Voyager of the Seas: Day 2 & 3

Day 2 & 3 of our cruise were sea days aboard the ship, which is one of my favorite itineraries.  Sea days give you a chance to just relax and hang out after what is sometimes an exhausting trip just to get to the port city.  Like to relax with a spa treatment?  Sea days are good for that.  They also give you a chance to explore the ship and see what all it has to offer in terms of eating venues, entertainment, and shopping.  If you plan on making any reservations for the specialty restaurants and have not done so before boarding the ship, a sea day at the start of your cruise gives you ample opportunity to do that.  Just be sure to get it done fairly early to ensure you get the day and time that you want.  This is also a good time to reserve any shore excursions you plan on doing with the ship if not previously reserved.  The Voyager Class ships have a wonderful sports deck where you can climb the rock wall, play basketball, in-line skate on the track, and play miniature golf.  You can also make use of the golf simulator.  Seas days are a great time to do all of this.  Fortunately, our itinerary began with two sea days.

Soaking up the sun.

When I woke on the morning of Day 2, I had high hopes of sunny skies and warmer temperatures.  I would not be disappointed.  I pulled back the curtains on our oceanview window to find the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean below and sunny skies above.  Everyone else was still snoozing, but I was eager to lather on the sunscreen and slip on my swim suit and head to the pool deck for some much-needed warmth and sunshine.  It didn’t take long for the rest of my family to have the same idea.The clocks had moved forward an hour overnight for daylight savings so it was almost 10:30 by the time we got up to the Windjammer to eat breakfast.  We ate quickly and headed out to the main pool to find our friends who were already out there.  We found that the temperature was warmer, but it was quite windy, which made it chilly if you were sitting in the shade or when a cloud covered the sun.  The hot tubs seemed very inviting at this point so we headed to the adults only one at the main pool while our kids enjoyed the open hot tub.

All the kids enjoyed this hot tub on the pool deck.

I had looked over the Compass the night before to see what activities were planned for that day.  I was disappointed on this cruise with the activities, both the variety of them and their scheduling.  I wasn’t that impressed with the Cruise Director on this sailing, and I assume he is responsible for the activities and schedules.  He is a very nice guy; I just didn’t think he was cruise-director material.  Some examples of my irritation with scheduling were having the belly flop contest, a very well-attended contest, scheduled for the same time as sail away time from Grand Cayman.  I have always seen those contests scheduled for a sea day when everyone is already hanging out by the pool.  I had heard it was not well attended on this sailing.  Another example is the Love and Marriage Game Show that always draws a crowd either before or after dinner in the evenings on one of the first nights of the cruise.  On this sailing it was scheduled for 2 in the afternoon on the last day of the cruise.  What!?  That’s one night they wouldn’t have to pay for entertainment because the passengers provide it for them.  I usually relive the hilarious moments, watching them on TV while getting ready for dinner for the rest of the cruise.  But not this time.

The Royal Promenade on Voyager of the Seas. Welcome Aboard!

Since there didn’t seem to be much activities scheduled beyond 500 different trivia games, the art auction, and bingo, we decided to hang out at the pool deck all day sipping Miami Vices and listening to the poolside band.  By around 4:30 the clouds had increased and the wind became too annoying, so we headed down to the Promenade Cafe to get a slice of pizza, then back to the room to nap for a bit before getting ready for dinner.  That night was the first formal night and the Captain’s Welcome Aboard party on the Promenade.

At dinner that evening we discovered we had new tablemates, a very nice family from Nebraska.  They said they had been called earlier in the day and told they had been reassigned to our table.  This made me even more suspicious of the couple on the first night who would hardly look our way and didn’t seem to want to speak to us at all.  That’s okay; to each their own.  I have a feeling I enjoyed this family much more than I would have them anyway.

After dinner, our kids headed to check out the kid’s club and teen hang out while we went to the Pig and Whistle to see if we could figure out what this Derek Lewis character was all about.  Derek was the entertainer in the pub.  He played guitar and played songs that we all love and could sing along with, but he also gets the audience to participate in a fun and engaging way.  I had noticed the LED scrolling sign behind him that scrolled, “Nobody fails as long as they try.”  It didn’t take me long to figure out what that meant when Derek, through his excellent people-reading skills, was able to coerce someone up to do Kamikaze Karaoke.  This is when Derek gets his participants to do karaoke to a song picked completely at random by the computer (read: Derek) while he plays along on his guitar.  After they finish, he asks everyone how they did to which we all respond with hands raised yelling, “Super Star!”  If Derek catches you not participating in this ritual, you are considered a challenger to the previous participates and everyone gets to judge your Kamikaze Karaoke skills.  Everyone who accepts Derek’s challenge of Kamikaze Karaoke receives a Del Sol color-changing ring WORTH FAR LESS THAN ONE-THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! Believe it or not, this is the coveted prize that gets everyone up there.

We had a great time watching and participating in the antics of Derek’s Adult Daycare at Night Program, but it was time to head to the room.  The next day was our first port stop at Jamaica, and we couldn’t wait to head out for our zip line adventure in the morning.  Stay tuned for that post coming soon.

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Hurricane Irene disrupts cruises.

Well, just as I had previously blogged about, the news stories are clogging up the chat boards with accounts of sailings being altered because of Irene.  This article from CruiseCritic.com talks about how the different lines have handled having to leave passengers behind due to early departures.  Most of the cruiselines chose to offer as a good-will gesture, compensation for their passengers who were inconvenienced.  One line even went as far as putting left-behind passengers up in a hotel and flying them to meet the ship at the next port.  The article makes a point of saying that the lines that chose to do this for their passengers are “heroes” while Royal Caribbean International who chose not to, well within their contractual obligations, are “zeros.”

I think it’s great that the other lines chose to compensate their passengers for being inconvenienced by mother nature.  Kudos to them!  If I were one of those passengers I would be thrilled.   As one message board poster pointed out, it was good PR for them.  In my opinion, those other lines chose to do it because they couldn’t afford to have any bad PR.

I don’t think any less of RCI for not throwing a bone to their inconvenienced passengers as some message board posters have commented, saying that they will now choose another line to cruise on.  Great!  That just means there will be less lounge chair hogs for me to have to fight with to get a chair on the pool deck. 😉

Look people, if you know you’re cruising in hurricane season, and you know a hurricane has been forecasted around the time of your sailing, PAY ATTENTION!  The cruiselines update their websites continually as they receive information about the storm, so check it….. often.  Call your travel agent to find out if departure times have changed.  This is one of the reasons I always fly in the day before departure.  There is no rushing to get to port, especially if the departure time is moved up.  The cruiselines give you every opportunity to receive up-to-date information, but you need to put a little effort into it yourself.  If you don’t want to have to deal with these types of issues, don’t cruise during hurricane season.

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