My wife has taught Kindergarten for 39 years. She only had only item on her bucket -- to take repositioning cruise just to experience doing something that isn't in the high seasons: summer, Christmas, Easter.
Norwegian was the obvious choice -- it puts more effort into adding some interesting ports of call at one end of a transatlantic crossing, and the price was the most competitive. So, this cruise had stops in Spain and Madeira. Because of rough seas in the Azores, we couldn't pull in there; we took a more southern route to Miami. Our only big disappointment was that Norwegian chose to substitute that port with a second last day stop at their own island in the Bahamas. We think they could have been more creative: how about an extra night in Madeira, a stop in the Canary Islands, or a "real" port in the Caribbean?
We were really happy with the cruise. For us, food is number one on a cruise. Perhaps we were a little nervous knowing how much Norwegian promotes specialty dining. But, the main dining room Versailles was where we spent most of our time for meals since we enjoyed just about everything. The staff were incredible, and if we were patient, we could often get seated in a section with the same waiters -- something we enjoy in getting to know people better. Norwegian doesn't offer the most expensive choices -- prime rib and lobster and some other seafood -- in the "free" restaurants; yet the quality of food is great. It is served hot (even something like fish and chips). The recipes are tasty. I have yet to be on any cruise ship that can make a decent pastry or pie crust; therefore, I wasn't surprised that those kinds of food related items were not all that great.
We have been on about 8 cruises with other cruise lines in the same price category -- and we can say Norwegian has the best entertainment in the main theatre. No corny musical reviews. The productions with singers and dancers were more sophisticated. And for the other nights with specialty acts, the comedians, acrobats, singers, violinist, magician were all top notch -- standing ovations each time. The show band, in whole or individually, played in other venues. They were really personable and allowed us to get to know them. The Star also featured other musical individuals or groups throughout the 14 days.
We had heard that Norwegian was the "nickel and dime" cruise. Certainly, you get charged for more things than on other cruises. With the emphasis on specialty dining, we tried a three night package. In our view, they are not worth the $80 per couple per night upcharge; but it seemed as if they were popular. I think some people had them somehow included as part of their initial purchase for the cruise. Booze is expensive. No deals like a 5 or 7 bottle wine package. $9 for a draft beer seems steep. The specialty drinks at a minimum of $11 were not always prepared properly. And, it is a little annoying that in order to use the
For us, the real pleasure of a cruise is getting to know the people who serve us. They are so hard working and dedicated, in spite of being so separated from their families for 8 months at a time. We wish Norwegian could give them more opportunity to somehow connect more regularly with their loved ones back home. If anyone gets an opportunity to be served by these people, you will feel special indeed: Room stewards Mohamed Rosidik, and Angel Ramirez, Dining room waiters Dora Xiao Joe Yang and Ericson Nasol; Wine Steward Roshan Mathias; Dining room attendant Johnson Miranda; Hostesses Ksenija and Maricris; Maitre D' Jasime; Spa attendant Jessica DeGraca.
We will definitely cruise with Norwegian again.
Steward Mohamed Rosidik was outstanding. He made sure we always had everything we needed. The cabin has a decent size bathroom with a large shower. The cabin is smaller than most with room enough just for the bed and a desk.make-up counter -- no chair or anything like that. We also got to know the room steward across the hall, Angel Ramirez, someone who was always friendly and engaging. It was a pleasure to stay on the 5th floor.
Port was cancelled due to bad weather.