Embarkation: Arrived 11:15 by bus and since this is a smaller pier than Lauderdale or Miami; check in was easy. We were on the ship before noon but the cabins were not ready so we went directly to the buffet for lunch. We should have gone to a dining room as it was like a cattle call!
Cabin: We had a balcony cabin which we love. Unfortunately, the balcony was extremely small and the chairs there were much too big for that space. Also, it looked as though it had not been cleaned in awhile. The cabin was not up to standards. There were scuffs along the wall, mirrors were not cleaned, and a small table that had an inch of dust on it. We didn't meet the cabin steward for 2 days but by then I had housekeeping in the cabin and pointed everything out. Right after that, we met Janice who claimed she was looking for us. She was so busy making towel animals that she would leave her cleaning sprays in our cabin, beach towels were always missing and the mirrors were not cleaned until I did them! The bathroom was very nice with a sliding door to separate the toilet from the sink area and a sliding door for the shower area instead of the dreaded shower curtain! The biggest perk for us was a coffee maker in the cabin. I wish all cruise lines did this as we love our coffee in the morning but do not like being bothered by room service.
Dining: As on other cruise lines we are used to anytime dining. NCL has freestyle dining but there were lines outside every dining room. Several times we decided to just go to the buffet for dinner. The first night was very good, after that it seemed to be leaning towards Indian or Oriental and the aroma was a turn off! We had a delicious dinner in the Italian specialty restaurant La Cucina and a couple of times we ate at the 24 hour Blue Lagoon. It wasn't until the end of the week that we met a couple and joined them in the Venetian. Again, 2 nights were delicious and on the last evening dinner was like shoe leather. The dining room experience on a cruise is supposed to be one of relaxation and enjoyment. NCL does not provide that and drives the customer out to their premium fee restaurants. Good marketing for NCL; not for me as the passenger.
Shore Excursions: Since we had never been to Roatan, we wanted to do a tour that had some sightseeing and some beach time. We ended up going to the Parrot Tree Plantation. Its beautiful with a man made lagoon, beautiful pool area and buffet lunch; however it definitely was not worth the $59.00 per person fee for this tour and buffet which consisted of rice, beans, chicken wings & punch. Yes,it was beautiful and relaxing but not worth the money. Costa Maya was a stop that we could have done without. The port of Belize has been rebuilt and was enjoyable to stroll through. Cozumel was the best stop on this trip. There is always plenty to do there. We never made it to the beach as we ran out of time with all the shopping we were doing.
Shows: We saw several shows and the best one we saw was Greg London. He is not to be missed. Everything else was your normal broadway style show. Duo Luna are excellent and provide a variety of music in the grand atrium and Gatsby's and the music of Margie Hobbs was very good also.
Disembarkation: Normally other cruise lines will provide you color coded luggage tags with specific time to vacate your cabin and public area to go to on the morning of disembarkation. Not on NCL...you get the your own luggage tags in the grand Atrium and wander around until you find a spot to sit until your color is called. I found that to be a bit confusing. Also, we enjoy tipping those that have gone the extra mile to make our cruise memorable which means we remove the automatic tips charged to our bill. When my husband went to the purser's desk to fill out the necessary form, he was rudely addressed by the woman there asking him several times why he was doing this. Needless to say, that encounter did not go well and certainly ended the trip on a sour note.
We have cruise for many years and several times on NCL when we first started cruising and never experienced the service like we had on this voyage. It most definitely will be our last with NCL.