Our church, Shiloh Temple House of God (Cleveland, OH), chose this cruise line and I am so glad that we did. I have never been on a cruise before, and Norwesian Cruise line made my first experience very memorable. I would definitely ... Read More
Our church, Shiloh Temple House of God (Cleveland, OH), chose this cruise line and I am so glad that we did. I have never been on a cruise before, and Norwesian Cruise line made my first experience very memorable. I would definitely guarantee this cruise line to others, and I will definitely cruise with you again in the future. From the food to the service to the cleanliness of the facilities, everything was better than what I expected. Every staff member was helpful in the areas that they controlled and they did everything in their power to make the guests happy. This is very rare and I give a thumbs up to everyone that took part in our safety, health and well being. You allowed our church to have service on the ship on Saturday, and the ship’s pastor joined in with us. You have made a very big impression on our church family and we pray that you have a safe transition into this new year of 2018! Read Less
Chose this cruise because it was scheduled to sail to the Eastern Caribbean, which I had never been. Plus it was with NCL, which I like. However with the hurricanes battering St. Thomas and Tortola our itinerary was changed to the Western ... Read More
Chose this cruise because it was scheduled to sail to the Eastern Caribbean, which I had never been. Plus it was with NCL, which I like. However with the hurricanes battering St. Thomas and Tortola our itinerary was changed to the Western Caribbean, which I've been to a couple times previously. Made the best of it however.
Service was lacking on this cruise. Had to ask for clean towels a couple times. Came back to our room a couple days just after noon and it was still not cleaned. We had a short walk to the elevator and there was always several Stewart's in the hall so it seemed to not be a problem with lack of help.
Evening dining room service was lacking as well. After the first night we learned to stop by a bar to get a glass of wine because drink service was lacking. Plus the serving size of the wine from the dining room was very small. Could have been because we had the UBP. Read Less
Never having had the opportunity to cruise in winter, I jumped at the opportunity to cruise out of Port Canaveral on the Norwegian Epic with a group of 80. This was my 6th Norwegian cruise, but first time on Epic. I flew Southwest non-stop ... Read More
Never having had the opportunity to cruise in winter, I jumped at the opportunity to cruise out of Port Canaveral on the Norwegian Epic with a group of 80. This was my 6th Norwegian cruise, but first time on Epic. I flew Southwest non-stop from Providence to Orlando and stayed one night at the Courtyard Marriott in Cocoa Beach before boarding the Norwegian Epic in Port Canaveral to begin my 7-night cruise to the Western Caribbean.
I was fortunate to have transfers included in my hotel stay, and as a solo traveler, it proved to be very convenient. Courtyard Marriott Cocoa Beach is a clean, modern hotel convenient to the beach, restaurants and retail stores nearby in case of last minute items needed for a cruise. There is a small pub and bar just off the lobby that serves light fare and refreshments. I was tired and hungry by the time I reached the hotel, so I satisfied my appetite with a sandwich and a glass of wine. Being the first day of December, the lobby and public areas on the main floor were decked out in beautiful holiday decor. There is a pretty pool and a welcoming fire pit, neither of which I had time to try in my brief stay. The room was large and clean, featuring a small balcony, and the bed comfy.
The transfer shuttle arrived about 15 minutes later than my scheduled pickup time, but after seeing the line of vehicles waiting to meet three different ships in port, I could see why. Carnival Magic, Disney Fantasy and Norwegian Epic we’re lined up like a receiving line, snarling traffic coming and going. Despite the congestion, it wasn’t too long before we finally arrived. The bag handlers politely collected luggage, loaded my bag on the cart, and pointed the way to the cruise terminal, where I quickly passed through security and made my way to the long queue to check in. The line moved fairly quickly, and before I knew it, I had my key card in my hand ready to board. After some confusion in the boarding procedure, I was on my way.
Rooms were not expected to be ready until 3:00 pm, so I decided to give myself a tour, starting with the grill by the pool, where I grabbed a burger and salad, ordered a frozen mudslide and ate lunch out on deck. I then grabbed my new camera and went to check out this beast of a ship.
This ship, as others have noted, is a weird design. I’ve never gotten so turned around on a cruise ship before. Public areas are decks 14 and above, and decks 5 through 7 surround the midship atrium. The smoky, loud casino takes up most of the space on Deck 6, and to get to either the Manhattan Restaurant on one end or the Theatre on the other, there is no escaping the noise, smoke and crowds. To avoid all this, get off the elevator on the quieter deck 7 and take the stairs down on either end. Speaking of stairs, there is no center set of stairs or elevator, making for a lot of extra time and steps to get from one place to another, especially if your cabin is far forward or aft. Also, you’ll notice no Aft elevator button for Deck 5. To get to Deck 5, you’ll have to walk toward the casino and take the escalator down from Deck 6. To avoid twists and turns in the long cabin hallways and collisions with people and housekeeping carts, walk the public decks from one end to the other to the appropriate elevator closest to your cabin. Like I said - very weird.
My home for the week was balcony cabin 10292 located just a few cabins from the end of the ship. Location was convenient to the rear elevators and the Manhattan room for dinner and our group meetings, but not so much for the buffet area, the theatre, or anything else in the front of the ship. The famous odd bath arrangement that people love or hate turned out to be okay. The shower and toilet “pods” are roomy enough, the separate sink area handy and convenient, and a curtain provides privacy, if needed. However, this unique design does eat up precious cabin space, making it smaller and more cramped than most. The sofa was by the balcony door, and with only a couple of inches between the two beds, with no room to separate them into twins, this could prove awkward for two people wanting their own space for sleeping. Storage was plentiful, but counter space was lacking. There are two outlets located inside a cabinet, which is not very convenient. On the other hand, there is room to store all your electronic gadgets in the cupboard while they charge. One nice feature was the balcony size - it was larger than those on the newer NCL ships. I just can’t understand why they provide only one tiny little square table that turns out to be pretty useless.
What side of ship is best? A lot of people ask this question, and I can only answer for this cruise and itinerary. I was port side, which was great for beautiful sunsets. Starboard or right side was best for most ports in order to see what was going on around town.
Pools: What is it about giant mega ships and tiny pools? I didn’t care much for the pools on this ship. The main pool on Deck 15 is way too small for the number of people on this ship, plus the water was hot - almost hot-tub hot! It can only be entered by ladder, which is impossible for some with physical limitations. The water in the kiddie pool nearby was cooler and has steps for easier entry with ladders in the deeper section. But, again, it’s small. The pool in the quieter adult Spice H20 area in the back of the ship would have been a great choice for me, but as someone who had a skin cancer scare, I couldn’t tolerate the full sun back there.
Thermal Suite: The assorted therapy pools felt like heaven, but I was disappointed that every lounger in the room not occupied by a person was claimed by a towel or personal stuff, leaving no where to relax. Maybe mid-afternoon was not the best time to try it out, and in the end I preferred spending my time outside in the fresh air.
Manhattan (Main Dining): Set up like a supper club, it’s not as fancy as some main dining rooms, but jazz playing during meal time is a nice touch. I found my meals to be excellent, with service being better with earlier dining times than later.
Taste (Main Dining): I had breakfast here one morning, which was nothing special and not much better than anything available at the Garden Cafe. Dinner with our group the final night of the cruise proved much better, with my prime rib prepared perfectly. The restaurant is strangely located just off the busy atrium. Fortunately, once inside the restaurant, much of the noise above can’t be heard - except for maybe those dining in the area visible from above.
Shanghai (Asian): Excellent spring rolls but not-so-great sweet and sour pork. My dining partners did not care for their entrees. The space is small and cramped, and anyone with a rolling walker will have a tough time getting to a table.
Garden Cafe (Buffet): Same as all the NCL ships, featuring the usual fare - just ok. The Grill out by the pools served up good hot dogs, burgers and all the fixins’.
Bar Service: Good - never had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a drink, and there was always a server roaming around. Not that I drink much - and I never buy a beverage package for that reason.
I didn’t try any of the specialty restaurants this time around.
Reservations are highly recommended and required for some shows. Make them in advance through the NCL website, onboard through your cabin TV, or at the ship box office.
"Burn the Floor": If you attend one show, let this be the one! I loved this performance, with its fabulous costumes, set, music, high energy and choreography. I was left wondering how human beings can dance so fast!
"Priscilla Queen of the Desert": This is one of those love or hate shows, and is bound to offend some people. It’s a show with outlandish costumes and some raunchy humor, but when all is said and done, it’s really a simple heartfelt story with a big message about tolerance and acceptance. I liked it; so much so, that I’ll even forgive the writers for borrowing others’ music instead of creating their own.
"Beatles" Tribute: Their performance happens in The Cavern, appropriately named for the place where the Beatles got their start. It’s small and gets packed well before the scheduled performance. To assure a seat for a 10:30 pm, I noticed most guests arrive for the earlier event at 8:00 pm and stay the night. I was able to grab a chair at the bar at 9:30; others weren’t so lucky. The band is a popular act on board, and they really do look and sound like the real deal.
"Cirque Dreams Epicurean": I bought the premium seat which includes dinner, as opposed to the regular seats which are a single row of seats circling the stage on the upper level. Honestly, if you don’t care about dinner and don’t want to risk being selected for audience participation, then purchase the regular seats - you’ll have a better view. The floor premium seating consists of rectangular tables surrounding the center performance area, and if you’re sitting at the end of a table, you’ll be stretching your neck to see over the heads in front of you to see ground level aspects of the performance. The pre-fixe meal was okay if you like your steak rare. The performance itself is spectacular with some nail-biting moments and well worth the cover charge. Make reservations before you leave home because seats sell out.
I didn’t bother with Howl at the Moon, which I’ve seen before, and didn’t catch the comedy or magic shows either.
Except for heavy rain showers in Great Stirrup Cay, we were blessed with warm, sunny weather in all the ports without the oppressive humidity felt during the summer months when I normally cruise.
Nassau and Falmouth - Members of our group planned day passes to Sandals Resorts in both ports. Since I had been there, done that in Nassau, and none of the excursions in Falmouth appealed to me, this was a great way to spend the day. Sandals and other destinations in Nassau can be reached by taking the local bus for just $1.25. Sandals in Montego Bay was nearly an hour away and so we arranged for a private shuttle.
Grand Cayman. I booked the gotta-see-at-least-once Turtle Farm and Go-to-Hell tour with Captain Marvin. I joined a group of other cruisers who were going on to Stingray City following the land portion. I’d already swam with stingrays twice, so just went for the turtles and Hell. The turtles were interesting, fun to watch, and I even got to hold one. Hell? Well, It’s basically a shack that sells t-shirts and postcards to mail home to your friends and family saying Greetings from Hell. There is some nearby blasé volcanic rock at, but other than that, a few roosters roaming the property were the only excitement. Now at least I can say I've been to Hell and back!
Great Stirrup Cay. The weather was a mixed bag. I took the second tender over, and by the time we were under way, it started pouring. Then the sun came and brought a beautiful rainbow with it, followed by more showers, more sun, more clouds and so on. At least it was warm. I grabbed a chair under a palm tree and read and slept. There is a bar nearby, and they started their BBQ around 11:30. There is also a taco place as an alternative to the BBQ. Loved the fact that it was December and much cooler and comfortable than the last time I was here in mid-August.
The process of getting off NCL ships, in general, is better than most, including this cruise. Guests are called by the color of their luggage tags at an assigned time, and it all goes smoothly. However, unlike the Pearl I was on in July, guests needed to be out of their cabins by 8:30 a.m., which was fine, as there are plenty of public areas to wait. They were running ahead of schedule, and I was off the ship about 20 minutes earlier than planned. I had to wait about 20 minutes for my pre-arranged shuttle, but got to the airport in plenty of time for my 1:10 scheduled flight home. Unfortunately, for some, there were snow storms forcing delays and cancellations of many flights. Gladly, mine was not one of them, and after some stomach churning turbulence, Southwest got me home safely. Read Less
Our travel agent told us to give Norwegian another try after our bad experience last time. Embarkment was quick and good. Dressed up in gowns for dress up night went to the dining room In an hour and a half got bread water and a cold ... Read More
Our travel agent told us to give Norwegian another try after our bad experience last time. Embarkment was quick and good. Dressed up in gowns for dress up night went to the dining room In an hour and a half got bread water and a cold appetizer served in a wire basket with red and white stripped paper liner- more picnic style than a formal dinner. No one checked for over a half an hour on why no one was eating their appetizers so we got up and left and went to the buffet. Hubby spoke to the management in buffet about the dining room so he brought us a bottle of wine- had the drink package and don't drink wine but at least he tried. Only have 2 shows for 7 days because the theater is so small takes 3 days for everyone to see it and you need reservations for everything. Only saw one show. Went to the Mojito bar and the bartender told my hubby if he wanted whiskey he had to go to the whiskey bar then a lady walked up asked for crown and coke and he served her. Self disembarkment was a joke. They would not allow you to walk down main staircase instead told you to walk down the glass spiral staircase with luggage. Will never cruise this line again. Hit or miss service. Cold food. Read Less
I chose this cruise for 2 reasons. 1) they have cabins with rates for the solo traveler. and 2) the itinerary ORIGINALLY was to islands I had not been to in many years. Unfortunately due to Huricanes Irma and Maria the itinerary was ... Read More
I chose this cruise for 2 reasons. 1) they have cabins with rates for the solo traveler. and 2) the itinerary ORIGINALLY was to islands I had not been to in many years. Unfortunately due to Huricanes Irma and Maria the itinerary was changed to Nassau and western Caribbean ports I had been to recently. You make it what it is and I did enjoy Jamaica as I had not been to Dunns River Falls and the Jamaican Bobsled Run and rainforest.
The Freestyle dining approach is different and I have always enjoyed having the same waitstaff every night. On balance the food was great as I opted for the Specialty Dining Package 4 venues for $99 including gratuity. considering what I spent in each t was a great value. Cagneys Steakhouse is great and the steaks are tender and the truffle oil infused fries are yummy. I would have spent $55 there alone with all I had. Teppanyaki hibachi Grill is a great dining experience and again the entertainment value plus the food is good too. I wasn't impressed with La Cucina as I lived among Italians most of my adult life. The Calamari in the seafood pasta was chewy but the fried calamari appetizer was fine. Go Figure! They need to add Cannoli to the desert menu as long as they fill the cannoli right before serving. I opted to use my last Specialty dining for Cirque Dreams Dinner and show. You have to pay $29 for the show but it would have been $50. It's a fixed menu venue but it was ok.
The other shows I attended were Burn the floor at the Manhattan Main Dining room at 5:30. It is not publicized to the ship except for those in The Haven and the Studio Cabins. So check in to it when you arrive on the ship. The other show I saw was Priscilla "Queen" of the Dessert. If you like Broadway level productions it's a must see with great costumes and fast set changes and good music. If you don't approve of a show with drag Queens in it then this show is not for you. The comedy Club was also great at the Adult Late Show.
The negative for me was the unavailability of American Sports. The weekend I left was a HUGE College Football weekend, but all they showed were Soccer and cricket. Lame excuses from the staff. I'd say 90% of the guests were from the USA with many wearing their teams logo'd apparel at embarcation. Management had best change their ways when it comes to the NCAA Football Playoffs and further on into the spring the College basketball season and Tournament or they'll receive even more complaints. Read Less
Service was good, some excellent. Outstanding entertainment, deck 8 best walking exercise on ship. Embarkation OK, Disembarkation excellent, ports mediocre, cabin adequate but super small, cabin service, outstanding.
First time on ... Read More
Service was good, some excellent. Outstanding entertainment, deck 8 best walking exercise on ship. Embarkation OK, Disembarkation excellent, ports mediocre, cabin adequate but super small, cabin service, outstanding.
First time on large, 4,500 souls, never again First time “free style”, never again. It was like a carnival...no dress standards at all, very noisy at all times.
Went with ballroom dance friends, ship not our choice.
Was promised VEGAN fare, needs NOT met even after talk with Executive Chef. Totally disappointed- VEGAN for health reasons. Last meal in Manhattan Dining room acceptable because I gave recipe to Maitre D’. NCL does not care about repeat guests who do not fit a mold. Every dinner, except last. Was a struggle.
Totally disappointed about lack of follow through from travel agent to so called Access Desk, special and dietary needs.
If you are VEGAN or VEGETARIAN sail with Princess, MSC or Holland American as we have done and will do again. Read Less
I liked the ship and I liked the itinerary. For the most part, the food was good to very good and a few items excellent. Service was very good and attentive with the exception of one time in Cagney's Steakhouse where there was a slight ... Read More
I liked the ship and I liked the itinerary. For the most part, the food was good to very good and a few items excellent. Service was very good and attentive with the exception of one time in Cagney's Steakhouse where there was a slight problem, but the waiter took care of it eventually.
The Studios are great and the whole idea of the separate area with its own lounge should become an industry standard. It seems, though, that a solo cruiser doesn't have a chance to get an upgrade as then the single supplement would apply.
The Waterfront is a great design and also a great way to exercise since it runs around most of the ship; although jogging would not be advised as the walkway is rather narrow.
There are plenty of bars and lounges on the ship; something for everyone's taste.
My cruises are usually on Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. NCL comes up a little short in comparison, though mostly in niceties and little extras.
I have made a deposit for NCL's CruiseNext, so I do plan on sailing with them again. Read Less
I'm sure that there are many cruise lines that are willing to offer more at a little higher rate. For a first timer this was an opportunity to get my "feet wet". The value was good for the services received. The breakaway was ... Read More
I'm sure that there are many cruise lines that are willing to offer more at a little higher rate. For a first timer this was an opportunity to get my "feet wet". The value was good for the services received. The breakaway was clean. The cabin was clean and all surrounding public area such a bathrooms, stairs, hallways etc.
The vocal entertainment was spot on. The bar tendering staff on decks 15, 16 & 17 where the best. The dining staff that i dealt with where also pleasant.
Shore excursions i personally give 2thumbs down or 2 stars.
#1. I wasn't sure if it was choppy waters or a poison sea snake in the beach water to norwegian's private islands. (Funds where refunded)
#2.coco beach not quit a day at the beach. Too windy and dirty.
#3.bahamas the weather was warm but only 1 day at dock. Even though ship docked the night b4.
Food was decent and pretty much the same in most compliment dining rooms and buffet, unless you go asian or specialty dining. These spots served quality food and service.
I'm a person who can find enjoyment in the worst possible case. I did just that. What others found unpleasant i made pleasant. Even a few racist. I met amazing and interesting people.
I would advise all first timers and vets cruiser to never gave up the credit cards to load your ship payment card. I received $150 on board spending and added cash as needed. Carry only 1 card and use it for emergencies only. And cash out your card the final night and get back or clear up your account in cash. Who want to wait for a surprise bill in the mail.? Read Less
We had never cruised on NCL and were charmed by the grandeur of this gorgeous vessel. The cruise director, Tyler Gray, was all over the ship interacting and participating and providing high-energy fun for all ages. We were a party of 13 ... Read More
We had never cruised on NCL and were charmed by the grandeur of this gorgeous vessel. The cruise director, Tyler Gray, was all over the ship interacting and participating and providing high-energy fun for all ages. We were a party of 13 and there were no hiccups. Everything was perfection ! We had a blast!!!
Our cabin, although a bit tight for four, was always kept clean and stocked with towels and linens.
The food was wonderful. We did the drink upgrade, which is a must! The specialty dining was probably overkill, but we did enjoy the experiences.
Our only observation is that there are too many options that aren't included in the fare. For instance, there is ice cream on board as well as a bakery, but they are not included in the cruise price. It doesn't really make sense to charge more for those. Also, the arcade is additional...which added up as the kids spent lots of time there. Those are things that should be part of the package instead of add ons.
My son did mention that there aren't enough pools and the main pool is for adults only, so given the number of children on board, there isn't enough space for them to swim or enjoy the pools.
Other than those two or three things, we had a magnificent time! Read Less
To our party of 10, his trip was all about the destination - Havana. As it turn out our cruise was the last one out of Havana before the visa situation changed. Now, you have to go on a group tour, no more site seeing on your own. Havana ... Read More
To our party of 10, his trip was all about the destination - Havana. As it turn out our cruise was the last one out of Havana before the visa situation changed. Now, you have to go on a group tour, no more site seeing on your own. Havana was was a city of contrast; poverty and decay on one hand but restoration was underway and the beauty of old Havana shown through. We were honored to dine at San Cristobal’s in the very same room as the OBama’s. The grilled fish was served on a sizzling plater. Fantastic dinner, service and ambiance.
I wouldn’t have a complaint about the Sky except for one night when they renovated the dining room directly above our cabin. The noise did not allow for sleep even with ear plugs. It was a miserable night, but management apologized and offered us other sleeping rooms. We felt fairly compensated for the cruise lines mistake in scheduling maintenance during sleeping hours. Roland Schrock, assistant hotel director, is to be commended for his poise in dealing with the situation.
Having sailed on the Getaway, we were looking forward to eating at all the specialty restaurants and we were not disappointed. The breakfast buffet was fine.
We had an ocean view on level 4 and it was small but we didn’t spent much time there anyway.
Loved that drinks are included on this ship. I thought the bar lines would be long, but that wasn’t the case. Seemed to move faster than taking cards and signing. Overall, I thought this cruise was a very good value. Read Less
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