My husband purchased this cruise for me as a holiday gift - we love cruising, and have cruised several times with NCL. The fact that Jersey Boys (one of my favorite musicals) was on-board was the proverbial icing on the cake! We were excited!
We flew into Vancouver late the night before, with the expectation of boarding the boat in the late afternoon. We enjoyed the sites, ate a really good lunch, and proceeded to the cruise terminal. At this point (after receiving an email) we knew that the embarkation process was delayed, and that boarding would begin at 7pm. There was a line 3,800 strong. Luckily, we were seated in a holding room due to the fact that my husband is a disabled veteran. But it went down hill from here.
The check-in process did NOT go smoothly. I had entered my CC information online prior to leaving home, but the agent at the desk failed to notify me that it didn't save. Once we stepped on the ship we found out that one of the ports had been cancelled (Seattle). (This was especially disturbing as I had forgotten some medication and had arranged and paid my neighbor to overnight it the port for pick up - except, now.... ). Then, by the time the agents make it through the line, we have the mandatory safety drill at 11PM - no one is "feeling it" at this point and tempers are flaring, including the lady doing the demonstration who actually yelled at passengers to SHUT UP! at one point. Nice.
We awake the next morning to a letter that a cash deposit is required, since there is no credit card on file and we proceed down to the guest services desk and wait another hour or so in line. (they tired to close the line just in front of me, but I wasn't having anything to do with that. I made them listen. I am not a rude nor normally pushy person by nature, but I was already pretty dissatisfied.) My husband and I decided to schedule a spa day.
We arrive for our appointment in the spa (couples massage) and are taken to a "pre-massage" relaxation room... that has 10 warmed beds, music, curtains in between for privacy, except 9 of the 10 bed are full and there are two of us - hence the couples massage. We offer to reschedule, however they WILL NOT let us leave (obviously fearing missing out on the up-charges) and throw my husband and I into the spa haven place where others have paid to enjoy private saunas and jacuzzis. Whatever. The massage was decent. Thank goodness!
I'm not sure if it was the sheer size of this ship - now the largest in Norwegian's fleet - or the way this vacation started, but it really felt like one huge disappointment. Like when you're excited because you're going to Disneyland and you know you're going to have a fun filled day - except you spend all day waiting in line! That's this cruise to a "T"!
LOWLIGHTS that make me say skip it:
*Staff was not as welcoming or friendly as other NCL trips we have been on
*Ship is SO large that you wait to dine anywhere or even to see a show
*Don't dare ask for a non-alcoholic cocktail
*Buffet food could be fresher at times
*No where to sit - again, too many people, not enough planning
*Lack of options for food during non peak meal times
*No fun towel animals on the bed - c'mon, this makes you feel special!
*Feeling like numbered cattle
HIGHLIGHTS that make me say consider it:
*The entertainment was PHENOMENAL!!!!
*99% of the food we had - outside of the buffet - was out of this world!
*Hey, you're on a boat!
All in all, two thumbs down on this one. And this previously hard-core loyal NCL sailor is seriously reconsidering if they earned my loyalty on this one. This ship itself is beautiful, but I would not sail on this vessel again.
Room was comfortable and clean. We usually make "friends" with our cabin steward, but only saw him once on this 7 day trip.