Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: January 31st, 2004
This being our first cruise, my wife and I were both excited and a little worried about what we would experience. I set out to do some research on the Norwegian Sea and the itinerary. Since we were given the cruise as a gift we wanted to find out what others had experienced before on this trip.
We saw many positive and negative comments on this ship, and decided that we needed to have an open mind and see how things went. We arrived a day early, since we could not find a flight from Salt Lake that would get us to Houston in time for departure if there were any problems. We also were traveling into Houston during Superbowl week so travel and rooms were both pretty skimpy. We stayed in a hotel in La Port about 10 minutes from the dock. If you get a chance to spend a day in Houston before you depart, spend some time at Johnson Space center. It is a great experience and a look into the past and future of space flight.
After our trip to JSC we went to the port and began the check in process. There was little or no line when we got there at about 1:30 pm and check-in was a breeze. We showed them our tickets, our ID and we were done in about 10 minutes from the line to walking up the gang way. We had pre-registered, and had all of the documents filled out before we got there. I would highly suggest the pre-registration over the internet.
Security is a concern for the cruise line, but this did not hamper our boarding at all. When we walked out the door, the scale of the ship was breathtaking to us first timers, and I was impressed that they were taking the time that they had in port to do some maintenance where they could. When we entered the ship we were met with a line of staff waiting to take passengers to their rooms. They were all eager to make sure that we were being taken care of, and were ready for a wonderful trip.
Yes the rooms are small. Yes the bathrooms are small. Yes the shower is a small corner of the bathroom. Even the crew jokes about the cramped quarters. (If you think your room is small…) I am 6’2” and 250 lbs. I survived. We did notice there was some wear and tear in the room and hallways, and some rust, but I guess I felt that I was not there to experience the ambiance of the room that I was going to sleep in, and everything was kept clean. All of the facilities in the room met our needs. There was plenty of room to store our bags, our clothes, and my feet did not hang over the end of the bed like they do in many hotel rooms without a king size bed. There is only one plug in the room outside of the bathroom. If you have a lot of electronic gear, take a power strip like others have suggested. Our room service was impeccable our stewards Eduardo and Elias took care of us like we were royalty. Our room was always neat, and they tried to accommodate our every need.
Our first night at sea was a little rough. A few of the people in our group were glad they had their seasick medicine in them. My wife and I did alright; it helped to be on deck in the fresh air. I was amazed at how blue the sea was and to see the flying fish come up out of the bow wave as we sailed to Cozumel.
We travel to Cozumel, Roatan Island, Belize City, and Cancun. There were many excursions to choose from, and we had a difficult time deciding what to do in each of these ports. The excursions that we took were all run well by the locals, and we had a great time. We had to pass up Cancun due to wind and heavy waves. This was a disappointment, but there was a reasonable concern for safety.
Each night as we came back from shore we enjoyed dinner in each of the restaurants. We did not try the two that had a cover charge; we felt that we had enough variety with the others. The buffet was as good as any buffet I have had here, and there was a BBQ on deck if you ran out of other choices. The food was always wonderful we never had any complaints with quality or quantity. Freestyle cruising is wonderful, I don’t think we waited more than about 5 minutes, and that was when we wanted a table for 12. It was nice to be able to come back on the ship, take a nap, and not worry about missing a mealtime.
The entertainment was top notch, Kevin and his staff did a wonder job keeping us up to date on what was going on, and the entertainers were wonderful. The stage production crew sang and danced well even when the deck was rocking. The bands were all very talented. If you got bored it was your on fault. There were still quiet places that you could find to read in the sun or out.
My wife and I are hooked, we are already planning a return trip and it will probably be on the NCL Sea.