August 2018 - 7 Night Alaska Glacier Bay Northbound (Vancouver To Seward) Cruise on Norwegian Jewel
Fantastic Ship, Weather, Itinerary, and a wonderful cruise/land experience on the NCL Jewel
April 2018 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Escape
July 2017 - 7 Night Bermuda (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Breakaway
May 2017 - Western Mediterranean from Rome Cruise on Norwegian Epic
NCL Epic Mediterranean Cruise out of ROME - Well - it was EPIC!
This was our 2nd cruise on NCL, yet 1st NCL cruise in Europe. Our party of 4 adults (2 rooms) was very pleased with the NCL Epic for our sail out of Rome (Rome to Florence to Cannes to Palma Majorca to Barcelona to day at sea to Naples and back to Rome) area on 5/3-5/10/17. We arrived a few hours ahead of departure and had no problems with embarking, quickly grabbing a couple of Prosecco's in the bar for a toast.
After about an hour, our balcony rooms were ready (11175 & 11179), which was nice. My initial thought was the room was very nice and I didn't see any issue with the bathroom toilet/shower arrangement. However, I did have an issue with the very tiny sink/sink area and the limited and dim lighting, which took some time to figure out which switch controlled what. The bed was comfortable but the curvature at the foot of the bed was tolerable. I was very impressed with the significant amount of storage space (2 large closets, 3 large drawers, hidden storage behind the sofa and other areas, medicine cabinet space and large area under the bed to stow away empty luggage). HINT - the electrical outlet is hidden away under the middle mirror area beneath the counter (as is the hair dryer). Look for the hole in the counter top to fish your electrical cord.
We were told the ship was full, which I didn't believe as at no such time did it ever feel as if it was. Maybe the only time would have been during breakfast time when the buffet got very crowded. HINT - get your breakfast and head down to La Cucina. We had the UBP and UDP and we were very pleased with our cocktail and dining choices (Teppanyaki was fantastic, as was Moderno, but the best was Le Bistro where the food was outstanding and the service was even better (thank you Ronie and April Joy!). Since we had a busy day on excursions (we booked ourselves and not via the cruise line - & saved significant $) at each port. We only had 1 day at sea where we just chilled and hung out at Spice H2O for the majority of the day where food and drink were available. We really enjoyed Howl at the Moon, where we spent quite a few hours during the week. We also enjoyed Burn the Floor but were so so on Priscilla Queen of the Dessert show. We were looking forward to dancing a bit more at the Glow party and other dance areas (Bliss) but there was too much techno beat music, which just didn't quite fit the age demographic of most travelers that I saw. Needed more 70s-present era music.
All in all, it was a fantastic cruise, great weather, calm seas, wonderful ports (although Palma Majorca was very so so), friendly staff, great customer service, and plenty of things to do. HINT - please don't believe all of the negative reviews that many people post as we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the NCL Epic.
April 2016 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Escape
NORWEGIAN ESCAPE = FANTASTIC!
Let me start off by stating that my wife and I have never cruised before and we are both in our 50s. We weren't quite sure what to expect. I value others opinions but also want to make my own decisions, so I sort of take reviews like movie/restaurant critics, where I like to use my own judgment. I view the glass as half-full, not half empty.
We booked the guarantee balcony and chose the Ultimate Beverage Package and 250 internet minutes (4 kids/work access). We were given a room on the 10th floor, just 1 room away from what was considered mid-ship. Our excitement for this cruise was over the top, just like when you were a kid on Christmas Eve. From the moment we arrived on Saturday, 4/9 until we left on 4/16, the entire cruise was amazing.
We had a variety of drinks (all great), including Guinness (in the can) in the pub, along with many frozen and premium cocktails. We ate in the Manhattan room 3 times, along with Savor and Taste 1 time each, the buffet (seafood night) 1 night and the pub 1 night. The food was quite good and you could get as much of what you wanted. Some nights we had 2 appetizers each and an entree, along with dessert. The service was superb, the staff was friendly and the overall experience of this cruise was memorable. Make sure you do the ropes course. It is well-worth the butterflies you will feel. It is a rush!
I have to give 5 stars to the Cruise Director, Silas Cook, along with Andre, his Asst. CD and their staff. I don't know where they get their energy from, but they go from early morning to late at night and they really do a great job.
Since this was our first cruise, I have nothing to compare it to. I did have some issues, though minor in nature, but the chair situation in and around the pools. needs to be addressed. There were way too many chairs reserved (towels, magazines, etc.) that went unused for a lengthy period of time. I also thought the ports were well done, except more time should be provided in St. Thomas and Tortola.
Nice port with plenty to see and do. We opted for the Misty Fjords & Wilderness Explorer boat tour. The beginning of the tour was rather boring up until we got to the Fjord area that offered spectacular views, waterfalls and plenty of eagles.
We arrived in Vancouver on Friday (8/17) prior to our cruise leaving on Monday (8/20). We enjoyed our time in Vancouver. We did the zip line at Grouse Mountain (fantastic) and spent a few hours at Capilano Suspension Bridge, along with a walk almost around Stanley Park. We ate at Top of Vancouver Revolving restaurant (great night time views and the food is just okay), and Cactus Club Cafe (excellent).
We loved the mid-ship balcony, starboard side for our northbound cruise.
We were only in Seward/Anchorage for an evening, so we really didn't get a chance to experience this area.
Juneau was a very cool port (no pun intended). We chose our own excursion via JuneauTours.com to go whale watching and visit the Mendenhall Glacier. We chose this as the tour gave us more than enough time to explore the area around the glacier and time to walk down to Nugget Falls. They also put us on many whales. We also did the Mt. Roberts Tramway, which offered scenic views up on top of Mt. Roberts.
Probably our favorite port of those we visited. It was really special due to the White Pass Scenic Railway excursion, which left almost directly from the cruise ship area first thing in the morning. In addition, we did an afternoon hike/float trip via SkagwayFloat.com.
We used our $50 per port credit and booked the Lost Mayan Kingdom waterpark and zipline excursion via NCL. This place is awesome, within a 2-3 minute fee shuttle ride from the cruise port. The staff is very friendly, the zipllines are wonderful, safe and a few offer a pretty long run. The lazy river is also nice to do as are the water tubes rides.
We used our $50 per port credit and booked the Town Tour / Turtles / visit to Hell / Stingray City with lunch via NCL. It was all very good, especially the turtles and stingray city. Don't be afraid of the stingrays as they are very docile, super soft, and the tour guides do a great job of bringing them to you.
With $50 per port credit, we booked our excursion via NCL and chose the Jamaican Bobsled & Dunns River Falls tour. Other than waiting in line for a hour for the Bobsled Run, we had a blast. The Bobsled is well worth it but they would be better served to provide a group a window of time to avoid waiting so long as this would provide additional time to shop, etc while on their premises. Dunns River Falls climb is a must. It isn't that hard and it only took our group (including some young children under 10) about an hour to climb, including stops for photos, etc.
Cannes is a nice little area with plenty of shops, but make sure to take an excursion (we used http://www.provencerivieratours.com) and ask for Phillipe. We toured Cannes, Eze, Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo.
We just did the Hop on / Hop off bus which went to a few churches and a castle that overlooked the water. If I were to do this cruise again, I would just stay on the ship.
We used https://www.seeamalficoast.com/ for our tour excursion (ask for Ciro). We went to Mt. Vesuvius (climb it!), then off to Sorrento (stunning!), lunch at Il Leone Rosso then to Pompeii for a private tour (worth the costs).
If you are up for the challenge, make sure you climb the Leaning Tower of Pisa and visit Florence and go to the Accademia Museum to see Michaelangelo's "David." We used Mark Limo Tours for our excursion.
We did the Hop on / Hop Off bus. Sagrada Familia is an absolute must and make sure you get tickets in advance and do the Passion Tower (extra costs).
Go to Junkanoo Beach. It is about a 15-minute walk from the port. Great beach, drinks and food. Don't worry about the vendors, just tell them no thank you and they will leave you alone.
Take the Champagne Catamaran Snorkel Trip to St. John (Honeymoon Beach). The scenery is spectacular and the water is great for snorkeling. After snorkeling, take a cab to Magens Bay Beach, then once you are there, head away from the crowds and enjoy 1 of the top 10 beaches in the world.
Great island but make sure to go to Virgin Gorda/Baths - a sure bucket list item. The caves are a bit tight, so if you are claustrophobic, beware.
Go on a diet and lose at least 10 lbs before your cruise. Take the stairs as much as possible as you can justify eating dessert more often. Put something bright on your luggage/handle/strap, etc. that will easily identify your luggage when you disembark.