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Symphony of the Seas - an island is an island is an island? (Feb 22 - 29, 2020)


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Day 2 - at Sea

Neither of these are going to be super exciting reports.  On Sunday we spent the day exploring the ship, drinking and eating.  Mr SpeedNoodles became more and more enamored with the Oasis Class ship.

This is our first cruise as Platinum members, so we were invited to our first Top Tier Event. It was held in the AquaTheatre, and champagne and mimosas (and some non-alcoholic something or other #whocares were provided.  While I don't think they said (or I didn't catch) how many new or Gold Members were on board, here's the rest of the breakdown:

Platinum 424
Emerald 185
Diamond 325
Diamond Plus 100
Pinnacle 14

One of the things that I love about Royal Caribbean ships is the artwork that is EVERYWHERE.  So far this is my favorite piece.  I took a photo of the entire thing, but then photos of individual elements that I thought were worth remembering. (Newsflash, they are wild animals):

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It was still a very windy day, and the upper deck was, again, closed off.  People on the Feb 22 Symphony Facebook page continued to lament over the movement of the ship (i.e I thought we'd feel no movement on a ship of this size .... this is the roughest sailing we've ever had).  We were unfazed.  While Mr. SpeedNoodles uses an EmeTerm band (electronic anti-nausea band), I have zero issues with nausea on a moving ship. While I"m not a big fan of wind itself (so annoying), I don't mind the movement of the ship. 

In Sept 2004 we were on Jewel of the Seas on a 10-night round-trip, Boston to Quebec saling, and we were caught in both a Noreaster and the tail end of Hurricane Ivan.  Over about 24 hours we had consistent swells of 30-35 feet.  Everything was closed down with the exception of the casino bars. We had to skip our stop at Sydney, Nova Scotia.  This was prior to drink package, and they offered free champagne and mimosas to anyone who wasn't stuck, nauseated, in their cabins and could make it down there.  I was having no issues, and Mr. SpeedNoodles had taken a sufficient amount of Dramamine (Pre-Emeterm) that we joined in.  With, quite literally, 4 other people.  It was still rocking enough that we had to hang onto our drinks and they only took enough out of the cabinets to make the drinks, and then put it all away.  That night I had a difficult time sleeping due to the rocking of the ship.  I'd look out our balcony, and the sea would rise up to meet us with each back and forth.  It looked like the ship was going to tip into the sea.  We survived, and ended up spending two days in Quebec City (instead of one), and that was totally worth it.

But I completely digress from this cruise.  Lunch was at Hooked.  We ordered (likely too many) oyster shooters, oysters, and lobster rolls.  We approved of each course.  Our favorite may have been the Coconut Creme Pie, though - tasty and not overly sweet).

300

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We had dinner reservations at 150 Central Park at 6:15 with the plan to see Hiro in the AquaTheatre at 8:30.   For the 2nd night in a row, Hiro was cancelled.  We had dinner at 150 Central Park.  We had a scallop appetizer ( Smallest scallops ever - about the size found in the Trader Joe's frozen triple seafood blend - some of you know what I'm talking about).  I had the Lobster Thermidor (really good) and Mr. SpeedNoodles had the short ribs (he said it was good, but not as good as in Wonderland).

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In lieu of Hiro we decided to go to the Love & Marriage Show (always a favorite of ours, since we were "contestants" on stage in 2004 on Jewel and will never forget being recognized ALL OVER THE SHIP for the remainder of the cruise, due to ONE stupid question #askmeaboutitonagroupcruise).

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A little friend awaited us upon our arrival back to our stateroom:

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Day 3 - Another Sea Day!!! (also, OMG - Dullest. Blog. Ever.)

I love sea days.  The are so relaxing.  I woke up before the DH, caught a quick breakfast at El Loco Fresh, and hit the Solarium to enjoy a quiet soak in one of the hot tubs.  Unfortunately the Solarium was already full of people.  I did find an unoccupied hot tub on the port side of the main pool, though, so I enjoyed that for a little while. After about an hour the sun finally woke up Mr SpeedNoodles, so I followed him into the WindJammer for his breakfast.  We typically avoid the Jammer, but we were pleased with the variety of breakfast offerings, and more impressed that we were able to find a place to sit. For the first time it was calm enough (although the ship was still rocking and it seemed almost as windy) for the staff to open up deck 16 and the water slides.  I took one turn down the racing one (DH doesn't like heights) but I just left it at that.  
We then just wandered around aimlessly for a while, then headed back to our stateroom to read on our balcony in peace and quiet, until lunch rolled around.  I swear that we're mostly killing time between meals #unlimiteddiningpackagewoes


We had lunch at Jamie's - our first time there.  I'm not a big lover of Italian food, but #diningpackage. We had a very friendly waiter, Victor, who brought us more food than we ordered, and refilled every drink, without us requesting it.  I hadn't planned on eating OR drinking that much, but it is what it is.  It was good.  It may have been great, but not having a great love of Italian food, I'm not much of a judge. We had the Crispy Squid, the truffle ball things (I can't remember the name of them - I personally thought they were bland). DH had the eggplant parmesean, I had the Caeser Salad. Victor overheard us talking about the Truffle Tagliatelle and insisted on bringing it to us, despite our desperate pleas to not do so.

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At 1:30 we met in the MDR for our All Access Tour.  This was totally worth the money. It was fascinating to see the various parts of this massive ship that is usually out of view.  We went first to the galley, then to the Engine Control Room.  We saw the provisions coolers/freezers, and then the laundry, before we headed up to the Bridge. There were a few areas where we had to present our SeaPass card to enter and leave - they keep VERY close tabs on anyone who's out of a public area!  Our guide was a very nice woman from Shore Excursions - unfortunately I cannot remember her name.  She was from Russia, and there were a few things that she either couldn't find the English words for, and/or I couldn't understand her, but overall the communication was very good.  Unlike some bloggers (and I love you guys (guy?) for doing so) I have no memory for facts and wouldn't be able to really relay any of the various things they told us about the areas.  Sorry 😞

Galley

Galley

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Engine Control Room

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Provisions (cooler/freezer)

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Laundry

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Ecolab is a company that started in St Paul, MN in the 1920s.  It was fun seeing, what we consider to be a home-town company name, way out at sea.

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Giant washing machine for sheets/towels:

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I-95:

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Bridge

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I'm pretty sure we literally did almost nothing of note until dinner, which was, again, at Jamie's.  This time we devoured a meat plank - DH had the lamb and I had the bolognase.  I was still full from lunch, and thought everything was good, but pretty much nothinged it.


We went to bed early so we could be ready for our excursion in St Maarten the next day!

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@SpeedNoodles, if you are referring to my list of ship facts, full disclosure, they gave us a fact sheet on Liberty at the end of the tour with all those details. I had started taking notes  during the tour, but gave up part way through. I was thrilled they handed those out. I take it you didn’t get one of those at the end of yours?

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:35_thinking:For some reason I assumed you were D+ already.  I think those balls are Arancini, we had like 3 variations of them when we went to Italy and I always found them to be bland regardless of the ingredients. I think I am never going to do more than a 3 or 4 night dining plan because it seems like everyone who does the UDP stuffs themselves.

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2 hours ago, HAK1906 said:

Are you planning on hitting Hooked on this trip. It appears if it has mixed reviews?

 

Is there a lot going on around Playmakers. It appears to be a social gathering spot. 


March 7th, here I come,😂😂🤣

We've been to Hooked twice (lunch and dinner).  I loved everything. (See pics from Day 2 for lunch). We had dinner last night (I haven't gotten ahold to posting yesterday yet). Playmakers is busy at night, but we've never had to wait for service. 

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Day 4 - St. Maarten

Our first port day has arrived  Neither of us have ever been to St. Maarten, or anywhere in the actual Caribbean.  We had a quick breakfast in the Windjammer, Mr. SpeedNoodles grabbed a coffee, and soon the ship was cleared for people to begin their day!

We had a full-island ATV tour booked with Splash in the Sun Tours (3rd party), a tour that was recommended by Sharon and Jamie over at the "Sharon At Sea" YouTube channel.  Having never been there, we thought it would be a great way to see a large portion of the island.

We were supposed to meet the tour guides at 9:00 outside the main port gates, but the ship wasn't cleared until 9:15.  I'd emailed the tour the night before to warn them. When we got there we were greeted by Taz.  He told us that the rest of the group had already left, but we'd be going off with him.  Hey!!! Private tour! Sounded good to us!
Mr Speednoodles has driven all sorts of off-road vehicles, but I've never driven anything more than a golf cart while working at the zoo.  So when Taz explained how the machines worked, he pretty much just said to me "It's you I'm worried about."  Fair enough, Taz.

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Backpack strapped onto the front of the machine, helmet in place on top of the head, we headed out - right onto the streets of Philipsburg.  And I do mean right out onto the streets.  Cars EVERYWHERE.  Full-speed traffic, roundabouts, you name it.  We went high into the hills, through tiny neighborhoods, on busy streets - everywhere.  Our first stop was Maho Beach.

We parked the ATVs and were told we'd have 20 minutes on the beach.  We headed out to the beach, found a little sliver of wall to sit on, and Mr SpeedNoodles jumped in the water.  And was nearly pulled into the ocean from the strong undertow.  He came back up to  inform me that I would not be getting into the water there.  Some may find this overprotective, but I was once nearly drown in a wave pool in the Wisconsin Dells, so I pretty much trust his judgement #itwasntpretty.  Two small planes came in while we were there, and both times I was too slow to catch any photographs.  Meh, I can always go onto YouTube and watch others videos if I want.  20 minutes went fast, and we headed back to board our ATVs to move on. 

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We then eventually ended up at a nice, quiet place on a cliff overlooking a very pretty, quietish cove.  Taz again said we had 20 minutes.  We walked down what I can only describe as the stairs to hell - they were wildly dangerous.  We survived though, and it was quite pretty down there, despite the few nude sunbathers who I'm sure were wondering what the hell we were doing there.  The waves were again really strong - too strong for either of us to venture in too deep.  We were still on the Atlantic side of the island.

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We wandered our way into the French side of the island and made a stop at a large, open air craft-type market. I wish I could tell you where we were, but I had no idea of what direction we were headed at any particular time, and Taz had a fairly strong accent, so even when he told us we didn't really understand.
We headed out to Friars' Bay, and had another 20 minutes to dip our toes in the water.  The water was much calmer.  As is typical me, I was overly obsessed with the wildlife, and spent the entire time watching a clan of pelicans on a rock who would take off, circle in the air, and then dive straight down into the water after fish.  That was my highlight of the beach.  The beach was nice too #butpelicans.

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We stopped for lunch at an out-of-the-way place (again, I didn't get the name of it - it was on the French side, I may have to dig through Sharon's videos to get it).  There was nobody there except the owners, who I assume, possibly incorrectly, were husband and wife.  There was no menu.  He just read off what proteins he thought she had back in the kitchen.  I picked the snapper and Mr SpeedNoodles picked ribs.  What showed up was nothing short of fantastic.  I'm not sure I had better food anywhere in Miami or on the ship. 

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After lunch, we rode off to Orient Beach (no photography allowed).  We walked around a little bit, but the water was far too full of sea grass to bother going in.  We were getting pretty tired from riding, and from the 8 kilos of sand in our water shoes, so we didn't spend the entire 20 minutes there.

We had to skip going to the highest point on the island, where you can look at both the Dutch and French side at once, due to roads being closed off for Mardis Gras.  It happens, we were fine with it.

With that, we boogied on back to the ATV shop (nearly running over a little herd of little goats half on the road/half on the hill in a little residential neighborhood).  From what we can tell there are zero traffic laws anywhere on the island.  Anything can be driven on the roads, and whatever speed, while looking at any sort of device you like, and everyone's ok with it.

We got back to the ship in plenty of time, showered up and spent some time (read: probably too long) at the Copper & Kettle Pub with Malcom mixing up a variety of special concoctions for us.

We had dinner at Hooked, and then were just too exhausted to wait up until our 1977 reservations at 10:45 (who the hell made those? Oh yeah, me.)

Tomorrow.....Puerto Rico!!

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(Typical dude, won't release his death grip on the fracking remote!!)

 

 

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Day 5 - Puerto Rico

Despite the advice that I've heard forever, near and far, aIbout not booking an excursion in PR and just enjoying the fort and Old San Juan, I bucked the system.  Mr. SpeedNoodles wasn't particularly interested in even getting off the ship when we first started planning, UNTIL....

One day while while going through the excursions in the cruise planner for the 100th time I ran across an ATV tour. I know, I know, we did one in St. Maarten.  But this one....this one was a little more special.  Why was it special?  Well, let me tell you.

The ATV tour was at a place called Campo Rico.  At Campo Rico they do ATV tours, zip lining, archery lessons (huh?) and horseback riding. The camp is a small part of a very large ranch that has belonged to one family for at least 3 generations.  And they breed a very special type of horse.  The Paso Fino horse.  The Paso Fino is a very beautiful, sweet-tempered, gaited horse (meaning that they have a very comfortable way of moving - no jarring movements or trotting).  Some consider (including yours truly) consider them the Cadillac of horses. I bought my Paso Fino mare in 2004, when she was 3 years old.  For those who are too lazy to do the math, she will be 29 years old this May, and she's still going strong.  Her dam and maternal grandmother thrived to over 40 years old.  And I had an opportunity to go to "the homeland"!  My mare's maternal great grand dam and grand sire were directly imported from Puerto Rico in the 1970s. (Enough boring horse trivia for ya yet?  Zzzzzzzzz #notcruiserelated).

So, why not go there and ride Paso Finos, you may ask (and I have been asked).  Well, while Mr. SpeedNoodles would have done that with me to make me happy, he doesn't like riding horses (basically he can't turn it off with a key, and that doesn't please him). This seemed like an awesome compromise.  ATVs for him, and horses for me.  Win win.

They'd had a lot of rain that week and it was quite a mudding event.  I'll share some pics with captions below, but there's not a whole lot to say about it, really.  The weather was great (high 70s, overcast so not sweaty hot, and just windy enough to keep away bugs without being annoying).  I got it at a great deal of $104pp - one of those deals that I snagged totally randomly in between Cruise Planner sales and a price that never went below $140 after (I checked. Daily.).

I couldn't really take pics while driving the ATV - the mud in some places was at least a foot deep and stopping meant getting stuck #embarrassing 

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Visiting the horse barn:

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Mare with foal in the pasture:

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They had a small aviary and I made an absolute fool of myself dancing with this gorgeous Salmon Crested Cockatoo.  

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We were almost ready to get on the bus when I spotted this adorable Puerto Rican Crested Anole

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Obligatory pretty pigeon pic from Old San Juan:

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After we got back to the ship and washed a metric ton of mud off of us we headed down to Playmakers for some snacks. Holy crap, those nachos are big! We really liked the wings, too.  Oh, and Newcastle on tap is a win.

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Malcom at the Copper and Kettle made a beautiful Chocolate Martini for me:

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Various desserts from the Windjammer (none of which we ate - for your entertainment only):

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How exciting !  I'm so happy that you found an excursion that suited you both.  I guess it will come as no surprise to you (since we are obviously twins, separated at birth - but maybe 20+ years apart !!) that I come from a horse background, too.  My parents raised and raced thoroughbreds.  Love me some ponies....but I had not heard of a Paso Fino before.  Thanks for teaching me something new !!  I haven't ridden a 5-gaiter since my Tennessee Walker dies many, many, many years ago.

 

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6 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

How exciting !  I'm so happy that you found an excursion that suited you both.  I guess it will come as no surprise to you (since we are obviously twins, separated at birth - but maybe 20+ years apart !!) that I come from a horse background, too.  My parents raised and raced thoroughbreds.  Love me some ponies....but I had not heard of a Paso Fino before.  Thanks for teaching me something new !!  I haven't ridden a 5-gaiter since my Tennessee Walker dies many, many, many years ago.

 

We'll have to have a toast to all of the beautiful horses we've known in October!

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Day 6 - At Sea

Dagnabit, the cruise is getting too close to being over!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

We took this day to sleep in - it was the first time that we actually closed the drapes and didn't just let the sun wake us up.  This was pretty much Mr. SpeedNoodle's request. We really had nothing to do until 11:30, so we slept until about 9:00 and then hit the tail end of breakfast at the Solarium Bistro.

This morning we had the Escape the Rubicon escape room activity. While we waited for our group I had to take a few pics of the area - Adventure Ocean had such cute paintings (as far as we could see in), and it was just a very pretty area to wait. Who am I kidding, the entire ship is beautiful.

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We were then ready for the Escape Room. We had about 9 people (one no-show).  I can honestly say that, while it was interesting, I've never spent that long being so confused and utterly useless in my life.  My mind just doesn't operate in such a manner to solve puzzles such as these (other kinds, yes, maybe - maybe not, feeling super dumb now).  Most of the rest of the team seemed to have their stuff (not my chosen term, but it's a family blog) together. But we did not solve it and escape. Not escaping didn't bother me as much as just feeling stupid and totally demoralized.

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I had a solution for that, though:

20200227_125641.thumb.jpg.3da5737c0d36499701c5dfd3d76891c8.jpg

We grabbed a drink (we were skipping lunch because we'd decided to go to Chops for dinner instead of Wonderland, but the only reservation I could snag last minute was at 5pm) and headed over to watch the International Belly Flop competition. During the competition, Brian (cruise director) announced that they were going to hold an impromptu "HIRO" show in the AquaTheatre at 3pm, because they'd  had to cancel so many in the first few days of the cruise.  We already had our reservations from last Saturday rescheduled to Friday, but we decided to see if we could get in, just in case THAT one ended up being canceled as well.

We had no trouble getting in and grabbing a comfortable seat, and we loved the show.  While I thought the story line was pretty loose (ok, REALLY loose), I really enjoyed the entire show.  The performers were truly amazing (and brave).  Pics from the daytime show just aren't that spectacular so I'm only posting one of the woman who was constantly harnessed up and walking up above the audience. We were especially impressed with her.  We watched the crew put the 360 harness on her during the top tier event - that thing is TIGHT and the faces she made when they seemed to screw it into her hips really told it all.  The fact that she can smile through the entire performance might impress me the most.

20200227_150615.thumb.jpg.d3eb358ecc26542bb4a9e58d656ee10b.jpg

I also had to get my one ride on the carousel.  I've been obsessed with them my entire life, and I have no issues being the weird adult chick on the kids ride. I refused to let Mr. SpeedNoodles take any photos (which was easily accomplished since he never took his phone out of the safe all week and I wouldn't give him mine!)

By the time that was over it was time to get ready for dinner at Chops.  We found it to be really not good on Ovation in June, but decided to give it a shot, since we'd eaten everywhere else by then.

I started with the Carpacchio and the lobster bisque.  

20200227_171815.thumb.jpg.5aecc67b1e11f141f09a1e777e688c4d.jpg

20200227_172512.thumb.jpg.6829b4a22be31d7f17398fa30096b98e.jpg

My entree was the ribeye and Mr SpeedNoodles had the strip.  He really liked his. Mine was fine. But he grills steaks for us all of the time at home, buys really good cuts, and seasons them and cooks them just the way I like them, so I'm very difficult to impress when we go out for steak.  I should have tried the lamb, since we don't do that at home. By no means was it bad, it just wasn't as good as he makes it.

20200227_173858.thumb.jpg.3ee08f999a6b5bec1cd6ae732ebb32fb.jpg

We shared a slice of Key Lime Pie.  We dug into it before I remembered to take a picture.  It was ok. It wasn't as amazing as it was at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami (although they're kind of famous for it, so that's probably not a fair comparison).

We then wandered through the Promenade on the way to the Royal Theatre to see "Flight" and saw discovered this band playing above the Royal Shop - they were pretty good, but we had to keep moving....

20200227_193732.thumb.jpg.ff2b80ed3035fb9eb14de7f3402acb2e.jpg

Then we ran into the Stowaway Piano Player, and took a few minutes to ride the elevator with her.  She was good, but the music she played wasn't nearly as much fun as the guy on Navigator played.  But she was sweet and we liked her:

20200227_194155.thumb.jpg.e9210e4af783378e368c37d2690ee11a.jpg

We had some time before Flight and I remembered that they were performing iSkate in Studio B, so we ducked in there to catch that - we'd missed 1977 because I was dumb and scheduled that the night before St Maarten at some ridiculous hour like 10:30pm. 

We dodged over to see Flight next (not bad, not great - glad we saw it, wouldn't go see it again).

20200227_212320.thumb.jpg.5708239c52f972ea5fab8d2160a8f7bc.jpg

And then, although we'd been pretty much going from activity to activity all day, I insisted that we go to the Quest.  Mr SpeedNoodles had never been to one, and it's one of those things that simply can NOT be explained and must be experienced.  I didn't get any pics (my phone was effectively out of battery life by then), but it was one of the highlight activities of the week.  Mr SpeedNoodles plans to be prepared to participate on the October Group Cruise (he says he'll prepare with appropriate clothing choices and a few shots of tequila). 

We came back to these creatures in our stateroom.  I LOVED this little puppy.  I'd never had anyone leave anything like it.

20200227_234125.jpg

20200227_234135.jpg

And that was enough for a sea day.  Tomorrow is Coco Cay!!!!

 

 

 

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Day 7 - Coco Cay!!!

If anyone's wondering (and you probably didn't know that you were until now), Captain Rick pronounced it "Cay" and not "Key". He's Canadian - take that for what it's worth.

We had nothing special on the island - no cabanas or day beds.  Since Mr SpeedNoodles had never been there I figured we'd spend some time exploring and then find a place to settle so that we could snorkel.

The weather was in the high 60s or low 70s and overcast.  I'm pretty much a big baby when it comes to water temp, so I never even broke out my snorkel gear.  I waded into the little lagoon where people snorkel and made it about waist deep, saw some pretty fish and watched Mr SpeedNoodles snorkel a little bit before I just gave up.  He snorkeled a bit until he scared up a few stingrays, which he did NOT like.  I looked up and saw him coming in hot to the beach and wondered what was up. He really wasn't too interested in going back after he saw those.  He had some fun playing with the GoPro in the water until then (I have yet to figure out how to get those videos onto my laptop and I'm sure they aren't worth sharing).

I had my rash guard on when I went into the water because I'd burned my back so badly on St. Maarten - so now I had a wet shirt on and I was cold.  He was cold.  Then the wind picked up. We headed over to the Snack Shack to get a crispy chicken sandwich and hope that the sun came out or the wind would die down.

He grabbed a table and I headed over to the restrooms when a staff member came SPRINTING by me, saying "aye aye aye!!!!!!!!!!!".  I turned around to see the Up, Up, and Away balloon in a VERY awkward position.  The basket was listing quite a bit, and it was clear that they were having a very difficult time bringing it back down to the ground. I'd left my phone back at the table, so I wasn't able to get any photos, but it looked scary as hell.  They must have gotten enough staff out there to bring it down before I got out of the restroom, but it never went back up the rest of the day. Apparently either the wind came up suddenly, or they pushed their luck with one last ride.

We just couldn't get warmed up, so we headed back to the ship around 1pm.  I really got very few photos on the island, but I have to keep my reputation going, so:

20200228_094612.thumb.jpg.81354ab4d65d3568d7690dd528d96044.jpg

We showered up and then hit some trivia in the pub and grabbed a few drinks.  We had Izumi Hibachi at 5:30, so we got a little packing done (boooooo). We got the rest of our packing done between dinner and the 8:30 showing of HIRO (which we really wanted to see at night - even better at night!).

I left a little note for Jeff, our cabin steward, about the great towel animal he left:

20200228_132034.thumb.jpg.10e099c2a057e2046c8bf52128863563.jpg

He in turn left me a little note back:

20200228_132042.thumb.jpg.2f4fe2c15364c1551446cd0049211e4a.jpg

And I did.

We caught him in the hall before the show to give him his tip personally (I don't like leaving them in the envelopes, I prefer to take the opportunity to say thank you in person). We've never had a bad cabin attendant, but some are definitely more fun than others.

20200228_172346.thumb.jpg.5ffdcd6ef9d6aa193ad24706ac0dae2c.jpg

After Hiro we made a few stops at our favorite bars to have some drinks and say goodbye to some of our favorite waiters, and with that, the cruise was pretty much over 😞

 

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You know what I love about that little puppy towel ?  I love how his little legs are just slightly bent in the same direction.  It's like he's doin' that dance where you swing your arms and your legs in opposition.  I'm sure there's a name for it...but I'm too old and uninterested to find out what it is.  But I love that he's doing it !!

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3 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

You know what I love about that little puppy towel ?  I love how his little legs are just slightly bent in the same direction.  It's like he's doin' that dance where you swing your arms and your legs in opposition.  I'm sure there's a name for it...but I'm too old and uninterested to find out what it is.  But I love that he's doing it !!

He's doing The Floss!!!  You're right! I hadn't noticed that, LOL!!

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1 hour ago, SpeedNoodles said:

Day 6 - At Sea

Dagnabit, the cruise is getting too close to being over!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

We took this day to sleep in - it was the first time that we actually closed the drapes and didn't just let the sun wake us up.  This was pretty much Mr. SpeedNoodle's request. We really had nothing to do until 11:30, so we slept until about 9:00 and then hit the tail end of breakfast at the Solarium Bistro.

This morning we had the Escape the Rubicon escape room activity. While we waited for our group I had to take a few pics of the area - Adventure Ocean had such cute paintings (as far as we could see in), and it was just a very pretty area to wait. Who am I kidding, the entire ship is beautiful.

20200227_111640.thumb.jpg.c70561759063f36eac9bbeca2cc480cf.jpg

20200227_111734.thumb.jpg.fbd568232f1dea06bd7540c1a688d5b9.jpg

20200227_111805.thumb.jpg.eca9f36de3809fbd13a718cec90ea4ad.jpg

We were then ready for the Escape Room. We had about 9 people (one no-show).  I can honestly say that, while it was interesting, I've never spent that long being so confused and utterly useless in my life.  My mind just doesn't operate in such a manner to solve puzzles such as these (other kinds, yes, maybe - maybe not, feeling super dumb now).  Most of the rest of the team seemed to have their stuff (not my chosen term, but it's a family blog) together. But we did not solve it and escape. Not escaping didn't bother me as much as just feeling stupid and totally demoralized.

20200227_111655.thumb.jpg.1e165e6a4ed2b57ad037411f68797e3a.jpg

I had a solution for that, though:

20200227_125641.thumb.jpg.3da5737c0d36499701c5dfd3d76891c8.jpg

We grabbed a drink (we were skipping lunch because we'd decided to go to Chops for dinner instead of Wonderland, but the only reservation I could snag last minute was at 5pm) and headed over to watch the International Belly Flop competition. During the competition, Brian (cruise director) announced that they were going to hold an impromptu "HIRO" show in the AquaTheatre at 3pm, because they'd  had to cancel so many in the first few days of the cruise.  We already had our reservations from last Saturday rescheduled to Friday, but we decided to see if we could get in, just in case THAT one ended up being canceled as well.

We had no trouble getting in and grabbing a comfortable seat, and we loved the show.  While I thought the story line was pretty loose (ok, REALLY loose), I really enjoyed the entire show.  The performers were truly amazing (and brave).  Pics from the daytime show just aren't that spectacular so I'm only posting one of the woman who was constantly harnessed up and walking up above the audience. We were especially impressed with her.  We watched the crew put the 360 harness on her during the top tier event - that thing is TIGHT and the faces she made when they seemed to screw it into her hips really told it all.  The fact that she can smile through the entire performance might impress me the most.

20200227_150615.thumb.jpg.d3eb358ecc26542bb4a9e58d656ee10b.jpg

I also had to get my one ride on the carousel.  I've been obsessed with them my entire life, and I have no issues being the weird adult chick on the kids ride. I refused to let Mr. SpeedNoodles take any photos (which was easily accomplished since he never took his phone out of the safe all week and I wouldn't give him mine!)

By the time that was over it was time to get ready for dinner at Chops.  We found it to be really not good on Ovation in June, but decided to give it a shot, since we'd eaten everywhere else by then.

I started with the Carpacchio and the lobster bisque.  

20200227_171815.thumb.jpg.5aecc67b1e11f141f09a1e777e688c4d.jpg

20200227_172512.thumb.jpg.6829b4a22be31d7f17398fa30096b98e.jpg

My entree was the ribeye and Mr SpeedNoodles had the strip.  He really liked his. Mine was fine. But he grills steaks for us all of the time at home, buys really good cuts, and seasons them and cooks them just the way I like them, so I'm very difficult to impress when we go out for steak.  I should have tried the lamb, since we don't do that at home. By no means was it bad, it just wasn't as good as he makes it.

20200227_173858.thumb.jpg.3ee08f999a6b5bec1cd6ae732ebb32fb.jpg

We shared a slice of Key Lime Pie.  We dug into it before I remembered to take a picture.  It was ok. It wasn't as amazing as it was at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami (although they're kind of famous for it, so that's probably not a fair comparison).

We then wandered through the Promenade on the way to the Royal Theatre to see "Flight" and saw discovered this band playing above the Royal Shop - they were pretty good, but we had to keep moving....

20200227_193732.thumb.jpg.ff2b80ed3035fb9eb14de7f3402acb2e.jpg

Then we ran into the Stowaway Piano Player, and took a few minutes to ride the elevator with her.  She was good, but the music she played wasn't nearly as much fun as the guy on Navigator played.  But she was sweet and we liked her:

20200227_194155.thumb.jpg.e9210e4af783378e368c37d2690ee11a.jpg

We had some time before Flight and I remembered that they were performing iSkate in Studio B, so we ducked in there to catch that - we'd missed 1977 because I was dumb and scheduled that the night before St Maarten at some ridiculous hour like 10:30pm. 

We dodged over to see Flight next (not bad, not great - glad we saw it, wouldn't go see it again).

20200227_212320.thumb.jpg.5708239c52f972ea5fab8d2160a8f7bc.jpg

And then, although we'd been pretty much going from activity to activity all day, I insisted that we go to the Quest.  Mr SpeedNoodles had never been to one, and it's one of those things that simply can NOT be explained and must be experienced.  I didn't get any pics (my phone was effectively out of battery life by then), but it was one of the highlight activities of the week.  Mr SpeedNoodles plans to be prepared to participate on the October Group Cruise (he says he'll prepare with appropriate clothing choices and a few shots of tequila). 

We came back to these creatures in our stateroom.  I LOVED this little puppy.  I'd never had anyone leave anything like it.

20200227_234125.jpg

20200227_234135.jpg

And that was enough for a sea day.  Tomorrow is Coco Cay!!!!

 

 

 

I've never seen the puppy towel animal either, looks great.

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