Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cruise Day One

I'm writing this blog as if I wrote it the days it all took place when in reality I'm writing this then Monday after the cruise was over. Enjoy...

Victoria and I got everything together and into the car. Becky came over to help us put everything in the trunk. Becky was our cat sitter for the week. She did a little more than that. We'll get to that at the end. We arrived at the in-laws place around 11am. We went over our itinerary for each port, I put a few last things on the mapping program of the laptop we were taking with us and then we hopped a shuttle to the cruise terminal.

When we got to the dock, we gave the porter our luggage, keeping only what we needed (my camera bag, the laptop, Victoria's messenger bag and her mom's purse) and headed through security which is much like you'd see at the airport only they didn't make us take our shoes off.
We went into the line for Royal Caribbean to pick up our stateroom key. It's basically a credit card with our name, stateroom number, seating time and dining table on it. It works as our credit card on the ship, our entrance on and off the ship and our key into our stateroom.

We entered the ship at 12:30pm and waited as our room wouldn't be ready until 1pm. We entered on deck 4 and sat at some chairs in the centrum lounge across from Guest Relations. Our stateroom, number 4555, was on that deck, that side of the ship and 4 doors down on the left side. That info means little to you but it meant a lot to us as it put us really close to the central hub so we could get anywhere on the ship in a pretty short amount of time.

After dropping some things off at the stateroom, we grabbed our cameras and took a long tour of the ship (or at least areas we were allowed into) while we waited for the 5pm departure time. I took pictures of various areas of the ship and headed up to deck 11 where the solarium, spas, pool and the Windjammer Cafe which served buffet style meals through stations which I thought was much more efficient than a single long line.

The food there was really good for a buffet place. Better than Hometown Buffet at least which I guess isn't saying a lot. After eating, we had a mandatory safety drill, so we all donned our life vests, went to our emergency meeting spaces and they went through the drill of how we would all exit the ship should it start sinking.

After this, I got some pictures of a sailing ship, the ships in harbor and then headed up the stairs to deck 12 which gave me the best perspective for taking pictures as we headed out of port.

We laughed, waved and shot pictures as we left port and sailed through the bay and out to the ocean on our way to our first port of San Francisco.

After we were out in the ocean we went to the Aurora Theatre for our Welcome Aboard entertainment. We saw some singers and dancers that were decent but I could barely understand them. The male dancers were a little overly feminine. There was a comedian that we thought was pretty funny but we had to take off just as he was finishing his set so we could get to dinner for our seating.

We went to the dining room for the first night and found out our table was right next to the captain's table. He never showed up for a meal but we got the captain's waiter and assistant waitress and these two were my personal highlights of the crew on Radiance of the Seas. Lorand noticed my camera, told me he was into photography and cameras as a personal hobby and from then on we couldn't meet up without stopping to talk for a few minutes about it. I'm sure I got him in trouble because I was a big distraction but he didn't seem to mind the conversation so that was cool.

The dining room was beautifully designed with the grand staircase, big nautically themed mural, wood columns and wood trimmed ceiling. The experience resembled some of the fancy restaurants I've been to before only on a slightly higher level. Since we had assigned waiters, they got to know us during the cruise and that really provided for some very nice personal touches which I'll mention later.

Victoria and her dad got a wine package where we bought six bottles of wine for a price. We started with a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile and it was wonderful. I can't remember many of the meals we had since they all kinda ran together but I didn't taste anything all week that I didn't like. The closest thing was a buffalo chicken sandwich I ate for lunch one day. It was good but nothing special. By the time we returned from dinner, our luggage was waiting for us. Nice.

Our first night of sleeping was surprisingly calm. I was expecting perhaps a little uneasiness or seasickness but it never came. I got my sea legs by the end of the second day and from then on it was easy going.


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