My husband and I were very excited about our Norwegian cruise and had heard a lot of great things about the company. With all the emails they sent us and how many hours I was on their website we were really hyped up about this vacation more so than usual.
When we arrived in Miami the embarkation seemed a bit disorganized compared to Royal Carribean (which we had taken last year). Once you get through all the paperwork and lines you are greated by music and dancers to get you excited about your trip. You walk in and you are on Deck 7 but the food is up on Deck 12. No one told us that, so we are walking around trying to find the food because we were hungry. It was disorganized and frusterating. We finally found the buffet and since everyone embarked at the same time there was no where to sit and eat, you had to pratically stand by someone's table until they got up and than sit down real quick before anyone else claimed it. The buffet should have larger signs of what the food is, because people would crowd around to see what there was to offer at each station. The only complimentary beverages are water, tea, coffee and juices in the morning. I was disappointed that you couldn't have juices in the afternoon.
Finally we got to our room and the room was beautifully decorated and very modern looking. The rooms although typical cruise size had a lot of shelves and drawers for storage. It didn't feel crammed in there at all. It was a nice living space for a week. Our bed was two twin beds instead of one queen. We just called to front desk to let them know we would like one bed. They said they would take care of it at turn down service... never did. So we called again and they sent the housekeeping manager. He took care of the problem.. but when we returned there was someone else's shirt under our bed. I'm not sure how he missed that.
All of our alcoholic blended beverages tasted like watered down alcohol, there was no additonal flavors. On a pina coloda that I paid $10.75 for I should taste the coconut and pineapple flavors as well as rum. Not ice and rum. I was very disappointed in the beverages. We just started ordering regular martinis instead of blended drinks which is a shame because when your in the Carribean what kind of drink do you usually want?
Dinner the first night was disappointing as well.. the staff was rude, we were shoved in this little corner because they were so busy and the food was adequate. We went to Summer Palace the rest of the nights instead of Indigo and the service and food was a lot better. I know they have the same menu but maybe because the service was better the food got better. The service was fantastic in Summer Palace and the atmosphere is great. They try and sell you on the speciality restaurants a lot. They get really pushy about that and that got really annoying. Why would I pay for food when I paid for a cruise that includes food? Not only that but the prices seemed a little steep in my opinion. So we just stuck with the complimentary food. The buffets had a good selection of food. I was disappointed that the food wasn't 24 hours long or kept open longer. If you wanted a midnight snack (lets face it thats what you do when you go cruising is you eat all day long) you have to go upstairs to deck 8 and its a 3 course meal. We didn't want 2 3-course meals, we would just want like a slice of pizza or some french fries. Something to cure the munchies not another meal. So that was annoying. The ice cream stations seemed to be closed at strange times too... it would be hot outside and craving an ice cream but the station would be closed.
When we went to their private island we were kind of disappointed as well. We had been on Royal Carribean's island and had high expectations of Norwegians. Their beach chairs look kind of cheap, and there didn't seem to be sufficent amounts so get early. If you walk along the beach you can find more private seating. If you wanted covered seating there will be an additional charge. Royal Carribean had beautiful canopies and a lot of covered seating for no charge. We were bummed about that. The food on the island was fantastic, great variety. But the island is under construction so right now its not very pretty to look at, and there's not a lot to do.
The entertainment was fantastic each night. We loved going to all the shows. The cruise dancers performed typical cruise like shows but we enjoyed the variety of shows they offered. They also offered several other events you could watch/participate in which were fun to go to. Although the location of Spinaker Lounge was not really pratical since these seats are more for larger groups and not so much individuals or small groups. The events in Spinaker lounge get there early so you can get a good seat.
The rest of the service throughout the week was great, and the food got increasingly better as well. The ship is goregous and very well deocrated. We liked all the additional activies like chess, checkers, shuffleboard, rock climbing etc. Also all the planned events like martini tasting but beaware they like to charge for additional events as well.
Overall a beautiful ship and we would go again. In fact we are planning on goin to Europe using Norwegian. Once we understood more about the free style cruising and what to expect from Norwegian we really enjoyed our time.