We were first time cruisers and we decided to choose NCL. We cruised to the Western Caribbean. Our ports were:
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Roatan, Honduras
- Costa Maya, Mexico
Embarkation was fairly easy although the wait time was over 30 minutes. Once on the ship, it was easy to navigate to our floor/cabin. Our room was an inside cabin and it was small but clean. We never had any issues with the cleaning crew. The bed was always made and the cabin was spotless.
The crew members were friendly and always smiling. We never encountered any issues when asking questions or needing guidance.
Our biggest 'Port' disappointment was Belize. We did not book an excursion. The port shopping area was small and the locals were not very friendly. We were eager to get back on the ship and forget the visit. Cozumel was very nice and we booked the Dolphin Excursion via NCL. It was a great experience and I would recommend it highly. We chose an excursion outside NCL for Roatan. We booked a 'resort for the day' and spent the day at Club Natale Bay. It was quiet and very relaxing. We had access to the beach and to the resort, itself. We did not book an excursion for Costa Maya, but the shopping area was nice and the locals were friendly.
The food was another issue. Tsar's Palace and Azura basically had the same menu. It varied slightly from night to night. Tsar's required that men wear pants whereas Azura had a more relaxed dress code.
The buffet had quite a few menu options but the food was not that tasty. We did pay to upgrade to Moderno Churrascaria (brazilian steakhouse) and we were disappointed. It seemed that once the waiters made their first round with the meat selections, they did not return again for some time. After waiting 10 minutes for a dessert menu, we decided to skip it and just pay for our bill. Perhaps, if we had chosen to upgrade all of our meals via their dinner package for $119, we would have had a better overall food experience.
Belize was a tender port. The locals were not friendly and there isn't much to do once you get there. We did not book a shore excursion, but probably should have. We spent only a few hours in the shopping area before heading back to the ship.
The port area had a nice shopping selection and there was also several pools and a beach area to use.
The locals were friendly and we did not encounter any issues.
Cozumel had a nice shopping area for the tourists. The locals were friendly. We booked a dolphin excursion and it was a wonderful experience.
The trainer was experienced and gave us a great deal of information about the dolphin. There were about 10 people in our group and we each had individual time to interact with them.
You will need to rent a locker for $4 once you arrive to store your valuables. No camera or jewelry are allowed. They will keep a form of ID until you return the locker key.
We booked an excursion outside of NCL. We chose 'resort for a day' where we spent the day at Club Natale Bay Villas. It was an all inclusive package and we had access to the resort and the beach. Transportation was provided from the port to the resort.
The beach area is rocky and will require water shoes. However, it was very clean and you have the option to snorkel or kayak.
The pool area was very nice and the staff were friendly. We were served lunch and had access to unlimited beverages including alcohol.
The only downfall was that a couple of us had asked for snacks. They brought us chips and salsa and then informed us after the fact that these came at the cost of $5. We figured that since this was an 'all inclusive' package that the additional food selections would be free. We were wrong.