This was the 6th time that we have had the privilege to travel with this incredible group of people but this was the 8th cruise overall for DW and I. It was the first for my Sister. Over the years my DW and I have cruised on Carnival, Princess, RCCL, and now NCL. We do get off in all ports and tend to stick to shopping and gambling where available. We normally do not book excursions choosing instead to hire a local cab to show us the island or city. With that being said let's begin the review.
This was by far the best embarkation I have ever experienced. We arrived at the port at 11:10 and were met by the porters. We tipped the shuttle van driver, tipped the porter and headed inside the terminal. Since we had no carry on luggage we walked right through security and straight up to the check in desk where there were no lines to be seen. 3 minutes at the desk and we are heading upstairs to the boarding area. We had group 11 tags and were called before we could even sit down. Quick photo and we are handed a glass of champagne onboard the Dawn. It doesn't get any faster than that kids.
Due to the prior trip being cancelled, we were able to go directly to our cabin where we found the first disappointment of the trip. This was the smallest cabin I have ever seen. We went with the inside cabin due to the fact we are going out again in May on the Carnival Spirit to Alaska. I could not believe how little room we had to work with. We went up to my Dad's cabin to see the balcony cabin and it was just as small as ours. The rooms were clean and the beds were very comfortable with nice linens. We figured that this was a minor problem and no need to dwell on it.
Went up to the Garden Cafe for lunch and quickly found out why everyone dogs NCL for the food. The food was cold and tasteless. The lines were formed in a way that put people right in the way of the walkway. This would not be the last design flaw on this ship that made life a little less pleasant.
My main issues with NCL are with the service and the nickle and dime
approach. The dining room menu is a joke. The service is nothing to
write home about. Food quality is average at best. NCL is obviously
trying to steer cruisers into the fee based eateries. Well it worked.
We ate at Cagney's 3 nights and Teppanyaki 1 night.
I will be heading back to Carnival and staying there!!!!!! Goodbye NCL forever.
First 2 sea days were nothing to write about. Normal stuff. Let's get to the ports.