As background, I am a veteran D+ of RCL, Carnival and HAL and only sailed with NCL once before. This cruise was booked for the 23rd to 30th of May, sailing out of Boston to Bermuda. The dates worked with my schedule and thought I'd try NCL. Travelled with my son and son's friend.
We flew into Boston from Atlanta the day of sailing and took a taxi to the pier. (Taxi was approx. $35.00) We arrived at the pier around 11am and was quickly checked in and waiting. Since we had a suite, there was a specific area cordoned off for us with drinks and pastries available. We were given a pre-order form for alcohol/pillow choices which we filled out. We did not wait long before our Butler, Madel, came to greet us and escort us on to the ship. Since the rooms weren't ready yet, we were escorted to Cagney's for lunch.
First impressions were awesome, from the way we were treated from arrival, to being escorted on the ship and being seated for lunch the first day made us feel special. After a nice quiet lunch (usual first days at the buffet are hectic) we went to find our stateroom. We had the owner's suite with 2 balconies.
After dropping our hand carried luggage, we went to explore the ship. It's not the most beautiful ship I've seen, but it was well organized (except for the first time we went to find the Venetian) and in good repair. Yes, there are some rust spots and worn carpet in areas, but overall very well maintained.
My thoughts of the Aqua were mixed. We ate there three times. The first night we were seated with Keith Campbell as our server. Service was quick, efficient and he was able to keep us entertained while covering his whole area. The second time the service was very slow. We went later in the evening and we were told that since it was near closing, the food had to be cooked to order. Unacceptable, as the food once it was brought out was cold. Had it been cooked to order, it would have been hot. The order was also wrong. My son's friend ordered the striploin, and received steak Dianne. The server started to cry, another server kept coming by laughing and pointing at her. We were made to feel uncomfortable for speaking our mind. The maitre'd came to the table and told us that we would get a complimentary bottle of wine for the next night. We only accepted with the offer if we could seat in Keith's area. The third time and last time dining in Aqua, we sat in Keith's section, and had our bottle of wine. The food in the Aqua, except for the problem with the second service, was good. Nothing on the menu was really memorable, except for the service issue, but what we had was good and there were no complaints on the quality of the food.
We only went to the Venetian once for lunch. It was very pretty and we were seated at the back of the ship overlooking the wake. Food there was good.
Canallato - our favorite. My son and his friend ordered the steak twice and I ordered the lasagna one night and the pork medallions the second time. I can't speak for the restaurant on board, since we ordered it in our cabin through Madel, but the food was better than Cagney's. We did try Cagney's one night and all agreed that the steaks were better in the Aqua and through Canallato's. All three of us had chewy, grisly meat. We ate at Cagney's for breakfast and lunch on several days, and it was so much better than their dinner service.
I have to speak of our butler Madel Bunyi. He was absolutely fantastic and made our trip that much more memorable. I know he had other rooms to service, but he was there for us when we wanted him to be and even when we didn't know he was coming. We had a problem with our coffee maker and he took it out for repair. Since I am a big coffee drinker, until it was fixed, he brought coffee every morning, both a regular pot and the French press pot from Cagney's (he heard us say we liked it). He was very personable, efficient and professional.
The casino took our money, but we had a lot of fun losing.
We went to the aerial show. It was excellent. I wish we had gone to more shows, but there will definitely be more cruises with NCL.
Disembarkation was quick and easy. We were able to take a leisurely breakfast at Cagney's, check our room one last time for anything that might have been left behind and had a quick exit from the ship. We are surely going to miss our time with Dawn.
Overall the service was excellent, we had a lot of fun and we were sad to leave. I would definitely recommend this ship to a friend.