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Linda Leeson

Age: 45


Number of Cruises: First Cruise

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Wind

Sailing Date: May 8th, 2004

Itinerary: Vancouver to Hawaii

I have never had a holiday of this calibre, nor every taken a cruise. My husband had died a year and a half ago, a month after we were married. I decided to take a honeymoon (with him instow via picture) accompanied by my 17 year old daughter Chellan and her best friend Tegan. To put it simply, we all had a blast. We left Vancouver May 8th, from Canada Place (my travel agent had sent me to the wrong pier, Ballentyne Pier - that could have been a disastor).The excitement started once we had our pictures taken on the psuedo deck with NCL background. Then, reality hit.

Our room was 9101 - easily accomodated three persons. The beds were so comfortable, I had great sleeps. The girls slept in the bunk beds that could be up against the wall during the day, but we left them down. Errol our room steward was such a sweetheat. He seemed to sense when we were out of our room to tidy (no easy task with three women). He even gave me a lesson on how to make the towel animals, an elephant, the dog, and the bunny. Of course mine were'nt as professional as his. He was very genuine in asking how we were doing, what we did that day, very attentive. I wish I had got his last name, I know he was from St. Vincent in the Carribean. I wanted it for the commendation report requested at the end of the cruise. The room stewards work long hours, and are always pleasant. I think they have about 30 rooms to maintain. Anyway were felt like we were lifestyles of the rich and famous, of which we are neither. But, it was nice that they made you feel that way. I miss being called Madame. Good evening madame, how are you madame sigh......In fact they so cater to you unless you are used to it, it almost makes you feel uncomfortable.I made a big effort to be just as courteous back to them. I know how hard it must be to try to please so many people. The elevators were a little slow, so we took the stairs most of the time.

It was a little odd crossing through the four seasons restaurant enroute to our room, but that is how it is laid out. The food was very gourmet. After, the girls ate mostly at the sport bar and grill, as they liked more simpler fare. I ate alone a few times, and had a great breakfast, right by the window in the four seasons, watching the water go by wtih the sun sparkling on the crests of waves. Was a beautiful peaceful breakfast. I must say, previous commentary has been made about their scrambled eggs. They reminded me of BC ferry scrambled eggs, which isn't to me unpleasant, but may be to others. The food was very well presented, lots to pick from a la carte. I have never cruised before, so have nothing to compare to the freestyle dining. I did hear some people complain, those seasoned cruisers, that they like the assigned seating better with set dinner times. I would find that too structured, plus would not like to sit with the same people all the time.

I met some great people in the hot tub - everyone wants to know where you're from, and what do you do. They thought that I was too tanned to be from canada, as isn't there snow there all the time. Great opportunity for a geography lesson. The hot tub temp did seem to fluctuate a bit, I like mine a bit on the warm side, and found theirs wasn't quite as hot as I'd like. Every morning the captain would give a report on the pool temp, and hot tub temp, as well as the weather conditions. There was a big push for attendance in the casinos, as well as bingo, which I do neither. So beautiful to jog outside on deck seven, with the wind blowing, and sun shining, and sound of water hitting the hull, who wants to be inside.(I know of course this is a big source of revenue for them, as well as the alcoholic beverages, and pop). In regards to the jogging track - I wish it was laid out so the walkers would remain inside, and the joggers on the outside. I don't know how many times I called out a warning I was behind, and people would stop dead in their tracks and look around. I was constantly dodging and avoiding. It has a great jogging surface, and considering the movement of the ship, it wasn't slippery at all.It almost turns out to be core stability training on windy days. Going in May, there weren't many teenagers to meet, but my girls did meet up with a real sweet fellow from Victoria, and they made great friends and exchanged emails.

The internet was unaffordable for us. Everything is in US dollars of course, and when you multiply by 60% for canadian currency exchange, things really add up. For instance a beer was $3.64 plus a dollar for tip included automatically X 60% and now it's $7.42 canadian. That applied to the excursions as well. An excursion for 3 horseback riding for 41/2 hours was$569 canadian. We really had to pick our excursions carefully. We did the volcano 4 mile hike on the big island. (Hilo wasn't a very nice looking town, but the rest of the island was very diversified in terrain and vegatation.) We hiked right up to where the molten lava was visible. Couldn't believe other visitors were wearing sandals or thongs when runners or hiking shoes were the call. We had great guides and a great day. The nexzt island the girls did some snorkeling and paid just at the beach at an independant business. Cost only about 4 dollars US for a great experience. Was nearly 200$ US if booked through the ships excursion desk.( another source of revenue obviously). I do not want to go to a Hilo Hatties again, way too commercialized for my liking. As touristy as it gets. Of course when you don't know how to get anywhere, the site of free shuttle tends to make decisions a lot easier. I must admit the complimentary small shell necklace was nice, and I did get a few little things, but still felt it was a tourist trap.

Lahaina was nice - the girls had a surfing day there. The business took pictures an put them on a cd ($25 US) so that turned out well. Girls really had fun. I enjoyed just reading and watching them. It was my day to rest, and pretend I lived there. The native hawaiians are very tolerant of tourists, especially due to the fact we provide 85% of their income. My girls were quite excited to eat at macdonalds and a burger king, ( see previous mention of their dislike for gourmet food) I wonder why cruise ships don't consider serving turkey dinners with all the fixins now and then. That would be a popular one I bet. Returning the the ship by tender was not too bad - some people complained. Why they did so I can't say - if the shore is inaccesible to the ship then what alternative is there. The boats came and went continually so it was convenient. We would return, and hot tub, or pool, or just relax on the deck, and then have a nice dinner.

Though the drinking water from the tap was deemed safe, (the ship has it's own water supply by boiling the salt water and saving the steamed water etc. All USDA approved) I found it didn't taste very well, and shuddered at the 3$ a bottle evian, so would take my own bottle that I was re-using and fill up at the water machines.(I think the had the same supply but it was colder and more clear. The two formal nights were fun. I had my pic with the captain, and loved it. (There is a big push on for purchasing these pics - another source of ship revenue of course) The second formal night served the most delicious lobster dinner. The dining room attendant would come and remove the tails from their shells for you. The dessert was baked alaskan. Wonderful evening.

I was very sad when the cruise ended. I and the girls had such a great holiday. We didn't know what to expect, and came back quite pleased with everything. It was only three days ago I was kayaking up a river for 2 miles, and trekking through a jungle like hike, and here I am now going through cruise withdrawal. No one to turn my bed down and say "good night madame" Sigh....I am definitely going to save up for another cruise, and would surely pick Norwegian Wind. Thanks to all the crew who made our vacation so memorable.

Linda Leeson

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