Norwegian Star to Bermuda May 6-13
Fairly new to cruising my husband and I started taking Norwegian cruises 2 years ago. Before we first went I wasn't thrilled about the thought of going on a cruise due to a previous experience some years ago, but he was paying so I was willing to give it a try. In the past 2 years he's been on 4 Norwegian cruises and I've been on 7.
Our latest was on the grand Norwegian Star sailing from NY to Bermuda. The crazy Tri-boro bike race going on so getting to the pier took a bit of ingenuity. We took a cab hoping to be able to cross over at 32nd street (nothing doing and the cop there was clueless about where we could do) so after having the cabbie drop us off at 42nd, we hopped on the shuttle at Grand Central and took it to Time Square, grabbed the C train one stop to 50th and walked over 4 blocks. We really should have just taken the C train from Queens in the first place.
After getting to the terminal around 10:40 we dropped off our luggage, hoped on the Latitudes check in line, received boarding card #3 and sat and waited until they called our number which was about a half an hour later.
The first thing we noticed was the elevator banks in the high Atrium area, something that was removed from the Jewel class ships and Epic. While I love the Jewel class it is fascinating to see just how tall these floating hotels are on the inside. Something that you don't always have a feel for on ships with Atriums only 2 or 3 stories high.
We wandered around a bit, took pictures of various areas, went to lunch at Versailles the large main dining room, explored the pool deck and then head to our stateroom when it was announced that they were ready which was around 1:30.
Now our cruise has officially started! Here are our thoughts on the various aspects of our trip.
Crew: Exactly what I would expect on a Norwegian ship. Friendly faces and people that we were happy to see and wave to on a regular basis.
Staff & Officers: Did a fantastic job of not only being very visible (moreso than on any other ship in our opinion and that's saying something) but terrifically approachable. We really started to think that Sean Wurmhoeringer (Hotel Director), Shailendra Sawant (F&B Director), Deepak Gonsalves (Restaurant Manger), Katya Plyakova (Beverage Manager) & Hal Broomes (Executive Housekeeper) were really triplets as it didn't seem possible for each of them to be in so many places at once making sure that everyone was happy with their meals, drinks and vacation in general. At one point I remember looking at my husband and him looking at me saying to each other "but we just saw them over there, how did they do that?"
Kyle Ray Dodson the cruise Director did a great job of making sure there were things to do and gearing people up for it. As well as being available to have a chat with. Always in a great mood and happy to see the guests enjoying themselves. A nice touch was the "Celebration Party" for those who were celebrating Anniversaries, Honeymoons, Birthdays and similar. There was sparkling wine and a huge cake for us all after he had each couple or person introduce themselves. A very nice addition to the activities.
His assistant (can't remember his name) did a great job in getting and keeping everyone pumped for the White Hot Party. He guided group dances to get everyone involved and at certain points got everyone jumping, roof raising and screaming in sync on the dance floor. As always it was great fun, and he did a good job in keeping the excitement going.
Bridge Tour: The highlight of the trip for me. I'm fast becoming a ship fan. I like seeing them in the harbor, sail, being on them, learning about the various aspects and the like, so when we received the invitation in our door for the Bridge Tour on day 2 in Bermuda I grinned from ear to ear!
Bermuda: We failed the Captain! He told all of the passengers that we were in charge of the weather, and on the last day we made it rain torrentially! Ha! Well we heard that Bermuda was in need of a good rainfall so al lis well that ends well.
Day 1: DH and I went on a small walking tour of the island. We walked along the old railroad route for a few miles. Fairly tame (it's a flat island) there were some interesting sights along the way.
Day 2: DH ate too much the night before and didn't feel great so decided to sleep the morning away. I hung around for a bit than went out a took a ferry ride over to St. George's. I didn't stay long as I wanted to be back in time for the bridge tour.
Day: 3 Rained all day, but it didn't deter us from from hopping on the bus to Hamilton and another from there in order to see the Crystal and Fantasy caves. Definitely worth the trip. A tour of both caves will cost about $27 and will last about 60-75 minutes combined. The caves aren't very large but you can definitely spend a bit of time checking out various nooks and crannies.They are two separate cave systems about 300 yards from each other on ground level.
Spinnaker: We heard that it was moved down to the 7th floor (where the shops are on the Jewel) from the 13th to make way for additional suites. The downside is there is no natural light the way there is with Spinnaker on a higher deck and the dance floor is too small for the amount of people this venue can hold. The upside is that it really does seem to hold more people, and even when there is a large crowd finding a seat is still fairly easy, something we both appreciated as we aren't the type to arrive half an hour early for events. While we enjoy the interesting club style chairs often found in Spinnaker and Bliss lounges on other ships, it's much nicer to have ample seating.
Food: We ate in the two main dining rooms Aqua (once), Versailles (continuously), and the speciality venues Le Bistro (anniversary dinner) and Ginza (last night). Good food in all. I enjoy having my fish cooked longer than your average person, so twice before ordering I specifically asked to have mine cooked more. Our server relayed this to the chef and it was done exactly to my liking! Which is why I always wonder about the folks that complain about the food on Norwegian, did they ever ask for something to be altered more to their taste? It's much more pleasant to have food and wine than food and whine. ;)
Meet & Greet: We had the Hotel Director, Cruise Director, Food & Beverage Director, Executive Housekeeper, Guest Services Manager, Executive Chef, Restaurant Manager, Beverage Manager, Group Service Coordinator attend and even had the Captain stop by. They were welcoming and helpful and made sure that we had the "At Your Service" cards with their extensions in case we had questions or comments.
We had 7 days of food, fun and enjoyment. We definitely hope to get back to do the Bermuda run again with Norwegian.
I will post a few pictures on my Flickr page today and will have many more up on my Blog soon.
Bermuda is a British Commonwealth and has their own monetary unit (Bermudian Dollar) but you can use American Currency there at equal exchange. So if something is $2, you pay $2 USD.
HAL's Veendam was docked in New York when we left. She stayed in King's Wharf in Bermuda (right next to us) and was back in NY Harbor when we returned.