Saturday, December 20, 2014

Setting Sail

Set off with both cars to the airport parking lot where we had reserved a spot for the week.  Some confusion ensued with the rude clerk, but eventually we climbed on a shuttle-bus that took us to Port Liberty in Bayonne.  That burned up the first hour.

Then into a vast hangar-like structure where we checked our bags at the curb and proceeded to clear security.  With no announcements and little guidance, the thousands of passengers milled about, formed lines and eventually got registered.  Then we lined up to prove that we were registered and finally exit the hall and board the ship.  Another hour gone, in spite of Norwegian Cruise Lines promise of 7 minutes from curb to ship.  Clearly they weren’t entirely ready for 4,000 passengers.

With only minor false starts we succeeded in finding our cabin on Deck 11 after a lengthy wait at a woefully inadequate elevator bank and shed our carry-ons.  A ship with 15 decks really needs a lot of elevators.  The ship is brand new and well-appointed, the cabins quite spacious.  We had an inner cabin with a “virtual balcony”.  This was comprised of a sideways-mounted 80” Sharp TV fed by live outdoor cameras, showing us what we would have seen if we had a window.   

By now it was 1:30 and lunch was in order.  All incoming passengers had the same thought, so the cafeteria was standing room only.  We had not been able to book on-line one or two of the shows we wanted to see so we struggled against the current of inflowing passengers down to deck four to track down the Passenger Service Desk.  This center, suitable for a cruise liner of several hundred passengers, was of course swamped.  Nonetheless, in only 30 minutes, we were able to determine that we still couldn’t book reservations for the Moment Factory show, but we could turn up ten minutes before the show and get in line.  Sure.

Then back to the cabin to negotiate with the built-in safe, stow a few valuables and listen to the announcement declaring that life-boat drill would be held in 30 minutes and would we please proceed to our stations.  Ours happened to be in Jamie Oliver’s Italian Restaurant, aft on Deck 4.  More elevator patience got us there just as the last seat was taken, so we stood for 30 minutes until it was over and we could brave the elevators again.  We eventually discovered that some happy traveller had pushed all the buttons on the elevator we boarded and that if the elevator stopped at a floor on the way down, it didn’t stop there on the way up.  Seems the call buttons on the lifeboat deck weren’t actually working either.

Back to the cabin for a break.  The checked luggage started to arrive with the last one turning up about 7PM.  One bag had the lock removed, the other was severely ripped.   Off to the Windjammer cafeteria aft on deck 15 for some beef curry and a refreshing beverage.

Our stateroom and virtual balcony

1 comment:

  1. Bon Voyage, Folks! Sounds like a great trip already. Can't believe they go to the trouble of providing a "virtual balcony" - What a novel idea! The cabin looks fabulous - enjoy the trip.

    Light snow here today and minus 5......... FYI :-)