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Helene Sell

Age: 31

Occupation:D Administrator

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norway

Sailing Date: March 9th, 2003

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Well I have to say that this was the best vacation I have ever been on. I have to admit that I was a little concerned about the ship being so old, but she was beautiful. We did not want to leave!!!

We went on my husband’s birthday, March 9th and I would not recommend leaving on a special day. There was WAY too much happening getting to the ship and boarding and getting to your room, etc to really enjoy his birthday. They did have a cake for him in the dining room on that Monday night. It was funny because they didn’t have his first name written on the piece of paper so they sang Happy Birthday to him and referred to him as his last name. Service in the Windward and the Leeward dining rooms was TOP NOTCH!!! They really train their staff to perfection. I was very impressed. Every staff member that I came in contact with was very very nice. I have read other reviews were people have said that the staff was rude and unfriendly; I did not experience any of that. And yes the ship is old and probably could be updated in some places, but who cares!!!! It was still beautiful and since this was our first cruise, we had nothing to compare it to. Yes, we did see other ships while we were in Miami and they were huge, but I didn’t think they were any larger then the Norway or any better. Sure, some had water slides, but so what!! We did have a Penthouse cabin, which really spoiled us. We were able to peek into other cabins and some were like closets. If you can afford to upgrade, definitely do so, it’s well worth it. We were in F062, we overlooked the back of the ship and were able to sunbathe on our balcony instead of the main pool deck or the Sky Deck, which was super windy and you probably could get a nice burn since you don’t feel the sun as much because of the wind.

One tip is that I would not have scheduled so many shore excursions on the 2 days that we were on the islands. Not enough time and yes the tenders were a pain in the neck. Just trying to getting everyone and settled and onto the island did take a while. But it wasn’t all that bad. But I would have preferred a ship that could dock close to the island, so you could just walk off. Would make things a ton easier. Would not go to St. Martin again. Too many people in your face offering to braid your hair or to come to their store and buy their stuff. That just turns me off, don’t yell out to me or in my face in order for me to come and buy whatever you are selling, makes me want to walk right away and ignore you which is what I did with most people. We were also offered “pot” and a ride on a jet ski. I thought that was an interesting offer. Wasn’t prepared to be offered drugs when I arrived. We did do the tour of the Butterfly Farm. Enjoyed the Butterfly Farm, the host of the farm was very funny. Although the ride to get there, wasn’t all that pleasant. Very run down and very poor areas that you drive through. I don’t really need to see that, I can see that at home. Kind of made you feel stupid when your tour bus stopped in the residential areas for something and you were sitting there looking down at the people sitting on the porches of their shacks. I didn’t really like that. We also went to Everything Cool. I would highly recommend that excursion. You could pay for the excursion, which includes, 2 free drinks, discounts on shirts at the place, lunch and use of a raft for the beach. They are directly on the beach and it was a lot of fun. Wished I had more time though. But you can just go there on your own and not use it as a paid shore excursion. It’s not too far from the dock. So that was St. Martin.

The next day we arrived BRIGHT and early in St. John. Wasn’t too thrilled about having to get up so early on my vacation, but there was customs or immigration thing that we had to deal with. It was no big deal, just show your id and birth certificate and you were on your way. Again, too many excursions in one day. We went on the St. John Island tour first thing in the morning. Very pretty but also kind of scary. They drive on the wrong side of the road and they drive fairly fast. So if you keep your head down while they are driving until they come to a stop, you are ok. Wished we could have stopped and hung out on beach in ST. John, their beaches are BEAUTIFUL!!! No shopping in ST. John, it’s more for relaxing. Then off to St. Thomas. Again, didn’t have time to shop because we booked the Kon-Tiki Party cruise. St. Thomas looked very nice and more built up and city like then St. Martin. Would have liked to shopped there and stayed on the beach. Boarded the Kon-Tiki Party cruise, which consisted of unlimited rum punch and a steel drum band performing on the boat. It was just as it stated, a party cruise. They did take us to a beach for about an hour of swimming and sunbathing. Not enough time though. Too forever to get back on the tender and back to the Norway, but had enough time to shower and get to dinner. The day before when we went to St. Martin didn’t have enough time to shower and go to dinner, so we were disappointed.

Dinners in the dining room were delicious!!! I wasn’t all that daring trying didn’t foods, but my husband did and did not regret it at all. Everything was great!!! Our waiter Anthony from Jamaica and our busboy Santos were extremely professional. On the Norway, they have the assigned seating which is ok if you have a group of people you know. I think that next time I will go with more people. The 2 girls at our table didn’t really talk much and it was like pulling teeth, and the other couple that was suppose to be there was never taught any manners and showed up in the dining room wearing a baseball hat. When asked to remove it by another passenger, he became obnoxious and left the table. So that made for some tense moments. We do wished that they would enforce the dress code a bit more in the dining rooms. It does state that no sandals, shorts or tank tops be worn in the dining room. There were several guests that didn’t not adhere to the policy. I felt that kind of ruined it for me. It annoyed me that the people couldn’t even dress up a bit for dinner. It’s only for an hour or so. But there were also a ton of kids on spring break there. I would try to go again when spring break is not happening. We never did get anyone else at our table. I would have preferred being able to sit alone with my husband. But none of that took away from the fabulous service and food. Breakfast at the Great Outdoors Restaurant was always pretty good. They seemed to have the same standard breakfast items, but that was fine if that’s all your into. But they did have plenty of food to choose from. Although the seating isn’t the best at the outdoor buffet, you can bring your trays into the hallways and sit at those tables or into the Club International club and eat as well. You could also have breakfast in the Leeward dining room, but again, they sat you with other people. Would have rathered dined alone with my husband; not really into making small talk in the morning. But the breakfast in the dining rooms was delicious as well. All the food was delicious!!! Easily gained 10 pounds. Oh, also, be very careful when you are ordering drinks, buying things on the ships. It is very easy to get so caught up in the moment and just keep signing and charging everything to the room. Our bill was $927 at the end, but that also included all of the gratuities to the servers and room steward and our excursions. But you get very caught up in the moment when ordering drinks and stuff. We will be more careful next time. You do however get to take home souvenir cups and glasses, which is nice. You pay a little extra for those, but it’s nice to be able to take them home. Enjoyed the games that were offered, we did win on the game Name that Movie. We got a tote bag, with a Frisbee, coffee mug, deck of cards and a leather bookmark. Nothing spectacular, but we were happy. Only saw one show with the dancers. Nothing great, kind of cheesy.

All in all we had a very pleasant trip. I would highly recommend the S/S Norway to anyone wanting to try a cruise, especially his or her first cruise. We are already getting ready to book again.

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