This was our second cruise, my husband and I had cruised with Royal Caribbean in May, 2008. I have to say that I enjoyed NCL much more than RCCL.
Because I had read the reviews, I knew that our room wouldn't be ready until 2pm. So, my husband and I spent the night at the Radisson in Orlando (A great hotel, btw)and drove the four hours to Miami on Friday. We got to the pier at approximately 2:30pm. We were on the ship by 2:45pm. Embarkation was incredibly easy. The first thing we did when we got on the ship was went to the reservations desk so we could eat at Cagney's steakhouse.
Our cabin was an oceanview. We were nervous because on RCCL we'd had a junior suite with a balcony, so we weren't sure if we'd like having a tiny room. Well, the room was more than sufficient in size. The one thing I would've changed if I could was the fact there were two pull-down beds in our room as well. That meant that there were about four inches from either wall taken with the pull-downs. I would've preferred not having the pull-downs, but such is life! :-)We ate at Cagney's at 5:30pm the first night of the cruise. OMG, it was wonderful! My husband and I are early eaters, so there weren't many people there yet, plus we were seated at a window seat, so we were able to watch the sunset over the ocean. For $25, my husband got an appetizer of Smoked Salmon, a Ceasar Salad, a New York Strip Steak, and for dessert creme brulee! Good luck getting a four course dinner for $25 anywhere else!! It was a gorgeous environment as well.
For breakfast on our first day we went to the Crossings main dining room. I had two poached eggs (REAL eggs...) on english muffins, corned beef hash and orange juice. It was delicious and our waiter was great! Our first day was in Nassau, Bahamas. We were going to go to Atlantis and pay for a beach pass. We ended up getting directed to a public access beach. We were going to go back to Atlantis, but decided to see what it looked like. It was a well-maintained public beach called Cabbage Beach. We rented chaise chairs for $10 each and enjoyed a day at the free beach. The waves were huge! But there isn't much complaining from me when it's for free! ;-) We went to lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nassau. I want to add that the strip steak at the Hard Rock is $25 without appetizers or dessert or a salad...so I still think Cagney's is a great deal!
For dinner that night we went to Crossings main dining room. My husband had the beef wellington. I had a sirloin steak. Our waitress was fantastic! When we came back to our room we had turn-down service and a puppy made out of towels!! Our stateroom attendant always made sure our room was clean and that we had fresh ice.Great Stirrup Cay was fun, but not as cool as RCCL's island, Coco Cay. We had our own snorkeling equipment, so we did that. We love snorkeling, so a fun time was had by all (or at least me and the hubby). We went back to the ship early because it was getting rainy.
As far as the service goes, there were some people who weren't great...but that's everywhere. The buffet needs help...I prefer the stations that RCCL has at their buffet. But they did change up the meat station at the buffet regularly. The entertainment was fun...the bingo was fun to watch and we enjoyed the dancers...the comic was mediocre at best.
We had a terrific time. My husband and I kept debating whether we should book another cruise right then and there, but we didn't get around to it. We will be cruising NCL again. Thanks!!