This is our second cruise on NCL in as many years. We love the casual attire policy and the freestyle dining. Having cruised with HAL, Princess & RCCL multiple times, this is our favourite cruise line.
We arrived into Copenhagen after a long flight and checked into the Hilton Airport Hotel which was a very convenient (directly connected to the airport terminal) & pleasant hotel. The room was large by Danish standard (which we were to find out later post-cruise) and breakfast was a lovely spread.
We took a taxi which was supposed to cost approx. 350DKK but as it was a public holiday, we ended up paying 500DKK. Embarkation was effortless as we were in a penthouse suite. We were met by our concierge, Hano, and escorted straight to Cagney's for lunch. A wonderful perk for suite guests, not having to jostle with the crowd at the lunch buffet.
Afterwards we went to check out our aft-facing suite with wraparound balcony. It was a lovely size for 2 persons and the balcony though narrowish, had lovely views as we could walk around to the port side. There was a bottle of champagne in the ice bucket as a welcome onboard gift. Shortly afterwards, our butler Cipriano appeared with some canapes which became a daily treat.
We had complimentary Ultimate dining package, unlimited beverage package as well as a generous onboard credit. We went up to the Bier Garten for drinks, it was a lovely sunny day. Unfortunately the cigarette smoke from neighbouring tables cut short our stay there.
The sail off party featured some ten dancers with great lively music.
The ship in general was smaller than what we are used to but that suit us fine especially since we were in an aft suite. We found the ship to be on par with the older RCCL ships like the Legend & Rhapsody. It was certainly similar to the Jade in terms of cleanliness & maintenance.
We ate in Aqua the first night and found the ambience & service a little underwhelming compared to the Jade. We were glad to have the Ultimate Dining Package for the specialty restaurants.
Surprisingly good especially the lamb chops. Great friendly service, lots of interesting side dishes to complement the meat. Flip the card to green at the table to enjoy the great flow of different meats or red to indicate a little rest.
We enjoyed the dinner here even though we ate some breakfasts and lunches here as suite guests. Service was always friendly and the food of a good standard.
Much touted in reviews but we were not enamoured to the small table for 2 which could barely contain all the plates & glasses. We were also squashed between 2 other tables which were barely arm's length away....Service started well but between the main course and dessert, our server could not be found for the longest time.
We had another reservation which we cancelled and exchanged for La Cucina. that turned out to be a great decision.
We had not planned to dine here due to the average reviews but got a place at 9pm on our last night and it turned out to be one of the best dinners we had onboard. What a refreshing change from Le bistro. Here the restaurant was spacious, we had a lovely table by the window and the next table was a decent distance away. Our server, Alejandro, gave us top notch service and we cannot commend him enough. He addressed us by name (even asked how to pronounce them correctly), was attentive and kept coming in between courses to let us know that the next dish would be served shortly. He took pains to ensure that our orders were done correctly when we requested combinations not in the menu. The food was delicious and I would highly recommend this restaurant.
It was so difficult to get a reservation online at a decent time. However, Hano our concierge worked his magic & got us a dining spot at 7pm. The showmanship was brilliant and the chefs very amusing. Being Japanese foodies, we found the food average - a little too oily for our liking.
Some good offerings here at dinnertime - prime rib one night.
We ate here a couple of lunchtimes when we returned from port and Cagney's was closed.
Fairly good spread of average quality. Generally not difficult to find a table even when busy (unlike RCCL where we were hardpressed to find seating at peak times).
O' Brien's 24 Hour Restaurant
We went one day for an afternoon snack after returning from port. We were told no food was being served at that time as it was in between mealtimes. We decided to get drinks and wait the 15minutes till food was served. Despite the place being less than 20% occupied, we could not get service for 10 minutes. We caught the eye of one of 3 wait staff & thought he would soon come by to take our orders but no...he ignored us. We then started flailing our arms to catch the attention of the other 2 staff in our vicinity but they didn't see us !! The lady who seated us who was right across the huge restaurant saw us & came by. After explaining our exasperation, she remarked that the wait staff probably ignored us cos they thought we wanted to order food - what?!? At that we decided we have had enough....the buffalo wings we wanted could be ordered through our butler and enjoyed in our suite. Why bother with such lousy service. As we were walking out, the asst manager of the restaurant came up and apologised but we decided enough was enough.
We got the wings in our suite 10 minutes after ordering them through our butler.
The asst manager sent us chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine the next day to make up for our experience. It was akind and thoughtful gesture.
It was great to have this option but food standard was below par. The barbequed pork noodles I had was substandard - the pork was hard and dry, the noodles thick and chewy.
The tapioca dessert was good and authentic.
The entire range of shows was the best at sea we have seen. The NCL dancers and singers were excellent and the singers could dance well. The shows were edgy and the choreography refreshing and mesmerising. The aerial ballet couple were simply outstanding.we enjoyed all the shows immensely.
The aft-facing suite with the unending ocean view was fabulous. We enjoyed many hours of sitting on our recliners on the deck sipping coffee, reading a book and enjoying the canapes. We missed this on a couple of days when it rained in Norway. Gorgeous sunsets at close to midnight could be viewed straight out of our suite.
We enjoyed all the ports immensely and found Norway such a beautiful place. All the ports were easily accessible simply by walking off the ship or in the case of Flam, just off the tender. We did our own bookings and tours.
Alesund - we did the walk up the hill which was pleasantly shorter than expected. Great views of the town all the way.Nice shopping in town for souvenirs.
Geiranger - we had booked the bus trip to Eaglesbend which was lovely. We also did the RIB tour in the afternoon which was awesome and highly recommended. This brought us to the waterfalls at close range and we could also see the disused farms high up in the cliffs.
Flam - we did the Flamsbana on our own. Had booked from home for an early afternoon trip. Lovely and highly recommended.
Bergen - raining non-stop but we just walked around the beautiful Bryggen harbourfront. Saw the old Hanseatic wooden houses, enjoyed the Fish Market and souvenir shopping.
Free wifi was available at all the tourist offices in the ports. Many tourists and ship crew were crowding round the area for this.
All good things must come to an end. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Cagney's before waiting for the suite disembarkation. We chose the late timing and got off at 9.30am. Straight to a taxi accompanied by our concierge and we were at our Copenhagen hotel 20 minutes later.
POST CRUISE HOTEL
We stayed at the First Mayfair which was very well located next to Tivoli gardens and the central train station. Very pleasant place but rooms were small (we understand this is common in Copenhagen).
All in all a wonderful vacation. We are in love with Norway and will be planning to sail to the North Cape in the near future....with Norwegian of course!
Beautiful suite with gorgeous aft views of the unending ocean. The wraparound balcony was fantastic as we had views of the portside. This gave us fabulous views of the fjords. Of course we were spoilt with butler service, afternoon canapes daily, welcome champagne, Lavasso coffee maker and free DVDs. NCL now charges for room service at USD 7.95 but suites are exempt from this charge. We had breakfast insuite most days...such decadence to be served in the suite with outstanding views. Small peeve was we wished the balcony was deeper so the deck recliners could be side by side instead of facing each other....but hey who's complaining?