After three transatlantic cruises on the 684-passenger Oceania ships, we expected some surprises to board the 2600-passenger Jewel of The Seas. The surprises have been mainly pleasant so far.
Our balcony stateroom is larger than those on O. We can even move around in the shower without scraping against the walls. The ship's layout still confuses us, although we're up in a Deck 9 stateroom just around the corner from the mini-library, and the Internet signal is strong, so that will be where we'll try to fire up the laptop.
As for today, this is being written from the cruise center of the Le Havre France dock, quite a pleasant facility. We caught the shuttle bus into town and wandered around for a bit, buying six big bottles of water to bring back to the ship. Six for 3.30 Euros is a lot better deal than the $4.95 a small bottle pricing in our mini-bar.
We ate in the main dining room last night and the food and service exceeded out expectations. We had a very friendly waiter who managed to come up with some quite decent rare prime rib. We went to show afterwards and Brian stayed awake for parts of it at least.
We slept in today, with the clocks moving forward one more hour, and we're looking forward to our first dinner tonight in Portofino, one of the specialty restaurants on board.
Yes, it's a big ship, although we were reading about the new RCCL ship being launched in 2010 that's supposed to hold 5400 passengers, or maybe it was staterooms. Since we lived in places with fewer inhabitants, we'd definitely want a GPS just to get around a ship like that.
In our initially impressions there are difficulties in waiting for elevators, and lineups for dinner (we chose the "My Time Dining" option which should help), and it's amazing we ran into our old teaching colleagues from Hope so quickly, yet there seems to be plenty of room to move around most of the time.
We did bump into the hotel manager three times yesterday, a nice fellow who happens to live in Harrison Hot Springs BC, another former homestead. His mother lives in Chilliwack. Another "small world" moment, though not of the magnitude of running into Vic and Stephanie.
We'll have more thoughts as the cruise progresses - tomorrow we dock at Cherbourg and Brian will have the chance to inflict his French on the natives again.