I learned so much on this site that I am going to try and write a comprehensive review to help others. I will use titles so people can find what they are looking for.
Overall, we loved the cruise, went with my wife, 10 year old daughter and father-in-law. By the way, this is my 5th cruise, so far from an expert but not a newbie either.
On a budget so we got a ocean picture window room, 5524 & 5526. Not as nice as a balcony, but the window was large and down lower you are closer to the water and it was quite nice. Rooms were in a great location I thought. They were sufficiently spacious and laid out well. Our cabin steward Russ was awesome.
Great Stirrup Cay - Beautiful Island, love the fact that we did not have to pay for anything but a raft which was optional. We paid $29 for a 4 person raft and it was fun, but we didn’t use it all that much. Snorkeling was very good and we brought out own gear with us so saved money there as well. Food buffet was decent, and there were 3 different bars.
The downside, the island at least the first part you get to is very crowded at the beach. We chose to stay there as we wanted to be where the action was since my 10 year old needs some stimulation. For those from the NY area, think Jones Beach on 4th of July weekend. We could have just walked 50 or 100 yards down the beach for some quieter space. But, since we had chairs in the first row, we just stayed.
I saw the tips about the quieter lagoon, but decided not to stray too far especially because no one could tell me what the snorkeling was like there. I can’t even confirm it was open as we saw no tram and I didn’t speak to anyone else who went there. Overall, it was a very nice day and we spent most of it in the water.
Nassau – Getting off the boat we got bombarded with people trying to sell us tours and things, I had to get out of the main area to even think. We opted to go to Cable Beach on our own. I read about the bus, but didn’t know where to pick it up so we just took a cab for $20. Cab driver gave us commentary on the island as we drove. We got to the beach around 11am and there was hardly a soul there. After a crowded day at GSC, it was just what we wanted. At first we went over the beach in front of the hotels thinking we could go inside for a drink and a bite; however, we were harassed by a security guard for $90 a person. I knew there were hotels that charge day fees, but $90 is ridiculous even with lunch. We know that all the beaches are public and he could not kick us off, but we did not want the hassle and just moved 50 yards the other direction. They rented chairs and wave runners near where we were, and there is one bathroom and nothing else. So, our one mistake was not brining anything to eat. However, we all had a big breakfast before leaving the ship and we were only on the beach for 4 hours, so not that bad. Beach itself was a little dirtier than where the hotels were, but the water was beautiful. Swimming about 20 yards off shore a stingray jumped out of the water about 10 yards away from me. After a great relaxing day, we took the bus home for $1.25 each. I met another cruiser who went to the closer and more popular, Cabbage Beach. He said that from there he walked right into the Atlantis without anyone stopping him. Back close to the ship, there was another beach walking distance to port. While it was not nearly as nice, I could see going there if we had another day. Lots more people and bars and restaurants everywhere. You could even go back onto the ship for some food and drink and then back to the beach if you wanted to save money.
Port Canaveral – on a tip I found on this site, we rented a car and drove to the Kennedy Space Center, cheaper than NCL’s excursion. Getting the car was easy and was $39 (compact), shuttle was waiting for us. You can get even better prices by booking on line before hand. I did, however, Norwegian rerouted us to Bermuda because of Tropical Storm Erika. I canceled the car, then right before we were about to board, they said we were going back to the Bahamas.
We enjoyed KSC. Unfortunately, we took our time getting off the boat and did not have enough time there, but still worth it.