Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: May 1st, 2004
There were 8 of us that traveled, 5 adults and 3 children. We departed from Houston on 05-01-04 on the Norwegian Sea.
Check in was fast and easy as several of us are/were Latitudes members. It was pouring rain the day we departed and got drenched walking up the long gangway to board the ship. What a disappointment the port of Houston was. Very, very ugly. Once on board we found our rooms. My key worked fine however my niece’s key did not work. The television in my parent’s room didn’t work. My mother had ordered bottles of wine for each room. They were not in the rooms. I had ordered two $25.00 ‘onboard credit’ certificates for my parents. They were not in the room. I was very disappointed about that.
Since it was pouring rain we obviously couldn’t go to the pool area. I took my nieces and nephew for a tour of the ship. I thought we would find something to do. I was wrong. We found the ‘video arcade.’ That was a joke. There were about a dozen games. About half of them were ‘Out of Order.’ We didn’t last long there. My nephew found a deck of cards and we went back to the room and played a few card games. I kept hoping our luggage would come so I could start unpacking. It was hours later that it finally appeared. It took about 4 hours for all of our luggage to make it to our rooms.
I know Norwegian has no control over the weather but they need to have a back up plan for bad weather. We spent several hours basically doing nothing because there was nothing to do.
Dinner was very good. I have absolutely no complaints about the food in the dining rooms. Good food and good wine. A couple of nights we had excellent waiters. A couple of nights we had very slow waiters. I don’t think the waiters were incompetent I think they were just too busy. 2 different nights it took over 2 hours for dinner. That did not include any kind of a wait for a table. We never had to wait to be seated.
Day 2 was spent at sea. The weather was still cloudy but we did get in some pool time. My sister tried to enroll her children in the ‘kids club’ program. That was no easy task. It took her several trips and several hours to get it done. Apparently there was only one person on the ship that could enroll the kids and she could only enroll them at certain times. This was way more difficult than it had to be. Little did we know, that was just the first of many things that were way more difficult than they had to be.
Day 3 we were in Cozumel. It took too long to get on and off the ship. There needed to be more security areas. At some times there was only one person swiping cards of people coming back on the ship.
Day 4 was one of the most frustrating days of all. We had scheduled the Tabyana Beach Party excursion. Getting off the ship took a very long time. We waited in long lines. Finally we got to the ‘towel’ area. As I said, there were 8 of us. When we got to the place to check out towels they had 2 towels. The person in charge of the towels said that someone had gone to get more towels. We waited about 10 minutes and still no towels. My question is, ‘How can you not have enough towels?’ Excursions have to be booked in advance. Why would you not count how many people are going to the beach and have that many towels? Or, if you don’t want to do that, how about keeping an eye on the towels and when you see you are running low, get more. Don’t wait until you are down to 2 towels. That’s just poor planning and poor customer service. While we were waiting for towels that didn’t appear we were hoping we weren’t going to miss our excursion. Finally, afraid to wait any longer, we took the 2 towels and left the ship.
When we stepped of the ship there was a photographer wanting to take our picture. We told him that we didn’t want our picture taken because we were pretty mad at that point. He asked what was wrong and we told him. He said he was going be coming to Tabyana and would bring us towels. We figured we’d never see him again. We were wrong. He found us on the beach and did bring us towels. I don’t know his name but he was the head photographer on the ship. What a great example of customer service! We didn’t find much of that on this cruise so when we did run across it we really appreciated it.
Day 5 was Belize. We booked the Catamaran/Snorkel excursion. Getting off the ship was much nicer today. We all went to one of the lounges and they called people by excursions. Also, there were towels! That was certainly an improvement. Belize is beautiful and the Catamaran was a lot of fun. The trip back to the ship on the Catamaran was one of the highlights of the trip. Everyone was drinking rum punch and having a good time. Very relaxed and fun. This is what vacation is all about.
Day 6 was Cancun. The excursion that day was Avalon Bay Beach and shopping. Again, getting off the ship was easier. Again, there were towels. It was stressed over and over and over that the last tender from Cancun would leave at 3:00. So, where ever you were and what ever you were doing, you HAD to be on that tender by 2:45 because it WOULD leave at 3:00 and you didn’t want to miss it. We even had to repeat back that the last tender was at 3:00. We repeated it several times. Apparently it was very important that we all be on that tender by 3:00 because it was leaving at 3:00. We tendered to Cancun and had to board another boat to take us to Avalon Beach. The people running that boat told us what time we needed to be back on board in order to get us back to Cancun by 2:45 so we could make the tender. The beach was very nice and the service there was very good. We had a great time and hated to leave but didn’t want to miss our tender. The boat ride back to Cancun was a lot of fun. The people that were in charge of the boat were fun and friendly. I had a really good time
We got back to Cancun, found our tender, and boarded. The tender was quite full and a lot of the passengers were smoking. None of our group smoke and we don’t like being around smoke. There was nowhere we could go to get away from it. My mom and sister both asked why smoking was allowed. They were told this was not a non-smoking boat.
My nephew has asthma and an attack can be brought on by cigarette smoke. Thankfully he did not have an attack that day.
3:00 came and went. 3:15 came and went. 3:30 came and went. We were still sitting on the smoke filled tender waiting to go back to our ship. Someone asked what we were waiting for. We were told we were waiting on someone. Why? Why did one person inconvenience a whole tender full of people? Why could this person not get to the tender on time? Why were we waiting for them? Take us back to the ship. Come back and get that one person if it’s important to you that they be on the ship. Finally, close to 4:00 we left. We sat for almost an hour on a tender that was filled with smokers. What a bad ending to a fun day!
When we finally made it back to the ship I stopped by the information desk to make sure our transportation off the ship when we docked in Houston was correct. We were to take the bus to the airport. These arrangements were made with Norwegian. Since there had been so many problems I wanted to make sure this would not be a problem. They said everything was fine and they had us down for the bus. I even saw our names listed in the notebook. That was good news.
Day 7 was at sea. It was a sunny, hot day. Just perfect for spending the day at the pool. We read all the information about disembarkation. I noticed we didn’t have our luggage tags and from what I understood we should have had certain tags since we had Norwegian booked transportation. So, I went back up to the information desk to inquire about this. They agreed that we should have special tags so she started looking in their transportation book. Guess what? They didn’t have any of us listed! That can’t be. We were there yesterday. She had no idea why we weren’t listed and she looked at me like I was crazy when I told her we were listed the day before. I saw our names in the book with my own eyes. I know we were there. She just kept saying we hadn’t paid for our transportation back to the airport. I told her we understood it would be added to our room charges and we would be happy to pay them when we settled up. We knew we had to pay for the bus. We were just waiting for the charges to be added to our bill. She left and talked to someone in a back room. When she came back she handed me a card with someone’s name on it. On the back was written, ‘complementary transportation for 5 to the airport.’ I asked what about the other 3 of us? She changed the 5 to an 8. I appreciate the fact that we ended up with free transportation but what if I hadn’t gone to check on the luggage tags? Would we have left the ship on Saturday morning and been stuck in the ugly port at Houston? What a fiasco.
At some point in the cruise, I don’t remember which day, the ceiling vent fell out of the ceiling in my sister’s room. Luckily it didn’t hit anyone. My brother-in-law called and reported it. They acted very unconcerned. It took several hours for anyone to come fix it.
More than once we had to go to the information desk and have my niece’s room key fixed. One time it had to be completely replaced. They suggested that it was becoming de-magnetized. Not sure how that could have happened.
At the beginning of the cruise my brother-in-law ordered a vodka tonic with lime. He was told there were no limes. No limes? On a cruise? That doesn’t even make sense. Somewhere they must have found limes because we saw other drinks with limes later in the cruise.