We are a married couple in our early 60's. This was our 13th cruise - 4 on Carnival, 4 on Royal Caribbean, 5 on NCL. I booked this cruise 8 days before (perk of being recently retired!) and got a fairly decent price. We booked a balcony guarantee and was assigned cabin 9660 (Cat BA) within a few days.
We drove to Boston from Western Mass, parked at the open air lot at the bow of the ship for $175 for the week. Very convenient! We arrived at 10:40 and were onboard within an hour. We went straight to the Garden Cafe for lunch, which wasn't too crowded just yet. Not long after they announced cabins were ready. We absolutely loved the location of this cabin! There is a door in the hallway that says "Lounge", kind of a secret door that led into a quiet lounge on deck 9 that overlooked the Grand Atrium. The grand staircase is right there and within seconds we were at O'Sheehan's or one more flight to the Atrium. The cabin was just fine, clean and roomy enough. New carpeting and the best mini fridge ever! It actually was COLD! Our cabin steward, Errol was awesome, probably the best we ever had. Introduced himself right away, always had a smile and pleasant chit chat whenever we saw him. Towel animals every night, which makes this old girl happy.
The pool area is mobbed on nice sea days. We rarely use the pool but do like to sit and people watch. It was hard to find a chair within view of the pool.
The casino was crazy! I love casinos but actually avoided this one! I tried a few times but at night it is insanely packed and smoky. I did stop by midday on sea days, it wasn't too bad but still smoky and LOUD (announcements for tournaments). I had absolutely zero luck so between that and the crowds I actually saved some money by not going as often as I usually do!
Bars/Lounges - our favorite was the Java Cafe in the Grand Atrium, but you had to get there early if you wanted a table before any entertainment started. We also liked Gatsby's, same deal. Both had great drinks and service was excellent. Pool bar was crazy busy. Bimini Bar on deck 14 was nice if you can get a table on a nice day. O'Sheehan's is good too. The "lounge" on deck 9 did have servers come up once in awhile but we only tried that once...after placing our order and the girl didn't come back for over 20 minutes we went looking for her in O'Sheehan's and found her and our drinks - I think she forgot where we were! We did not have the drink package...we found out that you have to be very specific when ordering, for example, I was drinking Margaritas. There is one on the menu for $12.95 (I forgot the actual name of it) but a "house" margarita is $8.95. Twice when I didn't specify "house", I was served the more expensive drink which tasted absolutely no different to me! So, remember to be clear when ordering!
Entertainment - We weren't wild about the cruise director, Luz. I found her a little hard to understand and just not very entertaining. The assistant cruise director, Jefferson would have been better! We loved the singers, Jose and Patti, they are awesome. We also enjoyed Degas and his guitar in the lounges. The comedian was Julie Barr who was very funny. The PJ Magic Show was great. The singers and dancers were entertaining, those kids work so hard. They had plenty of bingo, Deal or No Deal, demonstrations of this and that and loads of sales pitches.
Food...I know food is subjective so this is just our opinion, 2 regular schmucks who LOVE food. My husband absolutely loves a buffet but not this one. We found that about 75% of the food that we tried was luke warm to cold. The selection was repetitive and boring. Everyday the hot food selection started with white rice, then some kind of stew. They had "country fried chicken" and it was a paper thin slice of dried up chicken...not exactly what I would call fried chicken, more like a chicken finger! We went one night around at 8:30 to find one side was already closed and very limited offerings on the side that was open. I asked if there was any beef or chicken as it was mostly fish and they directed me to the so called grilled chicken breast which is the same paper thin dry chicken, just without the breading. So disappointing. This was our 13th cruise and by far this was the worse buffet. The hamburg patties weren't bad but the bun was way too big. Pizza ended up being the only thing I liked and it was on one side, not the other. It was strange that they had stuff on both sides that were the same and then one item wasn't on the one side and you had to go all the way back to get it. Aggravating.
We ate breakfast there only once because most items were cold. I hate searching for a table, then get water, coffee, juice and then food. We ended up at O'Sheehan's for breakfast almost every morning. Some of the side items were cold but the eggs were always cooked to order. The first morning our toast was more like bread so the next day we asked for it to be double toasted and from then on it was perfect. The menu is limited but just ask for something else...for example, they have English muffins, but it doesn't say it on the menu...you can order an omelet with a side of bacon and french toast, etc. We had prompt, courteous service and most of the time we had a booth looking out at the sea.
We ate dinner in Aqua twice, late at night, between 9 and 9:30. Even though I asked for a "private table" for 2, they tried to seat us at the long bench of tables with 6" between tables. To me, that is NOT a private table for 2. So, both times I asked, can we sit over there, pointing to a table and both times they brought us to the other side of the restaurant to the damn bench seats but not too close to others. The 2nd night, it was almost 9:45 and a woman came in alone...the place is almost empty and they sat her right next to me. We were practically hitting elbows. I will never understand why they do that. At least leave a space between! The food was very tasty, served a little too fast (perhaps because it was so late) and the servers were friendly. We had dinner in Bamboo and the same thing happened with seating....sigh....but the food was very good. We ate dinner in O'Sheehan's twice, no problem with a "private table" there! And the food was hot and good. Ate dinner twice in the buffet and absolutely hated it. Kept wanting to give it a try because DH loves a buffet but....
Lunch was mostly in the buffet or poolside. It was okay for a quick lunch. We did lunch once in the Venetian which was very good. Everyday I stopped by Topsiders Ice Cream for dessert...love ice cream! One day they had Rum Raisin and it was great! There is also a soft service ice cream way in the back of the buffet on the portside.
We certainly didn't go hungry, there are plenty of options. Just very disappointed in the buffet as that is where we usually eat most nights, but not on this ship. What is nice on Norwegian is they have the 24/7 O'Sheehan's and "snacks" available all the time in the buffet. We did not try room service.
Now a lot of people will say I'm just complaining about nothing, because my next topic is the television. People say they don't have time to watch TV on a cruise but we tend to take one or two breaks a day and just go flop on the bed for an hour or so and I like to watch TV before bed. They have 7 ship channels playing the same things over and over again....4 news channels - International CNBC, FOX News, MSNBC, BBC, one sports channel, something called Engage, 2 movie channels and 1 TV show channel. I don't know about you but when I'm on vacation the last thing I want to watch is the news, especially lately. And they were on 24/7. The 2 movie channels we okay but we never knew what was starting when so it was either in progress or going to start in 23 minutes. The TV channel played things like Big Bang Theory which is fine but the shows ran without commercials so it would be on for 21 minutes and then there was nothing for the next 9 minutes. It may seem petty to complain about TV but I don't remember anything like this on other cruises. If you have small children, you might want to download some kids shows - they did have some kids programming but not much.
This was our 4th trip to Bermuda. A beautiful, friendly island. The weather was perfect. Late May is a nice time to go! Previously we had been there in September and October and it was hot!!!
We had a great time, even though I sound like I complaining here! I research before my cruises and I appreciate honest reviews and that's what I'm trying to do here.
EXCELLENT location! Best room steward ever. Comfortable, clean and roomy