Just completed our first cruise on Norwegian; 15 day Panama Canal. Start out with the good; the embarkation was well handled with plenty of help; first appearance of the ship was very clean and well maintained. Our balcony cabin was spacious and well laid out. This having been our 13th cruise we were somewhat aware of what to expect. For the most part, our dealing with the crew was good to very good on mostly all occasions. The choices of ports of call were good, although many of the excursions set up by NCL are nothing more than glorified shopping sprees, where I am sure they get substancial kickbacks from the merchants they take you to. I would advise doing some research and booking Thexcursions on your own or looking into one when you get off the ship at the port of call. For the sake of being brief, I will move onto the bad.
The last day, disembarking from the ship was a total nightmare. I am sure hundreds of people missed their flights home, because of the poor handling by NCL. Myself and many other passengers requested that they make announcements to advise the passengers of the cause of the extensive delays; this was to no avail.
The person I complained to offered her sincerest apologies and explained to me that her job on the ship "was a dancer". No one of any authority at all was available for me to complain to.
We were told that it was the fault of the customs pilot, the longshoremen, act of God; anything but the fault of NCL.
Next is the dining experience. In the main dining room Versailles, was about a half knotch above the quality of a fast food restaurant.
The quality and selection of the food at dinner was mediocre, at best. There was often a long wait to be seated; although there seemed to be many tables unoccupied. The Market Place Cafe is a cafeteria style dining room that NCL decided to do away with trays for the patrons to carry their food and they only provide plates. That decision on their part caused one elderly patron to spill an entire steaming hot cup of coffee down my leg and foot which left bleeding blisters on my foot. I complained to the manager of the Market place Cafe, he told me that trays could be requested on a special needs basis. Evidently, they are under the impression that people eat less food if trays are not available.
The entertainment on the ship for the most part, was equivalent to competing cruise lines, except for the Tribute to Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons which was an excellent show. The fact that the show had such outstanding reviews the turnout exceeded the capacity of the theatre, that seats 1100; on a ship that has 2500 passengers; even taking into account they had 2 shows. Do the math.
God forbid there was ever an event where the theatre had to be evacuated on an emergency basis.
Now for the evil. the Internet Cafe is available at a cost of 75 cents per minute; that is right, per minute, or $55.00 for 100 minutes. The majority of time it did not work at all or when it did, it was extremely show and anyone using it would get disconnected. When I complained to the Internet Manager, he was totally useless, unhelpful and as a bonus, rude. I would strongly advise only using the Internet on board in the case of an emergency. In most ports of call, there are internet cafes available. One we found was one dollar an hour!! We definitely plan to continue our cruising experience, but it will not be with NCL.
Good luck with your NCL experience.
P.S: At the conclusion of our cruise, I was sent a survey by NCL in which I expressed my above concerns to them and asked them to be kind enough to contact me if they needed further input. Heres hoping I hear something from them.