As usual I sleep very well. The cabin is very quiet, the AC works properly, and the image for the virtual balcony is basiclly a black screen throughout the night.
In the morning I meet my room steward, Winton. He informs me that none of the virtual balcony work and he will call maintenance about the sewer gas. Fair enough. The Park Cafe is so close, that will be my first choice for breakfast if possible. I win, there are hardly any guests here.
The seas remain virtually flat, with any waves under one meter, no where near enough to rock this behemouth of a ship. The temperatures start the day in the low 70's and are expected to rise to about 75. Under mostly sunny skies the pool decks quickly fill with passengers.
The Cruise Critic meet and Mingle was poorly attended. Over 150 had signed up, but there were only about 25 in attendance. None of the officers made an appearance, but nearly everyone won something in the drawing for door prizes.
The ship is properly decorated for Christmas. The theme this year is white lights, the 30 foot tree is adorned with thousands. Large balls of white lights hang from the promenade ceiling.
The galley staff had been busy creating a number of ginger bread houses, the largest over three feet tall.
The gardeners have contributed dozens of potted poinsetta plants strategically located around the ship.
Many of the staff wear Santa Hats in recognition of the season.
There is a small wedding in Dazzles, small by the number af attendees, not by the extravagence of the brides dresss. Definitely one of the most elegant I have ever seen.
The Attic is opened for the overflow crowd for the Diamond lounge, but nobody knows about it. No signs, no verbal communication when you can't get in the door at the Diamond lounge. Only if you venture into the Attic are you then asked for your sea pass card and learn that it is being used for overflow. The bartender tells us that this will be the case for the rest of the cruise.
I attend my first ice show at 7:30, imeadiately after which I head towrds the Aqua Theater. Standby guests are being admitted, and I actually find a better seat than the previous night when I had reservations.
I head to the cabin for the evening. Now I don't even have a remote for the virtual balcony. I guess if I don't have one, I can't say it doesn't work. The sewer gas odor is better, but not gone. Or maybe I am becoming accustomed to it.
Another good nights sleep. The seas remain incapably of rocking the ship at all. We continue in a southeasterly direction toward St Marten.
On the second sea day I have a very busy (for me anyway) schedule. At 9:30 I have a galley tour. With only about 15 guests in attendance, and one of the most articulate staff members as our tour guide it was good. Each of the three main dining rooms has its own galley. Only the bakery serves the entire ship from the galley on deck four. Eight tons of flour turned into bakery items each week. Much of the process has become automated, much more so than on the older ships.
Immediately after the galley tour it is time for the Crown and Anchor top tier party in the Aqua Theater. 15 PInnacle, 203 Diamond Plus and 422 Diamonds are on the ship. Many of the officers are introduced, the top cruisers recognized, and about 20 minutes of entertainment provided by the divers.
I said earlier that I wouldn't go to the dining room this week, well I have to take that back as I decide to partake in a "meal with an Officer" a perk of being a frequent cruiser. The conversation with Karina, the Loyalty Ambasador and Ante an electrical systems engineer was enjoyable. The steak was overcooked, and the mousse desert almost inedible. Being a special occasion, our waiter only had one table to take care of so the service was good.
Tonight I have reservations for one of the headliner acts, a ventriloquist. The theater fills a half hour before showtime. A comedian as much as a ventriloquist he is good. Another example of one of the advantages of the megaships, they have a larger budget for the entertainment.
Tomorrow we arrive at our first port, St Marten. I plan to make a visit to the Lazy Lizzard and visit Nick.