I booked this cruise approximately 3 weeks before we sailed. This cruise to the Bahamas combined a 3 and 4 day cruise together as a back to back. The purpose of this trip was to have a quick relaxing getaway for very little money. My mother and I have previously cruised with Holland America, Carnival and have a cruise with Princess later this year. This was our first cruise with Norwegian. This was our first inside cabin. We normally have a balcony or mini suite. Our travel agent was able to book us the same room for both portions of this trip. I am normally the vacation planner but actually did very little planning for this trip. I will review this cruise as our overall impression for the 7 days with some specifics about each portion of the cruise.
We flew to Ft. Lauderdale the day of the cruise. We had a direct flight that was less than 2 hours so I felt safe doing this, although normally I would fly in the day before. I arranged for a Holland Limo to meet us at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale and transport us to the Port of Miami. They were very accommodating and sent us a brand new stretch limo even though I had requested a town car and there was no additional charge for the upgrade. Our driver was very prompt in picking us up at passenger pick up and was greatly surprised at how quickly we called for him after deplaning...since we did not have to wait at the luggage carousel. We both packed light and did not check any luggage for this trip. I had requested in my booking to have the driver to stop at Publix on the way to the port as we needed a supply of Coke for the week...NCL recently switched to Pepsi and we simply are not fans.
Embarkation was a breeze and our easiest one ever. Our driver had us to wait in the car in the A/C while he tagged our luggage gave it to a porter to load on the ship. Once this had been completed we entered the terminal where we quickly passed through security and getting our boarding cards. I had completed all of the information online prior to leaving. We waited in a short line to get our embarkation photo taken and then were on board the ship where we were given a choice of champagne or orange juice. We went to check the location of our stateroom and to see if it was ready, but found that the room stewards were not finished yet. Our stateroom was located in the middle of the ship on Deck 9 close to both sets of glass elevators. I picked up the Daily paper to read at lunch and we went to the Palace dining room. Lunch was so good my mother made me call our travel agent and tell her thank you so much for choosing this particular ship over the other choices. My mom was happy with the stateroom layout as well as her first meal so we were on a positive roll that continued throughout the rest of the cruise.
After lunch I went to the casino to sign up for their Casino players card. I had read about a special on the Norwegian board about slot play...You put $10 on the card and the casino gives you an additional $10 for a a total of $20. We are not big gamblers and this was more than enough money for us to play the penny and two cent slots. By the end of the three day cruise I had earned my money back and gained $20. I bought a new $10 slot card for the four day cruise and by the end of the cruise I had won another $100. My mother thinks I should learn to play the table games next but I told her I can't do math in my head so I'll stick to the penny slots.
Breakfast was either room service or we went to the main dining room. Lunch was in the main dining room except for one day when I ordered the Fiesta salad from room service and my mother ate in the buffet. Breakfast room service was always delivered promptly and we both appreciated the phone call just moments prior to their knock on the door with our food. The salad that I ordered was very tasty but the tortilla strips on top were stale so I picked these off. We ate in the Crossing dining room only one night and noticed that service here was very erratic and slow but the food was still the same quality as in the Palace dining room. All other meals were eaten in the Palace dining room except for the nights that we dined in the specialty restaurants. Most nights we walked in around 7:00 and were promptly seated at a window table (I only asked for this the first night). Service and the quality of the food in the Palace dining room was very good and we enjoyed all our meals.
I then went to the specialty restaurant reservation table and made reservations for II Adagio that night and Le Bistro the following night. I made a reservation for Cagney's for our last night aboard.
II Adagio was good and we enjoyed our meal especially the pizza which was by far the best thing both of us ate that night. We tried the pizza with a variety of different vegetables on it and it was delicious...so much so that the server offered to send another one to our room for later. We were tempted but were too full from the rest of our meal. We were both disappointed by our meal being disrupted by a ship's photographer who had us to pose together and individually for pictures...they simply would not take no for an answer. We did go and view our embarkation photos and dining photos the next day and did not like any of these so into the do not want box they went. None of the other things we ate that night were rave reviews for us. The food was tasty and the presentations were pretty but nothing spectacular.
We went to Le Bistro for dinner. There are no words to describe how delicious our dinner was in this restaurant. My mother wanted to bring our waiter, Malvin and his efficient assistant, Jane home with us. Malvin and Jane both went above and beyond our service expectations during dinner. I had the stuffed chicken and it was to die for it was so good. My mother made an offhand comment about the sauteed mushrooms that were served with the asparagus because they were so delicious. When Malvin brought her fillet...he also brought her a whole plate of these mushrooms. My mother could not believe that he had done this especially since she had not specifically asked for them but had been telling him how much she enjoyed them and how delicious they were. Needless to say I went to the purser's desk after dinner to get STYLE cards for both of them for my mother to write management about how terrific they both were. Dinner was so good here that when the specialty restaurant hostess came by during our lunch in the dining room on turnaround day to show us the menus my mom asked if we could eat in Le Bistro again that night and have Malvin and Jane as our servers again. All I can say is dinner was really good the first time and I didn't see how it would be any better but it was definitely better the second time around. When my mother ordered the asparagus appetizer, Malvin had them to add extra mushrooms. My mom couldn't decide whether to get the fillet again or to try the salmon as it is really her favorite. I did order the fillet which was perfectly cooked and so tender you could cut it with a fork. She ordered the fillet but made a mistake of telling Malvin that she had a hard time deciding which entree to get. When Malvin brought our entrees, he brought my mother an additional order of the mushrooms as a side as well as the salmon that she hadn't ordered. Malvin's reasoning was very simply: You need to try everything that you think you might like or you can't order dessert. He was quite simply telling my mother that it's okay to order more than you think you will eat simply to try something new. My mother was embarrassed to have all this extra food until I told her that she didn't have to clean each her plates but to simply enjoy the food. After this conversation, my mom stopped worry about cleaning every plate put in front of her and trying a variety of items at each meal. I had the chocolate cake creation and my mother ordered creme brulee each time we ate here.
Dinner at Cagney's was just okay. My mom had finally relaxed in her ordering/eating by this night and simply ordered one of each of the different seafood appetizers along with her porterhouse steak entree and creme brulee dessert. I am allergic to seafood so I ordered the chopped salad which was really good along with a fillet. My salad was the best thing I had ordered. My steak had been butterflied and burned to a crisp. I ordered the apple crisp for dessert and it was simply okay. Our waiter and her assistant were not very attentive or prompt in clearing finished plates or bringing the next course. Dinner took almost 2 1/2 hours which meant we missed the stage show the last night as there was only one viewing.
As far as the specialty restaurants were concerned my mother and I both agreed that Le Bistro was by far the best one on board for service and food quality. We agreed that if we did this cruise again we would eat here three times.
We went to Longboards late at night to play cards (which we got for free at the reception desk) and watch the soccer tournaments on their big screen televisions. We ordered the fish and chips and the chicken tenders as snacks on two of these nights and these were both really, really good. My mother ordered one bottle of beer and I ordered a ginger ale and the bill for this was $7.94 including the 15% gratuity. Neither of us is a drinker so I can't tell you the cost of drinks or wine as we never ordered any of these.