This was my first cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Previously I have always sailed Carnival. I loved Norwegian and will definitely cruise with them again.
Very smooth process. We flew into Fort Lauderdale and utilized SAS Transportation to get to the port. So long as you fly in before 4pm it is only $15 per person. They will also pick you up on the day you return.
When we arrived to the cruise terminal the process was incredibly smooth and quick. We arrived right at 12 and were on the ship by 12:30. We attempted to see if our room was ready, it was not. So we grabbed a bite to eat. As we were eating, the Cruise Director announced that all rooms were ready.
The food in the Garden Cafe was just ok. It wasn't horrible, but not stellar. I will say that when you enter the Garden Cafe from the pool area it's incredibly congested. Walk to the very back of the cafe. Most seem to hang around near the front buffet line, so it's More
more peaceful in the back.
We purchased the Ultimate Dining Package. I would definitely say this is a go and if you can afford to purchase it, you should. There are several restaurants on the ship. The Ultimate Dining allows you to eat at La Cucina (Italian), Le Bistro (French), Moderno (Brazillian), Tapanyaki (Japenese), and Cagneys (Steakhouse) without paying the cover charge. Also if you have this card and eat at any of the other restaurants (a la carte) you receive a discount. We tried Tapanyaki, Moderno's, Cagneys and Ocean Blue. Let me just say .... Cagney's is phenomenal!!!!!!! We ate there the last night, and wish we would have early in the week. We would have gone back. The best steak I've ever had. The Brazilian restaurant was also fabulous!!! Tapanyaki was good and the chefs do a great job at entertaining. We did not like the miso soup or the seaweed salad, but other than that it was great.
We saw Burn the Floor! We didn't think it was fabulous but also didn't hate it. It was good. We are not big into the shows, so we didn't see any of the others. Legally Blonde is suppose to be incredibly good!!
Norwegian operates on a "freestyle" mentality. I love the concept. It does however require you to make reservations if eating at a speciality restaurant or going to a show. You can make the reservations before your cruise or during. They fill up fast. When there are shows, they are typically at 7:30 and 10:30, so if you wanted you could plan ahead and make your dinner/show reservations before going.
The ship is absolutely gorgeous!! If you are a walker, the walking track is on deck 16 Forward. However, it's incredibly small and a congested area. I would suggest that you walk around Deck 8. You can go around the entire ship, it's less congested, quiet and you don't have to dodge people and/or lounge chairs if you do it early morning or in the evening.
You can also eat at the speciality restaurants on the Waterfront. The Waterfront is on Deck 8 and each of the speciality restaurants have several tables outside. It allows you to enjoy a nice peaceful dinner while taking in the sunset or just enjoying the view!
Again, incredibly smooth. We left our room at 8am and were completely off the ship at 8:30. You have 2 options to disembark ... carry your luggage off yourself or allow the ship to. If the ship takes your luggage for you, you are called off in zones at a later time. If you carry your luggage off then you can exit the ship between 7:30-9:30. We carried our own bags off.
When we exited we simply went to our shuttle and were at the airport in Fort Lauderdale by 9:45.
The room was great. This category is a "Mid-Ship Balcony." Our room steward allowed us to view a regular balcony room so we could compare for the next time.The biggest difference between this room and a regular balcony room is the bathroom. Our bathroom had a double sink and a larger shower with jets. We loved it!!!I read a lot of reviews where people complained about the size of the balcony. Honest, I thought the balcony was fine. It maybe was a tad bit smaller than Carnival's balcony, but it was still fine!!!The Room Steward does a great job. Your fridge comes stocked. If you want the space you can ask your steward to remove the items.Currently there is a blow dryer in the room and it works great. So you can pass on bringing one if you would like.This room is centrally located to both the Forward and Aft elevator. So depending on where you want to go you will either turn left or right and essentially take the same amount of steps. You are one deck below the Garden Cafe.