16 day Panama Canal Cruise from Florida to Calif. Iincredibly beautiful ship, and our 1st experience w/ Haven. Embark/Disembark was a DISASTER w/ no communication re WHY we were standing 1.5 hrs. IN the Haven 'room'. Thousands ... Read More
16 day Panama Canal Cruise from Florida to Calif. Iincredibly beautiful ship, and our 1st experience w/ Haven. Embark/Disembark was a DISASTER w/ no communication re WHY we were standing 1.5 hrs. IN the Haven 'room'. Thousands of prior passengers clogging up entry curb area trying to get OFF the ship. Apparently NCL's Luggage and Passport scanners were broken, no updates given. Very confused port staff in Long Beach telling us contradictory directions. Paramedics took 2 passengers away that we saw standing in line foe almost 2 HOURS to get off. Only 2 (yes TWO) Customs officicals clearing US citizens, 4 for International, with empty desks next to them. Yes, Noroviurs was on the ship the last 4-5 days, NCL shared this w/ us, gave us phone #'s to call if exhibiting any symtoms, and they immediatly cleaned EVERYthing...pillows, ketchup bottles, all buffet lines became longer e/t staff (wearing gloves) had to HAND plates, napkins, and serve each dish. Kudos to NCL, they really tried, but it's a nasty bug ('m an RN), and they didn't share how MANY passengers had it, but we saw the Fire Trucks/Medics and TV Stations at the Long Beach Port, so it must have been bad. Our room in Haven on 17th floor w/ LARGE balcony (room for 2 chase lounges, plush blue pads, 2 brown wicker chairs & small table w/ room to spare. DIVINE! We were under the Haven Rest. so quiet 90% of the time, and kind of loud footsteps and furniture moving from 6 am ish-8 am? Great food there except the menu is the SAME every meal except for 1 'special'-(Beef Strogonoff was awesome!) Room Steward "Tito" was stellar, and courteous as is ALL staff. They dress very professionally, are ALWAYS kind, yet I didn't feel the Butler was really needed...he simply brought canapes each afternoon (too many, we finally said stop:), and did bring breakfast (w/ white table cloth) into our room which was great. Garden Buffet was wonderful; espec. Asian food, Pasta & Noodle 'Bar's, Indian food, and 8 different flavors of ice cream. It's hard to find a place to sit tho... The Navigation crew did GREAT...always great sailing, arriving in ports early or on time, updates on weather, and stellar job thru the Panama Canal. UNfortunatly the 'Narrator' spoke VERY little during our 8-9 hr. travels thru the enitre canal, and his accent made it hard to understand. What happened to the older gentleman who gave our 45 min. info. class in the Theatre the day prior? He said he's sailed 33 times, yet the next day HE didn't give the info. while going thru, but a Spanish gentleman who spoke RARELY. NCL did give us a very helpful guide (shiny, fold-up to put in pocket), but we had lots of ??'s.
WE've never seen so many elderly folks (it is an expen$ive cruise tho),w/ walkers, canes, wheelchairs and scooters everywhere. NCL should have seperate lines as these special folks clogged up lines at EVERY port necessitating a crew member to help w/ their assistive device, and them trying to go up/down steep ramps/ladders. The rest of us w a i t t e d ...A LOT. We've crusied A lot w/ other lines, and hope NCL can work w/ the ports (espec. embark/disembark) as the ship/trip were wonderful; yet bookended w/ VERY poor communication/lines/delays. (We know several missed their flights.) We'll try NCL in the future and wish them the best as they did have a tough run w/ the Noro virus. Read Less