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Can a Crystal Cruiser survive a NCL cruise?

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For reasons beyond my control I may need to go on NCL for 5 days.  I know I would need to manage my expectations but has anyone sailed NCL and what can I expect?  Is it worth booking the top cabin for the extra restaurant?  It’s NCL Escape.  

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1 hour ago, hubbards said:

For reasons beyond my control I may need to go on NCL for 5 days.  I know I would need to manage my expectations but has anyone sailed NCL and what can I expect?  Is it worth booking the top cabin for the extra restaurant?  It’s NCL Escape.  

 

Well, you certainly won't confuse the ships. Have not sailed NCL myself but a colleague booked a Haven Suite on Escape and while the room was nice, they were not impressed by the restaurant. Apparently the menu is the same every day. The only real advantage was the separate pool area, but even that tended to be noisy with a number of families also in the Haven Suites.

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2 hours ago, hubbards said:

For reasons beyond my control I may need to go on NCL for 5 days.  I know I would need to manage my expectations but has anyone sailed NCL and what can I expect?  Is it worth booking the top cabin for the extra restaurant?  It’s NCL Escape.  

 

We can all "survive" 5 days anywhere except perhaps some third world prisons! I haven't been on NCL, but have done a 7 day on Royal Caribbean. Their "specialty" restaurants were anything but special. I'm inclined to agree with Larry, why spend the extra $$$ for a high end suite for 5 days when what you get is only marginally better.

 

Patty

 

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Thank you both.  With these comments I won’t bother paying 4x the price for the Haven if the value doesn’t match the price.  I agree, one can survive almost anywhere for 5 days.  I’ll just go into my “zone” 

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We sailed on the Escape recently.  When we select a  cruise the first consideration is destination, then the cruise line.  We placed a bid for a Haven cabin (it was accepted) and it turned out to be a pleasant vacation.  If we had not been in the Haven I do not think I would have enjoyed the trip as much.  There is a  difference in everything when traveling on the larger vessels.  Give it a try and if you do not like it steer away from NCL in the future.  Just my personal judgement but the Escape met our needs and then some.

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I took my grandkids on Royal for the 3 day cruise.  Instead of looking for what was missing, i watched it though their eyes and it's a fun time i will not forget.  I won't be sailing on it just for my own vacation, but, for them, it was a priceless experience i was able to give them.

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I am a devotee of Crystal, always my go to cruise line, but I have been graciously included in extended family cruises on Norwegian twice in recent years. Twelve on Crystal for Christmas week would be above our budget. The standard window rooms aren't terrible, not Crystal but adequate. Bathrooms are small, closets are almost nonexistent, only seating is 1 desk chair or the bed. We had the dine around package lest time, the French and Steakhouse venues were surprisingly good. There is also a 24 hour pub like included venue which produces a good omelet for breakfast and a nice selection for lunch. I'm not a big buffet fan but Norwegians was well organized and very expansive. Go and enjoy.

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Again, thank you for your comments.  This cruise is for my mom’s 90th birthday.  She lives in NJ and doesn’t like to fly, hence our options are few in November for her birthday.  We can drive to the ship.  She has cruised alot (though not on Crystal) and my other family members have cruised alot (though not on Crystal.). We’ll use this as a time to celebrate her milestone, rather than the cruise experience:)

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You never know but variety is the spice of life.  The one thing in common is that your bed will be made, that towel you drop on the bathroom floor will be picked up and you won't need to cook.  Hard to argue with that.  Hope your mom has a memorable birthday.

 

Roy

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2 hours ago, rafinmd said:

You never know but variety is the spice of life.  The one thing in common is that your bed will be made, that towel you drop on the bathroom floor will be picked up and you won't need to cook.  Hard to argue with that.  Hope your mom has a memorable birthday.

 

Roy

Love it!!! 😁

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You are already off to a great start.  It's a celebration for a special milestone birthday for your Mom  It is an easy drive to get to the ship.  No flights.  And your family members including Mom have not been on Crystal.  

 

Just enjoy it.  We have always found one or more things to enjoy about every cruise line we have sailed and only had one subpar cruise on one of those lines.

 

Sailed Carnival many years ago with family and another family. Found things to like.

 

You will be with family and have a nice celebration.  

 

Enjoy and just don't compare it to Crystal or for that matter any other line.  Just enjoy the moment.

 

Keith

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23 hours ago, hubbards said:

For reasons beyond my control I may need to go on NCL for 5 days.  I know I would need to manage my expectations but has anyone sailed NCL and what can I expect?  Is it worth booking the top cabin for the extra restaurant?  It’s NCL Escape.  

 I survived a week on Carnival for my niece’s bachelorette bash.  We actually had a great time.  Expectations were low and Carnival managed to surprise us a few times.   Have a great cruise.

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Thanks keith and Riandei for your nice replies and words of encouragement.  Prior to sailing with Crystal (for 20 years now) I sailed with Princess, HA,L, Royal Caribbean, Home Lines, Windstar.  At the time I thought they were great.  As you know, once you become Crystalized it’s hard to go back.  However, taking a brief step back will validate how much I like Crystal.  Thanks again to everyone who replied.

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Just wondering.  I know Gentung used to be a major (perhaps only) owner of NCL.  Did they have to divest that holding when they acquired Crystal?

 

Roy

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Roy, from what I previously read Genting began reducing its holdings since 2013 and in late 2018 sold its remaining holdings.

 

Keith

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I have sailed on NCL three times - once on the Jade (not in the Haven, which in my mind was a huge mistake and I would honestly rather have been at home cooking, cleaning, and working- the trip was really bad) and twice on the Escape (in the Haven.... Crystal it is NOT but I had a good time.)

 

All three of the above cruises were with family- my kids though the water slides and pools on Escape were just fantastic.  When you leave the Haven it is loud, crowded, a little rough around the edges.  The Haven restaurant is slow and the menu is definitely limited but if you eat there 4 out of 7 nights on a week long cruise you surely can find 3-4 entrees to suit your taste.  

 

A lot of it centered on my expectations.  We don't always (or even usually) sail luxury lines and I've sailed at least once on most of the "mass market" lines so I have a good range of experiences to compare to.  I would not choose to vacation with just my husband on NCL but with our kids +/- other family, it was fun.  

 

You will not ever find me on an NCL ship outside of the Haven again.  Even if the Haven wasn't perfect it was a little break from the noise and crowds (my inner introvert speaking...) Probably once our kids are too old to enjoy waterslides we will not find ourselves on their ships again but I see 1-2 more NCL Haven cruises in our future.  Otherwise it was just too crowded/loud/wild/chaotic for my personal taste and I didn't enjoy it.  In the Haven I could go with the "someone else is cooking, someone else is cleaning, someone is making tasty drinks,  let's have a good time even if it is not ideal!" concept, but not otherwise.

 

I hope you enjoy your celebratory cruise with your mom!

 

 

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I haven’t sailed Crystal but I did a 7 day Eastern Caribbean on the Escape in 2017. I had a 12 yo with me so the ship’s attractions for that age group were the main draw. I was more impressed with the MDR than the specialty restaurants. The buffet I found to be well managed with food that was cold/hot/fresh as appropriate. It didn’t have the most exotic or sophisticated offerings but I prefer simple and good over fancy but bad. (If that makes sense.)

If I could have done the Haven I would have, if only for the private pool and sun deck. The crowds on the pool deck can be....quite something to behold. However, if the rest of your party won’t be in the Haven, they won’t be able to access the Haven so you will have to choose between serenity or their company. If you are going to be together as a family, then I say grin and bear it for 5 days.

Two final comments: I did opt for the “mini suite” which has extra space in the bathroom. Well worth it! And midship by the forward elevators was a super convenient place to be. Good luck!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Posted (edited)

NCL is not always our first choice even though we've cruised with them several times.  We are not cabin people, so any cabin will do as long as it has a quiet location.  There are a few things we always do on NCL; first, we always purchase the "Ultimate Dining Package" and eat every evening meal in one of their excellent alternative restaurants.  The MDR is so so at best, but fine for lunch or breakfast.  The buffet is okay.  

 

We have always had a beverage package, but be aware they charge a service fee even if you receive the package for free.  NCL is the "nickel an dime" champion.  Always check their fees and taxes added on, as they will be higher than all the other lines.  After you add on all their extra charges, they may not be the cheapest option.  We have ten cruises coming up (see signature), but none with NCL as their a very few deals to be had these days.  

 

Best deals we have found as of late -- MSC inside cabin in their Yacht Club; Holland America has some great pricing; Celebrity in their M and S class ships, but the Edge is way too expensive; Cunard for World Cruises or segments;  RCL for repositioning cruises;  Crystal 7 day Caribbean cruises.

(IMHO -- mileage may vary)

 

Enjoy!

Kel😄

Edited by kelmac

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Posted (edited)

Norwegian has some of the best Indian food of any cruise line, so there are some things to look forward to. If you like Indian food anyway! Though you won't confuse it with Waterside....

Edited by Bruce4fun

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Thank you for those who have recently replied.  The cruise is in November so maybe there won’t be too many families (week before Thanksgiving)??? Not to be cruel but I like it when there are no children on board, or at least only a few well behaved ones:)

The quality of the food, and selection, may help me start my much needed diet.  

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As I write we are on the Norwegian Bliss in Alaska. I’m not familiar with the Escape, but the Bliss is truly a beautiful ship. I agree with all the other comments of those who responded. Purchase a dining package for evening meals.  Our favorite restaurants are Le Bistro and Ocean Blue. We, too, skip the buffet. 

 

While hard to believe on a ship with 4000 people, we’ve been “adopted” by three different Filipino staff members in various venues who have gone out of their way to wait on us every time they see us. Sound familiar?!

 

Our next cruise is on Symphony — can’t wait! I suggest you do the same. Go and have a good time on Norwegian with your family, but have a Crystal cruise waiting in the wings.

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2 hours ago, BEAV said:

As I write we are on the Norwegian Bliss in Alaska. I’m not familiar with the Escape, but the Bliss is truly a beautiful ship. I agree with all the other comments of those who responded. Purchase a dining package for evening meals.  Our favorite restaurants are Le Bistro and Ocean Blue. We, too, skip the buffet. 

 

While hard to believe on a ship with 4000 people, we’ve been “adopted” by three different Filipino staff members in various venues who have gone out of their way to wait on us every time they see us. Sound familiar?!

 

Our next cruise is on Symphony — can’t wait! I suggest you do the same. Go and have a good time on Norwegian with your family, but have a Crystal cruise waiting in the wings.

 

Brian,

 

Are the food photos you posted on Facebook from an NCL specialty restaurant?  The food looks "fine" but nothing special, certainly nothing like what Crystal serves. Of course, I wouldn't have expected it to look like Crystal. 

 

Patty #3

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Once again thank you to those adding thoughts and more details.  

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1 hour ago, Texas Tillie said:

 

Brian,

 

Are the food photos you posted on Facebook from an NCL specialty restaurant?  The food looks "fine" but nothing special, certainly nothing like what Crystal serves. Of course, I wouldn't have expected it to look like Crystal. 

 

Patty #3

 

Patty, 

 

I had to go to Gary’s FB page to see what he had posted!  A couple photos were from the Specialties, others from land based restaurants in Seattle and Alaskan ports. 

 

Gary had a filet in LeBistro last night that would win even the approval of the toughest of beef eaters in the great state of Texas!  My Dover sole was heavenly, but confess I was jealous of his filet and stole a couple of bites. 

 

Of course no mass market line can rival Crystal in the long run, but there are a few hits here and there if you know how/where to look for them. 

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