I really wanted to enjoy a trip to 4 different places, 3 of which I had never been to before: Bahamas, Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands, and British Virgin Islands. I thought the cruise would be the perfect getaway, allowing me to visit new lands and enjoy pristine beach time, relax and enjoy the sun. Well.... The cruise was extremely boring. Yes, it should be relaxing, but if you have an inner room with no windows, you have to wander around and find places to sit or figure out what to do. NO ONE on the cruise prepares you for what to expect. As a 1st time cruiser, I expected helpful staff at every turn to guide me and explain what to do. Nope. I stepped on board and had no clue where to go or what i was supposed to do. I asked people, who said do what you want! Sorry, that was not helpful. When I figured out where my room was, it was not ready to go into. I had to wait in a bar, which gave me a tax because we were at port, when all my charges were supposed to be included in my dining and drink package. I didnt know when my room was ready, just wandered back to it and went inside, i guess it was finally done?? Seemed to be in order. The rest of the cruise was a nightmare of trying to figure out what to do while sailing. It was sooooo hot outside,and there were no chairs or room in the pool. No one told us you MUST have a reservation for EVERYTHING... so by the time we found out, there were no reservations left. Major Bummer there! Shopping was expensive jewelry, expensive watches, and expensive sunglasses. They had pop up sales on tee shirts and scarves and such, but it wasn't great. The casino was huge... it is smokey and stinky in there. The whole ship has a smell of musty odors. We happened on a deck with nice cushy lounge chairs outside and had friendly staffing but you could only sit out there in the evening because it is just tooo hot and humid during the daytime.
Shore stops- You get out on port... and there is a bunch of souvineer shopping and other expensive shops. There are no beaches near the ports... so you must grab a taxi and figure it out on your own. IF you book an excursion, you get a few hours at MAYBE a nice beach. We got lucky in the BVI and had a nice panaramic tour with a BEAUTIFUL pristine beach and got to spend 3 hours there. The other stops were awful. Nothing to do but shop or figure out what to do with a lot of walking or take y our chances with a cab and figure out where you may want to go. Downtown US VI was dirty, poor, and nothing like you would see in the US. The dominican was trashy, abandoned buildings everywhere, homeless and grafitti all over the actual shopping areas. There is no scenic tour there and no good beaches close to the port at all. Shore excursions are not nearly long enough if you book one. Scuba diving is about 1 trip around the preset area, same with snorkeling excursions. The waterfall walk/hike in Dominican is all up stairs and WAY harder than the brochure says it is. It is so hot. Cruising is NOT for me. I look forward to next year when i book a nice beach resort and get to be pampered everyday at a pristine beach and do not have to worry about a ship leaving me behind after only a few hours off board. OH- the dining is rediculous here - the buffett is all catywompus. So there are plates at each end of a little buffet... you get to the middle of it and then it starts into a salad bar but the salad is at the wrong end. So everyone is meeting in the middle of the buffet and confused. You can walk around the whole plac3e and maybe find something new, but mostly it repeats itself. We could not get a reservation for any of the other restraunts onboard because they were all booked daily. The drinks.... i had the best margaritias ever onboard! Otherwise, water, juice, iced tea, and flavored water was available without a drink package. Get the drink package for your coke, fanta, or sprites as then you can have up to a 15 dollar alcoholic drink each time you swipe your room key for free as well. I heard so many complaints about the organization, the offered "fun" onboard, the shows offered ect. This cruise line does NOT have it together. Do not book Norwegian if it is your first time.
The room was bigger than i expected for getting a double room on the inside. We did not feel much of the ship movement. No windows was a little hard, but overall not closterphobic.
This port is owned by Norwegian. They told us 2 ships would be at the island, but there were 4!! It was packed, it was hot, there were no chairs, no one said you had to reserve an umbrella, the water is warm and cloudy, and it was NOT a fun experience. Everyone was going back early. The food was great, but the lines were soooo long and you couldnt get in the water without bumping into someone else!
Too hot out to be at the port. It was only a giant pool and a ton of shopping. We booked a last minute cruise, but they said it would be panaramic, no walking all bus, and my mom has a bad knee. They dropped us off at the amber shop and the bus left! The tour gide did NOT tell us where to go, and he left a bunch of us behind. We found him later and he made us walk all the gift shops in the hot afternoon sun. Then we sat outside a bar and waited for a new bus to pick us up. It was terrible.
The port had TINY shopping areas an no shuttles to and from the ship.