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Anyone tried Norwegian ?

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We recently sailed Equinox and loved it so we are now planning a Greek/ med cruise for June 2020 with our kids n their 20s. Itinerary is important and noticed Norwegian getaway offers, Greece, Croatia and Italy . We prefer Celebrity but wanted to get thoughts from those who may have sailed both. 

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Here's a recent thread discussing the same topic. General consensus is NCL and Celebrity offer quite different experiences. I would consider NCL to be more in line with Carnival if that provides any quick context between the two.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I haven’t sailed Celebrity yet (14 days to go) but loved the Norwegian Getaway. The entertainment was great with a 1.5 hour long broadway style show plus duelling pianos and several live singers. A couple of other paid options which were well worth it. 

Food was great with a Chinese noodle/rice bar included and pub style grub available 24 hours. There was a nice vibe with lots going on and only got crowded a couple of times

Ice bar and mini bowling alley were fun too as was the crazy golf and the ropes course. Nice adults only area at the rear of the ship too. 

The Waterfront was great - a promenade deck that wraps around the back of the ship with bars and restaurants so you can eat outside or just take a nice stroll. The ship was nicely international and had a pleasant vibe. Our balcony cabin was spacious and nicely laid out and the ship was well appointed throughout. 

Overall it was the best cruise I’ve been on so far. 

I’m hoping Celebrity will be equally as good but in a different way. 

Edited by Highpeaklad

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Three NCL cruises under our belts and 3 Celebrity, as well as quite a few HAL and 2 RCCL. Each cruise line offers a bit of a different experience, but we've loved them all. Re food, NCL buffet was probably the least liked (kind of a high school cafeteria feel on the ships we sailed), yet we really liked the little 24 hour sit-down restaurant on NCL (called various things on various ships), the 2 different MDRs and the Mexican restaurant on one of the ships. Re entertainment, we don't really go out much so can't offer much of an opinion (homebodies in our cabin). The itineraries are the BIG thing to us now, and all 3 lines have offered great itineraries at a time and price that we wanted. 

 

Good luck with your choice, and best wishes!

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We’ve sailed both and enjoyed both, and have cruises coming up on both. They are pretty different cruise lines. Food is subjective, but we think the food in Celebrity’s MDRs is better. The Silhouette (pre-revolution) is our favorite ship to date of all the ships we’ve sailed, but we love NCL’s smaller Jewel-class ships. They have great public spaces, including a promenade deck.  

 

NCL invented “freestyle dining,” and its ships are built for it. (Way more dining venues.)  It’s so popular that most other lines had to start offering some version of anytime dining, but their ships were not built for it and cannot handle it as well. 

 

We’ve never sailed NCL’s big Away-class ships (no interest, really), so I can’t help you with that. 

 

Med cruises are typically port intensive, so the itinerary, to me at least, is probably the most important decision. 

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Posted (edited)

Food much better on Celebrity, entertainment much better on NCL... As much as people complain about Nickel and Diming on Celebrity, doesn't compare to NCL> 

 

Celebrity has one big advantage over NCl and I speak from experience and that is their smoking policies.   NCL in some areas felt like you were in a chimney...

Edited by dkjretired

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We sailed to Bermuda on Norwegian Breakaway a few years ago. Our experience was a bit skewed as we'd reserved a balcony but our bid to move into the Haven was accepted, so we can never sail NCL again if we're not in the Haven, lol. The Haven is comparable to the suite experience on Celebrity, with the exception that on Breakway and ships in her class, the Haven has a private pool/sun deck. When we did venture out of the Haven area we felt the ship was crowded. We took most of our meals at the Haven restaurant but did try 3 specialty restaurants, if I'm remembering right. The entertainment was great - one show in particular, the Cirque du Soleil show, was excellent (it came with a meal which was pretty good). NCL is definitely more family oriented than Celebrity - I've yet to see an X ship with rock climbing, rope courses, etc...and that's part of why we prefer X, lol. I wouldn't not sail on NCL again - if the itinerary and price was right, I'd definitely jump on board (ha) but as I said, having sailed in the Haven, that's where we would like to be again and I generally find the pricing on those cabins to be incredibly expensive.

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NCL was our line of choice until about four years ago when I quit smoking! The casino allows smoker, but the rule is they should be sitting at a table gambling to do so. Still you see many complaints from intolerant people that they have to walk through it when they pass by!

 

I would put it on a par with RCCL and a good step above Carnival (the latter of which will never willingly get me on board again!!).

 

What they say about nickel and diming is, I guess, true, but you learn to live with it. A dining package is invaluable and there are many varied specialty restaurants to choose from. Our absolute favorite is Ocean Blue, which is even an upcharge on the dining package of, I think, $15 + grats, but the food is outstanding!

 

Entertainment is, as stated above, probably among the best at sea with a broadway show as well as other smaller venues offering Jazz, dueling pianos and even singers in some bars, which if you find a good one, you'll find yourself elevating in that direction for a nice relaxing time or a sing-song.

 

If you time your booking right, you can get all of the perks (Drinks, Dining, shore excursion credit, Wifi), but remember that the dining and drinks options are subject to 20% gratuity at the time of booking. There may also be VAT (local tax) added to your tab for each drink, depending on where the ship is at the time. This varies, so it's best to get that confirmed by recent guests.

 

If you or any of your party have mobility issues or, like us, don't like having to walk the length of the ship, the away class vessels only have elevator Aft and Mid-Ships. There are none at the front, so walking corridors becomes a chore toward the end of the cruise.

 

We would most definitely sail NCL again if the itinerary suited us. We have sailed in a suit, but not in the Haven, which we would love to do.

 

Remember, all this is just my opinion. Some will disagree, but no-one can deny that the only way to find out if the line is for you is to try it. You won't have a BAD cruise on just about any line, just some you prefer over others!

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Posted (edited)

After 20+ years on RCL, Celebrity and HAL we tried a 2 week cruise on the Breakaway due to its very unique itinerary. 

 

After the Caribbean was ravaged by the hurricanes they skipped a few of the usual Eastern Islands and delved down farther South to include the ABC Islands and Martinique, which are rarely visited by cruises from the Northeast.

 

Nice ship, decent but not up to any of our other cruises even with specialty dining.

 

Almost everyone sailing has the free bar benefits causing crowding at most bars. and drink servers in the casino, lounges and entertainment venues were far and few to be found.

 

Embarkation as well as the total cluster jam with baggage of the same color being deposited at three different and separate locations at the pier as we disembarked was horrible. (The cruise left from New York City).

 

Smoking was heavy in many places and although it doesn't bother me it was very, very smelly.. LOL 

 

Ship was very nice

Stateroom was kept clean and neat but sometimes wasn't ready till the afternoons during the cruise.

Food was passable

Staff was friendly but could have used more at each venue

Major mess at embarkation and disembarking from cruise, possibly due to NYC departure

Choice of COLORS for disembarkation time and baggage areas was left to the passenger's choice with apparently no limit to any particular color, as our color seemed to have been chosen by everyone on board. What a mess...

Itinerary was FANTASTIC and wish RCL or someone ELSE would offer the same for a 2 week sailing from the Northeast, even with 2 usual ports skipped.

 

We sailed in an extra large veranda stateroom and I imagine the experience would have been different if we sailed in the Haven category.

 

Did we enjoy the cruise? Yes, as always, but with some critical points. We would not however do it again with NCL and have sailed from the NYC port several other times on HAL with no trouble. 

 

 

Edited by boscobeans

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We’re trying our first NCL cruise in ten years in October. We chose NCL due to being able to drive to the port (Los Angeles). We don’t expect the same experience as X but then each cruise line being different is a good thing. We will be in the Haven and our total cost will be more than X suites class by the time we added in the extras that we usually receive on X when booking a suite. I hope that we enjoy it as we need more west coast options. 

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We're Elite Plus and have also sailed on Getaway and Escape.  We LOVED both NCL ships!  We loved that a MDR was open for lunch on embarkation day.  We loved that there are three MDRs, and two of them, Taste and Savor are smaller and more intimate and felt like specialty restaurants.  We loved that the two of us were always seated at a true 4 top and the other settings were taken away.  And true space between tables.  We loved that a hamburger etc was available almost all day at O'Sheehans as opposed to the Mast Grill closing at 6 each evening.  We loved that the bedside tables had USB ports.  We loved that the cabins had coffee machines.  I'm talking a regular balcony; we were not in a suite.  We thought the entertainment was much better than Celebrity!

 

Lastly the Waterfront concept is genius!  You have the opportunity to dine al fresco at the specialty restaurants (which are much cheaper than X's.)  The Waterfront has lots of chairs and sofas under a deep overhang so you can look out at the ocean in the shade and even in a rain shower (or balcony washing!)

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I've sailed Cunard, Holland America, Carnival, Royal Carribean, Norwegian and will sail Celebrity next month.  The only info I have to share is that on our Cuba cruise with NCL the dinners in the MDR were definitely not up to par with any of the other ships we have sailed on.  It could be that they were filling up just due to the destination, but it was definitely disappointing.  Neither of us are the kind that complain at restaurants, but one day my husband actually ordered a different entree after his was delivered because it was so bad.  Other than that, not too much different from our other cruises.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, helen haywood said:

We're Elite Plus and have also sailed on Getaway and Escape.  We LOVED both NCL ships!  We loved that a MDR was open for lunch on embarkation day.  We loved that there are three MDRs, and two of them, Taste and Savor are smaller and more intimate and felt like specialty restaurants.  We loved that the two of us were always seated at a true 4 top and the other settings were taken away.  And true space between tables.  We loved that a hamburger etc was available almost all day at O'Sheehans as opposed to the Mast Grill closing at 6 each evening.  We loved that the bedside tables had USB ports.  We loved that the cabins had coffee machines.  I'm talking a regular balcony; we were not in a suite.  We thought the entertainment was much better than Celebrity!

 

Lastly the Waterfront concept is genius!  You have the opportunity to dine al fresco at the specialty restaurants (which are much cheaper than X's.)  The Waterfront has lots of chairs and sofas under a deep overhang so you can look out at the ocean in the shade and even in a rain shower (or balcony washing!)

 

Were you in a suite?  

We cruised NCL several years ago, mini suites and then full suites.  However, with the larger ships and the Haven, the prices are higher than we care to spend, and I don't want to take the chance on the bidding process.

I've often wondered, however, if we could cruise these newer ships in a balcony.  As I get older I find I can't stand crowds and I get the feeling that these ships are very crowded.  

However, I have read your posts and respect your opinion.  If you weren't in a suite, I'll give them another look.🙂

 

Ooopsie, just re-read your post and see that you were NOT in a suite.  Maybe I'll give them another look.

Edited by mafig

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Well, keep in mind that I was specifically replying to the OP’s post.  The poster who commented on the NCL ship that sailed to Cuba was an older ship, not the Getaway.  If the Getaway is doing an itinerary you want that is the most important thing and I think you will enjoy her.

 

Celebrity’s S Class ships are our favorite.  If I were to price the same itinerary NCL will generally always cost more due to NCL’s charging grats on the beverage and dining packages.  

 

Also, if you have sailed Celebrity a lot, then some new menus and shows are very welcome.  Not necessarily better as that is subjective, but definitely a refreshing change of experience.

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1 hour ago, mafig said:

 

Were you in a suite?  

We cruised NCL several years ago, mini suites and then full suites.  However, with the larger ships and the Haven, the prices are higher than we care to spend, and I don't want to take the chance on the bidding process.

I've often wondered, however, if we could cruise these newer ships in a balcony.  As I get older I find I can't stand crowds and I get the feeling that these ships are very crowded.  

However, I have read your posts and respect your opinion.  If you weren't in a suite, I'll give them another look.🙂

 

Ooopsie, just re-read your post and see that you were NOT in a suite.  Maybe I'll give them another look.

 

Getaway balcony cabin

D2B411F0-13CF-494C-BB04-7260D285DBB7.png

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Posted (edited)

We were on the Bliss (breakaway class) for an Alaska cruise this past May and enjoyed it. We were not able to experience everything the ship had due to the colder climate (and frankly, I don't think NCL made the right call putting this ship in Alaska) but I would certainly sail that class again in a warmer climate. Food is comparable to RCCI (we haven't been on Celebrity yet, so I can't compare). We did 4 specialty dining, once MDR and then the buffet. Not impressed with the Specialty. Save your money, or do just one (we preferred Italian). Our best meal was in the MDR and we wished we had opted to just eat there most nights.  Entertainment was a nice change, though I wish they had more comedy nights. The room size was similar to RCCI, slightly bigger bath. Staff was quiet but attentive. We plan to cruise with them again in the next year. Probably Hawaii and maybe a shorter caribbean cruise.

 

Oh - and while it is true that they tend to "nickel and dime" you, we didn't see this as a problem. we knew going into NCL that they are more of an al a-carte cruise line. We got a really good deal on the cruise, booking just 50 days out, so we were completely fine paying for extras that we wanted.

Edited by alisonslp

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Over the past two years we have sailed ten times with NCL and three times with Celebrity. Overall we prefer NCL for entertainment but Celebrity for food. But honestly each cruise is different. In a six month period we went twice on the NCL Jade and one time the food was acceptable, the other time it was dreadful. On Celebrity Equinox in 2017 the food was acceptable, but last week on the Celebrity Summit the food was outstanding. The onboard experience can be very different even within the same cruise line, not just in ship design but also in cruise director, executive chef, etc. We tend to choose itinerary first, and value for money second, and then enjoy our cruise even if it is not the absolute best one we have ever been on.

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We've cruised Celebrity 30 times and NCL nine.  We prefer the smaller NCL ships as they have a much better passenger space ratio.  The large ships are very crowded and have some smoke issues because of the location of the casino.  Lots of things for the kids to do on the larger ships however.

We ONLY cruise NCL with a prepaid Ultimate Dining Package, as their MDR in the evening is so so, but their alternative restaurants are excellent.  NCL will nickel and dime you, and the "free" drink package will cost you $99+ per person in additional fees.  Speaking of fees/taxes -- I find NCL's charges in this area are higher than any other line.

By the time you add up all the additional costs, NCL is not that cheap.  We have ten cruises booked, and none are on NCL, which is strange because a couple of years ago we were regulars.  

 

Good luck,

Kel😃

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Yes, I just looked at some prices for Haven suites and they are lower than I thought they would be (less than $3000 p/p). This was November and January, so that may have something to do with it.    I was surprised.  However, I did not factor in the additional fees, but it may still be less than $3000.  Don't know.  Do want to try the Haven.

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9 hours ago, Highpeaklad said:

I haven’t sailed Celebrity yet (14 days to go) but loved the Norwegian Getaway. The entertainment was great with a 1.5 hour long broadway style show plus duelling pianos and several live singers. A couple of other paid options which were well worth it. 

Food was great with a Chinese noodle/rice bar included and pub style grub available 24 hours. There was a nice vibe with lots going on and only got crowded a couple of times

Ice bar and mini bowling alley were fun too as was the crazy golf and the ropes course. Nice adults only area at the rear of the ship too. 

The Waterfront was great - a promenade deck that wraps around the back of the ship with bars and restaurants so you can eat outside or just take a nice stroll. The ship was nicely international and had a pleasant vibe. Our balcony cabin was spacious and nicely laid out and the ship was well appointed throughout. 

Overall it was the best cruise I’ve been on so far. 

I’m hoping Celebrity will be equally as good but in a different way. 

 

Really appreciate this Informative post.

Glad we are all set with Celebrity...sounds like it  continues to be more our style when compared to others

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I can't thank everyone for all your insight.  Itinerary and food are the most important to us, entertainment not so much.  I will continue to research and look forward to reading more reviews in the coming weeks.  

 

PS:  These message boards are a real treasure!

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After a long absence from NCL and most recent cruises we sailed the Bliss last fall and I really enjoyed it.

 

some things to consider. On NCL you can often get perks similar to Celebrity although you have to pay the gratuities. For us it's still a good deal for the drink package and Celebrrity doesn't offer a dining package as a perk.

 

we haven't been on the getaway, but this is what we observed on the Bliss. The smoking section of the casino was enclosed so it contained the smoke. The balconies were smaller. The entertainment was better including a Broadway show. The buffet was awesome for breakfast, there were at least 20 omelet and Benedict stations. The ship excursions were no kidding twice the same offered on Celebrity and Princess so, that limits where I will cruise them, we often take ship tours when going to new locations. The aft elevators were horrible on the Bliss.

 

we like NCL but not sure I'd cruise them in Europe due to their high excursion prices.

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I have been to Alaska on NCL and Celebrity (and Princess) and I think that NCL was fine for what I was looking for.  That was a solo trip and I wanted a very relaxed, do what I want when I want kind of trip.  NCL was great for that.  The entire Celebrity cruise felt much more formal.  The main dining room food was certainly better on Celebrity, but I took advantage of the specialty restaurants on the NCL trip.  Would I take a NCL cruise in the future?  You bet!  

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13 hours ago, Ginnyfyr said:

We sailed to Bermuda on Norwegian Breakaway a few years ago. Our experience was a bit skewed as we'd reserved a balcony but our bid to move into the Haven was accepted, so we can never sail NCL again if we're not in the Haven, lol. The Haven is comparable to the suite experience on Celebrity, with the exception that on Breakway and ships in her class, the Haven has a private pool/sun deck. When we did venture out of the Haven area we felt the ship was crowded. We took most of our meals at the Haven restaurant but did try 3 specialty restaurants, if I'm remembering right. The entertainment was great - one show in particular, the Cirque du Soleil show, was excellent (it came with a meal which was pretty good). NCL is definitely more family oriented than Celebrity - I've yet to see an X ship with rock climbing, rope courses, etc...and that's part of why we prefer X, lol. I wouldn't not sail on NCL again - if the itinerary and price was right, I'd definitely jump on board (ha) but as I said, having sailed in the Haven, that's where we would like to be again and I generally find the pricing on those cabins to be incredibly expensive.

I totally agree.  The Haven is wonderful

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14 hours ago, mafig said:

Yes, I just looked at some prices for Haven suites and they are lower than I thought they would be (less than $3000 p/p). This was November and January, so that may have something to do with it.    I was surprised.  However, I did not factor in the additional fees, but it may still be less than $3000.  Don't know.  Do want to try the Haven.

It might be that MSC's Yacht Club is pulling over ex-Haven passengers.  The YC is a wonderful deal compared to the Haven.

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