My husband and I have cruised before on Royal Caribbean and Carnival. This was our fourth cruise. When I first booked our cabin through NCL, I was concerned about the "empty" space on the top of our room. I asked the NCL rep if it was a storage area, he insisted no. My husband is a very light sleeper I informed him, are you sure that it is not a storage room where employees will be going in and out of, again he said no. So I took his word for it and booked Cabin Number 5107.
I called back about one week before our cruise and asked another NCL rep. She informed me that there was no way that she or any other NCL rep could tell if the "empty" space above our room was a storage room or whether or not there would be alot of noise. She informed me to email the Gem's ship coordinator, which I did. I wrote of my concern and asked her to please get back to me so I can change the room if I needed to. She finally returned my email the day before the cruise, how convenient. I was very upset. It showed a lack of courtesy. I called and spoke to another NCL rep to inform them that I was very upset and that the ship coordinator had returned my email the day before the cruise. She informed my that she would put in a request for a room change once on board, but could not guarantee it because the ship was full.
We arrive at the pier and park our car. It cost about $168.00 to park, which you had to pay upfront. We made our way to the terminal and waited in line to board the ship. It took about 1 hour to do so. We went straight to our room (5107). As soon as I entered, I made dinner reservations that night and the next (Easter Dinner). We then made our way down to the buffet, Purell at every door. What a mad house. It was as though people had never eaten, crazy is not the word. Oh and by the way, what is it with people eating on line while getting their food (GROSS!!!) Food, did what it was supposed to do, provide nutrition, nothing special though. Little tid-bit, for breakfast or lunch eat at the Pacific Dining Room, or if you must go to the buffet, eat either outside (area below the basketball court or in La Cucina, (Restaurant is opened, will open to provide tables for buffet - no charge). After lunch we went back to our cabin. The phone's message light was flashing. To my surprise, there was a message informing me that they had a cancellation and could change my room (same category) on the 9th floor. I went to the reception, the rep showed me the room, and we decided to change. The room was exactly the same as the one that we were in before. As we travelled, we noticed a rattling in our cabin. I tried to find the source and thought it was the hangers, but my husband kept insisting that it was a manufacturer's defect with the wall unit. I can sleep through anything, so it did not really bother me, but it did bother my husband.
The cruise director was so so. Nothing really exciting happened with her. We had a better time on our previous cruise (Carnival- Cruise Director, Matt) The rest of the staff was superb, with the exception of some who were to eager to please. Believe me, this was annoying. And if you said no to them, they had a look of dread on their face, as though we were going to get them in trouble. The cabin attendant was superb, my husband and I wished we had noted his name. We looked for him on the last day to give him an extra tip, but he was no where to be found. The $10.00 per day per person for the staff is well worth it, though my husband has a feeling, that it is from this, the staff gets paid. The shows were by far way above superior, better than Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Excellent singers, dancers and magician. We missed the comedy show because we were gambling for about 12 hours at a blackjack table. The first night, I did win $500.00 on a 5 cent slot machine. I sat down by the "Wolf" machine while my husband went to the bathroom, "donated" my $20.00 and two minutes later won. I was truly shocked because I never won on a cruise ship before. I do know that another woman did win about $300.00 on a 5 cent slot machine as well. Please do not fall for the pull tabs, they insist that they have to "give" away their last $2000.00 (last night). I think this is a last minute ploy to get people to buy them. Most people won about $6.00.
We decided to go to Universal, it was nice. The lines were not that long, maybe 20-30 minutes for the most popular ones (We did not get the express pass). GSC was cancelled because the sea was choppy. We stayed in Nassau for 2 days. We had stayed there before, so we knew where to go and what to see. We skipped Paradise Island, nothing special. We walked the coast line, the further you go, before Breezes, the better the sand and the beach, there is also a small park for the kids. (A fellow guest had informed me that he had asked the cruise director, which beach she recommended. She told him that she could not recommend a beach to ask the taxi driver, how rude!). The bus is only $1.00 each way. People are nice. Don't fall for the "final" price the vendors in the straw market give you, they will always go lower). Freeport was nice. If you did not book a tour, go outside to the bus area. There are plenty and there are locals there to assist you. If the bus fills up, the price per person is only $5.00 per person, each way.If the bus does not fill up then it will be $24.00 per person. Believe me, the bus does fill up. We decided to go to Port Lucaya since the down town area has yet to recover from the hurricane (Thanks for the info Cruise Critic). There is also a beautiful beach and plenty of hotels (We used their beach chairs, no one told us to move). Nice people, the straw market was nice too.
We washed our clothes on board (free). There is a detergent machine $1.00 (Tide) no fabric softener or dryer sheets (Stop by your local laundry and buy beforehand). There is also an iron and ironing board. Oh I forgot to mention before that the hair dryer in the cabin is full sized and works very well.
Mexican restaurant was very good, especially the last night, the crew sung us a song (Let Me Call You Sweetheart) and presented us with a cake for our anniversary (Nice touch NCL).
Overall, we both had a nice time. We would book again only if we get a great price. And I would like to thank all of the cruise critic reviews. I was very well informed before I left, and even impressed my husband.