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Cruise Ratings
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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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Older ship but well appointed. Some nicer underused areas to escape from crowds. Took our 7 month old and 7 year old. We had a mini suite with balcony which was good for us and 2 kids, the bigger bathroom helped. Like how they made ... Read More
Older ship but well appointed. Some nicer underused areas to escape from crowds. Took our 7 month old and 7 year old. We had a mini suite with balcony which was good for us and 2 kids, the bigger bathroom helped. Like how they made drinks available since it was all inclusive, not big lines to get a drink. Included dining felt good compared to other cruise lines. Most the staff were very nice and prompt. Thought the bar staff was the best overall. Few things I didn't like .. steakhouse quality/taste wasn't good compared to specialty dining in other lines. The guppies playroom was dirty and people were walking with dirty shoes on the floor mat/play area for them. We wouldn't let our baby down to play in there. Buffet always seemed crowded and hard to find a seat without being blasted by hot air. Would cruise on NCL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Chose cruise due to dates & decided to revisit Western Caribbean due to ports. So many positives about this cruise. Food was excellent. We don't cruise for the food but it was really good, seasoned well and good variety. ... Read More
Chose cruise due to dates & decided to revisit Western Caribbean due to ports. So many positives about this cruise. Food was excellent. We don't cruise for the food but it was really good, seasoned well and good variety. Buffet was great, even fish on buffet was delish. Salad bar was awesome. No way out flavors or items but a good mix and tried some new foods. We liked Manhattan a lot & wished we made it back there. Taste was good but reminded me of other cruise line dining, hectic and loud. We also enjoyed the Irish Pub (O'Sheenan's). Try the spinach/artichoke dip. Yum. Our cabin was great & our room stewardess was bubbly and pleasant. Very happy with both. Entertainment was the BEST. OMG, Syd Norman's is super fun. The live bands were surprisingly good. Went every night and loved it. What a pleasant surprise. Also, James Sullivan at Shakers Martini bar was excellent. Entertainment a step above other cruise lines. Went to Burn the Floor & Rock of Ages. Both good. But the BEST was Wine Lovers the Musical. Well worth the extra cost and Highly Recommend this very pleasant play and dining experience. So impressed. Ports were all fine. Snorkeling in Roatan the best. Mexico not so much. Now for the negatives: Bartenders were horrible for the most part. Unhappy & slow. Mostly males who took forever mixing a drink. Everyone complained about wait time. I waited 10 mins often for service and walked away several times w/o a drink. Beverage Manager needs to staff better and more tenders at most bars. Other negative was NCL allowing children in 18+ areas. NCL is so strict about other things but did not enforce age limits. & YOU CANNOT count on parents to do the right thing anymore. This should be strictly adhered to by cruise line. Child whined throughout Rock of Ages bc she was bored and mother didn't remove her. Children in Syd Norman under 18. And worst of all young (7/8) were in Howl at the Moon with pure vulgarity going on. More crude then necessary and I'm not usually sensitive to stuff. Parents let children rule this ship. Running everywhere, having meltdowns in halls, etc. Not really an NCL problem there but we do not see this on other cruise lines. Overall the ship offered many things but area's were very narrow and crowded. I have to give Breakaway an overall 4 due to Entertainment/food and cabin. Also played Trivia once in Syd Normans and had fun. We would cruise NCL again b/c of port selection and cleanliness of ship. Female dining staff and Garden Café waiters were all good and pleasant. Embarkment and disembarkment could both improve a little. Self assist slower than normal. Also, too many extra pay items. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We are in Canada, so we flew in Rome 2 days early to ease the time change and visited Rome at the same time. Embarkation and disembarkation were a piece of cake, they were well organised; we followed the instructions and everything went ... Read More
We are in Canada, so we flew in Rome 2 days early to ease the time change and visited Rome at the same time. Embarkation and disembarkation were a piece of cake, they were well organised; we followed the instructions and everything went well. We had a cabin with a balcony. This is not a huge cabin but it has everything one may need and lots of space for clothes and stuff. For us, the size was sufficient. We bought a 4 restaurants diner package before we left and we picked the restaurants and nights on the first day. All the other meals were taken at the buffet style dining room. The restaurant packages evenings need to be coordinated with the excursions one is buying: if you come back from an excursion at 1800, you don't want a reservation at the same time. The food was great (the Steakhouse is fantastic for a great steak), everything is clean and the staff do everything they can to assure a great meal experience. Great entertainment and I like the fact that there were great musical acts early in the evening. Services were great. All the staff are doing an excellent job. The biggest problem I had was with the internet. I bought a unlimited social media for two for the 11 days. It cost me almost $300.00 CAD. For that kind of money, I thought I was going to get top quality internet: I did not. I got slow and unreliable wifi. Big let down. We took 4 excursions and they were well organised even if at some times, I was left wondering if I got my money worth. The company run the outfit in a very professional manner and I will be looking at them first when I decide to go on my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our second cruise, but it took us over 20 years to try again because our first one wasn't a pleasant experience. So I'll start with why we selected this particular cruise and why it was so much fun for us overall! We ... Read More
This was our second cruise, but it took us over 20 years to try again because our first one wasn't a pleasant experience. So I'll start with why we selected this particular cruise and why it was so much fun for us overall! We love surprises, but some are even better than expected! The backstory: Bill and I planned an August RV trip to Washington to visit family members who are no longer traveling long distance in their RV. Our 25th anniversary is August 20, so we thought, since we'd be nearby around that time, maybe an Alaskan inside passage passage cruise would be a nice way to celebrate. As we were narrowing in on a particular ship from another cruise line and deciding on which 7 days, the Mickey Utley Band, a favorite that plays in Laughlin, Nevada when touring, announced that they had signed on to entertain for 2 months on the Norwegian Bliss, with their last week being July 21-28. So I started asking questions on their Facebook page, and we decided that it was worth moving our trip up by a month to know we'd enjoy dancing during the cruise. I continued to correspond occasionally after we booked the trip, including sending a message on the morning of the 21st saying we were headed their way. We enjoyed our first day, had an early dinner, and headed for "Q", the BBQ restaurant. The band had just taken the stage, and I waved as we walked in, but nobody waved back. I just figured they were busy, and when they started their first song, Bill and I immediately headed for the dance floor. The looks on their faces surprised us as much as we surprised them! It turned out I had been corresponding all along with their photographer/media person, and the band didn't have a clue we would be here until they saw us start dancing! We had a wonderful time dancing to this excellent band almost every night, and are so very glad we made this choice! We didn't make reservations for any other entertainment or shows, nor did we book any shore excursions. We attended several lounge-type performances by Duo Rika. Siglo, and Suzanne Jade, all of whom were excellent. We had local friends who gave us an incredible tour of Juneau, and booked the White Pass & Yukon Train trip at the dock. We wandered around Skagway and Ketchikan on our own. We didn't disembark at Victoria because of the short stay at that port. We bought the "Romance Package", which was wonderful in every detail. The roses looked almost as fresh as we left our room for the last time as they did when we arrived, and our dinner in Le Bistro was perfect in every way. We ate most of our meals in the Garden Café, which had a great variety of choices as well as special theme nights. The local was great for late-night gatherings with new friends and entertainers. Because we don't drink a lot of alcohol, we didn't buy either of the beverage packages, and found that we had made the right decision for us. We enjoyed the Sugar Cane Mojito Bar's creative options, had our usual 2-beer nights in Q while dancing, and enjoyed other adult beverages "a la carte" wherever we happened to be. Overall, we kept this cruise as simple as possible to allow ourselves to figure out whether we would enjoy cruising again in the future. We're glad we did it our way, we had a great time, and next time, we'll be more adventurous with our planning and reservations. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska. Ship: The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains ... Read More
We chose this cruise to run away from the heat of summer at least for a week and to experience the relaxing sights of Alaska. Ship: The ship looks amazing. Very clean and contemporary décor. Staff continuously cleans and maintains the ship in neat condition. The onboard staff was always courteous and helpful. Bad experience with NCL air travel: We had a very stressful experience with our air travel arrangements booked directly with NCL air. Due to a last minute rescheduling of the our outbound flight, we almost missed our cruise and the NCL emergency assistance line/nor the air travel department were available to help! From the initial booking of the reservation, the staff did not bother to sit our family of four together, which included two small children. Our seats were assigned all over the plane. Ports: One of the ports visited was Hoonah/Icy Strait for an entire day and in my opinion, it would have been a better value as a customer to have that much time at different port (Ketchikan, Juneau). At his point, the town itself needs further development and the frequency of the shuttles from the port to town needs to be increase during ship arrival dates. There is a nice shopping area and some restaurants as you get off the ship plus shore excursions. We wandered into town via the $5 shuttle and found some street vendors but the area needs significant tourist development. Unless you're willing to pay for $hore excursion$ at this point there is not a lot going on there. Food: The food at specialty restaurants was excellent, specially Cagney's Steakhouse. We liked it so much that we ended up dining at Cagney's twice! The food was also good at the buffet, and to my surprise they also had a section for Indian food which seemed to be very popular. I tried some of it and it was delicious. The complimentary restaurants as well as the specialty restaurants offer a wide variety of food choices. For the specialty restaurants, we tried Teppanyaki (Hibachi). and Cagney's (Steakhouse) . Portions at both specialty restaurant were VERY generous. The Hibachi staff was fun but compared to a 'land' Hibachi restaurant the food wasn't 'great'. Cagney's steakhouse was exceptional. From the service of the staff to the quality of the food and drinks. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin and it was well worth it! Would definitely recommend it as we could see glaciers and at some point whales as the cruise sailed! Bed: The bed in our cabin was very uncomfortable as well as the bunk bed + sleeper sofa. We asked our steward for extra padding but still I was waking up daily with body and neck pain : ( Onboard kids club/arcade: For the nicer games (ex. virtual reality, race track, laser tag), you have to pay extra per use. I'd wish they had some sort of packaged deal as some are $7/use and some others are $20/use per person. They have a coloring interactive station free of charge in the galaxy room that was pretty cool. Be sure to check the daily schedules for other no-charge events. They had a shirt glow paint event where they provide T-shirts and paint so the family can create a souvenir with glow pain. Make sure kids wear clothes that can be stained with permanent paint! Useful tips; Make sure to download the NCL app PRIOR to getting on the ship. You will be able to check the daily activities from your phone and mark your favorites. There is no charge for connecting to the ship Wi-Fi to use this app. The only enhancement I'd do to the app would be to specify which activities have an additional fee (ex. wine tastings, etc...). They also have the traditional daily schedule of activities printed and delivered to your room. The ship provides a FREE port valet service in Seattle that allows to check in your luggage all the way to your airline from the ship! The paperwork is provided in your cabin but they will have signs all over the ship at around Tuesday/Wednesday for this service. This is particularly useful if you're planning to walk around Seattle. You will still need to take a cab to the airport but don't have to carry your luggage around. Unfortunately, we were not able to use this service due to issue with NCL air travel. There is also a concierge service outside the terminal that charges $5 per piece of luggage but must pick up by 3 pm. In summary: We would do it again, but would choose an itinerary that does not include Icy Strait, as this port still has a few years to go to warrant spending so many hours of my precious vacation time. Would much rather have longer stays in Ketchikan, Juneau or Skagway. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
The cruise was amazing! The food was fantastic, especially the specialty dining! The service was great, very hard working people that always went above and beyond. Thr entertainment was amazing! I saw Burn the Floor twice, rock of ages ... Read More
The cruise was amazing! The food was fantastic, especially the specialty dining! The service was great, very hard working people that always went above and beyond. Thr entertainment was amazing! I saw Burn the Floor twice, rock of ages was playing and Deuling pianos was super fun to watch! There is always something to do on the ship. The main pool was always packed with people and great entertainment on the stage. It took me a little bit of time to get use to the ship because it's so big.  The excursion were great! I did zip lining, a resort but that didnt cost anything, visit a Mayan family and dolphin encounter.  I see why people cruise all the time. I would do it again with NCL Breakaway! This time I traveled solo, but next time I would travel with friends and family! Its definately something to experience with others. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We flew from Sydney, Australia, to visit the Baltic region for the first time. We have cruised once before on NCL (Rome to Spain round-trip). We choose NCL usually because it offers a variety of entertainment and similar standard of ... Read More
We flew from Sydney, Australia, to visit the Baltic region for the first time. We have cruised once before on NCL (Rome to Spain round-trip). We choose NCL usually because it offers a variety of entertainment and similar standard of service that we like. We would be happy to travel again on this ship. Here are some observations. DINING Good: Variety of dining options. O'sheehans is often a favourite. We had 4 additional choices as part of our package. Le Bistro, Cagneys and Moderno are always winners (usually an add on). Needs tweaking: The garden cafe is good for all but close table seating made it difficult to move around when necessary. This can be managed by choosing to dine in Savor or Taste restaurants. Sometimes in the garden cafe, there were dishes that were cold by the time you sat down to eat at the table. For example, scrambled eggs, meat dishes that are meant to be hot, and Indian dishes. I imagine that could cause food to be wasted. I prefer hot food to be eaten at that same temperature. Specialty restaurants did not have this problem. Service: All good during our stay and in all areas of the ship. Entertainment: We love listening to live music. The Syd Norman Pour House had a band with a variety of vocalists that really worked hard to sing and engage the crowd. Definitely a winner for me to sing along with 70,80,90's music. The venue was often crowded. Burn the floor was a good show too. Any longer would have been repetitive. Their energy is amazing. Ancora was an opera/classical group of 4 that were simply fantastic. The range and quality of their voices was breathtaking. I didn't go to see the Cirque show. The additional cost was not the issue. I'm just not into the circus theme. There were other entertainment options too. I liked the interactive games on level 6 that engaged the audience. Nothing complicated, but amusing Room: We had a mini suite on deck 9 forward. While close to level 8 entertainment venue, we slept soundly. Fixtures and fittings are beginning to show some signs of age but, this did not impact on our comfort. Recommendations: Based on personal preference. More ping pong tables so that adults can play, not just the kids. Maybe more area in the gym for stretching, cooling etc in peak time. Also, a big thank you to Mario who was helpful in meeting the needs of the Cruise critic team when docking in Russia. Thanks to Tammy and Patrick (friendly cruise critic cruisers) too. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Offer received through Latitudes Rewards. Loved the ship itself. Much better than the Star. Everything was clean and shiny new. Loved how many options you had available to keep you occupied. Decent pricing on cruise itself, but a ... Read More
Offer received through Latitudes Rewards. Loved the ship itself. Much better than the Star. Everything was clean and shiny new. Loved how many options you had available to keep you occupied. Decent pricing on cruise itself, but a nightmare upgrading the drink package. Got a cocktail when I got on ship (Long Island) which was absolutely awful. Switched to Vodka Cranberry and then got the receipt for it. Almost $26 per drink!! I went to upgrade and had to pay over $800. Paying that much, I still got charged extra for drinks from the mini bar!!! With that much money spent to drink anything anywhere I want, I should be able to get a drink in my room without paying through the nose for it. NOT happy about all that. There was a total of 1 smoking area on the ship. Yes....ONE! We were put in a corner like a child being put in time out. The area was very small too. In my opinion, doing this will make smokers (lepers of society now) to not want to take a cruise again. I'm not asking to allow us to smoke inside, but having a small space without proper coverage (rained on many times) is just not very nice! On that note....the bartenders and staff by the Leper's corner (17th deck) were absolutely wonderful! Especially Michael! He always checked on me and the others there constantly and made us feel welcome every day. Warm welcomes every time I got there made me feel a bit better about the whole "corner" situation for us smokers. He remembered everyone's name and what we drank. Very impressive! Thank you Michael!! Dining was ok at complimentary restaurants. Deserts were questionable at times. In my opinion, Boston Cream pie should be made of cream, not gelatin. Peach Cobbler was also off a bit. Q was absolutely wonderful. Best salmon I had on the ship. Hibachi restaurant was amazing as well. Best fried rice I've ever had! All in all. Good food options. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We always sail with NCL. We enjoy their ships and services. We usually get the drink package, dinner package for free, and on our next cruise we are getting the drink package, dinner package, free WIFI (100min.) and 50$ off ever shore ... Read More
We always sail with NCL. We enjoy their ships and services. We usually get the drink package, dinner package for free, and on our next cruise we are getting the drink package, dinner package, free WIFI (100min.) and 50$ off ever shore excursion. We are very comfortable and we know what to expect. We are also the type of people that go out on our own and walk most ports. We drove to Southampton, UK from Germany. Very easy to park and find cruise port. We like that most of the cruises we have gone on with NCL do not have a lot of young children. We are a mid 50, couple who travel together and like to party. The Spirit is NCL smallest and holdest ship. It is going in for refit in Feb 2020. They were always working on the ship to keep it well maintained in the common areas. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with ... Read More
NORWEGIAN EPIC REVIEW Some background on me to begin. I’m a 32 year old male bachelor. Norwegian Epic was my 17th cruise overall, and the 2nd that I’ve taken with NCL. Others include 9 with Celebrity, 5 with MSC, and 1 with Carnival. Like many of my cruises, I sailed with my 76 yr old father who has some health issues. —And although, it’s a cruise to spend some father/son time together as we live in different states, he usually goes to bed quite early, and I enjoy the night life well into the wee hours of the morning… So, inevitably It ends up becoming a “singles” cruise for me. Before I describe the ship and everything else about this amazing cruise, I think it’s important to point out a Difference with Norwegian as I see them.... First off, this is not going to be a doom and gloom review... As I do view this cruise, and ship very favorably.... But I’ll start out with a fundamental disagreement that I have overall with NCL. As Compared to the other lines that I’ve sailed with....(Twice now with NCL), they are the Kings and Queens of overly casual. Very few people dress up. I guess that I’m a rare traditionalist millennial when it comes to this opinion....I wear a sport coat often to work, and that’s in south Louisiana where it’s needless to say, quite warm for most of the year. I also, as a bachelor enjoy when women take the time dress up. Cruising is the last romantic way to vacation. There’s something about going to sleep at 2AM with a bottle in your hand in the middle of a beautiful ocean and awaking in an exotic location somewhere in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. Buuuuttt, in a nutshell, I guess that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “Freestyle Cruising”. —It’s not so much the dress attire that turns me off, it’s the fact that very little if anything is structured at all. For instance, virtually every other cruise line particularly my 2 favorites (Celebrity and MSC) have two main entrainment shows per night. —You organize your dinners(whether it’s a specialty restaurant, or one of the main dinning rooms around whichever show that you choose to attend.) —It’s a real simplistic way to cruise. There’s no overthinking it...It comes a little more natural. Freestyle cruising is more like trying to decide most of your shows, dinners, and evening hour activities on the first day of the cruise or even pre-cruise. Nothing is actually “freestyle” about it... You’re forced to decide your show times, or speciality restaurant times or even dinning room times in some cases by the end of the first evening unless you want your dinner at 11pm. I get what Norwegian is trying to do with freestyle cruising. —I understand that they want to give passengers options...And I truly see why they’ve had so much success doing this... **But I also see why other lines have been reluctant to head in their direction. And I get it now. ON TO THE POSITIVES: The EPIC might be the perfect cruise ship for the Mediterranean. It’s not quite Norwegian’s best or biggest ship. As I thought that the ESCAPE(which I sailed in 2017 was nicer and much more updated and had better social gathering points and creature comforts and cabins). But it has all of the things that modern cruisers want(including me). Plus your itinerary, and getting to see some of the cradles’ of civilization(especially those in Europe) is something to greatly credit. Although the ship holds over 4000 passengers, you rarely ever feel crowded. That’s a small advantage to a ship that was built 10 years ago, as opposed to some of the newer ships that are only a few years old that I’ve taken recently. The ship was also refitted 5 years ago... So you hardly notice any wear and tear at all. The ship also flows very well. Unlike some of the newest ships, there’s very few instances to where you can’t walk from one end of a deck to the other. —It really helps with getting around. EMBARKATION: A+ If you’re reading this about to take a Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona or Civitavecchia, do yourself a favor and opt-in on the transfer from the airport to the cruise port. —You can do this directly on the NCL website. Well worth the $50(round trip) per person. So $100 total for two people. We were sailing out of Barcelona and took the transfer charter bus from the Barcelona Airport to the cruise port(which took around 20-25 mins or so with traffic). —It’s only about 10 miles apart. It really is the easiest route to go. The cruise port check-in was a breeze. Maybe 20-25 mins from entering the port to stepping on the ship. Barcelona only has 3 cruise ships on a Sunday, so it doesn’t seem to back up with people quite as much as Miami, or Lauderdale. Also, we arrived pretty early at the port as our flight was a red-eye into Barcelona. (We were on one of the first transfer buses from the airport to cruise port)....And credit to Norwegian for allowing you into your stateroom by noon. It was great to set down cary-on bags and get a view of the stateroom before exploring the ship. THE SHIP ITSELF OVERALL: A- I found the ship pretty easily navigable. My advice would be to take the time to really explore the ship on the first day, and you should be pretty good to go by day two. I tend to explore any ship that I sail as much as I can on the first day and make it a point to have a drink at every bar. —That usually gets you around pretty well ;) My advice, if you’re sailing the Mediterranean, and flying in that day from the U.S., make sure to do a little exploring around the ship before you pass out for your cat nap before the vacation begins. STARTING FROM THE TOP The Pool Deck(s): A+ The Pool Deck is spacious, and really has A TON of deck chairs that they’ve found every nook and cranny to put in. Like most cruises, deck chairs fill up quickly with towel clips, bags, and magazines holding chairs for sometimes hours before they’re actually occupied. But, I legitimately found very little overcrowding on any of the pool decks(including the actual pool deck 15). There was always available lounge chairs at any time of day(including sea days). Like the majority of newer NCL ships, slides and kiddo pool areas take up a large portion of the deck, but they really weren’t a nuisance(even if you’re looking for less kids and more relaxation).... If somehow the slides or kid areas near the main pool do bother you, EPIC smartly made “Spice H20” which is a smaller pool deck towards the back of the ship also on deck 15. —It’s an adult only pool. But I seriously found plenty of relaxing areas in the main pool area. Spice H2O also has several nighttime parties throughout the cruise. There’s also a Pool deck up high(even if you’re not a Haven passenger) on Deck 18. You access this via the main pool deck right near the outdoor part of the Buffett. Not much on 18 except deck chairs. The Bars/Lounges/Clubs: A- EPIC really does have a solid variety of bars to satisfy most tastes. I really enjoyed “Shakers Martini Bar” as the best overall bar itself. VERY VERY good drinks. It’s also near several of the speciality restaurants on Deck 7, and is right above the casino and near the theater. “Shakers” also has several pianists who play sing along music in a subtle non-annoying way. My other favorite drinking spot on the ship was “Bliss Ultra Lounge”. It typically starts off in the evening as a karaoke bar, and transcends later in the night to a full night club. Trust me, if you’re young and single, this is most likely where you’ll find your cruise romance lol. There were other honorable mention bars as well. The main pool deck bar(name escapes me as I write) is one of the largest pool deck bars at sea. Although it’s probably one of the most crowded on the ship, again you rarely have to wait more than a min or two before your drink order is taken. Also, if you’re a big craft beer person, O’Sheeans Irish Pub is very popular. O’Sheeans also has bar food like wings, cheese sticks ETC... Casino, Shops, and General Areas B+  As it’s well published, NCL EPIC has one of, if not THE largest casinos at sea. It seems to go on over half of the entire Deck 6. Stretching from Manhattan Main Dinning Restaurant(rear of the ship) all the way to O’Sheeans Irish Pub(which is mid-to-forward of the ship) If you like the tables, slots, or simply watching the action like me, It’s truly a massive entertainment center of the ship. If you’re a player, this is YOUR SHIP. SHOPS: Some of you might not care much about the shopping of the ship considering the destinations within your itinerary. I found the shops decent. (Not great/not bad)… The best store in terms of variety on the ship is the cosmetics and fragrance store(don’t remember the name). The watch store also has a pretty good variety. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind. Seems to have fewer shops and duty free alcohol stores or much smaller than ships equal of Epic’s size. —Not a big deal as like me, I’m sure very few of you choose a ship for the shopping. GENERAL AREAS: The general areas on Epic are pretty good minus one glaring exception…The vast majority of newer ships have main promenades(which serve as the central gathering points of the interior of the ship). —You’ll typically have bars, a dance floor, restaurants nearby, and a view of either 3 or 4 decks at one time. --Those of you who like Celebrity know that that area of the boat is near the martini bar on Solstice Class ships, and the Edge. Those who like MSC know that that area is around the Swarovski Staircases. NCL EPIC doesn’t seem to know where to send people in the interior, and it almost spreads people out too thin, limiting the action and interaction between passengers. Again, seeming to cater to the “Freestyle” cruising idea. In other words, “you choose wherever you wanna go”....Even Norwegian’s newer ships like the ESCAPE do a better job having a true main promenade. Again, some of you might roll your eyes at that, or think that I’m knit-picking on that one. But, if you cruise often like me, and aren’t necessarily entirely loyal to one line, you might get what I’m trying to say. The interior of the ship is very very nice though with lot’s of variety. No complaints at all about the condition of the ship, or the décor. All very nice! –I’m sure that this was improved during the refitting in 2014-2015. THE FAMED AND CONTROVERSIAL EPIC STATEROOM LAYOUT DEBATE: B+ Like pretty much all cruise ship cabins, it was small and served it’s purpose. Like I said earlier, I am a 32 year old bachelor... and although I always get a balcony room on any ship that I sail on, I can’t tell you that I ever spend much time in my state room other than to sleep and get dressed. But, for what it’s worth, the state room was very nice, and modern. You are on a cruise ship to have a good time, and be around other people, and get some sun. —You can’t do any of those things by staying in your room. One huge plus is the closet/drawer space. —Amazing for your sized stateroom. On to the big debate about the bathroom lol... I’m sure that most of you have read the controversy over the bathroom set up. There is no doubt that many others have nailed the fact that it is definitely unconventional....The toilet is on one side of the entrance of the stateroom with a sliding fogged glass door for privacy. And the shower is virtually a twin copy of that on the other side. Then, the sink is just outside of the shower openly in the stateroom. —I really think people overly pan this situation unfairly. —It’s really not that bad. One big argument to play the devils advocate for those hatters of this situation is that if you’re a married couple, one spouse can shower while the other is using the sink to get ready without being on top of each other like you’d be in a regular cruise bathroom. Also throw a kid into the room with that couple, and it’s logical and realistic that a wife can be doing her makeup at the sink, the husband is showering, and the kid can still use the bathroom all at the same time without stepping on each other. What other conventional stateroom can you do that in??? It’s really NOT THAT BAD. Buuuuutttt, strange layout nonetheless. THE PASSENGERS AND CREW: A+ This cruise had a very fun crowd! I was absolutely shocked at how many millennials and Gen-“X”ers were on this cruise considering the expense for American’s to take a Mediterranean cruise, and the added costs associated with traveling to get to Europe in the first place. But, there were many young professionals on the ship. Norwegian seems to do a great job at attracting younger passengers without stooping to the spring break Carnival college kid crowd. Although there were lots of younger people on the ship, NOT ONE AGE GROUP seemed to dominate the masses. One of the most balanced cruise crowds that I’ve ever seen. I was shocked at how balanced the crowd was. Also, tons of single millennials on the ship to hang out/flirt with. I’m not saying that I was necessarily looking for a “target rich” environment… But It certainly makes things more interesting if you catch my drift haha. ***Although, I have no data to back up my numbers…. I would guess that the age of passengers on the ship was: 30% Gen X, 25 % Millennials, 20% Baby Boomers, 15% Seniors, 10% Gen Z/Children Nationalities on board were: 45% of passengers were American, 40% European, 10% Latin-American, 5% from other parts of the world. Crew: I cannot say enough great things about the EPIC staff! These people, no matter whether they’re a stateroom attendant, buffet bus person, or an officer were simply perfect. They’ve mastered the art of service. I would give you specific examples, but we’d be here all day. One thing that I’ll point out was the bartenders were great! All were friendly, fast, and after a few days would remember your drink. —Truly remarkable for thousands of people circulating in and out week after week. SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS, MAIN DINING ROOMS, AND BUFFET My father and I ate at 5 of the 7 speciality restaurants on board. This isn’t super typical of everyone who adds speciality dinning to their cruise, as most people will eat at between 2 or 3 restaurants. In no particular order, opinions/grades on the 5 that we ate at: * Le Bistro (French) B+ The food at Le Bistro was pretty good. Not great. I heard several others sitting around us that they were really enjoying the cuisine but there’s a huge caveat for me with the fact that I’m from Louisiana and live in New Orleans. Please understand that I have access to some of the best French food available in the US on a daily basis. * La Cucina (Italian) A+ The food at La Cucina was excellent! Great starter salads, beautiful charcuterie board/antipasto and ton’s of Italian favorites. I had the veal and it was excellent! * Shanghai's Chinese Restaurant B- The meal was decent. But Not nearly the best Chinese food that I’ve had at sea. Much better Chinese on Celebrity Equinox....Called “Silk Harvest”. Their biggest problem is that they are missing some of the American favorites of Chinese. No General Tso Chicken and many other thing’s that Americans would expect from a Chinese restaurant. * Cagney’s Steakhouse D+ Unfortunately one of the worst meals that I’ve ever had at sea. I ordered my ribeye “medium”, and it came out still mooing. Also, the ribeye was 50% fat. I love ribeyes and cook steak often at home, and understand that that cut of meat will have extra marbling, but this was absurd. My father ordered his steak medium-well, and it came like a piece of leather. We both ended up just eating our salads and sides(which were fair at best), and cast aside the steaks. —The staff tried to make it right though. (Plain and simple, Cagney’s just sucks. Tried it on the NCL Escape as well, and thought the exact same thing). —You’d think a steakhouse would be one of the easiest to operate. * Teppanyaki (Japanese hibachi) A+ This was the second best meal that we had behind La Cucina. The food was excellent, as was the enjoyment of the hibachi experience. And the hibachi chef’s were entertaining and hilarious. The food was excellent. Great variety of Steak, chicken, shrimp, muscles, veggies, and rice. ***As you can see from above, 4 of the 5 were good, with 2 being great. Very disappointed in Cagneys on both the Escape and the Epic. MAIN DINNING ROOMS: A+ There are two main dinning rooms on EPIC. “Manhattan” and “Taste”. Manhattan is a little dressier with a little bit more formal setting. Whereas Taste is a little more laid back with more of a traditional menu. We only ate at Manhattan once, and both really liked it. —Very similar menus and atmosphere to other comparable ships. BUFFET: A+ Good choices for breakfast and lots of variety. Pretty typical for a mega ship buffet, but added variety. They seem to a little better job on breakfast than other lines (particularly with omelette stations)... They have omelette stations and other quick to order stations all over to try and get it to you fast. Although we only ate lunch once at the buffet, again there was a good variety of American favorites and various salad bars, and other ethnic cuisine. One thing that we loved was the burger/grilled items outside near the pool deck. Easy to grab lunch and to get back to your deck chair. ENTERTAINMENT: B+ If you remember my opening, you know that I don’t particularly care for “freestyle cruising” because of having to schedule everything so early... Nothing is more prevalent of that than the main theater shows on EPIC. THE SHOWS: “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Burn the Floor," are the Two main headliner shows in the theater. Both were entertaining and high energy. Really liked “Burn The Floor”. Drag isn’t necessarily my thing, but still thought Priscilla was hilarious. Unlike most cruise lines, I do give NCL a lot of credit for their (what I call) “sub-shows”. —Which are smaller venues with comedians, or other shows within smaller venues around the ship. The best show on the ship hands down was called “Cirque Dreams Epicurean” Held in the “Spiegel Tent”. —Which a smaller dinner theater near the main theater. Given the small theater and the rapid changing of the various stages, you feel like the actors and acrobats are right on top of you! It’s interactive as well! There is a charge for this show as they serve dinner as well. It was about the price of a specialty restaurant. Book early! The shows fill up rapidly and were sold out for most of the cruise. Another “sub-show” was “Howl At The Moon” located in Headliners Comedy Club —Free and open to anyone, three musicians play various instruments and take requests from the audience for hours... They were AWESOME! Plus, you can come and go as you please. They typically play for about 4 hours. 8-11PM is clean in case kids are there. After 11PM is uncensored(which is more enjoyable) Speaking of Comedy....One MASSIVE negative which robbed my ENTERTAINMENT GRADE OF BEING AN “A” was no comedy show at all! —Not Even in the comedy club! —I’m not sure if this was just for this cruise, or whether NCL plans on ceasing comedy shows or what the deal was??? MISCELLANEOUS POSITIVES: -I found a lot less nickel & diming on EPIC. -One of the biggest varieties of speciality dinning, along with free speciality dinning options. -The ship really does well with excursions which is important when you’re in Europe given the language differences. -NCL Might have the best premium drink package on earth! Way less expensive than Celebrity and MSC, and you can order virtually anything. They also don’t “drink count” as I call it. In other words, if I ordered two drinks at a time, I didn’t need two cruise cards. They just did it(Believe me my friends, that is rare) MISCELLANEOUS NEGATIVES: -The WiFi was the worst I’ve ever had at sea. Mind you that both my father and I bought the premium unlimited packages on that. Had to constantly re-boot and try for sometimes 7 to 8 times to just to sign on. I get it, I was on vacation and some of you will say that I should’ve unplugged. But, I’m in management with a media company and have to check my email once a day during weekdays for emergencies even when on vacation. -No free bottled water. —Seriously. With a premium drink package, you can order all the Patron, Grey Goose, or Johnny Walker Blue Label you want, BUT NOT bottled water unless you want to pay out of pocket. Otherwise, you get a glass of tap water. Never seen that on 17 cruises except this. IN CLOSING: This cruise was amazing because of the three main factors. 1.) The itinerary, 2.) the people on the ship 3.) the crew. Yes, the ship is nice. But you’d be dazzled by some of the newer ships that other lines have come out with recently. I give the overall grade of B+ to the entire cruise. Inconsistencies in the food, the WiFi, freestyle cruising and a few lesser things narrowly cost EPIC an “A”. —Still a great cruise. Cheers to you on your next voyage! -Matthew from New Orleans, Louisiana Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was my first NCL cruise and I booked through Costco Travel which offered a couple of perks (two complimentary premium dinners) in the process. I also booked the premium beverage package and the daily spa package which made the ... Read More
This was my first NCL cruise and I booked through Costco Travel which offered a couple of perks (two complimentary premium dinners) in the process. I also booked the premium beverage package and the daily spa package which made the cruise a bit more expensive but well worth the cost. The Epic is a large ship staffed with a great crew that always seemed committed to offering gracious and friendly service. Traveling with a friend, we were able to book and hold a handicap-equipped cabin which gave us a bit more floor space as well as the balcony which was great. The only down side was that the door to the combined restroom/shower was broken so we had to make due with a curtain hung by velcro -- not exactly the best privacy set up but we were advised that the repair was planned for shortly after our trip. Pro's: Amazing fitness center and Spa -- we opted for the daily spa access and took advantage of both the workout area and jacuzzi every day. The food was always good and because of the variety offered, even the most picky eaters will find ample options. The kids on board seemed to really love the pizza and I agree -- it's very good! The water flume rides are fun and the wait times were reasonable. The entertainment was also top notch. Con's: Very few issues to mention but here are a couple: the ice machines in the restaurants were overwhelmed at times and sometimes the crew could not keep up with the demand for clean cups. The piped in relaxation music in the spa is just one short tune played over and over. They really need to add more relaxing music because the monotonous one song detracts from the calming experience. While the public restrooms were kept clean, there were some metal support pieces in the toilet stalls that seem dingy and need to be polished. I also noticed that some painted surfaces outside the dining room windows that were showing rust. Lastly, the swimming pools themselves are very small for such a large ship. The water in the pools was also very warm and not refreshing. The ports of call on this trip were interesting and the excursion options were plentiful. To be able to visit three countries in 7 days and only unpack once is definitely a great reason to cruise and overall the NCL Epic was a fantastic vessel for my summer vacation! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I've been sailing with Norwegian for many years. My first time on board the Sun. The cabin was excellent, the overall decor of the ship was very well done. However, unlike the alcohol the beer selection was very limited with basically ... Read More
I've been sailing with Norwegian for many years. My first time on board the Sun. The cabin was excellent, the overall decor of the ship was very well done. However, unlike the alcohol the beer selection was very limited with basically domestic beer. The food in the buffet was not what I've experienced on the Epic. Overall, the selection was limited, tasteless and totally unappetizing. We decided not to dine at the dinning room but bought a dinning package which turned out to be a great choice. Their food and service by the staff was outstanding. Well worth the extra cost during the cruise. On another note, the nightly entertainment was very good from Broadway type shows to Comedy. The staff as usual very accommodating and professional. Our embarkation was a breeze on board within 30 minutes. I will continue to cruise with Norwegian but would rather sail the bigger ships in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were excited about visiting several countries we had never been to, including Russia. Really did not consider the onboard entertainment; but it was super! The only real issue was excursions. We booked two through NCL and two on our ... Read More
We were excited about visiting several countries we had never been to, including Russia. Really did not consider the onboard entertainment; but it was super! The only real issue was excursions. We booked two through NCL and two on our on. the two we booked were phenomenal, but both the Hop on Hop off in Finland and the guided excursion in Gdansk had issues. To NCL's credit they refunded part of our payment in both cases. Our cabin was very nice, but the cabin steward must have been new. He was very nice, but left things out of place when he cleaned. The bar and restaurant staff were exceptional. A little disappointed in the food in La Bistro and Moderno, but pleased everywhere else. The gym was too warm and we did most of our excersize on the promonade deck even thouigh it was very cool and windy mast days. Overall my wife and I really enjoyed the Pearl and the iternary was once in a lifetime for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We had beautiful weather. No rain at all. In Juneau it was about 78 and Skagway about 72. The ride through Glacier Bay was beautiful. You don’t stop. Book your tours ahead of time through Viatour. So much cheaper than ship prices!! In ... Read More
We had beautiful weather. No rain at all. In Juneau it was about 78 and Skagway about 72. The ride through Glacier Bay was beautiful. You don’t stop. Book your tours ahead of time through Viatour. So much cheaper than ship prices!! In Ketchikan we walked to Creek Street and did all our shopping there and very good prices for all souvenirs. You must do the Yukon tour in Skagway. Don’t do the train. Everyone was disappointed since you can’t really get pictures, do the Yukon bus tour instead. Lots of stops and so beautiful. In Juneau we did whale watching (not great) and Mendenhall Glacier. Go to Nugget Falls there! So worth the hike!! The smoking area is only on Floor 17 in a small area but we had so much fun up there and made great friends! Food is all pretty good. We did Cagneys, Italian and Ocean Blue. Didn’t love the Italian but at Ocean Blue you can get lobster for a $10 upcharge. The Beatles and Jersey Boys were great. Didn’t make it to Havana. Beautiful ship, very clean. We had a great time!! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
More details later, but a quick explanation of the ear plugs. NCL has the volume turned up WAY TOO LOUD on all speaker systems. Even with my ear plugs in, it hurt my ears. Other than this, we really enjoyed the cruise. Celebrating our ... Read More
More details later, but a quick explanation of the ear plugs. NCL has the volume turned up WAY TOO LOUD on all speaker systems. Even with my ear plugs in, it hurt my ears. Other than this, we really enjoyed the cruise. Celebrating our 20th anniversary and friend's 35 anniversary, the 4 our us ventured to Seattle to leave on an Alaskan cruise aboard the NCL Bliss. We spent 2 fun days in Seattle prior to leaving and had a wonderful time. We stayed at the Fairmont Olympic (beautiful) and toured the Japanese Garden, Arboretum, Space Needle, Chihuly Glass Museum and Garden, Pike's Market, and the Waterfront. I recommend spending a few days in Seattle before your trip. It was a wonderful way to begin. The Bliss is a fantastic boat. Clean, well organized, wonderful service, fantastic food, SO much to do, and love the observation lounge. This was our 8th cruise with NCL and I must say, pick a newer ship when you can. NCL has done a great job designing and creating their new ships. Not that the older ones are bad, even refurbished, they just can't offer what the newer ships can. The Bliss offers something for everyone and every age. My only disappointment was the entertainment. The volume was SO ridiculously LOUD that we couldn't enjoy it. Entertainment has always been one of my favorite things about a cruise, but such a disappointment on the Bliss. We couldn't participate because of the volume (even with ear plugs). And all entertainment from the music around the pool, to the game shows/events in the Atrium, to the musicals offered in the auditorium was too loud for all of us. We were only able to participate in 2 things - the comedians (wonderfully outstanding) and the silent disco (you can adjust the volume). We left both Havana and Jersey Boys because the volume was too high. For the few atrium activities, we had to stand way down the hall (where you can only listen, not see) because of the speaker volume was TOO LOUD. I can only imagine the damage being done to the staff's ears!! Also, I wish NCL would go back to a variety of entertainment instead of all musicals. I missed the magician and the acrobats and other varieties of entertainment that I am used to. Since it was too loud, I guess it didn't matter anyway, but it sad to see that NCL seems to be going to all musicals on their newer ships. As much as we have enjoyed NCL in the past, because of this change, we will be trying other cruise lines as entertainment is a big reason we go on cruises. I will say, we enjoyed the laser tag and go carts - but count that more as ship activities not so much entertainment. Also, the water slides were fun. The pool looks nice, but the music was too loud to enjoy spending any time there. Most meals were at Taste, Savor, or the Manhattan room. In all 3, we consistently had delicious food and good service. We did try 3 specialty dining restaurants - French, Mexican, and Steakhouse. French and Mexican = Delicious!! If you go to Cagney's (their steakhouse) don't order steak - get the lamb instead. Their steak is only ok, but the lamb is fantastic. Oh, and the raspberry creme brûlée's is outstanding! At the French one, be sure to order the onion soup (wow!!). As for Mexican - table side guacamole and the corn = Devine!! If you like margaritas, be sure to order at the table, not the bar. They are different. Bar = undrinkable. Table = delicious. But I think you can only have 1 at the table. Two of group ordered a second one. The second one obviously came from the bar (different glass) and was undrinkable. Speaking of bars, our favorite one was in the observation lounge. If you are ordering beer or wine, it doesn't matter which bar you go to. But, if you like mixed drinks, try a few until you find the bartenders you like. For us, it was in the observation lounge, the Local, and (if you could catch the right bartender) the Atrium. It also seemed that the bars do have themes. So depending on what you are ordering, go with the correct theme to get a good drink. As for bartenders, I'm guessing some have more experience than others and they do switch around. So, watch for your favorites. As for the itinerary, we enjoyed everything. Felt like we had a fun taste of Alaska. For excursions we did a helicopter ride, train into the Yukon, and rainforest hike. All were very fun. I recommend getting out of the towns unless you want to shop. Lots of shopping, otherwise, you have to book something that takes you away from the towns. All in all, we very much enjoyed the cruise and would recommended it to anyone. Just, be sure to bring ear plugs! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I was travelling with a group of 13 ages 55-65, the ship is very nicely refurbished not the neon colors like some others. Dining options are good, there is the Venetian which is the main dining room, the Aqua, another nice dining room ... Read More
I was travelling with a group of 13 ages 55-65, the ship is very nicely refurbished not the neon colors like some others. Dining options are good, there is the Venetian which is the main dining room, the Aqua, another nice dining room but more intimate, O'Shannesey's Pub a fun bar and restaurant and the buffet. We ate at the venetian for breakfast most days, as we got to warmer climates outside the temperature rose in that room, it was hot, not sure if there was an AC issue. The Aqua is only open for dinner but was comfortable, menu is the same as the Venetian which offers many good options and was cooler. O'Shannesey's Pub had more pub food choices although each night they have a special, one night was prime rib. The buffet was actually very good, we ate there 2 nights and everything was fresh and well seasoned. Breakfast and lunch was a mad house each day, people sit at their table after they are done eating, play cards or scrabble leaving folks with no place to sit, it is rude! The Casino was fun, adequate amount of slot machines, craps, black jack and roulette tables but is of course smoky as they allow smoking but this was another area that was very warm. I'm guessing the temp was low 80's so there was no air flow, there was a huge lack of ventilation in the casino. Entertainment: We enjoyed the shows in the Stardust theater especially "Elements" a cirque de solei type show, it was fantastic. As far as general music around the ship they really missed an opportunity here. They offered 80's tribute music and our group was excited to attend but it turned out to be one woman on a piano playing mellow 80's, same for the Beatles tribute, the band VIP performed Beatles songs but chose all mellow, slow dance songs, again boring. We did really enjoy the DIsco night. We took 5 shore excursions, all were good with the exception of Peggy's Cove, we drove around town for an hour or so looking at historical homes which only left us 50 minutes at Peggy's Cove, it was lunch time so we quickly ordered lunch at the So eastern which was very good but we had to take half to go and never got to really spend time in and around Peggy's Cove. Too bad because it was beautiful there! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this particular cruise to try out the bigger ships (had to try the go Karts) The embarkation out of Seattle was not a good experience, not even taking the construction into account. Of course there were huge lineups, but only ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise to try out the bigger ships (had to try the go Karts) The embarkation out of Seattle was not a good experience, not even taking the construction into account. Of course there were huge lineups, but only The Haven and the regular line was available. What happened to Platinum and suite lines? There also seemed to be 2 levels and one Haven couple was sent from one level to the next only to be told go back. Very confusing. We were not given a Group # card, I assumed because Platinum got on early. But when I asked as handicapped were getting on, I was told "you must have gotten here really late.....no actually we were among the first to arrive.. Once onboard everything went smoothly. We had an Oceanview at the very front overlooking the bow. Great view of the "burgy bits" while staying warm. Trick to get a window in the dining rooms, go right at opening. Love being able to make reservations. There were computer screens all over the ship to make or cancel reservations, or see how the restaurants were filling up. The observation lounge was really nice, windows all across the front and quite a few loungers (although I never managed to snag one). The 2 shows and 2 comedies we saw were excellent. Costumes were incredible. Food was great no matter where you ate. All in all a great trip. Did not do any excursions because we have been to Alaska many times, but would go again, just for the trip...lol Disembarkation went much smoother I'm glad to say. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This one was the only one that we could find that spent an overnight in Cuba. We also liked that it was a short trip because it was my and my sister's first cruise experience. They had numerous promotions at the time that we booked, ... Read More
This one was the only one that we could find that spent an overnight in Cuba. We also liked that it was a short trip because it was my and my sister's first cruise experience. They had numerous promotions at the time that we booked, which made our experience even better - especially the specialty dining promotion that my husband and I used to celebrate our anniversary. The cabin was larger than I expected and the cruise decor was lovely. There were lots of entertainment options for all walks of life and the staff was wonderful. The embarkation process was disorganized and frustrating but it was a small hiccup. Disembarkation was much better. Also, the food at the buffets were hit or miss but there were several options to at least find something to satisfy. I loved visiting Cuba and wish the cruise would have stayed longer. As for onboard entertainment, their main DJ SUCKED. He played the same songs over and over and it included a lot of techno remixes, which appealed to a small portion of the crowd. He really needed more versatile music. This was true for the karaoke machine too...needed more options. When visiting Cuba, I HIGHLY recommend researching your own tours versus booking through the cruise line. Even with their excursion credits, we would have paid an insane amount of money. We found local tours that were either free or low-cost and OFAC-compliant. Overall, it was a memorable and lovely experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I are avid cruisers. We're usually among the younger couples on a cruise, but we've literally cruise around the world on many cruise lines and many many ships. But, I had never cruised on NCL. After hearing some good ... Read More
My wife and I are avid cruisers. We're usually among the younger couples on a cruise, but we've literally cruise around the world on many cruise lines and many many ships. But, I had never cruised on NCL. After hearing some good NCL reviews from my inlaws, we all planned a family trip together and off we went... Let me start by saying our first day started with car troubles. It happens. But on our ride down to Miami we read our cruise documents and were a bit concerned with the 2pm deadline to be on the ship. The ship wasn't scheduled to leave until 4:30pm and having been on many cruises, we know some people take their sweet time getting on last minute. Still, we called NCL to be cautious (car issues we had made it a tight window to get there by 2). The NCL rep on the phone said 2:30pm was the cut off. Our in laws, who had boarded, asked and were told 3:30pm. It would be nice for NCL just to be honest and clear with this information. Despite best efforts, emergencies do occur and people need to know the honest time. If they cant make it, let them know and they can turn around before driving all the way there just to be turned around. The embarkation process was smooth as people mentioned. But no, there's no excitement, dancing or extreme friendliness. In fact, the security at the metal detector consists mainly of a group of gril gossiping about their lives and not really caring about the guests. I actually tried to make friendly comments and was ignored because they were too busy with non work related drama talk. But got on board quickly and our room was ready. It's true there was no guidance or assistance, just hop on and go find your room. Room: The room was a balcony and nice size. Plenty of shelf space. My wife LOVED the dryer in the room next to the TV as it actually warmed up and worked. Many cruises we've been on, she's left with wet hair as you cant bring one on board and well...cruise ships are notorious for weak hairdryers in the bathroom. Bathroom was larger than we're used to with plenty of storage. Shower was larger than normal and I liked the glass enclosure so you dont have to worry about water getting outside of the shower curtain because all is enclosed. Balcony was nice sized although I did have to make 3 requests which took 4 or 5 days to have the balcony sliding glass door tracks greased (it made loud squealing noises while being opened/closed which would wake the dead). Steward: a bit weird that he never came and enthusiastically introduced himself. I actually never met him but went looking for him about day 4 about the balcony door and I spoke into an opened room and he was in there cleaning. My wife said he DID check that we got all of our luggage on the first day but I guess we're just used to a formal "Hi my name is ... I'll be taking care of your room." We never had a talk, etc. But our room care was fine. Food: I researched a lot and we chose this for food quality. We were not disappointed. I never ate at the buffet (I'm over cruise buffets). Each night we went to either Taste, Savor, or Manhattan. Food was good and servers were friendly, good, and generally fast. We LOVED Manhattan. All 3 are free but Manhattan clearly shines with decor and dance floor with live music. I had some memorable deserts there. But memories of dancing with my wife were best. Taste and Savor have the exact same menus as Manhattan. Savor and Taste are the same, but across from each other. But are good. O'Sheehans: food was good. SERVICE IS HORRIBLE. I'd try to each lunch here as the menu is tasty, it's not a buffet, and it's free. First day...fine. Second day: I waited an hour and a half and never got my food. People in all tables around me would get up and complain to matrade in white uniform about not getting food, no service, not getting meals although others at table were done already, etc. But there was no look of concern on the guy's face. I sat there and attempted to not add to the drama. He never checked on me once or asked how I was. Eventually I left hungry. I order a chicken sandwich which is all I ordered. Apparently an hour and a half for a chicken sandwich isnt long enough. I went to the hostess stand and asked to talk to him. She called him and asked me to wait. After waiting 30 minutes for a seat and an hour and a half for food that never came, I waited 5 minutes and he never showed. I asked that he called my room. I walked away and a server chased me and said my food was almost ready. I refused to return after 2 hours of being ignored. Btw: I'm 6'4"...I stand out. I didn't think I'd get a call so I called guests services. He returned my call and offered to treat my wife and I to dinner at La Cucina the following night, which sounded good. But the main thing is I wanted service at O'sheehans to improve and be acknowledged. I returned the next day and he was working hard to correct the issue. Seems it took this to get things turned around. Unfortunately, the service at La Cucina the following night was horrible. We never saw our server after our order. People around us left without ordering desert although they were still hungry. Our food was "ok" but not great. My wife thought the salmon was salty. My meal was cold. We weren't offered desert under the "apologized arrangement " so we left and went downstairs to another restaurant. While there we ran into the original matrade who was wondering why we had not had desert at La Cucina. We informed him that we weren't offered it. He insisted on bringing my wife tiramisu from the restaurant and she enjoyed it. Apparently there was another misunderstanding and we should have been offered desert. Anyways, his efforts were appreciated. But bare in mind that that meal would have costs us $120 had we paid (it's an ala carte restaurant) and all meals in free Taste, Savor and Manhattan were better. O'Sheehans is definitely a sore spot regarding service on this ship. Excursions: didn't do any. We've been to these ports many times and opted for walks or beach days. Pool area: full of all sorts of people who never get out of the pool yet drink all day. HMMM...pool was always packed never got near it. SHOWS: Saw Burn the Floor and Rock the Ages. Loved both. Also see Burn the Floor at Manhattan dinner one night. They're very talented. BANDS: Jamaican band in atrium and in Manhattan played hits from many groups like The Righteous Brothers and are great. Activities: didnt do many. The "escape room" isn't really an escape room. Its disorganized and doesn't make sense. We did mini gulf upstairs and it was fun. People did rope course and rock wall and seemed to enjoy. There's 4 water slides. Didn't do casino or bingo but theatre seemed full of bingo players. If you eat at the Noodle Restaurant prepare to SMELL LIKE SMOKE due to casino smokers sharing the space. DISEMBARKING: Great and quick. Inlaws got stuck for nearly 2 hours though. Guess its luck of the draw. Fitness Center: big for a cruise. Tons of cardio equipment. Dumbbells but no barbells. 2 Smith machines. A stretching room and a spin cycle room. I liked how they didnt try to jam spa packages down your throat like most cruises. Comedies: weren't very funny. Photographs: photographers seemed inexperienced and unsure of angles, people arrangement or what to do with rude guests who walk in front of their shots. But I do like how they don't annoy you with photo attempts the entire cruise. Also, the photo area is VERY organized with photos in individual cases, not laid out everywhere. Stores: same ole same ship stores with cheap invicta watches thatv you've seen on ALL CRUISES. Gave cruise 4 out of 5. Would have been 5 if not for O'Sheehans service and watching many people experience what I did many times and on many different days. It's an issue. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo ... Read More
It's one of the few ships that offers a studio room for solo travellers. This makes cruising much more affordable so I can cruise more often. The solo concierge is excellent and ensures that everyone is taken care of and the solo lounge is a great place to escape from noisy children and obnoxious people. The coffee in the solo lounge is the best on the ship. There are plenty of places to dine with The Local being one of my favourites, but Taste and Savour are also excellent The adult area on the aft deck has two hot tubs and a bar and is a wonderful place to enjoy the scenery. It was the perfect place to view the Golden Gate Bridge sailing out of San Francisco. The crew are attentive and the food was always good. Certainly heard no complaints. The port in Victoria was excellent although a long walk from the city, however again no complaints. The weather was perfect and there was plenty to see and the path to the city was well marked. Embarkation in Los Angeles was a breeze and went much better than I expected. Disembarkation in Vancouver was also quick and painless. I would recommend this ship, especially to solo travellers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was appealing and it had good value. We did not have time to explore Miami before we left, but we had been there before and found it to be a nice city if you can handle high humidity. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was appealing and it had good value. We did not have time to explore Miami before we left, but we had been there before and found it to be a nice city if you can handle high humidity. Embarkation went fairly smoothly. We were on the ship by 12 enjoying our first cocktail of the cruise. On the other hand, disembarkation was a complete nightmare. It was the worst experience we have EVER had leaving a ship. The original, final port was supposed to be Barcelona. However, at some point in time, the final destination was changed to Tarragona with Barcelona in parenthesis, which on other cruises indicates an alternate name for the same city or a city located close at hand. Ex. Thira (Santorini) The reason our ship was shunted to Tarragona, which as it turns out, was more than an hour away from Barcelona, was because Norwegian had also scheduled the Epic, a mega ship with our EXACT itinerary. GRRRR! Just hours away from Epic, the Jade was also scheduled & appeared in port at least once with us. That meant a mad scramble for cabs and overcrowding in historic sites and eateries. Also, the Epic was so monstrous, that Barcelona could not accommodate both ships. That meant, our ship was dumped at an industrial port with no clue how to process passengers through immigration. It was a mad house. We couldn't leave on foot because of security. We waited for our own charter bus they wouldn't let in, because all the ship's shuttle buses had priority. (Norwegian had offered to "help" people get to Barcelona for a mere $30 pp. via their shuttles.) While trying to exit the ship, crew members had been given conflicting information about how to direct people and there was an area where 2 different lines were snaking in opposite directions. In short, it was an awful experience and by the time we got our pre-reserved ride, we arrived in Barcelona 5 hours later. This disembarkation fiasco and the double booking of other Norwegian ships at the same ports, will be at the forefront of our minds when considering whether to sail with Norwegian again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I gave this review a very good. Here are the positives: Must see entertainment, Burn the Floor, Cirque Dreams of Steam, and Million Dollar Quartet. Casino review: Blackjack very bad to play house had extreme advantage because the Casino ... Read More
I gave this review a very good. Here are the positives: Must see entertainment, Burn the Floor, Cirque Dreams of Steam, and Million Dollar Quartet. Casino review: Blackjack very bad to play house had extreme advantage because the Casino uses a shufflemaster. For people who dont understand this the cards played are put right back into the hopper so theres no rhyme or reason as to what card would be coming out next. Poker Tournaments were two days supposed to be 3 days but one was cancelled when private island tour was skipped because of weather at sea. Overall tournaments were satisfactory I wasnt very pleased that after playing an hour or so and there were only 8 of us left that someone could buy in and play the final table with us with a buy in of 100 for 2000 chips and an addon for 4000 chips. It gave a distinct advantage to the new player. Deal or No Deal game was very entertaining. The Spa seemed crowded in hot tub area and was uncomfortable when people jumped in IE 4 guys in one tub just didint sit right with me. Should maybe be some times scheduled for the Hot tub for individuals. Salt room was nice and showers there were very good . Staff and crew members were very cordial and friendly. Maid service impeccable. Casino hosts were very professional. Food everywhere exceptional. Cons: They lost our luggage on 1st night and we missed out on formal dinner with suits and nice dresses because of it. Also when we arrived at Port Canaveral for stopover it was only 4 hours to visit Sea World and after hr drive made it 3 hrs or less. Private Island trip cancelled missed out on snorkeling . Also rooms were lit by a key card and you need this card to use the bathroom too this would have been a nice thing to know upon entering the stateroom. Enjoy Your Cruise!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I were split. I wanted to travel to Hawaii and rent a house/condo and do some island hopping so we could spend more time in each place and he wanted to cruise. The NCL Pride of America offered a bit of both. We spent two ... Read More
My husband and I were split. I wanted to travel to Hawaii and rent a house/condo and do some island hopping so we could spend more time in each place and he wanted to cruise. The NCL Pride of America offered a bit of both. We spent two nights in ports, so you didn't have that rush to get back to the boat which was a nice change of pace. The ship was clean and well-maintained, but the stateroom was a little smaller than other cruise lines. There was plenty of room to spread out and enjoy yourself. Overall the cruise was a great experience and I would highly recommend it. This was our first time cruising NCL, so things were a little different. First is the "anytime dining." We prefer to have a reservation, sit at the same table each night and get to know the wait staff. Here you sit somewhere different every night, even in the same restaurant. We learned once you get on board that you can make reservations at all of the restaurants (except buffet), but you sit at a different table each night. And note, the times fill up quickly, so don't delay if you want a specific time. Turned out to still be really fun because the wait staff were delightful! We met waiters and waitresses from all over the US and they remembered us from night to night. They would come over to our new table and greet us and ask about our day. One staff member saw us in port and yelled to us "Hey, North Carolina friends..." and then came to talk to us. She didn't have to take her limited shore time to say hi, but she did. Another member of the wait staff is Turkish and my mother speaks Turkish, so they spoke to each other for days. I say all of this to emphasize that the personal touch was still there. There were a variety of activities during the day and evening that appealed to a variety of age groups and interests. We particularly enjoyed the piano entertainer/singer as he played music from the 50s to the 90s. It was great because the age range on the boat varied by that or more! We were a little disappointed in a few of the other entertainment options. The show times also made it tough for people who choose to eat a little later. We often dined at 7:30 which meant we couldn't see the later shows at 8 or 8:30 p.m. Yes, we could have chosen to eat earlier or quickly, but we like to hang by the pool until around 4 or 4:30 p.m., go back and take a nap, then get ready for dinner and have a drink before going into the dining room. And clearly, based on what times were available when we tried to make reservations, many others preferred to dine a little later, too. So this wasn't just us. Napa Wine Bar was a delightful place to have a quiet drink and chat before dinner! It was dark and quiet so it really helped set the mood for a relaxing dinner. Our 14 year old son is a sports fanatic, so he enjoyed dropping by the Gold Rush Saloon to check sports scores from time-to-time. The back pool bar also had a TV and we were able to keep an eye on the NFL draft from there. Another disappointment was that they put a great guitar player in the Gold Rush Saloon and that was a poor choice. TVs were on with sports and people were rowdy, so you couldn't hear him. He would have been much better somewhere else. We learned while on the ship that because it sails under the US flag, 75% of the crew members are US citizens. Just an interesting fact since most other ships employ crew members from many different countries. We enjoyed meeting crew members from NC (our home state) and hearing their stories about why they chose to work on a cruise ships when we asked. My parents also traveled with us. My father is a Vietnam veteran and really appreciated the veteran reception the ship hosted. He said there weren't many people there, but it was a nice way to recognize their service and meet others on the ship who also served. There are PLENTY of shore excursions designed to meet your interests, so you are never at a loss for things to do. However, they are pricey. In most ports you can find the exact same excursion for much less if you are willing to do a little legwork. We talked to a lot of people who rented a car in port and did their own exploring. In Hawaii (Hilo I think), there was a Hop On Hop Off bus for $20 that made 7 or 8 stops. A lot of people did this and really enjoyed it! We chose one excursion a day and did most of them in the morning. We were up anyway since we are from the east coast. We would get back to the ship by 12:30 or 1:30 p.m. and that allowed us time to eat and still get some pool/relaxation time every day. We went rappelling down the waterfalls. Note here - this is a level 3 activity and it was every bit of that! IF YOU AREN'T IN GOOD SHAPE, DO NOT sign up for this. But if you are in good shape and looking for an adventure, this is a great one. Beautiful views and super fun guides! Our 14 year old son did this with us and LOVED IT! There are several opportunities to take a helicopter tour. We did ours over Kilauea. I was expecting a smoking/lava volcano and that is NOT what we got, but we are still glad we did it. We saw an older volcano that had the smoke plumes coming out of the top, but Kilauea was just a small fissure and none of them had any lava or red/glowing rocks like you see in the pics. The views were spectacular, the guide gave us so much history about the Volcano National Park and the volcanos within the park and could answer all of our questions. We also went around some of the coastal areas and the views were fabulous! Other excursions included zip lining in Kauai, the mud bugs(ATV) in Kauai, a bus trip up to the Haleakala volcano, and snorkeling and dolphin trip in Kona where we saw 4 or 5 different pods of spinner and bottlenose dolphins right there at our boat! The trip up to Haleakala included a long, hairpin turns filled road. If you easily get motion sick, take some ginger candy and motion sickness pills. The ride up they gave you multiple opportunities to get off the bus and walk around, but there are no stops on the way down. Two people on our bus got sick coming back down. The mud bugs were fun, but it hadn't rained much so the trip was very dusty and pricey. Definitely one you can book on your own. But boy the views were awesome! Lots of movies filmed within the craters where we were traveling, including Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Finally to the point of the second part of my review title...the extra charges. We paid for everything up front, or so we thought. Once we got on board, both my husband and father checked our accounts. We discovered that you still have to pay taxes on all of your drinks (usually about $0.50/drink) AND you pay $15+ a day/person for tips. We knew we had paid a service charge up front. When we went to guest relations, they explained that was for food and beverage. The other $15+/person/day is for the rest of the cruise staff. We certainly don't mind tipping but that was NOT made clear up front, nor do we recall seeing anything about that on the website. We ended up paying several hundred $$ extra that we weren't aware of. It isn't a big deal for us, but if you have a budget, make note of this and plan accordingly. The other pain point we had was disembarkation. What a cluster compared to other ships. First, you could select your departure time by picking up colored tags. That's great except they put the tags out on Thursday night at 6 p.m. when 1/3 of the ship's passengers were off at the luau. On Sat. morning, we woke up to lines snaking down the halls and room corridors with people and their gigantic suitcases all trying to get on the elevators to go down to the departure floor. The ship offers to take your luggage and you pick it up in the terminal, but it looked like half the ship chose to keep their bags and take them off personally. You couldn't move around all the people and luggage. My parents had an excursion that morning back in Honolulu and barely made it because they were stuck on the stairs for more than 30 min. No one from the ship offered to help them get off and make their tour. As for my family, we chose to put our luggage outside the door Friday night and let the ship's crew handle it for us. So we waited patiently for our disembarkation color to be called...and we waited...and we waited. They kept calling other colors, but never called orange. Finally they put an all call out for any passengers remaining on the boat to leave now. Several of us looked at each other and realized that we were all orange and they never called our color. So we left the ship and went to get our luggage. Three of our four suitcases were there, but one was missing. We filed a report before leaving and it's now 48 hours later and no word from anyone. I looked at our report yesterday when we got home and at the bottom is says, "Don't call us..." and if they don't find our luggage in 7 days they will email us and tell us how to file a claim, but we will only get $100 back for our loss. That suitcase included most of my dinner dresses, a pair of Jack Rogers sandals and another pair of shoes, at least 3 pairs of my shorts and several of our bathing suits, plus other items that I just haven't discovered yet. $100 won't touch the replacement cost for those items. We've also cruised Royal Caribbean and Princess. At the end of the day, if we have a choice, we'll likely go back to one of those. But for this trip, NCL offered the best option. You didn't waste 3-4 days sailing from LA to HI before getting to land. We were able to spend 7 full days on the islands and really take advantage of the beauty and splendor of Hawaii! Bottom line...take the trip! You will love it! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Cruise director was wonderful. Waitstaff was kind, rooms were always clean. Atrium bartenders were not great. Shakers was amazing, as were all fine dining experiences. Entertainment staff were a hit or miss. Some were wonderful, others ... Read More
Cruise director was wonderful. Waitstaff was kind, rooms were always clean. Atrium bartenders were not great. Shakers was amazing, as were all fine dining experiences. Entertainment staff were a hit or miss. Some were wonderful, others were rude (without much of a reason) towards guests -I can recall the female British insulting another guest rather curtly and want too impressed. Costa maya is a bust of a shopping port, could do without it as a port since there wasn’t much to do and most of the shops are repeats of one another. If you fond something you’re interested in excursion wise just do it. Although there aren’t many interesting excursions in Costa Maya, which was a bummer. Harvest Caye is a letdown without the drink package. The beach and pool were fine if that’s how you’re looking to spend your day. Cozumel is wonderful! We went to Chichen Itza and loved it! Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. We wished we had more time in Cozumel. Roatan is nice but a bit dodgy in some areas. Just pay a cab driver to take you around the island. Read Less
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