February 25, 2019

Feb 22-24, Turnaround, and 2 sea days

I leave the cabin before 8 and head to the Windjammer for breakfast. A small belgian waffle with strawberries. The skies are partly cloudy with negligible breeze. As is normal in Port Everglades the humidity is  high.

The dock is covered with new provisions and bales of recycled materials that have been removed from the ship. Definitely much more coming on the ship than going off. I am sure the conservation of matter means that the difference resides in the bellies of the passengers.

There are also two fire trucks on the dock, lights flashing but otherwise no activity. Probably just stopping by for breakfast.

The 41 back to back passengers are given new sea pass cards and head off the ship at 9:15, shortly after all other passengers have cleared. After a brief wait in the terminal our passports are checked by CBP and we are back on the ship by 9:45.

It is time to go to the spa for a weight check. The scales must be broken, nearly every passenger will make that claim. My discipline in the dinng room must be working, my weight is down from when I boarded the ship three weeks ago.

There are numerous announcements for all the crew before the passengers begin to board. One tidbit, this voyage is refered to as "Serenade of the Seas cruise number 693". I assume 693 cruises since she was launched. If my mental math is corrrect, that translates to at least 2 to 4 billion in revenue just for cabin space.

The Celebrity Silhouette is the only other cruise ship in port today, quiet for Port Everglades, just another advantage to a Monday departure.

The muster drill at 3:15 is short and to the point, everyone is soon dismissed. I change for the evening and head to the Concierge Lounge. The new bartender is organizing the bar. Everything is placed similar to the way David organized it, but not the same and progress is made at a much slower pace. Probably the arrangement is set by management. By 4:30 there are 5 bartenders and servers ready for the first night onslaught of thirsty passengers.

The lounge never reaches capacity, a seat for everyone that wants, including an 8 or 10 year old boy sitting at the bar with his parents. Some of the same guests as last week, claim thier favorite spots.

I learn that Royal is finally trying to crack down on passengers falsely claiming thier pet is a service animal. Not exactly sure but Doctor certification of need must be obtained within a certain time period prior to boarding is one of the measures being implemented.

Bingo is a common cruise ship profit center. The biggest prize each week is one game where the winner wins a free cruise. No suspected shenanigans, but the same person has won the last two cruises. She will be trying for three in a row this trip.

In the dining room I learn that Christiana, my waiter from the first trip has been extended and will be here through the rest of my cruise. I have asked to be seated at one of her tables next week when some of my family are here. Initially she was to go home March 4th, the same day they arrive.

As we  head southeast from Port Everglades, the seas are less than 3 feet, the skies mostly clear, with a mild breeze out of the East.

With our speed of 16 knots, heading into a 25 knot wind, the breeze across the deck is brisk and cool. That doens't hinder the sun worshippers as they are out in full force at day break.

I meet with Karen, the loyalty ambassador, and confirm that the official presentation of my Pinnacle status will be on the cruise that I reach 700 points. As with reaching all other levels, benefits will be available on the following cruise. I expect that will happen this December on The Adventure of the Seas.

I do get my invitation to the cruise critic meet and mingle as promised. With fewer guest than last week, it is held in the Vortex lounge on deck 13. A few introductions of activity staff members and a quick drawing for some gifts including 3 bottles of wine, I'm not a winner. No plans for a slot pull, cabin crawl, or any other crusie critic activities.
The lounge is relatively quiet again tonight with seating usually available. The table behind me in the dining room seats a large extended family of several generations including half a dozen children under 10.  I think 14 seats total. All much quieter and better mannered than the drunk of several weeks ago.

The Beatles impersonation group is our headliner show for tonight. A repeat from last week. I pass and enjoy Henry and Chester in the Schooner Bar instead.

Motion of the ship is negligible with seas less than 3 feet, but there are a number of passengers complaining. I can only guess they must be very sensitive to motion sickness. The number of passengers heard coughing on this trip is much higher than the previous two. Hopefully they don't spread it to the rest of us. Hand washing and sanitizing are the best prevention.

Tonight  our clocks are set ahead an hour until March 4th when we return to Florida. Time for another 10 hour sleep.

The skies are heavily overcast first thing in the morning, but soon give way to bright sunshine. The top tier party is held in the theater. Free  champagne, or wine, too early in the day for this traveller, but I attend as sometimes there are noteworty announcements about future ships and itineraries.

The usual introductions of officers. Fewer top tier guests this week which helps explain why seating is more readily available in the Concierge Lounge.  28 Pinnacle, 122 Diamond Plus, and 281 Diamonds.  Not always announced but there also are 129 Emerald and 298 Platinum members sailing. The top cruiser this week has 1960 points.

The Concierge lounge is nice and quiet during the day. I kind of think of it as my private space. A coffee machine with hot chocolate, fresh fruit, and windows that overlook the ocean to the port side from more than 100 feet above the surface. Various seating configurations including outdoor seating that is shaded most of the time. A walk across the hall and the view  changes to the starboard ocean view or the mid ship areas of the ship including the pool and lounge areas of decks 11 and 12.

The gulls are successfully diving into the waters to catch fish. If you watch closely you can see the fish swimming just under the surface before the gulls catch thier prey.

Service and food remains excellent in the dining room. I think I am now safe in saying Royal has improved over three years ago. Being a smaller ship also helps compared to the big girls as the Oasis class ships are often called.

Chester is off today, so nothing exciting in the Schooner Bar for entertainment. There are a few game shows in the Centrum. I catch the 6:30 production show with the singers and dancers after dinner. Yes I am usually out of the dining room in less than 45 minutes. It helps that I don't drink coffee, and rarely have a dessert.

We are scheduled to arrive in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas at the Crown Bay Pier at 9:00  AM with expected clearance by 9:30. Another passenger told me there are only two ships in port, so it shouldn't be too crowded. I will decide in the morning, what, if anything I will do ashore.