Many, many memorable moments. 50th birthday in Moderno with new friends from the Cruise Critic roll call, brilliant chef and wait staff, cake and champagne (Cheers Esteban Chorro). Wonderful, happy crew and officers everywhere you went. Perfect weather, smooth sailings from boarding to disembarkation. Etna having a bit of a tantrum on a sunny day. Spooky sea mist in Koper and tranquil, late evenings looking at the ships wake with a nice, strong, warming, drink in the Great Outdoors (thanks for keeping us company Johny Espero). Scones, brilliant, what more could you want? This was a very special cruise for us, my
husbands 50th birthday and our 28th wedding anniversary, so it had to be good and it did not let us down.
Embarkation in Barcelona was a joy, just so easy and everyone was helpful and pleasant. Once on board we went straight to our cabin and met Claire our attentive steward (who made lots of different bed decorations to welcome us each evening). The cabin was clean and inviting, the alcohol we ordered for the cabin was in situ, no cases yet so we went to explore and find out how to activate the soda package and get some coke to mix with the vodka!
The soda package is probably only any good if you are a soda junkie and do not drink; water, tea, coffee or alcohol, all of which are abundant and we considered the alcoholic drinks a reasonable value. We ended up taking most of the cabin vodka home with us. A couple of bottles of wine in the cabin would have been a better idea or something that only required ice.
We only had one NCL critism and that was the food in the main dining rooms, restrictive and mostly cold. You could get a table quickly as long as you shared, not the best eating experience. We stuck to the garden cafe after trying the two MDRs, except for the birthday evening which was spent at Moderno
and is well worth the cover charge, wonderful!
We loved freestyle, it was just so relaxing and easy. You could be as formal or casual as you liked, do as much or as little as you wanted. We also free-styled shore visits so cannot comment on NCL excursions, we did use the shuttle in Dubrovnik and that was good. We recommend joining in with Cruise Critic roll call and any privately arranged trips because we met some splendid people/friends and truly enjoyed our day in Sicily.
We did not go to any formal evening entertainment but the random acts around the ship were good. This was a great cruise on a lovely ship with nice people and a superb list of ports. If you do this cruise make sure you are awake when the ship glides into Venice at 4.00am, it's a bucket list experience, truly magical!
Disembarkation was easy and organised in Venice where we were overnighting for our anniversary. Something to be aware of, when you emerge from the baggage collection building (this part fully supported by NCL) you then have a bit of a struggle figuring out what to do and where to go. We opted for a water taxi because there was a man organising them and it was our anniversary so expense be damned. We asked 'do we have to go far to get the taxi?' 'No' he said 'just down here and turn right and go to the second white pavilion with your ticket'. We went to several pavilion's before asking a nice chap stood outside a white pavilion where we had to go to get the private water taxi having done a full circuit of the port and worn the wheels off our luggage. Signage required or maps for newbies!
Already booked another 2 NCL cruises, can't wait for the next set of 'Magical Moments' thanks NCL and Cruise Critic.