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Old May 10th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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Default Ma7 10 - NCL Jewel - Day 4

Virtual Cruise Report - NCL Jewel
Day 4 - Day at Sea

I got a bit of an update on NCL’s upcoming plans for the F3 ships which I’d mentioned in a prior report - from a friend at NCL (Yup, I guess they are reading along)… I understand now, the contracts for these were announced in Nov. ‘06 (and I just forgot about it) but not many details have been announced yet, other than the contract for three 150,000 ton ships to be built by the Aker Yards in France is worth 2.17 BILLION Euros. That’s A LOT of Euros… approx. 2.8 Billion US dollars.
-- but the rumor of 17 different restaurants onboard sounds superb to me!

My plans for a morning to sleep in went slightly astray, when our telephone rang at 9 A.M. , with our cruisemate Bill Fairchild calling to share the news that they had indeed received their lost luggage in Corfu yesterday; which was wonderful news.

I’d had a slight problem with Internet service last night, so I had to go see the Internet Café manager Tom anyway, so I didn’t try and go back to bed. Got my problem sorted out, and headed up to the Garden Café for my coffee and Danish. As it turned out I’d missed the Destination Lecture: The Nile, Pharaohs, and Ancient Egyptians, at 9:15 A.M. - which I had wanted to see. I’ll just have to remember to check out the T.V. later, as it’s sure to be repeated.

After consuming enough coffee to at least gain consciousness I returned to the cabin to send in last night’s virtual report, which I hadn’t been able to send, then headed to the outdoor decks to catch some sun and relax.

While on deck today, I noticed on the edges of the overhang, near the covered seating areas, the ship is equipped with misters, ejecting a nice cool misty spray towards the sun decks. Very similar to what you’d find pool-side at luxury resorts, but I’ve never seen them on a mass market ship before. Nice touch!

Shortly after 12 Noon I decided it was time for some lunch, and I spent more time examining all the various island stations in the Garden Café, and the variety in offerings is truly quite astounding. Having just cruised another line a month prior, and commenting on a somewhat disappointing buffet, I now find myself at the other end of the spectrum. Personally, in my experience I’ve always thought of Holland America as the “champions? when it comes to buffets, but the Jewel has changed that opinion. NCL ‘s buffet areas are certainly deserving of being at least in an equivalent ranking.

Today, almost everything appealed to me. The variety at the sandwich bar was superb, with all sorts of selection and with an enormous selection of different freshly made breads, baguettes, and buns, with varying fillings. I chose a delicious crusty baguette filled with veggies and proccuito ham, then moved on to the pizza station for NCL’s very tasty version of pizza. To demonstrate some self control I stopped there, but I could have easily filled a couple of plates with items that appealed to my eyes.

I noticed in today's daily, scheduled meetings for various affinity groups, ie Military meetings, Police and Firefighters meetings, Friends of Dorothy. So now it’s time for NCL to offer CruiseMates Internet Connections????

We need to make a BIG pitch to NCL to get them to commit to CruiseMates Internet Connectors functions. NCL is PERFECTLY suited to this, and
particularly because of Freestyle it would be a GREAT fit.

Many people traveling on NCL likely don't know more than a few others going
on their cruise, and without traditional assigned tables and dining times, for some it's somewhat more difficult to meet people, or find others to dine with, if you’re not an outgoing type of personality.

I think on NCL they could make this concept very effective! There are numerous possibilities… like having a "connections concierge" available at the meetings, to
facilitate dining reservations for those who attend the meetings, and possibly meet others they'd like to try to arrange to dine with or enable we Internet junkies to plan on joint shore excursions in advance of getting on the ship, etc.

There's all kinds of angles that come to mind that could build this up
pretty easily, and successfully, that would bear little cost, but could enhance the cruise experience for the ever growing community of cruisers who search, use, and share so much of their cruise information on the “net?.

This evening at 6 we arranged to meet for drinks with some CruiseMates friends we’d never previously met. Bill and Sandy from San Diego, and Judy from British Columbia, and her daughter Suzanne, who by coincidence also lives in Calgary, Alberta. I’d forgotten my camera in the cabin, but we’ve agreed to get together again later in the cruise for dinner, so we’ll get pics then.

After drinks with them we left to attend a cocktail party with the Captain, and senior staff in the Spinnaker Lounge. As we passed the reception line, and introduced ourselves to the Captain, I extended my hand for a handshake and was told they don’t shake hands. I quickly drew back my hand and stuck it in my pants, and apologized. This policy to not shake hands in the reception line is not due to etiquette, but rather sanitation prevention policies.

They are very careful on this ship about this. Not only do they have the hand sanitizing dispensers at the entries to all public food facilities, these dispensers are manned by staff requesting guests use the dispensers. They are very diligent about this, and even returning to ship from ports of call, staff stand there with spray bottles and spray everyone’s hands. I think it’s a good idea.

After the reception line broke up, Armando Da Silva, the Hotel Director, who I’d met earlier in the cruise brought the Captain over to me, and the first thing he did was extend his hand for a hand shake. It was either to make me feel more comfortable for my earlier faux pas, or he’d seen the video of my using the hand sanitizer as I entered the room.

We had reservations at La Bistro immediately after the cocktail party, and though this restaurant carries a $20 per person surcharge, it’s most certainly worth the money. The food was outstanding, as was the service, as was the ambience which accompanies the experience.

The Jean Ryan production company were tonight’s entertainment, with a show called Band on the Run, and everyone raved about the show! I headed to the cabin early, skipping the show, to write tonight’s report, and try to get to be early.

Tomorrow we arrive in Alexandria, Egypt for an overnight stay. We’ve booked a full 12 hour tour for tomorrow, called “The Pyramids & The Nile in Style?. This will be our first ever visit to Egypt, and I hope to bring back lots of pictures as well as video to share.
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