I'm booked on the May 7 Sea with a few other friends. Iha ve a single outside guarantee. We booked this cruise because of the great rate and good itinerary. However, after further researching the age and size of boat, mixed reviews on food and such, I now wished I would have paid a little more and booked on another line. this will be my 12th cruise (I have only been on NCL once before, and that was the Norway back in 1993).
The only positive reviews I have read about the SEA are from those who were on their first cruise, or those that only sail on NCL. I would love to hear from those who have been on the SEA that have also sailed on Princess and RCCL. I am actaully starting to dread this trip, and would like to be in a more "positive" state of mind prior to this trip.
Sorry....this is an older ship! Not handicapped accessible in a lot of areas. Motorized wheelchairs cannot fit through the cabin doorways. We had several on my cruise last October and these wheelchairs had to stay in the hallways. Not the greatest.
Also, the buffet area does not have the electronic automatic opening doors. This could be a problem if you are not steady on your feet. The buffet is NOT a 24-hour buffet. It shuts down after dinner and only coffee, tea and water are available. It is a good place to sit after dinner if you want to play cards, watch TV or chat with others.
The gym is smaller than you will find on most NCL ships.
BEWARE OF THE REAR OF THE SHIP! LOTS OF VIBRATION! It doesn't matter what deck you are on -- stay away from the rear. Even the back part of the casino and the rear dining room vibrates to the point that dishes will move across the table! We had a rear cabin and were almost thrown out of our beds around 2:15 AM. They forgot to bolt our TV set and it almost feel on my cabinmate.
Not all the cabins have a safe. This may or not be a problem for you.
Lack of closet space. Althought our cabin held 4, we were only 2 and our closet was actually a pull out rack right behind the cabin door. The cabin next to us had 3 women who just stood frozen to the spot when they looked into their cabin. These were outside cabins. Our cruise was a 10-day voyage up to Canada so we needed bulkier and heavier clothing than the normal 7-day warm weather voyages.
Our "Chocolaticaholic" buffet was held around 2:45PM right outside the casino in a hallway. There were only napkins and you had to stand up. Within 15 minutes, everything was gone! My cousin and her mom sailed a 7-day Caribbean voyage on the Sea and had their buffet in the dining room after dinner. Go figure!
The main showroom has poor sightlines with support poles and is used for movies as well since there is no dedicated movie theatre.
Our biggest problem was having many, many groups on board. There were 5 groups of approx. 100 each who had their "special" functions almost everyday which resulted in a public room being closed off to everyone else. The repeaters cocktail hour was so crowded that you could barely fit into the room.
If you want to do an older ship with larger cabins, why not try the N. Crown. Between the 2 ships, the N. Crown is a better buy for the money.
Snicks guy, we are veternan cruisers having cruise 16 times and on all but one mass marketed lines, some that are defunk I may add. The Sea is older and smaller than many ships, she isn't glitzy, but if the only prositive reviews you have read are from first time cruisers or those who have not cruised on other lines you need to read a whole ot more!!! Right here, on this thread are postivie reviews or go to Cruise Critic and read the reviews. If you want to be pampered you have chosen the wrong ship and the wrong cruise line as NCL offers a wonderful product for the money, with outstanding and firendly crew members, the best itineraries at Sea and a relaxed atmosphere. those sailing the Sea are mostly from the mid west and southwest with friendly attitudes and down to earth lifestyles. The entertainment, though not always to my liking as they are gearing it more and more to the younger poople still has a great reputation. No the food isn't gourmet, but anyone whether it is a cruiser or a travel agent that thinks food on any mass marketed cruise line is gourmet either knows nothing about food or wants to convice themselves one line is better than another. it's al banquet quality to a degree with some being a little better than others and the latest specialty restaurants all offering outstanding food and service at a extra cost. We found the lunch buffet on the Sea to be average at best, the dinners in the dining room to be quite good and the bar-b-cues- wonderful. There were 6 of us, 3 cabins and all experienced to some degree; each one of us thought, for the money, it was the best cruise we had taken. I havae noticed Maraprince commented on the closet space; we all were quite surprised at how much there was. I don't know where she was on the ship, but our closet was at the foot of the beds as were the rest of our friends. There were drawers as you walked in, just like every other ship I have been on. As for large groups and public areas closed off we saw none of that. I guess it depends on what you expect and when you sail. The showroom is outdated and there are poles blocking the view of the stage. You can avoid sitting behind them by getting to the show about 15 minutes early. i don't know why she referred to the handicapped situation; are you handicapped? This wasn't mentioned so I don't know but there were 2 families I spoke with who were traveling with handicapped family members. One was their daughter who was a yound adult. They seemed to have no problems except for the small cabins, the other was an older couple. The gentleman was also in a wheel chair. They were having a great time and never complained about the facilities. I didn't notice what kind of assessabllity was available to be honest. The walk from the check in pier to the ship is a long one; that's for certain. Briefly as I see this ship:
Good: crew, passengers for the most part, itinerary, pool area,entertainment,alternative dining
BAd: tiny cabins, buffet, lay out of the showroom
Same as most ships: activities; service; food
The ship is an older ship, and smaller than many. We were on it a little over a year ago, and there was a bad vibration toward the stern, and this could be heard and felt all over the back of the ship. The buffet on the ninth deck isn't laid out very well, and it was always hard for us to find a table. They didn't have the variety in the buffet either that the RCCL Rhapsody has.The food to me was really quite good however, except for the lobster which, when we had it, tasted like it had been done the night before. Some of it was inedible, and we are not fussy eaters. The cold soups however are delicious. The entertainment was not quite as good as we have seen on Princess, but better than we saw on RCCL. The rooms are quite a bit smaller than on RCCL. We were on the eighth deck, outside. The reason we booked NCL was because of the price, and belive we got our money's worth. Just go with your expectations a little lower, and you will have a good time.
Snick's I haven't yet been on the Sea, but am scheduled to cruise on her in July, and have done a lot of research about the ship. In total, I've seen what you'd call "mixed" reviews. Some very good, some medium and some bad. That being said.. before we cruised on the Disney Magic I also read very mixed reviews, and we had a phenomenal time. Truth be told, our decision to cruise on the Sea was similar to yours.. we got a great price, especially for a 15 night Panama Canal crossing. Am I a little concerned that something may be less than enjoyable, sure, but I'm like that on most vacations. I don't plan on comparing the Sea to the Disney Magic, because she's older and smaller, etc. I am determined to have a good time though, and I think it will turn out fine both your trip and mine. I'd be glad to hear a review from you when you get back as well.
My mom and stepdad have cruised at least a dozen times on the Sea. That is their favorite ship. They have sailed on almost every NCL ship and they still prefer the Sea. My mom said they have always had plenty of storage for clothes and luggage. The cabins are smaller than most ships but we don't really spend much time in the cabin anyway. My sister has gone with them once and she fell in love with cruising on the Sea. She also said there is plenty of storage room. The bathrooms are smaller but how much time can you possibly spend in the bathroom?
I have read reviews by two different people who said they were on the same ship and same sailing. After reading the reviews I wondered if these people were really on the same planet much less the same ship. You must keep in mind that most of what is written in reviews is really subjective as opposed to objective. Quality of food is really subjective. If someone says the food was horrible they may mean they didn't care for the selection of food. Someone else may say the food was great.
We were on the Norway, next to last cruise before the explosion. I read some horrible reviews. Dirty ship, worn spots on the carpet, rude staff, etc. I never saw the worn spots on the carpet, the staff was not rude, the ship was not dirty (the staff was constantly cleaning the public areas). Another complaint was that it was an old ship (duh!!!). I enjoyed that ship more than any other. She has a class that the newer ships
will NEVER have.
I can tell you now that the chances of you having a good time are slim. You are setting yourself up to not enjoy your cruise. Attitude is a major determining factor. If you go determined to have a good time, you will. I hope you and your friends do enjoy yourselves.
BTW, we are booked on the Sea for April 23. I have read all the negative reviews (and positive). I refuse to let naysayers ruin my vacation!!!
I was on in December and have cruised on other lines and had a great time. True the cabin is small and the bathroom is tiny. Good food and good crew made up for it.. Nita knows what she is talking about,she is a travel agent who has been on many lines and on many ships and if you'd ask her if she sail the Sea again, she would go in a heartbeat. And so would I.
Our first cruise was on the Sea -- and now we're hooked. Our second was to Alaska on the Sun. Our 3rd cruise will be a return cruise on the Sea in Mat,
We weren't planning on cruising again before 2006, but with the Sea leaving the fleet I wanted one last cruise. The cabins are little, the bathrooms are tiny, but we had a marvelous time. I was really worried before our 1st cruise after reading the reviews and message board comments about the Sea, but our experience was very positive. I hope you enjoy your cruise as much as we did!
I think the problem lies in the middle of the people who love this ship and the people who dont.
I think with any ship you need to ask your self what you want out of this cruise. If you are looking for that once in a lifetime perfect cruise it probably isnt for you.
The sea is very small and doesnt have the adminities most of the bigger ships have. There is nothing on this ship that will blow your mind or really is that exceptional. The food is very good, but not exceptional.
If you are a seasoned cruiser who is just looking for a good week with little worry and great food it might be for you. I for one had a wonderful time and could take the bumps and bruises and still enjoy myself. I didnt knick pick everything and took it at face value.
Overall the main reasons i took this was convience leaving out of houston was perfect and price. The price was extremly low I meen honestly how many places could you stay and have 4 star dining every night for 400 a person. No where around these parts ( i live in washington DC.). If you are looking for more you will pay more, our next cruise on the jewel is 2 times the price we paid for the sea. In our minds it sure better be 2 times as good since we arnt sailing for twice the time. I hope you enjoy the sea I know i did and would sail on her again if i could =).
Was on the Sea in 1999......had a fabulous time.......well except almost missed the last tender boat back to the ship in Cancun......darn tequila.
Will be on the Sea again April 16th.........hope to have an equally as good a time.
A cruise it what YOU make it be...........take a good attitude and lots of money.
The last 3 or 4 comments are right on: Thanks Duane. I don't always know what I am talking about, just think I do. HA HA. Ute good luck to Utah in the tournament, one of my favorite parts of college sports. It is true this ship is eithe loved or hated it seems. Again though, I want to say what others have said, if you know what to expect and waht a great relaxed vacation for just a few dollars, you have made a great choice. NMnita
Thanks Nita. I'm a little worried -- we haven't been playing our best the last 3 or 4 weeks. We're hoping that NM represents the MWC well -- I've got them picked to win their first 2 games in my bracket, but I can't take them any further than that.
I love March Madness -- don't think I could ever book a cruise during this time of year -- . Got to keep those priorities in order.
I too hope UNM does us proud as the saying goes and DH has them picked the first round or maybe two: I have to admit I don't but I can still hope and I think you guys wll surprise us. last Sat night may have been a wake up call.
Since the N. Sea is an older ship, not all outside cabins are created equal in layout. We probably had one of the worst layouts for an outside cabin.
The cabins on the newer ships are modular and different very little in overall layout.
Our "closet" was a pull out rack behind the cabin door in a cabin that held 4 -- we were 2 adults. The ladder for the 2 upper beds was also stored there. The ladder was removed as soon as we saw the cabin steward. Most of the cabins did not have safes. We were on a 10-day sailing to Canada & N. England while most of the sailings were 7-day Caribbean cruises. Clothing needs, even with freestyle, are different ithan f you are in a colder climate and on a longer cruise.
The reason I mention handicapped accessibility is that on this sailing several passengers had mobile wheelchairs that could not fit through the cabin doorway and therefore had to remain in the hallway. And having no automatic opening doors, they always had to have some else hold doors for them. Anyone with a walking difficulty also could not open the heavy doors and carry a tray at the same time.
One couple was legally blind and traveling with 2 seeing eye dogs. The cabin didn't give the dogs much space to stretch out at night.
I only point these things out because if someone does have a disability they might be better served on one of NCL's new ships that have wider hallways, etc.
I wanted to address your "Buyers Remorse". I have been on 10 cruises (all different lines) including the Norway. Talk about old! However, the Norway was in great condition and one of my best cruises. The insides on the Norway are really small too. After the first day who cares. A day at sea ia always better than a day at work!
I always read the reviews and find very little fact in most of them. They are good for an over view and should be taken with a grain of salt. NCL gives a good product for the price and thats what you booked on.
I booked two inside cabins for the 15 day Panama Canal trip in July. I was planning on taking a crusie on HAL but the Sea was a great deal. Be positive, you are going to some great ports and older ships always have a special charm.
Sailed on the Sea in June of 2004. The ship was in great shape and clean. The passengers seemed to be more friendly than other cruises. We had a great time!
Make up your mind to have a good time and go have fun.
We've been on several cruises on different lines and will only cruise on NCL now. This is the only cruise line that I am aware of that allows you to eat in the main dining area at any time (not designated dinner times).
The Sea is small but the food is great and the crew is the best we've ever had on a cruise. It's the best itinerary out there for the price. I'll be surprised if you are disappointed. We took this exact same cruise in September and are going again next month.
Very good points. I booked two inside cabins for the 15 day Panama Canal trip in July. I have been on alot of lines and NCL is a good product for the price. The Norway was a great ship.
You are starting to see more main dining room choices. Both HAL and Princess ofer 5:45 -8:30 stager dining times. Both it's not Free Style and some of the higher end lines offer opening seating all the time.
If you could give me some specific advice on the Sea it would be great.
Dallas, what kind of advise would you like? For starters i would eat in both Le Bistro and the Pasta Cafe. The Pasta Cafe is very small so you may want to make reservation as soon as you are settled on board. Be prepared for showeres that make motor homes one look big; well that might be a little of an exageration. don't expect the buffet to be gourmet or even 3 star, but it's great for breakfast and the sandwhich bar at lunch is worth a try. I was about to suggest tours, but I forgot you are doing the canal. I can't help you much there. Don't laugh too hard when you see the port (I am assuming you are going out of Houston). If you are going out of Houston and are arriving a day early if you plan on renting a car to drive to the port, allow plenty of time, in case you get lost. I say this cause the first time we did it, the taxi driver actually got lost, last time we did. the pool and deck area are rather large for a ship this size, so not as crowded as some ships. We loved it. The library is very open and airy with lots of games and a good selection of books. I don't too much else to tell you but if you do have questions just let me know.
Dallas- I just returned from the Sea..We loved her! She is smaller and older, but keep an open mind and you'll have a great time! The food was very good in the restaurants. Just keep an open mind. The rooms were actually larger than I expected! I had low expections, but she totally surpassed that! The crew was great!!!! Have a great time!!!
Thanks for the great tips. I know I'm going to have a great time. My kids really loved the Sun and both my wife and I loved the Norway. We need to get Snick's Guy to not worry.
This will be the first time longer than 10 days for my family. I'm really looking forward to the ports. Do either one of you know if the Sun docks in Cozumel near the "Furry" catamaran? I love Cozumel and the Furry goes to a great praviate beach. What do you both do in those ports?
All the ships I have cruised on have great shower facilities in the spa (bigger size). They are always available to everyone. We have also found most of the spa shower facilities have bigger towels, body wash, conditioner, and better shampoo. Down side is you have to change and then go back to your cabin and change again. Just a way around the small shower issue.
dallas.. I'm thinking about booking the dolphin swim with my husband on the Panama Canal trip. I'm undecided if I want to do that, or spend the day at Mr. Sanchos, which will be a good deal cheaper. If I book the dolphins, it's something I'm going to do right through Dolphin Discovery. It's cheaper to book the swim directly, and it's easy to get to the park. I'm waiting to see when NCL puts up the excursions list for our cruise, and then I'll see if we can spend the extra money on the dolphins (I'd like to do white water rafting and/or the canopy tour in Costa Rica, but those I'd book through the ship and are expensive).
I have just returned from the March 12 cruise out of Houston on the Sea and loved the cruise. Like you I found a great price, the port was right and the date was right since we were going to Houston anyway over the weekend of the 19th. This was our 3rd cruise. Our first cruise was 4 years ago aboard the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Sea (a larger ship only a year old at the time) and last summer aboard the Coral Princess (also a larger new ship, we were very disappointed in the service aboard this ship).
We encountered great staff aboard the Sea. We went on the cruise with an open mind since the ship was so much older and smaller. The main thing we missed was a safe in the room. There are safe deposit boxes available at the Reception desk. It works like a safe deposit box at the bank. 2 keys open it and you are the keeper of one of the keys. There is no additional charge for this service. Our room did not have a refrigerator either.
Be sure and take a few extra hangers and power strip if you need to charge batteries. I will have to say we felt the rolling of the sea a lot more in this ship than on the larger ships. Would I go again? For the cheap price, yes.