February 22, 2019

Feb 20, 21 - Sea Days

Blue skies with a few clouds. The wind and seas are mostly following making for a very pleasant day. I am up early and go to the Solarium before 8:00. Over half the lounge chairs are covered with towels, few passengers are around, and none are in the pools yet.

Along with 5 other passengers I take a tour of the bridge. Crystal clear visibility for many miles. Nothing within human sight, no land, no other ships.  Radar is even unable to detect anything within its 20 plus mile range. The ship is on autopilot headed to Port Everglades.  It says our arrival will be at 4:50 AM.

I use my extremely slow free internet these last two days.  Delete all the junk emails and answer a few important ones. I stop at the future cruise sales desk and inquire about a couple of cruises for later this fall and next spring. The price I am given sounds high, so I send off a message to Kent, my travel agent. Sometimes he has the same price, and often a lower one. I will see what he comes up with before making a decision.

Today is the egg drop contest.  Contestants signed up near the begining of the cruise. The object is to drop an egg from deck 10 to deck 4 in the Centrum without it cracking. Only recycleable items  may be  used, there are a  number of other rules. Plastic covers the grand piano and much of the floor just in case.

This has been an activity for a number of years on various ships, and the passengers have become very skilled. Parachutes are the most common approach, some contestants just rely on shock absorption upon landing. Some devices are complicated with parachutes, ballons, etc. The simpler designs work the best.

Amazingly eight out of ten eggs land uncracked! Very impressive.

David has extra work this afternoon. Last night after the Concierge Lounge closed everything had to be removed from the bar for an inspection. Today everything has to be brought back, glasses, mixes, and all the liquor. Probably an extra two hours of work.  

David has been with Royal for 17 years, and is one of the few crewmembers  that gets off the ship in nearly every port the ship visits. He estimates he has missed only a handfull of ports in his entire career. Unfortunately he is probably going to be at the pool bar next cruise. I will miss his excellent service.

The dining room is busy, usually the case when lobster is being served. I settle for the tortellini, probably the same choice I made last week. It is good and, definitely served hot. The head waiter stops by and I make dining room plans for the next three weeks. For the next ten days I will have the same table, but a different wait staff. For the final 11 days, while my family is also here, the table choice will be his. I am confident he will give us a good table. 

After dinner there is a lull in the lounge, with many empty tables and chairs. It doesn't last long, within 15 minutes all seats are again taken.

In the past few months Royal has introduced a new "Key" program where essentially guests can purchase some upgrades like included internet, carry on baggage storage, reserved theater seating, and dining preferences for an additional daily charge. As to be expected a few of the Pinnacle members are outraged that others with fewer cruises can purchase the same amenities that they enjoy for free.

We continue to move at just over 20 knots. This evening there is a little roll to the ship, but most passengers take it in stride.

I sleep late and totally forget about my scheduled galley tour. The skies are overcast but the air is warm and humid. I have my quote back from Kent. A few dollars less than booking on board, and I would prefer to give him the business. A quick email and I am booked for a 32 day round trip to California this fall and a 21 day trip to the southern Caribbean islands next January.

Many passengers are watching the clock so they can check in for flights tomorrow. JJ tells me there will be 41 passengers staying on the ship for the next cruise, I know a handful of them.

A stop at  guest relations for gratuity envelopes and to get some large bills changed. I did relent yesterday and asked my doughter to bring some extra cash with her. In reality I put the money in her bank account and then asked her to bring me the cash. Easy to do and avoids any cash advance fees.

There is a late night comedian in theater at 10:00 I catch all but the first few minutes of his show.  When I leave the theater, all the forward elevators are being used for luggage service. Up the stairs it will be. When I reach the elevator lobby on deck 8 it is packed with suitcase carts and suitcases.

To be nice to my room steward, I set my alarm and will be out of my cabin by 8.