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  #31 (permalink)  
Old April 14th, 2008, 01:23 PM
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Kuki! You're killing me!

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Old April 14th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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April 14 Cont’d – by Kuki

From the Ephesus Museum.. the picture above is the origin of the saying… the pen is mightier than the sword.

The Jade stayed in Mykonos until midnight tonight, as our next port of call of Santorini is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Mykonos is very popular tourist vacation spot, including well known artists, actors and actresses, magicians and the occasional unknown cruise travel writer.

On our previous visit here we rented a car and explored the island on our own. Even though signs are in Greek, it’s not a difficult island to tour on your own. Getting lost, simply leads you to spots you may not get to on a tour, and is just part of the adventure. If you’re going to sail the Jade on this itinerary I highly recommend the vehicle rental route. Rental outlets are located immediately adjacent to where the ship’s shuttle drops off passengers.

I was invited to cruise on the Jade as part of a Press Trip put together by NCL’s Public Relations Dept. essentially to experience the implementation of Freestyle 2.0. NCL’s AnneMarie Mathews is hosting the group, along with her colleague Courtney Recht.

AnneMarie arrived in Istanbul the same day I did. Courtney just joined the ship today in Mykonos. Though more press will be joining us as the cruise goes on, at this time the only other writer with us is Dan Askin of Cruise Critic.

I’m explaining a bit about the “Press Trip” so you’ll understand why we’re getting access to some information, areas, and people, we might not get to if we were here on our own.

Oh yes… Dan, AnneMarie, and Courtney all made it to the ship with their luggage, so those heading to European cruises this year should take heart -- it is possible.


Pic above is AnneMarie and Courtney.

I’ve come to believe that my predicament is all Mrs. Kuki’s fault. Every time I cruise without her (which is very infrequently) something goes wrong. Not that she wishes me any ill, but I know she’s been reading along, and laughing her little fanny off.

As we were in port late tonight AnneMarie and Courtney invited us to have dinner with them ashore. We dined at a quaint, yet busy, taverna near the town hall, called Nikos. Getting to spend this relaxed time together is a very pleasant way to get to know the people at the cruise lines, who we often request information from, and gives us, and them, the opportunity to get to know one another on a personal basis as well. It’s nice to just chat, laugh, and tell stories.

While dining we witnessed two very large pink pelicans roaming freely, and surprisingly comfortably, among the crowds. They’re obviously very used to being around people, but it was an odd contrast to see it happening.

I saw one pelican approach the live lobster tank display at one restaurant, looking quite hungry. As he got closer to the entrance I could almost hear him saying… table for 1 please.


After dinner we strolled back to the shuttle pick up spot, and returned to the ship. We stopped by the photo galleries, and had them burn a CD with the pictures I’ve taken so far, so I’m now able to begin to share some of the pictures with you.

This evening in the Stardust Theater the show was a Sound of Music sing-a-long. It began at 8:30, but we were still ashore. It’s likely a good thing because no one onboard would want to hear me singing along to anything. My lack of talent with regard to anything musical, if measurable, could easily be considered for the Guinness Book of World Records.

Another option for evening entertainment tonight was in Spinnaker’s Lounge, with game shows, table games and dancing, but with an early tour booked for tomorrow in Santorini, I chose to try and make an early night of it.
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Old April 14th, 2008, 04:38 PM
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YIKES Kuki,
A few more days without luggage....keep us posted if you actually do see it before the cruise is over. Seems if that does happen, it happens to you

Sounds like a great cruise, lots of history and a beautiful ship.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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This is a joke which fit right in with Kuki and his luggage.

Christmas Reflections

It was slightly before Christmas 2007. The airport had turned a tacky red and green, and loudspeakers blared annoying elevator renditions of cherished Christmas carols.

Being someone who took Christmas very seriously, and being slightly tired, he was not in a particularly good mood.

Going to check in his luggage (which, for some reason, had become one suitcase with entirely new clothes), he saw hanging mistletoe.

Not real mistletoe, but very cheap plastic with red paint on some of the rounder parts and green paint on some of the flatter and pointier parts, that could be taken for mistletoe only in a very Picasso sort of way.

With a considerable degree of irritation and nowhere else to vent it, he said to the attendant, "Even if I were not married, I would not want to kiss you under such a ghastly mockery of mistletoe."

"Sir, look more closely at where the mistletoe is," said the attendant.

"Ok, I see that it's above the luggage scale, which is the place you'd have to step forward to for a kiss," said the man.

"That's not why it's there," added the attendant.

"Ok, I give up. Why is it there?" asked the man.

"It's there so you can kiss your luggage goodbye!" said the tart attendant.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 01:27 PM
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that is priceless Ray
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Old April 15th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Way to go Ray! A personalized joke for Kuki! "" "" ""

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Old April 15th, 2008, 07:06 PM
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Well Kuki,
While I am terribly sorry about your lost luggage, there may be a bright side to it, although I'm sure you can't see it right now . You will have a lot more clean clothes (and less laundry) that haven't been worn when you join us for the Freedom cruise . OK, it's not funny but at least it's true.

See ya soon!
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Old April 15th, 2008, 07:27 PM
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Oh Ray, Too funny!
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Old April 16th, 2008, 01:54 AM
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April 15- Santorini- By Kuki
There was a bit of an issue with my internet access, so I apologize that today’s report didn’t get posted as timely as normal. At any rate… on to the next chapter of the story.

I’m now feeling as though I’m over the jet lag. My head is quite clear… keeping in mind that it’s my head. Even though the cruise remains busy, by sort of taking the day off in Mykonos, with no all day touring, I’ve had a chance to settle in, and begin feeling caught up to the cruise.

Arriving back to my cabin last night I found the cabin steward had laid out a large bag on the bed, along with a notice of today’s laundry special… fill the bag with wash and fold laundry for only $15. If I put in all the clothes I had with me and went naked, the bag would still be half empty. The invitation for this laundry special was somewhat ironic, but did give me a good chuckle, as I thought of filling it with the towels and linens and pillow cases in the cabin.

This morning I made, and enjoyed a pot of coffee in my cabin prior to heading to the Stardust Theater at 8:45 for my meeting point for the Volcano Hiking Tour I had booked today.

The young lady coordinating the tour departures was explaining that the seas were a bit rough this morning, and that all tours would be tendering to a different dock than is normally used, and all tours would use the cable cars to get to the top, to the town of Fira. She also explained there was some concern that as the day passed, it may become too windy to use the cable cars to bring everyone back down to the tender dock. If that occurred the cable cars would be stopped, and everyone would be required to walk down the switch back path.
No mention was made of the famed Santorini Donkeys, used as an alternative to moving passengers up, or down, the pathway, so I wasn’t sure if the donkeys take the winter off , and it was too early in the season for them to start carrying cruisers up and down the path again.

Having just been here 11 months ago, I remembered the trek up and down the hill all too well. We had taken the cable cars up, but upon returning the lines to take the cable car down were extremely long, so we had opted to walk down… until after about 10 minutes of avoiding donkey “poo” filled steps, we switched gears and rode the donkeys down. I didn’t want to walk in their “poo” anymore than they would like to walk in mine.

After riding the donkeys down, or even walking down, a quick and direct trip to the shower is an urgent requirement. Everyone within smelling vicinity thinks you’ve been born and raised in a mangy manger.

Because we had experienced this fairly recently, I didn’t feel the staffer informing those going on tours was being direct enough explaining the process, if the need did arise for everyone to walk down from the town to the spot where the tenders dock. As I looked around at the other passengers in the showroom, I saw many who I felt would be somewhat physically challenged trying to walk down the path. I felt it necessary to suggest to the tour coordinator that she make the possible difficulty of the walk down clearer to everyone on the tours. I feared that not doing so could easily lead to many, many complaints afterwards about unfair warnings being given, and possibly injuries.

With my own knees, and back being nowhere near as good as they used to be, I myself opted out of taking my tour, just in case the situation did require the walk down, that I felt I would not be comfortable with. So, instead, I decided to stay onboard and devote today’s reports to discussing the ship, and more of the Freestyle 2.0 upgrades. Luckily for all of those who did go on tours today, the strong winds did not materialize and the cable cars were able to run all day, returning all passengers to the tender area.

After making the decision to stay onboard I headed directly to the Cagney’s Breakfast Room. This is open for breakfast each day from 7 A.M – 10 A.M., and entry is gained by sliding the coded key card into the key card device immediately outside the door. Access is available solely to guests in the Garden Villa, the Courtyard Villas, Penthouse Suites, and Romance Suites (only the top 48 suite onboard). It is not available to guests in Mini-suites or lower categories. The same room at Cagney’s is also available for lunch, though I haven’t tried that yet.

There is however many other features and upgrades involved in Freestyle 2.0 which all guests onboard, regardless of cabin category booked, will enjoy and avail themselves of. The very basis of 2.0 seems to be to greatly expand on NCL’s advertising slogan, “Free To Whatever”, to make it a reality onboard.

For example, there have been significant changes made to the management of the entertainment program onboard. Paul Baya, who was the ship’s Cruise Director, is now referred to as the Guest Activities Director. And in my discussions with Paul to date, it seems his job has changed rather dramatically.

They’re now attempting to schedule all variety of entertainment options, and instructional and participatory classes packaged together in what is referred to as “NCL U”. With all the NCL U programs, and then production shows and headliners create action almost continuously throughout the day and evening. The intent is to make certain the guests are “Free to Whatever”…. And whenever. I admit to telling Paul that the program is almost wasted on a “cruise vegetable” like me, who wants to do very little but relax.
However as we discussed the various upcoming events schedule for the balance of this cruise, it became apparent that even a “slug” like myself would very likely get more get involved.

When cruising on other lines, if you’re a past guest on the line, you can normally pretty easily predict what the daily activities sheet is going to look like from one cruise to the next. Often it seems the daily is simply a template, where they change the names of the current showroom headliners as the weeks go by. With Freestyle 2.0 there is no such template. Each cruise is going to require careful planning, scheduling and implementation to match the itineraries, and adjust with which events prove to be more popular, and conversely those that don’t draw much attention. For example, this evening I have a choice of an Opera presentation in the Stardust Theater, or Second City Comedy Troupe Cabaret in Spinnaker’s Lounge. Those of you who’ve got to know me will most probably guess -- I’ll be the guy with the lack of culture, laughing it up with the Second City Comedy Troupe.

There’s an upcoming themed lunch available, for a surcharge, featuring Gospel music by the ship’s vocalist.

The Jade is a sister ship to the Dawn, Jewel, Gem and Pearl. And these are amongst my favorite ships. The layouts are simple and easy to get around. I like the size, and the traffic flow. The design is such that even though they are large ships, you do run into familiar faces as you move about the ship. Unlike some ships which are not as well laid out, you rarely have to arrange specific times and places to meet friends and travel mates; you’ll more often than not simply run into each other.

With the odd exception, non-smokers will delight when sailing the Jade. While smoking is allowed in guest cabins and on balconies, all public rooms other than the casino are totally smoke free. Even the Cigar Bar, which was within the Bar City area, is now smoke-free (with the cigar smoking area being moved outdoors to the Bar area on Deck 13 aft).

I received a note this afternoon from the Jade’s Front Office Manager informing me that they had confirmation that my luggage was flying out of Istanbul today. Apparently my toothbrush and toothpaste have decided that while traveling, they’d like to visit the Acropolis (they heard a rumor of a plaque there…. GROAN), so they’re making an overnight stop in Athens. Then, if my dress slacks get back in time from a night of clubbing in Athens, they’ll fly to Alexandria, Egypt tomorrow. It is nice to hear my belongings are having as good a time as I am. Though, if I’m not REUNITED with my missing underwear soon, we may have to redefine freestyle.

Frankly, as part of this press group, one part of Freestyle I haven’t been able to test drive during this cruise is dealing with making dinner reservations. There are electronic flat screen displays outside all of the various restaurants showing the availability of space in all the restaurants, which does assist in dining decisions, for those who have not made reservations in advance.

One part of the Freestyle 2.0 upgrades for guests in balcony cabins, mini-suites and above is a priority reservation system and reception hotline. Considering some 85% of the cabins on the ship would fit into those categories, I’m not quite certain how effective this “perk” will be, and I’m going to inquire about that. We may have to take pity on the poor souls booking inside cabins, and going hungry for lack of reservations. Fairly soon we may see those inside cabin folks hanging around outside of the restaurants begging those in balcony cabins to let them go to dinner with them.

To be serious, I have only witnessed people lining up one night (the first night) at the Pacific Garden Dining Room. We’ve dined in several restaurants now, and I’ve wandered the ship in the evenings, and haven’t seen any restaurants totally full at any other time.

For dinner tonight we tried the Asian menu at the Jasmine Garden, which also has the sushi bar located right next to it. I’m not a sushi fan, but others in the group seemed to thoroughly enjoy a beautifully presented “boat of sushi” appetizers. Everyone ordered an entrée and we shared them all Family-style.

Two other writers joined the ship today in Santorini. One is a young man, James Byrd, who works as a member of the wait staff on the Pride of America. He began his own blog recently, and was noticed by the “right people” at NCL, who were impressed enough to invite him on this trip; Great initiative from a young man not yet old enough to drink.

After dinner, as promised I checked out the Second City Troupe in the Spinnaker Cabaret. I was impressed by a very talented and funny group. They did sketch comedy, improvisational skits, as well as improvising songs with audience participation. They drew a good crowd, who all seemed to be enjoying the entertainment.

I hadn’t had the opportunity yet to donate to the casino, playing blackjack which I enjoy. As I made my way from Spinnaker’s to the casino I did stop by the Stardust Theater to quickly check out the Opera. I’m saddened to report that I proved to myself yet again that I am a man of no culture, with little taste. Of course I like to think of it as being a man’s man, preferring to be in a casino, to being at an Opera. And it’s exactly that type of thinking that proves the earlier point.

Tomorrow’s port of call is Iraklion, Greece ( pronounced Heraklion ) which is on the island of Crete. I have no tour booked, so my intent is to sleep in, and then take the free ship shuttle from the ship’s berth to the piers terminal and gate. From there I’ll find a taxi to take me to a wonderful outdoor marketplace we visited the last time we were here. I’m driven by the memory of how good the pistachios were that I bought there last year. The challenge may be that I have no idea what it’s called, and Iraklion is a very large city, and I speak no Greek, other than being able to say thank you. I may end up just spending my day saying thank you to every pickpocket, thief and vagabond in Iraklion as I attempt to get back to the ship. I’ll be sure to take the name and number of the ship’s port agent with me on this little solo adventure.

It’s funny to think how much braver I am when I have Mrs. Kuki along to take care of me.

Did I tell you she’s reading along? Yup, I spoke to her tonight, and she was laughing at me! Remember the camera chord that I had mentioned being in my lost suitcase? While reading she saw it next to the computer on my desk. Of course, it’s her fault for not reminding me to pack it.

Private Note to Mrs. Kuki (The rest of you shouldn’t read this!) I love you dear, and miss you a bunch, even if I am now traveling with three great looking women, with more to come, and the day after tomorrow, on our sea day, we have a wine and cheese tasting, followed by a Beer tasting, followed by Margarita Madness, and concluding with a Tequila tasting, on our official press schedule. If things get really crazy, and everyone gets naked, maybe I can at least steal some clothes as insurance in case my luggage doesn’t show up in Alexandria.

At Medusa’s Lounge the ship has some private party rooms, initially installed to rent out for private karaoke parties. Aside from Karaoke equipment, these rooms now also have Wii games, and there’s no longer any charge to use them. You do have to reserve them. We’re planning on a couple of tournaments of Wii games. I’m just hoping I can Wii bowl better than Barrack Obama.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old April 16th, 2008, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ready2gonow
Kuki, I'm glad your luggage has decided to join you! Did your luggage passport get stamped?

Question.... can you carry on a piece of luggage and your computer, when you fly?

Also, you mentioned that it was a little cool, what are the temps, now? A little cool to you would probably be down right cold, to me!
Ready.. you'll have to check your airline's restrictions. I normally carry a backpack with my laptop in it, and another carry-on with wheels.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marjrie
Hi, I am new to this forum and reading your reports with great interest.

Am I right in thinking that you get the Cagneys breakfast as you are a past cruiser? Or can anyone in a balcony or mini suite have this?

Also can you tell me if all balcony passengers get the fruit basket, we are going on our first cruise with NCL (1st cruise ever really) in June in a mini suite and wondered if we will get the fruit and canapes?

Hope your suitcase arrives safely very soon.
Welcome to the site first off.

I think I've now mentioned the Cagney's breakfast is for suite passengers and above only. The Mini suites you'll get the custom fruit menu, but not the canape choices. Though the last night there's cookies sent to your cabin.
The mini suites are really nice cabins though!
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Old April 16th, 2008, 02:05 AM
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If you want to see more pictures from the area, that I havent been able to post yet... visit my Virtual cruise Report from last May on the Jewel.

Here's the link
http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/vie...hlight=virtual
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Old April 16th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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Wow, Kuki,
Sounds like almost everything is going well on this cruise, except for the laundry/luggage issues. Let us know if your stuff shows up tomorrow, got my fingers crossed.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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Kuki, Thanks for the reply, it all sounds good, I hope your luggage turns up safely tomorrow.

Can I ask one more question?
In our brochures here in the UK it says that there are coffee and tea making in the cabin, but from what I have read it seems that there is actually only a coffee maker, can you clear this up for me as we brits cannot function until we have a mornind cup of tea.

Will I need to bring a kettle?
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Old April 16th, 2008, 11:28 AM
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and still no luggage???? OMG!!!!
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Old April 17th, 2008, 03:16 AM
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April 16 – Iraklion (Crete), Greece
We’ll begin by catching up on some random photos taken so far:







-FEEL My Frustration GROWING-
I have to admit my sense of “ha ha” regarding my lost suitcase is finally beginning to evaporate. When notified the other day that my suitcase had been located, and even what flight numbers it would be taking I felt a sense of relief. I was also told I’d have to sign a letter authorizing the NCL Port Agent to pick it up.

As I hadn’t yet received said letter by this afternoon I went to the Guest Relations Desk to check on that and get an update. This time I was told they no longer know where the suitcase is, and were still checking and would get back to me later in the afternoon.

By the time I left for our dinner reservation tonight, at 8 P.M. I had not heard any more. Aside from dining with the press group, AnneMarie, Courtney, Dan, James, Jennifer, we were joined by the Jade’s Hotel Director, Armando – who I have sailed with before, and is such of a gem of a man, he should be sailing the Gem.


I told Armando, AnneMarie and Courtney that I was at the stage of needing some pull. Armando did call the Front Desk Manager immediately, and we were informed that no one, not Turkish Airlines, not NCL’s Port Agent, and probably not the Bedouin Caravans in Egypt, knew where my suitcase was, where it was going, or when it would get there.

It had been “confirmed” earlier the suitcase had arrived in Istanbul on Apr. 13, and it would be leaving on Apr. 15, arriving in Alexandria, today Apr. 16. And now it has disappeared once again.

To this point I have taken the incident rather well because I could understand how, with my tight flight schedules, things can (and DID) go wrong. But at this point it’s no longer an unfortunate mistake; it’s incompetence. I do not (nor should anyone have to) tolerate incompetence well!

Just before I left for this cruise Turkish Airlines had announced, with great fanfare, their becoming a part of the “Star Alliance”. Perhaps it was a misprint, and they were joining the Star Wars Alliance.

I’ve been very patient for 5 days, trying not to let the situation adversely affect my enjoyment of the cruise, and the marvelous itinerary, but I am now starting to consider alternate plans for leaving the cruise early if my suitcase does not arrive during our overnight stay in Alexandria. And sadly that is taking its toll on me, and my mood is changing.

Then, as normal, when I returned to the cabin late at night to write and send today’s report I found the ship’s Internet connection not functioning at all. We gain an hour tonight due to a time change, and I had planned to spend that hour uploading a bunch of pictures to my Jade photogallery.

I had solved my problem of lack of USB chord by having the photo gallery put all my previous pictures on CD. Then I eliminated a future problem by purchasing another digital camera onboard, only to run into the connection problem. Mr. Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame, seems to have taken a firm grip, lifting me off of the ground, and shaken me like a rag doll.

I’ll ask that you indulge my self-indulgence today, and enjoy my pity party with me. Below is today’s report.

I did indeed sleep in this morning, and woke to my find my Internet connection working again, so I put on a pot of coffee, and sent in last night’s story.
By the way, while WiFi service is available throughout the ship’s public areas, to access the Internet from inside your cabin you’ll need to bring along an Ethernet cable. There are several different lengths of time packages available.
Today I spent a lovely few hours strolling and socializing with the easily found Cretans (OK…so I’ve used that joke before, but I can’t help it, it still makes me laugh).




I do love the people of Greece. They are such a warm, helpful and welcoming people. As mentioned I speak no Greek, and venturing off solo today I came up with a plan to use in the event I didn’t accidentally stumble across the sites I wanted to get to.

It was very simple… Every time I had a question I decided to seek out a young, beautiful Greek woman. I just assumed these days the younger generations were probably taught English in school. Their beauty, of course, had nothing to do with any theory that they’d know English, but either way the view would be great.

After some twists and turns through the streets of Old Town, I did find the pedestrian markets I’d remembered, and I casually enjoyed a few hours wandering. I delightfully came across a shop selling eye glasses, and bought some lens cleaner (that is packed in my suit case), and a cleaning cloth, that I’d left on my desk at home. Constantly cleaning my glasses is a phobia of mine, btw. I also filled my backpack with pistachios, and slowly wound my way through the streets, stopping along the way at a cafe for some hummus and pita, and then back to the ship.

I was again surprised to see how many of my fellow passengers were just walking through Old Town, rather than being out on either ship’s tour, or one of the hundreds of taxis offering tours at the terminal. We did a full day tour by taxi on our last visit, and it was outstanding. On an itinerary such as this, unless you’ve explored the island before, I really do recommend getting out of the port and seeing some of the culture and history. There are just too many interesting things to see! Plan to spend some Euros and set out to enjoy and experience.

A little tidbit on the reservation system set up for Freestyle 2.0, for balcony cabins and above, that I made mention of yesterday. After a bit of sleuthing (OK I just talked to AnneMarie, of NCL), I found out that there is a direct dial restaurant reservation button on the cabin telephones (yes, I would have seen it if I had looked). If you’re in a balcony cabin you’re allowed to make reservations 48 hrs. in advance. Those booking inside cabins may make reservations 24 hrs. in advance.
A very common gripe we hear about NCL is the cover charge for many of the restaurants.

Those who are not totally used to Freestyle cruising expect the restaurant costs to be included in their fares. While you can certainly eat pretty well on an NCL ship without ever eating in any of the restaurants which carry a cover charge, to avail yourselves of everything the Freestyle has to offer in the area of cuisine, even before you book your cruise you should add approximately $100 per person to the fare you’ve been quoted. Then, with that new total in mind, if you feel you’re still getting a good deal, and value for your vacation dollar, book it, knowing you will be able to fully enjoy any and all of the restaurants available onboard. I repeat this advice any time I write any articles or reviews about NCL ships. But I do so because I do believe it to be very important information, and imperative in planning one’s NCL cruises.

This afternoon, back on the ship, I did suffer through a major disappointment! I had just finished lunch, when I noticed the soft serve, self-serve ice cream machines are out of order. I gasped for a moment, and considered marching right down to Guest Relations to lodge my formal complaint, and demand an onboard credit.

In my mind I also began to formulate the wording for petition to circulate amongst the passengers to lay the groundwork for a class action lawsuit. Recalling last week’s news of the passenger on Carnival being put off a ship for a similar act I reconsidered and let them serve me a cone of hard ice cream. I was so steamed, for a moment I thought my ice cream would melt before I got a chance to eat it, while I rushed to another station to get a pastry.

Though not a direct influence on passengers I’ve come to learn that the Freestyle 2.0 upgrades also apply to staff and crew and their common areas. As I said, as passengers you won’t be directly affected, nor will you likely even know, but there’s little doubt it will affect your cruise experience by contributing to a happier crew. Aside from extra dollars being directed to guest’s food budgets,

NCL is also directing more money to be spent on the food in the crew mess; with the goal of offering a larger selection to them as well. As well, they are upgrading the common areas for off duty crew, with art work, etc. to create a more pleasant living environment, and therefore more pleasant working conditions.

No doubt a contributing factor is the competitive nature of finding and keeping enough great crew members, with the industry in yet another spurt of new build programs. With the value of the U.S. dollar slipping so much recently in comparison to the Euro it has become much more difficult to recruit staff from many of the Eastern European countries, which previously offered a deep pool of experienced service staff.

Tonight we dined at Papa’s Kitchen, the ship’s Italian restaurant, with cover charge. I enjoyed a superb Cheese Tortellini in Alfredo Sauce appetizer, and an even more superb Veal Marsala. In fact the Veal Marsala may be the best I’ve ever had.

After my cruise on the Jewel last spring I reported the food was very good. After 5 days onboard, with the Freestyle 2.0 upgrades to the food departments, I have to say the improvements are obvious. Once the entire cruise is done I’ll be writing a full feature article on Freestyle 2.0, but I can assure you, if you have a cruise coming up on an NCL ship where 2.0 has been implemented, you can look forward to the cruise with great and eager anticipation. You’re in for a treat!

I do have one issue that while it may seem odd to some really needs improvement; even with all the lights on in the cabin, it seems quite dark. Of course it’s more noticeable to me because of the amount of time I spend at the computer, but more lighting would most certainly make the cabin more comfortable for anyone.

Tomorrow is our first, of only two sea days on this busy and intense itinerary, and after checking the schedule in the daily, it could be at least as busy as any of the port days.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Will I need to bring a kettle?
I certainly wouldn't bother with a kettle. Though there isn't one in the cabin, you can certainly get tea delivered via room service every morning, within minutes.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuki
Quote:
Will I need to bring a kettle?
I certainly wouldn't bother with a kettle. Though there isn't one in the cabin, you can certainly get tea delivered via room service every morning, within minutes.
Thanks again, but it won't be my brand of English tea will it

I am really enjoying your reports and sincerely hope that your luggage turns up safely very soon, it would be such a pity to leave the ship now.

Good luck.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 08:37 AM
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Thanks for keeping us updated. The pix are great, the company seems wonderful and I wish I was with you, but not without my luggage.

Today is another day, and I beleive in magic. I think at this stage one would have to if the suitcase is going to show up.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 09:04 AM
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marjrie, just a note from personal experience....
You can order "tea" from room service, and you will get a pot of boiled water and a seperate tea bag. Toss the tea bag, and use your own British tea bag that you've packed and brought from home. Voila! English Tea!

(I am Canadian, and like my Canadian tea. When I actually remember to pack them, I much prefer my Canadian tea bags to the stuff served on most ships).

donna

p.s. Kuki, I sure hope you are reunited with your underwear soon so we all don't have to see you go "Freestyle"! ""
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Old April 17th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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Wow,
I can't believe your luggage is still traveling without you?? Any updates today on the luggage...
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Old April 17th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Kuki........I'm sure it was just a slip.....but you said what balcony cabins & inside cabins can do about reservations.......but what about ocean view??? Just wondering.....I would take it they can opnly do 24 hours in advance?

Making me look forward to our Star ( NCL ) cruise in May......wonder if 2.0 will be done by then?

Hope your luggage finds you soon...........




Sharon
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Old April 17th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Hi Kuki, so sorry to still hear of your luggage woes!! A major bummer!! Your are handling the situation a lot better than Priscilla or I would. Hopefully your bags will show up soon. I see where our friend Armando is the Hotel Director on board. We have sailed with him in Alaska (Sky- June 2000) and Transatlantic (Jewel-Oct.2006). A truly delightful gentleman. Please give him our very best. See you in Miami next week for our next cruise adventure on the Freedom. John & Priscilla
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Old April 17th, 2008, 11:53 AM
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I was hoping your luggage would have caught up with you by now. You have ever right to be annoyed. I think you have shown a great deal of patience. It is ok to turn the other cheek, but after while one runs out of cheeks. Mike
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Old April 17th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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Luggage Update! Luggage Update!
At 5 P.M. I decided to check in at guest relations to see if there had been any further update on my luggage. I spoke with the Ass’t Front Office Manger, Oya OHARA. I mention her by name only because I love the name!

At any rate Oya informs me she spoke directly with the Port Agent in Egypt this morning who “said” they had in their possession a red suitcase with my name on it. As it sounds like it should be mine, my mood lifted, but there is a BUT.

She requested the Port Agent fax, or email, the detailed confirmation to her, so they have confirmation in writing, as is required by policy. By this afternoon, no confirmation in writing has been received to the ship. Oya stated she had just spoke to them again 15 minutes prior to my stopping by, and they “said” they were sending out an email “right away”, but as of this moment, still nothing has arrived.

I am holding out some hope. But I certainly have my own BIG BUT (I have one of those too, but I’m speaking of a different type now). Mine is… BUT what would happen if as a passenger I ran into a more serious problem in Egypt? If NCL is dealing with a company that isn’t capable of sending a confirming fax or email during the course of a full business day, how reliable would they be if they had to deal with a more serious situation?

Wonder where they'll send my casket

As I stated yesterday, I do not tolerate incompetence well! It’s important to note that this entire situation was not the fault of NCL.

To be factual, Oya has said they have filed an official complaint now with the Port Agent company.

I have been describing the process in complete detai, not so much to sound picky, but because as travelers I do think it’s important information to share, and important for everyone reading to think about these possibilities, and plan ahead as best as you possibly can.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LS80
Kuki........I'm sure it was just a slip.....but you said what balcony cabins & inside cabins can do about reservations.......but what about ocean view??? Just wondering.....I would take it they can opnly do 24 hours in advance?

Making me look forward to our Star ( NCL ) cruise in May......wonder if 2.0 will be done by then?

Hope your luggage finds you soon...........
Sharon
Hi ya Sharon,

Yes, any categories below balconies can make reservations 24 hrs in advance. To be honest, if it's just you and Larry I don't even think reservations are necessary. I have seen no lines at all at the restaurants.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
I see where our friend Armando is the Hotel Director on board.
Hi ya John,
Armando DaSilva is a great guy, and an outstanding Hotel Director. Very involved with his passengers.

Very much looking forward to seeing you and Priscilla in Miami.
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Old April 17th, 2008, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelMike
I was hoping your luggage would have caught up with you by now. You have ever right to be annoyed. I think you have shown a great deal of patience. It is ok to turn the other cheek, but after while one runs out of cheeks. Mike
Mike.. if I go without my luggage too much longer instead of turning my cheeks, I'll be dispalying them
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Old April 17th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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BTW.... I have now uploaded many more pictures to the galleries.
http://www.cruisemates.com/gallery/view.php?id=4419

Many cabin photos, as well as some other shots... which will end up in upcoming daily reports. And some that relate to past days.

I haven't had the opportunity to label them, but you just oggle the pictures until I do
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Old April 17th, 2008, 12:19 PM
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Kuki - some great shots! After showing them to my DH he is thinking of trying NCL. How do the rooms compare (size / space) to Carnival?

Sending good karma to your little red bag and making it to your room so you don't need to "freestyle"
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