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Old May 8th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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Default May 8 - Day 2

Virtual Cruise Report - NCL Jewel
Day 2 - May 8

Today’s Port of Call was Katakolon, Greece. Katakolon is a seaside town on the western coast of mainland Greece, and linked to nearby Olympia, the city chosen by Zeus to promote his culture among the Greeks. Most everyone touring today did visit Olympia, to see what’s left of the ancient ruins, and visit the museum there. That was our plan today, though we were going to simply find a taxi, rather than do an organized ship’s tour. However, Mrs. Kuki wasn’t feeling well this morning, and though she kept insisting I go on without her, I felt more comfortable staying close to see how she progressed.

The ship did offer continuous and free shuttles down the fairly long pier to town, though it was certainly also a walk able distance.

It was also a very short port visit today (with the ship sailing at 2:30 P.M.), so I didn’t mind staying onboard, and settling in a bit; getting all my tech equipment, cameras, chargers, etc. in some semblance of order in the cabin. A power strip is a must, if you’re at all like me, traveling with all the “gizmos?.

By the time everyone was back onboard and the ship was readying to sail, there was another pool-side barbeque, this time offering steaks as well as the burgers, hot dogs, and chicken to chose from.

The one thing I absolutely love about this ship is the multitude of tables and chairs both pool-side and on the stern aft of the Garden Café (the buffet area).
The Garden Café is also stretched over a large area with a tremendous number of “island stations?, each offering different theme items. The variety offered cumulatively at these various stations is most impressive, and the food quality of every item I’ve tried so far has been very good.

I had my lunch pool-side, and then strolled through the Garden Café, to the aft outdoor seating area (my favorite place on the ship), and I immediately made a mental note to myself; there were people everywhere, but there were waiting lines nowhere. These food areas are set up so well that traffic of the masses just seemed so easily absorbed by the space; better than any other ship I’ve sailed on.

While sitting on the aft deck I ran into the friends we’re traveling with, who did get off to visit Olympia. They had easily found a taxi, and shared it with another couple from the ship, and had paid $60 Euro per couple for the ride to Olympia, (about a 25 mile ride), and the driver waited for them, and brought them back to the ship after their visit.

During the course of my morning I also called Mama’s Kitchen (did you guess it was the Italian Restaurant onboard?) and made reservations for dinner this evening. I also decided that our first sea day (the day after tomorrow) might be a nice evening to dine in Le Bistro, so I called and booked that as well. In both cases I had no problem getting the reservation for the times I requested… without even going through the concierge service which is available to us.

I also ran into my old friend Slada Stankic this afternoon, and got a chance to chat for a bit. I noticed his name tag said Assistant Food & Beverage Director. When we met last on the Dawn he was the Restaurant Manager, so I noticed and mentioned his promotion. It turned out he had brought the Pearl out of the shipyard as her Restaurant Manager, and then had gone home to Australia for his vacation. After having done such a good job “bringing out? the Pearl, he got notice of his promotion and move to the Jewel. He’ll remain onboard now until November. It’s a long stretch, but on this contract his wife is onboard as well as the Future Cruise Consultant. We offered sincere congratulations on the promotion to a delightful young man.

Speaking of Australia; there’s close to 150 Australians on this cruise. G’Dy Mate! Slada tells me that’s 25 hrs. travel time getting from Sidney to Athens. That’s quite the trek! There are also 400 fellow Canadians onboard, and over 1000 Americans - plus smatterings of other nationalities from around the world.

Sticking around the ship today I also managed to hear some “rumors? about a couple of new ships in the planning for NCL. I personally don’t recall seeing any press releases on this… so it could be “hot off the presses?… 2 new ships to be built for NCL, at the moment called F 1 and F 2., with plans for 17 different restaurants onboard to chose for. NCL’s is soon going to claim the title of owning the youngest fleet in the industry, and the expansion and extension of the “FreeStyle experience? also makes it quite unique in the industry.

Except for some of the unfortunate problems they are having with the NCL America division, created almost entirely by the employment standards they have to abide by because they chose to flag those ships in the United States, in my view NCL is also one of the leading innovators in the industry.

By this evening Mrs. Kuki was thankfully feeling much better, and we dined at Mama’s Kitchen. It was another delightful meal, and though this restaurant has no cover charge, the service was every bit as good as we’d experienced last night at Cagney’s. Mama’s features a menu beginning with a trolley cart of antipasto choices brought tableside, salads, soups, mix and match choices for pizzas and pastas, as well as a number of entrée choices and desserts.
Mama’s also offers outdoor seating, on the stern. Though we didn’t sit out there, it looked quite lovely, and I think we may have to go back and request that location for dinner one evening…. Even if it’s only to get another dozen or so of those excellent breadsticks.

This evening’s show in the StarDust Theater was billed as “The Evolution of Manipulation? - action comedy by Edge. While the title certainly sounded interesting, it was a juggling/comedy show, without much “edge?. Though the appreciative reaction from the audience certainly seemed to differ from my opinion.

Tomorrow we spend the full day in Corfu, and I’m really looking forward to it. We’re planning to simply rent a car and go touring. I’m hoping the roadside signage is better than the guide books I’ve been looking at because from the reading I’ve done it appears our plan is to drive to Pancreatitis and climb to the top of Mount Colonoscopy. It’s all Greek to me!

BTW.. Internet service has been wonderful and quick.

Any questions anyone has feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to respond.
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