1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Norwegian Cruise Line
  4. Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise Reviews
Sail Date: February 2019
The location was the main reason. The trip was excellent, smooth sailing, very good shore excursions although some a little pricey. Food good in Steak restaurant, Ambiance could be much better in Italian Restaurant. O'Sheean's ... Read More
The location was the main reason. The trip was excellent, smooth sailing, very good shore excursions although some a little pricey. Food good in Steak restaurant, Ambiance could be much better in Italian Restaurant. O'Sheean's pub food pretty good but seemed pre-made in some cases. Entertainment was the best we have had on any of our cruises, including the guest performers and the cruise group and band. complimentary restaurants food, staff and setting were great. The Panama Canal day was very memorable and a must for everyone. It was interesting to learn of the real environmental preservation efforts of most of the central America countries. The people we met from these countries were genuinely caring of visitors. Enjoyed the trip to the artist town in Guatemala. The travel was quite lengthy but through different landscapes and economic areas. Suggest Norwegian continues to offer this trip. We will continue to cruise but maybe take a little break after May as we will have taken three cruises in 10 months. Will have Norwegian as first cruise company choice in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We cruised to Panama Feb 1st, 2019. The ports where great. The food and activities on the ship was lacking. The food in the buffet was terrible and the same food was served daily. The food in the specialty restaurants Ginza and Osheehans ... Read More
We cruised to Panama Feb 1st, 2019. The ports where great. The food and activities on the ship was lacking. The food in the buffet was terrible and the same food was served daily. The food in the specialty restaurants Ginza and Osheehans was over cooked and dry. Not worth eating at all. The desserts all over the ship where dry and unsweetened. Just aweful! They need to fire the person in charge of the food on board. One of the worse food experiences I have ever had on a cruise ship. The entertainment on board on sea days and in the evening needs to be improved. The ships Dj was aweful. He needs to be let go. The staff was friendly and the ports great. This is an older ship and this itinerary caters to older people. We felt like we where the youngest people on the boat. This could account for the lack of “fun” things to do. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We wanted to sail through the canal. The price and dates worked out for us. We have sailed on numerous cruise lines. The star was average, nothing exceptional. We scheduled offshore activities through the internet. Meals were fine, ... Read More
We wanted to sail through the canal. The price and dates worked out for us. We have sailed on numerous cruise lines. The star was average, nothing exceptional. We scheduled offshore activities through the internet. Meals were fine, but no lobster meal anywhere. Entertainment was nothing exceptional. Usual activities onboard. Good narration through the canal. Music was loud, hard to find a quiet place. Not many children aboard. Accommodating layout. We would probably choose a different cruise line next time. We had some great shore excursions, but did not purchase any through the ship. Good choice of ports, some concerns with tender service. In tendered ports, be sure to sign up early, as gold and platinum cruisers get preference. If you have scheduled excursions off the ship, you may need to call ahead if seas are choppy, as tenders are limited. Overall this cruise was acceptable, great experience, going through the cana!. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Selected this cruise for the Panama Canal experience, LA to Miami, February 1-15, which was handled superbly from having a narrator of the cruise through to having the staff having coffees, drinks, pastries etc throughout the area and ... Read More
Selected this cruise for the Panama Canal experience, LA to Miami, February 1-15, which was handled superbly from having a narrator of the cruise through to having the staff having coffees, drinks, pastries etc throughout the area and lunch on Deck 12 (need sharp elbows for the rush for t-shirts) Captain Matthias Anderson was exceptional; the first time we have heard a captain give overview information about the land masses and ocean we were passing by/through, about the stops (history and geography), just wish more folks HD stopped to listen, very informative The stops were in order of our preference, all excursions were booked through NCL before leaving home: Acapulco, Bay cruise and Cliff divers; Guatemala, on your own Antigua; Cabo San Lucas, whale watching; Scenic Costa Rica; Columbia, party bus tour of city; did not go off the ship in Nicaragua and left directly fir home post cruise. Enjoyed everyone we met. Liked Gatsby’s for entertainment especially Felicia. The Game of Tones and the couple from Columbia (Latino beat eg salsa) were good, least favourite was Jason, but having said that overall, very good. Really liked having the mariachis who came on board in Mexico, for an ‘around the pool afternoon’ - great music, wish that we could have taken home their performance. Food was good in the main restaurants, with beef or other red meat option, vegetarian, chicken, fish and pasta served nightly; breakfast had variety, and lunch in Versailles was good. We brought lunch from the Garden Cafe 3-4 times, out to the aft, adults only area Moderno was a great experience as were Bistro (anniversary), and Cagney’s. Really liked having O’Sheehan’s open, fixed menu was very good. Shout out to Jay Ann in O’Sgeehan’s during the day and Le Bistro at night. Service was excellent throughout the cruise including bar and bussing staff and c,earners —- spotless. Caveats: excellent cabin service should mean that a knock on the door and a handshake is not reserved for 20 minutes before disembarking, with a clear speciation of top-up gratuity. Suggestion that cabin attendants introduce themselves or at least be given cards with their name on it to leave in the room. The room was kept tidy and needed little more than a bed making and towels; we are neat travellers by nature, so counters clear, sink area washed down/tidied, towels put back on on racks etc. It was Day 3 when the cabin attendant next room over gently pointed out that he was not our attendant but would be glad to ask ‘our’ attendant for the ice we requested. The first cruise, ever, we did not leave/give extra to the cabin attendant. Final note, we always book flights a day before—- and this proved us right, for sure, given the weather, we would have missed sailaway had we booked the same flight, day of. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
My husband and I wanted to experience the Panama Crossing and the NCL Star itinerary was ideal. We chose an ocean view cabin on deck four and it was just fine....lots of storage, not far from elevators and Starlight Theatre. It was our ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to experience the Panama Crossing and the NCL Star itinerary was ideal. We chose an ocean view cabin on deck four and it was just fine....lots of storage, not far from elevators and Starlight Theatre. It was our first cruise without a balcony but spent so little time in the room it was fine. Our cabin steward was excellent. We flew into LA and because our flight had been delayed we were greeted by an NCL rep and taxied to the ship. We usually book our flights through the cruiseline for this very reason. Embarkation was a breeze as we were likely the last to arrive. Our dining was always a positive experience. Lots of variety and tasty choices at the Garden Cafe for breakfast and lunch. Usually no problem with seating. We chose Versailles most evenings which was always delicious and served by friendly, efficient staff. Each evening we attended the Stardust Theatre productions. Always enjoyable with professional entertainment. We found the 7:30 show busiest so tried to get there a bit early. After the show there was always something happening in Bliss lounge where we had an evening drink. In only a few instances we encountered a less than friendly employee. Generally the staff went above and beyond and service was great. We enjoyed the village of Cabo San Lucas best and the tender process was efficient. We did not take any ship excursions other than the Catamaran in Cartegena. Disembarkment in Miami was quite smooth. We chose to keep our luggage with us so could choose our own time to leave. Bus transportation to the airport was included. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise for two reasons. 1st was the chance to go to Cabo San Lucas to whale watch. 2nd was the Panama Canal. Both were amazing and we are so glad we went. The ship was good,although we did find the passageways to cabins ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons. 1st was the chance to go to Cabo San Lucas to whale watch. 2nd was the Panama Canal. Both were amazing and we are so glad we went. The ship was good,although we did find the passageways to cabins stranger than usual with lots of corners and turns. Not a problem, just strange! We ate most meals in Versailles main dining room, it stops us from being too greedy and we thought the quality was very good. I am not used to having a whole cow on my plate, or that’s how it seemed as the steaks were huge but nice and tender and very tasty. Vegetable portions were a bit small though in comparison. Breakfast in the dining room was a better start to the day than the buffet. After many years of eating in the buffet we have come to realise that walking up and down trying to decide what to have, then trying to find a table or one having to wait and keep the table while the other got food is not the nicest way to have a meal. Our cabin was an inside in deck 8. It was fine for our needs, we hardly spent any time in there. We asked for the bed to be made into two singles as it leaves more space. Going to the toilet in the middle of the night when it’s a double bed is just too awkward. The bathroom was a good size and the shower bigger than most ships we have been on. A little step or ledge for us ladies to shave our legs though would be good. And I wish every cruise line would do away with the alcohol in the minibar, but that’s just my own personal preference. Our steward was fine and hopefully we kept the cabin tidy enough to keep his workload down. The entertainment was a mixture. There was a juggling comedian who we thought was very good. The other comedian we can’t really comment on as nearly all the jokes were USA based so we didn’t understand most of it. The ship based singers were an assortment of good and below average. The cruise director and his staff were very good from what we saw. We didn’t spend any time on the top deck so can’t say what the entertainment was like. We tend to spend our time on the promenade deck listening to the waves, reading, and people watching ( well, watching them walk round the deck about 20 times!) The service on board was good and there wasn’t much waiting at the bar. Every member of staff were friendly that we came into contact with, especially in the dining room. We didn’t really enjoy Cartagena, but that could just be because of the traffic and heat. We enjoyed Cabo, and the Canal . Costa Rica was quite nice too, and seeing the cliff divers in Acapulco was an experience. We made our own arrangements as we feel cruise lines are just too overpriced for tours. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever had, disembarkation very slow, but nothing to do with the cruise line, just the usual at US ports. Overall, we had a great time on the Star.8009 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We choose this cruise for the Panama Canal. We had previously gone into the canal from the Atlantic and returned, but wanted to go all the way through. Embarkation: This was our first time to have a suite. When arriving at the ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the Panama Canal. We had previously gone into the canal from the Atlantic and returned, but wanted to go all the way through. Embarkation: This was our first time to have a suite. When arriving at the terminal, I told several people that we had priority boarding and they steered us to the line with general boarding. I happened to see a sign above the desk for those in suites (no line). I left our line and asked someone about it and when she realized we did have priority boarding, she very quickly walked us through the process, apologizing about the mix-up. After getting our cruise cards we were taken to a holding room with refreshments and told that there was no electricity on the ship and would need to wait. We were able to board in about 20 minutes and then taken to Cagney's for lunch. It was probably one of the best meals we had on the ship. Having never had priority, we did not know what to expect and things did seem to be disorganized. We made it to our cabin, met our butler (Jonjon) and settled in. Butler: For those of you who have not had a butler, they bring room service, check on you from time to time and will help you with dinner reservations and greet you for shore excursions. Cabin Steward: We had Dragonia from Macedonia and she was great. Getting around: Two tips, the fish on the carpet in the hallways are swimming toward the front of the ship and the doors on each side are painted different colors. Shore Excursions: Acapulco: We did City with Cliff Divers because we had never been to Acapulco before and felt that this was something we really wanted to see. However, unless you walk to the very bottom of the viewing area, lots and lots of steps, you will not be able to see the divers hit the water. Even if we had chosen to walk down that far, the viewing area was already crowded and if you weren't on the front row you could not see. Two people passed out from the climb and the hear (remember this is February), so choose carefully. Cabo: We went to Todas Santos, which was not offered online but was available on ship. It is a really neat little town. The included lunch was great. There was a man in the courtyard of the Hotel California making clay items on a wheel, they were free, but of course we tipped him for making us a small fountain. It takes about 90 minutes to reach this small town, so keep that in mind. Lots of gift shops, but no bargains, except for our little clay fountains. Puerto Quetzal: We choose Easy Antigua. The trip to the Jade Factory was interesting and the town of Antiqua was a beautiful Spanish colonial city. The streets are very rough and you switch to a smaller bus/van at the Jade factory as the streets are also very narrow. It is a 90 minute bus ride to the town. Puntarenas: We choose scenic Costa Rica which ended up being a stop at a Plaza for children dancing, lots of tables of vendors and then another stop at a larger gift shop for fruit tasting (very little fruit). Would choose this again. San Juan Del Sur: Our favorite excursion! We visited the Amayo Hacienda & Lake Nicaragua. A beautiful home with a small swimming pool and views of the volcanoes.Lunch was great. The lake is like an ocean and you can swim there but the waves were very rough the day we were there. Cartagena: San Felipe Fortress & City at Leisure We had been to Cartagena before, but had not gone to the fort. It is quite a walk, but mostly ramps and not stairs. Glad we did it. When we got to the old city, we jumped ship and went for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was delicious and so nice to sit in the quiet. Remember that most of the wait staff in all of these places do not speak English so be prepared and patient. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to sail the west side of California, and go through all three locks of the Panama Canal, ending in Miami. Entertainment was ok, but not as good as other cruises we have been on, Stateroom service was not as efficient as we have ... Read More
Wanted to sail the west side of California, and go through all three locks of the Panama Canal, ending in Miami. Entertainment was ok, but not as good as other cruises we have been on, Stateroom service was not as efficient as we have become accustomed too. Many of the excursions we went on were disappointing, with long rides to the destination, and then underperforming, The café dining was always crowded, with very little room to pass by people as you jockeyed for a position to maneuver around others standing at the drink machines. Sometimes areas were so narrow, only an individual could get through. The entertainment director just seemed to go through the motions, and was not very creative. We did love our daily notes from various staff members, and the treats they sent us. The dinners at the specialty restaurants were good, except the service was amazingly slow. The free laundry was a great perk! I do believe that Diamond members should receive free wifi, or at least 100 minutes free. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
we wanted to go thru panama canal and cross it and we booked a week ago Food was awesome and we did not drink alcohol I was not happy about water You have to buy it Entertainment was great except magic show I am a magician and have ... Read More
we wanted to go thru panama canal and cross it and we booked a week ago Food was awesome and we did not drink alcohol I was not happy about water You have to buy it Entertainment was great except magic show I am a magician and have seen better shows 'Magician Greg Gleason is very good but did not perform amazing magic as one would expect from him Star show team did fantastic shows 4-5 times and singer and dancers were great Samantha Ivy awesome so was the stand up comedian Room and bathroom was small AC worked well once we waited 10 minutes to get on after a tour Tour prices worth it I will not go again on this trip as not much to see but will go to this ship and cruise line Not for kids they had some kids and some activities for them i hope you enjoy Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This was an overall outstanding cruise. It was amazing to watch and see the ship go thru the Panama Canal. Very interesting how the gates open and close as the ship goes through. The cabin staff were outstanding in their everyday ... Read More
This was an overall outstanding cruise. It was amazing to watch and see the ship go thru the Panama Canal. Very interesting how the gates open and close as the ship goes through. The cabin staff were outstanding in their everyday duties. They clean things up in the morning and they always come back through in the evening to tidy things up. The many restaurants gives you a choice of what you want to eat. Specialty restaurants are a bonus and are very nice. We have done them all and continue to go back each time we cruise. The cruise stopped at six different ports, which included: San Lucas-Mexico, Acapulco-Mexico, Puerto Quetzal-Guatemala, San Juan Del Sur-Nicaragua, Puntarenas-Costa Rica and Cartagena-Columbia. These ports were very nice and the excursions were excellent. In Guatemala we toured the Macadamia Nut farm. This was a outstanding tour! We attended the live daily shows at the theatre nightly at 7:30 PM. Norwegian is very good at bringing in various nightly entertainment for everybodys enjoyment. This was our ninth cruise with Norwegian and was another outstanding cruise! We have always cruised with Norwegian because we have never had a bad experience! The cruise line staff are amazing!! Strongly suggest this cruise to everyone! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was a long-planned “bucket list” cruise and did not disappoint. The overall shipboard experience was everything we had hoped for and more. The itinerary, with multiple sea days and the Canal itself being the crown jewel, was the ... Read More
This was a long-planned “bucket list” cruise and did not disappoint. The overall shipboard experience was everything we had hoped for and more. The itinerary, with multiple sea days and the Canal itself being the crown jewel, was the reason for the cruise and was thoroughly enjoyed. We had arranged for transportation from LAX airport to San Pedro pier through NCL and this was handled very smoothly. NCL personnel greeted us in the baggage claim area and escorted us to our bus that delivered us to the NCL embarkation area. NCL embarkation staff were friendly, patient and courteous and had the process well organized. Once aboard we were directed to our correct deck and our Stateroom Steward "Barnard" appeared and greeted us by name & taught us how to navigate to our stateroom using the swimming fish pattern in the hallway carpet as well as the door color (blue = starboard; red = port). (See below for further cabin information.) The night before the BIG day the Captain advised us we would be approaching the canal at 5:00 AM and entering the first lock at 7:00 AM. I was excited and couldn’t sleep so I was on deck and established myself at the rail on deck 13 at 3:00 AM and didn’t leave my spot until we completed our passage through the first set of locks. There was ample opportunity through the day to experience the rest of the locks from different perspectives as we did a “do it yourself” lunch room service (from the Garden buffet) on our balcony and later viewed the scenery from the Deck 8 area, which was only open to passengers during canal transit. The approach to the canal in the dark was eerily beautiful as we passed tankers and cargo ships lined up waiting their turn. We were very fortunate to have an exceptionally mild 82 degree F day! The history of the Canal narration provided by the Captain as well as the ongoing narration through the day provided by a local expert as we passed the landmarks and through the locks were very informative and much appreciated. Our sea-days were busy with on board activities and we thoroughly enjoyed our chosen Shore Excursions, Luxury Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas and Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour in Cartegena Colombia. We were big fans of Bingo and Trivia as well as kick-back time at the pool. We found the Sugarcane Mojito Bar to be a small, quiet, out-of-the-way lounge where we were able to meet and converse with interesting fellow cruisers. Sky High was another favorite hangout although usually a little more noisy (in a fun way – think sing-alongs!!). The "Behind the Scenes" excursion of the workings of the ship’s galley, laundry, stores/provisions, waste management and showroom props and dressing room areas was an especially enjoyable & memorable tour. We were impressed with the hard working people who prepare the food, wash the dishes, launder the sheets, towels, napkins, tablecloths, staff uniforms, passenger laundry, etc, those who manage the proper storage of supplies and food, and those who assure that our ship is in compliance with environmental and governmental regulations in management of our water treatment and waste products. Shipboard internet was slow at best. The quality of assistance at the Internet Café was inconsistent. Our experience was that the i-phone 8 did not work well with the unlimited WiFi package. This might be a good time to unplug. The pool area tier design provides plenty of lounges for sunbathing, but shady lounge areas were usually at a premium. A pool towel is provided for each person in your cabin and can be exchanged freely for a fresh towel with no charge at the pool. Extra towels are available, if needed, at the pool for a charge. Poolside lunch was either basic hamburgers/hot dogs from the poolside grill or we could bring our buffet plate to the available poolside tables. The poolside bar had walk-up as well as roaming waiter service. We found the food to be very good in most restaurants and were very impressed with the quality of the food as well as the ambiance and service in the (complimentary) main dining rooms (Versailles & Aqua). Other complimentary options were Ginza Japanese, O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill and the Garden Buffet - all were good. Although we were impressed with our dinner at the specialty restaurant Le Bistro, Cagney's Steakhouse outshone them all. The food, service and ambiance were outstanding. La Cucina, the Italian specialty restaurant, was a disappointment. We found that restaurant to be totally devoid of any Italian atmosphere and we might just as well have been dining at Italian night in the Garden buffet. The food was “just OK” and our wait-staff lacked the ability to correctly pronounce the Italian dishes or to understand our order when the dishes were pronounced to them. The bare, cafeteria-style tables crammed side-by-side were uncomfortable. A few red & white checkered tablecloths, candles (even simulated) on the tables & overhead Italian music would go a long way toward creating a little ambiance. Although this was a great disappointment for a “specialty” restaurant, it did not detract from our overall enjoyment of the entirety of the cruise. We were impressed by the universally friendly, hardworking and courteous staff from “Happy Happy Washie Washie” Hannah who greeted us daily at the buffet with her ever present bottle of hand sanitizer to the line chefs, bartenders, bus personnel, janitorial staff, Cruise Director’s staff, Shore Excursion staff, Security staff, Guest Services staff, and the hardworking people who make all the behind the scenes magic happen. There was always some kind of entertainment in the showroom from vocalists, comedians, magicians, production shows. We especially enjoyed the comedian Brad Mastrangelo who did completely differently shows on two separate nights . There were few children on our cruise and those we did see were well behaved and always well supervised. Our cruise conditions were extremely smooth for the first 10 days to the point that we commented more than once that it didn't even feel like we were on a ship. We became very aware we were on a ship on Day 13 as we left Cartegena and crossed the Caribbean sea toward Miami. Although some outdoor activities had to be restricted and some passengers felt the effects, we felt fine and took advantage of the opportunity to explore areas of the ship we hadn't seen yet such as the library and the meeting rooms and to take in a movie. Disembarkation was a smooth process for us as we had again booked transportation through NCL from the pier to Ft Lauderdale airport. Disembarkation is done by groups designated by colors. Since our flight was scheduled at 5 PM we were one of the last groups to disembark and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at poolside. Once our color was called it was a stress-free walk into the terminal where we claimed our luggage, cleared customs and proceeded to meet our bus to the airport. All along the way cheerful and courteous personnel were available to facilitate the process. I would be thrilled to take this cruise again, especially at this time of year (February 1-15) due to the mild temps and dry weather. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
A little summary of my cruise on the 14 day Panama Canal on Norwegian Star February 1-15. The food was excellent and so was the service. I went to the regular buffet the Garden Cafe, the Versailles, Aqua, O’Sheehan and Asian my ... Read More
A little summary of my cruise on the 14 day Panama Canal on Norwegian Star February 1-15. The food was excellent and so was the service. I went to the regular buffet the Garden Cafe, the Versailles, Aqua, O’Sheehan and Asian my favourite was Versailles didn’t go to a la carte which was extra cost. Hannah greeted us every morning at the Garden Cafe with a smile “Good Morning, washy, washy” Poolside was nice but always hard to get a chair on deck 12 pool level. My biggest drawback was the internet, had 250 minutes free for 14 days however extremely slow like 5 minutes to just download a pic or see email and Facebook, did manage to post pics in Puntarenas Costa Rica at a local restaurant with free wifi. My favourite bar was the “5 o’clock Somewhere. I booked 2 excursions on my own before cruise and 3 more on NCL using the screen on ship very easy. Went on Oceanus glass bottom boat in Cabo SAN Lucas and tour of Acapulco with cliff divers amazing. Went to scenic tour and Jade Museum in Guatemala. Went to Rivas and lake in Nicaragua no excursion in Costa Rica (used time for wifi) My favourite excursion was Chivas party bus in Cartagena Colombia I will post a few pics to follow. The sea was a little rough last 2 days before arriving in Miami but I didn’t mind. All in all I had a great cruise. Hope these comments will be useful. My favourite Cruise hero was Garnet King, assistant maître D’ working most times in Versailles dining room. PS for those with smart phones or tablets download the NCL app It was very useful We had 3 time clock changes on cruise and time on phone did not always update but on NCL app always had ship time. Also you can check all the excursions the dining areas your account for purchases and find the daily activities under “what’s happening” so you don’t need to carry your today sheet. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I chose this cruise for our 45th wedding anniversary. It was our first cruise ever and without a doubt it was 100 times better then we could have ever expected. From the moment we got on board every single person on staff ... Read More
My wife and I chose this cruise for our 45th wedding anniversary. It was our first cruise ever and without a doubt it was 100 times better then we could have ever expected. From the moment we got on board every single person on staff could not have been any more helpful friendly and happy to see me. The garden buffet was very good for a quick bite to eat. Versalies restaurant was absolutely amazing for breakfast lunch or dinner probably our favorite. Aqua was great dining good food fantastic service. Ginza was very good Asian food. We really enjoyed OShehans for a 24 hr a day choice for eats and drinks. I cannot say enough about the wait staff at every restaurant and bar. Absolutely amazing experience! The ship itself was not too big and the perfect size for me. Although I can’t compare to any other. It was clean and all the public spaces were very beautiful. Karaoke at sea nights was my favorite thing at 5 o’clock somewhere bar. Absolutely the best time and the best people from all over. The nightly shows were very good and the theater was beautiful. We had a picture window stateroom and it was very adequate. On the third day when we returned to our stateroom it was decorated for our anniversary with champagne. Very nice surprise. We loved all of the ports and took an excursion at all but 1. All were well worth it. All in all a wonderful way to vacation. Already looking at another cruise to book. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed on the Norwegian Gem on the Panama Canal cruise from January 27 through February 15, 2019. The cruise was sold out. The formal dining facilities are very nice. The buffet ... well, not so much. Caution - if you choose the ... Read More
We sailed on the Norwegian Gem on the Panama Canal cruise from January 27 through February 15, 2019. The cruise was sold out. The formal dining facilities are very nice. The buffet ... well, not so much. Caution - if you choose the complimentary beverage package (provided it is available), you have to pay the 18% gratuity on the overly inflated "retail value" of the package. I believe the gratuity alone was over $300 per person, or $600 per cabin. I suspect we drank less than $600 of drinks while we were on the ship. Our stateroom location was a nightmare. See further description below. Though the room steward was outstanding. Pool bar bartenders were rude and pool wait staff were nearly non-existent. We had to get our drinks ourselves ... after having paid a $300+ gratuity up-front. There is clearly not enough public space for all passengers on board. Ship excursions were fairly boring and the tendering process was horrendous. What was supposed to be the cruise of a lifetime turned into a huge disappointment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise with NCL and chose this cruise due to the 11 ports included in this daylight Panama Canal transit. The ports were all great and enjoyable. The spacing of sea days and ports was excellent. 3 days of ports, 1 ... Read More
This was our first cruise with NCL and chose this cruise due to the 11 ports included in this daylight Panama Canal transit. The ports were all great and enjoyable. The spacing of sea days and ports was excellent. 3 days of ports, 1 sea day, 3 days of ports, 1 sea day, etc. Embarkation was smooth, with the normal delays. Disembarkation was a disaster, stood in line for more than 90 minutes after our purple 2 code was called. Then received extremely rude and poor transfer service from the NCL contracted bus line. Bus driver intentionally dropped off half the passengers at the wrong terminal. Ship: In good shape, and common areas were clean and constantly cleaned Cabin: 8590. this is a sideways cabin, partially obstructed view and the location was convenient and quiet. Dining: Food in the main dining rooms and buffet was consistently stale and Luke warm. We only got a decent meal if it was an omelet prepared in front of us or something that was intended to be cold like a salad. The fountain drinks were watered down. Entertainment: Best I've seen after 15 cruises. If you cruise with NCL and SWING is the show do NOT miss it. Broadway quality. Great show band, with 3 piece brass section Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Great Itinerary. Embarkation in LA was very easy. Stayed in Mini Suite 11020. Room was quite clean and had plenty of storage. Our room steward was excellent. I was very disappointed with the entertainment in the main venue. This was a ... Read More
Great Itinerary. Embarkation in LA was very easy. Stayed in Mini Suite 11020. Room was quite clean and had plenty of storage. Our room steward was excellent. I was very disappointed with the entertainment in the main venue. This was a 19-day cruise and the ensemble only performed 3 times on the main stage. The 3 performances were excellent! I have been on shorter cruises and the ensembles performed much more. The remaining acts were quite average. There was a singer who professed to be a "Soul Singer" and he was really bad. The highlight of shipboard entertainment was in the various lounges where there was an excellent band, an above average piano -man, and a most excellent Singer/guitarist named Leo Joelstad. The restaurant service was much slower than I have come to expect on NCL. This was true in all restaurants. Bar service was mostly good. The food...By far the poorest quality of food that I have encountered at sea. This is my 7th NCL cruise and I have never felt this way about the food. Shore excursions were typical, had a really good tour to Antigua, Guatemala. My wife raved about a tour to a "horse ranch" in Nicaragua. Wonderful "Beach Time" in Cabo. Others onboard raved about excursions in Cartagena, Colombia. Oh yeah, wonderful snorkel tour in Bonaire!! Disembarkation in NYC was by far the worst of any ship I have been on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My friend and I chose this cruise for a winter getaway to some new places and to revisit others. We both speak Spanish and are comfortable on our own in Spanish-speaking countries. Embarkation was organized out of LA; no major hiccups; ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise for a winter getaway to some new places and to revisit others. We both speak Spanish and are comfortable on our own in Spanish-speaking countries. Embarkation was organized out of LA; no major hiccups; the typical long lines. Our luggage made its way to our cabin in a reasonable amount of time. We boarded and ate lunch in the main cafeteria shortly afterwards. While there was someone at the entryways with a bottle of hand sanitizer, plus dispensers at each entry, I was surprised that guests were allowed to serve themselves even on the first day. I haven't cruised in a few years - maybe things have changed. I'm more familiar with being served the first few days in an attempt to cut down on germs. We had an inside cabin - and a WONDERFUL steward. Biency is very friendly, immediately learned our names, and was quick to provide whatever he needed. His daily towel animals are treasures. I had the joy of sleeping next the bunk for the third person - had to be careful not to hit my head on the vertical mattress. Since one spends little time in the stateroom, I imagine a family of three could do fine in the cabin. Toiletries and linens were maintained quite well. The shower had a clothesline; I brought plastic hangers and some clothes pins for our 'shower/sink laundry'. Note that Norwegian ships lack public laundries; guests may have their laundry done for $20 per bag. We preferred to do our own. The acoustics in most public areas of the ship are horrendous. Dining was a noisy, and often slow, affair. The seating in the cafeteria was poor and made for a lot of unutilized space. Tables for four with a bench and two chairs usually had two people on the chairs; the benches were low even for tall guests. Circular booths were hard to use; guests used chairs around the exterior and did not use the booths themselves. More so than on any other cruise I have experienced, I found we had to search for too long to find an empty table or else sit in the uncomfortable part of a table with other guests. Food in the cafeteria was basically reminiscent of leftovers. Meat too well cooked; eggs benedict pre-prepared and thus not fresh. They did offer omelets and fried eggs to suit every morning. Plenty of melon, bread, cereal and some yogurt. Bananas and oranges became rather scarce as the days went by. Desserts were not tempting - I did enjoy ice cream on several occasions. Dining rooms were fair, at best. Same problem with acoustics and a few times we were served the wrong food - and after waiting a LONG time. The steaks were unremarkable - seemed cheap and tough. The Orchid Garden is nice; shrimp were overcooked, though. Their menu does not change. Best meals were a couple of outside grilled lunches we had on the last few days of the cruise. Freshly grilled chicken and seafood. The ship has few nooks and crannies - just a few lounges with loud music - and poor singers. Only a few shops - I'm not a shopper; my friend was disappointed. There were only one or two days of shopping on the pool deck; if you bought trinkets in volume you got a reasonably good deal. The ship does have a nice little library - watch the hours as one can only borrow a book at very limited times during the day. The library was always open - a nice quiet respite with a good outside view. The library also has an exchange - so you can give them the book you read on the plane in exchange for one another guest left. Nightly entertainment at 7pm and 9pm - a mix of some good musicians with some not so good juggling and such. Still, an enjoyable experience. During the Panama Canal transit, they opened the bow area for better viewing - as long as you had a front row position - or are tall. They put up a canopy to allow people a chance to get in the shade and kept a flow of food and beverages going throughout the transit. While going through the canal is interesting, I'd personally recommend a land visit to the Miraflores and Gatun locks/visitor centers for a better overall view and understanding. The Miraflores visitor center is a wonderful museum - worthy of a day's adventure. The ship does not stop in Panama; there are no Panama shore excursions. Not a problem for me; some people noted a desire to stop in Panama. I thought the itinerary was clear - pick another cruise if you want a Panamanian stop. Or better, spend a week there. It's marvelous. Pay attention to the shore excursion reviews; too many of them are more about shopping than seeing the sights. The "Discover Puerto Vallarta" tour turned into a shopping tour. We learned nothing about Puerto Vallarta, the economy, etc. Guide left a good half dozen people at one store. When I couldn't find my friend in our group, three blocks later, I told her we had left her at the last shop. Turns out several people did not see her wave her bandanna to let us know we were departing. As with most ship tours, there are stops at stores where the guide presumably gets a cut. It would be way better to have a half hour of free time in a shopping area than 5 or ten minutes in a store. (Or, how about no shopping??? Free time at the end with a later bus pick up for those who want to shop. I personally seek out grocery stores and markets where the locals shop. Not tourist traps.) The online shore excursions for Antigua were not available - due to a timing glitch in the system, I was told, weeks before we cruised. They never fixed it so we could see what the ship offered, so we had to wait until the cruise started. I visited Santa Marta on my own; great experience at the Gold Museum. Free, clean, not crowded, descriptions in English and Spanish. What a marvelous collection of history and artifacts! Lovely old cathedral - and a real grocery store. Good coffee at 1/4 the price of the tourist shops. I had an nice time on this cruise - best parts were Santa Marta on my own and cruising into New York harbor. Americans were by far NOT the only ones waiting to see the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Impressive skyline. As on most ships, a great escape is a deck chair on the promenade. Only problem was the smoking areas on both the port and starboard sides. It would be great to limit smoking to only one side - if at all. I also smelled smoke at times inside. It permeates; hard to escape. I wouldn't jump to cruise on this ship, or even NCL, again. If the itinerary were perfect, I'd go. But I'd say that Princess and Holland America both offer better overall experiences. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Our first experience on a "frestyle" cruise. Not a fan because it often meant long waits in the main dining rooms. Average age on this sailing was 65 and so most activities were focused on that age group, which we are not ... Read More
Our first experience on a "frestyle" cruise. Not a fan because it often meant long waits in the main dining rooms. Average age on this sailing was 65 and so most activities were focused on that age group, which we are not part of. Would have liked more variety. Seems like all there was is bingo and trivia. I also found it unprofessional for crew members to be eating at public dining spaces,. We mainly chose this cruise for the panama canal experience and the variety of ports. We were not disappointed. We only wish some ports had more time, even if it meant eliminating some. Food was ok. Main buffet lacked variety. The main dining was loud, lacked variety and service slow (although did improve a bit towards the end). Our favorite was the poolside bbq they offered on most at sea days. They also had a good variety of food areas, Orchid Garden was a favorite. Specialty dining was nothing really that special except for Moderno which was EXCELLENT!! Spa experience for us was a pedicure. The service was very good but they were very pushy trying to get us to buy products and other services. Totally turned me off to going back. Bar staff was inconsistent. We ordered mojitos at 3 different bars and they made them 3 different ways. We did, love the staff at the atrium bar. Entertainment was good, however seating in the Stardust was uncomfortable. Variety and value of the excursions we booked was excellent. Overall our experience was good. We realize the challenges there must be for a cruise line to keep people happy, fed and entertained for 19 days. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The big attraction of this cruise was the itinerary: LA to New York taking in the Panama Canal and the ABC islands and lots of other places along the way, plus 19 days in the sun in mid-winter. I've cruised about a dozen times ... Read More
The big attraction of this cruise was the itinerary: LA to New York taking in the Panama Canal and the ABC islands and lots of other places along the way, plus 19 days in the sun in mid-winter. I've cruised about a dozen times with several different cruise lines and on varying sizes of ships and although this was not a bad experience I'd put Norwegian at the bottom of my list and would only cruise with them again if the itinerary was really special, like this one. I've given an overall "Average" rating because, while some aspects of the trip were very good, others were not so great. The check-in experience for me was good as I did not have to stand in long lines at any stage and there was only a short wait for my cabin to be ready. The cabin itself was a bit tired and there was no chair, though clearly space for one: a dining chair was delivered later when I asked about it and I was told the tub chair that should be there was damaged. Don't know why it hadn't been replaced without me having to ask for it. The bed linen was badly pilled and really needs to be replaced. Mark, the cabin steward, was excellent but as I was at the end of his line of cabins, it was often late in the morning/evening before he got to mine and this was sometimes inconvenient. The shower was a good size but the wc was awkwardly positioned at an angle and a large person would have had a problem with it. The Garden Cafe was just a scrum and I avoided it most of the time, unless I was after a quick snack outside of peak meal times: chaotic lay-out with people going in all directions and then hard to find a seat. I didn't try the specialty restaurants but ate in both the Magenta and Grand Pacific dining rooms, which have the same menu. I found the chairs in the Magenta uncomfortable so preferred the Grand Pacific. Several reviewers have commented on the wating time to get in there but I never had a problem of more than a few minutes, which also applied the night I went to the Magenta. The staff in the Grand Pacific were excellent and I never felt that the wait for food was excessive. And even when it was busy there was no pressure to vacate the table. The food was good if not spectacular. It was my go-to for breakfast and dinner. Lunch is served there on days at sea but I didn't try it as the buffet on deck was also very good. My main complaints about the ship are the lack of quiet spaces, the on-cost of drinks and services and the hard-sell on extras from the spa, shore excursions and future cruise departments. The Spinnaker lounge is a lovely space but it was hard to find a time when it wasn't being used for a noisy bingo session or a game/quiz of some sort. The same applies to the atrium. I don't mind the odd game of bingo but the cost on the Gem was extortionate compared to other ships I've been on. Drinks were also more expensive than other ships. I went to a couple of the talks in the spa and gym and they were basically just sales pitches for spurious weight control plans or orthotics, both at outrageous prices compared to what can be had on-shore. The Cruise Director and staff were very much at the cheap package holiday end of the market. The future cruising offer was not a good deal and merely a way of getting money out of you now. The shore excursions I did were OK but the talk on them on the first day was poor, being all about where to shop and ignoring those ports where there was no fancy shopping. If you were not going on one of the ship's excursions, they really weren't interested in you and there was no information about the port, what to see or how to get about. The port lectures were not helpful, being mainly historical with the lecturer's holiday photos and bad jokes thrown in. Other ships I've been on have provided some combination of a port talk on what to see/how to get around/maps/shuttle buses to the centre if the port area is beyond easy walking distance. As other reviewers have mentioned, the tender service to shore was slow in Cabo and a complete shambles in Puerto Vallarta where there were 3 other ships docked and we were at anchor with only one tender allowed in at a time. Was this a cost issue? Then when we finally got ashore over an hour after the scheduled tour time there was no one there to direct us to the the start point for our walking tour. I didn't go to the entertainment every night as I don't much like hypnotists and ventriloquists but I recognise there was a good variety on offer for a 19 day cruise. The song and dance shows were very good but I was surprised to learn that they only do 3 per cruise, however long the cruise is, which meant more of the pianist - good but not worth 2 shows - and repeats of some of the other performers. Also, I didn't think it was good to have the dancers en masse on the sun deck in the afternoon, generally being noisy and disruptive for other passengers; nor did I appreciate hearing one of them in the spa, while I was having a manicure and he was getting his hair cut, going on about how much he hated the shows. I chose the unassisted disembarkation and that worked well. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the canal transit and that did not disappoint. Get a balcony state room as you get a real experience from the balcony of the locks and transit. We ate at all the specialty restaurants as we had the package. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the canal transit and that did not disappoint. Get a balcony state room as you get a real experience from the balcony of the locks and transit. We ate at all the specialty restaurants as we had the package. They were all very good with excellent service. The entertainment was top notch, with great Broadway style shows and funny comics. It was a real shame that the pool deck was a disappointment. First of all, they were scraping and painting above one pool and small flecks of paint were floating in the water?!! No effort was made to screen off the maintenance, which was above the grill and the pool! I did not swim in that pool after seeing the paint flakes floating in it. But, both pool were unheated?! According to the life guard, the pools were replaced with sea water every night?! This was to keep them clean?! They were consequently freezing even in very hot weather. Unacceptable. Also people would reserve loungers by placing items on them and then walk away. The pool deck staff did nothing about this and on at sea days it was hard to find a spot to sit in the sun and then take a quick shower as the pools were really too cold. In frustration one day I complained to one of the guys on deck and he went around and collected a few towels but basically did nothing to help me. We often went up top away from the pool to sit away from the very loud group with a terrible female lead singer who sang everything flat. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
the embarkment went smooth, and the cabins were ready very early. the workers did a great job, and kept the ship clean. one of my excursions got mixed up, but I received a complimentary bottle of wine and a fresh fruit bowl ... Read More
the embarkment went smooth, and the cabins were ready very early. the workers did a great job, and kept the ship clean. one of my excursions got mixed up, but I received a complimentary bottle of wine and a fresh fruit bowl delivered to my cabin. my crew workers did a great job for me, very well done. NCL offered WIFI, but i had trouble log-on and log-off. almost like NCL coud hold a class for this, not just a 8x10 piece of paper with directions. even the crew sent me to the front desk. (on day 7) I asked 3 crew members for info on this, and they were not sure either. NCL highlighted the Blazing boots show, and i only saw it available on night at 7 and 9pm. but oh yes it was spectacular. i never did see any other shows advertised, except on the ship, and each one i attended was top notch. Thanks Brenda Kaye for the awesome Hypnosis show and lectures.( all included free) the sit down dining was not for me. the pepper shakers were empty, even the replacements were empty. one night i never did get my Steak, i had to wait over a hour at the excursion desk to make a change, as only two persons were working the desk. it took two days to make the correct TV adjustments to get it working, or i maybe could have use the TV service to make my own excursion adjustments. turns out the remote and the tv would not sync. there was rarely room to sit and eat at the buffet dining, i usually ate in my room or on the back deck. i did give the other sit down dining a chance or two, and it took 2 hours to get served and out of there, . O'Sheehans did a awesome job of serving me 80% of my meals and drinks. i can only hope most of my gratuities went in that direction. My bed sheets got changed every 4th night, but i am not sure what the NCL policy is there. the Bliss showroom was a great place for me to hangout in the evenings, as i do like Karaoke, both singing and listening. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was a "bucket list' trip which exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed all the ports we visited and the weather was wonderful. The shows were very entertaining and funny. We took a tour every day and all went very smoothly. ... Read More
This was a "bucket list' trip which exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed all the ports we visited and the weather was wonderful. The shows were very entertaining and funny. We took a tour every day and all went very smoothly. Swimming with the Dolphins was wonderful and a great experience. Our first snorkeling trip could have been better, there were way too many people in the water in a small area. There were other boats in close promiximity and we were all confined to a small area. The second snorkeling experience was in Bonaire and was much better in a smaller boat and less than half the number of people. We are still not fans of the open seating but the service was very good and we enjoyed the meals. The Buffet was great with lots of variety but seating was an issue at times. There are many places to eat other than the dining room. We ate in 2 of the speciality restaurants having one tough steak and one melt in your mouth steak. There was a huge delicious cake on the buffet that you helped yourself to. The icing was delicious and changed flavors every day. Embarkation was great, no wait and the precruise hotel was very nice. Transportation to and from the pier was fine. Disembarkation was on the slow side but there was a delay at customs. Our luggage was easily located and intact. Upon arrival my huband's luggage was not delivered or located until the next day. Someone had broken the handle and the tags fell off, NCL did have it repaired within one day. We have been doing a lot of River Cruises to avoid the crowds on the Ocean Liners but this cruise turned out to be very enjoyable. I would not hesitate going on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
It was our sewenth cruise with Norwegian. We were three times on Star, two times on Spirit, one time on Geteway , and this time on Gem. We decided for this cruise, because, after Geteway, we concluded, that we prefer smaller ships, and 19 ... Read More
It was our sewenth cruise with Norwegian. We were three times on Star, two times on Spirit, one time on Geteway , and this time on Gem. We decided for this cruise, because, after Geteway, we concluded, that we prefer smaller ships, and 19 days for the price we get, was a good deal. All the ports were very interesting. We were two cupels, and made private excursion, because we prefer to be independent. Embarkation was not so quick, like we used to have by Norwegian. Also we used to meet concierge in port. This time she wait on us in ship, colect all of us , toeld us where we can eat, where and when we can meet her.We used , to get more information first day from concierge. Food was very good , no complaint. A lot activites and , lot music everywhere on the ship. Fantastic atmosphere. Service very, very good. We spend a lot of time on 13 deck ,smoking area, and water Nikola was so nice, all the time with big smiling, made for us fantastic coctailes. Alltogether, this was fantastic cruise, and 19 days went so quick. Gem is beautiful ship, with fantastic stuf , from captain , who informed us daily about all interesting things for guests ,until our steward. Only our bathroom in caben disappointed us a little bit, and concierge was inapropierte. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
It was my wife's 70th birthday and we wanted to do something grand and special so this fit the bill. A trip through the Panama Canal had always been on my "bucket list" and this was a chance to visit many different ... Read More
It was my wife's 70th birthday and we wanted to do something grand and special so this fit the bill. A trip through the Panama Canal had always been on my "bucket list" and this was a chance to visit many different countries. Interacting with the "locals" was wonderful. Enjoyed our hop-on hop-off bus tour in Cartegena, and the submarine excursion in Aruba was exciting ... beautiful coral and colourful fish. The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaco) were a treat, very friend people, colourful buildings, easy to walk around. The ship itself was thoroughly enjoyable ... never a lack of things to do. Every show in the Theatre was excellent, and we especially enjoyed the Cirque du Soleil duo. We are not "formal" people, so free-style cruising suits us well. The casino was good because the "odds" on the slots were set high enough that you could enjoy some decent play time. The only drawback is that smoking is allowed. The only improvement I would suggest to the itinerary would be to include a stop in either Nassau or San Juan to break up the final three and a half days at sea. All in all, a wonderful trip and we plan on continuing to "cruise like a Norwegian". Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
After cruising in many ships worldwide, we decided to take our first cruise with NCL because the route with NCL Gem was fantastic; The Panama Canal! In general terms the cruise was fine. The ship is great with beautiful public areas, ... Read More
After cruising in many ships worldwide, we decided to take our first cruise with NCL because the route with NCL Gem was fantastic; The Panama Canal! In general terms the cruise was fine. The ship is great with beautiful public areas, excellent facilities and good cabins, and above all, a very good crew and staff, In terms of recreation and activities they were very good. The shows were fantastic with excellent dancers and singers. The orquestra and musical groups on the ship were also very good. Regarding the food served as "complimentary" in the main dinning rooms and swimming pool area, was not good enough to be aligned with the top quality of the ship. Food quality, variety, presentation, and flavor was really poor. Sometimes during lunch time it was really difficult to decide what to eat because the food available was really "cheap" . The current chef is from India. We took this cruise with another couple of friends and they had exactly the same opinion. After so many cruises it is very easy for us to assess the quality of ships and services aboard, Everything was great, except the food ! Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise