Day 2 started well even if the bathroom drain did bubble overnight, it did not overflow and Cryson was quick to call for repairs as soon as he found out about the drain from us in the morning. He has been a pleasure to have as a stateroom attendant! Things then started to go downhill as it looked like rain was setting in and we decided not to chance taking the tender over to Royal Caribbean's private Island Coco Cay. We instead opted to go to breakfast in the main dinning room, and entered through the Diamond and diamond Plus members doorway. Usually you are seated immediately but they seemed to be very disorganized this morning and we had to wait 10 to 12 minutes to be seated. It was not as it was very busy as there were many empty tables in the dinning room and maybe 13 or 14 other Diamond Members already seated at tables. They explained that they were trying to get us a table for two. This would have been very nice if it had gone a little faster as our head waiter was sent every where to get silverware and wound up having another dinning room supervisor tell her to just take the set-ups from another table right by where we were standing. This couldn't have been done 10 minutes before? We left the dinning room after breakfast (which was OK) and then headed for the Solarium. For those not familiar with Royal Caribbean ships, this is considered the adult area 16 and older. In the many cruises we have taken, this is the first time I have ever had a pool attendant actually ask someone to leave who was under age. They were 12. They politely left and I commend the attendant for actually following the rules. It made for a relaxing and enjoyable time in the pool.
After the pool we just came back to the room and enjoyed sitting on our balcony, Linda reading and I doing my day one blog. Eventually it was time for dinner and we decided to actually go to our own table on deck four of the main restaurant. We met our waiter Mary, who was from the African Island of Mauritius. She had started out working in the business class hotels on the island but wanted to experience the world and jumped at the chance to work on a cruise ship. She was an excellent and personable waiter. Mary's assistant waiter was always there offering more bread and watching my Coke glass and had a refill on the table just as I would finish the first glass. I really enjoy that kind of service.The food was good but the escargot was a little gritty and they never have been in the past. The strip steak and the vegetables were very good. The deserts were excellent.
After the dinner we were invited to a Crown & Anchor Captain's loyalty reception. Usually the Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members have a private reception with drinks and a talk about what is on the horizon for the Royal Caribbean fleet. and then the ships Officers are introduced. On this ship the reception was held in the Centrum (center of the ship for those not familiar with the cruise ships). Anyone walking by could just sit down and listen, there were no drinks offered and no discussion about new ships in the fleet or where Royal was headed as a company. My wife found this to be very disappointing and uncharacteristic of a loyalty reception.
So as Day 2 ended, the euphoria of a cruise was still not there. We went to bed and hoped for better on Day Three. Stay tuned and see how it went.
At the last moment before going to Fort Lauderdale for a meeting with my South African safari suppliers at the South African Airways Africa Showcase, we decided to hop on a three night cruise on the Enchantment of the Seas from the Port of Miami. We chose Royal Caribbean because we love their ships and staff, so much so that we are Crown & Anchor Diamond Plus members.
We used Limos of South Florida to transfer us from Ft Lauderdale Airport to the Port of Miami. Our driver was there on time and loaded our luggage and drove us to Miami with a safe drive and a friendly manner. Check-in at the pier was fast and easy. When we boarded the ship we were welcomed back with smiles. We were stopped by one of the waiters for the Chops Steak House, a specialty restaurant aboard. We really weren’t planning on doing any of the specialty restaurants on this cruise and have only gone to two in the past but he convinced us to try this one on the first night. It was the best move we made on the cruise so far. More on the restaurant later.
When we have returned to a royal Caribbean ship we have always felt like we were coming home. That feeling seems to be lacking on this ship. While you are greeted everywhere with welcome back, the warmth just doesn’t seem to shine through as it has in the past. I realize that the ship, since being moved from Port Canaveral to Miami, has made the 3 & 4 night cruises more for the first time cruiser who would never pickup on the difference; it was still a little disappointing. The ship itself is beginning to show its age despite the ship overhaul before being moved to Port Canaveral and a short refurbishment for more of the amenities of the other, newer ships, like interactive ship maps at the elevators and high speed internet that is so much faster and reliable than the old internet. It is in the staterooms that you really see the age, especially if you have an outside balcony stateroom. We had a D2 Balcony Stateroom, Port-side and Forward. Despite the attempt to keep the rust at bay, it is everywhere on the balcony and evident that painting will not keep it from reemerging. The sink had a leak at the drain pipe, which they repaired quickly and the bathroom channel drain backed up during the night and flooded the bathroom floor. Once again, they were there quickly and completed the repairs that night. It was bubbling again a little this morning so we will see what happens tonight.
Even with the above going on, we are enjoying this cruise and this ship. It is beautiful looking out on a mirrored ocean as I write this blog from the chair and table on our private balcony. Our stateroom attendant, Cryson, was wonderful. He is very friendly and even more efficient. He makes sure everything is spotless and always asks if we need anything before he leaves. The same holds true for the specialty restaurant Chops Steakhouse, which I promised to fill you in on.
Our waiter was Theressa. The spelling could be off a little on the S’s! She was wonderful. She has been with Royal Caribbean for 19 years. If you know anything about this industry, it is that the pace of this life on-board ship has most staff leaving after 3 or 4 tours if not sooner. Her smile is infectious and her recommendations right on the money. If she recommends it, try it. You will not be disappointed. While I am sure any of the steaks are excellent, we had the Filet Mignon. It was out of this world, so flavorful and melt in the mouth tender. They will pair wines with your meal and the tip is included in the $35 US Dollars per person price. If you are a diamond plus or pinnacle member the cost is even better but only on the first two nights of the cruise.
We left Chops very full and very pleased. We then moseyed down to the casino on-board and found that they have a lot of new digital Slot Machines. Usually the odds of winning on the first night of the cruise are pretty good since they always wanted to draw in new players with the sound of winning slots going off and cruisers screaming and cheering with the wins. This cruise has been eerily quiet, even though the ship sailed full, and it looks like they have tightened up the slots. So needless to say, it was time to head to bed. That was when the aforementioned water issues occurred.
Stay tuned for Day 2 tomorrow!
To any United States passport holders traveling or contemplating traveling to Uganda, a reminder. Please be advised that Uganda has instituted new visa requirements. The government lowered the cost for a Uganda Single Entry Visa to $50 USD from $100 USD. Good News! Now the not so good news. The Uganda government has also decided that you can no longer get a visa at the airport upon arrival in Uganda or at the border crossings by vehicle. You must have the visa in advance and on your person when entering the country. You will be turned back if you do not have one and the airlines will not let you board their planes unless you can show proof of the visa. To facilitate acquiring a visa, they can now be filled out online and submitted. http://www.ugandavisapassport.org/uganda-embassy-dc-visa-application-form/ Paper Visa forms will no longer be accepted! These regulations went into effect on July 1, 2015. You will also need proof of a Yellow Fever Vaccination due to cases of yellow fever being confirmed in Kenya and Uganda. his is for your protection and is a lifetime (supposedly) protection.
Welcome to our new Blog and our new website. We hope you like them both. I am Jon Haraty, owner of Adventure Luxury Travel, LLC, formerly known as Jon's Dive & Travel Services, Same great service, same great romance and adventure travel expert, just a new name to better reflect those discerning clients we serve.
Adventure Luxury Travel specializes in adventure travel to Africa, romance and honeymoons in exotic locations around the globe and here at home, and since I am experiencing it now, generational travel to the best whole family vacations in the world.
My clients desire, request and expect luxury services and accommodations from their travel expert. I am there to make that happen and to make sure you are getting value for your money spent. I work with only the best suppliers around the world to make sure my clients receive the service and recognition they deserve. So, I welcome aboard every new client and all my old clients. I will treat you with the ideas and services I have always given you with Jon's Dive & Travel.