November 2013 - Norwegian Breakaway to Caribbean - Bahamas
My wife and I just completed the NYC-Bahamas cruise over Thanksgiving week. It was not the best experience.
It was our first cruise ever and we had very high expectations. One of the biggest problems was the weather, which I know was out of anyone's control. It was cold, rainy, and windy nearly the entire time. We were unable to spend any meaningful time on deck, which limited our enjoyment. Here are some of the specifics that we didn't like:
1. The included food options were limited and not very good. The buffet was terrible. The paid food options were quite good but you had to pay for them.
2. There were almost no late-night food options. The buffet closed at midnight or something. Isn't that the point of a cruise - eat until you're the size of the ship?
3. There were only a couple of adults-only areas on the ship and they were not enforced. My wife and I don't have kids and don't like to spend all of our time around kids, so we appreciated the adults-only areas. However, they were not enforced so we couldn't get a break from the hords of children. And it was Thanksgiving week so there was an extraordinary number of rugrats on board. Poor planning on our part.
4. There were some games and stuff to do on board, but you had to pay for them. For example, there were darts, pool tables, and an air hockey table. Very nice. But they cost a couple bucks each to play. Not cool. Really? Really, Norwegian? Does the pool table really need to be a profit center for you? We felt there was a lot of nickel and diming going on once on board. Stuff that just should have been free. Very disappointed in that.
5. The staff was courteous and helpful, but not overly friendly. Not a whole lot of smiles going around. Some were great, but the majority couldn't wait for us to get off their boat.
6. The Cirque show was incredible. Absolutely amazing. But they made us eat dinner DURING the show. I missed half the show because I was trying to stuff a very tasty filet mignon in my mouth at the same time. The show was good enough to stand on its own. No need to screw it up with food. For that matter, the dinner was good enough to stand on its own. No need to confuse things with a show. Just give me the show and let me focus on it. Not to mention how disrespectful it is to the performers to interrupt their stellar performance with the salad course. Really stupid idea.
In the end it definitely wasn't our favorite vacation. But we also decided that maybe cruising isn't for us. We hope you have a better time if you decide to go. Bon voyage!