Decent stay the night before leaving at Miami La Quinta. Many people stayed there that were leaving from Port of Miami. WORST restaurant next door - Bennigan's. We went on 3/16 - night before St. Patty's Day. I thought it would be packed, but it was not. Very, very dirty; poor wait staff; unsanitary restrooms; holes in walls and restaurant generally in a state of disrepair. The two bright spots about the restaurant: excellent food and a good band.
++++++ The Good ++++++++
Great bar service and good mixed drinks.
Ice cream available all the time at buffet.
24-hour room service was great and fairly prompt.
Excellent staff, particularly our cabin steward, who was friendly and willing to share information about his ship experience and his family back home when asked.
It was good that the staff was ethnically diverse - great experience for my children to interact with people from other countries.
Good embarkation/disembarkation processes. Lots of people who moved fairly easily on/off the ship.
Blue Man Group was excellent and was the Cirque Dreams show. Food was just OK at the Cirque show and our seats were not the best, but the entertainment made up for those.
My sons loved the arcade area.
The comedian/magician was excellent.
My boys loved the bunk bed that retracted from the ceiling. So fun!
24-hour pizza delivery (although at a cost of $5) was a lifesaver more than once.
The food at the buffet was excellent.
The box office staff would phone the room if you were late for a reservation to provide a friendly reminder about your event. This was great.
+-+-+-+- The middle +-+-+-+-
The overall "Nickelodeon" experience was very disappointing. The activities they provided were good, but there were definitely not enough of them. NCL should consider doing at least 1-2 things a day that are Nickelodeon related.
I liked and used the TV reservation system for excursions and booking tickets, which was convenient. However, the system was very slow and not user-friendly, so it was more difficult than it should have been.
The Recess Kids Club was also a big disappointment. Although we felt it was safe and seemed like it would be fun, my boys hated it. They went the first day and refused to return. Possibly not the right age mix - my almost 10 year old with 7 year olds was not fun for him? Also rather than require a "location where mom/dad would be" - which is crazy, they should have some type of phone app or pager system for the parents to come pick up the child. Not very effective communication methods, in my opinion.
--------- The Ugly ---------
Rude box office staff
Cranky guest services staff - great when cruise started, horrible, unhelpful and grouchy when cruise ended.
Why no fries available with room service hamburger delivery? Seems strange they only had chips as a side.
No sundries store - no where to buy small necessities/essentials.
Not enough shopping stores in general.
It was VERY WEIRD to have the bathroom immediately inside the cabin door. VERY awkward anytime we had a room service delivery or someone knocked on our door. They could basically see directly into the toilet area and shower.
Weird layout overall. Very long hallways with strange "bumps" in the floor in random places that are NOT marked in any way. My elderly father-in-law tripped many times on those stpots.
Why do they require people in the rear of the ship to go through the casino to get to the 5th floor (which doesn't go all the way through)? Makes no sense, and my son, who has major asthma issues, had to walk through this smelly, unhealthy area (exposed to gambling) just to get where we needed to go.
Very hard, thin toilet seats. Unsure about the rationale for this, but it was basically like sitting on a toilet without a seat. Very uncomfortable - not sure why no one mentioned this in other reviews.
The pools are ridiculously small - even staff commented on it/ apologized for it.
Very poorly marked public restrooms - signage was in obscure, hidden places.
Why doesn't NCL promote The Havens??? No tours, no pre-promotion. We might have stayed there, had we known about it - and we're Latitude Members.
Speaking of that, we didn't get any benefits of membership. Why have a program, if there are no benefits????