What an amazing experience I encountered this past week on the Norwegian Sun. From the moment I stepped on the ship I was treated like royalty. The crew is so genuine, caring, generous, and helpful. The embarkation process was a breeze; we were met promptly at the airport with an NCL Staff waiting at the baggage claim and took a bus to the ship. While on the bus we were given a mini tour of all the sites we were passing. Once we arrived to the port the entire process took about 25 minutes! *The Restaurants: They were all spectacular. There are 4 special restraints that require a reservation and a cover charge of $12-20 per person, but it's worth every penny!!!! We weren't interested in spending that much so there is an early bird special, if you make reservations at either 5:30 or 6:00 then you receive 50% off the cover charge (this is a great deal). If you aren't interested in spending money the other restaurants, Seven Seas and 4 Seasons are way above satisfactory, (they both have the same menus). The Entertainment- Amazing, always something to do and never a dull moment. The shows made me feel like I was at a Broadway production in New York. The Dancer, Singers, and actors were all very talented!!! *The Rooms- Were huge for a cruise ship and very inviting. The room stewards were so kind and surprise you each night with a towel formed in to an animal and a piece of good chocolate. I'm the type that is NOT interested in shore excursions because, I don't enjoy being hauled in a bus with 100 other people, waiting in lines, and not much personal attention for the big bucks you pay. If you do like shore excursions do not book through the ship. It is overpriced!! I would book over the Internet before you leave through a private company OR when you arrive at each port; People are standing outside the gate with tons and tons of opportunities for a cheaper price (stay away form the shady people).
Costa Maya- the only thing to do here on your own is to go to a town about 5 minutes away ($3 taxi ride). There are $20 Massages on the beach for 40 minutes, which was amazing! If you are going shopping be sure to haggle the vendors, because their merchandise is 10X the actual value. I also found Cozumel better for shopping. If you want to swim on your own, this is the only port I found to do it. The water is gorgeous! Guatemala- we rented a taxi for a tour of the Island $80 for 2.5 hours. If you do this ask your driver to stop at a roadside stand to get some authentic Mexican food from the locals. We got lunch for 3 of us for $6!!! Belize- This was my favorite destination. We booked a private shore excursion on the Internet before leaving and it was great and is HIGHLY recommended. We did the Aerial Trek Cave Tubing and zipline with a sweet couple, Nacho and Cynthia. The zipline was exhilarating and the tubing was so incredible, then we had a delicious lunch following. This was so much better to do with a small group because we had 2 guides for 6 of us and most other people there (who booked through the ship) had one guide for every 50 people! They speak fluent English but are native of Belize so they know everything about the area. There e-mail is nacho_Cynthia@yahoo.com and website is www.ncqadventuretours.com . Cozumel- this is where I found the best deals for shopping, most everything is much cheaper! I didn't see much of the city because I was so tired, so I don't have any tips to offer for Cozumel. But get up early (by 8am) to get your tender ticket. NCL was great and I cant wait to book my next one!