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Dave Case

Age: 53

Occupation:Correctional Program Specialist

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Spirit

Sailing Date: 2011-03-6

Itinerary: Western Carribean

This was our first cruise and if we thought all cruises were like this we would never consider going again. We were not told there would be over 300 spring break students aboard the cruise ship. We had never heard of being late to every single port and mediocre food. We had always heard the rooms were small but the food was plenteful and some of the best food you could get. We booked shore excursions through the ship and paid the premium prices but certainly did not get premium excursions. The best day we spent was in Roatan where we hired a taxi to drive us where the taxi driver thought were good places. It was a great day, the excursions booked through the cruise line were abreviated on both accounts and the food was far less than pleasant. Communication from the captain was pretty much non existant and we had no idea what was going on. We would rush to our door to hear what was coming over the speakers only to hear another announcement for bingo, or some other party. We never knew why we were late for ports or when we should rebook our departing flights. We have never been so disapointed in a vacation in our lives. We were actually looking forward to getting home and going back to work.

There were three dining options on the ship, there were two main dining rooms that served exactly the same menu, the food was average, the cook staff needed to learn how to make beef stroganoff, the deserts were usually good, however if you had the soda pass sometimes you had to wait for your entire meal before sodas were found and served. There was a buffet on one of the upper deck, but after a couple of meals there everything began to look and taste the same, there wasn't any soda service there and if you wanted a soda you had to go and wait in the line at the bar. There was a small fast food restaurant that served good burgers, fries, fish and chips etc but it was usually a long wait for a burger to be grilled. There were several speciality restaurants on board, we only at at the steakhouse and were very impressed with the meal and the service.

Our stateroom was fine, we had a large window. We really wish we had upgraded to a balcony since there was very little room and way to much activity around the pool. We would have like to lay out in the sun, but the pool deck was a drunken beach party most of the time. The bathroom was small but adequate. The TV was tiny and almost impossible to watch from the bed because of the small size. The room was clean and our room staff was great. There was no speaker in the room so we always had to jump up and run to the door to hear any announcements since we did not usually have the TV turned on.

It seemed like everything on board the ship was directed at some sort of sale. Our first day was spent at sea and we went to the excursion presentation, the shopping presentation, the magic show and whatever the main show was for the evening. We booked our excursions and put a couple of bucks in the slot machines and walked around the 7th level deck. We had planned on an excursion and a pleasant day in Costa Maya, but were unable to get off the ship due to being the last ship to arrive in port and the weather. The crew scrambled for things for the passangers to do, but everything was pretty much a repeat of the first day activities. We went to the pool area to buy the special on T-shirts but the had nothing on the ship larger than an XL shirt other than one 2XL that said simply "I Love Cruising". Due to the crowds around the pool we were bored out of our minds. Many of the shipboard activities are scheduled in the evening, after 10:00 PM. We have to be up and at work in the mornings so we tend to be early to bed early to rise type of people so the thought of going to something that starts at 10:00 PM did now appeal to us. There was an acrobatic show that was excellent and a second city comedy troupe that put on a good show. The musical extravaganza was a disapointment. On our last day we were supposed to arrive in New Orleans at 8:00 AM but due to a medical airlift and being on the slowest boat in the fleet we did not arrive until 5:00 PM. We were asked to vacate our staterooms. We had lunch at 11:30 and there was absolutely nothing to do, and I do mean nothing, until we arrived back in New Orleans at 5:00 PM. We were served a free drink at about 3:00 PM. No information was diseminated. No information was given on disembarkation which was to put it mildly a cluster.

We were booked for three excursions, however due to not going to Costa Maya we had to hustle and rebook to at least see the Mayan Ruins. We booked through the ship and nothing ran smoothly on the two excursions we did manage to book. We went on a tubing adventure in Belize. We were late getting off the boat due to waiting for spring breakers who were supposed to be left if they were not on time. When we did get to out tour busses we only had two busses instead of three and had to wait. What was supposed to be a 45 minute guided walk through the rain forest ended up being a 20 minute dash so we were not late. When we got back to our lunch everything was being put away and no more food was being put out. We got back just in time to jump on the overcrowded tender boat to go back to the ship, we were transported on school buses (thankfully they were air condidtioned) when we arrived at the site we realized the other ships had transported by motor coach, I would book an excursion in Belize because the country was not one I would have felt safe in without some type of escort. We were supposed to meet in the theatre at 7:30 to do our Mayan tour in Cozumel. When we reported we were told not to come back until we could at lest see land. We were finally rushed off the ship after 9:30 and put on a boat for the mainland where we were rushed onto busses to the ruins, our tour guide was good and did a great job explaining the culture but our beach, free, shopping time was reduced from three hours to about 30 minutes, and we were rushed back on the boat to the ship. At least we were given a 25% reimbursement for that excursion but we don't believe that would have happened had there not been a large group of people complaining about the greatly shortenend excursion.

Despite the cruise itself we had a good time, we met other people with like interests and had long dinners and talks with them, we did a lot of walking on the prominade deck and did sit out on beach chairs there occasionally, when chairs were available. The ship information states it holds a little over 1900 guests but we were told that there were 2300 aboard the ship. We discovered various venues were closed for special group events. The ship catered to the spring break crowds, of course I am sure they were making a fortune from the drinks they were ordering. In the two non tendered ports we visited the ship waited at least 30 minutes for people who got back late, even though we were told repeatedly that we would leave at the designated hour. Communication from the captain was virtually non existant. We were awakened to be told we were not to be on the upper decks during a helecopter evacuation of an ill individual, but never told how far out of the way we went or how that affected our arrival back in New Orleans. Internet access was slow and extremely expensive, however when we realized we woud be missing flights and hotel reservations we were given access to computers. Everything about arrival time in New Orleans was passed through roumers and gossip, no one in command seemed able to give an arrival time. If we believed all cruises would be like this we would never, ever, ever consider going on a cruise again. As it is we will never go on another Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise.

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