HOTEL: We(my boyfriend and I)stayed at the Marriot Courtyard Oceanfront on Miami Beach. We booked this through Ncl. All cabs are set fare $33 from airport to beach. The pool was beautiful and the beach was just past the tiki bar, a short 3 min walk away. I did have a few friends stay at Best Western a few hotels down the road. They were also happy with their stay. The transfer from Ncl was easy and comfortable.
EMBARKATION:Since we were in a aft-facing penthouse suite we went through security and were escorted to V.I.P. area where the process was a breeze. There was juice and ice water as well as comfy chairs and no wait. we were ready to be escorted onto boat with no lines.
THE SHIP and ammenities for the Haven:We were escorted into the Epic Lounge for a full tour of the extras while waiting for our rooms to be ready. This is where and when we met Adrian, our concierge. He told us he would take care of booking shows, dinner reservations and shore excursions as well as spa treatments. He walked us through the private pool area with beds and comfy loungers. Then through the private gym, sauna and steam room. Next to the adult only decks known as Posh. This is where we spent most of our time. All the chairs and beds had cushions. There was plenty of shade if needed.
This place was great. They even handed out cold towels and fruit kabobs during the day! They also allowed my friends not traveling in suite to join us.
THE SHIP: With 3 water slides and 3 pools it was easy to cool down. There were video arcades and video games in the bars. The bowling alleys were cool but never used them. The casino was huge but was not smoky like other reviews complain about. We never even entered the sports complex or tried the rock climbing/reppeling walls.There was too much to do we could not do it all.
The Penthouse Suite: The best feature was the huge balcony overlooking the back of the boat. We had 2 chairs, a lounger and a table and there was still room to move around. On port days it was great watching people scrambl to get on boat and the views as we pull away from port. The room had plenty of storage space. We had our own expresso machine that we used daily. There was full tub and shower. Flat screen tv was nice but had limited channels. Great vanity area for getting ready. Chairs and small table were great when snacking in room. Our butler,Randy was great. He stopped by daily to make sure we had everything we needed. He also brought us chocolates nightly. yummmm. Also the view of the ports, sunrise and sunset from the round bed overlooking the balcony was amazing.We loved the suite. No more inside rooms for us.
ENTERTAINMENT: We enjoyed the entertainment. Blue Man Group was incredible. Possibly funnier at sea. Slam Allen in the Fat Cat Blues Club was great. He was funny and a great blues singer. Our favorite was the HOWL AT THE MOON. We enjoyed giving them challenging songs to play. They were fun and got nthe crowd involved. We enjoyed the talent these musicians had. They would just switch from piano to drums to mix it up. We went to see the dueling pianjos every night they played. Second City was very funny. Go to the late show, it's adults only and dirty!!! So much fun! We also enjoyed the contests daily by the pool. They were entertaining. ?And we had front row seats on the Posh deck every time.
FOOD/DINING: We decided previously to cruise that we would try a speciality restaurant but really enjoy whats included. We(6people) ate at Taste for breakfast lucnh and dinner most of the time. Service and food was great. Some days we ordered 4 starters each and no meals. They were nice and didn't seem to mind. Lunch at Taste was great. Fish and chips and the burgers especially. Manhattin room was similiar but with different meat options. No shorts, flip flops or tank tops allowed here. Live music was played here during dinner hours. Many of these days we did not have reservations and the wait was much shorter than they said. Also they offered complimentary champagne for the wait. We ate at Cagneys ,$25per person charge, and one friends filet was overcooked. The rest of us enjoyed the steaks but we could have gotten free steaks in the other restaurants for no extra charge. In my opinion, not worth the surcharge. The buffet had quite a variety of different fruits, cereals and food for all appetites. We ate here a few times but prefered to sit down and be waited on. Room service was slow but served great BLT's. After midnight they charges surcharge $3.95 per order for room service. This was very reasonable.
THE EPIC CLUB: This was so good it needs its own section. If you are staying in a suite or villa go here as much as you can. Breakfast was small, delicious portions made fresh and hot for you. There was small buffet with cereals,
pastries and fruits. They coffee was in a french style small perk pots right on your table. I miss the coffee the most. Dinner here was amazing. I had the best prime rib here. My boyfriend enjoyed the grilled shrimp. This was way better than any speciality restaurants. My favorite thing on ship to eat were either the homefries or the chocolate croissants.
O'SHEEHANS: Also so good it needed to be highlighted. Hot comfort food all day and night. This place never closed. It is a bar with lots of the important sports being broadcasted. We traveled during NFL playoffs so this was very important. Late night we would have snacks over beers. They would happily wrap food to bring back to room if requested. The mozzerela sticks, Chicken sandwich, tuna melt, and chicken tenders were our favorite and we stopped thgere nightly. They had pool tables, darts and some video games that adults could enjoy.
Ports: St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Nassau,Bahamas were all beautiful ports. We went to the beach in all 3 place. They were tropical and beautiful. Easy and affordable to get around.
DISEMBARKATION/CUSTOMS: When time to exit ship, I called Adrian who met us at his desk and he escorted us off the boat on different floor than the crowd. This was very helpful considering my friend was traveling with a broken leg. He escorted us off the boat and we grabbed our luggage and went through a seperate customs line. Actually no line at all. Getting a cab at the port could not be easier.
THIS WAS A GREAT TRIP AND WE WILL DEFINATELY CRUISE NCL AGAIN. ONLY NCL!!!