Monday, September 21, 2015

Our Bahamas Cruise on The Norwegian Sky

As promised, here is the recap of our Bahamas cruise.  Get ready for a picture overload.  Just as fair warning, this will probably make you want to book the next flight and cruise ship you can. 


Trev and I saved up for quite a while to be able to go on this cruise. It was totally worth it. If you're here looking for advice on a Bahamas cruise, the best advice I can give you is GO! A cruise was something that Trev never even cared to do, before this.  It wasn't something that ever caught his attention. Then some of our friends started to talk about a cruise they went on (happened to be this exact same cruise.) And that's what caught his attention. After hearing how amazing theirs was, he was on board (and I was always game for a cruise).

We started to look around for good cruises that would fit our time frame and budget. We found one we wanted and we were getting ready to book it.  Shortly before we actually did book it, we got the news that Trevon's mom, my amazing mother in law, had breast cancer and would start therapy the week we were hoping to leave. We knew it would be best to switch dates and put it off so that we could be here when she needed us. And we are very grateful that we did. 
When we found another cruise we were interested in, we brought it up to my parents.  They had been on a few cruises before, and we hadn't so we didn't even know where to start.  Once they heard we were planning on going, they wanted to come too! So the four of us found the perfect cruise on NCL and booked it.  


We chose NCL mostly because it's one that my parents had been on and really enjoyed. We'd also heard that Carnival was a good company but a little more of a party boat. And while we like to party we don't love that kind of party. Norwegian ended up being the perfect cruise line for us. 

We dropped the girls off at the babysitter's, kissed and loved them a million times, goodbye (it's the first time we've been aways from them for more then 24 hours).  And then we met my parents and headed to the air port.

At 12:55 AM we were on the airplane, headed on our way.  It was only my second time flying, on a commercial airline, ever.  So I found out really quickly that when they say you don't sleep very well on a plane, it's true. You just don't.  I think between our red eye flight, a lay over, and getting to the port, we slept maybe 3 hours. 


Once we got on the ship, we went straight to the buffet for lunch.  No food and no sleep, we needed something in our bodies.  

   



We decided we'd better take some pictures and send them to the girls while we could.  We had a chance at getting a little service here and there but we weren't positive that would happen.  It was good that we did because we ended up not getting any service until the day we came home.  It wasn't a huge deal, if there was an emergency the ship has a phone number people at home can call and leave messages with.  It's expensive though, so only for emergencies!


We went back to our room and slept for a few hours.  To be honest, I don't know how long we slept for, but I couldn't get off of the bed until they sounded the test alarm.  When you go on a cruise, they have you go through an emergency drill so you know what to do in case of an emergency.  It didn't take long and it got me up and moving so that by the time the drill was done, I was ready to explore the ship. 

The bad thing about not having our phones working is that we left them in the room and I didn't have a quick way to take pictures. My pictures all came from my real camera which I didn't really carry around the ship. 

First thing we checked out was the ice cream. Because all you can eat soft serve ice cream is a huge deal. Then we just walked around the ship a little bit, found the gym, the restaurants, checked out my parents room (they had a balcony).  And then we found some dinner. I have to admit that the food wasn't as impressive as everyone made it seem. We heard a lot that you go on a cruise to eat, and the food was good, it just wasn't amazing. Maybe I'm just super lucky to have grown up with parents that are really good cooks, though. 


One of the best things about a cruise is that someone is cleaning, cooking and doing the dishes for you.  Every time you go back to your room, someone has cleaned it and left a little towel animal on the bed. Trevon's favorite was the monkey. Mine was my parent's elephant, but here are a few of the animals for you to see. 


Our first port was the Grand Bahamas Island. We hadn't planned an excursion before hand this day.  But we were lucky that the segways still had places open.  We considered snorkeling and jeeping, but my family goes jeeping quite often and we were snorkeling the next day.  We all thought the segways looked like a lot of fun.  

After having a huge breakfast on the deck of eggs, bacon, hash-browns, toast, and fruit, we gathered our things and headed off the ship to meet our group.  They took us across the island in a tour bus and dropped us off in a little cove area that had folding chairs, segways, and our tour guides.  

They handed out our safety gear (see how attractive it all was below) and ran through how to ride the segways and then let us practice while they got everyone ready.  You can't just hop on a segway and go. It's not hard, but there's a little more to it than that. You steer with your handle bars by pushing them side to side, not by turning them like you would a bike, and then you can either stop and go with your handle bars or with your feet. I found it was easier to use my feet for speed since my handle bars were how I steer. 


They took us around to a few of the popular sites to see. And when we were done, we returned our gear and they walked us over to this little restaurant that had a little piece of heaven in it's back yard. 



After spending a quick hour there, we got back on the tour bus, and they took us back to the ship.  This was a good time for me to get in my work out.  So Trev and I changed and went up to the gym. By surprise, my parents were there too.


This ended up being the only real workout I'd do the whole trip.  More on that here, if you're interested. The other days we would get back to the ship and be completely exhausted and had no extra energy to run (the other days we still got "workouts" in with our excursions though).  This wasn't the most beautiful view on the whole trip, but it was fun to see the ocean while I was running. 
I got done with my work out and felt like a speed demon! The treadmill told me I went 3.5 in 18 minutes! And I got all excited (thinking "man, I am cruising here!) and turned the treadmill off on accident before taking a picture. So I told Trev how fast I was going and he didn't believe me, which was a little disappointing.  He got on the treadmill I was on to test it out. After running for a minute, he noticed that the distance was in Kilometers, not miles. 3.5k in 18 minutes was a little more normal than 3.5 miles in 18 minutes, it made way more sense but it was pretty disappointing to find out I'm not actually just a really fast runner at sea level. (Wha-wha).


The next day we were at the Grand Stirrup Cay, which is NCL's own private island.  There is no walk off port here, you have to ride in a tender boat to the island. It's not a huge change and only takes a few minutes to get from the boat to the island. They have so many excursions you can choose from here.  We decided to do snorkeling. We debated for a long time whether to bring our own snorkeling gear or rent it from them. My parents ended up bringing their own, which they had bought several years ago and used over and over, and we ultimately decided it would be best not to buy our own gear (not sure how much it would be used) and just rent it there. This was great for packing a little lighter, but my snorkeling mask wasn't in the best condition. Everything else worked great but half way through our excursion my mask started to leak so I had to clear it out by either blowing through my nose or coming up out of the water to dump it. I'm sure part of this was just because I'm new to snorkeling and I am not very good at the proper way to clear out my mask, but it made things a little difficult. 
Before going on the cruise, we were looking up this excursion and the reviews on it, we saw that several people had said that they didn't see really any fish.  This is because the snorkeling excursion on this island is a man made ship wreck and there are a lot of people around it. That being said, I was really surprised with how much we actually did see. There were several sting rays, a few barracudas, and some big schools of other tropical fish.  They had an area roped off with buoys so you could see where to stay, but they didn't want you to go out further than that. If you could, though, you'd be much more likely to find bigger and more variety of fish.    


When we were done with snorkeling, Trev and I went back to the beach and sat in the water while we waited for my parents to come back.  It was nice to sit and visit and just relax.

NCL has hired photographers who go on the excursions with you and take your pictures everywhere you go.  While we were sitting on the beach, one of them came up and asked us to pose for one picture. Next thing we knew, we were in a full blown Sports Illustrated type of photo session. I think the photographer liked the challenge of the size difference between Trev and I (a little over a foot difference). After probably 10-15 minutes, the photographer was finally done and my parents came back just in time. We decided to go find some lunch.  On this island, the cruise ship provides lunch on the island so you don't have to go back to the ship if you don't want to.  We opted for that since we'd likely be eating the same thing on the ship anyway.

After relaxing on the beach for a little bit longer, we decided to go back to the ship and get our cameras to do some picture taking on the island. While waiting in line to get back on the tender boat, there was a big crowd coming off while we were trying to get on.  Some 14 year old kid saw me trying to get on and decided to be super nice (I'm pretty sure he thought I was his age) and after checking me out, cleared a way for the four of us to make it through. At least this time I got something out of looking way younger than I actually am. (There was someone every day that thought I was way younger than I actually am. Which is good if they think you're in you 20's instead of 40's or something but it's not great when they are asking you if you're older than 18.)

Here are some of the pictures we got while walking around and exploring Great Stirrup Cay:

Our ship, The Norwegian Sky

Trev Playing in the sand, looking for sea shells to take home to the girls. 

The colors of the flowers were unreal! 

This little humming bird stuck around long enough for me to get some great pictures. 

Look how bright and vibrant those colors are! 

We have to come up with poses that don't require a lot of standing in order to get a good picture sometimes. 


There were a few old ruins that were kind of neat. 


We were all really worn out by the time we got back to the ship.   We went right to our rooms, showered and headed for dinner.  This night was flat out disappointing food wise. It's not the chefs fault, though. It's hard to please this family with Italian food. My dad lived in Italy for a little while and so we grew up eating "the good stuff". 
There was also a table of people next to us who were a little obnoxious. Talking a little too rude and a little too loud for another table sitting that close. It made for a good laugh later though. 
We found some of the onboard entertainment to go to after dinner.  That night it was a comedian, and he was pretty good.  After which, we went up for more ice cream for the night, and then went to bed. 



The last day we woke up in the beautiful place. Nassau, Bahamas.  I loved all the colorful buildings! This was the one excursion we paid for before the cruise. We figured it would fill up super fast and wanted to be sure to get a spot. So we went to Atlantis.


We took all of our stuff with us because there is way more than just a water park here.  There's a huge aquarium, shopping, restaurants, and casinos. But I took my camera mostly in hopes of getting some great pictures of the buildings. 

We started out in the lazy river, it was the best lazy river I've ever been in. It was more like lazy rapids. One fun thing about the lazy river is that it also served as a way to get off and go on some of the slides.  My parents aren't usually ride people. They don't love to go down the big slides or roller coasters (mostly my mom). But they were good and went down a couple of the slides with us.  After a few rides down, though, they were ready to go explore. So while Trev and I continued going down the slides, they went walking around.  

The most popular slide there is called Leap of Faith.  It's basically straight down. I like slides and rides and all of that stuff, but this one made me pretty dang nervous. It took me a some talking into, mostly me talking myself into it, to actually go down. In the end, I'm really glad I didn't chicken out. After doing all the slides, we met back up with my parents and did one last run on the lazy river before heading back to the buses.  

Like I said, we took our cameras in hopes of getting some fun pictures of the town and all the buildings. This is all I got a picture of during the excursion. 


They had a big pond with some huge turtles in it. This picture doesn't show how big this guy is very well though. 


After getting back on the ship, I took my camera up to the top deck and put my big lens on so I could get some of the pictures I was hoping for.




We got cleaned up and then met my parents at their room.  It wasn't quite time to eat so we decided to go out on their deck and take some more pictures while the boat pushed off.



Then we went to dinner. Which ended up being better than the night before. Good food and no obnoxious people.  The waiter that night was awesome too. 

Since it was our last night on the boat, we decided it would be a good idea to go up and get some pictures of the sunset. 


My parents recently learned how to take selfies. 




We got some really great shots of the sunsets. Here are a few of them:








Then we found some more onboard entertainment. Battle of the sexes. It was a fun show to go to that night. And an American Idol like show put on the by the on board cast.  After which we decided to go through the photo gallery and see all of the pictures the crew had got of us.  We found our SI shoot, along with all the photos they take of us getting off the ship and a few of us a dinner and around the ship. I tried to talk Trev into buying some from our SI shoot because I thought it would be a fun way to remember that funny memory. But, he didn't want to spend $10 on an 8x10, and honestly, neither did I. 

The next morning was the day we went home.  We were super excited to see our girls but I was really sad that our fun vacation was over.  We packed up and were off the ship by 9:00 AM. We had booked a later flight thinking it might take longer for us to get off the ship, so we ended up waiting for 6 hours in the airport. At least that gave us time to facetime with our girls a little bit and let them know we were on our way home.  We finally got on the plane and because we had slept really well the night before, we stayed awake this time and watched a couple of movies on our phones. 

We had a layover in Minnesota and after an hour, we were back in the air, on our last leg of the trip.  Taking off from Minnesota, we had an awesome view of the sunset.  My phone didn't do it justice but here's a small idea. 


I can honestly say that the cruise was the most relaxing trip I have ever been on.  We didn't worry about doing one thing the whole time. We got to play all day every day and we got to sit around when we wanted. We ate endless amounts of food. And all the soft serve ice cream! I still get the urge to "go up and get an ice cream" all the time. I think I've also had some kind of dream about the cruise every night since then. 


What has been your most relaxing vacation?

Have you flown a lot? 
  This was only my second time. 

Ever been on a cruise? Where?


















7 comments:

  1. So fun! We went on a cruise out of Long Beach down to Mexico for our honeymoon and it was amazing. The Caribbean is next on our list! Oh, and I've actually flown quite a bit :)

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    1. I want to plan another one, like RIGHT NOW. But, it will take some more time and saving haha.

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  2. Oh my goodness Jenny- sounds like you had such a nice time. How awesome that your parents came along and that you were able to get some one on one time with your husband. The best thing you can do for your family is plan time away from them-- haha! The pictures are gorgeous. So glad you had such a nice time! xo

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    1. Sometimes I think it really is a good thing to do for your family. I know I missed my girls and I was ready to come back and be a mom again. And I learned that my girls can survive while I'm gone for a while. It's nice to know that they are still safe and sound while we were away. Thank you for reading.

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  3. My mom was just telling me about your fun trip! It looks amazing! I love all the color. Now I totally want to go!

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  4. Umm... you said "this post will make you want to book a cruise," but just the TITLE made me want to book one. Sounds amazing, so glad you had fun.

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