This was our first time cruising with NCL. We chose this cruise because we live in Massachusetts and did not want to deal with airfare. We parked at the terminal and boarded the ship by 12:30. We ate lunch on board and enjoyed the music on Deck 12 (the deck with the pool and the Garden Café). My husband and I were traveling with a 15 year old and a 13 year old and our parents. Our cabin number was 8000 and my parents cabin number was 11016. We did not have a balcony, but they did. We spent so little time in the room that we did not need a balcony, but my parents used theirs each evening. Our cabin steward, Vincent, was very nice (knew the names of everyone on the floor on the first day) and my parents really like their steward as well.
The cruise ship was full, but we were always able to find deck chairs. We got up around 8 each morning and went right to deck 12. We chose seats in the sun facing the pool and my parents chose seats in the shade to the side of the pool. More
The most crowded pool days were the second and last days of the cruise. There is only one pool that everyone can use and four hot tubs. We were always able to get into the pool and hot tubs and the wait in line at the Garden Café for breakfast and/or lunch was never that long. The only time we waited is if we chose to use the Omelet Station/Pasta Station because these items are cooked to order. The Omelet Chefs are fantastic and very eager to please. Please note that when the pool deck gets wet it is VERY slippery for those who wear flip flops. The pool bar was usually the most crowded, so it was best to use a waiter/waitress if you didn't mind waiting a bit for a drink. The other option was Topsiders on Deck 13. The wait at that bar was not as long.
Most nights we ate at Aqua or Venetian. We did eat at La Cucina and Le Bistro and found that the food was just is good in the complimentary dining rooms. There was no lobster night, although lobster was served in pasta on the last night of the cruise. Charles Gonsalves was the best waiter we had during the cruise (at dinner in Aqua). He absolutely loves his job, has a great sense of humor, and is incredibly eager to please. We filled out a Vacation Hero form for Charles and enjoyed Aqua so much because of him! Teppanyaki was always full and many people said it was the best pay restaurant on board. My kids enjoyed doing some things with the Teen Club as well as things they met with friends they met on board. There is basketball, shuffleboard, oversized chess and checkers, an arcade, and more. The daily newsletter highlights all of the events that are taking place each day and there truly is something for everyone. We did not use the Casino but played Deal or No Deal and Bingo when it was offered. We thought Deal or No Deal was a rip off (very difficult to win anything at all), and preferred Bingo.
My daughter had her hair done at the spa by Ricardo. He was another Vacation Hero. His kindness and customer service skills were amazing and he did a fantastic job with my daughter's up-do. When we were in Bermuda we went to Horseshoe Beach (you can rent chairs and umbrellas there), Snorkel Beach (rent chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, peddle boats, snorkel gear), and we went on the Rising Sun Catamaran Excursion. This was fantastic! We snorkeled, learned all about Bermuda, used paddleboards and kayaks, and were treated to Rum Punch on the way home. So much fun!! Every show on the cruise was terrific - even my kids did not want to miss them!!
TIPS: Bring post it notes if traveling with other people so you can leave notes for them on the door or in your room. It is expensive to text and walkie talkies did not work. If you go to Horseshoe Beach, bring a roll or bread with you. Break it up and drop it in the water and gorgeous fish will swarm around for you to see. The free dining rooms often have a wait after 6pm. Do not expect to walk right in at any time if the ship is filled to capacity. Bring Advil or any bathroom supplies with you. They are very expensive on board ($5.99 for a travel size bottle of Advil). Finally, if you like cruise/reggae music, the JamRoc band is great! They play on Deck 12 near the pool. Less