Since we fell asleep early, I woke up early. I let Chris sleep a bit longer but when we woke up, we decided to get some coffee and breakfast. There was a small buffet included since he has platinum elite status. We had a light breakfast and then went for a walk. We once again walked along the water to the Bayside Marketplace.
Our plans for the vacation changed pretty abruptly three weeks ago. We were supposed to go on the Crystal Symphony this week. We booked a guarantee cabin and according to our travel agent, we hit the jackpot and were assigned a suite. Unfortunately, it was one of those gag lottery tickets. The cruise was cancelled because the company was facing bankruptcy. Since we had the airfare, I researched the ships leaving the same day and hopped on the NCL Joy.
We had a bit of time so we didn’t rush packing up and getting ready to leave. Our covid testing time was scheduled for ten. The hotel isn’t very far from the port for we called for an Uber around 9:30. We gave our bags to the porter and got in line for our test around 9:50. You went through a security check and then they looked at passports and immunization cards. Next up was a self administered antigen test provided by CVS. We both swabbed our noses and were given cards with a time of 10:20. At your time, you give the card and it is scanned providing your results. We both passed and were giving bracelets proving our negative status. It felt great being past that obstacle.
We walked to the terminal and went up the escalator. A woman and the top said, “Norwegian Joy” and signaled to go to our right. We went through another security point with no lines and then walked past the long line to check in after we told the lady we were in the Haven. We also are Sapphire with NCL so we also have priority embarkation with that level. We didn’t see a line for Haven so we jumped in that one. The agent struggled with the technology and the process seemed a bit longer than we previous remembered. They left our keys and disappeared for a quite a bit. Upon returning, they informed us we were in the Haven and we needed to go with them. We walked back out and were taken to the left were there was another security point and Haven check in. There was a sign but it was pretty far over so we missed it plus we were ushered into the other side. It didn’t take long though to get keys since we already did the process on the other side. As we were walking towards the stairs to the VIP lounge, the agent said if you want to board now you can get in line. We decided to get in line to board. It was a little bit of a wait, maybe ten minutes but we were stepping on the ship with the first group on board at 11:10 which was pretty quick to me. The first place you are escorted to is your muster station where you hear a quick safety presentation and see where you would meet in an emergency. So much easier than the old way! After that is was an elevator ride to the Haven.
We skipped the welcome drink and opted for one with some alcohol. It was so nice sipping our Negronis inside the beautiful courtyard area. All the rooms were announced to be ready so we took our carryon to the suite. We both were wowed by the size of the suite and really love the larger balcony. We dropped the bags and went back to the Haven to explore the rest of the areas and have lunch in the Haven Restaurant.
It’s always nice to enjoy a sit down lunch on the first day. It is so relaxing. Chris and I were excited to try some of these items we had been reading about on the menu. The seafood fritto misto was delicious. It was delicately battered and piping hot. Chris ordered the mushroom flatbread which was great as well with a nice assortment of mushrooms. We both had the Israeli couscous salad that had amazing, perfectly cooked shrimp. This probably would have been plenty but we both ordered the seared scallop entree. Thankfully there were only three scallops on my plate and they were not big. Once again, hot and cooked to perfection. Our servers refilled our wine at the perfect time which is truly on par with Crystal. The service they provided was top notch. We split a dessert at our server’s urging and tried their favorite, banana banofee. It was delicious but pretty rich and perfect that we shared. NCL hit a home run and outdid Crystal in my opinion with this lunch.
It was still so early in the day and we decided it was time to explore this large ship. We walked the whole ship seeing the go karts, water slides, virtual reality, observation lounges, casino, restaurants, shops and bars.
I had read that a very popular bartender, Bong was at the Sugarcane mojito bar. Since we saw some empty barstools, we bellied up to the bar. We met some great people who just happened to be on the Facebook group I joined for this cruise. One was celebrating his birthday, so Bong made us a special shot. It was sneakily delicious. Different mojitos just appeared in front of us without us ordering and we were having a blast. Another bartender relieved Bong for his break and also just created a shot for us without being prompted. They were certainly making sure we were getting our vacations started! We did move on the to “Sustainable bar” and I ordered a caipirinha since the bartender was from Brazil. He made two different styles so Chris and I could try both. We chatted with some other great passengers here as well.
It was time to see if our suitcases arrived and we went back to our suite. They were outside waiting for us and right after we brought them in our butler arrived to introduce himself. His name is Cris which is easy for us to remember. We had only one request, a lounge chair for the large balcony. I unpacked while Chris sat on the balcony. He came back inside and I could tell the bed was going to win over more exploring. He had a few more mojitos then I did and was feeling it. I went for more exploring while he took a snooze.
I returned to the cabin and changed for dinner. I convinced Mr. Mojito to join me and finally got him out the door. I thought food would be good for him. I’m glad he had a big lunch as I think that saved him. We went back to the Haven Restaurant for dinner. No drinks for either of us but water. Chris started with the beets and goat cheese while I had the Green goddess salad. He enjoyed his starter as did I. I’m not sure how popular my salad is with passengers. It is loaded with herbs and kale. I would call it an advanced salad. I love greens so I enjoyed but I could easily understand it not being liked by many. Our entrees were surf and turf. The filet was cooked perfectly and tasted fabulous. The lobster tail was small but so sweet. The baked potato, spinach and asparagus were all great. All the food was served at a hot temperature so you can tell it is cooked to order! Another wonderful meal! We skipped dessert as we wanted to catch some of the Beatles tribute band in the theater. It was about 15 minutes into the show, so we stood in the back. It was fine because we enjoyed swaying to the sounds of the Fab Four. Great show and I look forward to seeing them again in the Cavern Club. We wandered about after dinner, did one salsa dance, tried some luck in the casino and watched some dancing in the atrium from above. We move the clocks back tonight so we tried our best to stay up late so we wouldn’t be up too early. A great first day!
We love to travel and experience new places and cultures.