We have always both viewed cruise ships and the act of “cruising” as one gigantic bacterial mass floating around the ocean, spreading plastics, and American style commercialism to coastal oasis’s near and far while simultaneously decimating cultures. Yep, thats right- if it’s not clear enough, we’re not (or at least we weren’t) cruise fans.
We won’t go mentioning names but its simple to say, our first high seas experience was less than stellar. Aside from being a health disaster, hello Norovirus, the overall experience left us feeling gross, over spent, and super unethical as far as travel is concerned.
But… (and there’s always a but, isn’t there?)I can say with a pretty clear conscience that Norwegian Cruise Lines has us second guessing that opinion, trust me we’re as surprised as you are! We walked off the gang plank on day 7 of our cruise feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and happier than pigs in…mud 🙂 The sheer unexpected feelings of bliss and glee had us wondering though; What was it that Norwegian did different? What mysterious magic had they worked on us that swayed our minds so drastically? So we came up with a list, I mean who doesn’t love a good list ( am I right?) of our top reasons to go cruising with Norwegian Cruise Lines.
Cruise ship making it’s way out of Miami harbor
This is probably an odd one to lead with, but after our first cruise experience it honestly is the most important. Simply put cruise ships are full of people from all over the world, thrown into tight fitting spaces together, with lots of hands touching every surface spreading their ick- we’re by no means “germ-a-phobes” but things can get pretty yucky pretty quickly if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Norwegian’s amazing staff not only is in constant cleaning mode ( seriously, the ship is spotless) but also has a set-up on their ships that naturally discourages the spread of germs, with touch-less doors, and sanitation stations around every corner. Even better is that somehow they manage to make a simple task like disinfecting your hands fun! If you’ve ever taken a NCL cruise then you know what I’m talking about… if not prepare to giggle. Because “washy-washy, makes you happy happy”… this absurdly catchy little tune will burn into your brain and make you smile every time a friendly face serenades you with it! If you need to see it to believe it, check out this hilarious Youtube Video, and experience it first hand!
This might be a quirky addition to a list about why you should take a “vacation” but lets face facts and admit that as travel becomes easier and the world becomes a smaller and smaller place these are the kinds of things that as responsible travelers we try and think about. Sure, you could call us a little “crunchy” we drink out of reusable straws, bring our own to-go cups to coffee shops, and collect more trash than shells from beaches but that’s just part of who we are so when considering the where and hows of travel we try to make choices we feel comfortable with on an ethical level.
These signs and ones like it can be found ALL OVER NCL’s ships
Plastics are bad for the ocean. Plastics are bad for the planet. That’s just how we see it. Cruise ships use a lot of plastics. See the issue? I did however get to experience two things while on our cruise that put me somewhat at ease with the overwhelming amount of waste that appeared to be being created. The first, the crew was insanely good about cleaning up the decks and making sure that nothing flew from the pool areas or any other outdoor space into the ocean. They took this so seriously that they went as far as to add comments about this into their safety briefings before the ship left Miami. Secondly, every NCL ship has an Environmental Officer on board, I had the opportunity to have a brief chat with him and I can tell you 1) he takes his job very, very, very seriously 2) NCL takes their environmental impacts very, very seriously and does as much as any if not more to insure that our seas stay clean!
Attention To Detail:
Maybe we’re just a little to used to sleeping in the van or guest houses when we travel- but NCL had us feeling like a King and Queen. It’s really amazing how the little things can make an overall experience so much better- little things like our stateroom attendant Grace noticing that we devour coffee and stocking us up so that at 5:30 am I didn’t have to drag myself half asleep upstairs to the cafe to get my fix. Little things like our favorite poolside bartender remembering that we take our mojitos with extra lime. And little things like bar staff at the Sugar Cane Bar playing silly mind benders with us, and making us feel like old friends.
Thanks to Grace, I had a steady supply of Java to sip on our balcony while watching the sunrise every morning.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry:
It’s no mystery that food is near and dear to our hearts. Seriously, I think we think about eating at least once every 5 minutes during the day- food is important stuff people! When you’re paying for an “all inclusive” vacation the quality of food is even more important as non rehabilitated food addicts we’re here to tell you Norwegian does food and their drinks right! With tons of “complimentary” dining choices, and bars around every corner you can easily slay your hunger demons day or night. Our favorite part? The variety. You won’t find a lot of repeat meals on their ships, and most of the bars have their own lists of specialty drinks to choose from, so boredom is never an issue! On the “Escape” it was impossible to choose a favorite spot but we really dug on the beer bar ( beer cocktails are a thing of beauty), and of course the Mojito bar was pretty fantabulous too!
Magical Mojitos from the Sugar Cane Bar
Choices, Choices, Choices:
The thing we loved the absolute most about our NCL cruise was without a doubt the sheer variety of activities available to us day or night. Its easy to assume when you look at a cruise schedule that you’re going to get awfully bored awfully fast stuck on a ship out in the ocean but that is 100% not the case. There was actually so much we wanted to do everyday that we struggled to figure out how to get it all in and one day we actually ordered room service and went to sleep around 7 pm simply because we had exhausted ourselves having too much fun! There is literally something on offer for every variety of person. It’s easy to see why cruising can be such a draw for large mixed groups of people- it gives everyone the opportunity to socialize over a meal together but also allows people to pick and choose actives that make them happy.
Cheers! The District Brewhouse kept us coming back for more!
The big question we kept getting after getting back home from our NCL Escape was, “Would you do it again” and to both of our surprises the answer was a resounding, “Yes”. Not only did we both dub this adventure as the most relaxing vacation we’ve ever been on but it also had us thinking what a blast it would be to be able to share this experience with friends and family. Who knows, maybe we’ll be hitting the high seas again sooner than later!
Been on a cruise? Thoughts, concerns, freak outs, or surprising happy moments to share? We’d love to hear about them all. Drop us a comment and share your stories!