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12 Norwegian (NCL) San Diego Cruise Reviews

There was a lack of information provided prior to embarkation. Shortly after making the reservation, it was changed from a 15 day cruise to a 14 day and the embarkation port was moved from Los Angeles to San Diego because the Acapulco stop ... Read More
There was a lack of information provided prior to embarkation. Shortly after making the reservation, it was changed from a 15 day cruise to a 14 day and the embarkation port was moved from Los Angeles to San Diego because the Acapulco stop was cancelled. We understand that was for safety reasons, but there was no explanation for why we had to lose a day of vacation or had to alter plans to accommodate moving from LA to SD to leave. At embarkation, we were handed a flier that stated we would not be stopping in Cabo San Lucas because of weather. We had all been watching the weather down there for a week and knew what it looked like. This decision could have been made much earlier and notifications could have been sent well before the last minute. We have now lost 1 full day of travel and 2 port stops before even leaving and since this was booked. No other compensation was offered for losing the Cabo stop and there was no mention of attempting to add a different destination to make up for it. We then did not actually set out from SD until several hours after we were supposed to leave and there was no explanation given. As we were told many times from different crew members, the ship had been loaded with new employees for this trip as training experience. It was obvious in multiple ways. Many of the staff members at bars would actually roll their eyes at you for asking for a glass of water as though it was a waste of their time. The wait staff in the main dining rooms was horrible. Our standard time in the Indigo room was running nearly 2 hours for a meal because staff was so slow. We had one night with a 7:15 reservation and we did not get out of there until 9:45. Multiple times we did not even order dessert because it was taking so long to get our food. We also left one night after ordering coffee with dessert and getting everything for the coffee (cups, sugar, and cream) and getting our dessert without ever actually getting any coffee in the cups. On the other side, there were some excellent standout employees. Specifically, our room steward was excellent. Also, there was the waiter at O’Sheehan’s Pub, Ankit (sp), who was always friendly and helpful. Also, the bartender Mo (Mohammed D.) who worked most often in the Casino bar was a major highlight who always greeted us by name, remembered our drinks, and was an overall great guy. All of the staff we interacted with in the specialty dining restaurants were very professional and helpful. We found the buffet to be very boring and lacking in options during the dinner hours and the food quality was average. The main dining room dinner menus were horrible. The options each night were very poor and repetitive. There was always a dish of overcooked beef slices prepared a litle different, there was always a basic white fish that was grilled or broiled, and always a vegetarian dish. The only thing that stood out was the one night for the standard white fish entrée was Tilapia. That is not a compliment. Tilapia should never show up on the menu of any decent restaurant. It is a completely worthless fish with absolutely no flavor or nutritional value. It is primarily used as a base because the only flavor is from the other ingredients it is prepared with. On other cruises I have always looked forward to eating in the main dining room for the quality and variety of the dishes offered. This trip left me disappointed every night. All of our group felt as though the poor menu options and horrible service was a backhanded way to push us into going to the specialty restaurants and paying for a meal. When we boarded the ship our group met for a celebration drink. The bartender informed us that they were required to charge tax while in port. Totally understandable and not an issue at all. What was an issue, or more of an annoyance, was that the ship was scheduled to leave at 4 PM and we didn’t actually leave port until several hours later. We were charged tax on drinks the entire time. While that couple of dollars makes no real difference to us, no announcements were made to explain why we were still in port for hours after we should have left and NCL should have paid those taxes just for the inconvenience. It was another example of poor hospitality. The tender service in Nicaragua was a disaster. Yes, the water was rough and choppy, but that did not explain why only one tender was being used while 5 others were sitting in the water off to the side. We were supposed to be able to leave starting at 10 AM. No announcement was even made until after 11:30 AM to explain that only 1 tender could be used because of the rough seas. That explanation made no sense because the other tenders were clearly visible sitting off to the side of the ship and the water was just as rough when they did finally commence service just before 1:00PM. Also, when they did start service, they only assigned a few people to assist with the transfer of people from the ship to tender. It was dangerous without more employees to help guide people over the step. So we were unable to get off the ship until 3 hours after we made port, but the cruise director made an announcement that they had permission to extend our port stay 1.5 hours. That does not make up for anything and he shouldn’t have made it sound like we owed them a debt of gratitude for getting part of the time back. The biggest complaint we have is in regard to the large amount of money we paid for a balcony stateroom that had a barely usable balcony. The reason for this is because they pressure washed the balcony while we were in port. They blew paint chips all of the deck and furniture on our balcony. They did not clean up the paint chips at all and they were stuck to the chairs. The chairs could only be used if we draped a towel over them to sit on. Also, the pipes above our balcony continued to flake paint chips for the rest of the cruise so even sitting on the balcony was difficult because chips would land on you and any drink/food you had out there. We paid over $2500 extra dollars for that upgrade and it was a waste of money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise due to the trip through the Panama Canal. Most of the food was mediocre with some good food at the specialty restaurants. All service staff were very congenial and helpful. Many smiles and always ready to help. ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the trip through the Panama Canal. Most of the food was mediocre with some good food at the specialty restaurants. All service staff were very congenial and helpful. Many smiles and always ready to help. Nightly entertainment was excellent. The bed gave backaches to my wife and I. Even though we saw many new mattresses loaded onto the ship and saw them in storage while waiting in line for an hour to get off the ship, we were only provided a foam egg crate mattress topper, which helped, but did not fully satisfy. When I again requested a new mattress, our request was ignored. I reported some maintenance issues, such as several loose safety handrails in the hallways, paint fume odors 3 times in our stateroom, welding fumes on our stateroom, extremely loose steps in the hydro therapy pool, and jets not working in the spa hot tub. It makes me wonder what maintenance issues are lacking in areas not frequented by passengers. We had to miss the first port, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico due to a hurricane; but the ship provided entertainment and activities to pass the time. On the day we arrived in Guatemala, our first stop, no coffee cups or bowls were available for breakfast and plates were hard to find. We were docked, so we were able to get off the ship in good time. Our tour of Antigua, Guatemala was interesting and informative. the tour guide was very good. The next day, we arrived in Nicaragua, where the ship had to anchor and use tenders to get us ashore. We were supposed to leave the ship at 10:15 for our tour but, allegedly due to rough water, the tender service was not in full operation, so we did not leave the ship until after 11:30. It appeared that the crew had not used tenders before or they should have been able to get people off the ship in a timely manner. When working at water's edge, personnel should be required to wear life jackets, in case they fall in. This was standard practice on other cruise lines (and a US requirement) but only about half of the crew were wearing life vests or safety belts while working at the ship/tender departure points. Due to a late departure for our tour, we traveled 3-1/2 hours for a 45 minute tour and a 15 minute grocery store break to obtain snacks for lunch. We returned at 4:35 and the last tender was supposed to return to the ship at 4:30. However, after we returned, we saw a sign showing that the last departure was changed to 6:00; so we could have had a more leisurely tour if that had that decision been made before we departed. At least we were not on the one tender that was stranded in the ocean for 15 to 20 minutes due to engine failure. Another example about inadequate maintenance and poor management. We saw the tender sitting still in the water when we went ashore but at the time, did not know the problem. At my request, my wife and I received a 20% discount on the tour, after losing at least 1/2 of the scheduled time in town on the tour. We enjoyed Peter James singing and playing the piano, which helped smooth things over.Our tour in Costa Rica was a well run tour of a Botanical Garden. The tour guide was excellent and he gave us a good run down about life in Costa Rica. He knew the plants in the garden and aptly answered all questions and gave good discussions. Comedian Tim Kaminski put on a very good show. I had never heard of him, even though he is in the Comedy Hall of Fame. In Cartegena, Columbia, we took a guided tour in rough native canoes operated by boatmen using poles to push the boats. The bus tour guide had such a heavy accent that he was difficult to understand and it was hard to follow his narration. The boatmen did not speak English, which made it difficult for us to get much out of the mangrove boat tour, except on rare occasions when the tour guide was audible. When we arrived at the Grand Cayman Island, we tendered into town in boats provided by the Cayman Islands. The tenders were well organized and got us off the ship in a timely manner, even though we used the same number of ship departure points as we did during the mass confusion of tendering in Nicaragua. We had a nice self guided walk around George Town, Grand Cayman and a leisurely lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. We had a very good meal at the Grand Palace Restaurant aboard ship. The next night, we had an excellent dinner in the Moderno Restaurant on board ship. When we arrived in Tampa, I was happy to easily find our luggage and was pleasantly surprised at how quickly everyone went through Customs. Then came the Tampa Hell tour. We were supposed to have a tour of the city and arrive at the airport in a timely manner. Two people on our bus were concerned about making it to their flight in time, as guaranteed when they made their tour reservation. To make matters worse, after departing the airport, the bus driver pulled over and parked at the curb, with no explanation given. We ended up losing a total of 1-1/2 hours getting away from the cruise terminal. Then the bus finally continued on the way. No narration was provided - a very strange way to take a tour. We finally figured out that we did not have a tour guide and the bus driver did not say a word. After a 10 to 15 minute ride, the bus driver made a u-turn. A few minutes later, he made another U-turn. Since there was no tour guide, or other narration, we presumed that he was lost. We eventually arrived at the University of Tampa, where the bus driver ran over a curb and ran into a signpost. Someone came on board the bus to explain that we were to take a tour of part of the University campus. I asked if we were going to have a tour guide for the rest of our tour. She was just as surprised as us, to find out that we did not have a tour guide. We had a tour of a building that was originally a hotel, although we could not hear much of the tour guide's narration due to the large crowd of attendees. When we got back on the bus, the confusion continued with the bus driver again running over a curb on the way out of the campus. However, we at last had a tour guide on board. Apparently, the bus P.A. system did not work because the tour guide used a small speaker attached to his left hip. When turned toward us, we could hear him. When he turned away we could not. As we followed some other tour buses in our group, one the buses ahead of us was making a u-turn when the bus driver ran up onto the curb and got the bus stuck in the grass and on the curb. We went further down, made a successful u-turn and went past the stranded bus, listing toward its right side, with passengers standing outside and the driver on the other side of the road speaking on a cell phone. The guide said we were about 15 to 20 minutes from the airport. At that time, I said to the guide that we should just head to the airport, while we were still alive! We then proceeded back, passing the cruise terminal and continued on the city semi-tour. Our window was defectively foggy, so that it was difficult for us to clearly see out. We finally made it to the airport where the luggage was eventually off loaded for a rental truck; another mass confusion arrangement that took several minutes to locate all our luggage. Once inside the terminal, our trip continued as planned. trip Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
This was a once in a life time deal to sail to the Panama Canal and see what it was all about. We have sailed on RCL and Princess in the past. Lots of factors involved in deciding on this cruise but location, timing and price where major ... Read More
This was a once in a life time deal to sail to the Panama Canal and see what it was all about. We have sailed on RCL and Princess in the past. Lots of factors involved in deciding on this cruise but location, timing and price where major factors. Not sure if "price point" is where NCL fits in but I somehow thought in my mind that we were signing up for a top notch cruise and we were both very excited. The start of the cruise might have been some clue as to what we were to encounter. The boarding process had been moved to San Diego for some reason ??? Los Angeles has a beautiful terminal that can handle large crowds and do it smoothly. Right from the beginning it appeared that it was rookie status. Simply unloading baggage was confusing and unorganized. "Is this the first time they have done this" seemed to be a common question in regard to handling logistics with this ship and cruise line. The terminal in San Diego is in a nice area with lots to see and do but the process to get on the ship was terrible and I would not recommend it to anyone. Not sure they could screw it up any better???? Next up was the birthday surprise for my wife from my adult children. My son tried to use NCL's website to send a BD gift to my wife and our friend on the ship. The website crashed while he was in the process and had to start over, which ended up causing him to be double billed. There was never an acknowledgement of the gift by NCL to my wife or our friend, just a credit on our bill??? "Is this the first time they have done this"??? Missing Cabo San Lucas was not NCL's fault and I did'nt mind the extra sea days but stopping in Pueto Quetzal was not what we thought it would be. It was nice to get off the ship for a few hours (again the unloading process seemed like a new concept to the staff). Would not go back to Guatemala. The tendering process was worse in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. The captain said it was because the swells were going one direction and the wind was going another,"Is this the first time they have done this"??? The meeting in the Stardust Theater was not organized and just seemed like rookie status. Part of our group finally made it to a tender only to have a motor fail. They floated around in the bay for 1/2 hour while other tenders went by trying while tender 10 captain was trying to restart the motor???? "Is this the first time they have done this"?? We just spent at least 4 days at sea did anyone think to check all of that stuff out to make sure it was ready to go???? Both Guatemala and Nicaragua are disgusting places to visit and really not sure why we stopped there. We did sign up for the Zip Line in Costa Rica and again the boarding process was a mess but the Zip Line Operation was dialed in. Very well run and organized and able to handle the 4-5 buses full of us needing a break from the ship. The Panama Canal was interesting but it might have been more interesting to visit Panama City or Colon while going through the Canal instead of the first two. The locks are amazing and the process was very cool. The history behind this area is incredible and worth investigating. I thought Cartagena Columbia would be a breath of fresh air after the disappointment of the first two stops but..... We signed up for the catamaran transfer to the old city. The city is amazing looking from the water going in. On the way in the catamaran captain warned us about the street vendors. He said just say, "No Garcias" and they will leave you alone. Almost before the boat docked, the vendors were shoving stuff inside the boat trying to get us "rich Americanos" to buy their crap. This continued for a block and half where the entrance into the old city is found, then inside the beautiful old city. As we walked along the streets it continued. The only way to get away from them was to duck into a shop and take a breather. Someone suggested that the street vendors are not locals but from Venezuela as their economy crashes??? Not sure, but what could have been an awesome experience walking around the old city and enjoying the nice people, turned into a battle to avoid a fight with the street vendors because we would not buy from them!!! The shop keepers inside the old city were very nice and very accommodating to us, get rid of the street vendors and I might go back. Next stop was George Town in Grand Cayman. The one bright spot in the cruise. We loved this little island and will find a way to get back there someday. The Rum tour was awesome, our guide was awesome and the people there were great. The sea days weren't bad on the Pearl but they just seemed to lack that extra little something we had experienced on other ships. The Halloween costume party was totally lame and the group that had gone above and beyond to dress up got tossed in the first round, again my thoughts were "Is this the first time they have done this"??? We really wanted to watch the World Series which involved the Dodgers but were told that the ship would have to pay a royalty to get the games and Miami (the head office) wasn't going to do that. So we got days and days of World Cup Soccer instead (not a fan). The best the ship could do was to post the score (only once) on the ships channel. Really, "Is this the first time they have done this"??? The unloading (disembarkation) process in Tampa was an absolute joke. We were given instructions and followed them to a T, but the ship began giving out different directions which conflicted with the pervious instructions. We were supposed to disembark by 0845 but did not leave until 1030. If you are not a fan of waiting for ever in long lines do not unload in Tampa (I am sure it was a combination of the boat staff and the terminal staff, long lines in each area). They tried to say it was everyone else's fault (customs, dock handlers, etc) but I watched as handlers and shore personnel were standing around, "Is this the first time they have done this"?? On previous cruises, it seemed, that as soon as the dock lines were secured the ramps went down, stuff started flying off the ship??? In the past we were actually disappointed to get off the ship and did not want it to end, in this case we were happy to be off and on our way to our next activity. Not sure how this happened but, the one thing NCL did get right was the service staff. From the bartenders to the cabin steward, these hard working people have a clue and were the one thing that would put a smile on our faces. The food was good and the specialty restaurants were nice but, it was hard for them to make up for the deficiencies of the rest of the ship. We were looking for an adventure and I guess that is kinda of what we got. Next time, I think we are booking with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We are returning customers. Our previous experiences help us deciding to take this trip also. Are we disappointed this time or what. Room is clean. Shows are ok. The restaurants are not what they promoted. There's no free style. ... Read More
We are returning customers. Our previous experiences help us deciding to take this trip also. Are we disappointed this time or what. Room is clean. Shows are ok. The restaurants are not what they promoted. There's no free style. No shorts. No caps, no sleeveless shirts for man but ok for women. Food is unacceptable. Some of the crew members are great. Some look down to you if you order coffee or water. We traveled with Celebrity, MSC, Holland, Princess, Carnival and Norwegian. An advise for the entertainers, stay away from political jocks. Not nowadays. The people are already divided politically as never before. We're on the cruise to get away from this issues. Please, don't build up tension anymore than it already is. Buffett has a large selection of culinary cuisines but the quality is absent. Sugar free sweets are not offered. We hope that the rest of this trip will be fine. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
NOTE: Our cruise was a 11 day Mexican Riviera Cruise, not the 28 day Mexican Riviera-South America as showen above (Oct. 24 to Nov. 4). This was our 36th cruise so we know whereof we speak of. The ship was quite lovely and was in good ... Read More
NOTE: Our cruise was a 11 day Mexican Riviera Cruise, not the 28 day Mexican Riviera-South America as showen above (Oct. 24 to Nov. 4). This was our 36th cruise so we know whereof we speak of. The ship was quite lovely and was in good shape for a 15 year old vessel. However, that was all that we can say positively about NCl and this cruise. The staff was friendly but many of them were deficient in English and seemed to be quite untrained...ask 3 crew members the same questioin and received 3 different answers. We were given the Ultimate Dining Package for the entire cruise (11 Days) so never ate in either of the 2 main dining rooms for dinner. Breakfast in the Seven Seas was spotty at best but lunch there was much better. The real food disaster was the buffet no matter if it was breakfast or lunch...almost every item looked pretty good but was uneatable. The Specialty options were better but not what one would expect for $20 to $30 per person. Le Bisto (French) was the best, La Cucina (Italian) was not as good and had a very limited menu and Cagney's (Steak) was quite poor as the steak was not quality...we cancelled the 2nd booking there. Service in both Bistro and Cucina was very good. Dancing venues were very limited and the music at them was quite undanceable. Where the music was very good there was no dance floor. Returning from being ashore being quite hot there were no cold towels available until 2:00pm but we came back at 1:00! NCL does not provide passangers away from home with a morning newpaper (usually a version of the NY Times) so we felt totally isolated from news that we want. No CNN on the TV but they did proviude MSNBC and Fox News but who wants all that political junk when on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
As a world traveler with over 30 cruises and almost 100 countries we consider this our very worst cruise and cruise line ever! The food in the buffet was absolutely inedible. The Seven Seas Dining was only slightly better with lunches at ... Read More
As a world traveler with over 30 cruises and almost 100 countries we consider this our very worst cruise and cruise line ever! The food in the buffet was absolutely inedible. The Seven Seas Dining was only slightly better with lunches at least somewhat palatable. The Specialty dining faired between poor and good with Le Bistro and La Cucina being better than the others. There were a few venues for dancing but the music there was not danceable. Many of the crew seemed to be poorly trained and could not answer even the simplist queries...that is if they could understand you as many spoke very poor English. We booked this cruise even after reading many negative reviews because we liked the intinerary and very good price. However, this is most certainly our last cruise with NCL and we will return to Celebrity and Holland America which are so far superior! One positive thing is that the Norwegian Sun is a beautiful ship and is in very good shape for being over 15 years. But the powers that be need to rethink their business model and get their act together. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We knew, going in, that Norwegian’s FOOD was rated as sub par in the Cruise industry. However, we got to experience it first hand. Luke Warm Coffee & entrees & room temperature salads. How can ya mess up traditional “Hot ... Read More
We knew, going in, that Norwegian’s FOOD was rated as sub par in the Cruise industry. However, we got to experience it first hand. Luke Warm Coffee & entrees & room temperature salads. How can ya mess up traditional “Hot & Sour Soup” , a “STANDARD” in the Chinese Food Tradition, the Norwegian Chef sure did. Stale Baguettes thru the 3rd day. Flat Soda in most every Bar. And when mixed in a spendy drink, that’s a Sin! Does NCL realize that there are still folks who like to dress up for dinner? Why then would not NCL try to seat those who make the "Effort" to present themselves well attired, in one general section, to PRESERVE the AMBIANCE that they made a EXTRA Effort to get dressed up for at their dining table(s)? The Collared Shirt Requirement was not enforced in BOTH Dining Rooms. Then, there was the Cruise director’s Staff who apparently took his “lead” relative to not knowing how to wear a Jacket properly. Fashionably Tacky! Finally, the DANCE music was terrible. YES, there are people who still appreciate dancing on Cruises. And the measure of a DJ’s or Band’s ability is reflected in how many are on the floor for their musical renditions. The DJ did not know what a danceable BIG BAND music selection was each nite?! (Hiring a DJ who is not a "Dancer" is a Sin!) The Show Band played, apparently for their own satisfaction, in the Observation Lounge and their Jazz assortment was generally undancable judging from the handful of people who attempted then sat back down . People not only appreciate a band’s Sound but their VISUAL APPEARANCE is reflective of a Cruise Line's Extra Attention to this matter which adds so much to any Show Room or Dance Lounge. Hanger 70’s music was okay but their Stage Presence really needs some "Industrial Strength" work. No VISUAL Energy and they appeared comatose as if practicing in their Garage. The Apparent Lead Singer had not a clue of Stage presence, or voice projection in Particular. NET: Adios NCL,.....Your "Free Style" Concept and lack if attention to "detail" is perfecto for the "Great Un~Washed". We will get back to your Sister Cruise Lines that provide a few Owwwwww's & Awwwww's in providing unexpected WOW's. ADIOS! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Best Cruise of 10 we have taken, until time to disembark. Then total disorganization Like they have never done it before. Kept telling non English speaking passenger to report somewhere so that ship could be cleared for customs. kept ... Read More
Best Cruise of 10 we have taken, until time to disembark. Then total disorganization Like they have never done it before. Kept telling non English speaking passenger to report somewhere so that ship could be cleared for customs. kept everyone on board for 1.5 hours while they kept announcing in English for them to report. This system is bound to fail and they need to have a prearranged system to let these passengers know what to do, such as printed instruction in their language. Need to take a lesson from the other cruise line on how to disembark passengers. I have never had this problem before on other cruise lines. Also took long time in lines to board in San Diego. Here again they need to see how other line do it much better. Other than slow boarding we though this was the most enjoyable cruise we have ever taken. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My husband and I had been planning this trip for months and after such a positive experience on the Pride of America we could wait to be on another Norwegian cruise. The ship is very old and small. We couldn't get over how small ... Read More
My husband and I had been planning this trip for months and after such a positive experience on the Pride of America we could wait to be on another Norwegian cruise. The ship is very old and small. We couldn't get over how small the buffet area was. it was especially bad on the first day when everyone was trying to eat lunch at the same time. Once we set sail only the main buffet was open for lunch and the outside buffet would open at 3:00 PM. When the main buffet was closing and resetting for lunch. We couldn't understand why both buffets weren't opened with staggered closing times to be reset for dinner since the space was so small. The ship did offer pizza and pasta, but it was not in the same location as the buffet and was very difficult to find. They did offer a barbecue on the pool deck that helped with the lunch traffic on sea days. The ship is very chopped up and difficult to navigate through. All in all the ship is in major need of an overhaul in dry dock! I have never seen a cruise ship that had so few poolside activities. There were a lot of activities on the ship, but the ones I wanted to try were are during the day when I wanted to be at the pool in the sun. I would have liked more entertainment options in the evening starting around 6:00 PM, the dancing never starts on cruise ships until 9:45 or 10:00 PM. That's just to late for those of us that get up early. My favorite was Deal or No Deal game. I actually won $50.00 playing that game. The only good service I received on this ship was from my room steward and in the Casino. All of the other service I received was way below standard especially in the dinning rooms. Getting seating in the dining room was a chore. We were always the first or second couple to get to the dining room. After our table was assigned the server walking us to our table didn't know where the table was located. They were actually carrying maps of the dining room around, but still couldn't find our table. The service was very poor and slow in the main dining rooms you were left at your table for long periods of time before your order was taken and many times we had to request for items such as drinks, coffee, butter, cream and artificial sweetener multiple times. There was never enough staff at the pool bar for service and rarely were there employees walking around the pool deck asking if you needed anything from the bar. Acapulco - we did the city bus tour, shopping, and fort. This was a good tour and very informative. The shopping places they took us to were very expensive, Don't spend your money here, you can do better price wise in other ports. Manzanillo - we did the all inclusive beach getaway. This was a great excursion once we got there. The bus didn't have working air condition. Is is very hot in Mexico this time of year and we couldn't go on a bus without air conditioning. We were late getting away for our excursion and the bus still didn't have great working air conditioning. We were told to be back on the bus at 4:55 PM only to lean that the tour operator changed his mind and told half of the people on this excursion to be back at 4:30 and had an attitude with the ones that returned at the original time of 4:55 PM. No one ever told my husband and I that the return time had changed. There is not a true beach at this resort it is more like a cove. The pools, drinks and food are very good and it was worth the money. The time change of our trip messed up our entire evening and kept us from seeing the only show I really wanted to see. We did speak with the shore excursions manager and expressed out displeasure with the trip and the attitude of the tour operator. I did request a refund since my entire evening was messed up and I had spent almost $800.00 on shore excursions. He refused my refund and gave me a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries instead. Much to our surprise, when we requested a printout of our ship account it had been credited with the cost of the excursion. Puerto Vallarta - We didn't do a planned excursion at this port and I'm really glad we didn't. This a a great port to walk around and shop. There is a market just outside of the port and you can get some great deals there. If you can't find what you are looking for you can take a cab downtown for $10.00 to the mega shopping center. Also, there is a great restaurant right where the market is that has great drinks, chips, salsa and cheese dip with high speed WiFi connection, so you can catch up with your family back home. Mazatlin - We did another beach break with a buffet lunch and two drinks included. The beach was beautiful! However, it was crawling with locals selling stuff all over it. Once you bought something they wouldn't leave you alone. After a couple of hours of this we got tired of it and when to one of the three pools for the remainder of the day. They take you by cab to the resort, so you are not locked into staying for the entire day. You can go back to the ship anytime you want. The tour operator was very nice and worked hard to make everyone happy. She was always smiling and very happy to help with anything you needed. Cabo San Lucas - My favorite port by far! It is just beautiful! Norwegian tried there best to ruin it with the awful tender experience, but we didn't let that bother us. Getting off the ship in the mornings was fine because we had planned excursions and were taken as a group to the tenders. It was getting back off the ship and on after dinner that proved to be challenging. We were in port overnight. The first day we tour the boat tour out to the Arch and went to the glass blowing plant. The Arch is beautiful and the glass blowing plant is amazing. The shop at the glass blowing plant is a great place to by inexpensive gifts. I couldn't get over the great prices there. If you have a lot of shopping to do skip the demonstration and go straight to the shop. You only get 30 minutes to shop and I could have stayed for hours. When we finished out tour we shopped around the amazing marina, after spending some disappointing time a Senior Frogs, where they said they had WiFi, but it wouldn't work. The marina is huge and you can spend an entire day just shopping and looking around. After a long day in the heat we decided to go back to the ship, freshen up, eat dinner and return to the marina to find a go WiFi connection. A lot of the stores close early in the Marina, and we didn't know that. We found a place to get some drinks and WiFi. We wanted to be sure to be back on the ship prior to 10:00 PM, because after 10:00 they only have one tender per hour running. I don't understand the thought process on this when you are docked in port from 8:00 Am until 2:00 PM the following afternoon. We were back at the port ready to catch the tender at 8:30 PM. We had to wait forever for the tender to arrive and once it did we were told that we couldn't get on the tender because it was rocking too much. Everyone trying to get back on the ship was not happy and expressing their displeasure with the process. They finally let us on the tender that was rocking too much and we arrived back on the ship at 10:00 PM. That is a very long time to wait for a tender. We later learned that they only had two tenders running. This is unacceptable to me in the service area as we only have limited time at ports and on the ship before we have to return home to the real world. The second day we went horse back riding on the beach in beautiful Cabo. You get some great views of the water and your picture taken on you on your horse with the beach in the background. This is a great excursion to do on your second day in port. You get back to port in time to shop a little more before you get back on the ship for the last time. Our inside cabin room was plenty for us as we are not in the room much at all. The shower is very small and makes it difficult to shave your legs, but other than that there was plenty of room for two during our 11 day cruise. The bed on the other hand were awful! They were so hard and lumpy that my husband and I had to take Advil PM in order to be able to sleep. 11 days is a long time to sleep on a lumpy, hard bed! Our needs were met by our room steward everyday. We always received prompt service when requested and we had fresh ice in our ice bucket each time we returned to our room. He kept it very clean and was the only employee that we felt deserved additional tip money from us. I've had better food on other cruise lines and a menu that changed every night. They had a standard menu that never changed and the other side of the menu did change each night. I had two good pasta dishes, but other than that my taste buds were left lacking. The best meal of the day was breakfast at the buffet and I didn't get my baked Alaska that I so look forward to each time I cruise. Do yourself a favor and purchase the specialty dining package when you book this cruise. We ate at the steak house one night and the service is what we have grown to expect from the main dining room on the cruise ship and the food was excellent! I feel like I must mention as stated earlier in this review how poor the service was in both of the main dining rooms. Also, there was supposed to be a dress code in the Seven Seas dining room. However, it was not being enforced. Why do cruise lines force us to shove all of those nice clothes in a suitcase along with our casual clothes while trying to keep our luggage under 50 pounds since we have to fly to the port only to find it was totally unnecessary to begin with? Either make the entire ship cruise casual or enforce the dress code. This is very frustrating for us rule followers! The entertainment was decent. We missed the O What A Night Performance, because of the problem with our shore excursion. Most of the entertainment seemed geared for an older crowd and I have to admit that I felt like one of the youngest adults on the ship at the age of 44. The disembarkation process needs serious help! That process was the biggest mess I have ever seen. If you are going to do easy walk off at anytime and handle your own luggage you have to go down to deck 3, deck 5 is too steep for luggage. All of the no US Citizens have to go through immigration. They are told to be in the observation lounge at 6:00 AM. Yes, you guessed it people didn't follow the rules. The ship docked an hour early and we were scheduled be able to walk off the ship at 8:30 AM. They were still looking for all of the non US Citizens at 8:30. They tried many times during the 1 1/2 hours we waited from the time we docked to locate these people, but had a very hard time. We could have exited the ship early had it not been for these people. Once again the rule followers were punished for the actions of a few rule breaking people. We were able to get off the ship a little after 8:30 AM, getting a cab and over to the airport was very easy. This was our fourth cruise and we have never experienced such and unorganized lengthy disembarkation process. I'm not sure if the cruise line, port terminal, or immigration is to blame for this one. All in all we enjoined each port and I would love to return and spend more time in these lovely places. However, if I could find the same itinerary using a different cruise line I would definitely take them instead of Norwegian in hopes that the cruise line would provide a more updated ship, better customer service, better meals and more accommodating entertainment times and a comfortable bed to sleep in. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The ship is OK about 15 years old but holding up well. A lot of stress on hand sanitation which is good. Staff is very attentive unable to solve specific problems. My wife is on a low salt diet and there is really no one to help you. ... Read More
The ship is OK about 15 years old but holding up well. A lot of stress on hand sanitation which is good. Staff is very attentive unable to solve specific problems. My wife is on a low salt diet and there is really no one to help you. They can apparently only help you in the dinning rooms not at the buffet which is the efficient way to eat breakfast and lunch, service is slow in the dinning rooms, usually took almost 2 hours for dinner. For low salt they give you a menu and you have to order for the next day. There was a disconnect between placing a order and them understanding and delivering it, often came out wrong. Most of the food, buffet and dinning rooms, was very salty and jsut OK. The regular dining room menus were limited and repeated often. The other problem is that we were 2 decks under the basketball court, (deck 10, mid ship) and you could hear the ball bouncing. The court was to be open 8-8 and was tolerable then but at 11:30; PM 1:30 dn 6:30 AM was annoying to say the least. First I cant believe that this is the first problem they have had with this in 15 years. When I complained the staff was astonished that fellow passengers did not read the fine print on the daily schedule and adhere to it. There are no signs with hours on the court. Almost nightly I had to complain and eventually they sent security after a few calls and a trp down to the desk. I was told that a sign was "on order but delayed" . Somehow they were unable to get it toether to just remove the balls each night or gate the court. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Review Norwegian Sun 11 day Mexico Cruise- Debarking San Diego, CA October 24, 2015 We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Holland America, Celebrity and Princess. This will be our fifth on Norwegian and 86th cruise ... Read More
Review Norwegian Sun 11 day Mexico Cruise- Debarking San Diego, CA October 24, 2015 We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Holland America, Celebrity and Princess. This will be our fifth on Norwegian and 86th cruise overall. Embarkation : San Diego Good weather no rain. Beware if there is rain your bags are left outside and they will be and everything in them soaked. San Diego really needs to improve and fix this problem. Today was sunny so no problems. Surprisingly embarkation and check in went well for us. Can’t complain. Some others said they had a two hour wait to check in. Boarding went well for us as well, only about 50 minutes to check in. Stateroom was ready, so we left our small carryon bag and explored. The normal emergency drill was a pain but we know it has to be done. Once everyone was at their muster station they said thank you for coming and we were dismissed. By far the shortest drill we had experienced. Staterooms were clean and did not hear any complaints. Although the normal of having your room cleaned when you left by putting the “Make Up Room”, tag on the door never worked. The room stewards worked on their own schedule. We could leave the room at 8am and it might be ready around 3:30pm. If we left at 10 am it would be ready the same time. Most people we talked to said the pre paid tips left no room for improvement. Wireless internet- No free internet , but they had 4 plans to select from. Plan 1 – 250 minutes for $125.00 Plan 2 – 100 minutes $75.00 Plan 3/ unlimited $29.95 per day but must be purchased for the entire 11 day cruise. Plan 4 /Pay as you go- .95 cents per minute And don’t forget the activation fee which applied to all plans which was a one time $3.95 fee to establish. Room Service- They stated there was no charge for continental breakfast between 6:30am to 10:00am. Very basic and although it was free there was a $7.95 convenience charge. Second choice was Free coffee, tea, milk, and assorted juices between 6:30am and 10:00am. There was no additional charge for this service. All other room service included the cost, plus convenience fee and 18% gratuity. Photo Gallery- Normal photos at every part of the cruise. Embarkation photos and special occasion photos were $24.95 each. All others 8x10 were $14.95. They did offer a special of 10 photos for $149.95. Gift Shops- To be honest there was nothing reasonable for jewelry, liquor or gifts. We saw a watch that was $10. In Las Vegas for $20. In the gift shop. Barcardi Rum 1 litre $11.00 We can buy it in the store at home for $8.37. Grand Mariner 1 litre for $44.95. We can buy it for $36.50 at home. Shore Excursions-The normal, We believe they are all overpriced on the ship. For instance all you can eat shrimp fest on $104. Per person. Get off the ship at any port and you will be served a full meal of 12 large shrimp rice, beans tortillas for $6.00 to $9.00 depending on the place you visited. I could never eat enough shrimp to justify the cost. You can make your own decision if it is worth while or not. The majority purchased the excursions off the ship from certified guides. Dinner- It has been almost a year since we last cruised, but things have changed in our opinion. Maybe it is just this cruise line. They still have the complimentary dining in the two dining rooms but you will be lucky to find a decent steak. They offered one steak which was a New York Strip. No other steak options the entire cruise. Most of the meals served were stew like dishes. We believe their goal was to steer you to the specialty restaurants. They offered six options which ranged from and additional $19.95 to $29.95 per person And don’t forget the 18 % gratuity. This makes dining at the $19.95 for two a total of $47.08. The $29.95 for two would be $70.68. We did try the Le Bistro and the service and food was fantastic. It reminded me of how cruising was prior to this cruise. Most of the people we talked to loved the food and service at the specialty restaurants. The big complaint people were upset about was the additional gratuity. They had to pay the mandatory gratuity which was to cover waiters in the main dining rooms which they did not use. If they did not go to the normal free dining rooms where the gratuity had already been paid, they thought they were being double charged. One last thing, for those who remember the Captains dinner with lobster or even one midnight buffet…. Forget about it does not exist on Norwegian Cruises any longer. Service from the staff in all restaurants on board were very good. One negative to watch for. If you prepay for any specialty restaurant watch your bill!!! Again watch your bill. Several people like us were billed again for the specialty restaurant. Bar Service- First hint of a problem when we went to get a drink on the pool deck was there were no waiters. Went to the bar and ordered a drink and it was a very cold experience. Bar tender said nothing except cards made the drink and gave us the receipt. We later went to the Windjammer bar and experienced the same problem. Later went to the Sports Bar and again the same problem but worst. He actually told people to go sit down and someone would be out to get the order. All guests we talked to experienced the same problem. This went on until we learned which bartenders and staff would treat you like a guest and which bartenders would not. We simply avoided them. We saw one guy at the bar looked at the bartender and he walked into the back room. He waited there for 4-5 minutes. When the bartender did return the guy just said,” I thought you left the ship”. We heard comments like, “a little personality would be nice”, I just ordered tequila if you don’t have any were are at the dock in Mexico”, some said they would not come into the Sports Bar until after 5pm due to the poor service. If you do go on this cruise a, and go into the Sports Bar after 5pm you will receive great service form the Bartenders and wait staff. They are a great team. Names to look for Lukas, Ahoy, Susanto and Baby John. We feel we did find out what the problem was. On Norwegian they offer and Ultimate Beverage Package, which you buy upfront for the entire cruise. And off course Norwegian adds the 18% gratuity and beverage service charge of $213.80 on the package cost and states they distribute it to the crew. Several people asked the crew members if they felt they were not getting the proper amount of gratuity. Their response was that they do not get a gratuity the receive a Wage only. If this if true in the Bar area we feel this is why the bartenders and staff are rude and giving poor service. In all fairness we did find a couple of bartenders and wait staff that did give excellent service. World Series- Since we were on the cruise during the entire World Series a lot of us thought we would go to the Sports Bar and take in the game. This was a big NO!!!!……. Norwegian said they decided it was to costly and they had the right to change the games. This happened to a few of the Football games as well. Now on the other hand if you like soccer you are in heaven. They will play the soccer games 24-7. The problem is they are almost all recorded and they replay the same games 12-15 times per trip. Norwegian states they can save money this way. Oh and don’t be misled by the Sports Bar having 9 TV’s, thinking you will get 9 different games. They will only show the same game on all TVs. Bottom line, the consensus is the pre paid tipping is destroying the cruise industry as there is no incentive for the crew to go above and beyond in service. They receive no more and no less and still receive their tips so the cruise line would like you to believe. Or are they using the tips to pay low wages to increase the cruise lines profit. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I am an elite member on another cruise line and I expected (even though I was told not to by my travel agent) to get the same type of service, dining experience, and ship cleanliness as what I'm use to. I'm sorry to say NCL ... Read More
I am an elite member on another cruise line and I expected (even though I was told not to by my travel agent) to get the same type of service, dining experience, and ship cleanliness as what I'm use to. I'm sorry to say NCL lacked in all the above catagories and a whole lot more. I found out that my tips were raised a month before my cruise and I didn't know anything about it. I was told by my travel agent that NCL nichols and dimes you to death, which I found out when I ordered a cup of coffee and a conolli and the server told me that would be $4.50. I asked why and she said we charge for deserts outside the dinning area. I found that the dinner memu was lacking and mediorce at best. I also found that disembarkation was a total disaster, there were so many people crammed in the middle of the ship and you had no idea where the line started or stopped. There wasn't any security around and people started to swear and two guys almost got into a fight. On a positive note I thought the entertainment was really good and the high light of the cruise. The cruise director did not speak great english and he rotated in the middle of the cruise leaving the new CD a bit perplexed. Shore excursions were good however I will stick with the other cruise lines since I believe that NCL is dishonest and sub par at best. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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