This cruise, from April 11th through April 23rd, caught my eye because I liked the idea of starting in one port and ending up in my home port of NYC. I flew home immediately after cruising Alaska and will never do that again; it's too jarring to go from a relaxed state to the levels of anxiety and stress that are the "new normal" of an American airport. Catching a cab home sounded wonderful.
I booked directly with NCL and when I received the email confirmation, I immediately called customer service to tell them they had mistakenly booked a RT ticket. When I was assured that was the price of a OW ticket, I told NCL I would book my own ticket. That is how my friends and I got to Miami for $120 USD instead of the almost $300 NCL would have charged me. A word of caution: If you book your own air, NCL has no obligation to wait for you if your flight is delayed which is why we flew in the day before departure. As a member of a hotel rewards program, I was able to book a free night at the South Beach Marriott.
Once on board, we had a great time. Our stewards, Willie and Eileen, were the sweetest, most efficient and friendly people. There were 3 of us in the cabin and they always anticipated our needs regarding extra towels, TP, tissues, glasses, etc. Additionally, even though he was not our steward, Ray was a bright light on deck 9. He would see us in the morning and greet us warmly. He made me feel like a rock star!
I love gambling and was in the casino a lot. Cary, the woman in charge of the casino, was fun and friendly. She remembered my name and would speak to me whenever she saw me.
I did one excursion, the ruins of Altun Ha in Belize. It was amazing, great exercise and photo ops. Our guide, John, was informative and friendly.
I had never gone to the chocolate buffet but, I went this time because one of my friends wanted to see it. I have to say, people acted like they had never seen chocolate, loved it but, would never see it again. I stayed long enough to get a picture of a chocolate Eiffel Tower before I was almost trampled by hungry, slightly crazed chocoholics. I won't be doing that again.
My complaints are about drinks and laundry. The cost of drinks adds up very quickly. Even if you have just 2 beers during the day, a glass of wine with dinner and maybe a nightcap before turning in, it can cost $25 a day. That is the drinking schedule of a 100 year old, IMO. My bill was much higher. NCL really needs to review its alcohol pricing and policies.
This was the first NCL cruise I had been on where I could not do my own laundry. Now, instead of just going to the laundry room and using the free washers and dryers and/or the iron, NCL now charges $25 to wash a ridiculously small bag's worth of your dirty clothes plus charges you to iron your things. That is outrageous! I would rather they install coin-operated machines that I can use myself. Given that airlines are charging more and more for second bags, being able to do laundry becomes even more important on long trips.
As a Gold Latitudes member, I was disappointed that I only received one "goodie" in my cabin the entire trip. Overall, my cruise experience was very, very good and NCL continues to be the only cruise line I see myself using in the foreseeable future. In fact, I put a deposit down on a future cruise before disembarking.