Occupation:Quality Assurance Analyst
Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Crown
Sailing Date: October 15th, 2006
This was our 7th cruise and our third consecutive cruise with NCL.
We were apprehensive about a couple of things with this cruise based on some of the reviews that we read but we have been around long enough to realize that perceptions differ based on life experience, frame of mind, mood etc. We decided to make a decision based on our own experience and here it is.
Our trip to the ship from La Guardia was interesting. We had a driver that acted like he was on crack cocaine and he drove accordingly. This might be a pre requisite for driving in New York mind you but it made for a very nerve racking drive. The positive side to this was that we did get to see some of the City of New York as he also had on board a couple of passengers going to local hotels downtown. When we neared the ship he couldn’t get close to the dock due to a bicycle race in that area so he dumped us off, within sight of the ship, and said, "This is as close as I can get." This was about as much as he said during the trip. This left us lugging our luggage (which is why they call it "luggage" I suppose) across a major city street with a real short traffic signal. The shuttle driver was tipped accordingly.
Embarkation was extremely well organized and we were on the ship within about 15 minutes.
Leaving from the Port of New York was a great experience. The weather was cool and windy but clear and dry which allowed us to get some really nice pictures of the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty etc.
We were in an outside stateroom with an ocean view which was wonderful as you could actually tell if it was dark or daylight. Our stateroom was located towards the rear of the ship on the 5th level (Laguna deck). The downside to this cabin was the engine noise and vibration which I would compare to trying to sleep in a washing machine on the spin cycle.
The ship itself was smaller than any that we have been on and it did move around more than some of the larger ships. On crossing each way we encountered fairly rough seas (based on our personal experience) but managed not to get seasick each way.
At night, in port, when the engines were not running, I discovered that our cabin was located right across the hallway from the room service galley and during the night I was awakened several times with the door to this area being allowed to slam or trolleys being wheeled through. I contacted the front desk on one occasion to complain about this situation and they sent carpenters out to dampen the door noise and the next day they placed a bottle of very nice wine in our room with a note of apology for our inconvenience. (A very nice touch).
Bermuda is one of the nicest locations that we have ever gone to and we have been to most of the islands in the Caribbean and much of Mexico, Europe and Hawaii. The Island is fairly small (approximately 21 square miles) and the cruise included 3 stops – St George, Hamilton and the Royal Naval Dockyards.
Our first stop, St. George, the original capital of Bermuda, was an idyllic little spot on the north east end of the island. Hedges of hibiscus and oleander line Bermuda's streets, while prettily painted limestone buildings sit primly before well-tended gardens. Touring Bermuda, whether by foot, taxi, motor scooter, or horse-drawn carriage, is a multisensory pleasure. We decided to take a 3 mile hike in this area which took us through most of historic St George and out to Fort St Catherine and Tobacco Bay and had a thoroughly enjoyable day. We spent the night docked at St George and next morning sailed for Hamilton which took about 2 hours.
Hamilton is now the capital of Bermuda and is probably one of the cleanest cities that we have ever encountered with beautiful pastel colored buildings with whitewashed roofs. It was interesting to see men in their Bermuda shorts, briefcase in hand, wearing a suit jacket and tie and in some cases riding a moped to work. We did some shopping downtown, went to the beach out at Horseshoe Bay and experienced the end of summer street party right in front of our ship that night.
The Royal Naval Dockyards is also a pretty location, steeped in history. At this location we rented a moped and went off to explore the remainder of the island. We toured every pink sanded beach along the south shore, swam in the surf and climbed the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse from where you can witness spectacular views of the entire island.
Food was excellent. We ate in the Seven Seas Dining room each night and had absolutely no complaints about the food or the service. We had most of our breakfasts and lunches in the Yacht Club and found the buffet to be more than adequate with lots of healthy choices. Freestyle dining is an excellent option in that you can turn up when you like which allows for more flexibility and less clock watching when out exploring.
On attending the formal dining room they ask you if you would like to dine as a couple or if you might care to share a table. Each night we chose the latter. This turned out to be rather humorous and actually a pleasant experience as most of the rectangular tables were set up in a series of 6 seats with a 6 inch space between the foursome and the twosome. This meant that if you chose to dine alone you were actually at a table of six. We met a lot of people this way and it turned out to be very interesting. Other set ups were available for larger groups.
Entertainment was fantastic. Rudi Maggagi, a very funny man with a very funny accent and extraordinary athletic skills and Dave Heannan, the resident Irish comedian were the stars of the week. Pedro, the Cruise Director did an excellent job of coordinating all the events and an excellent orchestra set the musical background for all of the shows.
On board the ship we encountered staff, entertainment and food that rivaled any other cruise ship that we have been on. The smaller ship provides a much more intimate experience and allows you to meet and talk with the same people many times. It was clean but not as glitzy as some of the other ships that we have encountered. Getting around the ship was easy and if you forgot something in your stateroom it was always just a short walk away. Line ups were almost non existent and the itinerary was idyllic. We would strongly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to save some money and have an excellent experience.