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Chris

Age: 30

Occupation:Principal

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sea

Sailing Date: June 5th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was the first cruise that I have taken. I was accompanied by my wife and our two daughters, ages 6 and 8. We arrived at the Houston Port, (which is very ugly and smelled of rotten fish) about 12:00 on the day of departure. The scene was somewhat chaotic but once we had our luggage tagged the line for check-in moved very quickly. The check-in staff were very friendly, and we boarded the ship by 12:45. My girls were awe struck by the sheer size of the ship. As we boarded the ship we were met by what would become a common occurance throughout our voyage, drink salespersons hawking watered down tropical drinks for $6.50 + automatic 15% tip. We went to our cabin and found the smallest living quarters that you can imagine. There were two tiny beds and two tiny pull down bunk beds The rooms were very clean but extremely outdated. The bedspreads were well worn and had to be the originals purchased in 1988. We sat our carry on luggage down and went exploring. The public areas on the ship are beautiful. the formal dining areas are immpeccible and the the lounges are quite impressive. The pool area is nice, as is the various bars and casino. At 3:00 they had the mandatory lifeboat drill and here is my first beef. The cruise director made several announcements about this MANDATORY drill and required all passengers to meet at 3:00 so, we went to our prescribed location and waited in the 95 degree Texas with our lifejackets on in tight lines for 30 minutes while other passengers leisurely strolled in. There were several older people around us who were feeling faint and had to go sit down during this time period. After the drill, we went up to the pool deck for the sendoff party. There, we ate hamburgers,, hotdogs, and ribs. The hamburgers and hot dogs were adequate but the ribs tasted like lighter fluid and were tough. The ship left the port at 4:00 as scheduled. Later that evening we went to the 4 seasons formal dining room for oour first real meal. My wife had some very good scallops for her main course while I had an average piece of prime rib (consequently I was dissappointed with the quality of my meal everytime I ordered beef). We had a great waiter and a generally positve dining experience. Throughout the course of the cruise our evening meals took about 2 hours from start to finish. Individual courses were small but with a many courses I never left the table hungry. I think that my dining expectations were a little high. I was expecting lots of seafood, i.e. lobster, shrimp, and crab, but this fare was not present most nights. I was also expecting huge glamourous buffets which were not there. On the pool deck at the Big Apple cafe there was always a buffet but I found the food there to be fairly poor in quality. I would compare it to Furrs Cafeteria.

Our ship ported in Roatan, Belize, Cozumel, and Cancun. I enjoyed each port except Cancun. Cancun was so commercialized that the Wal-Mart we went to was more authentic Mexico than any other part of the city. Another thing I noticed and would warn NCL cruisers aboout is the price of excursions. We routinely found the same excursions as those advertised and booked on the boat for 50% or less that what the cruise ship was charging. For example, in Belize there is an excursion called the Jungle/Cave tubing adventure. You could book this trip (which takes you into the mountains were you hike through the jungle and then tube down a river through a very large cave) for $96 on the ship, I purchased the exact trip from a guide on the dock for $40. I will include a list of prices I paid for different aspect of my trip so that you might use them as a guide when you are taking your cruise.

Parking fee at Port of Houston $49.00
Adult pop card on boat $28.75
Childs pop bracelet $16.00
Taxi for entire day at Roatan $40.00
Automatic tip charged to my credit card $10.00 per person per day.
Taxi to Chakanaab park in Cozumel, $5.00 per person each way. Entry to park, $12.00
Large Cuban Cigar in Cozumel, $10.00

Overall, I enjoyed the trip, and my kids really enjoyed the trip. I will cruise again, but next time I will pick another cruiseline and see if it is better or worse.

Chris

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