February 14, 2019

Feb 12, 13, Sea Days

The skies are clear, the sun bright. Seas remain under 6 feet, almost directly on our bow, the best seas for passengers as the ship has no roll and just a minor slow pitch. Temperatures are to be  just uder 80 for the next two days. As always, there is a chance of a passing sprinkle.

In order, our next six ports are: Ponce, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St Kitts & Nevis; Castries, St. Lucie; St George's, Grenada; Bridgetown Barbados; and St John's Antiqua. Ponce and Grenada are ports that I have not visited before, at least I don't think I have. 

I think every pool chair is occupied by a towel. Most of the passengers are from the northern states, and they can't resist working on thier sunburns. With our 17 knot speed, and the 25 knot breeze on our bow, the decks are breezy. There are a lot more children and younger passengers on this cruise. I am told it is school break time for some northern state schools.

Both the Diamond Lounge and Concierge Lounge were full at 9:30 this morning. I grabbed a bananna and an orange juice and moved to the Vortex to find a seat. About 75 guests attend the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle. Again I don't get my reservation, but know where and when to go. The Royal staff member in charge says she will add my name for the next two cruises. After I reminded so many others to sign up, it is fitting that my registration is the one to get lost.

I select a couple of excursions for the ports I have never visited. As I was talking to the person at the excursions desk, initially the first was all sold out, but as we spoke someone cancelled and two tickets became available. Not all of my luck is bad.

Tonight is formal night, the menu is the same as the last cruise, and the same menu rotation will continue for the next month. I don't know whether it is hangovers, the effect of it being formal night, or the result of this guest and others having a conversation with the head waiter, but the table behind me  is more respectful of the rest of the dining room tonight.

I know this will come as a big disappointment to others in my family, but savory bites are nowhere to be seen, and the cheese rolls are scarce. My waiter has confirmed that sometimes savory bites are available on special request. I order an apple pie for dessert, it has always been good and something I never have a home. My surprise when I am served a four inch round pastry. The waiter tells me this is the "new" apple pie, and I have the first he has served. The flavor is of apple pie, but it is now mostly crust with few apples. I am sure flour cost less than apples.

The Concierge Lounge is busy but enjoyable tonight. The bar tender forgot his keys and when he returned with them he had difficulty opening the locks, so he is late setting up and serving guests. Several guests offer to help, but our offers are ignored.  A little later in the evening a passenger manages to close the fire doors. Fortunately JJ is in the room and knows who to call to get them opened. I doubt any of the passengers could have figured it out. They just can't be manually opened.

Motion of the ship is slight, and continues throughout the night. We turn our clocks ahead one hour, where they will remain until our return to Port Everglades on Feb 22.

I sleep for over 10 hours, a common occurence almost every night while on a ship. I have thought about adding pitch and roll to my bed at home, but just cruising is easier.

The top tier party is this morning, I get to say Hi to Carly, the cruise Director I got to know last year. On this cruise there are 42 pinnacle, 244 Diamond plus and 317 Diamond passengers. The top cruisers have 1944 points and have been on the ship over 3 months.

The skies were a little cloudy first thing this morning but soon cleared. The decks remain breezy, but all the lounge chairs are covered with towels or people being burned by the  sun. There is a little motion to the ship, but not enough to make her creak and bang.
The rowdy table is back in action tonight in the dining room tonight. Fortunately they don't arrive until I am almost ready to leave. As we leave together, the people at both of the tables next to me stop to say something to the head waiter. He says he will address the problem, I am doubtful.

I catch the 8:30 production show and retire for the night. Tomorrow we are in Ponce, PR  and I have an early tour.

Feb 11, Turnaround at Port Everglades

I awake long before my alarm clock is set to go off. We have been instructed to meet at 9:15 for processing as back to back passengers. We need to get our new sea pass cards, and be checked by CBP, usually just a cursory review of our passports.

By 7:40 all the self assist passengers are gone, and they begin calling luggage tag numbers. The process is quick this morning. Before 8:45 all tag numbers have been called.

Processing of the 143 back to back guests begins, we are given our new sea pass cards. Once all other passengers have cleared the ship we head to the terminal at about 9:20. A short wait on the second floor and an agent comes to check our passports. We pass by one at a time and I am back on the ship by 9:45

Early the sun was shining, by the time I'm back aboard it begins to rain. There are over 100 pallets of provisions on the pier waiting to be loaded. The produce is gettng an extra wash.

The ship is almost erie. There are no lights, no music, no sounds. I head to my cabin. The only light in the Centrum comes from the outside windows. The shops are all dark, there is barely enough light to see the stairs. I know that the closed door that says "do not enter" does not apply to back to back guests.We can have access to our cabins at any time.  I'm headed to get my keyboard and computer. The hallway is dark except for a few lights. There is no power in any of the cabins. interior cabinis are especially dark. After carrying a flashlight for many years in case I need to find my way, I finally do and use it. 

All power to the ship was shut off so the emergency generators could be tested, the elevators were still functional, as are emergency lighting, and the black water sewage system. All other electrical loads were turned off.

I head to the Vortex lounge to return a few phone calls. The piano is being tuned, not a conducive background noise for phone calls. I move to the Concierge Lounge. By the time any new passengers begin to board electrical power has been turned on, the rain has stopped and the clouds begin to break up.

A special lunch is being provided for the back to back guests. A little load off the Windjammer, and a special touch that costs Royal nothing. The braised beef portion was triple the size of what was served for dinner a week ago, I ccouldn't begin to eat all of it.

JJ has moved from the Diamond lounge to the Concierge lounge this week. Mario has returned from vacation to head up the Diamond Lounge. Carly has returned from vacation to resume her duties as Cruise Director. All staff I know from previous years.

I have the same table this week, but new wait staff. The table behind me that was so quiet last week is now filled with a group of loud party people.

Two of the  headliner acts from last week are held over for shows this week. The comedian, not one of my  favorites anyway, is pretty dull.

We will spend the night and the next two days at sea on our way to six different islands. As I retire the seas are less than 6 feet, and the ship has negligible motion.