Norwegian Star Cruise 2011 Sunday, Nov. 6-13, 2011
The red eye left me just that. Left the UW Huskies game after the awesome halftime show, glad I left a few minutes early, bad accident on I-5, made me quite nervous about getting to the airport on time. Delta to DTW then on to Tampa. Only about 3 hours sleep between the two flights, but on arrival in Tampa met the NCL rep at the bottom of the escalator near baggage area. She advised what to do, so claimed my bag and went out the door to the other rep. who shooed me to the bus. Once on the bus, there was about a 20 minute wait for other passengers. On arrival at the terminal, the escalator was down, and LONG line for the elevator so carried my carry-on up the stairs. A lot of older people couldn't have done that. A gentleman had us sit down to fill out the illness forms, then had us wait there sitting until room became available in the line for check-in. Nice touch, it was about 10 minutes, then maybe another 10 until I was boarding the ship. I have waited in much longer lines. On arrival to the ship everyone's hands were sanitized, no germs getting on this ship. My cabin was immediately available, 11130, mid-ship balcony. The cabin has a sitting area, sofa so hard it hurts to sit on it. That's fine, the balcony is large and chairs comfortable. Beds a little hard too, down pillows. I was exhausted, so took a short nap before heading out to explore floors 11 & 12. In the spa I booked a treatment, seaweed wrap and massage, for tonight! It was really relaxing. Jeanette did additional face and neck treatment and foot reflexology for free. Absolute bliss. 5:00pm wrap, a bite in the buffet, and off to napper's house. Sadly I missed Lobster Night which on this sailing was first night out.
Nov. 7th, Day At Sea
Slept in until 7:30ish and had coffee in the room (there's a coffee maker in mini-suites) and read The 19th Wife, good book, for Book Club. About 9:00 I headed up for an omelet poolside. Then off to buy a few items in Ports of Call. sunscreen, a thermal coffee/water mug. It is pretty choppy today, I'm glad I went for the mid-ship cabin. There are a few seasick people around, wrist bands and an herbal remedy are flying off the shelves. My Meet & Greet for Cruise Critic is at 11:00am. Lots to do today, I headed for Trivia, dinner at the Ginza Asian restaurant and Bingo. Weather isn't great for sunbathing, but will be doing lots of reading on my deck as well.
First last night. Had dinner in Ginza, a Japanese named Pan-Asian restaurant. Food was like any other Chinese restaurant ashore, but Hunan flavored dishes were perfect to my level of spice, not too spicy. Presentation excellent. Service was great, and the host took time to keep me entertained. It overlooks the Grand Atrium, where a piano player was playing, so sitting right on the rail, I never felt really alone. Went to the theatrical review "Shout." It was a trip down mamory lane of the 60s in England. Music from the 60s, you could sing along, but I controlled myself and didn't. Lots of Putula Clark. 5 women performed, 4 had great voices, one not so great. Even a microphone glitch was ironed out within a few seconds. It ended with the song Shout, and everyone dancing along. Pretty fun.
Today we arrived in Roatan about 8:30am. Coxen Hole is a small town of t-shirt shops and the obligatory Diamonds International and Tanzanite shops built directly adjacent to the dock. My excursion left at 9:00am from the pier. We made 4 stops: Plaza Mall, where I bought some Lenca, black and white pottery. It is an old custom recently revived to give single Honduran women skills . Other things to buy here are handcarved mahogany, everything from tiny boxes to carved doors ($2000 including shipping), the craftsmanship is great. Next stop was the Iguana Farm. 4 little guys welcomed us at the road, I grabbed my camera. Should have waited a bit, there were HUNDREDS, just roaming around free. We were each given a giant leaf, and put it down and they came running at you! It was unnerving but exciting as well. These people began this asylum to protect this former food of the natives from extinction. I though maybe Andrea would like to work here. Next stop was a home owned by a couple who moved here and share their amazing view of both sides of the island. Most gorgeous view. We had a cold drink here and took lots of photos of the gorgeous reef and Bay Islands. The off to Tabyana Beach for 2 hours. Facilities include a bar at the beach, complimentary beach chairs, shade or sun, and nice swimming beach. Up above is a restaurant and fresh water pool. This is a tiny 34 miles X 3.7 mile island, lush, tropical, no bugs, no seagulls. Paved roads, lots of potholes, but nicer than Belize a few years back. (More on that tomorrow) We were back to the ship by 2:00pm. Had a bite, then off to the internet cafe.
Better go, I'm off to meet Orville & his wife for trivia at 5:00pm. We came in 2nd the other day.
I don't know what day it is anymore...
Belize is gorgeous, very flat, very tropical. My shore excursion left at 8:05 from the lounge, then a 45 minute tender wait was figured into the tour time of 7.5 hours, leaving us just enough time to catch the last tender back to the ship (a 15 minute ride). We boarded the "air conditioned bus" for an hour drive north, about as far as the paved road goes in Belize, to the Old Belize river. A nice Palapa had been built to begin these boat trips to Lamanai, a major archaeological site discovered & excavated by a Canadian in the early 20th century. The boat trip was remote, up through the jungle, monkeys, crocs, a type of pirana fish, lots of iguana in the trees. The boat held 44 of us, and I sat up front, a very important note and I"ll tell you in a minute. On arival, there was nothing there except the boat dock and a set of restrooms. I had read somewhere to bring bug spray, so I brought wipes with DEET. Man did we need them. I was hadning them out to everyone I knew on the trip, it was a jungle out there! We walked for what seemed like a mile through paths cut between trees, their roots trying to trip us up. After our trek, there we were, facing the first of the pyramids. Another shorter walk took us to the ball court, it's true what the movie Appolyptco portrayed, the winner of the ball game was sacrificed to the gods, they always gave them their best to get the best back from the gods. So we're walking up these stairs at the biggest pyramid, and all I could thing of then were the heads rolling down the stairs. Shouldn't have put that in my mind, I kind of freaked out going back down. SO back to the boat, I was tardy after helping a girl who fell on her butt along the way. NEVER be last to the boat! I sat on the back row of seats, each time we went around a corner in the river water ran over the edge onto the bench we were sitting. I was soaked. The the boat's fuel tank got flooded with water and we were stranded in the river for a while until another boat brought a gas can to put the fuel line directly into to make itback to the base. A marginal buffet lunch was served. Then back on the bus for the ride back to town, making it there JUST in time for the last tender. No time to spare.
ast night after arriving back at the ship, I showered and just couldn't drag myself out to dinner. So watched "Larry Crowne" waich was really pretty cute, then pulled on some shorts for the buffet dinner. Couldn't get into any of the entertainment, I am really out of sorts getting up at 4:00am Seattle time to go out on these all day adventures. Having another in the morning I decided to loll around the cabin, reading, watching E! - what a wierd chanel.
Costa Maya is a Mexico Tourism town, built by the government after a devasting hurricane in 2007 to help these poor folks out of poverty. On the dock is a beautiful, huge swimming pool, which I might do another time, surrounded by shops, double the price of out of this village. Our tour left at 8:05am from the pier. An hour bus ride with a great guide. I learned so much about Mayan history and beliefs. In Belize the guide wanted to talk more about slavery and British colonialism (it's formerly British Honduras). Most of the Belezians were black, with West Indian lilting voices, here they were all Mayan, short foreheads large noses. NO need to speak Spanish here, everyone spoke excellent English. Many still speak the Mayan dialect, also used in Apocolypto, with subtitles.
So the Chocchoben ruins. Another hour bus ride, very level surfaces through the jungle, many immature trees, leading one to believe they mowed down the forext to make it more tourist friendly. After discussions of the flora and it's medicinal purposes, we were led up (and were the first group of the day) to the 3 pyramids, which were built exactly positioned to the sun, moon, planets, the Mayans were great astronomers. That's why the date Dec. 21, 2012, the end of thei calcndar depicts the complete alighment at the equator of all the planets. It won't happen again. She also eexplained the calendar dates itself, in the Mayan numeral system, it's as high as it goes. So will the world end next year? Probably not, but the planet show should be something to witness. Back to the ship, lunch, shower and well deserved nap. The show tonight "Duo Maurys" was electrifying! Even used a song from Allegria, so even though the name did not include Cirque du Soliel, don't miss this show.
So 11/11/11 not such a lucky day for me.
We docked early in Cozumel, my shore excursion wasn't until 1:20p, so I hung out by the pool, read a lot, couldn't really sit on my balcony as it faced another ship (there were 4 in port that day), hence my not wanting to go into town. As noon arrived, the wind picked up, and storm was brewing, whitecaps, huge waves breaking on the seawall. Oh well, my America's Cup sailboat adventure ticket said it operated in any conditions, so headed out to the pier about 1:00pm. There were no tour company people there, but a few people sitting, waiting. Eventually I went over and sat down with some, we chatted about sailing. Then a huge black cloud dumped on us. We sought shelter in the doorway of the tequila tasting room run by Dufry. After a half hour waiting, one of the men agreed to run to the ship (about 10 minute walk) to see what they knew. He cam back during the squall and reported the ship had not heard of any cancellation of our tour (many others had been cancelled earlier). SO we stuck it out an hour then parted ways. I walked to the mini-mall by the pier, picked up some things, and went back to the ship. Sorry day in Cozumel. Dinner at the Teppanyaki place, met some lovely people chatted the whole dinner. There was a shipwide "moment of silence" announced and carried out at 6:00pm to honor Veterans. It was a nice tribute, there were many on board wearing their caps today. Off to the show, Second City Comedy performers. It was really entertaining. Maybe we'll see them on Saturday Night Live one day. The audience participation musical number was especially funny and a nice way to top off the evening. Thought I'd try my luck in the casino, after all it was 11/11/11. Couldn't even get a seat. Guess everyone else had the same idea. Back to the cabin to read out on the balcony. DID YOU SEE THE FULL MOON? OMG, it was so beautiful peeking out now and then, seemed huge! This morning I slept through the bridge tour I'd been invited to by the Captain at the Meet & Greet. Went to the Indian buffet, it was delicious, pretty and very informative staff. When I returned to the cabin, I received a note from the Shore Excursion director apologizing for the problem in Cozumel, with a coupon for cover charge in one of the specialty restaurants. I went to Le Bistro French tonight before the show, it was a "best meal" of the ship. Show tonight was Elements, all great except the magician, not my deal. My Spa treatments today were great, a little pushy trying to sell product, but it's the same on every cruise. I begged out, but really LOVE the Reflexology foot massage by Jeanette.