This was a cruise I had planned to celebrate my 60th birthday with my sister. She was my guest and birthday gift to myself. We traveled with 4 of my girlfriends as well. One of the girlfriends was a first timer so everything seemed great to her but the other 5 of us had cruised several times and so we had something to compare this cruise to.
I've cruised on NCL 2 other times and everything seemed fine but I'm not sure if the crew was still in shock from their Hurricane Sandy experiences or what? But the dining hall waiters in Tsar seemed to be in a trance the whole week. We had to ask for coffee every night and if each person didn't ask personally, you got nothing. We had to ask for salt and pepper, utensils once, and generally you just felt like you were annoying them if you tried to get their attention. The Azure staff seemed a bit more "with it."
One night in the the Azure a group of 8 children, no adults, were seated near us. The bunch ranged in age from about 14-7. Like all kids, they were loud and all the adult parties around kept looking at each other. I did speak to the maitre d on the way out about them being seated without supervision and the answer I got was, "Madame, this is a dining hall, they are allowed to come in and eat."
Even if there are rules posted, no one ever enforces them. But then, this is true on all cruise ships that I've been on when it comes to children. I was a teacher for 32 years so I know how children should be acting in public. I had to get out of the hot tub because I was told by a mother that her 6 year old prefers the hot tub to the pool as her child was diving underwater in her goggles. Let's face it, in today's world, the kids run the households at home so why would we expect it to be any different on a ship? I must say that I did hear a pool attendant one time tell a child to stop jumping from the hot tub seat into the center of the hot tub but again no parent was in the with the child and the rule states that if a child is in the hot tub, so should their parent. So the attendant should have told the child to get out altogether.
I probably won't choose NCL for a 4th time even though I like the anytime dining, you just don't get the feeling in the dining halls that you're really welcomed or on this voyage, even acknowledged.
My other complaint was that the public bathrooms were always in need of attention the entire week. I NEVER once saw a restroom attendant cleaning and one particularly rocky evening, the restroom outside of the Spinneker Lounge had "puke" all over. My girlfriend had to flag down a drink server and bring it to his attention to call for a clean up. Every cruise ship that I've ever been on, someone is always keeping the restrooms spotless throughout the day.There were always papers on the floor and sink area was always wet.