I have been on previous cruises with Disney, Carnival and Royal Caribbean. I traveled with family including a child of 8 and a handicapped person. Lets start out with embarkation. I gave this a 5+. It was the smoothest embark on to a ship I have ever encountered. We were greeted with champagne and/or OJ. Nice touch. I arrived in NY by 11:00am, on the ship and eating lunch by 12:00pm. That was the highlight. The restaurants, exception of Aqua and Venetian were all extra money. I paid more for this cruise than any previous cruises and I have to pay for dinner???? Reservations were only taken for 5:45pm and 8:45pm, otherwise you had to wait in line. The menu at the "FREE" restaurants were limited, guessing that you had to pay extra for different meals. The only drinks offered, iced tea and water. Not even soda or punch or lemonade with meals. When asked if my daughter could have milk or juice with dinner, it was brought after she had eaten. This cruise line is the cheapest I have ever encountered. I had my condiments applied for me, c'mon, can't I have more ketchup, syrup, whip cream? If the restaurant states that it is open till 10:00pm...the doors are shut by 9:15. I found many of times there was no where to eat. Are you kidding me???? The Blue Lagoon is open 24-7, but it has seating for 20 people. The Garden Cafe has two sides for buffet lines. My cruise was sold out and for the most part only one side of the buffet was open(for 3,000 people).
The staff is friendly, but distant. They are not expecting the extra tips so give mediocre service. My cabin stewards were helpful, friendly and accommodating as were the staff at the Kids Crew. But the dinning staff were there just to serve. There weren't enough of them either. Every night our waiter was overworked with tables and dinner often took 2 hours. On previous cruises, by day 2 your wait staff knows your drink preference and has it waiting for your arrival to the table. Each night I felt compelled to tip the waiter for his hard work. More $$$. Kids Crew.... My daughter had a great time with them. There were 700 children on board. My only complaint,(and this is not with the KC staff)it is with NCL, no beepers. I'm guessing NCL is to cheap to provide enough beepers. Not even to handicap children. I was forever running back there to check on her. Again, not staff problem. Loved the activities. On Disney Cruises, there is a cabin card swipe so there can be no confusion of what child is with who and of course they have beepers and phones. Only a sign out signature system on NCL that is not checked enough. Security in Kids Crew should be improved. My daughter was brought out to another family, who has a daughter with her same name. NOT GOOD. T-Rex pool is small with one crew member enforcing the rules. C'Mon people, it says no swim diapers. If you child is wearing them, stay home. They are to little to enjoy a cruise. And parents the T-Rex pool and hot tubs are for children. At one point there were more adults in the TREX hot tub than children. Good Grief!
The entertainment was below par. Jose and Patti were the highlight for shows. EXCELLENT. They were unfortunately located in a small lounge. Never enough seating for their show. The main shows at night were horrible. One was about South Beach music and another Bollywood. No thank you. We left both. Our cabin was on deck eight. We heard the Salsa restaurant trio singing all night in our cabin. I have never been on a cruise where you heard everything surrounding you. Above, below, in the hall and the lounge midship. The lady in the cabin next door had coughing fits throughout the night, every night. FOR HANDICAP PEOPLE.. The ship has alot of dead ends. Only certain elevators go all the way up or all the way down. Hallways to cabins are small/thin for a small travel scooter. Restaurants were to small to bring scooter all the way to some tables. Bermuda was beautiful, would go back there in a heartbeat. The people were eager to help you find a beach, shop , dine. Wonderful Island to visit. Weather was awesome. Beaches were spectacular. THE ONE BIG BIG PLUS I WILL GIVE NCL....YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DRESS UP FOR ANYTHING. CASUAL ATTIRE IN ANY RESTAURANT. SOME PEOPLE DINED IN JEANS, SOME IN SHORTS, SOME IN SWIMSUITS. Disembarkation was easy and swift.