Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Caribbean Cruise - Part 1

Back in December Mr. Man and I were given the gift of a Caribbean cruise.  We went with his parents, two of his sisters and their husbands.  We travelled on the Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas.   It was FABULOUS!  If you haven't been on a cruise, here's a run down.......

First you leave your luggage in the drop off zone at the port and get in line.
(sorry Audrey for this not overly flattering picture, it's the only picture I took of the line, this is the 2nd line btw)
The first line is to check that you have a boarding pass and passport.  The second line sends you through security.  It is much like the line you have to stand in at the airport.  Next you stand in line to turn in your "health survey" which you are on the honor system for.  I lied and said I hadn't had a cold within the last two weeks cause I wanted to avoid the line to have a "health evaluation".  Also when you turn in the health survey you receive your sea card.  This card is also your room key and what you use to buy ANYTHING on the ship.  Drinks, souvenirs, toiletries, excursions, food at the 'specialty' places.....Next you go through a line to get your picture added to their computer system to show when your card is scanned.  Then you get to board the ship!!  Unless of course you get to the gangway when they're trying to adjust it to be level with the deck again. Then you get to stand and watch the process, if you are in the front of the line like we were, and also watch the line behind you get longer and longer.

Then finally, welcome aboard!!  There were some crew members standing around eager to help guide you in the direction of your room.  We found ours quickly, Room 6311 - 6 being the deck we were on and 311 being the room number.  It was an inside cabin, and I LOVED it.  It was far roomier than I expected.  Starting at the far end of the room, here is what it had...a Queen size bed with night stands on either side, only about 15 inches wide, but I hadn't expected a walk space at all!  There were curtains at the foot of the bed so you could close off the bed area, incase someone wanted to sleep and the other didn't.  They didn't do a fabulous job blocking the light, but it was better than nothing.  Then there was a dresser/desk/entertainment center/vanity.  This also held the room safe and mini fridge.  Across from that wall unit was a love seat and coffee table.  Then came the closet, which was on the same wall as the desk thing.  It was very roomy and comfortably held all our clothes (the desk had drawers for our unmentionables) as well as shelves that were perfect for shoes.  In the closet was a couple of life vests also. Across from the closet was the bathroom.  Very small, but not uncomfortable.  On first view I was overwhelmed by the smell akin to a portapotty, but that dissipated quickly.  The toilet is kind of small and looks flimsy, but I got used to it.  It flushes via a button on the wall with a big woosh.  The sink is in reach from the toilet.  The shower though was of a nice size, and had doors not a curtain which helped make it more pleasing.  The shower head could be moved up and down per your needs.  So low for me and high for Mr. Man!  I apologize for not getting any pictures of the room.

 We had about two hours before we had to go to muster, so we went up to the buffet.  It was confusing because they tell you the buffet is in the Windjammer, and then we got there and they sent us back to the Island Grill.  It was not so confusing once we walked into the Island Grill, as it turned out that was just an extension of the Windjammer.  This buffet, the Cafe on the Promenade and the main dining room were all the places you could eat without a fee.
The food was good, but then I've always been fond of buffet food.  Only thing unpalatable was the fish, it was dry, tough and flavourless.
After eating we headed off to investigate the ship.

Looking at the promenade from deck 6
The main pools on deck 11, we never used them.
 The sky chapel on deck 14

When it was time for the safety drill(muster) we headed to the location indicated on our sea passes.
It only took about 15 minutes as they explained the safety procedures and how the life vests & boats worked.
As the deck 4 walkway was full of people we just sat and waited for it to clear then played shuffleboard.







I think Mr. Man and I then went and unpacked.
For the entire trip we had every dinner in the dining room.  I highly recommend it. While the Windjammer is great for breakfast and lunch, dinner in the dining room is excellent!  Our servers name was Erol and he was from Turkey.  He'd worked on the ship for 5 years.  His wife is a chef in the kitchen.  Joking back and forth was sort of hit or miss.  It also depended on how long he'd been working, but he was a very nice man and quite congenial no matter what.  He learned by the third day to not even ask if we would be getting any wine and just immediately would remove the wine glasses for us.  He also was quick to learn that we liked to share and try each others dishes and so he'd bring extra of the top items for us to have.  Like on the night we had lobster he brought us three or four extra!  There were two formal nights and we wore church clothes for that.

 Erol, our waiter, is in he background of this one of Mr. Man's parents

 There's always something special about ordering off of menus!  Every night the menu was different.  I enjoyed that there was always some indian dish, I had it twice and each time it was delicious.  The appetizers and desserts were always different as well.  Most everything was delicious.  One night I ordered just a steak from the "for the non adventurous" menu (just what I called it, basic stuff available every night).  The main memorable item was the Royal chocolate cake.  It was WONDERFUL.  And as a side note, the Windjammer does serve some of the same dinner items that you can get in the dining room.  So if you can't decide, know that you can dash up there for the other desserts as well as the hot soups.  Oh, you can also have breakfast and lunch in the dining room if you want to, I just don't enjoy having every meal take an hour and a half or more.  We did do that a few times, and I recommend having lunch there at least once because the salad bar down there is amazing.  Really.  So good.  They also have unique and delicious things on the lunch menus.  For breakfast you can have chocolate pancakes with chocolate chips and chocolate syrup........in the dining room.  I had the eggs benedict, it's not on the menu but you can order it anyway.  I don't think it's possible with dining room food, but you can take anything from the Windjammer back to your room.  The Windjammer closed at 9:30pm, but no worries if you got hungry after that.  You could order room service for free from 5am to 11pm, and there was also the Cafe Promenade on deck 5 with baked goods and little sandwiches. The drinks you can get free vary.  At breakfast you can have water, orange juice cocktail, apple juice, and milk.  At other meals you can get water or lemonade.  Anything else will cost.  And cost quite a bit. One cup or can of soda pop is $2.75.  Alcoholic drinks were at least double that I think.  I don't know, we don't drink liquor.   In the Cafe you could also get hot chocolate.  Oh and basic coffee was free I think.  I can't tell you if it was good or not.  They also had hot tea and ice tea for free, I think.

 All over the ship, especially at dinner time, were photographers trying to take pictures of you in an attempt to get you to buy them for an arm and a leg (really, one picture costs like $25!!).  Of course if you really want to do that, I recommend take as many as you possibly can because at the end of the cruise they'll have a 'deal' where you can buy the prints PLUS a CD with all the pictures for $110.  We discovered that if we got down to dinner early we'd miss the crowd and the hold up caused by it and also not have to deal with the photographers prodding.
And thus ends Part 1 of the cruise review!

3 comments:

Trishgoger said...

When I first went on a cruise, my friend cheated and took pictures of the pictures! But they definitely look out for that, she must have been super sneaky haha

sleepless said...

Lovely adventure !!

Julianna said...

Looks like a fabulous time. I have never cruised before, looks like fun!