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209 Norwegian (NCL) Entertainment Cruise Reviews

I just cruised the NCL Gem to the Southern Caribbean from NYC from 2/13 - 2/24/2018. The Gem staff as a whole was less than helpful. When asked about specific items it seemed to bother them. One instance of this occurred in the gift ... Read More
I just cruised the NCL Gem to the Southern Caribbean from NYC from 2/13 - 2/24/2018. The Gem staff as a whole was less than helpful. When asked about specific items it seemed to bother them. One instance of this occurred in the gift shop where a staff member sighed rolled her eyes and said she didn't want to display a certain item of jewelry (the charm bracelets) because it was "too much work". Another instance occurred when a friend was looking to purchase one of the silver CZ rings. Of the two sales persons there, neither was willing to help her look for her size, "It's just what you see there", said one dismissively. In addition, the staff as a whole did not have proper command of the English language. There were several areas of miscommunication due to this issue. One time I was told the Internet staff would be there at 5 and when I returned about a half hour later at 5, the line was around the corner. I went back to customer service and through her poor broken English I realized she meant staff would be there in 5 minutes not 5 o"clock! It made the staff seem not to be knowledgeable and dismissive. Other cruiselines educate their staff better. This was the worst experience I have had due to this language issue and I have been on over a dozen cruises. This doesn't happen on Royal! In addition, I was shocked at the low level food served at the dining halls. No lobster, no escargot??? Never have I experienced this. Even if there was a nominal charge I would understand. But to not have upscale options in the main dining hall absolutely soured my experience. Also, the desserts were not up to par either. The lava cake was overcooked, cheesecake not always available. Lastly, there was a night where the sea was very rocky. The Captain never even mentioned it! There was no announcement as to why some areas were closing, how long do we expect to be in the storm, nothing, nada. Unbelievable!!! Also, for a recently refurbished ship, the decor was old, dark and dated. I have sailed on NCL Breakaway and had a really good experience. The Gem gets two thumbs down!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I chose this cruise because it was a music cruise and we've been on several before. It went out of NOLA and that was great. Embarkation went smoothly WE THOUGHT. Shortly after we got on the ship we found out that they dropped our ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was a music cruise and we've been on several before. It went out of NOLA and that was great. Embarkation went smoothly WE THOUGHT. Shortly after we got on the ship we found out that they dropped our suitcase into the Mississippi River. Yea, you read that right!! Everything in it was soaked. First off they tried to deny what happened. Then tried to blame it on us. Um....a whole pallet of bags went in! They did launder the stuff but tried to balk at my instructions. I did NOT want our stuff ruined. They replaced the destroyed meds but I had to chase that down. I should not have had to do that. Other than that there was nada. NOTHING! I lost hours of my vacation chasing down things that they should have done. I finally gave up on the NCL staff trying to salvage my vacation. The company that puts the concerts on was great! They offered remuneration and a few perks while on board. That was much appreciated but really, it wasn't their deal. NCL should have been more sympathetic to the customers. If it weren't for the music cruises we love being on the Pearl we'd never EVER do a cruise on NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We choose cruises based upon itineraries. The opportunity to visit Chichen Itza was the determining factor for this particular line and trip. Our Mid-ship Balcony cabin was nothing at all like the pictures they show, it was cramped and ... Read More
We choose cruises based upon itineraries. The opportunity to visit Chichen Itza was the determining factor for this particular line and trip. Our Mid-ship Balcony cabin was nothing at all like the pictures they show, it was cramped and poorly designed. When you opened the door you walked into the bed and the 6" of space between the bed and the counter made it virtually impossible to move around the room easily. We spent more time crawling over the bed than sleeping in it it seemed. Our cabin steward would only allow us 2 bath towels per day, and it was our responsibility to exchange our beach towels from our excursions according to him. It wasn't until we spoke to the Housekeeping manager that we could get extra towels and he started to do his job. It would take multiple requests to get our cabin refreshed after returning from excursions and changing for dinner, and turn down service was only performed the last 2 nights of a 7 night cruise. The wait staff in the Main Dining rooms were slow and uninterested in making your dining experience something to look forward to. If you would like a glass of wine or other adult beverage with your meal you had better order it immediately when they bring you your water or don't expect it until you are almost finished with your entree. NCL recently did away with tipping in favor of an automatic service charge added to your invoice daily. It appears that in so doing, they have also done away with any expectation of service from their employees and they have become disincentivized. We have never been on any cruise ship before where we were treated as an afterthought by the staff. DO NOT expect anything but mediocre to poor service from these employees. The bar and lounge staff do go beyond expectations, as do the spa and buffet workers. but the taste of bad service from the cabin stewards and wait staff spoil any thoughts of a first class operation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
​First off, I'm a very positive person. If you read any other review I've done, I try to see the best first, and give suggested solutions, not just complain, when I have to place a negative review. This was our 6th cruise, ... Read More
​First off, I'm a very positive person. If you read any other review I've done, I try to see the best first, and give suggested solutions, not just complain, when I have to place a negative review. This was our 6th cruise, second with Norwegian. This was a​ ​family Christmas gift, my husband and I paid for us, as our 2 adult children and their spouses, all upgraded to balcony suites, so it wasn't cheap. We thought it would be such a treat, as two of them had not cruised before. My sister and her husband decided up join, so 8 of us, in 4 rooms. ​We got the alcoholic beverage packages, the dining package, and the wi-fi package​. So, first impressions, the boat is so beautiful! The water park, the atrium, the pool side, just beautiful! The rooms, nothing impressive, but we tend not to spend much time in them. The upgrade we paid for, for my husband and I, was literally the exact same room as our kids, with a larger bathroom/shower, nothing else. We arrived to our room, went to the bathroom, literally NO toilet paper!​ No​​ half roll, no spare roll, none. Bad start using Kleenex! ​The ice bucket had the previous persons warm water left in it, and it stayed that way the entire week. We had one pool towel, not two. The mirrors were not wiped down at all. The bed was made, but I had to question whether or not the sheets were clean, since it appeared no attention had been paid to the room. The entire trip, we saw our attendant ​4​ times, and he didn't even know our names. I had to call for assistance, and you could't leave a message, we received a recording telling us to try again later. ​The foo​d was good, the entire time. Although they boast 28 restaurants, the ones included were the poolside buffet/.cafe, O'Sheehans Pub, and the 2 Dining Rooms. The dining rooms had the same menu each day, just different ambiance. The specialty dining package was nice, with many more options, but, you have to pay a surcharge to use most of them, so not "Free". The room service for breakfast, was a surcharge as well, if you wanted something other than continental. They only had a few choices for hot food, and they were truly inedible. The Tapa's Restaurant was just awesome, though, and well worth the service charge! They did not have the typical "seafood" night, at all. No crab, no lobster, just peel and eat shrimp, mussels, and such. That was a great disappointment, It seems corners are being cut to save them money, but they didn't pass the savings along to the patrons. Since they sell the heck out of the drink packages, that you prepay for, you can guess right in the fact that you couldn't find a server poolside or out and about! We literally had to wait in lines at the bars to get a drink. That is so unlike any cruise we have ever been on, they keep the drinks flowing, so long as they are making money on it! Since they already made the money, service was not a concern. The shows were spectacular! We really enjoyed them. Although the comedy was the same night after night, when you went to a different room, you assumed different people were performing, but they moved from one showroom to the next. One show, we arrived literally 3 minutes late to, and were told we couldn't go. We were furious, especially because the attendant told us we had to be there fifteen minutes before the show started, and our tickets did not show that. We showed her the tickets to prove it. Finally she allowed us to enter, and the show was great. Their Perspective Photo Studio, separate from the cruise photos, was wonderful, and worth the money we spent with them, over $1,500! The photographers gave our family a photo shoot of a lifetime, throughout the ship, they spent hours with us, capturing our families personalities, separately and together. The Haven, which is their "cruise with the cruise" was very high end, and the patrons there were treated like royalty. They paid for that luxury, but it became annoying to everyone that paid a lot, that they were treated with special lines to get off and on the ship, to dine, to go to shows, etc. Everyone should be treated special on the cruise, not just the super elite. Overall, we didn't get what we paid for. It felt like a "budget friendly" vacation, but it was not cheap. The venue was great, the staff was not. This is the first time we have cruised that the staff seemed terribly unfriendly, unhappy, uncaring, and unconcerned. It has not ruined cruising for me, overall, but it has ruined Norwegian Cruises for me. They have a culture issue going on, that they need to look closer at, as there is a high expectation when you spend the kind of money we spent. To not feel special, attended to, cared about, etc., is a shame. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We were looking forward to our first NCL cruise for a year and can say (among many others we encountered who echoed the same sentiment) that we will not be returning. The Norwegian Epic had it's bright spots, but overall we were more ... Read More
We were looking forward to our first NCL cruise for a year and can say (among many others we encountered who echoed the same sentiment) that we will not be returning. The Norwegian Epic had it's bright spots, but overall we were more disappointed than anything. Lets start with the ship itself. Embarkation was typical. A few delays, but the ship holds thousands of passengers so some waiting is to be expected. Once on the ship, catching an elevator is almost as difficult as hitting the lottery. NCL really needs to increase the production on these things. If you're looking for a vacation where you never close your wallet, well you've found it. NCL charges for so many things. Most shows, some seminars, games, bowling, any offered classes - it's all extra. This is in addition to the restaurants, which some are not only an initial fee, but the menu is also a la carte. The Garden Café (buffet) seating is ample, but the food was often cold and average. O'Sheehans turned out to be our favorite spot. The drink prices and drinks themselves throughout the bars were highly inconsistent - we got the same drink for 2 different prices and two completely different tastes within half an hour one day - one $3+ more than the other. You're charged $17+ for a 6 pack of water, which the crew then confiscates from you upon returning from certain ports. Totally logical. You're required to have a ticket for even the complimentary shows, and making reservations for tendered ports is definitely encouraged. NCL's highly touted 'Freestyle Cruising' is actually quite regimented and limiting due to this setup. The pools are very small and narrow, deck chairs were consistently reserved with towels beginning very early in the morning, and the crew stacked them up relatively early in the evening. The shops, art gallery, and sundries shops have all the typical cruise items. The ship overall was HOT everywhere other than the 5th floor. Our stewards were very friendly, fast, and attentive. They kept the cabins very nice. We went to the Svendka Ice Bar which is open in the evenings with reservation, costs $23+ (entry fee and 2 drinks included), but is definitely fun to see. There's things to do on the ship, but at the same time, there's not really a lot going on. NCL really just counts on spending money at the bars and specialty restaurants as your entertainment. Let's talk about ports. Our first port was NCL's private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. The beach was nice enough, but it's really the only thing to do, which is great if you're looking forward to a beach chair and swimming all day. There is a small straw market which takes about 15 minutes to see the entire area, and a complimentary bbq or taco lunch. Past that, you have to pay for anything else. This is a tendered port, so be sure to get in line on time. Guests of The Haven are also given preference over the rest of us cruisers and taken to the front of the line regardless of how long others have waited. Our 2nd port was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Corporate NCL seriously needs to walk thru and see the condition of this port. We docked at a pier which appeared to be an old dilapidated freight port. We then had to walk a good 20 minutes down a mountain on a crumbling sidewalk full of holes, trash, beggars, congested with speeding drivers, locals handing you 'gifts' and then demanding money, locals attempting to take you for a ride/tour, physically grabbing and holding onto your arms and hands, and offering/attempting to sell all types of drugs and stuffing small bags of them into the peoples pockets who made the mistake of buying whatever the individual was selling. The word 'No' is totally disregarded by the residents. Once you finally reach the town, you find a downtown that is filthy, crowded, more narrow sidewalks, stores full of cheap trinkets, and locals who stand out front and harass you to buy something. To top it all off, Jamaica was under a State of Emergency and Travel Advisory during our trip due to crime, which NCL conveniently forgot to mention. We turned back within an hour. 90% of our ship was also returning due to the same thoughts about Ocho Rios so at least we could travel in more of a pack for safety. NCL needs to remove this stop from their itinerary immediately. It is not somewhere visitors need to be. 3rd port was George Town, Grand Cayman. No complaints. A very nice port town, ample shopping, nobody bothering you, clean, beautiful water, and lots to do in addition to shore excursions. You're on a tender here also, so arrive in ample time. 4th port was Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel's water was clear in spots. We docked at 1 of the 2 piers and the better shopping seemed to be to our south, we just chose not to take a taxi. The shops were clean, but not much variety. More locals bothering you to come into their stores and the agent prior to getting back onto the ship snatched a fellow passengers money out of her passport when checking ID's, attempted to hide it, then claimed it was a joke, but this port was still a monumental improvement from Ocho Rios. Onto our mini suite cabin. The Epic's staterooms have a 'Wave' design and it just doesn't work in all the rooms. The beds were at the front of this room and were practically in the bathroom area. You could lean over and wash your hands in the sink. The beds can't be separated further than 6 inches because they are locked in a curve, the bathroom and shower are across from one another on either side of the room and the sink is outside of the bathroom area. The shower and toilet are separated from the rest of the cabin by a curtain with the sink and mirror outside of the curtain. The bathroom is small, beyond small. We had 3 cabins - all in one day! Our first cabin the air conditioning barely cooled, but the main problem was the cabin flooded in the very early morning hours due to something going wrong in the wall from the neighboring cabin's plumbing. We had a temporary cabin in the afternoon which was a regular balcony cabin. Due to the wave setup, this room was very small - spring for the mini suite. We were then moved late that night to another mini suite where the air worked and the beds were at the end of the wave by the balcony doors, which was WAY more efficient. And this room didn't flood! The Head Guest services manager did rectify the entire bad situation which we were satisfied with. The room itself is decorated in warm tones with mahogany and plentiful storage, the balcony is larger than most ships, so the appearance is nice, just not so much the aesthetics. We wanted to love this ship and this line. Unfortunately, NCL misses the mark and they're not worth spending the money on. At least the Epic sure isn't. They're trying to be luxurious, but have yet to master simplicity. First cruise with NCL, last cruise with NCL. Epic fail. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Great ports and a fun winter getaway. The weather was awful, but it was still better than sitting in the office. Now for the bad, there was a large group of at least 1200 people on the ship. The name of the group was Groan and Sexy. They ... Read More
Great ports and a fun winter getaway. The weather was awful, but it was still better than sitting in the office. Now for the bad, there was a large group of at least 1200 people on the ship. The name of the group was Groan and Sexy. They completely took over the ship and were so loud the rest of the passengers did anything they could to try and escape to a quiet space. They made the cruise unenjoyable. There were some many private events day and night, that we didn't get to visit our favorite locations on the ship many times. It is my understanding that his group has an open lifestyle and from the groans and noise I heard from the cabin next door I can assure you that, that is probably an accurate statement. I did end up having to call security on them at one point. Also, the only day that the weather was good on this trip and we could be around the pool, this group decided the rules didn't apply to them about the number of people that could be in the hot tub and one lady was even smoking a cigar. No one ever came over and told her to put she could smoke in the hot-tub. You could never get to the bar in the Atrium because they were always gathered around the bar screaming and wouldn't let anyone else in to get a drink. The wait staff couldn't keep up, so forget someone coming around to ask you if you needed anything. I understand that they are in the business to sell out the ship. However, when you have a group that large that it should be required for them to buy out the entire ship. NCL should really give the passengers that were not a part of this group some type of concession. There are no words to convey how awful, inconsiderate and rude this folks were. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I Cruise a lot and this was my first time on the Norwegian. NEVER AGAIN!! They served the same food everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only changes to the meals were the soups and having pasta/ carrot and potato salads ... Read More
I Cruise a lot and this was my first time on the Norwegian. NEVER AGAIN!! They served the same food everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only changes to the meals were the soups and having pasta/ carrot and potato salads different days in the case with the toss salads. Most of the staff were very unpleasant. I got tired of hearing from people "Oh that's just their culture"... No! you are in customer service point blank. Speak and smile. We got the beverage package and most of the bartenders were so tight to pour more than a shot in a drink or got made when you asked to make a drink that was already in a premade container. Listen it's paid for and there is no way anyone will drink 10 drinks a day and I didn't like how the premade drinks was mostly mix or juice. I think it was so rude for wait staff to reach over you and and your food at the table while you are still eating to grab an empty plate. SAY excuse me and ask for it! And to make things even worst, I fell on a wet floor and was in a brace for most of the trip. They treated me like I did something. The asian gurl was so rude and unconcerning about my pain. I am still trying to get the incident report for my doctor. The prices were so high in the stores to buy liquor or gifts...UGH I can go on but you get the picture. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We had been on several cruises and this was the first and last on Norwegian.The boarding process was a nightmare with thousand stuffed into a room which was way to small and many young and old had to sit on the dirty floor. The key cards ... Read More
We had been on several cruises and this was the first and last on Norwegian.The boarding process was a nightmare with thousand stuffed into a room which was way to small and many young and old had to sit on the dirty floor. The key cards that we were issued did not work and the rude woman told us to get out of line and stand on the side for another 20 minutes. The ship was clean and the Tropicana restaurant had excellent food and service. Now to the ports we visited. Roatan was dirty and they had children selling cheap junky jewelry. All around there were emaciated dogs on the brink of starvation. Second port was Belize which was a total waste of time - a few tourist shops nothing else. Next came Costa Maya which again had a few tourist shops and nothing else. Cozumel was the best of the lot. There were lots of kids on board and most were not supervised. There were 2 hot tubs that children could use and they did, it is not a safe practice to have young children in a hot tub not supervised. There is a casino on board which has a smoking and non-smoking section. Forget it people smoke where ever they like and no one stops them. There are a lot of cruise companies that are a much better value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The beverage package is made full use of on this ship, its not for anyone who is looking for a quiet cruise, if you like lots of high fives and whooping this is the ship for you. Be prepared to enjoy the company overly lubricated ... Read More
The beverage package is made full use of on this ship, its not for anyone who is looking for a quiet cruise, if you like lots of high fives and whooping this is the ship for you. Be prepared to enjoy the company overly lubricated passengers on a daily basis. It you are a smoker or travelling with smokers in your party then forget this boat. Smokers are treated as if they have some terrible contagious disease, The Sunset bar is the main smoking area in the forward part of the ship , it has 8 stools at the bar and another 8 in an adjacent area . When its raining with the wind to starboard, the whole area is soaked and its impossible to use the area. Its always crowded. The alternative smoking area is a part the casino ( closed when in port) and the Spice H2o aft, on the starboard side which has a seating capacity for smokers of about 20 to 30. Again its always packed and its in the open and is useless in wet weather . So that's a total of less than 50 seats for smokers on a ship with of over 4000 and in wet weather when in port that reduces to ZERO. Come on NCL your sailing a ship belching out diesel fumes by the bucket load, and encouraging heavy drinking but punishing the smokers for enjoying tobacco . On the plus side, the entertainment in the theater was brilliant, the shows Burn the floor and the Million dollar quartet was of the highest standard Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My wife and I love NCL, with that said our experience on the Epic left us disappointed. We would not go on the Epic again nor would we recommend it. Not enough space for seating during meal times, not sure what they were thinking when ... Read More
My wife and I love NCL, with that said our experience on the Epic left us disappointed. We would not go on the Epic again nor would we recommend it. Not enough space for seating during meal times, not sure what they were thinking when designing the ship. Even the main dinning area you must have reservations or wait long periods to get in. The show's you need to have reservations, we have never experienced this with any other cruise we have taken, even with other cruise lines. To get a tender we waited 1 3/4 hour. This appeared to be poor management, only saw two tenders used. On the return to the ship they had 5 tenders, they had many upset people complaining, probably why they bumped up the tenders for the return. No privacy in the restroom area. It was clear to us that the ship size is more about making money than customer service. We will certainly do NCL again, but we will stay to the smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I chose cruise for itinerary and price. Our cabin was adorable, loved the shower. It was small, interior cabin midship on the fourth floor. I enjoyed being so close to the exits at each port. I thought the shows were great. Lots of ... Read More
I chose cruise for itinerary and price. Our cabin was adorable, loved the shower. It was small, interior cabin midship on the fourth floor. I enjoyed being so close to the exits at each port. I thought the shows were great. Lots of variety. It's the medical facility and the food (taste, service, quality) that I am complaining about here. I got sick on the third day of our 14 day cruise (everyone on the ship seemed sick already.) $325 for over the counter cold treatments and what the "doctor" said was a zpac. I just got sicker and sicker. At one point, I had trouble even breathing because of asthma and coughing. "doctor" wanted to charge me again! I went to pharmacies in ports and got some actually helpful medications and advice (steroids and throat spray.) The food was tasteless. Even specialty restaurants offered lackluster choices. Service could take an hour to an hour and one half. Our room steward was uninterested in our needs or anything more than basic turndown service. The gym offered classes with surcharge (about $15 a class.) but did not include anything other than the equipment and towels. There was no sauna or showers or even a changing room. Daily activities were a joke or included a hefty price tag. Afternoon tea was cookies at 3:00 pm in the buffet! Shore excursions were better left to when you got off the ship. We paid for "cliff divers and Fort of San Diego" but when we got there, there were additional entry charges. Night life for the over 40 crowd seemed hopping but I was too sick to care. I love cruises for the food and service. I get to live like I don't have to care about prices and laundry and working. I felt this cruise lacked that "everyone is special" treatment that my cruise price usually buys. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
I We live near Port Canaveral and decided to try Norwegian as we have never been on one of their ships. The boarding process took no more time than the Oasis ofthr Seas that we had taken last year but there the similarities ended. Our ... Read More
I We live near Port Canaveral and decided to try Norwegian as we have never been on one of their ships. The boarding process took no more time than the Oasis ofthr Seas that we had taken last year but there the similarities ended. Our cabin, inside, was quite small. We usually book and oceanview but the incentives to take an inside cabin far outweighed those offered for an oceanview so I figured it would be Ok for a week. Everything was in the room! The toilet, the shower and the tiny sink. True there was frosted glass enclosures around both the toilet and the shower but there was no sense of privacy. We found that we were constantly walking through the Smokey casino to either reach the entertainment area at one end or the main dining rooms at the other end. With the exception of the Epic theater all areas seemed very congested. We’re as the Oasis with it’s 5000 passanger count never seemed crowded. The food was just OK, much better on the Oasis. The entertainment was good but we had trouble listening to some of the vocal groups as they were in small lounges with not enough seating. I’ll stick with Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Ship, Cabin, and Dining: By far, the worst cruise I've been on. The ship itself is old. The cabin had not been renovated and had similarities to a motel. Dining was disappointing throughout the cruise. NCL is proud of their ... Read More
Ship, Cabin, and Dining: By far, the worst cruise I've been on. The ship itself is old. The cabin had not been renovated and had similarities to a motel. Dining was disappointing throughout the cruise. NCL is proud of their flexibility when it comes to dining - dine when you want, where you want. They have a few complimentary dining (Aqua, Versailles, O'Sheehan, Ginza, & Buffet). Despite the different restaurants, they offer the same food except Ginza. I go to O'Sheehan for breakfast to only realize the food plated is the same food from the buffet. I go to Aqua for dinner and realize they have the same dinner menu as the other restaurants. No variety. Ginza is supposed to specialize in Chinese food. My family (who is Chinese) was not impressed and commented that Panda Express is better. Overall dining service is negative stars because (1) many servers did not know what they were doing and (2) the food was not impressive. I'm used to servers taking drinking orders from all around the table but for some reason, servers walked away after taking only 3 drink orders for a party of 6. To stop the server to complete the drink order was unpleasant, because they were visibly unhappy. To sum up the food, the child in the party was the first to mention the saltiness of the food haha. Never thought I'd have a child who said the food was too salty. Entertainment and Activities: Be prepared for this is Vegas on a ship. Majority of the daily activities was an opportunity for NCL to sell raffle tickets and other items. If you're not interested in things being sold to you, there's not much you can do. Many on the ship were playing board games in the bar/lounge or on the sports deck. However with 3 days at sea, you get bored easily. It's definitely a cruise I describe best for older folks who enjoys lounging around, playing at the casino, and napping. For myself (late 20s), this cruise was not a good fit. Service: Service throughout the ship was terrible. Majority of the staff onboard were very rude and unapproachable. When you walk up to the restaurant host, the first thing they ask is for your room card. There is no smile or greeting. I was expecting "Welcome to Aqua, how many are in your party?" or "Good evening, how was your day?" with a smile. When the staff doesn't greet you or even smile, it ruins the whole experience. Negativity is contagious. The Art Auction staff is also rude. I won a artwork through a raffle at the auction and was instructed to meet with a specific staff after the auction. I informed her that I won the raffle and the first thing she says is "740" with (I should mention again) NO SMILE. In my head, I thought that was the amount I had to pay for the artwork. She corrected me and said that I can meet with her at 7:40 to discuss shipping. Since that time conflicted with the show time (7:30), I just passed on the free artwork. Sat in the Art Auction for 1.5 hours, left with nothing, and felt like I wasted my time. To top it off, I passed by her every day in the art lounge sitting at the desk doing nothing. Overall the staff was unwelcoming, unhappy, and non-accommodating. The only staff that made my day was the "Washie Washie, Happy Happy" ladies who greet you with smiles, laughter, and a spray bottle of hand sanitizer. Ports and Shore Excursions: I did excursions at 2/3 ports. The service at these excursions was 5 stars! My family commented the service at the ports were extremely better than on the ship. However descriptions of the excursions are not accurate to the paperwork distributed at the "Shore Excursion" counter on the ship. One excursion took me to places that were not described on the handout which made me nervous because (1) I was far from the ship at this point and (2) Mexico has an increase in criminal activities to tourists. But I made it back safely! The second excursion mentioned a tour in a military-type vehicle. That didn't happen and I was a bit disappointed. Note: If you do a dolphin experience excursion, the "Observer" ticket they sell you onboard for $55 only works if those swimming the dolphin is 18+. So if you're a parent wanting to watch your child interact with the dolphin, you will have to get in the water with them. The "Shore Excursion" counter does not tell you this when they sell it to you. I know because a member of my family was only notified once off the ship and in the hands of the excursion guide. They had to purchase another ticket. Some of my party has sailed with NCL before and said this was the worst experience they've had with NCL. It could be just the ship, the staff, or that it was over the holidays. But for me sailing with NCL for the first time, I would not return. I've had better experiences on other cruise lines. I hope my review prompts NCL to look into this particular cruise line because I spent $1,000+ and felt like I wasted my money. On top of that, I hope NCL looks into improving the service on the cruise because an automatic charge of $14 per person/per day does not reflect the service you receive. I know I'm not the only one who was dissatisfied because other guests I've encountered on the cruise felt the same way. I highly recommend for cruisers to try a different cruise line from NCL - not Mexican Riviera with Norwegian Star. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was a family trip chosen by other family. After reading reviews I was optimistically hopeful and for my second time in Hawaii, I thought it was a great way to see as much as possible. Day 1: The Welcome is everything you expect of a ... Read More
This was a family trip chosen by other family. After reading reviews I was optimistically hopeful and for my second time in Hawaii, I thought it was a great way to see as much as possible. Day 1: The Welcome is everything you expect of a cruise ship, smiling, friendly faces all happy to have you aboard. Day 2: That's all over, you're now a captive audience and have no where to go and service is no longer a priority. 3 Hour Dinners, that were not worth the wait, 90 minute late night snacks at the overstaffed non attentive all night diner. Only item on limited menu worth getting is the 25-30 minute burger unless you are the cruise director or staff. When asking about details of a menu item, you can get a response like I'm not sure what is on it other than the description, but if you don't like it, you can order something else". What kind of response is that? Being the only ship allowed to cruise "just" Hawaiian islands we found out it is more a detriment than the exception to the rule. We were told by a key staff member due to that reason a specific percentage of employees must be US citizens thus inferring issues with being able to hire great staff. In the mornings we would be given tidbits of what to see on each island (always starting off with the same 3-5 vendors) then some key sites to see. The problem with this is that we took the maps with us and drove like crazy to see as many sights as possible including one beach that we were told we had to see, but what the hostess on the ship failed to mention was that it was landlocked by US military stations and inaccessible through the 3 different GPS routes we tried to take losing almost 2 hours of our limited time on that island. The ship has a daily newsletter that must be printed out prior to each cruise as the weather was always wrong for every day, so check your own weather apps before going ashore. The off shore excursions are extremely inflated for price, you are much better off and can afford to do so much more if you check ahead. For example, the last day they make it sound so convenient to take a $140/pp trip to Pearl Harbor and they will store your luggage, transport you there and get you to the airport. If you store your luggage for 5$/bag at the pier, go outside the pier gates and get one of the competing shuttles to Pearl Harbor for $5 early. You get the Pearl Harbor early to get one of the free tickets that they give out in the morning until they run out. When your done, get another shuttle $5 -$10 (we always got $5) down to Waikiiki beach for lunch and $10 back to the pier to get luggage and to the airport. We got a whole day in for less than half of the cost of that trip as a convenient ship excursion. Our cabin steward was great, very attentive and responsive. The comedian and illusionist were great, the remaining entertainment was typical cruise type fill in the gaps options. You could never understand the announcements on the pool deck or the entire ship as the speaker system muffled everything. The ship could be going down and you not know b/c you can't decipher the messages Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
It was my sister's 75th birthday and we went with her whole family to celebrate it. I found the cruise to be very overcrowded, there were over 4100 passengers. There were lines for entertainment and food. Embarking and disembarking ... Read More
It was my sister's 75th birthday and we went with her whole family to celebrate it. I found the cruise to be very overcrowded, there were over 4100 passengers. There were lines for entertainment and food. Embarking and disembarking took over an hour for each. I am 78 years old and I was never able to find a seat at the "howl at the moon" piano bar. I enjoyed the games at the Atrium, but had to stand for most of them. The food was the very worst that I have ever had on a cruise. Never had lobster offered. Shrimp (except for the Japanese restaurant) were small, not fresh and slimy. Not one meal was delicious. Cabin was small. Very small shower and toilet facilities. Casino was the biggest rip-off of all. I played Texas Hold'em and when I've played in land casinos, the highest maximum rake that I have ever seen has been $7 per hand.. On this ship it was 10% of each pot with a maximum of $25. Absolutely ridiculous! On one of the nights, we had 8 of us playing and there were no winners, because the casino ended up with all the money. A small bottle of water was $4, a bag of pretzels was $7. Everything in the shops is way overpriced. The pluses were that the entertainment was very good(although mostly too loud). The staff was very friendly and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
As a first time cruiser, it was a nightmare. I got to the port and they didn't have my info on file so right off the bat it was a bad startI booked the cruise saying I would get $500 free spend onboard for a balcony room and then they ... Read More
As a first time cruiser, it was a nightmare. I got to the port and they didn't have my info on file so right off the bat it was a bad startI booked the cruise saying I would get $500 free spend onboard for a balcony room and then they told me I didn't qualify for it when I got there. Customer service was poor, I would ask a question and they would respond as if I knew exactly what they were talking about, for example like tendering. Never heard of it and they thought I should know what it is. Also they don't inform you whats going on and how things work so your left to just figure it out yourself and be overwhelmed and frustraded. You were left to figure out which restaurants are complimentary vs additional.Then my card was working a few times and then all of a sudden quit working cause I didn't have a credit card on file for charges at the end, so once again no body told me how all this works cause when I checked in the guy at the front desk says we don't need a card on file till the end and then 2 days in they needed one. it was just a very frustrating trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were a group of 8 friends traveling together. All of us have cruised before and we all agreed this was the worst service ever! Stood in line for drinks at bars, restaurant service was beyond poor. One night we were in the restaurant ... Read More
We were a group of 8 friends traveling together. All of us have cruised before and we all agreed this was the worst service ever! Stood in line for drinks at bars, restaurant service was beyond poor. One night we were in the restaurant for over 3 hours waiting for food. FInally left without the coffee. Forget ever having it served WITH dessert! The room steward never made up the room before 3:00 in the afternoon. And we always left the light on that said to please make up room. Once he didn't come back at night. Had to go out and find him and ask for fresh towels. When we arrived there were half eaten strawberries and Walmart water in the refrigerator. The only good service we had was at the specialty restaurants where you have to pay extra. It was so bad I even went down and asked if I could remove the prepaid gratuities, which I have never done. The answer was NO because they were part of our "package". When I told them how poor the service was, she just looked bored. NEVER AGAIN will I cruise Norwegian!! The shows were good, but only two that you didn't have to pay for. Went on one ship sponsored shore excursion and will never do that again. The ones booked off the ship were much better. This ship needs a major overhaul of staff! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was my first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line. Unfortunately, my past experiences on other cruise lines have been better. -Cabin was extremely tiny. -Dinner was extremely slow 2 of the 3 nights. It took over 2 hours for a ... Read More
This was my first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line. Unfortunately, my past experiences on other cruise lines have been better. -Cabin was extremely tiny. -Dinner was extremely slow 2 of the 3 nights. It took over 2 hours for a group of four of us. The service was not up to what I have come to expect from my previous cruise experiences. -The food quality was the worst out of 3 cruise lines I have been on. The scrambled eggs at breakfast were extremely under cooked/runny. Nothing that I ate for dinner was good enough to order again. -At check in, my girlfriend's mini blender (magic bullet) was confiscated. The person who confiscated it gave us the wrong from to fill out. We were told that we would be able to pick it up at guest services once on the boat; however, we were unable to once we boarded. At time for checkout, we had to go through 4 different people before someone who knew anything could find the blender for us. -Shore excursions were very overpriced. We booked the dolphin swim for $200. It included the transportation, swim and a few hours on the beach. If we just booked the overpriced transportation to the beach ($90 with food included) and purchased the swim onsite ($60), it only cost $150. Only benefit of this cruise is that the alcohol is included. If you want to do a booze cruise then this is the cruise for you, otherwise I would not recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Having sailed NCL 3 times previously I returned after 15 years and 14 cruises on RCCL and Celebrity. From embarkation delays (over 4 hours with no NCL representative outside the terminal area to answer questions) to lengthy delays and ... Read More
Having sailed NCL 3 times previously I returned after 15 years and 14 cruises on RCCL and Celebrity. From embarkation delays (over 4 hours with no NCL representative outside the terminal area to answer questions) to lengthy delays and confusion at dining rooms entrances when dinner reservations had been made to just plain poor service around the ship (pool deck / restaurants (other then specialty dining) and cabin attendant ---- I will never sail NCL again. Cabin attendant was confused and not very sociable or attentive to me and my wifes needs. When arriving in cabin we found a used razor sitting on the vanity, a dirty glass and the carpet in need of a vacuuming. The service around the ship was no where near what I have experienced on RCCL and Celebrity cruise over the last 14 sailings NOR was it what it was when I last sailed on NCL. Food quality was nothing spectacular and the overall experience left me headed back to RCCL and Celebrity for my next sailing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
They had back to back nights with the same show 2 nights in a row. Then much to my amazement they did the same thing with the next show 2 nights back to back with that one also, boring. The food was lackluster and mediocre at best.There ... Read More
They had back to back nights with the same show 2 nights in a row. Then much to my amazement they did the same thing with the next show 2 nights back to back with that one also, boring. The food was lackluster and mediocre at best.There was not much variety, I guess that was to force you into the pay restaurant. There was that special meal of the trip night and it was served in the “cafeteria “ it was called the Seafood Night. What a mess that was a bunch of casseroles, poor for a formal night. The noise at poolside was overwhelmingly loud and in fact just about the whole ship was that way. Very few places to get away to read. The staff was not as friendly as I have had in past cruises and maybe it’s because of the prepaid tipping now. The waitstaff was not friendly and almost machanical. It just seemed there was a morale problem with the staff. It’s just not a great vacation when your counting the days until you are off the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Old ship. Downsides, casino smoky, and worse odds at blackjack (6 to 5) for limit players. Bingo almost a fraud, advertise "$2,000 bingo" or whatever, but only pay a hundred or so due to the fine print. Missed ... Read More
Old ship. Downsides, casino smoky, and worse odds at blackjack (6 to 5) for limit players. Bingo almost a fraud, advertise "$2,000 bingo" or whatever, but only pay a hundred or so due to the fine print. Missed O'Sheehan's and Ginza, Sports Bar not good service, no college football at peak college season,and endless premier league soccer on 8+ TV's, not good for a US based cruise. TV selection ugly. No real central gathering place for sports or movies. Fourth cruise on Norwegian, the crew communication and answering questions not good, a lot of ethnic clumping, meaning that people in one place all Indian, in another all Filipino, etc. Means that English is poorer than it should be as they don't have to cross communicate in English and practice enough. Latitudes representative lazy, and missed party due to no invitation. Dinners decent, nice service generally. Buffet mediocre, but don't go there much. No cruise line seems to make a good pizza. The beer special decent. Good value, and liked the stops in route, St; Kitts interesting. I like the Norwegian approach, but would like it better if I could ask a straight question and get a straight answer. Went on the Singapore Star cruise that had an engine problem Dec 2016, and did compliment Norwegian for making a rough experience good, but looking elsewhere more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
As a person who has done 15 previous cruises with celebrity, rci., princess and thompson cruise lines i consider myself more than experienced to give a good and honest account of any cruise i’ve been on so here is my opinion of my ncl. ... Read More
As a person who has done 15 previous cruises with celebrity, rci., princess and thompson cruise lines i consider myself more than experienced to give a good and honest account of any cruise i’ve been on so here is my opinion of my ncl. Cruise from sydney to new zealand via melbourne and tasmania. Embarcation in sydney. Congratulations to n.c.l. On what has to be the worst embarcation myself and most of all the other 2500 plus guests have ever had to endure. Embarcation was after 12.00 midday. We arrived at 12-20. Bag drop was smooth and done within 10 minutes. We then had to queue 20 minutes to get into the terminal. This then allowed us to join another 20 minute queue to be allowed in small groups to get on an esculator or lift to go up to the next level and at this point we’re told to discard any water or liquids pre security. On reaching the next level we then had to queue for an hour and 15 minutes to check in as there were only 30 desks for hundreds of people and the system kept gridlocking and at one point stopped completely for twenty minutes. We were the directed to yet another long queue to pass though australian border control only to then be directed to another queue to pass through x-ray and security before boarding ship. Finally after two and a half hours!!!!! At no point we’re we offered even a drink of water in what was a packed and very hot area and no appologies either !!! Not the best start. The cruise. We had paid for the ultimate drinks package and the drinks at first we’re fine with a good selection of as advertised. Bar service is however at best slow and at worst totally unacceptable compared to other companies as there’s hardly ever more than two people serving at any time which creates either long queues or arguments as to who’s next for service. Three days in and the major issues began to appear. No more bulmers cider left. Next day no reason brown ale. Next day no more peroni. Next day no more budweiser not a good thing on a ship filled with a lot of americans. We asked will we restock in new zealand? No sir that’s it for the cruise now! Any refunds no sir. Next day no mint left to make mojitos and no grapes left in the garden restaurant to have with wine and cheese and on and on it went. Food. Only average and although a good selection it was mostly the same selection every day. If your definition of fine dining is steak and chips with a sprig of broccoli in the main restaurants then this is for you. That says pretty much all you need to know. the chefs need to understand that putting far too much salt in all the food they produce is not the way forward. I’ve never tasted so much salty graveyard and sauces anywhere i’ve been. Yak! All specialised restaurants are very expensive and add an %18 gratuity to your bill and even ask for a tip on tip if your feeling genorous. Excursions. One example of the daylight robbery this ship operates it’s excursions on. To visit hot springs etc. In rotorua ship price $279 pier private tour operator 150 new zealand dollars. Hey go figure and do the maths. Every trip they offer is way more than double the local prices. Captain / cruise director. Congratulations on been voted the worst and least in formative of anyone i’ve ever sailed with. Never on time either early or late. No notice or announcement of departure just a honk of the horn and off we go. Gratuities. $14 per person per day. Compulsory unless you ask at the reception to pay them at your own discretion. The staff. Some are really hard working and give great service however i have to say in general it was the most miserable crew i’ve ever sailed with and some of them were just downright rude. Entertainment. Absolutely fantastic and the thestre shows and dance team were the best i’ve seen. The other entertainment in the bars and around the ship and on main deck area through the day was only average and in some cases abysmal to the point of bad karaoke level. All in all the ship is kept very clean and tidy although now a bit tired. Would i go on this ship again or recommend it? No. Best regards. Daved. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
The rooms were fine and overall the ship was nice. This was my first NCL cruise and since I am in my 40s I figured I would be Ok with NCL, since the crazy young crowd isn't always my thing. (we didn't have children with us ... Read More
The rooms were fine and overall the ship was nice. This was my first NCL cruise and since I am in my 40s I figured I would be Ok with NCL, since the crazy young crowd isn't always my thing. (we didn't have children with us either) The travel agent encouraged us to try it and I can say I like Carnival much better. The staff was just so so, not as friendly or engaging. Food was SUB PAR in comparison to Carnival. Entertainment was weak. I prefer comedy clubs and some dancing, doesn't have to be a crazy party but I was honestly bored on my cruise aside from the ports of call and my departure city. I won't give NCL another try, just not worth it. I can say that my CABIN STEWARD was fantastic. Otherwise the staff were just lack luster to say the least. They allowed for children to hog hot tubs and areas that were supposed to be more adult as well. I am sorry, (not) but as an adult I paid more to be there than your kids did and in my opinion, the rules should be followed, otherwise why have them. On a plus side embarkation and disembarkation were seamless (the baggage handlers were great as well). Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Last minute booking complete with drinks package for a short trip to Tasmania. No problem with the ship except the smell of smoke in some areas such as the card room and library. The problems concerned the bad attitude of the dining room ... Read More
Last minute booking complete with drinks package for a short trip to Tasmania. No problem with the ship except the smell of smoke in some areas such as the card room and library. The problems concerned the bad attitude of the dining room waiters. Especially the females. Some were rude and kept you waiting for ages before reluctantly acknowledging your existence. Then there was the consistently cold food. It became a game to see which one of us would be the first to get a hot meal. To be fair, there were some friendly staff in a couple of the bars. The managers of the dining rooms fell over themselves to assure you that things would improve and tell you that other people were praising the staff. Little changed for the better, especially breakfast on the last day when they made it obvious that we were not welcome because they had other things to do. And don't even think of eating in O Sheehan's. The final straw was the imposition of gst charges without notice half way into the cruise. Australian customs came on board and had to have heavy talks with them about selling duty free whilst in port. They refused to issue refunds or gst advice. I have encountered these charges on any other cruise. They simply had no idea what they were doing. The financial controller refused to meet with anyone and anyone else with authority had others blocking your way to them. We will never use Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Great value- group chose this ship, it was fine, disappointed that there was no midnight buffet, at least one evening would have been nice. No lobster night, cruising has changed a lot in the years since it was a top notch vacation. Food ... Read More
Great value- group chose this ship, it was fine, disappointed that there was no midnight buffet, at least one evening would have been nice. No lobster night, cruising has changed a lot in the years since it was a top notch vacation. Food was just ok, would have had to do specialty dining to have many options. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, staff was very helpful and polite, the excursion we selected was great, and the entertainment was fabulous. I will most likely not be cruising again. I was disappointed when I stated that I had cruised Norwegian many years ago (42) and the response was- well thats nice but there was not a points system then so we can't honor that as a previous visit, there is always a way to keep the customer happy, bottle of wine, etc.. So it is not as nice as when we traveled years ago. We have been on 5 or 6 cruises in those years and I have to say they aren't what they used to be, but Royal Caribbean handled the entertainment functions better Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
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