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Old July 5th, 2010, 04:53 PM
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With a short memory, when visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia itís easy to not have in mind, less than 20 years ago the area was apart of the horrid atrocities of the Bosnia-Herzegovina war.

The tour I chose to do today was about the reclamation project of Old Town Dubrovnik, and we learned a lot about the continuous and indiscriminate bombing the Dubrovnik and itís residents endured. Itís amazing the town has recovered as much as it has. And, unlike some areas of the world, Croatians like Americans (though Iím Canadian), because it was the United States who forced an end to the war.

Wandering through Old Town Dubrovnik today was in fact much like wandering around a city in the United States, in one way; every souvenir there was to buy was made in China.

Old Town is a walled city, and you can climb up and walk around the wall above. However, there is a charge to do so, and I told them for me to climb all those stairs, theyíd have to pay me.

Upon getting back to the ship, I showered and cleaned up for my dinner reservation at Canalettoís, the ships alternate (though cost included) Italian Restaurant on Lido Deck. Iíd missed the restaurant in May, when I sailed on the Veendam, and was told Iíd missed a fabulous meal. So, I had to make sure I was going to dine there. Frankly, I thought the meal was average; pasta overdone, and the veal was tough. The service was friendly and efficient, however.

My cabin service has sadly been less efficient. Iím only on the ship for 4 nights, so I havenít bothered to talk to anyone about it, and there no question Iíll survive. Iím simply surprised because these people were apparently brought in to bring out the new ship on recommendations from superiorsÖ so they should know the job better.

Thereís nothing major, but little things. The first day Iíd asked my steward to keep extra Diet Cokes in the mini-bar, and they only stocked it the one day, with the normal two cans. Since then Iíve just taken to calling room service and having a few cans delivered when needed. I know, I knowÖ how tough life is! It can also take several hours, after I leave my cabin in the morning, for it to get done. Surely, they canít be short handed now, so Iím not sure what the explanation is.
I say againÖ I LOVE the ship, but they do have some details to get worked out.

Last night I forgot to mention a mental note Iíd made about the casino. I guess I donít have a great ďmental note padĒ if I forgot it last night. It may be pertinent to casino players cruising the ship in Europe though; the last time I sailed in Europe (not just transatlantic crossings) I recalled the casinos using the Euro as the denomination of business in the casino. On the Nieuw Amsterdam, the casino play is based entirely on U.S. Dollars, on the tables and in the slot machines.

When playing the slot machines, while they will take cash going in, the rest of the system is cashless. If you put in cash, and happen to win, the winning just accumulate in your shipboard account, until you choose to cash it in.

If you use your ďsail and spendĒ card to get credits in the slot machines, there is no service fee involved. However, if you use it for chips at the table games there is a 3% service fee.
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