Being our 8th cruise, we were excited to try "freestyle" cruising(We had done Princess, Royal Carribbean and Carnival in the past). We had booked Norwegian months in advance as we wanted to go out of Boston to see the fireworks beforehand. Checking in on the ship was a breeze and took less than 5 minutes. We did have to wait about an hr to board the ship, but that also went smoothly. Once on board we were directed to the Garden Cafe to eat lunch. I was not to impressed with the menu and didn't recognize alot of the international cuisine on the line. The thing that really caught our attention was the fact that the drink machine on one side was out of order and remained so the entire week. Also the fact that the waiters only cleared the tables and there were no carts going around to refill drinks as we were use to seeing done on other cruise lines got to be a real pain.
Once we checked into the room, I was extremely dissapointed to see how small the room was. I could not even make it around the bed without hitting against the desk/chair. The room was clean enough but little did I know what awaited that night. The first night I was awakened by the loud clanking noises coming from some type of central air conditioning unit next door and also the noise from the above Garden cafe. (We were originally on the 11th floor) The next day I went to the guest relations desk and told them about this. The gentleman I spoke to assured me they would have that checked. He really didn't seem to concerned and I really didn't believe him so about 4 hrs later I went back and complained again. This time I noticed a sign there saying not to ask for a room change since the ship was completely full. I explained to (Wilson) a new guy that I needed to get sleep since I suffered from fibromyalgia and going without sleep increased my pain level. He was nice enough to show us another room (8093)which we took on the 8th floor and was much quieter and a little bigger. He was even nice enough to call and tell us that they would credit our account $100 on board spending money and he also sent chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of wine. I cannot say enough good things about Wilson, but the rest of the cruise just seemed to lack something.
The cruise director Johnnie Cash Sanchez was funny enough, but never seemed to be around. The entertainment was so so but would have been better if they would have had a magician or comedian. They did have second city and they were pretty funny in all honesty. They mostly used the dancers and singers from the ship to do the shows. The grand finale show "Bolywood" was kinda weird and creepy. Worst show I think I've ever seen. We really did enjoy the acrobatic skills of Russian couple. Don't remember their names. Another dissapointment was the kareoke. It was held in a small narrow lounge where it was mostly taken over by drunk 20 something crowd who couldn't sing. To top it off, one drunk kid got up and sang the song American Idiot. Very insulting song they need to remove from their books. There really just didn't seem to be enough to do on sea days either. I enjoy going to the afternoon teas other cruise lines offer.
The two main dining rooms, Venitian and Aqua were very beautiful but the service was very slow as if they didn't have enough waiters to keep up with the amount of people. Food was just ok and nothing to rave about except the salmon and the key lime pie were amazing. There just didn't seem to be enough variety on the menu and NEVER once were there shrimp cocktails for the appetizers.
Probably the best highlight of the ship was the chocolate buffet since I am a chocoholic.
Bermuda itself was beautiful but I was dissappointed by the shore excursions thru the ship. We did the glass bottom boat ride/snorkel. The snorkel part was ok, but they really didn't take us where you could see alot of fish. Didn't see one colored fish but only a school of grey fish and a big turtle.
Horseshoe Bay was a beautiful beach but beware if going there as you have to pay 11 dollars plus 5 dollars deposit to rent a chair or umbrella. Not much shade there so you almost have to rent an umbrella. Towels provided by NCL.
We also did the 5 hr Island tour. Our guide was great but we only got to get off the bus for one bathroom break and a 1/2 hr break in Hamilton for lunch on your own. Mind you, a hamburger and fries were 15 dollars alone.
We chose not to eat but enjoyed having a 1.50 ginger beer there. Hamilton was very pretty but be prepared to spend alot of money if you want any souvenirs.
Getting off the ship was a long line that wound around the ship. They definitely need to figure a way to get people off the ship in a more efficient manner.
All in all, I don't think we will be doing Norwegian "freestyle" cruising again. I think we will try Celebrity on our next trip to Bermuda now that I have found out all the places we should have gone. ie, botanical gardens, crystal caves, zoo, aquarium and snorkel beach (close to where the ships dock)