Embarkation in Miami was a breeze. We arrived, sat down in the lounge, and were finally escorted to the atrium onboard to meet our concierge. Total time, ten minutes. Very nice and a definite thumbs up. Iris the asst. concierge was in the atrium and once again escorted us to our cabin. Shortly after our butler, Amit, arrived to explain how everything in the room worked. Our experience with the concierge Carlos and our butler was excellent all week. Very nice people and I look forward to seeing them again in the future. The room stewards were very nice but I still cannot understand the logic they use when cleaning. The room is dust free and yet there is a half full glass on the table for two or three days? The courtyard itself is a true joy. It was well attended during the cruise but I could always find a plush couch or chair. A 3 ft pool with a current and hot tub let you enjoy a dip whenever and the treadmill/bike/sauna room adjacent relieve you of the need to go to the gym. Our cabin was very nicely appointed as well. A sitting area, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms. The second bedroom is capable of two adults and a child but it's smaller than an inside cabin. When the couch folds out there is no room at all! This is of course balanced out by the excellent sitting room and access to the courtyard, but I wouldn't recommend it. This was a 9 day cruise, I enjoyed the Itinerary. The first day at sea was great to meet everyone onboard. Samana is very beautiful, we went over to Cayo Levantado., a little island in the bay with a nice beach and bar. Since I got a little sunburned the day before I mostly stayed aboard the ship in Virgin Gorda. Thanks to my father we had chartered a helicopter flight with Caribbean Helicopters in Antigua to fly over to Montserrat and check out an active volcano. It was a nice smooth flight despite the high winds that day. It was a lesson in the power of mother nature, the volcano had literally shoved a mountain sideways with it's eruptions. We saw it smoldering and flew over the ex-capital that was covered in ash, think Pompeii. It rained in Barbados but we were snorkeling with the turtles so the rain didn't bother us (a brief hint, stay close to the guide, he has food, turtles like food). St Lucia is drop dead gorgeous, it reminded me of Hawaii. The staff was great and the ship fantastic. Somone was always cleaning and the buttons in the elevator that got broken by roving teenagers were fixed in a timely fashion. The decor was typical cruise ship, very bright colors. Sydney from St Lucia was a standout amongst the staff, I predict he will do well in the future. Rich, the cruise director was funny, nice, and personable. The bar staff in spinnakers got to know my drink orders and were very efficient keeping me well lubricated.
The spa personnel were very nice. I got a port special "head to toe" package and fell asleep almost immediately to waken refreshed and raring to go. I also tried acupuncture for the first time ever. It removed my hangover from the night before. Only one needle hurt going in and she fixed it as soon as I made any noise at all. The procedure was very relaxing in fact. The staff in the gym were all very professional but I want to give a special recommendation for Wendy, she is very motivated and skilled in her profession. All the shows were better than I have come to expect on a cruise ship and I actually found myself looking forward to them every night. My favorite show was "Band on the Run", which featured rock and roll songs. The comedian Joe Yannety and the hypnotist Dr Rick's act were both hilarious. Being a VIP we had exclusive access to the box seats on the left side of the theater. On the busy nights Carlos was there going the extra mile and making sure we had seats. The only negatives I have are about the cover charges and the kids club. In my opinion NCl got it right with freestyle. I love eating what I want, when I want. I just hate paying extra money for something that I believe was already paid for, and when you pay the amount we did for the level of accommodations we did it's almost insulting. The food itself was good not great. Cagney's had the best food, but not better than the best of my local steakhouses. The kids club needs to be massively upgraded before we try it again. The 3-5 program room was to small for the amount of kids and the workers felt harried and stressed out to me. There were activities but the majority of time it seemed like free play on the padded jungle gym or watching tv every time I went by to check in. The teenagers mentioned earlier were not to bad but they did clog up the stairwells and generally get in the way, just like teenagers everywhere. I can only assume the had the same opinions of the kids program as myself since they never used it. Overall I would highly recommend this ship and crew. On all levels the courtyard experience was worth it.
Second bedroom is tiny with half closet. Closet folds out to where there angle for the bathroom begins. No room to walk around bed in second bedroom.
Otherwise it absolutely fabulous with a gorgeous HUGE bathroom. Crown molding wood paneling and artwork are a great feature that elevate your cruising experience.