This was our first cruise. I had read so many complaints that I didn't know what to expect. Turns out we had a fantastic time, met some fabulous people and loved our first cruise experience.
We boarded in Miami on December 3. We got there early and embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship and in our rooms in half an hour. We spent the rest of the day getting the "lay of the land" and watching the other cruisers.
For the first few days, we were true rookies. Spent most of the day on the top deck in the sun (we had 10 minutes of rain in 10 days). We just watched the world go by. Then, we started to get involved in some activities, met some people at dinner and started to recognize a few faces. I found that a lot of people like to complain but I see no reason why. You know, opinions are like noses, everyone has one.
Here's a capsule of our experience:
Food - We enjoyed the food. We are not gourmet diners by any means but found that the food was good and the staff attentive and friendly. There is always food somewhere. If you like burgers, take the time to get yours at the Blue Lagoon -- way better than the Biergarten. The staff in Windows were fantastic, especially Dean Walker and Richard, the maitre 'd.
Entertainment -- Really enjoyed Ross Bennett and Peter Sasso. Wes Epae the impressionist was great as was the magician. The Spirit Show Troupe were good, young and talented, but it was difficult to hear the lead singers during many songs. Not sure if this was a singer problem or a sound problem. Still enjoyed the shows.
Bar Service -- NCL is diligent about confiscating liquor you try to bring on board. However, they don't gouge you on the drinks. Lots of specials for hi balls, beer and cocktail drinks. Gatoh from Indonesia was a great server and a very nice young man.
Rooms -- we had a balcony, plenty of room for the amount of time you are in your room. When we needed the bed "softened" up, it happened right away.
Shore Excursions -- We didn't take any but probably would have gone to the Virgin Gordas next time. In Grenada, we combined with another couple and got a two hour tour for ten dollars each. In St. Lucia, ten of us got a 3 1/2 hour tour for $15 each. If you don't like windy, hilly roads, stay on the ship or go to the beach in St. Lucia. It's beautiful but the ride might make you sick. Antigua, we just went to Turners Beach - $6 each person each way.
Cruise Director's Staff -- Adrian the cruise director was personable and friendly but he's Canadian, eh? DJ O'Neill and Ferdy were lots of fun.
Our cruise, however, was made when we met some new friends at supper after our day in Grenada. Ten of us went together on our tour of St. Lucia and became great friends. Getting off in Miami was smooth although we didn't want to get off. We're already looking forward to our next cruise and seeing our new friends again.
All in all, it was a great vacation with fabulous people on a beautiful ship. There wasn't much shopping space but it was certainly clean.