Number of Cruises: 7
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: June 25th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was our first cruise with Norwegian cruise lines and we will definitely be cruising with them again! My previous cruises have all been on Royal Carribean, but I am now a Norwegian fan! The Sea is a smaller ship, but not that noticeable once you are on board. We flew in to Houston Hobby airport and took a taxi to the pier ($43 for the two of us). I wish NCL had a transfer bus, but no such luck. They do have a transfer for $20 per person from the ship back to the airport and I highly recommend booking that at the excursion desk towards the end of your cruise!
We had an inside stateroom and it was small of course, but they always are and we don't spend a lot of time in the room anyway so we don't mind. As other reviews have mentioned, soap and shampoo are on a dispenser on the wall inside the shower and the shower is one of the smallest I have been in, but not that big of a deal. There are 3 closets to hang clothes in (with tons of hangers) and one closet with about 5 or 6 large shelves so there is plenty of room for clothes! The hair dryer in the bathroom on the wall is "ancient" and not very powerful so you will definitely want to bring your own. I found one plug in the entire room and it was at the vanity/desk.
We ate breakfast and lunch each day in the Big Apple Cafe or out by the grills at the pool. The food was very good. They have omlet and waffle stations that are wonderful for breakfast and then a variety of grilled items for lunch each day. For dinner, we ate in the Seven Seas or Four Seasons dining room every night. The menu is the same in both dining rooms so don't think you are missing something. All of the dinners were WONDERFUL. There is one formal night (optional) on this cruise and the dress code for the rest of the evening's is pretty casual. We love the Freestyle dining as opposed to a "main or late" seating on RCCL. Sometimes we ate at 5:30 and sometimes we didn't eat till 6:00 or 7:00. We found this to be very convenient! The dining rooms have a dress code, but they don't adhere strongly to it.
NCL takes lots of photos. Wait until Friday to buy them, they are $2.00 off the original price of $19.95 for an 8 x 10 and $10.95 for a 5 x 7. There is also a day that they will take $1 off the photos and for us, that was the day we were in Belize.
Cozumel is the BEST place for shopping-especially jewelry. Ken, the port lecturer, is a WONDERFUL man. He goes to various shops while they are docked in Cozumel and if you are there when he is, he will get a wonderful deal for you. In Diamonds International, we bought a 6 carat Caribbean Topaz for $200 and the price was $505. All of the shopping is in walking distance so there is no need to get a taxi. There are tons of places mixed in with the shops that sell Corona's for a $1 and you can walk around Cozumel with them.
In Honduras, you definitely should book an excursion. We decided that we were going to stay on the ship and lay out by the pool and we pretty much had that area to ourselves. We did get off the ship and walk down the street near the pier, but it is a very poor country and there really isn't anything there to do or see. We heard from another passenger that the beaches were beautiful there so an excursion to a beach would definitely be the way to go
In Belize, you should book an excursion with Coral Breeze Limited (www.coralbreezelimited.com). They have the best snorkeling excursion ever. For $118, my husband and I were taken on a boat to the most beautiful water you will ever see to snorkel through the reef area and swim with sting rays and nurse sharks. This price also included a wonderful lunch at Caye Caulker and time to lay on the beach before returning to the pier to get back on the ship.
In Cancun, the pier is located right next to another wonderful beach area which is totally free. They have a free shuttle that will take you to Flamingo Plaza for shopping, but the shopping in Cancun is not that great. The prices are pretty similar to prices in the U.S. and they do not negotiate there like they do in Cozumel. I would recommend just spending time at the beach in this area.
The NCL production company put on great shows for most of the evenings on board. I would recommend not missing them! The comedian (Sam Griesbaum) was wonderful as well and so were Mario and Jenny!
I don't particularly care for the required $10 per person per day that you are automatically charged for tips, but we had great service for the most part.
My husband and I didn't think we would really be in to this sort of thing, but we ended up going to each auction and won the raffle 3 out of the 4 times and won 3 free pieces of art work! They have free champagne during the auctions. We got a great deal on 2 Thomas Kinkade's so it's worth attending!
This is the FASTEST debarkation I have ever been a part of. We docked at 7:30 in Houston. My husband and I ate breakfast at 8:00. We stayed in our stateroom until our colored tag was called and we were off the ship by 9:00...this was the quickest and most efficient debarkation I have ever experienced.
If you have never cruised before, you will love it. If you have cruised before (as we have), you will still love it. For a 20 year old ship, NCL does a great job keeping it in shape and my husband and I were definitely impressed!