Based on reading the message boards and previous reviews, I was expecting a pretty lousy-looking ship, but she was clean and well-maintained. The ship was smaller than others I have been on and did have the unusual layout since its stretching, but I found no problems in finding my way around. Deck space was an issue for the two days at sea, but they brought out extra chairs as needed. There were plenty of quiet and shaded areas on Decks 7 and 8 aft, and Decks 7-10 forward (no lounge chairs forward, but places to sit). I took advantage of both the fun deck area and the quiet areas.
This was the easiest embarkation I've ever had; NCL was great. They had plenty of people available to register and to help you along in the process. They even gave orange juice and water as you entered the area -- refreshing after the long flight. As for baggage . . . it was the earliest timing to the cabin that I've ever encountered. Most if not all the passengers had their luggage prior to dinner.
Great!! This was my first balcony room: a P1 suite. I'm glad we took the upgrade, although the size of the other rooms appeared adequate, also. I do understand that NCL cabin sizes are generally smaller than others, but we had more than enough room for storage and lounging. The balcony was great -- we kept the door open most of the time and enjoyed the breeze and the sounds while moving. We didn't get any towel animals, but others did. I really didn't mind, but I heard others complaining. If you base your cruise or any vacation experience on whether you had a towel animal on your bed or not . . . I think you've got your priorities mixed up and probably don't enjoy many things that aren't "perfect."
Outstanding. There were only a few minor service problems, not any more than you would get occasionally at a nice restaurant. We ate in small groups, large groups and by ourselves if we didn't want to spend a lot of time at dinner. The new Trattoria (Italian Restaurant) is wonderful. All the appetizers are to die for and food was spectacular. The cannolis were a bit soft, but still fabulous. The other two main dining rooms were just as nice and the meals were wonderful -- no complaints. The Mexican buffet on deck after leaving Cozumel was fun. I never stayed up late enough for the midnight buffet, but did set my alarm to sample the chocolate one -- WOW!
We enjoyed dining "freestyle" because of the flexibility. On our last night, we sat with a bunch of snobby blowhards –- if we had to be stuck with them for the whole trip like the "old" days of traditional dining, we would not have enjoyed the experience.
Belize City, Belize
Floating mats were provided and I enjoyed a few Pasión Islands and Coronas while floating in the water. Our guide, Roy, was a blast. He played volleyball with us and was very friendly and helpful. After volleyball, I enjoyed a short nap on the hammocks. The bathroom facilities are incredibly clean and they sweep up all the sand and re-clean every time they are vacant. I highly recommend this tour.
After the trip ended, there was still plenty of time (I think we were in port either 10-12 hours) to shop and sample more local drinks and guacamole. We started at Pancho's Backyard and worked our way back (alternating shopping and margaritas) to the ship. Pancho's definitely had the best guacamole and all the places we stopped had wonderful margaritas. I found Cozumel to be relatively clean and safe and we had a GREAT time.
Sad, as always, but the process ran smoothly. I WANT TO GO BACK!! Sitting in my office staring at the snow piles is not the same as sitting on my cabin's balcony and watching a school of dolphins.
The Qoc is a 35 year old female finance director of a small rural health system in northern Wisconsin. Her hobbies include volleyball, cribbage, gambling,
fishing, walking/hiking with/without her dog, She is an NFL football Green Bay Packer fan and has cruised on Dolphin, Carnival and now NCL.
The Qoc may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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