We've been on NCL 7 times, including the Norway. Our 8th will be in Feb on the Breakaway. Been on the Gem 3 times. They make it very affordable to get on, but then they try to get every last nickel out of you. That being said, for an intro category line, their food is very good better than two other beginner lines, IMHO. All the restaurants are excellent. The shows can be a hit or miss, but that's true of all the lines I think. You either like them or you don't. The White Hot Parties are fun. The Dufry shops are the same everywhere. Better to buy at DI on the islands.
Service is excellent. Cabins are clean, as is the rest of the ship. At least the ones we've been on. CS is great. Any issues are handled promptly. We love the casualness of freestyle. Not rushing back to the ship for dinner or whatever.
Tell your customers to stay off Cruise Critic. Nothing but negative comments about everything. A regular bitchfest over there.
I feel the same... I love love love NCL. I adore their specialty resturants ( with the exception of maybe one bad expereince), and HATE having to have assigned seating. Its a cruise, and I don't want to be told when I have to do things. All the staff were fabulous ... I don't get what in the world the problem is.
LOL, and cruisecritic .. AGHHH too many reviews, too many weird things people focus on I.E. the bathrooms inside the staterooms of the Epic. Everyone is freaking out the the shower and toliet are in seperate room areas, I thought it was kind of cool.
Some of my first cruises were on NCL in the early 80`s , I have been on 6 cruises with them , I like the freestyle dinning
My wife and I will be going on our 4th cruise with NCL. I did a lot of research into the dining and entertainment aspects of most cruise lines and choose NCL because of their freestyle cruising. I like the open seating and freestyle dining and the shows are usually pretty good. There are some bad shows but when I look down and don't see any chains I get up and leave. It's amazing! The specialty restaurants are hit and miss except for the Cagney steak house and the French, Le Bistro. Both are amazing and worth the extra money. If that's not your thing then the restaurants included with the cruise are more than adequate to satisfy your belly. I hope this helps other cruisers make a choice...
Interesting article in the Miami Herald about Norwegian...they seem to be doing better than the other cruise lines, at least at the moment. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/06/16/3454560/with-a-string-of-successes-norwegian.html
As a whole, my wife and I think NCL offers the most for the buck. Just resist them trying to take your last cent while on the cruise and you'll enjoy the food, entertainment and other amenities. Western Med will be our 5 cruise with NCL and they haven't come close to sinking yet...
Splurge on the custom bobble heads from the photo dept.
Ours came out great.
Cagney's, LeBistro, and Teppanaki are not to be missed.
I've been on three cruises with Norwegian between 2011 and 2013 and have a fourth booked for February 2014. I have experienced three different itineraries - Bahamas and Florida, Western Caribbean, Bermuda. All three of my cruises were great. My cruise in February 2014 will be another Bahamas and Florida but on the Breakaway. My past cruises were on the Jewel, Star, and Dawn.
COMPLIMENTARY DINING - The dining is really good overall. I have dined in the main dining rooms, the buffet (though not for dinner... not my style), the poolside grill, room service, and Blue Lagoon (24 hour place). We liked the buffet for breakfast and lunch as it offered us a good variety and we didn't usually make it early enough for breakfast in the dining rooms. Room service is nothing to write home about and there aren't a lot of options -- we actually ordered breakfast before bed, specified a time, then they delivered it an hour early and forgot the coffee! Whoops.
SPECIALTY (FEE) DINING - I have also tried some of the dining options that charge a fee over my 3 cruises, including Pizza 24/7 twice ($5 a pizza), Cagney's twice, Le Bistro twice, Italian (La Cucina and Mamma's Italian I think they were called) 6 or 7 times, the sushi bar twice, and the coffee bar. The food was good in the complimentary options, though a little inconsistent. Never order a steak or prime rib in the main restaurants, as the cuts on the steaks are so thin that they can't be cooked the way you want them and they put gravy on the prime rib. The fish was great in the main dining rooms. If you want steak go to Cagney's, La Cucina, or Le Bistro, each with a great steak on the menu (or many in the case of Cagney's). La Cucina's pizza is also very good. Also, if you like desserts, ANY dining option has great desserts. Sometimes the tables are too close together, but the service is usually good and the food is great overall. If you expect fine dining then go to the specialty restaurants for a fee, though the main restaurants do a decent job at reasonably fine dining.
SERVICE - The room stewards were good at their jobs and friendly, the bartenders are wonderful (especially the casino bartenders), and the waitstaff is great. I had good experiences with the guest relations staff and the duty free store clerks. The jewelry sales clerks are a little pushy, but that's to be expected. NCL charges a service charge every day to include tips. This makes sense and most people would tip more in cash then what is included. While it adds a significant amount to your bill, it is worth it in the end and you can even pre-pay it.
ACTIVITIES/SHOWS/NIGHTLIFE - My fiance and I aren't big on organized activities, but when we did participate they were enjoyable. The shows we went to were great, like Band on the Run and the cirque-style shows, but we avoided shows like magic and comedy because we aren't into those. Bingo and Deal or No Deal were fun but on the expensive side. The casino pays out poorly and is a waste of money. The bar/club scene was hit or miss, but usually there was a pretty good showing of people out and about at night.
EXCURSIONS - Excursions are on the expensive side, but I imagine that is the same with every cruise line. On our Bermuda cruise we did not do any excursions and instead rented a scooter on our own and just explored. We did our own thing in Cozumel (COZUMEL BAR HOP!), Nassau (took a sightseeing tour from a random company at the dock and also went to Senor Frogs), and Port Canaveral (took a cab to Cocoa Beach). We did excursions in Costa Maya (Chacchoben Mayan Ruins), Belize (cave tubing and zip lining... so worth it), Roatan (private island excursion, don't remember the name), Great Stirrup Cay (para sailing, expensive but so much fun). There are so many options and you can mostly just do your own thing at most ports. We chose to do excursions because they were things that we really wanted to do and mostly once in a lifetime things.
I hope this helps to give the average person's perspective on Norwegian.