My fiance and I chose this cruise because we are recently engaged and found an incredible deal with Norwegian- we decided that this would essentially be our honeymoon, as we are starting our own business and wouldn't have the time or ... Read More
My fiance and I chose this cruise because we are recently engaged and found an incredible deal with Norwegian- we decided that this would essentially be our honeymoon, as we are starting our own business and wouldn't have the time or the means to take another trip after our wedding.
The reservation process was essentially painless, we thought we were getting off to a good start. Once we arrived in Barcelona and tried to find the cruise terminal, we saw that it would either be about a 40 minute walk with our luggage over an incredibly steep highway bridge to get to our particular ship, or pay for a taxi which we begrudgingly did. At the terminal, we were harassed slightly for not having paper copies of our reservation in hand and were told to step aside until I could present our reservation number on my phone and the guard could bring himself to actually look at what I was showing him. Past that point, embarkation was smooth and our bags made it to our room. For the rest of the review of the cabin, see below.
Dining! What fun (sarcasm). As we were only able to go on the cruise because of the advertised price of $500/person, we couldn't splurge to go to the restaurants to pay for steak dinners every night. We've been on other cruises with other lines where the food in the buffet area and the main dining rooms have been more that satisfactory- just about everything on Norwegian about killed us. Not only did the food taste cheap and not like real food and was cold, my fiance and I both had food poisoning just about every night. Our only saving grace was to find food ashore and sneak it back on board as to not get sick from the food being served to us. When we had days at sea, our only solace were the rolls and crackers that we knew were safe.
When we ate at the dining halls, the woman who would seat us was the only genuinely happy person to greet us and pay attention to us. Once we were seated in the dining hall, we would be ignored by the wait staff. I am 25 and my fiance is 30 so it would be safe to say that we are some of the younger folks on the ship- we were dressed in nice slacks and shirts and tried to smile and be friendly with the staff, but we were in turn either ignored when an older couple or group was seated next to us or were just given very disingenuous service.
I also had an experience at one of the bars on board- I attempted to order a beer during afternoon trivia. It took about 10 minutes for the bartender to look my way and I ordered my beer and he repeated the order back to me. He then went to the other side of the bar to take the orders of about 8 other people after me (all of them mixed drinks for people middle-aged or older). I went to back to my fiance no longer wanting the beer as I was waiting more than 15 minutes to pay $9 for a Dos Equis (a $4 in the US). The bartender then got out the beer and was about to open it when he made eye contact with me finally and I told him no and said loudly that he had ignored me. A man next to me even said it was ridiculous to him that I had not been taken care of and that no apology was given., so it wasn't just me noticing that I was a second class citizen in their eyes.
The saving grace of this trip were the ports of call. Just about every port (except Messina) was wonderful. If it weren't for the aquarium pretty close to the port in Valencia, the town was a bit run down. I'm sure the excursions offered by the company were great but again, we didn't have the means to go on many of them. Malta was AMAZING, as was Palma Mallorca- very nice surprises.
Messina was just a bad choice. I can understand folks wanting to see the countryside, but with excursions starting around $80/person, there was no way we could do it and we didn't have much interest, so we tried wandering around to see the local flair. Bad idea. The locals seemed pretty peeved to have tourists in their town and it was also very dirty.
We were disappointed in our shore excursion in Pompei. We signed up for what we thought was a shuttle to and entrance into Pompei itself and preordered before the cruise. When we received our tickets on the ship the night before, it was only until we saw the words printed on the tickets that the entry fee was separate from the shuttle and we had only paid for a shuttle. And once we got to Pompei, we were informed that the Prime Minister would be arriving later that day so the place had to be emptied without refund or discount (not the fault of Norwegian on this part but still a ridiculous experience).
The hot tubs were a nice escape after long days of walking and exploring until the middle of the cruise, when they decided to close two of them to repaint...? It just seemed like weird timing and the paint fumes along with the exhaust from the ship were in the vents and we could smell it in our cabin, 3 floors down and in the interior of the ship.
There were also a couple of tournaments in the casino on the last day at sea- smoking is allowed in the casino, therefore the strong, pungent odor of cigarette and cigar smoke filled our cabin and the rest of the ship as well.
And finally, DAILY SERVICE CHARGE. Daily service charge is usually something I am more than happy with paying, the staff on cruise ships have been some of the nicest and most welcoming people I have come into contact with... on other lines. This ship's crew with the exception of about 4 individuals were all surly, never smiled at us, and never seemed happy to be there. The vibes were overwhelmingly negative on that ship. We were so happy to be leaving the ship and then we received that final bill on the last morning. We thought we were paying $500/person for a wonderful experience, and nowhere did it say how much we would be paying on top of that. We paid an additional $13.50 per person per day, so they charged us an additional $325 or so.
I have never been so disappointed in an experience in my life. I love to travel, and I used to love cruising. If we do ever end up cruising again, I can assure you it will never be with Norwegian. I'm sure that if you pay for an exclusive balcony room with every amenity, you will be catered to hand over foot. Read Less