I will never book another Norwegian cruise EVER. The food was only mediocre, which is a big part of what you are purchasing on a cruise. You could work around this by only going to the specialty restaurants, but they were also so disorganized, it was ridiculous. They shut off our water two nights of the cruise, and one morning no cabins had hot water for hours. They also only had some of the great attractions open for 1-2 h a day, mostly while you were off the boat. I was at the service desk virtually every day of the cruise figuring out something (dinner reservations, bill discrepancies, etc.) that seemed wrong. While they did not succeed in ruining my vacation, it was only because I decided to rise above these things and enjoy myself regardless.
Positives: We went to every port of call as expected. The drink package was excellent and not confusing. My son really enjoyed being on a cruise and the kid's activities. My husband won some money in the casino.
Negatives: We waited for things a lot on the cruise. The food was cafeteria/Max and Erma's/TGI Friday's quality at best. Information was shared very poorly on the cruise and very little went smoothly.
4 out of 5
When we got on the boat, there was virtually no one there to greet us. It was good because we were the only people getting on (not crowded), but it felt like a strange twilight zone experience.
Food and Dining
1 out of 5
The food on the ship was just so so. In the main dining room, the food was good, but not great with very little selection (4 appetizers, 2 soups, 2 salads, 4-6 featured entrees, and 6 standard entrees). The kid's menu food was terrible. We did not make our son eat it after he tried a few things. They were about the same quality as frozen food.
The buffet food was worse. The quality was not even as good as what I get in my work cafeteria. Also, nothing was ever really hot either. By the time, I got my food and drinks and sat down, none of my food was even warm any more.
The food that we had in the specialty restaurants was actually very good. If I were to do this cruise again (which I would not), I would only eat in the specialty restaurants. So, if you want to do this, factor that cost into your budget.
We had the premium beverage plan, which meant that we got unlimited free drinks. This is the only part of the food and beverage plan that they really delivered on. You could get a drink at almost any time anywhere on the ship including specialty restaurants and there was even a bar in the buffet line too.
3 out of 5
The pools were very small on this boat. It was not very hot during our cruise, so not that many people were swimming, but the boat had two 6 ft X 12 ish ft size pools for all of the kids on the boat, and only 1 other smaller pool in the adults only section. The hot tubs were nice, but there were times when we could not get in them (or did not want to because they were so full). They also had a great water park with slides, but only two slides were open at a time. Also, the lines got very long at times when everyone was on the boat. They had a rock climbing wall, but we did not even attempt to do that because there was always a wait.
4 out of 5
We saw Burn the Floor which was a very good dancing show on the boat. We also did karaoke and Howl at the Moon piano bar, which were both fun. The casino was nice too. My husband actually won quite a bit of money.
4 out of 5
My son was hesitant to participate, but he did and enjoyed the things he did. One irritating thing was that on the at sea day, the room was closed for two 2 h times during the day. Since we wanted our son to experience the ports, the at sea day was the main time that he had to do the kid's activities, but they were closed for much of that day.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
Some of the staff were extremely helpful and friendly, but some of the did not smile at you at all and made no attempt to interact with guests. They seemed to be quite unhappy to be working on this ship.
2 out of 5
The ship is older and really needs to be refurbished. On deck 10, there was a strange moldy smell when you got off the elevator; that was very offputing. The elevators also sometimes just did not seem to work. Especially at breakfast time, we often just walked up to deck 15 to eat because we were waiting so long for an elevator.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
The cabin was very tight. Having the bed really close to the door was also a terrible design. One of the bed directly contacted the wall with the toilet, not very picturesque. Our safe did not work. Our stateroom attendant did a good job of keeping it clean, however.
Do not make any reservations for dining before you get on the ship. The website makes it look like you can, but these will not be saved in the system once you get on the ship. Also, do not bother trying to make reservations on your in-cabin tv or the kiosks, these will only show you 2-3 days worth of times that have already been picked over by people who were on the ship before you (possibly having gotten on at a different port). Just use the phone reservation line or go to the reservation desk and speak with someone in person. They have access to a system that will allow you to pick any night of your cruise to reserve.
This port is fine. Livorno is fairly small, but the taxi drivers will soak you for a ride to the train station. You may be better off taking the cruise bus there. We road the train to Pisa, which was also nice and a lot of walking to get to the famous leaning tower.
This port city is actually a very nice place to have lunch and take a stroll. We decided to take the train to Monaco, which was kind of confusing. We had very little time here because the last tender left at 5 pm. The tendering process was fine but confusing since we had never done it before. The way home was much easier/less waiting than the way off the ship.
The island is set up nicely for cruise landings. We did a great excursion that drove across the island and visited the Caves of Hams, very nice to see and a good change of pace from some of the other things that we did. I really liked Mallorca and would love to go back.
We did a Hop on Hop off bus excursion in Barcelona, which was a great way to see a lot of things in town in a short period of time. We were there on a Sunday, which was a bummer because many things were closed that day.
Naples itself was awful. I had booked a morning transport to Pompeii through the cruise for a very reasonable price, but they changed it to an afternoon excursion a day before we were going, so I cancelled that because I picked a morning excursion months ago for a reason. The port and surrounding area is very ugly. Also, taxi drivers swarmed the entry to the port and harassed us for fares when we got off the ship. We had to say no to about 25 aggressive drivers before we found the taxi stand the next street over who would just take us to the train station as we wanted. The train to Pompeii was very straightforward, if not super dirty and ugly (with tons of graffitti). Pompeii itself was wonderful, one of the highlights of the trip. We got a great tour from a local guide who approached us in line and only charged us 15 Eu pp (no charge for our son, who is 7). I was really disappointed that our excursion got changed, but we were able to see what we wanted to see and had to figure out how to get there on our own.
1 out of 5
If I could give no stars, I would. They only told us the day before when we should be out of our rooms. It was 8 am, what a luxurious check out time. So, then we had to reschedule our prebooked ride back to Rome. Thanks so much for the information. Also, we could not get an elevator off the ship that morning at all. We had to split up our party of three and get on relatively empty elevators going up, to ride them until they started going down and fight with all the other guests getting off with all of their luggage too. Terrible!
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