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TerpGirl77

Review of the Norwegian Star NYC to Bermuda - June 24 to July 1, 2012

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Hello everyone,

 

Cruise Critic members have been a wealth of information in planning my very first and second cruises, so I thought I'd pay it forward and make a little contribution to this community by writing a review of my recent voyage on the Norwegian Star from NYC to Bermuda.

 

Warning: This is the first time I've ever written a review of anything and I learned I wasn't always the most attentive, especially when it came to taking photos so please forgive me if there are some gaps. After all, I was on vacation and got wrapped up in the moment!

 

A little bit about me, I'm a single 35 year old living, working and playing in Washington DC. I'm a VP at a marketing and public affairs firm, so 80 hour work weeks, constant business travel and a lot of go, go, go, stress, stress, stress is how it goes for me.

 

Because of the upcoming Presidential election, party conventions, etc. our senior management team was asked everyone to take vacations earlier in the summer instead of in August when Congress is normally not it session and everyone flees the city.

 

For me I've learned cruising solo is my SECRET WEAPON to keep me top of game in my career. Time away with a barely connected mobile device helps me clear my head, get some rest, regain focus and actually relax for more than five minutes!

 

Alright, I'm sure you're saying "enough about you lady," let's get on with the cruise!

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I am always anxious to hear the perspective of young adult cruisers. Looking forward to it!! I hope it was good--because you have a stressful life and DESERVE a nice time.:) I am older and have cruised when newly married, with young children on Disney, then older kids, and most recently with my two college kids. . . (one of whom is at AU in DC so I know a little bit about the stressful world there):)

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Day 0: DC to New York

 

I'm using this copy as my travel diary too, so I'm including it here, but feel free to skip...

 

Of course the week leading up to my trip brought all manner of crises, needy people and clients out of the woodwork and other work shenanigans, including the Supreme Court deciding to let us know when they would issue a decision on the Obamacare legislation which will have a major impact on my clients.

 

Work commitments meant no laundry was done, no packing, no trips to Target, nail salon, or general preparation for being away from home for eight days. My intrepid and incredibly patient PCC Jorge kept e-mailing me to check-in for my cruise and print out the documents which I did very early on Wednesday morning before the Sunday departure.

 

Arrived home at 10 pm on Friday night with an 8 am Amtrak train to Penn Station on Saturday morning. I had grand ideas of spending the whole day doing what I wanted to do in NYC (instead of sitting in client conference rooms which is the norm). Spent the entire night cleaning (I cannot leave home without it being completely spotless, feel free to call me crazy), doing laundry, ironing, packing, making my Priceline reservation for a Saturday night hotel (nothing like the last minute, interesting Princeline story to follow) and sending some last minute e-mails. Then it was time to run errands!

 

Cut to 3 am I'm standing in the dressing room in the 24-hour Target in tears because I cannot choose the right pool coverup (ladies, I'm sure can you relate). At this moment I realize I'm completely running on empty and an 8am train WAS NOT going to happen. I'm overwhelmed and not looking forward to vacation. I change my Amtrak reservation to 4pm which would still get me in town early enough to have a planned dinner with some old friends, go home and go to bed...

 

Will little Miss Target Temper Tantrum even make it to the ship? Find out in the next installment...

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Several hours of sleep ended the theatrics of the previous night and I was safely on the train to NYC.

 

Note for newbies (from a semi-newbie; after how many cruises are you a veteran?): If your budget allows definitely try to arrive in your departure city the day before. My simple Amtrak trip was delayed two hours because of speed restrictions due to heat, which was not announced until we stopped somewhere between DE and NJ. If I had waited until Sunday morning it would have been a VERY close call getting to the pier in time.

Checked into my hotel -- Millennium Plaza UN. Priceline lists this as a four-star hotel and I got it through the "name your own price" feature so I know there is not much room to critique BUT I do think they should list this as a 3 or even 2.5 star hotel. It is dated, dated, dated. The entire lobby is covered in mirrors. Seriously, every.single.surface. It reminded me of the show Dynasty from the 80s. Or as my friend who walked me back to the hotel after dinner said a "crack den from the 70s." Anyway, you get the picture.

 

Had a lovely dinner at Zengo and settled in for a good nights sleep before the big day! I was FINALLY starting to get excited. Reading many of your previous thread on Cruise Critic I knew that I could show up at the Pier as early as 9 or 10am so I planned to do just that. Then I had one last minor drama.

 

In the middle of the night I woke up itching, coughing, sneezing with red, swollen eyes. Unbelievable. I don't have any food allergies, only seasonal allergies and something like this has NEVER happened before. I didn't think it was an allergy attack or a cold, but as a precaution decided to do my pre-flight protect against sickness ritual.

 

Went down to the corner store (love the city that never sleeps) got some OJ, huge bottle of water. Mixed the Emergen-C powder with orange juice and took two Benadryl and drank the whole liter of water and tried to go back to sleep. Medical mystery unsolved, but when I woke up at 3am I was feeling much better and my eyes were back to normal.

 

Another note to newbies: During my 3am wake-up I also realized I had not printed and did not have luggage tags. This is not a problem, they provide them for you at the pier if you don't have them.

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It's a big day people! Time to get up and go cruising! Except, I slept until 11am (thanks Benadryl). Anyway, I was up, dressed, checked out and in a taxi on my way to Pier 88 by noon on the dot. 15 minutes and $17 later I had arrived and took the first photo of my vacation:

 

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Not a great photo, but there she is! Time for some fun.

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Newbie Tip #3: Make the start of your trip less hectic and arrive early.

 

At 12:15 the lines for check-in were loooooooong and everyone was confused at what to do since the pier staff weren't directing people to the appropriate starting point (one area for handicap and Latitudes and everyone else in the other.) So, when you walked in there was a huge bottleneck of people just milling around.

 

I figured out my line and got in. It looked like the Atlanta airport at 6pm on a Friday. Since I spend a lot of time in airports I always count the number of people in front of me and try to do the math to see how long it's taking security to process each person. I counted 55 in front of me and the line was moving pretty slow. Then I saw the TSA folks has stopped screening for a few moments, apparently they found a rum runner in a gentleman's check-in luggage and needed to huddle on that for some reason?

 

After that episode the security line moved quickly and I breezed right through the metal detectors. Then it was on to check-in. A very friendly gentleman handed me a boarding number (34, played at roulette later and hit) and I got into an even longer line that the security. A lot of good people watching -- a wedding party with their family and friends, family reunions, a band called Kartune going on a cruise and a lot of impatient children. We waited and waited and finally it was my turn.

 

Now, my previous two cruises were from Miami and Ft. Lauderdale and check-in from taxi to gangway was literally 20 minutes so I was getting a little concerned that it was coming up on the 2:00 hour (I arrived at 12:15). BUT when I arrived at the check-in desk the representative was so warm and so friendly that I forgot all about the wait. This was the converse of my Miami and Ft. Lauderdale departures where the representatives were a little cold and snippy.

 

My boarding number was completely irrelevant by the time I'd gone through check-in and just like that I was on the ramp and walking on board. Just a little bit of calm started to come over me. Lovely staff were there dancing, waving and greeting all of the passengers.

 

Literally the moment I stepped into the Grand Atrium the announcement was made that the staterooms were ready. That was great news, but I was headed to restaurant reservations area to see if I could get a reservation for the Chef's Table.

 

Was a bit concerned since all the good people on this board said it fills us up fast and it was already late in the day, but there was no line in Moderno when I arrived to make the reservation and I was in!

 

Once again I was astonished at how friendly and perceptive the staff is on NCL (previous cruises were with Carnival and RCCL). The reservations person asked if I was sailing solo to which I replied yes and then she proceeded to suggest some restaurants I might enjoy, helping me select times that would allow me to not be late to shows, etc.. So, by the time I left I had reservations for the Chef's Table, Ginza and Cagney's as well as suggestions for the martini and wine tasting! Next, on to my stateroom...

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More!!! Tell us more! You are a very food writer and we're hanging on the edge of out seats. Sailing the Star for the first time in January so very interested!!

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I love your review so far. I am traveling on the Star in August. This will be my first solo cruise. I am excited to read a review from a solo traveler's perspective. I can't wait to read more!

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Several hours of sleep ended the theatrics of the previous night and I was safely on the train to NYC.

 

Note for newbies (from a semi-newbie; after how many cruises are you a veteran?): If your budget allows definitely try to arrive in your departure city the day before. My simple Amtrak trip was delayed two hours because of speed restrictions due to heat, which was not announced until we stopped somewhere between DE and NJ. If I had waited until Sunday morning it would have been a VERY close call getting to the pier in time.

 

Went down to the corner store (love the city that never sleeps) got some OJ, huge bottle of water. Mixed the Emergen-C powder with orange juice and took two Benadryl and drank the whole liter of water and tried to go back to sleep. Medical mystery unsolved, but when I woke up at 3am I was feeling much better and my eyes were back to normal.

 

Another note to newbies: During my 3am wake-up I also realized I had not printed and did not have luggage tags. This is not a problem, they provide them for you at the pier if you don't have them.

 

Two excellent points you raise:

ALWAYS show up a day ahead if not 2, assume that there could be some sort of delay

Also-travel with benadryl,pepto,robittussin,aspirin,vitamins even clearisil- you never know

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Thanks to everyone for the nice comments. I'm very much enjoying reliving my vacation!

 

Day One, Part Three: You're On Vacation Now...

Restaurant reservations in hand (you are given receipt like slips listing your confirmed time) I headed off to my stateroom 12005, an inside cabin. I started unpacking my boat bag that had my toiletries, a change of clothes and electronics and while I was doing that my larger roller bag arrived!

 

Previously, I'd sailed in a balcony cabin and was a little nervous about going back to an inside, but decided to use those extra funds for spa treatments, shopping in Bermuda and was totally fine in the inside cabin.

 

The nice thing about this deck is it's on the same floor as the pool, spa and market cafe which was very convenient. My PCC helped me pick my cabin noting the good and maybe not so good. Cabin 12005 is on an all suite floor which meant the best cabin stewards are assigned to these floors (although I think all the staff on this ship are all terrific). And, it was a virtually brand new cabin, since this was the former location of the Spinnaker lounge.

 

Downsides were it is far forward and high up which is the worst combination if you are prone to sea sickness (it did get REALLY bumpy the second sea day and I could feel all of it in my cabin...) and you have to walk outdoors through the pool area to get to your wing if you take the center bank of elevators.

 

Note for Newbies: Advice from my doctor/dad, if you are prone to motion sickness, begin whatever treatment you use BEFORE you get sick and BEFORE you head out to sea. It is very hard to "treat" motion sickness once it has happened so take precaution before hand. I am a fan of Bonine because it does not make you drowsy and I don't get what I call "medicine head."

 

Also, according to my pharmacist, it contains a higher level of the active ingredient that helps with sickness, more than some of the other products. As soon as I saw how forward the cabin was, I took one Bonine and did so every day through the trip. I believe this is what saved me from getting seriously sick on that very rough sea day.

 

Now here's the cabin and here's where I fail you as a reviewer. I got a very nice Nikon One camera for Christmas, but in my rush to get to NYC I chose to leave it at home opting for my iPhone camera instead. I was already feeling like I had over packed and didn't want any more electronics with me (took my MacBook in case I had to work and my iPad too). This means photos are not the greatest but here goes:

 

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The bed, which I loved. As comfortable as my beloved Westin Heavenly Bed, with great linens and lots of pillows.

 

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The ladies room

 

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Closet, with a peek of the dressing table.

 

A couple of notes on this cabin, which I loved:

1. For those traveling solo, it is the perfect size and I did not feel cramped at all. I brought my big rolling suitcase, my big handbag and my big Vineyard Vines boat bag and everything fit perfectly.

 

I hung up the dresses in the closet to the right and stowed the luggage and boat bag to the left, and put shirts, shorts/pants and underthings separating them into the three deep sliding drawers. I brought too many clothes (approx. two outfits for each day with some planned mix and match) but everything fit. My two shoe bags went into the cubby holes to the right of the closet and books and magazines went in the cubby above the TV (I don't have a photo of this.)

 

The shower has two small shelves for toiletries and three glass shelves near the sink for other items.

 

I am obsessively neat and hate to see things lying around with out a place, so I was so pleased with my clutter-free little home for the week!

 

2. For the ladies -- my hair often makes or breaks my mood for the day so I will not leave home without my Chi flat iron, but I did leave my hair dryer. This was taking a risk, since I've seen some hairdryers in hotels that are so tiny I would have better results with a cool breeze. This is not the case on NCL. They have Conair Ionic dryers with the cool shot. It's medium size, but worked perfectly.

 

3. The shower has shampoo and body wash dispensers but no conditioner and no body lotion. This didn't matter to me since the women at Sephora know me by name and I brought my own travel size stuff.

 

4. My cabin steward Aramando was amazing. He was sweet, friendly and took care of me. On that rough sea day when a lot of people had turned their door sign to Do Not Disturb all day, he snuck me some chocolate covered strawberries from the suite across the hall. The residents in the suite were sick and didn't want them.

 

5. I LOVED how dark the cabin got at night. Completely dark, cool from the air conditioning and quiet meant I actually slept through the night for 8 hours for seven days straight (I live in the city, so constant light and noise). This is an AMAZING feat for me and this opportunity alone made the trip completely worth it. I literally felt like a new person with all of that sleeping.

 

I'm not the type of person who brings extra things for a cruise like bungee cords or tape and the like, but I would suggest a night light for anyone who does not like complete darkness.

 

Not sure what else to say about the cabin, but do let me know if you have any questions! I'm off to mass, but will post later and try to speed this up a bit. Thanks for your patience! Next up, walking the ship, first meal, first cocktail and the opening night show!

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Love your reading your review so far!! Very informative and also entertaining! I can totally relate to your Target meltdown looking for a swim cover up. I am in the bad habit of not trying things on in stores, then when I get home I don't like what I bought and have to return. Needless to say I have been making alot of trips to and from stores in preparing for our trip in August on the Star! Looking forward to the rest on your review!

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Day One: Final Hours

 

After getting all squared away in my cabin I set out to take a tour of the ship. One of the things I appreciated was the little map that NCL gives you when you check-in, I kept it in my wristlet during the week to quickly find things. The ship also has very good way finding signs.

 

I haven't been on many cruise ships and layouts and how they are built are not really my thing, but I did think the decor on the Star was tastefully done, especially when compared to Carnival which I personally found to be a bit too loud for my taste.

 

Restaurants and bars were nicely spread out and I didn't ever stand in a long line or feel like I was traveling in a crowd, even during peak times in public dining areas like the Market Cafe. Unfortunately, I didn't do a photo tour like some other reviewers (which actually was a good thing -- it meant I left my phone behind, which is normally attached to me at all times!).

 

After doing a sweep around the ship I headed up to deck 13 to get for sail away! Here are a few photos:

 

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The Holland America Veendam was parked next to us and followed us all the way to Bermuda. They docked in Hamilton instead of the Dockyard.

 

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Love you, New York

 

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From the Biergarten

 

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Hello Lady Liberty, nice to see you the week before Independence Day.

 

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Are we going to make it?

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Day One: Wrap

 

After sail away I realized I had not eaten breakfast or lunch so I headed over to the Market Cafe for late late lunch/early dinner. Again, this is where I fail you as a reviewer because I didn't take any beautiful glossy pictures of the meals I ate. So I present you with some "very amateur food porn"

 

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What is this you say? It's the remains of my blueberry cobbler with vanilla sauce. Before that I had a nice salad, beef burgundy, rice and fruit.

 

Now I've seen some critical comments about the quality of NCL buffet food and their desserts, but I have to say I had no complaints.

 

First, as a singleton the fact that I could have a meal everyday, three times a day (or more if I wanted) with all of the food groups represented AND have multiple choices AND it is prepared by someone with some sort of culinary training is a big luxury. After all my last meal in DC was pretzel chips, hummus, carrots and wine.

 

Second, my family is from the South and I know what a good cobbler tastes like and that one was very good. My grandmother would approve. During the week I did see some dishes that seemed unappetizing to me so I just skipped them. There were plenty of choices -- A LOT of food.

 

After my meal, I went out to the pool deck. There they were selling the soda packages for the week and I discovered they sell water packages too! I drink a ton of water and was worried about having to go back and forth refilling those little cups they provide in the Market Cafe so I was happy to see this. I purchased six big (you could order a case of 12 if you wanted) bottles for the week for $26 and they delivered it directly to my stateroom.

 

With a hydration solution in place, I grabbed a chair on the pool deck and just watched the world go by for a bit. Then I went back to my stateroom to freshen up so I could head out to Gatsby's Champagne Bar and then to the opening night show.

 

Of course Amazing Aramando had already turned down my bed, replaced my ice, put my water bottles away and turned on my TV to the dock camera. Love him.

 

Gatsby's was a wonderful little place with superb bartenders and excellent entertainment. It was my hangout during the entire cruise. In the early evening there's this wonderful string quartet called Manila Trio and then later Mr. Motown, Stan Sykes. Seriously, if you are going on the Star DO NOT MISS EITHER of these entertainers.

 

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First of many cocktails. Bliss.

 

After some time at Gatsby's I headed to the Stardust Theater for the opening night show. Living in DC, I often go the Kennedy Center, Ford's Theater, etc. so I was wondering what I'd find on a cruise ship. I was really impressed with the quality of entertainment on NCL. The opening night show gave a sneak peek of all the different acts and was emceed by Cruise Director. We saw some singing and dancing, some acrobatics and some comedy.

 

After the show, I was planning on trying my hand in the casino or go for another cocktail or hit the Spinnaker lounge for some opening night party (there is never a lack of things to do on this ship), but I have to sheepishly admit that I decided to GO TO BED. At 9:30 pm. Lame I know, but I was a tired girl and wanted to catch up on some sleep.

 

I swung by the Market Cafe, grabbed a plate of fruit and went back to my room and watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and then slept through the night without waking up and thinking about work, life, etc until the next morning. Can I be an overactive cheerleader for inside cabins for a second? If you suffer from insomnia or poor sleep habits it's the way to go.

 

Next up: The first sea day, Martini tasting and potential romance blooms and then quickly dies at sea.

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Love your review so far. Can't wait for more! On the Star in less than 3 weeks.

 

PS - next installment sounds interesting!!!!

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Loving your review!! Looking forward to the rest.

Going on the Star in November. Your first pic of the ship, the ship looks small, did you find it to be small?

Also, you were near all the new family suites on deck 12, did you happen to get a look at them?

Thanks

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Was on the same itinerary with Star in May and LOVED IT! Can't wait to hear more of your trip to relive mine too! :)

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Noooooo! I ran out of posts to read, dammit! :( Looking forward to your next post for sure!

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Day Two: Sea Day One

 

** This post is brought to you courtesy of United Airlines and their two-hour flight delay. So, live from the United Airlines club, I bring you Day Two, Sea Day One!**

 

Breakfast. It’s one of my favorite words in the English language. I am a breakfast girl through and through and it was the first thing on my mind when I woke up at my regular 6am time on Monday morning.

 

Even though there isn’t much culinary variety in breakfast dishes I don’t care. Give me pancakes, French toast, omelets, eggs, hot cereal, cold cereal, toast, whatever and I am a happy girl.

 

With visions of breakfast floating in my head I quickly put on my gym clothes and headed out to the fitness center for my morning workout. As I walked down the hallway I noticed it how quiet it was with no one milling about. The sun had just come up and it felt like I had the whole ship to myself, just the crew and me.

 

There is only one other person in the fitness center at this hour. If you work out, this is a perfectly adequate gym and it has everything you need. Plus it’s pretty cool to be running on the treadmill while at sea!

 

After my workout, I contemplated going to back to my stateroom, showering and doing hair and makeup, but I’d done my gym time and I wanted breakfast! So, I figured I just scare the bejebus out of my fellow passengers and show up to the Market Café in my gym clothes. This is where my “romance” begins.

 

I’ve got my French toast swimming in syrup, eggs, bacon, fruit and OJ and I’m sitting at a table for six engrossed in my Kindle (50 Shades of Grey trilogy. I’m not one for this type of literature, but it was perfect vacation reading.) While I’m inhaling some eggs, I look up and facing me at the other table is a very handsome gentleman. He comments on how we’re one of the first ones here and I reply that my body clock has not reset itself for vacation (Dork.). He then asks how the gym was (then I remember my attire, gym shorts, hair on top of my head, and some old tank top. So gorgeous.) As I start to talk about how it was more than I expected, he gets up and asks if it’s okay to come sit with me (Sure!).

 

Introductions and then we start talking about the basics – where we live, what we do for a living, what other cruises we’ve taken, etc. I even manage to slip in that I’m sailing solo and he does not run and jump overboard to get away from the lonely, poorly dressed spinster. In fact he says: “I feel like I’m solo too, since I’m sailing with my teenage son and his best friend and they’ve totally left me.” This is an important piece of information for later in this review. I am pleased with the natural flow of our conversation.

 

Now I am not a “hook-up” kind of girl but I do believe the one you are looking for comes to you when you least expect it and I’ve had no expectations for a very long time, so when Mr. Handsome asks what my plans are for the rest of the day I tell him that I plan to go to pool deck, have a great dinner and hit the casino later. It’s now 8am and Market Café is filling up. He tells me he’ll come look for me at the pool later in the day. Excellent.

 

I go back to my room shower, apply sunscreen, get into my pool gear (I actually end up liking the Target cover up after all that drama) and head out for a day of sun and doing absolutely nothing except reading and drinking cocktails. As soon as I arrive, I see the dreaded chair hogs have arrived and there is nary a chair to be found.

 

NEWBIE TIP: If you cannot find a deck chair in the immediate pool area head forward to the Quiet Zone or aft to the helipad. Deck chairs are plentiful there.

Also, if you are of the chair-reserving kind, at what time do you get up to claim your spot? I was walking around at 6am and saw no one. Are they ghosts? Do you pay someone on the ship black market to drop a towel down for you?

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting in a deck chair out on the ocean. I stay there for hours, reading, taking little catnaps only getting up to pop down to the Biergarten for a drink. (Mimosa on arrival, Pina Colada, mid-morning).

 

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Lovely view, no?

 

Around 1pm Mr. H has found me; he sits down on the end of my deck chair and we talk some more. There’s some mild flirting on his part. He tells me he’s off to find son and friend for a late lunch and I decide to do the same. I opt for The Grille, (read: I’m too lazy to go back to my room and change into decent clothes to dine in the MDR). The Grille has hamburgers, hot dogs, a fixins area as well as French fries, onion rings and ice cream! I have a delicious hamburger that is topped with bacon and pineapple and some fruit. Head back to my deck chair for a bit more but it’s getting really windy so I check out my Freestyle Daily and find something to do – Martini Tasting at Gatsby’s!

 

I head back to my stateroom, change and head down to Gatsby’s. There are three martini tastings during the course of the seven days, each featuring a different set of four flavors. The bartender and leader of the tasting says he’s going classic today, serving up a gin martini with olives, Cosmo, green apple and chocolate. It’s $15, and he mixes, shakes and serves them right in front of you.

 

NEWBIE TIP: If you are not a drinker BEWARE! These are not tiny little sips, my martini glass was nearly full for each of the four martinis. It was fun to watch the antics of the two moms who admitted at the beginning that they didn’t drink that much. If you do drink you’ll be feeling good after this tasting. The chocolate was my favorite. Not too heavy and just enough sweetness to make it delightful. NOTE: Drink the water they provide to you!

 

Two hours and four martinis later, I head back to my room and take a shower and prepare for dinner. Tonight I decide on the main dining room but first I decide to stop back by Gatsby’s for a pre-dinner cocktail (don’t worry I can hold my liquor). Now that it’s almost two weeks since my cruise I don’t remember what I had for dinner that night, but I know I enjoyed it.

 

NOTE FOR SOLOS: I know the main dining room and the prospect of dining alone is a common reason people don’t sail solo. I think NCL Freestyle Dining is one way to alleviate that stress. The maître d was very good and perceptive about asking what type of table I wanted. One simple, but really effective tip I have is to bring something to read. You’ll get so engrossed in your book you won’t notice the time that passes or the people around you. And finally, remember most people are not that observant – they are so engrossed in their own meal and conversations that they aren’t really watching you. So get out there and do it!

 

After dinner I headed over the Stardust Casino. I’m a Catholic girl and we don’t believe in the supernatural but I will say I have some sort of mental knack for playing roulette. I always end up winning! Once when I was in Las Vegas, the supervisor came over to observe a game I was playing because I kept winning. I don’t have any strategy, I just look at the table and think about numbers I like and off I go. I’m on a streak and well, guess who? Mr. Handsome. He saw “a pretty girl across the room” and decided to break from Black Jack to come join me.

 

We play some rounds and we start to learn more about each other. His birthday is on X so I play that number. Twenty-two was a great age for me so he plays that number. I notice that with each turn of the wheel he’s becoming a bit touchy --we go from high fives to him patting me on the lower back and arms around the waist to quick hugs when I lose. When he goes to get us drinks (I’m having club soda at this point), the woman next to me asks “where did you husband go, you two are cute together?” Hmmm…I’m just mildly ok with this and others have noticed his actions.

 

A little after midnight, the cigarette smoke in the casino is getting heavier and is starting to bother me. I tell Mr. H that I’m retiring for the evening and he suggests that we go for a walk on deck 13.

 

Call me uptight, but I am not ok with this. Something about this request just tipped off my instincts and all I can hear in my head is the voice over guy from Dateline announcing the “Vanished at Sea: What Happened to XXX?” special. I politely say I’m soooo tired and I’ll see him bright and early tomorrow morning. Of course as we’re getting into the elevator we realize we are both on deck 12 but he’s on the port side so there is no awkward moment since we are going opposite ways.

 

I’m all washed up and cozy in my PJs and when I sit down on the edge of my bed I realize the ship is really rocking. Kind of like a car on a very bumpy road, back and forth, side to side. I take another Bonine, the second of the day, and climb into my cozy bed. I feel totally relaxed, I didn’t even think about anything but relaxing today. I had three great meals, made three times my initial casino investment and laughed with complete strangers over fabulous cocktails. This is bliss.

 

Next Up: A rough sea day #2, a rescue, Spaaaah, Ginza and more of Mr. H…

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Loving your review!! Looking forward to the rest.

Going on the Star in November. Your first pic of the ship, the ship looks small, did you find it to be small?

Also, you were near all the new family suites on deck 12, did you happen to get a look at them?

Thanks

 

Hi Munchkin002:

Thanks for your question. No, I didn't find the ship to be small at all. That's just a really bad photo take through the window at port. When we docked in Bermuda the Celebrity Summit was right behind us and we were the same size.

 

In the morning I could just see into the suites because the cabin stewards had them open to clean. They looked really spacious to me and the decor is very nice -- those muted beige tones with darker wood accents. I was jealous of your daily canapés and strawberry delivery. Enjoy!

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Excellent review so far- I did the Jewel solo 2 years ago and it was okay- I did especially enjoy the freestyle eating and you are right- no one cares if you are leaving alone and if they did- why are they wasting their precious vacation time thinking about it?

 

I did enjoy the Epic a lot more as there were many other solos to spend time with

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Day Three: Sea Day Number Two

 

It’s 4am and I wake up from a dead sleep to this rattling sound in my room. Luckily the room is not that big, so I quickly found the culprit -- unused clothes hangers in my closet that were moving back and forth because of the rough seas.

 

I turned on my TV and looked at the deck camera -- it was windy and rainy. Flipped over to the next channel, which is the “Captains Report.” It gives a summary of the ship’s location, miles travelled, miles to the next location and sea conditions. Our sea conditions were “gale force winds ”and “10-12 foot waves.” At this point, I actually found the ships rocking to be a bit soothing, so I settled down and went back to sleep.

 

This morning I slept until 7am and woke up to more rocking on the ship. I got up and got dressed for the gym and noticed while I was brushing my teeth I had to hold onto the bathroom rail to stay steady. This ship was really rockin and rollin!

 

During my late night Target trip before departure, I perused the trial size aisle and purchased some sea bands in a hard plastic case and included them in my emergency medicine Ziploc bag before leaving. I decided to put these on as an extra precaution and headed off to the gym.

 

I’ve notice the ship starts to “wake up” a little after 7am, but not today. You could hear a pin drop. I got on the treadmill, but the back and forth of the ship and the forward motion of the treadmill was making me feel really dizzy, so after 20 minutes I had to stop. I figured I’d do some weights, but bending over to change the weights made me even dizzier and I was starting to feel like I was going to be sick to my stomach.

 

On my way back down the hall to my stateroom, I ran into Amazing Aramando, who was just setting up to clean cabins and I mentioned to him I wasn’t feeling well. Two seconds later he was knocking on my stateroom door to retrieve my ice bucket and brought it back full. I crunched on some ice and sipped on a Pepsi from the mini-fridge in my room and took off the sea bands since the pressure they were applying inside my wrist was uncomfortable. I decided to lie down for a few more minutes and noticed that within moments of removing the sea bands I was feeling better! Maybe it was the Pepsi and ice, but I think the combo of sea bands, Bonine and no breakfast was causing my equilibrium to go haywire. I decided to stick to medication over sea bands for the rest of the trip and took another Bonine mid-day.

 

Feeling much more stable, it was off to the Market Café for breakfast. On the way back down the hall, I noticed the majority of cabin signs were turned to “Do Not Disturb.” Guess a lot of passengers had a rough night. I also noticed in the Market Café people were looking a little green and many darted in, loaded up a plate of food, grabbed some green apples and headed back to their cabin.

 

I’ve only had a total of seven measly days at sea as a result of my previous cruises and this was the first time I’d experienced bad weather. What to do? Outside it was blowing rain and wind so no pool. The Grille was closed for breakfast and a lot of the decks did too because of high wind. I had a light breakfast of fruit (green apple for upset stomach), cold cereal and hot tea. While I was waiting for my tea to steep, I hear “Good Morning” behind me and then two hands on my shoulders. I turn around and there is Mr. Handsome.

 

He survived the night and was feeling okay today. We talked for about 40 minutes and by then I had formulated my plan for the day – go to the spa! As I was wrapping up with Mr. H, suddenly his son and friend walk up to the table! He introduces me as the “pretty friend I told you about.” I shake hands and ask how their cruise is going so far and excuse myself. Ladies and Gentleman, the word of the day is AWKWARD.

 

After that little escapade I headed for the spa to see if there were any appointments. I’m in luck, there is an opening for 11:45 and a spa special. $169 for a brush scrub, hot stone massage, scalp and foot massage and facial. I’ll take it! I extended my hot stone massage for a few extra dollars and as an added bonus there were day passes left for the spa therapy room. What’s another $30? I was going to make this a true spa day.

 

I started feeling a little dizzy again and had time to kill before my spa appointment, so I headed back to stateroom to lie down and shower. Of course, Mr. Amazing had already cleaned up my stateroom. I got back in bed, sipped on my Pepsi and ice and watched TV.

 

NEWBIE TIP: If you miss any of the talks in the Stardust Theater, they replay them on the internal TV channel. On the first sea day I had contemplated going to the port shopping talk, but was too enthralled by my Pina Colada to actually go, so I skipped it. I got to watch it on the internal TV channel from the comfort of my bed.

 

Took my time getting showered and dressed in spa clothes, when I heard the Captain on the address system. Uh oh, what was happening? Here’s what I remember him saying: “Ladies and Gentleman: Norfolk has instructed us to turn back to assist a sailboat in distress with six passengers on board. They have been stranded at sea for one or two nights. Thank you for your patience, we will still arrive in Bermuda on time tomorrow morning.”

 

A few minutes following another announcement came over asking the “stretcher team” to please report immediately to the medical center for a briefing. What an interesting development!

 

About an hour later I headed out to the deck to see if I could learn more about the sea rescue. Lo and behold when I arrived they had started! First, two officers went out to the sailboat and handed over a bunch of life suits. It was nerve wracking to see stranded passengers try to put them on. Their sailboat had a broken rudder and due to the ship’s wake and the sea conditions, it was just tipping from side to side. Then two by two, each passenger took a leap from the sailboat and onto the little life raft. Again, so nerve wracking. There were so many people up on deck recording and taking pictures. Every time someone made it on the raft all of the onlookers started to clap and cheer. This was a true act of bravery by two officers and all involved. Remember, it was still windy and drizzling when all of this was taking place. After the rescue was over a lot of people hung around to watch the sailboat float away (so sad!) and before we knew it the skies opened up and there was a downpour.

 

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The rescue!

 

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Sailboat going out to sea...sad.

 

Went back to my room and re-dried my hair and dried off. By now it was almost time for my spa appointment so collected what I needed and was off to the Mandara Spa

 

My spa treatment was fantastic, particularly the hot stone massage. The product pitch at the end was a little off-putting especially after such a relaxing experience, but I was able to dodge the pressure and made it out without purchasing any products. I then spent the majority of the day in the therapy room. There is a cold plunge pool, a hot tub, hydrotherapy pool, steam room and sauna. Wooden deck chairs wiyh cushions and cool ice water with fresh fruit is provided. I spent all day in the spa therapy room taking frequent dips in each of the pools and one trip each to the steam room and sauna.

 

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Not bad for a rainy day

 

At 6:30 I headed back to my stateroom for a shower and got dressed for the evening. Went back to my old stomping ground Gatsby’s for entertainment and pre-dinner cocktails and then it was off to Ginza to eat.

 

Ginza is very nice upscale Asian food. I started with the steamed pork buns and hot and sour soup and then had the Szechuan beef. All really delicious, well prepared and the service was very good. For dessert, I asked my waiter for his favorite and he recommended the crème brulee trio. I’m not a big fan of this dessert usually, but since I asked and he answered with such enthusiasm I decided to go for it. He was absolutely right! It was divine. I don’t remember the three flavors but I absolutely cleaned the plate and contemplated ordering another.

 

After dinner, I went to Stardust for the evening show. This was a one-night only performance featuring a married couple from Russia. They were previously dancers with the Russian ballet before going out on their own. This show mixed some ballet with Cirque-style acrobatics and I enjoyed it along with a glass of champagne. At this point the ship was still rocking, but it seemed like people were feeling a little bit better. Though walking into the theater, I heard a wife say to her husband, “I’m just ready to park this ship and get on land.”

 

Post-show I was inspired to see if I could win some shopping money for my days in port, so I decided to go back to the casino. At the roulette table there was a sweet older gentleman whose wife had already retired for the evening. He was betting $5 chips, had a lot $25 chips stacked up and was definitely a high roller. He started following me around the board since I was winning again. It was exciting to see him win so much money and I was winning too! A waitress showed up and asked us both if we’d like a drink. I ordered another glass of champagne and my winning companion asked for bottled water. When the waitress came back I was ready to pull out my card to pay and she said they were on the house!

 

Before long, Mr. Handsome was by my side fresh from the black jack table, watching me play. Again, more friendly flirting on his part. Then an interesting thing happened. When Mr. H left to go play some more black jack, the older gentleman turned to me and said: “Is that your boyfriend?” I replied he was someone that I’d just met and then he said: “I’d steer clear, I think he’s a bad egg.” An interesting comment that stuck with me for the rest of the night.

 

After several hours in the casino I was once again driven out by the smoke and ready for bed. As I was leaving the casino, Mr. H caught up to me at the entry and once again asked me to go on a walk. I declined again saying the weather probably meant the deck was closed and told him I need to go check on something at guest services first. We said goodnight and he was off. My antennae was up again, especially after the comment by high-rolling friend from the roulette table. On my way back I stopped at the Market Café for a quick snack. It was nearly ready to close, but I indulged and had a small plate of nachos before bed.

 

Another wonderful day came to an end with my pocket full of cash, a great meal and some serious pampering.

 

Next Up: Beautiful, wonderful Bermuda!

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I'm sorry but you really need to write faster! It's like a book I cannot put down! :D

 

Thank you for your review. I am sailing on the Star next month and cannot wait!

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I'm really enjoying your review! It's almost like reading a romance novel (although with little romance). You're a terrific writer-- it's a pleasure to read. And you have plenty of ship-related info for me (I'm going on the Star in Sept.), as well. Thanks!

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I am really looking forward to finding out why Mr. H was so toxic. I love your story. Makes me wish I was going on my cruise alone!!

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Like the 2 previous posters I feel like I'm reading a novel, a good one that I can't put down. Please, please more soon!!!!

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