It might seem strange but one of the funnest “little” things about the cruise is that there is almost always mail at your door. Every morning and night at least, there is something new. Little fliers advertising events not to mention the daily “Princess Patter”. The only downside is that they don’t give you the days Patter until about 11pm the night before. Combine that with the [email protected] app not showing you anything but the current day’s schedule… means you really can’t plan much in advance. Maybe that’s a good thing?
Before we left for the cruise I mentioned to John (our illustrious copy editor, still suffering through every blog entry) the trip, to which he provided me several recommendations for gear to bring. As it turns out John had been on a number of cruises (I vaguely remember him mentioning one or two to me) and is something of an expert. The strange items he suggested was magnets so I ended up buying a half dozen magnetic hooks. They. Were. Clutch. John’s logic was flawless, you’re on a ship and don’t have much storage. We used the hooks for all the various paperwork (like the Princess Patter) that was important, not to mention small bags, coats, etc.
Instead of room service for the morning, we went out to explore the ship’s offering. Our initial plan was the Da Vinci dining room, being the only dining room open for breakfast, but only from 7-9am which was a bit early. Fortunately the Horizon Buffet did breakfast until 11am. The Buffet was quite tasty as it had been for the few previous excursions. The morning had everything from cereal, to staple breakfast buffet (ex: french toast, sausage, bacon, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, potatoes), to Asian style breakfast (fish, rice) and even a waffle bar!
A chunk of my morning was spent enjoying some quiet reflection time. In other words I found a quite spot and was writing on my computer. It’s rather awesome that one’s writing of a blog entry can get randomly interrupted by someone shouting “Hey look, whales”. So of course I went to go look. In hind sight, I think my biggest surprise of the cruise was how little time I had to do quiet things like reading and writing. We spent so much time at so many random events I got practically no reading in. Oh well, next vacation.
Another big chunk of our day was spent playing in the pool and hot tubs. The pool was heated which can be quite important depending on the ship’s location. The spa was quite warm but not as deadly hot as some ground-based spas (which I quite appreciated). It was a lot of fun to be able to splash around in the pool (or just relax) and watch Finding Dory at the same time. That was definitely something you don’t get to do at home (at least I’ve never seen anyone silly enough to put a flat screen next to their pool). Since we got an early start on the pool, it wasn’t too crowded. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes walking around and checking the different pools and spas, you could often find one all to yourself (unless it’s crazy busy).
This also happened to be the morning we found out that the unlimited drink package has one silly flaw, “One card, one drink”. The bar tenders didn’t know a hard apple cider bomb (depending on what you call it), so I ordered a Strongbow and a shot of Fireball. Since I was on my own they gave me a hard time about ordering two drinks and one card. Keep in mind that they had a drink on the menu which was Strongbow and a shot of apple schnapps — so this was quite frustrating to me. In the end I gave them Mary’s folio number (from her cruise card) and they were happy. Realistically I could order one, walk away, walk back 5 seconds later and order another. It was obviously a rule corporate came up with.
The evening was also my introduction to “formal night” (as opposed to the “smart casual” of the regular nights). Showing up to dinner without a sports coat definitely puts you on the lower end of the acceptable dress. If you don’t dress up, they will judge you. Your best bet if you don’t want to be fancy is to go to the buffet. Otherwise dinner really isn’t any different than normal. The one major difference was the normal one or two photographing stations turned into at least 7 different photographer stations. If you’re into to the photo package, formal night can provide lots of options for nice portraits.
We ended formal night by going to see the comedy show again, this time in the Vista Lounge rather than the big theater. It was Carlos Oscar again, but with a totally different show. Again, it was a hilarious show. The topper was an awesome bar tender/server. We had met him the two times we’d been in the Vista Lounge previously playing Bingo. The second he saw us, he grabbed our cruise cards and remembered our regular orders. All we had to do was find a seat and he found us with drinks. Score!