Even though this is a big ship with lots of people, it never seem crowded. Lots to do as far as amenities and activities. Something for everyone and all ages. Food was excellent in the main dining room and there was no need to spend extra money on specialty dining. We did eat at Chops Grille as we received a certificate to eat at one of the dining facilities for free and it was excellent. Book excursions, shows, drink and internet packages online before boarding as there was a significant increase in the price if you wait to order on the ship and no guarantee to get into shows. The Voom internet service with the surf and play option was excellent. No issues streaming video, video chatting or watching TV on your device. This was a great vacation.
First off, I’ve taken many cruises with Princess, RCCL, and Celebrity. This was my first with NCL and my wife’s first ever. The NCL Breakaway Cruise on 11/22-11/29 was bad from the start with few bright points. Ship design and layout is terrible. Customer service was horrible from the Customer Service desk, to the wait staff, to the bar staff. Something was always being thrown in front of you to buy (reminded me of the straw market in the Bahamas), or you were getting nickeled and dimed for basic services. It started as soon as we got on with my credit card not being linked to my room key, only to my wife’s. After 3 trips to customer service, 2 hours standing in line and 2 days, we finally got it corrected. Ordered a cheese tray to be delivered to our cabin on 11/22 for our anniversary and didn’t get a call about it until Tuesday, asking when we wanted it delivered. This was pre-ordered through NCL, where I have the confirmation of all the details to include the delivery on 11/22. Luckily, we had forgotten it and with some more rude customer service, we were able to get it credited to our cabin after showing them the confirmation (luckily I had printed everything I pre-ordered). Next was the internet package we decided to purchase to stay in touch with the kids at home, one word, DON’T!! It was so slow and intermittent, by Tuesday we demanded we be credited back the $209 we spent for the week of service because we could never get on and stay connected to their Wi-Fi. I’m technically savvy, so it wasn’t on my end, but they couldn’t keep the TV signals either. The weather, which is no fault of NCL, was pretty bad. So bad we couldn’t go to their private island. No big deal, we made the best of an unfortunate situation they had no control over. Communications could have been better about the situation. The Captain needs a lesson on talking on the intercom. Not sure if he’s trying to be Barry Manilow or eating the thing. Either way it was so low it was mostly inaudible. The main dining rooms fill up quick, be early or make reservations in the Manhattan Room nightly. The service is so slow they can only turn a table 2, maybe 3 times before the 5 hours is up and they close. This pushes most people to either pay for upgraded dining or go to the buffet where you receive the recycled food from the dining rooms. If you want lunch at the main dining rooms, forget it, they only open for an hour before closing. Entertainment was almost non-existent except for the raunchy Rock-of-Ages which used second rate 80’s songs and a lot of sexual connotations. Thankfully our kids weren’t on board. It was also about 50 minutes to long as the theatre seats are the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever encountered. Highlights of our cruise were the Fire and Ice show and the Spa. We enjoyed our spa pass and well worth it. Although the spa did fill up near the end because there was so little to do elsewhere. They may only sell 120 weekly passes, but they sell unlimited daily passes and people were using them since the weather was bad and pools couldn’t be enjoyed. Bottom line, I won’t sail with NCL again, no matter how many freebies they throw at me. I will stick to what I know and what I’ve come to expect. When lines start throwing free drink packages or up to 4 packages your way, it only means they’re skimping somewhere else. In this case, customer service.