Our flight into LA was smooth and ZIPPY shuttle service was calling us before we landed and met us right out of baggage claim. Our driver Glen was pleasant – offered us water and made the trip to San Pedro smooth and easy. (We pre-booked and paid for the roundtrip service in advance).
We arrived at the Pier and were escorted to check-in for handicap (I had a transport chair due to a bum foot) and check in took only a matter of minutes. Others said they waited in lines for 90 minutes and longer. We walked on to the ship and everyone huddled around trying to figure out where to go as no one greeted us. We found our way to the main dining room for lunch and were promptly served, club sandwich for the grandaughter, salad for me and ribs for the hubby. After lunch we went to check out our balcony room on deck 10. The room was smaller then what we have had on other cruise lines and the bed took up the majority of the room. The bathroom was very nice with a separate shower, sink area and toilet with a sliding door. The third bed was a very small sofa that fit one large person or two small people during the day. The cushions folded down at night to make the little bed right next to the big bed so their was no room in between them. My granddaughter complained that the bed was rock hard and not big enough for her. The main bed was very firm as well. We were amazed that we found places to store all of our belongings but the room has lots of storage space if you look for it. I highly recommend the over the door shoe organizer for little items. 3 people could not sit on the balcony but it fit 2 comfortably and it was very nice to have the fresh air. Balcony rooms have a small coffee pot that was great for my morning fix. There is no TV guide in your room or a menu on the 13” TV to tell you what is showing – repeats of one movie a day over and over again, CNN and NCL channels. I was very glad I brought my lap top and DVD’s.
We could not find a quite spot to read on board since they moved the library and internet café to deck 9. (Hope this is temporary) The library was very small and noisy above an open atrium with piano music below.
NCL is very serious about bringing liquor onboard and will call you to the naughty room if found in your luggage. Hard alcohol is taken and if wine is found they either make you pay a $15 corkage fee to keep it, destroy it, or keep it for you until the end of your cruise. The line was very long to claim your luggage. Wine was about $9.50 a glass and drinks range from - $7.00 -$10.00. Before the cruise we were told about the Teen Passport Coupon book so we inquired about it at the Java café. For $34.50 you receive 20 coupons for non-alcoholic drinks (strawberry daiquiri, pina colada), smoothies, juice and soda. I think this is just for teens but we had no problem getting it, Maybe because of the GD being with us. We pre-ordered 2 bottles of wine from NCL events coordinator. 800-327-9020. You pick the wine you want from NCL Bon-voyage wine list and then call them with your credit card. We had a mix up with one of the bottles that was delivered to our stateroom but we didn't let it effect our cruise. It was better then trying to smuggle it.
The seas were very rocky leaving LA to Cabo and the weather was overcast with some rain so for the first two days I was very dizzy and light headed. They announced that the temp in Cabo was 79* so I had something to look forward to. The main pool area is small with only one large pool and two hot tubs on board that were always crowded. They have a pool slide for kids but it wasn’t always open due to the weather and wind.
The kids club seemed to be having a lot of fun as we saw kids all over the ship dressed as princess and kings in outfits they made themselves. Too cute. The teen club had a large screen karaoke, a dance floor and their own internet access. Be careful if you have kids as the arcade games take your sea pass card, not coins and cost about $1.50 per game.
Activities were limited for free and when we found one we liked, so did everyone else, so arrive very early(1/2 hour) as space is limited especially in the new spinnaker lounge. They offer all kinds of alcohol tasting for$15, towel demonstration $9, tour of the ship $55pp, spinning class $12 and so on, but you are free to only do what ever floats your boat.
You can eat for free at the Market Café on deck 12, The Grill (when open) pool side, Ice cream bar by the kids club, Versailles MDR deck 7, Aqua MDR on deck 6, Room Service, and the Blue Lagoon Restaurant midship deck 8 for fish and chips, chicken fingers and really good wings. Popcorn is available at the Red Lion Pub, and peanut snacks at the bars but you have to ask for it.
Specialty restaurants with sur-charges: Le-Bistro $20pp $10 extra for specialty items, Teppanyaki $25pp,Ginza Asian Fusion/Sushi $15pp, Cagney’s steak house $25, $10 extra for surf and turf, La Cucina Italian $15pp, Endless Summer Mexican $15pp. Le-Bistro was too gourmet for me but the Asian fusion (Ginza) for $15 was well worth the price. All you can eat sushi was very good. The BBQ rib appetizer is the best I ever had and the Green tea is wonderful. I had mooshu Pork (mushy mushrooms though) and The DG had kung pao chicken that was huge chunks of chicken a little spicy and exceptional. We did the murder mystery dinner for $20pp that was a lot of fun and a great way to meet new people. I was the murderer and almost blew it
The entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was hit and miss. The magician Bob Trunell was amazing, the Second City Comedy and the Chinese Cirque Pacific were our favorites. The other shows were kind of amateur with the cast being out of sinc with a lot of splits and flips. The Pub Crawl, White Hot Party, Newly Wed Game, and the Chocolate buffet were our favorite venues. The chocolate fountain at the chocolate buffet with fresh fruit was to die for - real Belgium chocolate. Lobster and Grouper was on the first night at sea in MDR and although small in size it was still very good, Steaks were always tender and ask for a baked potato if you want it as it’s not on the menu. Coconut soufflé on the last night was very yummy in the MDR. The room service breakfast menu is continental style (juice, fruit, cereal, toast, beverage) but I wrote in ham and cheese omelet with bacon and got it every time. The food was good to excellent at all stations and restaurants. Pretzel rolls in the Market café were my favorite bread, soft and delicious.