As I had originally wanted to get married on a beach in the Caribbean which didn’t happen due to family reasons (although we did have a Caribbean cruise as our honeymoon, our first cruise), we decided what better way to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary than another Caribbean cruise. So 10 years and 12 cruises later, we flew to Miami for the start of a 12 day Southern Caribbean cruise on NCL Getaway. We tend to choose our cruises on itinerary (and cost) and this cruise ticked both boxes. It included Aruba, Curacao and St. Kitts which we hadn’t been to but were on our list to visit and St. Lucia, Barbados and St. Thomas which although we had visited on previous cruises were well worth going back to. We originally booked an ocean view cabin but because the prices had dropped considerably, we managed to upgrade to a balcony for a mere £35 extra each.
After flying into Miami (direct from Manchester with Thomas Cook Airlines – great value) the day before, we embarked with no problems and very quickly (<30 mins). We avoided the crush in the cafe and had lunch in Taste restaurant after which our lovely balcony cabin was available. The first two days were at sea which gave us plenty of time to explore and experience this great ship and also to recover from jet lag and adjust to our sea legs. Our first port of call was Aruba, an island that I really wanted to visit. It is beautiful as are the many beaches. As we were doing an informal vow renewal with just my husband and I plus our two friends Pat and Terry, we decided that we would renew our vows here. So we went, via the local bus, to De Palm beach and found a quiet section where with the help of Pat and Terry, Drew and I renewed our wedding vows by doing a simple sand ceremony (I will write a more detailed review about this separately). We then celebrated with a drink and spot of sunbathing before returning to the ship. Next day was Curacao, another beautiful island. Unfortunately, as we were only there for the morning, we didn’t see as much as we would have liked to. We walked around the town, visiting the floating market and fort which now housed several restaurants and shops. Crossing the bridge was an experience as I hadn’t realised that it was a floating bridge on several boat hulls which gave me a shock when it moved! I would love to go back and stay longer and visit the Hato caves next time. We had another sea day before hitting the rest of the islands. So today, I had organised to give a beading class to some of the ladies from the roll call group. NCL were really good and organised a venue (Moderno restaurant) and had arranged tables and chairs ready for us. The ladies all successfully made a crystal bracelet much to their amazement and were quite proud of themselves (and rightly so). St. Lucia was our next port of call. Originally I had wanted to renew our vows here but on our first visit in 2012 we were rained off and our tour abandoned. Which is why, when I saw how beautiful Aruba was and it was sunny, decided on there. I was so glad that I had made that decision as the heavens opened again once more, even worse than the last time. Castries the capital was flooded and many tours (including ours) had utmost difficulty returning to the ship. In fact one NCL tour was abandoned and the passengers were rescued by catamaran as the roads had been washed away! St. Lucia is a beautiful island but, unfortunately, I have only ever seen it through a wall of rain! Maybe third time lucky? Next port was Barbados. As we have visited previously we headed for some retail therapy and then onto Browns beach in Carlisle Bay. We visited this beach back in 2012 where we more or less had the beach to ourselves (it was late afternoon) however, this time it was bouncing! The beach was covered in sun loungers with music playing and everyone having a great time. We found Dee’s bar which we discovered last time where the beer was only 4 bottles for $10, however, Dee was no longer there and although the beer was still $10 it was now US$10 and BD$10 so had effectively doubled in price! Still a beautiful beach. St. Kitts was next, however, I wasn’t feeling well so my husband had to visit on his own. He went on a 4 x 4 jeep tour of the island and had a wonderful time seeing all the sights. Pity I missed it but another reason to return one day. Our last port of call was St. Thomas which we have visited previously so we decided to just have a walk around the town and market. We set out to walk but ended up, after talking to a local, on the dollar bus where the fare is just $1 irrespective of where you are going. It was a bit of a ramshackled bus with torn seats but great fun and saved on the leg work. We spent our remaining two days at sea just chilling around the ship. The best place to sunbathe we found was Spice H2O which, although at night is a club, during the day is an adult only area. There were plenty of sun loungers, chairs and tables with a bar, 2 jacuzzis and a water fall area to cool off. There is also a large screen where they sometimes show films or sporting events. Well worth using as much quieter than the main pool. Our favourite place on the ship was the Waterfront. Along deck 8 instead of just a promenade, there are several bars and restaurants which spill out onto the deck. You can dine or just have a drink whilst watching the sea or, in the evening, the stars (as there is no light pollution out at sea). One night we sat and watched a spectacular lightning show out to sea whilst sipping our cocktails. On returning to Miami, we self-disembarked and were off the ship and at the car hire centre at Miami airport, again within 30 – 40 mins, ready for our 3 days in Orlando with some American friends who we had met 5 years earlier (on a cruise where else?) before returning to Miami to fly home to Manchester.