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Melissa Jacklovich

Age: 24

Occupation:Communications

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norway

Sailing Date: December 29th, 2002

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Cruise Line: NCL
Sailing Date: December 29th, 2002

Our Group: Myself (Melissa) age 24 and my husband (Chris) age 27, both of Fargo, ND. My 22 year old sister (Stephanie) currently of Grand Forks, ND, my older sister (Katie) age 25 and her husband (Keaton) age 27 (of Fredericksburg, VA), and my parents, Sue – age 51 and Steve – age 48 also from Fredericksburg.

Sunday, Dec: 29th, 2002 – After driving down in a 40 foot RV from Fredericksburg, VA, we arrived at the Miami pier at about 10:00 am. We paid for parking ($140 for the week) and unloaded the luggage before moving the RV to a separate locked area. The Norway sat gleaming in the sun, and for us 5 “kids”, all of whom are first time cruisers, it was a sight to behold. A representative met us immediately and the luggage was taken care of. We then went inside. We got ourselves checked in, with all of the paperwork all completed this took about 15 minutes total. After checking in we did have to wait about 30 minutes because people were still getting off from the previous week, and they were preparing the ship. We knew we had arrived early, so this was acceptable. Went through security with no problems and got our access cards. Then took the walk down the ramp, had our picture taken and hopped on the ship. We immediately split up to go check out our rooms. Parents had a Penthouse Suite on the Sun Deck, Other sisters and brother in law were on the Norway Deck, outside stateroom. My husband and I were on the Fjord Deck, room F025. It was an outside stateroom with a big picture window and a lovely view, fortunately not obstructed by lifeboats. We checked our room out and then went down to the casino to set up on board credit. Then we headed to lunch. The Great Outdoors was pretty good for a buffet style. The Strawberry Daiquiri was EXCELLENT! The sail-away party was, we went up on the above the sun deck forward, rather than the pool deck. It was fun watching the smaller boats and jet skis and when the Norway blew her horn, man did it ever echo! The rest of the afternoon and evening were spend exploring. Our dining assignment was Leeward Balcony, main seating. Our waiter was Allan and our busboy was Tomas. They were both fabulous all week long. Try the cappuccino! The steaks were always very good, the prime rib the first night was FABULOUS! Desserts were great too. After dinner we went to the first show. This was really the only Saga Theatre show I liked. I much preferred the bands and comedians.

Monday and Tuesday, Dec 30-31 – At Sea. We played! We explored! We ENJOYED! We really loved watching everything go on. We hung out at the pool, we gambled a little, and we even played Bingo a little! Really had fun playing cards on the International Deck. The High Tea was fun, too. Formal Night was Monday, and was excellent. Here’s a tip, if the pictures are good, BUY THEM…don’t count on having a good one taken with your own camera…thanks a lot, Chris. Dinners were excellent from appetizer to dessert. Tuesday was New Year’s Eve and VERY rough seas. I had the ear patch, so did pretty well. It was the only day I felt even the slightest bit ill, but it wasn’t enough to slow me down! Unfortunately Tuesday began our family’s battle with the Norwalk Virus. Dad got sick on Tuesday, and spent much of 3 days feeling very poorly. Then Saturday Mom got sick, and Katie on Sunday. It was very frustrating as well for us because we knew other people were getting sick, and the ship denied there was anything wrong, that it was just seasickness. Meanwhile down in the doctor’s office they were camping the visits. Clearly they knew something was up. Mom and Dad are pursuing the issue with NCL. I left dinner early that evening, feeling a little seasick and went back to take a nap. Our waiter sent my dinner with my husband, very kind of him. By 9:00 I was good to go! We went to the pool deck and danced in the rain before ringing in the new year in the Sports Bar. I can’t say enough about the fantastic bands on this ship. They were AWESOME! As were both of the comedians.

Wednesday, January 1 – St. Marten. This is the only time I will say this. Tendering is not that big of deal. People complain pretty loudly, but it wasn’t that bad. It was New Year’s Day, so most of the shops were closed. This was my least favorite of the islands we stopped on. It just seemed dirty. It did offer beautiful views, though. Chris, Steph and I went on a tour (not organized by NCL) of the island for $20 per person. The tour was very thorough and the tour guide very intelligent and informative. He stopped for 45 minutes at an open air market for us to shop for trinkets and t-shirts (3 for $10) We did go to the clothing optional section of Orient Beach. Let’s just say that what God gave us is more attractive than what we saw. We did not swim at St. Marten. After the tour we went back to the ship and had lunch, then played cards for the rest of the afternoon. Dad was still sick in his room.

Thursday, Jan. 2nd – St. Thomas. We didn’t get off in St. John. Dad was feeling better so we went to Magen’s Bay. It was wonderful! Fun swimming, beautiful water, and my husband actually went more than ankle deep in the ocean (something he’d never done. Not much ocean in North Dakota). After a couple hours we headed back to town and the seven of us split up to shop. Dad went back to the ship not feeling great. Chris and I shopped, found some gifts and more t-shirts (5 for $10!) Then headed back to the ship and shopped there a little…you guessed it, more t-shirts (2 for $27, not quite as good a deal, but much better quality.)

Friday, Jan. 3rd – At Sea. The BEST DAY of the cruise, in my opinion. Everyone in our group was feeling good. We just all hung out together. Breakfast in the dining room for the first time, rather than GOR, lunch in the buffet line. Farewell dinner was great. The flaming dessert parade was fun. We really enjoyed our waiter, busboy and wine steward. Not too impressed with the Maitre’d. Didn’t seem to do much. It was a day of bonding for us, since we don’t see much of each other. Really, try the steaks, and the shrimp skewers were very good (don’t remember what night that was, Monday, I think.) If you like cappuccino you will definitely be happy. It is served very hot, and not sweet, so we each added a spoon of vanilla ice cream to ours. YUMMY!

Saturday, Jan. 4th – Great Stirrup Cay. Well, today Mom wasn’t feeling well, so the 5 of us kids got off the ship, Dad stayed to take care of Mom. She was upset because she wanted to snorkel and didn’t get a chance. This was my favorite shore excursion. The barbecue was pretty good, there were plenty of chairs, and it was a nice day. The snorkeling was fun, new experience for all of us. We took some very good underwater pictures. This was definitely a fun day. After we had our fill of the beach we headed back to the ship, checked on Mom, and started packing up before dinner. Pretty quiet evening. Chris and I spent most of the evening just walking the ship, sinking in some memories. We took care of our onboard credit and tipping with no hassles, handed out envelopes. We didn’t tip the maitre’d as much as recommended because he truly didn’t do a darn thing. Waiter, busboy and room steward all got a little extra.

Sunday, Jan. 5th – Debarkation. Went pretty smoothly. My older sister was sick this day, so it was a little rough for her since she couldn’t just lay about. They called for the flying passengers. It was nice to have been able to go enjoy breakfast and hang out in the rooms without a lot of hassle. When it was our turn to get off it took about 20 minutes. Dad went and got the RV out of the parking facility and we loaded up. This was a very easy process.

In closing, we came home to cold, snowy Fargo, North Dakota with decent tans, 12 plastic NCL drink cups (figure maybe we’ll use them in a home bar someday. They really are quite lovely), 2 nice glass drink glasses (new crystal, I have a good imagination), about 20 t-shirts (no kidding), 7 full rolls of film and nearly two hours of video footage, and the memory of the BEST VACATION EVER! It was wonderful to spend the time with my family. We stayed busy and had a lot of fun. The illness part of it was unfortunate, but we did not allow it to ruin things for us. The Norway was a wonderful cruise for my first time. She gave me a taste of cruising and my husband and I have decided to go on another one in about 3 years (after our 5 year anniversary), hopefully with friends and family. I will say it will not be on the Norway. We enjoyed her, we really did, but she is not for us. My husband and I are only in our 20’s, and that was a problem on this cruise as far as mingling with people other than our family. I would guess that close to 75% of the passengers were over 65. Please don’t think I’m insulting anyone, it was lovely to chat with these people, and to see them enjoying themselves. There were also quite a lot of very small children, probably though just because it was Christmas break. I was not bothered at all, but some people might have been. I thought it was funny to see the “Cruisin’ Babies”. Another reason we would do something else is simply for a new experience and itinerary. We would like to maybe go to Mexico or the Western Caribbean. We want a lot more activities for younger individuals as well, the rock wall, the in-line skating. I know many of you will sigh, and say she wants a floating resort…and you’re right. That’s what we want for the next one. The Norway was a fascinating ship, full of culture and history. I’m glad to have grasped a piece of it. We are just ready for newer and different.

Remember: Buy the pictures. And wear sunscreen.

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