April 2017 - Norwegian Getaway to Transatlantic
We had a wonderful balcony stateroom, with a glass-enclosed shower (not found on our previous cruises). While the entertainment was fantastic and the food in the buffet (café) exceeded that of any previous cruise, NCL failed to deliver on one of the salient points of this cruise - excursions. Of the five ports listed in route to Copenhagen, we actually only made three ports and two excursions. The problems started at the first port of call, Porto Delgado, Azores, when we were told the winds were too high to allow our ship to pass the breakwater and dock safely (at this port, we were supposed bring onboard British immigration to pre-clear passengers and crew for debarkation in the UK. More on that later). Departing the Azores, the ship scrambled to create activities to fill the day in route to Brest, France. At Brest, the weather was cool and rainy, but the excursions went as planned. Unfortunately, only one gangway was provided for those entering and exiting the ship, which created waits of over an hour for passengers standing in the rain to reboard. Upon departure, we were advised that the ship had a technical problem that delayed our arrival in Southampton. That plus the repairs necessitated cancelling the trip to Zeebrugges, Belgium. Upon arrival in Southampton, British immigration boarded the ship and began processing, which took several hours. We were delayed over three hours before being allowed to go to our excursion bus. After sitting on the bus for 30+ minutes, we were informed that our excursion had been cancelled by the ship because there wasn't sufficient time to reach the excursion before the facility closed for the day. We got off the bus, got back on the ship, finding a number of passengers were still heading to the buses - they had not been advised that the tour was cancelled. The port facilities at Southampton were excellent and we experienced no delays boarding the ship. Upon arrival in Rotterdam, we exited the ship via a short, very steeply-pitched ramp, which created serious problems for those with mobility issues. A different ramp was provided to reboard the ship, thank goodness. The weather in Rotterdam was beautiful and we enjoyed our excursion to Amsterdam greatly. Losing two ports out of five and three excursions out of five, put a definite damper on this 16-niight cruise. During our cruise, we only dined in their formal dining room (Taste) once, primarily because the buffet had such excellent choices. Since we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on this cruise, we provided the staff with a gift certificate we had received for a celebratory cake, understanding that it would be delivered at the end of the meal. The wait staff was scarce during the meal, and nothing else was said of the cake. Once we finished our meal, we had to leave for entertainment reservations, so we never received the gift and could not find a wait staff member before we had to leave. We chose not to return to the formal dining venue. For our future cruises, we will most likely consider other cruise lines before NCL due to our disappointment with these ports/excursions.