My sister and I worked hard to find the vacation of a lifetime that our family of nine could all enjoy, including our 80 year old physically challenged mother who was gifting us this trip, our husbands, three 20-something kids and my 15 year old daughter. A fabulous experience seemed to present itself in an NCL Spirit 11-Day Holiday Celebration leaving Rome on December 22, 2019 that would take us, together, into new ports and the New Year.
We booked our cruise and airfare directly through NCL Group Sales assuming that by doing so we would be ensured efficient and safe travel from our homes in New Jersey to meet the ship in Rome prior to sailing. When the booking information arrived, we were immediately concerned because some of our children were booked on flights different from the rest of us and horrified that we had to figure out ourselves that the flights you booked them on were not even going to put them in Rome until the day after the cruise set sail!! We called more than once as we were very concerned that there wasn't enough time between the flights in Lisbon, especially with a special needs traveler, but were assured all would work out well. We could not leave the day before, as we had hoped, since one of our college students had a final until 7PM that night! Uggh.
We were right! We did not land in Lisbon until 6:25AM, at which point there was no way possible to make our connection on the next flight which closed its door at 6:40AM, especially as we had to clear a customs and immigration entry point with an hour long line. We were dismayed to learn that there had been a 10AM flight out of Lisbon all along and, had we been booked on that from the start, it was much more likely that we would have made it to the ship before it was scheduled to depart at 5PM. Of course, the 10AM flight was full by the time we were stuck in Lisbon and could not be accommodated.
Small, outdated, toilet backed up at one point. Good thing the ship went into dry dock right after our cruise for renovation....