The adventure begins, of course, with my least favorite form of travel; flying. Today’s flight schedule has me flying Calgary to Chicago O’hare, and on to Istanbul.
First leg of the flight is on something called SkyWest, which is apparently a leg (arm, or other appendage) of United Air Lines… which must fly routes with few if any discerning travelers. The flight is onboard a Canadair Regional CR7000 aircraft.
Now I’m quite a patriotic Canadian. Born here, silly enough, and patriotic enough to have spent the majority of my adult winters wondering why I don’t live somewhere warm, and turning down numerous invitations to go for “Polar dips”. At any rate, being a Canadian, one thing I know we are not famed for, and that’s a long and well steeped tradition of building airplanes. In fact, if I’m not imagining it, I believe this jet is being built by Bombadier, who originally manufactured snowmobiles…so if we have to make an emergency landing in Minnesota we should be good to go. If I recall Bombadier foresaw the lowering demand in snowbiles due to global warming, and switched their business model to airplanes to get people out of here.
When I stepped aboard this airplane, a couple of things struck me immediately… the low ceiling was first, because it struck me in the forehead. But as I found my “business class” seat in Row2, I began to suspect more trouble. On the back of the seat, directly in front of mine, the sign read… Fasten Seat Belt If Seated. I took a quick look to see if there were hand rails for those who chose to stand. Worse yet, was the rest of the message on the seat back, stating… Use Bottom For Floatation. If this little medal tube carrying human life, was going to go down anywhere over water, I obviously had written instructions to find the heaviest person on the airplane, and hang on to their bottom. While the thoughts may have been somewhat entertaining for a brief nanosecond, the reality of an emergency was gloomy.
Our entertainment on this flight was presented by the fellow one back and across from my seat, watching a movie on his DVD, without using private headphones.
The flight to Chicago from Calgary is slightly over 3 hrs. of what is scheduled to be my 16 + hr. travel day. After about an hour on this pretend airplane, the cabin attendants served their version of lunch. I was flying business class, so fully expected a nicely prepared lunch. What we got was a cardboard snack-pack, with some pretzels, nuts, a weird pasta ration pack that appeared to have been left over by Britain after the revolution. To make matters worse, while tasting this awful concoction, I seemed to have dropped some bit of it on the front of my slacks. Of course, it looks like I’ve stained it, so for the remainder of my voyage to meet up with the NCL Jade, I’ll look like I stepped away from the urinal before I was done.
Our little cigar tube of human flesh arrived in the skies of Chicago, above O’Hare airport about 15 minutes early, yet we were delayed circling for 45 minutes, to make up for the airports flight’s delayed schedule. Simply stated I’m guessing that if too many airplanes are landed on schedule the airport does not qualify for the late flight arrival post schedule federal rebate program.
Once on the ground we were notified that our flight would be berthed in C terminal… which was the furthest point it could be, yet still be in the same state, from Terminal M where my flight to Instanbul would be leaving from. As I exited the airplane I searched for the departures board, but to my chagrin there was nothing listed for Istanbul. I asked several airline representatives who knew nothing about a Terminal 5, but could tell their friend everything they wanted to know about the double latte they were holding from Starbucks that they were clinging to.
With less than implicit directions I ran through the various terminals in search of the elusive terminal MIn fact several times I reminded myself of the characture of OJ Simpson, in his infamous scene. I needed a white Ford Bronco though.
Getting from Terminal 3 at O’Hare to Terminal M(which is likely officially registered as part of Montanta) is an adventure on it’s own. To begin with, none of the staff members or TSA security guards one encounters along the way, really knows either. With less than an hour to find this elusive terminal, I began to sweat… I mean sweat. Enough sweat could have been collected off of me to supply all of the tears for Gone With the Wind.
I was beginning to feel like a coronary as I raced through to find Terminal 5, but all I could spot along the way were juice and sport bars. I just barely made it onto the airplane before it took off for Istanbul. The perspiration running from me like I’d just run the Olympic flag through San Francisco.
The 10 hr. flight to Istanbul was quite pleasant, and uneventful, with good service… though they were only showing 2 movies on their entertainment. I’ve flown Turkish Airline once before, and would do it again anytime. The disappointment to this flight came at the end. Of course, as all the luggage was removed, no bag for Kuki. Seems United had chosen a different vacation for my suitcase.
Overseas flights are rather notorious for lost luggage, so I did pack a few items of clothing in my carry ons. I’m still missing a lot of toiletries etc… since you can’t pack sharp things or liquids. But I can exist as is for about 3 days. We’ll see if my luggage can catch up to me in that time frame, or not.
Kuki, your flights are always such an adventure! And why am I NOT surprised that your luggage was not there? Even though you fly so often, it seems your luggage always take a different route. I would say that you should be used to this, but nope, there is is always hope!
Mariner of the Seas
Carnival Magic Bloggers Cruise 5
Mariner of the Seas
HAL Statendam Alaska Cruise Tour - 09/09/12; Disney Magic - 12/01/12; Allure of the Seas - 05/26/13
April 12 – Evening – By Kuki
Well my cabin does seem a bit empty tonight. No clothing to unpack, and no Mrs. Kuki to blame for it. When I boarded the ship, I did give the Guest Relations desk all of the pertinent info, and they’ll go to work with United to see if they can “reunite” me with my luggage. On this particular itinerary it could make for an interesting chase.
The ship did supply me with a small toiletry bag, and a T shirt, and complimentary laundry, which they’ll expedite. So, while I may be dressed the same, I will be dressed.
Istanbul is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I’m sorry I didn’t arrive in time to visit its sites again. This cruise actually began yesterday, so those who boarded yesterday did get the day to see the city; the Spice Market, the Grand Bazaar, the Museums and Mosques.
I was previously on this ship for just two days, at her christening ceremony, when she was named The Pride of Hawaii, and so I spent the few hours prior to dinner this evening just strolling around a little bit to see what changes might jump out at me.
By far the most noticeable change is the enormous Jade Casino on Deck 6. The Asian themed casino fills the entire width of the ship on Deck 6 forward, just aft of the showroom. This could now be one of the largest casinos at sea, with all the slots and table games, surrounding a very large central bar. I suspect the bar may have been designed this large as it is the only public room inside the ship where smoking is allowed, other than the Cigar Bar.
Otherwise the décor of the ship has changed very little, and therefore lots of “island feel”, in the decorations and in the art, remain all around the ship.
When I got my first look at the ship’s daily activities paper today, I also got my first look at one of the innovations of Freestyle 2.0. The schedule of activities is varied, and jammed with options. There are no longer 2 set times for shows in the evening. Different shows and entertainers and entertainment are scheduled throughout the cruise, so if there’s a show you wanted to see but missed because you were dining, or doing something else, it will no doubt be repeated later during the cruise, and you’ll be able to catch it then.
We dined tonight at the Grand Pacific, one of the cost included dining rooms. The meal was excellent. I enjoyed a Spring Roll appetizer, Oxtail Soup, and excellent Beef Wellington, along with a hot apple cobbler with ice cream. If this an indication of the quality of cuisine we’re going to experience throughout the cruise, I’ll certainly be looking forward to all my meals.
I’m certainly jet lagged, and flustered from the airport running, and redirection of my luggage, so I am calling it a night early. I have a tour booked tomorrow to revisit Ephesus, and hopefully be tomorrow I’ll also begin including more detailed stories and pictures.
Oh, I can't imagine not having my luggage, a fear many of us have. This happened to an entire group on the Dream a few weeks ago, I think they were all on American, but the luggage did catch up with them.
Kuki, I worry about lost luggage ever time we travel. I hope it catches up to you quickly. I look forward to reading about your adventure, it sounds very exciting.. By for now from a very warm Northern California. Feels more like August this weekend than April. Mike and Carole
Travel Mike's Future cruises: Mariner Galveston 2-26-12,Magic Galveston 3-4-12 NCL Pride of America Hawaii6-2-12 HAL Statendam 9-9-12 Vancouver
Day 2 – April 13 – Izmir, Turkey – By Kuki
It’s been a whirlwind and eventful beginning to the adventure. The Jade docked in Izmir today, and I had booked the ship’s tour to Ephesus. We had just recently toured Ephesus in May ’07, when we sailed the NCL Jewel, but it’s such a spectacular site that I thought it was well worth another visit.
To back up just a bit…This morning I enjoyed one of the new Freestyle 2.0 upgrades; a sit down made to order breakfast in the overflow room of Cagney’s (which is normally the surcharge steakhouse in the evening). This is available to those guests in the Garden Villa, Courtyard Villas and Suites. Though I’m not in a stateroom in those categories access has been extended to me. The shipboard charge card, and cabin door key, is coded to also gain electronic access to the room. The room is lovely, and the service was superb. I’m not normally a breakfast person, but I admit I could get used to this! I am in a standard balcony cabin, and it’s equipped with a coffee maker, which I did use to make a pot of coffee even before I went to breakfast.
At 8:45 A.M. I headed to the showroom where we were to meet for our tour. They had more than 800 guests going out for morning tours, yet the process went surprisingly smoothly, and I was on our bus, ready to go, shortly after 9:00 A.M. As many of you who read my “ramblings” probably know, I’m not normally one for organized ship excursions, preferring to venture off on my own much of the time. However, since Mrs. Kuki isn’t along on this part of my adventure, I’m traveling solo, so thought I’d have more fun doing a group tour.
I have to say the tour, along with our guide, Levant Kaptain, was excellent. My biggest complaint about large excursions is that you only move as fast as the slowest person, but today’s tour did not suffer that fate. The pace was excellent, and that was somewhat surprising considering the extensive amount of walking required when touring Ephesus. I contribute much of this to the electronic equipment given to all participants in the tour. We were each given a small listening device with ear phone, with which we could listen to the guides narrative as we toured. The added bonus, when we were to move along the guide was able to verbally notify everyone in the group. Even where we given some free time to explore or shop, Levant simply directed us when it was time to get to our meeting place to re-board the bus.
Ephesus is a MUST SEE for anyone sailing on this itinerary! This was an ancient city of nearly 400,000 people, and the archeological and historical significance of the area is not only important to understanding civilization, but it’s also breathtaking to see and experience.
Upon returning to the ship I called Guest Relations to inquire if they’d received any information on which itinerary my suitcase might have chosen, and if it was enjoying itself as much as I was. Sadly, there was nothing to report on its whereabouts yet. The good news is the clothing I had sent to the laundry was back already tonight. So, while I won’t get to show off my astonishingly good fashion sense until we’re reunited (it just seems so appropriate to use that word over and over again, since it was United who sent my luggage on a different vacation than me), it doesn’t appear that I am going to be making my fellow passengers ill by running around naked.
One other little problem developed related to my missing suitcase; the chord that connects my camera to my laptop is stored in its depths as well. I did have my camera and it’s charger in my carry-on bag, but not the “magic” chord. The folks from NCL and the ship have been great about assisting, and found a chord from a Canon camera that I thought was going to fit, but sadly it’s the wrong size. I’ll try again tomorrow to see if they have another one. This time I may even be bright enough to show them the camera.
This evening we dined at Cagney’s Steakhouse, and the meal and the service were once again outstanding. We’d had a rather late lunch on our tour today, so I limited myself to Caesar Salad, Filet Mignon (cooked exactly how I like it – though the chef probably cringed when they saw my order), baked potato, onion rings, and finished it off with a hot apple crisp with ice cream. Just a light cruise ship dinner.
When we finished dinner there was just enough time to get to the showroom to see the Production Show, ShowDown. As we were making our way to the showroom, we passed by Medusa’s Lounge, where the Second City Troupe was giving a participatory seminar on “Improv”. This is part of the “NCL U” Freestyle 2.0 upgrades. They were already midstream or I may have stopped to participate. I’ll look for it again later in the cruise.
For me the initial pace of this trip, with all its missteps, has left me feeling a bit like a whirling dervish. I’m hoping by tomorrow I’ll catch my breath, and my mind will catch up, even if my luggage does not, and I’ll begin to go into more in depth information about many more of the Freestyle 2.0 upgrades. There really is a lot to tell, but I want to clarify all the details before I attempt to share more of them with you.
Tomorrow morning we arrive in Mykonos, Greece. On our last visit here I toured quite a lot of the island. To try something different this trip, I’ve booked a ship’s excursion again, but because the ship is in port until midnight, the tour I’ve booked is in the evening. It’s called Street Party… so I’m thinking I could be for a fun Greek style street festival.
It sounds as if even though you are fashion challenged, you are once again off to a kuki cruise. Since I am not likely to ever get to see what you are seeing, I will see it through your eyes, and enjoy every word...
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
Kuki, I'm enjoying your exotic adventure too. It has to be a lot harder than you are letting on to be without your luggage, but it sure sounds like it isn't keeping you from enjoying yourself. I see you haven't let it be an excuse to hit the shops like some of us ladies would probably do. Maybe you aren't crazy about the native style of dress that you might have to select from. We could always send Trip over there to get you outfitted correctly.
I'm looking forward to seeing some photos as soon as you have time and the means to download some.
I have enjoyed reading your first few installments. I pity and envy you.
I am very interested in your Freestyle and Freestyle 2.0 observations. Both Betty and I have found that NCL and other, similar open seating, cruises are the ones that fit our cruising style and they are our cruises of choice.
I hope you and your clothes are soon reunited and I can't wait to cruise, but not fly, with you soon.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Home Lines Doric 78, Oceanic, Homeric 85,Celebrity Horizon, Zenith,NCl Pride of America 05 (Honeymoon), Spirit 09-30-06,NCL Gem 12-29-07,NCL Spirit 5-17-08
NCL Dawn 7-27-08,NCL Sky 7-3-09
NCL Dawn Sept 20,2009
Pride Of America
Kuki, from now on you need to chain your luggage to your wrist when you board a plane, to ensure it ends up in the same place as you do!
I'm enjoying your travelogue, sounds like the ship, especially the meals, are great. If you continue to eat the way you are, you won't fit into those missing clothes if you are ever reunited with them!
Day 3- April 14- by Kuki
There is just something so special about waking up at 4:30 in the morning that reminds you you’re on a European cruise. In my case it’s because it’s 7:30 P.M, the day before at home, and time to wake up from my afternoon nap and have dinner. Or it may be because I had found some real shaving cream, with a safety razor in the ship’s gallery stores last night, and I’m subconsciously anxious to shave again without drawing blood. Or it may be my body was simply in desperate need of caffeine, and subconsciously I couldn’t get the in cabin coffee maker out of my mind. Plainly the reality of it is I’m just jet-lagged still. I tried to combat it last night by taking a sleeping pill when I thought it would be appropriate to get to sleep, and thought with the aid of the solid pharmaceuticals I’d wake up at a “normal “ hour, and an adjusted body clock. Obviously, the “best laid plan” was not to be.
I thought “that’s ok” I’ll catch up on the live afternoon edition of Fox News now offered within NCL’s new television offerings, but that station is frozen in time; at least the satellite feed is. So, at 4:30 in the morning, let’s talk about the one area available to me… my cabin.
There’s plenty of room for storage in this standard balcony cabin. But then it would have to be REALLY small to not have room for 3 pairs of slacks, 3 pairs of shorts, 3 shirts, 3 pieces of underwear, and 3 pairs of socks, and my traveling war chest of the medicines my doctor chooses to keep my body working as a finely tuned (ok out of tune) piece of machinery.
What I don’t like in these cabins is the lack of a proper desk. There is a table, with central pedestal by the sliding door, that by the location of the hair dryer, suggests it’s a vanity/or make up table. It has no drawer space beneath or nearby, so since Mrs. Kuki is not with me, I’ve designated it my “hold all the junk I take out of my pockets each night” table. And it’s littered with all the junk advertising that comes with the Freestyle Daily. But I’ll only keep it there until I have enough to wallpaper the entire cabin… which by estimate should only take until tomorrow.
Back over towards the front door of the cabin, at the foot of the bed, there’s a small oddly shaped, angled table, which would be perfect for a Vanity Table. The problem is this is where they chose to put the Ethernet connection, where guests can use their own laptops to access the Internet. And the fact there’s no light in this spot, which is immediately under the shelf holding the television, is a detriment to using it as either the vanity table, it would make sense for, or the laptop desk which I’m using it as. There’s also only a small circular stool by this table, so I’ve taken the chair from the “vanity mirror” to what’s now my “computer desk”. It butts up against the foot of the bed now, so other that totally cutting of the cabin space for the steward to clean, it should work well for me…and bracing it against the foot of the bed will prevent me from tipping over backwards if the jet lag gets too bad. There’s also very little light in this area, so no doubt my eyeglass prescription will change over the 12 days of the cruise, as I strain to see the computer screen.
Speaking of tables, the single night stand next to the bed is another oddity. It’s just a two shelved table, no drawers, and there’s only the one. Directly on the other side of the bed is the small love seat “sitting area”.
The best designed part of the cabin is its washroom; divided into three sections. The central area is the wash basin, with glass shelving for storage, and plastic shelving underneath. To your left is a separate toilet room with sliding door, and to the right, the nice sized shower, also with sliding door. I could conceivably have two different guests in, with one using the toilet, while the other showered, while I shaved at the sink. Not that that’s ever going to happen at my age, but there’s room for it.
The beds in my cabin are joined to form a queen sized bed. With the implementation of Freestyle 2.0 all the beds in the villas and suites have already been replaced with thick euro-top style plus bedding, high thread count sheets, and a selection of upscale comfortable pillows. In the remaining cabins the existing beds have had foam tops added to the tops of the mattresses. I have to admit that the addition has made them extremely comfortable…though I do admit to wishing they were so much more comfortable, that I’d still be sleeping right now instead of typing.
The closet area is a large, with a well stocked mini-bar, plenty of shelves and a few drawers, and a private safe. And I also have a lovely chrome finish garbage pail where eventually I’ll store all my wallpaper.
Last night, just prior to turning in for the night, I did receive a notice from the Shore Excursion team that my Street Party Tour had been cancelled due to lack of participation. I’m guessing that word spread throughout the ship that the guy with no luggage had booked, and would probably be carrying a bit of a foul odor by now, so people cancelled. This certainly wouldn’t be the case, as my shower luckily was not packed in my luggage.
Today’s question therefore will be what to do on Mykonos. I did notice in the “daily” today there’s a “cruising solo and singles get together” scheduled for early evening. Perhaps I’ll attend, wearing the sign Mrs. Kuki made for me. It says… “Even though he’s married, he’s available, and anyone who wants him is welcome to him! But then you’re stuck with him!”
The cabin is actually just fine, and I’m quite comfortable. I guess this report is just some of the “kukiness” which results when I wake up in the very early morning, and need to pass some time.
April 14 – Mykonos – By Kuki
After waking at a weird hour this morning I’m a bit more “spaced out” than usual. Several pots of coffee later, yet there was still no change. Rather than have breakfast at Cagney’s again, I thought I would have breakfast with “the masses” at the Garden Café, the ship’s Lido Deck buffet, or “action station” area. Though there were plenty of passengers looking for breakfast, I had no waiting at all, as I opted for more coffee, French Toast, and bacon. With my tray, I headed out to the central pool side area to enjoy my breakfast alfresco.
While enjoying the meal I was mulling over my choices of what to do in Mykonos today, trying to decide if I was going to check availability on another tour, or just wing it. This morning it’s also a bit cool outside, so I had decided to wait for the warmer part of the day before heading out. The ship does offer a free shuttle bus service dropping guests closer to the center of town, so I’ve decided closer to lunch time, and after a short nap, to take the shuttle to town and just stroll and shop.
I ran into AnneMarie, of NCL’s PR dept. and since my evening tour has been cancelled she’s invited me to have dinner ashore with her and the head of the ship’s shore excursion dept. as well as another NCL rep who’s supposed to fly in to meet us today. (I’m hoping somehow my luggage will arrive at the ship with her…which would be rather magical).
Of note, there was a card left in my cabin asking for my custom choices of fruit basket, and canapés, to be delivered to the cabin in the afternoon or evening.
I had a short nap this morning, and took the ships complimentary shuttle into town at about 11 A.M. I was actually shocked at the long lines for the shuttle at that time. I just assumed more people would have been off on tours, or exploring the island earlier.
I strolled the narrow streets, and looked around for a pharmacy. They are certainly making preparations for the beginning of the tourist season here. All the buildings are getting a fresh coat of white paint, and fresh blue paint for the doors. Many businesses appeared to be cleaning up, and appeared that they had been probably been closed entirely during the winter months. I did find myself a “Greek outfit”, to add to my temporary wardrobe. I can now OOMPA with the best of them.
When I returned to the ship I had received a note from the Guest Relations desk saying Turkish Airlines had no idea where my missing luggage was vacationing, and that was somewhat disheartening. Though I’m sure all my extra underwear is rather enjoying the time off.
A few minutes later I did get a phone call saying my luggage, feeling very relaxed and comfortable, had indeed arrived in Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines, after discussions with my socks and sports jacket, who want to spend time touring the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul first, have decided to forward my suitcase directly to Alexandria, Egypt.
This means that I’ll still be visiting Santorini and Irkalon, Greece, followed by a day at sea, without being accompanied by my boxer shorts.
Of course, the question will remain with me for the next 4 days… Can they possibly actually get this suitcase to Egypt? And will they have at least loaded it with 12 boxes of Turkish Delight for compensation?
Despite my joking about the situation, there is an important lesson to be learned through my experience with this. I did have the foresight to pack a few days of clothing, and all my meds, in my carry-on. Indeed I would have had my toiletries etc. with me as well, if not for flight restrictions regarding liquids in carry-on bags. Of course if I had flown in for a couple of days pre-cruise, as is my normal custom for European itineraries, my bag could have simply been delivered to my hotel before I boarded the ship.
It’s an important aspect of cruising from U.S. ports of call, but even more important when sailing an itinerary such as this, where airport access to some of the islands is very limited.
However it is equally as important to try and take such incidents in stride, and enjoy your vacation as much as possible as well.
Hi, I am new to this forum and reading your reports with great interest.
Am I right in thinking that you get the Cagneys breakfast as you are a past cruiser? Or can anyone in a balcony or mini suite have this?
Also can you tell me if all balcony passengers get the fruit basket, we are going on our first cruise with NCL (1st cruise ever really) in June in a mini suite and wondered if we will get the fruit and canapes?
Kuki - I have to say that this is the first cruise post I have had the pleasure to read that you wrote. You absolutely crack me up
I would hope if I am in a similar situation as you seem to be experiencing I could roll with the punches However, I am not so sure my DH would be able to. Of course there is the off chance that being on a ship for 2 weeks would mellow him enough
Can't wait for more from you and your wayward luggage!
Sensation (without KathieLee) July 2001
Paradise (smokefree) March 2002
Valor (inaugural season) May 2005
Truimph May 2007
Fascination (1st time w/DD) May 2008
Pride (with DD & DS) November 2009