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Sail Date: March 2019
This ship was great, since we are now doing the suite life, the suite lounge and staff were great, from the time we got on till we got off. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. We had the dining plan so only ate once in the main ... Read More
This ship was great, since we are now doing the suite life, the suite lounge and staff were great, from the time we got on till we got off. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. We had the dining plan so only ate once in the main dinning room. The food was great at every venue. Found our new favorite restaurant was Wonderfand. The food was both fun and amazing. The wemsical and happy attitude of the staff was great. Even though we had a group of 5 thus having a odd number of people at the tabl. Food at the coastal kitchen was both well presented and tasted outstanding. Told the family that they had to try something different that they had not eaten before with every meal. While at Labadee we had a Cabana on barefoot beach, this was. One of the best days on the trip. Best no paperwork when disembarking. With luggage valet we were off the sip in less than 5 minutes. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are retired and have never been to Cuba before. We thought this would be the perfect cruise for us. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Our first impression was great disappointment. The pool was netted and the water was green. The ... Read More
We are retired and have never been to Cuba before. We thought this would be the perfect cruise for us. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Our first impression was great disappointment. The pool was netted and the water was green. The hot tubs were netted and empty. This was to be the theme of our experience as there so many time things were out of order or closed for maintenance. The soft serve machine was down, three of the seven treadmills were inoperable and the gym was insufficient for the number of guests wanting to use it. We resorted to walking on the walking deck, which was also closed for maintenance in some areas. This ship just came out of dry dock and it was evident. The Windjammer and bars were lacking in supplies that had not been restocked in time for the cruise, but we’re eventually restocked by day five. The shore excursions left a lot to be desired as one was canceled just days before we boarded the ship. Actually after experiencing one of RCL tours with this cruise, we were blessed that it was canceled. We booked a tour for a night in Cuba with RCL and it was so bad, the majoryof people walked out. The music was amateurish at best. We paid $109 per person to walk to a local restaurant and get two drinks and an appetizer that consisted of sliced cold cuts, cheese, grated carrots, and lettuce. We walked across the courtyard to another restaurant had two drinks, an appetizer and tipped our server and the cost of that was about $35 total ( not per person). What a huge mark up for profit, especially when you can get a Lobster dinner in town between $12-15 per person. If anything we’ve reminded ourselves of why de shouldn’t book tours with the cruise line and continue booking thru Airbnb. Our tours in Cienfuegos and Havana that we booked thru them were simply amazing and so much more affordable. We had a three hour walking tour with a small group of five and the cost to us was $45. Our guide even bought us gelato and mojitos as we toured. We had breakfast in Chops and they were slow and didn’t listen to what I requested. I asked for an omelet with mushroom, bell peppers and cilantro and I got an oil covered omelet with tomatoes, onions, and spinach. I ended up not eating it. As we waited we observed ceiling that were missing, paint that was peeled or incomplete. The size of the ship was nice, however, as we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the number of passengers on the ship and there were plenty of areas to go for a quiet retreat if we needed it. With all that being said, I would probably sail again on this ship, but would wait a year so that all the issues could be resolved. I certainly WOULD NOT book another shore excursion thru the cruise line. Airbnb experiences had won my loyalty and business for shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Getting into and through security was the easy part,everything after that was horrible food was cold,pool area was crowded,they never cleaned our cabin but wanted to charge a service fee per person $116 for four days. All activities and ... Read More
Getting into and through security was the easy part,everything after that was horrible food was cold,pool area was crowded,they never cleaned our cabin but wanted to charge a service fee per person $116 for four days. All activities and shows were always booked no matter what time of day. We only went to one island given we were to stop at 2 in total. Being on the water for 3 days out of our 4 day cruise was crap. The only thing good was being able to sleep. Getting off the ship disembarkation omg was horrible we woke up at 6 to be off at least by 730am we got delayed because of customs and waited in line for over 3 hours to get off the ship. No staff was available to help with line situations people were arguing the whole time. This was my first cruise and by far the worst experience ever. I will never book another cruise at least through Norwegian. Just horrible. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My husband and I picked this for our 2nd year wedding anniversary. While we overall still had a nice time, the staff really didn't seem to be able to keep up or pay attention to the guests. Most of the bartenders we ran across ... Read More
My husband and I picked this for our 2nd year wedding anniversary. While we overall still had a nice time, the staff really didn't seem to be able to keep up or pay attention to the guests. Most of the bartenders we ran across seemed rather cranky and only half paying attention. I ordered 2 drinks at one point and my husband ordered 1. The bartender acknowledged all 3, then only brought back one and seemed annoyed at having to go make the other 2 when he asked again if I needed anything. There were also several occasions where food was ordered, took a good while then came to us incorrect. Either condiments missing or just completely wrong. I ordered a steak from cagneys medium with peppercorn sauce and it came well done with no sauce but by that time we had already waited a good while and I didnt feel like waiting any longer. My mother in law coincidentally ordered another cut of steak well done and it came medium rare the first time so she sent it back just to be put on for a little while longer and they brought back a fresh one that was even more rare than the first. Similar thing happened at osheens. ordered fries with a side of ranch. Fries came 30 minutes later with no ranch. Granted these are minor things but when it seems to happen every time several days in a row it can get rather discouraging. I think it all boils down to the staff being overwhelmed and therefore just throwing the stuff out there. It was all good food, dont get me wrong, but it's not always what we ordered and the portions were usually very small for the price. Entertainment on the other hand was top notch. We really enjoyed the comedians as well as the cirque dinner show and the teppenyaki hibachi restaurant. The pools...well...I'll never understand why they would only have 3 very small pools for people outside the haven to access on a cruise with 4 thousand people. Unless you wanted to sit on a stranger's lap you weren't getting in. Which was a bit disappointing but we found a nice set of lounge chairs on the deck near spice h20 to spend our time. I would say it's worth a shot if you have patience like I do. I rather enjoyed the cruise. But if you have limited patience like my mother in law, you'll really want to be careful of when you go because 2-3 bartenders in a crowd about 6 people deep all around the pool bar can be a bit painful. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and i felt like a mini-vacation for some R&R was needed so a cruise popped into our head as a good idea-- we wanted something short so as not to miss too much work, that was not so expensive, and that was different (through ... Read More
My wife and i felt like a mini-vacation for some R&R was needed so a cruise popped into our head as a good idea-- we wanted something short so as not to miss too much work, that was not so expensive, and that was different (through we'd been on cruises occasionally in the past). This cruise perfectly fit the bill! This cruise was supposed to include a stop at Great Stirrup Cay (GSC), NCL's private Bahama lsland, for a day of beach and local activities with a cookout, drinks, and relaxation in general. We even got there after two days of sailing, dropped anchor, and prepared to exit the ship to board the tender. But the Captain announced there were swells east of the island that would cause difficulty and safety issues (make getting back to the ship from the tenders difficult). So at literally the last minute he canceled the visit and announced we would go to Freeport 5 hours away, dock, and have much more limited time on the ground there. Too bad, and a few hours in Freeport really wasn't worth it. Still, it was understandably the right thing to do in cancelling GSC. We got to Freeport about 1:30pm but sat in the harbour for more than 90 minutes waiting to dock, leaving a little over four hours on the ground Freeport. So this was a great cruise, but really one to no where--we got off (and got hassled and hustled) and did some straw market shopping and got right back on. Enough of that--nice try NCL...not your fault. The promotions offered by NCL were superb--and smart business. For example, we got 100 minutes internet, ultimate beverage package, shore excursion credit, and a free meal in a specialty restuarant. The 100 minutes is great to have if you don't need to keep much on contact with home but need to check in--setting the phone up for "wi-fi calling" made it snap and saved a lot of money. The wi-ft signal onboard was also awesome--I was suprised (though directions for getting on were spotty and incomplete). Needing to check in a couple times a day with home, we bought the unlimited wi-fi package and it was handy to have throughout the trip--and worked very well after toying with our phone settings for a while to get it to work. The drinks package; obviously this is what most people want to take advantage of. About $85 a day give or take, but you have to pay about 20% of up front gratuities. So my wife and I normally would maybe drink one or two drinks a day, if that, but we paid abotu $75 each over four days for the gratuities--yup, the package would normally be over $400 apiece...not worth it to us. So, they made money on us clearly by giving us the drinks package and making us pay the gratituity...made more money here had they not offered it "free." At the same time, we did come up with reasons to drink 3-5 drinks per day on average. So if you are in it to party, or to drink a lot of soda and juice along with beer, wine, and booze, the value of this promo goes way up. The package covered drinks up to $15, and one is allowed to get two at a time per plan. However, it does not cover specialty coffees like expressos or fraps or bottled water. Too bad. That would get more people to buy it. It also does not cover room service drinks or anything at all in the stateroom minibars. The "Specialty Dining Package" promo is only for one night, and while I may have missed it, this wasn't clear until I called a cruise rep. That said, we also added the 3-meal package for two and dined in Le Bistro, Moderno, Cagney's and La Cucina--a specialty restaurant each night. Maybe overkill, but from a past NCL cruise, we also like quality over the ever-present high quanities food offered in other on-board restaurants (although make no mistake, the portions are huge and short one one entree, they will bring you as much of anything else as you'd want). The food in the specialty restaurants was all very well presented, and very tasty, with great table service. As for what to do onboard other than eat and drink to excesses, I'll first offer some context on my wife and I, as this is important to address entertainment from our point of view and why we chose what we did, including the suite that we did. We are both professionals, upper middle income, in our 50s, with me also being retired military; we both have traveled extensively all over the world. We live in in the Tampa, Florida area, own a pool home, and pretty much like to get out and see and do all there is. Living in Tampa is already close to paradise, so we don't need pools, parties, and beaches on vacation. Also at our age, we like to chill with the option of doing so with or without the crowds the top deck cruise ship pools, and don't really need to be in the middle of a big party or pre-planned event to have a good time. But we do like having the opportunity to be in the mix now and then, as well as take in some other onboard activities or shows--and we did. Which gets to why picked the suite we did and why it was so perfect for us (i'll get to that later). As for onboard entertainment on this trip, there were a variety of shows, with "Angels" (acrobatic performers) being the best. I really wasn't extremely impressed with the music featured but it was okay. We know that Blue Man Group left NCL a while back, and had heard that Legends performed on the Pearl. Well, to our disappointment, not on this cruise and nothing was said about it. Nonetheless, there are plenty of classes and interest groups and theme parties and things to do. Oh yeah, we typically go to bed fairly early but are up at 5 am. So after the first night, I realized I'd forgotten to bring any ear plugs about the time the band two floors away started their finale at 1 am, or when whatever was happening the theater two floors below kicked off late in the pm. But the NCL staff was great in setting us up withearplugs for next nights. Of course, we enjoyed so much of the ship's amenties between 6am and 12pm while so many passengers were still in the rack from a good time the night before. So all worked out great. Most important we learnd is to check the "Freestyle Daily" that comes out the night before and offers all the activities and important announcments of the next day. They delivered it to our suite and left it on the bed at "room turndown" and about Day 3 it was clear to study it carefully to be best prepared for meals and shows and other events, many of which can change. it would be great if this were emailed to gain familiarity in the days before the cruise, and certainly the night before we set sail. Our most recent cruise was out of Barcelona and it was no surprise to us the ship's superb crew was comprised heavily of people from Asia and Europe. That is, all of their nametags had the Country where they from also listed; but no matter the origin they worked as a team to provide a very high level of service. So it was interesting to note this crew sailing out of Tampa was simimlar in composition, with a few folks we met being from Central and South America but again mostly Asia and Europe. For the officers, I noted the ship's Captain was from Italy, though there were some Australia and USA folks mixed in there too; the bottom line is this was a very diverse crew committed to what they are doing, and they all did it very professionally each day. The Norwegian Pearl is neither the largest nor among the smallest of ships, and of course, the amenities are named identically in many cases (i.e., restuarants and bars). However, compared to a larger ship like the Epic that holds more than thousand more passengers than the Pearl, most venues aboard are smaller. The breakfast buffet at the Garden Cafe with made-to-order omelets and a very wide variety of other hot and cold foods will suit anyone's tastes. Th Great Outdoors and Sky High Bar were great places for drinks. The Garden Cafe was a good choice for lunch--though I'd suggest they offer at least four pots stickers and two egg rolls as a starter. Yes we could order more if needed, but it did seem a bit little. We didn't care for the pizza in the Garden Cafe and the "Mexican Lunch" buffet was a disappointment, but the food overall in the complimentary eating places was just fine. The Moderno salad bar was excellent, but some of the meats seemed a little "recycled" or hanging around as there were not many guests when we went at 6pm. It is certainly "the place" if you are into eating large quanties of meat. Cagney's Steakhouse for dinner was good in most cases. However, we noted our ribeye steaks had less marbeling than normal, and were not as tender and expected and that we'd normally seen in the past. Le Bistro and La Cucina were both excellent, and the service in all places was outstanding. Mary Ann. The ship was clean (except around 9560 or so there were clearly a couple of staterooms close for sewage problems...bad smell walking through there every time). The entire crew was always pleasant...they were good at what they do and seemed to take great pride in their jobs. So what was best? The suite, and I'll explain that. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I am a veteran when it comes to cruising. I have done over 20. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland. This was my first and last on Princess. This ship was supposed to be refurbished but our bathroom smelled moldy. I have to steam and ... Read More
I am a veteran when it comes to cruising. I have done over 20. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland. This was my first and last on Princess. This ship was supposed to be refurbished but our bathroom smelled moldy. I have to steam and use fabreeze to try and fix the smell. I had heard that the service was ok in the beginning and tapers off towards the end of the cruise. That was exactly what happened. By day 4 the waiters in the Buffet areas were down right rude. I always pre-paid gratuities but this was the first time I had to fight myself not to have them taken off. This cruise closes down at midnight, no bars open, disco was dead and only played music from 60-80s. Bingo was over priced and the host talked non stop. It took over an hour to play 4 games. Only one live show in 5 days. The shore excursion desk took us to tender then told us to walk to dolphin encounters. They cut it so close , we never had time to shop. I was offered free play on my next cruise but I tore the paper up. I won’t ever go on princess again. Can’t give me a free cruise. Royal Caribbean or Carnival for me. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Hi everyone: I have previously reviewed my cruises on Silverseas, Crystal, Oceania, Regent and Seabourne. This time, we figured “OK, so we won’t eat steak and lobster every night, let’s save some money and try Royal Caribbean.” ... Read More
Hi everyone: I have previously reviewed my cruises on Silverseas, Crystal, Oceania, Regent and Seabourne. This time, we figured “OK, so we won’t eat steak and lobster every night, let’s save some money and try Royal Caribbean.” We were pleasantly surprised. As my title suggests, despite the fact that the ship was full to capacity—well over 6500 people, you would never know it. The ship is so large that you never get the feeling that it is too crowded. Don’t get me wrong: it is crowded, but not in a negative way. And, they did serve lobster tail on one night and sushi grade tuna steaks on another. I usually concentrate on the food on my reviews, so let’s start there. Breakfast is nearly identical to the much more expensive cruise lines. The only differences I noticed were no fresh juices and no pure maple syrup. The Harmony even had fresh salmon, but it was definitely of a lower quality than in the high end ships. Other than those items, the choices for breakfast were identical to Oceania, etc. Lunches were superb as well. True, there were no large shrimp, tuna steaks and lamb chops as can be found on the high end lines, but that aside, the lunch options were not that different. Plentiful salads, pizzas, and enough entrees—chicken, pork, seafood and beef—that you were sure to find one to your liking. Desserts were definitely cheaper than on the pricier cruises but I always found at least one I liked. And the cookies were identical to those on Regent and Oceania. Dinner is where the differences begin to show: while I was always able to find a delicious option, the expensive entrees such as tuna steaks, lobster tails, lamb chops, filet mignon and fresh salmon were not available every night as they are on the more expensive lines. The side dishes were much more limited as well. We seemed to get whatever vegetable and potato the chef felt like serving. There was always a fish of the day. Desserts were good but limited. There was no “tea time”; a highlight in Oceania and Regent. At the bottom of the dinner menu every night there were steak and lobster options for about $30 extra. You could order these every night and still end up paying a fraction of what a high end cruise would cost. The Harmony is a kids friendly ship and there were tons of families with younger kids. The clientele was definitely predominantly “middle America”, FYI. All in all, a good experience. Like Norwegian and other similarly priced cruise lines, RC does charge for everything. This is in contrast to some high end cruises where everything is included. I imagine that the average cruiser had a bill well in excess of $1000 for alcohol, excursions, specialty restaurants, etc. I don’t drink, only went on one excursion and my extras were 350. (The super fast internet was about 170 of that. Yes, you can even stream videos.) My daughter only drank and went on one excursion and her bill was close to 450. You can see that we “hardly spent” and it totaled almost 800$! You can also get a slightly cheaper super fast internet without the streaming option. Our cabin was spacious. Plenty of storage space. Amazing water pressure in the shower. I guess that is what the newer ships give you. Staff was every bit as polite and courteous as on the expensive ships. Large well equipped gym. There is a charge for the sauna and steam room. Surprisingly no spin classes or bikes. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Not worth the money... over crowded deck, slow restaurant service, at full capacity shows, long wait lines. Day 1: room was not stocked with towels, hand soap or animal towel. Day 2: went to deck and placed towels on chairs while I took ... Read More
Not worth the money... over crowded deck, slow restaurant service, at full capacity shows, long wait lines. Day 1: room was not stocked with towels, hand soap or animal towel. Day 2: went to deck and placed towels on chairs while I took kids to the obstacle course on the next deck up and then down to the pool. Came back 30-40min later to a ticket stating the towels sat for too long unattended and I can find my belongings in a bag at the towel bar. At this time all the chairs in the sun were taken front, sides and back of the ship filled. The only spot available was in the shade with an obstructed view of the ocean. Day 2: night we placed our kids in camp ocean ages 7 and 8. Kids were super excited to go due to prior camp ocean experiences on other ships. We picked our kids up two hours later to 2 of 3 crying saying they never want to go back. They hated it, no games and/or arts and crafts. They made kids participate in scheduled activities. They did not provide alternative options. My daughter wanted to color instead of playing in their olympics and they told her no. They have a terrible child to teacher ratio. At one time I counted 28 kids to 3 adults. Sea day brunch and dinning took over an hour to get our food. Comedy shows were sold out every night. People started to line up an hour before hand. Terrible seating options. Seats are individual chair-no booths so there is limited seating. All in all it was not an enjoyable experience, not worth the money, our family will not be rebooking this shop again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This is my sixth cruise, and my third Norwegian. THE GOOD We enjoyed this ship for the most part. It was certainly clean, tastefully decorated and spacious. Layout of ship: With 4000 people it surprisingly never felt crowded to ... Read More
This is my sixth cruise, and my third Norwegian. THE GOOD We enjoyed this ship for the most part. It was certainly clean, tastefully decorated and spacious. Layout of ship: With 4000 people it surprisingly never felt crowded to me. There were always plenty of loungers; the buffet was not terribly crowded and heaven knows there was always plenty of food. Elevators came reasonable quickly and it was not difficult to get seats to the few shows we saw. There were many fun activities for kids: ropes course, minigolf, climbing wall, sports and pool slides. Our son was shy about the teen club, but it looked cool and the counselor seemed very nice. There were structured activities as well as lots of chill time with pool tables, video games, etc. The video game area was expensive, and that may have accounted for low crowds there. Since the main pools were very crowded we finally found a very pleasant area in the very back of the ship behind the teen club, arcades and sports area with a bar, two hot tubs and a water feature that was allowed you to sit with feet in water and chat with others or cool off under an attractive “rain” feature. There was plenty of seating including chairs, loungers, and more comfy furniture and plenty of people were gathering and able to enjoy conversation. With the exception of some 20 something young men chanting “chug, chug, chug,” while the bar tender poured their drinks, it was very pleasant. I would agree with others who mentioned more bar tenders are needed in pool areas. The staff were usually polite and helpful. The Entertainment: I won’t list this under “the bad” because it is really a matter of taste, but it didn’t interest us much. We went to the opening night show that gives you a little bit from all the shows. We found the cruise ship director corny and not entertaining, bits from the dance show Burn the Floor, Rock of Ages and the Tenors were all fine for a few minutes, but none piqued our desire to see more. We did attend the magic show which was not very amazing or funny. A random volunteer from the audience stole the show and made everyone laugh so much that my son thinks she was a plant. We attended dueling pianos for a while and it was a fun crowd pleaser. There was a lot of singing along to popular songs through the decades. The comedian did not seem very strong opening night, but we did attend one of his shows in Headliners bar and he was much better. I was also surprised that we were told we might not get seats without a reservation. I had just assumed the smaller bar areas did not require pre-booking. Happily we did get in, but we were charged for this, which also surprised me. The Cirque show was a fun environment to dine in and the show was entertaining and just the right length. I attended the “How to run a Floating Hotel” talk which was interesting and the Cruise Director was exceptionally professional in handling complaints veiled as questions. One woman wanted to know why we were not in Honduras today as it said on her schedule? (Our ports are Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya) I keep thinking of my own questions now. How big is the kitchen? Where is it? How many cooks do they have? When do they clean the carpets and how do they keep them so clean? I did enjoy my own entertainment which included reading 5 novels in lounge chairs or balcony while the ocean waves passed me by. The Thermo Spa: We enjoyed it and used it most days. I am not sure that I would pay the full price for it, but it was worth the extra bid amount. We liked the waterfall that massaged the shoulders, the bubbling jacuzzi and heated loungers the most. There was also a sauna, steam room, salt room with alleged healing powers, showers, a small pool and other, non-heated loungers facing the ocean. The Food: Overall the food was ok to good, rarely excellent. The buffet was uninspired, but okay for breakfast and snacks. In the main dining rooms (Taste and Savor) I enjoyed the New York Strip. Other dishes were okay. In Le Bistro the Lamb chops were delicious, but the Coquille St. Jacque was not traditional and was overpowered by raw garlic. The Crème Brulee was fantastic- much better than any other dessert we had on the ship. The Cirque meal was surprisingly good after the luke-warm reviews I’d read. The Beef Tenderloin, cooked medium, was still very tender and juicy (I prefer medium rare.) The menu in various restaurants feature variations of peppercorn gravy on steaks, from the New York Strip in the main restaurant, to the tenderloin in the Cirque meal, to beef in the Bistro. Even the fabulous Ribeye in Cagney’s came with a small dish of gravy that tasted of peppercorn. It seems odd to repeat this seasoning so often. I did ask for it on the side and they willingly complied. The food in Taste and Savor was also inconsistent. My son ordered what was described as shimp and mushroom fettucine alfredo twice. The first night he ordered it I tasted it and found that while the sauce was not what I consider alfredo (creamy and cheesy) it had a nice seafood flavor. My son ordered it again two nights later and mentioned that it was spicy. I tasted it and again, it was not what I would consider an alfredo sauce and had a strong black pepper flavor. I also thought the pasta was a touch undercooked. The “Baked Ziti with three cheeses and a chunky tomato sauce” was almost devoid of sauce and seemed more like noodles with a very thin sauce with cheese sprinkled on top and put under the broiler. On a more positive note the lamb shank was tender and flavorful. If I were to cruise with NCL again, I’d feel like I should only dine in specialty restaurants. I feel that cruise ships have gone from having excellent food in their main dining rooms to making you pay extra for it in so called specialty restaurants. The Bad We have few real complaints. The two small pools on deck 15 were not big enough for 4000 people. I never felt comfortable trying to squeeze in among the throng as people were always crowded along the edge, and in the hot tubs. I remember really liking the pool set up on the Norwegian Jewel, there was a shallow lounge area in the pool and plenty of loungers surrounding the pool as well as the adult only pool as a quieter option. On this ship I used loungers on the quieter upper levels far from the pool. I realize that very few people use the library, but if you are going to have one it would be nice to make it an actual usable amenity. When I finished the four books I brought with me (yes, I am a fast reader and made use of my lounge time) I sought out the library which is well hidden near the Atrium on the sixth floor. About four people were in the library all using their own electronic gadgets. When I saw the empty shelves and tiny fiction section I considered donating the four I had in my room. I identified a couple books I thought would entertain me for my last sea day and tried to open the glass cabinet. It was locked. Am I crazy to think this is over -the-top-security for a few out of date novels? I looked around and saw a small table/desk with a handwritten sign “The librarian will be back in a few minutes, please sign out books yourself.” I waited a few minutes, then opened the top drawer to the desk to see if there was a key. There was. I tried to use it in the door. Suddenly an employee was at my side barking “That is not the key to that, give me the key.” I gave her the key feeling embarrassed as if I were committing a crime and asked how to get the books to borrow. “The library is not open, only during certain hours.” She scolded without telling me the hours. I was so astonished that there was a person in the library to prevent me from getting a book rather than to help me get one that I left in a huff. Honestly, it could not be more transparent that this ship has no interest in accommodating passengers unless additional revenue can be generated. FYI I checked and found that the library is open from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. so schedule your reading needs accordingly!!! THE DEAL BREAKER I would not sail on this ship again because of the cigarette smoke that freely flows from the casino into the main areas of the 6th, 7th, and 8th floor even into some of the “premium” (extra fee) restaurants and main activity areas such as Atrium, cafes, and art gallery. Would you enjoy sitting at the sushi bar, paying $15.00 ala carte to enjoy a sushi roll while inhaling cigarette fumes? We were fortunate to be seated “inside” the restaurant at Le Bistro, but many were seated in the “outdoor café” area (ie. in the ship corridor) where you could smell cigarette smoke. We opted for the truly outdoor balcony seating in Ocean Blue (which was lovely!), but would have refused to eat in the restaurant that is open to the casino fumes. We were not the only ones bothered by this. THE PORTS: Cozumel: we’ve been here a few times and usually have lunch in the town and then head to a beach club such as the Money Bar by cab to snorkel. This time, since the Belize snorkel trip was full, we decided to take a snorkel trip available at the port for $45.00 cash each for the three of us. This two hour tour, which included bottled water, sodas and beer, was fantastic. Victor was our guide. We saw tons of fish at two stops that were very similar to each other. Victor was good with the many beginning snorkelers, held up a blow fish for all to see, and the equipment was good. From there we took a cab to Paradise Beach club where there was a restaurant, nice large pool, and swimming at a sandy beach. There were lots of jumpy, floaty things for kids which for us was a negative as it obstructed the view and took up swimming space, but it was fun watching the kids play. I overheard some who were on a tour complain that they didn’t get to stay long enough. I really like to create my own itinerary when we have a full day. Belize: I’m not a big fan of being captive on a cruise ship island, but many really enjoyed it. I was on a wait list for the Barrier Reef snorkel tour but it didn’t pan out so we hung out on the NCL beach. There were several shops and opportunities to rent equipment or zip line. We lounged and swam and had Nachos and margaritas in one of the restaurants. The restaurant did not accept our ship card for charges which puzzled me, but fortunately we brought our Visa. It rained on and off and we made it back to the ship ALMOST before the major down pour struck! The crew greeted us with warm dry towels! This was my least favorite port day. I much preferred stopping at Belize City on other cruises where we could have found a snorkel tour and had more interesting lunch options. But it was nicely done for those who like a serve-yourself and pay-as-you-go resort experience. Costa Maya: This was our first time and we only had until 1:30 p.m. We quickly moved through the Disney-like port and took a cab into town where there were a ton of restaurant and hotels offering lounge chairs and food and beach access and wifi. We enjoyed shopping and eating and swimming and lounging and it was over too soon. Back to the port we would have enjoyed exploring more and using the nice swimming pool available, but had to get back onto ship. Conclusion: We had a great time and our complaints were mostly minor, but I think I would try a different ship or even a different line next time. We like the idea of Freestyle dining, but if the only good options are pre-reserved specialty restaurants and pre-reserved shows, that is really not very free-style. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We did our first cruise in 2017 on the sky and wanted to experience a bigger ship that had more things to do. Checking in was quick and painless. All was great until bout 8hoirs I to our first day the ship went sideways. We were sleeping ... Read More
We did our first cruise in 2017 on the sky and wanted to experience a bigger ship that had more things to do. Checking in was quick and painless. All was great until bout 8hoirs I to our first day the ship went sideways. We were sleeping when it happened and we're woken by the crashing of our things in our cabin. An unexpected gust of wind at 115mph hit the ship. It was very scary moment but the crew had everything under control and took care of all that were injured during this experience. I kept checking the weather station we had until we got to our first destination so needless to say I didn't get a lot of sleep until then. But after that it was smooth sailings all the way back. We are lookinhg into our next cruise to the Caribbean. The staff were always friendly from the room steward to the restaurants to the bartenders Read Less

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