Gretchen Liles Line
Number of Cruises: n/a
Cruise Line: Norwegian
Sailing Date: June 2nd, 2002
Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean
A day early in Miami
We flew in the evening of the 1st and stayed at the Renaissance Miami Biscayne Bay although the cab driver took us to the wrong one and it cost an extra $10 to get to the right one, oh well. We finally got there late in the evening and had a view of the pier which was great because when we woke up on Sunday morning, there she was. We had my daughter and her friend with us and they were a little disappointed at the size of her compared to the RCCL and Carnival ones on either side, by the end of the cruise, they were really glad we were on the Norway.
We arrived about 10:30am and had to wait a long time outside before they would let anyone in. Once we were allowed inside, the registration took no time at all and we had a short wait before we were let on board. We were in the President's Owner's suite and expected to be escorted to our room which didn't happen but having been on the Norway before; we knew where we were going.
We went to see the girls' room first; they were in a CC room, V145 which is famous for being "the red room". Devon the ships historian even mentions it in one of his talks. The room is completely red and the bathroom has beautiful original colored tile. They had a tub and shower, 3 port holes and although the room was a shock to first look at, it was great. It used to be part of the Royal suite when she was the France. Then we went to our room and the girls were extremely jealous but that only lasted until we took them to see what room they started out in before any upgrades, a category P. There were 7 rooms in total, it was incredible. There was an extra bedroom with bunks but we didn't upgrade to it until after we had made final payment on both rooms which is why the girls didn't share a room with us but being young adults, I think they preferred being on their own anyway. They spent as much time as they wanted in our room. The other bedroom was huge with a king bed, 2 dressers, vanity, 2 closets with a safe. There were many more closets in the room, some of which we never even used. There were flowers, champagne, a fruit basket, etc.
In St Maarten I took the girls on the Golden Eagle Catamaran and we had a great time. We went to a deserted beach for snorkeling and they saw a turtle, octopus and lobster. They were thrilled. It really was beautiful. Prior to the excursion we did some shopping and the girls got their hair braided.
We had to meet at 6:15am for St John. We purchased $8 return ferry tickets through NCL and took the ferry right from the ship to St John then a $4 pp cab to Trunk Bay. More great snorkeling there. We left for the 1pm ferry back to St Thomas, did a little shopping there and then got back on the tender for the ship.
Great Stirrup Cay was incredibly hot, my husband only stayed for about an hour. We got there a couple hours late due to unfavorable winds I guess, they also had to airlift a gentleman off the ship, they took him to Nassau then to be transferred to Miami. We never heard any more about that. It is important to get to GSC early so you can get a chair and umbrella, if you aren't there early, you fry.
We were in the Leeward at a table for 4 but after the first evening, I asked Caron the concierge to move us to a large table because I had previously "warned" the girls that we would be eating with strangers and to me that is a big part of the cruising experience although I realize that when the Norway leaves, it won't be on the other ships. That was the best thing we did, she ended up moving us to the Captain's table although he doesn't dine there they still call it that because it is the largest table. There was a family with 3 teenage daughters and they and my girls ended up spending a lot of time together. We had great table mates; we had a lot of fun at dinner. I thought the food was excellent and it allowed my daughter and her friend to try a lot of new things. The escargot was marvelous, my daughter even ordered it twice (once in Le Bistro).
We were invited to the Captain's quarters for a cocktail party. Needless to say, he has a very nice cabin with a huge balcony.
We got a galley tour which was unimpressive, we didn't see too much and it only lasted about 30 minutes. The most interesting thing was the sings all over saying "Keep fingers out of soup cups". We also got an invitation to tour the bridge on the GSC day but since we were late getting there, we didn't get back on the ship in time for that.
We had treats delivered every evening except one and I think that must have been an oversight but we were always so stuffed I must say that we didn't eat most of the things brought to us. We got priority tendering at each port which was wonderful, especially in Great Stirrup Cay.
We got a complimentary lobster dinner at Le Bistro on Wednesday and it was great.
Everything we got was extended to the girls which I thought was really wonderful.
Caron Rasp, the concierge was terrific. She assisted us with everything we asked and she never seemed put out.
I lost a lot of money on the slots in the casino. My husband won playing Black Jack but not enough to make up for my losses!
We got 3 bottles of liquor in the room and all the soda we wanted which saved us a lot of money but we still bought many drinks at the bars.
Even though the room was so big and beautiful we still didn't spend much time in it, more then usual but still not that much. The most exciting thing was to come back to the room and see what had been delivered.
The trip was a graduation gift for our daughter so when I booked, I asked for a cake which is complimentary and I also ordered the $30 cabin decorating with cake. They decorated our room in error but she took the cake to her room. When the other cake was delivered to our dinner table, they sang Happy Birthday which was a little odd then minutes later they brought another cake and sang Happy Birthday again to me which was equally odd. The girls ended up with 3 cakes in their room that they hardly touched.
We didn't go to the Chocoholic buffet but the girls did and they said it was really crowed which I assumed it would be since it is the only midnight buffet they have. Since we had late dining, they didn't really eat much but took many pictures.
Don't miss Devon's (the ships historian) talks, they were really interesting and late Friday evening, they show a French film that was excellent showing all kinds of pictures of the ship. Apparently it was made for travel agents and since it's all in French, they show it silent with a man and woman playing music and singing. It's only about 30 minutes long but definitely worth making time to see.
All in all we had a wonderful time. We even booked onboard for October in an AB that we got upgraded from an AC with $150 shipboard credit.
The one downside was that my daughter turns 18 in less than 2 weeks and they wouldn't allow anyone under 18 in the disco after 10:30pm.
As we were leaving the pier, my daughter's friend looked at the RCCL huge ship and said "I am glad we were on the Norway" which was great to hear.
Oh, I thought of something else, you clear immigration in St John but even if you don't leave the ship, you have to meet in the Saga Theatre at 7am with your passport or BC...everyone, no exceptions.