We enjoyed this cruise a great deal. It was my second, my husbands first, and we were celebrating a 20th anniversary. We live somewhat local to Boston so we took public transport right to the cruise line, which eliminated the need for ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise a great deal. It was my second, my husbands first, and we were celebrating a 20th anniversary. We live somewhat local to Boston so we took public transport right to the cruise line, which eliminated the need for parking and hotel. We found the embarkation process to be quick and painless. We stood in a long line to check our bags,(have your bag tip ready and showing so your suitcase doesn't make its way to the bottom of the pile) but found it moved quickly, and we were soon on our way. Our passports were checked, and we made our way up to security where we quickly learned "knitting sticks" were ok, but my husbands utility knife was most definitely not. It was taken from him, and returned the last night of the cruise when we presented our tag at the customer service desk. We then filled out papers swearing we did not have Ebola, and made our way to counter where we provided credit card information, got our room keys, and some additional cruise information. The process was again, quick and painless, and everyone we encountered was pleasant. (including the confiscating screener). We stopped for a quick pic, and then moved up the gangplank. As we boarded, we were greeted warmly by the cruise staff. We presented our electronic keys for boarding, and experienced the first of many sanitizer spritzs. We went right to our room and found it already made up quite nicely with congratulatory gifts, and welcome notes awaiting us. Being right off the Stardust theater and the casino initially made us nervous as it was already smoky and somewhat noisy. The corridor doors we stuck open, even though they had signs indicating they shouldn't be so we called for help, and went off to explore. When we returned the doors were still stuck open, and now we were really worried because the noise and smoke had greatly increased. Luckily some maintenance staff was nearby and they closed the doors for us, which instantly eliminated the noise and smoke for the rest of the cruise. Our bags arrived very late that evening, so future note to self, bring the bathing suit in your carry on. I knew this, but I guess it didn't really register until too late.
We found the restaurants to be quite nice, whether paid or complimentary. Service was in general lovely, the food was good,the atmosphere pleasant, and the staff kind and attentive. We in particular noticed that one of the senior staff members was omnipresent. First thing that morning she had been overseeing the breakfast buffet,then later in the day she was serving drinks at the main poolside bar, even later that evening she was assisting in the dining room, She was just everywhere, always smiling, and she seemed to very much care for her staff. We saw this repeatedly in the coming days, to the point we stopped her to comment on our observations. She was so appreciative and gracious, she even took the time to send a treat to our room as a thank you. We were very impressed with the restaurant and buffet food service staff. The only place we just did not enjoy was the Blue lagoon. Service and food quality was lacking here and I don't believe we will go that route again. I suspect this restaurant also services room service requests.Service to the room was very, very slow, and not to order. For example, we ordered hot dogs and got relish and onions, but no ketchup or mustard. Other items ordered weren't what were expecting either so we decided to forgo that option for the remainder of the cruise.
We loved the entertainment. The shows were so much fun, and we felt the talent was quite good. We loved all the oldie but goody songs, and the dancing. Clearly a lot of work and rehearsal goes into these productions. We also thought the cruise director was amazing. He was funny, warm, and very good at keeping things moving along. He also, never seemed to stop, moving from one activity to another in quick succession, yet he never made anyone feel rushed or unwelcome. We want a "Dingo Dave" on every cruise. The newly wed game was an absolute blast! I've not laughed that hard in a long time!
We paid for extra for the spa and enjoyed every minute of it. I did get chased down a few times, and learned I must always bring a room key to obtain a locker, and to identify myself with. The massage I got was amazing, though I find the prices outrageous compared to my local area, and I absolutely hate the high pressure sales pitch at the end to buy the products. But hey, I guess we all need to make a living. I'm certain the staff does not enjoy this aspect of the job either, so I endured politely. I would get a massage again though, it was that good! I think I would have enjoyed the fitness facilities, but found that getting a machine was quite difficult so I gave up. The facilities seemed clean, and well maintained. Those that were using it didn't want to leave! :)
We enjoyed the art seminar, and learned a lot. We attended the art auction and found it also quite informative and interesting.This was a first for us, but we found that the staff walks you through the bidding and purchase process, and the art is worth looking at and enjoying. We even got a few complimentary prints in the deal along with a nice piece of art. (Still waiting for it to be delivered)
Our favorite part was just walking the decks. The view is just amazing, and the ocean so vast. We also enjoyed the hot tub at the very front of the boat where we could just sit and gaze out at an endless ocean. We met some interesting people, and felt the tension just roll away. The one thing we would have enjoyed was more indoor public seating areas. The library was the only place to relax indoors, and it offered zero views. Sometimes you just need to escape the sun, or in our case the cold, and outside of restaurants there isn't much place to congregate or play a game other than the restaurants. We found ourselves just hanging in the room, which made the picture window even more important.
Disembarkation was a little muddled with some conflicting information floating around. There was a disabled couple who had been told to sit in particular spot, but then someone else came along and was rather brusque in telling them they could not be in that spot. They were quite upset and likely embarrassed by the commotion. In cases like that it would be good to inform folks ahead of time. For us, we made our way to the general area, waited as instructed, and made our way quickly off the boat when the time came. It was generally a good system, except people sometimes just don't listen. Not sure how I would change things, but we did pretty well with the whole process. We decided to taxi to the nearest commuter rail station, and sat gazing sadly out the window of the train wishing we were already back on the boat and off to a new adventure. Not to worry though. We took advantage of the advance down payment program for our next cruise. Cant wait to tell everyone about that one too!
We feel the good ratings we gave for this cruise were well justified. Noting is ever perfect, but Norwegian came pretty darn close. They strive to provide a good experience from the moment you embark, to the moment you leave. Cruising is a great equalizer in our opinion. Everyone, no matter your station in life, gets to feel rich and pampered, in a beautiful, well maintained setting, at exotic locations, for a comfortable price. How can you go wrong? Read Less