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Janelle Conlin

Age: 21 to 30

Occupation:government

Number of Cruises: 2nd

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sea

Sailing Date:

Itinerary: Texaribbean

Embarkation was quick and easy.  We arrived at the pier at 10:30, checked in as Latitudes members at 11:00, and were allowed on the ship by 11:30.  We traveled in a group of 4; myself, my husband and my parents.  We shared a stateroom; like other reviews mentioned, the room was small but adequate for the four of us.  The upper bunks are actually quite comfortable.  The shower is very tiny...but we all managed.  Our cabin steward, Leon, was very good.  There is not an electrical outlet in the bathroom (except one for shavers only), and there is only one outlet on the makeup table in the cabin...so bring an electrical power strip (to give you more outlets if you use multiple appliances).  We brought an organizer to hand on the back of the bathroom door (with multiple pockets), which worked well.  There was plenty of storage and closet space in the cabin. 

The ship is older, but clean and well maintained.  We did not encounter large crowds in any of the rooms.  The casino could use more $5 BlackJack tables.  There are lots of lounges and rooms in the ship, but no good place for reading (no good lighting).   The deck downstairs from the Big Apple Cafe was our favorite place to sit...not a lot of people.  There is a fitness center with men and women's showers and locker rooms.  There is a golf driving net on Deck 10.   One complaint we had is that most rooms on the ship allow smoking (only the dining rooms, the Cabaret Lounge and half of the Stardust are non-smoking). 

The shows were excellent; our favorite was Grease.  The comedian and magician are worth seeing, as well.  The ship has plenty of activities to keep you busy; Bingo was a favorite for my Mom.  Who Wants to Be a Millionare  and Wheel of Fortune were fun.

The food was excellent!!! The beef was always tender.  It was impossible to be hungry on this ship.  We usually ate breakfast in the Big Apple Cafe, and lunch and dinners in the Seven Seas dining room.  One complaint:  with Freestyle Cruising, the baked Alaskan dessert does not come out on parade anymore (which was the fun part!).    Places to eat on the ship:  Seven Seas dining room (the larger of the two), Four Seasons dining room, Big Apple Cafe, Pasta Bar, and Le Bistro (and of course, 24 hour room service).  One note on Le Bistro:  they now charge $10 per person to eat there, and reservations are required.  The food was so good in the dining room, that we were never tempted to eat at Le Bistro.  The mixed drinks (like Pina Colada's) are $6, beer is $3 and soft drinks are $1.50.  A 15% gratuity is added to all orders.  The best deal is a bucket of beer (four bottles) for $10.  The bottled water in the cabin is $3 (which we bought, since the water on the ship did not taste good).

My mom and I both had appointments at the Spa; we never had any problem with finding times.  We would recommend the Hair Conditioning/Neck Massage, Pedicure and Reflexology Massage treatments!

We were the guinea pigs for Freestyle Cruising for the Sea; our sailing was the first.   We liked not having assigned times to eat meals, and being able to eat anywhere we wanted.  However, the service has suffered.  We often had to wait for dring refills, etc.  The wait staff appear overwhelmed and have too many tables (plus, some tables are eating dinner, others dessert, etc).  This was the first week, so we cut them some slack.  Hopefully the service will improve with experience.  Resort Attire is acceptable; there is no longer mandatory Formal nights.  However, on the optional Formal night, most people dressed up. 

Now, on to the ports of call.  We were able to dock at Cancun, but we did not even get off the ship.  We have heard that Cancun is very commercialized, so we opted not to go.  Tenders are required to get to shore, but they only had 2 tenders that day; and it took all the way until 3:30 when general boarding began, since people on shore excursions went first.  Cozumel was nice.  My mom and dad went horseback riding (a shore excursion) and enjoyed it.  My husband and I were going to do the Dive-In excursion Columbia Reef Snorkeling, but it was cancelled due to bad conditions.  We went to Chankanaab Park and absolutely loved it!  It was a $8 cab ride each way, $10 entrance fee and $5 to rent snorkling equipment.  There is a beach, snorkeling, dolphins and sea lions, etc.   The snorkeling is right off the beach and would be good for beginners.  The staff will bring you drinks on the beach.  It was not overly crowded.  Don't miss the Archeological Park there; it has some ruins.  There is shopping at Cozumel, of couse.  The store keepers are on the streets trying to lure you into their shops.   As other reviews have stated, Roatan is the best port.  My mom brought coloring books, crayons and fishing line for the children, and boy did they like it!  (She ran out very quickly).  The island is poor, the people are very nice.  My mom took the East End Discovery Tour and really liked it.  My husband, my dad and myself went sea kayaking and snorkeling (shore excursion).  The water was a little choppy, so we had to work harder (I was sore for 2 days!).  The snorkeling takes place about 1/4 mile off shore (a boat took us out)...the water was choppy, but the coral reef is amazing! (It is the second largest coral reef in the world).  We saw many fish, coral, an eel and lobsters!  My husband and I have snorkeled before, so we were OK, but it was my dad's first time.   The water was too rough for a beginner.

Overall, we loved this cruise!  We had a great time, and the cruised ended too soon.  It is a shame that the Sea is pulling out of Houston at the end of this month.

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