It should become our second to last cruise with NCL although we are Platinum and loved NCL - not because they are the best but you get the most for your money. After our short bad experience on NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY we wanted to use our last Cruise Rewards and then not to return to NCL again. Arrangements for OASIS OF THE SEAS in Fall 2014 are made but many crew members fighted for us to stay with NCL in future too.
It was the days NCL was more interested to open NORWEGIAN GETAWAY but to run other ships in a good condition. As normal: you cannot open a new ship just with brand new crew members. Mostly you take the good crew members to the new ships and those who stayed on board have an higher ratio of untrained crew members who can even cannot deal with simple problems:
You displayed at your door "Do not disturb". What does this mean: definately not a phone call "Sir - we saw your "Do not disturb" at your door and we would like to ask..."
Or "I am not in charge for the other side of the buffet" - something you would normally not hear from any experienced NCL-crew member in a situation like Code Orange (Health alert with restrictions for guests).
What you can also see: since they went public they try to make more profit and you can feel it in every little corner.
Before they had clean the Teppanyaki before the next guests arrived but now they had not time and crew anymore to do so.
The ship was defiantely undermanned: to improve situation in MDR with supply of pagers and registration other venues had no restaurant hostess temporary. You could even see functions at the registration desks which normally belong behind the scenes. But you need a certain kind of flexibility and idea to improve situations and to lower the level of places which works.
Sad was Moderno: I love Moderno and did it many times with NCL. But never I got raw meat before - nor it was so uncomfortable to stay above the atrium and mid of January a free Jazz-guitar player need to play Christmas charols in a such an extreme way only minorities would love it that you cannot enjoy your food anymore.
Very sad: the Behind-the-Scenes tour or Platinum was 3 hours before with a lot of insights. But now they limited the free tour for Plantinum to 75 minutes with some general bla-bla only. No more interviews and presentations with specialists from the Stage, Environment, Galley, Warehouse, Bridge.
And no more hosted tables with the Officers which i thought was a highlight of the last cruises.
But that was all on less good experience we made.
We had luck with our cabin steward. He was a real treasure. Normally you could see the place of your computer because most stewards are only cleaning around. He was moving up your pc to clean where your pc was placed and when you were back you cannot see anymore the locations you places something. Nevertheless he was one of the most friendly crew members we ever had.
One reason why we broke-up temporary with NCL was the last treatment of the Concierge in The Haven. Now we had no Haven-Suite but a Concierge who wants to see his guest happy: Mark Asstel. With a lot of passion he let you feel: I am here to serve you instead of the last signal we got on NORWEGIAN BREAKAWAY: "Do not disturb"...
We were lucky to have some very good Maître were still onboard like Mahmut, Dhurri, Fortuso and Seepa. Real hosts who knew us from many cruises. We had new guests with NCL with us and they all extended our long-term friendship to our friends. I remember once on Costa having a table of 10 and only 2 got some cheese because they knew the Maître from a previous cruise and 8 are looking how 2 are eating the cheese. A situation you will not experience with NCL. And they stand for so many of the crew members why decided to come back: there might be ships with better foods, there might be ships with better furniture in the cabin, there might be... but what you get with NCL: an unbeatable value for your money. If you pay 1/2 of others and get 2/3 there is nothing you can make wrong. Even you get the lobster only in Self Service Restaurant nowadays. And the most important: you could get dry bread and water only: with the crew you cannot make anything wrong: Normally be sure they would never say no and they will do everything to make you happy.
More details of our cruise with many pictures can be found here:
And a very special thank to Klaus Lugmaier and Mark Asstel for their special performance to make me staying with NCL for the future. Our cruise on OASIS OF THE SEAS is cancelled and we are back on NORWEGIAN JADE in September 2014 and we are more than sad that NORWEGIAN EPIC will stay here year around in Europe. She is no alternative to NORWEGIAN JADE as she has no charme like NORWEGIAN JADE.