Occupation:Worker's Compensation Administrator
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: March 13th, 2003
Having never been on a cruise
before, my friend and I decided to start with a 4 night trip. We go away
together every year and wanted to try cruising this time. The price was
fantastic: $234 per person. I live in Tampa and she lives in Connecticut, so she
flew down to Tampa and we drove to Miami the morning of the cruise. Initially we
agreed to book the cheapest room since we didn't think we'd spend much time in
it, other than to sleep. I booked a "guarantee" knowing that we couldn't
possibly do any worse by not having a room assignment. I booked through
Travelocity who advised we'd have our room assigned at check-in, however 3 days
after I made the reservation, I got an email with our room info. They had moved
us from the lowest category up to an oceanview on the Star deck. What a pleasant
surprise--especially for $234 each. In retrospect, I have to say that the higher
deck was much better--whenever we were lower down, it was very loud, so I don't
know how well we would have slept in the lower levels. It was even loud in the
main dining room (4th deck). The worst was when we were docking in Nassau.
Check-in was super smooth. I was expecting a lot of spring break people, but it wasn't too bad. It seemed like there were mostly couples on the cruise and if there were any college groups, they weren't too obnoxious. Everyone was having a good time. We left Miami a little late because of some late planes, but it was okay--we were sitting on the pool deck with frozen drinks. We were able to eat lunch on departure day and that was the only thing that wasn't great--we ate at the Big Apple Cafe and there was hardly any food left. People were fighting over fruit! :-) It wasn't a problem, though, because I could see that the staff was working like crazy to fix the situation. And anyway, I think the other meals in the cafe and the Seven Seas Dining Room more than made up for the first mediocre lunch.
The staff is amazingly friendly and helpful--they ALWAYS remembered our names even if we sat at different tables--waiters who helped us the first night would come over and say hello.
The room was pretty small, but it's a ship!! If we wanted a huge room, we would have gone to a hotel/resort. The bathroom was also small, especially the shower, but we laughed about it and made do. Fortunately, I'm only 5'1", so it wasn't too bad. The ship was small, especially when parked next to RC Navigator of the Seas (biggest in the world), but I didn't really care--having never been on a ship before, I didn't notice that it was big or small inside. It seemed just right for a 4 night cruise. We were able to explore and take advantage of a lot of stuff. I think everything was very well kept--clean and neat. I didn't notice any of the problems alluded to in other reviews, but I also know the ship just came out of dry dock for some "renovations."
My only other problem was that the drink prices were kind of high, but we didn't really drink that much so it wasn't a big deal. We made do with water, tea and juice and were happy. There was ALWAYS food available (poolside buffets and Big Apple buffets) and we must have eaten 4-5 full meals per day. It took us awhile to get back to a normal eating schedule when we got home. :-)
The ports were great, but I would have liked to stay in Nassau a little longer. We arrived at 7PM on Saturday and it was pouring, so there wasn't much to do..nothing is open except Atlantis, so we went there to explore. The next day we went shopping in Nassau, but again--not everything is open. We decided to head back to the spa on ship since they were doing 50% of all services (last day of cruise and in port--it seemed like whenever we were in port, the spa was offering some sort of a discount to people who stayed on board). We had a great time getting a facial and massage on the pool deck--the sun was setting as we left Nassau and it was a nice way to spend our last evening on board.
Overall, we had a great time, especially for the price!! We'll definitely go on another cruise, but we may try a different ship just for variety.
- Bring a hairdryer. They have them in each room, but there aren't that great. It took us forever to dry our hair because the dryer was so slow.
-BRING AN IRON!!! Unlike hotel rooms, they don't provide irons--if you want something pressed, you pay them to do it. I had read somewhere that they had irons avaiable, but it must have been old info. It was awful for us because all our clothes needed ironing. We tried to buy one in Key West, but it seemed like everyone else who came into port had already bought them all! :-)
-Get a room toward the middle/front of ship. We were lucky because we got a great upgrade---they moved us up to the 7th deck and put us smack in the middle of the ship--perfect. But those in the back must have been miserable when we were pulling into ports. It was loud and it vibrated. But again, it's a ship and this is part of the experience of a cruise--it's never going to be perfectly smooth and quiet.
-Even though you can sit alone at meals if you want to, definitely share tables as well. We had so much fun talking to people from all over. While I did enjoy the fact that we could sit alone if we wanted to (which we did sometimes), it was really neat to sit with other people.