Well here is 10 cents worth. I was worried a little by the reviews I read before I went aboard the Norway. My travels took me April 7th. Most reviews were 50/50. on this ship. Many more negative than im used to reading about a ship. This is my 6th cruise and all cruises have been great with the little things that come up but never ruin the cruise. So here is my story about the Norway.
I arrived at the dock at 11:45. I parked in the lot and paid my 70.00 for parking. I parked by a tree with 3 limbs to protect my car from the hot Florida sun. ( I don't think it worked.)
I grabbed our luggage and trudged the bags to the porter that came over to get my luggage. I seen some people sitting on the walk so I asked if it was the line to get in. They said no and to much of my suprise there was no line. I walked through security and went up the stairs. Arrived in a very large room with two lines. One for US people and one for everyone else. The line was somewhat long but there was 20 people getting the documents ready. We were in line 15 min. There was juice and coffee and water if you wanted a drink. I thought that was a good idea. We then had to get in line for the xray machine. that took a little time. Then we went to get a picture taken and then on to the ship. We walked to our room. I took the elevator because I had a bag and my wife. There might be a joke there! The room was small. Single queen bed. I had to sleep with the wife. She steels covers. The bathroom was actually large enough for me. It had a full size tub and shower. The room was small but when everything was put away it ended up to be comfortable. My room stewartess was nice and reminded me of Florance of the Jeffersons. Looks and sound of her voice. Only complaint was that she would not keep ice in my cooler. I had to serve myself ice from the big coolers on the carts. We then went to lunch. I have to tell you, lunches were GREAT every day. I mean Great. All the salads and the hot items were so good. They had something on the grill each day. I did not go to the dinning room for lunch. They also had deli type sandwiches like turkey salad, ham salad, seafood and crab salad and egg salad. All was very good. I was on the Viking deck wich was very good. I was in V167 which was in the center of the ship. This was good since when we set sail we had 16 to 20 footers the entire cruise with Gale force winds the entire time. Lunch time the tables do get taken. But there are plenty seats in the lounge and sports bar. Take advantage of them. It is a great time to also relax. If you get to the outdoor area, make it about 1/2 hour to 45 min. after the start of lunch and breakfast. You can get tables then. All lunches were very good. Variety and taste. The cookies in the afternoon are outstanding. Not to be missed. Have several. It is easier to get a few the first time your there instead of walking back there ten minutes after eating the first one. Just like a lays. Cant eat just one!! Dinner time to tell you about. Dinner service was the best I have had so far. Waiter and assistant waiter was the best. Actually the maitre d' or the waiter came around every day as well. The food for dinner was excellent. However the only problem I had was the selection of dinner items. I thought most the items were plain and common. No lobster and one night with shrimp. I want to say again, the food we all had was great. Very tasty and hot. Just not the items you would get or expect to get. The desserts were all very good and they were above my expectations. The Bistro for ten dollars more had lobster. I did not hear that till it was too late.
Move on to the snacks. The bars and the casino all served hors d' oeu vres. They were all good as well as mexican food at the sports bar. There were a few nights that had buffets. One night was chocolate. One night was a big buffet with roasted hog and all the trimmings. Very nice and looked great. Fresh fruit trays were brought on deck at the pool during the afternoons. That also was refreshing.
Now to the part i did not like. THE BREAKFAST> It had no variety and it was pretty plain and the potatoes were tater tots and the food is dished up for you so you get what they give you. You have to ask for more for everything you want. Just not what I was expecting. The eggs did taste good. I do not think they were powder. That was good. I think the dinning room would be the way to eat breakfast. I did not do that. I get up early and wonder around so keep that in mind.
Ok ports. St. Martin. I went to Butterfly farm. It was nice as was the tour that went with it about the Island. Our bus driver was Duncan and his english was very clear, and it was a very nice tour. 4 1/2 hours. 38.00 each. Well worth it. The booze was very cheap here. The cheapest I have seen anywhere. The cigs as well. A carton was 9.95 for marlboro. I understand you are allowed 5. I do not smoke so I am not sure about that. If you go to the guava berry hut you buy three bottles and you will get a free tee shirt as well as some free sample bottles of stuff.
St. Thomas. We went to coki beach. It was rough as it was all over. Cral world is a must see if you are into sites. It is very nice. Allow 2 hours there. 18.00 addmission. I took a cab to coki beach and then walked 300 feet to coral world. They have showers there and dressing room as well as lockers. There is a resturant and a couple bars on the beach. They also rent equipment on the beach there for 20.00 for mask, snorkle and vest and fins. They also give you fish food. A great time there and no problem getting a cab back. 8.00 per person each way.
Tenders. Well look at it this way. 2500 people want to leave. There has to be some kind of order. Get in line 1/2 hour early to get your ticket if you are not on a tour. Once the lines open it goes very fast. Only one person needs to get tickets from your group. I think NCL has this down. I was very pleased. All three tenders was no problem. The refreshments at the docks was also a fine site after intense shopping.
Entertainment. I had a great time on board. The comedy acts were great and you need to see them. The main shows were very nice if you like singing and dancing. The enrichment lecture was very good. It was the history of the Norway and other ships of the day. I thought bingo was a bit high in cost. But thats just me.
The ship. Hey, I thought it was great. Im not there to look for rust or scratched paint. I was on new ships that doors would not even open. So I think you have to realize you are on a ship that is 31 years old. I had no problem with the maintenance.
All in all it was a great cruise and the best for me so far in my short cruise experiance. A couple negatives did not spoil my time. I was happy to be there than fitting out pipes at my job!!!!!!!!!!
Lounges and show rooms. All seat enough if you get there early enough. Keep in mind the ship was not ment to hold 2500 people when it was built. I think the shows were delt with in a good way. you got a ticket by the seating in dinner. Worked out good.
Getting off. We drove so we were the last booted off the ship. We were allowed to hang around anywhere we wanted which was nice. In your room or on deck. There was coffee and cup cakes till 10 am. Then we left and walked right down and got our bags and left. Hassle free and fast. NCL had that down as well.
I liked it folks. I would travel again. Check out some of my pictures.
Good sailing all.
Thanks for a wonderful review, I'll be sailing on the Norway in 3 weeks, and your
review has a breath of fresh air from some of the negative reviews..I have sailed
on one of the biggest ships, (Grand Princess, and Infinity) and have sailed on one
of the smallest ships (Dolphin IV, and Seabreeze). We always say its not the ship
that makes it a nice cruise, it's what we put into it...so we plan to have one of the
best cruises ever...Looking forward to meeting the other CruiseMates message board
Just got back yesterday from this cruise. (April 14-21)I didn't expect much either, because of all the negative reviews out there. I do see how a few bad happenings can ruin a cruise for someone, and I booked this one mainly for the price (no one can complain about that!)
but I am happy to say that we had a great time and are ready to do it all again! I know alot of people complain about the room size (you get what you pay for) Our room was about what I expected. Two single beds (although I did think I'd be able to move them together but couldn't) a porthole, a desk, 2 closets. We were on the Biscayne deck (be prepared to walk!! Not a problem for us, but could see where it would be for those not used to lots of exercise) and a decent sized bathroom. The room was tended to twice a day and always cleaned up just great. I think this is a very beautiful ship. We had first seating in the Windward dining room (so elegant!) right under a ceiling of twinkling stars!
Be sure to try lunch in the dining rooms too--so excellent, with lots of different gourmet foods you may never get to try (for fear of wasting money on something that tastes gross! Here there's no need to worry--if you hate it, so what??) We were unimpressed with St. Martin--we did a tour called "Under two flags" there really isn't much to see. We knew it right away when the tour guide mainly stopped the bus to see cashew trees and all the land that is available for sale. And also kept showing us all the different house owned by one family (I think the former gov. of Mass. and his mother in law) I think we might have done better on our own. St Thomas was great , went to Magens bay--beautiful but not enough time there. We should have just taken a taxi ourselves!
Never made it to Great Stirrup Cay because of a severly ill passenger who had to be taken to another island for pickup to get to a hospital ( we didn't get off the ship at all, but they had activities all day) I have to admit, that is a huge disappointment and the more I think about it, I see where it can happen often, I mean, you have about 2,300 people on board, that in itself could be trouble. Then there were many elderly, some handicapped, plenty of smokers, drinkers and people who appeared to be extremely overweight . Add the rich food, late nights and walking up lots of stairs--I imagine some people's hearts just can't take it!
Anyway, I didn't think the tender boats were a problem, it's pretty cool seeing the ship out in the water, and the other ships in port were not exactly in the middle of town like we were when we got off the tenders.
One thing I made sure I did was introduce myself immediately to anyone I sat near for a meal. Believe me--they appreciate it, especially if they are shy! Whether or not you have a great conversation after that depends on how friendly they are, and if they are not, at least you tried. For the most part, everyone was great, we had a wonderful time and would do it again, on this ship, in a heartbeat!
Thanks for a great post Jeanie! We are booked on the Norway in December for the exact same reason - price. I think it will be cool to sail on an old liner type boat rather than the cookie cutter cruise ships. Sounds like you had a great time and went in with a positive attitude. I hope we have as much fun as you did!
Thanks so much for your good review! I am sailing on the Norway on May 19th and I can hardly wait!!! A cruise is truly what you make of it and if you go into it thinking the worst then that's probably what you wll get!
Thanks for the review!!! SIx of us (4 adults two teenage girls) will be sailing the Norway on 6/23. We always have a good time but I was a bit concerned after some of the reviews. Looking foward to diving St Maarten and St John!! By the way I hear now they do not stop at St John but you have to take a ferry both ways. How did that work out?? Any other divers on that cruise give me a shout!!