First, sorry for such a long review....
This was our first NCL cruise and we chose it because of the itinerary. We have sailed quite a bit previously on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess. The ports we visited were excellent. Warnemünde/Rostock, Tallinn, St Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm.
As with most cruises, there were good, bad, average, exceptional throughout the 9 days.
The ship sailed near or at capacity, 4000+, and for the most part it always felt crowded and lines everywhere, with the exception of a few times at dinner around 7-7:30pm in Savor, Taste and Tropicana. We were new to making reservations for nearly everything in advance but were tipped off and did so several weeks prior to departing. Unfortunately twice we arrived at specialty dinners only to be told we had no reservations and they were completely sold out nothing could be done about it. Following a rather brief and somewhat rude conversation the first time, I returned minutes later with confirmation of our reservation on my iPad. Miraculously a table appeared and all was suddenly good and we’re sorry for the computer error. The first was at Teppanyaki (very rude), the second was at Cirque Dreams where they were very accommodating and apologetic. The final bad experience was at our excursion. Our tickets said to meet at 7:15pm for an evening show in St Petersburg. We exited the ship and arrived at the busses. No signs or direction for which bus and the only workers were sitting and chatting with each other. We finally found our bus after getting help from a security guard. We started to check in and a woman from either NCL or the bus company not sure which began to berate us and threatened the bus was just about to depart without us. I checked my watch and we were right on time, but decided not to engage her and just get on the bus, which by the way did not depart for another 10 min or so. We try not to let a couple of bad individuals be the face of an entire company.
So much for the bad. We did enjoy the anytime very casual dining format. The many dining choices, and most of the time the food was very good. We loved Moderno and Cirque Dreams and Steam was not to be missed. Be sure to book floor seats and sit close to the stage. Burn the floor was a mixed review, my wife loved it, I thought it was just ok. Nearly every worker who came into contact with us were excellent and friendly.
We had a balcony room on deck 11. It was rather small compared to other cruise lines but otherwise sufficient. We met our cabin steward the first day and only saw him once or twice more passing in the hallway. He did a good job with our cabin each day. We did have a coffee maker in the cabin with a selection of coffees and tea’s.
We didn’t like having to make so many reservations in advance to be sure we didn’t miss out on things or dining times. Be sure to keep your confirmations in case there are any problems. Their internet plans are pretty expensive and only work for one device at a time. Meaning two people cannot be online at the same time. Reaching a live person at customer service prior to the cruise at times was frustrating with waits up to 30 min at times.
At the end of the day, none of the bad things were enough to ruin our cruise only minor nuisances. The ship was clean, and modern. Embarkation was pretty easy and not too long, maybe 30 min. Disembarkation was pretty orderly and went as they stated. Port embark and disembark was good except for day one in St Petersburg which had some long lines. Day two was very quick since they had all of your info already.
In trying to be fair, we are going to give NCL’s shortcomings a pass try them again in the future. Not judging an entire fleet and company based on one ship and one experience.
Smaller than most balcony rooms we have sailed. Did have a coffee maker with a nice selection of coffee’s and tea’s. Storage was average and bathroom was pretty typical of most ships.
We arrive 3 days prior to our cruise. Enjoyed Copenhagen on our own.
Took the train to Rostock (20min ride), walked the city center. Spent the rest of the day in Warnemünde walking the pier and shopping.
We did the free EstAdventures walking tour. Great way to see Tallinn.
We did a private 2day tour with TJ Travel. Outstanding tour and company.
We did a Hop on Hop off tour. Great way to get to know a city.