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  #91 (permalink)  
Old April 21st, 2008, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicnme
Kuki - wondering if you can break down what restaurants charge extra and which are included. It seems to be that even charging $10 pp isn't that much but with what you already have given NCL for the cruise why charge again? I will say we went to Scarletts on Carnival Valor and thought it well worth it. But it seems all or most of the dining rooms charge. Just some clarification please. Thank you and keep the pictures coming!
As mentioned above, the price structure is changing, and I'll have the updated pricing info to share tomorrow.

As for the extra cover charges you might not be used to on other cruise lines.....
I think the variety available is great. The thing you really need to do is add in the cost of a few meals in the alternate surcharge restaurants... then if the TOTAL price still seems like a great deal, then you can book knowing you are going to enjoy the complete Freestyle experience.

If you really don't want to spend extra $ on dining, it IS quite possible to eat pretty darn well without spending any extra.
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Old April 21st, 2008, 08:08 PM
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Kuki, I can't believe the cruise is nearly over! I have so enjoyed cruising with you, the last 11 days. It makes me ready to try Freestyle Cruising!
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 07:18 AM
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Default Current Restaurant Pricing

The prices listed below are NEW effective for those boarding the next cruise tomorrow!

Le Bistro: $15 per person - DOWN from $20 PP
Cagney’s: $20 per person - DOWN from $25 PP
Jasmine Garden & Shabu Shabu: $15 per person - unchanged
Sushi: $15 per person - unchanged
Teppanyaki: $25 per person - unchanged
Papa’s Italian: $10 per person - unchanged
Le Bistro Brunch: $15 per person

Also, FYI, cover charge for children under 12 is half the cover charge. And between 5:30 and 7 P.M. each evening there is 2 for 1 cover charge specials.

The cost included restaurants remain unchanged: Grand Pacific Dining Room, Aizar Dining Room, Paniolo’s Tapas & Salsa Restaurant, Blue Lagoon, and the Garden Café/Kid’s Café, and Great Outdoors, as well as the Action Station evenings in the Garden Café.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Current Restaurant Pricing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
The prices listed below are NEW effective for those boarding the next cruise tomorrow!

Le Bistro: $15 per person - DOWN from $20 PP
Cagney’s: $20 per person - DOWN from $25 PP
Jasmine Garden & Shabu Shabu: $15 per person - unchanged
Sushi: $15 per person - unchanged
Teppanyaki: $25 per person - unchanged
Papa’s Italian: $10 per person - unchanged
Le Bistro Brunch: $15 per person

Also, FYI, cover charge for children under 12 is half the cover charge. And between 5:30 and 7 P.M. each evening there is 2 for 1 cover charge specials.

The cost included restaurants remain unchanged: Grand Pacific Dining Room, Aizar Dining Room, Paniolo’s Tapas & Salsa Restaurant, Blue Lagoon, and the Garden Café/Kid’s Café, and Great Outdoors, as well as the Action Station evenings in the Garden Café.
Kuki:

I am a big fan of the specialty restaurants on NCL and I have found they deliver excellent food. The other unique thing is that each one also delivers its own experience and mood. The Asian restaurants are usually festive, Le Bistro is elegant and the others have a high level of personal service. To top it all off the no-charge restaurants are also pretty good.

For an additional $115 p.p. (to try all of the up charge restaurants) I think it's one of the best dining experiences you'll have on a mainstream ship, or perhaps any ship.

I'm really excited to get onboard the Jewel and make those reservations! With the great fare we found the additional charges are not going to be a problem.

The ship listing to the port side will be a problem. I'll gain too much weight after all that food.

Thanks for the GREAT virtual cruise!
Mike

Take care,
Mike
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 09:14 AM
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Mike... I know you'll have a TERRIFIC cruise on Jewel. Wish I was going with you guys as I love the Baltic, and the Jewel.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Kuki - thanks for the info on the restaurants. I wanted to have info available when making the decision of what to do next.

I have really enjoyed your vitual cruise and look forward to the keel laying ceremony pictures. I can't believe it is almost over At least you'll get to meet up with the missus soon enough and heres to hoping Sam doesn't decide to visit Asia with out you
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 04:17 PM
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Katakalon, Greece – Apr. 21
Cigarette Buds ONLY!

For those evil people like me, who still smoke, there’s ominous signs on the Jade; talk about small smoking sections- this is the only place on deck we smokers are allowed to get together, and then only as many of our buds as can fit in the can at the same time.

After waking this morning I once again went to have breakfast in Cagney’s, to breakfast with all the rich "suite people". They must be stumped, thinking I’m a real eccentric, as they haven’t seen me at all cruise mingling in the Courtyard.

They likely know by now that I’m a pretender to their “suite world” who just found a Platinum Card necessary to enter their world, lying by the pool. I suspect this to be true, because each time I enter the Cagney Breakfast Room I see them checking their pockets to see if they've lost their cards.

This morning when I went to order breakfast, I found the voice of an 8 year old coming out. I was just thankful he didn’t order Fruit Loops, as I don’t really care for them. Fortunately I’m feeling fine so far, only I have this new identity communicating for me.

I’ve never been one to like the idea of a “class structure” on cruise ships, where certain guests are prohibited from certain areas onboard because of the cabin they’ve booked. Of course, now that I’ve had a taste of the perks involved in being part of the ship’s “upper class” I’m rather fond of the class system, as long as I’m included in the top class. Please, don’t force me to go back to being a cruise peon!

Of course the “top class” is an odd club to join; if they’ll admit me, why would I, or you, want to join?

The beds in the upper suites are different from those I’ve been sleeping in. All suites are furnished with the new “Blissful Collection by NCL”. They’re built by a team of six blissful angels in idyllic comfort in heaven to ensure the guests ultimate comfort. The beds in all other cabins have had a Euro memory foam mattress foam added, and are also extremely comfortable. They’re hand-made just outside the pearly gates by a team of 12 felons seeking redemption.

Seriously (for a moment) the beds are REALLY comfortable, and I love the new pillows and duvets.

Taking into consideration, whatever it is living in my voice box, and the fact I’ll be flying quite a bit in the next several days I made the decision to stay onboard in Katakalon.

Katakalon is located on the Greek mainland. The most popular tour here is a visit to the birthplace of the Olympics. The town of Katakalon is also just a nice town to stroll, and stop at one of a number of sidewalk cafés to people watch.

I took the time onboard to nap and sadly pack my suitcase to prepare for tomorrow’s disembarkation. I first tried to pack all of my belongings in my carry-on, and leave the suitcase empty, and therefore free to travel distant parts of the world without worry. However, I just have too much with me now to fit.

For our final meal onboard we gathered in Cagney’s Steak House to end the cruise with a simply fabulous meal. I returned to the cabin to kiss my suitcase goodbye .. er I mean, to place my luggage in the hallway for pick up.

In the morning we’re off to the Athens airport, and headed to France. This will be my first opportunity to visit a shipyard, and I’ve very excited,
though honestly I could be kept pretty happy by staying on the Jade to go around again.

Keep dropping in here, and we'll ZEE You in France, mes ami (my buds ).
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 10:38 PM
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Hi Kuki - First time cruisemates poster here.

I was told about your blog on another cruise website and had to join and tell you I've enjoyed all of it! We'll be on the Jade this August, London to Barcelona.

I'm also looking foward to the continuation when you board the Carnival Freedom. We've been looking at the Freedom's Mediterranian itinerary and I'll be very interested to read your about your insights and thoughts as you cross the Atlantic. I followed John Heald's blog for quite a while during the Freedom's maiden voyages in Europe.

So there you have it...my first post on Cruisemates. Thanks so much for a terrific blog.

Ciao,
WaWW
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Old April 23rd, 2008, 02:35 AM
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I have truly enjoyed all of your reports, thanks so much for doing them.

My last question ( I hope) is about the smoking, is there really only one place outside where smoking is allowed ?

I am sure I read somewhere that there were a few designated areas for smoking, I know the casino is the only place inside but had hoped for some outside areas.
As a smoker how did you cope?

I don't think we smokers are evil, just misguided

Thanks again for the review.
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  #100 (permalink)  
Old April 24th, 2008, 05:05 PM
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I don't know if Kuki will have a chance to post these so I am doing it for him.

I don't know about you guys, but I am VERY excited about this new style of cruising. I was just reading about the new F3 Entertainment options and they sound very cool. I will post more about that - meanwhile, here are some cabin pictures, the new F3 cabins:

[img]/gallery/galleries/3912/thumb73168.jpg[/img]
full size below:
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/image.php?id=73168

[img]/gallery/galleries/3912/thumb73169.jpg[/img]
full size below:
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/image.php?id=73169

[img]/gallery/galleries/3912/thumb73170.jpg[/img]
full size below:
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/image.php?id=73170

[img]/gallery/galleries/3912/thumb73171.jpg[/img]
full size below:
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/image.php?id=73171

[img]/gallery/galleries/3912/thumb73172.jpg[/img]
full size below:
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/image.php?id=73172

[img]/gallery/galleries/3912/thumb73173.jpg[/img]
full size below:
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/image.php?id=73173
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  #101 (permalink)  
Old April 24th, 2008, 06:07 PM
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I have been without internet service for the two days we\ve been on land. Here's a story about yesterday.

Les Miserable`
I’m not talking about the famed play. Today, it’s about me being “les miserable”, and almost all that goes with it. I am once again temporarily “miserable`”, and it’s been well deserved.

The curtain rises with a forlorn looking Kuki sitting in Charles DeGaulle Airport, outside of Paris, waiting for a replacement flight to Nantes, France. The replacement needed because we arrived 20 minute later from Athens than our scheduled flight departed.

The fortunate part is there is another flight with space for this group of weary journalists, in only 3 hours, rather than having to wait overnight for the next flight.

We’re diligently working, trying to get to Nantes to witness the keel laying ceremony of the new F3 at Aker Yards. After as difficult a travel day as its been I’ve come to the conclusion there is NO laying worth witnessing that is worth this much trouble, even if was me getting “layed”.

It’s no longer called Murphy’s Law, I think I’ve gone through enough airline misadventures of late to name one after myself; so now it’s “officially”” Kuki’s Fiasco Of Flying” Law (FO Flying, for short)

Of course, any new law requires specification and definition, so from this day forward to qualify as a Kuki’s Law the incident must include, at a minimum:
#1- When the only flight on your itinerary that leaves on time is the one you are connecting to.

#2- When the carrier you are booked with employs a seat map allowing passenger space ratios of 19 sq. inches per each supposed human body.\

#3- When the agent at check in hands you a boarding pass showing yours is a middle seat (and on boarding you find a 6’9” Drill Sergeant, carrying his infant child in his lap, has the window seat, and a Greek Goat-herder, together with his prized goat in the aisle seat. (I believe they’re there to try and join the Mile High Club, but I can’t say that with certainty)

#4- When the Pilot announces the departure will be delayed because of Military activities in the skies surrounding the airport (and you check to see if you remembered to wear your brown flying pants, or if the stain on your butt will be noticeable).

# 5- When after taxiing the runways for 45 minutes the flight’s Chief Purser announces that we’re 19th in line for take-off.

#6- When the “in flight meal” is served minnows are staring up at you from within sealed plastic containers, stamped with a best used by date of 2011.

#7 – When the flight attendant offers you a drink, and asks if you’d like ice with it – staring at you because they know the water for the ice is taken from the airplane toilet and only an unknowing tourist would say yes.

#8 – When an announcement is made that we’ve made up considerable time in the air, and you’ll have only missed your connecting flight by 15 minutes, rather than the expected 45.

#9- When airport designs are such that every connecting flight you’re taking requires exiting a secure area, then returning through security again; carrying with it the possibility of a full body cavity search. Or in my case, ANOTHER full body cavity search.

#10 – when the boarding gate is opened and families with children are told to board first, but are run over by the panicked rush of others to the check in gate, and one fatality during the process is deemed acceptable for on time boarding, for the sake of recorded airline safety statistics. (Most likely to occur in France).

#11 – when waiting at the luggage carousel, seeing damaged and destroyed luggage is viewed as a better option than not seeing your luggage arrive at all. Filling in reports for either missing or damaged luggage takes approximately the same amount of time, so no bonus points for either situation.

As everyone who’s been following along knows poor Sam Sonite” and poor me have been supplying entertainment of late for the mythical gods of the Aegean and Ionian Regions. There’s an old saying that seems appropriate to quote here: “As men plan, god laughs!” And I’m beginning to feel like I’ve been playing God’s Improv Comedy Club for two weeks.


After previous journeys to Europe I have often said the American airline industry needed to take a lesson from European Airlines. Apparently, and unfortunately, it seems the European Airlines instead have taken the lead from the U.S. Lines, and are following them on the way to the customer service toilet.

Today we got to experience the incompetence of Air France. The tube they used to get us from Athens to Paris had seats much like many a bus tour I used to take, and the reason I quit taking them when I can. I had to sit sideways, legs in the aisle way, for most of the trip.

The roomiest seat on the airplane was the toilet, and I went several times, intentionally extending my stay to as long as I thought people might not notice one person occupying it for soooooo long.

The 40 minute flight to Nantes (prounced Naunt) was on a slightly more modern member of the Air France fleet, and I struck gold grabbing an exit row seat, when an elderly lady didn’t want her assigned seat there. I trampled only 3 Turkish children to get there in time to offer to trade. (But they were young children so I do expect them to heal quickly).

This flight was in fact uneventful; the group gathered by the carousel in the terminal to play the game of luggage roulette. Everyone’s bag but mine had appeared, when suddenly a twinkle in my eye- there was Sam sneaking out through the carousel doors.

Alas, poor Sam took one for the team on today’s flights, arriving with a broken appendage. The kind woman at the Air France baggage desk informed me I could have the suitcase repaired here in Nantes sometime during my now 30 hr. stay, or when I returned home… and then simply send Air France the bill.

Essentially I probably shouldn’t have invested in any more of my time at this point even filling out the report.

From the Nantes Airport, our bus made the one hour journey to the Hotel de Golf, where we’d be staying during our visit. This “hotel” is a lovely, and quite scenic, two storey resort, stretched around in a large horse shoe shape. I’m not sure the hotel could have been located any further from the airport or it would have been in Spain.

My room, of course, was at one of the extreme outside ends of the horse shoe, and at the time of our arrival there was no one to assist with luggage. There I was walking down a darkened hillside path, with my two carry-on bags, and an injured Sam; asking myself what the heck I was doing here.

Arriving to my humongous Villa style room was interesting. The thing had a stove, microwave, cutlery, coffee maker (no coffee), refrigerator, television (with no English programming). The spot might make for a sublime weekend getaway for a couple of weekend lovebirds, or someone who drove to the area and brought some groceries with them. Without knowing exactly where we’re located, I think for us to get to a grocery store to buy a few items we’d have had to take a taxi to Italy.

We probably should have, as there is no restaurant available on site late at night, or after breakfast, until dinner time.

For our purposes, it sucked, other than perhaps containing a bed. There’s no in room internet available, and though they claim there are WiFi hot spots, only those using Macs had any luck connecting to the network.

Take a bunch of cruise journalists, many of them working on the net” and put them in a hotel without internet service? Yup… we become WHINERS! Even charging electronics became an issue, because they don’t have any adapters to borrow. I have one with me, so I’ve been loaning it out.

Though the villa is equipped with all manner of household appliances, flatware, pots & pans, even a strainer, there was no iron. I called the front desk to inquire, and was told I could come to Reception… which I did, and when I did they called housekeeping to deliver an iron and ironing board. I suppose they had seen me check in, and thought I needed the exercise, but surely they could have saved me that step.

Today I’ve obviously given you a peek at some of the bits of mayhem which occur when you (well at least when I) travel abroad. Some days, no matter how much you want to make the best of your vacation, you simply can’t… you are just simply the designated entertainment for the gods…. And hopefully the CruiseMates readers!
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Old April 24th, 2008, 06:12 PM
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I just got back from viewing the New Wave NCL cabins for F3, and then to the keel laying cerermony. I placed a Canadian Loonie into the tube that was welded to the kiel for good luck.

I have tons of pics and stories to tell. But have been with no internet service until now, my last few hours here.

Hopefully , with layover time in Paris tomorrow, I can share some more..... as I make my to meet Mrs. Kuki in Miami.... and hopefully start this all over again Saturday night from the Carnival Freedom for 14 days!

Do come to the Carnival board to visit me there... but way more to hear about what's sure to be an outstanding new ship in the F3, and way more details on Freestyle 2.0
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Old April 24th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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Seeing the mock up of the cabins was pretty cool, and getting to discuss our opinions of the "New Wave" of cabins with the top NCL execs like Colin Veitch, and Andy Stuarts was great as well.

After dinner we all went out to dinner, and met many more people involved with NCL F 3, including sharing a dinner table with partners from Appollo and shipyard. Great stuff to come and more pics.

Hope to get some juicy stop in tomorrow night when I land in Miami.

Go figure the internet finally starts working our last night , when I have to get some sleep , to get ready for my 4 AM wake up.

Thanks to Paul for the pics... even they don't do them justice. Very very innovative!.... though a couple of interesting issues to discuss and watch to see how they evolve.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 06:38 PM
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I'm afraid of beginning too much detail in case I fall asleep or the internet dies. But, it's been a odd electronic challenge. Interesting to be able to se nd back tons of stories and pictures from the ship, yet get shut down once on back on land.

I will follow up with stories about the cabin, and a few comments from Colin Veitch about the cabin designs, and some pricing issues regarding surchare restaurant policies.

Hopefully I'll write them en route to Miami, and post when I get there tomorrow evening.
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Old April 24th, 2008, 08:44 PM
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Since we hadn't heard from you, I figured you might have been kidnapped by Briget Bardot, or Catherine Deneuve! Leave it to you to have such Kuki adventures. I look forward to the next chapter, with a Caribbean and Spanish twist!
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Old April 25th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Kuki, thanks for the laugh. This was a awful week many of my long time friends are leaving the Company this week. I am down to 90 days until I retire. Again thanks for the laugh. Mike
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Old April 25th, 2008, 11:06 PM
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Hello from Miami. After leaving our hotel at 4:30 this AM to catch flights to Paris, and then for me on to London, and from there to Miami.

A bit cross eyed, and jet lagged, but I made my flights, and arrived in Miami, even if it was an hour late.

Naturally.... to keep with the story..... my luggage did not.

Told British Air they have until 5 PM tomorrow to get me my suitcase, or they'll be chasing me back to Rome.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 06:19 AM
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Oh no, I can't believe you have no luggage again, hope it arrives very soon.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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I think Sam is trying to escape from you....
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Old April 26th, 2008, 06:47 PM
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One Tale Ends- Another Begins; and one tail is still chasing another
Today I boarded the Carnival Freedom. My ole buddy Sam Sonite flew into Miami today via British Air, who had in fact done their deed yesterday by losing my luggage at the new and quickly becoming notorious Terminal 5. They may simply want to change that name to Terminal Luggage, the 5 Billion Dollar luggage burial site.
At any rate, the guest relations desk onboard the Freedom helped me call British Air to try and track down Sam. After some time on hold, while they called Miami and the delivery service charged with getting my suitcase to the Freedom, they told me the bag had indeed been delivered to the Freedom, and signed for by Charles. Charles Keating? Charles Manson?.... no way to know.
The staff on The Freedom have no way to confirm that the bag was delivered and is onboard. Not a great system! If lost luggage is delivered to the ship, it is simply dropped with the porters, and placed in bins to go on the ship. There is no confirmation system, to know if in fact it is on the ship or not.
A very pleasant Guest Relations desk told me to check back with him if it hasn’t been delivered to my cabin by 8 P.M. If by 8 P.M. it hasn’t arrived, and I call the Guest Relations to tell them, then we’ll both know it’s not here.
So, I’ll leave all you NCL folks, who’ve been reading along this Virtual Cruise Report, with a cliff-hanger ending .
Or, if you want to know the ending… come on over to the Virtual Cruise Report on the Carnival message board…
http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=594346
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Old April 27th, 2008, 04:33 AM
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Kuki, hope you get your bags ok.

I hate to ask again but can you tell me where on the jade is it ok to smoke please, is there really only one tiny area outside?
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Old April 27th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marjrie
Kuki, hope you get your bags ok.

I hate to ask again but can you tell me where on the jade is it ok to smoke please, is there really only one tiny area outside?
You can smoke in your cabin, on your balcony, and outside decks on the port side... just not near food areas., and in the casino, and casino bar.
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