DaveQ

DaveQ
Cruise Director

Hometown: Albany, NY
Joined: 07/11/2012
5
Cruises
7
Reviews
29
Helpful Votes
903

About DaveQ



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DaveQ's Past Cruises

Freedom of the Seas

April 2017 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Routine Western Caribbean Cruise

This cruise did not live up to expectations resulting from our prior cruises with Royal Caribbean. Very crowded due to lots of children with adults, which would not be a problem except staff could not handle volume. Dinner in dining room took a as much as 3 hours. Drink package did not have enough variety and quality of wines (especially when compared with 2 NCL cruises we took in Jan & Feb). That said, we still thought specialty restaurants were great, wait staff on pool decks was very attentive and fast. Our room was well cared for by our steward. Very organized embarkation, disembarkation, tendering, and docking at ports.

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Norwegian Breakaway

January 2017 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Southern

Great value with Gratuities and Drink Package - 8 Islands and 6 Days at Sea

If it is convenient for you to sail out of NYC, you don't mind a few sea days on both ends of the cruise in the North Atlantic, and you would like to visit 8 Caribbean Islands on one cruise - this is it.  NCL has made this a very affordable cruise, especially when they include free gratuities and a drink package (other options - such as dining package, excursion credits, or internet time were available as well). We really enjoy the outdoor dining at some of the specialty restaurants. Over 10 years, we have seen a reduction in staff, meal variety, etc.; however, there is still great value for the price. Staff was super friendly and attentive. Food was excellent (served hot/cold as appropriate) even though not as much variety as in the past. Sorry to see the Ala Carte Margarittaville replace the Complimentary custom burger, sandwich, salad bar outside eating area on deck 16. Very low use of a great outdoor lunch location now that you have to pay.  It was still available for FREE breakfast. Also sorry to see Ala Carte pricing on most of the other Specialty restaurants - but there is a lot less wasted food being left on tables. Nice kids area with large water slides. Small pools. Smoking area on pool deck is too close to the kids pool. Smoking outside of Maltings and in Casino filters into Maltings and La Cucina and hallways.  Cirque show was excellent and they had some afternoon performances by other entertainers in the Cirque "tent" - this is a great, comfortable venue.  Make reservations before you go on the cruise for restaurants and entertainment - lets you skip the line waiting without reservations.  Entertainment was OK - the best was "Oh What a Night" 4 Season Tribute and "Burn the Floor". 

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Queen Mary 2

January 2016 - Queen Mary 2 to World Cruise

Elegant Cruise on a Beautiful Ship

Overall excellent cruise. Great ports of call. Great service, Great food. Interesting entertainment, lectures, and activities. Formal and quiet. Some long periods at sea (8 days at one time). Ship never felt crowded except for a couple of times when there were long wait times prior to excursions and tenders (seemed to be resolved so they did not repeat). Ship was beautiful, though ready for its May 2016 refurbishment. Quite formal and sedate - not a party boat and very few children or young adults. Only about 125 of 2,500 passengers were going all the way around the world. So,our dinner partners changed with every segment or two. Met extremely nice people who became friends.

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Norwegian Breakaway

November 2015 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Southern

Best NCL Cruise We Have Taken

2-1/2 days at sea to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Tortola, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, then 3 days at sea returning to NYC. Love the relaxing time on the ship and 6 very good ports. Food and service on NCL were best we have experienced in more than a dozen cruises with them (LeBistro exceptional). Prefer Manhattan room over Savor and Taste (all have same menu). Loved the entertainment - Wine Lovers Musical ($), Oh What A Night (Frankie Valli tribute), Lex Getrex and Creole Cooking Band, juggler, and comedian especially. NCL has done away with receipts when you are on the drink package (feels more like your at an all exclusive resort). Early December cruise has older crowd with few children, but more smokers - so area in central atrium above and below casino on decks 6-8 and area outside and inside Maltings quite smoky. Snorkeling excursions undersold - so catamarans were less than half full - a real treat. Love Tiami Turtles out of Barbados. Also enjoyed Castaway Shipwreck & Sail out of St. Thomas. St. Kitts has great port-side shopping area. Barbados docked in commercial port so transportation needed. Easiest  and fastest embarkation and disembarkation we have had (using walk-off).

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Norwegian Breakaway

November 2015 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Bahamas

NCL Dealt Well with Our Problem

I have to give NCL credit for their quick, efficient, and comprehensive response to our problem.  On the second night upon returning to our cabin, we found bed bugs in our bed.  A pest control expert and a guest services supervisor appeared at our door within 5 minutes.  They quickly confirmed the problem, inspected the essentials (change of clothes, items from the safe, and toiletries) we wanted to take with us, got us new key cards, and had a porter take us to an equivalent cabin.  NCL arranged to have everything remaining in our room inspected and laundered by 1:00pm the next day. They did a beautiful job, even undershirts came back ironed on hangers.  NCL provided acceptable compensation for our inconvenience, including free access to iConcierge, so that we could keep in contact with our children and grandchildren.  Unfortunately, we were not able to return to our original cabin, even though they thought we might be able to do so in 2-3 days.  Overall, NCL made the best they could of our problem.

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Norwegian Breakaway

January 2014 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Southern

Great Itinerary for the Caribbean Combining Days at Sea and Six Great Island Stops

If you are traveling out of New York, you like a few days at sea each way, along with six fantastic island stops, this is a great cruise.  But, it is a big ship with lots of passengers.  The Breakaway is brand new in 2013.  The major area that needs improvement is the computer technology on the ship.  TV, Kiosk, and app information was very limited and sometimes incorrect or missing.  Recommend that you make as many reservations as possible from home before you go.  Safes are very small (won't hold an 8-1/2"x11" stack of paper flat or an IPAD.  We docked at all islands - no tenders needed.  Puerto Rico at night a few days after Christmas and New Years was magical with all of the decoration and lights.  St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Barbados were great as usual.  Enjoyed St. Lucia, a new island for us.  As well as St Kitts, which is probably what island stops were like 20-25 years ago - with limited commercialization (other than the main port area).

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Norwegian Gem

January 2008 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Southern

The GEM is a GEM

Overall, a pleasure to cruise on this virtually brand new ship. Non-smoking policy is a great improvement over our cruise last year - smoking only allowed in casino, which was very smoky, and a few places on deck. For the first time, we were able to visit all of the bars. The whiskey/beer bar was very comfortable and the entertainment was terrific. The two main dining rooms were very well appointed and comfortable. Staff and food were great, as usual. Tendering still needs to be better coordinated and it would help if there was someone manning the excursion desk in the morning of the excursions for last minute questions.

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Norwegian Dawn

January 2007 - Norwegian Dawn to Caribbean - Western

Free-Styling on Norwegian Dawn from NYC

Well maintained ship, well trained and helpful crew. Excellent food with many choices. Painful embarkation - long wait in crowded terminal, easy debarkation - no waiting, luggage easy to locate.

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DaveQ's Tips

Cozumel, Mexico - Mr. Sanchos was a terrific, reasonably priced all-inclusive. Well run. Clean and well maintained. Escorted to a perfect, shaded table with lounge chairs in the sun nearby. Weak, but delicious tropical drinks. The shrimp dishes were fantastic. Superb service - we never had to wait more than 10-15 minutes. Nice pools with swim up bars. Bring your own towels (or $2 per).
Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico - This is going to be a fantastic port as they continue to add to it. All new facilities. Very nice restaurants, up scale shops, spa facilities, pool, swim with the dolphins. When the kids are bigger, there appears to be a large water park not far from dock.
Freedom of the Seas Freedom of the Seas - Very good specialty dining packages for sale first day - you can buy a package of 4 and use all at the same meal if you are in a group of 4.
CRUISE PAST EASTER ISLAND - Spent two extra hours cruising coast due to medical evacuation. Would have liked to go ashore (only down side of entire trip).
New York, New York - Easy port to access in Brooklyn by cab. Expect a little delay if rough seas prevent both gang planks from being used.
Queen Mary 2 Queen Mary 2 - Commodore club has free appetizers before both dinner seatings if you are having a drink there. Be friendly and kind in self-service laundries - they are busy, so empty your washers and dryers promptly.
San Juan, Puerto Rico - The walk along the waterfront to the fort is lit up for Christmas - very pretty.
Bridgetown, Barbados - If you like to snorkel, try Tiami - it is a full day with breakfast snacks, very nice lunch, 2 snorkel sites (turtles and reef) and access to a beach.
Norwegian Breakaway Norwegian Breakaway - The Uptown Grill has its act together. Order your custom burger, get a number, and sit down and relax until they bring it to you. Don't miss Lex Getrex and the Creole Cooking Band.
Nassau, Bahamas - Good stop - we went to a private resort on a day pass - the public transportation (a few blocks from the cruise port) worked extremely well for 1.25 (US $ or Bahamian $) a ride.
New York, New York - Lots of options for getting to/from boat - Yankee Trails Cruise Express from upstate NY or combination of Amtrak or Megabus an UBER or walking.
Basseterre, St. Kitts - Beach break excursion takes you or a nice drive where you get to see the Island, in its non-developed state
San Juan, Puerto Rico - Right in old town, close walking distance to the fort - bring your senior US Park Pass for free entry
Norwegian Breakaway Norwegian Breakaway - Avoid prime times at main dining rooms. Make reservations from home before you go or immediately when you get on the ship. The mid-priced wine package is the best value, comparing per-bottle cost with state-side costs.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - A dock would have been much better than tendering. The tender lines completely clogged the stairways making for a dangerous situation.
Cozumel, Mexico - Docked - much easier and more convenient than tendering. Good shopping.
Belize City, Belize - Tendered - Atun Ha (via bus), lunch, and Belize River tour were outstanding. Poor country, but people are intensely proud of their country, especially their education system for childern.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Docked, Beautiful Island, good transportation between sites for tour (but you must stop at shopping area to get back to boat)
George Town, Grand Cayman - Tendered - Many stores closed on Sunday. Jolly Roger pirate encounter good for kids, but a waste for adults - only a short motored ride and a short swim (total 2 hours).

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Recent Activity

received a helpful vote on their Freedom of the Seas cruise review - Routine Western Caribbean Cruise

received a helpful vote on their Queen Mary 2 cruise review - Elegant Cruise on a Beautiful Ship

shared a quick tip for Freedom of the Seas"Very good specialty dining packages for sale first day - you can buy a package of 4 and use all at the same meal if you are in a group of 4."

added Apr 9, 2017 cruise on Freedom of the Seas to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Western cruise on Freedom of the Seas and gave it 4 stars!

checked in for the roll call for Apr 9, 2017 cruise on Freedom of the Seas!

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Breakaway cruise review - Great value with Gratuities and Drink Package - 8 Islands and 6 Days at Sea

reviewed their Caribbean - Southern cruise on Norwegian Breakaway and gave it 4 stars!

added Jan 15, 2017 cruise on Norwegian Breakaway to their profile.

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Breakaway"Book dining and entertainment before you cruise."