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Our Last Port of Call – Day 11 on the NCL Jewel

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We cruised into Cozumel this morning rather than Roatan. As noted in a previous blog entry, the change in our itinerary was made because of civil demonstrations in Roatan. That probably turned out to be a bit of good luck on our side, as a hurricane is now in the area of Honduras.

As the itinerary change was just made in the last 36 hours, I was surprised to see we were docked at the pier in the center of the town San Miguel. For those who are so inclined Carlos and Charlies is close enough to crawl back to the ship, and Margaritaville is only a 5 minute walk away. The walk the length of the length of the pier to town is fairly long, and for those not able to walk long distances, at the gangway they have bicycle rickshaws available to transport you to the end of the pier, and also back to the ship. These are free of charge; a tip is the norm for the fellows peddling the bikes. It’s an excellent service for the elderly who have mobility problems, and for the inebriated who may be directionally challenged trying to return to the ship.

77652 Our Last Port of Call – Day 11 on the NCL Jewel

77651 Our Last Port of Call – Day 11 on the NCL Jewel

Our initial plans for the day were to spend the morning at Paradise Beach, and the afternoon with a stroll through town, and perhaps lunch and a drink at Margaritaville.  When we met off the gangway, it seemed no one was really interested in the beach, so that part of our plans for the day was discarded in favor of shopping. For those who are looking for a beach day during their Cozumel visit I do recommend Paradise Beach, or Mr. Sancho’s; both have a nice beach, decent food, and clean facilities. Taxis in Cozumel are very cheap, and it’s an easy island to find your way around if you rent a vehicle, so in my view it’s a port that really doesn’t require an organized excursion, unless there’s something particular you want to do.

At one point “the gang” went off to shop in different directions, and we agreed to meet up later at Margaritaville. By the time we arrived shortly after noon, the live band already had the joint rocking. Margaritaville is relatively new here, and has a great patio overlooking the water. There was a balloon artist working the room, and making balloon hats for everyone, and I couldn’t believe how fast she worked. Having everyone in the bar wearing balloon hats certainly added to the festive party atmosphere. She made me a rather unique balloon hat, but I’ll have to let someone else post that picture, and then I’ll have to delete it because it’s a violation of CruiseMates Terms of Service Agreement.

77653 Our Last Port of Call – Day 11 on the NCL Jewel

When we were returning to the ship, I took the picture below, of the stern of the ship, showing what everyone refers to as the “aft cabins”. Our cabin is on Deck 10, which in the picture are all the balconies second from the top. I believe you can see that the balconies on this Deck extend out a bit further from the ship than those on the Deck above, or those below. I’m pointing this out for those who may be considering one of these most desirable cabins on this ship, or her sisters, Gem or Pearl.

77654 Our Last Port of Call – Day 11 on the NCL Jewel

As good as I’ve made these balconies sound I should also point out the negatives. Being located on the stern, and fairly high on the ship, you will feel the “motion of the ocean” more than cabins located more to the middle of the ship, and on lower Decks. As well, probably because the balcony does extend out from the ship a ways some days you will find there’s sooty material on the balcony floor. I’m guessing this is as a result of when they are washing down the outdoor dining area of the Great Outdoor Café, also on the stern. The cabin stewards should really be aware of this already, and wash down or sweep these balconies more often. We haven’t encountered the best of weather this cruise, and therefore haven’t spent all that much time on the balcony, so I haven’t mentioned it to the stewards myself directly, which I probably should have done. I broke my own “golden rule”… let them know when something is wrong when it happens, so “they” can remedy the issue while you’re onboard.

We returned to Cagney’s for dinner tonight, and had yet another fabulous meal. On this cruise the specialty restaurants have continued to be quite quiet, and I honestly feel bad for those who haven’t tried them, possibly because they are reluctant to pay the surcharges.

After dinner we saw one of the very best production shows at sea; Cirque Bijou. The show features breathtaking acrobatics, flexibility and strength it takes to perform the way this cast does. Particularly amazing because it’s being done on a moving ship (and tonight the movement of the ship was significant).

And now to really exciting news… I have a new girlfriend, Elena 

77650 Our Last Port of Call – Day 11 on the NCL Jewel

She works as a hostess in Cagney’s; both at breakfast and lunch for the suite guests, and in the evenings when it’s a steak house. From the minute we first met she’s been cheerful, friendly, and helpful, and always greets us with a beautiful smile. As a bonus, she’s simply lovely. When we learned she has a 9 year old son at home in Romania we were shocked, because I wouldn’t have guessed she was over 21.

Once again I’ve fallen for a new lady, and once again Mrs. Kuki is hoping she will take me off her hands. To be with her I’ve signed on to work on NCL, as you can if you see my new staff name tag in the photo below. The rest of that story will come at a later date.

Throughout these daily blogs I’ve talked about “the cruisemates we’re dining with” or “the gang”. You’ve seen the same people in many of the pictures I’ve posted. They do have names. They are Gaile (Tweety) and Harry, and Linda and Guerry ( Lgriggs). We’ve had a ball together. We’ve become dear lifelong friends, and it’s a direct result of having met on previous CruiseMates group cruises, and they’ve been on many of them with me since the year 2000 (I think). We’re all from different parts of North America, so it’s unlikely we would have met otherwise, yet now they, like many others I’ve been lucky enough to meet on our group cruises, I now count amongst my dearest friends.

This particular group cruise was a rather small one, but we’ve got 100 cruisemates sailing on the Celebrity Solstice at the end of this month (with CruiseMates Editor and Chief, Paul Motter and his wife Lou Anne hosting), then in Feb. we’ve got over 200 Cruisemates already booked for the group cruise with John Heald on the Blog2NOLA cruise. Next fall we’ve got a transatlantic sailing on the Ruby Princess for yet another CruiseMates group cruise, and it’s we’re always adding more, when we find great deals.

I really want to encourage everyone who’s followed these daily blogs from the Jewel to find a CruiseMates group cruise that fits your schedule. I guarantee you’ll have a ball, and won’t regret it. And most likely you too will make lifelong friends with people you’ve never met. I know those I’ve met have become very important parts of my life. With the emotional difficulties I had during this cruise, with news of my father’s hospitalization, it’s been a real blessing to have had them here supporting me, and just being my friends.

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