Don & Beth McGee Line
Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Crown
Sailing Date: October 7th, 2003
Itinerary: Canada/New England
Don & Beth McGee
We took part in the Norwegian Cruise Line Seminar at
Sea onboard the Norwegian Crown (formally Orient Lines Crown Odyssey). The ships
itinerary was 11 days from Baltimore to Quebec, Canada. The Seminar at Sea
portion was conducted by one of NCL's District Sales Manager, and was limited on
time so we received about two hours of training out of the entire cruise.
The best start of this review is to say that the cruise was a mystery cruise.
We began the cruise with most passengers staying in the Sheraton or Hyatt hotels in Baltimore Inner Harbor for the 1st night, this was due to the previous cruise returning a day late due to the entanglement of a fishing net in one of their propellers. Here NCL did a good job of taking care of their passengers, we were provided with a hotel room, dinner, breakfast, hospitality room, and transportation to the ship, in addition a $100/cabin shipboard credit plus 1/11th of the cost of the cruise deducted. As could be expected some people where upset that we did not depart on time and they figured that the rebates and credits were not sufficient for their need to say in Baltimore an extra day-boo hoo.
The boarding did leave somewhat to be desired but that seems to be the same of all ships and their boarding process. Latitude members didn't mean anything, as all they did was put you in a line called Latitudes and just intermixed you with the general boarding, it was slower than general boarding....
Once onboard the ship we went to our cabin and was pleasantly surprised, we were located on the 3rd deck, outside with portholes, and amidships, next to the ships sickbay--convenient but fortunately we had no need for its use, sickbay, not the cabin. The cabin had two beds that normally cannot be put together but our wonderful cabin steward was able to arrange them together, none of the other cabins on that deck could be so arranged from what the passengers we talked to had to say, maybe the aloha spirit got to him.
The ship is vintage but this did not prevent the Crown from being clean as NCL spent a lot of time and money bringing it in from Orient Lines. The onboard movie theater was closed for renovations but that was the only area of the ship closed. Public areas were somewhat lacking compared to the newer larger ships. From the Top of the Crown to the Stardust Showroom, the ship was beautiful, the SPA of course was fantastic. The main dining room Seven Seas was located on deck 6 (maybe should have been called 6 seas) with the buffet line on deck seven in the Yacht Club, The Le Bistro, ChopSticks, and Pasta were the specialty restaurants, all from passenger comments were very good.
The mystery cruise---As noted we departed a day late, which caused the cancellation of the ship calling on the port of Sidney NS, Canada, the decision of the staff to cancel this port was the first of many good decisions made during the cruise. We departed Baltimore and enjoyed the first day at sea only to learn that Hurricane Juan was apparently going to create a possible problem for us so we entered the port of Boston as our first port of call (rather than our last). This created difficulty for our schedule but the port was great and we toured historic Boston as part of a ships tour that was well worth taking. While in Boston we learned that Hurricane Juan hit Halifax NS, had we been on original schedule we had been scheduled to be there at that time. Because of Halifax damage it was decided to go to Bar Harbor, Maine next --- Bar Harbor was terrific, one of the best ports on the cruise. Don't miss eating lobster in one of the small restaurants in the town, it was inexpensive and delicious. While in Bar Harbor we took a ship's tour to Acadia National Park, here we begin to see some color change and this tour was one of the best of those we took, certainly would highly recommend it to anyone. We left Bar Harbor and the next decision the ships staff made was disappointing but understandable - thanks to Hurricane Juan the seas were rough going to Quebec and reports from other ships departing was that the going was slow and rough, so cancel the port of call to Quebec. Now add back in Sidney, plus St. John, and Newport, Rhode Island. Next stop we called on St. John a wonderful sea port, here we once again took a tour and found it to be very good. Leaving St. John we headed for Halifax took a tour to Peggy's Cove and the seaport of Halifax seeing the destruction of hurricane Juan. We then went to Sidney, here we could see why it was originally cancelled, nice seaport but could have done without seeing it or going on the tour we took. Off to Newport, R.I. this was a terrific port of call, we tendered in but the tendering process was smooth and without trouble. In Newport we took the Vanderbilt's Newport tour, a good tour if you like ostentatious summer cottages (as they called them), where the people who built them surely thought they were Kings and Queens. All of the changes in arrangements of our pre-booked tours was handled efficiently by the tour desk.
Our arrival in Baltimore was about 3:00 am, and hard to believe that with freestyle cruising you have to sit around and sit around and sit around waiting to disembark, the ancient method of color coding your luggage tags is still being used, we didn't get off the ship until after 10:30 am, but we were in no rush as our flight home was not until the next morning. We were able to eat in the regular dining rooms. After departing the ship we checked into our hotel and went to the inner harbor to take****** The Duck Tour****** This tour is not to be missed, an excellent tour of the inner harbor, one of the most fun tours we have been on. They supply each person with a duck call and as you all travel around town the energetic, comical narrator with loud amusing music pouring from loud speakers encourages everyone to use the call almost constantly and wave when he is not speaking. Some of the shop owners use their duck calls "back at ya'.....
Freestyle cruising was new to most of the crew and they are still working out all the bugs with it.
Ship -- Excellent
Shore Excursions - Very Good
Meals - Very Good, menu does need improvement for an 11 day cruise
Cabins - Ours was just fine
Good, slow to provide information at times and of course conflicting information
from various staff members who just
seemed to make it up.
Shows - Very Good, the magic acts could have been fewer.
Staff - Very Good - If you purchase the unlimited soda card expect that the wait staff will not be overly friendly nor to return to offer you another drink... It is a good buy if you drink soda, but do be prepared for a somewhat different treatment by the wait staff.....
Onboard Shops --- Limited merchandise
Casino - typical onboard ships casino --- slots, blackjack, roulette, dice, etc.
Activities - limited, used to more activities on other cruises - typical offerings - art auctions, bingo, golf putting, trivia, cards.
Night Clubs acts - ok, would have been nice to see other than just music, such as comedy acts.
Tipping - taken
automatically from you onboard account - this work well, however service appears
to been somewhat less than before.
Improvements - communications, embarkation/disembarkation, night club acts, activities.