Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 2:

  Enroute to the southern island of Barbados near the Venezuelan border is a "Day at Sea."  Royal Caribbean is clever to fill any "Days at Sea" with interesting things to do on-ship because they realize they have 3000 people prisoner, but make it feel less-so and do it admirably.  I've been on other cruise lines and they seem to fail at this.
  Our queen-sized bed was satisfactory and we awoke and went to the WindJammer for breakfast buffet which was okay.  Bacon cooking internationally varies, I've found.  Europeans prefer their bacon cooked "rare", with the (ahem) rare exception of their version of the Caesar Salad, in which theirs has bacon cooked "cripsy" or to us, normal though as a solid piece, placed on hearts-of-romaine lettuce uncut, whole with stems with added anchovies.  I like America's better, thanks.  So the bacon was aimed to please to everyone, about medium rare.  Sort of flacid and thin.  None of that good thick-cut hickory-smoked stuff I like, but maybe I'm a bacon connoisseur?  Still, tons of fruits, omelettes-to-order, etc.  Not bad for a buffet.  For dinner last night before tucking in we tried their "steak".  On a cruise ship, never get the steak.  Luckily, like I said earlier it was the buffet so the suckers that ordered a steak in the mandatory dining area don't get to send it back and get something else.  For us, well, you know the buffet rules: don't like it?  Get another plate and push it aside!
  Attempted a few gambling tournaments in the onboard casino: $20 entry fee. A slots tournament where you press the SPIN button and whoever gets the highest score on a designated set of machines with a 5 minute time limit (same game, ready-set-go kinda thing) wins the kitty (the pot for you poker players).  Becky and I came close but didn't win.  Tried my hand at a blackjack tournament but was eliminated in the first 6 rounds (happens, sometimes you get 8 and 5 showing, and the dealer has a 7 on a fresh deck!  Gotta hit!  10.  blah.)

  The onboard "mall" was open, and we tried the Ben & Jerry's bar (though this you have to pay for), but they couldn't get the freezers cold enough so it tasted a little gritty, later we returned on day 6 and tried shakes and they were more appropriate.  Explored the ship (it's about 1/2 a mile long and 14 stories tall, full of interesting stuff on every floor).  Found some interesting clubs onboard, including one called "Jesters" for tweens but was way cool and edgy (though not open until 8pm).  Rather crowded as everyone has about the same idea the first day, "explore".  Eventually laid out on a few of the chairs up-deck and sunned.

  For dinner we went to the Johnny Rockets diner onboard at 9pm.  Not free, but for $4.95 per person it's all-you-can-eat, (though drinks are extra, but with a loophole in the system, our Coke package works there, so sodas free, but I had to try the signature "Cherry Chocolate" daily shake which was very good.)   The diner is set into the side of the ship and there's outside eating which is an odd twist as you're exposed to the night breeze and sea air looking into darkness and stars, a drop of about 140 feet down you can barely make-out the wake below.  It was suspiciously empty, which we later should have heeded.

  We were served free fries and onion rings immediately and their signature "ketchup smile".  I ordered their classic "Johnny Rocket Burger" and Beck had the single.  We decided to try a few more items buffet-style so we also ordered a grilled-cheese (why not).  Shake was good.  Fries were uneventful and flavorless.  

The burger.. ahh... if I had never had a burger before, I'd have though it might have been good but.. it was like a steamed meatloaf.  Very.. odd.. consistency..  Wet?  Very thick.. 4 patties each an inch which is a lot of meat.  Beef I suspect.  Unseasoned.  Cooked very well-done and then.. remoistened, but not greasy at all?  What the?  Ate two bites and gave up.  It was too alien for me.  Too far now from America for a real burger to exist.  From now on, we'll stick to Caribbean fare: fruit, fish, rice, rhum.

  Since we were on the deck I looked due-south for the Southern Cross.  Should be at 23 degrees azimuth due south, Crux.  Nope.  Clouds lined the horizon, though Becky pointed out Vela, The Ships Sails.  It looks a lot like a bigger Crux about 10 degrees higher up.  No luck.  Maybe in Barbados.  Time for sleep.  We picked the center of the ship for our room so the rocking is minimal.  No need for Dramamine.  Our room is far from the Broadway (shown above) though it was an option to get a room with picture windows looking out onto it.  This turned out to be a very wise decision, as all the ship-planned parties are here until 3am, with live bands and/or DJs.  When your shore-excursion is early, this would be madness.  We overheard complaints of those customers paying their premium for these rooms never getting any sleep due to the constant noise and wanted a refund.  Guess what Royal Caribbean doesn't give-out?  We win.

To sleep, perchance to dream.  Click to zoom.

1 comment:

  1. When you click you'll likely have to scoll up.