Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: May 8th, 2004
My sister and I departed Mother’s Day weekend aboard the Norwegian Sea for a 7 night western caribbean cruise. This was my 6th cruise and her 8th cruise. We have to agree with most of the reviews and say that the negative remarks should be ignored as we felt this cruise itinerary was fantastic-especially for the price. We arranged our own flight from Florida to Houston. We arrived in Houston the day before the cruise and took a limo to the port. (Be prepared to fork out some $$ for transportation to the port if you fly in).
Embarkation-Easy! We are both Latitudes members (previous NCL cruisers) so we had priority check in which took about 5 minutes total. We had already checked in, had our Welcome Aboard picture taken and were aboard the Sea about 10 minutes from arriving at the port. The ship is a little worn but still beautiful. Our cabin was small but efficient. Although we usually prefer an outside cabin we opted for an inside cabin so we could splurge on other things.
Our first port was Cozumel. We visited Cozumel last year and did an excursion so we opted to stay on board for the first couple of hours and enjoyed a full body massage. The Mandara Spa and staff are fantastic. After the massage, we left the ship to explore Cozumel on our own (walking) and did ALOT of shopping! The waters in Cozumel are absolutely beautiful.
Our second port was Roatan, Honduras. We chose a tour that took us all over the island. We made several stops for picture taking and our tour guide Nessle gave us a lot of history about Roatan. We visited an Iguana farm (my sister enjoyed it from the tour van!). The iguanas were everywhere. The tour ended at a beach and shopping area. Roatan is very beautiful and we would love to visit again but be advised...Roatan is very primitive and there is not much shopping here.
Our third port was Belize City, Belize. We had to be tendered to shore here. We didn’t mind, the tender boats were not the normal slow poke tenders....it was a real boat ride! The water is the prettiest clear blue you could imagine-almost like a mammoth sized swimming pool. We chose a bus tour in Belize as well and visited the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins. We weathered very hot and humid temps in Belize, but it was very interesting learning about the Mayan Indians. After the tour we did more shopping! Oh and we got to hold a real aardvark. We took pictures ...he was adorable! We would love to visit Belize again. When we reboarded the ship we cleaned up for dinner. (See comments below regarding meals.) After dinner, we had a foot massage to revive our sore feet from our excursion to the Ruins today. What a treat! Jane and Fretzly (Mandara Spa therapists) were the best!
Our last port was Cancun! All we can say about this is fun, fun, fun! We took a tour excursion here too. We toured the main resort district and saw many beautiful resort areas (the architecture of these buildings are beautiful). We also saw a house owned by Arnold Swartzeneger (not sure of spelling!). We also stopped at another ruins site. It was not as big as the Altun Ha ruins but still interesting. There were iguanas on the loose here too. Then the tour took us to a couple of beaches and a shopping area. And did we ever do some shopping....probably has nothing to do with the fact that tequila shots are available at every entrance to the big store we were at! We really got some bargains here. We stopped at Fat Tuesday’s on the beach and enjoyed a margarita on the beach for a while. We then headed for the pier to catch our tender back to the ship, and we encountered a local man with 2 squirrel monkeys. He charged us $5.00 each to take pictures of ourselves holding the monkeys, expensive but what the heck-it was the first time we ever got a chance to hold a monkey and they were so cute. We do not regret it at all. Cancun is definitely a place we want to visit again.
The meals on the Norwegian Sea in the Seven Seas Dining Room and the Four Seasons Dining Room were superb. I cannot think of one meal that was not great. Breakfast in the Big Apple Cafe was so so If you go before 8:00 am you got a pretty good hot breakfast. After about 9:00 the food starts to get cold and lose some of its appeal. We were sure to utilize room service every morning to get our coffee while dressing.
The chocoholic buffet is great. Everything imaginable is dipped in chocolate. Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach! You probably will not want chocolate for a while after this!
Entertainment-SUPERB! The NCL Production Company is just fantastic. We went to 2 of their shows twice each night. They were that good. We also had a comedian on board who was pretty good and a magician/comedian act that was good. Also there is a little Piano Bar called Gatsby’s located at the rear of the ship on the top deck that must be the best kept secret on the boat. It was the perfect place to wind down and enjoy a nightcap. It rarely had one or two people in there after 10:00 pm. Also, Latitude members get a discount on their drinks in there. They either have someone playing the piano or strumming the guitar in there for entertainment. The guitar player named Shane was really good. He did some Jim Croce and James Taylor songs for us while we were there.
Casino-believe it or not we did not even gamble this time. But we did wander through the casino on a few occasions. We were really surprised to see that it was not smoky in the casino like they are on other ships we have been on. We almost thought no one was smoking. Evidently they have a really good ventilation system in there.
Disembarkation! A snap. Latitude members can elect early disembarkation. You are responsible for getting your own luggage off the boat...since we have pullman luggage this presented no problem for us. We were off the boat by 9:15 am. We would love to see other cruise lines offer this.
While we know everything from this trip cannot be recalled, we both agree this trip was probably the most memorable cruise we’ve ever had. We would both love to do this itinerary again with our husbands and children and would recommend it to anyone looking for a cruise full of fun and adventure.