We decided that a three generational cruise at the end of summer might be fun and planned to cruise over my son's birthday. So the three of us: me, my son, and 16 year old grandson booked an oceanview cabin for a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas. A week prior to the cruise, I was offered an upgrade to a balcony cabin which I took.
We flew from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale. As we had purchased transfers to the port from NCL, we were met by a representative in baggage claim area. After collecting our baggage, it took forever for ground transportation to arrive. The representative kept reassuring us that the bus was on its way. It took forever for the mini-bus to arrive. By contrast, a much larger group of Royal Caribbean travelers were on there way within a half hour.
Once we arrived at the cruise terminal, the process was flawless. On board the ship, we were greeted with champagne flutes (OJ for the 16 year old) and I was pleased to find that the ship was cool! The air conditioning problems reported by readers in July had been fixed. We were told that our cabin was not ready yet, so we checked our carry-ons, and explored the ship. We met several other passengers who were able to bring their bags directly to their stateroom, which we would have liked to do as well. Not sure why this was inconsistent. When we arrived at our stateroom, it was not ready for 3 passengers, but only 2. There were only 2 life preservers and 2 beach towels and the pull out sofa was not prepared with sheets, etc. It took over 24 hours to get the beach towel and life preservers and we had to remind them to set up the sofa bed. We had lunch in the Adagio Restaurant and enjoyed the pasta bar and ice cream.
Unfortunately, we did not have a similar experience at this restaurant on the second day of the trip. The line was long and one of the two cooks was surly with guests. We realized that he was overworked and waited patiently for the most part so there was little reason to cop an attitude with the guests. The only other problem we had with meals was on Thursday when we had breakfast in the Palace Restaurant. It was taking unusually long for our order to arrive and Laura, the dining room manager noticed. She offered her apologies, brought us some refills and excused herself to go "help out" in the kitchen. Service improved markedly at that point. On my son's birthday, we ate in Le Bistro and received the kind of service one expects in a premium dining room. Most of our meals were in the Main dining rooms where we found the food and the service to be excellent.
Entertainment on board was plentiful. I went to two production numbers which were dynamite. Tim Kaminsky, the comedian seems to enjoy a brand of comedy which focuses on having hapless guests make fools of themselves on stage. When one guest got up to leave, he was harangued by the comedian. On the other hand, the cruise director, Matt, did a great job and was much better suited for engaging cruisers in humorous, yet not deprecating ways.
The ship's layout was an overall thumbs up. However, access from the aft cabins to the pool deck requires traversing either the Garden Cafe or the Il Adagio Restaurant. This made the Cafe a breezeway for swimmers and getting past the ice cream line was often difficult.
Disembarkation in Miami is a class act. Much better than my May experience coming off the Majesty in Charleston.
Overall, the cruise was great. Bad were the transportation arrangements coming in. The ugly was being one of those hapless guests ending up on the stage.