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199 Norwegian (NCL) Entertainment Cruise Reviews

Excellent prior experiences with other NCL cruises. We have been on a large number of cruises (30+) with many different cruise lines and this was the worst cruise we have ever been on. We are NCL Platinum and have always enjoyed NCL ... Read More
Excellent prior experiences with other NCL cruises. We have been on a large number of cruises (30+) with many different cruise lines and this was the worst cruise we have ever been on. We are NCL Platinum and have always enjoyed NCL ships, however due to the many negative experiences we had on this cruise, we will not be sailing on NCL again. Pros • Food was above average in both quality and selection • Staff attitude was excellent – other than overworked staff at bars • Ship was kept very clean. Cons • Very limited dance opportunities – none of public areas have any area or space to dance. Only dance area was a small area in dining room with very limited dance opportunities. • The onboard musical entertainment was well below average. Not enjoyable to listen to at all. • Very inadequate staffing in main bars (pool, atrium, etc.) during prime time. Extremely poor staffing levels caused very long wait times and the overworked staff did not enjoy their hard working conditions and it was apparent from their attitudes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Okay. Not our first cruise. Every place has a different way of conducting business. But this is the worst week of my life! We went as a big group for my grandmas 80th bday bash. 16 of us. Wont make this to long cause this week seemed like ... Read More
Okay. Not our first cruise. Every place has a different way of conducting business. But this is the worst week of my life! We went as a big group for my grandmas 80th bday bash. 16 of us. Wont make this to long cause this week seemed like it would never end! Getting into the boat and off no organization what so ever. Everytime we had a question different info each time. Food disgusting! Even where u had to pay extra! Crew awful and rude! Dont depend on getting in contact with anyone. Room service, housekeeping, operator no one your on your own.! Best way to describe this expensive trip and we were priority the whole time was a dirty hotel on water! Sheets were stained and not even fitted sheets. The bed we slept on was more like a roll out bed horrible. Would never go ever again. You want a quality get your money's worth cruise Disney, its not just for kids the food is amazing where ever u go! Even the free food best food ever! Disney all the way! Super clean staff is great u call someone dosent even have to ring there is someone! Service is outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Way overcrowded, bad use of space on the ship. You have to be on the sun deck by 7am to maybe get a chair, 2 very small pools, 1 kids, 1 adult.. 4 very tiny hot tubs. Way too many children, 1 hour wait for water slides most of the time. ... Read More
Way overcrowded, bad use of space on the ship. You have to be on the sun deck by 7am to maybe get a chair, 2 very small pools, 1 kids, 1 adult.. 4 very tiny hot tubs. Way too many children, 1 hour wait for water slides most of the time. The gym is way, way too small and lacks equipment. Room, food, restaurants, entertainment were all good. Make any RSVPs for spa, excursions, go kart etc before you get on the ship. It will be sold out by the time you get on the ship. Watch out for the drink package, be sure to ask when getting a drink if what you want is extra charge or not. They don't let you know then it's on your bill. Starbucks on board and good service. NCL blew it on this ship, bad design/layout, not such a stable ride either due what I am told is a German built ship that lacks the stabllizers on other ships. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my first cruise experience, my partner's second. Nothing went as planned, changed flights at the last minute, terrible food, awful customer service and the captain must have been racing other cruise ships. While we tried to ... Read More
This was my first cruise experience, my partner's second. Nothing went as planned, changed flights at the last minute, terrible food, awful customer service and the captain must have been racing other cruise ships. While we tried to look at the positive during our trip it was difficult to find the silver lining. Something as simple as requesting a Turkey burger became a task, I was profoundly dissappointed. Not one staff person could provide us with a clear answer when asked, the room never received fresh sheets, and that was just a small peek into our NCL experience. I can not say it enough, I will never travel NCL again. The booking experience was even hellish! We were never assigned a dedicated consultant, so every time we called for info we were met with long hold lines and many apologies. What I will say is this.....Makiba our Stewart definty tried to make our stay warm. The shows were palatable, and the cranberry juice was great. That's it, that's all I have to say about the positives, oh the in room movies were good. The excursions were best booked when we docked, NCL over charges and we even had to walk to out excursion! I hope this doesnt sound like we were looking for things to complain about, because it felt like those things were looking for us. No NCL I am not looking to be compensated or even a response, but as a responsible keep traveler I would be remiss if I didnt warn others of the worst ahead. Turn around now, dont do it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Have been cruising for years and this is the first time I left the ship feeling truly disappointed. I usually like to linger onboard and disembark after the crowds, but I went ashore at the first opportunity. I was surprised by the ... Read More
Have been cruising for years and this is the first time I left the ship feeling truly disappointed. I usually like to linger onboard and disembark after the crowds, but I went ashore at the first opportunity. I was surprised by the ambivalence of many of the crew, though polite, they just seemed to be going through the motions. Especially considering this is a new ship, I was expecting to have the Norwegian “A” team onboard. It was a holiday cruise, so I anticipated having to book early for premium dinners and activities. However, I was unable to book all of the prepaid premium restaurants I wanted to dine in as everything was booked before we even left port. I also was unable to get a spot on the go carts, which wasn’t the end of the world, but I would have liked to try it. The highlight of the cruise for me was the Choir of Man Show, which was superb. I didn’t enjoy Kinky Boots as much, the lead singer’s voice and performance was just not compelling. I have enjoyed Norwegian Ships in the past and have sailed with them many times. I am surprised how disappointed I feel after a week on a cruise, I will definitely not sail on the Encore again. I usually buy Cruise Next while onboard but didn’t this time. If you are a smoker, do not get on the Encore. You will feel like a second class citizen and there are no outdoor venues which allow smoking. Their other ships had smoking corners outdoors, but not Encore. There is a very small enclosed smoking room with poor air circulation on Deck 8. The stool seating is uncomfortable, and the space was perpetually crowded. The seating in the Atlanta Airport smoking lounges is more comfortable. The acoustics are horrible, and it just amplified the constant complaining by the other passengers in the small space. The only other options are an enclosed space in the casino if you are gambling. As well as a Cigar lounge with great club chairs, but you are only allowed to smoke cigars in there. The spa thermal suite is nice and only marred by rude passengers talking loudly, ruining the tranquility of the space. The food was ok, nothing memorable, and the beverages were decent. The new Onda restaurant food was good, but the space is all hard surfaces and the noise level was just ridiculous with a full dining room. You could barely hear the server trying to take your order. They did apologize for the noise level and seemed to know this was a problem. I have been loyal to Norwegian for years, but will likely try a different Cruise Line now. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
embarkation was terrible all aspects were overcrowded, pools, bars, buffets, restaurants did not port in Bonaire that was part of package Sailed out of san juan , did not leave when scheduled had to pay tax on drinks when in port ... Read More
embarkation was terrible all aspects were overcrowded, pools, bars, buffets, restaurants did not port in Bonaire that was part of package Sailed out of san juan , did not leave when scheduled had to pay tax on drinks when in port Port of san juan traffic was that bad it took us 2 hours to get to ship our hotel was 20 min away Could not book some specialty restaurants always fulll Buffet area did not have enough indoor seating during the day we would have to go to the outside seating area and sit in the sun and wind. There were some coverd tables outside but always full. Most of the ice machines were not working. The pools were always over crowded we did not get to use them one time At the h2o spice bar the mens room was locked everyday you had to go down the steps to next level for restroom To many people for the amount of amenities this ship provided Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My girlfriend and I booked the cruise because we were interested in trying NCL after sailing with RCI twice and because it seemed like a decent deal. Very disappointing experience, they were performed well below RCI. The food was a ... Read More
My girlfriend and I booked the cruise because we were interested in trying NCL after sailing with RCI twice and because it seemed like a decent deal. Very disappointing experience, they were performed well below RCI. The food was a huge let down, the one asian dining spot Lotus Garden had some of the worst asian food I've ever tried. The buffet did not have as many options as the RCI cruise ships and the dining room food was down right bad at times. Many of the entrees were not cooked well and I was particularly disappointed at the fried chicken entree that I ordered. It sounded like a safe choice and yet it seemed like it neither the chicken or the batter they used had any seasoning whatsoever. I did not try any of their paid dining areas. The service was not up to par either in the dining areas. We were not given explanations of what many dishes were, it seemed as though we were a nuisance when asking about what certain dishes were, asking for recommendations and asking to add on to our order. Many of the waiting staff did not seem interested in serving and providing good service. The one redeeming aspect of this ship is the cheap drink package. Cocktails were good, bartenders were good. Beware that bottled water for a non upgraded drink package is 4 to 5 dollars and on their private island your drink package is invalid... seems like they're penny pinching. The entertainment on board was quite mediocore overall. The musical and dance performances we attended were below average, reading the bio of the performances they seem to hire new graduates in the arts and it is reflected in their performance. They had one person do stand up comedy which was great and the acrobatics performance we saw was not up to par with what RCI has to offer and in the middle of the performance cut to a projector screen for a maybe 480p video for 3 mins while the performers changed outfits.. completely ridiculous. Otherwise their lounge and fitness areas were average. We only did one shore excursion with NCL and that was for a ship to take us to the local area of Belieze for 25 bucks. They overbook the speed boat and it was a tight squeeze. It seemed quite unsafe to me and on top of that you only go for 3 hours and need to pay more if you would like to stay longer and take a later boat. Dissapointing on NCL side. Our room was not up to standard either. It was mostly clean when we came but the cupboards were sticky and seemed to have something spilled in it that just was not checked. Our housekeeper seemed nice, but did not seem to respect the do not disturb sign we had outside. He knocked on our door to give us the itinerary and when we told him to leave it outside he stood there. I don't know if he had heard us or not, but he shouldn't have knocked anyways. On the last day he also came into our room when we had the do not disturb sign on and I think it was to cover up for not checking the minibar prior to us, which he then billed to us after cleaning up our room when we had do not disturb up. We had a horrific time dealing with guest services trying to dispute the charges from the minibar. We had gone late in the evening close to 10 after realizing that he had put the receipt on our table and the gentleman from guest services assured us that the 30 dollar charge would be refunded. It was not, he clearly had made a mistake and we went back at 2 in the morning to be told the housekeeping department that was in charge of minibars was not open and we needed to come back at 7... on the morning of disembarkment. The morning of, the gentleman we spoke to called the housekeeping manager who eventually asked us to go up to the room to discuss with him because "the charge was a large amount". We refused and refunded our service charges because we were furious at this point. I would have just left this very lengthy and negative review for NCL, however they don't even have an area for me to leave them a review... clearly they don't care about what their customers think. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I was really looking forward to escaping the cold. Great Stirrup Cay, sounded wonderful. I had been on the Gem before and loved that I would know my way around. I decided to go cheap on the cabin this time and book an inside cabin. I was ... Read More
I was really looking forward to escaping the cold. Great Stirrup Cay, sounded wonderful. I had been on the Gem before and loved that I would know my way around. I decided to go cheap on the cabin this time and book an inside cabin. I was surprised by how much shelves, drawers, closets etc. there was to unpack all my things. I always use a shoe organizer to store all my bathroom necessities. I did have to store this in the other side of the door, but there were also 3 glass shelves in the bathroom which gave plenty of storage. I was surprised at the cracked in many places sink. Dining was ridiculous! No one seemed to know what they were doing or where they should be. Getting waited on took forever, getting water took a long time, and the food took longer than I ever remember even when they were not busy at all. The food for the most part was excellent although sometimes coffee was cold and sometimes almost sludgy. This was the first time I did not have a beverage package and I did not like it. I did notice that the drinks I paid for where in no way comparable to my last cruise with the Gem. I feel bad that I told many people how much better the drinks were than the ones we had on our Celebrity cruise. I enjoyed the shows and classes I attended. The stage seemed a bit crowded at times, too many people for the small stage. We had laundry done and clothing turned up missing, clothing in room turned up missing. We left the room one afternoon, I had a glass of water by my bed, to take medications with, when we got back the beds were made, new towels were placed in the bathroom but in my glass of water were candy wrappers?? Now for the part that made me never want to sail with Norwegian again. The treatment I received as a handicapped guest. I can walk short distances and can not do stairs. One time after waiting 20 minutes the crew member asked who among the group was handicapped, after waiting 5 more minutes she turned to us and said she was tired of calling for assistance, we needed to go to customer service and ask for assistance ourselves. Thankfully I was able to find a place to sit while waiting. I was brought to tears many times on this cruise by how I was treated. When it came time to return we waited for 25 minutes for someone to return to their station for assistance to get back on the ship. The customs agent called Norwegian several times trying to get some assistance for me. Finally we asked them if we could use one of Norwegian’s wheelchairs and have someone in my group push me up the ramps to get back in the ship, when we got close enough we could see the person who had helped me before just standing there with several crew members, when we were almost on the ship he finally stepped towards us and asked if he could help!! I could go on, but just suffice it to say they were not very friendly to this handicapped person!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose this cruise ship because the activities that were available on the ship, but was unaware of the extra charges for the activies. Then we had to book for activities and the staff didnt explain the rules accordingly. We were unaware ... Read More
I chose this cruise ship because the activities that were available on the ship, but was unaware of the extra charges for the activies. Then we had to book for activities and the staff didnt explain the rules accordingly. We were unaware that we needed closed toe footwear in order to get on the Go Karts so people were turned away and had to re-book after standing on long lines. The rooms were too small and the staff was not very pleasant. My family had several incidents with poor treatment. My 8 year old nephew was insulted by a staff member because he ordered a salad and that was all he wanted. I told the waiter he eats a lot of salads and he said "oh yea, how come you so big". The food was horrible and there wasn't a variety of food to accommodate. Getting on and leaving the ship was too chaotic we were flagged saying we had to go to guest service all to find out that was an error. My family and i have cruised with Norwegian and i must say this was the worst experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
You don’t go to Bonaire. According to the port authorities in Bonaire, the Epic is not registered to port there ever. The port is being sold as part of the curies package next month, Jan. 2020, but this ship is not allowed to port in ... Read More
You don’t go to Bonaire. According to the port authorities in Bonaire, the Epic is not registered to port there ever. The port is being sold as part of the curies package next month, Jan. 2020, but this ship is not allowed to port in Bonaire, apparently because of its size. It was sold to us as part of the package but 60 days out we received a letter that we would instead, enjoy our balconies’ for an extra day. This is fraud! Our first day at see was spent in the harbor. When I complained I was told, “You’re on the ship so it counts”. Not in my book. Our seven day cruise was cut short to 6 days without compensation. Then there is the part everyone else is talking about. The heinous way were treated at the port. Over a mile backup in traffic, five hour delay getting boarded, no help from crew or security. People jumping line, passengers finding wheel chairs for the elderly and a few people passed out and one in front of me was injured. I was told by a member at the Latitudes counter that the ship had been boarded one day before and the Coast Guard required the papers of all crew members. It was not stated but implied that many of them were not legal. Then the Coast Guard again boarded the same day we were to ship out. According to the latitudes representative they searched and the crew had to present papers again. This set them behind by 12 hours. I have no way to neither prove nor disprove his accounting. Beyond this, our excursion reservations were lost, and when we reported this to Haley, we were told it was our fault for not taking care of it the day we launched. Everyone else in our group got theirs but not us. We also found out we were supposed to get a bottle of champion , but that never came. When I asked for it I was then made to feel like I was asking for an extra bottle. Here is what the company needs to hear from me. My wife and I were planning on surprising our family with a cruise with Norwegian for May or 202. Because of the discount of booking on while on board we decided to wait until we were at sea to book this trip, total of 6 tickets, three rooms. Because of the inability of Norwegian to live up to its reputation we have decided to go with another company. I know this will not break the company and it is all about the money. But you have lost a total of 12 customers for life because of you ham-handed dealings with me and my family. A few odd things also happened. Our first morning I opened the drapes and a pair of men’s red under-wear came falling out at my feet. That was strange. Our apps failed and internet use was unreliable. Three contracts I wrote on the ship never made it to the recipients. After eating in the Garden café we noticed each day that stewards were staring agape out the windows as if this was their first day away from their home. While they were mesmerized at the vista our plates piled up and we ended up moving tables. I found it odd that there was not a single comfortable seat on the entire ship. it was as if it is a concerted effort to keep you moving. I was told that the black jack seats were very comfortable. I didn't play. One more odd thing. At the ice/water stations we were not allowed to fill out water bottles. Ice stations were usually empty of ice and when we asked for ice we were pointed to another station at a different part of the chip or another deck for ice. One last warning. Don’t fall for the “please take a towel with you” trick. They plan on your losing your towel and then charging you $25 for every one that does not come back. Look at your cabin number on the sing out sheet as they sign you out a beach towels. Right beside that you see “price $25.00” I do want to say that the entertainment was good and the food was good. I really enjoyed Doug, guitarist, and the dance company, Burn the Floor. I was put off by the main event being a drag show. Drag queens are not appropriate for family friendly cruises. I don’t know why the leadership at Epic doesn’t know this. If I ever do cruise this line again it will never be out of PR nor will it be a big ship. It’s just not worth the overcrowding and lines after lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
So before I start this is my first review I have ever done. This alone should show my dissatisfaction with this cruise line. After being on multiple cruises we decided to book a Norwegian Cruise, as we had not been on this cruise line ... Read More
So before I start this is my first review I have ever done. This alone should show my dissatisfaction with this cruise line. After being on multiple cruises we decided to book a Norwegian Cruise, as we had not been on this cruise line yet. Typically we do one cruise per year with a group of friends. This year we had a group of 13 leaving out of New Orleans, LA traveling to Cozumel and Progresso Mexico on the Norwegian Getaway. Having been to both ports we all knew what to expect, however, everyone was excited for a new cruise line that we were thinking was an upscale cruise. This was not the case. I'll start with the ship. The ship was very well kept. It had a different layout than we were used to but no big deal. Typically the Atrium surrounds all the busy floors. The Atrium was a total of 3, maybe, 4 levels. These levels stretched both forward and aft with different venue's in each floor. My complaint about this is the venue's were extremely small, not near big enough to accommodate everyone. The bars, especially the live entertainment, such as Sid's Pour House, was typically shoulder to shoulder with no room to sit. This bar was by far the best spot on the ship. The staff. Horrible. Any time we went to any staff member whether it was the bartender, customer service, waiter/waitress, etc. we all felt as if we were an inconvenience to them. Very few staff members seemed happy to be on the ship. As a matter of fact, one of the servers from our specialty dining stated this was his first Norwegian and would also be his last the day we arrive back to port. This shipped was understaffed. On the Pool Deck there were 2 bars surrounding the pool. These bars typically had only 2 bartenders in each. Drinks on average took 15-20 minutes to get. There were very few bartenders walking around on the top decks as well, where the lounge chairs were. IF you were lucky enough to find one it was most likely a 30 minute wait. Nickel and Diming. There was always something they would try to charge you for, even if you had paid for it. We had purchased the beverage packages as well as upscale dining, etc. Well folks, be prepared to spend more money when you get on this ship as it in no way is all inclusive. The spa, what a joke. Upwards of $200 for a spa pass, and yes you have to pay this if you want to do something as simple as the sauna or steam room. Walking past the spa was like being chased down by a timeshare salesman. Food. Woof. All I wanted when I got back was a basic fast food cheeseburger. I would rather eat a lifetime of frozen dinners than set foot back in their buffet. The food was sub-par for any standard. The main dining was OK but nothing to write home about. Upscale dinning's were a little better but I could just as easy go to a restaurant at home or cook my own meal and be just as happy. After meeting multiple people on the cruise that had the same complaints we knew there was something wrong and it was not just us. I will gladly take a Carnival any day over this line. Norwegian should do a better job as advertising themselves as a "budget" cruise line. If you are truly looking for a good vacation Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, or Princess cruises offers a hands down experience, My advice - #nevernorwegian Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We have always loved Norwegian Cruise Lines and its super friendly/entertaining atmosphere and staff before this last cruise we just took in December on the Norwegian Sun. However, after this cruise my family and I just took we were all ... Read More
We have always loved Norwegian Cruise Lines and its super friendly/entertaining atmosphere and staff before this last cruise we just took in December on the Norwegian Sun. However, after this cruise my family and I just took we were all highly disappointed with our cruising experience. While there were some positive aspects of our vacation, such as the photography services and the friendly staff that helped us choose and buy our family photos taken onboard, the disappointing aspects of our experience outweighed the positive aspects. Firstly, our dining experience onboard was subpar at best. When we would go to the Garden Cafe for a meal, there were not many options and variety available to choose from and eat. Especially with our family being vegetarian, finding options and options that were tasty were pretty difficult; this is true in the complimentary restaurants as well. Our family even went to the specialty Mexican restaurant Los Lobos; however our family could only choose and eat 1 entree because it was the only vegetarian option (even the rice and beans had meat in them!). Secondly, the staff was noticeably less visible and friendly on this cruise compared to our last two cruises, for example our cruise director Jamie only introduced the first show and only hosted one event (the Newlywed Game Show) and we did not see or hear of her at all for the rest of the cruise. Our housekeeping staff was also not too friendly, even rudely telling my sister and I that we have to leave the room within 10 minutes so they can clean it (the housekeepers waited outside the cabin door knocking for us to leave). Another experience with rude staff was in the Garden Cafe, I was apparently blocking the plate stack while I was serving myself some food and the worker was tapping his foot behind me and gave me an attitude to move over so he could put more plates on the stack, even though it had only been a couple seconds that I was standing there. Lastly, the entertainment felt lazy and unimaginative. All the game shows and events were exactly the same from our past NCL cruises and nothing felt innovative or exciting. Also, the biggest disappointment with the entertainment was that most of the “fun” events were for additional fees, which seems very greedy and vicious from NCL seeing as though everyone has already spend a hefty amount of money to already be on the cruise. It was the constant additional fees and the constant selling/advertising that made me lose most of my respect for NCL and its ethics, they don't seem genuine anymore and it seems that all the company wants to do is suck their consumers out of as much money as they can. Overall, my family and I had a pretty subpar/bad experience this time around on NCL even though we have been loyal to them in the past and are Latitudes Rewards members. I am unsure of if we will choose NCL again for our future cruises after this last experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this trip because the Asian itinerary was perfect for us. Our main complaint was the shore excursion desk. -Sent changes to 5 of our excursions as soon as we boarded -Rude and abrupt when we asked questions to book new ... Read More
We chose this trip because the Asian itinerary was perfect for us. Our main complaint was the shore excursion desk. -Sent changes to 5 of our excursions as soon as we boarded -Rude and abrupt when we asked questions to book new tours -Unorganized in meeting areas. People stood/huddled around the exists to be the first to disembark. -Consistently spoke down to us -Disregarded meeting times on tickets. I arrived 10 minutes early and was told the passengers had already left for the excursions. -Untrustworthy. Had to arrive half an hour before excursions -Mass chaos instead of exiting in single file/ row by row -Was to told to repeatedly return to follow up on a credit for a cancelled excursion -Set a negative tone of dread when going to meet for an excursion -Encouraged pushing and shoving when exiting the ship -I was shoved by passengers running to be seated first on the bus. The ship was definitely in need of a mood "lift" . The worst restaurant service we received was in the dining room for lunch by three servers on three different occasions. The worst "hit" was when I called their customer service desk upon returning home, I was told I was lying that I had followed up with customer service on board the ship. My husband was also bored with the entertainment. Especially on sea days. Ghosted by customer service after the cruise. Will not be sailing with Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Was leaving from Tampa this was one of the worst cruises we have on. The staff at the desk was rude and did not explain the charges the cruise director was hard to understand and when we could understand her the information was not ... Read More
Was leaving from Tampa this was one of the worst cruises we have on. The staff at the desk was rude and did not explain the charges the cruise director was hard to understand and when we could understand her the information was not correct. The food was of poor quality the chicken and fish was always overcooked and dry. We have been on other ships and river cruisers where we enjoyed eating a meal but not on this cruise.The meals we ate of the ship in different ports were much better. The shows we enjoyed the most but could not understand the cruise director. We had chosen this ship because it left fron the port of Tampa.We were also told that the ship had been remodled a year ago.The inside cbins were ok but looking out the window you could see the rust around the window.The water in the shower ran hot and cold. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Over a year ago my family of five, along with some friends of ours and their families, excitedly purchased tickets for a Thanksgiving cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore. Our cruise was the second voyage after the maiden the week ... Read More
Over a year ago my family of five, along with some friends of ours and their families, excitedly purchased tickets for a Thanksgiving cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore. Our cruise was the second voyage after the maiden the week preceding. The Breakaway Plus-class of ships is touted as NCL’s top of the line cruising experience boasting “more than two dozen dining venues, some with waterfront dining experiences; a racetrack; a virtual galaxy pavilion; a laser tag course; and water slides that will take adventure-seekers’ breath away” according to a USA Today article (ref: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2019/11/26/norwegian-encore-cruise-ship-sails-norwegian-cruise-line-new-ceo/4296007002/) Well NCL, you took our breath away, but not in the way that the article claims you would. Three days in to the cruise we feel as though the wind has been knocked out of us and are overwhelmed with disappointment. The best way to liken this experience is to commercial airlines, and I can say with absolute honesty that NCL is the Spirit Airlines of cruising. We have been nickel and dimed every step of the way. After claiming that kids eat free if kids menus at the specialty dining restaurants we have come to find that they only “eat free” if there is a kids menu (which includes Campbell’s quality chicken noodle soup, Kraft-style macaroni and cheese, and PB & J). However, there was no kid’s menu at the hibachi restaurant (or at least not one the servers knew of). So, in order to eat with the family, they must order off of the main menu at full cost. All of the free activities that were included on competitor lines like Disney Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean have been replaced with a pay to play structure and most require reservations prior to setting sail, leaving spontaneity out of the question for this cruise experience. To offer another comparison, the onboard activity experience is like paying to go to Disney World and then having to pay per ride once inside. As a mother of three children ages 8-11 I am left with two options, pay a premium for my children to be able to do nearly any activity except swimming or leave them to roam the decks endlessly with nothing fun to do. Not to mention that the majority of the ship’s virtual reality experiences are not even available due to technical breakdown. Just today, when we showed up for our 3:30PM laser tag reservation, we were turned away because it was broken, and told there were no more available reservations for the duration of our trip. After spending about 30 minutes speaking with numerous staff, one of whom was extremely rude and disrespectful, a supervisor finally rebooked us for Thursday evening. Which is not ideal, since we will have been in port all day and have Thanksgiving dinner reservations, but it was our only option to play laser tag, which our kids have been eagerly anticipating for the past year. Additionally, upon check-in, we were given the opportunity to block charging on our kids’ cards. We blocked their ability to make charges, so if a card was misplaced and found by someone else, it couldn’t be used to make charges to our account. However, we were not informed that blocking them from making purchases also prohibits us, as parents, for booking any onboard activities for them. It took 2 trips to guest services, two trips to the box office, a trip to the finance office and a total of 2 hours to resolve this issue. By this time, nearly all onboard activities were booked for the week. It makes no sense that a parent cannot book activities for their own children without unlocking charging on the kids’ cards, and even less sense that it took so long to correct the issue and we were not informed of that restriction when blocking charging for the kids. Shows, one can always count on the shows onboard right? Wrong. Not on the NCL Encore. Show tickets must be booked well in advance before boarding the ship and getting tickets for a family of 5 is nearly out of the question. Grasping at straws to find a way to enjoy our vacation I figure that we can always swim or soak in the hot tub; again, not on the Encore. By day three the hot tub was broken (along with the outdoor ice/water machines) and one can only access the 18+ pool area by buying a pass. We thought we would try the kids area, but there are only 110 spots available for 4,000+ guests, so, we were told unless we drop the kids early (they pay extra for them to go to dinner with the group), it would be unlikely we would ever get a spot. However, there is not lack of availability for the “after-hours” childcare that garners an hourly fee. Even the 250 minutes of “free” internet requires an activation fee! How on earth is it free internet if you have to pay in advance to access it? At least they don’t try to hide the à la carte experience once onboard. There are 2-3 min long announcements that come on the ship-wide speakers advertising any and everything else they can to up-sell passengers, and, if that isn’t enough, the little red light on our in room phones is constantly blinking to alert us of the infomercial like messages that have been so graciously recorded to reiterate all of the “offerings” onboard. Sell, sell, sell. I can only imagine what the sales quotas are for each department on ship with this kind of constant harassment. It feels more like a flea market than an all-inclusive cruise. Whether Andy Stuart (president and CEO of NCL from 1988 to 2019) or Stuart’s successor Harry Sommer (ref: https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2019/11/26/norwegian-encore-cruise-ship-sails-norwegian-cruise-line-new-ceo/4296007002/) who manipulated the onboard experience to be what it is on the Encore and presumably other Breakaway Plus NCL ships, the experience for my family and my friends’ has been a massive disappointment and one we wish to help other families avoid in the future. In short, we paid well over $5,000 for snake oil. A family friendly experience marketed as all-inclusive is anything but. NCL has missed every mark and left us feeling the overwhelming disappointment of a bait and switch scheme. Shame on you NCL. Shame on you. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I’m not sure what I enjoyed more. It could have been the horrible food and service, or it could have been missing the only port I cared about due to the fact that they ran one boat until nearly noon trying to get 5000 guests off the ... Read More
I’m not sure what I enjoyed more. It could have been the horrible food and service, or it could have been missing the only port I cared about due to the fact that they ran one boat until nearly noon trying to get 5000 guests off the boat. This was my first and I promise my last Norwegian Cruise. Our entire group could not have been happier than the moment we finally got off of this ship. It was the first cruise that I lost weight on. The food ranged from high school cafeteria to Applebee’s in quality. Every attempt at the fine dining restaurants came up extremely short. There was no wow this is great moment at any of the restaurants. Both stops that we had to disembark by a tender had issues. After forcing most of us to miss Roatan completely they quickly loaded everyone up into boats at Cozumel only to leave us sitting in the water for a good 45 minutes waiting on the one dock slip available. Communication from the cruise director and other staff was nonexistent. We didn’t even realize we had to tender at Roatan until the day we arrived. Even once we were informed about the tender nobody could tell us how to get our tender tickets. There was another fun evening with a drunk passenger. The woman fell on the ground clunking her head on the ground before becoming aggressive and angry. We informed the bar tender they needed to call security. Security didn’t show for about 45 minutes and even then didn’t know how to handle the situation. I could really keep going for another page or two. I am going to give one person on the boat a very positive review. July was an awesome server on deck. When he saw us he was right there with drinks. He was very friendly and attentive. July was our one saving grace on this otherwise lackluster and frustrating vacation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We thought Norwegian would be a cut above our typical Carnival cruise. We are all over 40, and seasoned travelers. We were sadly disappointed. The food was awful, I mean awful. I mean all of it was either bland, burnt or undercooked in ... Read More
We thought Norwegian would be a cut above our typical Carnival cruise. We are all over 40, and seasoned travelers. We were sadly disappointed. The food was awful, I mean awful. I mean all of it was either bland, burnt or undercooked in ever place we dined. Carnival has MUCH better food! The only good food was at the Japanese Hibachi restaurant. The bar drinks were watered down and the lines too get one too long. On top of that we bought the unlimited drink package and they kept charging us for drinks. We had to get our bills adjusted multiple times. The baristas at the in shop Starbucks were bickering daily with one another and couldn’t get anyone’s drink orders right. Also, if you want clean water to drink be prepared to pay big bucks or drink the recycled sewage water on the ship. Absolutely disgusting. A friend finally bought a 24 case of water to alleviate this...charge....$60!!! Highway robbery for a basic human right. We noticed that the crew were all working excessively long work days and some were doing jobs that they weren’t trained for. Some of the “free” entertainment consisted of a napkin folding seminar and other weird things that were absolutely boring. We had 4 rooms, (group of 7) and all of our bathrooms had severe plumbing issues ranging from no water to no ability to flush the toilet. This happened over and over again. We paid extra for balcony rooms but that didn’t matter at all. All activities on the shop were already booked before we could get on board and get situated. So we couldn’t go to any of the shows except for SIX and although the singers were talented what a horrible and confusing show!! We all fell asleep in the middle of it. Then the port in Belize was manufactured and owned by Norwegian. As if that isn’t bad enough the ship dumped its sewage and it all wafted onshore before we disembarked into Belieze. We paid $800 for a cabana and later found that money went back to Norwegian and ...the water was filled with sewage!!! To make matters worse doe to the sewage issues when we got back to the rook we couldn’t shower. When we removed our bathing suits there were weird pebbles in them that we later realized were some type of sewage treatment material typically found in diapers. I will not be sailing with Norwegian again. Nothing about this trip was good. Huge waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We booked this cruse because of Jamie Bergerion and the kicking Cajuns was playing on this cruse.This was one of our worst cruse experience. We have cruised Carnival 4 times and one time each on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. we always ... Read More
We booked this cruse because of Jamie Bergerion and the kicking Cajuns was playing on this cruse.This was one of our worst cruse experience. We have cruised Carnival 4 times and one time each on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. we always had lobster night, but not on this ship. This ship ran out of coffee at one of the stations twice for breakfast. The ladies room kept running out of toilet tissue and hand towels. The room for the men kept running out of hand towels. The food on the breakfast buffet never changed and it was horrible,even the coffee was not good(when they had some) The dinner in the main dining room was just OK The taste Restaurant was great for breakfast. We did like the dress code. The excursions were poorly chosen. We only went out on two ports. The submarine ride in Cozumel Was Great AND ziplineing in Roatain was the best of all. The ports of Costa Maya and Harvest Caye had very little to offer. We were going to go tubing Harvest Caye until we found out that there was 1 hour bus ride and a 45 minute ferry ride there and back. There would have been very little time for tubing. I think Norwegian needs to look at these excursions quiet a bit more. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our second time on the Getaway and approx. our seventh NCL cruise. The Lido and Spice bar service was horrible. Made you feel like it was an inconvenience to take an order whether you were sitting on deck or at the bar. Not ... Read More
This was our second time on the Getaway and approx. our seventh NCL cruise. The Lido and Spice bar service was horrible. Made you feel like it was an inconvenience to take an order whether you were sitting on deck or at the bar. Not friendly. Casino bar staff shockingly under staffed-extremely busy and nice but only 1 or two bar waiters for the whole casino! The supervisory staff in casino extremely rude to their dealers and patrons. The bed in the cabin had permanent indentations in the mattresses and long past due to be changed out. The food in the buffet area was redundant and lack any type of excitement. We had already booked another cruise on the Encore end January 2020 (done prior to actual said date 11-17-19) if this NCL cruise is not better we will think long and hard about any other NCL cruise and go back to Carnival Cruise Line! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was definitely a vacation from hell!! I have been on many cruises in my lifetime and this by far was the worst.. First of all they nickel and dime you for everything, Whoever heard of charging a $15 corkage fee for each bottle of wine ... Read More
This was definitely a vacation from hell!! I have been on many cruises in my lifetime and this by far was the worst.. First of all they nickel and dime you for everything, Whoever heard of charging a $15 corkage fee for each bottle of wine you bring on board that you don’t need them to open. Secondly, the staff is very rude and it almost seems like they don’t want to be there..Most ships I’ve been on the staff are usually very friendly and upbeat. There is a lack of entertainment on this ship, I didn’t expect to spend 7,000 ( for my husband and I)on a cruise and have to find ways to entertain myself.Also this cruise seems to cater to the senior citizens because everything shut down pretty early. One night I was at the poolside bar with a couple of friends and there wasn’t a person in sight, I’m guessing that everyone turns in early for bed. One thing that really annoyed me about this cruise was the fact that everyone on our floor toilet stop working for a minimum of 15 hours and we were asked to use community washrooms in the hallways which were disgusting with vomit and feces all around them. Save your money and choose another cruise line because this one definitely dropped the ball in so many ways Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The price for the cruise was great and always wanted to go though the Panama Canal. The room was nice size and the aesthetics of the ship were great. The dinning rooms looked nice and the main theater was nice and beyond my ... Read More
The price for the cruise was great and always wanted to go though the Panama Canal. The room was nice size and the aesthetics of the ship were great. The dinning rooms looked nice and the main theater was nice and beyond my expectations. The issue is the basic design of the boat. The central bank of elevators were always packed and had to wait a really long time to use. The issue is the second bank of elevators were in the back of the ship not used often because of location, so the drawing board design was wrong from the start. The other design issue was the main buffet dinning area did not have enough seating. We heard the ship was not full, yet we often circled for a 10 to 15 minutes looking for a place to sit. That problem was compounded when the buffet food was not hot to begin with. Speaking of the food, there was plenty of room for improvement. The salad bar was a joke. Of the 10 items I might put on my salad it contained one..... Lettuce. And the dressing was very watery. Most of the "hot" dishes were not. Generally the proteins were dry and only fair taste. I don't eat hot dogs but I had plenty on this trip because of the poor options. We took a Celebrity trip last summer and the food was GREAT. They need to do something about checking into and out of the ship at the end of the trip. Getting off at the port of call worked well and was well thought out. However over 2 hours to check into the ship and over 3 hours to get off the ship was a nightmare. I must commend the staff on switching to serializing mode when the ship had a flu outbreak. they seemed to stop the spread of illness and we heard only 200 people got sick. The issue became the staff wasn't available to take orders and serve meals so dinner took 2 hours. Would I take another Norwegian cruise... Nope Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Cabins not updated and small....guest services would not deal with a drunk neighbor we had next to us that screamed at nite....I was forced to buy alcohol package even though I can’t drink due to heart medicine.....Royal Caribbean always ... Read More
Cabins not updated and small....guest services would not deal with a drunk neighbor we had next to us that screamed at nite....I was forced to buy alcohol package even though I can’t drink due to heart medicine.....Royal Caribbean always accepted a dr’s note....and did not force purchase of alcohol package...Very difficult to find a seat at breakfast...Staff was not helpful with seating issues.Food was not impressive...we are upset that we are not being reimbursed for loosing a day and a half of a 14 day cruise...We will NEVER cruise with Norwegian again...We feel that the quality was certainly not worth the money.Guest services were not helpful with issues of a noisy ,drunk neighbor...Had to getup really early to get a seat at the pool...was expected to pay $8 extra for room service in the morning if the order included an omelet...Put limits on how many muffins,etc could be ordered on room service... Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Overall the cruise was a huge failure. DON'T STAY IN AFT FACING ROOMS. THE SHIPS ENGINE FUMES RAIN DOWN ON THE BALCONY. CANCER CAUSING FUMES AND SOOT FEEL IN MY COFFEE AND I DRANK IT. The staff is clearly aware of the problem and ... Read More
Overall the cruise was a huge failure. DON'T STAY IN AFT FACING ROOMS. THE SHIPS ENGINE FUMES RAIN DOWN ON THE BALCONY. CANCER CAUSING FUMES AND SOOT FEEL IN MY COFFEE AND I DRANK IT. The staff is clearly aware of the problem and said they usually clean it at the end of the trip. They were great and said this time they would clean it daily but said that's not normally what they are told to do. Norwegian makes them leave it there if no one complains. I'm disgusted Norwegian can get away with this. It's a safety hazard for crew, staff and guests. I HAVE A SAMPLE OF IT AND WILL BE SENDING IT OUT FOR TESTING. I'll be contacting the company with complaints shortly. In the 20 years this ship has been out I can't believe they didn't fix this. Disgusting. I paid more for this room too. They never inform you of this anywhere on their website. Clearly hiding it. The staff was amazing and did their best but clearly Norwegian is only interested in it's profits over how its costumers enjoy the trip. Cancelled island trips only led to more activities you can pay for on the boat. Not one thing was offered to guests to increase the enjoyment of their stay. Everything feels like up selling to the point where it's shoved down your throat. I get they want our money but it made the trip hard to ever relax or enjoy an event without someone looking thirsty at your wallet or really state room card. The public bathrooms were always clogged. Gross cause people still use them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The only ship that you can fly to to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. The workers on the ship were very unfriendly and never seemed to smile due to being overworked long hours a day. The dining room food was horrible and there was ... Read More
The only ship that you can fly to to cruise around the Hawaiian Islands. The workers on the ship were very unfriendly and never seemed to smile due to being overworked long hours a day. The dining room food was horrible and there was nothing personal about the workers bringing you food. There was a roach crawling down the buffet room wall. They did not have late night food. The entertainment and activities left a lot to be desired. Nothing to do except go to a bar or go to the piano bar. The piano bar was alright. The 13th floor smoking bar was the best place to go even though a lot of people did not even smoke that went up there. The bartenders Kyle and Josh were the best things about the ship. They made it fun and made great drinks. Had it not been for the two of them it would have been terrible. The cabins were small but bearable. The ceiling throughout the ship were very low which made you feel suffocated. I had to get my commode fixed two times because it would not flush. No one seemed to helpful when you needed something. The ports and shore excursions were great. Nothing wrong with that. All in all I would not ever sail on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship had very little entertainment. The food was terrible, it's like they serve terrible food in the hope that you will have to spend money in the specialty restaurants. We booked 4 excursions and 2 were cancelled and all other ... Read More
The ship had very little entertainment. The food was terrible, it's like they serve terrible food in the hope that you will have to spend money in the specialty restaurants. We booked 4 excursions and 2 were cancelled and all other excursions were booked so we were just out of luck. Staff was rude and was not interested in making the cruise even remotely enjoyable. Biggest waste of money ever, will never cruise norweigian ever again. The cruise staff us more worried about giving you hand sanitizer everytime you turn around rather than making the cruise enjoyable. The bars all close early and if you want a drink plan on waiting 20 or minutes in line. During peak hours there was 1 bartender working. But when everyone is ashore in a port they had 2 or more working and standing around. The drinks were poured very light. Worst cruise ever Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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