EMBARKATION: What a nightmare that is. The ship spans two terminals, which is why you need to check you e-docs again right before you board. We spanned in Miami, Terminal B & C. Keep in mind parking is at Terminal C. Knowing ... Read More
EMBARKATION: What a nightmare that is. The ship spans two terminals, which is why you need to check you e-docs again right before you board. We spanned in Miami, Terminal B & C. Keep in mind parking is at Terminal C. Knowing which terminal to go to wasn’t clear to everyone, the lines were long (noon) and the heat was beating down. While there was a desk with a NCL rep, he said nothing. The baggage handlers were directing traffic, and it took me a while to actually find a handler who would take my bag and I was waving a $5 bill to get someone’s attention just to place it on the cart I was standing right next to. Once we make it into the terminal, another long, long line. There is a priority room, I guess for NCL Elite and another line for Latitude members. But all lines were moving extremely slow. MUSTER: no one had to stand outside and we did not need to listen to multiple languages, although we did wait a long time for everyone to show up. This specific cruise had a very high urban composition.
SHIP: Of course it is shiny and new but there was clearly a lack of air conditioner, especially in the elevators. There are two sets of elevators but they are the smallest elevators I’ve ever seen on ship, so I would give the elevators a D. Very hard to get an empty one going in your directions. NCL seems to include a free package of your choice for a while now for balconies and above. So it seems like the entire ship had the Ultimate Beverage Package that the bartenders could not keep up with. Getting a drink was extremely difficult. The multiple lines streaming out of each bar seemed to be 5 to 10 deep. It was horrible, but they didn’t seem to mind giving you multiple drinks at once. The price fix for a UBP Drink is now $15.00. Don’t forget if you start ordering drinks as soon as you board you pay the tax until you on your way out to sea. For simple questions, the staff never seemed to know the answers.
ROOM: We booked a mini-suite spa a long time ago, included was the ultimate beverage package and the thermal spa. The mini suite was way smaller than I expected, the photo makes it look way bigger. The bathroom however, was huge, double faucet sink, walk in double door spa shower (numerous jets including overhead shower). Great water pressure and hot, hot, hot water. Shower gel and a combo shampoo conditioner in on wall dispenser. Lotion and more shampoo on sink counter. We had three in the room, they separated the bed into two singles and the couch was made into a bed at the beginning of the cruise. It was a very hard couch, so we requested and received the second night a thin egg crate, which helped. The refrigerator was filled up with mini bar items. The flat screen TV had few stations and although you would assume the remote was new, it was very difficult to change the channels. Press, press, press and nothing would happen, then all of a sudden it would skip 5 channels. What I really liked, they had the push button for make up the room or do not disturb. These must be connected to the stateroom attendants, because you do not see them lingering in the hallways at all.
POOL: None of the hot tubs are hot. Those using seemed to enjoy the slides. Some hottubs were clearly marked Adults, but children were in them and the staff standing right there, did not ask them to leave. We even asked that deckhand where the adult hot tubs were and he didn’t know to tell us about h20 spice, the adult only exclusive area.
FITNESS & SPA: The fitness center was nice, smaller than I’ve seen on other ships, you must walk through to get to the salon and spa. Thermal spa was included with our suite (or you can pay $40 per day). The warm tile lounges lined a large window, so passengers were treating them like regular lounges and “hogging” them with towels/shoes, etc. These lounges are part of the spa treatment, and “were” to be used by passengers only if you were lying on them. Because they were mostly being used by a pair of shoes, or magazine, I found that extremely annoying. The staff kept telling us, that there was a sign, stating these rules, plus you were to limit use to 30 minutes. I never found that sign, nor did I see “housekeeping, removing left items as the staff said they were expected to do. So good luck on that one. Also we were in the spa women’s locker room, also ceiling to floor windows and sure enough, along comes a window washer (MALE) on his slider. Two women were completely naked drying off. Someone reports it to the front check in, and the staff come running in to pull the shade down.
FOOD : I would say the food is better on NCL than RCI. I really do like the concept of separate complimentary dining venues (even though I thought it odd they all have the same menu). We always went around 5:30 and got a window seat. It sort of felt like you were in a specialty restaurant atmosphere. The typical MDR experience on other ships I find to be so loud and chaotic so I did like this. Sometimes we had to rush to get to a 7 pm show and just returned later for our dessert. The Garden Café buffet was nice as well, many choices and the food was decent. I didn’t care for their breakfast, so would opt for the Taste or Savor where there were cooked to order options. We wanted to try and book the Italian specialty but it was sold out the whole time. Of course we saw plenty of empty seats whenever we passed by.
ENTERTAINMENT: DH-68; Me 60, DD 32. Before even leaving I was leery of the entertainment onboard. And mind you, my DD and I go to Broadway plays on a regular basis and love the theater. We wished one of the shows, had more currently music and themes. Both complimentary shows were set in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. And if you want something more recent like the 80s you can pay for the Brat Pack. UGH. With such high caliber shows on Royal, we were disappointment with the selection on NCL. Let me say, these folks were very talented and some of the best singing I’ve ever heard from cruise singers and dancers. But the music just wasn’t our type. There are so many musicals to choose from, I have no idea why NCL chose these three shows with old decades old music to have on the same ship. We did purchase and really enjoy the Wine Lovers Musical in the Supper Club. Again, very talented singers, fun, upbeat, and you get to drink wine. We saw two African American comedians plus the host in the comedy theater, BOOK THESE quickly as they sell out and the venue is small. The host was my favorite Gina Brillon as she wasn't raunchy as the two headliners.
ATTRIUM: I felt the need to point out that the atrium was the center for much entertainment. Trivia and other cruise director games and such; dancing, music and of all things this is where they played their daily MOVIE. It was nice having the trivia questions up on the screen in case you didn’t understand the accent of the staff asking the questions. The down side of this location, was this is also the location of guest services (by the way this line never let up and was lengthy always), but the noise level was crazy and you couldn’t even be heard by guest services when speaking with them due to the activity.
DISEMBARKATION: Aside from it being pouring in Miami when we disembarked, it went way better than embarkation. As odd as I thought that the attendant did not distribute luggage tags the last day, I now realized how great it was that we went to select our own luggage tags from guest services. I want to choose what time I disembark, I hate most lines, select that for you. Read Less