December 14, 2018

San Juan

We quietly slip into port in San Juan. The skies are partly cloudy and the air temperature about 75 when we dock. Later the temperatures are expected to be 85.

We are the only ship here in the morning, another arrives before we leave. Our stop will be brief, all aboard is 1:30. Most other passengers get off the ship, I elect not to.

I have learned a few details that contribute to one of my biggest complaints about Royal, serving food warm that should be cold, and serving food cold that should be hot.  The way the large ship galley's are arranged is that everything comes off the one prep line, with waiters starting at one end and working to the other. On this ship some waiters tell me that it can often take 15 minutes to get through the line. I'm sure experience is a factor. The end result, odds are stacked against the guest getting hot food. On older and smaller ships, the galley was divided into different sections, and could be accessed by the staff much more quickly.

Another factor is that the staff is incentivised to reduce electrical consumption. No easier way to save than to keep the warming trays turned off, which they most often are.  Little attempt is made to keep food hot between the ovens and the guest's plate.

Several passengers have related that the food on Oceania is always first class. Much smaller ships, and a focus of fine dining for everyone. If that were a high priority for me I might be inclined to find out.

The automatic door to the lounge has developed a loud screech. Worse than fingernails on a chalkboard and much louder.  The blue coats have worked on it twice but haven't solved the problem. Lounge door issues seem to be following me on Royal. Some of you may be thinking my presence wears out the doors.

There are a number of passengers here that have also been on the Symphony. One of the biggest shortcomings here is the limited number of sinks when entering the Windjammer. Much better on the Symphony. There are other differences, generally seen as being improvements on the Symphony.

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Last night I caught the robot at the bionic bar making a drink!  No idea what it was, but definitely slower than even the most inexperienced human bartender. But it is fun to watch, once.

Along with all the other data that was lost, Royal also lost information about which "gifts" to give upper tier guests. As a result, so far I have four beach towels. You are welcome Alyssa. Yes I have been giving them to her.

This afternoon there is dixieland jazz being played on the boardwalk prior to people gathering for the afternoon aqua show. There are also several announcements looking for passengers that decided not to return to the ship. Whether found or left ashore I have no clue.

The aqua show this afternoon is different than the one I saw earlier in the week. Probably because of the breeze blowing on the stern of the ship it starts about half an hour late as I am sure cancellation was being considered. There is not an empty seat in the house. I miss the theater tour as a result, but that is OK, I have seen rhe backstage of more theaters than I have seen aqua shows. The cast is great, skilled, energetic, and always smiling, even if dripping wet. Ok, that was lame.

"Columbus the Musical" plays in the main theater this evening. The music is very loud, and much of the singing is uninteligible. I have learned from others that Royal is fianlly acknowledging that they play music too loud. Go to guest services and they will give you ear plugs.

An hour of Jazz in the "Jazz On 4" is much more enjoyable than the show in the theater. The Jazz club is a small venue, and is usually full each evening but not overcrowded. The musicians are all from Italy, but the leader speaks English, and as expected with a heavy accent. The vocalist hails from NYC.

A tidbit I forgot to share from the other night, Ronn Lucas had boarded the ship in Florida, and was leaving today in San Juan, headed to another ship. A process he will continue for the next several months before returning to his regular showroom in Las Vegas.

The seas remain mostly calm,  the skies partly cloudy at worst. The ship was rolling just  enough that you could see the water move back and forth in the aqua pool, but as a passenger the motion was imperceptable.

We will cruise at about 20 knots to our next destination, Royal's private island, Labadee, Haiti.  Our arrival is expected at 10:00 AM.