We were two families of three generations (including grandparents and children) excited to be traveling to Baltic destinations.
We stayed in a balcony family cabin (14814) that had a Pullman bed.
I had previously sailed twice with my family on Royal Caribbean with similar accommodation so had an idea of what to expect.
Overalll Royal Caribbean was by far more organised, pleasant and enjoyable. Left NCL in its wake.
Easy NCL bus transfer from airport to cruise terminal and cruise terminal to city Centre
Loved Million Dollar Quartet Show
Loved the Magician show
Engaging staff at onboard bars
Loved St Petersburg
Enjoyed the water slides, climbing wall, mini golf and sports deck
Felt chaotic and overcrowded when first boarding the ship. I wanted to get off as soon as I got on.
Absolutely terrible safety briefing- the children and I were crammed into the casino which stank of cigarettes and we couldn’t see anything because of the number of people The actual briefing was relayed in several languages which made the briefing excruciatingly long. RC was out on the deck in small groups and was far less time consuming
My daughters Pullman bed was not made until almost midnight on our first night!!!
Guest services was located opposite the central atrium which meant that you could not hear a thing the service personnel was saying if there was a band or other entertainment playing. I have excellent hearing and could not hear, so I felt sorry for the elderly people with hearing aides in the queue. Seriously bad location for guest services!
The casino was centrally located in the middle of the ship on a middle deck. This meant that you had to walk through it to get to restaurants, bars or other services. As you are allowed to smoke in the casino it was disgusting to smell cigarettes whilst at the nearby noodle restaurant or to have to walk through it with children. RC has the casino at the bottom of the ship and out of the way.
On the first day there was a problem with my credit card and when I went to guest services to sort it out I was quickly made aware that I was not the only one with problems. The queue was enormous. People had been waiting in line for hours!!!! Yet again, there was a band playing which made the whole experience frustrating. The queue was there the next two nights!!
The free buffet restaurant The Garden Cafe, was nowhere near as good as the Windjammer on RC. The layout was like that of a school canteen with all the food stations located in a rectangular central hub that you walked around. The food was okay but not very exciting. The RC windjammer was more open and visually appealing with tastier food options.
Paying 5USD for a bottle of water was absolutely absurd.
The smoking area was right near the main swimming pool in the middle of the deck!!!! It was on the same deck as the outdoor seating for the Garden Cafe so on occasion the waft of cigarette smoke would blow towards you whilst eating. Disgusting! You would also have to walk past the smokers to get to the ping pong tables. Smoking on a ship is a health and safety risk. At the very least the smoking station should be away from areas that children and non smokers use.
Specialty dining restaurants were not so special. Ocean Blue was the best of the lot. The others were all the same.
The poor ship layout, food choices and inferior qualities compared to RC means I would never sail with NCL again.
Clean, spacious bathroom. Comfortable. Small balcony