Dear Cruise Diary — Day 2, April 22, 2013

Think of Dear Cruise Diary as my travel journal. These entries will outline the Five Ws (who, what, where, when, maybe why) of my trips. There are probably a lot of details that only interest me, but it’s a good reference for future trips and maybe a memoir one day!

A stateroom without windows is a dark stateroom! When I woke up, I was pleased to see it was about 6 a.m. and not the typical 3 or 4 a.m. when I too often awaken. With my Paris book bag packed for the day, I was soon up the four flights of stairs to the Windjammer for coffee and fruit. I had downloaded the Sunday Dallas Morning News to my iPad in Galveston so I started reading through it section by section.

Before I knew it the 7 a.m. stretching class beckoned. Not exactly what I wanted to do, but given that in just about six weeks I’m going hiking for a week in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I reached down deep for some discipline and headed for the class. It was a nice easy 30 minutes of stretching (but with the promise of abs work to be added tomorrow). Then back to the other end of Deck 11 for a proper breakfast, which ended up being bagels and lox. I love that the ship has small bagels – just the right size when you’re having your second breakfast!

If I want to avoid the treadmills in the fitness center, I am going to need to be serious about walking on deck. The cruise staff planned a daily walking routine to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. I signed up with a $10 donation, for which I got a T-shirt and instructions to do 13 laps on the Deck 12 track every sea day. That will equal 130 laps by the time we get to Barcelona and the end of the first cruise segment. It’s about the same distance – 26 miles – as a marathon.

Walk a Marathon

I decided I would rather walk later in the day, so headed off to change out of my sneakers and take care of several housekeeping details, such as turning in my 10% off coupon for the Internet package I purchased. There’s $15 I can use!

More exploring and before I know it the morning seemed to have disappeared. I headed back to the Windjammer for lunch and settled on a nice salad with a little tuna on top. Of course, I had to get one of those great sesame rolls. I wanted to end with a peanut butter cookie, but they were out so I passed rather than settle for chocolate chip.

The Windjammer doesn’t have any outdoor table seating, but there are a few tables by the outdoor pools. One near the soft-serve yogurt was empty and I settled down to write blog entries. This took more time than I thought it would, but if I’m going to keep up I need to make it a daily priority. I hadn’t quite settled on a theme or focus for my travel blog, but I figured I needed to jump in and get started. The blog for this trip may end up being a practice run.

I realized that I still hadn’t fully explored the ship. There are at least three decks above the Windjammer on the aft of Deck 11. The wedding chapel on Deck 15 was closed for a private function, as was Ellington’s, the bar on Deck 14 with a wall of windows looking forward (closest thing to Holland America’s Crow’s Nest, but loses some effect by being aft, in my mind). Johnny Rockets, a specialty-dining venue with a cover charge, is on Deck 12, as are the areas for the children’s programs. I’ve seen very few kids on the ship, so that area was pretty deserted. Up another deck for the sports area – a basketball court, several ping pong tables, an inline-skating track (lined with padding) and miniature golf.

My feminist side came out when I realized that Royal Caribbean has decorated the area with four large statues of male basketball players. The only female statue is a fat woman tourist taking pictures. In this day and age, I was surprised – it’s too bad the little girls don’t see a sports role model here.

Sports statues

I didn’t end up being much of a role model, either, as I decided that late afternoon was not the time I wanted to walk. It was quite windy, and the sun had gotten low enough that it would be blinding for half the circuit. So I blew it off, figuring that I would start tomorrow. We’ll see….

The night’s dress code was formal, so I headed back to the stateroom for a shower and put on my “little black dress.” The dress shoes that felt OK at home weren’t so comfortable after all, but I suffered through. I dressed up my outfit with some jewelry and headed for the Royal Promenade, where the captain would be introducing the senior officers and offering a free glass of champagne. At dinner I sat with three couples– one from Norway, one from Australia (originally from Egypt) and a woman from Dallas with a man from Florida. I planned to have fish, but the waiter didn’t recommend it so I went with the duck. It was a bit stringy and tough, but the sauce was great. I couldn’t pass up the chocolate soufflé for dessert.

I ended the day by seeing The Las Vegas Tenors in the showroom. As you might expect, they sang a wide variety of songs and were quite entertaining. The final three flights of stair to my stateroom made 28 flights for the day!

Tomorrow: Day 3 – Sea Day