Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: August 7th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my husband and my first cruise. It was wonderful! The Houston port was somewhat difficult to find but once there it was a simple check-in process. I thought they boarded us quickly. We arrived early and were some of the first people on board, we enjoyed finding our room and looking around the ship. I would suggest if you want to “hit the deck” for some sun and swimming when you first board, pack your bathing suit in your carry on as your luggage may not arrive at your room together or may arrive later that evening. The cruise staff is prepared with lots of food for you to enjoy when you come aboard, Bar-B-Q at the pool deck and lunch stuff in the Big Apple. I have heard several reviewers talk about how small the rooms are, we didn’t find them terribly small, it was all the room you needed for two people however, with kids along I would imagine the rooms could get crowded. The bathroom in the rooms is small but adequate for the task. The bathroom has a blow-dryer however, I suggest bringing your own if you have the room, as the dryer seemed barely capable to dry even the thinnest hair. The bathroom also has soap and shampoo dispenser, which my husband was happy with but I bought my own.
Since you spend your first day at sea you’ll probably spend some time catching some rays, I recommend you bring a beach towel for use on board. The cruise supplies pool towels but they seemed in short supply on at sea days. The ship does supply beach towels for you to check out using your ship ID on the way out when you’re at port. A backpack is a must have for port excursions and the like. I suggest bringing your own water bottle and filling it up on board (the ship tap water is excellent) the ship will charge you a premium for Evian while you disembark to shore.
In Cozumel we simply shopped and explored a local beach, which was awesome. Cozumel seems to have the best prices. In Roatan we rented motorcycles from Captain Van’s, I would recommend if you want to rent transportation that you arrange it with Captain Van, he’s an American transplant to the island and runs his business in a very professional and scrupulous manner which you don’t always find. You can find more info on Roatan at www.Roatanonline.com and a link to Captain Van under “rent a motorcycle”, he also has scooters. One caution, the roads on Roatan are very curvy and sometimes steep, normal western traffic laws seem not to apply. You’ll see incredible views and great local flavor by motorcycle but you must be comfortable with your riding ability. Be sure to get cash while onboard, Roatan is still fairly primitive and finding an ATM is no easy task. See if you can get some small bills from the casino. Also don’t miss the iguana farm on Roatan it’s amazing! I think there is a excursion to it. The kids will love it especially those who love dinosaurs. The owner is a neat local man who is trying to preserve the native wildlife on the island. His name is Sherman, say “Hi” to him for us! Lots of very friendly people on Roatan. You might also think of bringing some treats for the local kids here, there is a lot of poverty on the island. Some snacks, candy, clothes, ect. will bring you rock star attention from the local kids.
Belize was beautiful, very British with a Hispanic flair. Belize was more expensive but provided lots of good quality shopping opportunities. We took the Catamaran and Snorkel excursion to a small island called Rendezvous Cay, about ten palm trees on an island made of conch shells in the middle of the ocean with a beautiful chain of coral encircling it. The water was so clear you could float on the rafts provided on the island and see the coral beneath the water. The guys on the Catamaran were very friendly and professional. Anyone interested in visiting the island scene desktop on his or her computer should take this excursion. It was a very reasonable price for the amount of enjoyment we experienced. In Cancun we took the cruise’s Tulum excursion. If you have an excursion booked, you are the first group to be tendered to shore. Tulum was absolutely amazing! It’s on a cliff overlooking beautiful beaches and turquoise waters. Wear your bathing suit under your clothes for this tour because there is a breath taking beach at Tulum that you can enjoy after you tour the ruins to cool off. This tour does take up all your time at Cancun but it’s worth it and you do stop at a local market on the way, so there is shopping opportunity there and at the gift shops at Tulum.
There is a lecture the first day at sea about the Gulf of Mexico presented by a geologist if you’re interested in stuff like that you’ll find it informative, even if you’re just curious what’s underneath the boat.
The food on board is very good and there’s no shortage of things to eat. I highly recommend the omelet bar on the pool deck for breakfast. Bring a sweater or sweatshirt!! The entertainment venues on the ship are freezing!! And it wasn’t just me everyone thought so. The comedian and magician were great. All the shows and entertainment were very good. If you want to continue to keep in shape on board Jennet the Sports Afloat instructor is awesome she keeps you in shape with her classes. Between Jennet’s Sports Afloat and taking the stairs all week I don’t think we gained weight at all. Our kids weren’t with us but it looked like they had a very good kid’s program to keep the kids busy. The entire staff and crew were wonderful and extremely professional. You felt like your mother was on board picking up after you and making sure you were comfortable. It was quite depressing coming home but I think that’s normal. You should have a great time!