My wife and I are around 30 and took our 2 year old daughter This was our 4th cruises so far, all exclusively with NCL. It had been 4 years between our last cruise and this one. We have been on the Majesty twice and the Sea.
Went through the security checkpoint and got in line for check in. We had gotten in early and waited for the staff to open check in, we were through check in, and they cut the corner of my wife's card but thought nothing of it.
The ship: C+
Clean, well maintained, nice. We were both pleasantly surprised that the colorful decor really worked. Looking at the photos online it looked loud but it was not to much. Each separate area of the ship had its own unique personality, and as you walked from one section to the next the carpeting and/or walls change from one scheme to the next. The dolphins on the cabin levels swim to the front of the ship that helps as the elevators are not all on the same side. The giant Wii screen in the atrium was not use enough. Most of the time there were just photos being shown on this screen or lines moving to the music. The stairs go up to the Blue Lagoon and Tequila Restaurants 2 of the 4 landings are in the middle of them. Bowling, golfing, rock climbing etc. not really used by anyone the bowling was about the only thing that could have been done on sea days but was very empty and price should have been lowered. Need to walk through the casino to get to the theater but it was always filled with people smoking at the exit area NOT playing just looking for a warm place to smoke but this is a main passage and not a good design for a ship build after smoking being ban in most buildings in the USA.
"Bar City" gets a big F; you lost the charm of the little hangout each bar had on the other ships with different themes going on.
It is a pain to get to the spinnaker lounge where most of the nightly entertainment started White party, 70's etc, need to walk outside or go down a level and wind through the shops.
The Captain D
Would have been an F but we made it I don't understand how he could not chart a course that would have given a day or 3 of somewhat smooth days 30 foot waves and 90 mile an hour winds was just crazy was always saying it was going to get better and it gets worst.
The cabin: B+ (Our first Balcony)
We were in a balcony cabin category BA, AFT 9174. The cabin was smaller than were prepared for but we got used to it. It should be fine for 2 and a 3rd as long as you don't plan to use the balcony after the single has gone to bed. The bed was Medium-firm not a rock but you stay on top of it, you also could not tell where the 2 "twin" mattresses came together. (Two twin make I king this was just a queen at best) Storage space was adequate. If the closet doors were open the bathroom door could not be opened without banging into them. The bathroom was wonderful. As you walked in you were facing the sink, to your right is the toilet area with a sliding door that could be closed for privacy, to the left was the shower. My wife and I are not small people but the shower was roomy with an adjustable height shower head which could also be removed and used as a handheld. The water pressure could be adjusted as well as the spray and temperature. It was always hot I couldn't get it to run out. The Balcony was nice and made for a few great photos.
The crew: A
Super, friendly, nice Andy, Ashtin, the whole Cruse director staff, kid's crew, reception desk staff ,right down the line all staff that had face time was very friendly and very helpful I don't have the names here with me as I write this.
The casino: C
The slot machines were no much fun little selection for fun games money went fast. Most of the time when I sit down to a machine I expect to lose but I also expect to be able to play for 10 or 15 minutes. The machines just seemed to be tight by the middle of the week; the casino was mostly empty except for smokers and stayed that way for the remainder of the cruise.
The entertainment: C
Headline shows B+ but the sea days had little going on before 5 pm not much choice do this or nothing so outside of ShowTime it was a D
The food: D
Main dining room was service was slow, I think it was intentional, but friendly the food was ok nothing great I had a good sirloin and a very bad one The ½ lobster tail was ok nothing great. The food over all was on par with a Denny's
Specialty Restaurants: D+ Food not service
Blue Lagoon was the 24 hr eatery so no cover charge but the menu was small after dinner wings not hot and soggy, burger was ok and cheese cake was good but no real choices.
La Cucina Italian Restaurant Dinner was just ok and not worth paying extra then I woke up around 3am, about an hour after going to bed, with nausea, cramping and diarrhea. By 11:00 the vomiting stopped and it took me in a good 7 hours of sleep to get back on track. I'm convinced it was something I ate, as my wife and daughter never experienced any symptoms at all.
Tequila Latin/Tapas Restaurant was bar far the best food we had, that's not really saying much. I don't think it is worth the extra money think Applebee's meets Taco Bell.
We roamed around in lobby bliss area waiting for our color to be called. We were off the ship, gathered up our luggage, and thru customs in less than 15 minutes. Again Andy was right there checking with everything letting people know about the delays at the start getting luggage off the ship. With the Baby We ended up walking to Bliss Lounge to hang out too we had a rental car that I needed to walk a mile or so to get but didn't need to be there till noon so we had the last color, while in the bliss there was Andy looking for a couple he sent there to wait because the seats in the lobby had filled up but he was not sure the announcements would be heard so he was checking after making the first one.
In Summary: This is the NCL "it" ship now the newest etc.. but food and entertainment has dropped off the past 4 years
Food was limited and lacking quality, Caption was unable to avoid any ruff sea days driving into 30+ foot waves and 90+ mph winds. NCL not picking up the cost for required shuttle in Livorno, a cover band of a cover band is sad to be on the main stage. These things would give the cruise a very poor rating. Cruise Director Andy and his staff were great along with the Gem production cast.
Gary Lovini, Paul Adams, Charlie Peachock all very good and should have been main shows.
Brenda K and Lost Locos both good but not main show quality. local folkloric show from Malaga just as good and this is same time slot the other 2 should have had. 1pm 4pm or 11 pm type shows
Second City and Stephen Kane slightly better then il divo fourever I think Rondo the nightly guy with guitar was on par or better then these 3 acts. Again not Showtime quality 1, 4, or 11pm slots would have been better.
I really can't say enough about the Cruise Director staff, they were fantastic. Dining service was always given with a smile and everyone seemed to really enjoy working on this ship. when not suffering with sea sickness The food just was not good it was not even ok most of the time. We will be cruising with another cruise line in the future. The people can't really be cut back on as much as quality of food has been. We had decided that we would take a break from NCL but did buy the credit to be used within the next 4 years; we will look at what ship Andy is on as a first choice. As he will not be on the gem when sailing out of Italy in the summer 2010, also willing to give epic a try.
Quiet location, Great views in port and sail a ways Balcony no bigger the other BA Balconies.