OK, I'm big on details because I think first time cruisers need answers...so forgive me.
Saturday-Embarkation_ New York Piers. Checked in at 11:30am and was about ship at 11:55! However, we were notified upon check in that over 100 people had gotten sick with Norovirus on the last cruise, so we were offered the chance to change our cruise date. From what I see, no one did, and I have to give KUDOS to NCL for taking the cleaning seriously and making a Code Red Situation palatable...by Weds. of the cruise, we were declared "Clean"!
Ate lunch at the Tsar's Palace, one of the 2 main dining rooms-the food here and in Azura (they share the same menu daily), was very good to ok. I had decided ahead of time I wasn't going to pay extra for food, so I skipped the $$ Restaurants-However, I have eaten at many of them on past cruises and they are all very good and worth the price!
All the staff was very friendly and the decor of The Jewel was very nice. I have to say that Disney has much more luxurious ships, but you do PAY for it! The Cruise Director's Staff, especially "Boston" Chris and "Dazzling" Devon were wonderful.
The staterooms are small but well appointed...I had a large picture window which was great,,,I didn't miss not having a balcony. Raimond kept my room immaculate. since it was cold and rainy in NY, the Sail Away Party was held in Spinnaker's Lounge...which was wonderful since I wasn't in the cold wind, and sat by the wall of windows watching us pass Lady Liberty as they played "Proud to be an American". Very Nice.
Day Two was "At Sea", and there was lots to do. I love Trivia and there was plenty of that, plus a cooking demo with yummy samples, a spa tour, and "Family Feud". Breakfasts at the Garden Cafe Buffet were good, if the same, every day. And I usually ate lunch at one of the restaurants, since it's so nice to be served! That night was "Dress up or not" night, and, just a warning, EVERYONE dresses to the 9's! I had my picture taken with Captain Lars, and later went to Spinnakers to watch a shipboard version of "Minute to Win It" which was very funny. (Oh, About the shows...They were fairly lame...the Dancers were not in step and the singers were good but plastic--JP the magician was very funny, but the comedian, David Nasser was just awful (IMHO).
Day Three-Beautiful day. Morning at the pool , since by now it was in the 80's, then took the bus for my pre-paid excursion to Epcot. Now, I have been to DisneyWorld 30 times, so I had a blast just looking at the flowers at the Epcot Flower and Garden Show and then having dinner in "France" with my friend who lives in the area. However, as expected, it was VERY crowded and we only had 6 hours there, so if you have never been to Disney OR if you have kids---do NOT take this excursion! It will just dissappoint and aggravate you and upset the kids! Tour Cape Kednnedy or go to the local beaches.
Day Four-Great Stirrup Cay-The NCL Private Island. Again, if you have been to Disney's Castaway Cay, you will be very disappointed here. BUT, there was a hurricane 2 years ago which laid waste to the island and they are in the process of re-building and expanding. There was no construction going on the day I was there, so no noise that has been reported by other recent visitors. The day was gorgeous and it was HOT--and there is NO SHADE-No UMBRELLAS! They do offer "Clamshells", those little half tents which would have been great but they were all sold out before we even arrived at the island...so if you want one, book it at least the day before! The sand is whitem, the barbecue was good, but it was a bit small so it got crowded early. The kids all seemed to love the "Hippo" water slide and the water was warm and clear!That night, watched the "Dancing with the NCL Stars" Don;t miss this--it was really fun, even if you just watched and did not participate. Also, Karaoke is also good for a laugh or a surprise, some people can really sing! (Some Can NOT!)
Day Five-Nassau, Bahamas. If you have never been here before, I would suggest taking the paradise island excursion and spend the day touring the aquarium and enjoying the beach on Paradise Island, especially if you have kids. I just walked around the shops and climbed a couple of small hills to take pictures of some of the beautiful local flowers and houses (Don;t stray too far, it isn't as dangerous as say, Belize or Guatemala, but it ain't Kansas)!. I went to the straw market (Lots of local items mixed in with the "Made in China" junk. Then walked down to Junkanoo beach-a very peaceful spot...and it's free and scenic. And don;t forget to dicker for bargains! Do NOT pay the asking price!
Day Six-Day at Sea-Still beautiful and in the low 80's, so lots of pool and sun! Chocolate Buffet tonight was excellent-take your camera!-Also tonight was NCL's signature "White Hot Party" lots of fun, even if you are not the clubbing type--watching drunks can be very entertaining! And make sure to bring an all white outfit!
As a side note...in between activities, NCL had a nice selection of movies on the TV-All newish films that were just up for Oscars. I appreciated that as I had missed some and I like to relax and watch TV before I fall asleep.
Day Seven--Rain and cold and rough. Not as rough as I've seen it in the North Atlantic, but bad enough that the vomit bags were placed in various spots on the decks and the outside decks were closed. I love the bumping and splashing, but I know I am in the minority. However, it passed by mid-afternoon and the sun came out! Lots of Activities today...Jeopardy, Movie Trivia, name that tune and lots of good entertainment in all the bars and public areas. Don;t miss the "Liar's Club" game show late night in Spinnakers...it's always a hoot!
Day Eight-BYE BYE! Did the "Freestyle" walk-off, and took my luggage with me and walked off the gangway at 9:15am, no hassle, no lines, and hopped in my waiting car and was home by 10:30AM.
All in All a very nice week!