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Old March 2nd, 2017, 05:54 AM
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Smile Cruise newbies are considering NCL: Your thoughts?

Hi!

My partner and I are considering going on our first cruise this year. The fact you can travel the world in an easy way sounds perfect for us.

We've heard a lot of lovely stories about NCL but we are still not sure it will be the right cruise line for us (It's hard to choose, there are so many!).

We are in our early 30's and the most important things for us is the portfolio of activities offered on board and the quality of the food.

What are your thoughts about the food? Is there any speciality restaurant you would highly recommend? Is it worth to buy the beverage package?

We've seen this comp to win a Western Mediterranean cruise on Norwegian Epic (Win a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise on Norwegian Epic ? World of Cruising ? Cruise Magazine), we entered (you never know, with a bit of luck...), but really, we felt in love with the itinerary and are considering booking it anyway. Have you already experienced this one? What are your thoughts on Norwegian Epic?

Thank you all for your help, it will be really appreciated!

Mary
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 12:22 PM
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First, always work with a reputable agent and let them help you find the best cruise for you based on requirements, lifestyle, and budget.

Keep in mind, like I always say, that what one person loves, another will hate. So, you'll get people responding who absolutely love NCL, while you're also likely to get people telling you how much they don't like NCL.

Bottom line is, everyone is different and just because they love it or hate it, doesn't mean you will. A good agent who push or recommend one cruise over another, but they will provide lots of information for you to consider in making the best choice for you, while getting you the best deal. Plus, they don't charge anything for their services, so it makes sense to utilize their expertise. And never book with the cruise line, because if you have problems, who do you think they represent? And stay away from online sites, because their representatives are not certified travel agents, have usually worked for the company for less than 6 months, and are just there to sell you something - not to provide good information.

With all that said, I would say that for first-time cruisers, NCL is a nice start. They provide a nice product for a decent price. You may find them great for what you're looking for, then again, you may decide that the next time you'll want to spend a bit more and get nicer.

As for specialty restaurants and beverage packages, again, that's really a personal thing and everyone has their opinions on the matter. For many people, it boils down to budget, so you have to ask yourself if it's really worth it or not. How much do you drink? Keep in mind that on days at sea, you'll usually drink more, whereas while in port, you may drink less when on the ship. Your agent can provide pricing and details on the various options available to you, that will help you make those decisions.

Pete
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 06:29 PM
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I agree that some people love Norwegian and others don't --- I fall into the latter group. Beyond that, though, I think that a newbie considering Norwegian should know that they charge a bit more for their drinks, and therefore for their drink packages. I am a very light drinker and so never buy a drink package, but a couple of times, on other lines, I've had it thrown into a deal. Both of those times the package included both the drinks and the gratuities normally charged on them. When a friend recently encouraged me to consider giving Norwegian another try, I checked out the cruise she was interested in, which was being offered with the drinks package; and much to my surprise I found out that Norwegian valued it at something over $70 per day, and collected a gratuity on the full amount, in advance. I would have wound up paying more for the gratuity on my "free" drinks than I normally spend on drinks when I buy them outright.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 07:35 PM
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I was on a NCL ship in 2013 and did not like it.I went a second time in 2016 because friends were on the ship but did not like it.
I was on the ship a third time a few weeks ago and did not like it.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 10:11 PM
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We have taken 12 cruises on Princess and 11 of them were perfect. Due to number 12 we are trying Norwegian for the first time in about 10 days. I'll let you know!
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lakers Fan View Post
I was on a NCL ship in 2013 and did not like it.I went a second time in 2016 because friends were on the ship but did not like it.
I was on the ship a third time a few weeks ago and did not like it.
Can you elaborate and tell the poster what you didn't like.

Overall, I like NCL. The Epic is has some of the best entertainment at sea but it definitely has a layout that is far from perfect. The pool deck is congested to walk through and hard to find a seat. The flow on Deck 6 is bottlenecked by the casino and O'Sheehan's (or whatever the new name is) and when the shows let out it is hard to get from point A to B. There is no central elevator so you have to go to the front or rear of the ship to get up to your deck.

Now for the good things: If you add $100 - $200 to your cruise budget you will have some of the best dining at sea. Cagney's Steak House, Moderno (Churrascaria) The Noodle Bar, Teppanyaki are all great restaurants. There are also plenty of no charge alternatives. Two Main Dining Rooms, O'Sheehan's for light snacks and great breakfasts and a decent Lido buffet.

The cabins are a bit quirky and not for groups who don't know each other too well. The bathroom shower layout is not good for privacy. It's fine for a couple but that's about it. The balcony cabins have a lot of storage space but finding some of the cubby holes can be tricky.

Epic also has singles cabins and a dedicated singles area. The cabins are small but efficient and the dedicated singles area is a great place for singles to meet. They also provide water, sodas?, and snacks.

If you book a Haven Cabin you may never leave the area. The cabins are large. You have butler service, pool for the Haven guests only and a Haven Restaurant for Haven Guests. It is nice but a bit confining for me.

The thing I REALLY didn't like was the outside look of the ship. It looks like "Frankenstein of The Seas". I know that's petty but it did bother me.

I will sail Epic again, if the itinerary is right but I do prefer the Jewel Class of NCL ships and they will always be my first choice.

Take care,
Mike
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Old April 28th, 2017, 06:22 PM
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I'm scheduled for my 3rd NCL cruise to Cuba. They have the best itinerary for this destination.

I really like NCL. I am surprised to see the negative remarks about NCL. The staff has always been terrific. The food is FABULOUS. I have had better Paella on NCL than in Barcelona, Spain! The on board entertainment has always been superb. Saw a great Jersey Boys-like show. The clubs have really fun games for the guests.

Negative: The excursions through NCL are WAY too expensive and don't deliver the quality for the money. In Tuscany, we paid $240 PER PERSON for a winery tour with lunch. Lunch was platters of deli meat , cheese and olives. Then the main course. HUGE bowls of corkscrew pasta, barely drizzled with sauce that was dried onto the pasta. Of course, wine. BUT who wants drink lots of wine when it's 105 - 110 degrees outside with 95% humidity and a LONG walk back to the bus.

My upcoming cruise will be my first time to NOT book excursions through NCL. I'm hoping all goes well.
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