This was our 12th NCL cruise in the past 17 years and I must say the level of customer service has dropped considerably over those years. Much of the shortfalls on this particular cruise had to do with the weather which, of course, NCL could do nothing about, especially our having to be caught in Hurricane Pablo and a Tropical Storm! What I would have expected though is that they have a lot of experience with the repositioning of their ships from Europe to North America and therefore know what the possible weather issues might be. Fully, the first 10 days of this 19 day cruise had us sailing with temperatures in the 50's, cloudy, EXTREMELY high winds, sometimes rainy conditions and a whole lot of SERIOUS ROCKING of this big ship!....not really the type of weather for being out on deck! This forced the 3,700+ passengers to stay inside except for the 5 port calls we made in those first 10 days where you might have been able to take a shore excursion for a few hours. These circumstances promoted the spreading of sickness to many of the passengers since the public areas of the ship really are not designed for 3,700+ passengers to spread out. The main public area of the ship is the Atrium...one of the most poorly thought out areas on any modern cruise ship. While the ship's theater could seat probably 1,500 people at a time, the Atrium can seat about 50. With many of the daily activities conducted in this area....figure it out, how do 3,700+ passengers interact with this small space! I'll tell you....NOT VERY WELL! Now let's add to the way this critical area of the ship is used; ALL SHIP SERVICE DESKS are located in this open air area! Can you just imaging the noise and confusion going on in this space! OH, let me also point out that this is where the biggest bar is located and the Starbucks coffee counter. The more I write about this, the more upset I get about how poorly NCL has evolved in providing a truly satisfying cruise experience! I have seen a reference to the fact that the average age of the 3,700+ passengers was 67. I believe their were a total of 11 children and some of those were very young. So like I said earlier, why wouldn't NCL know about the possible weather issues and the average age of the passengers in advance and ensure that the planned activities would provide maximum customer satisfaction? NCL promotes a theme that states "Freestyle Cruising is about having plenty of choices." If you really breakdown the Freestyle Daily's offerings on most days you would see that for this particular cruise, after you cross out ALL outside activities (because weather prevents you from going on deck), ALL casino (gambling) activities, ALL spa sales activities, ALL gift shop sales activities, ALL art gallery sales activities, ALL family (children) activities and ALL box office sign-up hours THERE IS ALMOST NOTHING TO DO THAT DOESN'T REQUIRE YOU TO BE SUBJECTED TO A SALES PITCH OR TO ACTUALLY SPEND MORE MONEY. So now I have hit upon the key motive of NCL in the way they conduct their business......MAXIMIZE REVENUE at the expense of maximizing true customer service. Another point I have to drive home is the TOTALLY DEPRESSING stop in Miami! Without much prior warning you find out that YOU MUST get off the ship and you will NOT BE ALLOWED TO RE BOARD until the "authorities" allow it. What does this mean in reality??? You get off the ship at say 8:00 am and then have to wait in the terminal until 2:00 pm to get back on the ship! PEOPLE - THAT IS SIX (6) HOURS sitting in a CROWED TERMINAL with no real services or amenities offered! WHO WOULD BELIEVE that such a travesty could occur in AMERICA to AMERICAN CITIZENS! I am going to end this review with this final bit of disappointment...on the last several days of the cruise the dining venues were out of several food and beverage items to include; orange juice, ice tea, milk, half and half, some fruit, yogurt and various other items. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! My advice........if you can avoid sailing on NCL's newer, large ships such as the Getaway and Breakaway - DO IT! I have not been on their newest ships, the Joy, Bliss or Encore but I can't imagine that they have learned from their mistakes so I would not hold out high expectations for them either. Sorry NCL, I am being quite honest in my review of this cruise and I still had more I could criticize but just am too tired.
Cabin is small but adequate. Balcony is very small - you have to sit sideways in the chairs. There are no chairs in the cabin, only an uncomfortable sofa. Very little storage space.