This was our first time on NCL. My husband and I normally cruise with Royal Caribbean, but we decided to give NCL a try.
Embarkation: 4/7/07 We checked our bags at the door and proceeded to the seating area. Within an hour, we were making our way onto the ship. Overall, very smooth embarkation.
Cabin: The cabin was comfortable. I especially liked the bedding. Food: Overall, the food was okay. Raffles and the main dining room were our choices for breakfast(lunch at Raffles was not impressive). We ate dinner at either The Garden Room or Windows every night. The Garden Room was nice. Windows was nice as well, but we preferred the window seats towards the hostess stand. The area by the three huge widows at the back of Widows was too noisy and the vibrations were annoying.
Service: I have to admit that I was very disappointed with most of the service on the ship. I feel that most of the waitstaff seemed unfriendly. Our cabin steward was very nice, but occasionally he would forget things. This was our first experience with "freestyle" and I'm not sure I like it. I actually enjoy having the same tablemates for dinner with the same waitstaff because they get to know your likes and dislikes.
At Sea (Two Days): The first night was a little rough. Thirteen-foot seas caused the boat to rock a bit. The boat was very noisy. It rattled like crazy and I must admit that I did not get much sleep the first night.
St. Thomas: We have been to Trunk Bay, St. John's before, so we decided to do the marine sanctuary kayak and snorkel excursion. The kayaking was fun. We learned a lot about the mangroves. The snorkeling was a little disappointing until the last few minutes when I saw a bunch of fish next to a sailboat anchored nearby.
Tortola: Our excursion was rescheduled from 7:30 AM to 11:45 AM. I was excited about that because it allowed us time to sleep in and walk to town to do some shopping. We had a nice walk and a pleasant shopping experience. We went to the ship to grab a quick lunch at Raffles and headed to our excursion. We did the Virgin Gorda Baths and Snorkel. This was the best excursion of all. If you go to Tortola, you must go to Virgin Gorda. You will not regret it. The snorkeling was great and our tour guide from NCL (Byrd) was excellent! What an amazing place!
Dominican Republic (Samana): We did the catamaran sail and snorkel. This was a very relaxing excursion. Drinks(alcoholic and non alcoholic)flowed freely and everyone had a great time. First, we sailed around the coast of Samana. Then, we went snorkeling. Next, we headed to Cayo Leventado to explore the outdoor market and beach area. Lastly, we sailed to a small rocky beach that was lined with hammocks. There, we were treated to drinks and assorted fresh fruits with a view of the Spirit in the background. So relaxing!
At Sea (Two Days): The two returning days at sea were pleasant.
We too advantage of the express check out. It was worth it. You carry your own luggage, but that was no big deal. As soon as the ship was cleared, we were able to get off the ship immediately.
Overall, we had a nice vacation. If you do not enjoy a cruise, you only have yourself to blame. The ship was nice and clean but I do not think we would cruise with NCL again. The entertainment and especially the service are in need of some improvement.