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2 Norwegian (NCL) Rotterdam Cruise Reviews

I booked this cruise as i had already booked the transatlantic but had the cancel later.I printed out the tickets, i hate this, much nicer to get them in the post. especially the baggage labels but got proper labels later. GETTING TO THE ... Read More
I booked this cruise as i had already booked the transatlantic but had the cancel later.I printed out the tickets, i hate this, much nicer to get them in the post. especially the baggage labels but got proper labels later. GETTING TO THE SHIP i decided to go on the harwich-hook ferry overnight on the new superferry. plenty of space,outside cabin was lovely and free internet for an hour. next morning arrived in HOOK, just missed seeing the EPIC as we were both going the same way! i then got the train to ROTTERDAM, the chip cards on the trains and bus are confusing. 1 or 2 trips or day passes but the machines do not accept notes! got the train and bus straight onto the SS ROTTERDAM a hotel now. had a lovely outside cabin and did a tour of the ship. when i got there the EPIC was already there. i waited for her to leave, it was cold and windy i was FROZEN! by the time the ship left at 1930hrs. Next day i moved to another hotel "OCEAN PARADISE" a floating chinese hotel on the river(strange feel, actually moving!) the next day left the hotel and walked over the ERASMUS BRIDGE to the cruise terminal. EMBARKATION i got to the terminal at 1030 went thru x ray and handed my case to the porter thinking it would go onboard ship(I WAS WRONG! later it was still there!! had to carry in onto the ship!) then upstairs i had my colour coded card, light blue. there was a queue already but the terminals were not even ready! CONFUSING! they started calling the colours and they had to try and get thru this stupid queue despite making announcements to sit down. then another queue for passport we waited and waited and waited! an announcement that the ship had engine problems and that it would leave on time but not arrive to soton till 1730 instead of 1000! if we wanted to cancel would get a refund plus an onboard credit, not an option as i had to get home somehow! the photographer had put up his stand in this massive queue! WHAT A GREAT IDEA! i mentioned about this horrendous queue and was told ALL THE CRUISES HAVE THIS!(THEY CERTAINLY DO NOT!!) "HAVE A NICE CRUISE" he said HOW RUDE!) what got me was all the staff were passing cups of water amongst themselves while we just had to stand for 3 hrs! finally we got onboard! the cabins were not ready so told to have lunch before it finished with the lifeboat drill starting soon! leave your cases but there was no room to leave them! after a nice lunch of FISH AND CHIPS. which i later found was the same menu for breakfast and lunch, in TASTE AND MAHATTAN restaurants what would you do on a longer cruise if you did want to pay extra for another restaurant! CABIN i had a balcony cabin on 9 deck 9201. no sign of any steward! no phone in cabin!(later found it in the safe! the safe did not work! no ice! there was 2 glasses covering a toilet and shower but a tiny sink in the living area not big enough! a nice size of cabin with plenty of drawer space, balcony with 2 chairs and table. what i did not like was it was only half covered so if it rained not much good and could be seen from above which i do not like! FOOD i booked the cirque dreams and dinner this was fantastic like a circus cum moulin rouge show with dinner in between the acts. this was well worth the $15 charge. ENTERTAINMENT i only saw 2nd city which was good and cirque dreams which were good. DISEMBARKATION This was another mess, we arrived in SOTON at 1400 a bit earlier than they said. as soon as they said we could get off there was a massive crowd all trying to get off at the same time! 2 queues we joined one and then was told to go to the other one. carried off the cases and no sign of a shuttle bus to the station. the driver was fast asleep i think it was only for people going to the ship(MEDIA AND PRESS)so we had to walk to a bus stop get a bus to the station. Found the ticket office was closed so had to walk over to the other side! COMMENTS AN AWFUL CRUISE! NO ORGANISATION AT ALL! no proper reason given for the delay and things just got worse! i have done 3 other NCL cruises and THIS WAS THE WORSE! Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
This was our fourth cruise, the first two being on Holland America Line and the third on Celebrity. We wanted to have a look at the NCL "Freestyle" type of cruising and the five day itinerary out of Rotterdam seemed perfect. ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise, the first two being on Holland America Line and the third on Celebrity. We wanted to have a look at the NCL "Freestyle" type of cruising and the five day itinerary out of Rotterdam seemed perfect. Especially as the balcony cabins were going at a reduced rate. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for and we were not impressed or happy with our cruise.Embarkation was not difficult, but it was a bit confusing to the many (a lot really) Dutch people who simply don't read or understand English well. We completed a health survey, handed over our tickets and credit card, and were given our keycards. We then joined in the group trying to get onto the ship. It was about noon and the ship was fully booked, so we were in line to get aboard for about 20 minutes. Our picture was taken, we showed our passports to immigration again, and then we were free to board.The cabins were not going to be ready until 2 p.m., so we decided to go for lunch. We were told that the Garden Cafe (Lido) was serving lunch so we headed in that direction. There's no polite way to say this, the Garden Cafe was a zoo. The lack of enough seating seems to be the cause of this feeling. There are no trays, so picking up an entire meal in one go is pretty much out of the question. Also, it's very important that one of your party (you're out of luck as a single) find seating and then you relay back and forth to the buffet to get your food and drinks. We looked around, saw the chaos and lack of seating and walked out.As we pushed the button for the elevator, a helpful crewman asked if he could help us. We mentioned that we were looking for lunch and only then did we learn that the main dining room, the Grand Pacific, was also serving lunch on Deck 6 aft. We found the Grand Pacific and it was an oasis of calm. There was someone at the door to welcome us, a waiter to take us to a table for two and an actual menu from which we could choose a meal.And here we come to our first (and most lasting) disappointment with the entire NCL dining experience. The service ranged from incompetent to disinterested and the food from mediocre to inedible. For a ship with 12 restaurants, 8 of which you must pay extra to enjoy, you'd think they'd have a bit more interest in serving good food in a timely manner. We actually finished a meal in the main dining room and had to go to the buffet to get something to fill us up. Granted, not everyone has the same taste, but I have never before been served a raw spring roll. The lunch set the tone when, after being seated, we were promptly ignored for 15 minutes. Other people were seated and served before a pointed look at the dining room manager conveyed to him the idea that we might actually have come to the dining room with the idea of getting a meal.Here's some point on which NCL could improve:1. Train the service staff to understand that there's a difference between decaf and regular coffee and that's why the tops of the coffee carafes have different colors. 2. Teach the service staff that when people are dining together they like to have their meals together. We often had to wait more than 10 minutes for the second meal at the table and saw one poor couple stare at his eggs and bacon for 20 minutes before the man got up, walked over to the waiter, and ask where his wife's breakfast was.3. If you're going to ask extra money for "specialty" restaurants, make sure that the specialties they serve are edible. We had dinner at Paniolo's (tapas and mexican food) and were surprised to be served fajitas that were too bitter to eat (something bad in the marinade) and an enchilada served in a flour tortilla (actually making it a burrito) and filled with grilled vegetables and cottage cheese. We found the food so disgusting that we didn't even stay for the dessert we had already paid for, feeling that the risk was too great.4. If you run out of something in the kitchen (and how do you run out of a certain breakfast cereal twice in five days?), don't just bring something to replace it, but rather inform the customer and allow them to make a second choice from the menu. When one of us couldn't have the ordered chocolate mousse served in a dark chocolate cup, we were brought two chocolate cookies from the buffet which were placed on a plate with a layer of chocolate frosting between them. Frankly, the fruit cup looked more appealing. The dessert remained untouched.The dining experience was not worth the price of admission.A highlight was our nice cabin and lovely balcony. The room was small, but certainly big enough for a five day cruise. I wouldn't want to spend two weeks in the cabin though. The separation of the three main areas of the bathroom: toilet, from sink/mirror, from shower was a welcome change, making it easy to share the facilities during the beginning and end of the day. We did not see much of our cabin steward though.We did not partake of the entertainment, so we cannot give an opinion on that. We did hear the constant announcements of the various activities though, which is quite annoying, especially after the "once-a-day" style of announcements on HAL and Celebrity. Honestly, do they think that we don't read the daily?In summary, we'll leave freestyle cruising to those who don't care about service and good food. We will never cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
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