My husband and I booked the Baltic Cruise with NCL for our one year wedding anniversary. We had preferred the Princess itinerary, but it was more expensive, and with us both being under 35, we thought we might be too young to sail Princess. It was our first time on NCL... and it will be our last.
Embarkation: We arrived in Copenhagen a day early, so we took a taxi from The Square Hotel in downtown for about $20. Boarding was open from 12pm-3pm and we arrived at the pier about 1pm. The line was only about 20 minutes long.
They did inform us of a stomach virus that had broken out on the previous sailing. I will say they made a good effort to keep this sailing sanitized. They sprayed everyone with hand sanitizer at every turn and even did not allow self-service on the buffets until about day 7. However, I did get the virus on the last day of the cruise.
The Ship: It's an older ship, but that's not a big deal if it's maintained. It is laid out a little oddly and there weren't many lounge areas with seats near windows. The room, however, was dingy. The bathroom was rusty and our shower curtain was mildewed. The couch in the room was so dirty, I was afraid to sit on it. No towel animals in our room either!
The Staff: Having sailed on Royal Caribbean before, I had high hopes for good service. I was let down. We didn't meet our room steward until the 3rd day and rarely ever saw him again. The wait staff in the Seven Seas dining room was flighty and very slow. Perhaps with not having assigned tables with the same people every night, they weren't as concerned.
The Food: It's very clear NCL wants you to pay for their specialty restaurants. We opted to try the Moderno Brazilian Steakhouse for $20pp. It was actually worth it, since it was the best food we had. The Seven Seas dining room's food was so bad, we ended up only eating there 3 times. Steaks were way over-cooked and fatty and our lobster was tiny. Desserts were mediocre. The Garden Buffet food was mediocre at best. Having to wait 10 minutes while they grilled hamburgers was ridiculous. We found that eating breakfast in the Moderno was the best bet. It was a continental breakfast, but there was always seating. The Garden Cafe was too small and rarely were seats available. Skip their Tapas also. They were just replated items from the buffet and looked like they had been sitting out for hours.
The Shows: The "Rock 'n Roll" show was horrific. Their male singers were terrible. The "Shout" and "Encore" shows weren't as bad. We did like the Russian language classes they offered. The BBQ on the deck during sailaway in Russia was nice.
Overview: The itinerary was great and the ports were fantastic. We were let down by high hopes of good service and good food. We'd always had that on RC in the past and NCL just let us down.