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happyscmom

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    South Carolina
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    Cruising!

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  1. Following! We will be on the Epic out of Miami in April.
  2. Bermuda Day 2- For day 2 in Bermuda we booked the Caves and Waves excursion through NCL. The excursion had a meet up time of 8:50 at the port. We were loaded onto buses at 9:00, and the drive to the caves was about 50 minutes. At the caves we were divided into groups for the tour. The tour is a walk into the caves with a history discussion. It was absolutely beautiful and amazing! After the tour tour we got back on the buses for a ride to the beach. On the bus they sold a $25 bundle for 2 chairs and an umbrella. We were dropped at Clearwater Beach and had about 3 hours to spend there. It was very nice. The bar had food and drink for sale. Really relaxing. However, at that point, the excursion turned very frustrating. We were picked up at 2:15 and told that we would be taking the ferry from St George’s back. They dropped us at the ferry stop and we stood in the ferry line baking in the sun until 3. The ferry got us back about 4:10. In other words, it was about 2 hours back to the ship and none of us had any clue that we would have to do that. Very frustrating. I think if I did this again, I would do the locations on my own. After the excursion we took a nap and showered for dinner. We had been gifted a dinner at Moderno. We don’t eat meat other than fish, so this was really a salad bar experience for us. However, it was quite good. Funny thing, they are saying that all specialty dining is sold out, but every time we eat the places are half empty. I’ve met several people who haven’t been able to get dining reservations, so I know this must be frustrating. After dinner we did Howl at the Moon and it was so great! I love that venue.
  3. NCL ferry goes to St George’s, no Hamilton. Too bad!
  4. Review of Day 1 in Bermuda This was our first trip to Bermuda, so it’s all new. We arrived at 8:00, and made our way off of the ship at about 9:00. We walked around the area by the port. There is a lot of shopping, etc. We really just wanted to get the lay of the land. We walked over to the Visitor Center and bought ferry coins for the ride to Hamilton in the evening. At about 11 we headed back on the ship for lunch and to get ready. Our Restless Native Catamaran trip met at 1:30 right near the ship. Meet up was super easy, which was a relief. We got into the boat and headed out right away. The boat is very nice, and the crew was amazing. We rode about 40 minutes to a spot right by a small beach. From there you could snorkel, kayak, float with a pool noodles, or hang on the boat. We have done a lot of snorkeling in the Caribbean, and I’ll say that the actual snorkeling was pretty disappointing. We saw only a few fish, and they were just brown fish sitting under rocks. Nothing much to see. Despite that, the excursion was awesome. We bought a few beers ($5) and grabbed noodles and just relaxed in the water. After finishing water time, they serve free rum swizzles and chocolate chip cookies on the boat. Both were great and the crew was top notch! We got back to the pier at 5. When we got back back we went running back to the Escape to shower and then ran back to the ferry terminal to catch the 5:45 ferry to Hamilton. It was a huge rush, but we got there right at 5:40. The line was SO LONG to get onto the Ferry. We made it on and searched for seating. We ended up stumbling into the bottom of the ferry which was pretty empty and had an air conditioned area. So, tip....go downstairs! We got to Hamilton about 6:30. We decided to go there because of the street fair. It takes place each Wednesday during the summer. It was a bit disappointing. Most booths were things we would see at home. We ended up eating in a restaurant because the street food wasn’t too appealing. We went to a British Pub called Flannagan’s. It was pretty good. After dinner we walked around a bit and went back towards the pier. It was only about 8:20, but there was already a long line for the ferry. We waited in line until 9, got back at 10, and stood in a very long line to get back on the Escape. Overall, it was a night of lines! I would recommend skipping the Hamilton street festival. It ended up being hours of waiting for very little. Today we are doing “Caves and Waves,” so more later!
  5. Report of day 2 at sea We spent most of the day in Vibe (after morning workout, etc). I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Vibe. The pool area is a zoo. Really...this is my 3rd time on Escape, and this is the worst pool situation that I’ve ever seen. There at people every inch along the way. Nuts. Vibe was quiet and glorious. The only complaint is that the misting thing wasn’t working so it got pretty hot since we were barely moving (circling due to the medical emergency). For dinner we did Savor. It was much better than Le Bistro the night before, but it was slow. They seem to be struggling with the large crowd this week. I had almond encrusted trout. Really nice. We are now in Bermuda and about to hop off to explore. We are booked with Restless Native this afternoon for snorkeling.
  6. We have had coffee delivered to the room each morning. There is a coffee shop (fee), if you are up early. The buffet has coffee. The buffet was a zoo at lunch yesterday, but this ship is packed. The food is good, for buffet. Yesterday at lunch we had typical stuff (pizza, salad, sandwich, pasta).
  7. We packed in two carry-on bags, so I feel you! There is a hairdryer, and it’s very good. We have little shampoo/conditioner bottles. I packed my own mini ones, so I haven’t used them. For my space-saving, I just packed by rolling clothes, brought only a few dressy things that I could mix and match, and tried to go minimal. It’s been good so far!
  8. We have a medical emergency on board today so we are hitting Bermuda early, but they are keeping us off shore until 8 am tomorrow. I’ll update on docking!
  9. Crab cake at Bayamo - one bite in! Some of the best salmon ever at Bayamo Cheesecake in a jar. Apple tart brown lettuce at Le Bistro. (Yuck) beautiful but mediocre scallops chocolate dessert at Le Bisto. (Ok, but so pretty)
  10. Good morning! I’m onboard the Escape right now. I’ll do a full review after the cruise, but I thought that I would post a few details as we go. Im sailing with my husband, only. We left the kids with grand parents! The cruise left Sunday, July 30, and it is now Tuesday morning. Here are a few details, thus far. Embarkation - We reached port about 9:00 am. We were put in line and let into the terminal at 10:30. It was very organized, and check in was a breeze. We were in boarding group 7, which made me nervous since I was going for Vibe. Boarding started at 11:15. They let on 1-5 together and then opened to 1-7. We ran right to headliners and got the number for Vibe. The worker had PLENTY of tickets left, which really surprised me. Overall, embarkation was a breeze. We went to lunch at Savor. That’s always better than the crazy Buffet! Very good. Cabins were ready at 1:30. We didn’t head down until about 2:30, and our suitcases were already waiting. That was great! The safety drill was at 3:30, and it was over very quickly. Great job with that! We had dinner night one at Bayamo. It was amazing! I had crab cake, salmon with potatoes and spinach, and cheese cake in a jar. Amazing! After dinner we went to Howl at the Moon. It was a little slow to start, but ok. One of the performers is pretty bad. We plan to go back, so hopefully he will get better! Monday was an at sea day. I started the day with the Ryde class (spin). It is a great class the class costs $20, but you can get an “all class” pass for $79. Keep in mind, though, that they add 18% gratuity. I was shocked to see $93 charged instead of $79. After Class, shower, etc we went to early lunch at 11. O’Sheehan’s closes from 11-12, so we had to go to the buffet. It was crazy and packed already. I wanted to get a Diet Coke from the bar, and that was nearly impossible. Frustrating. After lunch we had the CC Meet and Greet. It was awesome. We had a big crowd. NCL does a great job. Beer, food, etc were provided in District Brew. After Meet and Greet some of us did a slot pull and pub crawl. It was a great way to meet cool people. We didn’t finish until 5! I went to Vibe for an hour after that and then headed to change for dinner. Dinner was at Le Bistro. This was a major disappointment. The restaurant was so loud that I could barely hear my husband. The waitress was pretty terrible. She didn’t give us a wine menu, and seemed annoyed when I asked for one after about 10 minutes. The food was very mediocre. The crab salad had brown lettuce and the scallops was over cooked. The food was beautiful, however. More to come later!
  11. I love Taste/Savor on embarkation day. They are open, and we always go there. O'Sheehen's will also be open.
  12. This it is pretty interesting. While it certainly isn't a lot of money, it is enough to explain why so many people did it. My last cruise was an MSC cruise. We got to know our waiters and they had all worked for RCCL, NCL, and MSC. Each said NCL was the best one to work for. The income in this article makes that seem true.
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