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Old January 7th, 2007, 06:10 PM
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Jan. 7 - Day at Sea

I’d forgotten to mention that last night we stopped by Club 02, the teen center onboard. Dan, who was the previous CruiseMates teen editor is now working as Director of Club 02 on the Liberty, and it was a real pleasure to meet him. He’s a fine young man, and we’re hoping to be able to arrange to have him join us for dinner for a couple of nights.

Other than those CruiseMates who came with us for a back to back from the Celebrity Century group, and a few others, I haven’t met some of the CruiseMates in our group previously. Pre-cruise I’d sent an e-mail inviting everyone to meet in the Piano Bar last night… thinking they’d be able to recognize me because my picture is in my
‘avitar? and therefore all over the CruiseMates web site.

I’d instructed anyone who wanted to, to meet us in the Piano Bar. We ran into one little “glitch? in the plan when we found there was a Friends of Dorothy meeting scheduled for the same time, in the same location. Normally, this would be no problem at all. However when you’re looking to meet up with people from the site who you haven’t met yet you often use friendly, inviting, glances … silently asking… “are you looking for me?? In this situation they could have been misinterpreted lol.
We certainly got to meet and talk to some nice people, but never did find our unknown CruiseMates.

So, to try and remedy the situation, this morning I wrote a note, and delivered it, along with a really nice beach bag, and lanyards (from our agent, Nancy Bogert) to all the cabins on our group list. Hopefully no one changed cabins, and we’ll get to meet everyone at the time and place I designated on the invitation.

Today was one of the few sea days on this itinerary. I went up to Lido Deck fairly early to get my first cup of coffee, while Mrs Kuki slept in a bit longer. The “chair hogs? were out claiming rows of loungers, but not as bad as I’ve seen on previous cruises, and there were still pool-side loungers available later when Mrs. Kuki and others joined me, had breakfast and went to “bake? in the sunshine. I did get a chuckle out of how some of the loungers were being held. Some folks are getting quite creative with it.

During our Transatlantic crossing on the Liberty there was one clock pool-side that was always wrong, and it was funny to notice to same clock is still not working.

As the morning went on, the pool deck got quite full, the band cranked up the music, and ice carving demonstrations, and Men’s Hairy Chest contests entertained the crowds.

For lunch I never go to the dining room, choosing a quick bite from the buffet areas instead. The buffet set ups on the Liberty are interesting, and seem to function quite well; separate buffet lines for the regular buffet choices, one buffet line which changes daily, an area for Asian cuisine, a deli spot, pizza station, burgers, steak sandwiches etc - all spread through Lido deck, and Fish and Chips available up on one deck on Deck 10.

I should mention that during morning breakfast hours, there’s omelet stations inside as well as one right out by the pool.

All of this seems to spread the crowds out pretty well, and we didn’t find any long lines to deal with.

I generally enjoy spending some time in the ship’s casinos. I play blackjack, not the slot machines. Some of the casino staff I got to know during our 16 day sailing on this ship in Oct. 05 are on the ship now, and they remember me; tough to forget the nun gambling and smoking in the casino on Halloween. I think they’re still scarred from the experience.

Since our last visit Carnival has switched to using automatic shufflers, and I hate them, as do all the dealers! There’s no breaks for the dealers to shuffle and visit with the players which makes their job quite tough, repeating the same motion for hours, on a daily basis. It takes away from the social experience that I enjoy about the casino.

The only one who likes this automatic shuffling system is Carnival, as naturally it allows more hands to be dealt, and in gambling, the more hands that are played, the more the player loses! Frankly, I’m likely to spend much less time playing blackjack this cruise than I normally would, so if others are like me, this may end up backfiring on Carnival. Truthfully I hope it does. Gambling on cruise ships is supposed to be entertainment, but I believe the addition of these machines takes away from the entertainment value, and makes it more about business.

To answer Elaine’s question… there is one Texas Hold Em table located in the casino, right off the entrance from the atrium. And btw, just as on our last visit, I find the casino staff to be very friendly!

Casino visitors be warned - you are allowed to use your sail and sign card to acquire cash for casino play, HOWEVER there is a 3% service charge for doing so (unlike RCI/Carnival where there are no such fees).

To answer the question about football play offs on television, the answer is yes, the games were shown in the sports bar and on in cabin television. In cabin television has CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, CNN international, Headline News, movie channels, Discovery etc.. The availability of network programming is all new since my last Carnival cruise.

Time to get ready for the Captain's Welcome Aboard Party, and dinner.
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