Norwegian Star, 3/3/11 ...THIRD Day At Sea

Okay, so first off, I referred to the Cruise Director as "Jamie". Her name is, in fact "Jaime", though she still pronounces it "Jay-mee" even though everyone in California knows that name is pronounced "Hy-mee". It's a Canadian thing. I talked to her last night and she gave me a long winded explanation of the gender ramifications of the placement of the "i", but I think it's just more Canadian sillines, like putting random "u"s in words that don't need them, or calling ham, "bacon". Don't get me wrong, I have many friends who are Canadian (or Canadien). But they have to get over acting like they are still tied to the Old Country, and accept their lot as a suburb of the United States.

But, back to my story. We got up in time for a leisurely breakfast in the buffet, before the morning trivia. The topic was Europe, and it went badly for everyone. I know I am starting to sound xenophobic today, but let's face it: Dead Presidents and pointless American wars are more interesting than Dead Monarchs and pointless European wars. Plus we have taller mountains and longer rivers, and our history is easier to remember, because there is less of it.

After trivia was the morning bingo. Still no winner. Then I ditched the family at line dancing and did the Signature Scavenger Hunt. Somehow I got hooked into a team of really old people (as opposed to just "old" like me), so I had to do the running towards the end. We did okay, though.

Next up, lunch at Cagneys. Sea Scallops and fries. As good as ever.

After lunch, Patrick tracked me down and told me the Hotel Director wanted to treat us to dinner. Decided to try the Teppanyaki, so he made us a reservation for the 5 o'clock sitting. Bad idea. I will explain in a minute.

Before dinner, we cruised around a bit, listened to the band by the pool until the cool wind drove us in. Headed down to the casino, where mom did good, and I did not. I decided to get in the Blackjack Tournament. I am on the leaderboard and headed for the final tomorrow, probably. As usual, I took the interesting route. Starting with $2000 in chips I lost the first three hands. Down to $400, I bet it all on the fourth hand, won, and let it ride. Hand 5 BLACKJACK. So, back up to my original $2000 with two hands to go. No choice but to just leave it all out there. Dealer busted on the sixth hand, and on the final hand, I had to bet first. Me and one other player had $4000. The qualifying score was only $3300. If not for the other guy, I would have just bet $100 and played it safe. But, like I say, I had to go first. So I pushed out my whole stack, and so did he. I got dealt a 12. He got a face card. Dealer had an 8. So, I hit the twelve and got a 5. 17 against the dealers 8....what the hell, gotta do it. Hit one more time and pulled a 3. Dealer had the 18. I win. But,so did the other guy. We are tied for 3/4 place. If it happens that we get bumped to 6/7, we'll have to have a tiebreaker. Keeping my fingers crossed. But I am pretty sure the $8000 will hold up.

Anyway, after the Blackjack, the mom cashed in her winnings and went on upstairs. There was a 4 o'clock bingo with the cruise raffle drawing, and we had dinner reservations for 5. This is where it gets tricky.

They really should coordinate the dinner times at Teppanyaki with the rest of the ship. All the other restaurants start dinner at 5:30. So, the cruise staff knows they can drag out the bingo, and keep upselling stuff to build the pot and the raffle until 5:15 or so, and not interfere with anyone's plans. Except the one guy (me) out of 2,400 passengers who NEEDS to be somewhere at 5. And with the Teppanyaki, where they sit all 15 people at the same time, if you are late, it's pretty rude. I wouldn't mind being a little late if it was just me, but I was wanting to be courteous to the rest of them, you know. So, I got to bingo at 4, sat thru interminable sales pitches, til 4:30 when they finally started playing. Got thru the first three games (without winning, by the way), and then at 4:50, they decided to do a little MORE selling before the raffle draw. I finally had to give my last card to the lady next to me, and just pray this wasn't the one time I was destined to win the free cruise with one of the 50 or so tickets I had accumulated.

Fairly ran to get to the restaurant on time, and it was excellent. We all had the "Shinto" combo, shrimp and scallops. The meal was tasty, the chefs were fun (though they were not as flamboyant as some I have seen, they had all the basic tricks down). And we were at the table with an extended family of 5 adults and 6 kids. Just watching the kids watching the chefs was a good time. And the chefs hammed it up for them pretty good. So - Thanks Filipo and Claus, for the excellent dinner...but work on changing the schedule, yeah?

After dinner, we listened to the piano bar guy, Michael for a bit, before the show. They have a new show, "Elements" on the Star. It was the best production I have seen in a long time. Music, dancing, magic from the Extreme Vegas couple, etc. The best part was the "Water" portion. Two of the dancers in blue bodysuits and flippers descend from the ceiling on trapezes with bungee cords and drop down to just a few feet above the middle of the audience, and then bounce around and turn flips, like they are swimming. Then back on the trapeze for some synchronized flippering, then another jump, etc etc. Like a water ballet, only in mid-air. Very cool.

I then deposited the early-to-bed crowd in the cabin, and walked around for a bit. Tried my hand at Name That Tune Trivia, but is was on movie songs, and I am just not a movie person. I actually knew most of the songs, but didn't know what movies they came from.

I ate dinner too early, and by 9:30 I was feeling a little hungry, so I went over to the Blue Lagoon for some wings, and listened to the Melodic Trio in the Atrium for a bit, before heading to Spinnaker for he White Hot Party. That was fun. Got me a glass with trippy lights in the bottom, talked to Jaime (whatever) and the Cruise Staff. It was Beverly's birthday, and she looked to be enjoying it. Talked to a couple of the dancers...after two shows of Elements, they also have to dance at the White Hot Part (but just for one quick set, but still). Also had a long conversation with the Asst. Systems Manager (so, you know, the #2 Geek On Board). He has recently come over to NCL from Carnival and loves it here with NCL.

It's that kind of thing, by the way, that makes me enjoy NCL more than any other cruise line I can think of. Real, personal interaction with the crew and the staff. They are almost all very approachable, willing to talk about their jobs and their lives both onboard and at home. It is nice to be able to have that kind of interaction.

Anyway, it was fast approaching midnight, and I was not really liking the music all that much (a little to pop for my taste - cuz I am getting old). On the subject of music, though, I hope DJ Keith (for the most part a good DJ) would get the memo that soul Sister is about as over as the Macarena. If I hear that song one more time this week, I am probably going to hurl.

So...ciao for now, mon amies.

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