Sailing Date: September 27, 2008
We arrived at the port of Los Angeles about 12:00PM as indicated on the cruise ticket. Please note that I booked this cruise 3 weeks prior to sailing so everything was done via e-docs
Long lines for Baggage Tags as you cannot wheel on your baggage even if you wish to have it go through the X-Ray machine.
Therefore, you have to check you luggage with the Porter and even though he is a UNION WORKER, and tipping is not require; be advised that are looking for a minium of $2.00 per bag or you never know where your bags will end up.
Embarkation: Extremely disorganized, very long lines, and took us over 1.5 hours of standing in line to get to the agent who took our pictures and took our credit card for on board spending.
Upon embarking on the ship they do greet you with champagne (glass) as a welcome aboard treat.
Like other ships I've sailed on, there is no one to take you to your cabin so you must become familiar with the ship's deck plan before boarding or it will take you awhile to find.
Cabin is nicely decorated, but for a new ship (built in 2001) you would have thought that the company would have had flat screen T.V.'s vs. the very small ones that you purchase over at COSTCO.
The overall ambiance of the ship is beautiful and spacious. The "Free Syle" cruise experience really needs to be reviewed.
It's nice that you don't need to sit with people you choose not you, however this is where the nickel and diming takes it's course.
The speciality restruants are very expensive and not worth the extra money you would expect to pay for. The food is pretty much the same in the dining room, without the extra cost. The presentation of the food is on the same format as a "Sizzler" or Outback where there is very little in the way service or ambiance that you would expect from a nice Restruant.
The other thing you want to watch out for is the "UNLIMITED COKE" which will cost you $52.00 per person for the 7 day cruise. Please keep in mind that the staff watchs out for people who share. So for a couple sailing you're looking at over $104.00 just for the coke. You can buy an aweful lot of 2 litre bottles for that money so my suggestion is bring your coke and carry it on with your carry on luggage. If you put it in your checked luggage the crew will conficated it and return it to you at the end of the cruise.
Drinks average $9.75 for mix drinks or $11.00 for their drink of the day, however you do get to keep the glass!!!
Shore Excursions are very expensive and would suggest hiring a cab as fares are fixed by the govt. and you can still negotiate with the driver if you wish to.
Entertainment Staff: The Cruise Director and his staff leave alot to be desired. Didn't get the ship involved with activities other than BINGO, no pool entertainment or games to bring the guest to know one another.
Ship Photos: The most expensive I've ever seen aboard a cruise ship. For example if you want to purchase you "Welcome Aboard" pictures, you MUST purchase the entire package which includes a picture of the ship and 2 other pictures that are taken at embarkation. If you want only 1 picture it will still cost you $19.95. My suggestion is take your camera and take your own pictures, they'll proably be much more clearer and you don't have to pay for it.
Ports of Call: All of the ports are nice and worth the trip. 3 beautiful ports of call. Cabo, Puerto Vallara, Mazalan.
Overrall Cruise Experience: If I was to rate this cruise on a scale of 1-10 over others I've cruised on: Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean & Holland America, this would be about a 4+. The ship is beautiful as is all of the public areas, however based upon NCL offering low ball fares to get you on, you need to do your homework and decide if spending and additional $300-$500 for liquor, coke, and on speciality resturants I would really decide if spending that extra money would be to your advantage on going on another line that doesn't charge you to eat. Remember the old saying " You Get What You Pay For" !!!!!