We, DH and teen daughter have travelled with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Costa and on the Norwegian Jade last year and decided to try NCL again as we loved the freestyle cruising and the whole vibe about Norwegian. Embarkation at Copenhagen was great, fast and we were looking forward to our first time as suite status guests. Shown to our suite by our wonderful butler Rey who was our saviour for the whole 9 days of this cruise. Penthouse suite with large balcony on deck 12. Plenty of space, comfy bed, excellent sofa bed for the daughter, large bathroom with two sinks, shower and big bath. Nice flat screen TV with DVD selection. Lavazza coffee machine (very temperamental tho and would have preferred normal coffee maker so I could have made my tea in the morning!). Rey could not do enough for us, brought snacks and coffee each afternoon, took the daughters DVD order, brought chocolate covered strawberries each day for us (sugar free choc for my hubby who is diabetic), amazing service, all done with a smile. Sadly, this is where it ended.
First night went to Aqua Restaurant and the service and food was abysmal, really really bad and we're not picky, we just expect food to be served hot and tasty. Unfortunately the food was cold, bland and served by staff who were very much under pressure. Took 3 attempts to get a hot coffee after a very poor meal. Decided not to visit again and regretted not taking the unlimited dining package. Never went to Versailles, just rotated and went to Le Bistro, Cagneys, Moderno and Ginza and they were outstanding. Excellent service, great food - aaaah the hot chocolate fondue in Le Bistro was just to die for as was the Wagu steak in Cagneys. Did not venture to the buffet at breakfast, preferred room service and couldn't fault it. However went to the buffet for sandwiches and pizza in the late afternoon and they were nice but the atmosphere is just like a school restaurant - not for me.
Last morning had breakfast in Cagneys which was amazing but so pleased we didn't go each morning as I would now be the size of an elephant - just too good. Didn't do the theatre, preferred the casino which was good and won some money which is always a bonus. Nice bars around the ship where you could watch the world go by. Shops were the usual style selling the usual stuff at expensive prices.
Ports of call were amazing but not long enough in Stockholm- uber expensive but fabulous - you must see the Vasa museum, unbelievable - got the hop on hop off boat. Helsinki was good too - again used hop on hop off bus. Tallin is so pretty and is walkable. Warnemunde is a sweet port with lovely little shops but an hour is enough there. St Petersburg is amazing - two days was very intensive - did our own tour and it was very intensive but needed to see everything. The opulence is just breathtaking.
In all, a good cruise however one point to make about the Penthouse Suite - the balcony is covered and linked to the only other suite of that kind next to you. Unfortunately, we had a chainsmoker next door to us, so the smoke seeped onto our balcony and into our room even when the doors were closed, so beware. I am so pleased they are stopping smoking on balconies as this really spoilt it for us. You spend a lot of money on your vacation and want to be able to sit out on your balcony to enjoy the view/breakfast but this did not happen as much as we would have liked due to the smoke and the constant coughing.
Dis-embarkation a breeze, straight down and off the ship, straight to the airport where we met our cases there - just great. Checked our cases in and then spent the day looking around Copenhagen which we will be visiting again along with Stockholm. We don't think we'll cruise again with NCL unless it was on a newer ship and the food in the MDRs improved greatly. I know people really knock Costa Cruises, but even their food is far better than NCLs.