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Bill Isemann

Age: 49

Occupation:Fire Protection

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Jewel

Sailing Date: 03-6-2009

Itinerary: Caribbean

We tried the freestyle cruise for the first time becuase we have found that the rigid dinner seating was not always the best fit for us. We spent the extra money for the Courtyard Villa and the ameneties that come with it. We bought this cruise listed as a 14 day caribbean cruise. In reality it was a back to back 9 and 5 day. This was not communicated on the web site or from the NCL representative that sold us the cruise. Your mindset is different when you take a 7 day, a 14 day or a 5 day cruise, each cruise is different. We were anticipating a 14 day "vibe" and really ended up getting a nine and five day experience. Anyone that has cruised a few times understands this feeling. We were disappointed with the quality of the food in the non-specialty restaurants and dining rooms. The lines for food at thes venues were long and getting a table was very hard at peak hours. The suite was very nice and plenty big. The courtyard area was very crowded for the 5 day portion of the cruise and became very loud and busy which ruined it's peaceful tropical ambiance that it normally would have. Again, when you pay 11 grand for an upgraded room and private pool area, you expect to reap those benefits and not have it become a party area.

The specialty restaurants are very good but there is an added cost for them. For two people having wine with their meal, it can be an addtional 50-100 dollars. We dined in the specialty restaurants more often because of the crowds, noise and lack of variety of the menu. We also noted that the wait staff for the normal dining rooms were not as attentive as one would expect. It was really hit and miss. I would expect better since the gratuity is automactically charged to your account.

The courtyard villas are very nice and the pictures do not do them justice from the web site. The butler and stateroom attendants are also top notch at this level of room.

Onboard activities are on par with other ships. The pool area seems to not have the capacity to handle at sea days. If you did not get a chair by 9:00am, you were pretty much out of luck.

The tendering process can be a real time thief. On two different ports the tendering process took 1 1/2 hours each way. This accounts for waiting to get down the steps, onto the tender, loading the tender and getting to shore. I would reccomend smaller tenders and more frequent tenders to speed up the process.

We really enjoyed the cruise itself, we just feel that we did not get the bang for the buck that we would normally get when we have cruised with Celebrity. I suppose that the freestyle is why you lose the quality of the food and service becuase they have to to produce it for longer periods of time. Our 14 day cruise to Hawaii was 4K less with a comparable room and much higher quality of food, entertainment and service.

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