October 06, 2017

Day 2 at Sea headed to Portland, ME.

I sleep like a rock, no not because I'm stoned, but because yesterday was a long day. If fact I only had one drink during happy hour last night, but being up since 4 AM made a long day.

I wake up a little after 8:00. The skies are clear, the temperature brisk at about 60, and the seas still under 6 feet. There is a little motion to the ship, but very little. The Windjammer buffet is very busy, but I am able to find a table without difficulty. I hear we have just under 2000 passengers. I doubt there are many under 60, and no more than three or four under 25. Definitely an older manifest of passengers, An older group than on my world cruise last year where I had anticipated a more mature crowd.

My cabin is very quiet and so far free of any harmonics coming from the engines or propulsion system. The AC works very well, in fact I have turned the T'stat up twice toward maximum "warm", but in no way will risk an inquiry to maintenance to make the room warmer. Such requests tend to produce extreme results and I certainly don't want to risk losing the AC entirely.

I have a couple of medicines that should be refrigerated for long term storage so I take a trip to the medical facility to have them stored for me. A convenient service that I have found on every ship when needed. They refuse, instructing me instead to order a refrigerator from house keeping. Another profit generating revenue channel? I ponder the options and decide to just ask my room steward to keep my ice bucket full for the entire journey. He just joined the ship yesterday and will be my steward for the entire voyage. I am very confident he will take care of me. While adequate, cabin room is at a premium and I just don't want to be fighting a portable refrigerator for 5 weeks. Additionally there is only one electrical outlet in the cabin, and there are just too many things to keep charged.

At 10 AM there is a gathering of all the "Cruise Critic" attendees that registered on line before the cruise. Hosted by the CD (cruise director) and AM (activities manager) they have a drawing for about 25 items ranging from Royal hats and tee-shirts to several bottles of wine. I am now the proud owner of another RC key chain, several zipper pulls, and a RC ball cap. The AD is new, this being her first cruise as an AD. She is from Brazil and has the perfect hyper active bubbly personality. Our CD, Chris, is from South Hampton, and I plan to talk with him later as I will be in South Hampton next fall.

When I return to my cabin, there is a note from the dining room Maitre d' informing me of my new table assignment for early dining. Being a good customer does have some benefits.

My bed is piled with four RC towels, gifts for being a frequent cruiser, a robe to wear to the pool, and nine, yes nine containers of shampoo and conditioner. He must have been compelled to bring so many after he saw my long hair! There is also a plate of chocolate covered strawberries which I will make suffice as lunch. They are sooo good.

Yesterday I was greeted in my cabin by the usual plate of cookies, bottles of water, and cans of sprite zero.

Only three or four people are in the Solarium pool, the main pool remains completely empty except for the ever present life guard standing near the edge. Life guards are relatively new for Royal, probably added as the result of a tragic accident where an unsupervised child drowned several years ago.

Tonight is a formal night, one of seven scheduled over the next 5 weeks, and I am planning on going to the dining room. The first show in the theater is at 8:30. I have heard from several passengers that were here on the last cruise that the theater is packed long before the shows start. This doesn't surprise me based on the fact this is an older crowd and the shows are starting later in the evening than they did several years ago. Guests go to the early show or just don't go.

Tomorrow my excursion to Mt Washington leaves the ship at 7:15. definitely an alarm clock morning. Mt Washington, New Hampshire is a several hour bus ride from the pier and then I will be taking the cog railway train to the top of the mountain. For those of you that don't pay attention to such things, Mt Washington is often one of the coldest places in North America. I will let you know how cold tomorrow in a future blog. If the weather stays as predicted, in addition to a unique train ride I expect this to be my best viewing opportunity of the fall colors in New England.

For dinner I was seated with a lovely couple from Houston for early dinner in the main dining room. The food was excellent, however the service was on the slow side. According to the head waiter the galley wasn't prepared for the number of guests ordering beef tenderloin. She offered the explanation, none of us at our table asked or even mentioned the service. When we left it was after 8:00, and many others at larger tables were still dining.

After dinner I had a club soda at the schooner bar while listening to the pianist. Many guests were in the atrium having pictures with the captain, or trying to get into the dining room for the late seating which was delayed because the early seating took so long. Before 9:00 I retired to the room to finish this, set my alarm and get a good nights sleep.

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