Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving Cruise 2016

Norwegian Jade, November 20-27, 2016.  Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, Honduras;  and Harvest Caye, Belize.

So much fun and met some great new people.  I liked the size of this ship although there was a lot of walking.  The food was delicious and no need to pay for the specialty restaurants.

The ports were more like Disneyland, more manufactured for the tourists.  Costa Maya was fun since we took a private beach excursion which was nice.  It was all you could eat/drink and we already had that on the ship, but the cochinita was great.

Most exciting and crazy adventure was my zip line experience.  I very well could have died, a first (and last) for me.  The first run was very long and I got out of control and there was no brake on the receiving end.  I ended up backward and crashed -- and I mean crashed into the pole with my head.  I did have a helmet on but I worried I might have a concussion.  It was quite an impact and very loud, but luckily I was OK.  At that point, I wanted to get down but there was nowhere to go, so on I went.  Three more shorter runs and I had to climb a cargo net bridge that was so hard.  What was I thinking............but looking back it was fun.

We had the unlimited drink package included -- probably a mistake, but it was fun even though my liver is glad I'm home.  Only one night out dancing and more than my share of White Russians, but it was a good one night.  I was slow the next day.

I walked at least 2 miles every day except one on the cruise.  My friend, Chris, stayed with me and we talked which helped a lot.  He also taught me some stretching exercises since he used to do triathlons, so even though I ate lots that did help.

Weird shaped building is the Florida Aquarium

Meet up with two of our fellow travelers, James 
and Chris.  You could not find better travel mates.  Always 
smiles on their faces.

It was nice cruising out of Tampa, close to home.

Bon Voyage


Fun New Jersey folks we met at the Holiday Inn.  We
enjoyed our time with Deb and Marty.

I'm so glad Frasier knew where the Aloha Bar was.

Goofing off in the elevator.

Fun framed artwork down hallways

Back of the ship was our meeting place.  It is not 
the pointy end of the ship I found out.

Of course there was cute towel art.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner and it was very good.

Chris's birthday and he celebrated all week long.

 What a delicious cake this was.

 Gwen, one of our fellow travelers.  Nice lady 
and we had fun together.

Couldn't have asked for a better group of men.  Always
pleasant and happy, joking around.  Fun!!!!!

My Christmas present.  This was the night of the
White Russians and a good time was had by all.

Off the ship

 Always some fun and crazy murals in Mexico.

Home protection

Lunch time

Found this place on Tripadvisor, great
food and the best and most friendly service.

 We ordered the small and couldn't finish it.

The smallest Hard Rock Cafe in the world.

I had to take a picture of this guy sitting in his car with the window down using an umbrella.  I told him he was a genius and I had to take his picture.  Made him smile.  Clever.

Interesting.  World's first underwater oxygen bar.

A favorite place revisited.

We love these critters.

Back on the ship and heading for Costa Maya, a manufactured for cruise ships port. There is the "real" small town of Mahahual and we took a tour out to a beach resort there to spend the day. We had a really good and restful time and their food and drinks were excellent.

Cruising in, thought this was a Mayan pyramid, but it
turns out it is a pyramid themed water park. 

Clouds with one that looks like a shark.

Our own private little oasis.

Paddleboards, glass bottom kayaks, float chairs.  Plenty to do.

John floating with his drink.  A dark cloud day 
with about 15 minutes of rain.

Great guacamole.  Mine never tastes as good as in Mexico.

Delicious, and my favorite, cochinita pibil 
(roasted pork Yucatan style)

These ports are all sort of manufactured for the cruise ships and didn't hold much interest for us.  They had the feeling of Disneyland, but we got off the ship and looked around a little.

Roatan, Honduras

Just stayed around the port, looked in the shops.  Their mahogany carvings are so beautiful.

Sometimes you don't realize how high these ships are.

Stilt walkers.

Zipline across the harbor.  Glad I didn't take this one.

Had a cup of this coffee and it was wonderful.

Belize (Harvest Caye)

Our ship was only the second one to dock here.  A true manufactured place for tourists.  All new and nice, but not anything having to do with real people.  I may be finished with these places, or if included in a cruise, just stay on the ship.

We were astounded at this price.  We talked to a gal who works there and she says people do pay to sit in this area.  There are free umbrellas and lounge chairs to use so I just don't get this.

The Flighthouse - a 3,000-foot zip line course.  So glad they had an elevator to the top.  The worst part, besides slamming into the first pole with my head, was the cargo net type ladder.  I thought I would never get across.

I survived.

Honeymooners made this.  What a great job.

An overcast day with some wind.

The butterflies were fluttering around and I couldn't 
get a picture of the pretty blue ones.

A visitor in the butterfly enclosure.

Beautiful wood carving and wood in this area.

Best cruise food ever.

Delicious Thanksgiving dinner with our entire group.

Their pastry was excellent.  I worked very hard not 
to eat tons of it every day.

Our one specialty restaurant. I picked Le Bistro, French food because when I read their menu online they showed foie gras - which they didn't have. I was so disappointed. Might only have that when they are in the Mediterranean.

This was a little surprising when I walked by this at the buffet.  Delicious and I got some crispy skin.

Wonderful crepes.  This was chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a brownie inside.  Then whipped cream and chocolate sauce with a dab of raspberry.  It was huge and I couldn't eat it all.

Tiramisu - best I've ever had

Greatest varieties of food every day.

Back to Tampa.  The sunrise was beautiful on the buildings.

Back to reality.

So overall, a great trip.  I'm not sure the Ultimate Drink Package was a good thing for us?  The Norwegian Jade had the best cruise food I've ever had.  The best part of the cruise was our ship mates who were so fun to travel with.  A very different cruise since I'm used to having more fun off the ship than on.  No more Disneyland ports for me though.

If any of you want to cruise and leave from Tampa, let us know. We can help you. We're close to the airport and port. If you are interested in taking a cruise in Florida with us we can try to figure something out too. It is a fun thing to do and you can find some amazing bargains.