This was our second cruise with N.C.L. and although, once again, a great holiday, we felt that the overall service, did not equal that of the Norwegian Spirit. ( perhaps familiarity plays a part?)
Embarkation was good, much slicker than our previous experience, and the registration area was much cleaner and litter free, than what we experienced in our previous visit.
We boarded the ship fairly quickly, and so did our luggage, we were impressed with how quickly our suitcases arrived at our cabin. Less impressive was the first view of our cabin, where we were greeted with a bathroom sink that was considerably cracked all around the waste disposal area. After bringing this to guest services attention, it was decided that the sink was to be replaced, and indeed was done so, 3 days later.
We managed to avoid eating in the Garden Café buffet restaurant for most of our 14 night cruise, however on odd occasion we did use it, we found it to be clean and tidy, and overall it serves it's purpose on the ship. Our choice of restaurant was the Grand Pacific, for breakfast and dinner, and the blue lagoon service area on deck 8 for our lunch time snack.( cheesecake was excellent.) However it's fair to say that the Grand Pacific restaurant, was not without it's challenges, and we experienced both excellent service, and on occasions fairly poor service, completed with a delivery of cold food. The saving grace on more than one occasion was Furtoso Gonsalves, the restaurant Manager, who's service and attention was second to none If more of his colleagues took his lead, the restaurant would run like clockwork.
We were disappointed that the Menu we were given in the Grand Pacific, was identical to the menu we were given the previous year, on the Spirit, and indeed when we go on the Norwegian Star in January 2015, we will be given the same menu again,( as confirmed with the cruise consultant on the Jade)..Come on N.C.L. if you want people to use your ships, at least give us a different menu to choose from.!!
There is Freestyle Dining, but also repetitive Freestyle Dining.!!
We also ate in the Italian Restaurant, where food was good, but service was slow, and a request for French fries arrived cold.
The choice of music on board, was in my opinion, (as a musician) of a very poor standard. I would go so far to say, if it were my establishment, I would be embarrassed to have them as entertainers. With the exception of the Jade orchestra, and the three wonderful piano players who entertained around the ship, Two gentleman, and one lady, all exceptionally talented musicians. As for the rest, I was actually glad when they went for a break, the silence was better than some of the music. Entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was generally of a good standard, just a shame we had seen a couple of the acts on our previous years trip. Elements show evening was exceptional.. well done..
Overall, the daytime entertainment/ activities were all well detailed in the daily newsletter, and it was the passengers choice if they attended, or chose to sunbath on the spacious deck areas of the ship.
We did a few shore excursions with N.C. L. and it has to be said, they were well organised, and surprisingly, reasonably well priced, much more competitive than I remember from previous year.
We then went to guest services, and asked if they would print of our boarding passes, for our return flight home. " oh yes, no problem, as long as you pay for the internet time and the printing" Just another way of making money out of the traveller, because my air travel company, would have allowed me to book both ways from the comfort of my own home, on my own computer, for free, but N.C.L. block the return journey, and you are left with the choice of paying them for the service, or waiting until you get to the airport, and taking your chances, we decided on the latter.!!
Finally, well done to the ships Captain, a very welcoming and customer friendly gentleman. I hope the one we get in January 2015 is just as good, and who knows, we just might get a new Menu, which for us would be a great bonus..