Our cruise left New York on June 28, 2008 and returned on July 6, 2008, NCL Spirit. Our itinerary was San Juan, Tortola, Samana. My wife and I have been on 7 cruises in the last 15 years. Four of the last 5 cruises have been on NCL. We loved the Freestyle dinning. This cruise we had a total of 11 people, family & friends counting ourselves. We had 3 balconies, 1 inside and 1 oceanview. We are not rich people; we put money aside for a nice vacation every year. If you're just going to work any not enjoy some of your money, it makes work even harder.
We did have a good time. Some things were just not up to any cruise ship standards. I did write a letter to NCL. They basically said we will notify the different departments on the ship. They just blew me off! I have only written 1 letter about any cruise or vacation I have taken and this one needed to be sent to NCL. I guess this makes the second letter.
NCL changed the itinerary, from St. Thomas to San Juan PR. Now we did book with a travel agent and she said NCL is the only cruise line that doesn't notify them when they make an itinerary change. Being a returning member, don't you think they would have notified us when they made the change? It wasn't big deal, but I was just at San Juan and didn't need to go back again. .
The ship had 2250 people, according to the cruise director, on board and it should only have 1996. That may account for some of the problems we had. NCL did make money, so I should be happy. The ship didn't appear to be over crowded, except at dinner time.
The first 24 hours we were one the ship they didn't have any limes for drinks. Now I know I didn't see any helicopters land on the ship with a box of limes. So what happen? Why didn't we have any limes? That question wasn't answered by NCL.
They also ran out of lemons and limes for the last TWO days of the cruise. You think that helicopter would have come back with more lemons and limes!!!! If your were drinking ice tea, hope you didn't want any lemon in it. That was not my problem. I was drinking drinks that I like either a lemon or a lime. I still drank, but it would have been nice to have what I wanted. They didn't discount the drinks, when they didn't have lemons or limes. But again, NCL is making money, so I should be happy.
Speaking of money. Pool towels! You are given one per person and it is put in your room when you boarded. What they don't tell you if you don't return the towel you were given, you will be charged $25.00 per towel. If we would have known that before we got on the cruise I would have taken my own towels with us. You were allowed to take it to the beach with you. By the way $25.00 for a $10.00 towel. If it was that much. The other cruises I was on, you the pools towels were available for you to use at the pool and you left them behind and got new ones the next day, no charge. If you left the ship they would give you cheap towel for you to use on the beach. But again, NCL is making money, so I should be happy.
Freestyle dinning. Nothing Free about it. Seventy five percent of the restaurants you had to pay extra for. In Cagney's Steak House, I'm not sure what cut of meat, but you have to pay another $10.00 for the steak. That's on top of the $25.00 per person to get in. If you didn't make reservations in the main dinning rooms for dinner you had to wait up to 45 minutes to get seated. But again, NCL is making money, so I should be happy.
Let me talk about maintenance of the ship. Being on many cruises before we knew what to expect and what to look for. We had a balcony room. On the balcony there were glass panels under the railing. I don't believe the glass was ever cleaned. You can see the rust stain marks on the glass showing that the glass had been replaced or removed and put back. The rust stains were never clean off. I'm not a clean freak, but, standards should have been kept. They did spray water on the door when we docked back in New York. I guess that was their way of cleaning the windows. Every ship I've been on, when you docked, you would see maintenance being done on the ship. I only saw that in 1 of our 3 ports. There was rust all over the ship. It needed a good paint job. That wasn't anything that stopped us from having a good time. But if they were not taking good care of the outside of the ship, what else were they not taking care of. But again, NCL is making money, so I should be happy.
In closing NCL is nickel and diming it passengers. They have lost a loyal customer.