A FAMILY HOLIDAY CRUISE
PERSONAL | TRAVEL – NORWEGIAN JADE
When we booked our 5 year anniversary cruise we didn’t anticipate also being able to have the opportunity to travel a few weeks later with Mahlias’ family aboard the Norwegian Jade as well for a holiday trip. It was such a treat! This is our third Norwegian ship (the others were the Sun & the Epic) and it was one of our favorites. Norwegian has several ship classifications, this ship was the second built as part of the jewel class. Our destination was the Western Caribbean sailing out of Tampa.
The Norwegian Jade is a cruise ship with a lot of history. When the cruise ship was originally commissioned it was introduced as the Pride of Hawaii and sailed throughout the Hawaiian isles. After several years of being stationed there, the cruise line opted to have the Jade move to Europe and the Caribbean. We are very glad to have been aboard this ship prior to the spring of 2017 as it will be dry docked and have all of the Hawaiian inspired decor removed and revamped for a more modernized design.
Our port destinations for this family cruise included Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, & Belize. We had previously been to Cozumel on during our honeymoon, but the other three were all our first visits! When we docked in Mexico, we disembarked with the whole crew – all 10 of us! We wandered throughout the shops and continued on down past the shopping areas and onto a small beachfront to look at the pebbles and play int he clear water.
Costa Maya was our next destination and definitely didn’t disappoint! The resort of Costa Maya is where the ship docked and was a fun tourist space for people to roam about. We were impressed by the design and organization, it felt a lot like when we stayed at Dreams Tulum. We wandered throughout the area and spent a lot of time watching a local artist design custom artwork. Every painting took him under 20 minutes from the moment he picked up the paper to the time he finished the piece by using a flame to finish off the painting. We watched as they made chocolate bars and sampled some of their delicious treats. Of course, when in the Caribbean you have to purchase a fresh coconut. Rylee, Pat & I share the coconut. Once the water is gone you can ask the bar to open the coconut so you can eat the inside as well.
When we made it to Roatan our group divided in half. Mahlias’ dad, brother, sisters, and Peytons’ fiance, all headed off for an excursion zip-lining through the tropical canopies. While they were playing with a monkey, hanging upside down, and doing general crazy things, haha, the rest of us stuck closer to the shops right off the port. It’s nice to be able to disembark and walk around with Mahlias’ grandparents easily. Our 1 must-have purchase at every trip that we take is a Christmas ornament. It’s been a tradition of ours since our first trip together. We discovered these hand painted and hand carved ornaments while visiting Roatan. Each one is handmade so none are exactly alike. It was a lot of fun digging through all of the designs to select our souvenir. We also sampled some chocolate at the port as well. One of the unique things about the chocolate bars is that they do not have any oil so unlike most chocolate bars they do not melt in the heat!
Our final stop before heading back to Tampa was Belize. Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to purchase and utilize a private island. They bought the land in 1977 and introduced Great Stirrup Cay to their guests to enjoy shortly after. They acquired their second private island in Belize and are still finishing constructing everything. Our ship was only the 3rd to stay at their Belize island, Harvest Caye… and it rained almost the entire time we were in port. However, that didn’t stop us from enjoying our time there! Norwegian has a lot to offer their guests including excursions, an animal sanctuary, shopping, dining, oceanfront cabanas and lounge chairs. Plus, they have an incredibly relaxing walk in fresh water pool to enjoy as well! With so much to do we are looking forward to our next visit to the island.
The shows aboard this ship were hands down the best entertainment we’ve seen on the seas so far! The cast was very impressive and had a lot of talent among them. The most impressive show was Blazing Boots. Pat isn’t the biggest fan of country music & even he enjoyed the country show. The dancing, singing, and stage effects were exactly what you would expect on Broadway. We hope to see these performers again aboard another ship in the future!
As you can see, clearly, we had a wonderful time with our family. As we always do. We love traveling to different destinations, and it’s all the more fun to do that exploring with our family and friends. Holiday time is the best opportunity to see all of our loved ones and take a trip together.