We chose this cruise because it is convenient for us in Arizona to go to the Mexican Riviera. We have been to all of these ports multiple times, so the trip was more about the experience, and getting away than targeting a specific ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it is convenient for us in Arizona to go to the Mexican Riviera. We have been to all of these ports multiple times, so the trip was more about the experience, and getting away than targeting a specific location.
It was our first time on one of the LARGE ships, and I was afraid that it would feel crowded. I did not find this to be the case. After a few days, I figured many people must have cancelled at the last minute due to the corona virus scare, so I asked a customer service, and they confirmed that there was 4,300 passengers the week we sailed. Double occupancy is only 3,800 so it was a pretty full ship, yet I never felt too crowded. A synopsis of some of the good/not so good is below.
Embarkation - we had flights included with our cruise fare, and arrived later than we would have planned for ourselves. Those that arrived before 10:30 got through security, health screening, and embarkation within about 1/2 hour. since we didn't get to the port till about 1:00 it took quite a bit longer. They were doing extra screenings of passports, and had extra health forms everyone had to fill out, so that slowed things down, that of course was not NCL's fault. Overall would have been better if we had arrived earlier.
Cabin - We had a concierge villa suite with balcony, and loved it. the upgraded toiletries, nicer linens/pillows, and abundant storage made it a very comfortable week. We were able to get help from the concierge to arrange reservations to some of the comedy shows that we wanted to see. We had pre-reserved all of our dining, so didn't use him for that. The perk of having private Breakfast and Lunch in La Cucina was great.
Dining - We did eat at Cagneys, La Cucina, and Ocean Blue as well as Taste, the Manhattan Room, the Buffet, and the Local. Once or twice an extra item we had requested was forgotten, but never had a bad meal. The staff was very attentive, and their job was made more difficult with enhanced sanitary guidelines. No one was allowed to serve themselves in the buffet, menu covers were not used in the restaurants, and the paper menu's were discarded, so as not to pass anything from one table to another. They were strict about washing hands and sanitizing before entering eateries, and it helped us feel confident that our health was being protected.
The Shows, Footloose, Elements, Beatles Revolution, and Comedians, were all great. I've always been a fan of going to various trivia, but either because of the size of the ship, or technical difficulties, or doing them in the atrium, or just the staff, I didn't enjoy the trivia games on this ship. we walked away from several of them without finishing. If they had a better location for them and just stuck to basics instead of trying to make them high tech, it would have been better.
The staff and service were outstanding. Our room steward kept our room spotless, and people were constantly cleaning and wiping down handrails/elevator buttons. I did need to go to customer service twice (I picked times they weren't busy as they weren't critical issues) and both times they were friendly, and helpful.
There is some of everything on this ship, we really enjoyed the hot tub in Spice H20, and the Ocean Loop waterslide. A few things they could improve, the American Diner didn't seem to ever have people in it. If they could make that an included option for the dining, with perhaps some up-charge items (shakes, smoothies etc) I'm sure it would actually generate more money for them. The Galaxy Pavillion (VR Arcade) didn't seem to be very busy either. It seemed to be a chunk of prime real estate that they could have used for a better purpose. We didn't do the go karts or laser tag, so can't comment on that. We also didn't use any of the kids/teen clubs so no comment about that either.
No trip is perfect, but I've found your enjoyment is based more on your attitude than other factors. If you want to be critical you can always find imperfections, but if you want to have fun, you will find that as well. Read Less