We flew into Barcelona the day of the cruise, arriving BCN around 1pm. There were many taxis waiting. It took about a half hour to get to the port. The taxi was metered, when we arrived, the driver added other fees to the meter, port fees, bag fees, etc. The meter said 26 euros, we paid 32 with the add ons.
Embarkation was a breeze, no wait at 2:30. We were on the ship by 2:45, greeted with smiling faces of the crew offering us champagne!
Our cabin was the last minisuite aft. We took the aft bank of elevators, I walked all the way aft, confused when I couldn't find out cabin number. There are a few inside cabins that were aft of ours. One of the crew asked my cabin number, when I told him, he said, Welcome Mrs.J. your room is to your left!
Our wonderful cabin stewards, Wilber and Joel, knew our names before we got on board and used them throughout the cruise. They always greeted us with a smile and a how are you today, plus kept our cabin sparkling clean with changes of towels 2 times daily, fresh ice, and a requested pitcher of water each day....also they made some impressive towel animals that would always make me smile.
Our minisuite was very large, with an amazing balcony. There were 2 bottle of champagne in an ice bucket, waiting for us in the room, along with chocolate covered strawberries. One bottle from our TA, the other from the Anniversary package I ordered. This package was wonderful, everything about it we enjoyed. Especially the meal in Le Bistro, as well as the champagne/cake party, where we met other couples celebrating an anniversary or honeymoon. There is a lot of space in this room, we didn't fill the drawers there are so many and they are very large. The luggage fits under the extremely comfortable bed!
We ate in 4 specialty restaurants. Le Bistro, Tequila, Orchid Garden, and Teppanyaki. We had Thanksgiving dinner in the main dining room, the Grand Pacific, we also had 2 dinners at the buffet. All the meals were very good to excellen, the food always arrived hot and cooked to perfection. There is much to choose from at the buffet, from soups to a wonderful salad bar, a carving station, pastas, Indian food, I could go on and on. We felt the specialty restaurants are very much worth the extra price, the service is exceptional. At our Anniversary dinner, Mary in Le Bistro, really made it a special evening.
We saw 4 main shows, 3 musicals and the Second City comedy show. The Gem Singers and Dancers are wonderful. I also appreciated the work put into the costumes!!! The comedy show was very funny.
One of our favorite evenings was listening to Chaslau play classical music from 6:30-7:30 at the Champagne bar. This extremely talented musician received a well deserved standing ovation!
This being Thanksgiving week, our ship was FULL! There were many families traveling, we had 1500 Americans. There were quite a few children who seemed to be having a great time in the kids club.
This cruise is port intensive. We chose to do our own thing in Malta and Cannes. We formed a group with other CCs to tour Naples and Florence/Pisa. In Civitavecchia, we walked the small port town, as we have been to Rome numerous times. I will write port reviews at another time. We enjoyed our private tours with likeminded cruise critics. We were usually up early, before the sun, remember, this is winter! We didn't visit any of the late night venues. There were quite a few on this ship.
We are fans of freestyle cruising, eating when and where we want! NCL has this down perfectly.
We were blessed with sunny skies most days, no rain any day!
We were spending time in Barcelona, no need to rush off the ship. We got off at 9:40. There was a 30-40 minute que for taxis.
NCL, we will return! Hopefully to do the Baltic in 2010!