Teaching an old dog...disembarking the Norwegian Epic soon...

Disembarking Day.  We're getting off the Norwegian Epic, at long last.

It was is with much pleasure that we're leaving this ship. The crowds, the lines, the noise and the chaos over the past four days since departing from Barcelona on May 1st has been unnerving for both of us.
This ship, although modern, clean and attractive leaves much to be desired.  The food, the service, the entertainment and the floor plan are severely lacking. The service staff is exhausted, overworked, all of which is evidenced by the fake smiles plastered on most of their faces in a futile, although well intentioned, effort to seem cheerful.
Our sweet cabin steward, to whom we gave $60 tip, started out cheery and animated.  Halfway into our 15 day cruise, he started going downhill, forgetting towels, ice, and other amenities.  Many of the crew members became ill during the three days of 50 foot swells, never seeming to get back on track.  Most of them were used to the calm seas of the Caribbean Sea as opposed to this rough transatlantic crossing.
The food: frightful.  The only item I found delicious, other than the dinner in the "pay for" restaurant, was the "real eggs" omelet I had every morning, especially after I told them to stop adding the 1/3 cup of oil to the pan and to use the spray instead.  Tom said nothing was memorable including the specialty restaurant. 

Their compliance to my low carb, grain free, starch free, and sugar free diet was a gallant effort but the resulting food was dry, bland and unseasoned.  Every night, my "steamed" vegetables, a staple of my meals, were either undercooked or sautéed in gobs of butter, making them inedible.  Whether I had fish, shellfish, chicken, pork or beef, it was a miniscule overcooked portion. 

Our final bill for the 15 days was $1021, including $200 in Internet fees for days out to sea, cocktails, beverages and tips charged on our bill daily of $24 (totaling $360), one night in the specialty restaurant plus $150 for the excursion to Marseilles, France.  This proves to be around $400 for all beverage and tips for beverages for this extended period. 
Hopefully, tomorrow when we board Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas for a 15 day cruise to Dubai, we'll find the food and service more to our liking.  Based on conversations with many passengers, they've particularly enjoyed this older ship's attention to detail, something we found to be the case on the older Celebrity Century, our favorite ship thus far.

At the moment, we're sitting in our favorite booth in the Garden Cafe as passenger's colors of their luggage tags are called to proceed to disembark the ship, go through customs and find their way to their next destinations.
It's now 8:00 am.  Our color has already been called but we've chosen to disembark "last" since our hotel room won't be ready until 2:00 PM.  We've done this on each of our last cruises which resulted in a shorter line going through customs.  Hopefully, this will be the case today as well.

Once outside, we'll grab a cab for the short ride to Hotel Grums, where we'll have them store our luggage until our room is ready while we wait in the lobby for our check in for the one night.  With books to read on our phones and our MiFi we'll busy ourselves reading and writing.
Speaking of luggage...OK, here's the final tally.  After donating the three 30" orange Antler bags, we're down to one 30" orange bag for Tom and one slightly larger black Samsonite bag for me, one carry on, one computer bag plus...two duffel bags with our dirty clothes that we couldn't fit into the suitcases and a small bag with the cords for our digital equipment and a small doctor bag with our toiletries.

As for the vitamins, I took 80% of them out of the bottles placing the pills in Ziplock bags and scattering them throughout the luggage.  I should have done this to begin with but then again, who knew we'd be held up for 24 hours by security over vitamins?  Live and learn.  It's all a part of the process.
Our goal, at the end of the upcoming cruise as we pack for our 13 night stay in Dubai, is to be rid of the two duffel bags, the doctor bag and the other overflow bag.  It will require us donating more "stuff" or throwing it away.  After the disposition of the three bags, we're ready to let go of more of our favorite items.
The clothes we're wearing today are the same clothes we'll wear to dinner tonight and again tomorrow since we don't plan to open any bags other than the computer bags and the doctor bag with overnight toiletries while we stay in the hotel tonight. 

In my old life, I wouldn't have imagined wearing the same clothing two days in a row, let alone the same clothing during the day as when going out to dinner in the evening.  Alas, we keep adapting and somehow, in the process, we find these adaptations to be liberating and to a degree, life changing.

Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Learn enough new tricks and perhaps the old dog isn't so old anymore.


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