May 18, 2003
This is my second cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines - we were on the Sea last April and enjoyed it immensely.
EMBARKATION/SHIP: We got to the pier about 11:15 and we weren't supposed to be let on till noon but since they docked the day before, they must have had plenty of time to get the ship ready as we were on by 11:40. After reading all the horror stories, I figured embarkation would have been a nightmare but it was a breeze. We entered on Deck 6 and made our way up to our Deck (9). We were cabin 9008 with a private balcony (which I HIGHLY recommend!). The cabin was really nice. There were three of us and we didn't feel cramped until at night when they opened the sofa bed. Because of the corner table/shelf, we had to climb over the beds to get to the balcony - but we got used to it. We had heard that there was limited space for clothes, etc. but we made good use of the many shelves, etc. and the three of us had no problem fitting our stuff all over the place. The private balcony is HEAVENLY and well worth the extra $315 to upgrade from an inside cabin. The ship is beautiful - so clean and bright colors everywhere.
The carpeting in our hallway was teal with different colored sea horses, shells, etc. - very tropical. What I was most impressed with on this ship is the Stardust Theater - it is HUGE! I am in the theater business and was very impressed with it. The pool deck was big and plenty of room for everyone. There are four hot tubs on the pool deck and one in the aft of the ship on the sun deck. Also, the kids area has a hot tub and I heard many adults say that they used it in the evenings because there were no kids around and the other adults weren't aware they could use it. But I never had a problem getting into any of the "real" grown-up hot tubs.
FOOD: I have to admit that the only place we ate was in the Garden Café and I was very pleased with the variety they had. There were also 2-3 "action stations" in there where they make omelettes, waffles, sandwiches, tacos, etc. And the dessert buffet is delightful (love the "make your own sundaes"!!). I heard that the other restaurants were very good but we did not partake in them.
ENTERTAINMENT: OUTSTANDING!!! The Jean Ann Ryan Company puts on three wonderful shows. You must not miss "South Beach" or "Bollywood" (note to future cruisers: if you go to the Bollywood Show, sit fourth row, dead center and you will be in for a fun surprise in the beginning of the show!). They had three guest performers: a comedian, Dave Heenan, who we did not care for. David Lucas, a juggler/comedian/musician (sounds weird, huh?! We thought so too and almost didn't go but he was AMAZING!) And Dominique Ava, a contemporary violinist who was outstanding.
CREW/SERVICE: Can't be beat! Our stewardesses were unbelievably friendly and helpful (Thanks Sonja and Ping! : ). Everyone was just so friendly and always smiling.
PORT CANAVERAL/ORLANDO: LOL - I have a good story for this port! We got an excursion to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure and we were supposed to depart in our bus to Orlando at 8:30 am. Well, because customs didn't clear the ship till almost 9:30, we got a late start. Then we found out that they were picking us up at 5 pm and we were worried we wouldn't have enough time to do everything (the park closed at 7 and we weren't sailing till 10 so we didn't understand the early pick up time). Half way to Orlando, we started to smell a burning oil smell. I jokingly said to my sister "Watch the bus break down!". Well, within 5 minutes, we were pulled over and everyone was off the bus. The back of the bus was burning and black and there was oil all over the road. Another bus came about 30 minutes later and got us to the park. Luckily, we were able to hit all the rides, etc. before our 5 pm pick-up.
MIAMI: Have never been there and loved it! We bought the Queen Bay Cruise/South Beach Tour excursion and it was great. We saw a bunch of stars homes and they let you shop in BaySide for a little while. That night, there was a South Beach Party on board.
NASSAU: we were there last year and enjoyed it. We did a few new things this year. My sister is a history nut and so we went to Fort Charlotte (very interesting with underground caves, etc.) and Fort Fincastle and we also climbed to the top of the water tower (beautiful views!). We also went to Ardastra Gardens - a conservation/zoo, which we enjoyed. If you are an animal lover (especially birds), this is a fun place. And they have an adorable pot bellied pig that just roams around - too cute!
GREAT STIRRUP CAY (NCL's private island): GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS!!!! I loved this island last year and I loved it again this year!!! I could live there.
The days at sea were not as good, weather-wise, as our last cruise. It rained for ¾ of the first day and the last day it was very cold and windy but there is plenty to do inside.
We loved this cruise and we are planning to go on it again early 2005.