Norwegian Sun Cruise Review by paul8: Buenos Aires to Santiago 1.31.10 - 2.14.10
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Buenos Aires to Santiago 1.31.10 - 2.14.10
Choosing Norwegian Sun: A travel agent suggested this cruse. The Norwegian line was chosen because I made a down payment on a future cruise when I cruised Boston - Bermuda on Norwegian.
Choosing the cabin: I choose cabin 8277 as cabins at the aft part of the cruise ship tend to be larger. My brother traveled with me and I'm left with the planning.
When reservations were made: The cruise was scheduled for 1.31.10 - 2.14.10. Reservations were made in Jan. 2009. What I wanted to know about the Norwegian Sun: I found what I wanted to know about the Sun from cruise critic and other sites. Cabin 8277 This is a suite cabin and when I saw the cabin I was disappointed as it was small and cramped compared to what I had seen on the internet. The bathroom was large and quite spacious. The verandah was spacious enough, but overall, the cabin is small. I roomed with my brother and told the steward that we are close but not that close. He replied saying that if he made the bed More into singles, we would not be able to open the closet nor the bathroom via the bedroom. So Bob slept on the couch and I slept in the bedroom. Bob thought the room was adequate and had enough closet space. I also thought there was enough closet space. However this was for two people. For four, I doubt highly there would be enough space. Other cruisers who did not have a suite felt their cabin space was small. There was another problem. In order for my brother and I to have separate beds, my brother had to sleep on the couch and I the bedroom, which was ok but this made the living room inaccessible.
Embarkation For us this went rather smooth as my brother was in a wheelchair and we went to the head of the line. There was a line however; I have often asked myself why show up noon when you can avoid the line and board at a later time. When we registered, they took our passports for customs in Argentina, Falklands and Chile. The clerk then took us to the IL Adagio Restaurant, I queried why, the response was that we had a suite and only suite guests get to eat breakfast and lunch in IL Adagio. I learned later that the food in IL Adagio is a step or two above that in other restaurants. There are other perks such as having your passport delivered to you instead of picking it up; in short, you have a concierge waiting on you hand and foot. Both Bob and I were happy with the suite status provided.
Our Concierge Karin This was said by other cc members and we totally agree. Karin is a hard worker, is always there to meet your needs and gives you a phone number for contact purposes. She provides more than good will and I doubt she is paid enough.
Value A member of the roll call said that she compared prices between RCCL, HAL, NCL and found NCL to be the best bargain.
Entertainment: 1. The 2nd night Monday (2.1.2010) NCL Sun had Tara Whittaker, a Canadian flautist who entertains people around the globe. She was very talented. 2. The 3rd night Tuesday (2.2.2010) was Showtime: Que Noche with the Jean Ann Ryan Dance Co. They were also talented. 3. The 4th night Wednesday (2.3.2010) was Cuban born pianist Juan Pablo Subirana who said he came to America by sitting on top of his piano and paddling it to Miami. 4. The 5th night Thursday (2.4.2010) was singer, pianist, dancer Elvy Rose. She used audience participation very well to her act. 5. The 6th night Friday (2.5.2010) was Anibal and Gaucho del Plata. He is a gaucho and used audience participation well in his act. 6. The 7th night Saturday(2.6.2010) was the dance couple of Andre & Francine. They were great; got my picture taken with both of them. 7. The 8th night Sunday(2.7.2010) was the Jean Ann Ryan Co. production of "Cirque Pan" a takeoff of the Peter Pan novel. 8. The 9th night Monday(2.8.2010) was the magic of Basilio & Daniela. They used audience participation quite well. We had dinner with a person who thinks the entertainment on this cruise could be better. There was an International Carnival Party at 10:30pm in the atrium with Latin Music however I was too tired; had trouble keeping awake during the entertainment - it was a long day. 9. The 10th night Tuesday (2.9.2010) was the instrumentalist Radim Zenkle, playing flute and mandolin. He received his greatest applause when he played a classical piece. The audience went wild and gave him a standing ovation. 10. The 11th night Wednesday (2.10.2010) was Andre & Francine from the 7th night and Elvy Rose from the 5th night putting on a duo performance. The 1st show resulted in a standing ovation while the 2nd did not. Elvy used audience participation. 11. The 12th night Thursday (2.11.2010) was Gauchos del Plata and the magic of Basilio and Daniela. Both acts were good Â½ hr performances each and audience participation for both acts was involved. 12. The 13th night Friday (2.12.2010) was the Jean Ann Ryan Company production of "Encore" which showcased recent hits of the Broadway stage; nice performance. At the end of the show the officers, staff and crew of the Norwegian Sun. 13. The 14th night Saturday (2.13.2010) at 7:30pm was the international NCL Sun crew talent show with audience participation. The audience really enjoyed this. At 9:30pm Radim Zenkl entertained us with several flutes and mandolin. He received a standing ovation. It seems the best was saved for last. It appeared the Sun saved the best for last.
Tours: 1. In Montevideo, Uruguay we took a private city tour, total cost about $100 for two people US. The only drawback was that the temperature was well over 90 and humid; not the best conditions for sightseeing. 2. In Puerto Madryn, we took an NCL tour called Peninsula Valdes Wildlife Sanctuary. We viewed penguins, walruses and elephant seals. This was sort of disappointing probably because we got to view the wildlife from a distance plus we had bus problems thus getting a late start. The good part of this was that it included a box lunch and killed the day; in addition we got to see the countryside as well as wildlife. 3. In Stanley, Falkland Islands an NCL tour called The Lagoon Bluff (cost $189) where we saw penguins. This is a tender port and The Jetty Visitor Center is within walking distance of where the tender docks. Relatively inexpensive tours are available at the center. Best to check the message boards and ask for advice on the Falkland Islands. 4. In Ushuaia, the city at the end of the world, we took an NCL tour Tierra del Fuego National Park. It was a nice tour and the tour guide explained the 4 hour trip very well. At the end of the dock private tour agencies are about a 4 block walk and you might get a less expensive tour. Bear in mind that the ship arrived a 7am, left at 2pm, and with such short a time, you might do better taking an NCL tour. 5. In Punta Arenas we took an NCL tour Punta Arenas & Ft Bulnes. It was very informative. We visited 2 museums, had a panoramic view of the city, saw the central square, went to a sheep sharing farm, had a lamb dinner with rolls, salad, potatoes, coffee and desert. The tender takes you to Chilian customs where a friend told me the internet connection was about $1 for 1 hour, the connect speed is slow, but the price was right. Local tours are available where the tender leaves you off. It seems that where ever we stopped in public areas, sweater goods were for sale. 6. In Puerto Chacabuco we took a private tour of Puerto Chacabuco with other members of the roll call; cost was $70 US. We saw mountains, waterfalls, various animals, valleys, to name a few. A stop was made for lunch; lamb, salad, potato, pastry, wine, bottled water, entertainment. Taxi's were asking $140 though I do not know what was included; other tours where the tender dropped us off were also available. 7. In Puerto Montt we took another private tour called Puerto Montt with members of the roll call. The tour was through GV Tours, email email@example.com, www.gvtours.com. The tour started in Puerto Montt, stopped in Lake Llanquihue with volcano Osorno in the background, Puerto Varas the Rose City, Ensenada where we had a lunch of beef or fish, salad, bread and vegetables, Petrohue for a view of the rapids, ending at Puerto Montt; total cost $90 including lunch. The whole van, about 20 people, highly recommends them. Please note that within walking distance of where the tender drops you off are other tours or you can choose or you canwalk the city. This was the best tour of the trip. 8. When we docked in Valpariso, 10 from the roll call went on a private tour of Valpariso and Santiago with the Van Man. The tour included Valpariso, Emiliana Winery and Santiago. Our tour guide was Alwin Schuler email firstname.lastname@example.org. The tour lasted about 9 hours, cost $105 US, was well worth the price; Alwin gave a very informative commentary and dropped us off at our hotels in Santiago or the airport and helped us with our luggage at the hotel.
Restaurants: For this sold out cruise these following restaurants along with their hours: 1. Early Riser - coffee and danish - deck 11 aft...............5:30-6:30am 2. Garden Cafe, breadfast, Deck 11, Aft............................6:00-10:30am, 5:30-9:30pm, 10 -11:30pm 3. Seven Seas, breakfast, lunch, dinner, Deck 11, aft.....7:00-9:00am,12:00-1:30pm, 6:00 -10:30pm 4. Great Outdoor, Deck 11, aft...........................................6:30-11:00am, 2:30-5:00pm 5. Pacific Heights, Deck 11, Aft, Pasta & Pizza..................12:00-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm 6. Four Seasons, Deck 5, Mid................................................5:30 - 9:30pm 7. Steakhouse, Deck 12, Aft, cover charge.......................5:30-10:30pm 8. Ginza Sushi Bar, deck 12, aft, cover charge..................5:30-10:30pm 9. Teppanyaki, deck 12, aft, cover charge........................5:30pm, 7:30pm, 9:30pm 10. Il Adagio, deck 5, mid, cover charge.............................5:30-10:30pm 11. Le Bistro, deck 12, aft, cover charge.............................5:30-10:30pm 12. Las Rambas, Tapas, Nachos, deck 12, aft.....................5:30-9:30pm 13. Ice Cream, deck 11, aft....................................................12:00-9:30pm 14. Sports Bar, deck 11, aft....................................................5:30pm-5:30am 15. Room Service.....................................................................always open *note that hours vary depending if you are at sea or in port ** il Adagio is reserved for suite members during breakfast and lunch *** Four Seasons Main Restaurant is open for breakfast but only to balcony and above passengers.
Dress Code: This cruise was 14 days and there were 4 formal nights. A jacket and tie were not required. I dressed in jeans all 13 nights. In the Garden Cafe, shorts were acceptable. Seven Seas' was the only restaurant that would not accept jeans on formal night and even then the rule was not enforced. Even in IL Adagio the dress code was not enforced. I was surprised to find the number of men dressed in jackets and ties. My brother said that had he known that a jacket was not required he would not have brought one. He packed a jacket but never wore it.
Food and Sanitation: I liked the food but Bob did not think it was as good as HAL. In the il Adagio restaurant where we ate breakfast and lunch, for example, the only item on the menu that changed was soup for lunch. And they soup was delicious. I will not go into detail, but there was something about the food that did not agree with Bob and me. It seems that washing the hands just did not do the trick.
Service Service in the restaurants was excellent but NCL could have used more stewards. At the Garden Cafe, for example, the Sun spread themselves too thin by having stewards spray your hands with disinfectant at the entrance to the restaurant, another steward sprayed your hands when you picked up your dish and silverware, at the buffet instead of helping yourself stewards were there to help you. You can only spread yourself so much. Regardless of where you ate you got to see the 7:30 show but in Seven Seas and Four Season you had to begin eating at 5:30pm. Service in the cabin could not have been better. However most of the guests decided to eat around 8pm or later, a blessing for Bob and I as we like to dine early. If one wanted quicker service they went to the Garden Cafe. I particularly liked the slow service. We could count on any meal taking about least 2 hours especially lunch. I came on the cruise to relax and eating slowly is one way. As one entertainer said "you are not going anywhere"?.
The Last Season for NCL Rounding Cape Horn? We had a meet and greet for members of the roll call and several people said that this is the last season NCL will be doing the Cape Horn cruise. Several crew members confirmed this. Instead the Sun will cruise the Caribbean and Baltic in 2011.
Day 1 - 1.31.10 Sunday - Buenos Aires to Montevideo When we got aboard the NCL Sun and registered, the clerk took us to another clerk who was in the IL Adagio Restaurant. I questioned this and was told that the il Adagio is reserved for suite guests for breakfast and lunch. The concierge urged us to eat there as the restaurant was about to close. Later I went to the Seven Seas Restaurant for salad, salmon, desert, coffee and 2 hours later went back with Bob and had the same thing. The ship is sold out for this cruise; the restaurants are not crowded as guests are getting used to the ship. Life jackets were not required for the drill, which was even more boring as this was done was done in 4 languages.
Day 2 - 2.1.10 Monday - Montevideo, Uruguay - docked 7am-4:30pm Today we went on a city tour that included wine tasting at Seguin Moreau Vineyards. The tour was very interesting but the weather was hot, too hot for touring. Even our tour guide said that this week has been incredibly warm and unusual for Montevideo. Could this be an omen of weather to come? Back at the NCL Sun, Bob & I had lunch at the IL Adagio Restaurant. I then returned to the cabin to get the meet and greet reminders, went to the front desk and asked them if they would give me room numbers for the 5 people I had names only. The front desk said they would deliver all the invitations I had. I reminded them of the invitations they sent to the officers yesterday. There was a comment in Cruise Critic that said NCL Sun charges $1.30 US each for delivery and I was ready to deliver them myself deck by deck. Bob & I ate at the Seven Seas Restaurant; tonight's entertainment was Tara Whittaker on the flute. She started playing at 13 and entertains audiences around the globe.
Day 3 - 2.2.10 Tuesday - At Sea This was a relaxing day. I got up at 5:10am then went back to bed waking again at 6:45am for breakfast. I walked to IL Adagio Restaurant and had a nice breakfast. I thought Bob would show up but he went to Seven Seas instead. Then I made reservations for tonight at the East Meets West Steakhouse on deck 12 at 6:00pm. I then went back to the cabin to get ready for the day and went to the Observation on deck 12 port for the meet and greet. I had time to kill and wanted to see where the Steakhouse was. I ran into Arlene & Jerry Zaldo and Susan & Marv Goldberg; we chatted for awhile. I finally found the Steakhouse and went back to the Observation for the meet and greet. It turned out to be a success, one person said it was the best meet and greet she has ever been to. When I first got aboard the Sun on Sunday, I sent invitations to some of the Officers; Monday night invitations were delivered to the cruisers courtesy NCL Sun. Some of the Officers came and Calvin the Hotel Director gave a short welcoming talk and ended up answering questions, more than he anticipated (he said). But it was very nice meeting people you see on the roll call daily but know them by their id only. As far as I am concerned, this is where the NCL Sun excelled. Everyone thanked me for putting it together; but Ed Morris made the arrangements with NCL, I only maintained the list. Planning is one thing; the meet and greet would not have been a success without people showing up. We must have had one heck of an active roll call. Bob and I then went to IL Adagio for lunch, but the menu was the same as yesterday and Bob wants to try someplace else. Shorts are allowed in the upstairs dining areas, but down stairs and in specialty restaurants, long pants are required, at least that is what we were told. We went to the East Meets West Steak House. Next the entertainment for tonight which was Que Noche by the Jean Ann Ryan Company. I went the Sports Lounge for a late night snack at 2am.
Day 4 - 2.3.10 Wednesday - Puerto Madryn, Argentina - dock 9am-6pm We took an NCL tour called Peninsula Valdes Wildlife Sanctuary and saw penguins, walruses, elephant seals. Bus #1 broke replaced by bus #2 which also broke down. At the rest stop we changed to bus #3 for the duration of the trip and ended back at the Sun at 6pm. For supper we ate at the Four Seasons. Entertainment tonight was Juan Pablo Subirana on the piano.
Day 5 - 2.4.10 Thursday - At Sea Today we are at sea, cruising from Puerto Madryn to Stanley, Falkland Islands. The ship was rocking and rolling last night, probably some passengers got sea sick. Today is sunny but the ride is not any better. I thought I would have difficulty in taking a shower this morning but did not; even managed to use my blade while shaving. The boat went thru some rough waters and passengers had to hold handrails to steady themselves. I went to the internet cafe, set up my laptop until 11:30am when I met Bob in IL Adagio for lunch. I like that restaurant because for lunch they have colossal shrimp, not the baby ones served in the other restaurants. For supper this evening, Bob and I went to the French Restaurant Le Bistro. Bob ordered salmon and I rack of lamb. The food in the Bistro was much better than in the East West on 2.2.2010 - no comparison. Entertainment tonight was Elvy Rose, very good with audience participation
Day 6 - 2.5.10 Friday - Port Stanley, Falkland Islands - tender - 9am-4pm The concierge Karen gave us a VIP tender coupon. This is for all suite cabins; when in a tender port, you do not have to wait in line to go ashore. Go to the head of the line if a tender is available. That is what Bob and I did. However, once ashore we still had about a 1hr wait for our tour to begin. The NCL tour was to Lagoon Bluff or more accurately Bluff Cove Lagoon where we saw Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins. A 12 passenger van took us part of the way where we transferred to 4 wheel Land Rover's that took us from the road to grassland to seashore. The road was very rocky; about the only consolation was that the driver has been doing this for 16 years. Once we saw the penguins we then went to a cafe where we had free coffee and pastry. Tonight Bob and I ate at Pacific Heights restaurant. The food was not bad; for entertainment tonight was Gauchos del Plata.
Day 7 - 2.6.10 Saturday - Cape Horn cruising Today is a day at sea. I went to the spa, took a shower, then used the steam room, showered, used the sauna, showered, got ready for the day, went back to the cabin and napped for an hour. Tara Whittaker is playing again at 2:45pm this afternoon, but I had a message scheduled and used the sauna and steam rooms to relax my muscles prior to the message. Tonight was entertainment by the dance couple of Andre and Francine. It was very good.
Day 8 - 2.7.10 Sunday - Ushuaia, Argentina and Beagle Channel cruising-dock-7am-2pm Today we had a 4hr tour thru NCL of the Tierra del Fuego national park. The tour guide was very informative and I was amazed at her learning 4 hours of talk. Bob and I got back in time to have lunch at IL Adagio. It was very nice, but then again you can only eat there if you have a suite so you are paying for it. I went back to my cabin and took pictures of our going thru Beagle Channel seeing the Holanda, Italia, Francia, Alemania, and Romanche Glaciers. For supper Bob and I ate a Four Seasons. Then I went to both shows of the Jean Ann Ryan Co. "Cirque Pan" a takeoff of the Peter Pan novel.
Day 9 - 2.8.10 Monday - Punta Arenas, Chile - tender 7:30am-7:30pm We took an NCL tour Punta Arenas & Ft. Bulnes. It was very informative. We visited 2 museums, had a panoramic view of the city, visited the central square, saw sheep sharing at a ranch, had a lamb dinner with salad, rolls, potatoes, coffee, dessert. Bob & I had supper with some members of the roll call. Later I saw the Magic of Basilio & Daniela. We visited a port yesterday and today, quite a few of us feel a port every day is too much & we are looking forward to the next few days at sea. One person at supper tonight said she is not getting up for breakfast tomorrow.
Day 10 - 2.9.10 Tuesday - Strait of Magellan cruising I woke up at 7:30, went to the spa to use the sauna and steam room then had my seaweed treatment that lasted 2 hours. Lunch was at IL Adagio with 2 servings of shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, lentil soup, salmon salad, carrot cake, coffee. Arlene from the roll call called me and asked if I would go to her cabin to pick up the tickets for our tour Thursday. Tonight Bob and I had supper again at the Four Season's. Entertainment was the instrumentalist Radim Zenkle who was fantastic, the audience gave him a standing ovation. At 10:30pm there was the Liar's Club which was very funny and entertaining. I went to Dazzles Disco to listen to the dance music of Sol Play. From 10:30-11:30 in the Four Season's they had a Chocoholic Buffet; I got in at the very end.
Day 11 - 2.10.10 Wednesday - Chilean Fjords, Patagonic Channels, Canal Moraleda - cruising - Sea Conditions very rough - force 7 winds, 48 degrees We ate at il Adagio for breakfast and lunch. At 10am there was a Free Masons informal gathering at 9am, 5 people showed up, Canada, USA and England were represented. I asked our concierge Karin if the food in IL Adagio was a step above the other restaurants and she said it was. The shrimp for lunch is colossal. I ate supper at Teppanyaki for supper. This is a Japanese restaurant where the food is prepared in front of you. It was excellent; lobster tail, shrimp, vegetables, filet mignon; you can mix and match. Entertainment tonight was Elvy Rose and the dance duo of Andre & Francine. They have been teaching tango at various places on the ship and picked a 2 students (1 for each show at 7:30 & 9:30pm) from the audience to dance with Andre. Both students did an excellent job. The 7:30pm show resulted in a standing ovation while the 9:30pm show did not.
Day 12 - 2.11.10 Thursday - Puerto Chacabuco, Chile- wind force 5 -tender-7am-2pm Today we took a private tour of Puerto Chacabuco with other members of the roll call; cost was $70 US. We saw mountains, waterfalls, various animals, valleys, to name a few. A stop was made for lunch; lamb, salad, potato, pastry, wine, bottled water, entertainment. Taxi's were asking $140 though I do not know what that included; other tours where the tender dropped us off were also available. I got back in time to eat at IL Adagio, even though I had just eaten; had 2 colossal shrimp cocktails, crab cakes, bean soup, salad with tangerines. Tonight I dined at the Four Seasons, nothing special about that place. Entertainment at 7:30 and 9:30 was Gauchos Del Plata and the magic of Basilio and Daniela. Audience participation for both was involved. At the Garden Cafe about 10:45 I had various fruits then went to the Galleria Tax and Duty Free shops where there was a $10 sale for today only; back by popular demand the Freestyle Daily said. I went to look only, the room was small and filled with what could be considered junk.
Day 13 - 2.12.10 Friday - Puerto Montt, Chile smooth wavelets 57 degrees - tender - 8am-6pm Bob and I ate at the Garden Cafe as we had to be at Dazzels Disco to meet with other roll call members for a private tour of Puerto Montt which cost $90. The Garden Cafe is buffet style and a quick way to eat but there is not much variety. As a matter of fact the food on the NCL Sun is just adequate. Many people I spoke to prefer other lines such as HAL (more expensive but worth the extra dollars), RCCL (which is supposed to have great daily activities) to name a few. The tour of Puerto Montt stopped at Llanquihue for a view of the active volcano Osorno, the German city of Frutillar, Puerto Varas, Ensenada where we stopped for lunch of salmon or beef, salad, vegetables, rolls, dessert. Then to Petrohue to view the rapids, back to Puerto Montt. This was the best tour of all. The tour guide was the 21 year old daughter of the owner and is going to the states for college. I wanted to try Las Ramblas and stopped there at 5:30pm but they serve appetizers only and it really was not filling. So I went down to deck 5 to IL Adagio for supper and explained that I did not have reservations. They took me and I do not know if it was because the restaurant was empty or because I was a suite guest. The food was ok for $10 but not worth the extra price. Then the 9:30pm show of the Jean Ann Ryan Company production of Encore, up to the Garden Cafe for a snack and down to the reservation desk for a copy of my bill to date.
Day 14 - 2.13.10 Saturday - At Sea Bob and I had breakfast at IL Adagio then I went back to the cabin to pack my checked baggage as it had to be ready by midnight.. The carry-on bag was left to be packed later that evening. We had another meet and greet of the roll call, about 20 people showed up, it is nice meeting the faces behind the names like traveling granny. I met Bob at Las Ramblas for soup and sandwich, Bob said the soup was spicy so I did not have any. Afterwards we ate at IL Adagio for lunch where I had 2 helpings of colossal shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, salad, sweet and sour soup. Then back to the cabin for a 1 hr nap. For supper I dined at the Teppanyaki and ordered lobster, shrimp, filet mignon. This was the 2nd visit and well worth the $25. Entertainment was the international sun crew talent show at 7:30pm with people from the audience participating; the audience loved it. At 9:30pm Radim Zenkl entertained us with flutes and mandolin. He received a standing ovation.
Day 15 - 2.14.10 Sunday - Santiago, Chile and begin of post cruise I had breakfast in IL Adagio with Marv Schlenger from the roll call. When I got back to the cabin I saw Bob left a note saying he would meet me in Four Seasons. That is another perk suite passengers get, VIP disembarkment. The VIP's were one of the first to disembark yet Bob and I were on a private tour and had to wait for the other 8 passengers. Our tour included Valpariso, Emiliana Winery, Santiago and we were dropped off at our hotels in Santiago or the airport. The Hotel Orly is recommended by Fodor and really is not bad for a few nights. The hotel is in a good location, has a restaurant or you can eat in nearby restaurants, includes free breakfast and internet at the hotel. Less
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Cabin review: SE8277
We had suite 8277 which my brother and I found to have adequate space for two people. But this cabin sleeps 4 and I doubt there is enough closet space for 4. Drawer space is adequate though. I found the bathroom space to be more than adequate. There is a bath, shower, toilet. However there is only 1 wash basin and all the lights must be turned on; you can not light just one. We had a problem. The agent did not warn us of this. I requested separate beds and when I got to the cabin I saw one bed. I mentioned this to the steward; he replied that he could separate the beds but in doing so we would not have access to the closet or 1 entrance to the bathroom (there are 2 entrances to the bathroom). So my brother slept in the living room while I slept in the bedroom.