December 2015 - Norwegian Jewel to Mexico
So good things first:
A.) This was our first cruise and the embarkation / disembarkation at all the ports (including LA) was fast. We were particularly worried about the disembarkation at LA because we had a flight to catch, but there were no problems there (ship arrived at 8am, we were at LAX with our luggage by 10:30am).
B.) Food, entertainment (especially the acrobatics and the magic show) and on-board activities were great.
C.) Ports were gorgeous and felt very safe. Temperature at the ports were perfect for swimming but not too hot.
D.) And last but certainly not least, our steward was very friendly and helpful. The folded towel animals were adorable!
Now the bad (from least to worst):
A.) Ship is gorgeous but noticeably aged. The toilet needed to be serviced our second day because it lost suction. The cabin door stopped locking after our third day. The toilet was fixed in 30 minutes. The non-lockable door took 2.5 hours to get a carpenter on-site (during which time we were stuck in the cabin to make sure our belongings were safe).
B.) Don't expect lost keycards to be deactivated by guest services. We lost a keycard by the pool and went to guest services to get it deactivated and a new one issued. New card never worked (didn't open the door at all, after 3 trips to the service desk for a rep there to check). Old card was eventually returned to us by another guest. We were astonished to realize that it still opened our cabin door and scanned into the ship and the dining areas - guest services assured us it was deactivated immediately. And below you can read about our continuing saga with guest services:
C.) Service on the ship was great everywhere except at guest services. General questions were fine (how do we disembark / tender, etc) but be prepared for an extremely unapologetic and accusatory attitude if you actually have a complaint. My sister and I were up on the 14th deck taking pictures of the sunset after we came back from Mazatlan and were unaware that the deck was booked for a private function. A man from the party that booked the deck told us to get off the deck less than politely. We are two petite sized females and didn't want to argue with other guests so we left. However, we felt uncomfortable that this happened and it certainly dampened our mood. Moreover, we were confused as to why a crew member wasn't there to inform us that this was the case and that another passenger essentially shooed us off the deck. Thus began our story.
1.) We went to the service desk to figure out what happened. The rep there told us the deck was indeed booked and gave us a freestyle daily to figure out which areas were closed at certain times. We thought maybe we were in the wrong and didn't read freestyle daily correctly.
2.) Freestyle daily had no mention that the deck was closed to the public. Now it seemed like the service rep didn't give us correct information. So we returned. And the second rep told us there would be no more of these private functions that would book out public areas. Still no mention of any apology that there was no crew to close off the area / explain. (There were private functions booked in at least 2 dining areas, one of which became closed to the public, after he told us this.)
3.) Guest service assistant manager Alessio Quaglio came out. We explained the situation to him. He told us he was there around that time and didn't see us. Which sounded like he was calling us liars. We told him we have pictures during the sunset showing the time and place. At that point, he asked us if we wanted the guests from the function to apologize. No! We didn't have a problem with the other guests - they probably paid for the deck and felt equally confused as to why we were there. We just wanted an apology from NCL that this happened and more importantly, that there would be more clear information in the future so we wouldn't be put in this uncomfortable situation again. No apology given. He repeated that he was there and didn't see us. His tone was rude and he spoke to us as if we didn't speak English (we are Canadians and did our schooling K-12 + university in Canada and the US).
The entire experience with guest services changed what was originally curiosity and hope for just an apology (not monetary, just acknowledgement and reassurance) into what felt like accusation. It left a fun cruising experience with a bitter aftertaste and makes us seriously consider another cruise line even though we love the idea of freestyle cruising.
If nothing goes wrong on the cruise (no lost keycards, no cause for visiting guest services), this is a fun cruise with lots of food, entertainment, and great ports. My neutral service rating is because I don't want a negative reflection on the steward and dining staff.