I enjoyed the cruise overall. The ports were mostly amazing. All with something to see. I was surprised that I was able to find deck chairs on the pool deck for a ship of this size, but I never had a problem. Dining at the buffet, finding seating was a challenge. I mostly ate outside and that solved that problem.
One thing I wish they would do differently; I bought the soda package. RCL has cups with bar codes on the bottom and you can fill them yourself. I spent a lot of time waiting at bars while bartenders are making mixed drinks just to get a soda. I'd love to see NCL copy RCL in this technology. Also please fix the TV and Phone App "What's going on" which doesn't always reflect the printed schedule and they follow the printed schedule. I went to two events that weren't happening before I figured that out.
4 out of 5
The lines and initial processing were as quick as I could hope for a ship this large. The downside however was I would later learn that my keycard did not work and have to get a replacement. The elevators are not the most efficient group of elevators and at certain times, such as embarkation, the lines were too long and moved too slow. In fairness it was reasonable during the cruise. The other issue was that until staterooms were ready there is not enough room for everybody on deck to find a place to have lunch and sit and wait. Again, once the cruise started this was not a problem.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
The buffets were okay, the main dining rooms were sometimes good, sometimes not. The specialty restaurants were mostly worth the upgrade. I especially enjoyed Cagney's Steakhouse where I had one of the best crab cakes that I've ever tasted as well as a nice salad and filet with béarnaise. I would not go back to the Italian restaurant, that was one I did not feel was worth the upgrade. And the French restaurant, while the meal was very good, it was a bit pretentious for my taste.
4 out of 5
On this cruise we only had one sea day. I was pleased to find that I was able to get a deck chair by the pool any time that I wanted. I have experienced problems with this on Carnival. But perhaps it was due to the time of year? I watched many of the shipboard activities in the evenings on port days from game shows to dance classes. I most enjoyed Ginger who seemed to be the busiest person on the ship running many of the social events and making it fun for everyone whether they participated or just watched. I also attended an art gathering to discuss artist Thomas Kinkade. I enjoyed the talk but not the hard sell after. I had no intention to buy and felt that I was upfront about that, but they kept trying to sell, sell, sell. I enjoyed the future cruise next presentations.
4 out of 5
I saw "Burn The Floor" which was an enjoyable show. Though I feel compelled to say that on one of the ships TV channels they do a segment on the show and they clearly are over hyping the show. One person says "We ran on broadway 8 shows a week for 40 weeks. What other show has done that?" Well, just about every show that has ever made back it's initial investment. It shouldn't detract from a show because one person over hypes it; it's a good show, but that was off putting to me.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
This was hit and miss. Housekeeping was awful. I asked for an extra towel the first 3 nights and was told I would have one the next day. That never happened. I didn't even have a hand towel my last night. The worst however is all week they would not take trash unless it was in the trash can. I'm fine with that and learned quickly. I was shocked when the day before disembarkation they took several papers off a shelf and threw them away. These were things I'd collected from ports as well as my airport transfer and disembarkation instructions.
I took several tours, 4 out of 5 were great. The one that wasn't was a real disappointment. I spoke with the tour desk and the way in which they handled my complaint was defensive whereas I wasn't being confrontational. I was just comparing it to other tours and saying that this was a disappointment and could be better in the future.
The rest of the staff that I interacted with was very good. Restaurants and bar staff all friendly, professional. The cruise director and staff the same. I enjoyed my cruise but the housekeeping and tour desk let me down.
4 out of 5
I had not been on a ship this large. I worked on ships in the 80s and certainly adjusted to smaller ships where you could find space to sit out on desk. For a ship this large while I was happy that I could always find a place to sit or a rail to lean against outside, including during sail aways, I missed having a regular promenade deck and decks more conducive to sitting and watching the water without having to look through a window. And speaking of window, I was surprised that there weren't more lounges with beautiful water views. Otherwise for a ship this large it was easy to navigate and there was plenty to do.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
I specifically booked NCL for their Solo cabin suites. I am a solo traveller and can't afford to pay fare and a half or double. There was enough room in the cabin for me and my things. A little more would have been nice, but this worked. It was comfortable and I will definitely look at future cruises with NCL in their studio cabins. I'd love to see that become more available on other lines.
If you're traveling solo, from what I've found they have more solo cabin suites than any other line. That's what got my business.
I visited Sorrento and Pompeii. Sorrento was nice but I had booked a tour of the Amalfi coast and Pompeii which was cancelled. So I was disappointed about not getting to see the Amalfi coast, but I had a nice morning in Sorrento including some authentic Naples pizza. Then onto Pompeii. Wow! These ruins exceeded my expectations. I could have spent a full day there. The size of the ruins with roads going on and on was surprising. This was the best stop for feeling like you are glimpsing a look at life centuries ago.
I had high expectations for Rome and I felt a little disappointed. Mostly this was due to crowds and the pace at which the tour went through the ancient sites. It seemed like from Trevi Fountain to the Colosseum, it was a matter of find a spot to sneak in, take your pictures and get out of the way. There wasn't that chance to just take in the moment. Still I saw so much of my punch list. But you can't cover it in a day.
I had lower expectations for Pisa than maybe I should have. I'd heard that it was in the middle of no where and you take your pictures and you move on to Florence. I thought Pisa was beautiful. We weren't there for long, but it was plenty of time to take a myriad of photos from both a distance as well as standing at the tower. Pisa started with a stop in a leather shop where they do a demo and offer free initials stamped onto goods that you buy. I ended up doing my holiday shopping there for family. That left me about 3 hours to have lunch and see Florence. I'd hoped to see the David but there was not enough time. I saw the replica however and the many other beautiful statues in the same plaza. I enjoyed walking through Florence, particularly seeing that iconic bridge with the shops. I can't say that I enjoyed my lunch at the tour recommended restaurant. It was okay, but not memorable. But overall a nice day.
I went on a Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo tour. I am from Florida and was surprised by the beaches at Nice. They bring in all of these pebbles/ I expected white powdery sand like we have, so I was not impressed by the beaches, though the scenery with the hills in the background and architecture were very picturesque. Monaco was beautiful. That's what I really enjoyed about the tour. We were able to go through the church where Princess Grace and Prince Rainier were married and buried. We visited the palace and were just in time for the changing or the guard. Monaco is up on a cliffside and the views of the water and expensive homes and boats were beautiful. In Monte Carlo the Grand Casino was the focus of the visit. Also the expensive automobiles parked out front. The area was being prepared for the Grand Prix and that was interesting to see the sharp turns in person.
After four fantastic tours, this tour was not good. The tour guide didn't use walkie talkies which seem to be standard on tours. And other than an amazing cathedral I don't know what I saw. There was a lot of free time in Palma. Then we were taken by bus up a hillside for a view of the port where there is also a castle. The castle was closing and we weren't permitted to enter. I would skip the tour, take the shuttle into Palma and see the cathedral and walk the town a little bit.
5 out of 5
Based on my information sheet, I got off the ship at 6:30 am, Had no problem locating my luggage and getting onto a bus for my transfer to the airport.
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