We chose this cruise to give us a taste of the Mediterranean, Italy, Greece and the Adriatic in Oct/Nov 2019. On those points, it did not disappoint. The ports were fantastic, but this review isn't about the ports, its about the ship. Lets start with the good.
Its clean and obviously had a recent refurbish, we liked the layout and we liked the general look and feel.
We had a mid ship balcony cabin on level 10 and it was great. Always had a good view of ports and the sea. Cabin was always clean and water was fine.
Service staff were always friendly and smiling.
Getting on and off when the sip was docked was never a hassle and quite quick.
Garden Cafe - Buffet restaurant at rear of ship - was always preparing fresh food, had a large variety and I never had a bad meal there. Breakfast was great as I love omelette and they had 4 omelette stations ready to go.
Teppanyaki night - excellent food, excellent staff and general all round best night on the boat. Highly recommended if you get the specialty dining package.
So that's it, now for the not so good.
Cruise Director - Bereft of creativity and ideas. Probably a legend in his own mind but as far as ship entertainment went, it was below average. We tried a few of the shows and with the exception of the grand finale on the last night of the cruise, most of the performers were mediocre. Four Tenors - great, lady from scandanavia that won a singing contest, mediocre, acrobats, mediocore, dancing, ho hum. Glass jugging guy, gosh that was boring and he dropped things.
The cocktail bar and piano lounge had what can only described as someone from a Thai karoke bar asked to come on a free cruise and try their best at singing. Screeching and warbling just isn't my thing. The only shining light all cruise was the wonderful band and singers that played in the spinnaker lounge at nights for the whole cruise. Thank-god for them, otherwise the cruise would have been complete drudgery.
Tenders at Kotor - what a complete disaster at this port. This was a 6 hour stop so we queued up to try and get an early ticket for a tender. The only time they had to use tenders was at Kotor and we managed to get ticket number 3. After the first hour, only people with ticket number 1 had disembarked. There were people behind us with ticket 19. You do the math on how long it was going to take them to get ashore. At the very beginning a whole bunch of local boats turned up to assist, but they were turned away by Jade and they tried to get everyone off with only 3 tenders. Clearly someone with half a brain decided this wasn't going to work, so they disembarked 3 more tenders, so people with ticket number 2 got off in the second hour. Finally as the people in the queue on board were close to rioting, someone with perhaps three quarters of a brain decided to let the local boats to help and we managed to get ashore two and a half hours after docking. For anyone from Norwegian Cruise line who may be reading this, let me help you with the math - Number of passengers on ship / number of people who fit into tender = number of tenders required. If number of tenders used is less than number of tenders required, divide difference by number of tenders used and multiply time taken for round trip to shore. That's how long it will take to get all the passengers off you muppets. If answer is greater than 3 hours, then you have a problem, especially if you're only at the port for 6 hours. If a cruise line can't get simple things like tenders right and not anticipate the number of passengers wanting to get off, then what can it get right? You're an experienced cruise line, there was no excuse for this.
Jasmine Restaurant - We had eagerly sought this restaurant out as it was the only place on board we could get some chinese cuisine. It was always packed out early on in the cruise, but we finally got a table about the 7th night in and settled down to some sweet and sour pork and fried rice.One bite and I almost threw up. They'd used some cheap bottled sauce for the sweet and sour and the fried rice was a steamed rice with some corn and carrot thrown in. It was disgusting. My wife and I both left and went to the buffet at the rear of the ship to get some dinner. We noticed that there were no more crowds at Jasmine after mid way through the cruise. Word quickly spread what horrible food they were serving up.
Beverage Package - doesn't include softdrinks (sodas or water) what a bunch of pirates. You want us to drink only alcohol the entire trip? They offered bottles of water for sale on the first day, 15 euros for 6 bottles. Then in the fine print (which I unfortunately missed) there is s service charge of 20% to bring your water to your room. PIRATES!!! You can't bring your own water on board, so they've monopolised the water market. Good on you Norwegian. Beverage package buyer beware, its overpriced and any drink over $15 is not included. Oh yeah they sting you on trying to get the really nice drinks too. PIRATES!!
Shore Excursions - Luckily, we already knew what a rip off these would be so avoided them completely. My wife and I travelled from Livorno, the Italian port to Florence by train, saw everything we wanted walking around in Florence, had a quick stop in Pisa on the way back and arrived back on board in time for dinner. Total cost for both of us for the entire day $52 Euros. Speaking to others who had got back from a journey form hell, and hearing about their $250 Euro per person tours, we were dumbfounded why people think there is any value on those organised shore excursions. We heard so many stories of people with rude tour guides, short stops without time to look at things and no toilet breaks. Advice to travellers, avoid the shore excursions, they are a complete rip off and with a little amount of planning and courage, do it yourself and you get to see so much more.
So this sounds like a big spit, but overall I enjoyed the cruise. We went for the ports and they did not disappoint. We have a lot of wonderful memories, met some great friends on board and the boat overall was clean which is very ipmortant for us. Would we travel Norwegian again? Probably, its not like the other cruise lines aren't trying to squeeze every cent out of their passengers. If the things listed above could be fixed up, the boat would be great.
Cabin was a nice size and comfortable,. We chose middle of the ship to minimise the rocking, but it was generally calm anyway.
Only negative was the size of the toilet. The cistern and bowl were angled facing into the bathroom as the room was too tiny to accommodate it and our knees were always jammed into the wall when trying to use it. I have no idea, if you're a very large person, how you could possibly use the toilet. Designed for midgets, which is not I.
So much to do, so little time. Be warned, cruise port is 1 hour train ride from Rome Central.When yo get to cruise port you need to get another bus from train station to cruise port, only a short ride. The you need to get a shuttle from bus depot to actual ship. Doing this kept the cost right down as we didn't want to pay for the expensive taxi ride to the cruise port from Rome, but boy, what a hassle.
Vatican - wow
Collesseum - wow
Restaurants - nice
Just a tourist trap, nice scenery, but its just a tourist strip.
Acropolis - wow
Restaurants - great
Great place, nice people, lots to see
This place is rubbish and closes out of season. Another tourist trap. Nothing to see here.
Fantastic place. Did the tour around the island, lots to see. Beautiful little beaches and crystal clear water. Lovely blue cave which is a must on this trip.
Wow Wow Wow, beautiful place, love to do again. Old town Dubrovnik is incredible.
Walked around Venice over 2 days and we still didn't see it all. Fantastic place and oh the churches, beautiful.
Nice place, did the 2000 steps up to the fort on top of the hill. Well worth the climb for the view. Leave yourself a good hour to do the climb and only for the fit. if you;'re scared of heights, be prepared its a sheer drop in some places.
Rained all day, Didn't have a very good experience here.
nice enough place. Not a great deal to see
Port to get to Pompeii. Wow, this place is incredible. Must see on any trip to Italy.
Use the port to get to Florence. Livorno is just a massive port so we didn't do much there. Take the train to go to Pisa and Florence and wow - Florence and Venice two most culturally rich places in Italy.