The review written by "huntingvly" pretty much describes our trip the following week! We left NY on August 9 with the same itinerary. We, too, traveled with a family group of 17. We were told ahead of time about the itinerary change, though, and we were given the option to cancel. The reason for the change was that one of the ship's engines wasn't operating at full capacity and it was going to take longer to get to and return from the Caribbean. As a result, we had approximately 6-8 hours at each port, hardly enough time to really explore.
Our complaints centered around three things, the excursions, the dining service, and the lack of cleanliness. We encountered discarded food, dishes, and glassware in passageways, on staircases, and in the elevators. On previous cruises, there were staff constantly picking up, wiping down, and vacuuming. Not this one.
The dining staff was stretched very thin, and on several occasions, our meals arrived cool or cold. This happened mostly at breakfast, when the dining room was nearly empty, so I can't imagine what the problem was. The dinner we had at Trattoria, one of several pay-extra restaurants, was mediocre at best, and the service was downright neglectful.
But the worst experience was our excursion on Tortola. Because my husband and I are both senior citizens (63 and 73), and my husband has balance issues, we chose a "deluxe beach resort" excursion because it was advertised as a Level 1 excursion (easy walking) with a sandy beach or swimming pool option. When we arrived, our walk to the beach was not on a level walkway. At the beach, to get from the beach chairs to the beach itself required maneuvering down a steep sandy slope with no railing to hold on to, certainly not an easy task for someone with balance problems. But the worst part was getting into the water! You could not take 2 steps without encountering large, sharp rocks. In addition, the large waves created an undertow that exacerbated any balance problems. Trying to get out into a depth of water that was swimmable, I fell several times and ended up with a good-sized bruise on one ankle and scraped skin on both legs. The waves were often very large and powerful, and we were knocked over many times. My husband never made it further than 10 feet from shore, and even then was knocked off balance by the undertow and hurt his shoulder. The swimming pool option, we learned, required walking up two flights of stairs, and there were no refreshments available, not even water.
On our return to the ship, we went straight to the excursion desk, but it was not going to be staffed until evening. We did go back and give one of the reps an earful, and her response was incredible. After complaining about the rocks in the water, she said, "Yes, but the beach was sandy, was it not?" We did write a complaint and received a 15% discount off the cost of the excursion. We are not settling for that, but at least someone read our complaint.
So, "Latitudes" members or not, we will not be returning to NCL.