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OK...this is the craziest trip we've ever taken! Or, at least, it seems that way! Thank goodness for bad memories and impulsive habits!
As you look over our plans, you'll see how disjointed they all appear to be! There is always "organization" in Matthew's "DIS-organization"! We started this as a weekend trip, made flight plans, hotel ressies, etc. Then added a day... (wash, rinse, repeat...) we added another day... (wash, rinse, repeat...) and yet one more day added. The result, 4 separate hotel stays, lots of added airline charges for changed reservations... but, it's all going to be worth it! (...wash, rinse, repeat...) IT'S ALL GOING TO BE WORTH IT!!!
The original purpose of our trip...We're taking a cruise out of New York City on the NCL Gem...duration of the cruise: 1 day. It's officially a "One Day Cruise to Nowhere" Added benefits during this trip...3 "Low-Involvement" Broadway shows, plus some fun with friends: Sundee and Debbie from Hays High School circa early-80's (LOL!) and Gloria, Darryl, Simone and Gran from our NCL Dawn, September 2005!
Our photos will be available in daily "Trip Pix" shown below. Check 'em all out...that is, if we can upload them!
New York City
January 21st to 26th, 2009


Wednesday: "Shrek The Musical" on Broadway
Thursday: "The Little Mermaid" on Broadway
Friday: "Mary Poppins" on Broadway, with Matthew's High School buddies, Sundee & Debbie!

Saturday: Cruise to Nowhere on the NCL Gem

Sunday: Stay and Play in NYC with friends Gloria, Darryl, Simone and Gran!
Monday: Home to San Antonio

Our Stateroom: 8134
Category: BA Balcony
Location: AFT (overlooking the ship's wake)
"Happiness is NYC in our Rearview Mirror!"

Built: 2007
Length: 971 Feet
Beam: 107 Feet
Gross Tonnage: 92000 pounds

Passengers: 2800
Crew: 1100

3 Pools/6 Hot Tubs
11 Bars/Lounges
12 Restaurants
4-lane Bowling Alley
Rock Climbing Wall

Click for Close Up
The NCL Gem

Click for Close Up
Our Itenerary on the NCL Gem...DON'T LAUGH!!!!

NCL Gem Bridge Cam

So, Where in the World is the Norweigan Gem?

Click here to find out!


New York

Click for Close Up
Bowling Alley (!)



Times Square Webcam

Click for New York, New York Forecast

bullet Tracking Information on our Flight to NYC can be obtained by clicking the various links/buttons in the widgets above!

bullet A direct link for the "Live-View" map of our flight to Memphis (will show up once we take off from San Antonio): Click Here

bullet A direct link for the "Live-View" map of our flight from Memphis to Newark (will show up once we take off from Memphis): Click Here

bullet Hilton Garden Inn - Times Square

bullet Brrrrr, Damn and double-Brrrrrrr... It is C-O-L-D!

bullet The Memphis Airport was very entertaining... our Flight Attendant on the connecting flight to Jersey was "Eel". They made announcement after announcement that we were delayed because she was "eel". We finally figured out that she was ill! It's a good thang we don't have no durn accent! By the way...the Memphis Airport is very nice... looks like a High School with lots of brick columns and long hallways. It's really quite beautiful...

bullet Well, we got to the Newark Airport in one piece and were on our way (rapidly) to the train to Penn Station...when Matt got tangled in his luggage on the escalator. Steve tried to catch the errant luggage, but ended up tumbling to the bottom of the escalator...in a heap of luggage, arms and legs...and one bald head. There were no injuries to report (however, several New Jersey natives learned some nice new swear words a la Tejas!)

bullet We dumped our luggage, made a few phone calls, laughed about the Newark tumble, then headed to Lomardi's Pizza (the first pizza restaurant in NYC according to the Food Network). It was delicious... There was quite a "receiving line" at the ATM which we couldn't figure out until we were presented with our bill, "No Charge, Cash Only". Had we somehow entered a parallell universe and ended up in Roatan? Good thing we went there early in our trip...the cash was still flowing! Hee, hee

bullet Enjoy the pix.... We're headed to see "SHREK' tonight after a warm cup of coffee! (Did I mention it is COLD??!!) Mom, Northwest Airlines had some napkins that we thought you'd have enjoyed! Steve said, "I can just see your mom putting this in her purse!" The napkins were better than Pei Wei!!! OK...time to upload some pix! Enjoy!

"Shrek The Musical" on Broadway
We LOVED it!!! Click the progam above to see
some photos & videos from the show! It was just
like the movie...except better (a little more "adult" humor
thown in to keep the whole audience laughing!)
OH...and Courtney Cox (Friends) and David Arquette sat 5 rows in front
of us...Great looking family!

bullet Heading to meet Darryl at Sloan-Kettering for breakfast. Then a little exploring in Central Park...and, yes, we're dressed warmly!!!

bullet Took the subway to meet Darryl and we had a great breakfast...Steve really loved his spinach/feta omelete. Darryl showed us all of the different hospitals in the Sloan-Kettering area -- he works at the main hospital. We walked to Central Park and snapped some great shots...then realized the memory card wasn't in the camera!

bullet Off we went to find a memory card... no problem finding one, but quite a walk to get out of the park...then back into the park again! We definitely are buring some calories and the brisk weather is quite refreshing (or, at least we keep telling ourselves that!) Central Park is so quiet covered in snow...the sounds of the city are dampened even more than usual -- and it was fun seeing all of the dogs on their walks, the children sledding and skating, and the all of the beautiful snow-covered vistas!

bullet We walked back to our hotel and Steve is sound asleep as I write... I think that's where the greyhounds get their wonderful napping habits! We hope to meet up with Gloria after she gets off work (he law firm is in the Chrysler Building)...then off to the Little Mermaid! What a fun day so far!!

bullet Hilton Garden Inn - Times Square

bullet Dinner tonight was at "Sangria 46", a GREAT Spanish Tapas restaurant in the theatre district (be careful on their website, I clicked on bulls for hours trying to find their address!) Matt had Garlic Soup and Shrimp Diablo, Steve had some great Filet of Sole in a lemon sauce. We also had a couple tapas...chorizo with onions and shrimp wrapped in bacon. Delicious! For dessert, we split Churros with Chocolate Sauce, Fried Flan set ablaze with a tasty rum sauce. We loved it so much, we think we may go back before we leave... Oh, and the Sangria is GREAT, too! (hic!)

"The Little Mermaid" on Broadway
Cute show... the sets were amazing (you'd think Disney has
some sort of unlimted budget, or something?! Ya' think??) The storyline
and music was straight from the movie... a little too juvenile for us, though.
I mean, it didn't have a musical number based on flatulence (please refer to Shrek above!),
so how could a couple of sophisticated theatre critics like us enjoy it?
Actually, the show was great...you really find yourself being
mesmerized by the sets/costumes/singing...
and if Steve doesn't stop singing "Under the Sea"
he may be found "Under the Hudson River" tomorrow morning!

bullet Planz: Wake up...switch hotels! Meet Gloria at her lawfirm office in the Chrysler Building (well, they won't actually allow tourists like us "up" in the building...but the lobby is the next best thing!) Go have a nice Italian lunch at "Fagiolini", then back to work for her...and back to fun for us! We're meeting the Hays High "gals" around 4PM at the Plaza Hotel for drinks, then meet up again for "Mary Poppins". Afterwards, we have dessert ressies at"Sardi's".

bullet Hilton Times Square

"Mary Poppins" on Broadway
What a GREAT show! We were very lucky to have
opted for this one... great suggestion, Sundee! It is a
classic Broadway show... great dancing, great music,
wonderful acting. What fun...and then the laughs shared
with friends at Sardi's afterwards made it even better!
What a great night!

bullet Saturday - NYC to Nowhere

bullet We can see the ship from our hotel window...so we'll be heading down for our trip to Nowhere (and back!) Probably no photos updated today...but there will be a few added once we get back on dry land tomorrow!

bullet Now, off to have fun on the Atlantic...if only for a little while.

From the Jersey Shore (looking across the Hudson River)

Wired New York Webcam 3


bullet Checking in was a breeze...As Casinos At Seas VIP guests, we were actually the first ones on board. It was a lot of fun with a great Cruise Critics meeting at 3PM, the Casinos at Seas gathering at 5PM, plus lots of food and drinks before during and after each! We had Chicken Strips and Fish & Chips for lunch at the Blue Lagoon... and then a late dinner at Cagney's. Great food... Oh, and of course, we stopped and grabbed chocolate chip cookies, ice cream and other treats each time we passed the buffet!

bullet The cruise was fun but exhausting...It's really rough to try and get things done in such a short amount of time. We did manage to take some good pix of most of the public areas, and will try to remember the layout for the upcoming cruise to Alaska on the Pearl...the Gem's sister ship. One bad thing...our aft stateroom was right above "Bliss" a nightclub/bowling alley... we heard/felt the bass beat all night long! I'm guessing the party went on until well past 4AM, but we enjoyed the thump, thump, thump from under our down comforters! (Oh, when we got our bill for the whole night...it was only $56! We were pretty well behaved...or well "comped", I'm not telling which!)

bullet Sunday - Back from Nowhere! Such a fun but FAST trip! We barely noticed that we were on water (it was too cold to go outside, so it was like being in a hotel that swayed only occasionally!)

bullet DoubleTree Times Square - Great hotel right in Times Square, plus we're on the 44th floor...so we don't hear a thing "way up here!"

bullet Gloria, Simone and Darryl are on their way to take us to Chinatown for lunch...then later to Island City for Seafood (and a visit with Gram).

bullet Back from a great day of eating and laughing... I'm not sure which we did more of, but we sure enjoyed both! First we were picked up by "Max" right next to our hotel. It sounds like a car service, but it's actually Gloria's car...named Max! Simone, Darryl, Gloria and the two of us stopped by where Gloria works...in the Chrylser Building. The security officer on duty let us all into the elevator bank...and I took a couple pix of the beautiful wood-work on the elevator doors. Amazing stuff!

bullet Back outside and to the subways to Chinatown...a crazy place since Chinese New Year celebrations were just a day off. We ate at Hop Kee Restaurant...down an obscure set of stairs to a basement full of delicious foods! We had an awesome wonton soup with duck, pork, chicken and shrimp. Then the most amazing Spicy Salted Shrimp, Garlic Spinach, Roasted Duck and Spare Ribs in Black Bean Sauce. SOooo Good! But, that was just the beginning...

bullet After a quick stop at the Black Sheep Tavern near G's office for "warming", we headed to the Bronx (but not before counting the 10,000 pennies used to decorate the bar top!) We were on our way to City Island to see Gran (S & G's grandmother...a real hoot from the Virgin Islands.) The ride to City Island was a blast..as each of the passengers were threatened with being left on the side of the road, for our ongoing teasing of Gloria. We laughed and laughed until our sides hurt.

bullet We then enjoyed the best Shrimp, Lobster, Prime Rib, etc. that we've ever had at the Crab Shanty in City Island. The small area of City Island is so cute...with seafood restaurants everywhere, cute Victorian-looking homes and businesses...very New England feel to this place. But, the food at the Crab Shanty was amazing...and the time we spent with Gran even better! She just tickles us both so much -- a real class act with a dry wit...and quite a story teller that kept our table giggling along throughout the meal. Plus, Gran showed us the best way to eat lobster...doctor the butter with lemon and tobasco. Yum! Matt ended up using that on everything...his baked pototo, shrimp...everything! After the meal, we headed down the Westside Highway back to Times Square and our last night in the City.

bullet Monday - Home after a GREAT trip... The Reader's Digest Condensed-Version cruise, which was our original reason for coming, turned out to be more of a distraction from the fun we were having the rest of the time. It was like the turkey at Thanksgiving...the main part of the meal, but all the side dishes & family time are what makes it all so special! ...and, boy, did we have the side dishes!

bullet Salt Bagels with Cream Cheese for breakfast (surprise, surprise)...probably a Dirty Water Dog for a snack mid-morning (surprise, surprise)...then Fish & Chips for lunch this afternoon with G at her "Dive Bar" called Muldoon's Irish Pub . It was great! Plus, we enjoyed just one more NYC-water before our trip home.

bullet After lunch we headed to the Penn Station, then slowly worked our way back to Newark, where we discovered one last "gem" from our week: Brooklyn Local One beer. YUM! Justin, the barkeep at the Newark Airport, thought we were perfect guinea pigs for this beer that he had disovered in the back earlier in the day. Boy, was he right...we're going to have to have some shipped down soon! It was delish!

bullet Arrived home in SAT around midnight (after a flight attendant kept bringing me wine...why, oh why, oh why-ine?) then woke up and back to the airport for our 7AM flight to Houston to pick up our baby. A brand new 2009 Acura RL with only 9 Miles on the odometer...who's been driving our car?? Since this was at the tail end of our NYC trip, we consider this final GREAT day as part of the whole...so photos have been added above! The trip home to SAT in the RL (should we name it POLO -- RL=Ralph Lauren, the color is Grigio Metallic--maybe Griggs, Sassy...since it always is talking back to us, Greyhound...since it's a dark grey...?) G, we need some help on car naming! Alas, she's still un-named, but definitely a "she"...

bullet A direct link for the "Live-View" map of our flight from Newark to San Antonio (will show up once we take off from Newark): Click Here

bulletTracking Information on our Flight to NYC can be obtained by clicking the various links/buttons in the widgets below!


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