Norwegian EPIC, 11/27/10 Roatan, Honduras

Roatan is beautiful, hot, and muggy. Started the day with another excellent breakfast at O'Sheehans, and then hung around the ship til the 9:15 Trivia. We did beat the Fabulous Four, finally. However, a new team showed up and beat both of us, so it's #2 again. Unbelievable.

Good thing I had fun ashore, or my day would have been totally shot. My mission today: To play with a monkey.

After the Trivia debacle I got off the ship, wandered the port area shops for a minute. Got the magnet. I decided to walk into Coxen's Hole (the main town) and find an ATM to get some Lempiras. I was accompanied, more or less willingly, by a couple young guys looking for work as a guide. Actually worked out okay. I had a bodyguard to the bank, the rest of the guys left me alone, and it only cost me 100 Lempiras (about five bucks). Got back to the port and found the free shuttle over to one of the zipline places, where they have a bunch of Capuchin monkey's and a few other native animals like Acouti's, and some interesting local flora.

For a grand total of L260, me and Alonya got the ride, and free run of the place. The monkeys were very cool. They had one little guy, about 6 months old, Diego, who just clung on to everyone. I was afraid my roomie was going to try and adopt him. One of the larger ones jumped on my shoulder, stood still for a picture, then reached into my shirt pocket and, finding nothing interesting, took off and refused to talk to me the rest of the time I was there. The others managed to snag sunglasses, and attempt to swipe jewelry. They really are fun little guys, and even in a short time, you can see they all have individual personalities.

We stayed an hour or so, declared "Mission Accomplished" and caught a shuttle back to the ship. It was waaaay hot and humid. I tried to sit up by the pool and read and relax, but the heat drove me indoors. So I headed down to the airconditioning.As I got off the elevator, who else but the one, the only, the inimitable Klaus Lugmaier was standing there talking to Dennis, the Hotel Director, and the F&B Manager. He has just come aboard here in Roatan, after being on the Norwegian Pearl for a bit. We talked for a few minutes, I told Klaus how wonderfully Dennis is taking care of us, etc. Dennis told me he has read my first few posts...which got me wondering if I had yet said anything I shouldn't have. Seriously, even though they are doing all these wonderful things for me, I still feel the need to be objective, lay out, honestly, the good, the
bad, and the ugly. While I am a travel agent by trade, I attempt to apply journalistic standards to my blogging. One of the reasons I am upfront about the perks I am getting, is the old "full disclosure" thing. I try not to be a cheerleader, but in all honesty, other than a faulty door lock which caused us to have to get our keys re-done twice on Day One, there simply haven't been any problems on this cruise...so far.
Now, back to the story. I found a quiet spot at Bliss (you know...MY BED!), but actually started dozing off, so I went on back to the stateroom and took a nap. Guess that whole "you're still young enough to party til all hours" thing was a bit of a stretch. An hour in the rack and it was Bingo Time again. The bingo master on the EPIC is Mike Guida, Asst. Cruise Director. I have known him since he was on the Norwegian Star out of Los Angeles, which I have sailed a couple times. I got to know him and all the Cruise Staff pretty well during my PhD@Sea cruise. I was solo on that one, and spent a lot of time with them in the various activities. When I did the EPIC Inaugural, I ran into him again...by now it seems we are old friends. So, another wasted hour of not winning anything. I probably should know better, by now. But I will probably go to
the next one, anyway.

After bingo, it was time to get all gussied up for the evening. We had reservations for the Legends in Concert Show, and then dinner at the EPIC Club. As much as I like the Freestyle approach to dress, I kinda wish NCL would maybe suggest a night or two when getting fanicified was more encouraged than others. At this point, I am almost feeling it is inapropriate to go formal (even though, being freestyle would mean it would be okay any night, so few men dress for dinner in even a coat, that you just feel overdressed). So, I put on the silver jacket, pleated-front shirt, ruby studs and cufflinks...even the cumberbund. And 10 minutes later stripped down and started over with just a dark suit. I know most of the cruise lines have relaxed their dress codes because some guys whine about having to looking decent, but it's come to the point where those of
us who DO like to look good feel out of place. Oh, well...I am pretty much swimming against the tide here, I know.

So. On to the Legends in Concert. Incredibly good. I have seen the Legends Unplugged thing in the Manhattan Room, and it is good. But the full on show is at a whole different level. Besides really talented performers, the band is awesome, and the sound and lighting, etc, is top notch. Likewise the dancers/backup singers are very talented, especially given the variety of styles they have to go with for each show. We have Rod Stewart, Britney Spears and Michael Jackson with us this week. Rod Stewart (with whom I got a picture the other night at the Manhattan Room) is terrific. And I love the real Rod Stewart. The Britney impersonator was good, leaving aside whether Ms. Spears is truly a Legend or just an object lesson in
why trailer trash shouldn't have access to too much money. And, again, I am not a big Michael Jackson fan (somehow I lost respect for him as he morphed from a talented, young Black man to a Diana Ross look-alike to a syphilitic 12 year old Vietnamese hooker), but the guy who does him on Legends is quite good, with the voice, and the dance moves, and the crotch grabs. So, yeah...I would have opted for more Rod Stewart and less Britney and MJ, but, in terms of talent and production values, Legends in Concert is outstanding.

Also outstanding was our dinner at the exclusive EPIC Club. Definitely a couple steps up from the Main Dining Rooms, though in all honesty, my last trip to Cagneys was on a par with this. Our table wasn't ready when we got there, so Radisha (sp) gave us a quick tour of the Courtyard area. I have already had the opportunity to check it out, and if you want details they're in my posts re: the EPIC Inaugural. It was Alyona's first time up, so that was nice. About 10 minutes into the tour, Radisha got a call that all was in readiness, so we went on in. I started with an excellent Ahi Tuna Poke - diced tuna and seaweed, with a light, sesame tasting dressing, well presented in a tall martini glass. Then a nice gazpacho, very rich, with a bit of some sort of chopped shellfish floating on top, served with a little garlic crostini. I also tried the polenta
cake and asparagus. That came with shredded porcini mushroom on top, and sitting in a bit of mushroom gravy. I have always loved polenta (going back to my childhood when my Oakie mom just called it corn meal mush), and this one was right up there on my list. For the main course, we both had the lobster and snapper dish, served with rice pilaf and a nice buttery sauce. We also split a plate of the Gulf Shrimp with Gnocchi Romaine, just because seafood seemed the theme of the day. The shrimps were nicely grilled and served with another butter sauce with garlic, tomato and scallions. Even sharing we couldn't quite finish the shrimp. And for dessert I had the Mocha Chocolate Mousse. Again served in a martini glass, on top of a
raspberry and vanilla sauce, with a hazelnut crunch at the bottom. An interesting combination, and tasty once you got the sauce and crunch all whipped in. Overall, a great meal, and I do want to thank all the people who made it happen. Oh, and Radisha also let me know that the Bridge tour is on for this morning at 9:30. I am looking forward to that, and again, would like to thank the people who set it up for me. Details to follow.

Spending nearly two hours over dinner made us a few minutes late for the White HOt Party at Spice. I sent the dancing queen up ahead while I took the remains of her bottle of wine back to the cabin. I can stand to miss the first dance...she, apparently, cannot.  No, seriously...we had an actual fight about it...or would have, til I remembered the magic words, from my days as a husband:  "Yes, Dear".  The White Hot Party is a signature event for NCL. All the cruise staff and dancers dressed all in white, some of the ladies with angel wings attached, and most of the crowd in white. Music blaring, lights flashing, people dancing. And on the EPIC, all done at the outdoor nightclub with the giant video screen, which adds a very definite South
Beach feel. I danced for a minute and a half or so, and it was time to run down and catch Second City again. Another good show. Back up to White Hot for another minute of dancing and schmoozing, then down to Fat Cats to catch Roadside Louie's last set. Back to White Hot, which was breaking up by then, sparing me the need to dance any more (and, frankly, sparing other's having to witness me dancing). The party moved over to Bliss Ultra Lounge. Got a chance to talk to some of the performers from Legends and tell them how much I enjoyed the show (without the foregoing political commentary). Met a nice 21 year old kid from New Jersey on his first cruise. We discussed crew/passenger fraternization policies. THAT brought back some memories. Sadly for Ervin, things have changed since my first cruise, back when I was 21. 28 years ago. I also met the Cruise Director, Paul Scally for the first time. Nice guy. Amidst all the fun, I completely failed to notice it was 3am. When I came to that realization I was first proud of myself...then just felt tired. Decided to throw in the towel. Gotta get up tomorrow and do some stuff before the Bridge Tour! Then I am going to
take it easy...for real this time...no, really!

Hasta Luego, or Dosvidanya, or something.

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