November 2014 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Bahamas
Ship itself - nice, very clean, even though it is very big - finding places is not to confusing if you follow the fishes (fish on the carpets swim in the direction of the ship) We had mini suit on deck 10 mid ship and bathroom was wonderfully spacious. Unfortunately balcony was as good as nothing - 2 feet wide where you could only sit sideways (and we are not fat...pardon me ... large...) and even then most of the ocean view from the balconies even on the upper decks severely obstructed by Promenade (outer deck on level 8 with restaurants - the only people who actually were sitting outside were smokers - what a WASTE of walking/resting space that promenade is and life boats - preventing to see white foamy sea which is true pleasure on cruises. New smoking policies: it is a joke - (I smoked for many years, BUT completely quit over 5 years ago) and even though smoking on balconies is no longer allowed - NCL failed miserably in implementing it. And I will not be surprised if some smoker will sue them for "humiliating passengers while on board" - on the upper deck NCL created completely enclosed glass room with NO outside windows/air flow, but totally opened to main deck area. One can be easily suffocated while smoking in that zoo and smoke still gets to main area like from a smoke cannon. And beside - smoke from the casino gets through entire ship due to a lot of open interconnected spaces. Entertainment: Burn the floor was really good, Rock of Ages is in quite poor taste, but not poor enough to excite, dueling pianos in Headliners are ... loud and nothing else, standup comedy show - I laughed so hard .. for wasting 3 minutes in there.. "Freestyle dining" - there is just as much "freestyle" as "no style" - except for barging into restaurants in clothes resembling underwear - you still have to make RESERVATIONS or wait in line (same line for people WITH and WITHOUT reservations) for close to 40 minutes sometimes (not counting wasting at least 2 hours at the table). Quality of food: we ( couple 50/40yo) cruise at least 3 times per year, but that was our very first NCL cruise (over 25 great RCCL/Celebrity and few unmemorable Carnivals and HALs - though HAL has great classical music) - THE WORST ever culminating in me being served rotten chunk of meat of unknown origin that they called "sirloin steak" - I was really tempted to throw it into the face of the waiter, but I DO realize that neither he nor cooks have much to do with that - thay have to prepare from CRAP NCL buys. No scrimps, no seafood, no, God forbid - lobster...wait they had ... "seafood night".. in the buffet. Speaking of buffet - imagine soup kitchen or chow line in jail (we all seen the movies even those of us who were unlucky to never be arrested) - the look and taste of food is just plain DISGUSTING. (That did not stop fat people from eating it non stop - sad view indeed) Surprisingly (really - because no NORMAL person goes to cruise expecting to eat greasy hamburgers) - cafe on deck 17 server quite good ones - it saved us from starving. Another life savior were crepes (But I am a good cook myself and it was disappointing to eat on the cruise what I easily prepare myself). From paid for restaurants only "French" (there was nothing "French" about it - just the food that other cruise lines serve daily in main dining rooms.) had good quality. But we had to wait 40 (forty!) minutes to get seated even though we did have reservation and then we wasted another 2.5 hours in dinner Desserts - save yourself from being really frustrated - they are as tasteless as ones could be and if the would be the competition for The Worst Desserts Ever - that would be a big hit. Thankfully there was ice cream in the buffet sometimes (schedule of buffet was made up to really prevent people from eating as oppose to facilitate it) Kids running amok all around all the time (no - that was NOT a school vacation time) while parents getting dead drunk. Pools ... 'foggedabutit!!! The ship is SO crowded you cannot get anywhere at any time - to make things worse - only one adult pool and I would not swim next to the people I saw in there under the gun - but it has nothing to do with NCL, so no points taken off for ship itself. (Weirdos shaking their private part in the water like they just finished peeing...disgusting animals...
NCLs beloved Filipinos - as indifferent as service personnel could be, as not willing to communicate as bad Chinese waitress in really bad Chinese takeout joint, the only time when they start squeezing something reminiscent of smiles are by the end of cruise ... up until the day when you can no longer adjust "mandatory" gratuities.
(Nice exception was room cleaner - and I left him just half as much money as they charged me for tips for entire cruise tips for non-existing service). Ports - why they even bother sailing to Stirrup Cay? They know they cannot tender there in November - I qualify it as pure deception. Bahamas - with US State and Embassy issuing 4 safety warnings in 2014 (crime rate in Nassau is 20 times higher than that in most unsafe areas of Miami) and tourists being most targeted category - why cruise lines continue to endanger their passengers and stop there? Beside - there is absolutely NOTHING to do there. The only answer is .. it is damn CHEAP for "port charges" Well - we just went to Versailles Gardens and French Cloister - perfect spot for pictures and then made our way through hands grabbing local cons to Cabbage Beach (not a good beach, huge waves, we knew it, but were in no mood to go any further) Cape Canaveral... are you kidding me? I don't think most of the people want to see Space Center more than once in their life - why stop there? Waste more time and money commuting to Disney and have no time to see anything? The bottom line is (and one has to try things at least once to know) - NCL is The Worst cruise line bar none, not I will not ever sail with them again, but I will do everything possible to prevent everyone I know from going with them - no matter how "inexpensive" it seems to be at first - one can not put price on NOTHING.
To sum it up - I do know that quality of cruises went down on every single cruise line because customer base became more trashy, cruises became less pricey, people were groomed to put up with crap (everywhere - at work, in shops, dealing with companies they pay to for services) - but NCL clearly succeeded in creating purely commercial "PAY FOR EVERYTHING" ships and I only gave them ONE CHANCE.
NCL = NEVER AGAIN