My fifteen year old daughter and I (her 40ish yo mom)just returned from the week long Bahamas/FL run. Weather was perfect which does lend itself to a nice holiday. Our embarkation was painless. We arrived by NCL bus at the pier at 3 pm and walked on the ship in minutes. I had met some other cruisers in a chat room and hustled to the Bimini Bar above the pool deck to meet them. It is great fun to do this since you have friends around every corner. There were about 23 of us who got together throughout the week.
I went to the excursion desk to buy a bus fare for Universal and then back to party on deck and see the Lady Liberty.
That night we ate in Impression with many others in our group. It was a great dining spot that I cannot wait to try again. That week I never did get to it for a second time. It is so popular it is hard to get in. I did eat in Aqua, La Trattoria, Venetian and Salsa for dinner (didn't really care for my Quesadilla) and all were quite good. Service is slower in the Venetian as you may have heard but it is the MAIn dining room and quite popular. Aqua has an all female staff and runs like a top! No reservations are given between 6:30 and 8:30 but they move everyone in and out with grace and speed! It is an amazing thing. In honor, we ate there twice for dinner and breakfast on the last morning. Otherwise, I think only Venetian is open for breakfast, usually. Besides the buffet, of course. Blue Lagoon will have muffins and croissants but I don't know about a real meal. Lunch is similar. Impressions and Aqua are not open. Blue Lagoon does serve lunch, Bimini Bar has burgers, dogs and chicken fingers. The pubs have the fish and chips (also avail. in Blue Laggoon, yummy)at different times. Then there is the BBQ on deck which was fired up at the sail away if you were late in getting on but the buffet stayed open late as well. So, the food was plentiful and very good, we thought.
Our cabin was an obstructed view on Deck 8, 8080. This deck is always my favorite. It is mid way up and down. Only a few floors from the pool and only two above the casino, perfect!!!
Everything is pretty much on Decks 7 and 12. The ship is huge and gorgeous. A week is nowhere near enough time to appreciate it if you get off at all the ports. I would be happier to stay on board but it seems I never do. Enjoy the promenade deck for walking and jogging though the treadmills inside are first rate quality. The spa pools, jacuzzi and steam/sauna are a rare treat. The teak chairs with floor to ceiling windows are nice to gaze at b4 drifting of on a nap. Oh, the sheer luxury of it all. But you can't be a whiner/complainer type or you'll be too busy looking for something to gripe about to take advantage of all the amenities.
The Stardust Theater is really awesome, the sound system is excellent, the entertainers quite good and the band and master superb. I skipped the Liars Club, Bazilionnaire, Not so Newlywed stuff cuz I've done that all b4 several times but people do love it. Then there's 70's night, several deck parties and other fun stuff. Don't miss the crew talent show and possibly the guest talent show as well.
As for excursions, the Orlando stuff is pricey when you add car or shuttle. We did Universal and it was okay. South Beach, people there are on drugs. The prices in these shops was a joke. $200 jeans, $39 for a polyester top. Sorry, I wasn't buyin' it.
I liked the private island day alot. Nassau is a short stop now. Been to Atlantis so just got some of the freebies and looked around. Then ala Fabian it poured.
Despite the ports we had a FABULOUS time and LOVE NCL.
Do everyone a favor and do what the staff tells you on Debarkation morning. Go eat, have a last look around, weigh yourself in the gym, peek in a few of the rooms you haven't seen and say goodbye, grab a muffin for the ride and then go to the line. It will save you alot of aggravation if you don't go with the expectaion of being first off the ship. Why do that anyway when you waited so eagerly to get on? Enjoy the Dawn, she's a beauty.