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Ed Z

Age: 31 to 40

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: 3 to 5

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norway

Sailing Date: July 8th, 2000

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Deck or Club International.  Not bad for a quick breakfast while waiting for your tender.

Club International:

This room seems to be the same as it was when the s/s France sailed Trans-Atlantic.  The room is beautiful.  I was captivated by the sculptures of Neptune adorned with quartz.  Truly a beautiful sight.  This room was used for (among other things) the Captains Reception, nightly sushi bar (!), and had a great band nightly.

Windjammer Lounge:

I never got to go here, but have vowed that in Feb 01 I will enjoy at least 1 drink there.  It is decorated with sails and masts and ropes, it is quite cozy and there is usually a piano player there.

Dazzles:

This was a fun spot, from the first night 70’s party till the last night’s Karaoke party.  The sound system is good and the DJ’s music was actually up to date.  The light show and the dance floor leave something to be desired but a good time all around.  We actually got roped into impersonating the Village People for the 70’s party for the promise of a free drink… so we lead the crowd in a rendition of YMCA.

Swimming Pools:

The two saltwater pools on board were nice.  The Pool Deck pool was larger and more crowded.  I usually did not have a problem finding a deck chair and soaking in the sun.  The waiters were very attentive, and there were freebies and drink specials.  Once I did try to escape the crowds by going to the Sun Deck pool ( smaller and with an enclosed deck area).  Unfortunately there was a group of rowdy kids there without supervision, splashing, jumping and generally annoying the adults there… NCL could use some form of supervision around the pools to cut the horse-play.  The two hot tubs are located one deck up from there between the funnels.   They were a good size and it was not impossible to get in to one of them.  I really would have liked to have seen maybe 2 more.

Ports of Call:

St Maarten/ St Martin:

First port of the trip, Tuesday.  We opted out of any shore excursions here, and decided to explore on our own.  We found a taxi that took us to Indiana Beach, this was about a 15 min ride and was still on the Dutch side, there was a bar there and some water craft, but we decided to walk along the beach a ways.  Eventually, we made our way most of the way around the little “harbor” and found a white sand beach, there was no one else for ¼ mile on either side of us….   There also were no facilities here, so we stripped down and changed on the beach.  The water was beautiful, warm and clear.  The only 2 drawbacks were the undertow (very strong, may have been the location) and the water is extremely salty, when we left and our hair dried, we had “icicles” of salt hanging off our heads, very weird…  We of course went to the Guavaberry store and bought some to take home ( I really wish they would raise that customs limit… this guavaberry stuff is wonderful, but awfully pricey to order from the US).  We ended our day at Every’ting Cool on the beach.  They have a HUGE selection of frozen drinks; we had the Painkiller, yum.  We sat under an umbrella, listened to a band and gazed at the ship and all the people on the beach.  Local women were around offering hair braiding and beautiful sarongs.  We bartered with one and bought 2 sarongs, they have made nice wall hangings.  A wonderful day.  The island is still battling the effects of several hurricanes since 97 so the vegetation is not as lush as it could be, but the island was still great.

St. John/St. Thomas:

The second port day, Wednesday.  The ship arrives at St John by 6am and those with excursions leave the ship by about 6:30.  We chose the St. John Sailing.  We were taken on a catamaran out to Honeymoon Bay and taught to snorkel.  We were set loose for about 75-90 minutes of solo snorkeling.   The water was so clear, and the fish were stunning ( I had never snorkeled so this was all new to me ) we saw some amazing sights.  The most impressive was just as we were supposed to go back to the boat I spotted an octopus.  I called several people around and we watched it glide across the floor of the bay, changing colors as it went over rocks or sand.  We reboarded the catamaran and sailed to St. Thomas, about 45 minutes.  Free punch ( with or without rum ) was served.  We were taken to the back side of the island and boarded safari buses for a scenic ride to Charlotte Amalie.  We stopped at the top of a mountain for a spectacular view of Megan’s Bay and then another stop to see the harbor at Charlotte Amalie and the ships docked at Havensight, and the Norway in the distance.  We arrived in Charlotte Amalie, grabbed a sandwich and RAN around shopping as we had less than an hour till our next excursion.  We loaded up on the liquor at AH Riise, this shop is great because if you come in before 2pm (I think) they will ship your liquor to the ship for free.  We then boarded the Kon-Tiki Party Cruise.  There were plenty of people from the Norway, and the other 2 ships in port, Grandeur of the Seas and Zaandam.   We sailed out, with non-stop rum punch to a reef, then they opened the glass bottom and we could see the sea life.  They threw hot dog rolls in the water and the fish went nuts.  We then sailed to a beach on a small island adjacent to St Thomas.  We were left for an hour or so to swim and let the rum punch sink in.  We reboarded the Kon-Tiki to sail back to St. Thomas and the rum punch flowed, but this time the crew offered additional shots of rum in your punch.  There was a steel drum band and limbo’s etc.  The Kon-Tiki also has an open upper deck.  We arrived back at Charlotte Amalie, did some more quick shopping, and boarded the (last) tender back to the ship.  Liquor prices are unbeatable in St. Thomas.

Great Stirrup Cay:

Final Port, Friday.   Fun Place!  The snorkeling was great, and if you got the equipment through NCL, you could snorkel all day (we did twice ).  Doran was our sea life tour guide and pointed out different fish, and sights, and warned of what not to touch.  The food on the island was great, just your plain hamburgers, hot dogs etc, but very good.  The calypso band from the Pool Deck played on the island, and the music coupled with the views was breathtaking.  There is a small “straw” market on the island where locals sell their wares.  There are some good deals and they are always willing to bargain.  Wish the day at GSC were longer.

Staff:

We met some wonderful people on this ship.  The crew was completely helpful and friendly at every turn.  I never saw any nasty crewmembers; even the maintenance guys would smile and say hello.  I recommend a number of employees ( and even wrote a 5 page letter to NCL to advise of these outstanding people)  look for Patti Honacki, Bobbi Hawday, Torrance Turner, all hosts, and international hosts Pilar and Aurora – fantastic.  Doran of the Dive-In staff was very helpful and genial; he was also our muster captain and tour guide on Great Stirrup Cay.  There are several others, and I am sure you will find your own.

The trip included 3 days at sea, which may seem like a lot, but they were wonderful.  The daily Cruise News was packed with things to do all day, or sometimes we chose nothing at all.   Debarkation was a breeze, I did not like having to leave the cabin so early, thus we had to drag around 4 carry on bags everywhere we went.  I will look forward to Freestyle Cruising since they are supposed to have more relaxed debarkation.

A last thought….  Things I will never forget.

Standing on the back of the pool deck in formal wear transfixed by the moon and its reflections in the water.
The slight shaking of the ship as it picked up speed to get to Sint Maarten.
Rocking to sleep in my cabin.
Running around alone ( and nekkid ) on the beach in Sint Maarten.
Snorkeling in St. John.
Too many Fosters Lagers are not necessarily a good thing….
Winning $1000 in the Monte Carlo Casino.
Finding an awesome watch at an awesome price.

This was the best vacation of my life, and I wish I could do it every week….  Counting down till 2/17/01 for my next journey on the Norway.   I will miss her when she goes to Asia.

Ed Z a.k.a. Intrepid. 

Norway    8/85
Norway    7/8/00 –7/15/00
Norway    2/17/01 – 2/24/01

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