This was our first cruise on NCL, having cruised 11 times before on HAL, RCL, Carnival, and Premier. The embarkation port was an inexpensive 6-hour rental car drive. Boarding was smooth and we went straight to cabin 11660 located port side aft just steps from the bar on Raffles Terrace, the hot tubs, the elevators, and the buffet at Raffles Court. The cabin was the perfect location for us as the only long walk was to the casino or for progressive trivia in the Galaxy of the Stars.
We also had free Specialty Dining for 6 specialty restaurants. We dined in Cagney's (twice, great steaks but the second time the service was slow), Sushi (an extra $7 besides using one specialty dining - it was delicious and worth it), Teppanyaki (just as entertaining as the Japanese hibachi at home), Le Bistro (very good food and service, wish we had gone here twice instead of La Trattoria), and La Trattoria (a not very memorable sectioned off part of Raffles Terrace on port side aft).
We took in a couple of Stardust Theater song and dance shows, World Beat and Soul Rockin' Nights. The singing dancers put on outstanding entertainment and were very talented. We skipped the magician, juggling and acrobatics, solo artists, hypnotist, and comedy variety western shows. Musical entertainment was great with Musicmaker Duo and Duo Royale they could be seen at different times of the day poolside, at Champagne Charlies in the atrium, or in the Galaxy of the Stars.
The cabin location was almost perfect, port side aft just steps away from the outside aft pool area near Raffles Terrace (bar located one deck above) and hot tubs (located one deck down), near the elevator, and one deck below Raffles Court. The main issue we had with the cabin was the bed with sunken down mattress; it was in dire need of replacement. If you dreamed that you were in a hammock, like Gilligan, then you were fine. The Ultimate Drink Package (UDP) helped make this bad memory fade away. About 0630 we could hear some light noise of chairs being moved around on the deck above (Raffles Terrace area). The balcony provided outstanding views of the ocean and docking operations when coming into port.
We traveled by rental car to the port and had no issues up until we turned in our car. Had we noticed the backlog at Enterprise Car Rental we would have dropped off the luggage and our passengers at the cruise terminal instead of waiting for a bus to take us from the Car Rental. We ended up hiring a taxi to take us in two short trips at $20 each trip. The poor rating is no reflection on the Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal though. It was a smooth and comfortable experience waiting to board the ship.
We have been to Charlotte Amalie on a previous trip where we enjoyed an amazing catamaran over to St. Johns to snorkel. This trip we did not take any excursions, opting instead to hire a taxi for a tour of the peak above harbor and a view of the islands partially obscured by clouds.
We have been to Phillipsburg on a previous cruise so we decided to rent a car this trip. We drove over to the Sunset Beach Bar to watch the jets land over the beach. Then we drove over to see the French side of the island and all three of the international border crossings.
We made pre-cruise arrangements for an excursion on our own. A taxi took us to Cabo Girao to walk over the cliff on the glass walkway, Camara de Lobos to enjoy locally brewed Ponchas in the Bar Filhos Do Mar, and across to Monte to ride the Toboggan Slide.