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Home > Virtual Cruises > Serenade of the Seas: New York to Saint John
Serenade of the Seas: New York to Saint John
Day 1: New York
Day 2: At Sea
Day 3: Halifax
Day 4: Saint John
Day 5: At Sea
Day 6: New York
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Day 2: Tuesday, At Sea
At SeaToday began with bright, sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s -- a welcome change from the dreary haze in New York during yesterday's departure. The winds apparently hadn't died down, and the boat swaying is probably what woke me up. Breakfast was orange juice and Bonine! Mmmm.

I went straight to the top decks since the weather was cooperating, and the ship had simply come alive. People who were hibernating or just settling into their cabins yesterday were exploring every inch of the ship. It's infinitely busier than yesterday! The solarium was warm and crowded, with people in the pool and hot tub, though there were still a few empty lounge chairs to grab. The pool bars were already crowded -- before noon! Guess seasickness affects us all differently.

The outdoor activities were in full swing, though it was incredibly windy. The basketball courts were full, passengers were taking a stab at the rock climbing wall, and a lively ping pong tournament was just beginning. For a decidedly older passenger group, people are fairly active onboard and everyone seems to be having fun.

I stopped by Windjammer for an early lunch, where they were having an ornate watermelon carving demonstration that people were pretty fascinated with. It seemed like pumpkin carving on a larger scale. Lunch was pretty similar to yesterday -- soups, salads, sandwiches, etc. -- and I braved the wind to sit outside to enjoy my meal. Being a writer and thus a chronic eavesdropper, I found that the hot topic of conversation onboard was still Isabel -- when it will hit, how severe will the damage be, what bed and breakfast to stay in when we're ultimately stranded in Saint John on Thursday.

After lunch I decided to check out the children's facilities, which were a veritable ghost town. I've seen half a dozen kids under 16 at best -- and three of them only surfaced during yesterday's safety drill. The kiddie pool was empty and unattended; the childcare facilities were dark and locked. Fuel, the teen-only coffee/juice bar, had a few people using the computers, but it was hard to tell if they were young staff members or legitimate teen passengers. Either way, they seemed to be keeping to themselves, as Fuel was pretty much running on empty.

Oh. Speaking of the emergency drill, it was surprisingly (for this first-timer, anyway) well-organized. After living in cities for years, I've become a woman who ignores fire alarms and so briefly considered remaining on my balcony through the drill. Then I heard warnings about cabins being checked for delinquent passengers, so I grabbed my life jacket and followed the herd of people down the hall. Staff members were stationed at every bend, and we fell in line quickly once outside. A few jokes were made about Isabel making the lifeboats our accommodations over the next five nights but overall the process went smoothly and I was back on the balcony in about 20 minutes.

The ship's swaying had really picked up by that point, and I was beginning to realize it probably wasn't the best idea I'd ever had to eat a bowl of creamy shrimp/crab chowder for lunch. Fearing the worst, I made my way back to the cabin for more Bonine and some time in bed.

After my rest (and dodging a near-seasickness-disaster), I was feeling lucky and so headed into the casino, which was fairly busy with a slot machine tournament wrapping up. I added ten dollars to the progressive slot jackpot in less than five minutes, then decided my gambling fun was over and made my exit.

As any self-respecting woman knows, the best way to cheer oneself up after a loss -- financially or otherwise -- is with some good retail therapy. So I headed for the onboard shops. Beyond the usual logo wear and shot glasses, I spent some time testing new fragrances in the duty free store and salivating over the jewelry selection. The boutiques sold some formalwear -- though in a wardrobe emergency I think I might prefer pajamas over the collection's nightmare of sequins and taffeta. There's a reason why Royal Caribbean offers cruises and not fashion design. The duty free store also sold the largest boxes of cigarettes I have ever seen -- apparently they hold five or seven cartons. It's a novelty just see them on the shelves. Standing near the cigarette display it feels almost as if you are in a scene from "Honey I Shrunk the Kids"!

By the way, prices were surprisingly reasonable, especially in the duty free stores, and the staff was quick with assistance. I left empty-handed, but made some mental notes for souvenirs to pick up later (why ruin all the fun in one shopping trip?).

After shopping, I attended the art auction, which appeared to have a fairly nice selection -- the brochure boasted of Renoir and Goya -- though not exactly being an art connoisseur it's difficult to pass any sort of judgment. The passenger group here obviously consisted of upscale folks who could make astute comments about the work without sounding as if they're regurgitating from a special on the Discovery Channel. The side conversations here seemed to focus on only one thing: formal night.

5 p.m. came quickly and I rushed upstairs to enjoy my spa manicure, something I'd been looking forward to all day. They kept me waiting about ten minutes at a table in the hair salon, with nothing to do but laugh at the price list for spa services and stare at lipstick-stained empty cups on the table before me. The atmosphere was not the soothing "Relaxation Mecca" I'd envisioned as justification for spending $44. Instead of new age beats, my manicure began to the soundtrack of Bryan Adam's "Cuts Like a Knife." My manicurist, Cara, was sweet, and even knew the Cruise Critic message boards -- apparently she did one person's treatment then was barraged with subsequent passengers all proclaiming they'd read about her on Cruise Critic! I think she liked the celebrity. The manicure, though, was just like any other I've had, and the paint is already beginning to chip.

Preparing for tonight's formal dinner uncovered a serious problem with my cabin -- a lack of electrical outlets. After crawling on my hands and knees, scouring under the bed and in the closets, I was only able to locate two -- and both are in the vanity/work area. I had my laptop and digital camera occupying both, and needed to plug in a hair dryer, curling iron, and recharge my dying cell phone. I suppose if this is the most difficult decision I need to make on this trip, I shouldn't complain, but it seems odd that there isn't at least an outlet in the bathroom.

The public rooms were swarmed with passengers dressed to the nines -- though very few tuxedos and full length gowns -- all lining up for formal photos or taking impromptu shots in different areas of the ship. I visited the glamorous Champagne Bar for pre-dinner drinks, thinking it'd be an elegant place to mingle and people-watch. The bar was empty, however, as everyone apparently was in line or taking photos. The flashbulbs in the atrium got to be irritating, so I headed down to the Captain's Reception, where the line was longer than the security checkpoint on embarkation day. Deciding I'd meet the captain around the ship, I bypassed the line and visited the Concierge Lounge on deck 10.

In the lounge, I met several gentlemen who were, again, both familiar with and members of the Cruise Critic boards! It's great to hear positive feedback from the readers onboard. I chatted with them till it was time to head down to Reflections for dinner.

After dining alone yesterday, there was some apprehension about returning to an empty table, but imagine my surprise when I arrived to sit next to two single women, both relatively near my age and a lot of fun. The women, both from Florida, made dinner a blast. I had lobster bisque, a Caesar salad, sesame-crusted salmon, and (hello Weight Watchers!) double strawberry cheesecake. After coffee and conversation, I retired to the cabin to change out of my formal attire.

The nightlife picked up a few notches from last night, as everyone seemed to be in a festive mood after the formal dinner. Couples danced to a piano player in the atrium, and the normally-subdued Hollywood Odyssey cigar bar was crowded and absolutely rocking. The Java Jazz band was on their game and the bar had an atmosphere that rivaled New Year's Eve. Do not miss this band! Great fun.

At midnight, the Odyssey cleared out after the band wrapped up, so I headed over to Vortex, which had been somewhat deserted the previous night. Again, this bar was teeming with -- surprisingly -- people under 50, all dancing to top 40 music and having a great time. I met up with my tablemates and took in the scene, meeting a few people from a corporate trip of 150 that's onboard. After some dancing, I decided to call it a night, so with promises to meet back tomorrow, I headed back to my cabin, thanking God for both the brief reprieve in rocking and for our imminent docking on land!

Tomorrow, we arrive in Halifax.
Day 1: New York red arrow Day 3: Halifax

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