January 27, 2017

Day 2 At Sea, Day 3 San Juan

The morning finds the skies mostly cloudy with a very strong wind. The temperature is in the low seventies and the humidity very high with periodic showers. The majority of the pool deck is closed, I suspect to keep towels, hats, and other apparel from blowing into the sea. Even in Central Park the wind is very strong. Access to most outside areas is closed off. Yes, the remainder of the public spaces are very crowded.

Despite the rough seas and strong winds, the ship exhibits very little roll or pitch, and the creaking and moaning is minimal. Add one for the advantages of the mega-ships.

I have discovered several issues in my cabin, and go to the front desk to have them taken care of. Unlike every other Royal Caribbean ship I have been on, there is no priority line for any guests. The wait is probably about 15 minutes. The 8 inch wide cabinet door beside the mirror is missing the screws in the top hinge and falls precariously when opened. The soap dish in the shower hangs at a 45 degree angle, too steep to hold a bar of soap, and the odor of sewer gas in the cabin is significant.

The soap dish is easily repaired, but after spending half an hour replacing the existing hinge part for part and screw for screw with a new one, the repairman announces it is fixed and leaves, I open the cabinet only to have the door fall off. When the same crew member returns a second time, he adds the missing screws which was all he really needed to do the first time when he chose to replace the entire hinge.

It is just day 2, but I am already painfully aware of the differences between this and smaller ships. I guess my memory has forgotten about my previous weeks on Oasis class ships, but I don't remember having to always wait for elevators, wait in line just to get in the Windjammer, or fight crowds to walk to the other end of the ship. These inconveniences are probably greatly accentuated by having spent almost four months on The Amsterdam, always with less than 1000 passengers instead of the 6000 pluss passengers that are on this ship.

Is "Cats" and the other entertainment worth it? I'll reserve judgment until it is time to book more cruises.

Tonight is formal night. I deliberately neglected to pack my suit. I expect I will be one of about 2000 passengers that don't "dress up" for formal night. Last night there was the usual showing of tee shirts, baseball caps, and cut off jeans in the dining room. I won't stoop that low, but the tie is at home.

Beef tenderloin is excellent tonight, the service acceptable. Again two seats at our table remain empty. Dinner is finished early enough to make a stop at the Diamond Lounge, but too late to try and catch the Aqua Show. It is much less crowded than earlier and there are a few available seats. One after dinner drink will suffice.

I catch about an hour at the Jazz club and head to the cabin to retire for the evening. I find the message light blinking on my phone. A call from the front desk checking to verify that the cabinet door has been fixed, and about 6 messages from unidentified kids playing with the phone. The first time in recent memory to have this happen.

In the morning there is a program for the Crown and Anchor members in the Aqua Theater. Some of the divers do a few high dives for us and we have the usual introduction of officers and staff. I learn there are about 450 diamond members, 125 Diamond Plus and 17 Pinnacle. No wonder the Diamond Lounge is too small. An interesting tidbit, Molly, the Future Cruise director on the Oasis, is the same Molly that for the past two years has recorded the future cruise program that is shown on all the Royal ships around the world.

By late morning the winds have dropped to 20 knots from the high of 35 knots yesterday. Temperatures are in the low 70's, the seas are a little calmer, and despite running at full throttle we are behind schedule to reach San Juan. Such is the life of cruise ships, we are always at the mercy of the weather and other things out of our control.

We finally reach port about 4:30 PM. The seas are now calm, and the winds slight at about 10 knots. We dock next to the Freedom, a great photo opportunity. In two weeks I will be back in San Juan on her and may just post the pictures then and leave everyone wondering how I was able to take them.

I am skipping the dining room tonight as I have reservations for the Aqua show at 7:00. (Most often the shows are scheduled very late, often past my bedtime.) I suspect many passengers will spend the evening on shore. The shops will be open until 7:00 or 8:00 and we are remaining in port until at least 11:00.

Dinner in the Windjammer is good, the tenderloin being as good or better than served in the dining room last night. The Aqua show is excellent, and I don't think has changed a bit since the last time I was here. Arriving 25 minutes before show time I got one of the last seats which actually was one of the best, 4 rows back, just past the splash zone, right in the center.

A little later I catch the headliner show in the main theater and then head back to the cabin.

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