Cruising is what you make it. Whether NCL, RCL, CCL, Celebrity etc. I thought I would include a few reviews of the Pearl cruise that several passengers just came off of. They stated that this was the best cruise ever, and YES they did it on an NCL ship. So everyone out there doesn't think NCL is bad. It is sad to believe the negative remarks. We have never had a bad cruise experience on NCL, and will leave in 48 hours for the Pearl. Here's what others had to say.
Hi I am also just back from the 1/19/07 cruise.
You couldn't have asked for a better cruiseits was the best one of all that I have taken so far . I agree with Cruisincarrie as she said everything I would of said except we did book our excursions thru the ship (which were more expensive) but I am still paranoid about getting back on time before sailing (had a close call several times before). We made dinner reservations after the first nite of trying to get into the main dinning room so we went to Mambos and booked something for several nites Even by booking these reservations it was still hard to get the exact times we wanted. We booked at Mambos (Mexican), Teppanyaki (Japanese), La Cucina ( Italian) (which we cancelled due to too much rum punch on the Jolley Roger in Barbados) and also in the main dinning room Summer Palace for several nites. We did not book anything for Indigo(second dining room) but did get in (just two of us) on two occassions but after 8:30 at nite. One nite we did eat in the buffet (no reservations need) because we were running between shows. We ate breakfast in Summer Palace without reservations also. So definitely if you want the speciality restaurants then you must reserve and as soon as possible as I heard after the first couple of days some of the speciality restaurants were not taking any reservations (like La Cucina) We also had a midnight snack one nite in Blue Lagoon which was very good also.(no reservations)
Again the staff on board and even the captain (who I met) was very personable and was eager to please. I think this is what made this cruise so enjoyable. I was ready to book on board for the new NCL ship coming later this year the Gem as a lot of the staff on the Pearl were transferring over to it.
My hat is off to NCL this time for such an all round wonderful job.
We were on the 1/19 sailing. We had my parents (in their early 60's), my DH and I (early 30's) and our two daughters (6 yrs. and almost 2). Keep in mind that these are just our opinions (and they will vary depending on who you ask).
Give us the most recent low down. Any sickness?
I am not aware of any sickness on board. They did an excellent job with making sure that everyone was using their hand sanitizers. We did not eat off of the buffet much, however, since I did see some people picking up food with their hands or licking their fingers or coughing and then using the tongs. It was gross, but no different than a buffet anywhere else. We stuck to the other restaurants.
Any specific dos or don'ts?
- make your restaurant reservations as soon as you board. You can always change or cancel them later.
-get to the show the first night early if you want to see it
-eat in the specialty restaurants
-ask if Suresh Kumar is still in the Blue Lagoon/Mambo's area and ask to be seated in his section (tell him that Emma and Lily sent you)
-make your shore excursion plans before you leave and see if you can use some of the local guides for a more personal experience
-try to show up to the specialty restaurants without reservations
-hog chairs by the pool if you aren't going to use them
Favorite ports? / excursions?
We loved Dominica and Antigua. We used Reyno for a tour in Dominica and it was awesome. We swam in the Emerald Pool and saw all the highlights of this unspoiled island. Your teens might like the river tubing/ziplining tour. It looked fun. I would definitely use Gordon from Antigua Beach Runner Xcursions to plan a day for you. He was so friendly and prompt. We went to Long Bay Beach and loved it. He may recommend a different beach since you have teens and we have young kids. He's the one to ask.
Thoughts on which nights to eat where?
Lobster night is the first sea day, so you can eat anywhere if you are looking for lobster. I wouldn't spend money on a surcharge restaurant on that night. The seas got a bit rough on the way back Friday, so there weren't many people in Cagney's that night. Other than that, we found that we loved Mambo's (try the El Popo). We also all enjoyed La Cucina and Teppanyaki. We were split on the Lotus Garden. We didn't try Le Bistro since we aren't big fans of French cuisine, but heard it was very good.
Will be onboard in 16 days; mini-suite on deck 11 (we have teenagers).
I would love to tell you about the mini-suite, but we are cheap, so I can only dream of a suite!
Wanna know your thoughts! You will have a great time. The staff was wonderful. There weren't many teens on our sailing, but the ones that were on always seemed to be having a good time.
I hope you were able to find something helpful in that. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Have a great time!!!
Richard & Mary
The Pearl does not belong to the NCL America Subsidary and THAT is the difference!!!! The International crew seems to get htings done much better......
maybe I am interpreting things incorrectly but I think the predominently Hawaiian crew misunderstands how working on a cruise ship really works..... OK cruiselines are not the Salvation Army but if you don't like it LEAVE IT... You may leave at any port - at your own expence of course if you leave during a certain period but you may leave. The real problem is todays youth have no stamina!!! These softies have forgotten how to grit their teeth and finish a job no matter how bad......
In answer to Jim and Dave, yes, a certain (very high) percentage of the crew on NCL America ships must be American, due to the good ol' Jones Act, which Congress has not yet rescinded. Also due to Congressional action, NCL America is the only cruise line so far authorized to sail all-Hawaii cruises, without being required to include a foreign port on each itinerary. And Moeve, I think it's not just young people (though perhaps more of them than older ones) that "have no stamina." Sad to say, I think Americans in general are not used to working the long, hard hours required of a cruise ship crew, and in any case, many who do apply for those jobs do so out of some romantic notion of how much "fun" it would be to work on a cruise ship and "see the world" (or see Hawaii in this case.) They just don't realize what's involved - and if they did, NCL wouldn't have enough applicants for the jobs, I guess.
As a fellow travel agent with only 10 years experience, I am aghast that the OP didn't know some very basic things about NCL's Hawaii cruises, and was unaware of the complaints about service. Perhaps he isn't a cruise specialist? Virtually all TAs I know are aware of the complaints, though not all have had such a negative experience as he writes about.
Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression. On the one first impression I experienced with the lack of service on the Dawn, (and this is not an American Crew)I would be hard pressed to spend money on another NCL cruise. NOt to mention the terrible food along with bad entertainment. It is the only cruise I have been on that I could not wait for it to end! Now I see why some agencies will not book NCL anymore.
...it is actually the jones act, but who cares what these acts are called.
i don't understand why the NCL America crew is complaining about long hours, not enough tip etc.
the international crew on the other ship have the same tipping policy and they don't complain...PLUS they work 10 months straight where as the NCL America crew work a maximum of 5 months AND get 12 months salary, which the international crew doesn't.... i could go on and on...
in order to work on NCL america you have to be either american citizen or green card holder (and only a certain percentage of green card holders are allowed).
Originally posted by Travel Agent:
Earlier I posted a very brief synopsis of the 3) We paid for two balconied rooms. This was done so that while we were in dock we would have a beautiful view and be able to enjoy breakfast outside on our balcony. After all, since the ship sails at night and there is no view except that of blackness, this is the only reason to pay almost double the price of an inside cabin or an obstructed view cabin. However, for the entire cruise, our view consisted of rusted corrugated metal walls that totally blocked any view of anything other than rusted metal. I spoke to “Haley” at reception
about this problem and it was explained to me that the captain usually alternates sides of the ships in port so that this doesn’t happen. Even after expressing our disgust that on our sixth morning aboard we still were looking at rusted metal walls, nothing was done. So that was our deluxe balcony stateroom view for the entire trip – filthy, rusted corrugated metal walls. If in fact that this was the Captain’s decision, refusing to give us any of the view we paid for, is this the same Captain who ran over a navigational buoy in Honolulu a couple of months ago and then denied it to the
passengers? I ask this questioning his competence to be a Captain.
First of all - being able to come up with a list of complaints like this is rather impressing for a person going onboard with an open mind. And since most of your points is close to a parody of a complaint letter I (and pprobably NCL too) applaude you for the entertainment value.
However, your - and the FDA's - ignorance is unfortunately revealed when you are blaming the good captain for docking with the "wrong side alongside" and obscuring your view. Everyone with a little insight knows very well that the port authoroties and the pilot decides which side alongside.
You are probably right that the crew morale is quite low in NCLA. I think the reason for this is that we in the more fortunate part of the world is getting too spoiled to be able to do "dirty work" over a long time as onboard a cruise line. We have the same problem here in Norway where we let immigrants do our dishes, be chamber maids, etc.
My suggestion to you is that you don't mix together NCL and NCLA. Next time, try a traditional NCL ship with international crew, and I'm sure your experience will be another. But of course - anyone who spends their vacation running around trying to find things to complain about will suceed.
It's the second time that I am booking directly with the US-agency.
But to be honest: with an experienced cruise consultant such disappointments should not happen as they normally should know BASIC differences between NCL Bahamas (NORWEGIAN xxx-Fleet) and NCL USA (PRIDE OF xxx-Fleet). All differences between the two brands are discussed here frequently.
So I really hope that I never book with you - if you are unable to recommend yourself a good cruise.
If you know everthing better and smarter: why have not you been smarter to arrange a flight at convenient time on your own account?
You better should charter a ship and run it if you know everything better!
It's great that you deleted the names. There is still one name in item 3. of the letter. Maybe you can delete it as well to avoid problems to him/her.
A clear case of too high and wrong expectations!!!