Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

My, What a Big Boat!
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Our flight from LAX to Miami passed uneventfully, despite the airliner's crew warning of bumpy weather. We grabbed a shuttle to our hotel, had a swim in the pool, and then waited a long time for others to arrive. Shelley's mom, grandmother, and grandmother's friend didn't get in to Miami until 2:00 am or so because of weather-related flight delays.

The five of us arrived at the port around 1:00 pm and boarded the M/S Norwegian Sea and gave ourselves a quick tour of it while waited for Brenda and Paul and their friends Tom and Jamie to arrive. Our stateroom is tiny, of course, but overall the ship seems quite large. Pool up on top, and a hot tub. Casino and shops in the middle, but open only out at sea. Three restaurants plus buffet area, numerous bars, a gym, and three lounges / stages for shows. We are constantly offered drinks with umbrellas in them. There are by no means free. Even canned soda costs $1.50 each.

Staying overnight on the Queen Mary a few years ago has given us some idea of what to expect on a huge liner, but it still seems big, and this one will have other people on it as we travel across the Caribbean. Shelley's keen on actually having a vacation where we unpack and aren't camping, although I said that we could get a tent and erect it in the stateroom if she wanted.

Of course everyone talks about the food on their cruises. And dinner looks to prove the premise. It does, by offering many hot and cold appetizers and a good selection of entrees. The great part is that one does not have to choose between them, and can order as many of each as desired. The waiting staff is very formal with bringing out courses and arranging silverware.

On most cruise lines, passengers have to tip individually every staff member they interact with at the end of the trip. The Norwegian Cruise Line, however, now has "free style" cruises like ours. This means that they simply charge $10 per person per day for tips and split this amount amongst their staff. This means that for the approximately 1,400 passengers on the ship they charge a grand total of about $70,000 for tips. That's about $100 per staff person on the ship for the trip of five days.

The "free style" system also means that passengers don't have the usual assigned eating times and tables for any of the sit-down breakfasts, lunches, or dinners so they can go when they want and eat with whom they want. Seems like that's a good idea, but if you're not inclined to meet folks otherwise, you won't meet them at dinner either.

Internet access about the ship is a mere 75 cents a minute. That's why this set of cruise entries was made after returning to LA!

Port of Miami -- check out all those container trucks for the cruise ships! 60-70,000 people go through here EVERY day on cruises; only about half the ships in port appear in the background.

Bon Voyage!! (I was disappointed that they didn't play the music from the Titanic movie for us as we boarded.)

Down on deck 3 we had to find our cabin amongst the many doors there.

Here we are: home for 5 days!

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