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Dawn Garden Villa review 1/6/13

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I will post my review of our trip on the Dawn 1/6-1/13/13 in the next day or two. We stayed in garden villa 14000 and LOVED it!! I will try to post pictures also. Send me any questions meanwhile. :D

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Looking forward to your review. We have a DOS booked for the christmas cruise "13. We are thinking about uprgading to the GV and having some relatives stay in there with us. I will be looking for yor review.

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Since my father and stepmother live near Tampa, we decided to head down a couple days early to spend some time with them before our cruise. We stayed at the Hyatt Place Westhore. It was a great hotel. All the rooms are suites with either a king bed or 2 doubles. The living area has a mini fridge, wetbar, and pull out sofa (not very comfortable per my husband...he slept there since we are used to king-sized bed and the double was too small for us). They have a great complimentary breakfast with pancakes, bagels, fruit, cereals,oatmeal, etc. They have shuttles to the port every 30 minutes (we rode with 2 other couples..one heading for Carnival cruise and the other HAL). It cost us $25 for 6...not bad! I would definitely stay there again.

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Didn't think we would get all our bags in with the other 2 couples, but our driver was an expert!! She fit everything in!

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The shuttle took only about 15-20 minutes to get to port.

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That moment when you get to port and see your ship is amazing no matter how many times you've done it before!!

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The mirrored section up top is our villa!! So excited!!

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More to come tomorrow!! I'm new to this review stuff, so it takes me a while. Gotta get to bed so I can work tomorrow to pay for next cruise!!;)

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Have to post a few more pictures before bed (Ambien hasn't kicked in yet!!).

The living/dining room:

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View of the pool from living room:

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Upper private balcony:

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View from upper balcony of hottub/lower patio area. Just awesome!!

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Our butler Mark-he was excellent!!

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The kitchen. Kept the fridges full of diet pepsi, bottled water, orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice, creamers for coffee, and my husband's bucket of Bud Light!! Mark always replenished as we used anything. Loved him!

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im thrillled to see these pics and hear about how awesome you guys were taken care of.

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im thrillled to see these pics and hear about how awesome you guys were taken care of.

We were treated like celebrities or royalty. I have never had that level of treatment in my life!! Everywhere we went on the ship, the crew knew who we were, and most of the time addressed us as "sir Don" or "madam Kelly" everywhere we went. We have sailed 4 previous times on NCL and were always treated nicely but this was different! Mark-our butler, Virginia-our concierge, and Micky-our room steward went above and beyond to make our experience special. They were all very professional. Micky made the best towel animals, twice a day for all 3 bedrooms!!

the first-a doggie

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walrus or seal??

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The crab (or is it a frog??)ry%3D400

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Enjoying your review and looking foward to the rest.

We are also staying at the Hyatt Place Westshore before our Dawn cruise. Can you tell me what time the shuttles begin taking you to the port? Also, were you booked as part of the park and cruise package? Only $25 for 6 people sounds too cheap, since I've read a taxi would cost the same amount, but for only 2.

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I will post my review of our trip on the Dawn 1/6-1/13/13 in the next day or two. We stayed in garden villa 14000 and LOVED it!! I will try to post pictures also. Send me any questions meanwhile. :D

 

The Garden Villa looks amazing! I don't think our mini-suite on our sailing next year will have quite the same appeal. We'll have to make the best of it. :)

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Enjoying your review and looking foward to the rest.

We are also staying at the Hyatt Place Westshore before our Dawn cruise. Can you tell me what time the shuttles begin taking you to the port? Also, were you booked as part of the park and cruise package? Only $25 for 6 people sounds too cheap, since I've read a taxi would cost the same amount, but for only 2.

I don't know about the charges. The guy at the desk was very nice and said it would be $25. (I was surprised it was so cheap too:)).We told him we had 6 people, he said that was fine. We did not book the park and cruise package. Shuttle times started at 9 am I think and were scheduled every 30 minutes. I think we took the 10:30 slot and were there around 10:45-10:50.

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I don't know about the charges. The guy at the desk was very nice and said it would be $25. (I was surprised it was so cheap too:)).We told him we had 6 people, he said that was fine. We did not book the park and cruise package. Shuttle times started at 9 am I think and were scheduled every 30 minutes. I think we took the 10:30 slot and were there around 10:45-10:50.

 

Thank you

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We got to port of Tampa around 10:45 and made it through security very quickly. We then were sent to check-in desk at end of pier for garden villa and owners suite guests. Check in was very smooth. We were then escorted to suites waiting area where we were introduced to Virginia (concierge). She had our room cards. We had coffee/juice and pastries while we waited, and were escorted on board around 11:30. We were brought directly to the garden villa to get a quick look around and drop our bags and then were brought to Cagneys for lunch.

 

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Virginia-love her!!

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Some more pictures of villa:

desk area with laptop provided (still have to buy internet package though)

 

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hottub/garden area

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player piano

 

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We spent afternoon unpacking and exploring the villa. Amazing is all I can say! We watched sail away from our upper balcony. Champagne was included with villa:

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Carnival was in port also:ry%3D480

 

upper balcony:ry%3D400

 

We went to early show in Stardust theater (special balcony seating for villa/owners suite guests)ry%3D400

 

We had dinner in the Venetian tonight. Everyone enjoyed their food (and beverages!). Ended the evening relaxing in our own private hottub! I could get used to this :-)

 

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The Garden Villa looks amazing! I don't think our mini-suite on our sailing next year will have quite the same appeal. We'll have to make the best of it. :)

Our first cruise on NCL was on the Dawn in minisuite 11062. Our girls were 16 and 17 at the time. The room was fine for us. It was on that cruise that we got to see the villa (happened to catch the people staying in it put the key card in elevator for 14th floor and asked if we could see it...they said yes. I never thought we would ever stay in it!)

 

Here's picture of 11062 balcony from inside room

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More to come tomorrow. Sorry it is so slow, but with work and dinner meetings, doesn't leave much time for anything else. And I have never done review, so it is a learning process for me:)

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After a rough night (daughters brought some guests back to villa late at night and decided it would be quieter on upper balcony...it was not;)not much sleep by anyone that night), we got up early for breakfast at Cagney's. I had eggs over easy and toast but didn't get the bacon I had asked for...no biggie, there would be plenty of time for me to eat later.

We got to meet and greet at 10:25... the Star bar is not the ideal place for this IMO. I have never been to one before, but this is not what I envisioned. When we arrived, the seats were pretty much full, and no one was really "meeting or greeting" anyone, they just sort of talked amongst themselves. So, we sat in the empty seats and did the same (talked to our own group). My mother and sister left after 10 minutes. We did meet a couple of people, but nothing like I thought it would be. Anyways, the senior officers all arrived and were introduced (I felt like I already knew them because they were all introduced after the Welcome Aboard show last night). They said a few words and left. We went for slot pull after (also my first time), which was very fun. After everyone had their turn spinning, we had enough for everyone to leave with about $10 (we started with $15 each), but we decided to keep playing. We ended up broke at the end, but it was fun.

Time to enjoy the sun on our balcony after that. Me and younger daughter watched the "sexy legs" contest from our balcony...very funny! We loved listening to the band playing by the pool and smelling the barbeque. The hotdogs and hamburgers were great!

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my girls enjoying the pool. the weather was perfect.

 

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My sister and mother arrived back at room around 2. They had gone to port shopping lecture and were all convinced they knew how to shop now. We all just spent afternoon on upper balcony watching the views, listening to the band, and smelling the food. Couldn't get any better!!

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The butler brought up our afternoon treats around 4:30. Talk about spoiling!! Mark was excellent.

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Bimini Bar

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the garden

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We were invited to a captain's cocktail party this evening in Spinnakers. Got a quick picture with the captain, but he was gone in no time. We had a drink each, and then left. Kind of another let-down (having never been a suite guest before, I didn't know what to expect, but a captain's cocktail party I thought would mean getting to meet the captain other than for the 2 seconds to take a picture). We grabbed some dinner in the buffet, which I will say wasn't the greatest I've had in all my cruises. No show for us tonight...wanted to get to bed early for our first port tomorrow. Daughters went out again, but no late night visitors tonight, so we all got some sleep! The beds are awesome!!

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As far as Spinnakers goes, I am not impressed. If I hadn't sailed the Dawn before, I would have thought it was okay, but since I was on the Dawn in 2005 when Spinnakers was on deck 12 forward I knew what I was missing. I loved sitting up there watching the sea go by. We played Bingo in there almost every day back then, and you didn't feel like you were missing anything since it was 180 degree views. I don't know where people in inside rooms are supposed to go to get a look at where they're going now (unless they want to go on deck 13 and stand outside..not so good in a rain storm). I miss all the quirky chairs they had in there also.

 

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It seems much smaller too. I did not go there again after captain's night.

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We have been to Roatan before, but not since the new dock area was built up. We had no specific plans, and since it was pouring rain in the morning, we weren't in a hurry to get off. Had breakfast at Cagney's again...got my bacon this time. We watched the ship dock...always fascinates me. I could feel the excitement on the pier with the locals dancing and singing to welcome us. I wanted to see monkeys, and knew there were some in Roatan. Virginia asked us if we had any plans, but we told her we just wanted to take an island tour. She brought us all rain ponchos (which we never needed to use because the rain stopped after about 30 minutes).She escorted us off the ship and brought us to a man at the excursion area and told him what we wanted to do. He put us in a 14 passenger van (plenty of room for just the 6 of us, nice!) Our driver didn't speak much English, but our guide Errinton spoke fluent English. He lived in Roatan all his life and pointed out several interesting places along the way. I told him I wanted to see monkeys, and he brought us to a sanctuary (didn't catch the name). We got to get in the cage with monkeys...it was kind of scary because they would just jump all over you. There were other animals there too (deer, parrots, toucans,etc) and a zipline which we didn't do. It cost $8 each to do the animal portion.

Next, they brought us to a beach...didn't catch the name of it either, but there was a bar with wifi. My sister got a massage on the beach for $20 and younger daughter got hair beading done. We stayed for a short while, then back to our van. We were brought to shopping area, stopped for pictures a few times, and then back to ship. It was $30 per person, plus tip. We felt it was well worth it as they brought us wherever we wanted and stopped when we wanted.

 

port:

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"welcome" committee

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mayor of Roatan's house

 

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my daughter was a little freaked out by the "flying monkeys"

 

 

 

 

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the beach

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Love toucans

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we looped around the whole island (it's 36 miles I think). there's the Dawn!

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plane landing at airport. errinton said you can fly to Honduras from here...no reservations needed, just show up!

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Crown Princess "followed" us on this itinerary

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setting us free...goodbye Roatan

 

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We decided to split up tonight, so my mother and sister went to the early show while me, hubby and girls went to the Aqua for dinner. We had no reservation and it was pretty busy when we arrived (around 7:15 I think). Anyway, as soon as we told the hostess our room number, she said "oh, Sir Don, we have room for you." Loving the special treatment!! We waited about 5 minutes then were escorted in a side door and seated in a quiet area in a nice booth. I had fish, and it was delicious. Older daughter got steak which she said was very good (an she's picky so it must have been good ;)).We went to The Second City show after dinner. Virginia was waiting outside as she did every night, and escorted us right away to seats.

We had gone to the Second City show before on a different cruise, but left after the first 10 minutes because it was so bad. Well, we decided to give it another try, and were going to leave again after 10 minutes this time because it was equally as bad (the improv was terrible). We didn't leave though, and were glad we stayed because it got much better and we actually had a great time. If you can make it through the cheesy improv portion with interaction from the audience, it gets better...I promise. (Later that night we met up with my mother and sister again who told us they left the earlier one after 10 minutes because it was so bad:(). I wonder how many people leave before actually seeing how good the show is.

We had our own section in theater. It wasn't the best seating, but never had to worry about not having a place to sit.

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Virginia asked if we had plans for Belize tomorrow (which we did not), and gave us the number to call for priority tender if we wanted it. We knew we probably wouldn't need it because getting our girls up and moving in the morning wasn't an easy task. (too many late nights in Spinnakers and Pearly Kings for them;)).

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The morning was very foggy and rainy (as most were on this trip), but I could see the Norwegian Star and the Crown Princess were circling around us. The captain came on the announcement and stated the ship was cleared to depart, but that there had been an "incident" in Belize and warned us not to venture outside the gated area on our own. Some excursions were canceled as well. The waters looked very choppy and I could barely see the shore, so I figured it was going to be a rough ride to the pier. We didn't have girls up and moving until after all the ticket numbers were called and "at your leisure" tendering began. The tender ride was not as bad as I thought. We did some shopping at the port but didn't go outside the gates. My husband found a bar as shopping isn't his thing. We met up with him at The Wet Lizard after a while. He met the owners who were from Georgia. They told him the "incident" actually happened yesterday and we all would have been fine today. Stated something about Mexican drug cartel and 4 people being beheaded by police?? It was very hot, and I was bored of shopping, so my mother and I took tender back. (Daughters and husband decided to hang at the bar...go figure;)).

The Star through the fog:

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Sunrise:

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The Star and Crown Princess

 

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the first tender of the day leaves full

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The Wet Lizard

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We went to the early show "Arte Diem" and were mesmerized. I am amazed that anyone can move the way these acrobats did...almost like they had no bones in their body! (I wouldn't be able to move for a week if I tried any of that:)). It is a show not to miss. We decided to head to Venetian for dinner after that, and again there was a line but they got us right in. My younger daughter had sequin shorts on and we hadn't even thought of it, but she wasn't allowed in (garden villa or not, they do draw the line...which is fine, she just went back up to room to change while we were seated and ordered drinks). I had fish again (I tend to stick with fish or steak...not big on trying new things). My mother had pork which she enjoyed and there were a few steaks ordered. Everyone seemed to like their food.

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We are kind of a boring crowd (except for girls) and head to bed fairly early. This is the "zoo keeper" according to Mickey.

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love all the animals

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I am loving your review! We are thinking of booking the GV on the Dawn for this same itinerary in either 2014 or 2015. Do you have any pictures of the bedrooms and bathrooms?

 

Thanks in advance!

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I am loving your review! We are thinking of booking the GV on the Dawn for this same itinerary in either 2014 or 2015. Do you have any pictures of the bedrooms and bathrooms?

 

Thanks in advance!

It is awesome!! You should definitely do it if you can. I will post pictures at the end, but here are a few for you.

 

middle bedroom:

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master bedroom

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back bedroom

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I am loving your review! We are thinking of booking the GV on the Dawn for this same itinerary in either 2014 or 2015. Do you have any pictures of the bedrooms and bathrooms?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Master bathroom

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middle room dressing area

 

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middle bathroom (like mini suites):

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back bathroom

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The day started out like every other...rainy! This was extreme rain for a while though...and very windy. Our captain was the only one of three ships who was able to dock today (stated one gave it a try but couldn't due to swells, and the other didn't even bother.) We pulled out our rain ponchos from the other day (but didn't end up needing them because like the other days, the sun came out after an hour or so.) My sister didn't want to wait for the girls to get up and moving, so she left on her own. She told us she rented a golf cart and drove around town by herself (said she just walked into port and was greeted by someone who rented it to her.) We got up and moving slowly, we were on vacation after all and since we had no excursions planned, we didn't have any schedule. I loved it! No rushing.

I walked down the pier (it is extremely long and my hubby, girls, and mother took the trolley...I walked since I hadn't been to gym yet!)

We just wanted to find a beach to lay in sun...and there it was. Senor Frog's. The beach was very rocky so you couldn't swim there, but there was a big pool. We ordered drinks in palm tree shaped glass (they were $17 each, so we only had one of them;)), and beer. Husband and daughters had chips and salsa that they said were good.

 

Senor Frog's from boat:

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the pier (trolley will bring you to port if you don't want to walk)

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my mother wanted shade, the rest of us didn't....

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my older daughter signed up for dolphin swim ($89 I think) she loved it!!! got to do it by herself too, so lots of one-on-one with dolphins.

 

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It is awesome!! You should definitely do it if you can. I will post pictures at the end, but here are a few for you.]

 

Thanks!!! Can't wait to book this! :)

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your wonderful experience. Your review and photos are excellent and certainly looks looks like you all enjoyed yourselves. The Villa is just fantastic and I feel like I have experienced it through your review. Thanks again for taking the time to post.

 

Cdn in KS

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your wonderful experience. Your review and photos are excellent and certainly looks looks like you all enjoyed yourselves. The Villa is just fantastic and I feel like I have experienced it through your review. Thanks again for taking the time to post.

 

Cdn in KS

Thanks. I wish everyone could experience the villa. It is awesome and we are very lucky to have had a chance to stay in it. The first time we saw it in 2005, I never thought we would be able to afford it. It really is an option if you break it up among 2 or 3 couples and get it on an "off" time of year. I don't know how we will cruise in any other room from now on though;)

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After my daughter's dolphin encounter, my mother and I decided to head to do a little shopping while husband and girls went to pool at Senor Frogs. My mother finally bought the Tanzanite ring she had been looking at since Roatan at Diamonds International (very costly but she wanted it). We looked around a little after that but didn't find too much worth buying, so headed back to the ship. We walked down the long pier. Crew members were dancing and singing as we returned to ship and were handing out cold towels and water...very nice.

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My husband and girls came back a little later with 2 couples they had met on the walk back. We had a nice time showing off the villa and mixing up drinks (had to use the alcohol up anyhow). We then showered and got ready for our dinner in Teppanyaki (it was the only reservation we made all week. Virginia told us we had one night in any specialty restaurant of our choice for free.) My mother wasn't too thrilled about trying it, but she liked it. The food was excellent, but the space was tight, and crammed in the back of another restaurant? It was a little strange. There are two grills with seating at each for 10. The other table had 4 kids total(all under 10 it seemed) and I was concerned about that as kids can get antsy at dinner especially later, but they were all very well behaved. I had surf and turf...excellent!

 

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pile of rice....yummy!

 

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our animal tonight

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We listened to Duo Luna in Gatsby's for a while. They had quite a crowd and were very good. Our girls went to the White Hot party, but didn't have much to say about it. I have never been to one yet in all my NCL cruises so I can't say what the attraction is.

 

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We docked in Cozumel next to the Norwegian Star. Our waiter from the Venetian told us he would be dancing at 3pm on the dock this afternoon to welcome back the NCL guests. (Unfortunately we missed him but there were still some crew singing outside when we returned.) We again had no plans (we usually do fairly active excursions when we cruise but my mother was with us and she said she just wanted to go to beaches and shop, which was fine too). Virginia mentioned Playa Mia beach to us, so we headed to the taxi area and got a van for the 6 of us. The driver said it would cost $25 per person for the beach (which included loungers, umbrellas, water toys), but since it was already 11:30 and we only wanted to spend a couple hours at the beach, we asked her if there were any free beaches. She said the SanFrancisco Beach Club was "free" but they required everyone to spend at least $10 on food or drinks. That was fine with us, and it was closer than Playa Mia, so we went there. (Taxi cost $32 to get there-which I thought was high to bring us about 5-10 miles from the dock, but there were 6 of us.) The SanFrancisco Beach club was nice, except for the people constantly walking around trying to get you to buy their jewelry,clothes, cigars, etc. We got loungers (again with shade for my mother and sister) and relaxed. The water felt good as the sun was hot. There were water trampolines and things like that to play on. My sister and I rented jetskis for $50 each for 30 minutes which was plenty long enough because you were restricted to a small area and the parasailing boats were coming and going, so dodging them and the other jetskis was kind of tricky. We finished just in time because some guys with women on the back came out on jetskis and were driving like maniacs...one guy even threw the woman off the back!! (I think the jetski owners came out to get them and made them come back in). We had hamburgers, nachos, chicken tenders, beers...all very good. We had mixed up some of our own drinks and brought off the ship with us (still had tequila, rum, and vodka to finish.) We stayed until about 2:15 then went got a van back to town (this time it only cost $28). We shopped in the port area for a while (hubby found the Hard Rock Cafe had Bud Light in glass bottles...he was happy as he stated the Bud Light in the aluminum bottles on the ship have a strange taste.) The shopping in Cozumel is the best, IMO, and that's where I got the souvenirs (pens, shirts,bags, etc) to bring home.

 

our captain backed us right in here:

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The Star pulling in next to us:

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Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas and NCL Pearl docked further down:

 

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water toys:

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here we go!!

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the Fury catamaran party boat was full!!

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Twin sisters side-by-side

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The family waving from garden villa upper balcony (I was on pier)

 

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ry%3D480

 

Love the turquoise water

 

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The Star left before us

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Edited by ksimpso3

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