(The Martini brothers: R2, JJ & Crusinbob)
Embarkation: Barcelona port is well laid out; less than 10 minutes and I was on board. Have your one page pre-cruise registration ready and you are good to go. After check-in, you will notice a few shops located post check-in where you can pick up some last minute necessities &/or souvenirs, to include the alcohol kind, prior to boarding.
Cabins: Booked an inside cabin and got an upgrade. Nice room; standard for NCL, very quiet and a great mattress.
Dining/Food: The ship offers a variety of restaurants, but the only free (no extra charge) are the two main (Grand Pacific and Alizar) dining rooms, the buffet, and the small light menu “Blue Lagoon.” For breakfast I recommend the Blue Lagoon for a quiet cup of coffee, but it has a limited menu; I love eating breakfast there and watching the ocean. The buffet for lunch has a nice variety. For dinner I ate all by two of my meals at the “FREE” main dining rooms and rotated between the two. The food was average with some nights better than others. For a special treat I ate at “Le Bistro” (French cuisine) and “Cagney’s” (upscale steak+) and paid the surcharge; Superb both nights!
Public Rooms: This ship is very well laid out and is just the right size (in terms of passengers). I loved Bar City (best martinis on the high seas). The Star Bar (next to Cagney’s and only open to the public after 4pm) also makes some great martinis and is quiet and relaxing in the evening. Walking through the casino had the standard strong smoke smell. The wine package is pricey, look for the drink specials to save a few dollars. Note: internet service prices are $.75 per minute with three packages offered.
Entertainment: Most excellent, in the evening, you have many choices to hang out and listen to music, a piano player (Bar City), a guitar player in the atrium who rotated to the piano bar, a nice trio at Madusa Lounge and a very good band at the Spinnaker (deck 13). The evening shows were SUPERB! From the hilarious magician to aterrific variety show on day #7, I attended almost every show and was very pleased. “Karaoke” is alive, crowded and limited; so are some unique audience participation shows that are a must.
Activities: A variety of activities are offered throughout the cruise, trivia is a huge hit. The entire activities staff was very accommodating and friendly.
Excursions: All the excursions were on my own and I went to great lengths to find a good variety. Be warned that in every pier it is a long walk to the pier exit and two piers do not offer any shuttle service. I will post the excursions on a separate post.
Disembarkation: Simple and quick; I was off in less than 10 minutes.
Overall Thoughts: The cruise exceeded my expectations in every way. The ports were great, the staff on the ship was wonderful. Definitely a must if you want to experience a taste of the Canary Islands/Portugal/Spain in one trip.