I had previously sailed on three or four Carnival cruise lines in the past (1990's) and my fiancee had never been on a cruise to this point. I did not know what to expect on Norwegian, however, was pleasantly surprised!
To begin with our last vacation (last summer) was quite a hassle with the airlines! Late flights, rude airline personnel and that "cattle car feel." Does not lead up to and end a vacation in a very pleasant way.
I was drawn to the fact that I could start my vacation without having to go to the airport. Sailing out of Manhattan was worth the entire trip alone!
We arrived at the cruise port about 1:00 pm day of sailing. A porter took our bags. Lines moved fairly quickly and we were on board in approximately 20 minutes. A nice friendly reception on board with our picture being taken. (We later purchased this with album)
We immediately went to our cabin as we wanted to see what the balcony stateroom would be like. Very nice, clean and adequate stateroom. Nicely appointed with plenty of closet and drawer space. Bed looked to be overly large with plenty of pillows. Mini bar, tv, beach towels were also present. I particularly liked the way the bathroom was laid out with two sliding doors (one for the shower, center compartment with sink, one for the actual head.) One nice surprise was a $50. complimentary on board credit from NCL as a "Welcome Aboard" present. The room was also exceptionally clean.
We were hungry and decided to explore the ship and get something to eat. After visiting the pool area, we decided on the buffet by the pool. We also purchased some beverages as I wanted to relax on my balcony as we left Manhattan and see the sights.
After lunch we ended up back at our stateroom and our bags were waiting outside for us. We unpacked and then settled in for the trip out of NY harbour.
The day could not have been nicer. We sat on our balcony and enjoyed the scenery of the Manhattan skyline. The boat then made it's way under the Verazzano bridge and the beaches of Brooklyn. I had fun watching all of the other vessels waving us good bye!
We relaxed and later prepared for dinner and the show! The 1st night dinner was in Aqua restaurant. We both had the salmon which was excellent. We later ate all of our meals in the fancier Versailles. (Be aware they require long trousers in Versailles for dinner for men) We liked the feel and openness of Versailles. The quality,freshness and selection was overall excellent. Aqua and Versailles are the two complimentary restaurants aboard ship and the others are a fee. We enjoyed the selection each night at Versailles so we did not have to go elsewhere.
I did not know what to expect for the 1st show of the cruise. Was impressed with the entire event. The cruise director Kyle put on a great show and paraded all of the officers on stage to introduce them and make sure our vacation was a huge success! I had never seen anything like this done on any of the prior cruises I was on and thought this was a great touch! There seemed to be genuine warmth to the presentation to make it real.
Two days later we were in Bermuda. Weather was hot the 1st day. Decided to go into Hamilton (capital city) via bus and take the water taxi back to the ship after the evening street festival.
The bus ride takes almost 40-50 minutes to get to Hamilton. You get to see a lot from the bus and get a feel for the island. We both enjoyed walking around Hamilton and seeing the businessmen dressed in the Bermuda shorts with sport coats on and long socks! The weather was on the warm side, we became tired and decided to take the water taxi back to the ship. (I am glad we did this as someone had told us the street festival got cancelled later that night due to weather).
On the last day in Bermuda, NCL puts on a "welcome aboard" party on the dock! This was a lot of fun as a d.j. spins tunes and various members of the cruise line come out dressed up to welcome you back! Another great touch by NCL. Everybody loved it except the two passengers left behind! NCL stresses to be back on the ship by 4:30, however, there were stragglers still coming on board by 5:00 pm. NCL tried to hold the boat till 5:30, however, finally had to disembark. I wonder whatever happened to those two left behind?
Overall I would rate my entire experience with NCL as excellent! The staff would "bend over backwards" to make sure everything was just right. From everyone smiling and saying hello to our cabin attendant being very diligent about our cabin being kept spotless. We also enjoyed the nightly towel animals on our bed! A very satisfying vacation.
The final night of the cruise was the grand finally in the star dust theater. A combination of magic,dance,acrobatics,ballet and singing! My "hats off" to the performers. The performance was very memorable with again Kyle having many of the crew and officers come on stage to wish us goodbye. Then as we exited the theater they lined the sides clapping! Again something I had not seen on the other cruises I had taken before. You can shake any one's hand.
For us it was the perfect vacation as the "freestyle dining" aspect allows you to eat whenever your plans fit. It was a relaxing time with just the right amount of activities for us.
One final note, we were thinking of going to Europe next summer. My first trip ever. Specifically Venice. We were contemplating the best way to do this and did not even think of a cruise as a way to accomplish this. When I was in the main atrium of the ship I noticed that NCL does European cruising including Venice. It made the decision to book that cruise from Barcelona to Venice next summer an easy one. A great way to see five countries! (I know, I know, I have to deal with the airlines again!)