We chose to travel with our daughter and son-in law and their 15 month old litle boy.We had traveled on NCL Star before and it is a great ship.
WE stayed at the Embassy Suites Downtown Convention Area in Tampa before departure. There is a trolley to ride for easy tranportation. WE took in the Aquarium, and Ybor City nightlife before we boarded ship. No need for rental car!
NCL does a great job with organinzing boarding -especially being a Latitudes Member-so cruising with them before has its perks! Our son-in-law having a suite also helps! My only comment is that because the ship had gotten into port late our rooms were not ready to use and it took a while longer than our other cruises to get our luggage-all in all,a minor inconvenience! Disembarking was also very smooth-and going thru customs you just need to have your passport and declaration papers ready to go! BE Sure to have your color coded luggage tags on. NCL is very well organized just read your daily Free Style Newsletter!!
Our balcony room was lovely, well cleaned by our steward and there was always ice! This is really important when traveling in warmer climates and getting back from some long excursions! WE asked the steward to take out the bar supplies and had our own soda and bottles for water brought on with us...The first night I also bought 6 bottles of wine for the price of 5 and these were used the whole trip at the restuarants and also in our room. This is a a great way to enjoy wine with meals or before bed. My husband and son-in-law also enjoyed the pub crawls!!
We enjoyed the Versailles Main dining room and the service there, being waited on is so nice...The room at the height of the dinner hour can be a bit noisey...our grandson had trouble with the noise levels. Breakfast there is nice as well as lunch while at sea. WE also ate at Blue Lagoon, Auqa, and the specialty restaurants Cagney's and La Cucina. All the meals are great! I love the spring rolls, all the breads are yummy!. The lobster and prime rib were marvelous and my chicken parmignan was the best! There are plenty of salads and my daughter and I commented that the vegetables with the entrees seemed so fresh! Getting ice cream and sherbet in the evening plus coffee at the Java Bar were also nice. This time I did not want to gain weight-last cruise I pigged out at the buffet lines too much! So slowing down and enjoying the served meals was better choice for me because all the food is so good! WE also had breakfast in the room one morning-very romantic!
To get in exercise while at sea, it is great to walk the ship and just people watch....There are plenty of deck chairs and quiet places to find for sun or also inside cozy spots. There is a great exercise area but spa and classes are extra.....
This time because we had a little one with us we even got back to the kids Zone and had fun exploring. If you are looking for something to do you just have to read the daily itinery! The activities and staff are busy 24/7!
There is no reason to not have something to do! Yet you can't do it all either! I took in a few lectures/info sessions, shopped the duty free shops, lost a little gambling, went to the art auction, Shippendales and several evening shows! ALL the entertainment is great!
WE tagged teamed with our kids and we ate early and they ate late so the baby could enjoy his dinner in their suite, not always in the noise of the big dining room. But there are two shows a night-you just have to get a nap in after your daily excursion before dinner!
WE did two excursions thru the ship and two on our own. They were all great, and each different. The first two were thru the ship. At Roatan, Honduras we did Gumbalina Park and Tabyana Beach. The park is nice family fun, easy with the stroller! Saw monkeys and birds and walked thru a manmade cave to learn of the history of the area. Very good nice young man for a tour guide. The Beach was great. Ate there, food great with music. WE rented snorkel equipment for only $10 each and saw the best underwater reef since Hawaii 20 years ago!! FABULOUS! RElaxing day my husband says as a gal brings him another beer in his lounge chair!
At Belize City, we had to tender to shore, then take a bus for an hour then a boat up the New River for an hour and Finally got to Laminai-Mayan Ruin. The speaker system on the bus was fuzzy but our guide an older gentleman had passion for the area having done this for 22 years!It was welll worth the trip...To see all five of the sites here and actually climb-or shall I say crawl up the High Temple! Walking thru the jungle we saw some howler monkeys-very exciting! This is not an easy trip-lots of walking on uneven ground and then we did not eat lunch until after the hour boat ride back! We were glad that our little grandson was not with us! The one four year old boy did very well but it was a taxing long day for him. Those of us older folks enjoyed the history and all our guide had to share. A very kind and passionate man. I found a great book at the RR area/huts selling local wares.
AT Costa Maya we took a bus with others to Maya Chan Beach. This privately run beach is owned by some folks from the San Diego area. For $60 we had our own private hut, with chase lounges, hammock, sand toys, snorkel and kayak gear, plus alll the food and drinks you want! Very relaxing day to enjoy our family and grandson exploring the ocean. Fun shallow snorkeling area, saw gorgeous orange 10' starfishes! This poor area was hit by a hurricane and looks terrible but we did enjoy our day. Paid extra for a nice massage on the beach-ah this is the life....I felt so lucky! Thanks Maya Chan I may just be back.
Our last day, at Cozumel, we rented a private tri-hull sailboat. Our grandson was too young for this type of excursion sponsored by NCL so my son-in law found the Toucan owned and operated by a couple from Missouri. For the five of us it was the way to go. WE had three men take care of us all day. Sailing, fishing, snorkeling around some atolls, left on a private beach for an hour alone! (where's Wilson? we said!)Though the beach on Passion Isle was a bit littered by sea garbage-a given since we pollute our own oceans!) it was a lovely day. The guys cooked for us right off the back of the ship! Superb wings, beef tortillas and wonderful fresh fish salad. WE also tried to ride a spinnaker seat but the winds weren't quite good enough-oh well we hung up in the air a bit and got dunked into the sea too! Hilarious!! Our final fun and relaxing day on the ocean.
Our final day at sea we enjoyed a Cruise Critic tour of the Bridge. Very informative and reassuring upon the news of the Italian ship that went down in the Mediterranean. I am very impressed with NCL! WE signed up for another cruise on board so will take advantage of this on credit offer sometime in the next four years!
Thanks NCL for another great cruising experience!