After a long flight from Sydney,Australia we eventually arrived at Miami on the red-eye from Los Angeles. Checked into the Hilton Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard at 1am and the hotel was wonderful.Beds were to die for and the shuttle to Miami Port was very good. Check-in was quite chaotic and we had to stand in the hot sun in a very long queue for at least an hour. Eventually got on the ship and we were then advised to go and have lunch at the Buffet. Very good array of food and I must say that the cleanliness was spot on. "Washie Washie" heard from food staff all over the ship at all eating venues.
CABIN: Our cabin(8548) size was very disappointing and the distance between the end of the bed and wall was only about 18 inches. Liked the bathroom especially the glass doors although the toilet was very cramped.The balcony was also not open as much of some of the other balcony cabins I have had on other cruise lines.
DINING:I must compliment the Norwegian line for their freestyle cruising options. I was apprehensive about this but it certainly was amazing. At not time did we ever have to wait for a table at any of the restaurants. We dined at Cagneys,La Cucina,Summer Palace at night. Had breakfast most mornings in the Garden Cafe and the food was superb. Also ate at the Blue Lagoon Cafe and the service was great.Used room service only once and this was while we began to go through the first lock on the Panama Canal.
BARS: Met great people in the Star Bar before dinner each night and I must compliment Arnel our bar steward. He was always smiling and very helpful at all times. We only went to the Bliss Lounge once-too decadent for my taste but I was very impressed with the bowling alley but did not have a game.
LEISURE:The library was very well supplied with many great books. One of the best on any ship I have ever been on. Also loved the card room and games room. Once again well stocked with all types of games.Did not do any of the shipboard activities so I can't comment on them.Spent sea days by the pool as it was very hot. I found the air conditioning on the ship far too cold.It was too great a change from the hot outside and then you would walk into a freezing inside area and it would necessitate wearing a jacket or cardigan.Many passengers complained of this and some even came down with bad colds including myself.
TOURS OFF THE SHIP:Our first port of call was Cartegna and we met at dockside and took a minibus with 8 other passengers and we toured the old city and the beach areas. Valentin was our guide and he was great. After Cartegna we went through the Panama Canal which was amazing.
Next port Punta Arenas, Costa Rica was forgettable and we went on a tour of this area for 1 hour in a taxi. Don't bother.Beaches had black sand and not conducive to swimming.
Our next port of call was Purto Quetzal,Guatemala and although we didn't go on any tours we went dockside to a lovely market area and it was thoroughly enjoyable. They had many stalls selling great Guatemalan crafts and the music being played there was beautiful.Loved Huatulco and its great beachside bars. Marvellous margaritas.Only booked one tour through the ship and that was in Acapulco and it was wonderful. We went to the Cliff Divers and then did a bus tour of all the Acapulco area and our guide was very informative and quite funny.Arrived early morning in Cabo San Lucas and as we had already been to this beautiful place we went ashore after breakfast and mainly went shopping there.
Arrival and disembarkation in the Port of Los Angeles was a nightmare and I must stress this was not the ship's fault. The United States Immigration and Customs Department only had 4 officers to check passengers at Passport Control so the lines were very slow and long. We had a flight to Vancouver to catch at 3.55pm and we barely made the flight because of the long delays.
I would certainly cruise on a Norwegian Line again.