We selected this cruise because I was attending a watercolor workshop. I enjoyed the course thoroughly. However, the location the ship provided was in a dark club painted black with limited lighting, their staff assisted us to have tables under the best lighting fixtures.
The ship is very large and lacks good and quiet areas around the ship to just read and relax. In fact, at the last refit a large area of open upper decks were eliminated to build more cabins. All possible public areas were monetized to increase income rather than provide relaxing areas. The ship bulletin mentioned certain areas, later in the day used as bars or restaurants, as being quiet areas from 0800 to 1000 hrs. Pretty pathetic to say the least.
There were about 4000 pax plus crew.
Embarkation was very crowded but it went fine. The entrance to the ship itself was extremely long full of inclines that were very difficult for many passengers with canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Staff was not available to ensure that flow was steady.
Our cabin was small with plenty of storage. Our cabin steward, Omar, was excellent. He was professional and kind. We felt very comfortable in his care.
Buffet was very crowded with tables very close to each other and long lines at each station. We finally opted for breakfast and dinner at the dining rooms Savor, Taste, and Tropicana. We were totally unwilling to pay for room service at 7.95 each time.
Entertainment options were basic, if any one wished to attend more elaborate shows, those required reservations and extra fees for tickets. The theatre had one level removed so that more cabins could be added.
We enjoyed the food options at all the dining rooms and the specialty restaurants. Of those, we liked Cagney's and Le Bistro the most. La Cucina lacked ambience since it was open to bars across the entrance where lots of pax were drinking to excess.
There was one server, Ms Anyway from Zimbabwe, who was always professional and helpful. She was so kind and cheerful, it was so nice whenever we met her.
This is a ship where pax are ensuring that they are drinking every cent they paid in their Drinks Package from early in the morning to late evening.
Enrichment activities consisted of a few half hour talks about locations where the ship landed.
Every other activity in the ship bulletin related to attending product demonstrations with options to buy products. Or basic games and activities that didn't interest us.
Spa was limited to use with expensive day passes, or included with spa services.
The walk/run deck was closed off at forward end to provide seclusion and priviledged space to elite levels cabins.
The library is just two locked shelves of books totally unrelated to the areas the ship visits. These shelves space is in the card room, with six small card tables. The shelves can be unlocked only during two hours daily.
The casino on deck 7 is extensive, smoking is allowed, there is always a musty smell of smoke and other things.
There was very limited signage to direct pax to the gangway to disembark at each port. Also, the cruise director failed to clarify any changes to that location.
Ports re embarkation.:
Portland Island UK
A complete shambles where the ship and port authority were unable to organize a smooth return of 4000 pax with only 2 officers and 1 security machine. It took us over 1 hr to stand in line in a open area in a windy and rainy day to re board the ship. Meanwhile those who took tours were taken by their buses directly ship side to reboard.
Grand Stirrup Cay
Great delays to disembark from our ship, they were using only tenders from port to ferry pax to shore. Those few tenders were shared Norwegian sun. They did not use the boats on board our ship. This was done in other cruise lines, and it would avoid delays to get to shore. We finally gave up waiting in the theatre and spent the day onboard.
Shambolic disembarkation complicated by excessive delays on clearance from US CBP authorities. There were only 5 CBP officers clearing 4000 pax!
Further, the departure time was 2pm, so we spent 1 whole hour on land! Of course, any pax who signed up for tours were cleared first.
It was unreasonable to have such a short stop at a large city such as Miami. It seemed that the company didn't want to pay port fees at this location.
Equally chaotic was the re embarkation process, many older disabled pax were suffering waiting standing without any ship or port staff to direct pax smoothly. Police were called to handle pax incidents, including a pax who hit a port staff person.
The shore excursions desk didn't provide any information on port stops unless the pax were part of a tour. It provided a Bermuda shopping handout issued by the Bermuda merchants association. That is it. Many cruise lines provide interesting port talks before arrival, Norwegian provided marginal talks. Other cruise lines provide basic port maps to anyone who wants one. Not Norwegian.
We prefer to arrange Independent visits and tours.
It seemed to us that the company's management of the ship is focused on income generation. Ensuring that the pax were relaxed and enjoying the trip was a secondary goal. It was obvious to us that the staff seemed generally stretched thin and very tired at most times. They seemed rushed in trying to serve such a large pax complement.
New Orleans disembarkation slow and crowded. Test port lacks good signs to baggage and the to taxis and other transportation modes and for airport connections.
We would not take another cruise with Norwegian.
Small, good storage. Very small balcony. Very dark curtain cut off a lot of natural light. Only outlets are by the desk, both US and European.
We visited porstmouth on our own, by train, got round trip ticket. Got tickets for Mary rose at the Portsmouth visitor center across the portsmouth train station Visited the Mary Rose Museum and the HMS Victory museum. Had a nice pub lunch across the train station right before our train back to Southampton. Caught taxi back to ship since we were too tired to walk back.
We decided to travel to Honfleur from LeHavre using the Bee Bluebus 50. LeHavre port has a shuttle to the city center 15€ r/t to center of town, did a bit of shopping while waiting for Bee Bus. Honfleur... Lovely old town, great photos at every corner. Went to the Boudin Museum, where his paintings as well as many other artists' works including Monet Courbet and many more. Monet was from the LeHavre area and painted for many years in the region. Great old Ste Caterine church, a wonderful old merry go round by the old harbor. We enjoyed it so much, despite the rainy moments.
Loved our day there, visited the Markthall with archaeological exhibit in parking levels. Very good food above and 2 good supermarkets. Visited Cube houses, the old port behind them. The park and shops around the Markthall. Caught our shuttle back to ship by 1530.
We arrived a day ahead from Iceland were we were for about 5 days. We liked Copenagen a lot. Close to our hotel, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek is wonderful, sculpture and more from Rome Greece and the whole Mediterranean. An excellent collection from Palmyra Syria and Etruscan collection, best outside Italy. Walked along the st Jorgens lake in a fall afternoon by the Tycho Brahe observatory. Delicious dinner at Mint, Indian restaurant, near our hotel.
Very nice town to visit, the train station is across from our ship docking point, 30 minutes to center of cork old town. Easy walk to it, with a small nice Titanic exhibit.
Lunch at Kelly's restaurant, on a side st from Oliver Plunkett st, a major shopping street. The restaurant was very old style,a text menu was on a chalk board. The waitress was very kind. Just walking around was interesting
We were unable to land due to worsening weather conditions. Very sad because I was so looking forward to it to get out of this crowded ship! And the location is great for the natural and cultural aspects, hope to come back soon!
Went to Hamilton the capital by bus, all closed because it was Sunday. Coffee shop Brew good coffee and wifi. Found one shop for souvenirs. Took the ferry back to port 1/2 hr, then quick shopping by clocktower shops mall, then back to ship. It would have been better if we had been here one day earlier since we had to skip Ponta Delgada.
Took a loooooonnnnggg time to get a tender so we decided to give up and remain onboard. So more relaxing. Very bad logistics to move pax to shore. Used measly tenders from port which had to be shared with Norwegian Sun at same time to move 4000 pax . Why not use the boats onboard too? Really a shambles.
Only reason to stop here was to get immigration inspection, Norwegian didn't care about anything else. CBP had five inspectors for 4000 pax! Ridiculous, a lot older sick pax had to wait hours in line to get off and back. Several pax were restive and combative, so it seemed rather very poor performance by ship management and port and CBP staff. We only had One Hour on shore!!!