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NCL will never be a favorite but we had a good Western Caribbean cruise . Wonderful weather, great stops , fun people and getting away from the northern cold. What could be bad .We booked an all inclusive through Sunwing vacations which included flights , transfers and an unassigned balcony . The package did not include any of NCL's free offers .All went smoothly . We were thrilled to receive a great midship cabin location 11170 . Ship The ship is in good shape but very crowded . The passenger to space ratio was horrible and what space there is ,is often reserved for Haven, private beach or other revenue producing areas like the spa . It seems everything that doesn't produce revenue is cramped . Corridors , pools theaters etc are all small for a ship this size . It does have lots of fun activities like water slides, rock climbing and a rope course . Somewhat limited hours . Our favorite area on the Epic , Spice/H2O , was unusable due to the fact that more than half was a smoker's location . The giant screen there was very poor . Deck 8 was great with outdoor bars and seating for many of the upcharge restaurants . Food & Drink The food is a mixed bag . The buffet was good , not great . Well laid out with staff doing a good job of replenishing trays . Pizza and made to order crepes were highlights . Ice cream and soft-serve were always available . Desserts often looked better than they tasted . Mains were OK but the dishes served hot were often lukewarm . A tip , Margaritaville was a nice place for breakfast . Limited selection but a great location . The MDRs were well laid out and generally well run . We paid the corkage fee to bring on wine . They misplaced our half drunk bottle one night . After a lot of to and froing they properly offered us a free bottle . They had no problems speeding up our mealtimes at our request or doubling up appetizers or bringing multiple appetizers at the same time . Well done . Highlights were fish and steak . Very little that was adventurous or out of the ordinary . We didn't have the dining package so we didn't go to any of the premium restaurants . One issue was how salty everything was . Needlessly and consistently there was way too much salt in just about all dishes . We really enjoyed O'Sheehan's especially for a quiet breakfast . We enjoyed Shanghai Noodle Bar more on our Epic cruise . Too salty and too close to the smokey casino . Another issue was that reservations were always full for peak times but in truth, the place was often only partially full . The CD said 2800 people had the drink package . We loved the fact that no one is bothering you to buy a drink like on other cruiselines where few have drink packages . Bar staff were generally efficient and nice including the cafe bar . Premium coffee was excellent . Wine prices by the bottle are generally reasonable compared to the prices of other alcohol . Activities We enjoyed the theater shows , Million Dollar Quartet and Burn The Floor . Comedians were fine as were the Howl At The Moon performers . The three were very talented and very quick on their feet . They did shill constantly for bribes to play your requests . Poolside entertainment was silly and fun . We didn't watch the atrium game shows which were well attended . It was very crowded . The casino sprawls out . Unfortunately the smoke also sprawls out and that's a problem for nonsmokers . Cabin Well located, and Fulgencio (Paul) our steward was excellent . I made a short list of our requests and he filled them all flawlessly . I was happy to tip him extra . The cabin is NOT 185 square feet . It is smaller than this . It is well laid out for two but would be very cramped for more due to size and lack of storage . The balcony is the shallowest we have experienced but again fine for two . Good soaps and lotions . Small but well designed toilet . A/C worked well . TV selection was very limited except for news channels . The children's programs seemed to be very well run . Lots of happy children and their parents . Embarkation & Transportation Embarkation and debarkation were both flawless as was the safety drill . Transportation from the airport to the ship and back wasn't . The buses and drivers were good but NCL's organization was very weak . Lots of people not knowing what they were doing with serious delays . Although it was included, I'd be tempted to pay for a taxi next time . DO NOT purchase this service . Ports All ports stops went smoothly . Only a small delay leaving one due to a late passenger . NCL was kind enough to delay departure by a few minutes for him . Summary Another great cruise on another mega ship . There were tons of kids aboard almost all speaking French as it was spring break in Québec . The kids were great but they added to the total numbers . Also NCL Freestyle cruising is a crock . Reservations are very limited and fill up quick especially for prime dining times . For entertainment, you can usually get in by waiting in the standby line . NCL has a decent product but seems to be run by MBA's always looking to nickel and dime a few more bucks . The open smoke filled casino was also an issue . PORTS Roatan , Honduras We booked ROATAN WEST BAY BANANARAMA RESORT BEACH DAY excursion through ShoreExcursioneer . Perfect experience . We walked off the ship and out of the port as instructed and met our driver who had a sign waiting for us . It was only us two so we walked 3 blocks to a lot and got into his Corolla . We arrived at West Bay where we parked and he paid our entrance fee . He waited for us all day until we decided to go back . Deal includes a drink all for $30 each 5 stars . Bananarama itself is sort of rinky dink but we got a good lounge ,partially shaded . Food was much better then expected and the staff were nice . Try the fish . 4 stars Snorkeling was decent when you walked left facing the beach towards the rocks . West Bay beach is packed with wall to wall beach resorts, some higher end then our choice . Lots of vendors and bars .Beach was 4 stars Harvest Caye,Belize Shame on NCL . This is just a money grab. Believe it or not there are no free water fountains on this fake island . The beach sand is sharp seashells and the only live thing in the sea was seaweed which surrounded all swimmers . The washrooms and change rooms were clean and the bars were OK . NCL now runs the ferry off this island . Costa Maya, Mexico We bought an all inclusive pass for Jamie's at the Blue Reef which is just an eight dollar cab ride away . First the very good . For $50 you get unlimited food and drink both of which were excellent served by a caring attentive staff . Basic beach food done well plus excellent ceviche .. The less good was that we were expecting an all inclusive beach club . Mahahual is a crowded little strip filled with all you can stand vendors , beach massages and tacky bars . Jaime's is right in the middle of this . Their change rooms were the unkept washrooms . Finally their menu was limited . I had to push to get fresh fruit and no desserts were offered . How tough is it to have flan, ice cream or cookies ? Cozumel , Mexico We returned to the Money Bar Beach Club four years after first coming and it remains wonderful . There are no charges for any of the facilities including showers,change rooms, spectacular location and superb snorkeling. They only ask that you purchase their food and drink . What a pleasure as the food is fantastic and the drinks reasonable . We got a bucket of beer , and large orders of octopus salad, guacamole and chicken nachos for $80 total with tip . All 4 of us were stuffed .Snorkeling continues to be great . You swim out ,meanwhile boat after boat of snorkeling excursions anchor nearby . Ours is the better deal .A little hard getting into the water as the rocks are slick . Free wi-fi wasn't bad .Taxi's fares are 12-15 per car . We stopped at the Mega store on the way back which was right next to the De Cruceros port for our NCL ship . Great place to shop for booze and everything else .GREAT DAY !

Good Cruise On Not My Favorite Cruise Line

Norwegian Getaway Cruise Review by richstowe

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom
NCL will never be a favorite but we had a good Western Caribbean cruise . Wonderful weather, great stops , fun people and getting away from the northern cold. What could be bad .We booked an all inclusive through Sunwing vacations which included flights , transfers and an unassigned balcony . The package did not include any of NCL's free offers .All went smoothly . We were thrilled to receive a great midship cabin location 11170 .

Ship

The ship is in good shape but very crowded . The passenger to space ratio was horrible and what space there is ,is often reserved for Haven, private beach or other revenue producing areas like the spa . It seems everything that doesn't produce revenue is cramped . Corridors , pools theaters etc are all small for a ship this size . It does have lots of fun activities like water slides, rock climbing and a rope course . Somewhat limited hours . Our favorite area on the Epic , Spice/H2O , was unusable due to the fact that more than half was a smoker's location . The giant screen there was very poor . Deck 8 was great with outdoor bars and seating for many of the upcharge restaurants .

Food & Drink

The food is a mixed bag . The buffet was good , not great . Well laid out with staff doing a good job of replenishing trays . Pizza and made to order crepes were highlights . Ice cream and soft-serve were always available . Desserts often looked better than they tasted . Mains were OK but the dishes served hot were often lukewarm . A tip , Margaritaville was a nice place for breakfast . Limited selection but a great location .

The MDRs were well laid out and generally well run . We paid the corkage fee to bring on wine . They misplaced our half drunk bottle one night . After a lot of to and froing they properly offered us a free bottle . They had no problems speeding up our mealtimes at our request or doubling up appetizers or bringing multiple appetizers at the same time . Well done . Highlights were fish and steak . Very little that was adventurous or out of the ordinary . We didn't have the dining package so we didn't go to any of the premium restaurants . One issue was how salty everything was . Needlessly and consistently there was way too much salt in just about all dishes .

We really enjoyed O'Sheehan's especially for a quiet breakfast . We enjoyed Shanghai Noodle Bar more on our Epic cruise . Too salty and too close to the smokey casino . Another issue was that reservations were always full for peak times but in truth, the place was often only partially full .

The CD said 2800 people had the drink package . We loved the fact that no one is bothering you to buy a drink like on other cruiselines where few have drink packages . Bar staff were generally efficient and nice including the cafe bar . Premium coffee was excellent . Wine prices by the bottle are generally reasonable compared to the prices of other alcohol .

Activities

We enjoyed the theater shows , Million Dollar Quartet and Burn The Floor . Comedians were fine as were the Howl At The Moon performers . The three were very talented and very quick on their feet . They did shill constantly for bribes to play your requests . Poolside entertainment was silly and fun . We didn't watch the atrium game shows which were well attended . It was very crowded . The casino sprawls out . Unfortunately the smoke also sprawls out and that's a problem for nonsmokers .

Cabin

Well located, and Fulgencio (Paul) our steward was excellent . I made a short list of our requests and he filled them all flawlessly . I was happy to tip him extra . The cabin is NOT 185 square feet . It is smaller than this . It is well laid out for two but would be very cramped for more due to size and lack of storage . The balcony is the shallowest we have experienced but again fine for two . Good soaps and lotions . Small but well designed toilet . A/C worked well . TV selection was very limited except for news channels .

The children's programs seemed to be very well run . Lots of happy children and their parents .

Embarkation & Transportation

Embarkation and debarkation were both flawless as was the safety drill . Transportation from the airport to the ship and back wasn't . The buses and drivers were good but NCL's organization was very weak . Lots of people not knowing what they were doing with serious delays . Although it was included, I'd be tempted to pay for a taxi next time . DO NOT purchase this service .

Ports

All ports stops went smoothly . Only a small delay leaving one due to a late passenger . NCL was kind enough to delay departure by a few minutes for him .

Summary

Another great cruise on another mega ship . There were tons of kids aboard almost all speaking French as it was spring break in Québec . The kids were great but they added to the total numbers . Also NCL Freestyle cruising is a crock . Reservations are very limited and fill up quick especially for prime dining times . For entertainment, you can usually get in by waiting in the standby line . NCL has a decent product but seems to be run by MBA's always looking to nickel and dime a few more bucks . The open smoke filled casino was also an issue .

PORTS

Roatan , Honduras

We booked ROATAN WEST BAY BANANARAMA RESORT BEACH DAY excursion through ShoreExcursioneer . Perfect experience . We walked off the ship and out of the port as instructed and met our driver who had a sign waiting for us . It was only us two so we walked 3 blocks to a lot and got into his Corolla . We arrived at West Bay where we parked and he paid our entrance fee . He waited for us all day until we decided to go back . Deal includes a drink all for $30 each 5 stars .

Bananarama itself is sort of rinky dink but we got a good lounge ,partially shaded . Food was much better then expected and the staff were nice . Try the fish . 4 stars

Snorkeling was decent when you walked left facing the beach towards the rocks . West Bay beach is packed with wall to wall beach resorts, some higher end then our choice . Lots of vendors and bars .Beach was 4 stars

Harvest Caye,Belize

Shame on NCL . This is just a money grab. Believe it or not there are no free water fountains on this fake island . The beach sand is sharp seashells and the only live thing in the sea was seaweed which surrounded all swimmers .

The washrooms and change rooms were clean and the bars were OK . NCL now runs the ferry off this island .

Costa Maya, Mexico

We bought an all inclusive pass for Jamie's at the Blue Reef which is just an eight dollar cab ride away . First the very good . For $50 you get unlimited food and drink both of which were excellent served by a caring attentive staff . Basic beach food done well plus excellent ceviche ..

The less good was that we were expecting an all inclusive beach club . Mahahual is a crowded little strip filled with all you can stand vendors , beach massages and tacky bars . Jaime's is right in the middle of this . Their change rooms were the unkept washrooms . Finally their menu was limited . I had to push to get fresh fruit and no desserts were offered . How tough is it to have flan, ice cream or cookies ?

Cozumel , Mexico

We returned to the Money Bar Beach Club four years after first coming and it remains wonderful . There are no charges for any of the facilities including showers,change rooms, spectacular location and superb snorkeling. They only ask that you purchase their food and drink . What a pleasure as the food is fantastic and the drinks reasonable . We got a bucket of beer , and large orders of octopus salad, guacamole and chicken nachos for $80 total with tip . All 4 of us were stuffed .Snorkeling continues to be great . You swim out ,meanwhile boat after boat of snorkeling excursions anchor nearby . Ours is the better deal .A little hard getting into the water as the rocks are slick . Free wi-fi wasn't bad .Taxi's fares are 12-15 per car . We stopped at the Mega store on the way back which was right next to the De Cruceros port for our NCL ship . Great place to shop for booze and everything else .GREAT DAY !
richstowe’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony Stateroom
Cabin BA 11170
Well located, and Fulgencio (Paul) our steward was excellent . I made a short list of our requests and he filled them all flawlessly . I was happy to tip him extra . The cabin is NOT 185 square feet . It is smaller than this . It is well laid out for two but would be very cramped for more due to size and lack of storage . The balcony is the shallowest we have experienced but again fine for two . The balcony door was difficult to open. Good soaps and lotions . Small but well designed toilet . A/C worked well . TV selection was very limited except for news channels .
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    First the very good . For $50 you get unlimited food and drink both of which were excellent served by a caring attentive staff . Basic beach food done well plus excellent ceviche . It was a short taxi ride from the cruise port .
    The less good was that we were expecting an all inclusive beach club . Mahahual is a crowded little strip filled with all you can stand vendors , beach massages and tacky bars . Jaime's is right in the middle of this . Their change rooms were their dirty washrooms . Finally their menu was limited . I had to push to get fresh fruit and no desserts were offered . How tough is it to have , flan or ice cream or cookies ?
    View All 337 Beach Reviews
  • Harvest Caye
    Shame on NCL . This is just a money grab. Believe it or not there are no free water fountains on this fake island . The beach sand is sharp seashells and the only live thing in the sea was seaweed which surrounded all swimmers .
    The washrooms and change rooms were clean and the bars were OK . NCL now runs the ferry off this island .
    View All 1,140 Harvest Caye Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Harvest Caye Cruise Port Review
  • Beach
    We booked ROATAN WEST BAY BANANARAMA RESORT BEACH DAY excursion through ShoreExcursioneer . Perfect experience . We walked off the ship and out of the port as instructed and met our driver who had a sign waiting for us . It was only us two so we walked 3 blocks to a lot and got into his Corolla . We arrived at West Bay where we parked and he paid our entrance fee . He waited for us all day until we decided to go back . Deal includes a drink all for $30 each 5 stars .
    Bananarama itself is sort of rinky dink but we got a good lounge ,partially shaded . Food was much better then expected and the staff were nice . Try the fish . 4 stars
    Snorkeling was decent when you walked left facing the beach towards the rocks . West Bay beach is packed with wall to wall beach resorts, some higher end then our choice . Lots of vendors and bars .Beach was 4 stars
    View All 392 Beach Reviews