Tales of the High Seas: Norwegian Prima
November 6, 2022
It is a beautiful, sunny monring, 26 C/80 F.
I had found my shore excursion of choice, independently. It was produced by Curacao Dreams which is owned by a lovely couple, Patrick and Sevi. Before my trip, my interaction via email had been with Sevi. I had requested the “Perfect Day Tour” with Curacao Dreams. Ordinarily they do not offer this tour in November, but after an email exchange with Sevi, we were able to come to an agreement. I had organized a 15-person outing from our Facebook/Cruise Critic group. I was the first of 20 people off the ship to meet them. I waited about 45 minutes for everyone to get off the gangway. Eventually, about eight of us walked to meet our tour guide. We got a little lost because independent tours can not come in too close to the ship. We met another tour guide who knew ours and had his phone number on his phone. He called him to get directions. Once we met Patrick, our tour guide, we still had 15 minutes to wait for everyone. We didn’t want to leave anyone behind, so I ran back to the ship. I had already emailed all participants the directions for the meeting that Curacao Dreams had given me so they could find Patrick on their own. When I returned, everyone else had arrived. Patrick, as I said, was our guide. Helping him was “sexy, Eddie”, as he was introduced. Patrick was engaging, informative, and entertaining being an ex-pat from Germany. He moved to Curacao about eight years ago. Eddie has lived in Curacao his whole life. When I met Patrick, I turned over a manilla envelope with all of our cash with tour cost and tip. Patrick is Curacao Patrick to differentiate him from Aruba Patrick.
The distillery where they make “Blue Curacao” out of a special orange peel was ordinarily closed on Sundays. I had already known this and made arrangements with Sevi and Patrick ahead of time to replace the distillery with a visit to a local restaurant on a cliff, “Blue View Terrace Restaurant”. But Patrick informed us that the distillery had heard that the cruise ship would be docking today. He called them to check to see if they would be open. Sure enough, they would be. We gained an additional stop on our Curacao Perfect Day. The distillery makes red, green, blue, and a clear liquor. The color is just food coloring. All the varieties taste exactly the same. The still they use was made of copper and was made from a Jewish family back home in good ol’ Philadelphia. They gave us 3 free samples” 1. Chocolate, 2. Tamarind, and I forget the third. They all were strong, especially at 10 am! The free samples were a good strategy because several people made purchases of curacao while were were there. Fellow passengers Hava, Sean, and I sat on a comfy couch chatting underneath a tree.
We were all concerned because the weather forecast predicted rain! We lucked out. It was literally a Perfect Day.
At the distillery, they make this lotion. They had a bottle of solution made from curacao. It cools off your skin. It takes a bit to start, but lasted quite a while and was quite effective.
From the distillery, we went in search of flamingos. Too bad that involves the cooperation of Mother Nature. They were a bit too far away on this day. Visible, but far. We didn’t stay for the whole 30 minutes planned. Instead, it was only about five minutes.
Next stop was the National Park, Shete Boca. The waves lacked energy as they pounded the rocks. Only on occasion did we see spray. Tributes to long, lost ones were made with stacking stones like towers. They made for an alien world landscape for a movie set. Small lizards about 3 inches long scampered about. We spotted goats climbing all around.
Fourth, was a visit that was once again, not on our planned agenda that the participants were informed about. We visited the Hato caves where the waves pounded into caverns. It was a tight squeeze and I needed to watch my head. The steps were slippery stones. We had to be careful and eight of us entered at a time.
I was grateful for the built-in bio break we took because my bladder had been calling for relief. Once we could be on the road again, the bus ran into a muddy road and was stuck. Our vehicle was going nowhere. We all got out and started to look for wood and rocks to use as leverage beneath the wheels. However, Patrick got rather impatient, got behind the wheel and extricated us out of the situation after we all vacated the vehicle. Eddie was now “Lucky, Sexy, Eddie”.
We moved onto our next stop at Playa Piskado. Patrick had rented an area/space that looked over the beach and allowed for us to gather, change, and gear up. The water was rather churned up creating murkiness because of the recent weather. Patrick was prepared with a GoPro and some chopped up fish meat to attract sea turtles. While snorkeling away I saw a few schools of fish, but no turtles. Not Patrick’s fault. He tried his best and did everything he could. But nature. Patrick, I, and a few others walked the pier jutting out to the sea to see if we could spot some sea turtles. We saw one, but it just isn’t the same as swimming with one. The water was nice and warm like a bathtub. I gave myself a break from treading water by clutching the wooden pier. The way snorkeling is marketed you would think it was super easy, but I find it to be a lot of work. Treading water is a workout if your feet don’t touch the bottom.
Some of our party visited a vendor who was selling fresh coconuts for coconut water. We told him he needed to add some rum.
We then visited Blue View Terrace Restaurant. Resting on a cliffside, you are given great views. Patrick had called ahead and reserved seats for us. There was free wi-fi. The florins exchange rate was 1.00 florin=$1.25 USD. The flies were free and plentiful. Patrick provided a rum punch with cinnamon and nutmeg. I was the very first to get served because all I ordered was a Cookies and Cream ice cream with some Bailey’s. Between the Bailey’s and Rum punch I was feeling no pain. Others had goat, stew, burgers, wraps, ribs. I had the best conversation with my fellow passengers Sue and Dick. Service was a challenge. I felt that there was a language, communication challenge with the server. Plus, our server was pretty young. Additionally, the restaurant was definitely on ISLAND TIME. Many of the group had issues with the lack of urgency. Like I mentioned earlier, my table was served first. Hava and Sean were still waiting for food after my whole table had gotten food, eaten, and paid our bill. The rest of us were all on the bus, while Hava and Sean gulped down their meal. Hardly a way to be able to enjoy your food.
Patrick gave another unexpected surprise and showed us another of the most popular beaches. We all were nice and dry at this point. We opted for moving on and taking pictures instead of having more beach time.
We listened on our long trek back to the ship to sexy Eddie as he educated us on why we all needed to move to Curacao. Meanwhile, Patrick pointed out sights of interest.
We got back to the ship around 4:30pm. I was a bit tired, and my bladder was needing attention, so I skipped visiting a famous, colorful bridge in favor of being greeted by fresh, wet towels by the NCL staff. Nice touch NCL! Getting back onboard is super easy using face recognition technology. No need for your room card, passport, or anything. Just put your stuff on a conveyer belt for the screener to check for contraband, scan your face, and you’re good!
It truly was a Perfect Day at Curacao. Everyone seemed to enjoy their excursion despite our few hiccoughs. Patrick had gone out of his way to ensure he went above and beyond that we all had an excellent time, and I would thoroughly recommend Curacao Dreams to book your Curacao shore excursion. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and expressed their appreciation.
I re-charged myself and took a shower and changed. My dinner was at the Commodore Room shortly after at 5:30 pm. I started with the quesadilla, which was yummy, but messy with sour cream. I tried to order the New England Clam Chowder. Clam Chowder has never been an issue for me before. However, because the chef was informed about my shellfish allergy, they would not serve it to me. I understand about being concerned about liability. Instead, I opted for the best mushroom soup of my entire trip. It was outstanding! The main dining room had a feature called Build Your Own Italian Dinner. That is exactly what I did. I chose my pasta, my accompanying sauce, and any added toppings. I followed that up with rigatoni, pesto with mushrooms. It was very good, and I have had homemade pesto sauce in Monterosso al Mare in the heart of the Cinque Terre, Italy. Nothing compares to that, but this pesto came in second. I ordered a side of mac and cheese because I am a sucker for that dish. An elevated version can be transcendent. This one was very tasty. My dessert was an apple pie which I found ok accompanied by a cup of hot tea. Why I had tea in the evening is beyond me. I just didn’t think. That late at night I should have ordered decaff. But I am on vacation! My server was one of the best from a restaurant land or sea.
A binder is essential for a cruise vacation. For all of your receipts for things that you paid, it keeps things organized. You have documentation to prove that you are entitled to what you booked. As part of this binder, I include an itinerary which I post on a wall with a magnet. Be sure to pack a binder for all your receipts and paper memorabilia and strong, magnetic hooks. They can be found on Amazon and you can hang hats, excursion tickets, itineraries, the daily newsletter, anything to declutterize your home.
NEXT: Washed up on a deserted isle