We chose this cruise since it departed from San Francisco and would save us airfare to Los Angeles or San Diego.
We arrived at Pier 35 and found the embarkation process to be quick and efficient. After boarding the ship we waited in the Great Outdoor cafe for our cabin to be ready and enjoyed a lite lunch.
Cabins were ready at about 2:00pm. We were pleased with the size of the cabin and the available closet space.
Our cabin stewards and the dining room staff that we came in contact with were all very professional and courteous. We relied quite heavily on the advice of our cabin steward with respect to dining and shopping in each port, and were not disappointed.
The entertainment was excellent but space for activities and entertainment was limited by the large number of specialty restaurants. We ate in one the two-main dining rooms for almost all of our meals and the food and service were exceptional. The ship, while still very serviceable, could definitely use a face lift. Most of the carpets and furniture were showing definite signs of wear.
One night during the cruise there was a party held in the atrium from 10pm-12:30am. Our cabin backed into the atrium wall on the 8th floor. Upon arriving at our stateroom shortly after 10pm, exhausted and ready for bed, we were greeted with very loud bass from the party. So much so that items on the bedside night table rattled about. I visited reception and was told that they could do nothing and that the party would end at 12:30am.
After two angry follow-up phone calls to the reception desk the music was reduced to an acceptable level and we were able to sleep.
After breakfast the next morning we stopped by our cabin before hunting down the Hotel Director to file a complaint over the previous nights noise, we found a letter offering us dinner for 2 and a complimentary bottle of wine at a specialty restaurant of our choice. I considered this adequate compensation for our discomfort and left the matter at that.
We dined at the East Meets West steakhouse, normally a $25.00 per person cover charge, and had the best T-bone steak ever. This is the only meal we ate at a specialty restaurant. We spent enough on the cruise and did not feel the need to spend more when we have already paid for our meals.
Disembarkation/embarkation seems to be the only thing that NCL is really good at and the process at each port of call was practically flawless. The daily ships schedule contained misprints almost daily. We were incorrectly advised to set our clocks back and activities had different start times listed throughout the schedule. No announcements were made over the public address when an event/activity changed times or venues.
The cruise (sales) director was heard from only when arriving in a port or when he was selling bingo cards or other items. A far cry from the fun, entertaining and informative cruise directors on other ships we have sailed on.
The vast majority of the crew was friendly, professional and attentive and made our cruise bearable if not enjoyable. It was the inaction of the cruise director, the few members of the cruise directors staff that were just plain lazy, and the disorganization we experienced we experienced, we have decided that we will not patronize NCL again.