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Sandra Fann

Age: 53

Occupation:Retail Store Owner

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Wind

Sailing Date: April 1st, 2006

Itinerary: Hawaii

NCL - Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Wind Cruise Review
11 day Hawaiian Cruise

Sandra Fann

I recently returned from our 11 day Hawaiian Cruise. We arrived in Oahu 3 days before our cruise to enjoy the island. We had 3 days of rain. Turns out Hawaii had 6 weeks of rain! On Friday the sun peeked out for a few hours in the afternoon which was a delight. On Saturday we decided to do some of the things we had been unable to do the last few days. Wanted to go to Hanauma Bay but of course it was full and no one else was allowed in. You must get there in the morning. We had a pleasant lunch and then drove to the north shore. We returned the rental car to the airport and took a taxi ride to the port. With tip I believe it was right at $25.00. Since we got there so late in the day we were the only ones in the terminal. Gave our luggage to a porter and we were in our room within 15 minutes. Carried our 12 pack of diet Pepsi right on with no problems. Do not worry about bringing your own soda, tea or water on board with you.

Once in our room we checked everything out. There is a safe in the closet and we used it everyday. Kept my purse and hubby's wallet in there except when we went into port. You will only need your sign and sail card while you are on the ship. Cash not accepted anywhere on board except in the Casino. Since we were on a Hawaiian Cruise the casino was removed and used as an art gallery. FYI...casinos are not permitted to be open while in the Hawaiian Islands. I thought maybe it would be open once were at sea for 6 days but I was wrong. Heard a lot of complaints about no casino. Mostly from women like me who enjoy spending a few hrs in the evening in the casino. We retired earlier each night on this cruise than any other. I think this is why.

Back to the room....Though small we found it very accommodating. Plenty of storage space and your luggage will fit under the bed. Shower was the smallest I have seen. TV was the worse I have had on a cruise. CNN and ship info plus the same movies over and over. Think about picking up a $35.00 small VCR from Wal-Mart and bring your own movies especially for the kids. I have to say I do not recall seeing much on TV for children.

The bathroom is stocked with shampoo and body wash. It also includes a blow dryer but ladies I encourage you to bring your own. I found theirs took 2-3 times longer for me to dry my hair. Warm air at best on maybe medium speed. After a few days I pulled out mine. The first night the cabin steward will leave a note on your bed. You can have all the clothes you want pressed for half price on the second day. Since no irons are allowed this worked out greta for me since all our shirts were cotton and very wrinkled. 12 shirts cost about $5.00. Towards the end of the cruise they offered a laundry special. All the clothes you could fit in the bag for $25.00 You could have more bags. This is great if you do not like taking dirty laundry home. This ship does not have a laundromat.

Though the ship is much smaller than I am used to I found after a few days that it was just fine. As for Free style dining I Loved it! I enjoyed going to dinner where and when I wanted to. You could sit along or dine with others. My husband is very sociable and enjoys dining with others. Some days we had an early dinner and other days a later dinner. You must plan your dinner around the evening activities or you will miss them. The shows are at 7:15 and 9:15. Dinner will take aprox 2 hours. My favorite restaurant was the Four Seasons. I loved the views. La Trattoria is a beautiful tiered restaurant specializing in Italian Cuisine though one night it was Mexican. The biggest complaint I heard was the Lobster. Everyone agreed that it was over cooked and the size of shrimp. Do not look for steaks on this cruise. They are scarce. There will be a meat dish each night. It may be a flank steak or skirt steak or veal but that is about it. If you want a steak go to the La Bistro. They offer a rib eye. You must try this restaurant. There is a $10.00 cover charge per person but if you book for the first night it is only $5.00. The service is wonderful and so is the food. I got up to use the restroom during dinner. When I returned my dirty napkin had been replaced with a clean napkin folded in the shape of the bird of paradise flower. They make a big presentation with your dinner. For dessert I had the fresh fruit with chocolate fondue. I was so stuffed I could not enjoy it.

The breakfast was the worse I have ever had on a ship. If you like your eggs runny and your bacon raw you will like their 4 seasons buffet. If not, Eat in the Terraces where you can order off the menu and specify how it should be cooked. The sports bar and grill was my least favorite. Very basic. No table cloths, no frills but then it's a sports bar!

The lounges were nice. We spent most of our time in the Observatory Lounge on the 12th floor. From 6-8 pm they offer chips, salsa and guacamole. Went great with a margarita. For this reason we had dinner late on several evenings. In this lounge was an amazing couple. Patti and Jose. I loved listening to this talented husband and wife and listening to their life stories. Bought their CD and got on their mailing list so we will always know what ship they are on.
Unfortunately they were getting off this ship and will be on the NCL Spirit starting the middle of May.

I was planning on spending 6 wonderful days on the pool deck with a good book but that did not happen. At no fault of NCL we had very windy days. Some too cold to lay on deck but you had those die hards that braved it to get that Hawaiian tan before returning home. I did manage to get a sunburn 2 days before docking.

Thank goodness for the wonderful craft classes held on the ship. They filled my days completely. In fact I found myself having to choose which to do. Some over lapped. The Hawaiian Ambassador June was so delightful. What a sweet person she was. She explained the story of the Kakui nut. As she put it "what a wonderful nut!" She taught us to make orchid leis, kakui nut leis, paper flowers, some braided lei, bandana and of course how to hula. Drug hubby with me and he learned too (not the hula). Also the Polynesian group taught us to make things from palm frawn leaves. They also gave Moka tattoos which the women seemed to love.

Bingo was played on the sea days home and not while in the Hawaiian Islands. A bit expensive for what they pay. $29.00 for 4 games on paper or $39.00 for the electronic machine. One time it was $59.00. Games only paid about $250.00. Considering they only play 4 games that is $1,000 and they probably take in $10,000. Oh well, since there was no casino I did splurge a couple times but did not win.

Did not utilize the spa this time. Was not impressed and the prices are just ridiculous. Planned on using the gym but I was not impressed here either. No bigger than a cabin and really no views.

As for the ports we enjoyed them all. On Hilo we only went to Hilo Hattie's and Wal-Mart. On Maui met my sister there and spent time at her condo. What a lovely little island. In Kauai we met a man who gave us a wonderful tour of the island. I feel I know a lot about this beautiful island now.

For an overall review

Restaurants
Beautiful, something for everyone.

Food quality
Worse I have had on any cruise except for the La Bistro. Portions are very small but you can always ask for more. Desserts were uneventful. Mostly just basic. Ice cream, fruit maybe one fancy dessert like crème broulie'. Baked Alaska one night was just a little piece of cake with ice cream and a little meringue. On RCL they bring out a 6 ft baked Alaska and light it while the staff sing and dance.

Room service is very basic but we ordered it one night for a late dinner. We were told it would be about 30 minutes but it was delivered in 10. Best ham and cheese sandwich I have had in a long time. It was chilled so I think they have them pre made up. We ordered one Chefs dessert samplers thinking it would be a little variety and we would share it. Turned out to be one slice of Chocolate Mocha pie.

The only thing you can get to drink at in-between meals is water and instant tea (bad) that you do not pay for. Served in (I kid you not) 4 oz juice glasses. But a couple ice cubes in and add tea you will get two sips. I highly suggest you bring a nice 20 or 32 oz cup from home. We brought sports bottles and could not put ice in them. I packed our smoothie machine (bullett) and made smoothies in our room with the wonderful pineapple, oranges and bananas that were always available.

As for our cabin steward, we never saw him. I think it was a him! On other cruises they made it a point to introduce themselves the first day. Not this one. The room was cleaned but just the bare minimum. Our room had a glass coffee table that was not cleaned one the whole cruise. The fingerprints and spills that were there after the first day were there on day 11. If you are partial to towels animals as my husband is you will be disappointed. Only 3 on an 11 day cruise.

All other ship employees I found to be wonderful. Always had a smile and a warm hello.

Ship appearance....................7
Cabin accommodations..........7
Ship Staff............................10
Food....................................5
Entertainment.......................8
Activities..............................9
Value for money..................10
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Overall score........................8

Would I cruise the NCL Wind again? You betcha! I heard many complaints but then there were so many people that are not happy unless they are complaining. As my husband says time and time again....."as long as we're together!" You are on vacation...Have fun...let your hair down. So what if the food is not great, so what if the entertainment is not the best. Your vacation will only be as wonderful as you allow it to be.

The only damper on our cruise was that a young woman became seriously ill on the ship. They first dropped supplies for her but on the last day the Coast Guard airlifted her off the ship. It was interesting to watch the rescue. I sure hope she is doing well.

If you have any questions feel free to email me.
Aloha and Mahalo!

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