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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to ... Read More
Our primary purpose during this cruise was to travel through the Panama Canal and celebrate my sister and brother-in-law's 40th wedding anniversary.The food was outstanding with beautiful presentation and staff that were have to supply our every need. The Jade only carries about 2500 passengers so there were no long lines for meals, shows, etc. With a longer cruise an added bonus is an older crowd and very few young children. Our cabin was smaller than we've become accustomed to but we settled in quite easily. Bathroom setup is really smart with sink in the center, shower to one side and toilet to the other side. Shower and toilet had glass doors for privacy so more that one person could use the bath at the same time. The staff was outstanding with friendly smiles, good suggestions and a world-class friendliness that was remarkable.Ship excursions were pretty pricey but very worthwhile. Every bus we traveled on was immaculately clean. Guides spoke English very well too. Excursion tips: tour the old city in Cartagena; don't miss the Aerial Tram and Exhibits in Gatun Lake, Panama; banana plantation, scenic drive & Shopping (if you consider a convenience store as shopping); dolphin encounter in Costa Maya is good with limited dolphin contact but pictures with dolphins start at $40 each. The best beach day was at Maya Key Private Island retreat. There is a huge winding beach, lots of shade or sun, no blaring music, a nice buffet was also included. There are guides to help beginners snorkel and see parts of the beautiful reef. Very comfortable and safe. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" ... Read More
We had great weather with calm seas. The only rougher part was leaving Cartagena Columbia till we got to the islands in the Caribbean. The cruise was just enough at sea days and port days. Skip the "Easy Antigua in Guatemala" Nothing easy about it. Long drive and the assault of street vendors is trying! We learned to take the shorter tours as more than 3 hours on a tour bus is too much. Did breakfast and most lunches at O'Sheehans and dinner in the Aqua Restaurant. Do not recommend the buffet for dinner unless it's the Seafood Night. Lunches at the buffet was plentiful, more than we wanted to eat. Did O'Sheehan for burgers and wings mostly. Staff are very friendly, helpful and accommodating. Premium Drink Package is worth it. High quality alcohol and wine (no bar liquor like at the all-inclusive resorts) Great choice of bottled beers. Internet is slow and expensive. Best to catch a cafe on shore with free wifi, or just go dark for two weeks! Was an enjoyable , relaxing cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were ... Read More
Traveled through Panama Canal because it was on our bucket list. Got on ship in LA and that went smooth and fast, no lines but dock porters were not part of NCL and were very rude. First stop Cabo San Lucas and very pretty, sea lions were plentiful and tendering was very difficult and not organized. Next stop Acapulco and Do Not Get Off the boat, very dirty and people rude. Next stop Guatemala and very nice excursions and people friendly. Next stop Nicaragua and we saw volcano on this stop, bus ride very very long and not enough time set for excursions, people very friendly and sides of roads were very dirty. Next stop Costa Rica and beautiful countryside and nice excursions did train ride but too short and not much to see besides poverty and crocodile excursion down Tarcoles River and wished it was longer. Weather very hot everywhere we went and hats and sunblock very necessary. Next was the canal transit and took all day and absolutely beautiful and so much to see from any location on the ship. The captain did a wonderful job of opening the crew deck in front for passengers and also brought a narrator on board from Panama and she was wonderful. Next stop was Columbia and we did not feel very safe here at all, probarly should not have gone on excursion. Street people were so rude and begging and in our face that we couldn't enjoy ourselves. Ship was very nice and staff was exceptionally nice. Restaurant staff was highly efficient and food was Excellant. Buffet staff in the morning went above and beyond everyday. Thank you for a wonderful and relaxing vacation. As others have stated we also would like to see the towel animals reinstated and ship pins brought back. Also would like to see Latitudes Platinum members benefits reviewed. We were not able to use all our benefits including disembarkation, this process was terrible and took too long to get to our excursions. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Just got off of our 15 night Norwegian Bliss vacation yesterday. We departed Miami on 03/30/2019 and arrived back on 04/14/2019. I have been on a total of seven cruises, and this is my first NCL cruise. This review will be very detailed, ... Read More
Just got off of our 15 night Norwegian Bliss vacation yesterday. We departed Miami on 03/30/2019 and arrived back on 04/14/2019. I have been on a total of seven cruises, and this is my first NCL cruise. This review will be very detailed, for all of those who enjoy details; however, it will not include any pictures. This is also our longest cruise to date. Please feel free to ask any questions! My cruise history is as follows: 2007 - Carnival Triumph 2008 - Ruby Princess 2010 - Caribbean Princess 2011 - Carnival Miracle 2015 - Carnival Breeze 2017 - Carnival Vista 2019 - Norwegian Bliss BACKGROUND: My name is Ryan, and I am currently 39 years old. I was traveling with my Husband, AndyMike who is 33 years old. We reside in Southern California. This is my seventh cruise and his third cruise OUTGOING FLIGHT: Our outgoing flight was a red-eye on 03/26/2019 from LAX to FLL on Jetblue, which arrived early in the morning on 03/27/2019. THE DAYS BEFORE THE CRUISE: I arrived in FLL early in the morning on 03/27/2019. I rented a car from Enterprise, which it is quite easy to get to the car rental center from the terminals at FLL. Renting with Enterprise was painless and very quick. The Car Rental Center at FLL is very organized and you shouldn't have a very difficult experience. We got married in Fort Lauderdale before our cruise. Our wedding was on the sand in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and our wedding reception was at the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, FL. Everything exceeded our expectations and it was a wonderful experience. We got married with 50 members of our family and friends. The day after our wedding, but before the cruise 15 of us took a pedal boat by a company called Lagerhead Cycleboats on the waterways of Fort Lauderdale which was awesome. We stayed at the Doubletree Hollywood Resort which is in Hollywood, FL not too far south of the Fort Lauderdale airport. I recommend this hotel for friendly service, a great hotel pool and a good view if you are on the north rooms of the property. TRANSPORTATION TO THE PORT: Although we picked up our Enterprise rental at FLL, we dropped it off at the Doubletree Grand Hotel in Miami, FL at 9am on cruise embarkation morning. We then took an Uber, which was only about $8.00 from that hotel to the port. EMBARKATION: This was the easiest and most painless embarkation I have ever experienced. We chose a check-in time of between 9:30AM and 10:00am. We arrived at exactly 9:30am. We queued up and the security lines opened up at about 9:45AM. I would say that we were probably number 20 in the security line. We received boarding group 1 cards and after getting our key cards sat in the terminal to await boarding. We were called to board by 11am. WHAT WE DID FIRST: It is important to book some of your most important reservations immediately once you board. The current process is to go to the Social on Deck Six to board those. You can also book from one of the many, many kiosks on almost every deck of the ship. Now, please note --- the kiosks may or may not be working immediately upon boarding, so we did end up going to the social. The lines were really not that bad and everything was booked in about 45 minutes. We booked Go Karts, Laser Tag, Comedy Shows, Happy Hour Prohibition, and got the Vibe Beach Pass all in the social. Please note that we booked the Wifi Package, Thermal Spa, Photo Package, Jersey Boys, Havana and Specialty Restaurant Reservations before we boarded the ship online. OUR PERKS: Our perks that came with our reservation was the premium beverage package for two, prepaid gratuities and $50 per port (per stateroom) shore excursion credit). OVERALL IMPRESSION/DECOR This was a sold out cruise! Overall, it did not seem that crowded to us. Yes, there were some crowded areas, which I will go into detail with later on in the review; however, overall it did not seem that crowded. I credit the excellent design of the ship. The ship is beautiful. The ship has only been in service since the second quarter of 2018. The ship is in GREAT CONDITION, as all of our cruises have been. One of the things that impressed me the most is was the artwork around the ship. There is high quality artwork everywhere on every wall of the ship. This includes all public areas and all guest room hallways. It is beautiful and amazing. STAFF OVERALL The staff of this ship is simply amazing. Remember, treat people the way you want to be treated. That was our motto and is always our motto. The staff overall was very friendly. I rate them at a 9 out of 10. I would say there were maybe a handful of less than 10 that were pretty miserable. Not bad for over 1700 cruise members. I will talk about some individual staff members in other parts of my review; however, I will talk about the Cruise Director, Silas here. Silas is a wonderful cruise director. He is a very organized cruise director and has a pretty good cruise activities staff. He is very visible on the ship and we usually saw him three of four times a day. He is energetic and has a great personality. Now, as you probably know if you are a frequent cruiser on NCL, most people have the premium beverage package as a perk. Since most people have that, I will point out that there are plenty of bar servers in almost every venue; however, you have to usually ask them for a drink. They are always walking around; however, you should ask them as they will not be asking you. (They don't have to ask since it is included for most people). Of course, if you can't find a server, you just walk up to one of the many bars anywhere on the ship. TIPPING: Tipping is a personal thing; however, let me take time to remind you that this wonderful hard working staff on these ships work very hard and many of the staff members do not get paid a lot. I encourage you to celebrate and applaud the hard work that they do by tipping appropriately. My personal way of tipping is that I leave the suggested gratuities of Norwegian on my Onboard Account (which I believe is currently about $15.00 per person per day), and I give additional cash gratuities to individual staff members during the middle of my cruise, if I feel that there service is excellent (which this time it was with everyone I gave additional gratuity to). I gave additional gratuities to my favorite restaurant hostess, favorite restaurant server, stateroom steward, and favorite bartenders. 2 STATEROOM: Our room was available by 1:15PM which was before the promised time. We went to our room at about 1:45pm, which was after we finished lunch. We were also pleasantly surprised that our luggage was delivered by 4pm. We had room 8116 which was a mini-suite with large balcony on the port side forward. We never heard any noise from above or below our stateroom and it is a very quiet hallway. There are limited rooms on Deck 8 and usually the only people that use this hallway are crew members. The Mini Suites on this ship are essentially the same as the regular balcony staterooms with the exception of the bathroom which is larger. The shower is an improvement from other cruise lines I have been on. It is a glass enclosed shower that is about two times the size of other cruise line showers and it has multiple jets and great water pressure. It also has a double faucet sink. The room itself is a little smaller that other cruise lines I have been on; however, still had ample closet and storage space. The bed was comfortable and the USB ports beside are very nice. The lighting in the room is great. The TV has multiple movie channels available and ship specific channels available. Our balcony was HUGE, almost about 60% of the size of our room. These balconies are completely open to all the rooms above you; however, we did not find this be a problem. These balconies have two small chairs with one small table and two large lounge chairs with a larger table. My only complaint is that the safe was really small and would not fit a laptop or even an Ipad. Our stateroom steward, Aaron was very nice and kept everything very tidy throughout the stay. There is an electronic do not disturb or make up room indicator outside your door. Your lock is controlled by your keycard. Service is twice daily and towel animals are usually every other day. The room is so well designed for space and efficiently considering the somewhat small size of cruise cabins. I liked the fact that the doors open outward when you are coming in or exiting the room. The balcony doors are also slide instead of push/pull, which is a great improvement. Just remember, slide your empty luggage under the bed after putting everything away! PORTS: We did excursions in each of the ports. On this trip, we booked all excursions on NCL. All of our excursions were of high quality and operated by local tour operators. Debarkation and embarkation at the cruise ports is painless and easy. I couldn't believe how easy it was. Cartagena, Colombia - Here we did a four hour tour of Cartagena including the walled city which is beautiful. We had about 40 people on this tour and I would rate it is a 8 out of 10. Panama Canal Day - It is always amazing to cruise the Panama Canal. This was our first time and it is simply an engineering marvel. We went through the new locks, since this is a very large cruise ship. The Norwegian Bliss also opens up the front of Deck 8 (usually only reserved for crew members) on Panama Canal Day for viewing. Costa Rica - Here we took an excursion which involved ziplining. It was a very fun day; however, we enjoyed ziplining in Dominican Republic a little bit better. Guatemala - We took an excursion to Antigua in Guatemala, which is a beautiful city in the higher elevations of the country. Acapulco - Although this was our least favorite port for things to see and do, we still had a beautiful time. The views from the higher elevations of Acapulco rival any of the views we saw during our trip. It was cool to see the Cliff Divers. Mazatlan - Our second favorite port. This is a beautiful Mexico port and we had a fun excursion of Salsa and Salsa, which included a Salsa Making and a Salsa Dance Class. We had an excellent tour guide and awesome instructors and it was a super fun tour. Cabo San Lucas - Our favorite port and our favorite excursion. We did the electric bikes which we did a tour on the beach and in the desert. Our tour guide was so much fun. After the bike ride, we got to make our own margaritas (unlimited) and they also provided us with a quesadilla lunch. FOOD: I'm going to rate each venue that we ate it, and give my comments. I feel that everyone can find something good to eat on this ship. There are so many great options. MAIN DINING ROOM: (Taste, Savor and Manhattan Room) Food 9/10 and Service 9/10. We ate in the main dining room for dinner 5 of our 15 nights plus lunch on embarkation day and breakfast on debarkation morning. We usually ate in Savor; however, ate once in Taste and once in the Manhattan room. All dining rooms have the same menu. We never made reservations for the main dining room. We always showed up and got seated immediately or with less than a 5 minute wait. The service was almost always fantastic and the food was always delicious. We usually ordered two appetizers, one main entree and one dessert and were stuffed. One of my favorite apps was the lobster ravioli. BUFFET Food 9/10 We found the buffet food to be some of the best buffet food we have ever had on a cruise ship. The buffet is huge and you could always easily find a seat except on some port mornings and at ports where almost everyone came back at the same time. For breakfast, the food is the same most mornings, as breakfast food should be. There are so many omelette and egg stations that you will never wait long in line for these. I believe I counted 9 operating at the same time. Lunch in the buffet had some of the same daily stations and some rotating stations daily. Dinner also rotated. We usually had breakfast and/or lunch in the buffet and then we ate one dinner in the buffet. The buffet has limited stations open during certain periods and after 9:30PM. It closes down at 11:30PM. Juices are available during breakfast, coffee and hot chocolate anytime, and iced tea and lemonade during non-breakfast hours. Also, there is now homemade ice cream available during lunch hours with rotating daily flavors. CAGNEY'S STEAKHOUSE Food 10/10 Service 10/10 We had dinner on our first night at the Steakhouse. We had the 7 night ultimate dining package, which we pre-purchased. That means that we got to go to 7 specialty dining restaurants and the only upcharge beyond was a minimal upcharge for Ocean Blue. We had excellent meals at all of the dining venues. I recall having jumbo shrimp and a crab cake here, along with an amazing steak for dinner and a variety of sides. The overall experience was awesome. There are so many amazing choices, that we left very happy. LOS LOBOS Food 10/10 Service 8/10 It is possible our server here may have been having a slightly off night, as this is one of the crew members we ran into that didn't provide an over the top wonderful experience. However, the food was amazing. We had tableside guacamole which we shared. My appetizer was the shrimp quesadilla. I also had a shrimp platter for dinner and a delicious Tres Leches cake for dessert. LA CUCINA Food 10/10 Service 9/10 Tucked away behind a wine bar, this intimate restaurant has excellent food in a casual and classy setting. I don't even recall what I had at this restaurant, but I recall it being excellent. Q TEXAS SMOKEHOUSE Food 10/10 Service 10/10 This new concept to NCL was awesome. There was a live band playing during our meal, and the food was amazing. I had a crab cake. I also shared the loaded fries with my hubby and I had the Pitmaster Platter which was a sampling of all of the meats on the menu. The banana pudding was also an excellent dessert choice. LE BISTRO Food 10/10 Service 10/10 This restaurant is on one of the upper decks of the ship. The service at this restaurant is great, and I had an amazing French Onion Soup, a delicious shrimp platter and an amazing cheesecake for dessert. OCEAN BLUE Food 10/10 Service 10/10 My favorite specialty restaurant. Our server Hazel was one of the best servers we had on the entire trip. She was the most pleasant, kind and sweet person ever. Our meal was just fabulous. I recall that everything I had at this restaurant was simply stunning and full of flavor. TEPPANYAKI Food 10/10 Service 10/10 What an awesome and entertaining experience. Our chef was spectacular and the food was very filling and so much of it. The garlic rice was superb and I had the shrimp and scallop combo. THE LOCAL Food 8/10 Service 8/10 The Local is the restaurant that is open almost all day every day including late into the night. We had one breakfast, two lunches, and two dinners here. Almost every meal had excellent service, and most of the food was quite delicious. I had prime rib here one night, some good burgers, some good wings and some excellent french toast. We did not try Food Republic, Margaritaville, Dolce Gelato or Coco's. BARS Service and Drinks 10/10 There are so many bars on this ship. Some of our favorites included the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, A List Bar, Maltings Whiskey Bar, District Brewhouse and the Observation Lounge Bar. One of the few rather rude crew members we encountered on this ship was in the interior portion of the Sugarcane. I do not recall his name (It was not Bong) ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES Seriously...if you cannot find something to do on this ship, it is your own dam fault! Read your Freestyle Daily. There is so much to do each day. There is an awesome activities staff onboard this ship, that is always present everywhere you go. Wow! Get involved people! MAIN POOL DECK and WATERSLIDES: The Main Pool Deck on Deck 16 can get a little crowded on days of beautiful weather; however, you may have trouble finding a chair right by the pool. Don't believe the people who tell you that you cannot find a deck chair. There are plenty of deck chairs, if you expand your horizons a iittle bit. Try Deck 17, 18 and 19 where there are almost always plenty of pool chairs. I tried one of the two waterslides (the calmer one). You ride down in a tube and it was so much fun. I did not try the Ocean Loops which is the one that swings out on the side of the ship. Yes, a lot of people do get stuck; however, there is always a staff member to get you out where you end up getting stuck, if it happens. GO KARTS Make reservations. We tried it twice, once in the daytime and once at night. We had an amazing time. You usually get a generous 5 to 7 minutes of riding time on each race. There are usually up to 10 people at one time. There were a few annoying people during our second time (usually the unlimited pass people); however, it was still a blast. The go karts go quite fast, and some of the turns are fun and difficult to navigate. They will slow everyone down if you start bumping or running into people. LASER TAG: Wow! This was awesome. We wish we did it more than once. It is up on Deck 19 near the front of the ship and open in the evening. I believe the charge was about $10.00. Each time you get two rounds of 5 minutes, and you play on a team against one other team. It is a fun time had by all. SPA AND GYM We had the thermal spa pass, which can be purchased online prior to your cruise. The thermal spa on this ship is great. There are some relaxing loungers, ceramic heated beds, a thalassotherapy pool, hot tub, sauna, steam room, salt room and snow room. It is so relaxing and you could usually find a place during most hours to relax. It is open only to the people who purchase the pass or are located in spa rooms. We only tried the gym once, and it is well equipped with all of the latest machines and weights. CASINO The casino is lovely and large on this ship. It takes up a good portion of the center of Deck 7. The entire casino is non-smoking, except for a small enclosed room near the aft/center of the casino which is reserved for smoking players. We had a great time and spent some money on this ship. No big wins; however, we had a great time and don't expect to win in casinos; however, it is a pleasure when we do. MAIN PRODUCTION SHOWS: On this cruise, there were three main production shows. I attended the shows called Havana, Jersey Boys and Uptown. We rated Havana as a 7/10. We thought the wardrobe/costumes were amazing; however, we didn't necessarily enjoy the lack of a story line. Jersey Boys was a 10/10. Just such a great production. It is the full length of nearly full length show at 1 hour and 45 minutes. For this longer cruise, they also had a group called Uptown, which was a group that we gave a 10/10. In the main theater, we also found that they had shows from a hypnotist (we rated as 6/10), a comedy juggler (we rated as a 10/10) and a comedy magician (which we missed) SOCIAL/COMEDY We watched three comedy shows, all of which we had reservations for. Two of the in the social which were the 10pm adult shows, both excellent. We also watched one the second to last night with three comedians in the main theater. We thought one of the two comedians was awesome in that show. ATRIUM: A lot of activities and events occurred in the atrium. Yes, the atrium can get crowded and I do wish it was bigger or there was an alternative venue for many of the events in this area. I truly do believe that the criticism of this area is deserved and I wish there was a better way of handling this. The activities including Trivia, Newlywed/Not so Newlywed Game, and so much more took place here. ART GALLERY AND AUCTIONS: The art crew on this ship is excellent, and we attended about three of the art auctions. We ended up purchasing three pieces of art on this ship, and we thoroughly enjoyed all of the events. SPICE H20 There are plenty of events that happen (usually nightly) in this area. Unfortunately, we only got to attend one event in this area, which was the 80's party and that was very fun. SILENT DISCO This is fun and reservations will fill up fast; however, it is complimentary. If you never experienced this, it is fun and you should try it. LIVE MUSIC: The excellent job with live music continues throughout this ship. There are top quality options almost all day long. During the day, the music is primarily centered on the pool deck area; however, by late afternoon and late into the night you got live music in the main atrium, Observation Lounge, Sugarcane Mojito Bar and the District Brewhouse. OBSERVATION LOUNGE: What a beautiful place. This takes up a large portion of Deck 15 and is simply beautiful. There is always a seat for everyone, and there are light snack options available through the breakfast and lunch hours. Don't miss the sunsets in the O Lounge. THINGS THAT WE MISS: Being that all of my prior cruises have been on Carnival or Princess, there is one thing that I miss more than anything else. Piano Bar. I understand that some NCL ships have them; however, I missed having a piano bar on the Bliss. There was some piano players; however, not the same as having a sing along piano bar. I'm sure I missed some things; however, I hope this gives you a starting point about some of the options available on this great ship. PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS if you would like to know anything else. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made ... Read More
I booked this adventure as it has been at the top of my vacation priorities for a long time. This 15 day transit of the new Panama Canal exceeded even my lofty expectations (I am a seasoned cruiser). The crew and staff of NCL`s Bliss made every effort to ensure that the transit and the whole experience was exhilarating - and it was! The entire fifth day of the cruise was spent going through the canal - which took from about 7:00 A.M till close to 9:00 P.M. ; the weather was perfect and the excitement was shared by many of my fellow cruisers (most of which were transiting the new canal for the first time). There was even a guest lecturer on board who gave two lectures; one on the history of the canal and another on the conquering of yellow fever in Panama. This guest expert also narrated the crossing throughout the day. His anecdotes and color commentary greatly added to my enjoyment of the experience and appreciation of the new Panama Canal (opened in 2016). To commemorate the canal transit, the officers of the Bliss issued every guest a beautiful color certificate memorializing the trip, signed by the captain and included a glossy color certificate documenting the cruise and ports of call. These are genuine souvenirs worth framing and a very fitting commemoration of the adventure. One thing worth noting: during the time spent on the crossing, NCL facilitated guest access to the bow area (not usually accessible to guests) for viewing the canal locks and the tug. They also furnished refreshments and set up canopies to protect guests from the intense sun. A very nice touch. This viewing area at the bow on deck 8 allowed a great up close view of the tug guiding the ship and the operation of the locks that we could not have gotten from the observation area on deck 15 (a great area to view but deck 8`s observation area was much closer to “the action”). This special access was greatly appreciated and allowed me to get some great photos and video of the entire canal crossing Oh, I speculate that NCL booked this time slot so as to facilitate the best viewing (daylight) of the Panama Canal - again, my heartfelt thanks, NCL! You made the trip truly memorable !!! While the crossing was the highlight of my cruise, the rest of the trip was also magnificent. Sea days with first class entertainment and shore excursions that offered a sampling of the best that the port had to offer. Fandamtastic experience! Thanks to all on NCL Bliss! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Had the most amazing 15 days on Bliss through the Panama Canal. Ship is beautiful and the staff went over and above to make our trip the best yet. Specialty restaurants certainly worth it with the exception of "Q", not worthy of ... Read More
Had the most amazing 15 days on Bliss through the Panama Canal. Ship is beautiful and the staff went over and above to make our trip the best yet. Specialty restaurants certainly worth it with the exception of "Q", not worthy of the "specialty restaurant" label. Majority of the excursions were as advertised but Acapulco was a bust, walking tour was not worth the money or the time. Old Mazatlan walking tour with amazing definitely undersold in the description.Deck 15 cabins can be noisy as they are under the Pool Deck. Observation Lounge was great but way too many people sleeping all day on the loungers. Shopping on board is below par compared to other cruises we have been on, very little choice and the same items came out almost every night. Looking to book our next cruise on the Bliss really soon. A visit to the A List Bar is a must, the bartenders are awesome, lots of fun. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We really really wanted to sail on the Bliss. The ship exceeded our expectations. The food was great, but what was needed was more time, perhaps another week or two to continue our good time aboard the Bliss. We enjoyed all the ... Read More
We really really wanted to sail on the Bliss. The ship exceeded our expectations. The food was great, but what was needed was more time, perhaps another week or two to continue our good time aboard the Bliss. We enjoyed all the entertainment, the hypnotist, the juggler, the magician, the Jersey Boys, Havana and the dancers. All made the evenings more to look forward to and daily meeting new friends. The fun show Deal or No Deal was a favorite. We enjoyed the atmosphere of happy faces all around the ship. On the way home we realized we could easily turnaround and go back for more happy times on the BLISS. We enjoyed the Garden Buffet, the Local Restaurant and the Observation Lounge on deck 15. There was great Country Music in the Steakhouse and Ribs restaurant. My wife had fun in the Casino and the shops had some nice Panama Canal tee shirts. So overall we have many good memories of this Cruise. Thanks to the people of Norwegian Cruise Line. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. ... Read More
I had previously done a partial Panama Canal cruise which means the ship went from Ft. Lauderdale through one set of locks and then turned around in Gatun Lake and went back out through the same set of locks with a return to Ft. Lauderdale. When a friend suggested going on a Panama Canal cruise I instantly agreed to go with her. We chose to go on the Norwegian Bliss since there would be so many activities and things to do on this longer than normal cruise. We were not disappointed! Everything was awesome - the ship, the entertainment, food, bars, and service. There was an abundance of free activities as well as the ones that cost extra. The entertainment was first class! The small groups that played in various venues around the ship were excellent. There were many choices for food. The weather was great and we did not encounter any difficulties. The port stops in Mexico changed several times from the time we booked the cruise until we actually went but it was okay. I especially like sea days so this was a great cruise for me - 6 ports in 15 days with 9 sea days. The whole day transit of the Panama Canal was fabulous! The age of the cruisers on this trip was slightly older than normal since it is longer and more expensive and there were fewer children on board. Those who were on board seemed to thoroughly enjoy the extra time they got on some of the amenities. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and ... Read More
We have always wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but were hesitant about the length of the cruise (15 nights). We have taken numerous cruises, with most of them 7 nights. The experience on Norwegian's Bliss was exceptional, and the length of the trip turned out to be just right. We prefer NCL for two main reasons: open dining and on-board music. The Bliss did not disappoint. The smaller main dining room, Savor, was our go to place for diner. The food was exceptional (especially the Salmon), the waitstaff so friendly, and the ambiance very appealing. There were numerous shows, concerts and events on board, and where else could you be at poolside in the evening watching the NCAA Final Four on a big screen tv? The main event was the Panama Canal, and the full day going through Panama was thrilling. Other ports of call added to a great trip. We do some shore excursions, but find that getting off the ship and wandering the public places are culturally very rich. Hats off to all of the staff, and another special thank you to the Fourever Fab, the Beatles tribute band that took all of us back to special times. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way ... Read More
We cruise the Panama Canal a few years ago before the new locks were open. Being so intrigued as to this 8th wonder of the world, we jumped on the opportunity to cruise through the new locks and see a different world going all the way through to the Pacific Ocean. This was a 15 day cruise and we where a little skeptical if we would get bored being gone that long. Well, after the 1st week , all 6 in our party agreed that there will never be another 7 day cruise again. The staff and crew aboard the Bliss get 10 stars for all their hard work. We did an Alaska cruise on the Bliss last July and this trip seem 100% better than the last. The activities and nightly shows where all professionally presented and with 5000 people on the ship, it never really seemed crowded. The food, OMG!!! Unbelievable, we meet the executive chef, who became quite friendly with our group. He would surprise us with special deserts and send cookies to each of our state rooms. Thank You Mohammad, for being so thoughtful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because it fit in to our schedule, they offered free drink package, reduced airfare and 5 free dining upgrades. We were flown from Boston to Miami on a premium airline nonstop. We got their free shuttle from the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit in to our schedule, they offered free drink package, reduced airfare and 5 free dining upgrades. We were flown from Boston to Miami on a premium airline nonstop. We got their free shuttle from the airport to the ship terminal building. Once there, check in was immediate. We were on the ship at 12:06pm... 6 minutes after boarding had begun! Once on board, the staff welcomed us at every juncture. The buffet was open so we stopped there first to wait for our rooms to be ready at around 2pm. There are 3 free restaurants and 5 restaurants that you pay for but we had the 5 included in our package. We however, chose only to go to two of them. We found the other free ones quite nice. We have been on many cruises but this by far was the most “laid back”. We really could eat any time with anyone or just alone. The people cruising were very friendly. The entertainment was very good and the excursions were extremely well done. We chose an 8th deck cabin with ocean view which suited us fine. We saw many awesome sunrise and sunsets from our cabin. We especially liked the Tabyana snorkeling excursion and the one to the Miraflores locks because our tour guide was excellent showing us all the air bases and explaining the history. We would definitely recommend this cruise. We have been on other cruise lines (4 Royal Caribbean and 1 Carnival) and are traveling without kids (I think the other cruise ships have more for kids) this is a great cruise. It is not as fancy as some of the other ships we have been on, but the flexible schedules makes it truly a pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Checking in and disembarking went very smoothly. The specialty dining was excellent. The main dining rooms had the same menu so other than having to dress up more at the Grand Pacific there was no difference. The crew and staff on ... Read More
Checking in and disembarking went very smoothly. The specialty dining was excellent. The main dining rooms had the same menu so other than having to dress up more at the Grand Pacific there was no difference. The crew and staff on board were excellent. They were helpful and friendly and addressed us by name if they saw us several times. I lost my wallet at Colon Panama and they did all they could to help me address the trials and tribulations of this occurring. The steward said good morning etc. every time we saw him in the hallways. The room was always in excellent condition without him hovering or being in the way. The theater's seating was very uncomfortable as the seats were very low and hard to get up from. The lounge and nightclub seating was very uncomfortable as they were tight. I don't know how large people sat in any of the seating in the lounges. The bartenders and wait staff were entertaining and friendly. They remembered you if you went to the same lounge more than once. We had a mid-ship picture window room on Level 5 Our picture window was so scratched we couldn't really see anything out of it. This could be because our room was so close to the water level and is probably scratched from the salt water and wind during storms. The toilet area was tight but the rest of the bathroom area was adequate. The closet wasn't huge but there were plenty of drawers to accommodate clothing for an 11 day cruise. Entertainment was very good with a high quality and variety. There were many activities during the day that were a lot of fun. The digital scavenger hunts were very entertaining. The port in Belize is beautiful. I wouldn't plan an excursion at this stop unless it's something you can't miss as the beach area is huge, free and beautiful. The passage through the Panama Canal was the highlight of the trip. I sat right up front in the Spinnaker Lounge which has 90 degree view from the front of the ship. I used the NCL app on board. The wi-fi was active to use this app. I could check my account spending, the days activities and it listed which excursions and specialty dining were active for each day. You also can text others on the cruise that paid a $10 fee for this feature only. I did not have need of this feature but would use it if I was traveling with a larger group. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go thru the Panama Canal again. We did it a couple of years ago and it was not a very enjoyable experience. This time was much better. Our cabin was ok, however I really did need a handicapped ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to go thru the Panama Canal again. We did it a couple of years ago and it was not a very enjoyable experience. This time was much better. Our cabin was ok, however I really did need a handicapped cabin, which the ship could not accommodate me with. Most of the food was ok, however having a dietary issue, at times the dining staff could not find a dessert to fit my needs. Sorbet and jello were usually offered, neither of which I like. Teppanyaki is an amazing restaurant, as was Cagneys steakhouse. Le Bistro's food was intensely over seasoned, and not palatable. We were disappointed with the Dolphin swim and Adventure at Costa Maya. It was amazing to be able to swim with them, however the costs for pictures were VERY EXPENSIVE!!! Beware, and cameras are not permitted. Our trip to Harvest Caye was very enjoyable, and our least expensive. The Capuchin monkeys, macaws, and sea lion more than made up for our disappointing visit with the dolphins, Otherwise, our trip was very enjoyable, excellent entertainment, things to do aboard ship, attentive stewards and cruise staff. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The Panama Canal has been on my bucket list for a while, and I really loved every bit of our cruise on NCL Star. I shared a balcony cabin with my sister, also an experienced cruiser; however, this was our first longer cruise (over 7 days) ... Read More
The Panama Canal has been on my bucket list for a while, and I really loved every bit of our cruise on NCL Star. I shared a balcony cabin with my sister, also an experienced cruiser; however, this was our first longer cruise (over 7 days) for both of us. The Star is looking spiffy after her recent drydock… décor looks fresh, color schemes up to date, seating in public spaces is (mostly) comfortable. She’s one of the smaller ships in the NCL fleet, so, we weren’t expecting the bells & whistles of a megaship. We still found plenty to like. Our cabin was about what we expected, size-wise: a bit snug, but room enough for both of us to completely unpack & hang up what needed hanging. The beds were reasonably comfortable. We both liked the USB ports that have been added to the bedside reading lamps. The bathroom is tight quarters, as expected (particularly the toilet cubicle,) but the shower is big enough to turn around in. Dining was very good in every venue we tried. We didn’t eat at the buffet for meals (just an occasional afternoon snack… they always had some nice things set out to make up a tea tray or an ersatz charcuterie plate.) The main dining rooms had a nice variety of entrees on the menu, with enough variation that we didn’t get bored by the end of the second week. The alternate venues wowed us! Of the specialty dining (we tried them all) we particularly liked Le Bistro & Teppanyaki, but it was all quite good. We also loved Ginza, the complimentary Asian restaurant, and would return two more times during the cruise. The activities & entertainment offered were varied, and we enjoyed the live music in the several venues around the ship. I particularly liked the production shows offered in the Stardust Theater – four shows over the course of the cruise – the show band is awesome! They would also perform in the smaller venues on non-show nights, and were terrific there, too. We also had the good fortune of having a guest lecturer on board, who gave several interesting talks in the afternoons on topics related to our Central American itinerary. I indulged in the thermal spa pass, and spent many pleasant hours there. Smaller ship means smaller spa… the steam room & sauna are tiny, but barely used, so it didn’t matter much. There are only seven of the heated tile loungers, but I think I only had to wait once. The crew of the Star is what really elevated the whole experience for us. Every single person we encountered was pleasant, helpful, and ready to treat us like rock stars. It amazes me how everyone you encounter (room steward, bartender, dining room hostess) is greeting you by name after about the third day. NCL is clearly doing something right, because the whole crew seems to be happy & energized to have the best cruise possible. After such a review, I hate to mention downsides… but there’s always a couple… The seating in Stardust Theater is awful, to put it simply. I guess it didn’t get the refurb during drydock. Many of the fold-down seats seem to be sagging. I found the bench seats in the balcony to be much more tolerable. Also, the live music is sometimes much too loud in small venues, particularly Gatsby’s (the midship bar on deck 6.) It was our favorite bar in the evenings, but we’d find ourselves avoiding it if there was an over-miked musician performing when we walked by. Overall, these very small glitches did nothing to diminish our overall enjoyment of the cruise. We loved the Canal experience & we’re glad we got to enjoy it aboard the Star. She’s a fine ship with a fine crew, and I’d sail her again anytime. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
The Panama Canal has always been on our Bucket List. While we usually vacation at All Inclusives, we felt a cruise would be the best way to experience the Canal. As first-time cruisers, we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves ... Read More
The Panama Canal has always been on our Bucket List. While we usually vacation at All Inclusives, we felt a cruise would be the best way to experience the Canal. As first-time cruisers, we began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into: prairie folk committing to 14 nights on a ship!! We chose Norwegian for the FreeStyle cruising and were not disappointed. We enjoyed the more relaxed dress code and not having to commit to a specific time to eat. We are foodies so were excited when the Versailles restaurant offered a delicious menu which was only surpassed by the genuine friendliness and service provided by the wait staff. It’s a good thing we were there 14 days to be able to sample most of the menu! O’Sheehans was our favourite breakfast spot—open early, relaxing ambience and delicious bacon and eggs. The Theatre is not really our thing but we went to the early show the second night and were absolutely blown away! Better than anything we’ve paid for at home so we attended every show after that! The live band accompanying the events was amazing. The entertainment changed each night: hypnotist, singer, musical shows (on-board animation team was AMAZING!!), comedian etc. We did 5 shore excursions. While the NCL excursions may be pricier than on-shore options, they were some of the best we have experienced. Excellent transfer buses, guides were knowledgeable and passionate about their countries, safety was a big priority (TIP: Costa Rica: top-of-the-line safety on the zip-line and best excursion ever!!). Near the end of our trip, we sailed on the Luxury Yachts in Cabo San Lucas. It was a beautiful way to spend the day—14 people snorkelling and whale watching—a nice break from the bustle of the ship. If we could change anything, we would like to see more chairs available in the shade outside. It was quite hot sailing south, with most of the shade inside the ship! If you are a smoker, there are lots of places to smoke outside, so many that it was difficult to avoid if you are a non-smoker. Read Less
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
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
Sail Date: January 2019
Very enjoyable experience. Cruise staff were excellent in all areas. Food in main dining rooms and buffet were not-so-good compared to previous cruises on NCL, some as recent as 8-months ago; bones in fish dishes; tough gristle in NY ... Read More
Very enjoyable experience. Cruise staff were excellent in all areas. Food in main dining rooms and buffet were not-so-good compared to previous cruises on NCL, some as recent as 8-months ago; bones in fish dishes; tough gristle in NY Steak. Prime Rib last night on cruise was best food during the cruise. We dined Grand Pacific and Magenta dining rooms and had four nights speacialty dining. Buffet stations were mostly repetitious delivery of same dishes. Moderno and Cagney's were excellent and served tastey food! Teppanaki was good food and entertaining! Entertainment by entertainers and production staff were excellent! Shore excursions were mostly very, very good; we had eight shore excursions and seven were outstanding; only Costa Rica tour (Discover Costa Rica) was poorly delivered by tour-company, in-part due to docking at port taking 70-minutes or so, the tour bus left late; the tour guide did not know answers to many basic questions asked; was alotted only 15 minutes at a large botanical garden and a planned stop was skipped. The ship looked very good but looking closely, the ship did show some signs of wear-and-tear. The lounges and Stardust theater seats were very comfortable. The passage thru the Panama Canal was narated and went smoothly; used the old canal locks, not new locks. Everything else about the cruise was excellent! We did not want to disembark in NY City; we really enjoyed the cruise. Thank you NCL!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
From embarkation, tenders, excursions, food, and debarkation, it was a fabulous trip on the Gem. Even when things went wrong, which they did, the staff was always there to help you, give you guidance, and in some instances a reimbursement ... Read More
From embarkation, tenders, excursions, food, and debarkation, it was a fabulous trip on the Gem. Even when things went wrong, which they did, the staff was always there to help you, give you guidance, and in some instances a reimbursement against expenses. The food overall was good, but I felt needed a little more variety. Their specialty buffet dinners days were not up to what I feel NCL is capable of, with very little selection of the “specialty day” foods. The regular buffet were excellent with great selections. The specialty diners, Cagney’s, Moderno, Le Bistro Café, La Cucina, were all fabulous dining experiences. We took at least eight excursions on the 11 ports and all were very well organized even when things went wrong. I loved the different activities especially the trivia. Aris, sexy Sue, K, along with Claire, the cruise director, were all fabulous ambassadors for NCL. Overall had a great time on the Gem, and looking forward to my next NCL cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Overall very pleased. Lovely ship, not too huge. Really enjoyed the entertainment, both the shows and the musicians in the atrium and elsewhere. Brad Stevens, the pianist, was fantastic and we listened to him almost every night. Dining ... Read More
Overall very pleased. Lovely ship, not too huge. Really enjoyed the entertainment, both the shows and the musicians in the atrium and elsewhere. Brad Stevens, the pianist, was fantastic and we listened to him almost every night. Dining was very nice, although a few things were absent that had been normal on prior cruiises. No smoked salmon in the breakfast buffet (the salmon mousse was a joke), and escargot never offered in the main dining room in the evening. Evident cost savings. But overall the dining was very good. Staff very friendly and helpful. Bar staff at the atrium bar were great. Enrichment speaker was not so hot. After almost three weeks we sere still enjoying the ship very much, never got cabin fever. Long chaotic lines at disembarcation in NYC. Not NCL's fault, but annoying nevertheless. They should have a Global Entry express lane like at the airports. There is nothing remotely "Norwegian" about NCL. Not the staff, the decor, the dining, etc. I am of Norwegian ancestry and think they should add a bit of the old country to the sailing experience. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked this cruise because we liked the itinerary and wanted to see the entire Panama Canal. My father was stationed there during WWII and I wanted to travel the canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic. We usually book cruises that are ... Read More
We booked this cruise because we liked the itinerary and wanted to see the entire Panama Canal. My father was stationed there during WWII and I wanted to travel the canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic. We usually book cruises that are at least 14 days. We cruised on the Gem seven years ago and we liked the renovations. NCL is our preferred cruise line. We like freestyle dining and like the casual dress code. NCL always has great entertainment and we were not disappointed. The Starlight Theater easily accommodates the number of passengers and there was never shortage of seats. Because NCL offered a great incentive for shore excursions, we booked one in 10 ports. We were happy with all of them with the exception of one. When I complained to the shore excursion manager, he looked into my concerns and took 20% off the cost and sent a bottle of wine to our cabin. It was nice to book through the cruise line because I never had to worry about getting back to the ship in time. My only complaint is the lack of variety of ship activities during the sea days. We like educational lectures about the area and the speaker they booked was disappointing. All in all it was an outstanding cruise. We are looking forward to cruising again in June on the NCL Spirit. Read Less
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