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kylenyc

Ben the Bendy Man's Gem-tastic Adventure Feb 23 - March 4, 2013

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Maricel digs up a fish bowl from storage and mixes up Ben's very first Rebellous Fish! Yay! He's finally got one!

 

Hello fellow cruise enthusiasts!

 

Ben your friendly neighborhood yellow figurine is back from Samana! For those that don't know, back in December our courageous adventurer leaped off the zip line into the forest of Samana and hasn't been seen since. It was rumored he was seen riding the safari bus with Tour Samana with Terry. Months later he miraculously arrived back in the states in a plain brown padded envelope just in time to board the Norwegian Gem for another Gem-tastic cruise.

 

Ben's met so many wonderful new friends from Cruise Critic on this trip. Some of them even let him stow away on their vacations! He can't wait to see some of the pictures and is so happy they let him tag along and share their memories!

 

He was just on the Gem last December so this will be an abbreviated review of just the highlights. Hope you enjoy!

Edited by kylenyc

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Welcome back, Ben!

 

I don't want to put undue pressure on you, but you'll need to write up your Breakaway adventures VERY promptly. I will be on board May 26th, and I will use your comments and photos as guidance. So make sure you let your human advisor rest so that *my* needs can be accomodated. OK? ;)

 

Thanks!

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Hurray! You are back! How in the world did you get the fish glass? I couldn't beg for one on the Pearl in Dec.

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Embarkation

Ben arrived at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal shortly after noon. It was the first time he'd seen lines queued up before the security screeners. He seemed to have hit rush hour and he stood in line for 10 minutes before it began moving. Once moving he was able to breeze through due to his Latitudes Gold status. This would be his 11th cruise and 4th cruise aboard the Gem.

 

After passing through security, it was clear why they had to queue up outside. The check-in lines were long and full as well. Luckily, he was directed to the Latitudes Gold/Platinum for faster check-in.

 

Disembarkation

Skipping right to disembarkation, people may want to know that the Manhattan Cruise Terminal is back to normal operation, and customs officials no longer screen passengers aboard the Gem! Disembarkation was nearly perfect. Ben was delivered disembarkation information two days in advance, the instructions and announcements were clear, and disembarkation was smooth and orderly. One minor issue was that the disembarkation letter incorrectly listed the Magenta instead of the Grand Pacific would be open breakfast. Also, some passengers will simply not read instructions or disregard them.

 

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Deck 7 at 8 AM - Clear hallways and no snaking lines on Deck 7

 

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Deck 7 Atrium - No snaking lines across the atrium but some passengers insist on ignoring announcements to "avoid Deck 7 and wait in the stateroom and other public areas."

 

Sailaway

After the mandatory safety drill, Ben met up with his new cruise critic friends for an informal sailaway gathering in the Spinnaker Lounge. This is a beautiful lounge with floor to ceiling windows and great views forward, port, and starboard, and perfect shelter from the day's cold winter rain.

 

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Spinnaker Lounger Deck 13 Forward - Sailing towards the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge on a rainy winter day.

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Was Ben a bit rougher for wear after trekking the jungle for so long? :p

Ben thought nothing could be rougher than cartwheeling off a zip line into the Samana jungle... Little did he know, St. Maarten was full of dangers too!

 

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Iguana Park, St. Maarten - Ben has a close encounter with an Godzilla. Help! Ben's neither animal, vegetable, or mineral!

 

Hurray! You are back! How in the world did you get the fish glass? I couldn't beg for one on the Pearl in Dec.

The Rebellious Fish was offered on the Gem's Freestyle Daily both in December and this cruise. They sold out quick in December and couldn't find one back then. Sorry it wasn't on your Jewel cruise.

 

Welcome back, Ben! I don't want to put undue pressure on you, but you'll need to write up your Breakaway adventures VERY promptly. I will be on board May 26th, and I will use your comments and photos as guidance. So make sure you let your human advisor rest so that *my* needs can be accomodated. OK? Thanks!

Ben will poke and prod his assistant to do something. There will be some excellent reviewers on the first sailings (the roll is is already over 200). ;)

Edited by kylenyc

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I am getting on the Gem in 6 days :D

 

I love Ben's story ... was so worried since his fall in Samana ;)

 

Can't wait for more !!!

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This is hilarious!!! I haven't been on cc in over 6 months but am headed on Gem in May.

Now I'll have to neglect my husband and children tonight while I go back and read your other reviews!!! :D :D

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Im glad Ben found his way back home! Looking forward to more of his review!:)

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Yay, Ben is back! Can't wait to see what's new on the Gem. I'll be boarding in 155 days with my two great-nieces (8 & 10) and they loved your last review! :D They are going to be really happy to read about your adventures again!! ;)

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Kyle muahhhhhhhhhh we have to cruise together soon. Glad Ben is doing ok, gosh I love your reviews

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Ben thought nothing could be rougher than cartwheeling off a zip line into the Samana jungle... Little did he know, St. Maarten was full of dangers too!

 

P1020265.JPG

Iguana Park, St. Maarten - Ben has a close encounter with an Godzilla. Help! Ben's neither animal, vegetable, or mineral!

 

 

Kyle, another addition to my "Favorite Ben Photos".

 

So happy to see Ben back. Words cannot express how I felt when I read that post about Ben and the zipline. Oh Noooooooo!:eek::eek::eek: Hope Ben enjoyed his botanical exploration of the flora of Samana!

 

 

Ben will poke and prod his assistant to do something. There will be some excellent reviewers on the first sailings (the roll is is already over 200). ;)

 

There may be some excellent reviewers on that first sailing and I can't wait to read them all --- BUT I am so looking forward to seeing the Breakaway through Ben's eyes with a lot more photos to add to Ben's Favorites :D.

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Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, Cabin Crawl, and Slot Pull

On Day 2, we met in the morning for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet organized by Ron. Gianinna the Group Services Coordinator provided us with light refreshments and the senior officers came by for their hellos.

 

Ben's butler organized his very first cabin/poker crawl after the M&G and a slot pull for the next day. Around 30 of us headed down Deck 5 and crawled our way to seven cabins starting from an inside cabin and ending in a deluxe owner's suite. We had lots of fun and Ben's butler even served up some cocktails from his little porthole cabin with the help of volunteer mixologists Marilyn and Rose. Bloody Mary's, Mimosa's, and Rum and Coke were the drinks of choice for our group. Ron helped lead the way to the next cabin and kept the crawl moving along. Jon was our dealer extraordinaire - handing out playing cards for a hand of cabin poker. It was quite cramped at the start as we all crawled our way through the smaller cabins. By the end, we were all shocked as our entire group were able to fit into the suites.

 

The next morning, Day 3, Ben's manservant met everyone at the Gem Club Casino for our slot pull and collected everyone's "donations". We commandeered a Wheel of Fortune slot machine and Ben fed it with everyone's donations. We each took 5 pulls each, summoning up every ounce of luck we could muster - some meditated, some rubbed the machine for good luck, and some rubbed Ben! He was quite thrilled to be the center of attention. Ben cheered everyone on with chants "BIG MONEY BIG MONEY" of "WHEEL... OF... FORTUNE!" each time a player got a "Spin" of the big wheel attracting the attention of everyone in the casino. Ben was thrilled that after everyone had their turn, they were still a few dollars ahead! Tanya won the side pot after having the highest spin of $80 which would be ominous.

 

After an intense secret huddle and consultation with all the players (it lasted a minute), we agreed to risk our hefty fortunes (of $15 each... big money big money!) on another round. We were all feeling lucky... punks! When it was Tanya's turn again, with Ben in hand, together they ever so gently caressed and pulled the lever over and over until they magically got another "Spin" of the big wheel and got a whopping $400 spin! Our group erupted in elated cheers. In the end, on the very last pull, Ben and his butler even got a "Spin" of the big wheel and sweetened the pot with another $100. Ben was our little lucky charm and we all left the casino a little richer and a Bendy-like smile on our faces.

 

Awesome pictures courtesy of Tanya & Kevin

 

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Ben "Spin"s the big wheel and pulls $100 on the very last spin of our slot pull. Go Ben!

 

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Ben happy basking in Tanya's winnings.

 

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Gem Club Casino - Cruise Critic Slot Pull Team with their winnings - A crisp $50 bill each.

 

Dining

Most evenings Ben headed to the Grand Pacific or Magenta main dining room for dinner. The first night we went to dinner around 6 pm. The wait was about 30 minutes and we were given a pager. The wait time eased on subsequent evenings. The waiters were always friendly and accommodating whether we wanted a different side dish or were on a tight schedule trying to make the evening show. The first evening is traditionally "lobster night" so we all enjoyed the surf and turf which came with a rather scrawny but tasty maine lobster tail. Other memorable dishes throughout the cruise included the blue crab cakes, coconut shrimp with steak minion, and beef stroganoff which was very tasty though the beef was rather leathery.

 

Cagney's

We went to Cagney's on the third day. Ben's assistant ordered the porterhouse which was tasty and had that nice grilled charcoal flavor. His friends had the prime rib and filet minion which where excellent. We all had the add-on lobster tails which were cooked perfectly - tender and tasty. Our server was friendly, attentive, and on top of everything. It was a perfect meal and we all wished we left room for dessert even though it didn't stop us each fro having our own chocolate brownie sunday. No sharing!

 

Teppanyaki

We had teppanyaki on the last night. Service was lackluster. The miso soup was salty and the edemame made for a boring appetizer. The dainty seaweed salad with ginger dressing was tasty and sweet. Our chef was friendly but only mildly amusing -- throwing out one-liners while he prepared each dish. He repeatedly dropped and broke raw eggs on the grill in his attempt to juggle them, leaving a few egg shells in our fried rice. He also spilled a few piece of filet minion on the table which he scooped into the garbage robbing a diner of a few precious bites. The egg fried rice was boring and bland. Granted it was slightly better than teppanyaki fried rice he's had on land but it was still in stark contrast to the tasty fried rice from Shanghai's noodle bar on the Epic. Ben had "Seafood" for the main course. The sea scallops and calamari were tender and cooked perfectly. However, the lobster tail was drowned in soy sauce which made it salty and barely edible. He engulfed the rest so didn't see any reason to fuss over another tail which he was surely would've gotten. Ben was confounded by dessert when they brought out his Green Tea Cake. It looked like a dark green twinkie with a scoop of green tea ice cream. He didn't care the taste. All in all, Ben thought teppanyaki could use improvement in nearly every way (food, presentation, service) so that it would be more comparable to his favorites: Le Bistro and Cagney's.

Edited by kylenyc

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So good to hear from you patter44, Suzanne, xenagurl!

 

Maria! I was lurking your thread with Margaret and Steve this morning! It's definitely on my mind cuz well I think I'm a little "nutz" too. ;)

 

Thanks SMSACE6, russianmom, Moondawgie, NayRN! Ben adores his fans. It helps keep his indelible smile (that and with the occasional help of a black Sharpie for touch ups). :D

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So enjoying your review of our cruise, Kyle! Maricel was one of our fave bartenders at the Java Cafe and I'm not surprised she fixed Ben up with the sought-after glass. That Ben sure gets around! Meeting so many nice people from our roll call and running into them during the cruise was fun; I only wish I could duplicate my $100 spin during our slot pull the next time I'm in Atlantic City, LOL. Hope anyone who got nabbed by norovirus is feeling back to normal now. Thanks for helping us relive the memories! :cool: Sharon

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Months later he miraculously arrived back in the states in a plain brown padded envelope just in time to board the Norwegian Gem for another Gem-tastic cruise.

 

I am intrigued by Ben's return. How did he find his way home?

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Sharon! Our Cruise Critic group was amazing and Ben had a blast with everyone :p. It was fun running into you. There weren't enough hours in the day to spend time with each of you and looking back wish we had the chance to sit down to dinner together. Next cruise!

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I think Ben needs a thread to tell us all of his adventures and finding his way back home. What do you say, Ben?

Edited by medicalma'am

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Hurray! You are back! How in the world did you get the fish glass? I couldn't beg for one on the Pearl in Dec.

 

I got one on the Dawn the week of February 17th. When I saw it during the sail away party I told my DH that I must have one. I got one on the Rebellious Fish day.

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