We just got back from our first Cruise. My Partner of 17 years and I met a couple of friends from Germany in Miami on Christmas Day. Here is our review.
TSA security was rude, and rounded everyone like cattle. They appeared to be so disorganised and barely could function. Once we got passed the TSA and into the NCL Check in lines, it was much better, and I think it took us about 20 minutes to get checked in and on the ship.
First Hours: We got on board about 1pm, and the rooms wouldn't be ready for a couple hours, so we wandered around the ship taking it all in. We stopped at a bar by the pool for a drink and then made our way to the buffet for some lunch. Food was good, all staff was very friendly. We chuckled every time we saw the washee washee man! (a person outside every restaurant that sprays your hands with sanitiser before entering).
We had a balcony Stateroom because we smoke. The room was small, but storage was brilliant. we unpacked everything and put the suitcases under the bed. The bathroom was big enough and very clean. Towels, and soap and shampoo were all available and clean. Water pressure was surprisingly good and about what I get at home in San Francisco.
Dining: Freestyle dining was a breeze, we never waited for any of the restaurants except for the last night (New Years Eve) Breakfast was at the buffet every day and had something for everyone. All food was good, and exceeded our expectations.
drinks: One of the worst parts of the cruise, the drinks were expensive, usually between 6 and 8 dollars per drink. Add up for two drinkers over a week, well NCL made out with us.... But this was expected before hand, so we planned on it.
Neighbours: On the cruise we had non smokers in the next balcony. I can appreciate some people dont like smoke, but we paid for the balcony because we could smoke. Every time we went out there and our next door neighbors were there, they would stomp off their balcony and Slam, not just close hard, but slam their sliding glass door. This became an ongoing gag as the cruise went on. I didn't feel bad because they were loud and obnoxious people anyway. Sometimes when we were not smoking, but the guy on the other side of us was smoking a cigar, we heard the same door slamming.... they probably thought his smoke was from us. NCL should offer non smoking sections for those people, but still I dont feel bad because of their behaviour...
Excursions: Great Stirrup Cay, we snorkeled. Fun, laid back day. This is an island owned by NCL, so all their drink prices and such apply here.
Ochos Rios, we did the Dunns Rivers Falls climb. Crowded, but fun.... I was not impressed with the people of Jamaica, rude pushy and always have their hand out to ask for money. Wont be going here again. Also very anti Gay, so we were not at ease in this place. anyway, glad we did it, but will pass in the future.
Grand Caymen: We spent the day on the beach, crowded, but relaxing.
Cozumel Mexico: We were supposed to go on the tuulum ruins tour, our friends got on the boat, we missed it, so NCL credited us the cost, and we found a small place with a private beach, food, massages, and snorkeling. The colors of the fish were amazing here, as was the service and cheap food and drink. Actually glad we missed the boat. Our friends said the Tulum ruins were crowded, they took 2,5 hours to get there and 2.5 hours back, so they spent most of the time commuting. We were relaxed and at ease when they got back.
Activities: Entertainment was great. liked it all. Bingo was 39 dollars, a ripoff, this irritated me. Also the Deal or no Deal game, 19 dollars, fun but still felt taken advantage of after playing.
Pub Crawl: 25 dollars for about an hour of fun.... dont fall behind, this was a fast moving event. Nice way to start the evening.
New Years Eve bash: Great fun, people really got active after the drinks started flowing.
All in all, we loved it. Still dont like their drink prices, or the pushy photo sales plugs, and the spa people trying to up sell you other services. The staff is great and make you feel special. We knew the extra prices going in, so we planned on the expenses and had a great time. We also met many other gay couples and the cruise was very mixed, so we felt at east.e