Average Cruise and the highlight was the day cruising the Sounds. The Sounds are spectacular and cruising was a great way to see a small portion of them.
We never do up charge dining, we paid for an all inclusive why would you pay even more? The main dining rooms were average to below average. There was not one shrimp dish, appetizer or entree, on the menu for the entire 10 day cruise. We have cruised more than a dozen times is this was a first. Other cruise lines, at least in the past, have always offered at least a shrimp cocktail most every night. The two formal (Offically called "Dress up or not") nights were a big bust and the dinner menus those night were the worst of the entire cruise, no Prime rib and no lobster. The only seafood dishes offered the entire cruise ware mussels and clams. No New Zealand or Australian dishes offered. O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill was our favorite as they served very good Fish and Chips and Burgers there. The food at the Topsiders was below average. The Garden Cafe did ofter some dishes that were very good but mostly just average quality food. They did serve pork ribs there one night that we discovered after we had dinner in the Azure and they were way better than anything on the dinning room menu that night. So it is worth at least walking through and checking out the offerings at the Garden every night. The Chin Chin was good but nothing spectacular. Soft Ice Cream had Chocolate one night out of the entire cruise, the rest of the time it was Vanilla and Strawberry. There was scooped chocolate ice cream at the Topsiders in the afternoons most days.
The production shows were above average and very good. Norwegian needs to re-think their entertainment choices outside of the production shows. There was one stand-up comedy show one night in the main theaters and one late night comedy show with the same comedian. That was it for entire 10 day cruise, I guess this isn't the Fun ship.
They did have a comic magician one night in the main theater and he was the worst professional entertainer I have ever witnessed, this was high junior high level comedy and that is being generous. I could even see how he was doing some of this tricks. Lame tricks and not funny jokes. He must be NCL executives son-in-law. The pool side music presented by DJ Brightside was some really lame and way too load dance beat music from the 90s and 2000s. This was a really interesting choice considering that about 80% of the people on this cruise were in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Seemed to be no thought for the customer demographic by NCL management. There was a 1970's Grove Disco party one night that turned into an Abba tribute, we left after the forth straight Abba song. Someone needs to let them know that Abba was not a 70's Disco band.
The "Showband" was excellent and a group of very talented musicians, we would go listen to them whenever they played.
Very few were offered. The ones that did offer were mostly lame and over priced to tune of up to three times of what you could book it for on your own.
Well cared for and in very good shape, they disinfected the walls and hands rails at least three times a day. Our only issues was that it appears that they had never gotten around to washing the glass on the upper decks for the past couple of years.
The New Zealand ports were all great.
We did not get to stop at Gisborne because of six foot swells which was a surprise considering our itinerary stated that we were going to dock at Gisborne not tender. However we did get a whole $8 credit each for that day.
We did book a scenic flight in Picton and it was a high light of our trip. Pelorus Air (https://www.pelorusair.com/) is a great some family owned company to fly with, their tour was great!!!
Nice and pretty much the norm.
We spent four days on the North Island before our cruise and three days around Sydney after and we would definitely recommend doing that and maybe spending even more days.
Our next trip to New Zealand will be exploring on land in a car.