Embarkation: Couldn't ask for anything better. It is a shame the port in Norfolk is so underutilized, it is a nice place, we got through security and checked in quickly and were on the ship by right before noon after arriving at 10:15am.
Dining: For something fast and quick Guys Burgers, Blue Iguana and the pizza place were all great. The Steakhouse is an absolute must if you are a foodie and it is WELL worth the $35 fee. Our dinner the first night in the MDR was lackluster for me, and going forward I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there and waste the time it takes. My app was a shrimp cocktail and they were super small shrimp, almost like the ones you toss into a salad. My salmon was small and bland, the potatoes were undercooked and veggies were basically raw. The Fish and Chips station was tasty, though the fish was a little on the greasy side. I stayed away from most buffets due to lines. For breakfast I just hit up Blue Iguana for a breakfast burrito and it was great. The one time I did hit the buffet for breakfast it was just ok, with the eggs Benedict stealing the show for me.
Entertainment: The only entertainment I went to on such a short cruise was the Piano Bar. It was fun but we caught them when they were in the middle of a trivia game, so for the first half hour all we were hearing were little snippets of songs. Once that was over it got better. We then walked to another bar that had a acoustic guitarist that was good...only problem was he was on him last song of the night and it wasn't even late...oh well.
Bars: Hands down the best bar for me was The Alchemy Bar. Bartender was awesome, drinks were great but be warned at $9 (or $10 if you want top shelf) a drink your tab can get out of hand quickly.
Casino: The Casino was fine, I know they can't stop smokers, but it really does detract from the overall experience having labored breathing while you play. One thing that did throw me off is I wanted to play Wheel of Fortune slots, specifically the $1 machine. They had one of them and a woman literally camped out at the machine from sun up to sun down. She even had a squatter hold her seat while she went to the bathroom. I know there isn't much they can do about it, but having two of each machine would help (the other WoF machine was a 25c machine).
Service: Everyone was great on the ship. Friendly, welcoming and just really seemed like they wanted to be there to help you. That really surprised me.
Cabin: I could not have been happier with my aft extended balcony on the Empress deck. It was plenty spacious and the deck was great, two chairs, a table and a lounger fit nicely. Only problem was it was very windy and chilly so unless you are somewhere warm or going somewhere warm I wouldn't waste money on a balcony as you won't be out there much. The surprise for me was the shower. Nice heat and water pressure from the shower, didn't expect that on a ship...it was better than most land hotels I have been in.
Public Areas: Elevators were slow so we took the stairs the whole time. Each floor had its own strange smells which threw us off though I've never been cruising before so maybe that is normal. But it ranged from fish, to onions to musty...but it mainly stuck to the stairwell and elevator areas.
Value for Money: Honestly this is where I have a problem. This Cruise to Nowhere cost me $918 for two people....to me that is just way too much, for the same price I could do a 5 day with an inside cabin. The value just wasn't there and I won't be taking any more 2 day Cruises to Nowhere.
Overall: We had fun, we learned some lessons, like not to over eat or you will spend your trip taking food coma naps instead of partying. The alcohol is very expensive so when we do a longer cruise I will certainly be doing the Cheers! program. We didn't see anyone getting out of control which we expected with it being a two day "booze cruise".
I will cruise again for sure, but next time it will at least be a five day.