Embarked Barcelona - 24th June 2012
Mini Suite 8177
Barcelona - At Sea - Naples - Rome - Florence - Cannes - Marseille - Barcelona
8th cruise, first time with NCL.
Me 36, Wife 33, no kids, 2 cats ;-). Manchester, UK.
I've broke it down to five categories , Excellent, Good, Average, Poor and Awful. Plus a summary at the end.
Food in Moderno - Gorgeous, meat lovers only, go hungry
Food in Cagneys - Add a lobster tail, you deserve it
Service and Food in Tepenyaki - Our favourite, loved it here, you can't dine as a pair though
Spice H20 - Nice to have an adult area for sunbathing
Atrium Big Screen - Great Idea
Water slides - really good fun, long queues though
Ice Bar - Must try at least once
Martini Bar - Very chilled and relaxed
Service in Moderno - slightly rushed but still good
Food in O'sheehans - good pub food, a nice break from the buffet
Breakfast in Taste - Again good alternative to the buffet
Food & Service in La Cucina - Great views and pizza, just about worth the $10 cover
Tuscany Wine Tour - Excellent tour but far too many people on it
Layout and atmosphere of garden cafe - Best on any cruise ship
Fat Cats and Headliners - Both excellent evening entertainment
Service in Cagneys - Slow, drink left empty for too long
Cabin TV - Flatscreen but not much TV choice
Food in Garden Cafe - Worse than RCI and P&O
Service in O'sheehan - Slow, took ages to register you were there
Food in Shangai's and the Noodle bar - Ok, have much better at home
Service in Taste - Slow, getting Orange juice was akin to getting blood out of a stone
Blue Man Group - Not to my taste, might be to others though
Service in Shangai - Worst on the ship, must of had 4 different servers none of which communicated with each other, far too stretched. Same goes for the Noodle Bar.
Cost of Alcoholic Drinks - Almost twice the price of P&O, not sure how they justify it.
Transfer from Barcelona to the Ship - Made to wait for ages in horrid hot humid airport car park for the coach to turn up.
Forced off the ship early for the homeward journey - Our homeward flight is at 12:50 and we have to leave the ship at 7am, dumping us at Barcelona airport at 8am. 5 hours before we flew. This needs to change fast!
Smoke - Cruise lines are still stuck in the past when it comes to smoking. Stunned how they can't make the whole ship a no smoking zone. There are kids on it for god's sake.
English Language - The crew's grasp of the English language was the worst I have ever experienced.
Room Service - Rude and slow, avoid.
Toilet Roll - I'll finish with this piece of advice, bring your own, worst quality I have experienced in any hotel/ship in the world.
On the itinerary we did a private tour at Naples with seeamalficoast.com which was expensive (400 euro total) but amazing! Really worth it! Stayed on board at Rome and did an NCL wine tour in Florence (Tuscany) which was also great but oversubscribed. Cannes was really nice, we did our own thing, grabbed an early train to Monte Carlo (13 euro each for return), we got back to Cannes for lunch and then sat on the beach. None of NCL tours in Marseille were appealing so again we stayed on board as we didn't feel paying for the shuttle bus to an industrial city was worth it.
We loved our cruise on NCL a truly fantastic holiday. The variety and quality of restaurants was fantastic and the NCL overall service and beautiful weather made it a super time. There are some critical flaws NCL need to address, primarily with Alcohol pricing and airport transfers, the later really turned the end of our holiday into a horrid one. NCL do get so many things right though, the freestyle dining is brilliant, the atmosphere on board is really fun, and the huge ship never feels huge to navigate round.
Thank you NCL for a truly fantastic week!