Any views re NCL?


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#1
Stoke on Trent, England
5,388 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Hi - and Happy New Year !

We are still trying to find a good choice for our 25th anniversary for 2019 and have stumbled on a cruise on the Norweigan Jade for 11 nights in August (great itinerary) and £4800 for a nice balcony cabin with additional OBC, all inclusive premium drinks and food package / select dining included and all tips included.

Looks great --- but not sure about NCL.

We're pretty easy going so would not book and moan - we'd do our homework and know what to expect.

Just wondering if any of you have tried NCL before and have any thoughts.

Thanks everyone.
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Sailed on:

P&O Oceana 05.04.18 : Eastern Med fly cruise
P&O Ventura 15.08.17 : Spain & the Greek Islands
P&O Britannia 28.05.17 : Iberian Cruise
P&O Oceana 10.08.16 : Western Med fly cruise
P&O Britannia 25.07.15 : Iberia and Canaries
P&O Oceana 08.04.15 : Western Med
P&O Oceana 19.04.14 : Iberian Cruise
RCI Independence of the Seas 29.10.13 : Mini cruise
Celebrity Silhouette 12:08:13 : Greek Islands / Italy
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:12 : Adriatic / Venice
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:11 : Eastern Med/Holy Land
P&O Oceana August 2010 : Western Med
Ocean Village 02:08:09 : Eastern Med / Crete
Louis Cruises August 2001 : Egypt
#2
14 Posts
Joined Jun 2015
We tried NCL last May on Jade to Hamburg and Norway. We had a lovely balcony cabin and an all inclusive drinks package. Jade had only just come out from refit and had been toned down for the European market. All in all, she looked lovely. Cabin was spacious with separate shower and toilet. NCL has no dress code really and guests are mostly in casual attire. No formal nights as such. It's left up to you. The drinks package was excellent with little excluded. Our only observation was that the ship seemed over full. Around 2500 guests. People joined the ship in both Southampton and Hamburg. We still like P&O but all in all not bad at all. Happy New Year. Enjoy cruising!

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#3
1,542 Posts
Joined Jun 2014
I have sailed with NCL and liked it, but it isn't P&O.

The last cruise I did with them was around the Med (Barcelona loop with guests joining at every port) and I was surprised 90% of the guests were American with the majority of the others European or South American. There were very few British passengers on board (not that it was an issue, but just surprised me).

As mentioned, there is no dress code. All MDRs were Freedom and the only shared tables were for people in the same group.

In one MDR in the evening you could wear anything and in the other you were asked not to wear shorts or baseball caps. Even in their pay extra fine dining restaurant the only requirement was shirt and trousers.

Food was good but American (i.e. an American take on Italian, French, Chinese food). A good choice of pay extra restaurants which were all very good and knock P&Os efforts for six (our deal included unlimited use of them for free).

Although NCL promote the "Freedom" concept everything needed to be booked in advance; want to see the show in the theatre, need to book, want to see the tribute act in the lounge bar, need to book. The acts were very good, slightly better than P&O.

The cabin on the last ship (Epic) was an awful lot more modern than the bland beige 80s design on P&O.

For younger people lots more daytime activities with rock climbing walls and waterslides.

I had all inclusive drinks, but as most of the other passengers did as well it could be a bit slow getting a drink at times (if that bothered you tipping the drinks waiters cash solved the problem).

So curates egg. If you like dressing up in a DJ and having a shared table in Club, probably not for you. If you want something a bit more relaxed it probably is.
#5
Stoke on Trent, England
5,388 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by Thejuggler
My thoughts are that at over £200 a night it doesn’t look like a particularly good value trip.
We have to go high season in August and like a balcony cabin and a drink or 2 or 3. Believe me, that is good value for a Med cruise peak season for 11 nights. We also book Select not saver as we like to pick the cabin we want and dining options. (Always use some of the Select dining venues on P&O on the ships a couple of times as well)

To compare - Oceana is coming out at about £5,300 for the flight and cheapest balcony cabin at the same time of the year for 2 weeks. Add the drinks bill, some select dining and gratuities and it all adds up ...
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Sailed on:

P&O Oceana 05.04.18 : Eastern Med fly cruise
P&O Ventura 15.08.17 : Spain & the Greek Islands
P&O Britannia 28.05.17 : Iberian Cruise
P&O Oceana 10.08.16 : Western Med fly cruise
P&O Britannia 25.07.15 : Iberia and Canaries
P&O Oceana 08.04.15 : Western Med
P&O Oceana 19.04.14 : Iberian Cruise
RCI Independence of the Seas 29.10.13 : Mini cruise
Celebrity Silhouette 12:08:13 : Greek Islands / Italy
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:12 : Adriatic / Venice
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:11 : Eastern Med/Holy Land
P&O Oceana August 2010 : Western Med
Ocean Village 02:08:09 : Eastern Med / Crete
Louis Cruises August 2001 : Egypt
#6
Surrey, UK
1,615 Posts
Joined May 2006
Have friends (normally Celebrity or P&O) who went on NCL in 2017 and really didn't like it. They said that they could not escape the incessant loud music and long wait for Freedom Dining. All a bit too casual, they just said it was the wrong cruise line for them.
They said that the food was no better or worse than P&O and that the drinks package was inclusive of most drinks. I'm not sure if it was just the Greek/Adriatic itinerary they did but they also said some of the days were quite short, and some arriving after lunch, so you may want to check the port times out. I think the ship they were on was NCL Star (is that a ship ?)
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#7
137 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
At least NCL publish their port times unlike P&O.
I’m in the opposite position having been on NCL to Alaska and the Baltic but haven’t been on P&O yet (next month)
I love the do what you like aspect of NCL. Eat when you like, wear what you like ( a lot of people do dress up) etc.
The entertainment on our Baltic cruise was outstanding with a full length west end show with truly amazing performers and an fantastic dance show ( More strictly than ballroom)
You only have to reserve things on the larger ships which overcomes the problem as I hear it on Britannia of having to get in the theatre half an hour before the show if you want to see it.
The all inclusive package is great as it stops you having to keep an eye on your spending. All drinks are included up to $15. If your drink is more ( very unlikely) you only pay the difference in price not for the whole drink.

If the price is right then give it a go. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it - different to P&O - but if you’ve researched it and know what to expect you shouldn’t have any problems.
#8
Stoke on Trent, England
5,388 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by Highpeaklad
At least NCL publish their port times unlike P&O.
I’m in the opposite position having been on NCL to Alaska and the Baltic but haven’t been on P&O yet (next month)
I love the do what you like aspect of NCL. Eat when you like, wear what you like ( a lot of people do dress up) etc.
The entertainment on our Baltic cruise was outstanding with a full length west end show with truly amazing performers and an fantastic dance show ( More strictly than ballroom)
You only have to reserve things on the larger ships which overcomes the problem as I hear it on Britannia of having to get in the theatre half an hour before the show if you want to see it.
The all inclusive package is great as it stops you having to keep an eye on your spending. All drinks are included up to $15. If your drink is more ( very unlikely) you only pay the difference in price not for the whole drink.

If the price is right then give it a go. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it - different to P&O - but if you’ve researched it and know what to expect you shouldn’t have any problems.
Just wondering if plain water is included in the price as I read somewhere that they don't allow you to bring water in the ship now.
Are the passengers mainly from the USA or a mix?
Are all select dining venues included in the price?
Are the excursions a decent price?

Sorry to bombard you but just curious. It is our 25th anniversary so want it to be 'spot on'
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Sailed on:

P&O Oceana 05.04.18 : Eastern Med fly cruise
P&O Ventura 15.08.17 : Spain & the Greek Islands
P&O Britannia 28.05.17 : Iberian Cruise
P&O Oceana 10.08.16 : Western Med fly cruise
P&O Britannia 25.07.15 : Iberia and Canaries
P&O Oceana 08.04.15 : Western Med
P&O Oceana 19.04.14 : Iberian Cruise
RCI Independence of the Seas 29.10.13 : Mini cruise
Celebrity Silhouette 12:08:13 : Greek Islands / Italy
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:12 : Adriatic / Venice
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:11 : Eastern Med/Holy Land
P&O Oceana August 2010 : Western Med
Ocean Village 02:08:09 : Eastern Med / Crete
Louis Cruises August 2001 : Egypt
#9
137 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
Originally posted by Presto2
Just wondering if plain water is included in the price as I read somewhere that they don't allow you to bring water in the ship now.
Are the passengers mainly from the USA or a mix?
Are all select dining venues included in the price?
Are the excursions a decent price?

Sorry to bombard you but just curious. It is our 25th anniversary so want it to be 'spot on'
Plain water is not included in the drinks package but we were given a one litre bottle per person per day as part of the premium all inclusive deal. Delivered in one go on embarkation day.

On the Baltic cruise there were some Americans, French and Germans but the most often heard language was Spanish with a lot of South/central Americans on board. Definitely a real mix.

We didn’t have any select dining in our package but I think they are all included perhaps with one or two very expensive dishes having a nominal surcharge. We tried the Teppanyaki which was a lot of fun.

Excursions - seemed reasonable but more than doing it yourself. We only did a walking tour in Tallin which was about £40 through NCL and the ship tours in St Petersburg to avoid getting a visa. ( other companies were cheaper in Russia but I didn’t want to run the risk of visa regulations changing at short notice)

I recommend the information section on ncl.co.uk for exactly what’s included. The NCL board on here is also a great source of information but use with caution as the offers and what’s included varies between those booking in USA and those booking in Europe and the UK.

This is based on a Norwegian Getaway cruise in June 2017.
#10
Scotland
46 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
We've sailed NCL a few times although not as often as P&O. More recently we did a couple of 10/11 day Canary Island cruises from Barcelona in Jan 15 (on Spirit) and Feb 16 on Epic. We wanted somewhere warmer but avoiding jet lag coming home the Caribbean, and the NCL cruises then in a balcony cabin, booked 6months ahead, were cheaper than a package holiday!! But the European prices for NCL in Jan/Feb this year have shot up so we hadn't booked anything as it would have been extortionate as they have made UK bookings all inclusive- drinks, gratuities etc. The additional cost was ridiculous compared with previous years and they still have some pay extra restaurants and the drinks package doesn't include tea and coffee such as cappucino, mocha etc. Also doesn't include cans of soft drinks, only fountain soft drinks. The entertainment on Epic was great and you could pre book seats for the big shows. Spirit was similar to Oriana, Arcadia, Aurora as its smaller.

Lots of Americans on board, not sure why they come to Europe in the winter, not many from Uk or even Europe. Prices were in dollars.

Most people do get dressed up in the evening but it is very much less formal than P&O, definitely no need for a DJ for the men. I quite like the less formal style, it certainly saves on luggage, but I enjoy P&O too, and we do abide by the dress code. One thing to bear in mind is that there are no self service laundrettes on NCL if that's something you would be looking for.
We always choose itinerary first, time of year next then ship last. We have another 2P&O cruises booked this year, luckily managed to get one of the Oriana cruises in Feb to the Canaries, We were on NCL Dawn from New Orleans Feb and are booked on Pride of America round Hawaii later this year too so we are happy with NCL and P&O. We haven't been on Jade but I would be happy to try it if the itinerary suited us.
#12
West Country, UK
4,399 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I didn't like Escape. What got to me was the incessant loud music everywhere, one bar's sounds spilling over into the next. I also fond the ship dark inside as few if any windows. But having said that they are good for solos.
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#13
23 Posts
Joined Jan 2017
We have used Norwegian Jade and have since been on Ventura and Azura. In no way are we pros at this but I enjoyed both P&O and NCL.

We enjoy formal nights but did like the relaxed atmosphere on Jade, we felt a bit over dressed on more than on occassion on NCL. It didn't bother us but may bother some. I think the only rule was trousers for men at night.

From memory all drinks under 11dollars each were included in the drinks package which pretty much included everything. No bookings required for dinner etc on either, we turned up when we wanted and could choose a table on our own or to join others.

Like previously stated NCL had alot of Americans. Not a problem !

We thought in comparison the NCL trips appeared more expensive, we chose to do our own thing.

Staff very good on both.

My final decision would start with itinerary. I wouldn't hesitate to return to any of the 3 if the Itinerary suited us

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#14
Wiltshire UK
27 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
We love NCL. Very relaxed though. Eat when you want and where you want. No formal nights though if that is something you really like on a cruise. However its not relaxed to the point you could enter the dining room in shorts and trainers and i do find the majority of people still make an effort in the event.

I have family that have done HAL, P&O, Royal Carribean and NCL and they enjoyed them all. If you are easy going then i think you would be ok. For people who like traditional style cruising then i would not advise NCL as their aim is to be the complete opposite of traditional.

We just love the choice and flexibility onboard. Jade has recently been refitted too.
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#15
Stoke on Trent, England
5,388 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by crewmember59
We love NCL. Very relaxed though. Eat when you want and where you want. No formal nights though if that is something you really like on a cruise. However its not relaxed to the point you could enter the dining room in shorts and trainers and i do find the majority of people still make an effort in the event.

I have family that have done HAL, P&O, Royal Carribean and NCL and they enjoyed them all. If you are easy going then i think you would be ok. For people who like traditional style cruising then i would not advise NCL as their aim is to be the complete opposite of traditional.

We just love the choice and flexibility onboard. Jade has recently been refitted too.
Thanks -we started life on OV2 as we didn't formal and then did 2 weeks on Oceana and loved it. I suppose we are pretty easy going really. We do our homework and know what we are getting.

:-)
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Sailed on:

P&O Oceana 05.04.18 : Eastern Med fly cruise
P&O Ventura 15.08.17 : Spain & the Greek Islands
P&O Britannia 28.05.17 : Iberian Cruise
P&O Oceana 10.08.16 : Western Med fly cruise
P&O Britannia 25.07.15 : Iberia and Canaries
P&O Oceana 08.04.15 : Western Med
P&O Oceana 19.04.14 : Iberian Cruise
RCI Independence of the Seas 29.10.13 : Mini cruise
Celebrity Silhouette 12:08:13 : Greek Islands / Italy
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:12 : Adriatic / Venice
Celebrity Silhouette 10:08:11 : Eastern Med/Holy Land
P&O Oceana August 2010 : Western Med
Ocean Village 02:08:09 : Eastern Med / Crete
Louis Cruises August 2001 : Egypt
#16
Cumbria,U.K.
6,112 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
We've been on JAde twice, so we must have liked it, because we don't repeat a ship we didn't enjoy... it was a few years back, though, when she was new over here from Hawaii. you have a great package, because our only real dislike was the inflated drinks and gratuities prices. We'd go on JAde again if the price was right... just very, very laid back.
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#17
UK
673 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
We love NCL and prefer to P&O. The dress code is relaxed and their freedom dining works better than any other cruise line we've been on. The traveller demographic tends to be quite different to P&O, younger overall with more international passenger mix. The all inclusive drinks package is excellent and water is available in the buffet. If you pay gratuities in advance in sterling then it's cheaper. The Jade is a smallish ship but still feels like it has lots of facilities.
#18
29 Posts
Joined May 2014
Have done a couple of NCL Med cruises and have just come back from a P & O Caribbean Xmas cruise. I would probably plump for NCL next time to be honest. Entertainment is better and I like the fact that there are various nationalities on board, not just British. If you like a drink or two and entertainment then I would go for NCL.


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