I have just returned from the "infamous" 2/15-2/22 cruise that some have spoken about here. I say infamous, because we were affected by the terrible tragedy in the Mississippi river and underwent a unique disembarktion. In light of the tragedy and inavailability of other options, I think the staff of NCL and the Dream did the absolute best they could. Was it plesant or the best "service" I had received? Not really, but you realized that they were presented with a HUGE challenge that they had never been through before and they were trying to get us out and the passangers on who were waiting for THEIR cruise. To all the people complaining about the busses...think of how much money it cost them to charter all those busses and moving vans to transport our luggage. Think of the poor drivers of those busses. I was on one of the last transports out of the industrial port and our bus driver had not eaten or had a potty break all day. A trip that was less than 10 miles took over 3 hours because of the Mardi Gras traffic rerouting. ANd the looks on the faces of those people waiting to get ON the boat....sitting in droves with hearts heavy, wondering if this whole cruise is going to be like this. Hopefully once they sailed away, they were able to experience their cruise the way NCL intends to provide service.
For the most part, I enjoyed my cruise. I was plesantly surprised when I got to my stateroom at how big it seemed and how pleasant it was! (I got a super deal online and was staying in a FF stateroom with two portholes, but on the Carribean AKA lower deck for stability reasons) THey provide ample towels, toiletries (shampoo and soap dispensers in the shower, cream and a few little extras on the side of the sink) We got extra blankets, pillows and a portable heater when it was discovered that the heat was broken in our room. We were a little late arriving because our NCL airport transfer bus was waiting to pick up some lost luggage for folks already on the ship. THey have a deal with the airlines to transport any bags found in the collection terminal with NCL stickers on them that were forgotten or bags arriving on a different flight than their owners. THis is fantastic of them to do--can't imagine what I would do without my luggage, but it delayed us three hours waiting in the bus terminal smelling diesel fuel while being told "just one more minute folks, I think there is another bag." Our built-in "fudge time" for arriving to the ship was eaten up and at 5:20 pm (when you are required to be on the ship no later than 5:30pm. We were two of the last 14 people on ship!
But...at the bottom of all these "inconveniences" was NCL providing extra services for their customers, utilizing the resources they had available to them. It is hard to think this way when you are feeling "slighted" but let me tell you--this was my delayed honeymoon. My home wedding reception was ruined when my bengal cat bit through my husbands finger when he was putting her away from the guests. We were in the emergency room the entire time our guests were at our home enjoying the party I took weeks to set up and plan. There was NO WAY I was letting my honeymoon cruise get ruined. We met another couple on the ship that had really positive attitudes, and we stayed with them the entire disembarkment day and that made all the difference. THey helped us just enjoy the extra time we were on the ship and not worry (we both had reservations for that night to stay in New Orleans, so we were not working under the pressure that others had regarding lost airling flights to rearrange)
So to all you skeptical travellers, believe me it is what you make of it. WIth a positive attitude, you can have a good time anywhere. (except the chocolate buffet...I was very disappointed with that. As a self-proclaimed CHOCOHOLIC I could not find anything on there I liked enough to waste the calories on! Very beautifully presented, however just was too "froo froo" somehow. Chocolate covered rice paste was one thing I bit into. But the desserts in the dining rooms were excellent...apples in a jacket had me doing backflips!! Tiramisu...mmm.)