We are very sad that everyone we have been in touch with who had done the new Norwegian Freestyle had felt that it ruined their cruise. We usually do about four cruises each year and most years include Norwegian as one of them. We are so discouraged with this new format that we are avoiding Norwegian for 200l. Hopefully, they will review their responses and perhaps refine or make overall changes.
well I had a blast on the cruise freestyle or not. Your definitely gonna miss out on a good time if you don't go in 2001 but I'll sure be there. I don't understand how the way you are supposed to dress could ruin a cruise. Well for anyone else I definitley enjoyed myself.
Forgot everything you've read so far....freestlye is great! WE JUST GOT BACK FROM THE Majesty 11/20 cruise to mexico key west. I dont know why they didnt think of this before. Eating!!! I was so much easier knowing that at anytime you could go to dinner. The two main dining halls had the identical menus. No reservations needed, unless you had a big party then they took reservations to set up the area. The other resturants Royal observatory had a Italian menus which changed each night. The Bistro menu was posted and did not change all week. We thought the food was great so we didnt bother going to the Bistro which was very intimate and had food cooked to order. The other option, which is where freestlye really came into play was the buffet area up on the pool deck. The theme buffet changed each night. People who didnt want to dress for dinner just ate up on the deck in there shorts. Actually what we did was eat appetizers off this buffet after sunning and swimming then go back to room and change for dinner and eat a late dinner in the dining room. One night we actually went to the royal observatory for dessert because they were serving something we really had to have! And this was perfectly acceptable!
Dress code; Formal night had options that were for those who dressed up. PS Most people did dress this night. I wore my tux and so did many others. Dining halls and cocktails were formal only. Again some choose to eat the buffet that night and did not dress up at all. The rest of the week I wore dockers long pants and golf shirts. The only night they let the no shorts rule slide was the first night because some people, including me, didnt get there luggage until 730pm.
Tipping...no problem...it was $40 dollars a person added to our account. Didnt have to put up with the waiters bugging for there tips like on other cruises on the last night of cruise. I even tipped the porter girl extra (in cash) becuase she kept my trash can full on ice for me (I brought beer on and some at each port!)
Disembarkment: Very good...didnt have to go sit up on deck waiting to leave the boat, although many people did????force of habit??? Sleep in, grab breakfast, take a jog or walk, get a shower....GET OFF BOAT! Everyone is started off boat by 830
Very relaxed way to crusing because nothing was planned or structured unless you wanted to structure yourself...for example..if you wanna see the jimmy buffet sing along with Derrick Lewis at 8pm...better eat alittle early (or later).
feel free to ask any other questions...I brought home the menus and daily schedules in case you have questions!
OKay I can't help myself! A garbage can full of beer and dining on decks in your shorts. What more could a man ask, other than som epossum pie maybe. Gewt some Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road playing and organize a real down to earth burping contest poolside and I'm there LICK.
George in NY - sorry I told you I can't resist. Hope you told that, what do they call them now, " porter girl, " not to spend that extra 2 bits all in one place.
hey george in NY: Your stuck up NY attitude has shined clearly in your snobby reply. Perhaps you should only sail on your private ship, along with other upper east side types! What a thrilling time that would be!
I did not eat in shorts however the option was open to eat up on deck in shorts if you like. It was a relaxed experience that perhaps someone of your upper crust caliber could not bear. The comment on tipping was to explain the ease of disembarking. I realize that you are probably the type who likes to have some poor jamacian waiter kissing your ass for the lousy $10 tip you would shell out! The porter was most grateful for the additional "cash" tip I gave her!
See you on the upper deck of the Titantic!
George, your reply to Boblick was uncalled for! Face it, bud, you are out numbered by the middle class cruising public that most cruise lines are trying to attract today. As one who has cruised 7 times on various lines (NCL,Cunard,RCL,Celebrity,Commedore), middle class america is what keeps these ships afloat! My income allows me to sail the most premium of ships, but George, if you can't deal with the average cruising public, then you better stick with those ships that John Q. Public can't afford! Do us all a favor and stay away from NCL!!!!
BobL & Bob, Well like I said, I just couldn't resist. I know I sound like a pompous A-- but actually I am far from it. There was no silver spoon in this boy's mouth. My normal attire most days of the year, jeans and a sweatshirt. Although I admit to a comfortable lifestyle as I progress in years I have been fortunate enough to have had various standards of living during my lifetime. I have had the pleasure of dining with the Captain and enjoying the Royal Suite < http://members.bellatlantic.net/~georgeny/zen2000.htm > and I also sail standard outside least expensive rate I can get.
< http://www.pcrealm.net/~georgehny/cent2000.htm >
I don't live in NY City, ( NY is a huge farm state - dairy and apples BTW ) . I often enjoy doing a keg at my bars picnic or getting sloppy at the annual firehouse barbecue. Grew up in a basement 5 people to 2 rooms. Worked as a Jail Officer for 20 years many of which were spent in cellblocks and rec yards. I admit that when I retired I was in a suit as Warden. My lovely little blonde well dressed and coiffed bride spends her days as a Captain in a Men's Penitentiary. So now that we can hopefully get the image you had of me, as some, not a clue guy with bucks out of your head I will try to convey where I am coming from.
I am admittedly unhappy at seeing the nature of cruising change to accomodate the need of some to reduce any experience to simply another day at Mickey Dee's. Cruising historically incorporated formal evenings, gracious conduct, and the like. I certainly didn't go on cruise vacations to act and feel like a Jail Guard. I went to see and feel how the other half lived, to experience yet one more facet of life. Since there are many places to enjoy many styles I fail to able to understand why anyone would select a cruise vacation and then try to turn it into a firehouse picnic. As you mentioned, yourself and the majority of people dressed up, this is what is expected on a normal cruise. Why then must some decide that they should attempt to change the perception by dressing down to shorts, doing the immediate change after dinner, or deciding they must act like they are astonished that some might wish to maintain the magic of living like royalty for the losey week.
I especially get ticked off at NCL because it was our first cruiseline and I remember when it was a great line. Now that cruiselines are adapting to the masses as you mention. Mickey Dee's onboard has already been discussed and is probably not far off. Yes I am unhappy anytime some slob walks past me in a pair of shorts when everyone else is formal attire. Yes I am unhappy that some wish to part take in a cruise yet act like they are hanging at the local trailer park. Yes I expect my fellow passengers to adhere to the estabished norms of this type of vacation. Just as I would not head out to the firehouse barbecue dressed in a tux I would not expect to see people in shorts running around the ship in the evening dressed in shorts and scratching their butts. If this makes me a bad guy so be it. Yes I enjoy being catered too and waited on properly by staff when I cruise. That is their choosen profession and most are very happy in it. I in turn express my compliments to them and their service with a proper gratuity. They are happy, I am happy. I also respect that they are well trained in most part in their profession and offer them the respect of at least referring to them by their proper title such as Cabin Steward or Stewardess, not some demeaning slang like " porter girl . "
So you may disagree with my opinion, fine with me, but as far as playing the upper East Side, Hotsy Totsy, not a clue rich guy, game on me, don't even go there. I'll match my life experience against yours anyday. Even though I don't live in the big city, it doesn't mean I have to act like a hick when I visit it. Even though you may not be one of the rich and famous doesn't mean you have to act like Bubba when you take a cruise.
George in NY - which is a big place, the City is a small place
Bob, I disagree that the average cruising public demand to wear shorts on formal evenings, it simply hasn't been my experience. Rather that a small segment appears to wish to change what a cruise has been historically into something it is not. The majority of cruisers are indeed middleclass and indeed enjoy living a little different from their normal daily life for 7 days. This is evidenced by the majority still adhereing to policies clearly identified in brochures, bb's like this and so forth. Income isn't the issue, proper adherence to the standards defined is. Arguments such as " I paid the same as everyone else so I can do as a wish " just don't cut it. If you live in a nice middle class neighborhood in middle America how would you react to a family moving in that had a different viewpoint on maintaining the standards of your neighborhood. If you believe in well kept grounds and reasonable behavior would welcome someone moving in that insisted on letting their property become overgrown and depositing their junked cars in the back yard or would you be upset that they were not adapting to the standard of your environment. You would probably suggest that they had selected the wrong place to live. Well I suggest if you wish having the " porter girl " keep your beer iced in the trash can while you dine in shorts on formal night that you have selected the wrong vacation. There are norms in every segment of society. Would you not have some objection to being seated in a local Burger King ( don't want to continue to pick on McDonalds, my favorite meal at home BTW ) with your kids and having the people at the next table being loud and obnoxious, perhaps dressed shirtless and shoeless? There are standards imposed and expected even in the fast food dining rooms of America.
I am a smoker. Would I select the Carnival Paradise and then demand to be allowed to smoke? No, they have set a standard and clearly identified it in their brochures, hence I would not choose that vacation and then try to explain to everyone that I have a right to smoke, I do not on that ship and I should not expect too. It would be offensive to those that selected that vacation based upon the defined norms identified in the brochure. Why then select a vacation that defines INFORMAL as a sports jacket and tie and CASUAL as dressy slacks and sports or dress shirt? Informal to me is not a jacket and tie yet, like a Marine, I adapt to the terrain.There definition of informal becomes mine for the 7 days.
The QEII designates your dining level by how much you paid for what accomodation, the last "class" designated ship. Would I book a cruise on her in the bottom categorey and then insist on dining in the top restaurant? Of course not, I do not select that ship since I do not wish to adapt to its standard. I do not book it anyway and then demand it conform to my standard.
I too have sailed numerous lines, Royal Viking, NCL, Carnival, RCL, Celebrity, and so forth and enjoy the varied experiences. Celebrity does little in the dining room in the area of singing waiters and so forth. Do I demand that they get everyone out to sing Ole Sol Amio? NCL does something almost each night like the bobaloo cake parade etc., do I insist they stop and serve my coffee? No I understand the different atmosphere and standards and accept that when in Rome.
Yes I think it is boorish to insist on dressing in shorts on formal night just as Ithink it is boorish for American tourist to visit a foreign country then get angry that they don't speak English. I get ticked off when a person sits next to me in a casino at a smoking table and then demands I put out my cigarette to. Just as they most assurdely would if I sat next to them at a non-smoking table and lit one up. Standards of behavior, decorum, and dress exist in every aspect of daily life. Why then should they not be adhered to wihtin a vacation that clearly defines them.
NCL has elected to modify its product to what it perceives as an American standard. " George, if you can't deal with the average cruising public, then you better stick with those ships that John Q. Public can't afford! Do us all a favor and stay away from NCL!!!! " In fact I no longer sail NCL but frankly I don't see where they are any less expensive than many of the lines. They have simply replaced the initial cruise charge in part with higher onboard revenues. They are the ones that started charging more when providing less after all. Alternative dining charges, ice cream charges, etc. Again it is not a case of costs. Check those lines that are on the stock exchange. They have higher revenues than ever before. Get rid of the wine stewards and make waiter serve it. Service level goes down, price of wine goes up, staff costs go down, line makes more money and MIDDLE America appears happy paying more for less.
BTW the attached photo is for BobL who has confused living in NY with living in NY City. The view is located near where I live and is that of the Hudson River near West Point Military academy. It is but 40 miles north of the Bronx and Yankee Stadium and is far more indicative of the majority of New York than his apparent conception. That everyone in NY lives on the East Side of Manhattan, not that there is anything wrong in doing so. The Gazebo might be remembered by some from appearing in The Sound of Music. Besides having that significant attribute it can also clain to be the site of my wedding photos and yes I wore a Tux. For some reason I fond that many woman are more appreciative and therefore more romantic when with a guy in a tux than one sucking a Bud and burping a chorus of dancing Matilda
I know, I couldn't resist again, I apologize up front.
George, I agree with you to a point. But I think that your initial response to Boblick is a just cause for his rebuttal to you. I think I know that you were having a little fun in it while still trying to get your point across...but unfortunately the twinkle in your eye and the inflection in your inner voice did not come across and he has taken exception.
Here's what I believe....that NCL is finally starting to get something right for themselves. They could no longer adequately compete with the other cruiselines by doing the same old things so they are trying to appeal to a different segment of the market. The opening up of the expereicence beyond the traditional regimens is really in line with Star crurises.
I for one am happy to see them do it. I don't want shorts and T's in the dinning rooms though, thats waht the Lido is for. But I also don't want to be told I have to eat at 6 PM cause the late seating is full.
I don't like tips being placed on my charge and any time I cruise on a line that does that I will ahve them taken off. However, I just got back from the Sensation and was appalled to see three full table of 8 empty in a single waiters station on tip night. Those deadbeats should be charged up front.
So any way, can we all shake hands, agree to disagree and get the ad hominims out of the conversation.
Very impressive resume.....as if I give a sh--! BTW your picture of the 4 drunks included a picture of what looked to be my "porter girl", who (BTW) I think you are correct ...she did carry along with her a degree from Harvard in fluffy pillows and proper mint placement...she was a true professional!!!! BYE BYE George, see ya on the next cruise....well not you but I sure someone just like you HAHAHAHA!
<she was a true professional> Could have been worse, she could have been an insurance salesmen. Obviously our viewpoints are divergent and since it is highly unlikely we will ever find a common ground I will defer and desist so I may attend to areas of greater interest.
> George, I agree with you to a point. But I think that your
> initial response to Boblick is a just cause for his rebuttal to
It certainly was, I offer no argument in that regard.
< I think I know that you were having a little fun in it
> while still trying to get your point across but unfortunately
> the twinkle in your eye and the inflection in your inner voice
> did not come across and he has taken exception.
Ah such is life, my remorse is great.
I agree with you on many points and certainly understand that cruising has and will continue to grow and change which is not a bad thing nor do I see it that way. What I do feel is that without a continuing feedback to the lines cruising may morph into something to totally unlike what it was or should be. NCL has been a large part of that starting with alternative dining for an additional charge. They were the first and if you recall the charge wasn't nominal originally, in the area of $60. Shortly after that NCL started charging $2 a pop for room service. Now many tip a dollar or two when they receive room service anyway but after some investigation it was revealed that the charge did not go to the server but the cruiseline. Since most people being charged the $2 would presume it went to the staff they didn't tip the server in addition. This whole room service charge was met quickly and strongly with complaint, many people, myself included, refused to sail NCL unless and until the charge was eradicated. It too NCL TWO years to get the picture and finally rescind the charge. Of course they also had both pissed off and reduced staff that handled that service. I was on the Dreamward ( pre-dream ) and called for a pot of coffee at 9 am. I was told that it could not be delivered for 45 minutes. Unhappy but such is life I waited ( the public is not really ready for me pre-coffee Actual delivery was over an hour. I discussed it t a cocktail party I was invited two and where the Hotel Manager was in attendance. He apologized and assured me that unusual circumstances existed although he wasn't quite sure what they were. Next day over an hour ( we are talking pot of coffee not a breakfast ). I again made mention to the Hotel Manager. He sent a bottle of wine to the cabin. Later I explained to him that the wine was a nice gesture but all I really wanted was my coffee in a reasonable amount of time. NEVER got it. Now if a Hotel Manager can't insure you a lousy pot of coffee in under and hour, you know that a line has major problems. ( noted this was several years ago ). I made note in my review that both the line and the ship ( I had sailed Dreamward previously inaugural year ) had changed drastically from what they had been. Several NCL cruisers wrote somewhat harsh comments concerning my opinions. During the year several re-contacted me and said they had again sailed and agreed with my previous asessment.
Look at the lines that have decided to do away with the wine stewards. People aren't drinking less wine so where does the service draw from? The waiter must now provide the service which certainly has to impact on the level of service.
SERVICE, to me that is what a cruise is all about. Some special level of service and the attempt to make each cruiser feel special. Take that away and all you have is a resort that can sometime rock and make you sick. A smaller room that any hotel you are going to stay at on land.
My first cruise was in 1984, NCL Skyward. My waiter William shocked and surprised me one evening when he was bringing my desert. He suddenly turned around and returned my dessert to the serving station and proceeded over to my place to wipe away a crumb. He would not serve to a place that had not been properly prepared. Menus were presented with a ceremonial gesture. In talking to William I found that to become a waiter on the ship you must have a resume that included several years of working in quality Europeon hotels. Look at today's waiter. Chances are that they never served in their life and did not look to be a waiter but that is where the opening was. Started as a busboy ( now assistant waiters since unlike before when only the waiter served and the busboy did clean up and water, now whomever is nearby does whatever ) for a couple months and wsa promoted to waiter to fill needed slots on new monstrous sized ships.
I remember being almost shocked but very pleasantly surprised when going for ice cream that it was quality product and NO CHARGE of course. Now additional charges abound. Want a decent cup of brewed coffee, you can get it at the cafe bar and pay for it just like a drink. Soda at dinner no charge, now you can buy it from the bar waiter who will show at your table frequently only if your table is buying many drinks, if not you are lucky if he shows again to see if you would like another by dessert time. I could on but any cruiser that has been cruising for years is quite aware that each cruise demonstrates yet another onboard revenue maker devised by the home office since the last sailing.
The point is that if those that love cruising don't demonstrate to the lines that the continuing erosion of service and amenity is unacceptable it will continue to the point where the cruise experience will be little more than a day at the park reaching into your pocket every two minutes and getting less and less bang for the buck. This was recently shown by RCL electing to eliminate the charge for food at Johny Rockets. This was done simpy based upon they had received so much contrary comments regarding it. They still charge for milkshakes I understand. Your option was to get your hamburger for free at grill at buffet, served one way, thin and cooked to death, or pay for one considerably better made and cooked to order.
I toured a Princess ship several years ago and was surprised to see a coffee bar in the lobby that charged $1 a cup. When I asked I was told that this was to keep the traffic down BUT that the pastries also served there were OF COURSE FREE. I toured the Carnival Destiny a while back ( you can find those photo's and many more I take at my buddies page I do for him <http://www.bestweb.net/~travel1/> ) and see that they now charge for everything at their little cafe. I will include price menu photo herein.
Last cruise my wife who uses the Steiner services extensively while onboard was shocked that she was charged $10 more for her customary formal evening blow and set or whateverthe ladies get. The listed charge was $35 and she was charged $45. When she inquired she was told that she was charged as " long hair " versus short. Her hair is both the same length it always was and far from what I would consider long hair, yet some one decided on a revenue enhancer. You will also note that Steiner now automatically places a 10 % tip on the bill. This started last year. In the meantime she and the ther ladies at our table expressed disappointment in the quality of the service, something my wife has never disputed before. Just another factor in having to fill so many salons on so many ships. So again a lessening of quality and an increase in price.
Photos, last cruise they were increased in size by an inch and increased in price 6.95 to 9.95. Revenue enhancer under guise that photos are now larger, you'd hardly notice. Some are starting to sell photo and mandatory wallet size as package. Costs more, want one have to take all. The list goes on and on.
Is Freestyle cruising a convenience or yet another way to use less staff to provide services?
So now, again NCL is a first, tips automatically included to your onboard account. Do you think the impact of that will be a positive? I doubt it, and rest assured that the amount will continue to rise as the line tests how much they can get from cruiser before they notice. Also be guarenteed that some percentage will now get skimmed off for the line itself, not the server.
> So any way, can we all shake hands, agree to disagree and get
> the ad hominims out of the conversation.
Certainly I've had my say and the bottom line as always will be that sooner or later each votes with there business dollar in this election.
> Thanks and cheers!! (and I miss your website)
Thank you, very kind of you to say. Do you refer to my old personal cruise site or the Mining Company ( now About.com ) site? The personal site just got to be too much work after a while and the About.com site became to oriented toward ONLINE REVENUE much like onboard revenue and hampred me saying it my own crumby way. The industry is a business after all which I understand. Many of my old links are still located at my pal Tony's website and I do get down to piers in summer and get aboard the new ones etc when I can. I have lots of recent photos at Tony's page. Gives me an outlet for the digital camera. I am always amazed at where this technology has come from the old Commodore days. Heck I can remember actually mailing pictures by snail mail of some ship they were interested in on old BB's etc. Now, just unbelievable. Look at the fellow who is uploading and running a web cam live on the Explorer this week. I don't think I want to get that dedicated but I am enjoying his efforts.
George in NY without a skyscraper in sight
Could it be that NCL is positioning itself more for "the masses" because it simply can't compete with the more "upper mainstream" lines such as Princess, Holland America, and/or Celebrity?
That puts it more with Royal Caribbean & Carnival, and since they have so many more ships than NCL, maybe NCL figured they'd come out with "freestyle" cruising in an attempt to stay afloat with all the "big boys"??