I can definitely tell you that this was a whole different experience. I usually cruise Carnival. But i wanted to try something different. My husband and I never had a honeymoon, now that our children are older, we decided that it was the perfect time to take one. On their website Norwegian really "seems" to give you a good value, free beverage package and freestyle dinning always sounds nice, also lower deposits.
here are some of the things we experienced that did not leave us with a good experience.
- we pre-planned and pre-paid for pretty much everything. we got on the ship and we were told that Norwegian puts a 300 dollar hold on your credit card, for fees that you might incur. If everything was pre-paid why was this an issue? We don't carry large amounts on our credit card when going out of town, especially overseas. we gave them a 50 dollar deposit, when all was said and done they owed us a credit of 108.00$ but even when i had a credit to my account, they would not let me spend MY money as I saw fit. They held onto it and told me I could use it for specialty dinning, or at their stores to buy something, but i was not allowed to use it as I please. Basically i needed their permission to use my own money. not to mention, this 300 dollar amount that they hold, is not communicated to you. had I known prior to cruising I would have made sure I had enough on my credit card. I pre-paid for everything! including my drinks! I had a package.
- Speaking of a drink package, The drinks were inconsistent from bar to bar or to restaurant. not to mention, even if you have a drink package, there is port fees that are not included.
- dining: because we are so used to Carnival, they usually assign you a dining room, and the waiters/waitresses know you, they sing and dance to entertain you. on this cruise, you do not get assigned a dining room. There were more "specialty" dining options then complimentary. even when you want to go to the complimentary dining rooms, you have to make a reservation. now, i understand that there are many people and a reservation system is a great way to control the crowds. however, due to the lack of complimentary dining rooms, they were always full. We would have to eat at 830 or 9pm if we wanted to eat something more then the buffet. The food at the buffet was average cafeteria food. nothing special and not very good. For example, the "fruit" was a frozen blend of fruits that i used when making fruit pies at home, it wasn't even thawed yet!
- We pre-paid for a dining experience at Teppenyaki, which is one of those restaurants that the chef prepares the meal right in front of you. this was a great experience, however, when i pre-paid a gratuity was already applied to the bill. When everyone else in our group was paying, they were not only charged a gratuity with the price of the meal, but were also asked for another gratuity! that was horrible! we also had a reservation for 7:30pm. We were not seated until 8:08, and they were just letting walk-ins in before us. i do have to give credit where credit is due. the food at Teppenyaki was delicious.
- on other cruises that i have been on. Room service is complementary, however there is a 7.95 service charge!
- we managed to get a reservation at shanghi noodle bar. It was a great experience. and the food was fantastic, the service was amazing and the staff made some great recommendations.
- as for the entertainment, there were 2 complimentary shows and one that was an additional fee. the shows were sold of for the remainder of the cruise, by day 2. I didn't even get to see them!
- This cruise has no place to sit and relax to watch the water. you were expected to be doing something or get out of the way. you could sit on a lounge chair on the deck, however the deck was on deck 15, no good views of the water at all and the sun goes down at 5 or 5:30. and every lounge chair was taken up by 9am!
- we had an inside cabin, and the room was clean, but the beds were not comfortable at all. and there was a sign at each door for you to tell the housekeepers if they could go in and clean or if you did not want to be disturbed, this is on the outside of the room and is easily changed by some drunk person on the cruise or a teen just trying to be funny.
- you were not able to see the menu for any restaurants on the tv in your stateroom,
- you couldn't make reservations from your stateroom
the cabin itself was well laid out and there was everything we needed. it was clean.