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Sandra Stickney

Age: 55


Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norway

Sailing Date: January 19th, 2003

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Cruise Line: Norwegian
Sailing Date: January 19th, 2003

We sailed on the SS Norway Jan. 19-26, 2003. We are in our mid 50's, college educated, blue collar. This was our fifth cruise, three Carnival, two Norwegian. I had done much research on this ship before we booked our cruise and was nervous about the negative reviews I had read. We were looking for a low budget winter getaway and the price of this cruise was very reasonable booked through Price line.

We flew into Orlando a few days prior to sailing to visit family, rented a car from Alamo and drove to Miami. After we returned the rental car to the Miami airport we took advantage of the free shuttle the rental company offered to the Port of Miami. As the ship began boarding about 1:30 we were greeted with a smile and a packet of hand sanitizer. Our carry ons were scanned and our pictures were taken for our security card and by the ship's photographer.

We had booked a gtd room so B-30 was about what I expected, but had hoped for an upgrade. The room was a small interior room with bunk beds, a closet, dresser and small TV. The bathroom had a good-sized medicine chest and lots of water pressure and hot water in the shower. All was clean and in good repair. The air conditioning worked fine, the beds were comfortable.

We went to the Windward dinning room for lunch which was to be our dinning room for the week (Table 80). We waited until the following day to establish our onboard credit to avoid standing in long lines. We were still able to use our security card to order beverages and other ship merchandise. I purchased an unlimited soda pop card our first day on ship for $28.00. It came with a nice refillable insulated cup that also worked well for coffee.

There were two formal nights on this seven-day cruise. Monday night was the Captain's Gala. The Captain told us that four people had reported to sick bay and had been quarantined. From that time on we were not allowed to serve ourselves at any of the buffets, not even salt and pepper packets or filling our own coffee cups. Hand sanitizer packets were passed out at each meal even in the formal dinning rooms. The precautions must have worked. We did not hear of any more illness. The second formal night was Friday night ending with the midnight chocolate buffet. The lines for this buffet were very long and after waiting over an hour we decided to give up and ordered pizza from room service. It was prompt, hot and tasty.

We thought meals on the ship were quite good. We did not go to the alternative dinning room. The cover charge was $15.00 per person plus another $3.50 if you wanted to have surf and turf . We did go to afternoon tea a couple of times in that dinning room and it was nice. The scones and pastries were good. Soups in the dinning room were always hot and tasty. One night my Mahi Mahi was a little fishy, but everything else was ok. I did order diet coke in the dinning room and found it to be flat and tasteless. It was fine elsewhere on the ship. Lamb was offered on the dinner menu along with pork, beef, poultry and fish. The wait staff put on shows in the dinning room two nights, dancing and singing with flaming desserts. Each night a special flaming dessert was offered along with the regular dessert menu. The dinning staff was friendly and efficient. There is no pizzeria on board, but pizza is available on the buffets and from room service.

The entertainment on the ship was very good. The shows included Broadway reviews, comedians and a juggler. The one negative here is that the shows use canned music rather than the ship's orchestra. The Saga Theater offers great viewing from any seat except for the first couple of rows. The balcony offers excellent views. There are no posts to obstruct vision.

The ship is need of cosmetic overhauling. The beautiful wood floors need refinishing and much of the ship looks worn and tired. The public rooms, including restrooms, were mostly kept clean and in good working order. The staff were hard working and tried hard to please.

We did not use either of the two pools, but the twin hot tubs on the sky deck were uncrowded and pleasant to use. The sky deck also had lots of empty deck chairs for sunning. The activities aboard ship were much like we've experienced on other ships, everything from ballroom dance lessons and art auctions to ice carving and cake decorating demonstrations.

Because of the tender system, it does take quite some time to get everyone off the ship. In St. Martin I had booked a 9a.m. dive on my own with The Coki Beach Dive Club. Despite being on the first tender of the morning I was not able get to the beach on time. No problem, I just did my dive at 11a.m. instead. I would advise not to plan on any morning activities.

In St. Thomas it is now mandatory for everyone on the ship to get up early (6a.m. for some) and report to customs on the ship before anyone is let off the ship. We mostly window-shopped in St. Thomas. We ended up going to Everything's Cool beach bar. I don't know why anyone would book this as a shore excursion. Just turn left on the main street of town and it is only a short walk. Great smoothie drinks and good looking lunches too.

The weather was cool the day we went to Great Stirrup Cay. The night before we had had 20foot swells and we arrived at this island later than expected. The beach was beautiful and some brave souls were snorkeling despite the chilly air. Lunch was provided on the island.

We had a late flight out of Miami (5p.m.) so we booked the ship's Everglade tour. We had a very knowledgeable tour guide. The trip included an air boat ride and a wildlife show. It sure was nicer than sitting in the airport for hours.

We had a great time on this cruise. It was not the awful experience I had feared after reading so many negatives on the net. We would probably spend a couple hundred bucks more next time to book on one of the newer ships, but any winter day in the warm, sunny Caribbean beats a cold, gloomy day in Michigan

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