This was our second cruise on Norwegian. We sailed on the Majesty in 2000 thus were Latitude members. We chose Norwegian again for this reason coupled with the itinerary to the Western Caribbean. We landed in Miami from the frigid northeast. After a brief delay at the airport we were transferred to the pier for check in. We arrived somewhat late thus there was absolutely no line and were whisked aboard ship in no time. The Sun is a beautiful ship and exceeded our expectations. We went straight to our cabin to find a welcome note and complementary bottle of champagne. Thereafter, we strolled the ship to acquaint ourselves with the dining rooms, bars, lounges,etc. After the lifeboat drill, we were underway at the designated departure time. Leaving Miami as the sun was going down was a sight to see.
Our first day out was a sea day. The deck was full of sun bathers thus we had a difficult time finding a spot to lay out. We eventually found a spot at back of the ship, two decks above the Garden Cafe. It was quiet and we had bar service to boot. Who could have asked for more. Sunday was also formal night so after donning evening attire, we stood for pictures, met the captain and has an enjoyable dinner in the Seven Sea's restaurant.
Monday was a stop in Grand Cayman. The weather did not cooperate and after arriving on shore, found ourselves in a downpour with no cover. We eventually made it to 7 mile (actually 5.6) mile beach. It's a beautiful spot however the area that is set aside for cruise travelers is very small. Several ships were in port that day so the beach was a little crowded. We are scheduled to hit this port again in Feb. 2006 thus I don't think we'll do this excursion.
Tuesday was Roatan. This was our favorite island of all for several reasons. It's remote, uncommercialized and absolutely gorgeous. We did a four hour tour to see highlights of the island. The last two hours was spent at Las Palmas, a private beach for cruise travelers. There was no crowd at all and we had a tasty local lunch. Dinner that evening was at Il Adagio. I highly recommend this spot even though there was a cover charge. Service was excellent and the found was comparable to top shelf local italian eateries here in Rhode Island. This state is well known for its local Italian restaurants.
We hit Belize on Wednesday and did a day long tour to Xunantunich pronounced tuna sandwich by our tour guide and also Mayan for "stone goddess". The bus ride to the pyramid was a bit depressing due to the poor living conditions on the island however the site was stunning in its own natural beauty. We climbed to the top and got some great pictures of the grounds and surrounding area. I would not recommend this tour to the elderly or physically challenged as there are no safety measures in place at all. One could easily slip and fall off the pyramid if not paying attention.
Dinner that evening was at Pacific Heights Healthy dining. The menu is limited and the quality typical however the decor is attractive and the room is bordered by windows. We had a window booth and watched the moon rise over the horizon as we sailed out of Belize.
Cozumel was our last stop and we hit the resort at Playa Mia. This was another crowded stop with lots of tourist trap features. I did spring for a jet ski and took it out for about an hour. We had never done this before and felt like kids all over again. We wanted to do it again however the wait prohibited us from doing so.
We enjoyed the freestyle cruising concept as we never felt rushed for dinner and had multiple dining choices. We dined several nights with other couples and made some new friends. We also enjoyed our time alone dining which is something you can't get easily cruising traditional style. The shows were enjoyable and about what we expected from cruise entertainment. We enjoyed magician Bart Rockett who did several shows while the ship was underway.
We're now booked on the Norwegian Jewel for another cruise to the Western Caribbean. It was just in port here in Rhode Island thus we were able to get a sneak peek at the ship.