A bit of background on us, we are a professional married couple, both of us in our 50's. This was our 7th cruise, the second on NCL.
My wife and I booked this cruise as a last minute cruise, lately we have found that it works out better for us to pick a week that we can get cheap airfare, then work a cruise later. We had our first NCL experience on the Sky last October and really liked it, so the decision was between NCL and Carnival this time. Called CAS and found that we were eligible for a comped inside, deal done! We upgraded to a balcony on 10th floor midship, great choice.
We had rented a car in Tampa the week before and drove to Miami Sunday morning. National and Alamo have a free shuttle to the port, which works out great. Dropped off the car at around 1:00 and were on board around 2 or so. I had 3 bottles of wine in my carry-on, security saw them and escorted me to the corkage table where I paid $15 per bottle, which was expected. My wife had a 6 pack of Coke and water in her carry-on and they never said anything about them.
Our room was already for us upon boarding, which was great so we could drop off our stuff. I found the room to be a bit small, but it was very clean and set up nice. Love the fridge at eye level, we immediately emptied the mini-bar contents and stowed our wine and soda. We really liked the bathroom set up with the sliding doors for shower and toilet. Balcony was fine, and the floor to ceiling sliding door gave the room a bright airy feel.
We met some Cruise Critic folks at the Sky Bar at sail-away, probably not the best spot to do a Meet and Greet, as there is a very LOUD band playing at sail-way right below the bar.
First night dinner was in Tsar's Palace, this place is beautiful! We found the food to be better than expected, and service was fine. After dinner we hit the casino, lots of new games, but tough to get a big win.
Second day we ate breakfast in Tsar's, hardly anyone there and the food was outstanding. I love the dining room because you can get real juice, not the watered down swill that they serve in the buffet. I also noticed on this ship that they will seat you by the windows without asking. On every other ship we have been on it seems you have to be a celebrity or beg to get a window seat.
Rest of the day we toured the ship, hung out by the pool and relaxed on our balcony. Never much of a problem finding a chair on this ship, which was a pleasant surprise. We went to a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet in the morning, got to meet the Captain, Hotel Director, Cruise Director and of course comedian Tim Kamenski. Had dinner in Azura, had to wait about 1/2 hour for a table. Had the mini-shrimp-lobster, it wasn't bad. They do have a good Caesar salad you can order every night, and you can get it with anchovies which I love.
Next day was Roatan, we rented a scooter from Capt Van's and did a self tour of the island. Was really surprised at the military presence on the island, we went through at least 3 checkpoints, although they just waved us through. Returned the scooter and hung out at West End for a while, kind of a quaint spot with a nice beach.
Had dinner in Teppanyaki tonight, we were very impressed! Great show and the food was wonderful. Well worth the $25 cover.
Next day we arrived in Belize -guess what? 3 other ships were here! We decided to forgo the trip to shore, we have been here before and didn't feel like taking the long tender ride into shore. Ship was mostly empty all day, so we hung by the pool and did some gambling. My wife was not feeling too well, so I had wings and fish and chips in Blue Lagoon for dinner - really good.
Arrival in Costa Maya the next day and it was HOT! 93 degrees and very humid. My wife was still not up to par, so I just went up on shore to check things out. They have a huge touristy complex with shops, bars and one great big pool. Looked like everyone was enjoying themselves. Spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing.
Friday at sea, we got invited to a tour of the bridge. That was really cool, the Captain gave a talk, answered questions, and then let us roam the bridge and take pictures. I really enjoyed that! Spent the rest of the day relaxing and doing a bit of gambling. Dinner again at Azura, we ate late, no wait, no complaints on the food or service.
Great Stirrup Cay got canceled on Saturday due to heavy seas, so another relaxing day at sea. Had dinner at Mama's Kitchen, I ordered the Lobster Ravioli which were wonderful. Would highly recommend this restaurant, we were seated at a great window seat with a spectacular view.
Debarkation was not so good on Sunday, we had forgot to tag our luggage, so we have no idea what color we were. We finally headed down at around 10:30, the lines were crazy. When we finally got to customs, they wouldn't let my wife who is Canadian, but US resident in the US line, so we had to wait close to 45 minutes just in that line. The lady directing people to the lines was very rude to my wife, this was probably the worst part of the cruise. We didn't get out of the building until almost noon.
Overall impressions of the ship is that she was very clean, very well maintained. We saw no signs of wear and tear. Food was above average and service was very good. We spent a lot of time in the casino and the staff was very friendly and always were there with a drink when we needed one. We love playing slots and there was a good selection, although I would have to say they were on the tight side.
Blue Lagoon was really nice, we enjoyed chicken wings and Won Ton soup several times on the cruise. Loved being able to have something to eat besides pizza after midnight. The 2 specialty restaurants were great and worth the surcharge. Dining rooms were pretty and good food. We really enjoyed our week and would do this ship again.
This is a beautiful island. We toured it on a rented scooter, no problems at all. Saw the rich and famous as well as the dirt poor and urban areas. Everyone we met and talked to were friendly. This was our second time to the island and would return again.