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Lesley Smith

Age: 57

Occupation:Medical Technologist

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dream

Sailing Date: May 13th, 2004

Itinerary: Baltic

I went to a talk on cruises earlier this year and NCL "Free Styling" was promoted as the way to go. On the Norwegian Dream there were long lines waiting for entry to the restaurant for evening meals. As a single traveller I had hoped to meet new people but the hostess decided to seat me at tables for one, unless I was in a group before presenting to the restaurant. I have seen elsewhere that someone found the food good. I did not find the food in the main restaurant as good as it should have been. The meat was tough and the vegetables over cooked. Some of the waiters disappeared half way through the meal for 15 min to half an hour, the meals took hours, sometimes upto 3 hours! With Free Styling one did not get to know a waiter nor did they get to know their guests; on other cruises this was part of the enjoyment and they knew that extra tips might be forthcoming but not with this system, so some did not seem to care.

The cruise staff tried their hardest to keep us entertained, when at sea, and in the rain. It also seemed that they were changing crew at all the ports. A new cruise director appeared after St Petersburg, he was the most visible change. I did write to NCL about my complaints but their response was like the meat, 'tough'!

I did enjoy the ports, even in the pouring rain. It was unfortunate that the captain changed the route as well as the ports of call as he seemed to choose the cities the same days as the rain. Taking the city cruise in Helsinki was not my best choice as the windows of the boat fogged up and photography was not possible. I was more fortunate in Copenhagen, it was an open boat, I took some super pictures in the rain. It was so dark in the palace square at 3pm it looked like night, but I took photos of the palace guard in their greatcoats even though I was soaked to the skin by this time. We were suposed to do this tour in Copenhagen the next morning when the sun was shining, but due to "engine problems" we had to leave at 10am.
I spent the next two weeks touring England & Wales and I had a wonderful holiday there. Good food, good weather and good company, it made my trip.

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