Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Cruise Diaries: Day 3 - Tuesday 21st May 2013 - At Sea

Ahoy me hearties! Today the ship does what it says on the tin, and we get all Captain Stubing (those of you old enough to remember that classic late 70s series The Love Boat will know what I'm on about) and sail the seven seas, well at least the Mediterranean into the Ionian on our way over to our next port of call. 

Today was all about exploring the ship in more detail, although I have to say right now that there were parts of the ship which we never even reached during our holiday.  The Navigator of the Seas is so big that I was unable to take a proper full-length exterior photo of it until we reached Turkey.  But I took lots of photos of the inside of the ship and I thought I'd include some of them in today's post. 

This is the very striking centrum area at the opposite end of the Royal Promenade.

The Royal Promenade (pictured below) has cafes, bars and some very pricey shops.  There are also jewellery sales going on most days with cheap watches and bracelets.  Later on in the cruise, they even have a sale on Greek and Turkish souvenirs for all those people who don't want the authentic experience of actually getting off the ship in Greece and Turkey. But as I say, each to their own and that's the great thing about a cruise - you can still tailor the holiday to your individual preferences.  There's lots of activities available but it's certainly not Butlins-at-sea.

Whilst taking a few pictures today I nipped into our Main Dining Room on Deck 5, Swan Lake, while it was empty.  As you can see, it's very nice, and became one of our favourite places to go on the ship.  (Of course it would be, if food was involved).  Here's the opulent and extravagant centrepiece chandelier in the Main Dining Room.

We've been spending a lot of time indoors so let's go out on deck!  We get some relaxation and reading time at our quiet back deck hideaway and then take a walk around to the pool deck.  One of today's activities was the legendary belly flop competition on the pool deck, which I couldn't resist having a look at.  The bigger they are, the bigger the splash :)  And if you don't fancy the belly flop then there's always the hot tub or the numerous sun loungers (pool deck pictured below).  I also like the 'Solarium' area which despite the name is shaded from the direct sunlight.  The weather on the outdoor decks can be very variable.  Some parts of deck are very blustery, whilst other parts can be very hot.

Lunch buffet in the Windjammer.  Here's some of it - sweet & sour chicken, rice and noodles....

...and cakes.  The one on the right is Linzer cake, which we nicknamed 'Jammie Dodger cake'.

After our late lunch in the Windjammer, we head for the ship's very own ice rink theatre Studio B.  The "Ice Dancin'" show is a major highlight on Royal Caribbean cruises and there's two showings today and two showings tomorrow, however we choose today as we'll probably be too tired after tomorrow's excursion.

There's everything from traditional ice dancing to aerial trapeze work and some high energy numbers including a choreographed ice hockey routine (below). Their outfits were definitely inspired by the Swedish ice hockey team, don't you think?

I'm still amazed at how people can ice-skate on a ship, but they do, and they do it very well.  The "Ice Dancin'" show is the must-see show of this whole cruise and if you don't see anything else, you need to see this one.  Like all the other shows on board, the show lasts 45 minutes but whereas that's just right for all the others, this show ends too soon, and with a Viennese-themed grand finale (pictured below) which is soundtracked by a medley of songs by none other than the legendary Falco!  Which brings a big smile to our faces - as both faithful travelling companion and I are big Falco fans of course.

Tonight was the first of two formal nights on the 7 night cruise.  Unfortunately this aspect of cruising does not particularly appeal to either of us - who really wants to get dressed up in tuxedos and ballgowns?  We're on holiday, remember? We have very nice smart-casual evening wear but this kind of thing is in a different league.  It's However, we seem to be in a very small minority as what feels like 95% on board dress up to the nines,in gear which you'd see at, say, a posh wedding or Ascot :)  The saddest thing about the formal dress code is the unwritten rule which excludes the non-formal crowd from the main dining room.  So in an anti-formal night gesture we head for the ship's very own burger bar, Johnny Rockets!

As you can see it's empty!  We sat in the indoor section which is authentically styled like a 50s diner.  Each table has its own individual jukebox and you can select songs to play, but it doesn't work all the time.   Although I am more successful as I manage to get the Sugarhill Gang's "Rappers Delight" played.  There is a small cover charge and like all other venues on the ship, drinks aren't included and are billed separately.  I try my first root beer in many years, which is nice.  I also have a meat-free burger which is very tasty, and we have lots of fries and onion rings.  Tonight's showtime was "Ballroom Fever" in the ship's theatre, which was very good, although if I have a criticism we could have done with more of the dancing, and less of the singing from the ship's resident singers, who are prone to 'big singing' - turn it down, you're not on "The Voice"!

Later in the evening we're at Boleros, the bar which is becoming our favourite hangout with a resident band playing catchy Latin tunes every night.  We pick a nice observational spot to check out all the formal night brigade, now hobbling round with very sore feet after walking all night in high heels!  However, a late night is out of the question again - anyone who parties all night on the ship won't be doing excursions tomorrow.  But we're up early tomorrow for a day in Athens.  Goodnight!

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