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Thunder, Lightning, and Sad News

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Norwegian Cruise Line has one of the very best ideas in the cruise industry; it’s a small wheeled device on the wall next to the cabin doors to indicate the status of the passengers inside. It probably sounds crazy to you that I think this is the best idea in the industry, but it’s so simple it’s sensational. The passengers turn the wheel to display four different messages; “Welcome”, “Make Up Cabin”, “Turn Down Cabin”, and “Do Not Disturb”. In essence it’s a simple, yet brilliant, system allowing passengers to silently communicate with their stateroom stewards.

We leave the cabin in the morning, we turn it to display the Make Up Cabin sign, and when the stewards are done, they spin it back to Welcome. In the evening, when we leave the cabin to go to dinner, we turn it to Turn Down Cabin, which is particularly effective with Freestyle Dining, where so many people are leaving to dine at different times. We’ve consistently turned the dial to “Turn Down Cabin” when we leave for dinner. So now we just need someone to explain how the system works to our cabin steward. He really should have noticed by now that we use the system as it was designed, but several times already he’s knocked on the door to see if we were gone yet. In fact one night he knocked, and we told him we’d be leaving in about 15 minutes, and then ten minutes later he was back at our door checking again.

We understand now that when we’re in the cabin we must simply turn the dial to Do Not Disturb, as an easy way to end the problem. The entire subject really isn’t a serious issue. If we were doing anything we didn’t ever want anyone to walk in on us to see it might be, but we cut that stuff out long ago when we found out it created Kuki Jrs.

The cruise lines watch each other so closely I must say I’m surprised other cruise lines haven’t followed NCL’s lead, installing these display wheels outside all their cabins. It is, or at least should be, a very effective silent communication between cabin occupants and those who service the cabins.

Today was another sea day. Oh how I love sea days! My schedule consisted of a late breakfast, socializing, laying in the sun, and napping. There may have been a whole bunch of stuff going on, but I was “free to whatever”, and I did! Mrs. Kuki did some laundry today. The machines are free in the self serve launderettes, but if you don’t bring some with, small laundry detergent boxes are available for $1. Many others were using the self serve launderettes as well. From the laundry room conversations some of the cruisemates told me about, it seemed that it was the day for the grouches to do their laundry, and air their laundry.

Most of the complaints seemed to be from people used to sailing traditional cruise lines complaining about all the surcharge restaurants. I think it’s a very understandable reaction from people used to having an assigned time and table for dinner every night, with the same service team. To do an NCL Freestyle Cruise does require a mental adjustment if you’re only used to “the other” system. If you want to give NCL a try, coming from a “traditional cruise line”, you really do have understand and accept the difference, and as I mentioned in an earlier blog, account for some of the dining room expenses, in the Freestyle experience to be able to enjoy it. If you mentally expect more of the same, you’re going to be disappointed. Even if you chose to never dine in any of the restaurants that cost extra, and stick to the free dining rooms, you’ll be disappointed that your waiters are not the same each night… though you can request that, and they’ll try and accommodate you. On the other hand there are those who have no intention of ever using them, who’ll be unhappy that the restaurants carrying a surcharge exist at all. Then there are those people who I have met who are unhappy that I exist at all.

By 4 P.M I’d had enough time in the sun, and decided to try my luck one more at the blackjack tables. I didn’t have much luck, so with my tail between my legs, headed back to the cabin. I caught an elevator on deck 7, and it was empty. Then…, I really couldn’t help myself, and the elevator was empty, so I “let one go”. I thought I was all clear (in the empty elevator, and I was only going to Deck 10), when the elevator stopped on Deck 9 and a man entered “the war zone”. I got to walk off quickly on the next Deck, but this poor guy was going to Deck 12. I’m not sure if he survived the trip.

Arriving back to the cabin I looked out at the wake, and could barely see one. We were socked in to some sort of system and it was raining very hard. A substantial pool of water was forming on the balcony, and then a series of very loud claps of thunder began.

After writing tonight’s blog entry I received an e-mail from my son informing me that my father is unfortunately in the hospital again. I’ve called home to get updated on his status, and will call again later this evening. Tomorrow is a sea day, but I believe I’ll likely be leaving the ship in Belize on Thursday, if I can make an air connection home. Until I know more I’ll suspend writing the blog, as I don’t see how I can keep it interesting and entertaining in my present state of mind. I apologize if I am leaving you hanging.

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