Cruise Day 4: A Brief Stay at Harvest Caye

A view of the beach at Harvest Caye.

Our plan for our day at Harvest Caye was to do absolutely nothing other than hang out on the beach or in the pool. With no pressing need to be off the ship at a certain point, we’d intended to sleep in, but since this was the vacation of no sleep, we were once again up around 7:30.

For variety, we decided to try breakfast up in the buffet. While busy, we were able to grab a seat right away. We made quick work of our food and proceeded back to the cabin for the daily sunscreen and insect repellant ritual.

We got off the ship around 9:00 and strolled over to the main pool/beach area. We particularly appreciated the covered walk from the ship to the island, which I’m sure will come in handy on hot afternoons.

We decided to hit the beach first, so we walked past the already busy pool to try to find a lounger. We found one pretty quickly and immediately hit the ocean. Unfortunately, this was the worst beach we’ve experienced in the Caribbean. The beach itself was very rough on the feet, not at all nice to walk on, and it wasn’t any better upon entering the water. Shells, rocks, and coarse sand made it very uncomfortable, so we ended up just taking a quick dip. Maybe other sections of the beach are nicer, or maybe certain times of the year will provide a better experience, but I’d suggest beach shoes if you want to spend any time on the beach at Harvest Caye.

After our brief encounter with the ocean, we changed course and made for the pool instead. We both really enjoyed the pool, which is massive at 15,000 square feet. Even still, it did feel a bit crowded, and I’m sure it only got more crowded as the day went on.

The huge pool at Harvest Caye.
NCL may not know how to build a beach, but they can certainly build one big fucking pool.

We spent about an hour in the pool just relaxing. Our swim was interrupted by a very heavy rain, which fell for about five minutes. This was just enough time to completely soak our beach bag, but luckily everything inside the bag remained dry.

Before heading back to the ship, we checked out the small nature conservatory. This didn’t have much going on, though Kathleen enjoyed the butterfly enclosure.

On our way back we stopped in a couple of the shops. I purchased a shot glass for my collection, and Kathleen purchased some earrings. Overall, we enjoyed the pool area and the shops, but the beach left a lot to be desired. If we stop here in future, I doubt we’ll get off the ship.

Since our sunscreen was still fresh, we decided to take advantage of the emptier ship and get some time in the pool and hot tubs while people were out on the beach. I’ve found that, since the pool areas on NCL are so small, the best time to actually use them is while in port.

We spent a very enjoyable couple hours alternating between the pool and hot tubs with only a few other passengers. We also spent a nice hour lying on loungers while reading and sipping on ice cold beverages.

Eventually, our hunger made itself known, so we went back to shower and change before grabbing our customary lunch at O’Sheehan’s. This time I tried the open-faced turkey sandwich, which was good, but not quite the amazing taste sensation of the fish and chips or the hotdogs.

Our afternoon activity was Harry Potter trivia, which was held in Bliss. I was pretty excited, as I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Unfortunately, the trivia was “Seen It” trivia, which are all visual questions and puzzles. Needless to say, this was not an easy game for a blind person. Kathleen and I did well enough, and we certainly didn’t cheat like the people at the table next to us. What kind of people cheat at free trivia, where most of the participants are children? Fucking monsters, that’s who.

As had become our ritual, we made our way up to deck 13 for an afternoon drink at Bimini as the ship left. We didn’t stay long though, as another storm was working its way over the ship, bringing a pretty heavy wind and some rain.

There’s a quiet little lounge area on deck 9, so we took a drink there and sat for a while to read and enjoy the music drifting up from the atrium below.

Soon enough though, we headed back down to Bliss for another round of music trivia. We were excited to defend our title and to see if we could make it three wins in a row.

Today’s trivia theme was movie music—another area where Kathleen is unstoppable. We actually tied with another team, which meant one of us had to go up on stage for a tiebreaker question. Of course, this duty fell to Kathleen. This should go without saying, but she got the answer to the tiebreaker in about three seconds, giving us a complete sweep of the music trivia contests on this cruise. Yes, it felt awesome.

Since our dinner reservation for that night wasn’t until 9:00, we headed up to check out the Mojito Bar. The bar is located inside the Moderno restaurant on deck 13, so it’s not quite the same hangout hotspot it is on some other NCL ships. The drinks are just as good though, so it’s well worth sitting and having one, or grabbing one to go, as we did several times throughout the cruise.

We took our mojitos down to Gatsby’s to hear the piano player do a tribute to the Eagles. This was enjoyable, but I will say that we really had a hard time enjoying Gatsby’s because of the very high levels of smoke. Gatsby’s is kind of in the middle of a smoke vortex, with the cigar bar on one side and the casino on the other. We’re not usually overly sensitive to smoke (being near the casino on the Getaway never bothered us), but this area of the ship was hard to be in for any length of time.

In an effort to avoid the smoke, we decided to grab a pre-dinner glass of wine at the Cellars Wine Bar. This was a very nice, quiet spot that seemed very underutilized. The wine selection was impressive, and we enjoyed a nice quiet glass before our dinner.

Inside the wine bar on the NCL Dawn.
Inside the Cellars Wine Bar.

Dinner was only a short walk away at La Cucina. I really enjoyed this meal, though Kathleen says it was only okay. Coming from an Italian family, she has high standards when it comes to Italian food. Neither of us ordered an entree. Instead, we ordered a number of pastas to split. They make the pasta dishes available in small or large orders, and the small orders were absolutely plenty for two people to share. My favorite was the cioppino, which was seafood in a very delicious, slightly spicy tomato sauce.

Full, and tired, we left dinner and headed back to our cabin. After our favorite evening activity of sitting on the balcony to unwind, we went to sleep.

Up next in cruise day 5: we get to play with monkeys!


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