March 05, 2023

March 1, 2023 - Day 1 on The Jewel of The Seas

The past several weeks at home have been very busy. The weather at home in Florida has been its normal dry for February, but abnormally warm with many records being set.

There are six of us traveling on this cruise together, Lynn and I, My daughter Adrienne and her husband Steve, and Pann and Terry, friends from Ohio. To save the $100 cost of parking for a second car, we are all riding together.

Scheduled departure time is 9:00 am. We are ready and waiting outside. Steve manages to get all the luggage in the back. A quick stop to pick up Terry after he returned his rental car, and another stop at the eye doctor to get Steve's contact lens.

We are on our way. A severe accident has closed the Northbound lanes of the turnpike, fortunately the Southbound lanes are flowing freely.

After  the usual quick stop at McDonalds we get to the parking lot and immediately get on the shuttle bus to the terminal.  Being the smaller of the two RCCL ships in port, we are relegated to one of the old terminals.

The process is quick and efficient. We agree to meet in the Windjammer for lunch while waiting for our cabins.

We all purchased guaranteed cabins for this trip, a practice I basically abandoned many years ago.  In hind sight maybe I should have this time. We are located about 4 doors from the extreme aft of the ship on deck 9. Adrienne and Steve are located right above the Schooner bar on deck 6. Pann and Terry have a decent cabin location on deck 9.

About 3 weeks ago Adrienne offers to swap with me so I will be closer to the elevator. I never reply as I also don't want to be right above the Schooner bar as it can be quite noisey late into the night. Unknown to me Adrienne had bid on an upgrade to a grand suite and got it. Now she refused to accept my agreement  to swap cabins with her. I don't blame her, but she will be reminded of her earlier offer.

Lunch was edible, my weiner snitzel actually quite good. All gathered in the Windjammer we spend the next hour trying to figure out how to use Royal's chat app which permits chatting with other guests on the ship without going thru the internet. There used to be a daily charge, but it now is free to all guests. I am sure anybody watching and hearing us found the whole process quite entertaining. By the time we left, I think everyone successfully sent one useless message to someone else in our party.

Cabins were ready just before 2. Our luggage already had arrived so unpacking was the next order of business, shortly followed  by a visit to the "Grand Suite". 

We were instructed to ring the door bell on arrival.  About twice the size of a normal cabin with a thickly padded lounge chair on the balcony in addition to a table and 4 chairs.

A large bathroom with tub and shower, plenty of storage space, and lots of room to walk around. Now I am glad, no I should correct that and say everyone should be glad that I had not swapped cabins.  The shower was in the tub, and the side so high that there way no way I could safely get in and out to shower. I imagine after a week I would be pretty ripe with no shower access.

A few cocktails and appetizers in the concierge lounge. Surprisingly there were a few empty tables. The appetizers were hot and tasty. Some of the best in a long time.

We did get our dinner reservations consolidated to 6:45 every night. Nothing new on the menu. I choose spaghetti bolognese.  Simple but good. The pasta was prepared just right. The accompanying rolls very fresh but absent were bread sticks. Savory bites are more rare as the waiter had no idea what we were asking about.

Dinner finishes too late for the early  show, and there is no way I can stay up for the 10:00 PM show. I pass on the comedian and call it a night.

The seas are about 6 to 7 feet which is just enough to impart a little motion onto the ship. The skies are partly cloudy with little chance of rain. We are headed almost directly into a brisk southernly breeze.

Tomorrow is a sea day as we head to Labadee, Haiti, another of Royal's private islands.