Day 1 2/15/01
Got up very early at 4am after not sleeping. We packed up the car and were ready to go at 5:30, then it happened. The care would not start. We tried for 30 mins, but to no avail, and had to call upon a friend to get us to the airport. We still arrived in time for our flight. It was actually quite a nice flight. I haven’t flown on American in probably 20 or more years. The plane was great, seemed brand new, with TV’s down the aisle and a bag of food for breakfast. We landed in Miami and got a rental car. It was still before 10, so we had to kill about 5 hours. Drove to Bayside Marketplace for lunch. Had a pretty good view of the port, at least the top of the ship, Carnival Imagination. We did a little walking around South Beach, and went back to the hotel at 3. The hotel, Howard Johnsons on Biscayne Ave, was in a great location, straight across from the turning basin. Our room wasn’t ready, so we drove around for another 90 minutes. Upon our return to the hotel, with 3 large suitcases and 4 carry-ons, we were given our key. We went up to the room, and it was filthy, still had not been cleaned. I dunno who stayed there, but you would swear it was pigs! I called the front desk, and in a loud firm voice, advised them that the staff had still not cleaned the room, and it was 4:30! They gave us a key to another room, a suite! Top floor and a commanding view of the port. Now that was nice. We sat in the room to relax, and watched the Imagination, sail up to the basin, turn, and sail out to sea. This evening, we had tickets to see Cirque du Soleil in Miami. The tent was across the street from us. If you have the chance while in Miami, you must do it. It was amazing. I bought it as an anniversary gift, VIP seats, and cocktail party etc… you can see it on their website, www.cirquedusoleil.com
. We did a little bar hopping, but by 3:15am, I was beat… 39 hours without sleep.
Day 2 2/16/01
Slept in late, and went to the beach for the afternoon. We got some pizza at Hot SoBe pizza on Washington ( highly recommend the Sorrentina ) and went to the hotel to rest, and clean up for dinner. Our port view showed us the Carnival Ecstasy, Norwegian Sea, and the RCCI Majesty of the Seas. We watched the Ecstasy sail up to the basin and turn, then the Sea and the Majesty sail out to sea. We had been invited by an old friend to dinner at Tantra ( a very hip restaurant in SoBe ). He is the manager, and would not let us pay for a thing. The restaurant is pricey, our dinner ( for 2 ) with wine and cocktails, came to 200-250 I estimated. The he gave me a box of liquor to sneak on to the ship with me, 3 bottles of Ketel One Vodka (yum) and 2 bottles of Perrier Jounet Champagne. We ended the night at Level ( a bar ) for the Studio 54 party, to which, my friend had gotten us complimentary tickets.
Day 3 2/17/01 – The stuff you really want to read – Embarkation Day.
We took the rental car at 8:30 and drove down the McArthur Causeway towards Miami Beach, to take pictures and video of the ships in port. There was the Carnival Triumph, Norwegian Wind, RCCI Explorer of the Seas, …. And the Norway! Tony dropped me off at the hotel to pack the bags, while he took the car back to the airport. The hotel has a free transfer to the port, and I had signed up for 11:30. I know check-in is 1pm, and 12pm for Latitudes, but why not try to go earlier. We got to the port at about 11:35, and dropped off the bags. We went in to the terminal, got a picture taken, and went upstairs to check-in. We are Latitudes members, so we waited in line about 15 seconds, and were called up to a desk. All our paperwork was done ahead of time, so we were checked-in in 5 minutes. We were taken past the waiting non-Latitudes members (who I assume had to wait until 12) and straight aboard the ship. We had to wait until 12 in the Sports Bar ( Previously the Sports Illustrated Café, but no more ) until the rooms were ready. Then at noon went down one deck to Pool Deck and found our room. Now since we had just been on the Norway in July 2000, we opted for the cheapest room on the ship. Inside cabin, category P. This room was actually larger than our last cabin. Not much, but still. The cabin was P-083. There was a basket of fruit and a bottle of wine compliments of NCL, since I had written them a nice letter after our last cruise. So we were in the room 30 mins after leaving the hotel. We dropped off our carry on luggage and went to the Great Outdoor Restaurant for lunch. They were serving ( not a complete list, just some of what we had) hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood kabobs, beef burgundy, a variety of cold salads, green salad, breads, and a wide selection of desserts. We had a great view of the front of the Wind. We then toured a few decks and poked our heads in several rooms and suites on the Sun and Sky decks. We toured International Deck and stopped back in the room. 2 of our bags were there! At 2pm! So we quickly unpacked them. We went to the Muster drill, then up to the Sun and Star decks for Sail Away. We didn’t return to our cabin till 7:30 to dress for dinner. We had a meet and greet cocktail party for our group and then went to dinner. This time we had late seating, and now I don’t know if I prefer early or late… hmmm. We were in the Windward Dining Room, which is stunning, but I still prefer the Leeward, it is roomier, and not as loud. After dinner, I won 20 in the casino, and then we went to our first show, a Welcome Aboard Show. A variety of performers from the ship, it was ok. We then went to Dazzles Disco till about 1:30 and turned in.
Day 4 02/18/01 – Sea Day
Slept in a little late, and missed Bingo! L We laid out on the Sun deck for a couple of hours. We got lunch and then went to the St Maarten port talk. I highly recommend going to these, so many people saw things we bought, and were mad that they did not know about them. There was a Champagne Auction that afternoon, we didn’t buy anything, but had fun bidding and drinking the comp champagne. We returned to the room to steam our formal wear for dinner that evening and take a little rest. We dressed and went to the Captains Welcome Party. We met the captain, and had a formal picture taken, and went to the party in the North Cape Lounge. The captain gave a little talk about the ship, the itinerary, and the fleet. Dinner followed, and was quite good. Our tablemates went to Le Bistro, so we had the table to ourselves, ordered wine and enjoyed dinner. We saw the champagne my friend in Miami gave us on the wine list and it was 120.00!! Yikes, and to think we sullied that first bottle by drinking it out of common water glasses in our cabin! After dinner and the casino, we saw Sing, Sing, Sing. The company has changed since our last cruise, and so has some of the show and costumes. This was a welcome surprise, we thought it would be the same show as last time. We went to Dazzles, they had a Dance Thru the Decades Party. Every 15 mins they changed the decade of the music, from 70’s to 2000 and back, all night. They had streamers and a countdown between each decade. We found a crew member we had met on our last cruise, and spent the evening dancing and chatting with her. We stayed till about 3:15 and went to bed. Eww those dress shirts were soaked. Bagged them up and sent them to be dry-cleaned, about 3.50 each.
Day 5 2/19/01 – Sea Day
Woke late again, surprise, surprise. Missed Bingo by 15 minutes! L So we ate breakfast at the Great Outdoor Restaurant. We did a little window-shopping on International Deck and then attended the Latitudes Repeaters party. Free Mimosa, Bloody Mary’s and Screwdrivers. We received a nice Latitudes pin and were greeted by the staff captain. We attended the St Thomas port talk, also highly recommended. Then back to the room for a rest, since we got a little red the day before. Again our table-mates went to Le Bistro for dinner. We enjoyed another private dinner, though we were asked about 10 times to join another table. We then saw the Spotlight Show, Barry John, a juggler. I know what it sounds like, but he was entertaining and funny. At 11:30 was the 60’s 70’s dance party, we thought it was 50/60 party and were prepared with 50’s outfits, if we had known, we had cool 70’s outfits at home… again, we were roped into impersonating the Village People with 3 others. It ended up on TV and we were recognized all week. Then off to Dazzles until some unholy hour.
Day 6 2/20/01 – St Maarten
We woke early and showered, no need to wait for a tender ticket as our friend from the previous cruise held 2 aside for the first tender. We were in port with the Disney Magic, RCCI Monarch of the Seas and the USS Eisenhower ( Aircraft Carrier ). Busy day! As soon as we got off the tender in Phillipsburg, we rented a Jeep from a guy with Dollar, for about $55. We decided to go off on our own to explore the island at our own pace instead of an excursion. We headed west from Phillipsburg to Cupecoy Bay. Cupecoy is a nude beach on the Dutch side of the island, it is not well known, so it is not crowded. There were about 50 people there, only a few that should have kept on their bathing suits (unlike Orient Beach). We laid out there for a couple hours and I did not want to leave. It is the most peaceful beach. It is surrounded by rock cliffs, so there is little wind, plenty of sun, and gentle surf. We eventually had to leave, but stopped at the top of the cliffs to take a couple of pictures of the beach. ( we were far enough that you could not really see the people, so no naughty email please J ). We headed north to Marigot. We parked there in a free parking lot ( imagine that ) and walked around there a little. We walked out to the waters edge and saw a Windstar ship there. We hopped back in the Jeep to head to Grand Case, we were going to eat there, but decided that we did not want to spend time eating, that we could spend exploring and shopping. We drove to Orient Beach to see what all the hoopla was about… Ug. It was a beautiful beach, but, the crowds were amazing. You couldn’t slide paper between the people lying on the beach. With four ships in port, there were just far to many people there, thousands! We were so glad we chose not to lie out there. We headed back to Phillipsburg to drop off the car and do a little shopping. We went to the Guavaberry Store of course and bought 4 bottles. I bought a watch and a few other little things, then caught the last tender back to the ship at 6:30. We skipped seeing the show, but went to dinner, alone again… hmmm a disturbing trend. We actually accepted an invitation to another table. Our group had a private pool party, which really means cocktails near the pool. Then to Dazzles for just a few minutes. We had get up too early on Wednesday.
Day 7 2/21/01 – St John/St Thomas
We had to get up at 5:30 to catch a tender to St John at 7. We did not choose an excursion, but were able to buy ferry passes on the ship, so that we could explore on our own. We walked around Cruz Bay, found a hilltop with a great view of the Norway sailing off to St Thomas, and many little roads to walk. We headed back in to town to find breakfast, but the only thing open was this little grill joint. So we ate cheeseburgers and fries at 8am. We found a taxi to take us to Cinnamon Bay, the ride was scary. The cab zips up and down hills and around curves on the edges of cliffs, but we got there. At Cinnamon, there is an entire camping resort, complete with bathrooms, showers and a convenience store. We walked out to the beach, and there were a lot of people, so we took the path on the right (near the beach) and walked down to the end of the beach. At this point there were several rocky coves on the beach, so we chose to set up there. We had a cove about 50 yards wide all to ourselves. There were some great picture opportunities there sitting on rocks as the waves crashed up around you. We stayed there till about 10:30. We got a taxi back to Cruz Bay, and had intentions of going to Duffy’s Love Shack. I had heard about it and was looking forward to it, but they did not open till 12, and it was 11. We had to catch the 12 noon ferry, so, no Duffy’s. We found another place to have a soda and write postcards. We went to the dock to catch the ferry, and found out that the ferry that we bought tickets for does not leave from the ferry dock. It leaves from the service dock that the tender let us off at, so for any of you that do the same, remember to go back to the service dock. We had to run!! We got on the ferry, and the good thing was that instead of taking us to Red Hook, like the regular ferry, it took us to the tender dock in Charlotte Amalie. We then just shopped in Charlotte Amalie, since our last time there we had no time due to scheduling 2 excursions. We ate lunch at Bumpa’s, which I highly recommend for a quick bite to eat. It is right on Waterfront Highway across from the tender dock, next to Down Island Traders ( on your shopping guide map ). I also recommend Down Island Traders, there you can get a glass hand-painted ornament featuring the Norway. It really is very nice, and I snapped one up this time. We had wanted to go to Havensight so that we could go up to Paradise Point, but were afraid we did not have enough time. So instead we shopped some more. I also recommend A.H. Riise for liquor purchases, they will box them and send them to the ship for you if you purchase by 2 pm. Just as we were finishing shopping, it started to rain, we ran down the block to Fat Tuesday for frozen cocktails… how convenient. We again caught the last tender back to the ship, and got good pictures of the ships at Havensight. Grand Princess, CostaAtlantica, and Explorer of the Seas were docked there. The Disney Magic was anchored in the harbor, but started to leave as we were getting on the tender. We arrived back on the ship and went up to the Star deck to get pictures as the Explorer and Atlantica sailed next to our ship. We skipped the show again (Guys and Dolls) tonite and just went to dinner. 2 of our table mates showed up this time. This evening was Caribbean night. There was a much better deck party this time ( versus July ). They taught the crowd several dances, had a Miss Carmen Miranda contest featuring 4 dazed men, and waiters dancing with trays on their heads. We stayed at the deck party for quite a while, but eventually made it down to Dazzles. We met 6 crew members that night, our favorite thing to do. We hung out til 5 am!!
Day 8 2/22/01 – Sea Day
Needless to say we slept in. We went out on deck to find a mysterious island near the ship. It turns out there was a medical emergency, and someone had to be medi-vac’d to Miami. ( info courtesy of our crew friends ). So basically the ship detoured to Grand Turk Island, and we waited for a plane to get there from Miami. NCL toyed with the idea of letting us off in Grand Turk, but the island was going to charge too much money, so that was a no go. Sad since it was announced that afternoon that we could not make up enough time to get to Great Stirrup Cay – we wouldn’t arrive till about 4. We finally left the island late that afternoon. We played bingo and lost – as usual, and then attended a private dance at Dazzles for our group. Since it was formal night, we left the dance early to get dressed for the show and dinner. Our show was before dinner, it was Sea Legs Goes Hollywood. This show also had been changed a little since last time, and again, some new costumes that were amazing. Our one friend who is a dancer, was making faces at us while dancing – very funny. There was a short farewell show after Sea Legs, take your camcorder for it, I found it very touching. A large number of the crew get up on stage and sing. It is actually quite good. And they don’t stop you from taping the Farewell. Then dinner with the typical Baked Alaska parade, and all the waiters singing on the stairway. We walked a little after dinner, I felt hot. We found some of our friends, and took pictures in formal wear, but then changed clothes at midnight. We went to Dazzles and hung out with our friends on the crew till they had to leave at 3am. We went to one of their rooms and I brought some of my remaining liquor, and we hung out till about 5. As we were leaving, 2 of them wanted to take us to the anchor room. They said the view was awesome, but since it was 5 am, it was pitch dark. We decided to come back the next day. The room was really cool, huge chains and machinery, davits to tie off the ship, etc. It has a “porthole” about 2 ½ feet around right in the bow of the ship, which you can hang out of (carefully). See my pics on cruise-addicts for a bow shot and one of the anchor chains.
Day 9 2/23/01 – Sea Day by default
After going to bed at 6, we got up at 10:15 for Bingo, and lost again. At 11:30, the captain announced a free rum punch party at all bars since we did not make Great Stirrup Cay, mmm you’d be amazed at how many you can drink in one hour! We had agreed to meet 2 of our crew friends on the Star deck at 1 for some sun. So we laid out in the crew area till 4. Then Tony and I snuck down to the anchor room for a daytime view. It was a little scary ducking in to crew halls, but we made it without incident. I hung out the bow of the ship, and got some pics and video of the bow cutting thru the water. I even saw some flying fish off the starboard bow. We went to lunch and ran into 2 of our dinner table mates, and they were intrigued by the anchor room, so we did it again, ducking cabin stewards and running up and down hallways. Also while with them, we ran into one of the dancers we met, and he took us on a tour of the dressing room for the Saga Theater. We went back to our room to clean up for the show and dinner, but then realized that we had not packed yet… So we missed the show because we had packed and then I realized I did not have my wallet, we unpacked everything looking for it, and repacked it. It was at the Pursers Desk, thank goodness. We went to dinner, alone again, tipped and thanked our waiter and busboy ( Torrington Smith and Alexander Villareal). We went to the Salsa Party at the Sports Bar, but never made it in the door, since we ran into 3 crew friends, we just sat at a table on International deck and laughed. We went to the cabin so I could change in to something clubby for the disco. Another crew friend showed up at the cabin with a complimentary copy of the video from 60’s 70’s night. That was unexpected and very sweet. We went to the disco till about 2:30, and we and the 7 crew members went back to one of their rooms again and partied till about 5:30 when we could see the lights of Miami out the porthole. We went up on deck and watched as the ship sailed in to the channel, taking pictures with the brilliant background. Our friends went to bed, but Tony and I stayed up while the ship sailed up to the turning basin, turned and docked in front of the Wind. We got to bed about 6:30.
Day 10 2/24/01 – Disembarkation Day
We got up at 8:30 to gather up our stuff and pack our carry-on bags. We went to the theater to see 2 of our friends rehearsing a new number for the Welcome Aboard Show. Jean Ann Ryan herself was there directing it. We stayed for about 90 mins then went to get breakfast at the Great Outdoor Restaurant, and wait for general disembarkation to be called. We got off the ship around 10:45 ( that late by choice ) and took a cab to the airport to wait 9 hours for our flight home…
Sorry this is soooooo long, but I wanted to do a different approach than my last review of my July 2000 cruise on the Norway. If you want info on specific rooms etc, please see that review. I hope this was enjoyable to you and not too verbose. Trust me I did cut it down.
I plan on posting a list of all daily activities on the ship, so if you are interested in seeing that, watch for it.
See you on the Seas