We boarded at New York and that was very easy and painless. Arrived around 11.30am and only had about 30 minute wait before we were on board & exploring the ship.
We took the ship tour at around 1pm, led by 'Boston' Chris & that was useful to see some of the major spots & get to know one of the fabulous entertainment staff.
Can't say enough about the fabulous staff on board the ship. We were always greeted with a smile, many stopped to chat with us. We go to know 'Dazzling' Devyn, 'Boston' Chris & Nacho Libre very well & they felt like good friends by the end of the cruise.
Our cabin was an obstructed oceanview 8092, near the Blue Lagoon restaurant. Turned out we had a picture window & only partially obstructed as the view was between 2 lifeboats, so pretty good. Location was great, close to the elevator/stairs & one up from atrium/guest services etc.
Ports of call were nice. We weren't totally impressed by Port Canaveral. We took a shuttle bus to 'The Cove', an open air marketplace & although nice, it was small & limited things to buy. Shuttle was a nightmare as there was a long wait to get the next shuttle bus to Cocoa Beach. So we opted to pay extra & take a taxi back to the ship.
Nassau was our favorite port of call with all the friendly people & shops. We both (me & my 62yr old mother) got our hair braided. We paid $35 for a half head with beads. They started off by saying $3 a braid, but we set a firm price we wanted to pay in the beginning & were thankful we did that as we ended up with around 25 braids (so would have been around $75!!!). I advise doing the same thing if you want your hair braided anywhere. Set a firm price instead of paying by the braid.
Activities on board were plentiful. We took part in most of the trivia sessions, craft activities (Devyn led most of them & was great) & bingos.
Bingo was fun, but very expensive we felt. Started at $39 for just on single sheet. If you wanted to share with a partner you could get a 'super bundle' for $69. Payouts were generally around $100-$300 for most games.
Shows were great. The NCL dancers/singers were very talented & really enjoyed them. Don't miss the final show of the cruise, it is great!
Food was good. We ate at Azura (great service & food), Tsars (got chosen to dine with an officer & it was good service & food again), & the buffet.
Buffet was always plentiful with many choices. There was always a carvery item, Indian station, Caesar salad station, pasta station, then other options. Drinks were coffee, tea or unsweetened iced tea for free. There was a bar in the buffet area for alcoholic drinks or sodas too.
We took part in the 'Taste of the Best' held at the Le Bistro for lunch one day & I cannot recommend that enough. It is $15 per person & you get to choose menu items from all the speciality restaurants. There was also a small buffet with additional items from the restaurants! Tenderloin from Le Bistro was our favorite, it just melted in your mouth, so very good! Crab cake from Cagneys was good too, as was tiramisu from Mamas.
Only downside of the cruise, was the assistant cruise director George. We both took an instant dislike to him. His jokes were lame, banter was annoying & comments/jokes towards fellow staff were totally inappropriate we felt. My mother found him so annoying to the point that she refused to attend bingo if he was calling the numbers.
Luckily, as previously said, the rest of the entertainment crew were great! So they made up for George's terrible personality!
The ship itself was beautiful. Constantly saw staff cleaning it, from vacuuming floors, washing down the outside, to going with tiny brushes alongside where the flooring met the walls!
We had a great time and hope to cruise on the NCL Jewel in the future... just hopefully without George!