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3 Norwegian (NCL) Rotterdam Cruise Reviews

This was a perfect example of how better NOT to introduce past or future (paying!) customers to a new ship or product!! Boarding did not start till shortly before noon, no explanation why and despite the fact some 2000-3000 passengers ... Read More
This was a perfect example of how better NOT to introduce past or future (paying!) customers to a new ship or product!! Boarding did not start till shortly before noon, no explanation why and despite the fact some 2000-3000 passengers were already checked in, waiting to be let on board, hoarded like cattle. Not a good start. There was absolutely no reception of the passengers. Since it was some sort of an inaugural sailing, well it was the first sailing with paying passengers, one would have at least expected a welcome glass of champagne. No, not with NCL, nothing comes free with them. Staterooms were of course ready by the time we boarded ( they only had agents on the night before anyways which surely did not trash the ship ), again no sight of any recognition or welcome aboard or any other approach or appreciation. One leaflet was delivered later in the afternoon but that was it. Not even the arrival time or deboarding process in Southampton was explained or mentioned. No ice in the buckets, a sealed fridge, no attendants nearby, nada, nothing. I did not even hear the captain speak, I guess that's falling out of fashion with NCL these days since I did only thear the captain once(!!) on an 11 day Jade cruise recently Not a good first impression. The ship was full, again, how can you do that if you want to show your new product and make sure it "shines"? So instead it seemed extremely crowded everywhere and in the end left me disliking this otherwise pretty ship, uncertain whether I want to book NCL again in the future. I did go to Ocean Blu restaurant for dinner, paid the premium charge of USD 35.- After all the hype about the restaurant I was quite puzzled to see how small and tucked away it was. Well, dinner was very good, but one incident again left me puzzled with NCL's strategy and attitude towards customers. When I asked whether I could have a second appetizer, the soup, I was told I had to pay an addition for this and in the end was charged an additional USD 4,25 on top of the cover charge of USD35.-. Unbelievably cheap from NCL, especially given the fact that all the portions were extremely small and the main course, obviously a fish, had absolutely nothing on the side, no rice, no potato, no veg no nothing. It was just a fish, well done, but still simply not enough as a main course. I left for the show after dinner, which , without any information other than on the daily planner, had been changed from Rock of Ages to Burn th Floor. Ths show was nothing to write home about and simply was not well received by a European audience. Quiete a few people got up and left early. I felt sorry for the dancers who were incredibly good! Other impressions from the ship: - Haven area - did not look half as nice as on Epic but might be better suitable for NYC cruises. If Getaaway however will feature the exact same enclosed area, I doubt that it is gonna be a success. - Sports Complex on deck absolutely fabulous, the Aqua Park slides are amazing and so is "The Plank". - Waterfront . The weather wasn't cooperating so I won't comment on this. It looked good and could work just fine and as advertised! -Ths ship is quite identical to the Epic when it comes to its looks. It has a lot more glass and thus views of the ocean but it is also smaller which, if full, leaves you with a " way too many people" feeling. - POSH Beach Club excellent, better rhan on Epic. - Pools small, the whole deck area a big improvement over Epic but still quite "packed". - Buffet. Very crowded, selection quite basic with not too much variety. The revolving doors to the buffet, whoever thought of that should be slapped on the head. Nightmare and will lead to a lot of anger! - My inside cabin did not even have a picture on the wall. Very basic, very very small, much too small by today's standards. - Gym has now been divided into one area for cardio ( they have the views ) and one area for the weights ( they are tucked away ). Did not care for it. - Spa looked quite nice but is probably too small on a longer and sold out cruise. So overall Breakaway was not my cup of tea. NCL's beahviour/attitude towards the guests on this cruise makes me look elsewhere first. They made it very clear that they did not value the European guests on this mini cruise. All the talks, all the advertisement is geard towards Americans. So where does that leave us Europeans. I guess we are just good enough to fill the Jade... Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We came back from Epic yesterday afternoon. Rotterdam to Southampton. What a shamble at Rotterdam. We arrived at 10.30pm and only boarded at 1.15pm. People were all over de place, announcements you could not understand. They were asking ... Read More
We came back from Epic yesterday afternoon. Rotterdam to Southampton. What a shamble at Rotterdam. We arrived at 10.30pm and only boarded at 1.15pm. People were all over de place, announcements you could not understand. They were asking hundreds of people to seat down on 50 chairs. Girls from NCL based in Dover were on hand to help the very inexperience staff in Rotterdam. Around 12.30, they stopped the checkin. More delay. The were having a meeting about the situation. Finally that made an announcement to inform us the ship was tech and will arrive in Southampton at 5pm instead of 10 am.Passengers were offered to cancel the cruise or stay onboard. A few minutes later boarding started. The first thing we did was going to the box office to book the show for that night. First we wanted to do Spiegel Tent and after the Blue Man Show. One girl said it was possible to do both while the guy said it was not. It was like yes and no for around 5 minutes. You would imagine they would know. At the end we only booked Blue Man Show and it was great. Good fun. After that debate, we went to the Lido for lunch, the food was excellent and the views from the restaurant were amazing. After lunch we decided to go and see our cabin. The girl at the check in told us we were upgraded and at the end it was the same cabin as we booked. The cabin was an inside (why pay for balcony on a one night). The cabin was very small ( we later visited a balcony and it was not better) and not practical. When you entered the room, directly on your left you had the toilet with a plastic tinted door and on the right the shower cubical also with tinted plastic door. A bit further down, you had a sink (very small and not deep) with a mini fridge above and the tv near the fridge. Not the best set up if you are 3 in the room or don't know the other person if you are two. The phone only started working on Tuesday morning. Lucky we didn't have an emergency during the night. After checking the room, we started exploring the ship, the pool deck was very cramp. Not much desk place. The two pools were very small. We went down to explore the ship. Deck 5,6,7 were nice with restaurants, bars and shops. You could see the ship was not finished and some wires were apparent and a lot of workers were working around the passengers. In the evening we decided to go to the Churascaria and it was excellent. Service, staff and food. We could not fault it. The only problem was some staff from Dover and also a table of travel agents being very loud and making very upsetting comments. Lucky no kids where around for the language used. Before and after diner we spent a bit of time in the Martini bar. The Pianist was excellent. The bar staff had a bit of an attitude in that bar.This was the only place where we found unfriendly staff. During the morning, we had breakfast in the Lido and again the food was nice and tasty. After lunch we wanted to try the slides and jacuzzi and no luck as they were all closed. They only opened at 2pm for a 3 pm arrival. Instead we sat in the sun for a while before going for our duty free tax purchases. And yes they were selling duty free within Europe. We hope HMRC won't find out our big trouble ahead again if they need to pay taxes for all the sales they have done. A few minutes later my partner told me we were approaching Isle of White and I didn't believe it as we had another 5h00 to go before the arrival. When the sentence was finished, the Captain made an announcement and told us we made a very good progress during the night ( the announcement was around 12.00) was would now arrive at 3pm. Amazing he did not know that early to help passengers changing the travel plans. We decided to have lunch in the Manhattan restaurant. Once again the food and service was excellent. A band was also playing during the lunch. After lunch we all went to the deck and see the arrival of the ship, as it was the first time, the inaugural in Southampton, we were waiting for something exceptional and nothing happened. Maybe NCL was ashamed about the late arrival, or they just did not care. It was like a normal arrival. We were also surprised not to receive a certificate as it was the first sailing for the ship ( non promotional). When we sailed on Independence Of The Seas a few years ago. We all received a certificate with a picture of the ship in a very nice leather folder. We also received a video of the ship. It was great. Here NOTHING. During the cruise, we went to the front desk and asked if this was the inaugural, Maiden voyage, or ... and her answer was I don't know. She also said they haven't decided. Once again what is going on there. A little after our arrival, they started the disembarkation process and again it was chaos. Normal as nobody knew when to leave the ship. When we left the ship, we were expecting a big welcome in the terminal and again nothing. After this trip, we don't think EPIC made a big entrance like other ships for the Inaugural. Maybe NCL EPIC is a bit shy. What a shame as we were expecting more from this sailing and also by being the first passengers sailing from the ship. It looks like we were more Guinea pigs instead. The ship was just ok and not very well designed. It looks more like a rushed job. (Nothing to compare to Oasis Of The Seas who has got a WOW factor) The food and service were excellent. As we found out a 7 nights cruise onboard NCL can be very expensive as you need to pay a lot for the restaurants. We need to agree they offer for every taste, from French to Japanese. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Rotterdam-Southampton inaugural cruise of NCL Epic. Total chaos in Rotterdam as the terminal is way too small to handle such a big ship, waited in line for 2 hours outside on the pavement. Inside hardly any facilities, seating for only 100 ... Read More
Rotterdam-Southampton inaugural cruise of NCL Epic. Total chaos in Rotterdam as the terminal is way too small to handle such a big ship, waited in line for 2 hours outside on the pavement. Inside hardly any facilities, seating for only 100 people. Ship general: It's all about the size and how to put as many people as possible on. For me it lacked sophistication and grandeur, everything was functional, nothing had a real wow-factor. Lots of issues with finishings: pool water overflowing would not drain, part of the ship (villa complex) not finished; general feeling of rather cheap craftmanship, not finished to a high standard. Stateroom-Standard midship balcony: Smaller than comparable stateroom on Celebrity's Solstice class. The new bathroom design is in reality a way of covering up for the reduced size of the room, there's just no space for a separate bathroom. Sink area cramped and small, water would overflow easy; shower and toilet are plastic cabins, ok but nothing special. Balcony is fine, two standard seats and a small table; dividers were left open to ajoining balconies. Dining: at least a dozen options, but only 3 without a cover charge. We had dinner and breakfast at the Manhattan Room at the back end of the ship with a great view. Live music during the night, very nice. Quality of the food was good, nothing to complain about, same for the service, very attentive. Only point was the roar of the engines causing the tableware to ramble. For luch we used the buffetrestaurant, also no complaints, great choice, good quality. Entertainment: we visited the Blue Man group show and enjoyed it very much. Quite an unusual performance, lots of fun, highly recommended. Outside/pool area: it's all about the aquafun waterslides, great for kids, less so for others maybe? In general the whole area lacked atmosphere. Disembarkation: again not very smooth, about 1 hour waiting while the announcements indicated that immediate disembarkation would be available upon arrival. Summary: NCL Epic is not quite what we had expected, dissappointed in the general lack of atmosphere, it's all about size. Entertainment and food are good but that did not outweigh against the other points. I guess we are spoiled by Celbrity's Solstice class ships and had too high of an expectation of the Epic. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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