We cruise at least once a year and had been with NCL before, albeit a smaller ship last time.
Embarking was fine, although we had to wait at the airport for sometime before the transport arrived. Having been with NCL and having bronze rewards we were supposed to have priority boarding, this didn't happen, not that we were that bothered about that.
Our stateroom was lovely and kept very clean by our steward. We had a balcony and I would do that again.
We opted for the all inclusive drinks package and gratuities were included so this was a fairly expensive cruise. Unfortunately there appears to be a hard sell all the time with NCL, which can be annoying.
The included restaurants were good but the food in the buffet restaurant was always tepid, probably because of the number of people.
There was always something going on quizzes etc, so plenty to do but it was disappointing that the casino area stank of smoke and you very often had to walk through that area.
The excursions were fine but quite expensive, especially in St Petersburg. We were not able to get into Gothenburg because of the weather and I fully support that decision as safety comes first. However, the captain managed to get clearance for the ship to go to Copenhagen earlier so that guests could visit the city if they wished to. Fantastic we thought. Unfortunately when we got there it was utter chaos, no shuttles people wandering around phoning for taxis and not knowing quite what to do. There was a local bus stop and ticket machine which we managed to figure out how to use and then we all queued for the bus. We did manage to eventually get into the city and walk to the little mermaid. We then went to get the bus back only to find the last bus finished at 7pm. This wasn't NCLs fault but I was very disappointed that there was a total lack of information for people and we were left to figure it out for ourselves. I would have thought when they knew we were going to go to the port early then a few phone calls could have been made to organise shuttles. We wouldn't have minded paying for this. Having been with another cruise line (Viking) and a similar thing happened where we were not able to get to the place we were supposed to, they organised coaches to take us there and compensated us with credit towards another cruise with them, which we didn't expect as we still got to do the excursion and our lunch was provided in a hotel as we were away from the boat all day. NCL did refund our excursions cost but this was paid in dollars not back on the credit card, which means you lose some of it when getting it changed to your currency. NCL offered nothing in the way of compensation for missing one of the ports, which as there wasn't many made a big impact on the cruise. If we had been offered something towards another cruise we probably would go with them again, but it seems they are not interested in doing that unlike Viking, despite the latitudes reward scheme.
Summing up, I think I wouldn't go for such a large ship as there were no quiet areas, unlike their other ship the Jewel that we went on before, also the hard sell was more evident this time. The floor on which the casino was situated smelt of smoke all the time. The positives were that there was always good entertainment and the staff were lovely. The stateroom was really good and spacious. There were lots of restaurants to choose from but I was surprised how many were dedicated to the 'additional cost' category. I would chose another cruise line over NCL just because of their lack of after sales customer relationship.
The cabin was very spacious and we loved having the balcony, as there were no quiet areas to sit and read. It was always spotless and our steward Michael was lovely.
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