March 23rd, 2015

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

I guess you can say that my wife and I are veteran cruise passengers; prior to last week we'd been on three Royal Caribbean cruises to Alaska and in the Western Caribbean, and enjoyed them all very much.

Last week we took the Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Star to Cabo San Lucas for a short, restful cruise.

Five days; short.

Got a lot of sleep, and a lot of naps. Restful.

Fun? Not as much as elsewhere.

I'm afraid that for lots of reasons, this cruise was not anywhere near as pleasant as those on Royal Caribbean.

What with the timing, we were cruising with a couple hundred teens and twenty-somethings going to Cabo for Spring Break. I specifically recall seeing one frat crew arguing at check-in that they could bring their own refreshments aboard ship.

There were problems right from the start getting our card keys. Once we had them, they didn't open the cabin door, so we had to wait in line at registration a few decks away to get new ones.

We had scheduled to eat our first night at the specialty French restaurant on board; we waited nearly an hour just to give them our orders, and then the food was forgettable...and they served our wine to the couple next to us and charged us for it!

All-in-all, the best food aboard was in the buffet, but they didn't generally restock the plates, so if you arrived late, there weren't as many options. They also didn't restock clean glasses or other materials.

One suitcase was apparently lost overboard! Not ours, thank goodness...

They charged a daily fee for no particular reason that I could see. Essentially, they were lying about the actual cost of the trip.

Best food I had the whole time was at a restaurant in Cabo, called The Shrimp Factory. Go! It's wonderful. Best drink I had the whole trip was a neat glass of Cuban rum; Havana Club 7 year. Wow! Also at the restaurant in Cabo.

NCL didn't bother to fill the gas tank of one of the tenders running from the ship to shore. Considering that they double as lifeboats...

Oh, yeah, and they didn't warn us that all charges had an automatic 18% gratuity. All of them!!! Whether or not we got adequate service!

Arguably, I could go on and on, and it wouldn't surprise me if my wife's posts will cover several other disappointments that we had aboard the ship. The crew seemed poorly trained, not working as a team, and not caring how they appeared to the passengers. I was massively unimpressed.

OTOH, our cruises in the past with Royal Caribbean were fun, friendly, and most charges were clearly explained in advance. In the future, we're going back to probably no further cruises out of the Port of Los Angeles.

Live and learn.
Dead Dog Cat

#40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45

I did get lots of rest while we cruised, last week, and I managed to get through a large pile of reading while doing it:

First was Ship for Brains, the second in a series of books about the author's experiences while working for cruise lines. He was learning to become an art auctioneer aboard ship, which became very surreal for me, because the next morning after finishing the book, I opened our cabin door to find the corridor filled with artworks set up for auction display. Apparently their storage locker was just forward of our cabin. Anyway, it was a fun, quick read.

Next was Osprey Warrior #34: Confederate Artilleryman 1861 - 65, not quite as interesting as some of the Osprey line, but not bad.

Then, Caliban's War, the next novel in The Expanse series; still very good. I've started the next book as well as I gobble up the whole saga.

Next, Beekeeping for Beginners, a novella by Laurie King which deals with Sherlock Holmes starting to take the protagonist of King's other novels under his wing. Only good if you've read the other King novels in the series, honestly, but pretty good.

Then, Enemies At Home by Lindsey Davis. Davis wrote a number of mystery novels set in Imperial Rome about Falco, what amounts to a detective. In this book, his adopted daughter has taken up the family business, while he has set it aside. It's the second in the sub-series, and the quality of the novel is still pretty good. She's hired to try to figure out if two murders were perpetrated by the slaves of the household, and things proceed from their. Very good.

Finally, I read Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis, primarily famed for his comic book writings. I can sum it up in one word: WEIRD.