Monday, December 5, 2011

The Norwegian Cruise Experience

Well I now have my second cruise under my belt. I can now be considered a veteran or at least not a rookie anymore. This post will be a mini review of our recently completed cruise. I am starting this post in the Atlanta airport where we are in a holding pattern waiting for our flight back to Nashville. We originally were going to fly back on December 7th but decided to try to fly standby on Delta on Sunday and keep our Southwest reservation on hold as a standby.

I'll start my review with some basic flights about our cruise. As I mentioned previously we sailed on the Norwegian. Our cruise ship was called the Pearl. It has the capacity to carry 2,600 passengers and 1,100 crew members. I am pretty sure the cruise wasn't full but I am not sure how far below it was capacity. I know when we booked our cruise a few days before it started the travel agent we used to assist us said there were plenty of cabins to choose from. The ports of call for our 7 night cruise were a private island in the Bahamas called Great Stirrup Cay, Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Cayman Islands, and Cozumel Mexico. We also had to 2 full days at sea.

The Norwegian Pearl in Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Now let me start with some of the things I enjoyed about our cruise. The first thing I'd like to mention were the ports of call. The ports of call were one of the reasons we chose this last minute cruise over some of the other options. I enjoyed our stingray and snorkeling encounter in the Cayman Islands the most. I also enjoyed our day of strolling around in Cozumel. Another item I liked on this cruise was the entertainment. The entertainment was geared more to a younger crowd which naturally made it more interesting. We saw a singing and dancing shows, a comedian, a Second City comedy troupe, and a couple guys who use to work for the Ringling Bros. Circus.

me kissing a stingray in the Cayman Islands
Now to highlight some of the things I didn't like about the cruise. Fortunately there weren't too many. First item was that the size of the room we had was much smaller than our room on our 1st cruise. Our Holland American room had room for a small couch and desk with two full closets. On both ships we got the smallest room we could that was available. Another item that wasn't bad but but not as good as I expected was the food. The food in general was quite salty. The steak I had on two occasions and some of Alethea's meals were quite salty. Another item that I wasn't too fond of was the check in process. It was pretty chaotic. When we checked in it wasn't clear where to check our bags. We ended up carrying are own luggage on board. The other item I didn't like is their alcohol policy. On Holland America you can take as much wine on as you can carry whereas on Norwegian you cannot bring any alcohol on whatsoever. If you bring on any wine then you have to pay a $15 a bottle corkage fee if you decide to take it to your stateroom. There is no charge if they confiscate it upon check in and return it to you on the last night of the cruise. 

All in all it was a good cruise. We accomplished our mission of relaxing as we wind down our travels. It was a good way to experience some warm weather while I got to visit some places I've never visited before. My country count is now up to 44. I actually thought it would go up to 45 before I realized that the Cayman Islands is a British territory despite having its own currency. I am still a fan of cruising and definitely plan on cruising again some day in the future. 

Alethea holding up some local beer in the Cayman Islands
Up next for us is a lot of work in a short amount of time. We'll spend the month of December visiting friends and family members. Between spending time with friends and family we'll be packing and looking for a place to live in Portland, Oregon as we fly out on January 4th. Not sure how often I'll be able to blog over the next few weeks. I might write a couple miscellaneous post if I have a couple hours to spare but I doubt that will be the case. Anyway, hope everyone is doing well and I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season!  

Link to photo album: