7 Night Western Caribbean (Charleston Roundtrip) Sail Date: March 22, 2008 Cabin Type: Oceanview Traveled As: Family (older children) Reviewed: 9 years ago
Overall we had an enjoyable week. This was my first cruise with NCL since they went to "Freestyle Cruising". While I like the idea, there are some flaws with the concept.
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
One of the biggest disadvantages is that unless you make dinner reservations very early on in the day you can wait over an hour to get a table (and that's in the large main dining room.) The entire week we were never able to get a reservation at another restaurant. I should add also that I felt like the quality of food had suffered somewhat, with the more upscale items now moved to the Bistro restaurant menu. Dining staff was very accommodating and gracious.
5 out of 5
Can't say enough about the Majesty Production Company and the guest entertainers. High energy, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Our cabin steward was excellent. He took the time to give my 12-year old son a private lesson in "towel animals." We were lucky enough to get the same waitress in the dining room 2 nights and she not only remembered us, but spent a lot of time talking to us and answering all of our questions. She provided exceptional service. Unfortunately we also had a couple of less-than-friendly servers in the course of the week.
3 out of 5
Average. One of the disadvantages of the smaller ship, and I wish we had been warned of this, is that in the event of rough waters, the ship can not get close enough to the island to safely tender to land. Consequently, we were not able to visit Grand Cayman. Three larger ships, however, were at anchor in the harbor and were tendering their guests. The flip side of the the size issue is that we felt safe in letting our teenaged kids roam independently with frequent "check-ins." We might not have allowed them that freedom on a larger ship. Public areas appeared clean, but certainly not as "polished" as other ships I have cruised on.
Did the XCARET tour. Unfortunately, after you add the time for ferry travel to Playa del Carmen, walking through Playa to get the the bus, and the bus transfer to xcaret, you have less than 4 hours to spend in the park. And it's a very large park. While the park is lovely and there are some fun activities (underground river), I would not recommend this as a shore excursion. Unfortunately, we had asked all of these specifics to NCL's shore excursion desk (through reservations-not onboard) when we booked and they were unable to provide any details regarding the transfers and time involved. We decided to take the chance and booked it anyway. Won't make that mistake again.
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