This cruise, from April 11th through April 23rd, caught my eye because I liked the idea of starting in one port and ending up in my home port of NYC. I flew home immediately after cruising Alaska and will never do that again; it's too jarring to go from a relaxed state to the levels of anxiety and stress that are the "new normal" of an American airport. Catching a cab home sounded wonderful.
I booked directly with NCL and when I received the email confirmation, I immediately called customer service to tell them they had mistakenly booked a RT ticket. When I was assured that was the price of a OW ticket, I told NCL I would book my own ticket. That is how my friends and I got to Miami for $120 USD instead of the almost $300 NCL would have charged me. A word of caution: If you book your own air, NCL has no obligation to wait for you if your flight is delayed which is why we flew in the day before departure. As a member of a hotel rewards program, I was able to book a free night at the South Beach Marriott.
Once on board, we had a great time. Our stewards, Willie and Eileen, were the sweetest, most efficient and friendly people. There were 3 of us in the cabin and they always anticipated our needs regarding extra towels, TP, tissues, glasses, etc. Additionally, even though he was not our steward, Ray was a bright light on deck 9. He would see us in the morning and greet us warmly. He made me feel like a rock star!
I love gambling and was in the casino a lot. Cary, the woman in charge of the casino, was fun and friendly. She remembered my name and would speak to me whenever she saw me.
I did one excursion, the ruins of Altun Ha in Belize. It was amazing, great exercise and photo ops. Our guide, John, was informative and friendly.
I had never gone to the chocolate buffet but, I went this time because one of my friends wanted to see it. I have to say, people acted like they had never seen chocolate, loved it but, would never see it again. I stayed long enough to get a picture of a chocolate Eiffel Tower before I was almost trampled by hungry, slightly crazed chocoholics. I won't be doing that again.
My complaints are about drinks and laundry. The cost of drinks adds up very quickly. Even if you have just 2 beers during the day, a glass of wine with dinner and maybe a nightcap before turning in, it can cost $25 a day. That is the drinking schedule of a 100 year old, IMO. My bill was much higher. NCL really needs to review its alcohol pricing and policies.
This was the first NCL cruise I had been on where I could not do my own laundry. Now, instead of just going to the laundry room and using the free washers and dryers and/or the iron, NCL now charges $25 to wash a ridiculously small bag's worth of your dirty clothes plus charges you to iron your things. That is outrageous! I would rather they install coin-operated machines that I can use myself. Given that airlines are charging more and more for second bags, being able to do laundry becomes even more important on long trips.
As a Gold Latitudes member, I was disappointed that I only received one "goodie" in my cabin the entire trip. Overall, my cruise experience was very, very good and NCL continues to be the only cruise line I see myself using in the foreseeable future. In fact, I put a deposit down on a future cruise before disembarking.
I was in cabin 9046. It was very comfortable. The bathroom was not very clean when we first entered but, after we called about it, our stewards cleaned it again and it was satisfactory for the rest of the cruise. I like the balcony and sat out there and read quite a bit.