Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sea
Sailing Date: August 28th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was our first cruise; our expectations were not high as we had been warned by others who took the "cheapy" cruises out of Houston and Galveston that the boats were small and showing their age. I guess since our expectations were low - we were not disappointed. The ship is small, the rooms very small and the showers so small they are comical. That being said - we still had a wonderful time. The staff on the ship was great (except for one guy at the shore excursion desk)- overall very friendly and helpful.
Overall the food was average but plentiful. We did not eat at Le Bistro which was an additional charge. The service in the dining rooms and the buffet was always very good. The best meal was breakfast in the dining rooms -avoid the breakfast buffet - there can be long lines and some things are undercooked. The comedian and magician entertainers were quite good. Don't miss the sushi nights in the piano bar! We did take several shore excursions through the cruise line. The snorkeling/catamaran/beach party in Cozumel was well worth the cost as it included unlimited drinks. The private beach was very nice. We went on our own in Roatan - ending up at the same beach as the cruiseline shore excursion while saving $30.00 compared to the shore excursion price (we spent money on taxi, snorkel equipment rental, drinks and lunch). Roatan is lovely - just remember to get past the area where the ship docks - you are about 15 miles from the beautiful beaches. We really missed out in Belize - we went to Altun Ha Ruins - OK if you don't mind the geriatric tour. We should have gone to the beach areas which we heard were gorgeous. Once you get out of the very nice clean port terminals into Belize City - it is pretty 3rd world - although the bar at the Smoking Mermaid is quite nice (outside courtyard). As for Cancun - the 45 minute tender ride in followed by a 45 minute ride back past the ship to our snorkel site sucked - what a waste of time. The snorkeling was pretty good although you did not need the fins with the current - we had a guide on this snorkel trip and he made a lot of effort to point out different creatures and scare some out of hidey holes. Where the tender boats came in Cancun there is only a couple of restaurants and a bunch of people selling junk. You are nowhere near old Cancun or the Vegas looking part of Cancun.
The at sea days were pleasant - although on
the last day the bar staff is trying to make their tips. They ask you every 30
seconds if you want a drink - solved this problem by asking for a glass of water
everytime they asked - they get the hint pretty soon. My biggest complaint was
the automatic 15% gratuity added to any bar purchase. We were already being
billed $10 a day per person for gratuities.
Overall, for the price this was a great way to introduce ourselves to cruising. We will definitely cruise again - NCL is moving a newer ship for this cruise in 2005 - so it will probably be even better.