Musings On A Back-to-Back Cruise

Day 1 – Back to Back Begins

After yesterday’s day of sun we awoke to chilly temperatures and rain, thus my plan to explore the city and discover the reasons why she is so loved have been temporarily suspended. We are in port all day so we may yet venture out.

When we arrived the city was a tantalizing sight with the ochre buildings, majestic churches, pedestrian bridges and restaurants with people walking everywhere.

Even the activity on sea was sensory overload abounding with yachts, water taxis, ferries and weekend sailors speeding up and down churning up waves alongside massive cruise ships.

Our night was peaceful made even more so by the almost full bottle of Jack Daniels gifted by Cristle and Felicia. A very grateful thank you to them as otherwise we would have paid $138 for the same bottle plus 2 cans of soda as quoted to us by the ship bar staff.

“6 of 12” or “18 of 24”

We welcomed a new gaggle of passengers in Venice comprised of mostly Europeans and the usual entourage of lively Asians. Some of the crew has switched over to new contracts thus we are seeing a scattering of new faces.

Those crew members’ still serving existing contracts have become very familiar faces as they do double takes seeing us on this reposition to Barcelona. We suspect some may even wonder if we are “mystery cruiser” like the mystery shopper program, however I am sure that train of thought is that of an overactive imagination.

I only wish it were true in the eyes of the front desk staff who have yet to make us feel valued or appreciated for our business. We are extremely dissatisfied with their lack of follow through concerning promised ship board credits as explained to us by our travel agent.

A very upsetting incidence also occurred in the gift shop. I purchased a makeup product that proved to be the wrong color and upon attempting to do an exchange I was told I could not do so despite the statement on the bag clearing announcing otherwise.

After a heated discussion Joel had with the manager she begrudgingly allowed an exchange, we left with items we really had no use for in addition to a sour taste in our mouth.

Evaluating this cruise neither Joel nor I would recommend it. The free style concept leaved much to be desired and it translates into a lack of first class care with emphasis on superficial offerings and gouging of the clients pocketbooks.

Several conversations we’ve had with others confirmed they felt the same way and comparing Spirit to other NCL ships it falls short.

We have enjoyed meals at the sushi restaurant and found the quality and ala carte pieces good and a welcome respite from the main dining room “Raffles.”

The Blue Lagoon option is open 24 hours and prepare popular foods such as burgers and wings as ordered. It is a popular spot serving up pretty consistent meals ranging from perfect to acceptable.

Raffles food choices remain somewhat lackluster in presentation with a disparity of offerings from day to day. Joel bemoans the mysterious disappearance of chocolate desserts and I the bread pudding.

What Do You Do On a Back to Back Cruise?

Since we are familiar with the ports on this return trip, we opt to stay on board which has been pleasant to feel as though we have the ship to ourselves and having candid conversations with the crew is fun.

We start our mornings either walking the jogging path or 30 minutes on the treadmill. Grab breakfast and then shower to grab our books and kindles where we try to concentrate as the music mix pounds endlessly over the speakers on deck 12 which overlook the sea and featured port.

Several hours later dinner time rolls around followed by a couple games of Scrabble. We play it by ear in the late evenings, sometimes playing the slot machines or trying our luck to get in some dancing at Maharini’s.

On the first leg of our trip DJ Chris offered us a mishmash of hard rock mashed into 3 second sound bites which he spun for maybe 4 rounds on the dance floor then quickly degenerated into what passes for popular music.

As Shirley A’s niece used to say “I ain’t leaving nothing on the dance floor!”

Izmir, Turkey Revisited

We ventured out on the streets of Izmir in search of free Wi-Fi keeping in mind a certain flowered lined, upscale restaurant we spied on our first trip.

This time the gauntlet only consisted of a lone taxi driver and a few perfume hawkers. We needed to make a stop at the atm to withdraw some euro’s inadvertently getting Turkish lire instead; we walked into the bank to inquire about making an exchange.

Right away the security guard handed us a customer ticket and in understandable English indicated we needed to wait for our turn at the teller window.

As we were seated an obvious American and her husband charged in the front door asking the exact question in a very pushy manner.

To our amazement the guard appeared to barely understand or speak English and they left looking for a way to exchange their money. Just goes to show you being an ugly American does not get you very far.

At the restaurant we shared a cheese and bread platter with our carafe of wine as we checked emails and soaked up the atmosphere of being on land with the beach and sea as our backdrop.

Istanbul Revisited

This morning we were awakened at the crack of dawn by a canopy of sounds.

Our next door neighbor opening and closing their bedside drawers, followed by drums and horns which turned out to be the strains of the Turkish band welcoming visitors as they disembarked.

After 30 minutes of this unexpected treat, a trio of hammers started somewhere near our stateroom sounding very much like a new ship was being built.

My husband is teaching me to take life in stride which is a great lesson at any time especially when the world is your oyster.

I am counting my blessings on this Saturday Shabbat, sipping champagne looking forward to tonight’s entertainment “Come Fly with Me.”

My thoughts too turn towards family and friends happy that in checking of messages no tales of calamity were reported and though my heart is not overburdened with missing them – think of everyone with love – I do.

This entry was posted in Norweigian. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *