This was our 17th cruise, our first on NCL. We are seasoned cruisers. Had we not been with friends, it could be one of three cruises we took that were "the cruise from hell!" This was a spring break cruise, but was too much of an issue. I want to write this review carefully and accurately.
We left from the Port of Miami after staying overnight in Ft. Lauderdale. The Wyndam was great (front desk kudos) and Brewzies was a great restaurant. Parking and Embarkation were great and we were on the ship pretty quickly. We did the 15th floor lunch waiting for our room. It was typical. We then saw the room and waited for our luggage and the "drill." The drill seemed disorganized. The room was really tight. I could not get into the bed on one side. We always take inside, but this time, really regretted it. I know you are not on a cruise to stay in the room, but this room had no comfortable place to sit except the bed. I found this out later on. Will explain.
Okay, the bathroom scenario. The sink never became an issue, but my husband who deeply snored always heard me in the "ladies' room" flushing all hours of the night. We were constantly moving each other out of the way. I think the configuration of the room was great in theory, but not in reality. Keep in mind, I got on this cruise with a very open mind, wanting to really like it. The two outlets were put in a place. You had to get on your knees to plug any thing in (hairdryer and curling brush-necessities-trust me). TV was not a good one with little to watch. Due to illness, I am now very versed in world news.
Dinner in Taste (main dining rm) was good and always easy to get into as was Manhattan (a bit more formal, but nice with the music combo-thought you were at a supper club), but after the first night (odd?), service went downhill. We kept asking if a new crew was on, but they said no. We had to ask for simple things like butter, creamer, rolls, etc. At mostly breakfast, we were constantly waiting for parts of food ordered to be brought to the table. Food was never really hot. Service was mostly friendly, but not consistent. The maitre d' tried to help, but orders seemed to always need to be corrected. Entertainment was good and the ship did not feel that crowded. Blue Man Group was great, Legends entertaining, Howling at the Moon okay for an hour. Bingo was highway robbery and the art auctions have become outrageously overpriced (which is ok as we don't have any more walls). The casino was disappointing if you were looking for 25 cents slots. They were mostly 1, 2 cents and $1 machines. You can't win much on a penny machines and the 2 cents were highway robbery! My husband only gambled once or twice, and he loves the dollar machines. They did put out a mini-buffet which was nice with coffee/tea, etc. But after a few days, you wondered how often they reused the food. Perishables were not kept iced or heated as on most buffets.
What spoiled our cruise was that my husband got food poisoning the Sunday of our cruise for about two days. He was at least able to function. A day or two later, I either caught what he had or had food poisoning also, except that mine lasted the rest of the cruise. I am honestly not convinced I had the "norovirus" as our cabin steward thought and reported. If I did, I got on on board. It hit me a lot harder than my other 1/2. Keep in mind, they let people touch food, never handed out pastries/bread at meals like other ships, and it was questionable if they re-used food after leaving it out. We suspect, listening to other people in the bathrooms that other people were sick also although it was never reported. There didn't seemed to be enforced hand cleaning before a food venue. Unfortunately, I missed all the ports and barely ate for fear of mishaps. Thank you Mario for cleaning up my colossal messes. I had to cancel all the restaurants I was looking forward to and even my birthday celebration in Cagney's was a bit of a disappointment. The fillet and steaks were great, but my friend's crab legs were nothing spectacular and the sides also nothing to write home about. Desserts were okay with bread pudding and cheese cake the best. O'Shennahan's was a nice getaway. Personnel at this restaurant were very nice and accommodating. Honestly, I think the food was much better on Carnival.
Thanks also to the Customer Service desk; they were wonderfully helpful.
Debarkation was good and after a decent breakfast, we got off in a timely manner. After listening to someone complain about it, my husband commented how easy it was. Even port personnel were helpful.
Was I disappointed I missed St. Marten so I could go to my favorite jewelry store to get an anniversary and b-day present? Yes! Did I miss shows and much of the cruise? Yes. Would I go on another NCL cruise? Probably not! And, by the way, what happened to the Cruise Critic meet and greet? Why did they keep the ship so cold? As I said, it's back to RCCL, maybe not a colossal ship because as ships get bigger and they cram more cabins into smaller ships, I suspect the inside rooms will get smaller and smaller.