My extensive Pearl review with pics and SURPRISE

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#21
2,373 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
Love your review and photos. How fortunate that you got to meet Mr. Sheehan plus have a picture with him. Will be on the Pearl later this month and your posts have just made me more anxious to go! Thank you for sharing!
#22
Orange County, Calif
22,010 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Great review, thanks for taking the time to post it and your pictures were awesome.
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Melodie

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#23
OH
24,074 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I also thought I should mention, they had plenty of things to do there as well (we didn't partake in them but watched a bit). Plenty of games (passing the banana with your body parts, volleyball, tug of war (my husband got in on) and so on. They make it fun. I do know they have an activity planned for the kids group too. But, my 3 year old was perfectly happy swimming and playing in the sand.
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NCL:
EPIC studio SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination
BAHAMAS: Great Stirrup Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Freeport: Paradise Cove
BARBADOS: Boatyard
BELIZE: Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Island Shark Ray Alley Goffs
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Bay Snorkel Park Tobacco Bay St Catherines Beach Achilles Bay Jet Ski & boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Bay Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue Kay
COZUMEL: Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion IslandPalancar
GRAND CAYMAN: Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK: BOHIO Governors
HALF MOON CAY
JAMAICA: Sunset Hilton Rose
ROATAN: Little French Key LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS: Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN: Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS: Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#24
OH
24,074 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by BayouGirlUSA
MitsuGirl,

I clicked on this review immediately when I saw you were the "reviewer"! I enjoyed your Spirit review so much. I just got off of my Spirit cruise 4 weeks ago and just loved it! This was my first NCL cruise and I think I may be a convert!

Funny story...In Roatan, we did the Victor Bodden Private tour, mostly from your review, I might add. We LOVED it! Any who...we were ziplining and there was one station that was particularly rough and everyone was commenting on slamming into the tree kind of hard. A guy from our ship who had arranged our M&G was standing behind me and said "yea, we did this zipline on our last Spirit cruise and one of the ladies in our group hit the tree pretty hard and kind of got her breath knocked out of her" and I said "I read a review about that happening to someone" he said "was the review MitsuGirl" and I said "yes, it sure was"! He is bravestwj (Tim)! Small world isn't it!

I wish I could cruise as often as you but I am planning my next cruise with NCL! It's very far out but still looking forward to planning it. The Jewel will be sailing out of New Orleans beginning October 2013. The itinerary is Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica. I am very excited to be going on another NCL cruise. Thanks for the great reviews!
Oh my gosh, that is awesome. Tim was fantastic. How neat he was on the zip line with you guys too. Yes, very small world. Good to hear you loved the Spirit. I really missed her when we pulled up next to her in Cozumel. (I'll admit, I liked the Spirit a little more than the Pearl, but I'm not complaining at all about the Pearl).

We really don't cruise that often. Usually just once a year. We just happened to be able to go for our 2012 cruise early this year (instead of the normal September cruise) due to my work schedule and my school is switching to semester in August (from quarters), so I will not be able to cruise during my normal time frame. It just happen to be 6 months after our normal September cruise time. So now we decided to book a Christmas vacation for when the semester ends. This will be the first time we've had 2 cruises in a year (I'll let it be known I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this becomes a trend!!!)
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NCL:
EPIC studio SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination
BAHAMAS: Great Stirrup Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Freeport: Paradise Cove
BARBADOS: Boatyard
BELIZE: Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Island Shark Ray Alley Goffs
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Bay Snorkel Park Tobacco Bay St Catherines Beach Achilles Bay Jet Ski & boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Bay Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue Kay
COZUMEL: Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion IslandPalancar
GRAND CAYMAN: Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK: BOHIO Governors
HALF MOON CAY
JAMAICA: Sunset Hilton Rose
ROATAN: Little French Key LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS: Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN: Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS: Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#25
OH
24,074 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
OCHO RIOS, JAMAICA
JAMAICA FOR A DAY AI SUNSET GRANDE RESORT


We were very worried about this port and I had a previous bad experience there before so we decided that if we were even going to get off the ship, it was going to have to be an AI resort that didn’t allow “pushers” in.


I tried to do a lot of research on this and came up short of anyone that could really review this place. It seemed like tons of people have booked with Jamaica for a Day, but couldn’t tell me about this particular resort. I read both good and bad things on Trip Advisor, but thought “what the heck” and booked. It seemed like most of the “complaints” came from those with problems with their rooms…and hey, I wasn’t getting a room, just using their facilities.


When booking, the price was $60 for an adult and $40 for a child. You are required to put down a $20 deposit for each person no matter the age. Then you pay the remaining amount when you arrive at the resort. You can get transportation provided by them for $9 a person. That’s to and from together for only $9. Since I didn’t know how far it was from the port, I decided this was a good idea and booked it too (was paid along with the deposit at the time of booking). Plus I didn’t know what a cab ride would cost for the 5 of us there and back if I did it on my own. It’s about a 10 minute ride there and you can see the ship right there in port from the resort and we loved that. Once we booked online, we were sent a confirmation notification that they received our payment and would be “emailing” our resort pass within 24 hours. After 24 hours, I had not received it and emailed them. They responded very quickly to let me know they were running a little behind but not to worry and they would get it right out to me (and she did). They also tell you to print 2 copies. One for the ride there and one for the ride back (although we didn’t need to show anyone anything on the way back, but they say to do it as a precautionary).



When we made it to the pier, we ask for the Jamaica for a Day operator and were told to wait inside the gated area for someone. We waited for about 20 minutes or so and then I ask again. There was another couple also waiting for the same bus. I think we must have waited about 45 minutes or so before our bus finally came. The papers tell you to be waiting at the port at 9am and that is when they would be leaving for the resort. Obviously they were running late.


Upon arrival, we checked in and paid the remaining amount of our fees and were issued an armband and also some tokens for resort towels. I had completely forgotten that we didn’t need our towels and had brought the ship towels with us. Also they ask us when we wanted to be picked back up to return to the ship and we told them 4pm was a good time.






I have to say, the place is GORGEOUS!!! The entrance is grand, the décor is beautiful, it really looks like a nice resort. The grounds were also VERY beautiful. I could not believe how many pools this place had. They had pools within pools. Private little area pools and huge pools. Pools under slides, pools under bridges, fountain type pool, you name it. Everything was landscaped very nice as well.






The dining area was a HUGE, very TALL, open area. The buffet was very large and PLENTY of seating there. You are right beside the pools and right in front of the ocean. Very nice. We did see people painting up in the rafters and such AFTER we had all ate and everyone was out of the way.
I loved the food. Very tasty and they had tons of it. Everything you could think of and the jerk chicken was fabulous! The only “rule” they had was you HAD to be dressed and have shoes on in that area to eat (understandable) but we found tons of people that were still in their bathing suits and was told to come back dressed.










Since this was an AI, it included your drinks too. We could drink soda all day or alcohol all day. It came with the resort pass. I have to say my favorite was the “dirty banana” drink. Yummy. They made virgin strawberry drinks for my little one and she loved it.



We couldn’t find an actual lay down beach chair by the time we arrived. I think all the resort people had already taken them. But we could find plenty of regular sit up chairs…which is always fine with us since we really don’t stay in a chair long and would rather be on the beach, in the ocean or in the pool. So we just found a spot by a landscaped area and put our things and had a chair there (plus you could sit on the wall).
The beach is kinda small, but had plenty of chairs. They also had some type of cabana things and I bet it’s pretty at night because they all had lights around them (like the little white Christmas lights). They also came with tables.






The ocean had a sandy bottom, so not great for snorkeling, but there was areas that had sea grass at the bottom of them. I managed to find several crabs in those areas…so watch where you walk or have water shoes on. We did manage to see a few schools of small minnow type fish and a few other fish.


The resort provides the HUGE round rings (something like Styrofoam) to use. They are free of charge. You just have to find one to use it. When we first got there, there were plenty and we waited until later, then there wasn’t any. So we missed out on just floating around on one of them.
To the right of the resort, when facing the ocean, there is a water sports place that you can rent jet skis, take a boat tour and so on. They do stay in their spot but will try to lure you in to purchase a ride or whatever. Just keep walking and you’ll be fine. They aren’t allowed to actually come on to the property or the beach in front of the property.


The water slide…it’s massive huge and looks like a lighthouse. There are 2 different slides that come out of it and it’s quite the haul to get up there. It’s inside the light house and a winding staircase. I booked this AI knowing that my 3 year old was going to love this. When we got to the top a very rude man told me she was not allowed to go down. Everyone had to be at least 48” tall to go on the slides. He would not even let me go down with her. You are only allowed 1 person at a time. He was VERY rude about it and I walked away upset and my daughter was in tears. The rest of the day we had to deal with her pointing at the slides and crying to go on them. This is when parenting gets creative trying to divert her attention to something else to make her forget about it. Ugh! So that was the ONLY bad experience I really had at the resort that day.






Toward the end of the day, they had a live band playing and they were playing “music games”. It was hilarious. They would play the beginning of a song that everyone would know and sing it and then stop and you had to keep singing it and name the song. It was hilarious and entertaining.
Now on to the “sketchy” part of the day…LOL There was a lady that my husband had ran in to that ask if he wanted to have our 3 year olds hair braided. He told them it was a possibility and she quoted him a price of $35 for her entire head. He told her that he would tell me about it (because he knew I was wanting this done) and get back to her.


I had ask several other resort visitors how much they paid for their children’s hair to be done and they had told me it was $4 a braid and it seemed to be costing around $60 a person for their entire head to be braided. When my husband told me $35, I decided it was a good idea. When I found this lady later, she said she would do it for $25 and I told her yes in about an hour or so we would find her. She let us know where to find her (off the resort area of course).



When I went to find her, she wasn’t there and it was just a bunch of men hanging out in the area and they told me to come back in 10 minutes and she should be back. I figured I would wait until I seen her pass again. When I found her, she ask us to follow her to the place just around the corner (by the jet ski rental shop) and she would braid her hair there. When we went around there, it was pretty nasty and a dump. There was a broken down boat back there, men hanging out smoking pot, and trash bags everywhere. It made me a little leery but there was 5 of us there so a little at ease…until….a Jet Ski pulled up and she hurried and put my daughter down off the chair and said “whatever you do, don’t tell them I’m braiding her hair” and then she hid. Another lady that was back there ducked down behind my husband and hid. I started to get a little freaked out at this point. The guy on the Jet Ski was a police officer and he got off and walked up toward the rental building. Once he got out of sight, she said “I’ll be back when the coast is clear” and took off running down the beach. Um…ok. At that point my daughter had 2 braids in her hair and we just stood there like, are we going to get in trouble for something we don’t know about???



We waited about a half hour after the police left and could see her in the distance and kept wondering if she was ever going to return to finish her hair. When she did, she told me that the police didn’t like her and they would get her for not having a license to braid hair and they all knew her.
She then said she was going to take us “somewhere safe that we wouldn’t be bothered”. YIKES. She had us walk up to the rental building and we walked along the back side of it between the building and a huge privacy fence. It was long and dark and at that point I was freaking out even more. I kept telling my oldest daughter, “I’m not liking this at all”. When we got to the other side, there was a bunch of locals sitting at a card table playing dominos and just hanging out. She put my daughter up on a bench and continued to braid her hair. We had some long discussions with her and she was very nice and my mind was finally put at ease at that point. The guys went over to check out the “game” at the table and they were all friendly as well. Not pushy on buying “stuff” but did ask. Now from this area I found that the resort actually went a lot further than I realized. We could see the other half of the resort from on top of this little hill that I didn’t know existed and had seen pictures on their website before. There was a beautiful area with a covered area and flowers everywhere that went out over the water (like an island type) and people get married there. They had a beach area over there too and you could snorkel on that side of the wall. Maybe that’s where I should have been in the first place. We watched people snorkeling up and down that area and I could see tons of rocks in the water. Now I wish I would have explored a little more. In the end, my daughter’s hair was done and she actually took $22 for it. Then my 23 year old daughter had hers done after that.


When it was time to leave, we stopped by the resorts store inside the building to get some tee shirts and souvenirs of our visit to Jamaica.
Our driver was out front waiting for us as promised but this time we were in a HUGE Greyhound type bus. We were the only ones on the bus on the way back. It was a nice bus and we got back in plenty of time to get back on the ship.


When we went into the little building where you show your cruise ID’s to the authorities, they pulled my daughter and her boyfriend aside and did a “search” on them. No clue why or if they just randomly pick people to do that to. Maybe he looked like a drug lord or something to them…he does have a lot of tattoos. LOL But all was good.


All in all, I would definitely recommend this place to anyone. It was a lovely day and I’m happy to finally report back about this place for others to know what it is like.


Here are the rest of my pictures: http://kimbakersphotography.smugmug.com/Other/Ocho-Rios-Jamaica/22279178_k5Tzn2#!i=1780052789&k=fj4CZK2
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NCL:
EPIC studio SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination
BAHAMAS: Great Stirrup Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Freeport: Paradise Cove
BARBADOS: Boatyard
BELIZE: Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Island Shark Ray Alley Goffs
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Bay Snorkel Park Tobacco Bay St Catherines Beach Achilles Bay Jet Ski & boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Bay Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue Kay
COZUMEL: Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion IslandPalancar
GRAND CAYMAN: Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK: BOHIO Governors
HALF MOON CAY
JAMAICA: Sunset Hilton Rose
ROATAN: Little French Key LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS: Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN: Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS: Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#26
18,837 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
I am so glad I came across your review! Awesome as always! Welcome back! The parade you missed was the Pirate Parade And they do this on all of the ships. It depends on the number of kids in the club at the time - if they have a certain number then they parade through the theatre. I followed my kids liked a lunatic trying to catch them at every point with the camera. But I only knew what to expect because of our cruises on RCI - they do the same thing

I think you got the first pics of the new "splash academy" with the circus theme waterworks - very cool.

And I agree about the babies in diapers in the children's pool. It was one of my biggest complaints from Gem. I witnessed the pool deck crew telling a mom to take her infant TO the kids pool because that's where they "allow diapers" - which as we know is unsanitary to the other children who don't wear diapers.
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Michele
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 05/20/16
RCI Anthem of the Seas 11/8/2015
RCI Allure of the Seas 5/4/14
Norwegian Getaway PreInaugural 1/27/14
NCL Breakaway PreInaugural 5/8/13
NCL EPIC 11/24/12 - Ewes Baby!
RCI Enchantment 8/3/12 - Addicted to BERMUDA!
NCL Gem 10/2/11 - Back to Bermuda!
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 5/28/11 - Bermuda
RCI Grandeur of the Seas 9/11/10
Carnival Triumph 6/7/09
RCI Independence of the Seas 2/1/09
Disney Wonder 09/11/08
Carnival Sensation 08/07
RCI Freedom of the Seas 5/07
Carnival Elation 11/06
Disney Magic 2/05
NCL Norway 6/02
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/98
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/97
Kids club schedules and children's menus including RCCL Adventure Ocean, Camp Carnival,
Disney, NCL, Princess, HAL and Celebrity posted here....
http://photobucket.com/cruisekidpages
#27
Orlando, FL
10,165 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Thanks so much for taking the time to share this!!

.
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Don
109 Cruises - - NCL Platinum Plus / DCL Platinum / CCL Diminished Milestone/ RCI Platinum
Upcoming : 2017: Norwegian Escape #4 (Western); Carnival Liberty (Halloween in Bahamas); Norwegian Epic #10 (Western); 2018: Norwegian Epic #11 (Eastern), Plus 4 more in 2018, and 1 in 2019

. . . . CCL: It is what it is.
#28
OH
24,074 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by crusinmama06
I am so glad I came across your review! Awesome as always! Welcome back! The parade you missed was the Pirate Parade And they do this on all of the ships. It depends on the number of kids in the club at the time - if they have a certain number then they parade through the theatre. I followed my kids liked a lunatic trying to catch them at every point with the camera. But I only knew what to expect because of our cruises on RCI - they do the same thing

I think you got the first pics of the new "splash academy" with the circus theme waterworks - very cool.

And I agree about the babies in diapers in the children's pool. It was one of my biggest complaints from Gem. I witnessed the pool deck crew telling a mom to take her infant TO the kids pool because that's where they "allow diapers" - which as we know is unsanitary to the other children who don't wear diapers.
I'm glad I now know about the parade. I'll be looking for it next cruise. I wish they would have told us about this. I mean they said it was "Pirate night" or "Blues Clues" night...but that's all they ever said. Maybe I didn't read the childrens dailies close enough? Does it say it in there?

Ok, so do tell...what's the Splash Academy? Something new?

I do know that the babies in diapers where in the "baby" pool area, but they were also in the "family" pool as well. I kept looking at the guy (NCL) sitting mid-way on the steps to the water slide and he was watching her but never once said anything to her about getting her kids out of the water (she had twins). Another parent had another small child in there as well and then we witnessed a mom that let her little one on the deck part IN the pool (which is all part of the pool and tiled area with water in it too) and she played in that area for a long time. Then the mom would pick her up by her hands and dunk her down in the water...which was the same water she was sitting in to begin with. But never once seen any employee say anything to any of these people.
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NCL:
EPIC studio SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination
BAHAMAS: Great Stirrup Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Freeport: Paradise Cove
BARBADOS: Boatyard
BELIZE: Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Island Shark Ray Alley Goffs
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Bay Snorkel Park Tobacco Bay St Catherines Beach Achilles Bay Jet Ski & boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Bay Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue Kay
COZUMEL: Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion IslandPalancar
GRAND CAYMAN: Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK: BOHIO Governors
HALF MOON CAY
JAMAICA: Sunset Hilton Rose
ROATAN: Little French Key LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS: Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN: Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS: Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#29
St. Simons Island, GA
2,444 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
Terrific review. Thanks for posting and thanks for the pix, too. You're keeping us psyched for the Pearl next year.
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GW Goethals (NY-Trinidad) -1/1953 (first cruise, newly hatched)
Liberté (Southampton-NY) 7/1956 (DW first cruise--9 mos old)
United States 5/1958 (DW 2nd crossing)
Upshur (Naples-New York) 04/1960
Patch (Southampton-New York) 07/1961
RMS Queen of Bermuda (Ft. Lauderdale-Bermuda) 10/1964
USS Juneau (Long Beach-Australia, NZ, Solomons, Marshall Islands, HI) 6-8/1971
HMS Tiger (East Asia) 7-9/1973
Whole bunch of USN aircraft carriers
RCCL Sovereign of the Seas (E. Carib) 08/91
NCL Dream (Dover-Baltic) 9/02/07
NCL Sun (Miami-W. Caribbean) 3/8/08
NCL Jade (Barcelona-E. Mediterranean) 3/8/09
NCL Jewel (NY-Canada, eh) 9/11/10
NCL Gem (NY-E. Carib) 01/2011
NCL Jewel (NY-Carib) 01/2011
NCL Pearl (Miami-W. Caribbean) 02/03/13
NCL Gem (New York-E. Caribbean) 01/30/2015
NCL Escape (Inaugural: Hamburg to Southampton) 10/25/2015

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” St. Francis





#30
18,837 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by mitsugirly
. I mean they said it was "Pirate night" or "Blues Clues" night...but that's all they ever said. Maybe I didn't read the childrens dailies close enough? Does it say it in there?

Ok, so do tell...what's the Splash Academy? Something new?
Ohhh Splash Academy, it's been the talk of the town around CC lately - not in a good way lol You will find every press release and up to the minute detail about splash academy in this huge discussion here....

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1600977

And the Pirate Parade - on our cruise they had the following line "Parade leaves at 7:00 pm, don't miss the hunt" But who knows if yours said the same.

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Michele
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 05/20/16
RCI Anthem of the Seas 11/8/2015
RCI Allure of the Seas 5/4/14
Norwegian Getaway PreInaugural 1/27/14
NCL Breakaway PreInaugural 5/8/13
NCL EPIC 11/24/12 - Ewes Baby!
RCI Enchantment 8/3/12 - Addicted to BERMUDA!
NCL Gem 10/2/11 - Back to Bermuda!
RCI Enchantment of the Seas 5/28/11 - Bermuda
RCI Grandeur of the Seas 9/11/10
Carnival Triumph 6/7/09
RCI Independence of the Seas 2/1/09
Disney Wonder 09/11/08
Carnival Sensation 08/07
RCI Freedom of the Seas 5/07
Carnival Elation 11/06
Disney Magic 2/05
NCL Norway 6/02
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/98
RCI Sovereign of the Seas 9/97
Kids club schedules and children's menus including RCCL Adventure Ocean, Camp Carnival,
Disney, NCL, Princess, HAL and Celebrity posted here....
http://photobucket.com/cruisekidpages
#31
Miami
4,533 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Welcome home! Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed review with pictures. I know that takes alot of time!

Couple of comments about your review. My last cruise on the Sky we had a very similiar experience boarding. They had 4 lines, one for gold latitudes, silver, bronze, and everyone else. Each line was equally as long. But how ironic that the shortest line was the non-lattitudes line. There was no one enforcing the lines. But welcome to Miami.... the world of chaos and unorganization (I can say this because I live here).

The dress codes in the MDR have been relaxed. I read where you said people were in shorts. We were told our last cruise that NCL changed the dess policy again. Jeans and shorts are allowed in ALL MDRs and all specialty restaurants including Cagneys and Epic club. The only restaurant that still has a dress policy is Le Bistro.

Sorry to hear about your kids getting sick. But it looks like you made the most of it and had a good time. Great job hunting down Mr Sheehan and you guys took a great picture.
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NCL Cruises
March 2009 NCL Jewel - Western Caribbean - Balcony cabin
January 2010 NCL Sky - Bahamas - Penthouse Suite
December 2010 NCL Epic - Eastern Caribbean - Penthouse Suite
October 2011 NCL Sky - Bahamas - Balcony cabin
February 2013 NCL Epic - Eastern Caribbean - 2 bedroom Haven suite
February 2015 NCL Getaway -Eastern Caribbean-Penthouse suite
#32
6,291 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Thank you for your review. You seem to be a very patient stand-in-liner. Glad you all had fun and thank you for the pics!
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#33
522 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Thank you for taking the time to post such a great detailed review and for posting such nice pictures. I am very glad you had a great cruise with VIP perks. Very nice picture of you and Mr.Sheehan.
#34
FLORIDA
67 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
thank you for the great review on stirup cay and ocho rios looking forwar to gran cayman and cozumel.
thank you againg.
miryam
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MIRYAM
#35
Long Island NY
2,214 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Mitsu very nice review, thank you sharing.

In a review by a family just off the Star the poster said they had lemonade available in the buffet. Did you notice lemonade in the buffet on the Pearl? Am hoping this is fleet wide.
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Norwegian Gem 12/4/2016~10668~R/T San Juan, Barbados, Martinique, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas
Norwegian Gem 5/30/2015~10168~R/T NYC, Port Canaveral, GSC, Nassau
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Norwegian Jewel 2/12/2011~9670~NYC 1 night CTN
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#36
OH
24,074 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by Seago2
Thank you for your review. You seem to be a very patient stand-in-liner. Glad you all had fun and thank you for the pics!
I am. I'm on vacation so I don't let much get me down if I can help it. I was just so excited and talking to the family in line and taking pictures...it passed by quick enough.

Originally posted by P&Lcruising
Mitsu very nice review, thank you sharing.

In a review by a family just off the Star the poster said they had lemonade available in the buffet. Did you notice lemonade in the buffet on the Pearl? Am hoping this is fleet wide.
I think they might have the lemonade. I'm pretty sure there is always water and tea. I'm not sure though because we buy the soda package.
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NCL:
EPIC studio SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination
BAHAMAS: Great Stirrup Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Freeport: Paradise Cove
BARBADOS: Boatyard
BELIZE: Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Island Shark Ray Alley Goffs
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Bay Snorkel Park Tobacco Bay St Catherines Beach Achilles Bay Jet Ski & boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Bay Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue Kay
COZUMEL: Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion IslandPalancar
GRAND CAYMAN: Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK: BOHIO Governors
HALF MOON CAY
JAMAICA: Sunset Hilton Rose
ROATAN: Little French Key LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS: Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN: Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS: Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#37
OH
24,074 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
GRAND CAYMAN


NATIVEWAY-STINGRAY SAND BAR, SNORKELING REEF, RUM POINT BEACH


I did a lot of research on this beautiful island and was originally going to go to Smiths Cove for a quiet snorkeling/beach day. After reading a fellow cc’s post and the pictures, I knew I just had to take this excursion. My 3 year old has a love for animals and I knew that the stingrays would delight her. So, I booked with Nativeway and received my confirmation for the 5 of us. Every cruise there is that one port that I just know is going to be the highlight of the cruise. I just knew this was going to be that port this time around.


I have to start by saying, anyone who knows me on here and has read any of my reviews know that I’m not a negative person in any way. I try to make the best of everything and not many things upset me nor do I normally let things spoil my fun. I’ve broken my hand in port in 2010, I’ve been zip lining and been slammed into a tree knocking my breath out of me by an employee, my daughter has been bitten by a monkey at Boddens house…I’m not a complainer. However, this tour was just unacceptable in every way to me. With that being said:


On port day, we ate breakfast and headed for the port. We were told to arrive at the meeting site at 9:15am and the tour would leave at 9:30am. We arrived at the stand at exactly 9:15am. We did not see anyone standing around for Nativeway, but seen the sign that stated that is where they meet. After about 10 minutes of still not seeing anyone, I approached another tour guide for another company next to it and they stated that Sharon had just left prior to us showing up with some people and she should return shortly so we should just wait there.



Around 9:45 or so she showed up only to tell us that we were late. She said she had taken the group and already put them on the bus to head out. I told her our instructions said to be there at 9:15 and that is exactly when we showed up and had been waiting. She told us that we were an hour late and we must still be on ship time and needed to be on Cayman time. Well, her email to me stated the following: “The tour departs the pier at 9:30 AM Eastern Daylight Saving Time (this is ship’s time). The tour completes at around 2:45 PM Eastern Time. We ask that you check in no later than 9:15 AM Eastern Daylight Saving Time. When you come ashore, look for the person carrying the sign that says Native Way Watersports. You may also ask for us at the information booth at the cruise ship terminal.” Then she proceeded to tell me that she could take us to the Sand Bar and do the snorkeling but we would miss going to Rum Point, which really upset me. That was the ONLY reason that I booked with THEM to begin with. I could not find another tour that went to Rum Point. Finally we decided to go ahead and do the stingrays (I couldn’t let my little one down on that part since that was all she had been talking about for the last month after finding out that she was going to get to hold a stingray).

Sharon told us to follow her and we met up with another group where they told us they would be taking all the passengers in 2 of their buses. When they split everyone up, they also split our party of 5 up. Um WHAT???? We are all together and I kept telling them this. They said well 2 will have to go in one van and 3 in the other. Now I’m sure that everyone in the 2 vans were not all together and they could have kept from splitting us all up. Once again, not too happy about this. While we were talking to the guide telling him we were together, everyone had already split up and piled in the vans in this huge parking lot where there were tons of buses and vans. We had no idea where everyone had gone to and then the guide just walked off. We were left standing there wondering where they had all went. Finally my husband noticed one of the people sitting in a van that had been standing there and we headed over that way. Then the driver tried to tell my 3 year old to get in the back and we were to sit in the front. NOPE DON’T THINK SO!!! She was petrified. There were 2 kids (older) already in the back and 1 parent with them. When I told the driver I wasn’t putting my 3 year old back there by herself, the parent back there decided to move up a row so that I could squeeze in back there with her.

On the ride there I had to put up with the 2 older children horsing around and the one sitting next to us kept sitting on his foot/leg , which happen to be pinching my daughters leg over and over. I put my hand down there in the attempt to keep him from hitting her. Needless to say, by the time we made it to the boat, my hand and arm had shoe prints on it and wasn’t feeling the best. Argh.

So we make it to the boat we are taking and everyone PILES IN…it was crowded. The two guys on the boat tell us to go up on the front of the boat to sit on the “sundeck”. The sundeck had a coating (kind of like the coating you put on a truck bed to keep it from rusting) but it was pointy. Not very comfortable at all. After we start moving the driver of the boat tells us “oh, just so you know, the people on the sundeck…you WILL get soaked”. Oh just flipping great. We were soaked all the way there from the waves, towels and all. Mouthfuls of water and salt water in the eyes when you least expect it. Both my girls were not happy about this. Just imagine sitting on the front of a boat with nothing to hold on to, nothing to lean against, legs and butt hurting from being poked from the deck while trying to hold on to a small child all while getting soaked on a wavy ride. Whew.
When we arrived, the place was PACKED. We circled around trying to find a place to “park”. We could see the stingrays swimming around and all the people holding them. Ok, so hopefully things were about to get better now.

As soon as we parked, the driver of the boat and the guy with him jumped off and started looking for a stingray to catch. Everyone piled off the boat and we were left trying to figure out how in the heck we were supposed to get off the front of the boat deck with the boat rocking so bad with a little one??? Really??? There was no help what-so-ever. No one in site. No concern for safety. We could have fallen off the boat and they would have never known. I have NEVER been on any excursion where the tour guides did not have a safety concern for a child. It took both me and my husband inching our way holding on as tight as we could to our child’s hand and one hand on the boat to get off. At that point I was highly pissed. After getting down below, I noticed that I had forgotten my daughters lifejacket (a puddle jumper and it’s the only thing that she can swim with that won’t tip her over). Now this was of course totally my fault, but just added to the open wound at this point. The life jacket they had for children was way too big for her and it did absolutely no good. We still had to hold her.



By the time we got off the boat, you really didn’t see very many stingrays. I don’t know if all the other groups had them or they had just went off in a different area where they were feeding him. But, we only had one. I think I seen maybe 2 pass by us (and this was after the “tour” was over and everyone was getting back on the boat. So, I think it was because the other groups had let them go by that time).[/color]

While the guy holding the stingray told everyone he was holding it and would let you hold it and kiss it, he started letting people take turns. Numerous times we were passed up. The water was really going up and down and it was really hard to stand up a lot of times. We kept going over to tell him we haven’t had our turn yet. Finally after everyone was done and headed back, he said “so everyone has had a turn right?” I kept saying “no, you keep passing us up”. So…”put your hands here”, “ok kiss him” ok, “next”. Literally a minute, if that, of interaction with the stingray. Wow, not at all what I expected. We piled back on the boat and said there is no way we are going back up on the deck, we’ll stand and hold on before doing that.



They took us maybe 25-30 away from the sand bar and stopped the engine and said, here’s your snorkeling spot. Hmmm, yea there were a few rocks there and a few fish, but not much. I definitely wouldn’t call it a “snorkeling spot”. The only good thing about it was there were still some Rays in the area and I managed to get a few shots of them swimming around in their natural habitat instead of being held. The snorkeling last for maybe 30 minutes to 45 minutes if that and they told everyone to get back on the boat to head back.







On the way back the guy stood on the back of the boat and de-shelled (if that’s what it was called) all the conch’s that they had caught while we were snorkeling and visiting with the stingrays. He was pulling the conch out and would put them in his mouth to gross everyone out. Then chop off their head and put them in a bucket. He kept pulling out a clear long piece from the conch and slurping it up in his mouth like spaghetti. He told us it was their version of ******. (After getting home, I looked it up and found out it is the sex organ of the conch). He did slice up the conch and let people on the boat try it if they wanted too. He also let a few girls taste the “****** part”.



I had asked him when he first started taking the conch out what he planned on doing with all the shells and if my daughter could have one. He said yes, he would clean them up and hand them out to those that wanted one. Still on the way back, he was cleaning shells and started handing them out. He handed several to the children that were in the van with us on the ride there. Then handed one to the parent?? Then some of the other ladies. I was still standing there waiting on my daughters…since I was the one to ASK FOR IT to begin with. My daughter started crying because she didn’t have one yet and the parent handed her the shell she had. My daughter sat down on the deck and was holding it and looking at it and saying “look mommy, it’s so pretty”. Then we pulled up to the dock and the lady grabbed it from her. Of course, instant crying. I ask the guy once more for a shell and he said he was cleaning the rest up. I waited and waited and everyone was off the boat and in the vans…of course waiting on us. I finally gave up and got off basically dragging her along crying because she did not get one. Not a pretty site. All the way back to the port I had to deal with her crying and begging for a shell. I told her we would get her one before getting back on the ship…and we did. We found a guy selling them for $6 on the street. So finally she was happy. (I still wasn’t, but she was and that was what mattered).

We did a little shopping before getting back on the ship and called it a day. A frustrating day at that.[/color]

I do have to add, we are 100% positive that we were NOT on a Nativeway tour, but with who ever does the excursions for the actual ship (NCL). Everyone on there said they were from an NCL excursion and on the van ride back they came on the van and collected our money for Nativeway prior to letting us go. We are the only ones that paid at that time because all of the others paid the ship for the excursion. So really, I can not say what an actual “Nativeway” excursion would have been like because we were not on their excursion. But I can say if they (Nativeway) is going to put their customers on ANOTHER excursion, they might want to check out what that excursion is like because it still reflects on them as a tour operator. We booked with them, I feel that our service was not that great, the safety was compromised on the boat with our little one, they did not give us the interaction we expected or had read about and IMO I would never book with them again.

I’m still confused why we were told that we were late and on the wrong “time” when he letter specifically stated The tour departs the pier at 9:30 AM Eastern Daylight Saving Time this is ship’s time. I also have to add that the tour bus that my daughter and her boyfriend were on had the SAME TIME as we did on their clock in the van. Also, on the way back, the bus had the SAME EXACT time that I had as well. So if Cayman time was 1 hour ahead of us (in order for us to miss the tour), I find it odd that none of them on the island had a clock that said it was an hour ahead of the ships time (which is what my clock was set to). I’m still not buying it. Especially when the tour operator next to the Nativeway sign had just told me that Sharon had just walked over with a group.

We hope to someday go back to Cayman Islands and when we do, we are definitely hoping for a better experience. We would never book with Nativeway again.


Link to the rest of my pictures: http://kimbakersphotography.smugmug....5039&k=JhFBGb4
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NCL:
EPIC studio SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination
BAHAMAS: Great Stirrup Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Freeport: Paradise Cove
BARBADOS: Boatyard
BELIZE: Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Island Shark Ray Alley Goffs
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Bay Snorkel Park Tobacco Bay St Catherines Beach Achilles Bay Jet Ski & boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Bay Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue Kay
COZUMEL: Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion IslandPalancar
GRAND CAYMAN: Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK: BOHIO Governors
HALF MOON CAY
JAMAICA: Sunset Hilton Rose
ROATAN: Little French Key LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS: Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN: Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS: Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#38
47 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by mitsugirly
GRAND CAYMAN

I had asked him when he first started taking the conch out what he planned on doing with all the shells and if my daughter could have one. He said yes, he would clean them up and hand them out to those that wanted one. Still on the way back, he was cleaning shells and started handing them out. He handed several to the children that were in the van with us on the ride there. Then handed one to the parent?? Then some of the other ladies. I was still standing there waiting on my daughters…since I was the one to ASK FOR IT to begin with. My daughter started crying because she didn’t have one yet and the parent handed her the shell she had. My daughter sat down on the deck and was holding it and looking at it and saying “look mommy, it’s so pretty”. Then we pulled up to the dock and the lady grabbed it from her.
Un.be.lieveable! None of those grown women could have given up their shells for a little girl?! My *kids* (13 and 20) would have noticed a little kid was going without, before the crying even started, and offered up their shells. The 13yo would have been sad to lose her shell and still given it up. People are incredible!

Anyway, I am loving your review. I almost feel like I was there too.

Laura
#39
OH
24,074 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by lmarletto
Un.be.lieveable! None of those grown women could have given up their shells for a little girl?! My *kids* (13 and 20) would have noticed a little kid was going without, before the crying even started, and offered up their shells. The 13yo would have been sad to lose her shell and still given it up. People are incredible!

Anyway, I am loving your review. I almost feel like I was there too.

Laura
Nope. I didn't expect any of the kids to give theirs up but all of the older ladies (some where I'm guessing in their 60's, some in their 30's) would grab the shells when he was handing them out completely reaching over my child who had been patiently standing beside him waiting for one. It upset me that the guy cleaning them and passing them out was talking to her during this and seen her standing there and still didn't bother to hand her one.

I knew the lady that gave her the shell to hold was just doing it to pacify her until we arrived at the dock. I was pretty sure she was going to take it back and I mentioned it to my little one several times saying "that is her shell and you'll have to give it back. She's just letting you hold it for her". But still, she's 3 years old, she doesn't understand that and I knew the tears were going to pour when we docked...and they did.
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NCL:
EPIC studio SPIRIT PEARL STAR JEWEL GETAWAY SUN SKY DAWN BREAKAWAY JADE EPIC
CARNIVAL:
Dream Pride Breeze Fascination
BAHAMAS: Great Stirrup Cay Blue Lagoon Melia Junkanoo Freeport: Paradise Cove
BARBADOS: Boatyard
BELIZE: Cavetubing Cavetubing Bannister Island Shark Ray Alley Goffs
BERMUDA: Horseshoe Bay Snorkel Park Tobacco Bay St Catherines Beach Achilles Bay Jet Ski & boat rental Warwick-Horseshoe Long Bay-Clearwater Tobacco Bay Snorkel Park
COSTA MAYA:Almaplena Maya Chan Nohoch Blue Kay
COZUMEL: Chankanaab Dolphin Swim Chankanaab Nachi Playa Mia Sanchos Passion IslandPalancar
GRAND CAYMAN: Stingray Sandbar Stingrays, Rum Point
GRAND TURK: BOHIO Governors
HALF MOON CAY
JAMAICA: Sunset Hilton Rose
ROATAN: Little French Key LFK Maya Key West Bay ZiplineLFK
SAN JUAN:Pamelas
ST KITTS: Reggae Carambola
ST LUCIA: Jalousie
ST MAARTEN: Orient & Maho Mullet Maho Divi Pinel
ST THOMAS: Saphhire Coki Linquist Coki
TORTOLA: Baths
#40
530 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
What kind of stateroom did u have? Great trip report!!! How did you get VIP status? That is an awesome experience!
We got VIP benefits on our last cruise while staying in an inside cabin. Treats every night, invite to the VIP captains cocktail hr , the chocoholic preview, concierges (ours would not accept our tip) and the tender tickets and priority disembarkation. It was a wonderful treat!! Norwegian cares about its consumers!