SS Norway 6/8/03 (long)



For those of you that frequent cruisecritics, this is the same post :)

This may end up rather long, so I apologize in advance. My wife and I are "seasoned" cruisers (working toward "veteran" - thankfully its a long and enjoyable promotion program). We are RCCL and Celebrity people (we refuse to even breath near a Carny - our own opinion), and we are booking the Norway for its Miami sailing on 6/8/03.

We are very intrigued by her looks and history, and beleive it will be a very enjoyable experience. My mother (veteran cruiser of RCCL) and her friend are flying in to cruise with us, and we will have my step daughter on board for her very first cruise. She is 13 (tries to tell everyong she is 15/16) and can be both very shy and very out-going.

We are booking outside cabins on the Viking deck, somewhat mid-forward. V045 and V051 if my memory recalls.

Ok, now for my questions and all comments are welcome (I always temper negative comments when they are outnumbered by positive). Please feel free to email me directly with comments or suggestions, but most of these might make for good reading for other NCL Newbies.

1) Does the check-in process resemble other cruise lines? By that, typcially on RCCL we would setup our ship board accounts, get our cards and such before boarding. I have read peoples posts that they have gone to the casino to set up their accounts - so I am unsure.

2)Speaking of the casino, can anyone describe the atmosphere and attitudes a little more? My wife and I love craps and blackjack - so we expect to spend a lot of time there.

3)Is it rather easy to get my step-daughter setup with the virgin drink card and invovled with the teens program? If you are sailing this cruise and have teens in her age range, I'd love to get them talking before we depart. she has a PC and can IM or email. It might make her a little more at ease. She has a tendency to not venture into new things without some pushing, but is very outgoing once she is involved. In addition, if you previously had a teen in her age range on the Norwayd, can you give me some details as to the program activities? I find tempting her with the possibilities helps her not be so nervous.

4) I keep reading horrible comments about the tendering. Is it really that bad? Can anyone compare it to an RCCL tendering process (Voyager comes to mind with a whole lot more passengers than Norway holds). I alos keep reading about "priority" boarding - is this something anyone can purchase or is it only for suites?

5) Excursions. I am in the middle of reviewing the document from their website

I am going to cut this off, although I have some more questions. I'll post more later if this one gets any replies.

Thanks for reading - and if you are on this sailing, please send a "shout" and we can make sure to say hello on board, maybe even have a drink or two. For those curious, I am 43, my wife is 31. My mother is 6? and her friend Jack is right along those lines as well.

Tampa, FL

~~ Sailing Away - SS Norway 6/8/03 ~~


You do set up your account for purchases in the casino on the Norway. You have within the first 24 hours of boarding to do so. All other paper work is done at a check in desk just like on other lines I have been on. The room we had, which was just an inside room, had the key in the room when you got there. They are the plastic cards with the holes punched in them.

I am not big on casino's but my wife does like to play blackjack and did quite well in their casino. The blackjack tables go from $5.00 minimum and up.

We didn't cruise with any teens so not any help there. We did look at the flyers they have that explain the things they plan for the kids by age group. We were on the New Years cruise and were told there were 470 kids onboard. We very rarely saw them. We did check out their arcade area for kids and it seemed very nice.

The Norway has two of its own tenders. They carry 450 passengers each. Yes they do hand out tender tickets for the first few tenders with people that have tours from the ship having priority. Check out the daily newsletter to see what is involved in getting tender tickets. Once the bulk of people are off the ship, around 9:30 or so, the tenders run every half hour. One tender leaving the ship and one leaving the shore.

I hope this helps some


We have been on the NORWAY TWICE. Found the tenders to be a postive experience and NOT THE NEGATIVE one others refer to. It is so much better than the Princess & Celebrity life boats. Yikes! Embarkation smooth, although long lines. Please keep in mind the NORWAY is a very old ship, so the staterooms are NOT THAT GOOD. Shower is tiny. There is a reason why the fairs are a bargain price. Its because the ship is OLD. Another thing the main dining room has no windows. It drove me crazy and I didn't like that fact. LeBistro the speciality resturant at the back of the boat does have windows and scrumptious food. It costs I believe $12.50 per person extra, and IMHO WORTH IT.

Regarding Carnival. We are very experienced cruisers about to embark on our 14th cruise on 5/3. Last year with some hestitation we took our first Carnival Cruise on the (3 months old at the time) Carnival Pride. IT WAS WONDERFUL. Yes, there was a younger rowdier crowd, we went during spring break, NEVER AGAIN, but the ship itself was gorgeous. Pizza and food in general was good to very good in the buffet. Not so great perhaps an overall C+ in the dining room. I would suggest trying one of the newer Carnival ships, especially the Pride.

Casino is good except no nickel machines and it is ICY COLD in there. Don't have kids so I cannot speak about the kids stuff. All of the islands you will be visting are fantastic.
Bon Voyage and happy cruising. May your days be sunny and seas calm.


I will be cruising the Norway 6/15/03. I cruised the Norway 2 times many years ago before I was married and I loved her. I have always wanted to return to her and finally my chance has come!