As you read this review, just keep in mind that I am in no way a seasoned cruiser. This is my fourth cruise in just about 20 years. My first cruise was in 2002 or 2003 and my last cruise was in 2013. This is my first time cruising with Norwegian Cruise line. It in no way was a bad cruise it just seems that it was poorly planned. This was the first time we decided to book a pre-night stay prior to the cruise and also with the perks that we got we got the free airfare. Norwegian cruise line set up the hotel stay at the Pullman Miami airport which was a very nice hotel. It had a 24 hour pool and had a nice restaurant the rooms were nice the location was nice. It was in walking distance to a grocery store, restaurants, pretty much anything you would need. We were set up to get the shuttle from the Hotel to the pier at noon the day of the cruise. We had an awesome bus driver who stopped and showed us some things along the way and then took us right to the port and dropped us off. This is where it got a little ugly. We waited For over two hours in line just to get on the ship. Not only was the wait long but there was no benches there were no places to use the restroom. The majority of it was in the shade but it was also in the heat of Miami. Now what I’ve been told is that’s not the cruise lines fault that’s the ports fault but all in all this was not the first time that they had thousands of people trying to get on the ship at one time it should have been better planned. The other issue was we had someone in our party that just had a knee replacement not too long ago and it was very difficult for her to get around and stand in line for two hours especially when there were very few benches around. It also seems that no one who works for the cruise line was available for questions they had no idea what was going on they did not tell you any information about how long you would be in the line or what you needed. Again, overall poor planning on their part poor planning on a cruise lines part to get us to the port so late and poor planning just in general with the port for the set up for people waiting to get on the ship. The other issue was we have done our research the people in our party were very seasoned cruisers and it at all costs they recommend avoiding the buffet on the first Day because they would be very busy. So we decided that we were going to go to one of the dining rooms to eat as soon as we got on the ship. However once again very poor planning the dining rooms are only open until 2 o’clock and the buffet was only open until 230 well when you get there and stand in line for two hours and your shuttle was set to depart at 12 o’clock you pretty much get on the ship exactly at 2 o’clock. Once again poor planning our only option at that point was to go to the buffet (which closed at 2:30) which luckily was not too crowded most people had already eaten. From there we had no problem getting our bags they were delivered to our room fairly quickly we enjoyed A couple of the perks on the first day like free champagne lots of raffles just little things like that. Even though the ship is so huge we really didn’t seem to have too many issues getting around. From there on all the meals we had were delicious no issues with that the bars were great the bartenders were great everyone on the cruise line was fantastic they were all happy and really genuinely seem to enjoy their job. I have been on cruises before where people were nice but it was almost like customer service and was like they had to be that way. This cruise they really seemed to enjoy what they did. We saw a couple shows, the choir of man was the first show that we saw that was the best show by far.We also saw after midnight which to me was mediocre I didn’t think that it was that great of a show. We watched the show that kind of gave you a preview of the different shows a soon as I got on the ship that was nice and we also watch the crew talent show up which was fantastic. They would be better off getting rid of after midnight and having some of the people who are in that crew talent show do the actual entertainment because they were amazing. Our cruise stopped at Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel. We booked an excursion in Honduras, but unfortunately due to the terrible weather it was canceled. Cozumel was a tender port so we ended up not getting off the ship because we didn’t want to have to deal with that. Some other people in our party did and they had a great time. We took advantage of being on the ship when a lot of people were not on the ship. Some other things to keep in mind were there were really only a couple pools which the pools themselves were not crowded at the hot tubs were constantly full you could not get in a hot tub unless you got up at 6 o’clock in the morning or if you were in there on a busy port day. We ate at a couple specialty restaurants including Cagney’s, la Cucina, and LeBistro. I loved Cagneys the best it had great food and the atmosphere was very nice. They also came around and took your picture and we got great Pictures that night. Took advantage of the gym that was on the ship very very very small compared to other ships we have been on especially considered the huge amount of people that were on the ship another thing we are disappointed with was the size of the theater the shows were good but the size of the theater was so tiny if there are 4000 people on your ship you expect her to be bigger. We were on a ship half the size and the theater was double the size of the one that we were on. It was difficult to get some reservations, including escape the big top. We got on the ship right away and tried to make reservations and it was already booked up apparently.
We booked a balcony mini suite. The rest of the people in our party just booked balcony suites. The difference was mediocre the balconies were mostly the same size and the room itself was a little bit bigger and the bathroom is bigger. We barely used our balcony because we didn’t have lounge chairs on the balcony. There were just regular chairs so we didn’t really have much of a use if they were lounge chairs we probably would have use it more often. The only reason we did the balcony was to get the free perks. Overall except for Sea days, you had no problem finding a lounge chair and there are multiple decks that had lounge chair so it wasn’t very difficult. And they did keep track of people who left their belongings there for more than an hour. It was interesting to me that they wrote the time down in a little round sticker and stuck it to the chair so if they hadn’t returned within an hour of the time that was on that sticker they would take their belongings away. That was really nice because there were some days especially sea days that it was very difficult to get a lounge chair. Some other things we were disappointed in is other than the parties that were going on and like the trivia there was very little to do I was surprised because we have been on much smaller ships that offered much more things like scrapbooking classes or jewelry making classes or tons of different kinds of dance classes this did not offer that. They did offer some different classes that you could take like exercise classes but if you want to take like a yoga class or a spinning class those were all up charges.
Our cruise director’s name was Jacky, he was very nice but to me he seemed very fake you could tell that he’s been doing this long enough that he knows what to say. We have been on other cruises That had better cruise directors.
The cabin was very nice. Check under your bed though! We found a full unopened bottle of champagne. Of course it was at the very end of the cruise but they clearly don’t clean under the beds.
Terrible time getting on the ship.
We had booked excursion but unfortunately due to the bad weather it had to be canceled. The port itself was OK lots a little shops and a couple restaurants. We didn’t go further than the touristy area due to the weather.
I loved Harvest Caye I thought it was beautiful and because it was owned by the cruise line I felt safe and never had any issues. We didn’t do any excursions we just took a vantage of the lounge chairs on the beach one in the water which was very nice, and also just walked around the island. Did a little bit of shopping and other than that not much else to do.
Costa Maya is very cute. But also very touristy. It’s almost like a fake area of Mexico. You had a long walk to actually get to Costa Maya but once you got there there were tons of shops especially little shops. That were local. And also some restaurants and places to eat. There was a little tiny beach area and a couple pools which both were fairly empty. It was very hot and very crowded though when we were there. We once again decided not to leave that little area but I’m sure if we would have it would not have been as crowded.
Due to tendering we chose not to leave the ship.