This was my husband and I's 5th NCL cruise. My 6th altogether and I have one booked with Carnival in May. We were talked into the cruise by "Andrea Wolfe" who is NCL's main booking agent. Sure you have all heard her voice on your recordings many times. We wanted to cruise the 10 or 11 day NCL cruise to the carribean but the balcony rooms were booked. This is our first balcony room. We will NEVER go back to outside rooms again.
Disembarkation on the ship was a piece of cake as always. No surprises upon entry as I had read the CC reviews religiously beforehand (wish I hadn't). The ship is huge, but not as wide as I had expected.
The room was nice. The bathroom "water closet" was worse then anticipated. Beyond small and nobody has had the nerve to post about the tiny toilet seat! My husband and I are not big people and he had to step out of the toilet area to pull up pants every time. The shower, however was huge. The frosted glass on both, no big deal. The sink also was nice with ample storage space for all your necessities. Everyone hit the mark with the mention of a huge amount of storage in the room. Beyond what we needed. Ladies if you like to use the blow dryer, it is in the bedroom, not near the sink where all your styling products would be located. Balcony was nice but I noticed all the other ships in the harbors had a nice round table with deck chairs. The balcony chairs are small and there is a 10" stand to put drink on. All and all I liked the room, loved the view. Bedding was so comfortable and fresh. Carpet needed a cleaning pretty badly. Our room steward, Ronald was awesome and attentative. Friendly and always remembered our names and greeted us with a smile.
The shopping area on the ship was nice. Ladies, watch out for the big sales, they are a madhouse. I like to shop but not get knocked over or stomped on in the process. The gift shop ran out of stock early and never restocked during the trip.
The entertainment was superb. Blue Man show was terrific, singers throughout the ship were just as great. My husband loved Charlie Love, we frequented Fat Cats often. White hot party was nice. Andy the cruise director is full of energy and very personable. It was a switch to be able to finally understand what our cruise director was saying.
The food was good. We did not choose to dine in the extra cost restaurants this time, although we did on the Pearl. The reviews are also right on the mark when they mention the food and quality service has slipped since adding the pay for restaurants dramatically. Our first cruise was on NCL 28 years ago and the service and food was astounding compared to now. I do believe this is on purpose to entice you into paying for the extras. Still a lot of choices on the menus but the quality was average. Also, nobody dresses for dinner anymore. The new casual, is a bit too casual to experience in main dining rooms. Buffet was OK. The pub was the only after hours place to get food. The midnight buffets are gone now. The coffee shop was excellent and worth the extra reasonable charges. Best food of the trip would be the crab cakes and the bread pudding.
The drink hawking has slowed down. This was a bonus. The photographer is not pushy either. If you want a particular picture, you can go to them. The public rooms were nice. The deck is busy and the pools are very small. Here's a little tidbit, check out the bathrooms behind the pool bars on deck. They are all full ocean view, beautiful and immaculate.
I will save port comments for that section.
Disembarkation was a breeze again. All in all, not our favorite NCL ship but still a great experience!