Part LAST of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Western Caribbean Review…

I thought I’d wrap up the review with a list of things I did and didn’t like about the cruise. It might be useful to some, although I’m sure ‘regular’ folk would have a different take on it than nerdy folks like us. [Well, *I’m* not nerdy. It’s just the rest of my family that is! ;-p ]

Things I liked about the cruise

The staff was very friendly. I only had a brief encounter with the reception desk, and they seemed a little less friendly, but that’s probably because they’re harassed all the time. The staff managing the excursion desk were enthusiastic, and tried to be as accommodating as possible. There’s almost a 3 to 1 staff to guest ratio, which is impressive.

The cabins were very comfortable. Even for a bigger guy like Reid, we only felt cramped when all four of us were hanging out in one cabin. The shower was small, but somehow, Reid found that comfortable, too. And the water pressure on the shower was strong, which was nice.

I had heard some bad reviews of the food, but we found it to be quite adequate. Because of my food restrictions, we spent a lot of time at the buffet, which did get a little boring by the end of the week. We were pretty happy with it. Our expectations weren’t too, too high. Reid, Michael and Ronnie had Teppanyaki one night, and they really liked it.

The singing/dancing troupe was fantastic. I hadn’t expected them to be all that good, so perhaps they simply exceeded my expectations. They put on shows every other night, and I didn’t miss a single one. I’m not sure Reid was as impressed, so there you go.

There was lots of entertainment planned… for the most part, it wasn’t the kind of entertainment for us, but they did try really hard by offering lots different things. (After all, there’s no pleasing most in my family unless they put on some ultra-techie entertainment, and where would we get that other than on geek-cruises?) Ronnie really enjoyed the show on hypnosis, and the sushi-making session. I enjoyed the game-shows, and evening shows by the dance troupe. None of us were into the sports stuff, self-improvement lectures, or wild parties (celebrations for St. Patrick’s day, and a ‘New Years Eve’ party). I missed a historical lecture on pirates, unfortunately.

Things I didn’t like about the cruise

I didn’t like the feeling of getting nickeled and dimed to death.

We had to pay for pop (~$2.00 USD per glass!! Isn’t that bar prices??) Only tea, iced tea, coffee and water were free. They claim you can’t bring your own food or drinks on board (I ignored that as far as food went. I never go without some food to such places due to my restrictive diet). They DO x-ray your luggage every time you come back on board at each port (for security reasons), so I’m not sure if you can sneak bottles of drinks back with you. We would have if Reid could find diet coke at the ports, but he could only find coke-light, which he claimed didn’t taste right.

The excursions were very expensive and added up incredibly for a family of four (For example, the cheapest was the 20 minute tender (boat ride) from the ship to/from the Belize island was $39 per person).

There were lots of restaurants on the ship, but many of them required you pay extra per person. For example, the Japanese and Steak restaurant were $20 extra per person. The Italian restaurant was less, $10 or $15 per person. We didn’t think much of it at first, but we did by end of week.

They really pushed buying Evian water on your way off the ship. I refused to pay for it, and tried to fill my own bottles of water, which didn’t fit in any of the water dispensers (sized for glasses). But Reid found a fountain on the jogging deck, so we managed.

There was far too much emphasis on buying jewelry, both on the ship and at the ports. Jeez. Lectures on jewelry, deals on jewelry, tables of jewelry at various locations on the ship, and so on. If I wanted to get deals on jewelry, a cruise would be the last place I would think of going.

A few final words
Whew! Can’t believe how long it took me to get this review together. How on earth do you bloggers out there do it?? I think I left out half of what I had wanted to remember about it. My hat’s off to writers out there. So glad I’m not one!!

4 thoughts on “Part LAST of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Western Caribbean Review…”

  1. The staff were great, and we met a lot of Canadians on staff too. Almost no Americans.

    I did like the cabins mostly. Wasn’t a big fan of how they pushed to twin beds together to make a double, making for a hard ridge down the centre of the bed.

    The showers were adequately high for me (I’m 6’2″), and the high hot water pressure was excellent.

    The Teppanyaki and sushi were good, and the buffet always had a “carving of the day” with something like roast beef or pork. Ronnie liked the all-you-can-eat ice cream cone bar! Michael was a fan of the chocolate milk, which was botteld, quite rich, and not always available.

    The entertainment was okay I guess. The shows weren’t heavy on narrative, which I would have preferred. They were more like spectacles and musicals. I was surprised there wasn’t a movie theatre aboard. That would have been a good idea.

    The video arcade plainly sucked. Old games. Nobody ever went in. Most people had more exciting games on their iPods.

    The “Tech room” was just an empty room with power and ethernet, presumably to hook up to the paid-for internet connection. Boats should really have two tiers of connectivity, and should offer both in cabins. Both a free shipboard-only connection and a paid-for optional full internet connection. Then guests could play games against each other. The ship could even have an shpboard website for hooking people up, and leaving notes, etc. There’s tons of free apps for doing this. Pick one.

    The casino took up too much space, and was smokey.

    All the ports we visited did not have Diet Coke. All they had was “Coke Light”, which tastes like Coke. The reason I drink Diet Coke is that it tastes like Pepsi. (And I hear that Diet Pepsi tastes like Coke, so we have symmetry).

  2. Great trip review! Surprising to hear about the jewellry emphasis. Was that because it was supposed to be much cheaper than normal at the places you went?

  3. There are different populations that take cruises (as far as the industry is concerned). Some of these are really into shopping and jewelry is high of their list. It also has the advantage of high yield to space. Usually, they are trying to convince you have gotten a bargin. I’ve never compared similar quality enough to really say, but I would tend to agree that the best value is available elsewhere.

    There is usually an option to buy a ‘soft drink’ card which can be a fixed cost (usually high) for all the pop you can drink. I just went with iced tea for the trip.

    Re: Diet Pepsi and Coke, I drink Coke by preference and have found I prefer Diet Pepsi to Diet Coke. Just another data point to support the hypothesis.

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