A solo cruise on the Atlantic in December was exactly what I needed: no phone, no emails and just many days of idleness, doing everything I did. loved on a brand new ship .. just perfect!
Launch date: 2007 Passengers: 2,384 Registration: Bahamas Tonnage: 93,000 Crew: 1,154 Bridges: 15
As I traveled alone, I was determined to be extroverted, although it was not my nature. When we arrived at Barcelona Airport, I spoke to anyone who seemed to be a likely prospect of the same cruise. I met Pat and Mike, a beautiful couple from Connecticut, who had spent the previous week in India at their son's wedding. They did not like India and were happy to be back in civilization. I met another man, then an American of very good appearance, none of whom wanted to share a taxi with the ship. (Too much luggage, I'm told). 20 euros later (with tip), I was on the docks of the glittering Norwegian gem. The decoration, which looks like flowers on the hull, were precious stones. I should have guessed that. No fanfare, no lines, and after 5 minutes I was in the duty free zone and on board .. The decor was more moderate than most NCL ships, thankfully. Always turquoise, blue, melon and burgundy were everywhere. The carpet in the hallways resembles that of the ocean. It was later said that carpet dolphins were swimming towards the bow of the ship to help you find your way.
It was 5 pm at the time of my boarding. I met our cruise reviews at the Star Bar at 6pm. A nice bunch of people, but I had the chance to sit at a table with two English couples, Wendy and Mike, and Ken and Jean. They were friendly and hospitable. I discovered that Wendy and Mike were now living in Florida and the other couple in California. After an hour or a pleasant conversation, they invited me to dinner, but I refused. I was still wearing jeans, the only outfit prohibited in the more upscale dining rooms. They recommended the blue lagoon, and I had good tex-mex food. The evening entertainment at the Stardust Theater was a replica of Sammy Davis Jr, singer and dancer, whom I loved even while she was alive. I stayed for the whole show and I won $ 54 in an instant game (like scratch cards from the lotto).
Day 2 I really wanted to sleep all day, but with a welcome party at 10:30, it was not possible. The 103 cruise reviews were all present and we met some of the staff. I met a few other people whose names I knew about the council. Always nice to associate a face with a name. An artistic conference (and a free print later), a Red Hat Lady meeting where I seemed to be the only dinner participant with Ken and Jean. Ken excused himself and Jean told me his very interesting life story until the wee hours of the morning. Mine is not an eighth so interesting! Everything from the daughter of a chip owner to a single mother after a failed marriage, to her second husband, Ken, and her teenage daughter, to America.
Day 3. I stayed so late that I missed breakfast. I went to the gym, but with a huge headache, I felt sick and I only lasted a few minutes. I wandered by the outdoor pool and the sun was hot, although we were now in the Atlantic. Bingo for 40 minutes and I left 35 dollars poorer. A VERY L O NG art auction brought a second free copy, but not much else.
Day 4 Funchal our only port of call. Madeira is a jewel emerging from the Atlantic with poinsettias on trees, a beautiful orange cone resembling a flower – aloe. And bougainvillea. The island has a long steep climb to reach the volcanic peaks and the valley of the Sisters below. It was a beautiful day. At the top of the toboggan run, an accordionist dressed in white and wearing a Madeira hat entertained us while we waited a few seconds for the arrival of our sledge – a two-seater two-seater, flanked by two men in white capped straw hats. The toboggans or sledges were fun. When the men slowed down or stopped, the men added wax to make them run on slow places. The picture taken along the way showed two tall women huddled in the sleigh with their mouths open. I bought a brightly colored Madeira hat and football jerseys featuring the local hero, who apparently plays for Man United. We returned to the ship just before leaving.
Day 5 I was scheduled for a bowling tournament, but I arrived half an hour after the start. What a concept, bowling at sea. The waves did nothing to help my score. We each shot a ball and the next person finished the frame. My team was easily eliminated the first time. The highlight of the day was the murder dinners. We were assigned to teams of 6, each with the same story, and headed to the Grand Pacific dining hall, where we played our roles. I played Holly Day, the wife of a billionaire on vacation in Hawaii. This certainly kept the conversation going during dinner.
Day 6. The evening entertainment, a comedy troupe from Second City, was excellent. Ship – excellent, spacious, always being retouched, even only 6 weeks after the first departure.
The rest of the trip was blurry. I read 3 ½ pounds. I slept well. The time on board the open deck was warm enough to wear a long-sleeved shirt – no coat or vest. My overall impression: the excellent food restaurants Teppenyaki specialties very good (like a Benehana) and the Italian La Cucina was excellent. Do the laundry on board. The animations are varied, some correct, excellent. The stewards in the room were efficient and had fun with pets every night.
I would definitely go back to the Norwegian Gem and would not hesitate to take a transatlantic cruise even in the middle of winter.