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Fred Schlichting

Age: 53

Occupation:School Administrator

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dream

Sailing Date: December 28th, 2003

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

We cruised on the ship Norwegian Dream December 28, 2003 - January 4, 2004 from New Orleans to Cozumel, Roatan, Belize City, Cancun and return to New Orleans. We were attracted to the Norwegian Line by its advertising for "freestyling". Their ads promote the ability to eat dinners at any time, in any one of their restaurant options, and with formal dress optional. My wife and I prefer to dress casually when on vacation and we wanted the option of deciding when and where we want to eat each night.

My wife and I are middle aged and we have cruised twice before on other lines. We both have traveled extensively. We selected this date because our jobs (education) allow us to travel over the holidays. The ship was full because of the holiday season and there were kids and people of all ages on board.

Before we left I had read a variety of cruise reviews for this ship and the Norwegian line and I was a little concerned that this cruise might not meet our expectations specifically because of past concerns over the dining options, and the ship being very full over the holidays. I am very pleased to report that we were very happy with our experience on this board and never felt overcrowded on the ship.

We ate at all of the dining options including room service and we liked the Italian Restaurant (Trattoria) the best. Contrary to past reviews, we did not wait in long lines even with a full ship. The longest we waited for a table was 10 minutes and that was our choice because we wanted a table for two at the Four Seasons Restaurant. One one night they offer a late night chocoholic buffet with a stunning array of desserts that was well worth waiting up for. My wife is a semi-vegetarian and she was very pleased that all restaurants offered fish and seafood choices along with a strict vegetarian choice. On New Year's Eve, we made a reservation to eat at the French Restaurant which charges a $12.50 cover charge per person. It was a real treat. We were able to dress casually (which we like) and have a slow, leisurely dinner fully enjoying each course.

Even though this is an older ship, it was well maintained. Our cabin was clean, promptly made up and relatively spacious. Contrary to some other reviews, the staff was very pleasant and helpful.

We took shore excursions at each of our ports of call. The best one was in Belize where we took a tubing trip down a river in a cave...AWESOME!! My only complaint is that we were a little rushed. the Dream used tender boats at each port of call except Cozumel and this was quite time consuming and cut into the length of our stop and tours.

The entertainment on the ship was quite varied and of good quality. On New Year's Eve, the staff put on a number of parties in each part of the ship catering to the different age groups on the chip. The free champagne flowed freely and we had a real fun time.

In summary, our experience was excellent and we would go with this line again. We especially appreciated the informality, the many dining options, ability to sit and eat by ourselves if we wished, and the ability to choose the time we wanted to dine.

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