We took a cab from the Newark Airport Hotel, down to the Manhattan Terminal at a cost of 123dollars including tolls and tip , the journey took around 50 minutes. For most of the journey I was on the phone to N.C.L trying to establish which pier was being used by Jewel as it was not on the paperwork they had sent. It took N.c.l 42 minutes to answer the call !!!
On arrival at noon, it was very busy and took just over an hour to get our boarding passes. Once on the ship we joined he several other thousand customers at the buffet bun fight...
Around 1.30 the cabin was ready and we headed down to our aft minisuite on deck 11.
The cabin was o.k, bed was soft, tv very old and bathroom a good size. Nothing spectacular but adequate. The Balcony... Fab view and would have been lovely apart from needing new lungs from all the cigarette smoke from our adjoining neighbours and the smell of marajuania from the balcony below. This, along with the non stop incessent screaming of the child from hell next door for what seemed non stop from waking us up to when we went to sleep really ruined the cruise for us. The chavvy parents thought it best to hang over the balcony smoking whilst he child kicked off constantly, had we been at home I would have been calling social services !
Sail out of New York was beautiful, he sea calm and great to see the architecture. On boarding th ship we had been given a letter to say that the itinerary had been changed as he ship needed some maintenance and we were to spend extra time in Nassau , which suited us fine. Dinner in Tsars was o.k, nothing special but hot and fresh, dress code is very casual, I felt over dressed in a casual dress, most wore what I would do the cleaning wearing which was odd for a nice restaurant.
After a day a sea, which was a battle to get a lounger, we docked at Port Canaveral, not an attractive Port, you need to take a shuttle. We opted for some shopping and beach so booked a transfer to Cocoa Beach. This was about a 15 minute drive, where you dropped at a small shopping centre which mainly consists of Fast Food joints, Drugstores and Surfshops. After some retail therapy we walked to the beach, about a 1/4 mile away.
No facilities, or beach bars in that area, no loungers to rent, but o.k if you are happy to sit on the sand for a few hours.
That evening we headed to Cagneys, complete waste of money service was awful, orders arrived cold, and despite complaining to the maitre D nothing much improved. Steak was on par with supermarket range.
That evening the Captain announced that due to the developing hurricane we neededto change course so we would now visit Grand Bahama and them Charleston South Carolina instead of Eluthera and Nassau. The next day we docked in Grand Bahama, so we asked the guest services about beach shuttles etc as there is little else here, they told us to sort it out for yourself were busy !!! Very unprofessional. Fortunately, at the dock they had a good taxi system where we went in a minibus to JUnkanoo Beach Club, about 20 minutes away.
The locals were lovely and welcoming and valued he unexpected business. It was a lovely beach, loungers were 5 dollars and a nice beach bar/ restaurant. The taxi cost 7 dollars per person each way and was good value. Not much to do at the cruise terminal a few shops selling handicrafts.
Off out to a night and day at sea, Chin Chins for dinner was nice, service was slow despite the restaurant being almost empty, unfortunately the seas then became very rough and made for a very unpleasant night... the next day the Captain announced a further change in that the storm was too big for us to stop in Charleston and the only place available for us to dock was Norfolk, Virginia. The wind made for a boring day, despite it being sunny most of the sunbeds had been roped up to stop people using them and if you didnt manage to get one around the pool you were out of luck. NCL manage reserving of loungers very badly, many had towels on to reserve them and were not being used for several hours. despite NCL claiming that they dont allow this, they do nothing to stop it, when asked about it the deck supervisor shrugged and turned his back on us. The staff are generally rude and could not care less.
Norfolk port was best described as unremarkable, nothing much to see or do, nice shopping centre in easy walk from the dock but that's it !
After a further very uncomfortable 2 nights at sea saw us dock in New York, we did the walk off option which was o.k, a cab stand is opposite where the ship docks and cab fare to Times Square was 10 dollars.
Unfortunately, our flight home was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy buts thats another story!
Overall we didnt enjoy the cruise, and wont be sailing with NCL again. :(