It was my firth NCL cruise (was on many other lines as well to compare), third on Jade and second on this route ;-) Took the same cruise in January this year and obviously liked it. The itinerary is interesting with nice ports of call. Even in November-December months it was quite warm (except Rome where it was exceptionally cold and Istanbul with its rain). The overnight stay in Istanbul is definitely a plus of this cruise.
In overall, I really enjoyed this cruise and, as usual, it was sad to leave the ship at the end.
Let me summarize positive and not so good points, as well as definite things that need improvements.
- Nice itinerary with overnight stay in Istanbul.
- The ship is maintained very well and everything is very clean and shining.
- Great service – everybody is very nice on board.
- Exceptional evening shows of the highest standard.
- Nice food, very good variety in the buffet.
- Not only free water and ice tea in the buffet (like it was before), but flavored water and lemonade – my favorite!
- We had CruiseCritic meeting with senior staff.
Things that could be improved:
- Captain was very quiet the whole cruise – only heard one (!) announcement from him on the last day. He did not even say anything during the farewell show.
- Latitude rewards benefits for Silver and Gold members are very few and not really exciting.
- NCL menu is always the same. Would be nice to taste new items!
- NCL should review their deserts menu – really boring and often not very tasty (both in the main restaurants and the buffet). Chocolate night was a joke with many nice looking things but all testing the same artificial flavors. Can I send recipes to their main cook?
- Would be very useful to have hooks on the walls in the sauna/shower room, don’t you think so?
- On my last two NCL cruises I noticed that started to use not 100% cotton bed linen (mixed with synthetics). I really do not like it – it is very uncomfortable. IT IS VERY CHEAP, NCL. Hope they can hear me screaming.
- Somebody “smart” decided to close all buffet area after 11pm. So you cannot even get to water/tee/coffee station in the evening. This “innovation” is not acceptable! Keep at least one station open.
- Latitude member used to have 10% discount on all items in the shops. Not anymore! Few months ago NCL decided to limit this discount only on NCL branded items. Not a good manner to take away something we used to have.
- As usual, Internet is really overpriced on NCL, time packages are quite big and they refuse to give discounts to Latitude members (offering extra minutes instead). I do not need extra minutes to a big package. I want cheaper prices and discounts (or even free minutes like on their lines) to loyal customers.
Hope my thoughts are helpful to people thinking to go with NCL in the future (I would definitely recommend!). I also hope NCL representatives could find these points useful.