We had always wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand and we are glad Norwegian had this cruise. It’s a memorable trip. We enjoyed exploring the port cities although four sea-days to and from are a bit long. This was our fifth cruise with Norwegian and first feedback in reply per your request. We had many good experiences on the ship and some were not so nice.
We enjoyed the entertainment…the movie, the comedy, including the hypnotist’s comedy shows, some of the music, such as the Showband performance (although a bit loud for the small area at the Bliss), the “Behind Scene” talk by cruise director Dave (who is very funny), the various daily trivia, etc. In addition, my husband enjoyed the ping pong tournaments. We liked Capitan Kenneth’s humorous morning briefings on the PA system when we were in the quieter spots and could hear him.
The house keeping was nice as always. From our guy, Jun, to the Hotel Director Steven Jacobson, everyone was courteous, pleasant, and helpful. We met Mr. Jacobson about six years ago on our Baltic Capital cruise. He had always been very friendly, efficient, and solved our problems in a timely manner. We appreciated his no-matter-large-or-small problem-solving ethic.
This was the first cruise we were on that had a public health issue. A few days into the trip a lots of people got sick with gastro intestinal issues and the CDC had to be contacted. As a result the Garden Café became a jungle because we couldn’t self-serve and the staff was not prepared. Trying to get the staff’s attention when we needed something at their serving area was a challenge. Many times a few of them standing behind the counter chit chatting without noticing people patiently standing there, waiting for them to spoon food onto our plates. One server behind the counter was rather rude to me when he could not understand what chicken “dark meat” was.
We gave up on the Café eventually and went to the Tsar’s Palace restaurants to eat. Because of the health issues they had removed the salt, pepper, etc. from the tables. The serving staff never asked if anyone needed anything else beside taking our orders and delivering our food. If we didn’t ask for salt and pepper when we ordered food, it became hard to catch the attention of the servers for the condiments, especially sometimes it seemed the cook forgot to add salt in the food. So after our food was served and the servers disappeared we had a warm meal we could not season. When they did reappear and came back with salt and pepper our food was cold. Even empty water glasses were often neglected. We understand the staff was put to extra task. My husband brought this to the attention of the head of the wait staff but nothing changed.
We took all that in strides thinking if it kept us healthy so be it until one evening during dinner, my husband and three of the four of our table mates ran out of drinking water. They tried in vain to catch the attention of the servers. Many of them, not all, weaved around the tables back and forth without making eye-contact with diners. My husband went through (Agent Orange caused) throat cancer treatment some years ago so he always needed liquid to help swallowing. Due to lack of water, he choked on a bite and the food backed up and ran out of his mouth and nose onto his plate. He had to give up the contaminated food on the plate and left after eating only half of his dinner. It was very embracing for him as well as our table mates. So we gave up on sharing a table with fellow guests for the rest of the trip.
My luck didn’t improve much in the Tsar’s than that in the Garden Café. On Dec. 5 (I think that was the date) I ordered the arugula and candied pecan salad. In the middle of it, I found a dead fly on the green leaves. I did my best to suppress a gag and showed the disgusting salad to our server. She took my plate and said she’d show it to her supervisor. Toward the end of the dinner, supervisor, a young Indian guy, came to speak to us. All he mentioned was: this kind of thing happens. He was right but an apology at the time would have been nice. The next morning, we received some chocolate covered strawberries and a note of apology from his department.
The next day, after we returned from our excursion, we saw many big flies flying around inside the windows of the Garden Cafe. I was not confident about the cleanness of the food from the kitchen after finding the fly in my salad, and doubted more about the cleanliness after seeing all the flies in the Garden Café and no one did anything about them. The flies could be one of the factors that caused people to get sick.
We also feel short changed with the number of reward points given (one per day). When I booked the trip I'm sure I saw two points per day, I'm also pretty sure I saw an offer of 5 free at sea, but I didn't receive them, neither. I should receive 12 additional points for my days on the floating Petri dish.
As a whole, this cruise to New Zealand was delightful with lots of room for improvement. We hope Norwegian’s food as well as the staff training will be improved. (Sorry, Princess cruise has better food.)
clean but very small
and the bed on the wall was in the way that my husband kept hitting his back on it.