Seems like all I have been blogging about lately is travel and food. Well, I get inspired by what surrounds me and that has been a predominate theme for me lately. During spring break, my husband and I took our three girls (12, 14, 16) on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. The hubby and I got a room with a deck and the girls stayed in the room right across the hall. This worked out on so many levels. The girls slept in on the days we were at sea and we went to breakfast and sat on the deck. The cruise proved to be one of our favorite vacations together.
The Norwegian Dawn is a beautiful ship. It holds 2,224 passengers (double occupancy) and 1,073 crew. We left Tampa on Sunday, then had a day at sea. The next four days we went to Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel, finishing off with a day at sea and then back to port on the final morning. We were at port from 8:00-5:00 each day so it left the whole day for whatever excursions or sightseeing you wanted to do.
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One of the things that I really liked about cruising was that I didn’t have to worry about feeding everyone. If they were hungry at any time during the day, there was something to accommodate them. Every day when we got back to the ship we would change clothes and head to a beautiful 3 course dinner. Norwegian has adapted the freestyle cruising which means you are not designated a fixed meal time. They had 2 large dining rooms, a large buffet and various grills that are included with the cruise. There is also a large number of restaurants that you can go to for an additional fee ($15-$30 average per person). We stuck with the dining options that were included and the food was fabulous. I couldn’t see paying extra when there was so much to choose from at no extra charge.
In the evenings, there were also a lot of entertainment options. My youngest daughter loved the live shows. Magic, aerial acts, comedians, musicals. and game shows – again, there was something for everyone.
Things to note – airfare to Tampa is not cheap (especially multiplied by 5). Excursions ranged from $50 – $150 per person – again multiplied by 5 it adds up quickly. Drinks of any kind are really expensive on the cruise. Beer ranged from $5 – $7 each and mixed drinks averaged about $10. If you purchased any alcohol at a port it was confiscated as you boarded the ship and given to you right before you left. Soda was $2 each. You can purchase an all day soda package for $6 per person per day. That adds up quickly. My girls ended up drinking very little soda. I bought them the package, but it would have actually been cheaper for me to pay per soda with as little as they used it. Water, coffee, ice tea, milk and juice (in the mornings at the buffet) were free. Tips are mandatory – $12 per person per day. This too adds up with a family of 5 (totalled $420). You give them a copy of your CC when you check in and they give you these little cards that they scan each time you do or purchase something that costs money. You can’t use cash and CC on the ship. If you aren’t aware of some of these add-ons, it can be quite the surprise on your bill at checkout.