We wanted to visit the Canarys and Funchal without packing and unpacking several times. We are three in the cabin - parents and a college student. I could not be more disappointed. We thought being aboard ship for Christmas and New Years would be festive and fun and it was nothing like that. I understand you must appeal to the older folks who take this cruise but from food to music and port call timeframes, everything that could go wrong went wrong.
Port Calls: This captain wanted to save as much as possible when it comes to time in port - leaving us with little to none to really see the islands. We pulled in early enough - when nothing was open on the island, not even a coffee shop - and we'd leave often at 3:30 p.m.! With no shipboard entertainment to keep you busy, why would you want people on board? Just to buy expensive drinks I guess. All of the islands were nice enough - Maderia being teh best but Casablanca??? Don't even get off the ship. The ship is bad - Casablanca is worse!
Entertainment: The band "Souled Out" was not bad. Their chemistry though is not there. Seems the lead guy can't stand the lead gal from where we were sitting. They do one hour sets then leave for an hour. There is NOTHING going on for that hour. A DJ doesn't spin any music to dance. The staff don't come and do something fun. Nothing. So let's say you are enjoying the music - then there's a huge break with nothing to do!! I really was stunned by this. I've cruised before and a lot can be forgiven when you have entertainment you enjoy. This was the most board I've ever been on a ship. The music was appealing to ballroom dancers and they danced. Taking the entire dance floor so none of us non professionals could get a spot. Fun to watch but maybe at 10 p.m. you'd switch to something people under 80 would enjoy as well. PS the older folks enjoyed the popular tunes as much as the old stuff so why not appeal to everyone??
Entertainment 2: The teenagers (under 18) get the nice front of the ship spot for a disco but I think there were maybe 20 of them total on the ship. Prime real estate for kids with nothing for any of the paying passengers between 18 and 75 years old. There is a second "disco" but they let karaoke have that spot until 11 p.m. every night then spin dance tunes after that. You have to pass through the smoke gauntlet from hell to get to this disco (the casino) to get there. On New Years Eve this was the only place that had any entertainment after 12:30 p.m. YES, they closed the Galaxy that seats a few hundred at 12:30 p.m. on NEW YEARS EVE!!! It was unbelievable.
Entertainment 3: The shows were fine. The dance crew is great and the lead singers are very good. They had a British lady for a couple nights that was great as well. (Michele) The magician is awful and the music so loud during his performances that I'm sure the old folks just removed their hearing aids. They should let the singers and dancers own that place and get rid of all the rest of the glitz and glam. Everyone likes quality singing - show tunes etc.
Entertainment Staff: Jacky and Eliose were great and you can see they are working hard against all odds (and their apparent boss Dave the Cruise Director) to help build an environment where people can have some fun. But they must figure a way to bring the entertainment to the people. This group needs an overhaul. $50 to play Bingo is just not reasonable when you only win $150 and you're nickled and died on every thing else.
Ship Excursions: Don't do it!! Waste of money and they don't know what goes on on their own excursions. Whale watching we did with them and we asked if their was swimming off the boat (we'd read that in a review) but it's December so we asked. "NO, it's way too cold they won't do that." We sat for 45 minutes while everyone from the other cruise boats donned their suits and jumped into the waters of the Canary Islands. Not fun. Advice: get off the boat, walk a bit up the pier and get a cab driver who will take you all over the islands for about $100 and get you back on time. Totally worth it!!
Food: The sushi was great but you were paying for it. The buffet, yuck except for breakfast. Hard to ruin breakfast I guess. Too salty, too mushy, again, food for 80 years olds I guess.
Drinks: I get it, we need to pay for drinks and the inclusive plan was not worth it for us - we don't drink enough - so I pay $16.00 for a drink once you had the gratuity, ok, but at least learn how to make a drink!! Every bartender in that place needs retraining. The amount of sour mix used in every drink will give you indigestion. They can't even get a gin and tonic right. Awful.
Rooms: It's an old ship so I was not expecting anything grand, and it was fine. Beds are a bit hard but service staff were a bright light in a ship that seemed like no one else enjoyed their jobs. Our cabin girl, Nina, was so nice and polite. We loved her and appreciated how hard she worked. Leading up to the cabins though, it smells - and bad. Also deck 6 is below the casino where people apparently move furniture all night long. Sleep was impossible on many nights.
Smoking: This ship is in Europe where there are many smokers and this ship is all theirs. They own the outdoor areas beside the pools - seems like that would be ok but the glass windows keeps the smoke from dissipating and each day we much walk through the cloud of smoke from hell to get to dinner. The casino doors are left propped open so all the smoke from there pours into the hallways and the elevators where everyone must go to get to the bedroom floors is so smokey that people were fanning the smokey smell away. My allergies were going crazy and by the time we left the ship I swear I second hand smoked a pack a day. There needs to be a limit. They have every right to smoke, but the rest of us should have an area we can breathe fresh air and not on the top of the ship in 30 mile hour winds.
You can see from this that the ship totally lacks everything you'd expect from a cruise. It's a very sad situation and we spent $5,000 to have one of the worst vacations we've ever had. My advice - choose a different cruise line because Norwegian has gone down hill and fast.
It was fine and our service was great. Fitting 3 into a small cabin is not fun but we never anticipated spending much time there. Sadly, because of a lack of anything else to do we spent more time than we had wanted there. Beds are hard so be prepared.
We did Barcelona on our own for three days leading up to the cruise. Take a Sandemans free walking tour if you are in town. We did two of them and got a great feel for the city. Tapas and sangria - what's not to love!!
Another cool town but the ship pulled out so early that our day was cut short. The Spanish do a break mid day, around 2 p.m. so you really miss out if you can't jam an entire day into the docking time and that hour. Food was great we just needed more time in town. Not sure why the ship leaves so early from all of these ports. I was told they are trying to save taxes and money as they have to pay more the longer they stay. It's a shame because other ships were often in port before us and left hours after us. One P&O ship was in port when we arrived and there when we left and still beat us to the next stop the next day! Shame.
If you want to be harassed by taxi drivers then harassed again in the market then do this port. It's awful!! The mosque is worth a visit. My advice is to take a taxi to the mosque, take the tour and go back to the boat. The boat is terrible enough, this port is worse. I have no idea why they choose to port here. Not one person I spoke to enjoyed this port. I do have to say, one lady did say the cruises trip to Rabat was great- so if you are going to pay big bucks for one of the ships tours, this would be the place to do it.
Taxis waiting on the pier will take you all over the island for anywhere from $100-$200. We had a larger cab and did not negotiate so we overpaid but our "tour guide" was amazing and took us to little hole in the wall places that we never would have found on our own. When you consider that the ships tour would have cost us $600 (3 people) we paid $150 and had a wonderful day!
It was a bit cold and rainy so the beach was out on this day, we did walk along the beach but it's outdated and the town is just so so. Shopping is nice and the old town has some historical places. I think it would be better in better weather.
Very expensive - 90 Euros each for three of us - but we thought we'd enjoy this one. We asked if their was swimming off the boat (we'd read that on another review) and were assured "NO it's too cold" of course, there was swimming and all the folks from the other ships knew about it so they got to swim and we sat for 45 minutes and watched them. We did see a small pod of whales from a distance and we were lucky to hit a large group of dolphins playing and coming right up to the ship. That was very cool. When you get on the catamaran you see comfy seats but they charge 5 euro more per person to sit there so you have to sit on benches if you are not willing to pay the extra. It was fine but not worth the money we paid.View All 10 Whale Watching Reviews
Again we hired our own taxi to take us around and the lava fields was worth it totally! You go to the nature park and pay a small fee and they take you by bus around the park. Lots of great photo ops. You can't get out of the bus they are preserving this landscape from the humans. We left here and went to the beach La Playa del Carmen and enjoyed cheap drinks and half way decent food. Here you join the Brits who party here during their winters. It was fun and we met some fun folks along the beach and did a little shopping.
I enjoy Malaga - been twice now. Great food and an easy town to walk on your own. We spent a great deal of time in the cathedral and then walked about seeing the Roman amphitheater and fortress. Again the ship leaves port at 3:30 p.m. so we had to rush our visit and can't sit and enjoy the people of the town. With days cut as short as these were it's really a shame for the local towns because they lose the business and the tourists lose the opportunity to get to know a town.