Itinerary of the cruise was great. Going into two different countries Australia and Indonesia made it feel as though we were on two different cruises. If you are looking at a longer cruise such as this 19 day one, please realize that the majority of the clients will be older. Younger people with families don't have the time. That being said, the entertainment and activities director made a grave mistake of NOT having evening audience participation game show activities, assuming the older clientele was not interested. Instead he opted for all evening entertainment singing based. in a nutshell "We were bored." Afternoon activities were not much better. There were more activities to choose from on port days for the few who stayed aboard, then on sea days when everyone was aboard. Generally I would participate in quick "Pop Up" activities such as goofy golf. With these afternoon activities being held in the atrium or a lounge on the 7th floor I participated in two, and both activities were poorly attended. The other days I was on the 12 floor at the pool area like everyone else. Location was key to success here and this was a big miss by the activities staff.
The nightly entertainment in the Stardust theater was either excellent, (comedians, magic, vocal group, acrobatics, cruise ship show) or mediocre (the two Aussie soloist). With only three nights of comedy and magic and fifteen nights of music, plus music in every lounge from 7 pm on, I was music-out. Enough was enough. Variety was sorely needed.
Ports and shore excursions, OH BOY!! The ports chosen were great WHEN we actually docked near that area. The whole thing of docking in a port that doesn't accommodate a smaller cruise ship and then forcing everyone to tender into port made for VERY TRYING DAYS!!!! New Castle, docking and then taking a shuttle into the town was no big deal, very understandable. The shuttle stop location was convenient and easy to find, with shuttle service often and NCL provided. BUT when a cruise line states Cairns and you are actually at Yorkey's Knob which requires tender boats to get to shore, where there is absolutely nothing but a boating club. AND NCL requires you to pay them $15 a person to use their arranged shuttle service to Cairns, the town actually listed as the port of call, why did NCL charge me port fee??? On top of that, the staff announced for tender tickets to give yourself 2 hours to get off the ship, I gave us 3 HOURS and barely made it ashore in time for an excursion. Then in the afternoon it took me 3.5 HOURS of standing in line to get on a return tender. If this waste of time, 6.5 hours, had only happened at one port, it would have be tolerable, but NO it happened again and again: AIRLIE BEACH, CAIRNS 2 days, BALI 2 days. 5 of the 11 port days is ridiculous!!!!!
The cabin size, decor, layout was great. There was some noise on tender days when the boats had to be put into the water for use, but other than that the room was quiet. The room's location was very convenient. We either walked forward or back depending on our agenda at the moment.
Great town with lots of history if you take the time to visit Fort Scratchely. Anyone semi-physically fit will find the town and all points of interest walkable.
You cannot put "CAIRNS" as a port of call when you tender into "YORKEY'S KNOB" they are two different cities with a distance between them. The tendering into port was a horribly long 3 hour process. The tendering back to the ship was even worse with 3 hours of waiting in a long line in the HEAT!! On top of that NCL should have provided the transportation to "CAIRNS" the port actually listed. Not make the passengers pay.
Beautiful setting. This tour was also independent. The Komodo Island itself is disappointing. Obvious the 4 komodo dragons we saw were watered and most likely fed to keep them around for the tourist. Reality we only needed to go as far as the dragon watering station. For nobody supposedly living on the island, they need to clean up around the house located there. Take care of the garbage. The Shopping area is horrendous!! I do not appreciate the aggressive in-your-face sales.
Both days of independent excursions were great. The tendering off the ship is a nightmare.