July 10, 2019

Monday July 8

The ship arrives in Cococay before 7:00, passengers begin to leave by 8:30. skies are overcast with a very light breeze. temperatures are in the high 70's or low 80's, a much enjoyed relief from the Florida heat of late.

I haven't been to Cococay in 3 or 4 years, since before  the pier was built. It was strictly a tender port, and not a friendly one as the slighest seas made tendering too dangerous.

This summer Royal has mostly completed a transformation of the small island from just a beach stop to what I will call a carnival stop with a water park, zip lines, water slides, etc. all to be enjoyed by the guests for a fee.

Many of the walkways are now paved in very colorful bricks. I am sure the colors are of significance, leading to certain attractions.

A couple of nice things Royal did is provide shade and seating on much of the pier.  They also provide continuous shuttle service for those that need or desire it. Less than an hour of exploring is enough.

My cabin is very spacious, significantly larger than the interior cabins I am used to. Storage design is very functional. Shower drains, maybe not. The shower drain did not work properly and the entire bathroom flooded with an inch of water.

A call to maintenance, and hopefully a permanent fix has been made.

The weather remained overcast all day, but I don't think there ever was more than a few drops of rain. 

One drink in the lounge and then off to dinner. The service was as good as the first night. Surprisingly there are quite a few empty tables again tonight. After dinner we catch the ice show that we missed the previous night, there is plenty of room for all the "standby" passengers, like me, that don't have reservations.

After the show it is off to the Schooner bar to catch Kelly. He is playing an early set which ends at 8:15. We visit with Kelly and Ann for a bit until they need to get a bite for dinner. When he comes back at 9:15, he will play nearly continuously until way after midnight.  Ann is good, but fighting a cold. It was a pleasure to see them again, it probably has been two years.

The seas remain flat as we start on our day and a half cruise to our next port. Temperatures remain in the low 80's during the day, and a little cooler in the evening.

Tomorrow is a sea day.

Sunday July 7, 2029

The drive to the port is very leisurely, and unventful. No accidents and no traffic jams.

The off site parking lot has improved their procedure. Stop and your reservation is verified, or I assume if you haven't prepaid, you depart with the appropriate funds. Move on to the next stop, an area covered with canvas tents. Your luggage is unloaded and taken to the appropriate bus depending on your ship. Park your car, and walk back to the waiting bus. After a few minutes the bus is nearly full, and we head to the port and our awaiting ship about 3 minutes away.

Security  is swift, despite the fact I can't pass through the metal detectors and need special screening. Upstairs to the checkin area. The barcode on the set sail is read, a picture is taken and it is off to the ship.  Less than 40 minutes after arriving in Canaveral I am sitting in the Schooner bar waiting for the cabins to be opened so I can unload my carryon luggage. Brief calls are made to the kids to let them know I am safely on board.

There are some kids on the ship, but not nearly the number I expected. Maybe they are just hiding the first day, I will find out by the end of the cruise.

On the Harmony, all the muster stations are in interior spaces, mine is in the  dining room on deck 5.  The Diamond club or concierge lounge as I often call it, opens at 4:30. It too was used for a muster station, and the room needs to be cleaned before opening at 4:30.

Mohamed Sayeh, the Concierge, told me earlier in the afternoon that the lounge will not be overly busy. He was correct, it did not fill up. A rare ocurance, especially on the first night which is usually the busiest.

I have early dining, which usually means 5:30 or 6:00. On this cruise early dining in the main dining room is 5:00! It will be OK, that makes it easier to attend early entertainment.

We are a few minutes late. Waiters are no longer showing guests to their tables, they just direct you in the general direction.  When I find table 720, a waiter asks how many in my party, and I say 2. He takes the table number and moves it from a table set for 8 to a table for 2. I wonder where the other 6 passengers assigned to table 720 are going to  sit?

The dining room service was near the best I have ever encountered. Very friendly, accomodating, and very attentive. The head waiter even stopped at the table at least 3 times!

There were a few showers in the afternoon, but I escaped them all.

Somehow I managed to misplace the list of booked entertainment. By the time I had Mohamed print me a new one, I missed the first ice show. Oh well. there is always another day.

The seas remain essentially flat as we head to Cococay, our first stop. We are to expect a few showers overnight.