Thursday, January 1, 2015

Caribbean Cruise - Day 1

The next day, Saturday, November 29th, we were up at 7:30 AM even though we had gone to bed late, well after midnight. We had a nice breakfast that the hotel provided then we went outside for a walk in the wooded area adjacent to the hotel. My wife was looking for large Texas pine that she had heard about but, unfortunately, we only found the usual variety of small pine cones that we have in Canada. The walk was great, the temperature was a warm 20 degrees Celsius, at least it was for us. The sun felt warm on our bodies, it was nice. Reluctantly, we returned to the hotel to get ready to go back to the hotel get out transportation to the ship. While we were waiting for the shuttle to take us back to airport I sent a text message to our family to let them know that we had arrived in Texas.
At the airport, we purchased transportation to the cruise terminal and transportation back to the airport from the ship when it returns on December 6th. We could have used Norwegian Cruise Lines to go to the ship Norwegian ship transfers , it would have been a little more convenient because we could have booked it at the same time that we booked the cruise. We decided to wait and see if we could book something at the airport. We found a company, Super Shuttle, that offered transportation to the Bayport terminal in Pasadena, Texas for half the cost that Norwegian was charging. The interesting thing was that the desks of Super Shuttle  Super Shuttle and the Desk of Norwegian were about twenty feet away.
It took 45 minutes to drive to the cruise terminal. the cruise terminal in situated amongst the oil refineries, not really an idyllic location for a cruise terminal but there it is. The terminal itself is new and nice looking as you can see in the picture. If you can ignore the stacks of containers all around the terminal it looks all right.
Cruise Information
We went through the process of getting checked in on board which took well over an hour but we got through the process and got on board the Norwegian Jewel, our cruise ship.
 We had dropped off our luggage before we got on board to be delivered to our state room later. The first thing that we did was go to our state room to drop off our carry on bags, put our valuables in the safe in the state room and go to lunch. By this time, we were both hungry so we had a substantial lunch, salad, fresh fruit and bread. It was satisfying.
After lunch, we explored the boat. I wanted to see the fitness center which is on deck twelve because I planned to use it every day of the trip, so we went there first. The staff gave us a guided tour of the fitness center and the Mandara SPA. The fitness center consisted of a room with exercise equipment that faced out onto the water, a nice view when you are exercising.
The other part of the fitness center was an aerobics room which was lined with mirrors on two walls. I was to become very familiar with this space over the next week. The tour of the SPA was interesting but expensive as SPAs usually are. They had massage rooms, Rooms for facials, hot tub and hot stone treatments, treatments to rejuvenate your face using Botox injections and an acupuncturist who looked interesting. The idea behind the tour was to make you buy something which would be all right if there was something that had interested us but we really were not interested in any of their services, at least not at that time. Other people seemed to be very interested. I guess that is what some people do on cruises.
We had dinner on the first night in Azur, one of the complementary dining rooms.
Norwegian Jewel
We had salad and crab cakes for an appetizer which we shared. For the main course, we had Mahi Mahi and a shrimp dish which we also shared. For desert we had pistachio Crème brûlée which we didn't finish because it was overcooked. One of the things that we noticed about Azur on the first night was that the service was very slow. We attributed it the fact that it was the first night and they had not quite gotten themselves organized. Instead of waiting for tea or coffee we went up to deck twelve to the Garden Café which was buffet style dining for drinks. My wife had a cappuccino and I had chamomile tea which I find settles my stomach after a meal. I also had a piece of pecan pie and a piece of red velvet cake. The pecan pie was disappointing, it was mostly sugar. The red velvet cake was good.
After that we went to the theater where there was a presentation about the entertainment for the week. 
 The entertainment was all right, but the combination of the lights and the motion of the boat in the water made my wife nauseous so we left and went to our state room. After a short rest my wife felt better. My wife watched television while I wrote in my journal. That was our first day on the Norwegian Jewel.


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