This was a great cruise; it needed a few more touches to be excellent, but all in all a wonderful time.
The buffet was great; the staff were attentive and friendly. The food selection was varied, and the layout made for easy navigation and less congestion. Food quality was very good; everything the temperature it should be, and there were some tasty dishes.
The main dining rooms were struggling just a bit. Magenta always seemed quite hectic, and from the time you were seating to actually placing your order was always a little interesting as the waitstaff decided who should be pouring water, getting bread, etc. The food quality in the dining rooms left something to be desired. With the rise of the popularity specialty restaurant, it seems Norwegian has taken some attention off of the old school dining rooms.
We went to Moderno and Le Bistro. Moderno was excellent. The salad bar had great choices; everything very fresh and delicious. And the selection of meats was amazing, and each was delicious. Le Bistro’s décor was a let down. It looked like a slightly nicer portion of Magenta. The bread served was the same as in the main dining room. Would be nice to see a few smaller extras for the extra $20. The filet was delicious and cooked perfectly. The presentation for that dish was sad. A tiny stack of au gratin potatoes and a few vegetables all on one side of a very big, white plate. Coq Au Vin was very tasty. The wine sauce was delicious; the potatoes were a little bland. Definitely get the crème brulee.
Casino was very good, your average slots and card games, nothing out of the ordinary. Deck areas were busy on the sea days, but there still seemed to be enough chairs for everyone. Come back to the ship early on port days for great quiet pool area. Public areas were all nice, though some of the furniture is starting to look a little worn. Seating in Spinnakers was nice with a good mix of fun couches and booths. Q&A with the captain and senior officers, and the production staff were wonderful. Always great to get a better glance into the day-to-day.
The theatre was very nice. 2 levels, stadium seating style. Only complaint is it was more like your traditional theater so there were no tables and waiters couldn’t walk through the aisles. Totally personal opinion of course, but I like that on Carnival/Celebrity/etc. The stage was a good size and the shows were great. The four singers were wonderful, great variety in sound and personality. The dancers were wonderful, too; they really sold it. The shows were always very entertaining and great quality. The live band is great, would hate for that to go away as it has on some ships. The dancers teach some dance classes during the cruise. Go. It’s hilarious to dance along awkwardly with the all the uncoordinated people on the ship. It was a really fun time.
Matt the cruise director was wonderful. He was funny/snarky/quirky and just generally entertaining without being obnoxious. Didn’t interact with the rest of his team, but they seemed fun. It was great to hear him singing. His performance of Footloose was a pleasant surprise.
The ports were nice. Magen’s Bay in St. Thomas was beautiful. Keep in mind this is considered one of the top 10 most beautiful bays in the world, not beaches. The beach is fine of course but don’t expect a huge white sand beach. The views up and down to the bay are gorgeous. Hopefully your taxi stops at the overlook for pictures. Breathtaking. St. Marteen was nice; Guavaberry store is worth the stop. San Juan was a wonderful port, wish it was a longer stay. We spent the whole time in Old San Juan which the ship lets you right out into. The fort was really interesting, but wandering the streets of Old San Juan was the best. The old architecture was beautiful. Didn’t get off at Samana since it didn’t seem particularly exciting (and they encourage you to go to the nearby island Cayo Levatado). Looked pretty from a distance but wasn’t worth the $15 when you can have an empty ship to relax on instead.
Overall, great cruise and would definitely consider Norwegian again in the future.