For the record, I am only 21, and my boyfriend is only 20. It was just the two of us traveling (and I'm pretty sure we were the youngest couple on board traveling by ourselves). I've been on two cruises prior, this was his first. I've seen many drift. formats to write the review but I guess it'd just be easiest for me to go day by day, SO here we go.
Saturday - We took the train to Manhattan from Long Island, then grabbed a cab to the pier. All pretty easy and cheap. Arrived at the pier approximately 10:30am. We were pretty proud of ourselves for getting there so early, but in the end it really didn't matter much, as the Spirit had only just docked as we were arriving (it was late due to the weather). The boarding process was, as a result, pretty much a mess. People all over the place in drift. stages of embarkation, no one really knowing what was going on. At one point they set out some tables w/ coffee and cookies and what not. Whatever, I know it wasn't NCL's fault, so More
can't really complain. After getting onboard about 1pm or so, we were able to explore the ship a bit. I'd looked at so many pictures before hand that things already seemed fairly familiar. I'm not certain but fairly sure we ate in the Blue Lagoon while waiting for our room to be ready. Of course had to order the wings, which were decent, but my BF's favorite here was the wonton soup. It was rainy so the poolside deck party was canceled (or maybe held inside somewhere, I don't know). We grabbed a couple drinks from the Bier Garden (just to kick start that onboard account), and I do have to say that they make their drinks pretty strong. So yes, they're expensive, but you do get your money's worth. Then he went to sleep while I unpacked and checked out the casino, which opened around 7:30pm. The ship seemed pretty empty the first day, I'm assuming due to how rocky and wavy it was. I guess everyone just retired to their cabins early. Speaking of which, the cabins were pretty decent sized. We had an inside stateroom, which was more than enough room for both of us (and I pack a lot). I also saw the window rooms and standard balcony rooms and all of them looked fairly large. We were surprised as we'd kinda prepared ourselves for the worst. The bathroom was fine, if anything I liked the inside bathroom setup (shower w/ glass sliding door, toilet and sink area on the other side) better than the balcony one (that one had the toilet in it's own sliding glass door area as well, which really only seemed to make the space seem more confined). We made a reservation for the Tepanyaki grill the first night, and that was an AMAZING experience. Very much like Benny Hanas. Basically they cook everything right in front of you. Entertaining. We ordered the surf & turf meal for two ($25) and the filet mignon was the best I've EVER had, and I've always been an avid steak lover. The lobster was put on the grill still alive, which was...interesting. One of the other girls at the table ending up getting sick when the lobster's nerves started twitching (I'm guessing), making the legs move around after it'd already been cut in half...But anyway, moving on...ha. We'd ordered the anniversary package (the $79 one), and our strawberries and champagne arrived later that evening. We personally loved the taste of the champagne and had a total of three bottles throughout the week (one w/ the package, one was given to us and we won one in the casino), and also had it at the anniversary party and art auction. Apparently it's NCL's private brand. There had also been a bottle of wine in our room which we eventually drank, and were never charged for so I'm not really sure what that was about ::shrug:: but hey, I'm not complaining. Didn't sleep very well at all the first night. I don't know if this had to do w/ motion sickness or not, but it definitely didn't have anything to do with the beds (though our beds weren't put together until past 2am, even though I'd called and requested for it to be done as soon as we arrived in the room. Then, the cabin steward which finally arrived past 2 had to leave and come back two drift. times because he kept bringing the wrong sized sheet. We were exhausted and this was kinda an inconvenience but understood it'd been a hectic day for all aboard). Though my BF doesn't fully agree, I thought the beds were VERY comfortable. We had the eggcrate already on the mattresses when we arrived.
Sunday - Like I just stated, didn't sleep very well the first night and when I did finally get to sleep, my BF ended up calling and waking me up at 6am to go up to the top deck and watch the sunrise. We'd ordered breakfast the night before and it was all OK. Also stopped by Raffles and tried a few things there. Wow, I knew I should have kept those Freestyle Dailies, this is harder than I thought it'd be to remember everything...hehe. Well. I know we took a five hour nap in the middle of the day so maybe that's why this day isn't very memorable. It was also still a lil cold so the outdoor activities weren't really hopping. 11:00am was the Cruise Critic meeting. I wish we'd been a lil more awake for it, but thanks again to Sharon for setting it up and going through the trouble of making name tags and what not. Lots of head crew members were present and it was nice to meet them face to face, though we had the same basic conversation multiple times in a row. Tonight was the Captain's dinner and we ate in The Garden. When we went, we were given one of those beeper thingys and had about a 20 minute wait. Everything was very good, we'd brought our own wine onboard and had no problem giving it to them and then they corked/saved it until the next time we requested it a few days later. The hostess had a bit of an attitude with us though. Actually, that happened to us a few times throughout the week. It was either very nice impressive service, or down right rude. We chalked it up to our age but still. We didn't get to the restaurant till 8:30 and we wanted to see the 9:30 show, we informed them of this so they knew we were in a lil rush, and had no problem, being out of there by 9:15 the latest. I honestly don't know why everyone wrote about dinner always taking 1 1/2 - 2 hours, as we never had it go for over an hour. The show this night was Showtime's "On the Radio". Basically it started off alright, and gradually got worse and worse, till it was so bad it was funny. It was almost as though they were purposely trying to make them as ridiculous looking as possible with the costumes. The singing was more like shouting/chanting. I'm a club goer, my BF is not, so my typical night would end with me in the club/casino and him either in the casino or going back to the room earlier. Each night at midnight they kicked off the dancing with a short performance by the NCL dancers. The Maharani nightclub/lounge was pretty impressive and classy and I enjoyed it very much. Although it IS at the very front of the ship, so it's one of the rockiest points which made for some entertaining nights on the dance floor.
Monday - Again we woke up fairly early. Pretty sure this was just a very relaxing day. I utilized the gym most mornings, today we also used the Aquaswim which was interesting and something worth trying (basically an indoor treadmill type mini pool). Tanned. Dinner was in Le Bistro at 6:30. It would have been a much more enjoyable experience had we not been seated right next to a large family w/ a crying toddler (and I swear, this family was EVERYWHERE on the ship we were, and this kid was ALWAYS screeching at the most inappropriate times. Le Bistro, during shows, ect. If it were an infant it'd be a lil more acceptable, but she had to be at least three or four) and then they were getting up and sitting down the entire time taking pictures of one another, bringing the child in and out of the restaurant, ect ect ect. Just very rude and I know my parents would never have stood for that sort of behavior when I was younger. BF got the filet mignon again, I got some sort of stuffed chicken. Both amazing. We couldn't finish them so we took the rest back to our room. We received yet another bottle of wine for the anniversary package, and they brought out a cake and sang for us. The entire restaurant found this amusing because I turned bright red and was giggling the entire time. Add in the fact that we both look like we're 17 and yea. Hehe. Had the chocolate fondue and cheesecake and chocolate lava cake for dessert. Had to dip the cheesecake in the fondue after everything I'd heard about it on here. Yes, it's worth it. No, I don't want to know how many calories I consumed that night. I'm not sure what we did between dinner and the show at 9:30. I know at one point we purchased the soda sticker for my BF and we shared it throughout the week, there would have been no reason to get two drift. ones when we were constantly moving from place to place and either of us could use the card to get a drink wherever we went. Tonight was Ed Alanzo. You may recognize the name from Saved by the Bell. His show was OK, funny, but I ended up dozing off towards the end. After the show I went to the night club/casino for a few hours, then was back in the room and asleep by 3am.
Tuesday - Think this was the morning we went to Windows for breakfast. Beautiful view, we were one of the first in there so we were seated right next to the large aft windows. BF got the herring in white wine sauce which was a treat. Our waiter told us he normally only gets a couple of orders for it per cruise. I had some sort of egg white omelet. The croissants are evilly delicious. It's a beautiful site going through all the Caribbean islands to get to St. Thomas. We were able to get off the ship by noon. The town is about a 15 minute ride from the pier. $4pp each way. We went to a place called Happy Buzzard and got two 24 inch drinks with extra shots (wow, I'm starting to come off as an alcoholic in my review). We then made the mistake of going shopping while drinking these drinks. Somehow ended up spending an insane amount of money on sunglasses, jewelry, medallions, ect. Out of nowhere it then started pouring, so we took a taxi to a place I'd read about, Margarita Phil's, for some ethnic food. Very good, but very expensive. Our waitress was very friendly and around our age w. a BF in NY so we had some interesting conversation w/ her about living in St. Thomas. Were back on the ship by 5:30, exhausted. Had originally planned on going back out since we could stay on the island until midnight, but ended up taking a nap. Our anniversary Hors d'euvers were also delivered to our room this afternoon. Thankfully, we'd forgotten to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign in our lock, so housekeeping came to our door and woke us up around 9pm so we were able to make it to the 9:30 Rebecca Lowe show. She was amazing. Wonderful beautiful talented voice, with a great personality to go with it. She only had one show that night, and I'm glad we didn't miss it. Literally brought tears to my eyes during a couple songs.
Wednesday - So we'd had an excursion "The Best of Tortola" scheduled for today, but we didn't get to sleep till about 4am the night before and must of slept through our wakeup call, because when we did wake up at 9:15am, we realized we'd missed the departure time by 1/2 an hour Managed to get off the ship by 10am. Got a bus to the beach. Thrilling experience, those busses. It's true that they have to honk their horn when they go around corners so people know that they're coming. My BF was surprised by how much poverty there was and all the run down buildings. I've been traveling since before I can remember, so it doesn't phase me at this point but I guess it would be a bit of a culture shock to someone whose only idea of what the Caribbean looks like had been molded from movies and pictures. Once we got to the beach, it became pretty apparent that they stick all the tourists on the same beach. Dirty, over crowded, not my idea of 'paradise'. Didn't stay very long, tried out the water, ate at one of the food huts on the beach and tried conch fritters, then got back on a bus and back to the ship. At 4pm we had the anniversary/honey mooners party in the Maharani's Night club. It was kinda awkward. Champagne and cake was offered. Then everyone introduced themselves, but they had us do things like stand in a circle on the dance floor and share ways to have a healthy relationship and it was all just too much like therapy, and I know I wasn't the only one to feel this way. Left there to go to the Murder Mystery dinner we'd signed up for. Not at all how I expected it to be, from doing past Murder Mystery's in the city and on other vacations. Instead of their being actors involved in the event or any real structure, they simply broke everyone up into groups (we'd had to sign up for it earlier in the week, it was free, but I think it was about a 96 person limit) and had us pick characters to be and then we ate in Windows while going through these lil character booklet/scripts. A very independent group activity, and while it had its moments, I don't think I'd have done it if I'd known that's how it was going to work. Immediately after dinner we went to the Stardust Theater for Dr. Trance's Hilarious Hypnosis show. I volunteered and it was fun, but not nearly as good as the two I've been to/in in Las Vegas over the years. The good thing about doing things like this is that it opens up ways for conversations to start with people, because I was approached for the rest of the trip with comments and questions about it. BF retired early, yet again, and I spent the night in the nightclub and casino, yet again. Was back in the room by maybe 2am or so.
Thursday - Another sea day. I personally enjoy these just as much as Island days. Grr, unfortunately I stopped writing down the things I wanted to do each day, after Wednesday so this is gonna be a lil bit harder now. I think this was the day of the Mr. Sexy Legs competition by the pool which was semi entertaining but nothing spectacular. I think the Newly Weds game was also on Thursday, again, nothing spectacular. Julie, the cruise director, was nice enough, and always present in the club and during various activities, and I'm a semi laid back person so it was nice to have a more low key CD at times, but I think she could have been more humorous. Also, maybe next time I shouldn't cruise on such a family friendly cruise line because things would have been funnier/more interesting had they been able to spice them up, in my opinion . Had lunch in Windows. Food was pretty much a hit or miss in the main restaurants, yah just never knew what would be amazing and what would taste like it'd come out of a microwavable dinner. But if the latter was the case, then you could always send it back and try something different. I know I tried a chilled soup at one point, and it was really good, but people are right in saying that it feels like you're having dessert for an appetizer, and I tend to be more calorie conscious than most, so a few spoonfuls was enough for me. Ate in The Garden with a lovely older woman who was traveling alone. Bless her for putting up with us talking her ear off the entire time (we were also on our 2nd bottle of champagne at this point), she musta felt like she was babysitting, but it was nice hearing her various stories and opinions on solo vacations. I'm pretty sure that she said she didn't like Freestyle Cruising, because it's much harder to form a connection with people when you're not sitting with them every day. Went to the Second City Comedy Improv show that night. It was...OK, it was bad. LoL. It had maybe a few really funny moments but the rest was pretty boring. Again, this probably had to do w/ the PG rating of the show, as their Adults Only show was better. Went to the newly Wed game afterwards, and then ended up going back to Second City with a couple we were hanging out with, so we got to sit through that again. Of course our night ended up in the night club. Only this night we were there till about 3-4am.
Friday- BERMUDA!!!! Had originally had a Snuba excursion booked, but it was canceled and refunded due to lack of interest. We slept later than we wanted to (10:30) because of our late night out and also due to losing an hour in time zones. Was off the ship by 11am. Walked across the pier and rented a moped for $85. Definitely a must do if you're going off on your own. I'd been in Bermuda a few years ago but was only 17 at the time and only with my Godmother, so this time was a lot drift. We stopped at a restaurant and had lunch (escargot and sushi, sushi was amazing) then continued on to Hamilton. Was a bit of a ride, and def. scary driving on the 'wrong' side of the road, having to pass cars and there was a lot of traffic due to construction, but at least we got to see a lot of the island. Only stayed in Hamilton long enough to discover alcohol prices were higher than on the ship, and to get directions to a good snorkeling beach (Church Bay. First beach coming from the ship to Hamilton). Took maybe 25 minutes to get there. We passed Horseshoe Bay beach on the way, and judging from the amount of people there, were glad we were directed to a much more secluded beach. There weren't many people, it wasn't huge, and was the best beach for snorkeling. The guy was awesome, we didn't have any cash on us, only credit cards, so he ended up letting us use the rental snorkeling equipment for free. Fins, masks, noodles, ect. I'd never been snorkeling before and apparently I SUCK at it. It really bugged me out to be breathing underwater, the waves kept knocking me into the rocks and I scraped the hell outta my legs, and it was impossible to get around the rocks and stuff with the fins. But this was just me, because my BF had no trouble with any of the above, and was able to go all the way out and see some pretty large fish. Left the beach about 3pm. Stopped by the Dolphin Quest just so that he could see a dolphin, as he never had before, and there were also some large sea turtles. The lady had been nice enough to let us in for free since they were closing fairly soon, and the dolphin trainer put on a mini show just for us . After that we made a quick stop at the Rum cake and Glass Blowing factory for some free samples and to watch them torch the glass. And then after a quick snack at the Pirates Lagoon, we returned our moped and were some of the last passengers to get back on the ship. Quick showers, watched the sail away. My BF was exhausted and ended up going to sleep around 7pm so I just had a quick dinner in Raffles and watched the Show Time "Standing Room Only" show by myself. Lots of broadway songs all thrown together. Better than their first show earlier in the week, but not by much. This was also the night all the chefs and crew members came on stage after the show. Went to the Second City adults only show. As I already mentioned, it was better than their PG show, but still not amazing. Then met up with a couple people and went to the night club and def. got pretty trashed till about 4am...Lost my evening bag, which mainly only had my room key, makeup and a credit card so no MAJOR loss, but a hassle all the same. Never turned up in the lost & found, so hope someone's enjoying it ::eyeroll:: ANYWAY, moving on. LoL.
Saturday - Had a lovely hang over for our last day at sea. Woke up maybe 10am. Today was the Chocoholic Buffet which was pretty disappointing and not very impressive. All the desserts looked better than they tasted, except for the white chocolate fondue. Went to Swing dancing class. Tanned by the pool for a lil bit. Had a snack at Raffles, try the crepes, they're worth it but HUGE. Went into the hot tub at one point, then showered and got ready for dinner. Ate in Windows. My BF had the red snapper which he said was very good, and I got the pork chop which I had to force myself to choke down a few bites of before giving up. The show was opened by Rebecca Lowe, who again was very very very good, and then Ed Alonzo did another performance which was better than his first. He actually did one trick that was really amazing involving a woman's ring...Let's just say it ended up in a sealed pork&beans can in a jewelry box in a locked chest under a girl who was sitting on it. Went up to Dr. Trance's Adult Only hypnosis show at 10:45. Again, I volunteered. It was really working at first, but then the thing he had me doing caused me to think too much (every time he put the microphone in front of my face, I had turrets, and it was just too much on-the-spot for me) so I came out of it. But I was approached numerous times afterwards and told I was one of the most entertaining people up there, so guess I didn't do so bad after all..lol. By the time we were out of that show, it was about 12:30 and our bags had to be outside our room by 2am and we'd yet to pack a thing. So went back to the room to do that, getting them out maybe 5 minute to, then wandered down to the casino/night club but it was pretty much dead the last night.
Sunday - Debarkation day. Very depressing Was awake by 7am, had breakfast in Windows. It's true that by the last day the customer service goes WAYYYYY way down. Our waiter alternated between being rude and being polite but in a way that suggested he was irritated we were there for breakfast when we were about to get off the ship. Was off the ship by 10am. My father picked us up and we were home by 11:30am. If we hadn't spent more during the cruise, than the actual cruise cost, then we would def. be planning our next vacation already. As it is we already have a week long trip to Orlando, FL coming up, and have NO clue how we're going to manage this financially. But like we kept telling ourselves while on the ship, you only live once and the money spent on alcohol, gambling, pictures, souvenirs, ect was all worth it (for the most part, at least ).
Also, we'd tried to go to one of the dart competitions but after sitting around with a bunch of other people for 15 minutes and nothing happening, we gave up. And as an added side note to my review, we only got one towel animal and that was after I'd left a note on the pillow requesting one Our room stewards were nice, but we don't feel as though they went above and beyond in any way. Room service took over an hour one night. The closet door was broken so the first night when it was very rocky, we had to stick a shoe in the door to keep it from banging back and forth. My BF had a lot of complications being that he was only 20. Even though we weren't traveling with our parents, they wouldn't allow him to even get a beer, so I always had to be present for that. Also, when we first got our pictures taken and account set up, we were told that my credit card was put in for both of us, but this wasn't the case and we had to go to the front desk and fix that. Umm...Dishes that were laying around the hallway and deck areas would sometimes take many hours to collected, but honestly even as I'm writing this and trying to think of bad aspects of the cruise, all these things are very minute to me and didn't effect my experience in a negative way at all. I heard people in the elevator (which yes, I noticed the missing button in on the last day...lol...but there were more than a few mischievous teens onboard that I wouldn't be surprised if they had anything to do with little mishaps during the week) talking about how "there was nothing to do on the damn ship" which I couldn't think was farther from the truth. If anything, I was thankful for those few hours during the week where there was nothing going on that I was interested in, and could just relax, have time for showers, checking my mail, going to the gym, grabbing a bite to eat, ect. I guess I'm just over all a more positive person than I thought a week ago. And I got a tan and that was one of the best things I could have brought back so I'm all good =)
P.S. OMG I keep forgetting things. Saturday there was also the passenger talent show, and a guy won a free cruise for singing a song to his wife. He was very talented and deserved it, though one of the people we'd done the Murder Mystery dinner with played the sax and was a very close runner up in our opinion. Then later on (I think it was Saturday?) there was the crew member variety show. The little guy from Bosnia, which Sharon mentioned in her review, sang Californication while playing the guitar, which we thought was very interesting, with his accent putting a whole new spin on it. There were also break dancers, other singers, hula dancers which were beautiful to watch, and one dance involving poles being slammed on the ground. It was very culturally diverse and they all looked very happy to have the opportunity to show off their country on stage. Less