Number of Cruises: 10
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Dream
Sailing Date: January 20th, 2007
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Norwegian Dream Cruise Review
We cruised on the Dream out of Houston and we enjoyed the experience. I was skeptical about this ship because of the many negative reviews I'd read, but the price was right and Houston is a non-stop flight from Tulsa, so we decided to go with open minds, not expecting too much. We were pleasantly surprised.
We had a penthouse suite portside on deck 10. The suite (300+ sq. ft.) was roomy and lovely, but since it was immediately at the bow of the ship and up high, we did get movement, especially Thursday night when we hit very rough waters for probably seven hours. This doesn't bother me, but my husband gets pretty woozy when seas are rough.
Although the suite did not have a balcony, there were three large windows overlooking the bow of the ship and a small deck area outside easily reachable through a door just outside our door. And with the suite came a few little perks--we had the usual flowers, fruit and champagne, plus every afternoon around four the butler came with a small tray of snacks, sometimes appetizers, sometimes sweets. There were free DVDs available from the concierge (which we took advantage of), and there was a cocktail party with the captain in his living quarters. This was really nice--we've been to cocktails with the captain on other ships but the parties have always been in one of the lounges. This was very personal, he even still had some Christmas decorations sitting around and cards taped to the wall. Also, one day the concierge arranged for a private tour of the bridge and an opportunity to steer the ship if you wanted.
The concierge and butler were excellent, and the room stewardess simply could not do enough for us. They could not be improved upon.
There are only about thirty cabins tucked forward of the Stardust Lounge on deck 10, so this area is quiet and out of the way, the reasons I chose this particular suite, rather than one on a lower deck. Yes, you do have to walk through the showroom and casino to get to the stern of the ship, but the only time this presents any problem is if they're holding rehearsals in the showroom. Then you have to either go up or down to get from front to back. The only real faults we could find with the ship was that, because of the insertion of the middle section in 1999, it was sometimes hard to find your way around, and because the ship was full, public areas often seemed crowded.
On the whole I would agree with Mr. Dziak's review. We both decided we still prefer assigned table dining, although Freestyle might work more smoothly on a purpose-built ship. We are early diners and I guess a lot of others are too, because even with reservations we still had to stand in line, except for the night we ate at Le Bistro. We finally gave up on Sunday (lobster night), cancelled the reservation and went to the buffet. On two days we ate lunch and breakfasts at the Four Seasons with no wait at all. The other days we went to the pizzeria, where the food selection was perfectly ok, but there's definitely a lack of seating space. We had no problem with the quality or presentation of the food, and the staff was absolutely wonderful. I felt no difference in the level of service we received than service we've received at an "assigned" table on other lines.
As far as the ports are concerned, we liked Belize and next time instead of hanging around the port area we'll take a tour and see something besides shops. Unless you go to the beach, which is within walking distance of the pier, there isn't much in Progresso. They're working on it, though, because the beachfront is really nice. We hit Cozumel on an on-and-off rainy day, so we just wandered around and looked at the shops then went back to the ship.
We found the Jean Ann Ryan production singers left a bit to be desired, but the dancers were ok. The comedian (first name Tom, don't recall last name), and Jane L. Powell, a singer, were both really good. The magician was fair--his "magic" wasn't at all original, nothing we hadn't seen before.
This cruise was very well priced, and I feel like we more than got our money's worth. I'm sorry that after April NCL isn't going to continue with the cruises out of Houston until the new cruise terminal is completed. No one seemed to know when that will be, but believe me, they need a new one because this terminal was the pits. We would cruise with NCL again; however, Holland America is still our favorite, mostly because of having some smaller ships that even when full don't feel crowded.