This was our third cruise, first with NCL. It is me, my husband, and two teenagers (16 and 18). I should note that our first two cruises were on the Disney Magic and I was the first one to warn my kids not to make comparisons, but in fairness to NCL, Disney did cost us almost twice as much. Anyway, getting to the port in NY was a little crazy traffic-wise, but that couldn't be helped because there were three ships in port that day all leaving at the same time. Embarkation was very easy, hardly any wait at all. We got on the ship and were told our cabin would be ready by 2, so we at lunch at Raffles with a beautiful view of NY. The cabin was clean but small, no big surprise. The first couple of days at sea were a little rough, quite a few people got sick. During sea days, we didn't really find there to be much in the way of activities. The pool was way too small, so we didn't even bother. It would have also been nicer if there were more wooden deck chairs on Deck 7, but there were hardly any. Dinner was good, even though we were a little disappointed in all the cover charges for the restaurants. As recently as a few weeks ago, there was no coverage charge for the Italian restaurant, and now there was a $10 per person charge. We still ate there once anyway and also ate at Cagney's one night. The food was good and the service was good.
Our first port was San Juan. We took an excursion and then had time for shopping. It was a nice afternoon and we were back on the ship by 8 p.m. and then didn't bother changing for dinner, so just ate at Raffles. The next day was Tortola. We had booked a beach excursion which was really nice. First we had an open bus tour and then time on the beach with lunch included. It was really beautiful and we hated having to leave. Our last port was Samana where we also booked a beach excursion. This was the only port with a tender to disembark and that was a little disorganized. We had to wait in the theater for our tender time to be called, but when they did start calling our time, they called out random rows, so people who came in late got out first and those of us who were on time had to wait. Totally disorganized and really wasted some of our excursion time. But we didn't let that spoil our day. Samana was gorgeous and we had a really good beach afternoon.
The entertainment at night was pretty good. The comedian, Peter Sasso, was very funny, and the magician, Richard Burr, was amazing. I thought it was kind of cheesy, though, that before the shows at night, crew members were trying to sell scratch-off tickets. They promised big winners, but I never saw any. They also had karaoke in the bar at night, but it would have been a better idea to have it in a bigger venue. It was way too crowded and I think a lot more people who have come and participated if it were at another location. The show the last night was wonderful. It was different crew members performing for us, dancing or singing or something that reflects their culture. It was nice and our cruise director, Darin, was the best - so full of energy and fun.
They really pushed "shopping" a lot also. They were very big on jewelry with fashion shows and seminars. In fact, that is mostly what there was to do on the sea days - kind of boring for the males in my family. They also had raffles for prizes, but I thought it would have been nicer if instead of giving away one huge prize to one winner, if they would have divided up the prizes, giving the most valuable one away and then letting others have chances to win the smaller items.
We arrived back in NY and had our last breakfast. Disembarkation was not a problem for those of use who listened to Darin, the cruise director. We were told to wait until they called our luggage tag color instead of clogging up the gangway. We listened, others didn't, and that is why we didn't have a problem! All in all, it was a very enjoyable trip and more than likely we will be back. Leaving out of NY is so much easier and less expensive than flying to another port. In my opinion, it doesn't compare to Disney, but neither does the price.