Day 1 – Sailing away

Miami Beach Travel Blog

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Family that cruise together, stays together!!

A 4 1/2  hour drive from our home town got us into Bayfront pier, Port of Miami. Checked our bags curbside and stood in a long line to get checked in. Was interesting - ‘crowd-watching’, trying to weave together the fabric of cruise goers. There was a family with matching tees which read, ‘family that cruise together, stay together’. Another convivial contingent who donned, ‘papaw’s 80th birthday cruise partay’. Looked like papaw had a party of 30 celebrating his 80’th. Then there was us - work-weary, college-application process weary souls, who needed a break ...

When it comes to vacK choices, I cannot emphasize enough on the value-add prop of a cruise. About $100 to $150 pp a day gets you sit-down, multi-course meal extravaganza, folks to make your bed and add a touch of flourish to your pillow by adding a towel animal, all sorts of onboard entertainment from Broadway musicals, variety shows, stand-up comedy, salsa-making to salsa dancing lessons.

The ship was dekked out for Christmas!
That is if you don’t mind shaking what god gave ya, with reckless abandon! This is our 11th such undertaking. We always treat visiting family with cruise vacations as well. It is a nice way of creating Instagram moments! Even as I write that, I still feel a twinge ‘cos nothing captures the equivalent of saying a ‘kodak moment’, but alas we must move on with the times ...

Stateroom assignments were wonky, girls had a room on the 5th deck and we were on the 13th.  I was a little anxious, however they are now teens and constantly reminding me they are perfectly capable of striking out on their own. Both take Uber wherever they need to go, set their own class schedule etc, so really time to let go. So we abandoned the idea of trying to coax guest-services to reassign our rooms next to each other or at-least on the same deck.

Sun sets on the Year of Lauren!!
 

Besides, 2017 was dubbed, ‘Year of Lauren’, as she heads to college next year. Cruise does give one a chance to hang tight together. Close quarters, no Wifi, lead to frank Mia Familia debates and discussions. 

 

We headed straight to the Garden cafe to start the binge-eating. Welcome aboard luncheon as always had everything under the sun to choose from. That was followed by the muster drill, which these days is no longer a painful drill like yester years where one had to don one’s life vest, go out onto the starboard or portside and bake in the sun for 30 minutes. 

These days, you sit in the cool confines of the theatre, or atrium or wherever your designated muster station is, and much like the airplanes a hostess demonstrates the steps to be taken should a ‘Titanic’ happen.

Aft of the ship!
 

We then headed back to our staterooms to unpack. The ship sent 2 bottles of sparkling wine to our staterooms, as we are ‘bronze’ members. 

Tip of the day:

Front of the ship called forward - easy to remember, back of the ship called aft. 

When you face the ship to your left is starboard and to your right is portside. When confused, on NCL look at the carpet, fish swims toward the forward of the ship!! All I needed to know was: all dining areas were in the aft!

 

Christmas Eve:

There are many ways you can plan your onboard and onshore activities. We decided to purchase a $30 mobile messaging app so we could stay in touch with the girls.

Ropes course and my daredevil
Girls sent us a message saying they were heading to the activities area. 

We rested for a bit and then decided we’d go join them. Enroute I stopped to eat some more at the Garden cafe. I realized each time I passed through temptation got the better of me.  Each time I sat down for another not so quick bite to eat. The seating was by giant glass windows overlooking the ocean and I just could not resist!  

The girls were by the ropes course having a great time walking a plank suspended in midair over the ocean albeit held by a harness. There were several obstacles, all high-up , requiring balancing skills and even Sheldon joined in the fun. Just looking up at them was enough to give me vertigo, so I chose not to. 

Different cruises, have different rules.

Whee, Whee!!!
NCL is very casual: no designated dinner times, dress-up or down - no formal nights. They call it free style which in our case translated to ‘no style’ most of the time: Flip-flops, and casual clothes ...

The first night we had a variety entertainment show, featuring bit and pieces from the upcoming shows of the week. Our cruise director, Andre (with a yummy British accent) walked us through all the must-see, must-do onboard activities. We stopped by a touch screen, looked up all the shows for the week and booked ourselves a slot for the very popular ones. 

For Dinner, we decided to go to onboard Shanghai Noodle bar restaurant. Typically, by day 2, this place was going to have a 30-minute wait. At that point, people hadn’t quite discovered it yet so we were seated within 5 mins.

Steamed dumplins and dim-sums!!
The steamed dumplings, dim-sum and pot stickers were divine. The other stuff was rather meh!!

Everyone was exhausted and could not be convinced to join the inter-denominational Christmas service that night at 11PM at the ship’s theatre, so we went to bed. 

amudha_colaco says:
Thank you for all the smiles and congrats notes!
Posted on: Jan 21, 2018
cotton_foam says:
Congrats Amhuda on yiur featured blog!!
Will come back to check! It looks like an epic trip!
Posted on: Jan 20, 2018
hightide says:
Congrats on your featured blog! I love boat rides and agree $100-$150pp is good value.
Posted on: Jan 20, 2018
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Family that cruise together, stays…
Family that cruise together, stay…
The ship was dekked out for Christ…
The ship was dekked out for Chris…
Sun sets on the Year of Lauren!!
Sun sets on the Year of Lauren!!
Aft of the ship!
Aft of the ship!
Ropes course and my daredevil
Ropes course and my daredevil
Whee, Whee!!!
Whee, Whee!!!
Steamed dumplins and dim-sums!!
Steamed dumplins and dim-sums!!
Miami Beach
photo by: B-Town