7 day repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles with stops at Victoria, Astoria, Seattle, San Francisco, Monterey. In 2005, will be 5 day eliminating stop at San Francisco & Monterey which I think makes it much less appealing.
MEALS: First time with Freestyle Cruising (this was 13th cruise, second on NCL) and have mixed reactions. The meals in the specialty restaurants were outstanding - but at a price. Cagney's Steak House was probably the best steak meal we have ever had. Didn't care for the dining rooms meals and generally dislike buffets so I give the food overall a C Plus.
CABIN: Our cabin was mini-suite on Deck 11 and was a great cabin. Not only roomy with more than adequate storage, but little touches like coffee maker in the room, a hair blow dryer with adequate wattage, large bathtub and generally very well designed. Cabin rates an A Plus.
STAFF: Even with the statuatory tip policy of NCL (automatically added to account) we found all the staff to be great. Our cabin steward was never seen but always took care of business - the waitstaff were very good and overall everyone was friendly.
SPA: Has a wonderful hydrotherapy pool that can be acessed until 10 pm and was just steps away from our cabin (AFT). The spa staff were very capable.
SHIP: A great ship - even at full capacity, we never felt that it was crowded. Lots of venues, large casino, nicely decorated, and loved the Bier Garten bar on deck 13.
TOURS: Somewhat disorganized. It seemed that the right had didn't know what the left had was doing, but that may have been because this was not a regular route for the ship.
OVERALL: Give the cruise a B - still have mixed feelings about freestyle - you get flexibility (which was great and we never had to wait for a meal) but you give up quality on food service, in our opinion. We booked the NCL Jewel for next fall on board.