Lisa and Gary, I am sure you will have a blast. Just because there are problems now does not mean 6 weeks from now there will be problems. We have cruised all but one mass marketed line and NCL happens to be our favorite for several reasons. None are bad, but we love freestyle dining and the NCL itineraries. It seems that each week things are improving slowly. NMNita
I have just come back from the innaugural voyage on the POA. The Islands were great, the shows were fine, the food was fine...but since this was my first NCL cruise and someone asked, would I sail them again? The answer would be a resounding no !
If it were not for the beauty of Hawaii, I would say this was not a first rate cruise. My previous sailings were on Holland America and the old Home Lines..both of which were far superior.
I do not want to echo what was stated before (especillay from slimjimtell). I had experienced most of those. But I would like to add a few more 'comments'
They did have an attendant handing out dishes, but would it have been nice if they were clean dishes.
They did run out of food on Mexican night; but from what I was told by a waiter, it was because the cooks 'walked off the job'
"MAIN RESTAURANTS and FREESTYLE CRUISING"
from NCL web site, Freestyle cruising is defined as
"a world of dining options all in one week. From elegant French bistros and Italian trattorias to sushi and tapas bars, and more, there’s a different dining option for almost every night of your cruise. With up to 10 different restaurants, each featuring a diverse an ever-changing menu you’ll always find exactly what you’re in the mood for. And there are no fixed seatings. Imagine restaurants open from 5:30 pm to midnight so that you can choose from an early dinner before the show or a later romantic dinner for the two of you. And of course there’s always the option of 24-hour room service. You’re free to dine where, when and with whom you choose. Just as it should be on your vacation.
- there were only 2 dining options (if you didnt want to pay extra); the buffet and the 2 main restauarants..WHICH HAD THE SAME MENUS and they were the same each nite. Where are the options and the diverse and ever changing menu?
- open from 5:30 to midnite? Well, the daily newsletter stated that you MUST BE SEATED BY 9:30 PM.
- get dinner before or after a show...well, that takes some luck and planning since the wait could be up to 2 hours for a table and up to 2 1/2 hours to be served. We made all the shows, but with good planning. We got to the restaurant when it opened, and planned to eat by 7:00 PM so that we could make the late show. We even got very good service after we found a waiter that was very good, and we kept asking for him (he cam from NCL international)
- 24 hour room service... true if you orderPizza or a sandwich, or continetntal breakfast. Our room service experience was fair...sometimes arrived on time, sometimes what we ordered (sometimes not)
About that "service sharge". We did recieve a letter that states the serivce charge IS NOT A GRATUITY, and CANNOT BE REMOVED from the bill. This is now stated on the NCL web site and it only pertains to the POA. I would suggest the cruisemate website change the verbiage about tipping policy in light of this service charge. And dont forget, they add a "donation" to the Bishop Musuem...that you must ask (and sign) for it to be removed.
ABOUT THE SERVICE:
From NCLs web Site: You’re about to be pampered. By adding additional crewmembers to every ship in our fleet we’re able to offer exceptional service. With almost one crewmember per stateroom, you can be assured you’ll be very well taken care of when you cruise with us.
This is not the pampering that one would expect upon a cruise ship. The cabin steward never introduced himself (or herself) to us during the 7 days. We had long lines, dirty dishes, broken dishes, lost wine bottles (sent by a neighbor, that NCL had "lost")
On another note, what was so special about the 1st voyage? Was there a party? (no) Any special gifts, like a beach bag or tote? (no) Any special events at the pier, other than the normal 4th of July fireworks? (no) This was just any other typical sailing on a very nicely appointed ship with a crew that needs a great deal of help in the 'pampering' area.
NCL first timer,
If you would be so kind, please give the name of the good waiter, and whether it was palace or crossings. I am leaving this weekend and might as well ask for a good waiter if there is one available.
San Diego Steve, Let's not get too technical! ok, 80% citizens, 20% green card: they are still here legally and are controled and protected as some may say, by a union. I believe this is what so many are saying about nit picking!
It is too bad you couldn't eat in the dining room for lunch even though I have never thought the dining room lunches on NCL were all that great and most people choose the buffet when the ship was in port. As for only being open til 2pm, what time did you expect it to close? I think this is pretty normal. NMnita
I won't swear to this, but I don't think the buffet versus dining room service at lunch affects all NCL ships, only the POA. If it does, could it be, so few are using the dining rooms it didn't seem productive to keep them open on port days and NCL's itinerary, which is one of their strong points, has port days almost everyday! NMNIta