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Age: 54


Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Jewel

Sailing Date: 2011-01-2

Itinerary: eastern caribbean

I recently returned from a cruise aboard NCL, Norwegian Cruise Line. NCL could also stand for: “Never a Cruise so Lousy”. (I give credit for this to an elegant French gentleman we shared breakfast with). The standard of this cruse line seems to be mediocre, including the food, entertainment, the ship and the quality of service.

The so-called “Freestyle” dining is a farce. Unless you go to dinner within 30 minutes after the dining room opens, be prepared to wait up to an hour to be seated. The food was bland, the vegetables overcooked, the meats tough. This did not seem to be restaurant quality food that I have experienced on other cruise lines. It was more institutional type, what one would see in a hospital or corporate cafeteria. The chicken soup had no chicken in it. I received watermelon slices that just consisted of the rind. The ice cream was crystallized. The buffet contained rotten pears and black bananas. The orange juice was watered down. The chicken-wings were tainted. Our traveling companions’ son got food poisoning with severe diarrhea. To make matters worse, NCL charged them in excess of $100 to be examined by their medical staff. Four other passengers that I spoke with also became ill from this as well. So, STAY AWAY FROM THE CHICKEN WINGS.

The stateroom was adequate, though on the small side. The lighting is poor. All of the bulbs are about 50 watts, which makes reading at night impossible

The ships’ company singers and dancers were so poor that it became entertaining in a humorous way with missed queues, dancers tripping and near collisions with each other. I’ve seem better productions at my son’s grammar school.

Before every meal and shore leave, you are asked to clean your hands. Now all cruise lines have this as ask you to use a dispenser. On NCL, the hosts are holding a spray bottle with alcohol, much like a western outlaw packing a six-shooter. They then yell out in a condescending manner, “washy-washy,” and proceed to shoot your hands with an accuracy that would rival the Sundance Kid. What I can’t understand is that with all their attention to keeping the passengers sterilized, you would think they would make more of an effort TO KEEP THEIR SHIP CLEAN. The windows were dirty, not only outside from the ocean spray, but food smudges on the inside. We constantly found dirty dishes with dried food or lipstick stuck to the glass or dish. The mirror in our stateroom was spotty. Our table has an animated discussion with the waiter debating whether the black object in the water was dirt or a fly. The waiter smiled and stated that it looked like a fly. The tables and chairs in the Blue Lagoon café was so sticky, we used our napkins as an impromptu table cloth. We observed broken windows, hallway lights flickering, and hoses left unattended on deck. The flow of the ship is poor. Since there are, I believe, 10 specialty restaurants, they take away passageways and cozy alcoves. It also takes away from the outside deck. Walking around the deck, you are forced to walk single-file in many spots, which makes walking arm and arm with your sweetheart difficult. The casino is not closed in, and the cigarette smoke from it flows into the adjoining lounges. The Service: What I find completely inexcusable is the attitude of their staff. On all other cruise lines, everyone, from the officers to the deck hands all great you with a grand “hello” or “good morning.” On NCL, we only received a plastic smile and occasional hello. When I was forced to ask a waiter about anything, instead of an apology, I always received some sort of excuse, like, “the kitchen is backed up,” or “we had to go to the other deck for that” and other excuses that didn’t even make sense to me. When we pointed out the dirty dishes to the café manager, his reply was, “Well the dishwashing machine can’t be expected to clean everything.” When they kept everyone waiting for an hour to disembark at San Juan, they stated it was the San Juan port management not clearing the ship. The fact was that over 2000 people were attempting to leave the ship going through two checkpoints each with a defective card scanner, causing the staff to have to scan your ID card two and three times until it read it correctly. I have one piece of advice. NCL charges you $12 per person a day for tips. You can opt out of that if you go to the service desk on the last day. Be prepared to wait in line however. My recommendation, cruise on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity or Holland America. Don’t use NCL.

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