by tut wilson
December 9, 2006
Let the buyer beware, you get what you pay for. This was the least expensive cruise that the wife and I have taken. It cost us less than $900 for an outside cabin on a 7 day cruise. However, of the eight cruises that we have been on, this one we rate as #8, the worst one. Our basic complaints are that the food is of poor taste and quality, and that because of the design of the ship and passenger density, it its hard to get to, and that once you do have the plates in your hands (trays are not provided), it is hard to find an empty table to sit at. The layout of the ship also makes it difficult to get from certain areas to another.
Entertainment was ok. The cruise director was entertaining, the comics were funny, the musicians were good, the sightlines in the theatre was poor, and the seating was tight.
The cabin was functional, but showing much signs of wear and tear. The bed was awful. The mattress was thin, and the plastic enclosure underneath hard. Service from the crew was average to good.
Shore excursions in Progresso was good. The shore excursions in Cozumel and Belize seemed to use the same operators as Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean, and was also good.
Getting on and off the ship at Houston was pretty much hassle-free. Being allowed to stay in your cabin until your turn was called was good for us, and the lines at the terminal was not bad at all.
Transfers to or from the airport (either George Bush Intercontinental 50 miles away, or Houston Hobby 20 miles away) are $25 each way per person. We took a $50 cab ride from Houston Hobby getting to the ship, and bought a transfer on the ship back to the airport. Houston had HEAVY fog the morning the ship came back into port. The day before everyone onboard had been advised of this, and warned that we may have to stay out at sea one more day. We were advised that we would be informed further at a later time (I personally was told this by the ship's reception desk at 4pm, 6pm, and 2am), but nothing was said over the PA system. We didn't know if we would be in Houston until we were actually in the Houston Ship Channel, an hour and a half before our actual arrival time. Good thing I didn't have to scramble to change my flight time.
We may do Norwegian Cruise Lines again. We do like their Freestyle idea, and we may sail out of Houston again, but we won't sail the Norwegian Dream again.