We flew from New York's JFK airport directly to Barcelona. We were met by an NCL representative who directed us to our transfer bus. Because it was very early (about 8:30 AM) we were treated to a two hour tour of Barcelona. Unfortunately, our family couldn't enjoy it very much because none of us had slept on the overnight flight. Still, it was a nice treat.Embarkation was a breeze. We simply walked up to the counter after going through security and we were all checked in rather quickly. Because we had to wait for our cabins we went to the outdoor aft section of the Garden cafe and got lunch from the buffet. We had two cabins an aft minisuite and an inside. The minisuite was spacious enough for two and maybe a child, but no more. The inside that my sister and daughter shared was adequate and average as far as insides go.
We all agreed that the ship was very pretty. Although, the Hawaiian theme seemed a little out of place, we still liked it. The ship's size was perfect.You could easily find what you were looking for without getting lost. I prefer the feel of a smaller ship because I don't feel like I'm on a "floating mall" which we experienced on our last cruise. Just personal preference. The area where the pools were located was just like any other ship. One side for smoking and the other for non smokers. My husband went swimming in the pool and loved it because the pool was heated. Then he went in the hot tub and told us that was great, too. Unfortunately, we girls didn't bring bathing suits. It was January , but if we had we would have given it a try. All the public rooms were attractive and everything was kept in order and clean.
What we all agreed on was that "freestyle" was great. We loved the choices, but didn't necessarily like all the restaurants we tried. The Grand Pacific has a beautiful dining room. The food was average to above average, but the service was great. Altizar was very similar to the Grand Pacific, but more casual. We felt the Blue Lagoon
wasn't very good at all. The worst by far was Papa's Kitchen. Now in
all fairness, we are of Italian descent (except for my husband) so we
may have expected too much,but we just couldn't finish our meal. The
service was great, though. We ate twice at LeBistro and had a wonderful
meal on both occasions. We had tried LeBistro and Cagney's on another
NCL ship an preferred LeBistro. However, an English couple we met on
board loved this ship's Cagney's restaurant. The buffet was fine for
breakfast and lunch. Lots of variety. Twice there was a barbecue on
deck. The first one was better than the last one.
Unfortunately, we didn't go to many shows except Second City which our
daughter liked. Several of the solo musicians, the guitarist and the
pianist were pretty good. We tried our luck in the casino , but just
made contribution to NCL, I guess.
Everything considered, we had a wonderful time. The ports were the
biggest draw and they didn't disappoint. We have been on NCL before and
would go again on a similarly enticing itinerary.