- Check-in and check-out was easy.
- Great ports of call :
Provence (Toulon), France
Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy
Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey
Athens (Piraeus), Greece
- The acrobatic performance of "Massimo & Alesia", a married couple that performs and amazing dance and gymnastic routine. They were stunning.
- The food was very good. We could always find something to our taste. There were some small glitches like sometimes spaghetti would be serve really hot but the next night it was just warm, but overall we were very satisfied. The selection at the 24/7 lunch stop (Blue Lagoon) was also good.
- The stateroom is small and being 2 adults and 2 kids in the room isn't very comfortable.
- No chocolate on the pillows ;)
- Not enough pool chairs and nobody enforce the "no reservation" rule.
- The expensive "Soft drink card" that you have to purchase for the whole cruise. They say that it cost a certain amount per day (around 7$), but you cannot buy it after the second day of the cruise and they do not advertise this. I learned it when I decided to buy the soft drink card around day #5 and was then told that it was too late.
- The location of the Blue Lagoon (snack restaurant). There is not way to go from deck 7 aft to mid ship without passing directly in the Blue Lagoon. And if you want to picture the disposition of the Blue Lagoon, imagine a bus where you would have replace the left seats with the kitchen area, and replace the right seats with small tables. Ok I am exaggerating a little, but it really felt that we were eating in a hallway and there is a constant flow of passengers that walk less than one foot of your table so it is not really the best arrangement. I definitely do not understand why they decided to configure that area that way.
- The ship was always getting into port at the last minute, so most of the time we could not get off at the time that was announced because they did not get the authorizations that they needed for disembarkation. We lost precious excursion time because of they were never on time as expected.
- The attention to details from the stateroom attendant. When we got on the ship and went to our stateroom we had the unpleasant surprise to find an old soap and an old shampoo bottle in the shower! Makes you ask yourself what else haven't they clean up correctly? We reported that and ask for someone to come cleanup the bathroom again but this was disturbing. And there were a couple of other things that bothered us during the cruise. We had to call two days in a row to specify that we were four persons in the stateroom so we needed four set of towels and not just the two they left us. Sometime they tissue box was left empty, sometime the "extra roll" of toilet paper was not replace, another time the old beach towels were picked up but no new towels were provided.
- NCL planning a stop in Rome on May 1st which is a national holiday and almost everything is closed. We could not visit the Coliseum, the Vatican Museum, etc... They should have plan accordingly and made sure that May 1st was an "at see" day.
- Poor knowledge of the staff about things they should know. For example, when we got off of the ship in Mykonos we asked an officer and a staff person that were just outside the ship where were the shuttle provided to get to town and we were answered that there were no shuttle and we had to call a taxi. But less than ten feet further, another staff member told us that the shuttle to town would be departing in less than 10 minutes and then he showed us where to go to board those shuttle!
- On board stateroom credit that could not be applied on "service charges". We got two onboard credits per stateroom. One credit offered by "cruise.com" which we used to book the cruise, and one credit directly offered by NCL. But we learned they last day of the cruise that the "NCL credit" could not be applied to service charges and it could only be apply toward things we bought on the ship (souvenir, drinks, specialty restaurant meals, etc...). We did not have this restriction with the "cruise.com" credit and there was nothing indicating such a restriction on the credit notification that we got in the room at the beginning of the cruise. NCL should have mentioned this to us because learning it at the end of the cruise we had no choice but to rush to buy stuff if we did not want to lose the credit.
- The entertainment was very bad in my opinion. The best night was the night of "Massimo & Alesia" and they also were a part of the last show of the cruise, which made it good too. There were maybe two other nights that I would qualify as "mediocre/good", but the rest of the time we were stuck with really boring shows. And this was easily confirmed by the number of people left in the theatre at the end!
- Smoking in non-smoking area (kids pool for example). I reported smokers to the cruise staff but sometime did just answer that they would report this to their supervisor instead of telling the smokers to go somewhere else. Some other time they would apply the non-smoking policy but they should be more proactive about this.
- Service charge that are automatically added to the bill and we have no idea who gets what. I would like to be able to choose to whom I give what part of my tip and this was not possible. Moreover, it reflects on the service we get, particularly in the restaurants. We did encounter a couple of nice waiters and we mentioned them as our "star" of the ship because most of them were just "grumpy" and never smiled. We had the impression we were bothering them all the time and it really showed that they did not care much... And why should they, they would get the exact same tip as the server that makes an effort to give us a great experience, without making the effort.
- Wake up call in the middle of the night. On the fourth night of the cruise we got an automatic wake up call around 2:00AM for no reason (we did not set this). We just went back to sleep to get another one around 2:45AM. This time I called the front desk and they tried to tell us is must have been an error from us setting our wake up call. But when we got another one around 3:30AM we definitely were mad and I called front desk again and told them this was unacceptable. They put us on hold for a moment and then told us that the phone must be defective and that they would send a technician the next day. What is strange is that after that last call, we weren't bother again with automatic wake up call in the middle of the night. I don't know if they solve the problem from the front desk of if they did in fact send a technician the next day but if they did we could not see any trace of him being in our stateroom.
In brief this was my first experience with NCL and I must say that I had better experiences with Disney and Celebrity. We did enjoyed this cruise but only because we had great ports of call and we did not planned to spend much time on the ship itself. I would not avoid NCL if the ports of call were interesting and the price was right, but I would not necessarily recommend it either.