Cruising the Southern Caribbean: A Day at Sea

After our port day in St. Thomas, our next stop would be the island of Curacao.  As you can see in the map below, these two islands are just a tad bit distant from one another.  In fact, there is over 500 miles between our two destinations.  So what is my point with all of this?  Why, a lovely day at sea, of course!  To cover the 500+ miles between the islands, our ship would need more than just the night to get to Curacao, it would need a day of belly flop contests, art auctions, spa treatments, and pool lounging, full steam ahead.

We decided to start our day with breakfast in the dining room.  Since we are always rushed on port mornings, it seemed like a nice idea to skip the buffet and enjoy a more relaxed breakfast.  Once we were all seated, we were given menus and offered pastries and coffee.  Good start with the pastries, dining room. 🙂  Menu options are limited compared to the buffet, but there was certainly something for everyone.  They offer griddle items like French toast and pancakes, eggs of all sorts, and a selection of healthier fare.  They also have a cereal bar in the center of the dining room for those who are looking for muesli, granola, cereal, etc.

About an hour and a half later, filled to the brim with breakfast goodness, we set out to enjoy our day on the ship.  For us, this meant finding lounge chairs by the pool and settling in for some sun and people watching.  We headed back to the rooms to grab our books and sunscreen, and off we went in search of the perfect spot to relax.

Now if you have ever been on a cruise, you know that the seating options near the pool are practically limitless.  Do you want to be near the action?  Sit right next to the pool.  Do you need a bit of shade?  Find yourself a seat in the nicely shaded chairs a few rows back.  Or would you rather bake in the sun?  Head up one deck to get full exposure.  Are you wanting to embrace a day on the sea?  Grab a chair that is right next to the railing where you can gaze at the ocean and enjoy the sea breeze.  Don’t like crowds?  Spend some time on your private balcony.  See what I mean?  There are so many options!

aos pool deck 11am
pool deck at 11am ~ thanks to some morning drizzle, not too crowded.

We ended up splitting up for our time at the pool.  Half of us were in the mood for sitting near the pool to watch the action, while the rest wanted that by the sea feeling on the deck above.  By the pool, we enjoyed watching the activities that are put on by the entertainment staff.  There was a Latin dance class, a men’s belly flop contest, pool volleyball, and the “if you know it, dance it” contest.  There was also our own private entertainment of rating the sunburns of passersby–ouch!–which reminds me, if you are on a Caribbean cruise, please wear sunscreen for goodness sake!

aos pool deck 1230pm
Belly flop contest ~ you can see crowds gathered to watch and vote, as well as a giant splash on the screen, evidence of a solid flop.

The most entertaining was of course the belly flop contest.  Men volunteered and were chosen with the goal of having all different weights and body types represented.  Then each participant competes for the best flop in two different rounds.  Round one is jumping/flopping from the pool deck, and round two provides a platform to maximize the impact with added velocity.  The audience rates each jump from 1-5 and a winner is chosen based on these scores.  Everyone of course bets on the biggest man to win, but I secretly cross my fingers for the scrawny underdog.  Only one could be proclaimed the winner, but based on bravery and red, splotchy stomachs, I say all of the participants were winners.  Well done, belly floppers, well done!

After watching the contest, we went to the Windjammer buffet in shifts to grab lunch and bring it back to the pool deck to eat.  We could very well have eaten inside in the nice air conditioned Windjammer, but there is a 30 minute rule for leaving deck chairs unattended, and we really wanted to keep our prime spots.  So in we went to fill up our plates and out we came with our modest lunches (by “modest” I am of course referring to my delicate eating habits, in which I piled my plate high with salad, garlic bread, pizza, ribs, a hot dog, and cookies.  Gotta love a buffet 😛 )

As we walked outside with our plates, I discovered what happens when an unstable food mound meets 20 knot winds: flying cuisine!   Sadly my slice of pizza, one cookie, and a leaf or two of lettuce caught the wind and flew off of my plate to splat on the deck.  Gah!  But no problem, I rushed the plate to my husband, did a quick deck sweep to collect the escaped bits of food, a quick hand washing, grabbed a new slice of pizza, and was back in business for lunch by the pool.  Phew.

At about 3:30, we realized that we had about enough of the sun beating down on us, so we headed down to our rooms to clean up.  We then enjoyed wandering around the Royal Promenade a bit, then back up to get ready for our usual evening of appetizers in the diamond lounge, late dinner, and crashing for the night.

Okay, so I am realizing that if you are not a lay by the pool kind of person, you might be thinking that this sounds like a terrible day.  But let me assure you that sea days are chock full of activities and events to keep people occupied.  There is mini golf, a spa, rock climbing, surfing on the FlowRider, classes, shows, movies, trivia, ice skating (seriously, ice skating on a cruise ship, what in the world, right?!), gambling, art auctions, you name it!  Trust me, you will not be bored on a sea day.

sea day.jpg

Tips and Lessons Learned:

  1. It’s nice to enjoy a relaxed breakfast on the ship, but this does not have to be in the dining room.  Most ships have so many options for meals, you should be sure to check out the possibilities.
  2. The pool deck can get pretty crowded on a sea day, so if you are at all picky about seating or if you are wanting to sit with a large group, be sure to get out there early.  There are also strict rules on abandoned chairs, so be sure you know the amount of time you can be away and be mindful of it, as deck patrol has been known to remove personal items from abandoned chairs.
  3. Be sure to use plenty of high SPF sunscreen when you are out and about in the Caribbean.  We saw so many people who were already resembling lobsters on this first sea day, and there were still 4 days of hot Caribbean sun ahead of us.
  4. If you are bringing your food out to the pool deck, beware of the winds!  We learned that a second plate makes a great lid when carrying your food from the buffet to the outdoor deck.
  5. Be sure to use your daily info guide (Cruise Compass, Princess Patter, Fun Times, etc.) to find out what is available each day.  We did not bother, and I am a little regretful that we missed a couple of the activities that took place on sea days.
  6. I have learned that my habits don’t change much.  Below you can see a sea day in 2015 and our sea day in 2017.  Maybe I should branch out and find new sea day activities.  Then again, if it ain’t broke…  😛

Next Up:

Cruising the Southern Caribbean: An Irie Tour in Curacao

 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Cruising the Southern Caribbean: A Day at Sea

  1. Goodness, you’re actually making me want to look into a cruise for me and the kids. I had a lousy experience on a cheap, boring one to the Bahamas years ago and hated feeling trapped. But this cruise sounds perfect for families! I can use some laying by the pool while the kids run around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Lyz, I think you would love it if you chose the right ship and itinerary. Royal Caribbean caters to families and younger crowds, not necessarily in a party way, but in the sense that there is always something to do. The newer ships even have boardwalks, bumper cars, etc.

      Go to http://www.rccl.com and search for cruises out of FLL. Specify that you are looking for Oasis class, Quantum class, or Freedom class. 🙂

      Like

    1. I my word, I am having visions of myself flunking out of ninja school. 😛 Stealth class: fail. Coordination class: fail. Throwing Stars class: fail. I would only pass the flying food class, but I guess one outta four ain’t bad.

      Yeah, it is hard work to be bored on a cruise. Those people are putting on activities day and night!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, no one can complain that there is nothing to do on a cruise. But seriously, I am all about just lying by the pool. Since having kids, there is no such thing as relaxing near water–no reading, no napping, no floating without care, just chasing after the kids and yelling, “Stop running by the pool!” So relaxing at the pool with no kiddos was absolute bliss. Dream vacation, like you said.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s