Norwegian EPIC - In a Studio! SAILING DAY

Oh, what a day...

Started with a red-eye flight from LAX to Fort Lauderdale. No sleep. Hit the ground at 6am. Could NOT find coffee in the airport. I had a two hour wait for the shuttle taking me and some of my fellow agents to the Port of Miami. About 7 the coffee lady finally opened up.

Anyway, so, I got on the shuttle at 8, swung by a couple hotels to pick up some friends, and ended up in the Port of Miami a little after 9, for our 10:30 tour. There were, I don't know, maybe 30 of us doing a tour of The Haven prior to sailing. When the doors opened at 10ish, we were about a dozen, and in the next half hour the rest showed up. Groundside personnel had NO idea what we were doing or how to deal with us. Most often, when groups of agents board early, they are doing a tour and going home prior to sailing. In that case, they are given visitor badges, and their ID is held so when they leave they trade their badge to get their ID back. In our case, since we were all sailing on the ship after, we needed our ID (in order to check in). Security and check in people were perplexed on how to manage it. I give them high marks for figuring it out, and not losing their cool. Oh, and the other glitch is that half the group was checking in at the "wrong" terminal (they use two to board the EPIC). So, someone had to run and get their keys. Needless to say it was a bit of a cluster. But, we did get it all sorted out, and got onboard for a quick tour of the Haven. Those suites have been reviewed to death, elsewhere, so I won't bother to do so here.

After the tour we all headed to Taste (the smaller of the main dining rooms) for lunch. Very nice Cobb salad and a chicken milanese that was excellent. Me and a friend spent half the lunch trying to track down the Hotel Director, who passed thru several times, in a hurry. No luck.

After lunch I went to see if my studio cabin was ready, and it was. I had been in a Studio before, on tours, but this is my first time actually trying to live in one for a week. I have to say, so far I am impressed. While tiny (100sf), they are very thoughtfully laid out, with an amazing amount of storage. HOWEVER, it takes a minute to figure out where stuff is, and how it works. The lighting is very cool, with small spotlights everywhere you need them, and cool multicolored LED lighting for the cabin in general. But, the light over the TV is just strange, and the switch for same is down below by the little shelf/table area. The switch for the light over the sink is by some plugs in a cubbyhole to the right, and there are two switches by the door to light up the shower area. Oh, and the light in the toilet area is motion activated, so when you open the door to go potty, the light turns on. And then there are 4 buttons by the bed to control which colors the LED lights go.

and two buttons above the headboard to turn on reading lights over the bed. So, I took a few minutes getting all that worked out before heading out to take a quick tour of the ship, and hang out with friends.

I should mention, my bed was covered with envelopes when I walked in. Invites to the Captain's Cocktail Party, Latitudes Cocktail Party, Partners First information, letter from the Hotel Director, some letters about various OnBoard Credits....it really was too much, so I just tossed them in a cubby to read thru later. And a couple bottles of wine. One from the Partners First thing, and one from the HD.

So, I grabbed the wine and headed out to find or make a Sailaway Party. Wandered around for a bit, trying to find someone I knew, then decided I would just sit down, and let them find me. And it worked. Grabbed a table at Spice/H2O. Within 5 minutes two agents sat down and joined me in a smoke. Then two more walked by on their way to sign death waivers. Then another couple...pretty soon it looked like a party, and we all talked and smoked til the ship pulled out. About 20 minutes after sailaway, I went to see if my luggage had shown up, and it had. It took me about 15 minutes to unpack, and honestly, I am amazed at the amount of storage. Two closets, and neither one is full. plenty of shelf and cubby space for shorts and sockes and shoes and toiletries. I am impressed. And while everything is close together, I never felt like I was falling on myself. As long as not too many shoes are left in the floor, it's just not a problem.

After getting unpacked, I took a quick tour of the Casino and lost $100. Because that's what I do. Sadly, I had to listen to a lady behind me when about $1500 while I was doing it. So, then it was time to head to dinner with some friends. Tonite was La Cucina with Pat and her husband, Scott, her cousin Thomas and Tamara, Pat's Norwegian BDM (Business Development Manager), who happens to be on the ship for a few days doing a seminar. They have changed up the menu at La Cucina since my last outing. On the upside, they have added a lobster fettucine dish and some awesome herb/spice infused olive oils for the bread. On the downside, they took away my saltimbocca, which I really loved, and was looking forward to. The four new oils, flavored with garlic, red pepper, rosemary and basil were excellent. Especially the red pepper, which started off mild, and then just kept heating up in your mouth for a strong finish. I ended up combining the garlic and the pepper on my plate, and that was a great combo. After that I ordered the carpaccio appetizer (excellent) and the Osso Buco Cremolata (braised veal shank in a tomato reduction with a creamy polenta on the side). That was accompanied by some grilled veggies that were actually the highlight of the plate. I still can't quite place the herbs used on the veggies, though I tasted both rosemary and sage, and maybe a hint of oregano. Oh, and I had the waiter bring me a small plate of the lobster fettucine. Not bad/not fabulous. I'd rather they kept the saltimbocca.

After dinner and another quick stroll through the casino, I thought I was done for the night, having been up since 5 the previous morning. On the way home I walked thru Bliss and ran into Paul, another of our group, talking to cruise staff, and found out he was going to be a contestant on The Dating Game. So, I just hadda stay up for that. Paul is an interesting fellow, an Englishman born in Bermuda, former Royal Navy, former Princess Cruise Line Officer, and currently residing in Canada. So, he's got some stories, and is really a nice guy. And, because he's with this group, he had quite a large fan base in the crowd. We cheered him on as best we could, but, alas, the lady he was competing for (who was probably 1/3 his age) chose a rave DJ from Chula Vista...but it was fun.

After the contest, I went to O'Sheehans for some hot wings, and a little conversation and, finally, about midnite, took my leave and headed home. All I can say is, I woke up this morning with the book I was going to read, unopened on my chest. And I slept in til the unGodly hour of 9am...unheard of when I am cruising. And it has taken me til now (1pm) to get this little missive written. I hope to get rested up today, so I can get back to a more regular cruise schedule.

See ya tomorrow!

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing. Your post is awaiting moderation.