Since our first cruise, my thoughts about cruising have changed. For me, the ship is the destination – a floating all-inclusive hotel – and the ports are nice extras. Cruises eliminate a lot of simple stresses of logistics and decisions. Land vacations require compromises when people want to do different things. They are great for families because everyone can do their own thing – even eat – whenever or however much they want! My desire was to relax in the warmth of the sun and have one important decision per day: What shall I have for dinner?
Photo taken from Great Stirrup Cay, NCL’s private island in The Bahamas. We tendered to the island along with 4000 others. After a short swim we decided to return to the mostly vacant ship! We didn’t even get off the ship in Cape Canaveral nor Nassau. The best days were when everyone was gone.
A fantastically delicious Rib of Lamb dinner, with potatoes gratin, and bacon-wrapped green beans.
Créme Brûlée. No complaints!
Tender escargots swimming in cheesy garlic butter to be sopped up with crusty French bread. Our travel agent gifted us a free dinner at a specialty restaurant onboard. We chose Le Bistro. I chose Bouillabaisse for my entree. The whole dinner which was tres magnifiqué! But I don’t like the idea of paying for specialty dining experiences (or room service) when we’ve already paid for the cruise.
In Miami we booked the Gator Land Everglades fan-boat ride.
We saw several alligators sunning themselves. Our guide told us that gators feed at night and need at least 85 degrees Fahrenheit in order to digest their food.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Escape features a giant sailfish, stingray and other marine creatures on its hull, painted by conservation artist Guy Harvey.
Norwegian Escape Ship Profile & Stats
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Ship Type:Cruise Ship
Year Last Refurbished:–
Number of Crew:1,731
The Escape incorporated technology in its design. I liked being able to see if someone was “At Home” with just a glance. All over the ship were helpful digital touch screens to identify available restaurant seating, book show tickets and excursions, or just finding your way from here to there!
We knew what we were getting into.
We knew the Escape was a huge ship.
We knew that it was the school Christmas Vacation and there would be families and kids.
We knew the weather would be cool some days seeing as we sailed from/to New York.
We had a great cruise with good weather and delicious food, plus I read 4 books!
Do you hear a “But” coming?
But… we didn’t fall in love with NCL’s Freestyle Dining.
Freestyle Dining is not having a set dining time with the same waitstaff everyday. Freestyle Dining is choosing when you want to eat and where you want to eat and making reservations. Freestyle Dining means never eating with strangers. Freestyle Dining is not having to dress for dinner. I get it. (Once upon a time we packed suits and fancy dresses.) It’s your vacation; you paid for it, just as I did. You paid a lot to bring the kids – and grandma and grandpa too!
The food was excellent. But the lines, the noise, and diners in t-shirts, was more like a Denny’s dining experience. That I didn’t like!
Thankfully, there are many cruiseline’s available to fit everyone’s personalities. It’s important to know what you want – or don’t want, and choose accordingly. Next time, unless we’re traveling with grandkids, we will choose a smaller vessel with traditional dining because we like getting to know our waitstaff and having dinner companions!
Let’s move on to everyone’s favorite, the “main and dessert courses” so to speak, of our vacation. Meet you in the Morning next time from Greece!