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brodel

A few questions / concerns

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We are lookinng at taking a cruise to Bermuda in May and have almost settled on NCL \ Spirit for this based on the research I did as far as the experience you should get on this cruise line. I'm an informal person just looking to have a good time and from what I can tell this would suit me well.

 

I was looking at some of the posts on this board and it seems the experience with NCL is mostly positive. I went to priceline just to see prices and look at other options and stumbled upon the reviews and I got kind of worried at some of them that I found.

 

http://www.pricelinecruiseoutlet.com/reviews/default.asp?type=C&vessel_id=439&line_id=34&itineraryID=859606&startdate=5/1/2009&enddate=5/31/2009&dsc=y&p=1

 

From what I can gather on this forum, there are a lot of you that go on a lot of cruises and it seems a lot of people really like NCL. In your opinion, are those reviews correct or are they just being picky? Maybe a few people just had a set of circumstances that caused them to have a bad experience? Again, I'm a real informal person and most things don't bother me, especially when I am on vacation, but seeing that some of the NCL staff were rude and even in some cases yelled at has me worried. One thing I have a hard time tolerating when I'm spending money on a trip is to have rude staff. I don't want or expect to be treated like a king or have them busting themselves to try and please me, but prompt and friendly is all I ask. My girlfriend says I am a little too easy on people in this regard, but I'm not there to be a critic, just trying to have a good time.

 

Another one of my concerns is the menus and the types of food. I'm a horribly picky eater and eat a very small variety of foods. I am worried I either won't find anything to eat or will be forced into the "premium" resturants just to find something I can eat. I wasn't too worried about this after reading these forums, but after reading a few of those reviews I got concerned about this again. I saw on this forum a few of the menus but they seemed to have specific dates on them (which I guess they have different "themes" for certain times) and was just wondering what I can expect normally.

 

This leads me to another concern that I got from those reviews is that almost anything you want to do might cost extra. I can understand paying extra if you want to have a few drinks or something, but not for a soda or bottled water and things like that.

 

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on some of these reviews and get an idea of how the cruises are on this line normally. Since this will be my first cruise ever I want to make sure I am picking the right line to go with.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice on this stuff!

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There is a group of people that sail NCL, love it and sail them again.

Another group sail once and it is okay for them, but they don't sail again.

Another group sail once and really had a bad time.

 

Keep in mind that all of the above groups sailed on the same ships. They just have different expectations and experiences. Yes, there are times when a particular ship or week is bad, but that accounts for a small number of the issues. You can read reviews for the very same cruise and find people in all three of the categories above.

 

So, depending on which group somebody is in, your answers will vary. As you can see in our signature below, we keep sailing them.

 

Will you pay extra for a soda or bottled water? Yes. Will you be forced into eating in speciality restaurants to find the food you want? Maybe, maybe not. There are a handful of entrees in the main dining rooms. There is a wide selection of food in the buffet each night. Hard to say what you will like or not like. You will not find high class dining if that is what you are expecting.

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While everyone has their own opinion on things, the concerns you are stating would be the same on any cruiseline. Yes, you have to pay for your drinks (except milk/juice/coffee in the morning and ice tea during the day). The tap water on the ship is excellent, so just bring your own bottle and fill it up. I also take some single packets of lemonade to mix in for a change of pace. You can also take on pop if you so choose, just put a luggage tag on a case and check it with your luggage. As far as alcoholic drinks are concerned, you can buy a bucket of 6 beers for $23...if you don't drink them all take them to your room and put them in the fridge for later. Other drinks will run you between $5-$9 dollars. You can also buy a bottle of wine at dinner and drink it over several nights, or bring one (or more) on with you and pay a corkage fee of $15/bottle.

 

There are many different restaurants to choose from, plus you can eat at the buffet or order room service...I'm sure you can find something that you'll like...the food on cruise ships is very good.

 

We are a younger couple (40s) and LOVE cruising on NCL because of the casualness and freedom it gives you. On other cruiselines you have a set dinner time and eat with the same people every night. With NCL you eat when and where you want to and you don't have to bother get dressed to the nines (unless you want to).

 

Hope you enjoy your first cruise...we're leaving in 2 weeks on our 7th (4th with NCL)!

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Hi and welcome! A first cruise is so exciting! I envy you. :) I'll try to answer as thorougly as I can, an as honestly as I can. However, I can only answer about my experiences on NCL, and as you know, everyone's experiences can vary.

 

We are lookinng at taking a cruise to Bermuda in May and have almost settled on NCL \ Spirit for this based on the research I did as far as the experience you should get on this cruise line. I'm an informal person just looking to have a good time and from what I can tell this would suit me well.

 

So far so good. I think that you will love Bermuda and if you are an informal person, you should enjoy NCL's more casual atmosphere. There are no formal nights, just a couple "dress up or not nights". That means if you want to get all dressed up and even have formal pictures taken you certainly can. But if you'd rather stay in khaki's and a nice shirt, you can do that too.

 

I was looking at some of the posts on this board and it seems the experience with NCL is mostly positive.

 

Although I love NCL, you do have to realize that this is an NCL board. And most that post here regularly do love NCL. So, I would think that you would see a lot more postive, then negative reviews.

 

I went to priceline just to see prices and look at other options and stumbled upon the reviews and I got kind of worried at some of them that I found.

 

http://www.pricelinecruiseoutlet.com/reviews/default.asp?type=C&vessel_id=439&line_id=34&itineraryID=859606&startdate=5/1/2009&enddate=5/31/2009&dsc=y&p=1

 

I honestly didn't even click on the link. But I'm sure I know what they are like. There have been plenty of those type reviews posted here as well.

 

From what I can gather on this forum, there are a lot of you that go on a lot of cruises and it seems a lot of people really like NCL. In your opinion, are those reviews correct or are they just being picky? Maybe a few people just had a set of circumstances that caused them to have a bad experience?

 

First, you have to remember that reviews are based mostly on people's opinions. You'll see things like "the food was horrible" or "the service was bad". But what exactly does that mean? Was the food really awful? Or is this a picky person who expects 5 star food? Or do they simpy have an ax to grind for some reason?

When I read reviews, I look for a couple basic things. Does the person have both positive and negative things to say? Or is their entire review a rant of how awful everything was? If it's a rant, I pay no attention to it whatsoever. They either are impossible to please, or they have an agenda in mind.

Nothing is ever perfect. So a well balanced review that talks about both the good and the not so good, is the type of reviews that I really pay attention to. Keeping in mind of course that opinions can vary. While I may love gourmet/exotic food and feel that what is offered in the main dining rooms is too bland and "normal", you may hate exotic food and think the food is wonderful.

Also remember that sometimes, for some unknown reason, people can have things happen to them that shouldn't and it effects their cruise. There was a review here last week from someone who was in a suite on NCL. She had some very, very legitimate complaints about the service she received and some other issues. Other's on the same cruise, with the same accomodations, said everything was fantastic and had none of the issues she had. It happens sometimes. Bad luck, bad timing...who knows, but that is not the norm thank goodness.

 

Again, I'm a real informal person and most things don't bother me, especially when I am on vacation, but seeing that some of the NCL staff were rude and even in some cases yelled at has me worried.

 

I can honestly say that I have never seen any staff member on NCL be rude or God forbid yell at anyone, especially a guest. Some people are friendlier then others for sure, but never downright rudeness.

 

One thing I have a hard time tolerating when I'm spending money on a trip is to have rude staff. I don't want or expect to be treated like a king or have them busting themselves to try and please me, but prompt and friendly is all I ask. My girlfriend says I am a little too easy on people in this regard, but I'm not there to be a critic, just trying to have a good time.

 

You have a right to expect decent service and to be treated with respect. No negotiating on that point whatsoever.

 

Another one of my concerns is the menus and the types of food. I'm a horribly picky eater and eat a very small variety of foods. I am worried I either won't find anything to eat or will be forced into the "premium" resturants just to find something I can eat. I wasn't too worried about this after reading these forums, but after reading a few of those reviews I got concerned about this again. I saw on this forum a few of the menus but they seemed to have specific dates on them (which I guess they have different "themes" for certain times) and was just wondering what I can expect normally.

 

Menu's don't change that often, so just because it is dated, doesn't mean that it will not be the basic same one that you get when you cruise. I've found that pretty much fleet wide, Monday's menu is X, Tuesdays menu is X, etc etc. It can fluctuate slightly from ship to ship, but mostly stays consistent on a specific ship. So what you saw will most likely be the same basic menu when you cruise. Keep in mind also that there are "always available" items every day. Steak, chicken, fish, ceasar salad, garden salad, baked potato, etc. So if there is nothing on the main menu you like on a particular day, you can always order one of those. I consider myself a picky eater also. I don't like to experiment with food. Squid and snails for example are something I use for bait when fishing....I don't eat it. :) I have been very happy with the NCL main dining room menu's and always found something that I liked. Going back for a moment to people's opinions on food, I just remembered something. I saw someone criticizing the food in the main dining room of an NCL ship and they mentioned that there was roasted turkey on the menu and that they didn't consider roast turkey to be an upscale dining experience. My opinion is that I love roast turkey and would rather have that then some exotic dish. That's what I mean by different opinions.

Specialty restaurants are nice and are more upscale then the main dining rooms. However, there is no need to spend the money for specialty restaurants if you don't want to. The food in the main dining rooms is just fine.

 

This leads me to another concern that I got from those reviews is that almost anything you want to do might cost extra. I can understand paying extra if you want to have a few drinks or something, but not for a soda or bottled water and things like that.

 

You will not find any cruise line except Disney (and the really high priced ones) that include soda or bottled water. All charge for it. Drinks that are included is tap water, juices at breakfast, coffee, tea, iced tea and milk.

If you don't want to buy bottled water or soda, then just bring your own on board and keep it in your cabin.

 

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on some of these reviews and get an idea of how the cruises are on this line normally. Since this will be my first cruise ever I want to make sure I am picking the right line to go with.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice on this stuff!

 

I think that you will enjoy sailing NCL. You sound like the exact type of person that the NCL product is aimed towards. Many people want to have a set dining time every night, and have those formal nights. So freestyle doesn't work for them. And that in itself contributes to many of the negatives you read.

 

I hope that you have a wonderful cruise!

 

CG

Edited by CruisnGram

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We just went on the Spirit last month, and it was our first NCL cruise, but our 5th overall. We are looking at another NCL cruise, so we obviously enjoyed ours. We found the crew and officers very friendly and accommodating. With that in mind, if you want something, ask. It is usually that simple. If you think you weren't treated right, seek to get it fixed. Get involved in the roll call for your cruise. You will meet some veteran cruisers who will show you the ropes and even ask questions you might be afraid to ask (which you shouldn't be, but....). Keep in touch with them through out the cruise. If you have an issue, ask one of them what they would do in your shoes. If you're over reacting, they will probably tell you that.

 

If you think you might like to try a dish but aren't sure about the sauce, either ask them to put it on the side or to leave it off. If you don't end up liking it, ask for something else. There are certain things available in the main dining rooms every night. Steak and salmon are two entrees (and I don't remember the others).

 

Go into your cruise expecting to have a wonderful time (note, I didn't say perfect, because nothing ever is). If you look for things to go wrong or for things to criticize, you will probably find them. So look for the good stuff instead.

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As for reviews, remember that most people feel compelled to write a review when they've had a bad experience, but those with good experiences might not be inclined to comment about their trip.

 

I take the bad with a grain of salt. I know that for 1 bad review there are sure to be large numbers of satisfied travelers.

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I eat like a five-year-old, and trust me, even *I* found plenty to eat. (I hate vegetables, I don't eat beef, and I don't like fruit.)

 

My recommendation is to go to all of the restaurants a few hours before they open and read their menus. See if there's anything you like.. if not, head to the buffet, and you'll surely find plenty there.

 

There are also some things that you can always get each night on the menu-- such as chicken and caesar salad. For lunch, you can do room service-- they make a mean turkey club sandwich! :)

 

I thought the food was really good on all of the NCL ships I've sailed.

 

I'm also amazed at the comments regarding unfriendly staff. I found the crew to be tripping over themselves trying to make sure we had a nice vacation. We were greeted with "hellos" and smiles whereever we went on the ship. Of course.. we were always nice to the staff, so it goes both ways.

 

I didn't spend much time at the pool because, yes, it was crowded, and yes it was difficult to find a chair due to the chair hogs. And there's also really loud music at the pool-- which drives me crazy. My advice.. book a balcony.. it's well worth it... you can catch your rays with a good book on your own chair.

 

What do you want in your cruise? If you are seeking a very elegant and upscale experience, forget it. You'll find people wearing jeans and t-shirts in the dining rooms, and people walking around carrying football helmets full of beer. If you want a more formal atmosphere, go for the luxury liners like Crystal and Seabourne Yacht.

 

Personally, I prefer a more formal atmosphere, but NCL has great prices and good value for your money... plus it sails out of NY. So.. when I sail NCL, I go in knowing what to expect... otherwise, I sail Windstar.

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Brodel:

 

We were never attracted to cruising, until circumstances led to our first one, and it happened to be on the Norwegian Star. I came across this message board about two weeks before our cruise, and have been here ever since (March, 2002). We had some concerns after reading the boards, and the Star was brand new at the time. Our experience has been about as close to perfect as one could expect.

 

On May 1st we leave for Bermuda on our 8th cruise, all with NCL. We can never say enough about how happy we have been with NCL and FreeStyle cruising. I doubt we could be as happy with a "traditional" cruise, as we enjoy the casual dress over getting dressed up, eating where and when we want, and really enjoy meeting new waitstaff nearly every meal, as opposed to those who like to have the same ones each meal, so they know your preferences. It's not that we are social butterflys, it's just that we enjoy interacting with young crew members from all over the world. It's not unlike dining in a different restaurant each evening, yet you are comfortable knowing you can set your expectations high, and be prepared for them to be exceeded.

 

In general, we are always amazed at the high level of service we receive from every department on each ship, including cabin stewards, waitstaff, entertainers, housekeeping, information, bar staff, all the way up to senior management we have met, specifically the hotel director, cruise director, and even most of the captains. As one HD often proclaims, "No" is not in his vocabulary, and urges his staff to do everything in their power to please the customer.

 

As mentioned previously, be sure to get involved with the Roll Call for your particular cruise. You will not only be able to discuss your cruise with some of the people you will be cruising with, but most likely be able to meet them at a gathering arranged for on board, typically the first sea day. One of the benefits of the Meet and Greet, is that some of the key members of the ship's crew will be in attendance. They normally hand out business cards, and urge you to call them if you have a problem or need their assistance. They are sincere in the offer, as they do not want you to have a concern that you neglect to bring to their attention, and have it impact your cruise in a negative way. Worse yet, they do not want you to get back home and come on the board and complaing about this, that or the other.

 

You mention a concern with some of the reviews. Below is a link to Cruiseclues.com, and specifically a segment of the site focused on the NCL Spirit. In addition to many reviews, you can find an abundance of other resources related to the Spirit, including a link to the NCL Roll Call board. Just note that this will be the first year for the Spirit making regular runs to Bermuda, so ou would need to check out the Majesty or other ships for in port information.

 

 

http://cruiseclues.com/shipstips/norwegianspirit.htm

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While everyone has their own opinion on things, the concerns you are stating would be the same on any cruiseline. Yes, you have to pay for your drinks (except milk/juice/coffee in the morning and ice tea during the day). The tap water on the ship is excellent, so just bring your own bottle and fill it up. I also take some single packets of lemonade to mix in for a change of pace. You can also take on pop if you so choose, just put a luggage tag on a case and check it with your luggage. As far as alcoholic drinks are concerned, you can buy a bucket of 6 beers for $23...if you don't drink them all take them to your room and put them in the fridge for later. Other drinks will run you between $5-$9 dollars. You can also buy a bottle of wine at dinner and drink it over several nights, or bring one (or more) on with you and pay a corkage fee of $15/bottle.

 

There are many different restaurants to choose from, plus you can eat at the buffet or order room service...I'm sure you can find something that you'll like...the food on cruise ships is very good.

 

We are a younger couple (40s) and LOVE cruising on NCL because of the casualness and freedom it gives you. On other cruiselines you have a set dinner time and eat with the same people every night. With NCL you eat when and where you want to and you don't have to bother get dressed to the nines (unless you want to).

 

Hope you enjoy your first cruise...we're leaving in 2 weeks on our 7th (4th with NCL)!

 

There are no fridges on the Spirit. Unless (and they probably do) have them in the suites. Otherwise, you have to request one in advance and hope for the best.

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OP.. I am going to reply to you without reading the reviews your post directed us to and without reading any other responses because I don't want what I am going to reply to you to be influenced. I am going to tell you exactly what I would say to a good friend if they asked me the same question or expressed the same concerns.

 

No matter what cruiseline you sail with, when it comes to reading reviews, pick those in the middle and you are probably close to the true cruise experience. Not every one agrees with that, and so be it. It is how I feel. When I write a review I know what my motives are, and again I could care less what others think they are. All I care about is that I have a great cruise experience and I want to help others have that same great experience if it is on NCL or any other cruiseline. I do NOT believe NCL is for every one just like I believe no cruiseline will please every one. If you come across a review and all they can talk about is how SH**TY the cruise was, skip that one. If all they say is how wonderful the cruise was and there were no issues at all, skip it. I am not saying either one is right or wrong, but if you want the true cruise experience then try to find those reviews that give you both the good and bad of their cruise. Our cruise last May to Alaska was as close to a perfect cruise as we could ask for, yet, when I wrote the review I stated some negatives because there were some. Did they ruin my cruise? Not in the slightest, but I wanted to mention them.

 

As far as reading about being nickel and dimed to death (as far as having to pay for soda's and bottled water), there is only one mainstream cruiseline that includes soda's in the cost of your fare and that is Disney. And trust me, for the difference in fare, you could buy one heck of a lot of soda on NCL. There are VERY few things you will pay for after you are onboard NCL that you would not pay for on any other mainstream cruiseline. And when I say mainstream I mean Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Holland America. You may pay for some spa usage on NCL that you don't on one or the other, but there is very very little differences in what you pay for extra after you are onboard on any of those lines.

 

As far as food.. that is very hard to judge for anyone else. Doug, my DDP, is a very picky very basic food type person. He has always been able to find plenty to eat on any cruiseline we have been on, including NCL. NCL does have in their MDR's an "every day" selection which has grilled chicken, salmon and steak. Also they do have buffets which offer a variety of basic foods.

 

Really, I think the internet has ruined the "virgin" cruise experience for most people. There will never be another cruise like your first one. For almost every one of us cruise lovers we have a special place in our hearts for our first cruise. THANK GOD I did not research my first cruise to death. I went with such excitement and loved every minute of it, not knowing what to expect next. Now with all the research you can do online, you can spend your whole time onboard second guessing your choice of cruiseline, looking for every thing that could go wrong, etc etc. Just pick a cruise, get excited about it, plan what excursions you want to take at the ports, and have a good time. I guess I'm trying to say, don't over think it, just do it.

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We are lookinng at taking a cruise to Bermuda in May and have almost settled on NCL \ Spirit for this based on the research I did as far as the experience you should get on this cruise line. I'm an informal person just looking to have a good time and from what I can tell this would suit me well.

 

I was looking at some of the posts on this board and it seems the experience with NCL is mostly positive. I went to priceline just to see prices and look at other options and stumbled upon the reviews and I got kind of worried at some of them that I found.

 

http://www.pricelinecruiseoutlet.com/reviews/default.asp?type=C&vessel_id=439&line_id=34&itineraryID=859606&startdate=5/1/2009&enddate=5/31/2009&dsc=y&p=1

 

From what I can gather on this forum, there are a lot of you that go on a lot of cruises and it seems a lot of people really like NCL. In your opinion, are those reviews correct or are they just being picky? Maybe a few people just had a set of circumstances that caused them to have a bad experience? Again, I'm a real informal person and most things don't bother me, especially when I am on vacation, but seeing that some of the NCL staff were rude and even in some cases yelled at has me worried. One thing I have a hard time tolerating when I'm spending money on a trip is to have rude staff. I don't want or expect to be treated like a king or have them busting themselves to try and please me, but prompt and friendly is all I ask. My girlfriend says I am a little too easy on people in this regard, but I'm not there to be a critic, just trying to have a good time.

 

Another one of my concerns is the menus and the types of food. I'm a horribly picky eater and eat a very small variety of foods. I am worried I either won't find anything to eat or will be forced into the "premium" resturants just to find something I can eat. I wasn't too worried about this after reading these forums, but after reading a few of those reviews I got concerned about this again. I saw on this forum a few of the menus but they seemed to have specific dates on them (which I guess they have different "themes" for certain times) and was just wondering what I can expect normally.

 

This leads me to another concern that I got from those reviews is that almost anything you want to do might cost extra. I can understand paying extra if you want to have a few drinks or something, but not for a soda or bottled water and things like that.

 

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on some of these reviews and get an idea of how the cruises are on this line normally. Since this will be my first cruise ever I want to make sure I am picking the right line to go with.

 

Thanks in advance for any advice on this stuff!

 

In Cruise Critic, go select Ship Reviews. Here you will read ALL reviews, both good, bad and in between. Keep in mind, you will have different people on the same cruise, at the same time and all will have different opinions, from one extream to the other. Some can be nick-picky, (we didn't get towel animals every night), to quite serious. All in all, a cruise vacation is what YOU make it; so relax and happy cruising;)

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terrymtex01:

 

I appreciate your perspective on "First time cruisers", but just like everyone's taste is different for food, and the same for what makes for a great cruise experience, so is how much planning you should do to enjoy your first cruise to the fullest.

 

Prior to our first cruise, I had no clue what to expect, and was beginning to panic as the date approached. Upon searching the internet, I came across this board, and was very thankful for the assistance and information I received. Fortunately I did realize that opinions will range from one extreme to the other, and took the negative ones with a grain of salt. I have forgotten what the major gripe was, but it had to do with the Star being a brand new ship, and we found it to be no problem to us. In fact, after posting my review and related comments, the Hotel Director for the cruise asked me some questions pertaining to my positive feedback, and we communicted via email from then on.

 

Prior to our next cruise, which was on the brand new Dawn, some of the early cruisers were complaining about how noisy the ship "creaked" as they sailed at sea. The HD advised me how that was quite normal with the design of the ship, and it would take awhile for some settling to take place. We never experienced the problem, and as he said, it did go away and the complaints ceased.

 

As for the reviews that tend to lean toward all or mostly positive, that's me! We honestly have not had any serious issues on board, and only the Majesty had issues that needed to be addressed by NCL. Aware the ship was old, and I was coordinator for a group cruise, I did find I needed to call for help to fix a few malfunctions with some safes, a falling ceiling tile, and an A/C problem. Other than that, it's been as close to perfect as could be, and though we "keep raising the bar", they keep exceeding our expectations!

 

The bottom line is that I'm all for doing lots of pre-planning, but agree that you can over do it. I like to draft a plan before we go, only so we do not get on board and have no idea of what we want to do in port. As it turned out, we were in that position on our first cruise, and basically wasted our first day. By the time we decided on what excursions we would be intested in doing, they were all booked. With all our recent Caribbean ports, we wait until we get off the ship to book most of our excursions. We will likely do the same in Bermuda, as most of our plans revolve around the weather and the beach.

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If you kept reading down there were lots of very positive reviews. You'll find this disparity on our cruise critic member reviews board as well.

 

I've found that if there is something that happens to a passenger/family at the very beginning of the cruise it sets the tone for the rest of their vacation. It could be the weather, for goodness sake. Why was that week priced a couple of hundred less than other weeks? Because rain has always been forecast for that week! or it's hurricane season etc. So know what you are buying when you get a low fare.

 

If you have a traffic jam and a taxi driver who cusses everyone, that can turn you off. If you get in the wrong line because no one was there to direct you to the proper one, thus delaying you (and mostly, embarrassing you) since you had to start over again, can really get you thinking that these people don't know what they are doing. Well, what time did you arrive at the port? It can't be that busy at all hours. If you arrive very early or at the time suggested on your cruise ticket, you will not have such problems, hopefully.

 

Many people do not realize that the porters, agents at the pier do not work for NCL, but the port of ...xx... So there is no reason to lambast the cruise line when it is the shore employees that are ticking you off. I've seen this type thing on other cruise line check ins, too.

 

However, the people who are handing you your sea pass DO work for the cruise company. They are not going to trust your passport info etc. to an independent contractor.

 

The photographers, spa personnel, security people, gift shop personnel do NOT work for the cruise line. But your stewards, waiters, cooks, bartenders etc. do. And they are the friendly ones.

 

I've also noticed that when people try to squeeze 3 or 4 people into 145 sq ft cabin that they may not be happy, and this will be reflected in their attitude toward the rest of the ship. Don't misunderstand. Some people booking a bunch of people in a cabin know they will not be spending much time there (just for showering, dressing and sleeping) and know to go on deck for their good time.

 

On the other hand, most people who have shelled out a bunch for a suite, will give rave reviews. They have paid for the best service. If they don't get it, they have legitimate complaints. Listen to them, but read other reviews from people on the same sailing and see that it was an aberration only.

 

And for those people who complain about the service in the dining rooms, I say to calculate how many meals are being prepared daily, and with freestyle, not even within a half hour time frame, but over 4 1/2 hours. Most traditional cruise lines have a small window to get all the appetizers out. Then another time frame for soup or salad, another for entree, another for dessert. But in Freesyle, after the first group, it is constant, mixing up all the types of food. Be patient with and nice to your server.

 

If you just give a little thought to life in general and apply it to your cruise you will be floored by how well it all goes! Happy cruising.

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terrymtex01:

 

I appreciate your perspective on "First time cruisers", but just like everyone's taste is different for food, and the same for what makes for a great cruise experience, so is how much planning you should do to enjoy your first cruise to the fullest.

 

Prior to our first cruise, I had no clue what to expect, and was beginning to panic as the date approached. Upon searching the internet, I came across this board, and was very thankful for the assistance and information I received. Fortunately I did realize that opinions will range from one extreme to the other, and took the negative ones with a grain of salt. I have forgotten what the major gripe was, but it had to do with the Star being a brand new ship, and we found it to be no problem to us. In fact, after posting my review and related comments, the Hotel Director for the cruise asked me some questions pertaining to my positive feedback, and we communicted via email from then on.

 

Prior to our next cruise, which was on the brand new Dawn, some of the early cruisers were complaining about how noisy the ship "creaked" as they sailed at sea. The HD advised me how that was quite normal with the design of the ship, and it would take awhile for some settling to take place. We never experienced the problem, and as he said, it did go away and the complaints ceased.

 

As for the reviews that tend to lean toward all or mostly positive, that's me! We honestly have not had any serious issues on board, and only the Majesty had issues that needed to be addressed by NCL. Aware the ship was old, and I was coordinator for a group cruise, I did find I needed to call for help to fix a few malfunctions with some safes, a falling ceiling tile, and an A/C problem. Other than that, it's been as close to perfect as could be, and though we "keep raising the bar", they keep exceeding our expectations!

 

The bottom line is that I'm all for doing lots of pre-planning, but agree that you can over do it. I like to draft a plan before we go, only so we do not get on board and have no idea of what we want to do in port. As it turned out, we were in that position on our first cruise, and basically wasted our first day. By the time we decided on what excursions we would be intested in doing, they were all booked. With all our recent Caribbean ports, we wait until we get off the ship to book most of our excursions. We will likely do the same in Bermuda, as most of our plans revolve around the weather and the beach.

 

Tom.. I hope what I said wasn't taken the wrong way.. I AM HUGE on pre-planning. It is funny to me, but we even have spread sheets showing to the penny what we will spend, etc... even includes what I spend on snacks, soda's, reading materials or puzzle books at the airport.. LOL.. And we spend HOURS upon HOURS researching which excursions we want to take.. etc etc.

 

I really mean more toward people stepping onboard the ship looking for the negatives because they read negative reviews. That is kind of what I meant as far as doing too much research. Instead of stepping on the ship with eyes wide open in amazement, their eyes are looking for whats not going right, etc etc. Thats all I meant. 8-)

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