December 16, 2017

Day 21 – At Sea

This is the last day before returning to Ft Lauderdale. The weather is sort of dreary. Mostly cloudy, temperature about 70, and it looks like rain. The seas are still calm.

Today I figured out what is wrong with the Internet service here on this ship, and actually probably all Royal Caribbean ships. The truth is nothing is wrong with it from Royal's perspective. They sell two different access packages. "Surf" and "Surf & Stream". Caring only about basic email, not really surfing the internet, and definitely not streaming any content, I purchase the "Surf" package. Of course Royal wishes that everyone purchase the more expensive package.

To help achieve this goal they restrict the total bandwidth allocated to purchasers of the "Surf" package. More than a few users, and performance tanks. All in an effort to push sales to the more expensive package. I was upgraded to the "Surf & Stream" package, and internet access is very acceptable.

Just as a note of interest I had to wait in line twice to talk to the person at the Internet desk. Everyone else was complaining about the same issue. Her stock answer was to buy the more expensive package, most passengers did without hesitation, I refused. After having to deflect a number of lame excuses like the problem was that my computer was too slow, and I must be using an outdated browser, I was begrudgingly upgraded at no additional charge to the "Surf & Stream" for my last 20 hours on the ship.

The cruise lines are getting as bad as the airlines with extra charges, soon they will be charging us for a shower, and have an extra charge if you want a meal. In a step ahead of the airlines they already have eliminated the peanuts at the bars.

Most travelers carry a lot of stuff that they don't plan to to use, but have just in case. This includes things like cough drops, band aids, safety pins, Tylenol, etc. One that I have been carrying for years, but haven't used for sewing until this trip is an emergency sewing kit. I needed to make a repair to one of my shoes. It worked, and will last until I get get to my cobbler, but I do have a suggestion to pass along if you carry one of the store bought emergency sewing kits. Invest in some quality needles instead of the cheap ones that come in the travel kits. Having never had to do any sewing at sea before, I was disappointed to find the eyes of two of the needles were closed with metal flash from poor manufacturing. I didn't expect a high quality needle, but I had expected basic functionality. I'll fix that before my next trip.

Royal sells Tee Shirts to raise funds for the World Wildlife Fund. On this ship the officers will even sign them if you wish. I'm very happy to report the sales were excellent, at least 200 passengers participated, and a gentleman a few steps ahead of me in the line bought 100 shirts! Yes, all signed. I bought several shirts but skipped the signatures.

This afternoon I have to pack. Much easier than before a trip, providing I have enough room for the extra shirts and towels I will return with. Though he is cute, I will leave the mouse behind.

We get an extra hour tonight as we need to turn our clocks back to Florida time. There is another Hanukkah service tonight and another Christmas Carol sing. I won't say I sang, but did voice some of the songs. The passengers wanted to sing more, but there is a schedule that has to be followed. Only a few passengers are staying on for the next cruise, there will be 40 diamond Plus passengers, and 6 Pinnacles, a fraction of the number here the last two cruises. There will be over 500 kids though, compared with about a dozen this time. School is out for Christmas vacation.

I turn my clock and watch back an hour, set the alarm for seven, and call it a night. Another cruise over except for the trip home.

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