This cruise was the 7th for my husband and I. We have previously cruised on Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean so we were excited to see what Norwegian had to offer. Our cruise was a birthday gift to me and I celebrated my birthday onboard. We were lucky to get a call for an upsell from a mini suite to an Owners Suite! This made our trip even more special.
Arrival: We flew into LAX on the Tuesday before our Wednesday cruise. Since the cruise was departing from San Pedro, we stayed in the Crowne Plaza which was located very near the port. We could see the ship docked from the club room near our room but unfortunately, our room faced the wrong way. We enjoyed a relaxing day in San Pedro and had dinner at a delicious mexican restaurant that was across the street from the hotel. The hotel provided free shuttle to the cruise terminal and we arrived at 11:00 a.m.. Upon arrival we were quickly ushered to the check in line until we pointed out to the greeter that we were in an Owners Suite. We then proceeded to the special VIP counter and completed our paperwork. After registration, we went into the VIP "lounge" to wait for the ship to be cleared by customs. For some reason, this took an unusual long time. Never-the-less we were onboard and opening the door to our Suite by 12:30. The Suite: Wow, wow, wow. This suite was even more impressive than we had imagined. Of course we read reviews and even viewed others' photos but nothing prepared us for this! As we entered the "Renoir" suite we saw a long entry way, 1/2 bathroom, living room, dining area, bar area and 2 balcony doors. One door was in the living room and one in the dining area. As we walked on, we saw a sliding glass wood trimmed door which lead to the bedroom, master bath and front balcony.The bathroom was most impressive with the jacuzzi bathtub, dressing room and spectacular 4 head shower. We took about 25 pictures of the suite alone and spent much of the rest of the day there. Really, why leave???
The Ship: Eventually we had to venture out of the suite and explore the ship. I was very impressed. The layout is really nice and the decor is beautiful. There are so many little spots to sit and talk and people watch. The pool area was exciting. There seemed to be much more room on the pool deck than I remember seeing on the other lines. We took the advice of fellow cruise critics and went to the hot tub on the 13th deck in the front. This was one of our favorite spots. We tried to see the garden villas...but we couldn't get in :). All in all we voted this our second favorite ship. (Second only to Navigator of the Seas)
The Food:We ate too much! There were actually too many restaurants to try in one week. We tried the Blue Lagoon, Cagneys (which was in the Soho due to repairs in the Cagney location), Ginza, Teppanyaki, Versailles, Endless Summer and the Market Place buffet. We missed Le Bistro and La Trattoria. Many have already discussed the foods so I wont get into that but I will say most were delicious. The buffet was the worse that we've had. Others have praised it but we did not like it at all. We had my birthday dinner at Cagneys and they brought over a birthday cake and sang to me (very nice but very embarrassing).
The Ports: In Acapulco, it was hot and sunny. Nice! After being seriously bombarded with taxi drivers...we chose one and paid $40 (total) to watch the cliff divers, tour the city and shop. Later, we did the ships "bar hop" excursion. Crazy fun...enough said. In Ixtapa, we relaxed in our Suite due to too much fun in Acapulco. I was really upset because this was one stop that I was really excited about. I looked over at the port and it looked like pure heaven. Oh well..next time. In Puerto Vallarta we went on the ships Beach break excursion, which went to a nice resort. It was perfect except for the chilly temps!In Cabo we walked around and shopped after tendering.
The Crew: As always some great and some terrible. We had a butler and a concierge which was a first for us. Although definitely a treat, they weren't nearly as attentive as other cruise critic's had described. They did, however, do things for us like bring us cookies and soda and call to check in on us. I don't mean to complain because they really were good. It simply seems that other suite dwellers got a little more attention. Maybe they were too demanding. Who knows.
The Entertainment: Not good. I know everyone says it is great but in our opinion it was lacking in diversity. Most things that we saw or heard about were geared towards the 50+ crowd. Those of us who were younger wished there would have also been music, etc. geared towards us. Summation: We loved the ship. We really loved the suite. We enjoyed the ports. We wished the weather would have been more cooperative! We met really cool people of all ages and backgrounds! It was a fun cruise...aren't they all?????