01-31-2014 Day 6 Costa Maya

Currently we are camped at NAS/JRB, Belle Chasse, LA Temperature: 47 F, and foggy

This is sixth in a series of posts about our NCL cruise on the Norwegian Jewel to the Western Mediterranean. Read about our first day at sea here,  about an evening onboard  here, Cozumel here, Belize here, and Roatan here. Also, keep in mind that the link to the left for my photos on google will take you to many more images of our cruise and the ports we visited

015It’s always nice when a ship docks at a pier and no tenders are required to go on shore.  The pier at Costa Maya is big and new, much like the cruiser’s village built in 2007 after Hurricane Dean decimated both the cruise port village built in 2001, and the older bucolic fishing village of Mahahual. 

We had no expectations for the last port on this cruise.  Reading in advance, I knew there were a few ruins to explore on excursions, that there was the Disneyesque cruise village, geared to bars and shopping, dolphin encounters, and swimming pools.  I did know the town was a short taxi ride away, but wasn’t at all sure the town was worth seeking out.

cruise day 6_043However, once we walked the very long pier to the village, I was dismayed to discover that the entire village was walled off on either side by private land, and the beach was non-existent.  For the second time on the cruise, I felt incredibly claustrophobic, and very frustrated that I seemed to be trapped in a bright, fake world of color and people.  Ack!  Mo was rolling her eyes at me as I struggled with my frustration, desperately seeking a way out.

If I had read just a little more, I would have realized that there was a rear exit from the ‘village’ that didn’t require an excursion or golf cart rental. We simply walked outside and found the old road leading south to Mahahual.  The extensive damage from Hurricane Dean was clearly evident as we walked.  Old electric boxes marked what once must have been small homes, but other than the paved road and stone street signs populated by iguanas, there was no sign of habitation.

053I did know that the town was only a mile and a half from the pier, so we walked in the general direction and within half an hour turned toward the lighthouse and the beach.  The skies were clearing from the morning overcast and the temperatures were quite warm.  As the day wore on, the water turned brighter and brighter shades of turquoise.  A cold local beer from the Blue Bay Beach Club and a couple of beach chairs gave us a chance to enjoy the view of the distant ship and watch people snorkeling.  Of course, we hadn’t lugged our gear, unsure when we left the ship if there was any possibility of a snorkel beach nearby.

002I had heard that, like most beaches in Mexico, there were entirely too many locals hawing wares on the beach.  Instead, we had only one woman approach us the entire time we were there, and after a couple of no’s, she left us in peace.  We walked the beach a bit, I went in the warm, clear water, and the kayaks sure did look tempting. 

Mo liked the look of those kayaks as well, thinking we would get the best price for a tandem.  Instead, the Blue Bay kiosk only had singles, but a delightful young woman gave us two individual kayaks for 5 bucks for an hour instead of the posted $5. per half hour, or $10 for two hours.  So we walked for free, kayaked an hour for ten bucks, and spent 4 bucks having a good beer and comfy chairs under a nice palapa.  I would say that was a good price and beat just about any excursion we might have found.

011It seems that snorkeling trips on a cruise are something that should only be purchased on site and on the day you want to snorkel.  Weather is completely unpredictable, as are water conditions.  Purchasing a snorkeling trip in advance could have been a real bummer.  However, finding good snorkeling beaches is also a bit of a crap shoot.  We hauled our snorkeling gear all the way from Oregon for this cruise.  I have hopes that we will get to use the gear in Florida, even though the weather didn’t cooperate much on the cruise.

After a few delightful hours at the beach, we walked back to the ship, managing to get in a three mile walk and an hour kayak for our day’s exercise.  I think we got an additional mile just walking the length of the pier back and forth from the ship as well.016

Deciding on an early afternoon lunch/dinner, we headed for the Garden Café buffet for some fresh salad and a table on the aft patio deck where I tried to get photos of the distant town and lighthouse that marked our kayak location.  The weather was perfect for dining outside.

late lunch on the patio before departing Costa MayaAfter lunch we walked up to the sports deck and watched part of a rousing game of basketball played by opposing crew teams, and then found an available ping pong table for a funny game of ping pong with wind, crooked table tops, and moving seas to add to our fun.

With our late lunch, we had no need to have dinner and instead relaxed in the stateroom until time for the last big show of the cruise, “Cirque de Bijou”.  Something else we noticed on the Jewel was the available seating in the theater for the shows, both early and late.  In the past, especially on Princess, it can sometimes be difficult to get into your chosen time for the evening show.  Not a problem here, although last night we did choose to go a bit early for a good seat and ended up down in the lower area toward the front of the theater.

the ping pong table is available!It was a great choice.  I can say, unequivocally, that the show last night was the best we have ever seen on any cruise ship, ever, on any cruise line.  Cirque d Bijou was a Las Vegas quality cirque show with breathtaking performances by all the regular artists from the evening shows.  If I had been a bit less than thrilled by their singing, I was completely taken by their ability to both sing and hang from the sky on cloth draperies as they spun and flew around the auditorium.  And for some reason, the singing was fabulous as well. 

Just breathtaking!! As usual in the theater, no photos are allowed, however at the end of the main show, the crew put on a tribute show that I could have photographed if I had lugged the camera along.  Jaime, the cruise director, introduced at least 200 members of the crew who marched down the aisles and to the stage, from room stewards to Executive Chef, to the Captain.  The crowd, all hyped up from the standing ovation for the Cirque show thundered their applause. 

poolside sailaway bb1Service on the Jewel is interesting.  Individual crew members are attentive and cheerful, however the service isn’t exactly “in your face” perfect.  We are not constantly plied with invitations to purchase alcohol, and used plates are not picked up the minute you finish eating. Our steward is adequate, keeping our cabin reasonably well kept, and creating great little animals for us every night, something that has gone by the wayside on Princess.

However, we didn’t get our ice bucket constantly filled, and the mirrors often were streaked after the room was freshened.  There are so few things we disliked about this cruise, it seems only fair to mention the few that were not what I might consider “cruise quality”.  A detail we especially liked was the tabletop baskets filled with napkin wrapped flatware.  We never had to hunt for flatware and if needed could use two napkins.

Atrium Lounge Mid ShipI have been trying to come up with a way to describe the ship décor, and this morning it hit me.  Without any glitz and sparkle, no fancy shined brass, interesting art, flowers in the bathrooms, crystal chandeliers…the ship seems a bit like funky Key West conch house.  Lots of bright wood, bright Key West colors, and not much that seems to be “cruise fancy”.  It is more like a good working class vacation resort, with everything you need in a pleasant environment.

Unlike my expectations for a possibly mediocre experience, I wouldn’t hesitate to cruise Norwegian again if the price, departure port, and destinations fit where I wanted to go. 

Tomorrow is the last day of this cruise, with a full day at sea.  Rumor has it that the unseasonably cold weather in the south has moderated a bit and the forecast is for a cloudy day in the low 70’s in New Orleans on Sunday.  Tomorrow at sea we can expect mostly sunny skies with temps in the mid 70’s.  Lucky lucky US!!ready to depart Costa Maya  no tenders but a very long pier

01-28-2014 Day 3 Cozumel, Mexico

Currently we are in Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Belle Chasse, LA Temperature: 45 F, cloudy and windy  This is third in a series of posts about our NCL cruise on the Norwegian Jewel to the Western Mediterranean. Read about our first day at sea here, and about our evening  here.

turquoise water here is breathtakingCaptureMo and I have cruised the Eastern Caribbean, and I did the Southern Caribbean with daughter Deb in 2011.  For some reason we had no burning desire to cruise the Western Caribbean, but when searching for something to do from a port on our RV route this winter, this NCL cruise was our best choice.  I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again, especially to Cozumel.  The water was gorgeous breathtaking turquoise and crystal clear on the northern somewhat rocky side of the island where we docked, and I have seen photos of the quieter south side beaches. 

cruise day 3_021Having never been in this part of Mexico, we decided to simply walk the town, and see what we could see on our own.  We heard later that some folks actually snorkeled near the port, but we will save that adventure for another time.  In fact, after spending a day on the island, we decided that a nice little funky hotel on the south side beaches would be a great place to spend a couple of weeks in winter, minus the cruise ship. 

cruise day 3_020We have a Rocky Point friend who does that for a few weeks every winter, and now we get it.  Of course, Roatan is also a possibility for a winter getaway for us, but more about that later. There are three cruise docks on Cozumel, and we weren’t sure of our specific landing site.  When it was announced that the landing was to be at the Punta Langosta Terminal, right in the center of San Miguel, we were delighted.  The International Pier is more than 6 miles from town and would have required a taxi ride to get away from the cruise shops that are always crowded around the docking site.

cruise day 3_026It seems that walking is the best way to get a feeling for a location, and we set off early toward the central town Plaza and the artisan shops that are just south of the main square.  The square was quiet in the early morning, and there seemed to be extensive refurbishing in process.  With a bit of searching, we found the upstairs visitor center for a local map and information.

Especially enjoyable was the long walk along the beach promenade.  In the process of being refurbished, the views of the sea were gorgeous.  On the land side of the main road, the walkways were thronged with cruisers shopping and walking, but where we walked, we nearly had the walkway to ourselves.  Crossing the street requires vigilance, however, since scooters and mopeds are in abundance and come up fast.

cruise day 3_043By 11 the plaza and restaurants were getting even more crowded, so we located the Palmeras Restaurant on the square and settled in for the recommended margueritas.  Well, margueritas for me and wine for Mo.  Only after she tasted her wine did Mo remember that when in Mexico, drink beer, not wine! I later read that I should have checked for purified ice, but I neglected to do that and it didn’t even occur to me to worry about it.  Many years ago I did the same thing in Puerto Vallarta and was incredibly sick for a few days.  How could I forget?! No problem here at all, however. Lunch was excellent, with a shared plate of chicken tacos that were perfect for the two of us. 

cruise day 3_046After our leisurely lunch, we wandered into some of the back streets and bought a few little trinkets for folks back home.  The shopkeepers are quite aggressive, entreating you to come into their stores, with the most common phrase being, “Almost free!”

Funny how you can ignore most of them, but then for some reason a particular person will strike you just the right way and in you go.  We found that shop and that person for our simple purchases and it was a pleasant experience.  In fact, too pleasant!  After my marguerita I was feeling pretty happy, and after my purchase the shopkeeper offered me a taste of some kind of tequila.  I had a shot, with no idea what kind it was and it went down as smooth as butter.  Oh my. It was yummy…no salt or lemon required…and I got a lot happier.

cruise day 3_033The weather was absolutely perfect, gorgeous blue skies, crystal clear water, fresh air, it couldn’t be better.  As often is the case, the little taste of a place that a cruise ship offers is only the beginning.  However it does give enough of a taste that it is easier to determine if the area might be a place to return.  Lahaina, Maui comes to mind.  Until we dropped in one day on a cruise last year, we had no idea it might be someplace we would choose to experience in more depth.01-28-2013 Cruise Day 3

We returned to the ship in late afternoon, with some time to enjoy a poolside lounge and great reggae music from the band that sings mostly in Spanish.  Love the sound of that language in music. 

Sailaway was beautiful and I took way too many photos of the sunset before we ambled back to the Garden Café for a delicious dinner from the buffet.cruise day 3_035_01

Again, all the salads are fresh and tasty, with the choices from the Indian menu and the fresh made stir fry always excellent.  Many times there are Thai choices as well, with a tasty Thai roasted chicken and Thai noodles high on my list of favorites.

MBZ said something to me recently about cruising Norwegian that sums up the experience perfectly.  It isn’t Celebrity and doesn’t try to be.  There were so many positives that outweighed the very few negatives, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go on this cruise again for a simple getaway. 

cruise day 3_009POSITIVES:

  • The food was great, with plenty of choices and kinds of dining available
  • The crew was friendly and pleasant, and we especially enjoyed the diversity of the staff, from 60 different countries.
  • The ship was easy to navigate, big enough to be entertaining, but not so big we got lost all the time.
  • The entertainment was excellent and most of the time something was going on somewhere that was interesting.
  • There was enough time in the ports to actually enjoy them and we only had to be tendered to shore once during the cruise.
  • Embarkation and Disembarkation was slick and quick.
  • The ship wasn’t glitzy but it was clean and in good repair.  Launched in 2005 as one of the older ships, it was refurbished in 2009.
  • The bed was great.
  • We weren’t constantly harassed to buy alcohol
  • “washy washy”  I guess you had to be there to appreciate the singing, dancing staff dispensing antiseptic hand wash
  • Freestyle cruising a positive for us since we are often spontaneous with our decisions and can’t get back in time for a formal scheduled dinner
  • We enjoyed the lack of formality in the regular dining rooms
  • Our steward made great animals! 


  • We missed the navigation channel on the TV which was out of order for the entire cruise
  • The daily activities sheet was very limited, had no port history, and very little information about the area we were visiting
  • There were no informational kinds of lectures on board during the cruise
  • The ship décor was kind of kitschy.
  • The patio and deck service was often very limited.
  • The food wasn’t high end gourmet cruise food (not necessarily a negative thing).
  • Regular dining room service was a bit sketchy and rushed at times.
  • Freestyle cruising – a negative if you enjoy the formal dining room meals and service of a regular dinner seating
  • Our steward was adequate, not great, he didn’t always refill our ice bucket and the mirrors were sometimes streaky

01-27 2014 Evening on the Norwegian Jewel

This is the second in a series of catch-up posts about our Western Caribbean Cruise.  If you missed the first one, find it here.

sunset from the deck on our way to dinnerWe decided that after a full day at sea, a special dinner might be in order. 

We chose the Moderna Churrascaria, a traditional Brazilian Steakhouse complete with the extensive vegetable and salad bar that characterizes Brazilian style steakhouses. These restaurants seem to be all the rage, but they are not inexpensive in the “real” world.  What better way to give it a try than a $20 cover charge, per person, complete with gorgeous ocean view and no waiting lines.

There is no such thing as “formal night” on this kind of Freestyle cruising for which Norwegian Cruise Lines is famous.  I think they were one of the first lines to promote this less formal style.

01-27-2014 Cruise Day 2There are many venues to choose from, and if you don’t wish to wait, it is a good idea to make a reservation for dinner at your chosen venue.  Throughout the ship, and on your stateroom television, are electronic reader boards, much like those seen in an airport, which lists seating times for each restaurant and how quickly those seating times are filling.

With our reservation at Moderna early in the evening, we had time to catch a quick shot of the setting sun before we were seated at our window table.  Our waiter explained the process to us, encouraging us to help ourselves to the extensive salad bar, and then showing us the “green” and “red” side of our little table cards.  These are used to say “Stop” or “Go” for the serving of the spit grilled carved meats that will continue to arrive until you are filled.

This salad bar is nothing like an everyday salad bar, and even makes the extensive choices at some of the best salad buffets seem limited.  My favorite was a succulent celery and pear salad with candied walnuts, a lovely hearts of palm salad, a piquant tomato, fresh feta, cucumber and onion salad, the fresh and delightful cheviche…oh….I said my favorite??  No way could I decide. 

01-27-2014 Cruise Day 21We had a nice glass of Zen of Zin Old Vine Zinfandel, a favorite from Lodi, California, and robust enough to handle the ten varieties of carved meats that were to follow.  In addition to the meats carved at the table by the passadores (meat waiters), we were served little Brazilian cheese breads, excellent red beans and onions with peppers, mashed potatoes, rice, and deep fried plantains. After dinner, instead of a palate cleansing sorbet, we were served grilled fresh pineapple. Our dessert, served with excellent coffee, was a traditional flan, a silky papaya crème, and a coconut bread pudding.01-27-2014 Cruise Day 22

It was a delightful meal, and we enjoyed every minute of it .  Although there is no formal night, this first night at sea was designated, “Norwegian’s Night Out” and passengers were encouraged to dress up as much as they wanted.  I like to dress in something flowing, but it was great to wear sandals and a sweater with my silky sundress without feeling the least bit underdressed.  Some of our dining neighbors were in typical cruise sparkles, and others were wearing shorts.  I thought the idea of shorts in the nice restaurant was a bit tacky, but they were treated every bit as nicely as we were.

around the shipAfter dinner we wandered toward the casino, spending a bit of change at a couple of the flashy, noisy machines and ended up with the same amount with which we started.  Too bad that little bit of luck didn’t last through the next couple of nights, but for twenty bucks, it was cheap entertainment.

The evening show was a comedian who actually made both of us laugh out loud.  My cheeks hurt from laughing when it was over.  His humor was the best kind, based on simple observations of the humans around us.  It is the kind of humor that strikes a chord in most everyone.  It seems as though the older I get, the more it takes to get me to laugh like that.  Sure does feel good!cruise day 2_023

When we returned to our room, our steward had it all turned down and ready, complete with towel animals.  I think the towel animals are fading from cruise memory, so it was surprising to find them here on the Jewel.  Maybe a silly thing, but it does remind us that we are actually on a cruise.  The seas have been so calm and beautiful that there has been very little movement at all.  After my last experience crossing the incredibly rough Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, I was afraid I might not be able to cruise ever again.  A bit like getting back on the horse after a fall, and so far the horse has been just fine.


Day 7 Holland America’s own little island

Blues Cruise Day 7 (20) I think most cruise lines that have Caribbean itineraries must own a piece of the Bahamas, some own whole islands, as this one owned by Holland America, others seem to own Cays on a bigger island somewhere.  Either way, it’s usually a day before the final disembarkation that the ship slides into it’s own private dock and with only 2000 people or so to spread around, it can even feel a bit remote if you know how to get away from the crowds.

these tenders can carry 250 people at once This morning our private island was Half Moon Cay (key), somewhere in the Bahamas.  I finally looked on Google Earth to try to get the lay of the land among the sea, but still don’t have a good handle on all of it.  This little island is very small, just a few miles across, and very low to the earth.  The vegetation is short and scrubby with the only palm trees some newer planted ones around the newer fake West Indies Village.

Blues Cruise Day 7 (28) Blues Cruise Day 7 (29) I didn’t care about all that, though, because today we had pre-arranged our one ship excursion and were going to kayak on the inland lagoon.  It was a good day to choose a bit of entertainment, since there wasn’t much else to do on the island except hang on the beach and listen to the music.  Have I mentioned music on this cruise?  Several bands were conducting our own private beach party by the water and it drew most of the ship’s crowd to that localized area for most of the day.

Deb was excited about the kayak trip, and we both knew there would be plenty of time for music later.  We stayed on the top deck to watch the ship pull part way into the bay and see the tenders coming out from shore.  These tenders are stored on the island so are much larger than the tenders carried on the ship, with a 25o person capacity.  They would run all day at fifteen minute intervals so cruisers could come and go at will.

Once we landed, in no time we were on shore, signed up for our little kayak trip, and told to wait under the shelter for a half hour or so before we would be driven inland.  There are pathways and narrow roads, with small open air vans that transport people to various water excursions, including para-sailing, jet-skiing, sailing, all the typical cruise excursion types of activities.  We were glad we hadn’t tried to do any snorkeling with the cool temperatures, and high winds.  Even kayaking was a bit of an effort in that stiff breeze, but it was still great entertainment.

heading out into the lagoon on Half Moon Cay I have to admit, I felt like I was slogging along the entire time on that heavy, sit-on-top plastic boat, with paddles that weighed five times as much as my slick new Werner’s.  Deb and I asked for single boats and two other couples were part of our group in tandems and we set out on the crystal clear lagoon that was landlocked on the island.  There were mangrove alleys to explore, but the tide was too low for entry, so we stayed on the main part of the water.  Our guide was young, very talkative, and provided a basic view of the island life but didn’t have much knowledge of the actual ecosystem beyond grade school level, so that was a bit disappointing to me.  I was there for the boating, however, and managed to have a great time.

Blues Cruise Day 7 (48) Afterward, Deb and I chose to walk the pathways back to the beach and the big island bbq provided for us, with ribs and chicken and all the fixings.  It was a decent meal, and I really enjoyed the watermelon and fresh berries.  We then ambled down to the beach to find a couple of chairs and sit in the sun.  The far end of the beach was quiet enough, but it was getting colder as a storm approached and the winds made it too uncomfortable to think about snorkeling, so we swam a bit and sat in the sun a bit before walking back to the beach party. 

Blues Cruise Day 7 (76) I walked to the far end of the beach, watching the people on the horseback riding excursion following the leader along the beach.  They advertised riding in the ocean, but I didn’t see them enter once.  They looked hot in long jeans and helmets, even on this cool day.  Deb had considered the “ride the horse in the ocean” excursion, but we thought better of it and decided to kayak instead.  I’m glad we did.

Blues Cruise Day 7 (63) We needed to get back to the ship before 3:30, and the tender line was quite long when we went there at 2:30.  It probably took 45 minutes to actually get back on the ship, but standing in line was entertaining while we listened to great music and had interesting conversations with other line-ees.

0111 Blues Cruise 300 Once on the ship, we cleaned up, relaxed a bit, and went to the last dinner of the cruise in the dining room.  This time we asked for a table for two only, not wanting to have to carry on conversations this evening with anyone but ourselves.  It was good we went early, because the dining room filled almost immediately with very large groups of people pulling tables together and raucously celebrating the final night of the cruise.  The dinner was excellent as usual, with the obligatory surf and turf meal that is usually offered at least one night on a cruise like this one.  I am not a filet lover, and that was the steak on the menu.  I also am of the mind that any good steak requires charcoal, so wasn’t too excited about my choice.  When it was served, however, with our bottle of truly great Spanish wine, I was impressed.  It was butter tender and flavorful even without the smoky flavor I think I require. 

0111 Blues Cruise 313 As we approached the end of our meal, I asked our waiter if the crew was going to do the dining room dance, the one where all the folks wave their napkins.  I know it’s silly after the first time, but Deb hadn’t experienced the first time, and I remember how tickled I was when this happened to me on my first cruise a long time ago.  Our waiter said, “No, we don’t do that on a charter cruise like this one. But if you wait just a few minutes there will be a special surprise.” In a few minutes, a few members of our Indonesian dining room staff took center stage in the brilliantly lit stairwell and proceeded to entertain us with a rousing blues tune that they had practiced for two months in readiness for this cruise.  They were received with a standing ovation and lots of rowdy calls while several diners jumped up to dance.  The small band played a few more songs and then played some of their own local Indonesian music for us as well.  It was really sweet, and a real treat, and they were so proud of themselves.  I’m glad the blues cruisers were the kind of people to appreciate their efforts and cheer them on.  Old travelers can get a bit jaded and hard to impress sometimes.  I was glad to see the happiness on their faces and the delight on the diner’s faces as well, including mine.

The dress code for the evening was pajamas.  We decided to NOT wear pajamas to dinner, but afterward went to change.  I have to admit, I felt truly silly in my pajamas, cute capris though they were, and while many people were wearing all sorts of get-ups, including shorties and big slippers, many people had avoided the pajama thing entirely.  I wished I had been one of those, and before long went back to my cabin to change into something a bit more reasonable.  It was just too dang early for pajamas.

Blues Cruise Day 7

Many more photos of this blue day on Half Moon Cay are located here.

Day 6 Sea Days and Mardi Gras Nights

Blues Cruise Day 6 (4) Blues Cruise Day 6 (5) The juxtaposition of wide open ocean and relaxing sea days with wild party nights and non-stop music on this cruise is dramatic. After two port days in a row, I was really looking forward to a bit of deck time with my new Kindle, finally getting around to reading the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.  This morning after breakfast, Deb went on her way to explore some of the day’s offerings while I found the 11th deck, as you can see, completely empty.  I had the deck chairs all to myself, but the problem with this ship is that there is so much protection from the wind, that you don’t even get much of a breeze and the pool is very far away.  I drug my chair into the shade and gave up on getting much of a tan this time around.  I am red-haired and freckled anyway, so I shouldn’t be doing such things. It was rather amazing to spend a couple of hours on the top deck without the presence of one single other human being on a rather small cruise ship.  The faint sounds of music emanating from several sources explained it, however.

St John Day 5-136Blues Cruise Day 6 (8)  Deb managed to get down to the Lido aft deck for the Sisters of the South and the rest of the afternoon just sifted away till we ambled up to the Crow’s Nest to see Ryan Shaw, one of my favorite performers on the ship.  Ryan won a couple of R&B Grammies, and his blues slips into that RB thing more often than not.  Not being a particularly big RB fan, there was something amazing about this young man’s art.  He sang about love and spirituality and humanity in ways that reminded me more of Rastafarian lyrics than anything else, but with a blues twist.  I loved hearing him and watching him, and found myself heading toward whatever venue he happened to grace.  In fact, when he sang Imagine, I cried big silly tears all alone behind my sunglasses.

Blues Cruise Day 6 (17)The Crow’s Nest was fun, more intimate that some of the other stages, and Deb joined me there at the bar where I had managed to save a couple of seats right at the dance floor.  I had one more “cruise drink”, a pina colada again, but still didn’t get any umbrellas.  I guess that umbrella in a pineapple boat with all sorts of fruit is saved for old ladies on old lady cruises.  Ha!

  After the great music we headed down to the 9th deck and the Lido pool to try to actually get in a swim before dinner and the big Mardi Gras celebration to follow. One thing about this cruise that was different was the absence of children. I think there were only 2 kids on the ship, and one of them was Joanne Osborne’s little girl. The other child on the ship was in the pool with his dad, but it was still fairly uncrowded considering it was a reasonably warm sea day. Deb’s braided hair was great for swimming, but I had taken mine out after getting tired of the headache and the stupid gray haired scalp showing through my skinny braids. 

Blues Cruise Day 6 (65)By the time we had some supper at the Lido (skipping the dining room tonight) the party antics were swinging into high gear on all decks.  I have never seen so many people in so many crazy costumes this side of San Francisco, although I have to admit, I haven’t been to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras either.  One previous Blues Cruise Day 6 (72)evening during dinner, we were joined by two Norwegian couples who told us how popular the blues are in Norway, in fact most of Scandinavia has a rather large blues loving population that frequents the big blues festivals held there.  It seems that they called the 10th deck “Little Norway” and referred to the 40 plus Norwegians on the cruise as “The Vikings”.  They were all great people, who certainly knew how to have a good time.  Cruisers will recognize the “formal portrait” lineup in the photo, but the get-ups of the subjects are a bit different than the formal wear usually reserved for ships dinners and portraits.  The Vikings were especially good at this part, and I wondered just how much extra they paid for all the luggage flown from Europe. 

The night was loud and raucous and great fun, with the Mardi Gras costume parade as a high point that just set everything up for a long night on all the top decks for those who had the stamina to stay up.  Again, I reminded Deb that we had a port day tomorrow and an early kayak trip scheduled and needed to be ready to disembark as soon as the ship landed.  Do I sound like the Mom here? Or some kind of old fuddy-duddy?  Deb was patient with me, and I’m sure she would have done just fine without my mom worry stuff.  I think the crew enjoyed this cruise tremendously as well, they all sure looked like they were having fun and loving the crowd and the music.  While Deb danced away into the night, I fell into the bed around the toweled animals and slept like a rock.

0111 Blues Cruise 287