Year Started: 1966
Ships in Fleet: 13
Summary: With the recent introduction of new ships the third biggest cruise company in the world. Free-style cruising, elaborate dining options and surprisingly good entertainment.
Regions:Caribbean, Mediterranean Western, Transatlantic
Good for: Seniors. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Bahamas, Caribbean, Eastern Seaboard
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
Good for: Value for Money. Group. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean
Good for: Teens. Children`s Programs. Families.
Good for: Group. Singles. Families.
Good for: Value for Money. Overall Service. Disabled Travelers.
Regions:Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mediterranean Western
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Group.
Regions:Eastern Seaboard, Caribbean, Bermuda
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Value for Money. Children`s Programs.
Regions:Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean
Good for: First-time Cruisers. Value for Money. Teens.
Good for: Teens. Seniors. Families.
Regions:Caribbean, Inland Waterways, Mediterranean Western, Mexico
Good for: Value for Money. Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Alaska, Caribbean, Inland Waterways, West Coast
Good for: Families. Value for Money. Teens.
MINDSET before sailing: The contract was provided AFTER payment in full (NO Refunds) and stated that everything you were sold doesn't count. Only the contract details do. The ship is not guaranteed to be seaworthy. The staff is not guaranteed to be trained. The service charge is not a tip. It's like the service charge at a catering hall. It goes to management. No wonder the staff doesn't care. They are in a service profession without any accountability, ie. tips. If a ship is quarantined, we can be charged for having to remain on the ship. I especially liked the paragraphs that pointed out we can't sue but if we do, you are responsible for nothing and suits can be filed in Fl under Maritime law. We are not on a fishing boat. We are on a cruise that cost a whole lot of money and is supposed to provide us with the products and services we were told we would receive. The responsibility to create an enjoyable atmosphere and clean environment rests with you, no matter what the contract says. It was certainly a downer. It felt like we werebait and switch victims before we started.
The embarkation was simple because I walk with a cane so we bypassed the main line. There was no staff to greet and direct us upon boarding.
The steward was not a happy person and our room was not cleaned until the afternoon each day. Day 1: We had sour milk in our coffee maker's water reservoir and hadn't been set up for coffee with supplies. My brother's room had not been cleaned properly. Used tampons were in his bathroom garbage! There was no instruction to know you had to put your card in for electricity. What about charging stuff when you are out of your room? Shouldn't the steward greet each person to welcome us and explain the procedures and timing? We came back to our room at 12:30 and found our room still not made up. We had to leave again. Twice we stayed on the balcony while he worked on our room. We had to work around him. I don't think my cruise experience should work that way. My father's steward was friendly, efficient and answered questions which is how I was able to inform the other 6 rooms in our group how the electricity worked. Their stewards hadn't told them either.
Restaurants: We were very unhappy with the crowds in the Cafe - the noise, the poor food, no choices, no seasoning, waiting to find seats. The fried chicken still had hair on it and the Romainian guy in charge said that's the way it comes ?!? The buffet staff allowed things to run out then wouldn't let you know if someone was going to backfill it. The flavor of the food and desserts was not existent. Moderno's was delicious. Our large group enjoyed the opportunity to dine on excellent food together. I question the reservation policy since we were told we could only come at 5:30 and the group we were traveling with was told only 6:15, I think. The dining room remained half empty for most of our time there. This is certainly not run like a restaurant to reserve and turn tables. The only complaint was beverage refills. The sushi restaurant took forever for 4 sushi rolls and again slow or no beverage refills. The Uptown Grill had a nice staff but NO SALT for breakfast ?!? Why? We enjoyed the food and service in Savor 3x. Excellent.
The reservation system blocked out any opportunity to eat in the main dining rooms until 8:45 each night. The shows changed times when we departed NY throwing off our schedule. Most shows were already blocked out just like dining reservations. Nothing was "Freestyle" on this cruise. It was TOO CROWDED!! You couldn't enjoy anything on the outside decks. No room. The deck chair areas were barely passable. We couldn't get into the tiny pools. 4000 people and pools could probably hold 200.
Handicap accessibility was poor. The hallways were TOO NARROW !! It was a matter of taking turns in the doorway nooksfor people to walk through in different directions. Anyone with a stroller, walker, motorized scooter or wheelchair was at the mercy of the cleaning carts and the room service food that never got picked up. I watched a woman who HAD to escort her father so he could get around. His narrow scooter could not pass the carts. She had to pull the carts into the doorway nooks so he could squeeze past. She said her mother had a wider scooter and could not fit through. I donâ€™t know if her mother was on the cruise but that should be criminal if she was confined to her room. Personally, it was painful to have to walk sideways to pass the carts. I estimated the hallway width to be slightly over 3 feet which is the size of a hallway in my home and a bit less than 2 feet with the cart in place. It was an obstacle course. An obese woman with a cane barely got through. It had to be embarrassing.
CLEANLINESS: I had to point out to a young lady in a gown for pictures that she had to lift her gown to keep from getting dirty on the breakfast food that was on the floor, having been bumped off the plate that had been there for over 8 hours. I called down to have someone retrieve it and they took only that plate, leaving 3 others in the same hallway!
ROOMS: The rooms hold 4 people but the balconies only have room for 2 chairs. Smokers made it disgusting to try to be on our balcony and when we were enroute back to NY, we smelled marijuana.
RAID: Before the ship left Bermuda, our friend's 75 year old mother had her room raided by Bermuda police looking for marijuana!!
Really, A 75 year old is your suspect? She was too frail to have left the ship, yet they accused her of buying pot in port. They opened her safe and searched her room, forcing her and her 70 year old friend to sit while they did. She was told the next day that other rooms were searched also because of a complaint about smoke from her balcony's vicinity. My friends were incredulous when we came back to tell them the room is subject to unwarranted search, especially when we told them how many balconies were so close together, how small they were and the wind currents made it impossible to determine a particular path. Guess there's no Bill of Rights on the ship or in Bermuda.
There was too much "Big Brother" with our cards for my taste. You could tell when we were in our rooms, at a show or restaurant, at the activities, etc.
None of the entertainment was at the level we expect on a cruise. Rock of Ages is completely inappropriate on a family cruise. The day of the show was when they pointed out it was not kid friendly, yet kids were allowed in. Sex acts, beastiality and the language did not belong in a show on a family cruise. This info wasn't available when making the reservations. WHY?? There was no info about the shows to know about reserving them. Burn the Floor was the most impressive but of course we were blocked out of most of the others. The Magician was not "Amazing" and most of his humor went over the heads of my pre-teens and even our older teens in the group. The drinks we received at a quiet bar area during the day were tasty. The ones we received at the Theatre were not. They were watered down or had no liquor. A waiter in the Theatre was very accommodating and went to make me a Mexican coffee. He was the most accommodating person we encountered outside the Savor Restaurant. The timing for events we wanted to participate in always conflicted with other things so we didn't get to them. There was little to nothing on the days in port for those who couldn't or weren't going ashore. I remember a lot of Infomercial type offerings.
INFORMATION: The staff was content with not knowing answers, especially about our ONE port of call. We received a bus ferry Xerox copy without the information required to read it. When I went back, I was given the real flyer which showed there were multiple pages, including explanations and information that was not copied on the handouts at point of sale for the transportation passes. Any questions were blown off if you were not buying an excursion. There's only one port. Why isn't there a rack with flyers and brochures for the area?
Even though the NCL app was recommended for groups to communicate with each other on board, it required everyone pay a fee and it didn't work. How about making the voicemails in your room accessible from ship phones so everyone can call in to meet up without additional fees? Make it easier for families and large groups to choose cruising, not harder.
Nobody on the general staff smiled. These people must be miserable working for NCL. At least we had a reasonable time because we were with so many family and friends and knew we were going home again.
This cruise was the biggest disappointment I have ever had in cruising. The food quality was absolutely the worst I have ever had. The service in the two main dining rooms was abysmal to say the least from long wait for the food to plain inefficiency. The food on the buffet was not even up to MacDonalds quality and the food in the two main dining rooms was worst than poor. The food in Bogie's Steakhouse was passable. The entertainment was very good and my cabin steward Jason di an outstanding job. I have taken approximately 20 cruise throughout my life and this one was far and away the worst. Freestyle cruising is just another excuse to add extra charges and price gouge.
First time with NCL's, not my last. I loved our suite, sailing was uneventful, comfortable ship but hated the smokiness on deck 6, really ruins any attempt of playing the odds for me. Food was a b - b in the freestyle restaurants. I am over 60's and fit in with this crowd and was even on the younger side. My opinion, younger cruisers should go with another line. Staff was gracious and our butler Flor was great. Virginia was the concierge and she was very accommodating also. Ease on and off ship was nice, perk of being in a suite. No other way to go!!
Quebec City!!! Tres belle - tres bien!! We loved every minute of it...it was entertaining, comfortable balcony state room made it scenic, and the food was phenominal.
For those of you driving into Boston, parking while on the cruise is an issue. A cruise companion suggested a package deal on stay123.com - we picked the Best Western in Quincy, car remains there, and the free shuttle got us to the pier at about 12noon we were IN our cabin by 1230. We loved our family suite on the 10th deck. Spacious and the dual sinks were fabulous. Our butler Gary took great care of our needs, champagne on ice added to the luxe!
We had lunch at Cagneys, slow svc but good food. We were seated at 8pm for lobster dinner,which took about an hour to serve,lobster was fine. Waiter was a little weird, flaky, maybe high? For the rest of the trio we chose the Aqua dining room instead. When we got to the room at 2pm,our bags were waiting for us.
We ate at Bamboo and La Cucina - extra fees but worth it. We really enjoyed the "Neil Diamond"performance.
Room svc breakfast most days was outstanding! Lobster in Portland was great!ll van tour in Halifax with a local guide.
Quebec City took hours - we should have used the concierge. The Dawn docked far away from old town. There were 3 other ships in that day. We checked into our hotel and them explored the lower and upper town areas. What a beautiful city.
We flew back to Boston Logan and the same Best Western picked us up to get back to our car. The whole trip was seamless. We loved the cruise were impressed by the condition of the Dawn. The service was outstanding.
Here is the review I sent to the CEO of NCL, Kevin Sheehan. Below that is another matter of greater importance that you should read before considering NCL.
The Balcony Room was beautiful, but space management was poor. 2 people navigating around the room to get dressed and such is a problem. The person who cleaned our room (9566) was inconsistent at best. Polite, but the little things were missed consistently. My wife had to stir her coffee 3 mornings in a row with her toothbrush as no coffee stirrers were left. The room was never vacuumed and crumbs, lint and such were on the floor the entire trip. One morning when I was showering there was no Shower Gel in the dispenser leaving me to shower with shampoo. The quality of the Turn Downs at night was unprofessional. The bed was wrinkled and such. Not nearly the quality as Carnival Cruise Lines. Upon arriving on the ship our room had no Towel Animal on the bed, nor did it the first 2 days. This is a nice welcoming touch that leaves a lasting impression on new cruisers. On Carnival youare also greeted with a Welcome Basket of Bathroom Supplies like Razors and such. Great Advertising and Co-branding. The inventory in the refrigerator was incomplete and there were lot's of missing items. We told Guest Services and they assured us it would be taken care of. The Room Porter told us this was because they were throwing expired items away and it would be taken care of. We constantly throughout the trip had to note improper inventory to guest services and check our bill to ensure proper billing. Some of the inventory list, like Nuts and Cappuccino was never stocked.
The Venetian and Aqua Dining Rooms also had Food Quality and Service issues. The food was staged properly, but arrived cold at times. The Deserts were a disappointment. Even Chocolate night. I can never remember being on a cruise and not remembering one eventful meal or desert. We only remember Lunch Appetizers the first day in the Venetian. The Calamari and Vietnamese Egg Rolls were great. The Coconut Souffle one night was fantastic. My wife constantly wanted to go to the Buffet. She hates Buffets, but honestly the quality of the food on the Buffet was superior to the Dining Room. Except for the Pizza. Undercooked crust and inconsistent sauce and ingredient distribution. At times the Staff at both venues seemed disorganized and confused. Three times they delivered wrong meals going from table to table asking if it was their meals.
The Help on board was very Polite, but should make more of an attempt to "Connect" with guest that they come in contact with on a daily basis. On Carnival we were "Anytime Dining", but Employees we came in contact with on a regular basis made a connection with us. We have pictures with several and over a year later remember their names and quality of service.
Signing up for the Presumed Murdered Show was a disaster. A long disorganized line of unhappy guest not knowing where or how to navigate the system. They could have used a system like at banks with the ribbon roping and signage to help.
There was one woman who seemed in charge of activities running the Bingo. I walked over to her and asked the pricing well before the event and was told I should sit down and wait as everybody would be told at the same time. She then walked away. VERY RUDE AND UNPROFESSIONAL. We never attended Bingo the entire Cruise due to that. Lost Revenue for NCL.
One note on the description of the 24 hour "Food Court" on the Dawn. It seemed more like a description of a Mall Food Court with many 24 hour Food Type Options, Food Stations and Self Seating as opposed to small "Comfort Food Restaurant". Also, we went early one Morning (around 6:30am) to get Breakfast as the Dining Room and Buffet were not open yet. We were told that there was no "Food" until 7am as the Cooks were not ready to do Breakfast that early. We could have only Coffee and Pastry. If that is your only non-Room Service 24 Hour Venue "Food" should be available 24-7.
On the Entertainment there was was change of Venue on a show that could have been better advertised, but that is minor. The Second City Group was great, but an early show had a "Blow Up Doll" skit in it that I heard many parents "explaining off" to young children. This was not a late or adult show. Perhaps a warning on the signage about possible adult material. 99% of the crowd was laughing hysterically, but that 1% may have an issue.
The ship was not as "Sparkling Clean" as most. From a health standard it was fine, but dirty windows, stains on carpeting, fingerprints on mirrors and such lead people to believe the important health standards are also not met. We did not as we could see the important things seemed done. Again lasting impressions.
I dot not want to sound all negative. I understand that this was the first Bermuda Trip of the season out of Boston and things need tweaking. Several things were Great, but outlining those does not help NCL address the things we and other guests we spoke to felt were lacking and would effect Guest Loyalty. The Captain and Crew should be commended for their handling of the ship through the huge waves and winds to Bermuda. Although we could feel the motion it was far superior to most cruise lines. As stated earlier the food on the Buffet was far superior to other cruise lines. The Entertainment was also Great. Far Superior to other cruise lines. The Movie availability and quality in the room was fantastic. PLEASE put the Movie Schedule in your daily activity handout though as the channel with the information display it every 20 minutes. The Bed was Comfortable and Huge. The Bathroom was well laid out. Storage was plentiful. The Coffee Maker was a nice touch. We would have liked to experienced other Dining Options on the Cruise back, but due to my tooth injury that was not an option. Perhaps that experience would have left a better impression on our "Dining Opinions".
**As a note one week after coming home we received a credit card charge for $12.08 for 2 beers that were not re-stocked in the Wet Bar. We informed both the Porter and Guest Services, but were still charged. Several calls to Chase and NCL got the charge removed.**
More importantly is how NCL treats Guests with issues. We dined at the Captains Table on the 23rd. I bit down on a piece of buttered bread and there was a hard foreign object in it that broke my tooth. Yes, right in front of the Captain. NCL sent me to a Dentist on Bermuda who could not fix it. I was assured the matter would be handled. When I got home I contacted NCL Claims. She referred me to Holly Hasselman. After 5 weeks of documenting everything I got a registered letter stating NCL found no liability on their part. I have since sought out Legal Counsel. NCL didn't even address the full day we lost in Bermuda, nor the lost enjoyment of the cruise. If this is the way NCL chooses to treat their Guests then my wife and I will vote with our feet and use other Cruise Lines. Our best advice to Cruise Critic Members is to stay away from NCL as they really could care less about you after they have money in hand.
Subjectectiviry is te name of the game here but for yours truly at least, everything came together to make this by far, the best of the four cruises on which I've ever traveled.
The fact that this was a Crusiemates Cruise had a ton to do with it's success, of course, but we were all so saddedened when our host Trip and her husband Bruse had to leave and fly back because of illness. Thankdfully they are both well along the road to recvery. That being the casew, there remained so many other positive facets.
Let's break it down into sections with my cabin mate being first. I was honored to share a handicappped cabin with Curisemate's famous Patriarch, Ray Boudreaux not to mentntion being a guest in his home. Ray as many of you know, is one in a million and his family, especially daughter Celeste, is not far behind.
Our cabin was as a handicapped cabin; large bright, airy and had a quite large balcony that easily incorporated Ray's scooter which truly surprised me. Additionally, the large shower sported a fold down bench seat if necessary along witn a folddown towel rack. It was significantly larger than the standard "wave" cabin. Heaven knows there was tons of drawer and hanging space.
One of our party had the single supplement cabin and to be quite honest, while being despite being small, still sported a full sized bed and had very interesting mood lighting.
Of course the cruise was made by Chef Matt Sigel of Hell's Kitchen Fame who along wit his lovely wife did not only didn't plate a "nibble" of his creations on several occasions as is de regeur but provided what amounted to a complete meal which was both an unexpected and pleasant change! Not only are Matt and his wife likeable people they hung out with us throughout the cruise.
There is no doubt that Matt will shortly enjoy being a top culinary draw in his own venue. Better yet he is a born instructor and keeps ones interest glued to his entire presentation.
While outwardly (to me at least) probably the ugliest vessel to ever sail the seven seas, one doesn't usually stand and watch a ship pass by. What the ship offers in entertainment and attractions more than makes up for it's outward appearance and is enough to keep one occupied for two or three weeks. While most of the restaurants are "extra charge, the fee is certainly not exorbitant and I well worth it. That being the case, O'Sheehan's and the main dining rooms plate outstanding meals if you're either on a budget or elect not to utilize the almost twenty other restaurants.
Thanks to Matt and Cruisemates own Editor, Paul Motter, complete tours were conducted of both the galley and the bridge replete with introductions to Captain and high ranking staff. Most galley tours are conducted between meals when one can't see what is really going on or "get the feel." The tour Matt and the Head Chef provided were right in the middle of dinner service and that is in and of itself, something not to be believed.
In essence, as the Epic being prologue, Norwegian Cruise Lines will certainly become a future consideration for this cruiser.
And if you truly want an extra special time, you truly must cruise upon a Cruisemates Cruise. You will be certainly glad that you did!
Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Star by Shelly Vavrin Western Caribbean February 5, 2012
Don't bother to go on this ship. It is dated, worn, complicated to get around, balcony's are a joke, room service was not eatable, and the bathrooms are made for midgets. Getting on board was lines and waiting. Open buffets were located in areas that make a high school cafeteria look like a 5 star restaurant. The staff was not knowledgeable about where things were located. You needed a map to get around the ship and had to go up and over and down to get to some locations. Scooters for handicapped passengers were left in the hallways outside their rooms, creating difficulty in walking down the halls with passengers coming in the other direction. The balcony was small, very worn, dirty floor, room for two chairs and a tiny table. Room service food was totally disgusting and not worth it. The specialty restaurants were empty and constantly pushed on you. I was well when I boarded the ship but after a few days got a respiratory infection and two weeks later still had a cough. The ship knewthere was a virus on board and had people at locations to wash your hands "washy washy", give me a break, we aren't in kindergarten! The shops were way overpriced and nothing compared to the Carnival Legend that we sailed on in November 2011 out of Tampa. The bathroom was big enough for a midget. If you are handicapped in anyway, forget it. The service in the restaurants was slow and the staff like machines. We have cruised several types of ships and NCL, particularly Star will never ever see us again. Save your money and don't bother...
BEWARE. We booked with Norwegian for a cruise in January 2014 and two days after they changed the full itinerary (all of the ports of call were changed). When we called to discuss the issue of the full itinerary change, they kept telling me I booked the wrong cruise. I eventually spoke to a manager and showed proof of the cruise I originally booked and what it was changed to. We were then promised that our rates would be locked in by the manager, Kathy.
I received a phone call a few days later advising that our rates would not be locked in, and if we wanted to move to another ship with the itinerary that we originally booked, we would have to pay almost double the rates. They refused to do anything for us except possibly giving a total of a $300 on-board credit. $300 does not even come close to making up for the rate changes and all of the trouble we dealt with.
We have since cancelled our cruise. We booked the original itinerary, because we had never been to those ports of call. They then changed the wholeitinerary to ports of call that we had sailed to previously. I was told by three different people at Norwegian that I had booked the wrong cruise and didn't know what I was talking about. Then we were promised our rates would be locked in when speaking with a manager, and then they weren't. Basically, we were told we were stupid and then we were lied to.
I have no idea what sailing on Norwegian is like, and now I will never know. After this booking experience and complete itinerary change, myself and my family will never attempt to sail with Norwegian again. Very, very disappointing.
I so looked forward to this cruise. My trip of a life time. Beautiful ship VERY NICE crew. But the food was terrible only good place to eat was the Cadilac diner. And even that was not that good. I got fish and chips and it was RAW ! The buffet food all tasted alike. When we met people they all complained of the food. We all headed to Mc Donalds one day.
Our cabin was NOT very clean. As a matter of fact we had a dirty glass in our cabin when I put it out to be cleaned it was returned to our cabin still dirty. We found a laundry tag in our closet from JULY 2011 now our cruise was October 2012 also a nasty bobby pin in the shower my hair is short and I do not use bobby pins. There wasn't much to do at night after the show.
And don't waste your $ on a balcony. All you see are trucking yards when you dock.plus the man in the next cabin kept leaning over into our balcony looking into our balcony and roomand he smoked so all the smoke came into our cabin.
Oh and DO NOT book the hotel that they offer. If you get in on Friday night all the pre cruise stuff is over and after the cruise they make you wait till 3:00 in the afternoon NO earlier to get a room key. The lady that works at the hotel for NCL is RUDE. Now I am not hard to please but this was not a good cruise. And there were at least six other couples that we made friends with that felt the same way.
Will say that Tim Kaminski ( comedian ) was FANTASTIC !!!!!! Lots of fun games and the crew was great. Just wish they had more things to do at night for younger folks ( under 60)
Just experienced a wonderful cruise to Greece aboard the Jade. I can't say enough good things about the Staff our accomadations and Food this Ship offered. I would recommend Norwegian Cruise Line to anyone looking for a first class experience.