1st I need to stipulate we're loyal to RCL cruisers (Diamond level), so we gave up lots of perks (get that NCL, free perks) to give NCL a go. We booked last minute to sail with family who are NCL enthusiasts. I kept a running log of ... Read More
1st I need to stipulate we're loyal to RCL cruisers (Diamond level), so we gave up lots of perks (get that NCL, free perks) to give NCL a go. We booked last minute to sail with family who are NCL enthusiasts. I kept a running log of pluses & minuses throughout the . I kept a running log of pluses & minuses throughout the week to track all the "goods and bads", not necessarily compared to RCL, but some were measured against Royal.
From the start we noted this had an entirely different feel than an RCL cruise, more of a younger, partying atmosphere - geared more towards that, not towards comfort and separate relaxation spaces for seniors or adults only. We don't cruise to drink & party, that is way down our list.
So with that in mind, this is how my +/- list finished up. Pluses 11, Minuses 40.
Here's the PLUS line items:
1. A good selection of venues for a variety of entertainment.
2. Great NFL game coverage for playoff weekend.
3. Good coffee
4. State room door sign - status wheel.
5. Very good Cirque (circus) show.
6. Music: Guitar by Paulo.
7. Big shower stall in room.
8. Good storage space in room, closet.
9. Bruins game on in pub.
10. Very good dance show, excellent music.
11. Waterslide park.
The MINUS line items:
1. No low level outside deck for walking around and viewing. Outside low level deck viewing obstructed by lifeboats.
2. Too much dark wood, darkness in many common areas.
3. Narrow dark stairways, very bland, no art-work here.
4. Traffic bottleneck areas, narrow passages especially around Ice bar and in casino. Then photographers set up here, making it even worse.
5. O' Sheehan's pub is worn, dingy and dirty. Looks like any old pub you'd find in any town in America, complete with wobbly chairs. Unimpressive menu, uncomfortable seating and spotty table service.
6. Poor lighting in room (interior room), especially at mirror for applying make-up or shaving.
7. Poor markings/signage in ship corridors, difficult to find gym in bland generic corridors.
8. Dessert snacks at coffee bar are all extra cost on NCL, free on RCL.
9. 2 basic small pool tables in O' Sheehan's are extra cost, self-leveling upscale tables on RCL Radiance class ships are free.
10. Small main theatre (1 level) doesn't allow big multi-level elaborate stage shows.
11. Developed a stomach illness 2nd morning of cruise...bad food suspected?
12. Boat vibrates more than any other vessels we've sailed on.
13. Weird bathroom set-up; 2 separate stations - don't like leaving toilet area before washing hands.
14. TV in room is too small.
15. Poor mattress in stateroom, sore back every morning.
16. No quick easy snacking stations on lower levels, on RCL easy pick-up stops for pizza, sandwiches and desserts.
17. Deck chairs aren't comfortable.
18. Diesel fumes on top deck while in port, poor horizontal ventilation slots in glass.
19. No ice surface, ice show.
20. No flow rider surfing simulator.
21. No real mini-golf for adults, just a wet one for kids.
22. Too many deck chairs along pool walking paths, too narrow, difficult to walk around.
23. No adult solarium area with pool and light snacks, with comfy chairs for relaxation & reading.
24. PA speaker in room didn't work, had to open door to hear announcements in corridor.
25. Longer elevator waits than RCL, many times gave up & took the stairs.
26. Access to Italian restaurant is through cafe buffet at front of ship, down a flight of stairs. Poor planning.
27. Overall poor layout of ship, no flow, disjointed design. At new RCL ship presentation, host admitted they made many mistakes building this boat.
28. Smoking areas placed randomly on outside decks, sometimes Port side, sometimes Starboard side?
29. No chair in room, only a stool, smallest room we've ever had on any cruise - really no room for a chair.
30. Outside lower level deck very narrow, no room for deck chairs like other boats with full walk-around lower level decks.
31. Very small crowded swimming pools.
32. Difficult access to AC outlets in room, under counter very dark under there.
33. No "schooner type" bar, out of the main traffic - a quiet piano bar lounge hangout with real comfortable chairs.
34. No info delivered to room for disembark process, no customs forms, luggage tags.
35. Nothing like a top of the ship Viking Crown / Olive or Twist lounge for late night music & dancing.
36. Overall food quality and variety, we prefer RCL, not by a lot, but it's consistently better and more variety.
37. No perks for frequent loyal cruisers, except booking early discounts or NCL credit cards. No discount coupons, no free internet time, no free drinks etc.
38. Buffet poorly set-up, long lines due to not enough separate stations.
39. More up-charges on many food & drink items. Drink prices were absurd, we're not big drinkers at all, but still spent a lot on drinks. We'd have spent hundreds less if we'd sailed with RCL and took advantage of our earned free drink package.
40. Tiny adult "party" pool at aft of ship.
Summary: NCL isn't our kind of cruise experience; we're 1 and done. Read Less