This is the best cruise we have taken to date! The Mini-Suite (AF)is outstanding and worth every penny, especially for those who spend lots of time relaxing in the room. This is the most spacious, well designed ship cabin and/or hotel room we have every enjoyed! There were only two of us, but a family of four would have been more than comfortable with room to spare! The special staff for suites is outstanding, going far above and beyond the call of duty to care for every conceivable need! We also enjoyed the DVD's available on loan to suite guests. The concierge, Anoop, who serves only the suites and up is fantastic, and is always willing to make any special arrangements needed to make the trip better. Suites and up receive priority in the embarkation, disembarkation, and tender process and are moved to the front of the lines, bypassing all of the crowds. Another perk of this cabin class is that Cagney's is open daily for breakfast and lunch only for suites and up guests, so the both the menu and service are far superior to the buffet or main dining rooms, plus it is very quiet and private. All of the specialty restaurants are worth the minimal additional charges, especially Cagney's and Le Bistro. Be sure to let NCL know in advance if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary, as they will go out of their way to make it special, including throwing in many extra amenities. We asked for a wake-up call on our final morning, and the previous guests had turned the ringer down on the phone which we did not realize, so a crew member was dispatched to our room to knock until we awakened. Now that is service!!!
If you go shopping, don't expect any real bargains anywhere in the Caribbean. Our experience is that the shopping is all hype, overrated, and expensive, and once you have shopped one port, you have shopped them all. The best time spent ashore is on excursions arranged by NCL seeing the natural wonders of the islands, as it is some of the most interesting and beautiful country to be found!
We have cruised with NCL five times in the past four years and have traveled on both their older and newest vessels. The Jewel Class Ships (Pearl, Jewel, Gem, etc.) are far and away better than any others in the NCL Fleet! The older, smaller ships are not as nice or comfortable, nor do they have as many amenities. The Epic, the largest and newest ship, is terrible, not at all up to the standards we have come to expect of NCL! NCL has crammed too many passengers onto the ship, lines for everything are horrible, elevators were skimped on, and all of the shows must be booked in advance, or you can forget seeing any of them!
Stick with the NCL Jewel Class like we have learned to do and you can't go wrong! The ship, the crew, and the service is always top notch on these ships!