November 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Houston Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Jade
Overall, the cruise was pleasant. Staff were very attentive and for the most part, the ship was spotless. Still, the overall experience was less than perfect for sure. I understand that Norwegian is dropping the Houston cruise in April 2016 and I'm guessing it's for the reasons I found things lacking and less than satisfying. The port parking was ok and fairly easy to get done but the boarding process was horrible! Long lines wrapping back and forth between make shift aisles with too few staff to get guests processed. Then when ok'd to board the ship, the directions to go to the ship were lacking and I was constantly having to ask those few staff available, where we were to head. While not quite as bad, the disembarking had it's difficulties as well. Apparently, if you have a porter handling your baggage, you have a separate line for customs. Well, that was very much not apparent at all and I got in the wrong line and wound up wasting valuable time as I was told to get in the much longer line for those carrying their own baggage. Overall, very poor directions and management of the embarking and disembarking process. Once on the ship, things were much better except for a couple of areas. First, I noticed that the linens on the bed smelled like my old grandmother's attic--musty as if the bed had been made for months w/o changing. Our staff member handling the room was great and I noted that after linens were changed, the smell still existed. Linens were clean, just smelled "old". Also, having to be shuttled/tendering to and from the ports of Belize and Roatan was cumbersome. While the effort was efficient for the most part and staff were attentive and gracious, being able to disembark directly to a pier is highly preferable as it was in Cozumel. What is unfortunate, I live in San Antonio and using Houston as a cruise port is extremely convenient as well as cost effective--drive versus fly to a embarkation port. Overall, my wife and I had a good time but I've used cruise companies that seemed much more organized. Maybe it was the Houston venue that created the issues for Norwegian as far as my take on things and leaving from a Florida port maybe more enjoyable. Overall though, a good time.