PORT OF NY - We live in the NY area. Took a limo to the port and arrived around 11AM. Our bags were immediately taken and we then joined the short latitudes check in line. We boarded the ship at approximately 12:15 with the 2nd group that was called. Headed up to the restaurant (not the buffet) for a pleasant sit down lunch. Check in was fast and painless.
PORTS - We had been to several of the ports back in 2009 so the rain in some of them did not dampen our spirits. Loved being back in Halifax, but decided not to revisit Peggys Cove beccause of the weather. Instead, we went to Pier 21 and the Canadian Museum with the Titanic display. We were lucky enough to have 2 beautiful days in which to enjoy Quebec City. Day 1 - took a carriage ride that we booked ourselves and then walked around for hours taking in all the sights. Day 2 -rented a van and went out to the falls... beautiful... and then over the bridge to L'Orleans to a local winery. Enjoyed crepes at a small eatery in QC. Cornerbrook - not much to see here, but a very friendly place. Sydney was a very rainy day, and since we had been there before and time was limited, we just got off the ship for a bit and wandered around. First timers would probably enjoy seeing the wind farms.
CABIN - We decided to try an interior mid-ship cabin this time around. It was a very good size and had more than enough room for everything we had packed as well as space for the empty luggage. The beds were already pushed together for us. We asked our cabin attendant to empty the refrigerator which he did immediately.
STAFF - Everyone, and I mean everyone, was friendly. Of special note - Sinan, the cruise director was terrific. He let everyone know what was going on, but was never overbearing. His sense of humor was great; he'd probably make a nice living as a stand up comic. The Captain made sure to keep us advised of Hurricane Leslie and the possible effects on us. He actually performed in one of the shows; he has a great singing voice and was just as good as some of the entertainers.
ENTERTAINMENT - Plenty of very good entertainment that sometimes made it difficult to decide where you wanted to be. I was thrilled that there were 2 talented piano players. Loved to listen to Mike, and was happy to see that he played in the main dining room on occasion. The hostess always got us a table right near him so we could enjoy his playing while dining. Then there was J.D. He played, sang and also hosted musical trivia in the afternoons. Loved him! There was also a wonderful guitar player (Leo I think) and band (Kenosis). Lots of other entertainment in the various lounges, but these are the ones that we enjoyed during the cruise. As for the main theatre you had Scott, the hypnotist who put on a show that was quite hysterical. And then there was Greg London, a singer and impersonator that has been seen in Las Vegas. He was really terrific.... great voice, some impersonations spot on... others not too good, but his voice is so good that he doesn't need to do impersonations to put on a great show. The fountain skit, performed by Sinan and the crew, on the final night was funny. I've seen this before on NCL, but this was a new version.
FOOD - Unfortunately, NCL changed their menu and some of our favorites are no longer available - namely the wonderful chilled soups and the nightly shrimp cocktail. And, the food in general, is not as good as we remembered. We thought the seafood dishes were dried out and the steaks a bit tough. However, the breads and pastries are still outstanding. At the buffet at lunchtime, LOVED the freshly prepared pasta with choice of sauce and the freshly prepared dessert crepes. You can also get a delicious made to order omelet for breakfast at the buffet.
Just to sumarize - had a WONDERFUL cruise. I think the friendliness of everyone on the ship, both staff and fellow cruisers, made it a great 10 days. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment so we were never bored in the evenings. Yes, the ship can use some sprucing up - some of the chairs in the lounge areas are starting to look worn - but everything was neat and clean.
Definitely would cruise with NCL again!