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Annie

Age: 40's

Occupation:professional medical

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sea

Sailing Date: November 22nd, 2003

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

The Norwegian Sea is the 3rd cruise I am taken in the past 9 months. I booked this 2003 Thanksgiving week cruise months ago. I was excited that NCL was coming back to Houston (the port is really in LaPorte, Texas about 10 minutes from where I was raised and 25 minutes from my home). However, this cruise was a total disappointment. Long waits just to get a table for our evening meal and then over 2 hours to get the food delivered to our table. The free-style cruising means you can eat at any time, but you can’t do this in the main dining rooms in the evening. The food in mediocre at best, and the service was spotty. The size of the staterooms and the noise and motion were horrible. This has to be the worst ship I have ever sailed on.

You do get to visit four different ports, but at two (Belize and Cancun) you have to use a tender. Also, if you do not book your shore excursions with NCL this means you will get off the ship 2-4 hours later. I save a lot of money booking tours online at home. However, we couldn’t get off the ship! You arrive at 8 am but you don’t get off till 10 or 11am (because you have to wait for preferred people who paid NCL for their excursions and to be fair for customs also). Non-tour holders have to meet in one of the lounges at 8am to get a numbered tender ticket! My husband arrived at 8am and we were 199-202. This took a long time and we had to hurry and miss a lot on our tour. Carnival never did this to us, NCL is not fair, I paid for my ticket just like everyone else. It’s as if they are forcing you to take their tours. Also, you do not have much time in port. Get off the ship at 10:30am but you have to be back at the boat by 3:30p in Cancun, 4:30p in Belize, the same for the other ports except there you had a little more time since we were at a pier and treated as equals as to when we could leave the ship.

The ship was so rough that out of a party of 4, 3 of us became ill. Our cabin was located forward. We could hear the water banging against the hull. My biggest disappointment was the restaurants, Carnival food was excellent, NCL food was quantity over quality. My husband did like the way they grilled almost every afternoon on deck, but I was mad that the best meal on the ship was hamburgers or kid’s pizza. When my children were ill, I could not find any place that had ice cream, I had to beg someone to go down to the dining room for some sherbet. Room service would not accommodate us.

My recommendation is to go on the Carnival Celebration out of Galveston, Texas (45 minutes from LaPorte). It’s a much better deal, almost half of the cost of NCL, and although the rooms are not as quiet as NCL they are much larger. The food is superior, and you have enough time in port to actually do something without hurrying. More value for your money, and unlike NCL, no elevators that smell of emesis. One more thing about the rooms……hair, hair, everywhere (not ours).

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