February 20, 2019

Feb 19, Antigua

We pick up the pilot before 9:00. Three other ships are already berthed, The Freedom of the Seas, the AIDAperla and the Seabourn Odyssey. The AIDAperla is a new modern design with a vertical bow instead of the more traditional bow.  I can't speak for efficiency in the water, but there is certainly room for more cabins. All told there are over 12,000 visitors form the three ships.

We have to back into the berth so the disembarkation doors will open over the pier. Really an easy task for modern ships, but one that made new cruisers nervous about the captains ability to manuver in the tight quarters.

The propellers and thrusters kick up lots of mud, obviously there is little clearance to the bottom of the ship. Two dredges are in the harbor. They don't appear to be actively dredging, but there are workers aboard.

As often is the case during a port day, it is continued training for the crew. I can overhear the disaster training plans. A command station has been set up in an office on deck 5. A medical evacuation helicopter has crashed into the bridge attempting to land on the helipad. There are fires on decks 4, 5 and 6 at the bow of the ship. Enough,  I move along and head ashore, the ship will survive.

Nothing specific, just a leisure stroll along the waterfront shops. No donation to the locals. The ships horn blows signaling everyone to thier muster stations. Yes, this is just a drill, we were told this morning to disregard all signals and announcements as they were for the crew only.

An hour later I'm back on the ship headed to my cabin to shower and clean up. A passenger in the elevator voluteers that he thought the alarm was for real when it awoke him from his sleep. They got dressed and packed thier suitcases. Only as they encountered some crew members while dragging thier luggage down the hallway did they learn this is just a drill. What is wrong with this picture?

Royal has an interchangeable insert that goes in the floor of each elevator with the day of the week. A good idea they implemented years ago as it really is very easy to loose track of the day. This afternoon I heard a passenger praising the idea of labeling each elevator with a name. It is going to be tough for him to find the "Tuesday" elevator tomorrow.

The temperatures are a little warmer today, probably in the low 80's. The skies are mostly clear with a few passing clouds. The breeze on the upper decks is probably 25 knots, but at ground level minimal, making it feel very hot.

As with most of the Caribbean islands, the majority of passengers are called to beaches for swimming or snorkeling in the bright sun and warm waters. More than a few passengers return looking like lobsters.

Another weak menu in the dining room, but not bad enough to drive me to the Windjammer. Pasta it will be, a food that I very rarely eat at home anymore. eating too much is a challenge for most cruisers, and one of the reasons I stopped going to the dining room several years ago. In a couple days I will venture back to the scales in the fitness center to see if I can eat anything all next week.

The headliner tonight is a "Tribute to Liverpool". Obviously Beatles impersonation.  The theater was packed, I settled for a seat behind a pole. Though much of the view was blocked, the sound wasn't.

Chester has the night off so Henry is playing in the Schooner bar. He's a good pianist, but does not sing as many piano players do. The room is nearly empty.

We will be cruising at just over 20 knots for the next two days. The following seas are expected to remain under two meters. It will be a smooth sail back to Port Everglades. No stories about rough seas to pass on from this journey.