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10 Norwegian (NCL) Galveston Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise last-minute, and got 2 inside staterooms next to one another (not connecting) for my family of 5: 2 30-something adults and 3 children ages 3, 6, and 9. Cabins: They were adequate, but very small. Even with 2 ... Read More
We booked this cruise last-minute, and got 2 inside staterooms next to one another (not connecting) for my family of 5: 2 30-something adults and 3 children ages 3, 6, and 9. Cabins: They were adequate, but very small. Even with 2 rooms, it was a TIGHT fit. Our steward was efficient, and we didn't spend much time in our rooms anyway. Food: Food was good. The buffet had good food, and I liked that it changed daily. However, tables with dirty dishes on them were a problem, and at peak times it was hard to find a seat at the buffet. We ate at both of the main dining rooms, and service was great and food was good. They seemed a bit annoyed that my son wanted a hamburger but was allergic to sesame seeds, and they kept calling sesame seeds "nuts." Is it that hard to put a hamburger patty on bread if you don't have a bun with no sesame seeds? The only specialty restaurant we ate at was Moderno, and it was wonderful. I don't like meat, but the plantains, rice, and grilled pineapple are enough to make me want to go back. Room Service: Awful! Truly, room service isn't worth the $8 service charge. We ordered a chicken strips and a grilled cheese for the kids. The "grilled" cheese was just cheese between toast; the cheese wasn't warm or melted at all. The chicken strips were overcooked and hard as a rock. My son couldn't bite through them, so I tried to cut them and literally couldn't. Entertainment: Our ship was full of kids, so our own kids had no problem making friends. They enjoyed the pool, even the tiny little kids pool area. They liked the waterslide, even though it was slow and required them to push their hands to keep going. Sometimes my 3 year old was allowed down on her own, and sometimes she had to have an adult depending on the lifeguard (that was frustrating). The kids enjoyed the "wii" freeplay time, but there was only 1 wii for ALL children to share. Kids Program: This was the one lackluster part of the trip. I'll be honest: I wasn't very impressed with the kids program. Carnival had a much better kids program. The staff were doing their best to keep up with all the kids on the ship, but one day a little 3 year old was crying (not mine) and I heard a staff member say, "Stop crying! Be a good boy!" If they ran out of time for facepainting, some kids who had been waiting in line were told "Too bad; out of time" and were left with no facepaint. The kids program was the one area that I was truly unhappy with. Shows: Okay, the shows were fun. We went to the magic show, the comedian (several times), and the finale show. The magic show was so bad it was good. They show you a 10 minute film about what a great magician it is before the show starts. If they have to TELL you it's good, it probably isn't. There were just a ton of props, and the most magical part of the show was how quickly his wife kept changing clothes. The comedian (David Nasher) was fun, and I liked his talk on how to laugh through life's hard times. Thermal Suite: Best $200 ever. My husband and I went here everyday. On port days, we just stayed on the ship and sat in the heated loungers and enjoyed the quiet. Fabulous! Overall, I'm glad we went. However, we have already booked next year's trip on a larger ship (the Liberty of the Seas) with multiple waterslides, a bigger kid's area, rock climbing, mini golf, and more to offer. I think we'll have a bit more fun there. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I was very unhappy with the customer service provided on the Norwegian Jade. My boyfriend and I were treated very rudely by the staff on the ship. We spoke to a manager in Mandara Spa and I was asking questions regarding the thermo-spa ... Read More
I was very unhappy with the customer service provided on the Norwegian Jade. My boyfriend and I were treated very rudely by the staff on the ship. We spoke to a manager in Mandara Spa and I was asking questions regarding the thermo-spa package. She was busy reading a piece of paper and responded to my questions while looking at the paper. I continued to speak to her and waited to see if she would acknowledge my presence and she was blatantly rude to both of us. In fact, in spite of her attitude my family and I purchased the package anyway. As we ate lunch and dinner in several locations: Pacific, Blue Lagoon, and Alizar we noticed that the service was EXTREMELY slow. Not only was the staff slow on several occasions but they were not personable nor friendly. I have been on many vessels on different cruise lines such as Princess and Royal and have never experienced such rude and slow service. All in all, the service was not at all pleasant. Cabin is very small and if you experience bad weather or rainy days the crew is not at all prepared to keep all the passengers entertained. There is absolutely NOTHING to do. No indoor pools or activities except Bingo or Deal or No Deal which require you to pay to have at most an hour of excitement? Do yourself a favor and don't go on this cruise. Other cruise lines do it better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
NCL should receive accolades for their care of my daughter and her service dog "Sketch". From the moment we booked, we had excellent care. There are so many special considerations when traveling with a dog and the Access ... Read More
NCL should receive accolades for their care of my daughter and her service dog "Sketch". From the moment we booked, we had excellent care. There are so many special considerations when traveling with a dog and the Access Representative was on top of everything including special requests. She made island access appear easy, and knew every port and their requirements. The guests were made aware that there was a service dog on board which helped minimize the amount of people asking to pet the dog. We have traveled on many cruises with a service dog and this was the most well-informed staff we have encountered. We were never asked to leave an area once as every staff member was informed. Aside from the special considerations, the NCL Jade was an excellent experience. The cuisine was excellent, professional staff, and embarkation and disembarkation was fast and efficient. From arrival to boarding time - less than 35 minutes. We cruised out of Galveston which was the easiest port yet. Our cabin was beautiful, clean and well-furnished. Activities were fun and engaging. Would cruise on the Jade again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We have sailed with NCL over 10 times. We usually enjoy the cruise immensely, but the Jade was disappointing. This is not stopping us from sailing again on the Jade, but I will bring my own pillow next time! The atrium was smaller that ... Read More
We have sailed with NCL over 10 times. We usually enjoy the cruise immensely, but the Jade was disappointing. This is not stopping us from sailing again on the Jade, but I will bring my own pillow next time! The atrium was smaller that the Jewel and the furniture was very uncomfortable. When we first sat down, we were surprised how the chairs had no give to the cushions. Our bed in the inside cabin 8037 was uncomfortable and the pillows kept me from having a good night's sleep. The furniture in the Spinnaker lounge was beginning to look a little shabby and outdated. Our steward was always slow at refreshing our room daily, and one day left a note on the door saying that he was not able to clean our room because the "do not disturb" sign was showing, which we had not changed. He saw us leave our room that day, but he just didn't bother to refresh anything. I called to have someone clean it after we returned to our cabin, and someone did come and exchange our towels. We ate at two specialty restaurant. Le Bistro, and had a delightful meal. The service was outstanding. Modesto was above the atrium and small. There was a large salad bar and plenty of meat! You don't want to eat much the day you plan to go. The waiters will continue to bring meat until you turn your card to red, so don't forget to turn it to the red side when you have had all you want, or they will just continue to bring you meat! Everything was delicious and the Brazilian bread that is delivered to the table at the beginning of the meal is very tasty. The specialty restaurants are worth the extra money. We ate our other meals in the complimentary Grand Pacific dining room. Our wait was less than five minutes every time we ate, but I noticed one night after we were seated that the line waiting was quite long. I don't like eating at the buffet, but on the first day we ate there after boarding. The food was good, but I would rather be seated at dinner and have my food brought to me by an excellent staff. All employees in the restaurant and bars were outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I chose this cruise because of our Fantastic previous cruise with the Norwegian Pearl going to Alaska, and we wanted another memorable, amazing experience. It comes down to this: I am a gambler. My primary reason for cruising is ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of our Fantastic previous cruise with the Norwegian Pearl going to Alaska, and we wanted another memorable, amazing experience. It comes down to this: I am a gambler. My primary reason for cruising is gambling and drinking. I only play roulette. 1. On my last cruise, one of the two roulette tables was broken 2. I only gambled on the first day. I lost $6,500 in about 5 minutes. The table maximum was $2,000. I bet $500 on red and lost, then $2,000 on black and lost, then $2,000 on red and lost, then another $2,000 on black and lost. That was all I had to gamble with for that cruise, and I blew it in the first 10 minutes on the first day. 3. Aside from being mortified that I'd spent my entire gambling bankroll in MINUTES on the FIRST DAY, you know what I got for comps? Nothing. I don't know what my play history shows from my first cruise, but for the second cruise, it shows nothing. Every single casino on the Vegas strip will comp me rooms for that, and Casinos at Sea doesn't even rate me as a gambler. 4. NCL might be the only cruise line where I would have to pay for drinks. Even on my first cruise, where I didn't lose that much money - having to get the pit boss to nod to the bartender to make me a drink because I'm not a high enough tiered player makes me feel bad, and I don't like being made to feel bad for trying to get a bit of hospitality. 5. The ship itself was terrible. 50%+ of the passengers were ill, the crew were ill, spreading illness like wildfire around the ship. We got stuck in ports while the ship requested permission to dock because of all the sick people. 6. The ports were terrible. Hondurus might be beautiful.... but not after a hurricane, when the port is destroyed, and we're getting shuttled to the beach on small cutters so we can wander around inside a chain-link fenced area protected by soldiers with automatic rifles while beggers outside of the fence look for handouts. 7. And the worst thing of all - loyalty isn't rewarded. I have a $10,000 bankroll to gamble this fall. I've been trying to decide where to go, and my wife suggested we try a cruise again. I contacted Casinos at Sea to find out what kind of options I might have, and they're dried up. After my first cruise,NCL was offering me free cruises as a "valued casino patron." I guess I assumed that they would be happy to room and board me in exchange for me bringing thousands or tens of thousands of dollars into their casino as a captive audience - where I can't even leave and go play at another casino. When the CAS folks told me what I was eligible for - which turned out to be the basic offers available to ANYONE on the internet via the NCL guest splashpage, that was the final straw. I researched this a bit tonight on Cruisecritic, and find that CAS has a reputation of getting increasingly stingier, less generous, and less willing to offer promotions or incentives, and gamblers are switching to Royal Caribbean. The first cruise I took with NCL; an inner passage cruise through Alaska - is one of the most treasured memories I will ever have. The cruise, the food, the gambling, the stops...it bought my loyalty to NCL. With the next cruise being such an opposite and inferior experience compared to the first one - we were shocked. Nothing is perfect though - I sent some feedback that the cruise didn't go very well after it ended, but never heard back. I suppose every cruiser should research their cruise destinations and ports instead of trusting a cruise line to do it for them, but I was shocked at how shoddy of an experience it was. I read some other reviews on here about the Jewel specifically being a shoddy ship, so I can't speak for the entirety of the Norwegian fleet of course - but the followup customer service was atrocious. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Let me first start out by saying that this cruise was the prime example that Fancy doesn't always mean quality..... The Norwegian Jewel which is clearly not a new ship - exceeded our expectations by far! Let's start with the ... Read More
Let me first start out by saying that this cruise was the prime example that Fancy doesn't always mean quality..... The Norwegian Jewel which is clearly not a new ship - exceeded our expectations by far! Let's start with the PROS: Crew: The staff was so friendly and accommodating. Whatever we needed - we got it. We loved the washy washy guitar man in the dining rooms!!!! FOOD: The unlimited drink and Meal package was A HOMERUN!!!! The restaurants were amazing. A different taste every night. The Tepanyaki Japanese restaurant was our favorite! The unlimited drinks were flowing!!!! Throw the bartender a few extra bucks they will hook you up! Whatever we needed or wanted they had it for us( they also use top shelf liquor !!! ) score! Entertainment: Very random selections but very funny ( a few great comedians and some other nice shows) We also loved all the different bands that played at the pool ...lounges and clubs! We LOVED the martini bar!!! What an awesome addition to the ship. CONS: We honestly have no complaints... Improvements perhaps? Sure. They can use another adult pool ( not necessary ) but would help! - The ports were amazing but the tendering was a bit annoying( you don't pull into port - you take a separate boat to land ) but the ports choices were amazing. ( honduras,belize,Cozumel) This is a simple boat... Perfect size ( only 2800 passengers) and enough help to go around- had the best time and proves you don't need fancy for a fun time!!! GO GO GO! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We decided due to the reviews to sail Norwegian Cruise lines this go around. We decided to ask some friends to cruise with us, and unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment for us. I have cruised 5 times and my wife now 3 times. Our ... Read More
We decided due to the reviews to sail Norwegian Cruise lines this go around. We decided to ask some friends to cruise with us, and unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment for us. I have cruised 5 times and my wife now 3 times. Our guests had cruised a couple of times. The ship was decent, appointed and nice looking. It is cast as a "Freestyle" cruise and we had hoped for more from it. The service was the worst issue that was in need of repair! I'll give one example....we went to one of the complimentary restaurants to eat. It was listed as one that allowed cruise apparel. Meaning shorts and flip-flops acceptable. Several couples ahead of us, were told they could not eat. The sign at the podium even said the other restaurants required pants, etc. It was unbelievable that so many of us were told we could not eat even under their rules. Finally we were allowed to seat. This is where it went sideways for me. I sat down and the waiter handed me the menu. He then reached for my water glass but first knocked (or slapped) my menu out of his way to reach for my water glass! I looked at him he smiled, then slapped it back out of his way to set my water glass down! Most of the time the workers were indifferent to customer service when we interacted with them. It was 8:30 pm and I went to eat something. The buffet was closed, the two restaurants near the pool were closed and we had to go eat at one small restaurant with 5 items only. So they were not lying "you can eat 24/7." One last issue you should know, is the alcohol. Our plan was not to drink much and just pay as we went. By the end of Sunday we added up money. Here is how they operate, every drink requires a receipt to be signed by you. Your name, additional tip on top of the 18% already paid. Does not seem very ease of use to me. Not to mention as an example i tried 12 shots of a whiskey and not even as much as a slight buzz. Which means they are not only cutting, but seriously cutting the alcohol to save money. Once these issues were spoken with about to the management, they decided that some strawberries and a bottle of wine were the answer to assist. I am grateful they tried, but seriously the lack of customer service was the worst issue, lack of food to be had, just because it was evening time. Not late night, evening time. One last issue was we saw our cabin attendant for the first time on Thursday evening. As much as this pains me to say, Carnival was better at customer service than this Norwegian ship. I do not rate all of their ships like this one as I have not sailed on them. But I am not sure that I'll take the time to find out either. It's not terrible but not worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first Norwegian cruise. We have cruised 9 times before of various cruise lines. I have to say I like the size of the ship. It seemed easier to get around on. However, it was rocky. I do not know if it was the size of the ship, ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian cruise. We have cruised 9 times before of various cruise lines. I have to say I like the size of the ship. It seemed easier to get around on. However, it was rocky. I do not know if it was the size of the ship, or if something was not working properly. We took our whole family, including our 5 year old grad daughter. She had a blast with the kids program! What a wonderful experience for her. She learned to snorkel in Belize. We love the people at the ports in Belize and Honduras. They were appreciative. Nothing to do in Trujillo Belize. Highly suggest going to Campo Del Mar Beach Resort. Just pay for the beach. The wild life tour is not worth the price. As far as Cozumel, I live on the border of Mexico and am very familiar with the Mexican culture, but the retail people at the port are very aggressive and can be a problem for a peaceful shopping experience in Cozumel. Just be aware. They will take you if they can. Our rooms were on the 8th deck. Our room was 8550. It is bright and can be loud at night due to the Karaoke bar under the room. It is not worth the price for the ocean view room. It is obstructed and bright at night. Crew er great. Food was good. Might be worth it to pay for the specialty restaurants. Go ahead and make reservations. The Free Style Cruising is ok, but people make reservations anyway, and you will have to wait. All in all a fun trip. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Our cruise included my DH, 5 year old daughter and myself. (5 months pregnant at the time) Overall we had a nice time. The Sky is definetely not a "party ship" but at the time that is exactly what we wanted. EMBARKATION:Smooth, ... Read More
Our cruise included my DH, 5 year old daughter and myself. (5 months pregnant at the time) Overall we had a nice time. The Sky is definetely not a "party ship" but at the time that is exactly what we wanted. EMBARKATION:Smooth, quick, no complaints here. ROOM: Our room had a queen sized bed and rollaway sofa for our daughter. It was twin sized and she loved helping fold and unfold it every morning and night to give us more room in the cabin. FOOD: The food was excellent and the dining staff provided cute entertainment every night. We've been on 3 cruises (2 with Carnival and this one with Norweigian) and hands down Noweigian has the best food! Even their room service meals were top notch and provided great healthy, late snacks for myself and my little "bun in the oven." We took advantage of the room service at breakfast also allowing me to save my energy for touring the ports once we got off the boat. PORTS: We didn't book any excursions through Norweigian and were glad to have saved the money. We took a guided tour via air conditioned van with one of the locals for $15p/p and our daughter was free! We saw the Atlantis hotel, local university, local gov't, a few celebrity houses and stopped to shop a bit at a local open vendor area. Great tour for $30 total that lasted about 2 hours. Our visit to the beach was nice as well. It was nice not having ANY vendors constanly bombard you with requests to buy various tourist junk (like in Cozumel). The water was sooooo beautiful and unbelievably cool! I spent the majority of the time sitting in the water in a beach chair and throughly enjoyed myself. STAFF: We didn't encounter any rude or aloof staff. Everyone was nice and met our requests with a smile. Their staff was not only friendly but knowledgeable as well. Of the many questions we asked, not once did we hear "I don't know." (which for some cruiselines is an all too familiar line) Everyday my daughter wanted to go to Kids' Corner and make crafts and watch cartoons. She absolutely loved the staff and it gave us a chance to have dinner alone. They even had a pajama party for the kids one night. So we bathed her and put on her pajamas, slippers and robe and by the time we got back (around 10) she was asleep and we just carried her back to our cabin! #winning OVERALL: I'd recommend Norweigian for those who want to rest and get away from the hustle and bustle of their everyay life. We can't speak on the nightlife as that wasn't what we were looking for but we plan to bring both daughters back when they older and maybe visit some other ports. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
First time cruisers, 52 and 38, but sailed with a friend who rated the NCL as below Princess as he said it reminded him of a WAL-MART of Cruises. Oh well, all of us have one of those friends. Flew from El Paso to Houston, Limo to the ... Read More
First time cruisers, 52 and 38, but sailed with a friend who rated the NCL as below Princess as he said it reminded him of a WAL-MART of Cruises. Oh well, all of us have one of those friends. Flew from El Paso to Houston, Limo to the dock or about 45 minutes to Houston Port or LA PORTE, Tx This is an industrial port, and Check in took forever. Hot day and the crew was out giving out orange juice to those of us in the line....Took approx. two and one half hours to get checked in. The Taxi ride from the AIRPORT had to be negotiated before I flew in as it was IFFY if we could get a taxi at all. NOTE: this was one of the first Cruises for NCL out of Houston, a replacement for N.O. after the Hurricane...no Katrina, we'll talk about Wilma later. BBQ on departure was good and the REGGAE band got us in the mood right away....Yep a bit breezy but all in all a good time...Coke card is $40.50...Pools were open and then closed.... OK this was the Wilma Cruise....As in Hurricane Wilma. So we hit Coz/Play del Carmen (and I booked this cruise so I could dive in Belize and Roatan) Took a two tank dive with Dive with Martin Lancoste Pier is a $5 cab ride from there...cost $45 for the dive vs. $110 thru NCL....but from there it all went goofy...Supposed to go to Progresso since Belize/roatan were blocked by Wilma. But after a day of heading there, went to Veracruz instead....Had to cancel all my dives elsewhere( not booked thru Ship excursions....Veracruz was enjoyable but not what I'd signed up for....had a $50 taxi all over the sights vs. $90 for the same sights thru NCL...I know cause they kept running into us. Waves were rough one night, on our way there but all in all no problems. Shows, Zini and the various piano players were more for the blue haired group. The Shows were song and Dance numbers, the acrobats were very good and Fred the Comedian was funny....very funny. Service Excellent, Smiles and sirs/ma'ams all around. Except after midnight... Food Ok in the Buffet lines, Outstanding in the up-charge rest. $20-25 per person for lobster, etc....Four seasons was also very good, FREE STYLE eat when where you want, reservations keep the wait way down.... Public areas clean neat, plenty of lounge chairs, just not always next to the pool side. Volleyball and Basketball court always had usage but interesting in 20+ mile an hour winds. Service desk was almost no help as they did not know where we were headed either. Internet Manager was rude. And I have a cell phone bill I am still trying to get squared up from my calls as we left and arrived..... Shills and shopping...bought the wife a ring (prob. paid too much) but half the TV channels were shopping on board ship...No selection, so I missed the Home teams game coming back on Saturday (ESPN2 not one of their selections). Room small but adequate, hot water quiet etc....we were WAY upgraded from our original deal... Casual, yep if you want to be "on Vacation" and not dress up, this is it....Chef demos, conga lines and continuos Reggae Music, Smaller ship but well maintained and staff friendly as well!!! Wal-Mart is popular for a reason, COST was $1,370 for 2 including Airfare from El Paso, AND the $140 tip charge...Limo ride $60 plus tip each way. EXTRAS: Drinks/Beers were $3.50 each or $8.00 in the decorative glass, Spa is $100 before you can turn around, most classes are up charge in the GYM.... All in all out less than $2,000 for a week!!! (and to those that are interested, I did tip the room folks -- one "animal towel" in the week) and anyone that gave outstanding service at any of the restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
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