My wife and I chose the 8-day to the Bahamas with a stop at Port Canaveral to relax, and spend a short time visiting Disney's Epcot. This cruise included a lot of (relaxing) at-sea time and was relatively inexpensive conpared to other itineraries.
The ship was nice and clean, the staff was extremely friendly and fairly competent but only a few crew members seemed to do anything more than they had to. Some were clearly not properly trained or prepared for their roles. The cruise director (Richard) was exceptional and seemingly everywhere but he was the exception to the rule.
Food handlers seemed unsure of how to handle special requests, our art "teacher" did not know the english words for all of the colors of paint and could not help with artistic questions, and the staff at Mondavi's wine bar were not at all knowledgeable about wine. One cabin steward did not know the word "tissue" although a quick mime solved the problem. They were ALL very nice, just not always trained to do their jobs and handle requests.
We did not choose the dining package in an attenpt to save money. The food at both free, main dining rooms (The Venetian and Aqua) was good to very good, but nothing we would say was delicious. Portions were very small but you could order multiple choices. Some better-than-average-dishes included Chicken Pho soup, scallops, seafood with orzo, and salmon. Service here too was friendly, but they forgot a few orders, had gtoi be asked multiple times to refill water glasses, and rarely offered refills on drinks.
The buffet was good with many choices but again, nothing we felt was outstanding. There are multiple buffet lines and we didn't realize until after the first few days that they often offer different items. There is no direction or signage or :"themed" areas that would have helped us find things we were interested in. We stood on each (4) lines looking for our best choices. Nothing at the buffet was bad or inedible but nothing was outstanding. There were many "international" choices we enjoyed, with various Indian and Asian dishes available. Staff was friendly but again, did not handle special requests well (can I add spinach to the omlette please? was a problem that required 3 crew members to resolve).
We felt the shows were good but nothing on par with cruises on other lines, although this ship was smaller than those we had been on, which may limit the performances. Comedian wasn't particulalrly funny and "blockbuster" show, "Elements" was not that impressive.
Our excursion to Disney (through NCL) went well, trip was a little more than an hour each was by air conditioned motor coach. We had only 4-5 hours at Disney but we knew that when we planned the trip.
Los Lobos- the only specialty dining we paid for, was delicious! Service was great. We enjoyed table-side made quacamole and chips, fish tacos, salsa, and steak.
O"Sheehan's- With a large bar and practically 24-hour service, this became our "go-to" for a drink or snack. Wings were good, sandwiches and fries were good. This choice is included in the cruise and is not an extra charge.
"Great Stirrup Cay" waa clean and well stocked with food and drink. There is no pier large enough to accomodate the ships so small boat "tenders" that carry 100-150 people shuttle guests back and forth to the island. The ride is nice (only 6-8 minutes) but the waiting process to get on at each end can take 10-45 minutes depending on how many people want to travel at the same time you do. There is no food or water avilable in the waiting areas or on the tenders. If everyone wants to leave the island at once (late in the dayor rainstorm), the 2-3 tenders could take more than an hour and a alf to get everyone back to the ship. RCL has a nearby private isalnd too (within view) and they have a pier.
We did have one actual complaint. There is open smoking allowed in some areas (that's fine" but some are not enclosed. We could avoid areas like oudoor smoking areas an casino, but the area around "Gatsby's Bar" in between the cigar lounge and LeBistro was always smoke-filled and it wafted to the open areas above.
You get what you pay for. We wanted a relatively inexpensive and relaxing vacatation with good food and fridendly service and we did get all that....just not much more.
We chose a sail away cabin (they choose) to save money and got assigned the very smallest inboard cabin available but it was fine for 2 people. Bathroom and shower were fine and clean, room was nice and clean. Both room and water temperature were easy to control and we were never uncomfortable. TV service was limited (16 channels almost all on-board activities/navigation,shopping/safety) with no networks or CNN available. Fairly large closet, 3-drawer storage, as well as multiple open shelves in closet and on either side of the closet. I needed CPAP access and my unit's cord was long enough to reach to the one outlet (we brought multiple outlet/usb device) in the middle of the room.
We live in NYC and chose this cruise partially because we didn;t need to fly somewhere to start the cruise. You could spend a lifetime in NYC and not get to see everything, I've been trying for 51 years!
Beach was nice and clean. There was plenty of room but we were on a smaller ship and the only one in port.View All undefined undefined Reviews