Let me 1st say I'm a 1st time cruiser and CC helped me out alot. I chose this cruise because my son wanted a Nickelodoen Cruise. It took me 1 1/2 years to decide to book the cruise so I read pretty much everything. Somethings scared me and some were very helpful, so if I help 1 person it works for me.
Day of boarding
I had family drive my son and I to NY from South Jersey. it was about a 2 hour drive. We got to port about 10:30am. It was little confusing since we didn't know where to pull up. My dad pulled up to the side of the road past the boat next the Sea, Air, and Space Museum. It was a short walk back to the port. Once in front of building someone took our bags and we took elevator up. It didn't look right and I asked the guy a bunch of times if he was really an employee...lol. Gave him a tip for the help. Once off the elevator we went thru security and had our carry-on bags checked. went thru a few lines and then got to the desk where they took our pictures and gave us the room cards. I was putting a cash deposit so they let me know to do that once on ship. They gave us a waiting # in no order (22) and we sat in the waiting area. The started calling #s by 11:30am so it was half hr earlier than we were expecting. Because of CC I knew to go to Tsar's Palace-deck 6 for lunch cause everyone else pretty much went stright to buffet-deck 12. As we were walking to Tsar's we passed by Fyzz Lounge where they were holding the carry-on bags, so we sign our in. We got to Tsar's about 11:50am and waited til 12pm when they open. Hanging on the walls was there menu so my son already knew what he wanted for lunch. Once inside I told the waiter I had purchased online a soda card for my son and she said thats fine. Once we were done with lunch we went to the front desk to put a deposit. I had prepaid all the excursion when I paid for the cruise so that was once last stop. By than we picked up our carry-on bags and headed to the pool...oddly enough the water was ok and weather was nice, so my son was on the slide and in the pool until about 2pm when rooms where ready.
We had an mid inside room-5561. We met our stateroom attendant, Raimond,and he asked our names and let us know if we needed anything let him know. We loved him. He was very kind and friendly to us both. He treated my son great as well. The room was ok for us two but I can't really see more than two people in that room. Space in closet was more than I thought and drawers as well. The bathroom was fine too but once again more than two people would have killed me.
Splashdown Kids Academy
After checking the room out we went back to 12th deck to the kids center. I signed my son up but I never thought he was going to be in there much. Boy was I wrong, I counldn't get him out of there. They kept talking about the new program but once again I've never been so didn't have anything to compare it to. I do know some of the staff in the kids club were new so they were really nice. So nice that one night one of the guys had an off for a couple hours and he went to see the magic show. Well my son seen him ran up to him started talking his ear off and they was nice enough ask where we were sitting because he would sit with us to see the show with my son. That to me was great. Staff never really have off while on a boat, they will have been seen but to spend that time with a child you have to watch pretty much everyday is going extra in my book. By 5:30pm on the 13th deck in the Spinnaker Lounge they had a Splash Academy and Nickelodeon Presentation where we got to meet the whole Splash Academy and Nick Crew. After the presentation we had our 1st meet and greet with Spongebob. It was pretty orangized or as much as they can with kids which I loved since I can't deal with disorganization when it comes to kids.
By 3:15pm they had a mandatory Life Boat Drill, now people here I do have to say we all know its not fun hell I never been on a cruise and I didn't really went to see that. If anything it made me a little nervous but don't be rude but talking or being on cell phones when they ask you not to. This is when I felt I was in school again with the bad kids that never shut up. The boat started moving by 4pm and I didn't even realize but when I did we were up on the 13th deck taking pictures.
Let me just say this was were I got mixed reviews, but once again I never cruised so don't have anything to compare it to. Although I will say some people complained about choices, I had too many to choice from and never ate anything twice in the week. There was time I wanted to cause it was so good but I also wanted to try other stuff and I wasn't going to let myself over eat either...lol. The 1st night we ate at the outside buffet by the pool, but every day and night we mixed it up. Since I was working on a single mom budget we didn't eat at the pay restaurants. One day I did pay for the Nickelodoen breakfast which was $10 for my son and $15 for myself, Nickelodoen was the reason we went so had to do that. To me it was worth it. Blue Lagoon was like a little secret, I remember reading on CC about their bownie sundue but almost forgot about that place. Good wings!!!! The waiters were very nice and took care of us as in any restaurant if not better. We also ordered room service one day as well.
Sea and Port Days
1st sea-Sunday day was bad. We hit a nor'easter on our way to FL so we had rain that day and big bad waves. People were triping over themselves but I'm happy to say we didn't get sick.(Darmamine and sea bands)
3 day-Monday we made it to FL on time and I had prepaid to go to the Kennedy Space Center. I didn't care for it and thought it to be a waste of $ but others said to do the tour. My son and I went back and forth about it and by the time we decided it was to late last tour left. My son enjoyed himself which is what matters to me since he is all into that stuff.
4th day-Tuesday was Great Stirrup Cay because of the storm the waves were still strong but they still got us to the island. Tender ride was crazy, I thought for sure it was going to turn over. When we got to the island pretty much excursions were cancelled. This is were I feel they should have given us a heads up. We didn't know until we got out there. They refunded my $ since I prepaid for snorkeling but even Hippo slide was down. By now my son almost had a major melt down. (I think 4 days and not sleeping normally is what really got to him) But we talked on the lounge chairs and i told him we can't and won't let the weather get the best of us. That is something the cruise line or ourselves can fix so a little swimming, eating at the buffet they had, & Nick Time Live on the Beach fixed him right up. All was good we enjoyed ourselves. Ended our beach day with some shopping at the strawmarket(we found few things with GSC on it). We went back to the ship by 4 or 4:30pm. Ride back was no better, those waves were crazy.
5thday-Wednesday was the Bahamas. Our excursion there was to Atlantis but bus wasn't coming until 11:45am so we got off the boat early went to strawmarket and took pictures. When we were done got back on the boat put our stuff in our rooms and went back outside to wait for the bus. Atlantis is HUGE, we did a 2 hour tour of the Dig, our tour guide was good and nice. It was a lot of walking in and out the buildings so my son got hot and tired fast when the tour was done we walked a little more(not much) to see the bigger sea turtles (my son loves sea turtles) and than he begged to go back to the boat.
The last two sea days pretty much was everything and anything they had Nickelodoen and every chance he could get in the Splash Academy he was there. Never did I feel like there was nothing to do. If he was in the academy with the other kids I found stuff to do. I was crazy enough to try the gym on the 1st sea day which was the storm which was a bad idea on my part cause I never made it back thinking i was going to fall everytime.
The shows to me were great. The 1st sea night was Band on the Run and I still can't beleive how good they did when us folks couldn't even walk good with the boat rocking. My son let them know it too. They were at the end of the hall way of the theater and my son stopped with a line behind him and told the crew that they put on an awesome show, everybody behind him said "what we were thinking he said." The crew took a picture with him. The magic show with Jean Pierre was another one of his favorites. He even took a picture with Jean Pierre as well and the day after his show he had a show for the kids where he showed them some of the magic tricks. On the last night in the Variety Show he preformed again and I ended up being a part of his trick which only blow my son away even more (me too). Don't miss Le Cirque Bijou that was a great show. I seen it once by myself and than once with my son.
Day of Leaving the Ship
Saturday we were making our way back to NY so we woke up very early to see the sunrise and than had breakfast. Lots of people on the ship even some staff said it is much better to carry your own bags off. So that is what we did, thinking it still was going to take some time. Well something I was wrong about again...we got the clear to come off the the ship by 8am and by 8:15am we were off out of customs and at the curb trying to figure where my family was. Well because I told them it was going to take some time they were still in Jersey so we chilled out and took some pictures. Had I known it was going to be that easy I would have done bag tags and waited on the boat. Something I learned for the next time.
All in all it was a great family vacation. If I can do it again I would love to cruise with Norwegian again. Talking to friends and family who never done freestyle dining I'm asuming I wouldn't like another way. Freestyle for me for sure.