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Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)


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Muster is done and we’re already well clear of the Verrazano. Still about 90 minutes until we clear the channel. After muster, the captain came on the PA and let us know that tomorrow should be in the mid-70s, so I’m getting some sun tomorrow!

No pics of sailaway; bar service was slow, compounded by no one seeming to respect basic “deli counter” etiquette and just calling out their orders when they saw an opening. But, I eventually got my sailaway margarita – A mango melon ‘rita with Avion Reposado.

Got back to my cabin and saw the one other item I honestly forgot I’d bought at the last decent sale delivered to our cabin: a plate of 9 chocolate covered strawberries. Cathy loves those, and the sale price of $16 was with it to me. We enjoyed them on our balcony while sipping our beverages and watching the Verrazano go overhead.


Got a little too cool for comfort with the breeze, so now we’re back inside and waiting for Joyce Kuo to perform in the Schooner Bar before dinner.

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16 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Speed test results from our cabin

Interesting it picked an NYC area server.  

23 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

waiting for Joyce Kuo to perform in the Schooner Bar before dinner.

Joyce from WWRY?   If so, she’s good.  Love the thing she does in The VIA.  Hoping she’s still on in January.  

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44 minutes ago, twangster said:

Interesting it picked an NYC area server.  

Joyce from WWRY?   If so, she’s good.  Love the thing she does in The VIA.  Hoping she’s still on in January.  

NYC area server is probably because that’s where my cable internet provider is located.

And yup, same Joyce. Soon as I saw that I knew this was a must-watch.

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Saw Joyce’s set, was 100% acoustic and 100% ballads. Really enjoyed it, and had a chance to talk with her after the show.

She’s been playing guitar for about 13 years, the last 3 on Anthem. She didn’t simply audition and get the job; she had to be personally approved by Brian May himself! And after that, she was taught and mentored by him for how to play the songs. She said he’s an absolute genius, really humble, a great guy all around to work with and learn from. And he’s really particular about who gets to be the guitarist in each production.

She’s only been doing acoustic guitar for the last few years; apparently Royal is expanding the number and variety of “intermissionists” (she said that’s the official term for the people who play those short 45-minute sets between the big performances). They want acoustic guitar players now, along with the piano players, horn groups, etc.

I did a short periscope for a few of the songs during her set, you can see it here:



Off to dinner now!

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Dinner last night was a lot of fun. We have 5 table-mates, although our solo companion left the table before the food was even ordered, saying he’s be right back but never showing again. The others at our table were great and we had some good conversations going the whole time. Royal did a good job of matching us all up.

As for the food itself, it was the standard Night 1 offerings:


I had the creamy wild mushroom soup, escargots, salmon, and hazelnut chocolate cake. Cathy had the Caesar salad, spaghetti bolognese, and apple pie a la mode.

Yup, she fine with raisins in an apple pie. ?

I brought the Conundrum Red Blend to the MDR, and I have to say... it really doesn’t do it for me. Hard for me to say what exactly I don’t like about it, but it just didn’t work for me. I’ll finish the bottle (don’t want to waste the money, and it wasn’t that bad), but I won’t be buying it again.

As usual for the first night, service was a bit slow. But we still finished just in time for two of our companions to rush over to the 10 PM showing of The Gift, while cathy and I made our way over to Two70.


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The schedule said that the RED night club experience didn’t start until 10:45, but at least in terms of the visual theme it was already in full swing.


We tried one of the fruit juice concoctions they serve there, and it was quite tasty. Also covered by our Refreshment Package since it’s nonalcoholic. I like that each of the bars serves specialty “zeroproof” beverages along with the specialty cocktails.

The DJ was making some genuinely weird segues and cross-mixes, that just didn’t fit in terms of theme or styles. But the people who were there (not many ahead of the official start time) were fine to be out there enjoying themselves.

At 10:45 they official started up the RED experience, but it was still not particularly crowded. Cathy and I left around 11, went down to the casino to get our free lucky pull. Bupkis for both of us.

Since we had to set the clocks ahead an hour, we called it a night after that. Tomorrow we’re on Atlantic time and have our first full sea day.

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Good morning, everyone!

Woke up at 7:30, tried to catch the sunrise that was due around 8 but I was too slow. Consoles myself with a nice breakfast in a nicely uncrowded Windjammer.


Off to get some coffee now, after being told the lactose-free milk in the WJ coffee bar appeared to have curdled overnight. ?

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Walking out of the Windjammer, I passed a station selling Bloody Marys. That reminded me that I wanted to try something @Matt did in one of his blogs:


It’s already warm enough outside that I can on my balcony in shorts and t-shirt, with a good breeze from the ship’s motion, and I’m perfectly comfortable.

Espresso’s already done. Cheers!


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Great first day.  Wonderful you ended up with great table mates (minus one) as that can make or break your evening dinners. 

Royal seems to always have the same/similar menu items but it's funny how on some ships, they designate a "Class Items" section (e.g. the salmon is on that section and so you can order it every night) and some they just lump everything together (and guess there are no daily items).

What is a RED show?  

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What?  No dinner food pics?  I am disappointed. lol

1 hour ago, JLMoran said:

I brought the Conundrum Red Blend to the MDR, and I have to say... it really doesn’t do it for me. Hard for me to say what exactly I don’t like about it, but it just didn’t work for me. I’ll finish the bottle (don’t want to waste the money, and it wasn’t that bad), but I won’t be buying it again.

Yikes!  Can we still be friends? 

I like the Conundrum Red Blend because of how smooth it is.  I am not a big fan of wine, especially red, but I make an exception for Conundrum Red because of the smoothness.

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Chalk up another cruise first for Cathy and me:


Our Sea Pass cards were pre-loaded with a free jackpot card with any purchase, so we figured why not? We each got the $39 pack with 6 boards per round.

Game starts in 10 minutes. Wish us luck!


And now I’m officially an old dude. ??

Not really, there are actually quite a few people here who look like they’re in their late 20s to early 40s. But I grew up with the stereotypical image that the only people who play Bingo are senior citizens gathered at the local Elks Club. As with most things, takes trying it out to find out the reality of a thing.

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Well this was... sorry, only words I can find are disturbing, scary, and gross.

Decided to go to the SeaPlex Dog House and try out the hot dog options. Checked out the menu, saw they had some German options...


Decided to give both the German and Smoke House options a shot. They were out of sauerkraut, but that’s fine. The longer one in this pic is the smoke house dog...


Decided to start with that one. Pretty good, nice smoky flavor and tastes like a good sausage mix.

And then my teeth bit down on something hard

I’m thinking it’s an usually large bit of bone, I’ve gotten that sometimes and no big deal. Just part of the sausage making process.


It was a piece of metal! Not a tiny one, either, this was a quarter inch long and wide, basically the size of a large pine nut.


I can only assume it broke off of the machine where the sausages were made. I showed it to the guy at the dog house and another crew member. They apologized profusely, I suggested really strongly that they talk with their supplier and maybe find a new one. Unsaid was that they might want to remove the remaining smoke house sausages from the serving bin.

I lost my appetite after that. No way I was finishing that smoke house one, who knows what else I might find in it and I’m wondering what was in it that I couldn’t see or taste. And I didn’t want to take my chances with the German sausage, either.

Glad I had a couple slices at Sorrento’s before this. They really have improved the pizza; still not New Jersey good, but way better than what I had on Freedom.

Currently sitting in front of the North Star bar while I type this up. It’s nice out, helping to offset my mood after that unpleasant food experience.


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I decided I should formally report the sausage matter to Guest Services. Not because I’m looking for something — I’m not injured, not even a cracked tooth — but because I felt like that might be a larger safety issue to be looked into. Maybe nothing beyond an utterly random accident at the plant, but why take chances?

The senior officer working the line for quick triage items was visibly appalled when I showed her the picture of the piece of metal. She immediately thanked me for not just telling the guy at the Dog House, because she wanted to have a formal report of that on record that could go to upper management. Said also they would definitely be taking that up with the supplier.

Duty is done, back to cruise enjoyment.

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Wow, the ship really wants to make amends over this.

I got a call from the Windjammer Manager about 20 minutes ago. Got another apology and thank-you for reporting the issue at Guest Services so they had the formal record. Was told not only are they going to speaking to the supplier, but also their own QC team that picks up the shipments.

After this, I was asked to confirm our table in the MDR, and then offered complementary specialty dining in any venue of our choice. Initially asked if we wanted it tonight, but we already had all of our plans timed out around MDR schedule so I asked if it could be a different night. Was told no problem, and that he’d send his business card so I could call him after I had a chance to talk with Cathy and figure out which night and venue.

It arrived about 10 minutes later, attached to this:


Say what you want about Royal; when they are politely notified about a matter like this, with zero histrionics and no demands or even requests for compensation, they seriously go out of their way to let you know it’s being treated with all seriousness, and that you are part of that treatment.

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Update to the above post: We’re now scheduled for Jamie’s Italian in place of our Solarium Bistro dinner on Night 4. And when I spoke with the manager, he asked if we drank alcohol and was prepared to get a bottle of whatever I wanted, but honestly I’m fine just bringing my other bottle of wine with me like I was already planning to do. Told him as much, although I’ve no doubt that if I had asked, he’d have given a bottle of the La Vite super-Tuscan I had at Chef’s Table and not batted an eye.

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