Many have already commented on the horrendous way that NCL waited to the last minute to announce a change in itinerary, and a bungled effort to respond to initial complaints. None of these comments is exaggerated, and it is what it is. However, I'd like to say (even though I don't agree with how they handled my compensation (or lack of it), they at least put the two ports I went for (Belgium and Le Havre) back on the itinerary and from their point of view, 25% return of cabin fee, up to $300 each of hotel/transport expenses, and something off the next cruise was reasonable. We need to be honest and remember this is not a luxury line, and one of the draws for us is the initial (relatively) low cost of booking.
That said, let me turn to the cruise itself. We are long time cruisers with 20 NCL cruises (going back to the Norway) and many others on many other lines, and at many price points, hence we've seen good, and bad. This one (one the ship) isn't high on the list, but somewhat typical of what NCL is becoming....they've given up the pretense of customer service for a much more functional service approach of providing "adequate". Now I note they are also trying to raise prices, so they apparently think many of us will take anything.....I hear some other lines (i.e. MSC) are matching status on their ships, so NCL may be going down a slippery slope.
Boarding in New York was relatively normal for NY, and went reasonably well. The initial reaction to the ship was that it was big, somewhat in need of refurbishing (went to drydock so hopefully that will change) with indifferent, going through the motions staff. Food offerings in specialty restaurants (we went to Ocean Blue twice, Cucina twice, and Cagneys three times were inconsistent with service no better than the regular dining rooms. In Cagneys, had Filet Mignon twice - once wonderful and once tough as the poorest choice....pork chop was nothing special. The others were not memorable. Highlight of food experiences were for lunch in OSheehans, so average is what we found. Cabin service was average, not bad. Entertainment was actually better than the NCL standard, though the cruise director (as many of them) was too "hyped" for us. The terrible weather (sweater all the time) forced everybody to congregate inside, so it was more crowded than normal (big ships always more 'crowded feeling) but the need of many to pursue complaints had lines at Customer Service 15+ people long at most times. I stood in the onboard credit line to change money to British Pounds for the end of the trip (our disembarkation point) and after getting to the front was told "we didn't get any this trip!!!" Moreover was assured (2 different times) that the terminal would have exchange/atm which of course proved untrue.....just typical of new tell them whatever to get rid of them service approach!!!!
Am I bitter....perhaps a little because the NCL of a few years ago had enthusiastic staff and much better service and we spent almost 200 days sailing with NCL.....sad to see it become euivalent to the two day excursion boats out of Florida for gambling.
I understand cost cutting....just go not expecting a lot, and you will be pleased. Still a cheap way to travel the world!!
Not a bad cabin, close to the elevators. Convenient to theater, casino, etc. Not a bad view, balcony normally small. Storage for hanging limited but shelves compensate. Bathroom adequate with reasonable storage.