Tales of the High Seas: A Norwegian Prima voyage
November 7, 2022
Something that Norwegian Cruise Line did on this sailing was when we got back to the ship around 4:30 pm on my Curacao Day, 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 from the NCL staff. This is something they provided at every port, and it was the type of attention to detail that I appreciated. Getting back onboard is super easy using face recognition technology. No need for your room card, passport, or anything. Just put your stuff on the conveyor belt for the screener, scan your face and you are good!
Today was a picture-perfect day at Kralendijk, Bonaire sunny and a high of 82 degrees. I had contacted the people at Caribe Watersport and booked a water taxi ahead of time to take me from Bonaire to Klein Bonaire. Klein Bonaire is a tiny, deserted island. There are no restrooms, no hotels, no restaurants, no buildings of any sort. Deserted. There is no place to store your belongings. You plunk your bag down and pray. My water taxi had about 30 people at 10:15 am. Most of them were from my ship, but a good number of international travelers. I was one of the first off the ship, as always, and started to explore the layout of Bonaire. Eventually I waited for my time on the water taxi by sitting on a bench at the edge of the ocean and watching all of the activity of the day. It was my time to breathe and relax.
One beach, “No Man’s Beach”, meets a shallow end. Further out the shelf disappears. Most of the light-colored sea is only available for swimming at No Man’s Beach and another place on the island that has a yellow marker. The current is strong, and you can drift by the island.
There were tons of fish! Colorful blues, black and white stripes, silver darting schools all within reach. It was a real treat with hundreds of blue stripe, yellow stripe, silver and black, some big as a cat. Dummy me did not lather on enough sunblock on my body. Thank goodness I discovered mid-way through I had packed my rash guard and used that. My back got bright red even still since my back faced the sun while I snorkeled away a good portion of the day. I can not emphasize enough how much I enjoyed this small, deserted isle.
At Klein Bonaire, I was concerned that snorkeling would take all my energy and focus. But by the third time I ventured out snorkeling, I had gathered enough courage to use my GoPro camera in the water to attempt to capture the aquatic critters. It turned out my worry was all for naught. Everything turned out perfectly fine. Also, my GoPro saved the day because it allowed me to take pictures since my phone was kaput.
At 11:45 am the water taxi returned to drop more folks off and pick up those wanting to return. I was out snorkeling, and I waved to the taxi crew and passengers.
Now that I’ve accumulated enough experience, I would love to do a drift snorkel. They plop you in the ocean and the ocean’s current eventually brings you to No Man’s Beach where it is safe to go ashore. It is a 45 minute experience.
The staff of Caribe Water Sports were very attentive and showed me special kindness and knew me by name once they realized I was a solo traveler.
During a small time period, I lied down on my towel with my hat covering my face. It was so incredibly relaxing. One time when I went walking away from my home base, I encountered a number of lizards who blended in with the environment. Such a treat!
Before you knew it, the water taxi arrived to whisk me away from Klein Bonaire. It does this once an hour. I spent three hours on the island, most of it snorkeling in the water. This water was calm, and I did not fight the current.
Once onboard the ship I headed straight to Indulge Food Hall. It was 1:30 pm and it closes at 2. I discovered some folx I had made friends with earlier, John and Rebecca from Dallas, TX. Rebecca had left her husband at home and brought John along for the ride. I had the chicken tikka and rice. As I was eating, a server came around and told me Indulge Food Hall along with its dessert station would be closing. I ran over and got a chocolate mousse, a white sponge cake, and a chocolate torte. I definitely went overboard because it was about to close. Rebecca’s husband works for emergency relief efforts for south Florida. She told me we were no longer in danger of sailing into a hurricane upon arriving in Miami. You can not know how much I had been stressing about that event and what a huge relief that was to hear. I was frantic with worry that they would divert us to someplace else to disembark, like NOLA, due to a hurricane. She assured me it was no longer a concern. Heaven help me. John and I continued our conversation while Rebecca went shopping in Bonaire’s capital. He was all shopped out from yesterday he told me. Once 3:30 rolled around I excused myself and I took a shower and cleaned myself up.
I made a pit stop in the solo lounge and had a nice conversation with my across the hallway neighbor. She is literally opposite my room. I like it when you get to make genuine connections with folks. By now I discovered my left foot, especially, was swelling up. I think the ship’s liberal use of salt in its food was taking its toll. I didn’t notice any use of salt, but it was my suspicion that they did so to enhance the flavors of the ingredients being used. I started to take some ibuprofen, raise my food as much as possible above my heart. Later in the week someone clued me in that I wasn’t drinking water nearly as much as I do at home. I started to really increase my water consumption.
Dinner was courtesy of a plan cooked up by Claudine and Dee Gee. As members of the Latitudes loyalty program above the platinum tier, they are awarded certificates for specialty dining. Claudine really wanted to experience Los Lobos, the Mexican dining experience, while Dee Gee did not. Dee Gee’s loss became my gain, when Claudine invited me to share her dinner. We had decided to share all that we ordered and turn it into a “family style” event. Claudine had a bottle of red wine that she brought, and we really enjoyed that throughout our dinner. The table was not large enough for all of that food. Trust me, we weren’t really pigs. We had guacamole made table side. Fresh guacamole was an absolute treat and was accompanied with chips. I recommend it. Claudine and I have a love affair going with cheese, so Queso Fundido was an absolute must. There was steak. I made sure to order a chicken enchilada with mole sauce. For dessert, we could not resist the churros with caramel sauce and the chocolate flan. I am so grateful for this dinner. What a wonderful treat!
Claudine and I had reservations at the Prima Theater to see the Elton John tribute trio for their second outing. We found them to be very entertaining and it was just good, classic songs.
Douglas to the rescue #1: An obnoxious, loud, drunk passenger was seated right next to Claudine. So bad, that Simon, the cruise director and host of the show, had to call her out and pipe her down (in an entertaining way). Should have known she would be an issue. I came to hear the trio sing, not her loud ass croaking singing voice. Since Claudine was right next to her, after two songs, I had had enough! I spied two seats for us and asked if Claudine would like to move. Claudine was ready to punch the woman. This was a solution without a visit to the brig. Once moved, we then could enjoy the show. It was very well attended. From our vantage point, we could see both the stage and most of the audience. The new seats proved to be great, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Claudine was extremely grateful for my intervention. It made a world of difference in our experience.
Following the show, we decided to have cocktails at the Belvedere bar. Shout out to bar staff, Rafael and Leonardo. Claudine was able to have her better tonic water that comes in a bottle and not out of the gun, like the other peasants. Plus, she used a tonic water with the word “monkey” for her G & T. I had a basic sweet glass of rose. Actually, I think I started with a Belvedere gimlet which was yummy.
Douglas comes to the rescue #2:
While at the Belvedere bar we ran into a couple from Louisiana who I had met earlier in the week. We had met before at one of the LGBTQIA+ meetings. They have these meet ups at the Belvedere bar daily at 8:30 pm. It is now about 10:30pm. Both are heavily intoxicated. Claudine and I attempted to entertain a conversation with them. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with two very drunk people, and you are still quite sober? Very messy. I had had enough, and I knew Claudine was not enjoying herself, so I concocted a fake story about how “her highness, would be upset with us if we didn’t meet her at Metropolitan bar”. No such person or situation but it did its job and allowed us to escape the drunk duo. In trying to extricate ourselves one of the drunk duo pawed Claudine’s long hair. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Claudine made her apologies to the bar staff, and we high tailed it to the chocolate cowboy and the Metropolitan bar.
Thankfully, Claudine picked up on what I was trying to do, and we had a relaxing evening recounting the day’s events. I had the Pineapple Surplus which uses sustainable food to base the drink around. The recipe includes: 12.5 oz / Jaja Tequila, 5 oz / Chinola Passion Fruit,10 oz Turmeric Honey Syrup, add 3 oz of batched cocktail into a shaker with ice all the way to the top, and shake and pour into a 10 oz glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice and mint. It did the trick and we talked through the late evening. Metropolitan is directly adjacent to the Humidor cigar space, which is enclosed. Thankfully, I rarely got a whiff of the smell of cigars.
It is now midnight and I made my excuses and retired back to my room. I must have slipped off to slumberland pretty quickly.