Tenth day at sea, another week until we arrive at our final destination of Barcelona… My advice to anyone else looking to follow in our footsteps or those beginning world travelers is don’t fall for a bargain price on a l-o-n-g cruise.
The Norwegian Jade is a fine boat in most all respects, but on a transatlantic cruise keep in mind there is no escape. Fortunately, we upgraded to a ‘suite’ with a balcony, which we consider a requirement. Immediate access to the outdoors, testing the weather, and the privacy is very welcomed. It is also helpful for drying clothes, although this practice is discouraged. So what does one do on the boat all day??
Our very first cruise on Celebrity Silhouette was by far the highest quality of our three transatlantic cruises. An easy way to contrast an average vs. a top quality cruise can be seen in the exercise room. On the Celebrity Silhouette the exercise room towels were refrigerated and we had our choice of cucumber or lemon infused ice water. On the Norwegian Jade, the drinking fountain is not unlike what is in the hallways of every elementary school.
Years ago, ports of call were a time for great exploration of a foreign land. If you did not take part in the tours arranged by the boat, you at least hired a taxi tour of the island. You would often end up at the driver’s relatives’ restaurant or tchotchke shops, but you got to see the island. These days, much of the effort in port is to find a bar or restaurant with a strong public WI-FI to reconnect with the e-mail and the business world. That is precisely what we did in St. Thomas. We had been there years ago and went to Megan’s Bay, which is said to be among the most beautiful beaches in the world. This time we simply walked into the town which I expect primarily exists for the tourists. The locals likely congregate elsewhere.
While cruising, we settle into a routine. Every single day at sea, we exercise. Looking out the window from the treadmill, we spotted two different types of flying fish over several days. I assume they were different species based on their size. They could easily fly over 30 yards, 2 feet above the waves. Their technique seemed to be to exit at the crest of a wave, fly over the wave trough and plunge back into the following wave base. I took no photos of flying fish, but here is a lone albatross photographed from our balcony, many miles from sea, occasionally diving for fish.
In addition to our daily workout routine on the treadmill, we are going for some kind of a record. During our three transatlantic cruises, we have not once taken an elevator on the ship, always opting for the stairs. Dining can be on the 5th floor, the buffet on the 13th and our room somewhere in between.
We try to have only two meals a day, generally skipping breakfast. The option to eat at a white table cloth restaurant and be waited on is always available, but we generally opt for the lunch buffet where they had a surprisingly good selection of Indian food. We go to the good dining room at night, sometimes eating as late as 9:00PM in preparation for the dining habits in Spain. Of course the dining room food is consistently wonderful and inventive.
All cruise boat stewards are required to make a variety of animals out of towels, greeting you when you return from dinner. We were greeted by elephants, mice, turtles, monkeys and these animals.
The Norwegian Jade used to be a boat touring the Hawaiian Islands. I’m not sure if that is the reason for the more garish theme of some of the lounges or not… But they are not lacking in color….
One can expect at least a couple days of high seas when crossing the Atlantic. Here is a short movie clip of the pool on such days.