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Just returned from a wonderful week on the Norwegian Sea. After reading lots of mediocre/bad reviews of this ship, I must say that we were VERY pleasantly surprised by everything about the ship/service/food etc. I think probably the most important comment is to say that when cruising on the Sea, you didn't pay for a Ritz Carlton experience and shouldn't expect it. That said, we experienced GREAT food, excellent service and a wonderful ship.
The overall condition of the ship is VERY well maintained. She is not a new ship, so that shouldn't be expected. The common areas are lovely and the restaurants/bars etc are quite nice. The pools were great and we had a nice time sunning ourselves on deck.
We were in room 8010, a category CC room. We had Carlos Zarate as our Concierge and I can't say enough about Carlos. We LOVED him! I think that for us, it made all the difference in the world in our trip. We never waited for dinner (even in the main dining room), always had priority tender tickets/priority disembarkation etc. He took care of everything for us. Yes, the bedspread/colors of the room are a bit dated, but everything in our room was clean and in working order. We had a full bathtub and NCL shampoo, showergel, soap, lotion, showercap etc. We did not have dispensers in the shower like some do. We also had NCL robes in the closet for our use. Our room had a queen bed and another twin if we'd had a third person. There was plenty of room to walk around and good storage. Also, we had an inroom safe which I had read they did not have on the Sea. That was a nice surprise to me. Our room steward Virgilio was also fantastic we had towel 'animals' 4 of the 7 nights. The stewards were always there when you needed them to be but were unobtrusive.
We had cocktails every evening in Gatsby's on deck 10 and it was a fantastic way to end the day. Monica was our server and couldn't have been more helpful or friendly.
3 of the 7 nights our party dined in Le Bistro. The food in the main dining rooms was good, but we decided that we liked the quieter atmosphere and ambience of Le Bistro. We ate the surf and turf each night and it just got better and better! We also ate at the Pasta Cafe one evening and it was very tasty. I had veal parmigana that was delicious.
For breakfast we always ate by the pool/at the Big Apple Cafe. I had heard TERRIBLE things about the food in the Big Apple and found them to be VERY far from the truth. There was an omlete station, a waffle station, a fried egg station, toast station etc. You could get hot, made to order breakfast there if you wanted it. If people choose to eat premade scrambled eggs from a buffet and then complain about it, that is there problem. They also had 15 kinds of cereal, lox/cream cheese, tons of fruit, bacon/sausage/ham etc. It made a fine breakfast.
Will post more about ports/remainder of cruise this afternoon!
Thanks so much for reporting on your experience on the Sea!! I've been hoping someone from your cruise would share some reviews. We're sailing on the 11/27 cruise, so I really appreciate the info. Can't wait to hear on port/shore excursions, etc!
Hi ArkansasFish!!! Yes, we did see you and actually, my husband and one of our friends played at the craps table with Heather for the better part of three days I think!!!! Small world!
Most of our lunches were by the pool and the bbq's were great. There were hot dogs/hamburgers/bbq chicken/ribs etc in addition to everything that was on the buffet. Yes, it is mass produced food but I really felt like they did a good job. We ate in the main dining room for lunch twice, but really liked being casual by the pool better.
Tuesday night (I think?) in the main dining room was lobster night. Our whole table ate the entree Beef Wellington as our appetizer and lobster for our entree. Almost every night we ordered more than one dessert
I didn't stay up for the chocolate buffet, but my sweet husband brought me wonderful chocolate cake back from the casino (apparently they have a mini version in the casino). He said it was the best dessert he ate all week, and we tried LOTS.
We had ice cream several afternoons from Lickety Splits and they had a good variety of flavors and the ice cream wasn't too soft, so it didn't melt to fast.
Everywhere you go on the ship there is a bar and someone waiting to get a drink for you. We bought the soda cards and felt like it was a good value for us. Just a tip, toward the end of the week we were sick of drinking fountain cokes, but they set up a kind of minibar to the side of the pool during the day that has all canned cokes. If you go over there and use your soda card, they'll give you canned coke over ice rather than fountain. They will NOT give you the whole can.
Ports of Call:
Cozumel-We got off the boat, headed to Los Cinco Soles and had a wonderful lunch and margaritas. The best guacamole I've had in my life! We did some shopping, bought souvenirs, stopped at Senor Frogs and headed back to the boat. We've been here several times, so we knew we just wanted to do a bit of shopping. It was really interesting to go up on the top deck to watch the captain dock the ship in the port. We did have cellular phone service in Cozumel and received several calls-we have Cingular.
Roatan,Honduras-BEAUTIFUL island. Hilly, green and lush. Gorgeous water. We chose not to do an excursion here and that was a BIG mistake. If you are not going to go on an excursion, I would not suggest leaving the gated port area. We did, and once you are outside the gates (which I commonly heard refered to as the gates of he--) people constantly hound you and won't leave you alone. We decided we would walk into town, but couldn't really tell when we got there. There isn't really anything to see and there really aren't even any shops, so my suggestion is to go on an excursion. We will next time. No cellular service, but there is a hut right by the dock that offers internet phone calls for $2 a minute, and they have internet service.
Belize-We wanted to stay on the ship and lay by the pool most of the day, so we just tendered into the port area (very fast) and did some shopping. We did go out of the gates and walk around the city for a while, but not for too long. You can do any shopping that you need while in the 'protected' port area. There is an internet cafe in the port area that offers internet service for $3 for 15 minutes and very reasonable phone calls. Also no cellular service here. One member of our party dove in Belize and was somewhat disappointed. He heard that the dive in Honduras was much better, but I guess it just depends on the day.
Cancun-We started into some windy seas Wednesday evening and I suspected that we would not make it into Cancun. So, I was not surprised when the captain announced that we would miss the port. The seas were choppy and there was a bit of wind, but still sunny. They quickly revised the daily program and it was fine. They gave away free rum punch from 4-5pm and that seemed to make people happier. They did credit around $12 in port charges back to our accounts. I heard lots of people griping that we had missed Cancun, but I knew that was a possibility and have been there before, so I was not disappointed. We did end up having rain on Friday all day while we were at sea on the way home and I didn't get to tan the last day as I had planned, but we had a fun day anyway!
Casino/Bingo/Art Auction/Shows etc.
My husband and one of the other people we were traveling with spent most of their time in the casino each evening. They primarily play craps and blackjack. They were mildly successful. In another post, someone asked about Texas Hold'em and yes, they do have a table going most of the time. My husband did end up winning the slot tournament at the end of the week, so that was nice to come home with $500. We also played bingo and had a good time, but didn't win anything. The payouts were quite good though. We attended a couple of the art auctions and the prices were reasonable. They had lots of Thomas Kincade stuff, which I personally am not a fan of, but they sold a lot of it.
The shows were also very good. The first night, the show was FANTASTIC. They did a great job. The second night, the singer sounded as if he was off key, but the show was still enjoyable. The comedy/magic was funny and enjoyable. The lounge is a nice size, so that even in the back the view was good.
I think that is about it. I'm happy to answer any questions that I can. Would we cruise on the Sea again? Absolutely. Had a great trip.
We did not budget for the gambling. I took 10.00 to the casino and played dollar machines, on my second pull I won 1,000.00. We gave back around 250.00 of it and used the rest for our ship bill and expences. I had a problem with my on-board account as I used a debit card. My debit card has an 800.00 limit per day. NCL did not understand this, so I out up cash.
I was wanting them to go ahead and charge the debit card the 800.00 , then start over again, but they didn't. Using my debit card did not lock up my account. I was able to use it for purchases elsewhere as long as I did not go over 800 per day.
Did you get a massage? I got my first one on this cruise, never could afford it before. It was nice but I won't be doing it again.
kchartsf Thanks so much for this lovely review. We are sailing on the January 15th sailing of the Sea and I was getting a little concerned reading all the negative reviews. It is nice to hear that the ship was enjoyable for you.
I will agree with the positive review above to some extent. We were not in the lush rooms. Our room was 3155 which was an inside stateroom. We had made 4 complaints about the care of our room and never met our "housekeeper." This upset my husband and I because of the automatic gratuity. I will say that the staff on this boat were absolutely remarkable. I have been on RCL and felt much more at ease with this staff. I was actually disappointed that they couldn't hang out with us b/c we truly made some good friends with the attendants in the Starlight Lounge. When you go, look for Belinda. She is extremely attentive and sweet. I did have a problem with the cruise director's staff being a slight bit too flirtatious with my husband but it didn't seem to bother him (go figure).
Enjoy your cruise but don't spent a lot of money in The Bistro. The food is good throughout the ship and you already paid for it.
One of the people in our party had a massage and really enjoyed it. She was so relaxed afterwards that she had to go take a nap!
As for the fitness facility I did go up there one day to weigh myself and see how much damage I had already done and it was quite busy. They had a nice assortment of machines/treadmills and free weights. There were quite a few people using the facility and there were also lots of people walking/running on the promenade deck. In addition, there were LOTS of fitness activities every day for those that wanted them.
We did enjoy Le Bistro on the Spirit so will probably try it at least one night. We actually ate at every restaurant on the Spirit that cost additional which did add up very quickly given that there were four of us. Although most nights they did not charge for our 5 year old because he only wanted chicken fingers which came from the galley.
It sounds like the gym will work for me. I don't need anything fancy just something to get my workout in each day.