We read reviews, talked to people we knew who took NCL before. 50/50 chances so we've decided to experience ourselves and that was the experience we do not want to have again, ever.
We've cruised on Canival and Royal Caribbean before. We chose NCL this time due to its famous free style and round trip Seattle, closer to home (Portland, Oregon)
We were so excited getting on the ship, the ship size and date made were reasonable new and good looking. The crew members were all smiling, singing and dancing to welcome us. That was a good sign, right. I all went down hill once we hit the Garden Cafe. The cafe was small, crowded. Not much variety of food selection and the food taste was not impressive at all. They were either plain or salty. They appeared to be old. The food presentation were not impressive in any way.
We found out that free style was too free and that was not a good thing. Free style dining meaning you don't have to be tie down on a schedule but that did not guarantee you to a table and waiter. There is two main dining room, the Indigo and Summer Palace. We've tried both and like the Summer Palace more. Out of 7 days on the ship, we found only one waitress that was always smile and catered to our needs, made my daughter laughed. The rest of the crew appeared to be not happy and not professional, rush, rush, rush.
Another crew member performed his excellent job was our room stewart. He made animal towel for each of our tree children everyday for the whole trip. That brought lot of smile on their face each day.
There were not much to do on the ship so we got bored really fast. There is open balcony game like shuffle, chest, golf, basketball court. Rock climbing open in limited hours so when my children got up, it closed time. Very disappointed. Bowling with a charge of $5/pp, what? really? We've register our boys in "Teen Club" and our girl in "The Dolphin" club in which they put on a plastic band on her wrist, will cost $5 to replace if she lost it, for the rest of the trip (which was very uncomfortable to wear all the time). After couple hours we came back to check on them. They all wanted to leave because it was boring, they said.
Entertainment was a joke. They were not singing, they were screaming. But we did enjoy "Oh! What a night" the first time. It got old after the 2nd. We loved the comedian, Heath. He was funny. We felt that the crew talent show was a hit, especially the last scene. Bingo was expensive. We played but did not win. Oh, well.
Shore excursion were expensive. At Juneau, We chose the bus ride to the Mendenhall Glacier National Park. Beautiful place to see. The bus driver was informative and funny which helped. At Skagway, we chose the bus ride to Yukon Suspension Bridge with lunch (Canada, so make sure you bring passport). The tour start at 10 am, we made sure we had breakfast before leaving the ship and since it said: Yukon Suspension Bride with lunch we did not think that they are going to serve lunch the minute we arrived. We did not like to be force to eat right away but they made the best bread there, with chili. At Ketchikan, we did not buy excursion from the ship but walked around town and came to see the famous " The great Alaskan Lumberjack show". It was OK. At Victoria, we boarded the bus, $10/pp, to town. Not sure what NCL was thinking, the ship docked at 6pm Saturday. Most shops closed and 6pm or 7pm. What's up with the timing? We could not shop but found lot and of PUB's, at least 2 to 3 PUB's in a corner or block. It was kind of fun walking around town. Beautiful scenery, people played music on the street, perfect weather at time.
We were so happy to be back in Seattle cause on the second day of the trip, my family said " can we go home now?" We liked the express check out system. We've kept our luggage in the room and wheeled it out the next morning on our own. It was quick and easy. Glad to be home and we have concluded NCL NO MORE.