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Posts posted by dcipjr

  1. On 4/5/2024 at 9:57 AM, JamieLogical said:

    If you usually sail of of NYC, I am curious why you didn't mention trying MSC. I made the switch from NCL to MSC and could not be happier about it. My next two cruises are on Princess because of casino offers, but I can't wait to get back on the Meraviglia in October. Many of the things you mention about cuts on NCL are not issues on MSC.


    I'm considering trying MSC, since they've expanded operations from NYC.


    What's really holding me back on MSC Is the reports of the MDR food being decidedly not-great. Now, granted, NCL's MDR food this cruise was hit-and-miss.


    How have you found non-specialty dining on MSC?

  2. 3 minutes ago, mimi05052012 said:

    We were on that sailing too. Agree with your comments. We had a great time but it was not a great cruise.  Could have used more activities on sea days especially family friendly ones since there were 1300 kids on board. Spring break!


    the Atrium was way over used. So many of the things done there would be better suited for the theater. 


    Our grandson is a very picky eater and was not happy with the changes to the kids menu. I filled out a Dear GM comment and got a call the next day saying that the items which had been removed are still available. He was able to order a hot dog in the MDR no problem. 

    I completely agree! We had a great time, but most of the highlights were in Bermuda. 

    The Atrium is really heavily used and it’s SO LOUD. It makes it hard to eat at O’Sheehans due to the noise. We asked to be seated towards the back and the hostess brought us to as quiet a spot as she could find, and we shared a few laughs about the noise (it was getting on her nerves too!).


    I plan to fill out a Dear GM card on the next sailing and see if they’ll let her order the hot dog or chicken fingers. Great advice—thank you!

    • Like 1
  3. 1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

    Sailing later this month, did you noticed any new or different entrees in the MDR ... it seemed like NCL hasn't refreshed the menus since 2023, just wondering as coming up for us, got plenty of sea days and 5 nights of specialty dining is more than enough.  I believed items like prime rib, pork chops and even lamb dishes have disappeared almost completely from the MDR as routine rotations.

    It was basically identical to the 2023 menus, just with fewer options. Kind of another reason why we want to try a different line: we’ve had about everything off the MDR menu. 


    1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

    how can NCL mess with the kid's basic menu options


    They found a way! Luckily our daughter liked the pizza but for picky eaters, it’s not a great menu. 

    1 hour ago, mking8288 said:

    Oh, if it make you feel any better, GA didn't fare any better this week, their stay in Bermuda cut short & they got into Nassau later than 10 AM this morning for a short visit .

    At least we got two days in Bermuda. I would have been really disappointed. 


    That’s three Getaway sailings in a row that modified their calling times in Bermuda. 

    • Like 2
  4. Hello CruiseCritic!


    We just got off the Getaway's 7-day sailing from New York to Bermuda, so I figured I'd post a brief review with my thoughts.


    We're a family of 3: my wife and I are both 39, and our daughter is 6.



    We are from Philly, so we've done a ton of cruises out of New York to Bermuda. Our first was on the Star in August of 2012, celebrating our first anniversary. We had cruised aboard the Epic for our honeymoon and loved it, and wanted to do another cruise, so we booked a last-minute inside cabin to Bermuda and had an absolute blast. We've been cruising to Bermuda ever since -- and so far, only with NCL.


    Even though we're seasoned Bermuda veterans, we've only ever been there between May and October. Late March was a solid month before our earliest trip there, and we knew going in that it wouldn't be as warm as our normal summer trips, especially the water temperature.


    Our first inclination was to go to the Caribbean instead of Bermuda; we're already booked for a Bermuda cruise on the Joy later this year, and the Caribbean would be warmer. But there were no sailings to the Caribbean out of NYC in mid to late March, and prices out of Florida were sky-high. If we wanted to cruise NCL, Bermuda was our only viable option.


    We initially booked an inside guarantee, and put in a $200 per-person bid to a balcony, which was accepted 6 days before the cruise -- yay!


    Delayed Departure and Embarkation

    Two sailings prior to our cruise, the Getaway had some "mechanical" issues, and was late getting into New York after coming up from the Caribbean. We watched the sailing just prior to ours with great interest, to see whether the mechanical issues would continue to plague the ship.


    It didn't appear that they did, but the ship was late getting back into New York due to rough seas.


    We got messages the night before the cruise telling us that the ship wouldn't arrive until noon on Sunday, and that we shouldn't arrive at the pier until 3 or 4 PM on embarkation day.


    We were driving to New York anyway, so no biggie -- we simply delayed our departure for New York until 2:30 PM, and got to to the terminal at 4:30 PM, securing one of the last parking spots on the pier -- whew!


    It turns out that many people showed up well before 3 PM, and the parking at the pier very nearly filled up.


    The flip side of this is that we cruised right through embarkation. There was basically no line, and we were through embarkation and on the ship with no waiting -- it took a half-hour at most.


    That was great, but we did miss a solid 5 hours of our embarkation day -- that was a disappointment, since that time onboard prior to sailing is always so full of excitement. I missed that. But hey, we're still on vacation,so let's go!


    Delayed Arrival to Bermuda

    Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to continue to throw monkey wrenches our way.


    We got the announcement on Monday that our arrival to Bermuda would be delayed 1 day, until Wednesday.


    Our original itinerary had us in port from 8 AM on Tuesday until 7 AM on Friday, which is a lot of time in Bermuda -- and we were really looking forward to that.


    We had two rough sea days. Many people were sea-sick. We were packing Bonine, ginger candies, and sea bands. They helped stave off nausea, but they don't do anything about the ship lurching about. It made it harder to sleep and walk around.


    Then, when we got to Bermuda, we got word that we'd be leaving on Thursday evening instead of Friday morning -- a further reduction to our time on the island.


    They gave us $200 OBC ($100 for the late arrival, $100 for the early departure). This is much-appreciated, but it's a real bummer that you can only use non-refundable OBC for items that are marked up. I would have loved to have used the OBC to buy a CruiseNext certificate, but that is no longer permitted.



    Bermuda itself was absolutely lovely. The weather was a balmy 72°F, and the water temperature was a chilly 68°F, but we still visited the beaches and my daughter played in the wet sand.


    The island is just a wonderful, wonderful place. We'd come back in March -- but honestly, I don't think we'd cruise there again in March. It's just too much of a gamble with the weather on the way down: the past couple sailings and the current sailing were also affected by weather.


    It does raise the question why NCL isn't offering better itineraries out of NYC for Spring Break.


    On the Cutbacks

    OK, so everyone on CruiseCritic was talking about cutbacks, to the point where I started actively avoiding the boards so that I wouldn't poison my own opinion of the cruise before we even set sail.


    What's the verdict?


    Well, there have been cutbacks for sure, mostly around food and entertainment.


    I'll go into both.



    We noticed a decline in MDR food quality, as well as the number of options available on the menu. The right side of the menu has been reduced from 6 or 7 entrees in 2023 to 5, and the left side lost an entree as well.


    There's now a big section of the menu devoted to food you can order from Cagneys.


    Want lobster in the MDR? Well good news for you -- you can get it! Bad news is that it's an upsell.


    And that big section of food you can order from Cagneys conveniently means they don't have as much space to put regular entrees there.


    As for the food itself, it was OK, but it wasn't great. We have always been fine with the MDR options, but this time I think I would have been really disappointed if I didn't have a couple Latitudes vouchers for specialty meals.


    Hard to put my finger on exactly what was wrong. The ingredients seemed lower quality. The MDR food just was bland in general.


    The buffet fared a little better, but certain things I enjoyed for breakfast were gone. Everyone will complain about the hashbrowns being gone, but the country potatoes were just not good this time around. They're soggy and disappointing. The old ones were crispier and just better.


    The specialty restaurants, on the other hand, were still as good as ever. We dined in Ocean Blue, Moderno, and Le Bistro, and enjoyed them all.


    will point out, though, that the mascarpone & caramelized onion bread in Ocean Blue is gone...gone...which was cause for much sadness for both me and my wife, who absolutely loved that bread.


    Food quality otherwise in the specialties was every bit up to par.


    O'Sheehans has only ever been average food, but sometimes you just want a nonfancy burger, and it certainly still fits the bill. I don't think food quality has declined here, but there do appear to be somewhat fewer options than before.


    The kids menu changed. They eliminated the chicken tenders, hot dog, chicken noodle soup. They added roasted tomato soup, a veggie taco, and a chicken stir fry. My daughter is still in the Only Wants Chicken Nuggets, Hot Dogs, and Kraft Mac 'n Cheese stage (though she's slowly getting better), so this was a bit of a blow. Though we were sort of happy to not let her eat hot dogs all week. At least the pizza is still there.



    OK, so somehow I made it through almost 20 NCL cruises without having seen Howl at the Moon, and damn have I been missing out!!! They were so good. I saw the final show, came in at the start, and wound up staying the entire time until 1 AM. Absolutely brilliant. Not to be missed if you love music.


    The comedians were fun; I don't think Levity overall is as good as Second City used to be, but still really solid, and I enjoyed seeing them for a couple shows.


    Out of morbid curiosity, I went to see Wheel of Fortune, and it was absolutely dreadful. It's sort of a travesty that it's considered prime-time entertainment on a ship of this size. It was basically the cruise director shouting into the mic, and a virtual on-screen wheel. Come on, NCL, you couldn't even come up with a real wheel to spin?


    The contestents had obviously never seen the show nor had they ever studied letter frequency in the English language. RLSTNE, anyone? One of them even solved the puzzle without spinning the wheel, which would have been impressive if she didn't just lock in a $0 winning. Thankfully it was over in about 30 minutes.




    Onboard Activities

    Something I learned this cruise -- the Getaway is a much better warm-weather ship than cold weather. We are so, so lucky that we upgraded to a balcony, because at least we could watch the sea on the sea days, while we read books and popped Bonine. If we had stayed in our inside cabin, I don't know what we would have done.


    When the weather's not good, there's not a whole lot to do on the ship during the day that doesn't involve purchasing spa treatments, art, or bingo cards.


    My daughter went to the kids club once, and enjoyed it, but the lines to get in were so long that we didn't really bother trying to drop her off there. Spring Break, after all.



    Service was fine. Not as good as we had in the past, but honestly, it's Spring Break and I think the crew was sort of just trying to get through it all. I get it.


    One MDR waiter had us cracking up laughing about all the stumbling around that the crew had been doing due to the rough seas. They were over it by the time we were onboard. Multiple crew members said to me that they couldn't wait to get back to the Caribbean, since the back and forth to Bermuda had been so brutal.


    Our cabin attendant was great. I miss the days where there were more cabin attendants and staterooms were usually done by 11 AM or lunchtime at the latest. 4 PM cabin makeup is a bit of a drag -- and that's on NCL, not the attendants.


    I said before and I'll say again that the cabin attendant is the most visible member of the crew for almost everyone onboard. If they're overworked, people will notice. I noticed.


    Overall Thoughts

    We had a good time. It wasn't the best cruise we ever took, being honest. The days in Bermuda were by far the best part -- it sort of reminded us "this is why we're here".

    I think we'll skip winter / very early spring sailings to Bermuda from here on out, though. The weather out of NYC is too much of a gamble. Granted, even Florida had their issues that same week, but you have to go with the best possible option.


    After nearly 20 cruises, I'm sort of feeling like I've been-there-done-that with NCL, and the prices have gone up significantly. In fact, the rate for the third person in the room was higher than the first and second person -- which was something I never saw before!


    We've got an August cruise on the Joy coming up (to Bermuda...booked last summer). I could cancel it, but I think I'll keep it. We love Bermuda, and missed snorkeling and swimming while we were there, and it felt good as we sailed away from the island to know we'd be coming back in a few short months.


    But I think after this, we'll take a break from NCL and try some other lines: perhaps Celebrity or HAL.


    Let me know if you have any questions, etc. Happy to answer.

    • Like 7
    • Thanks 4
  5. 16 minutes ago, Sugar Magnolia said:

    The weather in Bermuda looks very windy for Tuesday through Friday, which makes it very difficult to maneuver and dock in Bermuda due to the narrow channels. We were unable to dock in Bermuda last year for this reason.


    That makes sense. 


    I always follow Bermuda's Weather Service (https://www.weather.bm)—they have the most accurate predictions. They are not forecasting anything that looks too drastic, but it's still a few days out.

    • Like 2
  6. 4 minutes ago, MCMC100 said:


    All that to arrive in NY four hours early?  I didn’t believe it then, still don’t. I think they have a propulsion issue. 

    The weather for the trip down to Bermuda tomorrow looks fine on Windy, and the National Weather Service is also calling for 4 foot seas tomorrow. 

    We pulled into our berth at Pier 88 at 4 AM this morning, so ahead of schedule.

    If Getaway can’t get to Bermuda by Tuesday, I’d suspect some sort of propulsion issue as well. Conditions are near-ideal for tomorrow. 

  7. 27 minutes ago, Sugar Magnolia said:

    A friend embarking on the Getaway from New York today is hearing rumors that there might be a change to their Bermuda itinerary. Windy app shows....windy. @bluesea777 what do you see for the week?

    Windy is showing sea conditions tomorrow that are considerably better than anything we got (aside from the last sea day, yesterday). 

    If Getaway is delayed getting to Bermuda again, then I’m suspecting that she’s still having mechanical issues.


    We had to depart Thursday evening from Bermuda, faced a really rocky Friday morning, and then had calm seas from late Friday until we arrived today. 

    I’m really not sure why they didn’t just have us leave Bermuda on Friday afternoon—unless, of course, she is unable to make or sustain her top speed. 

  8. 43 minutes ago, Laszlo said:

    Just happened to pull up the Bermuda web cam and I see the GA is docking. Looks like she could use some touch up paint lol

    Just noticed that as well on the ferry to St. George!


    And another update: not only are we not staying a bit later, we are leaving early. The captain announced that we are sailing Thursday at 6 PM to avoid worsening weather conditions on the way back to New York. 

    This seems a bit dodgy to me—Windy shows poor sea conditions on Friday that seem to get better on Saturday. I’m wondering whether they are covering for propulsion issues. 

    They’ve issued us another $100 of OBC, but I’m less than thrilled. 

    I’ll write up thoughts when we get home, but we have definitely seen evidence of cutbacks. The food has been decidedly lower quality than in the past, and the entertainment hasn’t been great. 

    We’re booked for August on the Joy, and leaning towards keeping our reservation, but this trip has been somewhat disappointing. Some of that is due to weather, which is beyond the control of NCL, but the product has suffered a bit. Not as dramatically as I’ve heard on here, but enough to notice. 

    • Like 4
    • Thanks 1
  9. We actually did well. We arrived at 4:30 PM and got right on the boat—minimal wait times in the Terminal. Seems that many people got there well before the 3 PM start time for embarkation. 

    We got one of the last parking spots on the pier. Whew!


    As suspected, the captain hugged the coastline to minimize the rough ride, at the expense of 1 day in Bermuda—we are arriving now, as opposed to yesterday’s originally-scheduled arrival. 

    Unfortunately, our departure time from Bermuda has not been modified from the originally-scheduled 7 AM Friday. I thought it would be moved back to 2 PM like the previous cruise, since weather on the way back should be fine. But…no. 

    We got $100 OBC as compensation but I’d much rather have an extra half-day in Bermuda. I wonder whether Getaway is still speed-restricted. 

    The ride down was pretty rough all the way until yesterday afternoon. Not much that could be done about that though. Looking like good weather for today and tomorrow in Bermuda, and for that I am grateful!

    • Like 3
    • Thanks 1
  10. 23 minutes ago, Suetravel said:

    Approaching nyc at 9:30am earlier than 12:00pm schedule, did not dock yet.
    It will still be a mob scene at the terminal.

    We’re still expecting a little chaos. 

    Did you check bags for your delayed embarkation? When did they get to your stateroom? Was there indeed a bag check in the casino?

    Trying to figure out whether we should carry on or not—we’re not sure if we’ll have our bags by bedtime. 

  11. Thanks @mking8288! We’re going to be driving up from Philly at around 2:30 PM today, targeting an arrival between 4 and 5 PM.

    I figure the terminal at 3 PM will be mobbed, so better to skip the initial rush. 

    Looks like we’ll have a nighttime sail away from New York—should be lovely! 

    Probably a bumpy ride tomorrow, but we’re prepared with Bonine, sea bands, ginger candies, and past experience. 

    Weather for Bermuda looks nice too! I wouldn’t be surprised to see us arrive late Tuesday or even Wednesday. 

    • Like 1
  12. 22 minutes ago, Suetravel said:

    Ncl getaway will arrive late tomorrow late at noontime 3/24/24 due to weather and not sailing at full speed. High swell and heavy wind. Just like the last sailing. Will be a hot mess.

    We just got the notification. NCL is asking for us to arrive between 3 and 6 PM.


    Shouldn’t be a big deal. Safe travels.

    • Like 1
  13. 3 hours ago, mking8288 said:

    Congrats for the scoring the upgrade on another week of GA being sold out, sailing full again - when did you "win" that jackpot - they are harder & harder to score these days.  Our TA later next month is nearly sold out, just a handful of OV and IS remaining, all the balconies are gone ... one way or another, but with recent price drops - managed to get FCC (and, my feeling is that some negotiated & accepted upgrades) to use.  Been tempted to catch one of these loops this winter, just no-can't-do.  Now, we are focused on packing, waiting for tax refund & catching up on what's happening ahead.  


    Will be watching shipcam & using cruisemapper, windy app to see - we missed Dockyard on our way back last November due to rough weather, nothing like what's ahead - didn't realize you are a proven Bermuda cruise warrior.  That Joy ride was something a wild roller coaster b/c we definitely felt it - being midship & lower on the deck too ... coat hangers in the closet rattling all night and the bath tub's sliding doors slamming back-n-forth, improved with wet towels to stabilize & stop it on the track.  I think @suetravel was also on the cruise and came to the M&G at Cagney's then - see if I find the roster.  


    We ought to catch each other again on another cruise - quiet roll call and no M&G this time  or are they all on the other platform,  but whatever. It's a worsening problem for CC's and I've done my share to educate but ... still, get hijacked.  Just told someone else to get off our "lawn" last night on another cruise - joined CC not long ago, came on ... hi, just made a deposit, seasoned solo traveler ... is anyone planning a M&G, LOL.  Nicely welcomed her to the roll call with good # of seasoned NCL "seniors" cruising and there are other solo booked - linked the rules ... counter to hear what else she's bring to the table.  


    Back on track, looks like the return this Saturday is the worst ahead, along with Sunday - timing is everything, if GA stay in NY a bit longer & sail south to ride the "better" part of the next storm before turning east, things should gradually ease by later Monday into Tuesday - perhaps a late day arrival or getting in early Wednesday.  Nobody is going to be happy with the change, but safety first - actually surprised when I saw these loops with an extra day there - 3 overnights instead of 2.  We'll see about that, you know how things are ... easy to be keyboard warrior.  


    We bid fairly aggressively for a balcony—$200 per person bid from an inside, so into the Fair range. We still were quite a bit below what balconies were selling for outright, and I had been doing mock bookings to check availability so I knew there were some available. We got upgraded 3 days ago, so 6 days prior to departure.


    My daughter is in school now, so we're stuck on the school schedule—so forget about price drops closer to sail date. Now the prices seem to go up as we approach the sail date. Back before she was school, we'd book last-minute and get some great deals, but that's sort of a thing of the past now.


    This time, they actually charged more for the third person in the room than persons 1 and 2! I was floored.


    I feel your pain with the M&Gs—if they happen at all, they've been taken over by That Other Platform. I used to go, but haven't been bothering recently. The CC boards have gotten much quieter, as Zuckerberg & Co. coalesce so much of the online community into their own walled garden. And what remains of CC has gotten so negative that I have largely stayed away, to avoid poisoning my opinions of the cruise before we even set sail.


    Back to the weather—yes, I wouldn't be surprised if they held us in NY or had us hug the coastline a bit, with a later arrival in Bermuda. They might wind up just putting us on the same itinerary that's usually used for Bermuda: 8 AM arrival on Wednesday, in port Thursday, depart Friday at 3 PM.


    We'll see what happens. Either way, no cooking or cleaning to do for the week—so that's already a win.


    It would be great to catch up on another cruise one of these days.

    • Like 2
  14. 11 hours ago, mking8288 said:

    Yike - checking Windy App forecast ahead for this Friday-Saturday-Sunday into Monday ... angry north Atlantic / Bermuda waters ... high windy, rough sea state and huge waves expected, not pretty at all.  Should calm down by Tuesday.  


    Even if they modified this week's shortened stay at Dockyard, that has been extended by several hours to sail Friday afternoon instead of morning - there is no way to get around the storm system as sea.  


    Henry, it's a little reminiscent of the cruise we were on to Bermuda—though that was in May. Wave heights were around 28 feet, and I was definitely feeling a little green around the gills.


    We're packing Bonine, sea bands, ginger candies—the works. And I'll definitely hit up the buffet for green apples.


    We hit the Upgrade Advantage lottery and got moved from an inside to a balcony—with the bad weather for the first day or two of the trip, that was probably a good move, since I'll be able to watch the horizon to settle the old inner ear.


    Bermuda Weather Service is saying to expect strong, gale-force winds Sunday, and continued strong winds on Monday, easing toward the end of the day. We are due to get in Tuesday, so I'm thinking we'll be in for a rough ride on Monday, but after that we should be pretty good.


    Once we're in Bermuda, it might be a bit breezy, but temperatures should be fairly agreeable—68-70°F. Of course, that's going by my phone's weather app; the most trustworthy source is weather.bm, but they don't predict more than 5 days out (and for good reason).

    • Like 2
  15. We’ll be on our way to Bermuda in a few days’ time, once the Getaway comes back for us.


    Looking at the forecast, they’re calling for a “breezy” Sunday, so I’m thinking we might be rocking and rolling a bit too on our way down. Windy is calling for 22 foot waves on Monday, so we’ll be packing the Bonine.


    Hopefully Bermuda will greet us with sunny skies and temps in the high 60s!

    • Like 1
  16. 15 minutes ago, shof515 said:

    ship AIS data is updated according to marine traffic, the ship will be docking in Bermuda on March 20 at around 7am . looks like everyone onboard will lose a day in Bermuda and the ship will be in port the usual Wednesday to Friday

    I figured there was no way she’d make her originally-scheduled arrival. 

    I’m curious how long she’ll remain docked in New York, and what time on Friday she’ll leave Bermuda. 

  17. 16 hours ago, mking8288 said:

    Not too happy with NCL's choices & options this winter and next year for the N.E. - looking ahead for 2025, which is something that we don't normally do.  

    Hey Henry, I sort of feel the same. We are going to Bermuda next week aboard the Getaway, but probably would have preferred another itinerary option—but there aren’t really that many. 

    We thought about Caribbean cruises from Florida, but the flights were expensive, and NCL’s offerings were a bit pricey too, and fairly limited (not much that we haven’t done before).


    This was our best bet for a quick and (relatively) inexpensive trip, and it might be fun to do some non-beach activities in Bermuda. Still would have preferred warmer weather, but will take a week without household responsibilities either way. 

    I’m thinking about trying other lines. NCL’s itineraries have gotten a bit stale. 

    • Like 1
  18. Obviously, she won’t be departing New York on schedule, but I’m curious whether they will keep her at the pier longer (overnight?) to repair the mechanical issue before departing. 

    The itinerary is a bit different for these weeks: Getaway is scheduled to be in port from Tuesday morning at 8 AM (Bermuda time) until Friday morning at 7 AM. 

    Typically, NYC itineraries are docked from 8 AM Wednesday till 3 PM Friday. 

    • Like 1
  19. 1 minute ago, graphicguy said:

    To this day, that cruise we sailed together was to date the cheapest cruise I've ever taken.  $800, Club Balcony, with FAS, and I think $200 OBC for 7 nites, all in.  That cruise was fun (well, they all are).


    I was on that same cruise, but because of the itinerary there wasn't really a Meet and Greet, so I didn't get to meet you two.


    But yeah, what a fantastic cruise that was. We had such a good time; the ports were beautiful, and the price was oh-so right. It was less than $1700 all-in for 3 people in a balcony with $200 OBC. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    • Like 1
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