Embarkation in Miami
NCL must FIX THIS. It is not wise to begin a cruise with chaos, inefficiency and overcrowding. NCL has the opportunity to create a positive first impression ONCE; and on this cruise, it failed. I later learned that the delay was caused by an unannounced ship inspection which NCL STAR passed with ease. An explanation of the unavoidable delays should have been communicated to all passengers as soon as possible (e.g., in the newsletter) so that those unfamiliar with NCL would know that NCL check in is usually efficient. By not communicating it to passengers, NCL missed an opportunity to reduce passenger displeasure with NCL even before boarding the ship.
Even as a PLATINUM level NCL Cruiser, our check in took one and a half hours. It was the slowest and most inefficient check in I have ever experienced. Even the photograph taken at check in did not process which required that we line up again at customer service desk to re-take the photo. NCL security would not allow anyone to disembark without a photo registered.
The cabins are just fine but don’t forget your hair conditioner if your hair tangles. I would prefer a return to having individual soaps instead of sharing the shower gel and shampoo which, according to many web sites, are unhygienic. I pack my own SOAP, shampoo and conditioner, especially on longer cruises.
The bed linens are OK, not great; just OK, a bit on the thin side. Because they are not fitted, they kept coming off the bed despite my sleeping alone. I also did not see a mattress pad which would protect the mattress and improve over-all bed hygiene. The towels, on the other hand, are absorbent & quite thick; loved the towels. The water pressure and temperature controls are excellent. Overall, the bathrooms are appropriately sized and larger than those I’ve encountered on other ships. The room stewards keep them extremely clean and in order. The a/c is also excellent. You can adjust your stateroom temperature with ease.
I also like having ice available at all times in my room, and the steward made sure I always had ice. I always bring a small Brita pitcher which I use to prepare filtered water for drinking. Although the water in each room is potable, taking a small Brita filtration pitcher is advisable.