Just back from my Eastern Caribbean cruise which sailed from 7/31 – 8/7. We (husband, daughter (9), stepdaughter (10) and I) stayed in a Courtyard Villa suite (16019) and it was the most enjoyable experience ever!!
Food: We ate at specialty restaurants 6 out of the 7 days onboard, we never made it to the main dining rooms but we did make it to the Garden Café(Buffet) most lunches. Everything on the buffet was delicious and high quality. Although they have all the standard foods, they also have a variety of ethnic foods that you don’t typically see at a buffet. My children especially liked the pasta station and ice cream. Our favorite specialty restaurant was Teppinaki as this surprised me because we live close to many good Hibachi restaurants. We never had a bad meal; the food and service were always excellent. Note: We did not try the Italian place.
Snacks: Don’t miss the Lemon pound cake at the Atrium Café, it was so good. The cakes there are free but there is a charge for the specialty coffees and regular tea. Note to NCL… Tea should be free. There are also good snacks at O’Sheehans and they are open 24 hours.
Casino: The casino was very nice and it had a Las Vegas feel. The dealers were nice and the casino had many different games to choose from. The dealers could use a little more training in dealing the poker Texas Hold’em cash games and the casino does not give points for playing at this table even though they take a huge rake. We did get them to buy us drinks every night so they did what they could but make sure to ask for it, they will not offer.
Water fun: The slides are the most fun you can imagine. Have kids wear their bathing suits onto ship when you board so that you can head right to slides before any lines start to form since luggage takes time to be delivered. The pool decks were well designed and space was used efficiently and good food was always close by.
Entertainment: We saw Blue Man Group (good), Cirque Dreams (very good), Slime Time Live (average), Slam Allen (Excellent), Howl at the moon (good), Ice Bar (enjoyable) and Legends in Concert (Excellent). There is something for everyone on this ship, make sure to book everything online before you leave. Everywhere we went there was something going on. There just wasn’t enough time to see everything especially when you have to fit gambling in also.
Kids Club: This was our only disappointment. Our daughters who are stepsisters are only a few months apart. Since one is 9 (will be 10 next month) and the other is 10, they could not be in same group. This was a huge problem for us. My 9 year old did not want to go to the club until after 10:00 at night when the groups were together. My 10 year old liked going to the club but my 9 year old did not like being in a group with 6 year olds, she really hated it so we did not use kids club until late night. We spoke with the hotel director and entrainment director about this but they were not able to make an exception to this stupid rule. We had used kids club on other cruise line and we had trouble getting kids out of club because they enjoyed it so much which tells me that the problem wasn’t with my kids. I will say that I don’t think this is a problem with the staff on this ship it is more of a corporate problem that really needs to be addressed.
Overall: We will take this cruise again because it had everything we look for in a cruise. It was like going to Las Vegas without the hassle. If you like hanging out with good people, eating good food and having excitement this is the cruise for you. If you are looking for more of a quiet subdued climate this might not be right for you. I am just sad it is over.