Monday, June 23, 2014

Our first evening on Board! Dinner and a Show!

Once we were moving we got ready for dinner. I'll mention now that based on our past experience on Norwegian we knew going in that we would want to eat most of our dinners at the specialty restaurants. We knew that the main dining rooms weren't going to have the variety that appealed to us. Their menu doesn't change during the week and they only offer one or maybe two changing menu items each night. Taste, Savor and the Manhattan Room - which are the main dining rooms,  all have the same menu, so even though they are in three different spaces, there's no variety in the food. 

Knowing we'd want to eat at the specialty restaurants we decided to purchase the Ultimate Dining Plan. For us, this definitely worked in our favor. If you plan to mainly eat in the main dining rooms, it may not benefit you. 

So, with the UDP, the Cirque Dreams and Dinner Jungle Fantasy is free the first night. Now, Megan is 12, so she was not on the UDP. We had to pay for her. No big deal. At the specialty restaurants she is 1/2 price, so less expensive than the UDP anyway. 

The other thing we learned from our past NCL cruise was that the specialty restaurants fill up quickly, so plan ahead. Even if you change your reservations later - make a plan! So we pre-booked dinners Sun - Thursday before we sailed. We left Friday and Saturday open to decide where we'd go once on board. 

In a way, I think this sort of defeats the entire Freestyle concept, but this was one of the things I really disliked about our cruise on the Epic. We only pre-booked one meal and no shows. But every night when we'd try to see a show it was sold out and every night where we wanted to go for dinner was booked until 9:30 or 10:00 at night. Waits for the main dining rooms were nearly an hour. So, in order to avoid feeling a scramble to find where to go, we planned ahead and it worked like a charm for us. 

Our dinner at Cirque....we found the food to be fine. I'm not sure what the complaint is with filet and shrimp, but there was plenty to eat. My son doesn't like shrimp, so we asked for no shrimp and double meat and he was accommodated. There was a caprese salad to start and a dessert trio to finish. The show was good. However sometime after dessert was served there was a technical difficulty and they had to cut the performance short. I'd guess it had to be towards the end of the show since they were already onto coffee. They refunded all paid tickets, so my daughter received a refund and we were told we could make a reservation for another night. We decided what we saw was fine, and we didn't need to come back. We were all glad we went, we enjoyed the meal and the show. I'd recommend going for sure!

You can't take pictures during the show, so I don't have any, other than the kids in the crazy mirrors outside the theater!



After our dinner we walked around the ship a bit. The kids played mini-golf and I took some pictures.





It was a bit windy up there!



The kiddie pool area







The we went to check out Spice H2O, this is the big screen where they sometimes show the movies at night



And the Celebrity Summit - we could pretty much always see this ship by us all the way to Bermuda and back!



Then we moved all the way to the front of the ship for a bit! Yes, we got a TON of exercise this cruise! A nice view from here!




About this time, Alex left to go to the Teen Club and that was his nightly thing. Dinner with us and then the teen club. That's one thing that he really loves about cruises. He gets to spend some time with his family but then time on his own with new friends. He gets his space. 

Megan on the other hand didn't go once to her age group. She's 12 and went to the sign up for her age and wouldn't go back. She wanted so badly to be in the teen club. Her birthday is in about a month and felt like she would be in the "baby" group. Trying to explain that I'm sure there would be kids her age to her just wasn't going to fly. Again, likely a result of the cruise on the Epic last year when they grouped the 10-12 year olds with kids as young as 5 and 6 year's old and she really felt babied. 

However, she and I had a fantastic time at night. She's a theater kid and she loved the shows on board! More on that later!

All in all, we had a great first day!  The perfect start to our vacation...

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