My best friend and I turned 50 this year and decided to treat ourselves to a cruise. This is the first cruise for both of us, and we chose NCL Jewel on the suggestion of my sister and bil who had cruised several months earlier for their anniversary. They loved their cruise so we decided to try it for ourselves. We chose to depart out of NYC. We live in Ma. so we took the train into the city and then a cab to the port. Very easy and convenient for us. Our big worry prior to sailing was the approaching storm, we were not sure how the ship was going to avoid it, but went on faith that captain and crew knew what they were doing and weren't going to put 3000plus people into grave danger! The embarkation process went pretty smoothly and did not take much time at all, and we were on the ship in time for lunch! Every cruise employee we encountered was pleasent and welcoming. Our stateroom was ready before 2pm, and our luggage was delivered by 4pm.The room was actually larger than we expected with plenty of closet and drawer space. Since we didn't expect to spend much time there anyway, it suited our needs more than adequetly! We set sail on schedule and got ready for our adventure! It started to get rocky a couple hours out, and the first night was definately crazy as the ship rocked and rolled. My friend got a bit sick the first night and went to bed very early, as did many other guests from what I heard later! But I was fine so I just walked around the ship (or should I say lurched...lol), and explored a bit. We hit the worst seas in the middle of the night but after that we were much more stable. Monday we attended a meet/greet with Capt. Hoydal and a few other officers, and he put us completely at ease with his professionalism and confidence. We all agreed that he did a fantastic job guiding us through the storm with as little upset as possible. If this is the worse cruise I ever experience... I can't wait for the next one!
Tuesday we called at Port Canaveral, and it was a beautiful day. We took a shuttle to Cocoa Beach for some shopping and beach combing. The shuttle was easy to find and the drivers were friendly. We were unable ro call at GSC on Wednesday as scheduled due to storm damage so we had an extra sea day and pulled into Nassau half a day earlier than planned. My friend and I were lucky to have been invited to the officers dinner that night and dined with the Food and Beverage Director and one other couple. He was a charming and engaging man who made us feel quite comfortable, and every time he saw us after that he greeted us like dear friends! Later that night we dressed up for the halloween party..GREAT time! Lots of innovative costumes too!
Thursday we had the day in Nassau. We chose not to do any of the ship directed excursions, but instead took a taxi tour with another group. Much less expensive than the others, and got to see parts of the island the usual excursions don't see. The island is beautiful and sad at the same time! We toured the Queens stairway, Fort Fincastle, and then to Paradise island and the Atlantis. Lots of photo ops and history! We then spent some time souvenier shopping and browsing the straw market. Friday and Saturday were both at sea days, but we never lacked for entertainment! We went to shows, played trivia games, listened to music, walked around the ship exploring...and we stayed busy! Neither of us drink, swim or gamble much, and yet we were still so busy we never got the chance to even crack open the books we had brought with us! Every show we attended was fantastic...every activity we joined in made us laugh and was fun. The food for the most part was very good...we did not dine at any of the cover charge restaurants but did eat at Tsars, Azura and the buffet frequently, with no complaints! If you can't find something delicious to eat at each meal...it is your own personal pickiness, not the selection!! Also remember that they are preparing food for over 3000 people/3 meals plus snacks a day...that takes some major planning and prep! Friday evening was the awesome chocolate buffet...what a sight! and then we went to the White hot party...another terrific time!! Saturday came all too fast...but the "Fountains " show was the cherry on top! Very funny. We chose a 9:45 disembarkation time so put our luggage out the night before so we could enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the morning and not be in the crush of people rushing to get off early. When it was our turn to disembark we walked off with almost no lines and found our luggage. The port had no power yet, just a few lights run by generators, so we pretty much were just waved through. (They processed non-US citizens from the ship...US passport holders were waved through). Overall it was the trip of a lifetime! We truly felt like we were on vacation! We made some friends, met tons of new people, got to see some fantastic sites, and enjoyed every minute in spite of Sandy! My friend said even though she was sick the first night, she would do it all over again! We are already planning for next year...... :)