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Old April 17th, 2008, 07:12 PM
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April 17- At Sea to Alexandria
The “suitcase saga” does appear to be drawing to a close. Earlier this evening the ship did finally receive written confirmation stating that the Port Agent was indeed in physical possession of my suitcase. It should be delivered to the ship tomorrow morning, and after my comments about the Port Agent, likely full of camel droppings. So it seems I will soon be reunited with my fruit of the loom.

I’m now very busy making arrangements for a big welcome aboard for my suitcase. My plan is to have the cabin decorated, and I’ve already ordered the romance package, complete with flowers and champagne, to make the moment we’re reunited special. And I was thinking I’d make reservations at one of the really nice alternate restaurants for the old bag and I for dinner.

I wonder if the Captain would do a renewal of vows ceremony for me and Sam Sonite?

Now we’ll get to be together at least until Apr. 25, when I have to fly through the infamous new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London, where British Airways will get its opportunity to lose it when I fly to Miami.

Just to flash back to last night for a minute…
I attended an NCL U program last night, which was a presentation of Behind the Scenes from the Second City Troupe that’s onboard. Much of it was a video presentation and discussion of now famous, some since deceased, Second City Alumni. It was interesting to learn some of the history of Second City, which originally began in Chicago, in its first incarnation at the University of Chicago, then became known as the Player’s Theater Club, then the Compass Players, and in 1959 Second City. As Second City it became an almost instant success, and became known as the place for comedy in the Windy City.

The fame spread further in 1975 with the beginning of Saturday Night Live on television.

The current troupe on board consists of 8 people; an unusually high number, but it’s be structured this way to expand the number of shows, and seminars they are doing on the Jade. Later in the cruise I’m hoping I’ll get a chance for a sit down with all the members of the troupe for some interviews and fun, with the intent to write a feature article about them, and some of the new ideas they are going to be rolling out to go along with Freestyle 2.0.

Moving on to today’s action….
Do you want a break from the fast paced port after port after port, running from tour to tour, from the Grand Bazaar, to Ephesus, to Santorinio, and to the Kossos Palace?

Well, today was not the day to stop.
Beginning at 9:00 AM this morning there’s a digital presentation of the behind the scenes action by Paul Baya, and a Q & A session with the Hotel Director and the Captain. From there you attend NCL U for a seminar; the topic today, the daily lives of the Egyptians, with Dawn Brown. After that, and before the next NCL U seminar, you can head to the Sports Deck for organized Basketball with Sports Coordinator, Greg, or join in for some Morning Madness Trivia, or a discussion and demo of golf swings with Mike Vanyo , yet you can still make it back to the Sports Deck in time for the Free Throw Challenge.

While catching your breath, you can check out the sea day sales in the shops and the spa, until it’s time for another session of NCL U, with the Art of Sushi and Sake Tasting.

These are just a sampling of the options this morning, and the afternoon schedule get even busier.

At noon today there’s the special Gospel Lunch in Le Bistro, for $15PP you get an elaborate lunch while being entertained by the ship’s singers with Gospel Music. I’d heard a rumor that the cover fee for this event was inclusive of all liquor. I’ll bet the singing and guest participation gets louder as the booze flows freely. Free booze! Praise the Lord! Unfortunately the rumor was not factual; too bad, as it could have made for a great story.

Rather than the Gospel lunch we enjoyed a quiet lunch in the private section of Cagney’s for the press group. Though lunch was terrific, I was looking out the window, down at the pool deck, where they were holding one of NCL’s famed deck barbeques. The smoke wafting from the open Weber style charcoal grills with steak, chicken, and vegetable/noodle stir fry spreading their odors across the open decks is like a siren’s call, drawing you to near .

This afternoon I attended the NCL U Beer Tasting at Tankards, at Bar City. About a dozen people attended, and the cost was $15 per person, plus gratuity. Frankly I felt the bartender doing the presentation didn’t do a great job, and wasn’t particularly informative. He spent most of the time simply reading from notes. I’m not a drinker, but had spent 30 years in the Bar business, so attended mostly out of curiosity.

This afternoon there was also a Margarita Madness NCL U event, and a Tequila Tasting NCL U seminar available. If I’d attended all of them I’d imagine I could have been a fairly intoxicated graduate.

Tonight our group met for a late dinner, at 9 P.M., in Paniolos Tapas Bar, the ship’s Tex-Mex restaurant. I’m personally not a big fan of Tex-Mex cuisine, but certainly everyone’s seemed to enjoy their meals, and the presentation was fabulous.

Even with the late dinner, everyone was attempting to retire early tonight because most are doing some sort of tour to Cairo. It’s a three hour drive from Alexandria to Cairo, so the tours start early. I originally had booked one of the Cairo tours as well, but changed my mind early on, and cancelled. Having toured the Pyramids less than a year ago, and not looking forward to six hours riding the bus to and from, I decided to stay behind, and explore Alexandria on my own, and be around tomorrow night to participate in the Tony and Tina’s Wedding event, the off-Broadway hit, that’s now taking to the seas on the Jade.
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