Number of Cruises: 4
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: July 31st, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
The following review is meant to help future cruisers on the Norwegian Sea.
Embarkation and Debarkation: Embarkation in the Houston Port Terminal is crowded between 11:30 and 1pm. It is also crowded after 3pm, as late arriving passengers are trying to get on board. The best time to board is between 1:30pm and 3pm - the terminal is much less crowded then.
We used Express Disembarkation, which gets you off the ship first. My suggestion is to go to the elevators early with your luggage and just wait to leave (around 9:30am).
Service on board: First the praise - our room steward (Limbo - that's his name) did an outstanding job. We requested extra mints and towels and he delivered seamlessly. He was always courteous and friendly. Our waitress was in the Seven Seas Dining Room. Her name is Loredana. She is Romanian, and was simply terrific. She talked with our children, spoke with us about Romania when we asked, and just did an outstanding job.
The bad news is that we had somewhat spotty service otherwise. First, We requested a reservation for a table for fourteen persons at 6:30pm as soon as we got on board. It was for fourteen, as several families celebrated my parents' 40th anniversary. The dining room greeter said "No problem, Sir. I will have a table for fourteen at 6:30" When I returned at 5:30pm to just double-check the reservation, the greeter then told me they only reserved tables at 5:30pm, 6:00pm or 9:00pm. Since I was juggling for four families, that did not go over well. It was too late for everyone to change for dinner. The Maitre D' eventually helped us make the 6:30 reservation and we ate at 6:00pm all other nights with the reserved table.
Second, we had paid for my parents' room to be decorated for their anniversary by NCL. It was not done. Not only that, but when my sister complained at the reception desk, it took her six hours to resolve the issue. NCL told her it would have to wait until Monday, since their offices were closed in Miami on Saturday. This, over a $30 decoration charge.
Third, on the last day (Saturday morning, prior to disembarkation, it is hectic with everyone was trying to get through Immigration on-board. We ordered room service for breakfast the day before. On Saturday, they had no record of our order. We then had to hurry to eat in the Big Apple Cafe.
Excursions: I highly recommend using Victor Bodden for touring Roatan, Honduras. His email address is VictorBodden@yahoo.com. We arranged a tour with him in advance. He met us at the gate leading to Roatan off the ship. Warning - other drivers will tell you he isn't there, so they can get your business. Don't believe them. He had a sign with our names on it to greet us. He speaks English well. He took us to a restaurant for lunch called The Lighthouse. It was authentic Honduran fare - it also had a beautiful view!! Ask for it for lunch! He also took us to a point on the island where you can see the ocean on both sides of the island. It was beautiful! He charges $25 dollars per day per person and his car can comfortably hold 4 adults or 5 children (it is about the size of a Toyota Corolla). Victor did an awesome job!
Finally, consider snorkeling in Belize through Seaside Cabanas, a place to stay on Caye Caulker. It was a 45 minute water taxi ride from Belize City, but we got to see stingrays and touch them, beautiful fish and coral. We plan to cruise again - I think we will try another line, and a somewhat newer ship - the Norwegian Sea, at age 16, is starting to show her age.