Published: December 12th 2008November 29th 2008
With the Winter season rolling around, it can only mean one thing: Cheap cruises! The $99 special for our inside room (plus port fees and gratuity of course) was too good to pass up. So that is how Chris and I found ourselves making the 10 1/2 hour drive to Miami after eating Turkey on Thanksgiving evening. The Itinerary
Friday Evening - Depart Miami
Saturday - 8AM - 5PM - Nassau
Sunday - 8AM - 5PM - Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian's Private Island)
Monday - 7AM - Back at Miami.
This was my 4th cruise, and Chris's 5th. I was new to Nowegian, so I was a bit curious about how they planned to set themselves apart from Carnival and Royal Caribbean with their freestyle concept. In a nutshell, my evaluation is that I still prefer the other 2 lines. I am not a "foodie", and Norwegian's claim to fame is eat when/where you want. The catch is that many of the options have a cover charge, and even an additional charge to eat certain entees. (Definately not FREEstyle!) Needless to say, we stuck to the buffet and were left wishing they would have given some of the dining
Alot like hush puppies.
rooms back to social areas.
That being said.. onto the cruise!!
The view leaving miami is BEAUTIFUL. The sun was setting and 2 ships were following us out of port. We had a laugh as one of the videographers grabbed us and another random girl (I guess he thought she was with us?) and filmed us talking and looking out at the scenery. This ended up being played as part of the continual cruise footage while we were on board (just the visual with music dubbed over). Norwegian definately makes a point to film more people and not just excusions. I just wish I looked better in the shot! (No, we did not buy the DVD!) Nassau
The next morning we headed out to Nassau. This was my 3rd time in the city, so we had a good grasp on what we wanted to do. I knew I wanted to try conch fritters (a local standard), so we headed west along the shoreline to a row of places to eat that we'd seen on a past trip. We stopped at Fort Charlotte on the way to take a look (We'd seen Fort Fincastle on a previous trip),
Great Stirrup Cay
The water was so cold that Chris would not get in!
but did not go inside as this one had a fee. We cling to doing as much for free as possible! The Fort sits up on a hill giving a view of the water. It's amazing to think of the need to defend the island like that.
Since we had to wait until noon for all the grills to get going, we walked over to the beach to wait and took some pictures. We watched a local bring a seado over in the bed of a pickup truck and carry it into the water with the help of 2 others. We were a bit curious if it was going to be quite so easy to get it out of the water.
When it was time to eat, we quickly learned that 15 minutes is different in Bahamanian time. It took over 1 1/2 hours for my Conch Fritters to come out. (We were told a few times it would only be 5-10 more minutes... 5-10 more minutes.) I think they were waiting on someone to go harvest them! We would have been much more fustrated had it been our first time on the island, but there was not
too much we wanted to do that day, so there was no rush. The fritters were ok, alot like hush puppies actually. Not sure if I'd order them again. My plantains and Chris's rice and beans were much better.
We walked down bay street, though the strawmarket, and then picked up a few gifts before getting back on the ship. We found a GREAT little loose leaf tea stand, and with our purchases there, I think we set a tradition. (Myself and Chris are tea drinkers.)
Back on the ship came the highlight of our trip! Norwegian's White Hot Party! A fog machine, foam machine, lights, and ice scuptures transformed the lido deck and music pulsed from the speakers. Eveyone was encouraged to wear White, with the some of the staff even wearing angel wings and dancers on platfoms keeping the crowd going. They have special shirts on sale to.. and they sold out before we could buy one. I can't find them online anywhere either to buy. It would have made a good Christmas gift for Chris as he really wanted one. The party took me back to some of my time in Italy, and it
was as close as they'd be able to get on a cruise ship! It was alot of fun! Great Stirrup Cay
Our last day found us at Great Stirruip Cay, a private beach belonging to Norwegian. (They say "Private Island", but walking to the Lighthouse, there is a sign saying you are leaving their property!) It's not as nice as Royal Caribbean's, but it was still a nice place to relax. We walked the two miles to see the lighthouse and then relaxed on the beach for a bit and people watched. The water was ICE cold though, and while I got in.. Chris just couldn't make it past his knees. There was a hambuger buffet for lunch, and in keeping with tradition, we conked out in the hammocks that are scattered around the island for a while. We went back to the ship early when it started to sprinkle and caught a showing of WALL-E (cute movie!)
That night we caught some comedy shows, and I finally got to see the infamous "Quest". Definately crazier (and more adult!) than I thought it would be! We just watched.. but I do have the WHOLE THING on
video. I can understand why they held it on the last night of the cruise - I don't think those people could look anyone in the eyes the next morning!
Overall, the trip was nice, but I think I'll stick to Carnival and Royal Caribbean in the future. The only way I'd catch Norwegian again would be if I caught another $99 sale.
There are more photos below