Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape

I spent Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape this past December. Our destination was the Eastern Caribbean. We visited Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, as well as Nassau.

Over 1, 500 of the passengers were youth ranging in age from infants through 18 years. On board activities in the Splash Academy for children and Entourage for teens gave participants the option of participate in programs throughout the day and evening hours.

The Norwegian Escape’s Kids’ Aqua Park was a big draw for many young cruisers especially the enclosed tube slide. Another favorite, which was always busy, was the two-story climbing structure.

Families could be seen on the Sports Deck playing miniature golf together, shooting hoops, or playing bocce ball. Additionally, there were the many video games to share. Of course, there were also all the Christmas activities to enjoy.

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

The Christmas holiday began as soon we boarded the ship. Brightly decorated Christmas trees lit up the public areas. Holiday favorites and carols played softly in the background.

The dining rooms and buffet areas featured displays of creative winter scenes made of foodstuffs. Each of the specialty dining restaurants also had their own unique decorations that added to the spirit of the season.

Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape decorations

Besides the dining room decorations, staff and crew created a village display in the small atrium. A set of trains chugged their way around the display. The train whistle would blow every few minutes and small puffs of white smoke would come out of the steam engine’s smoke stack. This display put many a fussy member of the under five set in a good mood almost immediately.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day there were traditional holiday meals including prime rib of beef and turkey. Dessert offerings included pies, puddings and Christmas cookies.

Holiday Activities

Christmas Eve was our first port of call day. Guests going ashore boarded tenders for the trip from the Escape to Great Stirrup Bay. Besides enjoying beach activities, guests had five excursion options:

  • Parasailing
  • Marine Life Encounter Eco Boat Tour
  • Kayak Tour
  • Stingray City Bahamas
  • Wave Runner Tour

For guests staying on the ship on Christmas Eve, holiday activities began in the AM.  Christmas trivia was followed by Christmas crafts. In the afternoon, Christmas movies trivia drew a huge crowd!

The Escape choir and crew led guests in singing Christmas carols in the Atrium at 9 PM. At midnight, there was an Interdenominational Christmas service in the Theater.

Christmas Day dawned early with Santa’s arrival in the Atrium. He didn’t come alone. Mrs. Claus made a rare appearance, as did some of his elves. Santa didn’t come empty handed either. He brought gifts and invited the children to have their photographs taken with him.

View of Nassau from Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape

View of Nassau from Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape

Guests spending the day in Nassau, our second port of call, had a choice of five shore excursions:

  • Atlantis Aquaventure
  • Discover Atlantis
  • Discover Nassau by Land and Sea
  • Blue Lagoon Beach Day
  • Charm and Beauty of the Bahamas

Ship Christmas activities included a viewing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”  on the large screen in the Atrium. A family holiday glow party was well attended.

Evening activities included a performance by four time Grammy winner, Melba Moore, in the Escape Supper Club. Overflow crowds attended the Escape Holiday Spectacular, in the theater at both the 7 PM and 10 PM performances.

Many families chose to celebrate Christmas at sea on the Norwegian Escape. As a result, they got to enjoy being together at Christmas without all the work of holiday preparations.

 

 

Specialty Cabins: Family, Accessible, Luxury

There are four main types of cruise cabins: Inside, Oceanview, Balcony, and Suite. There are specialty cabins available within these types that meet the needs and interests of certain cruisers. Specialty cabins are available on many of the larger ships. Specialty cabin categories include: Family, Accessible, Luxury, Spa and Single Travel Cabins.

Family Specialty Cabins

Newer ships come with family cabins designed to accommodate parents and children. Often these cabins are suites that give parents and children separate sleep rooms, and have more than one bathroom.

image of family specialty cabins with bunk beds

Courtesy of MSC Inside cabin with bunk beds

Standard Inside, Oceanview, and Balcony type cabins with sleep sofas, or bunk beds, that pull down, are another option. These cabins have one bathroom. When packing, it is important to consider that storage space, and clothing closets have limited space.

Accessible Cabins

Accessible cabins are double occupancy cabins that are designed primarily for persons having:

  • Mobility issues and require the use of a wheelchair, scooter or other mobility devices. Cabins are larger than the standard cabins. They have wider doors than the standard cabins, large bathrooms with  roll-in showers, grab bars, and turning space.
  • Hear impairments and requiring portable ADA kits and closed-captioned televisions.
  • Sight impairments and need access to Braille signage.

Luxury Cabins

Luxury cabins enhance the experience of being in a resort at sea. They are referred to as suites, and come in different sizes and layouts. They are larger in size than other specialty cabins. Cabin amenities may include brand name toiletries, complimentary specialty dining, discounted laundry packages, and on board credits. Suite passengers have priority when boarding and leaving the ship.

One of Queen's Grill Specialty Cabins on Cunard

Courtesy of Queens Grill on the Queen Mary 2

Some of the Mega cruise lines offer suites in key access communities above the rest of the ship. These communities offer private dining, lounge, pool and deck area. Their amenities includes 24 hour concierge  service, butler services, and preferred seating in the theater in the main ship. Passengers have the opportunity to enjoy the comforts of a small luxury cruise while having access to the activities of a mega ship.

Spa Cabins

Spa cabins are usually a few steps away from the spa. A spa cabin can be an Inside, Oceanview, Balcony or a Suite. However, spa cabins come with more amenities and cost more.

Spa cabins differ when it comes to amenities from cruise line to cruise line. The best spa cabin amenities are high-end  bath products, personal toiletries, and aromatherapy. Free time in the spa facilities such as the relaxation room, or complimentary participation in a few classes are also attractive amenities.

Single ( Solo Traveler) Cabins

One of the rarer specialty cabins is the single cabin. Most cabins are double occupancy. In most instances, a cruiser traveling alone must pay his or her individual rate plus a single supplement for a double occupancy cabin.

The Norwegian Epic features 100 sq ft studio cabins and a private lounge for solo travelers. The studio cabins have a full-size bed and a separate bath area  There is no single supplement for this cabin.

one of studio specialty cabins on NCL ship

Courtesy of NCL Escape

If you are thinking about taking a cruise, and want to know more about specialty cabins, please give me a call at 800-388-8781.

 

 

 

 

Cruises are Luxury Vacations at Sea

Welcome to “Can Do” Street Family Friendly Cruises, your website portal for planning and enjoying luxury vacations at sea. Our site content can help you decide whether a cruise vacation is a fit for you. Current  information on individual cruises, destinations and accommodations will take the guess work out of choosing a cruise.

“Can Do” Street Family Friendly Cruises is my way of sharing the travel ease, fun, and affordability of cruise vacations. To make this possible, I became a Cruise Planners Franchisee. Cruise Planners is an American Express Travel Representative. When planning a cruise, I draw on my personal cruise experiences and 35 years as an educator and recreation therapist.

Cruising is my favorite means of travel. Over the past 25 years, I’ve  taken 40+ cruises, including transatlantic and river cruises. As a result, I can share what makes cruises ideal for young children and  teens, as well as solo cruisers, couples, and seniors. Because I am Certified Accessible Travel Advocate,  I can help children and adults with special needs to cruise in comfort.

Together we will find cruises that meet your destination interests and travel needs, while staying within your budget. I provide planning assistance at no cost.

 Why a “Can Do” Street Cruises Site?

picture of multi-generational family on one of MSC cruises

“Can Do” Street is a family site and cruises are great environments for family-friendly vacations. Cruises give individuals and families access to luxury vacations that are convenient, comfortable, exciting, and fun. Cruises pamper by providing fine dining and excellent service. Most activities are complementary, beginning early in the AM, and going late into the evening. Professional entertainment, which is offered nightly, is Broadway quality. In addition, live music is provided throughout the ship, during the day and evening.

Cruise ships anticipate the needs of families traveling with children as a standard practice. High chairs and cribs are available. The ship’s store carries diapers and other child care necessities. Dining rooms have a supply of coloring materials on hand. Children can order from a kids menu. Most staterooms have a refrigerator that can store baby bottles as well as healthy snacks.

Today’s cruises open the world of cruise travel for children and adults with special needs. In addition to accessible cabin accommodations, there are hearing and sight assistance devices on-board. Wheelchair, scooter, and walker rentals enable children and adults with motor disabilities to get around the ship and in ports. Oxygen, hospital beds, recliner chairs, and other special needs rentals make travel possible for those with medical conditions. As a Certified Accessible Travel Advocate, I can assist with planning and making arrangements for the rental of equipment. My service is offered at no charge to the those booking a cruise through “Can Do” Street Family Friendly Cruises.

image of MSC youth program site

What Makes Cruises Luxury Vacations at Sea?

  • Cruising is a cost-effective vacation: A cruise is often more cost-effective than a land resort vacation.  Most cruise costs are included in the per person rate for the cruise.
  • Packing/Unpacking: You pack and unpack once. Your luggage is picked up from you at the ship terminal. It is delivered to your stateroom. Luggage is picked up from outside your stateroom on the last evening of your cruise. You pick up your luggage in the terminal after leaving the ship.
  • Sea activities: All activities during the day and in the evening are free, throughout the trip, with the exception of the game arcade, casino, and spa services.
  • Youth programs: Most cruise ships offer complimentary youth programs during the day and evening hours. Children are grouped by age. Staff are professionals experienced in providing recreational activities and supervising children and teens.
  • Family activities: There are complimentary activities that families can enjoy together, throughout the day, and evening.
  • Laundry: Cruise ships either have self-service laundries on most floors, or they offer discounts for laundry services.
  • Medical Care: Cruise ships have on board medical services. Medical services are covered by the  cruise insurance plan purchased when you book your cruise.

Complimentary Dining on Cruises:

image of MSC Kids Buffet on one of MSC ship's cruises

Courtesy of MSC Cruises

  • Meals Traditional dining rooms with waiter service offer complimentary dining. Buffet dining is also complimentary, as are eateries featuring pub foods or desserts. They also offer specialty restaurants which carry a charge. However, most of charges are less than similar restaurants in any city.
  • Snacks:  Burgers, fries and hot dogs are available on the pool decks at no additional cost.  Unlimited coffee, tea, juices, milk, and soft serve ice cream are also free throughout the trip. Soda and alcoholic beverages cost less if purchased through a beverage package.

Find What You Need to Know about Cruises: 

  • The major cruise ships sailing from ports world-wide to destinations all over the world and river cruises
  • New ships coming on line
  • Weekly cruise value packages that are an affordable vacation for families
  • Value packages allowing kids to sail free or at a reduced rate
  • Group rates with additional amenities for family members and friends sailing together
  • Information about youth programs, meals, laundry, priority boarding, insurance, medical care, accessibility, and other special needs accommodations on shipboard, and in ports
  • On-board cruise life, and ports of call
  • Ships with accessible, on-board accommodations, and activities for children and adults with special needs
  •  Destinations with accessible ports and excursions.

In my next post, I will share the pros and cons of stateroom accommodations available on a cruise. In the meantime, if you are thinking about a cruise vacation and have questions, you can reach me at 800-388-8781.

Thanks for visiting!

Jean