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10,969 Norwegian (NCL) Miami Cruise Reviews

Overall a wonderful trip. The ship is magnificent. Boarded in Miami and was so glad to have just moved up to platinum as my line to get on was 10 minutes long, the others were in the hundreds and took 3 hours to get on. There must be a ... Read More
Overall a wonderful trip. The ship is magnificent. Boarded in Miami and was so glad to have just moved up to platinum as my line to get on was 10 minutes long, the others were in the hundreds and took 3 hours to get on. There must be a better process not a good way to start. The ship is beautiful, the staff is excellent and the food is best I’ve had on a cruise except the buffet. It was constantly cold and all tasted the same. The room was great, spotless at all times with a very personable nice steward. Room 9878 sits on top of a bar on the waterfront and had extremely loud music until 10:30 every night but then was quiet. Just don’t plan on a quiet night in. One big issue was Re boarding the ship in Cartegena. There were 3 long lines and a short Haven line which is fine, they pay plenty for that service but then 2 buses arrived and those 100 people were allowed to create their own line and cut in causing the rest of us an additional hour in the 100 heat to snake our way up. This is the fault of ncl not organizing and moving lines. There sure were plenty of staff handing out washcloths that could hVe controlled traffic, just frustrating when hot and exhausted. The smoking situation is an issue on this ship. It’s great to have an open deck area on 17 in Spice to go but in the casino it’s a small room that is is normally ventilated very well except on sea days when crowded. Also they have 5 table games in there that in 17 days ionly saw 2 with a player. I suggested they remove 2 and add more slots as times we were standing in line to play. It would have been nice to have like on others ships an ashtray outside on deck 8 where you could duck out and smoke a quick cigarette and get back in. There are many more closet smokers than you would expect. The staff on this ship were excellent. The specialty restaurants obviously have the best servers but we found some trying very hard in main dining rooms. Ocean blue was a great surprise for us. The seafood was wonderful as well as the service. Also no I Sheehan’s, name change to local. Served a great fast breakfast and menu upgrade. Overall a great trip Oh it did take 3 hours to get off ship thanks to customs border protection wow lots missed shuttles and tours was really ugly.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We took a great trip on the Joy for 16 days from Miami to Los Angeles. Through the Panama Canal. We had a great time. plenty of things to do on the ship and plenty of excursions were offered as well. The embarkation in Miami was the ... Read More
We took a great trip on the Joy for 16 days from Miami to Los Angeles. Through the Panama Canal. We had a great time. plenty of things to do on the ship and plenty of excursions were offered as well. The embarkation in Miami was the worst of our 10 cruise vacations. First they sent us to the wrong area to check in ,so we went to the right section and there was a loud alarm going off for 30min before someone from maintainence came to disconnect it. over allit was 1 1/2 hours waiting in line to check in. This was with a pre arranged check in time! We chose an inside cabin as we always do, It was smallbut we didn'tcare as we spend our time on deck. We loved the choices of food and different dining areas that were included in the fare. Did not try any of the other dining options. Loved the Music, and Footloose play. The Elements production we did not like very much, more of a dancing program(think Ballet,interpretive dance).Most of the comedy shows were of the 18+ variety which we never go to. I feel that you don't need profanity to be funny. And even in the large shows that were supposed to be "clean" there were too many references to sex, and use of "potty" talk. The ports of call were interesting. Although the ports wherewe docked were schetchy. Meanining we docked in shipyards, where you weren't allowed to walk from the ship to the city. They were Cartagena, Colombia;Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica; Excurisions were good we did VIP Sailing Adventure In Puerto Vallarta great time. Beach Resort getaway in Mazatlan nice beach with lunch at the resort restaurant men aren't allowed to wear sleeveless shirts. One poor guy was given a shirt that was too to small but he put it onso he could have lunch. :) Famous Arch, Sea lionsand Whales tour in Cabo San Lucas saw lots of whales and sea lions. we also did The Sabana Adventure Safari in Puerto Caldera don't make our mistake. First it is a 2-21/2 hour bus ride to the attraction. they have 5 different animals zebra, antelope,giraffe.spent only hour doing that lunch was good, then another 2 hours back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Chose because we wanted to navigate the canal early in the year when the weather is perfect..Could have been any cruise line! Negative points are embarking and disembarking both very long lines and close to 2 hours. New NCL terminal ... Read More
Chose because we wanted to navigate the canal early in the year when the weather is perfect..Could have been any cruise line! Negative points are embarking and disembarking both very long lines and close to 2 hours. New NCL terminal though looks nearly ready in Miami though. Had a mini suite because not much more expensive than standard balcony. First experience when we walked into our room and bathroom was WOW . Bathroom was as good as in any decent hotel with double sinks and large double length walk in shower. Also had a coffee maker which we made use of. Decent selection of films etc on the tv. Although only 3 years old ship had just had a multi million conversion from its original Chinese/Japanese market so everything new and clean. Food excellent especially the selection in the buffet where I was spoilt for choice. Had the 5 speciality meal/drink package at £100 each an absolute bargain. Can reccomend the filet mignon steaks I had 3 of them! Big Beatles fan so I can say the resident tribute act were absolutely fantastic. Watched them twice in the on-board Cavern and twice in the theatre with everybody singing along.. Almost a hidden charge why do most cruise lines add the 15% daily service charge?? Surely it should be included the the cruise price and then I could add a more personal gratuity if applicable e.g. to the cabin steward. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My husband and I cruise each February so are not new to this vacation type We were new to Norwegian. We were joining other family on this cruise. our other cruises have been with Celebrity and once on Holland America. I ha e never had an ... Read More
My husband and I cruise each February so are not new to this vacation type We were new to Norwegian. We were joining other family on this cruise. our other cruises have been with Celebrity and once on Holland America. I ha e never had an experience where staff especially guest services was so rude. The ship is brand new. There is only 1 adult pool so imagine sea days. They put in a go cart track instead of a pool and laser tag all of which cost extra. There is 2 water slides only 1 was open the 7 days the second for 1 day only. Food was the same in the buffet and in their dining rooms. Who is serving corn on the cob in your main dining room? The custom restaurants were nice and food excellent. If you are a smoker this is not the ship for you. My husband is a smoker always smokes outside away from others. The smoking area is a 10x15 glass room no ventilation for hundreds of people. They created a second one after complaints right next to the out door bar but no smokers were ever offered a beverage if you were sitting in this area. The servers ignored you. These guest were treated horrible less than any other paying guest. Guest services response regarding smoking was “ you should have chosen another cruise line” we would have if it was advertised as a non smoking cruise. $ 250.00 fine for not smoking in the smoking area and cameras everywhere. Don’t risk the fine we saw many who did as there was no room in the smoking area. A passenger near our room was using a scooter to get around. It didn’t not fit into her room and she paid for a bigger handicap room. Our rooms were balcony rooms on the 9 th floor. Beverage package does not include bottled water or any canned soda. You need to buy a water package. All soda was fountain no cans. If you didn’t order a water package bottled water starts at $5.00. Entertainment was good but if you do not have a reservation you will not get in. I was surprised at the lack of activities on sea days. On celebrity there are multiple activities each hour not here. Our cabin steward was the nicest employee on the ship. Norwegian is not a cruise line I would recommend. A big waste of money this year Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are seasoned cruisers and have been on NCL, Royal, Celebrity and Holland, and I can easily say that this was our least favorite ship. If you are traveling with children, take one of the Royal giant ships of Symphony, Allure, Harmony or ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and have been on NCL, Royal, Celebrity and Holland, and I can easily say that this was our least favorite ship. If you are traveling with children, take one of the Royal giant ships of Symphony, Allure, Harmony or Oasis. We've been on Symphony and Allure and the Encore isn't even in the same league. Those ships are amazing and Encore seemed like the designer looked at all the goods things about those ships and decided to do the opposite. Encore seems like it was designed for cold weather itineraries, as the pool deck area is laughably small for a 4,000 passenger ship. NCL needs to dismantle the race track and laser tag and build another pool on this ship. The good: - Service was very good for the most part. General attitude of staff is more pleasant than we have found on other lines. - The food was the best we've experienced on any ship. From the Garden Cafe to the dining rooms to the specialty restaurants, we found everything to be above average for a cruise. - Choir of Man is a must see show on water or land. Beatles tribute was very entertaining. The BBQ restaurant had a country band playing mainstream country hits every night and is a very fun venue. - Our 7 and 6 year old kids loved the kids camp and said it was better than Royal although they couldn't really explain why. The bad: - The absolute worst thing about this ship is everything about the design and layout. More than a third of the ship's upper decks is devoted to outdoor space for the Haven suites and the beach club ($200/extra per person and that doesn't buy you access to the Haven pool). Another third is wasted on the go cart track and laser tag which were fun for the 10 minutes each takes (at an extra charge) but are a novelty that aren't worth the space they take on the ship. That leaves less than a third of the ship for the pool area which has two fairly small pools, one of which is adults only and the other while not kids only, basically is kids only. There are not nearly enough chairs for the amount of passengers and we witnessed several arguments over chairs as well as people lying on the floor. Of the chairs there are, maybe at most 100 are in the sun at any given moment. Also, if you're not outside by 9am, you will not get a chair for the rest of the day. - One other major engineering issue is there seems to be something wrong with the ships stabilizers. Having been on many ships of varying sizes, I've never felt a ship rocking in even rough seas, the way this one does in calm seas. There was never a moment, even when the ocean looked like a still lake, where you didn't feel this ship rolling from side to side. At night when moving at speed, it felt like we were sailing through a hurricane. The hangers in our closest were swaying back and forth and things in our room were creaking so loud we all had trouble sleeping. This happened every night. I can't believe this ship really rocks like this and have to think the stabilizers weren't working correctly. - The ship has two slides. One utilizes a tube and is so tame it's like a toddler slide. The other is a vertical drop looping slide which was broken and only opened to the second to last day for about 10 minutes and the last day for about 30 minutes. Of the maybe 10 people who were able to use it, about half got stuck and had to be let out an emergency hatch. The reason the slide was broken and closed was never made clear and many people were told different things. Compare this to the big royal ships which have three slides of varying excitement and lines that move very quickly. - While many reviews say this is a great ship for kids I couldn't disagree more. The fact that NCL includes a beverage package causes too many people to drink way too much. We experienced was too many incidents of drunk people acting inappropriately around children in public spaces to ever consider NCL again. When you're travelling with kids, its disconcerting to see 100s of people drinking alcohol at 8:30am, which many are at the pool for because you can forget getting a chair after 9am. While we thought service was mostly excellent, the bartenders in most venues were painfully slow and didn't seem to care, which again, I think is the product of nearly everyone having an unlimted drink package. - This ship has no open space where you don't feel cramped. I'm 5'11' and could touch the ceiling in every area of the shop except the atrium but even that area is very narrow and not a grand space. Compared to the Oasis class ships and their huge open neighborhoods, this feels like a ship built decades ago before designers found ways to open things up. Again, compared to Oasis class and its mall like promenade, the shopping area of this ship is a bit of a joke. Many reviews praise the observation deck which is fairly open but fully inside. This might be great for relaxing with great views on an Alaskan cruise but for the Caribbean we had no reason to be in there and the few times we walked through there were very few people using this area. There is no level where you can walk fully around the ship; the closes thing is walking around the middle pool deck, again, compare to Oasis class which has a 1/5 mile track around the ship. The 8th floor has and outdoor deck on both sides with restaurants and bars that have indoor/outdoor seating but the outdoor seating is useless when the ship is in motion at dinner time as the wind makes it unbearable. Compare to Oasis where Central Park area has outdoor seating full protected from the wind. - While the shows were entertaining and Choir of Man was excellent, they don't hold a candle to the shows on Oasis class which include a Vegas quality show on the multi story outdoor arena, an ice skating show complete with dozens of drones that put on a light show, and shows in a theater that is twice the size and three times the height allowing for more set, scenery and effects. - Finally, the phone app, room tv and hallway info centers are great in theory but don't actually work. We were never sure what show and restaurant reservations we actually had as all three systems displayed different information to us the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I was given this cruise as a gift. The up-charges started before I got there. Admin/Port fees were charged. The "free" beverage package came with another $200+ in fees (how can you call something free when it isnt?) The ... Read More
I was given this cruise as a gift. The up-charges started before I got there. Admin/Port fees were charged. The "free" beverage package came with another $200+ in fees (how can you call something free when it isnt?) The ship holds 4000 "guests". There are lines everywhere. For the elevators, on the stairs, at every bar. Could not get reservations at the PREMIUM (extra charge) venues....always prebooked. Only had one time option for the headliner shows. One was cancelled due to cast illness, no notices, just showed up and found out at 10:30pm. They did add a showtime, and reschedule us, and the show (Choir of Man) was great. Also saw Kinky Boots, which was also very good. The staff was great, the food was good. Just had too many people in my way -all-of-the-time- Next time I will pick a smaller cruise ship, or skip the boat and go direct to the islands instead NCL = No Cash Left lol One word of caution.....if you buy jewelry at a port -when they say "tax and duty free"....That only applies to LOCAL taxes and duties. When you re-enter the US, you are going to get hit for 3% on the first $1000 and 6% over $1000 So, buy a nice ring, or watch and you are going to get hit with $500 or $600 extra duties. If you try to sneak something in, and get caught the fines are huge!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Embark and Disembark were handled smoothly out of Miami. Multiple time cruiser with Norwegian. Very good food dining options on the Upscale Dining Program. Cagney's and Los Lobos continue to be awesome. LeBistro and Ocean Blue ... Read More
Embark and Disembark were handled smoothly out of Miami. Multiple time cruiser with Norwegian. Very good food dining options on the Upscale Dining Program. Cagney's and Los Lobos continue to be awesome. LeBistro and Ocean Blue have modified menus so that was a nice change. Q and Food Republic are definitely worth a whirl. I will say that while food quality was good, the portions in some dining areas has clearly been diminished in size. Great Cabin and I had a balcony. Great room steward which is typical. The entertainment on board is great. Choir of Man and Kinky Boots are both great shows. Very enjoyable and I highly recommend giving both a whirl. The Silent Disco is a MUST DO. Great pool experience and was always able to find a chair with no major wait time or delays. Upper Decks have become pay and that is a bit of a change for me but not a dealbreaker. Escape Room is a must do as is the Galaxy Pavilion and Laser Tag. I recommend the $29 one hour pass to do it all and it's more than enough time. Mandara Spa is always great and I used it daily and had a great massage. Finally, my only complaint, while all in favor of every discernible equal rights offering, I am not sure if it was a particular event or a group but the large LGBT community on board was very cliquish and almost took over the ship at times on programs. As someone who flies the rainbow flag, I support the community but the need to "take over" events and to be so unhospitable to others is just not a good look. All in all, a great ship and one that I would highly recommend for a frequent NCL customer, for a family seeking fun, for a great getaway and for some refreshing new options from cruising. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I have been on over 10 NCL cruises. All have been on the larger ships as I enjoy have the option of a studio cabin. Lately, I have been traveling with friends, so 2 or 3 cabins are used. The cabins were fine. They spa colors are a ... Read More
I have been on over 10 NCL cruises. All have been on the larger ships as I enjoy have the option of a studio cabin. Lately, I have been traveling with friends, so 2 or 3 cabins are used. The cabins were fine. They spa colors are a nice change. The layout was a bit rough for us, as it was super difficult to get to the closet (there is a couch blocking access). The bathroom was a perfect size for a boat. We have enjoyed the new observation area on other ships, and this one is no exception. Its a nice getaway from the bustle of the rest of the ship. What happened to the adults only pool/ bar area, Spice H2O? Because it isn't on this ship, the main pool area was terribly full. Our only pool time was when we were in-port and people were on excursions. The pool was so full of people, you couldn't move and every lounge and chair were taken. Also, they replaced 1/3 of the lounge chairs with double the deck chairs and took away the drink tables. You are inches from your neighbor. It was very disappointing for us. Slides looked fun, but the loop one was brocken down the whole crusse. And, the fun innertube one was bigger but less fast and fun. Plus they didn't allow two tubes to go down at the same time as they do on other strips. Staff on the slide were grumps too! Race cars and virtual reality area were fun! I like that there are lots of dining options on the ship, as there are on all the large NCL ships. The specialty restaurants continue to evolve. The new Italian offering is much better than the old one. The diner, still empty like Margaritaville is on other ships. I miss the burger window near the pool. Food Republic still a big question mark (empty and not very good). This trip, we were pleasantly surprised that a couple complimentary meals in the large dining rooms were "specialty" quality. Our favorites, on this boat, are Q and Teppanyaki. Cagneys, which is usually my favorite was good, but not great. I was excited to have lobster available as the surf to the turf (other ships have had only shrimp). The lobster was super small, as to three bites and the steak was warm as if it had sat under a warmer. Most food was "warm" not hot. Maybe that's why we love the Teppanyaki place as it is hot off the grill. On this cruise, we had better food temp experiences in the buffet rather than the dining rooms. And room service was cold-food. Cold pizza, cold chicken strips, cold fries... Our chicken was even raw inside. Plus, we paid $10 for delivery. We didn't eat the food, called them, and placed it back in the hallway. Still had the $10 service charge. The nightclub was hopping (it isn't on other ships). This is partially due to here not being a nighttime adult deck party, as on other ships. Other areas, other than the pool, were reasonable populated. We still couldn't get into a comedy show but enjoyed the musicians in other areas of the ship. The service was good on Encore. With the automatic gratuities, other ship's staff isn't always friendly (especially the bartenders). We tipped 8 people extra amount at the end of this cruise for regularly making our experience a good one. And, our Steward knew our names...day 1. We are looking forward to our next NCL cruise. We will do a smaller ship next time and, certainly, not the Encore. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This entire cruise was fabulous from start to finish. My husband and I traveled with 38 of our neighbors. It was my 4th cruise on NCL and I’m liking this cruise line more and more. Embarkation was easy and staff was very friendly. We ... Read More
This entire cruise was fabulous from start to finish. My husband and I traveled with 38 of our neighbors. It was my 4th cruise on NCL and I’m liking this cruise line more and more. Embarkation was easy and staff was very friendly. We had to go an extra step and fill in a form regarding the new corona virus but that’s fine by me. We had a balcony cabin on the 12th deck. Our stateroom and balcony seemed to be the same size as the ones we had on the Breakaway and Getaway. Perfect for a cruise! Our cabin stewardess was Maria Lourdes Villaverde who was very personable and kept our cabin spic & span for the duration of our cruise. We requested an extension cord and distilled water as soon as we boarded because my husband and I both have CPAP machines and they were delivered within 15 minutes...that’s outstanding service. We especially liked the fact that the cruise line has installed USB outlets on the lamps above the bed as well as spotlight reading lights! We ate twice in Cagney’s, once in Ocean Blue and once at Teppenyaki. Everything was superbly presented and incredibly delicious. All the other meals were either at Taste, Savor or Manhattan dining rooms. We don’t ever go to the Garden Buffet especially with so many children on board, many of whom enjoy touching the food with their grubby hands! We spent quite a bit of time in the mostly peaceful Observation Lounge reading and chatting with friends because neither of us are sun worshipers! Several times throughout the day a light buffet is set up at various locations in the Observation Lounge with many healthy food choices. We did have a few snacks from that impeccably clean and tidy buffet. Service at the bar there was splendid. Though we did buy the drink package, I don’t think we will in the future because I found that we drank more than we normally do at home just because we had the package! Who needs all those empty calories? All of the entertainment was fantastic with the exception of the Prohibition Show that we paid $35/per person. It truly should have been included as free entertainment. It wasn’t anything special at all and we weren’t the only ones with that opinion. We particularly loved Choir of Man and comedian Warren B. Hall. Kinky Boots was excellent but difficult to understand because they all had thick Cockney British accents. We didn’t go on any excursions as we just did the same itinerary on the Breakaway in November and did some great tours booked thru NCL. Sadly, Cruise #52 came to an end this morning. Disembarkation was very organized and easy — much easier than when we debarked the Breakaway in our New York to Bermuda cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I am writing this review based on my experience as an avid cruiser. It is also based on my wife and I specific experience. We did not choose this cruise for the carts, laser tag or arcade. We wanted great entertainment at night and ... Read More
I am writing this review based on my experience as an avid cruiser. It is also based on my wife and I specific experience. We did not choose this cruise for the carts, laser tag or arcade. We wanted great entertainment at night and good food and beautiful ship. In addition relaxing daytime. For us NCL nailed it for those reasons. I must at this time make a disclaimer and it’s a BIG ONE. We had the Vibe Beach Club for the week. If we did not figure that cost into my cruise I would have been unhappy sitting around main pool because I would not have done it. But we experienced what we felt like a private yacht. Quite, peaceful,no crowds amazing bar service everywhere. $400 week for couple well worth it. For us it was a necessity. Only wish could sign up for club before you get on ship. Would take away much anxiety. But if your willing pay for club I promise you the entertainment from choir of man, Beatles, comedy, Guns and Rojas and I can go on and on was AWESOME. You will not find better evening entertainment. Book as soon as you can online or don’t cry because you can’t get into venues. I would book again and again if I could guarantee getting into vibe beach club. Food is very good. Only line I rate better for food is Celebrity except for specialty dining where Celebrity has nothing over NCL. VERY FRIENDLY SERVICE. if your hoping go on do all the rides etc might be disappointed because crowded and heard hard get reservations when you board. We personally had no interest in these but had fun watching others. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I read every review of the new NCL Encore before going on our cruise that I booked in August 2019 and almost felt like I was not going to enjoy my vacation. I rarely write reviews, but felt obligated to do so after reading all the ... Read More
I read every review of the new NCL Encore before going on our cruise that I booked in August 2019 and almost felt like I was not going to enjoy my vacation. I rarely write reviews, but felt obligated to do so after reading all the whining and bad reviews about this ship, crew and itinerary. I am a single, late 30's male and went with my sister, nephew, Mom and Dad, this was my 2nd cruise ever and only with Norwegian..... Embarking was easy, as I stated earlier we planned this cruise in August 2019 so I was aware of all the things than need to be booked ahead of time to ensure a great cruise, with that being said we got to the port at 10am to be first on board to get Vibe passes and got them!! Then we also booked Go Carts and other thing WE wanted to do, including Choir of Men, GREAT SHOW. Prohibition Musical was good, it was an extra $35 for the drinks you get. I had an aft cabin with the biggest balcony available. Thanks Ralph Donatien (my NCL cruise guy) Smoking: I am a smoker and understood there were 2 places to smoke, not a big deal It's my problem I smoke, On our cruise, the 3rd day they did open an area up on the pool deck which was awesome of the crew to do. THANKS!! The pool area on sea days was packed as almost anyone would expect, but had no problems getting a chair or two when we wanted. The Ocean Loop water slide was only running for about two hours on one day, again not ideal, but there is no way a broken water slide is going ruin my vacation. The food was what is expected for buffet style eating. As for the specialty restaurants we did Teppanyaki: GREAT Onda: THE BEST and Cagney's: Disappointed (just got a bad piece of meat) again one bad meal was not going to ruin my vacation. Ports: In San Juan we did the Night Time Zip Line it was my nephews favorite part of the cruise. In USVI we did the jet boat, lasted about an hour and was informative and fun, we got WET. We then took a cab to Megan's Bay beach, lots of people, but no issues with food or drink lines at all, had a wonderful time on a breathtakingly beautiful beach. I did read several reviews about people whining about having to carry the chairs you rent, that is true, but again not a big deal. The rental personal have a job to do, and that job is not to be your personal beach boy for day. Grow up and grow a pair. In BVI we did the Escape to Jost Van Dyke, the catamaran ride to the island took about an hour because of the seas, but no biggie we made it to Soggy Dollar bar and had a blast. The catamaran crew were awesome. THANKS! Overall I had an amazing time on my 2nd cruise ever with Norwegian, will I book Encore again, yes if the itinerary is something I like. I am in retail as a profession, so understand how difficult some people can be, and assume the bad reviews are from folks who can never be happy. Be polite, understanding, and empathetic to others and you may enjoy your next vacation more and those around you may enjoy doing their job a little more... GREAT JOB NCL ENCORE CREW!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because our son and his family were sailing on it and since we were going to be in Florida at the time we decided to join them. I was hesitant about it because the ship was so big. However I was pleasantly surprised, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our son and his family were sailing on it and since we were going to be in Florida at the time we decided to join them. I was hesitant about it because the ship was so big. However I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up loving it! The public spaces were so generous. The Observation Lounge was a favorite. The view was beautiful and there were always seats available. The bar service there was great as well. The entertainment on the ship was top-notch. We saw the Beatles Show in the Cavern Club as well as the last show in the theatre. We saw the Choir of Man--excellent! We saw Kinky Boots--fabulous! We were able to get reservations for one of the comedy shows which was really good too. The only complaint we had about the entertainment was Prohibition, the Musical. It was fine, but the charge for it--almost $40 pp--was way out of line. Yes, it included 5 small cocktails, but we had the drink package so the charge was just unreasonable. And it wasn't near as good of a production as any of the free shows. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants we tried, with the exception of Q, the Texas Bar-b-q restaurant. We just weren't impressed with that one, compared to the others that we tried. Cagney's did not disappoint. Food and service were excellent. Onde, the Italian restaurant, was our favorite. Starting with the bread, which I could have made a complete meal out of. The service was excellent, as was the entire meal. The rest of our evening meals we took in either Taste, Savory or the Local. We also attended 2 art lectures. They were really interesting. Much better than an art auction. Since we are both in our 60's we had no interest in all of the VR, go kart track or water slides. Our son's family used some of it, but were not happy with the charges or need for reservations for so many activities. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Can't go wrong with Norwegian. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation was excellent. Encore not our favorite ship. No sports court or mini golf because of go cart race track. We did the go carts and they were tons of fun ... Read More
Can't go wrong with Norwegian. Everything from embarkation to disembarkation was excellent. Encore not our favorite ship. No sports court or mini golf because of go cart race track. We did the go carts and they were tons of fun but do like the configuration of other ships better. Also no bowling alley on this ship. So far Escape is our favorite ship. Jim Badger was on this ship and he is one of the best entertainers you will ever see. He was in the District, we saw him on the Escape a few years back. If you like to laugh and laugh lots he is a must see. Food and drinks excellent as always. Choir of Man was one of the main shows and one of the best we have ever seen. Kingy Boots was the other show and it was okay. Top Shelf country band was in the Q and they were awesome (and we are not huge country music fans). Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I have wanted to take a cruise for many years. There were four in my group. My sister and I were in a balcony cabin near the center of Deck 10. My brother and his wife had an inside cabin on the same deck. My sister and I chose a ... Read More
I have wanted to take a cruise for many years. There were four in my group. My sister and I were in a balcony cabin near the center of Deck 10. My brother and his wife had an inside cabin on the same deck. My sister and I chose a balcony cabin to take advantage of the 5 "free" offers: airfare, 250 internet minutes, Premium Beverage Package (unlimited drinks up to $15 each per day), $50/port/cabin excursion credit, 3 Meal Specialty Dining Package. We felt it was a good value for our budget. I had made a checklist of what to do after boarding, based on other people’s recommendations online. We headed to Deck 6 to change one specialty dining reservation and reserve a date and time for the go karts. Next we went to the Atrium to the Internet Desk to arrange for our NCL text & talk feature and get instructions for using our 250 minutes of internet time. BEWARE: The most important direction was to log off after using it. My sister did not do that on our third day, so we lost all of our minutes. Next we found our cabin. It wasn’t ready, but we met our steward Elan and dropped off our carry-ons. Elan seemed to be in the hallway almost every time I was in it, whether that was morning, afternoon, or evening. After our first meeting, he greeted us by name and asked what we were doing that day or evening. He also asked us about those things if we saw him later or the next day. Amazing! He was always happy, remembered any special requests we made, and was one of the reasons I enjoyed my cruise so much. After a late, light lunch in the buffet, we returned to our cabin, which was ready. THE ENTRY: At the entry was a master light control, activated by inserting my cruise card. The bathroom was in a short hallway past the door. There were two hooks on the wall outside the bathroom. There was a panel above the light control which activated lights outside the door so we could indicate when we were in the room, when we did not want to be disturbed, and when the room was empty and could be cleaned. THE BATHROOM: The curved glass shower was large enough to be comfortable and had shelves. The only thing I had to get used to was stepping UP, because the bathroom was one step higher than the cabin. I tripped several times before I got it right. The counter extended from the sink down the long wall. The long wall with the sink and counter had a wall-sized mirror above with two narrow shelves, storage under the sink, and two wider shelves below the mirror. There were two hooks on the door. THE MAIN PART OF THE CABIN: Our single beds were separated by a bit of space. We each had a small nightstand with two shelves below and a lighted sconce with USB charging port above. Opposite the bed nearer the balcony was a shelf with magazines and an LCD TV above. On the wall next to the bed nearer to the balcony was a couch. Opposite the couch was a huge mirror that extended to the TV. There was a deep counter with a bench for seating, a small fridge, (which we did not use), and a deep angled storage unit. Above the counter were two narrow shelves and a plug in for my non-surge multi plug adapter. The closet was spacious with more than enough hanging space, hangers (I brought some of my clothes on hangers), and a floor-to-ceiling deep shelving unit. Maneuvering between the foot of one of the beds and the TV took some getting used to, but that was a minor issue. THE BALCONY: There was a large sliding door to access the balcony. It had two chairs and a table. I really appreciated having a balcony, even though I didn’t spend a lot of time sitting there. OVERALL: I was very pleased with our choice of a balcony cabin, especially for my first cruise. The cabin had more than enough storage space for everything we brought. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES: ENCORE THEATER: We booked two shows online when the reservations became available. The Encore Theater is huge, and we got in line early to have good seats. First we saw Choir of Man. It was fabulous! High energy and wonderful singing and dancing. You could easily see how much fun the performers were having. Then we saw the musical Kinky Boots. I did not realize that was a true story, although I did know the music was written by Cindi Lauper. It was a marvelous story with wonderful acting, singing, and dancing and spectacular costumes. Both of these shows were the equal of any show I have seen on Broadway. THE DISTRICT: We saw Jim Badger, a pianist, singer, and comedian. It was crowded, but we found seats and had a good time. THE ATRIUM: We saw several different bands and a pianist/singer. All the entertainment was excellent, and the Atrium is a beautiful and comfortable place with a nice atmosphere for enjoying music. COMEDY CLUB: We went to the Comedy Club four times to see shows. Sometimes we had reserved seats, and sometimes we waited in the standby line but had no trouble getting in. The front row was always open, so that is where we chose to sit. A show would consist of the female warm-up act and one of two male comedians. They were all funny and provided great entertainment. Mike Blaustein was particularly hilarious and had the amazing ability to learn about people in the audience and use them throughout his act, but never in an embarrassing way. He was so funny that we saw him twice. Since he used material gathered by getting to know audience members, we didn’t see the same show twice. The last night they appeared together and featured all new material. POOL DECK: I am not a person who enjoys sitting in the sun by the pool, but did enjoy sitting in the shade reading on the pool deck. I also found many activities to take advantage of during the day. I watched numerous game shows and trivia contests, a fruit/vegetable carving demonstration, a napkin folding demonstration, dance classes to watch or participate in, etc. LATE-NIGHT POOL PARTIES: I went to the glow/white party and one other one. Although I didn’t get in the middle of the crowd and whoop it up, I enjoyed watching from a distance for a bit. MISC: One day I went to the Encore Theater to see a presentation about the ship and various facts about the ship and what is consumed during a one-week cruise. Then the Captain, Chief Engineer, and head of the hospitality part of the ship answered questions. It was very informative and interesting. GO KARTS: I drove my first go kart on the ship. We had to first put on a ski-type mask with an opening for our eyes, nose, and mouth. Unfortunately, while removing it, I also removed one of the new silver earrings I had purchased on my last trip, and I didn’t notice it until much later. The helmet went over this mask. The pressure of the helmet made the mask keep sliding down over my eyes while I was driving, making it difficult to see. Getting into the go kart was quite a feat, because it was a tight fit, and I don’t bend as well as I used to. This was my first time driving a go kart, and I admit that I was not the fastest and didn’t always go as close to the wall as I should have. As a result, I was intentionally hit several times, once so hard that I bounced off the wall. I don’t know why they bothered telling us this wasn’t allowed if they were unwilling to enforce their own rules. However, I still enjoyed it. The ride was 8-10 minutes long. I would be willing to try go karts again in a less aggressive environment. EXCURSIONS: FIESTA LATINA (San Juan, Puerto Rico): We boarded a bus and drove a short distance to the restaurant where the show was held. We were each given a glass of sangria. The flamenco guitarist was absolutely amazing and had wonderful stories to tell. At times he was very funny. The three female dancers were OK, but just repeated the same swirly twirly dances in different dresses. The show might have been better without them. I would have been disappointed had I paid full $79 price for the show. However, I had a $50 excursion credit to use in San Juan, and that reduced the cost of the $79 show to $29. So I was glad I did the excursion. TREE LIMIN’ EXTREME (St. Peter): I met the rest of the zip line excursion participants on the pier. We were escorted to our bus and met the driver Patrick. We drove up, up, up a narrow, twisting road that often provided gorgeous views. This is the an award winning zipline park which exceeds industry safety standards, and the guides are highly trained professionals. It has six ziplines, including a “yo-yo” zip at the end, and two rope bridges. After checking in, we met our tour guides. They outfitted us with our personal safety equipment and gave us instruction on the gear. As we arrived at each departure platforms, we received safety information for that platform, including how the guides would set us up to start and slow us down at the end. On various platforms we saw gorgeous views. It was obvious that safety was their number one priority. In spite of the fact that I knew it was safe, I was absolutely terrified. I was by far the oldest person in our group of nine. After I explained that I was doing this for the first time and to celebrate my 70th birthday in May, the encouragement and praise I received from the guides and from the group members kept me going. I have never done anything extreme before. This definitely put my tenacity to the test. I am glad I did it. ISLAND BEACH BREAK (Tortola, British Virgin Islands): We went to the pier to meet the excursion bus for our excursion. We boarded a bus with open sides and took a narrow, twisty road up the mountain and back down to the other side. The ride provided beautiful views of Tortola. When we arrived at the beach, we rented chairs and umbrellas for $15 and were shown to our assigned spot. You could sit in the sun or the shade. In addition to enjoying reading in the shade under my umbrella while watching the beautiful water, I explored the shops along the beach. I was very glad we did this excursion. FOOD: I ate at three specialty restaurants, all three complimentary restaurants, the buffet, The Locale (the 24/7 restaurant), and the Observation Lounge. I wish I had ordered dessert first. Most of the time I did not have room for dessert and did not want to become uncomfortable. All the food, including the breakfast and lunch buffets I tried a couple of times, was excellent. My best bite might have been the carrot cake at The Local. The service was 5* and outstanding, as good as any service I have had at any high-end restaurant. BARS/LOUNGES: My go-to favorites turned out to be the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, the Observation Lounge, and the Atrium Bar. Yes, sometimes I had to wait for service, just as I might have to on any busy night on shore. The bartenders worked like demons trying to keep up, and I appreciated their professionalism. I tried many kinds of cocktails on the various cocktail menus, and all were tasty. Since I had a drink package, I appreciated being able to get nonalcoholic drinks throughout the day and evening. The Observation Lounge was one of my favorite places to relax and read. SERVICE: Everyone I met was gracious, eager to serve, and provided excellent service. NOTE: I am so grateful that I got a prescription for scopolamine patches before I left home. I am so susceptible to motion sickness, and this ship rocks and rolls, sometimes more than others. It is especially noticeable in a small area, such as a bathroom. Occasionally, we were in rougher water, which exacerbates the movement. The scopolamine patches saved me. I had no seasickness. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I have a lot to say. Just got off this boat yesterday and overall had a great time. So I'll start off with the beginning. Embarkation - This was so easy. We showed up about a half hour earlier than they asked us to and we were ... Read More
I have a lot to say. Just got off this boat yesterday and overall had a great time. So I'll start off with the beginning. Embarkation - This was so easy. We showed up about a half hour earlier than they asked us to and we were able to get on the ship within an hour of getting onto the port. This included giving our bags away, walking up and filling out the forms, waiting in the maybe 20 minutes line to get our cards and then waiting for our number to be called to get onto the boat. At no point did I feel frustrated by any waiting, and we didn't have any VIP special treatment or anything. This part seemed super organized. Once we got on the boat it was our #1 goal to get the weekly spa package because we have heard those can sell out. I think we might have been the first people to actually sign up because the person near guest services was just standing there waiting for us. That took no time at all. Then we went upstairs to sign up for shows. Once those things were out of the way, we got some drinks at the atrium (drink package) and I was surprised that the regular drink package included a more expensive brand like jameson caskmates and bulleit. Drink package was really a highlight of the trip. I was able to get a glass of johnnie walker gold for $6, and a very solid woodford reserve old fashioned at the tobacco bar that is included in the package. Getting into our room (regular balcony) did take longer than expected. And once we did, we noticed that it wasn't quite clean. For instance the drawers under the couch had enough dust on them that it was very noticeable. Like they haven't been dusted in weeks. There were a few other dusty areas which don't really bother me very much but my gf who is a germaphobe really was turned off by that. Otherwise, we felt that the room itself was nice and roomy. We had a coffee maker, but no coffee, so I'm not sure what the point of that was. We ordered a pot of coffee every morning to drink on the balcony anyway. On that note, the breakfast that they will deliver for free was adequate. Nice fresh fruit plate and some other items like pastries and cinnamon rolls were good enough to get us going. We ordered room service one very late night and it's a flat fee for only $9.99 plus service, so we ordered a ton of stuff. Everything was tasty. The burger was the best. One thing we knew we would love even before we got on this ship was the variety of different bars and places to eat at. We were making a point to visit each one, or as many as possible. This is nice if you like to have a change of scenery and vibe. Each bar seems different from the next. It's not like other cruises where all of the bars have the same drinks or same liquors. The brew house as a TON of beers and the whiskey bar has some very high end whiskeys. Margarita bar has specialty margaritas, etc. I found the service at the unique-type bars to be very quick and friendly. The service at the more typical and high traffic bars was very slow and painful at times. Sometimes just getting a simple whiskey/coke took 15 minutes because there's about 8-10 people ahead of me all ordering some kind of drink that needs a blender or to be shaken, and most of the time there's only 2 bartenders at these bars. It's annoying when you've been tipping someone the whole trip and they know that your typical drinks takes 15 seconds to make, but they'll ignore you in favor of the other handful of people ordering more complex drinks like mudslides, daiquiris, margaritas, etc. I have to mention that I drink a lot and I took advantage of the drink package, and less than a handful of the bartenders remembered me despite me tipping for most of my drinks. Most of them were not smiling and I could feel that they were overworked. They need more staffing at these bars. Me and my gf were assuming that there could have been a few bartenders that got sent home due to having chinese passports (coronavirus scare). That really was the only thing that made sense so that's how we rationalized it. The dining, in my opinion, ranged from very good to excellent. The taste/savor/manhattan meals were usually very good, while the specialty dining (cagneys steakhouse, food republic (sushi), moderno (brazillian), le bistro (french) were all top notch and again, you really felt like you were in a different restaurant instead of just being on one big boat. The service at these places were excellent as well. ALSO the garden buffet was wayyyyy better than either of us expected it to be. We ate at o'sheehans irish bar for 2 meals and they had really good bar food there. Recommend the reuben, nachos and wings. We definitely gained too much weight on this ship. We had a few gripes that I felt could have been avoided with just some better service. For instance, our cabin was never really made well. Every day it was something new. Sometimes the garbage was taken out, sometimes it wasn't. We almost never had the same amount of towels that we asked to be replaced. Toilet paper wasn't refreshed. Just really simple things that should be checked off on every check list and were just annoyances to us. The fact that they charge you $15 per day per person, on top of the daily cash we left for him, made that feel even worse for us. We know we can complain and pay less but we didn't want to ruin this guy's life. We were talking to some other passengers on the cruise and they were saying their service was top notch with people cleaning their rooms twice a day sometimes. So I'm guessing it was just an issue with our guy. The most disappointing aspect of this cruise for us was the entertainment. The show After Midnight is a BORE. I felt really bad for the performers. The tap dancers were great at their craft and there were a few singers who had phenomenal voices. They all seemed like very good actors too in their speaking parts.... But the story is AWFUL. There is literally no story, no humor, no suspense. I sat in the first few rows and about half way through I noticed some people behind me getting up and leaving so I turned around thinking how rude, but then maybe half of the audience was either dozing off or had already left. What a terrible show. I felt like i wasted a piece of my life sitting there. Then there was the billy joel/elton john piano player who played 3 billy joel songs, 2 elton john songs, a bee gee's song and something else I can't remember, and then finished up with the piano man. His choices of songs weren't so bad but he completely butchered most of the songs he played. For instance he played Vienna by billy joel, one of my favorite songs of his. If you know that song, it doesn't have any crazy rock solos but for some reason this dude felt like every song needed to have a 1 minute extended intro and outro with random piano solos intertwined all over the place. Also he is the kind of singer who likes to sing lyrics way after the place where they belong in the song, making it impossible to enjoy, but then he tells us all that we can sing along if we want LOL. There is no way to sing along with that. He was absolutely terrible. His only redeeming quality was the stories he told, which I enjoyed. Also we have to add that the food at the supper club where he played at was also our least favorite meal of the trip. The dueling pianos was hit and miss. The piano players were super talented but they knew a lot less songs and had to pass on a lot more than I'm used to seeing. They were very funny though and seemed to have decent chemistry with each other. The DJ's at the various clubs were really bad at reading the crowds. It was obvious most of the trip that the crowd who was attending the dance parties was very into recent hip hop and pop music but for some reason the DJs liked going on 90 minute REGGAE sets even though barely anyone was feeling it. This is not just my preference. I totally get that you need to play the crowd even if that means playing stuff I don't like, but that wasn't the case here. People kept peeling off with every reggae song that would play and we were all joking that if their goal was to empty out the dance club (skyline bar) early those nights then they accomplished their goals. Then they have this spice h20 adults only area in the back of the ship, which LOOKS like a nice area. But they have a grotto that wasn't working most days and then some other days the water was freezing when it's supposed to be hot tub temp. By the way, the grotto was like baby pool depth, which unsurprisingly meant that adults would bring their kids in there to play and nobody would ever kick the kids out. So this is supposed to be an adults only quiet area (with two very obvious signs as you're walking in stating so), but hey yeah bring the screaming kids lol. Everyone I talked to said they probably should have had changed that area to be non-quiet with some kind of music playing back there. It only seems right as this is the same area that they have the outdoor night parties, so it is already equipped with some very nice speakers/sound system. And most of the time there's people chatting up in the tubs and at the bar smoking or playing dominos. Nobody was treating it as a quiet area. So why not play some music? Weird. The main pool area has music and two hot tubs. So that's where someone like me who is complaining should go, right? Well one of the tubs is adults only but most of the time there were little kids playing in both hot tubs. And the hot tubs are smaller than most other cruise ships I've seen. Can fit maybe 6 regular size people comfortably. 8 had to be squished in. The beverage service around pools/tubs were more or less non existent. We'd see someone walking around every once in a while but making eye contact to get someone's attention seemed impossible. The biggest complaint we have about the main pool area is that the entertainment coordinators don't seem to understand that if the one pool in the back is the "Quiet area" then the other pool should probably have more exciting entertainment. Most of the time the music at the main pool was categorized as "mellow" or sometimes not even any music. And there were only a few silly contests like best legs or biceps or whatever. And if this is where you have the highest amount of people hanging out for drinks then you need to have more bartenders. There are 2 bars for 2 levels of people hanging out and most of the time there were only 2 bartenders at each bar, and no wait service roaming. There were some fun games and shows in the atrium area. And we participated in some of the casino tournaments which ended up being super fun even though we lost. The casinos had a great variety of games and the table minimums were $10 most of the time. We didn't play a lot (3 of 6 days) but there were enough openings where we could get into a dice/black jack or other table game whenever we wanted. We don't play slots but it seemed they had a ton of slot machines. I can't comment whether they were recent or not. The casino hostesses were all very friendly, probably our favorite employees who we met on the ship. Commenting on the ports is tough because of the local issues i'll talk about below. We got off at roatan, belize, and cozumel. We did catamaran snorkling at roatan, which was a real fun time. Then we wanted to do parasailing at belize but it was too windy so they cancelled it. The activities they had at the private island for us were fun though. Very nice beach and great pool with swim up bar. There was a mini-zoo there that was free. There was a ton of activities that we didn't get into. Seemed like a fun time for most people. At cozumel we did a dolphin activity so we didn't spend much time at the port. Although we did go to senior frogs for a quick drink and some nachos which is always a fun time. Getting off of the boat was delayed by HOURS for two of the 4 port days because "local authorities' wanted to make sure that coronavirus wasn't being spread to their countries. I understand, and that's probably not anything norwegian could have done anything about. It was only a minor inconvenience and didn't make us miss much time due to our personal schedules. People who had earlier excursions probably were more annoyed than we were, but not much you can do there. As I mentioned earlier, we got the Spa for the entire week and we used it every day except for one. It was definitely a highlight. The heated stone beds and therapeutic pool was amazing. The big pool is heated like a hot tub and has all sorts of different jets to get your spots. And the steam room was probably the best steam room i've ever been in. We didn't work out at the gym at all but the equipment looked better than what's at the gym we go to lol so either we need to change gyms asap or the ship had some good stuff here. Overall we had a great time because the goal for us at this point was a very relaxing trip. If you're going more for the entertainment, you'd be disappointed. But if you're looking just to chill, overeat, overdrink, hit the ports for excursions, and spa it up, then this is probably a great cruise for you. It's priced well and the food and drinks kept us happy. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Norwegian for the first time after a few other family members and friends tried and liked it. Exploring the port: We weren't able to really explore the Miami area prior to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Norwegian for the first time after a few other family members and friends tried and liked it. Exploring the port: We weren't able to really explore the Miami area prior to embarkation/disembarkation. The process of Embarkation and Disembarkation was easy. When disembarking, there was only one gangway available, which made the line to exit the ship super long. But it was very organized and flowed beautifully. Thoughts on the ship: It was absolutely beautiful and massive with plenty of activities and entertainment on board. Jacky & Krystal (our Cruise Directors) were extremely engaged and visible! You could easily walk the Waterfront, or sit in one of the many couches on it and take in stunning views of the ocean. In addition, the sunsets are breathtaking! Ports of Call: During our trip, we encountered a delay to our first port because of a medical emergency (which we completely understood and were totally okay with.) Our second and fourth ports of call either had clearance issues or delayed tenders (although the distance between the port and the ship was less than two miles). At one point, my return trip took about an hour or so. Our first and third ports were extremely enjoyable with no hassle. Service: The service on-board was okay - there were a few folks that were extremely friendly, but some that were not so friendly. At times, we felt that some crew members were slightly irritated. Food/Drinks: We ate in the Garden Cafe a lot during the cruise; however, we also ate in the main dining room as well as some of the specialty dining options. The cafe was okay and had a number of options. At one point, I got tired of . We did notice that at times the food was just warm. We tried both Moderno and O'Sheehans, and absolutely LOVED the food and experience! In addition, we made our way to Food Republic - it was really good; however, I felt that some of the options were lacking and some items were slightly higher than they probably should have been. We did the unlimited beverage package - while it was really good and worth it, I found that at times that the same drinks were made differently and tasted differently. Would we repeat?: After sailing with RCI, and Carnival, we would sail with Norwegian again. I came in with higher expectations that I actually experienced, it could have been better, but it also could have been a lot worse. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The ship was incredible, we stayed in the Haven, so well worth the extra money. We had a few issues in the beginning but when we mentioned the concerns to the concierge the issues were immediately resolved, the staff was wonderful the ... Read More
The ship was incredible, we stayed in the Haven, so well worth the extra money. We had a few issues in the beginning but when we mentioned the concerns to the concierge the issues were immediately resolved, the staff was wonderful the rest of the cruise. The first night a passenger had a life threatening situation we were told, the ship turned back to the Key West to meet with a coast guard boat to transfer the passenger. Due to the turn around, the ship arrived at our first port late cutting into excursions for passengers. Routan was not worth the time... due to getting to the port late we got caught in traffic making a supposed to be a 30 minute ride turned into an hour and half... we were lucky to spend an hour and half at the resort we went to and the food was not edible. The drive back wasn’t much better. At the next port, Harvest Caye / Belize, the Escape did not dock and had to tender in passengers. Turned out two weeks prior the Escape bumped the dock and did some damage at the port. This Harvest Caye / Belize destination was beautiful and a ton of fun, very relaxing. Also in case if you are looking to get duty free liquor this was the place, friends who were with us bought A bottle to take home in Routan and we found the same liquor a third cheaper in Belize... Routan was a total rip off. Due to the tendering In the extra time did take time off the shore excursion unfortunately. Our next port was Costa Maya, we were going to do the Dune Buggy tour but after reading the reviews we all decided it probably wasn’t a good idea. The concierge suggested the zip line park, my wife was not thrilled about doing the heights but honestly they did a fantastic job at this park and it was wonderful! We all had a great time! She wanted to go on all of the zip lines which totally surprised me... so worth It and was a great suggestion. The next port was Cozumel, again we found out the night before we were going to have to tender in. We were schedule to do the Seal Lion excursion but after our last port that we tendered in at we decided to just stay on the ship... turned out to be the best move... there were 7 other ships that we could count at Cozumel.. if you figured all the passengers went ashore probably 21,000 or more passengers probably were there and since we were tendering it probably was not a good idea. It was great to have the ship to ourselves and it gave us time to wander around and check out the Escape... the Escape is an incredible ship. We found that the 8th floor was the best to walk in the morning and going about 8 in the morning had less passengers walking. They also served coffee/tea and danishes for the walkers... so over all, this was a great cruise and a lovely ship. If you find that the ship will be tendering I’d suggest that you think twice about going ashore. Also the app to allow passengers to communicate only worked part of the time and was more of a disappointment than anything... not worth the $10 per phone for the week but then they do nickel and dime ya. The show Choir of Man was incredible and so worth going to... you’ll have a fantastic laugh and a great time, definitely go if you can. If you are staying in the Haven they have reserved seating for you and you can go with out reservations. So have a great time and I hoe this s helpful to you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
My husband and I are former crew members on a different cruise line so have lots of experience crushing. We were 2 families travelling with young children ages 3 and 5. We chose this cruise for the price, the ports, and the Kids ... Read More
My husband and I are former crew members on a different cruise line so have lots of experience crushing. We were 2 families travelling with young children ages 3 and 5. We chose this cruise for the price, the ports, and the Kids amenities. Embarkation in Miami was a long process unfortunately due to them being extra cautious as a result of Coronavirus. Once on-board everything was smooth. The rooms were ready and the luggage didn’t take long to arrive. We were in cabin 13296. Room size and balcony were good. A little rocky at the top back of the ship. Overall a decent room, would probably try to get a cabin midship next time. Ports (Roatan, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya, Cozumel) were pretty typical of the Carribbean. There was a medical emergency on the first sea day unfortunately so we were about 3 hours late arriving to the first port. They did adjust the departure time by a couple of hours to compensate. The downsides were the tendering. The tendering at Harvest Caye and Cozumel took sooooo long. I know tendering takes long generally but this is longer than I have ever experienced. Organized, but unfortunately due to the large size of the tenders and the shear number of passengers, it just took way too long. I would estimate an hour or more in each direction. If you were on the tender first you often had to wait 30-45 minutes for it to fill up and then sometimes another 15-20 for everyone to get off depending on where you are sitting on the tender. We didn’t have a beverage or dining package and did not book in any of the additional restaurants. We were completely satisfied with the buffet and other main/complimentary dining rooms. Staff was friendly and accommodating all around. Kids pool, ropes course, and water slides were good. Splash Academy was also excellent for the children. We didn’t get a chance to take everything in since we had young children, but what we did see if the entertainment was excellent. Choir of Man and Howl at the Moon were excellent. Choir of Man is different than most other cruise ship shows and I loved it!!!! We did not do any shore excursions and booked taxis in each port to beaches and resorts. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Great ship, good food (repetitious menu), staff and service great. Cruised 3rd time on Norweigian, on our 49th Wedding Anniversary. No personal thank You for cruising with us again or Happy Anniversary. Maybe our Cruise planner forgot to ... Read More
Great ship, good food (repetitious menu), staff and service great. Cruised 3rd time on Norweigian, on our 49th Wedding Anniversary. No personal thank You for cruising with us again or Happy Anniversary. Maybe our Cruise planner forgot to tell them, don't know. Royal Carribean last year gave us a bottle of wine and a cheese plate for Our anniversary plus a bottle of wine for returning. There were no nighttime pool parties. All the deck lounge chairs were stacked and bound at dark. Wanted to sit out and watch the stars but no seats. There are lots of small lounges (bars) with entertainment, but not enough seats. You need to get there really early to get a seat. The Atrium has a lot of entertainment, but again limited seating. Need fewer but bigger lounges maybe. The The Choir of Man was a really good show. The rest of the entertainment so-so. One of the best acts was a crew member singing at the talent show. Loved the coffee maker in the room (balcony) Disembarkment simple, off the ship in 15 min. No real customs, a quick picture and You are off.We did enjoy ourselves but it could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this ship due to the itinerary and the great package deal. We had some ups and downs. Pros - Embarkation was just fine little bit of a line which we have always experienced with no matter what cruise line. Drinks are not ... Read More
We chose this ship due to the itinerary and the great package deal. We had some ups and downs. Pros - Embarkation was just fine little bit of a line which we have always experienced with no matter what cruise line. Drinks are not watered down at all actually very tasty and the drink package is well worth it especially if it comes with your room. Staff was excellent we did not experience any rudeness with staff as some people mention everyone was very nice. The entertainment was good throughout the ship, must see the dueling piano's, and if Orlando the comedian is on the ship he is really funny. The Choir of Men was a great Acapella group.The Speciality dining was very good as well as the main dining rooms the Buffet was adequate. We chose to carry our own luggage off the ship and last day Disembarkation was a piece of cake. Costa Maya highly recommend Coral Go Experience which is electric bikes to rent not from ship did through trip advisor was a huge thumbs up and way to experience downtown Mahahual. Now moving on to the Cons... Communication from the staff regarding Tendering on and off the ship not the best. Harvest Caye-Biggest Tour trap and waste of time, waited 2 hours to Disembark to the island and we were supposed to go on the ships tour to the Barrier Reef snorkel which we still don't know why we waited so long to get off the ship and then not being informed that our tour was cancelled after another wasted 40 minutes waiting in Harvest Caye. The island is a beach that is consisted of broken shells, a large swim up pool that has outrageous prices for dinner, drinks and a large gratuity tag so needless to say we did not eat or drink there. Went back to the ship after spending 45 minutes there. Roatan Bay best to have a tour booked there as you will feel very overwhelmed getting off the ship there. Pool on the ship should be much bigger, as others have said a little small for the amount of people on it, and there does not seem to be enough public bathrooms from deck 17 and above. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Having been on the Getaway a couple years ago, we chose Escape for both the class of ship and the itinerary. We had a flight arranged by NCL so arrived the day of the cruise - no issues and the transfer to the ship made everything ... Read More
Having been on the Getaway a couple years ago, we chose Escape for both the class of ship and the itinerary. We had a flight arranged by NCL so arrived the day of the cruise - no issues and the transfer to the ship made everything seamless.The line up to embark was very long but went fairly quickly. Stateroom was ready right away which was great. The Escape has a ton to do - with so many passengers, you'd think it would be crowded, but it wasn't really. Waterfront is always my favorite place to walk around! I think my only complaint would be the smoking area in the adult only section of the pool deck...smokers are essentially beside the walking/running track and they are out early - exercising right beside a smoking section seems a bit odd but it certainly didn't ruin my trip. Teppanyaki is a must - we thoroughly enjoyed it - excellent food and entertainment! We frequented O'Shehans as well - great pub food. The complimentary eating areas are great, we did not have a bad meal. The buffet was also awesome with a lot of variety plus daily hamburgers and pizza which was a hit with my son. We stopped in Roatan, Harvest Caye, Costa Maya and Cozumel - tendering at Harvest Caye and Cozumel, which we hadn't done with the Getaway. We did book 2 excursions - snorkeling in Roatan and the Mayan ruins/lunch in Belize - both booked through NCL and both fun. The service was excellent throughout the ship, no complaints! If someone books a meet and greet, GO - it was the best one I had ever attended!! Disembarkation was good - we had transfers so got off early - there were people everywhere helping us out along the way. I do dislike gathering our luggage but it is a necessary evil lol! The customs piece was much improved though, all handled as you're leaving the ship so no additional line to stand in once you grab your luggage so there definitely was an improvement. I would go on Escape again, no issue, but looking forward to our cruise in 2021 on a smaller ship - it just has a different feel. I would totally recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Background and booking: (Summary at bottom for shorter read) We are a couple in our late 20's form the UK who did our first cruise with Royal Caribbean Oasis of the seas in September 2019 and the NCL escape is now our second. We ... Read More
Background and booking: (Summary at bottom for shorter read) We are a couple in our late 20's form the UK who did our first cruise with Royal Caribbean Oasis of the seas in September 2019 and the NCL escape is now our second. We really enjoyed Oasis of the Seas and the Mediterranean so we had our doubts when booking this cruise as we thought it couldn't live up to our previous. We knew we wanted to cruise the Caribbean and we did look at a few options on various lines (RCL, NCL, MSC). We finally chose this cruise as the free at sea offer for premium drinks package and 3 x specialty dining options for £99 each seemed like really good value. Cabin: Even though we booked a sail away inside stateroom, we were given a disability access room which gave us extra space compared to the standard inside cabins which was a nice bonus. The room was modern, came with a large dressing table / desk space and plenty of plug sockets (Mainly US but one EU). The room had some nice lighting options which was appreciated and the clothes drying line in the shower was a nice touch. Much better than our inside cabin on the Oasis of the Seas as it was a disability access cabin but standard cabins would have been smaller than OTS. We were on deck 15 just below the Garden Cafe which was a nice location as getting to breakfast and spice H20 were 1 and 2 flights of stairs away. We only heard noises from the buffet a couple of times just before we slept. Dining: I think dining is NCL's strong point. The Garden Cafe buffet offered a good variety of food which was changed every day. The headliner from the buffet would be advertised around the ship during the day to help you decide where to dine that night. We chose, Cagney's, Moderno's and Food Republic as our specialty dining choices and all were great. I especially enjoyed the sushi at Food Republic. It was amazing this was all included in the free at sea offer. O'Sheehans also needs to be mentioned as this is a great 24/7 eating spot. On RCL you had Sorrento's but O'Sheehans offers more. Food in the main dining room food was good. I especially liked the beef and the variety of options available however the one complaint I have was with the "Country Fried Chicken" which was disappointing. The chef really needs to review this dish. Waffles at the breakfast buffet were like crack. The Ship (Public areas, layout, design): The ship is clean, nice and modern and has a less cheesier design choice than RCL (I'm talking about fake tree's, statues etc). The main pool was crowded as we expected based on our research so we chose to find loungers at Spice H20 or at the front of the ship. We never had an issue with fining loungers around 10am on sea days, but I suppose if you were a bigger group, this would be harder. The elevators were frustrating as they seemed lazy. If you called for one and watched the numbers on all of them, only one or two out of 6 seemed to ever be moving. Not too much of an issue as the wait never seemed too long but this would become a problem at certain times (After shows / breakfast). The waterfront was a nice feature of the ship and is always quiet compared to the rest of the ship. If I was to redesign the ship I would put the internet cafe in the library and extend the atrium. Embarkation: Embarkation day was absolutely fine. Queues as normal and the ship was well presented for arrival. What was an issue was getting off at some ports when we needed to tender. You had to book your tender and they all say 12pm giving you no idea on when you needed to be ready by. My advise is to just pick the lowest number as this would let you on any tender after it anyway. Entertainment: Choir of Man 5/5 - Very entertaining show. I don't want to spoil it for anyone but it is a must watch. The lads were funny and the cast actually ended up at Yaya Beach in Mahahual where we were. Howl at the moon 5/5 - super entertaining alternative to a piano request bar. The guys were funny and talented and we had a really good time watching them. After Midnight 3.4/5 - The singers voices were amazing and dancers were really talented but the show overall didn't really have any story line or context so it felt a bit dragged out as everything was from the same genre/era. I do want to put emphasis how talented everyone was though. Value for Money: I would prioritize booking with NCL again as long as the free at sea upgrade offer remains. Because of this, I feel that NCL offer the best value for money in comparison to other cruise lines. Service / Staff: Service was top notch as expected. Everyone was smiley and friendly and happy to have a conversation with you. Bars can be slow at times but this is because everyone is ordering mudslides or cocktails that take longer to make. The bar staff actually do a great job to take as many orders at the same time as possible but what would be nice is to have some additional bar staff. Having stools right on the bar is a pain point of mine as I hate it when people sit and drink at the bar when it's busy. It's inconsiderate and makes it harder for anyone else to make an order. Our cabin steward was great and always kept us up to date and greeted us all the time. I've seen people complain about not getting towel animals but come on, It's 2020 - do we really to need carry on with this cheesy unnecessarily expectation? Jackie the cruise directory was professional and also funny. He did a great job entertaining everyone but also keeping everyone informed, lifting moods and getting everyone pumped up for a party. Wifi: We purchased the social media package as this offered unlimited usage and allowed us to contact each other as well as friends and family at home. As we are from the UK, roaming wasn't going to be available when off the ship. Signal strength and speed varied throughout ships location, and where you were on the ship. Nothing to write home about but at least you could write home. Summary: Great value for money cruise which managed to exceed our expectations after cruising with RCL OTS. Free at sea upgrade offer sets NCL apart and the staff and service on the ship was top notch. Highly recommend this ship unless you want to loose weight. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
A little bit about us, we are 52 years old and have never cruised before. We wanted a vacation that was laid-back, upscale, and hassle free. A friend suggested that we try the Haven on NCL. After doing a bit of research we decided on ... Read More
A little bit about us, we are 52 years old and have never cruised before. We wanted a vacation that was laid-back, upscale, and hassle free. A friend suggested that we try the Haven on NCL. After doing a bit of research we decided on Norwegian Escape. The boarding process was quick and efficient. And the Haven concierge staff was always accommodating and had answers to all of our questions. We were lucky enough to book an owner's suite with la large balcony, it was on the front of the ship with gorgeous views. Some days we didn't want to leave our balcony. We ate breakfast lunch and dinner at the Haven restaurant, along with Cagney's and Le Bistro, all of which were excellent. Because our demanding jobs deal with people 24/7, we were looking for a vacation that was hassle free and quiet. The Haven gave us that. We enjoyed exploring the rest of the ship, but primarily relaxed in the Haven lounge, Haven pool, and Haven sun deck. The Haven restaurant staff was always friendly, tidy, and excellent service. And the food was top notch. We were lucky enough to book an owner suite, room 18700. Our butler Mellany was always courteous and friendly, and quick to respond to our requests. Our cabin attendant Gina, did an excellent job every day, and when the light switch broke, she had maintenance repair it ASAP. Griffith at the Haven restaurant, always made us feel welcome and pampered, and always had a smile on his face. We would highly recommend NCL Haven to anyone looking for a pampered Caribbean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This cruise experience was truly a mix of positive and negative impressions. Our biggest frustration was that the Joy changed our itinerary without explanation less than a week before taking off. They eliminated a stop in Santa Marta, ... Read More
This cruise experience was truly a mix of positive and negative impressions. Our biggest frustration was that the Joy changed our itinerary without explanation less than a week before taking off. They eliminated a stop in Santa Marta, where we had planned to meet family members. We don't think it is fair to offer no explanation for changes of this magnitude. This is a newer ship that is spotlessly clean and beautifully decorated. There is a lovely Observation Deck and lounge on the 15th floor, with lots of nice seating and quiet space. There are a few nice places to sit outside along the 8th deck as well. Unfortunately, the ship pipes in music CONSTANTLY along the deck, as well as in the Garden Cafe (buffet). This can be very annoying, especially early in the morning when it is nice to have quiet time and also when you are seeking a quiet space to just listen to the waves, read a book, or enjoy the moonlight.Our stateroom was spacious and comfortable, with lots of storage and a large bathroom. Instead of having a private deck, we opted for a larger family room because we were originally planning to take our adult daughter who is handicapped. I'm glad we ended up not taking her . . . the elevators were very slow and extremely crowded. I would strongly recommend that the Joy consider having a handicapped only elevator and more handicapped accessibility features for the comfort of these guests. Another disappointing space is the Atrium. This area, which includes the guest services desk is being used as their main gathering space and it is SO loud and crowded! They set up folding chairs every day to accommodate the crowds. Unfortunately, there is no larger central dance hall space on the ship to handle large group events. There is also only one pool area with two fairly small saltwater pools and a kid's pool to accommodate over 4000 guests. So much space was used to provide a relatively unused race track, mini-golf course, and laser tag area. Remember, the vast majority of guests are over 60. There were other spaces for kids.Honestly, small hotels offer more pool space and bigger hot tubs than this huge cruise ship. The class system is alive and well on the Joy, giving lots of special privileges and choice spaces for those who can afford it. One of the biggest slaps to the average passenger is that all the reserved seats for the Social Club Comedy room were used up by Haven guests, so everyone else needed to wait in line for up to an hour if they wanted to see the shows. Again, the room is packed full with folding chairs to accommodate guests. In general, all the bars and clubs with live entertainment were much too small. Another solution would be to offer more entertainment with a more equitable distribution so everyone would have opportunities to to see them. The Beatles group was terrific, but again,the lines to get in the Cavern were sometimes over an hour long. Advance reservations to see Footloose and Elements in the theater are an absolute MUST because they are only shown on a couple nights. Most of the other entertainment was just okay, as was the food. We had both good and bad meals, with most being just average. The ship does not have ANY water filling stations, so in order to refill a water bottle, you need to go all the way to the cafeteria on 15th floor and fill it from water glasses. They would like you to buy bottled water, which is extremely wasteful and bad for the environment. We also had a mix of impressions of the Shore Excursions. In general, they were very expensive for what you receive in return. Norwegian Cruise lines should be ashamed for including and promoting the exploitation of human beings in Colon, Columbia. People are not to be gawked at as exhibitions, as the Embera people were on many of their sponsored Shore Excursions. Even if the Embera people volunteered to do this, it is reminiscent of the days when the US staged American Indian pageants, pretending that our native American people still lived as they did hundreds of years ago. The whole staged show is an inappropriate lie to the public in order to sell products, who seemed to eat it up as truth. it would be interesting to find out where most of the money for the products goes. If it truly goes to the tribes and if the products are truly made by the tribes that would be nice, but they could still be honest with the public about their current way of life and all it entails. The staff on this ship was EXTREMELY friendly and did an excellent job, from cleaning to waiting tables. We were very happy with that part of our trip and hope these people are paid well. Our itinerary to the Panama Canal, ABC islands, Columbia, and Costa Rica was wonderful, although we really would have liked to have had our day in Santa Marta, as well as have a morning time slot in Cartagena, instead of the hot afternoon. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 9th cruise on Norwegian and our 17th cruise overall. This was our first time on the Norwegian Joy. Due to the size of this very large ship, embarkation was a bit frustrating with very long lines, but once we were on the ship, ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise on Norwegian and our 17th cruise overall. This was our first time on the Norwegian Joy. Due to the size of this very large ship, embarkation was a bit frustrating with very long lines, but once we were on the ship, that was almost forgotten. The Norwegian is only a few years old and is beautiful and clean. The ship has a lot of activities including a race car track and laser tag, for an extra fee, of course. Both were fun to do at least once. The pool deck is very large, but it was often difficult to find an open lounge chair because people will place a towel on a chair and leave it there all day, even if they are no longer on the pool deck. That is very frustrating! In the evenings, the staff clears off the loungers and puts out chairs to watch a movie on the enormous outdoor movie screen. We enjoyed several outdoor movies during the cruise. We did notice that on the 5 sea days during the cruise, there were not touch day time activities. If you did not want to lounge by the pool (if you could find a chair), then you were left to entertain yourself. During the evenings, there were so much to do that we were not able to do everything that we wanted to do. We ate in every restaurant on the ship at least once with the exception of the American Diner. Le Bistro, Cagneys, La Cucina and Ocean Blue were excellent as usual. Tempanyaki was good but way too much salt and garlic, but it was fun talking to the other guests at our table. We did not like Food Republic. The Korean beef and the Tempanyaki chicken had the same sauce which was strange. The food never looked the same on the table as it did in the pictures. We were not impressed with this restaurant although the service was good. We definitely did not like the BBQ restaurant call The Q. The beef brisket was overcooked and everything tasted the same. The banana pudding was very gelatinous and lacked flavor. We will not return to this restaurant. We saw the play Footloose. The acting and singing were average in our opinion and it did not live up to the hype. We had already seen the other play Elements on a different ship, so we did not go to that one. One night we say the Beatles Review concert that was excellent! We went to multiple comedy shows on the 6th deck. All were extremely funny, and we would definitely recommend these if you like comedy. Make sure you sign up for the shows that you want on the first day of the cruise. Otherwise you have to wait in a standby line, but most people got in anyway. On the last day of the cruise at 12 noon we saw the play called "Wine Lovers, The Musical". I believe we paid $25 per person. The play was cute and funny. The meal was average but included 7 glasses of wine in total. There were 3 glasses of white wine and 2 glasses of red wine during the main course. Then there were 2 glasses of dessert wines. We sat with 3 other couples at a table for 8 and thoroughly enjoyed their company. I think we were the last table to leave. I would definitely recommend this event for the entertainment value. It was so much fun! The first three ports were Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. We did not take excursions at these ports, but did our own thing. We went to the caves in Curacoa which was different and fun. We went snorkeling in Bonaire which was amazing! And we went to a private beach and swam in Aruba. All 3 days were fun and relaxing. The next port was Cartegena, Columbia. We signed up for an excursion that was only a boat ride over to and from the city. The boat ride was relaxing and avoided the road traffic. We went into the Spanish Inquisition Museum, the Gold Museum and the chocolate factory which were all interesting. We shopped in the mom and pop stores and bought some pretty paintings and other souvenirs. We stayed in the Old Town the entire time and always felt safe. The street vendors were a bit annoying but not as bad as we had read about in other reviews. The next port was Colon, Panama. We took an excursion call Two Oceans by Railroad. We road in an old but pretty train to Panama City on the Pacific Ocean. We were able to take some pictures and buy some sourvenirs, but then back on a bus to Colon. On the way back we stopped at Agua Clara which is a platform where you can watch ships go the the Panama Canal. It is a very different perspective than watching while you are on the ship. We also saw a short film about the making of the canal. The next day the Norwegian Joy went through the Panama Canal. We went through 3 locks to get to Gutan Lake. After about an hour, we turned around and went back through the same 3 locks, as our trip was round trip out of Miami. It was very cool to see the ship rise more than 80 feet from lock #1 to lock #3. This was a very enjoyable day. The last port was Puerto Limon. We went on a private tour with Relay Day Tours. The tour was excellent, and there is a lengthy review on TripAdvisor. We chose a private tour because we wanted a small group instead of a large busload. It was awesome! Overall I gave the cruise a 4 out of 5 stars. We did not give it 5 stars because of the extremely long wait at embarkation, the lack of activities during the day, the lack of pool lounge chairs, and some of the restaurants and shows did not impress. Otherwise, great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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