First let me say this is our 6th cruise on NCL, with 3 other cruises on different lines (RCCL 1, Carnival 2). By years end we will be "Gold" Latitude members. As you may guess we are NCL fans to the max! Even a bad cruise is better than no cruise.
We realized this was only the second cruise after the two month of refurbishing and hoped for the best. Well, some things didn't work as well as planned. I will get to that later.
As for embarkation/de-embarkation it was an absolute breeze! No problems at all! From getting to the port to our room, maybe 20 minutes. There was a staffer to assists us to our room and dragged all of the luggage for us. We over packed as usual! Formal attire is not necessary for this 3 day event.
THE UGLY: Once to our aft balcony cabin, we looked out over the balcony and thought wow, what a view as we leave Miami! Didn't work out that way. The A/C wasn't working! No way we could stand the heat being radiated into the room. Curtains More
closed most of the time to try to assist the A/C. Didn't work! Hot, hot, hot! The cabin was miserable most of the time. If you were naked, laying on the bed it was tolerable. Trying to get ready for dinner, melt down! I finished dressing in the hallway.
At least we had a working toilet, many didn't have that luxury! We met three lovely ladies from South Florida who had no A/C or a working bathroom. They were, however given a room 15 doors down the hall for "necessities." Problem there was another guest was also given the same room for the same reason.
As for the new Freestyle 2.0 bedding, the linens and towels were really nice, the bed like a rock. I even brought my own 3" foam mattress and it was still not comfortable. Maybe the heat...
On Sunday morning all of the balcony rooms were invited to a "special breakfast." Good idea, gone astray! They expected maybe 100 guests, but 300 showed up! Waited 40 minutes for hard boiled "eggs benedict."
THE BAD: The staff had been on board for only two weeks, no sense of teamwork. They were however very pleasant and attentive. They had no A/C in their rooms either.
The buffets were under stocked and sparse. If you have been on the Jewel you will miss the "action stations." These are cooking stations located throughout the cafe were you can get different foods prepared just for you. This ship is much smaller and lacks the space needed to work these in the Garden Cafe.
THE GOOD: We had dinner in Le Bistro each evening. The first night was excellent as we had expected. The second night was as good as the first. The third night someone in the kitchen got heavy handed with the salt. My wife even found chunks of salt in her bearnaise sauce! Overall a good experience as expected. The staff was excellent and very friendly.
The new casino was well set up, with plenty of slots and table games. Never had a crowd to deal with, just smokers...
THE WE DIDN'T CARE: The ports of call were of little importance to us on this trip. In Nassau, we got off the ship, went to Atlantis, won some money, returned to the port, bought honey (Nassau has some really good honey) and returned to the ship.
On GSC, NCL's private island, we got off the ship, snorkeled for 20 minutes and went back to enjoy the pool area with no on there.
All in all, it could have been better, but any cruise is better than no cruise! We still haven't changed our minds about NCL. It has been by far the best line we have been on. In fact, we have already booked the Sky for 2 additional cruises and fully expect to have a great time and all of the bugs worked out. But, if not, I will be back here for a full report.