I woke up about 6:30 (we’d changed our clocks again last night) and got caught up on this blog and did some online work.
Even sitting out on the balcony at 7:30 am was hot.
Today is the 12 Metre America’s Cup Regatta. We looked forward to this since we heard it was an excursion on this cruise. We had been on an America’s Cup in Hawaii and loved it. (There are lots of images missing there – I’d hosted a blog on Posterous and they stopped hosting, and I lost all my online images. I still have them on my computer and I’ll try to add them back in…eventually)
We disembarked and waited with our guide onshore until it was time to walk over to the dock where we picked up our ferry to the 2 America’s Cup sailboats. While on the ferry, we were sorted into 2 teams for the race and we were assigned to our positions. I was in charge of the cooler :) This gave me an opportunity to take lots of photos and 4 videos:
After the race, we walked around the shops by the pier. I bought some vanilla for a friend and Tom had his picture taken outside the Drugs and Deli. I think that’s a requirement for anyone who goes to this port.
We were up fairly early this morning and watched the ship make good use of its azipods to dock next to the Star Taurus, a crude oil tanker.
After that was successful, we went to the Garden Cafe for breakfast.
About 10:30, we went down to 4 and down the gangplank to check out a bit of Jamaica. We were at the regular cargo pier (#2), so we took a shuttle over to the cruise terminal.
This terminal was several tacky shops but Tom got some postcards and I got a little bag for carrying my Kindle on deck. He looked at watches in The Royal Store but didn’t buy anything. They gave us a free Jamaica keychain for looking. Whoopee!
We took the shuttle back and made good use of most of the other folks being on tours and such. We had a hot tub to ourselves for over half an hour.
In a bit, a couple folks joined us. One was a veterinarian and Tom told her about my Cushing’s experiences. After about 45 minutes I got out to read for a while. Then in the pool – salt water! Who knew?
Tom thought I should go over and talk to the veterinarian but I said I was on vacation, not here to “talk shop” unless I found that Cushie-looking woman again.
We stopped by the Great Outdoors and had some coffee. A yellow butterfly flew by but didn’t stop at our table. It wasn’t as big as Alice’s butterfly, but I wondered all the same… How does a tiny thing like that fly up to the 12th deck of a ship?
I’ve been thinking a lot about Alice on this trip. She would have loved this cruise, especially the Sea Days. Looking all around at the vastness of the ocean, the beautiful clouds, sunsets, the moon. I know her soul is out there, somewhere, in one of these beautiful things that God has created.
Back in our cabin, it was fun watching people hustle back to make the 3:30 all-aboard. I got some shots of the ship just sliding out from the dock, parallel to it, instead of backing into the Star Taurus. The folks on board that ship looked happy that we didn’t hit them, too.
We bid a fond adieu to Montego Bay and head off into the sunset.
We tried the Garden Cafe for dinner tonight, too. Pretty good – both plates worth!
The usual after-dinner deck stroll, then back to the cabin. I was asleep by 9:00PM…and up at midnight doing my website chores and blog-writing.
With the new time, my watch is correct again. Now I have to remember not to keep subtracting an hour.
Up about 8:30 and started drinking coffee on the balcony and writing in this blog.
At 10:30 we went for breakfast at the Garden Cafe. They were almost closed. Yesterday they closed for breakfast at 11. Today, 10:30. By the time the cruise is over, maybe there will be no breakfast.
Walked around, read, nap, lazy day…
My wrist broke out in a rash so I won’t be wearing the watch anymore anyway. Aloe vera seemed to help.
More pictures from Deck 13:
Off to the Mongolian HotPot.
Several staff asked if we were familiar with this process and we were able to say that we were since we’d eaten at this very place on a previous cruse.
We were talking to the chef while he cooked and he said that this ship was the only one with a Hot Pot restaurant. Most of the others had the Chinese and Teppanyaki like we do but with Sushi as the third choice. Glad we’re on the HotPot cruise :)
Our appetizers were steamed vegetable dumplings, seaweed salad and edaname,
I woke up about 6:30 and sat out on the balcony writing yesterday’s blog post with the help of the Freestyle Daily newsletter.
We’re definitely off the river now but it’s still pretty calm. Some seaweed floating by – there might be a storm somewhere.
About 9:30 or so we went to the Garden Cafe for breakfast – and ate too much! A woman with a major Cushing’s-looking hump went by. I didn’t see her face but I’ve been looking for her since, just in case. We walked up to the 13th deck, the Sun Deck and wandered around.
I had signed us up for the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet and I was sure that it was at 11:00 am in the Star Bar on the other end of 13 but when I looked at my phone, the time said 10:00 so I was sure we’d missed it.
We sat on 12 of a while, by the pool, just relaxing and decided to go shopping. I needed some glue for one of my sandal soles that was leaving the rest of the sandal.
When we got up, I saw a guy in a Cruise Critic tshirt and we followed him to the elevator. He was going to the Meet and Greet! I guess my phone compensated for the difference in time zones and we hadn’t missed it.
We got to the Star Bar and signed in just before about 10 officers came in. The heads of the various departments were introduced and answered questions. We got their phone numbers in case of problems. We were able to sign up for dinner with one of them on Cayman Island night.
Left there and went shopping. On the way, I saw that no one was at the restaurant reservation desk. We signed up for Brazilian Churr-whatever for tonight at 7:30. We’d always wanted to try that. This was a perfect opportunity at only $20 each.
Tomorrow night we go to the Mongolian Hot Pot. We did that before when Michael was with us and loved it. We’re looking forward to experiencing that again. As an aside, I am the only person I know (or have heard of) who owns her own personal Mongolian hot pot. It makes a great conversation starter at dinner parties.
Finally got to the store. I found my glue and we got a couple tshirts, one on sale.
Up to the cabin. I was reading and suddenly it was quite a bit later. How did that happen?
Started City of Dark Magic: A Novelby Magnus Flyte. I love having all my books on a Kindle. So much easier than carrying a suitcase of books!
Back up to 13 for Tom’s meeting and I read out on the deck, same as yesterday.
The sunset was so glorious again. Looking out at it, it looks like you can get a glimpse into heaven. I said a few words to God and reminded Him to take good care of my Alice.
It got chilly after 5:00 pm, same as yesterday. Maybe tomorrow i’ll remember to take my hoodie.
We stopped by the grill to see if they had bratwurst and sauerkraut like they did last time, but no :( Probably just as well. That was a daily occurrence before.
We did get burgers, fries and stuff to tide us over until dinner at 7:30.
Back to the cabin/balcony. Tom napped, I read.
I got semi-dressed up since it was what passes for formal night here and we headed out. We thought we were following the signs to Moderno, Brazilian Churrascaria but ended up in a long hallway of cabins. Back to the elevators and tried again.
We ended up in a horseshoe shaped area, in a bar. We stood there for a few minutes and finally had to ask for help. The waitstaff indicated we should be on the other part of the horseshoe so we went across the connected part. I’m sure these all have names but I have no idea what they would be.
We got to what turned out to be the back of Moderno but we didn’t know that. Another waitperson said we were in the wrong place and we needed to go up to the hostess station at the horseshoe tip. Sheesh! We followed their signs.
Came up behind the hostess and kind of surprised her, I think, but she took us to our table. Folks explained us things to us as we were going but I missed the info about the tongs.
Excellent salad bar with Brazilian and other exotic selections. Brazilian seafood chowder and bean soup. I had the bean soup due to my seafood allergies.
I used the tongs for the little round parmesan bread balls. No problem.
Turned the little card to green to let the gauchos know we were ready for the 10 different types of meat to start appearing.
The first one was 2 kinds of sausage. One was Spanish chorizio, the other Portuguese something. I tried both and they were both good.
Then, chicken legs marinated in lime juice and chicken breast wrapped in bacon and maybe marinated in something. I just had the leg. The gaucho had trouble getting it off the skewer (maybe wrong term for this) so she indicated I should take it. I used my fork. Should have used the tongs. Oh well – next time!
Pork rib with BBQ sauce and marinated in red wine. I had trouble cutting it but what I could get was very tasty.
Various cuts of been including sirloin and filet minion. All wonderful and so tender. No fork needed.
We could have made an evening of this, one meat at a time. I was already stuffed and wanted a dessert so I flipped my card to red. Stop the meat! I missed out on the lamb but it had to be.
Mango rice pudding for me made with tres leches. I had thought it would be like Mango Sticky Rice. Similar but different. I liked it and it would be a new favorite of mine had I never had the sticky rice version.
Back to the cabin. Our steward had left us a towel animal. Tom thought it was a rabbit.
I changed my clothes, mainly to lose the heels and back out . We saw our steward and I thanked him for the rabbit. He said it was a bulldog. Oh, well!
Out on deck. We wandered around a bit then back to the cabin.
I read (and napped) for a while as Tom went online. Then, it was close to midnight so I did my Pender website work.
Then, actual bedtime.
Tonight we change our clocks forward one hour. Easy for us since we never set our watch the hour back when we got to New Orleans. We’ll be on time again rather than automatically always subtracting an hour.
The show tonight was Band on the Run with music from the 70s. We didn’t go.
Did You Know?
The Norwegian Jewel was completed on August 4, 2005 by Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenberg, Germany after 2 years and an estimated cost of $420 million.
The Norwegian Jewel’s maiden voyage started in Europe on August 10, 2005
Approximately 1,200 crew representing over 60 nationalities work on board
1,000 gallons of paint were used to cover the Norwegian Jewel’s exterior and an additional 3,000 gallons for interior surfaces
There are 12 passenger elevators and 10 elevators for guests and crew.
Not too much exciting in the morning. Mostly posting yesterday’s blog post and pictures and packing up.
Tom went to Walgreens for some last minute stuff – again – and he got me the pink fleur-de-lis studded T-shirt I wore to board the ship (official boarding picture coming later).
We got our stuff together and headed to the lobby to check out. Lots of folks coming in, off our ship! Many had been on a B2B (Back to Back): the same cruise we’re doing plus a week like we did on this ship in 2009 to Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya.
There was some snafu at the port and the taxi couldn’t get us all the way to the luggage drop off so he sort of stopped in the street and took our luggage across the street for us. Then a porter took it the rest of the way.
We got into the building and into Group B. We were at check-in within about 10 minutes and on the ship within about 30 or so.
Embarkation pictures were taken in front of a green screen which I thought was weird since I knew that we’d eventually have the ship behind us. Whatever!
We were early enough that we got a nice round table by a window in the Garden Cafe on 12 and had some lunch.
Another couple from Anaheim, CA joined us. They’d stayed the night at Harrah’s and this cruise (except for port charges) was comped to them. Depending on how well they do in the casino on this cruise, the port charges may be waived. She explained to us about how Indian-run casinos pay out compared to non-Indian and said that Harrah’s paid like an Indian casino and didn’t know why. She was using a “buffalo machine(?)” as an example as my eyes started to glaze over.
The announcement came that our cabins were ready so there was a mass exodus.
We opted for the stairs. On our last Jewel cruise, Michael had us walking up and down the stairs most all the time and it looks like we’ll continue the tradition.
Checked out the balcony, took some pictures, Tom took a little nap.
I was reading on the balcony, and this machinery rolled by on a little track. I got a couple pictures and the guys on it said hello. I guess it will be to wash windows later, or the ship? We’ll see!
Another couple dropped by – part of their luggage had been delivered to our closet. We opened ours and – Voila! – their stuff was in there. They tried to tell us that maybe we were in their cabin, too, but that didn’t go over too well.
At 3:15 we went to the Tsar’s Palace for the mandatory life boat drill. We didn’t have to take our life jackets or stand on deck waiting for stragglers. Hooray!
After the muster, we went out on deck just to watch the last-minute luggage coming on board and ships and barges on the river.
About 4:00 we set out to find the Chapel since Tom was going to meet some folks there. It turned out to be tucked away next to the Spinnaker Lounge on deck 13, forward. I went out on deck to get some sunset pictures and listen to the band during the “Party Like a Norwegian!” SailAway.
About 5:00 the ship finally began to turn around for it’s journey down the Mississippi amid lots of cheers from the folks at the SailAway. I must have napped just a bit…
Got some good pictures, and some sunset pictures. I overheard one confused young woman who thought we were heading the wrong way on the river. Hmmm… Do they teach geography anymore in school or did she plan to go to Ohio?
It started to get a bit chilly on 13 so I headed down to the cabin for my hoodie. Tom was already there and so was our luggage. Yea!
Major unpacking and figuring where to put stuff. Everything away, suitcases under bed. Made good use of the hanging shoe bag I usually carry around. Done.
We’re doing “Freestyle Dining” so we can eat wherever/whenever we want.
On the way to Azura (6, Midship) we ran into the Photo Gallery (7, Aft). We saw our Embarkation pictures and decided to get those. When they added the ship in (remember we were in front of a green screen) it made it appear that portions of the ship were “bunny ears” behind my head. Luckily – thanks to the green screen – that’s being adjusted. Isn’t technology grand?
We went to Azura about 6:30, when lots of folks apparently wanted to eat, too. Because we had to wait for 30 minutes, we got coupons for free soda or champaign in the bar. We learned that “only Pepsi products” are available on Norwegian. Luckily, we don’t have a very strong brand loyalty to anyone.
The wait was less than 30 minutes and we had a nice table for 2. We both had French onion soup. He had salmon, mashed potatoes and green beans and I had BBQ chicken breast, Caribbean vegetables and sweet potato fries Yummy!
During dinner they announced that the Saints had won. Lots of fans on this ship!
We chatted with the folks next to us – they’re from Canada. She was from Canada originally, he was from England. They’d been married 36 years and this was their first cruise. She wanted to cruise the Mediterranean and this is a “trial cruise” to see it they like it.
Their daughter, son-in-law and grandchild live in London so they only see them a couple times a year.
Dessert time. We had coffee, of course. I had key lime pie, Tom had lemon sorbet. Mmmmm.
8:20 – we hustled off to the Stardust Theater to see the show. Since we were already on 6, Midship we’d just head to 6, Forward.
Unfortunately, we had to head through the Casino to do that. We saw the Anaheim folks from lunch and said hi but they didn’t see us. Maybe they weren’t doing too well and wouldn’t be comped.
I always hate going through the casino. It’s always too smoky! I understand that our next cruise to Panama on Princess won’t even allow smoking in the casinos. Yea!
I held my breath and we got through ok. The Stardust Theater was pretty full so we sat in about the 3rd row.
This preview show was called “A Taste of Things to Come” and was pretty good. The cruise director (Alex) is from Uruguay. He gave away some champaign to newlyweds (1 and 2 days each) and some jewelry to a couple married for 62 years. The man thought it was 66 until his wife corrected him.
The house singers/dancers were quite good. I always prefer live singing/dancing/music to recorded so I’m pretty easy to please. They did a song and dance about vacations that showed a lot of good energy.
A comedian came out and he was pretty funny, although I don’t like when they comment on latecomers and possibly embarrass folks. Other than that, he was funny – and wore a silly suit.
The band was from the Philippines but they managed to channel the Beatles and did I Want To Hold Your Hand. Apparently, they do a Beatles tribute show at some point during the cruise. They also appeared around the ship singing I Want To Wash Your Hands at meal time.
A selection of characters from Nickelodeon shows sang and danced. Most, except for Spongebob Squarepants and Dora, the Explorer I didn’t recognize but the kids in the audience did. Maybe this is the Norwegian answer to the Disney ships?
The singers/dancers came back for a selection of Mamma Mia! songs like Waterloo, Dancing Girl, Mamma Mia and more. Love it! There was a *bit* of singing along.
Back to the cabin by way of Guest Services (7, mid) and Decks 12 (walking around we ran into the Canadian couple) and 13.
The first day, at least, we got a lot of exercise walking and climbing.
Sat on the balcony a bit. I tried to get picture of the pilot boat leaving us but it was just too foggy.
We saw a bit of the movie Chicago on TV. I have the movie on my iPad so it didn’t matter that I shut it down early.
Tom went to bed and I got online to do my “Pender work”. I like to keep that site updated daily, no matter where I am.
I read for about 1 minute maybe, then fast asleep.
Up fairly early again with no plans for the day. I got yesterday’s blog post done, Tom checked email…just like at home.
We decided to take the streetcar to Canal, walk for about half a mile, then take the streetcar that runs along the banks of the Mississippi.
We did that until we got close to the riverfront. I showed Tom where the paddlewheel was docked, as well as the Carnival Elation that was loading up for it’s next cruise.
We decided to go on the Creole Queen and got tickets for the afternoon trip to the Chalmette Battlefield. While we waited, we walked up the dock a bit and got this picture of the paddlewheel
It was raining a bit so we decided to go in the old Riverwalk. It’s mostly closed now for renovation – they’re putting in outlet stores, reopening sometime in 2014.
The Hilton conference rooms are still there, though, so we bought some snacks and used the restroom. Of course, we got coffee.
It was time to board so we went back to the dock. The first thing they did was take our picture – then make us get rid of the coffee. Who knew we wore so much blue?
This cruise had a lot of young kids on it, to celebrate Nadya’s 6th birthday. Fortunately, they mostly celebrated in the Queen’s room a couple decks lower than us.
Right after this, all those kids came running off the boat, interrupting the park ranger who was telling us about the Battle of 1812.
The dancers taught some of the kids the dance they were doing and some kids were playing cards in the kitchen.
We took the streetcar to the French market, had to get off and got right back on. Off at Canal Street, transferred to a new streetcar. Off to get on the final streetcar for St Charles there (we’re getting good at this!) but there was a CVS on the corner and we decided to get more back medicine. I sure hope I don’t need that. I took only 4 pills down from 6 the day before.
Back home and a nap. Hooray! I’ve taken extra Cortef both days just to help. I doubt I would have gotten as far as I did through the days without it.
When I woke up, about 10:00 my back pain was gone. Hooray!
I most likely won’t be posting daily updates from the ship unless they have really good WiFi or my hotspot works really well. Maybe when we’re docked a a port – we’ll see.
Tomorrow, the 17th, we board the Norwegian Jewel. I’ll post lots of pictures and commentary when we get back. Hopefully, no more back pain comments!
Busy day! We got up early-ish (it’s an hour earlier here) and decided to check out the sky deck. Quite a view of New Orleans, including the SuperDome
Then down to the second floor to check out the laundry room, to see if we needed detergent or anything, We couldn’t find the laundry room at all so we went to the front desk for directions, then back up to the 2nd floor.
Down to the courtyard, I didn’t get many pictures because it was raining but here’s what I have…
From here we went off to Walgreens for stuff we needed, forgot or just wanted. We took that stuff home, then decided to go the other direction on the St. Charles streetcar.
St. Charles Avenue has been described most aptly as “The Jewel of America’s Grand Avenues.” It is, indisputably, the most superb collection of great mansions of the South. The Avenue offers to all an open opportunity to enjoy the lofty magnificence of true, gracious living from 19th century New Orleans.
Visitors to our City are able to tour the Avenue by foot, car or streetcar. A ride on the infamous Saint Charles streetcar provides a unique way to enjoy the splendor of the Avenue, from the statuesque monument at Lee Circle to its end point in the old town of Carrollton upriver.
The Avenue is also in glorious state as the place of residence for historic Audubon Park, for the City’s renowned centers of higher education – Loyola and Tulane – and a score of churches and Synagogues that are our City’s major centers of worship.
But above all, it is the place of residential grandeur where the wealthiest, the more powerful of those who built this great City once lived.
Tom was looking at a map and saw that the Audubon Park and Zoo was right across from Loyola and Tulane – and it had a free shuttle – so we decided to go there.
Unfortunately, there was construction on the streetcar tracks so we got off at Napoleon and took a bus to Loyola. We walked about a block and found the shuttle waiting, just as promised.
The Zoo was fantastic. Even though we saw only about a quarter of the exhibits, we took lots of pictures, so many that Tom ran out of power.
Audubon Zoo is a New Orleans landmark and a living museum filled with some of the rarest and most beautiful creatures of nature.
There have been animals at this site since the 1884 World Exposition in Audubon Park. Today, Audubon Zoo is 58 acres of animals in their natural habitats. The Zoo consistently ranks among this country’s best.
Visitors are enchanted to find a unique wildlife haven full of New Orleans flavor, impressive 100-year old oak trees and a cast of animal characters.
Animal favorites include elephants Jean and Panya, the Komodo dragon and the white tiger brothers from California, named King Rex and King Zulu. But also look for bears, monkeys, snakes, orangutans, elks and more exotic animals than you can imagine!
Much of the zoo dates from early in the 20th century. The sea lion pool was constructed in 1928. Its graceful columns mark one of Audubon Zoo’s most romantic spots. Monkey Hill was built by Works Progress Administration workers to show the children of New Orleans what a hill looks like! At 28 feet, it’s the legendary “highest topographical point in New Orleans.” Today it boasts wading pools, a rope bridge and a safari trail.
At the Audubon Zoo, visitors can stroll through a real swamp right in the middle of uptown New Orleans. A Cajun houseboat on a lagoon full of 14-foot alligators faces a pair of playful black bears. A raccoon defies the laws of physics by snoozing on a narrow twig at the top of a tree. At the baby animal nursery, naturalists show visitors baby nutria, explaining why that innocent-looking fuzzy creature is jeopardizing the very existence of the swamps. Further on, the world-famous white alligators float in an exhibit constructed especially for them.
Rocking chairs throughout the swamp exhibit invite visitors to slow down and take in the ambiance of the swamp. An air-conditioned restaurant provides a welcome venue for a sit-down snack and drink.
Finally, after a bit of shopping in the souvenir shop, we found the shuttle bus driver and retraced our journey back “home” It was naptime! I was so tired I never heard Tom go out to buy groceries – or come back in.
My back has been bothering me since we got here, possibly from the plane, the luggage, the bed here, just because… Whatever the cause(s) I took 6 Backaid pills to help but they didn’t really. Maybe this will lighten up tomorrow.
We had frozen stuff we nuked for dinner then watched an old B&W episode of Perry Mason, the beginning of Drumline (I have it on my iPad so it didn’t matter that I missed the end!) then bedtime!