My good friends know that I’m a bridge fanatic. I could play bridge morning, noon, and night. So it was with immense pleasure when I found that we had been invited by the captain for a bridge session.
Boy, was I in for a disappointment. Turns out the captain didn’t have a partner so we were without the required foursome. There wasn’t even a bridge table and chairs anywhere in sight. Indeed, it turned out that this was a bridge session rather than a session of bridge. No wonder I was confused. So much for being a guest at the captain’s table (yet another disappointing tale).
The first thing that struck me (right after I realized we wouldn’t be playing bridge) was the humongous size of the ship’s navigation bridge. Certainly made our cabin look even smaller afterward, and that’s hard to do considering we were living in something the size of our master closet back home.
On either side were the “Flying Bridges,” which are used when the ship is either docking or pulling away from port. The flying bridges protrude from either side of the main navigational bridge, hanging over the sides of the ship. In the flying bridge areas are the consoles that the captain uses to maneuver the ship while in port.
I learned one neat little trick at the radar station. In air traffic control we identified most aircraft through the use of onboard transponders that encoded information from the aircraft and transmitted that information to us through our radar. It seems ships are not much different in that respect. From the Norwegian Star’s radar the crew could “interrogate” the transponders of nearby ships to determine their names, type (cruise, freighter, military, etc.), destination, and other information. It was all very impressive.
One other neat little feature: As you look out of the bridge windows and gaze upon the two hot tubs at the bow of the ship you realize just how much more advanced the ships of NCL are over those of Carnivale subsidiary Costa Cruises. On these ships passengers can relax in water in one of several pools or hot water spas, whereas on the Costa Concordia the passengers had to wait for the ship to run aground so that they could take a leisurely swim to shore.
Now that’s convenience.
Here are some more images from the bridge: