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Would we like Norwegian?


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We are active in late 60s with extensive cruise experience in the last 20 years. But, we sailed only on HAL, Oceania and Celebrity during that period. We always get a balcony and often a suite.  We sailed Carnival and RCI once each and hated them both. We're looking at the Quebec to Boston on the Gem in late September. But some of the reviews i read make Norwegian sound more like Carnival than our other experiences. Interested in thoughts from regular users of Norwegian. I like the timing of this cruise and the ports. My other choice would be the Queen Mary 2, but Cunard sounds very stuffy. And, more expensive.

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Since you have mostly sailed HAL, Oceania, and Celebrity in the past, I have to wonder why you would consider NCL, which is more like Carnival/RCI.  If they RCI and Carnival did not please you, you are NOT likely,  overall, to enjoy NCL!

 

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17 minutes ago, ggTexasGal said:

Since you have mostly sailed HAL, Oceania, and Celebrity in the past, I have to wonder why you would consider NCL, which is more like Carnival/RCI.  If they RCI and Carnival did not please you, you are NOT likely,  overall, to enjoy NCL!

 

We were on a cruise on the NCL Star to Alaska and when we got off in Juneau a group of Holland America people were there, a woman asked what ship is that, and the other 2 said a Norwegian ship, is the cruise line of the slobs...😅🤣

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I have cruised 7 times and found myself asking the same question.  For my eight cruise, my wife and I booked the Norwegian Jade on 2/17 for a cruise in Asia.  Thus far my NCL experience has been terrible.  Most other cruise operators canceled citing the risks to the health and safety of the passengers and crew.  Not NCL.  They insisted on sailing during the Coronavirus situation and told us we would lose our money if we chose not to sail.  They have been arrogant, unresponsive, and have lied about what is happening on the Jade now and on 2/17.  I would be remissed if I did not share my unpleasant NCL experiences with others.  If you do not want to take my word for it, here is an article about how NCL treats its guests.  https://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/dads-fears-for-son-on-coronavirus-cruise-222070/

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I've cruise on Celebrity and Crystal, as well a NCL.  I like the fact that NCL is very casual and that is nice for a change.  I only eat in the specialty restaurants and have always been pleased with the meal.  There is a lot of entertainment, which is good.  I added NCL into the mix with Celebrity and Crystal, because I wanted to add a lower priced cruise line, so I could cruise more, and I was suprised how much I enjoyed my first cruise with them and am now Platinum on the cruise line.  The only way you will know if you will like it, try it and make up your own mind. 

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Have been on 25 to 30 cruises over the years, sailing HAL, RCI, Princess, Celebrity, Costa, MSC and of course NCL. I will sail on NCL (Gold Latitude member) if the port of departure, itinerary, dates and price are what I'm looking for, but would put Celebrity at the top of my list, followed by HAL and Princess (that was many years ago and may have changed). I lump NCL in with RCI.

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1 hour ago, boom_boom said:

We are active in late 60s with extensive cruise experience in the last 20 years. But, we sailed only on HAL, Oceania and Celebrity during that period. We always get a balcony and often a suite.  We sailed Carnival and RCI once each and hated them both. We're looking at the Quebec to Boston on the Gem in late September. But some of the reviews i read make Norwegian sound more like Carnival than our other experiences. Interested in thoughts from regular users of Norwegian. I like the timing of this cruise and the ports. My other choice would be the Queen Mary 2, but Cunard sounds very stuffy. And, more expensive.

I have sailed Oceania, HAL, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, P&O & NCL. They are all very different, I like HAL Ships and the drinks are good but the food is terrible. Oceania have lovely cabins, excellent food and nice drinks but the entertainment is poor. Celebrity has good food, not so good drinks and entertainment is poor. RCI we ate in the speciality restaurants as the food is so poor in main dining, the entertainment is excellent. P&O have excellent evening entertainment only and everything else is just ok. I am a platinum on NCL and love the suite life, the speciality restaurants are good and main dining is ok too, drinks are not the best but the staff are good and there is lots to do. You are right about Cunard being stuffy, there is an element of that on P&O on formal nights, where you are not allowed in the dining rooms, theatre and most bars if you are not dressed in the right attire, also Captains night where there are free drinks brings out the snobs who sneer and whine that cruising isn't what it used to be..

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NCL is fine and offers a solid product but it is much more similar to Carnival and RCI than it is to HAL and (I assume) Oceania.  I feel like Princess is the closest to HAL in terms of style but with slightly better food and slightly younger demographic. Cunard is my favorite though. The QM2 is like no other ship in the world; truly beautiful and a marvel of engineering. Also, the perceived stuffiness is really just that: perceived. 

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We’ve sailed many cruise lines for 30 years including Disney and  Azamara Club Cruises in Europe. We just came off the Norwegian Encure on Sunday. We booked a Haven room. It’s like a boutique ship within the larger ship. Haven guests have their own private area on the top three floors at the front of the ship. We loved it!!!  Private pool, sun deck, and private dining room which has the best food on board. We did the Tappenyaki restaurant which was fun. The Haven is amazing and you have the choice to go into the general area for water slides, race track, etc. It’s the best of all worlds. We found the ports were shorter times than most but the ship was our destination since we had been to most of the islands. If you go Norwegian, definitely book a Haven room.  

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I can't add too much of value other than to say:  when where and for how long you sail can have more impact on your experience than the line itself.   A Caribbean cruise out of Florida on any big ship is going to be pretty similar from one line to another.   But comparing a Caribbean cruise out of Florida on a big ship to a Quebec cruise on a smaller ship on the same line is going to be two very different experiences in terms of: demographics, activities and "vibe."

 

I have sailed on the Gem out of Quebec on a 10-day cruise.  The whole trip was a bit more "sedate" than 7 day cruises in the sun.  Fewer families, passengers a bit older on the whole, less DJ-mixed dance music going thump thump thump during on deck parties, etc.

 

If you wanted to itemize what specifically you did not like about RCI and Carnival, I can tell you if I experienced any of that on my sailing on the Gem.   

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I have only traveled on Carnival (really didn't like it at all) and NCL.  We love the Haven on NCL and are booked for Bermuda at the end of May.  I have been looking at other cruise lines, like Oceania, but like the big ship atmosphere, the shows, the action, etc.  What I don't like are tons of people and lines.  The Haven solves that.  You should try it.  🙂

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A lot can depend on the itinerary, too. The Quebec Boston run is a nice itinerary. I have done it before. I would describe the onboard atmosphere as relaxed and quiet. There were very few kids, and many passengers in an age group similar to yours.

 

You didn't really explain why you hated Carnival. So, there are a lot of similarities between NCL and Carnival, but I will finish by saying a Canada New England sailing on NCL is a very different experience than a 7 day Caribbean cruise on Carnival.

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We have 7 NCL cruises, 11 on Celebrity and 2 on Royal Caribbean.

All were great fun, never had a bad cruise.  

 

NCL has excellent entertainment, like Royal C.  It has a good variety of specialty restaurants that are very good, however, NCL recently jacked up their prices.  The MDR food on NCL can range between mediocre to very good.  The buffet is good, not great.

 

We dislike the NCL beverage package and usually bring our own wine and pay the corkage ($15 per bottle).  We always pay less for alcohol than just what we would pay for the beverage package gratuities (20% of $99 per day per person).

 

Not sure why you disked Royal C.  We loved the entertainment, especially the ice shows.  Also, Royal's MDR food was better than NCL's MDR food.

Celebrity has the best dining and we always dine in the MDR.  Entertainment is not as good as Royal or NCL, but still good.

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The food on NCL is probably amongst the worst of the mainstream cruise lines.  If you did not like royal which has excellent food, service and activities you probably won't like NCL.  It you didn't like Carnival, which has better MDR food than NCL, you probably won't like NCL.  I think the only way you may enjoy NCL is if you booked a cabin in the Haven on a ship that has an actual Haven area and Haven restaurant (not one that uses Cagney's for breakfast and dinner).  The Gem does not fall into that category.  

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1 hour ago, gizfish said:

The food on NCL is probably amongst the worst of the mainstream cruise lines.  If you did not like royal which has excellent food, service and activities you probably won't like NCL.  It you didn't like Carnival, which has better MDR food than NCL, you probably won't like NCL. 

I agree with this. I didn't mention food because it is subjective. But quality and variety of food offerings in free venues on NCL has taken a very severe hit in the past twelve months. If food is an important part of your cruise, I would either adjust expectations downward or pick another cruiseline. Or pay to dine in the specialty restaurants - outside of the specialty restaurants, expect lots of spaghetti, chicken, pork, cheap whitefish, and sausages.

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We have sailed all the cruise lines in the past 22 years. In the past two years we have sailed Crystal, Princess, Holland America, NCL and RCL. Our latest cruise was last month in a Neptune Suite on the Nieuw Statendam. 
We prefer the Haven on NCL’s larger ships.

Just our opinion. 

 

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    We have taken most of our cruises on Princess,but have also had a few on Cunard and Celebrity. We are in our later 60s and have been taking cruises since 2004.

We did take a cruise on NCL Breakaway and did not enjoy it. We found the interior spaces to be crowded and dark, many passengers using the drink package limit as a goal not as a suggestion so that their rude behavior was an outcome, the walking track-impacted by a restaurant  exit, loungers and a rock wall, and a small, non-descript mini-suite cabin.

     We were very glad to return to Princess for a following cruise. YMMV.

 

 

  

 

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As always, it's very difficult to say what someone else will like.  We have been on all the mid-range mass market cruise lines and usually lean towards NCL because excellent entertainment is a priority for us, the price is (was?) right and the "free" drink package is a perk that works for us.  A cruise is almost always part of a longer multi-country land trip for us.  We do not want to drag formal wear all over Europe just to wear it once, so we appreciate NCL's casual vibe.  We usually cruise for the ports so what we want from a ship is to relax at dinner and then enjoy a good show.  We've also been very happy with Celebrity and Royal C.  Carnival was "never again".  I will say that corporate NCL's "people skills" are shockingly bad.  The crews are lovely though.  

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We are early 60's and just got back from a 21 day cruise on the Gem through the Panama Canal. We have also done a 14 day Boston to Quebec to Boston on the Dawn a few years ago. I think that on these ships and that itinerary you will find more people your age. The Gem has a pool deck more designed for sun bathing - no go carts, rope courses, laser tag etc. We are not real foodies and have found the MDR food on NCL to be just fine. They also have a reasonable buffet and a sports bar/pub that serves good food 24 hrs. Now we have only cruised on NCL so we can't compare to others. We like the laid back dining with no fixed times or seating - now if you find another couple or two that you like to dine with  you can arrange to have the same table and time at the MDR of you choice for the whole cruise (this would also give you the same waiter too). 

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On 2/13/2020 at 3:52 PM, boom_boom said:

We are active in late 60s with extensive cruise experience in the last 20 years. But, we sailed only on HAL, Oceania and Celebrity during that period. We always get a balcony and often a suite.  We sailed Carnival and RCI once each and hated them both. We're looking at the Quebec to Boston on the Gem in late September. But some of the reviews i read make Norwegian sound more like Carnival than our other experiences. Interested in thoughts from regular users of Norwegian. I like the timing of this cruise and the ports. My other choice would be the Queen Mary 2, but Cunard sounds very stuffy. And, more expensive.

We have done HAL, Celebrity, Carnival and NCL.  I don't think you will like NCL.  It is more like Carnival and RCCL.  HAL and Celebrity are both much better than  NCL in my opinion.  I still cruise NCL but after HAL and Celebrity you really have to lower your expectations. 

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On 2/13/2020 at 4:52 PM, boom_boom said:

We are active in late 60s with extensive cruise experience in the last 20 years. But, we sailed only on HAL, Oceania and Celebrity during that period. We always get a balcony and often a suite.  We sailed Carnival and RCI once each and hated them both. We're looking at the Quebec to Boston on the Gem in late September. But some of the reviews i read make Norwegian sound more like Carnival than our other experiences. Interested in thoughts from regular users of Norwegian. I like the timing of this cruise and the ports. My other choice would be the Queen Mary 2, but Cunard sounds very stuffy. And, more expensive.

We’re 64/65 very active. We used to love celebrity but the activities were lacking. Elite level. We enjoyed RCL for quite a while but again the activities seemed to be reduced. Diamond level. We’ve enjoyed NCL beginning in 2000 last cruise 2013 and had expiring next cruise credits so we booked the Gem 14 nights round trip from Boston for Halloween 2019. Amazing activities staff. Fantastic band Prism. We enjoyed dancing every night. Excellent theme parties. MDR decent. Service decent. But the dancing opportunities are outstanding. Very pleasant surprise!

So we booked the Ncl Bliss 14 night out of New York City 2/2/20 and it was even better than the gem. Dancing by pool h20 club Atrium social club were fantastic. But the nightly dancing at the Sugarcane mojitos bar was excellent. Latin dancing. Excellent fellow Latin dancing passengers showed us all how to dance. Great comics onboard. Beatles band. Country western band. Rock band. Play Jersey Boys was excellent. Play 6 excellent. Best part an activities staff that was at events.
No comparison.

Give it a try- ya might like it.

We love NCL now!

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