Critique of the Cruise

Well, the Blonde Bombshell survived the cruise. If I were to rate my overall cruise experience onboard the Oasis of the Seas (1-10), I would give my experience a 20. It was outstanding. Everything I went onboard expecting–I got and they (Royal Caribbean) managed to exceed. The food was excellent. The menus had plenty of options to choose from and offered healthy (Vitality) choices. The service in the dining room was impeccable. The wait staff took special care to make sure that each of us left well fed and satisfied from our menu choices. Whenever possible, they would offer second dishes to sample. Specialty dining rooms were outstanding. I believe the true tone of service can really be found in a specialty dining venue. What I mean by that is: the server is more focused on you, whereas your main dining room server might be tending to your table plus three or four others. The food is prepared especially for you and not just pulled off a line. The setting is usually more intimate and geared towards the guest and what they make of it.

The room–always clean, fresh and comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was incredible—always making sure that we were comfortable in our room, always made sure that we had clean linens and that our room was properly turned down at night with a mint on each pillow and a friendly towel animal awaiting our return.

The onboard activities—there were so many! I believe it is safe to say that there was something for nearly everyone who’s anyone to do onboard. The breadth of activities ranged from movies shown in the AquaTheater to wine tastings in Vintages to Walking Tours through Central Park that gave a bit of a behind the scenes glimpse into the caretaking of the plant life….Night time entertainment–limitless. There were parties everywhere around the ship, award-winning shows, live entertainment, the 70s Disco Street Party (my personal favorite!) The Love and Marriage Game Show–HYSTERICAL! youtube it—you will see what I mean. They have mini golf, rock climbing, FlowRider, a zip line, basketball, ping-pong, shuffle board, a walking/running track, ice skating, multiple swimming pools, volleyball….Oh, and a Boardwalk—with a carousel!

The shopping—if you are a spender—you will die and go to heaven as soon as you set foot onboard. They have Regalia fine jewelry, Coach leather goods, Willow–it was a neat clothing and accessory shop, The Shop, Solera and Port Merchants–it had everything. You name it: souvenirs, t-shirts and other clothing, toiletries, perfumes, make-up, liquors…everything LITERALLY. Prince + Greene was another fine clothing shop onboard.

Food and Beverage—ENDLESS. There were over 20 different venues to choose from—and I can honestly say that I didn’t even begin to scrape the surface at eating in even half of them. They have the main dining room, Izumi–Asian Cuisine, WindJammer–buffet style casual dining, they have Cafe Promenade—an all hours-type dining area, Mondo Coffee–specialty coffees and treats, Sorrentos Pizza, The Champagne Bar, Boleros, On-Air Club (where they held karaoke), Schooner Bar, Seafood Shack, Johnny Rockets, Boardwalk Donut Shop, Ice Cream Parlor, Candy Beach, Boardwalk Bar, Park Cafe, Chops Grille, Vintages, Giovanni’s Table, 150 Central Park, Rising Tide Bar, Trellis Bar, Dazzles, Solarium Bistro, Sand Bar, Pool Bar, Wipeout Cafe…..(GASP) that was a mouthful! As you can see—plenty of venues for food and drink around the ship ranging from Decks 3-16.

I had a great time and I cannot wait to go back. I feel as thought I need to go back on this ship to pick up right where I left off and see/experience all that I have yet to do! If you are thinking of cruising–I highly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean. You  definitely will not be disappointed. After all, they are the Nation of WHY NOT? The sky is the limit—ENJOY!

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Blonde Bombshell: Third Sea Day

Ahoy there! It is Friday aboard the massive vessel and it is our last sea day before we return to Port Everglades tomorrow morning. This morning I did something I haven’t done since before I left for this vacation: SLEPT IN. It was amazing. You should try it, really. I went to WindJammer to get some breakfast and then I ran down the stairs to Deck 6 to workout for a bit. On my return from the gym, I decided to get a Cruise Compass from the Promenade and while I was there, I discovered a gathering of people in the center waiting for the cake decorating event hosted by our cruise director, Richard Spacey featuring our Head Chef, Hotel Director, and Captain of the ship, Capt. Tryme. That was hysterical. They decorated a Black Forest Cake. The captain poured half a bottle of cherry liquore over the cake, soaking each layer. Richard Spacey said that anyone sampling his cake shouldn’t operate heavy machinery for at least three days.

After the cake decorating, I met Sean and we headed up to the Boardwalk to register for the Walk for Wishes. Royal Caribbean is a proud sponsor for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. All week the cruise staff held different charitable events (art auctions, raffles, and donations) where 100% of the proceeds go directly to the foundation. I am proud to say I walked a mile and made a small donation for the Make-A-Wish foundation. After the walk, I met up with the rest of my party and got some lunch. If you are considering going on this cruise, you MUST MUST MUST try the ham and cheese on a croissant from the Promenade Cafe. It was the best I have ever had. Heaven in my mouth.

After lunch, I went to the Focus Photo gallery to look at all the professional photos taken during the cruise. We ended up buying a photo book and buying some single photos to frame later. After spending (more like wasting) over an hour there deciding which to buy and which to put into the book, I went back to the room to shower and get ready. I put on nice clothes and met the rest of my party. They said they were going to try and lay out by the pool, so I ran back to the room and changed my clothes again. This was the first time since Nassau that it was actually nice enough to lay out. But that didn’t last long—no it was overcast and it was drawing closer to the time we reserved to see the ice show, Frozen in Time. The performance brought to life the works of Hans Christian Andersen. In the middle of the performance, they brought out a sand artist. Click the link to view some of what he did in a sand light box. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtdAVavJobo

Immediately following the show, needed to start getting ready for dinner. There was a Farewell Surprise in the Royal Promenade inbetween the two dinner seatings. Nearly all the staff and crew got dressed up and took a bow on the bridge during the Farewell Celebration. The International skaters we had just seen earlier were there and one of the male skaters got down on one knee while on the bridge and proposed to one of the female skaters. She was in complete shock! I felt priviledged to be apart of that special moment in their lives.

Off to the last supper—I ordered Spinach dip with tortilla chips to start and Mahi Mahi and Shrimp. I really enjoyed it. Our wait staff sang a farewell song to us at the end of the night and then we were off into the night! Following dinner, we had a Comedy Show to attend at the On-Air Comedy Club, Deck 4 near Studio B. The comedian was HYSTERICAL. He was a black entertainer. The first thing he said when he got on stage was “I feel like a raisin in a box of Frosted Flakes….oh wait–there’s another…That makes 2 raisins  There’s always two scoops, theres always two scoops” He made joke about the size of the shower. He said something to the effect that “god forbid you drop your soap….you have to bend down to get it and your ass is in the middle of the hallway in order to reach it.” Richard Spacey also commented on the size of the shower during the Love and Marriage Game Show and he said that its like the deposit slip container at the bank.

After the comedy show, I headed to Boleros for my drink and some dancing. I met some cool people there and we stayed up until the skyline was nearly visible. The morning staff bid me good morning as I walked through the Promenade—I must have given them the look of all looks because while they were all cheery and well-rested, I had yet to go to bed. I had an hour before I needed to be up, so I ran back to the room, showered and got in bed for a blink of an eye before my alarm sounded.

Stay tuned!

Blonde Bombshell At Sea

Ahoy there!  It’s Thursday and it is our second sea day aboard the beautiful Oasis of the Seas. I started my day with yet another spin class. I struggled through this one because not only was I still sore from the first one, but I always opted to take the stairs. I calculated it: there are roughly 8 stairs leading up or down to each landing and there are 17 decks (really only 16, because there was no deck 13, hmmm….) and the furthest I climbed was from the gangway to deck 9 (the deck my stateroom was on) or from deck 5 (Promenade) to deck 15 (where Windjammer buffet is located, oh and the pools)–that climb SUCKED. Sooo that is roughly—142 stairs if coming from the gangway or 160 if I wanted to go gorge myself–errr–lay out. And if I was returning with the rest of my pokey party members, (they always waited for the elevator—which is the reason why I hated waiting for it….because you could be standing there for 10 minutes. I swore I could always beat the elevator by climbing the stairs…so thats what I did) they waited for the elevator and I darted up the stairs. There were few occasions when other guests would stop me and say, “Getting a work out, huh?” or “I saw you yesterday taking these stairs. Don’t you EVER take the elevator?” “In a hurry?” “Trying to be the first one in the buffet line?” All I kept thinking to myself was Smile and Nod, Smile and Nod, Smile and Nod….

After spinning, I….you guessed it! TOOK THE STAIRS from Deck 6 (Vitality Day Spa and Fitness Center) to Deck 15 to grab some food from Windjammer. And then ran around the pool deck to find a Towel Station. They are very unforgiving at the Towel Station. You can only take two towels out per person using your Seapass. If you don’t return the towels, then you can’t get a new one. And further—if you don’t return the towels by 10pm on the last night, you are the proud new owner of a $25 blue Royal Caribbean body towel (huge, by the way) that has the unique odor of wet person forever soaked into it. Along the way I met a Pool Patrol crew member from Haiti. We talked for a bit, or rather he talked and I tried so desperately to understand what he was saying and come up with something of a response. He had a very heavy Haitian accent and his English was still a work in progress. I felt bad. He was able to point me to a Towel Station and then back down I went to shower and get ready to lay out by the pool.

Some drink in a cool bamboo water bottle came walking around, so I got one of those. It was quite good! It was actually the same drink I got the day before in St. Maarten, the Guavaberry Colada–except better! I layed out for a bit and got the chance to talk to Paul form Vox Audio. He was working off a nasty hang over with some sea air and a tall glass of ice water. Then I picked up my stuff and ran down to the room to change because there was cosmic ice skating. Where else in the world can you lay out, climb rocks, ice skate, zip line, and more  all in the same place? NO WHERE! Ice Skating is held on Deck 4, Studio B. The rink was a pretty good size. I believe they even have a Zamboni onboard because when I first got onto the ice, it was pretty smooth. I know they hold rehearsals for their ice production, Frozen in Time during the off hours.

After ice skating, I went off to see where the rest of the crew was and found them near the Aqua theater. There was a 3:30 performance of Splish Splash, a comedy dive show with the Royal Caribbean swimmers and divers. It was going along great until a diver dove into the water and because the ship caught some pretty rough waves, the diver came so close to hitting the edge of the pool. You could even see the pool water rolling from one side to the other, making it more or less deep on either side of the bean-shaped pool. The show was immediately postponed until Friday.

The rock climbing walls are right above the Aqua Theater, so I thought, Why Not? So I got harnessed up and laced up the special climbing shoes and away I went. A whole four feet off the ground. YAY!

Tonight was our second formal night in the main dining room. On the Captain’s menu was a Lobster dinner. I went back to our stateroom and got all dolled up for dinner. I wanted to be ready before dinner so I could go sit in the Promenade and listen to my favorite band play–the Canela Band. They were performing from 7 to 8 for a Street Party in the Promenade. I ordered myself a mojito and enjoyed the music. I arrived in time for our 8:30 dinner seating. That night, I ordered the prime rib dinner–delish! I even tried horseradish—ehh. The dining staff sang to us and paraded around the dining Opus Dining Room.

The rest of my party went to catch the stage production, Come Fly With Me in the Opal Theater, while I went to Boleros to enjoy some live music and a raspberry mojito.

Stay tuned!

Blonde Bombshell? More like Wet Bombshell

Wednesday morning we docked in St. Maarten. It appeared to be precipitating out, so I decided to phone the Guest Services desk to see if the excursion would still be on (because this one went purely to the beach) and if yes, were there umbrellas or any sort of rain gear available for sale onboard. The tour would still be on, but the decision to go to the beach would be left to the attendant on the pier. As for umbrellas or rain gear, I was told that there was none for purchase anywhere onboard. We disembarked the ship early to meet our shore excursion and wouldn’t you know, it was POURING rain. YEP! Guess who got to stand in it for a half hour before the tour even moved off the pier? Yours truly. It was one of those moments where standing in the rain seemed so ridiculous, it was funny. We took pictures looking like washed up sea rats. By the way, Carnival Dream was docked there as well. They handed their guests nice blue ponchos as they disembarked the ship.

Our tour guide finally began and we were on our way with Arturo, or as he liked to be called–Indiana Jones. First, he brought us to a little shopping district in the Dutch side of the island. The sky opened up as soon as he let us off the bus. We ran across the street and took cover under a rather large woman’s tent on the sidewalk. While waiting for the heavy rain to subside, she tried selling us her entire store. I felt guilty and ended up buying a white sun dress cover up. It wasn’t until after I got back from the island that I realized that she sold me a plus-size women’s dress.

Getting back to Arturo He was by far the best guide I have ever had. He aimed to please everyone and share knowledge with whom he spoke. When he brought us to the beach, we stopped and ate a little lunch at this food shack called the Boo-Boo Jam. Arturo sat down and had a heart-to-heart with me about persevering and following through on my dreams. The best thing he said is “Never wish to go somewhere or do something. Just go and do it. If you keep wishing, you might end up very disappointed.”

Once the tour came to an end, Indiana Jones brought us back to the pier where we walked around. I sampled the island specialty drink–Guavaberry Colada. It was pretty good. Someone in our party tried it and instantly said that it tasted like Peptobismol. I didn’t taste the similarity, but maybe the color had something to do with it.

After our dinner in the main dining room with our servers Ridha and Ramil, we got our boogie shoes on and got ready to get down on the Promenade for the 70’s Disco Street Party. Over 4,000 people stood, danced and enjoyed the street party as much as we did. Check my Facebook for video coverage of the craziness! You’ve got to see it to believe it! The party started at 11:30 and continued well into the wee hours at different venues around the ship. It was the best and most anticipated cruise staff event the whole week we were at sea.

Tomorrow we are at sea and I have an 8:45 spin class planned for the morning.

Stay tuned!

 

 

Blonde Bombshell vs the Caribbean

Ahoy!

It is currently 1:34 AM ship time and I am drawing near to calling it a night. And what a day–and night–it was! I don’t quite remember what I have told you about my day yesterday, so I will recap a bit.

Worked on my FlowRider skills. Currently sporting several sexy bruises from said adventure. (I am currently saying all this in my mind with a British accent. So, if you want to join the fun and read with an accent—please  do!!) Excursioned in Nassau. Several Bahamian children tried to sell me a walking turtle—cute, but not when I have a running dog back at home. Later on–Dinner in the Solarium Bistro. They serve healthful dinner menu options. Exquisite dining! After, I went over to the Boleros nightclub and saw my favorite bartender, Hugo. He made me two excellent drinks, raspberry mojito and a Yellowtail rum drink.

During our At Sea day today, I participated in a heart pounding, body-drenching spin class in the Fitness Center. After which, I guiltlessly raided the breakfast buffet. Whoops! Today I enjoyed my Cupcake Decorating class at the Cupcake Cupboard on Deck 5, Royal Promenade. I caught the very colorful and entertaining Welcome Aboard Parade. Then, at 2:30 I mosied my way over to the Opal Theater to enjoy a fantastic presentation of Hairspray, the musical. I regret to admit that I a took a bit of a snooze during the performance and awoke to the audience laughing hysterically at the joke that I clearly slept through. Oh, well!

After the show, I changed my clothes and headed for the rock climbing wall. I climbed a whole FIVE feet. Yes, for those of you who know me….I climbed my height. I am climbing mountains, one vertically challenged person at a time!

After rock climbing, I hit up the Studio B ice rink and skated for a half hour during the Cosmic Skate Party with Celebrity DJ Cide from the Scratch DJ Academy. He was cool. I flew off the ice and raced back to the room to jazz up for dinner in the Opus Dining room. There, I enjoyed a caesar salad and lamb shank. After dinner, we rushed over to the Opal Theater for the Love and Marriage Game Show. Youtube it—I am sure there are clips. HYSTERICAL. Videos to come on my facebook!

A trip back through the Promenade to enjoy more of my Latin music at Boleros and here you have me!

Tomorrow–arriving in St. Thomas at 9 am. Excursions and specialty dining at Giovanni’s Table.

Stay tuned!

The Blonde Bombshell Gets Welcomed Aboard!

Aloha, Guys!

Forgive me if I come off a bit too friendly—I just drank a $20 drink from Senor Frogs in Nassau, Bahamas. Yesterday we set sail aboard one of the world’s largest ships. So far, I have found myself lost on it five times. Hopefully I can get it straight by the end of the trip. The ship is unbelievable. I have lots of pictures, but I cannot locate a USB port to upload them so you can see and I am currently being charged $.65/minute to share my vacation with you. Yesterday, I met a nice pool deck bar server named Luis. He’s a cool man. He talked me into getting three drinks–the Drink of the Day, Oasis Breezer–two of those, and a Pina Colada. I have yet to feel overwhelmed by the amount of people. There are 6,400 aboard. And the drinks? They were good! Don’t worry….There’s plenty more to come, spill and go!

Yesterday, I laid by the pool until it was time for the compulsory lifeboat drill. Our lifeboat station is located in near the Aqua Theater, located in the back of the ship. It was fairly quick, and definitely painless. After that, we browsed the different decks. There is the Promenade deck with different shops and bars. There is the Central Park deck. It is an outdoor deck with several fine dining restaurants and Coach leather goods store. There is even a part that has a boardwalk with a carousel and ice cream parlor and candy store. Sorry for my incessant use of the word ‘and.’

I decided to take my pokey self back to the room to get dolled up for dinner. We have the later dinner seating in the Opus Dining Room on deck 4. Did I mention that there are 16 Decks (at least that I have discovered thus far)? Our server’s name is Ridha. He is from Tunisia. I am probably not spelling that right. It’s in a part of Africa. Google it. For dinner, I enjoyed a Pineapple, Strawberry and Kiwi Medley to start, a Mediterranean Quesadilla for my main course and a Low-Fat Peach and Raspberry Cobbler for dessert. It was delectable!

After dinner, we perused the ship a bit. We walked through Casino Royale and found the nightclub, Blaze upon its exit. They have several singles Meet-and-Greets, and 18+ nights while on the voyage. I checked out the Open-Mic Karaoke Kick-Off. You could tell whose nerves were eating away at them and who was definitely ready to kick ass when they got up there.

A few brave souls went up there before I walked across the Promenade to Boleros, the Latin Night Club. I sat at the bar and ordered a Mojito. It was quite minty, but very good! I got talking to one of the band members, Carlos who played the keys. He is from the Dominican Republic and has been on the ship working different jobs. He said that he started off as a housekeeper, a waiter and finally an entertainer. He hopes to get aboard a different cruise ship one day. Between his English and my Spanish—we had a decent conversation.

After that, I tried to locate my party…not the liquid kind–the human kind. When that failed–and it does regularly because the ship is soo HUGE—I went back to the room and called it a night.

Stay tuned!

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