I booked this cruise, the first one for both my wife and me, in October, then discovered this site. After reading some of the reviews, I was appalled, wondering what I was getting into. However, within a very short time of boarding, I came ... Read More
I booked this cruise, the first one for both my wife and me, in October, then discovered this site. After reading some of the reviews, I was appalled, wondering what I was getting into. However, within a very short time of boarding, I came to the conclusion that some people have nothing better to do than complain. Check in went quite quickly.
We showed up early, about 3:30 for a 7:00 departure. Our luggage reached our room before we did. From the start, all the crew members were very friendly and attentive to our every need. We were greeted almost every time we passed a crew member, it got to the point where I felt slighted on the rare occasions a crew member didn't greet me. The housekeeper introduced himself the first day, and always greeted us by name. Our room was small, but we knew that going in. It was adequate for two of us, though having a pull down bed and a roll away bed under the queen size bed, I really can't imagine having more than two people in the room. For cheapskates like me, do yourself a favor and spend the extra to get an outside room, the view out the window is worth the small extra expense. The fourth deck looked like the portholes were rather small, but our room on the fifth deck had a decent size window, well worth the extra money. The room included a small refrigerator, with an ice bucket that was filled daily; a desk and TV. The TV, however, only received the ship's stations, CNN, and the Cartoon Network. I didn't come on the cruise to watch TV anyway, and I can catch The Simpsons in summer reruns.
I read somewhere, I think it was here on Cruise Critic, to take a power strip. Since there is only one outlet in the room, it's a must have. I live within driving distance of the port of Los Angeles, so can't comment on the airport pickup. Also, we spent the night at the end of the cruise in Vancouver, and arranged our own transportation home. We also didn't use any of the shore excursions, planning all of our own.
The ship is less than 4 years old, and is beautiful. I've lived near the ocean all my life, and know that ships and rust go hand in hand, however, I couldn't find one bit of rust anywhere.
The ship is kept spotlessly clean, from the outside to the public rooms to the staterooms. My wife and I agreed that any future cruise we go on (and we plan to cruise at least every other year) will ONLY be on Norwegian. When we are on vacation, we don't want to follow a set schedule for dining, the freestyle dining is all we will consider. We had planned on going to one or two specialty restaurants, at an extra price, but the main restaurants (Versailles and Aqua) were good enough that we didn't, and didn't feel that we had missed anything. We dined on prime rib, lobster, tiger prawns, sirloin steak, etc., why pay extra for anything else? Versailles is at the back of the ship, and has windows out to the sea, the dolphins put on a show for us as we dined. The menu had a "light" choice every night. I usually think of a "light" label on food the same way I think of "Yugo" on a car, but ordered some of the light selections because they sounded good, and was never disappointed. Especially recommended is the lobster-pumpkin bisque.
Service was excellent, as was the food. The only complaint I have is that three small shrimp don't make a shrimp cocktail. While the Versailles is open for breakfast and lunch, for us, it was a bit much to dine there three times a day. We did have breakfast there once, and had room service the rest of the time. Lunch was at the Blue Lagoon (also an excellent choice for a snack, the fried rice was a wonderful late night bite to eat) or Market Cafe. Both were very good. We're not drinkers, but did spend some time in the Spinnaker Lounge, taking in the view out the windows spanning the front of the ship.
This is review already going on too long, and I haven't mentioned the shows, casino, pool, spa, stores, or ports of call. I'll just sum it up by saying that it was everything we expected and much more. Other than the mentioned shrimp cocktails, neither of us could find one thing to complain about, and found it to be much more than we could have expected. This was our first cruise, so I have nothing to compare it to, but can't imagine how it could have been better. Read Less