Most of the time when returning to a docked ship from a port stop, passengers just walk up the gangway and get on board. Sometimes they have to pass through customs first, but there’s normally no fanfare or hoopla about it. You get on the ship, send your things through the scanner, pick them up and go on your way.
The Norwegian Pearl did things a bit differently on our Caribbean cruise. At most stops they had crew waiting to greet returning passengers at the dock with cold drinks, or maybe popsicles and wet towels for a little refreshment and cooling off before getting back onboard.
Then came our last stop at Cozumel. After finishing an excellent shore excursion that took us snorkeling on Palancar Reef and relaxing at Playa Mia Beach Park, we wandered through the shops by the dock a bit. We had over an hour, but me having lost my watch at Playa Mia and John’s watch not working due to swimming with it on, we stayed at the nearby shops rather than trying to get to town.
After a bit we made our way toward the ship. We dawdled about taking photos of the Pearl and the two Carnival ships at their nearby pier. We even took a few of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, docked next to our ship. Norwegian’s Dawn and Star docked at the other end of town, but we got photos of them on the way in.
Coming down the dock toward the ship we could hear music. As we got closer we saw a shade tent by the ship. Passing by there a crew member handed out fruit juice treats to all the returning passengers. Another crew person handed out wet face towels.
Walking under a Norwegian sign strung across our side of the dock led returning passengers between two lines of dancing crew. Then we saw the cruise director and another girl on stilts with long pants so it looked like they had extremely long legs dancing around between the lines of crew people in a singing, dancing welcome back.
Most passengers walked through the corridor between the dancers, some dancing along their way. I ducked out and got out the camera. The crew of the Pearl certainly went all out to welcome passengers back to the ship from our last port stop. The people on the other ship next to us walked down a bare dock to an empty gangway, all looking over at the partying entrance the Norwegian Pearl gave to their passengers. Perhaps their way of saying our ship may be smaller, but look how much fun we have.
I had no idea that competing cruise ships can dock at exotic locations all at once. Do you strive to be brand loyal in your cruising?
There are a limited number of ports in the Caribbean where the big ships can go, so a number of them do often end up in the same place. Carnival has their own dock at Cozumel where those two ships were. We were at one they called the International Pier and the other two Norwegian ships at a dock downtown.
There are definitely advantages to taking multiple cruises with the same cruise line. They all have loyalty programs where you get more perks the more times you cruise with them. We tend to go with whoever we can get the best deal on though. I would actually like to branch out onto more different cruise lines so I can write about them in this blog. I do have an upcoming cruise booked on MSC, a cruise line I have not sailed with before.
Freedom of the Seas looks huge. I know the Carnival Breeze isn’t a small ship so that one must really be big. They do keep making them bigger and bigger. I wonder what the cruise ships of tomorrow will be like.
Royal Caribbean has bigger ships than than Freedom of the Seas. I’m not sure if the Breeze is bigger or smaller than Freedom of the Seas, but the Pearl is not as big as the Breeze. It is bigger than the Sun that you went on though and you probably remember how big the Sun seemed on that trip to Alaska.
I love NCL! Have only been on two cruises with them, but I plan to keep going on them until I exhaust all the itineraries. Every now and then I look into other cruise lines but I just had so much fun with NCL and love their crew, so no desire to try anybody else right now. 🙂 I will probably try another cruise line sometime just to write about it for my blog, too!
I’ve had a good time on all my cruises so far regardless of which cruise line they were on. Each line and each ship has something unique to offer. And they all have too much good food!
This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger.
I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post.
Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!