Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cruise Day #10, At Sea

Despite it being a sea day, we were up fairly early and opted for a sit down breakfast in the main dining room (Grand Pacific). This was our first such experience of the cruise… and likely our last as breakfast on the balcony is really more sublime. Also, the food was edible but not especially good… kind of like a Denny’s or Cracker Barrel. The other odd thing was that the items were very uneven in terms of quality and/or quantity. For example, my bacon was good and represented a “normal” side-order portion at most restaurants (3-4 strips), but my main entrĂ©e of pancakes (only two) were about the size and density of hockey pucks (though with a good flavorful). Libby had a similar experience with her biscuits and gravy: an ocean of gravy but only one rather small biscuit. It made no sense. If you like trying a proper sit-down breakfast, I’d say you should try the main dining room. This was our only experience to date and one data point shouldn’t be considered a representative sample.

After breakfast we lounged around cabin just reading, writing, and chatting (some of our favorite Sunday morning activities anyway). Truth be known, we often just spend weekend mornings chatting about various topics. (Hopefully, Libby isn’t reading this as I’d hate to portray myself as an overly sentimental sort.) But, this is one of the advantages of having a spouse or partner who’s also truly your best friend. We simply take pleasure in each other’s company... and can and do happily pass hours doing nothing but talking about matters both great and small. Indeed, one of the greatest pleasures of our travel is the ability to spend countless uninterrupted hours together, which is a rare treat for us given our professional commitments.

But, hey, you can’t sit around the cabin all day! So, I made my way up to the lunch buffet for a small snack (salad and some fruit). We then attended the afternoon’s lecture on Sir Francis Drake, hosted by the ship’s guest lecturer. This one wasn’t especially captivating, but we do find the gentleman who delivers them to be personally pleasant. And, we have the added bonus of usually being the youngest people by one or two decades to even bother attending, which makes us think it pleases the Rev. Dr. Collins (though he may not notice or care).

After our “NCL U” education, we headed for the Jade Casino for the first time this cruise. I think it might be the nicest casino I’ve ever seen at sea. I had a pretty good run at the video poker and slots (played for over an hour and only walked away down $5). Libby was less successful and lost her entire allocation of NCL casino donations ($20). Another thing that’s unique (I think – at least in our experience) is that the Jade Casino serves FREE drinks to those playing with a “Casinos at Sea” membership card (which is also free to join). Given the cost of drinks on a cruise (about equal to a resort’s bar prices on land), it’s actually not a bad deal if you can string out something like “Jacks or Better” video poker for hours on end. The only downside to the casino is that it allows smoking, which is just something that we (as non-smokers) are simply not acclimated to being around.

We’re now back in our cabin and not sure what tonight shall hold for us.

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