I am attorney 32 and my boyfriend, also 32, is in public relations. This was my 7th cruise, his 4th cruise. Previously, we have sailed princess, royal caribbean and Carnival. This was both our first time cruising NCL. we booked the cruise for the itinerary, which did not disappoint.
We booked our own airfare after being told there was no cruiseline airfare offered from Miami, Florida. Our airfare was about $1000 per person and we flew Lufthansa. Great airline.
We arrived the day before the cruise in Athens and did a precruise stay at Electra Palace. We got the recommendation from the cruise critic boards. The hotel was pricey, but worth it. Great location and nice breakfast, included. We were located right in the middle of Plaka, the tourist district and were within walking distance to the acropolis, shops and cafes. We got to the hotel midday and dropped out stuff and walked around Plaka. We shopped and ate at a cute cafe. Great food in Athens. The next day, we got up early, ate breakfast in the hotel and had the hotel store our luggage until we were ready to go to the port. We visited all of the ruins in athens, which were great and the day we went was 'tourist day' and entry to everything was free. We went back to the airport and got a cab to the port around 3pm.
Embarkation was a breeze, took 5 minutes.
Our cabin was an inside cabin. Actually quite roomy, nice bathroom. Love the glass shower door instead of the curtain, makes all the difference in the world. We tipped our room steward at the beginning for extra hangers and towels and for the rest of the cruise we got excellent service and wonderful towel animals :)
The ship is beautiful. The staff is friendly and accommodating. The ship is kept spotless. We only went to 4 shows because of sheer exhaustion after each day in port, but the shows were good. The pool area is very nice.
We had wonderful weather every day except for one, where we got rained out at Kataklon. We did all ship tours and found them to be great.
As far as the food is concerned, I want to preface what I say by stating that my boyfriend did not get sick; however, everything that I ate on the cruise did make me sick. Not only was I sick, but many other people I ran into said the ship's food made them sick as well. Whether it was a roll or an actual meal, everything had me running to the bathroom.
We ate at all of the specialty restaurants and they were mediocre at best. The food was really not good on the Jewel and the dining room was just horrible. The buffet was even worse. Also, the existence of the specialty restaurants has spread the dining staff really thin and the service is just not great in the dining rooms with the free style dining.
I am not sure if the existence of the hand sanitizer and the fact that it was everywhere and they wanted you to use it all the time had anything to do with me getting sick. I often wonder if any of the overzealous cleaning and hand sanitizing got into the food, but something was not right and others on the cruise agreed with me.
I also want to state that every meal I ate off the ship in Greece, Turkey and Egypt was fine. I was never sick from anything eaten off the ship.
That being said, we went for itinerary, not for the food and the cruise was wonderful. Please feel free to email me about the tours and ports.