December 12, 2021

Dsy 3 - A Sea Day

Saturday December 11. The seas remain at about 5 to 6 feet. The wind is at or stern at about 15 knots, slightly less than our 17 knots of progress towards Cozumel.

The skies are mostly clear, the sun bright and temperatures in the low to mid 70's.

It is a good thing I had no desire to dine in Chops as I learn they have been sold out since before we sailed. I guess that explains why they haven't been pushing the specialty dining. 

Compared to my last sailing a few more activites have been returned. Special merchandise sales on the promenade such as the cheap tee shirts and hats, discounted silver, a watch sale.  A  "diamond" sales pitch in the theater, oops I mean seminar. And the old standby, the  shopping guide sales pitch for Cozumel, our next port of call. I pass on all of them.

A top tier event is held in the Star lounge. Not for Diamond and above as in years past, but only for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle. At most 60 passengers attend out of the 200 invited. Champagne or punch, or whatever if you ask. 

A gentleman that arrived 15 minutes late,  downs two double bourbon on the rocks in less than two minutes, then gets up and leaves in the middle of the event. Behavior of society hasn't improved. Why did I let him sit at my table?

The new procedure for complimentary drinks for Diamond and above is that depending on your level you can have your alloted number of beverages from most any location at any time of day. The servers are supposed to ring up each drink to keep track. Well having just reviewed my account I can tell you that often does not happen. Possibly a cash tip to the server with your first drink, and the next ones don't get rung up?  I doubt anyone from Royal will be reading this.

As I anticipated, Barbara is the top cruiser with 1905 points. There are 310 diamond passengers, 167 Diamond Plus, and 25 Pinnacle. World wide Royal has over 17,000,000 crown and anchor members.

I felt the piano player was decent the other night, so I go the the Schooner bar to pass time before the show. Disappointment. Exactly the same set as before. another passenger asks the bartender, and yes he does exactly the same thing every single night. Probably one of the reasons I enjoy Kelley Goodrich so much.

The vocalist show from the Phillipines, "Goddess" is good and also gives me the opportunity to eveluate a new set of sound reducing earplugs I purchased for such occasions. My inaccurate sound level meter app in my phone peaks the audio at 105 dba. The earplugs lower the level substantially, but unlike the inexpensive foam plugs I have used for years does not alter the tonal quality.

As we turn more south after passing Cuba, the seas drop to about 2 feet. We are expected to arrive in Cozumel about 7:30 AM.

Day 2 - Mariner of The Seas

Before sunrise we have pulled into the pier at CocoCay. Provisions for the days consumption on the island are off loaded. At 8:00 AM passengers begin going ashore. A large percentage of passengers want to sit in the sun or play on the beach or water park. I have already decided to stay on the ship.

The Symphony of the Seas shares the island with us today. I am sure there is space for everyone, but the peace and quiet of the ship is more enjoyable.

The balloon is not tied down to the ground today, a first for me. But it is not going aloft either. It is tethered about15 feet off the ground. It makes for better photo ops that way, but no revenue.

The weather remains beautiful all day. A light breeze with temperatures about 75. A NCL ship is anchored a few miles away for their private island experience. No pier for them, they have to tender to shore as Royal used to do before building the pier here.

Real breakfast this morning in Chops Grille. Another Pinnacle Club benefit. French toast made to perfection. I run into Bill and Lynne and we make plans to test the champagne later in the day, so upon returning to the cabin I ask my room steward to please ice the champagne. 

A couple hours later I am back in the cabin and I see that he has brought the ice, but the entire counter is covered with water and beginning to run to the floor. A quick investigation reveals a small hole in the bottom of the bucket. The water leaks out as fast as the  ice melts. 

The bucket is quickly transferred to the sink, and 2 bath towels later the counter is dry. Fortunately nothing of significance was damaged. I am glad I returned when I did.

Bill and Lynne have a suite, so of course we plan to drink the champagne there. I am eager to see what I am missing. Parts of the cabin are identical to my standard balcony, but there are some significant additional amenities.

The first is that there is a real lighted doorbell in the hallway. The closet space is about 50% larger. The bath includes a very deep tub with sides so high many people, including all of us, would find it very difficult to get into, and nearly impossible to get out of. Of course they have a real spacious shower compared to the tiny round one in my cabin. The bed, and sofa are identical to my cabin, but of course the counter tops and coffee table are quartz or marble, not imitation wood laminate. In addition to chairs, the balcony has heavily padded loungers. Yes very nice.

The Champagne is better than we expected it to be. We finish about half of the bottle and I leave the rest for them to enjoy. I think afternoon nap is in order.

Having found the Diamond lounge quite busy yesterday, I decide to go to the Pinnacle Lounge just after 5:00. An adjustment for Covid, the Pinnacle Lounge is temporarily located in the Library. A small windowless space tucked off to one side of the entrance to the Star Lounge.

Of course everthing is always at the other end of the ship. I get some exercise that way. In walking down the cabin hallway to the fore elevators I pass the Medical team dressed in what passengers describe as Haz Mat Suits going in and out of a cabin. Obviously at  minimum someone is in quarantine as a safety precaution for some reason.

The Lounge is empty with only two other passengers there. Barbara I remember from many cruises ago, possibly back to my Monarch days. She is often the passenger with the most points at t he top tier party. If you have any question how she does it, this is her 16th of 17 cruises back to back on The Mariner.

It is the Windjammer for dinner tonight. Italian night so it is pasta with Bolognese sauce. At the entrance to the Windjammer the galley has made a large ginger bread village display complete with running train. How did they know I was going to be here.

I  have reservations for the show at 10:15, but go to the Schooner bar. After a set or two I decide the prudent think to do is sleep, not stay up for a show.

All day I have had in my mind that we would be in Nassau tomorrow. Not true. Cozumel is our next port. We will pass to the North of cuba tomorrow, a sea day.

Seas are about 5 feet, but no motion is felt by most of the passengers as we run at about 17 to 20 knots against a strong current, but with an equally strong following sea.