabin steward the entire cruise) Ordered extra blankets. When room was cleaned the extra blankets were rolled up in a ball and tossed on sofa or end of bed. (never folded) When room was made up, it looked like someone laid on bed after making it. TV was only a 13 inches stuffed in a corner of the cabinet. Telephone was hung on wall under TV cabinet making it impossible to see the numbers or direct dial buttons All though not listed or a big deal, our steward never made up animals with the towels but cabins on both sides of us had them. It's just a nice touch. We sent out laundry and dry cleaning and got back ours plus another passenger's laundry (took 2 days for him to pick it up after immediately notifying housekeeping) Departure transfer service had a driver that didn't know the airport and we were dropped off outside of the wrong airline arrival entrance on wrong side of the road at the airline arrivals instead of departures. We had to cross 2 busy arrival roads, hauling out luggage to get to the terminal. Then we had to rent carts to carry out luggage from arrivals down to the departure area. The driver drove around the airport 3 times looking for passenger airlines making one passenger miss her flight. He claimed the bus wouldn't fit under the canopies when there were other buses sitting under them therefore he let us on wrong side of road and at wrong airline. Our complaints were expressed to housekeeping with a meeting in our cabin. It was expressed on the last night of the cruise as my wife did not want any repercussions for complaining. ** Restaurant staff was excellent ** Food was very good ** Casino staff was marginal (many dealers spoke very limited English) We had cruised on NCL once before and although we liked the free style cruising concept, we thought the cabin, bathroom and balcony were too small compared to other cruise lines. We decided to give NCL another chance with this cruise since the itinerary was one my wife wanted to go on. However, based on our experiences during this cruise we will hard pressed to cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
Norwegian Dawn - Canada/Northeast Cruise 9/23/07 - 10/04/07 I always like to qualify my reviews with: "Unless otherwise noted, all views and opinions expressed in this review are mine". My wife and I are both experienced ... Read More
Norwegian Dawn - Canada/Northeast Cruise 9/23/07 - 10/04/07 I always like to qualify my reviews with: "Unless otherwise noted, all views and opinions expressed in this review are mine". My wife and I are both experienced cruises, this cruise being our 19th. It was our 3rd cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line and our first with "Free Style Cruising". Up front I will say that I did not like the idea of "Free Style Cruising", but I had no real expectations of how it would be. We were cruising with a couple from Florida, friends for a few years. We flew into Newark on the day before the cruise. Bidding through Priceline.com we obtained lodging in Newark at the Courtyard by Marriott, just a short distance from Newark Airport. Quite a pleasant hotel, with free internet service, dining and a bar and for $70, quite a bargain. The hotel arranged for a town car to pick us up and deliver us to the pier . . the cost of which exceeded the cost of the hotel. Embarkation/Debarkation: Embarkation: In addition to never having sailed "Free Style" before, we have never left from New York City. I was not really looking forward to the proposition. However the embarkation on Sunday, 9/23/07, was absolutely painless. When we arrived, our bags were picked up and placed on a cart by a very friendly porter. Our friends were awaiting us and we got "on line" at 12:15. Although initially a bit slow, things picked up and we were on the ship by 12:45. Grade - A- Debarkation: I have never seen a cruise line and port that got debarkation right. That is until this cruise. We arrived pierside at about 8 a.m. It seemed to me that those carting their own luggage were let off by 8:40 and general debarkation commenced at about 9 a.m. You are allowed to stay in your cabin until your color is called. We had white and discovered this would be the last color called. Sat in the room and enjoyed a movie. When the color before ours was called we made our way forward and waited a deck below the debarkation area. Our color was called and within 15-20 minutes we were off the ship, had our luggage, went through customs and were in a cab headed to Newark. The time was 10:35. Never, ever in our previous 18 cruises have we experienced such a smooth debarkation. Ever!!! Kudo's to NCL and the Port Authority. Grade: A+++ We were told our rooms would not be ready until 2 p.m., so we carted up carry-ons up to the Garden cafe and enjoyed a quick sandwich. The rooms actually became available at 1:45, so we headed off to find ours (4th deck, outside). . Mandatory safety drill was held at 3:30 and promptly at 4 p.m. our cruise began. My wife had never been to NYC before and the last time I was there was 45 years ago, so we both, along with our friends (native New Yorkers) stood on the starboard side of the promenade deck to enjoy our trip past that most lovely American Lady and under the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. Once at sea, we headed to the cabin, where the boss was delighted to find all our luggage. She set about unpacking, and I set about exploring our home for the next 11 days. The ship: The Norwegian Dawn is almost 5 years old. She has a double occupancy of a little over 2,200 passengers. We sailed with about 2,000 passengers, of which only 8 were children (2 teens). The average age was said to be 64 . . . . I suspect it was a bit more than this . . . probably closer to 70. There were a fair amount of Europeans, but the majority of the passengers were North Americans. Inside the ship is quite nice with a gorgeous atrium an a very nice theater venue . . . the Stardust Theater. Public rooms abound including a well equipped gym and spa, a movie theatre, library, reading room and 9 bars with the largest, the Spinnaker Lounge, doubling as a game room for Bingo, amateur entertainment, etc. Cabins were located 6 decks, plus 2 Garden Villas. As I mentioned, the Dawn is 5 years old and she is showing some signs of having over a half million passengers traverse her decks over those years. Some wear and tear can be noticed, but only on close inspection. Carpeting has separated in some areas, some furniture is in sore need of replacement. However, for the most part the Dawn presents herself as a lovely lady, albeit in need of some minor upkeep. Our cabin was located on the 4th deck, just aft of the amidships elevators and it was here that I first noticed that the layout of the ship and its' decks were not the easiest to traverse. For instance, if I were visiting the fitness center, I could not take the elevators located immediately outside, but had to either go down to deck 7 and walk forward to the amidships elevators, or walk through the Garden Cafe to the amidships elevators. The same when leaving the Venetian restaurant. . . . one cannot go down to the decks below, but must first go up to deck 7 to the amidships elevators or stairwell to get down to decks 5 or 4. A minor irritant, but an irritant just the same. Now, on a strictly personal level (opinion-wise), I dislike the NCL motif that is its' outside appearance. I love Lady Liberty as much as anybody, but to see her painted on the side of a cruise ship that has a picture of a playing dolphin painted on the other side just offends my senses. Grade - B Cabin: We were in an outside cabin on Deck 4 (Cat H). Advertised as 140 sq. ft., I thought it would be quite confining. However, it was not. Set up with separated beds, it was quite comfortable. Plenty of storage space, even for an 11 night cruise. The bath is quit spacious and is divided into 3 spaces (toilet, sink area, and shower). The sink area and shower were comfortable, but the toilet can best be described as intimate (read: tiny) Entertainment: Our second cruise years ago was on the Norwegian Windward. It was on this ship that we first discovered the talents and exuberance of the Jean Ann Ryan shows. Over the 13years since then my attitude on other ships production shows (non Jean Ryan) was "seen one - seen them all". So, I was looking forward to seeing these performers. The shows have certainly changed over the years, but are just as, if not more, entertaining as they have always been. The rest of the entertainment provided in the nightly shows was better than expected, with a comedian, a juggler, a couple of singers and a duo of impressionists. All in all - excellent entertainment. The lounge entertainment, however, was a mixed bag. One excellent, some good and one just terrible. We were also treated to 3 local groups. The RCMP Pipe band in Halifax, The Sharecropper's (a folk trio) in Corners Brook and 4 ladies in Syndney (if they mentioned a name, I missed it and apologize) who fiddled and sang music of that area. All three of these groups provided outstanding entertainment with local flavor. My wife and I truly enjoyed theses shows. Grade - Evening - A+. Lounge acts - C, Local Entertainment - A+. Overall an excellent part of the cruise for us. Overall grade - A Casino: I am not a gambler. At best I will throw a $20 bill into a slot machine and see what I can do on one night. Usually, it will be to loose $20. On the Dawn, I was just a tad bit luckier. I threw my $20 bill in a machine the 2nd night. Played for 15 minutes and noticed I was up $30. Got up and walked away. However, because I was up, I decided to put another $20 in. Played for over an hour and ended up cashing out the same $20. However my friend, played the slots on a nightly basis and ended up with a $800 increase in his wallet. I watched other games being played and did notice that there were plenty of games of chance. However, whether it was the age of the passengers or something else, the casino was rarely, if ever, busy. Grade - A+ (Hey! I came out ahead.) Cruise Director/staff: I may catch it on this one, but I think Jimmy Kovell was amongst the worst CD's I have cruised with (not the worst, just down there). He just did absolutely nothing to get my attention. At times his presentation was flat. I didn't find him funny and felt he was to much "into himself". His assistants did an admirable job, however. Grade - C Reception Desk: Excellent. Always courteous and helpful, they answered all our questions in a professional manner. Had no problem producing our (updated) bill on 2 separate occasions and when I inadvertently messed up the safe in the room, they quickly sent the deck supervisor to the room with his magic box to unlock it for me. Grade - A Room (Steward)Service: Excellent. Our room was clean the first day and was maintained that way throughout the cruise. Our room steward and his assistant were available when necessary and always pleasant and helpful. Inexplicably, however, on sea days our room was not made up in the mornings until almost noon. As we spent very little time in the cabin in the morning, this was not a real problem. Grade - A- Food Service: Fair. We took 7 of our evening meals in the Venetian Restaurant, 1 in the Aqua Restaurant, 1 in Cagney's Steak House, and 2 in Impressions. Service in the Aqua was abysmal. The waitress was slow and inept (orders were incorrect, served across our bodies, etc.). I had the feeling she was a waiter in training with no one supervising her. Except for the 2 nights at Impressions, the service was hurried (rushed) and only by delaying our dessert orders were we able to slow the service down to our liking. This was each and every night. Except for this, the waiters/waitresses were very good and were always friendly. The service in Impressions Italian Restaurant was excellent. We took all but 3 of our breakfasts in the Venetian Restaurant. Unlike the evening meals, the service was for the most part slow . . . but on 2 mornings it was extraordinarily slow . . . . and they were not that busy. Just not enough servers, IMO. Grade - C- Food: Fair, at best. (I almost hate to get into this area because it is so subjective - but here goes). If I had to pick out the one thing I like least about this cruise, the food would win hands down. I can honestly say there was not one meal that stands out in my mind as being excellent, not one. Our second night onboard we ate at Cagney's Steak House. Of course, there is a $20 surcharge p/p. I had Prime Rib that was almost bland. The first one was overcooked and I sent it back. The second one was OK, but barely warm. My wife and our friend ordered Filet Mignon. Incredibly small portions, but done to their liking. Our friend's husband ordered a steak and said it was OK, but on the tough side. We decided not to favor any of the other "pay" restaurants after this night. The food in the Venetian was good, but uninspired. Nothing jumps out as being better than Applebee's quality. IMO, the food in Impressions was good. However, our friends are Italian/Sicilian and she is quite an Italian cook. She said the food was OK, but not what she would expect from a "specialty" Italian restaurant. Breakfasts were good. Hard to mess up breakfast. Only complaint was the toast. It always came to the table cold, hard and unbuttered. The Danish, croissant's and muffins were excellent. We always took our lunches in the Garden cafe and always at the deli section. Really good sandwiches, salads, soups, etc. Enjoyed this meal every day we ate onboard. Only problem is lack of drinks. Only tea and water is offered, although beer and alcohol can be purchased. A little lemonade wouldn't hurt. Now, to my biggest complaint in the food/beverage area. The coffee. In a word, it was atrocious. Now, I like a good cup or two in the morning and decaf with my dinner. I will never, ever claim to know what an excellent cup of coffee tastes like (I prefer Dunkin' Donuts brand, so that should tell you something). However, I spent 28 years in the U.S. Navy including 14 as a Chief Petty Officer, so I am more than an expert on bad coffee and the stuff they served on the Dawn would best be classified as SWILL. 'Nuff said. Grade - D+ Itinerary: The ports we visited were Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, NS, Quebec City, La Baie, Quebec, Corners Brook, Newfoundland and Syndney, NS. In her review of this cruise, Bennett's Cruise gave an excellent description of these ports and what they had to offer. I enjoyed the ports throughout the cruise, although the last 3 were small ports and outside of tours, did not have a lot to offer outside of the truly lovely and outstanding folk who resided there. Grade - A Tours: I researched the internet and was able to come up with excellent tours in Boston, Quebec City and Bar Harbor (I live 40 miles from there, so that was easy) and Halifax. I discovered that these tours pretty much approximated the tours the ship offered at up to 50% off the price being charged by the ship. Having cruised so much in the past, I wanted to avoid the overpriced tours offered by the ship (all cruise lines suffer from this bit of greed). The first hint of trouble came at Boston where a round trip bus fare was provided for (paid on the room card) at $13. We then took a combination Harbor cruise/Hop on/Hop off bus tour. This tour had been pre planned and was considerably cheaper than the almost identical one offered by the ship. The $13 fee was an irritant, because the ship had a monopoly on the transportation from the pier. Bar Harbor was great as we made our own tour once we arrived in town and took Olley's Trolley on a tour of the city and Acadia National Park. Halifax was the bottom line for me, however. And I readily admit that not researching deep enough was part of the problem. We had decided to take a Hop On/Hop Off bus tour of the city. It was priced about $15 less than the identical ship's tour. Got off the ship and Bingo, there was the bus tour tickets being offered (GrayLine tours I believe). I go up to the counter, purchase 2 tickets and when I went to pay discover that it was the ship who was offering those tours (at the ships quoted price) - how? By being required to pay with my room card. We discovered when we were coming back to the ship that all we had to do was exit the pier area to the right and walk a few blocks and we could have purchased the tickets at the reduced price offered by GrayLine tours). IMO, if this practice wasn't outright dishonest, it was at least extremely deceptive. Having never dealt with this particular practice before, I was totally unprepared to deal with it. Won't ever happen in the future though. The tour we had arranged for in Quebec city was great, or so I heard from my wife and friends. I suffer from Menierre's Syndrome and that morning just after getting on the tour bus, I was visited by an episode of nausea and dizziness. I found a double seat in the back of the bus and slept through the tour. Grade F- Tipping Policy or Service Charge: While I find that it is an extremely easy way of taking care of tipping, I don't think it enhances the service at all. IMO, it detracts from it. The room service remains pretty much universally good throughout the fleets, the Dawn was certainly no exception, however, I feel that the dining services have suffered because of it. And it is really tough for me to put my finger on just why that is. But I do know that, in my opinion, the dining service was probably the poorest I have experienced in my 19 cruises. I felt that the service staff was stretched out as a direct result of this policy. By that I mean that our room steward and his helper took care of 36 rooms - In the past talking with stewards the norm seemed to be about 24. The dining staff just had too little staff to be efficient. Another part of this picture, and I didn't know if it fit in here or in my comments about service staff. I have always disliked the staff "hinting" that they needed an "excellent" grade to qualify for time off, promotions, raises, etc. It ran rampant onboard Dawn, from cabin staff, to waitresses/waiters, to bar staff, to Jimmy plugging for that grade for the staff. Ironically, the only member of the staff who I did not get the plea from was Rolando, the bartender in the Java Café and he was amongst the best of the entire staff on board. He did get extra from me at the end of the cruise. Grade: F Free Style Cruising and Dining: I tried to go into the cruise without any pre-conceived negative thoughts (I have stated on this forum in the past that I was not a proponent of the free style concept). After sailing on this cruise, I have somewhat changed my mind. The casual dress code was pretty nice, especially after a day of touring. Additionally, because of the length of this cruise (11 nights) packing for casual wear was easier on the wife. I liked that aspect of "free style". I even enjoyed the "free style" dining experience. I think it worked out great on port days. We never had more than a minimal wait for a table on these nights (or were covered by a reservation). However, IMO, it did not/does not work on "at sea" nights. Our first night at sea we chose the Aqua and it was a 45 minute wait. I took a quick run back to Venetian and discovered that the wait there was just as long. Our 2nd "at sea" dinner was a 7 o'clock reservation at Impressions where we experienced a short 5 minute wait. However upon exiting we found that people were standing on line about 15 minutes with "reservations". When reservations opened up for the last "at sea" dinner, I was prompt and 2nd on line. I confidently asked for a 7 p.m. reservation at Impressions and was promptly informed that the earliest reservation was for 8 p.m. - all reservations prior to that had already been filled - What? (I was 2nd on line). Took the reservation, but wondered how the heck that happened. So, am I a fan of "FreeStyle"cruising. Not exactly, but neither am I opposed to the concept as much as I was prior to this cruise. I think with modifications it could work for all cruisers, including traditionalists such as myself. Again, it partially worked on this cruise. I am not sure it would or does run smoothly on the larger ships or on sea intensive cruises (transatlantics or even E. Caribbean with 2 days at sea). Grade: B-/C+ Final thoughts: Since our first cruise with NCL, I have never been a big fan of the line. I have always placed it at the bottom of the mass market lines. Nothing on this cruise changed my mind. I think NCL does "it" on the cheap and they nickel/dime the cruiser to death. There were certainly excellent parts of this cruise, just as certainly as there were poor parts. Unfortunately the mediocre to poor parts defined the cruise for/to me. I choose this cruise for 2 reasons - 1. The itinerary and 2. The cost - it was fairly cheap. I feel I got exactly what I paid for, so I am not disappointed. Having said all the above, I did not have a bad cruise - I just don't think there is such a thing. I enjoyed myself as did my wife and friends. By the way, my wife and our friends all stated that except for the "service" they enjoyed "Free Style" cruising. Would I cruise with NCL or this ship again? NCL - probably, but it would have to be the right ship on the right itinerary. I don't believe that I would sail on the Dawn or any of her class again. I realize that my post may appear be quite negative (and it is in a couple of areas), but there were certainly enough positives that given the right itinerary, price and ship, I would certainly cruise with NCL again. NCL does provide good value for the price they charge. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
This was an 11 Night cruise aboard NCL's Dawn and was lots of fun. Below are a few positives and negatives. Most of the negatives are due to the Excursions at different ports. Visited were NYC, Boston, Bar Harbor, ME, Halifax, Nova ... Read More
This was an 11 Night cruise aboard NCL's Dawn and was lots of fun. Below are a few positives and negatives. Most of the negatives are due to the Excursions at different ports. Visited were NYC, Boston, Bar Harbor, ME, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Quebec, La Baie, Corner Brook, Canada and Sydney, NS. We came from Delaware and took Amtrak to Penn Station. ($160 one way for two). Boarding the Dawn was a delight. This was our second time with NCL but it seemed the first two days the staff must have been given holy heck for something because there were lots of long faces among the staff. Things changed later for the best and most all of the staff were happy throughout and seemed happy to be working. Usually, staff spends 9 or 10 months at sea and two months off. PLUSES AND MINUSES: Don't forget the daily ten dollar per person service charge to your staterooms. So there won't be any surprises at the end on your bill. There were no towel animals until the final night. Mints on the pillows didn't begin until half way through the cruise. What's wrong guys? Miss the towel animal seminar 101? Our stewards, Ricardo and Jaime were very nice and cleaned the room twice a day. We let them know of our appreciation at the end. Other: Photo's taken by the ships photographers were $12.95 for one photo and a blowup or reduced pic of the same scene was $2 additional. Diet cokes were $1.75 each plus a 15 % gratuity totaling $2.01 per drink. I had one Pinot Noir wine one night and it was $10. What's worse is the adult soda card for $85 plus 15% gratuity. Yes, $85...I kid you not. We brought a 12 pack of diet aboard which was a little hassle but it didn't last long. Milk, coffee, juices and iced tea was free throughout but be careful, the coffee and tea seemed very thick and you had to cut it with water or hot milk. The food aboard the entire cruise was excellent. It was the usual fare at the Garden cafe where most of our breakfasts were eaten. Have your eggs done right then and there because the pre-made egg dishes were warm to nearly cold. Favorites were the freshly baked pastries daily. The chicken served seemed dry, cold and tasteless. Pizza was good. The Venetian dining room served the best non-pay food equaling the Impressions dining room. The Blue Lagoon (open 24 hours) was like eating at "tomaine tillies." I had the worst Wonton soup I have ever had. There were little globules of fat on top of the broth and the garden type spring rolls were gummy. Staff was very friendly though. Most everyone's cell phone stopped working when we reached Canada. No service either in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland. PORT STOPS: Friends took the Boston tour. $49 for three hours. The ship arrived in Boston late and their tour lasted 75 minutes with no stopping for pictures. They whizzed by all the sites. Quebec was the best side trip. We went to Montmorency Falls, St. Ann de Beaupre Basilica and a copper shop. There was plenty to see and time for everything although a longer time in Quebec city is strongly recommended. Most trips were around fifty per person, no food. La Baie and Corner Brook Canada; Sydney and Halifax, Nova Scotia were two others. Bar Harbor Maine was also booked by our group. PLEASE DO NOT BOOK LA BAIE, CORNER BROOK OR SYDNEY CITY TOURS. It's almost like they created these tours just to do something in between New York stops. There was nice scenery but twice, the different guides even pointed out where they "got their hair done," and where they lived. I am not condemning these tours because most times it was cold and raining, just that there was little to see of any noteworthiness. The Acadia National Park tour is one that should not be missed. ROOMS: Our cabin was very nice, an inside stateroom. We did have three nights of sewerage odors in the bathroom. Plumber said it was a broken drain seal. My bed sagged in the middle. The shower gel in the shower was inadequate so ask for bars of soap from your steward. There were nearly 2,200 on board and we were told average age was 60. Very few children on board probably because school just started. SHOWS: Perhaps the best show we have seen in 8 cruises was the group known as "Band on the Run." Also right up there was the twosome, "Fire and Ice." We missed some shows because of long days and short nights. The finale the night before last was great with many of the staff, important and not going on stage for a final farewell. All in all, NCL racked up another one for us. We will continue to cruise with them and other lines. There should be larger discounts for frequent guests. It's best to book your next cruise while on board for the best discounts. You'll find this out, they pushed future cruising while on board till we were numb in the ears. We had fun, fun on the ship and fun writing this. Hope you did too. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
This was our third cruise aboard the NCL Dawn out of NY, second in 2007. The embarkation process went smoothly and our luggage was delivered promptly. Our cabin, a mini-suite on Deck 11 was available at 1:00 PM following lunch aboard. ... Read More
This was our third cruise aboard the NCL Dawn out of NY, second in 2007. The embarkation process went smoothly and our luggage was delivered promptly. Our cabin, a mini-suite on Deck 11 was available at 1:00 PM following lunch aboard. Except for 7 minors on board, all passengers were adult, quite a different experience from our April cruise when the ship was filled with children and teenagers. The entertainment featured the exact same shows that we saw in April with some newer acts. The magician, by the last name of Maurer was exceptional and a singer named Gabrielle Lee stylish. All of the films, with the exception of two, were aimed at kids: Spiderman 3, Shrek 3, etc. Children's films were the norm. The guests in the next cabin were heavy smokers and spending any time on the balcony provided one with lots of second hand smoke instead of the anticipated fresh air. Perhaps the time has come to ban smoking on private balconies. Some changes we noticed since our April 2007 cruise aboard the NCL Dawn were downgrades: 1. There are no more trays given to passengers in the Garden Cafe. You can take to your table what you can fit either on one plate or carry in two hands. This is not doubt a measure to control the amounts of food people used to heap on their trays and plates. You can now cheerfully mix all of you foods on one plate (yuck). 2. There was no wastebasket in our mini-suite other than the one in the bathroom. The coffee maker in our suite still had coffee and grounds in it from the previous occupants of our cabin. 3. The Trattoria (the Italian restaurant which had been located on Deck 12 in a section of the Garden Cafe every evening in April and our 2006 cruise aboard the Dawn) has vanished. Impressions is now the Italian restaurant. They no longer served calamari, but the food was good in that restaurant. 4. We ate in Impressions three nights, Salsa one night, Cagney's Steakhouse one time (surcharge required) and had another dinner in Le Bistro. The food in the aforementioned restaurants was very good and our meals enjoyable with fine service. 5. The menus for the Venetian and Aqua dining rooms were generally not to my liking. The food in the Garden Cafe was varied but not wonderful. If you like goat cheese, it was added to almost everything imaginable as were caraway seeds. The menu featured lots of lamb. Most of the items on the menu in the main dining rooms were unappealing to both of us. 6. We never found any cookies to have with tea or coffee -- the NCL seems to have eliminated cookies from the buffet (strange). 7. Staff is excellent aboard the ship and everyone is friendly and tries to please and accommodate. 8. The ports were fine -- we don't take organized tours any more but like to walk. Quebec was great -- so was Sydney, Nova Scotia. The local talent brought aboard the ship to perform before the ship left a port fabulous (Newfoundland & Sydney). Piers greeted the ship as we docked in Halifax -- thrilling. 9. There was a total lack of information and direction when we got to Newfoundland and because it was so disorganized and the dock near a heavily traveled highway, we didn't know what to do and went back on board. Unless you actually go to the port and shopping talks or speak to other passengers, you may be at a loss when you disembark in some ports. 10. We cruise to relax -- that we were able to do and will do so again and continue with NCL despite the uninspired food. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
My husband and I have been on about 8 cruises with this being our first NCL cruise. We went with a group of 28 from our small retirement community in Maryland. Given a choice, I would never have chosen NCL, but this is what was offered. It ... Read More
My husband and I have been on about 8 cruises with this being our first NCL cruise. We went with a group of 28 from our small retirement community in Maryland. Given a choice, I would never have chosen NCL, but this is what was offered. It was a great itinerary for 11 nights, so we decided to book it. We arrived at the pier in NYC about 12:30. After about a 20 minute line at embarkation, we were ushered to the Garden Cafe on deck 12 for a buffet lunch. There were no trays and unlike Celebrity, no one helped carry the plates or find us a seat. Not a good start. I did not really care for the buffet, but do not go by me, I am a very picky eater. They announced numerous times that you would not be allowed into your cabins until 2:00. Doors to them were closed with signs reading "Crew Only." Right about 2:00 they announced that the rooms were ready, and everyone made a mad dash. We only had to walk down one flight of stairs to find our cabin about six doors from the elevator. The elevators made absolutely no noise, so next time that won't be a consideration. We were very disappointed in the size of the room. Billed as a mini suite with a balcony, it was rather small. Basically it was the same size as the balcony staterooms on deck 9. The major differences were we had a couch that fit three people, theirs fit two, we had a bathtub (very high step over), they had a shower, we had two chairs by our table, they had one, and our bed was kingsize, I think theirs was only queen. Also, I don't think they had a curtain to separate the sitting area from the bedroom. The differences were pretty insignificant, especially when compared to the extra $1000 we paid. Also, if you are taking this cruise in the fall, you have to really think about whether the balcony is worth it. It was really quite cool this time of the year, and of the 11 days, we used the balcony twice. It was far too cold to be outside. We kept remarking about the people that are booked six weeks from now. Brrr! Our luggage arrived by 4:00. We had plenty of closet space, but very limited drawer space. Because we were with a group, we had a standing reservation at the Venetian dining room for 6 o'clock. With two tables of 14, the service was endless (so much so, that after two days of this, we went off on our own the rest of the cruise), two hours and 30 minutes is a bit long for dinner. If you were not with a group, there was a line up the stairs waiting to be seated. Evening Show: Welcome Aboard. Here we met Jimmy, our cruise director, some crew members and then we saw two lounge acts, Fire & Ice and Dan Hodges. Both were very good. Fire & Ice were in Dazzles every evening and Dan was in Gatsby's Lounge every night. We are not lounge goers, but we did stop in a couple of nights at both places because they were each so entertaining. Day 2 Boston: We hit the gym first thing in the morning, good selection of equipment. Bring your own earphones for the treadmill TV. We had room service breakfast, fine, but a very limited menu. My husband went on the Lexington/Concord tour. He loved it. I took the shuttle to Quincy Market ($13 RT) to shop. There is great shopping there. I got some Hard Rock Shirts for the kids and they had quite a variety of items. I had lunch upstairs at Durgeon Park (that doesn't sound exactly right), clam chowder soup and broiled scallops. Delicious! I had no problem catching the shuttle back to the ship. We had another endless dinner with the group in the Venetian. Too, too slow! Evening Show: Bob Jay impressionist/comedian. He had some difficulty relating to his audience. Day 3 Bar Harbor: We did the Acadia Park/Lobster Bake tour, Great! It was really cold in Bar Harbor. You needed a jacket and gloves. It appeared that there were some great shops here, unfortunately because we tendered, we didn't go into town until right before the bus tour. The last tender back to the ship was 3:30, just as our bus arrived back in town. Definitely an opportunity missed. If you like shopping, go in early. For dinner we hit Aqua, same menu as Venetian, but nicer ambiance. You can sit alone or share. We shared and met great people. Evening Show: Second City, hysterical! Day 4 Halifax: We didn't take any tours, because we were just here two years ago and I thought I remembered that there was great shopping here. Well, wherever it was, we couldn't find it. We took the free bus to the historic properties area, found nothing and walked back to the ship along the harbor. Very nice walk. The problem with the free bus was that it only came every half hour and it made a complete 40 minute loop every trip. Next time, I would just take a taxi. There was some shopping right at the pier. Nice things. Evening Show: South Beach Rave w/ the NCL singers and dancers. Very talented group. Day 5 At Sea: Optional Formal Night. We spent the day lazing around. By dinnertime, we were in the mood to get dressed up. Most of the passengers did get dressed up. Photographers were everywhere to take your pictures. Not pushy at all, very pleasant. We ate in Aqua once more and shared a table with a lovely couple from Germany. Dinner was lobster tails, Beef Wellington, etc. Excellent! Evening Show: Romano Frediani, juggler - funny and very entertaining. Excellent! Day 6 Quebec: We walked through the Old Town from 10-1, then we took the Walking Tour w/tea at the Chateau Frontenac. Very nice, but not HIGH tea. Preplated dish w/ 4 large cookies & 2 candies. We returned to the ship about 6:30, got ready for dinner, and went to Teppanyaki. The chef, Salvador, was wonderful. He had a big smile on his face the entire time he was cooking. The service left a little to be desired. The girls never cleaned the table before setting down the ice cream amidst the rice and sauce that was on the table. For $56 (including 2 drinks and a soda), I would have liked to have had the table wiped down before dessert was served. We left without eating it. Evening Show: There was no show in the main theater. I think they had talent tryouts there. We didn't go to the show up in the Spinnaker Lounge and didn't hear from anyone who did. Day 7 La Baie: Interesting! We had phenomenal service at breakfast in the Venetian Room and then we went on the Saguenay Village Highlights tour. The truth is there really aren't any Saguenay Village Highlights. We saw a house that wasn't destroyed in a flood, a pulperie and an ALCAN aluminum plant. It was pretty poor. No one thought it was worth the money. There was absolutely no shopping and we were there on a Saturday. The store by the house was closed and there was nothing at the other stop. Really, you can skip this one, very boring! There was a small tent by the pier with some very nice items. Not all the merchants took credit cards. It was the first time the ship stopped there. For dinner we ate at Impressions. Because there is no charge and it's pretty good, it is difficult to get a good seating time unless you call early. They start taking reservations at 8 a.m. so it's really fair to everyone. Food was good and as was the service. Evening Show: Band on the Run. The NCL group again put on a great show. Day 8 At Sea: Spent the day relaxing, reading playing in the casino, etc. Surprisingly, it was not a dress up day or a particularly fabulous menu, even though we were at sea all day. We went to dinner at 6:30 and did not realize there was only one evening show, a magician, at 8:00. We ran into the theater about 5 of, but it was packed, w/no seats available. Make sure you read your Freestyle Daily every day so you don't miss anything good. People who saw the show said it was very good. Day 9 Corner Brook: Again, Interesting! We took the Taste & Traditions tour. I, and everyone I spoke to, didn't think it was worth the money ($49). We drove 5 minutes to the restaurant, then had a snippy waitress tell us to wait in the hall, finally she let us in. (Like it was our fault they weren't cleaned up from the last group!) Once we were seated, we were served pea soup, then a Preplated dish of moose, fish brew and fried halibut, some of which was loaded with bones. I didn't even take a plate. Dessert was a small piece of berry cake. The storyteller told stories about the region and the musicians played throughout the meal, then we took the bus back to the ship. The consensus was it would have been a good tour for $30. Not much shopping here. Not much here, period. This evening we ate dinner at Le Bistro. There is a $15 service charge per person and an additional $10 service charge pp if you want the Chateaubriand or lamb. We decided to splurge. The food was excellent, the service was pretty good, but for $78 I feel it should have been exceptional, and it wasn't. Evening Show: Joseph Pokorski, "Golden Throated Tenor" Outstanding! Day 10 Sydney: My husband took the Fort Louisbourg Tour. Again, he loved it, but felt it was too short. He said there was so much to see and they didn't have nearly enough time. As for me, none of the tours appealed to me, so I had to settle for shopping. There were some shopping booths right at the pier and inside they were having a craft show. They had beautiful handmade items and lots of Christmas ornaments. Outside, I bought a few petrified wood necklaces for Christmas presents. The walk to town is about five minutes. Stop at the information booth and get a walking map. There is a shuttle available, but it really isn't worth $5 to take you a few blocks. There are some nice shops along Charlotte Street, not as many as I would have thought, but certainly better than the last two stops. They have a casino about two blocks up if you're interested in doing some more gambling. For dinner we went back to Impressions with another couple from our group. Service was not as good as the first time, but at the end of the meal the girl came over and gave us the pitch to please put their names down on the NCL survey you get to fill out. Sorry, we had much better service other places. Evening Show: Bollywood, a mix of Cirque de Soleil and dance. At times it was heartstopping. Fabulous! Day 11 Last day At Sea: I spent most of this day trying to pack everything I bought and brought into the suitcases I had with me. It was a losing battle. Luckily for me, my husband took pity on me and gave me some of his space. I absolutely must bring and buy less next trip! Unfortunately for me, I had to keep packing right through the Chocoholic Buffet. I can't believe I missed it, and no one I spoke to went either, so I can't report on it. For our last dinner we went to Bamboo. There's a $10 service charge pp here. I can't decide if it was worth it or not. Pretty typical Chinese food. Not spectacular, and not crowded. Our waitress was very sweet throughout the entire meal, personable, friendly and efficient. Then at the end we got the same pitch about putting her name down. She told us that if they didn't get mentioned at least once, they would be brought in for counseling. We did put her name down on the survey. Day 12 Departure: Overall thoughts - We arrived with a preconceived notion that we were not going to like "freestyle." By day 3 we loved it. It really does give you a lot of flexibility. I thought I would never want to go on another NCL cruise, now I wouldn't hesitate. The crew were all lovely, some of the nicest people we have ever come in contact with. For me personally, I thought the temperature on the ship was on the cool side. I definitely needed a sweater everywhere I went. However, I did often see men in their shirt sleeves. The tours were a mixed bag, some were great, some were not. I was dying to eat at Cagney's, but I had read some less than stellar reviews here on Cruise Critic. We asked every person we met if they had eaten there, and of ALL the yeses, the best review we got was, "It was okay." Not one person raved about the food or the service and several said it was terrible, so we skipped it. The blackout curtains in the room were awesome. We even overslept a couple of mornings! The entertainment was great. All very talented performers. Don't miss the shows! We really enjoyed this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
We left out of New York City from the downtown piers. We were delivered by bus right to the docks and the long shore men took our baggage to the ship. The lines to check in were quite long and uncomfortable but they moved fairly briskly. I ... Read More
We left out of New York City from the downtown piers. We were delivered by bus right to the docks and the long shore men took our baggage to the ship. The lines to check in were quite long and uncomfortable but they moved fairly briskly. I gave them a credit card for onboard expenses. This worked out well at the end. They send you a detailed bill at your door the last day to review. Any discrepancies could be taken care of at the pursers office but ours was just fine. Our first port of call was Boston. We did not take a tour from the ship because my daughter lives in Boston and met us there. We took one of the many cabs into town and took a trolley tour and saw the city that way. A lot cheaper then the ships itinerary and you saw as much or more. Anytime you can skip the ships tours you save money, however, this isn't always the best. Pay attention to these reviews and you can get a good idea if what to take and what to forget. The next day it was on to Bar Harbor. This is the Lobster day if you are interested. The town was nice a quaint with many shopping and eating opportunities. Save time to spend some in town. We opted for Acadia National Park and the Cadillac Mtn. tour but didn't get our first pick of the am tour. This turned out to be a blessing as it was raining that day and very foggy. The people that took the am tour saw nothing but fog. In the afternoon, the one they gave us, it had cleared up a bit and we saw a lot more. The view from Cadillac Mtn. has to be gorgeous. We were only able to see when we came about half way down and it was spectacular there. If I go back again, and it is a better day, I plan to take the tour again. The fourth day was Halifax. Again a great stop. Here we opted to go to Peggy's Cove. DO NOT MISS THIS ONE. Talk about picture post card settings. This was fantastic although boring going there. It was well worth the money, just skip the double decker buses. You will be worn out after Peggy's Cove. I wish there was a little more time there, but the ship must sail! Free Internet access in the terminal building! Day fifth was at sea, thank goodness. We needed the break and it was nice. We slept in and then explored and enjoyed the ship. Day six, Quebec. This was the most fantastic stop of them all. Everything is within walking distance, skip the tours. I cannot say enough or properly describe this city. Gorgeous. They are celebrating their 400th anniversary in 2008 so there is a fair amount of construction but they are winding it up before the celebrations begin. It does not deter from the sights. 12 hours and every minute spent in town. Day seven at sea again, and after Quebec, very much needed. It is nice to have these days off although I didn't think so before I went. I don't think you could survive without them. Day eight, Corner Brook. Get off the ship, take a cab and have them show you the sights? Well there are some. To see them from the ships tours it cost $49, for four of us in a cab it cost $65. No place to shop in town but the terminal had free Internet access! Day nine, Sydney. Read Corner Brook without the cab tour. A few of the others took a tour out of the city and this seems to be the best bet. I now wish we had as the town had nothing in it. And I mean nothing. Quaint, nice but nothing but a few very expensive shops not tailored for souvenir shopping. Day ten, at sea again. Time to get your stuff packed and outside the door before 2am. Again a nice relaxing day. Food. Freestyle dining. Read the menus before you go and you won't be disappointed. If you go and they have things you don't like it is your fault. There is something for everyone every night. Yes some food is better than others but I like Coke better then Pepsi but it doesn't make Pepsi terrible. They had the best breakfast omelets in the garden cafe, delicious. Made to order. Breakfast was my best meal. Entertainment. Again, some was better than others but it was all good. I did enjoy the night the crew showed their skills and entertained us. There are a variety of venues every night as well as the main show in the theater. I did enjoy the variety. Rooms. I believe they were very nice. No rooms are all that big but they were spacious and comfortable enough. The bathrooms were divided into three area. The toilet, the sink and the shower, separated by sliding doors. The showers were very comfortable to shower in and the water was as hot as you wanted it to be. Plenty of storage room in the cabinets with many hooks, shelves and cubby holes to hold everything. There is only ONE 110 volt outlet in the room and ONE 220 volt outlet. I knew this in advance and brought a 220 converter and had no problems. There is a 110 volt outlet in the bathroom labeled for shaver use only. They have an in room hair dryer that satisfied my wife who is a beautician. And believe me she is fussy when it comes to her hair. She brought her own but didn't even take it out to use. The beds were comfortable or I was so tired I didn't notice they weren't. The balcony had two seats and a table and were very nice. The ship. Neat clean with great staffs that were always willing to help out and take care of your every wish. Why they didn't get upset and punch some of the ignorant people in the mouth I will never know, but I guess they have more restraint that I have. The whole ship, from our cabin to the public areas was kept immaculate. The only cons I have is the cost of the refreshments. Very expensive even to the cost of water. If you don't mind tap it is free but beware, bottled is going to cost you. No bargains on anything on the ship. The Casino is nice, a lot of choices and the fitness area is very well equipped. Would I cruise with them again.....Yes. It was nice, comfortable and the whole experience was pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
We arrived in New York one day prior to our sailing and stayed in Mid-town Manhattan. We met up with some friends from past cruises and renewed our friendship. It was Fashion week so if you didn't make your reservations early the ... Read More
We arrived in New York one day prior to our sailing and stayed in Mid-town Manhattan. We met up with some friends from past cruises and renewed our friendship. It was Fashion week so if you didn't make your reservations early the hotels became very expensive. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 11:30 and our friends were already at the pier upstairs in the Latitudes area (sign said Villa and Suites only). We sat around for about 45 minutes and when they finally came to get us, we walked right to the front of the line and were on the ship within 15 minutes. Couldn't have asked for any thing better. We had lunch at the Venetian and it was o.k. but nothing to really speak of. Later on we went to the Bimini Bar to meet our friends and other cruise critic members. No other Cruise Critic members attended our 'Informal Meet and Greet' so after Sail Away we took pictures of The Lady and Ellis Island. Beautiful evening and smooth waters. The next morning I got up early and was really surprised. When I got on Deck 12 around 5:45 a.m. I saw a pod of dolphins along side the ship. That wasn't it. Around 6:30 a.m. I was looking out the Starboard side of the ship and there was a pod of at least 10 Humpback whales not to far from the ship. I watched them for at least 30 minutes. I saw several flukes and at least 4 Breaches where the whales completely came out of the water. WHAT A SITE. Following that display, we decided that during the rest of the trip we would be on Whale watch. We spend many hours on deck or in the Spinnaker Lounge watching the water. We were not disappointed. We had to see at least 150 dolphins and whales almost every day. Boston: We did Boston on our own. We took a cab to Boston Commons and started the Freedom Trail walk. It cost us $12 with tip to get there. After walking to the North Church, we returned to Quincy Market and had a few brews in a pub. The only problem we had was getting a cab back to the ship. It took us about 20 minutes to get one so don't be late. Bar Harbor: This was the only port we had bad weather in. It rained the entire day until we got back to the ship...hahahahaha We took the free shuttle Acadia Park offers to Sand Beach. From Sand Beach we walked (In the rain...oh well) to Thunder Hole. After that we went back into Bar Harbor, had lunch and back onto the ship. Halifax: Halifax has a free bus that will take you to all the sites in Halifax including the casino and the Citadel. The bus is called Fred and you can catch it right outside the pier. One thing to remember is that you have to pull the 'wire' to let the driver know you want off the bus. Great way to get around the city and even if you don't want off, it is a cheap way to see the city. Quebec City: We absolutely loved Quebec (local say K-Bec). If you have a excursion make sure you take time to walk around. If you take the Funicular from the lower town to the upper town it is $1.75 per person. Quebec reminds me so much of Europe with the small streets, architecture,etc. You have to walk around this town!!!!!!!!! Corner Brook: Although a lot of people will say this place has nothing to do, it is because they did not get a way from the town. We took an excursion to the Gros Morne National Park and my goodness it was beautiful. We have been to Alaska twice and it reminded us of Alaska. We didn't see any Moose but we did see Caribou and a Black Bear. Sydney: Went on the Heart of the Island excursion and although it was beautiful, it wasn't Corner Brook. We ate at all the regular restaurants and never felt that we had a bad meal. We also ate at Le Bistro and once again loved it. For those that do not know, ask for the Chocolate Fondue(Not on the menu). Although it is not on the menu you can get it!!!! This is our third cruse with NCL and the ships get better, the crew gets better and the overall experience gets better. We had a Cruise Critic group meeting where the Hotel Director, Cruise Director and staff all came to speak with us. We were also invited to the Office Hosted dinner. The wait staff on the Dawn is the best we have ever encountered. Not only do they know who you are but they also know what you want. Needless to say, we believe that the Crew and staff of the NCL Dawn are GREAT!!!!! We saw a couple of comedy shows in the main show room and the Liars Game (really funny). In addition to this you have to check out FIRE and ICE. They were GREAT. Another gentleman played the piano every night in Gatsby and he was equally as good. Overall we think the crew and staff on the Dawn are some of the best we have ever had on any past NCL cruise. Room: We had room 5610 which was a cat D oceanview room. It was really nice. Lots of storage and you could actually sit in the window!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
We had been looking forward to this cruise for sometime, but were somewhat apprehensive after reading reviews that were all over the map about this ship and cruise line. First pleasant surprise was embarkation...one of the fastest and ... Read More
We had been looking forward to this cruise for sometime, but were somewhat apprehensive after reading reviews that were all over the map about this ship and cruise line. First pleasant surprise was embarkation...one of the fastest and best we have ever attempted. This was followed by a very confusing and not very good buffet as we waited for our room. Our bags were delivered in a timely manner, again, the fastest ever with them being there just after the lifeboat drill. Gee cruise lines, could we get a "get out of jail free" card for those of us with several cruises??? Standing in those packed lines on hot days is the pits. Cabin was pretty but smaller than I am used to, with a balcony. My husband needs a walker and finding space for it was a bit of a problem. Small balcony as well, but beds were comfortable . We had excellent stewards in our cabin, I would actually say they were the best I have had in many cruises. Food was touch and go with the buffet always being on the lower point, as it took a while to figure out where everything was. Once you found where the fresh cooked food was it got much better. It stayed poor in the matter of desserts however, although dining room desserts were excellent. We had never done freestyle and it took a bit of getting used to, but by the end of the trip we liked it. We ate at 4 specialty restaurants, Bamboo, Impressions, Cagney's and Salsa. Bamboo and Salsa were the best, although you steak lovers would argue that with me. I really liked the Main dining room, Venetian, on the nights we ate there, and for lunch. The Aqua dining room serving the same as Venetian was a bit claustrophobic in feel with no windows. Service in ALL restaurants except buffet was excellent, with the on duty headwaiter always coming by the table and chatting. On previous cruises I would never see them until the last night. All our table waiters and waitresses were also excellent and a lot of fun. Overall, service throughout the ship was among if not the best overall I have experienced, always friendly, always accommodating. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We took one in each port. We visited Boston where we took a city and duck tour that was fun, Bar Harbor where we took a tour of Acadia National Park with a carriage ride, and I took a whale watch tour and saw Fin Whales ( however it was cold and a long ride out to where they were), in Halifax we took a tour to Peggy's Cove with a lobster lunch..Many who had done the lobster lunch in Bar Harbor recommended it over the one in Halifax, but I was happy with it. Quebec brought our first major glitch, docking over a mile out of town and having to wait in line for debarkation for almost 2 hours. Everybody was frustrated with that but the Captain said it was mainly the fault of the port authority. Still, it should have been handled better on the ship....it ruined the trip for a lot of people. My most enjoyable excursion was in La Baie, where we took a Fjord cruise followed by a bus ride back through the countryside. The Walk from the boat to the bus was possibly the prettiest place I have been in quite a while. In Cornerbrook we took the Cornerbrook in Focus tour which was not worth the money and was not a bit as advertised. Other than that one, we had excellent fun guides and an overall good time. ENTERTAINMENT; Here again I was so very pleasantly surprised. The dance troupe was excellent and the acrobatics were fascinating. Everything was high energy and a lot of fun. The Second City comedy troupe was very funny and did two shows during the cruise and a workshop. The only bad thing occurring during the shows was the number of rude people coming in and wanting to be seated in the middle of the rows often over 20 minutes into the 45 minute show. I had not seen that level of rudeness before, most of the time late comers will stand in the back or come to the later show. Most of the musicians in lounges were good, I especially liked the Tres Pilotos in the Atrium when they played the spanish guitars...very nice when up in the internet cafe. SPA: I joined the daily pass for the spa as advised earlier on the boards..Wonderful thallasotherapy pool, whirlpool, small lap pool , steam room, sauna..and places to relax as you watched the sea from the rear windows. A great place to relax. I did have a facial and massage and did not suffer any pressure for sales...however, I did not appreciate the 18.5% add on tip which made the treatments quite expensive. I have always tipped at least 10% and know that the ladies also make a certain amount of the outrageous price charged. I certainly hope they get all that tip!! Laundry services were reasonable and they also had a good laundry room on our floor...machines are free, soap is $1. Cruise Director Jimmy Kovel and staff were also friendly and fun, and the hotel director Hugo and the Chef's were very visible, they ate in all the restaurants at different times. So overall, I count it as a very worthwhile value...especially since the price was so much better than most of the other lines. I would recommend this trip to anyone wanting to see the Canada New England countryside. I would recommend this last week in Sept or the First week in October because that is when the weather is the best in that part of the country. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
EMBARKATION: Went smoothly. Fortunately we were at the terminal early enough to be seated in the chairs provided. Many who came just a little later than us had to stand. We arrived about 11 a.m. They began boarding about 12 noon. Our ... Read More
EMBARKATION: Went smoothly. Fortunately we were at the terminal early enough to be seated in the chairs provided. Many who came just a little later than us had to stand. We arrived about 11 a.m. They began boarding about 12 noon. Our staterooms were not ready until 2 pm so we went to the Garden for lunch. The Venetian was also open for lunch. STATEROOM: We had #11110 (mini-suite, mid). An excellent location on the starboard side. Love the minis. There is plenty of room for the things we brought on the ship with us and the goodies we bought along the way! SAIL-AWAY: We sailed out of New York harbor ... following the Spirit and then the Crown. It made for some great pix! Our starboard balcony allowed us a great view of Lady Liberty as we sailed passed. FELLOW PAX: This was by far the most interesting passenger demographic than any cruise we have taken to date. The Itinerary and the Date both played a role in this. The avg age was 65 ... there were only 7 children from 0-18 on board. I don't know for a fact, but it seemed at least 50% of our fellow pax were from Europe. We met some wonderful folks during the course of the cruise and learned a lot about their countries. If you are looking for a cruise to take your children on that would include a large ship's children's program, don't wait until this late in the season. We were in several ports where other ships were also calling and there were NO children from those ships either. ITINERARY/EXCURSIONS: Boston ~ the Port of Boston is really *missing the boat* here! There was NOTHING at the pier and the pier was a far walk from town. A shuttle service was available for $13/pp. We took the Historic Boston & Cambridge Tour. Information was good ... we saw all the obligatory sites including a walking tour of Harvard Yard. Would recommend. NOTE: while cruising into Boston we saw many spouts and splashes from whales. Bar Harbor (tendered) ~ A wonderful quaint village. I would definitely want to come back here for an extended visit. We took the Acadia and Lobster Bake Tour. The scenery was incredible; view from Cadillac Mtn amazing (you can get cell service from the top); the Lobster Bake was excellent! If you don't like lobster you can get a steak ... which looked very good. Would recommend. We stopped in town to stock up on Pepsi and water to take back to the ship. There's a grocery store a few blocks walking distance from the main street. This is a wonderful town for shopping and eating. Halifax ~ A wonderful surprise when we were docking ... a bag pipe band (4 pipers, 2 drummers) came out onto the docks and played several songs for us. This also included a Town Cryer who read an *official* document welcoming us to Halifax. Our starboard side balcony allowed us to view this easily. They played at least one encore as a ship full of pax applauded their talents. What a great welcome! Halifax is known as a friendly town ... and we can attest to that. They seemed to really want us there! We took the tour of the Coast and Peggy's Cove. While traveling thru Halifax we learned a lot about their town. It's about 1 hour to Peggy's Cove thru beautiful scenery. We spent an hour at Peggy's Cove and then took another way back to the ship for more scenery. Would recommend. NOTE: There is a shopping area right at the pier terminal ... but the prices seemed high. I would wait until Sydney to buy your Nova Scotia memorabilia. Quebec: the morning began with a thud! Because of a crowded port schedule (the Grand Princess and the QE2 were in port), the Dawn was sent down to a freighter terminal to dock. Our starboard balcony gave us a front row seat to 90 minutes of pure entertainment while docking (Act I was the ropes, and Act II was the gangways). The port fellows were definitely right out of the 3-Stooges. I'm sure the Captain and other staff were having fits, but we decided to make the most out of it and watch the developments right below our room. We were 90 minutes late getting off .. which put every Excursion behind schedule. (NOTE: it always amazes me when pax blame the cruise line for things like this. There is so much out of their control as they pull into ports.) We took the Old and New Quebec Tour. It was rainy which made getting off the bus a little difficult at times, but we enjoyed the tour and learned so much. Had a great French tour guide. Would recommend. What a GREAT city. We want to go back some day for an extended visit! Shopping in Old District was wonderful. We had lunch at a little place in a building which was built in 1727. Very kewl. NOTE: Because we docked so far from the *action*, NCL had lined up shuttle buses to take us back and forth at $5/pp r/t. AND, because of the mess the port put us thru which made us so late, NCL cancelled the charge and ran the shuttles at no cost to us (although they still had a contract they had to pay for the shuttles). THANKS, NCL ... that was a very classy thing to do!! La Baie (tendered) ~ WONDERFUL little French town!! We decided to not take a tour while in La Baie as we needed some *down time*. We regret that now. People came back raving about their tours into the countryside. The town is totally French speaking. There is a GREAT shopping tent right on the pier where English is spoken, but if you venture into town (just a few steps away), there is only French. We know this because Bill needed to find some Advil for me as I was pulled into action in the twist contest the night before in the Spinnaker! Ugghhhh ... He couldn't communicate *Advil* to the shop keepers, so I had to wait until the ship's shops opened that evening for some relief. It seems the little town is so excited to have a ship in they all come down to watch the action ... mothers with little ones in strollers, young children dancing around the pier area to the fiddle music being played ... so many friendly and interesting people. NOTE: There is THE BEST shopping tent right on the pier full of hand-crafted items! We stopped to speak with the shop keepers here (they do speak English) and they seemed very interested in sharing their lives. It is a wonderful port! Corner Brook, NewFoundLand ~ A small town of 20,000 people. As we got off the ship there was a gentleman on the pier with two huge, black Newfies! Several pax stopped to take pictures. I was one of them... and also got some wonderful puppy kisses from the baby (who must have weighed 200 pds!). You could definitely tell which pax were missing their fur-babies back home! This is an interesting stop. The town is very industrial and full of hard-working and friendly people. We took the City Tour and was pretty disappointed with it. The buses are very old (ours was smelly as well). The tour guide was proud of his town, but there just isn't much to see. Would NOT recommend unless you just want a little history of the area. If you want another *down day*, would recommend taking it here and NOT La Baie. We saw the most fall color at this port ... but colors were still a week away from being at peak. NOTE: The little shopping tent on the pier is worth a stop and a look. Sydney, Nova Scotia (tendered) ~ Love, love, love Sydney! Things are pretty busy on the pier, but it is worth walking thru the terminal building. TONS of good shopping to be done here ... all hand-crafted items. We took the Alexander Graham Bell Museum & Baddeck Tour. Gorgeous scenery going out to the tour area, but we had only an hour at the Museum, which wasn't nearly enough time! And because we were running a little late for some reason, we had all of 15 minutes in Baddeck. Unless things can be changed to give this tour more time, I would NOT recommend it. Back in Sydney things improved with the great shopping. We walked to St. George's Church (a recommended stop) and to the craft area behind the church for some wonderful hand-crafted shopping. The prices here are really too good to believe! The church ladies are very friendly and very proud of their things. They also serve a light refreshment of cookies, oat cakes and coffee free of charge to anyone who is interested. We didn't walk into the main town area (just another 2 blocks from the church), but heard raves from fellow pax about it! There were 2 other ships in port with us which made things crowded, but it still is a wonderful place. SHIP/STAFF & CREW: The Dawn is in great condition. I'm sure this is due to the great crew who work around the clock to keep it that way. We found the staff and crew to be The Best! With only a couple of exceptions we found them to be extremely friendly and seemed to be just waiting to help us with something. Those critics who think FreeStyle takes away from Great Service are just plain wrong in our view and experience. We've had nothing but great service. Each Staff & Crew member wear a little blue pin which reads, "NCL S.T.Y.L.E", and stands for "Service Teamwork and Yes Leads to Excellence" The staff and crew act on that premise and do so happily. KUDOOS: to Capt Trygve Vorren, Hotel Director Hugo Vanosmael, CD Jimmy Kovel (along with his GREAT staff ... especially AARON ALEXANDER!), Concierge Anka, Group Coordinator Mike for special help and for making this a exceptional experience! LET'S EAT!!: This is one of the things we love best about FreeStyle. For dinner we ate at LeBistro, Impressions, Teppanyaki, Salsas, Cagneys ... as well as Aqua and Venetian. All were excellent ... we feel the extra-charge restaurants are well worth it and take advantage of them as much as we can. We also had breakfast and lunch at the Garden Buffet and Blue Lagoon. All good! NOTE: 1) don't forget about the New York Deli which is in the back of the Garden on the Port side. Very good pizzas and sandwiches here. 2) the Garden Buffet has GREAT DESSERTS (starboard side) late at night. We found many crew and staff eating in here. NOTE: the chocolate fondue is no longer on the menu at Le Bistro, but we asked for it and received it ... along with a large plate of fresh fruit. YUMMMOOOOO! Just save some room for this wonderful finish to an extraordinary dinner. The maitre-d in Le Bistro, Ronnie, is very friendly and helpful. THE ISSUE OF COOKIES! Okay, NCL ... here's my only ding on food! Cookies were hard to find! Many of the pax were wandering around mid-afternoon looking for that little sweet convection to get them thru the afternoon. I was one of them! NOTE: I discovered you can order a nice plate of large cookies from ROOM SERVICE that will last a couple of days in your stateroom. WOOOO HOOOOOO! I passed that little bit of information on to several pax ... so I'm sure RS had their hands full the last few days! DISEMBARKATION: I was escorting a group of 27 people on this trip so had to line up our bus and tour guide for a brief NYC tour following our cruise. I walked off early, leaving Bill behind with the rest of the group. Mike, Group Coordinator on the Dawn, was exceptionally helpful. Our group all disembarked together (although we were spread all over the ship), got their luggage and were on the bus away from the port in an easy transition. I saw Mike on the pier who immediately apologized for the *confusion* Since I had gotten off early I had no idea what he was talking about. Seems there was a immigration check on the crew so disembarkation was delayed. I heard NO COMPLAINTS from any in our group so it was a non-issue ... but it was nice that Mike felt he had to apologize, but there was certainly no need. CRUISE CRITIC MEET & GREET: We met the first morning ... we docked in Boston shortly after lunch so we had plenty of time for our meeting. We met in the Star Bar at 10:30. Turns out this is not such a good time as many officers need to be in a meeting at this time. The 11 a.m. time works better for them .... BUT, Jimmy, Hugo, Mike and some others showed up to talk to us. It was VERY NICE! Unfortunately, we had a small CC group on this sailing. Not sure why. Norma (NJR) worked very hard to line this meeting up for us. THANKS, NORMA! DINE WITH AN OFFICER: One thing the officers mentioned at the M&G is that there was going to be a special *Dine With An Officer* dinner later in the cruise. We could sign up to get our names in a drawing for that event. Bill and I were selected to dine with Hugo. It was a very special evening. It looked like the entire center section of Venetian was reserved for this event. I looked around during dinner and saw all the pax and officers deep in conversation. This is a GREAT IDEA and I hope it continues!! Dinner lasted a full 2 hours and Bill and I felt it could have gone on longer ... but I guess someone has to drive the ship! I could go on and on ... we had a wonderful cruise and no one in our group had any complaints at all! All felt well taken care of and pampered. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
I took my mother on a six night Canada/New England cruise in September of this year. I went through an online travel agent, and had everything arranged from my flights to the transfers to the ship from the airport in New York. When I ... Read More
I took my mother on a six night Canada/New England cruise in September of this year. I went through an online travel agent, and had everything arranged from my flights to the transfers to the ship from the airport in New York. When I arrived at the airport, I had been told that there would be a Norwegian Cruise Line Representative there to meet me and take my mother and me to the ship. There was no one to be found. I called Norwegian Cruise Lines and they said that they do not offer transfers from the Newark, New Jersey airport, where we were. I called my online travel agent, and they said that Norwegian said they had a transfer out of that airport, and that they would see what they could do. In the mean time, after waiting at the airport for over an hour, I had to get a taxi. The taxi got us to the ship right as they were doing the safety drill. As the ship left the New York port, we went to deck seven, and watched as we went past the Statue of Liberty. It was a very beautiful beginning to a trip that had started out so bad. The first day of our cruise was at sea. We explored the ship, but we were disappointed to find that there was not much of the ship to explore. There was one gift shop, two jewelry/watch shops, and a liquor shop. We resorted to going to the "scrabble room" and playing cards out of boredom. The second day we docked at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and were greeted by bag pipers. It was such and exciting experience. For our excursion we went to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. There was not much to do in Mahone Bay, but Lunenburg was just breathtaking. It had such vibrant colors, and interesting historical sites. It was a real joy to see. When we got back to the ship, we prepared for dinner. Every evening of the cruise we either ate at Windows or the Garden dining rooms. It really depended on which one we found first. Let me explain. In order to get to the Windows dining room from the rear of the ship, you had to go up to floor seven, then walk to the middle of the ship, then go down the stairs to floor six, and walk to the rear of the ship. If you try to get to Windows from the staircase at the rear of the ship, you run into a wall. I think over half the guests on the ship were lost eighty percent of the time just trying to find the dining rooms. The third day we arrived at St. Johns. We had to disembark the ship from a different deck than the one the previous day. This made the morning interesting, being that they had left the signs up from the day before, so many people were going down to the wrong deck. There were ship attendants standing around to assist, but they did not do so. A small wandering group of us asked a gentleman that worked on the ship where we were supposed to go, and he said in a sarcastic manner "Well, all I can say is that you are getting warmer." So our little group wandered some more until we found the deck we needed, which was of course the one the guy we asked previously was on. After we made it off of the ship, St. John and St. Martin was wonderful. At the end of the day, we boarded the ship, and began our wandering for dinner. The fourth day we went to Boston. It was a sight to see. There were a lot of great historical sites to enjoy, and then we took a cruise tour of the harbor. We had left our do not disturb sign in the key slot earlier that morning, because my mom had lost something that she was worried housekeeping might throw away accidentally. When we boarded the ship after touring Boston, we went to our room. Housekeeping was there, and pointed to our do not disturb sign and said "What is going on with that?" I explained that my mom had lost something that we did not want thrown away. I was quite insulted that we got drilled about why we put up our do not disturb sign. The fifth day we went to Martha's Vineyard. It was the best stop in the trip. The homes were so quaint, and the area was so pretty. When we got back on the ship, we decided to look at our photos that we had taken at the ports. We did not see one day of photos, so we asked the photo area attendant. He rudely told us that the photos were not put out for that day, and walked away. So overall, the ports were great to visit; it was just the ship, and people that we had to be with that were not enjoyable. Oh, and by the way, I still have not gotten a refund from Norwegian for the transfer that was not there to pick me up at the airport in Newark. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
Our embarkation in New York was fast and pleasant. When we arrived in our cabin we were a little disappointed in the decor and the general appearance. The room was clean and in good order but the bed spreads had seen better days. The TV ... Read More
Our embarkation in New York was fast and pleasant. When we arrived in our cabin we were a little disappointed in the decor and the general appearance. The room was clean and in good order but the bed spreads had seen better days. The TV was so small it was difficult to see it from the bed. The remote control didn;'t work well. You had to be standing in front of the tv for the remote to work.There was no refridge in the room which made it difficult to keep ice for longer then an hour or so. As one guest remarked to me, they make the room uninviting so you spend more time in the bars/casino spending money. I have cruised 7 other times and I have found this cabin to be the least appealing. The cabin stewart was very nice and he did what was asked and then some, but the cabin is what it is ! The food was a mixed bag. On the first night of the cruise dinner in the Windows dining room was impossible. We waited over an hour for our dinner. We did not see our server from the time he took our order until we were served our food an hour later. He then showed up to see if everything was ok. When our dinner arrived it was very good. The rest of the week we ate dinner in the Garden Room restaurant and found the service to be much better, Again the dinners were very good. Desserts were not tasty except for the Sheet cake served at the lunch buffet I would say dessert were a big disappointment. Well at least I saved a few pounds. The chocolate buffet was really bad. The buffet was beautiful to look at but tasteless. They could have saved the money they spent on that buffet and put it towards some really great desserts each night with dinner. I am not a big drinker so I can't remark on the bar service. I can however tell you the the soda cards are too expensive. You have to drink a lot of soda to justify 53.00 for a soda card for a six night cruise.( Next time a will just sneak in a few cans of soda in my suite case) (only kidding) I usually enjoy the casino for an hour or so a night but I was disappointed because I like to play the roulette wheel but the box that shows what numbers and colors that have hit recently was not working. I played the first night and lost interest quickly. Because we have cruised before, we were not in a hurry to sign up for shore excursions. We thought that the excursions were expensive but not out of line for what one expects to pay on any cruise line. We pretty much did our own thing and saw what we thought was important to us. Because we were in very safe ports we used public transportation and managed very well. One thing I would like to add is that the Kennedy Library is not offered as an excursion when in Boston. I highly recommend this to anyone who may have an interest. It was a 10.00 cab ride to the University of Mass. and a 10.00 admission. One thing to remember when in Boston is the traffic. Make sure you allow at least 1.5 hrs to travel back to the ship b/c Boston traffic is really slow moving. Our overall expectations of the ship were a little disappointing but the cruise was fun and the price was reasonable. The ports of call were nice and the people in Canada were GREAT.They were very gracious and I would go back to Halifax and St.Johns again. Boston is always the same. Nice town to visit but I wouldn"t want to live there. Marthas Vineyard wa also very nice but I have no desire to rush back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
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