H. DeLea Sayers
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: n/a
Having cruised once before on a Holland America Alaska Cruise, my wife and I had some experience on what to expect on a cruise. Our 14 and 16-year-old sons, however, were to experience a cruise for the first time. I took the time to research cruise lines sailing from Texas before selecting NCL’s Sea. My research included this site and a few reviews were very helpful in our selection. My wife and I found it a good experience (under the circumstances) and our boys had the time of their lives.
One important point that helped me choose this cruise was NCL’s “Freestyle Cruises.” Anyone with teenage boys will know that they are either fashion nuts or grungy dogs (today’s fashions make it harder to tell the difference). Our oldest preferred to dress down while the younger is a social animal living in the teen kennels they call malls. So, the Freestyle meant that the oldest could run the ship in shorts or swim trunks all day and the youngest could become dapper and woo the girls. Freestyle meant satisfying both their desires which meant reducing the stress of Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad, on the other hand, preferred to dress for romance.
The food was good, although less exciting than what we experienced on Holland America and the service was equal to what we had seen before. One very interesting addition to their food system was the on-deck poolside Bar-B-Que every day. This was not a Bar-B-Que cooked in a kitchen, drowned in sauce and served in a buffet. This was a crew of cooks who had three, 4 foot diameter grills that used real charcoal briquettes to cook not only hamburgers and hot dogs daily, but the varied the daily fare with pork ribs, sirloin steaks and chicken. I enjoyed the steak the most. My sons discovered (rather quickly) that room service was complementary and 24 hours and supplemented their round the clock fun with tasty snacks throughout the night. The wait staff (predominantly Romanian) was always well mannered and quick to serve and to smile! However, I must offer my condolences to the two cabin boys responsible for taking care of the room of my two boys. Teenage boys … well, let us say are the less tidy of souls and the cabin boys should have received hazardous duty pay for their rooms. But, each time we saw the cabin boys at work, they tended laugh with us about these messy kids and all jokingly claimed that they were never so dirty as boys. I must say, their service was great!
The ship’s shop was a disappointment and a joy. As this was the very last Caribbean cruise for the Sea before being transferred to the Star Line to serve Chili, the shop had been reduced in inventory of any fun ship logo items. However, the joy was that what inventory was left over was put out a huge discounts. So, the family bought embroidered pocketed T-shirts for $3.75 and golf shirts for $4.75.
I mentioned above about our experience being a good one “under the circumstances.” The circumstances were that at the time of sailing, hurricane Emily was scheduled to hit our first port of call, Cozumel, at the same time the ship was to dock. So, NCL Corporate redirected the ship to have a first port of call at Key West. They told us this just as we boarded, which is what we assumed would happen. We also assumed that our other ports of call would be in the Bahamas. You can imagine our chagrin and that of most of the passengers when they announced, while at sea, that the second port of call was to be Miami (ugh!). Please, no offense to Miamians, but that is not a place I would have chosen to visit on my own. Apparently it wasn’t either for most of the passengers. Crowds of angry passengers cornered the First Mate (I assume that was her title) and other crew and protested this decision. The announcement and mini mutiny occurred on Monday morning just before disembarkation at Key West (We loved our visit there!). Upon returning to the ship, we found a letter to the passengers announcing that Emily had only slightly damaged Cozumel and the port had re-opened. Because of the displeasure of the choice for the second port of call, that NCL was redirecting the ship back to Cozumel before returning to Houston. I am sure that this huge expense in diesel fuel hurt the profits of NCL, but it went very far in satisfying the passengers of the Sea.
Over all, I think things went well for my family, the wife was able to snooze all hours and enjoy night breezes at sea, the oldest son ate his way into nirvana, the youngest made 2 new girlfriends and as for myself …. I had a vacation that allowed me to relax, read, eat and see my family have a great vacation!