On the Norwegian Jewel --  03/15/06

So... we've been back from our cruise for two and a half weeks now and I've posted exactly two photographs (out of two hundred or so that I took plus at least an equal number provided by other members of our group) -- a picture of the pool area and a picture of the "kids." (The "kids" ranging in age from 16 to 20.)

There were twelve of us -- three families -- Nancy's sister Clara, her husband and two of their kids, Nancy's sister Janet, her husband and their three kids (one of whom is an adult in his late twenties). Plus Nancy and me and Jeremy.

We parents all had staterooms with balconies and, since we were all in a row, we had the dividers opened to make one large balcony.

Jeremy proposing a toast:
"To family and to being together on a floating palace!"
The younger crowd all had interior staterooms, but they were never in their rooms except when sleeping anyway.

Every single one of us had a great time.

I must confess to having been a skeptic about cruising but it took less than twenty-four hours to convert me. All of us would be very happy to take another cruise.

The food was very good (but we all kept so physically active that none of us had any problem with weight gain), the staff was very friendly and very attentive, the nightly shows were entertaining, and there were ample outlets for amusement.
The ship's fittness center was huge, just short of five thousand square feet. They had treadmills, eliptical trainers, exercise bikes, universal machines, free weights, workout benches, etc. (plus a room for aerobics classes and bike spin classes). This picture was taken before we sailed; the center was never empty again all week, but except for the busiest times of the morning, there were usually machines free. I worked out every morning all week (and on Saturday I came back in the afternoon for another workout because I knew I wouldn't have time on Sunday morning before disembarking). It was great -- put in an hour or so every morning and sometimes go jogging afterwards (four laps of deck 7 = 1.4 miles).
There was even a tennis court (which was also a basketball court and a volleyball court). Nancy was very happy to have a chance to play tennis -- although it was strange to play on a moving ship surrounded by the sea.
Nancy and I also spent a lot of time each day just sitting on the balcony outside our stateroom, reading, talking, or just watching the water. It was so peaceful and relaxing that we both dozed off out there more than once. Our cabin was a bit bigger than I had expected, but having the sliding glass door to the balcony made it feel absolutely roomy.

I kept the slider door open all night while we slept, enjoying the fresh sea breeze and the sounds of the ship slicing through the water (You had to be careful -- except when the ship was in port -- to close that balcony door before opening the door to the corridor else you would find the wind trying to blow you into the corridor.)
Above, the view from our room with Nancy reading on the balcony. Bellow and left, two pictures taken on the balcony at sunset...

All twelve of us on our way to dinner. (Norwegian does not feature formal attire for dinner, but we had all decided to dress up this night.)

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