44o 23.24N 014o 10.47'W - somewhere off the coast of Portugal.
We have breakfast in the Summer Palace, the largest resturaunt at the back of the ship where the Venetian is on the Dawn. It is themed after the Russian palaces of St. Petersburg, and has the royal double headed eagle on the back of the chairs as well as lots of pictures of Russian aristocracy around the walls. The pillars are made to look like green Malachite, with large chandeliers and a very nice painting on the ceiling. All in all pretty impressive. Many will be please to hear that at least on his cruise, the breakfast menu was extensive, and the same each day which meant eggs benedict are available every day, as well as an alternative with replaces the ham with smoked salmon and spinach. Every conceivable cereal is on offer as well as porridge (oatmeal to the Americans), omelets, pancakes, French toast, a large selection of fried breakfast items, kippers, smoked salmon and even grits and Southern Biscuits with sausage and gravy. I can feel the pounds are pilling on as I type.
We tried out the bowling in the morning, which is a cruise line first for NCL. Contrary to some belief that there was going to be an amazing feat of engineering to level the alleys against the movement of the sea, I can confirm that there isn’t. Bowling in seas which are still around 20ft is an interesting business. We had balls head to one gutter, then the ship would move and the ball ended in the other gutter. Waiting for the right time to bowl the ball seemed to help, even to the extend that while waiting to stop rocking for a minute, a large wave hit the ship and all 20 pins in both lanes fell over, AND IT COUNTED! STRIKE! So as long as you don’t take it too seriously, or bowl in port it is a lot of fun. NCL did finally sort out the charge for this and it is $5 per person per game of 10 frames (I think that’s the right terms from this non bowler)
The Bliss Ultra lounge where the 4 bowling lanes are is very plush and very Moulin Rouge. All black cord curtains, red velvet and a distinct air of hedonistic decadence. Many of the seating areas are king size beds. With a well stocked bar and video screens with a VJ to play your selection, what more do you need to relax.
We ate dinner in Mambos Tex Mex resturaunt. This is similar to Salsas on the Dawn and in the same location. A good selection of flavoured Margaritas is on offer in both chilled and frozen options. The menu pretty standard, with Taquitos and chicken or shrimp/crab quesadillas all tasting good as starters (we ate here twice, it’s not that we ate half their menu on one sitting). They have added a new dish for two, call Il Poco, which comes as a wooden tray with all the kind of things you would get for fajitas as well as rice, with a spiked wrought iron ‘club’ hanging over the board with your meat and vegetables and fruit attached. It comes in Chicken, beef or a you can have a combo. The meat, inions, peppers and pineapple have been cooked with tequila and spices and are very tasty. You use tongs to pull off what you want to fill your soft tortillas with and eat it pretty much like fajitas. Shrimp fajitas are also good. The beef burrito was OK, but be warned, it comes with BBQ sause poured over it which I found a bit odd, but it tasted fine. In future I’d ask for the sauce to be omitted or left on the side.