We just got home from our cruise. Mind you we lost 3 days of our cruise because us air couldn't fix the emergency inside lights on our aircraft. All flights to Miami were booked, we were told by the us air agent we should have left the day before......they couldn't get us there by departure time. So we are at the airport at 5 am for the earliest flight out and now we face telling our four kids we have to go home, we missed the cruise. Well, we come up with the plan to fly to st martins and meet the cruise there(3days in). Us air steps up, covers our airfare to st martins, it's 630 on expedia trying to find a hotel while us air is still figuring out if they can fly. Long story short, we get to st Martin, great hotel(royal palm) ,have a couple fantastic days there and walk on to the getaway in st martin when it arrives. Everyone is great, they meet us at the entrance, escort us in and within minutes we are registered and in our cabins. Beautiful new ship, absolutely beautiful. Restaurants and bars everywhere, well decorated, everyone friendly and helpful.
Entertainment : we were supposed to have had tickets to the illusionarium show with the meal package we purchased but they refused to honor it when we finally got on board. They said It was an incentive deal for one night only, but after paying extra for the specialty restaurant meal plan, we were not going to shell out more money to see this show.
Otherwise, "legally blond" very good, comedians very funny. Otherwise just ok.
Food: buffet good, not great,typical buffet, but always a food frenzy in there, a difficult traffic flow for some reason,crowded, lines, people grabbing for food. Tropicana, good food, entertainment and staff. We did not try the other 2 complimentary restaurants, all the same menu.
Specialty restaurants: we made some reservations before we left, once we got on board everything booked until 9pm. We do not eat late. Looking at the restaurants they looked like they had empty tables. Le bistro..very good. Moderna and cagneys excellent. We managed reservations when there were cancellations. Can buy wine by the glass. Expensive.
Very crowded on days at sea, made us happy we missed the first 2 days. One pool for adults, but looked like great fun area for kids. All beach chairs in shade and near the pool were saved by 10am , no where to go but bright sunlight with no where to cool off. Even those were hard to find. A massive people jam. Spice h2o is a sperate area with waterfalls to cool off in, again, way crowded. No seats in here either. We stayed on board during port days to enjoy the ship. Only way to use the pool!
Shopping: same stuff same prices
Extra for fine dining, extra for gelato and bakery,extra for the magic show, extra for the ice bar(they wouldn't even let us see it!) of course the kids used the video arcade,extra money there too. Wifi extra. Could text each other for 8$/person with NCL app.
All the tips were included in the price of the cruise, that was nice, weird to not hand our cabin attendant an envelope. Had to tip at the specialty restaurants, that was not included.
Excursions...my husband and son went golfing, very expensive day $75 to rent the clubs alone, but they looked at it as a once in a life time kind of day and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Disembarkation: a breeze getting off the boat once we wrestled breakfast from the masses at the buffet. We took our own luggage off the ship, easy off, through customs in a minute and in a cab to airport with in maybe 10 minutes. A really nice touch, captain, officers,staff, cooks, workers at the door saying goodby to everyone as they left the ship, really nice touch. A sincere thank you I thought .
Also easy on and off ship at ports, music and dancing staff greet you back with cold wash cloths and a quick drink.
So, just some of our experiences, we have cruised RCL and princess. This was 2nd NCL cruise, 25 years between. First time we thought was amazing, beautiful menus, great food. A luxury trip. This one more economy. Beautiful boat, restaurants. Really nice and hard working staff. Food ok, lots of extra charges.