This was our first time on NCL and we were really disappointed.
There were twelve restaurants listed. Two main dining rooms, two poolside grills and eight that were "pay additional charges". It seemed like everyone had their hand out wanting more money. They were also really pushing their bar drinks. If you are not a big drinker you will be ignored or pressured into becoming a big drinker. With your meal your choices of drinks are water, tea or an $8.00 mixed drink. Fruit punch or lemon aid that are normally available have been eliminated to force you into visiting the bar.
One of the things that we enjoy most about cruising is meeting new people. We enjoy structure. We enjoy assigned tables and getting to know you waiter. We enjoy dressing for dinner. Freestyle has taken these things away. For seven days we sat across the table from the same faces that we have for the past thirty years. You can still dress for dinner but the people at the More
next table are in swim suits, sandals and t-shirts. Takes some of the romance away.
The food was basic. It tasted fine but a very limited selection. The desert bar was the same for seven straight days. No variety anywhere. Less
Cabin was clean but very small. The bathroom about the size of a port-a-potty. The only thing smaller than the bathroom was the TV. The TV was about the size of an cell phone. If you are over 50 and have 50 year old vision, you will need to set on the end of the bed to watch TV.
Costa Maya was a pleasant surprise. We did not have an excursion planned so we just walked off the ship and took our chances. At the pier we found a tour bus that took us to a local beach for $3.00 each. (yes $3.00) The beach was great. They provided beach chairs and umbrellas at no charge. They told us that all the beaches were public. A small restaurant was right on the beach. I ordered a bucket of beer and thought I had misheard the waiter. Six Miller Lights for $10.00!!! They tasted the same as the six I had paid $33.00 for poolside the previous day. Costa Maya is rebuilding. Everything is new or under construction. The hurricane hit them hard.
The South Beach Experience was very relaxing. The weather was perfect, the water was clear and the food was exceptional. Our favorite part however was the bus ride to the beach. We had a life long resident of the area as our guide that gave us a look at what life in the area was really like. She was not a polished tour guide. She was just a lady that had lived on the island her entire life and shared some colorful experiences with us. She did a great job.