Day 1 – Boarding
Venice is not what they say. It was selectively charming and broadly questionable (especially if you wake up at 4-30a.m.) Great art and great food though. Boarding on the Norwegian Jade was beyond hell. You arrive at (what you think is) the Cruise Terminal, which turns our to be a deserted deck in the middle of nowhere one kilometer away from the ship (I mean 1 km on foot under the sun with your suitcases). “Gym for today done” I rightfully concluded. The ship is posh, kitschy and full of energized Americans.
Upon entering the room, we are impressed by the view from the balcony and simultaneously bombarded by endless reminders to attend the security training. From the tone of the voice I thought I’d be expected to learn how to drive this ship to the shore if the captain and all his crew suddenly go mad, depressed or on strike. In fact – that safety demonstration was a standing comedy act aimed at selling their next cruises followed by a short and sweet life jacket on/off ritual.
The dinner was actually a nice buffet with grilled fish and fresh salads. It was the simplest out of ~12 restaurants. Slept like a baby before even sunset.
Day 2. It gets better.
Woke up at 7 a.m. and was too lazy to search for the remaining 11 restaurants, so had breakfast in the known place. Still good, but gets noisy by 7-30. On my way to the gym, discovered one of the pools not working (they fixed it the next day, but unless you are here before 7 a.m. it’s unbearably crowded). They keep it cold, probably, to make sure that nobody can stay there for too long.
A small voucher hidden somewhere between welcome papers suddenly dropped on the floor and said “you have a special promotion – all your alcoholic drinks on board are free”. I could not believe it at first, but the guest services deck reassured us – we both got free drinks as first time guests or whatever. Wow!!! It’s not even noon!
Champagne for lunch and time to research the spa. Did you know that these days you can have botox, collagen injections and all sorts of fillings done on the ship!?!?! Now you’ve been warned.
I didn’t know that Dubrovnik was associated with Game of Thrones, never watched it. For what it’s worth – beautiful city, excellent hazelnut ice cream, cozy little beach. No internet access offshore unless you are willing to pay something around $1 per minute. Really?
Pool at 7 a.m.
An American from Seattle joined me at breakfast at 7-30. There were many tables available around but she decidedly wanted company. Apparently, it’s acceptable on the ship where everyone gets bored without Internet. I personally have a very different perception of privacy standards, especially the ones applicable to 7-30 a.m. Anyway, she wondered why Europeans had so many languages and currencies. You know how they always teach you to ask open-ended question to start the conversation?
4 hours of pampering at the exceptional spa area, I’m finally relaxed and decided to spend the rest of the day in sportswear.
She ship doesn’t stop today, everyone is around the pool area (to be avoided at all costs).
Took a short taxi ride to the Acropolis, strolled around the city center… magically avoided refugees and associated protests happening here just a few hours later.
Shopping remarks. In poorer countries (I mean absent middle class and a wide gap between the rich and the poor) when they sell you something, they often emphasize “genuine leather, authentic, practical, soft, comfortable, good quality”. In wealthier countries the emphasis would be on “new collection, versatile, cool, wear it with …”
Do you see Lego on the top?
Day 5 Turkey – Kusadasi
For all its worth, there is to life without Internet. I’m hungry for news, Facebook, Bloglovin’, work emails and everything else. The whole world is blaming Hungarians. Unreasonably, IMHO.
Try acupuncture was one of my year’s to-do and I finally did it (onboard). Before appointment they asked me to complete an info-sheet. This questionnaire made my day.
“What is the primary reason for you to come here?” – I answered “curiosity”.
“When did the problem start?” – Chuckling I put “don’t remember”
“What other treatments or medication have you tried?” – I ended up almost crying and put “n/a”
Days 6 Reading and Day 7 Split
Kindle prototype in Split
All I want is to be home and online. The first few days of the cruise were fun, I’m glad I saw Athens and I loved Croatia, but 7 days on the ship is simply too long. It’s a perfect arrangement to see several new places in one go, great food & even free drinks, but I couldn’t help it – I just wanted to jump the ship and go back to work (where I got some exiting news and lots to do).