This is our 18th cruise with NCL in 4 years and we are at the Platinum level. We recently moved to Florida, so Tampa was the perfect port to leave from. The drive is only 3 hours from our home and it was nice to not fly to a port. On our way we stopped in Sarasota for lunch at Greco Cafe (1592 Main St.) and it was like eating in Santorini! We stayed at the Hyatt Regency (downtown) which is just a short walk to the trolley which will take you along the sea port and to Ybor City. We were able to see the ships that were in the day before ours and we ate and drank at the wonderful Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor City, for lunch. Dinner was at Jackson's Bistro-Bar-Sushi and it was fabulous! It was especially fun as lots of high school seniors were there for their prom night dinner. The dresses on the young ladies were to die for! (Just a little jealous!)
The morning of our cruise we dropped our large cruise bags at the port and then parked in a secured lot. A shuttle took us back to the port where we were escorted to the VIP lounge and were checked in by a very pleasant lady. We then got to see our Concierge, Monica, whom we have sailed with before. It wasn't long and we were escorted to Cagney's for the VIP lunch, but as we had friends aboard we opted to head to the pool deck and await their arrival in the sunshine. About 1:30 the announcement was made that cabins were ready so we all headed out to our various decks. We booked a suite aft on Deck 9 (Deck 10 is the preference, but they were already booked). The wine and Proseco we ordered through Miami office was awaiting us and we began to unpack. (Unfortunately one of our fellow passengers fell ill and left the ship midway through the sail, offering their suite on Deck 8 to our friends. Thus the change in how this is written.)
It wasn't long until there was a ringing of the doorbell and our Cabin Steward, Pelam, introduced himself. He said that his brother-in-law, Maxi, would be our butler and that he would present himself shortly. And he did. We could see that we would be well taken care of on this cruise by two such seasoned veterans of the cruise line. Hallelujah! Believe it or not, we had our cruise bags in our cabin, unpacked, and slid under the bed by the time we went to Muster.
9236 is aft and a penthouse. The balconys on decks 8 and 9 are not as large as those on 10, thus two loungers and a table are almost too much for this area. There is plenty of room for storage and closet space is quite good. The problem comes when two are trying to get ready at the same time as the tiny hallway leading to the bathroom is just that...tiny.
We prefer aft as we can listen to the wake, few people come into this area unless they belong there (it goes nowhere) and it is wonderfully quiet.
The only time we heard or felt anything amiss was one night when the band played so loudly that the vibration of the bass 'thumped' in our cabin until about 1:00 a.m.