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TahoeTraveler

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    Lake Tahoe area
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    Regent
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  1. A correction to something I posted a few days ago...the binoculars they gave us to use DO adjust to fit your eyes. Ours didn’t seem to work but we asked and someone helped us figure it out. They are just extremely stiff, because they are new, and, not wanting to break them, we just left them alone. Tomorrow we start our trek through the Inner Fjords. We visited the San Rafael Glacier today. If you have been on a cruise to Alaska, you will find that the area and glacier, as well as the weather, are very, very similar to Alaska. Very pretty, but nothing really new to us. I’m quite confident the fjords will check off that box though!!
  2. So, we’ve reached Patagonia and it is definitely beautiful here. On Friday we had a very long tour of the Puerto Montt area, which was a region settled by Europeans, mostly German and Austrian. Their heritage shows in the architecture and food (think delicious pastries and cakes). Yesterday we hit Castro, on the island of Chiloe. The island is part of a large archipelago and is famous for the churches the Spanish built on it and the surrounding islands. These churches are quite different from the ones you will find in Spain and Italy...no where near as ornate. But still very beautiful. We have noticed one common theme between the shore excursions offered on Scenic and other lines we have cruised...the Destinations/Discovery team, and passengers, are at the mercy of whatever local travel company schedules the tours. The descriptions of the tours are often far more exciting and enticing than the tours actually are, unfortunately. I do not blame Scenic or any other cruise line for this...you cannot expect the folks on board who book the tours to have done every single tour to know what they are really like. However, Scenic does have at least one Discovery Team member on each tour, so they can report how the tours really are. Perhaps this info can be used in the future to help decide which tours are worth booking again. They have just started to include the docking and all aboard time on the daily programs. Up until a day or so ago, that was not included and made for some confusion when getting off the ship. I did want to note that in addition to not being able to do any manicures other than “regular” (non-gel, acrylic, etc) ones, they also do not have hair dye and so cannot do any sort of coloring. This has caused a lot of aggravation among many of the ladies who thought they could get a root touch up on board!!! We have now officially eaten at every restaurant on board except the Chef’s Table (which I’m not even sure they are offering; at least, no one I’ve talked to has been invited and I’ve talked to a whole lot of people on board!!). We were completely underwhelmed by Koko’s. Perhaps it was just that menu, or perhaps we just have outstanding Asian restaurants where we live so we have set the bar higher. We will try it again, as it could have just been an off night for us. The sushi, however, is excellent. I understand that almost no one ate there on the last cruise; it is completely different this cruise. In fact, it fills up as soon as it opens and stays packed until well past 8:00 (we couldn’t get in until 8:30 last night). As I have already noted, Luminere is outstanding, and Elements is good (not my favorite, but again, it depends on the menu). The staff continues to excel. They are a fun bunch of people and are really making this cruise for us. I did hear that two trucks of provisions headed to the Eclipse were hijacked in Valparaiso, which probably accounts for why there is no French champagne or Caffeine Free Diet Coke on board!!! The protests that occurred the day before we got to Valparaiso were apparently quite violent...it’s surprising we were allowed off the ship the next morning. But it is shocking to hear that our supplies actually got stolen! I’m quite sure Scenic never planned for THAT contingency!!! So hopefully they will be able to reprovision adequately when we reach Punto Arenas and then again in Ushuaia. An 11 day journey to Antarctica won’t be much fun if they start running out of food!!!! Although I could use a bit of a slow down on my eating...suffice it to say some of my clothes are already being set aside as “no longer an option!!!!” The photos are: A German museum near Puerto Montt, which contained some amazing items, all of which still operate; the Osorno Volcano taken from Frutillar; and one of the UNESCO recognized churches on the island of Chiloe.
  3. Honestly, all issues, save the ones the staff can’t do anything about (as in, the design flaw of the pool) have been addressed and corrected. I have talked to Grace, the entertainment director, about how we can hear literally everything that goes on in the theater from our cabin, and she is aware of the issue and has said that all I need to do is call Reception and they will notify whoever is doing whatever in the theater late at night that they need to keep it down. Our possessed TV seems to have been exorcised and is working great again. We are finding that the staff is becoming more and more amenable to finding us wines that we like if they don’t have them at the location we happen to be at, and without a doubt, the service continues to be the best we have seen. I just don’t think there’s much more they could do for us!!!
  4. So just a few updates since I last posted. First, I don’t know if Scenic is reading this, or if I’ve just been really, really lucky, but chairs and tables have been placed on the deck outside the Yacht Club and OMG, someone finally made the decision to drain the plunge pool behind the Spa so that we could enjoy the seating area behind Azure without getting drenched. Seriously, this morning was ridiculous out there. The water from that plunge pool was everywhere and no one could sit outside at all. But miraculously, as I was sitting out on one of the few tables under the overhang that wasn’t getting soaked, someone came by, identified me by name, and told me that they were draining the plunge pool above us so we could finally enjoy that deck. I have absolutely no idea how this happened, or who made it happen, but I, and many, many, many other passengers are so very appreciative. I spent a lovely afternoon out behind Azure today after that darn plunge pool was drained. As did many other passengers. Yesterday Mike and I had an early wake up and it was an interesting one. Our TV turned on suddenly at 6:05am and neither one of us could understand why. We turned it off but it amazingly turned on again 5 minutes later. Apparently this is a problem the ship has been encountering since she was launched. No one seems to understand why, but it apparently involves mixed signals between the WiFi system and the systems at the ports (we didn’t have an issue until we became within spitting distance of Valparaiso). Anyway, we couldn’t resolve it, and ended up calling up maintenance to unplug our TV last night so we could sleep (I cannot emphasize enough how disruptive it is to have your TV turn on and off in these cabins). We plugged it back in this morning, and lo and behold, it seemed to work great. It is still working and we are keeping our fingers crossed. Perhaps they have discovered the issue. Today was an awesome day at sea. The Discovery crew personnel spotted a whale and we stopped, circled and held position while everyone watched. Come to find out there were at least two whales (I think there were actually three) and everyone on board thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Given that the whale surfaced right next to our balcony, we probably enjoyed it more than most!!!! We do have pics, but the internet is being snarky tonight, so I will have to try to post them tomorrow. Hopefully. My coveted Caffeine Free Diet Coke will apparently not make it onto the ship before I leave her. I don’t know what the issue is, as that request was made many months ago and I was assured I would easily have it onboard. It sadly did not make it onto the ship yesterday at Valparaiso. I do not like how I was guaranteed to have something that apparently is not possible, but I do understand how the protests in Santiago could affect the provisioning of the ship and I am fine with that. I still think there is a massive learning curve with Scenic regarding ocean cruises and it will take some time for them to work out the kinks. I would also never recommend Deck 5 forward to anyone. Even though it is the lowest level and therefore the most “stable” in rough seas, the forward area also sits directly over the theater. Although there aren’t any formal “shows” there, anything performed down there reverberates tremendously into the cabins above, and makes sleep impossible while going on. Last night it was karaoke and it was awful. A few nights ago it was rock and roll night. Honestly, who designed this ship??? Why would anyone think it was a good idea to put cabins above a theater where loud music would be played??? The spa should have been put here, and our cabins should have been put where the spa is. Seriously. There is banging down there right now, and the cello show has been done for 15 minutes. So obviously there is a rehearsal or something going on down there right now. All I know is that we should NOT be hearing noise from the theater below us. And it most certainly should not be keeping us awake. Just saying. We had a lovely dinner tonight with the helicopter pilot and his maintenance guy. The entire crew has been absolutely fabulous and so very engaging. We already feel like they are family and it’s only been a week. Had an amazing lecture today regarding Orca whales in Australia. What amazing creatures they are. Truly. I am loving how much we are learning on this cruise!!! Bottom line: yes, there are issues, as to be expected. But we are learning so much, seeing so much, and being so, so, so pampered, all at the same time. I don’t see how it can get much better than that!!!! Hopefully photos tomorrow.
  5. Our original plan, years ago, was to go to Antarctica on Le Boreal. But then Scenic tempted us with their preview of the Eclipse three years ago, and we bit. Have not been disappointed in that decision one iota!!!
  6. The issue is the flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires. Aerolineas will only allow 50 pounds max, in one bag, for each passenger. Unfortunately, when you have to pack polar gear within those constraints, along with enough personal toiletries and evening clothing, along with daytime clothing, for a 30 day cruise, that becomes beyond cumbersome. In our case, impossible, so we packed a third small bag and will just hope that we can pay the excess luggage fee upon our arrival to Ushuaia. Scenic is indeed proving “rental” boots and they are also giving us parkas...which we must all somehow figure out how to get on that Aerolineas flight within their weight restrictions. I have a feeling that things are going to get very messy when we try to get on that chartered flight, under Aerolineas’ baggage restrictions. I’m sure Scenic will work it out...but to ask someone to pack for a 30 day cruise and expect them to include enough polar gear to keep them warm, while keeping under a 50 pound limit, is just ridiculous in my opinion. Unless of course they are fine with all of us wearing our waterproof pants and thermals at dinner every night. I’m good with that!! But I have a feeling that the Queen (the lady onboard who has quite the opinion about what is acceptable and what is not regarding the dress code) would have a different view of it all.
  7. Today is our third sea day in a row, and I think most everyone will be glad to get onto land tomorrow. If we can...we are scheduled to dock in Valparaiso, and apparently they are striking there today. Hopefully they will be back to work tomorrow, but if not, it’s going to be interesting to see how the ship gets its provisions...we are already out of champagne (have sparkling wine, but not French champagne) and a lot of stuff that was supposed to be loaded in Lima never was. It sounds like Scenic needs to work on their logistics for these cruises where there are limited locations for reprovisioning. A lot of this post is probably going to sound like a comparison to Regent, which is what we usually cruise on, but that is only because it’s all I have to gauge Scenic against. The first difference I noticed was in the unfortunate common use of the word “No” or the phrase “That’s not possible,” especially when it comes to easy things like getting a specific wine or beer at a bar. Any time we cruise Regent and find a wine we particularly like, it is no problem to have that wine available to us either in our suite or at the bars. Not so Scenic, at least not when it comes to the wines served in Lumiere. I found one that I fell in love with, and was promptly told that I can only get it when I dine in Lumiere. Forget drinking it anywhere else. I’ve asked several staff members who have said that didn’t seem right, but so far, that policy has not changed. We will see if it does after reprovisioning (perhaps they just don’t have enough of it on board right now). Another issue is when we go to a bar and ask for something we’ve had at another bar, and are told the bar doesn’t have it so we can’t get it there. We’re used to the staff going to the other bar or restaurant to get something a guest asks for, if they don’t have it at their location. Given the small size of the ship, it really shouldn’t be an issue to do that for guests, rather than telling them they have to go to a different bar themselves. Just doesn’t seem to define “luxury” to me (and certainly does not fit into the price point of Scenic, in my opinion). Finally, we’ve been told by some staff members that we can get room service food (ie...burgers, sandwiches, etc) at both the Yacht Club and Azure. But whenever we ask at Azure, we’re told no, that’s not possible. It seems as if all the staff is not on the same page about a lot of things. Not a big deal...it’s all of two flights of stairs for us to get a burger at the Yacht Club and then bring it down to Azure (more on that next)...but should we have to? Now, about the Yacht Club. It is a terrible design. Period. The pool is right in the middle and is never used (who wants to climb up in a bathing suit in the middle of a restaurant to crawl into it, as it is above ground?). I don’t know why, as the weather has been good the past couple of days, but they have not opened the roof over the pool or any of the doors (it appears that side doors can be opened up to allow in fresh air), so it is very stuffy in there. There is a deck area off the back of the Yacht Club, but the white leather seats all face away from the water and towards the restaurant, and are covered in some greasy substance (they are permanently affixed and cannot be moved). Not conducive to sitting outside and watching the wake of the ship when we are underway. So the only decent outside sitting area with tables for eating or just posting on Cruise Critic is outside Azure. But there’s a problem there as well. The spa is directly overhead and it’s plunge pool splashes all over Azure’s deck and onto it’s outdoor patrons when we are moving. And we don’t even have to be in large swells...the seas are exceptionally calm today and the deck outside Azure is soaked. There are some covered tables, which we take advantage of so we can stay dry, but again, if you want to sit on the edge and watch the wake, you cannot without the risk of getting drenched. Which leaves us with the few outdoor loungers behind the Spa. The Spa. In my opinion, it takes up far too much space in the ship. They have separate men’s and women’s saunas and steam rooms, which each take up a large chunk of the sides of that deck. I personally do not care to hit a sauna by myself, so neither hubby nor myself will be utilizing them. It’s a shame, but others may appreciate the conservative take on it. I just don’t see the need for such a large Spa on such a small ship, especially as it is taking up prime real estate. And I certainly do not like the Spa’s plunge pool making the deck behind Azure almost unusable. A heads up to anyone who will be cruising on the Eclipse and wants to keep their nails polished and cared for...the ship does NOT carry straight acetone and therefore the technician cannot soak off or replace gel, Shellac, etc nail polish. She can only use regular nail polish remover and regular polish. As many women rely on gel or other hard polish to keep their nails strong, I feel that Scenic may be missing out on a large market with this policy. But there may be regulations that prohibit the use of acetone on these discovery cruises. There is a daily morning yoga class and late afternoon Pilates class, both of which must be signed up for in advance. The problem is that the room is rather small and there are not many spaces for the classes, and people signed up on the first day for all of them, but are not showing up. So, no one knows if there will be a spot for them or not if they don’t have a reservation. I personally think Scenic should implement some sort of penalty if someone makes a reservation for a class and then doesn’t show up without letting the instructor know that they will not be there (such as the forfeiture of any future reservations), just to make it fair to the other passengers who do want to go. So now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, nothing makes this woman happy,” and I wouldn’t blame you. I’m just pointing out some of the less positive attributes of the ship and policies that I’ve notice here on the Eclipse that I’ve not noticed on other cruise lines, so you won’t be surprised if you do plan on cruising on her. I also understand that Scenic monitors Cruise Critic, and quite likely is reading these comments, and I’m hoping my suggestions and comments can help them make this ship (and the Eclipse II) just that much better. As for being “happy,” Mike and I are having the time of our lives. The service on this ship is absolutely impeccable. I found out that many of the staff have been on here since the sea trials in July and won’t get off until 8 December, with us. Apparently they were extended 5 weeks, and Scenic asked some to extend even further past Christmas, but most declined. You can tell they are tired, but they absolutely never show it to the passengers. They are just wonderful. I have yet to encounter even one staff member who seems less than helpful or friendly, despite being ready to go home for a break. If I’m going to do a comparison with Regent or any other cruise line, I’m just going to say it...the service on this ship eclipses any we have seen before (and yes, that pun WAS intended!). I honestly cannot say enough about these hard working people and what they do for us. Point in case: our butler got us reservations for the Teppanyaki grill on embarkation day. The reservations were for last night, but when we didn’t receive our confirmation notice by noon, we became worried. So, we checked into it and discovered that somehow a mistake had been made, and the reservation was made for the suite next to us. Now, you’d have thought that when those folks got the confirmation notice for a reservation they didn’t make, they’d have checked into it and realized there was a mistake, so that the proper suite could have the reservation. That didn’t happen, so we had to get the folks at Reception involved. I have no idea how they did it, or what they did, but between them and head maitre D’, we dined at the Teppanyaki grill last night. The folks next door have reservations for a few days from now. So, everyone is happy. That’s what I mean by the service and staff being impeccable. We really enjoyed the Teppanyaki grill, but it’s not something we would do more than once. It isn’t your typical “toss the egg into the chef’s hat” or “flaming volcano” experience. It was more of a learning experience, as in line with the whole discovery theme. The food was delicious (I don’t normally eat fish, with the exception of ahi and tuna, and I literally wolfed the white fish down...my God, it was cooked to perfection!) and Strawberry (that’s really her name, as translated from Tagalog in the Philippines) was super friendly and obviously a great cook. It was a lovely experience and I am so glad the staff was able to make it work for us. Another comparison with Regent must involve the food. In a word...outstanding. I had the best lobster, hands down, that I’ve ever had, in Lumiere. It was cooked perfectly, and if it had been previously frozen, you could not tell (with Regent, I refuse to order lobster as it obviously frozen and overcooked to almost rubber). The escargot was amazing, and not drowning in butter and garlic like everywhere else we’ve ever eaten. I am absolutely blown away by the food on this ship. In recent cruises with Regent, I’ve been very disappointed in the food (on our last cruise, we ended up eating at the pool deck buffet/grill most nights because the food at Compass Rose...the main restaurant...was just awful). The Eclipse wins hands down in the food category. As for entertainment, there is no formal entertainment troupe like you’ll find on the bigger ships. The Entertainment Director, Grace, does a great job of putting on things like “Name that Tune” or Trivia during sea days, and she performs herself sometimes in the theater. So if you expect a lot of things to keep you occupied when it is a sea day, you might be disappointed. However, they offer some really, really good lectures, on everything from how the Andes were formed to the native tribes of South America. The ship is teeming with experts on wildlife, geology, kayaking, etc, etc, etc. I mean, the level of expertise on this ship is nothing short of amazing. You cannot walk away from a cruise on the Eclipse without having learned something you never knew before. One negative though is that they do not film the lectures so that you can watch them later if you miss them. They do televise them in the rooms, but if you don’t catch it “live,” you won’t see it...ever. That’s such a shame, and one area where Regent does a much better job. If you’re reading this Scenic people, take note...you NEED to start filming the lectures and televising them throughout the cruise!! To summarize, this ship, despite the issues and design flaws, is amazing, as is her crew and staff. The “wow factor” continues...and I’m guessing we are going to be just blown away when we finally hit the Chilean Fjords and Antarctica.
  8. To be honest, even though the binoculars have a great range, they are very odd in that you cannot adjust them to fit your face and distance between your eyes. So, we basically have to just look through one eye to use them. And I think, based on feedback, Scenic might very well add the trekking poles in the future. They have umbrellas in the suites and poles wouldn’t take up any more room than they do (less, if they’re the collapsable kind). We are loving the cruise, but almost wish we’d waited until they’d been to the polar regions at least once or twice, to work out all the things passengers need and want during a polar cruise. It’s all good...if we’d have waited, who knows if we’d have been healthy or agile enough to fully enjoy it.
  9. I do wish I’d thought of the trekking poles...that’s an excellent suggestion.
  10. We are currently onboard and fully agree with all your comments and notes. The food here, especially at Lumiere, is the best we have ever had on any cruise. We had lobster there and I have never had lobster that perfect on sea or land...it was simply superb. The service is outstanding, and the staff is doing a fantastic job working through all the issues (yes, the ship is still having issues). We have a grand deluxe suite, and could not be happier. We are even managing to work through the lack of visibility of the TV in the mirror (which you did not have to deal with in a Spa Suite). We have just discovered another bad design flaw that involves the pools/spas on Deck 6 in the Spa, and the deck off the back behind Azure on Deck 5. For some reason, they cannot drain those spas (I guess perhaps there is some sort of chemical in the water?), and because we are moving up and down forward to back (not side to side), the water from them keeps flying over the edge and down onto folks trying to dine on the outdoor deck at Azure. This is the first sunny we’ve had since we boarded, and it is a shame that we cannot enjoy the deck fully. We’ll survive though!!! We have also encountered something we’ve never experienced before on any luxury lines...being told something relatively easy is not possible or just straight out “No.” When we ate at Lumiere, the sommelier recommended an excellent Fume Blanc that I fell in love with. When I tried to order it elsewhere, I was told that was not possible, and it would only be served in Lumiere. I did, however, speak to the maitre D’ at the Yacht Club, and she said that was ridiculous and she would look into it. We also were told that we could order off the room service menu at both Azure and the Yacht Club (ie...burgers, sandwiches, etc), but then at Azure a different time we were told we could not. It seems that for some staff anything is possible, and for others, not so much. I think some kinks just need to be worked out amongst the staff (I do know many are ready to get off the ship for a while as they have been on since the sea trials and have already been extended by 5 weeks). We really do appreciate all your fantastic reporting, and hope that your travels home were safe and uneventful.
  11. Unfortunately, Scenic did not offer a rental option...had they done so, we most certainly would have taken advantage of it. We got a briefing yesterday on the kayaking program, and were told that we needed Merino wool or other non-cotton clothing for our insulation layer under the dry suit (that they provide), as cotton pulls the warmth from your body when it gets wet. Unfortunately, we pretty much only brought cotton items with us, with the exception of our thermal underwear/long Johns, so I guess we just have to hope we don’t get too wet!!! The information from Scenic on what to pack was woefully lacking (our cruise docs even told us to reference the “enclosed” Polar Packing Guide, but no such guide was included!!!). So we are just hoping for the best at this point! Carol’s list is excellent (hey, where were you when I was packing????!!!). Our suite does have a pair of Bushnell binoculars, so I wouldn’t waste the space for those (we brought ours and a spotting scope, so as usual, way overpacked!!). I will report more on how well the clothing we brought with us did in the cold weather once we start heading further south.
  12. I have only one thing to say...WOW!!! And I mean, WOW!!! I totally understand why those on earlier cruises on the Eclipse might have been bothered or annoyed by some of the inconveniences of breaking a ship in, but holy smokes is this ship and her crew impressive!!! I am talking truly stunning. And this is my opinion even after having some setbacks on boarding. We met up with the passengers who had stayed in Lima at the hotel Scenic provided, so we could catch the bus with them to the port. Turns out that was a good decision...the Lima port is dicey at best and downright scary at worst. We would have been mortified if we’d have taken a taxi because we’d have had no idea where to go or what to do. So kudos to Scenic for allowing us that option. I did notice that our bags didn’t make it onto the bus, but figured they’d come on a later bus. They did, but one was without the tag. I will say that even though Scenic’s tags are first class (as in, you don’t have to deal with peeling off backings and sticking them together), they are not all that secure and because they have a waxy backing, you need a felt tip marker to put your info on them (which we unfortunately didn’t have with us at Lima). The good news was that even though the tag was lost on one bag, we were rapidly identified as the owners of it, thanks to having put matching rainbow colored straps on all our bags. The bad news was that we discovered upon boarding that our cabin had maintenance issues and they had assigned us to the one across the hall. I had purposely booked the last port side cabin in that category because I wanted to be port side, since we’re traveling south and the landmass is to our left. So I told them at check in that I wanted a different cabin. Took a bit of waiting, but lo and behold, we got a cabin just two down from our original one, on the port side. Yay! Back on track! The only other snafu was that we had pre-ordered certain sodas (ie...Caffeine Free Diet Coke and Diet Ginger Ale), but neither was on board apparently. They were able to put in a requisition for the Diet Ginger Ale, but it looks like I won’t be getting my CF Diet Coke until Valparaiso (if then). That is totally not the fault of the crew...seems there is a bit of a communication disconnect between corporate and the crew when it comes to customer requests (we were assured by Scenic that CF Diet Coke would be on board). Not a big deal (although my doctor would probably disagree, given my high blood pressure!!!) but just something to keep in mind if you cruise on the Eclipse. Hopefully these are just more growing pains that will be resolved as time goes on. There are still apparently maintenance issues. We only have 135 passengers on this cruise...the other cabins are dedicated to technicians who are still fixing things (like our original cabin, apparently!). There is also a crew from Australia on board who are making a film, presumably to highlight this first polar cruise of the Eclipse. It’s fun to see them around, with their cameras and drones (although apparently they don’t like it when we wave at the drones!!!). Speaking of Australia, most of the passengers on board are either Australian or from the UK. I’ve only met two other American couples. What I have noticed is that the passengers are neither snobby nor standoffish, despite the level of luxury of Scenic. In fact, we have already met many lovely couples and have had some very interesting conversations with them. The dress code is more relaxed than I expected as well. Perhaps it is because this is a discovery ship, or perhaps it is because we are headed to remote regions, but last night, almost everyone just wore what they boarded wearing all night. I myself was in my slacks, sweater and Keds! I don’t plan on doing that again, especially tonight where we have reservations at Lumiere. But it was nice not to feel like we had to run to our cabin at the bewitching hour of 6pm to change (unlike with Regent, where we have been soundly scolded at the stroke of 6 for not being dressed properly). It was not at all difficult to get our reservations at Lumiere or the Teppanyaki grill. I had thought there might be a pecking order for reservations, based on loyalty level or category of cabin booked, but I was assured by the matre d’ that that is not the case. Tonight is Lumiere and Monday is the Teppanyaki grill for us. Have not found a shortage of food, although I am a bit disappointed by a couple of things. First, the Yacht Club, which is the closest thing you’ll come to a pool grill and bar here, has a very limited bar selection and closes early. I can also see how it would get very crowded on a sold out cruise. Also, dinners at the restaurants all start at 7:30pm, at least on this cruise. I prefer eating a small breakfast, skipping lunch (or getting a small salad at the pool grill, when there is one!), and then dining around 6:30 or so, in order to enjoy the evening. It just feels strange to not be able to get dinner until 7:30. We have found a little gem in the Azure restaurant. They have small plates and pizza during the day, and offer tapas in the evenings, for those who don’t care to eat at the more formal restaurants. It is more like the pool bar on Regent than the Yacht Club is (and their bar is fully stocked). We had tapas there last night, and it was fantastic...especially as we were the only ones in there! I have a feeling people are going to discover it soon enough and it will become much more popular. We checked out the sushi menu, and I, quite frankly, wasn’t impressed. But I haven’t actually tried the sushi yet (it really is only Day One, after all!), so I won’t say more about that until I can actually give a first hand opinion on the food there. The Discovery Crew is going way, way, way out of their way to give us a great experience. Today we took a boat tour to islands that are considered the “Galapagos of South America.” Saw thousands of Peruvian Boobies (birds, for those who do not know) and lots of sea lions. Just beautiful. And so well done. I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun, as we are headed to Antarctica!). I believe Scenic corporate is definitely listening to the critiques of their passengers...we assumed we were going to have to ask for the daily programs to be given to us on paper, and our cabin stewardess informed us that they are all being done on paper now. Thank goodness...the reliance on electronics is tiring for those of us Baby Boomers. Especially since there are still some issues with that, apparently (just ask the poor maintenance man who had to come to our cabin at 11:00pm last night to reset our circuit breaker after Mike went rogue and attempted to plug a bus bar into the outlet! Obviously the ship’s electrical system is not up to the standards we are used to, as it totally fried our bus bar!!!). In summary (for now), I cannot say enough good things about this ship or her crew. We were greeted upon boarding by the Captain (when does THAT ever happen???), we are allowed into the bridge pretty much whenever, and the crew just bends over backwards to make us happy. And they do it with a smile. Always. Mike and I both just looked at each other and said, “Wow” when we were at the daily briefing last night, which outlined what we can expect on the cruise. Oh my gosh. This is just too amazing!!!
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