Our cruise set sail with no initial problems. Our room steward greeted us and adjusted the bed so that kids could have a little more room in the cabin. Space is a premium. An in room coffee maker was included but lacked ooffee, until about the third day. I was surpirsed how much water pressure we had in the shower. Temperature was constant and bathroom, although tight was manageable. Closet space is also lacking, however the inroom safe is convenient. Room steward did make my kid a hanging monkey towel animal and a couple other towel figures. We did tip the room boy more money (cash) at the end of the cruise, despite the $12 mandatory tip added to the bill at end of week.
Meals: We split breakfasts between the "Window: main dining room and Raffles the buffet. At Raffles, juice machines are few and for the entire cruise one machine was down at all times. Many times the orange juice was watering or not working right (empty) The glasses are small so it is easy to dehydrate if you do not watch yourself. Soft drinks can only be accessed from the bar which is out on the deck next to Raffles. You can eat out there but the cool breeze would cool your food down fast. Salt and pepper shakers were lacking. The food in Raffles is not too fantastic, but of course it is all you can eat. At "Windows" we experienced slower thatn acceptable service even though we had made reservations for 15 people each night. One night they even had to split our party into two different tables. Our children were in the Christmas show and we told the Matr'd we had to be out by 7 pm. The meal was still slow with us waiting at least an hour before we got our first appetizer or salad. No apologies either, I wonder since the ship was full to capacity they couldn't handle the extra passengers during the holidays. My advice, eat Raffles at breakfast and late night, eat at Windows early at meal times.
Entertainment was great, the dancers are quite good. We didn't care for the Second City commedians because the dialogue was way to sexual for a family cruise. The profanity in the show was a little over the top.
Bingo: Bingo was okay, except you cannot play without spending at least $30 per person. They seem way to aggressive in selling their instant win tickets.
Drinks: Servers must live only on their tips, way to pushy trying to sell us a drink at the shows. One night we were asked 9 times in less than 4 minutes while waiting on show to start. But when you ask for a soft dring they seem miffed because you are only spending a 1.95 so their gratuity is only about 30 cents.
Shore Excursions: Had a great time at the ports. Do yourself a favor and get off the boat while you can. It makes you appreciate the ship more when you can do other things in port.
Disembarkment: We made the mistake of eating breakfast at the main dining room that last morning and it was slow service, we didnt get off ship until 9:30 am and it took us until 11 am to clear customs, only to find out that we had a lost piece of luggage. To date, seven days later we are still waiting on our garment bag even though the family that took it returned it the same day we left the ship. Why does it take NCL so long to return our belongings.
Casino: I mostly played at the craps table. Atmosphere was fun. You do not get free drinks in the casino like you do in Vegas. You have to acheive 1500 casino points on your players card first. I played almost every night and won and lost hundreds yet all I had at the end of the week was a mere 400 points. So the program is very stingy. They also kept changing the table workers at the craps table every 10 minutes or so. Only problem was the dealers kept paying the wrong players when they would win, so you have to watch them if you want to get paid. Also saw them argue with a player who should have been paid 30-1 odds on the snake eyes that was thrown, but they argued it did't count on the coming out roll. I don;t know my craps that well but the player was young and too naive to ask for the pit boss. If it was my money I would have pulled all the money from the table and walked away.
Kids camp: Probably the best thing they have going on the ship. The staff seemed to really like our kids. Our kids wanted to go to kids camp 24/7 if we would have let them. It costs extra during the day the ship is at port, but we got off the boat anyway.
Public areas seemed to be pretty clean, a few times the public restrooms (mens) needed cleaning in the late evening. There are hand sanitizer stations at most areas and people to spray your hands when you go to buffet, so at least the ship personnel is trying to keep you germ free. I did'nt see anyone mishandling food during the week. Employees were clean, except one server did have B.O. one morning at the Windows restaurant. His cologne didn't hide it.
Ship staff: Very friendly and mostly cheerful.
Ship shops: Prices seemed very good. Did seem to have good deals in the evening on the main floor (seven).
Photographs: Ship photographers don't speak good enough english for you to request a specific pose, also their posing is not very good. Many times the whites in our outfits were blown out and not much detail in the photos. I know they are trying to hurry, but it seemed like a lot of wasted photos were taken and not many people buying them in the photo shop of the ship. Also two different people quoeted two different prices when I asked them how much just one photo was.
Do it again?
No problem, the weather is warm and the atmosphere fun. Overall the experience grade is a B-