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Tag: dining

Mainley Acadia Recap

Wow! The trip was at the end of June and its the middle of October and I have finally finished my recap. As you can tell, it was a very busy trip that covered a lot of Mt. Desert Island. We were able to do all of the things that we weren’t able to do on our short visit last year. We hiked South Bubble Mountain and explored the carriage roads. Chris did several other solo hikes that I still need to get him to write about for you.

We watched the sunset over Cadillac Mountain from the water and explored waterfalls I didn’t even know were in the park. We saw several lighthouses and explored the Schoodic side of the park. We visited both the winery and brewery on the Island and spent time exploring Bar Harbor. We stayed in both Southwest and Northeast Harbor and spent time in both towns.

The Terrace Grill in Bar Harbor

We also got to do some shopping and enjoyed a lot of good meals. We picked up some fresh Maine lobster and cooked it at home, which Chris did not enjoy killing. Our first meal in Maine was at a place called The Liberal Cup in Hallowell, Maine. We enjoyed the views at Jordan Pond House and The Terrace Grill in Bar Harbor. We found a breakfast place we enjoyed within walking distance of our house in Southwest Harbor called Sips. We dined for a cause at the Common Good Cafe. Our final Maine meal was at a local hangout in Portland called Becky’s. In all of these places, TripAdvisor helped up find delicious, memorable meals that would otherwise fly under the radar!

After a week in Maine, have I seen it all? Absolutely not. I think I got my Mount Desert Island fix, though and I now I want to spend more time in Portland and I want to go back to Hallowell. I would like to see Castine, as well. Bar Harbor is the biggest tourist area in Maine and I would like to see places where most people don’t go. So, I will definitely have to return to Maine!

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, visit the Mainely Acadia Trip Report page. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

Norwegian Breakaway Review

Looking back on our Spring Break cruise, I have to say that I really enjoyed my time on the Norwegian Breakaway. Even though it is a “mega ship” it didn’t feel much bigger or more crowded than the Gem. Of course, the bigger ships come with more amenities and more dining venues and it was fun to explore them all.

For some reason, the towel animals all had creepy, red eyes.

One of the biggest things that made me want to try out a bigger ship is the entertainment. For Norwegian, the Breakaway class ships are the ones with Broadway shows. On the Breakaway it was Rock of Ages and even though I saw the movie years ago, I didn’t really know anything about the show besides the fact that it was raunchy. And raunchy it was! I was surprised by the amount of children present! The story was okay (I liked it better than I remembered like the movie), the acting was fine, but the music was phenomenal! Which was a theme for this trip.

Every time we heard the musicians around this ship, we were blown away. Especially when compared to the music on the Gem which we lovingly described as a guitar, a drummer, and a computer. The music at Rock of Ages was great. The piano players at Howl at the Moon (the dueling piano bar onboard) were amazing! The addition of having a live band playing music at dinner in the Manhattan room every night was a great touch. We wanted to check out Syd Norman’s, the rock club, but it was so popular we could never actually get in!

The pool deck was huge and had plenty of deck chairs, but we tended to avoid the area and could typically be found hanging outside out on Deck 8, which is known as the Waterfront. Most of the specialty restaurants had outdoor seating available and several bars had outdoor bars with seats along the waterfront. Until the final sea day, this area was deserted during the day and was a great place to sit in the shade and watch the water. More cruise ships need to made use of the view like the Breakaway!

The Breakaway also had a lot of activities to keep you occupied during your time at sea. From the aqua park to the mini golf course to the ropes course the adventurous had lots of options! There was also shopping, the spa, and lots of other planned activities to keep cruisers busy.

With a large ship like the Breakaway comes a shocking number of dining options. We tried most of them and with one exception had great experiences. One thing that was great about this ship is that no matter what you were looking for, it was offered. From sushi to Spanish tapas to French food and pizza, there was a restaurant for your tastes. Even the buffets had theme nights that seemed to relate to our sailing. Since we sailed out of New Orleans there was a Creole night and another night was a Mexican night. They even had ice sculptures which I thought cruise lines get rid of years ago!

The one exception to the stellar food was a O’Sheehans, the 24 hour bar and grill located on NCL ships. It was really sad because we LOVED O’Sheehans on the Gem. But, after waiting almost an hour from when we sat down to when our food came after getting back on the ship in Belize City, I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I was telling someone about this and they responded “but you’re on vacation right?” Of course, but I wasn’t planning on spending all that time on a meal that was supposed to be quick. The next time we sail Norwegian, I would try O’Sheenhans again, but I wasn’t wasting my time on this sailing.

If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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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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