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Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise when invited by friends of ours who sailed with NCL on many cruises. It was the first time I had ever been on a cruise ship this large. I was wondering what it would be like to sail with 4000 other people but ... Read More
We chose this cruise when invited by friends of ours who sailed with NCL on many cruises. It was the first time I had ever been on a cruise ship this large. I was wondering what it would be like to sail with 4000 other people but thankfully there wasn't too much traffic. Here's how our cruise went: Embarkation: Very smooth as we were told to check-in in Terminal 2, which was pretty much empty when we arrived. After getting our cards, we followed the other guests and got on the ship rather quickly. As our rooms were not ready, it allowed us to explore the many decks of the ship. Pool area (Deck 15): Yes, it can get crowded when we are 4000 people together so if you want some sun, be sure to go out early and grab your deck chairs. There is also a stage for music as well as wacky participation events such as Mr. Sexy Legs and Ms. Biceps The pool area also has a walled smoking room but anyone nearby can smell smoke so if you are sensitive, do not plan to lounge in that area. There are also ping pong tables around if you want to be a bit more active. Again, it can be a challenge to find a time when a table is free. Garden Cafe (Deck 15): Connected to the pool area is the Garden Cafe buffet. It served OK food and there are many choices at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Dinner had a different theme night (e.g. Russian, Italian, Scandinavian) every night to have some variety. The Fitness Center & Spa (Deck 15): Connected to the other end of the pool area is the spa and fitness center. The spa offers a full range of services, including acupuncture. The fitness centre offers machines, weights, and classes. Physical Activity Choices: The ship is impressive that it offers mini-golf (nine hole), ropes course, trampoline, spider slide, rock climbing, a jogging track, and a basketball court. The Tropicana Room: This is the main dining room, with a dance floor in the middle for people to dance while dining with live music usually playing at dinner. The Tradewinds shops: For such a large ship, I was a bit disappointed by the lack of shopping choices. On a positive note, with so little to buy, I saved money in this aspect! The shops had special sales events and even a Russian Bazaar night as the days progressed. Photography: I appreciated the non-pushy attitude by the photographers as well as the sales staff for the printed photos. It was entirely up to you if you wanted to pose for photos and to buy the prints afterwards. A sample 8 X 10 print will cost you $24.95 USD. Casino: The casino has table games, slots, as well as blackjack tournaments, and slots tournaments. Betting is in US dollars and no gaming is permitted while at any port. O'Sheehan's Restaurant: This is a nice hidden restaurant that runs 24/7 and is rarely ever crowded during the whole cruise. If you are hungry and just want food, and don't really care what they serve, come here to beat the crowds elsewhere. The restaurant is like a pub so there are also games like pool, darts, and even bowling to pass the time. The Atrium (deck 6): This is the center of the ship. Here, you will find Guest Services, Starbucks, the Internet stations, games room, library, and meeting rooms, as well as the two-storey big screen, stage area and chairs. The cruise director's staff have all sort of games (e.g. trivia, deal or no deal, bingo) pretty much every hour for entertainment. It is rarely crowded during the day but a huge draw at night. Headliners: This is a room designed like a comedy club, with an intimate stage but any act can perform in here Syd Norman's Pour House: This is another small venue but does feature almost nightly karaoke (note that their song list is very limited) as well as regular performances by Switch (a tribute band of songs from the 1980s mostly) SugarCane Mojito Bar and Ice Bar: These are specialty bars located on deck 8, one floor above the casino. Sugarcane also features live music at night. Seating is limited so get there early. Getaway Theatre: This is the main theatre where performance of "Million Dollar Quartet" and "Burn the Floor" are performed. Deck 8 walkaround: Deck 8 allows people to walk outside pretty much around the whole length of the ship. There are plenty of chairs around to take in the scenery as the ship sails. Magaritaville This is a restaurant that will charge $15 USD per person for a limited Magaritaville-type menu (just best-selling items). The portions are large and well cooked so $15 was a steal compared to how much a visit to a traditional Magaritaville would cost. Cruise Director and his staff: For such a large ship, Francesco and his assistant Lester worked very hard to be visible here, there, and everywhere throughout the cruise. Special mention also to all his staff who had to be able to entertain people sitting in the atrium with the latest activity of the hour. The activities also come with a participation card, the more activities you participate in, the better NCL merchandise you can claim at the end of the cruise (such as T-shirt, key chain, koozie, etc.) Excursions: They were pricey but the tour operators used were well-organized, professional, and knowledgeable. Entertainment: a. Funky Duo: This is a husband-and-wife team from Romania. They can sing pretty much anything. Andreea's (yes, it is spelled this way) singing voice is something that you just need to hear. b. Karl Loxley: Karl was a finalist on the Voice UK. His performance was breathtaking at times. c. RAEGAR: Another husband-and-wife: he's from the UK while she's from Texas. They both have amazing voices. Disembarkation: It can be a long wait depending on where you are going after leaving the ship (e.g. on your own, to the airport, to the city, etc.). You do have the option of disembarking with your luggage if you want but be warned the wait for the elevators on disembarkation day can be long (some elevators are put out of service). Surprises: 1. There seems to be a service charge on almost everything. Purchase additional items/services carefully. 2. Even if you are a couple in your cabin, you each have your own account. I could not understand why we kept getting messages about a credit amount when the total of my wife's and my account did not show that. It turned out the accounts cannot be combined so I wound up owing them money while my wife got a refund for her credit amount. 3. The Do Not Disturb cabin light will mean just that. I had forgotten to turn it off before leaving for an excursion and we came back to a room that had not been cleaned and made-up. We had to ask after-hours service (as it was after 9 PM) to get the room made, which they did to our delight. 4. Ship internet is very expensive, such as $125 USD for 250 minutes. However, you can still connect to the wi-fi and use the NCL app free of charge to be able to have the day's schedule on your phone. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I booked the Haven for our anniversary. This was my first cruise, though my wife has had many. We have both travelled extensively. The ship is large, well appointed, but easy to navigate. There are signs all over the ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Haven for our anniversary. This was my first cruise, though my wife has had many. We have both travelled extensively. The ship is large, well appointed, but easy to navigate. There are signs all over the ship that makes finding things easy. One quibble, is that posted services and shops are not always open at the appointed times meaning it would take several trips, for example, to get into the duty-free free shop. Services on the ship are generally both easy to locate and access. The exception to this was the spa. The actual services, massage, etc, were good, if pricey. However, the spa uses the pretense of assessment and consultation to provide a pseudo-scientific basis for what can only be described as, "You really should buy our most expensive products and services." My wife, for example, has a highly developed care routine. After receiving a facial, her 'consultation' wound up being a pitch for $1000 in product. This was made even worse when every visit to the spa resulted in a billing issue, as promotional discounts were either not applied or additional charges were added when polite but firm 'no' resulted in a charge anyway. By the end of the end of the cruise, it was pretty clear that passengers were studiously avoiding the spa and its high pressure tactics. There were, individually, many wonderful people inside the spa who appeared miserable under the pressure to sell. Our experience with the spa is the only thing that prevents us from giving the cruise 5-stars. The cabin was large, spacious, and relaxing. The balcony provided gorgeous views visited ports, and was a quiet, enjoyable space to spend time with one another. Having the cabin made up twice day was an unexpected, if not for my wife, treat that I greatly appreciated as throughout the cruise. Laundry service was easy to use, and made the sweaty hiking through the ports even more enjoyable as dirty garments could be quickly laundered rather than tossed in a suitcase for two weeks. Dining was another highlight, with running the entire spectrum of both quality and quantity. The buffet, as one might expect, was always hot and easy to access, if not always the highest quality. The free, 24-hour access to ice cream was a high point. The quality of food continued up the scale of restaurants. O-Sheehans offered tasty, but small bits for quick eating while the main dining rooms upped the quality to the high end. The speciality restaurants were generally on-par with the main dining rooms, with the exception of the Bistro. the Bistro's food is some of the best food I have ever had anywhere in the world, and my wife and I were happy to make multiple visits. By the end of the cruise, it was all but impossible to even make a reservation. My only quibble with the food is that some of the smaller restaurants take reservations ... even for very large parties. When a restaurant only has 30 or so seats and 25 have been reserved it was frustrating for both staff and customers. The Entertainment on the ship is quite good. Generally speaking, you cannot go wrong with any of the shows. The exception, again in a good way, was Burn the Floor. The dancers and routines are nothing short of exceptional. One of the final perks of the Haven is a dedicated staff for Haven guests. This made everything on and off the ship incredibly easy. All questions were handled quickly and easily by knowledge friendly staff. A dedicated restaurant for Haven guests was perfect for post excursion relaxation in a quiet, conversational atmosphere. The food was, also, generally, a cut above the rest with only Bistro having a chance to produce better food. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This is my fourth trip with NCL, and I think it's been my favorite. I liked the boat and the ports were fabulous to visit! As for the ship, I thought the embarkation process went very smoothly. We came into Copenhagen the day ... Read More
This is my fourth trip with NCL, and I think it's been my favorite. I liked the boat and the ports were fabulous to visit! As for the ship, I thought the embarkation process went very smoothly. We came into Copenhagen the day before and did some sightseeing in the morning before embarkation. We left for the boat from our hotel around 1:00 pm, so I think I may have boarded on the later side. The lines were short, and it was easy to get on. My daughter and I booked a mini-suite on level 13. The beds were comfy; the shower was nice; and our room steward was very helpful. I have only 2 minor complaints with the room. First, I remember on other cruises, we had a curtain divider that I could pull across to separate the sitting area from the bed. This would have been nice as my daughter likes to sleep in a bit longer than me. : ) Second, at times, the room could be noisy. I would hear alot of toilet flushing from other rooms, and my neighbors talked very loudly at times. Regardless, I would book the room again. I thought the food was decent on the Getaway. I stayed away from the Garden Buffet as much as I could as I don't like crowds there. We ate breakfast at Moderno, which is still a buffet but less hectic. I had the dining speciality package and had dinner at Ocean Blue, Le Bistro, La Cucina, and Moderno. I wasn't crazy about Moderno as It's not my type of restaurant. However, I thought the other restaurants were excellent. As a matter of fact, I thought it was the best Le Bistro I've eaten ate when compared to the other ships. I mentioned this to our waiter, and he brought out the head chef for me to tell him this. I thought it was cool that I was able to tell him this and the chef was very appreciative. The main dining was good too. However, I did find out on the first night, that "rare" means rare. I think Americans tend to like meat cooked a little more done than those from other countries. I just ordered medium rare going forward and I was fine. I enjoyed the entertainment on the boat, but the venues do get crowded. I wish the atrium, syd's pour house, and headliners could be bigger to hold more attendees as it's a "big" boat. For Ports, we did the following: Copenhagen - stayed at a hotel near the palace and Nyhaven. We visited the Rosenburg castle and the Round Tower on our own and walked around the city. Wundermunde - booked the Schwerin Fairy Castle tour. This was enjoyable, and I was glad we did this instead of Berlin. It was 90 degrees Fahrenheit that day, and it was hot!!! I felt bad for those who had to take an un-air conditioned train to Berlin. We visited the castle and a local church in the village. Both were interesting to visit. We also got to visit a farmer's market with this tour, and we enjoyed the brats that were being cooked at the market. Tallin - Tallin was a neat town with lots of neat architecture. We didn't book a NCL tour, and instead walked into town and attended a free walking tour of the city. I liked the shopping here, and I would recommend eating at the Russian restaurant (can't remember the name) in the main square if you have a chance. The food was pretty authentic, and I thought the infused vodkas were better here than in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg- my daughter and I booked a lot of NCL's tours in SPB. I really wanted to do the evening at the Hermitage tour and had to piece the rest of the tours together. First, we went on the Panoramic View of St. Petersburg tour. We did this so that we could shop and walk up and down Nevsky Prospekt. My daughter is learning Russian in college, and it was neat to see her speak with the retailers at various stores. In the afternoon, we attended Life in the eyes of the Russian People. The metro ride was neat, and we enjoyed the visit to the farmer's market. Both tours visited different parts of the city, so we got to see a lot of SPB. At night, we did the evening at the Hermitage tour. In my opinion, this is the only way to see this museum. Our group of 30 were the only ones in the room. Needless to say, we were exhausted Saturday night, but it was worth it! On Sunday, we did a tour that visited Peterhof and Sts Peter and Paul Fortress. I would recommend booking a tour that visits Peterhof on the 2nd day if you can. Our guide mentioned, we got to spend more time in the gardens as the disembarkation process is a lot quicker on the 2nd day. Helsinki - We visited this city on our own. Easy city to take their public transportation. We downloaded their transportation app (HSL) and bought a day pass for 8 Euros. We enjoyed reindeer and moose burgers at a restaurant called Stone's. Stockholm - Took the NCL tour bus into the city. In the morning, we visited the city hall and it's tower. We then saw the Vasa museum, had lunch at a cafe on Djurgarden. After lunch we visited the Prince Eugene museum. We ended the day walking around Gamla Stan. To get around the city, we took an Uber to get from city hall to Djurgarden, and then used public transportation around Djurgarden, and a ferry to Gamla Stan. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We loved our Baltic Cruise on the NCL Getaway. We had high expectations and were not disappointed. We booked this over a year ago and looked into many cruise lines and itineraries before choosing NCL (mostly for the itinerary). Ship: ... Read More
We loved our Baltic Cruise on the NCL Getaway. We had high expectations and were not disappointed. We booked this over a year ago and looked into many cruise lines and itineraries before choosing NCL (mostly for the itinerary). Ship: The ship was big. This was our first "big" ship cruise. It was always too crowded in the public areas and buffet. The number of passengers, as well as some very rude passengers (there are always some aren't there), was the only con. However, everything was accessible and very clean. Cabin: We had a mid-ship inside cabin (category IA). We prefer inside cabins so that we can use the money we save on other things. The cabin was normal size, the closet was a little small and there wasn't much shelf space (no drawers). The bathroom was a generous size for a cruise ship especially the surprisingly large shower (which had a door, not a curtain). Dining: We dined in all complimentary venues for dinner. We made reservations in advance and were always seated when we arrived - no waiting - and the food was excellent every time - lots of choices too. We never had an issue getting into a dining room for lunch either. We ate at Cagney's (great food) and LaCucina (not my favorite). We ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at O'Sheehan's and every time it was excellent (service here for breakfast was the best we experienced). We could not, no matter how much we tried or how many times we stopped by, get into Shanghai Noodle House so we were very disappointed about that. Entertainment/Activities: No complaints about the entertainment, especially Syd Norman's Rock the House band. Matt, Roxey and Anna (and the band too) were beyond excellent and we found ourselves at this venue on multiple nights-great music and great voices too - especially Roxey. Activity staff were amazing and there was always something to do - at certain times there were so many things to do that they conflicted with each other. We were never bored. We participated in the ropes course (lots of fun), climbing wall, SpiceH2O (adults only section with hot tubs), many of the trivia games, mini golf, and so on. This was a port heavy cruise and you only had limited time on board. Service: No complaints about service at all. Our cabin steward was great, always leaving a clean wine glass in the room (without asking), bartenders, waitstaff, guest services, etc. were always on point. Ports: All of the ports were wonderful. We booked with SPB tours in Berlin and St. Petersburg and toured the other ports independently. We were disappointed that we weren't closer to city center in Helsinki but were able to get a shuttle bus ($10/per person). Tallin was an interesting city but the fact that there were many ships in port made it overcrowded. While we weren't in the city center in Stockholm, there's a train about 15-20 mins from the port and it was easy to locate and buy tickets at the port (much appreciated) which you could use for other modes of transport in the city (tram, ferry, bus - we used them all). Embarkation: Wow! After spending 2+ hours in line on a recent Cunard cruise just to get on the ship we couldn't believe how smoothly the Getaway embarkation process was, especially since the Getaway was twice the size. We were through the embarkation process within 10 minutes from the time we arrived at the terminal. Disembarkation: Since our flight was later in the day we chose the latest independent disembarkation time. We left the ship, our bags were waiting and we stood in a taxi line for about 10 mins. No issues at all. While the ship was big and there were A LOT of people, everything went as smoothly as possible. We were apprehensive about dining because of reviews that said if you had reservations you still had to wait but this was not our experience (maybe we didn't dine at popular times?). I highly suggest making dining reservations, even in the complimentary dining venues and especially at the specialty restaurants. Read your Freestyle Daily thoroughly. We didn't buy the beverage package because it's not worth it for us. In the end, we spent about $300 total on drinks which was definitely much less than the package. While we understand that everyone's experience is different, and everyone is looking for something different, we cannot understand the negative reviews for this ship or itinerary. It was fantastic, and getting off and on the ship at each port was a breeze. Everyone was friendly, accommodating and pleasant. The cruise staff were fun, exciting and made sure you had a great time. The CruiseCritic meet and greet (our first) was really nice. Many ship officers attended (even the captain) and that was very much appreciated. This is our 3rd NCL cruise and will not be our last. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Customer service prior to leaving is attrocious. Promised phone calls from customer service never returned, not once but 3 times. Once they have your money the pre cruise staff don't really care. However once on board cruise ... Read More
Customer service prior to leaving is attrocious. Promised phone calls from customer service never returned, not once but 3 times. Once they have your money the pre cruise staff don't really care. However once on board cruise services did everything they could to sort out our issues and did this successfully. On a positive note the entertainment was great, the cabin stewards were excellent, the cabins comfortable and spotlessly clean. The food was hit and miss. The Shanghai was probably the worst Chinese we have ever eaten. O'Sheehans was pretty good although Ceasar salad should have chicken and cheese in it as far as I can remember. Lettuce leaves with croutons isn't quite the same thing. The worst food was in the Tropicana on our last day. The fish I ordered smelt off, it was so salty as to make it inedible, the potatoes with it were practically raw. If you are trying to avoid food poisoning this isn't the right way to go. We also had undercooked chicken once when they had a Greek buffet. Indian lunch buffet was superb. Generally the food was disappointing, the only good thing to come out if it was that we didn't put on lots of weight like we had on other cruises. Kids club was well run with great staff, special mention to 'Sparkles', outstanding member of the team. Excursion prices are a rip off even comparing them to other cruise companies. You can be creative and get around this by going on your own or through other agencies like Cruise Excursions or Viator. (St Petersburg excursion prices were astronomical on board) In summary this cruise is like Butlins at sea. It's fun if you have kids and you can get away for some peace if you need it. Would I go on NCL again? Probably not unless their food improves substantially and they sort out their customer services prior to sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This cruise had good itinerary and dates were convenient for us. Embarkation was fast because we're platinum members. We also booked a transfer to the airport so disembarkation was good too. However in my opinion NCL still has a lot ... Read More
This cruise had good itinerary and dates were convenient for us. Embarkation was fast because we're platinum members. We also booked a transfer to the airport so disembarkation was good too. However in my opinion NCL still has a lot to learn how operate ships of this size - 4000 people. Coming back from the shore was always a challenge, in Gdansk it was a disaster with hundreds passengers coming back to the ship and only one gangway open. The room cleaning service was good. Entertainment was ok, nothing special. We didn't travel with children so we didn't use any child care. We booked shore excursions to Schwerin castle and to Gdansk. Both tours were good. In Saint Petersburg the Norwegian was trying to scare people to buy their tours and this was unseemly. For the complementary dining we were hugely disappointed with Garden Buffett. The selection was extremely limited. The food was tasteless and cold (except for soups and drinks). Tables weren't cleaned on the timely fashion. Dirty dishes kept piling up and sometimes it took up to 20 minutes for the staff to take them away. We took 15 cruises but this was the worst buffet service by far. Main dining rooms were ok, not that there were many choices for the complementary dining. Our package included four a la card restaurant. They were ok. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We were a group of 10 people (8 adults and 2 children) celebrating my parent's 50 Anniversary and thought the cruise would be the perfect holiday for everyone to bond and spend quality time. We live in Dubai hence we approached ... Read More
We were a group of 10 people (8 adults and 2 children) celebrating my parent's 50 Anniversary and thought the cruise would be the perfect holiday for everyone to bond and spend quality time. We live in Dubai hence we approached Imagine Cruising (The authorised agent for the UAE) for our bookings. We finalized 3 Balcony rooms next to each other and were pretty excited about the arrangements. We paid approx USD 6300 for a family of four for the 9 day full board cruise. On embarking we realised that there were people who had booked directly from NCL who got great deals on beverages, alcohol, speciality restaurants which we were never made aware of by imagine cruising. One of the things that really irritated us was the fact that on arrival the cabin had two bottles of water - One still and one sparkling. Being travelers and been to our share of hotels, usually bottles kept out meant complimentary, however we were told later that sparkling bottle costed USD 6 odd and since the bottle was big and didn't fit in the mini bar it was kept out. When we argued with the guest services that there was no mention of the charges, their reply was "well, it doesn't say that it is free either" WOW!! That's when the distrust started with the cruiseliner...Imagine straight off in the first 15 mins of people embarking the cruiseliner makes approx USD 9 per cabin for the water consumed by unassuming people. Around the fifth day we became aware of a charge called gratuity fee which is USD 15 per person per day. For a family of 4 it came to USD 540 which was never communicated by Imagine cruising to us. We started freaking out coz we had budgets for our trip and this was serious curveball. We are happy to pay gratuity if we are told about these expenses and we raised it with the guest services. It took them 2 days to reverse the fees and we were stressed for 2 days as 3 families were going to get hit with approx USD 1300. We were charged for mini bar consumption which we debated and was reversed. People go on holidays to forget stress but we had it in abundance on this cruise. Everyday we didn't know if we would get a seat at any of the complimentary restaurants, wait time was 40 mins. Garden Cafe Buffet is where we ate our Breakfast/lunch and dinner for about 5 days. O'sheehan's would have a special for the day which would be served till 9pm only and then regular food would be served again with no change in the menu. We didn't understand the concept of having 3 complimentary restaurants with the same menu for 9 days! You basically are finding ways to push people to go for the speciality restaurants out of sheer boredom! A lot of the arcade games across the ship were money making machines, people playing were getting frustrated losing their money. Being travelers we understand that you are docking at lesser known countries like Poland, Estonia to increase their tourism and generating revenue but Poland as a port can be missed entirely as the scenic tour wasn't great. Estonia was a pleasant surprise and St Petersburg was bustling. For some reason when docking at St. Petersburg all gambling activities on the ship ceased leaving us very little to do in the evening time. Good things on the cruise was the food across the restaurants we ate in. The service was good and staff was friendly and helpful. Very good layout of the ship allowed people of different age groups to do their own thing. All in all we could have had a much better and relaxed experience had all the money related problems not been there. I don't think we will sail with NCL again as I don't trust them to be transparent in their dealings, charges and overall approach to customer service. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Although we had cruised with NCL in the Baltics before, we were excited to try out the new Getaway, and were also looking forward to experiencing the new kosher dining which is being touted (at least in Israel) on its splash page. Please ... Read More
Although we had cruised with NCL in the Baltics before, we were excited to try out the new Getaway, and were also looking forward to experiencing the new kosher dining which is being touted (at least in Israel) on its splash page. Please note that we had taken a kosher cruise the previous time, meaning that we had our own dining room with a kosher chef. We have also cruised previously without a kosher program, and were aware of the challenges of having warmed-up frozen items. We typically take precautions, bringing our own pots and some essentials (cheese, meat, challah) just in case there are issues. We had a beautiful suite in the Haven, and ate all of our meals in the Haven dining room We were severely disappointed to discover that when we boarded, the luggage carrying the food-related items was confiscated, and they threw away all of the food and the pots. Note that while they were supposed to return them to us at the end of the cruise, one of them was actually lost, and we had to be reimbursed. The real challenge was that the kosher options that were initially offered to us on our first day quickly began to run out. By the end of the cruise, there were no burgers left (tough when you have two young children who live off them), chicken fingers had run out, and worst of all, the challah that is promised in the FAQ page in NCL ran out on the first day, so we had no challah for Shabbat, ours having been thrown away. The catering staff kept promising that new food would be loaded on in subsequent ports, but having been in this situation before, I explained to them that they were incorrect, as in my experience (see below) there is no kosher food loaded once the boat has come from N. America. We also had several dishes served to us that proved to be moldy or had clearly gone "off". While I love NCL (this was our 6th cruise with them), the handling of the kosher food was simply deplorable. I would caution anyone kosher cruising with them outside of N. America to ensure that you aren't the last cruise of the season, or you are likely to be very disappointed or very hungry. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
We were looking for a cruise on specific dates because we were already in Europe. The Baltic Sea cruise on NCL was a first for us as we normally sail on Windstar. However, the “Haven” seemed to help us bridge that small boat feel ... Read More
We were looking for a cruise on specific dates because we were already in Europe. The Baltic Sea cruise on NCL was a first for us as we normally sail on Windstar. However, the “Haven” seemed to help us bridge that small boat feel with big boat entertainment. The Haven would likely be the only way we would sail NCL again. Private restaurant, bar, concierge, priority seating at shows and priority boarding and disembarkation - all wonderful perks with good food and excellent bartenders. The entertainment exceeded our expectations, especially the “Howl at the Moon - dueling pianos”. The Cirque show was good and the Wine Tasting play was fun. The Folkloric program after visiting Russia was OK - just not our favorite. The Barricade Boys were terrific. The best specialty restaurant was “Le Bistro” by far. The Mojito tasting and Margarita tastings were really fun and very reasonably priced. Loved the spa - very large and with a sweeping view on 3 sides. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This was our 10th cruise on NCL and we loved that itinerary. Embarkation went smoothly and our room was ready by the time we checked in. I did find it wierd that there wasn't a picture stop prior to getting on the ship. The ship ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise on NCL and we loved that itinerary. Embarkation went smoothly and our room was ready by the time we checked in. I did find it wierd that there wasn't a picture stop prior to getting on the ship. The ship is definitely huge. We had an inside cabin but the layout felt roomy so it didn't feel too small. I liked the lighting in the room this time because it felt bright. I was disappointed that there were no usb outlets by the bed. We've been on other renovated ships like the Pearl that has it. I was also disappointed with the limited variety of TV channels that was offered. It was very limited and it catered to a liberal audience. So be prepared to watch reruns of the same show and movies and CNN and MSNBC. There was no FOX news. Was also disappointed that the gym was always packed and because of that I think it smelled bad. So we always just did the Jog Track instead. We only watched one show which was the Million Dollar Quartet and it was a great show. We did buy the Cirque Show for the first time and it was totally worth it. The dinner included with the show was a surf and turf and the show was variety circus show. We really enjoyed it. We loved the specialty dining, Lebistro and Ocean Blue were our favorites. Service in general was just ok. I did not like that on the first day, hosts from the main dinings were asking if we made reservations. We were only a party of 2 and we have never had to make reservations for regular dining. So plan on making reservations on your first day as soon as you get there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Friends told us a Baltic cruise would be good for us. It was. We really enjoyed this cruise. We were told that our cabin was ocean view or better. We were told that meant if there were better cabins available we would be upgraded. There ... Read More
Friends told us a Baltic cruise would be good for us. It was. We really enjoyed this cruise. We were told that our cabin was ocean view or better. We were told that meant if there were better cabins available we would be upgraded. There was better available, but no upgrade. We were on a low deck that was extremely noisy. Not a very romantic send off for our first ever cruise and our honeymoon. The service in many areas left a lot to be desired, however we encountered some staff that was over and above any expectations and really blew us away. Food in main dining areas was bland and very small portions. We had the drink package and the fine dining package. The restaurants in the fine dining were simply amazing. We loved NCL’s freestyle cruising and would love to cruise NCL again but to know that balcony cabins went unused and activities staff seemed unprepared or even uninterested in some of the games and such makes you wonder if NCL even cares that you are there. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Our travel agent chose the company and we chose to cruise in order to visit countries we had not visited before. Also we are senior citizens and wanted a quiet cruise, and a freestyle cruise. At ther airport, representatives of NCL met us ... Read More
Our travel agent chose the company and we chose to cruise in order to visit countries we had not visited before. Also we are senior citizens and wanted a quiet cruise, and a freestyle cruise. At ther airport, representatives of NCL met us and transfer to the ship and embarkation went smoothly. The cabin was super and the cabin attendant, Mr. Farid, did an excellent job throughout the cruise. The food was excellent, in the buffet and in the other restaurants. It was even better than what we expected. Crew members as well as support personal were helpful and always smiling. We did not watch any show, so I do not have any comment about entertainment. We did not play at the casinos and did not participate in outdoors activities either. We did 2 excursions in Saint Petersburg, guides were competent and funny. On the negative side, your beverage plan ought to be more flexible. My wife does not drink alcohol and I would have had to buy two packages. You will agree that 200$ per day is a lot of booze for a single individual, I do not drink that much. We appreciated the daily leaflet, it answered many questions. It was nice to have a French-speaking representative, Mrs Dionne, on board. We will definitely go again on a crise with NCL but we cannot make any commitment right now. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Russia. The ship was amazing. So much entertainment in so many parts of the ship. Definitely the best entertainment that we have had in all our cruises. The cruise staff weren’t great but ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had never been to Russia. The ship was amazing. So much entertainment in so many parts of the ship. Definitely the best entertainment that we have had in all our cruises. The cruise staff weren’t great but their cruise director, Francisco was outstanding. The food on board was excellent, better than we expected. The ports that we visited were worth seeing. Although the ship is geared to families with children with all the Amenities that they have for them it didn’t impede on the wonderful nine days that we had on the Getaway. We went to the Cirque night. Well worth it. The dualling piano show was very good as were all the shows. We really liked Sids Bar and it’s outside bar. Never seen bars and restaurants on the port and starboard sides of a ship before. Fantastic idea. Well done Norwegian Getaway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Never thought we would do another Baltic cruise but as my wife is Polish there was never a question. We took full advantage of our Platinum benefits getting five on this particular cruise. Having flights, transfers and excursions booked ... Read More
Never thought we would do another Baltic cruise but as my wife is Polish there was never a question. We took full advantage of our Platinum benefits getting five on this particular cruise. Having flights, transfers and excursions booked through NCL made most everything go nice and easy. A few bumps however did occur. First we landed on the day of the Gay Pride Parade which was no fault of the cruise line, unfortunately the normally 25 minute ride from the airport took two and a half hours. As mentioned in another review getting back on board in Gdansk took quite some time, as I recall both gangways were open but all of the cruise excursion buses seem to all get back at the same time. Another problem seemed to be with the passengers themselves. As with our previous cruise four years ago I can honestly say that we have never seen so many rude people or experienced a total lack of manners from fellow travelers. I even observed one lady verbally abuse one of the crew members for attempting to spray hand sanitizer, which is done at every entrance to all dining areas, as she felt she was being accused of being dirty. This complete lack of manners is totally unacceptable and was reported to the Director of Food and Beverage. Excursion to Berlin was great and we had one of the best guides ever. Russia was as impressive as always and we did a repeat visit to the Hermitage. Room steward was most polite and attentive, cabin always nice and clean. Didn't go to any shows however we really enjoyed all of our meals especially at Cagney's Steak House. Hardest part of the entire trip was going through Customs at JFK which took over two hours of being in line after line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
NCL was excellent and I would use them again. Even though 4600 passengers, experienced staff moves folks around w efficiency and great organization. Shore excursion tickets are clearly marked with time and place to meet each morning. ... Read More
NCL was excellent and I would use them again. Even though 4600 passengers, experienced staff moves folks around w efficiency and great organization. Shore excursion tickets are clearly marked with time and place to meet each morning. Embark and disembark ran very smoothly. Busses are ready, clean, clearly marked, excellent drivers. Shore excursions many and varied for different levels of activity: we had four excellent local guides, 2 poor ones. There is much to do on board, so even days at sea are fun and filled. Water facilities are very good, esp for kids. Weather in August was chilly, so small pool and water slides were not used much. I was a bit annoyed that teens are in hot tubs all the time, making it hard for an adult to get a space. Food good, restaurant choices many and varied. Sometimes had to wait for a table even though we had reservations. Garden Café (largest buffet on 15th floor) is very busy and a little chaotic … many food choices, but hard to find a table. Would be good to have a number or color coding so that location of a table, family or friend would not be so hard. Ship's condition up to date, clean. Entertainment excellent. Internet connection awful. Cabins are nice size and well maintained. I am impressed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We went on this cruise for a family trip to get to know the Baltics. The ship has a lot of things to do, but if is going to cruise the baltic sea it should have an indoor pool and more indoor activities, the weather was good only the first ... Read More
We went on this cruise for a family trip to get to know the Baltics. The ship has a lot of things to do, but if is going to cruise the baltic sea it should have an indoor pool and more indoor activities, the weather was good only the first two days, the rest, all the outside was impossible to use The baltics are beautiful countries, but the amount of time you stay there is very low and my perception is the only reason is because Norwegian wants you to consume inside the ship vs in the city. One example was when we were in Tallinn, we had to be on the ship by 15:30, in front of us there was another ship from TUI, they were asked to be there at 23:00, the next morning when we arrived to Helsinki, the TUI ship was already in front of us, so the reason is not only to be able to travel. Another complain is that Norwegian apparently lost a lot of what a cruise is, no welcoming reception, no animal towels every night, etc. They are going to far with this free-style experience. The food was awful in almost all the restaurant, no typical food, no variety. The only one where we had a good dinner was Cagney the Steakhouse. The Seafood restaurant was fully booked since the first day, meaning that it should be bigger to allow all passengers to try it. Entertainment was nice, particularly the Cirque of Steam and Dreams. The arcade areas were also nice for the kids, but I didn't want them to spend that much time inside. The service was average, some people were very nice, some were not. Generally a disappointment from the ship and crew perspective Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We traveled as a family of four in August 2019, setting sail from Copenhagen with stops in Warnemunde, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Stockholm. My son is 13 and my daughter is 10. We chose the Getaway because we wanted the ... Read More
We traveled as a family of four in August 2019, setting sail from Copenhagen with stops in Warnemunde, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Stockholm. My son is 13 and my daughter is 10. We chose the Getaway because we wanted the amenities of a large ship with lots to do for families, thinking that we might even leave the kids on the ship for some of the smaller ports. Overall, we loved the vacation and thought the ship met our needs pretty well. There were a few things I wish were better: - The food was absolutely dismal. I've been on a Norwegian ship before so I knew not to expect a gourmet experience, but the buffet actually smelled so bad I could hardly stand to be in the room with it, and the taste was just poor. I was desperate for fresh fruit and veg by the end of the week. The main restaurants were also spotty, although we did have decent sushi at the sushi place and the seafood restaurant was pretty good. - The ship was PACKED at all times, and it was quite hard to find a quiet spot. I expected this, but it really does hit you what it's like to be on a boat with thousands of other people. It really came to a head with the insane debarkation process for St. Petersburg, where they tried to assign people to groups and it generally became an angry free-for-all. - The activities were kind of lame. I think the shows and stuff appeal to my mom's age, but there's nothing really there for adults in their 30s and 40s. We were all bored for the sea days. My kids did like things like the ropes course and the mini golf, but you can really only do that so many times before it gets old. - My 10-year-old really liked Splash Academy, but my 13-year-old went to Entourage once, proclaimed it 'lame' and never went back. I don't blame NCL entirely, it's a tough age group to please. - Half the treadmills in the gym were broken. I think I would use this ship again, but I'd definitely upgrade to the Haven for a more premium experience. If I had to eat breakfast on this ship one more time, I think I would have puked. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We are a family of four, two parent and two kids ages 8 and 11. We selected this cruise and specifically, the aft-facing Haven one-bedroom suite because it perfectly fit our needs. Bottom line, if we did not stay in a Haven suite and ... Read More
We are a family of four, two parent and two kids ages 8 and 11. We selected this cruise and specifically, the aft-facing Haven one-bedroom suite because it perfectly fit our needs. Bottom line, if we did not stay in a Haven suite and experience all that the Haven has to offer, we probably would not pick this boat or Norwegian again. Pros: * Haven, Haven, Haven. A game changer. The exclusive pool, deck, hot tubs, bar / lounge, restaurant, and concierge was worth the added cost. We rarely had drinks or ate outside of the Haven (aside from three meals at the specialty restaurants). The quality of service was far superior to the service you received at any bar outside of Haven in the general areas. The Haven food quality is very good. Service is impeccable. * We had a one-bedroom aft-facing corner suite. It was amazing. The balcony makes all the difference. So spacious that we were able to exercise with plenty of room to spare. I read review(s) where folks complained about noise, smoke, etc. Nothing negative to say. The inside was very nice also. Two full baths, plenty of closets and great water pressure in the master bath. * The chicken wings at O'Sheehan's is pretty good! * Casinos were fine - nothing special. It was more about the people you met as you played the games. I lucked out and had a great time meeting folks. The craps dealers were hit or miss. Half were very professional and worked with us, the other half were angry and chose to enforce "rules" throughout the trip (dice are too high, you're taking too long, hands, drinks over the railing, etc.) * Soft serve ice cream in the main buffet restaurant was a hit with the kids * The activities for the kids were great. In many ways better than Disney cruises (although Disney's shows are great). There were not as many kids on this Norwegian cruise, providing whatever kids on the ship to more access to the climbing wall, ropes course and water slides. HUGE benefit. The sport court was also very well maintained and fun. Cons: * Tipping and service charges. Horrible system. I asked the staff and they either didn't know the specifics or chose not to disclose what they knew. The $18.50 per day per person service charge is dumb. Just embed it into the cost especially since we're told its essentially us paying the staffs' salaries. We were told that essentially this service charge "went to anyone we DIDN'T interact with", like the cooks, cleaners, etc. However, for anyone we did interact with, we're expected to "tip" them. Not a big deal, however, there's this issue of all prepaid gratuities from any drink or meal package you purchased. As it turns out this gratuity is pooled and shared among all service crew. The icing on the cake is that we were told the Haven staff - restaurant waiters/waitresses, bartenders, may or may not receive a penny of this even though they're the one's taking care of us 90% of the time. I'm getting mad just writing / reliving this. The point is, you will get nickel and dimed with service fees, gratuities, tip, etc. Just be warned. But also, be prepared and bring small bills onboard to take care of the staff throughout your cruise. Its the right thing to do despite Norwegian's idiotic system. * Quality of food prepared in the Haven restaurant was in the 4 - 4.5 range. The quality of food prepared elsewhere was between 3 - 3.5. The Noodle restaurant was absolutely horrible - 1.5. The Garden (buffet) was hit or miss as to be expected. The specialty restaurants - Teppinyaki, Cuccino, and the Brazilian steak restaurant were all marginal at best. Actually, Cuccino and the Brazilian steak were actually pretty bad. Skip it. Ocean Blue and sushi were pretty good. BOTTOMLINE: Haven all the way, bring cash for tips, lower your expectations regarding food quality, and know the kids will have a great time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We arived one day before embarkation to Copenhagen after a week in other parts of Europa so we mostly just explored the nyhavn area which is very pretty. Embarkation itself was super smooth we maybe took 15 min to board, rooms where ready ... Read More
We arived one day before embarkation to Copenhagen after a week in other parts of Europa so we mostly just explored the nyhavn area which is very pretty. Embarkation itself was super smooth we maybe took 15 min to board, rooms where ready at 1:30p and our luggage arrived at night as expected. The ship is beautiful, we could definitely tell it was recently renovated no complains on cleaniless and the public areas are spacious. We stayed in a family room for 4 for the first time and at first we where confused as the sofa bed was clearly only meant for 1 person. Only by asking around did we realize there was a ceiling bed that could be opened. We were very happy to hear this but I think they should include some sign or paper with this information in the room already because we grew upset at the beginning. The room is tight but there was enough storage for our family of four. We mostly at at the buffet and food was varied and good to great flavors, we could always find a table in the first few minutes we came. Other than that we dined twice at savor/taste and food is very good but it is missing a bit of presentation and flavor to be great. We also had lunch once in o sheenans but were disappointed with the mini portions and the service. We actually left before he could bring us all our orders or ask for dessert with how slow service is despite not being booked. The only specialty restaurant was Moderno and definitely recommend the quality of the meat os fantastic. The entertainment crew always had something to do its a shame the don't always have enough space or material for everyone interested to participate. The atrium simply does not have enough seating and the need to bring more paper for everyone to play. We had a great time in family dictionary for example but the only had paper for 7 teams it doesn’t make sense.This ship also has so many activities such as the arcade, bowling, mini golf the rope course and we enjoyed a bit of all it had to offer. Service overall is very good besides O Shennans we had no complaints. It may not be as personal than other cruises but everyone is kind and gets the job done. Though the cruise supposedly had 4600 guest (that not the capacity they advertise) we never felt it was so full we couldn't enjoy you just have to organize yourself to be at the activities before the begin and the shore excursions where fun. Btw the Cirque show is amazing you shouldnt miss it! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
We had wanted to do a different cruise than our normal Italy/Spain vacation and thought this sounded like a perfect fit. We flew in from a 3 day stop in Iceland and landed in Copenhagen late the night before we boarded. I don't ... Read More
We had wanted to do a different cruise than our normal Italy/Spain vacation and thought this sounded like a perfect fit. We flew in from a 3 day stop in Iceland and landed in Copenhagen late the night before we boarded. I don't like arriving the same day as embarking. The boarding process was painless. The ship has been recently renovated and was lovely. The only complaint I had about the room is having the bed dead center in the room, allowing very little area to walk around the bed. It seemed to be a waste of space to have the bed blocking the seating area. There was plenty of storage room and the bathroom was spacious; even had a tub. The food was the high point on this cruise. Normally I am sick of the buffets by day 3 of cruising but that was not the case on this trip. The food was always fresh and there was a large assortment. We also ate at of 4 of the restaurants; they were awesome! The entertainment was good; not great but there was plenty to do in the evenings. I feel the gym could have had more equipment. There were quite a few times where there were no open machines when I tried to work out and I tried several different times of the day. The shore excursions were my biggest complaint on this trip. The Berlin tour was good. I wanted more information on WW I and WW II, not just the Berlin Wall. One of the members of our group went on the tour of the concentration camp and seemed to enjoy that one better. Tallinn was amazing and we did that on our own. A little research and we were good to go. We were told we would have two days in St. Petersburg but realistically it is 24 hours. Upon docking, we did the Evening at the Hermitage which was nice but the museum was actually closed when we took the tour. A lot of the lighting was turned off and none of the shops were open. However, it is only open for cruise tours and when you see the line during the day, you are grateful to have the experience you had. I had booked the Catherine's Palace and the St. Petersburg church tour before we left the US and was told it would be fine; two tours in one day. However personnel on the ship told me I couldn't make it and they would not refund money if we did not get back in time for the second tour. One of the people in our group went on the Catherine's Palace and had plenty of time when he got back before the second tour started. I was disappointed to say the least and the four hour St. Petersburg tour I took instead was very poorly done. It was basically driving around town in a bus looking at buildings. We were leaving port 24 hours after we got there. Not a two day stay. The last two excursions were a total waste of time. We did the hop on/hop off options for Stockholm and Helsinki and didn't have even enough time to make it around the entire route once. We were in town for a very short period of time and the options were very limited. I would have liked to have a more time in port and a later time to leave. We did the Copenhagen to the airport option and that was perfect. We had plenty of time to see the city with a great guide and then we were dropped at the airport. Two of us stayed with the luggage and the rest of us took the metro back into town and went to Tivoli Gardens and spent a few hours there. I would definitely do this tour again but would hope more time could be spent in port in some of the towns and less time between each destination. The distance is not so great we couldn't have more time in port. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We choose NCL because family members had recommended it and we liked the ports of call. The ship was okay, not great. The food was good, but not great and really nothing special. The Garden Cafe's food was almost exactly the same ... Read More
We choose NCL because family members had recommended it and we liked the ports of call. The ship was okay, not great. The food was good, but not great and really nothing special. The Garden Cafe's food was almost exactly the same every day for both breakfast and lunch. At dinner they would add maybe one additional entree. The specialty restaurants were better than the regular dining rooms. But my main complaint was the old, sagging mattresses in our stateroom. They had very large indentations in them and clearly were well passed the point where they should be replaced. I have back issues and found sleeping to be extremely uncomfortable and even painful. The only remedy available to us from our steward was a piece of lumpy foam placed on top of the mattress. The entertainment on board was good. Two out of our four shore excursions were good and two were poor. Never go on a shore excursion with a group of 30 other people to a busy city center when the guide does not have a microphone and the group does not have receivers to hear what is being said. Total waste of time and money. We will not sail with NCL again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The Ship: The Getaway feels like a big ship and it’s a very crowded ship. We were told there were 4,600 (!!) passengers plus 1,600 crew members and it FELT that crowded. What really lent to that was the feeling that you couldn’t ... Read More
The Ship: The Getaway feels like a big ship and it’s a very crowded ship. We were told there were 4,600 (!!) passengers plus 1,600 crew members and it FELT that crowded. What really lent to that was the feeling that you couldn’t find any place quiet to be. There’s no observation lounge where you can go and sit and read or play games. As in, no place to look out the front of the ship as you sail unless you’re a Haven suite user or you pay for the Vibe Beach club. I’ve never been on a ship where you couldn’t see out the front of the ship. There’s the H2O spice deck at the back of the ship that’s child free during the day. The speakers weren’t working properly and when they tried to play music, it was jaunting. They absolutely didn’t need it. Again, no place quiet. When I mentioned to a crew member in dress whites that the music wasn’t necessary and to look at the faces of the people who didn’t want it, he told me if I wanted some place quiet, I could go back to my room. His inflection wasn’t nasty, I think it was a language/cultural barrier, but it was still inappropriate. Couple that with the fact that towards the end of the cruise the outside areas on some of the decks (7,8,15,16) had flying carpenter ants. Where I feel the Getaway really failed, was the restaurants. For free there was the buffet, which was hit or miss (mostly miss - the food wasn’t always hot and people were touching things with their BARE HANDS), 3 main dining rooms where the food was excellent, O’Sheenans (the food wasn’t as good as the last time I ate at one on an NCL ship), and Shanghai Noodles. The Noodles was the sorest point - we ordered a few things and one of our dishes tasted like DISH SOAP. When we complained to the maitre’d about it, there was a language barrier, I think, because he surely didn’t understand. When we complained to guest services, the gentleman we spoke to looked at us blankly, like he was still waiting for an actual complaint. We ate at one of the pay for dinner restaurants, Moderno, which was good, and skipped the others. We also tried the ‘Taste of India’ buffet for lunch one day at Moderno- it was so awful we abandoned our plates and had lunch at the sit down dining room after. To finish the dish soap incident - the head of Food and Hotel operations sought us out and apologized. For the next 3 days she sent food trays to our room consisting of chocolates, Hors d'oeuvres, a fruit basket, and cheeses. This was a nice and probably expensive gesture, however, after telling us that we were hard to find (since we were out in the ports all day, every day), the items were left mid morning. Remember, they’re perishable, and not refrigerated. The cheeses included a blue cheese that left a stench that stayed for 3 days. I finally had to give the trays to guest service and ask them to please stop leaving things we couldn’t eat. The ship had a ton of entertainment. The Burn the Floor cast was phenomenal, but the hidden gem was Syd Norman’s Pour House. The performances were captivating, the crew members were bursting with enthusiasm, and the place was always packed. We also checked out the comedian (who sadly wasn’t very funny), the comedic magician (funny, but the tricks weren’t anything to write home about, and the Other Guys (sounded great on paper - total pass in person. They were out of sync, out of tune, and didn’t carry stage presence). If alcohol is your thing, the tastings are the way to go. We loved the mojito tasting so much we did it twice. The pours were generous and a great bang for your buck. Norwegian's Freestyle dining concept was great on the Gem, but a nightmare a few times on the Getaway, as 4500 people can only sit in so many places. A vacation on Getaway requires planning ahead to get seats in the venues that you want both in the restaurants and for the entertainment. As of July 2019, the gym offers a spin class, but you HAVE to have clip in shoes. They provide them, but there weren’t enough sizes to go around. Instead of taking a spin class I tried the boot camp style class, which was a beginners course for $24 (because of gratuity). The instructor/trainer advised it was because he has to cater to everyone. The sign of a good instructor/trainer is being able to make movements harder for advanced gym go-ers and modifications for beginners. He was unable/unwilling to do this. Pass on the expensive classes and just do your own thing in the gym. Finally, we had a midship inside room. It was comfortable for 2, though it lacked in storage. I would have loved to see drawers or more shelves given we were on a 9 day cruise. Overall, the ship was a C. The servers and hostesses/hosts in the main dining rooms were outstanding, and really showed that there were crew members that cared. The ports: Visby was a HIDDEN GEM. The itinerary we originally chose and paid for had an overnight in Russia AND an overnight in Nynashamn (Stockholm). Without warning or announcement, the second overnight was switched to 8hrs for day 6 and 9hrs in Visby on day 7, instead of 36hrs in Nynashamn. We were furious and beyond disappointed that Norwegian didn’t send out any communication or answers regarding it. Visby turned out to be marvelous. I traveled to another part of the island and went stand up paddle boarding, then walked around the town after. The food was excellent and the people were super friendly. The only port we paid for an actual excursion was Russia, because traveling there requires a visa that the tour agency will give you. Book it through a site like Viator for the best value. Other highlights: visiting Sumenolinna Island in Helsinki, the free walking tour into Estonia, and the Vasa museum in Stockholm. We did the hop on, hop off bus in Helsinki which came with free ferry fare to the island, and the bus/boat hop on hop off combo in Stockholm. The boats and bus didn’t run on the schedule they claimed it did, and therefore just paying for their public transportation would have been cheaper and easier. Despite the disappointment that was the Getaway, the trip was an overall success, and I’d give it an A. I will definitely avoid the Getaway in the future, as well as really look at deck plans and passenger size before booking with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this Baltic cruise due to the ports since it's an amazing way to see somewhat far-flung European cities easily and without unpacking. This was also our belated honeymoon so we were looking for something with resort-like ... Read More
We chose this Baltic cruise due to the ports since it's an amazing way to see somewhat far-flung European cities easily and without unpacking. This was also our belated honeymoon so we were looking for something with resort-like amenities and a relaxing feel in addition to our European adventures. Pre-Cruise- We spent one night in Copenhagen and loved it. Highly recommend the Scandic Front hotel. Copenhagen ended up being one of our favorite cities. We also spent another night here after the cruise and wished we had longer! Tivoli and Nyhavn are must see's. Embarkation- It was fine, a little crowded, probably took 45 minutes Disembarkation- We carried off our own bags since we weren't going to the airport and didn't want a transfer. Everyone else had the same idea and it was very challenging to get an elevator. The Ship- It was recently renovated and everything looked nice and new. We were impressed with all the updates, though as a Librarian, I wish it had maintained more of a library. The main downside was the sheer number of other people. There were 4700 passengers and 1600 crew and it just felt crowded all the time inside all main areas of the ship. Because it was a colder climate, there really weren't many people outside so those areas were pleasant, but the atrium was packed all the time and if you didn't have restaurant reservations you were in trouble! The Food- The specialty dining was absolutely fabulous, some of the best food we ever ate. We especially loved Ocean Blue, Teppanyaki, and Cagney's. However, the main dining was just okay, the food was pretty basic, service was hit and miss, and the buffet was terrible. The food at the buffet was bad in itself, but the feeling of being at a cattle feeding trough and the impossibility of finding a seat was very unpleasant. Entertainment/Activities- These were fun, but again very crowded. You needed to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of time if you wanted a seat. Our cruise was so busy with ports that we were pretty tired at night and didn't do a whole lot. The cruise director Francesco and Assistant Director Lester were very nice and helped make things fun. Ports- St. Petersburg- While we wished we had two full days, we really enjoyed it. Took a tour with an outside tour company (Shore Trips) and were able to see everything we wanted. Visas and getting around were easy with the company we chose. Helsinki- An unexpected favorite. We just went on our own and used the Hop on Hop Off for transit. We took a boat to Suomenlinna and loved being in nature and getting away from crowds. Tallinn- Amazing, medieval city. We went on our own and walked to town. It was a healthy walk, but very doable. Stockholm- We were very happy to dock in Stockholm and not Nynasham. This made our day much more usable. We did the Hop on Hop Off and were not fans. The route went away from the Vasa and Skansen museums and wasn't heading back there for an hour, so we ditched the bus and took a cab and beat all the crowds to the Vasa. This made a huge difference and we had time to see Skansen and have lunch in Gamla Stan as well. The Hop on Hop Off was kind of a disaster for returning to the ship with no space left on buses and many people left behind. From what I could see most people did eventually make it to the ship on time but had to wait for several buses to come and go. Sailing out of the Stockholm archipelago was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. It was stunning to see all those tiny islands so close up on our huge ship. Not every itinerary goes that way, but if you can find one, you should definitely do it! Visby- This was a late addition to our itinerary, but we were glad. We loved it. A very cute, upscale summer resort town on Gotland. We took the Medieval Visby tour because we were tired of walking all day and enjoyed seeing everything and hearing about its Viking history. Being there during Medieval Week really added an aura of authenticity! Overall- We loved this cruise and all the ports. We think you don't really need to book shore excursions (except in Russia) because all of the ports and have taxis lined up and many are walking-friendly as well. We learned we probably prefer a smaller ship just due to the crowds, and we learned to make reservations ahead of time. Additionally, we highly recommend the Thermal Suite which was a haven (cheaper than the real Haven!) of peace and quiet with stunning forward views. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We choose this cruise for the uniqueness of the destination, the Baltic Countries. a great experience on the cruise but couple of things left us angry and wanting 1) Seafood Paella being served was a highlight as we love seafood and ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the uniqueness of the destination, the Baltic Countries. a great experience on the cruise but couple of things left us angry and wanting 1) Seafood Paella being served was a highlight as we love seafood and Paella, we know Halal is not offered but the paella had PORK sausages even though pork was not mentioned on the menu description. With the number of Muslims cruising with NCL, I would think they would at least be clear about that. live cooking omelets in the breakfast saw spatulas being used to turn ham filled and normal eggs, The Indian Dishes , in the garden Cafe had beef and pork dishes along with the vegetarian choices, which sort of says NCL does not care about the sensitivities of this segment of the market. The pullman beds were left out for the duration of the cruise and not closed daily which would have made the day time cabin use pleasant. Value for money, being specific an 1 year old infant being charged full 3rd person cost is not value for money in anyway as there is nothing infant friendly available or provided by the cruise line, Freestyle for adults is definitely a great way to cruise and value for money, but NCL has to look into the Muslim cruising market by making sure pork is properly marked and the utensils not used, at least by the crew handling the food, in an interchangeable manner, may be even take some pointers from other cruise line on how to avoid the same, like Carnival. We had 8 seniors in the group, for who there was no on board activity, that they could enjoy, These avoidable incidents would have enhanced the good experience Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Our first cruise with NCL and we were not disappointed. We are used to Royal Caribbean but chose this ship for itinery and it fitted our schedule. We travelled as a family with 2 teens and 2 friends. We had 2 days in Copenhagen beforehand ... Read More
Our first cruise with NCL and we were not disappointed. We are used to Royal Caribbean but chose this ship for itinery and it fitted our schedule. We travelled as a family with 2 teens and 2 friends. We had 2 days in Copenhagen beforehand which was good and extended our holiday, Pretty and safe city but expensive. Tivoli good but better in evening with the lights and a light show over the lake around 10.45 pm. Good river cruise. Stayed in Scandik hotel which was modern and comfy with good breakfast. Cruise embarkation and disembarkation seamless. On board ship there is a smaller public atrium than we are used to but it served its purpose and there are plenty of bars and restaurants and outside space in which to relax. We had an inside interconnecting cabin on the 11 th deck which was comfy and not too small. The bathrooms were spacious. It was extremely quiet down its own corridor. The beds were comfy and it was clean and modern. Our cabin stewards were hardworking and kept the rooms spotless. The food we had no complaints with. If you can get a speciality dining plan you will find it worth it to sample some very good restaurants. We are in Le Bistro, Tepanyaki, Cagney's Moderno. All excellent. We had the drinks package and it works out better value if individual drinks are as expensive as people say although we are not heavy drinkers but enjoy the odd drink from the many bars available. Try the ice bar for a small extra cost as it's fun but yes cold! Our 18 year old had the drinks package and could order unlimited wine beer and cider as well as intermittent cocktails and spirits as no one seemed entirely sure what was included. We found service excellent. No complaints and they were more flexible than we had experienced before. A word on tips. We prefer to tip as we go and had our service charges refunded on request without argument. The shows were excellent. Yes the theatre is smaller but we didn't reserve all shows and got in fine if we got there a bit earlier but some we had reserved which is easy to do on board or better still before you sail. There is an extra cost for Cirque steam but worth it for sure. The rest I believe were included for free. Shows are are a matter of personal taste so try them but they may not be everyone's cup of tea. Excursions : We had been on this itinery before so we did most alone this time. Stockholm lovely and we got an Uber to town which was quick and cheap. Vasamuseum is in town so easily done alone. Tallin you can walk to easily. Beautiful. Helsinki we got hop on hop off and ended up at great amusement park and lovely park at top of town. Worth a visit. No charge for entry and rides reasonably priced. Visby we walked to easily. Beautiful. At Petersburg we did evening ballet and through the eyes of russian people. Both good and you see things off the beaten track. The ballet was expensive but a once in a lifetime experience. If you check the ports beforehand it is easy to do trips alone but do check this out if you have mobility issues and be mindful of timing. Otherwise go with ship excursions which we did on our first visit. Our teens made amazing friends by going to the club's but you have to be brave and do it otherwise it's difficult to meet other people of similar to age. It makes their cruise. The teen club activities are good if you want them but ok to just hang out if you don't. There was an X box apparently! We didn't try on board activities but they are available and seemed well maintained and plentiful. Overall we found this to b a good ship for our purposes and a good cruise. It is more or less suited to families than other cruises we have done but yes if you want a small quiet cruise it may not be your taste. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely sail NCL in the future. Read Less
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