Occupation:Vice President Investments
Number of Cruises: 15
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Dream
Sailing Date: October 21st, 2006
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Dream Cruise Review
A “great” cruise for the price. NCL continues to deliver “value” to the cruiser. In addition to “value” they offer a variety of food choices with the NCL Freestyle dining program. A great entertainment experience and a relaxing atmosphere for a smaller ship. This is not a mega-ship class ship. It is an older ship that has been well maintained. Overall rating from 1 to 5, with 5 the best, we rated the cruise a solid “4 . This was a week for vacation, rest and relaxation, and lots of fun.
The check in time was 5 minutes at 2:30 PM when arriving at the terminal. Security check points went quickly. We had an hour delay after check in waiting for “wheelchair” assistance for my 82 year old father. Finally we boarded, after an aggressive check-in clerk helped us. If you need wheelchair assistance from the terminal to the ship be expected to wait for the chair. It’s a long gangway from the terminal to the ship, and you best be in good shape for the walk and climb up the ramped gangway. Once greeted at the security desk and entering the ship, you are directed to your stateroom. Bags were delivered very fast to the staterooms.
The Dream offered a variety of restaurants, most great, one average.
On this trip the “dining” experience proved a far superior dining experience than the “American way” of buffets, and quick foods. The Dream offered a daily buffet ( located in the Sports Bar) that would be offered by any American buffet restaurant chain. I felt the lunch would have been a $6.49 buffet priced meal, while the dinner would be priced at $8.49 here in the USA.. The main problem at breakfast and lunches, was the Sports Bar had limited seating. The volume of passengers to small space allocated for a “buffet” was just too much to handle at times. The “dining” experience in the Terrace, La Trattoria. Le Bistro, and Four Seasons, provided outstanding 5 star service and food selection. The thought of a cruise and eating buffet type food, hamburgers, and pizza, did excite me. The dining in these areas mentioned was excellent. The service from the staff EXCELLENT. The menu selection: EXCELLENT. The food prep and plating: EXCELLENT, the food was served hot, and timely. When wine glasses looked empty, the staff was there to fill up. Impeccable service and atmosphere was provided. The experience was totally gourmet service. Dining starts at 5:30, and expect a short ten minute wait in line to get in. After a day returning from port in the heat of Mexico, the Dream passengers were always eager to eat. Suggest paying the $15.00 cover charge at Le Bistro. Five star service and gourmet food, intimate atmosphere. Menu stays the same every day at le Bistro. La Trattoria for Italian cuisine. Great ocean views. Four Seasons, midship, clearly the main dining room was EXCELLENT, both service, menu selection, and overall quality. Bar was service excellent, in all areas. On the formal night, be sure to make reservations, or expect a wait. That night the amount of passengers choosing to use the dining rooms increases because of the upscale service, when most passengers dress up. We once again enjoyed the Martini Clinic at Lucky’s Bar. For $15.00 it was well worth the education and fun and meeting new friends. Coffee!
Bar is “high priced”. All restaurants were very clean. Outside eating areas get messy as the passenger seating is limited, so you may see passengers consuming breakfast or lunch sitting in the side deck of the swimming pool as it provides some seating space. Lots of food available and expect to gain weight. It’s part of the cruise experience to just experience the food itself. The Chocolate Buffet held at 10:45 PM, is always spectacular. It’s 400 lbs of chocolate lovers delight.
Pools are small, the pool directly on the back of the ship was a hidden gem. If you’re looking for a shaded area up top, be prepared the get some sun. Not many areas for shade, except for Deck 12 under a canopy, in a designated “smoking area”, overlooking the small mid ship pool. Cruise Director had some outside gatherings, with plenty of room for everyone to view. The outside areas are clean and comfortable. The ship should have greater accessibility to bathrooms. Once outside you had to reenter the inside of the ship to find a public restrooms. Plenty of lounge chairs and tables were available on Deck 12. Since the pool areas are used for serving food, (breakfast & lunch) in either the Pizzeria, or outside BBQ....the area becomes congested and at peak traffic times, seating is hard to find, and the outside bars become breakfast bars. Great views from the pool area on the back of the ship to the sea on Deck 8.
The casino was small, but adequate. One “roulette wheel”, one for craps, blackjack, poker, three card poker. Slots...that love to suck up your tokens. Found little people on the winning side. Suggest you stick to the card or dice games. But there is always the excitement of the win. My projection is be “fully prepared” to lose on machines. The casino is located next to the Stardust Lounge. Dealers were well experienced and friendly.
The Stardust Lounge, is the major entertainment area. The area is open and large, but has a major problem with seating. Small bucket shaped chairs are packed closely to each other and therefore limited leg room. Many times seats were unavailable since passengers had moved the chairs and blocked others from using them. The Dream management should correct this problem immediately for the comfort and safety of the passengers. The stage is large and has a great staff in setting up the stage, between acts and show venues. The sound is good, and if NCL would straighten out the seating problem, the viewing experience from the seats to the stage would be much better. The Jean Anne Ryan Company is the contracted entertainment dance group that plays the NCL ships. They are great, and this week we had two outstanding performers/dancers from the Ukraine. A husband and wife team. The magic show was weak, and the comedian was ok. The highlight on this cruise was the JAR dancers and shows. Three major shows in the Stardust Lounge, by JAR with the last show the best. Music in Lucky’s Bar and Observatory Lounge. Dancing in Dazzles. Entertainment every night in Stardust Lounge. Programs were well planned and always on time.
On board shopping small and limited. Gift shop for sundries, and snacks etc, very low product choices. Always a deal when you shop at the end of your cruise. For shopping on this cruise, get off the ship. No problem in bringing back your own soft drinks. One of our party brought back a bottle of Pineapple Rum from Belize with no problems and NCL did not require the bottle be held to the end of the cruise. The bottle was never opened during the cruise.
Our stateroom (5023) was ample for two adults. Father (82) had an inside cabin (5126) as a single. It was great for one person. Other guests in cabin 5029. Showers were great, but small as usual. We had an unobstructed view outside from Deck 5 mid ship and nice sized window. Beware of “upgrades” to Deck 7. The windows in these staterooms have obstructed views since they are on the Promenade Deck. They offer no privacy. Promenade walkway is in front of these rooms. Room offered older outdated TV, very limited choices for American TV lovers. Ample storage for clothing and window area acted as great place for odds and ends. Under the bed storage for suitcases was great. The beds were VERY comfortable and the pillows were outstanding. Great service from the housekeeping staff. Outside staterooms great for 2 people, inside staterooms for one or two max. 4 people in an inside stateroom room is not recommended. All staterooms have easy access to the lifts or elevators. The lifts are small and hold 5 people comfortably, after that they are too cramped. Muster drill was not comfortable. Lots of passengers “cramped” into a small outside promenade area on Deck 7.
A lot of excursions were offered for several diverse pleasures. Diving, Mayan Ruins, shopping, water sports, beaches. There’s plenty of off ship venues to choose from.
We did need medical assistance for my 82 year old father. The service and response was quick. The nurse and ships Dr., Jefferson Lloyd was in the cabin within 5 minutes. Great service. Nurse even followed up.
This was another great cruise experience for us and NCL. My 82 year old father a first time cruiser, had a great time. He is very critical of everything at this age, and was very impressed with the overall cruise experience. Captain Nenad Mogic and his staff/crew provided a fun week and very good cruise experience for the 1st timer or the experienced repeat cruiser.
I would highly recommend that you consider this cruise itinerary on the Norwegian Dream. A great cruise at a value price. Soon the schedule will change. From the Port of Houston, it’s an outstanding cruise value for the “bargain hunter” cruiser.
For us, we will be on the new NCL Norwegian Pearl from Miami, Feb 2nd, 2007, and then once again for Alaska on Aug 5th, 2007. Discover NCL for a great “value” cruise. We are glad we did.
15 cruises to date, various cruise lines.
Feb 2007 Pearl
Aug 2007 Pearl