Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About tarbashchaputi

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
  1. Chelsam - I wouldn't be concerned. Debarkation was easy. Just keep your luggage in your room and take it off yourself. I'm guessing, that if all goes as it should, you'll be off and running by around 830. What happened with our embarkation was apparently unique, and as I said, we've never experienced anything like this before.
  2. Thank you. I'd post this in the review section where it belongs, however I can't figure out how to do that. :o
  3. We arrived home last Sunday night from New Orleans, and I wanted to provide a review of the ship for your consideration. We are both in our late 30’s, and we traveled with our children, aged 6 and 3. This was our seventh cruise, and our third with NCL. Embarkation: This was the absolute WORST embarkation that we have ever experienced. I’m not certain that blame can be placed on NCL or not, as we understand that the debarkation process was hampered by US Customs only providing 3 officers instead of the usual 5 that NCL asks for in NOLA. We lined up with the rest of the Latitudes members, after arrival on the pier at 1315hrs. We did not board the ship until 1545 hours. We found that there were multiple people in the lines who did not bother filling out the pre-cruise paperwork, and I am quite certain that this had an impact on the boarding process as well. Ship: This is a beautiful ship, and it is very well maintained. Due to the fact that we were traveling with our 2 children, we opted for an inside cabin, and we were able to select cabin 9051, which was very spacious, and very well maintained. The room stewards were very efficient, and provided very good service. The public areas on the ship were equally well maintained, and the result of the recent dry docking is evident. We did have one issue with our cabin related to the toilet. In retrospect, we believe that our daughter somehow jammed the flush button on the toilet. This resulted in toilet water overflowing, and flooding out the bathroom. While I was frantically trying to prevent the flood from entering the cabin, my wife was calling the service desk. We went through every towel in the room, including the pool towels before I decided to start pressing the flush button repeatedly. This stopped the water flow, but not before reaching the carpeting in the main cabin. I am disappointed to say, that it took over an hour, and 4 phone calls for someone to attend our cabin. Luckily, we were all ready showered and ready for dinner when this occurred. When I spoke with the cabin steward later that evening, he told me that they did get equipment in to dry the carpet and a plumber did look into the toilet issue. My disappointment was in regard to the lack of response to what we felt was an emergent situation. I can only imagine if I was unable to stop the flow myself. Ship Activities, Entertainment, and the Children’s Club: There was a lot to do, if this is what you are into. There were plenty of sports related activities including but not limited to golf and basketball. There also always seemed to be a bingo activity of some sort taking place. The cruise director and staff (Soozy) were very visible. For the most part, we chose to lounge around the aft pool and keep to ourselves while our kids played in the pool during the two sea days. The production shows were, in my honest opinion, terrible. I did not think that the singers were particularly great, and the material presented was not my style. We did not go to the Second City productions, but I understand they were excellent. The Magician, Richard Burr was very entertaining, and our children really enjoyed his shows. Quite honestly, the best show was the staff talent show. There were a number of very entertaining acts, and as far as I am concerned, this should not be missed. I also enjoyed the zydeco musician who played on the first and last night of the cruise. Our children absolutely loved the Children’s Club, and we can not say enough positive things about it. We have cruised on Carnival, and found this club to exceed it. Our three year old, who is very shy, was asking to return constantly. They have a lot of planned activities in addition to free time which was fantastic for both kids. The hours were from 9am to 1030pm on sea days, and comparable on the port days, with a pay option ($5 for the first child, $3 for any additional) if you wanted to leave the kids on the ship. After 1030 at night, you also had the option of paying for services until 130am. We did not exercise this option, as our kids are young and were sleeping by this time each night. The Food and service: Most nights, the food was good – but not anything overwhelmingly great. I found the seafood dishes to be much better than the beef and poultry dishes. I think the portion sizes were reasonable, and the presentation of the food was very nice. The service in the main dining rooms was indifferent, but efficient. We opted to dine at Cagney’s once, and found the food to be outstanding. If you opt for this, make sure to allow for at least 2 hours. I personally think the buffet and options available on it were pretty good. Breakfast was the typical of any other cruise ship, and I thought the egg station was great. I love the option of being able to create what I want, and how I want it. The fruit selection was always great as well. Lunch was also typical of buffet fare, and I thought it was well presented and reasonably tasty. The Blue Lagoon restaurant featured chicken wings, which I thought were pretty good, and comparable to what we can get in bars around the area that we live. The Ports: Costa Maya – As you all know, this port was recently renovated after the devastation that Hurricane Dean caused. The cruise ship complex features a free form pool with swim up bars, restaurants, and of course shopping. The little town of Mayahaul was a short cab ride, and well worth the visit. We found the shop owners to be graceful and accommodating. The price of goods and liquor in town was better. As an example, a liter of beer at the complex was priced at $10, and in town, you could get the same beer for $3. Needless to say, I enjoyed a few more beers in Mayahaul. My only suggestion in this port, is that if you opt to go into town (and you should) walk entirely out of the complex area, past security to catch a cab. The ride should cost no more than $ 4 dollars, and about the same coming back for four people. Additionally, we had a mishap involving a stolen pair of glasses within the port complex – so as always, maintain awareness of your surroundings and belongings. It only takes a few seconds for something to go missing. L Santo de Thomas, Guatamala – This is a developing port, and there isn’t a whole lot to do or see in the immediate area. This is a port that you should take some sort of tour. There are a ton of options available here, and I heard a lot of good things about a tour operator named Gus. We opted to hire a taxi and take in the Mayan Ruins. It was approximately a 1.5 hour drive, and we enjoyed the day. As far as the ruins go – they are pretty basic, and if you really want to see good ones, hold off and go in either Belize or Mexico. This day cost us a total of $150 for a group of 6 adults and 5 children. Had we arranged this trip with the Shore Excursion desk on the ship, it would have cost us approximately $ 1000.00. Take this advice for what it is worth – I think it is perfectly safe and obviously more cost effective to arrange your own tours while in any of the ports. Additionally, you are in small groups, and don’t feel rushed from place to place – ever. As I indicated earlier, we have cruised extensively, and very rarely have we utilized the shore excursions offered by the ships. Belize City – Belize This is not a port that I particularly enjoy. I really do like Belikan beer though. My main problem with this port is that it is a tender port, and personally, I can’t stand having to tender. The aspect of lining up to get off the ship makes me crazy. I have the patience of a 3 year old. The town itself is quite crowded, and in my honest opinion dirty. We walked around town a bit on a quest to purchase a dozen Belikans to pass the day. We found a place who sold them to us for a dollar a piece, and we continued meandering the streets until they were finished. The port complex security would not allow us to bring them into the secured area, so keep this in mind. You can get them within the complex for $3 each. We have been to Belize previously, and at that time, we opted to do a shore excursion that involved a jungle boat cruise. We enjoyed it, and understand that the cave tubing option in this Country is amazing as well. Cozumel: There isn’t a whole lot to say about this port, as most people are quite familiar with it. We love it there! The ship docked in town, which was nice because we had easy access to Senior Frogs – where we had lunch and a few beers. We opted to take the kids to the Chankanaab National Park for a few hours. The taxi ride there cost us 11 dollars. It was quite windy and cool (mid 70s), so they were not able to swim, but still enjoyed watching the dolphins and playing in the sand. We were thinking about doing the dolphin experience, (offered directly in the park for $69 adults, and $59 kids – compared to some outrageous rate on the ship, I’m sure) however the water was very choppy and we did not feel secure in putting our six year old in the water. I heard reports from some people that the water was quite warm, but people were freezing when they had to get out – due to the winds. In summation, this was a very good week, and we all enjoyed ourselves. As I stated, the ship is in great shape, and the level of service was good. I would definitely recommend this ship and itinerary to anyone giving it consideration.
  4. I'm not sure where they moved the arcade. They were still working on the new cabin installation last week, and I didn't look for the arcade at all. I would't worry in the least about the age separation. The team on board the ship was very good, and our three year old, who is extremely shy, did very well. I did't notice overcrowding in the club area at all, however there were apparently only 80 children onboard the ship, and when our children were at the club (usually evenings between 730 - 10pm) there were probably 6 or 7 kids in the younger group, and around 10 - 12 in the older group. I do know that they combined the 5-9 and 10 - 12 age group because there were only about eight 10 - 12 year olds on the ship, and only a few of them attended the club - there may have been 2 or 3 of them in the room on the last evening when the club did the slide show presentation. This did not cause any problems for our 6 year olds. I found all the children on board to be very polite and well behaved. You barely noticed any children at all.
  5. Just off the Spirit with our 6 and 3 year old. The hours are very much expanded, and run pretty much the entire day. I don't recall exactly, but believe it opened at 9 am on sea days, and it was open during the port hours with the option to leave kids on board if this was your choosing. The program shut down each night at 1030, and you had the option to leave the children for a nominal fee until (I believe) 1:30 am. The free play time tended to be early am, and then in the early evening. We didn't hear of any issues with the mixing of the age groups. Most of the older kids had a tendancy toward the wii. They younger and middle aged kids gravitated toward the ball net maze thing they had. Both our children had a blast, and repeatedly asked to go. We had trouble pulling our 3 year away most nights. On two occasions, he played until he collapsed and we retrieved him sound asleep. The staff was outstanding, and the services are free of charge, however the youth staff is not compensated by your daily service fee. We opted to tip them for each child, as we felt the services and programs were outstanding.
  6. We were in the cruise ship compound, at the pool, near the little kiosk bar. I highly doubt that the culprit had any knowledge of what they were getting. Bottom line is that they are useless to who ever has them - that is what upsets me the most. If they were a pair of Oakley Sunglasses, I could at least rationalize it. The bottom line is, I let my guard down for half a minute. It is my fault. Luckily, this didn't destroy our vacation in the least. I just couldn't focus very well - it provided a stronger case for alcohol consumption. :D
  7. I hate posting anything of this sort, but feel compelled. We just came home from a cruise on the NCL Spirit on Sunday. Costa Maya was our first port of call, and we arrived there on the Tuesday of our cruise. While I thoroughly enjoyed the port of call, the town near it - my day was destroyed when someone decided to help themselves to my prescription glasses and sunglass clip. What angers me about this, is that I took them off for a period of 30 seconds, placed them in my son's stroller to dry off after a swim in the pool, only to notice them gone. In order to humor my wife, we, along with approximately 15 other individuals did an exhaustive search of the pool, to no avail. What really frustrates me, and upsets me, is not necessarily the theft of the glasses, but the simple fact that these glasses are absolutely USELESS to whom ever took them, as they are a strong prescription. I walked around the rest of the cruise half blind, because I was too stupid to bring a back up pair. An expensive lesson has been learned. One would think that my 37 years on this planet would have taught me this previously. :rolleyes: While I realize that this could be perceived by some as "my fault", I am telling my tale in order to warn others to be extra cautious in this port. A few seconds is all it takes. I have traveled extensively, and have never had a problem, any where. When I returned to the ship, and went to the reception desk to ask if any glasses had been turned in (again to humor my wife) I met up with another couple who had their digital camera (and memories) stolen, and a man who had his wallet stolen. All from the same general area. :(
  8. Nice review. We were on the ship with you, and our kids utilized the kids club a lot. I about spit my soda out at your comment about the "wii hog". My daughter complained about him as well. I agree that the embarkation was a nightmare. My understanding is that it was a customs related issue. Apparently customs sent only three officers to clear the ship on Sunday morning, and this resulted in a backlog all around. :(
  9. Something I noticed on the Dec 7/08 Spirit cruise was the almost "super" efficiency in the dining rooms. I don't think I ever recall being asked what I want for desert prior to eating my meal. I didn't think anything of it until now, but I'm guessing it was done for a more rapid eating experience. This past week, we had some great service, some indifferent service, and one night, poor service (I think the waiter was new LOL). Despite this, we really enjoyed ourselves, and have few complaints. Someone made the point regarding the cost of cruising today compared to 10 years ago, or even before that. I'll say this: our cruise last week cost less for four of us, than a cruise on the NCL Sky cost approximately 10 years ago. I hardly think that the service difference is as a result of this, however. I think what we are witnessing, is the phenomenon of doing more with less. It is a worldwide problem, and not just unique to cruising.
  10. We were on this cruise as well, and all in all, really enjoyed it. I'll say that I've been on better, but still it was good. We did have one issue with the cabin, in that the toilet button became jammed or something, with a resultant monsoon in the the bathroom with flooding onto the carpet. We went through every towel in the room, including the pool towels (4 of them) and still didn't have anyone up there to assist us. I finally started pressing the darn button again, and managed to stop the overflow, however not without getting the carpet saturated with water (luckily the contents made it down the pipe prior to the overflow). What really angered me about this situation wasn't the overflow, but the total lack of response by ANYONE on the ship. We made four phone calls to the desk, and had an officer show up approximately an hour later. He arranged for a clean up, and they managed to somehow get the carpet dried out. Anyhow, I don't want to hijack this thread. Like I said, all in all, it was a great trip. Sorry I didn't get a chance to meet any of you. I lurked on the forums, but didn't post at all prior to leaving.
  11. We just arrived back home from cruising on the Spirit last night. We enjoyed Windows more than the Garden simply from a space point of view. We found the Garden to be very crowded and loud. As for the surcharge dining, we only ate in Cagney's, and found that it was very much worth the $20 charge.
  12. you can carry the soda on no problem. What we did is bring an extra bag which amounts to a backpack (samsonite hummer bag). We stuffed it with as many clothes as possible in the hotel before embarking, then I put two cases of beer in the main luggage bag and they brought to my room, and I was drinking nice cold beer within an hour of boarding. The room steward even assisted me in emptying the fridge and bringing ice to make my beer cold!!!!! Another tip for you: we over pack EVERY time we go on vacation!!! We have decided to lay out everything we have, then cut it in half for next time. It happens without fail everytime I cruise!!!!! We end up taking clothes that are never used!!!!!!!! I find that two bathing suits, four t shirts are adequete for the day time, and a suit, two dress shirts, 2 pairs of dockers and some button down polo shirts are more than adequete. Just a thought for you to consider. If you subscribe to this theory, it means you can bring more booze on board!!!!:)
  • Create New...