Embarkation was a bit confusing with staff not seeming to know where we should go. However, once we got into the hall, boarding was fast and easy. I recommend getting on board early so you can spend time ashore, your bags get to the room before dinner and you can freshen up without rushing.
Our balcony cabin was smaller than our cabin on the Jewel, but adequate and well enough appointed and clean. The shower cubicle was either built for a five year old or it was built by a five year old.
Our cabin attendants decided to ignore the DND sign a couple of times. I can't fathom what part of DND they didn't understand. However, they were in the main efficient, responsive and unobtrusive, as they should be.
The shore excursions were superb. All the tour guides were knowledgeable, friendly and personable and a couple were actually funny guys. Although the tours booked through NCL are not bargains, you get reliable coaches, good guides and back to the ship on time. The ship also knows where you are in case of emergency.The tour desk on the ship was a bit of a shambles. We pre-booked almost all our tours, but wanted to make a change to the day of one and add another. They managed to make a straightforward exercise more complex than signing a middle east peace accord. It worked out in the end, but it got my blood pressure up. A glass or two of champers soon sorted me out.
We dined at specialty restaurants except for one night. They are worth the cover charge. However, we encountered some service issues: some of the floor staff don't seem to be interested or motivated and there are some quite arrogant wait staff who don't seem to understand where their wages come from. Too often, we received inattentive and slap dash service. One night in band camp (sorry), we got our side dishes after we had demolished the delicious main meals. We also had to ask several times to have our glasses topped up - I don't mind doing it myself, but if you are paying extra, you want the full service. Otherwise give me the tip and I'll do it myself.
I complained about the service that evening and when we came back a couple of nights later we got a free bottle of wine, the best possible waitress, outstanding service and exceptional food. This is how it should have been the first time - they should not have to be berated into getting it right. I passed on our feedback to the Director of the F & B department and the Director of the Hotel who were very interested to know the details.One other night in band camp, a waiter spilled a fair proportion of the contents of a bottle of red on my trousers. No problemo, accidents happen, I give him my pants and the ship undertook to clean them. Problem is, I had to chase them up when they did not arrive back in my room before dinner the following night. Wandering about in my boxers is embarrassing enough for one night, but two is too much for our fellow passengers.
All but one of the bar staff were great - efficient, friendly, talkative and had a good sense of humor. One on the other hand decided that he was going to make us pay for whatever issues he was dealing with.
The crew show on the final night was an embarrassment. It was way over the top with gingoism and nationalistic fervor. Totally excessive. We cringed through it. The passenger talent show was great even though, and probably because, my act did not make it past the audition stage.
We chose to take our own bags off - this means you can take whatever time you need, you don't have to wait your turn, don't have to decide what to wear until the morning and can leave packing until the morning.
We did not get our promised on board credit and at the time of writing this almost 4 weeks later, we still have not received it. As you can imagine, I am having words to say about that issue.
The weather was superb and we thank NCL for organizing that. As a whole, the cruise was a fabulous experience, but NCL needs to work on hiring people with the right attitudes for their US crewed ships.