Day One: We awoke very early to catch a 6:00 am Amtrak train to Penn Station. Our local train station is immaculate, with plenty of handicap parking and easy access elevators. Penn Station was not as easy to navigate, elevators were not easy to find. I have mobility/balance issues and I am terrified of escalators, but I was able to go "up" to street level, dragging one of the suitcases (DH handled the other two) where we took a terrifying, but thankfully short, taxi ride to the pier ($15.00 including tip). DH is a professional driver and he could not watch out the window.
We arrived at the pier at about 9:45 am. We gave our luggage to the porters and headed inside, straight to special assistance. I had arranged wheelchair embark/disembark as I cannot stand and wait in a long line. Since we were the first to arrive that requested such assistance, I was first on the list to be boarded. They had plenty of seating for the passengers who did arrive early. At 10:15 am they called for those who were not waiting for special assistance, but kept us who were informed that they would start with us at 11:30 am.
When they did start with the list of special assistance passengers, I was wheeled through security and check in, with my husband tagging along. We were able to embark very quickly at that point and we requested to be taken to the MDR instead of the buffet. The men who wheel me were wonderful and careful. Great service!
DH & I enjoyed a lovely, quiet lunch in the MDR, then explored the Spinnaker while we waited for our cabins to be ready. They were ready well before 2:00 pm and we could not wait to check out our aft balcony! What a beautiful view!!
At this time it was raining very steadily, but we were able to enjoy sail away from our balcony! Even though this was our third cruise out of NYC sailing past Lady Liberty, watching the Freedom Towers grow and sneaking under the Verazzano bridge are sights that always take your breath away!!
We did head to the atrium where they had a (loud) band playing and it was utter chaos. DH grabbed a cup of the free coffee at the Java Cafe but we did not stay long. The noise was too much for me and I was tired and getting cranky. We headed back to our cabin where we turned on one of the the movie channels (we LOVE watching movies, and can do so over and over) I think I took a nap.
For dinner, since we were hungry at "rush hour", we went to the buffet and had a quick bite before calling it an early night. I have a food allergy and the chefs were very helpful in pointing out dishes I could not eat. Since we were so tired, we did not go to any shows.
Day Two: We were up early and made coffee in our cabin (our favorite perk of the balcony category was the coffee maker) and then headed to the MDR for breakfast when they opened. Breakfast was fine, it is not my favorite meal but it is for DH. Today was also our Meet & Greet for CC, which I did arrange. First we headed to the casino at 9:00 when the manager arrived so we could arrange the day/time of the slot pull. I was not given enough information as to which machine we would use, max. bet, etc. , all which would have made the slot pull simpler when it actually happened. Oh well. Later DH & I headed to LeBistro where we waited for the Meet & Greet!
DH & I enjoyed meeting everyone! What a huge turn out we had -- the restaurant was packed!! We had a lovely surprise -- the Captain popped in briefly and invited us all on a bridge tour!
At the M&G, as we were mingling, we were told that the Latitudes party was that afternoon and we did not receive an invitation. I approached Sean, the HD, and he told me the place and time, remembered our cabin number. A quick swing by the buffet for lunch and off to the Lattitudes party we went. We did find that the new Spinnaker in the aft of the ship is not as large or cozy as the forward Spinnakers are.
Back to our cabin to relax and nap, and we get a phone call. It was Candace the Lattitudes rep, very apologetic, and she extended additional invitations to us. How nice of her!!
Now that we had started to get some much needed R&R, we started our normal evening routine... a quick bite at the Blue Lagoon (I had the wings every night, DH tried different items) and off to the early show at the Stardust. The level row off the deck 6 entrance was mobbed (on the Jewel last year we never had an issue finding handicap seating there) and we had a problem with broken seats in the row below it. We did find two chairs (similar to what was in the Spinnaker) which we took advantage of. We enjoyed the music to Band On The Run but the acoustics were "off" and the sound was not as kind to my ears as I would have appreciated.
From the Stardust we went to Versailles for an early dinner. Since we missed dinner at the MDR on our first night I did speak to the Maitre D on how to handle my uncommon food allergy (yes, I did email the special needs desk in advance). He made a suggestion for that evening's dinner and we arranged for me to view the menu for the next day to preorder each night.
I have to admit I had my first disappointing meal in the MDR. We do not eat in specialty restaurants as DH & I eat out every weekend and we are blessed to be in an area where we have all the available options offered to us locally. We both had the Grilled New York Strip Steak, but mine was very over done (ordered medium -- was shoe leather) with an undercooked baked potato. DH's meal was ok, the steak a little tough, but much edible. I did not order a new meal as I was not hungry by any means between the delicious rolls, my starter and dessert. I did discuss my disappointment with the Maitre D as I preordered my next day's dinner.
Day Three: DH woke before me and headed to the MDR for breakfast while I slept in. When I did wake, I found an envelope that was shoved under our door -- it was an invitation to dine with the Captain & Officers that night at Versailles!! DH was sweet enough to bring me back breakfast while we got ready for our second day at sea.
Today was a quiet, rainy sea day. We miss that this ship does not have a card room, but we brought our cards and a small puzzle to Moderno, where you can use it as such until 4:00 pm. The did have pastries and coffee available there, a nice touch. We spent the afternoon relaxing in our room, napped and watched movies.
Dinner was excellent!! We met in the Spinnaker, and with three other couples, we joined the Captain, Staff Officer, Hotel Director and Chief Engineer for a wonderful dinner!! A special menu was offered to us, which was divine!! A truly memorable evening which was the highlight of our vacation!
We were able to make the late show of Shark Bait just by the skin of our teeth. Unfortunately beings o late we did not get good seats, and I could not sit next to my husband as there was a broken seat between us. The show made up for it! Great comedy and they are incredibly talented. A good end to the day.
Day Four: Our first day in Bermuda! We bought a two day transportation pass for $20 and went with a great family we met here on CC to the Bermuda Aquarium and Zoo. We took the ferry to Hamilton, then a few walk block up an shallow hill to the bus stop. With my mobility issues I handled the walk OK I think. We took the bus towards St. George's where there was a bus stop directly in front of BAMZ. It was pretty easy to get there. To get back to the Dockyard, we took another bus to St. George's where it was an easy walk downhill to the ferry. I wish they had a better waiting facility to wait for the ferry in St. George's -- there is not much, all in the sun, with a huge, long line. Thank you "ensiam" for letting Leonard & I tag along!!
As for BAMZ, we LOVED IT!!
Day Five: Our second day in Bermuda and we really wanted to see the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. We took the ferry to Hamilton and a quick taxi ride to BUEI ($10 including tip). The taxi drivers are way more sane then the Berumda bus drivers LOL. The manager at BUEI was a wonderful person who was a very kind and generous person (long story) and we had a great time exploring! Could have spent more time there if I we were up to it.
On our way back to the ferry, we had our taxi driver drop us off at The Pickled Onion, where I was on a mission to get a t shirt for a friend. The Pickled Onion is on the second story, and it was a steep, long stairway up. That killed me for the day.
Day Six: Our last day in Bermuda! A quick breakfast at the Blue Lagoon (where we discovered our favorite breakfast, their "full house") and then off to our bridge tour. It was so amazing!! We were allowed to take still photography and we took advantage of that.
After our tour, DH & I decided to do some shopping at the Clocktower. Unfortunately, I was pretty tuckered out from our wanderings the previous two days, and we waited for the tram to take us. The tram was packed full, and no one got off at the ship, so no room for any new passengers. At the same time it started to rain, so we did our shopping in the customs building and decided to relax the rest of the day back on the ship.
We missed the show in the Stardust that night, but we did catch "Battle of the Pans" with Shark Bait. Very funny!!!
Having the aft balcony, we did enjoy our private space during sail away. We had the best last views of the island. We were sad to see her disappear, but we plan to go back a third time.
Day Seven: Our final day at sea was a very rough start. We had rough seas, and even though we do not get sea sick, DH & I did find it difficult to walk sometimes. We gathered at the casino for our Meet & Greet Slot Pull! DH & I found it to be lots of fun, cheering everyone on! We all had 2 pulls for $6, which we all decided to do a 2nd round of two pulls, and everyone walked away with $4. Not a bad loss.
We enjoyed another lovely lunch at the MDR and a fabulous meal at Versailles. The same steak that was disappointing our second night was spectacular this night! Better than our local steak house!
We did make sure to see Elements -- and we if you only want to see one show in the Stardust, this would be my recommendation! It was great!!
Now for special assistance disembarkation... we had to make arrangements and pick a luggage tag in accordance to which time we wish to leave. We selected 10:00 am disembarkation. We were told to meet at the Stardust. What a line, but that was not NCL's problem, it was a hold up through customs. We did not get off the ship until close to 11:00, but we were not in a rush and tried to be patient. And, I was wheeled direct to taxi stand on level two. Talk about service -- thank you NCL!
We were able to get a sane taxi driver back to Penn Station. Unfortunately, we could not find an elevator and had to take the escalator down with our luggage (scary)! I did find that going to the red cap stand they will assist you any way they can.
Would we cruise with NCL again? Yes! I am booking #4 as I type this. Thank you NCL for a relaxing vacation!