I was extremely disappointed with my cruise. It was my first with my seven year old niece and my 20th overall. Your preferences may be different than mine and that's ok. I will talk about both the good and the bad to help others make an informed decision.
Our fun begins on Embarkation Day! We had to wait in line for 2 and a half hours. Everything went well on the governmental side of the process, but we got hung up on the Norwegian side. I understand and appreciate the fact that they're screening and taking preventative measures against the Coronavirus, and that's why it took so much time for them to screen for everyone. But really, on other lines, I would have been onboard in about an hour at worst on other lines, why did it take so long?
Our steward was great, he made towel animals (per our request) for my niece everyday of the cruise. Her face would light up every time she spotted a "stowaway" in our room!
The fun continued when we had to look for a seat for over an hour at the Embarkation Buffet! Eventually, one of us (there were 4 altogether) found out that you can take your food to the Observation Lounge and eat it there or choose from the buffet there. That wasn't communicated to us at all.
Reservations are needed for dinner, I get that and I respect it. What I don't get is why it takes over two hours, without dessert, to eat dinner on average? We had an excursion for NASA that got out at 6:30 PM (our All Aboard was at 8PM), so not knowing when we would get back, we made a reservation for dinner at 8:30. We got back to the cabin and called the Reservations desk to ask if we could have our reservation moved up. We were told no because the restaurants had already opened, but that we were welcome to walk to the other restaurants and they would seat us if we had room. If we had called the restaurant on land and asked the same thing, more than likely, they would have been able to move it up, why not here?
Next came "Jersey Boys" and "Six". Both were great, but the sound was off because the theater wasn't properly insulated for sound. Sure, the sound wasn't booming, but the dialogue from the actors was often being dropped, and it wasn't because the actors missed cues...they were saying their lines and the sound literally dropped out. On other ships, this wouldn't have been a problem, why is it on this ship?
Ports were great, would do them again, but why did it take 5 hours to tender into the private island? We arrived at 10, our tender didn't get called until 3, and we had to leave at 5. We decided to stay on the ship, as it was stupid to only have us there for 2 hours. From the feedback I heard about the beach, people were bored. You can literally see RC's "Perfect Day At Cocoa Cay" from Great Stirrup Cay, and from what I heard, people wished that Great Stirrup Cay was more like "Perfect Day At Cocoa Cay".
Also, on 3 separate occasions, we had to wait over 20 min. for an elevator, despite having a cabin right next to them. They really could have used an extra elevator shaft or two to help with congestion.
We did eat at Margaritaville, it's on Deck 17. However, nobody knows it's there, so we never had issues getting a table. If you want to eat there and you don't have a dining plan, you need to pay a $15 cover charge. In every other Margaritaville I've been to, they always have Jimmy Buffet music playing, I don't understand why they didn't here, but I still enjoyed it.
The kicker was on the last night of the cruise. My niece (who's 7) wanted to go to the PJ party on the final night. She got to the kid's club at 7 and the party started at 7:30. After waiting for over an hour, they shut the door when she's FIVE KIDS AWAY from the front of the line and was told that there wasn't a spot for her. She sat there and cried with the other kids for another hour. Two of us went to Guest Services after talking to the Youth Staff about what happened and how there were 8-10 other families that cut the line and their kids got in. We asked why there wasn't any crowd control for the line and were told that WE were the ones responsible for policing the line.
Finally, we took my niece to the Garden Café where a bus boy noticed her crying. He came over for 5-10 min. and consoled her. Eventually, he told her he had to go back to work and came back to her 5-10 min. later with a dish of her favorite ice cream and let her vent after that.
However, my niece did enjoy the programs she participated in, including the Circus as a Feather Balancer.
Activities left something to be desired, and this is coming from an Recreation professional. I understand that the programs are advertised in the daily schedule, and I do read it, but I often forget when my favorite ones are offered, so I really depend on the announcements to remind me. I couldn't even hear them, so I missed a lot of my favorites. As for the amusements, why is there a charge when I'm already paying for the cruise? And there wasn't a lot of variety: there was "Deal Or No Deal" (which you needed to buy cards for), "BINGO" (which you also needed to buy cards for), music, ONE trivia game (which I loved and want to try with my seniors back home), and ONE dance class. The others were too late at night for me to attend. I understand not everyone likes everything, but when I cruise, I like to wander and if I have a half hour to kill, I might pop into a trivia game or something, how can I do that if they're not offered?
As for the shops, there wasn't a lot of variety. It's geared more towards adults, which I understand, but there's very little variety, especially for souvenirs for kids. My niece was with me and it was hard for her to find something to take home, let alone when I tried to find something for her brother back home!
Debarkation Day was fun too! We had gone to Guest Services the night before to ask where to wait. We read the materials given to us on Embarkation Day three times to see where to wait for our tag color to be called. They tried to tell us we didn't read the material. Then they told us we could wait in our cabin, or any public lounge except Deck 7 (including the theater). That's great, but how are we supposed to hear the announcements if they're not broadcast in the cabins? We were told to tune into Channel 2. We did Self-Assist so we carried our luggage off, and were told to proceed to Deck 7. 45 min. later, our tag color gets called, and we proceed to Deck 7 only to find out that the line is backed up to Deck 9!
Because of that debacle and the fact that two of us (me being injured and another with arthritis in both knees) would be in no shape to stand that long, we marched ourselves down to Guest Services and complained. The lady there was able to pave a path for us, as she was given special permission to take us through the employee entrances to the gangway.
But wait, there's more!
Because of the debacle with debarkation, we missed our charter back to our hotel to pick up the car and had to wait 45 min. in the freezing cold in NYC for the next charter!
My niece did well, I would take her again on a cruise, but not on Norwegian! This was our first on this line, and more than likely, the last. We will stick with Celebrity, Princess, and RC!
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