Caribbean Cruise Christmas and New Year 2022-2023

Caribbean Cruise Christmas and New Year 2022-2023

Miami Beach, December 22-23

We aren’t strangers to Miami. In fact, we had a lovely weekend a year ago in Miami Beach at the Fontainbleu. We felt so much like regulars, we even went back to the restaurant where we had such an amazing anniversary dinner at last December. We love the vibrancy and the warmth. It felt so good to get off of that airplane and bask in the Florida heat and humidity knowing that we left behind some record breaking cold temperatures here in TN. The real drama was finagling the last two seats on the plane leaving a day early, sure that we would be delayed by weather if we stayed. Missing our cruise was decidedly NOT how we wanted to start this adventure! We stayed at an adorable boutique hotel, people watched and soaked up some poolside sun while we waited on our vacation to start. Yes, sometimes we realize just how fortunate we are to be us!

The Norwegian Encore Days at Sea- December 23-25

The cruise ship really is a floating resort. We spent the first two days at sea getting to know our way around, finding the best spots by the pool to get some sun, the best times and restaurants to show up for dinner and putting our drink package to excellent use. We had a great time on the sundeck watching sexy leg contests and making friends. We excelled at test-tasting mojitos, Bahama-mamas, and margaritas; although we never settled on a clear winner. The food was fantastic and plentiful. There were lots of people. Over 4,000 of them to be more precise. We settled in an embraced the experience. 

Aruba-December 26

At first glance, Aruba gave mixed signals. Beautiful water, but there were very few trees and lots of cheap unkempt industrial buildings and it just didn’t feel as clean as we expected for such a beautiful Carribean island. But, our first island day did not dissapoint. We didn’t have an excursion planned and just wanted to go to a beach and sit in the sun and enjoy the warm water. There were taxis right by the cruise ship pier and we shared a $15 cab ride with another couple we met while disembarking to go the highly recommended public beach known as Eagle Beach. We packed our own lightweight chairs, sunscreen and hats, as well as our own snorkeling kit and hit the beach. The water was crystal clear and and the sand was velvety soft. We got some rays and swam, then walked along the shore. When we decided to head back toward the boat we thought we would see how far we could make it on foot. We found a resort with a Tiki palava and got a fruity cocktail for sustenance. We then continued the journey, realizing that there is a boardwalk that runs from a public park just outside the cruise terminal, almost all the way to Eagle Beach! This includes many areas to swim and more waterside tiki bars. If we had known, we would have skipped the cab altogether. We did a brief walk down the mainstreet of town, but our stomachs and fair skin won out and we headed back onboard to have another evening of too much food and drink- woohoo!

Curacao-Decmber 27

One of the most common illnesses on a cruise ship is the dreaded GI bug- whether this was food borne illness or viral- the end result is that poor Adrian had a rough night and spent most of the day we were at port in Curacao catching up on sleep. I took the opportunity to check out a book from the ship’s library and the uncrowded pool deck to spend a very relaxing day looking out over the very beautiful Dutch island. Adrian’s take from the balcony was that there were more trees and seemed prettier than Aruba.

Bonaire-December 28

Years ago, Adrian added “Snorkeling in a tropical reef” to his bucket list. So, we had arranged with the cruise line to go on a snorkeling excursion while in Bonaire.  When we docked, we were thrilled with our decision, because the water was incredibly beautiful right off the pier and some people from the cruise chose to snorkel right there. In fact, the entire sea area around Bonaire is a protected marine park. The locals seemed friendly and cheerful and smiled as we walked by to get on the catamaran. The boat took us to two  snorkeling spots and both were incredible. It was like swimmming in a tropical  aquarium, with fish of all different sizes, shapes and colors. There were corals of all kinds- brain coral, tube coral, fans and so much more. Our favorite snorkeling spot was at No Name Beach on the island of Klien Bonaire. The beach was sandy and warm, the blue water clear as glass, and there was a small current that went from left to right. This meant we could walk up the beach, put on our snorkeling gear, swim out and be gently carried along while oohing and aahing at the amazing sea life below us. Adrian enjoyed this so much that he went back for a second run and almost got left by the boat. We did safely make it back to the ship, worn out after a wonderful day and then had to choose what fruity drinks to enjoy first. 

*Note: If you have your own snorkeling gear, you can get the same experience for far less money by taking a water taxi to the beach at Klien. 

St. Lucia- December 29.

St. Lucia was one of the highlights of the trip and we laugh about it often. First, Castries is a beautiful port with classic Caribbean views of blue water, sailboats, palm trees, mountains, and colorful houses. We didn’t have a shore excursion planned ahead of time and soon after leaving the ship, we found a local business called Papa Boat Tours offering a “two hour” catamaran tour to a beach and snorkeling spot for a good price (around $65). You know what they say about “3 hour tours”? Our “2 hour tour” was much better than that, but not without some adventures. 

St. Johns, Antigua December 30 -Dirty, locals hanging about, no obvious beach to go to

St. Thomas USVI December 31-Magens Beach, tiki hut, sea turtles, snorkeling, beautiful views, new years eve on boat

Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic January 1. Damajagua Falls. Adrians Birthday, dinner at french restaurant

Day at Sea January 2 -Finished books, made certain we got moneys worth from drink package, teppinyake




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