We just returned from another perfect week with Norwegian! This is our third cruise with the company and we can only say good things.
As usual, the staff was great. We did not encounter anyone without a smile. We snorkeled with FantaSea and they were incredible! We toured the caves in St. George's and I can say one is enough - I'd suggest Crystal over the Fantasy cave. We would have done more around the islands, but you can only stuff so much into three days. Granted, this was our fourth visit to the country and we were happy to just relax.
On previous cruises with NCL, we've done upscale dining for most dinners. This time, we were so busy that we ate at the Garden Cafe for just about every meal. We're foodies, but we didn't mind! A tip: The delicious mushroom soup from Le Bistro was spotted on the buffet twice! I'll admit that I had a huge bowl. I also took chicken from food stations and cut it up over a salad.
We did pay extra for the spa. We're private people and it is nice to just relax. Norwegian blended the male and female relaxation areas here and we liked and disliked that. Still, the spa area was wonderful. The black-tiled steam room (a.k.a. "Steam Room of Death" or the "Steam Coffin") was uncomfortable. It would have also been nice to sit in the hot tub and see the ocean.
One tip: This trip was to be on the cheap for us and we got an inside room. It was fine (as long as you pack lightly) but the worst thing is that we could loudly hear every time anyone along the line flushed the toilet. We hadn't previously experienced that annoyance in balcony rooms or penthouse rooms. I also think the ship could have used one more bank of elevators. At times, the walk to our room seemed lengthy. On the Jewel and Gem, there were fore, mid and aft banks -- Breakaway has just fore and aft.
I enjoyed the room coffee more than what was available on the buffet. This has to be the first time this has ever happened!
My review of the "Ultimate Beverage" beverage package is mixed. At first, it seemed like a great deal. We calculated that $49 dollars p/p a day is just a few drinks, right? In Manhattan, yes. Well, the drinks were affordable onboard at $7 to $8 a pop. Do the math: You have to drink a lot of drinks to break even. I decided to skip hangovers and lose money. It was fun to try new drinks, however. Trying the daily drink-of-the-day was a blast. I think the Blue Lagoon was the best.
Here's my annoyance: The separate soda package is $6.50 a day and you don't pay the 15% gratuity each time you get a refill. You do pay the gratuity on the "ultimate beverage package." We were annoyed to watch people with the soda package walk away with a travel-mug of soda as we were signing the gratuity line for a flimsy plastic cup, which cost about 32 cents for each soda. The package also doesn't include water, gourmet coffee or alcoholic coffee. Not sure why putting Baileys (which would be included in the package, all by itself) in coffee isn't included, but it is if you throw in a banana, other liquors and blend it up -- you've got a drink that is covered under the plan.
Water also wasn't included. How is this ultimate?
Still, we love Norwegian Cruise Line and decided to that we won't get the beverage package on our next trip in the spring because it will be cheaper for us to pay by the drink.
Rock of Ages was splendid. As we walked out, I overheard people calling it mediocre. Are you serious?!?! It was great and I don't even dig 80s music. The Second City crew was fabulous. My husband went to six shows this weed and I went to three. (I've never been to a comedy show before!) They made me laugh. Not giggle, but gut-hurting laugh. The Cirque show was magnificent. While the food was good, it wasn't spectacular. Still, I'd pay the money for the show! The talent exhibited there was incredible and I was riveted the entire time.
The ropes course and slides were fun. I chickened out on the largest and fastest slides, but I could because I was on vacation!