Norwegian Pearl, Western Caribbean, 2.26.12 BOARDING DAY

Norwegian Pearl, Miami 2/26/2012 Boarding Day

So, let's see...we got in to FLL at 6am on Virgin America. Flight was uneventful. Got a limo to take us to Miami. Of course it was way to early to be at the port, so we decided to breakfast at Bayside Marketplace. Actually, the Holiday Inn at Bayside. So, we had a little breakfast, then availed ouselves of the lobby to plug in and recharge all the electronics (and sneak in an hours sleep). Anyway, at 10 we grabbed a cab across the causeway to the Cruise Terminal.

They weren't quite ready to let us on board. We were first in line thru security, and then the 2nd couple to get checked in. So we headed upstairs to wait til it was time to get on board. And waited. And waited. And they just kept letting more people OFF. I was getting concerned we weren't going to make it onboard in time for our big luncheon at 12:30, and was texing back and forth with some of my agent friends who were still downstairs stuck in line when another agent friend waltzes by and tells me I need to get a visitors pass just like hers, and go ahead and hop on the ship!...

So, a little confusion and consternation later, I found Isis Ruiz, the NCL person running the lunch boarding thang, and we all got on and sat down in time for lunch at the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace is the larger of the two Main Dining Rooms on the Norwegian Pearl, and done up in a tsarist Russia theme, with portraits of Russian nobility, and a beautiful ceiling mural, and faux-Faberge eggs all around. Nice room. Great lunch. A sample menu, with dishes from the various speciality restaurants, I will probably cover most of them at some point during the week, as I think I intend to eat in each of them.

After lunch we found our stateroom and waited for our luggage. Burn out was setting in, after being up for a day and a half. The balcony cabin is pretty standard NCL. Forward, and up on deck 10, we have a small couch, double bed, more than adequate closet/drawer/shelf space (which is saying something because we both, I think, packed more than normal for a week of fun in the sun...actually, I have no idea what's "normal" for her...but I overpacked, for sure).

By the time all the luggage showed up it was time for the Muster Drill. We did that, came back to finish unpacking, and were greeted with sparkling wine and fruit from the Captain, and a tray of canapes, as well (part of the Partners First stuff). So, I let Michille have the caviar, I ate the shrimpies, and she started on the bubbly. By this time we were sailing away, and rather than join the big deck party, we opted to stay on the balcony, enjoy the sailaway and get some great pictures as we floated out to sea.

Finally, it was time to dress for dinner. We decided on Moderno, NCL's quickly-becoming-signature speciality restaurant. Modeled on a Brazilian churrascaria (or, steak house), it was first installed on the EPIC, and is now being rolled out, fleetwide. Along with 10 or so kinds of meat, it has THE BEST salad bar, ever. Just sayin...as a meat eater...I could make a meal out of the salads available. Midway thru our grilled meat fest, Anoop, the concierge stopped by to introduce himself. There was also a phone call from Hotel Director Tony Winkler, so it appears the full VIP thing is on, this cruise. Gotta love that.

So, after dinner we looked for something to do. And we looked real hard. Apparently everyone was tired or something...kinda disappointing. We went from Moderno to Bliss Ultra Lounge, and there was some karaoke going on, but it was pretty quiet, overall...and then up on the Lido to see if anything was happening there...not so much. Down to the Casino. It was fairly full, but none of our friends were there, and...yeah, wait for this: The smoke was quite bothersome. I have been about a month not smoking, and I reFUSE to be one of those A-holes that starts carrying on every time someone lights up within a mile...but it was thick, and I am not really all that immune, yet, so we left there. Back to Bliss...still not happening...floated around the ship some more, before finally deciding it just isn't Party Night, and headed home about 11 to catch up on sleep and conversate for a while...nothing quite like a warm night on the balcony with a friend.

And, of course, thanks to the early bedtime, we are both up and raring to go at 5:30 am today...

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!


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