Saturday, June 29, 2013

What BIG ship she is!

MV Norwegian Spirit

Getting around this big ship is easy. All you need to do is to get used to your surroundings. The most important is to know where your assembly station is should the alarm trigger! Well, that was the first and foremost activity we had to take part...all of us, guests and crew! If you missed the first fire drill, you will be called again and should you miss again, they will call you personally. In other words, they really are serious when safety is concern. I felt safe immediately! I knew that we are in the good hands of the crew!

The Jogging Track
If you are a person who is health watcher, there is a jogging and walking outdoor track on the top most deck. Opened air to the sea breeze. They have basketball for everybody and golfers are not have your very own corner to swing your club.
Golfers Corner
A deck below is a swimming pool with four jacuzzies which can fit 6 European size adults  each. No problem to catch the sunlight to tan your body because you can do it on those two decks. They even have a No Noise Zone for the sun seekers .... quiet enough to sleep under the sun. The children pool is on deck 12. Nice to see the children having fun because they have slide, paddling pool and hot tub just for kids. They named it Buccaneer's Wet & Wild.

Adults pool
Children's pool
Other than that, a Fitness Center is also provided. Sauna and  Mandara SPA for massaging is in the same area. And if you love doing aerobics, all you need to do is to be at the Galaxy of Stars which is situated on top of the Captain's bridge. Two different instructors will lead you every day alternately. It was full of fun when Latin and Salsa moves were part of the movements taught.

Aerobic at the Galaxy of Stars
There are so many places that you can go on board .... from Aft to Forward! The Stardust Theater held many kinds of entertainment every night with two shows daily. I remembered entertained by a group of Rock Stars, Broadway and Vegas Show, Magic Show, A Solo Violinist, Circus, singing and dancing and many more. Should you missed the first show at 7.30 p.m, just jump in the next at 9.30 p.m. No hurry! Just take your own sweet time.

The Entrace
The Show

The Performance
Child Care Center for the little ones, Video Arcade, Writing Room, Internet Cafe, Library, Boardroom, Meeting Room and what else did I miss? They have it all.....they sure do!
The Internet Cafe
There is one place called the Parents Free Zone which is meant for teenagers. They have lots of activities for the teenagers. Every now and then we will see the teenagers running around in pairs or in small groups getting their tasks done. Day or night, the teenagers have their own activities. No worries for the parents!

The Teenagers activities
 On Deck 7, where the lobby is, on the port side, you can find the 24 hours restaurant The Blue Lagoon which served fast food like burgers, fries, salad, sandwiches, Fish and Chips and many more. On the starboard side is a pub for drink lovers. Besides these two outlets for F&B, just jump in Shogun, The Garden, Raffles Court and Terrace, Le Bistro, The Windows and an Italian Restaurant .... Maybe I miss one or two .... you have no time to feel hungry because food and drink is served round the clock throughout the cruise. Just pick your choice and sit and enjoy your food for your tummy and enjoy your sight of the blue sea through the windows. If you are lucky enough, you might catch a glimpse of dolphins in schools.

The Grand Centrum
The Blue Lagoon
The mural
On Deck 8, at a lounge, we enjoyed a pianist playing songs from Frank Sinatra era, The Beatles, Barry Manilow and even a night tribute to Sir Elton John. You can see some couples so much in love in each others arm dancing to the beautiful music. 

Mr Fabriazi , the pianist and singer.
Tribute to Sir Elton John
Then came a group of three men called The Latin Express. The sound of the Latin music made your body moves. Guests, young and old just stood up and dance to the sound of the music! It was so enjoyable. Everybody, well almost everybody was so sporting and acted spontaneously... no age problem and no shame ... just a bunch of people having fun on a vacation at sea!

Some other nights there will be a guitarist with country songs and a duo with lots and lots of love songs! All of them took turns to perform either in the lounge, by the pool, in the bar and so on. All you need to do is to know the time and the spots.

The Guitarist performance
Once they held a competition for the guests .... a Karaoke Competition. One of our group member, Dato Othman Salleh took part. He sang Love Story and he was so good that many praises him. Jolly good job old buddy! We are so proud of you! Malaysia Boleh!!!
....Love Story....
Some people love hard and noisy music. Just walk in through Maharaja, The Casino and you will find Maharini The Disco. Seems like they have rooms for everybody. No time is wasted .... full swing on board!

The Maharajah
If you love shopping, there is a Duty Fee Shop and some other shops on board. Just name it and you'll have it. No cash needed on board. Just need to swipe your Cruise ID upon purchased. All prices are code in US dollars.

The Duty Free Shop
A Jewelery Shop
 Some nights they have auction of paintings by some famous artists at The Art Gallery or even sale of branded watches, jewelleries, Swarovski beautiful and tempting products and so on. You need to wait for the right moment to get the best price!

The Art Auction
All these spots are in different decks of the ship. It is such a BIG ship that once you are in your stateroom, you don't even know what is happening and you can sleep soundly like a king! Some nights they even conducted parties until late night! As for my friends and I, since we stayed in different decks, we only see each other during dinner and sure enough to bump into one another at breakfast. But after that, we made our own choice to entertain ourselves.

This is a big ship BUT it is not the biggest of its kind fact she is only one third of the biggest! (the biggest cruise ship is Oasis of The Sea and Allure of the Sea with 225,282 GT).  But with 2,000 guests in hand and almost 1,000 crew, because of her size, you seldom see the same people everyday .... meaning we made new friends on board from all over the world everyday.......and we are the only 10 Malaysians on board.

Yes, she is a BIG ship of 75,338 GRT, 910 feet long,  183 feet wide and 13 storey high. She has 9 elevators for guests and 8 elevators for crew.

Yes, she is a BIG ship that carry almost 3,000 people and carry tonnes and tonnes of food to feed us all!

Yes, she is a BIG ship that she has her own garbage incinerator and main laundry facilities which includes machines for dry cleaning, washing and dryer machines, sea water desalination plant for fresh water!

I remembered my Ustaz (religious teacher) told us about Bahtera Nabi Nuh (Noah's Ark)! At least now I can sort of imagine the size of the ship he built to fit in humans and animals all over the world in pairs with  food and drink ....... It must be much much  bigger ....... MasyaAllah!

Me and my dream
My stateroom

Me, the happy guest with the BIG ship!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dinner is served......

The Windows

Whatever is new will always be full of unexpected and making life full of excitement. You don't know what to expect and what is in store for you! All you can do is to hope for the best and to prepare for the worst!  But most of all....just be prepared!

Well, that was how I was on this maiden voyage. Our first dinner at The Windows was an unforgettable one. A member of our group prefered early dinner....preferably before 7p.m. She said it is good for the digestive system and you can sleep well at night. So be it. We trusted her and of cause, it is a fact.....medically! Thank you my dear friend. We owe you one. That was a lesson to be learnt. If it s good for our health, we should follow!

So we went to the restaurant and the supervisor was a Hondurus gentleman named Mr Abercio Matute. A very nice, funny and very understanding and helpful indeed. He understood us the minute he saw us ladies with scarfs. He knew of our concerned with food. So that evening he took charge and ordered lobsters for us. Then unexpectedly told us that we need not worry anymore about our food because he will arrange special meal for us every evening throughout the cruise! To make things easier for him, we wrote down the recipes and suggested menus for the evenings. We received a memo from the management of food and beverages department regarding our concern and that shows how sensitive they are towards the needs of their guests. It made us feel nice!

Mr Abercio Matute

The Lobster....yummy!

As we were waiting for our meal, suddenly we realized that our ship moved. The restaurant has windows on the port and starboard sides and high big framed windows on the aft. In Maritime Terminology,  Port means the left side of  forward motion and the Starboard means the right side of the forward motion. Aft means the rear of the ship.Through the aft window  , we saw a tugboat pulling the ship (75,388 GT) out of the dock! Amazing! I have read about tugboats and just cannot imagine how such a small boat as that able to pull a very much bigger ship! Ya Allah! Truly amazing!

Tugboat in action.

Announcement was made by the Captain, a Croation and we set sail. We have to say goodbye to Barcelona, the city where the 1992 Summer Olympic was held. Even though we managed a short visit around the city,  it is a beautiful place to visit. Purchased some T Shirts at Hard Rock Cafe and some fridge magnets as evidence! For at least, I have visited the famous Barcelona and hope to revisit someday.

Our dinner started with a bowl of Brocolli Soup in Cheese and a plate of Garden Salad with the dressing of our choice. Then came our main dish...The Lobster! Lobster is very expensive back home, so we truly enjoyed the meal very much!

The Garden Salad

We ended our dine for the night with a cream of different flavours. Thank you very much to all the chefs and a very special thanks to Mr Abercio Matute. Now we all are looking forward for the menus for the next eleven evenings!


These are some of the food prepared for us. Thank you!


Fried Mix Vege

Steam fish fillet
Seafood Fried Rice
Fish curry

We don't practice fine dining. What is served is what we eat. So in other words, no time wasted. While the food are still hot, we finished it quickly. After dinner, we watched the sun set. It was the most beautiful moment to see the horizon swallowed the big red ball. That was around 9p.m. The last light from the sun before it disappeared completely is the most watched. I just love the sunset. That reminded us of our responsibilities towards Allah.  Every now and then we have to change our directions of the qiblah (direction of Mekah) to perform our solah Jamaq Taqdim Qasar or Jamaq Takhir Qasar for Maghrib and Isyaa.  A compass is a necessity to be sure of the direction because we are Mussaffir (travellers). 

Finally........all is well. Alhamdulillah.

Monday, June 24, 2013

It all started with a DREAM.......

It is never wrong to dream......

            Everybody dreams....some dream came to reality while others left  forgotten! 

            Me? Yes I have lots of dreams. Of all the dreams that I had and came through just recently....I  dreamt of cruising! Many years ago, I told my husband of this dream of mine....he was stunned! All the What? Why? How? When? Where? and How? questions came rolling in!!!! What can I say....I can only dream! Hahahahha.....But I never give up! Keep on dreaming....until recently....yes...recently!

            Every once or twice a year, my husband will take me for vacation. This time around he surprised me with cruising! AGrand Mediterranean Cruise! I was so excited and was so looking forward. Eight friends came along with us...well the more the merrier!

            Our voyage started in Barcelona, Espania! But before  that we had to take an 11 hours flight to Amsterdam and transit flight to Barcelona for 3 hours! 14 hours without bathing...Oh My God!....but the energy is there....the feeling is umbearable....just so looking forward to see the first glimpse of the cruise... MV Norwegian Spirit!        

            Upon arriving at Barcelona, we took 2 taxis to the port of Barcelona Cruise Terminal. There she huge, so beautiful and we were in awe.........all eyes on her and all mouths opened  especially me.....I just cannot believe it! She is right in front of me!

The registration
The Norwegian Spirit
All aboard!!!

            After a very quick registration, and given a multi purposed card for our room key and our spendings on board and as an identification that we were with the cruise for the next 12 nights, a  welcome drink and cookies were served, we were then ushered to the ship. A very warm welcome indeed starting with sanitizing of our hands. Then all along the way to the entrance, were smiling faces and a very warm welcome in beautiful red flaminco dresses! Quickly we made our way to our state room. Ours was room 8020 on deck 8.  The others went to their state rooms on different decks. Once opened, a queen bed waiting with a picture framed window.....big enough to fit both of us. All what is needed is there.....3 plugs for three contenants, television, hangers, drawers, refrigerator, toiletries, hair dryer and not to forget fresh towels! Mama Mia....we are ready to go!

Welcome drink and cookies.

The interior....
Our oicture framed window......

            It was afternoon when we arrived and after unpacking all of our belongings, and a short visit to Barcelona City...looking hi and low for cafes that have free wifi in order to send news to family and friends back home! We ended in Hard Rock Cafe......hehehhehhe! Our first spending of our Euro!

            Our first voyage started  at 6.30 p.m on 4th June 2013 from Barcelona to Toulon, France. It is never wrong to dream.........
             I imagined the Pirates of Carribbean.........Captain Jack Sparrow!!!  Hahahahhahhaha Silly me!