At Sea, Monday, June 8, 2015

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I woke up about 7 and Tom had brought me coffee – hooray!

We went for breakfast at the good old Garden Cafe then went to a talk about Bermuda in the Breakaway Theater.  It was pretty good and told us a lot about the island and good places to go.

At 11, we had a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet in La Cucina.  The officers didn’t seem to want to be there but we did get cards with their phone numbers, if needed.  No offer of a dinner with the officers like we had last time.

I texted Michael using the iConcierge app and he was napping already so I took the time to get Tom’s app working.

Back at the cabin we found out that Michael had bought shorts and shirt in the store.  He hadn’t known that he couldn’t use his debit card – it was all on the room key.

Then, of course, it was time for lunch.  You know where.

We decided to go on the Bermuda full-day bus tour Wednesday and BAMZ/Crystal Caves on Thursday.  Michael signed up for them during lunch, using the app.

We walked around some and came to the ropes course and zipline. Michael went but didn’t walk the plank.  I had planned to go, too, but I was wearing sandals and couldn’t go. Tom checked everything out and said he’d try it “later”.

 

 

As if the Aqua Park wasn’t enough deck-top fun for one cruise vacation, Norwegian has devoted another generous chunk of the ship’s exterior space to a three-story sports complex with a smorgasbord of gee-whiz amusements.

Among the attractions is a suspended-in-the-sky ropes course that has 40 different elements including The Plank, a platform that extends 8 feet over the vessel’s edge. The sports complex also offers a miniature golf course, basketball court, rock climbing wall, bungee trampoline and a 24-foot enclosed climbing cage called the Spider Web.
From http://www.usatoday.com/story/cruiselog/2013/05/01/norwegian-breakaway-five-things-love/2126133/

We went to store for more band aids for Tom. I liked a tshirt but didn’t get it which is pretty amazing for me.
This night we had reservations for the Cirque Jungle Dreams and Dinner.  I had read many complaints about the Cirque dinner so we ate in the Garden Cafe a bit before the show. The food (and show) were great. I told the waitress that I was allergic to shrimp so she offered double filet mignon but I declined. My portion was excellent.

The show itself was fantastic, especially for being at sea. The costumes were very clever.

We wandered outside deck 8 before bed.

All pictures from today:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/cushingshelp/B3g57A

 

 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday was a big rush of things.  We had agreed to skip breakfast due to time constraints, which was fine with me since I never/rarely eat it anyway (I know, I know – most important meal of the day)

As planned, Michael arrived at our hotel and we put luggage tags on his backpack, made sure we had everything packed up and got an Uber.  Tom had checked us out and we went out the door and into the Uber with all our luggage.

The ride to the temporary Steinway Hall was pretty fast and we got there about 10:30 or so.  The doors were locked but Michael’s teacher arrived a couple minutes later and we were inside.

Eddie Strauss, Sales Manager, let us use the freight elevator to haul all our luggage to the second floor/mezzanine where we could leave it outside the Henry  E. Steinway Recital Hall.

Although this is a temporary location while their new facilities are being built, it is very beautiful.

…temporary location at 1155 Avenue of the Americas.

This short-term “pop-up store” will allow Steinway to remain open as the new headquarters is being constructed, allowing for continuous service to its customers.

Steinway, well-known for handcrafting the world’s finest pianos, will now have a gallery space that encompasses approximately 18,000 s/for both retail and showroom, and a small concert hall that caters to the world’s most prominent pianists.

via Steinway Hall, Temporary Location. | MaryO’Studio.

Michael played Johann Sebastian Bach’s Italian Concerto.

This video certainly doesn’t do his performance justice!

We played the first two movements of Peter Warlock’s Capriol duet (also, the video isn’t the best quality):

Speaking of video quality, Eddie told us that the new Steinway Hall will have professional recording equipment in the recital hall and that will make things much better for the future.

We left Steinway about 12:15 and took an Uber to the terminal. The driver left us at the terminal by the Gem about 12:35 but it was an easy walk next door to the Breakaway terminal at Pier 88.

We left our checked baggage and went through the terminal process very quickly. We never even had a chance to sit down and we were on board by 1:00. That was the fastest I have ever boarded any ship.

The Garden Cafe was crowded but we found a table without much effort. Before we finished eating, it was announced that the cabins were ready. Our cabin – 9918 – was fantastic! It was a bit tight for the 3 of us but we made it work.

The balcony was the best part. I had chosen an aft balcony on 9, starboard. We had 2 loungers, 3 chairs and 2 tables and plenty of room to move them and ourselves around.

Looking up to the other decks, we could see from the angle that ours was larger than the others above us.

There was a lot of storage but some was tricky to find. The bathroom was a good size, as was the shower. There were more shelves in the bathroom than usual and I liked being able to leave my  stuff in there. I had read that there was no conditioner in the showers so I brought my own.

I also followed advice from Cruise Critic and brought magnet hooks for the walls and those were great for hanging hats, card lanyards and so on.

The end tables on each side of our bed were pretty narrow but we made that work. The lights beside the bed were a little high up, so I’d have to get up to turn mine off. Luckily, I read a Kindle before bed so I never really needed to use the bedside light.

Our luggage arrived before 4:00 pm which was really nice.

I had been concerned about going on a ship this size but there was really no problem. The elevators were crowded the first day but after that, no big deal. I would like to point out that we mostly always took the stairs going down and walked up if it was only 2-3 decks.

We got the unlimited internet package and it was well worth it for us. On other cruises, I would get the max minutes and always be watching the time – and I would still often run out at the end. I am the web master for a couple companies so I need to spend some time online each day. This internet package was a life-saver for me and we were able to share it between the 3 of us.

We also made good use of the iPhone iConcierge app. We used it as a messenger to let others know where we were and we made reservations for 3 restaurants and 2 shore excursions with it. I also checked how our account was doing. That cost us $7.95 per phone and was well worth it.

While we were waiting to “set sail”, there was a beautiful monarch butterfly that flitted from the next balcony over to ours.  Butterflies always remind me of my good friend, Alice.  I have a monarch butterfly as my phone background.  I’d like to think that this butterfly was a reminder from Alice to have a wonderful trip.

Then, right after sail-away, the traditional First Nap :)  Our bed was great, very comfortable king sized with 2 pillows each. 

Tom went out to a meeting, something that he would do at 5:30 every day.

We ate our first dinner in the Garden Cafe, followed by Guest Relations to get band aids, antiseptic and distilled water for Michael’s CPAP machine

Then, off to an early bed. Our steward, Bradley, turned the couch into a nice bed for our son.

Slideshow of some of our pictures:

All pictures for Sunday:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskaL6Nk7

All Cruise Pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/gp/cushingshelp/6795k6

Cruise Critic Review

breakaway-nycharbor

 

 

This review is available now on Cruise Critic at http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=506152 and on Cruiseline.

Meanwhile:

Three of us travelled: my husband (Tom), our adult son (Michael) and myself. I’ve been on several cruises – NCL, RCI, Celebrity, and some Windjammers. My husband NCL, Celebrity, and some Windjammers; and our son one other NCL.

Our son lives and works in Manhattan and we had seen the Breakaway when we were visiting him in November. I chose this particular week because it included my husband’s birthday.

My husband and I took Amtrak from DC on Friday and stayed at a hotel in SoHo for 2 nights. We had used RCI points so there was no cost for the hotel.

On Sunday, our son and I were playing in a recital at the temporary Steinway Hall at 11:00 am and this worried me a lot, getting from 1155 Avenue of the Americas to the cruise terminal by 2:00 all aboard.

We left Steinway about 12:15 and took an Uber to the terminal. The driver left us the terminal by the Gem about 12:35 but it was an easy walk next door to the Breakaway terminal at Pier 88.

We left our checked baggage and went through the terminal process very quickly. We never even had a chance to sit down and we were on board by 1:00.

That was the fastest I have ever boarded any ship.

The Garden Cafe was crowded but we found a table without much effort. Before we finished eating, it was announced that the cabins were ready.

Our cabin – 9918 – was fantastic! It was a bit tight for the 3 of us but we made it work.

The balcony was the best part. I had chosen an aft balcony on 9, starboard. We had 2 loungers, 3 chairs and 2 tables and plenty of room to move them and ourselves around.

Looking up to the other decks, we could see from the angle that ours was larger than the others above us.

As it turned out, looking out over the balcony, we could see the fireworks just fine.

There was a lot of storage but some was tricky to find.

The bathroom was a good size, as was the shower. There were more shelves in the bathroom than usual and I liked being able to leave my cosmetics and stuff in there. I had read that there was no conditioner in the showers so I brought my own.

I also followed advice from Cruise Critic and brought magnet hooks for the walls and those were great for hanging hats, card lanyards and so on. Giant clips, meant for holding towels to chairs were repurposed for clipping our last day paperwork under the TV.

About the TV – we never watched it so we can’t really comment on the programming. We did watch the info from the deck once or twice to find out about the sea conditions.

Our bed was great, very comfortable king sized with 2 pillows each. The steward, Bradley, turned the couch into a nice bed for our son.

The end tables on each side of our bed were pretty narrow but we made that work. The lights beside the bed were a little high up, so I’d have to get up to turn mine off. Luckily, I read a Kindle before bed so I never really needed to use the bedside light.

Our luggage arrived before 4:00 pm which was really nice.

I had been concerned about going on a ship this size but there was really no problem. The elevators were crowded the first day but after that, no big deal. I would like to point out that we mostly always took the stairs going down and walked up if it was only 2-3 decks.

When we were in the elevators, they were clean. Both of the RCI cruises I took had sticky elevator buttons, presumably from children using them after eating ice cream or something. One thing that RCI has that I would like to see on other ships was the “day plate” on the floor. Often, I get involved in a cruise and have no idea what the day is, so that would be helpful on all ships.

We got the unlimited internet package and it was well worth it for us. On other cruises, I would get the max minutes and always be watching the time – and I would still often run out at the end. I am the web master for a couple companies so I need to spend some time online each day. This internet package was a life-saver for me and we were able to share it between the 3 of us.

We also made good use of the iPhone iConcierge app. We used it as a messenger to let others know where we were and we made reservations for 3 restaurants and 2 shore excursions with it. I also checked how our account was doing. That cost us $7.95 per phone and was well worth it.

Everywhere we went, crew was smiling and friendly – and everything was very clean. At the end of the cruise, we took the behind the scenes tour and everything was so well run. Amazing.

We mostly ate in the Garden Cafe. We also ate once each in Taste and Savor. Our specialty restaurants were Moderno Churrascaria, Teppanyaki and La Cucina.

We had been at the Churrascaria on another Norwegian cruise and loved it. This time, we knew not to eat too much earlier in the day! This time, I went lighter on the salad bar portion. The “gauchos” (aka waiters) brought sausages, lamb, both beef and pork ribs, chicken, filet mignon, and garlic beef, among others. Of those, I had the sausages, lamb, chicken and beef before I was too full. All excellent. Michael gave up even earlier than I did! For dessert, I had mango rice pudding – nearly as good as Thai sticky rice with mango.

Teppanyaki was a pretty standard Japanese food, on this ship cooked by a Philippines chef (he called himself fake-Japanese). Because it was on a ship, with no flames allowed, there was no onion volcano although another chef tried it with an onion and water for steam. Not as impressive as with oil and fire but clever nonetheless. There were combinations of chicken, beef and seafood (including lobster) served with miso soup, seaweed salad, vegetables and garlic fried rice. I had green tea cake/ice cream for dessert and the others had fruit sashimi.

La Cucina was good Italian food. The minestrone was unusual (for us, anyway). We got bowls with a little bit of pasta stuffed with vegetables and a piece of Italian bread on top. Then came the “surprise” when the waitress brought around the tureens of broth that was poured over all.

We also attended Cirque Jungle Dreams and Dinner.

I had read many complaints about the Cirque dinner so we ate in the Garden Cafe a bit before the show. The food (and show) were great. I told the waitress that I was allergic to shrimp so she offered double filet mignon but I declined. My portion was excellent.

The show itself was fantastic, especially for being at sea. The costumes were very clever.

Tom was using the Internet Cafe one morning so Michael and I played the 15 minute Sudoko challenge. One of the main challenges of that was they gave a blank form and we had to fill in the starting numbers. I messed up some in copying from the big screen and that made it harder to figure out the answers.

After that was Trivia and we did ok as a team.

The library was very small and open only certain hours. Tom went back later and checked out a book.

The library, game room and halls outside were decorated with photos/history of the Rockettes – the “godmothers” of this ship. 2 of them were on board, giving exercise classes, Q and A periods and photo ops.

We played Scrabble a few times in the games room and that was fun. Others played board games like Clue, chess, Yahtzee and card games.

Michael did the ropes course. I had planned to go, too, but I was wearing sandals and couldn’t go. Tom checked everything out and said he’d try it “later”. Unfortunately, neither of us ever got a chance to try that later.

On a different day, Michael also climbed the rock wall. Even if I’d been wearing closed-toed shoes, I wouldn’t have tried that!

Our star athlete, Michael, also used the gym all the sea days and reported that it was really good. The treadmills and ellipticals have sudoko and other games to while away the time.

We had no use for any of the Children’s Clubs.

Generally, we found the service to be excellent and friendly everywhere we went on board. We had occasion to visit Guest Services a few times – Tom cut his hand on something and they were fast with bandaids, antiseptic pads and so on. Michael lost his apartment keys the very last sea day – those never turned up :(

We didn’t do any entertainment other than the Cirque Jungle Dreams and Dinner which I mentioned above, under restaurants.

Tom and I had been to Bermuda on a land stay before but Michael had never been. The first day, we did a bus tour of the whole island. That was very interesting but we had some folks that had trouble getting back to the bus on time.

One person ended up being on a regular bus to Hamilton from St. George and we spent quite a bit of time locating her and getting her back with us. If I’d known that would be the, we would have just stayed in St. George and taken the ferry back. Instead, we rushed out lunch to get back on time.

The next day, Thursday, we took a bus to BAMZ and the Crystal Caves. When we were in Bermuda before, we’d tried to take the bus from Hamilton to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo but somehow missed the stop.

BAMZ and Crystal Caves were well worth the trip. Someday, we will go back to BAMZ when we can spend more time.

Friday, I’d arranged for the Restless Native for snorkeling. I had arranged that not through the ship but through CheapCruises and saved $30 per person over others who booked through NCL. I had never done that before so this was a trial run and worked very well. We were back in plenty of time for 4:30 all aboard.

This was one of the best snorkel boats we had been on. Shallow enough that I didn’t have to worry about drowning getting back on the ship but lots of caves and coral to support fish swimming around. This sailboat also offered noodles for floating with, kayaking, banana boats and paddle boards. Lots of fun – and boat-made cookies.

We were in the “Orange” disembarkation group so we had a leisurely breakfast, went back to the cabin to pick up our carry-offs and down to the Atrium. WiFi still worked so I checked my email and we read.

The giant screen was showing the staff singing and waving goodbye to us.

There was some hold up at Customs on shore so they stopped offloading for a few minutes, then resumed.

Our color was supposed to be called about 10. It was called around 9:45. We were off the ship, got our luggage, through Customs and in an Uber by 10:30. Very fast and efficient.

We had a great time overall and wouldn’t hesitate to take this ship again. I loved our balcony! Having only one port was great so we could use the ship as a hotel was really nice.

The one “problem” was Saturday night coming back into New York. There was a lot of cabin shaking/noise (remember, we were on 9 aft). I had read about that in one of the reviews so I wasn’t too concerned. I had been expecting noise/vibrating when leaving Bermuda but that wasn’t so bad.

Coming back to NY was the loudest/shakiest.

I’m ready to go again, as soon as I can save up enough money :)

 

Beach Buddies
MaryO

Day Four, Montego Bay, Jamaica – November 20

Jamaica

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.

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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.

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Great Outdoors
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Great Outdoors

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.

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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.

We didn’t go to the show again.

Tonight’s towel animal was a lobster.

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Today’s Stats:

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Mostly Sunny 85F/30C

Sunrise: 6:22 am

Sunset: 5:34 pm

Arrival: 8:00 am

All Aboard: 3:30 pm

Day Three, At Sea – November 19

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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:

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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,

The main course was Shabu-Shabu with Udon noodles, chicken, ginger, bok choy, nappa cabbage, carrots, onion, snow peas, broccoli

My dessert was green tea cake with green tea ice cream.  Tom had a variety of fruits with coconut sauce and a mango sauce.

We stopped by the store again but didn’t buy anything then did our evening walk around the decks

The show tonight is the comedian David Naster from the first night.  Didn’t go.

Our towel tonight was a swan (or a turkey?)

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This is very similar to our cabin:

Did You Know?

Norwegian Cruise Line sails to five continents and more than 120 ports of call.  With more than 65 itineraries calling on 52 countries, there’s aways a cruise that’s perfect for you and your family

Norwegian Cruise Line offers more onboard dining choices than any other cruise line.

The other ones aren’t worth my time typing out since they’re talking about the Art Gallery, Colombian Emeralds and other “selling things”.

Today’s Stats:

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Chance of Rain 77F/25C

Sunrise: 7:10 am

Sunset: 5:44 pm

Day Two, At Sea – November 18

image

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?

Out on the balcony, I finished my first book Midnight at Marble Arch: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel, by Anne Perry.


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.

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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.

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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.

Today’s Stats:

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Today’s Forecast:  Partly Sunny, 77F/25C

Sunrise: 6:19 am

Sunset: 5:02 pm

November 17, Leaving NoLa Behind

New Orleans

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.

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Tom napping
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Watching the busy port

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!

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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.

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Tom under a lifeboat

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?

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Sail Away
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Sail Away sunset

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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.

Today’s Stats:

Sunday November 17th, 2013

New Orleans, Louisiana

Today’s Forecast:  Chance of Rain, 81F/27C

Sunrise: 6:29 am

Sunset: 5:02 pm

All Aboard: 3:20 pm