Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Dream
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: South America and Chilean fjords
South America and Chilean fjords
We booked this NCL cruise about 9 months ago. It was a 2 for l deal and
six of us decided to take it.
I did my own flight booking because NCL wouldn't get us out of Allentown. As it turned out, by using the consolidator I saved about $700 so it was well worth the effort on my part. and I was able to travel from here.
We left on Jan.4th for Buenos Aires and the price of the trip included 2 nights at the Intercontinental Hotel there. It is a 5 star hotel in a minus 5 star neighborhood. Slums, broken sidewalks, etc. but the hotel was fantastic. Beautiful furnishings and public rooms with a terrific buffet breakfast included. The prices if you wanted to eat there were terribly high. We each had a cup of soup one night and that was $5 apiece for what tasted like cup-a-soup.
My first complaint was that when we were picked up at the airport (I had purchased transfers for $25 each) we had to stand 2 hours until a van picked us up. This was to be the first of standing in line for hours. (I changed the name of the company to Norwegian cruise LINES)
We enjoyed touring around Buenos Aires on our own. It is a lovely city but not as sophisticated as I had been led to believe. We had been advised by others that you don't wear white or shorts. well - to the contrary, that is what we saw most of all.
We got conned into a tango - dinner - evening - Unfortunately, the dinner was just so-so and the show place was a firetrap so we opted to leave and got our money back. Others went to a dinner-theatre which was supposed to be lovely.
Then - when we were transported to the dock, there was an actual l hour wait in 95 degree blazing sun before we could get on board. At this point, everyone was livid. I cannot ever remember in our past 29 cruises ever having to do that much standing and waiting for anything.
Once on board, the ship is very pretty, the rooms very nice - we had a good outside cabin on 5 deck - the cabins are extremely soundproof and they have picture windows with a lovely sitting area. a small amount of storage space but we managed. immaculately clean and tended by an extremely pleasant steward. If you tune your TV to a special channel, you can hear all the necessary announcements by the captain.
When we arrived at our first stop (Montevideo, Uruguay) we were told that we had to stay there an extra day due to the fact that carloads of food for the trip were stuck somewhere in Brazil and they would have to acquire some other stocks. so in that case, they cancelled the stop in Chacabuco. It made us laugh because the Captain said, it isn't a very special place anyway - so why in the world were we going there in the first place? but the plus was that we each got $100 shipboard credit. Now believe me, you need some credit because everything is nickle and diming. but the worst ripoff of all is the Internet. It appears that the 75c a minute charge is minimal - all of a sudden you get a flash of a $3.95 access charge, etc. At one point, I forgot to logout when I got angry and got a bill for $20.50. I disputed it and the woman in charge gave me a "little" credit. Thereafter, except for absolute necessity, I used the internet cafes in every port and paid no more than $3 in any of them.
The entertainment and the crew of this ship were extremely nice and, if you so desired, there were many activities for card players, casino users, etc.
The singing and dancing group were extremely talented and there was an actor aboard who gave several talks which we enjoyed tremendously. HIs name is Robert Prosky (used to be on Hill St. Blues) and he was enjoyable.
The food was o.k. but they ran out of several things on the way - like cranberry juice and cream cheese (plenty of lox though) The dining room staff was outstanding, from the maitre d' (Spyros) to our waiter and busboy.
I sat in for the piano player in the lounge several nights and that was fun for me and all seemed to enjoy it. The ports were really very interesting and we hired vans to take us around which is much cheaper and satisfying. I speak some Spanish so it made it easier for me to lead my friends.
I had made arrangements over the internet for two taxis to pick us up at the pier in Valparaiso and take us on a full day tour of the area - go to lunch - and then go through Vina del Mar into Santiago, through the mountains. It was breathtaking and we had alot of fun. This was the bargain of a lifetime. We paid $120 per couple for the entire day. We treated the drivers to lunch at a place (El Membrillo) which was recommended in some travel review. It is a fisherman place and they serve the fresh fish there. and the pelicans and gulls are all around you.
My most misery on this trip was the torture of using the airports and the flights. They were smooth but tight connections and on the dinner platter on American (leaving from Chile) I had the company on my tray of La Cucaracha - which was most disgusting and disturbing= When I mentioned it to the cabin attendant he said "it is not my fault". but another one said "oh that happens all the time" Of course, when we got to Allentown, yesterday, our luggage was not there but fortunately for us, it was delivered to us today.
I don't know what the problem was with the food delivery. It sounded fishy to me - but we didn't go hungry that is for sure. Maybe the transition from NCL to Star had something to do with it.
If anyone has any questions, I would be happy to answer by direct email.