First of all, we are seasoned cruisers here. Have been cruising since before we had kids and had our kids and parents with us since our kids were babies and now fully grown and this is the first time in over 20 years and countless cruises that we have left the ship grateful to be getting off.
Let me start with entering the ship, with every other ship we have cruised on, this is usually an awe-inspiring moment. Usually it is a visually appealing and exciting time. Entrance onto this ship was a let down. You enter right in the middle of the casino and are directed immediately to an already way over crowded buffet upstairs while you wait for your cabin to be ready. Even tho we were there at the beginning of the suggested boarding time, there were already no tables available to sit at and it involved much searching to find a place to wait.
When the cabins were ready, we excitedly entered to be immediately suprised at the layout of the room . Even tho we had seen online how the cabins would be laid out, and had heard the bathrooms were odd, we were still unprepared for just how awkward the whole arrangement was. In addition, there were zero toiletries that we had been used to receiving and the soap and shampoo now is only available thru the dispenser in the shower and above sink.
I do not recall any scheduled entertainment the first night. The main thing I can recall is just an overall noise level especially in the dining rooms which was so ridiculous that it necessitated shouting to eachother just to be heard each night. There is no feeling of being special in any of the restaurants any more. You no longer have your own assigned table or waiter and there was no entertainment provided by them on any night that we witnessed. Instead if you ate in the 'free" restaurants you felt like part of a herd of cattle and the waits for the food were way too long. A couple different nights we were sitting at our table for over 2 hours. The food itself was unremarkable and the only good meal we had was at a paid for restaurant (the steak place).
We liked the blue men group and the legends was ok but to have a 7 night cruise with really only 2 decent shows was an extreme let down for us. The comedy shows were average and the magician was typical. We chose not to pay extra for the circus show given we have never had to pay extra for entertainment on any other cruise.
There are no nice places to just sit and people watch or relax and the few times they had any organized activities the events were held in venues that were way way too small for every bored passneger to participate.
The kid program for our teen who is 16 was nonexistant.
We were laughing at the postage stamp sized pools. Apparently again if u paid "extra" you could gain admittance to the nicer pool. absurd.....half the jacuzzis were not working and the ones that were operational were filled with an average of 12 kids at a time leaving barely any chance for an adult to enjoy.
To me this felt like we were on the walmart of cruise ships. Just nothing felt special or nice like we have always been used to on every other line we have sailed on including royal caribbean and carnival.
We barely saw the cruise director and when we did hear him there was no way to understand a single word he said. Every one we spoke to felt the same way that his accent was so bad that it was impossible to understand him. We never saw the captain.
The elevators were poorly placed and it felt like a punishment to have to get from one place to another....way way too long and difficult and fighting with people not to crush you in the elevator...Countless times we were in an already too full elevator when the walmart people would not care and push their way on, resulting in one passenger we were with almost having a panic attack from the claustrophobic feelings. We also never saw our room steward. There was a complete lack of feeling connected to any of the crew and just an over all feeling of being herded and one of the mass of humanity they were trying to squash into already uncomfortable, unappealing, unfun spaces.
I wish i had taken the time to read the sprevious reviews and listened to them and chosen a different ship for my entire family to celebrate xmas on. Speaking of xmas, there was no special entertainment or meal to mark the occasion. Another disappointment. No dress up nights. Occasionally the daily paper would say "dress up or not" and most ppl did not and the few that did looked very out of place. Just not at all the feeling i have ever had before on a cruise.
Every single other time, our whole family is sad when it is ending and wishing for more. Not on this one.
Oh one last thing, the best performance on the entire cruise occured during the crew talent show which we attended out of extreme boredom and the spanish guy who sang opera was AMAZING. maybe they should give him his own show. They certainly need more entertainment on board and that you do NOT have to pay extra for...
sorry norwegian but never again, lesson learned the hard way.