Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hello and Norwegian Jewel March 2013

Okay, so you are probably wondering why I am blogging.  Well, I am hoping to make some friends, and customers and to tell my story.  I have been to a lot of fun places and helped others plan the vacations of their dreams...what's not to share?!  So, lets start with my latest adventure...the Norwegian Jewel.
In March, myself and 10 of my family members decided to cruise out of New York City on the Norwegian Jewel...now I will admit that I was skeptical about going out of New York City.  I have been to New York City 4 different times, what am going to see sailing out that I haven't seen before?  I was WRONG!  It was beautiful.  We saw the skyline, the statue of liberty and the bridges...just a really fantastic view of the city.  It was a lot better than what I expected.  Now, I will say it was cold sailing out but by day 2 we were all in our swim gear having a great time.  This was my 8th cruise, but my first Norwegian Cruise.  Norwegian is all about freestyle cruising, which is great for some but not for me.  Since I had a group, I had to make dinner reservations every night to ensure we could sit together.  Also, I thought the whole freestyle thing took away from the customer service that I have come to expect with cruising.  Throughout the course of our cruise I saw crew members cleaning, but overall the ship really was not that clean.  Now to the good news:  Best Cruise Director and Assistant Cruise Director Ever and I though the shows were the BEST I have seen on any other cruise line...hands down!  Also, they make a BIG deal about hand sanitizer in the dining areas.  They have crew members singing a song that you hear throughout your cruise, which is kind of annoying but I thought it was a nice safety net.  They also have a great kids program, which currently is pretty standard among most cruise lines.  However, if your child is under 3 there really is not much special for them...just FYI.  The first port of call was Orlando, and we did the excursion to Disney World.  It was wonderful, just enough time for us.  It was about an hour drive to the parks and very easy and low stress.  Even with it being spring break, the longest time we waited in line at Disney was 20 minutes...not bad at all.  Our next stop was Norwegian's private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay.  It was a nice chill beach day.  Not much to say about the island, but it was fine to sit on the beach and get some relaxing time.  I will say the line for the food on the island was sooo long.  It seemed like since the food was free there was only one place to get it on the island, but several bars for you to purchase drinks...go figure!  They also have these aloe soaked towels they give you when you are heading back to the boat that I just couldn't get enough of...they were cold and very refreshing!  The last port of call was Nassau.  I personally love Atlantis, and so I pretty much always go there.  No we didn't buy the excursion through the cruise...you can walk off the ship, grab a cab and buy passes at Atlantis.  My Uncle and his family did Snuba and the Water Park there and said it was AMAZING...I kinda feel like I missed out, but just FYI it was a pricy excursion.  And for my customers, I would ALWAYS recommend purchasing excursions through the cruise line because that way you are guaranteed to get back on the ship on-time and not get left behind.  The last thing that I will mention is in Nassau, when we were getting back on the boat, they really did a great job of welcoming up back on board.  They rolled out a red carpet, had at least 15 crew members out there, a guy on stilts, the character Diego, music, cold aloe towels and dancing...it really made the other ships at the port look LAME!  We were proud to be getting on that boat. 
Overall, we had a great trip.  Honestly this seasoned cruiser would choose Carnival over Norwegian if the destination and price were the same...just because of service...however, if I were getting a deal or going somewhere special I would totally consider it.  Until my next adventure ~ Kate the Great!