Me and my wife have taken 5 cruises before this one and have decided that this time we will take our oldest daughter with us since it was a new year cruise as a reward for student of the month. W have tried many different cruise companies we started with Carnival fun ship and went on to royal Caribbean and graduated to Celebrity. We thought this would be an equal class as celebrity or at least Royal Caribbean boy were we mistaken. Where can I begin: 1. Getting on the ship easy not too much trouble cards given passed checkpoint entered the ship guide yourself no directions no take this elevator not that because it only goes to 6th floor you need 4th floor after making some adjustments finally arrived at the cabin.
2. The cabin is tight not much room for three we made due, bathroom very roomy half the cabin just enough room for bathroom and bed the rest is standing room only. The room was made up nice but had a few issues about cleanliness. When the mandatory fire drill came i found an empty beer can right next to the life jackets. I left it there thinking he forgot to clean it, no it remained there all week he simply did not bother to remove the empty can. I requested a child's life preserver it never came. My daughter wanted an extra pillow i pulled one out from the closet it had lipstick markings on it from the previous passenger.
3. The ship is built in Germany it rides and feels like a smooth BMW. Decoration by IKEA. Everywhere you look is smooth laminated, minimalistic, no glare, unimpressive, lackluster interior. Huge underutilised screen fills the entire wall showing hypnotic faceless images. almost non existent stores which is the good part very little merchandise. Smoky casino in the middle of the ship always crowded with more smokers than gamblers.
4. Entertainment was poor only two shows that were good the production is High School quality and poorly choreographed. Andy the cruise director tried to make the most of what he had to work with but small stage and only 8 dancers created more confusion then entertainment. Comedy show was only funny to the comedian and no one else.
5. Food is questionable. If you are going to the free restaurants the service is slow Magenta being the best one staff super friendly at the restaurants. Limited unchanging menu forcing you to eat at the paid restaurants. aisian and Hibachi food mediocre and service horrendous I ordered sushi wife and daughter ordered seafood my sushi came before their appetizer. Food quality very poor equivalent of red lobster or TGIF. Italian better service food equivalent to Olive garden limited menu. Viv la France the french restaurant was the better choice super expensive cost us $100 not including the drinks. Limited menu the appetisers were better than the meal so we went twice goose pate and escargot were the main source of food happiness. My daughter was fed up with chicken nuggets and fries. The Spanish restaurants main commercialised dish was build it yourself fajita, I think that says it all. Drinks are not cheap no specialty, theme bars like Carnival.
6. Port of calls Cape Canaveral we arrived at 1pm getting on the buss es was a never ending hassle bringing us to Universal Studios at 2:30 with a time of departure at 7:15pm leaving us a few hours at universal. The lines were staggering time permitting to go to 3 rides and back on the bus. Bahamas first island was so small and costing $150 pp to get to shore. It was actually comical. Second island was at the nassau island still costing money to get to Atlantis royal caribbean provided free transport to Atlantis and a free tour.
7. Trip home was slow choppy and boring nothing to do on the ship wii is only for 1 hour during the day nowhere to eat because of a trick schedule and totally boring.
I don't think we will ever cruise with NCL again I would trade that for a Fun ship any day. The ship was filled with crowds of drunken teenagers with nothing to do and no place to hide a poor example for my eight year old.
NCL unpolished GEM I am very disappointed. Cabin 4602