Western Caribbean Cruise on the Norwegian Dawn

Back in February I joined some of my friends on a 7 night cruise on the Norwegian Dawn.  It was a somewhat of a last minute plan, it’s the same crew that I go to Port Clinton with every year and the ladies were all itching for a warm getaway during our long winter this year.  The dates lined up and the prices couldn’t have been better so we quickly jumped at the chance to head off to smell the salt air and feel the sand between our toes.  It was such a great trip and by far my favorite itinerary that I’ve had on a cruise (this was my third).  We started off in Tampa on Super Bowl Sunday then cruised to Isle de Roatan in Honduras, Belize City in Belize, Costa Maya in Mexico, Cozumel in Mexico and finally back to Tampa again.  We’re already planning on this being a yearly event and I’m hoping this comes to fruition because it was just so much fun!  I’ve been meaning to blog these images for a while and since I’m caught up at the moment (until my wedding this Saturday) I thought it would be the perfect time.

On this trip I didn’t bring along the “big guns” so to say, so these images are shot on a combination between my backup Nikon D700, Canon G11 and my iPhone 5.

I’m also switching up how I blog with pics, going to go with description first… let me know what you think!!


Me & my crew!  L to R, Nancy, me, Dawn and Shirley.

boarding image from the norwegian dawn

After watching the sail away, I enjoyed watching the sunset just as we passed the Sunshine Bridge from our balcony.

Tampa's Sunshine Bridge at sunset

The first day at sea was pretty windy and I didn’t take too many pictures.  I mostly read and got to know the ship.  Our second day we arrived in Roatan and I pretty much fell in love with the island immediately.  Our excursion for the day was at Tabyana Beach and I can’t recommend it enough.

palm tree in roatan honduras

Before leaving for the cruise I knew I wanted some kind of way to take pictures underwater.  I contemplated getting housing for one of my SLR’s but ultimately I decided I’d hate to have something happen to my gear and I opted for housing for my Canon G11 instead.  It worked flawlessly and I’m so happy with the image quality.  While snorkeling I was able to capture the fish that were abundant in the reefs around the resort and it was fun to explore a different kind of photography than I am used to.  The snorkeling here was AMAZING.

snorkeling at tabyana in roatan

A view of the resort from the water.

Tabyana Beach on Isle de Roatan Honduras

The entrance was pretty and I decided to capture it on my way out with the D700, it would be the only time I took it off the ship, the G11 worked great and I hate getting sand in my gear.

I have to say of all of the places we visited, this may be my favorite of them all.  The servers were amazing and kind, the food was beyond delicious and the location is fantastic.  Two thumbs up for sure!

entrance to tabyana beach in roatan

I seem to always gravitate to photographing flowers and palm trees when in tropical places so I decided to stick with the trend.

hibiscus flower in honduras

The view of the Norwegian Dawn from the port, our room was the balcony just above the tip of the dorsal fin of the dolphin.

norwegian dawn at port in honduras

I just couldn’t get over how gorgeous Roatan was so I captured an image from our balcony to send to friends at home what my “horrible” view was for the day.

view of roatan from cruise ship balcony

Roatan’s port may not be great for shopping but it’s adorable as all get out and one of my favorites for friendliness.

port of roatan

I stuck my iPhone off the balcony and managed to capture one of my favorite pictures of the trip of the sunset just off the bow of the ship as we were sailing away from Roatan.

roatan sunset

The next day we were in Belize City in Belize and we went to Bacab Jungle Park.  Not my favorite of the trip but it was a departure from the beach!  The park was somewhat of a letdown, the butterflies were mostly dead and it wasn’t much of a “jungle” but the food provided was yummy.

When we arrived they had “just caught” a snake and showed the boa constrictor off to us before we went to the pool for the day.  Yes, I pet him.

boa constrictor in belize

The pool was by far the best feature of the resort and it was a pretty one!  There is a waterslide hidden in the waterfall that reminded me of The Goonies that I went down a few times.

bacab jungle park in belize

The port at Belize was kind of crazy but in a good way.  Make sure you stop at The Wet Lizard for a shot before you leave.

port of belize

You know that I can’t resist a lighthouse and the Fort George aka Baron Bliss Lighthouse in Belize was a fun one to capture… since I was in a catamaran that was speeding across the water!

baron bliss lighthouse in belize

The sunset wasn’t that great that night but when the lights came up on the deck as we finished our Rebellious Fish drink before heading to dinner, I couldn’t help but take a few images of how pretty the decks look all lit up.

norwegian dawn at night

The next day we were in Costa Maya in Mexico and spent the day at the amazing Maya Chan Resort.  I cannot rave enough about this place and I urge anyone that is visiting Costa Maya to pay them a visit.  Such kind people, amazing food and a gorgeous place.  It was probably the most tranquil hours I’ve had all year.  I hope that we can return someday!!

Maya Chan resort in costa maya

Each group gets their own palapa and this was the view from ours.  Doesn’t get much better!

maya chan beach resort

While Maya Chan isn’t known for their snorkeling, we still took a kayak out and managed to snorkel a bit and see some coral and a few fish.

snorkeling in maya chan in costa maya

The next day we were in Cozumel where I had been a few years ago for a wedding.  We already have booked a trip to return this year because we loved Park Royal so much!  I was so happy to go back and we went to a beach I hadn’t visited before, Playa Palancar.  Definitely a great place and the bonus is that the resort is free.  I will be returning when I’m back!

Playa Palancar was simply beautiful and the service here was amazing.  I still can’t get over how many shells people were finding!

playa palancar resort in cozumel mexico

View of Cozumel’s port and downtown as we were leaving.

cozumel mexico

Sunset as we were leaving Cozumel.

sunset in cozumel

The last day at sea was the coldest and windiest so I decided to roam around and take pictures.  The Bimini Deck was where we spent a lot of time and the food here was pretty good to boot!

bimini deck on the norwegian dawn

Finally here’s a picture of the awesome pool that was on the Norwegian Dawn.  I loved the splash area that you could be in without getting too deep and the abundant hot tubs.  Ironically one night I met a distant relative in one!!!  How fun right??

pool deck on the norwegian dawn

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