April 30, 2012

NCL Jewel - The Ports (Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay & Bahamas)

I'm finally getting a moment to share the final post in my NCL Cruise series!  If you missed the first 2, then you can head on over to my posts on NCL Jewel - The Ship and NCL Jewel - The Food.  This time, we'll take some time to talk about the ports of call.

On our 7 day cruise, we had 3 ports of call:  Port Canaveral, Florida - Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas (the private island) - Nassau, Bahamas.  We opted not to do excursions at each port, but rather to wait and see what we wanted to do once we got there.

After 1 full day at sea, we arrived at Port Canaveral, Florida.  Even though we could have opted to do a day trip to Disney or Universal, the trip was at least an hour each way, and for the cost we just couldn't justify it.  There was also the option of visiting the Kennedy Space Center, which would have been interesting to see, but the boys really wanted a beach day - so, we took a taxi over to Cocoa Beach to do just that.

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We had a lovely time at the beach and the water was pleasant - not as cold as it is at the shore most of the summer.  We were able to rent a beach umbrella right on the beach and after we had our fill of sun and surf, we decided to find some lunch.

Luckily, My Husband had his iPhone and with the assistance of Yelp we ended up choosing The Shark Pit.  It was a reasonable walk away from where we were and it was located in a hotel with the Cocoa Beach Surf Shop - a great opportunity to do some souvenir shopping.  I'll share more on the restaurant in a separate post.

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As we walked back to the location where the taxis were picking the cruise ship passengers, we saw the Ron Jon Surf Shop - apparently, this location is the largest there is... It is a really big store, but what we found the most fun were the sculptures outside of it.

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Overall, we had a nice time in Cocoa Beach, but were really looking forward to our stops in the Bahamas!

The next day, we arrived at Great Stirrup Cay for another beach day.  There were a few activities we could have signed up for, but we didn't feel that we needed them.  Many people rented snorkels and lounge floats.

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I was up early that day, so I was able to get our tender tickets early and we were on the island pretty early in the day.  That was a really good thing because, we had our pick of beach chairs - this was not the case within an hour or so after we had arrived.

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The water was calm and gorgeous!  We spent the entire day enjoying the water and lounging... and the boys had fun playing in the sand.  The cruise provided lunch, which was a buffet of assorted grilled food - burgers, hot dogs - as well as some pizzas, salads and fresh fruits. 

The island was still in the process of going through some renovations... so, the main area where you had to walk to get to the food and drink areas was a bit rocky, so you didn't want to walk barefoot.  Other than that, we enjoyed the quiet of the island and even got a nice number of family snapshots while we were there.

Our final stop was Nassau, Bahamas.  The cruise ship was able to dock on the island, so we could walk off the ship at our leisure.  This stop, we chose to do the Atlantis Aquaventure excursion.  The excursion gave us access the the Atlantis waterpark, aquarium and the various outdoor activities... one day was not enough! 

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The size of this resort is overwhelming!  It is as gorgeous and amazing as I had expected.  The waterpark is filled with various waterslides, pools and the rapid river ride... which, was one of our favorite things to do while we were there. 

We were able to take some time to walk through the aquarium, which was filled with so much sealife that we could have spent so much more time... if we had it!  Our day there was much too short... our ship docked around 8 a.m. and we had to return by 5 p.m. for a 6 p.m. sail time. 

We had planned to return to the ship by 4, and that gave us a little time to walk the shops closest to where the ships were docked.  We came away from this port, wanting more... so, I am sure we will go back for longer next time. 

Overall, we had a fabulous time on our cruise!  We plan to go on another one in the next couple of years.  Our time on the NCL Jewel, was a pleasure and our family vacation was exactly as we had hoped it would be - time for us to spend together and unplug from reality. 

Later this week... I'll be posting a new recipe!  So, stay tuned!

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Please note that all photos and content belong to Patsy Kreitman, unless otherwise noted. If you want to use something please ask first.

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