An interesting itinerary was the main factor for choosing this cruise as well as previously positive experiences with NCL (we have been on more than 5 cruises with them before). Besides, we had a birthday to celebrate.
After we boarded the ship, and throughout the cruise, we could not help but notice a complete lack of enthusiasm by the crew - even including the cruise director. As if they weren't happy to be where they are, as if they wished to be somewhere else but ended up on a cruise ship instead. Stunningly, the morale was so low and the atmosphere so toxic, we could not wait for the cruise to end and to abandon this ship... Did I mention they forgot we had a birthday to celebrate? Even after we reminded them?
We should have paid attention to the early warning signals. First, NCL dropped one of the ports (Bonaire) - shortly after we booked the cruise. Then, the cabin prices for the cruise plummeted below $50 per day - even including the premium cabins. While we paid well above that, NCL did not even upgrade our cabin (!) though we've been their platinum guests...
Then, during the cruise, the Italian captain running the ship cancelled two more ports (Antigua and St Kitts) due to bad weather while other ships (including Norwegian) have successfully called the ports the same dates!!! Obviously, all onshore excursions and plans were ruined.
An hour before departure from San Juan, the power and the lights went down on the entire ship. The backup generators provided dimmed emergency lights but the restaurants could not cook and there was no announcements from the captain for more than 30 minutes after the lights went off. The communication could definitely use improvement.
The food quality and variety was not great. It was okay but nothing what it used to be like on NCL cruises even a couple of years ago. The specialty Moderno restaurant has a great concept but was extremely slow to deliver. By the time the food arrived to the table is was almost cold. The French and Chinese restaurants were a joke.
The ship is not big enough for 4,200 passengers. The wait times for elevators are 4-5 minutes. Casino tables are squeezed into the main deck so have to go around them. The swimming pools are more like soaking baths. Lots of wasted space on the top deck.
The entertainment was worse than we expected. Also, because the theatre is undersized, we had to choose and book tickets to see a show in advance. Most of the shows throughout the entire cruise were fully booked on the first day though. The same for the restaurants - the few good ones were fully booked on the first day of the cruise.
All in all, this cruise was an epic fail and we are cancelling our next cruise we had booked with NCL. I think we shall stay away from NCL for awhile now.
Poor cabin design compared to other NCL ships - the sink and the toilet are right in the cabin; no privacy and the smells are everywhere.
Willemstad is a funky small port town with fun shopping and cozy little cafes. Very safe to walk, nice colourful building facades.
Nothing to see and do - especially on Sundays. Some areas aren't safe.
nothing fancyView All 47 California Lighthouse Reviews
Not much to do around the port. Not clean, does not feel safe.
not much to see but the story is interesting and the ride is fun; one time is enough.
not much to seeView All 248 Island Tour Reviews