Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cruise Round Up: January 2- Sea Day

(Double rainbow across the ocean... I missed it because I was napping!)
“Fun” Day at Sea

Now, I picked this cruise because I knew I wasn’t a sea day person (lots of ports on the itinerary), and today really confirmed that. Fun days at sea are downright boring. I had brought knitting with me and made plans to do a lot of that, but in the end it turns out that while I enjoy the motion of the ship, trying to read a knitting pattern while enjoying that motion makes me nauseated, so my plans were ruined. There was not much to do today.

Lets talk about the motion of the ship- OMG, this thing moves non-stop. We were on the Carnival Spirit (Acapulco, Zihuateneo, Manzinillo) and except one day with very large waves, we felt nothing. This ship is like being on a non-stop roller coaster ride, and there are no waves in the ocean. We picked a room on the lowest floor because DH doesn’t like movement- there is a TON of it (we are quite far front). We go sit in the lobby because it is low and central, there is still a ton of movement.) There is nowhere on this ship that you don’t feel like you are on a 4-direction rocking chair, which I like, but my husband is feeling a bit ill (he did take a Dramamine, but we didn’t pack any since we thought our last cruise was typical- everyone always says except in bad weather you don’t feel it- and this being a larger ship, we thought that would hold even more true… we will have to pick some up in san juan). Up on the Lido deck- with the air blowing he seems to do the best, but that’s where I feel it the worst- go figure. (Not to mention it’s cold! I was laying up there in jeans and a fleece wondering if I’m on the same planet as the girls in the bikini a few chairs down…) Look at my hair blowing in the wind! How do people comfortably lay out in this?

So my other complaint of the day is my cabin creeks non-stop. Eeechk, irrrkch, eeechk, irrrkch- omg, what a horrible sound. I thought Freedom was a relatively new ship- it sounds like it’s an old wooden ship from the 1800s! Very disappointing.

Our worry from yesterday about trouble getting around and nowhere to hang out has also come true. The ship is a horrible pain because either the Chic restaurant or the Habana bar are always in the way of anywhere we want to go. You have to go up and around them constantly. We also have had a hard

time finding anywhere to sit. We live it over by the Bar Nouveou area, but the smoke smell is strong. The lobby often is smoke free, but for some reason the group has vetoed it.

A major difference from our last cruise is that we have had a hard time finding any live music. There don’t seem to be many groups out playing.

So other than the creeky cabin, rolling ship, and nowhere to hang out- how did the day go? Well, it was just kind of a boring one.

For those thinking I’m crazy, and that there are things to do, I just didn’t do them- I’ll go ahead and say we went to 2 trivias, and tea time. Trivia only takes about 15 minutes, and tea time only about 30. That’s an hour total. There is A LOT of time to fill on a sea day and not much to fill it with. (Edit to add: I think maybe a lot of stuff happened at the casino bar, which isn't really in the casino. It was really smokey so we avoided it, when we later just gave up and went there, there was a lot more to keep us busy. I think it boils down to us not loving the Freedom layout.) (This picture is from later in the day- hairy chest contest on the Lido. I am not a lido deck person, and I think they were just wandering and caught this... we didn't spend much time up there.)

Starting at the beginning, we woke up at about 7:00 and lazed in the cabin until we went to the Lido for breakfast. We were disappointed because both places that had “potatoes” labeled didn’t have any… I had a bagel and a “egg quesadilla” it was a little cold, but interesting flavors. The bagel was yummy. (For those wondering they did have bacon “police” doing the serving- but they would give you as much as you wanted.) DH had a few pieces of fruit and yogurt, and he found that the milk and yogurt helped him feel a bit better- apparently dairy helps sea sickness?

We then went walking around the ship a bit, and on the way back to the room happened upon 50s trivia in the Victioriana lounge, they were on question 2, so we popped in and joined them. There were only about 10 people in the room, including us, and Nate (who cracked us up all week) did make a few jokes about it being so "well" attended… (shouting out to anyone who walked past the doors "do you want to join us? Please!" or "We need friends, will you be ours?") We ended up getting 6 out of 10, tied for lowest, but felt we should have been scored on a curve, for being the only people in the room who weren’t alive in the 50s. (Edit to add: 80s trivia ended up being on a port day and we never saw 90s... major bummer! We skipped the other decades, as we clearly had no chance, and they were really early in the morning.)

Then we went down to our room for a bit, and discussed the activities of the day. At some point my husband was hungry, having had such a sparse breakfast, and we went up and he got pizza. The pizza place automatically handed him 2 pizzas of pepperoni – which is just a ton of pizza, but being hungry, he went ahead and scarfed it down anyway. He then got more frozen yogurt- I didn’t get anything.

At this point I decided I wanted a nap, and he went off to find his brother and our sister in law. From pictures, it looks like they went to lunch in the dining room, wandered the ship, and caught, from a distance the hairy chest contest.

I woke up around 1:00 and went to lunch on the Lido. I got food from the Tandoor, and was a bit
disappointed as it was all too salty for me. The naan was excellent, but a little cold. The lemonade was once again amazing. At this point I went downstairs, and despite having left a note that I’d be in the Bar Nouveou area or in the Lobby realized there was trivia at 2:15, and being only about 10 minutes away that was sure to be where my husband was. It turns out he had gone back to my room at about 1:45 to find me, found my note and checked the places I said I might be –oops- before turning up for trivia at 2:15. See, I knew he’d be there

We did turbo trivia, which turned out to be mostly “joke” style questions (who invented the toilet? Pooper or Crapper?) but a fun style of trivia where we stood on the stage and went to the different sides to determine our answers. (In this picture I am clearly pondering, as I look really weird...) Standing on the stage, I had a bit more respect for the dancers, as it is very wobbly up there, and I’d have a tough time dancing (well I definetly would now, but when I was in my prime) so I can see the issue (it’s just always surprising when they aren’t AMAZING because it’s pretty competitive to get those jobs.) Anyhow- standing on the stage for the game was fun- it’s always fun to be on stage. Up next was line dancing, but it conflicted with tea time, so we left the Victoriana to get to the Posh for tea.

(Edit to add: Later we realized this was also the time for the murder mystery clues and we missed it- clearly I needed to break out the highlighter to better schedule the fun times, which I did later in the week... But it really shows why this day wasn't the greatest, too many things we wanted to do were all at the same time, and there just weren't too many things overall...so the gaps of nothingness were pretty apparent.)

We got to the Posh and they seated us all the way in the back- which was just gorgeous looking at the waves. The vibrations were insane, like the dining room would fall down on us, so last night was not a fluke. I guess we’ll have that to look forward to every night. We were seated at a table for 4, and 2 more joined us shortly. We were presented the usual selection of teas, and given our own hot water to pour, a few of us got leakly kettles, and pouring became a bit of a challenge. Cucumber sandwiches (yummy) and smoked salmon (didn’t try it) were served. At this point, they brought around the sweets tray and the servers with the savory options had a more difficult time finding takers. There were so many choices, but I settled on a scone with cream (OMG amazing) and some chocolate layer cake (so good- but too rich to finish). There was live piano music at tea (the first live musician I’ve seen since we were greated onboard with a guitarist) and that was very nice. Some of the waiters would occasionally sing along too.

After tea we went up on the decks and walked around. We had planned to go to the Serenity area, but our cruisemates decided to just sit on a quite area near the back of the Lido deck (you could barely hear the big screen blaring back there). After sitting down, DH decided he’d rather go lay on the serenity area, and I agreed, as we were laying facing the sun, and due to an eye problem just before we boarded I couldn’t wear contacts, and thus didn’t have sunglasses on- so facing the sun wasn’t working for me. We went to the serenity area, and there were (like most of the boat) plenty of loungers available. We found some away from the sun, and laid down. It was quite windy, and very loud from the big screen (though not as loud as right in front of it), but a nice place to lay. We didn’t check the hammocks, but all the clam shells were taken, and all but one by just a single person. I really thing that those should be for multiple people, not just one. But whatever. We enjoyed this area for awhile, but were really being battered by the wind, and I eventually got to cold to continue laying out. (Most people In this area were either in fleeces like I was or wrapped up in the towels. I still don’t understand those by the big screen in the little bikini’s- it was just as cold there... maybe the alcohol warms them up!)

Getting board with being up on deck, we came down to the cabin where DH took a nap, and I typed this. After awhile I took a shower and put on my elegant night dress (isn't it pretty! $30 at JC Penny. I had to take up the straps, as the size I have to get now is larger than I'd like, and the straps at the length they came were clearly for someone much taller than me... but what a deal! You may also notice Clapotis shawl, which was featured heavily on this blog during the knitting ) to go sit near the photography and people watch. Most people were dressed very nicely, and I did hear one woman complaining they weren’t seated because her son was in jeans and a t-shirt. So I had thought standards were upheld, but then at the late seating the table next to us had 3 teenagers (no parents) in jeans and t-shirts. I brought some knitting and tried to do that by the Nouveou Bar, but reading the charts was once again making me sick, so I’ve had to give up those plans.

At this point, I went back to the cabin to fetch my husband and we went up for dinner. About 8:10 we joined the queue to the dining room, in a stairwell. The line never moved and we were amused at the number of people who pushed past us to get off the stairs into the atrium area- I’m not sure what they thought we were waiting for, because clearly it was time for them to be seated. At 8:20, they opened the doors.

Unfortunately it seems that last nights dining experience was not a fluke- as tonight was much the same. Instead of the steady vibrating we did have a rhythmic thumping, so that was new. Anyhow- dinner was very slow- it took us 2 hours to get through the meal. The head waiters clearly have too many tables as we rarely saw ours stop moving, and he rarely stopped by our table. Our assistant waiter took our orders, and after awhile the headwaiter came by to make sure that had already been done, so the system doesn’t seem to streamlined.

Our appetizers were all excellent- two people had the pumpkin soup, and they enjoyed it, and two of us had the mushrooms, which were fantastic. I also had a fruit plate, which came out later than the rest- I’m not sure if that is normal or not, but we thought it had been forgotten, and just decided not to ask.

After a LONG wait, our entrees came out. And like last night, parts of our order were forgotten and we had to ask for them. After we were served entrees we didn’t get the baked potato or steamed vegetables two of us had also ordered. We waited about 15 minutes to see if they would come out separately, and then asked for them (the only other time we saw our head waiter this evening). After a long wait, he told us they would be out soon. Another long wait, and they were set out for us- by this point everyone at the table had completely finished our meals, but now we had side dishes. (Steamed vegetables are a must- the vegetables on my plate weren’t even plural- I had a single flourette of broccoli). Anyhow, while the service was not good, the food was excellent. I had the lobster, and while small, it was enough. (There were also shrimp which I don’t eat), and the potatoes on the dish were good, as was the single piece of broccoli.

Dessert was disappointing, after seeing my husbands yummy looking warm chocolate melting cake last night I decided to order one myself (I never got one last cruise). Instead of a warm melting cake, I got a hot all the way cooked cake. It was solid and dry. The taste was sweet, but I only had a few bites and just ate the ice cream instead. Maybe if there is another night where I don’t want dessert I’ll give it another try.

At this point it was almost time for the production show, but based on the material (New Orleans) we decided to skip it. We had thought about going to karaoke or maybe the comedy club, but when we went back to the room to change, we went to bed instead. Oops. My husband slept very well, but the loud creeking kept me up until past 3:00. After awhile I moved from the bed to the couch so as to not wake him with my tossing and turning, and I was glad to have learned earlier in the day that there is an extra duvet under the couch in the drawer. I made myself up a little pallet and tried to get some sleep. It was off and on there, but I got a bit.

Also- last night we didn't get a towel animal, and we worried we might not at all, but there was no need for concern- he was there to greet us tonight (along with bedtime chocolates! We always save them for the morning.)

No comments: