A Lazy Day At Sea

No–there are no buts. The ship is very nice. So far I am pleasantly surprised/pleased by this Carnival cruise.

“The ship is very nice,” I said as I walked back in the room a few moments ago.

“But,” Helaine replied?

No–there are no buts. The ship is very nice. So far I am pleasantly surprised/pleased by this Carnival cruise. There is a lot to like.

We’d asked for early seating so were surprised when we got our assignment for late seating! Our decision was more a result of indecision, so this substitution wasn’t much of a problem. We headed for the Sensation Dining Room and were escorted to a table for six. A lone couple was sitting there.

For a few minutes it was mostly awkward silence and then we began to chat with Robert and Terry from Panama City, Florida. He is in construction, she hair. They’re both in second marriages, both with two children of their own–mid and late teens.

Terry has never seen snow!

We and they could not be more different and yet they’re great dinner company. I’m not sure there’s another way we could have met… but we did. Shipboard luck.

Dinner was was pretty good. The steak was a little dry. Helaine had touted the “Chocolate Melting Cake” based on what she’d read on line. Thank you Internet posters! The cake was great.

We headed to the main showroom for the “Welcome Aboard” show. If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you’ve seen this show. The ship features an oversized combo they refer to as an orchestra. They’d be better with better arrangements.

There were around a dozen boy and girl dancers. Each danced well, though no two started or stopped at the same time!

There was a featured male and female singer and they really could sing. Nice.

The cruise director was the emcee. That’s what cruise directors do.

The featured act was Tony Esposito, an Italian guy from the south. The southern Tony dominates the Italian. He was very funny. We’ll come back for his “R” rated show tonight.

Saturday began in the middle-of-the-night for us. I was spent long before midnight. We went to the casino anyway.

It was about this time I realized this ship and the NCL ship we were on a few years ago are very similar. In fact, they might be built from the same design. I’ll have to check when we’re back in Connecticut.

I love poker. The ship has a “PokerPro” electronic table. My thought was I’d eat up the competition, made mostly of people who never play. Maybe I will, but it’s going to be tougher than I though because of the rake structure. Rake is how casinos make money at the poker table. Mostly it’s 10%. Here it’s 12.5% and a $6, not $4, cap. That’s a huge amount of money removed from the table with each hand.

Today was a day at sea. I spent it walking the decks and shooting pictures. The weather was mainly sunny with a high in the mid-70s. The breeze was light.

This is not February in Connecticut!

Last Day On Board The Norwegian Star

Aboard the Norwegian Star

This is our last full day at sea. That’s sad. By this time tomorrow, I’ll be pushing a pile of bags eight feet high toward LAX.

I first woke up at 3:30 AM. My throat was killing me. For me, this is often the first symptom of a cold. Better now than a week ago.

I did go back to sleep, but not before noticing the ship is rocking a little more noticeably than before. It’s not rough. It’s not placid either. We’re sailing under partly cloudy skies, but the exposed areas are nowhere near as deep a blue as yesterday or the days before.

It’s winter. In Southern California, that’s the time of year storms sweep across the Pacific. Last week, the Norwegian Star ran into very rough seas as it moved up the coast. This week will be much more docile.

There are white caps on the sea surface, but I think that’s more a short term effect of the wind and not an indication of sea height. Of course, given enough time, wind produces waves.;

I posted an entry last night after the magic show, but that wasn’t the end of our night.

Many cruise ships have nightly ‘midnight buffets’. Not the Norwegian Star. That’s probably because food is available, in quantity, around the clock.

There is one ‘special’ buffet each week, the ‘chocoholic buffet’. Last night was the night.

It is an endless feast of cakes and cookies and mousses (Is mousses actually a word?). All the goodies are flanked by chocolate displays and ice sculptures.

If this was a test of self discipline, I failed miserably.

I sincerely believe a cardiologist, upon seeing the ‘chocoholic buffet,’ would begin weeping uncontrollably.

As Helaine, Steffie and I finished and were getting ready to walk upstairs (actually, for me it is beginning to approach waddle upstairs) we spied the captain! He was standing with another officer near the entrance to the Versailles Dining Room, where the buffet was being held.

I’m not sure why, but I walked over to speak with him. We talked for a few minutes, and though he was cordial, I wasn’t expecting an invitation to the ‘Captain’s Table,’ if such a thing even exists anymore.

Here’s what I learned. This ship is much easier to maneuver than you might expect, especially considering its size.

The Norwegian Star has no rudder! That astounded me. Instead, the rear propellers rotate a full 360&#176, allowing us to pivot or round a sharp corner (as we’ve done getting in and out of ports).

Because of it’s ability to quickly swing around, we don’t need to use a tug boat. I would assume that’s quite a savings for Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Back to today. It’s long sleeve weather, though I’m fighting the tide! We’re leaving the tropics and heading back toward the real world.

You can tell people are preparing to leave. On the in-house TV channel the cruise director (Mike from Niagara Falls, Ontario – no Julie McCoy) is giving the disembarking instructions. What can you bring? What can’t you bring? How much can you bring?

There are more cameras out that on the previous days. Maybe people have discovered they still have room on their flash cards. Who knows?

This afternoon was the crew talent show. I was going to miss it unit Ephren, our cabin steward, made it known he was singing and asked us to attend. How could we not?

Speaking of Ephren, when I walked in the room this afternoon, he and his assistant were cleaning the cabin and arguing (maybe it was a spirited discussion) in Tagalog, the Phillipine language.

No punchline. It was just weird. You seldom get to walk in on a Tagalog argument without traveling to Manila first.

Ephrem was second to perform. He sang, in English, and did a pretty good job.

Actually, much of the crew was reasonably talented, though not enough that you’d want to call Ticketron when “Crew Show” comes to your town.

We’re seeing Dave Heenan again tonight! That will be four times on this cruise.

Meanwhile our room is torn apart. Helaine has started reorganizing to repack our bags. By 1:00 AM they’ll all be outside our door.

It’s so sad.

Well, that’s it for the cruise. We’re still on the ship until tomorrow morning, but I’ll be a little too busy to post. There will be more to say when I get back to Connecticut.

Tomorrow will be a very long day. San Pedro to LAX to Las Vegas to Windsor Locks… get the car… drive home. Yikes!

I wonder if Steffie could be convinced to carry me?