This was our forth Norwegian cruise in three years all on different ships, travelling from Scotland to the East and west coast of America can cost us as much if not more than the actual cruises itself, so why! What mainly attracts us to use Norwegian apart from the destinations it's the FREESTYLE cruising.
The Gem service was mixed not to any server being unpleasant but some did not have that smiley greeting that we found on the Dawn and Pearl, an example of another type of service was (we did not come across this in any of their other ships) we were 3 days into the cruise before we came across our room steward and that was instigated by us and only a couple of times after that. The room was cleaned and looked after but I would like to ask what is the situation with NCL bath robes! Dawn/Pearl in our cabin, Star we had to ask for them, Gem we did not receive any and when you are half way through your cruise what was the point!
Four cruises in three years the menu meals are quite similar on saying that the quality and range of the meals are good and you can have as many courses as you like, what is however disappointing within the main restaurants is the inconsistency of hot meals for example 'fish with fries' the fish is piping hot the fries are cold 'yes' you can return them but it is a nuisance and at this level of dinning all meals should be served hot "it's not rocket science"
In general the entertainment is good but there is no doubt from our first ships entertainment savings are being made by using their own dancers and crew members for full programs rather than being part of the program as a back up to the main attraction they are the main attraction! it does not always work.
In general not a lot has changed but you do see small things like at breakfast a selection of pastries would be in a basket on your table now they bring a plate and ask you what you would like (is this in the hope you use less!) The range of personnel small toiletries have also disappeared over the years. We have used the laundry offer in past ships so had no hesitation to use again "what a shock" in the past items were on hangers and everything pressed and in pristine condition, not this time the clothes were either not pressed or pressed so poorly there were blouses and shirts ruined, we also had put in 2 pairs of jeans as we were staying on in New York for our second week and thought it would freshen them up "shrunk" so much so they were un-wearable when we complained to the front desk all that was offered was a sorry and "this is how it comes" so we had to ask for an iron that when it was delivered to our room we were clearly told they would return to pick it up within the hour, they still charged for this appalling service.
We purchase the soda package that Tax and Gratuities are added too, I am 62, don't drink alcohol but do have soft drinks so why should I be made feel inferior buy carrying about a container with a large Pepsi Logo when you are on a 4 Star cruise, the main restaurant for your lunch/evening meal ask for a soda (showing your pepsi sticker) you receive a glass of pepsi, the table next to you there pepsi will come in a larger glass with lemon and refilled without request.
I am sorry but am I not paying for the same drink but only in advance!
If I were to Grade the ships:
Coming in at a tie breaking first place; Dawn and Pearl in third place Gem and a unanimous decision last place Star (unfortunately you can't have any lower than last)
Yes, we will probably cruise again WITH NCL as we like there 'FREESTYLE CRUISING'