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Old December 6th, 2009, 12:21 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
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Dave ...

I think you really summed it up. We went onboard to look for the details the media cruise couldn't give us, and I think we did a great job of that. There were certain things, like the shows, the room service, the full service dining, the reservation system, etc, that needed to have follow-up and we did that.

We were also of the ship very quickly, but my wife was obsessed with e fact that we had been given a number that was supposed o be off at 7:45 (or something) so she woke me up early and insisted that we get out of the cabins. I thought those days of rushed disembarkation were kinda "over" so as much as I tried to get her to slow down she felt compelled to get off the ship early - even though we had a 2:10 flight.

I think the point may be that because it is such a big ship they do tend to rush you off on disembarkation day = no room service, breakfast shutting down early, but what the heck, there were still people milling about at about 9:30 when we finally left (when they called 'all cabins').

We had no problem getting a taxi, or finding our bags, etc. It was all very simple and straightforward.

I also want to echo what Dave said about the staff. I have never net a friendlier, more helpful staff. Even if they did not know your answer they would always try to solve your problem. That is rare these days.

Here are a couple of other factors I got from some people I met at the airport. They are one cruise away from Diamond level. They were telling me they had noticed a change in the dining room here there is no longer an assistant waiter. There is a head waiter and something more like a busboy. (I cannot speak to this because I assumed the busboy was the assistant waiter), but I will say the main waiter the vast majority of work.

They said they had asked the waiter because they were concerned about tips - if there is no asst waiter, why leave a tip for one? We pre-paid our gratuities so we just put all of our three envelopes in the main waiter's hands (waiter, asst waiter, head waiter). But my friends were told by the waiter that many people had stopped tipping the asst waiter, because it was not the job it used to be.

By the way, I often think tipping the head waiter is something of a joke if he does nothing special for us, but on this cruise due to my wife's special diet he was an absolute gem and worth every penny.

As far as other dining venues; I already mentioned 150 Central Park - delicious but not filling at all with two fewer menu items than promised.

I tried the seafood shack. They tried to steer me to the catch of the day but I wanted to try fried shrimp, calamari and whitefish (& chips). It was not good. I could not tell the calamari from the shrimp - there were no small calamari, just the ones resembling onion rings and they really did not taste fresh at all. neither did the shrimp. Fried shrimp need to be of a certain size to be any good - these weren't.

One of the best places was the Park Café where you order a sandwich (tuna melt, pastrami, reuben, etc) and they make it fresh & hot and deliver it to your table (they give you a number before you go and find a seat). You can eat indoors or out. This was just a delicious meal - also with greats desserts. I had a grilled tuna melt that was hot and crunchy with a free bag of Lay's Potato Chips.

The ice cream parlor outside seemed very tempting. But I never made it there. I suggest you eat more donuts, because then they would make them more often. I have to admit the few I tried did not taste "melt in your mouth" fresh like Krispy Creme. So in general I did not eat them. On the other hand, the cupcakes were always fresh & tasty. There were also plenty of other free sweets that were wonderful; chocolate brownies, granola bars cheesecakes, etc.

There is free soft-serve around the ship, but it seems to me it was a little harder to find that say the Freedom class where it is right in the Royal Promenade.

The music in the jazz club was very good, although I would call it more smooth/latin flavor that straight ahead jazz. As I recall, they has a flutist as the main horn - that was all I remember ever hearing.

To sum it all up, though, the ship is still just beautiful. And even though I had seen it a week earlier I still found it fascinating a week later, es[especially since I know my wife & Dave were seeing it for the first time.

That's it for now, I am going to look for more pictures and video.
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