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1,919 Norwegian (NCL) Miami Cruise Reviews

We thought we would try Norwegian Cruises - really liked the route and got a great deal on a mini suite. I had visions of a large cabin and large balcony - not so much. Cabin was well appointed but indistinguishable from balconies on ... Read More
We thought we would try Norwegian Cruises - really liked the route and got a great deal on a mini suite. I had visions of a large cabin and large balcony - not so much. Cabin was well appointed but indistinguishable from balconies on Celebrity or RCC. Service and food were hit and miss. We really enjoyed the Manhattan Dining Room where the service and food quality was better than Taste or Savor (which was odd considering they have the same menu.) Loved O'Sheehans Pub, we ate lunch there every day and food quality and service always good. Shows were quite entertaining - thought the idea of the Supper Club was brilliant - but the food there was bland (altho service good.) NCL has a very loud and somewhat raucous crowd, so we purchased passes to the VIBE private lounge. Definitely worth it - quiet and super pleasant - but not cheap at $209 USD per person. Only one hot tub, and it was broken. We could not figure out the stateroom attendant. Seemed nice enough, but brought a power bar when we asked for an extension cord for my husband's CPAP machine; this was weird given he said he had worked on cruise ships for 10 years and that he was a 'suite' attendant. Ports of call were ok - Honduras you pretty much had to book an excursion, and the excursion staff person was completely not helpful when we went to ask questions, so we ended up just getting off the boat and walking around. Belize and Harvest Caye was really good - although unlike the other islands owned by cruise companies (coco caye and labadee) you had to pay for everything - if you wanted a drink or something to eat, be prepared to pay for it! Tendering to the ports was a complete nightmare, some groups waited a total of 4 hours (2 hrs each way) to get off in Harvest Caye or Cozumel. To be fair, this was due to the extra cleaning required for corona virus. The absolute worst part of the trip was getting on the ship. My husband had injured his ankle prior to the trip and requested a wheelchair. We called NCL and confirmed that a wheelchair/escort would be provided upon our arrival at the pier. This did not happen and no one knew what was going on; my husband ended up walking onto the ship with me towing all of our carry on bags. Not fun. And made worse by the lack of helpfulness of NCL representatives. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I rate my overall experience of NCL Pearl (7-day-Honduras, Harvest Caye Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel) a 3 for the following reasons good/bad: I loved our cabin room (with balcony) 8518 that is right smack up front of the ship where ... Read More
I rate my overall experience of NCL Pearl (7-day-Honduras, Harvest Caye Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel) a 3 for the following reasons good/bad: I loved our cabin room (with balcony) 8518 that is right smack up front of the ship where you feel EVERY motion. I knew this information before I booked this cabin and was okay with it. I was prepared for any sea sickness because I had prescription promethazine and over the counter Dramamine. Now this was my second cruise and had very little sea sickness on Carnival Victory. I would say the first few days were very bearable with the motion of the ship. Unfortunately, the seas were not on our side a few times the next few days. Even people who had cabins on ship where there is very little motion were complaining big time of sea sickness. After a while I noticed that the food at Indigo and the their main dining room (can't remember the name) all had a bland taste. Took long time to serve as well. The buffets were okay but like I said after the 4th day I was kind of over it. O'Sheanans (not sure of spelling) breakfast was pretty good quality but can't same the same for dinner. Overall it's like eating was a hit or miss. In my opinion the entertainment was terrible! That had singers singing Motown sounds that was not good at all. Some lady singing in the Bliss Lounge was totally off key. And the so called "White Night" which they changed the name was advertised at a specific time and it was combined with teenagers. Did not do many excursions because they are a waste of my money but the only port I enjoyed was Harvest Caye, Belize. Even with the bad Mojito I bought. But overall it's a beautiful beach. I would like to experience a bigger NCL ship and a more diverse crowed with better entertainment and activities. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was our 17th cruise, our 2nd on NCL. I was really excited when I booked this cruise over a year ago on this new 'amazing' ship, but alas it did not live up to my expectations. Embarkation was fairly fast, we arrived at ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise, our 2nd on NCL. I was really excited when I booked this cruise over a year ago on this new 'amazing' ship, but alas it did not live up to my expectations. Embarkation was fairly fast, we arrived at the port approx. 10:30am and they started letting us board at 11:30, then the race begins. If there are any shows, meals etc. that you want to attend you have to rush to different venues and stand in long lines to try to register. Our first goal was to buy Vibe Beach Club passes. This was held in the Barbeque restaurant Q Texas Smokehouse. We got tickets #83 & 84. Lucky, I thought. Choose wisely as it was extremely windy up there the entire cruise. There is no cover if it rains, a few umbrellas if the sun is intense. Bar service there was good and I did love the very quiet hot tubs. We did not spend enough time there to warrant the $209/pp price tag though. It did offer a retreat from the disastrous pool deck though. When buying the passes they did mention numerous times that it was not refundable!! The lines for the comedy were way too long, and by that time we were tired of standing around and waiting. I was able to score only one night at the comedy show on the NCL app. Thank goodness I booked Choir of Men before we sailed or I wouldn't have gotten into that one either. I wish they would have had everything available on the website to book pre-cruise; entertainment, go-karts, laser tag etc. I would have tried more activities. Cabin-MA14170 mini suite- very small cabin- one tv-small balcony-weird storage under mirrors and counters. The bathroom was quite nice with a large shower no bathtub. Not much different that a typical balcony cabin though. You have to pay for good movies, or 3 channels with other movies that you cannot schedule or re-start. The dining on the ship was very good. We ate at specialty restaurants Teppanyaki-awesome so fun entertainment, Cagney's-very good, and LeBistro-very good. Note: the 4-6oz lobster at Cagney's was not worth the 22.80 upcharge. I barely had enough to share with my DH. The rest of our meals were typically at the Taste DR or The local. Nice food and choices but no frills and don't ask for anything not on the menu, they typically can't accommodate. Escargot was only available in LeBistro. The bar staff on this cruise get's my highest praise. Those people work like maniacs trying to keep up with the demand on all those drinking packages. Sometimes there would only be one bartender on duty with 10-15 guests all waiting to order. Some cruisers would get angry, but there is only so much a guy or gal can do. Cudos to Bong-mojito bar, Mary Grace-A-list bar, Lovely, Atec, Ida(sp), Thomas, Daniel-Observation bar; amazing, amazing people how hard they work and their pleasant attitudes. Port stops were fair- San Juan (didn't even get off) we first arrived at 5:30pm. St. Thomas did the Champagne Cat Snorkel-nice, Tortola did the Baths-nice but long cat ride to get there and back. Lucky the water wasn't too rough. Great Stirrup Cay-sailed right by, was too windy to tender. RC had two ships tied to their dock at Coco Cay (lucky they bought a pier) Overall, though, it was a nice cruise. Vacation is always good. I would definitely NOT sail on the Encore again unless they made some huge changes (more pools, scrap the laser tag and go karts etc. etc.) I do not understand what they mean by Freestyle cruising, there was nothing free about it except the dress code in the dining rooms and restaurants. That's what brings me back to my title. Choose your ship wisely for what is most important to YOU. I thought I did, but definitely learned my lesson. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
CONS Ship design The go karts laser tag and the Haven take up to much space on the ship The burger diner under the track was empty every time we walked by Not enough pools and deck space The lawn chairs are set up so tight ... Read More
CONS Ship design The go karts laser tag and the Haven take up to much space on the ship The burger diner under the track was empty every time we walked by Not enough pools and deck space The lawn chairs are set up so tight it’s hard to get on them 1 small adult pool for everyone Tiny hot tubs People were crammed around the pool like sardines the music was so loud you couldn’t have a conversation The cabin was the smallest we’ve had on any cruise ship PLUS’S Food was great lots to choose from and good quality Service was good We liked the observation lounge lots of places to sit and read or just relax and look outside Choir of Men and Kinky Boots were great comedian was funny Beatles cover band was good We will definitely cruise on Norwegian again But won’t recommend the Encore The pool areas are the dealbreaker for us Way to crowded Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
This was my 2nd cruise and I enjoyed myself however there could be many improvements. First off, the logout page for the wifi only seems to work once in a while so I probably wasted 30-40 minutes just trying to logout of my sessions.  ... Read More
This was my 2nd cruise and I enjoyed myself however there could be many improvements. First off, the logout page for the wifi only seems to work once in a while so I probably wasted 30-40 minutes just trying to logout of my sessions.  Their app is also buggy as many messages did not go through.  I would send somebody a message and when I found them an hour later, the message was never received making it hard to coordinate things. Sometimes the app just wouldn't load at all as well. When it did work, it was great to communicate with my family who was also on the ship and to quickly find out what's going on however I'd say it only worked 75-80% of the time. I also had a $50 per port excursion credit that was not credited to my account so I had to go ask for it to be added otherwise I would have been charged the full price. The pool is very small and you always have a long wait for drinks to the point where almost everybody ordered 2 drinks at a time so they wouldn't have to go again for a while. The entertainment was ok however I expected more from the reviews.  Many people walked out from "After Midnight". The lounge entertainers were good but all seemed tired and had no energy or stage presence which made it hard to get into it. The only thing I found exceptional was the "Choir of Man" show and the food.  We did the Tepanyaki and Brazilian steakhouse which were both amazing and a different experience.  We also did Bayamo which was also very good.  O'sheehans was great for a quick bite when needed. I also ended up getting a complimentary bottle of wine and strawberries for some reason which was nice. All in all, it was fun but I would probably choose another ship next time I cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Have been on other mega ships and they were nice. This ship had great shows. Choir of men was fabulous and so was After midnight. We loved howling at the moon and went to 3 of their shows...so much fun singing along. The supper club was ... Read More
Have been on other mega ships and they were nice. This ship had great shows. Choir of men was fabulous and so was After midnight. We loved howling at the moon and went to 3 of their shows...so much fun singing along. The supper club was nice, menu was beef with no other choice. We liked the buffet for breakfast and lunch, had a million choices and everything was tasty and fresh. Ate at O'sheehans for dinner the night they had Cuban pork. The meal was awful, no flavor to the meat, and it was dry. Platanos were dry and hard, like hockey pucks! The black beans were edible. Main problem with this ship was the lack of space in the public rooms. In the atrium they brought out folding chairs which made matters worse because they impeded flow of traffic, and the lines for the service desk were also in the way. For the amount of passengers the pool was a joke. Not much bigger than a typical backyard pool. Ridiculous! Good luck getting a lounge or even a chair. Another case of poor planning. This ship needs a major rehab to make the public areas and pool larger. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 39 th cruise, 8th NCL, 6 th Haven. I read the reviews before booking and didn’t have high expectations however I did expect more being in the Haven. Let me start by saying when arriving at the port there were no Haven reps ... Read More
This was our 39 th cruise, 8th NCL, 6 th Haven. I read the reviews before booking and didn’t have high expectations however I did expect more being in the Haven. Let me start by saying when arriving at the port there were no Haven reps so we got in the very long security line while my husband went up to find someone to ask, about 15 mins later he came and got us and a guy took us through the security (we just did this in Miami 3 weeks prior with no wait on the Encore as they had a kiosk booth) the. The man actually asked my husband for a tip! That was a first for us. We waited in there for another 20 mins and finally got escorted onto the ship. Our service from our Butler was wonderful and the staff in the area was great in that they greeted us by name when seeing us in the halls. The smaller ships allow for that personalized experience and we like that. We had a two bedroom next to the Haven pool which was fantastic in size even though it is dated a bit. The cabin should have been cleaner there was hair and other things indicating it wasn’t cleaned properly. I always bring Clorox wipes so I got to work however they seemed to clean throughout the rest of our cruise. The upper sun deck for the Haven was nice also really loved that. In general food was ok. This ship to us was great for a weekend in the Haven but our disappointment continued because we paid $2,900.00 for 2 people in a 2 bedroom for a 3 night cruise thinking we were getting some what of a Haven experience. This is not like any Haven I’ve been in. I realized we had to go to the restaurant for dinners but didn’t realize we had no way to get drinks but to go downstairs to the bars to get in line to get our drinks. For that price it’s a big deal! There’s no escort to shows or reservations, no concierge desks or even area for them just an ext. if you want to contact them. The private island had to be cancelled so we spent a day at sea, it happens but unfortunately we had planned to spend money so pre-paid $500.00 OBC as we reserved a villa at GSC also. Now that was canceled we had a credit and concierge confirmed we had to go and stand in a pretty long line at guest services to give us cash back said it could not be put back on the credit card we charged it with. We tried to spend it but the spa but it was booked and the shops didn’t have shirts or much with the Pearl logo on it. I felt sorry for the guest service team they were no stop dealing with people over this mess of giving us all cash back. So if I was to book this ship again because I really liked the itinerary I’d consider the Haven like this, you’re paying for a nice cabin and priority disembarkation, complimentary room service and you get to get the extra perks like drinks, and shore excursions credit per day, but I’ve seen NCL offering those with out Haven and is it worth the extra money since there’s no restaurant, no bar, no concierge desk, the Haven area is hard to access unlike other Havens I’ve been in with key card access. I would consider sailing this ship again if there were really good deals with the understanding I’ll be in long lines for everything (it was hard to get a drink) but never pay the Haven prices again, it’s just simply not worth it in my opinion Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I chose this cruise based on departure port and date. I really didn't care where it was going. The ship was nothing fancy. In fact, if I didn't know I would have thought it was a refurbished ship. My room balcony was blah... ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on departure port and date. I really didn't care where it was going. The ship was nothing fancy. In fact, if I didn't know I would have thought it was a refurbished ship. My room balcony was blah... brown/beige rug with dirt stains, brown curtains that were ripped, a linoleum bathroom floor with stains ? hair dye. and brown cabinetry.The sofa was so dirty and worn out. I asked for a flat sheet to throw over so I could sit on it. I photographed all. The bathroom counter had a rust stain and the shower with hair in the drain. Great shower pressure and plenty of very hot water. But to top all off the first nite I lay on grit??? I collected it up on paper back book and took a photo to show room steward who got defensive. It appeared to be large coarse salt particles!!! I told him this isn't up for a debate just please change the sheets and get hair out of shower stall. The balcony very small. Only room for two small upright chairs and very small table. Room was never made up to late in afternoon after 2 pm just when I returned to relax a bit. I rarely, if ever, saw the room attendant. No towels animals in which I could care less about except I relied on them for extra towels to use after showering. Gone are the chocolates on your pillow. The entire fleet appeared overworked and grumpy . In fact I witnessed an employee (woman) yell at a passenger! I was shocked. The buffets looked dried out and not attended well. If an item was gone platters not replenished or removed! The two "washy washy" guys at entrance to Garden Buffet sang and played Tamborine much to annoyance of older guests.If this cruise ship cared about hand washing so much then why only two very small sinks at the entrance of buffet for 4 thousands guests???? I observed many strange reactions to some odd practices by this fleet. The restaurants were average not bad not fabulous. The artwork some of the best at sea. The embarkation/debarkation worst of any of my 20 plus cruises. The tender procedure strange, long lines to wait in big theater for two large boats to offload 4 thousand people! The shows were average at best some better than others. Dinner shows with Carole's Kings very nice. With so many cruise choices I would avoid this ship. Ceilings low elevators small and dark painted black and red. Pool area horribly cramped and industrial looking. Pay extra, go to an upcharge designated sunning area without a pool but guaranteed a nice lounge chair for the day. Of note no outside eating venues. Must go inside for piece of cardboard I mean pizza or salad. There was nothing that would bring me back except escaping the cold on a last minute cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was my first voyage with NCL and I chose Encore due to it being a new vessel and even though I have cruised several times before I had yet to sail on a brand new ship and was excited at the prospect. The ship is indeed beautiful but ... Read More
This was my first voyage with NCL and I chose Encore due to it being a new vessel and even though I have cruised several times before I had yet to sail on a brand new ship and was excited at the prospect. The ship is indeed beautiful but with most things new there were some glitches that need to be worked out and in my opinion, policies that need some fine tuning. For starters too many things had an extra up charge attached to it, whether it was an activity, an amusement, a location such as the Vibe Beach Club ($209.00 for the week) and some food items such as crab cakes or a lobster tail for example. This was bothersome and by far was a common complaint among many of the other passengers I had spoken with during the voyage. Three standouts include what would be considered "selling points" such as the Go Kart track, Laser tag which offered a week long pass and Galaxy Pavilion which offered a tiered pricing option to experience the VR attractions (I chose the $29 for one hour option) but if you wanted to try the full size SR8 race car, for instance, there was an additional charge of $15 on top of the charges previously mentioned, so basically you pay an up charge on top of an up charge area and there simply is no need of it. Another policy that was frustrating was that reservations had to be made for the chance to experience many things on this ship but what seemed to be equally frustrating was that while some could be made ahead of time online or thru NCL, others had to be done onboard and it was a mad dash on Day 1 to get these or be shut out before the ship ever leaves the dock. If you are a first time passenger you may not even know of this policy and run the risk of a ruined vacation. Cabin: I traveled as a solo and wanted to try the solo studio area and this experience was quite simply a home run. The cabins are perfectly laid out for one with ample closet space and shelving, a roomy stand up shower and private enclosed toilet. The sink is adequate but the traditional desk is not very wide so a lap top wouldn't fit on it. There is a safe available for items such as a wallet or other such small items. The other thing of not is that there is no mini fridge in the room but overall it was a perfect cabin for the solo traveler. The area is exclusive in that a key card is required to enter the area and contains a private and spacious lounge with it's own coffee machine and a daily assortment of fruits, cookies or cakes, orange juice and ice water. My dining experiences pretty much follow other reviews here just beware of up charges for certain menu items as mentioned earlier. As far as entertainment goes I didn't really experience much however I did see the Beatles cover band in the Cavern Club and they were ok but wasn't able to get in to see the comedian, which I would have liked. There is one stand out, again, in my opinion, that is Choir of Man. The show is fantastic and I saw it twice and my only regret is that I couldn't see it a third or fourth time. The whole idea revolves around the guys at the pub and they sing and dance and tell "stories" through their songs and dance. The cast is tremendously talented, approachable and personable. They clearly love what they do, as does the audience and the two feed off each other for a tremendously enjoyable evening....and they'll even serve up a pint for their guests on stage for their "mates" at the pub. A must see! One other item worth mentioning is the ships smoking policy. Even though it is a touchy subject with some cruisers, it needs to be mentioned that there were only 3 relatively small areas for smokers, one was The Humidor for cigar smokers only at the Whiskey Bar, where cigarette smokers were told point blank to leave and for cigarette smokers there is a narrow enclosure on Deck 8 towards the aft of the ship and an enclosed room in the Casino where those who wished to have a cigarette while gambling (I actually applaud this decision due to smoke infiltrating the casino area and surrounding hallways etc.) However to utilize this room you had to gamble or be asked to leave there as well. The ship did cordon off a small area on Deck 16 out doors and that was for cigarette smokers and anyone found smoking a cigar, a pipe or used a vape pen were also told to leave that area. This policy needs an overhaul in my view because with the monies invested by smoking passengers is exactly the same as non smokers and should not have to worry about being singled out and embarrassed by being thrown out of a certain area of the ship in front of other passengers. That's not right My experience with the service on the ship was positive from bartenders, servers to the cabin steward and the coordinator assigned to the solo travelers who tended to the solo guests. Again, a huge positive. Overall, I may give Norwegian another shot but I would do so on a different ship that has the Spice H20 area and a more spacious pool deck but certainly without the ridiculous amount of up charges that Encore requires. I hope this review was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I am an NCL loyalist and have been on 6 other NCL cruises. I’ve also cruised with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. My husband and I booked this cruise a year ago and were very excited to sail on this brand new ship. Sadly, we ... Read More
I am an NCL loyalist and have been on 6 other NCL cruises. I’ve also cruised with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Princess. My husband and I booked this cruise a year ago and were very excited to sail on this brand new ship. Sadly, we were a bit disappointed with this cruise. Embarkation was a breeze. The ship itself is immaculate and the crew was overall very friendly. With the exception of the bad experiences we had at some of the specialty restaurants, the service onboard was very good. Entertainment throughout the ship was really good. Our room steward did a fantastic job of keeping our cabin clean. The specialty dining was hit or miss. We loved Le Bistro, Food Republic, Los Lobos and Onda. Service and food at all of these restaurants was excellent. We were bitterly disappointed with Ocean Blue. Service was terrible and the food was beyond bad. I’ve had better seafood at Red Lobster. They claim to have a dress code that requires gentlemen to wear long pants and collared shirts. However, there were several men wearing shorts and t-shirts the night we went there. Cagneys, normally the crown jewel of the NCL specialty dining, was also a huge disappointment both in terms of food and service. Both Ocean Blue and Cagneys added a $19.00 upcharge to people who have a dining package for surf and turf. Upcharges were added for certain appetizers as well. We just sailed on Escape 6 months ago and this was not being done at that time. We really enjoyed our meal at The Manhattan Room and had a great lunch every day at The Local. The American Diner was empty pretty much the entire cruise just like Margaritaville is on other NCL ships. Such a waste of space. The pool is considerably smaller than on Bliss or Escape. Way too small for the 4,000+ passengers. Also, they have eliminated Spice H2O from this ship so the only option to get away from the crowds at the pool is the Vibe Beach Club at $200 pp for the week. They claim you are not allowed to save pool chairs; however this was not enforced. The chairs were full of towels with no one sitting in them all day every day. We couldn’t get a seat out there the entire week. The laser tag, galaxy pavillion and race track are cool things to have but they come with a hefty price tag. If you want an unlimited ticket for all three it will set you back $400. We rode the speedway once and it was hard to get a reservation for one ride!! One ride is $15.00 pp. The clear tube slide was closed pretty much the whole cruise. Not sure why. I felt movement and vibration on this ship more than any of the other NCL ships I’ve been on. It just didn’t feel very stable. There are constant creaking noises throughout the ship too. The time in all the ports was ridiculously short. They cancelled our stop at Great Stirrup Cay because the seas were too rough for the tender boats. Royal Caribbean has a dock at their Coco Cay. I can’t understand why NCL doesn’t build one too. From what I’ve read they cancel this stop more often than they actually go there. The thermal suite was amazing. I went there every day. Also loved the observation room; however, the people sprawled all over the couches in their bare feet sleeping all day was really annoying. They claim in your daily paper this is not allowed but, again, this policy was not enforced. I would still sail with NCL but never again on this ship. I would choose Bliss over Encore any day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were on the Encore for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise departing on Feb 16th in accessible room 10886.  Automatic room door was a great help.  My husband in his wheelchair could handle room access unassisted.  The roll-in shower ... Read More
We were on the Encore for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise departing on Feb 16th in accessible room 10886.  Automatic room door was a great help.  My husband in his wheelchair could handle room access unassisted.  The roll-in shower arrangement was excellent - no water to mop up after showers.  The ramping to the balcony was easy to use because there was no drop off going out the door onto the balcony.  There was enough space to maneuver both his manual day chair and commode wheelchair. As the caregiver, I was disappointed that the only chair in the cabin was an uncomfortable desk chair.  When it was too cool to sit on the balcony, I sat on the bed.  We were disappointed with accessible seating in entertainment venues.  This was quite a surprise given how well our room has been designed for accessibility.  When we attempted to enter The Cavern, his wheelchair got stuck between the two entrance doors.  Seating at the rear of the theater had too high of a blockage for a short person to see the stage.  I was also surprised that the only wheelchair companion seating was a hard plastic folding chair.  For those who can take a few steps, they can park their wheelchair or walker at the top and move to handicapped seating.  Since my husband cannot walk,  theater staff then directed me to go to Customer Service to request access to the wheelchair seating in the front of the theater.  Marina Caparros was very helpful at making access arrangements once we connected with her.  Seating at the front of the theater requires access thru crew areas and when you get to the wheelchair area, there is no reserved handicapped companion seating is marked.  Sometimes these seats were already taken so I had to sit elsewhere.  I felt public entertainment venues  were not welcoming or well planned for wheelchairs.  This is my 16th cruise with a wheelchair.  Never before was it necessary to work with an access coordinator to access public spaces on previous cruises. The entertainment, Choir of Men and Kinky Boots, were well done. Maneuvering the Garden Cafe for someone in a wheelchair was very challenging.  Difficult to find a table with wheelchair access and way to crowded.  Almost had a plate of food dumped on my husband's head by another passenger who didn't see him because of the height of a wheelchair.  So we avoided this whenever possible.   Getting from one end of the ship to the other with a wheelchair took several tries before we found what worked for us.   After one attempt to go from one end of the ship to the other via the pool decks, it became obvious that it is NOT a pathway for wheelchairs.  We had to ask several people to move their chairs out of the pathway so we could get through.  Attempting to go cross ship in cabin hallways resulted in needing to move multiple carts so we could get through.  Because going across the ship on 6-8 was mostly carpeted and difficult to push a wheelchair, when weather permitted, we used the Waterfront to traverse the distance between elevators.  The Waterfront and Observation Lounge  were wonderful.  Automatic doors often required push button activation and activation buttons were not consistently located.  Some automatic doors closed too quickly to enable a wheelchair to pass though.  On sea days the Observation Lounge had several groups of very enthusiastic teens.  More separate space is needed for teens.  With 4600 passengers there was insufficient public spaces on sea days.  I would hate to see what this is like when school is out....    Of all the eating venues, it was much easier to maneuver a wheelchair in Taste and Savor.  Portion size was hard to predict.  Some appetizers were entree size.  Maitre 'D Scott Goes ensured that our dining experience was excellent.  Our primary server, Odessa and her assistant, Alyanna, did an outstanding job.    This is a lovely ship with good food and entertainment.  We wanted to give it a try.  A smaller ship that is less congested works better for us.  Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise primarily because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience the latest and greatest in cruise ship offerings. This was also our longest cruise to date (7 nights) so we spent the extra money on a balcony suite, ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because it was a new ship and we wanted to experience the latest and greatest in cruise ship offerings. This was also our longest cruise to date (7 nights) so we spent the extra money on a balcony suite, especially since there were a couple total days at sea. As for the ship itself, it was quite beautiful and clean, as you might expect a new ship to be. However, our biggest complaint (and the complaint of many others we spoke with) was that there were not enough common deck areas where you could just lay out and enjoy some sunshine. A large amount of what would appear as common area were actually upgrade areas. Part is reserved for Haven guests, which is an understandable upgrade... but an incredibly large area is reserved for the Vibe Beach club which is an extra $209 per person for the week of cruising! If you weren't out on deck by 7:30 am, don't expect to find a deck chair in the sun. Another issue was that many of the deck chairs that were available were in areas where the sun was obscured by the go-kart track, water slides or other features (all of which were also an extra charge). There are 4500 passengers on this ship and maybe 2 or 3 hundred common area deck chairs in the sun. We tried to buy the upgrade to the Vibe Beach club but all were already sold out, yet the area remained largely empty anytime I looked. Also on deck are two small pools. One for the kids and one for the adults. Very small pools and that's it. Aside for four tiny hot tubs on the upper deck loop, that was all of the common pool area. There is not even a pool in the Vibe Beach Club area. Also, with 4500 passengers, it was almost impossible to book dining, quality shore excursions or any shows on board. On previous cruises on smaller NCL ships we could just walk into anywhere and did not realize, in advance, that you would have to book so much so far ahead. We actually called customer service when we were trying to make various reservations and she actually laughed at us saying "oh, people book this stuff MONTHS in advance". Mind you, we paid about 3800 for our balcony suite. This is not small change but yet so many things were still upcharges if you wanted to partake. The Virtual Reality lounge, Go-kart track, water slides, premium deck space... all extra bucks. I was also surprised at how much the ship moved even in fairly calm seas. A few days the seas were a little higher and when the ship moved that much, everything creaked and popped. Maybe it was just that it was all so new that it sounded louder than a ship that was "worn in". But, for such a big ship, it moved way more than expected. Here's the good stuff. Our balcony suite was quite nice and roomy. The balcony was a little tight but was a great place to sit out and relax with my wife. For half the cruise, it was the only place to get sun (for the other half of the cruise it was on the shade side of the ship). The young man who cared for our room new our names by heart. He was fantastic and just as helpful and accommodating as you could ever want. I can't say enough what a great job he did. The rest of the crew was also amazing, for the most part. Cheerful, helpful, kind and just top notch all the way around. I think of the long days they work, 7 days a week, and am even more impressed at the incredible quality of service they provide. Honestly, they were the saving grace of this cruise. "Washy washy, happy happy!"... the lady who squirts your hands with sanitizer before you enter the buffet area is like a ship icon and mascot! Speaking of the buffet, the food was amazing and plentiful! We did eat well and the selections were seemingly endless. Private dining, for what we could book (only late bookings were left for us), was good. We ate at the Q Smokehouse where the food was ok and the service was incredible. We ate at the Mexican restaurant which we didn't care for but the service was the best of all and then we ate at the Japanese hibachi place which was delicious and entertaining. Those were our complimentary specialty dining credit choices. Even though we could only get bookings for after 9pm, we were able to call or stop in earlier and they adjusted our times to something reasonable... so there's a great tip for you if you're stuck in our situation. We dined our last night in the nice complimentary restaurant in the front of the ship (I forget the name)... the food was good and the service was fantastic. My wife has vowed never to sail this ship again. I am not as much of a lay-out-in-the-sun guy but am still upset by the principle of paying almost 4k for a week cruise and not having the option. Far too many extra charges and far too few entertainment and relaxation options included. We had far better experiences on their older, smaller ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I choose this cruise because I wanted to bring my four grown sons to Jost Van Dyke an Excursion offered while in Tortola on 2/20. The excursion got sold out & the time being there was changed from 8:00 to 5:00 pm to 6:00am to 2:00pm. ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I wanted to bring my four grown sons to Jost Van Dyke an Excursion offered while in Tortola on 2/20. The excursion got sold out & the time being there was changed from 8:00 to 5:00 pm to 6:00am to 2:00pm. & was not notified. I called the cruise line To ask about being added for this excursion and was told I could put my name on a waitlist once onboard the ship. When I got onboard I went to guest services and was told there were 17 people on the waitlist ahead of us & it was very unlikely we would get to go. The reason they changed the itinerary was so that the ship could stop at their private island GREAT STIRRUP CAY in the Bahamas instead of a day at sea. Well on the day of that stop we were told it was too windy and not safe to go there due to tendering. So for a 7 day cruise we only had 1 full day in St. Thomas. So being on the ship 75% of the time...the place to hang was at the pool...if you did not get up by 8:00 am or earlier & get a seat by the pool you were outta luck. The big screen at the pool had a sign up for the entire 7 days....you can’t save chairs...if you were not present for 15 minutes they would take your belongings off your chair. So if you wanted to go eat ...you lost your chairs. It was a nightmare to say the least! Any place more civil on the ship to hang outside was an extra charge and that was sold out too! On the first nites dinner....asked for a glass of Pinot Grigio and was told at the Onda at Scarpetta restaurant that they did not have any...only to walk out of restaurant after dinner and pass wine cellar....attached to the restaurant to see 10 bottles of Pinot Grigio on the shelf! This was my second Norwegian Cruise and I would not cruise them again! Back to Royal Caribbean❤️ Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Other family members chose it for convenance, there were 23 of us, we flew U.K to Miami to join them complete with my wheelchair. Boarding was made easy for me staff were helpful, the cabin which had a walk in shower was a long way ... Read More
Other family members chose it for convenance, there were 23 of us, we flew U.K to Miami to join them complete with my wheelchair. Boarding was made easy for me staff were helpful, the cabin which had a walk in shower was a long way from the lift, the very narrow corridors were stuffed with cases this made using the wheelchair almost impossible, this proved to be a theme for the week when it was not cases it was housekeeping carts, embarrassing and upsetting at times. The dining and stateroom staff were very helpful and kind, the food was great, entertainment was good. We chose the cruise partly as four stops seemed good and chose disabled friendly excursions, however it was made clear to me after I boarded that I could not get of at Belize as tenders are required to get there and they are not disabled friendly, I was not impressed but again the staff and one manager were great. Others in my party did not seem impressed with that stop and one of the kids was bitten by jellyfish. The place I really wanted to visit was cancelled due to a port strike, so only two out of four stops happened. Lots of disabled toilets available, they have press button doors I got out of the chair to go into the toilet my husband pushed the button the door swung back and floored me leaving me bruised and shaken also embarrassed. The children loved it and had fun one child had a birthday and was given a lovely cake and the staff sang happy birthday, they were good with the babies. Given we travelled 4000 miles to get there I would not repeat the experience but it was fun and an adventure and we met great people so no regrets. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I chose Norwegian because we cruised Mexico last year and just returned from a Panama Canal cruise. Both cruises have been enjoyable, but recent news, if true will make me think twice about cruising with them again. News is today that they ... Read More
I chose Norwegian because we cruised Mexico last year and just returned from a Panama Canal cruise. Both cruises have been enjoyable, but recent news, if true will make me think twice about cruising with them again. News is today that they are encouraging their sales force to tell people how safe it is on their ships and not to worry about Corona virus. To me, that is just plain stupid with the virus being most anywhere. Cruise ships are a giant Petri dish no matter how well they are cleaned. You have 3 to 5 thousand people living, eating and eliminating in a confined area. No matter how careful you are, you are going to touch something that has been contaminated. Personally, if I were to be considering a cruise right now, I would cancel out, especially if Norwegian messing with the truth in their sales department. That aside, I will say that we enjoyed the trip thru the Panama canal, but wished there had been different ports on the western side as we had just been to three of them last year. Our rooms were kept up very well and they were really encouraging people to wash their hand or use sanitizer all over the ship. One thing that we have found to be going downhill is the food service in the ship buffet. Most all foods served on this trip were barely warm, some were actually cool. This is a dangerous way to serve food in my opinion. The dining room food was excellent and hot. We ate a five of the specialty restaurants on board and found the staff and food EXCELLENT in the Ocean Blue. The food and staff was also very good in the LeBistro restaurant, but were disappointed that they had run out of escargot on the 13th day of our 16 day cruise. They also ran out of food items in the buffet,{Cafe}. When we went to Mexico last year on the Bliss, we really enjoyed the whiskey bar, but on the Joy, it seems like the bar was dark, dingy and unfriendly. I do want to compliment Norwegian on the drink package. The drinks were great and the bar staff, with the exception of the Joy's whiskey bar was great. 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
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
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
We chose this cruise because it was a new ship and we love cruising and have had great experiences with Norwegian. We love freestyle and being able to eat when we want and where we want. However, in light of all of the new family themed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was a new ship and we love cruising and have had great experiences with Norwegian. We love freestyle and being able to eat when we want and where we want. However, in light of all of the new family themed additions to this ship like the speedway, the kids waterpark, laser tag, and the regular water slides, it was almost impossible to find a deck chair anywhere near the pool if you arrive topside later than 10 am. They say you are not allowed to hold seats for more than 15 minutes or your items will be collected for pickup. At any given time of the day there are as many empty seats with towels and people's belongings on chairs as there are with actual people sitting in chairs. This was a deal breaker for me. Since we travelled from the northeast for warmth and sunshine, it was hard to find on this ship. The food and staff at the buffet (main dining room) was totally amazing, and went out of their way at every interaction to make you feel welcomed and valued as a guest. We loved the movie nights on the pool deck, and the cruise director was awesome and fun and great at making us laugh and have a great time. Casino was fairly large and had a lot of different games to offer. Bars and dining options were aplenty! We did not particularly care for our dinner at Onda. Our waiter made us feel very uncomfortable throughout our dinner, food was disappointing. Choir of Man was an awesome show and highly recommend!! High energy and loved the engagement of the audience. Vocals were so awesome, performers were amazing!! Also went to Kinky Boots, this was very disappointing. Felt like I was at a middle school performance where performers were off key and forgot their lines. Set was boring and non engaging. We loved the deck options with nice comfy outdoor sofas which is where we spent a lot of time just relaxing in the shade or sun, depending on starboard or portside and time of day. Nice place to chill with a good book!! If I were traveling with children, this would be my first choice. However, traveling as an early senior couple. This ship was not for us. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were excited to try this new cruise ship. Everything went great on check in and getting to our room. Very efficient process for such a large ship. We got to our room and I use a CPAP and looked for a plug beside our bed. The closest ... Read More
We were excited to try this new cruise ship. Everything went great on check in and getting to our room. Very efficient process for such a large ship. We got to our room and I use a CPAP and looked for a plug beside our bed. The closest outlet was across the room and guess what, my electrical cord did not reach across the room. (BAD DESIGN). I asked our stewart what was up? He apologized and said he would try and get me an extension cord. Two days later he brought me a +/- 20' extension cord that took up a lot of space in our room. The room was ok, my wife liked that it had a bath tub. There was a flyer on our bed when we got there offering a 48 pack of water for $48.00. I trashed it because we bought the beverage package. Little did I know that bottled water was not included in the beverage package. Later we found out that bottled water was $5.00 each. We needed to buy the PREMIUM Beverage Package to get bottled water. HOLY COW..I could get 50 vodkas a day but no bottled water. My wife asked for fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. This was not included in our Beverage Package. She could get 50 oranges at the breakfast buffet but would have to squeeze them herself. The food was very good. We got the 3 specialty restaurant package, however we could not get reservations in any of the specialty restaurants. The only availability were the 8:30 - 9:00. This was a waste of money. The Manhattan Room ( the main dining room ) was great. Don't know about the others but we spent money on something that we could not use. The fitness center was small for a ship of this size. I went to the spa to use the steam room, that is an extra charge. The staff tried to sell me a week's use of the steam room for $250.00. I have been on several cruise ships and this is the first time I have been asked to pay for this feature. On their private island the tender was horrible as they jam 450 people on a tender boat. Had to wait in line coming and going. We picked beach chairs on their private beach, we sat down and one of the employees came up and asked us for our room #. I said I thought the chairs were free, guess what there was a beach umbrella that was closed up beside our chairs and the charge was $21.00 per person to have an umbrella beside your chair. We got up and move one chair over. I think they are out to nickel and dime you to death. I would pay more for the cruise if they included some of the simple things in the rate. I think next time we will definitely look for a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Embarkation - It was a breeze. The only issue I had was we got off at Building A when we should have gone to Building C. The process was very quick through security. The lines were a little confusing because they had two entrances to ... Read More
Embarkation - It was a breeze. The only issue I had was we got off at Building A when we should have gone to Building C. The process was very quick through security. The lines were a little confusing because they had two entrances to the same place in line. We arrived around 12:45 pm. The whole process took us 15 minutes. As soon as we got on board they make sure to spray your hands with sanitizer before stepping onto the ship. Which I thought was pretty cool. As soon as we got on, we went to the sixth floor and signed up for comedy shows, escape room, laser tag, and Prohibition Musical. We had already signed up for our three specialty dining, Choir of Man(I wish I would have signed up twice) and Kinky Boots. Then we proceed to go to Taste Dining room for lunch since our room was not ready. Food - The food was excellent. I loved the fact they had buffalo wings 24/7 and you did not have to pay extra for it. I also loved the fact you can preorder your food if you have an allergy-like my husband and me. We were able to order any item that we wanted. However, if you preorder your meal at Taste or Savior, then you can only eat at one of those two restaurants. If you preorder at Manhattan, then you can only eat that pre-ordered meal in Manhattan. My rating for food went down because of finding a piece of hair in my burger at the Local. We showed the Maitre D. He investigated and sent some chocolate covered strawberries to the room as an apology. Walkways - The walkways were so small to me. You were not able to pass someone. You have to stand to the side and let that person pass. The deck was a nightmare. There were deck chairs everywhere. You barely had any space to walk from one side to the other. My husband and I pretty much stayed away from the deck area during the day. Especially after we found out he could not do some of the activites on the deck floor. Entertainment - Choir of Man, Kinky Boots, and Prohibition Musical were very good. I did not care too much for the comedy shows and the Beatle show in the Encore Theater. The one in the Cavern Club was good. I guess I was not a fan of that decade of their music. Any games done by the Entertainment staff were boring to me. If it was on the deck then we did not go due to the crowd of people. Galaxy Pavillion - It was fun for the first three VR rides but after the fourth/fifth ride, my husband and I were dizzy. So we did not complete the full hour that we paid for and went down to our room to sleep off the dizziness. We were able to get on six in forty-five minutes. We went at 1pm on the first sea day. Escape Room - We kept on being the only people to show up. It is not fun to do it we just two people. After the third time of just being the two of us, we decided not to do it and save our money. Laser Tag - We scheduled laser tag on the same day as Galaxy Pavillion. So we were too dizzy to do the laser tag and canceled. Go-Karts - My husband did not meet the weight requirement so we did not schedule this activity. My husband wanted at least one of us to try it out. So I stood in the stand-by line for ten minutes and was able to ride. It was nice to do it but I am do not have to do it again. Itinerary - I was not a fan of the itinerary. Going to Puerto Rico at night and leaving St. Thomas at 2pm was not the best. I could have skipped the private island in the Bahamas. Internet Package - We upgraded our free at sea perk to the unlimited package. It worked great for us. I was able to keep in contact with my kids back home. Disembarkation - We were one of the last groups to go out. We paid a luggage handler and so it took 15 minutes to go through customs. I did not like the way they had us to take the scenic route around the seventh floor to disembark from the ship. Overall we had a good time but will not go back on this particular ship for Norwegian. This was our first Norwegian ship. We prefer a ship that has more deck space and free activities for you to do like the basketball court and rock climbing. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 39 th cruise, 8th NCL, 6 th Haven. I read the reviews before booking and didn’t have high expectations however I did expect more being in the Haven. Let me start by saying when arriving at the port there were no Haven reps ... Read More
This was our 39 th cruise, 8th NCL, 6 th Haven. I read the reviews before booking and didn’t have high expectations however I did expect more being in the Haven. Let me start by saying when arriving at the port there were no Haven reps so we got in the very long security line while my husband went up to find someone to ask, about 15 mins later he came and got us and a guy took us through the security (we just did this in Miami 3 weeks prior with no wait on the Encore as they had a kiosk booth) the. The man actually asked my husband for a tip! That was a first for us. We waited in there for another 20 mins and finally got escorted onto the ship. Our service from our Butler was wonderful and the staff in the area was great in that they greeted us by name when seeing us in the halls. The smaller ships allow for that personalized experience and we like that. We had a two bedroom next to the Haven pool which was fantastic in size even though it is dated a bit. The cabin should have been cleaner there was hair and other things indicating it wasn’t cleaned properly. I always bring Clorox wipes so I got to work however they seemed to clean throughout the rest of our cruise. The upper sun deck for the Haven was nice also really loved that. In general food was ok. This ship to us was great for a weekend in the Haven but our disappointment continued because we paid $2,900.00 for 2 people in a 2 bedroom for a 3 night cruise thinking we were getting some what of a Haven experience. This is not like any Haven I’ve been in. I realized we had to go to the restaurant for dinners but didn’t realize we had no way to get drinks but to go downstairs to the bars to get in line to get our drinks. For that price it’s a big deal! There’s no escort to shows or reservations, no concierge desks or even area for them just an ext. if you want to contact them. The private island had to be cancelled so we spent a day at sea, it happens but unfortunately we had planned to spend money so pre-paid $500.00 OBC as we reserved a villa at GSC also. Now that was canceled we had a credit and concierge confirmed we had to go and stand in a pretty long line at guest services to give us cash back said it could not be put back on the credit card we charged it with. We tried to spend it but the spa but it was booked and the shops didn’t have shirts or much with the Pearl logo on it. I felt sorry for the guest service team they were no stop dealing with people over this mess of giving us all cash back. So if I was to book this ship again because I really liked the itinerary I’d consider the Haven like this, you’re paying for a nice cabin and priority disembarkation, complimentary room service and you get to get the extra perks like drinks, and shore excursions credit per day, but I’ve seen NCL offering those with out Haven and is it worth the extra money since there’s no restaurant, no bar, no concierge desk, the Haven area is hard to access unlike other Havens I’ve been in with key card access. I would consider sailing this ship again if there were really good deals with the understanding I’ll be in long lines for everything (it was hard to get a drink) but never pay the Haven prices again, it’s just simply not worth it in my opinion Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Received quite a good deal when booking from the UK with less than 3 weeks to go. Online booking process very easy and straightforward. Having cruised with Celebrity in the past, who we love, we were looking forward to trying another ... Read More
Received quite a good deal when booking from the UK with less than 3 weeks to go. Online booking process very easy and straightforward. Having cruised with Celebrity in the past, who we love, we were looking forward to trying another cruise line. The ship; -Very well refurbished -Although smaller - seemed ample space for everyone -Layout can be a bit tricky at times but really not that much of a problem -Staff could do a better job ensuring public areas are well stocked (especially at the moment with the coronavirus) The Cabin; (balcony 9250) -Lovely decor -Very clean -No tea/coffee maker (we were told by NCL prior to cruise there would be one - once onboard guest services said they don't put them in balcony cabins and didn't know why we were told we would have one) -On the smaller side -All in all a lovely cabin Dining; -Food is a bit hit and miss, main dining room sometimes food was very tasty and hot, other times it was average and barely warm -Waiting staff hit and miss again, at times very slow and inattentive service -Le Bistro & Cagneys very nice.. worth the speciality dining package Entertainment; - one band - D'revelation were absolutely amazing, could sit and listen to them all day. -Always seemed to be plenty on the programme Service; -Unfortunately this is were NCL fall short, there are some amazing staff members however the vast majority seem disinterested and can barely manage a smile Ports/shore ex; -As expected, can't comment on excursions as didn't book any. -Disappointed we didn't get to Great Stirrup Cay as a result of the weather but totally understand safety comes first, so no fault of NCL. Travelled as a couple and have to say although had an average experience, this probably wouldn't deter us from NCL in the future and it certainly didn't spoil the holiday. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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