Monthly Archives: July 2013

Relaxful Cabanas on the Cay

In an earlier post Great Stirrup Cay, Highlight of the Cruise I talked about our day on Great Stirrup Cay during the Cruise Family Reunion cruise. Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegian cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas. In this post, I wanted to talk a little more about renting a cabana.

Cabana on the Cay! #CFCruise #cruise #CruiseLikeaNorwegian #instapic #piccollage

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Cabana on the Cay

Cabana on the Cay

We rented a cabana for the day because, traveling with our two year old, we wanted to make sure we had shade. We were glad we did since shade is at a premium on the island. They do have some shells you can get to go over your chairs but I heard many people complain about how hot it got underneath them. With the cabana, not only did you get your shade but you also got a ceiling fan to move the air and ensure you have a breeze. You can reserve a cabana for $299 for the whole day. A cabana can accommodate up to eight guest. You get priority tendering to ensure you get the most out of your day. You arrive to find your cabana with eight bottles of water and a fruit plate of fruit. You will also have eight towels waiting for you as well so you don’t have to bring yours from the ship. They also include four of the floaty mats and a $50 food and beverage credit. Upon arrival at the island you make your way to the cabanas and the one reserved for you.

Lack of shade on Great Stirrup Cay

Lack of shade on Great Stirrup Cay

Beach directly in front of the cabanas.

Beach directly in front of the cabanas.

Shortly after getting there someone will greet you and give you a wristband. Supposedly only people with a wristband on will be able to be around the cabanas for safety reasons but I didn’t see people really check this.From that point on, you will have someone bring you drinks and food so you don’t have to worry about that. The beach directly in front of the cabanas is a lot less crowded and more quiet. There is, however, a few rocks in the water. You need to be carefully when entering and leaving the water or I suggest having some water shoes to protect your feet. Being a further walk than the main beach, not as many people make their way to this part of the island. Yes, it is a further walk to the bathroom but if you’re in one of the first few cabanas it’s not all that far. A good investment for NCL to make would be to construct a bathroom near the far end of the cabanas.

Salsa dish delivered to our cabana

Salsa dish delivered to our cabana

All in all I loved having the cabana. In my eyes, it was the difference between having a good time and having a great time. If you want a more laid back experience during your stay on Great Stirrup Cay, I would recommend looking at getting yourself a cabana for the day.

Author: Nathan Nehmer, nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

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Categories: Beaches, Cruise, family, Norwegian Cruise Line, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day Three, Nassau

The last port of call for the Cruise Family Reunion was Nassau, Bahamas. I have to be honest with you; I wasn’t all that excited about this port of call. Traveling with a two year old who still takes naps, limits what you can do for shore excursions. We didn’t want to venture too far or book an excursion that lasts all day since we didn’t know how Taylor would take so many action packed days in a row.

Because I had to!

Because I had to!

We decided to take in a little shopping and the straw market in downtown Nassau that day. We got up and ate breakfast and headed off the ship. The straw market was just starting to open up at 9:00 am on a Sunday. While it was nice to not have the crowds, a lot of the stores were still closed up. That also cut down on the amount of pushy stall owners trying to get you to buy the stuff they supposedly made.

After making our way through the straw market and buying one shirt for our five month old we headed over to the Del Sol store to check out the color changing clothing and accessories. The Del Sol portion of the store is located in the back of the store with the bamboo-clothing store, Cariloha, in the front. Be careful taking a two-year-old girl into a Del Sol store since they have so much Disney clothing on display. They will want everything! We managed to get out of there spending only $70.

First church in Nassau

First church in Nassau

carriage .jpg

Our Carriage

On the way back to the ship someone wanting to sell us a horse carriage ride through Nassau encountered us. We asked him how much and were it was $40. Our chance to barter with him was foiled when Taylor started jumping up and down saying “I want a horsey ride”. So off we go on a carriage through the streets of Nassau. During the ride he explained all the historic sights of the city and then some, although it was hard to hear him over the noise. It was fun but I suggest not paying $40 for it.

Snow White

Snow White

That was it for our day in Nassau as we had planned to return to the ship for lunch and spend a pseudo day at sea.

 

Author: Nathan Nehmer nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

Categories: Cruise, family, Miami, Norwegian Cruise Line, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Stirrup Cay, Highlight of the Cruise

Day two of the Cruise Family Reunion on the Norwegian Sky took us to Great Stirrup Cay. Great Stirrup Cay is Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas. This port of call is basically a beach day so; if you are cruising on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that calls on Great Stirrup Cay, keep that in mind when planning your shore excursions.

Welcome to Great Stirrup Cay! #cruiselikeanorwegian #cruise #travel

A post shared by Nathan Nehmer (@cardinalescapes) on

Great Stirrup Cay is a tender port, which means your ship is anchored offshore and you are transferred there in smaller boats. When I say smaller boats, it’s a relative term since they still can hold up to 450 people. Our tender ride to shore that day wasn’t exactly the smoothest ride in the world. We had some pretty choppy water that rocked the boat a bit. My wife, who gets motion sickness easily, was happy because since we were traveling with Taylor, our 2 year old we were put on the top deck. The tender ride to shore takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Tendering to Great Stirrup Cay

Tendering to Great Stirrup Cay

Once on sure you are, once again, taken through a spot to have your picture taken with some characters. Off to your right is the big inflatable slide right behind the small straw market where people from a neighboring island sell t-shirts and other merchandise. Keep walking straight ahead to find the main attraction on the island, the beach. The main beach on Great Stirrup Cay is impressive. Nice soft groomed sand leads down to water. The beach is protected very well in the cove making the water nice and smooth for all to enjoy. There is a lack of shade so, especially if you have little ones, you may want to get there early to find a spot in the shade or a table in the pavilions. You could also do what we did and rent a cabana for the day (more on this in a later post).

Entry to Great Stirrup Cay

Entry to Great Stirrup Cay

Main Beach

Main Beach

Lunch is served on the island and, since it is Norwegian’s private island, it is included in your cruise fare. Lunch is a buffet style and is served in the Jumbey Beach Grill building located behind the main beach. Besides the pizza and salads and other normal buffet food they serve up some BBQ type items (the ribs were REALLY good). Also, there are plenty of bar areas scattered throughout the island and you don’t have to pay cash for them. Everything is charged back to your room card so you can be surprised at your bar bill at the end of your cruise, LOL. If you plan to shop at the straw market, you will need to bring cash though.

Buffet

Buffet

There are many shore excursions you can do while on the island. Norwegian Cruise Line offers wave runner rentals, parasailing adventures, and kayak tours. They also offer a snorkeling tour, which is more of a self-guided tour so you can bring your own snorkel equipment if you want (you are required to wear a vest while snorkeling though). You can purchase an all day pass to the Hippo waterslide, or pay per use if you only want to do it once or twice. Or if you want some relaxation and some quiet time, you can do what we did and rent a cabana for the day.

Main Beach with Norwegian Sky in the Background

Main Beach with Norwegian Sky in the Background

Great Stirrup Cay, in my eyes, was the highlight of our cruise. Well…except for meeting some of the friends I tweet with on a regular basis.

Author- Nathan Nehmer: nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

Categories: Cruise, family, Norwegian Cruise Line, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Norwegian Sky Embarkation Day.

Hello from Miami Beach as we have just disembarked the Norwegian Sky. We had a great time on the Cruise Family Reunion. A mix up between everyone left me without a data package for the cruise so I had to wait till after the cruise to post this.

Norwegian Sky in the Port of Miami

Norwegian Sky in the Port of Miami

The embarkation process was a breeze on Friday. Our shuttle left the hotel at around 11:00am and we were on the ship before noon. The only issue we had was Taylor not wanting to have her picture taken for security purposes. She threw a pretty good fit and the poor guy checking us in turned about 20 shades of red. After that, we went upstairs and had our family picture taken and sat down in the waiting room. They began boarding by calling for families with small children in strollers, which we took advantage of, of course.

The Funnel Picture

The Funnel Picture

Once on board we had lunch with Kristin, Andrea, Shon, and Shon’s sister Mia in the buffet. As I have said before, I am not a huge fan of buffets but when you are traveling with a 2 year old you need to eat when you need to eat.  The buffet was good and had a pretty good selection to suit every taste. After lunch it was naptime for a few people like Taylor but I think the one most looking forward to nap was Shon. I used nap time as a time to walk around and snap pictures of the ship.

The Sailaway party was fun but if you’re traveling with young ears you may want to stay back a ways or even go up a level. Taylor complained of the loud noise and we had to back off a bit. Then we were off to dinner in the Main Dinning Room where one of the specials for the night was lobster. The lobster was slightly overcooked but the meal as a whole was still really good.Steak and lobster dinner

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

Day one was a great day and we all had a great time. Until the next time I get a break, Happy Sailing!

Author Nathan  Nehmer: nate@Cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

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