Our cruise was the week after Sandy. Got to the cruise ok with NCL transportation. No power in the Cruise Harbour so it took a little longer but everything went smoothly.
The first thing we noticed was the amount of KIDS there were. It seems that because of "sandy" & a 2 day teacher's convention everyone in New York & New Jersey with kids went on this cruise. we heard there were 700 or 800 kids. & we felt it. We could NOT get away from them. There was NO place to go other than the uncomfortable chairs in the library to get some peace & quiet. even the Spinnaker - which is supposed to be 18 yrs & over - had kids who for the most part were UNsupervised - climbing over all the furniture & yelling & screaming. NCL personnel did nothing. We finally found the STAR BAR (which closes for private parties often) to sit in to get away from all the noise.
We had an inside cabin which we loved for the darkness!! We slept in most days. This was supposed to be a restful cruise.
The food was OK. They saved the "BEST" food for the PAY restaurants which I am not a fan of. I miss having personnal service. the Freestyle cruise is not for us. We always had to wait in line to get to either Azure OR Tsar restaurant. We asked most nights to be put with other couples so that we could get to know other guests but were always told (in not so nice terms) that it could not be done. We never got to know any of the waiters (waitresses) or they us so no one was ever really friendly. The food in the garden cafe was good - your typical buffet food but so crowded all the time.
on a good note the shows at night were fabulous. the best we have seen cruising. Brenda kaye (hypnosis), J.P. Parent (comedian & magician) & of course the dancers were Great. Loved every show.
If you wanted a lounger by the pool you had to be up at 6:00am & put a towel on one. NCL did nothing to stop this. one afternoon NCL decided that it was too windy (did not think so) & closed the top 2 decks & put the loungers away. so 2,000 people looking for already taken loungers by the pool. AWFUL. There were ONLY 2 pools (1 - for kids, 1 - for adults) the kids pool had to be closed a couple of times because parents with BABIES in diapers were in there & they SH@@@ in the pool. how inconsiderate of parents. then of course all the other kids came into the adult pool. there were only 2 adult only hot tubs & the same adults stayed in them ALL day long - not giving a chance for any others to go in. was not a pleasant couple of days by the pool.
We walked off with our luggage & because the port still had NO power we had to CARRY our luggage down 2 flights of stairs with the other 300 passengers that decided to walk off as well (people got on the elevators on lower floors - rode them up to the top & then down again just so that they didn't have to carry luggage down the flights). It was not a really nice way to end an already not so restful vacation.
This was our first & ONLY vacation (freestyle) with NCL. We will go back to the cruise lines that offer set times for dinner so that we can get personnal service. Waiters can learn about US & we them. They can even smile once in awhile - didn't happen much on NCL.