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Mike B

Age: 35

Occupation:Manager

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sea

Sailing Date: February 7th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was the second cruise my wife and I have been on. Our first was on Carnival Conquest. We enjoyed this cruise thoroughly because of the staff of the Norwegian Sea. Other reviews that state the crew is bad are probably by people who are only happy if they are complaining.

Embarkation took 1 hour 30 minutes. We stood in line that entire time. This was not a good start. If you are a previous NCL cruiser (Latitudes member) you can go to a quick check in line and be aboard in 10-15 minutes. That will be nice NEXT time. To be honest, this was the only truly bad thing I could say about the cruise. NCL should have 4 or 5 more people checking people in. The good news is that it was a one stop deal.

N Sea is an older ship but has been well maintained. My biggest worry was that the ship may reak of smoke. It did not. Smoking was heavily regulated. Smokers had to go outside or smoke in their rooms. The ventilation system turns over the air in the rooms quickly so the rooms do not reek if a smoker was there before you.

The ship was kept very clean. There is brass all over the ship and it all gets polished on a daily basis. There are sanitary stations all over the place for you to disinfect your hands if you feel the need. We never used them but in the event of a disease breakout those stations are a superb idea.

The crew is what made this cruise for us. Our head waiter was a Jamaican man named Romeo. On NCL ships you can eat anytime you want (no set dinner time - they call it Free Style Cruising - we like it); however, that means you get a new staff every time you eat unless you eat right when the dining room opens. If you take that option you can make a standing reservation. We ate at Romeo's table on the first night and made a standing reservation with him and his staff from then on. Our assistant waitress was a Phillipine lady named Estela. Our wine steward was named Iketut. I recommend you pick this team if you take an N Sea cruise. They were in the 4 Seasons dining room for our cruise. We sat at table 149 but Romeo and company will move to a different station each week. Table 149 is an easy station for the staff as it is a part of a 3 table area. Go to 148 or 149 if you want fast service. These only can sit 4 people. A third table in this group will sit many more but I do not remember the number (147??). All three are in the corner of the dining room and are next to the windows.

The food was superb. The scrambled eggs were the only downer for me. I do not recommend them. I am a bacon nut and had my fill - it was quite good. Lunches were very good in the main dining rooms and at the Big Apple buffet. "Snack" times in the Big Apple included pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and some healthier choices if you are so inclined. The dinner menus were great. The food was superb and the wine selection was broad. You will not go hungry. My wife liked the lobster, I liked the steaks. The Cowboy T Bone steak was a monster. You will love the food. Presentations were gourmet and lowfat options were always available. I ate a lot of fruit appetizers and found them superb.

I recommend the 4 seasons over the 7 seas dining room. The 7 seas has a better view (aft view of ocean) but the engine noise is obtrusive here. The 4 seasons is quiet and has a partial ocean view.

The rooms are small. Real small. The bathroom is pretty small also but at 6'2" tall I could use the facilities and shower easily. The shower is cramped but could accomodate a 6'4" person. I am a tad claustrophobic so I had a few anxious times in the stateroom but it was not that big a deal. This is the one thing that Carnival Conquest beat N Sea on in my opinion. We staid on deck 4 (main deck) stateroom 4021. It was VERY quiet in our room. Our room was near the dining rooms and admin desks. One flight up were the main show lounges, casino and shops.

The Casino staff was very good. The smoke was very tolerable. I only had someone smoking near me while at the craps table. The craps table crew was OK. They were helpful but tended to recommend lower odds bets "to make it interesting". That got a little old. My philosophy was to ignore them and play like I wanted.

The ship was well decorated. I would say it wasn't ornate but it was also not boring to look at. The main color is blue and I liked it overall.

The nightly shows were pretty good. Get to the shows 30 minutes early if you want an unobstructed view. The load bearing columns in the main showroom (Cabaret Lounge) block you otherwise. It isn't hard to look around the columns but I tried to avoid them. Even if you show up late for a show you will be able to find a seat. The show quality was good and is tailored for all age groups as the week goes on. One particular guest entertainer was a big band kind of singer and was clearly singing to the older crowd. We enjoyed all of the shows. The magician did some older tricks but pulled them off well.

Price - this is a home run for NCL. The price we paid was well below the value we received. You will get more then what you paid for. There is plenty of stuff on board to buy and the prices are not bad at all. It can add up quickly though. A lot of people in line on the last day had funny looks on their faces when they got their bill preview...alcohol and credit cards are a bad mix.

I highly recommend this ship. The crew was clearly well trained and truly worked hard to make this a great vacation. We live only 40 minutes away from the debarkation port and will likely cruise on the N Sea again when they shift to a different set of ports.

Mike B

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