Cruise out of Cape Canaveral – villa holiday Florida
On our last holiday to Florida, we decided to take a cruise going out of Cape Canaveral on Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL). We had booked the cruise about 6 weeks prior to our vacation, going direct with NCL we opted for the Eastern Caribbean on the Norwegian Sun and were able to select our deck and room number with the agent. As this was a special anniversary and our first ever cruise we decided to go for a balcony room. We loved the balcony room, and would often sit out on an evening (during the spare moments when we decided not to partake in the ships various entertainments) and during the night we would sleep with the door open to hear the wonderfully relaxing sound of the sea and waves breaking across the ship.
The itinerary covered 3 Caribbean islands, in visit order of Nassau, St Thomas and St Maarten all very different in vegetation, tree cover and architecture. We set sail at 4 pm and were able to view other cruise line ships in dock, like the Royal Caribbean and Disney’s Carnival Dream cruise ship.
We arrived in Nassau on the Sunday morning, berthing adjacent to the Royal Caribbean ship, the Oasis of the Seas, a 6000 passenger capacity ship and Disney’s Carnival Dream entering port not long after us. We walked up to the top of town to see Government house which is the official residence of the Governor General of the Bahamas and then onto the top of the Queens Staircase which was hand cut into the limestone. We walked through the mini-gorge of the Queens staircase and then onto Fort Fincastle which was built in 1793. We did a tour of the castle which was interesting and provided some excellent views of the island. We had a coffee in Bay Street and then got back on ship ready for a late afternoon departure.
We arrived in St Thomas at Charlotte Amalie on the Tuesday lunchtime, berthing alongside the Explorer of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. We had a full 8 hours in port to do some sight-seeing. We did not do any organised trips but decided to do the Paradise point Sky-ride, a cable car ride to a restaurant and walks with some excellent panoramic views of St Thomas (and where we spotted the largest Iguana I’ve ever seen outside of a Zoo) followed by a walking tour taking in the 99 steps, Blackbeards Castle and some of the historic houses. We finished by browsing the duty free shops of Charlotte Amalie and relaxing at Emancipation Park.
Our last Port of call was in St Maarten, arriving on the Wednesday morning in Philipsburg the Dutch side of the Island. This was going to be a beach and relaxation day so we caught a taxi around the Great bay to a resort called Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and rented some loungers for a half day. In the afternoon we did a walking tour of the downtown and promenade area of Philipsburg.
We departed Philipsburg in the evening, had two days at sea before arriving back at Port Canaveral.
The weather in March was fantastic, dry and not too hot. The Norwegian Sun freestyle dining was really flexible and suited us, we generally did the formal dining rather than Buffet service and found the dining experience to be excellent with good food and choice with really friendly and helpful service. In all a wonderful first ever cruise.