Embarkation in Barcelona was swift and smooth, and to avoid crowds we went straight to the windows restaurant for lunch. Food was fine, then to cabin where cases had arrived and then to explore the ship.
NCL have a big problem here and that is the temperature of the food ..although it is ok, in the Garden restaurant and the Windows restaurant, it always arrives nearly cold, and every mealtime we had to ask for the food to be re-heated. This is a big problem and really needs to be sorted out. The best food is in the Raffles buffet ,beautiful joints of beef there etc and piping hot.and what is offered in the buffet at lunch time is the same as the menu in the restaurants for the nighttime...so you can see what will be offered and plan your evening meal. After one lukewarm breakfast in Windows we only breakfasted afterwards in the buffet, which was good, hot and a wide choice to suit all tastes. Our highlight of the day was the jam ,fresh cream and scones served in the buffet from about 3 til 4.30...which we never missed.For some reason i really look forward to afternoon teas on board and it would have been nice to have a separate venue for this making it an event, serving light sandwiches and cakes etc. The Blue lagoon is a concept that really works well. ..offering food, tea and coffee 24/7. there is a nice chatty atmosphere here, and although a limited menu, the food here is always nice and hot.
Drinks are terrible over-priced on this ship ..we paid over 100 dollars for four bottles of cheap wine, which would cost 12 pounds for the four in any supermarket. I don`t really understand this pricing, and an inclusive drinks package will cost each cabin about 100 dollars per day. halving the price of this package would make sense and make for happier cruisers i think. On the 9 day cruise we had only 1 happy hour offered which is just meanness. ..otherwise tip-top prices plus 15% tax. A happy hour should be available every day in my opinion. A free liquor sampling was offered on deck 5 offering thimble sized tests of drinks. I went up 3 times to get samples for myself and my elderly parents, who had managed to get a seat in the nearby coffee bar.and on the 3rd time was told very rudely by the Romanian server I could not take samples for other people. i explained that my parents were elderly, and did not want to queue up, but was refused service. This was unacceptable, and to be honest I was furious. We had paid over 3,500 pounds for this cruise, and i am sure to expect a few thimbles full of liquor without any extra charge or hassle was not asking for too much.
The shows in the theatre really were very very amateurish, the exception being the acrobats who were excellent.
Upstairs in the galaxy the band of Philippinos were also very good, and the trio also fine ..but the `cover stories duo` often in the `champagne bar ` were very poor. this girl cannot sing!!!
The ports of call were also fine, the highlights being Madeira and Malaga, though i think on a 9 day cruise at least another port could have been added.
Our cabin was fine , and our steward excellent.
The general atmosphere on the ship was nice with a lot of friendly well -traveled people, but complaints were many and all the same. ..the cold food ..the weak shows .the price of the drinks , and the high price they had paid for the experience.
Would i go on this ship again? yes I would but only if I found a very good offer. Would i do another cruise with NCL again?...ii think first, i would look at other cruise-lines for a similar itinerary.