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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins ... Read More
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins for 4 people with connecting rooms which worked very well. Cabin steward was very helpful! (Thank you Lloyd!). First day at sea was a little rough but I did not mind at all. I actually enjoy that once in a while. We had several specialty dining experiences and a couple normal dining room experiences. The best thing about the regular dining rooms was that you could order multiple items. We had no bad food in any restaurant as we pretty much already know what we do not like and did not order any of that. Tim Kaminski was the comedian on the cruise and was extremely nice. Very personable as well. He'd always take time to stop and say hi to people throughout the cruise. Excellent comedian and a great person as well! The only downside to the entertainment was that there were a couple shows we did not get to see because of timing with dinners and other shows. A little disappointing that we did not get to see the other Second City show. We were disappointed that we were not able to get one of the excursions we wanted but the excursion staff helped us find an alternate that was very good and as such never felt like we missed out on the other. The person we worked with was very helpful in explaining some of the ones we were interested in and explained the groups of people that each was targeted for. Some were actually targeted for kids under 10. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My ... Read More
Literally the best holiday ever! We decided to spend Christmas on the Escape and it did not disappoint. Everything was wonderful. Our group consisted on folks aged 22 to 79 and everyone found their niche and enjoyed their time. My daughter was lucky enough to score a single room, and it was spectacular. The holiday decorations were beautiful, the shows entertaining, and the themed deck parties kept everyone dancing late into the night. I loved freestyle dining and had no problem finding a lovely place to eat. The bars were well stocked, and the service was quick and friendly. The pool area was entertaining, clean, and drinks and refreshments served quickly. As sad as I was to leave, getting off the ship, and finding our luggage was a breeze. Overall, I would score the staff, activities, food, and entertainment a 10. It was a week of unending fun. The Escape lived up to it's name and provided my family with an unforgetable holiday trip. Thanks NCL, I'll see you next December. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We went on the Norwegian Jewel for the New Years Eve cruise. Was it crowded? Yes. Was it fun? Yes. All in all everything was just fine. The Ship itself is in good condition. No failures or issues to report. Our cabin was an Oceanview ... Read More
We went on the Norwegian Jewel for the New Years Eve cruise. Was it crowded? Yes. Was it fun? Yes. All in all everything was just fine. The Ship itself is in good condition. No failures or issues to report. Our cabin was an Oceanview on deck 5 and was OK. No problems there either. The entertainment was actually very good, which I've noticed is common across the Norwegian line. Highlights were the Magician Greg Gleason and the Russian Acrobat couple. Service was very good, Everyone we encountered were friendly and had smiles. (some we talked to were on their last cruise before vacation). Since we are Silver Latitude members and guests of the Casino, we were invited to a couple private events plus drinks on the house, which is always appreciated! We took one shore excursion which was the Las Caletas Beach Hideaway in Puerto Vallarta. This place is fantastic with a wide variety water sports, free drinks and the best Mexican buffet lunch I've ever had. I actually can't wait to go back to this place. Well worth the money. Mazatlan was a little more laid back, we ate at Poncho's Restaurant in the Golden Zone, which has a very nice view of the beach and great food. Our favorite was Cabo San Lucas. The local cuisine in this city is simply awesome. The only draw back on this cruise was the overall dining experience. The Chin Chin Asian Restaurant was awful. Not even closely resembling anything Chinese or Asian. My wife and I got up and walked out with food still on the table. Yes, it was that bad. Another bad experience was Moderno Brazilian Steakhouse, Maybe i'm spoiled by the memories of eating at a real Brazilian Steakhouse on land. This place was just not good. Le Bistro and La Cucina were much better food options if your are going to spend the extra money to eat on board. The Tsar main dining room was average at best. Very small portions. The Garden Cafe buffet was good as we had all of our breakfasts and lunches there. Food was hot and you can expect the same selections everyday. Despite the food experience I would take this ship again and this itinerary. Next time I'll try Cagney's Steakhouse and the Teppanyaki. I'll keep my fingers crossed on those. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Unless you pay for the more extravagant excursions, most coastal Mexican towns/ports are very similar with a lot of souvenir shops and pushy junk vendors. In Puerta Vallarta, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a must see. In ... Read More
Unless you pay for the more extravagant excursions, most coastal Mexican towns/ports are very similar with a lot of souvenir shops and pushy junk vendors. In Puerta Vallarta, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a must see. In Mazatlan, the open air buses were down, so there was no affordable way to see the city. In Cabo San Lucas, the Harbor is beautiful and the best view of it is from the ship. A quick trip (1 hour) to shore to see some seals, pelicans and other wildlife was all you needed. On-board, the crew and staff were friendly and helpful, our stateroom steward was great. The entertainment was good (some of the musical acts were very loud and garbled), The food was fair, except for La Cucina was excellent and Chin Chin was terrible. The New Year's Eve Party was very fun with our traveling friends. The Game Shows were cute and funny, Trivia was a great place to meet other passengers, although several of the MCs had very thick accents and were very hard to understand. In some cases, it turned into a game that the first team to decipher the question in English deserved an extra point. We will take more cruises, and would not rule NCL, but this cruise did not instill any significant loyalty beyond the value (Free Ultimate Drink Package, Tips included, $100 on-board credit plus a great price from our travel agent). A great All-inculsive vacation to be remembered. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
It was our second time with the Epic and we thought it would be a great idea to spent new year on board. The crew was not polite even rude at sometimes the officers where rude and were apparently a bit tired, the food is almost all ... Read More
It was our second time with the Epic and we thought it would be a great idea to spent new year on board. The crew was not polite even rude at sometimes the officers where rude and were apparently a bit tired, the food is almost all extra charged ( not one price but almost all alla carte also in the Manhattan room) I don't mind this but then the quality needs to be much better. They changed a lot of staff apparently a lot of Romanian,Indian and Chinese crew instead of other European and Philippino crew it makes a big difference. The turkish head of the hotel officers was walking around like a dril sergeant and his french boss was never around. the ship was way to full it was impossible to get a chair by the pool because everything was taken. This ship is there to take your money and don't want to give you back any service. the rooms where not as clean as you suppose to have the balcony was never touched and the glass was dirty all the time in the BVI we where next to the Disney and then you think gee maybe I should have done that one how clean and pretty the spiegeltent show is great, but this ship is getting down in quality fast I could write more negative but i need to work and get ready for a next cruise the Epic was once great no its terrible so no more epic for us. this was not EPIC Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
Choice based on rates and available dates. This one fit our needs best. Covered Christmas which we would have had without kids for the first time. Also covered our 40th Anniversary on 12/26. Cruise was great overall. Smaller ship ... Read More
Choice based on rates and available dates. This one fit our needs best. Covered Christmas which we would have had without kids for the first time. Also covered our 40th Anniversary on 12/26. Cruise was great overall. Smaller ship than we had on Carnival but not necessarily a bad thing. More intimate. We met some great people. Destinations were womderful. Climbing Maya ruins on Christmas Day, tubing on a rain Forrest river (in the rain) on our Anniversary with a Maya guide. Next day being smooched on by an amorous Capuccin Monkey. Great times. The staff was friendly for he most part and went out of their way to make us feel special. A couple of bartenders were less than the best but they were more than made for by the rother st. I would recommend this route and cruise line to anyone. We may we'll do this one again. On the down side, though, there were a couple of significant aspects that prevent this from being a 5 star review. First, the center of the top deck by the pool was taken up by a stage. That seriously limited the space for guests. More, though, the Gand that played on that stage was a reggae style band and LOUD! Speakers all around the stage blasted their music into every corner. Lest you think I am just an old fogey who doesn't like loud things, I have been around concussive blast waves. They do bad things to your internal body. This volume felt like one long slow explosion and was painful for me. There was literally no way anyone could carry on a conversation when they were playing. We had to grab whatever food or drink we wanted and head up a deck, and maybe away from the pool area, to get a sound baffle from the glass and other structures in order to enjoy sitting out in the sunshine. The other thing was that we had a card in our room congratulating us on our Anniversary. That was very nice. The card said to give it to the matre de at whatever restaurant we went to on our Anniversary. We chose the French restaurant, Le Bistro. Handed the card over as instructed and were seated. As we were eating a small group of people appeared and sang Let Me Call You Sweetheart to a nearby table. I looked at my wife and speculated that they might were supposed to be singing to us. But, whatever. Shortly the couple at that table came by and asked us if it was our Anniversary since we were the only people in the restaurant tha looked like we were celebrating such an event. He said that they were not even married and he didn't take our cake. Then he went to tell the staff of their mistake. A while later the same people appeared at our table and repeated their performance and placed a very pretty cake on our table, right after we had ordered desert. In fact, our desert showed up in the middle of their singing. We thanked them and asked, since we already had desert, what we were to do with the cake. They said the would box it up for us. That was nice. We finished and we're sitting at the table. Ready to go, we wondered what we were to do about the cake. We got our waiter and asked. He said they had sent it to our cabin. Well, you guessed it, no cake. We never did see that cake again after it was placed on our table. Now, to be sure, we didn't go on the cruise for tha cake. And, had there been no card in our room, we wouldn't have even noticed. But the gesture was made ... and then abysmally executed. We are not looking for any kind of refund and not even sure an apology is necessary. But I have worked in customer service organizations and this was definitely not that. So here is the feedback. Cost you a star. As I said, though, we may we'll repeat this cruise and with NCL. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Traveled for the Christmas week on the Epic. Our group was a party of 6 with two large balcony cabins. We were 4 adults and 2 teens. Embarkation was very easy. No lines at 11 AM. Staff greeted us with a smile and we were easily on board ... Read More
Traveled for the Christmas week on the Epic. Our group was a party of 6 with two large balcony cabins. We were 4 adults and 2 teens. Embarkation was very easy. No lines at 11 AM. Staff greeted us with a smile and we were easily on board and on our way to the buffet area. We had the drink package and immediately began to use it with a cocktail of the day. Amazingly, there was outdoor food ready for us!! The buffet opened shortly after that. We did wait a long time to get to our cabins, and when asking how soon it would be, I was told "when it's ready we will let you know" A bit curt, but oh well! Cabin was as described...........strange but doable Lots of storage but awful lighting and outlets awful. Bring along some extra extensions of some sort.. Met our wonderful cabin steward, Rosalee, who remembered our names from the first time we met! How do they do this???? She did all that she could to meet our needs but was never intrusive. Will get back to cabin issues in another section of this review. Been on several cruises and feel this food was some of the best. Have read other reviews of this ships food and can't understand why all the complaints? Ate in 3 specialty restaurants and all were great!!! Mostly ate beef the entire trip, so after I have my arteries cleared, will stay off beef for awhile! Drinks were good and plentiful and service was very good for the most. Wonderful service in Cagney's and Tempanaki !!! Catered to our shell fish allergic granddaughter, always watching to be certain there was no cross contamination. Entertainment was as good as any ship we have been on and we were sure to have made reservations as we knew this would be a very crowded cruise. Husband liked the casino, but was unlucky! Felt some of the big events held in the Atrium should have been moved to the theater as there was just too much crowding and not nearly enough places to sit. Actual shipboard activities were just OK. As always pool deck very over crowded and seat savers the usual problem as on all cruises. Basically used my own large balcony instead. Bought admission for the adult only water spa and enjoyed the peace and quiet and huge water features for the entire week.Very clean! Thought Epic did a good job celebrating Christmas all week....music, movies etc. Did not do any tours this time as we had been to these islands previously. Also there was the need to tender and water was rough for me to safely get on and off the ship.Missed Jamaica due to high winds, so felt bad for my grand kids. Now the ugly! We noticed that our carpet in the cabin was very wet and reported it in the A.M. We were having room service in our cabin when maintenance knocked and asked if they could come in to check. No problem we said. They failed to mention that they were going to open a drain while we were eating!!!! Quite an odor! We quickly went outside on the balcony to finish our meal and when we went back in, they had left two very large pieces of equipment to quickly dry up the carpet. Now we all know how small these cabins are and it is next to impossible to get past the bed to begin with, so having a large fan and a dehumidifier in the ONLY walking space was quite a trick!! Also the volume of noise was unbelievable!!!!! So after we tried our best to get ready, we left the cabin for the day. They were still in place when we came back to rest and had to call maintenance to haul them away. Carpet never really dried and on the night of day 4 it happened again!! Really nasty!!! Back with the fans etc! Now on the last night of out cruise, while packing, I received a call from customer relations asking if we would please move out for the night to a cabin one flight up. Ummm, I don't think so! They then proceed to say they were concerned with our health...think MOLD.....really?? How about the last 6 days? If they had another cabin to move us to, then why didn't they? Originally said ship was at capacity. Where did the people who were in this new found cabin go? Did they leave them on last port? Were they sleeping on the pool deck? Did they jump ship? Made no sense and so declined. What they really wanted was to run those fans all night to cover up the wet carpet for the oncoming next day guest!!!! Well good luck with that as they never did find the problem. For a week of soggy carpet the generously compensated us $100 Probably not nearly enough to cover one of the medical tests we may need for mold disease!!!!! All in all it was a good cruise if you eliminate the carpet stuff and our inability to stop in Jamaica. Nothing is perfect. When dealing with 4,000+ passengers you must expect some blips, so get over most of these issues. Again, special thanks to our room steward, Rosalie!!!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Our group of 12 was on the NORWEGIAN JEWEL from December 23 -30, 2016. The group was my wife and I (4 other cruises) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 29 year old son and his girlfriend (first cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 24 year old ... Read More
Our group of 12 was on the NORWEGIAN JEWEL from December 23 -30, 2016. The group was my wife and I (4 other cruises) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 29 year old son and his girlfriend (first cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my 24 year old daughter and her boyfriend (3rd cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents (2nd cruise) in an Oceanview stateroom, our son’s girlfriend’s aunt and the girlfriend’s 10 year old son (1st cruise) in a balcony stateroom and the aunt’s sister and husband (2nd cruise) in an Interior stateroom. Whew! Confusing group, I know. Main point is that we had a variety of ages and experience. The aunt and her sister were both renting scooters and had some mobility issues. But EVERYONE had a great time. Different takes from everyone, but I’ll focus as best I can on the overall experience, but understand that not everyone did everything I talk about here. EMBARKATION: This was a disappointing mess. My wife and I plus a few others in the group arrived in LA that morning. It was pretty fast (30 minutes) to get from LA to the port, and we used a VERY nice van service. There are lots in a city that size…our group of 8 was big enough (with all the suitcases) to get our very own van, but at no extra charge. We arrived at the port and it took forever for the porter to take our bags. Yes, we had a lot, but it took longer than it should have. Then a port representative met us to help with our family member who needed a wheelchair. One family member was allowed to go with her, but that meant having her niece leave her little boy with us…and as we aren’t his family members, we couldn’t bring him on the ship. What a mess! Finally, our son, the boy, the niece and the aunt all went off and my wife and I fended for ourselves. We were glad to see a line for “repeat” customers (we’re bronze…lowest level) but it saved no time. We all ended up at the same check-in counters. The wait was 45 minutes. In the end, we were the last folks on the ship from our whole group. Normally we are on by noon or 1. It was after two, and cabins were already available, so the ship was a madhouse. RESTAURANTS: I’ll start with THE GREAT OUTDOORS. This was where we met up with most of our group as we waited for muster drill. As always, this is a great spot to look around at the views, grab a drink, get some food and NOT have significant crowds. You have to walk all the way through the very long cafeteria to get to it, and I guess a lot of folks just won’t bother. The buffet doesn’t have as many choices as the main buffet, but it still has PLENTY to choose from. The atmosphere is just so much more relaxing. We spent time in the late evenings as well (once we were in Mexican temps…it was a little chilly in SoCal!). Buffet is open late, the bar is pouring and the sound of the ship moving through the ocean is relaxing. You can have a party atmosphere here or a calm one. Our first couple of dinners, we did as a group of 12. With the Christmas holidays, I had to reserve seats for Christmas Eve (formal night) as well as Christmas brunch and then Christmas night dinner. Our first night (the 23rd) we tried out Tsar’s, the more “formal” or “traditional” of the two MDRs. We were seated quickly and the food and service was very nice. The following night was good as well. Folks were seldom truly formal (saw a small smattering of tuxes), but there were plenty of suits. I don’t know if Christmas Eve just brought out a larger selection of dressier folks. Not every meal everyone had was a homerun, and there were a few uneaten appetizers or entrees…but I liked everything I had for the most part. On the first night, I had the prime rib and it was very tasty. (I had prime rib on EXPLORER OF THE SEAS 3 months prior, and that was quite tasteless.) Anyway, when Christmas brunch came around, things fell apart a bit from a service perspective. So much so, they gave me a free bottle of wine. Very slow. Wrong items arriving. Half the table receiving their entrees and the other half waiting forever. It was not good, so after that, our party never had dinner at Tsar’s again. We made the move to Azura that night and while, to be honest, I like the formal Tsar’s a bit better…everyone seemed to feel more at ease, so I was happy. The service was good too. Food is the same as at Tsar’s…but the more contemporary atmosphere is quite different. I recommend you try both. They each have something nice to offer. (By the way, Tsar’s is open for breakfast, and I highly recommend it. You can often get a table by a window and have a lovely view of the ocean while you gorge yourself!). We had lunch on the 24th at CHIN-CHIN, the included Chinese place. For lunch, it is a noodle house…and it was quite tasty!! A couple of the older members of our group were not so enchanted by the unorthodox food…but most of us loved it. (If you wanted an alcoholic beverage, though, you had to run down a level and get it from one of the bars. We had no bar service there, as for some reason, the bar at the sushi joint was closed at lunch time.) We only tried the main buffet one for breakfast and once for lunch. It is fine. Crowded but fine. We ended up having several breakfast’s at O’SHEEHAN’S, the delightful “open almost all the time” sit down place with a large, Irish-themed bar adjacent. The have a limited menu of things like burgers, fries, tuna sandwich, etc…but for breakfast, they have essentially the same choices as Tsar’s and it’s a bit more casual. (A great place for a pre or post-hangover dose of protein, too.) Service, to be honest, was always a bit indifferent, but it was efficient, so I was happy enough. The only specialty restaurant we did was TEPPANYAKI, as a group of 12 on the 28th. We had a blast, and the food was terrific. Fresh and tasty and plentiful. There is an extra charge, which I think is a bit high (about $30, I think)…but if you can do a splurge, this is a fun time. Only gripe was that they were 15 minutes late seating us, so we were a bit pressed for time to catch the show in the theater. We did not try other specialty places this time, as we enjoyed having dinner with our kids and their SOs. The older folks in the group did try some other spots and gave glowing reports about Cagney’s and less-than-enthused about the Italian spot. BARS Many of us had selected the drink package as one of our ad-ons (part of the special), and we sure got our money’s worth. It was the holidays, and for most of the trip, the weather was warm and sunny. So we indulged a fair amount. The limit was $15, and we seldom exceeded it. And not everything needed to be well drinks, either. Jack Daniels, Johnny Black, etc. were all covered. I saw no real “generic” names. Strangely, Dark and Stormy’s were more than $15??!! I was able to order a Moscow Mule with dark instead of white rum…so that was just a little odd. I can’t speak much about the wine…we had very little of that, but my kids often got a glass at dinner and seemed satisfied. They are not very knowledgeable, though! Beer was the usual disappointing array. A couple of places had Heineken on draft, but overall the selection was poor. I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a Pale Ale from Lagunita’s though. That seemed like a random (but nice) choice to pop up in a sea of Budweiser, Coors & Sam Adams lager. The bars themselves all had various things to offer, but most really had the same stuff as anyone else. The notable exception was the Mojito Bar (connected to Cagney’s Steakhouse) which poured some really unusual and tasty mojitos you couldn’t get anywhere else. They have more limited hours, so make plans to drop by. It is a bit more “elegant” than many of the bars and they actually serve a chex-mix type of thing to encourage lingering. So you might feel out of place stopping by in your swim trunks and flip-flops. Otherwise, it’s a standard selection of pool-side bars, bars in the two clubs and a smattering throughout the ship. Each bar was nice and the service was generally good. I was always able to order two drinks with just one card. And ordering doubles was never an issue. Frankly, some of these guys poured with a very heavy hand. I ordered a double Cape Cod for my wife, and they basically filled the glass with vodka and then splashed a smidgen of cranberry juice on top. Watch out! ENTERTAINMENT As with all other cruises we’ve done, this was a bit hit and miss. The Norwegian Jewel cast was actually pretty good and we enjoyed BAND OF THE RUN, essentially a collection of songs from the 70s / 80s. High energy, fast moving and the live band was great. In fact, most of the shows featured the live band, and they were always a pretty tight ensemble. Yes, they stared hard at their cheat sheets and weren’t terribly charismatic…but they sounded really great. We enjoyed ourselves overall at these shows. We didn’t spend much time with the other entertainment on the ship, except occasionally a song or two in Spinnaker’s, the bigger of the clubs, with a dance floor and lots of seating. Spinnaker’s is the site of many daytime “games” as well. This place gets a lot of use, but when it is not in use, there is no better spot for some quiet time reading or looking at the sea. MISC: We spent some time playing board games in the game room. It’s so nice that they have that. It’s a simple little feature (right next to the library) but on this family oriented cruise…it was packed! Speaking of family oriented…THE QUEST game show, which is usually for adults only, was REALLY for adults only. It is held in the Spinnaker, which makes it possible for more people to get involved (compared to, say, the Ice Arena on a Royal Caribbean ship, where you can just watch and laugh if you want). The challenges got quite racy at the end, and as my son said once “I definitely saw some nudity.” So be warned. We laughed our butts off, but I was a little surprised as well. Spinnaker also hosted White Hot night, because the weather had gotten very blustery. Being indoors dampened this event, and it was a bit of a flop, I would say. We had looked forward to it, but somehow, being inside just wasn’t as fun as spreading out over the two levels around the pool, tropical drink in hand, dancing like fool. The 10 year old with us spent LOTS of time on the sports court. Soccer tournaments, basketball, etc. He enjoyed the Kids Club (can’t remember the name) and was immediately ready to do another cruise! CABIN: We had an oceanview room on deck 5, so this featured a picture window, rather than a porthole. It was a perfectly serviceable cabin…just like any other. If you’ve cruised before, you know what I mean. If not…just expect something that looks like an inexpensive hotel room, but much smaller. Store your suitcases under the bed. Bring handing cosmetic bags as there is essentially no counter space. (I will say, though, that the room had perhaps a little bit more storage space than we’ve had before. We actually had an unused drawer! Our steward was fine…nothing special, but our room was always clean and towels always stocked and ice always provided. We didn’t see him much, but didn’t really need to. DISEMBARKATION This was essentially a breeze, although we had to wait extra for the two wheelchairs we needed. This made us amongst the last to debark, but everything was smooth. You can still get a lovely breakfast in Tsar’s and I recommend that. One last shot of really nice, tablecloth service! (One tip…we had rented a couple of vehicles from the Enterprise dealership in San Pedro. Their shuttle took us there and then my son and I had to wait for over an hour to get cars. It was SO terribly jam-packed. The staff was overwhelmed. It’s a tiny office and you actually have to wait outside. Find another solution!! Take an uber to a neighboring town for a rental car. (We had to spend about 8 hours in LA before our flight, so we wanted a bit of freedom to move around.) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty restaurants and the buffet, not in the main dinning room. We have traveled on the Sun before in South America, but never out of Buenas Aires north to Brazil. The ship took a long time to sell out, I think for several factors, Americans needed a visa to got to Brazil, the overblown fear of Zika, the expensive cost of flights from North America this time of year, and that it included two holidays that many people spend with family. Because of this the prices went really low and allowed us to upgrade from a obstructed porthole window to a mini suite. Then after final reduction two months out we splurged for a penthouse suite. The ship is usually at least 50% English speaking passengers but with the reluctance of the North Americans to book this cruise there were only 120 English speakers on board. Personally, I thought that made it more fun. Room 9076 was a dream. An aft suite with a separate bedroom, huge bathroom with full size jetted tub, and a balcony that was incredible. The extra services that came with the room like a butler and concierge were nice but did not add that much to the value of the room itself. I know some people complain that NCL nickel and dimes you on their cruises, but I just don't find that to be true. Most everyone gets a free drink package when you make your reservation. If you want better food at dinner, you. buy a specialty restaurant package. The tours are very overpriced and it is worth it to use Cruise Critic or other means to make tour plans on your port stops. The Spa is expensive as well, but no more so than other cruise lines. On any cruise you take there will be a daily service charge added to you account, be ready for that. They don't allow bottled water to be brought onto the ship anymore, so you bring a large water bottle and fill it up on board. I can assure that the water on board is cleaner than most American cities. With the unusual number of Latino's on this cruise, I thought the cruise director and his staff could have done a better job with the music, even if it was just with a DJ. British Rockers just didn't cut it. Other than that, we love the ship. It is not too big. There is always room where ever you want to go. Remember if your going south around the tip of South America the pool area is not covered. The staff has always been incredibly helpful and considerate and will keep us coming back. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
We flew from Glasgow to Newark and stayed overnight in New York, prior to boarding the Norwegian Breakaway on 20 December 2015 for a 7 day Christmas Cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship was very busy as you might expect. I have ... Read More
We flew from Glasgow to Newark and stayed overnight in New York, prior to boarding the Norwegian Breakaway on 20 December 2015 for a 7 day Christmas Cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. The ship was very busy as you might expect. I have nothing bad to say about the cabin, the crew or the entertainment as it was all good. However, I do think they need to rethink their port stops as there are only three and it appears that they regularly miss at least one of them, making it a long time at sea. The itinerary was meant to be: Day 1 & 2: At sea Day 3: Port Canaveral, Florida Day 4: Great Stirrup Cay (private Island) Day 5: Nassau, Bahamas Days 6 &7: Two days The ports are sandwiched between two days at sea on either end of the cruise and as there are only three, they are important. Our first port was meant to be Port Canaveral on day three of the cruise, where many families had spent a lot of money arranging trips to the Space Centre and to Walt Disneyworld. For whatever reason ( it was never explained) the ship didn't arrive in the port until 2 pm which meant that all visits were heavily curtailed. I felt really sorry for some of the families who had spent a small fortune on travelling to Disney but only managed a couple of hours there. Furthermore, as the ship was so late in berthing, the RCI Anthem of the Seas also pulled in alongside which meant that there was insufficient transport to take passengers away from the port. An absolute logistical disaster. The following day was meant to be spent at Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's private island and everyone on board was really looking forward to it, given the previous day's events. By mid-morning, we were still at sea and it wasn't until after 11 am that the Captain came on to the PA to announce that we wouldn't be going there as the tenders couldn't get in. Fair enough, I thought, as this was always a possibility. Later on, whilst checking online and speaking to the crew, this is a common occurrence for this destination and the tenders often don't make it. As an alternative, we travelled to Nassau early, but it was pitch dark and no one left the ship. There will always be adverse conditions that affect the ability of the ship to berth at certain ports, however NCL should reconsider this itinerary if they arrive late at the first stop and often don't make it to the second. I might cruise with NCl again, but I cannot recommend this itinerary for the reasons given; its too high risk. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
9 of us ranging in age from 78- 4 years old on the 12-19 Christmas cruise- It was a very good cruise and given that we could just make a 3 hour drive to the Houston port and park it was the easiest embarkation/disembarkation ever. We have ... Read More
9 of us ranging in age from 78- 4 years old on the 12-19 Christmas cruise- It was a very good cruise and given that we could just make a 3 hour drive to the Houston port and park it was the easiest embarkation/disembarkation ever. We have been on 10+ cruises and this one being our second on NCL. Mostly sail from FLL or Miami to enjoy the newer boats and better weather but took a chance on the Jade because of the convenience and value. We were a little concerned by all the November and December negative reviews but it appears they have most of the earlier problems worked out. The bartenders were good and I discovered a new favorite drink- the Moscow Mule! Have it made with Tito's vodka! Ultimate Bev Package worked well although the selections are not as good as Celebrity's program. We dined at Grand Pacific each night and other than the first night (when they were rather overrun) we had no trouble with service. The food was okay but was not impressive. It seems the days of lobster, escargot, or a nice jumbo shrimp cocktail are over on NCL. Not sure if this is because of the emphasis on all of the specialty restaurants but overall a step back from previous cruises within the last few years. For instance one night I had Prawns in Alfredo sauce which was good- the "prawns" however were about the size of a nickel. C'mon, I wouldn't mind "shrimp" with Alfredo but don't get my hopes up... Didn't go to all the shows but the ones we did get to were great- The Elements show was probably the best I have seen at sea. The reggae band on the pool deck was great and I enjoyed listening to them very much- pool deck always had chairs available. 4 year old really enjoyed the kiddie pool and made friends there which helped with the drop off at the kids club the couple of times he went. The two early teens in the family made friends and had a great time while onboard. White Hot Party was fun but was better on the NCL Sun where they held the event outside and had more staff involved. The ship is a little old and showing some age in places but overall not bad. While we had a completely full sailing it did not seem crowded at most times. Everyone that I encountered both passenger and crew seemed in high spirits. The Hawaiian theme is weird and I missed the multistory atrium that is found on most ships of this size. The Christmas décor was mostly disappointing- they tried a little. Having Santa there on Christmas morning was really nice for our 4 y.o. and the carolers were fun. Arrived early back in Houston due to weather which was no problem and seeing the fog as we came up the ship channel Friday afternoon it was probably a good call by the captain. We took a cab to Paradise beach in Cozumel based on CC reviews and it was very nice. Lots of water toys to use on the beach, pool, showers- just what we were looking for this time. Its not an all inclusive so everything was al a carte and they ask you to spend $10 in food/bev...$15 for use of all the non motor water toys. Belize tender was no problem. Did cave tubing and zip line with cavetubing r us. Fantastic experience and the owner/operator David was very knowledgeable about his country/enjoys his job! More time in the river, better tubes, half the cost of the ship. Roatan tender was no problem- we didn't have as much time in port as I would have liked but we visited West Bay beach through bananarama. Awesome beach and snorkeling but very crowded with 5 ships visiting that day. Of all the cruises we've been on I can say that they all have been 5 stars+ and I have always appreciated the hard work the staff puts in to make sure everyone's experience is a great one but withholding a star this time because of the big food decline in the main dining rooms. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a ... Read More
We just returned from a week on the Norwegian Escape. There were 21 in our party. The oldest was 74 and there were 11 kids from 2 to 16. Everyone enjoyed themselves. I am going to try to be comprehensive and fair, while giving a balance of the good and the “needs improvement.” The best feature by far is the food. OH MY GOD! The food is phenomenal. Our whole party had the ultimate food packages. We ate at just about every specialty restaurant on the boat (There are about 10 of them). Some of the best food I have ever eaten. The Italian restaurant’s tiramisu was the best I have ever had. The Brazilian Steakhouse was amazing. The ribeye at the “regular” steakhouse was perfect. The food at the three “standard” restaurants was excellent too. We only went to the buffet for breakfast and lunch, but the food there was great too. Real whipped cream is rare in the Caribbean, but was plentiful for waffles at breakfast – Mmm. The only slightly subpar meal we had was at the French restaurant. It was not bad, but was not up to the standards of the other restaurants. The biggest problem with the cruise was the “structure” of the ship. It was a very full cruise – about 4500 guests. In the past we have often cruised Carnival. They have a large theater for shows, gatherings, games, etc. That is apparently not the Norwegian style. Everything on Norwegian is small and intimate. There is a theater, but it is arranged like a movie theater not a “gathering” room. The Atrium is where all of the events take place. They have Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Not so Newlywed Game, live music, WiiU dance for kids, and more amusing things. Lots of people, especially families, love these things. The problem…the Atrium seats about 50 people. They brought in folding chairs at times, but it was a madhouse. People were fighting over chairs. They need a much larger gathering space. Although they have a 5 slides, a small water park, a small kids pool, and a medium adults pool, the pool area felt small as well. To cram all the things in one place, they lost seating area. There were maybe 150 seats around the pools – not enough for a day at sea for 4500. There is nowhere for parents to sit around the kids area and watch their kids. The pools were not heated and were a little chilly – probably warmer or at least more refreshing if you don’t cruise in December. The slides themselves were fantastic and fun. Something for every age – even thrill seeking adults. The tube slide was the most popular. But even better than the waterslides was the ropes course. A two story ropes course with 2 zip lines. My teens spent hours on the ropes course. Plus there was a baby-safe mini-ropes course. My 2 year old LOVED that one. We also had the unlimited drinks package. I found the drinks to be excellent and maybe even a little too alcoholic! Many of the bars had their own specialty drinks as well, and they were mostly very tasty. The cabins were a solid good. They are bigger than Carnival cruise cabins, but they are still small – and we had balcony rooms. My stroller is a standard size (a city mini), but could not fit through the door. This made transferring a sleeping 2 year old into bed harder than it should have been. You have to keep your room card in a slot to keep the electricity on in your room. Therefore, you can’t charge your electronics while you are out – which was unfortunate. Then we discovered a piece of paper could be wedged into the slot instead of a card. But this means the cabin steward will think you are in (there is a light outside the cabin that turns on when the card is in the slot) and will not make up your cabin. A no win situation. Did I mention how great the food was? We found all of the people very nice. We prepaid our tips, and most people do, so they are not hustling for tips as much. Yet they still bent over backwards to be nice. There is a teens club that my kids loved. There are separate clubs for 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12 year olds. There is even babysitting for a fee (we never used it). The younger kids in our group didn’t love the kids club so much – it’s all indoors in one room per age group and got too crowded. No scavenger hunts like we’ve seen other places. It is VERY secure – kids are essentially on lock down. The teens area is completely separate, much larger, and kids come and go at will. It is a new ship, and my wife says she has never seen public bathrooms so clean. They are obsessive with germs. Multiple staff people stand at every entrance to the buffet with hand sanitizer. Plus there are fixed sanitizer stations EVERYWHERE. Plus the bathrooms have paper towel dispensers JUST TO USE TO OPEN THE DOORS. They have hand driers to wash hands and dry them, but towel dispensers only at the doors with instructions to use them on the door handles. The entertainment options were great. There were two comics with a total of three sets each. There was karaoke at least once a day. Multiple piano bars plus dueling pianos many nights. One hiccup – my fourteen year old is a huge sports fan. The only place to watch sports with sound is the adults only bar. He was not happy about that at all. Overall, we had a great time. Even with 20+ people in our party, we had trouble finding each other – probably a good thing. There was always something to see, do, or eat, and it was usually funny, fun, and delicious. I would certainly cruise Norwegian again. 4 ½ stars. They lose the half on the small Atrium. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I booked this cruise to start a family tradition. My grand daughter (17 months old) had never been on a cruise. I thought departing from New York City would be a good option instead of flying to a port for embarkation. If your looking for ... Read More
I booked this cruise to start a family tradition. My grand daughter (17 months old) had never been on a cruise. I thought departing from New York City would be a good option instead of flying to a port for embarkation. If your looking for a generic experience or have not cruise prior, this is the cruise for you. The embarkation was fairly quick and efficient. The Cabin Steward was friendly and attentive. The cabins are narrow as well as the hallways. Navigating these halls can be challenging especially with a stroller or wheelchair when the linen carts take up the hallways. Free style dining is a nice concept but don't expect the food to be warm or fresh. Food hoarding seem to be a past time of many travelers. The days at sea were too cold to enjoy the outside areas or pool. Some Excursions were over price and not worth the time. Great Stirrup Cay is nicely laid out with little shade. One has to pay for a Cabana, covered chaise or sit at a picnic table under the pavilion. There are water activities and a giant inflated slide for an additional cost. The Spa is a quiet respite with lounge chairs, saunas, whirlpool and hot tile chaise. There are a variety Spa services but be prepared to be pressured to purchase additional services or items. Splash Academy has programs for children age three or older. The Guppy Program (3 yrs. and younger) exists in name only. Their is a separate room with a few toys. Gift shops had the range of over priced jewelry or low end cruise nick knacks. The there is a variety of restaurants with table side service but the portions are small and the food may be over cooked. In general the ship is large with a variety of activities with audience participation. The price of the cruise is basic with many add-ons such as for sodas, wines and liquors packages or enrichment activities. Be prepared for a time-share experience of being asked to purchase items. If you see Spa staff outside of the Spa area, run!! You will be approached to purchase even more services. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but ... Read More
The Good: 1. Good itinerary 2. Big window in Balcony Stateroom 3. Good Entertainment ( Cruise Director was great) The OK: 1. The food was bland and always the same. I was on a carnival Liberty before this and couldn't help but compare. Carnival has a lot more free options and the food is 10 times better. Norwegian's food was bland and always the same. I did not try their restaurants that you had to pay extra for. The Bad 1. There was a smell coming from the aft stairs 2. The bartender in Ramblas bar was rude, never smiled and always looked away. No wonder it was always empty   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small ... Read More
Pros: big ship, 3 water slides, 2 rock climbing walls, lots of hot tubs, huge gym, many restaurants, great food and service, excellent entertainment (Blue Man show is a must!), perfect for families with kids (young or teens). Cons: small cabins, separated toilet & shower means you dry yourself off in the hallway of your cabin(!!), no large atrium or glass elevators, very crowded buffet at Garden Cafe on deck 15, sundeck area is small. First time on Norwegian, loved the laid-back "freestyle" cruise atmosphere. No need to dress up for dinner, no assigned dining times. Food was excellent -- lots of selections from a variety of countries (Indian, Mexican, Italian, Japanese, American). It's a party ship -- lots of dancing and music on the pool deck. Even if you're shy or feel you can't dance, they have simple line dances that anyone can join. The inside cabin is very small. There's storage, but not much room to open your suitcase on the floor. If you order room service, you'll have to eat on the bed(!!). The bathrooms = everyone hates them. The toilet and shower are separated. So, if you want to dry off after a shower and change into your pjs or fresh clothes, you can only do that in the shower, or in the small space right in front of your cabin door. While brushing your teeth or washing your hands or face, your cabin roommate will see you, as the sink is located in the middle of your cabin. Entertainment and variety of activities is excellent. Blue Man Group is a must see. I attended several lectures on board -- digital photography, upcoming cruises, Meet the Blue Men, etc and found them extremely interesting and useful. Families with kids will love the pools, water slides and rock climbing walls. Saw a lot of teens at the video arcade and basketball court. The ship attracts a lot of families, so if you prefer quiet cruises, please choose another ship. Couples who want privacy (meaning no kids), can use the Spice H2O/Haven area at the rear of the ship. It's quiet and there are 2 hot tubs, a bar and a heated (!) pool. This was my third cruise. I would highly recommend Norwegian Epic to those who: -- want great food and entertainment -- like a laid-back, relaxing cruise, without dress codes and assigned dinner times. -- like a big ship and don't mind crowds -- are traveling as a family with small kids or teens Don't chose the Norwegian Epic if you: -- like peace and quiet on your holiday -- hate small children -- hate large crowds About me: -- Late 30s, female, Canadian living in Asia. Traveled on a "girl's only" holiday with a female friend. -- My parents (late 60s, early 70s) joined me on this cruise. They loved the ship and didn't care about the small children or noise. -- I've cruised Western Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean and Middle East with Costa. This cruise was my first time with Norwegian. -- I was impressed with Norwegian and will likely cruise with this company again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
First time on Norwegian after a previous cruise with Crystal. No attempts at comparisons here, just an honest review of our experience. Jade chosen for route and schedule and my wife and I were in cabin 11654 , an aft facing cabin. Cabin ... Read More
First time on Norwegian after a previous cruise with Crystal. No attempts at comparisons here, just an honest review of our experience. Jade chosen for route and schedule and my wife and I were in cabin 11654 , an aft facing cabin. Cabin - large mini suite with plenty of room due to its disabled facilities. Very comfortable and no noise to speak off. Relaxing view and wave sound from the good size balcony. Food - we did not have a bad meal on the ship. It was only on the second last night when we ate in Alizar that we felt the menu was a bit underwhelming. But the food that night was still good. We had the Ultimate Dining package and that was good value with all the options serving very good food. Breakfasts were always good and thanks to Mr Coffee Coffee and Mr washy Washy, a fun place to start your day. Staff - all the staff were great and it was good that many times they would stop to engage and not just serve. Entertainment - a mixed bag but not unexpected given the many different nationalities on board. Tenors of Rock, the Gymnasts and the Jadegirls with their 60's nights were standouts. Nathaniel Reed was a terrific piano bar player and host. Pretty much all the other entertainment options were provided and were more than satisfactory. Excursions - the few that we used were good value, especially the Sorrento and Pompeii tour through Naples. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Where do I begin. Our first experiance with the Sky was truely one to remember. We normaly sail in a Balcony (BA class mid ship) but on this cruise the cruising gods were smilling down on us and three days before we sailed we were bumped ... Read More
Where do I begin. Our first experiance with the Sky was truely one to remember. We normaly sail in a Balcony (BA class mid ship) but on this cruise the cruising gods were smilling down on us and three days before we sailed we were bumped up to the Owners Suite! Thats right we went from the balcony cabin of 202 sqft. to 835 sqft. cabin, private balcony w/hot tub, free alcohol, treats from the staff every evening a butler & concierge service. SPOILED!! You could tell the ship was a little old and needed a little mait. here and there but the staff was friendly and attentive the entertainment was very good for a smaller ship and of course the food was as always with Norwiegian fantastic. We have taken four cruise's with Norwiegian in the past five years these guys know how its done! They have certainly won my buisness as a matter of fact we are already booked on the madian voyage of the new Norwegian Escape in November.....Cant wait!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
I just read 2 conflicting reviews on this cruise and I appreciate a review is only someones opinion so here is another one! In January 2015 we cruised with NCL Getaway (Southampton to New York) and going from their newest ship to the ... Read More
I just read 2 conflicting reviews on this cruise and I appreciate a review is only someones opinion so here is another one! In January 2015 we cruised with NCL Getaway (Southampton to New York) and going from their newest ship to the oldest in their fleet, I will not lie we were a little apprehensive but we went with an open mind and took into account the ships age the cost of cruise. Embarkation, was straight forward Service, we only encountered friendly and polite service Cabin, is of age but had everything and more of what you require and of good size, clean, comfortable and well kept, (please update the hairdryer) Public sitting areas did have some signs of age but were clean comfortable and well kept. The other public areas stairways/corridors were very clean, well kept and looked new in places. Dining in Windows we did not require to wait any evening the meals were good with a wide range each evening, some evenings the service could be a little slow but lets be honest who is in a hurry, you are on vacation and I will add the servers were nothing but polite and helpful. Entertainment left a little to be desired (be honest more than a little) the last two evening shows were their best. (we were spoiled as on the inaugural Getaway sailing the entertainment was outstanding) Shore excursions I will make this short, miss out Casablanca and the rest were fine. Spa, This ship has had a number of refits over the years, I can understand they have not managed a pool within the spa area, but this day and age they should have managed a unisex spa area,as they have on their other ships. Value-for-Money, again I will keep short 'excellent'   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we ... Read More
We are platinum members with Norwegian. We booked this Western Caribbean cruise for December in May. We arrived in Miami after spending a few days at Disney World in Orlando. Once we checked in our bags for our 12th floor balcony, we proceeded to the priority check-in. We took advantage of the kids sail free program, and we received great rates on the Balcony rooms. We were told our room was changed which had me concerned. I thought "it's already starting". The representative told us we were moved to the 16th floor. I thought, it's close to the pools so that is good for my daughter who is autistic and has a slight cerebral palsy and wears a brace on her leg. She has cruised many times including Hawaii on the Pride of America ship. We went to the fifth floor hotel staff once on the ship in the atrium to change our baggage delivery to the right room. Well, we were upgraded to a two bedroom two bath Haven complete with a butler, concierge, and more. We had double sinks with a soaking tub and a water jet shower which overlooked the ocean. We had a bottle of wine and champagne delivered to the room at no charge. Godiva Chocolates, chocolate covered strawberries. our own restaurant area. When we wanted to get off of the ship in port or tender, we were escorted right off the ship without any lines, we had exclusive seating at the shows, huge dining room and living quarters, we had our own sun deck and pool, spa to share with other haven owners. Too many things to mention, but this was by far the most relaxing we were due to the fact that we were secluded from the other 4,000 passengers or so to fight for a sun chair or a spot in the pool. In short the Epic was amazing ship and the Haven made it that much more special. What made it even more special was that we didn't even ask for it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on ... Read More
First, I would like to explain I am an easy going, very happy indiviiual...especially while on vacation. Nothing can really get me down, what is not to like while on vacation...!! That said, I also am an avid cruiser, once yearly on average...and last year we did the NCL Epic and we were as usual happy, to just be on vacation.now for the NCL Getaway....the NCL getaway was the worst cruise I have ever experienced ! The staff was very unattentive, the ship was unclean, the food was unusually awful, I was very surprised that it was this way...I never complain, So I did not complain while on.the ship ..I just rolled with the punches..but, I did not like this cruise! The layout for the ship is choppy, but I had an issue with the cleanliness of the ship mostly. Cups,and plates sat out for hours by the pool, the public area restrooms had no toilet paper on more than one occasion. This is very unusual for cruises I have been on. Also my son was very excited about the water slide ( the drop one) he watched u tube for weeks before hand, so it was a bit of a surprise that you have to be 100 lbs to go on...it never said that ANYWHERE! He was really disappointed. It just was very underwhelming. I can not put the blame on one thing, it was as a whole a very underrated experience. I just wish I could say it was better. On the plus side , We love the shows. And the seal lion swim( excursion) is the most awesome thing ever! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just finished up a 7 day Norwegian Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera... This is my 3rd cruise on the Norwegian Star, my 10th cruise altogether. Embarkation as a suite passenger was fast (less than 30 minutes) however it took 5 hours for ... Read More
Just finished up a 7 day Norwegian Star cruise to the Mexican Riviera... This is my 3rd cruise on the Norwegian Star, my 10th cruise altogether. Embarkation as a suite passenger was fast (less than 30 minutes) however it took 5 hours for our bags to reach our room. In contrast: On a 4 day Carnival cruise (Inspiration out of Long Beach) taken just after this cruise, our bags arrived at our stateroom within an hour of boarding. Being a foodie and having cruised on the Star in the past, we opted for the ultimate dining package so we could "go crazy" at the specialty restaurants. We didn't dine at the MDR for any dinners in hopes of making the most of our unlimited package. Here's a summary: Cagney's steakhouse: We ate here 4x because of the high quality of food and service. This is "surf & turf" type fare in a romantic setting. The restaurant exudes "expensive" but isn't hoity-toity, the food was consistently very good. Le Bistro: A little more romantic than Cagney's and a great excuse to get dressed up- if that's your thing. The french food is solid, not the best I've had, but still good. The service was excellent, the Coq au vin was a tasty choice. Moderno: A fun dining option for carnivores. A semi-romantic setting overlooks the atrium. Pasadores (meat servers) bring freshly grilled skewered hunks o' meat to your table. There is also a yummy salad bar that includes olives, meats, soups, ceviche, and prepared salads. Hint: arrive early (6-7:30) when the restaurant is busiest to get the freshest cuts of meat. The non-specialty (read: no fee) restaurants included: The Buffet: The absolute worst on the high-seas, avoid at all costs, has high-school cafeteria type seating. The Blue Lagoon: A 24 hour cafe with simple basic food. Great views. Versailles: MDR serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dining room is handsome, a francophile's dream touting tall ceilings, lots of mirrors, paintings, gold filigree, and heavy drapes. The service was consistently good, the food was standard cruise-fare: fancier than Golden Corral, but most definitely not the Ritz. Aqua: A more modern and glitzy dinner venue than Versailles but serves the exact same menu. The ship: The ship itself is looking a little dated although it appears to have just received a fresh coat of paint. It is in good repair with the exception of: -worn out chaise loungers -broken/tacky looking fountains in the atrium -a buffet that has less charm than most hospital cafeterias I typically don't go to shows on cruise ships due to low production quality, so I have nothing to report in that regards. The only "planned activity" I participated in were Latin exercise/dance classes in the Spinnaker lounge, which were a mix of Zumba and aerobics, but nonetheless got my heart pumping. I walked the promenade daily for my 10k steps, played a little golf and ping pong with my husband. There was a very good R & B band from Trinidad/Tobago that were very enjoyable, however I didn't much care for the Spanish folk-singers or the Asian 50's greaser band. However, my opinion is likely entirely due to my age (early 40's). The common areas were all very clean, the staff was very friendly and helpful. The ports: Cabo San Lucas: Here we took a boat cruise of Lover's beach and El Arco. Mostly we just killed 2 hours, as the tour was not very interesting, the pre-recorded Jacques Cousteau presentation was b-b-b-boring. After the tour, we walked the pier into town and went to Los Barriles. There we had a fantastic lunch platter with lobster, filet mignon, prawns, sea bass, and crab. What a feast! Our server (Nestor) was fast, efficient, and friendly. The guacamole prepared tableside was simply delicious. Mazatlan: We booked an excursion onboard that included a city tour which took us to watch some cliff divers, from there we went to a shopping district (Zona Dorada), then to a resort (Hotel Playa Mazatlan) for lunch, entertainment, and lounging on the beach. A ho-hum excursion until the resort, which would've been awesome if the weather had held up. The hawkers were very aggressive on the street and at the beach, however a simple "no gracias" always worked for me. Puerto Vallarta: We took a Jeep Safari excursion which wasn't much of a safari at all, instead a drive through the countryside & through many poor villages. It was very educational to see how the "real Mexicans" live, however I didn't appreciate being pressured to buy stuff at the hat or tequila factory. $65 USD for a bottle of tequila is NOT a good deal! At the end of the excursion we were taken to a beach where we were only allowed 30 minutes before having to return to the ship. Debarkation was the fastest ever. The concierge escorted the suite passengers to customs, we were off the ship in less than 30 minutes with bags in hand. Overall: A very enjoyable cruise. Not the fanciest, not the prettiest nor most modern ship, but an organized and friendly vacation brimming with lots of great food and smiling faces. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, second with our children, who range from 13-21.while we had a nice time with family and friends, we were never really impressed by anyone on the shop. We did like the ventiloquist, Kenny Byrd, but he was truly a rare standout. The only other person that seemed to make a relationship with us, a large group of 19, was Emir in the sports bar. The ship is behind the times in terms of technology and shows some wear. Young children were allowed to run all over the ship at breakneck speed and no one ever seemed to interfere. All in all, the experience could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
This was our first NCL cruise (16th overall with our favs being Celebrity, RCL and Princess)- we were pleasantly surprised! All 19 of our group had a great time, but I will only speak for my wife and I - the others can write their own ... Read More
This was our first NCL cruise (16th overall with our favs being Celebrity, RCL and Princess)- we were pleasantly surprised! All 19 of our group had a great time, but I will only speak for my wife and I - the others can write their own reviews. I have to start out by saying that my wife and I go on a cruise to meet new people, and the freestyle dining is not the way to do this, so we would never go again on NCL unless it is with a group. The highlight of our cruise had to be the crew - they were always attentive to your needs - always in a friendly and helpful mood. There was always something going on, and we never felt crowded. The cruise, Bobby, and Asst. CD, Tyler, were unbelievable. As far as the accommodations - We had an obstructed, oceanview cabin on Deck 6 - very convenient location at the front of the ship - the room had more storage that we've ever had on a cruise...the shower was TERRIBLE - that had to be the worst part of the cruise - it was SO SMALL, you could hardly turn around or bend down. The food in the buffet was average - sometimes the long was too long and it took forever to get through...the one at the back of the ship was never crowded, but it didn't have all of the buffet items like the ones inside. The dining room food was above average, but service was inconsistent - we even had our waiter leave midway through our meal to go to another shift somewhere else on the ship - we couldn't believe that!!! We seemed to congregate in the Sports Bar every afternoon before dinner - the bar staff (Abin and Emir) were AWESOME. At 5:30, they also had a very good snack menu - things wings (AWESOME), burgers, fries, dips, etc.) Overall, we would definitely recommend the Sun.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
The first impression upon walking through the corridors was the smell of perspiration; then the second is the smell of perspiration in our room. Then the strong smell of perspiration on our pillows. We asked for new ones, and were given ... Read More
The first impression upon walking through the corridors was the smell of perspiration; then the second is the smell of perspiration in our room. Then the strong smell of perspiration on our pillows. We asked for new ones, and were given four "new" ones that still smelled awful. I asked our steward to please get us new ones, from a new sealed package. This seemed to do the trick, but then they changed the pillows several times during our 11-day trip, and we got the sweaty smelly ones again. I realize they have a short time to clean the rooms before the next group of travellers get on board, but the ship rugs, upholstery, and mattresses need a good cleaning and the pillows need to be replaced with new ones. It really ruined our trip. The food in the two main dining rooms was good and staff was wonderfully pleasant and couldn't do enough for you. The dining room that had the buffet style dining was a mad-house, and we didn't eat there again. The food at the buffet was good, and plenty of variety, but it was so crowded that they kept running out of silverware and coffee. Shows were awful in the beginning of the cruise, (we actually got up and left, as did others), but got better as cruise went along. We were on the cruise for Christmas week and were disappointed with the decorating. A little more effort would have been appreciated. We were with another couple and they had the same complaints. I don't usually complain about things, but the smell thing really turned me off. I guess you get what you pay for ($609 for 11 days) Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Our family has not been on a cruise in 28 years - that one was arranged by a family member. Positives - staterooms were more spacious than I expected, we had 2 inside staterooms on the 8th floor. Staff very friendly, always said hello or ... Read More
Our family has not been on a cruise in 28 years - that one was arranged by a family member. Positives - staterooms were more spacious than I expected, we had 2 inside staterooms on the 8th floor. Staff very friendly, always said hello or acknowledged you on the ship. Negatives - FOOD was the biggest disappointment. Lack of variety overall - seemed like lunch items were re-hash of whatever was left over from the day before - just in a different sauce or form. Every single dessert served was inedible except the German chocolate cake which was only served the afternoon of departure. Desserts looked and tasted like styrofoam, airy, tasteless. Prime rib at Garden Cafe first and last night was reasonably good. A few of the salads were nice.Just huge lack of variety - never saw a shrimp, crab or lobster anything. Most of the on deck meals were cancelled due to wind - which was really not a strong wind. the two they did have were some of the better food served. Only saw grapefruit one day, otherwise cantaloupe, pineapple and honeydew cut fruit ever. yogurt in large dish looked so gloppy I did not even want to try it at breakfast. Excursions we booked on our own and saved about 75% over NCL prices and from what we saw and heard we had much better excursions than those who booked through the ship. Two best were BZ Cave tubing - loved Melvin our guide, great day, lunch was enjoyable, but bring a snack because you only eat at the very end of the day. Other great day was at YaYa Beach Club - club was OK, but it was Carolyn from Undertoe SUP (stand up paddle boards) and Simmone from the Yoga studio who was helping Carolyn who made our day. These two women were amazing they made our day in Mahahual - Costa Maya port the best day of the cruise! Everything you would want - smart, funny, kind, gracious, helpful, friendly. We (especially my sons 24, 22 and 19) had a blast with their lesson and just hanging out with them during the day. No they are not young 20 somethings but have this appeal that crosses generations. Simonne did an impromptu yoga session with me that was a real WOW experience, not just poses, very emotional, healing and something I never experienced before. Read Less
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