We booked this cruise only a couple of months in advance to get out of town at Mardi Gras. We usually do go somewhere Mardi Gras week because school is out for the week. Although we had just cruised on the Getaway at Thanksgiving 2019, we figured why not? Because we are local to the New Orleans area, it is not necessary to fly to cruise for us, and that’s convenient. We love cruising. We already knew the ship, so we knew what to expect. Lots of locals, and it was a sold out cruise. But we knew how to avoid a crowded feel. We had a chance for the experiences we missed the first time on the Getaway, and we could relax a little more. The only downfall was that our specialty dining and entertainment reservations which we had so carefully planned and so carefully made on line were lost in an abyss when we boarded the ship. We showed up at our specialty dining restaurant on day two only to be told there were no reservations in the system. We found out we were not the only ones. One lady said she would not cruise Norwegian again. For some unknown reason, Norwegian cruise line does not communicate the reservations with the ship. That’s what we were told. Luckily we had printed our reservations confirmation. When guest services told us there was nothing they could do, we found an officer, who efficiently restored our reservations. They found room for us, though we had to alter one time slightly. When we asked how to keep that from happening again, we were told to call to make reservations and to confirm once we boarded (a two step process). Why should we be forced to do that when we already diligently made our reservations, especially with long lines on embarkation day? They also told us that they are currently working on the issue. Norwegian encourages guests to make reservations online ahead of time, and we knew from experience, during our Thanksgiving Cruise, that we should definitely do that, especially on a large crowded ship. It was very disappointing and a surprise to be told by guest services there was nothing to be done. My advice would be to call and confirm, once onboard. Norwegian really needs to remedy the reservations problem. On a lighter note, we were instantly recognized by the bartenders in the atrium, Oliver and Jay, and they remembered what we drank. That was a pleasant surprise. Around the ship, due to the crowds, it was sometimes difficult to get a drink, especially by the pool. We went to Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, and Cagney’s. We have been to La Cucina before. Our favorite specialty restaurant is Cagney’s. We will do that twice next time. We do Teppanyaki because our granddaughter loves it. We found the dining service on this cruise improved compared to our previous experience. The entertainment is good. Million Dollar Quartet is amazing! The band in Syd Norman’s Pour House is amazing. Get there early! It fills up quickly to standing room only. It is not a large venue. We loved the comedy talent onboard this time! Dueling pianos at Headliners is always fun. We do find it necessary to line up in advance at (least 30 minutes) to obtain good seats for the comedy shows and dueling pianos.
Our granddaughter enjoyed the teen club, Entourage. It was her first time being able to go there because she just turned 13. There are lots of activities for them. During Mardi Gras week, there was a Mardi Gras party, too.
The ports are typical Caribbean ports. The dock at Harvest Caye was broken, and the rendering process was tedious. The tenders were big (that helps), but lines were long, especially returning to the ship. It cut down on our time on the island, and we like this island very much. We always enjoy Costa Maya. We just wish it were a longer day there. I think that the itinerary on our upcoming Thanksgiving Cruise this year allows for that. In Cozumel, we enjoyed the Playa Mia excursion.
Our cabin was a typical mini suite. We upgraded because it is a tiny bit larger than a regular cabin. The bathroom has two faucets with one long sink, and the shower is larger. Our granddaughter likes sleeping on the bunk that drops from the ceiling. This cabin could sleep four. Because she slept in the bunk, we had the sofa available too, to put things on underneath the bunk. The storage is good and efficient. Our cabin steward, Musawr, was wonderful and helpful with everything.
We love Harvest Caye. The dock was damaged, so we tendered. Although the tenders are large, and getting off and on is easy, the lines were long, especially returning to the ship. This cut down on our time. It was windy and a bit cooler, but it was still a nice beach.