Please keep in mind this review is rather dated and some events, destinations etc. may no longer be offered. We decided to take this cruise because a couple close to us was going so we thought it would be fun to join them.
We flew in the day before and had made reservations to stay at the Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel, a hotel we have stayed at previously. However, shortly before our departure, we were notified by the hotel that our room was being repaired due to hurricane damage that had happened in the not too distant past. As a result, the hotel made arrangements to move us to the Hilton Miami Downtown, which was more expensive but the Marriott made up the difference. The hotel was acceptable but the couple we were traveling with was staying at the Marriott and they were not moved. However, we certainly understood their reasoning and didn’t complain about it. We did overhear members of a large wedding party upset because half of their group had been moved to the same hotel we had been moved to, while the other half stayed at the Marriott. The move made a mess of their wedding plans. The hurricane damage certainly made a mess of a lot of traveler’s plans.
As we always do when we are in Miami, we eat at Primo’s Italian Kitchen which has really good food. I highly recommend it.
Since we were separated from the other couple traveling with us, we both arrived at the pier using different transportation modes. Although we were both scheduled for the same processing time, they wound up in one cruise waiting lobby that was different from ours. We didn’t see them again until we were on the ship.
The embarkation process was reasonably easy and we had a minimal wait to board the ship.
We ate at most every complimentary meal venue and all were good to above average with the exception of the Garden Café, which is like most you find. With NCL’s promotion we had 3 specialty restaurants. We ate at Cagneys, Le Bistro, and Teppanyaki. We had eaten at Cagneys and Le Bistro numerous times and it is always good at both venues. This was a first time for us at Teppanyaki. The atmosphere is amazing, the food is excellent and we all had a great time. However, if loud noises bother you this is not the place for you. The chefs bang their cutlery on the stove and other metal surfaces and it is quite loud. Additionally, the portions of food they serve are enormous so be prepared. We also ate at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and it was good, as well.
The entertainment was excellent on this cruise. We especially liked Orly Penate, who did a lot of Carlos Santana music. We found ourselves liking him so much we rotated from venue to venue to hear him. Near one of his last nights he joked to the crowd how we were stalking him as everywhere he played we were there. However, he was just that good. Highly recommend him if you ever see him play anywhere.
We signed up to see Brat Pack, which had received really good reviews. However, I guess we were in the minority because we were turned off by it. We left after a short while at the program and we noticed other older couples leaving, as well.
We signed up for Wine Lovers the Musical, which we had done on other cruises, but this was one was by far the best. The two leading men and the leading lady were outstanding in every way possible.
Venues and Excursions
We had 4 ports of call for this cruise; Roatan Bay Island, Honduras, Harvest Caye, Belize, Costa Maya, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico. We chose not to do any excursions this trip and only got off the ship to shop and dine.
The shopping and dining area next to the pier in Roatan Bay is very limited and you can exhaust it in short order. We spent about two hours there and then went back to the ship.
We thoroughly enjoyed Harvest Caye, NCLs self-made island. We had a great time there and spent most of the day shopping. We also had lunch at the Landshark Bar and Grill, which was good. If we had known what a great beach area they had we would have come equipped to spend the day on the beach. This is a great place to have fun.
Costa Maya, was the port we enjoyed the least. When we arrived a Carnival and MSC ship was there at the pier, as well. The shopping area is a considerable distance from the ship so we got on a little buggy that took us up close to the major area to shop at. There was a mass of people here this day due to so many ships in port and it was very hot and humid. Just about every shop we passed by had people standing at the door shouting at you to come in and buy something. They were very aggressive, to say the least. I found this to be a major turn off even though I have seen it before but not quite to this level. Also, we found a lot of their prices quite high so we purchased very little. We eventually found a restaurant to have appetizers and drinks and then returned to the ship.
We had been to Cozumel before and wanted to go to a specific Pandora store that we saw on our last visit. However, we had stopped at a different port than the one we stopped at on a prior cruise. As a result, we had to take a cab to get to that store. The area surrounding the port we stopped at is more of a multi-story mall, which is much like back home. I will say that once we departed the mall and got down the street it became apparent when we had ventured too far. We walked several blocks from the mall and then walked a couple more inland and we all immediately sensed we had ventured too far from the port based on what we saw from some street vendors and guys hanging out on the street. We had been told previously that as long as you can see the water you are usually okay. We should have heeded that advice but didn’t. Fortunately, nothing happened but we turned around and quickly went back to the ship.
We selected a midship mini-suite, room 12802 and it was excellent. NCL’s mini-suites are essentially a balcony room with an oversized bathroom. We have booked several of them and enjoy the extra space. The problem with this room is the balcony is not very big and it is hard to navigate around the furniture.
NCls mini suites are basically a regular balcony room with an oversized restroom. We liked the room and enjoyed the additional space in the restroom. However, the balcony was very small and it made it hard to navigate around the furniture.
We just shopped and dined at Roatan Bay Island, Honduras. The cruise next to the pier is very limited and you can exhaust it in short order, which we did. We spent only about two hours here.
Loved this port as we spent the majority of the day here. Had we known it had such a great beach we would have come prepared to spend the entire day there. We shopped and ate at the Landshark Bar and Grill, which was quite good.
This was my least favorite port. We had 2 other cruise ships in port besides ours and it was very crowded. It was very hot and humid on the day we arrived and you literally sweated through your clothes within minutes of arriving. I could have dealt with that but at almost every shop you passed by there were vendors yelling out to you to buy something. I have dealt with that on other cruises but not to the magnitude we dealt with it there. The vendors were very aggressive. Prices were very high so we didn't buy much here. We eventually found a place to have appetizers and drinks and then returned to the ship.
We just shopped and dined there near the port. We had been here before but our cruise ship stopped at a different port. The place we had visited on a prior cruise was at that different port so we had to take a cab to get there. We asked several times for directions to the Pandora store and each time we were given directions to someone else's store, not Pandoras. Be forewarned that if you venture too far away from the port you may be putting yourself at risk. We did that and wound up in a questionable area where we definitely didn't feel safe. We quickly turned around and came back to the port area.