We choose this 4-day itinerary paired with a 3-day Pre-Cruise Tour marketed by NCL as the "7-day Rock and Racing in Daytona Beach". The 3-day Cruise Tour included a stay at the Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach starting on a Friday, as well as a VIP Tour of Daytona International Speedway on the 2nd day of our stay. The 4-day cruise itself sailed from Port Canaveral on Monday. As my husband is a NASCAR fan, this was going to be a vacation which satisfied our bucket lists--his visiting the iconic speedway and my wanting to spend a full day in Havana, Cuba.
Our itinerary also included a port stop in Key West, which we've enjoyed before and did again, although the current docking site at the Navy Pier is quite restrictive and certainly not the same experience we had on our previous calls there. Also, we were only in Key West for barely 6 hours, which didn't allow as much time here as we would have liked.
Havana is an amazing city of contrasts with some beautiful areas, yet some parts of the city are unfortunately rundown and decaying. It is evident which buildings are maintained by the government and that the Cuban people are very much suppressed. The residents there were very friendly and we had a wonderful driver and tour guide who brought us around all day to see the sights in a classic car. The young man who was our guide spoke excellent English and provided many details of modern day life in Havana, as well as a history of the city and the country. After returning from our excursion to the ship, we showered and dressed and gathered in the theater for an NCL evening excursion to the Tropicana Cabaret. We felt that the entertainment was spectacular and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
We had originally booked an Oceanview Picture WIndow Cabin (OE) on deck 5, but put in bids for both a Balcony and a Minisuite. Three days before sailing, we were notified that our bid was accepted for a Balcony and were assigned an Aft Balcony on deck 9, which we were very pleased to receive. This was our 1st Aft Balcony and we did like the quiet location. The storage space was ample for two and the bed was comfortable. There were a few issues with the bathroom--a worn floor and mirror plus a broken shower curtain rod which we requested be fixed. Also, quite a bit of soot collected on the balcony during the first part of the cruise. However, when we were returning back to Florida, the soot was not a problem, There are 2 rattan chairs with cushions and a small round rattan table on the balcony which was an adequate size for us.