Monday, March 17, 2014

Family Cruise 2014: Day 3, At Sea

Again, I don't recall if we did Windjammer Buffet, or dining room for breakfast.  Whatever we did one day, we did the opposite the next.

The big concern for the day was to get ice show tickets.  Each ship organizes this differently.  Some ships allow you to pre-book your shows, some ships organize ticket handout by stateroom locations.  The Independence of the Seas did it the "old" way:  come and get it at 8:30 and hope you get what you want and that when you get the next day's compass, there isn't something else you'd rather do at that time.  Since Mum & Dad's room was near the ticket table, Dad went down to get tickets.  Then Mum went down to exchange those tickets for a time that wasn't in the middle of our dinner :)

We were to meet up at 12:15 for the family challenge, and opted to fill some time with mini golf.  The kids had been asking since we got onboard, but it's always busy the first few days.  And when at sea, it's very windy.  It's a great course, so we tried to hold them off for awhile, LOL, but that didn't work.

Usually, our family and mini-golf is not a good combination.  We've never had a good experience with all five of us and mini golf.  Maybe this time worked because the two older ones went ahead with Rob, and I ended up with Megan, a few holes back.  Grandma and Granddad had Nya.

 Windy!  Surprisingly windy!

 Look!  They're smiling!!
 Interesting...I never got a picture of Megan!  Part way through the course, the older woman behind me and I stopped to watch an older lady on the FlowRider.  She was really getting going on it!  We said to each other that we both thought we were too old ourselves to try it, but after watching her, maybe not!

After mini-golf, there was still time, and the rock wall was open, so the kids opted to try it out.
 Nya went first
 She got off to a great start!
 Being the first to go, I think she didn't have the peer pressure to push herself too far and I heard she isn't fond of heights.  We really didn't know what to expect for the kids, so we thought she did awesome.  I think she got a bit higher than this picture, but I ran back to watch Lucy.  I thought there was a specific kid portion, but apparently not.
 Then Lucy went.
 Again, off to a great start.
 She got a little higher!
 Then it was Meg's turn.  I was running back and forth (around the back of the wall).
 I kept thinking she would be done at any moment, and took so many pictures that when looking at them on the camera, it's almost a video!
 She kept going!  She had just passed a really hard section, above.
 And wow!  She made it to the top!  By this time, there was a bit of a crowd cheering her on.  I felt SO proud.  I know she has improved her leg strength with figure skating, but she's not a small girl :)
 Her descent was a bit bumpy (as was Lucy's...really, the staff should not be having conversations with other staff while doing this!).  And there's Hugh already half way up.
I really thought Hugh would make it up.  I don't think he knew Meg had done it.  You can see the crowd that was cheering her on, at the back.  Hugh made a great attempt too, given that he's not one for much physical activity :)

After rocking climbing, it was time for the Family Life Raft Challenge in the Explorer Room!
We were a little early, but waited for more families to show up.  No one else came!  That was surprising, since so many people came to the door decorating activity.

 The leader split us up into teams, since we couldn't agree on them ourselves.  Two engineers, a few very smart women, and four kids...We were given some supplies:  two paper plates, a piece of wax paper, some Popsicle sticks, some tape, a balloon, and some little paper condiment cups.

  We had to design a lift raft that would hold wood Jenga blocks.  The winner held the most before sinking.  There was  a little bit of spying, and a bit of complaining that Granddad was using his pocket knife, LOL.

My team was Lucy and Hugh and I.  We didn't realize at first that we had two paper plates so we lost a bit of time with re-designing our boat.  
Here are the team:  Grandma, Meg and Rob; Me, Hugh and Lucy; Lou, Nya and Granddad.  Am I really that short?!  That dress is very comfy but not very flattering!
Rob and Meg strategize to fill their life boat, which had a canoe shape.

Grandma checks in.  I don't remember how many they got, but maybe 9?

 Hugh and Lucy worked together to load up our raft.  We also had some interesting design elements, but could have used a slightly bigger piece of waxed paper.  I think we got 16 blocks.
 Look at that great engineers needed!

 Lou and Nya stack up their raft, which was similar to ours.
They were the winners, with I think 23 blocks!  The kids all got cool watches!  During the door activity, they got Royal Caribbean medals, which was also pretty cool.  We had a great time, it was nice and cool inside, though a little noisy, being under the sports court!

I don't remember the afternoon.  LOL.  I have no pictures, so we might have been in the pool.  Or, relaxing.

 Here's the menu's from the night's meal.  Hugh had the smoked Duck Breast I believe.  Mum had the crab cake which she wasn't too keen on, and it turns out that it's not prepared on ship, it's pre-made!

 I had Chicken Cordon Bleu, but I thought I had it later in the week.  It's also prepared off-ship.

 I probably had the baked chocolate mousse.  No, wait...I think I had the Coffee Mousse and it was divine.

After dinner, we went back up to the cabins to change.  We'd been giving the kids a little of freedom, and Meg asked if she could go to the library and read her book (she was supposed to read everyday).  It was one deck down, next to the elevator.  Sure, we said, we'll come there and meet you when it's time to go to the show.  When the time came (only about 20 minutes later), we went to the library.  There was a girl in a strange outfit and blue wig, dusting the books.  But no Megan.  Blued haired girl hasn't seen anyone in the library.  We looked out onto the Royal Promenade, and I just caught her carrying a Sorrento's plate and getting in to the elevator.  As it got to our deck she turned to look towards the library...the shock on her face as we all waved to her was priceless.  She had pushed for deck 8, and then came back down for deck 7.  Busted!!  LOL!!

Then, we went t o the Headliner Showtime, which was "The Vocal Manipulation of Michael Harrison".  The kids really enjoyed it.  There were a few moments of adultness, but I think it went over their heads.

One thing I noticed is that the shows were timed really well around dinner and each other.  Previously, shows seemed to be a bit longer, and you either were late for dinner, or rushing to get  to the theatre.  I will say though, that having only two showings of a show, is NOT enough.  The theatre was always packed.  We started out going 15-20 minutes early and were lucky to get seats close together (really, we'd have to camp out before dinner to get 9 seats together).  By the end of the week, 30 minutes was not enough time to get four seats together without a pole in the way.

The children's area is really pretty at night when it's closed and quiet LOL.
After the Headliner Showtime, I took Meg for a walk around outside, hoping to tire her out and get the other two settled and maybe asleep so Rob and I could leave them and go to the late night adult comedy.
 The Solarium on these ships is much nicer than on the Oasis Class, I think.  This is a REAL pool.  Sometimes it's even warm enough to use, LOL!  This is the only pool that you can walk into, instead of climbing/jumping into.  Rob and I got in it once this time :(  The only draw back to this area is if you're walking around the ship with kids, they're not supposed to be in here, so you need to duck inside and go up/down a deck, since this is right at the front of the ship and goes totally across the width.
On the way back we saw that the "70's Disco Inferno" had started on the Royal Promenade.  After getting stuck in one of the Royal Promenade parades once, we try to avoid these events, or watch them from the library/on line rooms.  It's a sea of people, and once you start down the Promenade, there are no exits until you're at the other end!  Mum and Dad tried to watch it from their room, but they were too far down the other end.

The kids weren't asleep, but we headed out to the late night adult comedy of Phil Tag.  Dad babysat Nya, so it was the rest of us adults (4).  There was the usual "how small is my cabin" humour, and he was a fine enough show.  Nothing outstanding, but I'm not a huge comedy fan anyway.

Another late night, but like they say on the ship, save sleeping for when you get home!

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