Expect to hear music almost everywhere. You'll listen to Frank Sinatra tunes and lilting island steel drums, piano classics and hearty soul, lots of salsa and great jazz, rock and roll and romantic Andrea Boccelli. Guitar and piano and a Caribbean group are staples in various lounges. It's varied throughout the ship, but you can hum along with something wherever you go, even in the elevator. Read your Freestyle Daily for the specific lineup.
When the sun goes down, the curtains go up in the Stardust Theater. From night to night, you might find a comedian or magician performing, or dancers and singers doing their thing in a Broadway review or a concert of southern musical styling. Soul might take center stage another night. Cream-colored swivel chairs give you a great view of the gold light-studded stage background.
After-hours crowds will find no-kids-allowed comedy, adults-only karaoke and plenty of dancing. In fact, offered onboard are ship-sponsored theme nights: White Hot Night, a dance party set in a wonderland of white, and Monte Carlo Night, centered on the casino. Passengers are encouraged to wear special outfits -- such as all white to the White Hot Night bash. (Clothing suggestions are sent with your tickets.) Didn't pack anything? No problem. Staffmembers are happy to offer suggestions, such as wrapping yourself in a bed sheet for the toga party that's held on the final night of each cruise.
Trivia games, a series of liquor-tastings ($15 fee), hip-hop dance classes, health seminars and bingo games are among the activities that keep cruisers busy throughout the day. For the young and young at heart, a video arcade on Deck 7 features contemporary games like air hockey and Guitar Hero Arcade. The machines do not appear at all worn for a ship this age. And you can even get a Norwegian-themed souvenir coin stretched onto a penny for a dollar.
A top choice for sports fans -- think snack foods, like burgers, and games on seven flat-screen TV screens -- is Longboard Bar on Deck 11. The chicken wings, served six to an order with celery and ranch dressing, in Longboard's were quite tasty, the service was excellent, and you can bask in sports memorabilia or play arcade games like Big Buck Hunter (or more traditional darts) while catching up on sports scores.
Captain Cook's Bar, Deck 6 aft, still carries out the Hawaiian theme but offers piano music with global appeal and, later in the evening, sing-alongs. Two full-scale glass-enclosed model ships sit at the entrance to the bar, while various paintings featuring George Washington and American Indians decorate the wall. A row of shelves that feature cigars, old drink flasks and books separate two large seating areas.
The Atrium Bar on Deck 7 features classical music and is probably one of the best people-watching locales on the vessel because it's in a central location. In fact, it is the perfect place to get your bearings at the start of the cruise: grab a drink and a seat, and take in the crowds walking past.
Our favorite lounge is the Outrigger Lounge, Deck 11, forward. There's one hidden gem on every ship, and the tropically themed Outrigger is Sky's. It's very quiet during the day and is a good place to settle in with a book on the straw chairs and occasionally watch the wondrous seas through floor-to-ceiling windows. In the evenings, you can join friends for a drink, do some dancing or test your karaoke chops. It has a Tiki hut feel, with orange upholstery and a wooden dance floor. Cave-like drawings are situated atop the bar, and there is an array of festive plants and flowers.
A gold pineapple welcomes one to the Plantation Club on Deck 12, which offers a premium selection of Champagne and wines along green wooden swivel seats. It feels like you are on the inside of a pineapple with a decor that includes pineapple paintings, pineapple carpeting and tropical plants.
Dazzles Nightclub on Deck 6 is home to a disco, late-night "adult" comics and musical performers, dancing, Nintendo Wii tournaments, movies and art shows. The ubiquitous "Newlywed, Not So Newlywed" game, always a hit with passengers, also takes place in Dazzles, which boasts the longest Cabaret Bar at sea. New York-themed artwork and signed sports jerseys, featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and John Elway, line the walls.
Sky Club Casino, Deck 7, was added during dry-dock and features blackjack, roulette, three-card poker, Texas Hold'em and craps, plus more than 160 state-of-the art electronic slot machines (and some still with pull handles for purists). A variety of tournaments take place on each cruise, and non-traditional games like Pai-gow Poker and Mini Baccarat are available on request. Need a gambling break? The casino also offers free late-night bites like BLT sandwiches and pigs in a blanket.
You can even gamble after swimming with the smaller Pool Side Casino on Deck 11, which features two card tables.
Champs Bar offers a full selection of drinks poolside. And for those tanning on Deck 12, Breakers Bar has two flat-screen televisions, a couple tables and more drinks.
Whether you are on the three or four-day voyage, a guaranteed port of call is the cruise line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas. Shore excursions can be booked below the atrium on Deck 5 and include snorkeling, parasailing and kayaking from as little as $19. Nassau offers more options on Paradise Island with the resort Atlantis, including swimming with dolphins (pricy at $199 for adults) and snorkeling.