Originally Posted by bocraw
My family is considering taking a Western Caribbean Cruise out of New Orleans. I believe the ship is the Norwegian Spirit. None of us have been on a cruise before and I was hoping to get some help with questions:
1) My children are 13 and 10. I see Carnival has a similar cruise. Should I look into that before we book?
2) I believe my family will love snorkeling. Should we bring our own snorkeling equipment? --- I know there are activities available--and we will probably do some of that. But won't there also be just beach time where my children ( who LOVE the water) will can and will want to swim on their own?
3) What are the "must do" shore activities from this cruise?
4) Any general words of wisdom? (since, as you can tell, I know nothing about cruising)
Thanks in advance!
I did that exact cruise a few years back but on the NCL Sun. It's a wonderful itinerary!!
1) There is a great "kids club" on NCL. They cater to the various age groups so your "tweens" will have a blast. The only complaint I ever heard was "but we don't want to hang with you guys, we want to stay in the kids club!"
2) You can surely bring your own gear. And for best fit, it's advised that you do, but any excursion (ship or otherwise) will offer gear. Depending on your ports is the answer to your question about the beaches. When I sailed the ports were Santo Tomas, Costa Maya, Belize City and Cozumel. The first three are NOT good ports to just get off the boat and snorkel the beach. You will have to take an excursion to get to decent snorkeling locales. Cozumel is the one place you can just get off and hit a local public beach. As was suggested before, do some research. If you want some contacts that I used in those ports, let me know.
3) Must do? Well, what are you ports?
If it's my same cruise.... have fun, and do anything you want...but in Santa Tomas I would do anything that includes a visit to the Mayan children's school. Back school supplies or toiletries in a back pack and give it to the kids. It will warm your heart and allow you to "give back" from your abundance. It will humble you to see their faces light up with a simple tooth brush "just for them", as you get off and on your luxury cruise ship. I can point you to a great man that can arrange a wonderful day in Santa Tomas for you that will include that. Post here if you want that info...or email me.
4) Words of wisdom: Relax. You are on vacation. Let things evolve and happen, don't take your rabid "American" routine with you.
Take a good bug repellent like REI's "Bug Juice".
Pack sunscreen that is "paba free" as many snorkel/dive operators are helping to preserve the reef by requiring organic sunscreens. Don't get sucked into buying $20 organic sunscreen either...it just needs to be "paba free".
Pack a power strip as there are not enough outlets in your cabin.
Remember to turn your cell phone to "airplane" mode, or make sure you speak with your provider to make sure your settings are correct for international.
If not, then all your "notifications" and push-functions will be costing you the price of another cruise as you are naively unaware of them ticking the dollars up.
If you are on NCL, then be sure to eat in the specialty restaurants a few times, and don't let the up charge scare you...the price is WELL worth it!