Hello from Radiance of the Seas! It's day two of our 7-night sailing to Alaska and today was a sea day.
We lucked out with beautiful weather today for our day at sea! It was 60 degrees and sunny all day with not a cloud in the sky. The seas have been so calm both days. I can barely feel the ship moving.
Breakfast with new friends
Sydney and I slept off our jet lag this morning thanks to our inside cabin being pitch black. I normally sleep with white noise but the ship has been so quiet, I didn't even need to. We woke up just in time to have breakfast in the main dining room, which was open until 9:30.
I started with a latte from Latitudes while Sydney waited to be seated. I'm low functioning without my coffee so this was a delicious way to start my day and use one of my drink vouchers.
We were seated with a really sweet couple from the UK who were on their very first cruise! I typically don’t love sitting with strangers but we really enjoyed our relaxing breakfast with new friends. We all started with yogurt parfaits and then I ordered the breakfast burrito while Sydney had the power bowl.
My burrito was delicious - filled with chorizo, hash browns and cheese. Sydney said the power bowl tasted healthy and definitely needed salt + pepper.
A morning stroll
As we were leaving breakfast, the atrium was filled with people doing a group Zumba class. I haven’t seen that many people in a workout class on a cruise in a long time! Everyone looked like they were having a lot of fun with the music and dance moves.
We bundled up and started to walk along the top deck. Sydney and I both love walks, so this was perfect after our breakfast.
The sea was perfectly calm with the water beautifully glistening in the sun. As we turned the corner, we even saw whales and dolphins off in the distance. The nature up here in Alaska is so untouched - it really does take your breath away.
Sydney and I couldn’t get over how nice the weather was. It was definitely nice to get on the top deck for a bit and take in the sunshine. The forecast for the next few days looks like it will be cloudy and rainy.
Apparently, there’s 100% chance of rain the next few days. The statistician in me questions that kind of certainty, so I am holding out hope we might have better weather than predicted.
I couldn’t believe the number of people who were walking and exercising. This is probably the most exercise I've seen happening on a cruise ship. Maybe it was just the weather, but we saw tons of people being active. Between everyone doing Zumba earlier and then lots of people doing their own workouts on the top deck, the ship seems to be full of active cruisers. The gym looked pretty busy as well.
This is a far cry from my spring break cruise on Mariner of the Seas the other week where the main activities were drinking, tanning and eating.
After walking the top deck for about an hour, Sydney and I headed down to the Schooner Bar. There was a solo traveler meet-up at 12:00 PM and Alaska Trivia starting at 12:15 PM. We couldn’t really identify if there were any solo travelers meeting, so we opted just to wait for trivia to start.
Trivia was Alaska themed, but Sydney and I both warned one another that we were not good with trivia or knowing fun facts. To our surprise, we scored 7.5/15 questions! Nothing to write home about, but better than we expected.
I didn’t imagine we would be able to sit on the top deck during this cruise, but the weather was too gorgeous not to enjoy the pool deck today.
We bounced between the hot tub and pool chairs a few times. We also indulged in a pool-side cocktail. There weren't many people on the pool deck, as I think people assume it's cooler outside than it really is. The Solarium was much busier. The pool water was actually pretty comfortable; we even saw a few people in there while walking earlier.
Since we had a reservation for Samba Grill at 6:00 PM, we went back to our cabin to freshen up. We also treated ourselves to some downtime with face masks before getting ready for dinner.
If you are like us and love pampering yourself but don’t want to pay for the spa, consider bringing a few spa-like treatments onboard. We brought 2 kinds of face masks to enjoy each night and I packed some nail polish too. We also requested robes from our housekeeper to help us really bring the spa to our little inside cabin.
Sydney and I made a reservation for 6:00 PM to dine at the specialty restaurant, Samba Grill. I’ve cruised a lot with Royal Caribbean and hadn’t even heard of this specialty option. Since I have a BOGO voucher to use on Day 1 or 2 for specialty dining, we thought it would be fun to try something new.
I was blown away by the experience!
We were greeted by servers from Brazil when we entered the restaurant. Sydney and I actually traveled to Brazil during our Semester at Sea, so we were excited to talk about the cities we visited and ask the servers about their hometowns.
Our waiter explained each part of the meal, which would start with a trip to the appetizer bar. This included a goat cheese and pineapple salad, Canja de galinha (chicken soup) and assorted meats and cheese.
The next course was a warm bread basket that had 3 different options. I have very fond memories of Brazilian Pau de Quejio, or small balls of cheesy bread goodness. We also enjoyed a warm, flaky empanada with cheese inside. It melted in your mouth as the cheese oozed from the pastry. There was also garlic bread in the basket, which was crispy and delicious.
Not to be dramatic, but the heavens opened when the bread basket was delivered.
Next, we were served feijoada (pronounced like 'fish - wader'), which reminded me of a burrito bowl. The feijoada had a mixture of rice, beans, pork, bread crumbs, collard greens and oranges. Our server explained that Brazilians eat feijoada at least once a week so it was a must-try.
We were also served fried bananas, polenta and yuca fries. We loved the bananas and feijoada!
The main event was up next - THE MEATS! Served by a gaucho sporting a cowboy hat, we were given tongs to grab freshly carved meats as he made his way around the restaurant delivering the meats.
We started with bacon-wrapped chicken followed by sausage. The chicken was amazing. Next we had garlic marinated steak, which was so tender and flavorful. Then we were served parmesan crusted pork and lamb. These weren’t our favorites, as Sydney said the lamb was fatty and my pork was a bit dry.
The last one served was a filet mignon, which was a showstopper.
A few times we had to turn our green card back to red so we could have a break and make room for more food! Everything tasted really good but our tummies needed breaks once in a while.
We were lucky enough to start spotting whales during our dinner too! The seas have been so calm that it’s easy to spot any motion in the ocean. Sydney ran outside a few times to get pictures, even though they all look like splashing blobs in the distance.
At one point, there were 4 spouts that we could see at one time in the horizon. The whales were breaching and putting on quite the show for us.
It’s so funny when someone spots a whale or dolphin because everyone stands up and heads over to the windows at once. It’s a unifying moment onboard when wildlife is spotted!
Back at our table and after the whales swam off in the distance, we were served cinnamon spiced pineapple. The pineapple was warm and sweet, a perfect comfort food that hit the spot. This was Sydney’s favorite part of the meal.
As if we needed more food, we ended the meal with a dessert sampler, which included a domed, dense chocolate cake, a passion-fruit flavored parfait called mousse de maracuja, and a rum custard.
The mousse was our absolute favorite!
The whole dining experience took about 2.5 hours between eating, talking with the servers and whale spotting. Apparently, it was our server’s second day of work on the ship! He said he had never worked on a cruise ship and we told him he did an excellent job. Alexander, who is from Brazil, took the time to explain everything in great detail, which made the experience more authentic.
We were planning to go to the 8:00 PM Tango production show, but we didn’t make it in time. We then planned to attend the Tango production show at 10 PM, but the seas were mesmerizing and we couldn't get ourselves down there in time. Also, 10 PM is a little late for us these days!
I am glad we took a long time to savor the meal and watch the wildlife, which you can’t predict! That's what this cruise is all about anyways - enjoying the Earth's beauty.
Tomorrow's plans in Ketchikan
I am taking the time to write tonight’s blog from the Solarium, as it’s still light out at 10:00 PM. The ocean looks like a sheet of glass and I think our ship is moving at a snail’s pace as we work our way towards Ketchikan.
As I wrote earlier, we didn’t have any excursions planned for this cruise, but unfortunately the forecast looks bleak to just meander around town. We ended up booking an excursion tomorrow for $69 called Ketchikan Trolley and Lumberjack show.
This seemed like a good option for seeing the city even if it’s raining most of the day. It would be a shame to come all this way and feel like we can’t do or see anything because we aren’t able to walk around.
We purchased tickets at the shore excursion desk because the app was giving us an error. The crew member who helped us was from Brazil and we told him how we just had an amazing meal at Samba Grill.
He said he actually worked with the head chef at Royal Caribbean, along with other Brazilian crew members, to develop the menu that is served to ensure it's authentic. He was happy to hear it was a great experience and I told him it was probably better than the steakhouse I tried when visiting Brazil!
Off to bed for us! Sydney was told the Alaskan pilot comes on the ship at 6am, which will be 5am with the time change. Lucky for me, she decided that was too early so we should be getting a restful night's sleep.