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  #21  
Old March 18th, 2012, 12:44 PM
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We were on the Sun this year and last year, simply because it sailed from Canaveral and the other options didn't thrill us, i.e., RCCL, Carnival and Disney.

When we stepped off we knew we would never sail with them again. The food was not good. We ate in specialty restaurants every night because of it. When we did go in the dining room I could not get used to a "bare" table. Not a flower in sight. The tables (at night) looked like they had been set for dinner and forgotten. This is a very big deal to me.

On the other hand, their shows are excellent.

Now that the Sun is finding herself in Miami, there is no chance of ever sailing that line again. If we go to Miami, it will be Oceania; if we go to FLL, it will be HAL.
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  #22  
Old March 18th, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by esther e View Post
We were on the Sun this year and last year, simply because it sailed from Canaveral and the other options didn't thrill us, i.e., RCCL, Carnival and Disney.

When we stepped off we knew we would never sail with them again. The food was not good. We ate in specialty restaurants every night because of it. When we did go in the dining room I could not get used to a "bare" table. Not a flower in sight. The tables (at night) looked like they had been set for dinner and forgotten. This is a very big deal to me.

On the other hand, their shows are excellent.

Now that the Sun is finding herself in Miami, there is no chance of ever sailing that line again. If we go to Miami, it will be Oceania; if we go to FLL, it will be HAL.
Have spent 23 nights on the Sun on two different sailings - South America and Baltic. I would not hesitate to sail on her again. The crew is wonderful. Have had no problems with food or service. LeBistro is something special but the regular room dining rooms were good also with no waits. We had flowers on our tables. Love The Great Outdoors as well as the full-ship promenade on Deck Six.
The Sun is currently sailing from Port Canaveral, not Miami. Then she summers in Copenhagen for a Baltic itinerary.
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  #23  
Old March 18th, 2012, 12:52 PM
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I have been on NCL 5 times and selected them primarily because they offer more cruises and at lower costs than anyone else out of NYC.
I will admit that HAL is a more 'refined' cruise experience in general, but I still very much enjoyed my cruises on the Dawn, Jewel, and Gem. The MDR food is somewhat better on HAL, but as far as service goes, I have experienced excellent service on NCL. I enjoy the 'Freestyle' concept. We usually dine when the room opens, and get immediate seating for two.
And if we tell our server's that we would like to make the 'early show', no problem.
HAL standard cabins are roomier, but if you are into the 'suite life', NCL offers the largest ones at sea, along with great perks.
And NCL entertainment in general is up a notch from what HAL offers. And NCL still rewards passengers for participating in Organised Staff Activities...remember 'Dam Dollars' and 'Passport to Fitness'?
I too lament the fact that they eliminated the forward observation lounge on the Dawn and the Star, to install more cabins. The new location of their Spinnaker Lounge pales in comparison to the old, like the Crow's Nest.
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  #24  
Old March 18th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jdvmd View Post
Have spent 23 nights on the Sun on two different sailings - South America and Baltic. I would not hesitate to sail on her again. The crew is wonderful. Have had no problems with food or service. LeBistro is something special but the regular room dining rooms were good also with no waits. We had flowers on our tables. Love The Great Outdoors as well as the full-ship promenade on Deck Six.
The Sun is currently sailing from Port Canaveral, not Miami. Then she summers in Copenhagen for a Baltic itinerary.
I'm curious when you sailed on the Sun, because both last March (2011) and January, 2012, there were no flowers at dinner. Lunch, yes. Dinner, not a one. I asked about it and got a tap dancing answer about flowers taking up more room than the fake candle.
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  #25  
Old March 18th, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by esther e View Post
I'm curious when you sailed on the Sun, because both last March (2011) and January, 2012, there were no flowers at dinner. Lunch, yes. Dinner, not a one. I asked about it and got a tap dancing answer about flowers taking up more room than the fake candle.
The fake candle was there but we also had one little flower in vase when we dined at a quad table. We mostly at the Four Seasons but also did in Seven Seas.
We were on the Sun in June 2011 and again in April 2009. These were foreign itineraries. Maybe that had something to do with it that they do not provide on Caribbean excursions.
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  #26  
Old March 18th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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I bet you're right. Thanks!
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  #27  
Old March 18th, 2012, 05:13 PM
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I don't like NCL because both times we sailed the crew was crabby and lazy.
Our first time the buffet was always out of silverware and glasses. We stepped aside to wait and in a **** way the crew barked at us to go on through. It happened almost every day. Plates and dishes and food littered the pool area all day and when we went in to get ready for dinner were still there. Our room stewards were AWOL most of the time, and we had to go to the pool to get towels for showers--they were usually empty. Youth staff did not show up for activies on an almost daily basis. Trivia and games staff did not show up sometimes. And of course, the food was worse than my mom's nursing home!
Finally, I have priced their cruises against HAL and Celebrity and they are often not the cheapest--and for some reason their port charges are way more. Last year, taxes to Bermuda were about $105 on HAL, $125 on X, and $150 on NCL. They get by on the myth that they are cheaper.
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  #28  
Old March 18th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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I've written these comments here many times, but IMHO, NCl compared to HAL it's like comparing Walmart and Bloomingdales. I first want to mention, your friends comments on cost are really no longer the case. Yes if you have a family in need of a suite HAL has nothing of the kind, but NCL does, so for family cruising, NCL is a better deal. But, for upscale suites in the Haven, or Spa suites, the cost is right up there with an SA, or PS with more amenities to offer, and more variety of each category. NCL as also addressed the single traveler with solo rooms. I cruise NCL for itinerary. I cruise HAL for tradition and elegance and finally itinerary. I like NCL, but I love HAL

Your comment about innovation is very accurate. If you look at the Epic, and then follow the changes made to the current new-build, the Breakaway (I hate that name), NCL has kept certain things that worked, and done away with things that haven', like open air cabin toilets, squirting sinks next to the bed, an Ice Bar that you book for 20 minutes and curved walls in some staterooms. I love the Vista ships because they are HAL, but you can get stuck in a rut while the rest of the pack passes you by.
Well said...
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  #29  
Old March 19th, 2012, 12:22 AM
Richie2pies Richie2pies is offline
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NCL usually has a better price and their suite perks are tops. That being said, the food is not good unless you pay more for a specialty restaurant, you can't have a drink in your room without ordering it at an outrageous price due to their corkage fee for wine, and their constant announcements for bingo, etc. are a pain. I only go on NCL when they have a bargain price. I've never starved on NCL, but finding good food is a problem. Charging corkage for wine you want to drink in the cabin is uncalled for. HAL and Princess treat you like an adult when boarding with wine and champagne and allow you to bring it for your cabin. They only charge corkage if you bring it to the MDR.
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  #30  
Old March 19th, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Horribly - I don't consider them because they are a Pepsi line. LOL.

I know, it's insane, but on a vacation, I want my beverage of choice, and that is NOTHING from the Pepsi realm. I don't drink alcohol, I drink Coca Cola. LOL.

Sad, but true.

If they ever converted, then I'd consider them, but I think I'd still be partial to the higher end like HAL and X.
I'm a diet Dr. Pepper man, what ship has that ? No one, so, I bring my own.
Did a 28 day cruise on NCL's Sun last year, very enjoyable & the best staff ever . Every ship / cruise will be deferent. We have done NCL, Celebrity & Hal, who would I do again ? Who ever has the best itinerary and price.
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  #31  
Old March 20th, 2012, 12:43 AM
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and the new one oven more so. So why don't we like sailing with them? Is it the wine, liquor or dining policies?
I've been on them a couple times myself. Was on with friends and had fun. You definitely can't go into it expecting HAL... you'll be majorly disappointed. But for what they offer, I think they do a great job. (and that's not me trying to be PC about it... that's the way I describe it to anyone that asks me)
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  #32  
Old March 20th, 2012, 02:07 AM
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I have a good time on any ship I sail, primarily because I board with the attitude of doing just that.
I will say, that both lines have their attributes, well documented in these pages, and like all things, subject to personal tastes.
That said, I believe that while HAL passengers are not quite 'stuffy', they do tend to take things a bit more seriously, and having a traditional experience seems more important then those on NCL, who seem out to have a 'fun time'. It is most apparent late in the evening, when the NCL ships are alive, while the HAL ships are 'asleep'.....
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  #33  
Old March 20th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Richie2pies View Post
NCL usually has a better price and their suite perks are tops. That being said, the food is not good unless you pay more for a specialty restaurant, you can't have a drink in your room without ordering it at an outrageous price due to their corkage fee for wine, and their constant announcements for bingo, etc. are a pain. I only go on NCL when they have a bargain price. I've never starved on NCL, but finding good food is a problem. Charging corkage for wine you want to drink in the cabin is uncalled for. HAL and Princess treat you like an adult when boarding with wine and champagne and allow you to bring it for your cabin. They only charge corkage if you bring it to the MDR.
So true. This was a huge thing to get over for me...
We live near 30 wineries and are so spoiled. Having 3 or 4 champagne options just does not cut it when we have such limited vacation time. We want to drink what we like... Not to mention the other issues you listed.


To really have a premium experience on NCL one must choose a Haven Suite...

When cruising suites, we have found HAL to be a better deal overall.
BUT, NCL's suites and perks (on the Epic) are over the top. So they are both very different, and we expect our 2013 Epic sailing to be very different than HAL.

On NCL you get what you pay for. I do not think I would sail NCL in a standard cabin again...On HAL no matter what room you are in, you still get the HAL experience... If we ever had more time to get away, I would sail HAL J inside cabin in a second...

We decided to try Epic because of the amazing menus in the Haven Restaurants (Courtyard Grill and Epic Club)--and what everyone reports are not on the menu but sounds amazing-- the perks, Posh Beach Club, etc. We wanted to try the ship within a ship experience.

I am sure it will be great, like our experiences with NCL, because we expected NCL, but I do not expect it to be HAL. I just expect it to be different, and double the cost for the suite...

This trip, we will have to stay up after 9:30 PM, and it will be tough, but we will do it. We are young and energy drinks are available .

Then a couple weeks later we will get on the Eurodam and have a truly restful vacation, eat amazing food, enjoy the cabanas and sleep by 9:30... Which is what we look for in HAL.
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Last edited by surfergirle; March 20th, 2012 at 02:57 PM.
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  #34  
Old March 20th, 2012, 06:25 PM
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We love HAL and sailed the Noordam twice when she was based in NY. Tried Noordam again after she moved to FLD. Still loved HAL but did not love the hassle of flying. Tried NCL Gem and loved it. The suite perks are the best on NCL. The suites are cheaper on NCL so when I took into condideration the cost of airfare, eating in the specialty restaurants and the cost of wine corkage still beat HAL's price.Flying one way to Tampa and a 20 minute ride home from the pier was a big plus. If HAL put the Noordam back in NY I would be one of the first to book it again.
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