This was the 1st week long cruise for my husband and myself. I cannot say enough good things about the staff- outstanding in every way and in every department- truly genuine and service oriented and enjoying their jobs. Food , entertainment and activities all super excellent ! The ship is gorgeous & was spotless and bathrooms all so clean !!! Boarding and unboarding sooo easy- you can unload early if you carry off your own luggage- we were off the ship by 7:45 and on our way home- parking at pier very nice. Passengers were all very courteous and considerate as the corridor areas are quite crowded as you go from place to place. We met a lot of very interesting people ! Fire & Ice entertainer is simply outstanding- she was soo enjoying singing and dancing she looked like she would explode from the joy of it ! She made our trip !!! Burn the Floor awesome and really energetic and enagaging ! I heard Rock of Ages was well done but had too many adult themes- my suggestion is keep entertainment clean and family oriented all around- they can still do their show just clean up the language and innuendo.
The CASINO area is SIMPLY AWFUL with the smell of smoking non stop- REALLY NCL is all about saving the environment- how about the people ? I would have played the slots if it had been non smoking but as it was - forget about it ! People who gamble will STILL gamble even if they can't smoke- this area should be non smoking as it filters into OSheehans and the Japanese restaurant and the main staircase Ocean Waves where you get Formal pictures taken,,,didn't anyone think this through ? Why put all the Main Staircase area right in the smoking area...hmmm that needs to be changed up.
It is really appalling to me that they expect passengers to walk this gauntlet of TOXIC SMOKE which by the way we all know causes cancer & for people like myself who have allergies to this which flares up asthma attacks it was awful !!! I guess NCL could care less about their employees or passengers who HAVE to be in this area- I walked through as fast as I could to get to the other side-avoided all venues near this area due to the smoke... really inexcusable in this day and age to allow smoking anywhere inside onboard where children, the elderly and those with medical conditions have no choice BUT to go through here.
One complaint is the boat seems geared towards an MTV type crowd with the music at poolside - truly one cannot enjoy the sound of the waves and sea with the constant NOISE EVERYWHERE ! If it's not the booming hip hop it was the relentless Jamiacan type music with no variation in beat ...I do wish security would have asked the young adults who were constantly drunk or pursuing that state to quit dancing in the pool deck in the shallow water and at the hot tubs- really annoying- felt like I was at a frat party..Also not enough loungers available at pool area yet they were stacked and locked up when they should have all been out.
We finally found a quiet spot on Deck 8 outside at the Waterfront but no lounge chairs, only dinner type seating- this side of the boat's real estate is totally wasted with Carlos and the Gelato shop-my suggestion would be to open up that area as a quiet area to enjoy lounging and looking at the sea with NO MUSIC of any kind- let people bring their IPODS if they want music. At the Maltings Whiskey Bar and Shakers all on Deck 8 as well-very uninviting with the type of limited seating available and people passed out on the few lounge sofas that were there...looks like they were sleeping off their drinks...felt like the ghetto upscale to me. This whole side of the ship would be great with the lounge chairs used at pool area & quiet music playing...
The HUGE problem for us being in Room 14870 Starboard AFt was we were totally unable to sleep at night until 3 am due to the constant base music coming from the top deck outside H2O Spice venue- truly I was very upset our first night after calling guest services and being told they cannot do anything other than ask DJ to turn it down- which he did-slightly- still not enough to be tolerable which means it was way intolerable at previous level !!!!
Have you ever been in traffic an a car BOOMING hip hop music totally vibrates YOUR car windows ? Earplugs don't help in any way for that type of noise. Well that is what we endured & the thought that I would have to do this every night for 7 nights almost made me cry- literally... which is not easy to get me this upset. SOOOO I called again Monday night complaining- really,...am I the only one who wants to get some sleep on the ship ? By Thursday night we did notice the music stopped at 1 am...more reasonable but still intolerable if you go to bed at 10 pm and are awake for 3 hrs trying to sleep !!! UGH!!! There were tons of families with small children, lots of 80 + older adults- I am pretty sure they want to sleep too. If the Captain had this noise coming into his room I am 100 % positive the policy would be changed in a nano second.
They offered me a free dinner and a bottle of wine- hey I don't want a free dinner- I would not even accept a free cruise- I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP in this room I paid a lot of money for !!!!! PLEASE MOVE THIS VENUE INSIDE !!!!!!! Sound is carried by the wind and this music was UNBEARABLE !!!!! For this reason alone I would never sail again on this ship - it was that disturbing because then I would have to sleep till 11 am and it messed up my entire days activities.
The Manhatten room is gorgeous and had wonderful music venue with dancing but you can only dance there if you are dining- why can't there be another venue like this for people who like to dance and to this type of music OR have it available to dance later in the evening by sectioning off a certain area for the crowd ? The ability to get seating in the no charge dining rooms was always a wait- 45 to an hour- we just hung out at a bar they gave you pagers to go anywhere on ship- we enjoyed entertainment until we got paged...you just have to plan to eat later if you need to get to a show or eat really early which does not seem to be a problem.
The Garden CafÃ© is so pleasant and food selection nice BUT the hot food never seemed hot but was always lukewarm. The coffee is fantabulous !!!!! Drink areas nice- wish they had the food station signs hanging out from the ceiling areas so you can see them in the walkway and not have to go right up to the station to see what they are serving.
Their website needs some tweaking as I was unable to book shows online and in my opinion spent way too much time online & on the phone all day on a Saturday trying to figure out what I had to do to be prepared to get on the ship SOOO I brought all the various papers I was told to print out and the check in lady had to sort through to find the one that was the actual ticket. For first time cruisers on THIS ship there should be a check off menu right away as you book your trip of all the things that must be done before you get on the ship.
Choosing a room is SOOO complicated online as they are color coded but not price coded- maybe some suggestions when choosing a room such as NOISE levels, walking distance to venue would be made available when you click on a room # online.
Wish we had the BERMUDA travel info provided IN the ROOM and a map for heavens sake- they get them free from the people of Bermuda why not provide them instead of making us stand in line at Guest Services ? Provide info on the FERRY and Bus rates etc...I felt like I had a job trying to figure all this out the first few days made me feel like I was working not relaxing. The Shore excursions are overpriced as usual- the beaches are tough to get to- lots of time on the bus and walking to really small beaches with cold water...not impressed with the beaches myself- no waves, lots of rocks, no lifeguards. We took Ferry to St Georges- NOW I felt like I was in Bermuda- lots to do, historic areas gardens and shops-no cost to very low cost $1 to see replica of Deliverance Ship- very nice....and shops etc..awesome day- we waked uphill quite a ways to Tobacco Bay Beach- really nice area...great food at the shack there but the bathroom was really really super gross..can I say again gross- I'd rather pee outside in front of 50 people. Hamilton was kind of boring unless you want to shop in very pricey shops...we saw Holy trinity Cathedral- very nice..not much else going on.
I have to close by saying the ship is awesome and if they would tweak some things that are very easily changeable such as noise, music , smoking and web site this would be probably the best cruise going in the world but as it is I could never go back as you cannot find a quiet spot anywhere and if you plan on using the library forget it- the hours are so limited it is a waste- they should have some way to electronically check your books out by yourself without an attendant. I wish they had a quiet pool area separate from the main pool area but that is not easily accomplished with ship design SOO I hope they just change the music up poolside with more variety- one time later in day we were upstairs on deck above pool and they had various types of music on which was very pleasant and relaxing- I truly feel we need to help kids learn to enjoy the sea and surf and you can barely learn to enjoy what peace and relaxation is if you are bombarded 24/7 with noise.
I don't think I'll be cruising again which is a shame because it really would be a lovely vacation if you could sleep, have some peace and quiet occasionally and not have such a challenging time trying to figure it all out. I do hope my comments will help NCL make good changes and also help those choosing this type of vacation.