Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Dream
Sailing Date: December 3rd, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Lines
7 Day Western Caribbean
After reading some of these reviews I expected the worst. Perhaps that is why I was so pleased with my experience. I loved it. Frankly, I knew what to expect before I got on the ship. I knew that Cancun was still closed to cruise ship, so was not that disappointed we wouldn’t be going there. I knew that cruises generally don’t allow a lot of time in ports and was not disappointed. I would never take a cruise with the intention of really getting to know a place. There are many more travel options for that. I cruise to relax, eat and get a little taste of the different ports. I feel like that’s exactly what I got. We certainly got an earful from other passengers who complained incessantly. Frankly, people complaining the whole time about things they should have been aware of, like the amount of time in port and number of days at sea, was the biggest disappointment of the cruise.
We thought the crew was friendly and helpful. We thought the food in the main restaurants was very good and the service wonderful. I’m not crazy about buffets, but it was nice to have the options there as well. The food was equally good in all of the restaurants since, obviously, it is coming from the same place. The option to buy a bottle of wine and use it for multiple meals was great since my husband was the only one drinking. We LOVED freestyle cruising. It’s painful to eat with strangers when you have a two-year-old with you. Having a relaxed conversation with your spouse is difficult enough; having a forced conversation with strangers would have been impossible. And eating at whichever venue we felt like at whatever time we felt like was perfect. We also enjoyed room service. We had a continental breakfast delivered to our room about four times during the trip.
Our room was fantastic. We were in a regular ocean-view stateroom (6th deck) and had a queen-size bed. The little couch converted to a twin for our son, and there was a curtain that separated them so that he could go to sleep and we could read in bed. The rooms were made up once in the morning and the beds pulled down at night. They put little chocolates on the pillows and their signature towel animals on the bed, which our son loved. The window was much larger than I expected and our views were great. The rocking motion of the ship was very relaxing for sleeping. There was one day that was a little rough and I even got motion sickness, but we were on a ship and I certainly expected that could happen.
The ports were exactly what we expected. Many of the local people depend on the cruises to make their living, so is it a surprise that everyone is trying to sell their wares and offer a tour? That should absolutely be expected when you drop 1,800 people off at an economically depressed port. I’m specifically referring to Roatan, which we thought was lovely. I would definitely recommend taking excursions to get the most of your port experience. We spent the day in Cozumel shopping, but didn’t get much out of it except for a great meal at Pancho’s Backyard. I had spent a week there a few years ago and know that Cozumel is definitely best for snorkeling or diving, but we had a child with us. In Belize, we took the trip to the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich. We wanted to see one Mayan ruin on this trip and we felt like we picked a good one. The trip took all day, which we expected. It still amazes me that people complained that they didn’t have enough time in port when they knew exactly how long the tour was!
I would definitely travel with Norwegian again, specifically because we like the freestyle cruising so much, and the tipping system was nice too. The one thing that might deter us from doing it again is the negative attitudes of so many passengers. We certainly don’t run into that so much when we do more independent traveling.