There are no good descriptions of the Deluxe Owner's suite which has NO balcony so I will provide a review of the suite first. It actually has two bedrooms (a nice surprise) and a living area.
There was a gorgeous flower arrangement waiting in the cabin when we arrived. The flowers stayed fresh for the entire cruise. The main area had table and chairs, a double hide-a-bed, a coffee machine which we could NEVER get to work properly and two sets of binoculars. It also had a small refrigerator which was kept well-stocked with sodas and water (a part of the suite amenities). The trash receptacle had to be moved into the second bathroom where there was none. This was a real inconvenience. There should have been a third trash can so each area would have its own.
The"master "bedroom had space for hanging clothing (but only vanity/nightstand drawers), a desk, and hair dryer. The master bath had a Jacuzzi tub with twinkling lights above it, a walk-in shower, separate commode area and two sinks but no place to store medicines, etc. The small containers of the amenities of deluxe shower gel, body lotion, lip lotion etc were provided only for the master bath and replenished only once. The king bed was comfortable but could not be separated into two beds, which was also an inconvenience, as I had to share it with my young grandson. In addition a piece at the shower door base was off and every time you showered the bathroom floor was flooded with about an inch of water. I had to wait several days and go through many, many towels before the problem was fixed.
The children's/second bedroom, which was large enough for my adult daughter and her husband, had a double hide-a-bed and its own bath and closet area. Their bath had a commode, walk-in shower and a medicine chest above a single sink. The shampoo in their shower was old, separated and watery. It was replaced when I asked.
Each area, including in the master bath, has its own temperature control and its own television. NICE. The doors to both bedrooms squeaked loudly and at my request one was oiled but the other was overlooked. The handle on the second bedroom's closet was taped in place in a very tacky manner with loud green duct tape. Although someone was sent to fix it, it continued to fall off. NOT NICE.
The CONCIERGE, David, was almost non-existent. He was responsible for 63 SUITES WHICH IS FAR TOO MANY. On the third day he sent his phone in to be repaired and did not let anyone know how to contact him. We ended up making our own dinner reservations at a specialty restaurant because of this. We saw him only when we went to the theater in the evenings. Other than that he never called or came by. The BUTLER, Jeffrey, was wonderful and very attentive. He was available no matter what the hour. He brought appetizers, sandwiches and fresh fruit. However, sometimes there were only 4 appetizer pieces even though we had 5 people in the suite. The fruit bowl was not terribly fresh with brown spots on the bananas and apples. It was replenished only when I took the leftover and shriveled fruit and set it outside the cabin for someone to take away. The cabin STEWARD was awesome. Every time we entered the suite it had been cleaned and towels were replenished.
Review of the RESTAURANTS we tried:
COMMENT: There should not be a restaurant cover charge for people who paid the kind of money I paid for the suite!
The AQUA (no charge) was far and away the best of all the restaurants. The waitresses were pleasant, attentive and efficient, and the food was excellent. It was our choice over all we tried.
The BLUE LAGOON (no charge and 24 hour) was a joke. The food was limited, awful, and slow in coming. The waiters were indifferent and even rude, and if they bothered to bring your iced tea or water they never refilled it. We chose to NOT go there no matter how hungry we might be.
CAGNEY'S was very good but we ate only breakfast and lunch there (available only to suite occupants).
The GARDEN CAFE (no charge) had a good buffet with a great variety which would satisfy almost anyone. The fruit was excellent. Cold things were kept cold and hot thing hot. The clean-up people were extremely efficient, removing your plate almost as you swallowed the last bite, and wiping the tables. The only drawback was that every table where we sat was VERY STICKY. It got so we wouldn't even touch the table or allow our utensils to touch the table either. The choc-o-holic buffet was incredible, and it was nice suite occupants were given early access.
LA CUCINA ($10 ea) had good but not memorable food and service. It took so long for our meal to arrive that most of our party had to leave. I stayed to pay the check and took the desserts to the cabin. They were brought on individual dishes, with covers but no carrying tray.
LE BISTRO ($20 ea) had great lamb but a very unpleasant waitress. We think she was irked that we did not order wine, which would have provided her extra income. We were unimpressed with the service and didn't think it was worth the extra money.
MODERNO CHURASCARIA ($15? ea) was good and the waiter was nice but he and two other waiters kept chatting with each other in a little group so we had a hard time getting him to bring us refills and more bread.
The PIZZA was good, but it is an insult to be charged $5!
The ROOM SERVVICE menu for the suite was supposed to be special. It wasn't. In fact, it was the worst room service menu I've ever seen. It had very few selections. We all are milk drinkers. We ordered 10 milks (2 each) and were quizzed by the room service receptionist (who knew we were in Suite 12000) as to why we wanted so many and how many people were in the room!
The VENETIAN (no charge), is touted as the main restaurant. It was terrible. It was huge, crowded, way too loud and the entree took more than an hour to arrive. The waiter was rude and inattentive (again, they seem to be that way if you're not a drinker}. We all agreed it was the worst restaurant and on par with the Blue Lagoon.
ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was plentiful, generally excellent and fun. It was the highlight of our time spent on the cruise ship.
The SHORE EXCURSIONS were EXCELLENT. We did not visit Samana because everyone returning from there said it was a waste of time. Instead we chose the Cayo Laventado, which was lovely. We took a kayak/snorkel trip in Tortola, and a Sea-Trek helmet dive in St Maarten. The island safari in Antigua was terrific, with guide "Manny" driving the "Elmo" 4x4. In Roseau, Dominica we took a bus ride to an arboretum, then to twin falls where we swam. We then had lunch of native foods and a show of native dances. It was a good experience. In Barbados the green monkey trip was surprisingly good and fun. All places had plenty of rum punch available free of charge! We recommend any of the tours we took. They were all wonderful.
NOW, THE BIGGEST CRITICISM OF ALL:
I booked directly with NCL for this cruise and prepaid EVERYTHING. I believed there would be some information transfer between the booking office and the cruise ship. I was WRONG. They NCL booking staff sent all the information to my name at my daughter's address. I had nothing to review, no bag tags, or anything. I was told the information was sent to the address of the last person who updated his/her check-in information. I never did receive any of the booklets or packets I was supposed to get.
On board, instead of acknowledging that I booked and paid for the suite, any time someone looked at our cabin listing, we were greeted by my son-in-law's name which is different from mine. The concierge did not even introduce himself to me once he met the people whose name was first on the list. He basically ignored me.
Whenever we made restaurant reservations somehow they came up with my 12-year-old grandson's name as the suite owner. The portable phone provided in the cabin showed my 21-yr old son's name as the suite owner. I asked that this be corrected to show it was my suite, but was told they just go to the first name listed alphabetically. Even worse, when the shore excursion desk personnel notified us of cancelled tours, they gave credit to the person whose name was on the ticket, not ME, even though I had prepaid for it. We were given a 3-way run around when trying to get the credit back to me. Each desk individual said we were to speak to the other first. Several times we had to make special trips to the credit desk/shore excursion/customer representative area to sign papers which would enable the credit to be returned to ME from my daughter's account. Even though we used our individual room keys to place charges, we found several instances where charges were placed on the wrong person's account. Again we had to sign papers to get them to place these charges onto the correct account!
It became quite evident that what I was told and what actually took place were two different things. The preordered birthday cake for day 2 took 3 more days to be delivered. The butler had no clue we were supposed to have the cake, even after we told him about it. Customer relations knew, though. When it arrived it was not only 3 days late, but it came 4 hours later than the time we requested. It was not a cake - it was 3 pieces of birthday cake. Also, the on-board credit I was told could be used in the casino. What they failed to mention was I had to pay a fee of 3% to use it!
It was a lovely cruise vessel and we had lots to do. For what I paid however, there should have been better communication between the NCL booking staff, the cruise personnel and us. If you happened to figure out what amenities came with the suite you lucked out. There was no way for us to know except by chance. At a minimum the problems in the suite could have been easily identified and should have been fixed between cruises. I recommend the cruise, but don't see that it was worth the price I paid. We weren't "treated like royalty" as we were told we would be.