This was our first cruise on Norwegian and overall we were very pleased on all aspects of our cruise. We did however have a Aft facing suite which really helped us enjoy some of the finer things with this ship. We will book another cruise a la "Freestyle" in the near future as we took advantage of downpayment offer on ship for a future cruise for $250.00, and received an on board credit of $100.00. Here are some of the pros and cons from our cruise.
Since we had VIP status from the suite, we were ushered through the process of registering, and was shown to a private waiting area with sandwiches, cheese, coffee etc. The Concierge showed us to the back of the room, and then seemed to forget about us, and then she started telling everyone to follow her, and we did not have our boarding passes yet. Thank God for the assistant Concierge, he came to our rescue, and seemed to always be there for us during the entire cruise.
We were shown to Cagney's steak house for lunch and it was delicious, we ended up going to Cagney's quite often during the cruise as the VIP guests could have breakfast and lunch there everyday. Just as we were finishing our lunch we heard the announcement that our staterooms were ready, perfect timing.
I can't say enough good things about our Aft facing penthouse suite with extended balcony, the description had said that it was perfect for a romantic getaway, and that is exactly why we booked it. We had a complimentary bottle of Champagne on ice, and a bottle of wine from Direct Line Cruises who we booked our cruise with. There was also a bouquet of fresh flowers and a fruit bowl on the table. Our Butler Fernando was amazing, he was there the first day to show us how everything worked, my favourite was the expresso machine and I used it everyday. Fernando came to check in with us everyday, and in the afternoon he brought us a plate of treats like chocolate covered strawberries etc.
Our room steward Sheila was equally if not superior in her service, she never bothered us, but always cleaned our room immaculately and our room was turned down every evening with a new towel animal appearing on a daily basis. The Concierge however fell short of impressing us, not that we called upon her for anything, in fact her assistant Luis more than made up for any of her shortcomings.
Due to the path of hurricane Isaac, our Captain changed our itinerary to accommodate and we had sunshine and great weather as a result of this everyday, bravo Norwegian, excellent call.
This is one area where I was concerned, our previous cruises were with Celebrity and the food was in my opinion A1. My wife loved the food on Norwegian, and in fact liked it more than Celebrity, I however found the food good, but not great, I still consider the food on Celebrity better overall. We took advantage of our Butler on a few occasions and dined in our room, we also went to Le Bistro specialty restaurant one evening, and found the ambience very romantic. We avoided the buffet area as it was always busy and had a lot of noisy kids. We had very pleasant experiences in the main dining rooms.
As previously stated we took advantage of having Cagney's available to us for breakfast and lunch, the staff were very attentive, especially Sendrick with the deserts. We always sat at the same table, and so did another couple from New York, Marlene & Neil. We started talking with them and they turned out to be very nice people and we always looked forward to seeing them on a daily basis.
Ports of Call
Great Stirrup Cay was our first stop instead of Florida and is Norwegian's private island. Well thankfully we had priority tender and was on the first boat ashore, we secured a good location on the beach, and enjoyed the water before the crowds arrived. Once it started getting crowded, we gave up our location and walked around the island a bit. We did a bit of souvenir shopping at their straw market, and then got back to the ship to enjoy Cagney's and the near empty ship.
Nassau was the second stop, and we did a 3 your taxi tour with three other couples from Kell who approached us at the port and offered us the tour at what I found a very reasonable rate of $35.00 each. She is a sanctioned tour operator for Nassau, and took us all around and told us all the facts. Our favourite part was visiting the Atlantis hotel, and she let us off and we had 40 minutes to look around etc, we did the casino. Our least favourite part was seeing the ghetto, and the other side of the spectrum on the island.
Port Canaveral Florida was our last stop, and since it was our first U.S. location we had to pass through Customs clearance on the ship before going on any excursions, this was another situation where our concierge left us scratching our head as she ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, while her assistant who knew all about us, took care of us and we we off the ship by 7:30 a.m. We spent the day at Cocoa beach first doing some shopping at the surf shops etc, then enjoying the waves on the beach, you could walk for miles on smooth sandy beaches, we will definitely go back there sometime.
On ship entertainment
We have to admit we did not do a lot of these activities as like I previously stated, this was our romantic getaway, but the few things we did do was very nice. We did visit the casino on a daily basis and ended up winning some, but losing more than winning by the end of the cruise, we took advantage of some duty free shopping, and found ourselves exploring the ship entirely by the end of the cruise. Our favourite place to take sun was the Quiet zone at the bow of the ship on the top floor.
In summary we found the ship to be very clean, the staff for the most part very friendly and polite, and since we our next cruise is already booked on Carnival, we will definitely be booking a 2013 cruise with Norwegian.