My husband and I have been waiting to go on this trip for years and we wanted to travel on just the right boat. It was worth the wait! Embarkation was SO easy and fast! We boarded at 11:30am and had our bags in the room by 2pm.
The two of us left out of NYC on June 2nd bound for Bermuda and returned on the 9th. This was maybe the third or fourth sailing of this brand new ship, so we were very excited to see how it compares with the older ship we traveled aboard our first cruise several years ago.
First, there were 2 pools in the center of the boat near the water slides. This was hard to notice from photos online. One pool is about 4 feet deep and is near the kids area. The other pool is about seven feet deep and is by the bars. Neither pool was specified as "adults only" until about the third day. A small sign was posted to keep kids out of the deeper pool. I think they need bigger signs to let people know how deep this pool is, it was not well marked. Most people found out the hard way by getting in and never finding the bottom! Aside from this, the pool was GREAT! And HEATED! I was pleased to see the pool open as we left NYC, but even more happy that it was warm enough to enjoy, as it was cloudy and chilly when we departed. Nothing matches floating in a warm pool with a drink watching the statue of liberty float by!
We had a balcony room on the 8th floor, just up the hall from all the action. The only drawback to being on the 8th floor is that we were directly above the theater on the 7th floor. We didn't know this at booking time, as the boat's layout was not planned. So every night at 7 and 10pm, and sometimes mid-afternoon, we were treated to the sounds of the "Rock Of Ages" show thumping through our floor. We saw the show on night 2 and loved it, but the nightly encores were annoying.
The halls by the staterooms are narrow. Really Narrow and low. My husband is 6 and 1/2 feet tall and barely made clearance on the ceiling. Plus there were green plastic exit signs hanging down every 10 feet and smoke detectors and sprinklers sticking out. It was hazardous for him. We tried to minimize our time in the halls and not forget things to keep from going back and forth.
Overall, the boat was stunning! Every inch was so well decorated. I took over a thousand photos of just the boats architecture. The atrium and center stairs were incredible!
We ate at almost every restaurant the boat offered, including the cirque show, which comes with a dinner included in the price of your ticket. The specialty restaurants were all delicious, except for the Teppanyaki. I love hibachi food, but this had no flavor. It was very bland. Sadly, the pub was a disappointment. It was just the buffet food served downstairs in a pub. It was free, so I guess you get what you pay for. We loved the noodle bar and sushi bar! They are ala-carte, but very affordable.
We went to the Cirque Dreams dinner and show on the first night. We booked it through one of the magic help screens posted all over the boat, which was cool. We did not now it was group-seating, so we had to sit at a round booth table with a group of strangers. This was awkward, but we tried to make the best of it. The show was fabulous! Lots of jungle themed magic acts and acrobats. Even a Tarzan character for the ladies! There was a fee for this show because dinner was included. All of the other shows were free.
We saw Rock of Ages broadway show the second night and that was amazing too! The seats are first come-first served, even if you book in advance, so get there early especially if you have a large group. It was definitely on the PG-13 to R rated side for language and racy clothing, so parents with kids were warned at the door, though they did not listen and were quite shocked later on.
Friday night there was a magician/comedian in the theater, so we saw that too. That was very good, but short. Only about an hour long. I was hoping for more.
The biggest thing I have to tell you is about the fireworks Friday night. They say go to the top deck at the back at Spice to see them during the 80's party, as if this was the ONLY way to see them. Only do this if you want to be crammed in with a thousand other bored people. We heard the fireworks were going to be off the left side of the boat at the back, so you can see them from almost anywhere on that side. Our balcony room is on the right side, so that was a no-go. We went to the shuffleboard deck on the left side, deck 7, and we were completely alone! Perfect view of the fireworks, just me and the husband, nice and romantic!
The staff was very polite and helpful. Getting on and off the boat in Bermuda was a piece of cake. The boat never leaves or moves, so you can get on and off whenever you like. We planned to go to Horseshoe Bay beach on the number 7 public bus on the second day there, but the cruise lines had dedicated shuttle busses that picked up and dropped off only at the harbor and the beach! That was the best news ever! It made the trip so much faster not having to stop every few feet. We walked down the hill to the beach, but took the 2 dollar mini-van shuttle back up. SO WORTH IT! He has big signs that say TO THE TOP! and its the only dark blue van of its kind around, so you can't miss it.
We loved our trip so much, we plan to come back one day after we have kids. The boat was incredible and Bermuda was paradise! Good job Norwegian!
The port was great. Very clean and efficient. Except when we arrived home in NYC, the porters tried to tell us our car would have to pick us up across the West Side Highway on a random street corner with thousands of other people yelling for cabs. That wasn't happening. We just went back up to the upper level and waited for our pre-arranged ride.