Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still in the Bahamas

Oh, I wish. . .




I'm having the hardest time getting back to reality after being on "island time" for eight days. Our cruise was wonderful! Everything we hoped it would be. The service was awesome, the scenery breathtaking and the weather was absolutely perfect.

We sailed with Norwegian Cruise Lines on the Norwegian Dawn. From what I can tell, it's about mid-size? as far as cruise ships go, with 2,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members. The service was excellent and the crew was so friendly and eager to make our stay as nice as can be.


Our ship sailed from Miami. We spent Saturday and all day Sunday at sea, then stopped the next three days at different ports -- Samana (Dominican Republic), St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands) and Tortola (British V.I.) On the fifth day, we were at sea again, and on Friday we stopped for the day at a private island owned by the cruise company, for a day of beaching and sun.

My friend Kathy asked me, what was the best part? Uhhhhh. . . all of it? A week of uninterrupted time with my DH, eating at lovely restaurants, going to shows, seeing ocean and palm trees as far as the eye can see, having someone else make the bed everyday? It was all my favorite part. The days at sea were so peaceful. One morning, there were whales cavorting about, but other than that, we were alone at sea with the exception of an occasional ship on the distant horizon.

NCL has a free-style cruise program, so we were free to eat at any number of dining rooms throughout the cruise. (Yes, cruising is all about the food). There were several very nice restaurants that were included in the price of the trip and for the most part that's where we ate, since they changed the menus every night, so there was always something new. On two nights we went to restaurants that charge a surcharge (of $10) and they were a bit fancier and the food was awesome. The specialty restaurants included a sushi bar, a steak house, an Italian restaurant and, our favorite, Salsa, where they serve Mexican cuisine.

View of St. Thomas from our cabin . . .

Each day we received a newsletter for the day, outlining the activities on the ship. There's no way you can do it all, and there's something for everyone. There were shows every night -- we went to a magic show, a cirque du soleil-kind-of-show, a 70s music review (right up my alley). There was a movie theatre, but I never did make it to any of the shows. One night we went to one of the bars and listened to live entertainment featuring James Taylor's songs. Another night was country western night. Most of the crew members were Phillipinos which lent an interesting flair to Toby Keith:)

We had one afternoon of rain when we were at sea, and being on the ship was rather cozy. I found a spot in the library and read for several hours. There is also a casino on board, a gift shop, a spa and exercise room, basketball court, kids pool (and very few kids, by the way -- there are other cruise lines that cater more to families), and decks galore to hang out.

We felt like little kids when we arrived on board . . . (okay, tinge of disappointment that the gangway was covered and so short. Was hoping to walk up to the ship, Grace Kelly style and wave to the masses. . . but we do what we can)

. . . and were greeted by members of the crew -- in uniforms and white gloves -- serving glasses of champagne. Then we walked into this beautiful atrium . . .
Our cabin had an ocean view . . . waaaay down on the right side of the picture (the aft end of the ship), beneath the bottom row of balconies. One of those windows was ours.

Here are the winners of the Beer Trivia Contest . . .

Dinner at the Venetian. . .


Hanging out on deck . . .



It was such fun spending the week with our friends, Pam and Rick. It made the trip ten times as fun. We split up during the days that we were on the islands, doing different "shore excursions." One day, they did a swim with the dolphins (they said it was the highlight of the trip.) Dan and I took a jeep ride on St. Thomas, to the top of the island where we had a magnificent view and got to taste "The Best Banana Daquiris in the World." And for $7.50 a piece, I believe they were. Or should be. We had snorkeling and boating excursions, and we visited some caves and saw mangroves on Samana.


My favorite island was Tortola, with its narrow, winding streets and quaint little shops.

Alas, all good things come to an end. Rick, Pam and Dan, getting ready to leave the ship.
We arrived home late Saturday night. It is always good to be home, but it was a tad disappointing not to have the bed turned down and mints on our pillows. But we'll always have lots of wonderful memories of our trip.

20 comments:

Lynne said...

It sure sounds like you had a wonderful time. Great pictures!

Jen said...

Oh how wonderful friend. It sounds like a dream or even a movie. it just sounds great. I love the pics. I love to eat so those restaurants sounded awesome.
I'm surprising Scott next year with a trip tot the virgin Islands for his 40th...so you will have to tell what to do and what not to do.

Linda said...

Looks and sounds like a wonderful trip! Welcome home!

Bill said...

Wow! I've never been on a cruise, and your pictures & description make me want to sign up right now!!!
Uh-oh...my wallet-check says NO.

Becky said...

I am so glad you had a great cruise. And I can only imagine how hard it must be to get back to reality. I loved seeing pictures of you. Thanks for sharing. I need to go on a cruise someday ... someday.

gail@more than a song said...

Sounds like a really fun, relaxing trip! Loved the pictures, such pretty scenery. Welcome back!

Joanne said...

Welcome back, what great photos! Love the pastel colors on the shops and buildings in Tortola, so quaint. Sounds like an amazing time!

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Oh wow, it all looks and sounds awesome! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time :) Makes me want to go on a cruise, although I think I'd do nothing but eat the whole time, LOL!

Thanks for sharing it with us, and welcome back :)

Robin said...

Oh it looks like you had a perfect vacation! We went to Hawaii 6 years ago and I'm still not over it!

Sharon said...

Thank your for this island-hopping, paradise tour...I especially appreciate it on this 12 degrees (wind chill hovering at 0 degree, I'm sure ;) Friday in Montana. Blessings as you step back into reality...

Judy said...

Oh, Karen.

How woooooonderful!

Paula said...

Hi, Karen,

Glad you had such a nice time! I love cruises! Seeing your pictures makes me want to book one soon! Thanks for sharing photos of your trip with us!

Blessings,
Paula

Brittanie said...

Your pictures are great. It makes me want to go right now. The water is beautiful. :)

Jerralea said...

What an awesome trip! I've always wanted to go on a cruise. Your pictures are great. Thanks for sharing.

Kim said...

Wow! What an incredible time you had! Someday.....
*smiles*
Kim

Trailboss said...

Girl, I am so glad you had a grand time. I have never had a hankering to go on a cruise but the pictures are wonderful. Good to have you back safe and sound.

Renna said...

The ten commandments don't mention not 'coveting your blog friend's cruise'. Sigh, it's a good thing, 'cause I'm coveting plenty here! ;-Þ

A cruise is definitely on mine and Studley's list of 'to do's' some day. I appreciate the review you gave of that cruise line. They should pay you for such good advertisement! ;-)

I cracked up when I read...

"Was hoping to walk up to the ship, Grace Kelly style and wave to the masses. . . but we do what we can)"

LOL! ;-Þ

BClark said...

Wonderful!! I am so glad you had perfect cruising weather and such great memories. Sort of a second honeymoon for you two love birds.
Makes me want to pack up and go!!

diana said...

sounds absolutely wonderful. makes me want to book a cruise... for next week =)

thanks for sharing your pictures and experience.

Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I'm so glad you posted all those pictures! Reading this post has pretty much sealed the deal on my desire to take a cruise someday!

Xandra