Sunday, April 13, 2014

Class Reunion Eastern Caribbean Cruise - A Day at Sea

Day at Sea
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
I always look forward to a full day at sea while on a cruise. Generally, I like it to be closer to the end of the cruise; however, since our classmates hadn't yet had an opportunity to all be together in one room, it worked out well for us that this day was at the beginning. And a gorgeous day it was!

The buffet was crowded with happy
people. Here's part of our group.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We went to the breakfast buffet (early...too early...), where we met several of those in our group. The food at breakfast is varied, with all kinds of self-serve options in addition to the cooked-to-order variety. This first morning on board, I did a recon mission. I like to get the lay of the land, to see what is being served where and to make tentative decisions about my choices. After all, you don't want to fill up your plate with bagels and cream cheese and a container of yogurt, only to find out that you could have had eggs Benedict or a custom omelet right around the corner!

The smoking area is roomy,
comfortable, and has a full bar.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We'd heard that the Colorado contingent would be aft (rear of the ship) on the same deck after breakfast, waiting for us. Some of the smokers in the group spent quite a bit of time aft, as that was the only place where smoking was allowed. If you are a smoker, don't be offended by this. It's just that the rest of us – especially those with breathing issues – have a hard time with smoke. Plus, not everyone is as careful as you are, and a ship on fire is nobody's idea of a wonderful time (with the possible exception of pyromaniacs, but let's hope none of those are on board). If you smell smoke in the hallway, it might be a good time to be concerned. There's a reason for all of these rules and regulations about not smoking in your room, not smoking on your balcony, and all that. So, thanks for enjoying those cigars in the right place, classmates, and for letting us hang out with you. I hope our company and the excellent libations available at the outdoor bar made up for the inconvenience.

At 11 a.m., we gathered in the conference center for a meet and greet, and everyone (classmates, friends, family, neighbors who heard about the price and decided to join the fun) in our group was there. This is where you normally get a little nervous, because you know you are not going to recognize everyone. And then there's the possibility they might not recognize you, either, because you don't look a thing like you did all those years ago. But you didn't hear that from me. That's what name badges are for!

You first. No, you first. Here, I'll hide
behind you. Readying the group shot.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
And then we went to the grand staircase for a group photo. What an adventure that was, deciding who would be in the front row and who would be prevented from hiding behind a really tall person in the back row. We were taking turns photographing everyone with our own cameras, but it's hard to be in a picture when you're taking one (other than a selfie, of course, and you know I love to take those). Cathy was able to convince some of the crew members to take “official” photos. Well, it didn't take any convincing, really. All you have to do is ask. They are there to make your vacation fabulous, because they want you to come back.

Cathy's awesome at organizing!
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Guess what? It was lunch time! Back to the buffet to peruse the selections in pursuit of the perfect light meal. Mission accomplished. I may have mentioned before that if you are physically able to do so, I highly recommend going up and down the stairs rather than taking the elevator. Your scale will be glad you did when you get back home!

After lunch, we strolled around the shops and boutiques (plenty of places to browse) and ended up at the Café for a latté with the seven or eight classmates. Jordan Peterson happened to be performing, and everyone agreed with us. He's terrific. And then we made our way to the Solarium for a dip in the wave pool, which we were not unpleasantly surprised to find was salt water, and warm. The hot tub was not hot at all, but it was warm enough to be comfortable.

After a stop at Bob and Karen's room for a piña colada, we returned to our cabin to get ready for formal night. Nap, shower, shampoo, and off to dinner with Marsha, Kathi, Bob, and Karen. Cathy and Fred were at the next table, so there were plenty of visits and conversation back and forth.

Isn't my appetizer gorgeous?
Delicious, too.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Here's what we ate: I started this fabulous meal with an appetizer of salmon with caviar, followed by strawberry (cold) soup and a tomato/cucumber salad. My entrée was beef tornado with green beans and potatoes, and I enjoyed Cherries Jubilee for dessert. Harry started with a shrimp cocktail followed by yellow corn cream soup and Caesar salad. He also had the beef tornado and, for dessert, the crème brûlée.

Don't we look nice?
Photo by Bob. All rights reserved.
We all went to the Celebrity All-Stars show, “iHollywood,” which was great fun, and then rushed off to have formal portraits taken. As previously mentioned, you will have plenty of photo-ops with the professional photographers on the ship. Formal night seems like a good time to have your picture taken on purpose, since you will be all dressed up and looking fine! Gentlemen, you do not have to wear a tux. If you have a suit, awesome. Otherwise, a shirt, tie, and sports jacket will be just fine. Ladies, you know what to do. No offense, guys.
Karen and Bob,
we love traveling with you.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
On our way from one end of the ship to the other, we happened upon Karaoke at one of the lounges. Some of the performers, including Ian from England (singing “Mack the Knife”), were superb. Others, not so much. We had a wonderful time on a number of levels.

For a “relaxing day at sea,” this one was pretty busy. Traveling with a large group is not at all the same as traveling with a small one. Which is not to say that it isn't enjoyable. It's just different. Don't be in a hurry, and do try to organize something, such as our meet and greet, so everyone can feel comfortable, relaxed, and included. Today, we had an opportunity to "catch up" with our classmates and friends. It was a good day.

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