You know you've all anxiously awaiting my review/diary/photo album, so here it is. I got to Miami Sat evening night but I'm not gonna bore you with that part because I stayed at Denise's aunt's house, with Denise, who flew in from Santa Fe the previous Tue.
Denise just turned 47, has a broken toe and has never cruised. It's taken me 17 years to convince her of its greatness. We've been friends for 19 years. I'm 43.
This was my ninth cruise (all Caribbean except a Bahamas Majesty B2B in Feb) and fifth with RCCL (yay Platinum!). So here's my story starting from embarkation. Enjoy. What I've done is HIGHLIGHTED key points that come up a lot on these boards, or things I thought were important. This way you can scroll through and maybe find a reference you're looking for. (NOTE: I was able to highlight on the RCCL board, but not here...but they're capitalized.)
I have all the COMPASSES (but can't scan them at the moment) and can answer questions. I also took the DRINK MENU which is the same at every bar and I could've given you prices HAD I NOT LEFT THE DAMN THING IN THE AIRPLANE SEAT BACK THINGY. But the prices were really not awful as compared to any hotel and especially compared to a bar in NYC or even Long Island,.. And I actually didn't technically steal the menu...speak to a bartender in the casino about that one.
One thing I noticed is our stock answer for, "Which nights are formal" is "two and five," but on this particular itinerary it's two and six because on day five we were in Cozumel until 8pm.
Finally, I'll be breaking it up by day because each posting can only have six pictures and I can't do this entire review with just six pictures. Please hold your applause, comments, concerns, criticisms and questions until the very end so each day doesn't get all broken up. I'll be pasting the entire review right now so I just need time to do the pasting. At the very end I'll post thoughts on various things, including HOT TOPICS ON CRUISE CRITIC.
DAY ONE: EMBARKATION WEATHER: HOT AND SUNNY CASUAL
We walked into the Miami terminal at 11am and were onboard at 11:20 and that's being conservative. It might have actually been 11:15. There's a line for suite guests, a line for D+/D/P and a line for everyone else.
Because it's such an ongoing bone of contention on these boards, I'll tell you now that DENISE DID NOT HAVE A PASSPORT and she didn't have the slightest problem getting onboard with nothing but a birth certificate and driver's license. Let me repeat this. DENISE...DID...NOT...HAVE...A...PASSPORT. Nor did she come close to having a family emergency, almost missing the ship in port, breaking a leg or having to be med-evaced home, thus having to fly home without a passport.
When we saw the Promenade in person (pictures, feh) my eyes actually misted up for a second. They got that weird burning sensation you get when you're about to start the waterworks but then they stopped. It was just gorgeous.
We immediately went to Guest Relations (which is right where you enter) and told them Denise had a broken toe and is there something they could do for her regarding the muster drill? She was informed that she didn't have to go and I should just go alone and leave her in the cabin. Fabulous!
We didn't really walk around the ship much (because of the toe and because we had our carry-on luggage) so we sat down in the Solarium. The sun was out and it was really hot!
At 1:30 we headed to our rooms to put our stuff down (no luggage yet, of course). The hallway reeked of SEWAGE but our room didn't at all and the odor was gone a couple of hours later and never returned. We also had BROWN WATER later in the week but that stopped very quickly.
We had cabin 8377, interior, deck 8.
Then I think we headed back for the pool area, with a little walking around in between. The ship was still quite empty. At some point we headed back to the PROMENADE. What a great place. Besides just having a great "wow" factor, there were lots of free giveaways. Outside Johnny Rocket's you could taste a milkshake. Outside Vintages you could taste the sangria. A bit further down people from Chops were giving out nice-sized samples of skewered steak and onions and further down someone from Portofino was giving out garlic bread crostinis and cheese.
After checking out the Promenade, we had planned on going to Portofino to make a dinner reservation for tomorrow night, but you can actually do this at both the CHOPS and PORTOFINO "stands" in the Promenade, so when we got solicited with a menu in our face, I said to the girl, "Keep your menu, we'll make a reservation now." It took a couple of minutes, AND THE TIME WE WANTED (NIGHT 2, 8:30) WAS AVAILABLE.
At the end of the Promenade is Sorrento's. I have always hated eggplant but have slowly started to like it. I tasted their grilled eggplant and thought it was absolutely one of the best things I've eaten in a LONG time. It was really phenomenal. They also had various other treats like marinated mozzarella, artichoke hearts, pickled veggies and sun-dried tomatoes. We discovered later in the week that these options would change. Hot choices were pizza and panini. We sat "outside" the restaurant "on the street" and just watched all the goings on. By the way, all the food in Sorrento's is free and the Cafe Promenade. Between the veggies at Sorrento's and all the crap that was handed to me in the Promenade, we didn't even end up going to lunch!!
We then sat by the pool waiting for the MUSTER DRILL, which is now called the Guest Assembly Drill...no mention of the word "muster" or "mustard" (as we all know it's called, as told to us by our room Stewarts) at all. Maybe they figured people had no idea what it meant or something). Because you NO LONGER NEED YOUR LIFE VEST (as everyone here knows by now), I forgot to check where my muster station was when I was in the room. As I was heading to the room, a crew member told me to go to the drill, and I said I didn't know where to go. He said, "Everyone goes to deck 4 and they'll tell you from there." Okie. Well it turns out the huge D24 printed on my seapass card was my muster station. I had wondered what that was. So all you have to do is show your card to various crew members on deck 4 and they'll tell you exactly where to go. Turns out my station was in the MDR. That's the second cruise in a row where I got to muster inside instead of standing among a ton of people in the heat. Of course it also meant Denise could've certainly joined me.
It was scheduled to start at 4:05 and was over at exactly 4:20. Nice. I met Denise back in the room for my favorite part of cruising, the Sail Away Party by the pool. Well I have to say it was the worst sail away party I'd ever been to. And that doesn't mean it was BAD, but it was definitely the weakest one. They had a DJ playing (didn't the live band used to play at sail away?) and eventually (4:45, 15 minutes late according to the Compass) the Cruise Director (JAMES ANDREWS) and his staff came out and did the usual line dancing and stuff fir 30 minutes. There were really not a lot of people dancing, but I had to join in because it's sort of become a tradition for me at sail away.
Around 6 we realized we didn't have much of a lunch and dinner wasn't until 8:30, so we headed back to the Promenade for a snack. We went to the Cafe but there's nothing to eat there but dessert and croissant sandwiches, so we headed back to Sorrento's for more delicious eggplant. We headed back to the room at 7:10 but while we were walking down the Promenade my arm hit Denise's arm and I dropped (and smashed) my red wine. Pretty embarrassing!
How's this for tonight's sunset? I KNOW!!!
We quickly changed for dinner because at 7:30 I had to go to Studio B. At 7:30 you could sign up for tomorrow's FlowRider, rock wall and ice skating. A nice way to get the signup part out of the way a day early. This was the only time this was available, so if you didn't sign up now, then you had to do it the traditional way, which was show up and sign up then and wait your turn. While I waited on line, Denise went to the theater to see the welcome aboard show at 7:45.
Unfortunately by 7:50 the line had barely moved (it wasn't that long at ALL. I have NO idea how it could've POSSIBLY taken so long, but I ended up leaving without signing up for anything AND missing the beginning of the show. When I got there, someone named Krill (okaaaaaaay) was doing his acrobatic thing but I had missed James Andrews' welcome. The comedian, Miguel Washington came on next. He was okay. I'm looking forward to his adult show tomorrow night (even though it's at a crazy 12:15am!).
Next up it was time for dinner. Because of the show and Denise's broken toe, we were about ten minutes late for dinner (yes it stressed me). By then the waiter/ass't waitress made their introductions. So that was that. Didn't ask us our names, nothing. And we later found out the ass't was training. She was sweet, though. The waiter wasn't that nice, quite honestly. And the head waiter? Ended up never meeting him ONCE all week, INCLUDING the last night. If I hadn't prepaid my tips I might have not handed him an envelope...
What a STUNNING MDR.
We had table 290, Rembrandt, deck 3. I've never sat at a table further back into the MDR in my life. It was just outside the kitchen. I don't know WHY I didn't take a picture of this. I'm talking look to the left and there's the entrance about eight feet away and I'm not exaggerating. It wasn't like it was noisier or hotter or anything bad back there, but it was WAAAAY in the back. I felt completely separated from the rest of the room. We didn't get the majesty (no pun intended) of being in the center of the room and actually seeing the damn staircase and chandelier. I was hoping for a table for 10 but it was actually a table for eight and four of the other people were two parents, their teenaged daughter and her friend. Not the most ideal of tablemates but they were nice. The other two seats were empty. This has finally convinced me that a lot of you have the right idea when you waste...I mean take the time go check out your table location right after you board. I've never cared until I got this crapfest of a seat.
I ordered the vegetarian Indian dish. Not because I'm a vegetarian...GOD no, I could never be one of "those," but because I love Indian food. It was quite good although Denise, who also loves Indian food, didn't think it sounded that appetizing so she (a vegetarian who eats fish) opted for the salmon. It was SOOOO overcooked that it was almost white. So she returned it and literally two minutes later the waiter (who was VERY nice) brought another piece which had also been sitting (and cooking) under a heat lamp. It was just as white and dried out but instead of either trying again or ordering something else, she didn't eat anything but her sides. Night one and she was VERY unimpressed with the MDR food. Me, I'll eat anything and if I got salmon THAT overcooked I would've just ordered something else. Oh I had also highly suggested she try the Vidalia Onion Tart which I think is amazing (because it's really just quiche) but she thought it was "eh." Nothing was ever what you'd call hot on any night.
One thing that comes up on these boards is the question of MILK IN THE MDR. One of the girls at our table did order a couple of glasses of milk and there was no charge. (There also containers of regular and skim at breakfast in the WJ.)
After dinner we went to the Schooner Bar to listen to Kory Simon play the piano and sing. He's absolutely adorable and REALLY funny. We had a great time singing along with him. Do NOT miss his act. He performs six of the seven nights and will be on the Liberty until January.
Because of Denise's toe we were both concerned with the crowds at the PROMENADE PARADE, so I told her I would go and if it's good she can go to the one later in the week. I went to the Promenade and there was a chair right in front of Sorrento's and just as I got there they put the ropes up, so I had a good, front row seat. The crowd was SO much smaller than I anticipated. Maybe further down (Sorrento's is at the very end) it was more. A lot of people laid low because it was the first night.
Anyway the parade finally started and it was fairly lame. The costumes were beautiful (a running theme on this ship), the singers sounded good, but it wasn't as grand as I had anticipated. And it was only 15 minutes. And I didn't expect other crew members to be a part of the parade. There were, for example, representatives from the kitchen staff holding a banner, reps from the shops, from housekeeping, etc. Kind of odd.
Anyway, after it was over (It ran from 11:15-11:30) I headed back to the Schooner Bar for the rest of Kory's set. Had I known then what I knew a night or two later, I NEVER would've left Kory's show, esp. since his hours tonight were 8:30-12 as opposed to the usual 10-1:30ish. The bartender gave him his umpteenth Long Beach Iced Tea and he said he couldn't possibly finish it so he got an empty glass and poured me half of his drink. Gotta love Kory!
One thing about the Schooner Bar...prior to the Majesty, I had been on the Enchantment (pre-stretch) and the Grandeur. Both of these ships have a fabulous Schooner Bar (good-sized, attractive and very nautical) and it made the Schooner my favorite RCCL bar. Well on the Majesty I was a little disappointed because it was kind of...stark...but it's still a bar you actually walk into. I was just as disappointed with the Liberty's Schooner. Not because it was stark. It was actually quite lovely and had the requisite nautical decorations. But it wasn't a place you walk into. It was just kind of...there, like an afterthought on your way from the casino to the MDR. So you don't really walk INTO the Schooner Bar (like the Grandeur), you just kind of veer to the right a bit while walking and there it is. I would soon realize this was also the case with Bolero's which, on the Majesty, is a rather LARGE lounge unto itself, with a large dance floor. Here it's just kind of...there.
Right between the casino (and it's cramped set up...very hard to walk from one end to the other) is the Catacombs, the ship's disco. It's REALLY a nice place but I'm not hugely into loud club music).
Finally at midnight we decided to check out a bar called ON AIR where they were doing karaoke. Again, very few people. I discovered evening activities would get more crowded as the week went on. No one was a particularly good singer, including, probably, myself, when I asked one of the staff to sing I Got you Babe with me. Unfortunately he was from Romania (Lucian, according to his name tag but he pronounces it like the Italian Luciano...because of this song, we would spend the rest of the week calling each other "Babe") and he barely knew the song. But it was fun.
It ended at 1am and we went back to the room.
DAY TWO: AT SEA WEATHER: MID 80s, HOT AND SUNNY FORMAL, CAPTAIN'S GALA DINNER
YES! A day at sea, my favorite day of all!!! We had breakfast in the WJ which was crowded but we were able to find a table pretty quickly at 9:30ish. I had gone to the pool area around 9 to have a cigarette and noted that there were quite a few deck chairs available. Unfortunately when we got there at 10 after breakfast, there wasn't a decent chair to be found. The only chairs we had were completely in the shade right by the entrance to the Solarium so we were in a crappy location that never saw an ounce of sun. And the majority of chairs had no one in them...but their crap was on them. LOTS OF HOGS ON THIS SHIP. (But not in the following picture, which was taken at noon on Day One!)
So we just sat in the chairs for awhile. At 12:15 one of the cruise staff led a line dancing class. The area between the two pools is like a stage so it's a great place for something like this. We didn't participate but we watched. I find line dancing fun but there were a LOT of people doing them and it takes forever to teach the dances which I learn after one demonstration so it would've been frustrating. But the people participating had a great time.
At 1:00 they did the men's belly flop contest. We went over to the "stage" and got prime spots along the railing. The kind of spots where you're guaranteed to get wet which was great since it was so hot. They had six women judging and they were having a great time. The staff did a great job making it a lot of fun for everyone.
The best part was they had called the head sous chef (Matthew) to be the final contestant, so after everyone was done they played some really appropriate song (don't remember what) and made a huge deal of his introduction. Apparently they had never done this before, but who knows how true that is. Now let me tell you about Matthew...he was dressed in his full chef's uniform (including the puffy French hat), and he canNOT be less than 450 pounds. It was absolutely fabulous and a lot of fun to watch him flop into the water with all his clothes and...girth. Great fun.
We then decided to check out the MINIATURE GOLF on deck 13. It's 9 holes and free. You just walk over there, grab a ball and club and start playing. There were quite a few people playing but we never had to wait more than two minutes for each hole and sometimes not at all. Fun.
At 2:20 we ran to the WJ for some lunch. I can't really comment on the food because I just had a huge salad. Oh and I tasted the Indian dish which was very good. I just realized I forgot to take one single picture of the WJ. Way to go, stupid.
We then had to run to the Hoof & Claw Pub (a place I LOVE) on the Promenade for a trivia game. Beer, cigarettes and trivia. A good time had by all..at least me.
Right after that we headed for BINGO. I'm not a fan of playing bingo early in the cruise because no one ever wins the jackpot this early. But at the final game (they play four) they were giving away a jackpot AND use for the rest of the week of the Owner's Suite. That's a bit of a step up from our category N interior on deck 8, so we decided to play.
I don't remember how much the cards cost but I do remember that one automatic, electronic bingo machine is $55. A machine will give you 18 cards per game. However, they "get" you by selling one for $55 but two for $67 PLUS a free manual card for each game. So what the hell, that's what we bought, and split the two machines. I also used my C&A coupon for a free card for the last game only. The guy also announced that if you save your receipt, you can turn it in the NEXT day (next day only) for a free set of cards. A good way to get you to play every day.
The jackpots for the first three games ranged from $100 to $197. The games were regular, four corners and floating six pack. Then came the last game (cover the full card), for the Owner's Suite and $1553. But because it wasn't the last day, you had to cover the card in 40-something balls. I think it was 42. NOT an easy thing to do. In fact, he said it hadn't happened in FOUR years (when a 12-year-old won $4,000!).
So we're on ball 41 and suddenly a guy stood up (which you always do when you're one number away from winning any of the four games) and everyone groaned and the caller was shocked. He had his next ball ready and asked the guy, "What letter do you need?" He said he needed an "I." Caller said, "I have an I in my hand. He then made the guy sweat it out a bit and finally said, "Do you need I28?" The guy goes, "BINGO!" We couldn't believe it. Everyone was in shock. So good for him but boooooo for us!!!!
THE FIRST OF THE ICE SHOWS ("Encore!") began at 5 but our game ran until 5:10 so no one could go. So right after the game we ran to the Schooner Bar for more trivia. We met a couple at our first trivia game and for the week, they ended up being our trivia partners at every game (Carolyn & Buzz from Ohio).
Next up we just relaxed by the pool for a bit before getting ready for dinner. Dinner's not until 8:30 but I wanted to check out the Welcome Aboard Reception, which takes place in the Promenade. Being formal night it was REALLY nice. They had a good-sized band set up, and they were all in their tuxes, and on one of the bridges overhead they had a male and female singer, singing standards. There were servers passing around all the champagne you wanted.
SPEAKING OF FORMAL NIGHT, A HUGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WERE DRESSED. MOST of the men were in dark suits and I saw quite a few tuxes (siiiiiigh). If you listen to these boards you'd think everyone shows up in t-shirts and jeans on formal night but that's not the case. People definitely dress. And the men in tuxes (siiiiiigh) did NOT look out of place. They looked the best.
8:00. Time for more trivia! This time it was in the On Air lounge, the lounge where they do karaoke. Unfortunately we ended up hearing through the grapevine that trivia was canceled because they were showing the World Series. She could have definitely called trivia while the game was on in the background but she said some pax got annoyed at that idea so she canceled it but hopefully she'll reschedule because it was movie trivia which we would've definitely won. (PS, it never was rescheduled.)
So at 8:30 WE HEADED TO PORTOFINO (please people, stop calling it Portofino's, lol), which is at the entrance of the WJ, with Chops on the other side. I'd really been looking forward to this because I've heard so much about it but hadn't ever been on a ship larger than a Vision Class ship (and one was the Enchantment, before she was stretched).
Our waiter was sooooo nice. They really try to make you feel special here. We ordered the risotto, some strange tomato-based soup thing and something with ricotta, spinach and eggplant (these were appetizers and we split them). The risotto and eggplant things were fabulous. Like really great. I also ordered the pinot noir which was terrific. Beats the crap (beats the grapes?) out of the La Terre quote-unquote Merlot I'd been sucking down at almost $7 glass (more than the cost of a whole bottle!).
The chef had also suggested a pasta dish which was those flat, wide noodles (like REALLY wide) with a creamy mushroom sauce. We asked for a small versioin of it to share and it was still huge. This was the best thing we got all night. The pasta was al dente and the sauce was amazing. If you ordered something like this in the MDR you know the pasta would be overcooked but here it was very chewy and perfect.
Our main courses (the one thing we didn't split!) was the seafood skewer. There's no way to make this bad because it's just grilled seafood and absolutely fabulous. It came with a burre blanc which I tried to avoid but had a little of it because it was also delicious.
I was very adamant about NOT getting dessert (I really did want my clothes to fit at the end of the cruise) but the waiter insisted we get the dessert tasting which is a small serving of four different desserts. All were delicious, especially the tiramisu, which I'm a huge fan of...you know, because it's gooey and creamy and sinful.
Okay here was the best part. The chef, Michael Allen, came out to ask us how everything was and I saw he was from Jamaica. I told him I needed jerk chicken and he said whenever we wanted, we could come back and he'd make us some. I told him I dared him to make me the spiciest chicken he could make and he said okay. We told him we'd be back Wed night and could he make a non-spicy seafood dish for Denise too? Sure, no problem, mon. I again DARED him to make it extremely spicy and he said okay. I have little faith this this will be spicy.
Finally I had to include this picture of me with our waiter. I had no idea he made this face until after. Pretty funny.
We ended the night, once again, with Kory Simon in the Schooner Bar. I HIGHLY recommend hanging out with him.
Not that I cared because I don't use hot tubs in warm weather, but we got a note in our cabin tonight telling us that someone on either last week's cruise or the week before had LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE so not only will all the hot tubs be closed for the rest of the week, but so will the H2O Zone! So of course that means the pools will be PACKED with kids Fri. and Sat. Yoiks...
DAY THREE: COSTA MAYA WEATHER: HOT & SUNNY SMART CASUAL, ITALIAN
We had no excursion planned for today. To save money, we figured this would be the best day to do on our own, since I had read from quite a few people on the Costa Maya board that it's a good place to just take a taxi into town and go to the beach.
When we got off the ship we followed signs outside the big shopping area (which comes complete with a good-sized pool in the center (free) along with a swim-up bar) to the taxis. We ended up in this fairly desolate area and saw no taxis. Then a van pulled up and people started piling in, so I asked the driver where the taxis were and he said this van WAS a taxi. For $3pp we could all get a ride to the beaches in town. Great deal. The ride was about ten minutes.
He left us in the middle of the street in front of the very rundown-looking place, Hotel Mahahual.
If you walk through the alley-thing of the hotel, you'll be on the beach on the other side. It was great. On one side it was all crapfest shops and run-down looking bars and restaurants (but I don't mean that in a bad way...I mean as opposed to nice restaurants that you walk into) and on the other side was the water. The water wasn't the nicest, because it was full of boats, jet skis and stuff...and the beach area wasn't exactly beautiful, but there were plenty of places to sit and it stretched for a long way in either direction. There were also tables with umbrellas, and beach chairs, all free for use. We found this out when a guy from a the Restaurant Mahahual walked over to us and told us so, and then handed us a menu and said if we needed anything we could order it and he'd bring us our food and drink. It seems that all the bars and restaurants have people who do this.
So we plopped down on the beach chairs and just relaxed in the sun and sand. We were also in a good spot because we weren't far from the (fairly hideous) bathrooms. On my way to the bathroom I got a beer from a place with a straw roof. $2 for a Corona. Nice!
It actually got so hot that we spent most of the day on chairs at a table under an umbrella. And this was after realizing I forgot my sunscreen and having to buy some in the tiny general store, for $13.50. Yeesh! I also had to buy a $2 lighter which I ALSO had forgotten. Yeesh again!
The day was really great. We were just there to have a relaxing beach day. A guy came over carrying an iguana (along with a woman holding a smaller one) and for $5 you can take a picture with them.
Eventually we ordered lunch from our friend. We wanted to keep it light so I got the ceviche and Denise got the shrimp cocktail. Hers came with 13 shrimp (for the chico) and 26 for the grande. She got the 13, which came in a sundae glass, already swimming in some kind of odd red sauce (not American cocktail sauce). She liked it but I found it oddly sweet. The ceviche, however was GREAT. I ordered the small and the dish was HUGE. It only came with shrimp and octopus (which he had asked me if I wanted) and a VERY lime-y and cilantro-y juice. It was cold and tasted fresh and REALLY great. Ceviche, beer, sand and water. Sigh.
We ended up staying until about 4:30ish. Finding a taxi was really easy. There was actually a sign for them and the drivers were standing around waiting for customers. The fare was $2pp which I was sure to ask him before we got in.
Back on board I think we just got ready for dinner because the "In the Air Flying Show" started at 7. Now, unfortunately we're both jaded New Yorkers who've been to more Broadway shows than we can ever remember (which is why I never see the ships' singers and dancers), so we thought the show was good but probably not as good as other people we talked to afterwards. The production values, the costumes, the lighting design and the performers were terrific but at 45 minutes it was too long and repetitive. Thirty would've been better.
I forgot to mention that on Monday I had received my C&A GOLD PARTY invitation which was tonight at 7:45. This was tough because I wanted my free drink but we also had 70s Disco Name that Tune Trivia at 8 and with the show ending at 7:45 I'd be lucky to get to the party by 7:50, throw down a drink and run back to the Schooner by 8. UGH! Such problems!!!!
So Denise went to the Schooner and I ran to the Sphinx lounge. You'll all be happy to know that DRINKS ARE STILL FREE. Don't believe the rumors on these boards. They had two different mixed drinks (red - yummy. Yellow - not so yummy), champagne and wine. I think you can simply ask for whatever you want but I didn't bother. There were also hors d'oeuvres but in the time I was there, I only saw two girls passing stuff out, and both were meatballs, so there's definitely less food than there used to be (which is fine since I was on my way to dinner!).
I met a couple of guys I had met onboard last night so I got to chatting with them...Unfortunately by the time I got to trivia, they were already doing the answers and my three teammates were mad at me because I kept saying that I know a lot of disco songs. Wahhhh. But c'mon, I was able to knock back a fruity drink at the party, one meatball and then take two champagnes with me in case Denise wanted one. And I'm sorry but I really like champagne!
Tonight at dinner, once again it was just us and the family. Apparently our other two tablemates are two young Australian women but again they weren't there. One of the appetizers was scallops and risotto. I love scallops and risotto is really fattening so I asked if I could just get a plate with scallops. Denise whispered, "It's probably already made" and my answer was, "We're on a cruise. Do what you want." Of course it was no problem, although my waiter didn't seem as happy to accommodate as other waiters would've.
Again I ordered the Indian dish. On my recommendation from my last cruise I told her the vegetarian chili was really good, so that's what she got. However, minestrone was also on the menu and I gotta tell ya, this chili looked like soup. She said, "No, because the chili comes with this cornbread thing, which I got," but she also said it definitely looked and tasted like minestrone. She's not doing too well with the MDR...
I have no idea what Denise did after dinner, but I went to the 70s dance party in the Promenade. What a difference from the 70s party in the centrum on the Majesty. This was really fabulous. The joint was packed, the disco was blasting and the cruise staff were on each of the two bridges (the men as the Village People, of course...this IS an RCCL cruise, after all) and the women in 70s garb. It was really a lot of fun and highly recommended.
Once again we ended our night in the Schooner with Kory, our new best friend. Well actually Denise ended her night there, I went to the casino when Kory finished to smoke and ended up sitting at a blackjack table for almost an hour watching people play (yes you can sit and not play...obviously if someone needed a seat I would've given up mine). I ended up having a great time with some drunk guy on his honeymoon who went to high school four miles from mine, and will be in the Love & Marriage Show in a couple of days! (Not that we knew this at the time, haha.)
DAY FOUR - BELIZE WEATHER: PARTLY CLOUDY / CRAZY RAINY, 80s CASUAL / CARIBBEAN ATTIRE
Today was the most important day to book an excursion because there's nothing to see or do in Belize on your own, "they" say. I picked the speedboat/Land Rover/cave excursion for $99pp, which included lunch. I didn't feel like doing anything that involved water and Denise couldn't do the zip line (my first choice) so I thought it would be better for us to do something together...I can zip line on my NEXT cruise!
We had to meet on the pier at 10:45 and Denise needed time to look for a phone card and phone, so I think we left the ship at 9:45. This is a great time to leave. There was absolutely no line for the chicken tender (this was our only chicken tender port, thank God). The ride is about 15 minutes. I was told by Chef Michael that some pax complained to him about the long ride but it has nothing to do with RCCL. Belize has the 2nd largest coral reef in the world so no ship is allowed within four miles of the pier. We were lined up alongside the Carnie Valor (the one ship that followed us to all three ports) and one of the HAL ships (Veendam, I think).
The phone card thing was a bit of a fiasco and I had a LONG, stressful wait, but it worked out because our bus was 20 minutes late. We were told the city tour part of the tour would be shortened (this tour was never mentioned in the description so no one even knew about it) and if we wanted a full refund that would be fine. I don't think anyone asked for a refund.
The windshield was made of zipped plastic and there were gaps on the sides so when the driver got onto the highway it was horrific. The wind was brutal. Our guide for this portion, Clifford was absolutely adorable and pretty proud of Belize. ("It's unBelizeable!")
The tour ended in the rain forest at the mouth of a cave. We had a 10-minute hike literally through the jungle to the cave. I knew immediately Denise's broken toe couldn't do this and she ended up backing out...she couldn't even do the climb up to the cave after the hike. Our guide brought a 2nd guide along in case she had to turn back, so he walked her back. I thought that was GREAT. He made the offer initially and was SOOOO nice about it.
The cave tour was very cool. The stalagmites & stalactites were beautiful, and there were quite a few fruit bats flying around. They're pretty cute. The cave was REALLY warm because it wasn't underground. The whole tour was about 30, 40 minutes and not for the claustrophobic. We were also handed headlamps because it's obviously pitch black inside.
We walked back the same way we came (over a fabulous, high and rickety bridge) and our land rovers were there. Unfortunately they ask for a minimum of four per car so we hooked up with a couple (she was the most annoying thing in the world and I was hoping not to get them but of course we did) and then it was up to us to choose a driver. Luckily the drive has a halfway point so people could switch drivers, so I let the guy drive first. I wasn't being generous. Au contraire, I actually wanted to go second so I'd have something to look forward to. This ended up being a BRILLIANT choice.
We drove for about 30 minutes through the jungle and through a lot of mud and mud puddles. The guy driving ours was being very polite, trying to avoid the holes as much as possible. I was grateful because the back is open (no roof) and takes bumps VERY hard. The car behind us would slow down and then gun it and fly through the puddles and the mud would go flying. I timed a great picture of this because we had stopped at one point so I was able to actually take a picture:
BTW if you do this, it doesn't say on RCCL's website that you need to drive a stick shift but you do.
When we made the switch we were on a very paved road for quite awhile. It was actually a good way to get used to driving this thing (the steering wheel was quite in my line of vision so it was hard to see and the shifting was very stiff).
Anyway we made it back into the jungle...and then the skies opened up. Thankfully I not only found the wipers, they actually worked. It was pouring. I felt awful for the other couple but grateful that we were now the dry ones, haha. Esp. because the woman had a towel but Denise and I didn't.
We drove for another 30 minutes and ended at a lunch spot. It was picnic tables under an overhang and a bar which served soda and rum punch. Everything was included in our price. The red beans and rice were yummy, the cole slaw was fabulous and the chicken was delish. And of course there was also a table set up where they were selling trinkets, of course.
After lunch we walked over to our speedboat (also complete with rum punch...which people drank but I thought was hideous). We were on the water for another 45 minutes, back to the pier. The water was like GLASS and the boat ride was fabulous! (Painfully windy again, though...the one very bad part). Every once in awhile the captain would slow down so we could see the occasional iguana hanging out in the tops of trees, and to look for crocodiles.
We got back to the pier at 3:45 (last chicken tender was at 4:30) and headed back for the ship and right for tri-bond trivia in the Schooner.
After getting ready for dinner, it was time for THE ICE SHOW. We missed it earlier in the week so this was the second showing. It's shown once day 2, twice day 4 and once day 6. You no longer need tickets...just show up. And of course it's free.
And see it you must! Believe all the hype you've read (or not read) on these boards. If there's one show not to miss on an RCI ship, it's the ice show. Were they always in sync when doing their tricks? Not at all. But they were still great, the show had great themes and it's amazing to watch an ice show at sea. I felt like I was in Vegas or something, not on a ship. Remember, it's quite cold in Studio B when the ice is down, so bring a jacket. You won't freeze to death without one (I didn't have one and I was wearing a skirt and tank top) but I did wish I had one!
Back to trivia (Name that TV Tune) at 8, but we had to leave for dinner at 8:30 (we promised Chef Michael) and the game was running very long. There were 25 questions and we got 20 right so we lost. Dammit!!
We called Michael from the entrance of the WJ and within ten minutes of sitting down he had our food for us. He said he toned down the heat because he didn't think I could handle it and everyone in the galley thought it would be way too hot. I have to say it was absolutely delicious. But it was no more than mildly spicy. It wasn't as hot as I've sometimes made my food after slathering it in chipotle Tabasco sauce. It was nowhere near your average hot wing at a bar. I was disappointed with the heat but the taste made up for it. He also made us "bubble and squeak" (a patty of mashed potatoes and veggies). Denise loved her dish as well.
Both the rock wall and flowrider were open tonight from 10-11:15 but I still haven't had the chance to do either. We headed for the Love & Marriage Game Show. (Did it used to be called the Newlywed/Not So Newlywed Game, or is that what Princess calls it??) I've seen this before but thought Denise would enjoy it. When they found a couple in the audience who'd been married 57 years, they said they didn't want to play because they won the game on another ship last year. But James Andrews insisted they come up because it's different on each ship. Well...it ain't so different. I remembered three questions from the Majesty. But it's still such a fun (long) game.
And of course, after the show, we had to end the night with Kory at the piano. However, tonight was the night of the band playing at the pool deck (the party that used to have food but no longer). So I ran upstairs to check it out but I wasn't in a line dancing mood so I only stayed for ten minutes. It also started raining a bit, very much a theme here in Belize. So I headed to the Schooner to meet Denise who didn't care about the pool deck party.
Last night Kory had asked me if I wanted to sing Summer Nights with him so I hadn't been there five minutes when he handed me the mic and made me sit next to him. It was fun, although I didn't think I sounded very good. He also told Denise and me to get ready to sing The Rose Fri or Sat night. Ack!
We really ended up closing the joint and chatting with Kory after until about 1:30am.
Bat in the cave: [IMG]http://i35.tinypic.com/214ehoj.jpg[/IMG]
Liberty, Valor, Veendam: [IMG]http://i34.tinypic.com/vz9g74.jpg[/IMG]
Foggy ship. It actually wasn't this foggy...it was the humidity on my lens! [IMG]http://i35.tinypic.com/34xjfgn.jpg[/IMG]
DAY FIVE: COZUMEL FREAKIN' POURING, WARM CASUAL, SURF DINNER
Boy was today overcast! Today's excursion was supposed to be the Cozumel Bar Hop tour. It's an independent tour for $49 and you spend five hours driving around Cozumel (including the other side of the island where there's no electricity!), stopping at five bars, many of which are on the beach. Each bar gives you a free shot and then you can choose to buy food and/or alcohol if you want (or soda I guess). Unfortunately when we got to the pier, we couldn't find the tour! They did say that they drop you off at the other pier (2 miles away, where the Carnie ship was docked) but he definitely didn't say we'd be picked up there. But that might have been the case. Fortunately we had only paid a deposit ($19pp) but unfortunately I'm going to be out $38 because I'm not gonna charge Denise $19 for my misunderstanding.
We were disappointed but not terribly so. It was 11:30 and I really was not in drinking mode anyway. So we just walked around the shopping area (which was just like a huge flea market...it looked nothing like the Cozumel I remember...is Carlos & Charlie's near the other pier?? This one had Senor Frogs but I thought I remembered actually being on the street, not just this stupid flea market area) and headed back to the ship around noon.
As we were walking (and you know the walk from the pier to the ship is pretty long no matter where you are) the sky opened up. I don't mean it started pouring...I mean it started F-ing POOOOUUUUURING. It was raining so hard it felt like hail. We were dripping like we had just come out of the pool when we got onboard...into the air conditioning. Yoiks!
So after drying off we went to the solarium to relax. It wasn't easy finding a lounge chair in the solarium that was dry. There was also a decent amount of people already in there (hogging up the facing-Cozumel side of the ship). But after some drying off and doubling up cushions under dry towels, we found a good drip-free spot. I was surprised that this solarium didn't have a retractable roof. I guess I didn't pay attention to the design on day one. The only RCCL ships I had been on with a solarium were Grandeur and Enchantment and they had roofs so I just assumed. No biggie. The rain was coming and going. Sometimes it was remarkable how much it rained.
We stayed there until 3:30 when it was time for...you guessed it, trivia. Then we went to the On Air lounge because we needed to practice for our big Fri night performance of The Rose. It's really cool that they have these two enclosed studios where you can do all the karaoke you want, over and over. At the end you're given an option of buying a DVD of your song. (One DVD per song.) I don't think too many people know about it. They're not extremely conspicuous and we only found out by asking a cruise director's staff member if there was a way we could get the lyrics from the regular karaoke machine. Getting to actually rehearse was a great perk!
5:15...back to trivia!
Okay here's where some of you will think, "good for you," most of you won't care and a few (at least the Diamonds out there) will think, "You're horrible people and I now hate you." Completely out of the blue, with no provoking nor even a hint of a conversation on this topic, the couple we became friends with and were our permanent trivia teammates threw down their DIAMOND LOUNGE card on the table and said, "We're going to dinner. Go have a drink." WOW! Now to be honest, I took the card simply to give YOU DIAMONDS WHO HAVEN'T CRUISED SINCE SEPT. 1 a review on the Diamond Lounge. Personally I think by taking one for the team I was being selfless. I do have a responsibility to these boards after being here for nine years. I also didn't want to insult Buzz & Carolyn because they've seen me drink like a fish this week.
This lounge was NOT easy to find. Is it supposed to be kept a secret from the Platinum and Gold riff-raff? Is that why it's so hard to find? If that's the case then I won't explain where it is. However, the door was pretty small and I felt like I was walking into a speakeasy. After giving the password, which is, "Whatever happened to all the free crap for your loyal customers," (and inserting a key card into the lock), we were granted access into the Promised Land. (Okay I just cracked me up there.)
We walked into this alluring lounge, which was like an oasis. It's not huge but it's dark and just lovely. While I loved doing a conga line at the 70s party, sitting in a (somewhat) refined (or refined wanna-be) setting with a drink and canapEs, while all dressed up is just as much "me."
There are lovely canapEs, crudite and desserts. There's also unlimited alcohol. You can sit either inside or outside but the outside part was a bit noisy. The lounge is open 8-11am and 5-8:30pm. I have to say the pumpernickel bread with smoked salmon was so good that I ate enough of them and drank enough drinks to be way too full to even eat dinner. It was so nice that we ended up staying there for 2 ½ hours. The pictures are blurry because I didn't want to be gauche and use a flash. First is the food, then the alcohol.
When they closed at 8:30 we went to Name That 80s Tune Trivia.
After THAT game, I headed for Boleros for a ciggy and ended up staying there for an hour because I was chatting with some guys I had seen there a few times during the week. Here are the Bolero's bartenders, whom I loved!
The next trivia game, "Scene It Movie Trivia" at 10 was canceled due to technical difficulties so we waited until about 10:15 and then headed to STUDIO B FOR "QUEST." I ended up being team captain for a pretty weak team. No one wanted to give up their crap. Except, of course, a woman who gave me her false teeth. If you've never seen Quest, yes, I did type "who gave me her false teeth." And yes I did hand them back to her and she just popped 'em right back in again.
After Quest we couldn't go to Kory's show because it was his night off so we decided to try some nighttime shuffleboard. When/where do you ever get to play shuffleboard? When/where do you ever get to play shuffleboard drunk?
We're definitely going to bed too late on this cruise and we're getting worse. I think we first got back to the cabin around 2am. Ugh! I like to set the alarm for 8 so we're gonna need a vacation from this vacation.
DAY SIX: AT SEA WEATHER: VERY FREAKIN' CLOUDY BUT WARM FORMAL LOBSTER NIGHT (you know you were waitin' for it)
I think when the alarm went off we wanted to kill ourselves. But we got up because I wanted to stake out a deck chair ASAP and have breakfast by the pool, which we did and which is one of my favorite things. There's really no outdoor dining on this ship, which is a shame, but eating on a deck chair by the pool is pretty great. The Pool Rules sign says you can't, but NO ONE says anything when you do it and we ALWAYS remove our dirty dishes.
After breakfast we went to Guest Relations to sign up for LUGGAGE VALET, which you have to do by noon Friday (today). You need to fill out a form with all your flight info and bring your proof of citizenship. I didn't know my flight number so they handed me a phone and let me call American to get the info, which I thought was really nice. The info sheet that's in your room from day 1 (or so) will tell you everything you need to know...what time your flight needs to be (after 11:30 from MIA, after 2ish from FLL), and which airlines participate.
I was a bit torn about doing this because my flight is at 12:10 from MIA so I did NOT need to get off the ship before nine...unfortunately with the valet program, you have to meet in the MDR at 7:15am, go through customs onboard and then you're escorted off. So I thought, "Well, if I have to go to MIA that early, what's the difference if I'm sitting by the gate for four hours or standing on line to check in? But then I figured standing on line is more stressful than sitting around relaxing so we went for it. The woman who helped us said, "This will be the best $20 you spend."
It's $20 per person, not per bag, which gets added to your account. They also add whatever luggage fees the airline requires, ALONG WITH A $5 PER BAG DISCOUNT. So for the ease of having my boarding pass printed for me, my airline luggage tags delivered to my cabin (!) and to not have to see my bag until LGA, I paid an extra $15...$20 for the valet and $15 for AA's fee which would've normally been $20.. Your bags have to be outside the room by 11pm (I THINK everyone else is 12am) Sat night. What a brilliant idea and it really does seem worth the $20 (really $15 because of the bag discount). Here's hoping my bag makes it to LGA! (Side note...I'm working on this Sun night and my bag made it, haha.)
There was a line at Guest Relations but the whole thing took less than 30 minutes (including to have to call American and then wait for my guy to be free again), which is the cut off point for when I start feeling guilty for hogging a chair, so we were okay. Back to the chairs we went and waited for the pool games. I love doing pool games. Unfortunately, because the H2O Zone is closed, they decided to change it to Family Pool Games, so I was out. But we watched and it looked fun for the families...and only lasted 30 minutes. By the way, today was the first day it's even felt like this ship was moving, and it was a bit windy so that pool was really more like an amusement park wave pool. Fabulous!
Shortly thereafter it was time for the Men's Sexy Legs Contest. Very cute. It's more fun than it sounds (it sounds so silly) because you end up knowing at least a couple of the men in the contest by the time they do it. They parade them all around the pool area and then they each do their thing in front of the four female judges (all pax)...I regretted not being a judge. Like I may have said, it's definitely more fun to be involved than to watch.
We stayed by the pool until 2:20 because the WJ closes at 3. We ended up being at our deck chairs for about five hours and it was VERY cloudy. I KNOW that you burn just as badly when it's overcast as when it's sunny but I was too lazy to grease up again. Well the adage is true. I got more color today in the clouds than every other day combined. (Of course I was slathered all the other days but...)
Unfortunately the sky finally decided to open up so we headed to Seven of Hearts, which is a small game room on deck 14, grabbed a Scrabble game and took it over to Olive or Twist, right next door.
We had to end the game early to go back to TRIVIA. Oy all this trivia!!!! My trivia team and me:
[IMG]http://i38.tinypic.com/2ebdfs5.jpg[/IMG] A member on these boards asked me to say hello to a bartender she met on two previous Liberty cruises:
Back to On Air to practice The Rose a couple of more times and then off to change for Formal Night. Here's where some of you may get annoyed at me again. Our trivia friends gave me their RETURNING PLATINUM/DIAMOND/DIAMOND + INVITATION. Me pass up free drinks? I don't think so. Besides, I'm TECHNICALLY Platinum right now because I'm thisclose to being done with my 5th RCCL cruise, right?? The party was exactly the same as the Gold party. Free drinks (whatever you want) and a couple of snacks (all I ever saw at each party was meatballs) and a 30-minute sales pitch on Oasis and Allure. One interesting thing that was mentioned was Oasis is currently in the Atlantic, sailing through 40-foot swells, while we're experiencing 10-foot swells. Wow! I wish I was on Oasis! They also offered their Diamond Inner Sanctum Key but I turned them down since Denise barely drinks (her bar bill was $45) and I needed to give my liver a rest.
After the party we went to dinner and, on our second to last night, finally met the two young Australian women who were our tablemates. And yes, this is the night for the LOBSTER TAILS. It definitely was NOT called the Fisherman's Plate, which I've read on these boards, so maybe they call it something different on a few ships. I don't remember what it was called though. I have to say I've had Caribbean Cruise lobster and thought it was pretty bad (nothing even CLOSE to Maine lobster which is all I've had otherwise) but it was far from horrible. It came with a nice buttery, garlicky sauce and a few shrimp. It didn't have that nice sweetness and sharp flavor of cold-water lobster but it wasn't horrible at all. In fact, I had asked the waiter for two. I said, "Forget the shrimp, just give me two tails." (They're quite small.) So he brought my plate and there was shrimp and one tail. But I didn't say anything. Well when I was just about done with my plate, he brought me a whole NEW plate. He totally misunderstood me. So I gave Denise my shrimp and veggies and just ate the lobster. My appetizer was smoked salmon and I knew we weren't eating dessert so I didn't feel piggy at all.
BTW, as always, I had a couple of SAVORY BITES. GOD these are good. For those of you who arent' "in the cool group," savory bites are one of the bread offerings. They're very small (literally a 2-bite roll) and slightly triangular and covered in poppy seeds. As Lucy Ricardo said about Vitameatavegemin, "I don't know WHAT they do to it," but those things are AMAZING.
We couldn't stay for dessert and the Chef's Parade because at 10:00 they were doing Battle of the Sexes in the Sphinx. It's a Family Feud-type game with men on one side and women on the other and for each round of questions they ask someone to come up and answer the questions or do an activity. I did one of the activities but won't bore you with details. The game is also rigged so that the women have a 99% chance of winning.
Of course we then ended up at Kory's piano. Amazingly the place was packed but all the seats around the piano (our usual spot) were open. During his first break we told him we were ready to sing The Rose so at the top of the 2nd set he announced us as special guest performers and we were on! Because I had practiced the harmony (which Kory did NOT expect us to do), we sounded great! We got a huge round of applause and at the end of the night Kory said if he can find the third mic we could do it again tomorrow night and he would sing the third harmony line during the one verse that has it.
After his show (which ended around 1:15) we hung around a bit and then checked out the Catacombs next door. It wasn't CROWDED but there was a decent-sized crowd. It's a pretty nice place. Then we heard the DJ was doing an "after party" up in Olive or Twist so we sat up there for a drink. It was pretty crowded but again, NOWHERE ON THIS SHIP IS IT EVER REALLY CROWDED EXCEPT THE POOL DECK AND THE WJ. There are just too many places to go. And even the WJ isn't exactly a nightmare. We've always eventually found a table and only once had to ask an attendant for help which took less than five minutes. (Actually the trivia games and bars can get quite crowded when they have live music, as can Kory's first set each night.)
With much regret, we stayed at Olive...until 3:05am. I can definitely see how people can wonder about AVAILABLE FOOD AND ROOM SERVICE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Unfortunately the only thing open at 3:00 is the Cafe Promenade and I didn't want the guilt of eating ham & cheese on a croissant, nor a piece of cake, NOR did I want to wait for room service and eat something at 3:30am. But since we had finished eating 5 ½ hours ago, we were both QUITE hungry.
I set the alarm for 8:10am and regretfully went to bed at 4:00. I already knew I'd be too tired for the ROCK WALL AND FLOWRIDER tomorrow, which was the case today. Please don't do what I did and be too lazy to do them on day 1 or 2 when you still have energy. I've climbed the Majesty's wall but this one looks bigger and I'm DYING to go on a FlowRider but I don't think it'll happen. I guess I'll have to book another cruise!
At the end of the review I'll include info on these two activities.
DAY SEVEN - AT SEA 90% CLOUDY, QUITE WINDY. THANKS, IDA! (you suck) CASUAL
Oh...my...God. Our last day. We got our 9am deck chairs by the pool and were occasionally getting drizzled on and being blown away by the wind. (Still not as windy as the Majesty in the Bahamas in Feb...it was tolerable, except when walking through the H2O Zone, where no one was because 1) the wind and B) it never reopened. The wave pool is REALLY splashing today. Enough that the water occasionally comes over the ledge and just misses my feet by a few inches. I'm a bit disappointed by the weather but as long as it doesn't start up again with the steady rain I'll be fine. I overheard that there's a tropical storm following us or something (tomorrow I'll learn it's Hurricane Ida and part of it seems to have hit us but obviously not the bad winds), so that explains the fact that we've had at least some rain every day since Wed, with occasional long downpours. But it's staying fairly warm and people were in the pool so...
The water in the pool was sloshing around like CRAZY. Here's how it was when it poured out of one side:
And then came racing back in:
At 12:30 an announcement was made that the line dancing class (poolside) has been moved to Olive or Twist because of the wind and rough seas (these seas are FAR from rough) and the 1:30 crew vs. pax pool vollyball game was canceled. That I can understand because you can't play volleyball in a wave pool! So we ended up just staying in our deck chairs and then going to WJ at 1:45.
2:45: "Friends" Trivia. Our team got 25 out of 25 right. I knew I couldn't get off an RCCL without a baseball cap, haha. Unfortunately Fritz, our Filipino cruise staffer, obviously forgot the game. I went to the bartender and asked her to call someone in James Andrews' office. It took her FOREVER to get through to someone but her convo ended with, "The place is packed, there are people waiting for Friends Trivia and no one's showed up!" Not two minutes later, Fritz came over and said he was sorry, there was a security issue but now we can start. The bartender (GOD I wish I could remember her name...I'd know it if I heard it!) came over and whispered, "That's bullcrap!" lol.
After the game we decided to bite the bullet and go back to the room to pack and get ready for dinner because we had trivia at 5:15 and then a quick stop in the Diamond Lounge before the Farewell Show. BTW the 5:15 trivia was 15 minutes late because CD James Andrews didn't even have it on his schedule...even though it was scheduled. Good Lord.
The show was NOT what I was expecting. Didn't the cruise staff used to get involved in the show along with the CD and make it funny? We saw a montage from the Week in Review DVD, James spoke a bit and then it was about 35 minutes of singers and dancers. Again...they're very talented, the production values are phenomenal, the costumes are gorgeous...but the shows are boring. Even though many people stood at the end. It's nothing but a revue, having NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. We couldn't wait for it to end and we REALLY regretted cutting short our first choice, which was to sit in the Diamond Lounge longer than just 45 minutes. At the end we saw a great montage of the ENTIRE crew and then a whole PILE of crew members crammed onto the stage and waved...that was nice. But the two Singers and Dancers production shows CAN be missed.
Dinner was fine...except for the fact that the doors didn't open until 8:45. WTF? Apparently there were VERY LATE LINGERERS from the 6pm seating, which really screwed us up. We had to be at Kory's piano by about 9:50 because we had to guarantee a seat AT the piano for our last night. As soon as we sat down we told our waiter that we had 50 minutes. He said okay. I didn't think this would be a problem because the two teens got their entrees EVERY NIGHT before anyone else and then left early.
It was also the first time I left my table mates without taking pictures or exchanging emails or anything. I REALLY liked scthe husband but the wife was a bit odd (though nice) and told the world's longest stories. One night I left the table cuz I REALLY had to pee and she was a FEW MINUTES into a story. I walked clear across the dining room (you know, from the freakin' KITCHEN to the exit), used the sandbox, then walked CLEAR ACROSS the dining room back to the kitchen and Denise whispered, "She's still on the same story." Okaaaaay...
So at 9:45 he put the dessert menus down. I handed him my contraband BOGO wine coupon so I could suck down some Pinot Noir at the Schooner since they don't have Pinot Noir there. I then told him we had to leave and could he please give our tip envelope to the head waiter? The head waiter was going from table to table and I watched him literally ignore my table. So the waiter said, "He'll be right over." Okaaaaay. Well, "right over" really meant he was going to continue ignoring our table and he walked right into the kitchen. Amazing that he ignored our table considering he almost had to climb OVER our table to GET to the kitchen. So after waiting until 9:50 I put the envelopes in front of our seats and to