Our first full cruise day was a Sea Day on our way to Cozumel. I should clarify that the itinerary I posted earlier was backwards, so the order for this cruise is: Sea Day, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Labadee, Sea Day.
I started the day with breakfast in the Oceanview Cafe. I was just before they opened the full buffet. Still plenty of options, but more to come. The last cruise ship I was on was Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas, the smallest ship in the fleet, so when I see the amount of food put out for the much larger number of guests, it’s pretty impressive. I had a typical cruise breakfast for me of melon and a couple of sausage links. I also had some roasted potatoes and a brioche bun. I don't usually eat bread in the morning, but this roll looked interesting.
I had the open deck aft of the Oceanview Cafe pretty much to myself as I had my breakfast and watched the horizon shift from below the deck railing to above the deck railing to below the deck railing. The ship was rocking a little bit and this would only increase through the day.
I took a small tour of the ship and then came back to the cabin to get a little more sleep before the “Heartbeat of the Operation” Galley Tour. If your cruise offers this behind-the-scenes look at the food and beverage operations, I recommend it. There was a heavy marketing angle promoting the specialty restaurants, but it was also genuinely informative. Expect a post on just this tour following the live blog.
The friends I’m here with wanted to try lunch in the main dining room, which I’m usually not a fan of, but I went with them. I had a dish they named “barbecue chicken” but was really grilled chicken with barbecue sauce on it. A piece of breast and thigh on wilted Swiss chard and buttermilk grits. I think they were trying to do something Southern-inspired. As a Southern boy, I liked it.
I spent most of the time after that wandering from bar to bar and enjoying the view of the ocean from the balcony. I enjoyed a Elderberry Blush, a drink I had on the Celebrity Constellation a year ago and liked. The description of the drink says basil, but she used mint. Still good.
We were able to switch to Select Dining for the rest of the cruise. We wanted to make a reservation, but the only times available were 5:45pm or 8:50pm and after. We took our chances showing up at 6:45pm expecting to get a pager and wait in the Martini Bar until a table was ready. To our surprise (and slight disappointment — I wanted a drink) we were seated immediately. For appetizers, we had frog legs which were a novelty, but not something I care if I ever eat again, the corn soup which was great, and the salmon tartare with house-made mayonnaise which was good except for the roe on top. I didn’t care for that part.
The main courses were rack of lamb, shrimp scampi, glazed cobia, seared duck breast, and beef tournedo. All were great except for the duck. The fat layer of the duck had not been rendered off at all. Dessert was a coconut sorbet, an apple cobbler a la mode, and a strawberry soup. The soup was the best of all and the best part were the two crouton-sized pieces of lemon shortbread. It left me wanting more.
After dinner, we relaxed in the Ensemble Lounge with a couple flutes of Kir Royale and a rum mule. Knowing that we wanted to be in good shape for Cozumel, we decided to make it an early night and pass on the parties in the casino and the Martini Bar.
The internet has been generally good, but I’ve had some technical issues getting pictures over to the blog and setting up my Twitter account on my phone. I will work on these when I return to the ship after Cozumel. Also, if there’s something on the ship you’d like to see a picture of or a place you’d like me to try to Periscope from, let me know. I’m happy to give it a shot.
Check back tomorrow for details of our day in Cozumel