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Here is my review of the Sea. I sailed April 3, 2004 with my Husband, Mom and Dad.
I am not one who likes to take chances with the airlines so we decided to fly out the day before the cruise. We stayed at the Holiday Inn near Hobby airport. Very nice hotel and wonderful staff. Holiday Inn has a shuttle service from the airport. The driver was waiting for us before we even got our bags. I have to add that the driver is a very nice man. My Parents were already at the Hotel, we shared a room so I canâ€™t comment on how check in was. We all had a couple of drinks then went to dinner. The shuttle van took us to a wonderful Mexican restaurant, I just wish I could remember the name of it.
We woke up early, had breakfast (which was not that great) then waited for the limousine service to take us to the pier. They arrived around 11:00 in a van. I was a little disappointed I thought we would actually be going in a limo. Nevertheless, it was quick and only cost 60.00 for four people. We arrived at the pier around 11:30-11:45 and there were people who just got off the ship standing out in the rain waiting to get a taxi.
Check in was quick and easy. There were no lines at all. We did have to wait about half hour before we were allowed to get on the ship. My advice is to wait until at least 12:00 before you check in. One thing I found a little humourous is I had a bottle of water and they made me take a drink of it before I was allowed on the ship.
My first impression of the ship was that it was â€śsmall.â€ť I read reviews about it being it having small rooms but the ship itself was small. I do have to admit that it was convenient and the layout of the public rooms was nice. Please note: if you get motion sickness DO NOT take this cruise I could feel the movement every day even when we had calm seas. Also if you are a smoker, this is not the ship for you. You can only smoke in the casino and on the pool deck.
We were on the main deck room 4115. The room indeed was small and the bathrooms even smaller. The rooms have tons of storage space. You will need to take hangers if you like to hang all your clothes.
I canâ€™t say if I like freestyle or not. It has its pros and cons. The food itself was wonderful. We ate in both the restaurants. The waiter in the Four Seasons was wonderful. Now the waiter at the Seven Seas, lets just say I have had better service at JBâ€™s. We also ate at the Buffet which was not that great but it was food. We ate at the Le Bistro on the last night. The food and service there was not like I remembered it when we were on the Norway.
I didnâ€™t make it to all the shows but the ones I did were great. Donâ€™t miss the comedian he was the best. The magician was also very good. The layout in the Cabaret lounge is very poor. If you donâ€™t get there early there is no point in going because you wonâ€™t be able to see anything. Karaoke was good there were a lot of talented people on board. The casino was not very generous to me.
I wish I could say that the staff was excellent. Our room steward rarely even said hi. They really like to push the alcohol. There were a couple of times when we were sleeping on the pool deck and the waiters woke us up to ask if we wanted drinks. The women at the reception desk are not polite especially on the first and last day.
Ports of Call:
Cozumel - We didnâ€™t take any excursions here instead we wanted to go shopping and to the beach. Thatâ€™s not what we did. We made it off the ship walked downtown, shopped for a couple of hours. Met my Parents at Carlos and Charlies. To make a long story short we never made it to the beach. If you plan on going shopping, to the beach and Carlos and Charlies make sure you do it all before going to C & C.
Roaton: We did the dolphin encounter and Tabyana beach excursion. The dolphins were the best. A bit of advice donâ€™t waste your money on doing the combined package. You only get to spend an hour at the beach before they make you go back to the ship. Before returning to the ship we went shopping. We had our own personal 11-year-old tour guide. Very polite boy who told us where to get the best deals at. On the way back to the ship we were surrounded with kids asking for a dollar.
Belize: My experience here was not a good one. We did the mangrove tunnels and city museum tour. They took us to a small museum for 1 Â˝ hours. You can walk through this museum, look and read everything in half hour. The people here do not like Americans and made that clear. After the museum they took you on a 20 minute ride to get on a boat. The people in Belize do not know how to drive. They seem to have a lot of road rage. Saw three accidents two of which were serious. Got to the boat and had to wait 20 minutes for everyone to go to the bathroom and get something to eat/drink at the gas station. Me and DH decided to go wait on the boat which didnâ€™t bother me because I wanted to sit at the front of the boat. After sitting there for 20 minutes the tour guide came down and told me to move because the couple with the 9-month-old baby needs to sit there. During this whole tour everyone had to accommodate this baby either by moving or waiting for her Parents to load the stroller, diaper â€śBAGSâ€ť listening to the baby scream. Okay enough of that topic. The mangrove tunnels were not that great. We didnâ€™t even see a bird on this tour. The tour was supposed to be 3 Â˝ hours and ended up being 5 Â˝ hours long. We went back to the shopping center or should I say a tourist trap? Everything was overpriced and people wouldnâ€™t bargain. We decided to walk into town. DONâ€™T do this. The vendors are more willing to negotiate but you have to deal with taxi drivers hounding you or people trying to sell you drugs. My advice is DONâ€™T GET OFF THE SHIP.
Cancun: What a beautiful place. We hired a taxi driver to take us sightseeing then drop us off at a flea market where locals shop. We found some really good deals down there. One thing to keep in mind is that they will not make change in US currency. After shopping we went to the beach. The sand is so white and the water was warm. Would love to go spend more time here.
I wish I could say this was as easy as check in was. We didnâ€™t get off the ship until 10:15 then had to wait in a long line in the hot sun while waiting to load the bus. The port authorities are rude or maybe it was because I was pampered all week. There was one woman who did nothing but yell at everyone who came into contact with her. After loading the bus we were at the airport around noon.
The biggest problem we had onboard was that I pre-ordered the anniversary package and birthday package for my Mother. When we arrived there was nothing in here room like promised. I went to the reception desk and was told they had to record of it. Luckily I printed my check and the e-mail from my travel agent who confirmed NCL received my request. Although it did little good. The office said they reimbursed me my 109.00 and that I had to pay for it onboard. My check was supposed to be mailed that Monday and here it is a week later and still no check.
Overall, we had a great cruise and enjoyed some of the ports.
Isn't it interesting how peoples' perceptions are different? We went on the same trip on January. We LOVED Belize, and wouldn't hesitate to go back again. We went on the NCL excursion to Altun Ha. Our tour guides were wonderful. I found the city to be much cleaner and the people much friendlier than either Cancun or Roatan. In addition, there wasn't the constant request for tipping.
We didn't like Cancun at all. The people in the flea market were extremely pushy, and we thought the merchandise was extremely poor quality. We had a group of six, and took a taxi ride through the city. It was nothing spectacular, and I thought the driving there was awful.
If we were to go to those same ports again, we would definitely go to Belize and stay on the ship in Cancun.
i wasn't on your ship, but i did sail the exotic western caribbean itinerary twice...both out of my own free will!
i can understand why you would be disappointed in both of yoru assessments in any of the ports.
i cannot comment on Cancun. but here are my ideas on the other islands.
Cozumel - probably the most diverse port because of its extensive shopping, adventure trips, and beach lover's haven. nothing at all wrong here. DEFINITELY do all your activities first and THEN go to CnC. it's a much shorter stumble back to the ship.
Belize - ok...so the first time i didn't get to see much of belize as my family opted for the very expensive trip to Tikal (we figured...what the hell...we're down here anyway). so on my 2nd visit to Belize, i did the cave tubing excursion...which i felt was pricey since i booked through the ship. (i just like the comfort of knowing that in case anything happens the ship knows you are still out there). anyway...belize city looks like a neat place to visit all it's own. crazy drivers? i thought the drivers were just fine in all the ports we went to...nothing compared to what i saw when i visited cairo in 1997. belize is an excellent port as well
Roatan - ahhhh...definitely a rising star. a poor island that has yet to unleash it's full potential as a port-of-call. it continues to develop...and that goes for tour guides as well as street peddlers. don't worry...they'll get the hang of it. i do know what you mean about people constantly asking for tips. but hey...if you lived on an island that suddenly was invaded by tourists dropping money like it was nothing (in their eyes anyway)...wouldn't you try to ask for a dollar? such a beautiful island roatan is. i would certainly agree that the combined tours are a waste of time. there isn't enough time at this port to really enjoy either portion of your combined tour. pick one and have a blast. although i will say...Canopy Tours (flying through the tropical forest canopy by harness and cables) is what i will go for the next time i am in Roatan.
incidentally, my first time at roatan i did the dolphin encounter (not combined)....and a couple weeks ago is when i sailed again...this time i opted to relax at tabyana beach...but it rained...oh well. the food and lemonade was great!
PJK, what was the name of the beach in Cancun? Was it free? Did you walk back to the ship? I saw a public beach on my taxi tour of the city, and thought that maybe on the next trip, I would head straight to there.
Yes please, I add the question to you along with my post mate Fighterone.
What time were you able to get off the "Sea" in Cozemel?
The NCL site and my cruise Docâ€™s say 11:00 AM
We are trying to make the 1 PM sailing of the Atlantis Sub without using the shipâ€™s excursion.
We really enjoyed the ruins at Altun Ha. We weren't going to do a shore excursion in Belize, but the weather in Roatan wasn't good enough to snorkel or do the glass bottom boat, so we decided to go to Altun Ha the next day.
We also went to Tulum as our shore excursion from Cozumel. The two ruins are very different. The ruins in Altun Ha are the more traditional pyramid type. There isn't a ball court excavated, at least not yet. You can climb to the top of one of the ruins, but you don't go up the front. There are stairs constructed around the side (very steep for someone like me with short legs). According to our tour guides, the current portion of Altun Ha was excavated several years ago, and then funding dried up. I think they indicated that more excavation will be starting, or had just barely started.
The ride from Belize City was about 1 hour. Our tour guides (there were 2) did a good job showing us at least part of the city, and pointed out several interesting buildings. We thought the tour guides were excellent.
The drive to Altun Ha was on good roads most of the way. The last 15 minutes or so was a little bit bumpy, but still on paved roads. We probably spent about 1 to 1 1/2 hours at the ruins and then boarded the bus back to Belize City. I think we slept most of the way back.
Let me know if there is any more specific information you are looking for.
It really depends on what your teens like. My 20 year old son loves history. We didn't take him on this cruise, but he was very interested in the photos and wished he had been there.
There is one ruin that they started to excavate, that started to collapse, and they have left it. You can see the steps underneath the grass. My best description of the area is that there are two main courtyards, each surrounded by ruins. Some have been excavated, some are partially restored, and others just look like green hills. Our tour guides took us around the different ruins, told us what the different ruins would have been used for, and also gave us some information on what the different trees and plants might have been used for. I felt that the amount of time was just about right for what there was to see.
I would probably rank this excursion as the most interesting part of our vacation, followed closely by Tulum. I haven't been to Chitzen Itza, and I understand it is smaller than that, and doesn't have the ball courts, but we found it very worthwhile. As a side note, we went with friends who had been to Chitzen Itza, and were hoping to be able to go there, but it isn't an available excursion.
There are some small shops set up outside the ruins that had some interesting wood crafts, as well as the usual tourist type stuff. We didn't buy anything, but did enjoy having time to look around.
The weather we had this day was probably the best of our cruise. It was hot and humid, but not unbearable. The tour did have bottled water available, and it was appreciated.
When is your cruise? I'm not sure how much temperature variation there is, but I wouldn't have wanted it much warmer.
By the way, this was our first cruise, so I don't have a lot to compare it to.
We were on the Sea in January. Our ship did get into Cozumel about 11:00 a.m. We went on an excursion to Tulum, so we ferried over to Playa del Carmen to go to our excursion. Due to our excursion, we didn't spend any time in Cozumel.
Our only problem came as we were trying to leave Cozumel. The wind prevented the ship from departing on time. We spent probably 2 extra hours, with everyone back on the ship, before the winds let up enough that we could leave. As a result, we were late getting into Roatan the next day.
Ute_fan & Zone, I wish I had as much fun as you did in Belize. I guess it all depends on what excurision you take.
Catherine, I dont know the name of the beach. You tender into Cancun and the beach is right there at the dock. You can rent chairs or buy drinks at Fat Tuesdays and the chairs are free. They have parasailing, wave runners, bungie jumping and shopping right there.
Sophie, I have no idea what they thought was in it.
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>My experience here was not a good one. We did the mangrove tunnels and city museum tour. They took us to a small museum for 1 Â˝ hours. You can walk through this museum, look and read everything in half hour. The people here do not like Americans and made that clear.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
that really sucks. i know anti-American sentiment is rampant in other countries...but why in Belize. hmmm...that's just so strange. were they really giving you the stink eye? burning effigies of GWB?
so sad to hear that. i guess i would have to "See it to Belize it". (sorry, our cave tubing tour guide came up with that one).
I checked the site cozumelinsider.com for that information. Odds are it will dock at Punta Langosta because 1) we saw the Sea there on February 2 and 2) it is docking there on April 5. Who knows for sure? Check out that site a week before you go.
Norwegian Sea May, 2004
Celebration January, 2004 Yankee Clipper Windjammer 1978
Proud charter member of the PPS-Passport Pusher Society