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Old May 7th, 2007, 05:47 PM
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Default MAY 7 - Day 1

Virtual Cruise Report - NCL Jewel
May 7 - The Cruise Begins

At precisely the time we’d pre-arranged, 11:15 A.M, our limo ride to the Port of Pireus arrived at the hotel.

I honestly hadn’t researched enough, and from a very faded memory - from my last visit to this area in 1972 - I thought it was a much longer ride to the port, than the 15 minutes it took. I was thinking it was an hour or longer ride, so chose to book the limo ( 90 Euro for 4 of us). In fact, we could have taken two taxis for 11 Euro per couple, plus a couple of extra Euros for the luggage, and a tip. In any event we had a very comfortable, fun, and luxurious ride to the port, even if it was considerably more than we needed to spend.

The driver did say that he’s been at the port earlier this morning, and things were a mess. The Jewel didn’t dock at her scheduled cruise terminal, as that spot was taken when she arrived. The result was there were no taxis waiting at the pier she did berth in, and apparently the wait for taxis for the disembarking passengers got very long until they could get all the taxis moved to the correct terminal building.

As our car arrived at the terminal we were greeted immediately by a porter who took all our bags, and an NCL representative showed us to the entrance of the terminal. The line up was quite short, as was the wait to check in, as we had filled in our guest registration forms online. By half past Noon we were relaxing on the pool deck, and thinking about lunch. The guest cabins were not going to be ready until 1 P.M. - which is pretty darn good because NCL allows disembarking passengers to stay in their cabins until they are called to leave the ship.

The Jewel is jewel! The thought of understated décor doesn’t enter one’s mind on this ship, yet somehow the upbeat, bold color schemes, and occasionally odd art work and public room furnishing all come together to form a nice “cruise energy?.

We had truly been looking forward to sailing the Jewel, offering NCL’s “Freestyle? on this itinerary. Aside from the fact that it’s a dreamy port intensive itinerary, we felt NCL’s “Freestyle? would be perfect with no set dining times, as well as no suggested dress codes and formal nights. Anticipating this, our packing was so much simpler for this trip, and even though we were going to be gone a total of 25 days, we only need 2 pieces of luggage for both Mrs. Kuki and me.

After lunch, and settling into our cabin, I called and got reservations for Cagney’s Steak House for this evening at 7:00 P.M., with no difficulty, and without the assistance of the Concierge (which is available to us).
Shortly after I got a call from a couple of CruiseMates who are on this cruise with us, but we haven’t met yet. They had just arrived from San Diego, Ca. this afternoon (flying SanDiego - Rome - Athens). Unfortunately their luggage did not make it to Athens, and at the time we spoke the airline had not yet located it, let alone be able to predict when it could be delivered. Guest relations was in contact with the airlines to try and locate the luggage, and assist in getting it to the ship, once it was found, even though their air was booked independently.

Tomorrow is a very short port stay (until 2:30 P.M in Katakolon) so it appears the earliest they may be able to get their luggage is Wed. when we stop in Corfu. It turns out the male member of this couple wears the same size clothing as I do… so if for some reason the luggage doesn’t arrive by Wed. I’ve offered him some of my clothing… but his wife is quite a small size, and may have some problems. We all certainly hope this situation gets resolved quickly and satisfactorily!!! Sadly it’s a dramatic demonstration inherent in problems that can arise by arriving the day of sailing from such a far away port. We’ll definitely be staying in touch with them to see if we can help in any way.

The sail-a-way this afternoon felt very much like a Caribbean sail-a-way party. A Caribbean band was playing, a hot sun was shining, and NCL’s traditional deck barbeque was in full swing. Even though dinner time is coming soon enough, on NCL these barbeques always pack the house.

As I watched some of the action at the party, I ran into Denis Prguda, the Food and Beverage Manager who I’d “worked? with for a day on the NCL Dawn, as well as Slada Stankic (who just came to the Jewel, after having brought out the Pearl), and some of the other management staff I’d become friendly with on our Dawn sailing. It was great seeing some familiar and friendly faces… and if time allows I’ll catch up with them a bit during the cruise, and share some of those stories with you.

Dinner in Cagney’s this evening was excellent. I’m a steak lover, and Cagney’s fit’s the bill! This is one of the surcharge restaurants (Cagney’s is $20 per per son), but as I’ve always said, in preparing for an NCL cruise if you add about $100 per person to the cost of your cruise fare right off the top - knowing you’re going to want to try some of the surcharge restaurants - you’re still getting great value, and normally even if with the extras, a good dining experience.

As we moved about the ship after dinner, and I passed other dining venues, I never saw lines anywhere, so I’m assuming most people got to dine pretty close to the times they wanted to.

Mrs. Kuki and our friends attended the single seating Welcome Aboard show, but I went to visit the Internet Café manager to get some assistance setting up my account, and came back to the cabin to get myself “up and running?, so I could begin sending in these daily reports.

The ship does have wireless hot spots, but not in the guest cabins. However, if you bring an Ethernet cable with you, you can connect your own laptop to the Internet in your cabin… as I’ve done.

There are some pictures of today available in our Photo Galleries.
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