Right from the booking process, NCL disappointed us. This was my 4th cruise with NCL. I had been very happy I booked directly with them.. My reservation was bungled -- I was promised a number of promotions including an onboard credit. After failing to receive cruise documents or an email, I phoned NCL. ttey had inserted the wrong address and sent cruise documents to a travel agency I used 4 years ago. That was corrected and I checked in online....without promotions showing. Another call and NCL could find no records of prior cruises. I had to send copies of previous cruise photos and an old latitudes card to receive the credit...never received a coupon book.
We used the NCL bus to get us from FLL airport to the Miami port. Three families waited 1.5 hours....eventually we were placed on a carnival bus that had extra seats. We we arrived we barely had time to eat lunch at 2:30pm as they closed the buffet for the muster station review...which was held in the theatre. We were never sure where our lifeboats were situated.
The ship was nice, and the ports were quite nice...tortola, domincan, St. Thomas. Their private island is too small for the crowds...we chose to enjoy the silence of the ship...most people spent just 2 hours on the cay.
The food quality was poor in the dining rooms. We did not eat in the specialty restaurants since food quality had always been good on my past cruises....perhaps that was a mistake. We ate in the summer palace usually. The seating in the indigo dining room was uncomfortable. Undercooked meals on 2 occasions (cold, bloody meat), poor service--they were grossly understaffed. Only one meal was tasteful (braised short ribs). We encountered a rude waitress one evening. We were only offered wine on one occasion and tea/coffee on 2 occasions. Desert selection was limited. Perhaps this is a strategic move to encourage specialty restaurant use.
The dining rooms were closed while at the ports of call which was new for me. The only "sit down" restaurant was the blue lagoon which had a fixed and limited menu, primarily fried foods . The buffet had improved from prior NCL cruises but we avoided if at all possible to avoid flu bugs etc .
The casino slots provided very little play time and the bowling alley had technical problems when we attempted to bowl. TV programming remains very poor....I do not know why pay per view movies haven't arrived?
The ports of call were very good choices...go to caya levantado In the Dominican as there are few beaches accessible on the samana peninsula.
Our cabin was very comfortable. The spa was also a good deal for $99/trip. Internet use is priced ridiculously at 75 cents per minute or packages starting at $50.