Leaving the Caribbean Sea behind.
8:30 is too damn early after being out past 3am in the morning. Alas, falling back asleep was not possible. A little after 9 rolled around, it was time to may-as-well head to sea day brunch. Before that though, I stepped out on the balcony to find that we were sailing between Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. Walking up to deck 9, over the bridge, I found my cell phone had service and called my mom to check in. After telling her “all good” I headed to brunch.
Sea day brunch is usually excellent on cruises. You have from 8 or 9 until 1 pm to enjoy it and the menu is different from most mornings. There is an option for a Dr Suess themed brunch (which I’ll visit later) but today was regular brunch in the aft dining room. Once there, I was seated at a table for 10. It took a few minutes before the table filled. Myself and many of the others had brought their past-guest free cocktail coupon that morning. When the drink waiter came around most of us (including me) ordered mimosas and another ordered a bloody mary. Eventually the waiter came by and took every one’s order. Afterwards there was the usual couple minutes of silence as people decide who breaks the ice first and tries to start conversation at the table. Fortunately, one couple was making comments about past cruises and that led to others joining in. Once the conversation gets going over brunch, it’s usually good. We talked about being out late, hangover cures, kids on ships, and the events of the day ahead. We wound up actually talking for a while as service was slow. Others all got their beverages and I had to remind the waiter about my mimosa. Eventually, food did come as well and it was good and hot. I ordered the yuevos rancheros because this was a pre-Blue Iguana ship and it was the only way I knew I would get them. Of course, they were great. Afterward, I enjoyed some coffee while conversation continued. A guest from another table joined us and we sat there for a good while talking about all sorts of stuff before wrapping up and finding something to keep us busy the rest of the day.
A trip to the spa to ask about a back-rub was slightly disappointing. Because the ship featured a Cloud 9 Spa, it meant the services were slightly more “high-end” than those of others (though I never had a lack-luster spa visit before). A nice simple back rub was not available in the there and I would need to get the whole hot-stone massage. It was $150 for 45 mins. No thanks, I’ll get one in Grand Turk for cheap and have a nice beach view… Only later did I see them giving back rubs near the main pool. Not an ideal place honestly though, and it always seemed like the same tubby guy was getting one. I didn’t feel interested enough to ask about the price.
The big Facebook/Cruise Critic meet and greet was in the afternoon. While I had met much of them already on the ship or ports, there were still a few that I had not. When I arrived at the Morocco Lounge, a few people had arrived already. Angela, the organizer, and a few others were handing things out. Raffle tickets, name tags, and leis. I walked around meeting some I hadn’t, and most didn’t recognize me at first. It wasn’t until I told them I was the guy who always wore sunglasses did they realize who I was. This continued for a short while before we found seats. Cocktail service was a little delayed as the bartending staff had thought it was later. Angela took the microphone and started with an introduction for the party. She then explained how some of the raffles would work… She called up a couple of people, who would be used as examples for what I think was the gift exchange raffle. Sheila went first, followed by Suzette. She took a minute to open the bag and package, but inside she found a ring. Keith made his way over at that time and proposed to her in front of everyone in the lounge. As Suzette said “Yes” the lounge erupted in cheers and applause. Nice words and congratulatory comments were exchanged before the raffles got started. Sitting with Alicia, Kim, and Andrew, we mostly used the time to talk and enjoy drinks. We watched our tickets for our numbers, but only Andrew won at our table. After the raffle, the door decoration contest was held and I didn’t stay around much longer after that. Had I though, I could have been in the group photo which I didn’t realize was afterwards.
With still much of the afternoon/evening ahead, it was time to enjoy the Serenity Deck (adults only and pretty quiet) part of the ship. I napped a little off and on before looking for something to eat. I bumped into Jenna and her crew who happened to be playing Cards Against Humanity. I joined in and won a couple of rounds before most of us decided to start getting ready for another elegant night. Before getting back in the cabin, I noticed it had become pretty cloudy outside. Once in the cabin, it seemed to be looking ominous. An osprey had taken perch on the railing outside the bridge wing. After a short nap I awoke to the ship moving a little more than it had earlier. It also sounded like somebody was spraying the window and balcony door with a shower head. Turned out we were in a thunderstorm. It was no minor one either. Rain was just coming down in buckets. After getting dressed, I made my way to deck 3 and stepped out onto the exterior promenade. I didn’t get far though as water was just cascading from the underside of the lifeboats and there was obvious lightning not too far in the distance. I enjoyed the movement of the ship, but others didn’t seem to care for it as much as there seemed to be fewer people at dinner.
This was night two and the new table. It was good conversation again. We talked about dogs, houses, jobs. I can’t remember what I had for dinner to be honest but I’m pretty sure I ate all of it. The ship was still moving a good bit and there was lightning seen through the windows.
After dinner, it was called an early night. I had wanted to be one of the first of the boat tomorrow to get one of the best cabanas in Grand Turk. I was not going to settle for bad neighbors or an undesirable view. I had also promised the use of the cabana to others as well so I wanted to be there when they dropped off their stuff. So after a brief stop at the nightclub, it was bedtime.