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Old May 13th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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Default Jewel Virtual Report - May 13

NCL Virtual Cruise
May 13 - Day at Sea

We’ve been maintaining a fairly hectic schedule, with all the ports of call. Now it’s probably time for me to catch up a bit in talking about the ship once again, especially since we’re now half way through the cruise.

Earlier I mentioned the mostly higher limit blackjack tables in the casino. I have noticed now, deeper into the cruise, that there are indeed table games with $5 minimum bets. However the lower limit tables are using automatic continuous dealers. Today they even had a couple of table games from the casino open out by the central pool area… with $5 minimum bets. Though there weren’t many people playing, I thought this was a pretty good idea. The pool area is large enough that the tables were relatively unobtrusive, which wouldn’t work with the design of pool decks on many other ships I’ve sailed.

The interiors of this ship have a very interesting design. There are no grand atriums or centrums stretching 9 or 10 decks high, but the lack of them seems to allow space to create some nice open and large public rooms. The central core of the Jewel is Bar City, a largely open area, where one bar theme simply flows into another, each with its own unique furnishings, but all sharing the same space and corridor on Deck 6. It’s a very comfortable gathering area, that’s great for people watching.

I’ll be writing a full review for CruiseMates on my return, so I won’t go into all the interior design features of the ship here. What is somewhat different about this ship, compared to those of other cruise lines I’ve sailed of similar size is that on the decks with public room there is only one hallway or passageway, rather than one on each side of the ship. While one might think this is somewhat restrictive, again it seems to allow for the creation of nice open public areas.

Our cabin is a standard balcony cabin. It’s nicely decorated. Even though the orange and pink color scheme may sound garish, it doesn’t come off that way in reality. It’s lively but comfortable. The bed is very comfortable, and high enough that luggage fits under the bed easily. The bedding is of nice quality, topped off with a comfortable duvet. There’s a love seat next to the bed, and opposite that there’s a table, which I use as a desktop, thought it’s not a desk. There is also a make up table, with mirror, and hairdryer in another corner. On one side of the bed there’s a night table, but it’s just a table top. There are no drawers in the table. The other side of the bed does not have a table next to it, only the love seat. Closet space is ample, but there is a shortage of drawers… though there’s several open shelves next to the closet, with a personal safe above them.

The bathroom is oddly very well designed, and space limited at the same time. The toilet is separated from the rest of the washroom by a sliding glass door, a sink and some shelving serve as the central portion, and on the other side, a large rectangular shower with sliding door. The size of the shower and the sliding door, rather than shower curtain, combine to a great shower space. However when you step out of the shower space is very cramped and even a bit difficult to move around in. There are no bars of soap provided in the cabins, only wall mounted liquid soap dispensers in both the wash basin area and the shower. The shower also had a wall mounted shampoo dispenser. Though the cabin design is not perfect, we have settled in nicely, adjusted to its limitations, and are comfortable enough that I could stay on for a few more cruises.

The feature I like best about the Jewel cabin is actually just outside the cabin door. It’s a sign, with a wheel built into it, which passengers simply turn to tell the cabin stewards the “state of the cabin?; either welcome, do not disturb, make up room, or turn down service. Though it seems a very simple idea, I think it’s tremendously effective.

Since the beginning of the cruise we’ve dined in Cagney’s twice, the Tsar’s Palace once, Mama’s Kitchen once, Chin Chin once (which I missed last night), and La Bistro twice (we returned tonight for a second time since it was Mother’s Day). Tomorrow night we have reservations at Teppanyaki.

All the food and service has been very good, but I think our second trip to Cagney’s was my favorite. That meal was close to perfection.

With today being a sea day there was a full schedule of activities on tap, however after the pace we’ve kept the past few days, I didn’t do much but relax. It was a gorgeous day, with warm but not overly hot temperatures. The perfect day to sun tan, socialize and enjoy.

By the time we left dinner in La Bistro tonight it was late to make the production show in the showroom, so we went and spent some time in the casino. Probably because of the itinerary, and another port tomorrow, the casino was quite quiet, as it has been most of the cruise.

Speaking of ports of call; it’s time for me to retire for the night. Tomorrow we’re in Crete.
Pictures to go with this article can be found using this linke
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=3423
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