I have cruised over Christmas without any of the crowds, but admittedly they were river cruises with 200 or so passengers. With a full boat all we did was wait for our excursions or our tenders or our drinks. I may try another cruise line after this.
5 out of 5
Easy and fast.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
The main dining room, The Manhattan Room, was quite nice, although a little dark as it is in the middle of the ship. Cagney's, Moderno and Ocean Blue all provided a very nice experience. Taste and Savor were good for breakfast. The buffet was pretty awful. Selections for breakfast, lunch and snacks were cold, not appealing looking and bland. Bars were nice and a shout out to Brian in Shakers. However, my family and I conducted an experiment on the bartenders called: Man and woman both arrive at the bar at the same time. Who gets served? The man! Always. My daughter-in-law to be and I watched in utter frustration (by the way, mainly happened in the outside bars and not at Shakers) as man after man arrived AFTER US and was served. Finally, she waved her card and yelled at the bartender, who reluctantly served us. What's up with the sexism guys? (And, no, there's no female bartenders or barbacks that I saw with one exception--one woman at the Atrium bar.)
3 out of 5
My kids loved the slides--when they were open, which was more to the end of the cruise. Norwegian should be ashamed of itself for the miniature golf course it offers--torn-up turf, broken obstacles, etc. Quizzes are fun, but the atrium is small and tough to jam all those people into. As usual, lounge hogs take the lounges with towels and never return. Could we get someone from Norwegian to police this so people who don't get up at 5 a.m. can get a lounge now and then?
The spa was a little hidden gem of solitude. Toward the end of the cruise we all noticed an uptick in rude, pushy passengers (and all the screaming!). We always pay for the spa and it was very, very nice. It was clean, well stocked and, did I mention, quiet.
3 out of 5
My daughter-in-law to be is a dance instructor and wanted to see "Burn the Floor." After 30 minutes I was bored (it lasted 50), but as the expert, I deferred to her and she thought the ballroom dancing was wonderful, the rest not so much.
The comedian's over 18 show was just OK. My son, a talent manager for comedians in New York, was not pleased and pointed out all the jokes that could be found on the internet and YouTube. Yup,there they were.
Queen Flash, a tribute band, was a lot of fun. Not very good musicians or singers, but a lot of fun.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Saw my room steward twice. Service was OK. Another fellow working on our floor (spa suite) really was not having a good week. Every time I saw him and said "Hello" I was greeted with a grunt. OK then. As noted under food, the bartenders were pretty awful, except Shakers, toward women trying to order.
4 out of 5
Wish the Atrium was bigger. Enjoyed the outside bars, although it took two days to really pin them down. I would say the boat was very clean. Occasionally I saw glasses and dishes left all over the place, but blame the passengers more the staff. I checked out Margaritaville one day and have to say it is the BIGGEST waste of space. I did not go in but checked out the menu (literally five items) and tried to figure out why it cost an extra $15 per person. I wound up walking by it half a dozen times after the first time I checked it out and not once, not once, did I see more than two tables filled.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
The balcony was tiny and you have to sit sideways. The bed was really soft, though, and by the end of the trip my poor husband was hunched over with back pain that cleared up once he got into his own bed. The closets next to one side of the bed are annoying when trying to get ready AND get clothing with two people.
We did not go because of the weather. Instead we wound up in Nassau and it cost me $69 times five to go to a local beach for less than two hours because of the 30-minute ferry ride. Personally, Norwegian should have provided free trips to the beach.
The ship's tour to the Blue Hole and Konoko Falls was pretty awful, according to the three of us who went. In the middle of the trip, for which we paid $109 each, the bus stopped and everyone was informed they had to buy $12 water shoes. Then, the guide said it was $15. A fight ensued. The actual falls and blue hole were great, but every time someone helped you, a tip was expected.
My husband and I just walked around and were besieged by people wanting to sell us dope, a car trip or something else. When we said no thanks, most backed off. It was so constant,though, we went back to the ship.
Grand Cayman is beautiful. So why is it getting a one-star review? We made our way to a local beach on seven-mile beach for about $40 for all five of us. We then paid $35 for chairs and an umbrella. Of course, this was NOT Norwegian's tour. We were told the last tender left at 3 p.m. After 2 1/2 hours we made our way back at 1:45 p.m. to a line that was SO long, it wrapped around the parking lot five times. We waited an hour to get a tender. People who arrive at 3 p.m. waited two hours.
My son and I did a private tour and rented ATVs. Lots of fun. My husband, daughter, and daughter-in-law to be want to the Mayan ruins where they encountered the day from hell. After taking a ferry ride (NOT disclosed) of about 40 minutes, they were put on a bus (disclosed). After 20 minutes there was the mandatory for Mexico tequila tasting and everything went to hell after that. One of the passengers arrived 10 minutes late and that put them behind. Once they got to the ruins they were given less than 1 1/2 hours to tour them with the driver. Oh, did I mention his microphone broke on the bus? Then he passed out individual receivers, but his was broken. At the ruins he had to shout to tell the information. His name was Gabe and he was absolutely wonderful and patient. When it was time to leave the same passenger who was late was late again. After waiting 30 minutes, Gabe went to look for her and the bus returned to the ferry. After getting on the ferry, it sat and sat and sat until, guess who! arrived 30 minutes late. Horrible, horrible experience. Book your own tours. Cheaper and if someone is missing, too dang bad.
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