October 18, 2023

Oct 14, 15 - Sea Days

The skies remain cloudy and overcast. The humidity hovers just under 100%, and the temperature in the mid 80's. The seas are under 3 feet, and have no effect on the ship. A  cold front is moving through the area, but should pass Bermuda before we arrive.

One Pinnacle benefit that has not been taken away is breakfast in Chops Grille. My french toast tastes excellent, however they are the thickest slices of bread I have ever seen, easily over 2 inches.

I often attend the shore excursion talk to just learn a little about the port and where we are likely to dock. It appears the docks are fairly close to the terminal area in Bermuda.

Sea days are very lazy days. I take some time to write this. On this ship, my comfortable writing place has turned out to be in the lounge on deck 14 at a hi top table between the bar and the entrance to the Diamond Lounge, or I should say what used to be the Diamond Lounge as it has now been renamed "Crown Lounge".

There is a message from the shore excursion desk. Our excursion departing time has been changed. After the new tickets arrive in the cabin it makes sense why. The original tickets were printed with the excursion departing before the ship arrives in port. A difficult if not impossible feat. Actually the original excursion time was correct, but the ships arrival time has been delayed by local authorities. The local officials do not let commercial vessels of any type to enter or leave the harbor except in bright daylight hours. The channel is rather narrow and they don't want anymore sunken ships.

Our wait staff is good, but they don't have the hustle that the Celebrity crew showed. We attend the production show in the theater and probably are asleep by 10.

By the next morning the seas have risen to about 5 or 6 feet and the wind increased to 25 and 30 mph. Fortunately the winds and waves are on our stern and are just giving us an extra push, the ship remains rock solid stable.

After breakfast the next activity is the top tier party where Royal recognizes the most cruised passengers. On this cruise there are 55 Pinnacle members 300 Diamond Plus and 423 Diamond passengers. The top cruiser has 5356 points. Royal passengers earn a point for each day sailed plus extra points if you book a suite and extra points were issued during some special promotions. Regardless 5356 is a lot of cruising. Of course 10 years ago I never dreamed of some day attaining Pinnacle status.

Immediately following the the top tier party, there is a special lunch with the officers for the Pinnacle passengers. Probably about half of us attend. The surf and turf was excellent. The filet was more than I could eat, and of course being allergic to fish and seafood I gave my lobster to Lynn. The wine bottles were bottomless.

Seven hours later I still am not hungry for dinner. A portion of the fettucine alfredo serving is more than enough.

The main entertainer is very talented, but the presentation of his act was lacking in organization. He jumped radically from one thing to another without any obvious thread or flow to the show. No late entertainment for me. Our clocks have been moved an hour ahead and early Monday morning we have a 5 hour tour of Bermuda. The seas remain about the same, and the ship still very stable.

Mariner of The Seas

Three is a charm. This is the third time I have scheduled a cruise that would take me to Bermuda. Covid cancelled the last attempt, and medical issues caused cancellation of the first attempt. Maybe Friday the 13th will be better.

Preparations are easy, with both of my daughters also on this trip, we all ride together to the port. To start the week with a blast, there is a scheduled launch of a Falcon Heavy to carry a mission to a metallic asteroid about 4 years away. Only a fifteen minute deviation in our plans to be able to see the launch. After having seen many over the past 35 years, they are still fun to watch.10...9...8... only seconds to go. "Liftoff"!

The skies are clear enough for the rocket, but too overcast for anyone on the ground to witness anything.  The cameras  at the launch site recorded little to share on the internet. Oh well, we tried.

On to port parking. It begins to rain just as we arrive at the parking lot. Fortunately it lasts only a minute. Not even enough to put on a jacket or grab the umbrella. Within a few minutes the shuttle bus is loaded  and we are off to the terminal, one of the oldest at Canaveral. There are lots of passengers boarding, but lines move very smoothly. We are on the ship within about 45 minutes of parking the car.

The Windjammer is packed as usual. We luckily find a table in Chops Grille and grab a bite for lunch.

It has been a number of years since I booked an inside cabin. This one seems awful small. It really isn't, it just seems that way as this is an older ship and the cabin design is not as good as in some of the newer ships, nor as spacious as on some others.

We find a spot in the Crown Lounge for sailaway. We are joined by the others. It is hot and humid in Florida today, but a cold front is coming which will result in a high temperature of 68 on Monday. Cold for mid October.  The seas are slight, less than 3 feet as we head into the Atlantic for our 2 day passage to Bermuda.

My key doesn't work on the private lounge door, after being admitted by a crew member, when I talk to the host about the key malfunction I learn that the Pinnacle level passengers are not allowed to use this lounge on this cruise as there are too many of us. A special lounge has been established on deck 5 for Pinnacle use. I do note there are about 30 empty seats at 5:00 PM, usually peak occupancy time.

Our dinner reservations were messed up by the travel agent, and we didn't catch it until today. Despite the times being correct we were booked at two separate tables. Easily taken care of at the dining room, and fixed for the duration of the cruise.

There is  another rocket launch just after we sit down for dinner, but again the skies were too overcast to be able to see it. Is it a curse? Technically we haven't entered the Bermuda triangle yet. 

We are seated at a private table just inside the dining room entrance. Our wait staff introduces themselves. The NY strip steak was OK, but not as good as it was on Celebrity a few weeks ago.

After dinner, we all head to the first night welcome show in the theater.  The house orchestra was so so, an opinion probably influenced by all the excellent live music in the Orlando area. Dan Dan is our cruise director, a face that I have seen many times over the years. The obvious change other than age, he now wears glasses.

The comedian was good. Picked on  by a group of disrespective kids in the front row he held his own well. Finally after numerous requests for them to stop and be quiet, security removed one of them. Not another word from the others. 

There is little motion to the ship, more from engine vibration than from the seas. The next two days will be sea days.