I did something new this year for Thanksgiving and went on a cruise with my mom. I have been on two cruises before, but I was young and hardly remember anything. I hope to share my opinion of sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line and share some tips about cruising. I had a lot of fun but there were also aspects of cruising that were not for me.
Where we went on our cruise: We left out of New Orleans, LA and went to Cozumel, Mexico, Roatan, Honduras, Harvest Caye, Belize, and Costa Maya, Mexico. To make sure I don’t miss anything, I’m dividing up my posts to document this seven day trip!
Day 1: Boarding the Norwegian Dawn
My mom and I boarded the Norwegian Dawn, our floating hotel and entertainment, to begin our seven day adventure. Our hotel was technically across the street from the cruise terminal, so we lugged our stuff through the New Orleans Riverwalk (a massive shopping center) where we checked in for our cruise. We went through security, signed public health papers swearing we did not have symptoms of the Ebola virus, got our pictures taken, and received our new life-line: our room key/credit/food/booze cards. Once we were on the boat, we navigated our way to our tiny, windowless cabin.
We put our things away and decided to tour the ship. We started at the top deck (deck 13) and worked our way down to deck 6. The Norwegian Dawn holds about 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew (this is a small ship, believe it or not! Some ships hold over 8,000 passengers), so there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and entertainment to keep everyone occupied. There’s even a spa, a gym and a library! After we made it to deck 6 (there was nothing to see below deck 6), we checked out the Champagne Bar to make sure our “unlimited beverage package” was activated and had a mimosa.
TIP: If you plan on drinking alcohol on your next cruise, I highly recommend purchasing the unlimited beverage package when you purchase your cruise. It cost $100 on our ship and covers any alcoholic beverage valued under $15. It also covered some non-alcoholic drinks, such as soda and mock-tails. However, it will cost you considerably more (around $400) if you purchase it the day you board the ship.
At 3pm, we attended the mandatory safety drill, where we were taught how to put on a life jacket and told not to
throw any trash over the balconies because Norwegian Cruise Lines “cares about the environment.” Psh, right. (See my future blog post on Norwegian’s lawsuit with the Belize Government over their new island Harvest Caye).
After that, we visited the ship’s wine bar as we sailed away from New Orleans. It was really cool to sail on the Mississippi River out to the Gulf of Mexico. Once you leave New Orleans, it is quite beautiful on the Mississippi River. If I had more time in New Orleans, I’d love to take a boat trip through the estuaries. Next time!
One aspect of cruising that surprised me the most was the quality of food served on the ship. Yes, you can spend the entire cruise eating at the buffet (don’t do that to yourself, you deserve better!), but there are several sit-down restaurant options that come with the cruise. We ate at the Aqua dining room that night and had a delicious dinner. I don’t remember what I had for a main course, but I had a ceviche appetizer and a big bowl of ice cream for dessert. 🙂
Day 2: Day at Sea!
I was surprised to hear from several experienced cruise ship passengers that I talked to that they loved the days that were spent at sea. I felt otherwise. I wanted to get off the boat and go do stuff! But alas, I could not, as we were sailing the Gulf of Mexico toward Cozumel. My mom and I decided to make the best of it. We woke up and went to the gym and walked a mile around the outdoor jogging track. The gym had a beautiful view overlooking the ocean and hardly anyone was using it! They also had newer equipment we could use.
After our workout, we changed into our swimsuits and went to the pool deck and got some sun. It was so nice to be in the warm sun after the dreary fall we had in Washington. We had a late lunch that day because we had a 9pm dinner reservation at the Teppanyaki restaurant on the ship. I think we took a nap after our lunch and then went to a couple bars on the ship while we waited for our dinner reservation.
Nothing special to say about the Teppanyaki restaurant. It was just like if you went to a Benihana. We had a great grill chef who told a lot of great jokes and the food was pretty good!
Stay tuned for Day 3 when we port in Cozumel and go snorkeling!