JanJ & KenJ's First Cruise - NCL Trip Report

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Welcome back! Glad to hear you guys had a great time. I can't wait to hear about it awesome

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Okay, so here are some initial photo highlights from our trip.

First a shot of Miami before we departed.

The pilot boat coming to retrieve the pilot after we navigated out of Miami.

The first sunset.

Where I spent a lot of time... our balcony was awesome. So relaxing watching the ocean scroll by.

The endless ocean. Made me realize how small we really are.

More endless ocean.

The bridge! Here are the fine folks running the ship.

The wonderful balcony view. Couldn't get enough of this.

Moonrise over the ocean.

Independence of the Seas preparing to leave port.

A highlight for me was visiting Maho Beach after watching tons of videos of this place over the years.


Tied up in port.

Westward over the ocean.

A rainbow... make that 2 rainbows over St. Thomas.

St. Thomas harbor. Our ship is in the middle of the 3 in the foreground. You can also see 2 other ships in port behind us. One of them is the Allure which as you can see dwarfs all the other ships including ours!

The lighthouse at the Port of Nassau.

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Awesome. I know this is silly, but it would be so cool to see an incoming jet so close up. The photos make the trip look amazing.

Details, please!

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Nice Ken!

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So, Jan is going to post more of the narrative of our trip and I'll post the pics. At least that's the plan. LOL.

So, here we go...

We arrived at the Port of Miami at about 1 pm. We found the airport at Fort Lauderdale was an absolute zoo and chaotic. But that's another story.

Here is the first glimpse of our ship we had.

We got onboard and headed straight to our cabin. I was very impressed. It wasn't very big but it had everything we needed plus the amazing balcony which I would use extensively during our voyage.

Some shots of our cabin. The lighting at night was very nice.





Then we started exploring the ship.

Here is the main staircase at the center of the ship and the beautiful chandelier that changes colors at different times of the day.




Here is the uppermost decks of the ship. We didn't spend much time there since it was just too chaotic for our liking. Geared towards partiers and kids mostly...


Some of the interior spaces on the ship including the theater.










During dinner at one of the restaurants, our server found out it was Jan's birthday and they gave her a cake, rose and a couple of glasses of champagne on the house. They also sang Happy Birthday to her. Very nice touch.

The food onboard was terrific. Here is my steak dinner at Cagney's.

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We also took the behind the scenes tour. This was a 2.5 hour tour of the crew areas of the ship. We visited the galleys, laundry, environmental and the bridge.

A typical hallway in the crew area. Reminded me a lot of the utilidors at MK. In fact, they use them in the same way to get to places quickly and out of sight of passengers.

The butcher shop.

The freezer.

This is one of those sea doors that they can open to allow access to the ship.

And this is a bulkhead door. These are always closed when the ship in underway and you must obtain permission from the bridge to open one. They are hydraulic and nothing stops them from opening or closing.

The laundry area. Lots of huge washer machines.

The pinnacle for me was visiting the bridge. I was able to talk with the first officer and we were shown the controls of the ship. I found it extremely interesting. Here is a shot of the bridge and the view from the port side wing.

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Our cabin steward was great. We had twice a day service and we always came home to our cabin in the evening to a new towel animal of some sort. Here are a couple of characters. The monkey was awesome. They eyes are coffee cream containers!


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Now for some pics of the places we visited...

First port was St. Maarten. I absolutely had to visit Maho Beach as I'm a huge aircraft fan and have watched countless videos about this beach. It was VERY crowded since there were a few cruise ships in town and it's a popular destination for tourists.

The flight schedule for the day. The main attraction is the daily KLM 747 arrival.

The crowds...




The KLM arrives!

How the "one percent" lives...

The tourist stores at the pier in St. Maarten.

A shot that shows the size of our ship.

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Then on to St. Thomas the next day.

Here is one of many houses built on the side of the mountains. They almost all had infinity pools too. Not bad at all.

The view from that house.

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Then a full day at sea. We arrived in Nassau, Bahamas the day after.

YES! We finally saw a Disney ship. We pulled in beside the Disney Dream!

A shot of our ship with our cabin highlighted.

Waiting for our excursion to begin. We signed up for a day trip to Blue Lagoon, a private island/beach.

The Blue Lagoon beach (and warning sign).

A lot of famous people have homes here. As usual, there are no signs of life at these places since they're probably only used a couple of days out of the year. Anyway...

Eddie Murphy's private island.

Jay Z and Beyonce's place.

Chuck Norris' hangout in the Bahamas.

Oprah Winfrey's complex. One house is the main one and the other is for guests!

And a house built on a dock! Never seen this before!

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Some shots of our ship as we prepared to board for the final time.


The welcome back party for our final boarding before heading back to Miami. A lot of the officers and crew were there to greet us back onto the ship.

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I got up really early (4 am) on Saturday to witness our arrival back in Miami. There were about 6 other ships lined up behind us coming into port. Very interesting to see it all.





And here are a couple of shots of Niagara Falls as we were on approach to Toronto. Always cool to see it from the air.

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crazycatperson wrote:
Awesome. I know this is silly, but it would be so cool to see an incoming jet so close up. The photos make the trip look amazing.

Details, please!

Not silly at all! In fact, that's the very reason people go to Maho Beach. It's about as close to landing aircraft you can get. The best part is when they take off and the jet blast blows people into the water. But unfortunately we had to get back to our ship and couldn't stay for the take offs.

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mrhub wrote:
Nice Ken!

Thanks! We had a blast!

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Wow, thank you sooooo much!

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KenJ wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:
Awesome. I know this is silly, but it would be so cool to see an incoming jet so close up. The photos make the trip look amazing.

Details, please!

Not silly at all! In fact, that's the very reason people go to Maho Beach. It's about as close to landing aircraft you can get. The best part is when they take off and the jet blast blows people into the water. But unfortunately we had to get back to our ship and couldn't stay for the take offs.

Oh, THAT would be fun!

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Glad you enjoyed yourselves!! clapping We have booked a verandah stateroom for our cruise in October.....nothing like the views first thing in the morning!!

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Great pics, as usual! Glad y'all had fun! Smile now...onward to book a Disney cruise! You'll love it!

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Oh your ship was lovely! Much newer than the NCL vessel that I sailed on. Very nice, I'm going to have to remember its name for my next NCL cruise.

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Great photos and report Ken ..Glad you guys had a great time we love NCL cruise line and look forward to going again soon

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Great pictures and TR! I can not WAIT until September!

VelcroPooh

P.S. We have done interior rooms, window rooms and regular balcony. Last cruise, Carnival called two weeks prior and offered us an upgrade to an Aft Balcony. If you think the regular balconies are cool, you have to try an Aft. They are amazing on the back of the ship. You can see everything in every port. We've booked an Aft again for September.

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After years of watching videos of Maho Beach planes landing, I finally got to make my own! biggrin

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VelcroPooh wrote:
P.S. We have done interior rooms, window rooms and regular balcony. Last cruise, Carnival called two weeks prior and offered us an upgrade to an Aft Balcony. If you think the regular balconies are cool, you have to try an Aft. They are amazing on the back of the ship. You can see everything in every port. We've booked an Aft again for September.

Sounds great! I think we'll definitely look into an aft balcony for our next cruise. awesome

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That is so freaking cool. I thought the KLM flight was going to hit the fence it was so close.

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Gee I think I saw people waving as the planes were landing! laugh

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KenJ wrote:
crazycatperson wrote:
Awesome. I know this is silly, but it would be so cool to see an incoming jet so close up. The photos make the trip look amazing.

Details, please!

Not silly at all! In fact, that's the very reason people go to Maho Beach. It's about as close to landing aircraft you can get. The best part is when they take off and the jet blast blows people into the water. But unfortunately we had to get back to our ship and couldn't stay for the take offs.

It was an amazing experience when we did it and would do it all over again! Glad y'all enjoyed!!!

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So, is there a Disney Cruise in the works? biggrin

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Eeyore wrote:
So, is there a Disney Cruise in the works? biggrin

We're looking into it in fact! biggrin

We might tack a cruise onto our January 2015 trip. We've been looking back at your great trip report too. awesome

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KenJ wrote:
Eeyore wrote:
So, is there a Disney Cruise in the works? biggrin

We're looking into it in fact! biggrin

We might tack a cruise onto our January 2015 trip. We've been looking back at your great trip report too. awesome

clapping January would be an awesome time to escape the winter weather!

I want to go on the Disney Alaska cruise....but it's like 6K for two people, for a balcony room.....I could tour Italy for the kind of money! laugh