People seem to love Transatlantic cruises, judging from how many were on our cruise critic message board and who showed up at the meet & greet. I would only take another TA if it were on a smaller ship. The spa and Haven privileges that came with the room gave us some of the peace and quiet we needed. That was the one saving grace. NCL has lost a step in service from the last time we cruised with them, whether that is a result of the extra people on board remains to be seen. They seemed overwhelmed at times.
4 out of 5
NCL says they will have a separate lines for returning Latitude members, but, in this case they did not. (They said there were too many Latitude members sailing on this cruise.) They did have a separate line for suite passengers, and a small area where we could wait for the rest of our party to go through the line. Unlike in Barcelona, which had a separate room, this was simply a few chairs beside the door to the terminal.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
Food was good, but there was a decline in service from previous cruises with NCL. Little things like not setting the tables correctly (plates or glasses missing when we sat down), having to ask for butter or cream for coffee, food orders not coming through as desired. We were very disappointed in the specialty restaurants with the exception of Le Bistro and La Cucina. We had a 15 minute wait at Margaritaville to get beers, and by the time our burgers arrived it was almost 50 minutes from the time we sat down. We did like the way the buffet was set up... there were enough stations that you didn't have people crowding around one area (except for when the hot cookies were put out at 3 pm).
3 out of 5
The pools had to be closed because of rough weather for the first four days of the cruise. The activities that were in the atrium were too loud... you couldn't carry on a conversation in adjacent spaces like the internet center, the library, O'Sheehan's bar. The fitness center was fine... the hours it was open were problematic for us as our suite was below it. The thump, thump, thump of someone running on the treadmill woke us up each morning between 6 and 6:40. We complained, and they said they would take care of it. The reprieve lasted about 2 days, then folk were back at it.
4 out of 5
Barricade Boys and the Million Dollar Quartet were outstanding. The bands they had playing throughout the ship were too loud, poolside and atrium, particularly.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
Room steward was outstanding. Butler had some problem understanding English and we felt that we did not get the service we had received from previous cruises. Concierge staff was helpful. Bartenders were great, particularly the staff at Mixx and Waves. (They would see us coming and have our drinks ready.)
3 out of 5
We did not like the design of the ship. There is no traditional promenade deck, so we couldn't do our traditional morning mile. (The jogging track on the 16th deck was too windy and congested ...it cut across access to other sports areas.) The casino being off the atrium led to smoke filtering up and down three decks... many Europeans on this crossing, so there were lots of smokers. There was not a lounge with windows forward... no place for traditional "sail-away' parties. There were many places where crowds of people formed making it hard to get around - around entrances to venues, on stairways, at the edge of the atrium.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
After having a penthouse suite on the previous cruise, this "suite" was a disappointment. It was a little wider than a spa mini suite and had a Jacuzzi near the balcony door. Due to rough seas we couldn't use it for the first portion of the cruise. Having the spa there meant there was no extra seating, and the dining table was smaller than in our other suite. We would not book this type of suite again. For anyone who is booking, do not book a Spa Suite on the starboard side, because it is right under the fitness center. The hours of the FC are 6am-11pm and if anyone is running on the treadmill it sounds like a bass drum pounding away.
Don't ... unless you like too many people, too much noise, and less service.
We had been here before on another NCL ship. Two cruise ships were in port day one, so everything was crowded on the West End, no way to enjoy anything. Took the ship's tender to St George on day 2; The schedule was such that the tender got there an hour before anything opened up. Note: NCL needed to do something about how people queued and boarded there. There was nearly an accident as someone was getting off with a mobility scooter and crowds were trying to get on.
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