We booked the Nickelodeon cruise the first day they went on sail as this was our 7 year old daughter's dream vacation. Everyone involved with NCL during the booking and pre-cruise period were very helpful and answered all of our questions.
We arrived in New York to board the boat. Apparently there was a problem with the computer system which delayed getting on the boat and increased the amount of time standing in line on a very hot day. The problem was resolved and the process really sped up. NCL was very apologetic and kept everyone informed about why there were delays. We got on the boat and went to the Garden Cafe for lunch before the cabins were ready.
We set sail at 4 and went right by the Statue of Liberty which was a highlight. We purchased a drink package for my wife and daughter which I thought was pricey but probably pretty common for cruises nowadays. After we passed the Statue, we went to our cabin and our luggage was already there. We were in a balcony stateroom on the 10th deck not too far from the elevator. Very good location. Room was roomy and we converted the sofa into a bed for our daughter. The bathroom and shower were very tiny but again, probably normal size for cruise ships. We changed into our bathing suits and went down to check out the pool.
The pool for children and adults looked bigger in the picture and was actually very small and narrow. The slide was in need of an upgrade as you had to push yourself down with your hands to get to the bottom.
We ate most of our meals in either the Garden Cafe or T'sars. Both were very good. Garden Cafe had a nice variety of foods and fresh fruit. THere was an Indian Food station every day.....not sure why this couldnt have been changed to a different regional cuisine daily. It would have been nice to have some Carribbean style food in this station on the days we were in the Bahamas....conch fritters, etc. T'sars was great escept for the service on the last day. The Drink waiter never came with our sodas despite the waitress telling him several times. The Wait staff in T'sars were very nice....whenever we couldnt decide on an item, they brought us both.
For the specialty restaurants we ate in Teppanyaki's and Mama's. Teppanyaki was good but not great....certainly not worth the cover charge to get in. Mama's was very good and the service was excellent.
We had one meal in Azura and one in Blue Lagoon. The waiter in Azura had no personality and was disinterested. The breakfast we had in Blue Lagoon was good but the service was the worst that we had on the boat. It took forever to arrive and the wait staff seemed confused about everything.
All in all, the quality and variety of the food was very good. My daughter loved the kid's section in the Garden Cafe.
My daughter loved the Kid's club and enjoyed the activities there. On sea days she spent several hours there and this gave us time to use the pool or the casino. The staff was very attentive and we felt safe leaving her in their hands.
Pros The Housekeeping was excellent and very responsive to our needs.
Coordination of excursions and getting on and off of the ship
Shows were pretty good
The big one......for advertising itself as a "Nickelodeon cruise" there were very few Nickelodeon events or even events for kids. When they did have an event it was a very brief "meet and greet" or it was something for toddlers. There was only one "Slime Time Live" show on the last day.......should have had something like this every day. There was nothing geared for the 8-12 year old ICarly-age kids.......probably Nickelodeon's main audience. Very disappointing especially seeing the commercials every 15 minutes after we have gotten back.....very misleading.
There were teenagers running around the halls at 2-3am in the morning. Very loud. They were changing the "do not disturb" "make up room" signs. Most of the time they hung out on the stairs on the 12th deck blocking the stairwell from morning until late at night. There was a beautiful boat with many sitting areas including a club just for them and this is where they chose to sit.
The excursions were very rushed.......even if we had a few additional hours it would have been fine. we got in at 12 in orlando, got to the park at 1, and had to be back to the boat by 8. Same for Atlantis....we had to be back by 430 and the boat sailed at 6. again....why not leave 2 hours later....there was no rush...just 2 days at sea
Lastly, sailing from New York, be prepared to spend 7 days with the cast of the Jersey Shore. If I heard one more person yell "Brooklyn" or met another kid named "Anthony" I thought i would lose my mind. PS. I love New York and had nothing but great experiences there, but maybe it is good in small doses.