Go See Do Photography

The Photo Blog of Mowers Photography, LLC

Tag: Cruise (Page 1 of 2)

Cruise Countdown

NCL Gem
Its been a few years since our last cruise and finally we’ve got a cruise on the calendar! Its still over 450 days away, but it feels good to have it booked! I’ve never booked trip this far in advance and I don’t know what to do with myself. I want to work on planning, but its really too early for that.

We are sailing the Norwegian Getaway which is one of their newest ships and it will be our first cruise on a megaship. The cruise is sailing from Miami to Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Caye, Belize (Norwegian’s new private island); and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. This will be my first time in Central America and Chris’ first time in Mexico. I am excited to go back to Miami and to explore some new and exotic locations! If you have any advice for any of the ports or cruising on a megaship, please leave me a comment!

About the Photo:
This shot was taken on the Paradise Island ferry from Nassau, Bahamas. One of the funniest things about our last cruise was boarding in New York, the ship looked tiny when compared to the surrounding skyscrapers (and the megaship docked next to it). But, when we pulled in to the small Bahamian Islands, the ship looked massive! It was very cool to get to float by and get some detail shots of the ship!

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18-55 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 18, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

Cruise Dreaming II

Great Stirrup Cay

As the school year winds down, my stress level winds up. While I am looking forward to our summer road trip, I am going through serious cruise withdrawal! Oh, how I would love to be lounging on Great Stirrup Cay listening to the sound of the waves, without a care in the world! I think its time to start planning my next cruise!

About this Photo:
This is really not my most artistic shot, but I wanted a shot of this rock for my cruise scrapbook. So, I took this shot on my way back to the tender, after all the tourists were done posing for the ship photographers. This was a single RAW exposure done in Lightroom.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, handheld

Date Taken:
June 17, 2015

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!

Chris Corner #4: The Verrazano Narrows

Verrazano Narrows Bridge in Morning Fog by Christopher Mowers on 500px.com

Last summer, Ashleigh and I had the joy of taking a cruise on the Norwegian Gem out of New York.

Not only was cruising out of New York great because it is a relatively short drive  for us compared to Florida, but it was incredible to sail from a pier in Manhattan. These views were unbelievable.

Most of the pictures we got in New York Harbor were from our departure. The weather was outstanding. The thing that was really difficult though was that everyone else was also outside trying to get pictures. We decided we would get up early on our arrival day and try to get pictures with fewer people on deck.

One problem- the weather didn’t think this was such a great idea. Seriously, we didn’t get much. I don’t know how on earth I managed to capture this image, but I’m glad that I did.

 

About the Photo:
I took this photo at 55 mm, f/4.5, ISO 200, from the Promenade deck of the Norwegian Gem. I captured this photo the day that we drove home from New York, and on that car ride home, listening to the Improve Photography Podcast, heard all about the new dehaze slider in the lastest Lightroom release. I used that same dehaze slider on this photo with excellent results.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm f/4-5.6 lens.

Date Taken:
June 21, 2015

Thank you for reading. You can see my best work on 500px and can also find pictures of the “trying my hardest to be good at this” type on Flickr or Pixoto.

Also, be sure to like the Go See Do Facebook Page, and follow Ashleigh on Instagram and Flickr! Check out our Gear page to see inside our camera bag!

Wordless Wednesday: Winter Blues

Gem in Nassau

2015: Year in Review

New York Skyline

2015 really was a big year for me. About this time last year I decided to make photography a big focus for 2015 and I did. I started this blog, which has been a big motivator for me to work on my photography. To look at the stats and see that my photos are being viewed all around the world has been very enjoyable for me. I dedicated my summer break to improving my photography and I managed a photo a day project. This year, I realized that portrait photography is actually fun and something I’m not too bad at. I had my first three portrait shoots this year. I’m trying to keep this blog on the topic of nature and travel photography, but if you are interested in my portrait photography please visit MowersPhotography.com.

This year, I also had an amazing cruise vacation! I fell in love with Norwegian Cruise Line and ever since I got home I’ve been dreaming about getting back to sea! Sailing out of New York was truly an amazing sight and it may have been my favorite part of the whole cruise! I have been telling everyone that will listen to me that if you haven’t been on a cruise before, you have to try it! In my opinion, it is the absolute best way to travel!

Thank you for stopping by and being a part of my blog journey this year! It has been a lot of fun for me and I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring! Maybe I’ll start sharing my portraits here, we’ll just have to wait and see! As always, if you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!

Wanderlust

Ryndam in Key West

Its that time of year that the weather is getting cold and all the leaves have fallen off the trees here in Michigan. Its that time of year where the urge to Go, See, and Do really starts to get me again! I’m not planning anything major in the near future (we’re saving for a Mediterranean cruise in 2017), just a little weekend trip somewhere not far from home. I was thinking, I need an app that will let me input my location and how far I’m willing to drive and it will tell me all the places I could go. And guess what? I Googled it and it exists! Check it out: How Far Can I Travel

This shot was taken at the cruise pier on Key West. I think I’ve mentioned here that my first visit to Key West was on a cruise ship. That day, we were the only ship in port. I was shocked when I made it back to the keys and there were three cruise ships docked in Key West! I think it is safe to say that when the ships left that day, the island had half the people it had midday!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr!

Why I Cruise

Ship at Sunset
A photographer I follow on Facebook recently posted about an Alaskan cruise he took. He said it was a fun family vacation but it wasn’t great for photography. This got me thinking about why I love cruising:

  • Value – For one price you get luxury accommodations, transportation, great food, and world-class entertainment
  • Multiple Destinations – Go island hopping or visit several European cities and only unpack once
  • Relaxation – Days at sea with no set plans? Count me in

Cruising does not allow you to get as deep into a location or give the flexibility to catch sunrises or sunsets in port. I have to say, there is something about a catching one from the ship! And I love how cruising gives you a taste of a location without having to commit; if you don’t like a port, you can get back onto the ship. If you fall in love with a location, you know where to plan your next trip!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! If I’ve convinced you, there are many sites to browse cruises, but I recommend Priceline Cruises.

Wordless Wednesday: Skyline Sailaway

Skyline Sailaway 14/100

Norwegian Gem – A Final Review

Bridge in Fog 22/100

Sailing under the Verazzano Bridge on the way back into New York Harbor.

So far I have reviewed the ports from my cruise: Port Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau and I’ve reviewed the dining. All I’ve got left is the ship itself. The Gem debuted in 2007 and can hold over 2300 passengers. It is considered a mid-sized ship, but there is so much going on that it feels like a much larger ship. Whether you’d like to lounge by the pool, practice your golf swing, or go on a scavenger hunt with the family, there is something for everyone to do on sea days.

We had an obstructed ocean-view cabin on deck 8. It was on the smaller side but it wasn’t uncomfortable for the two of us. If there were any more people, it would have been crowded. There was a lot of storage built into the cabin so things weren’t lying around and getting in the way. I think next time we would pay a little more for a full ocean-view or a balcony.

There are a lot of entertainment options on the Gem. There are big nightly Vegas-style shows, Second City Comedy shows, and numerous musicians around the ship. We’re not into Vegas-style shows so I can’t speak to the those, but the Second City shows were hilarious! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! We also really enjoyed the piano and guitar players on the ship. On the last night they had a huge jam session where all the ship’s musicians came together and even let musically-inclined passengers join them on stage.

The crew was great! The food was great! We loved that you weren’t seated with strangers at dinner. There was a lot to do on the ship. Overall, we loved the Gem and can’t wait to sail with NCL again in the future!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To book your Norwegian Cruise Vacation visit NCL.com.

Norwegian Gem – A Dining Review

Gem in Nassau 19/100

Norwegian Cruise Line specializes in “Freestyle Cruising” which means no assigned dining times or dining rooms and a more relaxed dress code. The Gem has 11 dining venues. 6 of these are complimentary: Magenta, Grand Pacific, O’Sheehans, Orchid Garden, The Garden Cafe, and The Great Outdoors. The Gem also has several specialty, for-fee restaurants: Cagney’s Steakhouse, Le Bistro, Moderno Churrascaria, La Cucina, and Teppanyaki. I would definitely recommend getting reservations for the specialty restaurants ahead of time unless you don’t mind dining late. You can make reservations for the specialty restaurants online before the cruise, but you have to pay at time of booking. If you don’t want to pay for your food months before your cruise, I recommend booking right when you get on the ship to get the most ideal times. And personally, I would book times on the later side since you’ll probably have a bigger lunch than you’re used to. Unless you have a big group, there is no need to book the complimentary restaurants ahead of time.

Magenta and Grand Pacific are the main dining rooms with rotating menus. Grand Pacific is the more formal dining room but even though they shared menus, we found the service to be better in Magenta. In Magenta they refilled our bread and brought coffee with dessert without having to ask for it. Speaking of dessert, you have to try the Warm Chocolate Volcano!

O’Sheehans is the Irish Pub that is open 24 hours a day. It has a limited menu, but is good if you want to avoid the crowds (especially on embarkation day) or eat at an off time. O’Sheehans definitely had the most restaurant-like feel to it and there was never a wait. The fish and chips were great!

Orchid Garden is the Asian Fusion restaurant that recently got rid of its cover charge and because of that, was the busiest of all the restaurants. This was the only restaurant we ever had to wait for and personally, it wasn’t worth it. The dishes were unusual but they were OK. Service, on the other hand was not so great. I would most likely skip the Asian restaurant on next Norwegian cruise.

The Garden Cafe and Great Outdoors are the buffets on the ship. The Garden Cafe is the main buffet and The Great Outdoors is the al fresco dining option. On sea days, The Garden Cafe was always packed! You could always find a table, but it was crowded walking through. The Garden Cafe typically had shorter hours and a more limited menu. We ate most of our meals in the main dining room because we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of the buffets.

Cagney’s Steakhouse is Norwegian’s Signature Steakhouse and it was PHENOMENAL! It has the highest cover charge of the signature restaurants and it was worth ever penny. Everything I had was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The servers were attentive but didn’t hover. My only complaint is we dined at Cagney’s on my birthday and they brought out an anniversary cake and sang an awkward anniversary song to us (we also celebrated our anniversary on this trip but I brought the card that said we were celebrating my birthday on this day). Our server caught the mistake and asked to sing Happy Birthday to me by herself but I declined. I’d had enough singing for one meal.

Moderno Currascaria is an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Steakhouse where gauchos bring the various dishes around on skewers. This was a meat feast (vegetarians may want to skip this one) serving everything from lamb chops to garlic marinated beef and chorizo sausage. There is also a salad bar with soups and all kinds of different salads. I made the mistake of going up for two trips to the salad bar and I couldn’t even try everything they brought around. I was so disappointed! I think on my next cruise, I will skip lunch on Moderno day.

Le Bistro is Norwegian’s French Restaurant and of all the specialty restaurants, it was my least favorite. I had the filet which came with a pepper sauce that I didn’t care for. We had the chocolate fondue for dessert and I was disappointed that it was cold, and honesty they didn’t give us much fruit. I have heard a lot of good things about Le Bistro, but I just didn’t care for it. It was not worth the cover charge to me.

Teppanyaki is a hibachi-style restaurant and it is the most difficult reservation to get. I have heard a lot of good things about Teppanyaki but I didn’t try it. The same goes for La Cucina, the Italian restaurant, which is also very popular.

Overall, the dining on the Norwegian Gem was great! If you’re looking for a cruise that has a dining focus, you can’t go wrong with Norwegian. I loved that the dining was restaurant-style and we didn’t have to sit with strangers. And unlike the other cruise lines that have “your time dining”, you rarely have to wait for a table.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To book your Norwegian Cruise Vacation visit NCL.com.

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