Friday, November 28, 2008

Cruise Day 2

I don't remember when we got to bed on the Sunday night, but Monday morning we woke just in time to have breakfast in the dining room, instead of buffet in the Windjammer Cafe. I am not fond of 'going to' breakfast. I don't like getting dressed right after a shower, I don't like having to navigate even just the one floor up, I don't like making decisions....

We got seated at a table with a young couple, celebrating their 1st anniversary. Actually, I don't think they were that young, but youngish. They were speaking a foreign language. At one point, the man stopped and asked if we were American. Rob said no (I wasn't up to much speaking yet). The man said he wondered because Rob said the coffee was too strong, and he was commenting to his wife that the coffee wasn't strong enough! They serve "Seattle's Best" but for some reason, in the dining rooms, it is quite strong (overcooked, I think). The couple were from Brazil. I commented that their Portuguese sounded different than what our neighbours speak (and we think they're Portuguese). He said there are different accents throughout Brazil, and it is in fact slightly different than Portugal Portuguese. He said only about 3% of Brazilians can speak English (highest in the cities) and that a LOT of Brazilians go to Toronto to study English because it is very cheap for them. I wanted to ask them about the high c-section and plastic surgery rates, but wasn't quite up for it at breakfast, LOL.

This turned out to be the only time we had breakfast in the dining room all week!

Rob wasn't feeling too well so we went back to the cabin and watched TV (really.). Then all of a sudden we realized we had only 15 minutes left to get up two decks and down the length of the ship to get our tickets for the ice show later in the week!

I'm looking at our "Cruise Compass" for that day, and the only thing circled was the 3:30 Crown & Anchor Wine Tasting (too bad we missed the "How to Shave" seminar in the morning!).

So, I assume we had lunch, then a little lie down, then the wine tasting. "Crown & Anchor Society" is the people who are on their second or higher cruise with Royal Caribbean. That's how we got those coupons books. The wine tasting was quite interesting, although it was hard to understand the Filipino waiter who was teaching us. We tried some rose Zindfadels, a Chardonnay, and 3 red wines. I didn't like one of the whites, and two of the reds, but the last red (Cabernet Sauvignon) was okay if I had to drink red. Rob also preferred the rose Zindfadel the most. In fact, he took the filled glasses from the empty seats at our table! LOL.

Then it was back to our room, or maybe we went to the pool. Probably both. In fact, I think I knitted while lounging on the pool deck. It was an overcast day, but when the sun came out, it was quite warm. Once the sun went down though, it got almost cool, considering the winds.
This was the first formal dinner night, so we got dolled up. One thing they do almost every night, is set up mini photo studios outside the dining rooms (it's a 3 story dining room once inside it), and a couple other places. The formal nights they take 'formal' portraits. Other nights, it's really casual type pictures. Every time you leave the ship in port, or when you first got on the ship, there's photographers taking your picture. You can buy them on board. Last year, we liked the formal picture, but didn't buy it because it's $20 for a 5x7 or 8x10, and we took our own picture that turned out quite good, LOL. But after, we regretted not getting it.

(I made that black shawl on the Singer 327 the week before we left!). So this year, it wasn't busy when we passed by so we stopped for 'portraits' with great expectations. We saw the pictures the next night and were terribly disappointed. In one picture, Rob had a goofy look. One picture I had terrible glare on my glasses and lipstick on my teeth (which looked surprisingly yellow!). In two others, we were sitting, and I had terrible love handles! There wasn't one picture that had both of us looking good :(
We headed into the dining room to meet our table mates. This is probably the scariest moment of the trip! LOL. It took awhile to figure out the relationship between everyone was. There were two black women with almost shaved heads (one dyed blonde!), a black man, a younger black lady, a white woman, and a younger man who was not black, but sort of olive skinned (ie--he could have been bi-racial). The young man, we learned quickly, was called Dale, and was from Philadelphia. But what was the connection between them all? The two older black ladies didn't seem to know each other but were getting along quite well. We soon realized the 'white blond' somehow knew Dale; and in fact, we later realized she was his mother. It turned out the 'black blond' was married to the black man, they were called Regna and Rudy. Regna was the woman; her name is anger spelled backwards (and woe be the one who messes it up!), and she was one large personality. Anger issues, gambling, tea addiction, LOL. Rudy was quieter; a war veteran who grew up with his godparents in Jamaica, they now lived in NYC and he was the superintendent of two buildings. Never learned was Regna did, except drink a LOT of tea. The young lady was their daughter. A quiet compilation of the best of her parents. Now. The other black lady. She was Dale's mother's best friend and her name was Cheryl (I think.). We never learned the daughter's name or Dale's mother's name. There were interesting conversations all week, although our table was oval shaped, and there were two empty seats, so it was a little hard at times (we played musical chairs each night which was great!). Last year, our table had a young couple from Ireland on their honeymoon, and a single 32 year old woman with her 12 year old son and her best friend. That was also an interesting table, particularly when the conversations were about the differences between all our cultures. Dale was an interesting, LOL, young man. Very fond of drinking, he had a DUI charge about 10 years ago and so had his own breathalyzer, which he brought with him. He was a baseball fan and proud of the World Series win. He mentioned at one point that he finds the best use of people is for entertainment. He was certainly entertaining (in a 'shake your head, you're still so young and immature' sort of way, LOL).
Our waitress was "Huny" although her name tag had such a long ethnic name on it I'm not sure how Huny came from it, LOL. The assistant was Edmond, who quickly became known as Edmond the Bread Man. Huny was great; very friendly, a little too insistent on what we order for dessert, LOL, but a great waitress who offered her opinions freely. She played tricks on Dale, and flirted with him---cutting and feeding him at a few points. Huny's tag said she was from India, but she didn't look, or sound, Indian. She looked more Filipino. On the last night she said she flies to Bombay, and then a four hour flight to her home town. There, she said, they actually have all 4 seasons, which is nicer than Bombay which is too hot. She works 6 months on the boat, and then 4 months at home. The staff work really hard and long. Last year our waiter worked the breakfast slot, and the two dinner seatings (we would leave the dining room at 10:15pm and they'd still be working; breakfast opened around 7:30am). And, they work 7 days a week; there are NO off days during the 6 months!
After dinner, it was a stroll to the other end of the ship for the 'production show'. The shows that Royal Caribbean does are incredible. I was blown away last year! The first show of the week was "Marquee" which was sort of a musical medley of Broadway hits; not a plot/story type show. But still spectacular.....although Rob dozed off a bit; musical theater is not really his top interest, LOL.
The amount of detail RCI puts into its ships is incredible. The stage curtains were heavily beaded, although you can't see in the photo, and quite sparkly. Later on, I'll show some more theater shots. You really feel like you could be in a theater on Broadway!
After the show, we probably walked around, Rob probably got pizza, LOL, we probably went outside to warm up. Maybe went back to the room to change. At 12:15am, in the same theater, was the Late Night Adult Comedy, with Eric Lyden. We'd never heard of him, LOL, but that's not unusual for us. He was pretty funny, although by the end of the week (several different comedians this week), I began to wonder why they put down the audiences so much. LOL.
Finally, it was bed time! We returned to our room and found Fido! We hadn't had a creature on the first night, so we wondered if we'd get one at all. He was quite cute, and thankfully house trained!!

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