Cruises – Monica loves them and Cheril thinks they’re just okay, but when it comes to planning a trip with family and friends, there’s no doubt that cruising is one of the most stress free options out there. We did one for Christmas a couple of years ago and it was definitely the right choice because the one good thing about cruising with a group is there is bound to be something for everyone aboard the ship or when in port.
So we went on this trip with a sibling and friend, stopping in Honduras, Belize and Mexico.
We’ve been pretty loyal to Norwegian because we’ve never been let down by the quality of their ships and service and the Escape was no different. It’s a magnificent ship that’s only two years old. It has a breathtaking thermal spa on board (steam rooms, saunas, thermal pools, salt rooms, a snow room, heated lounge chairs that look out to the ocean, etc), huge waterslides for the kids, mini golf, bocce ball, basketball, giant chess, arcades, bowling, a full size gym, and a ton of restaurants and live entertainment options. We would rate this ship our second favorite behind the Norwegian Sky though, because some of the deck layouts are not the best (having guest services where you can barely hear anything because there is a bar and live entertainment right next to it). Great staff though and hype man Tyler Gray was there as the cruise director again.
The balcony rooms are spacious, with enough rooms for two chairs and a table. This is all really important stuff because there will always be days when you’re “at sea” sailing the whole time. And though this is a family friendly line, you never feel like children are overrunning the trip. (They have tons of stuff to keep them busy and even a “parent free” teenage lounge lol). Also, there may be some days, like our first full day at sea on this trip, where it rained all day, so all of those amenities came in handy.
The downside to cruising is that you don’t really get to see the countries you’re journeying to. There simply isn’t enough time and with cruise lines buying private islands, sometimes you’re not anywhere near the real place where locals are. This what happened on this trip in Belize. There was an opportunity to take a ferry to the mainland, but again, there wasn’t enough time for all of that and who wants to risk getting left by the ship? So we just look at cruising itself as the vacation – and the plentiful opportunities to get some beach time in.
This little monkey was just a piece of work! We spent time on the beach just about every day. Lounging, snorkeling (Cheril) and just really enjoying some good HOT weather since New Jersey doesn’t know if it wants to be Spring or not. We will likely go back to Belize and Honduras to experience the country as we definitely didn’t get a chance to do that on this trip.
If we really want to see a country, we fly in directly and plan our own itinerary. This way we can control how long we stay in a given city and have the time to explore all the historical and cultural aspects without feeling rushed or sheltered.
All in all, this was a nice vacation; and though not planned, we ran into some cousins who were on a Carnival cruise that stopped at the same port as us in Mexico.
We probably won’t be sailing again for another year two so it’s been real, Norwegian, see you next time!