We are in our 50's and have been cruising almost exclusively with NCL for the past 11 years with only a few exceptions. Our first cruise with NCL was on the "SS NORWAY". Since then we have sailed almost every ship that Norwegian has owned. Some we have sailed more than once.
This cruise was 14-days, back-to-back to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. We visited the ports of St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Nassau, Costa Maya (Majahaul), Roatan and Cozumel.
We were very impressed with the ship and had a great cruise. The ship is beautiful and well appointed. We liked the layout of the rooms and never felt crowded on the ship. The crew was wonderful and we were treated to many exclusive parties for Lattitudes members and were given some nice complimentary gifts from some of the crew.
<>EXECTUTIVE VERSION: 5 STARS +; WE LOVED IT.
<>EMBARCATION: This went very smoothly and no hassles. There is a line for "Latitudes" gold and platinum members which is supposed to get members in quicker, however it was not marked very well and many new cruisers were unwittingly using this line.
<>CABIN: We had an inside cabin (13026). We liked the layout and feel that there was more space than other cabins in ships we have sailed in. We can see where the WC situation may not be optimal for those traveling with non-family members. Perhaps the Studios would be a better choice for them.
<>PUBLIC ROOMS: We were very pleased with the public rooms. Some nice new surprises and some new variations of rooms that we have come to know on other ships. The Manhattan Room (main dining room) was excellent. We loved having the ability to dance between courses while in a beautiful dining room. The rest of the ship was well appointed and we needed two weeks to get use to the layout and all of the rooms. We never felt crowded and we never waited in a line for dinner.
<>ENTERTAINMENT: All entertainment on this ship is top notch. We loved the shows and went to most at least twice. NCL bills this ship as a Vegas-style entertainment venue and it is. The change might be a bit much for traditional cruisers but once again, it worked for us. Favorites were Blue Man Group, Legends, Howl at the Moon (7 times) and Fat Cats Jazz and Blues bar. Kudos to Bernie Martini, Roadside Louie and the Dusters for great music during the two weeks.
<>POOLS AND ACTIVITIES DECK: The pools are much smaller than other ships but with the water park and slides, more people can enjoy the water features without getting into a pool. We spent a lot of time in the water park and liked the slides. The rock climbing and rappelling was also good and I used this area daily. The Extreme climbing wall was great but only open for climbing on port days from 5-8 pm. The smaller wall was open all the time but is only about 18 feet high. The extreme wall is about 30'.
<>PORTS OF CALL: We did some excursions on our own and did a bit more exploring in the ports. Having been to all on previous cruises, we were surprised at how much we had underestimated them. We did a lot of new things and had a great time. More details in the port review section.
<>CREW: The crew really was on their game and made the cruise for us. We met many (at least 10) crew members from the Cruise Director down to the fitness crew that we had met on previous trips and most remembered us without any prompting. They really catered to us while we were on board and made us feel like family. I cannot compliment them enough. They were all wonderful.
Many of the senior crew members (including the Captain) came to the Cruise Critic Meet and Greets (we attended both weeks) and they gave everyone their personal phone numbers so that we could contact them if we had any problems. This was a very proactive way of taking care of issues that might be later talked about in this forum. Many thanks to Dennis Prguda, Hotel director for the many kindnesses that he expressed on this cruise. Also Julie - Entertainment Director and our two cruise directors - Silas and Paul
<>CRUISE CRITIC MEET AND GREET: If you are a member, you need to take advantage of the meet and greets. We had two on our cruise and the events were very educational. NCL staff takes these meetings very seriously and sends their senior staff. They stay and talk to you one-on-one. Let them know what you need and they will get it.
<>FOOD: We thought that the food was great. We did notice that the menus have changed. It used to be that there were more daily choices and a few "always available" choices. Now it seems that there are a few daily choices and more always available. Food in the specialty restaurants was consistently good and service was great.