Dawn June 30. Another Review Don't know why we didn't get to Nassau on time, but it was planned that way. The printed notices were piled high on every check-in counter at embarkation. The seas were like glass on the way to Nassau, and after Nassau, the ship rode at a faster pace. NCL offered a $50. cabin credit as compensation.
Here is the review.
We drove to NY from Phila...an easy drive, and got to the dock at 11:10. The parking lot was being repaired and there was debris all over the area. After parking we found one of the elevators to the check in area was not working. Losing over fifteen minutes, we walked to another parking area and used that elevator. Exiting the elevator into the waiting room at 11:30, we found the lines almost out the doors to the pavement. We STOOD in lines until finally boarding at 1 o'clock. Comparing that wait to two other departures from the same terminal (HAL and Carnival), I can say it was tiring More
We found that we could get lunch in the Venetian Restaurant instead of going to the buffet in the cafeteria. The lunch was okay, and we were glad to have the relative peace and quiet of this beautiful room. The service was pleasant. In fact, throughout the seven day cruise we found the employees to be very nice, patient and polite, even if the majority seemed inexperienced.
On first inspection, the cabins appeared cheerful and roomy...we had outside cabins with porthole windows. Cabins were kept beautifully during the entire trip and that was one of the better features of the cruise. We didn't like the dispensers for soap and shampoo in the shower, and the location of the soap dispenser on the wash stand, but we were pleased with the fluffy towels and the frequent replacement of them. The room stewards were helpful and nice.
The ship is indeed beautiful and clean. The public rooms are spectacular. The elevators are speedy and efficient. So where is the "but?" What follows will point out the "buts", as well as some of the plusses of the cruise.
TOO MANY PEOPLE were booked onto this cruise. ( Our party alone had ten.) I heard an announcement that there were 2700 people including 800 kids on board. Clearly, this was a strain on space and facilities. Chair hogs were in their glory to the point that deck chairs...anywhere.. could not be found for hours. The pool deck was a sea of people looking for chairs. To add to the headache, the music was extremely noisy, and not at all relaxing. Overcrowding extended to the few groups of chairs on the promenade deck. The other result of over- booking the cruise was that reservations for "freestyle dining" were difficult to make. Having a party of ten made it harder for us, and I ran into many even larger groups...18, 20, 30 people to a group who had even more trouble.
I didn't like the food. I found the beef tough, everything too salty, and the desserts plain awful. However, the restaurants are absolutely beautiful. At the french restaurant, Le Bistro, there are four original paintings by Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet and Matisse. There, the food was decent. This was the only specialty restaurant we indulged in.
The first,big show in the theater was in poor taste. The dancers were dressed like street walkers and struck poses during their routines that made the stage look like a strip joint or brothel. It was inappropriate especially with so many teens and younger children in the audience. The band music was so loudly amped, that we were afraid of losing our hearing. The other shows were just okay. The juggler had a couple of entertaining shows, and so did the troupe from The Second City. They were a talented bunch. We really enjoyed the cruise director, Matt, and his staff. On the last night, they performed a really silly routine called "Fountains" that still has me giggling. They were what kept the ship and the kids on it happy. We played games like "Win lose or Draw" and Trivia led by Richard from the entertainment staff.. Our three generational team was one of twenty-seven teams playing Progressive Trivia all week. We all went to several evenings of line dancing with Matt in the Spinnaker Lounge...I never realized how haunting a ditty "YMCA" is. Since disembarkation, I find myself humming it at the strangest times. The cruise director and his staff also conducted the smoothest disembarkation I have witnessed in many, many cruises.
To conclude, the Nassau curtailment was a disappointment, Bermuda is gorgeous and we could have spent more time there, and Great Stirrup Cay is fine...the beach can't compare with HAL's Half Moon Cay, but the water is clear and lovely. Our kids touched colored fish as they played and swam. Food was fair, drinks were expensive, the ship was clean, big shows were bad, and the cruise director and his staff were excellent.
We had a good time, all being together and not having to wash dishes. No, I don't think I'll cruise Norwegian Cruise Line again, unless the itinerary is special, school is in session, and the price is very right. Since it was convenient for everyone in our party to leave from New York, and we all had only this week free, it was the best choice for our needs. When my DH and I cruise by ourselves, we are looking for a different experience.