September 06, 2023

September 5 - St Thomas

During the night our ship slowly moves to our next port of call, St. Thomas USVI. Again a lovely day with temperatures in the low 80's with an expected high of 88.

We wait until most of the passengers have disembarked for their excursions, then wander off the ship for an hour. No real purpose or destination other than to say I did got off the ship at some point.

Back on the ship  I spend time in the adult pool and hot tub. The pool water temperature was perfect and it was enjoyable with only a few guests still onboard. The hot tub seats were too low for me to be comfortable, so time there was limited.

The Sky lounge has become my go to place. It is a comfortable place to write, watch the ocean pass by, and enjoy cocktails before dinner. For some unexplained reason tonight it is also popular with many other passengers. The lone server is kept very busy, but as regulars we are well taken care of.

Just as we are headed to dinner, the shore excursion desk calls to inform me that the one shore excursion we have booked for the entire cruise has been cancelled. Plans for tomorrow have been changed. I wasn't sure I would get to see Nick at the Lazy Lizzard, but now we will. A purpose and mission for St Marten.

The dining room is very busy this evening. Of course we have the same staff every night, but they have been shuffling the guests between different tables depending on what is open when we arrive at our reserved time.  Actually I like this better than having the same exact table every night.

The entertainment tonight is the production show "Topper" which has been running since the first time I cruised on the Equinox, probably over 10 years ago. 

The seas are very slight as we make our short journey overnight to St Marten. Yes, we plan to get off and have lunch with Nick at the Lazy Lizzard.

September 3 - A Sea Day

The skies are mostly sunny with an occasional passing cloud. There are some swells in the ocean which constantly roll the ship from side to side about 2 or 3 degrees despite the best efforts of the stabilizers. The adult pool is closed all day, either because of the sloshing water or some other cause.

Breakfast in the main dining room is good. Two pancakes are enough.

During the day the usual assortment of trivia, archery, golf, pickleball etc.

Just as the officers enter the pool for the officers vs, guest volleyball game, the skies open up with a brief but heavy downpour. Everyone scatters except the officers in the pool. The match is cancelled until a future date.

Celebrity often has a lecture series. On this trip the subject is Buddhism - the life of Buddha. A subject I know little about.  The speaker is not only knowledgeable but very articulate. An excellent speaker with an interesting subject. The series continues with 4 different presentations throughout the cruise.

Unlike Royal, there are no appetizers during cocktail hour in the sky lounge. The only option is a combination of corn, pretzels and other salty snacks. A combination I haven't encountered before.  The corn kernels taste very good, but we have concern that they may be rancid and will resist them for the remainder of the cruise.

Dinner is pasta with apple pie for desert. Yes real pie not the substitute Royal has.

The ship continues with a slight roll, the weather near perfect. A little cooler than Florida has been in recent weeks. Since leaving Port Everglades we have been cruising at just under 21 knots. About as fast as they can run this ship, barring an extreme emergency.

Tomorrow afternoon we are due to arrive in San Juan.

September 2 - Equinox

It has been many months since I have been on a cruise, and I am finally headed back to sea. The covid pandemic wrecked havoc with the cruise industry. Several of my favorite ships have been sent to the scrap yards. New ships that were in the process of being built have been delivered, even if later than expected. With the tremendous financial hit the cruise industry took, many permanent changes have been implemented. 

Ships are operating with smaller crews, entertainment has been cut back, if not in frequency in financial expense.  Bargain cruises are almost non existant, the cruise lines would rather sail with some empty berths.

The Equinox, always a favorite ship is headed to the eastern caribbean on this 8 day itinerary. Celebrity as a cruise line, and the 8 day itinerary pretty much ensure that the passenger manifest will be mostly mature passengers, that means few under 25.

The drive to Port Everglades was painless. We arrived at Park N Go and were immeadiately whisked away to the ship terminal.  No lines, no waiting. Boarding pass is checked, twice. Passport checked, and carry on luggage scanned, I get a quick pat down and we climb the long ramp to board. We are on the ship less than 30 minutes after arriving at the parking lot.

We are told we can take our carry on luggage to the cabin even though they aren't officially open yet. Just can't remain in the cabin. I hope this is a new standard policy, it will make boarding day much nicer.

As aways the buffet is crowded. A slice of pizza is enough for lunch. A brief conversation with each of the children to let them know we are safely on board. We watch sailaway from the aft of deck 14. The skies are partly cloudy and the temperature in the upper 80's. There is only one other ship in Port Everglades today. I had forgotten that many of the ships are in Europe, Australia or Alaska during the summer months, returning to Florida in November for the winter season.

A set of music in the atrium before dinner in the main dining room. Prime rib, always a favorite was excellent. The service was prompt, proper, and efficient. Lynn was served an extra shrimp cocktail appetizer. Gluten free was a breeze and handled in stride. A nice window table provided a excellent view of the passing ocean 25 feet below.

No free cocktails on the first night. At about $15.00 per drink they just want us to be reminded how much the freebies are worth.

The main entertainment is "Take 3", a trio of classical musicians. A pianist, violin player, and cello player. The three gals, all under 30 have 14 musical degrees between them. Absolutely superb musicians. 

The seas are probably 3 or 4 feet. There is a slight rock to the ship, but most passengers are handling it just fine. The ship constantly creaks, like me, an indication of age. Tomorrow will be a sea day as we head to San Juan with a scheduled arrival late Monday afternoon.

The ship has been using star link since spring. My first impression is that overall speed is slow compared to previous service. But that can be heavily impacted by number of guests using the intenet and other factors controlled by Celebrity.

I have 90 minutes of internet for the 8 days. It took 19 of those minutes to download a handfull of emails. I will write my blog and post it when I get home or have cellular service in port.