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Old 12-22-2005, 08:01 PM
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We leave Tuesday for a two night pre-cruise stay in Houston. Our 10 day cruise starts on the 29th and we are ready. It is cruise number thirteen but the first one on NCI. We hope we like free style. We definitely like to cruise! Any pointers?
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Old 12-22-2005, 08:31 PM
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Hi Keith and Rita,

Your first NCL cruise? I am surprised! Actually, Vanessa and I have only done two cruises with NCL, and this was before the freestyle thing. However......I know many people who have cruised NCL recently, and actually one of my technicians at work just came back from an NCL cruise. She loved the freestyle concept and the latitude it gave her each night. She did tell me that if you wish to eat at a specific restaurant it was a good idea to reserve a table. But she also felt the food was perhaps better than that one gets on the usual cruise lines.

I look forward to your assessment.
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Old 12-22-2005, 09:09 PM
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I was on the Sun's last 7 day Western Caribbean cruise departing from Houston last week.

You're almost on an entirely different itinerary, visiting the same ports I saw plus a few others.

Don't take a tour at Cosumel. While recovering from recent hurricanes, it's still in bad shape.
Instead, spend some time shopping next to the piers and give the shop owners your money. They surely need some cash to help rebuild the shops and town. Besides, the shallow reefs still haven't recovered, and aren't that pretty to snorkle at yet.
Instead, plan your tours at Belize and Roatan and the other ports I didn't see.
I've heard the Dolphin encounter at Roatan is a great tour from fellow passengers. You actually spend some time with the dolphins, you're not rushed at all.
Either take the New River boat tour to Lamani or do some cave tubing in Belize. Both of these tours had great reviews from fellow passengers.
I wish I could give some pointers for your other ports of call, but sadly I didn't go to them.

Here are some links to the photos I took last week.
Sights Ashore
Aboard the Sun

Have a great cruise.
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Old 12-23-2005, 06:52 AM
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Dave,

The real reason we chose this cruise was because it was out of New Orleans, which is only a 10-11 hour drive. This time of the year is the only time we are able to take an extended cruise of 10 days or more. It will be our third New Years in a row to be on a cruise. We like the regional ports that we can drive to. We wrote an article for Sharon about flying verses driving that was to be in her anniversary issue of Sealetter, that never happened. Houston is a little over a 1,000 miles from the house so we added air to this cruise. Had we known we would end of flying we probably would have chose a cruise from Ft Lauderdale or Miami.

Ron,

Thanks for the photo link, they look great. Our itinerary is a little different as we will be in Great Stirrup Cay, Nassau, Montego Bay, Georgetown, & Cozumel.
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Fast dancing is the second best form of exercise,
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Old 12-23-2005, 08:41 AM
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Hi Keith and Rita! It's great to see you on cruise-chat.

As you know, I was quite surprised when I discovered that I didn't mind Freestyle Dining. In fact, I rather liked it. And this is coming from a traditionalist... We tended to dine early, and did not have to wait for a table prior to 6:00 in the small dining room and 6:30 in the larger one. One evening, we showed up at 7:30, and had only a 15-minute wait. And, this was on Norwegian Majesty, which was not designed with Freestyle Dining in mind.

The cruise wasn't as informal as I had been expecting, either. I'd say that, other than the formal nights, passengers were dressed similarly to those on Diamond Princess and Maasdam.

We've always found the NCL crew incredible. Many have been with the line for years. On our last cruise, one of the maitre d's had been our dining room waiter on another NCL cruise ten years prior. And -- he remembered us, and asked about my husband's parents, who had traveled with us in '95 but were not on this cruise.

If it's still offered, I highly recommend the Presidents Menu in the main dining room. We've had it three times on three different NCL cruises, and it was about the most enjoyable meal I've ever had aboard ship.
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Old 12-23-2005, 09:11 AM
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Hi Lisa,

We will give the Presidents Menu a try. We look forward to this cruise and go in with an open mind. We have yet to be on a cruise we didn't like.
We are taking our formal wear and intend to dress up for New Years.
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Fast dancing is the second best form of exercise,
slow dancing leads to the first!
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Old 12-23-2005, 09:18 AM
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I love the President's Menu dinner.

Sadly, it wasn't included on my last week's cruise on the Sun.

As with all shore based restaurants, menus change every now and then.
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Old 12-23-2005, 09:18 AM
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You guys will have a great time. My suggestion would be to try many of the alternative restaurants on the Norwegian Sun. They are great!

Have a wonderful cruise and a fabulous New Year!

Tom
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Old 12-23-2005, 09:26 AM
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Ron, thanks for the update. I find this upsetting, as I was also looking forward to it on an upcoming cruise. Fortunately, NCL offers many wonderful entrees from which to choose, and we have always been satisfied with the quality.
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Old 01-09-2006, 07:01 PM
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Just a preliminary view of free style. We tried it and it was okay, however, we missed traditional. If the cruise was at the right time and port we might cruise NCL again--if no other line was available. We dined in the Le Bistro and was not overly impressed. The service was lacking and the food was good, but not any better than the no charge dining rooms.
All and all it was a very good cruise only because there is no bad cruises. Shelly and Westley of 'Twice as Nice' made it a very good cruise as they are outstanding!
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Fast dancing is the second best form of exercise,
slow dancing leads to the first!
 
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