Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Ship: Norwegian Sun
Sailing Date: March 19th, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
Planning this vacation took months, the day came and now the week is over and i just want to go back to the sun!!!
We sailed on the Norwegian Sun, Western Caribbean, March 19-26, 2005. It went to Grand Cayman, Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel. We chose this because it was a different kind of itinerary and I had never been to the Western Caribbean.
Overall, we had a great time because we made ourselves have a great time. We both went in with a great attitude and excited about our trip and little pitfalls weren't going to ruin it for us.
I have sailed on Norwegian before, when I was a kid with my parents and I remember it being a lot nicer. I think the cruise line has dropped a little in service and prestige. But we got a great price and still had a great time!!
Embarkation, I was expecting to be a breeze. But I found the opposite. The pier staff were rude and short and blunt with the guests. We had just arrived to the Miami pier from the airport, expecting to be greeted with kindness and friendliness and were instead shuffled like cattle with no customer service at all! Terrible, but we looked at the bigger picture. Please make sure you have your advanced guest registration print out from online with you and your ticket sheets with you when you check in...they are very impatient and don't like to wait for you to get the papers out of your bag.
Ship was SPOTLESS! Just as i have read from previous reviews on this ship, the crew encourages cleanliness and sanitation and it was great! We had an inside stateroom on Deck 10. One of the bigger inside staterooms, it was nice, i wish we had opted for one of the balcony rooms. We saw a peek and they were really nice! But still, our room was immaculate and our housekeeping staff were terrific! they cleaned our room twice a day with fresh towels and bathroom cleanings twice a day! it was wonderful service, the best on the ship and we tipped them extra at the end of the trip.
First stop, Grand Cayman...we decided to go it alone in Grand Cayman and did the snorkeling and swimming with Stingrays. it was $35/person for transportation, snorkel equipment, all of that and we had a great time! Definitely worth the money. Unfortunately, Grand Cayman had been destroyed by Hurricane Ivan last September and just now are they starting to put everything back together. The sad part was that all the trees were dead and the island just wasn't that pretty as i am sure it once was. But we had a great time.
Second stop, the island of Roatan off the coast of Honduras. Beautiful, rustic island. Very poor and very little population. We decided to spend the day at the beach. The nicest beach on the island is West End Beach. The cab is expensive but they pick up when you want to leave the beach and you just pay on the way back. So, it is roundtrip service which was convenient. The beach was beautiful with stunning water and sand. It was great, very relaxing. It is a mountainous island with beautiful views from the top, which the cab stopped at and let us take pictures. Really great. Only one paved road on the island and not one stoplight...bumpy roads! Complete opposite from Grand Cayman.
Third stop, Belize. I had been told by a friend that had also gone to Belize on a cruise that we should definitely have a plan when we were there. So, we booked a shore excursion through the ship, to go snorkeling. It was amazing!!! A catamaran, booze-cruise took us 45 minutes in the middle of the ocean to Rendezvous Caye...a teeny little island with 8 palm trees to go snorkeling in the reef that borders Belize completely. It was really beautiful and serene. It was $67/person for the 3 1/2 hour trip. Really fun, would recommend it. That was only our morning though and in the afternoon we tendered (REALLY LONG TENDER) into Belize City. Well, we were not impressed unfortunately. They have GATED off a tourism village in Belize for cruise visitors with tourist stores and stuff. Very canned feeling but we were discouraged from locals and cruise staff from leaving the GATED area because of possible crime. It was awful in the sense that we couldn't go anywhere to see real Belize. Definitely have a plan in this port and have fun! the snorkeling is some of the best in the world supposedly, so take advantage of it!
Final stop, Cozumel. After a morning of shopping and taking advantage of the silver in downtown Cozumel, we decided to rent a scooter and drive around the island. We felt very safe. there is one road all the way around the island that stays on the coast. So, we just took off and stopped by the side of the road to go swimming and stuff....SO FUN!!! Would definitely do this! Rented the scooter for $38 for the day. GREAT! On the way back though, we had a run in with the "federalis", a cop who tried to give us a ticket for going the wrong way down a one-way street...but there were no signs to follow. We got out of it, but it was just a bunch of you know what, so don't be pushed around down there when they see tourists that could bring them money.
Freestyle Dining, pretty good. we ate at two of the specialty restaurants that they charge surcharges for. We ate at Ginza, the Japanese place and Le Bistro, the French restaurant. Both EXCELLENT, too bad the best food on the ship was the one you had pay extra for. But they were well worth the price. Don't expect great food from the buffets, it is buffet food so you already know what to expect. The main restaurants are very good with 4 course meals every night.
Overall, we had a great time, we gambled every night and laid out every day. We got sun, beach, drinks, swimming, and good deals on shopping. What else could we ask for! i guess i would recommend this ship to others. Service could have been a lot better--seems they have lost the phrase, "service with a smile", it was just very obvious that they did this every week, but we don't get to do every week! Hope you enjoy your travels and i hope this is helpful!!!!