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J Swift

Age: 39


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dream

Sailing Date: January 9th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was my first cruise and I was not sure what to expect. My wife and I brought our nine and four year old daughters along for the trip. I found the trip to be a mixed with good and bad. We had a cabin on the 7th floor and near the front. The room was nice and very clean. Our housekeeping staff were excellent and very friendly. The food was alright. Not great. At the Four Seasons my wife ordered a Salmon /pasta dish – the salmon was raw. A gentleman sitting next to us sent his meal back because it was undercooked as well. The service at the Four Seasons was poor. We did have great service and better food at the Tratorria restaurant. The manager also greeted us at Tratorria, and he was very friendly. With the children along we ate many of our meals at the sports bar, it is a buffet style. This seemed to be the busiest of the restaurants, which caused a problem due to the lack of seating. It was awkward to hold a tray of food and wait for a table to open up. One time after waiting for at least five minutes for a table we decided to take our food down two floors and eat at a lounge table.

Our children spent some time in the kids crew. The staff was friendly our kids had a good time. (Although many activities included watching a movie).

My biggest problem with the ship were the selling of the excursions. This is all about selling spaces on pre-selected trips. It seemed there were quotas to fill or incentives for the staff to sell certain packages. We felt as if we were getting the run around by the staff at the excursion desk, so we decided to do our own thing and hire private venders for snorkeling in Cozumel and we hired a Taxi in Roatan. In Roatan, the staff at the excursion desk told us that the beaches were private and you needed to be on a tour to gain access, and that the Taxi drivers would lie and say that they could get you to the beach. We decided to risk it and guess what. The taxi driver was very friendly and took us on a great tour of the island and right through a private resort and to a great beach-The Mayan Princess on the west end. Our driver waited with us for several hours while we swam and snorkeled. When we decided to return to the ship the driver brought us directly back the dock. No waiting. The excursion would have cost us $260 from the ship, our driver charged us $60.00. We had a similar experience in Cozumel. We did purchase one excursion from the ship. In Cancun we went to Garraffon Park. It was beautiful, however my mother who was also on the trip went to a beach on the other side of the small island and said the beach was much nicer than the one at Garrafon Park and it was free. What I did find really strange was when we asked ship staff members that did not work at the excursion desk what excursions were the best they referred us to the excursion desk or simply said they had no idea. I was a Ski instructor for a major resort and trust me the locals know the best places, all you had to do was ask. No so with NCL. My other complaint is the non-inclusive drinks. What a pain to pay drink by drink. They need to offer an inclusive drink option. I have vacationed at fine resorts were this is offered and it is much nicer. The drinks will add up. Beer is $3.75 domestic and mixed drinks are $5-7.

Water is $3.00 a bottle and soda is $2.00 a glass. You can puchase a soda card for $29.00 and that is well worth it.

Take this review for what it is worth. We did have a nice time and the staff on the ship were nice. I would suggest doing your homework and learning about the ports of call. With my novice cruise ship experience I would say this to NCL. Try to focus on the passengers and the experience, try not to sell every minute of the day. NCL could make a used car-salesman blush. One more thing if you have kids. The pools are not heated. They are drained every night and refilled with sea water. They are very, very cold. The kids did not enjoy swimming until we reached Roatan. And then the pools were ok for two days before the water was cold again. Also there are only two hot tubs on board for nearly 2000 people. I would go on another cruise, however it would probably be with another company.

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