We had been looking to seeing the new ship for a long time. We left out house shortly after 11:00 am and ran into some traffic at the pier. We didn't get into the pier until 12:15 but we were on the ship by 12:30 and having lunch by 12:45, having dropped off our luggage in our room, which was not completely ready yet. The room steward introduced himself and his assistant. It was an H the most forward ocean view cabin on deck 4. It was very warm in New York. We were delayed because there was a power outage on the newly redone pier (88) shortly after we were on the ship. It delayed the people who were at the pier and delayed our sail a way until about 5 so the pictures I took were of the Statue of Liberty at Dusk.
We ate at Magenta this evening and had a very good meal well served. We spoke with the Maitre D and had an interesting discussion with him. It began to get very rough. Wind speed was indicated at 40 plus knots from the starboard quarter and increased to 70 knots (minimal hurricane speed) overnight. The sound of the waves slapping the hull was pretty noisy although we mostly slept through it.
We awoke to a still rocking and rolling ship. The Captain had reduced speed slightly and altered the course to give us some relief from the up and down and waves hitting. I appreciated that. We had the cruise critic meet and greet with the captain that morning and he said he was responsible for our safety and we were responsible for the weather. He also said that the forecast was for 20-30 knot winds and it was more than twice that and he had spilled his coffee that morning which he hardly ever does...anymore. He said that it would continue up and down until about 4 pm and then it would gradually subside....and he was right. The M & G was not attended by all who had signed up but the senior crew was there in full force.
Prem asked if there was any problem to call him because he wanted to know about it on the ship and not read it on Cruise critic and to his word we saw he all over the ship everyday somewhere. We ate lunch at Cagney's and met both Alina and Anthony and Barbara and her spouse and had a lively discussion going, so much that a woman was getting angry at us for talking so much and probably so loud. She complained to the asst to the Concierge who told her that she couldn't stop us from talking... We ate dinner at Teppanyaki this night and it was very good. We meet nice people at the table from Ohio, Canada and Colorado. The Ohio couple was on their honeymoon. We finished the evening with Ariel Jacoby on the piano and a little ahead in the Casino.
Day 2. The sea died down and it was much nicer and warm enough to use the deck chairs. We ate this evening at Orchid, which we really liked so much in fact that we ate there again another night- the only place except Magenta that we ate more than once. More entertainment which we really liked on the Gem shows and pianists Jacoby were first rate (more tea)....I did a rendition of Hava Negila in both Hebrew and English since he asked for help with the words.
Day 3 First stop St Thomas....we took a cab to the beach. Worked out very well.
I think we ate at Magenta this evening. I had no entree just appetizers and desert. Good food good service....
Day 4 Day Antigua Rented a car from Sted....didn't work out well. We drove to Nelson's dockyard which was interesting and then I spotted a big bulge on the tire. I told my wife. She wouldn't drive in it any more. I wouldn't use Sted again. Promised to come and fix the tire (the spare was NG) never showed. Drove back on it anyway...Had lunch at a very nice place but didn't get to the beach because of the tire.
I honestly forget where I ate this night.
Day 5 Barbados.
It's a long way down to Barbados which is a nice island but it cuts the time we are at other islands because it's so far south and east. Took a cab to the beach. Really nice secluded beach. With the best public restroom I have ever seen at a beach. Cab driver came back to pick us up a little early and had to wait while we finished our lunch....good lunch.
Day 6 St Maarten
Rented a car again. It was fine...except I left the lights on while we were at Friars Beach but the chair boy had a set of jumper cables so it only delayed us 15 minutes. Really nice beach. I walked over to happy beach nice walk...only one fully nude woman- I have pictures of the Beach but not the nude...
Made it back to ship with an hour to spare.
Ate at La Cucina---which was among the best meals on the ship. Yes I know others describe it as chain Italian but I though it was much better than that. Hardest reservation on the ship.
Day 7 Tortola
I don't like the time here 7 -1. I walked off the ship to shop and found nothing so walked backed and sunned my self on the ship. Ate at the Bistro (part of the Honeymoon Package)
Day 8 at sea. Ate at Cagney's. This was Valentines Day.
We ate at 8:30. It was crowded. I know someone complained the next day about having to wait 45 minutes with a reservation. We waited less but I also know that someone was able to get a reservation up until 7 for 8 pm. They booked too many. We had a fine time. Not as nice as sometimes we have eaten at Cagney's but not a problem either.
The Chocoholics buffet was in the Buffet from 9:30-11:15.
Ended the evening at the Casino and won a few dollars. Day 9 last full day. Uneventful but fun day it was warm enough to be out until about lunch time. Ate at Orchid...really enjoyed it.
Last morning back to reality....Ate breakfast back to the room leave at 9:30 in my car with my luggage by 10:03. Home by 10:30.
Additional comments. Our room was always perfectly taken care of unobtrusively (we left some extra money for the two workers). One sea day we weren't out before lunch and they left a card asking us to call for servicing. We didn't call but when we were out at lunch they took care of it.
The entertainment was fine we attended three shows and Second City. We almost every night did the lounges until closing. We particularly liked Ariel Jacoby (and hope the feeling was mutual).
The crew was the best and friendliest of all our NCL trips. We really loved this cruise and ended just about even at the Casino which very generous to some of the cruise critic people. I liked the Wii. I attended a few of the lectures and they were interesting. I wished they did more of these. The TV was terrible. Only a couple of stations came in consistently. The movie channel and FOX news...almost no CNN and mostly none of anything else. But then again I don't cruise to watch TV...
I know some people didn't have the experience that we did (the blackout and the first day at sea were not a good start). Not everything went perfectly but mostly for us the problems were on land.
We thought the food was the best of all our NCL cruises.
We had a great time.