Norwegian EPIC, 11/27/10, Cozumel

Up on deck early for my morning coffee. We ran through some rough-ish waters last night, and windy today. Not a good beach day. Had a quick bite at the buffet, ran off the ship, hit the plaza, bought the magnet and some souvenir's for the keikis, and right back on the ship in time for the 10:15 Trivia. Of course, we won...it's become a habit. However, most of the fun was taken out of it by Cruise staffer Meaghan, who is entirely unclear on what "freestyle" means. She leans more towards "military school" cruising. She was signing the little activity things, before we started. Someone pointed out that EVERY other staffer had been signing them after. She actually wanted their names, so she could report them for doing it "wrong"...After all, they have rules on how to run activities, and it's important to follow the rules, you know? And all of us were looking at each other, thinking, "Really, dear? REALLY? you want us to denounce your co-workers so you can score points with the boss and maybe get a ribbon at the next Hitler Youth meeting?" She then proceeded to read each question the exact number of times allowed by the rules, and refuse to answer anyone who wanted her to clarify something...My gues is she won't be in the Cruise Staff business long. But she can always get work as a bureaucrat, somewhere.

My plan had been to lay in the sun and read a book all morning, but the sun wasn't cooperating, so I lounged about the cabin, with periodic runs upstairs for coffee, and walks around the public decks talking to people. I had a nice conversation with the barber, Liz. As I mentioned briefly, in a previous review, one of the cool things the EPIC has is a plain, old-fashioned Barber shop. For the guys who don't care to engage in aromatherapy, hot stone massages and the like offered in the Spa. Just three barber chairs. Real barber pole out front. Shave and a haircut. Anyway, one of the barbers is Liz from Australia. She is quite engaging and funny. She was the perfect antidote to Meaghan. If I hadn't got a haircut three days before I came out, I would have sat down and got one, just to continue the conversation. It has been quite busy, too, with someone in a chair nearly every time I've gone by this week.

So, lunch was a burger and hot wings at O'Sheehans. Not much else open on a port day. I actually spent a good part of the afternoon working the evening schedule to try to figure out how best to do all the stuff I wanted to. I had fully intended to eat dinner at Cagney's or Moderno, but just couldn't find the time slot. Having already told some of the Second City cast I would be at their show, and one of my trivia partners that I'd do the SVEDKA Ice bar, etc.

So, long story short, after the late trivia game (wherein we were de-throned by some upstart old ladies, and that's all I got to say about that), I met trivia mate Craig at the SVEDKA Ice Bar. When the lovely Rashida showed up to get us in, she suggested going to the Manhattan Room for dinner at 9:30 and hanging out for the Dancing With the EPIC Stars competition. So, that solved the "when do I fit in dinner?" question. So..I finally made it to the Ice Bar. It was cold. I hate cold. But I managed to stay in all of 15 minutes or so. It is a neat little room, though, with the bar and the glasses made of ice, and some little benches made of ice (thankfully, covered with fur cushions, and a couple of very cool ice sculptures. A bear on one side, and a Viking looking dude on the other. About 7 feet tall. Oh, and a big old flat screen tuned to ESPN, as though someone might want to hang out for three hours and catch a game. Got pictures of all of it, tossed down a
strawberry concoction that started as juice and ended up as a slushy...rather the opposite order of the rest of the universe.So, I am glad I did it...but doubt I would do it again. I will note that the one place on the whole ship where I saw a serious flow problem on the Inaugural was here. The original SVEDKA Ice Bar concept was to allow groups of people in every hour on the half hour, and allot them 45 minutes in the bar. Unfortunately the door of the Ice Bar is at the very narrowest hallway on the entire ship. When 30 people were standing in line, and then all putting on parkas at the same time, it totally blocked traffic. I knew it would be a problem, and also predicted NCL would fix it soon. Sure enough. They have scrapped the schedule, gone freestyle, and it works much better. Now they have put a kiosk and coat rack across the hall, before the narrowing, and just man it 4 or 5 hours a night, and let people come and go "whenever". I am assuming most people don't actually stay a full forty-five minutes, so it works out just fine.

From the SVEDKA Ice Bar to Spice H2O for The Battle of the Sexes game show...kinda lame...I had run into Cat earlier, she told me I should do the Pub Crawl Reunion with her. Just tag along as a cheerleader. So, I figured "what the heck" since the contest wasn't working for me. So, I ran down to Maltings to join the pub crawl, only it wasn't happening either. Not enough people signed up, so the few who did sign up got to go into Howl at the Moon for some free drinks. I ran up to the room and got the latest plate of strawberries, and brought them back down to Cat and Hannah. Listened to Howl at the Moon for a bit until it was time for dinner. On the way to The Manhattan Room I ran into my Trivia buddy, and his new friends Grant, Melissa and Rita. They had all eaten, but decided to join me for dessert and a show. We got a table right on the dance floor. Not sure if that was random chance or if Rashida arranged it.  The "Dancing" competition was a blast. Two of my tablemates, Grant and Craig both had their names drawn to compete. Most of the dancing was done by the staff "pros" of course. Mike Guida was quite good at making mad, passionate love to his 50something partner, while Shane was getting in touch with his inner stripper/rodeo cowboy with his hot little
partner (thanks for the wardrobe malfunctions, Shane!). But best of all was Hannah. She is at least 6 feet tall. Before she put on the 6" spike heels. So, of course her partner was Lam, a pretty good dancer who topped out at 5'6", max. She was actually throwing and carrying him. They won, hands down, although Mike and his lady came in a solid second, and I am waiting to hear if I am invited to the wedding.

After the "Dancing" competition, I headed towards the VIP Party at Bliss...nice. They had the ropeline, and the "list", and the Men in Black guarding the door. Lot's of fun. The first part of the party went til midnite, when they started the male stripper revue. My first thought was to skip it, but after witnessing Mike's dancing shirtless in the contest I decided I could handle it. Besides, they had Natalie and Stephanie from the Cruise Staff go-go'fied (if that's not a word, it should be), and dancing in the cages alongside the stage...little something for everybody. After that, it went to the regular, nightly party. I hung out for a while schmoozing with Paul, the CD and some of the entetainers, then went with a friend to the casino for a minute of futility, and down to Fat Cats to catch Roadside Louie's last set. Over to O'Sheehan's for some late night Buffalo Wings, and noticed it was 3am...actually 4 since we're back on Eastern Time...so I decided to call it a night.

Probably no post til tomorrow, late. I have hours and hours to kill in Fort Lauderdale before my flight home, so I will wrap it all up, then.

CIAO for Niao, peoples

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