Let me start off by saying that this was a family vacation - we were traveling with a party of 12 (8 adults, 4 kids) and overall, the experience was great. The ship was magnificent - very clean, excellent service, wonderful staff and crew. I'll start with the biggest positive, which was Splash Academy, the kids' club. It was AMAZING!! Three of the four kids with us were old enough to participate and they loved every second of it. They couldn't wait to go back the next day and participate in all of the special events, including theme days, parties each night, and a talent show on the last day, plus a pajama party and pillow fight that evening. Needless to say, Splash Academy was pure utopia for the kids. The counselors were fantastic - incredibly good with the kids. By day 2, they knew all of the kids' names (a pretty big feat considering they have new kids every week). This truly is a top of the line kids' program - it offers all of the perks of a reputable day camp. Should we cruise More
Norwegian again, registration for Splash Academy will be my priority when making reservations. Be aware, however, that Splash Academy is for kids ages 3-12 only. Any child less than three cannot participate as the counselors do not change diapers. In addition to that, the kids' pool area was GREAT! From the spray ground to the water slides, the kids had a blast!! The only problem with this area is that there are very few lounge chairs nearby, so it was incredibly difficult to find someplace to sit and supervise while the kids were playing. In addition, lounge chairs were almost impossible to come by on days at sea. There were definitely not enough chairs provided, and there was empty space that could have been filled with more seating. This was a big negative, especially since we had three full days at sea.
And that brings me to the "adults only" pool. Whenever the kids were in Splash, we would head over to the adult pool for some music and relaxation. There was music, but there was no space to relax. There were constantly kids in the hot tubs (despite multiple signs indicating that they weren't allowed), and security stood by and didn't take action to ask them to leave. There is also a shallow area around the pool meant for sitting, relaxing, and taking in some sun, however this was not a possibility as the pool was over run with college-aged young men and women dancing in this area. Now, I have nothing against dancing. I do, however, find it inappropriate that in the only public pool area meant solely for adults, that we couldn't even actually go in the pool. In addition to dancing (and losing bathing suits), these young men and women were extremely intoxicated and having diving contests off the edge of the pool, which also included throwing each other clear across the pool. I am honestly surprised that no one was seriously injured. Needless to say, there was nothing relaxing about this area, and we were disappointed.
Now onto the Garden Cafe Buffet - the food was mediocre and repetitive, the crowds were unbearable, and the seating was not enough. While there are many dining options on this ship (most of which were good), this is the most casual spot and located directly adjacent to the pools, so it makes sense that during the day, this was also the most crowded. They did not seem to account for that when it came to seating areas, and I would have liked more diversity in the food options as they were the same every day. In addition to the buffet, we ate in the Manhattan Room, Taste, O'Sheehan's, and Cagney's. The food was good across the board, with Cagney's being the best and the Manhattan Room being my least favorite. If you want to eat in a "main" dining room, you're better off going to Taste or Savor. Breakfast is offered at the buffet every morning, but it is also offered as a sit down option at Taste, Savor, and O'Sheehan's - you're much better off with one of those. There is also the Nickelodeon Pajama Jam breakfast - the food was not good, but the experience for the kids was worth the extra cost and includes a free 8x10 picture with the characters ($20 per person).
The entertainment on the ship was also very good. We saw Rock of Ages - definitely off-broadway caliber, but NOT kid-friendly. We also saw the family comedy show at Headliners - it was GREAT and the kids loved it. We also went to Fat Cats. The band in there is very entertaining and it's a relaxing place to have a few drinks. Lastly, we saw Burn the Floor. I was not impressed, however if you are really into ballroom dancing, then you may enjoy it. The three days in Bermuda were great. It was nice to be able to come and go as we pleased on and off the ship, which basically became our floating resort. The three days in port also provided time to take advantage of some of the usually over crowded spots on the ship if you didn't want to spend the entire time on the island. Overall, the trip was wonderful. We had a great time, despite a few issues that we feel can be rectified on the ship itself.
Embarkation and Debarkation were a breeze. Ultimately, I would recommend this ship, however go into it aware of the crowds that you will be facing in certain areas (there are about 4,000 passengers traveling each week). Less
The stateroom was clean, well-appointed, and in a perfect, central location. Our steward was excellent and did a wonderful job maintaining the room over the course of the week. Having the balcony is wonderful (I would never cruise without a balcony). We had four rooms in a row and were able to open the walls between the balconies, giving us a perfect spot to relax with one another. When you book, request a port side, mid-ship room.