December 08, 2017

Day 15 – Castries, St Lucia

Our passage last night was smoother than the past several days, I would hope that the passengers susceptible to motion sickness feel better. The temperatures are expected to be in the low 80's and there is a 75% probability of rain according to the internet weather forecast, but according to the "Cruise Compass" the weather is forecast to be cloudy with no mention of rain. Is the Cruise Director just exhibiting wishful thinking?

The Oceania MS Riviera is sharing the port with us today. In comparison she is much newer, 25% smaller, carries half the passengers, and almost the same number of crew.

Today the water taxis are running. Last week they were nowhere to be found. The ship is pretty empty, I elect to stay on board today. A trip to the gym, and if I can believe their scales, my avoidance of the dining room is working very well.

A number of passengers are on a campaign to get Royal to stock diet tonic. I am one. A Pinnacle member, Miss Katie, packs a case of bottles with her and puts a bottle in her purse when she comes to the Concierge lounge so she can have her vodka and diet tonic. Of course this has made her luggage overweight for the airlines more than once, and gets her luggage set aside and not delivered to her cabin. As she explains it, "I get called to the naughty room to claim my luggage". Needless to say she is not a happy camper with this issue.

Most other cruise lines stock diet tonic but Royal hasn't. Yesterday in a conversation with the food and beverage manager I was told he would ask Miami as he gets this request frequently. Maybe there is hope. Incidentally the F&B manager was the first officer I have seen visit the Concierge Lounge since I have been here. On many ships several different officers will visit each night, just to keep in touch with customers.

There are several drills for the crew today. All watertight doors are tested. A bomb search is conducted. Several areas of the ship were evacuated, and there is an exercise in directing passengers to the lifeboats and loading them. Of course passengers don't participate, just the crew.

Before the end of the drill a heavy downpour passes, lasting about 20 minutes. Some of the crew couldn't avoid getting soaked. When the captain dismisses the crew he tells them to enjoy the rest of the day in "sunny St Lucia". I see his humor, but I'm not sure about all the wet crew members.

Later in the afternoon there are a number of local officials, and one canine, taking advantage of a free meal in the Windjammer. It is a common practice that occurs in many ports.

There are a number of amenities I get because I am an high level Diamond Plus customer with Royal Caribbean. A few of them I can select from a list, others are at the discretion of the ship. When I was on the Vision I changed my selection from a beach towel to six cans of Sprite Zero because I was concerned about room in my suitcase traveling home. On these two cruises I was given not only the Sprite Zero, but also 4 beach towels. Why I don't know, maybe they just want to get rid of them. I'll make them fit as my youngest daughter, Alyssa, has use for them. The Sprite Zero might be left for my cabin attendant, Junior.

Overnight more Christmas decorations were added. A ginger bread village and tree at the entrance to the Schooner Bar. Lots of candy canes and gumdrops make the ground cover, and of course the buildings are all ginger bread and icing. A masterpiece from the galley. A blow up Santa is poised at the ships wheel. Just don't tell the kids how much candy is there, it will disappear.

Live plants were also added, not fresh flowers like Holland America does, but about a dozen potted poinsettias placed around the ship.

By early afternoon the frequent passing showers turned into a pretty steady rain. A warm rain, and I assume a clean rain, but a wet rain none the less. Most passengers are dripping by the time they make it back to the ship.

Just as we are about to leave port there is a bright rainbow that appears to come right down to the deck of the ship. Of course – no camera.

Appetizers in the Concierge lounge suffices as dinner. The show tonight, at 6:30 in the main theater, is Billy Prudhomme a combination comedian and juggler. The show was very enjoyable. After the show I book an excursion for tomorrow in Barbados, hopefully it won't rain.

We are headed in an east south easterly direction at about 9 knots. The ship is rolling and pitching about the same as last night. About a 3 degree roll and a 1 degree pitch. Some of you may remember that 20 months ago on the Amsterdam I devised a simple way to measure the pitch and roll. Subsequently I learned there is an app in my phone that will measure it directly. How technology is improving our lives.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to arrive in Barbados about 8:00 AM.