Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: April 30th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
It is really hard to say that a cruise was bad. Having unlimited choices of foods, night shows, casino, and most of all not being worry about anything, make each and every cruise enjoyable. For the first time cruisers, the Norwegian Sea would be great (as any other cruise). But for us who have already had a cruise trip before, it was very disappointing even though we still had some good time.
Norwegian Sea is a small (comparing to other cruise ships) old ship that clearly shows its age. It is not renewed and is not very well maintained. The rooms are very small, even for 2 people. Especially bathrooms and showers are way too small. There are ancient hairdryers in the bathrooms (we had never seen such an old and strange shape hairdryer before. It took us a few minutes to figure it out that it was a hairdryer and not a vacuum cleaner!!!). They have soap and shampoo containers on the walls of bathrooms with refills (so forget about taking a souvenir with the name of the ship from your room!).
It is a freestyle ship and there are no exact time and seat for dining and we could choose any time or place to eat during restaurants or buffet’s operating hours. All restaurants were closed after 1 a.m. until morning (there are no 24 hours buffets!). They don’t serve even free lemonades during lunch or dinner (unlike other cruises like Carnival to you have access to free different lemonades all the time) to make passengers pay for having some soft drinks.
In the first day, they announced to have special for drinks in one of the bars. The special was $3.75 for mixed drinks that are usually $6.50. When we got there to buy those, they gave us half of the amount of regular glasses of mixed drinks for this price! What a special indeed!!! I don’t want to make a big deal of these things specially when you pay so much for the cruise itself, it won’t be a very big issue to pay a few dollars more for a few drinks onboard. But it just gave us a bad feeling that they try to take advantage of us by some cheap tricks.
The night shows were nice and entertaining but the cabarets are designed so badly that you only can see the performers in their whole lengths if you are seating in first 4 or 5 rows from the stage. All the seats are almost at the same level (like very old movie theaters in some villages). So after the first 15 rows of seats, you can only see the head and neck of the performers!
The staffs were polite and friendly but not even close to our previous cruise staffs on Celebration/Carnival. For some reason I always thought that Carnival cruises are among the most ordinary cruises (maybe because of lack of having a very fancy name!!!) but now we can say that Carnival and particularly Celebration ship is hundred times better than Norwegian Sea in almost every aspect.
The most important problem that we had on this ship was non-stop bounces and shakes even though the sea was calm. We had nausea almost during the whole trip especially on the second day. We talked to many passengers and almost all of them experienced nausea or vomiting by those crazy bounces (our last trip on Celebration we never felt nauseated and the ship moved really smooth in almost the exact same sea condition as this one). This was a really bad experience.
Anyway, we bought excursions for all the destinations on the very first day onboard.
Cozumel: We got the “Deluxe beach break at Playa Mia”. It was a beach about 10 miles away from the port of Cozumel. The transportation, food and open bar were included in our package. The beach was not so sandy and smooth. It had so many sharp stones in it that we really couldn’t enjoy the sea without injuring ourselves. Also there were so many motorized boats and scooters in the same area that the whole area smells like gasoline. The drinks were o.k. but the food was lousy.
Do I recommend this excursion? Absolutely Not!
Roatan, Honduras: We really loved this stop. It is virgin and a really beautiful place. We got the “Tabyana Beach Party”. That was a very beautiful place. The transportation and lunch were included in our package. The beach was smooth and sandy and the water was crystal clear and clean. The lunch was very good too. We also had live music during the whole time. They played great! We all had really good time in this place.
Do I recommend this excursion? YES! It’s great!
Belize: We got the “Belizean Beach Day”. It was the WORST excursion we have ever had. They took us to an island with less than a quarter of a mile of very rough beach and a small bar and nothing else! We had transportation and unlimited Rum punch included in our package (when we got there, we found out the Rum punches are free only until 11 a.m. and after that we had to pay for that. Who wants to drink heavy and nasty rum punch in morning???). We had to stay there for more than 6 hours and it was the most boring place we’ve ever seen. The sea bed was so rough and the water had strong smell of something like Sulfur. So we had nothing to do for more than 6 hours. The funniest thing was on the way back to our ship, when the tour guide was trying to make us believe that it was the best place we’ve ever seen!!!!!
Do I recommend this excursion? Are you Kidding???!!! NO !
Cancun: We got “Avalon Bay Beach Break and shopping”. It was the most beautiful beach and the best excursion we have ever had. The transportation and open bar were included in our package. The beach was very smooth and sandy and the sea was more than beautiful. The water was so crystal clear that we could see a lot of beautiful fishes in the sea without snorkeling. The drinks were really good and the shops were close by (10 minutes walk). There were different lunch options available. It was a wonderful excursion.
Do I recommend this excursion? Definitely YES !
In sum, we had a good time in our trip. As I said, for first time cruisers this can be a very good vacation but for those who have already had some cruise trips with other cruise lines like Carnival, it will be a disappointment.
So at the end, do I recommend this cruise? No! (Sorry !)