Let me start by saying I had the most stress pre-cruise before any other vacation I have ever been on. So much so that it took me two days and many drinks before I was able to relax. Between getting my nephew's passport and consent forms signed at the last minute and having my niece admitted to the hospital three days before we left it was quite harrowing. My nephew got his passport a week and a half before we left and my niece was discharged from the hospital the day before embarkation. So, everyone made it even if we weren't all in the best of health. I worried so much about everyone else that it took quite some time to enjoy myself.
Embarkation was super easy. There were lines yes, but they moved along swiftly and we had no trouble with the two minors traveling with us. I was so worried one of us would be turned away because of insufficient documents but all they asked for were passports and we breezed through. I did have to remove everything from the stroller while walking through the security check point, even the baby.
In total there were seven of us. My boyfriend (41), our 13 month old baby girl and I (36) stayed in cabin 13226, a mini suite category MA. My mother (62), nephew (17), my boyfriend's daughter (18), and his niece (19) stayed in cabin 13240, a balcony stateroom category BA. The rooms were ready when we boarded at about 11:30 AM but the luggage was not there yet. We thought the rooms were adequate even with an extra Pack N Play provided by Norwegian. The Steward we had was wonderful and very friendly, my daughter loved him. We had requested the Pack N Play from our Cruise Consultant but it was not in the room. The Steward brought it immediately and we left to have lunch at the buffet while he set it up. The BA room steward was not as friendly but she always performed her job.
The buffet was great and everyone enjoyed eating there multiple times throughout the trip. All my family members loved the coffee/tea servers at the buffet, so much so that my step daughter ran back to the ship on the last day just to get her picture taken when them. My niece has colitis and was limited in what foods she could have, nothing with seeds, no large pieces of meat, no wheat, etc. My step daughter is a picky eater and more often than not ordered from the kids menu and I am allergic to shellfish. You can imagine the talks we had with our waiters before every meal. All the wait staff were great and met our needs wonderfully without any trouble. Even when we ate at Teppanyaki there was no trouble. The chef merely omitted the seeds for one, cooked the beef ahead for another and left the shellfish for last so it didn't contaminate my food. It was amazing food and even my baby girl ate her fill.
The Guppies play room on the 16th floor was small but full of toys, however, we only took her there once because it was deserted and a bit cold. The planned activities with the Guppies were alright but it was nothing new to our baby girl. They had finger painting on one day when she got more "veggie" paint in her mouth and on me than she did on the actual paper. Another day they had jello which again my daughter just ate and didn't actually play with. The staff were nice but not as interactive as I thought they would be. There was also no baby changing station inside the playroom but plenty of huge clean up rooms that would have easily accommodated a changing station.
The art auctions were scheduled at the exact same time as the Guppy activities so we had to divide our time since I loved attending the shows and learning about the art work. They had a $500 or less day which I learned was not at all completely under $500, a bit misleading. The art work was beautiful and I did so enjoy viewing the art in the gallery that changed about every day even though I did not purchase any pieces on this particular trip.
The pools were smaller than I expected for such a large ship and the water slides were scary to one of our teens since the floor drops out from under you. My step daughter also thought the salt water in the pool was saltier than the water at the beach in Bermuda! The little kids pool area was adorable and the water was nicely heated which was such a great idea since part of it is mostly in the shade and on a windy day could feel cold for the little ones. I'm sorry to say we didn't try the hot tubs because the pool areas were always so full. Loungers near the pool were hard to come by.
The ropes course with walk out plank and zip line was great and we all got on multiple times, it was such a hit. After the initial mind games (afraid of heights) you play on yourself you realize it is great fun. I was so proud after I finished it. We all tried the bowling alley, the pool and air hockey tables as well as the arcade. They were fun and hilarious when the seas got a little bumpy on the last sea day, so much so that the balls would move along the pool table all on there own. We also played miniature golf which was cute and a great photo op.
The sail away party was a bit deserted. There were people dancing about but not in the numbers you would expect from such a large ship. Burn the Floor was great and we all enjoyed it, even my baby girl thought it was exciting. The teens loved Bliss and mom donated my money to the casinos every chance she got. Someone won $20,000 on our trip, but it wasn't us...
The Manhattan room was nice and the dancing and band music is a very nice addition. My boyfriend and I were able to dance while dinner was being served and the baby watched Monsters Inc. on our iPad. The food in all the restaurants we visited was great with the minor exception being Savor due to our picky eaters. Apparently the spaghetti with marinara sauce was not a hit. O'Sheehans' was great, we ate there multiple times. The Uptown Grill was Ok, but could have used a larger selection. The Lobster Tails were delicious at Carlo's Bakery and I'm happy to say there is still one boxed at home in my fridge with my name on it.
My boyfriend and I had a date night when we visited Ocean Blue. It was fantastic. The food was superb! We absolutely loved it and I couldn't finish all of my food. Afterwards we listened to Slam Allen who was great even though we couldn't get seats and had to stand in the back. We ended up going next door to headliners and the dueling pianos that were wonderful and had the crowd pumped up. Don't bother with the free chex mix/nuts combo, its horrible! Just enjoy the drinks! We had a great time.
In Bermuda we purchased unlimited bus/ferry passes for two days and visited Warwick Long Beach/ Jobson's Cove and went shopping in Hamilton. The beaches were perfect. Warwick had barely any people and strong currents and Jobson's Cove was tranquil and ideal for the baby. There is no real restaurant near Warwick, only a stand with hotdogs and drinks, which was not acceptable for our picky eaters. We went back to the ship to eat. I do not recommend the buses. While they were easy to use and the people were friendly it was not comfortable. There was no AC, which was OK because the windows were wide open and the breeze was great. That is, unless you were standing the whole way after a long day at the beach and some of us a little dehydrated and/or sunburned it was not fun. I wore the baby carrier and didn't bother with the stroller on those days and thankfully others on the bus were kind enough to give up a seat for me. I would still recommend taking a taxi to the beach and back. They are readily available, friendly and your family members will thank you for it. The charged us $6-$7 per person, the baby was free.
Shopping in Hamilton was less than what I thought it would be, granted we didn't spend too much time there but I also thought I'd buy more stuff. My niece got all her souvenir and gift shopping done though. All the higher end stores are there. I avoided them because I still had to pay for the bill at the end of the cruise. Try to shop at the Dockyard early since by the time we went all the small size rum cakes were gone. We bought huge $40 rum cakes we'll be eating until Christmas! Also, don't shop at the first stores you see, walk a bit and the prices drop dramatically. There is a shop at the Clocktower mall that sells pillowcases and table runners, napkins, blankets and more. They use such vibrant colors that I wanted to return but ran out of time. Definitely worth the visit.
On our last day in Bermuda we went to Horseshoe Beach and it was wonderful. The taxi ride there was great because the driver gave us little lessons on Bermuda life and we returned the favor by telling him about Brooklyn. My how far apart those two worlds are! Once there you walk along a path past bathrooms, restaurant and bar, along with umbrella and chair rentals. Everything is close by and convenient. Horseshoe also has a little area for babies that was perfect for us. We brought our own snorkel gear so all the teens and adults took turns photographing the underwater fish. Then it was a mad dash back to the Dockyard for the blown glass factory and the rum cake factory before the Breakaway left the island.
On our last sea day we relaxed as much as possible. All the teens were tuckered out and the baby was in need of some quiet time as well. We all shopped on board and donated more to the casino and avoided the poolside and slides. Since the ship was speeding back to New York the seas were rougher but nothing too harrowing. You noticed the motion most when walking the corridors but it was still manageable and none of us got seasick. We had pre-booked the Cirque Dreams dinner and it was amazing. What we saw of it was fantastic. Even the baby had her eyes wide open in wonder. We did have to leave the stroller a bit away from the table because of the performers moving through the pathways. They had to stop the show half way through because the movement of the ship was too dangerous for the performers so they refunded half our money. We saw most of the show and had our dinner so we were still happy.
Disembarkation was a bit busy and there were a few lines, for the elevators mostly because we had the stroller. They also placed some of our luggage in the wrong section so it took us longer to find them. But all the staff were friendly and very helpful. Customs was quick and easy and we were back on our own New York City streets by 10:30 AM.
We loved the trip and would definitely go again. Perhaps not during peak season so the pools aren't so crowded.