November 2014 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Western
The crew was extremely nice, I will give them that. However, it felt as though this was EVERYONE's first working cruise. From check-in all the way until disembarkation, nothing went smoothly. At check-in, they (temporarily) misplaced my son's original birth certificate. We had to remind them to take certain forms because they forgot to ask us for them. Once we got on board, everything went ok until dinner. At dinner this first night, and every single night after, the service was that of a rookie wait staff. On every other cruise I have been on, at dinner when a drink is ordered, they look at your room card, write down the information, and return the car straight away. Not on NCL, they keep your card until everyone is finished with dinner. Even after it is requested. A few of our friends wanted to leave dinner early to take their kids to the kid program but needed their card to check in the children, the waiter did not return it after being asked several times. We were told they were out of mint for mojitos (on the very first night!) - which they later "found". There were drinks forgotten, food was given to the wrong people, refills on tea and soda were extremely rare. Please note - this was consistent with each dining room and every waiter with the exception of the specialty restaurants (where you pay extra). The specialty restaurants were typically better. Teppenyaki was outstanding! Chin Chin, however, not so much. The buffets were consistently out of items as well.
My son turned five and my sister ordered the birthday package where the stateroom gets decorated and a cake is delivered at dinner. Yeah, that went awry as well. They were to decorate the room at 10:00 am so we all went to breakfast at 9:00 and came back at 10:30 when we were told it would be done. Nothing was there. We left the room again at 10:45, leaving my husband there, and they showed up to do the room. My sister complained about this and they argued with her telling her they were there at 10:00 and the guests were in the room. We most assuredly were not there at 10:00. Finally, they got the room done. Dinner came and went without a cake. Again, we had to complain. They were apologetic and brought the cake to the room - much less celebratory. They did bring a complimentary bottle of wine for us and two cans of Pepsi for my son but it did not make up for him missing his birthday cake at dinner the previous night. We had to take it to lunch ourselves the day we got it. They gave my sister her money back for this and gave her a bottle of wine as well.
In Honduras, it rained. This is completely fine and not any fault of the cruise line! However, when getting back on the ship, people are running up to the gangway to get out of the rain. Then we wait...outside...in the wind and rain. Why? Oh, because they have SpongeBob directly inside the enrtry way to the ship just for pictures and holding up the line. This was ridiculous. They should have had him somewhere else instead of plugging the only way to get back on board out of the weather.
Based on our past several cruise experiences with other cruise lines, there is no need to try NCL again. It was a very poorly executed cruise and we will be happy to get much better service on every other cruise line - even Carnival has better service than this ship. On the rare occasions there was a problem on any other line, it was fixed and it was the ONLY problem. None of the others had repetitive issues. Maybe it was a new crew. Maybe it was because it was Thanksgiving week. Maybe it is just NCL. Please feel free to give them a try if you like, just know, we will not be on NCL again.