I will never do an inside stateroom again after this cruise. I'm writing this cruise much later because I just recovered from bronchitis..that I got from this cruise.
Embarkation was a little annoying. There was a company cruise that basically took forever to get on but other than that it was quick. Yes they made us wait til noon? So much for getting on the boat early. When we got the boat, me and the hubby wanted to drop off our bags to eat....the rooms weren't ready! How annoying! We would have liked to put our stuff down first and relax THEN hit the buffet. When they did let us in the room doors were all open...as if they were still cleaning,saw no staff around though...not sure what they meant by that but how would you feel if your room was open to inspection to all? We've been on the Gem from NY and that is NOT how my room was when I got there - doors wide open and all.
Sea Days were incubating periods for me. I will only sail with a balcony from now on. Don't know if it was the casino air - which I didn't really notice - until I started hack coughing. Yes the smell does emanate throughout the 3 or 4 decks. Not a very smart idea. Yes you will be eating dinner with smoke fumes coming down from above...I noticed that a lot of other people had the same kind of hack cough when I was in a public area. How strange is THAT...Tried to get fresh air from the public decks...
I used the iphone App that NCL has and it was very useful. I wish they had a map on it though! Please make it interactive! If you can put a map next to the elevators you can surely put it on the iphone app! Daily activities are listed with time and place - I discovered an inaccuracy only once. The other great thing was the account balance. Any card swiping from vending machine to casino tokens showed up IMMEDIATELY on that app.
Bingo was a little annoying - played once. They kept announcing (even games that I watched) that this was the major $6000 giveaway - I don't think they gave that out til the last night. Felt gimmicky to get you to play. The casino was great and kept paying out til the last day. Kudos to the critic who recommended Kitty Glitter, I'm hooked too! Used the slot coupons and got $50 credit for $25 and the NCL $15 for $10 promos. Easy to use and redeem - though I must say the casino host wasn't too thrilled to help me get my chips/credit. My other qualm with the casino was the availability of beverages/snacks in the area. I had to go downstairs one level or find the high limit area (stuck in a quiet corner) to get water or snacks. WTF? You're going to make me walk FAR away from your money makers? Silly! Same goes for the bathrooms, had to walk to another end! Take some logistic mapping from real casinos NCL designers!!
The ports were ok, beaches and duty free galore. The food and service at Taste was at par and after several days I wanted out. Garden Cafe had ok food as well but I rarely saw the buffet open to max functionality. Kind of annoying if you're looking for something and only 1 place has and was crowded/ran out. Most buffets have more than 1 location for specific food but not this one. Had to walk the whole place to find out what the goods were. Noodle and crepe bar definitely hit the spot several times.
All in all I didn't appreciate the attempts to nickel and dime (bingo, photogs with their cameras, specialty restaurants). I enjoy NCL and their freestyle dining,show variety, and activities. But I may have to reconsider next time.