Ok, so let’s see where I left off. We just stepped foot on the ship. We made it on earlier than expected but we didn’t want to lug the luggage around so we just hung out waiting for the cabins to be ready.
We encountered some people who didn’t think the 1:30 time applied to them as well as some people who were already well and good drunk.
I’ll take a minute to address the first comparison between royal and carnival. I often get comments from people asking why we would sail carnival. My first response is that it doesn’t matter what line you sail, there will always be 1 star people, they may look different or act differently but rude people will be rude and obnoxious people will be obnoxious, it doesn’t matter how much money they have or where they live. Some cruises will attract different crowds, if you book a 3 day cruise during spring break it will be a party boat. In my mind there isn’t a huge difference here.
Our first hiccup occurred once we got to our cabin. Our room was not properly cleaned when we got to it. There were shoes left from the previous guest, garbage on the floor, garbage in the toilet, and surfaces had not been wiped or dusted. This was the first time we’ve had this issue. We addressed it with the room steward later on in the day and he was fairly dismissive. We did escalate it to guest services and the excuse we got was that they are very busy on embarkation day. Our room steward did try hard the rest of the cruise but the room really didn’t get sufficiently cleaned until the end of the cruise.
We are tidy people but we did ask for twice daily service so we could get fresh towels (nothing dries in the bathroom) and ice. We also requested bath robes and were given them.
Our order of two packs of water was half there when we arrived, we had to go to guest services to get our second pack delivered. The mini fridge in the room took about a day to cool them down along with our champagne.
Speaking of champagne. We did get two bottles of red wine and a bottle of champagne on. It was in our carryon and there was no issue. I also got two 100ml bottles of bourbon in, in my pockets and had two 8oz rum runners in my backpack. Again, no issues. Before anyone gets bent out of shape, I did this mostly just to see if I could and also because they don’t have my brand of sipping bourbon on board. We still bought plenty of drinks onboard.
Let’s talk about the cabin and the location. We opted for a cove balcony. Ever since the dream class ships came out I wanted to try one. We booked fairly late and I happened to get the last one not under the galley. We were just aft of the forward elevators on the port side. We were under the atrium and we only had the back half of a life boat over us. The location was great. We had very minimal noise other than debarkation morning because the gangway was almost overhead. It is far enough back that sea spray isn’t a major issue. Being close to the forward elevators and stairs was perfect for port days.
I really don’t know if I’d want another type of balcony on this ship all the others looked down on the deck 5 exterior promenade and there was often activity out there. The downside is that you don’t get nearly as much light in the cabin. It was nice that it was usually shaded so even when it was warm it was still comfortable out there. I observed at least one person smoking on their balcony, it is not allowed and it annoyed me, but it was only a couple of times. Our next door neighbor occasionally vaped on theirs.
I will take a side bar into smoking. I personally think that people should be able to smoke if they want to, however, not around non-smokers. This was a big area that the ship design failed. The smoke smell from the casino was the worst I’ve ever experienced. You could smell it from the alchemy bar and from the atrium. It was so overwhelming in the casino that we would go down to deck 4 and then cross the ship to avoid it. I didn’t gamble at all because the smoke was overbearing. I don’t mind cigar or pipe tobacco smoke but cigarette smoke really bothers my sinuses. On the oasis it was just as bad but the way they had it positioned you never had to go through it unless you wanted to, on the breeze it was a main walkway.
Back to our program already in progress...
We dropped our luggage and went in search of food, actually we first were going to get a drink. We’d seen from a dream review that they were offering half price drinks in the casino on embarkation. We walked through and found no signs indicating this like on the dream so we gave up and went to guys pig and anchor bbq. It was closing in on 2 pm so they were running a bit low. We had to wait about 10 minutes for more smoked beef (it is not brisket, but it was good). The meats were good, they have a great rub with a great bark. The sides were mediocre. The slaw was the best side. There was ice water available in the ocean plaza.
After we filled our bellies we went back to the cabin to unpack our luggage. I watched the activity on the dock from the balcony for a while and then it was time for muster.
Everyone must have been really excited for muster because we waited until they told us to proceed to our muster station and we were among the last to arrive, we were in the middle dining room upper level and got some of the last seats. The drill as painless as usual and the staff let us go before dismissal was announced.
We found our way to the front of the ship for sail away. It was sprinkling during sail away so we didn’t stay outside very long, instead we decided explore the ship. We were at the front of the ship so I wanted to checkout the surprise I booked for my wife. Pre cruise John Heald posted a discount for spa services, so I booked the week long thermal suite pass. So we went up to find out what we needed to do to redeem it. My wife was very surprised.
After more exploring we went to the cabin and changed into swimsuits so we could use the thermal suites for the first time. It was a very relaxing experience, but the steam room was extreme even for a long time Florida resident. Using it all week really helped the pinched nerve in my neck though.
I’ll stop here for now, next up Cucina for dinner.