Tales from a first-time cruiser…
Going on a cruise always seemed to be like the idyllic American vacation. Although I personally like to be a little more spontaneous and intrepid, I didn’t want to close myself off to the experience. So, in the midst of winter, my mom and I flew in Nola and hopped onto the Norwegian Dawn for an adventure. It was definitely a much slower pace of traveling than I’m normally used to, but having unlimited amounts of food and drinks around you definitely helped. Yes, we spent a majority of our days at sea eating and trying all the different restaurants on the ship. It was also the most gym time I’ve ever spent in a week, ha!
We got a swipe card that “pays” for everything on the ship. Some things will be included in whichever packages you are in. Other activities like will be charged to your account. Everyday we received a list of activities and special events around the boat. It’s pretty comprehensive and lists everything from dining events, movies, games, excursions, retail and spa. I definitely took advantage of some of the spa specials!
I chose this route for the ports the ship will be docking. Instead of the typical islands in the Caribbean, we would be stopping down countries on the edges of North and Central America. I have to say, unlucky for us, we were met with tumultuous weather for a rather large part of the cruise. So, if you get seasick easily, you would’ve have had a terrible time. I just had to cure boredom. WiFi will cost you extra. A lot of extras on the ship definitely costs a lot for what you get. So be prepared for that! I rather spend the money on spa treatments. There’s nothing a massage and facial can’t fix. Besides, that when the sun was actually out, we had some nice times.
Our originating port. We were able to spend a little bit of time in Nola before leaving, especially trying the brunches and different Cajun dishes.
This island is a huge tourist port, so we decided to spend the say in Tulum instead. From Cozumel, we took the ferry to Playa del Carmen and then hopped onto a bus to Tulum. A lot of work, but so worth it. More pics from Tulum HERE.
Belize City, Belize
This is one of the ports you have tender to get to land. That means getting off in the middle of the ocean and taking the ferry the rest of the way. This is because Belize is surrounded by so much coral reefs that the waters are too shallow for the ship to pull in. The weather was so terrible that day, so for the majority of the morning, no would could go ashore. Many excursions were canceled. Unfortunate. I managed to get a photo from my balcony, to remember the day. This was an onboard day for us.
It basically rained all day. I’ve seen so many gorgeous photos from this island, so we were disappointed in the weather. We planned on a beach and snorkeling excursion that day, but instead, we stayed in again! Thank goodness for the variety of things to do (and eat) on the ship. As you can see here, the crystal blue waters they are known for turned muddy. Boo!
Costa Maya, Mexico
Our second Mexican stop. This time we decided to explore the port and eventually took a taxi out to the nearby fishing village of Mahahual. Though it was a little bit cloudy, we made the best of the day on shore with coconut drinks and a fish lunch. More photos HERE.
Will Cruise Again
My first cruise may not have been the most ideal getaway with the stormy skies and tossing waves. I do like the availability of everything on a ship. All the work of a trip is mostly done for you. I’ll leave that door still open. Maybe next time the weather gods will give me good sun. Otherwise, I want to spend more than a mere day in a new country. There’s just so much to explore!
Thanks for reading!