Cruise Ship Service Is About More Than Just Service
Written by: Kuki
This morning we took advantage of the perk of breakfast in Cagney’s, and then Mrs. Kuki and I departed to catch the bus for the De Palm Island all-inclusive excursion we had booked. We were the last the last ones to board the bus, because I had forgot my ship’s ID card in the cabin (and you thought I was an experienced cruiser), and had to run back to retrieve it. We were still on time though… it’s just the others on the tour were more on time than us.
Boarding the bus we noticed there was only one seat left. Mrs. Kuki sat down, and I was going to just hold on to an overhead rail, when a young lady from the rear of the bus told me to take her seat. I knew the trip would be short, so it wasn’t necessary. I thought to myself, I must be getting really old looking if I’m at the stage a young lady stands up to give me her seat. Busy feeling sorry for myself for looking like an old man, without thinking, I followed her instructions and took her seat. Now if I’d had my wits about me I’d have offered, or even begged, her to sit in my lap.
I found out later the young lady who gave up her seat for me was from the ship’s shore excursion department, and had even made an offer to the tour operator to get off the bus, since there was no seat for her. Thankfully, they let her sit in the jump seat, next to the door. I would have felt absolutely horrible if she had not been able to do the tour because she gave me her seat.
This action by a staff member, to offer to actually leave the tour, so I could have a seat, showed her EXCEPTIONAL awareness of the customer. She had absolutely no idea I was a writer on assignment from CruiseMates. She only knew I was a paying customer on a tour. She truly has to be commended for her awareness, and her actions, after all, this was her free time during a port stop, on an itinerary with many sea days, which translates into few days off.
After we left the bus, boarded a boat for the 5 minute ride to De Palm Island, and settled in to a beautiful spot on the beach, Mrs. Kuki filled me in on the story I detailed above. As it turned, by complete coincidence these ship’s staff had chosen a spot on the beach right behind us. When I noticed they were there I went over to introduce myself, and tell (Stacy – yes I learned her name) how impressed I was with her actions. While perhaps some people would expect it, I thought it was above and beyond the call of duty. It also didn’t hurt that I got to talk to three hot babes on the beach!
In the picture below it is my new hero, Stacey Beare on the left; Melinda Balas, from the spa, in the center, and Allie Jordon, also of the shore excursion staff on the right.
We’ve visited Aruba several times before. On past visits we’ve rented a Jeep and explored the sights on our own, and we’ve done an ATV tour, on which we had a great time. I’d heard talk of De Palm Island before, so thought this would be the opportunity to try it. The bus ride to where we catch the boat for transfer to the island is only a 15 minute ride, and on good roads, and the boat ride only 5 minutes. The island has an excellent set up for a day visit, and includes quite a spectacular water park, which kids and adults alike enjoyed, and was included in the cost, as was a buffet restaurant, snorkel gear, loungers, hammocks, and thatch hut cabanas, all drinks, as well as a grill for burgers, chicken nuggets, and fries. A Snuba Experience and jet skis were available for an additional cost.
I am not much of a “water bunny”, and don’t snorkel, but talking to other passengers who did, I was told the snorkeling was excellent, and they saw some huge fish.
The island was not crowded at all, so other than some lines at the water slides, there was no waiting for food or drinks, beach space. The only drawback is the beach entering the water is very rocky. It’s best to wear flippers going in, or water shoes.
It made for a very pleasant beach day for us, and if that’s what you’re looking for during your visit, I highly recommend this tour. Here’s some pictures :
We arrived back to downtown, and to the ship, at 4:30 P.M., and my luck was holding up, being Sunday all of the stores had closed early… so Mrs. Kuki had no chance to do damage with our credit cards. Even with the shops closed, there is good reason to stay in port late in Aruba. There are some excellent restaurants on the island, and they do have casino gambling, and last but not least several bars close to the port.
Normally, anytime I’ve been on a ship that stays in port late into the evening, there’s not much activity scheduled on the ship. I think ship’s often view it as a time to give many of the crew and staff a bit of break. This isn’t true on the Jewel. The activities schedule for tonight was jam packed, with one of the big production numbers by the Jean Ryan company (who has been making the production shows on NCL ships amongst the best in the industry for years), followed by the Liar’s Club, and then action poolside on deck beginning from 9:30 P.M with a Country Hoedown, and moving right into a Caribbean deck party at 11:00. With tomorrow being another port day (stopping in Curacao) I was frankly surprised they had so much going on. I’m admittedly not a song and dance expert, with tone deaf ears, and feet that move worse than ears, but I enjoyed tonight’s production show, because of the high energy of the cast, and Mrs. Kuki told me they sing and dance good too.
We went back to the Azura Dining Room tonight. Six of us arrived at 7 P.M. I think it’s important to note they were seating people with no waiting time. This was the sixth night of the cruise, and this is only our second visit to Azura. Our waiter tonight was Daniel Michael, who also served us on our last visit. With open seating, who knows how many other people he’s served since our last visit? Yet, when we sat down he remembered which three drank iced tea; and even the one who wanted Splenda with it. That’s a pretty impressive display of memory, since I can’t remember my wife’s name, and that’s why I call her Mrs. Kuki. In fact every time I told the “Stacy” story tonight, which was to anyone who would listen, I wanted to call her Sidney – because she’s from Australia.
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Posted: November 2nd, 2008 under Kuki.