TRAVEL THERE:NORWEGIAN EPIC’S FIRST FREESTYLE FAIL
OK – I’ve already mentioned that I was a little concerned about the whole free-style thing, but we’d been on the boat for several hours and for the most part, free-styling felt pretty much like traditional cruising.
Lobster Night Chaos
After the sail-away we returned to our stateroom and did our first dressing dance. Then we met our friends and rode the elevator down to Deck 7. The elevator doesn’t go to Deck 6 where the the restaurant is. Deb speculated that it was to force you to go through the casino, but since the casino’s on six, I never figured out the logic. Anyway, we went down a flight of stairs and entered chaos.
According to the Q&A section of Norwegian’s website, the first night is lobster night in the main dining rooms, so we didn’t want to miss it. Apparently, no one else did either. We showed up about 8 PM with two hours to spare before our reservations for the Blue Man Group, but that just showed how green we were to free-style. You’re free to do everything except show up for dinner at the main dining room and expect a seat.
Deb and Joe stood in line for Manhattan, while Bill and I rushed down to Taste to see if it was any more likely we’d get a table there. We might have been slightly better off at Taste, but when we returned to discuss it with our friends. they’d gotten one of the restaurant buzzers that let’s you wander around in the vicinity of a restaurant and they’d gotten coupons for free champagne. Our concerns took a back seat to the champagne.
We found Maltings, a whiskey tasting bar, and enjoyed the free champagne. Nearby, a crooner strummed a guitar and played old folk favorites, but once the champagne was gone, we heard the clock counting down to Blue Man. We tromped back downstairs and Deb did the honors. Her reward was a finger-wagging scolding from the hostess for returning before the buzzer summoned us. We were obviously failing at freestyle, but before we could contemplate the enormity of our sin, the buzzer went off and all was forgiven.
We were shown to our seats and before too long a waitress showed up. When Deb let her know we had to be out of there in time for Blue Man, the waitress gave us another lesson in free-style. Seems we really shouldn’t book a show after dinner, if we plan on eating in one of the main dining rooms. They don’t tell you that on the website, but our waitress was quick to fill us in. The show was still an hour and a half away, but she behaved as if we’d asked for the moon.
For starters, Bill got a shrimp something, Deb got salmon tartare and I got a salad. (I was still hoping I wouldn’t fall completely off the food wagon.) Deb and Bill loved their’s, but whoever washed the lettuce for my salad failed to dry it off. My Caesar Salad was watery and also very heavy on the anchovies.
Then the surf and turf arrived and our mood improved, but my steak was gristlely and the lobster was small. I wished I’d copied Bill and double-ordered lobster to replace the steak. It wasn’t the end of the world and it looked like we’d have plenty of time to make the show – until we ordered dessert and waited and waited and waited and…
As we waited we compared notes on cruising and Epic was not coming out ahead. The dinner-time mob scene had been disconcerting. We’d have gladly traded our free champagne for an assurance we’d make it to the show. Then someone mentioned the entertainment. To one side of the Manhattan stage, sat a lone man playing a guitar. We could barely hear him, but we think he was playing Beatles songs. We hoped we weren’t seeing Epic’s best foot forward. We’d been expecting more.
Finally, about five minutes before curtain, I announced we’d have to forego dessert. We hightailed it to the other end of the deck to the Epic Theater and found mediocre seats moments before the lights went down. How was The Blue Man Group? Find out next week!