In December of 2018, I went on a cruise to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Cruise Line.
Getting to Miami
The cruise we took usually leaves on Friday afternoons in order to account for flight delays and cancelations. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday night and then stayed in the Sawgrass Grand Hotel in Sunrise, Florida. The hotel was $54 a night.
Getting to the Port
Friday, we parked our rental car at safe cruise parking which was close to the port of Miami, and the parking company gave us a ride to the port where all cruises depart from.
Everyone gets to pick the time they want to check-in a week or so before the Cruises departure date. Check-in only took around 10 minutes but it is important to arrive before or at the time of your designated check-in.
We were not allowed to go into our rooms until an hour after check-in. We utilized this time to walk around the cruise, to see all of its amenities.
We got the cheaper room, so they were tiny with no view, but honestly you are not there to stay in the room so it did not matter to me.
The trip was from Friday through Monday. Departure from Miami was Friday evening at around 6pm and the cruise returned back to Miami on Monday afternoon around 3pm.
Before, departing the port of Miami, there is a safety meeting where everyone gathers on the deck for around 10-15 minutes.
Besides the cost of the trip there was an additional $20/day charge per person for cleaning fees and additional taxes. You can either pay this before boarding the cruise or when you are on the cruise.
The cruise payment comes with unlimited drinks, food, some on board activities like parties, clubs, karaoke, and more. If you are interested in excursions, however, you will have to pay extra.
The food on the cruise, in my opinion, was average. I was honestly expecting to get Bahamian food since we were going to the Bahamas but that was not the case at all. It was mainly American food. It was not that bad but I just wanted a little bit more culture and flavor in the food, especially since I was going to be in a different country. So if you want some Bahamian food I would suggest getting some on the 2nd day when you are in Nassau because that is the only time you will have the opportunity.
Besides the buffets there were also some fancy restaurants on the cruise, where you can walk in and just eat without having to pay for anything, because it is already covered in your payment for the cruise.
The drinks were unlimited but I think they were pretty watered down. I am pretty sure it was a way to save money and also ensure people do not get too drunk.
There were a few shows that happened on the cruise, for instance there was one variety show that had dancing, comedy and even a game show. It was enjoyable and good especially for families with young kids. It is good clean fun for the whole family.
For those interested in partying, there was an all-white party on the deck on one of the nights. The music was an amalgamation of many different genres, probably because everyone was from so many different places. It was super fun!
Wi-Fi and Phone Reception
There is no phone reception for most of the trip, since you will be at sea. You can purchase some wi-fi so you can post to your social media. However, the lack of phone service and wi-fi made the trip a lot more enjoyable.
Day by Day Location Information
The first day is mainly a day on the Cruise. First you board and then you stay on the cruise as the Cruise sails to its first destination which is Nassau. While on the cruise you can enjoy dinner, a day party, play tons of games and attend some the evenings events like a comedy show.
In the morning of Day 2, we arrived at our first destination, which was Nassau. We were docked at the port from early morning till around 4:30pm. During this time, all passengers were allowed to explore the Island ourselves. There was also the option to take part in various excursions lead by NCL on the Island, however, these were an additional charge. But if you do not want to spend the extra money then you can explore the Island alone. We mainly walked around and relaxed on the beach for most of the day. This was meant to be a relaxing vacation, and not really filled with much activity. I would say it would have been nice to be able to have some more time in Nassau. We had to leave the Island at 4:30 so we did not have much time to actually explore the Island. My suggestion is that you should leave the boat as soon as you able to, in order to make the most your time on the Island. Make sure you read the itinerary they provide, this is where you can get the most event information.
The cruise went to on of NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay. In order to get to the island we took one of NCL’s 2-decker boats. There was not much to do there honestly but chill, drink and play beach games. There were unlimited complementary drinks available on the Island. Although it was a relaxing time, I wish we could have stayed in Nassau, where there is a lot more to do. There was food for purchase here but no Caribbean food really. There were also souvenir shops set up so people could buy things for their loved ones back home. The things here were probably super overpriced, so I would suggested you find a market in Nassau to purchase souvenirs.
They take American dollar so there is no need to really exchange your money since you wont be there that long.
Overall, I enjoyed my cruise experience, because it requires you to do little to no planning on your part. Being on a cruise takes care of the lodging, food, and many of the activities. All you have to do is show up and enjoy yourself. Although I enjoyed the trip, I think Norwegian Cruise Line could have done a better job at incorporating local foods into the Cruise’s menu, so people can get a taste of the Island/country they are visiting. In addition, I think NCL could have given travelers more time in Nassau or another Bahama Island that has more activity.