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  #1  
Old April 25th, 2004, 07:16 PM
J&B in GA's Avatar
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Default NCL Dream over Christmas ?

We have only sailed on NCL once before, a short 3 day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas ten tears ago. Please let us know what to expect cruising the Western Caribbean on the NCL Dream out of New Orleans this Christmas ? We are travelling with 20+ members of our family, and all have recently cruised with Princess. We love Princess, and would like to know all about the differences. Please let us know about NCL's "Free Style" vs. Princess' "Personal Choice" dinning. How's the food quality ? Any formal nights on a 7 day cruise ? Are there alternative restaurants from the main dining room(s) ? Any extra charges ? Also, how are the cabins, shows, pools, jacuzzis etc ? Salt or Fresh water ? Pools or Jacuzzis open late ?

Any comments from CC members who have recently cruised on both lines would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all !

Until we're cruising again,
J&B

</BR>
11/03 Island Princess - Panama Canal
12/02 Sun Princess - Mexican Riviera
05/94 NCL - Bahamas
04/87 Carnival - Mexican Riviera
12/80 Am-Hawaii - Hawaiian Islands
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  #2  
Old April 26th, 2004, 10:49 AM
sportsterjohn sportsterjohn is offline
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I was on the Dream out of New Orleans about 6 weeks ago. I put a pretty extensive review on the cruise reviews board.

NCL Sea 3/03
RCCL Sovereign 10/03
NCL Dream 3/7/2004
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  #3  
Old April 29th, 2004, 05:08 PM
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sportsterjohn,
I see we're neighbors here in Georgia.
Thanks for the response. I read your review and appreciate your comments. It was very complete. I understand my expectations should be somewhat less then my recent experiences on Princess, correct ? A smaller ship does appeal to me however and I hope we enjoy NCL's "free style" dining, as we've always used traditional in the past.

Anyone else with recent NCL experience have some opinions to share on any of my other questions ? Thanks !

Until we're cruising again,
J&B

</BR>
11/03 Island Princess - Panama Canal
12/02 Sun Princess - Mexican Riviera
05/94 NCL - Bahamas
04/87 Carnival - Mexican Riviera
12/80 Am-Hawaii - Hawaiian Islands
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  #4  
Old April 29th, 2004, 05:28 PM
shoreguy shoreguy is offline
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I hope I don't get flamed. I cruised the Dream over Xmas prior to Freestyle and it was a challenge. Most of the members know I am a NCL fan but I am not sure The Dream would be the best choice.

Freestyle is pressed to its limits on the newer ships over the holidays. As much as I like the ship expect to have a few bumps in the road when she is booked to capacity. If you are flexible you will enjoy the cruise but will be back here posting a few things that just did not work.

Seaward 1/89,Southward II 1/91,Windward 10/93,
Norway 3/94,4/96
Dreamward 4/97
Dream 12/99
QE2 4/02
Carnival Spirit 7/02
NCL Sun 10/03
NCL Dawn 2/03,7/03,2/04

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  #5  
Old April 30th, 2004, 10:13 AM
granto granto is offline
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We went on the Dream Xmas cruise this year. LOTS of large families, which seemed to tax the restaurants (every large group wanted to eat at the same time). So they set up a reservations desk. Some people still complained. My advice is to be flexible and you will stay happier.

As far as freestyle, it works well for us and have enjoyed it better than the old way. The Dream has a main dining room, Terraces which is more intimate but offers the same menu as the main room. Above the Terrraces is an Italian restaurant (they took over nearby conference rooms to allow more large parties to dine here). Then there is a buffet in the sports bar. I know this won't work for you, but they had lots of BBQs on deck (lunch and dinner). I think we only ate twice in a dining room! (love that BBQ). There is also a charge ($10/pp) restaurant Le bistro that is common on all ships.

Food is all personal. We think it is fine, but I have seen everything from terrible to great on the boards.

Cabins - again depends on the person/cabin. We have always gotten the balcony (BA) or owner's suite(AA). Bathrooms in all but OS are small but functional. I would though, struggle to put more than 2 in a BA or below room. Some rooms can be connected.

Pools: 2 mid ship - always packed with kids. Rear - ususally quieter (except for Xmas cruise where half the ship is kids). Both Salt. 2 Spas pool deck. Pools are weather related (we hit one night of rough seas and they were drained). Pools usually close if there is something on decks. For this cruise they shut the spas down around 11pm because teenagers kept getting too rowdy. Did I say lots of kids on this cruise?

We like the Dream and her sister Wind. They are mid-sized ships and are easy to navigate and walk around the ship from outside (which is important to us).

Hope that helps!
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  #6  
Old May 5th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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Thank you Shoreguy and Granto. We appreciate everyone's responses. Looking forward to this Xmas cruise with our family.

Anymore comments ? ALL are welcome and appreciated.

Until we're cruising again,
J&B

</BR>
11/03 Island Princess - Panama Canal
12/02 Sun Princess - Mexican Riviera
05/94 NCL - Bahamas
04/87 Carnival - Mexican Riviera
12/80 Am-Hawaii - Hawaiian Islands
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  #7  
Old May 5th, 2004, 04:10 PM
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I'm not sure if the Dream not being designed for freestyle originally is a problem or just the holidays. We have thought about a Christmas cruise this year, but I know the holiday cruises don't always have the best service. Large families can be a challenge period. I would think is some ways freestyle would be a bit easier. I don't know, just seems that was to me. NMNita

Commodore 1984, Costa 1985, RCL 1987, Chandris 1989, NCL 1989, Commodore, 1991, NCL 1997, Carnival 1997, Carnival 1998,NCL 1998, NCL 1999, RCL 2000, RCL 2000, NCL 2002,NCL 2003, Celebrity 2003, NCL 2004
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  #8  
Old May 5th, 2004, 04:20 PM
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Thank you NMNita,
Would someone please educate me on NCL's Free Style concept. Does this mean there is no traditional early/late seating option ? On Princess, they give you a Personal Choice, traditional early/late seating or anytime dining. Very flexible for ALL their passengers. If there is no traditional option on NCL, what should a family of 20+ members do to arrange to eat dinner together ? I would assume we would contact reservations the first day to make a standing reservation for dinner each evening, maybe at a different restaurant on occassion ? Is this even possible ?

Please enlighten me on ALL the NCL vs. Princess differences.

Thank you !

Until we're cruising again,
J&B

</BR>
11/03 Island Princess - Panama Canal
12/02 Sun Princess - Mexican Riviera
05/94 NCL - Bahamas
04/87 Carnival - Mexican Riviera
12/80 Am-Hawaii - Hawaiian Islands
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  #9  
Old May 5th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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J&B, I would contact the restaurant manager even before cruising. If you are using a tA ask her/him to help. Then contact again on the first day of the cruise. Yes, freestyle is a bit different from Princess. There is absolutely no set dining. You can eat as early as 5:30 I believe or as late as about 10pm. If you want to dine in one of the specialty restaurants I would also reserve that far in advance or as far as possible. We love freestyle; I can see how it may work for such a large group as often the traditional dining can't seem to handle that many, but it could work against you. Let's forget I just said that and pray for the very best. You will have a wonderful Christmas. One good thing is, on the occassions you do not all want to eat together and this could happen you are free to do what you want. happy cruisin NMNita

Commodore 1984, Costa 1985, RCL 1987, Chandris 1989, NCL 1989, Commodore, 1991, NCL 1997, Carnival 1997, Carnival 1998,NCL 1998, NCL 1999, RCL 2000, RCL 2000, NCL 2002,NCL 2003, Celebrity 2003, NCL 2004
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  #10  
Old May 5th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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I think eating all at the same time probably wouldn't be as much of a problem as gettingtables in the same vicinity would be. Obviously there are no tables for 20, so the first 8 might end up on one side of the dining room, and 4 more on the opposite side, and 6 more at the far end, etc.

RCI Majesty of the Seas 06/05/2000
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 12/09/2001
Carnival Conquest 12/01/2002
Norwegian Dawn 11/30/2003
Norwegian Star to Alaska 6/26/05

Life is too short to be unhappy!



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  #11  
Old May 5th, 2004, 10:22 PM
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Thanks everyone.
On Princess we have had three large tables of 8 in the same area, served by the same wait staff, each evening. Is this possible with NCL free style dining ? We ALL want to be seated near each other to catch up on the days activities over dinner. Thanks for all the advice.

Until we're cruising again,
J&B

</BR>
11/03 Island Princess - Panama Canal
12/02 Sun Princess - Mexican Riviera
05/94 NCL - Bahamas
04/87 Carnival - Mexican Riviera
12/80 Am-Hawaii - Hawaiian Islands
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  #12  
Old May 13th, 2004, 09:10 PM
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