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Chilly Out, but Chilling Down

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I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that the seas were giving us a bit of a “ride” as we left New York. I understand we were encountering 16 -18 ft. seas, combined with a head wind. When we woke this morning the temperatures were still chilly, and there was still considerable “motion in the ocean”, though not near as much as last night. 

One of my favorite outdoor areas on the ship, the aft deck beyond the Outdoor Garden Café, was closed. It was too cold for anyone to really sit out there anyway, so they had simply not set up the furniture (it may have blown away if they had). So today was obviously an indoor day.

During the Jewel’s transatlantic sailing there had been a mild outbreak of Norwalk Virus onboard. And to a lesser degree the next two sailings were affected as well. Prior to allowing passengers onboard yesterday the ship underwent a complete sanitation before guests were allowed to board. Boarding did begin by 12:30, but guest cabins were not ready for occupancy until after 2:00 P.M.

I noticed the difference immediately as there were hand sanitizer stands everywhere, including inside the elevators. At first I thought it was a small child poking me in the back, but it was just a short stick with a big glass bulb on the top; looked a bit like me when I was 8.

By the time I got moving, and out of the cabin, breakfast was long gone, so I headed for the Garden Café to have lunch. It was shortly after Noon, and I expected it to be filled to the brim because of the inclement weather. Surprisingly that wasn’t the case. There were lots of tables available, and lines at the various island stations were all short… even though the crew were serving ALL items. Whether it’s ice tea, breadsticks, salads, or entrees that you want, a staff member serves each and every item. There’s no salt and pepper shakers, rather portion packets of each, and all condiments are served as well. One would expect this to cause unusual delays, but at least for today, that wasn’t obvious anywhere. At a glance most of the passengers seem to be taking the extra hand washing and sanitizing seriously, which is a good thing. And I’m guessing that if there are no cases of Norwalk Virus reported in the next day or two they will ease up on at least some of the self serve restrictions in the Garden Café.

Without even a nap, somehow my day disappeared, and I didn’t attend any of the myriad of activities available; Merengue dance classes in the morning, Bridge lecture from the onboard Bridge Director, a number of NCL U options, including the Art of Making Sushi & Sake tastings (at a cost of $15 pp) to free Filipino language class, to a lecture on the “Exotic Southern Caribbean”. Of course there were also trivia games, Win Lose or Draw, and afternoon Rumba dance classes.  The schedule of activities was really such, that anyone wishing to stay active couldn’t have got to everything. For me it was a day to do little, and begin to relax and try not to stress.

This evening we dined in the Azura Dining Room, the smaller of the two main dining rooms with no surcharge. While I had made a reservation for 7 P.M., when we entered I did overhear the hostess telling a guest that it could be a 40 minute wait. The last time I sailed this ship I don’t recall seeing or hearing of waits this long at any of the restaurants, so it’s quite possible that this is anecdotal, and at a peak time of evening as well.

I will say that the meal we enjoyed at Azura tonight was excellent, and the service was very good. There’s an always available Tortellini, which I asked to have as a starter, which I loved, and I’ll be ordering that again before this cruise is done.

I should tell you a bit about the “Romance Suite” Mrs. Kuki and I are in. When I was younger I was quite a romantic. Mrs. Kuki will tell all sorts of stories about the days when I was courting her; bringing flowers, cooking for her… and she’ll also tell you that when I said my vows, I forgot how to boil an egg and lost the address of the florist. For anniversaries I buy her lawnmowers, weed-wackers, and perhaps a new wash machine or microwave. I’ve never considered buying her a hammer or shovel though, for fear she may use it on me.

The suite though is really nice, and in the coming days I’ll be posting some pictures of it. It’s not as spectacular and NCL’s famed Garden Villas, but for two people it’s quite exceptional. It even has his and her safes, which is interesting because what’s in mine is ours, and what’s in hers is hers.

There are curtains that close to separate the bed from the remainder of the cabin, and also serve to keep the sleeping area dark. When I came in late last night after Mrs. Kuki had already gone to sleep, the curtains were closed, and the entire cabin was dark. Being my first night with this set up I very nearly ended up doing a cirque de soleil style acrobatic show in the curtains.

I’m truly just getting settled in to life at sea again, and in many ways still “catching my breath”. The seas have begun to calm, and so have I. In the coming days I’ll provide much more detail about the ship, and will also begin posting pictures as well. If there are any specific questions, please feel free to post them to the blog.

-A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising –

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