Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Ted&Elle

Oasis recap 2/10-2/17 2019

Recommended Posts

There were 4 of us on this cruise: Ted (48), Elle (45), Max (14) and Jack (11). Elle and I have cruised 5 times before, the first being on Voyager of the Seas in 2001 back when it was the largest in the world. We've also done the Mediterranean on Orient, Alaska on Holland America, Caribbean on Carnival with the boys, and the Baltic on Norwegian. We're a full time RV family currently staying in Kissimmee, FL for the winter. I figured it was a no-brainer to cruise out of Canaveral while we were so close, and I've wanted to try one of the new huge ships ever since we parked next to one in Cozumel years ago. Obviously everyone's tastes are different, but I wanted to share our experience in case it helps others out there decide if this is the right ship for them. I'll have some photos, but probably way more words than pictures.

 

Day 1: We drove from Kissimmee to Port Canaveral where we used Lots of Honor to park. It wasn't obvious to me when I made the reservation, but "Lots of Honor" is simply the name Park N Cruise gives to the veteran discount they offer. Although the website says the discount is only for veterans, there was no attempt to verify my status. Prepaying with LOH got us a $2/day discount over the published Park N Cruise price. When we got to where Google Maps directed us, we didn't see Lots of Honor anywhere, but the address was correct so we went in. Park N Cruise starts the day off right with super friendly parking attendants helping us find where to park, checking us in, and directing us to the line for our ship. There were 4 ships in port today: Oasis, two Carnivals and a Disney.

 

Our first glitch of the trip happened almost right away. Since we full-time in an RV, all of our suitcases are in storage far away. I bought a cheap 28" spinner at a market in Shanghai, China. We already own suitcases and figured a cheap one that lasted only one cruise would be better than deciding how to store an empty piece of luggage until we pass by our storage unit again. What I didn't realize was the cheap spinner's wheels easily came off. The Park N Cruise lot had some uneven bricks right where we unloaded, and apparently a brick pressed the release button and caused one of the wheels to pop off. After examining it I figured it wasn't a big deal, so I re-attached it and proceeded to check in.

 

The driver accidentally took us to the Carnival terminal instead of Oasis, and my bag was first off the bus before the porters told him he was in the wrong place. We loaded up again and drove to the correct terminal, only this time my bag was missing a wheel. Apparently it came off when he tossed it off at the first stop, and nobody noticed. We were in the back of the bus so didn't see it until we got off at the right terminal and saw it leaning on three wheels. We searched the bus and asked the porters if they saw it. Nobody seemed concerned about the lost wheel, and no effort was made to get it back for us. We took off the other three wheels and stuffed them inside the suitcase. The porters (who I'm told are highly -paid longshoremen) earned their tip money by not being able to wheel our bag around.

 

We made our way to the terminal line and got inside fairly quickly. I'd been watching the FB group and knew some of our fellow travelers arrived at the terminal way before anyone was allowed inside. We arrived closer to 11 and pretty much breezed through. Right before the cruise I noticed that my wife (who has never cruised without me) is Gold after 1 previous RC cruise and I was not. We put her ticket on top and proceeded to the Gold check-in counter. There was some computer issue getting the kids checked in, but eventually we got through and headed towards the gangway. We boarded and immediately went looking for the Windjammer with 5000 of our closest friends.

 

I'll put my WJ spiel here: on our most recent cruises (Carnival and Norwegian), the buffet wasn't anything special. There was the occasional good item, but overall we found the food to be so-so. For us, the WJ was far and above the other lines during all our meals there. The food just tasted great to us, from salads to main courses to desserts. The burgers tasted better than the supposedly Wagyu beef Royal Burger we tried once on room service, but that's another story. On other cruises the roving staff were mainly cleaning tables and little more. In the WJ they were also bringing drinks, desserts, helping people carry food, whatever was needed. They were as attentive as our MDR waiters. I didn't plan to miss MDR meals, but the day we did I was just as happy with the food in the Windjammer.

 

During lunch the restaurant was of course very crowded. Most people ate and moved on, but they kept making the "please be courteous and leave" announcement to move along those that were just camping out after their meals. When we finished, we found the sports deck and signed all the waivers for the week. By then our cabin was ready, and we proceeded to 11128, a Family Oceanview on the port side. More on the cabin later, but especially for us tiny house folks, it was a huge cabin!

 

We purchased the deluxe drink package for the adults and soda for the boys. Our cups were waiting in the room. For those who don't know, these cups are required to dispense soda from the 6 freestyle machines on board (2 in promenade, 4 in WJ--are there more we missed?). Our excursion tickets were in the room, but there was nothing about our "First Night Done Right" reservation in the room or on the TV. From reading here I knew I needed to visit one of the specialty restaurants, so I made my way to Central Park and inquired at Giovanni's. As it turned out, we were reserved there, so I went back to the cabin. Our first bag made it to the room early, but we still hadn't seen the big, wheel-less bag. We walked around the ship a bit, standing at the aft shuffleboard court (behind the aquatheater) to watch the Port Canaveral people watching us a bit. We saw another cruise liner head out, and then it was our turn to leave port.

 

By dinner time we still didn't have our big bag, so we headed to Giovanni's in our shorts. The meal was exquisite, though I was surprised nobody tried to sell us any wine. I had Osso Buco, but the star for us was the filet mignon. It was to be the first of several amazing steaks we enjoyed on Oasis.

 

After dinner we went straight to Studio B for the Frozen in Time show. By this time Max had discovered the teen hangout and activities, and we let him go off on his own for the first time. All our shows were pre-reserved, and it was nice to walk in and find lots of open seats. Here's another overall observation: just like our first RC cruise in 2001, the shows were all spectacular, standing ovation-worthy productions. Other lines weren't as consistently good. There was some concern about the 5+ foot seas interfering with the show (apparently Cats was canceled earlier), but it went off without a hitch. The ice show was amazing, and Jack was enthralled. After the ice show, we went back to our cabin to see if the prodigal bag had arrived. It hadn't, and our cabin steward kept telling us it was probably the alcohol we snuck in, despite our assurances to the contrary. The Cruise Compass said something like "if your bag hasn't arrived by 8pm, proceed to deck 2 to see if it's been held by security." No other time or specific location was given. Since we went from dinner straight to an 8pm show, we didn't start looking for our bag until almost 9pm. We found an elevator to deck 2 and stepped out to see a "no passengers beyond this point except for medical facility" sign. There were no bags. I saw a crewmember in the restricted hallway, and she saw we were obviously lost. When I said we were looking for our bag, she said since we didn't come to get our luggage during the posted times, remaining bags had been moved to guest services. Since the only time actually posted was "after 8," 9 didn't seem so unreasonable.

 

We made our way to guest services and said our bag was missing. The worker said it was behind a bulkhead and told us to go get it. The bag had a notice on it saying it was held because it had an extension cord inside. As a quick aside, the list of prohibited items clearly states, "extension cords." However, it's there in the middle of a list that includes illegal drugs and smuggled alcohol, among other more serious things. We knew we weren't smuggling anything aboard and likely skimmed the prohibited items list. Not trying to justify--just saying it's easy to miss if you're not intentionally breaking the rules. We gave them the cord and got our big bag up to the cabin, where I proceeded to unpack everything into the immense walk-in closet.

 

At this point we were done for the night, but Max was ready to go play volleyball or whatever other activities the teens were starting at 10pm. In what turned out to be a pattern for the rest of the cruise, he ran off to play while Jack and the old folks hit the hay. I briefly woke when he came in around midnight, but otherwise slept pretty well until morning.

 

That's chapter one of my apparently novel-sized review. Next time I'll pick up with photos of our cabin, and then move on with the itinerary.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! We are in that exact cabin on our upcoming Oasis sailing and would love to see pictures of it :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, ginkybiloba said:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! We are in that exact cabin on our upcoming Oasis sailing and would love to see pictures of it 🙂

Your wish is my command. I'm sorting through the pictures right now. Most of them are panoramic or 360 and will require me to link to Google Photos. For now, here's my quick video walkthrough:

EDIT: I uploaded an HD video, but so far it's only displaying 360p. I think the HD version will come along eventually.

 

 

Edited by Ted&Elle
add video info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are my photos of the cabin so far. I thought I took more, but maybe my wife did and I haven't seen hers yet. I'll add more to the album if I find more.

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/vqiHBfSXyyAMzGqK8

 

As I mentioned above, 11128 is a K Family Oceanview (also called superior oceanview on some websites). As cruise cabins go, it was pretty enormous. We had plenty of space to move around without running into each other, and the walk-in closet was great. The one US plug made it more difficult to keep everything charged because the outlets were close to each other. Additionally, the left-most outlet was loose, and plugs kept falling out of it. We used a 5-port USB charger (not confiscated, thankfully) that was able to reach to the side of the bed. That allowed us to keep 2 phones and an iPad charged with ease. I forgot to check my son's plug, and found out on board he brought a brick with USB-C on both ends of the plug, meaning he couldn't use my standard USB multi-port charger. We were able to plug in his brick on one side and the charger on the other side, blocking the middle outlet. We checked the devices frequently to make sure the plug hadn't slipped out.

 

The other downside was the TV. As you can see in the photos, it was mounted on the wall next to the bed. Although it opened a little, it wasn't enough to view it from the bed. That meant you had to sit on the couch (way on the other side of the room) or on the floor in order to watch TV. That wasn't a big deal because we didn't watch much, but the problem was keeping the TV on when we wanted it. After the first day, the TV started randomly turning off and right back on while we were watching it. We hid the remote in case a button was stuck, but it kept going. We also pressed the buttons on the side in case they were stuck, but it kept cycling. What made it worse is the TV has an annoying startup sound that played over and over as it cycled. That woke up Max when we were trying to let Jack watch TV quietly in the morning. We reported the TV twice--the second directly to guest services--and as far as we know nothing happened. If you get stuck with this problem, feel free to tell them the guest on the 2/10 sailing reported it too 🙂

 

The bed was comfortable, and I slept better than I had in a while. The air conditioning was ok, but sometimes one of us accidentally turned off the master switch, which kills all lights and the AC. Also, even with the master on, the AC couldn't keep up with the outside temperature. With the switch on full cool for several days, it still got fairly warm, even in the middle of the night. It wasn't bad enough to make me ask for a fan--and I would have if it disrupted my sleep--but enough to notice it was inconsistent at best.

 

Our cabin steward kept the cabin spotless and did the usual 2x day cleaning. The one day Max lounged around and prevented him from entering, he apologized to us for not cleaning it, when it obviously wasn't his doing. Overall we felt like he was tired of working there. He was always polite enough, but it seemed like he'd be happy when the contract ended.

 

That's about all I can think of regarding the cabin. I think we'd pick it over a smaller balcony if we ever sail this class of ship again with 4 people in a cabin. Ask me any questions you have about the cabin, and I'll try to respond quickly. Starting to work on Day 2 now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you sooo much! I can't wait to show this to my family later. Our kids are 14 and 16 and are already fighting over the bottom bunk - sigh.... That closet will be a lifesaver I'm sure as I hate tripping over suitcases.

 

Thanks for the heads up about your issues with the plugs and the television. Overall, did you find the cabin fairly quiet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, ginkybiloba said:

Thank you sooo much! I can't wait to show this to my family later. Our kids are 14 and 16 and are already fighting over the bottom bunk - sigh.... That closet will be a lifesaver I'm sure as I hate tripping over suitcases.

 

Thanks for the heads up about your issues with the plugs and the television. Overall, did you find the cabin fairly quiet?

Very much so! Much quieter than any hotel room we've had. The lights/equipment outside the porthole banged a bit when it was really windy one night, but we had no trouble sleeping day or night. I'd recommend bringing binder clips to hold the curtains shut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the same cruise and in stateroom #11528.  I think it is identical, only starboard.  We loved it as we has our daughter with us and enjoyed all the space.  Never had a W/I closet before and it was perfect.  Our daughter used the bunk bed area and had her own space.  Our attendant, Suzi, was great.  Everything we asked for was delivered with a smile and received everyday.  The Diamond Club service was exceptional for cocktails and our morning coffee.  We had a perfect cruise and would love to stay in the same stateroom again. I agree, the beds were great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 2: Nassau

 

We woke up on the early side today since we had an excursion planned. We took Jack to the Windjammer for breakfast, but didn't eat ourselves because we booked a food tour. Max elected to stay in bed, and as far as we know he alternated between his bed and the WJ (mainly for the Freestyle machines and rolls) all day long.

 

We brought Jack to Adventure Ocean for the first time this morning. Jack has Down Syndrome, and we thought he would do better with the 6-8 year olds than his own age group. We requested this in advance through RC customer service, and within a few days received a reply from the Oasis Adventure Ocean manager authorizing him to be in the lower age group. When we signed up we met a very friendly worker named Michael. His AO name tag was "Mikeandcheese," but he went by Michael when he worked at other stations such as the carousel at night. The workers who checked us in this morning weren't quite as bubbly. They also seemed surprised we planned to leave Jack there while we took an excursion. Isn't that the point of AO while in port? They didn't give us a phone since we were leaving the ship, although I mentioned my cell phone would work in a true emergency.

 

We pre-booked our tour called "Bites of Nassau" with TruBahamian Food Tours (www.trubahamianfoodtours.com). When I booked online only 11:30 was available, but I got a text back from them saying 10:30 would be a better choice given our ship's 2:30pm all aboard time.

 

We met our tour group and guide Captain Ron at the Christ Church Cathedral across from the Nassau Pirate Museum. I would definitely recommend walking as it was very easy. Our tour group included cruisers from our ship and others, couples staying at resorts, and a Bahamian whose resort was sending her on the tour to help decide if their resort wants to offer it to their guests. Our guide Ronelle said he created the Captain Ron persona because he wanted something easy for tourists to remember when they write reviews. As far as I can tell it's worked for him; Google "Captain Ron Nassau" and he is every one of the first page of results!

 

IMG_20190211_125942.thumb.jpg.99d0f25beae9819431f89fc2bed55bff.jpg

 

Our first stop was the Bahamian Cookin' restaurant. Capt Ron told us the story of how the owner built a successful business, and then re-built it years later after buying it back from people who weren't able to succeed. We tried our first taste of conch in the form of fritters (pictured below with a typical shell), and then we had a typical Bahamian meal with steamed chicken (cooked down with tomatoes), baked mac and cheese, peas and rice, cole slaw, and sweet plantains.

 

IMG_20190211_110040_01.thumb.jpg.415bb814e6d34b23391d1a1c80068b4e.jpg

 

After Bahamian Cookin' we walked uphill to the Governor's residence. The Bahamas gained independence from the UK but chose to become part of the Commonwealth, meaning the Queen has someone to represent her in Nassau. The mansion features a statue of Christopher Columbus and a nice view of the port.

 

IMG_20190211_113611.thumb.jpg.5d3091efc36f0ed4eecf21140aa3ff1b.jpg

 

Our next stop was a hotel known as Graycliff. Apparently when famous people visit Nassau, they like to stay and dine here. We sat in the courtyard outside the restaurant and Capt Ron gave us a frank account of the Bahamas history. He talked about the drug trade that led to widespread corruption and a lack of education in the country, something they are still recovering from today. By the time he finished, we had gone an entire half hour without stuffing something in our faces. Ron remedied that by bringing us to the Graycliff Chocolatier where we sampled a white chocolate key lime piece that was amazing, and a salted caramel filled dark chocolate that was even better.

 

IMG_20190211_121158.thumb.jpg.fe2a7ab02a3984b8f4db647a018a3d6c.jpg

 

Our next stop was a "Conch Stand & Daiquiri Shack" known as Chillin'. There we had a conch slider that was delicious. I could have eaten another one for sure.

 

IMG_20190211_122714.thumb.jpg.afc88320c8cbabeb0c797782ee83a3a6.jpg

 

After Chillin' we moved on to the Talking Stick Bar at Towne Hotel Restaurant. I'll add here that throughout the whole tour Capt Ron was telling us stories about the food, the specific restaurants, and the country in general. He was always interesting to listen to and made the whole experience pleasant. I was surprised that few Bahamians we met seemed to have a British accent. It wasn't very Caribbean either except for when they spoke Creole to each other.

 

The Talking stick bar was our drink stop. We met their mascot, a parrot named Max, and enjoyed a Bahama Mama, though he said Sky Juice is more popular with the locals. We intend to make some Sky Juice when we get a chance.

 

MVIMG_20190211_124646_1.thumb.jpg.7db237b4313cb871fe9b99a2c35a1e56.jpg

 

After the drink stop, we headed over to the Athena Cafe and Bar. The cafe was so busy they asked us to stay downstairs in their jewelry shop. There we were served our third conch of the day, conch chowder. By this point I was a little too hot for hot soup, but I made myself eat it. It was delicious! I'm sure I'd order it again if I were a little cooler, maybe sitting on an ice cube under an air conditioner.

 

Our last stop was the shortest at the Tortuga Rum Cake Company. Surprisingly, we had rum cake here :-) The cake was good, but not enough for us to lug a box all the way home. We probably would have purchased a few of the flavored rums if we had more space at home. There's only room for one rum bottle in the RV kitchen, and it was already occupied.

 

After the tour we intended to visit the straw market, but it was close enough to all aboard time that Elle decided to skip it. On the way back we admired the view of the famous Atlantis resort, and I took a picture of the dock between our ship and the one next door. I thought it gave a good idea of how huge the ships are.

 

IMG_20190211_135032.thumb.jpg.a7ca0c55e6b6d787f1c8bbf2aa18118a.jpg

 

After we collected Jack and roused Max from his bed, I took the boys swimming. The pool area was pretty crowded since we were about to leave port, but I didn't see the dreaded saved deck chair problem I've read about. While swimming I tried out our new waterproof phone bags. It worked very well at keeping the water out, but I need some practice taking photos. I got a pretty good picture of Jack underwater, but when we tried a selfie, a drop of water on the case blurred his face.

 

IMG_20190211_150917.thumb.jpg.2028dafd010034bdcae7fe8cfdc1c6cb.jpg

 

IMG_20190211_151343.thumb.jpg.3f782d8bca0194b18bf5d81e89e6a44a.jpg

 

As we swam we felt the ship pull away from Nassau. We got cleaned up and tried our first MDR meal with Albert and Ida. Max and I chose the tenderloin, the second amazing steak we experienced on Oasis. We walked to the Boardwalk after dinner, rode the carousel, and watched the divers get ready for the night's show. We went back to the room and made the boys stay in while we went to the Promenade for the "Majority Rules" game show. Although we arrived early, Bolero's was already packed. If it seemed like the show was going to be really fun we figured we'd stand around, but when we heard the first question, "Coke or Pepsi?" we decided to head back to the cabin. We read and played Sudoku until we got tired, and Max headed out to be with the teens until late night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Day 3: At Sea

 

Jack woke us up early, so we got ready and went to breakfast at WJ. I've been wanting to try one of the other complimentary breakfast offerings, but WJ has been so good to us I wasn't able to convince Elle or Max it was a good idea any of the days. Next cruise I'm going to make a list of all my "must dos" and do my best to cross them off without being a pest. Max was still snoozing after rolling in around midnight last night.

 

After breakfast we headed to Deck 4 for the veterans meet and greet. We were there about midway through, but no one else was in the room. Later we heard they do this every sea day and there would be special prizes the last day. We intended to go but completely forgot about it until right now as I type this 🙂

 

The veteran meet and greet was right next to the Cruise Critic M&G, so we went right next door to the comedy club. We've been to others before where we actually met and greeted the others, but on this one we went straight to giving out prizes and then everyone started leaving--some right in the middle of the activities director still talking. We won twice and got a nice water bottle and RC backpack. Jack was a little shy when we went on stage, but as we walked back he did his typical "YES!!" like "I nailed it, you all saw how awesome I am!" That got some smiles from our fellow cruisers.

 

Next we headed back to the cabin to change. All day long we kept missing Max as he went to meals (I use the term loosely--the boy lived on bread and Cokes!) and teen activities. We took Jack to AO and then headed to the Solarium for a while. We sat in one of the hot tubs that hang over the side of the ship for awhile and then got drinks while we read. It was hard to find a seat since the outside areas were so windy, but eventually we found some chairs upstairs.

 

We picked Jack up for lunch and saw we'd missed Max again. The three of us went to WJ and got some delicious roast beef among other things. While we were eating, Max spotted us, and we all sat together for awhile eating various desserts and refilling our Freestyle drinks. Max and I went to try the zipline and rock wall, but both were closed. Max went off to the teen area and I went back to the cabin. Up until this point we'd been carrying walkie talkies, and we occasionally had success, although we also heard some employees talking to each other. Today they barely worked at all, even when I was outside The Living Room and Max was inside. We decided not to bring them anymore on this ship.

 

When I got back I saw that both the zipline and rock climbing wall were just closed for lunch and were re-opening soon. That's where I discovered the walkies didn't work, because Max never heard me call him to join me. I stood in the short line for the zipline, and when I got to the front I saw the sign stating that pockets had to be empty, no watches, etc. I understand RC has to make some rules to protect themselves from lawsuits, but it seemed like the rules could have been better publicized. Also it would be great if they would have some kind of shelves or lockers to hold things while you do the zipline. I knew Elle and Jack were napping, so I got a drink and hung out by the pool a bit. It was pretty windy, meaning it was easy to find a seat. Unfortunately the music playing in the pool area was AWFUL! I never found out if it was live or a recording, but it was some sort of crazy Caribbean stream-of-consciousness drivel that has no real rhythm or tune to it. I felt like the performer was contemplating suicide and musically inviting us to join him. Instead I wandered around the ship to get away from the music, and then eventually wandered back to the room to nap, too.

 

While we were getting ready for dinner, the Captain came on with an excruciatingly long announcement that boiled down to: "Yes, we know it's windy and the ship is rocking a lot. No, this is nowhere near as bad as it could be so suck it up. We've altered course to make it as good as we can, meaning we'll arrive late into St. Thomas." I understand he needed to convey some information, but he wasn't following the basic principles of think about what you want to say, then key the mic and say it concisely.

 

By the time we left there was still no contact from Max, so we waited a bit outside the American Icon grill in case he showed up. Then we went and enjoyed another delicious MDR meal with our very friendly waiters Albert and Ida. Today the "I know what you want before you ask" backfired a bit because Elle decided to order something other than an amaretto sour. When the drink arrived, the bar server was genuinely confused when she said she didn't order the drink. After that, Ida was sure to confirm every drink order before he placed it.

 

We went back to the room where there was no sign of Max, but he showed up 10 minutes later. He never thought of using the app we all used 4,000 times a day to see when dinner was and meet us there, but he was annoyed with *us* for him missing an MDR meal. Teenagers! We also found out he'd locked himself out of the room twice and was let in by stewards, the second time being our steward Romeo. He thought Romeo was mad at him, but honestly he was rather grumpy the whole week so there's no telling.

 

We went to the Aqua Theater and found seats for the show. It was pretty full, but we were able to find chairs just outside the splash zone before they opened it up to the unreserved masses who filled in the benches and some of the splash seats. There was a lot of activity near the pool, but we didn't think anything of it until the activities director announced the show was being cancelled due to a problem. Apparently the equipment that allows divers to see down in the pool wasn't working on one side, meaning they couldn't tell if it was safe to dive. They said we'd be automatically rescheduled later in the cruise, and then started playing a movie. We hung around a bit and then let Jack play in the Boardwalk play areas for a few minutes. While we were there we heard "alfa, alfa, alfa" over the intercom, which we later found out meant a medical emergency.

MVIMG_20190212_191318.thumb.jpg.6a52dc84ac2939d15b3b58c69c0914f9.jpg

 

IMG_20190212_192300.thumb.jpg.872984af09beae4050c52feb8fc5c6df.jpg

The Stormtrooper might not have really been there 🙂

 

We left the boys in the cabin and then went to the Comedy Club. In our opinion they violated the traditional comedy club format by putting the best comedian first. Nery Saenz was absolutely hilarious! I laughed so hard I was crying and coughing. One of his best strengths was taking anything from talking to audience members and turning it into big laughs. The best part was when he got onto some young adults vacationing with her parents. Turns out her dad might have paid for a little more of the cruise than she let on initially 🙂 After Nery was finished, Damian Clark took over. Now I don't want to sell Damian short. He was funny enough, but we would have appreciated him more as the opener. Still he got some good laughs, and we were ready to laugh some more over at the next activity.

 

We walked right over to the Opal theater for the Love and Marriage game show. It was one of our favorites from our 2001 RC cruise, and this one delivered as well. It was hilarious to watch the newlyweds squirm, framing their answers in a way that their entire family--in the audience--would accept. I was surprised to see people bringing their kids despite the repeated warnings that this was an adult show. Those kids sure got an earful!

 

By the time we got back to the cabin, we managed to stay up until midnight like grownups. Max decided it wasn't worth leaving for an hour, so he went to bed too. All-in-all it was a great day at sea!

Edited by Ted&Elle
typos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ted&Elle said:

Replying to myself since I can no longer edit my post:

 

The veteran meet and greet was right next to the Cruise Critic M&G, so we went right next door to the comedy club. (Where the M&G was held--I forget where the veteran's m&G was).

 

While we were getting ready for dinner, the Captain came on with an excruciatingly long announcement (Ok Elle says I'm being a little too harsh here. The Captain never said anything like "suck it up," but I got the impression he was telling us he didn't need to hear *more* complaints about the ride.)

 

 

He never thought of using the app we all used 4,000 times a day to see when dinner was and meet us there, but he was annoyed with *us* for him missing an MDR meal.  (Elle says I'm mis-remembering and that Max was ecstatic to spend the time on his own. I'm still shaking my cane and telling him to get off my lawn!)

 

He thought Romeo was mad at him, but honestly he was rather grumpy the whole week so there's no telling. (Romeo was the grumpy one here, not Max.)

 

 

The best part was when he got onto some young adults vacationing with her parents. Turns out her dad might have paid for a little more of the cruise than she let on initially 🙂 (Elle said it was the boyfriend's dad, not the girlfriend's. I don't remember for sure but it was still funny when Nery put dad on the spot!)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Following! We leave on symphony in three weeks, and I love all the details. Great report!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great report thanks for taking the time to do it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Day 4: St. Thomas, wherein the Captain’s speech comes into play.

 

During the captain’s long announcement about taking a slightly longer route to get to St. Thomas, Elle and I would swear he said we’d be arriving only 10 minutes late. However, sometime during the day at sea, Romeo left a printed note on the bed stating that our meetup time for the shore excursion had changed from 10:45 am in the Opal Theater to 12:30 outside on the dock. That seemed like more than a 15-minute delay to us.

 

While it wasn’t a significant delay, it threw our plans off completely for the day. First, we intended to eat breakfast before the meet time and drop Jack off at AO. He likes the water but isn’t comfortable snorkeling in 40-foot water. We had a hilarious time with his claws digging into our arms when we snorkeled in Grand Cayman on the last cruise, but that’s another story. Anyway, the delay interfered with both our meal plans and our AO plans.

 

We decided to skip breakfast and order room service at 10:30, so that we wouldn’t be hungry on the tour and we wouldn’t be stuffed either. I consulted the app and the TV; both indicated the all day menu is available from midnight to 11:59pm, basically all day long. I’d read the Royal Burgers from room service were the best on board, and the fact that they are Wagyu beef made it sound good to all of us. We’ve had Kobe before, and Wagyu is supposed to be a step up from it. We placed our order on the TV at about 10:30, and 5 minutes later the phone rang. They informed us only breakfast was available, and the all-day menu wouldn’t start until 11:30am. He asked if we wanted to wait an hour, and we decided to go for it.

The first thing we noticed when the meal arrived at 11:50am was that fries are included with the burgers. It’s a reasonable thing, but neither the TV menu nor the app list them as coming with the meal. That meant we had 4 burgers and 8 orders of fries. I felt bad wasting that food, but it's something RC could easily correct by offering an accurate menu.

 

The burgers came with a fair amount of condiments, although if we were really eating 8 orders of fries we would have needed a lot more ketchup. Despite being close to the start of the lunch meal, our food was lukewarm at best. We loved the fries in the WJ and with Jack’s MDR meals, but these tasted like they were yesterday’s fries slightly warmed. The biggest disappointment were the burgers. Not only were they overcooked, they just didn’t taste good. Over the course of the week I had a few bites of Jack’s MDR cheeseburgers as well as one from Wipeout Café and one from WJ, and they all blew these supposedly Wagyu beef burgers out of the water. We were so bummed, but by now time was rapidly ticking down towards our shore excursion time.

 

We wolfed down our sad meals and then ran into the second snag of the day. On the original schedule AO would have been open when we finished breakfast, but now it was lunchtime. We ran up to AO anyway since it was only 3 floors above the cabin, and sure enough the sign said they were off at lunch. We hurried to the aft of the ship and found the AO group in the Windjammer. To their credit they jumped right up to sign Jack in, but they hesitated about letting us leave Jack on the ship while we went on an excursion. Again, this surprised me because the childcare advertises itself as being able to take care of your kids when you’re on shore excursions, and they know those are always off the ship, right? After consulting another worker, they agreed to take poor Jack, who had to sit through a 2-hour WJ meal when he’d already eaten. I wouldn’t be surprised if the boy ate more while he was there.

 

We hurried down to the gangway and made our way off the ship. I’ll point out that we heard something about the gangway button during one of the hard-to-hear initial announcements on Day 1 or 2, but didn’t realize until today there’s a special gangway button on the elevator that takes you where you need to go. One day it was deck 2 and we walked right out, but today it was deck 3 and then the escalator to deck 2. I’m sure there’s a crowd control reason for having some elevators stop at different floors.

 

We got off the ship, walked right past the towel stand, and didn’t think about getting towels for the excursion. That came into play when Max was freezing on the way back and wished he had one. We found our meet-up area quickly, and then waited there about 20 minutes. In the end we didn’t need to hurry as much as we did, but we figure it’s always better to be on time or early than to miss a tour for being late.

IMG_20190213_125925.thumb.jpg.d5d37d0b41219c6e3c38f0b9d3e57070.jpg

The ship is so big I couldn't get it in one frame, even from the other side of the dock.

 

After awhile our guides led us around the dock to the other side where the smaller boats docked. We were all told to take off our shoes before getting on board. I was certain RC recommended water shoes for this excursion, but in retrospect it might have been one of the other snorkeling trips that also stop to swim at beaches. In any event, my brand-new water shoes held up great for the walk from Oasis to the catamaran.

Our excursion was the Buck Island Sail and Snorkel, and it was just fine. It started with a 20-30 minute powered ride out to Buck Island, during which we got some large waves and saw some parasailers having fun. By this point we’d been rocking and rolling on Oasis for 3 straight days, and nobody was particularly excited about the ride out.

IMG_20190213_133510.thumb.jpg.e2872507bd8dc0eb8fc511bd3a8a9298.jpg

Our first snorkeling trip was short, but we got to see several sea turtles. One of the turtles surfaced right in the middle of our group! The guides then took us out to some coral, and then back to the catamaran. It was easy enough to see the turtles 20-30 feet down, but the water didn’t seem as clear as Grand Cayman did the two times we snorkeled there. Also, our waterproof phone bags were causing trouble. The water pressure made it so sometimes the touch screen buttons wouldn’t work underwater, meaning we had to set up the photo above water then try to use the volume buttons to take pictures. That would have worked great if it stayed that way, because I generally use my volume buttons to take photos anyway. The problem is sometimes the touch screen worked under water, and sometimes the bag itself would just press buttons. Anyway, I wound up with lots of videos, panoramas, and portraits when I just wanted regular pictures. I didn't get any great photos, but at least the phones stayed protected.

00000PORTRAIT_00000_BURST20190213151720204.thumb.jpg.717ea6016af4e75cd92a4e0eb932597b.jpg

00000PORTRAIT_00000_BURST20190213152937219.thumb.jpg.f3017c51aba93757cd1e658a45046cf7.jpg

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190213152940004_COVER.thumb.jpg.6d468714104ef0f4537db64a706a74b7.jpg

Max looking good with his snorkeling gear

 

00000PORTRAIT_00000_BURST20190213151739478.thumb.jpg.b1c64e389b00a36d2a5ed77d9bed0e7b.jpg

The underwater photos weren't bad, just nothing special.

 

Once I gave up on taking pictures, the rest of the trip was better. We moved on to a shipwreck and spent more time over it. The coolest thing was seeing scuba divers 40 feet below and watching their bubbles come up to us.

 

After the snorkeling was over, the captain put up the sail and started back for port. The ride back was a little gentler, probably because we weren’t going as fast under sail. The crew “opened the bar” and started serving rum punch and a selection of cokes. The shore excursion description said something about a light snack, but no food was available. It might have been related to the delayed arrival, but we were digesting the bricks from room service and weren’t really that hungry.

 

On the ride back, I was occupied with Elle. Poor thing generally doesn’t get seasick, but days of rolling around on the Oasis and then the bumpy catamaran ride had her nauseous. She never got full on sick, but she wanted to sit still and have me sit with her, so we didn’t do much rum punch drinking and socializing on the way back. Max was fine throughout, and we were all glad not to have to take care of Jack during the excursion.

 

When we got near the port, the captain brought the sails down and went under power again. We got a good view of the Oasis and other boats moored offshore. We got our shoes back and walked towards the ship. Elle stopped in a few places to shop, but nothing caught her eye. After boarding we sent Max to shower while we collected Jack at Adventure Ocean.

IMG_20190213_163149.thumb.jpg.2a48e9257846d8cb3aca6b9d2604db86.jpg

The next casualty of the delay was our MDR dinner. By the time we finished our second snorkel, we realized we weren’t going to make it to dinner on time. Since I had cell service, I tried to cancel the reservation while we rode back, but RC requires you to be on ship wifi to cancel reservations. By the time we got back to the ship’s wifi, it was within 30 minutes and we couldn’t cancel. We were sad to miss because our meals were so good every night. I did cancel the headliner “El Gaucho,” because I knew we’d have to rush through dinner to get there on time, and we wanted to be on vacation.

 

By the time we all showered, it was 6:15, and we couldn’t decide exactly what we wanted to do for dinner. I wanted to try a hotdog on Broadway or perhaps drop Jack off and eat at the Solarium, but the other three really wanted WJ. In the end we compromised and tried Sorrento’s, and I’m glad we did! The pizza was delicious and could have been a full meal, but we decided to get a little there and a little in WJ to make everyone happy. Max chose to head off on his own while the three of us went to check out what was available. I’ll point out one of the things Elle got me doing on our previous cruises was not loading up my plate at the buffet. I get a few things I want to eat right away, especially if it’s hot, then go back later for more. There’s always more. Well, halfway through my first small plate, they started shutting down the restaurant, more than an hour before closing time! To their credit, no one asked us to leave or tried to rush us in any way, but the absence of food sent a clear message. I was mad, but I knew when I was beat and decided to go get a hot dog or maybe another slice of pizza. As we left, we saw just our half of WJ was closing; the other was still open as it should be. I guess we were close enough to closing that they only needed half open.

 

I got that second plate of food I wanted: a delicious bacon bleu cheese burger I put together myself, including some huge chunks of bleu cheese off the salad bar. It was worlds better than the burgers we ate that morning! While we were eating, Jack started making eyes at our neighbors as he is wont to do. We struck up a conversation and found out the woman next to us was the “alfa” call from the night before! She said she’s in a wheelchair because she’s due for knee- or hip-replacement surgery after the cruise. As her daughter pushed her in the cabin, a wheel stuck, and she tumbled out. She was unconscious for a few minutes and thinks she might have suffered a small stroke! Made our problems of bad burgers and mild seasickness seem tiny by comparison.

 

After dinner, we got some root beer in our cups and topped it off with ice cream. We enjoyed our dessert in the cabin, and then Jack and I walked to the card room to grab the daily Sudoku pages. On previous cruises they’ve been in the Library, and it was only today we found out where they really are. The card room was active and seemed like a fun idea if we needed something more sociable than eating and sleeping.

 

We put Jack to bed, filled out our Sudoku sheets, and then both started reading. We’ve been going through Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series together, and it’s been very enjoyable. We stayed up reading, saw Max come in at 12:45, and then went lights out at 1. Elle says I might not have been legally awake for the last 1 hour and 45 minutes or so of reading time, but I promise I’m a night owl and can stay up past 8 when I need to.

Edited by Ted&Elle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm trying not to drag this out too long. Hard to believe it's already been a month since the cruise. Here's today's 1500-word installment 🙂

 

Day 5: Valentine’s Day in Sint Maarten

 

I managed to sleep until almost 8 this morning, when a sailor was pressure washing the ship and our portholes. Jack went to the other side of the curtains to watch. The sailor kept spraying Jack’s window, much to his amusement. After that fun was over, I spent some time finalizing my bid for work. I work at an airline, and the bids need to be submitted on time no matter what, or I could wind up sitting reserve for 19 days in my sad little crashpad in Memphis.

 

I finished my work, and the four of us went for a leisurely breakfast in the Windjammer. Being an airline pilot, my main goal was to see some planes land at Maho beach. I was willing to do other stuff as well, but that sounded like a great, relaxing day to Elle. Way back on our Mediterranean cruise, we came up with the idea of bacon croissant sandwiches for something to carry on our busy tours. Today I had one mostly out of sentimentality. Let’s face it, I could live out the plot of “Cast Away” and still not need to carry bacon on a shore excursion.

 

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190214115052769_COVER.thumb.jpg.bbb7d36f98f88934d8f56c1d677632a4.jpg

 

After breakfast, we exited the ship at about 11:15. This time we remembered to sign out some towels. We were willing to pay for a taxi to the downtown area, but it was a nice enough day we decided to walk. It took us about 15 minutes without rushing to get to the shopping area, and just as we stepped into Back Street we saw a bus bound for Maho beach. We climbed aboard and read the signs asking passengers to pay up front. I gave the driver $8 for the four of us, and we settled in for the ride. The other passengers didn’t speak much, but they were friendly enough. They also didn’t pay until they got out, but I didn’t see any advantage over paying up front.

 

The bus ride took about 30 minutes and was comfortable enough. Contrary to what I’ve read, there was air conditioning in both the vans we took. At one point, the driver hopped out to take a leak on the side of the road. I guess you have to take what you can get when you’re driving all day.

 

We stopped at the traffic circle right by the beach. The driver asked us how long we planned to stay and said he’d be back to pick us up. As it turned out, we stayed later but had no trouble finding another bus back to Philipsburg. While driving, my cell service went from full LTE to 3G to H to nothing as we hit different towers on the Dutch and French sides. I think it was E at the beach, making it more difficult to refresh the airplane schedules.

 

If you’ve read about Maho Beach, you know that the planes are the real attraction. The beach is a thin, steep strip of land between the road and the water. The water is shallow right at the shore with lots of big rocks, and it drops off rather quickly. There are bars at each end with tables and chairs to rent, but the area right under the planes was open to lay out towels.

We told the boys this was mainly a stop to see the planes, but they both dove right in the sand and started having fun. Elle and I have never really been beach goers; I guess we’ll have to change that for the boys. The water was refreshing, but it was hard for Jack to get in far enough to get wet without being carried off. At one point we were out trying to wash the sand out of our beach shoes when a massive wave came in. It knocked me over on top of Jack! I was able to get off him and pull him above water quickly, but that ocean showed us who’s boss!

 

I won’t go through every plane that flew over, but we got a good show. We got to see the big jets from American, Delta and Air France, as well as lots of little commuters. I was able to catch a shot of one of our company’s smaller planes delivering packages that absolutely, positively needed to make it there overnight. The highlight for us was the biz jet whose landing gear came closer to the crowd than any of the larger jets.

 

IMG_20190214_134958.thumb.jpg.32f6472805365534956f941e42508582.jpg

IMG_20190214_141441_exported_1399_1551403694937.thumb.jpg.7d529c07b06ec9887c415e4cc8bc2a52.jpg

 

When we were ready to go, we all got back in the water and cleaned off as much sand as we could. Then the Air France Airbus A330 came in and sand blasted us as it touched down! We did our best to clean up again and made our way to the bus stop. We waited about 10 minutes before seeing a bus bound for Philipsburg. Once again, I paid the $8 up front, and we were the only passengers to do so. There was more traffic on the way back, but we got to town in plenty of time.

 

We wandered through the shops as we made our way towards the ship, but Elle didn’t find anything she had to have. As we wandered past the port stores, Elle said, “I’m going to buy a macaron. They look so pretty. As long as they’re not like $6 each or something.” Well, guess how much they were? No macarons for us!

 

We got on board and the boys and I went straight to the pool showers. We showered for a long time until most of the sand was gone, but we are still finding it in our *already washed* clothes a month later. After showering, we sat in a hot tub for awhile and then headed back to the room. We took Jack to AO and then returned to the room to snooze and read. Max went off on his own, and we didn’t see him again until after midnight.

 

Elle and I had the Chef’s Table for dinner tonight. It was held in the suite lounge at a table between the seating area and the Coastal Kitchen. We arrived a few minutes early and were treated to a glass of champagne while we waited. Once everyone arrived, they moved us to the table and the fun began. We had a fun group of people with all levels of cruising experience. One of the guys looked just like Eric Bana, and I couldn’t stop looking to see if it was him. I hope he didn’t find that too weird 🙂  We had lots of fun conversations throughout the night. It made us nostalgic for the old days when just the two of us sat at a main dining room table of 8 with 6 strangers. The captain was making the rounds in the suite lounge, and he came over to chat for us a bit.

 

Each course came with its own glass of wine that was introduced by our server. The chef then introduced the course before we ate it. We enjoyed all the food, especially the filet mignon. By this point I’ve lost track of how many wonderful steaks we ate on the cruise, but the filet mignon was at the top. At the end of the meal, the chef introduced the dessert, along with a healthy serving of innuendo involving us, ahem, eating his balls. The big spectacle was where 173-degree caramel was poured on the cold chocolate ball, causing it to crumple. It worked better for some than others, but overall the effect was spectacular. The taste was incredibly rich and delicious, so rich that a second one would have been hard to eat. The chocolate martini that came with it was very good, too! Here’s the full menu:

 

Appetizer

IMG_20190214_190931.thumb.jpg.ce95600e88b803989df4ba8102f316c0.jpg

Scallop Carpaccio with yuzu vinaigrette and crispy quinoa. Paired with a Les Tuiliers Sancerre

 

Soup

IMG_20190214_194529.thumb.jpg.2b1d777cdb59fccebbfbdc130aeb11e3.jpg

Smoked Tomato Soup with garlic focaccia croutons and parmesan. Paired with a Mer Soleil Chardonnay.

 

Salad

IMG_20190214_201542.thumb.jpg.e5a3eb4abda6e4e71f1bbf504260af39.jpg

Maine Lobster Salad with hearts of palm, pineapple, cilantro and vanilla dressing. Paired with a William Fevre Chablis

 

Entrees

Choice of Roasted Branzino, Filet Mignon or Truffle Tagliatelle. Almost everyone at our table got the filet mignon, although the person who ordered the pasta said it was the best he’d ever eaten.

 

IMG_20190214_204642.thumb.jpg.e2c1949cd66def268efa8a1f53a52d8a.jpg

Grilled Filet Mignon with truffle potato puree, asparagus and bordelaise sauce. Paired with a Honig Cabernet Sauvingon

 

DessertIMG_20190214_212851.thumb.jpg.f99bbd969015e2701092286f993a309f.jpg

Valrhona Chocolate Bar with salted caramel and dulce de leche gelato. Served with a chocolate martini

 

Here’s the video of Elle’s dessert being transformed: https://photos.app.goo.gl/v8E4ULBue3D7cYp16

 

After dinner, we made our way down to AO. We picked up Jack and went out to the sun deck that’s accessible only from the starboard hallway on 14. We found it locked during some of the windier times, but tonight it was open. We stood outside and watched some other cruise ships in the distance traveling back to Florida with us. What a peaceful place to end the night!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Day 6: At Sea

 

This one should be short because we didn't do a whole lot.

 

We woke up at 8:30 and messed around in the cabin until lunch time. Elle was able to get the TV working for awhile to help keep Jack busy, but later it started its on-and-off cycle again.

 

Lunch was at the Windjammer, which was understandably more crowded because it was a sea day. Max tried to get by with sodas and rolls, but we made him force some protein into his mouth!

 

After lunch we were lounging around the room when Jack announced, "I want to see friends in my class, please." Knowing he meant AO, we took him up there and let him play until supper. Max and I both ordered prime rib, and though you may tire of reading this, it was another excellent steak! Elle ordered blue cheese pasta and was pleased. The blue cheese we ate all over the ship was flavorful but not overly funky.

 

Max decided to accompany us to Come Fly With Me. We had a little trouble finding a seat initially, because one way RC reserves seats for higher up members and The Key is to throw a reserved sign on one seat and then tell people three rows away they are also in reserved seats. I'm glad they were honoring their requirements to hold seats, but it seems they could have done a better job marking the reserved rows.

 

Come Fly With Me was entertaining. There were lots of acrobatic feats going on at one time. Our favorite was when two people were suspended over the stage, one the mirror image of the other. It was cool watching them "walk" through the air.

 

IMG_20190215_201452.thumb.jpg.155a042cd31626cdbef5427d18b6ab80.jpg

 

After the show, Max went his way and we walked back to the cabin for some more TV for Jack. I walked over to the Loyalty Ambassador in the "Library," but I missed the rep's opening hours.

 

I put Library in quotes because it seems more like a room that used to be a library. There were many empty bookcases in the room and one small section that looked like a paperback exchange. I wonder if it will be repurposed when the ship goes into dry dock later this year.

Edited by Ted&Elle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 7: Last Day at Sea

 

Reading through our notes, it looks like we woke up early and hung around the cabin until about 10. I can hardly believe the boys skipped breakfast two days in a row, but that’s what I have in the notes.

 

Anyway, we took Jack to AO, and they made sure we knew to pick him up by noon. On port days they take the kids to lunch and supper as needed, but at sea it costs something like $1/minute for every minute past the closing times at noon and 5pm. We went back to the room and had Max set two alarms so he wouldn’t forget to pick up Jack. Later we found he picked Jack up on time with no trouble.

 

After setting Max straight, we proceeded to the MDR for our galley tour and bottomless brunch. It was amazing to see how much space the galley for each floor takes up. I was surprised to see the galleys on different floors don’t have identical setups. I’m sure there’s a good reason, and probably the waiters work on only one level anyway.

 

IMG_20190216_105346.thumb.jpg.4e317b160c4b3938c5cd3bab67e0acda.jpg

 

IMG_20190216_111022.thumb.jpg.d859316a0068c34b2e92c2220ac05b40.jpg

 

On other ships I got the impression the drinks were coming from one of the ship’s public bars, but we got to see there are bars for each level of the MDR. They’re in cages, presumably to keep the alcohol from walking off, and they seemed to have everything needed to make my Old Fashioned and Elle’s amaretto sour every night.

 

After the tour, we moved on to the bottomless brunch. Waiters were walking around with trays of mimosas, and I had my share during the meal. The brunch was handled like an MDR meal: we picked a starter, main course and dessert right at the beginning. The difference today is that some items were breakfast-like and others were less so. Elle and I chose the same things down the line: cream of mushroom soup, yet another amazing 6oz filet mignon, and what was advertised as “éclair swan with chocolate mousse.” The swans greatly disappointed us because they came with vanilla sauce instead of chocolate mousse, but the rest of the meal was enjoyable. We had more great conversations with our neighbors.

 

 

As we left the brunch, I saw the MDR lunch below with a chocolate fountain. I tried to get Max to go there for his lunch, but all he wanted was the Windjammer and its endless supply of rolls and Freestyle Coke.

 

IMG_20190216_123828.thumb.jpg.cc456043b79df11bdd055aa24f005aab.jpg

 

We got back to the room and saw that Max had picked up Jack on time. The boys were ready for lunch, and they went with Elle to the WJ while I went back to the Library to see the loyalty ambassador. I mentioned before that Elle was Gold status while I wasn’t, after the same number of RC cruises (1). I explained this to the loyalty ambassador, who was able to quickly verify that I indeed had been on the cruise with my wife. He couldn’t explain why my account hadn’t received the points, but they weren’t able to retroactively apply them for an 18-year-old cruise. He said it’s not a huge deal because I’ll be Gold by the end of this cruise, but you know I’ll be fuming 20 years from now when Elle makes Platinum one cruise before me. She better still be cruising with me by then! 🙂

 

It seemed like we had enough time to zipline after lunch, but it turned out to take longer than expected. I already knew about the nothing in pockets rule, and Max had agreed to be our mule. The problem was the workers there came up with all kinds of rules not on the sign. For example, the sign said all riders must wear shoes OR socks, but they said Elle couldn’t ride because she wasn’t wearing socks under her shoes. To demonstrate how easily her shoes would come off without socks, this big guy stepped on her heel and made them come off. Naturally this got Elle a little mad, so she stepped right on his shoe too! Then they wanted her jewelry off. Then after he was suited up, they said Jack’s clear glasses were sunglasses and needed to be removed. They fussed at Elle about her skirt, which went below the knees and was held tightly closed by the harness.

 

All of this would have been less annoying if the rules they were enforcing matched what was posted, but their seemingly arbitrary rules caused a short, fun trip to turn into a big annoyance. If it weren’t for Jack’s enthusiasm we’d have given up, but we pressed on. All the commotion and the embarrassment of watching his parents gripe at the workers caused Max to be stressed out. Elle told him to go to the other side and “take pictures or not,” something that was supposed to lower his stress level. I assumed he would know we wanted pictures of our zipline experience, but Max took that to mean “sit down somewhere and play games on your phone.” Elle was far enough behind us that I could have grabbed the camera and taken a shot of her, but I couldn’t find Max. I swear this whole thing was like the Keystone Kops, and it took me about 50 times longer to type this than it took to ride the zipline. We might do it again if it’s offered on a cruise, but we’ll plan ahead for the annoyances.

 

By the time the zipline fiasco was over, we were nearly late for Cats. We managed to get decent seats even though we missed the 15-minute early time. I knew going into this Cats wasn’t going to interest the boys, and honestly, I wasn’t giving it much of a chance. The fact that I had half a gallon of mimosas at the brunch and a drink at the start of Cats probably didn’t help, either. Oh, and I also knocked Jack’s coke over onto Elle’s skirt, so she had that sensation to enjoy during the 3-hour show!

 

According to Elle, Cats on the ship was just about how she remembers Cats on Broadway from years ago. I felt like I had a hard time understanding what they were saying and singing a lot of the time. Elle already knew all the songs, so it probably sounded ok to her. More than once during the performance I found myself dreaming, and apparently I gave out a snore or two. Elle tried hard not to roll her eyes at me when I offered to take the boys out at intermission. I knew it was going to be a busy day because of the MDR dinner right after Cats and the rescheduled Oasis of Dreams show. See, I’m not just an uncultured swine. I was also slightly tipsy and leery of being busy ALL DAY on our last day here.

 

IMG_20190216_144636.thumb.jpg.25527a967c1c045a3a4669a2fc35191a.jpg

I had a Rum Tum Tugger of a…ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Max split as soon as Elle gave the word. I took Jack up to the room and recorded the video I posted earlier in the cabin description. I’m a little hazy on what else we did after that, but before we knew it the dinner bell was ringing. As predicted, Elle didn’t have time to go anywhere but the MDR after Cats. Max met Jack and me on the way, and the three of us had to wait only a few minutes before spotting Elle. We went in for our last MDR dinner and really enjoyed it. We were surprised the waiters didn’t give us envelopes like they had in the past. Our room steward gave us one on day 5 and then another on day 6 when he wanted to be sure we’d seen the first one. Anyway one of the supervisors scored a couple for me so that we could leave tips for Albert and Ida.

 

After dinner we went to the Aqua Theater. On the way I took some 360 pictures of the Promenade and the Boardwalk. They’re in this album, here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/aXs5NyT8GJjhzENv8

 

We arrived at the Aqua Theater earlier than the other time, and our seats were better. It was a nonstop display of people exhibiting amazing physical skills.

 

After the show, Max took off for his last night of teen activities while we let Jack play on the bus and boat toys on the Boardwalk. He saw MikeandCheese for one last ride on the carousel, and then we went to see our pictures from the week. Normally I’d fall all over myself to buy one or all the pictures, but I felt fine passing up all the photos this time. By now it was pushing 9, and we went back to the cabin to pack.

 

One of the advantages of living so small is we packed much lighter than we have in the past. We managed to fit clothing for 2 adults, one teen and one shrimp into the 28” Shanghai special and my work 22” roller bag. We also had enough room in the backpack we carried on and the RC backpack we won to carry off our last dirty clothes and toiletry bags. That meant we could give both suitcases to the porters and walk off with just two backpacks.

 

We finished packing by 9:40 and put our bags in the hallway. We did the last ship’s Sudoku page and then one or two more on our phones before dozing off. I think we both woke up when Max came in around midnight, but more likely it was Elle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 8: Back to Life, Back to Reality

 

You’d think a month later the last day would be easier to remember than the first, but some of the memories have already faded. I could have sworn we ate breakfast before leaving the ship, but Elle is certain we didn’t. I guess what I’m remembering is our breakfast on day 5 where I thought we skipped breakfast. Looks like we ate that meal after all. Isn’t memory a funny thing?

 

Here’s the timeline we can agree on: we woke up at a reasonable time and were surprised how little noise there was. On previous cruises they started with in-cabin announcements very early in the morning, but I’m not sure we heard one before leaving.

 

(Now I think some of my memory is returning). We decided to drive straight to our favorite ice cream spot in Kissimmee for lunch and dessert: Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory. Part of me wanted to get our last “free” meal on the ship, and part of me realized I didn’t need to eat right before eating an hour later. In the end, Elle went to WJ while the boys and I got ready. She brought back some bananas, cereal and a few strips of bacon. Most importantly, she brought me coffee!

 

When we got ready, we proceeded to the Promenade on the way to our designated waiting area. By this time we still hadn’t heard any ship-wide announcements, so we checked at the gangway to see if #8 was cleared to leave. The guy working the line said yes, and then he said “Hey Jackson!” Apparently he worked in AO at some point and recognized Jack enough to almost remember his name. How kind with all the kids he must see every week!

 

We walked off the ship quickly and were deceived by how little traffic there seemed to be. Once we turned the corner in the terminal, we saw how long the line really was. We wound up standing in the terminal for quite a long time, slowly shuffling towards the baggage hall.

 

We got to the hall and proceeded directly to area 8. We found the big, broken bag and attached two wheels so that we didn’t have to lug it to the shuttle bus. My bag was nowhere to be found. After we each took a turn checking out #8, I asked a worker who was moving bags around. He said our tag must have come off and it was against the wall, but a quick search showed my bag wasn’t among the 5-10 bags there.

 

We started by searching area 8 again and then slowly expanding the search area. Along the way we told a few workers who weren’t unhelpful but also didn’t put a lot of effort into helping us. It appeared in their minds the only reason a bag wouldn’t be in the right place is that we failed to affix the tag properly.

 

While we were searching all permutations of 8 (28, 38, etc.), we told another worker about our missing bag and the steps we’d taken so far. He immediately started searching the entire hall with us. With the three of us searching separately, it took about 15 more minutes to find the bag. Elle found the workers had left it in 53, apparently because 5+3 = 8. It was clearly marked with an 8, and there were no other numbers visible. Oh well.

 

By the time we found the guy who’d been searching with us, it had been over an hour since we left the ship. He said “let me get you out of here,” and walked us to the expedited line for customs and immigration. We got through there quickly and without any trouble. After we exited customs, we found the contraband table just outside the terminal building. We collected our extension cord and walked to the shuttle, passing all the lucky people lining up to board Oasis.

 

When we got back to Lots of Honor, The boys and I took the bags to the truck while Elle talked to the workers about the missing wheel. They passed her to a manager on the phone. Initially the manager said she knew about the problem from the previous week (wrong cruise terminal, not the wheel problem), but “it’s not like we’re going to go to another cruise terminal to look for a single wheel.” Elle said, “Well, you took us to the wrong cruise terminal initially….” The manager then offered to completely refund our parking fee, which covered the cost of the suitcase. Prior to this we weren’t sure if we planned to keep it or donate it, but this made donating it an easy decision.

 

On the way to Abracadabra we saw it wouldn’t be opening by the time we got there, and we just happened to be by our favorite pizza place, Marco’s. We went there for lunch and then headed home for a nap. As you can see from the photo, 7 days of fun at sea wore Jack out!

 

IMG_20190217_145305.thumb.jpg.5ad4a6021b18e86670344daf51fbeab3.jpg

 

All-in-all we had a great time on this cruise and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Our two RC cruises are my favorite of the 7, and I hope we get to do more in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...