One of the nice things about this cruise was the consecutive sea days before the port stops. This gave us time to do very little and physically recover from our long days of walking the streets of New Orleans.
We had a nice late start, rolling out of bed around 9:30. We headed up to the buffet for breakfast where I went to the omelet station and asked for some made-to-order scrambled eggs with cheese. These were much better than the eggs that get set out as part of the buffet and it became a regular part of my breakfast routine throughout the cruise.
One thing we loved about the buffet on this ship was the outdoor seating. You get to it by walking to the back and exiting out the left side (opposite the Rita’s). We breakfasted outside several mornings and we were usually able to find a table, even at busy times.
Our first activity after breakfast was the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle. I use Cruise Critic extensively for cruise planning, and it is a fantastic resource for cruise novices and cruise pros alike. So I was excited to meet up with other Cruise Critic enthusiasts at the Meet and Mingle. Unfortunately, we didn’t find this to be that fun. We arrived and were given nametags and then shown to two seats at a table with a couple other folks. While we definitely enjoyed talking to the other people sitting next to us (who we had actually already met in New Orleans), there was little actual opportunity for mingling. The Activities Director (the CD’s wife) gave out a couple RCI-related small gifts, then kind of gave an overview of what activities were coming up on the cruise, and then the M&M was over. Most people left pretty quickly, making the whole thing feel kind of pointless. We did chat with a great couple on our way out, I just wish the event would have left more opportunity for, you know, meeting people.
Having dressed in our swim attire before the Meet and Mingle, we headed over to the pool deck for our first dip. It was a great day to swim, with temps in the upper 70s and plenty of sun. We stuck to the Solarium (adults only) pool this first go around as it was pretty empty.
Having scored a couple choice loungers, we decided to dry off with a drink and a book. As we reclined under clear blue skies, sipping frozen drinks and listening to the Caribbean duo play, I thought, man, it doesn’t get much better than this.
After we had our fill of relaxing in the sun, we grabbed a quick bite of lunch and then headed back to our cabin. We showered and changed and we then decided to go check out the Crown and Castle, the Serenade’s English pub. There was quite the crowd, as this was a Sunday afternoon and NFL games were being shown on the TVs. I fought an urge to check on my Miami Dolphins, which turned out to be a good move, since they lost. We tried ordering some of the more interesting-looking cocktails on the pub’s menu but were told they were unable to make any of them. Apparently they were missing key ingredients—for every drink. Nevertheless, we hung out in the pub until it was time for dinner.
After I ate enough schnitzel to feed a family of four, we walked over to Rita’s to grab another round of two-for-one margaritas, which we took with us to that evening’s show in the Tropical Theater. The show was a musical performance by Marcus Terell, a former Royal Caribbean entertainer turned American Idol/America’s Got Talent hopeful. He was a pretty good singer, even if his song choices were a bit ubiquitous. He occasionally hit some very high registers in a voice I can only describe as Steve Urkel-esque. Still, an enjoyable show overall.
One of the things we really enjoyed on our previous cruise was listening to the piano player in the Schooner Bar, so we decided to give the piano player on this cruise a try. Unfortunately, while this gentleman had talent, he was utterly boring. His song choices had us yawning and ready for bed before we were halfway through our first drink. Abandoning this lackluster entertainment, we decided to make it an early night in preparation for another heavy schedule of relaxing on tap for the following day.
Up next in cruise day 3: more fun in the sun.