We arrived at the pier around 11:30 on Friday. The security lines moved quickly and off to check-in we went. We used our NJ driver’s license as our photo ID and this worked fine. I did note that people next to us used passports which get swiped, so using a passport speeds your check-in a bit. Driver’s license needs all digits manually typed in.
It had been announced that boarding would begin at 12:30, and at 12:30 sharp I saw the suites people being escorted on. Then the groups started being called. The rooms weren't ready yet so we took our bags up the stairs to the Garden Café which was not at all crowded. You could also lunch at O'Sheehan's or one of the dining rooms. There was the option to leave your suitcase at the Bliss lounge; the line for this was quite long.
Checked our cabins out at 1:30. Two were balcony cabins aft on deck 12—the one angled balcony was nice. The interior deck plan on NCL was right for ours; showed the bed in the middle, but for the other cabin the deck plan wasn’t accurate. And one studio which was cool, as was the studio lounge area. Our cabin was very nice.
At this point there were still show tickets available, so don’t worry if something appears as not available online.
We then headed outside to the top decks since it was about 50 and sunny outside.
The pools are heated and had people in them at various times, and 4 mid-ship (pool area) hot tubs were ready. (the 2 aft at H20 were covered).
Muster drill came and went quickly. Efficiency as usual for this.
After muster we wandered up to the buffet to check it out and it was crowded. Only one side was open. Wait an hour and it’s much less crowded.
Lines were off a little after six and off we went. We stayed on our starboard angled balcony for most of this ride. Yes, we had coats on. Never get tired of cruising down the Hudson out of NY Harbor. Lady Liberty was aglow.
We didn’t go to Rock of Ages, but spent time at Fat Cats with Slam Allen and also Howl at the Moon.
We always enjoy NCL’s food. The buffet was good, and we ate in Savor Saturday night. The wait is hit or miss; our group of six could have been seated immediately at 7 if all had been present—which they weren’t—so we ended up waiting about 20 minutes. Food and service was good.
There was a note in the Freestyle Daily that kids 4-12 eat at 1/2 price from specialty restaurant menus.
Other observations: There was no room service available at all. You won’t receive a final bill so take a photo of the tv screen showing your account balance. The fridge in the cabin was locked. Not one of the self-serve wine dispensers was available--even in the studio lounge. There were no martini, mojito, etc. tastings scheduled. No White Hot Party (it’s not a Breakaway thing). Waterslides were not open, neither was the rock wall or ropes course. The ship was quite warm (in contrast to the Gem last month where it was cold everywhere). Various bars have various bar menus—if you don’t find what you like, try another bar. Watch your charges if you use the arcade; some games didn’t work but we were charged for them and it wasn’t fun wasting time at Guest Services trying to have $ removed (some games are $5!) iConcierge app—codes were on your tv—we didn’t use it. $4.99 per minute to use in-cabin phone to call off the ship. I still think the atrium is not the best place for some venues--they need a bigger space indoors as a backup. Breakfast was available in the buffet, one dining room, and there was a scaled-down buffet in Moderno. Sure, the ship seemed crowded in certain places at certain times. That didn't ruin anything for us.
Gold and Platinum Latitudes members received a plate of canapes and chocolate-covered strawberries.
The gym was empty Friday evening. We went at noon on Saturday figuring people would be eating, but a lot of the machines were in use at this time. Checked out the spa area which smelled really nice.
We cruised about 50 miles off the Jersey coast and down toward MD, and then mid-day Saturday headed east a bit and then back north. The water was rough on Saturday since it was quite windy; a lot of white cap waves. But the ship handled it very well I thought.
Back at the dock Sunday at 7am and we saw people getting off around 7:30. We were off at 7:45, handed in our customs cards, and to our car we went. Very quick and simple. The debarkation documents asked you to be out of your cabin by 8:30 and off the ship by 9:30.
Definitely a fun way to spend the weekend. There are little things onboard here and there that can be annoying, but I don't expect perfection and I don't let little things ruin my bliss when I'm on a ship. :-)