Wow. We had a wonderful cruise. I hadn't been on NCL for quite a few years. We had most recently cruised on HAL, Carnival and Celebrity. After sailing with Celebrity I thought I would have to lower my expectations. I did not have too. It was a great cruise, just as good as Celebrity. In fact the service on this ship was excellent. I was treated like a Celebrity on NCL!!!!
We arrived at the pier at around noon. Embarkation was a breeze. Since we had been on NCL before we were put in the latitudes line which was much shorter than the regular line. We only had to wait a few minutes before we were boarding the ship. We tried to get to our cabin but we were not allowed to our cabins so early so we went to have lunch in the buffet. It was inconvenient to drag our bags around everywhere. We explored the ship a bit and then sat down in two loungers at the front on the ship on Deck 12. Finally at 2:30pm they announced all our rooms were ready. We had a lovely balcony cabin on deck 10. It was very clean.
Our room steward was Winnie and she was so excellent. Friendly and she did her job so well. We enjoy just staying in our cabin on cruises during the day. We would just leave to have breakfast and lunch and then we were only gone for 15 minutes max. She must have been watching for us to leave as when we got back to the cabin it was made up and cleaned. We were so impressed with her.
We ate all our meals except one in the buffet. We get tired of the long, long meal times. We find it much easier to go to the buffet and eat in 15 minutes. The food was very good and we always found something to eat. My favorite was the soft serve ice cream. We did go to Cagney's once. The steak and food was very good but we did not feel it was worth the extra $50. I had heard so much about the Cagney fries so I ordered them. Goodness, what is all the hype about? The Grill fries were better than the Cagney fries. The Cheesecake for dessert was excellent here however.
The ports were excellent. We had been to all of them before but we didn't mind at all. At Costa Maya we shopped around the port and sat in some beach chairs and had a beer. Then we decided to walk into town. It was a long walk. 2 miles I would guess. We didn't mind the walk as we were eating and laying around so much we appreciated the exercise. The beach was pretty. There were endless shops and bars. Beers were only a dollar in town. We took a taxi back to the ship as it was only $2 per person.
In Belize we decided to leave late and let the tenders busy time pass. We watched a movie in our cabin and napped. By then it was afternoon. We decided to skip a 30 minute tender ride and stay on the ship. We went to the private hot tub on deck 12 at the front of the ship. We lazed in some loungers and ordered some drinks. We liked this part of the ship as it was uncrowded, however, it was the smoking section and we didn't care for that very much.
In Roatan we took a taxi to Tabyana beach. This is a public beach and anyone can go there. You can put your towel down anywhere on the beach and no one can tell you to leave. If you want a lounge chair though that is when you have to pay. We found a place at the end of the beach which included loungers, use of bathroom and showers for $10 each. The snorkeling here is excellent. It is getting busy with boats and kayaks. I got run over by a kayak while I was snorkeling.. They didn't see me and didn't even know they ran me over. Good thing I was not hurt. This is lovely place but it won't be for long. Too many people are ruining it. I am into saving the reef and people don't care when they walk all over it. People don't realize that when it is walked on it dies and takes ions to grow back. If people don't swim or snorkel well and get water in their snorkel they immediately stand right on the coral. If you can't swim well or snorkel well you have no business being out in the water killing the reef. I will now get down from my soap box. Please think about this next time you snorkel. The taxi fare here was $20 each way.
Our final stop was Cozumel. We had been here so many times before. We decided to go to the money bar to snorkel. We got there at 9:30am and were the first ones there. We usually rent a car here as it is so inexpensive and easy to drive here. However, we didn't want to mess with filling the car up with gas etc. We just took a taxi and were glad we did. It was only $10 each way. We loved it here. The snorkeling was excellent here. The beer was cheap and it was a gorgeous sunny day. We stayed in the shade however as we had gotten so much sun on the previous days. We got a taxi back in early afternoon and shopped around some. We went back to the ship and sat on our balcony and watched the pier runners. There was only one.
The moon was turning full on this cruise. We would love to sit on our balcony and watch the moon on the water. It was so beautiful. We would often use our balcony. We had wonderful balcony neighbors. They didn't smoke, talk loud or make much noise. We had a problem with our balcony chairs. One chair was a regular chair but the other was a child's chair I was sure. It had a very low back and it was very low to the ground. It was so low I had trouble getting out of it. At our cruise critic party I had met the housekeeping manager. I called him and asked the chair to be changed. He came personally and changed the chair for me. We were impressed that he came himself.
I attended the Cruise Critic party. I didn't know very many people, but I had fun chatting for a while. The Captain, the cruise director, the officers and the managers of all the departments were there. If you needed any thing they jumped. They really wanted us to enjoy our cruise and would do anything for us. This is why I got my chair on my balcony changed. I talked to all the officers and they gave me their card and told me to call them if I needed anything. And when I did need something they came and took care of my needs personally. Such excellent service. We were so impressed!
I love the shows and never missed one. The had the most wonderful Christmas show which included the dancers and the singers singing all the carols. They had a NCL choir in the daily program so I went. We just sang a little with the singers but it was fun. We stood in the aisle as we sang. After the show we even got our pictures taken with the whole cast. It was a great show. We also had a comedian and he was enjoyable. A magician and two gymnasts performed another night. Then there were the production shows. My personal favorite. They were excellent and the I don't know how the dancers did their leaps and turns on a moving ship. All the entertainment was excellent. I went to the Christmas Carol sing along in the Atrium and it was wonderful. They handed out glasses of hot wine with nuts in it but I didn't care for it at all. I also went to the Newlywed game, liar's club and the dancing with the stars. I loved the dancing with the stars as it was hilarious. The only complaint I have about the newly wed game is that it seems all the cruise ships ask the same exact questions.
One thing I loved about NCL was they are not cutting back on anything. They still have live music everywhere on the ship unlike some cruise lines now. Also they still have a party for repeat cruisers with wine, drinks and treats included. I loved going to the art auctions and getting free champagne. They had a special invitation only art action that somehow I got invited to. They had wine and cheeses, crackers and chocolates. It was so excellent.
The alcohol on this cruise was expensive I thought. We ordered two drinks of the day once and the bill was close to $20. The beers that you got for 1 or 2 dollars in port were over five dollars on the ship. What a markup. Of course like most other cruise lines they didn't let you bring alcohol onto the ship from the ports.
I usually get a massage on a cruise but didn't on this cruise. I just didn't want to get the hard sell again like on all cruises. I was surprised they are now doing botox and other cosmetic things on cruises now. Teeth whiting too. Sorry but I will never do these things on a ship. I will go to my local plastic surgeon whom I know won't be gone out to sea and unreachable if I have any problems after the procedure.
Oh, and the really nice thing is they had a Christmas eve and Christmas morning service. No cruise lines seem to offer that anymore. It was non denominational. They offered communion and the pastor encouraged the family's to pray together and it was so nice to see that many did. They would gather at the front of the theater and put their arms around each other in a circle and pray. Many people would just sit in their seats and pray. Many crew member attended as well.
We had the most excellent time on a most excellent ship with a most excellent crew.