First Time Cruise (February 1-8)

I wrote some notes when we were on our first cruise together and thought I would share…even though I have no idea if anyone will be cruising anytime soon. We went on this cruise before there were any reports of Coronavirus in the U. S. I got a serious cold on the day we left. Was it the virus? No idea. I hope you enjoy my thoughts and maybe one day will be able to try out cruising too.

First day impressions:

Jef LOVES going on cruises and now that he has retired, he wants to start going again. I have never been on a cruise and I get seasick sometimes. I was therefore very nervous to go on a cruise and find out that I either didn’t like it or it made me ill. Jef decided that we should go on a really big ship (which would have less movement) that had a lot to do. He chose the Norwegian Breakaway for a seven day cruise around the Caribbean.

In the days leading up to the trip, I had fun deciding on reservations for dinners and excursions that we could do. When I thought I might be claustrophobic in the cabin, I watched a video with a tour of a cabin like ours. We also watched videos with reviews on excursions, entertainment, and dining.

We left from Port Canaveral which was nice because it’s only two hours from Tampa. The day was rainy and dreary. We had a pretty easy time getting on the ship, but they did check our entire passport to make sure we had not travelled to China. If we had, they would have refunded the whole trip. No one wants to be stuck on a ship with the Corona virus!

The first thing we did after getting on board was buy a spa package for the week. We should have done this before we left because it is slightly cheaper, but we didn’t know the weather would be so iffy. Then we went to the buffet for lunch. It was packed. This was another thing Jef was concerned about for me. I’m not comfortable with huge groups of people. It makes me anxious. There was a lot of food to choose from in the buffet and I walked around the whole circle to see it all. I decided to eat some veggies, mashed potatoes, and sliced beef. It was sufficient. I liked that the mashed potatoes had leeks and garlic, it gave them a very different flavor. After lunch, we made sure to book our entertainment. We were only able to book two shows before we boarded, so we added some comedy shows and an escape room game for the week.

We were very lucky that our cabin was ready early, so we went down and settled in with what few things we brought on board. Then we had to wait for our bags to arrive later in the day. Mine showed up first and I was able to organize all my belongings, which me happy.

Did I mention that we bought the drink package? You get unlimited drinks ($15 and under) for the entire week. You can drink all day if you want (and some people do). Jef made sure to get us drinks for lunch and even some beer for our wait in line to secure our entertainment schedule.

We wandered around the ship a bit before we had to participate in the muster before the ship left port. You are given an ID card before you board and you look on your ID to find your number and you have to go stand in line in a certain area of the ship. They check you in by scanning your card and then go over safety issues like how to put on the life vest and board the life boats. Then the captain comes on and tells you about the weather. It was not the news I wanted to hear. He said the winds were gusts of 47 up to gale force and the seas would be around 8 feet. We knew at that moment that the ship would not dock the next day at the private island in the Bahamas. We had already looked ahead and found the ship had not docked there in at least a month. I was very nervous about getting sick.

After the muster, we made our way to the uppermost deck, which is the sun deck. I think it is deck 17. We got a drink to bring with us and enjoyed the scenery as we left port. We even saw some dolphins jumping in the waves near shore. We also saw the rocket ship that landed recently.

We had a dinner reservation at 5:30 and we didn’t have to dress up or anything, but the restaurant atmosphere was classy. It was different to be able to order whatever you wanted and not worry about the price. I had three appetizers for dinner and dessert. They were not the most impressive appetizers I have had, but they were good. It was very strange to finish dinner and just get up and leave.

After dinner, we wandered around a bit and ended up getting some raffle tickets from the jewelry counter. I went back to see if we won, but Jef went ahead to get us seats to the Welcome Aboard show, which had open seating. The show gave a glimpse into the different acts you could see while on board. It made me a little more excited to see the shows that we booked and interested in going to see the comedian magician.

After the show, I had to go to guest services because we didn’t get one of our bags. It had all of Jef’s clothes in it! Luckily, they had it in the back and I got it easily. The tag had fallen off because it got wet from the drizzle. There were quite a few bags waiting for owners, so the rain was not kind to many people. Jef went to try to win another raffle and came back all excited after winning. He had to dance with one of the cruise directors to get the prize, which he said was terrible because she was an amazing dancer. We won a water bottle, glass mug, deck of cards, a pen, bingo cards to use later, and raffle tickets to win a free cruise. He never wins anything, so he was really happy.

We had reservations for a comedian at 11 and I was a bit hungry after only eating appetizers, so we went to the late night buffet. Apparently most cruisers gain at least 7 pounds after a cruise! I’m trying to watch what I eat, but it’s not easy! Especially with free drinks!

We sat in the front row for the comedian. Of course he singled us out, but not as much as another couple who went on stage and were hysterical. It was a very funny show. After such a long day, we went to bed.

The cabins here look very small in pictures and square footage, but I think they have ample space. We are not often in the cabin for long periods of time besides sleeping. I would have liked a balcony, just to be able to sit on it and watch the ocean, but since I don’t have one it has afforded me that time to go look for somewhere similar on board. My favorite area is on deck 8. It is above the life boats so you have a nice view of the water. It is the deck with restaurants that have tables outside, but during the day no one is there, so you can sit at the tables and relax, play cards, read, or type on your computer. There are also a limited amount of comfy chairs and loungers and a bar on each side. At the back of the boat on deck 8, you have the best view (the back of the boat has always been a favorite spot of mine), but standing room only and no one is ever there.

This boat has a ropes course, water slides for children and adults, climbing wall, a mini golf course, basketball court, gym, spa, casino, art gallery, theater, “big top” (a smaller area to do shows), shops, so many bars, and quite a few specialty restaurants.

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