Sunday, May 13, 2012

Almost nightly towel animals

IMG_4012eI say almost nightly towel animals as our room steward, though very good, did not leave towel animals every single night.  The nights that he did make the towel animals Maisie really enjoyed seeing them and saved them all until the last night of the cruise.

IMG_4021eOur trip started with six sea days before our first port of Ponta Delgada (Azores).  Each morning after breakfast Maisie went to Kids Crew and had fun playing with the other children and loved the many days she had her face painted.  While she played at Kids Crew I attended some cooking demos and lectures, enjoyed talking with other passengers or just enjoyed some quiet time sitting out on our balcony or out and about on the ship.  We had some heavy seas during the crossing and Eammon unfortunately didn’t fare as well as he spent most of the crossing being seasick but when he could he too made it to some lectures or to the gym.  

IMG_4030eEach day at noon we picked Maisie up from Kids Crew and took her to lunch…where she immediately ditched us so to sit at a private table with her friends Cecily, Shannon & Elam.  Most days after lunch it was homework and nap time.  An hour long nap was necessary each day as we were up by 8am each morning, evenings we were up late at the shows and over the course of the crossing we lost six hours as we turned our clocks forward one hour six times.

IMG_4038eAfter our nap Maisie would choose what she wanted to do for the afternoon.  A couple of days she went to the pool & hot tub but most days she wanted to either go back to Kids Crew with her friends or go with them to some of the activities like Wii bowling, crazy golf, shuffleboard or Lego building.  For the most part we had nice but cool weather during our trip.  Eammon took Maisie to the pool and the hot tubs a couple of afternoons but then the winds picked up and the seas got quite rough so the main pools were drained and it was really too cold to go into, well really come out of the hot tubs.

IMG_4051eEven though Norwegian with their Freestyle cruising is very casual, Maisie still enjoyed dressing up each night for dinner.  Some nights the three of us dined alone and other nights we shared a table with Maisie’s friends and their parents.   

IMG_4117eWe really enjoyed Norwegian’s freestyle dining concept as we didn’t feel rushed to get to dinner at an assigned seating time and we weren’t stuck at the same table and with the same people each night.  The one difficulty that we did find, which was quickly resolved, was that because we could dine when and where we wanted we didn’t necessarily have the same waiter who got to know our needs and desires and with Maisie’s special diet, (which was always ordered the previous evening) re-explaining things each night was a bit of a pain and I wasn’t always confident, without further checking that Maisie’s meals were allergy safe.  Thankfully though at breakfast on the fourth morning we met a waiter named Darren and his assistant Gusti who just “got” and understood everything with Maisie.  I mentioned to the Maitre d’ how well Darren and Gusti got Maisie’s special needs and how wonderful they were so he arranged and set things up so that each evening at dinner a table was set aside for us in their section, no matter what time we arrived.  After that dinner was easy and stress-free.

IMG_4120eThe way meals worked for Maisie was that each night at dinner either our waiter Darren or the Maitre d’ Chandra would show me the following night’s menu and I would put in an order for all of Maisie’s meals and snacks for the following day.  They really did a wonderful job with all of Maisie’s meals.  For breakfast Maisie especially enjoyed the wheat, egg & dairy free English muffins that were made fresh and served hot to her each morning.  She also ate and tried Maisie “safe” toast, pancakes & waffles.  For lunch most days she had pasta either with a Bolognese or Marinara sauce.  When she still wanted pasta but tired of red sauce they made the pasta with garlic and olive oil and topped it with grilled chicken and broccoli.  Each day too with the pasta they made special garlic bread just for her.  One day Maisie requested a hamburger and fries for lunch so they prepared it and served it on Maisie “safe” bread and as it was without any fillers it was the best burger on the ship.  Generally at lunchtime they would bring a big plate of “safe” cookies.  The chocolate and chocolate chip were her favorites but she also enjoyed the cinnamon chip & plain sugar cookies too.  Because they always brought so many cookies we would take the extras back to our stateroom so that she had some to snack on later in the day.  For dinner Maisie generally enjoyed a slight variation of one of the main menu items.  The chef made fried calamari and shrimp with a nicely seasoned corn starch “breading” also delicious sautéed coconut shrimp, they prepared special steamed rice and veggies without butter and Maisie also enjoyed lots of steak, lamb & pork too.  For dessert they prepared special sorbets and a very delicious chocolate cake but Maisie’s favorite at night was Jell-O and Darren always tried to bring her favorite of orange. 

IMG_4126eOur meals too were very good but like the other cruises we’ve taken in the past, the desserts and pastries were just nothing special.  All but one night we ate in one of the main dining rooms and then one night we dined in the specialty restaurant Moderno Churrascaria along with Cecily & her parents.  Lunch time we always ate at the buffet because as I mentioned, the children like to have a table to themselves and there was always more selection and also dining at the buffet was quicker than lunch in the dining room.  At lunch time I really enjoyed the daily cold fruit soups and the vegetarian curries, I don’t know that I even tried anything else.  Some late afternoons and evenings Eammon particularly enjoyed the sports bar where he could sit back and watch soccer and eat hot wings or fish & chips.  One thing special that we found in the sports bar was the popcorn machine.  We checked the ingredients and Maisie was delighted to find that the popcorn was made with coconut oil and was 100% safe so multiple times daily the children would wander over to pick up a bag or two to take with them to activities or to the evening shows.   

IMG_4129eMaisie and I attended almost all of the nightly shows and most were wonderful.  We enjoyed the Norwegian Production Cast perform “Encore” a showcase of Broadway shows as well as SHOUT! the Mod Musical.  We also loved singer, entertainer and impressionist Greg London as well as the juggling of Scotty Cavanaugh but I think the best show of all was that of String Fever…totally awesome, check out one of their videos here.

Often times after the nightly show Maisie would either ask to go to the nightclub where they had various dance parties like country line dancing, disco night, 60’s night or 80’s night and we would stay and participate for 30 or so minutes until she was tired and ready for bed, she always had fun.  Other times after the show she would say she was hungry so we’d head up to the Cafe or sports bar where she and her friends would gather for a late night snack.  Most nights we tried to be in bed by 10:30-11PM as we were up by 8am and many nights lost an hour as we passed into new time zones.  Maisie kept up though and had a blast.  Also while on the cruise Maisie ate like a champion and I guessed that she was going through a growth spurt.  I remember looking at her the day we were touring in Amsterdam and she looked taller and thinner.  Now home it appears that she did go through a bit of a growth spurt as she’s about 1/2-inch taller but on the down side, while away she lost over 2 pounds!  Since the first of this year we have been working with a sports nutritionist trying to put some extra weight on Maisie and trying to keep her nutritional levels and needs in line with her heavy gymnastics schedule and in three weeks she lost all that she had gained.  Now home I’ll have to get her back to her high calorie special diet again.

IMG_4181eOne very special thing happened to me on the cruise.  As I mentioned, I attended the various cooking demos which were presented by the Executive Chef.  One day I mentioned to him that Maisie really enjoyed the daily wheat, egg & dairy free English Muffins and it was such a treat for her as she hadn’t eaten bread in ages as the bread I  find at home is…well…downright awful.  He said that he’d arrange for me to go into the bakery so that the baker could teach me how to make the muffins.  Later that day our Maitre d’ handed me a card with a date, time and place to meet the Executive Chef and he did, he took me through the galley and down to the bakery where the baker taught me how to make the bread & muffins.  I have everything written down and hopefully I’ll be able to reproduce what he made.

Honestly after all the food on the ship and restaurants during our travels it was nice to come home to my own cooking again and nothing is easier than pulling some of these Hearty Sausage, Mushroom & Cheddar Mini Quiches from the freezer for a delicious heat & eat meal.  Hop on over to Cook Lisa Cook for this new recipe or just click on the picture.

IMG_2643e1Other recipes posted on Cook Lisa Cook include: Mango Lassi, Stir-Fried Asparagus with Water Chestnuts, Ginger & Cashews, Curried Roast Chicken Pieces with Spicy Sweet Potato & Carrots, Grilled Corn & Bacon Pudding, Oriental Chicken Salad, Potato Salad with Bacon, Coffee Crusted Steak, Home Style Chicken Curry, Watermelon FrostyMango Gazpacho, Toll House Double Stuff Oreo Brownies, Long Beans with Walnuts, Blacksmith Pizza, Rhubarb Crisp, Laksa, Math Book No Bake Cookies, Aloo Gobi, Mint Lassi, Red Curry Chicken, Lamb Curry, Grilled Corn, Avocado & Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing, Baked Egg Cups Two Ways, Thai Peanut Salad, Holy Guacamole, Cantaloupe Agua Fresca, Wallaby Darned, Piggy-Out Cookies, Wicked Good New England Lobster Roll, Long Beans with Garlic, Super Simple Summer Shrimp Salsa Salad, Grandma’s Teriyaki Steak, Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho, Red Chinese Long Beans with Peppers & Red Curry, 24-Layer Crêpe Cake, Fig & Watermelon Salad, Grilled Chèvre & Fig Panini, Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad, Grilled Prawns, Spicy Brown Sugar Bacon, Kicked Up Piggy-Out Cookies, Pesto Pita Pizza, Cilantro Lime Chicken, Nutella Crêpes, Mango, Lime & Chile Spiced Ice Box Pie, Roast Beef & Garlic Herb Cheese Sandwich, Layered Crespelle with Bolognese, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil, Jamaican Jerk Meat Pies, Nutella No Bake Cookies, Velvety Mac & Cheese, Welsh Cakes, Tom Yam Ghoong (Spicy Shrimp Soup), Lime Jewels, Southwest Pasta Salad, Walnut Roca Squares, Uncle Bubba’s Shrimp & Grits, Chocolate Chip Gingersnaps, Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies, Copycat “KFC” Coleslaw, Happy 6th Birthday Maisie Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies, Thin Mint Irish Coffee, Caramel Apples, “Rotisserie” Chicken, Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwich, Mummy Hotdogs, Mango Upside Down Cake, Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens, Aloo Tikki, Pink Strawberry Cake Balls, Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake, Apple Dumplings, Rum Cured Salmon, Apple, Cranberry & Rhubarb Crisp, Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic Sour Cream, Crunchy Oat, Almond, Cashew & Pebbles Granola Bars, Texas Chicken with Lime Butter, Biscoff Fudge, Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter, Creamed Corn with Cheese and Cilantro, Potato Crusted Pork Chops, Oatmeal, Cashew & Chocolate Granola Bars, Texas Chicken Sandwich, Seared Scallops with Creamy Pesto & Lemon Pepper Pasta, Thai Chicken Noodle Soup, Glazed Lemon Squares, Chang-Style Brussels Sprouts, Maisie “safe” No Bake Cookies, Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart, Pork Dumplings with Rice Wrappers, Sweet & Spicy Apple Pork, Dark Chocolate Dipped Candied Lemon Peel, Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites, Double Chocolate Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake, Malted Pretzel Crunch, Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing, Apple Pancakes, Baked Egg & Avocado, Health(ier) Peanut Brittle, Crab Cake Stuffed Mushrooms, Broiled Sushi, Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter, Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole, Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, Slimmed Down Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole, Baked Meatballs, Skinny Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, Fruit, Nut & Poppy Seed Chicken Salad, Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars and Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich.



  1. What a fun family vacation!!!!! Can't wait for the posts on the ports you visited. Welcome back!

  2. I have missed you. Glad you are back. What a traveling family you are. I love that Maise wants to go back to the night club and Emmon likes his fish and chips! Glad he felt okay some times to eat them! I hate being sea sick I think it is so great when you find soething you love! She looks so pretty in all the picures.

  3. Anonymous1:21 PM

    I'm so happy you had a great time on your cruise. Maisie looks like she really loved those towel animals. You should post some of the photos on the FB towel origami fan page I belong to: . What was her favorite towel creation?

  4. Anonymous10:48 PM

    I think it's really impressive that they went all out to meet Maisie's dietary needs. Seems like NCL scores an A at least on that end.

    We really enjoyed having the same dinner companions on Disney - though we really did enjoy who we were sitting with - I can imagine if there wasn't a connection that it would get old. Sounds like the freestyle worked for you.

    Looks like a fun trip.

  5. How awesome that you got to have a special baking lesson for making the Maisie safe bread! It does sound like the staff did a very nice job of accommodating Maisie's diet (even wheat, egg and dairy free cookies!). In fact, so far everything you've described sounds pretty terrific (except the sea sickness). Cute towel animals!


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