I have sailed on NCL, MSC and HAL. This was my third NCL cruise (one on the Epic really nice, one on the Sky horrible). My cruise left on Sept. 1st.
THE REALLY GOOD:
Really well organized and pleasant staff at the port of NY. I was amazed at how they get more or less 8,000 people on and off the ship on the same day with very few glitches.
The beautiful Waterfront promenade.
Nice glass staircase near the Atrium with a cobblestone plaza.
My funky studio which had more space beside the bed than on the Epic because they put a double bed in them now instead of two twins.
The studio lounge great as always with good complimentary cappuccino, pastries and cookies. It would be good though if the music was toned down for the mornings.
The studio lounge pre-dinner meetings allowed me to link up with really interesting people.
A nice Latitudes welcome back cocktail.
Twice the staff in O’ Sheehans went out of their way to get me easy to make meals (ex: boiled eggs) which were not on the menu. The probably ultra-busy chef made it for me. This saved me from eating in the Garden Café. I avoided the later like the plague to stay away from the horrible “clientele” described below.
The nice library
In general the staff appeared to be very motivated in giving good service and were delivering it
Good service from my room steward.
Nice service from the studio lounge bar attendant.
Good “Pool Band” and “Fire and Ice”.
Bad resolution of the giant screen in the Atrium.
I ate mostly in the Savor and Taste DR, followed by O’Sheehans and once in the Manhattan DR. NCL doesn’t sell its studios that cheap for what they are (they are funky but they are very small interior cabins) In that regard, I want great food WITHOUT PAYING A SURCHARGE TO EAT IN THE PAYING RESTAURANTS. For the most part it was good, sometimes very good but there were too many misses (ex: very average rib eye the first night, once the soup was way too salty, once the water had not been dried from my lettuce, great looking but bland panna cotta etc.) I am sure that with the ratio of staff to passengers (1 to 4) that the poor chefs must be working their b… off, but again I want to eat consistently very well without paying a surcharge. I must say I was always offered replacement when problems happened.
“Burn the Floor”. Nice but found the couples were not always coordinated with one another. The singer was very good. I cannot rate the “Rock of Ages” show since I missed it by mistake on the last night it was playing. These things are bound to happen when you have to reserve…
The “so-so” solo hosting. One of the reasons I bought 2 Cruise Rewards while I was on the Epic was the great service received by Natalie (from Australia) with great activities like a visit of the bridge, a magic show, tables put together in Manhattan for our group supper with a complimentary glass of wine etc.. This time, some of the activities were great like the cocktail demonstration, meeting with Rock of Ages artists, the finger food from O’Sheehans. But some others were not like being handed bingo cards or really cheap beer bottle holders or the offer of spending some time in the Ice Bar for 20$. Many of us North Americans like to pay to travel AWAY from the winter not IN IT. Lastly, the solo hostess left our table before desert during the only group supper we had. This, I thought, was quite rude and bad service.
Decor: Tacky bad resolution digital giant pictures near some of the elevators
Slow room service (used it only once)
I found one female Filippino bar attendant in the back part of the Garden Café quite unpleasant and I am not saying that because she was Filippino (if NCL can track her down it would be a good thing although I realize it might be impossible). Her attitude was a sharp contrast compared to the service I encountered on the rest of the ship. And yes, passengers who use a Soda Card should get the same service than alcohol drinkers or passengers which do not have a card. Furthermore, I only drank about 3 sodas per day so it is not like I was overworking the bar staff. Too bad I did not take her name down. It reminded me of the attitude of some bar waiters I got on my NCL Sky cruise.
The only night I ate in the Manhattan DR I saw a male passenger walking around with tropical styled shorts. How come NCL let him in? What about the dress code?
The ULTRA PACKED pool deck on sea days. I did not plan well on that one. I thought the children would be in school…
Too many people on this ship (yes not all, but dozens of them) were really LOUD and too often OBNOXIOUS. This made staying in the public areas outright unpleasant. I tried to ignore them but it was impossible. They were literally everywhere SHOUTING and/or behaving like …. This “clientele” had nothing to do with the one I found on the Epic, and I was not prejudiced before boarding the ship.
I loved Bermuda. On the other hand will I use my other and, probably last, Cruise Reward to sail on this ship again? Probably not. It might be worth it if you stay in the NYC area or want to visit the Big Apple but it wasn’t for me.
Here are some examples of what I got on nice ships on MSC and HAL by paying double for an interior cabin, the same price of an NCL studio or even less. On HAL: complimentary high quality food like surf and turf and beef wellington, 2 champagne receptions, great and varied entertainment which I did not have to reserve, complimentary Elemis products in my stateroom, excellent service…. On MSC: free complimentary access to a very nice spa with a steam room, good reasonably priced alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage packages, nice acrobats shows, was upgraded to a balcony for free and yes I did find the food good in general.…. Good points to think about ….