In the first review I talked lightly about better planning your meal and show times and to say as many other reviewers have on cruisecritic.com to truly enjoy your experience, you're going to have to unfreestyle your freestyle Norwegian cruise. If you scratching head at what I just said, I don't blame you it took a bit of time to wrap my head around the whole concept. Basically you can dine at any complimentary or paid restaurant at any time (for non cruisers this is unique in that you usually have a set dining time at a set table with the same waiter each night), however when it comes to the shows like Second City or Rock of Ages you need to get a ticket (whether the show is free or not) or you'll be relegated to a standby line and risk the chance of not getting in. So I suggest that at the beginning of your cruise you figure out what shows you really want to see, get tickets and plan your meals accordingly because they will sell out.
Now regarding the entertainment, as a photographer I was rather saddened that absolutely no photography, flash or otherwise, was allowed during performances. Half the fun for me is capturing some of the amazing moves of the performers to include here on this blog, but I digress. I'll keep this part short and basic though, Rock of Ages was pretty good, it took me a little while to get in to, but walked out enjoying myself, but this is certainly not for children. If you pay for anything on this cruise go see the Cirque Jungle Fantasy performance as it is at times jaw droppingly amazing - the food not the greatest though, but the show more than made up for it. I loved watching the earlier showing of Second City, then stuck around for the late night adult show, which just became an obnoxious experience as it was filled with an inebriated audience who just kept yelling cock and masturbate to everything which the improv actors handled well enough. The comedian magician this cruise was Nick Lewin, which was rather funny as he was the comedian magician on the Celebrity Millennium cruise through the Panama Canal and he had the exact same act, which was still fun to watch. I'd definitely recommend the Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos, absolutely fantastic as was the Slam Allen blues band at Fat Cats.
A good selection of movies were shown both on the in room television from classics like Back to the Future to Sixteen Candles and more popular and relatively newer movies were shown on the main screen by O'Sheehans like The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers.
Trivia was entertaining and challenging, the prizes were usually a deck of cards or a key-chain something small, nothing ever huge and we actually won a round! Hard to believe my nerd knowledge proved useful as my team tied for first place in superheros and villains trivia, winning my team a key-chain, collapsible Frisbee and a blow up beach ball.
The tales of getting a deck chair are true they are nearly impossible to get unless you wake absurdly early to reserve one, however the staff are pretty vigilant in making sure that if a chair sits with a towel on it for more than thirty minutes they will remove the towel and make it available. The pool area was pretty crowded in general and I basically avoided it so I can't quite say too much on the topic. I decided to do the ropes course on the last day at sea, which was probably a mistake as it was very crowded and I had to wait in line for approximately 40 minutes, but it is very much so worth the wait. After getting suited up and watching every once else above you have fun, you make your way up the stairs and then go across the first element and realize you're a lot higher than you thought it would be. It's kind of terrifying at first (especially "walking the plank", but then totally fun exhilarating, especially when you get to the zipline! A quick tip about the zipline though, while waiting in line to go I watched many many wee children get stuck in the middle of it, so if you're a small one be prepared and just kick your legs to gain momentum to get you across the rest of the way.
Libations on the ship were again moderately priced, with a good selection of beer and mixed drinks as well, and don't be afraid to order off the menu. On this cruise a few of us decided to do the beer tasting which was $15 for five different beers, and our wonderful host from Hungary taught us some beer facts and presented challenges for a free bree prize. I wish I did some more tastings (they had martini tastings, mojito and margarita tastings as well), it was definitely a fun time.
Now so far on every cruise I've been on the ship presents a special $10 sale on pashminas, purses, scarves, watches, bracelets and so on and so on. And since the battery of the watch I bought last time died, I figured I'd stopped by and the sale and get a new one. Well, the way they initially put this sale on is almost on par with some of the craziest black friday spectacles you will see. First a raffle is held and the perimeter of the sales desk is surrounded by some of the most vicious grey haired old ladies you will see who are suspiciously eyeing the goods, which are covered until the sale begins. Then the raffle is done and the merchandise uncovered, then the sale rep says the okay, and these little old ladies descend on the counter like a lion on a lame gazelle. I even saw one woman essentially hip check another woman, but I digress, unless you want to see some crazy old lady action, just wait because all around the ship for the rest of the cruise they'll have $10 items for sale.
Usually on the last night at sea, the Breakaway does a fireworks show, unfortunately on our last night at sea, it was awfully windy and raining for a good portion of the night so the fireworks were sadly cancelled and the ensuing dance party was moved to another section of the ship.
We chose the early self disembarkation, where you can walk off with your own bags instead of having to wait for your number or color to be called. I found this to be incredibly smooth and the easiest disembarkation yet, we walked off with her bags, quickly made our way through customs and then walked right across the street to the taxi stand, and hopped right in and were on our way before we knew it.
So without further ado, here's a tour of the ship:
The chandelier of the main staircase.
The first day they had menus out from all the restaurants, underneath is a menu from one of the paid restaurants, Teppanyaki and on top is part of the menu from the paid (per item) for Wasabi, the sushi bar.
The art gallery, you walk through it to get from one end of the ship to other and the gallery staff are always out and ready to try and sell some very expensive art to you.
The atrium is where the main screen is, pictured above is a cooking demonstrating and below is part of O' Sheehans were you can sit at a table, the bar and watch the entertainment below, play pool or darts, bowl, shoot hoops or just grab a drink.
There are a lot of young kids on this cruise and a lot of programming just for them, whether they decide to do the daycare or something with their parents there is constantly something for kids to do.
High Ropes Course
That would be me on the zipline which was incredibly fun and worth the wait!
The main pool and outdoor stage on a very windy and somewhat rainy evening.
The water slides and kids area of the pool deck.
Carlos Bakery and Cafe, the drinks and sweets were moderately priced.
A towel folding demonstration in the atrium.
One of many touch screens around the ship where you can make dinner reservations, show reservations or just see what's happening around the ship for the day.
The door to the waterfront. all you have to do is lightly tap the button and the doors will open.
Essentially the main dining room, complimentary and it includes a house band and dance floor. The house band played an excellent set each night as well.
I believe this was Savor, a complimentary restaurant. Taste and Savor mirror one another and offer a more quaint experience and with better acoustics, you can actually hear one another when having a conversation at the dinner table.
The next series of posts will feature what we did while in Bermuda. We chose to do everything on our own instead of the rather pricey ship options and I should mention that the public transportation is insanely easy to use and the locals are also incredibly friendly so don't be afraid to venture off on your own, just use the necessary precautions as always. So once again stay tuned!