November 17, 2019

Fri Nov 15 Final Port

We arrive in Port Everglades a few minutes late. I guess the currents weren't as strong as the captain has estimated. The Celebrity Edge is across the harbor from us. I am scheduled to disembark at 8:20. when I arrive in the lounge to wait, I find it packed. No one is off the ship yet! Usually by now half of the passengrs are gone.

There is a problem getting any luggage off the ship. I don't know if it a mechanical problem, a customs inpection problem or a dock worker labor issue.  The end result is the same. No one is leaving.

Eventually the process starts. It takes me longer than usual to gather my luggage. First of all because I never had to find 4 suitcases before, and secondly the suitcase gorillas thought some of the nines were sixes and put two suitcases in the wrong location.

The next delay was waiting for a porter. The were in very limited supply, and the demand for them on this ship was probably higher than most because of the mature demographics of the passengers.

Getting thru customs was a breeze, probably my Global Entry and the fact I was using a porter saved me an hour.

No one else is waiting for the parking lot shuttle bus. Not many passengers left cars here so I give them a call. Within 15 minutes the bus arrives to pick up 3 passengers. He takes me directly to my car, and helps load the luggage in the back.

Now the big challenge is do I remember how to drive?

The driving is easy, but the GPS has failed again. Fortunately I have driven this route so many times I know it pretty much by heart. I get on the expressway and within 2 minutes the GPS decides to cooperate afterall.

A long drive home, a stop for food and the restroom along the way.

I unpack and start the first of two loads of wash and head to the grocery store for food. I left the icebox nearly empty. A little to my surprise, it now has some food in it. Food placed there by Alyssa in anticipation of her move in two weeks.

By bedtime all the unpacking is done, the clothes clean and hung in the closet. One must be ready, there may be a good cruise fare for a ship leaving this weekend. I'm ready.

Nov 14 - Sea Day

The seas subside as we progress towards Florida. We skirt the northern edge of Cuba as that is where the currents are most favorable for conserving fuel. The captain shares that by catching easterly currents they can turn off one engine and still maintain speed. Tons of fuel will be saved.

The skies are mostly sunny, but the temperatures are beginning to drop, and it is noticeablly cooler outside on deck and by the pools.

Guest talent show, guest singers, guest performance of "The Killer Dance". Do you see a pattern of how the passengers are being entertained? And Royal is keeping costs down.

This is packing day. I need to get extra luggage tags, I don't trust the gorillas with only one tag on the luggage, I always attach two. Guest services is busy with guests settling accounts and fixing account discrepencies.

I have been here for weeks, and on the last day I meet neighbors that live just North of me. Frequent cruisers that will make Pinnacle status level on their next cruise, as I did on this one, Irving and Linda are also both pilots. 

Last chance for dinner in the dining room, I pass and go to Park Cafe for a snack.

I expected to find the liquor I purchased when I returned to my cabin. Nowhere to be found, I was misinformed, I needed to go to the shops to pick it up. It was waiting for me on the counter when I arrived. 

Bruce and Sandi come in while I am there. The sales person shows them the distinctive bottle and laments the fact he has no more to sell. He offers a few samples to finish the last bottle of Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey in the store. We we happy to help.

With liquor in hand, I can now pack my last suitcase and get the needed ones out in the hall.

The alarm is set for 7:00, sadly tomorrow I need to leave and go home.

Nov 13 - George Town, Grand Cayman

By  10:30 most passengers have taken tenders to shore. The sytem works much more efficiently here than in Cabo San Lucas, primarily because the tenders are operated by the port, not the ship.

The weather is hot but ideal. No clouds, lots of sun and a light breeze. There is also a Holland America ship and a Carnival ship anchored nearby.

I go ashore for about an hour. Nothing needed to buy, nothing bought. I return to the ship and shower.

As we are about to leave, the captain makes an announcement about an outbreak of norovirus that is spreading on the ship. I wasn't aware except that I thought the cleaning efforts were more aggressive than usual.

One passenger reported that she was aware of the outbreak about two days out of San Pedro as it had struck people at most of the tables around her in the dining room.

Whether norovirus or something else, Bill didn't feel well and went to the medical facility yesterday. After a $1,000 bill he was advised to disembark in George Town and seek more advanced medical care. He ignored the advise.

Several times there were indications that some passengers missed the ship. Today the identity was confirmed of a person that did miss the ship in San Pedro.  Captain Mike was supposed to take command in San Pedro. For an unexplained reason, he didn't make it and boarded in Colon instead. So if you had any idea that the ship would wait for you, thing again. They didn't even wait for the captain.

The seas are about six feet as we leave port headed to Ft Lauderdale, Fl. There is a nice roll to the ship. Most passengers are fine, but there are those that are complaining.

Another comedian ventriloquist for entertainment. Not as good as most others I have seen.

Tomorrow is a sea day.

November 13, 2019

Dec 12 - At Sea

We leave Cartagena, Columbia and head North to George Town, Grand Cayman.

The seas are smooth and the clouds spotty. Periodically the near full moon peaks thru the clouds and provides a shimmering glow across the sea.

The day is filled with the usual activities plus some that only occur occasionally on longer cruises.

Volunteer crew members stage a show in the theater. Singers and musicans, the crew has lots of talent. The house is packed.

For nearly two weeks guests have been building contraptions to safely allow an egg to be dropped from deck 7 to the Centrum dance floor 40 feet below. 20 of the 25 entrants are successful. One entrant earns a bottle of bubbly for his excellent efforts.

My son would be proud to see the towel folding demonstration. Along with the turtles, elephants and swans was a roasted chicken, better known to my son as a dead chicken, a skill he mastered as a youngster and introduced to ship staff 30 years ago. OK Roasted chicken is probably a better name.

The battle of the pianos featured three of the piano players on the ship. One of the pianists played blindfolded. The same as last cruise, it was declared a tie. Actually, the audience won with an hour of top piano music.

The lounge is empty at 5:30 when the first seating in the dining room begins, but quickly becomes over crowded. Reynaldo is still the best bartender. Most of this trip I have been asking him to make me "baby" drinks. It has worked, the pours are normal not triple as he would do  on his own. I think it inappropriate to ask what he will do with all the $2 bills I have tipped him.  From my observation this group of passengers is good about tipping.  Last trip I observed a demanding guest  pretend to tip, but he put nothing in the tip jar. I can't say he didn't know better, only that he was cheap.

A few passengers have begun to pack. One couple, having been on the ship sice before she left Barcelona, is particularly concerned since they bought stuff in nearly every port. They will probably buy additional luggage in George Town

It is lobster, and formal night. I am talked into joining others in the dining room. Cheese tortellini for an appetizer and prime rib for the main course. The dining room manager and the head waiters were very pleased to see me. Despite assurances to the contrary, when a guest doesn't go to the dining room they assume it is because of them.  Yes, I was offered real apple pie for dessert.

Not all passengers were happy. They did not have enough lobster for the last seating. Allegedly it will  be offered again to those guests.

Lobster is not the only thing in short supply. Banannas have been rationed for the last month. Skim milk is scarce, and the supply of english muffins is gone. Hot chocolate mix and potato chips are hit and miss. Somedays they are available, others not. Nobody will starve.

Motion of the ship is negligible with the seas under three feet. We should be ready to go ashore by 8:30 in the morning.

Dec 11 - Cartagena, Columbia

There is some motion to the ship as we cruise to Cartagena, Columbia. I am not aware of it unless I pay close attention.

The area at the end of the pier is one of the nicest I have ever encountered. In addition to the usual shops and restaurants there is a small zoo or sanctuary area where there are many monkeys, peacocks, parrots, flamingos, anteaters, etc.

I spend about an hour. The merchandise looks to be fairly priced, but of course I don't purchase anything.

Back on the ship I find the Solarium neary empty and spend nearly 2 hours in the pool. Too deep to walk, but swimming is easy in the salt water.

Getting back on the ship, security insisted on x-raying my shoes. Now I will concede that I could conceal over a pound of emeralds, diamonds, or drugs in my left shoe. Having passed through security checkpoints hundreds of times in the past seven years of cruising, this was another first. Security really wasn't busy, so it was easy for them, and no other passengers were held up.

It is mostly cloudy, and at the docks the temperature is about 80. In the city it is much warmer.

The ships officers lead a recognition ceremony for veterans of all countries. A few words of thanks, a moment of silence, and the playing of taps. Every veteran is given a certificate. Very well done and appreciated by all. Many of the passengers in the Diamond lounge are veterans, and many experiences are shared. Even two of the ladies are 20 year veterans.

The comedian headliner is decent, and his language clean, unlike many comedians. It was either catch his show or eat dinner. I chose the show, I have been eating too much anyway.

I sign up for internet for the last several days of the voyage. Starting on my next cruise it will be free, well free if you don't count the cost of a hundred cruises to be rewarded with the perk.

Today only two passengers are missing at all aboard time. Hopefully they really are onboard. I had that happen to me once, and even when I called, they didn't believe me. I don't know how as my card was scanned and my picture displayed on the screen when I boarded. Sometimes technology just doesn't work.

Tomorrow is a sea day.

November 12, 2019

Nov 10, Colon, Panama

Once we leave the canal channel it just a mile or two to our pier in Colon. We make the trip last over 12 hours by going out to sea a little and then returning.

Colon itself has little to offer tourists except that this is where the excursions to visit the canal, the jungle, or Panama city originate. In fact it is strongly advised not to leave the fenced in area of the port except by tour bus.

All the reports from passengers are positive. During the day several heavy storms passed over dumping heavy rain. The tour groups were lucky as they were on a bus or inside during the rain.

The staff was looking for five passengers at departure time, the usual indication of them not getting back to the ship on time.

Speaking of time, my pocket watch stopped working this morning. I can't say it has lasted very long, maybe for two years of use just when I travel. Maybe a byproduct of dropping it and shattering the crystal earlier this year. I will replace before my next trip. There are times when I need to know the time, and a phone just doesn't do it on a ship.

Colon harbor is quite busy, mostly with container ships. There is one oil tanker in port, tied alongside all day giving us bunker fuel. The 9 hour process is completed about 30 minutes before departure. How many tons of fuel can be pumped thru an 8 or 10 inch hose in a day?

Cartagena, Columbia is our next port.

November 10, 2019

Nov 9 - Crossing The Panama Canal

During the night there are several heavy storms. When I go outside just before 7:00 we are ready to enter the first lock, The skies are cloudy, but no rain. For many passengers this is the first time they have ever been thru the canal. The narration is excellent. Bill is a retired canal employee that worked in various positions across the canal in his 30 year career.  Steve, the cruise director, implies that he is just a passenger that has voluntered to narrate. I hope not, at a minimum he should have been given a free cruise.

We soon learn that the schedule for entertainment that had been revised yesterday, isn't going to work as our transit is scheduled to be much faster than anticipated.

Time to reprint the Compass for the third time, this time after they were distributed to the guests. God forbid if trivia didn't take place at the proper time. I often listen, but don't care to participate. Trivia is the one activity that some passengers are very passionate about. Key chains are so valuable.

Traffic in the canal doesn't appear to be very heavy. There is one ship directly in front of us, but by the time we get into Gantun Lake there are only a few ships holding for clearance into the next lock. A large container ship, a ship with a cargo of about 100 wind turbine blades stacked on the deck, and several tankers probably carrying crude oil or distilled product.

The weather remains ideal all day, mostly overcast but not any rain.

The passenger that caused so much trouble the first few days must have tamed his anger. He has been seen, but to the best of my knowledge there have not been any more altercations.

For the first time there is a "silent dance party" tonight. Popular on Royal ships for several years, I go with Chuck and Janice, a new experience for them. Besides chosing what music you want to listen to with your headphones, you get to control the volume.  Red and green lights on the headphones indicate what you are listening to. I find it interesting that some couples are each listneing to different sound tracks while dancing together.

I have never had much of a taste for whiskey or bourbon but tonight there is a free tasting in the shops. Chuck convinces me to go with them.  They are featuring a very rare Kentucky bourbon. I concede it is very good. Chuck buys two bottles, and I purchase the last one on the ship. Not having any more to sell, we help consume multiple samples from the open bottle that can't be sold and with no remaining inventory has no value to the shops for future sales. I think this is a good way to use up the remainder of the non refundable credit on my account.

We exited  the last locks about 3:30. Just outside the entrance to the canal there are about 30 to 35 ships holding for either entry to the canal or orders to pick up a load of cargo somewhere. We join the crowd as we need to waste more than 12 hours until we can tie up in Colon, Panama our next port which is just outside the entrance to the canal.

Nov 8 - A Sea Day

During the night there are several rainstorms. The ship has some motion, but to be honest, after being here for over three weeks it is no longer noticed.

The lectures on sea days are interesting, and provide a break from the ongoing trivia and other games. I mentioned one on animal intelligence the other day. With veterans day coming up, a very appropriate one was about the importance of naval campaigns in the Caribbean during World II. Something you seldom hear about.

Today's talk was about the evolution of pets. Obviously dogs are man's first choice. 

Not surprising, having seen them in Yellowstone, and observing tourist behavior, bison are not tamed for pets, and in fact kill more people than any other cause in all the national parks.

Throughout the day the temperatures remain in the high 70's or low 80's. Occasionally the sun peeks through for a time, but we escape any of the predicted  rain. 

I wouldn't call it heavy traffic, but we see more and more ships following the same heading we are on. Ships headed to the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal.

One of the headliner entertainers that was to board the ship yesterday was unable to make it, leaving Steve short on entertainment. A scramble to rearrange the schedule, and a quick call to Miami, and another entertainer is found that will board the ship in Colon, perform his show, and leave the ship the next morning in Cartegena.

The Compass, the daily program of activities, is all printed for our day in the canal when the ship receives word of a schedule change for the locks.  The compass needs to be reprinted. 

With our first locks scheduled for 7:00 am I set my alarm before I retire.

November 09, 2019

Nov 7 Punterenas, Costa Rica

The ship arrives before sunrise and is cleared by local authorities by 6:00 AM.

Early the skies are cloudy, but have cleared by 8:00. The temperature will be in the low 80's here at the port. In the rainforest I have no idea, but possibly cooler.

The pier and the walk to shore is quite long, possibly close to half a mile. Semi trucks with refrigerated containers are lined up bringing provisions to the ship. The ship cargo doors are 3 or 4 feet below dock level, no problem, there is a platform that can be raised and extended to reach out over the dock. Pallet by pallet each container is loaded aboard.

No surprise, but before each container is opened paper work is inspected and compared by government officials, ship staff, and the driver to verify the proper container is being delivered. Only when everyone checks off does a dockworker cut off the multiple security locks with large bolt cutters.

Most of the tours visit the interior of the country. One was described as requiring climbing 6 steps and a 150 yard walk. Returning passengers reported that they encountered multiple stairs ascending 300 feet or more and fitbits that registered 4 miles of walking during the tour. I'm glad I wasn't there.

I did visit the local shops on the pier. Nothing noteworthy, I return to the ship and spend a few hours in the solarium pool.

It is laundry day. That means stuffing a weeks worth of dirty clothes in a tiny plastic bag. I don't bother washing the shirt they ruined last week, the price of free laundry. Fortunately it was one of my least favorite.

An activity I have never encountered before are debates among passengers on various topics, topics I would generally avoid. Abortion, capital punishment, evolution, gun control, politics, global warming, etc.

It is rewarding having passengers from so many countries. Besides general conversation with interesting people, information is shared about different ports and destinations that you won't find in the cruise reviews.

One reported detail I was surprised to learn is that it is highly probable that cruise ships will be banned fron Venice, Italy in a few years. The tens of thousands of passengers are overwhelming the city, and in general they are contributing relatively little to the economy. Definitely a Venice political issue.

I remember six or seven years ago when Curacao was having the same discussion. The final outcome was the construction of a new pier which eliminated the need for cruise ships to dock in the channel, the only valid issue raised by those opposed to the cruise ship visits.

Tomorrow is a sea day as we head to the canal.

November 07, 2019

Nov 6 - At Sea

Today was another beautiful sea day. There was a strong breeze over the deck, the skies mostly sunny and temperatures in the low 80's.

I spend a few hours reading, or more accurately, listening to a book. The lecture subject today is intelligence, not of humans but of many other animal species. An interesting way to spend an hour. One tid bit. Whales recently learned a new method of catching seals. This information is methodically being spread around the world amongst the whale population.

I attend a hour and a half tour of the theater and all of it's backstage systems. A tour narrated by the people that run the lights and the sound etc. The most informative tour of a ship's theater I have attended.

In speaking to the technician responsible for sound I learn why I do not need ear plugs. He keeps the sound level between 80 and 85 db in the theater. Royal's guidelines call for no more than 95. A painful difference. He has a meter in the booth. Yes I thank him!

The only show tonight is a concert by the orchestra. This group of musicians has been together for over three years. When you realize that each musician has his own contract, usually about 6 months in length, the odds of them being able to stay together is slim.

Steve Davis has mentioned several times that other cruise lines are cutting out live musicians, instead using sound tracks. Somehow a soud track of a piano playing in the Schooner bar just doesn't sound right. Of course a  license to play music costs much less than a musician.

Chicken cordon blu in the Windjammer. Better than the same dish in the dining room last trip, and no rolls to tempt me.

There is a little rocking to the ship all day and evening. I can't tell you about during the night as I sleep soundly.

We are scheduled to be cleared for disembarkation by 6:00 AM tomorrow morning in Costa Rica

Nov 5 - Puerto Quetzal, Mexico

We arrive before sunrise to coincide with a favorable tide. The ship is cleared by local authorites at 8:30 and the thousand passengers taking Royal shore excursions begin boarding buses. I elect to remain on the ship, even forgoing the local vendors on the dock.

The solarium pool is packed, no peaceful swim today, in fact not even a lounge chair in the shade by the pool to be found.

I download my renewed books and spend a few hours listening. In the future I will always verify that I am able to open each book. I think this is a lesson I had learned previously in my life.

I have a long conversation with my waiter of last week. He has worked for Royal for 8 years and acknowledges he has seen the same deterioration in food quality that many passengers are aware of. One of his biggest problems is inconsistency from the galley. Over cooked, undercooked, cold food plated, etc. Duhh!

Everything is falling into place with Alyssa's house and move. Always having been good at organizing, the rental truck will be loaded before the closings on Dec 2, she will move in and organize her home over the next few days, and leave for a cruise on Dec 7. Fragile items are being held at my house to be moved by car instead of U-Haul truck. Just to add to her schedule, an engagement party is being planned for them at her sister's on Nov 24.

The port here is quite busy. The coal pier in front of us is empty, but every other pier is occupied. Three or four container ships and one RORO (roll on roll off). Another four container ships await outside the harbor for a turn to load and unload.

The fully loaded car carrier leaves the port just as an empty one arrives. The tug boats are busy running about between the two ships. They are required to help turn them as they enter or leave the harbor.

I was not aware of Guatemala being an auto exporting country. I question if vehicles manufactured in Mexico are being shipped from here.

The weather remains very nice all day. Returning passengers report very good tours and tour guides. Well most of them. At least one bus broke down, bus passengers were returned to the ship before boarding time, returned by another bus without AC, and without a complete tour. Stuff happens.

German theme in the Windjammer tonight. Very good, I have made the right decision. 

It is a night for the production show. Enjoyable, and I do not need my ear plugs.

Seas remain at about 6 feet as we continue South. Being a fairly seasoned group of passengers, I hear few complaints. As I have for over a month, I sleep well.

Tomorrow we will be at sea all day.

November 05, 2019

Saturday Nov 2 - Puerto Vallarta

We arrive in Puerto Vallarta about 25 minutes late, the ship is quickly cleared by local authorities and 90 % of the passengers soon are off the ship.

The captain's forecast, actually Royal staff in Miami, is for thunderstorms all day. Presently the sky is a little hazy but quite sunny.

I decide to check out the mall across the street. Of course most names I am not familiar with, but a few are universal around the world like Radio Shack, McDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut.  I actually decide a Subway sandwich for lunch would be a welcome break. Yes it was!

I have neglected to finish any of the audio books I brought with me, fortunately I am able to renew from here. I have switched to Libby, an app that interfaces with most libraries.  Much easier to use than going to the individual library sites. Thank you Robert.

With message and data service I spend part of the day communicating with my children about upcoming events. Yes I am old enough to remember when it was prohibitively expensive to talk by phone with someone in the next town. Communication with a passenger on a ship, or a person in another country was reserved for extreme life or death matters, not planning parties and juggling schedules.

By 3:30 it is getting a little cloudy. Maybe the captain will get his thunderstorm yet. We will see.

Over a third of the passengers are from countries other than the US, a much larger number than I usually see.

Apparently one couple didn't make it back to the ship. They were paged three times in the last half hour before the ship sailed. I hope they are having a good time.

A very unusual occurance in the Diamond Lounge this evening. A very heated argument built between two passengers, one from the US, and the other from Brisbane, Australia. Something about each's involvement in Vietnam. Intervention by respective wives, ship staff, and other passengers separated them before anyone was hurt.

Time to leave the lounge, I join Chuck and Janice for dinner.

The seas are calm as we head for Guatamala. No it never did rain today. Royals weatherman has a near perfect record of being wrong.

Nov 3, 4 - Sea days

It is a 2 day run to our next port of Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. The skies are partly cloudy, but the sun is bright and hot. The humidity is high, just like Florida is much of the year.

I have an invitation to an unnamed event on deck 8 by the forward elevators. There is not much there, I will learn later, but I suspect it is something in conjuction with me attaining Pinnacle in Crown and Anchor, Royal's loyalty program.

The top tier ceremony isn't until tomorrow, and I don't get the additional benefits until my next cruise in December, but I am getting closer.

I try to listen to a book this afternoon to only learn I have permission to listen to the books that I just renewed, but the files are not on my phone. A glitch caused by an erroneous setting when I renewed the books in out last port. I will fix at the next port when I have cell service again.

The 5:00 reservation is indeed part of becoming a Pinnacle level. A reception for me  and the other three new Pinnacles on the bridge with the captain and most of the officers, champagne, and presentation photos. No, I don't keep the acrylic block yet, as it will be presented again tomorrow morning at the top tier event. I did get to hold it for a minute though.

Only a few of you will see the humor in this, but the celebration cake was in the shape and appearance of a pineapple.

The entertainment tonight is an Elvis impersonator. Probably one of the better of many I have seen.

Skies are clear and the seas calm as we sail into the night. There is a nice view of the setting sun from the windows in the Diamond club.

The top tier event involves nearly half of the passengers. 27 pinnacle, 291 Diamond plus, and 359 Diamond passengers. I am one of 4 passengers being honored for having attained the level of Pinnacle. The first since this ship left Europe 2 months ago. Again I hold the statue and certificate just long enough for pictures, but at this point it is official, records indicate that I am a Pinnacle.

By noon time the wind has increased to over 25, and seas are increasing to 2 to 3 meters. Despite stabilizers, the ship will pitch and roll.  For the first time since I left Miami over three weeks ago the staff is warning passengers to hold onto railings.

We pass a northbound cruise ship about 5 miles off our Starboard. I think a Celebrity ship but it is too distant to see clearly. Cruise ships and commercial ships are relatively infrequent in these waters.

The Elvis impersonator is doing a matinee show today. Steve Davis, the cruise director has done an excellent job of scheduling many activities. Yesterday there were five football games for the sports addicts to choose from. So far all the lectures I have heard before, but that shouldn't detract from the fact they are made available.

By dinner the ship is rolling pretty good.

I learn more about the altercation in the Diamond Lounge several days ago. The Australian has been instigating trouble with a number of passengers over multiple dsys. Both male and female passengers have been his victims. Royal has been actively investigating each instance, and I will not be surprised if a passenger is disembarked prematurley. So far verbal warnings from the staff have been ineffective.

The entertainment tonight is a comedian/juggler.

Because of tides and currents, we will arrive in port about 5:00 AM, but will not be cleared for disembarkation until 8:30. Royal's weather forecast is for rain.

November 02, 2019

November 1, Cabo San Lucas

Yesterday was Halloween. A number of passengers do an exceptional job with costumes.

I only mention this today, the day after Halloween, as decorations in the Windjammer did not appear until this morning. Mostly carved pumpkins, which probably were brought on board in San Pedro, but didn't make it thru provisioning and the "carving crew" until today.

The weather is good with a cloud cover but no rain. Temperatures are much more reasonable in the mid 80's instead of the 90's of last week. 

We arrive at our scheduled time of 11:00. The Norwegian Bliss, a much larger ship is already anchored in the harbor. We anchor further away from the dock than last week.

Tendering starts about 11:30. The process is very slow, being hindered by the long run and the fact only 4 tenders (lifeboats) are being used.

I get my tender ticket. #12.  By 1:45 they are tendering groups 5 and 6. 2 hours elapsed and less than one quarter of the 22 groups have boarded tenders. Many passengers like me change plans and remain on the ship. I care less, but many are frustrated.

With passengers getting ashore so late there is going to be a problem getting all the passengers back to the ship by 5:15, the scheduled time of the last tender.

I give my tickets to a family with children that are anxious to go ashore. 12 is better than ticket 21 they are holding.

We get underway about an hour or hour and a half late. Like it or not extra fuel will be used if the captain plans to arrive in Puerto Vallarta on time tomorrow morning.

Dinner in the Windjammer is a good decision so far. Tonight is Italian night.

I catch the second show in the theater. An act billed as Music vs. Magic. Ok, but I wouldn't book a cruise just to see them.

There is minimal pitch and roll as we cruise South East along the Mexican coast towards our next port.

November 01, 2019

October 31, A Sea Day

The ship pitches and rolls thru the night and most of the day in the 5 to 6 foot swells. I'm sure it happens often, but I hear of a number of passengers that are not doing well with the motion. The temperatures remain pleasant, only warming to the low 70's. The Solarium is full, but not the deck seating around the pool.

This is a younger crowd than the last two weeks with infants, toddlers, and teenagers present along with their young parents. 

Two weeks ago I had asked the Loyalty Ambassador to change my amenities from wine to Diet Sprite and club soda. For some reason it didn't happen, so I ask her to please chage it if she could. No problem she will see that it is taken care of.

Maybe a language issue, or maybe an inventory issue but the wine is taken back and I am given the Diet Sprite, but sparkling water instead of club soda. Oh, not 12 ounce cans but eight quart bottles without a recloseable top.

After considering a number of options I decide any remainder after opening each bottle will be transferred to a recycled water bottle. Being adaptable helps.

The diamond lounge continues to be quite busy. Rynaldo has asked for a helper, i'm not sure he is much help as most drinks more complicated than a bottle of beer he has to be helped. The helper being helped by the person he is supposed to be helping? Oh well.

The same Motown entertainers from last week are in the theater tonight. Instead I listen to Henry in the Schooner Bar.

By mid evening the seas have subsided and the rolling and creaking cease.

Tomorrow we arrive in Cabo San Lucas.

October 30, San Pedro, Ca. (Los Angeles)

The ship arrives on time and disembarkation starts at 7:00 am. The air temperature is 47 degrees, I knew there was a reason to bring a winter jacket. 

The alarm is set for 7:00 so we can be out of the cabin by 8:00. With a 2:45 flight Gail is scheduled for a 10:00 AM disembarkation with the last passengers scheduled to depart at 10:30, and the back to back passengers after that. The process is a little mixed up. Many passengers are given conflicting directions on the area they need to wait in. Numbers are not called in order, and numbers are only announced in the area where those passengers are supposed to be instead of throughout the ship. Royal soon realizes some of the errors in its process.

We start to disembark about 10:45, nearly an  hour late. Once off the ship we realize the issue, a long line for Customs and Border Protection to check passports.

After over an hour in line and a minute with the cutoms agent the luggage is easy to find and the last two airport transfer buses are waiting. Gail is off to San Mateo

Being an "in transit" passenger I should have been able to get right back on the ship. Because at 12:10 there are still passengers disembarking, I had to wait in the terminal. A few minutes later when I board, the line for customs still extends back to the end of the ramp from the ship. Once openened for boarding, over 2 hours late, a thousand or more passengers quickly fill the ship, the reamainder will board soon.

Passengers that booked a shore excursion in conjunction  with a transfer to the airport found the excursion to be heavily modified due to all the fires around the LA area. Other passengers that planned to tour independently changed plans due to the late departures, there just wasn't enough time.

The Grand Princess is berthed at the next pier. I wonder if they had a better experience? I get the feeling LA is not a cruise ship friendly port, and Royal anticipated a slow disembarkation, but not this slow.

With cellular phone service I call my daughters to let them know I am still alive. It was from this ship two years ago that I was transferred to a local hospital in St John, New Brunswick where I remained for 4 days. So far this trip all is well, I will keep my fingers crossed

A lot happens in two weeks. My youngest daughter became engaged, sold her house and bought a new one. Subjects I heard only a little of before embarking on this trip. I will learn more when I return home. I now have a wedding to pay for, but I won't let that impact my travel budget.

The temperatures rise to the low 70's during the day, Skies remain clear except for the smoke and fog  over the city. The low  humidity is a pleasant change from Florida 

I make the basic decision to dine in the Windjammer buffet this trip instead of the dining room. The extra rolls were not good to me the past two weeks.

The Ship rolls and creaks slightly in the 5 foot seas as we head South to Cabo San Lucas. Tomorrow will be a sea day.