I am so excited to begin recapping our time in Florida and our Norwegian cruise in the Caribbean!! This vacation is leaving me re-energized, and invigorated and I have so many creative ideas for the blog bouncing around in my brain that I can’t WAIT to share.
Before I detail our time in Grand Cayman, Mexico, Belize, and Honduras which will all have a post dedicated to them, I am starting off with a cruise review.
As I’ve mentioned before, Phil and I had always been reluctant to do a cruise vacation. The idea of being stuck on someone else’s time/schedule was our biggest deterrent along with the idea of tiny living spaces. So now that we’ve done it, what do we think?
We were pleasantly surprised by our accommodations! We opted for a balcony room which we would 100% recommend. We had quiet mornings and evenings on the balcony with nothing but the sea and crashing waves surrounding us. It was as peaceful as it was beautiful.
There certainly was an abundance of food although it didn’t “wow” us. I have to commend the Norwegian staff who accommodated my dairy allergy wonderfully though. Overall, I missed the simplicity of the dishes we typically make at home.
There was SO MUCH to do! On days that we weren’t at a port stop, there was always options of things to do ranging from comedians, singers, pianists, art auctions, aerial artists, and bingo. The staff was energetic and funny and we enjoyed almost everything we went to. There were also many bars and late night options so you were entertained from the morning until night.
Here’s where our biggest struggle was. When booking the cruise with two other couples we were all pleasantly surprised at the price. For Phil and I with a balcony room, for 7 days it cost us $1,800 before flights. Although that initial price was extremely reasonable, there were A LOT of additional expenses along the way. First, there was gratuity added on at the end of the trip (equating to $30 per day). Then, if you want to do any excursion you can anticipate it being $100 per person. With 4 stops, and 3 excursions booked total, we spent an extra $700 in excursions alone! The final and biggest expense was alcohol. We did not have a drink package and ouch, did the costs add up. After all was said and done, we added on another $1,200 to that initial cost.
We had heard time and time again that you can’t feel the boat moving from friends that have cruised however we definitely could. Our boat was a bit smaller than other ships however we relied heavily on our anti-nausea bands and Dramamine.
The Pearl (name of our ship) was in great shape and very clean. The staff was all extremely friendly and accommodating. Although we could feel movement, there was a large auditorium, many bars, a bowling alley, swimming pool, sun deck and more, that you hardly ever felt claustrophobic.
We had an amazing experience however not sure if we’ll be considering a cruise again for future vacations. Everything, including the stops, is a very curated experience. It’s wonderful to detox from cell phones and responsibilities but is limited in opportunities for authentic exploration which is what I love. Still, we got to see beautiful places and got once in a lifetime experiences so how can you complain about that?
Have you ever cruised before?! If so, what did you like/not like about it?