Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Alaska Cruise Part I "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"

RiversEdge RV Park, Rio Dell, CA
It is time to leave northern California and my sister.   I have nested  long enough in her driveway.  Next year, I will be parking a trailer on my sister’s RV park down the road in Rio Dell.  The little yellow square is my spot up on the terrace ledge overlooking the river and across at the fossil cliffs.   Rezzie, please Sis?

I have been remiss in not keeping up with my blog but I have a good excuse. 

NCL Jewell to Alaska
I was on the BIG BOAT with 4 other wild and crazy women!   Of course, I refer to our planned cruise to Alaska.  It was a boatload of fun, helped along by outstanding weather, our own private bar on the ship and funloving sailing companions, including the most relaxed staff I have ever run into on any cruise.   

Here is a little slideshow video of the girls having fun!  Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

"Thriller" Dance Lesson with Twinkletoes

Here are a few favorites:  first is Mario, our Master of Dance Lessons, who provided many different styles of dance tutorials.  This one is the “Thriller” one where we were schooled in how to do the zombie Thriller dance routine.

As you can see, I am right WITH him!  It was a lot fun and my companions had many giggles watching the class learn the choreography.  My sister took many photos but I made her delete most of them.

Left to right:  my sister, Sharon, Marilyn, Theresa, ME, Arturo and Mary

My second favorite staff was Arturo, our private bar server in our private bar.  I’m not kidding; nobody on the ship knew about this bar; TwinkleToes told us to go there to play Texas  Hold ‘Em after he found us some poker chips.  We did not have enough chips so we supplemented out pots with different colored sweetener packs and salt water taffy.

We tipped Arturo in Salt Water Taffy each time he fetched extra special cocktails and on the final night, gave him a pound bag of his own.

But, I digress.  Here is a brief recounting of the highlights of our cruise.   It will have to be in at least two parts.

The day before the cruise, all traveling females gathered in Seattle at the Downtown Executive Inn, which was notable in its “tinyness”—the room was so small that two people could not pass each other at any point.  It reminded me of the RV Shuffle; where the aisle is so narrow that only one person walks while the other must stand aside and wait their turn.  The hotel also had no parking.   Of course, the price wasn’t tiny since were only steps away from Pike’s Market. 
Walking to Pike's Market

Awesome Gourmet Popcorn Selection
Mare and Sharon sample popcorn
Enroute to Pike’s, we found a gourmet Popcorn store where popcorn was sampled before purchase.   This was serious  popcorn with nuts and chocolates added-Oh My!
Sisters Sharon & Susan at Lowell's Seafood

We went to the Market for a seafood lunch overlooking the Bay

and then returned to an all-girl Celebratory Champagne Toast in our tiny room.  

Unfortunately, I was late for the Toast because I was desparately shopping at the downtown Target purchasing a second digital camera.  Despite having ordered extra batteries for my camera, I left the charger at home plugged into the wall.  One cannot buy a charger anywhere except online.  (I returned the camera to Target for a full refund upon my return to Eureka.  Thanks, Target!)  But, my friends saved me some champagne and I made up for my lack of liquor on board at dinner which we all walked to (some in a straight line) and had a great time with a Performing Waitress (true!).

Next morning, I took a hike in search of the car which was in an adjacent garage with no direct access to the Tiny Executive Inn (what a circus parking was!) .  We piled luggage stuff and bodies inside and headed for the Pier 66 a mile away.
“Freestyle” Cruising on NCL’s Jewell means never being late for your assigned dinner seating or entertainment.  No schedules—no dressy up clothing.  Wonderful Idea!

Getting on ship was pretty much a breeze; here I have snagged my first sailor.

From the Garden Cafe where we had our first meal before departure and enjoyed a stunning view of the city skyline...

...and our luggage

Note on FOOD:  The food was fine but, as we were to learn, the food on the cruise had “ups and downs” and, by midweek, we were ordering chocolate ice cream for dessert rather than the Chef’s suggestions.  Generally, the food lacked character and intensity; it seemed like the Chef was conserving on taste additives (the chocolate dessert LOOKED chocolatety but lacked an identifiable chocolate taste).   And, my usually forgiving sister returned two entrees to the kitchen because they were undercooked!  Blindfolded, one would have been hard pressed to identify some menu items .    

Where was Chef Ramsey?  
I vote for a new Ramsey makeover TV series for NCL:  Hell's Cruise!

But, again I digress. 
Finally, the announcement came that the luggage was onboard!  Holy Excitement-we can finally unpack and relax!   

We girls have two rooms just a few doors away from each other; one of them has a balcony where we had room service each morning of coffee, chocolate croissants and fresh fruit.  Our sweet cabin steward brought us extra chairs for the balcony so all five us us could sit outdoors.
Mare,who is a sleeper-inner, and I share the DarkRoom Inside Cabin .  This room was BLACK Dark even in the daytime!

The room TV's  have a camera station where one can see the bow of the ship (and weather) at all times.   Here are Sharon and Mare doing their Vanna White impressions.

Our sweet cabin steward made us towel animals daily; this was my favorite--a towel monkey hanging from the ceiling.  It was a daily delight going back to a freshly-made up cabin and your new towel animal!

Miraculously, all female gear was unpacked and stored without difficulty in the small cabins and soon it was departure time!   

We gathered in the Top Floor bar for spectacular views of Seattle and the port and...

Whoops!  Ship is moving-it's time to order Bon Voyage cocktails!

Mary and Theresa Toast our Bon Voyage
Many cocktails later, some of us  (Mare) were chair  dancing to the music...
Later, a Peek-A-Boo lounge chair to rest one’s body!

One should hesitate to ask too many questions about this chair design.  (And, yes, I did have to sprawl on the floor to get this photo but many cocktails later, noone seemed to notice.)

After sampling nearly the entire drink menu among us, we choseThe Favorite #1 cocktail choice, a coconut-rimmed libation (GoGo CoCo Nuts).

We had our first formal dinner in the big dining room served by eager and attentive young men who ceremoniously handed us menus and placed linens on our lap.  Whoooeeeee!

This Dining Room was at the rear (aft) of the ship (we had to look up ship terms in port on my smartphone Wikipedia)... it cost $55 for 110 minutes of internet time on the ship.

We dined to an amazing sunset!  

Tomorrow, we will be At Sea all day and will have to read Ship's Activities left by our towel animal and choose from the many scheduled entertainment activities.

1 comment:

  1. LOL - Yes I noticed it was you who is directly behind Mario!!! I swear I saw your pic glancing at his backside - hahahaha

    OH and look at who Auturo is right next to!!! And I think I already mentioned the Navy guy in another post a comment.

    Sue you crack me up and I think if I go on another cruise ever again, you are invited!!! tee hee ;D

    Wishing you a Safe travel back to FL
    Karen Park