If you read Part 1, you know that cruising and I got off to a bumpy start. I went to bed grumpy in the wake of the first-day chaos and confusion, and at first I thought I was going to have yet another sleepless night. I’m not used to sleeping in motion; I’ve never been able to go to sleep on an airplane or in a car, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it on a moving ship, either.
I did toss and turn for a couple of hours, but eventually exhaustion won out – and I slept the sleep of the dead. When morning came, I awoke to my first “fun day at sea” – and to my surprise, it really was. How could a day that begins with this view from the balcony be anything but wonderful?
We went to the main dining room for brunch, and I was pleased to find an egg white omelet on the menu. I got that with spinach and cheese, along with a fruit plate, and felt good about being able to eat a healthy, low-cal breakfast.
Of course, those croissants sort of spoiled the healthy motif, but I was good and ate only half of one, much as I wanted to finish off the whole basket.
We spent most of that morning finishing up our exploration of the ship, and then I went to spend some quality time in the fitness center while Sharon got in some sun time. I’m not a lay-in-the-sun type person myself; I burn to a crisp in about two minutes flat. I enjoyed having the fitness center almost to myself, though, and got in an hour on the recumbent bike to work off the calories that I knew were lurking in the MDR, waiting for me.
That afternoon, we went to the art auction (mostly for the free champagne), and checked out the fun shops. That’s where I first discovered Sheridan, the wonderful coffee and cream layered liqueur that you can’t buy in the U.S., and which I now make it a point to stock up on every time I cruise. I also made another fantastic find: Tortuga rum cake – which I can (and do) buy from Amazon.
I bought some souvenirs to take back home to Tom and the kids, and we did more walking around the deck. Before you know it, it was time to start getting ready for dinner. It was my first “elegant night” and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I spent a while getting all dressed up – it had been a long time since I’d worn a full-length formal dress but hey, that’s what cruising is all about. And I found it to be incredibly fun. We got to the MDR early, and since we hadn’t been impressed with the first night’s wait staff or the table, asked if we could get something by the window. Not only did we get seated at the window – we got table 101, which happened to be one of the only window seats that didn’t have a lifeboat in front of it, blocking the view of the ocean. Talk about a change in luck. 🙂
Dinner was just delicious. The menu said “lobster tail and tiger shrimp” but I don’t like shrimp, so I told our waitress (who, unlike the first guy, was absolutely great) that I’d like to leave off the shrimp. She asked if I’d like to have two lobster tails instead. Well, heck, yes! It was yummy, and I decided to try the famous Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (affectionately referred to as WCMC on the cruise group forums). It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t fall in love with it as so many people seem to. I think it was a little too “melting” for me.
After dinner, I felt like a celebrity as we walked through the promenade in our fancy clothes and photographers stopped us and asked to take our pictures. I had politely said “no” to the requests on the way to the dining room, but after a yummy dinner and a couple of glasses of Spumante, I figured “why not?” After all, you don’t have to buy them if you don’t want to.
The first couple of times, I felt self-conscious but then I started actually enjoy posing. Hmm. Maybe I could’ve had a career as a model after all. LOL. After all the “professional” photo sessions, I went back to the room and got my camera and we took a few of each other, just in case none of the pros got any good ones (I should have known better than to think that would happen).
We got back to the room to find this little guy waiting for us. But the evening wasn’t over yet. We changed clothes and then went to check out the comedy club. I’m not usually a big fan of standup comedians but for some reason, I really had a good time. Maybe it was the new drink I discovered. I’ve always loved piña coladas and I love bananas. I also like Bailey’s Irish Cream. So when I saw “Bailey’s Banana Colada” on the drink menu, I had to give it a try. And it tasted like a little bit of heaven in a glass. Sweet, smooth and creamy. Just the thing to finish off a surprisingly (to me) fun day at sea.
And yes, I went back and looked it up on the Internet (which was working a whole lot better now) and yes, it has about a gazillion and a half calories in it, but you know what? I decided damn the torpedoes – I’m on vacation.
But the best was yet to come.