As you may know I have just returned from a 9 Day cruise to the South Caribbean with my family. I wanted to take this time to talk about the trip much like I did a few years back when I went to Japan. Whether you have cruised or are thinking about it I hope you find this information interesting and useful.
Norwegian Dawn (NCL)
This was my first cruise so I have nothing to compare the ship to, but I do know there was a lot to explore and spend time with. On the ship you will find a few clubs, many restaurants and even a theater. Throughout the week we took in many shows ranging from comedy to 60s celebrations. There was a great amount of entertainment even beyond the ones we attended. Every night you will find each of the clubs/theaters feature some event, for all ages. Late at night the adults will find more “explicit” content such as comedy hours.
This particular boat was the home of hilarious comedian Dave Heenan. We actually had the chance to see him 3 times and each time he had us in fits of laughter. One time to the point where he noticed my aunts laugh and we told him (from the crowd) we were all from Boston. This of course opened the floor for many Boston jokes. As it turns out he plays Boston so I will be sure to see him again!
Of course food is a big topic on a cruise, after all everyone has to eat. Well the Dawn certainly doesn’t take this fact lightly. You will find all sorts of food choices ranging from buffet to gourmet steak in one of the premium restaurants. Over the course of the week we had the opportunity to eat at all but one restaurant on the ship. Each place has a speciality while the basics pretty much can be found at any of them. Our family made reservations on Valentines night at the Dawns Impressions, a wonderful italian restaurant that has one of the best Veal and Chicken dishes I have ever eaten!
Maybe shows and food aren’t your style, well the Dawn has you covered. You will find a pool, basketball court, driving range, kids center and even an ice cream bar all on the ship.
Now of course we didn’t spend 9 days on the boat (though some people actually do). We decided to book an adventure at each of the ports of call, to ensure we got something specific to each island.
Sunday – Samana
Started with a boat ride through the Mangroves and then into a few caves for an in depth tour of historic carvings and stories. Our tour guide Mr. Kelly was very knowledgeable and let the group explore the caves while ensuring we stayed safe. It was actually so dark in the cave I shot all my photos at 1600 ISO with a 1/30 average shutter speed so they aren’t great, but still show the depth and sheer size of these caves.
After the boat tour we adventured into the city via a motorcycle pulled carriage and saw first hand how the poorest people live and survive. It not only was an eye opener to other parts of the world but really makes you thankful for all you have!
Monday – Tortola
Our tour guide Smitty let us get out throughout an open bus tour of Tortola to take photos of breathtaking beaches, mountains and even our cruise ship far down in the bay from a mountain top. It was nice to see each of the tour guides would cater to photographers as much of the tour had cameras. Of course just like any other tour I spent a good part of each stop taking photos for others, but i’m used to that. This was the first day I got to swim in the ocean, or more like swimming in a salt shaker. It was so salty (compared to the Atlantic) that you could actually become dehydrated.
Tuesday – Antigua
Coastal tour and party aboard a renovated pirate ship that served Caribbeans popular drink, Rum punch. Walked the plank and even took a few rides on the rope swing. Not too many photos on this part of the trip because I wanted to drink and swim. I do have a few from my Canon Elph and others my mom took from the dock as the pirate ship left.
Wednesday – Barbados
Nothing was planned this day just took it easy from a tiring time the day before. Stayed on the ship and photographed much of it.
Thursday – St. Kitts
The best port by far. We were taken on a tour of beautiful St. Kitts by our tour guide Mr. Mack. He took us through the town and didn’t leave one historic detail out. We then visited a park with a famous fabric creation that is particular to the Caribbean. After we boarded the bus and took a ride to a beach for some sun, food and Jet Ski riding. While on the island you need to find a cab to take you around but the previously mentioned Mr. Mack was kind enough to become our taxi driver for the remainder of the day at a great rate!
Final 2 Days on Ship
The final two days were spent on the ship headed back home. We took in a few great shows, slept in and ate like kings. One of shows was called Bollywood, an indian adventure with lots of aerobatics, smoke, lights and pretty good music. I actually would have enjoyed a soundtrack for purchase but there was none. I shot a quick video towards the end on my iPhone of the cast/crew farewell which was held after the Bollywood show.
People say a 9 day cruise is too long but I feel it was perfect. Just enough time on the islands and boat to not get bored. Of course if you don’t like spending hours at a show, comedy club, casino or restaurant than maybe you could become bored. However that wasn’t me and I can’t wait to set sail once again.Â For those who haven’t cruised be sure to bring larger clothes for the last few days and watch your alcohol consumption as it flows about the ship like water, you can buy it anywhere.. even at the pool!
I think my next destination will be Alaska or Hawaii!