March 08, 2023

Day 4 San Juan, Puerto Rico

The seas remain slight, the skies clear to partly cloudy and temperatures around 80 as we head south easterly toward San Juan, Puerto Rico. Our expected arrival time is 2:30 PM.

Chops is fairly busy this morning. There are not a lot of children on this cruise, but one very bratty 5 year old seems to appear everywhere I go.  Today she grabs several knives off the table and challenges her younger sibling to a sword fight. Knives clash... The baseball capped father ignores them.

The ship arrives and is cleared about 30 minutes early. There is one other ship in port.

Lynn takes a shore excursion, the others go ashore to visit a brewery. The reports are excellent, everyone had a good time. I stayed on  the ship and took the opportunity to write and answer emails form the real  world.

I can't say that this is the problem, but this ship switched to Star Link recently for internet service. When it works, it appears to work OK, but keep in mind my heaviest usage is retrival of a handful of emails, not exactly a demanding application.  The annoying issue is the the internet connection drops frequently,  but fortunately reconnects within a few minutes.

RCCL chat app has its own issues. Sometimes it takes 30 minutes or more for a sent message to appear. More annoying I get the impression they use a random number generator to attach the time stamp.  The time stamp has little relation to the actual time sent. Oh well....

Many guests spend the evening ashore, and the dining room is not very busy tonight. No  show, just a movie. Many of the wait staff are wearing exactly the same tropical shirt as I choose tonight. We all have good taste.

I retire before our 10:00 PM departure time. The skies remain clear, the seas slight. Tomorrow we are headed to Phillipsburg, St Maarten.

Day 3 Labadee, Haiti

Labadee is another private island owned by Royal Caribbean. We arrive before 8:00 and most of the passengers depart the ship to spend the day in the sun and sand. Lynn and I stay on the ship, the others head to the beach.

Today is life boat training day. Many of the lifeboats are launched and the crew practices loading, launching and driving them. The exercise concludes without incident.

I don't know what the specific cause is, but cigarette smoke from the casino manages to finds its way into many areas of the ship where it shouldn't be. The balcony of the Theater, and throughout the Centrum on nearly all decks for example. I have been on this ship before and don't remember this being an issue in the past. It is almost like the exhaust fans for the casino area have been turned off or are not functioning for some reason.

Speaking of the casino, one of my favorite venues on Oasis class ships, Jazz on Four, is being converted into non smoking casino space. So much for live Jazz music.

All aboard is 3:30. I spend some time at the railing on deck five and watch the lobsters return to the ship. About 1 in 10 returning passengers are visibly very bady burned. Some on large areas of skin, others where it is obvious that they missed a spot with the sun screen.

We all gather in the Diamond lounge before heading to the dining room. Cheese sticks are excellent again and are consumed rapidly by the guests. Beverage service is slow because servers don't have a bar here, but have to go to a nearby bar to fill orders. Guests are supposed to sign all drink purchase tickets. This is the first time I have been asked.

Only a slight delay to get our dinner table. While waiting for dinner to arrive we learn that our assistant waiter is the same man that was our assistant waiter on the Brilliance of The Seas in March of 2022. He not only remembers the six of us together, but the table that we were seated at. Keep in mind that this was the Cruise where I contracted Covid so we only went to the dining room four times.  I can only dream about having such a good memory.

The entertainment tonight is the Las Vegas Tenors. Three gentlemen with excellent voices. They sang a variety of songs ranging from the 50's to today, most of which I didn't know. Unlike most performers, their second show of the evening was mostly new material that they did not include in the first show.

Tonight we put our clocks ahead an hour. The seas are slight with nearly a full moon almost directly over the ship. We  head towards San Juan, Puerto Rica at about 18 knots with an expected arrival at 2:30 PM.