This was our first cruise with Norwegian in many years. The price was right so we decided to give it a try. While we have many cruises under our belt, most are with RCL and Celebrity.
We drove to the ship from Texas. It was not fun as we were stuck in a 3 hour delay of traffic east of Baton Rogue. Finally got a way around it and took it. What a mess to close one lane of traffic and have a parade all on Spring Break week.
Stayed at the Hampton downtown hotel in New Orleans and left our car there. That was a great plan and a nice place to stay. We would do that again in a heartbeat.
Embarkation was pretty easy. The van from the hotel dropped us off and we gave our few bags to the Porters and move on. They handed out cards after going through security, but our number was called by the time we got everything all set. The line moved smoothly and off we went. It was a bit of a slow up (this will be a recurring grumble) as they trotted everyone through the photographers. You could pass through, but most did not. The ship is very nice. The look was better than the decor on Carnival, and as well done as both RCL and Celebrity. It did not take long to be able to get around. Our room was forward on the 11the floor and nicely placed for many things. The room itself is embarrassing small. I have NEVER been in a balcony room that small. Everything about it was small. We managed to live in the shoebox however for 7 days. If the bed in the couch was rolled out, you had to climb over it to get to the balcony. You had to about leave the bathroom to do anything. The toilet took forever to flush. Our joke was that the "ghost" flushed the toilet.
The main reason we took this cruise was the line up of ports. There was NOT a bad port to be had. First up was Coast Maya. It was our first time to return to that port after the disaster of a Cat 5 Hurricane. They doofus photographers blocked one of the exits, which made it hard to get off. The ride over to Mahahual was easy and quick. We used a new club on the beach, which was perfect. The food and drinks were great and we hated to leave. They have even paved the main walk area now and no more stores on the beach to block the view.
Next up was Santo Thomas. This was a brand new port for all of us. Once again we struggled to get past the photographers blocking the gangplank yet again. We got off the ship and got one of the boats at the dock that took you over to the River Dulce and Livingstone. Very nice trip, rough ride over, and good food in Livingstone. Our cost was $35, the ship for the same trip was $55. Shopped the little market and back on board.
Belize is a great place, but 3 ships at anchor. I had a tour and was off pretty quickly. I did the Altun Ha and Old River tour. Great tour guide and saw lots of birds and critters.
Final port was Cozumel. The ship docks downtown, which cuts out the need for a taxi. That was very nice. Once past the predators blocking the gangplank, we did some shopping there, ate a nice meal and back to the ship.
We did not take in any shows, or use the children area.
We ate at two of the specialty restaurants. The steak house was O.K. for $25 a person, but nothing special. The Asian Fusion was for $15 a real bargain. The food was awesome. The nice thing was the TV screens all over the ship that showed you how busy all the places to eat were. We found the main dining was just fine, the food good and service was O.K., but not what you see on more traditional ships. The buffet area was the biggest surprise. The food was good, plentiful and easy to access. Also, the daily "BBQ" on the pool deck was a nice touch.
Debarkation was pretty simple. If you figures out the system and lined up on the main deck you got off in a hurry. I wish some other lines would figure that little move out. Got picked up quickly by the van from the hotel and back home that evening.
Already booked for B to B next Christmas it was so much fun.