First off, thank you cruise critics, what a help these reviews were to my family! This is only our second cruise, first with my teenage sons and did we enjoy the Freestyle aspect of Norwegian! We flew into LAX the morning of the cruise, landed 10am, booked SUPERSHUTTLE, since there were 6 of us we were able to rent their whole van for $80 each way, NCL was going to charge $50. pp each way, already were saving money! Arrived at the Pier by 11:30, start getting ready to "TIP" cause the luggage guys are there and waiting, we were on board and eating at the buffet by 12:30, smooth as could be... Buffet food is right up my families alley, but I'm sure not what everyone expects on a cruise, but I had done my research and I knew this would make my gang happy! We were in our rooms by 2, cabins much larger then I expected and we loved having a balcony, we had adjoining cabins with our 2 sons, was great had a door they opened between the 2 rooms! Our boys just couldn't believe we were on a ship! Take off by 4pm into the pretty rough seas, there were strong winds that day and the swells were 7-12 feet, so for the first time it did seem like we were on a boat, but I prepared the family with Sea sick patches, worth the money for the Just in case. At sea for 2 days, but what FUN, the cruise director "RICKY MATTHEWS" I couldn't say enough about, he makes this ship, his NRG and motivation is OUTSTANDING along with his crew members, the games, the dancing poolside, the laughing, just sheer FUN!! My boys enjoyed the Basketball, ping pong, arcade is kinda small, but they liked it, the WII challenges and lets not forget "BINGO", thank god we won cause playing Bingo twice a day with 6 people can be a KILLER on the wallet! The last 2 days we won all our bingo money back, PLUS!! So your days at sea are VERY ENJOYABLE, but heres a TIP... If you want a lounge chair by poolside, get out there EARLY, cause even though theres a sign stating DO NOT RESERVE, everyone does and if you wait till late AM, you'll be somewhere else on the boat. Theres plenty of chairs, just not all around the pool deck.
First I'll do PORTS.... ACAPULCO - your first stop, get there mid-day and stay until midnight, we had no excursion planned here, there are plenty of CHEAP taxi's awaiting your arrival to take you anywhere. We took a cab into Old Town for a flea market, the driver conveniently takes you right to "HIS" store, very DIRTY and run down, skip the flea market and stay by the beaches theres plenty of shopping to do right there, be sure to bargain and be sure to see lots of children begging, very sad, but maybe a wake-up call for my boys! We were back on the ship by like 6pm and playing BINGO.
IXTAPA - My favorite, you need more time here, for sure. Unless you get off the boat by 7am, you don't get to much time here. No excursion here, you tender into port and its the cleanest little town probably in Mexico, no beggars, nice shops and nice eateries, worth getting up early for and walking around. OHH ANOTHER TIP.. try and learn some SPANISH, thank god we have 2 people that could talk a little bit, cause they're are not alot of English speaking people ANYWHERE, you'll get by, but it sure does help!
Next stop PUERTO VALLARTA -another tendered in port(?) we did the Pirate Adventure Boat, booked through NCL only because the time cuts really close to port time and we didn't want to chance missing boat, don't WASTE YOUR MONEY... Young kids might enjoy it, but it is described as a "short Pirate Ship Ride to a private beach for beach water sports and fun in the sun" - If you call 2 hours on a sail boat a short ride...I'm not kidding, 2 hours and depending on where you sit, you might not even get to see the show at all, you can hear it, but only limited people get to see it, so by the time you get to the beach, which is maybe not even the length of a football field, you have about an hour.. So you spend it IN LINE waiting to get a banana boat ride, some people didn't even have time to get a ride, then your tendered back to Pirate ship, oh forgot to tell you that, it takes about an hour to get everyone from the Pirate ship to shore on these little row boat type boats, Wish I would have known a little more about this excursion, cause from what we here we missed out on another really nice port. Live and learn, and there were younger children that really seemed to enjoy this excursion, they do pass out DRAMAMINE, cause this sail boat does rock!
Back just in time to board the STAR and off we go to CABO- My second favorite, maybe first, we booked excursion through CABO ADVENTURES, saved lots of money plus they offered more then NCL did, my husband and one son went DEEP SEA fishing, and the rest of us went on a CANOPY TOUR, this is the ZIP LINES over canyons, they also have this in PV, WAY TO COOL! If your a person that enjoys thrills, go ZIPPING, it was great. Cabo is a really fancy port, Yachts everywhere and plenty to do right in town, again you are tendered here, don't understand why NCL doesn't get to dock at many ports (?) a questions I should have asked. Our last day at sea was very cold and windy, you couldn't really hang outside, so what did we do BINGO, but thats when we won lots of $$!
Ok, some don't miss and some don't bothers, food, other then the buffet we ate at the Versailles (?) and The Italian place, all freebies, we were totally content with the buffet. Amazing how different people are cause you'll here alot about the food being like DENNY'S, NOT!! its a great buffet that pleases pretty much everyone, so I'm not gonna talk much about food. don't miss games like Friendly Family Feud, Not so newlyweds, Adult QWEST, Line Dancing with Ricky, Chinese Stars, Band On The Run, lots of fun. Peter Sasso, the comedian, ahhhhh if you've got nothing else to do, go! Be prepared for lots of selling, the one thing I didn't like, the crew is continuously trying to sell those PULL TABS and the spa tries to sell you all kinds of lotion and treatments when all we wanted was a massage at the tune of $300. and remember they add in an 18% tip already! Also remember there is a $10 a day per person TIP CHARGE, they'll refer to it as a service charge on your bill, its TIPS! Soda card, worth it for my gang, not myself, I just walked around with my sport water bottle and filled it at the buffet, another tip we learned from a fellow cruiser! We all just wished the last day at sea would have been nicer and maybe the crew could have had one last DECK PARTY for us, cause they all were really the BEST! We're home only a day and we all want to go back! I would definitely cruise FREESTYLE AGAIN, perfect for my gang! THANKS NCL and thats to the people who spent the time to write reviews to help others! HAPPY CRUSIN.........