Although I am unable to give this cruise an excellent rating, we did have one of the best times we have had in years. The entertainment, Food, and the last minute change of itinerary made me rate them very good but not excellent.
We were on this itinerary last year with the Norwegian Jewel and loved the ports so we figured we would try it again on a different ship. We are really glad we did.
We arrived at the port of NY Pier 86 at 10:45 am and had boarded the ship by 11:45am. After the check in we purchased a spa pass at a reduced rate at a table located right before you board in the terminal building, more on that later. After that we sat in the waiting area for maybe 20 minutes until our number was called. After we boarded,
We decided to go to one of the restaurants instead of the buffet. We wanted to do something different this time around. We always go to the buffet. The fish and chips was not so good, it couldn't have been cod, but I'm not sure what it was but it was not good. I hoped this wasn't the start of bad food, it wasn't.
After lunch we walked the ship to get a good feel of the decks. The ship is very easy to get around on. One important thing to note, there are more than enough chairs and loungers all over the ship, you don't need to reserve or chair hog as they call it. The pool area was very busy every day but that is the way it is on every ship. If you didn't care about being seen, there are many private areas. There is also a private deck located high enough so no one can see you. We think it was for topless sunbathing, can't be sure on this though, wife wouldn't let me look.
We had heard that 2 cruises before this one had a bad case of Norovirus, I must say they were constantly cleaning and cleaning and cleaning. There are more than enough of the hand sanitizers located all over the ship.
We were allowed to enter our rooms by 1:30pm We had a mini-suite located on deck 11. More than enough room and closet space and drawers. The bathroom has a bathtub which gives you extra room in the square footage of the bathroom. It's good for me, I'm 6'5". The balcony is larger and we do spend time on it.
The next two days were at sea and the waters were calm. The sun did finally come out and we had a very relaxing time all the way to Nassau. The cruise director Sinan, is always present and his staff were just great. The first day was our Meet and Greet and we had a very good turnout, and met the entire cruise staff. We also had a slot pull and on the last pull we hit, not a large amount but a nice win just the same.
As I said before, we purchased a spa package. It was being sold in the terminal at a reduced rate, normally $199 a person we got it for $119 a person and it gave us unlimited use of the spa. Both of us are very fair skinned and don't spend much time in the Sun. So we were in the spa a lot. They have a chair made of ceramic tile that is heated, it is fantastic. You just sit and look out at nothing but blue sky and blue water, yes blue water, much different from NY water. We booked massages and accupuncture for the week ahead. They also give you a key for the locker and a robe. Whirlpools, steam rooms, saunas, juice, water anything you need. It was just what we needed. We had our first needle treatment.
Our first port was Nassau. This was our third time here and we basically just walked, shopped and shopped and shopped some more. We did make a nice donation to the Bahamas economy.
We went back to the ship and you guessed it, went to the spa. Had the ship to ourselves.
Next stop was Great Stirrup Cay their private island. Guess what we did this day. Yep, we stayed on board and had a massage. I had a 50 minute hot bamboo rub. DW had a 25 minute back, neck and scalp massage. After that we were both like rubber and stayed in the spa till noon. Then it was time for the second needle treatment. We went to the buffet after and had the ship to ourselves. So we went in the pool and sat in the sun for a while. We had to come home with some color.
Our last port was Cape Canaveral, Florida. Our itinerary was changed at the last minute for some reason we were not told. It was supposed to be Florida, Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. They reversed it which proved a mistake for people going on an excursion in Florida. We were supposed to be there from 11am until 10pm, instead we were there from 7am to 4pm.
People who were going to Disney had an hour ride both ways and 3 hours to do things. We were going to Kennedy Space Center and only had a short time there to. I missed the Shuttle simulator and couldn't do the IMAX show. Very disappointed.
The last day was a sea day and we were doing about 26 knots all the way home. Thank God the seas were calm or we would have felt more that we did. Guess what we did that day?? Nope!! we went to the spa, just kidding.
We had our last accupuncture treatment. I highly recommend accupuncture for your aches and pains.
You know how the mood usually is on the last sea day but we had such a great and relaxing trip that we were ready to come home. We did the self debarkation as always. Prior to leaving there wasn't much communication as to were to go but after people started to arrive they did the best they could to get us off. We were in the car by 8:30am and on our way. They need to organize this better.
The shows, comedian, comic juggler were good. The second city comedy sketch was lame. They do the same skits you see on other cruises.
We did eat in the added restaurants for a small fee. Le Bistro the French one was our favorite. La Cachina the Italian was good to. Orchid the Chinese food was good also. Every other time we ate in the buffet. Breakfast was our favorite meal of the day, so many choices, you were never disappointed. My DW is a vegetarian and we were disappointed with the selections at certain times of the day.
Our overall rating of this ship is 9 out of 10. The food was good not great but what ship is 100%. The shows were good and entertaining but not Broadway, but what is.
We did love the ship, the staff, especially our cabin steward Rolly. He was always there with a smile and we were never for want of anything. We loved this cruise so much we booked the 9 day to the eastern caribbean for next April in the same room.