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Cheap cruises - I think it is about having realistic expectations

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Just returned from a fun NCL 4-night Bahamas cruise. Went with 80 year old mother, under-21 college student dtr and her 2 friends, and 2 family members of one friend - 3 cabins. Having read CruiseCritic reviews prior to booking I was a little nervous, but just wanted some sun after New England winter.

It was fine - as long as one understands that you get what you pay for. The ship was a little older and smaller - but well maintained, very clean. Employees were helpful, polite and no different than more expensive cruises I have taken. While food was the weakest point, there was always something decent to eat. Cabins were on the small side, but perfectly fine for 2 people for 4 nights.

I think the problem some reviewers have is that they expect filet mignon at Burger King prices. Having read complaints about ship not having a specific type of tea, no lobster, charges for specialty restaurants, and not enough storage in cabins I now want to scream - what do you expect for well under $100 per day for a cruise? I also listened to a woman on the cruise ask to speak to food supervisor and then questioned why there were no ice sculptures on board (answer, politely delivered, was that they only did that on 7 night cruises now). I personally do not care about ice swans.

So for 4 days we sat in the sun, read, went ashore - including standard stop on private island, ran up a bar bill - and did not have to cook, clean, shop or worry about transportation. A lovely time, even without frills. I had made-to-order omelets or waffles for breakfast (or sometimes smoked salmon and mackerel), nice salad bar for lunch, the equivalent of mid range restaurant food for dinner. I wandered the Straw Market in Nassau, got a sun burn to show off at work on Monday, drank silly fruity drinks while watching the sun set on a ship deck. My daughter and her friends got to hang out with a group of low-life college men who they will never see again in a relatively safe setting, bought their first legal drinks (age is 18 in Bahamas and 18 on-board with parental permission) - and eat dinner with Mom and Grandma.

A nice time - certainly not perfect - but total cost was under $1000 for 7 people (not counting the bar bill, which we will not mention here).

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