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Leslie Hook

Age: 49

Occupation:Administrative Legal Secretary

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dream

Sailing Date: December 5th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

As this was my first cruise, I was very excited. We were going on a 7-day cruise to the Western Caribbean. How wonderful! My husband had gone on a Carnival Cruise about 5 years ago. He kept telling me how wonderful everything would be.

To get prepared, I read cruise reviews on the Norwegian Dream. A lot of them were not favorable, but I thought perhaps my experience would be different. I’m afraid not.

We went through the embarkation process in New Orleans. Quite a mass of people, shuffling in line, like at Six-Flags maze. Ok, we’re walking up the walkway to enter the boat. I’m so excited knowing the entry of Carnival was spectacular and was expecting same. I was really disappointed. There was no glass elevator, no atrium, no grandeur. Just elevators, with women in maid uniforms scattering around. It was like entering a cabin of an air-plane. It was disappointing.

We finally got to our room. Actually it was better than my husband and I had expected. Ample space for two people.

Little by little we found our way around the ship. It appeared there wasn’t a lot to do on board. We decided to give it all a chance.

The cruise was a major disappointment and a waste of money.

The food left much to be desired. Small portions, rather bland-tasting food, and unusual combinations of food for dishes. After time one realized the food everywhere was about the same. The Pizzeria was terrible, the barbecues at poolside had the same offerings; the Sports Bar was terrible and crowded; the 4 Seasons was pretty decent food as well s Trattoria. La Bistro was some fine dining; but on this all-inclusive cruise one needed to pay a $15.00 cover charge to get in. I don’t think so!

While we did have some good waiters at our meals, many of them were rude. At the Sports Bar we went through the buffet line, sat down and tried to get a worker to take our trays away. Not an easy task.

We were ready to be seated at the Terraces and a gentleman asked the hostess if he could get a cup of coffee to go. She very rudely told him no, they don’t do that here, he’d have to go to the Deck 12 to get that.

Room service was a joke. Apparently on Carnival you can get anything you’d like 24/7. Not on NCL. The room service menu is small and again tasteless. The choices include 3 types of cold sandwiches, fruit (which is not ripe) and pizza. I ordered two Danish and or my husband and I for breakfast. When they finally arrived 45 minutes later, they were about 3 inches in diameter. I’m not expecting huge Danish, but I thought they were pretty chintzy with this.

The photographers from the cruise line were snapping pictures often. They were there at every port, every activity, snapping away. So go to purchase one of those 5 x 7’s and find out they are $14.95.

I had purchased an anniversary package for $79.00. It entitled us to anniversary cake, strawberries and non-alcoholic champagne on arrival, a free picture of our choice, appetizers one night and the cover charge waived at La Bistro. We got the strawberries and non-alcoholic champagne on arrival. We then got a letter outlining the rest of our services we would receive. The anniversary cake was not going to be delivered to our room – we had to go to Dazzles Lounge and have a slice of cake there between the hours of 5 and 6 p.m. on a Thursday. I had thought my husband and I would just have this alone.

The letter then stated we would get a 5 x 7 picture from the Photo Gallery of our choice. I went to go get one and the photographer told me we had to get our picture taken there; couldn’t just get one previously taken on the ship. The entire anniversary package was a waste of money.

As far as entertainment on the boat goes it is lacking. Every evening we’d be in the Star Dust Lounge watching the dancers dance and sing a different genre each evening. That was over by 8:30. That was basically the big show for the evening. After that time, the activities were your nickel. You could go gambling or to the bars.

As far as entertainment during the day, it was bingo for $9.00 per card.

The offshore excursions were expensive and not worth the money. Getting to your destination was quite a hassle. We paid $50.00 each to go on a school bus to Cabanya Island in Roatan. We were to meet in the Stardust Lounge on Deck 10 for instructions. Then we were instructed to walk down to the Deck 4 to leave the boat. We then walked and tried to find a sign that said Cabanya Beach. Again, got the herded cattle feeling. It was nice once we got there. Beautiful beach and a meal. However, not worth $50.00.

At Cozumel we explored on our own. Couldn’t really go too far…it was o.k.

We paid $35.00 each at Cancun for a bus tour and shopping. By the time the bus tour was done we had 2 hours to shop and eat lunch. I felt a bit rushed.

It seemed everywhere you turned the cruise line was out to make a quick buck. Hey, we haven’t gotten clearance to leave the boat for Cancun, let’s play Bingo. Here’s a quick $9.00 per card.

I was excited to use the Spa on board. I decided I wanted a manicure. I called to make an appointment for Thursday, the day we docked at Belize. I opted not to go to Belize, instead I’d get a manicure. I called for an appointment and was told that was the day off of the girl that does nails. Not very accommodating.

My husband had shown me pictures of the animals that Carnival would put on your bed every night when they turned down your sheets. Oh, we got one one night, that’s it.

In summary, our experience with Norwegian Cruise Lines was a huge disappointment. Not worth the money, not a good experience. I was expecting grandeur and got less than sub-standard.

I would never go on another Norwegian Cruise again!

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