Monday, May 10, 2010

Sailing Norwegian

"Wanna go to the Bahamas?" First of all, like anybody that I love and care ever really has to ask that question? In this case it was one the eldest son of a friend of mine, my "nephew," whom I've known since kindergarten now calling to announce his plans to get married on a cruise to these fabled islands. Did I wanna go? Yes and the wedding was beautiful!

I'd never been on a cruise before and this was also my first time to the Bahamas. The choice of cruise line and dates were set by the happy couple which was perfectly fine; this was their event and I was tagging along for the ride at their invitation. Being a wedding and mini-honeymoon for them it was the perfect opportunity to avail myself fully of the services on offer as a small first vacation for me since starting my new job earlier that year. Our four day sailing out of Miami was planned on Norwegian Cruise Lines aboard the "Norwegian Sky."

Booking all the reservations proceeded smoothly, cabin, flights and a hotel in Miami the night before the sailing to be sure I wouldn't miss the boat. Check-in officially started at Noon but they must have had a light sailing prior to our because early birds like myself were permitted to board at 11:30AM. My cabin was 8074 on the Viking Deck, an oceanview cabin situated third from the rear, aft port side of the vessel. I eschewed a balcony cabin to save money and was glad I did for these were hardly large enough to take one full stride away from the interior. The queen sized bed was perfect for the space, comfortable and fitted with billowing white cotton linens. Yea, I was liking this already.

Then I saw what passed for a shower stall. I'm 6'4" and well north of 250 pounds. This thing would make the cork in a champagne bottle feel really squeezed. And they had the gall to ask that the curtain be kept inside the runner?! We'll see about that.

The public spaces weren't fancy but for a ship dedicated to three and four day runs to the Bahamas anything more would have been overkill. I skipped on the shore excursions as well to save money and simply enjoy being aboard ship. Nearly everyone else on board was busy running up bar tabs from the moment they climbed aboard but I was good with complimentary juice, water and iced tea. I also missed out on the specialty restaurants but the food at the buffets was interesting, varied and filling.

The main dining room was little short of a flat out joke, no other way to put it. The room itself was beautiful and evoked the aura of an experience from a different era with crisp linens, crystal and nautical gear festooned about the place. It was the food itself that wasn't all that inspiring and served in portions that would send a hummingbird back for seconds. Sure enough, back upstairs to the buffet we went after our meal despite each of us ordering two of everything in the main room.

Sailing out of Miami was majestic for me as a first timer. Nothing quelled the joy of this vacation despite the short duration and the rain that followed us every day except the final day at sea. I enjoyed the "Freestyle" cruise product and look forward to booking another cruise in the near future. I want to choose at least one other cruise line to get a comparison but there was nothing glaringly wrong with the Norwegian brand of cruise vacations.

Back in the cabin it's time for a refreshing shower from the muggy humidity of the rainy days and the salt spray from the sea. What did that show room comedian say? Oh yea, for all the fat guys just soap up the walls and spin!

Gotta go!

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