Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Family Cruise 2014: Day 2, At Sea

At the end of day 1, several people wanted to plan what time we'd meet for breakfast, but I knew our gang was still pretty tired!  Now, just a little over a month later, we can't all agree on where we went for breakfast.  Some say we went to Windjammer, some say we went to the dinning room.  I seriously don't remember!!  I do know that we all met up  at 10am to go skating!
 Meg was troubled by the idea of skating on the ship. We allowed her to bring her skating pants and jacket, but we wouldn't allow her to bring skates. It's hard to know before you go, how many skating sessions there'll be. We had described the rental skates, showed her pictures, told her she'd need a helmet, etc, but she was still resistant. For about the first 45 minutes, our group were the only people on the ice! 
 We had Dad M, Rob, Lou, Me, and the four kids:  Nya, Meg, Lucy, and Hugh.  The only one who didn't skate was Mum M.  I was happy even Lucy and Hugh skated, since they hadn't skated in awhile (no skates that fit anymore!).  Meg was really hesitant to do any of her tricks, but the ice wasn't in very good shape.  Nearly everyone fell at some point!  You're supposed to skate for 30 minutes, but since no one else was there, we kept going LOL.  Finally a few other people came, and gradually our gang stopped skating. 
Royal Caribbean prides itself on having a huge art collection on board the ships.  Everywhere, there is original art.  They also do the "Art Auction at Sea".  Rob and I went once, it was interesting, but it wasn't like we were about to bid on anything big (they will arrange shipping).  On our first cruise, it was held in the lounge on the bow on deck 5, but this time, it's been moved down to the On Air lounge by the ice rink.  Actually gets a bit more traffic there probably.  Lucy loved this sea turtle picture.  It really glowed like it was lit up!

I liked this painting.

Not sure what happened next, I think we all went back to our cabins to change, with instructions to meet in the Explorer Room (one of the Adventure Ocean rooms) for Family Stateroom Door Decorating. 

 Working hard on their art!

 Siblings and cousins!  Can you tell?  :)
 Grandad and Meg

We got there early and got started.  Now, you must understand about the Mainwaring family.  They are all very artistically blessed.  We were reduced to markers, glitter and glue, but they all had a lot of fun creating signs for our doors.  It was great to see other families out too, though it meant supplies were in hot demand!  We had to leave our artwork to dry, and move on to the next activity, which was probably lunch. 

My next pictures indicate some fun pool time!  It wasn't all that warm feeling out, and I was hesitant to go swimming because in the past, sometimes the pools were really cool.  The kids assured me that the kid pool (uh, not sure why they put such a deep pool in the kid zone) was warm, and indeed, it was!

 I did, however, prefer the kid-size hot tubs in the H20 Zone!

 The underwater camera can give some neat effects!  Below is an underwater shot showing how around the pool, there is about 4 inches of water, and then it drops off directly into the pool, around 48" deep (some are even deeper; there is no "shallow end" that graduates into a deep end!).

After pool time, I think we went back to our cabins for some rest and to get ready for the first formal night.  The girls were so excited to get dressed up and had a hard time choosing which outfits.  I found out that although Rob had "approved" Hugh's packing job, there were about 4 casual/nice shirts that he hadn't packed!  He did have his "formal" attire though.
It takes a long time to get 5 people ready for a formal event; it's a good thing we had two showers and bathrooms, and plenty of mirrors in the cabin too.

The girls realized that the washrooms were close to the dining room and it was a fun spot to hang out between courses since they weren't all sitting next to each other at the table.  For the first few days, an adult chaperoned them, but by the end of the week, they were going on their own.

I didn't get any food photos again, but did get some menu photos.

 The last three Starters were available every night (shrimp cocktail, escargots and Caesar salad).  I had the escargots.  Well, I SHARED the escargots, LOL.  If the banana and rum soup didn't have bananas in it, I would have chosen it :)
 You can click on the photos to enlarge them and read the details.  I had the Pan-fried Silver Corvina Fillet.
 The Classics were available every night, and this is pretty much what the girls had every night.  They weren't kid sized portions though!
There should be one more Dessert picture of the "every day items":  Baileys Creme Brulee, Chocolate Sensation, and the Royal Cheese Plate (as well as ice creams).
 Um, yeah.  Long day.
 Three out of four isn't bad?

The formal night is one of the opportunities to get portraits taken.  It makes the area around the entrances to the dining room very busy, but we did take the chance to get some shots done.  However, not many turned out very well.  In the ones of just the kids, Hugh is standing behind the girls, and he looks like their bodyguard.  In the large family shots, there wasn't a single picture where we all looked good at the same time. Some of them were actually kind of funny.  We considered getting one anyway, but at the start of the week, you think you have plenty more options for photos, and are still in the conserving money mode.

We headed back up to our cabins, and found our first towel animals!

We got dressed down (I thought the many mirrors made it a cool way to get a picture of the back of one of my favourite sweaters I've machine knit):

to go to the Production Showtime, "Invitation to Dance", featuring the musicians and dancers as they showcase dance throughout the eras.  The kids found it a little boring, and I noticed that the live band was miked too loud compared to the singers.  It made it hard to understand some (much) of the vocals.  But as usual, the quality of performances was excellent.

We thought we might get Hugh out to the evening teen activities, but we didn't even make it to the free arcade period.  A little disappointing, but we were all tired!  I was finding it challenging to fit everything in.  There were family and kid activities planned at 5:15, right when we'd be getting ready for dinner.  While I liked having the earlier meal, it did feel like we were missing out on other things.  Even on port days, it meant missing sail away sometimes, and we only saw a sunset if it  happened to be visible through the dining room windows.

It was a fairly "early" night in bed for everyone!

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