Sunday, 20 December 2015
NORWEGIAN ESCAPE 25th October 2015 Part 4
Monday 26th October 2015
We arranged to meet for breakfast at 8 a.m. and decided to try the Manhattan Main Dining Room. The queues waiting to get in there were huge but of course they were groups waiting to be interviewed by the Immigration service; we headed for the Savor Main Dining Room instead. We had to queue to get in an almost empty restaurant and this is when we started to realise that maybe there are not enough staff on this ship to cope with the facilities offered to passengers. NCL prides itself on its Free-style Dining. We sat down with menus and after about 20 minutes a steward arrived to take our orders. He wrote them down and then went to a nearby table to take their orders too. We saw him eventually head off towards the escalators leading to the kitchens and about 40 minutes later some of our breakfast arrived. Cooked items were excellent but other items were not as ordered but we felt reluctant to wait for replacements. The tea and coffee service was slow too, but at least we could leave the Savor Restaurant and go in search of more.
I went to Guest Services (Reception) and asked about my Studio cabin and was informed that I would be moving there for my one night sailing from Southampton. It was not possible to get a new cabin card until arrival there tomorrow morning, but I should return to Reception as early as I liked then. That sounded good to me.
The ship's shops were offering lots of sale items today so we went to have a quick look. Again we noticed that there appeared to be insufficient tills and of course staff to run them. I know we were on a short cruise, but today is a sea day. In future the NORWEGIAN ESCAPE will be cruising from Miami and this will probably be port intensive, which to me suggests that there will be few opportunities at sea to buy ship gifts or souvenirs, so passengers will probably shop in great numbers when they get the opportunity.
I enjoyed walking around the outside decks both before and after breakfast, in fairly temperate weather for late October. Walking on one of the lower decks I noticed passengers in the Aqua Park hurtling through the sometime transparent tubes many decks up above me. They certainly looked as if they were out over the sea, but of course they were over those of us walking on decks many feet below.
The next morning commitment was to attend an interview with the British Immigration folk in the Manhattan Dining room. Hundreds or thousands of us had to bring a passport and queue very tidily as instructed; we moved slowly along and eventually came face to face with an immigration officer. I showed my passport, he glanced at it and then at me, nodded and waved me away. That was it, after interminable queuing, but it had to be done. We met another couple of friends in here, so at least that made the waiting easier.
Lunch was in the Taste dining room and the service was better in here, but we still feel there are not enough staff.
We wanted to see and enjoy many of the dining venues whilst on board so we decided to go for tapas and drinks before the 7 p.m. show performance.
We met our Hamburg-based friends in the Food Republic and enjoyed choosing, ordering and paying on the iPads on each table. They were very firmly fixed down. We could see that all the food was cooked to order by the nearby chefs, and we looked forward to trying some interesting things. We sat and waited, and waited, and waited some more until finally, with the start of Show-time looming, the manager was asked what had happened to our orders. It was discovered that the food had indeed been cooked, but must have been served to the only other occupied table in the room, whose many guests were all 'men in suits' and presumably employed by, or guests of, the shipping line. Apologies were made and more food cooked but it had to be eaten rather quickly. That was disappointing although enjoyable. We felt that there had probably been insufficient supervision of a new system in Food Republic.
We then headed for the Escape Theatre to see the 7 p.m. show I was really looking forward to: Million Dollar Quartet.
It is the smash-hit Broadway musical inspired by the famed recording session that brought together rock 'n' roll legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, on 4th December 1956. They were brought together then by Sam Phillips of Sun Records. I loved it! The musicians were superb and the staging wonderful.
We left the Theatre and then headed for the Supper Club. We have a booking at "For the Record: The Brat Pack" for the 9 p.m. show.
The Club room is a semi-circle of banked seating around a stage, all red plush and low lighting. Almost as soon as we were seated we had the chance to order drinks, which were brought very quickly. Moments later most of the lights went out, the show started and our first course arrived. I didn't see the menu but I don't think there was a choice - it was simply showing what we were to be served. I managed to see the first course and enjoy it. Then all the house lights were turned out, the main course was served and we could see absolutely nothing of what was on the plates. There was a slight sparkle from the stage lights onto the cutlery, so we made attempts to eat something but I really would have preferred to see what was on my plate before I put it in my mouth!
The show was American pop hits from the 1980s strung around an American high-school cheerful drama. I didn't know any of the tunes but it was cheerful and interesting to watch, and the musicians were excellent. A very large party of what seemed to be entertainment staff sat nearby and enjoyed it. It was an extra charge venue and I think we might need to mention to someone that we would all like to have seen our supper, but it was an interesting experience.
We relaxed in the Skyline Bar which we like, and then it was time to plan to meet for breakfast tomorrow, when we arrive in Southampton. We had made the most of our day at sea on NORWEGIAN ESCAPE.
To be concluded...