March 16, 2019

2 Sea Days and Home

The last two days of my vacation are upon me. It seems like it was just yesterday that I boarded the ship in Port Everglades, and it is now time to start thinking about packing and going home. Time passes so quickly.

First thing this morning the sky was heavily overcast and it looked like rain was imminent. A glass of juice and an egg sandwich in the Solarium for breakfast. Forty minutes later when I go to the bridge for a tour, the sun was bright and shining, and the lounge chairs are all occupied or inconsiderately reserved with an old book or a towel.

Yes, I do pick up a new bit of information even though I have been here before. The Serenade has over 225 cameras watching every public corner of the ship. All cameras are on 24/7  and each camera image is continuously recorded. It was not revealed how long the recordings are kept, but I imagine a significant length of time. Storage space is cheap.

I find it quite interesting, but not surprising, that there has not been a single service animal on the ship in the past month and a half. There are many motorized scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, and canes, but not a single service animal. Historically there would be several each trip. I can only jump to the conclusion that the new program to verify that each animal is truly a valid service animal is working. Thank you Royal.

I did not go to the show last night, I was just beat and went to bed right after dinner. An absolute terrible thing to do, sleep on a full stomach that is, but I just couldn't stay up any later. Tonight's show is a production show for the singers and dancers, I plan to attend the 6:30 show.

Trivia has been a mainstay of ship entertaiment for years. Music trivia, movie trivia, sports triva, you name it and there is a trivia game for every theme.

Most triva players are very dedicated, some are very good, and sometimes win a keychain, zipper pull or hi-liter. There is not much that can interupt a trivia game. One thing that did was the sighting of a pod of whales less than 100 yards off the port side of the ship. Nearly every trivia player rushes to the windows in the Schooner Bar to watch. Trivia is stopped in its tracks. I now know that whales trump trivia.

I have seen whales in Alaska and New England, but never before in this area even though they migrate thru here each year.

Several days ago we were treated to a school of dolphins, a more common event. Some passengers saw some sharks, but I did not.

We meet in the Lounge, have a drink, and then go to the 6:30 show. If we do it right there will be enought time to have another beverage just before dinner.

There have been plenty of seats in the reserved section. The more one has cruised, the less likely they are to attend a show, they most likely have seen it before, especially since the same production shows have been playing on this ship since she was launched in 2003. The cast changes about every 6 months, but not the show or wardrobe.

Tonight is lobster night in the dining room. Not Maine, or New England lobster, but warm water lobster. Those that eat it claim it is not nearly as good. I have prime rib and tortellini.

A quick stop at the Schooner Bar so Chester can see his youngest fan Eliza, and then it is off to the cabin.

During the night the seas have grown a little, and there is a gentle roll to the ship. Most passengers will sleep well, a few will suffer ill effects if they are especially susceptible to motion.

The first activity of the morning is a galley tour. We catch the bakery making rolls. The machine rolls out 3 dozen at a time, the baking pan holds 35 easily, the 36th is squeezed in. The rack rolled into the oven  bakes 600 at a time. The baker confirms he will make savory bites on request. They most likely must be made by hand, they
are not round like the output of the machine.

Usually when my children travel with me, they want to carry all the luggage off the ship so they can be on the road as quickly as possible as often Adrienne has to work in the afternoon of the day we return. She or her husband would help me get my large suitcase down the ramp to the terminal. From there I can handle it along with my carryon suitcase. Self assist departure will be impossible this trip. There is just too much luggage including dive gear, diapers, a stroller,  baby carriers, and many suitcases.

Add to this, I am given some amenities by Royal. In addition to everything I brought to the ship to sustain me for six weeks I am leaving with two bottles of rum, sixteen, yes sixteen, beach towels, a a three pound acrylic block, chocolate, spices, and other stuff I purchased.

Surprisingly I am able to get everything except the rum and four towels into my large suitcase along with all my clothing. Never mind that it is so heavy I can't lift it from the bed to the floor. That is what a strong son in law is for. Thanks Steve!

The entertainer our last night is a comedian, I attend, he is good. The alarm is set for 7:00 as I need to vacate my room by 8:00 in the morning.

I am wide awake long before the alarm, grab my last belgian waffle and meet up with the others to depart the ship. On the way I stop in the spa to check the scales. I'm optimistic, but must wait for the real check when I get home.

It is rainy and dreary In Fort Lauderdale. The drive is uneventful, the usual traffic congestion, a couple of restroom breaks, and a fuel stop. Scott and his family stay on I-95 while the rest of us in my car switch to the Fl. Turnpike.

I set myself two goals while driving home. Find and download Emily Post's Etiquette book, or possibly an updated version for ship travel originally written about a century ago. My second goal is to decide on a new reference for my dining room food expectations. Only two have come to mind so far, The Golden Coral, and Cecis Pizza.  I'll work on it. If I set my expectations low enough, I will most always be pleased.

A stop to pick up Nemo from Alyssa's house, and we are at our respective destinations by 3:00 PM. Turn on the water, water heater and air conditioner. It is hot and humid in Clermont!

By bedtime all the clothes have been washed, the refrigerator restocked with some basics, and the scale checked. I won! Six weeks on a cruise ship, eating in the dinning room, without weight gain. I will keep cruising, and may even continue the dining room, but with early dining not late dining. Late dining was just very difficult.