We are early 60's and have only cruised on NCL. We are now Platinum level and have also sailed on the Sun, Jewell, Dawn, and Pearl and have loved every one of our past cruises. We had a BB cabin, Deck 10.
Drove to POM and easily parked Lot C right across from the terminal for $20/day.
Check-in: We arrived at 10:45 and there was no line. Check-in was a breeze. The guy at the counter wasn't especially welcoming. Not even a "Have a Nice Cruise."
Boarding: I think we were on the ship just before noon. I was surprised that we didn't have the customary hand sanitization as we boarded. Cabins were ready by 1:30.
Cabin: Deck 10, balcony cabin (BB). Very small cabin. Equipped with a hairdryer and mini fridge. Limited storage space, but enough for 2 people on a 4 night-er. There was obvious wear. Chipped wall mouldings. Rusty areas on the paint in the bathroom. T cabinet housing sink plumbing was missing several screws and some of the remaining ones were sticking out. No coffee maker, no Elemis products. I did ask about the Elemis and was told they have been discontinued in all but the suites and penthouses, but if a customer asked for them, they would be provided. I did and they were. Although the cabin showed wear, it was very clean, and our cabin steward, Donovan, was friendly and provided excellent service for us, and we had cute towel animals every night.
Muster Drill: Lasted about 7 minutes. Didn't need to take our life preservers. A demo was provided on how to don a life preserver.
Entertainment: Several good musicians around the ship in the evening. The "Oh What a Night" tribute was outstanding. They had 1 show and performed a 2nd time the last night on the ship. The crew talent show was very enjoyable and we did see "Fountains" again...who doesn't love it? We had seen Barry Johns (juggler) before and he puts on a good show. Like his energy and humor. Comedian Russ Riva was OK. Cruise Director, Archie, was OK, and kept a low profile during the day.
Dining: The worst of any cruise we have been on with NCL since 2002. We don't know if there have been "cutbacks" across the fleet, or if it is just problematic on this particular ship. We ate in Crossings 3 of 4 nights, and ate either at the Garden Buffet or Great Outdoors for breakfast and lunch. Were is not for the excellent service of waiters Erroll Diaz and Raymond Domingo and the Maitre D' in Crossings, I would have rated it even lower. They were truly outstanding, though, and trying so hard. Food is subjective, so I won't elaborate. It's just that we were acutely aware that some of the higher priced items were gone, and the quality had declined. It reminded me of a very cheap buffet. On a positive note, I have a food allergy, and Chef Leo and the Maitre D' and even servers tried hard to help me in that area. We ate in Cagney's the last night and the service was outstanding (thank you Crystal) and the food was very good.
The worst part: We wanted to relax by the pool, enjoy our getaway...have someone bring us a Perrier, listen to some music. One end of the pool deck had a large roped-off area and the workers were there pounding and using some kind of power equipment and generally making a horrible racket that was so loud we couldn't even hear the music, let alone relax. It was horrible. We saw no servers, at least when we were there. If you wanted a drink or whatever, you needed to go find it. There was no service. The atmosphere (think construction zone) was so horrible we left by noon. At the other end of the pool deck they were also sanding the bandstand, so both ends of the pool deck were affected and we just felt gypped. Only 3 of 4 hot tubs were operational. The last day the stop at their private island was cancelled due to choppy seas, and we did notice that the workers also did not work at the pool that day and we assumed because there were more people around.
Common Areas: Ship is showing wear, but we thought it was clean.
Disembarkation: We walked off carrying our luggage. It was a breeze.
The bottom line: The ship is worn, but clean. The food quality was not what we'd been accustomed to with NCL in the past. It was way off. The pool deck was a wreck and there was no service. The cutbacks are bothering us. Just the little things that made us feel like we were being pampered a bit are missing and they begin to add up. We certainly felt like we did not get a good return for our cruising dollars spent. If this had been our first cruise with NCL, I'm afraid it would have been our last. We are willing to ask around and keep an open mind, though. This is the first time we've walked away from a cruise feeling truly let down, and we hope it is not a fleet-wide trend because we have loved cruising with NCL in the past....